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No, You Can't

Chapter Text

Izuku was having a bad day. Well, most of his days were differing levels of bad, but today was shaping up to be at the top of a very long list. 

 

It started at school, where between the teacher singling him out and his friend, former friend , telling him to take a jump off the building made the day land in the top ten bad days. His newly scorched, water warped notebook would be a memento of those words coming from his once best friends mouth for years to come.

 

Bakugou's treatment made him leave later than normal and somehow he lived through drowning on dry land, gale force winds, and an impromptu flight over the city. The wind should have signaled his day turning around with the signature of his number one idol and hero, All Might, but the bad decision to grab onto his leg led to an intimate discovery and one more person telling him to give up.

 

Now he walked away from All Might saving Bakugou from the same slime villain that had taken him. It was probably his fault that they got away. He distracted All Might allowing the villain to escape.

 

"Stupid, stupid Deku." The words mumbled, the way everything he said lately was. "You couldn't have done anything anyway."

 

He really was stupid. He'd been seconds away from running into the scene, past the anxious Pros to do… something. Anything. Anything to stop the fear shining in those red eyes. Then All Might jumped forward and punched with enough force to change the weather. It was probably a good thing anyway. Bakugou wouldn't want help from him, the useless Deku.

 

Even if his muscles burned from unused adrenaline, and his heart ached to have just moved faster. To have gotten there at least one second earlier to help.

 

It was probably a good thing.

 

… Really...

 

Well, the words would always sound a little hollow to his ears, no matter how true they may be to others. Some universe away he'd have had his chance to be a hero, just this once. He couldn't help but think it would have been better if he had been able to jump in before All Might saved the day again.

 

 

It was while he was walking past an alleyway just a block from his first villain encounter that the world decided it hadn't messed with Izuku enough today. Apparently having most of the hero's preoccupied with putting out Bakugou's fires meant a free-for-all on the helpless Deku.

 

The villain looked kind of lost as he grabbed Izuku by the collar to drag him deeper into the shadows. Izuku knew what competent villains looked like and this wasn't one. This was probably his first time attempting any crime larger than stealing snacks from the conbini.

 

A thin green mist appeared as the man perspired, obviously his quirk. The hand over Izuku's mouth gave him all the information he needed to know that although it worked similar to Pro Hero Midnight, it didn't have the same properties. The rancid smell was the first sign. The already dissipating cloud that was barely strong enough to overpower the slime smell from before was the second.

 

"Shit, shit! Wrong one. Why can't my fucking quirk work when I need it to," the man whispered loudly in his ear.

 

And now Izuku knew more. This man could create different types of vapors. It definitely depended on his emotional state though. The mist grew thicker and the scent stronger the more he panicked. Izuku was beginning to gag as his mouth filled with the lime colored haze.

 

Maybe this was how he died. Death by stench. That’d be one for the papers.

 

"Shit, okay listen up kid," he was still panicking but Izuku could hear him struggling with something besides the choking teen. "I'm going, I'm going to release you and you're going to take me to yo-"

 

Honestly, if the hand hadn't been gripping his face so tight he probably would have gotten away. But it didn't matter. Izuku's eyes widened as the vapor stopped before jumping to different corners of the alley. A glowing red caught his eye in one of the darker spots and as soon as he saw a flash of white heading their way he jerked his body down.

 

The shock worked in his favor as the capture weapon grabbed the man's wrist, allowing him to slip away. Izuku watched in awe as his favourite underground hero swung from a windowsill to land a harsh kick on the villains chest. Between the man's yell of shock and Izuku's own frantic movements the sound of metal dropping to the ground was unnoticed. But Izuku saw. His vision narrowed and he swore his heartbeat was loud enough for the hero to hear.

 

He could have died. Again. The knife was big enough to cause some serious damage and he could have died. 

 

He was obviously panicking. Apparently he'd had enough near death encounters for the day. The ringing in his ears drowned out the fight and he couldn't tear his eyes away from the dull silver shine.

 

Except then he could.

 

The villains hand landed right next to the knife and Izuku could see the decision to pick it back up before it even happened. Just like with Bakugou, that need to do something, to help, filled him and before he knew it he was standing on the man's hand, inches from the knife.

 

It only lasted seconds. The man's scream of pain and frustration cut off by the capture weapon. Izuku himself was gently pushed off as Eraserhead needed the hand he was on top of.

 

"He has multiple vapors." The words slipped out as he saw the green mist rise again, only this time a dark purple joined it. "I think he can control it when he's calm, but I know the green means he's panicking. It sounded like he might have a dangerous one he was planning on using so you might want to be careful." The words sounded far away, like it wasn't him speaking them. Man, he was probably going into shock.

 

Izuku could feel the Pros eyes dissecting him before the hero nodded. Once again Izuku watched as the man's quirk was erased and the hero's hair floated.

 

Sirens could be heard as background to the scene in front of him. He kind of felt like he was watching through a window. The villain was tied to a dumpster near the edge of the alley. Eraserhead was writing a note to place in an evidence bag with the knife. 

 

"Hey, Eraserhead," that startled the hero, "do you think someone quirkless like me can become a hero?"

 

Oh.

 

Well he said that.

 

Probably not the best idea after the day he's had. 

 

The hero stared again, this time more assessing. After an eternity of seconds his attention returned to the note in his hand.

 

"Listen kid. You need to stay here and talk to the police. They can't charge this guy without your testimony."

 

Of course. The villain was more important. Definitely more important than some quirkless kid.

 

Izuku nodded and drug a hand over his face, wincing when he felt the new bruises along his jaw. It was getting easier to ignore the burning behind his eyes today. Or maybe he was finally used to the disappointment of no one believing in him.

 

At least the hero hadn't said…

 

"Sorry kid, no. The quirkless can't be heroes."

Chapter Text

Aizawa knew he probably should have stayed, should have waited for the police to show up to hand off the kid. It was the right thing to do, but… the single tear that slipped past the hand over the kids eyes made his stomach clench with something he hadn’t felt when he expelled his entire class last year.

 

So he ran.

 

And it did feel like running away. Especially when he went over the fight in his mind once his insomnia took hold a week later.

 

The boy had been calm, calmer than most hostages. Even while gagging his eyes took in everything the villain was doing. Hell, he even saw him shoot his scarf at the man. The kid must have known who he was as soon as he erased the quirk. 

 

Shouta remembered hearing the short breaths of a panic attack after the kid was free, but the boy didn’t hesitate to step on the hand reaching for the knife. The kid had good reflexes. And a good mind.

 

When the police sent the notification saying the man was charged, Aizawa decided to look at all of the information on the case. The kid wasn’t lying when he said he was quirkless. Midoriya Izuku was in his last year of middle school. Well, he was until he was pulled out the day after the attacks. Turns out the kid had bad enough luck to run into that slime villain earlier in the day. The note in the file stated that he was removed by his mother for discrimination and that classes would be finished online.

 

Midoriya’s statements were correct too. The villain could make multiple vapors, including one with a low level poison. It was mostly dependent on the man's emotions which made it difficult for him to hold down a job. The police received a signed statement about the attempted kidnapping. Misuto Hajime was going to have the child take him to his home and have his parents write several checks for him. It definitely wasn’t the most well thought out plan.

 

But Midoriya could tell in the less than ten minute long attack what the villains quirk was and how to get out of the way of his own counter attack. The kid was smart, and he probably would have had a lot of potential. If only he had a quirk.

 

Even UA, for all its prestige and power, refused to let Quirkless students into any of its programs. The only reason was because it was possible to move into the Hero Course as long as you reached the final round of the sports festival. Yuuei’s publicity team didn’t want the backlash having a quirkless student would bring. Sadly all other hero schools in Japan followed their example. Even if he’d believed in the kid, there was no way for him to be a hero.

 

Maybe he’d been in the business too long, but Shouta honestly believed he’d told the kid the truth. Besides not getting into any hero school, there’s not much a quirkless hero could do in most fights. Aizawa himself was able to stop most quirks, in which a majority of people were dependent on. Midoriya wouldn’t be able to do that.

 

That didn’t mean he had to like it. As apathetic as he was when expelling his class, at least they had the chance to move back through the sports festival or at a different school. But crushing Midoriya’s hopes, especially after what had to be a long day, was not his idea of a good time.

 

The kid would get over it. 

 

He wanted to believe that his words wouldn't have repercussions, but he had that feeling in his gut. The same one that usually told him who the problem children would be in his class.

 

Well, he'd have to keep an eye out for the kid. It's the least he could do after what he said.

Chapter Text

“Okay Izu-kun. You have a week before we leave for Europe. I expect you to finish as much of your schooling as you can before you leave.” Midoriya Inko loved her son but that didn’t mean she would let him slack off.

 

Izuku rolled his eyes, but grinned as he pulled the laptop closer. When he’d sat his mother down to have a long overdue discussion he never expected her to pack up the house and move them halfway across the world. It was only for a year, but that would be more than enough.

 

They’d both cried through three boxes of tissues and had to use a roll of toilet paper after that. The talk lasted long into the early morning hours with guilt and shame burning through both of them. Inko had never realized how much she’d hurt her son by not believing in him so she decided it was better late than never.

 

The day after the attacks, while Izuku slept through the morning, she quickly called the school and demanded they remove her son and place Bakugou in counseling or she would bring a lawsuit against the school and every teacher in it. As one of the poorer schools in the district they readily agreed and Izuku was approved for online courses. Bakugou Katsuki was placed under mandatory anger management classes and all of the teachers underwent child safety classes. Bullying dropped by 50% in the first week after the principal began enforcing the school charter.

 

After the talk with the school she called Hisashi and filled him in. Her husband knew some of what was going on in their lives, but the time difference made it difficult for them to converse regularly. Hisashi was ready to take the next flight home, but Inko told him to wait. She had some laws to look up before they decided further action.

 

And look up she did. Hisashi transferred extra money and the two of them bought Izuku a new laptop, so while he worked steadily on his school work she dove into legal jargon. There she discovered two things.

 

First, her baby couldn’t get a hero license in Japan.

 

Second, he qualified for dual citizenship.

 

To qualify he had to live with Hisashi for 365 days since Hisashi was a natural born citizen of Ireland. There was a test as well, but it was much easier for him to do it now as a child under Hisashi’s care than it would be as an adult. It helped that Hisashi paid for most of their bills to show he was their main provider.

 

Even better, Ireland allowed the quirkless to enter their hero courses. Even though no one had joined, the option was still there. Their quirkless community was much more vocal about equal rights for all citizens.

 

So she’d call Hisashi and they bought a storage unit, packed necessities, sold the rest, and made flight plans. A week and a half after the attacks they would be on their way to join the whole family together for the first time in years.

 

“Hey mom?” Izuku’s voice cut through her thoughts as she pulled her attention from the half filled box in front of her. “I, so I know I should have been asleep, and that this probably could have waited until the day time, but I was curious and I wanted to look. I wasn’t looking at anything bad! But I just wanted to see what classes someone like me could actually take here and since almost everyone suggested becoming a police officer I thought I’d take a look at that. So I did and I might have found something that might help me in the future. I’m not giving up on my dream! I promise, I really am excited to become a hero, I just wanted to look--”

 

“Izu, honey,” Inko cut in, “ I believe you.” She smiled at his blush. She hoped he never grew out of it. “Now what was it you found.”

 

Izuku rubbed his cheeks as he grinned sheepishly at her. “Well, I found what looks like a prerequisite for the police course and that led me to one for a highschool specializing in all forms of law defence. There’s one just for hero law in Japan. Anyway, I thought if I signed up for the lawyer track at this school, I could work on that as well as the fast track hero course with Hisashi. That way I’d still have a regular school on my file when we come back, but I’d also know all about the different laws here in Japan. All I need is access to a computer to make video calls and a fax machine to send miscellaneous assignments.” His bright green eyes shone with hope as he turned the screen towards her.

 

The idea had merit she thought as her eyes scanned the class information. A stable future job was one positive, no matter how much they hoped he wouldn’t need it. Another was that he’d be knowledgeable about what he could and couldn’t do as a hero once they came back. He would need that when going against villains and possibly other heroes.

 

Legally he wouldn’t be breaking any laws. There was nothing that specifically stated someone quirkless couldn’t get a hero license. However, every form had a required “What is your quirk?” and “How much training have you had using said quirk?”. The forms also asked for what school you attended and after a quick search Inko found every hero school refused to allow her son to even enter the gates. Therefore, although he would be legal if he had a hero license, Izuku could never be a solely Japanese based Hero.

 

“I think this is a great idea. It will give you a cover story as well when we move back.” She laughed as he swatted her hand away from his hair. “Now get back to work. You’re lucky you already know some Irish and English or else I’d be having you study those too.”

 

He chuckled, but returned to his school work like she ordered. “I’ll have to learn more quickly if I want to do well in class. I’ll have Hisashi to help translate, but if I’m going to be the first quirkless hero then I want to do it myself as much as possible.”

 

Inko’s grin softened as she glanced at him from the corner of her eye. He was so determined to be a hero, so ready to do whatever was asked of him that she still wonders why she didn’t see it before. That familiar heaviness of guilt was still settled in her chest, but every new piece that fell into place lessened the weight. 

 

She would make this right. Her son deserved at least that and more.

Chapter Text

The flight itself wasn't bad, but Izuku was more nervous then he'd been when he'd met All Might. It definitely didn't have to do with being in the air. After free flying while clutching a massively muscled leg the smooth movement of the cabin was hardly a passing thought in his mind. No, the plane was not one of his concerns.

 

Meeting the man who helped create him certainly was.

 

There were pictures of the three of them right after he was born then a single one just before he turned two. His father was a distant figure in his life, more like an odd uncle he heard from or about a few times a year. Now they were all going to live together for at least a full twelve months. He wasn't sure how he felt about it.

 

In some of his darker moments he'd entertained the thought that maybe the man hadn't come back because he was ashamed to have a Quirkless son. The thought always cut deeper whenever his classmates teased him on parents day. Hisashi's eagerness to help soothed some of those hidden scars. 

 

Now he just had to get off the plane without throwing up. Or crying. Although the man did marry his mother so he must not mind the tears too much.

 

Speaking of his mom, her leg hadn't stopped bouncing since the plane landed. Izuku knew she missed her husband, but he'd never realized just how much. He also never noticed how much anxiety he gave her until they flew away from Japan. The relief rolled off her shoulders in waves. She was looking younger by the minute. This stay here would be good for both of them.

 

Finally the plane parked and they were allowed to disembark. Mom's nervous energy wasn't helping Izuku's anxiety.

 

What if he doesn't like me?

 

What if I'm too much work and they send me back?

 

What if I don't like him?

 

What if I do something wrong? Can I do things wrong?

 

What if i-

 

"Izuku, it's okay." Her warm, soft hand slid into his and gave a slight squeeze. "He will like you. I promise." He gave her a shaky smile and a nod, but kept their hands conjoined.

 

The line through customs was quick for the two of them. Inko only had her purse on her while Izuku had his bag full of his hero analysis notebooks. Their visas were kept up to date thanks to Hisashi and his job. Inko had to drag Izuku behind her as they made their way to baggage claim because he kept getting distracted.

 

His mom's voice pulled him back to the present with a whispered "Hisashi," while she stopped in place. Izuku froze behind her and followed her line of sight to the redhead standing several feet away. 

 

He didn't look too much different from the photos. He was more muscled and had a close trimmed beard. The biggest difference was the gray at his temples and the pair of glasses framing sea green eyes.

 

Eyes that lit up at seeing the two of them.

 

" Asthore. Oh Inko I'm so happy you're here." Hisashi covered the ground between them quickly, stopping just in time to catch Inko in his arms. "Ko-chan, Ko-chan, Ko-chan. I missed you so much." Each word was peppered with kisses and muffled into her shoulder as one hand gripped her hair. The other was wrapped tightly around her back.

 

Inko's own words were buried in tears as she clung to his neck. Over the last week the two had talked more than they had in the last several years. It made her understand how far they'd drifted and how much she missed him.

 

Izuku stood a few steps away watching something he never expected to see. He didn't think he'd ever meet his father, or if he did he'd be an adult himself. Seeing his mother and father embrace made them look like a full family for the first time in his memory.

 

"Izuku, sweetie, come here." Hisashi's arm was still wrapped over her shoulder as she reached a hand towards him. "I'm happy to finally introduce you to Hisashi, your father."

 

Izuku held his mom's hand tightly as he gave a small wave to the man. "H-hello Hisashi."

 

Hisashi smiled softly, dark freckles stretching across his cheeks. "Hello Izuku. You've grown so much, in a few years you'll probably pass me up."

 

Izuku gave a slight smile as he looked up at him.

 

"Don't worry about calling me Dad or anything. I need to earn that title after being out of your life for so long."

 

A tightness he didn't know he held left Izuku's frame with a low breath. The relief of being able to choose what to call Hisashi was surprisingly tiring. Who knew meeting a new parental figure would be so draining?

 

"I-I'm, I think I'll just stick with Hisashi right n-now."

 

"That's fine my Clover. Gives me a chance to prove myself." Hisashi gave a wink before looking down at Inko's beaming smile. "Anyway, I heard from a little bird that you happen to like heroes. Have you ever heard of Spitfire?"

 

Izuku's eyes shone at the chance to talk heroes with someone, especially a foreign one. Gone was the shy, stuttering boy, making way for an intelligent young man.

 

"Of course! Spitfire is the number eight international rescue hero right now! He has the ability to breath fire, both out from his chest as well as breathing it in like oxygen. He works mostly with his local fire departments, but will travel for work as well. His most well known rescues are the forest fires in the Americas, the bombing in northern Europe, and the chemical fires that started his career almost sixteen years ago in Jap…."

 

When asked, Izuku would tell you he didn't scream. Both parents, as well as the people around them would say he did. Loudly.

 

"w-w-W-WHAT!!!"

 

His parents chuckled as Hisashi rubbed the back of his head, mussing up the curls there.

 

"Mom, you never told me my dad was a HERO!"

 

"Well," Inko began, drawing out the vowel, "I didn't really think of it. When we met he was just a firefighter sent over because of his quirk. He actually went through the same program you'll be in after he returned here, but at the time it wasn't as big of a deal. He grew more popular after stopping a fire in the Rocky Mountains, but we were already expecting you by then. Most of his jobs still team up with the fire department that I forgot he was also a hero. He was and always will be the awkward Irish boy who first asked to make out instead of asking for a spoon at the restaurant." Inko grinned up at Hisashi before turning to Izuku and darkening to a deep red. "Honestly, I may have also forgotten that was his hero name since it's the same nickname all his firefighter buddies called him."

 

"Of course it's the same nickname. I didn't even get the chance to pick my own hero name. Why would I call myself such an obvious name like Spitfire?" Hisashi chuckled as a small flame escaped his mouth with the name. “It makes me sound like a rambunctious toddler with parents who are trying not to say their kid is a little devil.”

 

“Are you trying to say you were the perfect example at following the rules,” Inko asked with a laugh. “Because I clearly remember that one time with the fire chief, a package of hot dogs, and the neighbor lady’s un--”

 

Hisashi blushed and quickly covered Inko’s mouth with his hand. “Alright, I don’t think he needs to know that one. I only just got some cool dad points, I don’t need to lose them immediately after.”

 

Izuku’s cheeks began to ache from the large smile on his face. He’d never heard his mom laugh so freely as he did now. Not even with Aunty Mitsuki. As he watched his estranged father shy away from his mother’s tickling fingers, he knew that as long as he made her happy he would give him a chance.

 

“Okay Clover, Asthore, let’s get your luggage so you two can see your new home.” Hisashi began to turn around as he held an arm out for Inko to take. “We can pick up take-out on the way since I’m sure you’re hungry. If you can, try and take a shorter nap in a few hours so you can go to bed closer to night time.”

 

As Inko took the proffered arm, Izuku moved into step behind the two of them. Conversation flowed easily between his parents and he had to ignore the tug of wistfulness as he listened. So far Hisashi had been great and understanding and he couldn’t help but wish he’d known that sooner. At least it was a little more understandable after learning he was a hero.

 

“Hey Izu-kun, hurry up.” Inko called when she noticed him lagging behind. “Hi-chan says he has your schedule made up and printed out for you to look over when we get home.”

 

Maybe this time home could be a little bit happier. A little less lonely. That flame lighting in his chest sure felt a lot like hope. 

 

"Alright Mom, I'm coming."

Chapter Text

The heavy thud made by the surprisingly thick stack of papers was as ominous as it was promising. Ominous for the amount of work Izuku knew it would bring, but promising for the direct path to his dream. 

 

He reached forward to take the top packet but stopped when a freckled hand settled on top. “Before we look over this,” Hisashi settled into the chair across from him, “we need to discuss something.”

 

Izuku nodded and leaned back into his chair. Trepidation swirled in his gut as he watched his father with guarded eyes. The man matched his gaze with a determined twist of his lips.

 

“Are you still determined to be a hero exactly like All Might? Because if you are, I won’t let you begin this program.”

 

The chair screeched as Izuku lurched forward, but Hisashi just held up a hand and motioned for him to sit back down. The questions were hard to swallow back down, and Izuku found himself unable to stop moving his stare between Hisashi and the hero forms.

 

“I need you to understand this. You can’t be a hero like All Might, Izuku. Physically it would be impossible for you to reach the strength he has, just like it would be impossible for you to breath in flames like me, or for you to scream someone unconscious like that one guy, Present Mic. All of these are done by quirks which, unfortunately, you drew the short straw.” Izuku dropped his head slightly at hearing the words he’d often thought said out loud. “However,” Hisashi leaned forward to gather his full attention again, “none of that means you can’t be a hero in your own way. So I’ll ask you again. Are you still determined to be a hero exactly like All Might?”

 

Izuku stared, his lips moving silently with unsaid words and incomplete thoughts. If he’d been asked this question two weeks ago his answer would have been an immediate and resounding YES. If it had been right after the slime incident then he probably would have told you no. Now that it was a week and a half later he could think of it all more objectively.

 

“I-I, I want to be a hero with the spirit of All Might,” each word rolled around in his mouth, halting and slow, as if he was tasting each one before he spoke. “I want, I want p-people to feel relief when they see me, a promise of something good happening.” Hisashi watched, patient and calm, allowing Izuku to work out what he wanted to say. “I want that, b-but I learned some things last week. As high of a pedestal hero’s are placed on, they are still human. Including All Might. I listened to two of my favorite heroes tell me I c-c-couldn’t and shouldn’t follow my dream. A-a-and I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to be caught up in the hero rankings or the routine of the job. I don’t think it’s their fault, b-but I think they are so used to the world being one way, being quirked, that they forgot it began quirkless. It had to change into what it is now and that means it can change again. I don’t know if it will happen in my generation, but I want to start it. Things can’t change without a catalyst and that’s what I want to be.”

 

Izuku finally lifted his eyes off the papers he’d focused on as he organized his thoughts. When he met Hisashi’s gaze he was startled by the pride that shone through.

 

“So to answer your question, No. I don’t want to be exactly like All Might. I want to be the hero that will change the world.”

 

The room was still, only Izuku's quick breaths breaking the silence.

 

Inko had stopped eating while they were talking. Now she watched as her son stared down her husband with more conviction than she'd seen in years. Being a hero had always been a dream, now it was just the next goal. He would become a hero to create waves and make a difference.

 

Hisashi focused intently on his son, watching to see if he would break under the pressure. Instead it seemed to bolster him. It was as if he'd been pushed down so many times that this came second nature to him now. From what he'd heard, it probably was.

 

Izuku felt the creak in his fingers from how hard he was clenching his fist. He’d dreamed of being a hero, but he realized recently that he never made any steps towards making it a reality. Now his father was the only thing in his way of starting his journey and he’d be damned if that was going to stop him. He’d never backed down before, he wasn’t going to start now.

 

“Good.”

 

Hisashi continued to break the tense atmosphere with a proud smile. “That’s exactly what I wanted to hear. You are going to be a great hero Izuku.”

 

He expected the tears, he truly did, but they burned behind his eyes more than usual. He knew he was crying because of what Hisashi said, but he was also crying for his younger self. The one who desperately needed that validation, that his dream wasn’t unreachable, that he would make a difference. Sure his mom told him she would help him become a hero, but here was someone he’d only truly met a few hours before and he was telling him he would be a hero. Now he had two people who believed in him and he refused to let them down.

 

Izuku also expected his mom to join him in the downpour of tears. What he didn’t expect was Hisashi - big, strong, fire breathing hero Hisashi - to cry just as much,

 

Well, at least he came by it rightly.

 

Finally the tears subsided and everyone settled in to finish their now cold food. Hisashi handed the top paper to Izuku to read before speaking again.

 

“Alright Clover. Welcome to the Fast Track Hero Course, or as most of us here like to call it, the Midlife Crisis Course.” Hisashi’s grin was wide and his eyes sparkled with mischief. Inko snorted, almost choking on her chicken.

 

“Midlife Crisis course?” Izuky squeaked out, his hands waving frantically in front of him. “I’m only fourteen, I can’t be having a midlife crisis.”

 

Hisashi gave a light chuckle and reached out to rub his head, not noticing how Izuku stilled under the touch. “No worries kid, it’s mostly a joke for us old folks who take it later in life. A majority of those in the course are beings who couldn’t get the desire to be a hero out of their system, or they’re like me and they became popular in their profession that it was better for them to have hero training on the side. There are a few kids in their last year of highschool who changed their mind and take it to catch up to the hero course kids, but that’s rare since they have to have a recommendation from both the teacher and principal.”

 

“I’m going to be completely honest with you though, Izuku.” Hisashi’s jovial tone dropped introducing Izuku to who he presumed was the hero Spitfire instead of his father. “You are only able to join because of me and a few of my friends. The guidelines stipulate that any minor under sixteen is required to join a hero course at an accredited school, so long as there are no extenuating circumstances. Being quirkless counts as one of those circumstances. Although Ireland is less discriminatory against the quirkless, there can still be schools and teachers who won’t put forth the effort to teach you. This gave you an excuse to join early, but you still would have been required to search for a proper school or teacher first.

 

However, Inko and I know that you want to be based in Japan as much as possible, so I pulled some strings. Between me and three other heroes we were able to get you accepted. You will be the first Hero Recommendation student in the program, as well as the youngest hero to graduate. I know this is a lot of pressure to place on you, but you aren’t going to be carrying only your future reputation, but the four of ours as well. We each expect you to do great things, Izuku.”

 

Just when he thought he'd cried all he could is father said something else to bring a new wave of tears. More people were counting on him now, people he'd never even met. It truly was a lot of pressure. Even as the words registered and the weight settled on his shoulders though, Izuku knew he wouldn't have it any other way.

 

Hisashi smiled and handed him another tissue. Now that he knew his dad was a crier as well he could spot the tissue boxes placed strategically around the house.

 

"Alright, now that the heavy stuff is out of the way, let's look at your schedule." He pointed to the packet in Izuku's hand. "First things first. Midlife Crisis Course, or MCC, is considered the equivalent of a highschool diploma. That means you have two weeks to finish your online courses for junior high. I can only give you two weeks because MCC typically takes 18 months. The fastest time finished was eleven and a half months. You're going to do it in less than ten."

 

Izuku's jaw dropped as he scanned the color coded schedule in front of him. "But won't we be here for a year? Why do I need to finish early?"

 

"Because I want to give you the best chance at staying alive." He answered seriously. "Yes you'll be here a year, but I would never send a rookie to patrol on their own. Finishing within ten months will give you at least two to gain real experience as a pro before you return to Japan. You'll most likely be working freelance, without an agency, so I want you to have ever advantage you can."

 

Izuku nodded in understanding. His finger covered his bottom lip as his brows furrowed in concentration.

 

"Even though you'll be focused on school work doesn't mean we won't be getting you ready for MCC." Hisashi pointed to a few pink shaded spots. "Every morning you have a run to build stamina. I have several wrist and ankle weights that you get to wear around the house all day. As soon as you feel they aren't heavy enough we will up the weight. And finally, we are going to make you flexible. There are a lot of stretches you'll be able to do while you study. If possible, I want you to be able to do the splits by the time we start the combat course."

 

He would deny that he squeaked at the thought, but even Hisashi was a little pale at the thought of doing splits.

 

"I know this seems like a lot, but to put it plainly, you're behind where most students start. Most have a fitness routine started or have a background in martial arts. You'll get that training, but we have to get you to the point where you'll be able to stay mostly standing when we're done for the day."

 

Izuku nodded and followed the plan down the next two weeks. Everything Hisashi said was on there, along with meal times and snack breaks.

 

"Okay, after that are the classes, and trust me there are quite a few of them. However several are hands on and aren't all textbook reading. There will also be a few you will finish before the others. That's the list right there, the ones with an asterisk are primarily online and finish at your own pace."

 

The list wasn't very long, but easily enough to fill the schedule with a rainbow of shades. There were the basic core classes for highschool first. Hisashi had marked that those would thankfully be covered in his law course he applied to before they left. Hero law, civil law, quirk analysis and history all had an asterisk in the corner. Combat and strategy, support items and care, quirk training, field medic training, and physical and mental wellness had a note to enter a certified teaching center for classes or provide your own approved teacher. Hisashi had chosen the latter option and provided their names and what they taught. Everything looked perfect for training him to become a hero, but one class shaded in orange caught his eye.

 

"Hisashi, why am I taking the quirk training class?"

 

"Several reasons actually. First, although you'll be analyzing quirks through videos in the quirk analysis class, it's very different in real life. Ko-chan told me you already do that so you should have an advantage. However just analyzing and writing it down is different from gathering all you can then tossing what you don't need. Second, you need to learn how to use what you've found in a fight. You will always be up against someone with a quirk. There's no way around that. But you can level the playing field by fighting smart. You are smart Clover. You just need to learn how to use those brains of yours in a fight."

 

He nodded as he blushed at the compliment. "What is the next reason?"

 

"There's only one more and that is that every pro takes on a student or intern at some point in their career. Unfortunately you will have no personal experience with improving quirks. That's why I gained special permission for you to learn how to teach quirk training. You'll be the teachers assistant every class. You will give suggestions along with the plan of action to test out your theory. It is extra work, but I believe it will help you find weaknesses in your opponents in the future."

 

"It's going to be a lot of work. Hard, difficult, sometimes dangerous work. The program itself is hard and as its first Quirkless student the bar will be set higher for you than normal. You will be watched and judged the entire time. Can you handle that?"

 

Izuku wasn't sure at first, but then he realized he was already judged. Judged for his dream, his size, his emotions, and most often, his lack of quirk. What difference would it make this time?

 

"Yeah," he began, "yeah I can handle that. It's never bothered me before."

 

Hisashi smiled as he reached over to take Inko's hand. "Good. Because you won't be alone. Ko-chan and I will be with you every step of the way. Sometimes literally. I plan on running with you every morning." He gave a wink and Izuku chuckled.

 

"Hi-chan made a cookbook with your meal plan in it so I can help too." Inko grinned as she pointed at the green binder on the counter. "We believe in you Izuku, and we are going to do everything we can to make this happen."

 

Izuku smiled at the two of them, trying to keep the tears at bay so they could continue talking. He knew if he started they would too.

 

"Alright," Hisashi sniffed and rubbed at his eye, "here's the last bit of scheduling. As soon as your instructor approves of your combat and strategy you'll sign up to get a provisional license. Every two months they have a national exam for those in MCC. Once you get that you'll be on a rotating schedule of one patrol day a week. This will get you internship hours as well as sidekick hours.

 

Hopefully by this point you'll have passed some of the classes like field medic and support. That will give you time to work ahead on your highschool classes or other work. If you are far enough ahead I want to take you with me to California during wildfire season. We can do a lot of training there and you'll get the experience of a large scale rescue effort."

 

“It sounds like I won’t be getting any summer vacation.” Izuku chuckled as he flipped through the next pages of the schedule.

 

Hisashi just laughed. “You’re right. You’re not even getting weekends.” He pulled the packet forward and pointed to one section blocked off in grey. “Barring any unscheduled fires, this will be your only vacation. I want to take you and your mom on our first vacation as a family if you’ll let me.”

 

Hisashi’s shoulders pulled inward as he looked between the two green heads wearily. For the first time since meeting the man Izuku thought he looked vulnerable. Izuku had been so afraid of not being accepted by the man that he never considered that Hisashi might have been just as afraid of him.

 

“I, yeah. I think a vacation together would be nice,” he finally answered.

 

Inko’s eyes glistened as she nodded. “That’s perfect Hi-chan. Izu-kun will probably need one after all this hard work.”

 

Izuku knew where he got his grin from now. The wide smile Hisashi sported matched his mother’s description of his own. To bright, with sparkles that you need sunglasses to see past.

 

“Great!” Hisashi stood quickly from his seat. “I’ll set up the travel plans then. Oh, I’m so excited!” His words trailed off as he disappeared into one of the back rooms of the house. Through the walls it sounded a lot like Izuku’s mumbling. Maybe he got that from Hisashi too.

 

“Well, I think we lost him.” Inko giggled and shook her head, shooting a fond look in the direction he left at. “He used to do this a lot. He would get excited about something and just wander off to do it. One time we were shopping and had to be home quickly, but somehow he got this idea that juggling fruit would be a good idea. He told me later that night that he was curious if juggling an apple was different from juggling an orange. Anyway, when I went to check out he wasn’t with me so I went searching. I found him surrounded by a pile of spilled apples, bent over with his ear between the fingers of the little old lady who owned the grocer. Turns out not only can he not juggle, but he grabbed the wrong apple and pulled down the entire display.”

 

Inko’s high pitched giggles joined Izuku’s as they laughed at the mental image. “The point of that was to tell you that I don’t think we will see him again for a few hours, so let’s get started on filling out the rest of this. It looks like he’s done most of it, it’s just personal information now.” 

 

Her warm hand reached out and ruffled his hair and he gave her a smile. “I’m excited for you Izuku. I can’t wait to see what kind of hero you’ll make.”

 

He blushed and ducked his head. "Yeah, me too mom. Me too."

Chapter Text

"Clover, say hello to The Rainbow hero: Leprechaun." Hisashi gestured to the tall redhead in front of them. They were in Hisashi's private gym, the place where half of his lessons would be held. "Leprechaun can travel through refracted light, meaning he could literally walk on rainbows if he wanted to. He's especially helpful in hostage situations or places where we need a quick set of eyes. Now he may be great at infiltration, but he would be useless if he didn't know how to hide or fight his way out. That's why he agreed to sponsor you as well as teach your combat and strategy course."

 

Izuku stuck out his hand, "Hello Mr. Leprechaun, sir," he said in halting Irish.

 

"Hisashi, how did you get such a well behaved kid?" The man laughed as he shook Izuku's hand. "Call me Ian kid, Leprechaun is when I'm on duty," Ian finished in Japanese. "I'll be helping you with your language study as well since I teach English at our local hero school."

 

Izuku nodded and gave a shy smile to the burly man. He seemed alright, and he was one of the ones to help get him into the course. 

 

"Perfect. For today I'll use Japanese, but starting next week all conversation will be either English or Irish. If I hear a word of Japanese you get a penalty of some sort. It will always be some kind of exercise."

 

Ian's brown eyes took on a sadistic glint and Izuku felt a chill run down his back. He glanced at Hisashi but only received a helpless shrug.

 

"I hope you're ready?"

 

 

Izuku cringed away from the door as an explosion was heard. He looked up at Hisashi wondering if they really had to go in. He'd never had the best history with firepower before and it didn't seem like it was going to change now.

 

Hisashi grimaced back, but squared his shoulders and grabbed the handle. "I, well I know she sounds dangerous. And, I guess she probably is, but she doesn't mean it! Honestly she's probably the best support inventor in the country. She'll give you the best tools and support training to work with as possible."

 

Another explosion rocked the building, rattling the door and vibrating the ground beneath their feet. Izuku leveled Hisashi with a look that asked if he was serious.

 

"I heard she has a younger cousin in Japan?" Hisashi offered through the aftershocks. And truly, it was a good thing. He might have someone to fix and build his support items when he went back. But was all this going to be worth the risk of his life?

 

"Are all inventors this crazy?"

 

Hisashi stared at the door, the names Hatsume and Murphy engraved in the center. Finally he tugged it open and a long cackling laugh escaped the workshop.

 

"Come on Clover. We can't keep her waiting."

 

 

"Oh! You are so cute! Just look at those freckles. And your eyes. I've never seen such a pretty green, and I’m from Ireland. Trust me kid, we know our green." 

 

Izuku blinked at the purple haired girl from between her hands as she turned his head this way and that.

 

"Eliza, meet my son Izuku." Hisashi chuckled while Eliza spread his arms wide to look him over. "Clover, meet another of your sponsors, Eliza Sullivan. She works as a hero under the name Harmonize. Her quirk allows her to knit tissue together through song. She's going to be training you in both field medicine and physical and mental wellness."

 

"Oh my goodness, you call him Clover?" Eliza screeched and wrapped her arms around Izuku's blushing head. "That's just too precious!"

 

"It fits him perfectly, doesn't it."

 

Izuku glared at his father in betrayal as Eliza started petting his head. If he was asked he would say this was one of the most embarrassing moments of his life. What he wouldn't say was that the woman felt warm, and the hand on his head was surprisingly relaxing.

 

"I want to put you in cat ears. You would be adorable." She ruffled his hair some more and Izuku found himself leaning into the touch the longer it lasted. "Wait! I just remembered. I have the perfect hoodie in my car. Wait here and I'll get it for you."

 

She disappeared to the parking lot as quickly as she came, her layered skirt swishing with every step. "She's a little scattered, but I think it's because she sees everything as written music. It's how she knows what to sing to fix the repair. Apparently the injury has a discordant chord that she has to rewrite. She's a great hero to have on hand for emergencies since her quirk works quickly, but she loses her voice easily when she sings. Speaking doesn't affect her vocal chords, but singing can. She'll give you bookwork if she's unable to talk until you learn Japanese sign language."

 

Izuku nodded as he looked towards the parking lot she left to. "She doesn't seem that much older than me."

 

"She's not," Hisashi agreed. "She graduated two years ago, but she's a certified genius and worked on getting her teaching license at the same time. She just got her degree in psychology and she's a licensed dietitian. If I remember right, she wants to open up a medical training school for quirks to increase the efficiency of first responders."

 

"Wow! That's so cool." Izuku's eyes shone and his fingers twitched with the desire to write it all down. "Just think of all the lives that could be saved if more people with healing quirks were able to get the training? Eliza's quirk is really cool too. Although it must be hard trying to see past the music notes. I can't imagine what food must look like. Oh, but maybe they each have their own song. That would mean that poisons and illnesses would have one too though, which is really cool. She would be able to tell with a glance what was affe-"

 

"Right you are, Clover boy. I can see different illnesses. But that's not what we're here for." Eliza returned and dropped a light purple hoodie over his head. "Put that on so I can see you with cat ears."

 

Izuku sighed, but did as she asked. Eliza wasn't that much taller than him, but she was well built so the jacket was baggy on his skinnier frame and easily reached the top of his thighs. Once the hood was pulled on she squealed and pulled out her phone.

 

"I was so right. You are the cutest clover I've ever seen. I'm getting you one in green too." She talked while taking pictures of him. "Now, you keep that on and we'll talk business."

 

Izuku sent one more pleading look to Hisashi, but the man just pulled out his phone, took a picture, and turned to leave. "See you later, Clover." He said as he left the two alone.

 

 

"Is this one sadistic?"

 

"No."

 

"Will this one blow me up?"

 

"Well, not intentionally."

 

"Am I going to have to dress as a cat every time I meet them?"

 

"I mean, I would have you dress as a cat all the time if I could."

 

"Hisashi!"

 

"What? It's true! You were adorable, and don't pretend you don't like the hoodie."

 

Izuku blushed, crossed his arms, and looked away to avoid Hisashi's knowing gaze. "... It's soft…"

 

Hisashi chuckled and turned his attention back to the road. "No worries Clover. Remi should be perfectly normal. They retired long enough ago most of their eccentricities have mellowed. They own the quirk gym we're going to and have taught people how to use them for longer than I've been alive. If anyone is going to teach you to use that brain of yours it's them."

 

"For some reason I'm not fully convinced." Izuku sighed, but relented in that line of questioning. "So what kind of hero were they?"

 

"They worked underground. Remi's quirk is called Imperfection. They can find the imperfect spots in everything they see. When they did hero work they had to filter out unimportant information to choose the best form of attack. Honestly it sounds like more of a curse to me, but they turned it around. They worked on the underground scene for over 30 years before opening their own gym. They used to do freelance quirk training for different agencies before that."

 

Izuku hummed, storing the information away. “It must be difficult to live like that, but it sounds like they are doing a great job helping others. Remi seems like a good person.”

 

Hisashi nodded as he pulled the car into the parking lot. “They are. As much as I’d like to think I have that kind of pull, Remi’s sponsorship was the one to send your acceptance through. Even 15 years in retirement hasn’t dulled their influence. They train enough of the new generation that I doubt even their death would stop people from taking a second look at their name.”

 

“Wow, that’s some power.” Izuku whispered as he climbed out of the car.

 

“There they are.” Hisashi pointed to a being standing by the door. If Remi’s quirk was imperfection then their body must be what their quirk considered perfect. Remi’s skin was almost translucent, never fully any shade of color. Izuku could see no gender identifiers, or birthmarks of any kind. Remi’s face itself had no identifying features other than the completely white eyes. It was unnerving at first to watch them move, but as he and Hisashi caught their eye their entire face lit up, breaking the unease. The oily hues of color shimmered as they waved an arm in excitement.

 

"Hisashi, I'm happy to see you," Remi said with a smile. Even their voice was neither gender, but it was pleasant to listen to. Bleached eyes were hidden halfway behind iridescent eyelids as their grin stretched across their face. "And this must be Clover. You certainly fit the name young man."

 

Izuku felt his cheeks flush as he shook his head, “Ah, t-thank you Remi-san. My name is actually Izuku. I appreciate the opportunity you’ve given me.” He bowed, then startled as Remi’s hand ruffled his hair.

 

“So polite. You could teach a few of my students your manners,” they said with a chuckle. “Well come on in. Hisashi says you’ve done analysis before. Let’s see what you’ve got Clover.”

 

… 

 

Both Hisashi and Izuku drug their bodies through the door at the end of the day. Izuku was just counting his lucky stars that he would only have two instructors a day at most. Each of them were fantastic, but they all had - no pun intended - quirks of their own that made them exhausting. Especially for someone who’d never had as much positive reinforcement from a teacher as he had today.

 

But as tired as he was, Izuku had never felt so fulfilled. His dream was really a reality now. It wasn’t just signed papers and filled notebooks. He was looking at concrete proof that this was happening.

 

He was going to be a hero.

 

… He just needed a good night's rest first.

 

“Hi-chan, Izu-kun, is that you?” Inko called from the kitchen.

 

“Tadaima,” they called together. Hisashi still looked as overjoyed as he did two weeks ago when Inko greeted him after a shift. He must have been lonely living in this house by himself for so long.

 

“Okaeri,” Inko replied as she turned the corner. Her smile was soft as she took in her two boys. She used to imagine this exact scene when Izuku was younger. The two of them, drained from the day’s activities, but smiling from a feeling of accomplishment. She had given up that dream after Izuku entered junior high. At the time she didn’t want to take away what she assumed was his only friend by moving.

 

“Please say there’s dinner ready,” Izuku asked as he toed off his shoes. “It smells amazing.”

 

She nodded and motioned him towards the bathroom. “Go wash up, then you can tell me how the meet and greet went with your teachers.”

 

“Awesome, thanks mom,” he grinned and kissed her cheek as he passed.

 

“You’re welcome Clover.” Izuku froze and turned around to stare at his mom. Hisashi started laughing as he wrapped his arms around Inko. “What? What happened?”

 

Izuku groaned and shook his head making Hisashi laugh harder. “Just, I mean, why do you have to call me Clover too?”

 

“Why not? I think it suits you very well.” She answered, pointedly looking at the curly mess on top of his head.

 

He made a noise between a groan and a whine before pouting his way to the bathroom.

 

Inko watched him go before turning to Hisashi with a questioning gaze. It took him a few seconds to calm down enough to answer, but when he did she began giggling too.

 

“All of them called him Clover today. It wasn’t so bad until he met Remi. Even after he introduced himself Remi continued to call him Clover and introduced him to some of their students by that name. Now the entire quirk gym believes his name is Clover.”

 

“He’ll have to watch out, or else Clover is going to become his hero name.”

 

If dinner was a little cold that night, no one said anything. If it was cold because of Izuku’s mini meltdown over the name Clover, well, Hisashi and Inko weren’t going to stop mentioning that.

Chapter Text

Izuku grunted as his back hit the mat once again. He and Ian had been at it for several hours now and each time it was getting harder to stand back up. At least he lasted longer than he did two weeks ago.

 

"To slow, Clover," Ian said as he pushed a half crouched Izuku over with his foot. "You can't take that long getting up. A villain would have killed you by now."

 

Izuku huffed but nodded and stood as quickly as he could. It still wasn't fast enough, but it was enough for now. He easily settled into the fighting stance Ian taught him and readied himself for the next attack.

 

Ian shook his head and waved him down. "That's enough for now. Start cool down and listen while I talk." Ian spoke slowly so he could understand the English words. 

 

In the last two weeks Izuku had learned the two languages at an exponential rate. He lost track of how many penalties he'd been saddled with, but they were a great incentive not to mess up. The extra benefit was the amount of muscle he'd gained from Ian's game. Ian's form of penalty punishments ranged from extra push-ups and climbing the rock wall, to practicing falls and staff swings. The penalty was always small, five pull-ups here, ten toe touches there, but when every word counted as a penalty, it added up quick.

 

Izuku broke his mumbling habit fast.

 

"You've done well, Izuku. You're further along than I had planned so we are going to improve the focus of your sessions." Ian joined the stretch he was on, taking lead and switching to yoga instead of their cool down. "I forgot flexibility today, you can finish cool down when I leave. Anyway, for the next few weeks we are going to work on situational awareness and stealth." Ian pointed to a box sitting against the wall. "In there are some small bells. They have clips so you can wear them wherever. For this week you get to put them on your shoes."

 

Izuku nodded, "My goal is to walk without a sound right?"

 

Ian nodded, then gave him a smirk. "Correct lucky charm. We'll add bells each time you pass a stage. By the end you'll be aware of exactly how your body moves and the best way to move silently.

 

Now I've been given leave for a week after that head injury, so I'm using this chance to drive you crazy." Izuku shuddered as Ian's smirk turned down right nasty. "Oh yes my dear sweet clover child. The penalty game is back."

 

Izuku whimpered while Ian chuckled from his position upside-down. "I've gained permission to stay at Hisashi's place and surprise attack you at any time of the day. Every time I land an attack means a penalty. I hope you weren't planning on getting a good night's rest?" Ian laughed again and Izuku groaned.

 

He was planning on sleeping well tonight, thank you very much. He was ahead in his online classes so he was going to sleep in tomorrow. Now he'd be on edge, waiting for Ian to strike. He would probably be jumping at any form of refracted light for the rest of his life after this.

 

Finally Ian's grin softened and he rubbed Izuku's now upright head. "No worries Izuku, we'll build up the amount of attacks, so don't panic. This is a good thing. You're improving and we all agree that this is the next step to turn you into a hero. You'll rock this, just like you've done with your languages."

 

"Thanks Ian," he said as he blushed. Each of his teachers had taken to rubbing his head when they praised him.

 

"Of course! I'm proud of you and I'm glad Hisashi asked me to be a sponsor. But don't expect me to go easy on you, just 'cus I like you. You're carrying my name, aren't you?" Izuku nodded. "Good, couldn't ask for anyone better."

 

Izuku smiled as they shifted into Ian's final stretch. Izuku had more to improve his flexibility and strength.

 

"Now, I have one more thing to talk about. I need you to think seriously on whether you want to be an underground hero or not." Izuku started and focused fully on his teacher. "With the rate you're learning and from what I've heard about you at Remi's gym I'm sure you would do well being in the spotlight. Fantastic even. 

 

However, I believe you would be practically untouchable in the underground. Beyond the fact that it would be difficult for you to gain popularity in Japan right now, working underground would allow you to fly under the radar longer. It would also be safer for you. If you're well known villains would be able to find out your fighting style, lack of quirk, typical patrols, and so on. If you worked underground, they wouldn't recognize your face, you can have more time to analyse and attack, and you can work when you want."

 

Izuku nodded, his head tilted as he listened and pondered the option. 

 

"You wouldn't get much recognition, but that's never been your goal," Ian continued. "There's also a higher chance of you being called a vigilante in Japan, as well as being attacked by other heroes and picked up by the police. You also wouldn't have the option of backup. Most UG's work freelance so they are reliant on their own abilities. Being Quirkless though means you'd have had to do that anyway. At least until you've proved yourself worth the media hassle over there."

 

Ian groaned as he stood from the final pose. "You'll do great things either way, but I personally want to see you with the best chance of survival. Here, let me tell you what kind of training I have planned for both options. That way you can make an informed decision."

 

Izuku slid into another pose as Ian grabbed a notebook from his duffle bag. " Okay, so if you want to become a popular hero then we would focus on building your strength, stamina, and fighting skills the most. Stealth training would be practically non-existent after the bells to ensure you gained the strength you would need to be effective. A majority of hero vs. villain fights that gain notice are flashy and exchange hit for hit. You would have to be strong enough to knockout your opponent in the least amount of time as possible. Reliance on support items would most likely be detrimental since any villain could turn it ineffective with research or simply by removing it from you."

 

"Are you following alright?" Ian asked, wondering if he understood all of the foreign words. Izuku nodded and Ian flipped the page. "Good, now here's the training for becoming a UG. I say speed, strategy, and stealth are the most important here. Most UG's work at night or in the shadows. The few times I've worked with them they are the quickest and they move entirely silent. You would train how to move in tight spaces and across rooftops. Parkour and gymnastics would take priority over strength building. You'd still be strong, but speed and flexibility would be your forte. The training you're doing with Remi would be especially useful in taking them down as quickly as possible. Finally, support items could be used to deflect attention from your lack of quirk. If done smartly, the villain wouldn't even see you attack."

 

Ian grinned as he finished his speech. "Anyway, I'll give this to you at dinner so you can look it over and decide. You have until I leave your house at the end of the week to pick one."

 

"That sounds good." Izuku said as he finished his last pose. "Thank you so much for doing all this. I know it's a lot of work, so I really appreciate it."

 

"No problem kid," Ian said with a smile. "Now I need to go pack, so start cool down and I'll see you after Murphy's lesson. And don't forget to think about what kind of hero you want to be okay?"

 

 

Meeting Murphy had been an experience Izuku would never forget. The woman had told them her name then shut them out of the building for the day. 

 

"Name's Lottie Murphy. Some people call me Law, you can call me Murphy. One thing ya have to know is tha' everything inside this building is Murphy's law applicable. If it can go wrong, it will. Now leave. I've got yer file Clover, so you can come back tomorrow."

 

Every other day after she'd piled beginners guides for mechanics and computer science in his arms and placed him in a corner desk to work. Izuku was just glad there were plexiglass walls surrounding him. Murphy hadn't been kidding when she said anything could go wrong. Working through the explosions had the unexpected result of making him less startled. 

 

Well, maybe it was because they weren't Kacca- Bakugou's explosions.

 

Today though, Murphy was leaning on her crutch, waiting for him when he walked in. "Bout time, short stack. Yer joining me today. Grab yer safety gear and come over."

 

Izuku nodded and did as she asked. As he approached her work bench he noticed several of the same black box spread across it.

 

"Alright Clover, remember those papers ya signed tha' first day? The ones asking fer the Quirkless regulated taser? Well it's approved so we're goin' ta start working on yer gear." Murphy knocked on the table with a scarred hand. "These are all ya regulation tasers. Today you'll take them apart and put 'em back together as many times as it takes for you ta do it in yer sleep. I want you to know this inside ‘n out. Got it?" Izuku nodded and she ruffled his hair. "Good. Now get to work. Ask me if ya need ‘elp."

 

Murphy took one herself as she moved to a different table, easily dismantling it in seconds. With her noise in the background, he quickly took his own apart. Putting it back together was entirely different. Twice he'd had to start over after setting off a small charge of electricity. Hoping to take away some of the frustration, he decided to ask Murphy something he'd been curious about since they met.

 

"Murphy? Do you mind, can I ask you what your quirk is?" He flushed and quickly turned around to apologise. "I'm sorry! You don't need to tell me. I was just curious since I haven't seen you use any quirk and that was really impolite of me."

 

Murphy chuckled and rubbed at her bright blue dreads. "No worries, Clove. I was surprised it took ya this long to ask. Rem comes in all the time, braggin 'bout ‘ow smart ya are, ‘ow much ya know 'bout quirks. Anyway, my quirk ain't as special as you might be ‘oping. The muscles in my legs allowed me ta jump higher than should be possible. Scared the shit out'a me the first time it 'appened. Unfortunately, while my muscles might be made fer jumpin, my bones ain't. I couldn't control it as a kid so now I 'ave to walk with this." She shook the crutch in her hand for emphasis. “After one o’ my more severe breaks I was ‘oled up in the ‘ospital fer a while. Bored out’a my damn mind I was, so I popped the back o’ the remote and took it apart. Thought that was pretty cool so I took more shit apart when I got ‘ome. Before I knew it I was signed up fer the support class and the rest is ‘istory.” 

 

Izuku nodded, not noticing that he didn’t get any further on restoring the taser. “So did you learn anything from books? Was it better being in a class or did you prefer experimenting at home? Should I be doing that too-”

 

“I’mma stop ya right there Clover. Ain’t no way I’ll be able to answer all o’your questions, so you write em down and I’ll work on em when I ‘ave the time. ‘Sides, you ‘ave some fixin to be doin.” Izuku squeaked and returned to the work in front of him. “Now, this shit ‘as two goals. First, you should know yer gear. I believe that means knowin ‘ow to build it from shit. Second, if ya know ‘ow it works then you can change it.”

 

Murphy’s crutch hit the floor rhythmically as she moved to stand next to him. “See ‘ow all these parts fit in this?” She pointed to the disassembled one in front of him. “We’re gonna fit ‘em into this.” She placed a long cylinder of metal next to the taser. “Pick it up, ‘old that vertical, and press the button.”

 

Izuku stood and did as she asked. Immediately the two ends separated from the middle, expanding into a modern version of his bo staff. “Whoa!” He gave it a spin but found it unbalanced. “Is it missing weight? Oh, the taser will even it out huh.”

 

“Right. See that ‘omeland of yers allows all those poor, ‘elpless, weak, quirkless citizens a form’a protection with these tasers.” Izuku chuckled at the sarcasm Murphy was spewing. “None of ‘em could possibly become ‘eroes so they need some safety insurance right?” Murphy winked and Izuku crumbled into a giggling mess. “So we’re gonna take advantage. The regulations only state what voltage can be used, so we’re addin’ yours to yer staff.”

 

Murphy took the staff from him and returned it to its collapsed state. “That one there is fer you to practice placin’ the parts in. I’ve got another fer you to use in ‘ero work. Ian will give it to ya when ‘e says yer ready.”

 

She set the staff on the corner of the desk and stood again to return to her own. “Keep practicin’, Clover. If ya finish early we can talk costume ideas.”

Chapter Text

Shouta shivered when he heard his boss give a hearty laugh while looking on his phone. As a generally antisocial being, laughter was more of an annoyance than anything else, but coming from the quirked creature he called his superior, well that was just a bad omen. And with every bad omen, it was better to be prepared. Luckily the principal was in a sharing mood.

"Oh how delightful. Aizawa-kun, you would like this man." Nezu said as he pawed through what looked to be an email. "Remi, you remember them right?" The mammal knew he did but he nodded anyway. "Well they just accepted a new student a few weeks ago and I must say he is quite brilliant. I'm almost jealous of their find."

A chill ran down Shouta's spine at the thought of the principal taking special interest in any of the students. As a previous science experiment, the dog/bear/rat had never been fond of any human before. Yet here he was, excited over someone else's student.

"What did this student do to catch your attention?" Well, better to know than to be shocked later.

Nezu gave a chuckle and scrolled back towards the top. "Remi gave him two of their quirk trainees and told him he had a week to improve them. He dissected both quirks within the hour, far beyond what either user knew about, then allowed them the next two days to test those limits. Here's where I think you would enjoy. After finding out the two were rivals in school, he ended up setting a logical ruse about how the other was doing better than them, and that they needed to catch up. By the end of the week the two students had surpassed their goals and were happy to report that their control had improved drastically. Remi is beside themself over having such a student."

"Sounds like a smart man." Aizawa said into his scarf. "Did Remi-san give a name?"

The animal shook his head and gave a very human sounding sigh. "Unfortunately not. They said that their student had requested privacy, but that he didn't mind if Remi shared stories. I do wonder if Remi will allow us to exchange contact information." As quick as the thought came, so did the action. Shouta could see the request being sent before he even had the chance to realize the implications.

A man, being trained by the underground legend themself to improve quirks, was about to have the opportunity to learn from the High Specs animal himself. What a terrifying prospect. Hopefully the man was a good person.

"Do we know what kind of man this is? I'm sure Remi-san would have done a background check, but are they sure this person is safe?"

Nezu nodded and finally looked to the corner Aizawa was laying in. "I questioned that myself, but Remi said his student was going through their fast track hero course. Remi will have him as an assistant while they teach him how to train quirks."

Aizawa gave a small sigh and slid lower into his sleeping bag. "Maybe you could ask him to come to Japan after he gets his license to be guest speaker for our students. It's not often we have foreign heroes visit the school. If he's learning from Remi-san then he would have a good background in quirk training."

"What a fantastic idea." The grin stretched further on his face, pulling on the scar over his eye. "I could use the chance to converse in person."

The next day Izuku sneezed and looked around for the source of his sudden chill. He finally decided Remi's laugh was the cause of the flash of foreboding. It was definitely more gleeful than normal when they emailed their acquaintance.

"Eliza, do I have to wear this all the time?"

The music hero looked up from the dummy she was setting up and nodded. "Clover, you have a serious case of too adorable. That's just to treat the symptoms."

Izuku blushed and fingered the points of the cat ears he wore on top of his head. This week she came prepared with a headband instead of the usual purple hoodie. "And how exactly does a cat headband treat adorableness? Don't most people think cat ears make things cuter?"

"They do and that's why it works! See you're so cute, but nobody can pick what part of you is the cutest, soo~ I gave them something to look at. Now they'll all see the ears and think "Why yes, that is why he is so perfect."" She grinned as he laughed at her voice change.

"Besides, your hair has gotten longer, so those just keep your bangs out of those gorgeous eyes." Eliza gave a firm nod and patted the plastic chest in front of her. "Alright, enough arguing Clover, you know I'm right about the hair." Izuku huffed and grimaced when one of the free strands moved into his eyes.

"Come here, were learning CPR today. Then I have plans to visit a vet friend of mine. There was a villain attack that hit an animal rescue so they had an increase in injured animals. They need help changing the bandages so I figured you could get some real practice on the injured."

Izuku nodded and they got to work. Within two hours he was certified and on bus headed to a stop near the animal hospital.

"Alright Clover boy. I know you've practiced wrapping bandages on various people, but this time you'll be doing it on animals. It's a little bit different than people, but there are enough physical quirks that manifest in animal traits that I think this is useful stuff to learn." The bus swayed to a stop and Eliza motioned him to stand. "The other difference is that there are actual wounds to care for this time. I'll be healing most of the larger ones, but I have a shift tomorrow so I can't strain my voice to much."

Izuku nodded and followed Eliza into the building. Immediately the sound of dogs barking caught his ear. Antiseptic tickled his nose, just covering the expected animal scent.

"Finn!" She called in her usual musical manner, the Irish echoing in the foyer. "I've brought you a sacrifice!"

Izuku squeaked and took a step backwards. A man looking similar to an older Bakugou Katsuki stepped out of what looked to be an office. Izuku was shocked at first until he noticed the kind green eyes and warm smile.

"Liza, what have I told you about scaring the volunteers." He chuckled before catching her in a hug when she jumped on him. "You must be Clover. The name fits. Liza hasn't stopped talking about you since you were introduced. I see she's already influenced your fashion choices." Finn laughed when his hand shot up to the forgotten headband. The one he had just worn in public, on a bus.

"No worries kid. It looks good. You'll fit right in once you go into the back."

"T-thank you. I'm Izuku." Izuku's understanding of Irish had improved but speaking it was another story.

"Sorry kid, I think you're stuck with being called Clover." He laughed when Izuku pouted. "Alright. It looks like we lost Eliza. Let's head on back and get you some gear."

Finn lead the way to a clean room with peninsula counters and cabinets lining one wall. Carts filled with medical supplies were rolled next to filled kennels. Eliza already had one opened as was pulling the bandaged kitten out.

"Oh you poor thing. Your song is all messed up, isn't it." She gently laid the animal on the nearest counter and began unwrapping the splint on its leg. "Let's take a look at that break."

Izuku blanched at the wide wound on the cats leg. The bone had been set, but the tissue surrounding it had been torn away. Eliza just tutted and continued cooing at the whimpering kitten. "Shh, it's okay. Harmonize will fix this right up for you. Clover, will you come here and just keep petting her head? My quirk doesn't hurt, but it does tingle. I want her attention mostly on you."

He glanced at Finn who nodded and pointed at the best place to stand. "If you're on this side she'll have more room in case the cat moves its leg."

Izuku nodded and stood in front of the kitten, taking its head between his hands. Eliza gave him a smile and returned to the injured limb in front of her. Izuku always found Eliza's eyes fascinating and he assumed it was related to her quirk. Instead of round pupils, each eye was lined like a miniature music staff. As she began to sing he knew his assumption was correct. Little golden music notes aligned into what he guessed was the correct chord.

She didn't sing any words, but sang each note as it slid onto the staff. He glanced down at the injury, never stopping his rhythmic motions on the kitten's head. With each note built upon the previous the break began to mend until it disappeared completely. Slowly the muscle began to cover the white bone until Eliza abruptly stopped.

She coughed lightly, taking the water bottle Finn had waiting for her. "Alright, that will have to do for today. The worst is healed so recovery won't be as long." She cleared her throat again and took a drink. The gold notes faded, leaving the black lined pupils empty once more. "Clover, this one is probably going to fall asleep soon so I'll stay with her while Finn shows you the proper protective wear. He'll help you bandage her leg while I move on to the next injury."

Izuku nodded blankly, still looking at the mostly healed wound. Finn's chuckle broke his fog and he blushed. "First time seeing it work?" Finn started to walk away and he followed him to the sink. "She's amazing. She volunteers whenever a shelter gets damaged. I have no idea where she finds the time, but she just wants to help, so she does. And she answers just like that. Like it's an easy thing to do."

Finn handed him an apron and a pair of disposable gloves. He put them on as they returned to the counter with the cat. Just like Eliza said, the kitten was asleep. Eliza said her quirk mostly used the mental energy of her patients which made it difficult to work on the unconscious. She still could, but it caused increased injury to her throat it otherwise wouldn't.

Eliza left, another sweet animal in her arms before they'd started on theirs. "Okay Clover," Finn began, "we'll start by cleaning with a warm saline solution. So grab that bottle with the nozzle and a bedpan to catch the water. Good. Now Eliza took care of the worst of it, but the size of the wound is to large for sutures so it's going to stay open."

Finn moved to the side and showed Izuku how to hold the leg over the pan to avoid spilling. After another example, he taught him how fast to pore the water without causing pain. "Good job, now since there was a high risk of previous infection we're using a surgical soap to clean the surrounding area before applying an antibiotic ointment. Good, perfect. You're a natural at this Izuku."

Izuku blushed but continued cleaning the wound. "Do we have any towels to dry with?" He asked, remembering that the antibiotic worked best on dry skin.

"Of course. Since this a hospital we have some thicker disposable towels on hand, but if you had to do this at home regular paper towels or a clean rag would work just fine." He handed the towels to Izuku while taking the pan full of soapy water to the sink. "Now spread the ointment and place the gauze, yep just like that. Eliza's taught you well!"

Izuku finished wrapping the compression bandages around the gauze with a small smile. The little white kitten shifted to adjust to the added weight before settling into a deeper sleep.

"Now we just need to give her a cone of shame." Izuku snickered at the name. If he "awed" at the scene, well it was just that cute.

"She'll be here with us for a few more days until it starts to scab over, then we'll send her to one of the shelters that handles minor wound care. Hopefully she'll be adopted there." Finn said as he double checked the bandage before returning her to her kennel. "Now change your gloves and get started on the next one. You're going to get a lot of practice today."

Finn was right, there were a lot of injuries to clean. After Eliza finished caring for the most critical injuries they moved on to the more superficial ones. Finn said several of those would be returning to the shelter after one of the doctors with a simple healing quirk came in for their shift. Although he worked with many animals throughout the day, Izuku's mind drifted to the kitten he first helped often.

"You seem distracted, Clover?" Eliza said as she appeared next to his counter.

"I-I'm sorry! I don't mean to be." He began but Eliza just waved him off.

"It's fine, Clover. White-y over there caught you, didn't she. Do you want to hold her before we go?"

At Izuku's shy nod she grabbed his hand and deposited him in a chair. Seconds later his arms were full of sleepy kitten. The soft warmth under his hands settled some of the anxiety he felt while handling the injured animals.

As the kitten began to purr he felt a small glow of satisfaction in his chest. He wasn't a hero yet. He was working on it. Steadily, for sure, but it would still be several months before it was official. But today, for just a little while, he helped. He made a difference to this small creature and many others.

"Can I adopt her?" The words slipped out before he knew it. But she seemed like something he needed.

Wait, that's not right. He doesn't need a cat. It would just be more work to add to all the rest. But, cats didn't need much training. And as much as he hated to admit it, he was lonely. Sure he had great teachers and parents, but that wasn't a replacement for peers his own age. Maybe the kitten would help dull the edge of Kacch-Katsuki's last words.

Finn and Eliza shared a knowing glance. "Well I don't see why not. You already know how to care for her injury." Finn said, already turning to gather the paperwork. "You're lucky Liza had foreseen this. She's got everything ready for you up front. Just remember to take her to your nearest vet to have her spayed."

"Come on my lucky Clover," Eliza said with a wide smile. "Let's take your new best friend home. I'm gonna have to buy you a pair of white ears next to match." She opened the travel carrier door for Izuku to place the cat in. "Don't forget the paperwork. Do you know what you're going to call her?"

He was silent for a few minutes as he gathered the bag of food and extra medical supplies. Finn supplied a bottle of antibiotics for her to take as well.

"Freya. I think I'll call her Freya."

"Tadaima," he called as he entered the house. "I have a surprise that I think you'll like. Hopefully." He mumbled the last word under his breath.

"Okaeri," his parents and Ian returned.

"What is your surprise?" Inko asked as he entered the dining room.

"I'd like to introduce you to Freya." He set the carrier on the counter and pulled the cone wearing kitten out.

"Oh, she's adorable," Inko squealed.

Freya nosed her hand then turned to explore the tabletop. "Eliza called your dad to ask if it was alright a few hours ago. She said you were smitten with a cat and that there was a very good chance you'd bring her home." Ian said as he reached out to pet her. "Looks like she was right."

"Good thing you know how to care for her leg. You'll have to watch it carefully when you go to Japan next week." Hisashi said, eyeing the wrapped injury.

"Why am I returning to Japan?" Izuku asked nervously.

"Nothing to worry about dear," Inko soothed, "There was a letter asking you to be available in case they need you to testify against that villain in the alley. You'll only be there a week. I'll be coming with you to check on the storage unit and visit some friends."

Izuku smiled in relief and picked up his kitten. "Well Freya, looks like you're visiting Japan sooner than I thought."

Chapter Text

"Is your bag packed?" Inko asked as her son dove out of the way of Ian's fist.

 

"Yeah mom, oh my gosh Ian!" Izuku turned to the redhead with a glare. "I thought yesterday was the last day for surprise attacks!"

 

Ian chuckled and rubbed his head, pushing the headband into his eyes. After Eliza gave him a handful they'd become a staple for the curly haired boy. "I never once said the attacks were going to end, lucky charm. I just said I had a week to do it at your house."

 

“Why are you even here?” Izuku pouted up at the man as he shoved the headband back into place.

 

“Come on, can’t a man say goodbye to his favorite student?” 

 

Izuku rolled his eyes and Inko laughed at their banter. “I’m your only student. Besides, you wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for mom’s cooking.”

 

“Oh, that wounds me.” Ian clutched his chest and sank into one of the kitchen chairs. “And I was just beginning to think of you as a little brother.” He winked at Inko while Izuku blushed. “Besides, I came for Inko’s lovely baking as well.” He snatched one of the cookies off the plate sitting on the table.

 

“Actually, I’m here to talk to you, Clover,” he began seriously. “Last week I asked you to think about the kind of hero you wanted to be and decide today. I’m extending it until you get back.”

 

He held up a hand to stall Izuku’s questions. “The reason is that you’ll be in Japan. It's the country you want to be a hero in and you deserve a chance to see what working there is like. Besides the training schedule I gave you, I have some homework. Go around the city. Watch some hero fights, both during the day and at night. Look up some unknown heroes and see what else they do for their communities. Instead of watching their quirks, look at how they work with the landscape around them. Watch how many spectators come. Decide if that is something you want for yourself, then return and tell me what you think. Can you do that for me?”

 

Izuku nodded and Ian ruffled his hair. “Good. I’ll see you next week then.” 

 

He grabbed another cookie and saluted Inko with it before disappearing in a bright flash of light and rainbows.

 

 

“Izu, honey. I’m going to go visit Mitsuki. Did you want to come?”

 

He shook his head and Inko smiled in understanding. Izuku was still struggling to understand his relationship with Kacch- Katsuki. What the other had done hurt, a lot. But the explosive boy never once told him to stop calling him by such a childish nickname. Izuku knew he was the only one out of their peers to give Katsuki the most basic consideration, even if the other felt it was a sign of weakness. And maybe that’s what frustrated Kacchan the most. Izuku was the only one Katsuki thought was his equal, until suddenly he wasn’t. Without a quirk he was supposed to be weak, but he still aspired to stand in the same place as Katsuki.

 

Would they have gotten along better if Izuku had given up on his dream? Maybe, but he didn’t and that shaped both of them.

 

Izuku knew Katsuki did things wrong, but didn’t everyone? Izuku himself had a hand in boosting Katsuki’s ego, with praise when they were younger, to not telling his mother about the bullying. If he’d mentioned something sooner, maybe something would have been done before Katsuki told him to kill himself. 

 

The boy was good though. He was powerful and would save so many people. He couldn’t become number one without helping others. Izuku knew that was and would always be his goal.

 

Maybe one day he’d have the courage to speak with his friend, because he still was a friend. He just needed to work through his own problems before trying to solve his.

 

Inko watched as her son pulled himself out of his thoughts. A month ago his trance would have included mumbling, but now he was turning into a powerful young man. She never realized how much she would miss the low hum of his voice.

 

“Actually,” Izuku said, collecting his thoughts, “I was thinking of taking Freya to that cafe that had opened just before we left. I wanted to look at the alley’s and buildings too. Ian mentioned I could learn parkour so I wanted to see if that was possible around here.”

 

“That sounds like a good idea,” she said with a smile. Inwardly she was freaking out at the idea of her baby jumping buildings, but she wouldn’t let him see her fear. “Do you have some money?” He nodded. “Good. Call me if you’ll be late. We have a meeting with the prosecutors tomorrow.”

 

“All right. Thanks mom.”

...

 

Hitoshi expected this, truly. The walk to the cafe was past one of his classmates usual haunts, and the kid usually had a group of friends with him. Honestly they were the makings of a gang if this continued. The rumors about these kids were getting darker by the month. Hell, one of them overdosed just last week.

 

But no. He was the villain here.

 

Maybe he should look for a new cafe. It would save him from possible concussions. This was the closest cat cafe though. And he was already friendly with most of the cats.

 

"I'll ask again, villain. Why the fuck do you keep walking this way?" The 'boss' shoved him into the wall again. Damn, if this kept up, he might actually get to go to sleep. Does passing out count as restful?

 

"Not gonna answer?" Well, he assumed that was obvious by now. "Then we'll just have to teach you to stop coming into our territory." Seriously, it's like these idiots don't get that they sound like they're playing mafia. How old do they think we are?

 

The bully wound his fist back and Hitoshi could count at least three ways he was doing it wrong. At least if he tilted his head at the last second he'd only get a bruised jaw instead of a black eye. It's not like he talked much anyway.

 

"Hey!" The entire 'not gang' froze and turned to the new voice. Standing there was probably the least intimidating boy Hitoshi had ever seen. Not only was he short and wearing a hoodie that drowned him, but the kid had glittery white cat ears pulling his hair back. "You shouldn't do that." He waved his phone in his hand. "I took a picture and called the police. They should be on their way now." 

 

As if he'd summoned them, the ringing of police sirens echoed from a few streets over. The 'not gang' shared a panicked look before scattering like the kids they were. The boss tossed a middle finger at the boy, yelling about revenge as he ran away.

 

Once the last bully left, leaving the two of them alone, the boy deflated. All of the previous bravado gone. The siren that had been getting louder zoomed past their position and the boy chuckled sheepishly.

 

"S-sorry. I didn't actually have time to get the picture." He began, stepping from foot to foot. "I can still call the police if you'd like?"

 

Hitoshi stared at his savior, wondering just what was going on. Bright green eyes returned the look until Hitoshi realized he was waiting on an answer. "No, they wouldn't do anything if you did." The kid frowned and looked him over before looking in the direction the bullies ran. Hitoshi could see the questions forming and spoke before the other could.

 

"How did you know the police were coming?" Maybe the question would stop the other from thinking.

 

"Oh, there's a hero fight a few blocks away. The police station is in the direction the car came from so I knew it would pass by here. I was lucky those bullies ran away when they did or I would have been called on my bluff." He chuckled and his cheeks flushed. "Anyway, why won't the police do anything?"

 

Well, there went that plan. "It's because of my quirk." There. Stop asking questions.

 

The cat gods must have listened because he didn't speak, but the kid tilted his head with a questioning gaze. Between the cat ears, freckle constellations, and doe green eyes, the kid was impossible to deny.

 

"I, my quirk is brainwashing. I can control other people," Hitoshi looked away, not wanting to see another person put up walls. "The police would be more likely to cite me for quirk use than they would charge the idiots." Now he just had to wait for the kid to leave and he could drown himself in cat cuddles.

 

"That's stupid." Hitoshi's neck hurt from how quickly he jerked his head. "It was pretty obvious you were the one being ganged up on."

 

Hitoshi scoffed and kicked at the ground. "Yeah, well, that's what happens when you have a villains quirk. Nobody believes you when you say you didn't use it. No one steps in to help either." Fuck, what was he doing? Why was he still talking to this kid?

 

"I did."

 

He looked at the shorter boy and narrowed his eyes, suspicion creeping in. "Yeah, you did. Why?" 

 

If the kid noticed, he didn't show it. "Why not?" That startled him. "It was the right thing to do. Isn't that what heroes are supposed to do?" The cat eared boy gave him a blinding smile that made Hitoshi blink a few times.

 

"Yeah," he said slowly mulling the words over, "the right thing…" It wasn't a hard concept, but maybe he'd forgotten what heroes were about. He'd been so focused on proving that he wasn't a villain that he'd ignored how to be a hero.

 

"You're not a villain either." Cat boys voice pulled him from his thoughts. Wait, did he just say what he thought he did? "A quirk can't make you a villain, just as much as it can't make you a hero. I've seen some people praised for their quirk who used it wrongly. I've also spent a lot of time with someone who has what could be considered a villainous quirk and they worked as a hero for over thirty years." Hitoshi couldn't move his gaze from the piercing green that had been so soft before. "The real question is, are you going to use your quirk to do wrong?"

 

He jerked, indignation swelling at the presumed accusation. If he was honest, the question stung a bit. He thought they'd been getting along. "Fuck no! I'm going to be a hero."

 

Cat boy smiled and some of the hurt faded. "Good. Then how are you using it to help others?"

 

Hitoshi froze. It wasn't a question he'd been asked before, but it was a good one. Heroes helped people, it was in the dictionary. How was he helping others?

 

"Meow." 

 

As helpful as the kid was, he was pretty sure the ears were fake.

 

"No. Freya, stay there. We're almost to the cafe."

 

Hitoshi tried not to laugh, he really did. But cat boy was struggling to push the head of a tiny kitten back into the kangaroo pouch of his hoodie. It was just to surreal.

 

"Are you for real?" He said between gasps. Cat boy jumped, like he'd forgotten he was having a conversation. "I mean seriously. Who carries their cat around in their hoodie, and wears cat ears." He took a closer look at the white kitten and found it was wearing a green sparkle bow on its ear. "Oh my God, you even match."

 

The kids hand shot to his head and tugged off the headband to look at it. Green curls fell into his face without a sign of being restrained. He let out a long groan and angrily shoved the hair back into place under the cat ears.

 

"It wasn't on purpose." He pouted and Hitoshi struggled to not say anything about how cute it was. 

 

Seriously what the hell was wrong with him. He'd never been this comfortable with another person. Yet here he was trying not to tease the kid.

 

"Anyway, this is Freya. It looks like she's getting bored. I'm heading to the cat cafe down the street." Cat boy looked nervous, as if he was trying to decide if he wanted to finish his train of thought. Finally a sliver of steel entered his eyes, though Hitoshi could see the walls prepared to slam up. "Would you like to join us?"

 

There it was. That look was so familiar to Hitoshi. Cat boy's shoulders were tight, and his eyes darted to the direction of the cafe. It was the look of someone familiar with rejection. It wasn't something Hitoshi ever saw in others when they talked to him.

 

"Sure." The answer was easy. "I was headed there as well." Besides being his destination, the kid was interesting. This was also the longest conversation he'd had with anyone besides his dad since that new kid moved in last year. Well, until she was "warned" away. He wasn't eager to end it any time soon.

 

The two of them walked mostly in silence, only cat boy struggling with his cat broke it. Until Hitoshi realized he didn't know the others name that is.

 

"Shinsou. My name is Shinsou Hitoshi." He blurted it out and made the green head jump.

 

"Oh! I never introduced myself!" The boy flustered and uttered apologies. "I'm Midoriya Izuku. Nice to meet you Shinsou-kun." Midoriya held a hand out and Hitoshi shook it. He squinted at the hand and gave it a squeeze before glaring at the boys hair and eyes.

 

"You feel real, but your name literally contains the word green while both your hair and eyes are the same color. Maybe I really did get a concussion."

 

Midoriya gaped, his mouth opening and closing before he realized it was a joke. "Oh my gosh!" For a second Hitoshi was worried he'd over stepped until Midoriya started laughing. "I've never even thought about it. Wait! What if that's why I keep getting called Clover?"

 

Hitoshi must have made a questioning noise because Midoriya began to explain. "My father is from Ireland so I've been there for the last two months. Everyone I've met though calls me Clover. Between the things you mentioned I basically count as a three leaf clover, unless I dress in green too."

 

The small snort that escaped was the closest to a regular laugh he'd made in a while. Seriously, this kid was dangerous to Hitoshi's normal behavior. "So I should start calling you Clover as well?" He asked as he pulled the door to the cafe open.

 

"Please don't." Midoriya's hands waved in front of him frantically. "If this keeps up I'll forget my own name."

 

"Well," he drawled as his lips fell into a familiar smirk, "it's either that, or I was calling you Cat boy in my head. Which would you prefer?"

 

At Midoriya's whine of despair Hitoshi chuckled. He'd noticed of course. There was no hesitation, even from the beginning. Midoriya didn't care about his quirk. It wasn't so bad talking to someone who wasn't afraid of him. And that was dangerous, because it made him hope. 

 

But maybe, this time, that wouldn't be a bad thing.

Chapter Text

“Wait. Let me get this straight.” Shinsou started, “You’re dad is the Pro Hero: Spitfire.” Izuku nodded, a hand covering his mouth to contain his giggles. “You had no idea until you met him just this year.” He nodded again. “And said pro hero cries over your cat every time she enters the same room.” Izuku lost the fight to withhold his laughter at Shinsou’s disbelieving stare.

 

“I still can’t get over how you didn’t know your dad was a pro. Like, how can you not know these things?”

 

Izuku wiped at his eyes as he came down from his high. “He hasn’t been in Japan since I was two and my mom just never brought it up. She says she forgot he wasn’t a firefighter anymore since that’s all he talked about when he called.”

 

Shinsou made an understanding noise and looked at Freya. “Then why does he cry about Freya?” He reached out and rubbed at her ears.

 

“Well, as you can see, she’s still recovering from an injury after a villain attack. She’s healed well enough that she doesn’t need a cone on, but last week she had a cone and a little cast wrapped around her leg.” Izuku pulled out his phone to show her in the cone of shame. “Hisashi thought it was just too sad to see her wearing it so he kept breaking down to tears. Our whole family is prone to them, including me.” He flipped to another picture and Shinsou snorted. Hisashi was holding Freya with a distraught frown, the injured leg held gingerly in his hand. In front of him was a bag of kitten treats bigger than the cat herself. It was obvious that the man had been feeding her from his hand as the bag was half empty.

 

“She’s going to be the most spoiled cat ever because of him.”

 

Shinsou nodded and handed Izuku back the phone. “Who would have known Spitfire was such a softie. He looks like such a badass on the news when he goes in for rescue.” Izuku hummed in agreement. “That’s pretty cool though. So does that mean you have some fire related quirk? Or is it more like your moms?”

 

Izuku froze, his eyes wide. He knew this question would come, it always did. But he’d forgotten. He’d spent so long in the company of his mentors and parents, people who didn’t care about quirks, that he’d forgotten that others did. Even with Remi’s students he didn’t have to tell them about his lack of quirk. He had Remi backing him so of course they wouldn’t ask.

 

He must have taken to long because Shinsou began to backtrack. “Hey man, you don’t have to tell me. I just thought you’d get that I wouldn’t judge you on a villains quirk or anything.” And now Izuku felt bad. If there was someone who would understand quirk discrimination it was Shinsou.

 

“Ah, no. A-actually I’d forgotten about your quirk being considered evil.” If Izuku had been looking he’d have noticed how rattled Hitoshi was from his confession. “L-lets just say I fully understand quirk d-discrimination and being t-told you can’t be a hero.”

 

While Shinsou collected himself, Izuku did the same with a deep breath and a quick rub on Freya. He’d grown in the last two months. Finally started to accept that this wasn’t something he could change. So what if others couldn’t do the same.

 

“I’m Quirkless,” he said quickly. Izuku looked shockingly similar to the way Hitoshi did earlier. His shoulders were tight and his eyes glanced to the door frequently, but that’s where the similarities ended. Where Hitoshi looked away, Izuku watched. Sure he was more guarded, but he didn’t back down from who he was. “I don’t have a quirk, but I’m still going to be a hero.”

 

Hitoshi’s eyes were wide and he was pretty sure he’d stopped breathing.

 

“Fuck…” It could barely be called a whisper it was so quiet. “Fuck, that sucks... but, I believe you.” And he did. Midoriya had more conviction than he did, and he had what was considered a disability in Japan.

 

In fact the kid was already doing it. Midoriya already stopped the bullies from before. And he’d told Hitoshi about helping at the animal hospital. If that wasn’t the start of a hero he didn’t know what was. Hell, he’d already inspired Hitoshi to do better. He bet if he asked, Midoriya would tell him he had a training schedule too.

 

“Holy shit, you’re actually going to do it!” Hitoshi laughed and Midoriya looked confused as the other broke down into hysterics. “God, what a pair we are. The villain and the cripple,” Midoriya squawked but he ignored it, “both aspiring to become heroes. And we’re going to do it. We’ll prove them wrong.” Hitoshi grinned. He knew it wasn’t pretty by any means, but it was determined.

 

Finally Izuku relaxed as he watched his new acquaintance calm down from his outburst. Shinsou just agreed with him. He even called them a pair. 

 

“Yeah, we are.” Izuku chuckled and gave him a shy smile. “We’ll be great! Honestly, your quirk has so much potential. Have you thought about what kind of hero you want to be?”

 

Shinsou rubbed the back of his head and Izuku could spot the light pink dusting his cheeks. “Yeah, I don’t know if you’ve heard of him, but I want to be an underground hero like Eraserhead.”

 

“Oh yeah?” Izuku lit up at the name, ignoring the knot in his stomach. He may have forgiven the pro, but it wasn’t easy to forget. It didn’t matter though, he was and always would be a hero fan. “I actually met him a few months ago. He saved me from a villain attack.” Shinsou’s eyes glowed in a way he’d only seen happen when a cat jumped on his lap. “He was pretty cool, especially his capture weapon."

 

“Really? Does he actually look like a hobo?”

 

Izuku laughed and nodded. “He did. I think you might be competing for the worst eye bags though. His capture weapon was really cool though. If you didn’t know what it was it would just look like a really long scarf.” He gave a sigh and lifted Freya off the table and into his lap. “If I had my notebook I’d show you the notes I made afterwards.”

 

The two sat in silence after that, each lost in thought.

 

“What if we trade phone numbers?” Izuku began slowly. “I-I-I mean, w-we don’t have to, but I could send you a pic of my notes. And we could talk training and stuff. I mean, I’m going to be heading back to Ireland at the end of the week, but I thought… Well I thought it would be fun to watch each other's progress.”

 

Shinsou smirked, watching the shorter boy flounder. “Midoriya, that’s fine. I was going to suggest the same thing.”

 

Izuku sighed and gave a relieved smile. “Good. I, that’s good.”

 

Freya meowed her agreement.

 

 

Izuku struggled with his tie before finally giving up. He’d even texted Shinsou, but the other boy didn’t know how to help him over the phone. He just said his dad had helped him learn. Izuku was really wishing Hisashi was around. After two months of his near constant presence it was surprisingly lonely and quiet without his voice in the house. Izuku was still getting used to the man, but he’d slipped into their lives easier than expected.

 

“Clover, are you ready to go?” Inko called from the foyer.

 

“Yeah, I guess so.” Izuku tugged on the too short tie one last time before leaving. “Is it just the prosecutors?”

 

Inko nodded and shut the door behind them. They’d rented a room at a hotel in Musutafu not far from their old apartment. Izuku found a small amount of relief at the lower chances of running into Katsuki.

 

“There might be the police officer who made the arrest there as well, but I think it’s just to confirm your testimony before they give it to the judge. The villain already signed a confession so this is all just a formality.”

 

They exited the hotel and both Midoriya’s grimaced at the sight of Dagobah beach. What had once been prime beachfront property was now a landfill of waste. “I think if we had stayed here I would have cleaned that up. Maybe once we move back I’ll see if I can’t do anything about it.” Izuku said with a frown.

 

“That sounds like a very heroic thing to do, Izu-kun.” She reached out to ruffle his hair but he dodged. It was the first time in days he hadn’t worn a headband and he was already struggling to keep it out of his eyes.

 

“Not the hair!” Inko chuckled and he grinned. “I think I need to get some professional looking headbands. Or figure out a new hairstyle.”

 

“Maybe one for while you work as a hero? Don’t a few of your heroes do that?”

 

Izuku nodded and hummed in agreement. “Yeah, Present Mic and Midnight both have styled hair. I probably won’t go that extreme, but that’s a good idea. Thanks mom!”

 

Inko smiled and led them into the train station. The courthouse was in a different part of the city. They could have walked, but it was quicker to take the train. It wasn’t long before they were exiting the train and walking down the walkway into the courthouse.

 

“You’ll be fine, Izuku. There’s nothing to worry about.” Inko soothed when she saw Izuku’s hands starting to sign the few words he’d picked up from Eliza. It was a habit that was growing now that Ian had broken his mumbling one.

 

“I know, I think I’ll just be glad when this was over. That day doesn’t bring the best memories.” He gave her a weak smile and opened the door.

 

Immediately the secretary gave them directions to the correct room and told them they should take a seat outside the door. He gave them a smile and told them he’d let the prosecutors know they were there.

 

Izuku’s leg bounced as he waited. Inko knew there was nothing else she’d be able to do for her son until this was over.

 

“I wish I had Freya.” Izuku said suddenly, making Inko jump.

 

“Oh yeah?”

 

“Yeah. She helps calm me down.”

 

“That’s good.” Inko watched as he began wringing his hands together, a few signs mixed in. “Maybe we should see about training her to be a therapy animal.”

 

His hands paused, before moving at a slower pace to match his thoughts. “That’s a good idea. Probably when she’s a little older though.”

 

Inko nodded before jumping with her son when the door opened.

 

“Ah, my apologies,” the man said. He looked like your stereotypical lawyer, except with neon yellow hair. “I didn’t mean to frighten you. You must be the Midoriya’s. Please, come in.”

 

They both nodded in thanks as they stood from their chairs. With each step Izuku gained confidence. This was just like meeting with one of Remi’s students. He just had to tell a story instead of an analysis. This wouldn’t be to hard.

 

All of his new found confidence flew out the window though when he entered the room. Sitting in one of the corners was Eraserhead without his goggles on.

 

“Oh, I’m sorry we didn’t tell you, but we have both the arresting police officer and the pro hero here to verify the testimonies given. I hope you don’t mind.” 

 

Izuku spent half a second longer staring back at the blank eyes of the Pro before shaking his head. “That’s fine.” He said, ignoring the calculating look and the pit in his stomach.

 

Meeting the hero again wasn’t something he’d prepared for. Sure he almost expected to run into Katsuki around every corner. And he’d have been stupid to think All Might wasn’t going to be on T.V.. But the underground hero was exactly that. Underground. Their chances of crossing paths hadn’t even landed on Izuku’s radar. Something he now recognized was a mistake.

 

Shit, now he really wished he had Freya.

 

 

Shouta knew he’d be seeing the kid again. It was typical for him to be called in for these kinds of meetings, especially when there was a minor involved.

 

That didn’t stop the guilt he felt when the boy lost his color at seeing him.

 

It wasn’t guilt at telling him to end his dream. He didn’t believe in aiding hopeless aspirations. No, this guilt was for adding one more voice to what he was sure was a long list. For being another face beating down on him in a world so against something he can’t control.

 

So he blanked his face. Midoriya could see his eyes this time and Shouta knew he would find nothing there. He’d practiced that indifference for years until it became second nature. It had to be when you expelled your entire class on the first day.

 

Midoriya shocked him though. Instead of looking away like most of his students do, he stared back. It wasn’t as good as his own, but Aizawa could tell he was trying to be just as indifferent.

 

What a surprising kid.

 

Aizawa watched as he and a woman who had to be his mother sat down and were told about the legal proceedings. Soon after the recorder was on and Midoriya was telling his side of the attack.

 

Shouta was impressed at his attention to detail as well as his recall. The boy really would have had great potential as a hero. Hopefully he found something else worthwhile to do.

 

The prosecutor glanced at the hero and he nodded in agreement with what was being said. The boy had had a panic attack then. He assumed as much, but Midoriya had still acted to stop the villain from getting the knife, so he changed his assumption. The act was even more impressive now.

 

Finally they finished and both Midoriya’s stood and bowed to everyone in the room. Aizawa nodded and ignored the feeling to talk to the problem child. He lasted until just before he exited the door when the boy caught himself with more grace than he’d had two months ago. Something that drew his attention to the new muscles hidden under the long sleeve button up.

 

“Midoriya.”

 

He jerked to a stop and looked at the hero with wide eyes. “Eraserhead-san,” he said once he schooled his features.

 

Shit, now what was he supposed to say? I know what your doing and you still can’t be a hero no matter what you do? That was just cruel.

 

“Are you doing well in the online courses?” Well shit. That wasn’t much better. He’d basically just admitted to checking up on the kid. At least he can say he's a teacher.

 

Midoriya nodded his head slowly, his brow furrowed in confusion. “Yeah. Actually I’ve finished junior high and entered an online course at Odera Law School.”

 

This time Shouta was surprised. Odera had the highest dropout rate out of all the surrounding non-hero schools. Their online course was even tougher and they were held to a higher standard.

 

“Well done.” Shouta praised, a surprising amount of relief rushing through him. He’d hate to be the one to drive the kid to vigilante-ism. “The acceptance rate is very low there. You must be capable.”

 

Midoriya flushed and Aizawa hid a small smile in his scarf. He was a cute kid. “A-a-ah, N-nothing like that, but thank you sir.” He bowed again before gesturing out the door. “If you’ll excuse me.”

 

Shouta nodded and the kid left, his anxious movements belied by the silent nature of his walk making Aizawa frown. Midoriya had been telling the truth, he’d spent enough time around teenagers to know. However, no one moves that quietly without training.

 

Maybe he was just being paranoid. The kid was allowed to grow stronger if he wanted. It’s just… He wanted to be a hero too.

Chapter Text

 

Yagi Toshinori watched his newest pupil phase through the barrier in the obstacle course they were training at. Golden lightning worked its way through his body and through his clothes allowing most of them to follow him through the wall.

 

Toshinori thought fate had a way of springing things on you when you least expect them. He’d only been in Japan for less than a day when he’d heard a cry for help. Before he’d even had a chance to change forms a brilliant young man stepped in, proudly wearing his hero uniform.

 

He had watched as the boy calmed down the caller with a smile strikingly similar to his own in terms of inspiring. Then he’d followed through and apprehended the villain with minimal damage. He’d recognized the hard work put into developing his quirk as far as he had and decided he wanted to meet the young man.

 

Within minutes Toshinori felt comfortable in his presence. After learning his hero name and the reason behind it, he began cataloguing the attributes he was looking for in his protege. The attitude, drive, and even the physique were all positive points. Finally, Toshinori felt he’d found someone with true promise in becoming his successor.

 

Then Sir Nighteye called. Then fate rolled another hand and he met his old sidekick’s pick. Then he agreed with his friend.

 

 Then he saved a quirkless boy.

 

Toshinori felt severely conflicted after he’d left the boy on the roof. Truthfully he felt like a hypocrite. Here he was, a once quirkless boy telling another he couldn’t follow in his steps. The same steps he had just decided to hand off to another boy.

 

It’s probably why he rushed the second capture of the slime villain. He’d seen the boy there, entering the scene and decided he’d had enough for that day. All he wanted was to go home and shove away the guilt. But he stood by what he said. Once One for All was used up he would retire. Even if he had had all of his organs he would have retired without the quirk. Every job had some form of requirement and having a quirk was one for this.

 

As Young Toogata cheered about all of his clothing phasing with him, Toshinori smiled. He was eternally grateful he’d met the boy before Sir Nighteye introduced them. He would have felt something was missing if he hadn’t halfway decided before then. Instead of feeling like an interview, the two had chatted about different facets of hero work and grew closer. In the end it was truly an easy decision to make. Toogata Mirio would make a fine replacement for the Pillar of Peace.

 

Toshinori was also grateful he made the decision before signing a contract with Nezu. Oh, he’d still accepted a job to work as a teacher the next year, but by already having a successor made it easier for the whole school. Now he would be able to spend time watching his pupil grow in his final year.

 

Nezu had suggested that they remove the quirkless restriction on the school in case Toshinori found someone with promise. In the end it wasn’t necessary and the school didn’t have to pay for the legal fees of changing the charter. Toshinori did ignore the relief and guilt he felt knowing he wouldn’t meet the quirkless boy at the school. It wasn’t fair for him to never have a chance, but it was an unattainable dream. Unfair was much nicer than being cruel.

 

And as unfair as it was, he met so many fans that he’d forgotten the boys name. He would never forget the tears and heartbroken sob. Nor would he forget the green hair and eyes that had first looked up at him with nothing less than awe, until he’d crushed his dreams and left him alone.

 

He had many regrets in life and, unfortunately, that would be another to add to the list.

Chapter Text


Izuku stepped out of the way of a police officer without looking up from his notebook. It was the last day before Izuku returned to Ireland and he decided to drag Shinsou away from his mother and cat to watch hero fights. Hitoshi had visited earlier that morning to meet his mom and unsurprisingly Inko had taken the boy under her wings quickly. Shinsou had left the house with her number and a recipe for a natural tea to help with insomnia. It was one Hisashi used on his rough nights.

 

“Cat boy, do you seriously have to write while watching?” Hitoshi asked as he watched the hero land a solid shove on the villain with a crystal shield. 

 

Izuku nodded and added another shorthand note next to the other code written. The first thing Remi did when they saw his notes was tell him good job. The second thing was to tell him to burn them. They were well done, but any information written the way he had was a liability to himself and anyone written within the pages. So Remi taught him their codes and shorthand and Izuku changed it to fit him. He rewrote his previous books and condensed the profiles down to code written in Japanese, English, and Irish characters. Hisashi and Remi both had a copy of the key just in case.

 

“Remi-san said that I did best in the moment. I don’t want to let them down.” Hitoshi sighed, but relented in trying to make him stop.

 

Izuku had given him the bare details about what he was doing in Ireland and while he was happy for his new friend there would always be a hint of jealousy. Izuku did show him how no hero schools even allowed him to apply so that soothed the ache. At least he would always have that chance here.

 

“Fine, but this is the last one. I want to see Freya one more time before you leave.”

 

Izuku nodded and finally looked up with a grin. “She’s going to miss her cuddle buddy.” He said with a snicker as Shinsou blushed lightly.

 

“Shut up.” Hitoshi gave the other a shove. “It’s not my fault your cat likes me better.”

 

Izuku pouted, but ignored the bait to finish one more line of code. With a snap, he closed the book and tucked it into his bag. “It’s going to be over in two more hits.” He said pointing at the villain’s feet. “They can’t get their feet back under them and the hero has at least one more quirk enhanced punch.”

 

Hitoshi watched with only a small amount of awe as the villain swung clumsily and the hero punched them back with a crystal covered fist, ending the fight. The adults who had been standing close enough to hear his friend looked between Izuku and the hero in amazement. It was now the fourth time he’d watched Izuku predict the end of a battle and he doubted it would ever fully lose its hint of wonder.

 

“What did you write on this time.” 

 

Izuku gestured with his head to start moving back towards his hotel. “The crowds mostly. Maybe it’s because Hisashi is a firefighter first and a hero second, but I forgot how much a crowd can affect how much room you have to subdue a villain. They’re also disrespectful to the police setting the perimeter.”

 

Hitoshi nodded and glanced back at the dissipating crowd. He hadn’t noticed, but Izuku had positioned them near the edge so they had an escape route without being in the way of the police officers. The officers were still pushing citizens back who were trying to reach the hero. It made him shudder, grateful for his need to work underground.

 

“I hate most people already, I wouldn’t want to worry about their safety while fighting too.” Hitoshi murmured. 

 

Izuku snorted. “Watching that makes me want to be underground. I don’t really have much of a choice though. I'm already being watched in Ireland, but I'll be acting as a sidekick to heroes Hisashi trusts. I don't think it's really left the UK, so Japan doesn't know yet. I might be able to work as a UG here for maybe a year though, which might not be to bad.”

 

“Do you think that’s what you’ll do?”

 

“Yeah,” Izuku nodded. “I think the training will be better for me now, while I’m still young and growing. If I can get a good year underground then I can build the muscle and abilities to withstand the media’s critique then. If I make a mistake it won’t be blasted across social media and my record will stand for me against the worst disbelievers.”

 

Hitoshi hummed in thought. “That’s probably a good idea. You’ll get some good experience too.”


“I’ll also be able to focus on school since I won’t have to sign with an agency. It’ll be easier to avoid the more… enthusiastic heroes who think I’m a vigilante too.” Izuku smirked at his friend and he chuckled.

 

“Will you be ready for U.A.’s entrance exam? You’ve only got like seven months left.”

 

Hitoshi nodded then shrugged. “I guess? I mean the tests are fucking biased, but I knew that before. There’s other ways to enter the hero course though.”

 

They walked in silence the rest of the way, both of their thoughts on how difficult it was for people like them to achieve their dreams.

 

Izuku grabbed Hitoshi’s arm before they entered the hotel. “No matter how stupid the exam is, don’t forget your actions speak louder than words, and U.A. would be idiots not to see what a great hero you’ll be.”

 

Hitoshi blushed but nodded. It was nice to have a friend. Especially one who believed in him.

 

“They’re already idiots for not letting you in.”

 

 

Izuku lifted the suitcases down the stairs with ease. The sun was setting over the garbage heap that was once called a beach and Izuku was starting to get anxious to return. He missed Japan already, it would always be his home, but Ireland had become a close second. He had a strong support system there, and mentors who were closer to family. 

 

He sighed and gazed out at the molten colored refuse. Yeah, he’d definitely clean that up when he got back. It’d probably be a great way to build muscle while he worked underground.

 

“Deku?!”

 

Izuku jumped and settled into a fighting stance, cursing inwardly for forgetting his surroundings. He added a few more curses but relaxed when he saw his childhood friend standing there. He looked like he’d been on a run, sweat running down his face and a water bottle in his hand.

 

Katsuki was staring open mouthed until he jerked himself out of his shock and stalked forward. “Where the fuck have you been? First your useless ass gets captured by a villain and the next you’re out of that shit school. You and Auntie fucking disappeared and the hag yelled for days.” 

 

Wow, that was probably the calmest Katsuki had ever spoken to him in at least ten years.

 

“Wait! It’s your fault I’m in those fuckin’ anger management classes!”

 

Ah, there it is, Izuku thought as familiar anger flared in red eyes. He shouldn’t say it. His mind told him it wasn’t a good idea and there were phantom aches from past burns, but…

 

“It looks like it hasn’t helped. That’s unfortunate.”

 

Katsuki stalled his approach, bewildered at having Izuku talk back to him. “Wha- what the fuck Deku! What the hell was that?” He growled out, finally reaching Izuku.

 

Izuku knocked his hand away as it reached for his chest and grabbed his arm while twisting harshly. Katsuki slammed against the wall behind him, his breath leaving with a grunt.

 

"K-Kacch-Katsuki, I'm gonna let go okay?" Katsuki stilled at his given name before nodding. Izuku stepped away and placed extra space between the two of them. "Well looks like those classes are working." He chuckled before slapping a hand over his mouth.

 

"You're making it fucking difficult, ya'know." Katsuki growled, his hands popping with mini explosions. "Seriously, where the hell have you been you fucker?"

 

"With Hisashi." Izuku shrugged, mentally keeping track of where Katsuki's hands were at. "Mom wanted a change so we're staying with him for a year."

 

"That deadbeat ass of a dad?" Izuku nodded. "What the hell? Is he the one who taught you that shit earlier?"

 

Izuku shrugged and nodded again. Ian had taught him that particular move, but Hisashi had been sparring with him every time they were both free.

 

"Fuck, Deku, shit. I wasn't supposed to call you that anymore. Fuck." Katsuki ran a hand through his hair while Izuku watched on, stunned. Suddenly he jerked and shoved a finger into Izuku's chest. "And that's another thing. When the fuck did you start calling me Katsuki?"

 

Izuku held his hands up and stepped away from the accusing digit. "H-hey wait. I only stopped when you told me to jump off the roof!"

 

Katsuki flinched back as if he'd been slapped. "Fuck, shit. I'm such an asshole. Fuck Deku, shit. I mean Izuku, fuck. I'm supposed to be apologizing and here I am fucking that up. How the hell did you put up with me?"

 

Izuku had never seen Katsuki look as vulnerable as he did now. His eyes glistened and there was a waver to his voice that shouldn't be there. Katsuki should never look so exposed. 

 

"Kats-"

 

"I hated you Izuku! Most of the time I still do!” Katsuki yelled and Izuku could only stand there and listen. “You stood there with that fucking holier than thou shit when you couldn’t even fight back. You said you wanted to be a hero, then why couldn’t you fucking stop me?”

 

Izuku reached forward but Katsuki set off a round of small explosions to stop him. “I saw you. I fucking saw you ready to run in and save my worthless ass, like a deku like you could have done anything. Fuck, what if All Might had to save both of us? What then?” Katsuki seemed to be on a roll now, speaking before Izuku could utter a word. “Why the hell do you think you would have been able to help. You’ve always done that shit, no matter how many times I hurt you. You fucking still came back thinking you were better than me!”

 

“Fuck Dek-Izuku. You were always there, then suddenly you fucking weren’t.” Katsuki dropped his gaze to the ground. “I knew you wouldn’t be in U.A.. I checked the charter you fucking nerd and you can’t get in. But at least you and Auntie would be down the street. Now some shitty extras live in your fucking apartment.” He kicked at a rock while Izuku stared at him.

 

Of all the confrontations he expected, being called out for leaving wasn’t one of them. Katsuki was right in a sense. Out of all the constants in their lives, the other had always been there the longest. Now Izuku lived in Ireland and Katsuki didn’t.

 

“Katsuki, I-I,” Izuku began, struggling to gather his thoughts.

 

“Fuck, that sounds weird.”

 

He couldn’t help it, but somehow knowing Katsuki didn’t mind the childhood nickname made him laugh. He already knew, but hearing him agree that it sounded weird was too much for his emotionally fried brain.

 

“What the hell, De-Izuku?” Katsuki stared at Izuku while he broke into hysterics. “What the fuck? Are you fucking crying? God, you’re such a crybaby.”

 

Izuku laughed a little longer, deft fingers wiping away the tears. “Katsuki sounds weird to me too. I had to practice it in my head before I was able to say it out loud for the first time.”

 

“That’s fucking creepy you shitty nerd.” Katsuki sounded disgusted, but Izuku knew him. Possibly more than he knew himself. Izuku could see the relief that he hadn’t forgotten the other. That some things were just as difficult for him as it had been for Katsuki.

 

Izuku snorted, “Not really. You obviously have trouble not calling me Deku.”

 

“What was that, shit face!” Oops, he forgot that it had only been two months. He probably shouldn’t point out he was doing better than the other.

 

Izuku dodged Katsuki’s swings with ease. He’d studied Katsuki the most and now he had the training to back it up. Until Katsuki faked a right and shoved him into the same position he’d been held in minutes before.

 

“What the fuck, Deku? When did you get so good at dodging.” Katsuki breathed heavily behind him before shoving off of him.

 

“W-w-well,” Izuku coughed and held up a hand to catch his breath. “Turns out there’s a reason Hisashi never showed up.” He coughed again and Katsuki rolled his eyes and tossed him his water bottle. “Thanks,” Izuku took another drink and tossed it back. “I forgot the smoke from your explosions makes me cough.” Katsuki grunted and caught the bottle.

 

“Whatever, your weakass can take it. Now why didn’t that shitstain come back?”

 

“You know that hero, Spitfire?” Katsuki nodded, understanding already showing on his face. “Hisashi has been teaching me to fight since we’re living with him.”

 

Katsuki narrowed his eyes and looked Izuku over. “So you have some extra training you? What the hell D-Izuku. You can’t get into schools here. You aren’t going to turn into a fucking vigilante are you?”

 

“No, it’s all legal. Japan isn’t the only country with heroes.” He shrugged and watched as Katsuki connected the dots. “You can’t tell anyone, Katsuki.”

 

“Fuck that. Why the hell not?”

 

Izuku let out a small sigh, “You know how bad it was in school. What do you think is going to happen when the whole world finds out?”

 

Katsuki grimaced and a small explosion echoed down the street. “Fuck, that sucks balls.”

 

“Just, please keep it a secret. The longer I can hide it the safer I’ll be. Please Katsuki?”

 

“Fuck. Fine. Shit, just stop calling me that. It sounds fucking stupid coming from you.”

 

Izuku sighed, relief flooding him. “Sorry Katsuki. I can’t, not yet.” Katsuki growled, but Izuku talked over him like the other had done earlier. “I-I, it hurt. It still hurts. I looked up to you- still look up to you- so much. You know how many pages I had written in those “nerd books” on you? Fourteen! Fourteen Katsuki! All Might only had five and he was my favorite!” Izuku scrubbed at his eyes but pressed on. “Even after the years of bullying and being alone, I still knew we were friends. Why else would you let me call you Kacchan?” Izuku gave the other a watery smile. He appreciated that they were actually trying to talk about this.

 

 “Then you told me to kill myself and I started to wonder if I had just imagined it all. By the end of the day I actually started to consider it. That day was shit.” Katsuki’s eyebrows shot up at the swear word. “I met two villains that day? Did you know that? One of them was that nasty slime thing. And then I had my two favorite heroes tell me to give up. Not the best thing to hear after gagging on green crap.”

 

“Shit, Izu-”

 

“Mom saved me. I was about to spiral downwards. She’s the one who called the school and pulled me out. I can legally be a hero here in Japan, but no schools will allow me to apply. Do you know how hard it was to come to terms that I don’t even get the chance to prove I can be a hero over something I have no control over?”

 

Katsuki shook his head, realization settling in. Izuku hadn’t just been living in his head. He’d been fighting for his chance since he found out he had a disadvantage, the world just wouldn’t give him one. 

 

“I think I just wanted to ignore it. That’s probably what drove you crazy. I knew the signs but still pushed forward when I honestly couldn’t.” Izuku chuckled humorlessly. “I was so jealous of you!” Katsuki looked taken aback at that. “I’m still jealous! You’re so powerful, and driven. You’ve always had so much promise to become a hero and all I could do was stand in your shadow and watch you get further ahead. But in your shadow was better than nothing at all.”

 

“Shit, Izuku. I didn’t know. Shit. I, I’m so- fuck it shouldn’t be this hard!”

 

Izuku gave a small smile at the familiar shout. “I forgive you Katsuki. I forgave you the moment it happened. I just, I don’t think I can forget yet. It’s why I can’t call you Kacchan right now. It still hurts. And some days those words are louder than they should be. I’m still not in the best place, but it’s getting better. So I need to work on myself before I can work on whatever happened between us.”

 

“Izuku, is the taxi here?” Inko stepped out of the lobby holding Freya’s carrier and breaking the tension. “Oh! Katsuki-kun.” Inko’s normal lighthearted greeting was missing and Katsuki looked away.

 

“Hi Auntie.” He mumbled, his weight shifting between feet.

 

“I hope there’s no trouble here,” both boys shared a panicked look and shook their heads. “Good.” Finally Inko smiled at Katsuki and Izuku could see the tension ease out of him. “It’s good to see you Katsuki-kun. You’ll have to visit the next time we come back.”

 

“You’re leaving already? The old hag was just bragging about seeing you!” 

 

As if in answer to his question the taxi pulled into the hotel parking lot. Inko gave Katsuki a sad smile and reached up to rub his hair. “We only came for some legal stuff after that villain. We’ll make sure to go out and do something fun next time Katsuki-kun.”

 

Katsuki huffed and turned his head away to hide the blush rushing his cheeks. If there was one person who could treat him like any other kid it was Inko. “Do what you want. The hag isn’t going to fu-freaking shut up about you for weeks.”

 

Inko chuckled and Katsuki tsked. “Well we will just have to make the most of the next visit.” She turned to Izuku and pointed to the suitcases. “Izu-kun. Will you put those in the trunk, I’m going to strap Freya into the seat.”

 

Izuku nodded and lifted the first bag easily. Katsuki surprised him by grabbing the other and placing it next to the first. “Th-thank you.”

 

“I didn’t do it for you, shitty nerd. Auntie would have my ass if I didn’t help.”

 

A hand covered his mouth to stifle the giggle that escaped.

 

“I’ll see you around Katsuki.” Izuku held out a hand, shoulders tense in case Katsuki took offense.

 

“Stupid fucking Deku. You better come back.” Katsuki growled but shook the proffered olive branch.

 

Izuku laughed, but let go just as quickly as the other. Katsuki had already turned and gathered his water bottle to return to his run. Izuku walked around to grab the door handle but paused to look at the back of his friend. Soon. He'd catch up to that silhouette soon.

 

“Good luck at the U.A. entrance exam, Kacchan! You’ll be great!”

 

Katsuki flipped him off over his shoulder and shouted back at him. “Fuck you Deku. I don’t need your fucking luck!”


 

Chapter Text

New human was warm.

 

New human was also sad so She claimed him as hers.

 

Warm human and soft human made her human happier, so She would call for them. Sometimes they came, sometimes her human would rub her head just right and She would forget.

 

She really liked sleepy human though. Sleepy human had soft hair and big hands. Her human needed her, but sleepy human needed her human. They made each other happy.

 

She missed sleepy human.

 

Loud human wasn't her favorite, but her human was better after seeing loud human. She decided he was okay from afar.

 

Right now her human was holding her. She could tell her human was getting happier. Warm human had been missing so maybe they were going to see them?

 

That would be nice. Warm human's chest was a good place to sleep. Maybe She could get her human to sleep there too.

 

Hopefully her human will join her. They could all use a good nap.

 

 

Chapter Text


Somehow Freya corralled the Midoriya family to the large sofa an hour after he and Inko made it home. They barely had a chance to eat before she started meowing on the couch. Hisashi had given in first. He propped his legs up and leaned back to rest her on his chest. Inko had taken one look and decided to join them. Freya purred quietly when she had curled up under Hisashi’s left arm and turned on a movie. They were both asleep before it was halfway over.

 

Izuku had been the last to fall. He wanted to unpack so he had disappeared into his room for about half an hour before she started calling out again. When he entered he saw both parents were asleep and Freya had moved to the open seat next to Hisashi.

 

“Shh,” he whispered, “you’re going to wake them up.” He scooped her up and started to turn back to his room before an action scene caught his attention. Freya purred again when he slowly lowered into the seat to watch.

 

Izuku never finished the show.

 

Freya napped happily on her humans chest.

 

 

Izuku was on his bed having a staring contest with Freya. He’d only had her for a few weeks but he was certain she was smarter than the typical kitten. For one, she always knew when he needed a parent, even if it was something small. She had been especially frustrated when she couldn’t find Hisashi in Japan while he was tying his tie. She could also tell when his thoughts were spiraling. It didn’t happen to often since he was so busy, but sometimes he struggled during his lessons and those thoughts weren’t hard to find. Finally, she was much calmer than he expected for a kitten.

 

Like right now. Sure they played often together, just minutes before actually, but instead of napping she was watching him. She was even letting him touch her paws. 

 

"You're pretty smart aren't you Freya?" He mumbled.

 

Freya tilted her head and pushed her paw further into his hand. Izuku smiled and returned it with a squeeze.

 

"Yep, way to smart."

 

She meowed, breaking their eye contact as she laid her head down. Izuku kept her paw in his hand, idly pressing against the pads to watch her claws slide out. He watched for a few more seconds until Freya yawned and stretched.

 

"I bet those are useful." He flexed his fingers over his head. "Built in protection…" 

 

Izuku looked between his hand and Freya's paw for a few seconds before jerking up. Freya whined at him, but he just scooped her up and planted a kiss on her head. 

 

"Thank you my little goddess!" He placed her back on the bed and jumped at his phone. Freya paced on the bed as she watched.

 

"Murphy! How hard would it be to make cats claws?"

 

" Slow down, short stack," Murphy's laugh rang from the phone making Freya's ear twitch. "' Ello to ya too. Glad to 'ear ya made it back in one piece."

 

Izuku flushed, spluttering apologies while Murphy laughed harder. "No worries Clover. I get ya. Now what was this about cat claws?"

 

“Sorry, I was just excited. I was wondering how hard it would be to make a pair of gloves with retractable cat claws?” Izuku rubbed at his cheek and sat down. “It would be good to have a hidden weapon, plus I wouldn’t accidentally injure any victims.”

 

Murphy hummed over the phone while Freya climbed onto his lap. “Tha’s a good point. I’ve made gloves with claws, but none that retract. Let me think on it Clover and I’ll see ya tomorrow.”

 

“Thanks Murphy. I’ll see you then.” Silence was his only answer and he looked down at Freya with a helpless smile. “One of these days, she's going to miss something important because she hangs up before the conversation is over.”

 

Freya just meowed.

 

 

“Alright, I got ya started on the claws. You get workin’ on that piece right there. Just copy tha work I’ve done and it should be easy.”

 

Izuku grimaced at Murphy’s idea of easy, but sat down to do as she asked. Murphy was working next to him on a more technical piece of equipment. “Thank you for helping me make my gear.”

 

A heavy, scarred hand landed in his hair and he looked up into Murphy’s smiling face. “It’s no problem Clover. I’m ‘appy to ‘elp. Yer one’o mine now and we got to take care’o each other.”

 

Izuku blushed and ducked his head. “Th-thank you Murphy.”

 

“Ain’t no problem short stack. ‘Sides, you’ll be meetin’ my niece in a few weeks. She’s comin’ to stay with me during ‘er summer break.” Murphy grinned and Izuku felt a chill run down his back. “She’ll take to you like a ‘ouse on fire. Better be prepared Clover. Once yer part of us there’s no escapin’.”

 

Murphy released a laugh not unlike the one he and Hisashi heard when they first entered the shop. Well, if meeting Murphy’s niece was included in this crazy family then he’d just make the best of it.

 

“Now, ‘ow ‘bout we plan out more of yer costume today. What color where ya thinkin’?”

 

“Green.” Izuku tried not to blush, but this was like admitting he liked his nickname. “B-because, well everyone already calls me Clover, I-I figured why not make sure I’m a lucky one.”

 

“Sounds valid. All ‘eroes need a bit’o extra luck.” Murphy gave a decisive nod, as if stating the truth.

 

“Thanks. And I need a mask of some kind.” This next part was hard to admit. “I, I don’t think I could go through breathing in a g-gas or another experience like with the s-slime again. I need something to help prevent that.”

 

Murphy’s eyes were softer than he’d ever seen before. “No worries, Clover. We’ll protect ya. Alright. Somethin’ green and definitely flexible with a filterin’ mask. Then ya ‘ave yer taser staff and these ‘ere cat claws. Any other weapon or uniform ideas?”

 

Izuku hesitated to say this next part. “I, well I need some kind of capture weapon.”

 

“Like that Eraser’ead feller you talked about once?”

 

His face screwed up in discomfort. “I guess? I mean, I need something I can use to restrain villains until I replace it with regular restraints for the police. I respect Eraserhead, but I don’t think I could use a scarf like his without some feeling of resentment.”

 

Murphy nodded in understanding and stood from her stool. Izuku watched as she limped over to one of the many cabinets covering the wall. “I think I get what yer wanting, Clover. Come take a look over ‘ere and see if there’s anything ya like.”

 

Izuku nodded and stood to join her. The inside was filled with different types of capture weapons. There was the universal wrapping tape, several types of whips, even something that looked similar to Eraserheads scarf. What caught Izuku’s eye though was a thin chain with a dragon’s head on one end.

 

“What’s this?” 

 

“Oh, I like this one Clover.” Murphy took the chain from him and unwound it. “This'll probably be perfect fer ya.” She swung it forward, holding tightly to her crutch, and Izuku watched transfixed as the light shone off the golden metal. “This ‘ere is called a Dragon whip bracelet. The tail end locks into the mouth of the dragon ‘ere on the ‘ilt. Ya should be able to wrap it around yer bicep.” She handed off to him and he slid it up his arm.

 

“If we build the right kind’o guard, we should be able to ‘ave it slide right off when ya unclasp it. You'll also be able to wear it out'a uniform.” Izuku nodded and unhooked the dragon head from the tail. It slid easily over his skin, but when he tried to pull it faster it caught the skin and hair. 

 

“Now this is still a whip, and it’s metal. It’ll cause a lot of damage if yer not careful. Yer goin’ to make a second one out’a leather, maybe somethin' closer to a lasso. We’ll add’a utility belt to yer costume so you can make it bigger than this. I want ya to promise me you’ll only use this one when ya need to.”

 

Murphy held eye contact waiting for Izuku to answer verbally. “I promise, Murphy.”

 

“Good.” She gave him a warm smile. “You better take that to Ian. That boy’ll ‘ave to teach ya ‘ow to use that. Now anythin' else?”

 

Izuku ran the chain through his fingers as he thought. “I should probably have elbow and knee pads. Or some extra padding on my forearms and shins. I’ve been getting bruises there while practicing parkour. If I’m going to have a utility belt then I should have some flash and smoke bombs. Trap wire would be useful too.”

 

Murphy nodded and passed Izuku a notepad to start writing on. “That all sounds good. Yer taser will go there too. Do ya want those green too?”

 

“No,” he said with a shake of his head. “I’m aiming to be underground so maybe it should be black, or maybe dark grey?”

 

“We’ll make yer gloves those colors too. Anythin’ to cover yer hair?”

 

A hand reached up to feel the curls behind the cat ears he was wearing today. “No, no I don’t think so. Mom suggested I style it differently for my hero persona so I think I’ll try that first.”

 

“Alright,” Murphy took his list and looked it over. “Looks like we got a good place ta start. We can tweak it later. Now let’s get back to yer claws.”

Chapter Text

Miss Freya!

 

...

Izuku wasn’t sure what Remi-san was doing in his house, but he was sure they would tell him soon. Well, if they would stop cooing over him and Freya wearing matching orange accessories.

 

“Oh Clover, you didn’t tell me you liked to match Miss Freya.” Remi rubbed softly at Freya’s head, careful to avoid the bow by her ear. Freya basked in Remi’s attention and Izuku would swear she smirked at him. He knew that kitten was smart.

 

“It wasn’t really on purpose Remi-san.” Izuku blushed as Remi rubbed his hair in a similar manner. By this point Izuku was resigned to having his head rubbed whenever his teachers were nearby.

 

“Nonsense. There’s no such thing as accidents.” Remi grinned and Izuku struggled to figure out why that sounded familiar. Remi wasn’t going to give him long to think though. “Now, I have a lot of important news. First, because you are quirkless you’ve passed Quirk training, so technically you don’t need to come to class anymore. Also, you’re scores for Quirk Analysis were in the top ten percent this year, although there was a note for you to condense answers into relevant information only. That is something you’ll improve upon with practice. I’m very proud of you Clover.” 

 

Izuku struggled not to cry. Here was a literal legend telling him they were proud of him. “Th-Thank you. Learning from you has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I am truly grateful Remi-san.” He stood and began to bow but Remi gently pushed him back into his seat.

 

“Now I never said we were going to stop our lessons, young man. Hisashi asked me to teach you to train quirks and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Now, my second piece of news is that my acquaintance had decided he would like trade contact information with you. After meeting Miss Freya here I agree that this would be beneficial to you. Did you know Miss Freya has a minor Empathy quirk? She shows an Imperfection with the inability to bond with more than one person. You assisted Miss Eliza with her healing, correct?” At Izuku’s nod they continued. “I am assuming that this bond is the reason you were unable to leave without her. She essentially decided you two would be able to help each other. You have a rather smart partner here, Clover.”

 

Freya preened and now that Izuku knew she could feel basic emotions he could tell that she knew Remi was praising her. Goodness, of course he’d be the one quirkless person to get a pet with a quirk. “I knew she was brilliant. She’s been very good for me. But what does she have to do with your acquaintance?”

 

“Ah, yes!” Remi’s white eyes pinched closed as they beamed at Izuku. “Well I’m sure you’ve heard of how the principal of Yuuei is an animal, no?”

 

Izuku nodded, knowing he was turning bug eyed as he began to understand what was happening. Principal Nezu, a genius and hero himself wanted to exchange emails with him. Him! Quirkless Deku who had to leave the country just to follow his dream.

 

Remi nodded as if in agreement with his thoughts. “Nezu has asked that I pass on his request to allow the two of you to engage in regular correspondence. Personally I think he likes to use flowery language far too often. This is fully your decision, Clover. I do believe he would be able to give you helpful advice with both becoming a hero as well as raising a quirked animal. He’s in the unique position to understand both. He’ll also respect whatever boundaries you may decide to set. He mentioned he was content to wait until you receive your hero license to know your true name should you choose to withhold it. I believe this includes the nature of your quirk, or lack thereof.”

 

“I, I think this is an amazing opportunity,” Izuku said slowly. Freya had left Remi’s lap and climbed into his. “Is it alright if I think it over for a few days? I need to decide if this is something that will cause me more pain than I’ve already felt over not being able to attend my dream school.”

 

The understanding smile Remi gave him told him they already expected such an answer. “No worries Clover. Nezu will understand, whatever you choose.”

 

Izuku bowed his head, “Thank you.”

 

“Alright, I have other news as well.” Remi clapped their hands, the oily hues rippling like water across their arms. “Ian has mentioned that he would like you ready to take the provisional license exam in two months. He has given you permission to join the free spar days, so I will see you tomorrow with your regular bo staff. It’s about time you got training in analysis utilization and battle.”

 

Izuku nodded and stood with Remi, ignoring the anxiety swelling in his chest. “I will do my best, Remi-san.” He would have to. Tomorrow would be a new venue for him to hold up his mentors names.

 

Remi’s free spar days left his gym open for all past and current students to come and join in a sparring tournament. Since Remi often trained new heroes, this allowed them to fight different styles and levels of experience before even entering the field. Now both his teachers agreed it was time for him to join them.

 

“Don’t stress too much about it Clover. We aren’t expecting you to win, we just want to watch you improve. We’ve told you before, you have a brilliant mind, Izuku. We aren’t going to let you waste that.” Remi gave his head another soft rub as Izuku stared at them in surprise with the use of his given name. “We just want to help you become the best hero you can be.”

 

 

Remi had left just after that. They cooed over Freya one more time and handed Izuku Nezu’s email address. Remi had also reassured him that the decision was entirely his own. If anything eased his mind it was that.

 

Now, though, Izuku was sitting in the car next to Hisashi as he gathered the courage to enter the gym. He hadn’t had the chance to watch the free spar yet since he usually had a class with Eliza or Ian at the same time. This time it was written into his schedule for the foreseeable future. And he was going to have to fight. He was going to have to show that he was just as capable quirkless.

 

He could really use Freya right now.

 

"I'm sorry I can't watch this time." Hisashi was frowning as he too looked at the large building. "One of the downsides of being on call at the fire station. I should be off right when it finishes. Remi already told me they were fine if you stayed a little after as well. Hopefully there won't be any last minute calls."

 

"I understand. It's probably better you don't come today anyway. I doubt I'll make it far."

 

Hisashi shook his head and reached out to grab his shoulder. “That doesn’t matter Izuku. You’ve trained just as hard as everyone else, you just need practice. Don’t think about winning. That can come later. Besides, I’ll always want to watch you, no matter how well you do.” He gave Izuku a proud smile and a light squeeze to the shoulder.

 

Izuku blushed, the heat radiating from his chest. It was one of those moments where Izuku really felt that Hisashi was really trying to make up for the years he was gone. Every day it was getting easier to call him dad in his head, and maybe soon he’d be able to say it out loud.

 

“Th-thanks Hisashi. I’ll do my best.” He gave a slightly wobbly smile in return and leaned into the touch.

 

“That’s all I ask.”

 

A knock at his window startled him and he looked up to see Ian standing there. “Come on Clover boy, it’s time to go.” Izuku quickly said goodbye and be safe to Hisashi and climbed out to stand next to his combat instructor. “Not getting cold feet are you?” Ian gave him a light shove on the shoulder and Izuku felt that knot in his stomach loosen at the friendly gesture.

 

“What are you doing here?” Izuku looked his teacher over, noticing for the first time he was wearing parts of his hero costume. “And in costume?”

 

Ian grinned, one Izuku was growing increasingly familiar with. Over the last few months he’d learned that Ian had a mischievous streak larger than All Might. “I’m here to fight, of course! You didn’t think you were the only one to train with Remi, did you?” Ian started walking towards the doors as he pulled on his gloves and forcing Izuku to follow to continue talking. “And a lot of us wear pieces of our gear so we can get practice without damaging it beyond repair. A few also test out new equipment here so they don’t flub it in the field.”

 

Izuku paled at the new knowledge. Of course Ian learned quirk control under Remi-san. Remi-san was the best and almost all active heroes in Ireland trained under him, even if it was only one session. Which meant there would be a lot of current heroes inside that building. The one he would be entering in less than a minute.

 

“That’s why I had you bring your staff.” Ian continued, oblivious to Izuku’s internal panic. “In a week or so you’ll bring your taser staff and hopefully a few weeks after that you’ll be using both your claws and whips. The goal is to get you in full gear by the end of the month.” Ian paused to pull the door open but stopped when he noticed how short of breath and pale Izuku was.

 

“Hey,” a warm hand landed on his head, avoiding the cat ears Eliza told him would be good luck. As the hand slid to his neck, Ian’s face filled his view and blocked the glass door in front of him. “You’re going to do great. Don’t think about who they may or may not be. In this building we are all the same. Students. We all come here to improve. In fact, once we go in there you have higher rank than anyone else. Remi is training you to do their job, no one else sparing here today has done that. They’ve only come to train quirks. You’re the teacher here. So chin up Sensei, I need you to keep an eye out for things I can improve on.” Ian gave the back of his neck a light squeeze and winked before he stood.

 

Izuku took a deep breath, then another. Ian was right. He was training to be a teacher. Remi-san said they were continuing his lessons. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t a hero right now, he was a student, just like they had been. They all had to start somewhere, now it was his turn. With a nod he followed Ian into the building with his chin up the way he was asked.

 

There were a lot of voices. That was about the only thing Izuku could think about when confronted with the multitude of colors spread in front of him. When Ian said they wore parts of their costumes he wasn’t kidding. While Ian only wore his gloves, belts, and shoes, Izuku could tell several were wearing their entire uniform. His newfound confidence shrank to match his measly bo staff sitting in his hand.

 

“Clover!” “Izuku!”

 

He jerked and dragged his attention to the two new voices. Jogging towards him were the two students Remi-san had given him, Teagan and Ronan. They were both starting their last year of highschool and had decided they wanted more training before signing up for their next hero internship. Since Izuku was overseeing their progress they were given a discount, for which the poor students were grateful for.

 

“Hey guys.” Izuku grinned, but it changed to a smirk as Ronan wrapped his arm around Teagan’s waist. “Well this is a new development. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised though. You both talked more about each other than yourselves.” Ian chuckled from behind him as the two blushed.

“Well, there had to be a reason for all that tension.” Ronan leered at Teagan, but she shoved him away to wrap Izuku in a hug.

 

“Shut up you.” She stuck her tongue out at him but Ronan just laughed. “Don’t go ruining our good luck charms innocence.”

 

“T, honey, I doubt that’s something we could get away with. Ever. Have you seen him with Remi? It’s almost to the point that I wouldn’t be shocked if they adopted him.”

 

Izuku blushed at his words while Teagan thought it over. She didn’t take more than a second before nodding in agreement, making Ian laugh.

 

“True,” She said as she pulled Izuku away from the door and towards the large group. “I wonder if they’ll even let you fight today, Clover. Remi is very protective of you. I doubt they would want you in harms way.”

 

“Ah, but you are only partially correct, Miss Teagan.” Remi interrupted and the three teens spun to face them. “I may be protective of Clover, but my desire for his success far outweighs that. Just like it does for everyone else in this room. I truly do want each of you to be successful.”

 

Izuku bowed at his words, Teagan’s arm following him down and dragging the girl with it. “Thank you Remi-san. I appreciate all you’ve done for me.”

 

Teagan nodded and shot a fond look at the smaller boy. “What he said.”

 

“You are very welcome. Now come along. I do believe young Ian is starting us off today in the advanced bracket today. You three are in the novice and have later times.”

 

The three teenagers nodded and followed behind the older being. Izuku looked to see if Ian was still behind him, but found he had disappeared. Once Remi brought them to the front he recognized his teacher stretching in the large arena Remi had built for spars.

 

“Ladies, gentlemen, and beings. We are ready to start the first round of spars, if everyone could please find a seat we will begin momentarily.” A young woman who appeared to have a voice amplification quirk called out to organize the chaos.

 

Over the years Remi had streamlined the process by asking those who wanted to participate to sign up the week before. Many of their previous students would help set up the tournament charts for each bracket so there was little for them to actually do. The tradition and atmosphere worked in their favor to keep things from getting out of hand. Although doing this in a gym built to handle quirks definitely helped.

 

Once everyone had found a place to either sit or stand the young woman walked to the center of the arena. “Alright, we have a few new faces so I’m going to review the rules. First, you and your opponent can decide what ends the match, be it forfeit, first blood, knockout, or judges call. Remi’s regular spar rules still apply, so no critical hits or irreparable damage. All quirk use must stay within gym regulations, and if you damage it, you help fix it. Gear is permissible, but must follow quirk and spar rules. And finally, the honor system is still in play, but of course none of you would break that under Remi’s watch anyway.” A majority of the gym laughed as Remi playfully glared from their seat at the judges table.

 

“Now that that’s out of the way, Welcome to Free spar!” Izuku watched in awe as the more than sixty odd competitors cheered for the young woman. “I’m Intoned: The Voice Hero, and I’ll be the commentator for today’s tournament.”

 

Teagan leaned over so she could speak in his ear. “Intoned is fantastic at this. She only really comes once a month since she made her debut, but this is basically where she got her start. I asked her about it once and she told me it was part of her training to increase the amount of time she could use her quirk.” 

 

Ronan nodded, grinning as he noticed the excited gleam in Izuku's eyes. "Her quirk is called Ventriloquist. She isn't amplifying her voice, but throwing it towards our ears. Her quirk allows her to throw it to more than one place. Later you'll see her announcing without moving her mouth for practice. Sometimes she uses different voices as well. I've heard a lot of the others say she's disconcerting to fight against because of how much we all rely on our hearing."

 

"That's so cool!" Izuku really wished he had his notebook. He'd have to bring them next time. "I wonder if her quirk allows her to imitate voices or sounds easier than the normal person?"

 

Both Teagan and Ronan shrugged, but Intoned interrupted before he could start a tangent. "We are starting with the Advanced bracket today and kicking it off with two of our favorite boys." She waved a hand in front of her and Ian and a dark hooded man both stepped forward and waved at everyone.

 

“First up we have our red haired rainbow walker, Leprechaun!” Ian waved a hand, small crystals embedded in the gloves catching the light. Ian’s gloves and shoes held small prisms with lights behind them that he could use to create narrow rainbows of light to jump in. 

 

“He will be up against our miniature metal master and ninja, Foil!” The other man stepped next to Ian and waved. He was a good head shorter than Ian, but the black hood and bandages made him all the more intimidating. Tiny dots of silver flickered under the fluorescent lights making it look like he was wearing stars.

 

“Does she always announce their hero names?” Izuku asked.

 

Ronan shook his head. “No. Only if you’re an active or retired hero. Sometimes she makes up names for those of us still in classes. For you, she’ll probably call you Clover since that’s what everyone will recognize you by.” He smirked as Izuku groaned. It seemed like he’d never get away from the nickname.

 

“Challengers, to your places.” 

 

Ian and Foil both settled into their stance of choice while Intoned stepped to the edge of the arena. Izuku fell into a hush with the rest of the audience, adrenaline humming in the air as they waited for the mark.

 

“GO!”

 

Izuku jerked in surprise at the sudden shout. He had been expecting a countdown, but it seemed as if this was normal.

 

Immediately Ian had caught a prism in the light, narrowly dodging what looked like a thin, sharp needle. Foil jumped to the side, already aware of where Ian’s fist would swing as he appeared in a flash of red. 

 

“Have you ever read those old ninja comics, oh wait. It’s called manga.” Teagan leaned in closer to talk over the cheering. “Anyway. Foil can control pieces of metal up to three ounces each, which doesn’t seem like it would be powerful in hero work, but he copied the senbon needles and tosses them around. Watch, if Ian isn’t careful Foil will finish his trap.”

 

Izuku nodded and focused fully on the fight. 

 

Left, right, Ian flickered between reds and blues. Streaks of silver missed hard fists. Harsh grunts overpowered the soft tinkling of metal hitting the ground.

 

Ian landed one hit on Foil’s jaw until he froze. Foil held his right fist forward, fingers just shy of closing. Surrounding the rainbow hero were dozens of sharp needles, all pointed at critical spots. Even if they weren’t, the threat of that many salient points entering the body would stall even the most pain resistant.

 

“Do you yield?”

 

Both heroes chests rose heavily as they bore down on the other.

 

“Do. You. Yield?”

 

Izuku held his breath as he watched. Ian’s muscles shook. Izuku could tell he almost shifted to catch the light, but Foil closed his fingers slightly and the needles shifted that much closer. Finally Ian nodded. Foil dropped his hand and the senbon followed it to the ground.

 

“Leprechaun forfeits, Foil wins!”

 

Foil raised his hand in triumph before lowering it to shake Ian’s hand. Izuku couldn’t hear what was being said, but from the friendly smile and what he’d recently learned was the man hug he could tell there were no hard feelings.

 

“Pretty cool, huh,” Teagan asked as she clapped and Izuku nodded.

 

There were probably a hundred other words he could use to describe what just happened. He would learn so much by watching, from strategy to weapon use. He had the chance to watch these heroes in a controlled environment. He had the chance to fight these heroes. And someday, well someday he’d become one of these heroes.

 

So yeah. It was pretty cool.

Chapter Text

“Did he?”

 

“Yep!”

 

“Are we really looking at-”

 

“For sure Izu-bro.”

 

“He gave himself a Pikachu!”

 

Ronan and Teagan burst into laughter as they watched Izuku gape at the current battle. His current state of awe was because of the man with bright tattoos covering most of his visible skin. Izuku had met him before and was just as impressed now as he was then, but he knew this pikachu was new.

 

“He must have gotten it while I was in Japan. A pikachu would have been just as cool as the dragon.”

 

 Izuku watched as the pikachu shot a bolt of electricity at its opponent, which happened to be a woman with a physical mutation quirk. Thick, leathery wings lifted her out of the way as she swung a clawed hand towards the man. The small creature tried again with a larger attack but only managed to catch its creator in its radius. Immediately it was returned to its spot on his right forearm and Tattoo guy threw his left arm forward and the very real looking ink and flame dragon soared towards the winged hero.

 

“Holy shit. So he called that one when you guys met?” Ronan leaned back with the rest of the crowd as a wave of heat washed over them.

 

Izuku nodded. “Yeah. Apparently he’s had it the longest so they have the best relationship. I guess once he activates his quirk on a piece of art they gain a limited sort of conscience and personality. They only really stay alive if they are his tattoos, all other pieces of art loose sentience after ten minutes. Not always the most helpful if you have to explain what’s going on.”

 

Teagan’s breath caught, her mouth open in amazement as the female hero wrapped her wings around herself to avoid the worst of the flames. “Do you know if he can bring any tattoo to reality?” She said once the heat died down.

 

“No, only if they have some form of body structure. So this dragon is mostly made of flames, but if you look closely, it has an entire head shape and arms. He told me once he accidentally burnt down his kitchen that he tried to activate only water and it didn’t work. That’s why he has a water druid on a lilypad in a pond. He thought just the pond tattoo would work.”

 

All three winced as Tattoo guy took a hit from her fist. Wing woman had maneuvered around the dragon and with a hard thrust of her wings sent it far enough away to land one good hit. It wasn’t enough though as the dragon tackled her to the ground and stood on her back looking very much like a guard dog. The two spoke, but the words were drowned out by the crackling of flames.

 

“Seraph has forfeited, Insignia wins!” Intoned called seconds later and they all cheered. “We will now have a ten minute break while the Novice bracket stretches.” 

 

Izuku sighed, his hands shaking as he used his staff to help him stand. That was the last preliminary round for the Advanced bracket before moving on. Novice had the smallest amount of challengers today so they would finish their bracket all at once, then they’d move on to Intermediate prelims. Teagan and Ronan both jumped up beside him, Teagan bouncing on her feet while Ronan was pulling an arm over his head.

 

“Let’s go Izu-bro!” Ronan grabbed Izuku by the arm and tugged him towards the arena. Teagan laughed behind them as she followed. “You were paired with the other newbie first. I don’t think you’ve met him since he just joined the gym, but he’s in our hero course so Teag and I know him.” From his place behind Ronan he couldn’t tell what face he was making, but he would have to have been deaf to miss the amount of dislike filling his voice. “He’s, well let’s just say that he and I don’t get along. And not in the way Teagan and I don’t.”

 

“Connell isn’t as bad as Ronan makes him sound, but I know he’s very... opinionated which makes the two get on like water and oil.” Teagan interrupted before Ronan could start a rant about Connell.

 

“What Teag is trying to say is that he’s an asshole.”

 

“A-alright. Anything else I should know? Am I allowed to know his quirk?”

 

Ronan shook his head as he let go of the smaller boy. “No, well not really. Since you’re both new it lets you both start with the same amount of information. That doesn’t mean you can’t analyse while we’re stretching.” Ronan smirked and tipped his head towards one of the three other contestants stretching.

 

The boy looked feral. That was the only word Izuku thought could accurately describe him. Connell had a mutation quirk that left him looking as though he was half wolf. It was easy to guess that any abilities he held matched a wolf as well.

 

Teagan and Ronan shared a look over Izuku’s head as the boy descended into a spiral of thought. His fingers twitched, either into sign or the need for a pencil they weren’t sure.

 

“Clover, you need to stretch. Ronan and I want you to watch our match and you can’t do that if you have to make up time stretching.”

 

Izuku jerked and blushed as he gave her a sheepish smile. “This is the first time you’ve sparred each other since Remi gave you to me, isn’t it? You guys are on summer break right?” She nodded and he continued. “You’re schooling is weird, but this will be fun! I’ll have to have you guys come spar together with me next week. There might be some combo attacks we can come up with. I have a few ideas I want you to think over too before you start your final year. Maybe more than one day. That woul-”

 

“Clover! Stretches. We can talk about training later.”

 

Izuku squeaked but listened and slid into a warm up kata Ian had given him. He shot his mentor a glance before placing most of his attention on his opponent. He was fighting after Ronan and Teagan so this was his only real chance to observe.

 

The claws would be a problem if he let the other get close. The way he swung showed he was used to fighting with an open fist. Izuku would have to watch out for the teeth as well. His hearing would be exceptional, but that could be used to his advantage. Connell was like a wolf, so what did he know about wolves. Well, they were pack animals but that wouldn’t help him here. They were pretty territorial too, but Izuku doubted he’d claimed Remi’s gym as his.

 

So what about when they hunt. Well wolves always chase when their prey runs, so maybe he should just avoid running? He wasn’t planning on doing that anyway, but at least he had a solid reason not to.

 

Ronan’s strangled moan pulled him back to reality and Izuku looked up at him from the ground. “Are you okay?” He tilted his head in question.

 

“I should be asking you that!” Ronan’s voice was high as he watched Izuku fold himself over the splits he was doing. “How long have you been able to do that?” 

 

“Do what? Oh, the splits.” Izuku shrugged and rested his upper body on the ground while keeping his legs spread. “Well the splits were within two weeks of moving here, but the rest of this was sometime in the last two months.”

 

Teagan laughed at Ronan’s whine as she slid into a split to match her teacher. “Maybe you should learn babe? If Clover can do it then you can too.”

 

Ronan shook his head swiftly and the two on the ground giggled. Izuku did a few push ups before standing and holding out a hand for Teagan. “It looks like everyone is settling in to watch. Good luck! I’ll be watching to see if you guys kept up with the training plan since we last met.”

 

Izuku was smiling, beaming almost, but Teagan and Ronan could see the terrifying student Remi was training. The one that was already planning their practice next week. The one who learned that penalties were an effective training tool from his own mentor. The one who would be able to tell exactly how closely they followed their plans.

 

Ronan gulped while Teagan returned the smile. “You got it coach.” 

 

Ronan tossed a thumbs up and they both jogged to the center where Intoned was standing.

 

“Alright, let’s get this round started! To my right we have the kinetic wind temptress, Zephyr.” Teagan waved an arm while she jumped from foot to foot. “To my left we have our intransigent expert, Impediment!” Ronan pumped his fist and shot finger guns at Teagan as she rolled her eyes.

 

Intoned backed away to her seat by the judges and Izuku’s students settled into a fighting stance. Teagan held a metal fan half open in front of her while Ronan tightened his hand around knuckle dusters.

 

“Go!” 

 

By this point Izuku was prepared for the shout and so were the fighters.

 

Ronan shot forward, far faster than he’d been a month ago. Izuku could see Teagan’s eyes widen, but she held her ground and waved the fan towards him. Wind, far stronger than the small fan should have been able to make, rushed towards Ronan. He flew through the gale with minimal resistance and swung a fist. A dodge and another wave stopped Ronan in his tracks. From that close it was impossible to do anything but weather the storm.

 

Izuku knew even with Ronan’s ability to change air resistance, Teagan’s wind release would always be stronger to some extent. He could lower the air resistance surrounding him, but sometimes that just wasn’t enough.

 

“That all you got? You’re called Impediment today for a reason, babe. I’m just waiting for you to stop me.” 

 

Ronan grunted and charged. Teagan readied her fan again, but was too slow. The fan flew out of her grip with a kick from Ronan. She prepped for another hit, but lowered her guard slightly when it didn’t come. Then he hit. Hard and fast. Then slow, before speeding up again.

 

It was something Izuku worked on with him. Unpredictability. Ronan had mostly used his quirk to reduce the drag surrounding him to increase his speed. Izuku suggested he increase resistance occasionally to change the tempo of battle. From his performance it was working.

 

Finally Teagan pulled out of the defensive and swung back. A thin slice of wind pushed against the incoming fist, giving her enough time to back away. Izuku watched with pride as she flicked a finger to create what he called an air bullet. The high whistle of wind sang across the arena until Ronan’s shoulder jerked back from the unseen attack. He froze for half a second in shock, but it was enough time for Teagan to retrieve her fan.

 

“We both learned new things, babe. Don’t look too surprised.” She winked and he smirked. The two jumped back into the fight, Teagan teasing while Ronan mostly made faces in return. Izuku had learned that Ronan was terrible at trash talk while fighting. He could do one or the other, but never together.

 

The spar continued in much the same fashion. Occasionally Teagan would get slowed down after having her resistance increased. Once she tripped when all drag disappeared. Ronan had to avoid sharp blades of wind every time she swung. His skin stung from the force, red lines marring the skin whenever she hit.

 

Teagan waved the fan, another burst slamming into Ronan. She followed behind, ready to strike. Ronan was ready though. Instead of reducing the air resistance around him he increased it so when Teagan reached him there was a cyclone of wind directly in front of him.

 

She stumbled and fell back.

 

He walked through the cyclone easily and grabbed her arms.

 

Seconds later, the wind dissipated and Teagan was trapped on her stomach while Ronan knelt on her back.

 

“Do you yield?”

 

Tegan nodded and Ronan grunted before standing. He held a hand out for her and helped pull her up. Once she was standing he kissed the back of her hand and let go. She smiled as he grinned while Intoned announced his win.

 

“Impediment wins!” Intoned called and Izuku clapped.

 

They’d both done well. He was proud of how well they fought. He had a better idea on how to focus their training now too, which was a good thing since they had less than a month before they started their final year.

 

“What did you think Izu?” Ronan was almost yelling as he pulled Teagan to where he was sitting. “Were we awesome, or were we awesome.”

 

Izuku laughed. “You were awesome. I have some notes to go over though, but that will be during our sessions. Good fight though! Teagan, your aim has improved since the last time I saw you use the bullets. Good job. And Ronan, good unpredictability. Much better than falling into the pattern you had.”

 

Ronan grinned and pumped a fist. Teagan gave him a shy smile as she blushed from her spot next to her boyfriend.

 

“Thanks Clover. You better head up though. Connell is ready and looks irritated.” She pointed behind her to the center where his opponent was standing.

 

Indeed, the wolf boy looked irritated. He was pacing, his lips pulled into a snarl. Connell’s nose twitched as he glared at their section.

 

“Maybe, maybe this isn’t such a good idea. He looks like he’d go for the kill if it was allowed.” He stood anyway and Ronan gripped his shoulder.

 

“Don’t worry Izu-bro. You’ll be great. Just remember that he’s an asshole who’s only just started training here. You got this. Besides, I’m looking forward to fighting you next round.”

 

Izuku nodded shakily, but pulled his shoulders back as he joined Connell in the center.

 

“Took you long enough.” Connell whispered under his breath.

 

Izuku shrugged but ignored him to face Intoned and Remi.

 

“Alright, you two are our newbies. What are you comfortable with as a match limit?”

 

“Forfeit for me.” Izuku said.

 

“Knockout.”

 

Intoned looked at Connell with a small frown. “Since you’re both minors your limit can’t be beyond forfeit. Once you receive your licence you’ll be allowed to join knockout matches. Do you understand, Connell?” Connell growled but nodded. “Good. Now since this is the first match for both of you, Remi or any of the judges have the right to end the spar at anytime. Got it?” They both nodded and she gave them a smile. “Alright then. Let’s get started.”

 

Izuku turned to face the audience while Intoned threw her voice forward.

 

“Alright, Who’s ready for our greenie’s to spar?” Ronan, Teagan, and Ian all shouted his name and he gave them a small wave. “First up, we have our wild child and lone wolf, Amarok!”

 

Connell smirked at the cheers and waved at the crowd.

 

“His competitor is someone most of us know by now, the lucky charm and quirkless wonder himself, Clover!” 

 

Izuku grinned at most of the cheers. They weren’t as loud as the rest had been. He could see the shock on some of the active pros faces, but he didn’t let that stop him from the happiness he felt for actually receiving cheers.

 

A loud growl froze both himself and Intoned and they turned to look at Connell.

 

“Fuck this shit. I’m not going to spar with the fucking charity case. Get your ass out of the gym, you quirkless freak.”

 

Intoned gaped while Izuku started. It had been a while since he’d run into someone so obviously discriminatory. Surprisingly though the words didn’t affect him as much as he thought they would. Maybe it was because of the support he had from his mentors and parents. Or maybe it was because Ronan and Teagan had already warned him.

 

All he knew was that Ronan was right. Connell was an asshole.

Chapter Text

 

"Connell."

 

The gym was silent, the weight of Remi's voice heavy against Izuku's skin. Remi's brogue was thick with anger and Izuku had difficulty fully understanding them.

 

"If you ever utter words like that again you will be banned from entering this gym. We have an active non-discriminatory policy here and I will not stand for it. Do you understand?"

 

Izuku glanced at Connell, only mildly surprised to find him struggling not to bare his neck in submission. It just proved another one of his assumptions. Connell seemed to follow pack instincts, and there was no doubt that Remi was the alpha of the gym. Instead of surrendering, Connell nodded and Remi smiled. As one, the entire gym shuddered and Izuku suddenly realized they were all seeing exactly why Remi was considered a legend. Remi was terrifying.

 

"Good. Izuku is my apprentice so I'd appreciate it if you refrained from calling him a charity case. I am very fond of him you know."

 

Connell nodded again and glanced at Izuku. Most of the gym knew Izuku was there for training, but only a few knew what it was he was learning. Izuku could feel the stares from those surrounding them boring into him in question, but he continued watching Remi as they sat back down and motioned Intoned to continue.

 

Intoned stared wide-eyed before she jerked back around to the crowd. "Now that that's taken care of, forfeit or judges call only." Intoned stepped back and Izuku matched Connell in a fighting stance, bo staff at the ready.

 

Connell bared his teeth and it was impossible for Izuku to miss the fury filling every line of the wolf boy. Connell was mad. Humiliated too if the angry flush told him anything. That would either play into his favor by making Connell fight recklessly, or it would be harder and he'd fight smarter.

 

"Go!"

 

Izuku tensed, but Connell didn't lunge. Instead they began circling each other. Connell's ears were twitching with every step Izuku took and he pulled his lips even further back. Izuku knew if he even looked like he was running it was over. So he swung.

 

Connell blocked with his arm. Swing, block, swing. They repeated the motions.

 

One clawed hand missed his arm, instead catching on the wooden staff. Izuku held tight when Connell tried to yank the staff from his hands. He knew he wouldn't win in a straight fist fight. Connell was stronger and had much more experience. His staff was the only thing keeping the wolf out of arm's reach.

 

A sharp jerk upwards caught Connell under the chin and forced him to release the staff. Connell stepped back and rubbed at his chin while he glared at Izuku.

 

"Fucking teacher's pet. Don't think that was anything you did. That was a lucky shot."

 

Izuku smirked, relieved that he was beginning to feel the rhythm of the fight. "Well they do call me Clover for a reason."

 

Connell snarled and began swinging. This time Izuku was on the defensive. Block. Dodge and swing. Block again. Finally Izuku gave him a good shove with the end of the staff. Connell stumbled back and Izuku followed. He refused to let up, the staff keeping Connell from catching his clothing or arms.

 

He faked a left and pivoted right to aim for Connell's legs. Connell jumped and landed on the center of the staff, shattering the wood. A fist caught Izuku on the side of his head and a foot shoved him back and down, away from half of his now broken weapon.

 

"Not so lucky now, are you?" Connell spat as he rushed forward.

 

Izuku rolled away from another kick, some of his hair falling out of the headband and into his eyes. He held tight to the half staff, avoiding the sharp, broken end. Connell kicked again and this time Izuku grabbed. He held tight around the foot and rolled backwards again. Connell fell himself and Izuku scrambled to stand. He leaped at the other half of his staff just as Connell regained his footing.

 

Izuku huffed and shoved the loose headband back into place. Instead of responding he yelled and charged. Connell jerked at the sudden shout but prepped to block the swinging stick.

 

The fight closed in tighter than before, but Izuku had much more freedom of movement now. Left followed by right. Connell avoided the fragmented ends as best he could. His claws caught Izuku's arms, his nose twitching with the fresh scent of blood.

 

Connell's eyes followed the pieces of staff closely. Izuku continued swinging and blocking with only the sticks. Block. Swing and block. Retreat and return. He watched as Connell zeroed in on the incoming hit and let go. Connell followed the falling piece, unprepared for the fist that continued towards his face.

 

A pained whimper escaped Connell as his head lurched back. Izuku kicked at his inner thigh and Connell went down. Izuku saw his chance and jumped on his chest. He settled his hips on his stomach and pushed his feet against his thighs.

 

Connell snarled and growled while he thrust his hips to throw Izuku off, but Izuku shoved the splintered end of the remaining staff into his throat. He did his best to copy the way Connell bared his teeth and faked a growl.

 

"Stop, now." Izuku said as forcefully as he could.

 

Sharp green eyes watched as Connell growled lowly and he pressed the end of the staff deeper into his neck. Slowly the wolf boy backed down, grey eyes shifting downwards as he began to bare his neck. Any moment now the judges would call the match.

 

From his peripheral Izuku could see Intoned stepping forward. Before she could end it, he looked up and spoke himself.

 

"I forfeit."

Chapter Text

The gym was still for only a second before the entire audience started yelling. Izuku quickly climbed off of Connell and stepped back. Connell stared blankly at Izuku until his words registered and his angry flush returned.

 

"What the hell, you little shit? Why are you forfeiting? You were about to fucking win!" Connell advanced, hackles raised, but didn't touch Izuku. He'd forfeited which meant it was over. Remi was always clear about that. "What, saw your first fight and couldn't take it. Always knew the quirkless were fucking we-"

 

"I wouldn't finish that sentence." Izuku hissed at the face inches from his. "You just yielded to the quirkless freak. You were the one on the ground. You were the one baring his neck. You were the one about to lose. So don't tell me I'm weak. Because if I'm weak, what does that make you?" Izuku glared at the taller boy, hoping that his limited knowledge of wolves was correct and that he hadn't just ruined it. "So step back, now please." The words were quiet, but firm. Connell startled, surprised at the sudden demand, but found he physically couldn't refuse.

 

He knew Connell was staring in confusion, but Izuku ignored him while Intoned grabbed his shoulders to ask if he was sure. He nodded and looked over her shoulder at Remi so he could tell them his reasons.

 

Remi gave him a short nod and held up a hand. The gym quieted and Izuku could hear Teagan telling Ronan to shut up so she could hear.

 

"Clover, if you would kindly tell us why," Remi asked kindly, but Izuku could tell they already knew.

 

"I am unable to continue into the next round." He held his broken staff up and watched as understanding filled the faces of the heroes in front of him. "I didn't bring my replacement staff and I am untrained in dual wielding. I also need medical attention."

 

Everyone in the gym turned their attention to his arms and Izuku heard several gasp at the rivulets of blood running to the ground. Even Connell winced, the scent of blood even stronger now that he was aware.

 

Remi nodded and smiled. "Very well. We will honor your forfeit. Winner is Amarok."

 

Only a few clapped while Connell just glared and stalked off. Izuku watched him before he blinked and walked slowly back to where Ronan and Teagan were seated. He stumbled when he saw Ian joined them and started to slow down. Each step dragged more the closer he got and his shoulders drooped lower. By the time he reached their group they could no longer see his eyes.

 

"Good job, Clover." Ian's voice was strained, but Izuku couldn’t tell why and pulled in on himself further. "Let's get you patched up."

 

Izuku nodded but refused to make eye contact with any of them. Ian frowned, and shared a worried glance with the other two teens.

 

"Clover," Teagan started tentatively, "Hey. Are you alright?" She reached out carefully to touch his upper arm, avoiding the cuts littering his forearms.

 

He nodded again, sniffed, and then shook his head. "I-I-Ian, I'm so sorry." He winced when Ian wiped the antiseptic over a particularly deep cut. "I-I-I, sorry, I know I c-could have finished but I didn't. There are s-so many things I could have d-done. I could have b-borrowed one of Remi-san's staffs, and these w-wounds aren't that b-bad. I feel like I l-let you d-d-down." He continued sniffling, his lap darkening with drops of tears. "I'm sorry I di-"

 

"Shut up Izuku." Ronan said as he slapped a hand across his knee and Izuku looked up to stare with wide eyes. "You just took down a boy who's been in hero class for two whole years with only four months of training. Connell is two years older than you and almost twice your size. You may have forfeited, but you won the match. No one here can say it was a fluke and I'm damn proud that I can tell them that you're the one training me. So don't say you're sorry. I certainly won't if I lose next. You had good reasons and every real hero knows their limits. You're no good if you push yourself."

 

"He's right, Lucky charm," Ian said with a nod, his eyes never leaving the bandages he was wrapping around Izuku's arm. "There's no way I could be disappointed by your performance. Remi won't be either. You should have seen how proud they were after you pinned Connell. You did well and you recognized when to end the fight and step back. Watching you fight also pointed out some flaws in our training, which is my fault as an instructor. You did a fantastic job improvising and I couldn't be prouder of your first Free Spar."

 

Teagan shifted her hand from where it was resting on his shoulder up to his head and ruffled his hair. Izuku's attention jumped from person to person as they spoke. Intoned could be heard in the background, but it seemed like she avoided throwing her voice to their little group.

 

"Hey," Teagan began, "just so you know, I thought you were awesome." She gave him a wide smile. "Even if you aren't sure about anything else, just know you looked pretty cool to me."

 

"Oh yeah!" Ronan bounced in his seat and leaned forward. Ian pushed him back when he entered the space he was using to wipe down Izuku's other arm. "Izu-bro, you have to teach me how you did that trick you did at the end with the two pieces. Connell so fell for it and it would be awesome if I could do it in class."

 

Izuku blushed but nodded and whispered, "I will, though I doubt he'll fall for it again. It usually works best when your opponent fixates on one part of your attack. If Connell is any kind of aspiring student he'll correct his behavior and avoid doing it again."

 

He glanced at the edge of the bandage when Ian tucked it in before catching his mentor's eye. "Thank you. For this and everything you said."

 

Ian smiled. "You're very welcome. I can't let my number one student mope around when he shouldn't be," he said.

 

"I'm your only student, Ian." Izuku deadpanned.

 

"Only until school starts," Ian returned, taking the chance to ruffle his hair as well. "But you'll still be my favorite, just don't tell my classes."

 

Izuku giggled when Ian shot him a wink. Teagan and Ronan were voicing their objections, telling Ian that it wasn't fair. Ian responded by pointing at Izuku and raising an eyebrow. They both conceded with a sigh and Ian chuckled, the two easily joining him.

 

A yell caught Izuku's attention and he turned to find the next match well under way. "Uh, hey Ronan," he said with a tug on his sleeve. "Shouldn't you be watching? You're going to have to fight one of these girls if you make it to the finals."

 

"You're right!" Ronan yelped and jerked towards the fight. Suddenly a wave of water washed over the arena and dragged one of the girls under. A quick tackle later and the match was called. "Shit, it's already over." He frowned and looked at Izuku and Teagan.

 

"That's unfortunate. It looks like you're out of luck." Izuku said with a smirk.

 

His three companions groaned, but smiled in relief. If Izuku was making jokes then he had to be alright. Ronan chuckled and stood while he used Izuku’s head for purchase and ruffled his hair. Once again the cat ears were displaced and he had to shove his hair back under them with a sigh.

 

“Anything you want to see in my next fight, Izu-bro?” Ronan asked as he slid his knuckle dusters on. Connell was once again the first in the center. He was staring at their group, his expression flickering between confusion and anger whenever he looked at Izuku.

 

“Yeah,” Izuku said while staring back at the wolf boy who flinched, “I want you to win.”