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Hot Forged Steel

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A person’s quirk generally develops around the time they are four years old. Everyone knows that.

Akiho woke up the day of her fourth birthday in a frenzy. She ran over to her mirror, twirling around to see if anything about her had changed. She still had the same red hair, like a fire truck, and she was glad that hadn’t changed because she really liked it. Her eyes were still silver like her mommy’s, and she still had a normal nose. She opened her mouth and saw that she still had normal teeth, and she didn’t get claws either. Spinning around, she checked to see if she had a tail or wings, but nothing was there.

With a pout on her face, Akiho figured that she had inherited her mom’s boring quirk. She looked at the metal tea set her mother had made for her and tried to make the cup float over to her, but nothing happened. She tried again and again, but the cup didn’t move. She walked closer and closer still, until her hand was only a few inches away from the cup, but it still didn’t move. With each failed attempt, the little girl grew more and more upset until she was in tears.

Akiho then ran from her room to the kitchen, where she could smell her mother making her special birthday pancakes. She gripped her mother’s pant leg in her little hands and sobbed out, “Mommy! I’m quirkless!”

Startled by Akiho’s abrupt approach in tears, Aiko dropped the spatula unceremoniously into the pan of half cooked pancakes. She quickly picked it up again and assessed the damage before she turned her focus to her daughter and asked, “What makes you say that sweetie?”

“It’s my birthday and I didn’t get a quirk, not even yours!” Akiho responded with a wail, fisting her fingers further into the fabric of Aiko’s sweatpants and hiding her face in her thigh.

“Sweetie, it doesn’t work like that. Kids get their quirks at the age of four, not the second they turn four. It could happen anytime between now and your next birthday.” Aiko explained gently with a pat to Akiho’s head.

“It did for Ren! He got invisible powers on his birthday!” Akiho argued snottily.

“But did it work like that for any of the other kids?” Aiko asked with the same tone.

There was a pause before Akiho answered petulantly, “No.”

“Then there’s no reason to worry! You’ll get your quirk before you know it sweetie. Now go sit down so I can finish these pancakes.”

With her fears of being quirkless mollified, Akiho happily sat down and waited for her birthday feast to begin.

The rest of Akiho’s birthday was perfect. Her mom surprised her with a birthday party at the arcade, with all her friends from school, and they had presents! They were all superhero toys, mostly All Might themed, with a couple of other high ranked heroes as well. Akiho especially liked one that had big, pretty wings and another one that had fire all over it.

When one of her classmates asked if she had her quirk yet, Akiho shook her head and said, “Not yet! But mommy says it’s gonna happen this year!”

Pacified by Akiho’s confidence, the other kids left it at that, and they went back to playing with all her new toys. It was the best birthday Akiho had.

 

The next morning was a Sunday, and Akiho slept in; exhausted from her birthday activities the day prior. She woke slowly, and groggily sat up in bed with some effort. She noted that her body felt heavy and her back and feet felt weird as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes. Excitement then coursed through her as she tried to run to the mirror in the corner of her room and see the quirk that must be there. As she swung herself out of bed, her feet fell awkwardly onto the ground and she tripped.

Looking down at her feet, Akiho screamed loudly. Instead of her normal feet, there were bird feet. They were much larger than her normal feet had been, covered in metallic looking scales. Instead of her normal toes, she had three long toes in the front and one in the back, all tipped with long, pointy talons made of metal as well.

Akiho flexed and clenched the toes in shock as her mother rolled into the room in her wheelchair, looking as though she threw herself into it as quickly as she could. Aiko panted as she worriedly asked, “What? What’s wrong?”

Akiho lifted a foot, tears streaming down her face as she exclaimed in a distraught tone, “My feet are weird!”

Aiko’s eyes locked on Akiho’s face first and then the foot that Akiho presented to her. She leaned down in her seat, grabbing the appendage and turning it back and forth. Akiho flexed the toes accidentally, and nearly caught her mother’s arm with the talons.

“Don’t do that!” Aiko shouted, her voice tight and obviously upset.

Her shout startled Akiho into clenching her foot and pulling it away. Tears flowed faster down her face as she apologized and then wailed, “Everybody is going to make fun of my feet when they see them.”

There was a long, awkward pause and the strange look never left Aiko’s face. When she finally spoke, the tone didn’t make Akiho feel any better, “Don’t worry sweetie, mommy will get you some new shoes and no one will ever know.”

“But what about my quirk?” Akiho asked in a distraught tone, “I don’t want everyone to think I’m quirkless!”

There was another pause, and Akiho desperately waited for her mother to offer the solution to her problems. A smile forced its way onto Aiko’s face as she spoke in the same detached tone, “You’ve got my quirk sweetie. You’ve got metal teeth, and I bet all your other bones are metal too. Mommy’s going to train you how to use her quirk, and everything will be fine.”

Despite Aiko’s dry tone, Akiho felt immense relief that her quirk wasn’t just the weird bird feet. She crawled into her mother’s lap and tried to take comfort in her mother’s embrace. And even though she didn’t want her mommy’s quirk, it was better than being quirkless.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ten Years Later

It was the first day of school at U.A.

Akiho stood in front of her mirror and watched her reflection nervously fidget with the tie of her school uniform. She hated it, it was too restricting around her neck and made it feel as though her breathing was limited. Two fingers tugged the tie loose, allowing the knot to hang just below her collar bones. She then unbuttoned the first button on the shirt, completing the look she decided to call ‘roguish’ instead of ‘sloppy’.

Now that her clothing dilemma had been settled, Akiho took another moment to double check her appearance. Her short bright red hair was styled as an undercut with the top just long enough that it hung into her silver eyes if she didn’t brush it to the side. In her opinion, the cut didn’t fit her face particularly well, and it made her round face look even chubbier. But her mother insisted that having long hair was a detriment to female heroes, as it gave villains an easy point of control if they got a hold of it. It also left her many ear piercings on display.

She parted her full lips to make sure that her shiny, metallic teeth had none of her morning breakfast lodged in them; and dislodged the small piece of food that she found wedged in her sharp canine with her pierced tongue.

The rest of Akiho’s body was hidden by the baggy boy’s uniform her mother had intentionally bought a size too large. Akiho preferred it honestly, she was embarrassed about the way her body looked when she wore tighter clothing. Her baggy pants were tucked into almost comically large, black, knee high combat boots that were more functional than they were attractive; especially on a girl as small as Akiho.

‘Well, that’s as good as it gets.’ Akiho thought to herself with a shrug.

She turned away from the mirror, grabbed her backpack, and power walked out of her room. Her mother, Aiko, sat in her wheelchair in the kitchen, picking at the remains of their breakfast. The older woman had short black hair that reached to her chin, and brown eyes that regarded Akiho coldly as she passed by, “You’re going like that?”

Akiho knew her mother was referencing the loose tie by the tone of disdain that she used. She winced slightly but chose to stick her ground as she continued to ironically run away, “Yes mother.”

“You look like a slob. Fix it before you get to school.”

Akiho had the front door’s knob in hand, partially out of the apartment in her haste. ‘Damnit! I almost made it.’ She thought forlornly.

“I’ll fix it on the train, I promise.”

Akiho didn’t wait for her mother’s reply as she shut the door behind her. The sun was shining brightly, and Akiho took a deep breath in to steady herself before starting her walk to the train station.

On the train, Akiho noticed a boy in the U.A. uniform sitting alone at the far end of the car. He had spikey blonde hair, and bright red eyes that were focused out the window. He was scowling, but Akiho hoped that it was a bad case of ‘resting bitch face’ and not that he was in a bad mood. She shouldered her way through the crowd of people and managed to stand near him. Up close, she couldn’t help but notice that he was handsome, despite the angry set of his eyebrows. His red eyes flicked over to her, and then with a huff looked back out the window.

Akiho knew it was a clear dismissal but ignored it doggedly, determined to make friends at her new school, and introduced herself with a small smile, “Hi. I couldn’t help but notice the uniform. I’m Hagane Akiho, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

He didn’t even look at her when he responded, “Bakugo. Now leave me alone.”

‘Rude!’ Akiho thought to herself as she pouted visibly, crossing her arms in front of her chest childishly.

“Could I sit with you?”

This time he turned to face her, visibly annoyed as he rejected her again, “You had a seat where you were, go back there.”

Akiho turned back to where she had been previously sitting and noticed that the seat was now occupied by a man in a suit. Grinning she replied, “I can’t, the seat’s been taken. Could I sit here please?”

“Tch. Whatever Metal-Mouth. Just don’t touch me.”

‘That was way easier than I thought it’d be… Wait… what?’

Akiho stood there confused as Bakugo made room for her to sit, and dumbly asked, “Did you just call me Metal-Mouth?”

Instead of answering, Bakugo just glared up at where she was standing and asked back, “You gonna sit or what Bolts-for-Brains?”

Akiho’s eye twitched, but she sat beside the blonde regardless. She turned to him to say more, but was cut off with another scathing look, “And shut up. It’s too early in the morning for this shit.”

Akiho couldn’t help but think that despite the time, it was always too early for Bakugo. But beggars couldn’t be choosers when it came to new friends.