Chapter 1: Quirk: Prophecy
It had been one year since his quirkless diagnosis. No one really wanted to play with Izuku anymore, not with the teachers chastising, “you have to be gentle with Izuku” after every little bruise or rough tumble. Slowly, he was growing alone.
While at age 5 his whole class had been invited to his birthday, nowadays birthdays were a subdued affair. He hardly had any friends to invite.
His mother had been taking more shifts at the hospital lately. Izuku had thought that her position as a lab technician paid well, but he supposed since now his father had moved to America, she would have to increase her hours to pay for things now.
Despite how quiet his last birthday had been, Izuku was still incredibly excited for his 7th birthday. A day where everyone focused on him and gave him presents… he ached for positive attention. He went to bed extra early so he could get to morning faster, but found himself too excited to sleep. After an hour of tossing and turning, though, he managed to fall asleep.
You’ll feel disappointment and dismay
For you have no friends who wish to play.
Izuku snapped awake. What was that? Some kind of weird dream?
The words echoed in his mind. Feeling worried, he stumbled out of bed and went to go say hi to his mama. “Mama, it’s my birthday!” Izuku announced, trying to make sure she remembered.
She looked troubled. “Izuku…”
“I’m so excited for my party!” Izuku said, bad dream half-forgotten.
“I… just got a call,” she said, uncertainly. “I have to take another shift at the hospital.”
“Oh, so you have to leave after the party?”
“No, they need me during the party,” she said quietly, “which means… we can’t have it.”
Izuku’s face screwed up, and within a few moments there were tears pouring out of his eyes. “B-but Mama! You promised!”
“I know, I know, sweetie. Aw, don’t cry,” she said, putting a hand on his head. “We can go get ice cream afterwards. Just you and me, honey?”
Izuku sniffed. “I mean… I guess…”
“It’s been a long time since we did something together,” she said. “I’m sure we’ll have so much fun!”
Later in life, Izuku would discover that the reason his mother “had another shift” was that no one had RSVPed to come to his party, and she didn’t want to disappoint him with an empty room. No friends who wanted to play.
… for now, Izuku wondered who that voice had been, and why they’d been right about his birthday party.
Chapter 2: Neighborly
Izuku uses his prophecy quirk to help a neighbor.
Izuku was pretty sure he had a magic friend.
Each morning, he would hear… no, hear wasn’t the right word, he would feel a message from his magic friend talking about how his day was going to go! Sometimes it was just one sentence, sometimes it was two that rhymed!
Just yesterday, his friend told him, Granny apples being discounted at the market, and he’d insisted to his mom that they go. Sure enough, the granny apples were sold cheap at the market and his mom bought some for them! For once, Izuku was looking forward to going to sleep. When he woke up the next morning, yawning, he felt the next message:
These prophecies sent are part of your quirk,
So long as you wish, they’ll continue to work.
Izuku squealed. A quirk! He had a quirk! He rushed out of his room and tugged on Inko’s sleeve. “Mama! I have a quirk!”
“You… do?” she said. Her face was skeptical, but beneath it was a little hope.
“It’s a magic friend who tells me poems and the poems come true! They said we should buy apples yesterday! And we did!” Izuku said, bouncing.
“Oh, this friend of yours… what do they look like?” Inko asked softly.
“You can’t see them, they’re invisible,” Izuku said.
Inko pursed her lips. “Oh, honey… I don’t think that’s part of your quirk,” Inko said.
“That’s called an imaginary friend,” she explained. “Lots of people have them.”
“Well…” Izuku grasped at straws, “do other people’s imaginary friends tell them poems?”
“Some do, dear,” she said.
Izuku’s face screwed up. “He said he was part of my quirk! Does that mean he lied to me?”
“Maybe he wanted to make you feel better, honey,” Inko suggested.
“Oh,” Izuku said, downcast.
“Why don’t I make pancakes and you can tell me all about this imaginary friend of yours?”
“All right…” Izuku said. He sat in his chair pouting. As Izuku explained the poems his imaginary friend had told him, Inko nodded and thought to herself how good of a poet Izuku was becoming. After all, he had to have been writing these himself. She felt a pang of sadness that he’d assumed his first imaginary friend was a quirk, but she’d heard that imaginary friends were a normal developmental step that signalled social growth. So this was a good thing, she assumed.
But while Izuku talked about how nice his new friend was, he never mentioned that this friend gave him the poems in the morning, before the events occurred, essentially foretelling the future. After all, it wasn’t anything special, Izuku assumed. They’d already established that his friend was magical. And if the timeline of events didn’t add up, or if the stories implied Izuku knew things before they happened, Inko simply thought that he was inventing the poems after the events and using them to retroactively fit the story.
Thus, neither one noticed the discrepancies.
They set up a bit of a system. At dinner each day before Izuku went to bed, he would tell his mama all about the poems his imaginary friend said about the day. Inko was getting progressively more proud of her son’s poetic inclinations. Such a cute hobby.
Izuku stretched, feeling a new poem enter his mind.
Go near the neighbor’s at ten thirty
(The house two doors to the right, you’ll see)
She wishes for aid and you can provide,
Offer your help, and then come inside!
Izuku jerked awake. A four-line poem? He rushed downstairs and glanced at the clock. It was 7 o’clock, nowhere near ten-thirty. Did he have to wait another three hours to go help? His mama had made breakfast and he tried to focus on that, but once it was over all he could do was wait impatiently and stare at the clock.
“What are you waiting for, Izuku?” Inko asked.
“I want to go visit our neighbor!”
“The one that’s…” Izuku mumbled to himself. “Two doors to the right?”
“Oh, the one in the red house?” Inko said. “That’s very nice of you. She’s an older woman, doesn’t have much family to visit her. Why don’t you go over there now?”
“It’s too early!” Izuku said, pointing to the clock.
Inko smiled to herself. Most children would have just rushed to the neighbor’s house, uncaring of whether they might be asleep. She had such a considerate son.
“I see. I have to go to work, so I won’t be around for a little bit. There’s a sandwich in the fridge for lunch, but I’ll be back by 2. You’re allowed to go visit Mrs. Ishida, but don’t go any farther than that,” she said strictly.
Izuku nodded. “Okay! I only wanna visit Mrs. Ishida.”
“And do you have any homework due on Monday?”
“I only have one more worksheet,” Izuku said.
“Why don’t you work on that now, before you go visit Mrs. Ishida?”
Izuku nodded and as his mom packed up and got ready, he threw himself into his schoolwork. He enjoyed doing homework, most of the time. He liked math, but math was just such a difficult subject for him… luckily, this was a science worksheet. His focus was quickly turned onto the worksheet and he finished it at about 10:15. He spent the next ten minutes getting ready.
At 10:30 exactly, he went by the neighbor’s house.
“Oh dear! My cat’s stuck in the tree!” Mrs. Ishida said.
“Your cat?” Izuku said, looking up.
It was a small orange tabby, barely a kitten, who meowed softly.
“I’ll go get it for you!” Izuku said. He climbed up the low-hanging tree branches.
“Do be careful, dear!” Mrs. Ishida said.
The cat wasn’t very high up and the tree was simple to climb. Mrs. Ishida might have been able to climb the tree herself to get the kitten, if it weren’t for her crippling fear of heights. Izuku picked up the kitten and placed it gently in the crook of his elbow, carefully climbing back down.
“Meow!” The kitten ran to Mrs. Ishida and lept into her arms.
“Oh, thank you so much for getting Muffins for me! Though please, do be more careful in the future, climbing trees can be dangerous! What’s your name, sweetheart?”
“I’m Izuku!” he said cheerfully. Just like his friend had said, she needed help!
“Why don’t you come in and have a nice cup of tea?”
Izuku remembered the next part of the poem: Offer your help, and then come inside!
“Sure!” he said, grinning.
When Izuku said he didn’t like tea, she gave him a cup of lemonade, which tasted delicious, and let him pet her cat Muffins. “Muffins is so cute,” Izuku said, smiling softly.
“My wife was always saying we should get a cat. Finally I agreed and now…” Mrs. Ishida shook her head. “Now that she’s passed away, it’s up to me to take care of Muffins. At least I’m not so lonely.”
“I’m lonely sometimes too,” Izuku said, feeling as if he were sharing a secret. “I don’t have very many friends.”
“I can’t imagine people not wanting to be friends with a kind young man like you,” she said.
“It’s because I’m quirkless,” Izuku said, sadly.
“Well now, it’s ridiculous that no one would want to be your friend. Their loss, really. I knew many quirkless people back in my day and they were all tough-as-nails and excellent friends,” Mrs. Ishida said.
Izuku’s eyes shone. “Really?” He’d never heard any true stories about other quirkless people, there were so few nowadays.
She laughed. “Really.”
As they spent the next few hours talking about Mrs. Ishida’s old quirkless friends: a firefighter, an artist, a doctor, a secretary… all of them with their strengths and weaknesses and real personalities… Izuku felt like he’d been given a great gift. And for the first time since his quirkless diagnosis, Izuku felt like he could do anything. If Oskar had been able to learn to paint despite his lack of talent as a child, who was to say Izuku couldn’t learn whatever he wanted? Maybe even… how to be a hero?
Izuku quashed that thought. Probably not. But maybe he could be a painter, like Oskar?
He still secretly wanted to be a hero.
Mrs. Ishida, who’d been a teacher back in the day, said he could always come over and she’d help him with his math worksheets and he could pet Muffins.
Izuku’s eyes filled with tears. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” he said as he left, smiling so much his face hurt. Izuku resolved to always listen to his imaginary friend’s advice.
Hope you enjoyed! Comments make me feel extra enthusiastic about writing so feel free to leave some! :D
Chapter 3: Newly Named
Izuku discovers a little more about his prophecy quirk.
Each morning, Izuku would take care to listen to what his magic friend had to say. Sometimes the information was clear, but other times it was vague.
While still a loner among his classmates and either scorned or pitied by most adults, Izuku had a growing positive reputation in the surrounding neighborhood, especially among older people. His quirk would often let him know when people needed help, so Izuku would often wander over and help people carry groceries or pull weeds in their garden.
… a strange amount of cats in trees, as well. Izuku was practicing climbing quite often now and was getting rather good at tree-climbing. It was becoming a favorite activity.
His mama loved how helpful he was and whenever someone asked how he always managed to be in the right place at the right time, he’d proudly announce, “My imaginary friend said you needed help!” to which the person would coo and think he was adorable.
School wasn’t going so well, though.
Izuku sniffed. “Kacchan hit me with his quirk!” On purpose, is what Izuku didn’t say.
“Oh, Izuku. You should know not to play with Bakugou. He has such a powerful quirk and he’s still getting used to it! He plays so rough, and you don’t have a quirk to protect yourself,” the teacher said, walking Izuku to the nurse’s office.
Izuku knew that essentially all of the other kids’ quirks wouldn’t allow them to ‘protect themselves’ from explosions (Tsubasa’s wings or the extendable fingers, for example) but the teacher never said those types of things to them. And he knew that quirkless people weren’t more fragile than anyone else because of the story Mrs. Ishida told him about Mr. al-Tusi. He’d been a firefighter that saved tons of people, and he was quirkless!
Both the nurse and the teacher chastised Izuku for not being careful as the nurse put cream on and wrapped his burn. Instead of lecturing Bakugou for hitting him with his quirk, they were lecturing him about not being reckless. Izuku thought it was ridiculous and he knew his imaginary friend would agree, because his imaginary friend was always right. This is fine, Izuku thought. It doesn’t matter. They can think I’m fragile all they want, but I’m going to be like Mr. al-Tusi! I’m going to save-
Izuku cut off his thoughts. Save people. He still really wanted to, but he didn’t let himself think about being a hero nowadays. It would just make him sad. As Mrs. Bakugou picked both him and Kacchan (Izuku’s mom still thought they were friends, and during almost every ride home Kacchan ignored him viciously) he thought a little more about his magic friend and suddenly realized he’d never figured out his friend’s name! How rude of him!
Before he went to bed that night, he thought really hard about wanting to know his magic friend’s name. Then, he went to sleep.
I’m sorry, child, but I have no name.
Good luck on your math test today.
Izuku snapped awake. His friend didn’t have a name? That was completely unfair! He was going to have to pick one. That would cheer them up.
Mm… Mizuko? No, doesn’t quite fit. Akio? No, not that one either,
He smiled to himself. He liked that name. Anzu.
I’m part of your quirk, that is what’s true,
Despite the fact no one would believe you.
Izuku threw his pillow on the floor. He didn’t understand why Anzu kept insisting they were part of his quirk. His mom said Anzu wasn’t part of his quirk, that everyone had imaginary friends, and that even some imaginary friends gave them poems.
He huffed and thought hard about it. Maybe it was because of Anzu’s magic? His mom didn’t say whether it was normal for an imaginary friend to be magical. He nodded to himself. That was probably it.
He thought about whether he should tell his mom, but decided not. Anzu said, Despite the fact no one would believe you, which meant nobody would actually believe him about it. If the poems were his quirk at all. Izuku sighed, feeling down. He wasn’t sure if he had a quirk and even if he did, he wouldn’t be able to tell his mom and classmates about it yet until he figured out how to prove it.
To cheer himself up, he decided to take his math homework and go see Mrs. Ishida. She would help him do it, and she would give him a lemonade and let him see Muffins. He smiled softly to himself. That would be nice.
A short chapter today! Tomorrow I'll be releasing a longer one! :)
Chapter 4: Anonymous Tip
Izuku begins to know the value of his quirk analysis skills. Meanwhile, his quirk sends him a dire warning.
Izuku was 10-years-old old now, and life had gotten both worse and better since he’d first discovered his quirk. What had once been students avoiding him had now turned to bullying, and what had once been teachers assuming him fragile was now teachers assuming him incompetent. Their thoughts, as he aged, were slowly turning from ‘ poor child, he’s going to get hurt’ to something like ‘ poor child, he’ll never go anywhere in life.’ They never said anything like that to his face, but they occasionally said it to each other. Izuku was good at staying quiet and out-of-sight, so sometimes he would listen to their conversations without meaning to.
He tried not to let it get to him. After all, Mrs. Ishida’s favorite quirkless person to tell him stories about was Chaewon, a korean doctor. And you had to be really smart to be a doctor, so his teachers’ assumptions had to be wrong.
(… He didn’t know what he would have started to think about himself if he hadn’t had these good examples of quirkless people to focus on.)
He’d decided that the prophecies he was getting had to be a quirk. Normal people didn’t have magical imaginary friends who could see the future, like Anzu.
He still hadn’t told anyone about his quirk in the past few years. He knew how crazy it would sound, for the quirkless kid to suddenly have this weird of a quirk. Maybe if they’d caught it before he was officially diagnosed, it would be actually believable…
Regardless, he still helped neighbors under Anzu’s guidance, but the things he was doing seemed to increase in intensity now that he was older and could do more. Directions to find kittens from low-hanging trees had turned into directions to fetch kittens from rooftops or high walls. People were always surprised at how well he could climb nowadays.
His quirk never gave him anything too difficult for him to handle, though. It warned him away from areas that were dangerous (like those under construction) and told him he was allergic to latex, so he always avoided the material.
He was at school, scribbling down notes about a new hero, Flash Fire. He hummed to himself, thinking he ought to analyze his own quirk sometime, though he might have trouble doing it from an objective point of view…
Bakugou slapped the notebook from his hands. “Kacchan?!”
“What is this? Hero Analysis for the Future? Hah! Don’t make me laugh.”
“But K-Kacchan,” Izuku said, frowning. “I-I just wanted to…”
“Be a hero without a quirk?” Bakugou sneered. “What a joke.”
Bakugou didn’t burn the notebook, but he tossed it to the floor and scoffed. “You think you can stalk people and get away with it just because you’re quirkless? Creepy as hell.”
“No- no, I d-” One of Bakugou’s cronies shoved Izuku, so hard he fell off of his chair, hitting his elbow hard against the ground. One raised their fist as if to hit him, but the five-minute bell rang. Everyone scrambled to get back to their desks. By the time the teacher walked in, if anyone asked, if ‘clumsy’ Izuku was still scrabbling for his notebook it was because he’d dropped it again.
Izuku kept his head down. Normally, what Bakugou said didn’t get to him, but… was he really creepy when he was doing analysis? He was just looking at what their strengths and weaknesses were and some applications, nothing private…
Still, the comment held with him, and for the rest of the day, he refrained from his hero analysis. As he walked home, he tried to stop thinking about the comment. He just wanted to make you feel bad, Izuku reasoned. It doesn’t matter. But for some reason, to him, it felt like it mattered.
His mother was still off working at the hospital. She’d grown even more distant, lately, now that he was old enough to be home alone more often. He’d already listened to his quirk’s advice for the day (about remembering to water his plants) and he didn’t know what else to do with himself. He worked half-heartedly on homework, barely making any progress, before dinner and finally bedtime.
Your analysis of quirks is helpful and good,
You can use it to aid others, and you should
It could be so professional in a year or so
You could send it to heroes, who ought to know!
Izuku blinked awake. In a year or so…
… his analysis would be professional enough to send to heroes?
Amazed, he stumbled out of bed. Was that really true? Of course it was true, Anzu was never wrong. Izuku gave a laugh of disbelief and snatched a notebook from the shelf. His analysis hobby wasn’t creepy, it was helpful! He had to start practicing right away!
The battle of centuries takes place today,
As All Might is forced to enter the fray
He’ll be badly injured during the fight
In his attempts at doing what’s right
The enemy in this, a dangerous man
Will sabotage the hero however he can.
He will lose the battle but not the war
His power only matched by his desire for more.
Izuku wasn’t sure what to do. The battle of centuries? All Might injured?
Stay calm, he had to stay calm. Okay, firstly, what did the poem mean?
All Might would be fighting a particularly powerful villain (a man, a male villain) and in the fight, All Might will be badly injured. All Might will ‘win the battle, but not the war’... did that mean he’d win this fight, but that the villain would escape to do more damage?
Then, ‘his power only matched by his desire for more’... yeah, it sounded like the villain was incredibly strong. And ambitious.
Izuku wasn’t sure about this. Trying to convince his mother he had a quirk could take longer than would probably take longer than a day, not to mention convincing everyone else he had a quirk. Maybe after this he should start trying to convince the people around him he had a quirk.
But, for now…
He could try to send in an anonymous tip?
Izuku grimaced. He doubted it would get read, but at this point it was his only shot. People would be more likely to believe someone anonymous than a quirkless kid, in any case.
Dear All Might’s agency,
All Might is going to have to fight a really dangerous villain today. Really dangerous, he’ll probably get hurt. Don’t ask how I know about it, but I promise this information is legit. You should send some people with him on his patrol today to give him backup. He’ll need it.
Izuku wasn’t sure how to sign the note. He should probably sign it with some kind of nickname so if he had to send in something else in the future, they would know it was him.
People used tea leaves to tell fortunes, right? He nodded to himself, satisfied with the nickname. It was a little ridiculous, but it wouldn’t be connected to him. He just had to hope this would be enough warning and that All Might wouldn’t get hurt.
Chapter 5: Dire Warning
Izuku finally tells his mother about his prophetic quirk. He receives a serious warning.
Sir Nighteye waited outside of All Might’s hospital room. Nedzu sat by his side. The fight against All for One had been devastating for All Might’s health.
“According to my calculations, Yagi should survive,” Nedzu said, patting his arm. “And All for One is dead at last.”
“At least there’s that,” Sir Nighteye said with a sigh. “And I have to tell you… we received something of a warning about this.”
“A warning, you say? In what sense?” Nedzu asked.
“According to our secretary, our agency received an anonymous tip stating that All Might would be fighting an extremely dangerous villain today, recommending he be given assistance on his patrol. It might be a coincidence, however…”
“An extremely dangerous villain did appear today,” Nedzu mused. “Any idea who sent the tip?”
Sir Nighteye shook his head. “We traced the email to a public library computer in Mustafu. Either they sent it from there or it’s been spoofed so well we can’t find it’s true origin. They signed the tip under the code name ‘Tea Leaves.’ I’ve asked that any further messages from Tea Leaves be sent to me immediately.”
Nedzu nodded. “Keep an eye out. If this wasn’t a coincidence, they could be an associate of All for One’s, or maybe an innocent bystander who heard too much.”
Izuku was still worried about his shenanigans as Tea Leaves, sending an anonymous message like that… but he hadn’t seen anything about a villain fight in the media? Izuku wasn’t sure if he’d helped, or if they’d just covered it up. One thing was for certain: he needed people to believe him about his quirk in the future, so this sort of crisis didn’t happen again.
“Mom,” Izuku puffed out his chest. “Anzu is my quirk.”
He’d explained to his mother when he was younger that his imaginary friend was called ‘Anzu’, and his mother had thought it adorable.
“Anzu is! No one else has imaginary friends that are magical, so Anzu has to be special.”
“And what kind of magic does Anzu have?” Inko said, heaving a sigh.
“Anzu gives me poems that tell the future,” Izuku said.
“Look, Izuku… I know you love poetry. But this whole ‘Anzu is a quirk thing’ has to stop,” Inko said. “You have to face reality… and you’re quirkless. I know it hurts, baby, but…”
“I’m not lying!” Izuku crossed his arms, scowling. “Anzu always tells me which neighbors need help! And other advice!”
“It’s nice that you help the neighbors, sweetie,” Inko said, her voice long-suffering, “but Anzu is just your imaginary friend. Not a quirk. Remember, the doctor said you don’t have a quirk.”
Izuku argued more, but it seemed nothing would convince his mother. Even bringing up specific examples of times he seemed to know too much failed to sway her. She was convinced that ‘Anzu’ was just a regular imaginary friend, and that he was quirkless. Repeatedly, she brought up the toe-joint test, and how the doctor had diagnosed him quirklessness.
Frustrated, Izuku gave up. His mother seemed shaken and unsettled by the whole ordeal, so he went off to his room to sulk. If mom won’t believe me about this… how am I supposed to convince anyone else? Maybe if at the beginning of the day I foretell things that are going to happen? It would have to be something specific, though…
He wanted to tell Mrs. Ishida, but he would feel heartbroken if she didn’t believe him, and she’d inspired him with stories about great quirkless people… would it feel like a betrayal?
Would anyone else believe him?
From then on, if it ever became relevant to tell anyone what his quirk was, he would say, “My quirk is Anzu.” Anzu translated to apricot, so while most people looked puzzled for a moment they would nod. It was a bit of a faux-pas to ask someone for an exact explanation about how their quirk worked if you weren’t close friends. And Izuku had no close friends.
Regardless, most people who hadn’t heard he was quirkless would take his “Apricot” quirk with a neutral hum, probably internally wondering if he could grow or produce apricots or something. Quirk: ‘Apricot’ was one of those things that seemed almost too strange to be a lie. Most would assume that someone would choose something more normal and explainable for a fake quirk.
Izuku noticed that anyone who believed him treated him normally. Kids who thought his quirk was Apricot were curious about it but were more likely to invite him to play soccer or tell him the best places to catch bugs. Adults looked him in the eyes more readily and were generous instead of awkward.
He’d had one or two people sneer and berate him for lying, having heard he was quirkless from someone else around the neighborhood. It felt… bad. He felt unworthy. He just had to keep reminding himself that he wasn’t lying, that he did have a quirk, and keep on holding his head high.
Izuku’s day was going horribly.
Most of his poems had been… harmless, up until this point. This was different.
Izuku was shaken by today’s poem.
Avoid the junction between 5th and 3rd,
Or your screams of pain shall not be heard.
A monster stalks the streets of this city,
So hide, little one, he shows no pity.
He targets children who wander alone
He told his mom that day that Anzu had warned him about someone dangerous. She’d been hurrying to work and had brushed him off, telling him again that Anzu wasn’t a quirk and that he was mistaken. She didn’t understand. Anzu was never mistaken.
And the abrupt ending to that poem… it felt ominous.
He could avoid 5th and 3rd, but if he didn’t show, what would happen? Was the monster a serial killer? Would he attack other kids?
Izuku didn’t know what to do.
Sorry for the cliffhanger! I'll post the next chapter tomorrow lol.
Also: I have a question. I can't decide whether or not Izuku should get One for All. Opinions?
Chapter 6: Square One
Things go wrong.
TW for extreme anxiety as well as sexual assault.
Please take care of yourselves, guys! I have a TL;DR at the end of the chapter if you don’t want to read the chapter, and if you don’t want to read the summary, you can just skip this chapter entirely. It will still make sense, all you need to know is that Izuku was attacked.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Aizawa had heard through the grapevine that an informant called Tea Leaves had managed to predict a serious villain attack, and that statements and reports by anyone calling themselves ‘Tea Leaves’ should be carefully considered. This is why he was alarmed by the email he’d received.
There might be a bad violent crime committed sometime today, today specifically, at the intersection of 3rd street and 5th avenue, near the restaurant Hana’s Kitchen? I’m really worried, I don’t know what to do… please do something.
One of the implications following Tea Leaves was that they might be working with the villains. Whether or not that was true, Tea Leaves did sound desperate.
Aizawa dialled his boss. “Yo, Nedzu…”
“About Tea Leaves?”
“Yes, it is.”
“They sent a similar warning to local police stations, a few other underground heroes, and All Might’s agency again.”
“What do we do about it?”
“Actually, I was going to ask you to discreetly monitor that intersection today. You were one of the subtlest heroes contacted. Backup would be a short distance away, of course,” Nedzu said.
“Sure,” Aizawa said. “Got it.”
Izuku shoved a few kitchen knives into his backpack. If he was going to do this… he needed to be ready.
The intersection at 5th and 3rd was a place he passed by on the way to school everyday. To avoid it, he would need to walk through a dodgier area of town. If his mother heard he went through there, she would be disappointed and worried.
That wasn’t the only reason he was deciding to walk through 5th and 3rd anyways. After all, he usually always listened to Anzu, especially about his own safety. But that line in the poem… He targets children who wander alone.
Not him specifically. Children, multiple. He’d probably go after other people if he let him go, and this was his one shot.
If he saw the guy and managed to call the police on him… he could get him caught. Hopefully, considering he was right last time, All Might or his sidekick Sir Nighteye would come check on the area… or one of those underground heroes. He’d emailed several of them, and police.
He sucked in a breath. He needed to be brave, like All Might.
With kitchen knives in his backpack and his phone in his hand (the police on speed dial) Izuku shakily walked to school. His heart rate picked up as he came upon the intersection between 5th and 3rd, and he glanced around. By the time he made it to school, his legs trembled and he jumped at every shadow.
The school day was terrible. The other kids found it funny how easy it was to scare him and Izuku ended up spending lunch hiding in a closet, doing breathing exercises in an attempt to calm down.
As school let out, Izuku considered going home a different way. Or staying at school. Not doing anything. It was so tempting… but he had to do this.
This time as he walked past 5th and 3rd, it was emptier. Most of the people in this area worked 9 to 5 and didn’t have kids, so at 3:30, there wasn’t much activity. He felt a hand on his shoulder.
Izuku nearly jumped out of his skin, quickly turning just to see a familiar man. He couldn’t quite remember his name (Mr. Araki? Mr. Arita?) but he recognized him as a presence around the neighborhood. “Oh, it’s just you,” he said.
The man smiled a bit too sharply. “It’s good to see you too! What’s a kid like you walking around all by yourself, eh? Bit dangerous to be by yourself.”
“O-oh, I walk home alone,” Izuku said, his fear slowly returning. “I should… get on going now…”
The man’s grip tightened. “Why don’t you stay a bit? We haven’t talked so much, have we?”
“I-I don’t,” Izuku shivered and tried to pull away. “My mom’s expecting me.”
“That’s a lie,” the man said. “Your mother doesn’t get back until late. She always drives by here in that fancy car of hers, at what, 9 o’clock?”
The man grabbed Izuku by the shoulders and pushed him into a wall.
So far, the day had been relatively uneventful, with no major activity at 5th and 3rd. Aizawa knew not to discount Tea Leaves yet (most crime happened at night anyways) but he was getting bored. That was until he spotted a suspicious interaction on the street below.
A man had grabbed a kid and shoved him into a wall. Aizawa stealthily crept down from the rooftops to look closer. Now, the man had a hand on the child’s throat, who was pale and shaking. The man’s other hand was wrapped around the hilt of a knife. Then, the man leaned down and began to kiss the child, who tried to pull away.
Enraged, Aizawa darted from his perch and slammed into the man, sending him flying across the street. The man lost hold of the knife, which clattered to the ground. When the man tried to use his quirk (something fire-related), Aizawa used his to counter, and the man was out cold with a few more hits.
Aizawa turned to the child, who looked terrified out of his mind. Aizawa knew he looked gruff and suspicious, but he was going to need to calm the kid down and get him to his parents…
“Eraserhead?” the kid asked, weakly.
Aizawa was surprised to be recognized, but nodded. “That’s me, kid.”
The kid launched himself into Aizawa’s arms, who, with his quick reflexes, managed to catch him. He wrapped his arms around Aizawa’s middle and sobbed. Aizawa let the kid cry into his capture weapon, whispering quiet platitudes until the police arrived.
“My fault, my fault, I shouldn’t have come,” the kid whimpered.
“No, kid, it’s not your fault. There was nothing you could have done.”
For some reason, that statement made him cry harder.
Izuku refused to let go of Eraserhead as the man quietly explained to the police what had happened. He knew the man was a good hero, who would protect him. He was one of the ones who he emailed. And he believed him! No one believed him anymore, and he felt an empty sense of relief that Aizawa had. If he hadn’t come…
Stupid, stupid. He’d been so stupid! Why had he disobeyed Anzu’s orders?
“Between attempting to attack you with his quirk, illegal possession of a knife, and what he was attempting, I think we can put him away for a good while,” the officer talking to Aizawa said. “Get him on the sex offender list, too.”
Izuku tried to comfort himself with the fact that because of him, the man was going to jail. But the victory felt hollow.
“What’s your name, kid?” Eraserhead gently asked. Izuku sniffed. He was being so nice to him… Izuku wondered if Eraserhead would stop liking him once he figured out he was quirkless. He could easily look Izuku up in the quirk directory, so there was no point in telling him that his quirk was Apricot.
“Izuku Midoriya,” Izuku said. “I live that way, on Akamatsu Lane.”
“Do you want me to walk you there?”
Izuku nodded firmly.
The walk back to his apartment was a bit of a haze. He fumbled with the keys but managed to open the door. Aizawa deposited him on the couch. “Do you know where your parents are? Any family members?”
“My mom’s at work,” Izuku sniffed.
“Do you have a phone number?”
Eraserhead got him some water and called his mom, but his mother didn’t pick up. He tried calling from Izuku’s phone, hoping the familiar Caller-ID would get her to answer, but she didn’t. “Is there anyone else I could contact?”
“Not really,” Izuku said. “Mrs. Ishida? She’s our neighbor… ”
Eraserhead explained the situation to Mrs. Ishida out-of-earshot (he knew that’s what they must be talking about in the next room) and Izuku spent the afternoon petting Muffins and being doted on by Mrs. Ishida. Eraserhead left to file paperwork with the police, but promised to return to update them about the case. Mrs. Ishida assured him that she would let his mother know about what had happened.
Really, Izuku didn’t want his mother to know… but… well, there would be no convincing Mrs. Ishida, so he just tried to not think about it and drink lemonade.
When his mother got home, Mrs. Ishida handed him off to her pretty quickly, with a short explanation. His mother fretted over him for the rest of the night, but now that Izuku had gotten his feelings under control, Izuku just kept saying he was fine and everything was okay. His mother was worried about him going alone to school now, but Izuku repeatedly said that in the future, he’d walk home with his classmates and so it would be fine. He wouldn’t (none of his classmates would want to walk home with the social outcast) but Anzu would warn him if anything bad would happen.
It was almost time for bed when Inko said it. “Next time something bad happens, you should call Mrs. Bakugou,” Inko said. “She knows my shift supervisor, she can contact him and can get to me more easily.”
While all the are-you-okays and how-are-you-feelings over the past few hours had washed over Izuku without him paying any attention, he felt himself stop cold at that. It struck him how far removed his mother was from his life nowadays, thinking that he would call Kacchan’s mother of all people after a sexual assault. That would clue Kacchan in to the fact that something bad had happened.
… While Izuku liked to think Kacchan wouldn’t stoop so low as to use something like this for bullying fodder, he’d seen Kacchan exploit every available weakness to hurt someone in the past. And this… this would hurt him if it came to light. He didn’t want to think about it anymore.
Izuku didn’t say any of this. “Hey Mom, do you remember what I said about Anzu this morning?”
“Do you remember what Anzu said?”
“No, what about it?” she asked.
“It’s nothing.” Izuku buried his face in his hands. His mother hadn’t even been paying attention when he talked about a dangerous person, so this didn’t even prove his quirk. He felt like he was back to square one.
- Izuku decides to go to the area his prophecy warned him against, because he wants to catch the culprit, who attacks children, because he’s not sure they’ll show up unless he’s there.
- He contacts local underground hero agencies, as well as the police, warning them of the attack.
- Noting that Tea Leaves (aka Izuku the informant) was right last time, the heroes agree to send Aizawa to monitor the area.
- On his way back from school, a man attacks Izuku and tries to kiss him. Aizawa kicks his ass and the man is sent to jail.
- Despite all this, Izuku still can’t prove his quirk to his mother, because she wasn’t really listening when he told her “there’s something dangerous happening” as she left for work
Honestly, this Inko is like canon Inko except that because she doesn't believe her son about something as big as his quirk, there's very little trust and communication between them. Izuku doesn't tell her things.
She cares, but... she doesn't listen. And that obviously has negative consequences, on both Izuku and their relationship.
Chapter 7: House of Cards
Tea Leaves gets famous, Izuku continues responding to prophecies, a secret gets out.
“So Tea Leaves was right again,” Ms. Joke mused.
“It still could be a coincidence,” Rock Lock argued.
“Looking at the crime statistics on those two roads, both of them are fairly safe. The odds of violent crime there are fairly low,” Aizawa said.
“Let’s just keep an eye out for Tea Leaves,” Ms. Joke said. “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but three times…”
“Alright,” Rock Lock said with a sigh. “We’ll see what else Tea Leaves has to offer.”
Izuku felt… anxious, leaving his house, now. That didn’t stop him from continuing to follow Anzu’s advice, even if it took him away from the house. He felt so much worse if he didn’t listen to Anzu’s advice, like the world was going to collapse. Even if his mom told him he should stay inside, he wouldn’t listen to her if Anzu’s prophecy took him outside.
Though, when Izuku was having a difficult time, Anzu would recommend he take mental health days, or would give him easy tasks for people who were kind and showered him in praise. This stopped Izuku’s fervor from getting too bad, though he still wasn’t feeling great all the time.
… Izuku got one or two predictions involving potential crimes, but he sent those messages to underground agencies and the police again under the pseudonym Tea Leaves. He wasn’t getting involved in criminal activity anymore. He just had to hope the heroes would take his warnings seriously.
Today, he was finally getting back into more difficult personal tasks. This morning, his quirk had given him a prophecy about someone in danger of falling a few streets over at noon. As he arrived, he heard yelling and a small crowd gathered beneath the building. On the third floor there was a small child, leaning precariously over the edge. Their head and torso was sticking out of the railing, and Izuku couldn’t tell if they were stuck, but according to Anzu they were in serious danger of falling. Time to get to work.
Izuku noticed a wire fence on the side of the building and decided to use that. He scaled that until he was high up enough to reach the third floor. Then, he scooched along the edge of the floor until he reached the kid, a little girl on the verge of tears. He managed to pull her free of the railing and knocked on the door of the apartment building that the balcony was attached to.
“Wh-” the parent who opened the door looked very confused.
“Oh, your kid nearly fell off the railing, so I climbed up to get her. Be careful! Might not want to leave her out on the balcony alone,” Izuku said. Then, embarrassed he gave an adult any sort of advice, he quickly made his way back to the wire fence and crawled back down. The parent in question gaped in disbelief. Izuku ran into a back alleyway, avoiding the crowd.
“Hey wait, kid!” someone said. Izuku paused and looked back.
“You did good,” he said. “Thank you. That’s my neighbor’s kid, we owe you a lot.”
Izuku blushed. “Oh, it’s no problem… I’ve always been a good climber.”
“You should consider joining… I don’t know, gymnastics or acrobatics or something! That’s an impressive talent.”
Izuku blushed again, and thanked the man. As he jogged home, he considered it. Acrobatics wasn’t really available to him right now, but gymnastics? Gymnastics was supposed to make you more strong, flexible, and balanced…
“I’m home!” Izuku hung his bag at the door.
“Welcome back,” Inko said.
“Mom, I was thinking about a hobby…”
“I was thinking about gymnastics, maybe?”
Inko smiled. “That sounds nice. The one down on Himawari Avenue?”
“Yeah, it would probably be that one,” Izuku said.
“Actually, I was thinking we should enroll you in a martial art as well. There’s a Judo studio near the gymnastics program, if you wanted to do both,” Inko replied.
“Martial arts? Sure, but why?” Izuku suddenly realized taking martial arts would be a great idea
if he wanted to be a hero
but he wasn’t sure where this had come from.
“I want you to be able to defend yourself,” she said, and Izuku understood.
That day, Izuku signed up for both gymnastics and Judo. He hoped they would work out.
Underground heroes had received two warnings about crimes from Tea Leaves, one about the robbery of a mom-and-pop shop, the second a wealthy CEO taking money meant for charity. The second would have been easy to miss and nearly impossible to prosecute if they hadn’t had an exact warning about the day he was doing it. Luckily, they’d managed to catch it.
It seemed Tea Leaves was becoming something of significant informant.
Ms. Joke suspected they had some kind of enhanced-hearing or telepathy that allowed them to eavesdrop on conversations, which would explain why all the crimes they reported were based in Mustafu. Another common theory was that they worked or had formerly worked with the villains, but that didn’t make much sense to anyone who thought it through, considering none of the crimes they reported were committed by related parties. Some people assumed he had some kind of information network or a lot of contacts, which was another possibility.
All the same, information provided by Tea Leaves was becoming progressively more trusted. When they reported a crime, heroes knew to be on high alert. In addition, underground heroes in the area were growing slowly more curious about the identity of the informant.
Izuku was sitting at school, feeling cautiously satisfied with himself. (Watching the news broadcast about the ‘heroic stranger’ who’d climbed a fence to rescue a little girl was quite the ego boost, even though no one had caught his face on film.) And despite what had happened at 5th and 3rd, he was starting to feel more comfortable using his quirk. Whenever something involved helping, searching, climbing… he would take care of it. Whenever something involved a crime, he would report it to the heroes. He had seen on a news report the day before of a robbery he’d predicted being stopped by Sir Nighteye himself! It must mean the heroes were listening to him.
On bad days, his quirk wouldn’t even let him know who needed help, instead giving him simple advice about worksheets or flower discounts or something of the like. He suspected his quirk operated primarily to benefit him: he enjoyed helping people, so it told him where he could do that, but if he wasn’t feeling well enough, his quirk wouldn’t bother.
He was sitting quietly, doodling a cat in his notebook, when Bakugou slammed a hand on his desk. Izuku startled.
“Shitty Deku. You’ve been lying to everyone, haven’t you?”
“Telling people your quirk is Apricot? What kind of idiocy is that?!”
Izuku blinked and shrunk slightly. He should have known this would go south.
Thank y'all for your reading/support! Comments inspire me, so feel free to leave one if you want to!
Chapter 8: Apricot Tea
Izuku's school life takes a nosedive. Meanwhile, Aizawa is a bit worried about Tea Leaves.
Everyone at school knew Midoriya was a lying liar. What kind of idiot called their fake quirk ‘Apricot’, anyway? It was obvious Midoriya was just quirkless and jealous.
Classmates who were neutral towards him before suddenly found themselves looking down on him, while those who bullied him found justification in their bullying. Meanwhile, most of the teachers clucked their tongue disapprovingly and took it as confirmation that they had been right about Midoriya-kun all along.
Not that any of the teachers actively disliked Midoriya, of course not! He was just a… troubled student. And, if Midoriya reported bullying… well, he did have a recent history of not always telling the truth.
Izuku didn’t want to go to school anymore.
Students tore through his worksheets with extendable fingers or clawed hands, purposefully spilled water on his books, pushed him down the hall as he walked. Not to mention the fact that no one would talk to him, except to play cruel pranks or insult him for existing.
Izuku almost started skipping school, but he knew that UA only accepted students with good grades and scores. UA probably wouldn’t even care about a few skipped days in this grade but he wouldn’t let him get into the habit…
During school hours, he threw himself into his analysis. He was filling up notebooks with notes and notes to escape from reality.
On the brighter side, he was going to be starting martial arts and gymnastics soon. He was so excited. He wasn’t so optimistic as to think he would actually make friends there, but it would be nice to learn. He heard there were parkour classes near the gymnastics studio, but those were 13+ with parental permission only. He would have to wait (and see if his mom approved) before he got into those. Gymnastics was a good start.
As far as he knew, no one from his school went to either of the activities, but he felt sick with anxiety over whether people would know he was quirkless there. Should he refuse to tell them what his quirk was? That would only make people think the worst. If he said he was quirkless, he might be bullied, like at school. And if he said his quirk was Apricot, the whole scheme would be liable to collapse around him once they found out he was legally quirkless…
Aizawa launched himself into the warehouse, catching two human traffickers in his capture weapon as other underground heroes broke into different areas. They’d been going after this organization for a long while, and some extra information from Tea Leaves had been exactly what was needed to nail this organization.
After the raid had finished, Aizawa pondered over Tea Leaves’ more recent warnings.
For the past few days Tea Leaves had seemed… kind of depressed?
Their warnings, while initially panicked, had smoothed into a type of enthusiasm, involving lots of exclamation points and the occasional grammar mistakes. He could almost imagine them yelling the warnings at him in real life. But recently, their messages had become… subdued, almost?
Aizawa hoped they were just having a few bad days that would resolve themselves soon. He resolved to send them an encouraging (as encouraging as he could muster, he wasn’t particularly good at cheering people up) message and see how they responded. They typically contacted people by email, right?
Your warnings have been appreciated and heeded. We waited to contact you thus far to ensure all the predictions would come true, and they did. The information provided was extremely valuable and resulted in the rescue of several individuals.
If you have anything else, please let us know.
Izuku blinked incredulously at the email. Eraserhead thanking him? It felt surreal. While no one could replace All Might as his favorite hero, Eraserhead was quickly rising in the ranks of the heroes he liked best. He doubted Eraserhead would value him so much if he knew he was quirkless, but…
As soon as I get any info I’ll send it to you! :)
He still felt warm inside. Izuku went to sleep with a peaceful smile on his face.
From Anzu, Izuku sometimes got advice on how to handle people, if they were directly involved in his life. He’d gotten ones about classmates occasionally, ones that told him they may never truly want to befriend him due to their own implicit biases.
That night, Anzu spoke of Eraserhead:
He’s a talented fighter
That much is true
But when he’s fighting
He’s fighting for you!
He may be scary
But he’s no threat
If you give him your trust
He’ll reward your bet.
Chapter 9: Triple Life
Deku the analyst gets his start, Izuku receives a strange prophecy about All Might.
Izuku was finally good at something!
Well, he knew he was good at a few things, like analysis and math, but he’d never had feelings of Competent and Good hit him so hard than recently. Doing Judo and Gymnastics was a fantastic idea.
In gymnastics, he was furtive about his quirk, implying that people made fun of him for it in the past. Meanwhile in martial arts, he just called his quirk Apricot. So far, no one had called him out on either, and people treated him well and fairly. It was addictive. He was still worried, but he was beginning to tentatively enjoy himself.
He was getting really good at all the beginner moves in Judo, and he thought he looked really cool doing flips and handstands in gymnastics. The flexibility and agility he was gaining from both sports turned out to be really helpful in his rescues.
Speaking of rescues, it seemed his sphere of influence had ‘expanded’ lately, so to say. He knew that his quirk would lead him places farther away as he became capable of visiting them (as he aged, he was allowed to go farther, he could walk farther, etc.) but it was never so obvious as it was now. At this point, his quirk was leading him so far out he had to jog to be back in time for dinner or curfew. He suspected his quirk was trying to make him do aerobic exercise, and it was working. He did lots of running and jogging, so he was gaining muscle in his legs and he could run for longer before he ran out of breath.
As he trained, he practiced his analysis. At this point, it had been about two years since his quirk had initially told him his quirk would be good enough to send off in one year, but Izuku was nervous it wouldn’t be good enough. He decided to wait so long because he wanted to be sure his skills were useful before he gave it to the heroes. Yesterday, Anzu told him he should just get on with it, so here he was, anxiously writing out his first official analysis.
As he scratched out his last few letters of it, he thought about how he would deliver it. He didn’t really want to do emails because it was too like Tea Leaves… in fact, he didn’t want to associate his analysis with Tea Leaves at all.
The reason for this was because if his analysis was actually bad (Anzu said it wasn’t, but Izuku still had his insecurities) then Tea Leaves would look incompetent, and if for some reason people got suspicious of Tea Leaves’ predictions, then they might not trust his analysis. Better not to cross-contaminate.
His analyses of heroes about the quirks, how they could improve, weaknesses they might not have thought of. They weren’t as immediate as Tea Leaves’ prophecies, so he was thinking he might mail them anonymously with no return address. It might take a few days to get there, but that was okay, and it would set his new identity apart from Tea Leaves.
Wait, what should my analysis alias be?
Izuku thought over it for a while, but all he could think of was that mean nickname his classmates called him, Deku. He was so accustomed to people calling him that if someone said “Deku” from across a noisy room he would turn to look. He shrugged. It would do. While he kind of wanted a cool nickname, he didn’t really think he deserved it. He was just a kid who thought he had a talent.
I hope this helps you in some way,
It took the rest of the day for Izuku to work himself up to mail his first packet of analysis, which was for the hero Snipe. After he did, he felt thrilled but also nervous, almost to the point where he regretted sending it. He resolved to not think about it (and start working on an analysis for someone else, like Mandalay or Midnight?) rather than dwell. It was what it was. … Besides, no one could contact Deku, so no one could tell him if he was doing a bad job.
He looked carefully through his notebook and thought about who his next analysis should be for. Hm… a hero with an interesting quirk…
His eyes landed on a sketch of Ms. Joke. Perfect.
Snipe carefully read through the packet from the mysterious analyst Deku. The information was both informative and actionable, but the formatting really felt like someone who had never held an office trying to send in Official™ paperwork.
He wondered vaguely who sent it.
“This had better not be Nedzu playing a prank again,” he mumbled to himself, already forming plans on how to incorporate the useful pieces into his hero work.
“The last topic for this meeting,” Sir Nighteye said, “is the informant Tea Leaves.”
“You got anything on him?” Rock Lock asked.
“No… but we wanted everyone to share their impression of him. We’re trying to build a profile. We’re not investigating officially, but it’d be nice to know what you think.”
“They seem legit to me,” Ms. Joke added. “Flighty, but most informants are. I’d guess he’s going anonymous because he’s scared of getting arrested.”
Mr. Brave nodded. “Whatever the case, I’m glad he’s sharing the information with us rather than keeping it to himself.”
“No kidding,” Aizawa said, thinking back to that kid he’d saved and some of the crimes he’d stopped. If Tea Leaves hadn’t said anything…
“They might be skittish around the police as well,” Rock Lock said. “Once Tea Leaves saw we were taking their warnings seriously, they stopped sending the information to all the local stations and just sent it to Musutafu PD, which is famous for dealing harshly with dirty cops.”
“Mm hmm,” Ms. Joke said. “Actually, they really seem to like reporting two types of crimes: attempted murders and rich people embezzlement.”
“My superiors appreciate how many white collar crimes we’ve been able to catch, actually,” Tsukauchi piped up. “At this rate I might get a raise.”
“Nighteye, whatever you’re planning, make sure not to antagonize Tea Leaves or scare him off,” Aizawa said. “I think we both know how invaluable the information he’s providing is.”
“Yes, I do know,” Sir Nighteye said. “I was thinking we should try to set up a meeting. He’ll probably refuse, but I want to make sure Tea Leaves is in a safe place. Or at least set up some way for us to check on him if he disappears and stops sending us messages.”
Aizawa nodded. “Good idea, but be careful.”
“I think that’s all we’ve got on the agenda…”
“One more thing,” Ms. Joke added. “Have any of you gotten anything like this?”
Across the table, she slid a thick packet. On the cover, it was written: Quirk Analysis for Ms. Joke, by Deku with a tiny scribble underneath that read, I’m so sorry if this is too presumptuous, hope it is helpful.
“What’s…” Rock Lock started, but Aizawa interrupted. “Snipe received one.”
“What is it?” Tsukauchi chimed in.
“It’s an analysis of my quirk, strengths, weaknesses, costume design…” Ms. Joke trailed off. “It’s actually a real feat of information gathering. The suggestions are really useful, too. I mean, a few things of what he said were wrong, but I think that was just because the exact mechanics behind my quirk aren’t publicly available, though he managed to guess most of them…”
“Someone knowing that much about you can be dangerous,” Rock Lock said, frowning. “Especially if they were a villain…”
“Yeah, but I don’t think a villain would give me constructive advice on my weaknesses,” Ms. Joke said.
“Yo, what was Nedzu’s opinion on Snipe’s?” Mr. Brave asked.
“He said it was likely made by someone who wanted to help, maybe a fan. Nedzu said that Snipe should appreciate it as a gift,” Aizawa said. “And that the advice was good.”
“And I got one too! Ooh!” Ms. Joke said, a grin spreading across her face.
“Any reports of other heroes receiving these?” Tsukauchi asked.
“Not as far as I know of,” Nighteye replied.
“Maybe he just made two,” Aizawa said.
(Elsewhere, Izuku was making a third.)
In the past few days, Izuku had gotten sucked into making more hero analyses. He was working on a few concurrently, and wanted to wait a bit before sending them (to edit and edit and edit and make sure they were perfect) but his initial apprehension had, for the most part, worn off. No one had showed up on his doorstep to tell him his work was terrible and it was offensive that he’d sent it at all, and while he was still afraid that would happen, it was dulled.
Actually, as he made hero analyses, he was getting cute little poems from Anzu about what heroes were like, but only when he was thinking about doing an analysis for them! It turns out some of them were worse people than he thought, others better! Though these prophecies weren’t a skill assessment, sometimes knowing someone’s circumstances or personality made it easier to cater your advice to them.
He did want to do a quirk analysis for All Might, his favorite hero, but no one knew what his quirk was and Izuku was having trouble puzzling it out. But luckily, the next day, he got a prophecy about All Might!
But it was a little weird…
All Might in truth is thin and frail
Someday his image is bound to fail
But hear now this certain truth:
He’ll pass his power on to youth.
All Might? Thin and frail? Well, Anzu did say ‘someday his image is bound to fail’... maybe he’s ‘thin and frail’ metaphorically because the Symbol of Peace can’t live forever?
There was also that ‘he’ll pass his power on to youth’ part. Izuku didn’t understand that, but maybe he would start teaching the next generation? Whatever his poem was talking about, it sounded inspirational.
Heh, usually Anzu wasn’t this vague! It was probably All Might’s mysteriousness rubbing off on his quirk. Silly Anzu!
Izuku wrote the poem down in his Prophecy Journal and put it out of his mind for now.
Thank you for all your kind comments! They make me feel talented, lol :)
Chapter 10: Deception
Middle school was coming to a close, and thank goodness it was. The bullying had only gotten worse over time, especially Bakugou’s. He had joy in his life, but it was essentially all in after school activities.
He’d stopped gymnastics about six months ago, but he thought he’d taken everything he needed to from it. It was incredibly enjoyable while it lasted, and learning all those tumbles and flips had been invaluable in his rescues, not to mention the improvements in flexibility and core strength. Partially he’d left because he learned most of what was being taught, and partially because after so long people were starting to pressure him to reveal his quirk, which he didn’t want to do.
He was still part of martial arts. He’d recently gotten his black belt (1st Dan!) but in Judo, that signified he was just starting to become a serious Judo athlete. He still had a ways to go, but he thought he could handle his own in a street fight, especially considering he’d been taking supplemental lessons in Taekwondo.
He’d never gotten around to the parkour lessons (his mother had balked at the idea of such a dangerous sport) and encouraged him to spend more time at martial arts instead. Whatever, it didn’t matter too much. He’d gotten good enough at climbing and jumping during his rescues to run along rooftops (in neighborhoods where the roofs were close together) even without official training.
Plus his morning runs! He loved those.
Tea Leaves seemed to be enjoying a positive reputation in the hero community, or at the very least a credible one. Sir Nighteye (Sir Nighteye himself!) had emailed him, asking for a meeting and if he was doing okay. Izuku was touched that Sir Nighteye believed in him, but he frankly wasn’t ready to reveal his identity. He assured Sir Nighteye that he was safe, and promised he wouldn’t go more than three weeks without an email unless something was wrong. If that amount of time went by and he didn’t respond, the heroes would look for him. He usually got info on a case once or twice a week.
He had no idea what was going on with the ‘Deku’ identity, but he had sent a few dozen analyses at this point. He hoped he wasn’t bothering anyone, but he couldn’t really know because he sent them by mail and there was no way for the heroes to contact him back. No one seemed to have connected Deku and Tea Leaves, though, just as he had intended.
“So as third-year students it’s time to start thinking seriously about your futures and what you want to do with your lives,” their teacher said. “I could pass out some career aptitude tests, but… why bother? I know you want to go to the Hero Track!”
The class cheered, and Izuku shrunk in his seat.
“Hey teach, don’t lump me in with this bunch of losers!” Bakugou sneered.
Izuku was trying not to pay any attention to anything, staring into his notebook. Just don’t listen, school will be over soon.
“-everyone will know who I am and it all starts with U.A. High!” Bakugou shouted
“Oh yeah, Midoriya, don’t you want to go to U.A. too?”
Why did you have to say that?
The class laughed and Izuku said nothing.
“Listen up, Deku!” Bakugou shouted. “You’re even worse than the rest of these damn rejects, you Quirkless wannabe! Not to mention the fact you’re a Quirkless liar. Why would they let you in when they could have me?”
“There might actually be another way… just pray you’ll be born with a quirk in the next life, and take a swan-dive off the roof of the building!”
Izuku bitterly walked home. Suicide-baiting was a new low for Kacchan. He was planning to take a different way home today, because when Izuku had awoken that morning, he got a particularly interesting prophecy:
Underneath the bridge today,
Fear the beast that blocks your way!
Danger, disappointment, and reward
Go hand in hand, the choice is yours.
But when he got to the path that was close to the bridge, he just… stopped. He stared into the opening. He didn’t want to deal with any danger, but… a potential reward? He wanted a reward. He wanted for something to go right today.
Then, a sludgelike form rose from the sewers. He and Izuku locked eyes. “A medium-sized invisibility cloak… exactly what I need,” the villain said, and Izuku began to panic. This was the danger! There was a large distance between them, so Izuku had a little time to prepare. He took a few steps back and fell into a fighting position. Just as the sludge villain was lunging forward, a form swooped in and punched the sludge villain with enough force to scatter him. “Never fear, citizen! For I am here!”
“A-All Might!?” Izuku gaped.
“Yes, it is I!” All Might said as he gathered the villain in a bottle.
Izuku had thought long and hard about what he wanted to ask All Might. “All Might, can someone with a weak quirk become a hero?” he blurted out. “Or somebody quirkless?”
“There’s no such thing as a weak quirk, kid!” All Might announced. “A quirk suited well for Heroics can give you an advantage, but it’s not an end-all be-all! I can’t speak to every quirk, but I would say they generally could. As for being a quirkless hero… I’m sorry to say, but it’s just not realistic. I would recommend the police force for saving people when it comes to that.”
“Ah, I see,” Izuku said, trying to hide his crushing disappointment. “Thank you.”
“Thank you for the questions, young man!” All Might said before running off, seemingly in a rush. For a brief moment, Izuku fantasized after running after him, making him take that back, but he squashed down the feeling.
Izuku knew he had a quirk. He did. But people called him quirkless for so long…
… that it felt like…
… that comment was about him…
Izuku trained viciously after Bakugou’s remarks and All Might’s dismissal. He finally got around to a little bit of weight training (now that he was old enough to do it without hurting himself), put in more hours at Judo and Taekwondo, spent extra time on analysis and rescuing. He used his rage to fuel him.
Honestly, Izuku was afraid about what U.A.’s entrance exam would consist of. He wanted to prepare, but Anzu only gave him advice for the day of events , which was a major limitation.
And even though Izuku did have a quirk, he didn’t have a physical quirk. His martial arts and acrobatics might give him an edge, but…
“... not realistic… ” “... swan dive…” “... useless Deku…”
Izuku put in a back-up application to General Studies.
Izuku watched a new provisional hero, LeMillion, fighting a minor villain in his Work Study. He scribbled in his notebook about LeMillion. His quirk is weird… before it almost seemed to be a type of intangibility, but now he seems to have some kind of really overpowered super strength? No matter how much Izuku puzzled over the quirk, it simply didn’t make sense to him. It was so unusual… it frustrated him, but excited him nonetheless. Not long after, Anzu gave him a clue about Mirio’s quirk.
Given to him by powerful source
Making Mirio quite the force
Born with one, he now has two
Twice as many quirks as you
And speaking of this secret quirk
You’re really not supposed to know
So pretend you don’t,
Let deception grow.
… so that was certainly interesting.
As the Entrance Exam approached, Izuku trained.
Martial arts, acrobatics, weightlifting, running, analysis. Studying, a little bit, for the written. He didn’t feel ready, but for the UA Entrance Exam, he would do his best.
Chapter 11: Victories and Failures
Izuku gets a prophecy for the Entrance Exam.
The morning of the Entrance Exam, he received his prophecy about it.
Act as a hero would,
Rescuing here and there
Attacking is important too
But kindness is to share.
It told him nothing about the nature of the exam, except that there would be attacking and rescuing in it, which was no real surprise. Izuku felt a wave of frustration but took a deep breath to calm himself. If Anzu thought this was the best advice to give, then it was. He wrote the poem down in his Prophecy Journal, noting the three main things he would need to do: act like a hero, rescue people, and share kindness. He would keep that in mind.
Izuku knew that just because his quirk advised him to do these things didn’t mean it would lead to him passing the exam. It would just lead him to the best possible outcome. If failing the exam was inevitable, this prophecy might be leading him to something else, like becoming someone’s friend.
He sighed. At this point, he just had to do his best.
He waved his mother goodbye, ignoring her half-pitying expression, and boarded the train to U.A.
Izuku stared up in awe at the U.A. buildings, completely missing a step. He tripped, nearly falling onto his face, but turning into a roll at the last second. For some reason, he felt himself go weightless, spinning upside-down. “Ahh!”
“Oh! I’m sorry!” a brown-haired girl said, gently setting him down. “I used my quirk, sorry for not asking first! I didn’t think you would catch yourself like that.”
“O-Oh, it’s fine!” Izuku said. “I just take gymnastics!”
“Well I’m glad you’re alright! This exam’s really nerve-racking, isn’t it?”
“Well, I guess I’ll see you inside!” she said.
Izuku paused. I just talked to a person! He puffed out his chest, proud of his social interaction skills, and marched into the exam room.
… and he was seated next to Bakugou. Great.
His disappointment and vague fear at that immediately evaporated after seeing it was Present Mic who was doing the announcing. Izuku muttered to himself about Present Mic’s radio show until Bakugou grunted, “Shut up”, to which Izuku sheepishly quieted down.
Then Present Mic explained the exam format, which was mock battles against robots.
Damn! My quirk can’t do anything against robots!
At least he was in a different battle center than Bakugou.
Good luck!” Mic yelled. “Hope you practiced hitting more than just books!”
Izuku wanted to go talk to that girl, but decided not to, channeling that focused feeling he got before his rescues. When Present Mic unexpectedly yelled, “Go!”, Izuku only hesitated a moment before he ran forward toward the Battle Center.
Izuku quickly scanned the battlefield for useful tools. He saw shrapnel and shredded robot pieces from what looked like a 3-pointer (must have taken a strong student to shred that) and under the assumption that the 3-pointers had the strongest armor… Izuku ran forward and grabbed a large piece of pointed metal, then broke from the crowd to investigate alleyways. He lunged forward, spearing a 1-pointer. It took him another moment to pull his weapon out of the crumpled metal, but he was right. This piece of metal he had could destroy 1-pointer armor easy enough if he used it as a spear.
He took out another three 1-pointers before going for a 2-pointer. He did manage to take it apart eventually, but it took significantly longer than any of the 1-pointers due to its toughness. He cursed to himself. He didn’t really have time to take out 2-pointers if they took that long and he didn’t know if going after exclusively 1-pointers would be enough…
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw some kid with blonde hair about to get hit with a piece of stray rubble. Before he could think, he tackled the kid out of the way. “Hey!” The kid yelled. “Mind your own business!” He dusted off his pants and ran off.
Rescue. I have to save people. Izuku suddenly remembered his real goal. He took out another 1-pointer on his way back to the main street, quickly scanning the examinees. He pulled one student out of a robot’s fire as he leapt to take on another robot. He continued this way, stealing 1-pointers or the occasional 2-pointer from whoever he could (letting the noise of this group of students draw the robots out) while pulling or pushing students out of the way of anything dangerous. Honestly, students seemed to be in more danger from one another’s misfired quirks or stray rubble than by the robots themselves.
(At one point, he saw that brown-haired girl lift some rubble off an examinee. Was she copying him?)
By the time eight minutes had passed, according to his counting he’d taken out sixteen 1-pointers and four 2-pointers. That was, what, 24 points in total? He doubted that was enough to get into U.A., judging by the scores other people were calling out. He’d also rescued plenty of students as Anzu had advised, but as far as he knew, that didn’t matter to his score. He barely had any time left…
“Who’s that one?” Vlad King pointed at a green-haired kid, who was running around and spearing robots.
“He’s making pretty good time, for not having an offensive quirk,” Present Mic commented. “And look, he just saved another kid! At the rate he’s going, he’ll probably get in on rescue points.”
“Might be a good fit for your class, Aizawa,” Vlad King said. “Hey, what’s his quirk?”
Nedzu glanced at his file. “He’s quirkless. How interesting!”
Vlad King and Present Mic both blinked in surprised.
“Are we really going to admit a quirkless kid to the hero course?” Vlad King wondered aloud.
Aizawa grunted. “Being quirkless represents a physical disadvantage, but he seems clever and resourceful. If he’s not a good fit for the hero course, I’ll expel him.”
Vlad King nodded.
The red button was clicked.
Izuku was thinking about what he could do next to gain whatever more points he could when he heard a giant crash. A gigantic green robot, looming over the battlefield. Is… is THAT the zero-pointer! It looked so much smaller on the brochure!
He turned to run when he heard a cry behind him. Izuku glanced and saw that nice girl from earlier, stuck under a rock and in the zero-pointer’s path.
She’s not in any real danger, it’s just a test. They wouldn’t let it trample her.
Anzu warned me I should focus on saving, not attacking.
While the other students ran away, Izuku ran towards her. He thanked every moment of exercise he’d ever done as he raced up to her and used his piece of metal as a wedge to lift the rock. He pulled her out, and with a burst of adrenaline, dragged her away from the zero-pointer at top speed. Izuku had no idea how far it was behind him, but at this point there was no time to look back.
“And, TIME! That’s it, folks!” Present Mic’s voice rang across the arena. The zero-pointer stopped moving behind him, and Izuku slowed to a stop.
“Are you okay?” Izuku asked, gasping for breath.
“Yeah, I’m fine! I can’t believe you saved me!” Uraraka said. “Darn, I hope I get in…”
“Me too,” Izuku said. “I didn’t get a lot of points.”
Recovery Girl (Recovery Girl herself!!!) came around to see if they were alright, and both of them were. Izuku went home a little dejected (24 points? Getting in would be a miracle…) and internally started to plan how he might handle U.A.’s Gen Ed. He knew there was a way to transfer to the Hero Course, but that it was a total pain and really difficult, and he’d miss a semester’s worth of learning hanging around General Studies…
He sighed. A problem for another day. He might as well just take himself out for ice cream for even managing to get this far.
He stretched and contemplated what exactly he should tell his mom about what went down during the exam so it sounded like he was close to getting in, but not getting her hopes up too high. Probably, “it went well, but U.A. is a really prestigious school, so I’m not sure if I’ll really get in.”
He sighed again. What a pain.
(Little did he know, Aizawa was already internally planning training alternatives for him for when the others worked on their quirks.)
Chapter 12: Acceptance
Izuku felt sick with anxiety the rest of the week. He tried to tell himself there was no point in being anxious because he already knew he failed, but that kind of thinking just didn’t work for him. On the day his results were due to arrive, however…
Just chill for the rest of today
You got into U.A., celebrate!
Izuku sat straight up in bed. I got in?! His anxiety was back full force. Anzu had never lied to him before, but did he really get in on 24 points? He felt a sense of hopeful anticipation creep into him.
At 6 pm (he had to wait nine hours!) the mail arrived. Izuku snatched the one addressed from U.A. and brought it up to his room. It was a heavy envelope with a disk inside. A little hologram emerged from the disk, showing Nedzu on the screen.
“Am I a dog, a mouse, a bear? More importantly, I’m the principal! And I’m here to tell you your results for the U.A. Entrance Exam!” Nedzu said cheerily. “Midoriya Izuku. On the written exam, you scored in the 98th percentile, definitely enough to qualify for the Hero Course or General Education!”
Izuku bit his lip. He’d known he did well on the written. That wasn’t the part of the test in question.
“As for the Physical Exam, you received a total of 24 Villain Points ... which unfortunately, isn’t enough to pass.”
Izuku felt a bitter, crushing disappointment. I’ll just have to do my best with Gen Ed…
“... or it wouldn’t be, if that were the only grading metric for the Physical Exam!”
Izuku’s attention snapped back to the disk.
“We also award points for rescuing other examinees! What kind of hero school would we be if we didn’t reward heroic actions!”
HELL YEAH! Anzu knew it!
“And for six total rescues, you received 43 Rescue Points! Altogether, that’s 67 points, more than enough to enter the Hero Course!” A scoreboard appeared, documenting the examinees’ scores. I’m in 5th?! “Congratulations, Midoriya Izuku,” Nedzu said, and the hologram shut off.
Izuku stared at the disk a few moments after the projection had stopped.
“I… did it,” Izuku said. “I did it!” He leapt from his chair and cheered. Swinging his door open, he ran downstairs, shouting, “Mom, I did it! I got into UA!”
His mother smiled back at him, a mix of weary sadness and subdued relief in her eyes. “That’s wonderful.”
Izuku tilted his head at her mellow response, realizing he didn’t specify (he told his mom how he’d applied for Gen Ed as well) and then said, “Ah! I didn’t just get into General Studies, I got into the Hero Program!”
At this, her eyes went wide with surprise. “The Hero Program?”
“Yep, I did it!” He grinned, putting his hands on his hips.
“I-” his mother seemed to struggle getting words out. “I’m glad you did, honey,” she seemed to settle on, her tone a bit resigned.
“Uh… yeah,” Izuku said, his mother’s lack of enthusiasm bringing his mood down. “We could go shopping for school supplies later?”
At the mention of school supplies and preparations Inko seemed to brighten a bit again. “Oh, yes! We can’t leave you without any pencils or folders on the first day of school! We should go on the weekend.”
Izuku nodded and went back up to his room, pondering his mother’s reaction. She’s probably still a bit concerned about me in the hero course because she thinks I’m quirkless… Damn! UA thinks I’m quirkless! What if they kick me out?
Izuku’s anxiety seized his heart. He couldn’t let his dream school kick him out! Should he tell them he had a quirk? What if they didn’t believe him? Would they accuse him of defrauding them and arrest him!? (Izuku knew that last thought was irrational, but that didn’t stop him from spiraling into it.)
If only there was anyone he could ask for advice… but there wasn’t anyone, because nobody knew about his quirk…
Ultimately, Izuku decided that he would just have to keep an ear out to see if Anzu gave him any advice about it, and if they didn’t say anything… well. He’d seen how revealing his quirk to people would go. What people thought of him after he told them. Attention-seeking. Delusional. Liar. Unless the school was expelling him because of his quirklessness, it might not be worth the risk…
He’d think about it.
Izuku spent most of the time up to the first day of school going on long runs to burn off excess energy and aggressively doing analysis so he wouldn’t have to think about his dream school expelling him over something that wasn’t even true. He did a few more analyses of UA teachers, to stay on-theme, though. He’d almost been through all the teachers there. He was doing one of Midnight when he heard that All Might would be working at UA.
He had… mixed feelings about that. He wasn’t intensely opposed to it, but he still wasn’t completely over what All Might had said about quirkless heroes. He felt complicated. He decided that he would consult his Prophecy Journal (The Secret Book of Anzu™) about the issue. He would see if he got any new All Might-related prophecies in the coming days…
Izuku looked over his riddles that included All Might, of which there were few. All Might was Izuku’s favorite hero, but most of Anzu’s suggestions were real-life applicable and he’d only ever met All Might once. He kept returning to the poem most explicitly about All Might:
All Might in truth is thin and frail
Someday his image is bound to fail
But hear now this certain truth:
He’ll pass his power on to youth.
Something bugged him about it. “He’ll pass his power on… ” Izuku mumbled to himself. Then, he glanced at the first part of Mirio’s poem:
… Given to him by powerful source
Making Mirio quite the force
Born with one, he now has two
Twice as many quirks as you…
It couldn’t be. Izuku took another look at Mirio’s new quirk in action, which was an EXACT replica of All Might’s quirk. Super strength… almost exactly identical to All Might’s in every way…
“All Might passed his power onto LeMillion,” Izuku whispered to himself. “LeMillion received his quirk from All Might! Is that why All Might is teaching at UA this year? Of course…!” Izuku could see why this was a major secret. Knowing that such a powerful quirk could be passed on? Knowing LeMillion to be All Might’s apprentice? Villains having this sort of information could be a disaster. And Izuku remembered the second half of Mirio’s prophecy:
… And speaking of this secret quirk
You’re really not supposed to know
So pretend you don’t,
Let deception grow.
He certainly wasn’t about to tell anyone. He would keep the secret close to his chest. This would make it much easier to write Mirio an analysis, though, if he wanted to! He’d never done it for a student, but Mirio’s quirk was so uniquely interesting, especially with this new super-strength twist…
As Izuku awoke for the first day of school, he received a scary message.
Your teacher is someone you can trust
In spite of that, impress him you must
If he ultimately finds it prudent
He’s not afraid to expel the students.
This was not the kind of stress Izuku needed in his life right now.
Chapter 13: Opaque
The first day of school.
His teacher would be willing to expel him? Izuku took a deep breath. Considering he was registered quirkless, “impress your teacher or get expelled” was probably the best he could have hoped for. At least his teacher was giving him a chance.
His mother was off at work as he left for school. Once upon a time, he’d imagined her proudly but tearfully fussing over him as he left for his first day UA, but…
Well, he loved his mother, but they just weren’t that close.
He arrived at UA, finding Class 1-A fairly easily. He tried to ignore how small the giant door made him feel, and walked into the classroom.
“Take your feet off that desk, now!”
“It’s the first and you’re already disrespecting this academy by scuffing school property, you cretin!”
Izuku glanced between the tall, intimidating boy with glasses and Bakugou.
This was going to be a disaster…
The tall kid glanced back and started marching up to him. Izuku backed away a little, a bit startled. “My name is Tenya Iida.”
“Ah, my name is Izuku Midoriya! It’s nice to meet you!” Izuku said, his voice going shrill at the end.
“Midoriya… you realized there was something more to the practical exam, didn’t you? You must be very perceptive! And I completely misjudged you. I admit, as a student you’re far superior to me!”
“Oh, I don’t think it’s like that,” Izuku said. He didn’t want to explain his quirk, but knowing he should rescue all came from Anzu. It was just his advantage, like Iida running fast. It wasn’t because he was perceptive or intelligent or anything like that…
“I recognize that messed up hair! Green boy!” the brown-haired girl from earlier said. “The way you ran towards that giant robot and managed to pull me out was amazing! You were like swoosh!” Her enthusiasm was infectious, and Izuku felt himself smile and blush. “Thank you so much! I didn’t think I was that cool,” he said.
“What do you think we’re doing today besides orientation? I wonder what our teachers are like! I can’t wait to meet everybody!”
“If you’re just here to make friends, you can pack up your stuff now.”
Izuku glanced and… that was definitely Eraserhead. In a sleeping bag. Aizawa-san is the teacher who’s totally willing to expel me?! Oh no, that would make our Tea Leaves-related working relationship so awkward… geez, talk about bad luck…
“It took eight seconds before you all shut up. That’s not going to work. Time is precious, rational students would understand that. Hello, I’m Shouta Aizawa, your teacher.”
The Quirk Apprehension test was the exact kind of test that Izuku’s quirk was terrible at dealing with. It favored physical quirks, and it was multiple parts, meaning his quirk (which used short prophecies) couldn’t tell him all the individual pieces and how to overcome them, because it would just be too much information to fit in a single prophecy. Anzu had been reduced to simply warning him to impress his teacher. He wasn’t sure how he was supposed to impress him with this. He could try increasing his score by cleverly leveraging equipment, whether his teacher would consider him intelligent or consider him cheating was a gamble. He didn’t know Aizawa’s teaching methods well enough to judge.
He puffed out his chest and promised himself he was going to avoid last place with sheer athleticism.
Izuku came 2nd in the seated toe-touch (just behind Hagakure) due to his flexibility from Gymnastics. His turn was right after Bakugou and beat him by 10-something places. Bakugou snarled and jumped at him, but Aizawa pulled him back with his capture scarf and gave him a stern warning not to attack his classmates.
… Izuku was happy that his teacher would defend him, but put it down to UA teachers not wanting to be unprofessional. He’d had many teachers before who would defend him from obvious attacks (so they could have legitimacy) but let the more insidious ones go unchecked. He’d have to see if that’s where Aizawa landed.
For the 50-meter dash, he ended up outspeeding essentially everyone who didn’t have a quirk-related advantage, but unfortunately, most people managed to find a way to use their quirk to make them faster. The distance run was another one of his best categories. He lost to people like Iida, Yaoyorozu, Bakugou… but due to his history of running, he managed to make an extremely good time.
His grip-strength, standing long jump, and side steps were all below average. He did quite well on the sit-ups, his core strength increased by years of martial arts. Last, of course, was the ball throw. “I haven’t seen him use his quirk,” Izuku heard Ashido whisper. “What do you think it is?”
Bakugou scoffed. “He hasn’t got one, quirkless Deku. I’m not sure how he got in.”
Aizawa raised an eyebrow. “Deku?”
Bakugou huffed. “It’s a nickname. Everybody called him Deku in middle school.”
Aizawa seemed to realize something. “I see.”
Wait… he surely isn’t thinking about Deku with the analysis, right? He probably doesn’t even know about Deku, I certainly haven’t sent him an analysis.
Izuku threw the ball, which went a good distance for someone without a quirk but rather below-average compared to the other 1-A students. Then, he went back to his seat, hoping that score would be enough. I bet Aizawa was just thinking about how I was useless, not that I’m the Deku. Right?
“Midoriya, see me after class,” Aizawa said, and Izuku’s heart sunk.
He must want to expel me in private so UA doesn’t look prejudiced.
The scores showed up on the board. To his surprise, Midoriya saw he came in 16th, above people like the invisible girl and the electricity boy. Probably his seated toe-touch, sit-ups, and running scores that boosted him that high. The one in last place was this short purple kid called Mineta Minoru, who looked tearful.
“And by the way I was lying. No one is going home today.”
Everyone stared up at him in shock. As Yaoyorozu started talking about how it was obvious Aizawa wouldn’t expel anyone, Izuku glanced at Aizawa, who was watching her, bemused. He would totally expel anyone who he thought was unworthy… but it looks like he’s okay with everyone here.
“Mineta, however. Don’t think I didn’t hear the comments you made, all of which were wildly inappropriate. If I hear anything about any harassment, I won’t hesitate to actually expel you. UA takes these kinds of things very seriously.”
Mineta was quick to nod in agreement.
As class was dismissed, Izuku walked nervously beside Aizawa back to the classroom. Once they were there, Aizawa fished something out of a folder and passed it over to him. “Recognize this?”
It was his analysis of Present Mic.
Aizawa sighed. Then, he pulled out a copy of Izuku’s written test for the Entrance Exam. “As you can see, the handwriting is the same,” he said, pointing between them.
“O-okay, fine. I wrote it,” Izuku said, suppressing a pout. “I-I’m sorry if it’s bothered anyone… I can stop…”
“No, that’s not it,” Aizawa said. “Nedzu wanted to meet you.”
Then it was a walk to Nedzu’s office. Izuku felt like he was about to spontaneously combust and melt at the same time. He just did not want to talk to Nedzu. He knew he was an intelligent animal and a hero, but more importantly, Izuku also knew he was a high school principal. Izuku didn’t have a significant amount of faith in high school principals.
He wanted to immediately blurt out, Am I expelled!? as he came in but he refrained. That would be impolite and he didn’t want to make himself expelled if they weren’t planning that already.
“Ah, Midoriya, sit!” Nedzu said cheerfully.
Izuku awkwardly and stiffly took a seat.
“So I hear that you’re the one that’s been giving out hero quirk analysis, is that right?”
“Yeah,” Izuku said, sounding quiet even to himself.
“They’re quite thorough! Certainly something for a teenager. Why did you decide to make them?”
“I made them as a hobby, because I enjoy it,” Izuku said. “And I sent them-” because Anzu told me to, “-because I thought I might as well. And since there’s no return address nobody would be able to tell me I was doing a bad job.”
Nedzu smiled. “A game of chess?” He slid a chessboard across the table.
“Uh… okay…” Izuku said, unsure of what Nedzu had to gain from playing chess with him, and also feeling intensely as if he were about to disappoint Nedzu. While the two played chess, Nedzu occasionally threw questions at him about certain heroes and their quirks. It was all very conversational, and Izuku felt himself relaxing, letting himself go on little rants about quirks. Izuku lost to Nedzu in chess, predictably, but he was feeling a little bit better.
“Mr. Nedzu… do you want me to stop sending those packets to heroes?” Izuku asked.
Nedzu shook his head. “No need! All the heroes I’ve spoken to have appreciated receiving one.”
“Really,” Nedzu said with a nod. Then, he glanced at the clock. “It has been a bit of time! Perhaps we should have you getting home.”
“Yeah! Thanks. So, I’m not expelled?”
Nedzu looked surprised for a second. “No, you’re not expelled.”
Izuku sighed in relief. “Good.” It would have been bad to be expelled on the first day. With that, Izuku waved Nedzu goodbye and started trekking back home. He wished he’d had a little more time to socialize with his new classmates (see which new classmates were threats to him and which ones weren’t) and evaluate their quirks, but he could always do that this upcoming week. And the principal seemed almost… nice, even. He was glad that had turned out okay.
“So, what’d you think of him?” Aizawa asked.
“He’s very interesting. Obvious self-confidence issues, it seems. But he’s extremely talented in the area of analysis, especially for his age. The fact that he applied to UA was a stroke of good fortune on our part. I would highly recommend against expulsion.”
“I wasn’t planning to expel him,” Aizawa said.
“Good.” Nedzu glanced down at the chessboard. “He’s awful at chess, though.”
Chapter 14: Danger Zone
Anzu warns Izuku about All Might's Battle Training.
The poem associated with his second day of school wasn’t much better than the first.
In the afternoon, a heroics exercise
And the one you face is Bakugou
But your safety he will jeopardize
So complain when he’s assigned your foe!
Reject the pairing, let your teacher know!
Izuku groaned and buried his face in his hands. How was he going to convince the teachers he couldn’t be paired with Bakugou? Would explaining their past ‘history’ together be enough, or would he have to explain his quirk?
… Maybe he ought to call in sick…
No, he didn’t want to waste a single day at UA. If he was to become a great hero, he needed to take every opportunity to improve.
It probably wouldn’t be a big deal. He would just tell whoever was teaching that they really couldn’t be partnered because of… their history, and stuff! If he insisted hard enough they would probably listen…
Izuku went to school and found that Uraraka and Iida waved to him on the way in! He shyly waved back. They didn’t even hesitate, and he knew they’d heard he was quirkless from Bakugou yesterday…
And! His teachers! Midnight, Present Mic, Cementoss, Ectoplasm! It was absolutely amazing to see them in person, doing something as mundane as teaching. However, he couldn’t help but feel a building sense of dread as the end of the day approached.
“I AM HERE! Coming through the door like a normal person!”
Was that… All Might?
Izuku couldn’t help but grin slightly despite the way All Might had shot down the idea of quirkless heroes. He still felt a little bit of awe looking at him, leftover from an entire childhood of admiring the man.
Then, Izuku’s stomach twisted when he remembered he was going to have to talk to All Might about not being paired with Bakugou.
The class went and got their hero costumes. Izuku’s was made of a lightweight and protective but flexible material, in gray-and-black, with pouches to hold first aid equipment and potentially weapons in the future. Izuku didn’t know how to use any weapons right now so he hadn’t requested any, but at least he knew his costume was somewhat protective. The other thing he’d requested was that his boots and gloves be reinforced with steel, to increase the power of his punches and kicks.
When he put it on, he was satisfied with it and went over to class. All Might explained the exercise, telling the class how the villains would need to protect the bomb while the heroes needed to capture it. Izuku found himself being paired with the nice girl, Uraraka, on Team A.
“Wow, what are the chances! We’re a team!”
Midoriya couldn’t help but smile. “Heh, yeah!”
“And Team A as the heroes will be put against…”
Team D, because it has Bakugou on it.
“... Team D as the villains!”
Bakugou shot him a dangerous glare. Great.
After All Might pulled all the teams, Izuku awkwardly shuffled over to him and said in a near-whisper, “Um, All Might-sensei?”
“Yes, young… ah, Midoriya, was it?”
“Yeah, uh… I’m not sure I should fight against Kacch- I mean Bakugou. We have a bit of a history together, that’s not pleasant?” Izuku said.
“Ah, understandable! You are both UA students now, however, and must put your studies above any problems you might have with each other! Perhaps this would be a good way to work out your problems?” All Might suggested.
“U-uh, I don’t… I don’t think so, I think he’s going to target me specifically,” Izuku said.
“I doubt any UA student would go to such lengths! However, I will keep a close eye on your match,” All Might said.
“Okay,” Izuku said, dropping the issue, even though he still didn’t feel comfortable about it. With a quirk called Explosion, Bakugou could do serious harm very fast. On the other hand, All Might was probably faster. While Izuku could see why All Might would assume no new UA student would try to pull anything… well, he didn’t know Bakugou.
“I’m glad he’s not threatening us with some kind of punishment like Mr. Aizawa. Now we can relax-- ah, you look so nervous!” Uraraka said.
“Oh, I’m just worried about fighting Kacchan…” Izuku said shyly. “He’s… we don’t have the best history together.”
“He’s the one who makes fun of you, right?” Uraraka said.
“Yeah…” Izuku said. “I’m pretty sure he plans to maim me somehow. But I’m not going to let him do that! We should…” Izuku felt a rush of unexpected competitive spirit. “... we should win this! Show him what we’ve got!”
“So this is a fated battle between rivals, huh?” Uraraka said.
“Oh, I didn’t mean to get you caught up in my stuff…”
“You kidding? We’re a team! Let’s win this!”
“Thanks,” Izuku said. “We should… think about strategy.”
“Oooh, you’re right! What’re you planning?” Uraraka asked.
“Both Iida and Kacchan are smart, and the smart thing to do would be to send Iida after the both of us, because he’s so fast. Kacchan will probably stay and guard the bomb,” Izuku explained.
“Hm… so if we have to face Iida first if he finds us, right? Do you think we could beat him?”
Izuku considered his martial arts and Uraraka’s Zero Gravity. “I think we could, with a little strategy… it would obviously be a lot more difficult to outrun him. If we could capture him then we could double-team Kacchan, one of us could distract him while the other gets the weapon. We’d have to catch Iida fast, though, or we might run out of time.
“Yeah!” Uraraka said. “Let’s do this!”
They decided to go in through the main floor, because they didn’t want Uraraka to waste her quirk, as Uraraka said she wasn’t very good at using her quirk on herself.
They were walking through the second floor when Bakugou attacked.
Shoot! I miscalculated… Kacchan may be smart and an excellent tactician, but I guess that doesn’t override his desire to chase me around! He looks so angry!
“Uraraka, go!” Izuku yelled. “Forget the plan, find the weapon!” Izuku was pretty sure they would run out of time if they spent too long with Bakugou, so he’d just have to distract him while Uraraka went for the win.
“I won’t have to hurt you so bad they’ll have to stop the fight! Just close!” Bakugou shouted, running towards him.
He always leads with a right hook! Izuku grabbed Bakugou’s arm and flipped him, landing him on his back. He was quick to try to rise and hit him with another explosion, but Izuku dodged it with ease.
Uraraka was running away towards where the bomb likely was, and Izuku saw Bakugou glance back at her. Is he tempted to run after her and stop her from reaching Iida? We can’t have that… Izuku took a deep breath and decided to do something stupid.
“Hey, Kacchan!” Izuku yelled. “You’ve always hated me because I’m weak, right? Well I got into UA too! How does it feel that somebody who’s quirkless is just as strong as you!” Then, Izuku turned tail and ran in the opposite direction as fast as he could. He heard a roar of rage behind him, along with the sound of explosions. Oh shit, I shouldn’t have done that, keep running, keep running!
“GET BACK HERE DEKU!” Bakugou’s voice echoed through the building.
Izuku skidded to a stop. Dead-end. A window, but…
“Do you know how my quirk works, Deku?” Bakugou’s voice was dangerous. “I secrete a nitroglycerin-like sweat from my hands and make it blow up. Imagine what I could do if I had a lot of it stored up!”
Izuku glanced behind him. So this is what my quirk meant!
“That’s right, these gauntlets aren’t just for show!”
Izuku heard All Might through the earpiece: “Don’t, you’ll kill him!”
“He’ll be fine so long as he dodges!” Bakugou pulled the trigger on his gauntlet. Izuku thought fast. Escape through the window! Izuku threw the window open and scaled down the side of the building as fast as he could as a massive explosion rang out above him. The building shook, and Izuku fell the remaining five feet left to the ground. “Uff…” Izuku glanced above him, and saw rubble flying everywhere. Izuku ducked, using his arms to shield his head from debris.
His head wasn’t what he should have shielded. While his hero costume was durable and protected him against most of the rubble that landed on him, it didn’t extend to his neck. Izuku let out a warbled cry as several shards of broken glass embedded themselves into the side of his neck.
He waited for a moment to hear a response from All Might. “Bakugou! Use that stored up power again and I’ll stop this fight! Your team will lose! To use such a strong attack indoors is inviting the destruction of the stronghold you should be protecting!”
That’s… that’s it? Izuku had expected All Might to end the fight. The video cameras might not be high-definition enough to see the broken glass in my neck… he probably thinks I’m fine… Izuku looked up and saw Bakugou, angrily glaring down at him from the second floor.
“All Might, I have shards of broken glass in my neck. I can’t continue!” Izuku said through the earpiece.
“Oh no! Deku, are you okay?” Uraraka said, sounding worried.
Izuku heard All Might over the intercom. “This match is currently suspended! Participants, please stop fighting!”
“LIKE HELL!” Izuku heard Bakugou yell. “Deku’s not getting away with this!”
Bakugou used his explosions to fly down to the ground, delivering a blow to Izuku’s chest. Izuku heard All Might say something through the intercom, but his hearing and vision narrowed until the world melted away, and all he could focus on was Bakugou. Kacchan. Fight Kacchan.
Izuku put Bakugou on the ground with a single-leg takedown from Judo, then pinned him on his stomach. He wrapped the capture tape around one of his arms, and held Bakugou’s hands together behind his back in practiced, fluid motions.
“DEKU!” Bakugou snarled, thrashing and attempting to escape. Bakugou set off a series of explosions. They burned Izuku’s hands, which he was using to pin Bakugou’s wrists. The pain was distant through the adrenaline, and Izuku did not falter.
“Young Bakugou, cease that at once!” With a rush of wind, All Might was at Izuku’s side. Bakugou scowled and made a low, growling sound, but his explosions cut off. Izuku didn’t let him go. Fight Kacchan fight kacchan fight kacch-
“Young Midoriya, let’s get you some medical attention,” All Might said. A robot with a stretcher seemed to materialize out of nowhere, and, shakily, Izuku let Kacchan go and laid down on it.
“-ird-degree burns to his hands, second-degree burns on his wrists and arms. Thank god those glass shards missed the arteries in his neck. Toshinori, what happened?”
Izuku was half-awake, listening to a voice that seemed far away.
“Young Midoriya informed me about the glass shards in his neck, so I called off the match. Young Bakugou continued to attack, giving him the burns on his arms.”
“That’s completely unacceptable. You need to speak with his homeroom teacher to have him disciplined.”
“To be fair to young Bakugou, his comm was not attached to Midoriya’s, so he did not know that the reason for the match being called off was the glass in his neck…”
“Hmph. If he had known about the glass and still attacked, I’d be petitioning Nedzu to have him expelled. Still, that initial reckless explosion, disobeying your instructions, and inflicting third degree burns in a training match?! It’s absolutely…”
“Urgh,” Izuku groaned, blinking awake. He saw Recovery Girl and a skinny blonde man in his room.
“Ah, you’re awake? ” Recovery Girl said.
Izuku noticed the pain in his neck and arms were gone, though his hands still hurt slightly. “Um, good morning.”
“Good afternoon, more like,” Recovery Girl said, with a tsk sound. “School got out about ten minutes ago. Take it easy, and tomorrow morning I’ll heal the rest of the burns on your hands. They were too severe to heal in one go.”
“Uh, thank you Recovery Girl.” Izuku glanced over at the strange blonde skinny man. “Who are-”
A prophecy popped into his mind.
All Might in truth is thin and frail
Someday his image is bound to fail
… his eye color, hair color, hair length, and height were exactly the same as All Might.
… he was wearing an oversize shirt, one that would fit All Might if he ‘deflated’.
And didn’t I just hear this guy say ‘When I called off the match’? *All Might* called off the match. So that means…
Both Recovery Girl and All Might froze.
“Young man… why would you think that?” All Might said, face slightly pale.
Judging by their reactions, this skinny guy was definitely All Might.
“Because you look just like him,” Izuku said.
“We just have a resemblance,” All Might said, lying. “But we’re not related. I’m a different teacher at this school.”
“Uh, sure,” Izuku said, shrugging. “Who are you then?”
“My name is Yagi Toshinori,” All Might said.
“Nice to meet you,” Izuku said.
“We plan to speak to your homeroom teacher tonight about what happened with Bakugou,” Recovery Girl promised.
“Thanks,” Izuku said, not believing any consequences would actually happen to Bakugou, but appreciating the fact that at least they were cognizant enough to put up a veneer of decency. Izuku spontaneously decided to take advantage of the fact that these two were trying to convince him that the skinny man wasn’t All Might. “I just wish All Might had listened to me,” Izuku said with a false sigh.
“Huh?” Recovery Girl said.
“Well, I told him that I shouldn’t fight Kacchan because we have a really bad past together and that Kacchan would probably try to injure me on purpose. He said it would be fine but here we are,” Izuku said, shaking his head. He could barely hide a grin when Recovery Girl shot a very obvious glare at the skinny man who was not supposed to be All Might.
“Thank you for letting us know that, dearie,” Recovery Girl said. “We’ll be certain to let All Might know to take your concerns more seriously in the future.” She gave All Might another pointed look.
“I appreciate it,” Izuku said. “I should probably go home now.”
“Of course. Please, do nothing strenuous with your hands, they need to heal,” she said.
When he got home, Izuku plopped into bed, exhausted and yawning. A product of Recovery Girl’s drain on his stamina and his own general exhaustion, he fell asleep almost immediately, despite the fact that it wasn’t even dinnertime. He ended up waking up hungry at around 3AM the next morning. … And he received yet another ominous prophecy:
An alarm bell will ring loud and clear
It’s a warning that villains are here
If you don’t interfere, they’ll soon disappear
With information for their premiere!
First dealing with Bakugou, now actual villains?! Izuku honestly was having terrible luck with UA.
Thanks for reading everybody! I appreciate the kind comments :)
Chapter 15: Rolling Dice
It's his third day at UA, and Izuku knows villains are trying to sneak in for information. Meanwhile, apologies and consequences are laid down.
An alarm bell will ring loud and clear
It’s a warning that villains are here
If you don’t interfere, they’ll soon disappear
With information for their premiere!
So. The villains are going to break into UA for information. If he does nothing, they’ll get it. Hm. He needs to try to stop the villains, but not himself. He should send the teachers after them… they were trained to handle villains, after all.
He sighed and thought over the issue as he quickly got dressed. He’d risk being late, but he had to stop by the library to submit this as Tea Leaves. No one knew Izuku Midoriya had a quirk like this. Izuku quickly swung by the library, typed out a quick email as Tea Leaves indicating that villains would try to steal information at UA today and that any alarms should be considered with the utmost seriousness. Then, he rushed to get to UA. The media was blocking the entrance and Izuku barely managed to get to class before it started.
“I’ve spoken with All Might and reviewed the footage of your battle training,” Aizawa said as class began. “Bakugou.”
“You’re barred from participating in training exercises, effective immediately. You will only be allowed to observe.”
“Attacking Midoriya after All Might called off the match was completely unacceptable, not to mention the severity of the burns you inflicted,” Aizawa said sternly. “This goes for all of you. I expect you to conduct yourselves in a responsible manner. If you don’t have the maturity to safely take part in these training exercises then you will be excluded from them. Understood?”
“Yes, Aizawa-sensei!” the class responded.
“You can’t just-” Bakugou started, but Aizawa raised a hand to silence him.
“Bakugou, you will speak with me after class to discuss the specifics of your punishment, but you can expect it to involve multiple detentions, an essay on your mistakes, and an apology to Midoriya,” Aizawa said. “Once all of these things have been completed to my satisfaction, you will have the opportunity to participate in training exercises again. Do not make me regret refraining from expelling you altogether.”
Bakugou scowled and crossed his arms. He muttered something under his breath, but Aizawa ignored it. “Now let’s get down to homeroom business. Sorry about the late notice, but today I’ll have you decide on a class representative.”
Midoriya sat with Iida and Uraraka at lunch.
“I can’t believe Aizawa-sensei actually punished Kacchan,” Midoriya said, stuffing his mouth full of rice.
“Of course he would!” Iida said. “Using your quirk so recklessly is unacceptable, especially in such a prestigious institution as UA!”
“I was really worried about you after you got hurt in your match!” Uraraka said. “I’m glad you’re okay.”
“Thanks,” Midoriya said, feeling touched.
“And now you get to be the class representative!”
“I can’t believe I got that position either,” Midoriya said, in disbelief. “Who voted for me?” Iida and Uraraka both smiled sheepishly at that.
They talked a little bit more about being class rep, and then it was revealed that Iida was the brother of Ingenium. Izuku smiled widely at that. He should do an analysis for Ingenium!
Then, the alarm went off. Students started panicking, rushing out of the cafeteria and generally causing havoc. Izuku was swept up in the crowd. Suddenly, Iida was on top of the emergency exit sign. “Everyone, calm down! It’s just the media!” With that and a bit of lecturing about how they shouldn’t be panicking, Iida managed to calm everyone down.
Except. Except Izuku knew that it wasn’t just the media. Anzu had told him. Even as they made their way back to class, even as the teachers dismissed the alarm as the media just as Iida had, Izuku felt on edge. Are they just lying to the students to reassure them? Aizawa must have gotten my email… He would have contacted All Might too because he was a teacher, but Tea Leaves didn’t have a contact in All Might’s agency anymore. While he could contact Sir Nighteye directly (Izuku still felt a bit dizzy about having that power), Sir Nighteye had gone off and formed his own agency a few years back.
In his desperate wondering over whether or not UA had gotten his message, if the villains had hurt anyone or gotten the information or what, it never occurred to him that Iida would be a great class rep. Midoriya was so busy with they’re wrong it wasn’t just the media it was villains we’re all going to die this is terrible that he just never thought of it. So, by the day’s end, Midoriya still held the position of class representative.
As Izuku started walking home, there was a sudden rush of wind and All Might stood before him. “Young Midoriya,” he said, uncharacteristically serious, “I must apologize.”
“In your training exercise… I should not have paired you and young Bakugou together. As your teacher, I should have trusted your judgement when you said it was a bad idea for you to fight Bakugou. It was my short-sightedness that ultimately caused your injury.”
“Oh, it’s fine, All Might…” Izuku said nervously.
“And I also wanted to apologize for what I said to you underneath the bridge, that day,” All Might said.
“You remember that?” Izuku winced. He’d had hoped he’d forgotten.
“I do, and I regret what I said. You reminded me of myself, when I was younger,” All Might said, looking a bit sheepish.
“Yourself??” Izuku was confused.
“My quirk came in very late, even for that time,” All Might said. “Everyone thought I would never get a quirk. But I still wanted to be a hero, even though everyone told me it was impossible. When you asked me that question, I thought back to myself, as a child.”
“Yes. And in truth I never would have been able to become a hero without my quirk. I was determined, but I lacked the skills I would have needed,” All Might admitted.
Izuku gaped at his words.
All Might shook his head with a sigh. “But you aren’t me, and just because I wouldn’t have been able to be a hero quirkless doesn’t mean the same applies to you. I should have known that from the start. Young Midoriya, quirk or not, I think you can be a hero.”
Izuku’s eyes filled with tears. “Y-you r-really mean it?!”
Izuku tackled All Might in a hug.
Izuku felt so happy. He made All Might change his mind! His happiness and glee overshadowed any feelings of embarrassment he’d gotten about crying and randomly hugging the Symbol of Peace, but All Might had assured him it was fine and gave him a pat on the head. He got a head-pat from All Might! Izuku hadn’t been sure he would ever respect All Might as much again, but to hear something like that from him was so valuable…
All Might knew he was quirkless, but he actually apologized for what he said and not listening to him about Bakugou. Multiple times even, after Izuku gave him that hug. Despite the whole villains-infiltrating-UA-for-information, maybe today wasn’t such a bad day after all.
Izuku passed by the library on his way home, noticing a response from Aizawa in his inbox.
I didn’t look at this email until after school today. In the future, I’ll check it before heading to work to ensure nothing like this happens again. Despite the fact we failed to prevent the break-in, it was very helpful to know the reason behind it even in retrospect. Do you have anything on the exact information the villains were looking for, or who they were?
In addition, I’ve noticed you always provide the information on the morning of the event. If you’re receiving it before then, it would be helpful to have a few days notice for events like these.
Izuku bit his lip. Anzu’s one-day limit was pretty obvious after so many warnings. He sighed. At least Aizawa said he’d check his email in the morning so he wouldn’t miss any future emails. He penned his response.
I’m not sure what information they were after. Also, there’s a specific reason I only warn you the day-of. Trust me, if I could get you the information sooner I would, but I can’t.
Good luck finding the villains,
Izuku sighed. Wow, his third day of school had been absolutely full of ups and downs. Hopefully his fourth day would be a bit less turbulent.
(The fourth day at UA is the USJ by the way.)
Hope you enjoyed!!
Chapter 16: Snake Eyes
Izuku gets a prophecy about the USJ.
everyone seemed pretty torn about All Might
me: what if All Might said sorry
part of comments section: oh that's so cute
other part of comments section: NO FORGIVENESS, OFF WITH HIS HEAD
I love you guys, lol. This is all very entertaining. (I suppose it means did a pretty good job inspiring all of you against All Might in the first few chapters.)
His fourth day of school was probably the worst yet.
The first day he got a poem about potential expulsion. Not completely unexpected, his teacher was a little trigger-happy with expulsions and he was quirkless.
The second day he got a poem about Bakugou severely maiming him. Not completely unexpected. Pretty bad luck, but Bakugou was just like that.
The third day he got a poem about villains successfully pulling off a sneaky infiltration. Completely unexpected. Has anyone managed to successfully break into UA ever? However, the poem gave no indication that anyone would be hurt or that there would be a major fight.
His fourth day of school?! He got fucking this!
Your rescue training forms a trap
Villains exploit a security gap.
As you enter, the stage is set.
All Might is late (and for that contrite)
He misses most the event outright.
Thirteen quickly loses their fight
Hopefully they’ll be alright?
Aizawa Shouta, the teacher left
Is of advantage and allies, bereft…
He fights on, though he fights alone
With his flesh, his blood and bone.
A villain attack?! Were these the same villains, or maybe different villains just exploiting the same security problem? What was UA even doing…
Okay. What did he know? He grabbed one of his hero analysis notebooks, ignoring all his usual organization systems, and opened a new page.
- Villains attack our rescue training (a trap for class 1-A? Who is the target?)
- All Might is late, missing most of the fight
- Thirteen loses against the villains quickly (maybe not alright?)
- Poem makes it sound like Aizawa is going to die!
- No students mentioned (do they escape? Are they injured?)
“I’ll have to report this through Tea Leaves, I can’t risk someone not believing Izuku Midoriya,” Izuku muttered. “Though if Tea Leaves is ignored or accidentally missed again, I’ll have to take drastic action to prevent us from going and doing the rescue training. Sabotage everyone’s costumes, set something on fire, slash tires…” Izuku mumbled to himself as he wrote the email.
To: Aizawa Shouta
CC: Sasaki Mirai, Fukakado Emi, Tagaki Ken, Musutafu PD Tip Line
Villains will attempt to infiltrate Class 1-A’s rescue training today. Please take this warning with the utmost seriousness. I don’t know the number or strength of the villains, just that the attack will occur.
Apologies for the lack of detail,
Izuku sent it. Then, shakily, he gathered up his books and went to school. I sent it to five people and yesterday Aizawa promised he would check his email. They’ll notice it.
Izuku went to school and was only able to weakly greet Iida and Uraraka on the way in. His anxiousness was through the roof. How was he supposed to focus on mathematics when he knew there was going to be a literal villain attack today? He huffed a breath. He was running into this problem a lot lately… was he going to have to get used to working while incredibly stressed when he kn ew something bad was going to happen but he couldn’t change anything because he can’t tell people his quirk because no one would believe him and-
“Midoriya, pay attention to the lesson,” Ectoplasm gently chastised.
Izuku flushed. “Sorry, sensei!”
Izuku sighed. He wasn’t sure how he’d done it, but somehow he had an entire notebook full of notes, barely any memory of the day, and it was almost time for Foundational Heroics, which would be the logical time to do rescue training.
“For today’s hero basic training, it’s turned into a class with three instructors, All Might and me, and one more person. In addition…”
“HEY!!” Present Mic shouted, having been standing behind the door.
“... Present Mic and Ectoplasm will come along to supervise.”
If that third person is Thirteen, that means they have five teachers now: All Might, Thirteen, Aizawa, Present Mic and Ectoplasm. Will it be enough?
“Hey! What will we be doing!” Sero shouted.
“Disasters, shipwrecks, and everything in-between. It’s rescue training. You can decide if you want to wear your costume or not this time, because there are probably costumes that limit your abilities, too. The training will take place off-campus, so we’re taking a bus. That is all. Start getting ready.”
Izuku heard Bakugou scoff angrily in the background. (Bakugou wasn’t allowed to participate, was he?) Regardless, Izuku was definitely bringing his costume. He fidgeted awkwardly and waited for the bus to arrive. “When it arrives. Let us board the bus in an orderly manner!” Iida announced unprompted. Uraraka grinned, nodding and bouncing happily. “Yeah! And I’m so excited we get to do rescue training! Deku…”
“Hey, why do you call him Deku?” Kirishima asked. “It’s not nice to make fun of him, you know.”
“Oh, I definitely didn’t mean it that way!” Uraraka said, shaking her head quickly. “To me it sounded like a cute nickname. Reminded me of Dekiru, you know, you can do it!”
Oh. That was nice. Izuku hadn’t really thought very hard about her calling him Deku (everybody did at his old school) but he couldn’t help but smile and blush. “You can call me that if you want.”
“Aw, that’s so manly!” Kirishima announced. Then, the bus arrived, and Izuku’s anxiety returned in full force. He’d forgotten for a moment how dangerous things were going to be. He got on the bus and spent the whole time biting his tongue as the other students chatted happily about their excitement for rescue training.
“...Deku, are you okay?” Uraraka asked.
“U-uh, y-yeah! I’m fine, just a bit wound up…” Izuku mumbled in response. “Thank you for asking, though.” Izuku looked up from the ground just to see Aizawa looking at him from across the bus. Izuku averted his eyes awkwardly.
“Alright everyone, we’re here!” Ashido cheered gleefully.
With such a strong warning from Tea Leaves, the heroes had quickly mobilized. Several heroes had frantically responded to Tea Leaves, asking where they got their information, if they were alright, if they had any more specifics… Tea Leaves had gone silent. Usually, when asked for further information, they’d respond fairly quickly, even if it was to say “I don’t have any.” But they just didn’t.
Aizawa was a bit concerned about Tea Leaves, to be frank. But they had to focus on this first. Nedzu had immediately added two teachers, Present Mic and Ectoplasm, to the field trip for protection, and given All Might and Thirteen a heads up about the expected villain attack. Nedzu had several other teachers (including Snipe, Midnight, Cementoss) on standby at the main campus and was keeping an eye on the cameras. Meanwhile, Hound Dog had been assigned to sniff around the general area of the USJ for intruders, but so far he’d found nothing.
Aizawa felt a little… unsettled, watching his class shout excitedly about the rescue training when he knew about the possibility of danger. In fact, the only one who didn’t seem to share in their enthusiasm was Midoriya.
Aizawa suppressed a frown. Midoriya looked like a nervous wreck. Aizawa supposed he couldn’t blame him, considering what had happened during the last training exercise. Aizawa scowled. He’d heard from Recovery Girl that All Might had dismissed Midoriya’s allegations that Bakugou would attempt to harm him. Frustratingly, it implied bad things about both All Might (idiot newbie teacher, why would he make two students fight when he knew their relationship was volatile?!) and Bakugou (could attacking people and trying to injure them be a pattern of behavior, if Midoriya was able to predict he’d do it so easily?)
But, still. Something was strange with Midoriya right now. Aizawa glanced at him again. Maybe it was the way Midoriya scanned the bus, as if looking for danger. Maybe it was the way he kept his eyes locked firmly on the exits, ignoring his classmates’ idle chatter. Whatever it was, something about his demeanor set off Aizawa’s pro-hero instincts. Does he know?
Aizawa immediately dismissed the notion. No, that would be impossible. There was no way for Midoriya to know about the attack. Aizawa did his best to put the thought out of his mind, though something about it nagged at him.
Izuku cautiously followed everyone inside as they admired the entrance to the USJ. Inside to greet them were both Thirteen and All Might. Izuku felt something in his heart ease. All Might being here at the start of the fight would be a major advantage, however he felt about the man personally (those feelings happened to be a little complicated.)
Thirteen started their speech on how everyone should use their quirks to save while Izuku looked around for anything unusual. The lights flickered, and Izuku’s eyes landed on something opening up in the middle of the fountain. A purple… portal? Izuku saw Aizawa’s gaze snapping to it as well.
“Gather together and don’t move!” Aizawa ordered the students, while the teachers instinctively took a protective formation around the group.
“Is this like the entrance exam where the lesson’s already started?” Kirishima wondered aloud.
“Don’t move. Those are villains.” Aizawa slid his yellow goggles over his eyes.
“Eraser, you and Thirteen hang back and protect the students. We’ve got this,” Present Mic said. Aizawa nodded in response. Ectoplasm created several clones of himself, some of which stayed with Thirteen and Eraserhead to provide protective cover for the students. Others followed All Might and Present Mic as they started attacking the group of villains.
“Thirteen, Eraserhead, All Might, Present Mic, and Ectoplasm? Tch. The teacher’s schedule we received the other day said only three teachers were supposed to be here.”
“There must have been a change in schedule. With so many pros, this might be difficult to win, Tomura,” Kurogiri warned.
“Hmph. We’ve got enough fodder to keep all of them busy while All Might fights the Nomu if we go fast. So long as we keep the rest of the pros out of that fight, we should win,” Shigaraki said. “Continue with the plan of teleporting students to other areas. It will force the pros to split up to recover lost students.”
“Understood,” Kurogiri responded.
Eraserhead had kept Kurogiri’s quirk erased for a while now, while Present Mic and Ectoplasm fought the low-level baddies in the plaza (All Might, upon realizing how strong the Nomu was, went for it directly.) Ectoplasm’s clones and Eraserhead worked together to defeat anyone who managed to climb the steps up towards the entrance.
Kurogiri knew Eraserhead would have to blink eventually, and when that moment arrived, he would strike.
Chapter 17: Near Miss
The Battle at the USJ continues.
TW for some violence and blood. to avoid it, go to the end notes for a TLDR!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Suddenly, a purple mist appeared behind the group, about to sweep up students. Growling, Aizawa turned about and activated his quirk again. The village chortled. “How long can you keep that up, Eraserhead? Blinking is a reflex.” Most of the students backpedaled away from the dangerous situation, but Bakugou and Kirishima jumped in front of Thirteen to confront the villain, unknowingly preventing them from attacking. “No-!” Thirteen started.
Several shots rang out. Aizawa stumbled, blinking. Students screamed as a light fixture broke above them, casting shattered glass across the group.
Present Mic whirled around at the sounds, seeing a villain with a bullet quirk aiming in Aizawa’s direction. They hadn’t secured that villain properly, shit! Present Mic ran over and tackled the villain, cuffing them so they wouldn’t be able to shoot bullets from their hands.
The mist villain rushed forward, enshrouding the group in purple mist, and…
A crash rang out as the door to the USJ was kicked down. A large form jumped forward and tackled the metal brace present in the mist. “Keep still!” he snarled at the villain.
“Hound Dog!” shouted Thirteen. “Thank goodness you’re here!”
“Here I was sniffing for intruders and the whole time they were inside the building! Nedzu called me, said he couldn’t contact you. Help is on it’s wa- ah, damn it!” Kurogiri had vanished from beneath Hound Dog while he was speaking.
“Ectoplasm, All Might, and Present Mic are rounding up the villains,” Thirteen explained. “While Eraserhead and I guard the students.”
“Ah, good, I’ll-”
Suddenly, a giant muscular black form was launched through the ceiling. “What the hell?”
“He defeated my Nomu--how?! I thought All Might was getting weaker!”
“Tomura, we must flee. Hound Dog just entered the fight and other heroes are on their way.”
“Tch! You completely failed at your objective! If you weren’t my way out of h-”
Shigaraki couldn’t finish the threat. All Might had turned back to them, having finished defeating the Nomu. A fight with All Might wasn’t something they could win by any means. Kurogiri swept up Shigaraki and vanished in a cloud of mist.
Izuku stared at the heroes rounding up villains, wide-eyed. The heroes had essentially won the fight at this point, though the purple-mist villain had escaped with the leader. The purple mist villain got so close to taking the students who-knows-where… if I hadn’t interfered, he might have succeeded in taking the students. Aizawa might not have been able to stop him.
Izuku shivered at the thought of Aizawa having to fight all the villains alone after Thirteen’s defeat. Aizawa never would have been able to stand up to that Nomu…
Was that why my quirk phrased it as, “he fights with flesh, blood and bone”?
Worriedly, Izuku glanced at Aizawa. He stopped cold. It was difficult to see on black fabric, but Aizawa was leaking blood from his chest and shoulder. Calmly, a little too calmly, he was wrapping his capture weapon around the wounds. Aizawa made a quiet choking noise, audible only because Izuku was standing right next to him. Red blood leaked through his fingertips as he tried to put pressure on his injuries.
He must have gotten shot by the bullet villain! That’s not good! “Hound Dog-sensei! Aizawa’s bleeding!” Izuku said. Hound Dog turned around in alarm and his eyes fell on the blood on Aizawa’s hands and pooling beneath his feet.
“HEY, ALL MIGHT!” Hound Dog barked.
In a blur, a few moments later All Might was right in front of Hound Dog. “Yes?”
“Take him to Recovery Girl,” Hound Dog pointed to Aizawa. With another gust of wind, they both were gone.
The paramedics, police, and other heroes arrived soon after. They checked over the student for injuries. Thankfully, besides scratches from glass, no students were injured. All of the students cleared to leave were picked up by their parents or escorted home by a hero. Izuku fell into the second category. His mother was at work, so Hound Dog ended up driving him the short distance home. “Thank you, sensei,” Izuku mumbled.
Hound Dog’s face was sympathetic. He seemed to understand that Izuku was worried about Aizawa, but it wasn’t like he could promise Aizawa would be alright. He most likely would be, considering UA had Recovery Girl, but there was no guarantee.
“Take a few days to rest, Midoriya,” Hound Dog said, in that rumbling way of his. “Have a bit of time for yourself. UA is definitely cancelling Friday’s lessons.”
Izuku nodded, and with that, Hound Dog was gone. Izuku sighed and sat down on his couch. I know I made improvements to what happened but… still… He buried his face in his hands. I hope he recovers. If he doesn’t, I’ll never forgive myself for not doing more to stop this.
“They were cheating, bringing more mini-bosses out of nowhere!”
“There were five teachers there right away, not three! And a sixth showed up by the end!”
“If I may,” Kurogiri said. “Hound Dog said he had been searching for intruders before we even arrived. Is it possible they knew our plans?”
"Perhaps,” All for One mused. “There could be a leak or a mole in our organization, or perhaps the heroes somehow found this experiment by happenstance. However, it would be wise to keep an eye out for whatever gave the heroes an advance warning.”
“Hmph, we’ll catch the cheater,” Shigaraki huffed.
“Patience, Tomura. These matters can be delicate. But make no mistake. If someone meant to interfere with our plans, we will find out, and we will take our revenge,” All for One promised.
“Of course, Sensei!”
- A villain with a bullet quirk manages to shoot Aizawa, making him blink.
- Kurogiri was about to snatch up students, but luckily Hound Dog (who'd been sniffing around the premises for intruders) made it in time to tackle him.
- While Hound Dog's not paying attention, Kurogiri teleports back to Shigaraki to tell him about what happened.
- As All Might defeats the Nomu, Shigaraki and Kurogiri retreat.
- Aizawa is rushed to Recovery Girl.
- All for One wonders why they added more heroes randomly to their roster. Did they know about the attack?
Tomorrow I release the aftermath of the USJ!
Thank you for all the kind comments (I definitely appreciate them) and I hope you enjoyed!
Chapter 18: Aftermath
After the USJ, Izuku receives a strange prophecy about the one behind it all.
Izuku could barely fall asleep due to stress, but he kept trying because he knew he wouldn’t get a prophecy if he pulled an all-nighter. Sleep seemed to be a vital part of his quirk, as far as he knew. Finally, after hours of tossing and turning, he fell asleep. When he awoke, he received an assuring prophecy:
Forget your distress
Your teacher’s healing
Will quickly progress.
The end of today,
Shuzenji will say:
“He will survive
With no ill effects.”
Shuzenji was Recovery Girl’s name, wasn't it?
Izuku wasn’t ashamed to admit he started sobbing in relief. It was cathartic. He was just so glad that Aizawa (saved him, first person to respect him, didn’t expel him for being quirkless) was going to be okay.
Izuku spent his days off recovering from the horrible stress he’d dealt with that week. Anzu didn’t give him any tasks to complete. He laid around, played video games… he felt as if he were being lazy, but in the prophecies for that weekend Anzu told him that laziness was a social construct, and that there was no shame in taking time for himself! And that he should get ice cream. Izuku appreciated Anzu deeply. Anzu had helped save Aizawa, and Anzu took care of him and looked after his mental health.
On Saturday, Nedzu released an email to all the students assuring them that Aizawa would be alright. (Several people had noticed he was injured after Izuku pointed him out to Hound Dog.) UA was also handling the media, and while an attack was shocking, "no students injured" was admittedly a good look.
Elsewhere, no one had been able to contact the informant Tea Leaves. It wasn’t unusual for them to not email for a few days, but right after a crisis like this? This kind of dead air was worrying.
The morning he was to return to UA, Izuku got his first semi-stressful prophecy since the USJ attack.
The attack was not caused
By the attackers alone
But by a shadowy leader
Who sits on a throne
Who is this man?
The same from five years ago
Whose battle with All Might
Damaged him so.
Izuku flipped open his prophecy journal to the serious warning, the first warning he ever sent out as Tea Leaves. No way… this guy was behind it, the one who was able to seriously injure All Might in a straight fight? That powerful and he didn’t even show up to kill All Might himself?
The only line Izuku was unsure of was “Damaged him so.” Did that line mean All Might was injured or the man was? Both? Izuku supposed the man was injured then it would explain why he didn’t show up himself to beat All Might. But to send, what, seventy-some people to attack UA? That required power, influence…
Izuku felt like he was in over his head, but he figured he’d just pass along this information and be done with it. The fact that he could do that was always comforting. It wasn’t exactly an urgent message (no events were purported to be taking place today, it just explained what had happened) so he decided he’d go to the library and send out a warning after school.
After Izuku had arrived at school and gotten his pencils out, he heard some conversation from his classmates.
“Hey Tsu, so who do you think is going to teach class today?” Ashido asked Asui.
“Morning, class,” Aizawa said as he walked in. He actually looked… fine.
“Aizawa-sensei, I’m glad to see you’re alright!”
Izuku had no idea if Aizawa was actually healed or if he was just showing up to reassure the students (the places where he was shot were covered by his costume) but it was nice to see he was okay. It made him feel better.
“Let’s get started. Your fight’s not over yet…” There was a brief moment of tension. “... the UA Sports Festival is about to begin.”
Most of the class became really excited, though a few students were reluctant. “Wait a second, is it really such a good idea to hold the Sports Festival so soon after the villains snuck inside?” Kaminari asked.
“This event is a huge opportunity for all students at UA. It’s not something we can cancel because of a few villains.”
“Uh, I’m sorry, but why not? It’s just the Sports Festival,” Mineta asked.
Aizawa briefly explained the cultural significance of the Sports Festival, how it would make UA seem confident and secure after the attack, and how it allowed for pros to scout students. It really was important for students to find internships and opportunities with pro heroes for their careers, and this was a great way for students to get those opportunities, so Izuku could definitely see why they were keeping the Sports Festival, but…
This is the only day of school when I haven’t had to deal with a crisis. And the Sports Festival is going to be in front of everyone! I wish I had a chance to relax…
He supposed he was just going to have to try to make the most of the Sports Festival’s opportunity if he wanted the widest range of internships and opportunities to choose from. It was the best way to make connections. He sighed.
I bet the Sports Festival is going to be just like the Quirk Apprehension Test. A bunch of insulated events that Anzu can’t all describe in one poem due to limited space, and I’ll only know on the day of so I can’t prepare, and with physical-quirk favoritism. Aizawa’s speech about the Sports Festival had pumped most people up, but Izuku was just feeling a bit depressed.
How can I plan for the Sports Festival? Probably with physical exercise, practicing his martial arts, analyzing the competitors… Izuku nodded to himself. Yeah, he’d do that.
When Izuku checked his Tea Leaves emails, it was flooded with messages. Geez, I didn’t realize people would be so concerned where I got that information! He sent vague but reassuring emails to everyone who had responded, telling him he couldn’t say where he had gotten the information and that he had been… busy, the past few days. Then, he sent an email to Sir Nighteye:
Dear Sir Nighteye,
I just wanted to tell you I know a little more about the attack. I’m emailing only you because I think you’ll know what I’m talking about. You know the one who injured All Might in that battle five years ago? The first warning I ever sent? He’s the one who was behind this attack. Also, could you forward this to All Might or something?
Something Izuku never expected happened the next day. After school, Bakugou approached him, seemingly very reluctant. Aizawa was watching them from the front desk. Bakugou scoffed and tossed an envelope on his desk. Then, he glanced at Aizawa. “Tch. That good enough for you?”
Aizawa nodded. Then, Bakugou left.
Izuku glanced up at Aizawa questioningly.
“It’s his apology,” Aizawa explained. “He had the choice between writing one and saying it in person.”
An apology? Aizawa had been serious about that?!
“He’s almost completed everything he needs to, so he should be allowed to participate in class exercises again soon. But I’ll make sure he’s not paired with you.”
Is he serious? Izuku blinked and pocketed the letter. “Thanks, sensei.”
Aizawa nodded and Izuku, a little dazed, started making his way home.
“It seems that Tea Leaves contacted Sir Nighteye with some interesting information,” Nedzu told All Might. “They let us know that All for One was behind the attack.”
Yagi blinked in surprise before shaking his head. “So it’s true. He is alive.”
“They didn’t use the words, ‘All for One’, however. They just called him the man who injured you five years ago.”
“He knows about my injury?” Yagi said, surprised.
“It seems so. Not completely unexpected, considering he was the one to send a warning about that fight with All for One in the first place, but interesting… they seem to know so much, and no one knows how,” Nedzu mused. “Perhaps it has to do with their quirk.”
“Perhaps,” Yagi said. “I don’t know much about Tea Leaves, but I’ve heard they’ve never been wrong.”
“They do have an excellent track record,” Nedzu said, nodding. “If they said All for One is behind this, they’re probably right. Especially considering the multi-quirked Nomus.”
“Then I must inform young Togata about this,” Yagi said, sighing. “I thought since I defeated him… but no. He’s in danger because he possessed One for All.”
Nedzu nodded. “Yes, that would be best. We have to make preparations to fight All for One again.”
Chapter 19: Minor Scheming
The Sports Festival begins! Izuku considers how he can best use it to his advantage.
Izuku read Bakugou’s apology letter.
It was… straightforward.
I should not have used the gauntlets at close range. I should have quit after All Might said the match was over even though I thought the match should have continued. Also, I should not have burned your hands so much.
Very… to the point. Though, after “I should not have burned your hands so much” there was a part scribbled out in black ink. When Izuku squinted at it he could see the words underneath: “... even though it’s not my fault you’re too weak to take it.”
… Yeah, Aizawa-sensei must have read the apology first and forced Bakugou to change all the rude parts. No way Bakugou came up with something so civil on the first try. Izuku wouldn’t have thought it possible for someone to harangue Bakugou into writing an actual apology, but he supposed if Bakugou had to complete it to take part in class exercises, he would.
Izuku knew this apology wasn’t at all voluntary, but Izuku’s respect for Aizawa increased a little. As far as he knew, Bakugou had never had to apologize for anything. And teachers sure as hell didn’t actually follow through on punishments they set for him… None of the teachers wanted to be the one who supervised Bakugou in detention.
Izuku slipped the letter into his desk and focused on practicing for the Sports Festival.
Izuku mostly focused on making in-depth analyses of his classmates. He hadn’t seen any of the 1-B kids, but he knew he’d have to face down the other kids for 1-A. In addition, he made sure not to give up on exercising or practicing his martial arts. The Sports Festival was two weeks away, which was plenty of time to practice. He occasionally had tasks that encouraged acrobatics from Anzu, but it seemed like his quirk was giving him easy and validating tasks for a recovering mind.
Izuku was a little worried that heroes might not want to pick him after they learned he was “quirkless.” Sure, there were 40 organization UA students could choose if they didn’t get any offers (and quirk discrimination wasn’t allowed, so it wasn’t like they could just bar him from choosing the best out of the 40) but he did kinda want the opportunity for offers from other institutions. If only…
Izuku suddenly realized he could let them know about his real quirk. As far as he knew, when heroes put in a request for information on a student for an internship, they were sent the student’s official quirk records. Izuku could change his official quirk records! Even if he couldn’t convince anyone in his actual life, he could change what his quirk was legally registered as. UA probably wouldn’t even know, because there wasn’t technically a procedure in place to inform schools of quirk changes. UA had their own copies of records and no reason to go poring over official records again. They already had at the beginning of the year.
Izuku felt a grin spread across his face. If he did this, his internship supervisor would know he had a quirk, with no reason to doubt because they didn’t have any of the diagnosed-as-quirkless-at-age-five baggage! And he didn’t have to explain anything to anyone! He wasn’t sure why he hadn’t thought of this before.
Izuku put his analysis aside and looked up the paperwork he’d need to complete to get his real quirk registered. What should I call my quirk? Izuku was tempted to put Anzu, but the paperwork process would go more smoothly if his quirk-name and quirk-function were actually related to each other. He eventually decided on the name Prophecy. He didn’t mention the rhyming in his quirk description, but if he had to explain the rhyming to someone, it would fit well under that name. Perfect.
By the time the Sports Festival rolled around, his new quirk had been approved. He’d expected that, he’d described his quirk in a simplistic and believable way: My quirk allows me to see pieces of the future up to one day away. Future-vision quirks were extremely rare, but the limitation of only one day away made it believable. No one from UA said anything about his quirk’s change, so he figured they hadn’t seen it. All according to plan.
And since today was the Sports Festival, Izuku received his poem from Anzu about what is was going to be about:
A festival split into rounds three
An obstacle course is first
You must be above forty-second place
To pass, and do no worse.
The second round is a cavalry battle
In groups of three or four
If your team comes in 4th or higher
Of rounds, you’ll have one more.
The third round is one-on-one
Your fight is with each other,
Good luck my darling, and if you lose
Of chances you’ll have others.
This was a long one! Izuku noted that as he aged, his poems were getting longer and more sophisticated. Interesting, but he put that aside. So three rounds: an obstacle course, a cavalry battle, and one-on-one fights. To win, he needed to get at least 42nd in the obstacle course, his team needed to get at least 4th in the cavalry battle, and then just the one-on-one fights.
Izuku puffed out his chest. He’s got this!
(On the way to the Sports Festival, Izuku checked his Tea Leaves account at the library. Sir Nighteye and everyone were so insistent on meeting with him! They really seemed to think he was in some kind of dangerous situation… he tried to assure them he was fine, letting them know he had no more information for the time being.)
Honestly, Izuku didn’t want to have to deal with the crowds and shouting in the arena… but he just ignored it as Present Mic announced them.
“Representing the students is Katsuki Bakugou from Class 1-A!” Midnight shouted.
Oh, I forgot about this… Izuku thought as Bakugou went up on stage.
“I pledge… I’ll be number one,” Bakugou said. Oh, great. The crowd booed Bakugou, who seemed uncaring.
“Now, let’s get started right away! The first game is what you’d call a qualifier!” Midnight proceeded to explain how the obstacle course worked. I don’t need to come in 1st, 2nd, or even near the front… just 42nd or more! I just need to pass!
When the bell rang, Izuku was off like a shot. He was small and it was fairly easy to slip by everyone trying to get past the gate. The main obstacle for him was the sheet of ice that spread across the ground. Todoroki’s quirk! Izuku managed to jump and stop his feet from getting stuck, but he started slipping as he tried to run across the ice. He narrowly dodged getting hit by the robot that Todoroki left crashing behind him. “Jeez!”
Several other people also managed to get past the ice and robots, but many were trapped behind. Lucky for Izuku. He was aiming for the front-middle of the pack, which he thought was possible considering the speed he was running, but the other students were moving so quickly too, especially with the help of their quirks…
He was falling behind.
But then, Izuku came across the next obstacle: The Fall. It was a bunch of stone pillars connected by ropes, and students had to get across to the other side. Izuku knew the landing would be soft, but they’d probably be out of the race. Some students (like Bakugou) could fly over it with ease, but many others were having problems. Izuku felt a grin slide across his face. This was exactly his forte.
Izuku could navigate the ropes easily after his long history of climbing random objects, from thin tree branches to buildings to light poles. He got across much faster than the average student and sped ahead.
Then, the minefield. It was a bit difficult to avoid the mines, but he managed to get through fairly quickly. Izuku reached the end, seeing he’d gotten 21st place. He grinned. Perfect! He glanced up at the scoreboard. Todoroki had come in first and Bakugou in second. Both Iida and Uraraka were on the scoreboard as well.
“All of us got through!” Uraraka said gleefully.
Next, cavalry battle. Who should be on my team… Izuku started thinking about the quirk analyses he did with his classmates. Who would accept him as a teammate, and how would everyone’s quirks work together? He was pretty sure Uraraka would agree to work with him, despite his apparent quirklessness, but no one else was guaranteed.
Izuku considered these factors as Present Mic announced the cavalry battle. After the instructions were finished and students were supposed to begin finding their own teams, Uraraka immediately turned to him. “Deku, do you wanna team up?”
“S-sure!” Izuku said, feeling almost like tearing up. He was right, Uraraka did want to team up, even though he was quirkless.
“Hey Iida!” Uraraka shouted, waving her arm. “Wanna join our team?”
“That would be lovely,” Iida said.
Izuku almost started crying again. He couldn’t believe he had two friends. He sniffed. “So we only need one more person,” he said.
“Hm, who should we ask?” Uraraka said.
“I think as far as quirks go Tokoyami or would be a good fit,” Izuku said. “Or Ashido. Both have good mid-range quirks to repel opponents.” Todoroki too, but he’s so scary! He probably wants to build his own team, and he has the one-million, so he’s a target…
“It looks like Ashido’s already teamed up,” Uraraka pointed out. “So… hey, Tokoyami!”
A few minutes later and after a quick discussion of the plan, Tokoyami agreed to join their team. “We don’t necessarily need to go after the one-million,” Izuku said. “Todoroki is pretty strong. We could easily steal from whoever Todoroki traps with his ice or who are distracted with getting the one-million.”
“Good idea! We just have to get 4th place or higher!” Uraraka said.
“I’m assuming you’ll be the rider, Midoriya?” Iida asked.
“Or Tokoyami. Tokoyami, would it be easier for you to bring out Dark Shadow if you were the horse?”
“Most likely, yes.”
“Then I’ll be the rider,” Izuku said with a nod. The moment the bell rang for the match to start, Izuku scanned the area for who would be the best to steal from. Avoid Todoroki’s group. Go for Hagakure’s group, Mineta’s group, those 1-B groups… avoid Bakugou’s group, they’ll probably head straight for Todoroki and ignore us…
Izuku directed his group as for which directions they should go and who they should target. Uraraka lightened him, allowing the whole group to go a lot faster. They had a pretty good starting point value, so people occasionally made passing attempts to steal their headband, but they weren’t the one-million. Plus, Tokoyami pretty easily fended off anyone who came close to Dark Shadow, and anyone who got past him was subject to Izuku’s sharp reflexes and sharper punches.
The cavalry battle was… anticlimactic, to be honest. It must be exciting for the crowd, watching Todoroki and Bakugou battle it out (and watching the flashiness of Aoyama and that random support student’s group -- wait, does she have rockets?) but their group isn’t involved in any that, just snatching headbands occasionally. They’d had a close encounter with some 1-B kid named Monoma, but he’d quit chasing them and gone after Bakugou for revenge reasons or something.
“And in 4th place, Team Bakugou!”
Izuku glanced at Bakugou, watching him seeth at not being in first.
“In 3rd we have Team Shinsou- wait, where did they come from?”
Izuku glanced at Team Shinsou. He’d considered going after them, but they’d decided to avoid that group because Shinsou’s quirk was an unknown and he didn’t want to have to deal with that 1-B kid’s “Twin Impact”, which could have knocked him off his group.
“In 2nd place, Team Midoriya!” Izuku puffed out his chest in pride.
“And in 1st, Team Todoroki!” Applause echoed through the stadium. When it died down, Present Mic said, “And now, we’re going to have a break while we set up for the Final Round, which is one-on-one fights!”
Excellent. One-on-one fights, just as predicted. Izuku’s strategy wasn’t flashy, but if he could rank high enough, pros would probably wonder what his quirk was. Then, they’d request the student records for it. Then they’d get the answer for his real quirk, and Izuku knew that not many pros would be able to keep their hands off a potential future-telling quirk, not after Sir Nighteye succeeded so well as All Might’s sidekick. He didn’t have a quirk that he could show off to make pros curious, so he needed to focus on showing he was clever in other ways or at least ranking high enough to generate interest. That would be his main goal.
Due to Midoriya’s seeming lack of a quirk and the fact that Midoriya hadn’t gotten first in the obstacle course, Iida has no reason to compete with Izuku and is willing to team up with him! However, that means Todoroki approached Shoji instead of Iida about joining their team. That led to a cascade of changes in the cavalry battle teams:
NEW CAVALRY BATTLE TEAMS
Shinsou-Ojiro-Tsuyu-Shoda (that 1-B kid) [WINNER]
(All 1-B pairings remain the same)
Hope you enjoyed!
Chapter 20: Competition
The one-on-one Sports Festival matches begin!
Both Ojiro and that 1-B kid, Shouda, quit before the one-on-one fights. Izuku wasn’t really sure what they were on about. Something about not feeling in control? Shiozaki and Tetsutetsu from 1-B took their places.
It wasn’t long before UA posted what the fights would be. Izuku glanced through the list. It looked like Izuku’s fight was 7th and he’d be facing… Sero! Izuku flipped open his analysis page on Sero. Not the worst person to be facing, not the best. He internally nodded to himself. He could make this work.
Vlad King was observing the matches. He was a bit disappointed that so few of his kids got into the final round of this Sports Festival, but it was what it was. He’d just have to train them extra hard this year so they’d do better in the next Sports Festival.
The results of most of the matches weren’t very surprising. Todoroki defeating Kaminari with a giant glacier? Expected, really. Kirishima losing to Shiozaki? Again, expected, his hardening quirk wouldn’t allow him to escape her vines. Even Shoji’s seemingly surprising victory against Tokoyami battle wasn’t unpredictable, he had heard Aizawa note in the teacher’s lounge that Tokoyami struggled in close-combat situations, the place where Shoji excelled. And of course Bakugou won his match. He was quite skilled in combat.
He was rather surprised at Uraraka seemingly quitting against the purple general education kid. She just walked out of the arena. Strange.
The next real surprise came in the 7th match. Vlad King didn’t think himself very prejudiced, but he knew Midoriya was quirkless. It was simply a bad matchup against Sero, was all. It would be very easy for someone with a physical quirk (or no quirk) to get caught up in his tape, which might end the match.
Which is why he was surprised Midoriya beat him so easily.
It was all about angles. Izuku knew the exact angle that Sero usually released his tape and ever since he figured that out, everything Sero did was painfully telegraphed. He knew where he was going to try and shoot. He just had to dodge. Izuku jumped, ducked, and dodged, avoiding all the tape. Then, he leapt behind Sero. As Sero turned around, Izuku grabbed him, and Judo-threw him across the out-of-bounds line a short distance away.
The crowd went wild (though not as loud as they did during flashier fights) as Present Mic announced his victory. Izuku felt a smile rise on his face. One down, just a few matches to go.
Izuku walked over to the break room to see Uraraka, looking upset and staring into the floor. What… oh, she lost her match.
“I knew his quirk,” she interrupted. “Ojiro told me what Shinsou’s quirk was and I still fell for it the moment he started insulting Iida! I’m such a moron.” She buried her face in her hands.
“Hey, it’s okay,” Izuku said, even though he was just itching to ask what Shinou’s quirk was. “You can always try again next year, and besides, you got in the Top 16 so everyone will be curious about you! Especially considering how well you did in the first two rounds.”
She sniffed. “Really?”
“Really,” he said, giving her a pat on the back.
She gave a wobbly smile. “Thanks…”
After a few more minutes of trying to cheer her up, Uraraka shook her head and told him she needed a little more time to sulk. He understood what she meant, and said they should all go out for ice cream or mochi after this. She seemed to like that idea.
By the time Izuku left the room, Ashido had beaten Tsuyu. He was rather surprised by it. He had guessed Tsuyu’s agility would have been enough to take Ashido out, but he supposed that if Tsu didn’t do it fast enough and Ashido coated the battlefield in acid… well, small spaces with no vertical jumping areas weren’t exactly well-suited conditions for Tsuyu’s quirk.
This meant he was going to fight Ashido instead of Tsuyu now. He nodded to himself and started planning for the next round.
It wasn’t uncommon for Iida Tensei to patrol alone. After all, while he was known for his teamwork skills, he was quick and could cover a lot of ground on his own. He could easily take down most villains alone, anyway.
The Hero Killer was not most villains. Tensei barely dodged the first attack.
In a strange way, he had the analyst Deku to thank for that.
Deku had suggested he try different orange juice types to power his quirk, and while at first he scoffed (of course I found the one that made me the fastest, I’m a pro-hero!) he had to put aside his pride when Deku had made many suggestions he hadn’t thought of. For one, Deku suggested that he test if certain orange juices would make his engines quieter, because an issue he had was a) if villains heard vroom vroom sounds, they knew he was coming and b) it made it harder to hear other noises, like someone yelling for help.
(They could drown out the noise of someone trying to sneak up on him.)
There was a specific brand of orange juice that made his engines run very smoothly and quietly. It didn’t give him as much raw power or speed, so he didn’t use that kind for daytime patrols. But, when he was patrolling certain areas of Hosu at night, stealth and subtlety beat raw power every time. So he’d been using the new kind of orange juice.
Stain was very quiet and stealthy. If his engines had been any louder… well, he probably wouldn’t have heard Stain coming and gotten stabbed in the back.
He quickly patched in a call for backup, then focused on fighting Stain. After a few minutes of dodging and fighting and crashing, Stain managed to paralyze him (somehow? how does his quirk work??) but by that point his backup had arrived. Stain growled threats but was forced to retreat in the face of so many sidekicks. Stain escaped, but Tensei also escaped relatively unscathed. If he could figure out how (Deku was notoriously impossible to contact) he decided he’d send Deku a thank-you note for the help.
Izuku glanced at the scoreboard.
Todoroki vs. Yaoyorozu
Shinsou vs. Bakugou
Shoji vs. Shiozaki
Midoriya vs. Ashido
Izuku was anxious, waiting for his match as he watched the others.
Todoroki and Yaoyorozu’s match only lasted a few seconds. As impressive as Yoayorozu’s flamethrower was, Todoroki was just making too much ice. The Bakugou vs. Shinsou match was short too, but not exactly in the way Izuku expected. Amazed, Izuku watched as Shinsou easily goaded Bakugou into yelling something and then asked him to walk out of the ring. (Izuku thought back. Did anyone ever tell Bakugou about Shinsou’s quirk? Well, Uraraka would never tell him, and Ojiro was still a bit miffed about the speech…) Once Bakugou was out of the ring, he seemed to snap out of it. He did a lot of shouting, and seemed to accuse Shinsou of cheating, but ultimately stormed off the field without trying to attack him. Izuku was a bit surprised at that.
The Shoji vs Shiozaki match was something Izuku wasn’t sure on who would win. It ended up being Shoji, who could easily rip through Shiozaki’s vines with raw strength. She did her best, and nearly managed to throw him out of the ring with how rapidly her vines grew, but Shoji ultimately was the victor.
And then it was time for Izuku’s match. Honestly, the whole thing was a lot easier than he’d assumed. Ashido didn’t lose because of a lack of skill or because of Izuku’s martial arts. She was overconfident and underestimated him. Perhaps if she’d focused, strategized, tried to cut off his exit routes with her acid… but she didn’t. She playfully threw it everywhere with no rhyme or reason. It was showy and the crowd was entertained, but Izuku won with relative ease. A few well-placed punches and kicks, and Ashido was forced to retreat back far enough it was easy for Izuku to push her out-of-bounds.
“Moving on to our semifinals!” Present Mic announced. “We have two matches remaining: Todoroki vs Shinsou and Midoriya vs. Shoji!”
Midoriya huffed in determination. He was so close! He was going to win.
Fear not, everyone! I have ~plans~ for the Hero Killer in the future! (Or maybe you should be afraid.)
The initial matches were basically decided by random number generator, then I went from there.
Chapter 21: Unease
The Sports Festival finishes, with a surprising winner.
Meanwhile, an unexpected event takes place, and Izuku is left to wonder why Anzu didn't warn him.
Todoroki and Shinsou stood across from one another as the clock counted down for their match. “I’m not going to lose,” Todoroki said quietly. “I won’t quit for no reason like your other opponents.”
“Hey, Todoroki, you obviously can throw fire. Why don’t you use it?” Shinsou asked, sounding bored.
Todoroki scowled. “I can win witho-”
Shinsou took control. “You’re wasting your potential, you know. You don’t know what people like me would give to have even half your quirk. Now, walk out of the arena.”
The crowd went wild as, confusingly, Todoroki started walking out of the arena. Shuffling papers were heard from the intercom. “To figure out what’s going on, I’ve looked up his- oh! His quirk is Brainwashing. He can control people for a short period of time. That’s what he’s been doing all this time!” Present Mic announced. Part of Izuku wondered why no one had bothered to warn Todoroki either, but he shrugged to himself. Todoroki wasn’t a team player, so it wasn’t that surprising. Izuku had something more important to focus on. Namely, his own match. He stood across from Shoji.
Shoji’s quirk mainly has to do with sensing, but we already know where each other are. It won’t give him an edge. The most dangerous part of him right now is his strength- and Judo focuses on using your opponent’s strength against them. I’ve definitely got this.
Izuku ran forward and threw a few punches and kicks from Taekwondo at Shoji. They didn’t have much effect on Shoji, who could easily block or tank the hits, so Izuku transitioned into a throw from Judo meant for larger people. Then, something unexpected.
Shoji grew another arm from his arm. What?! Izuku had only thought he could grow eyes or ears from there?? He had no idea Shoji’s quirk allowed him to grow extra arms. With his extra arm, Shoji grabbed the back of Izuku’s PE uniform as if he were grabbing a kitten by the scruff. The length of Shoji’s extra arm gave him a reach that Izuku just didn’t have. He tried to punch Shoji in the face, but his arms just weren’t long enough.
Shoji grew several more arms to hold on to Izuku. Izuku thrashed and struggled, but with his natural strength (and many arms) Shoji was easily able to carry him across the arena and gently deposit him over the out-of-bounds line.
And… that was it.
The crowd cheered. He and Shoji shook hands amiably and then Izuku walked back to one of the back rooms. Izuku felt like he should be upset but he just… wasn’t? He felt fine. He internally did some calculations. This is the semi-finals so I’ll end up being… tied for third?
Tied-for-third. Izuku smiled to himself. It wasn’t bad for his first Sports Festival. He was in the Top 4! He wished he’d thought more about Shoji growing other body parts (like arms) and had prepared for that (if he had known, he might have won), but his position wasn’t necessarily bad… Tied-for-third would likely generate enough interest that a bunch of agencies would check out his quirk to see what it was, they’d see “future vision”, and then he would get some offers! Not as much as if he got first place, sure, but he would probably get some options. He smiled to himself. This was… nice. He could just relax a little bit and watch the final match.
Shinsou vs. Shoji.
Shinsou seemed to be trying to talk to Shoji about something, but Shoji ignored him. Just like he had to Midoriya, Shoji picked Shinsou up and placed him outside the boundary lines.
Anticlimactic… but kind of adorable?
Shoji looked scary, but he managed to win without hurting anybody. Even his match with Tokoyami ended in a ring-out with no serious injuries.
With no one needing to go to Recovery Girl, UA was able to have the rewards ceremony right away. And Izuku got to be on the podium. He awkwardly shuffled in place as the ceremony started. All Might flew in out of nowhere, medals in hand.
“Congratulations, young Todoroki,” All Might said, putting a 3rd-place medal around his neck. “And young Midoriya.” Izuku dipped his head and All Might put the medal around his. All Might gave Izuku a knowing nod. “You’ve done well.”
Izuku’s throat started to close up and he had to stop himself from crying on national television.
Then, All Might gave the 2nd-place medal to Shinsou, who was obviously trying to play it cool but still looked starstruck.
“And congratulations, young Shoji, on winning the Sports Festival!” All Might said that one louder, and the stadium was filled with audience cheering and applause. Cementoss lowered the podiums so everyone could get down, and the four winners walked offstage into the next room together.
“Shoji,” Shinsou said immediately. “I-uh, I wanted to apologize. I said some rude things to you hoping you would respond and fall under my Brainwashing.”
“It’s no problem,” Shoji said. “It wasn’t so bad. Besides, even though you insulted me, you didn’t go for any cheap shots. Most people would have gone straight after my appearance, but you decided not to. Thanks for that.”
Shinsou blushed slightly and rubbed the back of his neck. “Oh, it’s nothing. I hope 2nd place is good enough to get into the hero course…”
“It’d better be!” Izuku blurted out. “You beat 39 people from the hero course! And you beat all the other courses! If not- I’ll complain, or something!” Honestly, Shinsou’s quirk could be so useful for hero work!
“Oh, thanks,” Shinsou said, with a ghost of a smile. “Um, congratulations on getting third. And Shoji, congrats on winning.”
“I hope you get to join the hero course with us,” Shoji said, voice friendly.
“You did really good too Todoroki! Those ice pillars were amazing…” Midoriya added.
Todoroki gave a tiny smile. “Thank you.”
Even though Izuku didn’t win, he still felt good. When he went back to where most of the class was waiting, Uraraka immediately gave him a hug-tackle. “You did so well!” she said, smiling. “I can’t believe you got third!”
“It is quite impressive,” Iida stated. “Both of us lost our first matches…”
“You both got super unlucky pairings,” Izuku assured them. “You’ll both do great next year, we’ll all train together for it!”
“Yeah, we’ll beat them all then!” Uraraka said.
“An attitude of improvement befitting UA students!” Iida said.
Iida had to go home pretty quickly after this (he had promised to do something with his brother) but the three stopped by a mochi stand on the way. Neither Izuku nor Uraraka had a wallet on them, so Iida essentially treated both of them.
“You didn’t have to do this,” Uraraka said.
“It’s no problem! I just happened to have money on me, and you two did not! Consider it a gift from a friend celebrating our success in the Sports Festival!”
“Thanks Iida, you’re the best,” Midoriya said, happily chomping on his mochi.
The Sports Festival really was wild. It was really strange to think thousands of people had actually watched it, but Izuku just decided not to think about that part. He wondered vaguely what people thought of the Festival.
“The Sports Festival for the first years was great this time around,” Mirio chirped cheerfully. “You shoulda seen it!”
“I didn’t need to,” Sir Nighteye reminded him. “Some find it entertaining, but I’m not looking for any interns.”
“It was so cool though,” Mirio said with a sigh. “First place was this kid named Shoji who looks heckin’ strong! Then there was this mind-control quirk kid…”
Sir Nighteye mostly tuned out Mirio’s excited chattering about the Sports Festival.
(None of the people directly involved in the Tea Leaves case were looking for interns, except Ms. Joke, who taught at Ketsubutsu Academy and definitely wouldn’t want to take an intern from a competing school.
None of them necessarily had a reason to request Midoriya’s records.
So while plenty of other heroes knew Midoriya’s quirk was one-day future-vision and that there was an informant called Tea Leaves…
Anyone directly on the Tea Leaves case (and thus the ones who know that Tea Leaves operates by providing tips and advice one day in advance) was far too busy with other things to request random student records.)
So, at least at that point, all was quiet.
Midoriya, Iida, and Uraraka chatted for a bit longer and finished their mochi, but Iida had to leave fairly soon. Izuku bid the two goodbye and they went their separate ways. Izuku pushed the door open to his apartment. It creaked open. He paused. Oh, I left the kitchen lights on, Izuku realized. Mom hates it when I do that.
He paused again. Then why didn’t Mom turn them off?
“Mom?” No answer, obviously. She wasn’t here right now. He turned off the kitchen lights and did a quick jog around the apartment. He opened the door to her room. Everything was covered in a thin layer of dust. Even the dresser and desk, where she’d normally put stuff. When was the last time anyone slept in this bed?
He opened the fridge. He’d been running out for groceries a lot, lately, and doing the cooking. But he hadn’t thought it particularly strange. Young boys were supposed to do chores, right? He’d just pulled money from Mom’s bank account and went to get food. Now, he realized, he didn’t see anything in the fridge he didn’t buy or make.
He was starting to feel unsettled. He glanced around the apartment. While he kept all the objects nice and neat, it was obvious no one had done any sweeping, moping, or vacuuming. His mom usually did that. Except this time, she didn’t.
Izuku had been doing his own laundry, too. At the thought of laundry, Izuku popped into his mother’s room and started throwing open her drawers. Most of her clothes were gone.
It’s fine, he thought. This is fine. Mom’s just busy with work, she doesn’t have time for chores, she’s throwing out old clothes. Nothing is wrong.
He knew it wasn’t true. He pulled out his phone and rang his mother. No one answered, and his mom had never bothered to set up voicemail. Is my mom missing?! I didn’t even notice, I’m a horrible son! No, someone from her work would have noticed if she were gone… unless she quit? Anzu, Anzu would have warned me, right?
Izuku took a deep breath. It would probably be fine. But Anzu had better have a good explanation for this. And if they didn’t answer his questions, he would go to his mom’s work and ask around for her. Part of him immediately wanted to call the police, but he refrained. He didn’t want to waste their time if this were nothing.
Izuku waited for night to come.
Yeah that’s right. Shoji won the Sports Festival because he is a strong boi who can keep his mouth shut against Shinsou. You can’t stop me.
Chapter 22: Rearrangement
Izuku discovers where his mother went, and why there was no prophetic warning.
Alas, we’re really not at canon Inko anymore.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Your mother is not missing or endangered
But her actions have inspired me to anger.
Unable to handle her problems in life
She has left all sources of stress behind
She’s moved away with no plan to return.
I’m sorry this all has happened to you
That she has failed to be a parent true
It is not your fault, it is her own
But you have me, and are not alone.
Anzu gave him an answer.
He didn’t like the answer.
His mom had, what, abandoned him?! Sure, she hadn’t believed in his dream, but this? Izuku sniffed. Anzu said it wasn’t his fault, but that was probably because Anzu liked him and didn’t want him to feel bad. Izuku couldn’t help it. He cried.
Izuku had sobbed for several hours, but he didn’t really feel emotionally better. He just had a headache now. He wanted an Advil but he wasn’t sure where his mom kept the Advil… thinking about that almost sent him into another round of tears.
Izuku took a deep breath. Okay. I need to plan. It’s what I do best.
Mom was still depositing money in her bank account and had been ignoring his withdrawals for groceries and necessities. Rent, water, electric, and heat were all still being paid for. Thank goodness for that. In truth, if Inko had stopped paying for things, Izuku would have been forced to admit to Aizawa-sensei what was going on. It just wasn’t feasible to try to work to pay for the apartment while also going to school.
Regardless, he had money for necessities. Nothing was necessarily… changing, right? He’d been unknowingly living alone for a while now, assuming his mother was busy with work. She’d drawn back so slowly over time, he’d become sort of… self-sufficient? He just had to get groceries, do his laundry, eat, and shower regularly. When Izuku phrased it like that, ‘living alone’ seemed much more manageable. Uraraka did it, after all.
(Uraraka’s parents had prepared her for living alone. They called her on the phone, they checked on her, they helped her when she needed something. They hadn’t vanished without a word. Izuku ignored those parts.)
It stung viscerally that his mother had left him behind, and he felt guilty for having stressed her out for so long. But he could shove the feelings under pragmatic planning. First thing I’ll do is re-organize the cabinets according to what I like so I know what’s where. Then I’ll see if there’s anything else I need to buy.
He felt terrible. But he could do this.
The results of the 1-A Sports Festival were very surprising and chaotic this year. Some Gen Ed kid with a mind-control quirk had blown through essentially all of the most powerful participants in a hilarious display of how a mental quirk could often override physical strength. Then, of course, there were the many powerful members of Class 1-A, like Yaoyorozu, Bakugou, Tokoyami, Todoroki… obviously 1-A was packing a lot of raw power this year.
The third-place winner, Midoriya, was becoming a bit of an icon for people who lacked flashy quirks. His unexpected success and awesome martial arts demonstrations drew in quite a few fans, especially among those whose quirks were understated or seemingly weak. No one knew exactly what his quirk was (strange for the Sports Festival, but everything around him was rather hush-hush, for whatever reason) but it was common knowledge that his quirk was not immediately combat-applicable.
But if anyone made people happy, it was Shoji. That day, many children with mutant-type quirks looked up at their screens and saw someone like them win the Sports Festival. Some people said prejudiced things against him, yes, but Shoji was quite popular on the whole. Both teens and adults were bemused about how he gently dispatched all his opponents, usually just by picking them up and placing them outside of the ring. His underdog story, his hulking stature, and his gentle disposition won hearts and minds across Japan.
Aizawa was pleased overall with the results of the Sports Festival. His students had done very well and had shown the world their strength. (Also, he secretly thought Shoji’s rising popularity was very cute.) He was a bit concerned at Todoroki’s apparent refusal to use his fire, he’d have to look into that. Meanwhile, he was making plans to incorporate Shinsou into his class, who had clearly proven his mettle.
Izuku felt a little more in control after he obsessively cleaned the whole apartment and reorganized everything. He closed the door to his mother’s room and resolved not to look at it anymore. That weekend, Anzu’s prophecies (even when they were on unrelated topics) were filled with apologies and soothing words. Izuku had to admit, he was… angry with Anzu. Anzu hadn’t told him anything! Anzu was supposed to tell him if something bad happened, so he wouldn’t be blindsighted like this…
He could understand why Anzu did it. He had to deal with the USJ and the Sports Festival and knowing his mom had abandoned him would really distract him from those goals…
… but his mom abandoning him was way more important than the Sports Festival!? Anzu should have told him the moment after the USJ was over!
He felt very betrayed by Anzu’s silence on his mother leaving. As he curled up in bed on Sunday, he had the rogue thought, Does Anzu even care about me anymore? He knew the thought was irrational, there was no indication that Anzu didn’t care about him besides the mom thing, but thinking about it still made him upset. With that thought ringing in his head, Izuku fell asleep.
I… I didn’t mean… that’s not…
I just made things worse!
I’m sorry, I’m sorry,
I didn’t think about
How this could hurt you
Or inspire in you doubt.
I was shortsighted in my goals,
And your feelings did not consider
So please forgive my failings as
My failings make you bitter.
You are such a wonderful child,
And I’m very proud of you
I’m sorry for twisted priorities,
That I wasn’t honest with you.
Izuku teared up as he wrote that one down in his Prophecy Journal. Sniffing, he decided that forgiving Anzu actually was a good idea. He knew he should probably stay mad for longer, but he was bad at keeping grudges. And hearing someone cared about him so soon after losing his mother made him want to cling to that affection. And Anzu seemed really sorry, anyways.
Still, Izuku knew he needed to set a boundary. He puffed out his chest and thought really hard to himself: Anzu, tell me everything! Don’t leave out important details even if you think it’ll make me feel better. Izuku wasn’t expecting anything to happen, so he was surprised when he felt a strange pang of foreign acceptance in his chest.
He stopped, blinking. Had that been Anzu?
He knew Anzu could listen to his thoughts over the course of the day, and was therefore theoretically present all the time, but they’d never been able to properly communicate…
Izuku glanced at the clock, noticing that it was getting to be time for school. He’d see if he could try to communicate with Anzu later.
On his way to school, he had a few people recognize him on the train (a heart-stopping experience) but he managed to awkwardly avoid them until he could get to school. Izuku arrived at homeroom slightly early.
“Midoriya. I have something to talk with you about before homeroom today,” Aizawa said.
“We’re picking hero names today. What you choose is ultimately up to you, but I would recommend that you keep the name Deku,” Aizawa said.
Izuku didn’t really mind the name now, not after Uraraka made it a fun nickname for him and he’d used it for analysis, but shouldn’t he pick something less self-depreciating? “Why?” he asked.
“The name Deku has become somewhat renowned among hero agencies. If you use it, they’ll easily be able to connect Deku the analyst to you, and will be more likely to offer you opportunities,” Aizawa said. “I can understand why you’d prefer not to, however. If that’s the case, I can help let other heroes know that you’re-”
“No, I don’t mind the name Deku,” Izuku cut in, then inwardly winced about interrupting his teacher. “I didn’t really have any other ideas for my hero name, anyway,” he rushed to explain.
Aizawa nodded. When the class came in, Aizawa said he had several announcements to make.
“First, we have a new student joining the class. Meet Shinsou Hitoshi, previously from Class 1-C.” Shinsou walked in, looking nervous.
“Aw yeah, new classmate!” Kirishima said enthusiastically, pumping his fist in the air.
“This doesn’t mean one of the rest of us is gonna be expelled, right?” Mineta asked nervously.
Aizawa shook his head, looking slightly annoyed. “I can accommodate a single extra student, Mineta. That’s why there’s an extra seat in the back.” There was a collective sigh of relief from the class.
Then, once Shinsou had gotten settled, Aizawa told everyone they’d be picking their hero names, causing excited murmurs to break out among the class.
“This is related to the pro-hero draft picks I mentioned the other day.” He went on to explain how a first year draft pick was something of an investment in the first year’s future than anything serious. Then, he pulled up the results. “It’s fairly spread out which year,” he said.
Todoroki had the most offers. After him was Shoji, then Yaoyorozu, then Bakugou, then… Midoriya?
Izuku’s jaw dropped open. Even with a third place finish and his change in quirk registration, he hadn’t been expecting anything more than a few dozen offers, let alone 431! Were future-vision quirks really that in demand!? Izuku glanced through the rest of the list. After him in descending order: Shinsou, Tokoyami, Kirishima, Ashido, Asui, Iida, Uraraka, Kaminari. Everyone who had gotten offers at all was looking gleeful.
“Hey, Todoroki came in third, but he has the most offers! And Shinsou and Midoriya are further down the list…” Kirishima noted.
“The people above Midoriya and I have flashier quirks,” Shinsou said, but that didn’t dull his obvious excitement at having 300-some offers. Then, it was time to pick their hero names.
“I’m not good at this sort of thing,” Aizawa said. “So, Midnight will be helping you choose your hero names.”
The first few people to show theirs were Aoyama, Ashido, Tsuyu and Kirishima. After that, Izuku raised his hand. He showed everyone his whiteboard. “Deku,” he said.
“Are you really okay with that?” Kaminari asked.
“You might be called that forever, you know,” Kirishima said.
“This name means a lot to me because of certain people,” he glanced at Uraraka, “and I don’t mind being called it. I have personal reasons for choosing this one,” Izuku said.
“Ano… your justification is nice and all…” Midnight said. “... but that name is already in-use by someone else, so it’s probably not a good choice.”
“Wait, what do you mean?” Midoriya asked, confused.
“There’s an analyst going by Deku. You wouldn’t want to be confused with them,” Midnight explained.
“Oh, that’s me! I’m picking Deku so everyone knows we’re the same person,” Izuku said.
Midnight’s eyes widened. “WHAT?!” She glanced at Aizawa in his sleeping bag.
“It’s true,” Aizawa grunted.
“Why did no one tell me this?!” Midnight despaired. “I’ve wanted to know who he was for so long-”
The very confused class watched the exchange.
“Get on with it, Nemuri,” Aizawa said, closing his eyes.
Midnight sighed. “Yes, Deku is an acceptable name. Next!”
After everyone had chosen their hero names, he was pestered by his classmates who wanted to know what Midnight had meant. He simply shrugged and said he’d done some freelance analysis work under the pseudonym Deku. His friends seemed slightly awed, but Izuku managed to understate his involvement in hero work enough that most people had their curiosity sated without much questioning.
“I was surprised you chose Tenya as a hero name, Iida,” Uraraka said,
Iida sighed. “I couldn’t think of anything else. I might change it later, but I still don’t know what to pick!”
Uraraka started throwing engine-related puns at Iida in hopes one of them would be a good hero name, but none of them seemed to fit.
“You could use the words ‘Imperial’ or ‘Motor’ as part of your hero name. I think they would sound good,” Todoroki said.
Uraraka glanced back at Todoroki, a little confused, as he rarely spoke and had never jumped into one of their conversations like that before.
“Those are excellent suggestions, Todoroki! Imperial does sound quite regal, and it does sound similar to Ingenium, but I feel as though we should alter the word to-” Iida went on a little tangent about possible name solutions, and with that, Todoroki started sitting with them at lunch. Izuku was happy to have him. (I could have another friend! That’s like four people, which is a whole lot of friends!?!)
That night, Izuku decided to try to contact Anzu without using a prophecy again, but it didn’t seem to be working very well. He sighed and decided he would try tomorrow.
Me: there was a layer of dust in the room
Me, *internally*: this will show them she hasn’t been there in a while
Comments section: did Shigaraki kill her!?!
Me: wait no that’s not what I-
Comments: god I can’t believe you killed Inko
That would have been an awesome plot twist actually, kind’ve a shame I didn’t think of that before I wrote it. (I’m like 6 chapters ahead of you in writing. Y’all will either love or hate the Chapter 25 twist!) Anyways, I’ll definitely be releasing daily until at least Tuesday, because I have all those chapters ready. I’m still writing so maybe longer tho. I’ll let y’all know if I’m going to slow down with updates or go on hiatus.
Chapter 23: Emergency Contacts
Izuku tries to figure out his internships, but an unexpected wrench is thrown into his plans.
warning: sick character!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
That night, Izuku realized he had the rest of the week to decide which internships to choose, which meant two and half days to decide. That wasn’t a lot of time! That night, he pored over his options. When he awoke, Anzu gave this advice:
Please avoid Slidin’ Go,
He’s in with the MLA
Please avoid Mt. Lady too
Her brand is too risque
Death Arms is ill-fitting
Plasma does some crimes
Mr. Plastic would hate you
Backdraft would waste your time.
(Uwabami’s was sent mistakenly,
Her offer wasn’t mean to for you)
Also I’m thankful you’re not angry
About what happened yesterday…
Izuku decided to ignore the last two lines. (He could basically feel the moping from Anzu in this poem. He was guessing that Anzu had wanted to talk about their feelings, not internship offers. Izuku wasn’t angry with Anzu anymore, true, but he was too stressed about internships to properly think about feelings and relationships right now… )
As for internships, he did get… some advice. Out of 431 offers, he should not choose Slidin’ Go, Mt. Lady, Death Arms, Plasma, Mr. Plastic, Backdraft, or Uwabami. That’s… 424 remaining. Izuku sighed. It would have been easier if Anzu had told him who to pick rather than who not to pick. He also made a brief note to investigate Slidin’ Go and Plasma later.
So… who should he pick?!
Honestly he wasn’t feeling super great today. He internally pondered whether or not he might be getting sick before attributing it to allergies. He had internships to sort through.
That day at lunch he managed to eliminate another thirty agencies, mostly because the pros there weren’t very qualified. Iida was interning with Majestic (he was planning to intern with the Idaten Agency eventually, but he didn’t want to limit himself so soon) while Uraraka was going with Gunhead.
Izuku was having a lot of trouble deciding. While Izuku worried he was offending them by stressing so much (neither of them had gotten that many offers,) Iida and Uraraka didn’t seem to begrudge him being so panicked.
“You’ve got so many to choose from and you can’t figure out which one! It’s a natural dilemma,” Uraraka said solemnly.
“Quite true! Choose only the most rigorous option, Midoriya!”
“Thanks,” Izuku said, glad they weren’t angry. Izuku went to class as normal, but felt the rogue desire to look through his internship offers instead of taking notes. He ignored the urge and tried to focus on classwork.
When he got home, he flopped down on his bed. Just two days left… “Ahrghhh,” Izuku said. And he felt crappy, too. His headache wouldn’t abate and he felt terribly unfocused.
“Rescue? Should I try out rescue training? I could predict natural disasters… but I want to further my combat capabilities…” Izuku muttered to himself. Unless I decide what kind of internship I actually want, I won’t be able to figure it out! I’m not that decisive! Izuku thought, panicking slightly. Do I want flashy? Do I want underground? Do I want rescue, support?
Izuku ended up shoving his internship papers aside and working on homework.
By the time it was time for sleep, Izuku had internally decided he would either select an underground-hero agency (he didn’t want his first internship to involve a lot of cameras) or a rescue-focused agency. That eliminated plenty of daylight options. I can look into daylight hero agencies later if I want to take that path. For now, I want to try these. Izuku decided to go through and delete the daylight agency options off his list tomorrow. Right now, he was exhausted.
Anzu’s message was coming through… foggy.
Yo- -- - -- not feeling well
Please- - -- ---- -- should tell
--- -- - would help -- -- --- --!!
Don’t ----- --- ---- - at all,
You ---- ------ the hospi---
---- ----- -- obvi----- really s-ck
Someone to take care of ---
----- be the best ------.
Izuku yawned. His head was pounding and he felt so groggy. He got up to go to get ready and… immediately threw up in the trash can. And flopped back into bed. So he was definitely sick.
Okay, what had Anzu been saying? Something about… not feeling well, should tell, and… something would help? Anzu’s points had obviously been obfuscated, but the clearest sentence was about getting someone to take care of him?
Izuku scoffed. Fat chance. Ever since Mrs. Ishida had moved away, he didn’t know any of his neighbors, and his mom was who-knows-where. He doubted she’d pick up the phone if he called.
A little bit of Izuku wanted to pick himself up and go to school, but most of him wanted to lay in bed. He probably wouldn’t be able to walk there anyway. He was feverish and his legs felt like jelly. I could go to school… but instead of actually attending classes, Recovery Girl would be there? She could help. Hm, better idea… but that still would involve him walking to the train station. Which he was pretty sure he couldn’t do. Also, if he came in sick they might call his mother. Which he was not prepared to deal with.
Best to just phone them and say he was stuck at home sick.
Normally, a parent had to call a kid in sick to school, but apparently Izuku sounded suitably miserable that his “my mom already left for work” excuse convinced the secretary.
He put his phone back on his dresser and groaned.
As the day progressed, Izuku didn’t get better whatsoever. He couldn’t move from laying down to upright without throwing up (which meant that’s what he did every time he had to walk to the bathroom) and he could barely keep down sips of water. His appetite was gone, so he just didn’t eat anything. It wasn’t like he had any light foods in the house, he wasn’t planning on being sick. Worst of all, his chills got more severe. Sometimes he felt like he was incredibly hot, and other times he felt terribly cold. Not to mention the fatigue…
It was midday when he tried to stand to get another cup of water and felt dizzy, a sense of vertigo washing over him. He threw up again and laid back down in bed, water forgotten. If I get any worse I’ll actually have to get a doctor, and I don’t want to have to call a doctor, Izuku thought to himself. I need help from someone.
Which is what Anzu had been trying to tell him at the beginning.
I’m too miserable to move, which means… he glanced at his phone. I need someone I can contact immediately… by phone or by email.
Uraraka and Iida would be in school. Aizawa…
He couldn’t let Aizawa see him this way. If he called Aizawa, Aizawa would ask him why his mom wasn’t there to take care of him, and then he would have to explain how his mom didn’t want him and-
No. Not Aizawa.
He couldn’t do Aizawa.
Who else did he have?
Izuku glanced at his email contacts, huffing a frustrated sigh. He’d promised himself not to do this, but… well, his Deku identity being revealed had gone pretty well, right?
Izuku stared at his contacts, considering something. He penned an email.
I know this isn’t my normal email, but it’s Tea Leaves. I need your help…
A message pinged on Ms. Joke’s phone. “Hm?”
“What is it, Emi?”
“Akio… could I ask you to supervise my classes for today?”
“Yeah, sure, but what brought this on?”
“I have some important business to take care of,” she said, glancing down at the email she’d received.
A bit later than usual today! I got coffee with a friend :>
Hope you enjoy! Also, keep an eye on the Eventual Happy Ending tag! Izuku's stressed, now, but it'll all work out!
Chapter 24: An Advantageous Ally
Izuku and Ms. Joke meet; Izuku chooses an internship.
From: allmightfan118 (Midoriya Izuku)
To: Fukukado Emi
I know this isn’t my normal email, but it’s Tea Leaves. I need your help… To quickly prove that I’m Tea Leaves, do you remember the Whitehawk case? The culprit was the guy with the yellow hat. Only me, you, and Rock Lock know I was involved in that case. And Rock Lock wouldn’t play a prank like this, so…
Anyway, I’m sorry I don’t have info on any cases… I’m emailing you because I need help personally. This is my first time living alone and I feel really sick. I can’t move around a lot and I can’t get help from anyone so I emailed you instead. I figure since you’ve always wanted to know who Tea Leaves was, you can learn now. My address is XXXX on Tsubaki Street? Apartment 42. You don’t have to come if you don’t want to. I’m not sure why I’m even sending this, you’re not responsible for taking care of me…
That was the most subdued and depressing email Ms. Joke had ever gotten from Tea Leaves. And they were desperate enough to reveal their identity? You could bet she was rushing over there as quickly as possible.
Izuku knew his decision to email Ms. Joke and not someone else, like Sir Nighteye or Rock Lock or somebody, was impulsive and didn’t really have any reasoning behind it. But honestly he was way too tired to make a well-informed decision, and it meant he didn’t have to tell any of his teachers, so…
He got an email back immediately: On my way.
He put his phone down and tried to doze. It didn’t work.
Maybe ten minutes later, there was a knock on the door. “Come in,” Izuku said hoarsely. Ms. Joke, like she promised, tentatively entered the apartment, dressed in full hero regalia.
“Oh… I hope I didn’t interrupt you while you were working,” Izuku said, forgetting that Ms. Joke worked at a school.
Ms. Joke’s eyes widened slightly at the sight of him. “It was nothing important. How are you feeling?”
“Not good,” Izuku said miserably.
“Yeah, seems like it,” Ms. Joke said. “Let’s get you more comfortable, yeah?”
Ms. Joke cleaned up the area and got him more water, all while peppering him with questions about his symptoms. She got a bowl of water, wetted a towel, and placed it on his forehead. It felt heavenly. He’d always seen people put wet cloths on people’s foreheads in TV shows, but he didn’t know it felt so nice on a fever. “Thanks…” he said.
“It’s no problem,” Ms. Joke said gently, tucking in his blankets. “Do you have any medicine here? Or any soup, or light foods?”
“No,” Izuku answered.
“I’m going to drop by the convenience store a few blocks down. Stay here, kay?”
“Mmph,” Izuku said, not planning on going anywhere.
Emi didn’t think that the elusive informant would be a kid. A teenager! She’d thought she’d be helping some hardened badass, or potentially some stereotypically thin and spindly guy with glasses, but it was just some poor sick kid instead. Not what she’d been expecting.
As she picked out items from the convenience store, she wondered how the kid was getting the Tea Leaves information. Was it his quirk, like so many had hypothesized? It would make sense, he seemed a little young to be starting an information network.
Bagfuls of medicine, thermometers, and soup in hand, she quickly paid and made her way back to the apartment. “Hey, kid,” Emi said.
“You said you lived alone?” she asked, putting her bags on the counter.
“Live alone. Mom pays for stuff,” he said.
Oh, that would make some sense. Maybe he lived alone for boarding school? But still, even then, shouldn’t he have teachers, or a neighbor, or a landlord, or someone who was supposed to look after him when he was ill? Someone to check on him, at least? Had he understated his illness to whoever was supposed to be watching him?
“Gotcha,” Emi said, re-wetting the rag and putting it back on his head. “Thermometer?”
The kid stuck it in his mouth halfheartedly. When it beeped, Emi glanced at it. “Hmm, pretty high temperature,” she said. Not high enough to require a hospital, but worrying. “I have some medicine for that, but you should try to take it with some soup.”
“Okay,” the kid said. She started heating some up in the microwave.
As she looked at the kid for longer, she realized she kind of recognized him. “Hey… have we met? Either that or you remind me of someone,” she noted.
“It’s prolly the Sports Festiv’l,” the kid grumbled. Sports Festival?! She pulled her phone out of her pocketing, pulling up footage of the participants. There he was, coming in 3rd place. A UA kid?! Why is he here, then? UA offers top-notch medical services to students and staff… if he needed help and didn’t want to reveal himself as Tea Leaves, they would have taken care of him there. Why’d he call me instead?
She clicked on an article about the green-haired 3rd place winner. Name: Midoriya Izuku, from Class 1-A.
Class 1-A? He’s one of Aizawa’s kids! Aizawa would be angry if he knew his kid was this sick alone and not going to UA for the free medical care. Aizawa would also be incredibly angry at her if she managed to fuck this one up somehow and didn’t take good care of his student. Not that she was planning to. Wait, does Aizawa know about the Tea Leaves thing?
The timer for the soup dinged. Emi got a bowl of soup ready and put it on the table next to him, along with some saltine crackers. Midoriya ate them slowly, but managed to eat half the broth and most of the saltines. Then he took the medicine and drank a little water.
“Kid,” Emi said, trying to broach the topic gently, “I don’t mean to interrogate you while you’re sick, but would you be willing to tell me… how are you Tea Leaves?”
“Oh, it’s my quirk. Prophecy. Lets me see the future one day ahead.”
That explained why Tea Leaves always contacted the pros or police in the morning with a lead for later in the day. It wasn’t just a rude thing they did, it was how their quirk worked. “That makes a lot of sense,” Emi said.
“Yeah,” Izuku said. “But I got diagnosed quirkless when I was little. So everyone in my life thinks I’m quirkless ‘cause of that. I changed my registration, but the people who know me in real life still don’t believe me. They think I’m a liar.”
Emi felt her heart break a little. “I believe you,” she said. The specific one-day brand of future vision he’d described made perfect sense for what they’d seen out of Tea Leaves so far. And he had access to Tea Leaves’ account… it was significantly more likely that he had this quirk than that he had some secret information network. It was unlikely he was lying, logically speaking, and Emi liked to give people the benefit of the doubt.
“Thank you,” Midoriya said, yawning. “Not many believe me.”
“They’re wrong about that,” she said.
Midoriya yawned again. “‘M tired,” he said.
“It’s probably the medicine kicking in. It’d be good for you to sleep.”
“Yea. Good idea, I like sleep.”
“Hey, kid… Do you want me to contact your mom? Or your teacher?”
“Noooooo,” Midoriya said, shoving his face in the pillows. “No.”
“Why not?” she asked gently.
“Aizawa-sensei would call my mom,” he said. “I d’nt want him to. She doesn’t love me.”
“Oh…” Emi wasn’t sure if that was ‘child and parent have a tumultuous relationship’ red flag or a ‘call child protective services’ red flag. Maybe the latter. She’d have to keep an eye out. “Well, you should probably get some sleep.”
Izuku woke up once more for dinnertime, where Ms. Joke got him to eat applesauce and some crackers before taking his next dose of medicine. He drank a little more water, too. He was feeling so much better than he had this morning. And he finally managed to eat some food! And, even though he felt a little bad about it, being able to order Ms. Joke “give me crackers” or “water please” was so very convenient. She would actually do it so he didn’t have to stand up! He would never take for granted someone taking care of him when he was sick again.
He still felt a little worried about the fact that Ms. Joke found out about Tea Leaves, but she was calm and didn’t ask any tough questions. He appreciated that. He was able to stay awake a little longer, this time playing video games, but eventually his eyes started to droop. Then, he went to sleep.
Thank goodness you’re okay!
I worried about you.
Calling Ms. Joke yesterday
Was the right thing to do.
She’s a kind hero, one of the best,
Now take it easy, and have some rest.
Izuku yawned as he woke, sunlight filtering in through the windows. He sat up, stretching. He still didn’t feel perfectly well-- his muscles still felt weak and he still felt tired, but most of the chills and nausea had gone away.
“You’re up,” Ms. Joke said, and Izuku startled.
“Y-you’re still here?” Izuku asked, surprised. Ms. Joke had changed into a t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants. Izuku wasn’t sure where she’d got them from, they didn’t belong to him or his mom… (Did she bring them or did she buy them-?)
“Ah, yes. I wanted to make sure your fever went away,” she said, nodding. “It’s Friday today, so I recommend you stay home from school again and then take the weekend to recover-- don’t give me that face. You can’t participate in any training exercises in this state, not to mention potentially spreading it to your friends.”
Izuku deflated. “Yeah, you’re right… I’ll stay home…” his eyes widened. “Wait! I was supposed to pick one of my internship offers by today! I never chose one!”
“I could help?” Ms. Joke offered. “I mean, I am in the industry, so…”
“Yes, please!” Izuku said. “Uh, my offers are on the desk.”
Izuku explained to her how he didn’t really want any of the flashier agencies and that he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to try out rescue heroics or practice his combat.
“Hmm, that’s a toughie,” Ms. Joke said, nodding. “Do all of them know about your quirk?”
“They have a vague description of it,” Izuku said.
“Then we’re going to want to avoid certain agencies with a reputation of wanting to get access to rare quirks… like to sink their teeth into you. Always want you to come back to their agency rather than trying anything new, sabotage your networking prospects that way…” Ms. Joke muttered as she scanned through his options. “What about… the Foxflight Agency?”
“Foxflight… they’re based in Nagano Prefecture, right?”
“Yeah! West of Tokyo. They cover a larger rural area, so they have a giant staff that deals with both rescue and villain capture! They don’t get a lot of news coverage out in the middle of nowhere like that, so they’re relatively non-flashy, but they’re respected in hero circles because they know their stuff. I don’t know Foxflight personally, but I hear they’re good with interns.”
“That sounds perfect!” Izuku said. “I mean, I’ll probably do a little more independent research, but… yeah, I like the idea of that.”
Ms. Joke nodded. “I should probably get going, I have to teach 4th block-”
“Oh no,” Izuku said. “I’m so sorry, I interrupted you when you were teaching…”
“Don’t worry about it,” she said. “I just had someone else run the training exercise I’d already planned for my class. No biggie. You seem well enough to be here on your own, but if you need me for anything, please call. I’m here to help.”
“Thanks,” Izuku said, and he meant it.
“I’ll probably sweep by here again after school to help clean up, if you don’t mind?”
“I… you don’t need to do that,” Izuku said, a bit floored.
“I’d like to, if I could,” Ms. Joke said.
“Okay,” Izuku said, nodding. “Thank you.”
Firstly, Izuku called in sick to school again. Then, Izuku researched the Foxflight Agency while Ms. Joke was gone. It seemed amazing, and Foxflight, the hero that led it and that it was named after, seemed like a good hero. He decided to pick that one, and spent the rest of his time watching TV, playing Sudoku, and filling out the internship paperwork. He traced his mother’s signature from another piece of paper..
By the time Ms. Joke arrived again, he had everything all filled out. She helped clean up everything and he thanked her profusely. In the middle of everything, Ms. Joke paused, as if considering something.
“Midoriya, do you want me to keep the Tea Leaves thing a secret from other heroes?”
“Yes, please don’t tell them!” he blurted out.
“I won’t tell them if you don’t want me to,” she assured him. “But I know Eraserhead would want to know if he doesn’t already… you’re in his class, aren’t you?”
Izuku frowned, looking away uncomfortably.
“He’d still take your warnings seriously-”
“I never told him I had the prophecy quirk,” Izuku interrupted. “Someone from my old school told everyone I was quirkless and until recently, I was registered as quirkless…”
“So he thinks you’re quirkless,” Ms. Joke realized.
“I never corrected his assumptions. What if he expels me for lying to him!?” Izuku said, panic rising in his voice.
“He wouldn’t do that,” Ms. Joke said, assuringly. “And even if he did, I’d help you get enrolled at some other hero school. Like Ketsubutsu, where I teach, if you’d like. I have some strings I can pull.”
“Really?” Izuku said, tearing up slightly. “That’s so nice of you…”
“Yeah, I would. And I really don’t think Eraser would expel you, he’s a better person than that. I think it’s a good idea to let him know about Tea Leaves.”
Izuku nodded reluctantly. “Can… can I have time to think about it, please?”
“Of course, kid,” Ms. Joke said. “Take the time you need. Just know that, in the meantime, if you need anything, you can call me. Even if it seems like something stupid, better you ask than not.”
Izuku didn’t know how to react. She was saying she’d help him… with anything? It was almost too good to believe, but Anzu said Ms. Joke was good, so she was probably telling the truth. “Thank you,” he said softly.
There was a knock at the door. “Midoriya! It is Iida and Uraraka, here to give you your homework!” Iida shouted from beyond the door.
“Oh, come in!” Izuku shouted.
“Hey we have your- oh, who’s this?” Uraraka asked, tilting her head.
I can’t tell them why she’s actually here because that would totally blow my cover!
“She’s my aunt,” Izuku said immediately.
“Oh, that’s great! Hi, uh… ”
“Fukukado-san,” Ms. Joke said, looking amused.
“Hi Fukukado-san! We came to bring your nephew his homework ‘cause he’s sick, and also to turn in his internship forms for him!” Uraraka said cheerfully.
“Oh, that’s great,” Ms. Joke said.
The pair left a few minutes later after a bit of conversation, wishing him well and giving him homework and notes from the classes he’d missed. “I’m sorry, I panicked,” Izuku said after they left. “I, uh, I… thank you for going with it… ”
“I don’t mind, kid,” Ms. Joke said, grinning. “If anyone asks, I have a nephew named Izuku who lives in Musutafu.”
Izuku felt his face heat up.
Anzu had been right. Ms. Joke didn’t seem so bad after all.
Okay, now that you’re all really used to the name Anzu (Apricot) I’m here to tell you that I very nearly named the prophecy quirk Matsu (Pine.) Opinions: would that name have been better or is it kind of cursed now that you’re used to Anzu?
Chapter 25: Internships, Part 1
Izuku gets a new version of his costume, and goes to internships.
A nice short one today! :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Thankfully, Izuku recovered and was feeling well enough to go to school on Monday. After a “welcome back, Midoriya” from his friends, everything was back to normal. Except the fact that everyone was preparing for their internships.
Izuku had submitted a costume change for his internship himself! The material was to cover his neck now and provide more padding and protection than before. He’d also requested a mask-type thing and requested different boots from the support company.
When he got his costume back, just in time for the start of internships, Izuku was very happy about how it came out. It was stylized gray-and-black, with a higher collar that would hopefully stop him from being stabbed in the neck, and a black mask that covered the lower half of his face. He got cool combat boots too, and there was more room for weapons! There wasn’t much decoration on the costume except a stylized gray-colored star in the front of his costume and a few gray bands on the sleeves. Good underground hero costume, Izuku noted. Stealthy. Though if I end up going rescue I would want to make the colors brighter.
After Aizawa gave everyone their costumes, he dismissed them, sending everyone toward the train that would take them to their internship. Izuku sat down anxiously, wondering what was going to happen. Izuku was excited for his internship, but still nervous. He wasn’t sure what he would be doing over the time? This morning Anzu had just given him a generic “ do your best” pep talk so that didn’t tell him much about what would happen.
He got off the train and walked over to the address that had been given to him by the agency, walking awkwardly into the lobby. “Uh, hello…” Izuku said. “Um, I’m here for an internship?”
“Ah, Midoriya, from UA, right?” Izuku nodded. “Excellent! We’ve been waiting for you!” The man at the desk gestured to a hallway on the right. “Three doors down.”
Izuku cautiously walked down the hallway and found himself at an office. Inside was Foxflight, the hero who ran the agency. “Ah, come in!” the hero said. “Midoriya Izuku! My name is Matsuura Aoi, but you probably know me as Foxflight.”
Foxflight, as his name suggested, had a flying fox-based heteromorphic quirk. He had gold-and-brown fur and a narrowing face, almost a snout. His ears were pointed, batlike, and instead of regular arms he had wings, which had a dark-brown but transparent webbing. They had almost hand-like claws at the end which he could probably use to hold (or stab) things, but gripping chopsticks or writing was likely an issue for him. Right now, those wings were wrapped around him like a cloak. His wingspan had to be massive.
While Izuku was no animal expert, he had gone through an obsessive phase where he had to know everything about bats. Judging by his golden scruff and how large his wings were, his hero name (flying foxes were a specific subset of bats), and the way his face looked, Izuku would bet he was a golden-crowned flying fox, a specific type of megabat that mostly ate fruit, figs specifically. They couldn’t echolocate, but they had really good vision, especially in the daytime, which is probably why Foxflight was usually seen in daytime rescu…
“You know,” Foxflight said. “When they told me your hero name was ‘Deku’ I sort of thought it was a joke. Good to know we have the real analyst, your work is quite impressive.”
Izuku flushed and covered his mouth. He’d been muttering. “Sorry,” he said. His tangent had been pretty rude…
“Don’t be,” Foxflight said. “It’s a good talent for a young hero. Welcome to our agency! Would you like to hear what you’ll be doing this upcoming week?”
On his first day, Izuku would be practicing analysis and looking at the more paperwork-y side of things. On the second day, he’d be starting combat training, and when night fell, he would shadow some of the agency’s sidekicks patrolling in a nearby city to get a feel for how patrol generally worked. On the third and fourth day he’d be doing rescue-related stuff, and he’d return to combat training on the fifth day. After that, they could decide together how to spend the sixth and seventh days together based on what went well and what didn’t.
Izuku nodded along. It seemed pretty great! He liked the schedule. Foxflight introduced him to two more staff members, sidekicks Photon and Spark.
“This is the analyst Deku?” Spark squealed. Spark’s quirk allowed her to sense the location and intensity of flames over a wide area. She was usually deployed to deal with area brush fires.
“Sure is,” Foxflight said. “Remember how I said you’d be showing an intern the ropes around the office?”
“It’s this kid?” Photon said. Izuku knew Photon’s quirk allowed him to shoot bursts of light, which is why shades were a part of his costume.
Foxflight nodded. “Yep!”
“Oh wow,” Photon said, nodding. “That’s cool.”
“I know, right!” Spark said. “C’mon, kid! We’ve got stuff to show you!”
For the remainder of his time there until dinner, and Photon introduced him to their organizing system, which was boring but would probably come in handy later. Izuku supposed he would have to know what paperwork to fill out if he wanted to do legal hero work at all…
There was a cafeteria on the lower floors of the hero agency where Izuku ordered Katsudon once dinner came. He sat with Photon, who launched into an explanation of how unionization worked in the hero industry. It was completely irrelevant to what they’d be talking about before, but fascinating, so Izuku listened closely and munched on his pork.
“Hey kid!” Foxflight said, ambling in on the conversation as they ate. “Sorry to interrupt, but do you want to meet who you’ll be patrolling with tomorrow night?”
“Uh, sure,” Izuku said.
“We initially planned that both Kanga-Kick and Native would patrol with you, but as it turns out, Kanga has prior engagements. You’ll just be shadowing Native throughout his patrol.”
“Nice to meet you, Midoriya,” Native said.
“Nice to meet you both too!” Izuku said. “Uh, where will we be patrolling?”
“Hosu City,” Native said. “It’s the closest population center. We’ll be going tomorrow night, so I recommend you get a lot of sleep so you’re not tired.”
“We’ll let you sleep in that next morning,” Foxflight added.
“Ah, I see,” Izuku said. Then, Izuku thought of something. “Hey, will we be out after midnight?”
“Potentially,” Native said. “Is that a problem?”
“Not necessarily, but after I wake up in the morning, I get predictions that last for the rest of that day. Whatever happens past midnight is something I won’t be able to predict, because it’s part of the next day and I didn’t get any sleep,” Izuku explained.
“Hm, that’s fascinating,” Foxflight said. “But it shouldn’t be too much of a problem, because you won’t be in any danger. Native is one of our heaviest-hitting fighters. Villains who can take him down are few and far between.”
“That’s true,” Izuku said with a nod, though the idea of not having Anzu to warn him made him edgy.
“Actually, how much can your quirk predict?” Photon asked, and the conversation went towards how Izuku’s quirk worked. While Izuku still didn’t mention the rhyming or how Anzu might have sentience (this whole ‘believing him’ thing could stop at any second, in Izuku’s opinion) he was having fun telling them how his quirk told him about the rescue points in the UA entrance exam. The conversation was very spirited and animated.
Izuku’s future patrol in Hosu with Native was halfway forgotten.
bet you didn't see that one coming
Chapter 26: Internships, Part 2
Izuku explores the agency around him and begins weapons training.
“This is amazing,” Kanga-Kick said, a little grin on her face. “Thank you.”
“I’m sorry about it, Foxflight wanted me to practice doing quick analyses for immediate battle application-- it’s not very good compared to my usual work…”
“That’s no problem,” Kanga said. “I still think this looks very useful! You’re doing well.”
Izuku blushed and mumbled a thanks.
Izuku was practicing doing shotgun analysis of some of the sidekicks in the agency. He’d write an analysis quickly, in under ten minutes, with varying levels of information available. Then, Photon or Spark would look it over and tell him what things were inaccurate about the person and their quirk. He would correct it and try to figure out why he’d made an incorrect assumption, and then once it was all done he’d hand it over to the person. (Izuku wasn’t sure if Foxflight was just doing this because he wanted a bunch of his sidekicks to get free analysis, but he was getting good at making his analysis more accurate faster, so he supposed it was working regardless.)
Izuku ended up retiring that night in one of the agency’s spare rooms at maybe 9 o’clock, after doing a bunch of analysis practice after dinner. He brushed his teeth and fell asleep pretty easily. Upon awakening, he received a prophecy.
The patrol in Hosu will be useful for you
You’ll see the job and learn things, too!
But I can’t see past midnight, a pity
For some powerful villains stay in that city
Be cautious, be careful, beyond that time
I cannot warn you with typical rhymes.
Um, also, if we could discuss further
About effective communication in our relationship-
Izuku slammed down on that last part, cutting the poem short. Immediately after doing so he started feeling guilty. He sent a mental sorry to Anzu, but he just… didn’t want to do that right now.
He shook his head and focused on the first part of the poem. So his patrol would be useful and fun for the part Anzu could see… but there are some dangerous villains in that city he should be careful of, and Anzu wasn’t sure if he would run into them or not if he stayed past midnight. He’d report all this to Foxflight and Native of course, but they would probably just recommend he go. He was pretty sure there were a few powerful villains in almost every city.
Izuku got dressed and went down for breakfast. “Hello,” he said shyly, waving at Spark, who was already up and awake.
“Oh, heya!” she said, waving. “Foxflight wanted to talk to you after breakfast! He’ll be starting your combat training today.”
After Izuku ate, he went straight to the training rooms, not wanting to keep Foxflight waiting.
“Hey, kid,” Foxflight said, flicking his ears. “Ready to get started?”
“One of our other heroes, Scavenger, will be helping you start out in combat training. She does mostly rescue nowadays, but she’s an expert in weapons.”
“Weapons?” Izuku questioned.
“You know martial arts fairly well, I can tell just by watching Sports Festival. We’ll try to improve that too, but we think as far as raw power goes, you could use some help. That’s where weaponry comes in. We just need to find which one suits you best,” Foxflight said with a nod.
“Oh, that makes sense,” Izuku said, a little bit excited about handling weapons.
Behind Izuku, the door creaked. He glanced behind him to see a black-haired figure, who was dressed casually in a t-shirt and jeans.
“This is Scavenger! She’ll help you with your weapons training!”
“Ah, this is the famous Deku, eh?”
“Be nice to him, he’s shy,” Foxflight chastised.
“Alright, alright,” Scavenger said, rolling her eyes. “Nice to meet you, Deku.”
“Um, hi,” Izuku said.
“So I’m thinking we start trying to get you a close-range weapon and then focus on potential long-range ones. Short-range I’m thinking sword-”
“Okay, there is no reason to get this kid a sword-”
“He’s too damn short, Matsuura! He needs something to increase his reach!”
“But really, a sword?” Foxflight’s wings twitched in disbelief.
The two continued bickering.
… oh dear…
Eventually, Foxflight sighed in defeat, looking put out, while Scavenger donned a vicious smile. So, she won the argument.
“Okay, we gotta find a weapon that suits your fighting style well! For close-range weapons we can try out nunchucks, escrima sticks, bo staff, brass knuckles, knives, sai, machetes and swords!” Scavenger said, her voice rising in volume as she listed off progressively more dangerous weapons.
Foxflight almost looked like he wanted to interject again when she started talking about sai and machetes but he ended up shrugging resignedly instead.
She opened a box presumably full of weapons. “Hell yeah! Let’s start with the brass knuckles…”
Izuku did well with the brass knuckles, and while he enjoyed using them, once he explained to Scavenger that he was most well-versed in Judo, she shook her head and said to put them back. They were great for people who were mostly doing strikes, but if he was doing a lot of throws and holds he might just be impaired by them.
Meanwhile, Izuku was terrible with nunchucks, more liable to hit himself than the opponent. Scavenger just shrugged and put them back.
Next they tried out swords and a bo staff. Izuku was clumsy with the sword, but he could have been worse. Scavenger made a tsk sound and said, “Hm, maybe. You don’t look like much of a fencer anyway, kid.”
The bo staff was different, though. With a little instruction on how to hold it and beginner’s moves, it started to fit into his fighting style. “Oooh, this one might be it,” Scavenger said as Izuku swung the staff again. “I wouldn’t call you a natural, but you’re not bad for a beginner. Seems to fit with your fighting style, would give you reach… a properly-weighted staff would give some good power behind your blows as well. Not to mention it would help with upper body conditioning, your legs are much stronger than your arms as it stands.”
In the background, Foxflight looked relieved that Izuku was good at bo staff and not swords or machetes. They decided to test out the rest of the weapons though, just to see.
Izuku tested out knives with very little success.
“Good thing I gave you the blunted ones,” Scavenger said. “You definitely would have stabbed yourself twice already if those were actually sharp.”
Izuku turned red with embarrassment.
The sai went better, as did the escrima sticks. “It is up to you in the end,” Scavenger said. “But I recommend training with the bo staff. If not that, the escrima sticks. Maybe the sai, though you really don’t seem like the stabbing type.”
Izuku decided to go with Scavenger’s recommendation: bo staff. “Alrighty then, let’s train!” Scavenger said.
He and Scavenger went through beginner’s moves for the bo staff in combat. He felt like he was learning a lot, but he also knew it would take a long time to learn a completely new weapon.
“I have a friend back in Musutafu,” Scavenger said as Izuku was practicing, “Who can teach you more stuff. I’ll get you in contact with them and you can keep on training with the bo staff, so you don’t fall behind once you leave. This is only a weeklong internship, after all, and not all of it will be spent on combat.”
Izuku felt grateful. He knew his quirk wasn’t physical, so having some extra firepower would be a definite benefit for him. It would help him keep up with his classmates, so he really wanted to continue to succeed with the staff.
After a few more hours of practice and drills, Scavenger said, “Alright, let’s do some stretches for cooldown.” Izuku was relieved, his arms were tired. After his stretches, Scavenger ushered him down to lunch.
He ate with Photon and Spark, who filled most of the silence. Izuku was glad he didn’t have to speak much besides answering a few curious questions and nodding when it was appropriate. He saw a few other heroes that he recognized (like Golden Webs and Tailspin) and geeked out for a few seconds before going back to his conversation. Photon seemed fascinated by his brief bouts of muttering on their quirks, but soon enough he was called back to the training room.
“Your arms have got to be sore, you aren’t used to that type of conditioning,” Scavenger said. “So for a little bit I’m passing you off to Kanga-Kick to incorporate some acrobatics and kicking into your bo staff style. After that, you’ll get some free time. You can nap or whatever, prepare for your patrol tonight,” Scavenger said.
Kanga-Kick was a hero who had the legs and tail of a kangaroo, which meant she could deal out particularly powerful kicks. For the next hour, Kanga worked him hard, drilling him on kicks and acrobatic moves that involved springing off his bo staff. While Izuku picked up the more acrobatic moves fairly easily, the kicks were a bit tougher to learn.
“Excellent work, kid,” Kanga said after a time. “Cool-down stretches, then you should probably shower and take a rest! Make sure to have plenty of carbs and proteins for dinner, you’ve done a lot of exercise.”
“Thank you,” Izuku said with a short bow. Then, he went into stretches. Izuku followed Kanga’s advice, going for a shower, and then taking a break. He had maybe six hours or so before he had to get ready for his patrol, which he planned to spend resting and maybe doing some analysis.
Izuku was dead tired, but he felt much better after taking a long nap and consuming tons of meat and noodles for dinner. “Excellent work, Midoriya,” Foxflight said as he passed at dinner. “Remember you have patrol by 8 PM. Native will be waiting for you. Be in costume.”
Izuku nodded. “Okay, I will.”
Izuku got on his costume, which he found fairly comfortable, and was walking towards where he was supposed to meet Native when he ran into Scavenger again.
“Yo kid,” Scavenger said. “Take these.”
Scavenger passed him a bo staff and several sai.
“This patrol will be a great opportunity to potentially use your bo staff in real combat. And it’s always good to keep something sharp on you in case you need to cut things, or people. Personally, I recommend always carrying sai, regardless of whether you’re on or off-duty,” Scavenger said.
“D-don’t you need a license for these?!” Izuku said.
Scavenger laughed. “Bo staff aren’t technically banned, those are basically sticks. Besides, I’m a pro-hero and registered in weapons instructions for both those weapons. Between those two facts I can temporarily authorize you to carry one. Try not to stab anyone with those sai though, it’ll be a hell of a lot of paperwork for me.”
Izuku sighed in relief. At least Scavenger wasn’t recommending anything illegal. “Uh, thanks.”
“If you train at the studio I recommend back in Musutafu, they’ll help you pass the licensing exams for those weapons so you can get your own proper license. Also, you can keep the ones I just gave you. It’s been a while since I got to train anyone in weaponry,” Scavenger said with a wink.
“Thank you,” Izuku said, blinking. He was surprised, but… he felt good. He could tell by the weight of the staff that it was good-quality, and the sai were nice and sharp.
He smiled to himself, revelling in the feeling of satisfaction.
He liked the feeling of owning weapons.
“Thank you,” Izuku said, a bit more firmly, with a nod.
“Hah! Good luck on your patrol, kid.”
Izuku hid the sai in his costume, took the bo staff, and took off toward where Native was.
“I see you brought your bo staff,” Native observed.
“Scavenger approved it,” Izuku said automatically.
Native gave a good-natured sigh. “That sounds like her. So, Hosu. We’ll be taking a loop around the city, so we should finish at around 12AM, but if we get caught up in something it could be longer. You never really know,” Native said, pointing at a map of Hosu. “I’ll lead. You should avoid fighting and let me handle that.”
“But seriously,” Native said. “Your quirk isn’t combat-applicable, so fighting for you technically isn’t illegal quirk use… but I don’t want you getting injured all the same.”
“Got it,” Izuku said, nodding again.
“Alright then, let’s go,” Native said.
Together, Izuku and Native boarded a train to Hosu.
(Next chapter: a preview)
Native: don’t fight anyone dangerous
Midoriya: dOnT figHT aNYonE daNGerOuS
double update today to save y'all from the tension! let's get to that stain fight!
Chapter 27: A Regular & Normal Patrol
Izuku goes on patrol in Hosu City with Native. He's pretty sure it will go well.
It wasn’t too difficult to keep up with Native on his patrol, even though his legs were sore. Izuku was very used to running for long periods of time. Carrying the bo staff was getting a little annoying, though… he should probably add something to his costume he could attach it to if he wanted to leave his hands free.
As Native had ordered, Izuku stayed back during any potentially-dangerous situations. The first one that happened was when Native stopped a mugging. While Native arrested the mugger, Izuku guided the man out of the alleyway and behind a building, out of danger. When the police arrived to clean up the situation, Native gave him a nod and they continued on.
On their way, Native stopped a few more muggings, one attempted murder, and a minor robbery, while Izuku comforted victims and told the police what was going on. The sun had set long ago, and the moon hung in the sky.
They were very nearly done with their loop around Hosu, though because sorting out the robbery had taken a long time (Native ran into a hero called Manuel, and they stopped to talk for ages. It was a little awkward for Izuku) it was around 12:14AM. Izuku couldn’t help but feel a bit nervous, walking around at night without any current prophecies, but he was glad he had Native with him. Native did have a lot of raw power considering his ra-
Suddenly, Izuku felt a pulse of danger under his skin.
… was that Anzu talking?
“Native, we need to leave,” Izuku said.
“What are you talking about?” Native said, tilting his head.
“It’s not- not safe,” Izuku explained. “I can feel it, we need to go.”
“Um, are yo-” Something flashed in the corner of his eye. Izuku whipped his head around to see a figure standing on a rooftop.
“Very perceptive, little hero.” The face, the red scarves, the knives…
“The Hero Killer Stain,” Native growled. “Deku, stay out of my way. I’ll take him down.”
Izuku quickly backed out of the alleyway and grabbed his phone, typing quickly.
hero killer [*location pinned*]
SENT: ALL CONTACTS
Then, Izuku peeked into the alleyway. When he saw Stain pinning Native, who was bleeding from the shoulder…
Izuku dropped his phone and charged forward, swinging his bo staff at Stain. Stain dodged neatly, taking a few steps back. “Leave. This is no place for children,” Stain warned.
“Well, I’m not leaving!” Izuku said, transitioning into a fighting stance.
“Deku, just go! Please, leave!” Native shouted from behind him.
“It is an unwise decision to become my opponent,” Stain said, drawing a sword. “Why bother doing it? You could still escape.”
“I won’t let you kill him,” Izuku said.
“Hm, want to save him? What is he, your sensei?” Stain asked.
“No, but I won’t let him die,” Izuku huffed. Stain seemed to consider that, tilting his head.
“This child is displaying purer desires than you, Native. How embarrassing. Perhaps I’ll allow him to live.” With that, Stain lunged forward. Izuku dodged the initial strike, swinging his bo staff toward Stain, who grabbed the weapon and pulled it out of his hands, throwing it behind him. Okay, to be expected, I did only have 3 hours of bo staff instruction… Izuku quickly backpedalled, putting distance between the two.
In a bold move that surprised even himself, Izuku pulled a hidden sai from his costume and threw it at Stain. Stain’s eyes widened. Stain dodged to the side, avoiding what would have been a hit to the torso, but the sai still sunk into his arm.
Stain hissed in pain. “That’s it, kid.” As Stain rushed forward again, Izuku tried a roundhouse kick. Stain caught his foot easily and brought a knife down on his leg.
… but there was barely any pain. It was at that moment Izuku recalled his hero costume was knifeproof. Izuku felt the pressure of the blow, but the knife failed to cut through his costume. He threw an elbow at the Hero Killer, but Stain fell back out of Izuku’s range, only for him to slash out with a sword toward Izuku’s face.
Izuku tried to duck, but he was too slow. Still, ducking might have saved his sight, as Stain’s blade cut across his forehead just above his eyes. Izuku stumbled back as Stain licked the blade.
Izuku felt his muscles freeze up. How? Was it the fact that he cut me, or that he consumed the blood? Stain turned away from him and started walking towards Native. “N-no, stop! Leave him alone!”
Stain rose his blade over Native’s neck.
“NO! No no nono-”
A fireball flew through the air toward the Hero Killer, who was forced to dodge. Izuku glanced toward the alleyway’s entrance. Endeavor and Todoroki.
“Your path ends here, villain!” Endeavor shouted, blasting forward.
“T-Todoroki…” Izuku stuttered. “Why are you-”
“Your message,” Todoroki said, lifting up Izuku. “Endeavor was convinced to come right away when he heard the Hero Killer was here.” Todoroki dragged Izuku to the entrance of the alleyway, depositing him safely out of the fight’s range. He went back and grabbed Native, doing the same for him.
“T-thank goodness,” Izuku said. My message sent to all contacts - wait, ALL contacts? Even though I don’t ever message them on my phone, I added in a few of Tea Leaves’ acquaintances as contacts on my phone in case of emergency… shit…
So apparently Sir Nighteye, Ms. Joke, Rock Lock, Mr. Brave and Aizawa-sensei were all going to get that message too. And technically he had Foxflight’s contact info too. Not great.
Izuku heard a horrible shriek in the alleyway, and the acrid scent of burning flesh filled his nose. “W-what is-”
There was another scream, but Todoroki didn’t look into the alleyway. “That wasn’t my dad screaming,” Todoroki said.
… Izuku didn’t ask any other questions.
Sure enough, about a minute later, Endeavor came stalking out of the alleyway. “The Hero Killer is dead,” he said. No one said anything to that. Sirens wailed in the distance.
Izuku felt his finger twitch. Slowly, he made a fist and lifted his arm. “I can move again.”
“But I can’t,” Native said with a slight frown.
“Maybe it has to do with blood type, or the amount of blood ingested,” Izuku said, standing shakily. “Or the size of the wound he created?”
Izuku had nothing to do except stay where he was and try to wrap Native’s shoulder-wound with bandages from the first aid kit that was part of his costume. After another five minutes, Native was able to move as well. While Endeavor had left almost as soon as Stain had been killed, Todoroki stayed behind, watching mostly in silence.
After maybe half an hour of staying put, Izuku glanced at Native.
“S-should we take you to the hospital? Or, the ER or something?” Izuku asked.
Native shook his head. “I’m fine, really. I’m just very confused as to why emergency response is so slow, I mean I did put in a call. Normally they can be here in under five minutes, but it’s been around thirty…”
“It’s probably because of the damage caused by the Nomu,” Todoroki answered.
Izuku felt sharp claws dig into his sides. “Ahh!” He was lifted off the ground.
Native sprung to his feet, but there wasn't anything he could do. Not with Izuku in the way. Izuku felt panic rise as the ground got smaller, until something yanked the Nomu down and stopped its ascent. Izuku quickly glanced behind him. A gray capture weapon…
Down on the ground was Aizawa-sensei, skidding as he tried to slow down the Nomu. To his right, he saw a multi-limbed figure scaling buildings, leaping on top of the Nomu. The Silk Spider Hero: Golden Webs! He’s from Foxflight’s Agency!
Golden Webs ripped Izuku from the Nomu’s claws, and Izuku thanked whoever made his costume that it was so sturdy, because this was the second time tonight he could have been seriously injured by a sharp thing. Luckily, the fabric protected his ribs from the Nomu’s claws.
In a dizzying movement, Golden Webs landed neatly, setting him on the ground.
Izuku looked up at the Nomu and saw Foxflight attacking it from above, initiating an aerial battle. Foxflight must have gotten my notification and brought backup! Kanga-Kick jumped in from the side, taking potshots at the Nomu’s brain.
“OUT OF THE WAY!” Endeavor had noticed this Nomu, apparently.
Kanga-Kick and Foxflight quickly escaped firing range as Endeavor roasted the Nomu.
“Midoriya,” Aizawa said, sounding somewhat surprised to see him there. “Are you okay?”
“I-I’m f-fine Aizawa-s-sensei,” Izuku said, unable to tame his stutter. “O-only the c-cut on the face. N-no other injuries.”
Foxflight landed, billowing wings lowering him to the ground. “Midoriya, what happened?”
“U-um, I-I was on p-patrol with N-Native and Stain showed up to k-kill him,” Izuku said. Foxflight sucked in a breath.
“We don’t know anything about where the Nomu came from, but Endeavor killed the Hero Killer, apparently,” Native said. Everyone nearby glanced at Endeavor.
“I did,” Endeavor said.
“Oh, alright then,” Kanga-Kick said.
Izuku took a few shaky steps towards Aizawa, who reached out to steady him. Izuku took one look at him, thought thank god he’s here, and then shoved his face into Aizawa’s jumpsuit and wrapped his arms around him. Izuku felt embarrassed about hugging his teacher, but Aizawa was so steady he just couldn’t let go. There was no prophecy today, Anzu wasn’t available to warn him, so anything could happen and Izuku wasn’t prepared to deal with that alone.
Aizawa gently put his hand on Izuku’s shoulder, as if he weren’t sure how to react to this.
“The rest of you should go help with the Nomu cleanup,” Aizawa said. “I’ve got Midoriya.”
The heroes there mumbled their assent, and except for Endeavor (who stayed near Stain’s corpse, waiting for police) all the heroes left in different directions to assist with cleanup. Aizawa guided Izuku away from the alleyway with the body and kept going until everyone else was out of sight. Once there was no one watching, Izuku burst into tears and squeezed Aizawa tighter.
Aizawa glanced Izuku up and down for injuries. “Does anything hurt? Did you hit your head?” he asked.
Izuku shook his head, muttered, “No, not hurt,” and then went back to sobbing and clinging at Aizawa again. Aizawa paused, then slowly circled his arms around Izuku, returning the hug. It made Izuku cry harder.
“It’s going to be okay, Midoriya,” Aizawa said, his voice low and calming. In spite of Aizawa’s soothing presence, it still took several minutes for Izuku’s crying to subside, and even after that Izuku didn’t release his grip on the back of Aizawa’s costume.
“Oh dear,” a voice said from the mouth of the alleyway. Nedzu’s voice?
Izuku saw several people through blurry eyes. Sir Nighteye, Ms. Joke, Nedzu.
“We came as soon as we could,” Nighteye said. “What happened?”
“The warning was right. Hero Killer,” Aizawa said, tightening his grip on Izuku slightly.
Ms. Joke and Sir Nighteye tensed up. “Where is he?” Nighteye asked.
“Dead,” Aizawa said coldly.
The other three heroes stood there in stunned silence.
“Eraser…” Ms. Joke said.
“Did you really…” Nighteye trailed off.
“This could be a legal problem,” Nedzu noted.
“Oh, no. I didn’t kill him,” Aizawa clarified. “Endeavor did, after he attacked one of Midoriya’s internship supervisors.”
“Ah, good,” Nedzu said, nodding in satisfaction.
“And Ms. Joke was right in her theory,” Nighteye said, nodding. “Tea Leaves seems to have sent an email from Midoriya’s account. There’s no way Midoriya could have gotten all our contact information. This just adds more fuel to the ‘good hacker’ theory…”
“They could have a skilled hacker working for them,” Aizawa argued.
They haven’t figured me out? Really?! What luck…
“Figure it out later,” Ms. Joke said. “We should get Midoriya back to Foxflight’s Agency, or at least a hotel or something. Did we have a plan for that?”
And Ms. Joke is covering for me! She really did come through!
“We weren’t sure if Midoriya would be here at all or if Tea Leaves was just using his phone as a mouthpiece. Also, we were pretty sure that if Midoriya was actually fighting the Hero Killer he would need a hospital, not a hotel room,” Nighteye said.
“My costume is knifeproof,” Izuku said, wiping his eyes. “It prevented injuries.”
“Ah, I see,” Nighteye said. “But why did he attack you? He’s only gone after full-fledged heroes thus far… ”
“I mean, he said he wasn’t planning on killing me, but after I stabbed him when I was trying to protect Native, he got really angry and tried to stab me back,” Izuku explained.
“You stabbed the Hero Killer?” Ms. Joke said, incredulously.
“In the arm. It w-was a lucky shot,” Izuku responded sheepishly.
“What did you stab him with?” Aizawa asked.
“Scavenger gave me a bunch of sai,” Izuku said, honestly.
“She- ugh, the worst part is I can actually see her doing that,” Ms. Joke said.
“Okay, before we continue this conversation--did the rest of you get here by train?” Nighteye asked.
The other three heroes nodded.
“I drove here, I have a car up the way. I can drive us wherever we need to go.”
“Let’s go to UA,” Aizawa said. “Recovery Girl can give Midoriya a check-up, and then he can go home.”
“W-what about my internship?” Izuku asked.
“Probably getting cancelled,” Aizawa answered.
Izuku sighed. And his internship had been going so well-
He sat in the middle seat, next to Aizawa, though he had to detach from Aizawa’s side to put his seatbelt on. While he managed to squash the urge to hug his teacher again after that, he still leaned closer to Aizawa, as if he were a magnet slowly being drawn to him.
The ride was occasionally interspersed with questions about the Hero Killer which Izuku answered, tactfully leaving out the part where he called for help (because it seemed like they assumed Tea Leaves did that.) He tried to downplay the part where he recklessly jumped into a fight with Stain to save Native, but it was an important enough part of the retelling that Izuku ahd to admit that it happened.
“Please never do that again,” Ms. Joke said.
“You’re very lucky to not be dead,” Nighteye added.
“I know!” Izuku snapped in frustration. He didn’t need anyone to tell him he might have died, he was very aware of that fact, thank you very much.
“We know you know, but you’re still a student, Midoriya,” Aizawa said. “Stay out of fights you can’t win. Native was supposed to be protecting you, not the other way around.”
Izuku nodded and mumbled his assent. After that, the matter was dropped.
When they arrived at UA, Izuku received a checkup from Recovery Girl, who deemed him uninjured and healed the cut on his forehead. After that, Aizawa accompanied him on a short train ride home.
“We called your mother,” Aizawa said, almost as an afterthought.
“Y-you did?” Izuku tried not to look too nervous.
“She said she wanted you to come straight home,” Aizawa said.
A knot formed in Izuku’s stomach. Was his mom coming back? Because she knew he was injured? When they arrived at his building, Izuku glanced up in nervousness.
“Um, this building’s mine,” Izuku said, the implicit you can leave now heavy in his voice.
For a moment it looked like Aizawa was going to insist he should walk him to his door, but he said, “Okay. If you need anything, have your mother call me. She should have my number.”
Izuku nodded. “Alright.”
When Izuku entered the apartment, he looked around it high and low. Nothing was changed, no one had been here. He sighed in relief. His mother saying ‘send him straight home’ had very likely just been a cover-up so it seemed like she cared. And yet, he was thankful. He didn’t want to have to talk to Aizawa about this and he didn’t want his life to change. Her deceptions helped him fulfill those goals.
Izuku stumbled to his room, not bothering to put on pajamas or brush his teeth. He just flopped onto his bed and finally, after an exhausting day (both mentally and physically) let himself fall asleep.
I was really tempted to kill off Native, just so you know, but I decided it was way too angsty.
Midoriya needs a break. ^-^
Midoriya comes full circle with hugging and crying around Aizawa! That's okay, Midoriya. We understand.
Chapter 28: Another Truth
Izuku admits more to Ms. Joke than he thinks he should, but he gets something nice out of it. Meanwhile, he meets back up with Native and Foxflight at UA to say goodbye one last time.
Dadzawa fans, don't be too angry! I'm not sure how this happened, either! But I promise Aizawa will get his moments! :)
When Izuku woke up, he was momentarily panicked by the lack of a prophecy. After thinking about it for a moment, and recalling what had happened last night, it made sense.
He’d gone to bed past midnight last night because of what happened with the Hero Killer. Because he went to bed starting today and not the day before, it made sense Anzu wouldn’t be able to give a prophecy.
Izuku was halfway through his routine of getting ready for school when he realized he didn’t really have to go to school, because it wasn’t happening. Then he just sort of sat there for a little bit, thinking about everything going on in his life.
And, thinking about it… he knew he needed to make a decision about Tea Leaves.
As pleasant as it was that he wasn’t immediately outed by his emergency message back in Hosu, he knew there was no way Nedzu hadn’t at least considered the possibility that he was Tea Leaves. Maybe Nedzu dismissed it or thought it less likely than other possibilities. Maybe he already knew Izuku was Tea Leaves for sure. Who knew?
Regardless, Izuku needed to decide whether he was going to try to keep up this facade.
… He already knew the answer. As much as he desperately wanted to preserve his relationships, as worried as he was that he would be rejected…
He needed to tell them the truth.
A little voice inside of him screeched, Don’t do it! They’ll leave you, and you’ll be alone again!
Izuku shook his head and dismissed the voice.
Izuku was never truly alone, was he? Izuku placed a hand over his heart. When he was little, when he used to doubt that anyone in the world cared for him…
( I cannot be there in person,
So I remain here in your heart
Ready to give you poem anew
At each day’s lovely start.)
… Anzu had always been there to assure him.
He nodded to himself firmly. He’d made his decision. He would tell them.
Now just to psych himself up for actually doing so. Izuku sighed. This decision was going to make him feel really anxious until he actually did it, wouldn’t it? As Izuku was thinking, he heard a knock on the door. He trotted over and opened it.
“Ms. Joke?” Izuku asked.
“Yeah! I’m glad you’re awake,” she said.
“Wait- why are you here?” Izuku asked, tilting his head.
“Well, two reasons!” Ms. Joke said cheerfully. “First, I volunteered to come tell you that some of the members of the Foxflight Agency want to talk to you. Return the possessions you left in Nagano, say goodbye, that sort of thing,” Ms. Joke said. “They’ll be coming at around 2PM at UA, so you should go to UA then.”
“Oh, I see,” Izuku said, trailing off. “Um, what’s the second reason?”
“I just came to visit,” Ms. Joke said, thoughtfully. “It didn’t seem fair for you to be all on your own after what happened with the Hero Killer… ”
“You live alone, don’t you?” Ms. Joke said, a frown in her voice. “Sending you home by yourself seems a little heartless, after everything that happened with Stain.”
“Oh, it’s not so bad… um, do you want to come in for tea?” Izuku asked, suddenly realizing how awkward it was to be having this conversation at the door.
“I’d love to,” she answered.
Izuku put a kettle on as Ms. Joke settled down at the table.
Ms. Joke shook her head. “Call me Fukukado-san. It’s strange hearing Ms. Joke outside of work.”
“Fukukado-san…” Izuku said, nodding. “Okay, thanks. And thank you for covering for me about Tea Leaves. Do they suspect?”
“It doesn’t seem like it,” Joke? Fukukado? said. “If they do they haven’t said anything. But I can’t promise Nedzu isn’t already aware of your identity. I have no idea where he’s at.”
Izuku sighed. “I figured. I’m thinking I’m going to call a meeting and tell them.”
“Really?” Ms. Joke sighed in relief. “That would be… good. Would be nice for everything to be out in the open.”
Izuku took the kettle from the stove. “What kind of tea do you want? I have sencha…”
“That’s fine,” she said.
Izuku poured the tea leaves into the water. There was a long pause between the two.
Ms. Joke broke it. “Hey Midoriya… I wanted to ask…” Ms. Joke seemed to struggle with how to phrase her question. “... why do you live alone? I’m just a little concerned about something you said, back when you were sick.”
Izuku’s heart sunk. “I… don’t want to talk about it…”
“Hey, it’s okay,” she assured. “I won’t judge you. And I won’t force you to move, either.”
Izuku frowned skeptically. “Really?”
“I mean, so long as you aren’t in danger from living here,” Ms. Joke added. “Though… if you are in danger please tell me, I can help fix it.”
“I’m not in danger,” Izuku said.
Part of Izuku was distrustful and reluctant to tell Ms. Joke anything about his situation, afraid she’d spill the beans and ruin everything. But the other half of him considered how well she’d kept his Tea Leaves secret.
… And he burned to tell someone, anyone, what was going on.
“Fine, I’ll tell you,” he said. I guess today is just an honest day…
Izuku poured the tea into two mugs and slid one across to Ms. Joke.
“My dad’s off living in America. My mom is out of the house a lot for work,” Izuku said. “And one day she just stopped coming back home? My quirk said she moved in somewhere else, some other building or something, so she doesn’t live here anymore. She still pays rent and heat but she hasn’t come back for… three weeks now?”
“Um, I know it’s not a lot of time,” Izuku rushed to explain, “but my quirk said she wasn’t coming back, and she hasn’t visited…” he trailed off.
“Did she say if she was coming back?” Ms. Joke asked, concerned.
“She never told me she was leaving,” Izuku mumbled.
Ms. Joke nearly dropped her tea. “You’re kidding…”
“No,” Izuku said.
“Your mother left without a word? That’s awful…”
“I’m not in danger or anything! It’s fine, I’ve known how to take care of myself for ages now. Please don’t call Social Services,” Izuku said, suddenly regretting everything. “Besides, it’s not like she did anything wrong. I’m 15, so I can be left home alone.”
“Not for multiple weeks with no intention of coming back,” Ms. Joke said. “And without telling you, jeez. That’s child abandonment, which is a crime, you know… ”
“Please don’t tell anyone…” Izuku mumbled. “It would just make things worse.”
Ms. Joke gave a troubled sigh. “I can see what you’re saying, but do you really want your mother to still have custody over you?”
“Well, no, but if she doesn’t I don’t know who will because I don’t have any other family in Japan… And there will probably be stuff in court, and what if my new foster parent or orphanage or whatever doesn’t want me going to UA? What if my foster parent picks me just because I go to UA? I don’t need this kind of stress!”
“Nedzu would background-check any foster parent or facility a thousand times over before he let you live with them, you know,” Ms. Joke said assuringly. “He’s very protective of kids, especially UA kids.”
“I still don’t want to,” Izuku said, stubbornly. “Too risky. And you promised you wouldn’t make me move, and I’m not in danger, so you can’t… and you have to protect the identity of me because I’m an informant, and…”
“Hey, hey,” she said, assuringly but reluctantly. “Because you’re not in any immediate danger, if you’re really insistent about it, I won’t tell anyone.”
Izuku breathed a sigh of relief.
“But I do have a possible solution to this problem,” Ms. Joke said.
“...what?” Izuku asked, nervous.
“Well,” she said, “In the eyes of the law, this is textbook child abandonment because your mother left you, with no intention to return. However, it might be a bit difficult to prove she did that, because it’s been only three weeks. She could argue it was a business trip, or something. I mean, we’d probably still win, but… ”
“We definitely want this case, if brought to court, to be smooth and quick. And it gets more cut-and-dry the longer she fails to contact you. Especially after six months, that becomes sort of a de-facto win unless there are special circumstances.”
“So, we… wait?” Izuku asked.
“Sort of. I don’t feel comfortable leaving you here all alone, even if you are used to living by yourself,” she said. At Izuku’s pout, she shook her head, saying, “You’re going to a very challenging school, and you just underwent lots of stressful situations. Several villain attacks. Not great conditions for a kid to live alone, unless absolutely necessary.”
“So… then what?”
“If you don’t like this idea, you don’t need to accept, and I’ll respect your decision,” Ms. Joke said, pausing. “But you could stay with me?”
Izuku stopped, surprised. He stuttered, unable to compose a response.
“You don’t have to,” she rushed to explain. “I just think it would be good for you to live with an adult, but as you said, going to the police involves some unknowns. So if you wanted, you could just… stay with me instead.”
“I- I- that’s really generous of you,” Izuku managed to say. “But I don’t want you to feel obligated or do something like this out of guilt.”
“I’m not,” she said strongly. “I want to. I like you, kid. And if you don’t like staying at my place then you can come back home. Um, the commute to school isn’t that bad, only maybe ten minutes longer by train? And we don’t technically have to worry about legalities… jeez, that sounds irresponsible of me when I say it out loud,” she muttered.
“No, I appreciate it,” Izuku said. “I mean… you’re not a stranger, and you know about Tea Leaves…” Izuku considered it. It was really nice of her to offer, but it was a lot. He really would love to live with her (he liked her, she was fun,) but he didn’t want to be a burden. He wondered what Anzu would think of this.
As he thought that, Izuku felt something inside him whisper approval.
So it seemed Anzu liked the idea. Anzu always knew what the best option was, and Izuku did want this for himself, so…
“I accept,” Izuku said, nodding.
Ms. Joke squealed. “Wonderful! Ah, I have a spare room, this’ll be great! I’ll help you pack and everything!” Watching her gleeful reaction, Izuku was glad he decided to live with Ms. Joke. It was obvious she was excited about this too but had reigned it in because she didn’t want to pressure him.
“Hey, wait, how will you explain that you suddenly got a child to like, your neighbors or something-?” Izuku asked.
“I’m your aunt, of course, your mother’s away for the time being,” Ms. Joke said, donning a mischievous grin. “You can call me oba-chan.”
“Well, you know, Fukukado-san is a little formal for an aunt that you live with,” Ms. Joke tsked. “Maybe Fukukado-chan, or Oneesan? How do young people address their aunts nowadays… oooh, maybe a cute nickname like Fuku-chan!”
Izuku internally balked at calling this Grown Adult that he’d only met twice in person Fuku-chan. “What have I gotten myself into?” Izuku muttered, but there was a soft smile on his face, and his heart felt light.
Izuku was headed to UA by train to meet with Foxflight and his crew one last time. Once he was done with that, he would meet with Fukukado back at his house and pack. He was planning to move to her house tomorrow.
Honestly, the idea was a bit overwhelming, but…
He had to admit he had gotten really lonely, recently. And he liked Ms. Joke, and Anzu thought it was a good idea. Between those three facts, living with Ms. Joke was the best option. He walked into UA a flutter of excited and nervous energy. He went through the gate and made his way to the offices.
When he arrived, he saw Foxflight, Native, and Scavenger with Aizawa and Nedzu.
“Never do anything that reckless again!” Native said immediately, shooting up from his chair.
“Woah, Native, calm-” Scavenger started.
“What part of don’t get involved in any dangerous situations did you not understand-”
No one could stop Native from starting his five-minute rant on safety procedures and following instructions and idiot interns. Izuku stood still the whole time, aggressively resisting the urge to fidget.
“However,” Native said. “You did save my life, which I appreciate. Your intervention was timely and skillful, but that does not change the fact you should never do anything like that ever again.” Native let out a puff of air as he ran out of breath.
There was a silence, and Izuku was pretty sure he was supposed to fill it. “...kay.”
“... Well, on that note!” Nedzu said, clapping his paws together. “Anything to say, Foxflight?”
“It was wonderful having you, and it was a shame your internship was cut short,” Foxflight said, awkwardly.
There was a very long pause.
“Here’s your stuff!” Scavenger chirped, handing him his bag.
“... Thanks,” Izuku said, taking it from her.
Foxflight gave him a pat on the shoulder with one of his talons. “You did good, kid. Be safe out there. We’d love to have you again at a different time.”
Izuku nodded. “Uh, thanks.”
After that extremely awkward exchange, Izuku was dismissed and released to go home.
However, as he was walking in the hallways toward the entrance of the school, Scavenger caught up with him. She ran up to him, panting.
“One more thing!” Scavenger said, pulling a box out of seemingly nowhere. “I didn’t want to do this in front of Foxflight because he’d disapprove, but this is a personal gift! For stabbing the Hero Killer with one of my sai!” She gave a feral grin. “I’m very proud of you for that, by the way.”
Izuku took the box, briefly cautious, but he dismissed his worries. He doubted a pro-hero would hand him anything truly dangerous within UA’s walls, where Nedzu was watching. The box was heavy, though, with an unusual weight. “Thank you,” Izuku said, bowing politely.
“No problem, kid,” Scavenger said. “Have fun out there!”
The moment Izuku arrived back at his apartment, he opened the mysterious box. On the top was a little letter.
Hey kid! This is the studio I recommend, I know the owner! They’ll help you learn the bo staff and they’re experienced in many other weapons, if you want to pick up others. Just say you’re Midoriya Izuku and that Scavenger sent you! They’re expecting you.
233 North Asagao Street, Musutafu, JP. 14857.
Izuku felt a grin spread across his face. He’d almost forgotten about that! He was glad Scavenger had remembered even though his internship was cut short. He put the note to the side and glanced in the box.
… which was full of sai and knives. Izuku sighed, he should have expected this. There was a little sticky note on the knife set, which said don’t play with these without training >:(
… That was probably wise. Izuku wasn’t very good with knives right now. Best he put them aside until he learned to use them safely at the studio. Then, there were a good dozen sai of varying sizes. On top of them was a sticky note saying, make sure to carry these on you after you get your license! :)
Izuku planned to. The sai probably saved his life (or Native’s) when he was facing down the Hero Killer. When Izuku looked underneath the weapons, he found a little plastic container full of chocolate-chip cookies at the bottom of the box, which made Izuku smile. While he felt bad for losing his bo staff (he’d never gone back to the alley to get it) now he had new sai! He’d just have to add a bo staff to his costume or purchase one himself.
Izuku did some light stress-cleaning while he waited for Ms. Joke to arrive. She did so within the hour.
“Alright, let’s getcha packed!” she said, ruffling Izuku’s hair. She glanced at him carefully as she did so, as if evaluating his reaction. He paused a moment, not anticipating it, but then looked up at her with a smile. “Alright, let’s pack,” Izuku said, grabbing her hand and tugging her along toward his room.
“We can use my mom’s old suitcase to pack everything,” he said. “So the stuff I’m planning on bringing…”
With Ms. Joke’s help, Izuku got everything packed up much faster than he’d imagined. Clothes, toiletries, blankets, posters, trinkets, his stuffed dog, and his school bag… he’d agonized for a few moments over whether or not to bring a picture of him and his mom before deciding it was the type of thing he’d keep in the attic, but never look at. He put it carefully in a little case.
“And we’re also taking this box,” Izuku said, pointing. All in all, that meant one suitcase, two backpacks (one was stuffed full of school things) and one mysterious box.
“Did you already pack that one?” Ms. Joke asked curiously.
“It was a gift from Scavenger,” Izuku said. “Knives.”
“Knives-- knives?!” Ms. Joke looked slightly despondent.
“Knives aren’t bad! You have kitchen knives, right? These are just like those, except… more of them,” Izuku said, tactfully leaving out the sai.
Ms. Joke looked distinctly unconvinced by that argument.
“Also I’m training with weapons in the hero course, so…”
“Alright, alright,” Ms. Joke said, sighing. “Please follow proper knife safety. Don’t stab yourself. Or others.”
“I won’t!” Izuku said. With that, Ms. Joke carried one backpack and the suitcase while Izuku took the other and the box. Off to a new apartment, Izuku thought. He would miss his old one, but it was just too large for one person…
“I’ve discovered something fascinating, Tomura.”
“Huh? What is it?”
“One of the UA students seems to have a future vision quirk,” All for One tsked. “It’s impressive they managed to keep this under wraps for so long, but with how they advertise quirks at the Sports Festival, it’s inevitable that it would get out eventually.”
“So? Doesn’t that sidekick Nighteye have a future vision quirk too?” Tomura asked.
“Indeed, but I do believe that his requires touch, and that it only examines the future of that particular individual. This palty description barely provides details,” All for One said, glancing down at the description of Prophecy, “but seems to imply a wider view, though it does only allow the user to see the future a single day in advance. In retrospect, perhaps it was he that managed to warn UA against your advance at the USJ.”
“So he’s the cheater,” Tomura growled, “And what are we going to do about it?”
“It’s simple,” All for One said, sitting back in his chair calmly. “That quirk? I want it.”
“Okay, so you’re gonna take his quirk. Why don’t you just go get it, then?”
“Patience, Tomura,” All for One said. “Attacking UA at full force would be a poor choice at this juncture. Ignoring the raw power Toogata Mirio holds at this point as the ninth holder, which may be too much to fight head-on… the quirk Prophecy might forewarn Midoriya Izuku of a coming attack.”
“However…” he continued. “This does not mean an attack is impossible. We simply must be a bit more insidious than perhaps initially thought. And poor Midoriya-kun’s quirk only lets him see one day in the future. While we can’t be sure at this point exactly what he can and can’t predict, that’s an exploitable weakness.”
“Worry not. We shall come up with something, and wipe All Might and his quirk off this earth once and for all.” All he needed now was more information about what Midoriya’s quirk could and couldn’t warn him against…
Chapter 29: Make a Change
Izuku settles in at Ms. Joke's apartment while he begins to train with the bo staff. Meanwhile, Ms. Joke seeks parenting advice.
Ms. Joke’s apartment was wonderful. It was much more organized than he’d expected considering her chaotic nature, but the place she lived was neat and tidy. The interior was a mix of whites and browns. That and the warm temperature made it feel cozy, despite the open floor plan.
“Your bedroom is that way,” she said, pointing down the hall. Izuku opened the door. The bedroom had cream-colored walls (much more subdued than his aggressively blue-and-red bedroom, which had last been repainted when he was small) and he found himself liking it. It was nice and simple, despite the lack of personal touches.
Izuku put his weapons box and school bag in the corner. He took the suitcase and essentials bag and started unpacking clothes into his new dresser, putting toiletries in the bathroom, and piling his own blankets onto the bed.
By the time it was around 9:00, when Izuku usually went to bed, he was half-unpacked. He changed into PJs and went to brush his teeth.
“Night, Midoriya,” Ms. Joke said, with a wave. “Call me if you need anything.”
“Good night, Fukukado-san,” Izuku replied. That night, Izuku had a little trouble falling asleep. He attributed it to possible stress or maybe it being a new place, though once he did fall asleep, he stayed deeply asleep for the rest of the night.
I’m glad you’re in a safe place at last,
(Fukukado is trustworthy
Her heroic spirit unsurpassed.)
If you don’t want to live here,
That’s fine, and you can leave,
But you’re not a burden here
And within these walls lies
A little home you could weave.
Izuku yawned and rubbed his eyes, absorbing the meaning of Anzu’s prophecy.
Internally, Izuku noted that Anzu had always referred to his old place as apartment or house in previous prophecies. Perhaps that phrasing had had deeper implications than just talking about where he lived…
Izuku wandered out into the living area, where he smelled… breakfast? For a moment, Izuku was taken aback. Then he remembered he was in Fukukado’s house, living with someone else, and that it was normal to smell breakfast cooking when he wasn’t making it himself.
“Hey, kiddo. I have rice with miso soup, a couple of sides,” Fukukado said, pouring some green tea.
“Thanks,” Izuku mumbled. Feeling a little guilty for making her cook for him, he said, “Um, if you want I can make breakfast tomorrow?”
Fukukado shrugged. “I don’t mind either way--I mean, I always cooked for myself before you got here, and adding ingredients for one more isn’t much work. Don’t feel obligated! If you really like cooking though, we could make dinner together.” She paused. “Hm. Speaking of, you don’t need to worry about chores except keeping your room clean and doing your laundry.”
Izuku tried to remind himself what Anzu had said ( ‘you’re not a burden here’) but he would still feel bad not doing any chores. He knew Fukukado wouldn’t be mad at him for not doing chores (he trusted her honesty, Anzu had vouched for her) but that was probably because she was just too dang nice. He’d try to see where he could help around the house.
“I’m going to work,” Fukukado said. “Um, are you going to school?”
“No,” Izuku said. “Everyone’s supposed to still be on internships, so school doesn’t start for another four days.” He paused, thinking. “I’ll probably go to the weapons place and start doing the safety training.”
“Ah, sounds good kiddo. Be safe, be back for dinner.” Fukukado said. “There’s food in the fridge.”
“Thanks,” Izuku said.
“Good,” Fukukado said, picking up her bag. “See you!”
Emi wasn’t entirely sure what she was doing. Sure, she knew some stuff about parenting, and she loved kids, but… she wasn’t super experienced in child-rearing at all. She supposed that was to be expected, she didn’t have any children. She had honestly considered fostering children in the past, that was this, just with… a few extra steps.
Granted, this hadn’t really been part of the original plan. But as Midoriya had been talking about how his mother had left him, she’d thought to herself, wow, this kid needs a responsible adult. Then, after a long pause, she remembered: WAIT, in this situation I AM the responsible adult! Shit! It all went on from there.
Though, the thing that really encouraged her to invite Midoriya to live with her was when she’d begun pondering their previous interactions. They’d spoken with each other by email before, but their first in-person interaction had come when Izuku was sick.
It was so odd for him to contact her (someone he’d technically never met) and not a teacher or a friend that he knew. It reminded her of something, but nothing good. A description of an attachment disorder she’d read in a book. “A child with this type of attachment problem might reach out to a complete stranger for help or emotional support, rather than their caregiver. If they fall and skin their knee, they might tell a random passerby they’re hurt. They show little preference between caregivers and strangers, and show little fear of strangers.”
Emi was not a psychologist (and she didn’t want to make assumptions,) but that’s essentially what Midoriya did when he went to her for help and not somebody he actually knew, like Aizawa or one of his friends. Considering she learned today that Midoriya’s mother had abandoned him… well, he probably had some attachment issues, at least, even if not any disorder.
Really, Aizawa would probably have a fit if he knew Midoriya (one of his students) was willing to go live with her (a relatively unknown adult that he had a lukewarm professional relationship with.) He would not like that. Speaking of Aizawa, it seemed like Midoriya had been avoiding telling him his secrets, especially the Tea Leaves secret, out of fear of “expulsion.” It honestly sounded like he wasn’t really afraid of expulsion, but of losing the relationship?
Emi knew that the kid would probably need therapy (she was planning on talking to him about it later) but for now she wanted to give him an opportunity to get settled. Give him some stability. Having a secure, healthy bond with an adult would help him, according to the articles she’d been reading thus far. So she was just going to have to try to help be that.
Rock Lock was sitting at a meeting about a raid on a potentially Trigger-filled storehouse. The meeting was a large one, filled with both underground and daylight heroes alike.
Underground heroes (especially the experienced ones) tended to be quite perceptive. Many people noticed the way Ms. Joke kept glancing at her bag and watching the clock throughout the meeting. Everyone who noticed just sort of… ignored it, while the meeting went on. She probably had someplace to be or something else to do and was getting anxious about it.
Once the meeting had ended, however, several eyebrows were raised as Ms. Joke pulled out a book on parenting, of all things.
Several people considered this curiously (I wonder if she’s pregnant) until one particularly bold intern (Nightlight, if Rock Lock recalled correctly) shouted across the table, “Hey, why’re you reading that book?!”
His supervisor rapidly shushed him but Ms. Joke didn’t seem offended. “One of my nephews is coming to live with me. I’m trying to figure out how to parent a teen,” she said with a worried pout.
Oh, that made sense. Everyone’s inappropriate curiosity turned into warm, friendly parenting advice. Rock Lock couldn’t really contribute much, considering his own son was still an infant and he had no idea what to do with teens, but he still paid half an ear to the conversation. He wondered vaguely which of Ms. Joke’s siblings this was the child of (he knew she had several brothers and sisters) but that seemed much too personal of a question to ask.
“Just be encouraging,” Fat Gum said, giving Ms. Joke a pat on the back. “Set boundaries on things that are important, but explain why they’re important to you, and let the kid negotiate with you about rules. Positive reinforcement over punishment.”
“Thanks,” Ms. Joke sighed. “Yo, Eraser! Do you have any advice? C’mon, you’re a teacher, right?”
“Aren’t you a teacher, too?” Aizawa said dryly.
“Yeah but our teaching styles are different,” Ms. Joke said petulantly. “You’re the strict one! I don’t know how to be strict!”
Despite Ms. Joke’s penchant for chaos, Rock Lock was pretty sure she’d make a great parent. He nodded to himself. Yes, he had a good instinct for these things.
“How’d you enjoy weapons training?” Honestly, Emi felt a bit apprehensive about having the first child under her care playing with sharp objects, but he was in the hero course, and…
“It was great!” Midoriya chirped. He was munching cheerily a cookie, though Emi wasn’t sure where he got it. “There was this woman, she was a retired pro! Her name was Yamamoto-san and the training was fun. We just did basics with the bo staff but it was cool.”
“Yeah! I mean, we’ll do sai and knives too, but we’re mostly working on the bo staff because that’s what I plan to incorporate into my hero costume,” Midoriya said.
Emi nearly sighed aloud in relief. Bo staff sounded much better than knives. Responsible parents let their children play with bo staffs, right? “Oh, that’s cool,” she said.
“And she let me know what her quirk was, Siren Song! By singing, she could make people woozy and drop their guard! Honestly, I think she utilized the quirk really well over her hero career, but ultimately-” Midoriya started going on a little rant about Yamamoto’s quirk, going over strengths, weaknesses, and how she’d incorporated it into her fighting style.
“Wait, wait,” Emi said. “You seem to know a lot about quirks, huh?”
“Oh, yeah,” Midoriya said sheepishly. “I like to do analysis. As you probably know.”
“Nah, I had no idea,” Emi said, “but that sounds fascinating. Useful, too.”
Midoriya frowned and cocked his head. “So you didn’t hear that I was Deku?”
Emi nearly spit out her tea. “What?”
“I am,” he said, nodding. “Um, if you need to confirm, you can contact Aizawa-”
“No, no, that actually makes sense,” Emi said, thinking back to how well his little rant had matched up to the analysis she herself had received. “Thank you for the analysis, then. It was super helpful.”
Midoriya blushed. “Ah, it was one of my earlier ones…”
“Still amazing,” Emi said with a slight grin. (She was still reeling from the fact that this kid was both Tea Leaves AND Deku?)
“Thanks,” he said. Midoriya stood still, fidgeting for a moment.
“Hey ki- oomph!” As Emi spoke, Midoriya crashed into her, hugging her tightly. Then, he backpedalled awkwardly and fled towards his room.
“Love you too, kid!” Emi shouted after him.
Izuku puffed out a breath as he huddled in his bed.
He’d run up to her, hugged her, and then ran away …
And all she had to say back was “love you too”?
Izuku knew that Emi was Good, as designated by Anzu (he was considering making Good, Questionable, and Bad people categories in his notebooks based on what he’d been told in prophecies) but he’d sort of expected to be screamed at for not asking. Which, he always should ask first before hugging people, because not everyone liked to be hugged. It was incredibly impolite. Yet she didn’t seem to be mad at him.
Fukukado poked her head in. “I made some fried rice for dinner. Want some?”
Izuku examined her face. It wasn’t angry, but cautious, as if she were worried about upsetting him, somehow. “Yeah, sure,” Izuku said.
Izuku nodded to himself as he left his room. She really was too nice, so he should try to be really well-behaved in return to make her job easier.
… and so she would keep making this delicious fried rice.
This chapter is mostly ~fluff~ but we will be returning to Plot Things tomorrow!
Chapter 30: Unseen Enigma
Izuku talks to Ms. Joke about his quirk in a bit more depth. Meanwhile, final exams approach.
The next half-week passed by quickly.
Izuku settled in at Fukukado’s home. She had to leave for work a lot of the time, but the other times she was just around, doing things like reading or yoga or cooking. It was… nice. If Izuku wanted privacy, he could retreat into his room, but he also had the option of going and being next to another person. He went weapons training another time and learned a bit more about the bo staff and sai. (He also had to spend time texting and assuring Iida and Uraraka he was okay-- they’d seen his hero killer text and that had taken a lot of explaining.)
Besides that, he spent a little time doing a bit of surreptitious cleaning around the house and a bit more completing that Anzu had set for him. Most of them were easier, as he had to adjust to helping people in this new neighborhood (though he did get one task in Musutafu when he went over there for weapons training.)
“Are you the ‘helpful green-haired kid’ my neighbors have been talking about?” Fukukado questioned.
“Uh, probably,” Izuku’s cheeks were dusted with pink.
“How did you manage to find and save three cats from trees and help two lost children back to their homes? That’s actually kinda impressive,” Fukukado said.
“Oh, it wasn’t me. It was my quirk, who can see the future,” Izuku said. In his chest, he felt Anzu purr in satisfaction at the recognition.
“Oh nice,” Fukukado said. “Your quirk ‘who’ can see the future?”
Izuku stopped cold. “I-”
He considered saying that he misspoke, that that’s not what he meant, but… he didn’t really want to lie about Anzu…
Hm. This would be a good opportunity to test the waters with this…
“My quirk talks to me,” Izuku said. “Tells me the future. Like a person.”
Fukukado’s eyebrows raised. “Interesting… you’re thinking sentient quirk?”
“Yeah,” Izuku said.
Fukukado hummed, taking in that information. “Possible, but it seems a little odd, for a future vision quirk. I’ve never heard of something like that. Are you sure it’s not your subconscious speaking back at you?”
Izuku felt rage rise inside him (not Anzu’s, but his own) along with an incredible discomfort at the idea that his best friend (at times his only friend) was just his subconscious. “Don’t talk about them that way!” Izuku snapped.
She raised her hands in surrender. “I’m sorry, you would know better than me.”
With that, Izuku felt his rage subside and be replaced with guilt for snapping at her. He sighed and sat, pouting, on one of the kitchen stools.
“Why don’t you explain about the quirk?” Fukukado asked.
“Fine… they definitely have thoughts, and feelings, which I can sense occasionally. We actually got into a fight a month ago because they didn’t tell me an important piece of information because they didn’t want me to feel bad and I got upset. I forgave them though. We generally get along pretty well, though, they’re very sweet.”
Fukukado blinked, surprised. “Yeah… actually, that does sound like a sentient quirk. The sensing the feelings, having differing opinions on things, getting into conflict with them… pretty reminiscent of other sentient quirks I’ve heard of.”
“Thank you,” Izuku said, feeling validated. “I named them Anzu when I was little.”
Fukukado snorted under her breath, obviously trying to hide a laugh.
“It’s not funny!” Izuku said, defensively.
“No, no, I’m sorry. I just think that’s cute,” Fukukado said. Her face softened. “Thanks for telling me, kid.”
Izuku felt himself relax. “Yeah, okay.”
“What are they like?”
Izuku launched into a long-winded explanation of Anzu, how they’d supported him, and what had been going on with Anzu recently.
“Anzu sounds amazing,” Fukukado added with a grin.
Izuku puffed out his chest. “Yeah, they are.”
“Though…” Fukukado turned contemplative. “Maybe you should stop and consider Anzu’s opinion a little more about things?”
“Huh?” Izuku tilted his head. “But I always listen to what Anzu says.”
Fukakado shook her head. “Not that, exactly, but their feelings on the situation. Remember you said that Anzu felt nervous, when they said they couldn’t monitor you if you were out past midnight?”
“You were nervous about that, too. And you decided to push through your own nervousness to go on patrol with Native, which was really brave, but it doesn’t seem like you thought about how Anzu was nervous too. Maybe you should have considered that a bit more in that situation,” Fukukado noted.
“...Oh. I guess I didn’t really think about it… ” Izuku frowned to himself.
“You also said it seems like Anzu wants to talk with you about your relationship,” Fukukado continued, thoughtful. “If you don’t want to talk about what happened with your mom, you shouldn’t have to, but maybe you should consider talking with them more about the relationship stuff? It seems to be really important to them.”
“Oh,” Izuku said. He could see what she meant. He glanced up at Fukukado, trying not to get upset. “Am I a bad friend?”
“No, of course not!” she rushed to assure him. “You seem to have a great relationship with your quirk, much better than a lot I’ve seen. I think you just need to remember that Anzu has feelings about things too. You don’t have to always go with what Anzu wants if you disagree, but you should keep their wants in mind?” She paused. “Quirk counseling for sentient quirks would usually cover that, if you had it…”
“Oh, I see,” Izuku said. He felt guilty, now, and he tried to squash down the guilt because he knew Anzu could sense his guilt, and he didn’t want Anzu to feel bad.
I’m sorry, Anzu. That wasn’t very nice of me to do. Izuku thought, trying to channel the message to Anzu. He half-didn’t expect a response (Anzu still had difficulty sending over feelings over sometimes, it took practice and patience) but from the link, Izuku picked up feelings of vindicated and assuring from Anzu.
Vindicated… probably meant Anzu had been feeling a little snubbed by Izuku.
Assuring… probably meant that Anzu was forgiving him easily.
Thanks Anzu, Izuku thought.
“Thanks for talking with me about that before it got worse,” Izuku told Fukukado honestly. He and Anzu were doing pretty well as friends, but they’d both made mistakes recently. The difference was Anzu had apologized for their mistake (the not-telling-about-mom thing) and Izuku hadn’t said sorry for his. I’ll make it up to you, Izuku promised mentally.
“It’s no problem, kid,” Fukukado said with a hair ruffle. “Everyone could use an outside opinion on our relationship dramas.”
Fukukado was about to say something else, but Izuku cut her off. “Wait, I have to go to school!” Izuku suddenly shouted. “Today’s Monday and we’re going back!”
Fukukado glanced at the clock and winced. “Yeah, you’d better get going.”
Izuku barely made it in time, sliding into the classroom with less than a minute on the clock, panting from running here.
“Midoriya! You were nearly late!” Iida scolded.
“Sorry, Iida. Lost track of time,” Izuku said. “I’ll arrive earlier tomorrow!”
“Settle down, class,” Aizawa drawled. “Let’s get started.”
After class ended, several students like Kirishima and Kaminari asked him about meeting the Hero Killer, but Izuku just shrugged sheepishly and said that Endeavor did all the fighting (and taking care not to mention how he stabbed the Hero Killer.) That seemed to satisfy them, but he had several people come up to him throughout the day and say they were glad he was alright. It was… nice, actually. His classmates actually seemed to like him.
That day in class they were doing an obstacle course, running through a tangled cityscape to reach an objective. Izuku was getting to race against Iida, Sero, Ojiro and Ashido.
He heard his classmates whispering about who was going to win. They seemed to think it would be something of a close match. After all, Iida was fast and everyone in the group had great mobility. But no one was really betting on him.
Izuku was a parkour master.
Izuku ran through the city labyrinth across rooftops and through small spaces easily, coming in first only seconds before Sero.
“Quite impressive, young Midoriya!” All Might boomed, and Izuku smiled to himself in pride.
“Holy crap Midoriya, how’d you manage to do that?” Kirishima asked.
“I’ve always loved climbing things!” Izuku said.
“Oh wow, I’m jealous! I’ve got to work on my mobility,” bemoaned Hagakure.
Izuku’s win made him particularly cheerful for the rest of the day. At the day’s end, however, Aizawa made an unexpected announcement.
“Well, it’s almost time for summer vacation,” Aizawa said. “During the summer vacation, we’ll have a training camp in the woods.”
“I knew it! Yes!” Kaminari cheered. The class quickly became excited, discussing the things they were excited to do over summer vacation. Even Izuku found himself getting cheered up by the prospect as everyone got excited for it.
“However,” Aizawa said.
The class quieted immediately.
“Those who do not pass the final exam before that will be in summer school hell.”
ARGHHHHH stupid tests!
Hopefully Anzu can help. Anzu’s been getting stronger lately. They can show me their feelings sometimes and poems have been getting longer, so hopefully that will help prepare me for the final exam…
… even though Anzu will only be able to tell me what it is literally the day of…
A three day written exam period (Izuku should probably study, but he would probably pass) and then he’d have a practical exam. And who knows what that would be. So he should probably spend most of his time with physical preparation…
He trained a lot more with the bo staff and his sai over the next two weeks and studied with Yaoyorozu at her house when he was invited. Yamamoto said he was getting really good with them and if he kept going at this rate, he’d be eligible for a license to carry them within a month or so! That would be great. He’d requested the addition of a bo staff to his costume as well. He had more hand-to-hand training at this point (he hadn’t been skipping out on Judo or Taekwondo, even during his hero studies) so he might not even end up using the bo staff proper, but it would be nice to have it there if he needed it because he was getting kinda good.
He’d heard from the upperclassman that it would be robots, but he was hoping they were wrong. He didn’t want to have to fight those, they were really irritating. With a weighted metal bo staff smacking the weak spots, though, nowadays he might have a better chance at fighting them than he had at the entrance exam.
The written exams seemed to go well! It was mostly stuff he knew. He would say that the hero-related questions, as well as the math and science were the easiest, while the literature and art stuff was harder. He just wasn’t very good at structuring his writing, though funnily enough he’d practiced doing that a bit during his internship with his analysis practice…
Regardless, the written test seemed pretty good. When he woke up on the day of the practical exam, Anzu told him about what was coming.
You won’t fight robots in this test
(For you that’s probably for the best)
Each student, paired with one or two
Will fight a teacher; yours is Nedzu.
You alongside Ashido, Kaminari
Will fight Nedzu in a mock city
His strategy is to cut off your escape
So as you enter, watch the landscape.
He plans to leave one exit free
Escaping will be your victory.
(Trying to attack him
Will lead to disaster
So don’t charge toward him
Unless to lose faster.)
Oh dear… he had to fight Nedzu, of all teachers?! That sounded like a disaster waiting to happen…
If he lost, it wasn’t the end of the world. He knew that. But he really did want to go to the summer camp, and he also wanted to prove himself to his teachers that he was worthy! So he’d just have to do his best.
He got on his uniform and went out of the room for breakfast. As he approached Fukukado, he noticed out of the corner of his eye a pair of binoculars. Binoculars… “Hey, could I borrow those?” Izuku asked.
“Oh? Those? Sure, why?”
“Anzu says they might come in handy,” Izuku said. If Nedzu is leaving an exit open, then these will help scout for it! I’ll have to sneak it in carefully under books, though…
“Hah, nice. Good luck with your exams, kid!” Fukukado said, sliding over a plate of food.
Izuku munched on his breakfast, internally planning strategies for how he might use Acid and Electrification against the clever principal. In truth, it was no shame to lose against Nedzu in any capacity, he really wanted to win this one.
Just want all of you to know I wrote “Izuku munched on his strategies, internally planning-” and then I realized and had to fix it.
Also, the reason we have a group of 3 here is because all the groups had to be reshuffled to include Shinsou!
Don't be too anxious about Nedzu! Everything will turn out. :)
Chapter 31: Three Contenders
Izuku, with the help of Anzu, Kaminari and Ashido, fights against Nedzu in the Final Exams.
When Izuku arrived at the testing center to find it filled to the brim with teachers.
“I expect many of you have gathered information and believe you have some idea of what will be facing here today.”
“We’re fighting the metal robots!” Kaminari added.
“Fireworks, s’mores, here we come!” Ashido said.
My partners would both be at an advantage if we weren’t fighting real people… a shame for them.
“Actually, this year’s tests… will be completely different for various reasons!”
Nedzu popped out of Aizawa’s scarf to explain the test, telling everyone the exams had been changed in light of recent villain attacks to focus more on real-life person-to-person fighting. “You students will be working together in pairs, and your opponent will be one of our esteemed UA teachers! Isn’t that fabulous?”
Yeesh, maybe. But not for our grades.
As Aizawa listed the matches the teachers reacted, very dramatically, with smirks and flourishes as their own matches were announced. All Might was the biggest offender, with a grand entrance from above after it was announced he’d be fighting Bakugou and Tokoyami.
Kirishima, Sato VS Cementoss
Asui, Shinsou VS Ectoplasm
Iida, Ojiro VS Power Loader
Yaoyorozu, Todoroki VS Eraserhead
Aoyama, Uraraka VS Thirteen
Ashido, Kaminari, Midoriya VS Nedzu
Jirou, Kouda VS Present Mic
Hagakure, Shoji VS Snipe
Mineta, Sero VS Midnight
Bakugou, Tokoyami VS All Might
Izuku started feeling a little concerned. Nedzu had said the matches were pre-determined by things like quirks, skill-levels, grades, and relationships… but there wasn’t really a reason for him to be facing Nedzu? Ashido and Kaminari’s low grades made a reason for them to be facing Nedzu, but Izuku? He was 4th in the class? Not the best but not the worst? Was this because he was Deku, or-
Or is it because he knows I’m Tea Leaves? Izuku felt a sudden thrill of fear run through him. Is this his version of a warning? Telling me that he knows? Izuku suddenly felt weak in the knees, even as the heroes started setting up the first match.
As Kirishima and Sato started fighting Cementoss, Uraraka said aloud, “Oh wow, who do you think is gonna win?”
“I don’t know, Uraraka…” Tsu said.
“I doubt Sato and Kirishima will win,” Izuku said without thinking, “Their quirks won’t last long enough at this pace. Cementoss can keep this up forever.”
“Exactly right, dearie,” Recovery Girl said. “Kirishima and Sato were put against someone whose quirk lacks a time limit like theirs. Unfortunately, they decided to run in without a strategy, and now they’ll likely lose.”
“Hm, were we all put against teachers who we are weak against?” Izuku pondered.
“You were all put up against teachers who are capable of challenging your weaknesses or undermining your strengths,” Recovery Girl responded.
Izuku could see it. Jirou and Kouda against Present Mic, who could overpower their sound-based quirks. Aoyama and Uraraka against Thirteen, who could take advantage of their nausea. Iida and Ojiro against Power Loader, who could combat their mobility.
But he couldn’t see it in his own match.
There’s no reason to put me against Nedzu. My strengths are mobility and close-combat, and my weaknesses are low firepower and lack of long-range attacks. Teachers like Midnight or Present Mic would challenge my weaknesses or undermine my strengths better…
Unless. Unless Nedzu’s challenge is that he knows my secrets.
It was the most logical explanation. Izuku politely excused himself (Recovery Girl told him to be back quickly) and took a few back hallways until he was at a relatively isolated corner of the school. Once he knew he was alone, he curled up and considered his options.
I just have to fight Nedzu. It’ll be fine. Everything will be FINE.
That didn’t stop the pit of dread and anxiety from rising in his stomach. He had been planning to tell Nedzu this eventually, but didn’t Nedzu discovering it on his own make it seem all the worse? I should have known Nedzu was going to discover it, even before the Stain incident… I’ve been so stupid! And obviously being against me in the final exams is some sort of… threat, or something…
What was Nedzu planning to do to him? Was he going to crush him in this battle as punishment for his dishonesty and underhandedness? Make sure he couldn’t attend the training camp himself? Humiliate him? Maim him? Corporal punishment was illegal in Japan, UA couldn’t have something like that on their record, but if it happened in a training match they could write off the injuries as accidental…
He had trusted these teachers so much that he let his guard down. He forgot that high school administrators hadn’t been an ally from the moment pitable, quirkless Izuku had been re-labelled as troubled, delinquent, liar Izuku. He clenched his fists. “Maybe this is when they finally plan to expel me,” Izuku muttered to himself.
“Of course not!” a cheerful voice from above declared, interrupting his thought spiral. Nedzu did a flip as he landed from the vents.
“O-oh! Principal N-Nedzu,” Izuku said, internally cursing his stutter.
“Why would you think yourself expelled?” he asked, tilting his head as if curious.
Izuku sighed. I’ll just get it over with. “Y-you know I’m T-Tea Leaves, don’t you?”
“Quite so!” Nedzu said, never losing his cheer. “You seem rather stressed about it.”
“Y-you’re not mad I hid it f-for so long?” Izuku asked cautiously.
“No, it was rather fascinating. Two secret identities? What a lovely problem to solve,” Nedzu said, grinning sharply. “I wanted to see if you would notice if I issued you a subtle challenge, by pairing against you in the final exam with little rhyme or reason. You did notice, clearly. Though, I admit, I didn’t mean to scare-”
“I still would have fought fine,” Izuku interrupted, not wanting Nedzu to pity him or insult him over his anxiety.
“You could have,” Nedzu said agreeably. “You fight quite well in high-pressure scenarios, actually! That was demonstrated well in your fight with the Hero Killer… your supervisor defeated on your very first patrol, by an enemy far beyond your skill level. Yet you kept your head and actually managed to injure the Hero Killer. I’ve seen the footage. Rather impressive, really, though it’s a bit of a shame that your calm disposition didn’t last very long after the fight was over.”
Izuku flushed slightly in embarrassment at remembering the whole hugging-Aizawa thing. Nedzu seemed to belatedly realize the last part of that statement could be taken as insulting. “... Anyways, by my estimates, you fight better in high-stress situations. So, I’m here to off-balance you by telling you that everything will be just fine!”
Izuku blinked. Then he blinked again.
“Relax! Think of nice things! Fluffy kittens, tiny mittens,” Nedzu said, encouragingly.
“Uh… okay?” Izuku answered, puzzled. Nedzu is making me feel better… to give himself an advantage? Because I fight really well when I’m under stress?
“Really, try to have fun! I know I will,” Nedzu said. With a heady giggle, Nedzu vanished, leaping up into the vents and out of sight.
Oh wow. Okay then. I guess Nedzu doesn’t care that I'm Tea Leaves? Or at the very least he seems to find the whole thing entertaining… It was encouraging that, as far as he knew, Nedzu was not in fact planning to fillet him alive. Izuku shook his head. He was getting distracted. His fight was starting soon, and what he needed was to change into his hero costume and come up with an actual plan.
“Midoriya, there you are!” Kaminari said. “Between the three of us, we should have no problem taking down Nedzu!”
“We just have to be careful not to hurt him with our quirks,” Ashido said.
“Guys, his quirk is High Specs. That means he’s very smart,” Izuku said. “He’s probably got lots of tricks up his sleeve.”
“Oh.” Ashido frowned.
“So, I have a plan,” Izuku said.
When the bell rang to signify the start of the match, Ashido, Kaminari, and Izuku immediately ran in three different directions. Ashido went the fastest route to the escape gate while Kaminari started taking a side way. Meanwhile, Izuku climbed straight up a building for a vantage point. Not a moment too soon, either. Almost as soon as they started moving, buildings started to collapse in a chain reaction.
Izuku was forced to jump five buildings over to avoid the damage and quickly scanned the area using his binoculars. Ashido’s already been cut off… she’s backtracking to her secondary assigned route. There’s a destruction chain towards Kaminari’s area, he’s going to end up going toward the fifth route…
Izuku saw Nedzu in a crane (that must be how he’s setting off the reactions-) but, under Anzu’s advice, decided not to try to target him. Izuku resolutely ignored the way Nedzu was cackling madly.
Izuku decided to err closer to Ashido’s area in making his escape, across rooftops. He had to pull back and reroute almost immediately though, as a landslide of debris collapsed the building he was planning on leaping to next. This happened another three times, and Izuku was getting progressively more frustrated. He wasn’t much closer to the escape gate, either, because he kept having to veer off to the side to avoid the rubble and damaged areas.
As he was about to turn left, he felt a feeling of wrong pang in his chest, from Anzu.
Quickly, he shot to the right and continued forward toward the escape gate. He saw that the route he would have taken was gone, but that the one he was on was still there. He was getting closer.
Left, he heard from Anzu. It was echo-y, barely more than a whisper.
Izuku went left, avoiding another column of collapse. He was pretty close to the escape gate now, but he wasn’t sure…
There. The rows of buildings were ending, and that fire escape there was the most conveniently-placed drop point…
Izuku jumped down, swinging using the fire escape into a roll onto the street. He sprinted the last of the way, through the escape gate. “Team Midoriya, Kaminari, and Ashido have passed!” the automated voice announced.
Izuku waited by the gate for Kaminari and Ashido. Then, he realized… was that the first time Anzu spoke to me in words?
Anzu had only been able to communicate with him a few times a day through sudden rushes of feelings. That one word- left - was the first time he’d ever heard Anzu say something that wasn’t in a prophecy. He smiled to himself. Development!
Kaminari and Ashido came jogging out of the escape gate.
“We did it, we did it!” Ashido screeched, bouncing up and down.
“We can go to summer camp!” Kaminari was grinning ear-to-ear. “All thanks to you, Midoriya. Your strategy worked perfectly! I was actually getting really close to the escape gate, but it looks like you got here first!”
“Aw, I was pretty far away,” Ashido added good-naturedly.
“Let's get back to the observation building so we can see the next match! I wanna see Shoji fight Snipe!” Kaminari said, miming punching the air.
“Good idea. I gotta cheer Hagakure on,” Ashido added.
Izuku smiled. “Okay.”
The three of them went back together, pleased with their victory.
Izuku sighed. I’ll just get it over with. “Y-you know I’m T-Tea Leaves, don’t you?”
Nedzu paused, squinting in confusion. “You’re the informant Tea Leaves? How fascinating, I didn’t realize.”
“You didn’t know!?”
“I never even considered it. Really, I just wanted to put an analyst on Ashido and Kaminari’s team to demonstrate the importance of strategy.”
Nedzu: haha mind games time, I know what you know
Midoriya: im upset :(
Nedzu: wait it’s just a prank bro
Anyways, I hope you enjoy this chapter!
Also, all the pairings that weren’t canon (and their results) will be explained next chapter!
Chapter 32: Ponderance
The results of the rest of the matches are revealed. Izuku talks with Nedzu about Tea Leaves.
Izuku loved watching and hearing the results of the other matches.
Like he’d expected, Sato and Kirishima were easily defeated by Cementoss, due to the fact their quirks both under a time limit while Cementoss’ was not and their lack of a sophisticated strategy.
Shinsou and Asui, on the other hand, had managed to defeat Ectoplasm through some sneaky underhandedness, according to Kirishima (who had watched the fight, while Izuku had not.) Apparently, it was meant to test if Asui’s support skills were able to aid someone inexperienced in combat (he was training with Aizawa, but he still kinda sucked at it) through an area with many close-combat enemies, while pushing Shinsou to his limits (even if he mind-controlled one Ectoplasm, there were still many more.)
Iida and Ojiro managed to beat Power Loader by using a combination move, whilst Todoroki and Yaoyorozu had nearly lost before Yaoyorozu came up with a convoluted plan involving a catapult and false capture weapon. Aizawa didn’t say much aloud, but Izuku could tell he was proud.
Most of everyone else seemingly won their matches through a mix of strength and cleverness, except for maybe Sero, who lost right away against Midnight, as well as…
Bakugou and Tokoyami.
Their match didn’t go well at all.
While they had worked together to attack All Might near the end, Bakugou’s initial disregard for his teammate (and refusal to work with him) caused Bakugou to unintentionally weaken Dark Shadow with his explosions. This led to a crushing defeat by All Might. Bakugou was still in infirmary (he’d gotten reckless with his explosions and injured his arms) and Tokoyami was at observation, being consoled by basically everyone.
“You got literally the worst partner, dude,” Jirou said, flicking her earjack. “And that’s not to dunk on Bakugou, or anything. His quirk is just bad for yours.”
“You were against All Might, too,” Kaminari added. “Talk about rotten luck!”
“No kidding,” Sero said, sighing. “At least you were a helpful partner!”
Mineta laughed. “That’s right, Sero over here was dead weight- ow!” he hissed, rubbing the back of his head as Jirou elbowed him.
“Perhaps we will find ourselves in summer school together,” Tokoyami conceded. “If that is the case, we shall not cease in our attempts to improve.”
Honestly, Izuku pitied Tokoyami. While he hadn’t done the best job with teamwork either (Tokoyami was clearly irritated by Bakugou, and got in his way several times) at least Tokoyami made attempts to communicate, which is more he could say for Bakugou.
Izuku sighed. Poor guy. Nothing he could do about it, though.
Aizawa arrived with Bakugou not long after, who Recovery Girl had healed. Bakugou looked angrier than ever. He shot ugly glares at Tokoyami, Todoroki (who he had made an overwrought challenge to before finals) and- Izuku?
He hasn’t been this angry at me since the Battle Trials, Izuku thought. What’s going on with him? As Aizawa finished his speech about the finals (plus ultra or something, Izuku hadn’t been paying attention) Izuku decided to leave as quickly as possible. He didn’t want Bakugou to try to talk to him or something, that would be a nightmare.
“Oh, and Midoriya,” Aizawa added. “Nedzu wanted to see you.”
Ah shit. Here we go. “Oh… okay, sensei!”
“Right. Now shoo, you lot,” Aizawa grunted. The students began to disperse and Izuku high-tailed it to Nedzu’s office, wondering internally if having to deal with Bakugou or having to deal with Nedzu would be worse.
Nedzu thought Midoriya Izuku was quite interesting. Balancing both ‘Deku’ and ‘Tea Leaves’ from such a young age was quite the feat. It was clever of him to separate the two identities, so that they wouldn’t sabotage one another.
Nedzu had suspected him as Tea Leaves (without confirmation) since the beginning of the school year, but had put off actually investigating further because he’d been busy dealing with the aftermath of the USJ. When Midoriya’s email came through about the Hero Killer Stain, however, everything clicked into place and Nedzu knew instantly it was him.
Judging by when Tea Leaves warned people (the day of) and how Midoriya was unable to predict Stain’s appearance (which occurred shortly after midnight) Nedzu hypothesized Midoriya’s future vision was based on a day-cycle. This was quickly confirmed when he requested Midoriya’s official quirk registry, which provided a short description of the Quirk Prophecy.
Shortly thereafter, Nedzu decided to challenge Midoriya by putting Midoriya against himself in the finals. Midoriya understood the meaning of this (good) and then appeared to have some kind of anxiety attack (bad.) Nedzu knew their upcoming fight would be a lot less fun if Midoriya was either a) distracted (he wouldn’t fight as well) or b) fighting that desperate scrappy way he had against Stain (probably would have to fill out an incident report over someone getting stabbed.) Thus, he decided to go down and clear up the misunderstanding before anything got worse.
When he snuck down by the vents he found Midoriya muttering to himself about… not trusting teachers, corporal punishment, letting his guard down, and how they’d “write off the injuries as accidental.”
Nedzu hadn’t anticipated him saying things like that.
He expects me to hurt him.
And then cover it up.
The realization was… jarring. And it stung a little.
Nedzu’s first thought was that maybe he needed to tone down his intimidating reputation. He had a very scary reputation among pro-heroes (and he enjoyed having it) but if the students were getting wind of it and coming to these sorts of conclusions, then it was clearly getting out of hand.
Hm, wait. “Letting his guard down” and “not trusting teachers” implies that he doesn’t trust teachers in general. He latched so quickly onto Aizawa, I didn’t even consider fear of teachers to be a factor. Otherwise I would have spoken to him about Tea Leaves directly rather than made it a game… Is there some factor that makes him trust Aizawa more than other teachers? Where did the suspicion of teachers come from?
Nedzu did remember that Izuku had grown up quirkless. Quirkless students were bullied at a higher rate, which might have given him a wariness of the school system. But Midoriya was seriously thinking that an educator would go to these extreme lengths to harm him.
A small part of Nedzu was hoping these thoughts were driven by anxiety rather than by some traumatic experience he didn’t know about.
Speaking of… does he have anxiety? It seems very likely to me he has some form of it, but I don’t remember seeing any diagnosis or medication for it on his file… is it going untreated?
What a mess.
He’d have to do further investigation into Midoriya’s past school as well as keeping an eye on how Midoriya interacted with teachers who weren’t Aizawa, like Ectoplasm and Cementoss. Perhaps Aizawa was simply an exception to the rule… He’d have to call Midoriya’s mother and recommend she seek mental health treatment for her son as well, for the potential anxiety.
All these thoughts snapped through Nedzu’s head in an instant, and he prepared for his next move. As Midoriya started to mutter about being expelled, Nedzu jumped down from the vents to assure him. After a short conversation in which Midoriya seemed to go from freaked out to just confused, Nedzu left and prepared for the fight.
Midoriya and his team did well, and he knew Midoriya was in charge of their strategy. He wondered how much Midoriya knew about the match in advance from his future vision quirk.
After the match, Nedzu had asked Aizawa to send Midoriya to the principal’s office so he could talk to him further about Tea Leaves. Nedzu was actually thrilled for the conversation. He already knew most of the details, of course, but he definitely wanted to see Midoriya’s take on the situation and get a more fleshed out explanation. He decided he wouldn’t confront him about the muttering he’d heard. It would likely just stress his student without producing any actionable information, considering how tight-lipped Midoriya had been on topics like his quirk and secret identities…
His door creaked open. “Hello?” Midoriya said.
“Ah, come in!” Nedzu said, putting on his best unscary normal smile.
Midoriya cautiously closed the door behind him. “Um… this about Tea Leaves?”
Nedzu nodded. “Yes, indeed! Take a seat.” Midoriya did so, looking vaguely anxious.
“So, I just figured we should clear a few things up before you go home! I see the advice given by Tea Leaves is the result of your quirk.”
“Yeah,” Midoriya mumbled. “I get the warnings in the morning for things that might go wrong in the day ahead.”
Nedzu nodded, though he already knew this. “Are you planning on letting anyone else know?”
Midoriya fidgeted. “I don’t know… I guess? I mean I was planning too…”
“It would be a good idea to let Aizawa know,” Nedzu pointed out. “He will be able to train you much more effectively if he knew the effects of your quirk.”
“I just…” Midoriya frowned, twisted the cuff of his sleeves. “What if he hates me?!”
Ah, so. This is the part where Nedzu is reminded that humans (especially human teenagers) make a lot of rash decisions using emotions and not logic. And that they generalize and jump to conclusions. “He won’t hate you,” Nedzu said. “He may be slightly frustrated, but he’ll understand your reasoning. I also know for certain that Sir Nighteye, Rock Lock, and Ms. Joke will all be very forgiving as well.”
“Ms. Joke already knows,” Midoriya said absentmindedly. Wait, what? “But when I was little, I tried to tell people I could see the future, but because I was diagnosed quirkless nobody believed me. Everyone hated me for ‘lying’ about having a quirk. It ruined me.”
Now that was an explanation for why Midoriya had kept Tea Leaves to himself for so long. Nedzu had a vague idea as to why, but this was much more specific.
“But you’re smart, and you believe I have a quirk! So everyone has to believe you. I just don’t want everyone to be angry that I hid it,” Midoriya continued.
“You had a good reason for hiding it,” Nedzu said, tapping his desk. “And Aizawa truly won’t be angry. Better to get it out of the way.”
Midoriya sighed. “I guess. We probably should. I suppose it went well when Ms. Joke learned, and when you learned.”
Again, how and why does Ms. Joke know? Worry about it later…
“That’s good,” Nedzu said, nodding. “If you wanted, I could call the Tea Leaves Task Force-”
“I have a task force?!” Midoriya blurted out, then went red at interrupting the principal.
“Yes, you do. You’ve helped quite a few cases, definitely enough to warrant a task force. I could call them together and you could explain it to them. I would assist you in explaining the situation, of course,” Nedzu said.
Midoriya nodded slowly. “Alright.”
Nedzu nodded. “Excellent.” Thinking about the sheer chaos releasing this information would unleash, Nedzu couldn’t help but grin, one of his abnormal, frightening grins. To his surprise, rather than cringing back in fright, Midoriya gave him a pleasant smile in return.
Nedzu dismissed Midoriya shortly after.
After Midoriya left, Nedzu called Izuku’s mother. When he asked her about getting Midoriya some mental health treatment, she brushed him off, saying the school counselor (Hound Dog, presumably) could refer him to a psychiatrist or therapist if they really thought such a thing was necessary. The call was short and stiff.
That result was fine with Nedzu, he knew Hound Dog would handle the situation well and cost wouldn’t be a factor. The school could cover it, and the government reimbursed them for health-related expenses (including mental health treatment) anyways, so it was a good thing.
It was simply… a little odd for a parent to be so hands-off about their child’s health care? Nedzu supposed with UA’s reputation it wasn’t entirely unusual for people to trust the school to make decisions for them. So while something seemed… strange about the situation, Nedzu ultimately shrugged and dismissed his worries. It was probably fine, and he had a lot to do. A school to investigate, for instance.
Kirishima, Sato VS Cementoss == FAIL [canon pairing]
Asui, Shinsou VS Ectoplasm == PASS
Iida, Ojiro VS Power Loader == PASS [canon pairing]
Yaoyorozu, Todoroki VS Eraserhead == PASS [canon pairing]
Aoyama, Uraraka VS Thirteen == PASS [canon pairing]
Ashido, Kaminari, Midoriya VS Nedzu == PASS
Jirou, Kouda VS Present Mic == PASS [canon pairing]
Hagakure, Shoji VS Snipe == PASS [canon pairing]
Mineta, Sero VS Midnight == MINETA PASS, SERO FAIL [canon pairing]
Bakugou, Tokoyami VS All Might == FAIL
Thanks for reading! I love hearing from you in the comments! :)
Chapter 33: Round Table
Izuku explains to several people why and how he's Tea Leaves.
Tea Leaves Task Force -- Instant Messaging [Members: 5]
Eraser: Nedzu wants us to come in. He says he’s found the identity of Tea Leaves and that they’re willing to have a meeting with us.
Joke: So Nedzu does work magic! :0
Detective: Really? After all this time?
Nighteye: Honestly, it’s hard to believe. I spent ages trying to get him to show. People do say that Nedzu is a miracle worker, though, so I suppose we’ll just have to appreciate his efforts.
Detective: I wonder what they’ll be like…
RockLock: I imagine they’ve got to be clever as hell, to be so helpful in all these cases. Probably somebody shifty, on the wrong side of the law.
Detective: You think so? I always thought they might be some retired pro or ex-vigilante with too many connections for their own good…
Eraser: It’s irrational to assume anything until we meet them.
Joke: Such a killjoy, Eraser! :P
Eraser: I’ll enjoy it when Joke’s theory of “buff and masculine, yet sensitive and dateable 20-something” is proven wrong.
Emi remembered jokingly sending that “theory” to the group chat before meeting Izuku in person. She cringed into her phone.
Izuku stood anxiously in one of UA’s courtyards, waiting to be called. Nedzu was gathering the Tea Leaves Task Force (inviting them to UA) and he was waiting for them all to arrive. When he went home, he told Fukukado about it, and she was very encouraging. She promised she would stick up for him in the upcoming meeting, and he believed her.
Anzu had told him,
Fear not, before the meeting is adjourned
All will accept you and your quirk,
As trust is what you’ve already earned.
… along with a few lines about how Anzu wanted him to look at pictures of the shima enaga bird because they were “inspirational” to “the poetic spirit.” Izuku didn’t really understand but he agreed and planned to do that once he got home.
He saw Yagi Toshinori making his way across the courtyard and waved instinctively. “Hey All Might-”
Yagi froze again and turned around quickly. “As I’ve already said young man, I am not-”
“Um, sorry!” Izuku shouted back. “My bad!”
Still looking unsettled, Yagi kept making his way toward the main building.
Darn, Izuku was going to have to stop making that mistake.
About a minute later, his phone buzzed with a text. “This is Nedzu! Everyone is here. Come to Meeting Room A, make a dramatic entrance if you want! :)”
Izuku wasn’t sure if he was up to a dramatic entrance, but he made his way towards Meeting Room A. When he arrived, he took a deep breath and swung the door open.
“Midoriya,” Aizawa said, slight surprise in his voice. “This might be the wrong room.”
“It’s not,” Izuku said. Before he could regret what he was doing, he said, “I’m Tea Leaves.”
Aizawa’s eyes widened minutely. “You-”
“Yo, who’s this kid?” Rock Lock said, glancing at Nedzu.
Izuku scanned the room. Rock Lock, Nedzu, Aizawa, Ms. Joke, Sir Nighteye, some detective guy (Musutafu PD representative,) and… Yagi?
Izuku nearly called him All Might again but managed to stop himself, not sure if Ms. Joke or the detective guy were in on the secret. “... Yagi?”
“I came with Tsukauchi,” Yagi managed, glancing at the detective guy.
“Oh,” Izuku said.
“Um, I’m Midoriya Izuku? I’m in Class 1-A,” Izuku said.
Sir Nighteye pushed up his glasses, which gleamed in the artificial light. “As Tea Leaves, how did you manage to retrieve all the information?”
“My quirk lets me see the future up to one day ahead,” Izuku said. “So whenever I saw something going on, I would just email you guys the morning of. So… yeah.”
“He does only give warnings the morning of,” Rock Lock noted. “That part checks out.”
“Why didn’t you say sooner?” Aizawa asked, looking mildly alarmed. “We should have been training your quirk.”
“Um,” Midoriya fidgeted, “I was diagnosed quirkless when I was little, so nobody believed me when I said I could see the future? So everyone assumed I was a liar? And Bakugou from my old middle school goes here now and I didn’t want him to tell you that I was lying and then no one here would believe me, and then I’d get expelled… ” he trailed off.
Sir Nighteye made a tsk noise. “An unusual, but not completely uncommon issue with future-vision quirk manifestation. They can be unwieldy, and they’re rare enough that some people doubt their existence altogether.”
“A previous quirkless diagnosis couldn’t have helped either,” Fukakado added.
Aizawa sighed. “Midoriya, let me know things like this sooner. It would have been much easier to help you as Tea Leaves if we knew you in person, not to mention we need to know you have a quirk to conduct proper quirk training.”
Midoriya nodded meekly.
“You’ve been sending us advice for years now,” Rock Lock pondered. “Since you were, what, ten years old?”
Midoriya nodded. “My quirk warned me about a crime, and I thought ‘well, I can’t fix that’ so I just decided to start contacting you guys. I did it under an alias because I worried that you wouldn’t believe me if you heard I was a quirkless kid…”
“Never thought I’d see that Tea Leaves was so young,” Rock Lock huffed.
“I definitely was not expecting it,” Tsukauchi piped up from the back.
“Not sure many of us were. Any more secret identities you need to share with me, Midoriya?” Aizawa asked, a bit dryly.
Well, a few secrets, but no secret identities, so Izuku shook his head no.
“Now you can speak with us about your visions directly,” Sir Nighteye said. “Do you generally have a good understanding of what they mean, or are they vague even to you?”
“They’re pretty clear to me,” Izuku said. “But occasionally they won’t tell me exactly what’s going to happen. In that case they’ll just tell me what I should do. Like, instead of telling me ‘the UA Entrance Exam is graded with villain points and rescue points’ it will say, ‘you should rescue people.’ Doesn’t happen often, but every once and a while.” It used to happen more often, but Anzu had figured out Izuku liked knowing the details of situations. Since then, Anzu had only pulled this when there wasn’t enough space in the poem to properly explain the situation.
“That’s fascinating. It implies your quirk has some degree of skill in reasoning and making judgements,” Nedzu said, humming. “It may have sentience, even.”
Izuku was pleasantly surprised that Nedzu already seemed to believe in Anzu’s sentience and he didn’t have to pull teeth to make everyone agree with that. “I think so,” Izuku said. “They look after me all the time, like ‘don’t be so reckless, Izuku’ and ‘respect your health and safety, Izuku’,” Izuku said, imitating what he imagined Anzu’s voice would sound like. He felt a wave of amused-irritated from Anzu.
“That’s adorable,” Fukukado added, grinning to herself.
“Hm. You don’t seem very surprised at any of this, Joke,” Rock Lock said, side-eying her.
“Fukukado already knew,” Nedzu intervened.
“You knew?” Aizawa said, incredulously.
“It was kind of an accident,” Izuku half-lied, in that it wasn’t an accident but he definitely wouldn’t have told her if it weren’t for an immediate health crisis. “She kept saying I should tell all of you, and I was gonna, but then I kept putting it off until Nedzu confronted me,” Izuku said, pouting despite himself.
Aizawa buried his face in his hands. Meanwhile, in the background, Yagi’s eyes widened. “Wait, is all this how you knew-” he cut off, but Izuku understood his meaning: -that I’m All Might?
“Yeah. I know a lot of your secrets?”
Tsukauchi and Sir Nighteye shared a dismayed glance as Yagi groaned. “Thank you for not sharing them, young man.”
“No problem,” Izuku said, feeling rather chipper. Aizawa seemed kind of frustrated with him, but in a ‘I’m disappointed in your essay’ sort of way and not a ‘you have no potential’ sort of way, so that was definitely a good thing.
“We should have a discussion about what secrets you know after this,” Nedzu said, absentmindedly. Izuku considered that. “Probably.”
After a few more questions about Tea Leaves, Ms. Joke, Rock Lock, and Aizawa all had to leave as they weren’t privy to the potentially classified information Izuku might be revealing he knew. Nedzu promised he would give follow-up meeting details to all the heroes leaving early. Ms. Joke flashed him a thumbs up as she left.
Meanwhile, on the way out, Aizawa gave him a gentle pat on the head while muttering “problem child” to himself and shaking his head. Izuku was a little confused, because ‘problem child’ sounded like a bad thing, but head pats were good things? Izuku felt a rush of warmth from Anzu though, and that was the last thing Izuku needed to convince himself it was a fond gesture. He smiled to himself.
Once the three of them had left, Nighteye turned to him, and said, “Okay, how much do you know about Yagi?”
“Well, he’s All Might,” Izuku said, nodding. “And… you all know about the thing with his quirk, right?” he said, giving a vague wave in case some of them weren’t in the know.
“We all know everything about his quirk,” Tsukauchi said. “Just tell us what you know.”
“All Might in truth is thin and frail,” Izuku said absentmindedly, quoting Anzu’s poem directly. “Someday his image is bound to fail. Hear now this certain truth: he’ll pass his power on to youth.”
“Did… did you write that?” Tsukauchi said, stunned.
“Oh, my quirk did,” Izuku admitted. “My quirk likes poems.”
“Really,” Yagi said, sounding a little weak, glancing at Tsukauchi.
“It’s true,” Tsukauchi said. Nighteye sighed.
Eh? How would he know if what I said is true? A quirk, maybe? Izuku wondered to himself, but was careful not to mutter.
“The poem was… quite ominous,” Yagi said.
“So, yeah. I got a separate prophecy about Mirio receiving a quirk from someone, and I guessed that you passed on your quirk? Am I right about that?” Izuku asked.
“You are,” Yagi said, sighing. “Please don’t tell anyone…”
“I won’t!” Izuku said. “I haven’t told anyone so far! And I don’t really know a lot of other classified things. I just usually get prophecies about things I care about, and you were my favorite hero as a kid, so…”
“Do we need to be concerned?” Tsukauchi said with the lift of an eyebrow.”
“I have very few concerns about this. Midoriya has handled all the information he’s gained with grace thus far,” Nedzu said.
Izuku felt a little flattered by that. “Thank you.”
“If you come across a piece of information and you are not sure what to do with it, you can bring it to me. Odds are I already know it,” Nedzu said, flicking an ear.
“Okay, sounds good,” Izuku said, glad he could throw these types of responsibilities at someone else.
“So, to stay on topic… are you aware of any more of All Might’s secrets?” Nighteye asked. “Or, more generally, any we need to know?”
Izuku pondered this. “Um… I don’t think so. Except knowing about the scary guy who attacked All Might five years ago? Haven’t heard much of him since the USJ though.”
Sir Nighteye leaned in. “Do you know anything about his identity, or location?”
Izuku shook his head.
“A shame,” Nedzu sighed. “Though it was useful to confirm his involvement in the USJ attack. Tell us if you hear anymore about him.”
“And don’t try to go after him whatsoever. Don’t even try to research him,” Tsukauchi said. “He’s way above your pay grade. You don’t want to be on his radar.”
“Okay. I’ll leave that alone,” Izuku said, truthfully, and Tsukauchi nodded in response.
After spilling his Tea Leaves secrets to everyone, Izuku felt… lighter. While he still felt anxious about little things, and worried about worst-case scenarios (Izuku was pretty sure he always had) he no longer felt like he was going to get kicked out of school. All his most compromising secrets were out--
-- and it was okay.
Everything was fine. Nothing bad happened.
He felt secure in his positions, for once. Safe, in that Aizawa wasn’t going to expel him and Fukukado wasn’t going to kick him out and Nedzu wasn’t going to kill him, or lock him up for knowing too much, or whatever else he internally imagined Nedzu was planning to do. Yagi wasn’t even mad about Izuku knowing all his secrets by accident!
It made him feel good.
He got home pretty quickly and gave Fukukado a hug the moment he did. “Thank you,” Izuku said, as she hugged him back and ruffled his hair.
“It’s no problem, kid,” she responded.
The two of them ate dinner together, and then Izuku looked through pictures of the shima enaga bird, as Anzu had requested.
Pretty, Anzu said.
Anzu said another word! This is amazing, Izuku grinned, glancing through more pictures of the (admittedly very cute) little white birds.
Anzu was getting stronger, he was getting stronger, and he had allies and shit.
Life was looking pretty good.
He had to say, he was definitely looking forward to summer vacation too. Over the camp, he’d have to put his knife, sai, and bo staff training on hold, but he had no doubt he would learn a lot! For the time being though, since he didn’t have any homework, Izuku settled in and worked on a new analysis, this time one for Bubble Girl.
Shima enaga birds are the literal cutest things. They’re exclusive to Japan. Look them up!
Chapter 34: Proper Perception
Izuku gets to tell Class 1-A that he's not as quirkless as they initially assumed. As the class prepares to visit the mall, Nedzu digs deeper into Midoriya Izuku's mysterious circumstances.
Guys, this is like 55,000+ words. If you've read this you've essentially read a short novel. That's pretty impressive on your part. Reading can be hard, and I'm proud of all y'all for practicing your literacy skills!
(Also I'm proud of myself for writing this so dang fast-)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The next day at school, Aizawa pulled him aside before class. “I wanted to ask… no one in 1-A knows you’re not quirkless, is that right?”
Izuku blinked. He hadn’t even thought about that. “Oh… I guess they don’t know.”
Aizawa sighed. “I’ll announce that you have a quirk. Chalk it up to a misunderstanding.”
Izuku nodded. Anzu’s poem for today had covered this topic.
Don’t worry about Aizawa’s announcement to 1-A
No one but Bakugou has mean things to say
In honesty, he would have been angry anyways,
Your friends will be bewildered, but friendly still!
So Bakugou would be mean (anticipated) but everyone else would be nice.
As everyone took their seats for homeroom, Aizawa said, “I have a brief announcement for the class. It has come to my attention that most of you seem to believe that Midoriya Izuku is quirkless.” There is a brief moment of tension. “Though I am proud of all of you for your open-mindedness, he is not. His quirk is Prophecy, he can see the future to a limited extent.” Aizawa said all of this with his eyes half-lidded, looking outwardly bored.
“Wha- Midoriya, why didn’t you tell us?” Kaminari asked, spinning his head around.
“It never came up!” Izuku protested.
“Oh… I suppose none of us wanted to bring it up, in case being quirkless was a sensitive subject or something,” Kirishima shrugged sheepishly.
“I can’t believe you had a quirk this whole time and we never knew!”
“Man, you gotta admit that is pretty surprising.”
“Sorry for making assumptions, Midoriya-kun!”
“DEKU,” Bakugou growled, whipping around. “How’d you fool the school, hah? We all know you’re quirkless!”
“Eh? That doesn’t make a lot of sense, Bakugou,” Kirishima said. “I mean, if Aizawa-sensei thinks…”
“He lied like this at our old school, too!” Bakugou roared. “Tried to tell us he had a quirk!”
“You ever thought that maybe he was telling the truth then, too, and you just didn’t buy it?” Uraraka said, clearly ticked off.
Bakugou gave a low growl. “He told us his quirk was called ‘Anzu’, which has nothing to do with prophecies. He’s just lying again!”
“I just called it that because I thought the name Anzu was cool! It’s literally the same quirk,” Izuku argued. “Not my fault none of you believed me-”
“Why would we believe such a stupid-”
“That’s enough,” Aizawa reprimanded. “Class, I expect you to respect each and every person regardless of their quirk status. If you do not, you will face consequences. Bakugou, if Midoriya wanted to fake a quirk, he would not be able to do so at UA. He has proved he has one time and time again. Principal Nedzu is fully capable of vetting applicants.”
Bakugou made an angry noise and sank into his seat, sullen.
“Now. With that out of the way, I have announcements to make for the summer camp.”
When Aizawa announced that everyone was going to the summer camp (including those who failed, like Bakugou) Bakugou’s mood went from ‘murderous rage’ to ‘normal angry’ at the good news and Izuku was pretty sure Kacchan wouldn’t try to shank him after school now.
(Internally, Izuku was a tiny bit bummed that Bakugou would get to come, because he was trying to avoid Bakugou with all his might, but he was happy that Kirishima and Tokoyami and the others would get to come. Good for them.)
After class got out, Hagakure was explaining about all the stuff they needed for the summer camp and how they should go to the mall together as a class to get it.
Hm. I requested a bo staff for my costume through the support department, so I don’t need to buy that… but I need some of the stuff on the supply list.
Since he didn’t need to spend so much on necessities anymore (he felt eternally grateful to Fukukado for that) he’d been withdrawing the money he might spend on them from his mother’s account and depositing them in his own, new bank account. For emergencies. He felt a little bit bad (stealing?) but he was just taking the amount of money he’d need to support himself per month, so…
He spent some of it on his weapons training and martial arts lessons, but saved the rest. What he had now would be more than enough to cover expenses for required supplies for the training camp (even though he was sure Fukukado-san would pay for him if he asked-) with leftovers for when he moved out of her house eventually (when he graduated?)
Anyways, Midoriya nodded and agreed with their ideas. Going to the mall would be great fun! Most people agreed to come, though he wasn’t sure if Todoroki or Bakugou would end up coming.
“Okay, see you guys on Saturday, then!” Hagakure cheered.
Not long after Aizawa finished with teaching his classes, Nedzu invited him to his office to speak on some sensitive issue. Aizawa was tired, but it was probably important, so he showed.
“Aizawa, good to see you!” Nedzu said cheerily.
“What do you need me for?” Aizawa asked, rubbing his eyes.
“It’s about one of your students, Midoriya Izuku!”
Aizawa groaned. “Is this about the secret identity thing, or-”
“No, something entirely new!” Nedzu said without losing his smile. “A few things. I’m running an investigation into his middle school. Second, I’d like you to schedule him an appointment with Hound Dog.”
Aizawa sat up in his chair, alert. “Is his old school that bad?”
“Oh, no- well, maybe. I haven’t started the investigation yet. I’ll update you once I receive more information, or if I need your assistance. I want him to have an appointment with Hound Dog because I think he has untreated anxiety,” Nedzu explained.
Aizawa thought about it briefly. Anxiety would explain a lot of the kid’s behavior, now that he thought about it… “Consider it done,” Aizawa said, nodding.
“One more thing,” Nedzu said, pulling out a folder. “With my eye on Midoriya Izuku, I’ve noticed another oddity. Each day, he leaves to go to a different train station than the one that leads to his apartment. That and other factors make me think he has probably moved. He hasn’t updated his address forms,” Nedzu continued.
“Okay? Do you want me to ask him to do that?” Aizawa questioned.
“That’s not it,” Nedzu dismissed. “I noticed other oddities too, so I went back and reviewed video footage from both before and after he changed trains. Before this move, his grades and mood were lower. After the move, he became more confident, more well-rested, better fed. Some new possessions, too. All things that make me think he may have a new caretaker.”
Aizawa’s face darkened. “Do you think his previous one was inadequate?”
Nedzu put his paw up in a so-so gesture. “Hard to tell.”
Aizawa didn’t like that answer.
“Regardless, something is off about the whole situation. He still accepts mail from his old mailbox, as if nothing has changed. No address or emergency contact forms have been updated. His mother still makes his medical decisions and takes our calls as if there has been no change. You would think they’d at least direct us to a new mailbox rather than running and picking up mail from the old one.” Nedzu had gotten up at this point, and had started pacing around the room like he did when he was unravelling a conspiracy theory.
“Several days ago in the hallway, Midoriya told one of his friends that he moved in with his aunt. He doesn’t have any biological aunts. No living relatives in Japan beyond his mother, in fact! And if he moved in with someone who he is calling his aunt, why has his mother not informed us that he’s living with this new person?” Nedzu ranted.
“Maybe it’s an arrangement where he lives with this ‘aunt’ but his mother has joint custody and picks up his mail?” Aizawa suggested, shrugging.
“Something feels wrong,” Nedzu insisted. “It’s a hunch.”
If it were any other person saying that, Aizawa might have tried to assure them that everything was fine. Not with Nedzu. Nedzu had a subconscious mind unlike any other, and if something unnerved him, there was most likely a problem.
“I see,” Aizawa answered. “What do you want me to do?”
Nedzu perked up at that. “I want you to investigate. Figure out who he’s with, what’s changed, and if he needs help. But above all, be subtle,” Nedzu said. "If there are people trying to hide things from us, we don't want to tip them off."
Aizawa’s face was serious now, and he nodded. “I’ll be careful.”
Izuku laid in bed on a lovely Friday night, excited for his future trip to the mall with his friends. Fukakado had been happy for him (“going out with friends, that’s wonderful!” she’d said with a smile) and had fretted for a brief period of time, asking him if he had enough money and telling him not to forget his train pass.
“And if anything goes wrong-- doesn’t matter what it is, just call me. I can pick you up. You don’t have to tell me why you want to leave either, either. If you need me, I’ll come get you, without question.”
Izuku’s eyes watered a little at the memory. Her promise to come get him no matter what… saying he didn’t even have to tell her why…
It meant a lot to him.
Izuku snuggled in bed and went to sleep.
Aizawa and Nedzu forming a secret team~!
Thank you for all the kind comments!
Chapter 35: Forgotten Title
Aizawa visits Izuku's old apartment. Meanwhile, Izuku receives a scary prophecy about what he'll find at the mall.
Also, considering approaching finals week and the fact that I’m having trouble getting the future chapters together, we’ll be skipping a few days as far as releasing chapters goes. There will be a chapter tomorrow, but not on Thursday and most likely not on Friday. After Wednesday, expect Saturday to be the next date of release!
Aizawa cautiously approached Tsubaki Street, just past Akamatsu Lane, undercover rather than in hero gear. As he approached Apartment 42, he felt… unsettled? For reasons he didn’t understand.
He understood when he got to the right hallway. He recognized this place. An event flashed through his mind--bringing the little kid who’d been attacked by that horrible man (still in jail, to this day) back to his apartment. Five years ago. The kid had been what… ten?
Both of them had green hair, Aizawa thought, feeling sick, and both of them lived in Apartment 42. The right age.
This had been one of Tea Leaves’ first cases, if not the first. Midoriya started because he was forced to save himself.
Aizawa had never felt such sheer relief, so much relief it made his legs feel unsteady, that Midoriya had warned them and that he had come in time to protect Midoriya. Just the thought of him not being there to stop something like that made Aizawa want to sweep up the kid and hide him behind UA walls until he was 30.
Irrational… you can’t protect him forever.
Aizawa shook his head to clear his mind. Now’s not the time for this. Focus.
Aizawa’s investigation of the apartment was subtle, but within a few minutes it was obvious that no one was home. Which was fairly odd (it was late,) and supported the idea that Midoriya was living somewhere else. He stood in front of the door, now not really bothering with pretense, making a tsk sound.
“Ah, hello young man,” a middle-aged gentleman said. “Are you looking to rent out that apartment?”
“Doesn’t someone live here?” Aizawa asked, frowning.
“Oh, well, they used to,” he said, shrugging. “But the Midoriyas moved out quite a while ago! Haven’t seen the boy in ages, haven’t seen the mother in even longer.” The man chuckled. “It would be nice getting some new neighbors around here.”
“I’ll have to think about it,” Aizawa said politely. As Aizawa left, he asked one or two more neighbors about the room. All of them had the same answers: the Midoriyas had been gone for weeks, maybe months.
On his way out of the building, he phoned Nedzu.
“So, what’d you find?” Nedzu questioned.
“You were right,” Aizawa grunted. “Neither Midoriya Inko nor Midoriya Izuku have been living here for months. They must have moved.”
“Hm. That was expected, to some extent, but it’s still concerning to hear,” Nedzu said. “The next step is to find where they’ve gone, and why.”
Aizawa couldn’t argue with that.
Izuku yawned as he awoke.
Avoid the mall at any cost
Your health will be in danger
And your life may quick be lost.
You’ll meet a familiar stranger
Shigaraki in disguise
Coming by coincidence,
And so lacking his allies.
An opportunity for heroes
But a danger for yourself
Your chance of injury, far too great
You need some serious help.
Shigaraki was at the mall? Seriously?! By coincidence, too…
Anzu was right about this one. He did not want to have to confront Shigaraki alone. Izuku pulled out his phone (not even bothering going to the library to avoid the digital trail to his phone) and sent a quick email.
Um, so Class 1-A was planning to go to the Kiyashi Ward Mall today? At like 1PM. But my quirk tells me that Shigaraki is going to be there (dust guy from the USJ?) So we should probably not go to the mall. Maybe you could try to catch him? Idk, I’m going to text all my classmates not to show up.
After that was sent, Izuku pulled out the Class 1-A messaging groupchat.
Midoriya: Hey guys, just wanted to let you know, my quirk says that the mall is going to be unexpectedly shut down. We should reschedule.
Kaminari: bruh really?
Hagakure: this is so unfair!
Ashido: maybe we could go to some other mall?
Hagakure: but I love Kiyashi Ward tho… :(
Iida: We could all agree to go, perhaps, in a week or so. What scheduling would be acceptable for other people?
Kirishima: what if we went next Saturday?
[ Bakugou: read, 8:42AM]
Izuku sighed. He should probably call or visit anyone who didn’t respond to the group chat to ensure they knew that the plans for today were off…
[Email Notifications: (3)]
… and, looks like the heroes responded!
Aizawa’s plans to continue his investigation were aggressively derailed when Izuku emailed saying that Shigaraki of all people was going to be showing up to his class’ mall trip. The Tea Leaves Task Force and UA teachers quickly met up again.
“He’s responded,” Nighteye said, glancing at his phone. “The details are unclear to him somewhat still, but he knows Shigaraki will be there at some time around or after 1PM. He’s stated that Shigaraki is not bringing allies, but just to remind all of you, the Warp Villain could appear at any point if Shigaraki is allowed to send out a message,” he said.
“How did Shigaraki even get this information?” Present Mic wondered aloud.
“He says that it’s a coincidence. Shigaraki doesn’t know they were going to be there,” Nighteye said.
“A coincidence, seriously?” Midnight said.
“What awful luck…”
“Let’s focus on how we can use this opportunity to our advantage,” Hound Dog growled. “We could use this to capture Shigaraki, but we don’t want to endanger the shoppers. Kiyashi Ward is crowded on Saturdays.”
“Eraser could be of use for that,” Ms. Joke said, nodding in his direction.
“Yes, but he learned what my quirk is at the USJ. If I use it on him, he’ll try to duck out of my line of sight and if he manages to do so, he could cause massive damage,” Aizawa said.
The heroes debated for another hour before coming upon a plan. They had to be quick, because this situation (nicknamed the Kiyashi Ward Incident) would be upon them in hours at best. Meanwhile, Nedzu was busy making sure (through camera and digital access) that students actually planned to go to Kiyashi Ward. As far as he could tell, all 1-A students had been alerted to the fact that they should avoid the mall.
BREAKING NEWS: HEROES AND VILLAINS CLASH AT KIYASHI WARD!
Two people critically injured: potential League of Villains involvement?
Reporters shouted questions and cameras flashed at the press conference.
“Commissioner, what can you tell us about the fight at Kiyashi Ward Mall!”
“One member of the terrorist group called the League of Villains was seen there,” the police commissioner stated. “They were recognized, and several heroes responded to the scene as soon as possible. The damage to the mall was what occurred in the ensuing fight.”
“What about the injured?!”
“Everyone who was injured by the villain is now stable. All are expected to survive.”
“What happened to the villain?!”
“Unfortunately, he managed to escape the scene. The heroes are searching for him as we speak.”
“How can you account for-”
“Aah, ouch,” Present Mic winced as Recovery Girl poked at his arm.
“You’re lucky that Aizawa managed to stop that villain’s quirk before it got any worse,” Recovery Girl said. “As it is, you’re going to have a pretty big scar. The decay doesn’t go deep beneath the skin, though.”
“That’s nice-ow!” Present Mic yelped as Recovery Girl cleaned out the wound.
“That went incredibly sideways,” Midnight sighed.
“It could be worse,” Aizawa responded. “At least no one was permanently injured.”
“That quirk--Decay--it had to have stung, though, for Hizashi…”
Aizawa smothered a wince. The memory of the skin on Hizashi’s arm turning to dust, as Hizashi was forced to swallow a scream that probably would have shattered the skylights--
His throat tightened. “Yeah. I’m just glad he’s alright,” Aizawa said.
“So the heroes didn’t manage to catch Shigaraki, huh?” Izuku said, on his bed, reading an article about what had happened. “At least none of us had to confront him…”
The groupchat was going a bit wild after having heard what happened at Kiyashi Ward. Most of the class was stunned and very glad Izuku had warned them against going. With the Kiyashi Ward Mall now under repairs, they were planning to go to a different mall in a few days to fetch supplies for the summer camp.
Izuku sighed. He felt Anzu hum in reassurance.
Thanks, Anzu, he thought to himself. Hopefully they caught Shigaraki soon…
Chapter 36: To Face One's Fear
With that out of the way: To help you survive the few days without a new chapter, I give to you… LONG BOI CHAPTER! It’s 3,500+ words, that is a lot of words just so you know. It’s like 10 pages at 1.5 spacing on my word doc. Actually that’s probably why I don’t have enough chapters to update on Thursday and Friday, because this one is the length of like 2-3 of my normal chapters but there’s no place to break it up. How cohesive!
The idea came to Izuku that night.
Izuku knew he was reliant on Anzu. That was fine, really. Anzu was his quirk, and unlike Half-Hot Half-Cold or Explosion, it wasn’t something that could be erased, as he got his prophecies in the morning and didn’t use the quirk in combat. When Aizawa used Erasure on him, he didn’t really feel much of a difference, though he guessed that Anzu wouldn’t be able to speak with him during those times.
So he didn’t really think it was a problem he was relying on Anzu, until in the groupchat, Ashido gleefully suggested that during the summer camp they could stay up past midnight playing games or practicing doing hero work in the dark.
At the thought, Izuku’s heart seized with terror. I can’t, he thought. I can’t. I won’t be able to hear Anzu anymore.
What if Ashido was right?
What if his friends wanted to stay up past midnight? What if over the summer camp, the students were training past midnight?
The idea was absolutely terrifying.
But it shouldn’t be! Sure, the last time he was out past midnight he ran into the Hero Killer, but is it really a stretch that he found a dangerous criminal wandering the city at night? If he was up past midnight on a normal day, everything should be fine, right?
Still… he hated the idea. A lot.
This is a weakness, Izuku thought to himself. There will be situations where I need to stay up past midnight. Stakeouts, training… What if I do need to stay up past midnight to practice nighttime training, like Ashido suggested? I’d panic, and that would distract me from trying to become a hero!
Izuku bit his lip. He needed to tackle this fear… but how?
He pondered it for a few minutes before coming upon a solution.
If I stayed up past midnight on a normal, regular day, Izuku thought to himself. And nothing goes wrong, I wouldn’t be scared anymore. It would prove to me I could work without Anzu.
He wouldn’t do things like this all the time, of course. That would in effect just delete the advantage his quirk gave him. But if he could do it once, just once, maybe that could stop the fear.
Besides, Anzu was able to send feelings at him and give one-word answers now. If something was really going wrong, Anzu could give him a heads up.
Izuku didn’t like the idea of doing this at all, but the idea stuck in his mind, and he couldn’t stop thinking about it. And… he knew he had to get over this fear eventually, especially before the training camp, in which he might be expected to stay up late.
Curled in bed, Izuku stared at the watch. 11:23PM.
The clock ticked slowly. Izuku had tried to distract himself by reformatting Bubble Girl’s analysis before he sent it but he was pretty sure he was just making things worse in his sleep-deprived state. He wasn’t used to staying up, for exactly this reason. 11:24PM.
Why did time have to move so slow?! Izuku just wanted it to be just past midnight so he could sleep. The approaching time just made it feel like something horrible was coming, because midnight was the most unstable and dangerous time for him. Can’t predict beyond midnight… and he was sacrificing tomorrow’s prophecies for this stupid experiment… 11:25PM.
Maybe he could try to watch videos to pass the time?
Finally, finally, 12:01AM had hit, and Izuku immediately curled up in his bed and tried to fall asleep. Surprisingly, it had taken a little bit (probably because Izuku was feeling nervous) for him to sleep, but Izuku’s exhaustion managed to override all else. In what felt like moments after he went to sleep, Fukukado was nudging him and telling him he needed to get up for school now, that he’d slept through his two alarms and he had to start getting ready.
Izuku yawned hazily. He trudged through his morning routine with a severe lack of enthusiasm. He knew that on top of not having Anzu, he’d be dealing with the effects of sleep deprivation, but it’d been so long since he’d stayed up that he’d forgotten what it felt like. He really didn’t like it.
As Izuku ate breakfast, he realized the thought of leaving the apartment to ride the train for school made him feel… edgy, to say the least. He’d thought he’d be nervous right away, but the apartment was tinged with feelings of safety and security. The thought of leaving… well, it was unpleasant, and was laced with enough fear that Izuku seriously considered skipping or feigning ill.
No! This is why I need this. I’ve never considered skipping school before, I can’t let this get in my way. Besides, I promised that I’d show myself that normal days are okay. I have to live my most normal day, school included.
He waved Fukukado a shaky goodbye and marched out of the apartment. Her brow furrowed in concern as he left.
The train ride wasn’t fun. He took a corner seat where he could see all the people and exits and curled up there, waiting for it to be over. Anyone could attack me here and I would never see it coming. Izuku tried to banish the thought from his head, but it just kept coming back. He felt his breathing speed up and his chest tighten.
He felt a wave of reassurance wash over him, courtesy of Anzu. Izuku felt himself relax. Okay, so nothing bad was going to happen on the train. He felt a little embarrassed that he needed Anzu to calm him down, but he reminded himself he was just here to make progress today so he’d feel better about staying up past midnight tomorrow.
He walked into school stiffly (feeling relief after passing the UA gates, but it was nothing compared to how safe he felt at Fukukado’s-- that’s not very logical, within UA is objectively safer-) and made his way to Class 1-A.
He made his way down the hall, thinking he might have made a smart decision with this after all. Then he saw Bakugou, a pissed-off expression on his face, storming toward him.
“K-Kacchan,” Izuku stumbled over the word as Bakugou slammed the wall behind him. “Have you had a quirk this whole time, loser, or are you working with those damn villains!?”
“The prediction you made for the mall!” Bakugou spat. “Where do you get off acting like you didn’t have a quirk this whole time? Acting weak?! Were you making fun of me this whole time?!”
That literally didn’t make any sense. Hadn’t Bakugou seen the harassment that Izuku had faced for his quirklessness, considering he was literally responsible for a large segment of it? Forgetting his fear for a brief moment in his incredulity, Izuku squinted at Bakugou. “Kacchan, are you joking?” Izuku asked, genuinely confused.
Bakugou snarled in anger and was about to shout a response to that statement, but before he could…
Well. There were multiple reasons for what happened next.
One. Bakugou raised his fist. He probably planned to set off an explosion in the air or gesture angrily with it, but to Izuku it sure looked like Bakugou was going to hit him. Izuku knew logically that Bakugou would never risk his hero career by punching him in the face in the middle of the hallway, but…
Two. Izuku was so on edge, from sleep deprivation, fear, and the fact that this encounter had been completely unexpected, that he reacted to this motion on instinct rather than logic. For most people, they might instinctually flinch away or cover their face, but…
Three. Izuku had been in Taekwondo and Judo for years. So…
His first instinct was to gut-punch Bakugou at rapid speed.
“Argh!” Bakugou made a strangled noise, doubling over.
“K-Kacchan, I’m so sorry!” Izuku squeaked. Bakugou made an angry growling noise, lifting his head to give Izuku a death glare. Ohmygod I need to run before he recovers-
“BYE Kacchan!” Izuku shouted, then turned and started sprinting towards the 1-A classroom. He slid into the classroom very quickly, nearly slipping on the tile.
“No running in the-” Aizawa started, but then quickly shot out his capture weapon to wrap up Bakugou, who was chasing Izuku and lunging at him.
“GET BACK HERE DEKU!” Bakugou screeched, thrashing in the capture weapon.
“Bakugou Katsuki,” Aizawa said firmly. “Calm down. What is happening?”
“He punched me!” Bakugou accused.
Aizawa glanced at Izuku.
“He startled me!” Izuku defended, wrapping his arms around himself.
“Bakugou,” Aizawa said. “If I release you, will you refrain from attacking Midoriya.”
Bakugou said nothing.
“Bakugou,” Aizawa repeated sternly.
“Fine,” Bakugou grunted. Aizawa released Bakugou from his capture weapon. “I don’t usually do this, but Midoriya. Switch seats with Todoroki. We can’t have class being disrupted. I will speak with both of you about this incident after class, and let it be known that I have access to UA’s security footage, need I go back and look at the incident.”
Izuku reluctantly changed seats with Todoroki. Aizawa’s going to see that I punched Bakugou and then he’s going to punish and expel me. Izuku felt vaguely like crying but kept it together, putting his head down for a minute, overwhelmed by feelings. Luckily, Aizawa didn’t call him out on it, and Izuku managed to shakily get out his pencils by the five minute mark of class. He felt another wave of reassurance from Anzu, which made him feel a little better, but he went straight back to nervous when he saw Aizawa staring at him from across the classroom.
Aizawa passed their assessments (specific feedback from the final exams) back to them, but when Izuku looked down, he found a little slip of paper on his.
Hall Pass: Hound Dog’s Office
Izuku glanced up and Aizawa gave a minute nod. Izuku wordlessly took his assessment and his pass (leaving his backpack) and went to go find Hound Dog. There were a few glances in his direction, but a few sharp looks from Aizawa got them to shut up and focus on their assessments again. Why is he sending me? Izuku thought to himself, wondering if maybe Hound Dog would be handling the incident and the whole ‘I’ll talk to you after class thing’ was a lie. He creaked open the door to Hound Dog’s office. “H-Hey?”
“Hello. Midoriya Izuku, right? Aizawa let me know you’d be coming,” Hound Dog said, gesturing to the couch across from him.
Izuku sat on the couch and resisted the urge to fidget. Hound Dog was… interesting. His figure was imposing, but he didn’t seem nearly as scary as he had in the USJ (or even walking down the hall) when he didn’t have his costume on and when he was surrounded by office supplies.
“Aizawa said you were having a difficult time in class today,” Hound Dog said, rather gently.
Izuku startled a little at his voice and shrugged. “I-it’s fine,” Izuku said.
“You can stay here and chill out a little if you want,” Hound Dog offered. “I know Yamada--er, you call him Mic-sensei--is planning a free study period for your English test tomorrow.”
Izuku nearly declined, but he realized he probably should stay and calm down. He probably wouldn’t have punched Bakugou on a normal day. Besides, this room-- only one entrance, easily-defended well-protected, ally-teacher Hound Dog here-- seemed pretty safe and good. “Okay,” Izuku said, nodding.
He settled in on the couch as Hound Dog said, “I have headphones? If you’d like.”
Izuku took them gratefully and slipped them over his ears. They cancelled out noise very effectively. As expected of UA headphones, Izuku thought to himself, having gotten into the habit of expecting everything at UA to be stupidly high-tech. He curled in on the couch and pulled the hood of his jacket over his eyes.
Aizawa had been very concerned when Midoriya entered his class pale and shaking, with Bakugou flying after him. When the both of them explained the incident (“he punched me!”, “he startled me!) Aizawa was 90% sure they were both telling the truth. He could easily see Bakugou (brash, loud) startling Midoriya (extremely talented in martial arts) into punching him.
After several minutes of class, though, Aizawa noticed that Midoriya was still very high-strung, so he sent him to Hound Dog. They weren’t doing anything important in Homeroom today anyway.
After investigating the footage of the fight (Nedzu accepted his request fairly easily) after English had started, he found what happened to be essentially the exact circumstance as they’d alleged. Bakugou cornered Midoriya, Midoriya punched Bakugou. Aizawa let out a long-suffering sigh and rubbed the bridge of his nose. Why was this his class? (Frankly, it was a bit concerning the way Midoriya reacted to a raised fist, all the more reason to double-check Midoriya’s (previous?) home life and previous school for problems.)
Aizawa stopped by Hound Dog’s office to check on Midoriya.
“He fell asleep,” Hound Dog said quietly, stepping out of his office as not to wake the kid, who was curled on the couch with headphones over his ears. “Probably stayed up too late or something. Really tuckered out.”
Aizawa sighed again. “If he doesn’t wake up by 4th period, you should wake him. I’m sure he’s read ahead in Literature, but Ectoplasm is teaching a new concept in math. Unless he’s panicking again or asks to stay, send him back to class. If he’s stressed about me punishing him over his fight with Bakugou-” Hound Dog made a face of surprise at the words fight with Bakugou “-tell him I believe his story about it, and we’ll discuss it once school is out.”
Hound Dog nodded. “Got it.”
As far as Aizawa was aware, Midoriya returned to class for 4th period and stayed for the rest of the day. When he saw the kid in the halls, Midoriya definitely didn’t look as bad as he did in the morning, but he looked a bit on edge nonetheless. Aizawa had both Midoriya and Bakugou stay behind after school that day.
“So. I saw the footage,” Aizawa said. “Bakugou, you have three detentions. Midoriya, you have two.”
“What?! Deku’s the one that hit me!” Bakugou argued.
Aizawa sighed. “Yes, that’s true. But it looks like he panicked once you cornered him, something more akin to an unintentional instinctual reaction than anything. It is still unacceptable that he hit you, however, so he will be serving detentions,” Aizawa said.
“And what about my detentions?” Bakugou bit out.
“It’s not unacceptable to corner and scream at your classmates,” Aizawa answered.
Midoriya looked relieved, having expected worse, while Bakugou looked enraged and angry.
“Bakugou,” Aizawa said. “Take this as a lesson about trapping people who look panicked. I’m not sure what you have against Midoriya, but you must treat him with respect. If Midoriya hits a classmate again and we believe it to be on purpose, his punishment will be significantly more severe.”
Bakugou growled and nodded in affirmation. “Bakugou, you can go.”
Bakugou swung his backpack over his back and left the room. Aizawa glanced at Midoriya, ready to start a new conversation.
“I’m sorry sensei!” Izuku blurted out. I’m sorry I’m sorry please don’t-
“I was just going to ask-” Aizawa crouched down to Izuku’s eye-level, “-if you were feeling okay.”
“You’ve been jumpy today,” Aizawa explained.
“Oh…” Izuku was reminded as to why he trusted Aizawa. Should he tell him the truth about this? No harm in it I suppose, it is for training…
“I never got a prophecy cause I stayed up past midnight, so I’m just nervous that bad stuff is going to happen because I can’t foresee the rest of the day.”
Aizawa looked at him in confusion. “Why did you stay up?”
“Well, I wanted to get over my fear of not being able to use my quirk! I-I mean, what if I have to stay up past midnight for a class activity or something? Ashido said we might at the summer camp and I don’t want to be afraid,” Izuku whispered.
Aziawa sighed. “Midoriya, it might be best to get professional help to work through a fear like that. Or, it might be best to work on it in smaller increments. For instance, not receiving a prophecy for a day you plan to stay home,” Aizawa advised.
Oh… that would have been way easier, but- “I just wanted to get it over with,” Izuku confessed. “Never know when I might have to stay up past midnight for something…
“Now knowing that this is such a severe fear of yours, we wouldn’t make you stay up past midnight for an activity,” Aizawa said, and at Izuku’s head-tilt in confusion, he clarified, “that might make it worse.”
Izuku vaguely felt like kicking himself. He really could just ask to not be a part of something, and they’d… listen? Accommodate?
“You do still need to meet with Hound Dog about an unrelated thing,” Aizawa said, almost to himself. Wait, for what? Izuku wondered.
“... I just haven’t scheduled that meeting yet. Maybe when you meet him, he could help you with that fear as well.”
That could be useful. Hound Dog IS a guidance counselor, right? Izuku nodded. “Thanks, sensei… I just want to go home now, though, since the day is over…”
Aizawa nodded. “Okay. Will you be alright by yourself?”
Izuku did not want to go home by himself. “Yes,” Izuku lied.
Aizawa’s eyes narrowed in skepticism. “Do you want me to get someone to pick you up? Or someone to escort you home? ”
Izuku did sort of want that, but if Fukukado showed up, she might be recognized because this was a hero school and she was pretty famous. And if Aizawa himself offered to bring Izuku home, he would notice the fact his address had changed. “Um-m…”
Aizawa sighed. “Look, kid. I know you might’ve moved and you might have a new guardian-”
“What?! How?!” Izuku’s eyes widened.
“I went to check on you and found that no one had lived in your apartment in months,” Aizawa explained. “And Nedzu thinks perhaps you changed guardians, and he’s usually right.”
Shit, they figured me out so easily! “Ah… true on both counts… ” Izuku confirmed, unsurely. He wasn’t sure what else to say.
“I don’t necessarily need to know why the change happened, if you’d rather keep it private,” Aizawa continued. “But this might be a good opportunity for your new guardian to meet me, a parent-teacher conference of sorts. And if you want to add them as an emergency contact…”
“Oh,” Izuku said. Well, I suppose if I don’t have to explain why… still, having Ms. Joke as a guardian might raise a few eyebrows… should I?
Do it, Anzu whispered.
Okay, Anzu says yes. And besides, if Fukukado comes in civvies, no one will probably notice her. She does look super distinct in her hero costume… yeah. It’ll probably be fine. Fukukado will come pick me up and the whole ‘aunt’ thing will be legitimized, and no one will question it after that!
“Sure,” Izuku said. “I’ll text her.”
Izuku sent off a short text, briefly explaining that his quirk was out-of-order and asking if she could come get him. He wasn’t sure what he would have done if she’d refused, but luckily she shot a sure, I’ll come pick you up! in return.
“She’s on her way,” Izuku said.
“Good,” Aizawa responded.
“I have something interesting to share with you, Tomura.”
“What is it, Sensei?” Shigaraki asked.
“It appears that the heroes were tipped off to the fact you were visiting Kiyashi Ward Mall,” All for One said smoothly.
“But how? Not even I knew I was planning to go there, I just wandered,” Shigaraki grumbled.
“Class 1-A was also planning to be there by coincidence according to our sources, which means it was likely the work of Midoriya Izuku’s future vision quirk.”
“Grr, him again! Ruining all our random encounters,” Shigaraki growled. “What’s our progress on killing him? Or, taking his quirk, and then killing him?”
“I may have found something,” All for One said. “You’ll remember in the news that a UA student ran into the Hero Killer, correct? That was him.”
“Wait, but…” Shigaraki furrowed his brow. “If he could avoid encountering me, why couldn’t he avoid running into the Hero Killer?”
“Exactly,” All for One said. “We also must take into account at about what time the heroes began to prepare for your visit to the mall-- heroes involved in the incident were seen going to UA for a meeting at 10am that day, which must have been about you.”
“Three hours,” Shigaraki said. “But you said the cheater could predict things a day in advance.”
“His quirk description must be somewhat misleading,” he trilled. “I posit a theory-- Midoriya Izuku can only predict things from the beginning of one 24 hour period, starting at 12am of that day specifically to 12am of the subsequent day.”
“But if he learned about my mall trip at 12am that night, why did the heroes meet ten hours later and not right away?”
“He was sleeping,” All for One said. “He must have awoken at around 8 or 9am to receive the prophecy, and then it would take the heroes around an hour to gather.”
“So how does the Hero Killer fit into that?”
“He ran into the Hero Killer at approximately a quarter after midnight,” All for One replied. “That’s why he wasn’t able to predict the Hero Killer’s approach--it takes time to do so. Either that, or he saw it would lead in the Hero Killer’s death and he didn’t have time to prepare an alternate solution in only fifteen minutes, so he allowed it to occur.”
“That’s so weird,” Shigaraki muttered, scratching his neck. “Why is his quirk like that?”
“It’s probably based on his own perceptions,” All for One dismissed. “He probably can predict 24 hours ahead at any time, but his own beliefs about how days work likely restrict him to receiving predictions in the morning for the later hours of the day. Ah, how he restricts the use of such a beautiful quirk… ”
“So,” Shigaraki continued. “To take him out…”
“We strike at midnight.”
Chapter 37: Double Discovery
Ms. Joke and Aizawa meet, and secrets are revealed. Meanwhile, Nedzu begins his investigation into Aldera.
Izuku trotted outside the UA gates to wait for Fukukado, who’d promised to pick him up. She arrived maybe ten minutes later and ran up to him almost immediately. “Hey, Izuku,” she started.
Aizawa came out from behind a building, where he had been lurking. “Joke,” he said.
Fukuado seemed a bit blindsighted. “Eraser,” she responded.
They know each other?!
“Why are you here,” Aizawa asked, expression unchanging.
“This is,” Fukukado gestured to Izuku, “my nephew. I’m here to pick him up.”
Aizawa’s eyes widened and he glanced at Izuku for implicit confirmation. Izuku nodded.
"Your NEPHEW?" Aizawa's brow furrowed. "The one that just moved in with you?"
“When were you going to tell me it was Midoriya," Aizawa said. Izuku was rarely able to see any of Aizawa's emotions past his flat face and monotone inflection, but it wasn't too difficult to see miniature panic underneath his calm facade.
“Well, it’s not like I had to tell you-” Fukukado started.
"You asked me for parenting advice," Aizawa emphasized. Wait, what? "But you did not tell me that the parenting advice was for my own student. I could have been more specific had you mentioned that part," Aizawa said.
"Welll," Fukukado made a half-shrugging motion. "It wasn't super relevant? Never came up?"
“If you wanted to be on his emergency contact list, then I needed to have known,” Aizawa said with a frown. “What... what even is your connection? I know neither of you are actually related. How did this happen?”
“Don’t you see the green hair?” Fukukado said, a little playfully.
“Midoriya’s only living relative in Japan is his mother,” Aizawa responded. “So unless you’re about to reveal some unknown revelation about his parentage…” Izuku spluttered at that.
“I’m an honorary aunt,” Fukukado dismissed. “I should get Izuku home now.”
Aizawa’s eyes narrowed. “Fine. But we’re talking about this later.”
“Gotcha, Eraser. C’mon kid, let’s go.”
Izuku followed Fukukado numbly. Once Aizawa was out of earshot, he whispered, “He found out, what are we going to do, this all has gone wrong, I shouldn’t have asked you to come-”
“It’s okay, Izuku,” Fukukado said. “Look, we’re probably gonna have to let Eraser know the truth soon. But he’s a big softie on the inside, it’ll be okay.”
“What if he makes me go to foster care?” Izuku mumbled.
“Then that will be fine,” Fukukado emphasized. “Nedzu and Aizawa together will manage to find a great place for-”
“But I don’t want that! I want to stay with you!”
Fukukado paused, glancing at Izuku, whose fists were clenched in determination. “Whatever Aizawa-sensei says, I’m staying with you,” Izuku said, puffing out his chest. “We can tell him but I’m not leaving.”
“It matters that much to you?” Fukukado asked, a little startled.
“Of course it does,” Izuku said, deflating a little. “I like living with you. You’re one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.”
“Oh,” Fukukado said. Izuku saw the way she rubbed her eyes, trying to be subtle as she wiped away unshed tears. “Thanks, Izuku,” she said with a warm smile. “That means a lot. I’ll see what I can do.”
It didn’t take much investigating into Aldera Junior High for Nedzu to notice some… abnormalities. The first came in the student files, something used to inform new teachers what the old teachers had thought about the students.
It seemed Bakugou’s student file was peppered with praise, and implications that he would do great things in life. Nedzu made a humming noise. Bakugou certainly was on a good track, but the praise seemed oddly centered on his powerful quirk and how it might be suited for Heroics. A little concerning. Had Bakugou been groomed for this role?
Meanwhile, when he looked at Midoriya’s file, there was… essentially nothing. It was almost completely blank, even in the younger grades. It only had two statements: one from 2nd grade, about how he was having trouble getting along with other students, and another from 5th grade, about how he was prone to telling lies. Hm… I can see how someone might say those things (considering his shyness and web of secret identities) but the utter lack of anything positive in this file is concerning. He’s studious and intuitive, and an excellent student.
He took a quick glance through the student files of others. None of them were as bare (and bereft of positive statements) as Midoriya’s and none of them were quite as full of praise as Bakugou’s file. Further investigation required. I don’t like what their files implies. Maybe I should attempt to access the security footage next…
A few hours after Emi had accidentally run into Eraser outside the front gates (she didn’t realize that Eraserhead would be coming out of the school with Izuku, otherwise she would have actually tried avoiding him-)
“So.” Aizawa raised an eyebrow. “Care to let me know what on earth is happening with my student?”
Emi forced a smile. “Yeah, sure.” Midoriya had been reluctant when they talked about it, but he’d agreed to Emi spilling the truth to Aizawa. They both knew their cover was essentially blown. “Midoriya’s been living with me for about a month and a half, perhaps a little longer.”
“But why?” Aizawa pressed. “Where’s his mother?”
“His mother just sort of vanished,” Emi said, shrugging awkwardly. “His quirk told him that she wasn’t in danger, she was just committing child abandonment.”
Aizawa’s face grew dark and angry. “How long?”
“As far as I can tell, she left about two months ago. He lived for maybe a half-month alone before I invited him to live with me,” Emi explained.
“I…” Aizawa slumped slightly. “Why didn’t he go to the police?”
“Nervous about foster care,” Emi answered.
Aizawa dragged a hand down his face. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I promised I wouldn’t!” Emi responded, feeling a little bit guilty. “Plus, the longer his mother doesn’t contact him, the easier his case.”
“You understand that it is technically illegal, what you did,” Aizawa said, eyes narrowing. “You should have let the police know. You essentially took a child with no legal permission while failing to report a crime.”
“Yeah, I should have,” Emi said, knowing full well Aizawa wouldn’t try to levy consequences against her or report her or whatever. “But after looking in his eyes, I just… couldn’t. I wanted to help.” It was the truth.
“You know, I’m not sure whether I should be chastising you for not following procedure or thanking you for taking care of my student,” Aizawa said, in an odd bout of honesty. “Midoriya has been doing better than ever while living with you, but I can’t just ignore this situation.”
“I understand,” Emi said, sighing. “And I really am sorry for not telling you sooner.”
“And I understand why you didn’t say anything,” Aizawa said. “I’m going to talk to Nedzu about it. We’ll see what we can do.”
Nedzu glanced at his phone, where a long message from Aizawa about Midoriya.
Child abandonment and emotional neglect?
Everything clicked into place.
The fact that Ms. Joke knew about his secret identity (he was living with Ms. Joke now), his mother’s seeming apathy about his health, the fact that no one wanted them to know that Midoriya moved… It was certainly something. That could certainly cause some psychological damage. Hm. So the next course of action…
First, to ask Midoriya what he preferred. It would be fairly simple to move Midoriya into a qualified and well-vetted foster home, if that’s what he preferred, but based on his observations thus far Nedzu doubted that Midoriya would be thrilled to leave Ms. Joke’s care. While keeping him under Ms. Joke’s custody could be a little bit complicated, it could add some much-needed stability into his home life.
Besides, Nedzu did have something of an idea as to how he might make it happen…
It would take a couple of favors, but it would be possible.
Sorry if this chapter is short or not that good! I had more planned for this chapter, but I'm having some really whacky vertigo things going on, which is very distracting and didn't really give me time to add more stuff or edit. I hope you enjoyed! :