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Desperately Departing

Chapter Text

"Hello all, I thank and welcome you as we honor and mourn the life of one who was taken from us far too soon. Inko Midoriya was a good and generous woman…"

The words that the pastor spoke swam and faded as Izuku's ears began to ring. This was really happening. He was really here sitting amongst people he hadn't seen since he was a child and listening to the pastor of the church that they used to attend speak kind and encouraging words about his mother.

His mother…

Flashes started filling his mind of the accident. Blood…sirens…red and blue lights…

Looking back now, it all seemed like one big blur, but at the time it felt like an eternity. Izuku could've spent hours or mere minutes staring at the unmoving form of his mother until he was forced away by some paramedics who insisted on checking on him even though he was fine. Physically at least.

It had been a week and the images stayed painted on the back of Izuku's eyelids. Anytime he tried to sleep all he got were nightmares. Any downtime he took was filled with unwanted memories and guilt. And heaven forbid he try to look in a mirror, Izuku doubted that he would be able to see himself and not break down at how much he looked like his mother anytime soon.

Such a short amount of time, yet it felt like centuries of agony.

Muffled voices sounded around Izuku, and he could vaguely see people standing up around him, but he wasn't paying attention enough to realize why. Dazed he slowly let himself drift, the pain, the voices, the memories, all of it falling away until a heavy hand landed on his back and jolted him back to reality.

"Your mother was a good woman; I am truly sorry Midoriya."

Please don't touch me.

The only response he could manage was a slight nod. He knew that if he tried to talk his voice would crack and if he looked at the man beside him then the tears that were pooling in his eyes would fall.

Weak. Useless. Crybaby. Coward.

Izuku refused to cry in front of all of these people that he barely knew. Most of his life it was just him and his mom. Not much of anyone around, no friends, no family, no dad… But now that she's dead suddenly all of these people care.

Not when his father left her, and she was on the brink. Not when she was struggling with working two to three jobs at a time to try to support herself and Izuku. Not when Izuku was diagnosed quirkless and both of their lives shifted drastically. Not when the kids at school tormented and tortured him every day just because he wasn't like them.

It's funny how much people care when you're dead. It's like that old saying, 'You never know what you have until it's gone'. Izuku knew.

He knew exactly how blessed he was to have a mom that loved and cared for him and did everything in her power to prove that to him every day. He was fully aware of what an amazing person his mother was, and he made sure she knew it.

Izuku knew, he had lost so much in his life that he knew when to hold on and appreciate what he had. So why was this happening to him? How could life be so cruel as to take away the one good thing he had in this god-forsaken world? It wasn't fair.

The feeling in his chest was unlike anything he had every felt before. It was clawing at him, digging under the skin and raking down destroying everything in its path. It dragged it's sharp claws up to Izuku's throat and latched on tight, slowly suffocating as the world closed in around him.

No! No-please no.

Not here, not now-

Midoriya couldn't breathe. His vison blurred and he gripped the edge of his chair as he tried desperately to suck in whatever air he could. Pulsing pain erupted in his skull threatening to break it apart and he could feel his limbs shaking.

This wasn't new to Izuku, he had experienced attacks like this before, but the pain that enveloped him was like crashing waves dragging him back under every time his head got above the water.

Breath. Just breath. In and out…come on Izuku, it's not that hard!

He leaned forward and put his head in between his legs to try and control his breathing. He needed an anchor. Something to ground him, but his anchor was gone. She was ripped away from him and he would never get her back. How was he supposed to go on like this?

The spiraling continued and he tried to hold back his sobs until it was physically painful, until his throat burnt with the strain and his head got dizzy. He couldn't break down like this, not here. Further and further down he sunk until he was jolted back to the surface by another pat on the back that caused him to flinch.

"Are you okay honey?" The voice was soft and light like a summer day, but he could hear the undertones of the storm coming. The sympathy and hesitation that came with these kinds of things.

Once Izuku felt like he could look around without throwing up or passing out, he met the eyes of whoever decided to give their condolences next. It was Ms. Chiba the shopkeeper at mom's favorite flower store. She would go there at least every other week and bring home different flowers to brighten up the apartment. She always spoke highly of Ms. Chiba; she would say that she was a sweet old woman who would give her the best deals.

"Oh, hi Ms. Chiba," His voice came out in a whimper as he stood up. He wished that his body wouldn't give away such weakness, but his mother wore her emotions on her sleeve and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. "Yeah, I uh-"

Before he could even finish whatever excuse was about to come out of his mouth the little old lady wrapped her arms around him tightly. The action made Izuku freeze, he wasn't very comfortable with affection like this-or physical contact in general-but he knew that this would be inevitable, so he tried his best to prepare himself. Guess he didn't do as well as he thought he did.

Please don't. I don't like being touched-

But she's so nice. She won't hurt me.

Please let go…

Ms. Chiba sniffled in his ear and rubbed his back, "I know honey, you don't have to be okay. But it'll get better, I promise."

How could she know that? She didn’t know what happened or how he was feeling. She didn't know the nightmare he was about to go home to, or wherever he was going to end up.

Empty promises. Izuku hated them.

The old lady was still holding onto him until he managed to wiggle out of her embrace as nicely as possible. He really did not want people to touch him right now.

He bade her a goodbye and looked for an opportunity to slip out. This whole thing was a wreck and painful and all he really wanted to do was go home. Maybe it was pity or simple lack of caring, but he managed to leave without any interference and made his way back to his apartment.

 

The walk back was a somber one. All Izuku could think about was how he was being forced to leave his home, the place where he grew up, the place where mom used to be. He knew that it was necessary somewhere in his mind, but the feelings of bitterness overwhelmed any sensible thought that he might have had.

He was going to be staying in an orphanage for the time being, so he needed to go to his apartment to gather his things to take with him as that the rest of the stuff could be put into storage until he was old enough to access them.

As he got closer to the building his memories started spilling over the wall he desperately tried to keep up. Moments of his childhood, mom, growing up, laughing, crying, all things he wasn't ready to leave behind.

He tried to commit as much of this place as he could to memory; the squeaky stairs and almost always out-of-order elevator, the way that the deadbolt always stuck when they tried to unlock the door, the smell of lavender and cookies that was constantly in the air due to his mother's joint love of plants and cooking, the dent on the hallway doorframe from the time that Izuku slipped and bumped his head and ended up having to get three stitches, the warm light that always poured throughout the house because mom loved the natural glow of the sun.

All of these things began to turn sour somehow. Maybe it was because he knew that nothing would ever be like this again, or because he knew that this was the last time he would be seeing the apartment like this, so full of life, but as he looked longer he could see it slowly fading as reality settled in and his eyes pricked with tears before he shook away those thoughts and went to his room to pack up what he could.

It didn't take Izuku long to gather what he wanted; he couldn't bring himself to bring much more than just the necessities. Clothes and such, his laptop and phone, a couple books, the blanket that his mom made him two Christmases ago, and whatever pictures of her he could.

The decision to take any hero merch was a difficult one. On one hand heroes were everything to Izuku, ever since he got diagnosed as quirkless they've been his lifeline to his dream. He became obsessed with them, chasing after all of the fights he could, studying and analyzing all he could about their quirks and fighting styles, and buying as much merch as he could to support them.

His favorite hero, All Might, had the most presence in his room. He was his hero, his inspiration, but all of a sudden it didn't seem as important.

Mom had always been supportive, even since the beginning. She was there when the news broke and Izuku argued for hours about how he couldn't be quirkless because he didn't have the extra toe joint, and when he finally excepted it but still pressed on with his dreams of being a hero.

It scared her of course, but she must've loved him more than she feared his dreams because she was right there with him every step of the way.

Finally, Izuku made up his mind. He wasn't going to take any hero merch with him, but he was going to keep it and have it stored away. That way he would still have access to it if he wanted.

 

The orphanage was…something.

The building itself was old and overgrown with vines and greenery, although some people liked that look so Izuku didn’t pay much attention to the outside. The inside was nice, sort of. It was a little cramped and cluttered, but that was to be expected when a lot of kids lived in the same place.

Izuku went to his room so that he could put his stuff away and found that he was rooming with another boy.

He was about his age and a little on the meatier side but considering that Izuku was all skin and bones he didn't think that he was a very good judge. The boy's name was Hiroto and from what little he spoke to him and the constant glaring, it was clear that he wasn't too thrilled about getting a roommate.  

It didn’t take long for Izuku to put his things away and by the time he finished the bell for dinner sounded and the two boys made their way to the dining hall.

Hiroto didn't say anything as they walked, just occasionally scowled when he remembered he was being followed. When they got downstairs the boy hurried away and joined up with what Izuku assumed to be his friends.

Standing in the crowed dining hall, it was much clearer just how overfilled this house was with children.

They all went through a line to get a plate and made their way to the four large tables to eat. Once everyone got their dinner, they gave thanks and dug in. The food was bland and not all that much to eat, but Izuku wasn't about to complain. He ended up sitting by himself, despite how overcrowded all of the tables were and as he was halfway through his plate a shadow fell over him.

He looked up and met the eyes of his smirking roommate and a few of his friends.

Oh no. Maybe this time will be different, not everyone is like Kacchan right?

"Hey newbie, are you gonna eat that?" Hiroto asked in a gruff voice.

Izuku looked up at him and then back to his fork that was halfway to his full mouth.

Hiroto's smirk twitched, and he slammed his hand on the table making some of the food on his plate splatter off of it. "I said," he leaned closer, "Are you gonna eat that?"

His little group of friends behind him snickered as Izuku swallowed down the last of what he was chewing. "Um, yes?"

"Wrong answer." Hiroto snatched his plate and turned back to his friends who were now full on laughing.

"Hey!" Izuku stood up, "That's my-" His words got cut off by his plate smacking against his face and exploding into his hair and on his clothes.

This sent the group into fits of gasping laughter and snorts as Hiroto set the plate down and let out a small insincere "Oops." They walked away still laughing and talking about what happened and suddenly Izuku wasn't hungry anymore.

He decided to leave dinner early to go shower and get the food out of his hair. When he got back to his room Hiroto was there going through some of his stuff.

"What are you doing?" The boy froze and Izuku saw what was in his hand. His temper rose and his face got hot with anger, "Put that down." The words were low and nonnegotiable as they left his mouth.

All he saw was this kid holding a picture of his mother and his thoughts ran wild with all of the things that he might do to disrespect her and Izuku was not going to let that happen.

"What did you just say to me?" Hiroto turned his head to scowl at him full on.

Deep breaths. Deep breaths Izuku. Don't give him another reason to hate you.

After another moment Izuku finally answered, this time his voice much lighter. "I just-please don't touch those. They're very important to me."

"Oh, a momma's boy, are you?" The smile on his roommate's face was ugly and alarming. He had way too much experience with smiles like that, but he was too slow to stop it. Hiroto looked him straight in the eye as he tore the photo of him and his mom from top to bottom and flung the pieces to the ground.

"Stop it!" Izuku ran over to try to stop him from ripping up anymore pictures, but that was a mistake, and he knew it. Hiroto grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and slammed him against the wall as his fists shifted into what looked like rocks and it spread halfway up his arms.

Izuku cried out and felt his feet dangle beneath him, but Hiroto just laughed. "Make me! You can't just come here and expect to be respected; you have to earn that respect. So, show me what you got shrimpy!"

When he didn't do anything, the boy just slammed him into the wall again, harder this time.

"I said make me! Or are you too much of a wimp to do anything?" It soon became clear that he wasn't going to get anything out of this so after a few more moments Hiroto threw Izuku to the grown and scoffed as he walked away. "Such a loser."

It took some time, but Izuku finally found a place that no one really seemed to go near-an old janitor's closet-closed the door and sunk down as he began to let out his feelings for the day. He thought he probably spent an hour in there crying before he finally left and went to bed without another word to anyone or anything.

Mom, please…I don't think I can do this.

I wish that you were here…

 

Chapter Text

"Wow, how can you possibly look worse than you did yesterday?"

The morning started out with Izuku waking up to an empty room and he allowed himself to slightly hope that maybe today wouldn't be as bad as yesterday was…he was wrong.

Hiroto snatched him away from breakfast and he and his friends dragged him out to the side of the building near the trashcans. Once they got there, they threw him to the ground and laughed at Hiroto's comment.

His roommate kneeled down to where Izuku was and grabbed his hair that was thankfully less tangled than it usually was due to his conditioner that he used last night. "Do you want to know something funny? I asked around a but and learned a very interesting fact about you."

Oh no. No, no, no, no, this can't be happening. He hasn't even been here twenty-four hours yet and-

"Do you want to know guys?" He turns his head to his friends who are nodding their heads with sadistic smiles on their faces. "I heard that little Midoriya here is quirkless."

Izuku stopped breathing. He suspected that this was what he was talking about, but he prayed with every inch of his being that it was something else, anything else.

Hiroto yanked on his hair a bit and brought his head up, "No wonder you didn't fight back last night, you can't."

Laughter filled the alleyway and Izuku knew what was coming. It was always like this. He could feel the sting of his tears welling up in his eyes as he braced himself. This of course led to more laughter and taunts of how weak and pathetic he was.

Deku you're such a stupid crybaby.

If you keep on crying, then I'll give you something to really cry about!

The memories echoed in his head as the tears spilled over and ran down his face.

Izuku hated himself. He hated that he was so weak that he couldn't stop himself from crying in front of these bullies. He hated that he wasn't strong enough to fend them off or at least put up a fight. He hated that he had to be such a failure that he couldn't even have the right anatomy to be quirkless, he had to be the 00000.1 percent that didn't have the toe joint and were still quirkless. He hated that mom wasn't here to pick him up and tell him that everything was going to be okay.

The beating wasn't as bad as it usually was. The worst part was Hiroto's rock quirk. From what Izuku saw, he could turn his body into rock and even shape it into weapons. At the moment he just used big rock hands to pummel people, but it wouldn't be surprising to see the quirk grow to be used like that.

None of the other guys helped too much with the beating, they just sat back and watched and encouraged Hiroto. By the end of it Izuku was left crumpled on the ground feeling like he got run over by a bus and then run over again by another bus. He could already feel the bruises and knew that almost his entire chest and back were going to be covered in black and blue.

At least he had the decency to not hit places that were easily seen. He would only have a couple bruises on his arms, legs, neck, and face. He probably had a black eye, but it wasn't the worst thing that he's ever had and at least nothing was broken…that he could tell.

 

The walk-or limp-to school was longer than Izuku was used to. His and mom's apartment was only about a six-minute walk away from his middle school, whereas where he was now was at least a twenty minute one and not being able to walk correctly certainly didn't help.

He was thankful (sorta) that he was able to stay at the school until he graduated, it would've been a nightmare to transfer and have to deal with being the new kid only a couple of months from the end of the year.

The bell rang just as Izuku walked through the entrance and he had to rush to change his shoes and make his way up to where his classroom was on the third floor. He tripped halfway up the staircase and had to bite his tongue to stop from crying out due to landing on one of the really bad bruises on his leg.

Once he finally got to class, the teacher was almost done with attendance and he tried his best to sneak to his seat without being noticed, but his classmates had other ideas.

"Hey look, Deku is late!"

"What a loser, can't even make it to class on time."

"Useless."

"Midoriya." The teacher's voice rang out above the snickering of his classmates and Izuku winced at their tone. "Being late to class is unacceptable, you know this."

His chest tightened and he could feel the growing pressure of his anxiety creep up, "Y-yes I know-I just, you see what had happened was-"

"I don't want your excuses. You will stay after school for detention and maybe then you'll learn some time management skills."

"I-" Izuku wanted to defend himself and explain that he had moved and so his morning had been a little hectic, but he knew that they wouldn't listen. It was always like this; he was just too big of a screwup for them to overlook his mistakes like they do the other kids. They all have potential to be heroes and are on paths to greatness and Izuku…wasn't.

It's not like he deserves pity or exceptions anyways. He should've done better this morning. Sure he couldn't have known that he was going to get jumped by those boys, but he could've walked faster or not tripped on the stairs. If he weren't so useless and pathetic then he wouldn't have these problems.

It sucks being quirkless.

 

"Stupid little Deku has to stay for detention because he can't do anything right. Is that a surprise to anyone? Didn't think so." Kacchan's voice wasn't as quiet as he probably meant it to be and he and his lackies laughed as they passed Izuku's desk. "Try to not be anymore of an idiot than you already are, the teacher doesn't need you bothering them."

He was right of course. The teacher had to stay after class to keep him in detention and that was just more of their day that he was taking up because he was so stupid.

Stupid, dumb, useless, burden, Deku-

Nice going. You were late and now you're inconveniencing the teacher.

"I really am sorry." It was just him and the teacher in the classroom now. He was supposed to finish the stack of extra work that he was given before he could leave and he was trying his best to get through the pile, but he must be stupider than he thought, because it was taking him forever.

The teacher sighed at their desk where they were reading some book that Izuku didn't know. "I don't need nor want your apologies Midoriya. Just hurry up with that work."

"Of course, sorry." Izuku winced and caught sight of the teacher rolling their eyes at their desk. He needed to stop doing that, but he can't help it!

Stupid. Just get your work done and leave.

Thirty minutes later all of the extra work on his desk was completed and turned in and he was on his way to his locker so that he could change his shoes and head home. Mom was probably going to ask why he was late and-

Oh.

Guess I don’t have to worry about that anymore…

Izuku's mood plummeted. Dark thoughts and feelings encased him as he slowly walked out of the entrance and down to the gate and so he didn't notice the movement next to him until he was grabbed and dragged away by multiple hands holding him and covering his mouth so he couldn't scream.

It didn't take long for him to recognize the hands and voices of his classmates. They were the ones that always followed Kacchan around and joined in on picking on him. He prayed that today's beating wouldn't be a bad one, all he really wanted to do was crawl in a hole and cry, but he knew that if he started crying now, they would just hit him harder.

So, he would just have to be strong and hold out.

"Guys…maybe today isn't the day. Didn't you hear about-"

"Shut up! No one cares, Deku was late to class and had to stay behind for detention like an idiot and he needs to be taught a lesson."

The other guys grunted in agreement as they continued to carry him to wherever they were going. They had two people holding his arms and legs and then some around to make sure that he couldn't escape.

They talked as they walked, mostly about normal school stuff, some talked about Kacchan and how he was applying to the UA Hero Course and how they thought that he was going to make it in no question. Izuku agreed with them, if anyone was going to make it as a hero out of this school, it was Kacchan.

For one, his quirk was incredibly strong and perfect for being a hero, but not only was his quirk strong but he was just strong himself. He always got what he wanted and had people following and sucking up to him because they knew that he was just that great. He was the best at everything and worked his hardest to stay that way.

Not like Izuku, he couldn't do anything right. No quirk, no strength, no backbone, no mom… Izuku could never be like that.

The group stopped walking and adjusted their hold on him. "Hey Bakugou, we brought him."

"Good." Izuku knew that voice anywhere. The voice of his childhood best friend, of the person who he always looked up to and strived to be like.

Izuku was dropped to the ground without warning and ended up hitting the back of his head on the concrete on the ground which sent spots across his vison for a moment. He wanted to rub the back of his head, he wanted to get off of his tailbone that was most certainly bruised now, but he knew better, and he didn't want to bring anymore pain on himself than was necessary.

"Get up Deku, you look like a slug laying on the ground like that." Kacchan's voice demanded with a hint of a smile. Izuku obeyed and gingerly stood up and saw that he was in an alleyway surrounded by Kacchan and his lackies. He tried not to make eye contact with any of them and kept his head down as he prepared himself for what he knew was going to happen.

This sent laughter throughout the group and someone behind him commented, "It's almost too easy, he's getting to be no fun."

That didn't sound very good to Izuku.

Kacchan scoffed and walked closer to where he stood, "You're so pathetic, makes me wonder if it's even worth it to teach you these lessons."

"I-I'm sorry."

Sound rattled through the alleyway, a warning explosion. "Shut your mouth."

Another guy off to the side sighed like he was bored, "Come on Bakugou, if you're going to rough him up, just do it already."

Kacchan turned around slowly and glared at the guy who made the comment causing him to straighten and take a step back. "Don't tell me what to do." He growled and turned back to Izuku. "He's right though; wouldn't want to make you too late getting home. Auntie Inko would have a heart attack."

"Bakugou!" The unsure guy from before snapped.

"What?"

"You can't just say that!"

Kacchan's expression turned slightly confused as he looked at the guy who's eyes seemed to be two sizes larger than they were before and he kept on darting his gaze back and forth between Izuku and him. "What's wrong with you? You think you can correct me and try to tell me what to do?" Sparks started firing from his hands as he took a step towards the guy, "Want me to teach you a lesson too?"

The guy shook his head and lowered his eyes.

"That's what I thought."

Izuku is sure that he probably said some more things after that, but his thoughts began to roll in on each other like waves. Thoughts of his mother and how he would never get to go home and have her worry over where he had been. He would never feel her too tight embrace or hear her quiet singing as she cooked and cleaned.

At some point a fist collided with his face that jarred him back to reality and he stumbled into one if the alley walls. "Listen to me when I'm talking Deku!"

"W-what? I'm sorry, what were you saying?"

This just made Kacchan's tempter rise more, and he reached out to hit him again, but Izuku's instincts kicked in and he tried to dodge the blow but ended up running into one of the guys beside him who shoved him away and right into Kacchan's exploding fist.

He crumpled to the ground with a hand holding the side of his face where the explosive punch landed. His left ear was ringing, and he could feel some tears roll down his cheeks defiantly.

"Ha, that was pathetic. And you think that you can be a hero? You can't even dodge a punch without screwing up, there's no way that you could ever help anyone."

The words flowed through his right ear (the only one he could currently hear out of) and around and around in his head.

"Pathetic…"

"There's no way you could every help anyone-"

"Useless Deku, you'll never be a hero…"

Each hit was intentional. "That's for ignoring us. And that's for being an idiot. That's for getting detention," Kick after kick, punch after punch, "And that's for the stunt you pulled the other day. How dare you try to save me from some weak villain that even you wouldn't be able to take down? It was pathetic and insulting."

Bakugou hit him with another quirked punch to the side of his head and a fresh wave of ringing washed over Izuku.

Useless, useless, useless-

Deku-idiot-coward-worthless-waste of space-pathetic-weak…

Izuku's chest tightened painfully to the point where he had to physically grab it with the hand that wasn't still holding his ringing ear. The words stung as they swirled and grew. He had heard it a hundred times before, so why was it taking root now? Why was this getting to him so much now?

"I think that you can do anything that you put your mind to baby."

"Oh Izuku, you're kind, and intelligent, and strong, and you care about people. That's what really matters, not having a powerful quirk, but what's in your heart."

"I believe in you."

That was what was different. Mom had always been his anchor, his lifeline, and now she was gone. And she was never coming back.

"Look at him, not even attempting to fight back," Laughter sounded around him and Kacchan began to walk away followed by everyone else. They walked up to him and patted him on the back and one even gave him a high-five for his beatdown saying just how cool he was.

They were all exiting the alley's mouth when Kacchan stopped and turned his head to look back at Izuku, "You're nothing and always will be, why don't you just do all of us a favor and take the swan dive so that we don't have to deal with your shit anymore?"

And with that they were gone and Izuku was left on the ground. Warm tears streamed down his face, but he was numb, no feeling, no pain, it all just stopped, and he knew what he was going to do.

He had made his decision.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku's legs burned as he climbed up yet another set of stairs. Both fortunate and unfortunately for him, the school had a lot of floors and that meant a lot of stairs to climb to get to the roof.

The thought of having to climb two more flights almost deterred him from what he was about to do…almost.

As he rounded the corner and looked at more and more stairs he cursed under his breath and started climbing. What was a little pain when there would soon be nothing to feel?

Conflicting thoughts chased each other around in his head. Thoughts of how crushed his mom would be if she were still here. Memories of her always telling him that things would get better and that he was the strongest person she knew. She was wrong. Izuku wasn't strong, he was tired.

Tired of fighting, tired of enduring, tired of getting pushed around, tired of picking himself up just to be knocked down again, tired of hating himself. And god did he hate himself. The darkness in his mind dissipated as the hope of relief poked through. He could only imagine just how nice it was going to be to not be here anymore. To not have to live in this broken and unfair world. The thought almost made him smile.

It helped that he was positive now that he could do this without hurting anyone. Before, just the thought of what his mom would go through chased away any permanent feelings of ending it all, but…she wasn't here anymore. She left him, and he was ready to join her.

Would they be together? Would they be happy?

Izuku vaguely remembered the times where he and mom would go to church every Sunday and read the Bible, but those days had ended a while ago. He didn't really know why they stopped going, but he remembered just how at peace he felt when he was there. Maybe if things had turned out different, he would go back and try to dive back into the faith.

Finally, Izuku made it to the top of the building and opened the unlocked roof door.

He wasn't quite sure why the school doors weren't locked yet, maybe not everyone was gone yet? He winced at the possibility of one of his teachers finding him, but quickly brushed the thought aside before he could lose his nerve.

The roof was big, and had some benches where students ate their lunch sometimes. Their school hadn't had to put fencing around the roof yet, which Izuku was thankful for although he guessed that after today, they would have to. Oh well.

He walked over to the edge of the rooftop and overlooked the city. Their school was in a pretty good place, not too many other buildings surrounding it, but still close enough to everything else that most students didn't have to take the bus.

The sun had begun to set and Izuku watched the sky transform with streaks of red and pink and purple. The streetlights and other light around the building had just turned on as well making the whole scene absolutely breathtaking.

Izuku felt silent tears trickle down his cheeks as he overlooked everything. He was going to miss this; just how beautiful the world could be despite all of the crap it holds.

Mom would've loved this.

The breath hitched on its way in and Izuku allowed himself to dwell a bit longer on the scene in front of him before he wiped his face off and stepped up to the ledge.

Okay, okay-deep breath in…

And out.

I'm sorry mom. I'll see you soon.

And with that he let himself fall silently off of the building.

Wind immediately rushed up to him as he fell, it was loud but also quiet. Peaceful. He could still see the sunset and even though his tears got caught in the wind, he knew that he was probably crying again. He felt…not happy, relieved?

He felt free.

The ground was coming, he knew it. He allowed himself one last look at the beautiful world around him and closed his eyes, bracing himself for the impact.

But it never came. Or at least, he didn't feel it. But that was kinda the point of jumping off the roof, a quick and hopefully painless death. So why didn’t he feel dead?

One moment he was in complete darkness and the next blinding light surrounded him on all sides. He covered his eyes until they adjusted to the brightness of wherever he was and when he finally looked, he realized that he wasn't alone.

Right in front of him, maybe six feet away was a figure in all white. Their dress flowed around them and made them look like an angel, and maybe they were. With the straight green hair in a half-up hairdo that Izuku knew all too well, they certainly could've passed for one.

A choked sob escaped Izuku's throat, and he went to take a step forward but stopped when the figure turned their head to look at him. Bright green eyes met his and softened. Beautiful emerald green eyes that always shone with enough love and light to fill up any room they entered. Eyes that were wasted on Izuku's constantly exhausted face, but somehow fit him so well.

The last time he saw those eyes they were tired, so tired. And sad, not for themselves, but for him. They knew what was going on, how could they not? Bakugou and the others weren't exactly subtle, and no matter how beaten or bruised he was when he got home, those eyes always met him at the door and welcomed him home. They always gave him so much hope and comfort.

He had been trying so hard to be strong for her sake. He knew that she wouldn't have wanted him to cry over her too much. Not that he really gave himself the chance to. He didn't cry in front of people and ever since what happened he hadn't had enough time alone to let himself let it all out, so he kept on building up wall after wall.

Reenforcing them and pushing back the wave of grief that only got taller and taller the more he pushed it back. He kept any thoughts of her on a tight leash because if he didn't then he knew that the weight of everything would come crashing down on him, so he just kept on building up the dam. Further and further up.

And now looking at those eyes again the dam broke.

Izuku's legs gave out from under him, and he sank to his knees clutching his chest. Everything was coming back to him. All of the feelings of grief, and anger, and betrayal, and regret. It all blurred together as he cried and let go of everything he was holding back.

Was this it? Was he dead?

His breathing shook and tears kept on coming so fast that Izuku couldn't blink them away enough to see clearly. It wasn't until he felt a light hand on his shoulder that he looked up and saw green through the tears and knew who it was.

Mom…

"Izuku," Her voice was soft and comforting. Wrapping him tightly in a feeling of total peace with just one word. It was okay, everything was okay now…because his mom was here, and he was here with her. "Oh, baby…" She placed her hand on the side of his face and then moved it to under his chin to lift his face up, "You're not supposed to be here."

And all of a sudden, everything around him came crashing down. "W-what?" His voice was barely a whisper. It was low and strained from crying and he couldn't keep the shock from his tone. "I'm not supposed…what are you t-talking about mom? I'm here, I'm right here and so are you, we're together and-"

"No honey, this is wrong." It was like a stab to the chest. How could she say that? How could she say that he wasn't supposed to be here? Did she not want him here?  

Betrayal began to crawl up his back and plant it's claws into him. He was sure that his eyes showed it, how could they not? He was never good at hiding his feeling from her. And he was sure that she saw it, if her now pained expression indicated anything.

He didn't know when he started shaking, maybe it was when he was sobbing, or maybe it was due to his mother's words, but he couldn't stop. He searched her eyes. Searched for something, anything. Feelings of relief or joy to see her son, regret for leaving him, regret for hurting him…but he didn't know what he saw. It was too many emotions for him to understand.

"I-I don't understand…how could you say that? Is-are you not happy to see me?" Izuku's voice broke and his eyes filled up once again with fresh tears that soon spilled over and down his cheeks.

"Oh no," her arms flew around him and held him tight against her, "No, no, no-baby, that's not what I meant at all!"

Izuku sniffled, "Then what do you mean?"

Reluctantly she let go of him and sat back on her knees, looking at him with sad eyes. "It's not your time yet sweetheart, you can't be here. You have to go back."

His breathing stopped all together at her words. Anger slowly filled his chest as he thought of what he left behind and what would be waiting for him if he went back. "No."

"What? Izuku-"

His mom tried to place her hand on his shoulder again, but he shook it off, "No, I-I can't, I won't."

"But-"

"You don't know, you have no idea what it's like back there."

Pain entered her expression as she looked her son over. He was still in his school uniform. He didn't have any bruises or anything on his skin from what she could see. He didn't have a single scar that she had memorized one by one as they appeared. Even the seemingly permanent bruises under his eyes were gone. Her son looked healthy.

And then he didn't. His appearance flickered as she looked at him. The clean and healthy image would flicker to what she knew he looked like now, pale, unhealthily thin, bruises and burns covering most of his body, and his eyes…

He never told her what was going on, but she had always suspected. You don't get injuries like that from just being clumsy. Anytime she asked him about it, he would deny and deflect the conversation to other topics that he knew would distract her.

But she had seen it, she saw it all now. She had been watching and the pain in her chest grew and grew the more that she thought about it. It had to have been going on for years and he just didn't say anything.

How could he not say anything? How could he not care about himself enough to try to stop it?

It hurt her, it hurt her to see the desperate look on her son's face now. It didn't surprise her that he didn't want to go back, she didn't want him to go back either, but that wasn't up to her. It wasn't his time yet, he still had so much to do and he didn't even know it.

"I-I know. I know and I'm sorry. For not being more persistent about what was going on, for not stopping it." She bit her lip and closed her eyes.

You can do this Inko, she thought to herself. You have to, for Izuku.

"I'm sorry for leaving you."

Whatever composition that was in her son's face crumbled in an instant. Tears pooled in his sad eyes and spilled over and down his thin and bruised cheeks. For a moment it was only silence that stretched between them until the sobs finally came.

She knew that it wasn't fair. It wasn't fair to leave him, it wasn't fair to have to watch over him silently, it wasn't fair to see and talk to him now, and it wasn't fair to send him back to that wretched place.

But if only he knew…if he knew all of the-the good he was going to do, he would understand.

Inko Midoriya's son was always special. The brightest and happiest kid you would've ever met despite the crushing weight of all that was happening around him. You'd never have guessed what he was going through, not that he'd let you know anyway. Izuku was just like that, good, kind, selfless, a light breaking through all of the darkness around him. He was strong, always had been, and Inko hated that her son had to be.

He didn't deserve this. With everything that he's been through, didn't he deserve a break? How cruel could life be to keep on throwing obstacle on top of obstacle at him without letting up? He just needed to wait a little bit longer. The light at the end of the tunnel was coming, it wouldn't be easy, Inko knew that. And it broke her heart to know that more pain was coming for him, but Izuku was strong.

The strongest person she knew.

"I'm so-so sorry honey…" Tears of her own began to fill Inko's eyes. It wasn't a surprise, she had always been an empathetic crier, but these tears were not for her. No, they were for Izuku. "But it's time for you to go."

"I-" Her son's voice caught as his breath hitched, "I don't want to go yet," he let out with his voice broken and quiet from crying. It pierced right through Inko's heart, and she couldn't help herself anymore. She lunged forward and wrapped her arms around her son's shaking form as she rubbed his back in an attempt to comfort, but she knew that there was no comfort for what was to come.

She moved one of her hands up to hold the back of Izuku's head and keep him as close to her as possible. "Shh, shh," she whispered in his ear, her own voice shaking, "I know. I know…I love you."

Izuku's arms tightened around her as if it would keep him from leaving and it was a few moments of him calming his breathing down before he replied, "I love you too."

 

Air. Izuku needed air. He didn't know why that was something that he needed to be told, but his body was screaming at him to wake up and breathe.

He shot straight up from wherever he was lying, gasping and screaming and…crying?

Streams of tears continued to pour down his face even as he finally got his bearings and didn't feel like he was dying…well, as much. The tears confused him until memories suddenly began flashing through his mind and his vision got blurry from the fresh water beginning to spill over.

"M-mom…" He managed to get out through his scratchy throat that was in desperate need of some water and whatever medicine he could find.

Izuku's body hurt all over; he couldn't even tell where the pain specifically was, it just was there. Physically, mentally, emotionally, all-consuming and crushing. Memories of what happened before started coming to him as well and disappointment intertwined with the grief as it all began to settle in his mind.

He wasn't dead.

Chapter Text

"Crap!"

Anger soon took over anything else that Izuku may have been feeling until his only thoughts were stings of curse words and how he somehow didn't die and was back in this…wherever he was.

His mind was going a bit too fast for him to properly take in his surroundings, but from what he did get, he was in a grey room that was dimly lit and mostly empty. On the back wall was a long line of square metal lockers. There was nothing on the bland walls except for the metal double doors on the other side of the room.

He could feel that he was on a cold metal table with some type of cloth or blanket draped over him and the only other things in the room with him were a couple of carts with tools on them and a metal double sink on the right side of the room.

How could he have been so stupid? Jumping off of the school roof was not permanent enough apparently.

Izuku thought that it would've been tall enough that it would immediately take him out, but he must have been wrong. That could explain why he hurt so bad, but if he had survived the fall then he wouldn't be able to move anything, so why didn't he feel like all of his bones were broken?

A sudden chill crept up Izuku's body and his eyes widened at a realization.

Why did he feel like he was naked?

Slowly, Izuku moved his right arm, wincing at how stiff and painful the action was and took a deep breath before lifting up the cloth covering him.

Maybe it was because he was naked.

But why was he naked??

And wHAT WAS THAT?

Izuku examined what he could see of his body to make sure that all of him was there and finally noticed his chest. There was a large T shaped scar going all the way down his torso that looked freshly healed.

Did that mean that he didn't have all of his organs?? He felt fine as far as he knew, really tired but what else was new? What organs could you live without?

Kidneys? No, you needed your kidneys, but maybe not both of them…what if they took his kidneys?! Or what about his appendix? He was pretty sure that you could do without your appendix, otherwise people wouldn't have surgeries to remove them all of the time. Right?

Mid-freak out, Izuku glanced around him and remembered that he was in an unknown place with no clothes on, a new huge scar, and had been there for who knows how long.

Priorities, he reminded himself. Find some clothes and figure out where the heck you are and then worry about your appendix.

Gingerly, he sat up and searched around for anything he could cover up with. The place looked hospital-esque, so there had to be some scrubs or a lab coat somewhere. He didn't see anything that he could use, so…that meant it was time for plan b.

Izuku carefully slide off of the metal table he had been lying on, his body screaming at him for the movement, and wrapped the cloth that was used to cover him around himself. He secured it so that it wouldn't fall off easily and moved to find a way out of wherever he was.

The double doors were probably his best bet, so, peaking sneakily out of one of the doors and seeing that the coast was clear, he tiptoed out and around the corner. No one seemed to be around, but that didn't mean anything. Izuku still didn't know where he was, or what he was doing there, so he needed to keep his guard up.

People began to pop up here and there. Walking through the florescent halls chatting with other people or writing on their clipboards. They were all dressed in scrubs and Izuku felt his stomach drop as his mind wandered to where he could possibly be. Things started adding up until the truth was right in front of his eyes.

He couldn't believe it. He didn't want to believe it. How could it be possible? It didn't make any sense…although a lot of things didn't exactly make sense at the moment.

Shaking the thought away, Izuku carried on in his attempt to find clothes and escape. Eventually, he found a door labeled Locker Room (Employees Only) and felt a smile spread across his face. There had to be something he could wear in there.

Once he made sure that the coast was clear, he quickly got into the room and slipped behind one of the walls just in case someone else was in there. They weren't. Izuku quickly found a pair of black scrubs in a locker that looked roughly his size. Guilt tugged in the back of his mind that stealing was wrong, but he had to shove that voice down for the time being. Luckily, he also found a pair of white tennis shoes in his size and was out of the door looking like he belonged there…well, as much as a middle schooler could.

It didn't take him long after that to find an exit and sneak out of it quickly. As soon as he was out of the large building, Izuku let out a breath he didn't know he had been holding. The fresh air felt good in his lungs and the chill of the night was somewhat comforting.

The further he got from the building the more his thoughts began to pop up and swirl around in his mind. He couldn't deny what he knew: he had been in a hospital, in an empty room on a table naked, and with no one around.

But he wasn't dead…right?

There was no way he was dead; he could feel himself breathing and could feel the chilling air wrap around his uncovered arms. A dead person wouldn't be able to feel that, right?

But then what was with that scar on his chest? And his mom…

The memory broke through his walls before he could stop it and immediately his eyes began to tear up. He had seen and talked with his mom, that he knew. Now how, was a whole other issue.

And he had jumped off of a building, wouldn't he have like broken limbs or something if he wasn't dead? But he felt completely fine, other than the now dull pain that was slowly fading. He was just really, really tired, and it was beginning to catch up with him now that his adrenaline levels were returning to normal.

I-I died. There's no way that I didn't…so why am I here?

"It's not your time yet sweetheart, you can't be here. You have to go back."

His mother's words rang in his ears and the reality set in…sort of.

He had died, but he had come back because it wasn't his time yet, or something. And he was in a morgue because he had been dead, but wasn't anymore…why wasn't he dead anymore? And without injuries no less, the only thing to show for it was what he assumed to be an autopsy scar.

There were so many things that didn't make sense to him, but one thing was abundantly clear: he was alive, and he really didn't want to be.

As he got farther from the hospital, he began to recognize the area and had confidence in his ability to make it back to the orphanage, even though he had only really been there once. Kacchan and the other kids would often run him all around town and he'd have to find his way home from anywhere, so he began to study town maps and even some of the towns around as well just in case. So, he knew that he could get where he needed to go from pretty much anywhere.

He got a few weird looks as he made his way down the streets and tried to not think too much about it. They probably just thought that he looked very young to be a doctor, but he had bigger problems to deal with.

Who had found him? Who knew that he had died? Who knew that he had jumped? Did someone tell the school? What about the orphanage…what if he went back there and-

His thoughts halted to a stop when he rounded a tall bush just outside of the orphanages gates and saw a small group of the adults huddled close. He strained himself to try to hear what they were talking about, and his heart stopped when he finally did.

"Did you hear about that new boy, how he died?"

"He committed suicide."

One of the ladies shushed the other who had talked very bluntly and looked around, "Don’t say that too loud, you might give the other kids ideas."

The blunt lady rolled her eyes and her frown deepened on her face.

"What kind of kid would commit suicide like that anyways? Must've just done it for attention."

"I did hear that his mom just died…"

"Whatever, it's still ridiculous. No kid has any right to kill themselves like that, I mean, what do they even have to be sad about? School? Bedtime? Like come on," One of the other ladies scoffed and the blunt lady scowled at her.

"You have no idea what you're talking about."

The lady who had shushed them earlier placed her hands on both of their shoulders in an attempt to defuse the situation, "Listen, it doesn't matter now. Some of the other ladies are already cleaning his room out and throwing his stuff in the trash, so we need to figure out who the next one coming is going to be."

The group nodded and turned to head inside of the building and Izuku stood there hunched against a bush, frozen.

He…he didn't have a home anymore. They thought that he died, and they were going to-

They were throwing his stuff away!

Izuku took off around the building to where he knew the dumpsters were. He couldn't lose his things; they were some of the only things that he had left of mom and-and he wasn't ready to let go yet. As he rounded a corner and got to the trashcans, he saw that they had already trashed all of his stuff. It sat loosely on top of some trash bags thankfully.

And lucky for him there was an empty garbage bag right next to the dumpsters, so he grabbed it and started putting his belongings into it. That way he could carry it all easily.

Okay, he had his stuff, now it was time to go-

Oh.

He didn't have a home.

Where was he supposed to go? Everyone thought that he was dead, and he couldn't exactly walk up to a stranger and declare his resurrection. They'd just think that he was crazy and then they would probably call the police and they already knew that he was quirkless so if he tried to tell them what happened they would probably think that he was lying and then they would-

Deep breaths Izuku, deep breaths.

He knew that he was beginning to spiral, and he wasn't surprised. He had nowhere to go, not a lot of money, and no one who knew that he was alive…he was alone. Again.

Izuku's immediate thought was instantly shot down as he remembered what had just happened and how death had literally rejected him just like everybody else. So what was he supposed to do?

He knew what his ultimate goal was, but it might take a little bit more time than he was hoping to get there. Until then he needed some place to sleep, but where could he go? His thoughts longed to go back home, but he didn't really know what that was anymore. Maybe his old apartment? People probably had moved in already, but it didn't hurt to check. And it would only be for a little bit, just until he could find a loophole in whatever this sick game life was playing on him.

Luckily, Izuku wasn't one to give up.

Chapter Text

Twenty minutes later, Izuku was standing across the street from his old apartment building. Everything looked the same, the dim street lights, the creepy guys loitering outside on the sidewalk, the flickering outside light. It was as if nothing had changed, as if his mother hadn't died and he hadn't been left alone.

He shook the thoughts from his head before they could poison his concentration. These could be delt with later, but he needed to find out how to get inside the building and inside of his old apartment without getting caught or recognized.

Piece of cake…

Turns out that scaling a building is a lot than you'd think. It didn't help that he was also trying to carry a trash bag full of the few items he still had. If Izuku hadn't literally just died, he might have been terrified to be clinging to a small edge on the side of his apartment balcony three four stories up, but he was just chilling.

It took him a couple of tries, but he eventually managed to fling himself over the railing and onto the balcony floor along with his trash bag of belongings, landing on his back with a grunt.

This is the worst. I don't think that things could go anymore downhill from here.

But at lease that means they have to start going uphill at some point, right?

After a few more seconds of self-pity, Izuku picked himself up and tried to peek into the dark apartment, pushing his thoughts aside for the time being. It didn't look like anyone was in there, but it was still nighttime, if someone was there, they'd probably be asleep by now.

Izuku racked his brain for something, anything he could do to figure this out, but sometimes there's only one thing to do. Even if there were people living there now, what were they going to do? Report a dead person breaking into their old apartment? Right, good luck with that.

The only problem now was how would he get in? Luckily for him, he secretly kept one of the apartment keys for sentimental reasons, guess that he was going to be able to put it to good use now, as long as they hadn't already changed the locks.

Please work, please work, please-

Click.

Izuku smiled widely as he slid the balcony door open and stepped into his old apartment. He didn't think that he had smiled since her death…ironic that the first time would be while he was doing something illegal.

He quietly walked through the house to see if anyone had moved in. Everything looked pretty much the same as the last time he had been there. The police and storage company had taken almost everything out, so the place looked very empty with only a couch and matching chair in the living room facing an unoccupied entertainment center, bare walls, and a loud silence that was slowly suffocating Izuku.

After a full walk-through, Izuku concluded that the apartment was indeed empty…too empty.

Even without the visual, everything reminded him of his life before. It was like ghosts of memories haunting him and casting an illusion in his vision to make him see the place how it used to be. The thoughts began to make Izuku nauseous, but what was he going to throw up? He was pretty sure he hadn't eaten for more than twenty-four hours.

He looked in all of the cabinets and in the off fridge and confirmed what he had already suspected, like everything else, they had cleared out all of the food. Great. But at least he had the things from the orphanage. Izuku had kept a few snacks with him there, because he wasn't sure if he would like the food there or maybe get hungry in between scheduled meals. Luckily, the staff had thrown those out with everything else and Izuku was able to pick them up and stuff them into his trash bag.

Minutes later Izuku was sitting cross-legged in the middle of the couch with a small bag of chips in his hand and a bowl of toilet water on the coffee table in front of him. They had taken all of the dishes from the kitchen, but Izuku had kept one of his mom's favorite bowls that a friend gave her years ago. She used to use it constantly, so he thought that he might as well take it and continue to use it as she did.

It gave him some weird feeling of comfort while also slowly filling him with melancholy over thinking of his mother. He had been subconsciously putting off thinking about her too much, but he was alone now, and nothing was stopping him from taking everything in. And boy was it a lot.

Tears began to fill his eyes once again as he went over the past few days. The funeral, moving, the orphanage, those kids bullying him, Kacchan and his friends…the jump…the interaction he had with his mother, waking up in the morgue. So much had happened and he was right back where he started, alone, only this time he was truly alone.

What was he going to do?

Izuku glanced down at his wrist, the watch he was wearing was one that his mother had given him a year ago for his birthday. It was red, white, and blue, with a bit of yellow mixed in to look like All Might's hero costume. He remembered just how excited he was when he got it, she had been smiling the entire day and was practically bouncing on her feet as he opened the present and when he did, he almost tackled her to the ground in a hug.

He was thankful that it hadn't been lost when the orphanage threw away his stuff, the apartment didn't have any electricity, so he had to rely on his watch for the time and a flashlight he found to navigate around.

The time read one fifteen am. Not too late, Izuku thought. It wasn't uncommon for him to stay up late studying or analyzing different hero fights he saw online, but to most people it was pretty late. Now that his adrenaline levels were back to normal it was all he could do to keep his eyes open.

He didn’t know how he had not noticed it before, but he was extremely exhausted, like more so than he had ever been before. If he had the chance, Izuku could probably sleep for a week and wake up feeling very well rested. On the bright side, that pain he had was pretty much gone now, but it had been replaced by more exhaustion.

It couldn't have been good for him to die and come back to life and then escape and break into his old apartment. A lot had happened, and it was time to just take a break for a while.

He probably didn't have school tomorrow considering that everyone thought he was dead and dead people don't go to school. So, Izuku would take that opportunity to sleep in, something he hadn't done in…pretty much ever. Mom was always an early riser, and he liked to wake up with her and spend the mornings doing whatever she wanted to because it made her happy and he just wanted to see more of her smile.

He missed that smile…

 

The next thing Izuku knew, he was waking up with a start drenched in sweat and hyperventilating from crying.

It was just a dream…

I'm fine, I'm okay, I'm alive….

I'm alive.

Once he finally calmed himself down, he rolled off of the couch with a groan. It would probably be a good idea for him to get up and change and see what time it was. It was difficult to tell from the sun outside, if Izuku didn’t know any better, he'd say that the sun was about to set, but there was no way-

Or maybe there was…

After glancing at his watch, still half asleep, he jumped to his feet and swayed a bit at how quickly he had gotten up. According to his watch it was almost seven pm, but that couldn't be right. He couldn't have slept for fifteen hours, could he?

He had been really tired last night and dying probably took a lot out of him.

Wow. Okay, well he could figure out what to do about that later, he was still in his soaking wet clothes and needed to change into something…not drenched in sweat. He wondered about how he was going to wash his clothes. He might be able to go to a laundry mat, and he did have that little bit of money he had stashed with him at the orphanage.

Again, a problem for later.

Izuku slowly shook out of the daze he as in and his senses began to come back to him. The first thing he noticed was that he was still tired. How, he had no idea, but it was what it was he guessed. The next was that he was hungry, understandable considering he only had a bag of chips for food yesterday.

Maybe he would be able to stop by somewhere and buy something small. But would anybody recognize him? Izuku immediately pushed the thought aside, he wasn't important enough for people off the street to recognize him so he could probably get away with going to get some food.

Honestly, he just wanted to get out of the apartment for a bit. If he was away, then he wouldn't have to think about anything and that's exactly what he needed. To not think.

Izuku peeled out of his clothes and searched through his trash bag for something else to wear. He didn't have much, something that he would need to change if he wasn't going to be dying any time soon, but he might hold off on that for a bit, just until he knew for sure that he wasn't able to.

He ended up pulling on a pair of faded black sweatpants that looked closer to dark grey now and an old All Might hoodie that was two sizes too big for him. The outfit gave him a sense of nostalgia, it made him feel almost normal, like everything had just been a bad dream and he and mom were about to go out to get groceries for dinner and talk the night away.

Slipping out the window and down the fire escape was a lot easier than it had been last night. Izuku didn't know why he didn't just use this then, but at least he knew that he could scale a building now so that was nice.

When he got down to the street and began walking, people didn't give him a second glance. Good, he didn't need to be recognized and questioned about why he wasn't dead. Even so, he pulled the hood up and over his mess of hair as he walked and shoved his hands in his pocket, trying to look as nondescript as possible. Not that he ever had issues with that before, he was always teased about how plain looking he was, guess it was a blessing now.

All the shops weren't too far away from his apartment, which he was grateful for, but he did need to pass a park on the way there. As he was walking, he noticed that there was a small gathering of people a little bit further ways in the park, kind of near the cemetery part of it.

He almost brushed it off and kept on walking, but he caught sight of some spikey blonde hair that was too familiar to ignore.

What could Kacchan be doing in the park this late in the day? As he got closer, he saw the backs of two more familiar people and wondered what could be so important that the entire Bakugou family was here. That's also when he realized that everyone in the group had been wearing black and was circled around something.

The closer he got the easier it was to hear whoever was talking, it sounded like someone talking at a funeral, but why would-

Oh.

There beside the man who was speaking was a picture of Izuku. It had been taken a while ago, he was smiling widely, and his eyes were so bright. Izuku thought back to when that photo had been taken; it had been a normal day, nothing too interesting had happened, but it was the first day off that mom had gotten in weeks and so they spent the entire day together. He remembered just how happy they had both been that day. He hadn't smiled like that in so long…

The man spoke sadly as he talked about Izuku and his life. The Bakugou's looked sad from what he could see. Auntie Mitsuki's eyes were red from crying and Uncle Masaru rubbed small circles on her back in an attempt to comfort them. But it was Kacchan that baffled Izuku. If you had asked him how he would've acted at his funeral a week ago, Izuku would say that he would be yelling and praising that he was finally gone, but he wasn't doing that. He wasn't doing much of anything really.

It was hard to see exactly what his face looked like from where Izuku was hiding, but from his body language he looked almost…regretful. But why would he be regretful? Wasn't this what he wanted, for Izuku to die? Shouldn't he be celebrating?

The service ended shortly after that, and the small group dispersed.

Honestly, Izuku was surprised so many people showed up, granted most of them were his mom's friends who must've still been in town from her funeral, but it was still nice of them to be there.

The Bakugous began to leave too, with Kacchan lagging behind just a bit. He walked slowly, dragging his feet and keeping his eyes on the ground, so it surprised Izuku when his head suddenly shot up and stared at where he had just been hiding.

Did Kacchan somehow see him? What if he did, what would he do? He was dead. Maybe he would think that he was going crazy, or that he was haunting him.

The thought made Izuku snicker a bit, that would be hilarious, but he wouldn't do that. His plan at the moment was to lay low and try to figure out what was going on and then leave. Hopefully his mom would be willing to see him then.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku didn't have any trouble getting something to eat, which he was thankful for. He didn't know why, but he got it in his head that he needed to lay low as to not draw any attention to himself. It didn't really matter at this point, but if someone were to come up to him and ask him is name or for his I.D. or something, he would be in trouble, so better to just keep a low profile.

Once he was finished eating, he knew that he didn't want to go back home, so he decided to go further into the city and wander a bit. What was the worst that could happen?

Hours later Izuku found himself on the roof of a random building that wasn't too hard to climb up. He didn't know why he was up here or what he was planning on doing, but here he was.

As he walked through the streets, he kept on getting comments on how he was too young to be out this late and what would his mother think of him not being home? He didn't have to worry about that, not that they knew that. But Izuku was tired of all of the stares and comments, so he headed toward a less crowded part of town.

It might not have been his best idea, but at least he was alone now. But that also meant that he had to deal with his thoughts and feelings as well.

Izuku looked over the city from the roof, even from here it was beautiful. He wasn't deep enough into the bad parts of the neighborhood to be worried, and he could still see the city lights, it was the perfect place.

Tears prickled at his eyes, and he cursed under his breath. He was tired of crying. He felt like it had been constant waterworks since his mother's death, and he was just so tired. Of course, he couldn't really help it, but he could still be annoyed.

His mind wandered until he got back to his fall, or rather jump. How freeing it had felt, how happy he was, he wanted to feel like that again. But he was worried that if he tried it, he would just be rejected again. Although…

Izuku crawled up to the edge and stood up straight, looking down in anticipation. Even if he was rejected, he might still be able to see mom and that was worth it, wasn't it?

And there was always the chance that it was a fluke last time.

He took a deep breath in and began to lean forward until he suddenly heard a loud scream and scrambled back enough to fall off the other side and land on the roof on his butt.

What had that been? From what he had saw, there wasn't anyone else around here so who had screamed?

A few weeks ago, Izuku's immediate reaction would be to go try and help and be a hero, but what was the point? He knew that he couldn't be a hero, he couldn't save anyone, he couldn't even kill himself. He was useless and would only be a burden to whoever was in trouble.

The person screamed again and their cries and begging echoed as they pleaded with their attacker to stop. From what he heard, it sounded like a girl was being attacked and no one else was around to help her.

He should-

But he was useless…wasn't he?

In an instant, Izuku found himself clambering down the fire escape, running as fast as he could to the girl's desperate cries.

What was he doing? What could he possibly do? Not die?

He was useless and would never be a hero, he knew that. He knew that he would never be able to be like All Might and that hurt, but what if his bullies were right and he was only a burden to everyone around him? What if he showed up and just made things worse? Was he willing to take that risk?

Another scream and Izuku's mind was set as if his legs weren't already moving. Sure, he might be pathetic and powerless and weak, but he had to help. He had to at least try.

The cries got louder as he ran, and he finally rounded an ally corner and found the crying girl being pinned to the wall by a guy who was two times her size and had a shark head.

The girl saw him, and her eyes widened in pleading. Begging him to please help her and he was off.

He didn't know what he was doing, his body had just moved on it's own. He saw how desperate that girl was and knew that he couldn't just stand around and do nothing. It wasn't as if he could die anyway, and if he did, win-win.

Shark head didn't even notice his arrival until Izuku hit him on the side of the head with a long pipe that he found on the ground. The hit didn't seem to faze him at all, but when he turned his attention to Izuku his eyes were filled with rage at the interruption.

Izuku was frozen, what could he possibly do? This was a mistake, and he should've just left and gotten someone who could actually help this poor girl. But the fact was that he didn't, and he was here and he was the only one who could help her right now.

He stared the shark guy straight in his eyes before he reeled back and smacked the pipe across his face causing him to stumble away from the still crying girl.

Izuku quickly jumped in front of her and whispered behind him for her to run away quickly, but either she couldn't hear him, or she wasn't listening. Oh well, he had already gone this far, might as well risk it all, right?

He chucked the pipe at the shark guy and grabbed the girl's wrist and dragged her away as fast as he could. There was no way for him to know how fast that guy was, but his top priority was to get her to safety, so he wasn't really thinking about it.

That was until he heard his growl and his loud footsteps growing closer and closer to them.

"Crap!"

Izuku stopped in his tracks and spun around to face the shark head guy. He whipped the girl around behind him and tried to push her away. "What? I-"

"GO!"

Something must've clicked because she finally started running away and Izuku let out a breath. At least she was going to be okay, him on the other hand-

"YOU LITTLE PUNK! GET YOUR ASS BACK HERE!" The shark guy came barreling towards Izuku and it was all he could do to dodge him as he ran at him. "YOU LET HER GET AWAY! I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!"

"Don't I wish you could," he mumbled under his breath and steeled himself for whatever fight this was about to be.

Izuku was defenseless. He lost his pipe when he threw it at the guy, and he didn't have any other weapons on him. It also didn't help that he didn't know how to fight either. Too late for that though.

The guy charged again and Izuku jumped out of the way at the last second causing him to ram straight into the side of a building. Izuku stared at the dazed shark guy, he really hadn't meant to do that.

He couldn’t stop himself from letting out a small laugh as he realized what had just happened and this of course made shark head even angrier. That was good, anger made people stupid and reckless. If Izuku could keep on letting him hurt himself then he might actually get out of this alive.

Suddenly thankful that they were in a narrow ally, Izuku kept on trying to rile up the shark guy and getting him to run into wall after wall and take himself out. Of course, every plan had its flaws and Izuku did end up stumbling on his own feet and getting thrown across the ally and into the opposite building.

Um…OUCH! Man, that hurt like a buttcheek on a stick.

It wouldn't surprise him if he had at least one cracked rib from that throw alone. The guy was a lot stronger than he looked and was getting angrier by the minute. But fortunately, Izuku was smarter than he was.

The fight continued on like this for a while, Izuku dodging and baiting him to hurt himself and slipping up every so often and narrowly avoiding being ripped apart. Like he wanted to die, sure, but that just sounded painful.

Finally, the shark guy stood up after running to yet another building and he swayed on his feet and panted loudly. He was finished. Izuku looked around quickly to see if there was anything around that he could use and saw a long plank of wood sitting against the side of the building he was standing in front of.

Without a second thought, he snatched up the wood and ran at the attacker. Still out of it from his last collision, it took him a minute to realize what was happening and by the time he did, Izuku had already advanced upon him, and it was too late.

 He began to hit and hit him with the piece of wood until he was sure that he was out, but hopefully not dead. After a quick check of his pulse, Izuku's anxiety eased, and he sighed.

What had just happened?

He looked around and made sure that they were alone. The girl who had been attacked seemed to take his advice and had ran, good. His eyes drifted back to the limp body at his feet and he nudged it with his shoe just to be sure that he was down.

What was he supposed to do now? Call the police? And then tell them what, that a quirkless kid had beaten this man that was three times his size with a plank of wood? Yeah, like they'd ever believe that. Wait-

Oh no…oH NO!

No, no, no, no, no-he had just attacked somebody without a license. If he called the police and they saw him then he might be charged with vigilantism, but wait-could he be charged with using his quirk illegally if he didn't have one? Or at least didn't use the one he might have? Could they even arrest a dead person?

Better to not chance it.

Izuku scrambled up another fire escape-those seemed to be his go to recently-and once he was sure that he wouldn't be seen, he pulled out the phone that he had borrowed off of the attacker. It was password protected, but luckily you didn't need a password to call the police.

The phone dialed and Izuku waited until the line picked up. The person gave their spiel and Izuku quickly explained what had happened while trying to not hyperventilate as he spoke. It took a couple of tries to get across what had happened, but once it was clear, the lady on the phone assured him that some officers would be there in five minutes and to stay put until they arrived.

Yeah right.

Once the phone call was ended, Izuku was going to throw the phone back to the ground for the guy but realized that his fingerprints were all over it. But he was dead so how did that work? It didn't matter, he chastised himself, he tried his best to wipe off any fingerprints off of the phone with his hoodie and then threw the phone on the roof and stomped on it just to make sure that it was broken. The attacker probably didn't need it anymore anyway.

With the phone broken, Izuku looked over the other side of the building hoping to find a dumpster and it seemed as if the universe was shining upon him for once in his life. He chucked the broken phone into the open dumpster and smiled as it clattered in and broke some more.

He then thought that it was probably time for him to bounce, but how he was going to do that exactly…he didn’t know. Izuku could climb down the other fire escape and try to blend in with the people on the street, but what if one of the officers saw him trying to run away? That wouldn't be good.

On both sides of him were more and more rooftops that were fairly equal in height and close together. What if he…

No. That was crazy. Only someone who was completely reckless and had no regard for their life would-

Oh, yeah. This was it.

 

Izuku didn't know if it was the thrill or the possibility of him dying or just him being actually crazy, but as he walked back as far as he could go, he laughed and continued to do so as he ran full speed toward the edge of the roof and jumped.

It was insane. Just the thought to even attempt something like this, but oh was it fun. Izuku landed on the next roof falling face first onto the concrete but landing nonetheless. He shot up with a wide smile on his face.

That was SO fun!

He wanted to do it again. And so he did.

As he did it more, he got slightly better, maybe he should invest in a parkour class or something, because no matter how good he got, he still landed on his face every time. But Izuku didn't mind, he had been through much worse.

His legs and lungs burned as he ran and ran and jumped from building to building. The adrenaline pumping through his system helped to dull it though. Even the few times he almost didn't make the jump or barely avoided stumbling off the edge, was drowned in the pure ecstasy that he was feeling as he ran freely.

Izuku was completely entranced as he ran and didn't notice when another figure joined him in his little free run at first. It wasn't until he clipped his shoe on the edge of a roof that he noticed the person beside him, and his smile faded.

Who was that? What did they want? Was he in trouble? What if they had seen what he did and was here to capture him? Adrenaline was replaced by anxiety and Izuku missed his footing as he tried to land on the next building sending himself tumbling across the roof.

Izuku rolled over with a groan to see the figure landing gracefully and silently and couldn't help but gawk at them. How were they so good at that? Would Izuku be able to be that good? Slowly the figure walked over to him and bent down as they stood over him.

The night was dark and so it was hard for Izuku to see exactly who it was, but there was a streetlamp close so that he could see enough.

Long dark hair fell around the figure's face and dark, tired eyes stared at him questioningly. Izuku knew this person, but how? He took in the rest of their outfit to try to figure it out, they were in a black jumpsuit that was baggy but fit them at the same time with a yellow utility belt around their waist that matched the yellow goggles that hung around their neck on top of what looked like a large grey scarf…oh.

Oh mY GOD-

Chapter Text

"Eraserhead!!" Izuku's eyes widened as he recognized one of his all-time favorite heroes. Eraserhead was an underground hero that almost nobody knew about, but Izuku had been obsessed with him because he fought almost completely quirkless. Not to mention that he was just so. Freaking. Cool!

The hero's faced scrunched in confusion as he continued to look at Izuku. "Uh, yeah…"

"Oh my gosh! It's really you, you're really here and you were jumping across the roof tops with he and you saw-OH NO! You saw me absolutely eat it!" Izuku slapped his hands over his now blushing face as he realized just how embarrassing that was.

Great job Izuku, of course you would make a complete idiot of yourself in front of your favorite hero. Just like the useless deku you are.

He probably thinks that you're such a loser for wiping out on that jump that was so easy. Gosh dang it!

"Uh, kid-" Eraserhead cleared his throat and looked away. He probably couldn't stand to look at such a failure. "Are you alright? That was quite the fall."

Izuku's face burned even hotter in embarrassment, "Oh. Y-yeah, I'm good. Sorry you had to…see that." Slowly, Izuku stood up and stared at the ground so that he didn't have to see the hero's disappointed look on his face.

There was a small chuckle that was quickly covered up with a cough, "Nah, you’re good. It happens to the best of us. But, uh, what are you doing running across rooftops in this part of town? Isn't it a bit past your bedtime?"

This caused Izuku to look up and glare at the smirking hero. The glare only lasted a second before he dropped it and went back to avoiding eye contact. "Um, you know, just having fun and enjoying the views. What about you?"

He chanced a peek at the hero's expression and found it unimpressed as if he could see right through Izuku. "I'm a hero, it's kind of my job to patrol these roofs."

"Right…" Stupid! Stupid-dumb-idiot- "Well, I'd better be going, it was nice to meet you Eraserhead!" Izuku let out a nervous chuckle and turned to run away from this disaster as fast as he could. Unfortunately, he instead found himself wrapped up in something that Eraser was holding and-OH MY GOSH! "This is your famous capture weapon that you use to both apprehend and fight villains! The fabric isn't as hard as I thought that it'd be, but I guess for it to move as fluidly as it does, it has to be at least a little flimsy, but then how is it so strong and sturdy-"

"Woah kid, I'm going to need you to slow down."

Izuku hadn't even realized that he had been rambling and quickly snapped his mouth shut. If he had done that in front of Kacchan or any of his classmates, they would've screamed at him and then pulled him aside after school to teach him a lesson.

What if it annoyed Eraser like it did everyone else? He already probably hated him for having to watch him make such a fool out of himself and this would just be the cherry on top. Maybe that's why he stopped him, because he found him too much of a burden to roam the streets and wanted to arrest him or something.

Izuku felt like crying, and he could feel the familiar burning feeling in the back of his throat, but he refused to cry. He was tired of crying in general, but he would not cry like a baby in front of his favorite hero. So, his expression shut off completely instead.

This caused the fabric around him to loosen a bit as Eraser faltered at the change in Izuku's face. The hero's eyes turned concerned in an instant and he took a step closer. "Hey-hey, are you okay?" Izuku wanted to answer, but he knew that if he did then he'd probably cry. Although, not answering wasn't much better.

He was worrying Eraserhead unnecessarily and he couldn’t' even apologize for burdening him without breaking down. God, he really was a failure.

"Kid…KID!" A hand snapped in front of his face and Izuku allowed himself to glance at the hero beside him. "Hey, what just happened?"

Swallowing the last bit of his emotions, Izuku closed his eyes and took a breath. "Nothing, but I really do need to be getting home." He somehow managed to wiggle out of the loose capture weapon and began to literally run away.

"Wha-Wait!" Eraser's calls behind him were getting louder as he assumed that the hero ran after him, but he ignored it. He had already caused enough trouble tonight and he really didn't want to cause any more. Especially for Eraserhead.

So, he ran. It wasn't a secret that Eraser was faster and better at this than he was, but Izuku was still pretty speedy. He was also small and slippery, and he knew that he could escape from him. After all, he had plenty of practice. Guess all those years of running and hiding from his classmates were finally going to pay off.

Too bad he had to run away from one of his favorite heroes. But what if he started to ask questions, what was he going to say? 'Yeah, my name is Izuku Midoriya, you know, that kid that committed suicide last week? That's me. Oh, also-I'm alive. Bye!' Yeah no, that wouldn't go over very well.

He knew as he clumsily landed on the third building over that he wouldn't be able to outrun this. Like…he knew that from the start, but it was a lot more prevalent now. He needed a way to slip away, but how…That would work.

It was Izuku's favorite thing, a fire escape, and a small one that a grown man would have trouble navigating quickly while trying to catch a small child…well, teenager. It was Izuku's best bet and only real idea at the moment, so he just decided to go with it.

Izuku took a sharp right turn halfway across the roof and shot towards the fire escape. Once he got there, he quickly maneuvered his way through all of the pipes and poles that bordered the edge and began to sprint down the rickety stairs.

About halfway down, Izuku jumped over the hand railing and tried his best to grab on top a steady branch of the tree that was right next to him. He grabbed on a little too early and ended up falling a bit further down than he originally planned but managed to catch a branch anyway and shimmied his body onto it and near the base of the tree so that it would be harder for him to be spotted.

Eraser would wonder why the noise of him clattering down the escape stopped and start to look around. He just hoped that the leaves protected him from the hero's watchful eyes.

He held his breath and the hero tried to sneak his way down the stairs and figure out where he had gone. Izuku had to admit it, even though he already knew, but Eraserhead was good. He searched places that Izuku hadn't even thought of hiding and scanned the area carefully before letting out a curse and jumping to the ground to start looking around the building.

Not good enough apparently, Izuku smirked.

Once he was absolutely positive that the hero was gone, he climbed his way down the tree and ended up on his back, of course, with the breath knocked out of him. He really needed to get better at this kind of stuff…if he was going to stay alive.

 

The walk home was quiet, and a little nerve racking considering that Izuku kept on looking over his shoulder, positive that Eraserhead had somehow found him and was following him. But that was ridiculous…right?

As he walked through the streets he couldn't help but run his hand through his hair, a nervous habit he picked up sometimes when he was particularly stressed about something.

Wait-

Hands…hair…Eraserhead now knew what he looked like.

F***

Izuku's nerves eventually calmed when he got home and wiggled through the window that he left unlocked.

Home sweet home.

 

Shouta sighed as he walked through the doors of the police station. How could he lose a child? A child. He really was pathetic, wasn't he?

"What's got you so mopey Eraser?" A teasing voice asked as he sat down in the seat opposite them.

"Not now, Tsukauchi-" Shouta rubbed circles on the sides of his temples in an attempt to relax himself, but not succeeding in the slightest. Another sigh and then Eraser slammed his back against the back of the chair. "I met a kid tonight."

"Ooh, how interesting. You're not usually one to take interest in anyone, let alone a child."

"It wasn't-" Tsuki was just teasing him, Shouta had to remind himself. Wow, he really needed to calm down. "I don't think it was like that exactly. The kid was just…interesting to say the least."

His friend sat up in his chair and rested his elbows on his knees, "Do tell."

Aizawa rolled his eyes, "I don't know, I was patrolling and out of the corner of my eye I see this tiny figure flying across the rooftops so I obviously go to investigate and find out it's this kid in an All Might hoodie. The kid is just free running across the rooftops like it's no big deal and then he saw me and freaked out or something because he completely ate it."

"Well, that's certainly one way to make an impression."

"Yeah, so anyway, then the kid starts rambling about me and my capture weapon like he was a fan, which I don't understand, but whatever, and then his entire demeaner just like, shifted."

"What do you mean?"

"When I asked him why he was running across the rooftops in that neighborhood he dodged the question and then totally shut down."

The detective hummed thoughtfully, "That is interesting." The two of them thought in silence until Tsuki finally decided to break it, "So what are you going to do about it?"

"What?"

"The kid, what are you going to do about him?"

The question shocked Shouta. What was he going to do? What was he even supposed to do? It wasn't exactly like children were his forte (he says as he is a literal teacher at UA). "Nothing."

He glanced at his friend's confused expression and rolled his eyes once more. "It's not like he's my responsibility, I already have an entire class full of problem children that I have to deal with, I can't just add a random kid off the street to my load." He sat back in his chair and rubbed at his dry eyes, "Don't look at me like that."

"Like what?" Tsukauchi tried and failed to look innocent as he smirked slightly at Aizawa who narrowed his eyes at him.

"You know exactly what, it's that look you give me when you think that you know better than me."

"Well, don't I?"

"No. And whatever you're thinking, you're wrong. Plus, what are the odds that I'd ever even see him again? Probably zero."

Tsukauchi's smirk just widened as he watched Shouta with amused eyes, "You're doing that thing."

"What thing?"

"The thing you do when you're trying to rationalize not caring about something. You can try to keep up your whole 'I couldn't care less about anything' act, but I know you Shouta."

"I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't do that."

"Sure. Oh, and when you see the kid again, tell him hi for me."

Shouta glared at his friend who was barely able to keep himself from bursting out with laughter and just decided that it would be a better idea to just leave before he could tease him anymore. If Tsuki was right, which, as much as he hated to admit it, was more often than not, then Shouta sure had his work cut out for him. Great.

 

Izuku was exhausted, but what else was new? He didn't even do all that much today, but he was still just as tired as when he'd woken up, maybe even more so.

He slipped into his apartment and plopped down face first on the couch and before he knew it, he was out. The next morning, he would wake up only slightly better rested than the night before, which was extremely annoying, but what could you do?

Izuku took the time to take inventory or all of the things he had: some clothes, a few pictures, mom's bowl, some money, and his phone and laptop, both of which were dead and couldn't be charged because they had cut off their power since no one was supposed to be living there.

Not a lot, but better than it could be. He was just thankful that the orphanage hadn't decided to take any of his stuff for their own or broken anything when they threw it out. It was the little things.

Then, Izuku decided to take advantage of the day light trickling throughout the apartment to clean it up a bit. He didn't have much to do so with, but he could at least wipe some things down and do a little sweep. The moving company hadn't taken much of the cleaning stuff, maybe they had thought that the next people to move in could use it or something.

By the time he was finished, the place smelled clean and felt a lot better. It made Izuku happy, this was absolutely something mom would've done and the thought of her cleaning away at a supposed vacant apartment made him smile softly.

The thought only lasted a moment before his smile faded again. What was he supposed to do now?

Ugh, who knew that being dead would be this boring?

Izuku looked out the window at the city that was just switching over to the nighttime; streetlights were turning on, the sun was setting, and people were making their way home to their families. It was beautiful and sad at the same time.

It was no secret that he was still tired and could probably sleep for another day or two, but Izuku was tired of sleeping. He needed to do something, to get out and move. Anddddd, if he just so happened to fall off of a building in the process then there's really nothing that you can do is there?

Chapter Text

A quick change into some comfortable clothes and Izuku was out of the window and down the fire escape.

The night was still a bit chilly, so he stuck with the hoodie idea, only deciding to go with a black one this time around and some black joggers to round out the 'blend in with the night' look. As he made his way through the city, he put his hood up, just on the off chance that somebody could recognize his hair and slipped on a black face mask to cover the lower half of his face. Not that he was particularly worried about someone calling the police and trying to explain that they saw a dead kid walking around, but better to not take any chances.

It took a second for Izuku to end up back where he was the night before, but once he got there, he couldn't help but smile at the race of his heart. This was going to be so much fun!

This was it; this was the feeling that Izuku loved. Maybe it was the wind in his hair (due to his hood falling off), or the burn in his legs, or maybe it was the thrill of doing something dangerous again, but he couldn't help laughing as he jumped over the gaps in between the tall buildings.

For this short amount of time, he felt like he could let everything else in his life fall away, he could forget about all of the crap that he's had to deal with and his current dumpster fire of a homelife. He could just focus on running and trying not to fall. It almost made him happy to be-

No. No, that wasn't it. This was just a good distracter, that’s all.

Well, at least it was until Izuku stopped short at the sound of commotion somewhere a building over. Maybe he underestimated how 'safe' this area was, because this would be the second time he had run into an altercation of some sort here. It was honestly getting annoying.

It was just as he had expected; some thugs were ganging up on a scrawny man who looked scared out of his wits. Three on one, didn't seem very fair, but Izuku guessed that those kinds of things didn't matter to people like that…he would know.

The three thugs looked tough, each of them large and well built. It would be difficult for him to take on all of them even with the element of surprise. Izuku really should go get someone who would be better suited to handle this kind of situation…

Bang, bang.

Gunshots sounded and echoed through the alleyway. Izuku had just begun to walk away to find someone else to help but froze mid-step.

"Stupid Deku, you really think that you can be a hero? You're just a quirkless weaking, how do you expect to fight villains if you won't even fight me?"

"Look at him flinch! What, are you scared of Bakugou?"

"How pathetic-"

A quiet ringing filled his left ear, a phantom of the injury he had received from Kacchan. His limbs locked up as his heart began to race. This was a new feeling, Izuku knew just how powerful and scary Kacchan's quirk could be, but he had never been this afraid of it, had he?

Memories of explosions going off in his face and beating him until he was almost unconscious on the ground swirled in his head. This was a lot, he didn't think that those times that Kacchan and his lackeys had ganged up on him had affected him that much, but maybe he was wrong.

Another shot shook him from his thoughts and Izuku could see the scrawny man cowering on the ground in a ball. Warning shots, to scare the victim into submission. The three thugs laughed and made fun of the man as if they weren’t the ones who were hurting him. It was wrong…

He didn't deserve that. No one deserved to be beaten up and treated like dirt.

Someone had to help.

It was stupid. It was reckless. It was dangerous. But then again, when had that ever stopped Izuku before?

He clambered down to the ground as quickly as he could pulling his hood up in the process and pounced on the thug closest to him. He jumped onto his back and held on for dear life.

Did he know what he was doing? No. Did he have literally any experience in fighting or defending himself? Also no. But he did have a lot of experience with not dying and that had to count as something.

It didn't take long for Izuku to be thrown off of the thug's back and onto the ground. He landed on his shoulder and rolled a few times, but eventually stopped with a groan. The impact hurt like a witch, but he had had worse. Plus, now the three thugs were distracted and if the other guy was smart enough, he could easily run away and get help.

But of course, when had people ever lived up to Izuku's expectations? He just sat on the ground, staring wide-eyed at the thugs approaching Izuku and did nothing. It took Izuku glaring at him and discreetly gesturing for him to go that he finally got up and ran out of the alley.

Alright, that was good. Izuku's objective was complete, now all he had to do was find a way to escape himself.

"Well guys, it's been nice chatting it really has, but I think that it's about time that I get going-"

Izuku got up from the ground and made an attempt to bolt the opposite way that the other guy had gone, but he was caught by the back of his hoodie and yanked backwards. "Oh no you don't. You think you can just fall out of the sky and attack me and get away with it?" The guy he jumped on held him up so that his tiptoes barely touched the ground.

"Uh, I was hoping…" He gave his best innocent smile, but it did nothing against the three. Okay then, plan b it was (not that he actually had a plan to begin with).

He stuck his arms straight up and slid out of the hoodie that was too big for him easily and scrambled away as soon as he was free. It took the thug a minute to realize what had just happened, but when he did his eyes flashed red.

That couldn't be good, but it would've been soooo interesting if Izuku hadn't been in such a dire situation. Was that a part of his quirk? Was it linked to his emotions or just anger? Did his quirk have something to do with his eyes or was that just an extra detail? Maybe-wait. Not the time!

The thug tossed his hoodie to the side and Izuku's expression frowned. That was his third favorite hoodie. Rude.

All three of them were now glaring at him and Izuku got into a sloppy battle stance. He knew that he probably couldn't run away, and he definitely knew that he couldn't beat them, but he could most likely survive them killing him so that was something.

He was surprised when all three of them rushed him at once. Usually, villains fought one at a time; it was a stupid tactic, but one that most heroes were able to take advantage of. But apparently, these guys were smarter than he had thought.

Izuku had just been able to weasel his way out of them surrounding him, but was met with a fist to the face when he tried to get further away.

Since when had that guy been there? Teleportation quirk? How did it work? Vision based, or maybe he had to know where he was teleporting…Ugh! Not the time Izuku!

He staggered as his vision faded in and out and his cheek throbbed where he had been punched. Okay, not too bad, but not the worst. He could take more. The one who had hit him ran at him again and Izuku dodged easily only to be shoved to the ground a second later.

Oh yeah, this guy was getting annoying, but how could he combat a quirk like-

That was when Izuku noticed the gun that was right in front of his face. The guy he had jumped on smirked when he saw him stiffen and smirked as he cocked the gun. How had he forgotten the gun! Oh my-He was an idiot. That was the only logical explanation.

"Not so cocky now huh?"

This was bad. I mean-he would probably survive a bullet to the brain, but that couldn't be comfortable. And just imagine the kind of scar that would leave, he'd have to get really creative to explain that one away…

"Okay, okay…no need to be so hasty guys. This is all just a huge misunderstanding and I'm sure we can work this out-"

The gun was pressed against his forehead and the three guys smiled sadistically. "No, I don't think that we will. Sorry kid-"

This was it. This was going to happen. Alright then, I guess I'll see you soon mom, hope you're happy to see me this time.

Izuku shut his eyes and braced for the fire, but it never came. With his eyes scrunched closed he couldn't see what had happened, but he heard what he hoped was the gun clattering as it fell to the ground along with a few grunts and the thug in front of him swore.

He opened his eyes cautiously and his mouth dropped at what he saw. The guy in front of him was restrained and lying on his side with a look of annoyance on his face while his two friends were unconscious. Slowly, Izuku followed what the guy was restrained with to a very done looking Eraserhead.

Izuku let out a nervous laugh and tried to smile, "Hi Eraser…"

"Hi problem child."

"Fancy seeing you here, huh?"

At this Eraser just raised his eyebrow and Izuku internally grimaced. "That's a new look for you. What do you think you're doing?"

Izuku moved to sit cross-legged because he knew if he tried to stand up, he'd probably fall due to how all of his limbs felt like jelly. He was glad that he covered his head and mouth, it would be harder to recognize him now, and he also felt kinda cool and mysterious with this whole 'secret identity' thing. Not to mention that like sixty percent of his facial expressions were covered so it was easier for him to hide his emotions. "Uh, well I was planning on getting shot, but you kinda interrupted that so-"

"Don't joke, you could've been seriously hurt, or killed. Taking on three guys twice your size, really? Do you even know how to fight?"

Eraserhead just sighed as Izuku refused to meet his eyes, a clear answer to his question.

"I-" It was as if he was having an internal struggle with what to say. The hero was not known for showing a lot of emotion, but even in the tiny changes of his expression Izuku could guess all of the things he was feeling. "You know what? Stay."

He turned to the thug on the ground that was under his shoe and quickly knocked him out so that he couldn't attempt to fight or run away.

"I have to get these guys down to the station, but I will be right back. Do not go anywhere."

Was he serious? He wasn't Izuku's dad, he couldn't tell him what to do. Did he seriously think that he would obey-?

As if Eraser could read his thoughts, he glared at Izuku and activated his quirk which was terrifying. His eyes glowed a threatening shade of crimson and his hair floated upwards and away from his face. A built-in mechanism of his quirk? That was so cool! His quirk relied on sight, and it would be a problem if his hair kept on falling in his face so the fact that his hair levitated when he activated it was amazing and-

Not the time Izuku!

It didn't take him long to realize why Eraserhead was one of the most respected and feared heroes of the underground. He was terrifying!

The glare was enough to glue Izuku to the ground and make him never want to move again. Not that his jelly legs would let him any time soon.

Once Eraser was sure that Izuku was properly scared, he blinked, deactivating his quirk and began to wrap all three thugs in his capture weapon and dragged them out of the alley.

Well crap, he was really out here…

Chapter Text

Shouta sighed as he dragged away the three thugs that the problem child had been fighting. When he had passed where they were it had taken him a moment, but once he caught a glimpse of the kid's eyes, he knew exactly who it was. Those eyes were impossible to forget.

He didn't even know how the kid had managed to piss off three random guys so much that they were pointing a gun at his head, but what really bothered him was how calm he was when he showed up.

He had been patrolling and heard some scuffling and decided to check it out just in case. That was when he caught a glimpse of the kid's tell-tale green curls and the three guys threatening him with a gun. And the kid had just sat there, as if waiting for them to pull the trigger, like he didn't care.

But that couldn't be the case…right?

The station doors slid open as Eraser approached and Tsukauchi was not surprised to see three unconscious criminals being carted around by a very tired looking Aizawa. He stepped away from his desk and joined his friend as he lugged his cargo to the interrogation rooms.

"Hiya Eraser, nice catch of the day."

"They're not my catch actually."

The statement surprised Tsuki at least a bit, but not nearly as much as Eraser's mood. Usually, the underground hero was reserved and apathetic but tonight he just seemed annoyed and tired, more so than usual.

Tsukauchi jogged to keep up and looked Aizawa in the eye, "What's up? Did someone try to offer you hobo money again?"

"Wha-no."

"Then what has you so pissed?"

Eraser waited for Tsuki to open the door to one of the interrogation rooms and then left the three criminals to two other officers who were standing nearby. "Remember that kid I was talking about the other night, the one who was roof jumping?"

The detective thought for a moment, even though he knew exactly who they were talking about. He just liked to tease his friend and cause him as much trouble as he causes him. "Oh yeah…you mean the one that you swore you'd never run into again? Did you tell him hi for me?"

"It didn't come up." Eraser gave him a tired look (although that was really just his default expression). "Anyway, I found him fighting these guys in an alley."

"Didn't you say he was just a kid? Against these three…he must have some guts."

"Oh, he has something alright. When I showed up, he had a gun pressed to his head and the kid didn't even flinch."

This was new. Usually, Aizawa wasn't one to get attached too quickly, but from what Tsukauchi could tell, this kid had him caught like a worm on a hook. It was interesting to watch, "Where is he now?"

"I left him in the alley."

"Alone? And you expect him to just sit there like a good child?"

"Well, I'm pretty sure that I scared him enough for him to stay put, but even if I didn't, the universe seems to want to make me suffer and will probably keep on putting him in my path. So it's only a matter of time until I see him again, most likely getting himself into another fight, but ya know-"

The detective smiled to himself and held in a laugh, "Well it looks like you've got your work cut out for you. Children are a lot of work, are you sure you're ready to be a dad?"

"I'm not a dad. I am a teacher and hero and it's my job to protect people, he just so happens to fall under that category and is a child."

"Sure, sure, just keep telling yourself that." This time he couldn't help but start laughing at the glare he was getting from him friend who started walking away. "And I'm serious! Tell him I said hi, maybe bring him by the station sometime."

"Oh, I'm sure you'll be seeing him soon one way or another."

 

Shouta exited the station after filling out some quick paperwork and began to make his way back to the alley that he left that kid in. There was no way that he was still there, right? But what if he was, what was he going to do? If Eraser was honest, he hadn't thought this far, the only things he really had thought of were protecting the kid and getting those thugs away from him.

He wished that the universe didn't have a sense of humor, because even though he had just met the kid, he knew that he was going to be a handful and one that only he could deal with.

When he got to the mouth of the alley, he saw a bush of curly green hair sitting cross legged on the ground humming to himself.

Wow, the kid actually-I'm not that scary, am I?

"Hey," Aizawa called out.

Izuku's head shot up and he looked at the hero who had come back just as he had said. That was a new one for him. "Oh, what's up Eraser?"

"I would've thought that you would have run by now."

"Eh, I've got nothing else better to do and this alleyway is peaceful."

Shouta's brows furrowed, "You mean the alleyway that you were just fighting three thugs and being threatened with a gun in?"

"Yep."

Wow. Yeah, definitely a handful. "What have you been doing while I was gone?"

The kid hummed, still sitting on the ground when Shouta joined him. "Nothing really, just thinking I guess."

Aizawa could count on one hand how many children he had met that were as low maintenance as this one appeared to be. He was saying that in the maybe thirty to forty-five minutes he was gone, he just sat here alone with nothing to do or look at and just thought? "That sounds lonely."

"Yeah," He let out a singular huff of a laugh, "But I dunno, I'm just kinda used to it at this point."

Well, that didn't sound good. No child should ever have to be used to being alone. Where were this kid's parents? Shouta wanted to ask, but something told him that that was a very sensitive subject and that he should tread lightly. So, he filed that away for later and just settled for being with the kid instead. "Me too. Being an underground hero can get pretty lonely, but I make sure to surround myself with people that I care about and trust so that I don't ever feel too alone. It's nice to know that you have people that you can fall back on when everything gets to be too much."

Izuku stiffened slightly but tried his best to not show it. He knew how observant Eraserhead was, so he doubted that he had missed the change, but he didn't say anything so there was that. If Izuku was honest, he hadn't ever really thought of Eraser as the type to have friends, but he guessed that everyone had to have someone. It's not good for people to be alone and have to deal with all of the crap life dishes out by themselves.

"I didn't take you to be the friend type."

This won a small chuckle from the hero sitting beside him as he tried to hide his slight smile in his capture weapon wrapped around his neck. "That's fair. I guess I'm really not, but as I got older…I realized that I couldn’t do everything alone. And some people are more tolerable than others, but of course those aren't the people that I've found." Eraser rolled at his eyes at what Izuku assumed to be the thought of some of his friends. "What about you, do you have any friends?"

Shouta instantly knew that he'd messed up. As soon as the question left his mouth the kid's face darkened and whatever sense of comfortability they had was lost as the kid shut down.

"I'm sorry I didn't-"

"I should go." It was like a slap in the face. When the kid spoke, the words were robotic and cold. He left no room for argument and Aizawa was too thrown back to even try as he watched him leave the alleyway with no other words.

Eraser cursed under his breath and rubbed at his temples. This was going to be a long journey with this kid, wasn't it?

 

It wasn't until two nights later that Shouta caught glimpse of that troublesome green hair again. It seemed as though the kid had given up on trying to keep the hood that was way too big for his head up.

Eraser would often find himself actively searching for his newest problem child, even without meaning to. He continued to patrol the same area and kept to the roofs and alleys where he knew he would most likely find the kid getting into a scuffle or running away from a fight.

It was a week until the kid started talking to him again. Which was a good thing, Aizawa was beginning to get worried that he had seriously touched a nerve, but one night when he was roof jumping, he heard a young voice taunt him from below. He jumped down to where he was and as soon as he touched the ground the little gremlin was saying some comment that he knew would push his buttons. Shouta thought that he probably did it to distract from the criminal that was unconscious behind him, but he was honestly just happy that he was hearing the kid's voice again.

The next couple of months continued like that. Eraser would patrol and run into the problem child getting into mischief. The two would talk and hang out for a bit, before they went their separate ways. In their free time when the streets were supposedly crime free, Shouta would train the kid.

It wasn't his first choice, but after watching him risk his life every time he went out due to inexperience and sloppy form, Eraser decided that if he was going to continue to see this kid, he might as well teach him how to not die properly. (Ironic)

Three months after he had met the kid was when he finally made his official debut. Honestly, with the number of times Shouta found him fighting random criminals in alleyways, he was surprised he wasn't found out sooner, but one-night Aizawa was perching on a roof looking out for some trouble and or his gremlin and heard commotion to his right followed by police sirens.

When he arrived at the scene, the kid was facing off with a criminal with some sort of skin armor quirk in the middle of a busy street. The kid barreled towards the criminal and tackled him to the ground. How he had managed to do that with how small he was, Shouta didn't know. The two went down and rolled a bit until the kid was sitting on top of the criminal punching and punching until he finally knocked him out.

By that time the police had arrived, and the kid scrambled away before he could be caught, not before some videos and pictures were taken, however. That was how Serpentine was born. Apparently, a reporter had witnessed the entire thing and had talked with some witnesses and decided to name this new vigilante.

Shouta thought that the name was pretty accurate, when he saw the kid, the only thing that really stood out were his startling green eyes and the way he moved so fluidly even though he was clearly still inexperienced. Not to mention how slippery he was when he wanted to be.

Oh, and how could he forget, those obnoxious red shoes. He had only ever seen the kid in one pair of shoes, did he not own any others? Maybe some that weren't as loud and noticeable?

The night after when he met up with the kid, he was freaking out. According to him the guy he had knocked out on the ground referred to him as Serpentine and mentioned the article that the kid quickly read through when the job was done. It surprised Eraser just how opposed he was to being known, most vigilantes he had met wanted to be seen and noticed, especially younger ones.

"Hey, hey-" Shouta attempted to try and calm the kid down, but he was too far gone at this point to do anything but listen.

The kid paced back and forth, a constant stream of muttered words leaving his mouth as he moved, "What am I supposed to do? I wasn't even supposed to become a vigilante, but I guess that it was inevitable with all of the fighting I've been doing lately but does that even count? Well according to everyone else I am now an official vigilante and that means that I'm a criminal and that can't be good because the law is good most of the time and I'm going against the law that's there to protect people but I'm also protecting people so what does that even mean at this point-"

Eraser really tried his best to follow all that he was saying, but it got difficult at times because he tended to back track and contradict himself. It was only logical considering this was probably his actual thought process at the moment and thoughts aren't exactly the most coherent and easy to follow things.

After another few minutes of constant muttering, Aizawa had finally had enough and moved to stand in the way of the kid's pacing. He almost didn't notice the person standing in front of him until he nearly ran into him and cut off his stream of words as he stumbled back.

"Kid. You've got to stop."

The kid's eyes saddened, and something flickered in them before Shouta could tell exactly what it was. "I-I'm sorry. I know that my muttering is annoying and creepy, it's just a nervous habit that I've always had, and I thought that I had it under control, but-I'm really sorry if I made you uncomfortable or irritated by it, I'll make sure to not-"

"Woah, who said that I was upset with you?"

"I-" The kid paused as if to really soak in what Shouta just said and looked back at him with confused eyes, "You mean you're…not upset with me? You don't find me annoying or anything?"

Eraser just looked at the kid for the longest time. This was a completely different person than he had known for the past couple of months, it was as if he had two sides of his personality and certain circumstances brought out each one. It actually reminded Aizawa a bit of the time when the kid had freaked out or shut down around him. Usually that was a coping mechanism and a result of trauma, and that didn't sit right with Eraser.

"No? That doesn't-why would I-" Shouta stopped. This was obviously a sensitive subject and if he dug too deep the kid might shut down again. He had to be cautious and treat this with care. "What I meant was that you've got to stop worrying. Yes, people now know who you are, well relatively at least, and that might not be exactly how you wanted things to go, but there's nothing we can do about it now. It is illogical to harp on things that we cannot control, it will only cause us more problems rather than solving them."

"Oh…"

"And as far as the whole vigilante thing goes, what did you expect to happen when you go around beating up criminals without a license?"

The kid looked down and Shouta could see the faintest trace of a blush under his black face mask, "I was hoping to stay invisible, you know, just take criminals down from the shadows and without bothering anybody."

"Well, I hate to tell you this, but that's almost impossible to do. You were going to be figured out sooner or later."

"Yeah, but now everybody is labeling me a vigilante and sure I was doing acts of vigilantism, but now it's, I dunno…real." The kid sighed and rubbed the sides of his temple as if fighting off a headache. Hah, serves him right for being such a headache for Shouta.

This whole situation was strange and Aizawa was really trying his best to take it slow and one step at a time, but he was getting irritated with walking on eggshells. That wasn't who he was, but he also didn't want to drive the kid away.

Gah! Such a headache…

"If it bothers you so much then why not just get a proper license?"

Suddenly the kid's head shot up and his eyes bore into Shouta's. "No." His eyes steeled as the word left his mouth.

"What do you mean 'no'?"

The kid didn't break eye contact as he began to back away slowly and Shouta didn't realize what he was going to do until he started sprinting away from him and calling back to him as he ran. "I'm sure you've got that one for me, right?" And then he was gone.

Chapter Text

 

Izuku was so stupid.

Somehow, he had managed to attract the attention of Eraserhead and even got him to train him a bit, which Izuku was very against at first but after he assured him over and over again that he wouldn't be a burden he finally agreed, and now he had tricked him into believing that he could be a Hero.

'Why not just get a proper license?' Like it was that easy. He said it as if Izuku wasn't useless and a bother to everyone around him. The only reason why he was even sticking to this whole vigilante thing was because he helped more people than he hurt.

And don't even get him started on the media writing multiple articles on him and naming him Serpentine. When he had learned of what happened he wanted to crawl into a dark cave and die there (as if he could). How did he get the attention of people and convince them that he was a proper vigilante?

Although technically that wasn't vigilantism because the textbook definition of vigilantism is the illegal use of a quirk against a villain and Izuku didn't have a quirk. Or at least a useful one. So, was he now lying to everyone and tricking them into thinking that he was a capable vigilante when he wasn't even a real vigilante?

Of course, it wasn't like he asked to be outed to the world, but he must've done something wrong. He always does.

 

Izuku climbed through his apartment window and changed out of his vigilante? gear. He had made some improvements in the past few months. He got a new black hoodie just for his vigilante work and some black joggers that he found? Was gifted? The only issue was that they were a bit tighter than he wanted. They weren't too terrible, just more of leggings than joggers, but Izuku would take what he could get. Legally dead beggars can't be choosers.

He had a black utility belt that held two pipes he was just learning how to use correctly with Eraserhead, a small knife that he found in one of the kitchen drawers, and some very basic first aid. Izuku didn't necessarily need it but bleeding out when he wasn't dying was pretty annoying and messy, so he decided it was probably best to have some bandages on hand just in case. He also had a few more things to help any injured civilians he might find.

And he still had the face mask covering his mouth and nose, but he found one that was a lot more breathable and ventilated so that he didn't feel like he was dying every time he decided to go for a bit of a roof hopping. You know, as you do. And of course, he still wore his red shoes, the only other shoes he had were dress shoes that pinched his feet.

Eraser had actually commented on his choice of footwear a few times, Izuku could tell he didn't really like them, that he probably thought that they were impractical and distracting, but he just couldn't bring himself to let them go.

When he was little, he and mom didn't have all that much money, but she would sometimes take him to the mall and let him pick out one or two things that he wanted to buy. He distinctly remembered this one time that he couldn't find anything that he really wanted until they passed this shoe store and saw these bright red sneakers in the window.

Izuku was captivated and practically bounced as they stood in the checkout line of the store. He didn't know why he liked them so much, but his mother found it adorable and made sure to match him anytime she could by wearing something red. Sometimes she would end up looking like Christmas decided to come early, but he just loved that she was happy.

The kids at school didn't like his shoes nearly as much as she did, but Izuku didn't care. Even though he felt guilty every time they had to buy a new pair because his classmates decided it would be funny to destroy or ruin his shoes, he just couldn't let them go. He kept wearing them and eventually his classmates got bored and moved on to teasing him for something else.

And the only other change he made to his costume? was giving up on covering his hair and instead tying it back. His hoodies were always too big to keep the hood up and it was annoying having to keep track of it during fights and stuff. But his hair was just as annoying, it kept on getting into his face and would frizz sometimes due to the humidity in the air, so Izuku just started to carry around hair ties and it has done wonders, especially since his hair has been getting pretty long.

 

Izuku decided that he would go out and shower in the morning after he got some sleep. You would think that after so much you'd stop being so tired, but unfortunately tiredness has simply become a part of Izuku. He had a theory that it had something to do with him 'dying' or whatever, but he couldn't really prove it until he managed to die again.

Actually…that's not that bad of an idea

It had been a while since everything happened and Izuku had thrown himself into saving those around him to distract from the whole still wanting to die thing. But maybe it had been long enough. Couldn't hurt to try right?

 

So, the next night when he went out, he had a set goal, unlike most nights. He still ended up getting mixed up in a few fights, but things like that just tended to drift to him, He didn't even seek it out, it was like he was a trouble magnet. And honestly, that probably wasn't too far off.

It had been hours since he had left the apartment and Izuku finally felt that he had some time to himself. After double and triple checking that no one needed help in the area around him, Izuku found himself on the edge of the tallest building in the neighborhood.

He knows that the last time he tried jumping it didn't exactly work out, but it was a lot less messy than trying to find someone who would be willing to kill him, and who's to say that they wouldn't kill other people too?

Better to not get anyone else involved. Izuku didn't trust himself with a gun, so that was out, a knife was too messy, pills were expensive, and he'd rather steal as little as possible, he didn't feel like finding any rope, and drowning just honestly didn't sound like a good time. Same thing with fire.

Who knew that dying would be so much work?

 

The night felt good. The air wasn't too cold or hot, the sky was clear, and this area didn't have too much light pollution so Izuku could see some of the stars above him. He realized that he did this thing just before he jumped, he just looked out and took in everything around him one last time. It was like this last time as well.

As crappy as the world was to him, it was pretty beautiful.

Then came that feeling again, the feeling of freefalling, no regrets, no hesitation, no worries, just release. And hope.

The ground came quickly and before he knew it, Izuku was plunged into darkness once again.

 

Shouta knew that he was brooding as he patrolled, but he couldn't help it! Once again, he had upset the kid with something that he said and now it was all he could think about.

Who says no to being a hero??

The kid is so excited about every hero he meets, I would've thought that he'd jump at the opportunity to become one.

But he didn’t just say no, he ran away. Why would he do that?

Eraser could feel a headache coming on, which was no surprise at all considering who he delt with on a nightly basis.

Speaking of which…he hadn’t actually seen the kid at all tonight. It was weird, ever since he knew him, the kid hadn't taken a single night off from beating up thugs and criminals, and he always somehow found himself around Eraser, so what was going on?

He took to looking a bit more closely as he ran across the rooftops, the area he was in was a bit different than his usual patrol. It wasn't too far away, but the buildings were a lot different, everyone was unique and that meant that roof hopping was a lot more challenging. Not that it was any issue for Eraser, but it might be to Serpentine who was still fairly inexperienced.

Shouta's eyes had become pretty attune to that green hair, it blended in pretty well with the night, but it stood out just enough to Eraser. The kid looked like he was scanning the area around him, he was stood on the tallest building around and it must have an amazing vantage point, he might want to check it out himself.

He was about to call out to the kid when his heart stopped as he fell off of the edge.

"Kid! KID!" Shouta raced towards the falling child. He must've slipped or missed his footing or something, and he wasn’t coordinated enough yet to correct himself.

Oh no, no, no, no, no.

Eraser pushed himself to move faster but he knew, he knew that he wouldn't be fast enough, so he tried to use his capture weapon, but it hit the edge of another building and missed causing Shouta to choke on his breath.

By the time he reached the kid, it was too late.

His small body laid at his feet, crumpled and unmoving.

I wasn't fast enough.

What was Shouta going to do? He had known this kid for a few months and now he was dead right in front of him. He had been worried that this would happen, he just thought it would be in a different way. That's why he insisted on seeing him every night and training him when he could, but all of that was in vain now.

Damn it!

 

Tsukauchi agreed to meet him when Shouta called him. It was clear that his tone had set off alarms in his friend's head, but he couldn't bring himself to put up a front. He couldn't really bring himself to feel anything either. He was just…numb.

Stuff like this came with the job, you would think that Eraser would be used to it by now, but every time he found someone dead, he couldn't help but blame himself. If only he had been just a bit faster, stronger, better. If he hadn't been a second too late, then they might still be alive.

He knew thinking like that was illogical; he was human, and he can't expect himself to be perfect, but that doesn't stop him from trying. You can't save everyone. He learned that at a young age, before he even graduated.

It was a lesson he knew he'd never forget, and he didn't want to. It drove him to be better, to try harder. He still missed him every day though. The pain had dulled over the years, but it never truly goes away. Shouta had begun to be known for his uncaring attitude and coldness after that. It wasn't his fault, that was just how he coped, he shut himself down and refused to dwell on anything that wasn't hero work.

Was it unhealthy? Yes. But that was how it was. He wasn't as closed off as people usually thought, but he refused to let himself get attached…or at least, that what he told himself.

"Hey," Footsteps sounded behind Eraser and he knew exactly who it was before they ever spoke up. The footsteps stopped just behind him, and he felt a firm hand on his shoulder as he sat by the body, blank. "Oh."

"Yeah, I found him seconds before…I-I was too slow."

Tsukauchi knelt beside Shouta, never moving his hand on his shoulder that had become somewhat of an anchor for him and examined the scene. "I'm sorry."

"He was just a kid."

"I know."

The two of them sat in silence for a few more minutes before Shouta's head finally cleared and they both decided that they needed to get his body to the morgue and figure out who he was.

 

The trip was easy, and when they dropped the kid off Eraser refused to leave. He just wanted to be with him a little bit longer and seeing his face would help them figure out who he was quicker and easier. Tsukauchi had no objection and sat beside Shouta as the two put in some discerning factors and began going through lists upon lists of names.

It was harder than they both had initially thought. Sure, the kid looked rather plain, but surely there weren't that many green hair and green eyed teenagers in Japan. Knowing some more things would have been a lot easier, but Eraser had never figured out the kid's quirk or even asked. He never saw him use it, so he suspected that it was probably a non-physical quirk.

Hours passed and the two of them had come up with absolutely nothing. Shouta was getting frustrated and Tsuki kept on reminding him that the kid's body would need to be taken care of soon, which just put him in an even worse mood.

Shouta had just agreed to leave and continue looking tomorrow after he got some sleep and Tsukauchi was on the phone with the examiner telling her that she could come down when slight movement caught his eye.

His head whipped to where he had seen it, but it was just the kid's body. Nothing was around that it could've been. But that didn't make sense, Eraser's senses were spot on and he knew that he's seen something, so what could it have-

One moment the room was quiet and still and then next the seemingly dead body shot up with a gasp and ended up falling onto the floor.

What the f***?

Chapter Text

 

Izuku felt terrible.

One, he was back here and that was…great. Two, how could he somehow feel as healthy as a horse and like death incarnate at the same time? Three, he was STILL tired! How is that fair after he was just dead and literally doing NOTHING? Rigged. And laSTLY, he was pissed. When he went under, he didn't see his mom, he kept on going through his memories and reliving some of the worst moments of his life. It sucked.

He saw a lot of Kacchan and each time he hated him more. But it wasn't all hate…one of the memories he kept on going back to was when they were both children and Izuku insisted on being his friend and following him around no matter how many times he pushed him down. Izuku couldn't take a hint apparently.

Those feelings of unwavering loyalty and admiration followed him throughout middle school and that was probably why…why he let them treat him like that. And don't even get him started on all of the verbal, mental, and emotional abuse he endured EVERY SINGLE DAY.

He was a child, a bright eyed and naïve child who saw the best in everyone and refused to acknowledge the bad. No matter what Kacchan put him through, he still stuck around. He somehow convinced himself that it was his fault that he was treated that was, but what could he have possibly done to be treated like that? And nobody did a thing.

Izuku couldn’t see it back then, he was too nice, too forgiving…but that Izuku was gone.

They say that if you hear something enough you start to believe it even if you know it's not true. Well, now Izuku knew the truth, he could see it clearly. His bullies were wrong. And he wasn't going to let that fear run his life anymore.

He continued to cough and suck in air as his body went back to actively keeping him alive. It was annoying how it had to relearn how to work every time he died, but what can you do?

"Ugh, I hate this stupid freaking quirk!" He yelled in between coughs.

Once he was finally able to breath properly and didn't feel like he would pass out if he tried to stand, he pushed himself to his feet and froze.

Oh s***

Eraserhead and someone else were standing on the opposite of the table he had been on (in a morgue again, seriously!) staring at him like he was a ghost. Although, to them, he probably was.

"Heyyyy Eraser…"

The hero blinked and didn’t make any attempt to close his mouth that was practically on the ground.

This was going to be such a pain… "You might want to close your mouth, you'll catch flies."

Eraser slowly obeyed and scrutinized every inch of Izuku. It was as if he couldn't believe what was right in front of him. "I…you-" He started but couldn't seem to gather his thoughts enough to form a coherent sentence, that was to be expected he supposed. "You were dead. I saw you die."

"You did? Sorry about that, I try to not be a burden on anyone, but sometimes it’s inevitable and-"

"You died! I held your body and checked for a pulse. You hadn’t taken a single breath in hours, hOW ARE YOU ALIVE?"

Izuku rubbed the back of his neck, "It's kinda a long story, but short version is that I can't die apparently."

The man standing beside Eraserhead hadn't said a thing so far, just gawked at Izuku and his conversation with Eraser, but something that he said must've jumpstarted his brain. "I'm sorry-apparently? You mean that this is a new thing for you, not dying?"

"Yeah…The first time didn't exactly work, and I thought that maybe it had been long enough but-"

"Wait." Eraser interrupted Izuku's rant, which was probably a good thing, they didn't need to know about all of that. "The last time didn't work…were you trying to kill yourself?"

Ah…maybe this wasn't the best idea. The more they talked, the worse it seemed to get, and the angrier Eraser got.

The three of them stood in silence for a few seconds as Izuku refused to meet either of the adult's scrutinizing eyes. It was Eraser who broke the tense silence, "Kid. Answer the question." His voice was low and dark. It wasn't hard to figure out that he was pissed, but about what? There were honestly so many possibilities Izuku just didn't even try to guess.

"Uh…no?"

"False." The other guy finally spoke up again. His face was difficult to read, but he was clearly confused and upset.

"Dude, what the heck?" Izuku couldn't believe the guy sold him out like that. Snitch.

"Oh my god-" Eraser turned away and began to pace back and forth rubbing his temples and mumbling to himself. "Is that why you were running across the roofs so recklessly? Because you were trying to kill yourself?"

Recklessly? Izuku didn't think he was being too reckless, but he was probably a bad judge considering his regard for his life was less than zero. "No? I was doing it because it's fun and I felt good while doing it." He paused, debating whether or not to tell them the complete truth or not. The other guy was like a bloodhound when it came to lies apparently so he should just say it before he went fishing. "And if I happened to slip and die then what's the harm?"

"Oh my-do you hear yourself? 'What's the harm' you could have been killed, or seriously injured and that's a pretty big deal." He stared at Izuku with unbelieving eyes, before something else flashed in them, "Wait-wait, is that why you didn’t care the other night?"

"You're going to have to be more specific."

"The other night! When those guys held a gun against your head, you didn’t even flinch. This is why, because you just don't care."

"Eh-" Eraser scoffed at Izuku's nonchalantness and went back to pacing as the other guy looked like he was trying to process everything they were saying and was losing.

"You see Tsuki? Do you see what a pain this problem child is?!"

The other man cleared his throat and looked at Izuku warily, as if not knowing what to do in this situation. "Umm, I'm not sure if you should use the words pain and problem to describe him Shouta. It seems rather harsh…"

"Oh bite me."

Eraser stayed on the other side of the room mumbling angrily to himself while the other man stepped towards Izuku, "I'm sorry about him, my name is Naomasa Tsukauchi, I'm a detective on the police force and an old friend of Eraserhead. You must be Serpentine." He extended his hand with a small smile, one that could make even the most skeptical person comfortable.

Izuku shook the detective's hand gingerly, a little bit uncomfortable with having someone with the police around. "That's what they call me."

"Well, it's very nice to meet you Serpentine. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions, just about tonight and what exactly happened?" There was that smile again, but Izuku knew better, the name Tsukauchi sounded familiar somehow, maybe someone in the hero industry that he came across once, but he couldn't remember what his quirk was. It put him on edge.

Izuku resorted to shrugging rather than answering out loud and pulled a metal stool to sit on while the detective made himself comfortable leaning against the autopsy table.

"Alright," He pulled out a small notebook from the pocket of his coat and flipped it open. "Don't worry, I'm just taking notes to make sure I remember everything, you don't need to worry about getting in trouble or anything." He must've seen how Izuku reacted to his actions.

"Oh, okay…"

"So, can you tell me what happened tonight, maybe a little bit earlier?"

This was going to be tricky. Should Izuku lie about doing vigilante work? Did it even really count as vigilante work? And did he even want to talk about what happened? Not really. But he didn't exactly have a choice. "Um, well I was getting in some exercise and-"

"You were roof hopping, weren't you?" Eraser interrupted from across the room and Izuku glared at him slightly.

"Anyway, so I was roof hopping and then I heard a disturbance and decided to check it out."

"Is this a frequent activity you do? Roof hopping, I mean."

"Over the past couple of months, I've been working on my speed and coordination." Kinda true, but not the whole truth.

The detective hummed as he wrote something in his notebook, "And what happened when you went to check out the disturbance?"

"Oh um, nothing really…"

Tsukauchi and Eraserhead looked at each other, thinking the same thing. Eraser had had to clean up after Serpentine and reported about four different takedowns of different criminals in the same area.

"Right, and have you done that before?"

"Done what?"

"Gotten involved in a fight or something of the sort?" The detective looked up at Izuku sharply as if to dare him to lie.

The boy rubbed the back of his neck and looked away, "Maybe a few times."

"Uh huh," More writing and Eraserhead decided to come and join the conversation, not taking his eyes off of Izuku who noticed just how different he was reacting to his stare. Just a week ago he would've crumbled at the thought of making him angry, but now he just couldn't find it in himself to care…interesting. "And what about tonight, tell us what exactly happened when you-ahem-jumped."

Izuku really didn't want to do this. He was already in a crappy mood and felt like he could sleep for the next century. So being questioned on his decision to kill himself didn't sound very pleasing at the moment, or ever. "You know, I had some down time and thought I might as well just…" Instead of finishing his sentence, the boy just made a face and left the rest for the two of them to figure out.

"So, it was just a spur of the moment decision?"

"Not really," Well, guess there was no avoiding this. "I had decided earlier that I was going to, I just didn't know exactly when."

"That's a very big decision, do you think it was the right one?" The detective looked at him with sad eyes, while Eraser just continued to stare and analyze his words and expressions.

Again, Izuku shrugged which resulted in Eraserhead scoffing and getting elbowed in the ribs by Tsukauchi. "I mean sure, the first time was a big deal, but I kinda figured it wouldn't work again. I was just testing it really."

"Testing…if you could die?"

"Yes."

"Hold on," Eraser spoke up not looking happy, but to be fair he never really did, "You keep on saying last time, so this wasn't your first attempt?"

Izuku shook his head, feeling uncomfortable with the expression the hero now wore, it was one he hadn’t seen yet on him, but was all too familiar with.

"Kid-"

"Don't." Izuku got off of the stool and began to walk towards the door, "I really need to be getting home and I'd rather not have this conversation with you guys. So Eraser, I'll see you later and detective…" Honestly, he hoped that he would never see him again, but he couldn't just say that, so he simply nodded to him and left, leaving the two of them speechless for the second time that night.

"What have we gotten ourselves into Tsuki?"

"I blame you."

"Oh whatever," Eraser rolled his eyes and shoved his friend who began laughing despite the somber mood.

 

Just like the kid had said, Eraser did see him soon after that night. He didn't see him the day after, but he couldn't really fault him, dying had to be traumatic, not to mention it being an attempted suicide.

The thought of the kid who was always so bright-eyed feeling like that was the only option made Shouta nauseous. He had been there, he had dwelt with those thoughts and feelings, especially after that happened, but he had people to help pull him out of that place, from what he got from the kid, he didn't have that.

So Shouta would just have to be that until he did.

Seeing the kid's fluffy hair fly in the wind as he jumped from building to building felt like a breath of fresh air. Finding the kid dead like that…it had hurt. And Shouta didn't want to find him like that ever again.

When he finally caught up and the two of them started talking and joking like before, something felt off. Serpentine wasn't stuttering or getting flustered by Eraser's presence, which was a good thing, but it makes him wonder why the sudden change?

It was as if his whole attitude changed. He seemed more confident, not as afraid or insecure. He would sass Eraser and joke around and wouldn't flinch at his glare or immediately apologize for being a burden or annoying. All things that needed to be fixed, but why was it so different now?

Shouta wanted to ask with every fiber of his being, but he knew if he did the kid would just run away and he didn’t want to lose him again. Not even for a second.

Oh god-

I really am a dad aren't I…

Chapter Text

"Wow, you're so amazing Kacchan!"

"I hope that when I get my quirk it's a cool as yours…"

"You're going to be the best hero! And I'll always be there right beside you."

Katsuki woke up feeling the streams of tears on his cheeks immediately. Every morning it was like this. Ever since the nerd…he's been having the same kind of dreams that were centered around his childhood friend.

Some were just sad like tonight, reminders of how good and pure the boy was before everything. But some nights Katsuki wasn't so lucky.

For a solid month after the accident the only dream he had was of him jumping. He would see the things leading up to it and every time he closed his eyes all he saw was Izuku broken and lifeless. After a while he stopped waking up screaming and just resorted to silently sobbing most nights.

The thoughts haunted him constantly…

"Just shut up Deku! No one wants to be friends with a useless loser like you."

"You'll never be as good as me Deku, it's just not possible with how pathetic you are."

"You're nothing and always will be, why don't you just do all of us a favor and take the swan dive so that we don't have to deal with your shit anymore?"

Why? Why did I have to say that to him? Why did I have to be such a dick and destroy the one good thing in my life?

I really am pathetic…

Sitting here feeling sorry for myself when Izuku's dead. And it's my fault.

Katsuki knew that it was nowhere near time to get up yet, but if he went back to sleep then he'd just have the same dreams-or nightmares. So, he decided to go ahead and get up and take a shower so that he wasn't so gross and sweaty.

The water was cold, but not too much so, he didn't want to catch a cold. Not with the UA entrance exams being so close.

That's also something that changed after…everything. Katsuki refuses to take anything but cold showers or eat or drink anything that's hot. His quirk relies on the sweat that his body produces and so he decided that he just wouldn't sweat. It wasn't working out too well for him so far, but he just couldn't bring himself to use his quirk unless it was absolutely necessary.

It just brought back memories of him tormenting and abusing Izuku and he got enough of that in his head, he didn’t need any more reminders.

Once he was finished in the shower, he started working on some of his schoolwork. He was already way ahead of everyone else because that was one of the things he turned to when he thought too much. It helped distract him, at least for a bit.

He decided that he was still going to try to be a hero, but he didn’t have to be the best anymore. It was that ambition that drove him to treat everyone around him like dirt and Katsuki didn't want to be that person anymore. He wanted to be someone that Izuku could be proud of, he wanted to be the Kacchan that he always saw despite everything.

Katsuki was going to do better. It wasn't going to make up for the past and he wasn't trying to, he just couldn't be that way-he wouldn't. He refused to be someone who tore people down and drove them to kill themselves. He wanted to be better. He wanted to be like Izuku.

Someone soft, and kind, and light, and good. Katsuki wasn't good. He might never be able to be, but that didn't mean that he couldn't try.

For Izuku.

 

"Katsuki! You better make it in." Mitsuki called as her son tried his best to get through the living room as quietly as possible.

The boy cursed under his breath and turned to where his mother was peaking her head out of the kitchen. "Yeah mom, of course I'll make it in. I am the best after all." The words were empty. They held absolutely no conviction or truth in them. Katsuki knew he wasn't the best and he wasn't trying to be anymore. But he knew that if he admitted that to his mom then she'd have a meltdown.

For as long as he can remember it's always been about winning, about being the best, about cutting down those beneath you and working your way to the top. Right when Katsuki got his quirk was when it really got bad, he had always been scolded and compared to Izuku by his mother.

She would yell about how he was such a screw up and that he was horrible because he wasn't as nice or polite as the other boy. And then when it was announced that Izuku was quirkless, anytime the Midoriyas were brought up it was always how it was such a tragedy that their son was a failure. And how sorry she felt for Inko because she had to deal with the humiliation of giving birth and raising someone so weak.

He was just a kid.

They were both just kids who had big dreams, but completely different destinies.

"That's what I want to hear, now go and show all of those extras who's going to be number one."

"Yes ma'am."

Katsuki was thankful for the short conversation. When his dad wasn't around, their interaction tended to be a bit more intense without him as a buffer for her. Katsuki didn't know if he knew about everything, about what mom would always say, but he had never been one to speak up anyway, so it didn't really matter.

 

He had to take the bus to get to UA. It was a quiet ride and Katsuki found himself people watching. Looking at each face and trying to figure out what their quirks might be and if they had ever been hurt because of them.

It was a habit he had picked up from Izuku. When they were younger, he would always analyze everyone around him and as much as Katsuki didn't want it to, it rubbed off on him. He was thankful for it now though, because it helped him see just how much of a dick he and the people he hung out with were.

The place was humungous. Yeah, UA was supposed to be the best and most prestigious hero school in the country, but wow.

It was actually very intimidating. Past Katsuki would've just scoffed and taken it as a challenge to be better and live up to the school, but things were different now. It was an honor for him to be here, after all…not everyone could be.

 

The written exam was a breeze, guess all those early mornings studying instead of sleeping really paid off. And after Present Mic was finished with introducing them and explaining how the physical exam was going to work the room was split into two groups that went to their respective exam sites.

Katsuki was surprised by how easily he recognized some of the pro heroes that were around, another thing he picked up from Izuku he supposed.

Alright, so the objective of the physical exam was to destroy as many robots as possible and rack up the most points. It seemed easy enough, but Katsuki cringed at the thought of using his quirk so much and around so many people who could get caught in the middle of it.

Oh wow…

That's definitely different. If only mom could hear his thoughts, she'd probably explode with anger.

A loud buzzer sounded, and Present Mic's voice announced the start of the exam.

It was chaos. People were destroying bots left and right and Katsuki was beginning to get overwhelmed.

No, focus! You have to pass, do it for Izuku.

For Izuku…right.

It was almost child's play taking down the robots. The biggest obstacle was actually controlling the blasts and trying his best to protect everyone around him. Shrapnel had left multiple cuts and bruises on Katsuki's arms that were exposed by his tank top, but at least it was him and not the other kids. They didn’t need to be hurt by his quirk even if it wasn't directly. He couldn't do that anymore.

He lost count of how many times an oblivious participant thanked him once they figured out what had happened, but that really didn't matter. He wasn't looking for praise, he just didn't want to hurt anyone. Ever again.

 

The exam was almost over when a loud siren was blowing out Katsuki's eardrums and making it hard for him to stay on his feet. No one knew what was going on, but he suspected that it had something to do with those zero pointers that Present Mic warned them about. He said to avoid them…alright, easy enough-

Oh.

Nevermind…

Robots that were taller than the buildings in the fake city rounded the corner and began to make the ground shake as they moved towards them.

I feel like that's a lot more than just an insignificant robot that we should avoid!

What, are they trying to kill us??

The examines around Katsuki began to run away in terror, some screaming and some managing to keep their cool while looking at the five story tall death robots that were coming right at them. Running seemed like a good idea, actually probably the only idea that didn't end up with him steamrolled on the ground.

Katsuki started running while still looking back at the zero pointers, actually looking to see if anyone was still near them, when he heard someone scream for help. He searched around for who could've called out and quickly found where a girl looked to be trapped under some rubble that fell when one of the robots ran into a building. And the robots were about to run her over.

UA wouldn't let that happen right? They wouldn't let an innocent girl get injured over something like an exam…

But this was a hero school, and they were supposed to be training to deal with real villains who would be trying to kill them. There's no telling what the school might do to prepare them for a life as dangerous as being a hero.

Aw hell-

Without a second thought, Katsuki was off towards the trapped girl as people around him yelled at him to stop and to run back. Did they not see that she needed help? Maybe they did, it didn't look like any of them were going to try to help her. Guess it was up to him then.

"Hey, hey, you're good. You're good, you're going to be fine. Can you move?"

The girl tried to wiggle out from under the rubble but stopped when she knew that she wouldn't be able to, "No, and my quirk is at its limit."

"What's your quirk?"

"Zero Gravity. I can take away the gravity of anything that I touch with all five fingers."

Katsuki tried to lift the one of the larger pieces of building off of her but was unsuccessful. Okay, now what? What would Izuku do?

He looked at the approaching robots and guessed that it'd be maybe ten seconds until they were right on top of them. "Okay, okay, okay, okay." He looked around for something that he could maybe use as a lever to help lift the rubble.

Nothing, just a bunch of rocks and…pipes!

Katsuki found a pipe that looked sturdy enough and ran back to where the girl was. "Okay, I need you to try and help me. I know that you're at your limit, but please just try to help lift this." She nodded, determination filling her expression as she took a deep breath in and the two nodded at each other.

The girl touched the piece of rubble with both of her hands and Katsuki got the pipe under it and began to push down on the other side. Slowly the chunk began to lift and the boy found himself smiling while the girl looked like she was about to throw up, but kept on pushing.

Come on…comE ON!

Just a little bit more-YES!

"Now! Move now!" The girl quickly (or as quickly as she could) pulled herself out from under the chunk of building and rolled on her back as Katsuki finally dropped it and let out a breath.

I can't believe that actually worked…

"Oh no…" The girl looked above Katsuki and gasped sharply.

"What-?" Oh right, the robots…kinda forgot about those.

Katsuki got to his feet and groaned as he wrung out his hands. This was going to hurt…

Chapter Text

"You're always too hard on these children. I know that they're trying to be heroes but honestly, this one almost got crushed and this one badly damaged his wrists due to overusing his quirk. If he's not careful then he could face serious consequences for doing so. Not to mention the hearing damage that I had to repair!"

Shouta sighed as he listened to Recovery Girl scold him yet again, and it wasn't even his fault this time! "Hearing and sight are tricky to work with, I know. You've told me this before…multiple times actually." He mumbled the last part under his breath and earned a glare from the woman.

"Absolutely right. Maybe try switching things up this year huh Eraser? Let's have a bet to see how long your class can go without a visit to see me."

"You know that I refuse to gamble with you. Besides…you'd win."

Recovery Girl's mouth pulled into a smirk as she went back to treat the two examinees who got the most injured this year: Katsuki Bakugou and Ochako Uraraka.

As much as Shouta hated to admit it, she was right. The students, especially the hero course students, tended to spend more time in the infirmary than they did out of it and that was a problem. Of course, that was simple a part of being a hero. Hero work is dangerous and should not be treated as any less.

But maybe something he would really focus on this year is self-preservation. God knows they all need it.

…and it might just so happen that he's still shaken up by what happened with Serpentine and is going to take it out on his official problem children.

Speaking of which-

What was he going to do with these two? What if they actually ended up in his class and he had to deal with them and whatever it was that happened today?

Shouta didn't want to think about it. He had monitored the exam with the rest of the teachers, and it was safe to say that these two made quite the impression on everyone.

No one expected the kid with the explosion quirk to be so gentle and protective of those around him. He actively blocked them from any possible debris or such that his explosions might throw around. It was interesting, and absolutely no surprise that he got the highest amount of rescue points even before the zero pointers showed up.

Uraraka was a surprise as well. Just looking at her you'd never expect the girl to be so tough and determined, but she tore through the exam while still being kind to those around her and helping when she could.

If Shouta didn't know any better, he might say that he had hope for this year's litter of applicants. If the rest of the kids in his class were like these two then this year was sure to be an interesting one.

As he continued to think about some of the other applicants and his future class his mind couldn't help but wander to Serpentine.

He didn’t actually know how old the kid was, but he was young. Right around the age of the rest of the students here actually. Shouta wondered if the kid would do well in this exam. It was geared more towards physical quirks (which he was very against, but it took time to reason with Nezu) and from what he witnessed the other night, he thought that it was safe to say that his quirk wasn't the offensive type.

Maybe that was why he was so against getting his license when Shouta brought it up? Being unkillable wasn't a very flashy quirk and kids don't usually praise that sort of thing.

Deeper and deeper his thoughts went, and he found himself wondering if the kid had ever been bullied and that was why he seemed so meek when they first met. It would make sense, but then why had he one-eightied so suddenly?

The possibility of Serpentine being bullied in the past make Shouta angry for some reason. It was irrational, he barely knew the kid. So then why was he being so protective?

"Why don't you just admit that you're a dad and go see your child?"

Tsukauchi loved to tease him with that kind of thing, but Eraser didn't agree.

He wasn't a dad. He was a teacher and a underground pro hero, neither of which he acted very happy doing. He was supposed to be the cold-hearted and strict teacher and then mysterious hero, what about that was parental?

Sure, he cared for the kid…to a degree, but that didn't make him a father. Right?

Ugh! Shouta hated thinking about this because it always confused him, and he didn't like not being in the know. He pushed all of it to the back of his mind and cordoned it off in hopes that he wouldn't have to deal with it again any time soon.

But that was probably too tall of an order when he was friends with Tsukauchi.

Maybe he should get better friends? Nah. It was hard enough to get the ones he had, and beggars can't be choosers.

He would never admit it, but Shouta was thankful for the people in his life and wouldn't trade them for the world. But he couldn't ruin his reputation by saying something like that.

 

Izuku's mood was a little bit more irritable than usual, and it was very obvious. He didn't mean to be, but he had been a little bit more rough with the guys he had taken down tonight. It was hilarious when he realized what had happened, what he had done, and immediately began to apologize profusely to the criminal who was tied up on the ground just barely conscious.

He knew exactly why he was in a bad mood. Izuku decided to head out just a bit earlier than usual today so that he could grab dinner when he caught glimpse of Kacchan walking home.

Bakugou was quiet and somber looking as he made his way to their apartment building, looking a bit worse for wear. He had bandages all up his arms and one of them was in a sling and he also had a few more injuries around his body that looked almost healed.

Izuku wondered what could've happened, until he remembered what today was…

The UA entrance exam.

He must've been just getting back. What must he have done to get those injuries? And he didn't look happy, so was it possible that Katsuki Bakugou actually…failed?

No, no that was impossible. Everyone knew that Kacchan was going to be a hero, the best hero. But was that really the case? Izuku realized just how messed up his behavior had been all of these years and he knew that that wasn't how a hero was supposed to act.

Heroes protected people, they lifted them up and encouraged them…although that doesn’t really mean much when not even Izuku's favorite heroes had done that for him.

Regardless, Katsuki was no hero. At least in attitude.

I wonder what the exam was like…

It was probably hard, given that UA is the most prestigious hero school there was. But even so, it's hard to believe that Kacchan might not have passed.

Even as kids, Katsuki had always been the best. Not because of his quirk, or because he was smart, but because he worked to be the best. He trained his quirk until he mastered as much as he could at such a young age and he studied like crazy until he was the top student in their grade.

Sure, he was benefited by the quirk he was born with, but he could have the coolest quirk in the world, and it wouldn't matter unless you work to hone and master it. And quirks aren’t everything, Izuku knows that better than anybody.

Even as kids, Kacchan's ambition was like no one else's.

Izuku wondered if in some alternant universe they might be taking the exam together, working side by side to be number one. Motivating one another and pushing each other to be the best that they could be.

Maybe in that universe his mother might still be alive and Izuku wouldn't be so alone…

Stop it.

It's pointless to dream about things that will never happen.

That was why Izuku was in a mood. And Eraserhead noticed it as soon as he saw him.

"What's that face for?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about." Izuku answered blankly, not looking at Eraser.

The two of them were on a roof (shocking) and Izuku was sitting on the edge with his legs dangling off the side. He pretended to not see the look in the hero's eyes when he saw him so close to the edge.

Even though it had been weeks since the incident, it was still a bit tense between the two of them and Izuku hated it. Eraser was trying to pretend that everything was fine and back to normal, but Izuku knew just how freaked out he was when he found him 'dead'.

He didn't know why, but that's just how it was apparently. And it probably didn't help that Izuku's attitude had changed after he woke up.

The hero had commented on it a few times and even had asked about it only to be cut off by Izuku leaving or changing the subject. He really didn't feel like going into his tragic past and such, so Eraser would just have to deal with it.

"Alright then," the hero came to sit beside Izuku, "We can talk about something else."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah," he thought for a moment, "The UA entrance exam was today. Did you know that?"

Izuku's face fell before it completely shut down. That wasn't supposed to happen, but Izuku couldn't help it! UA was the last thing he wanted to talk about right now, they could talk about literally anything else. "Next."

Eraserhead's eyes turned worried, before he schooled his face and hummed as he thought of another topic. "What about…oh, you like heroes right? Did you see what All Might did earlier today? Pretty amazing for a daylight hero. I could never be in the spotlight like that." He scoffed as he finished his thought and didn't seem to notice that this conversation wasn't any better.

"No. Next."

"Alright then, why don't you tell me a bit about your life?"

"Absolutely not. You know, you're really bad at this." Izuku looked at Eraser from the corner of his eyes and smirked slightly, feeling comfortable to show expressions again.

The hero just groaned and flopped on his back with his hands over his face. "I knowwwww. I'm trying, okay? You don't exactly make it easy."

"Yeah, I guess you're right."

He seemed to be trying so hard, but why? What did he get from this? Izuku was just some random kid who happened to be outed as a vigilante and he witnessed die. It wasn't like he was obligated to be around him anymore, Izuku could handle himself fairly well now, with all of the training the two of them would do.

"Why are you doing this?"

The blunt question caught Eraser off guard and the hero just stared at him for a few seconds before sitting up and staring at Izuku, "What do you mean?"

Izuku gave the hero a look and gestured to himself like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "…this. Being around me, looking after me. It's not like you have to or anything, so why are you doing this?"

The hero hummed for a moment, "That's a good question. Tell you what, an answer for an answer."

"Mmm, I don't like that." Izuku grimaced as his mind immediately went over all of the possibly detrimental questions Eraser could ask.

"Well then I guess you'll never know."

Oh, that was not fair.

Eraser you sly little-

Izuku continued to glare at the hero who just shot back a smirk and quirked brow, until he sighed and slumped his shoulders. "Fine! Fine, what do you want to know?"

Chapter Text

This was a terrible idea.

Maybe the worst possible thing he could've agreed to. There were so many questions Eraser could ask that Izuku just wouldn't be able to answer. But would he let him dodge?

He should've just walked away and told the hero that he'd see him tomorrow…so why hadn't he?

Perhaps it was Izuku's disregard for his life and anything that had to do with it, but he knew that he couldn't die yet, so why would he risk making things harder for himself? Did he actually like Eraserhead?

Sure, the hero had been around for a while and had helped Izuku out, but that didn’t mean that they were…friends, right? Would that even be the right thing? Eraser could probably be-well not his dad, but still. Was it weird to be friends with someone almost twice your age?

Was the answer so important?

Yes. The entirety of Izuku's life there was only one adult who truly cared for him and here this man was, grumpy and homeless looking, looking after him just because. There was nothing that he could gain from it, so why was Eraser there? Why did he care?

Izuku needed to know. And he was willing to give answers to get it.

"Well?" Izuku's voice seemed to bring the hero out of his train of thought.

"Alright, first question: how old are you?"

Ugh. Why was Eraser like this?

"…I just turned fifteen." Izuku hated this already. He didn't want to give out any more information about himself than was necessary. What if him and Tsukauchi figured out that he was dead and orphaned? What would they do?

Maybe throw him in another orphanage? Put him in the system? No. That wasn't going to happen, Izuku wouldn't let it.

Eraserhead seemed surprised by his answer, but not as much so as he thought that he would be. To be fair, Izuku didn't exactly look old, so it wasn't that big of a stretch.

"Okay, my turn. Why did you stick around after your first met me?" Izuku wasn't going to beat around the bush. He had questions that he wanted answered and he wanted to get his done and over with.

It took the hero a minute to answer, but when he did Izuku thought he saw the smallest trace of a smile. "You intrigued me."

"What does that even mean?"

"Ah, ah, ah, it's my turn now." Now he was actually smirking at a scowling Izuku who huffed and crossed his little arms. "Are you in school?"

This was a trick question and they both knew it. Izuku had to accept that it wouldn't take Eraser and Tsukauchi too long to figure out that he was Izuku Midoriya, because there weren't too many 'dead' kids that looked like he did.

It was kind of a relief. Izuku's inner monologue was like seventy-five percent death jokes, and he thought that Eraserhead might enjoy them, so he was glad that he was able to take that filter off of himself while he was around him. It was also just nice to not have to pretend or keep as many secrets.

"Kinda hard to be in school when you're 'dead'."

The hero's face was difficult to read. His expression was tired as always, but there seemed to be an extra bit of 'seriously' added and the hint of a smile that he was forcing down. It was hilarious.

"Alright, that's fair."

"What do you mean by I intrigued you?"

"I saw a kid jumping across roof tops and face plant. That's pretty interesting."

Izuku's eyes squinted as he looked at the nonchalant hero. He thought that this was a game. "Can you be serious please?"

"That sounds like another question."

"Eraserhead."

The hero's smirk dropped at the tone of Izuku's voice, and he cleared his throat. "I don't actually know. You were just some random kid that I just so happened to meet, so why was it so important that I see you? Why did it scare me so much to think that you were out fighting criminals and risking your life with no experience? Well, I guess that worrying was kind of pointless considering that you can't die, but still."

Hmm. That was actually more than I expected to get out of him.

"Your turn."

"What exactly is your quirk?"

Izuku's brows furrowed, "I don't have a-" His mouth slammed shut before he could finish his sentence. That wasn't true anymore…

"What, you don’t have a quirk? Kid, we both know that that's a lie."

All emotion trickled out of Izuku as if a bathtub was being drained. Anytime the topic of quirks had been brought up when he was younger he had the same reaction. A beating or bullying usually followed quirk-related conversations, so Izuku shut down as a way to protect himself. It seems that the habit was still active.

It didn’t help that Izuku wasn't too happy with the cards that he had been dealt. How ironic was it that all of his life, he had been bullied and looked down on because he didn't have a quirk, and then when he was ready to leave, when he was finally going to have some peace, he figures out that his 'quirk' makes it so that he can't die. The one thing that he wants to do above anything else.

How was that fair?

Izuku looked Eraserhead directly in the eyes, feeling absolutely nothing. "I don't have a quirk. I have a curse."

It took a second for Izuku to come back to himself, all the while Shouta just stared at the kid in shock. A million thoughts running through his mind.

The kid wants to die that badly? That he would go as far as to say that his quirk was a curse…

It hurt. It hurt so bad to hear him say that. To watch someone so young with so much potential be so devoid of life and feelings in regard to himself. It was terrifying.

With that type of attitude, what was stopping him from snapping and deciding that society had screwed him over so completely, why not do the same to it? The kid could absolutely do it too, which was what was so terrifying.

They were walking a thin line, and if Serpentine crossed it, Shouta didn't know if he'd be able to stop him.

So then…why hadn't he turned? From what little he knew, the kid had been through more than enough to 'justify' it. And especially with how he's been acting recently, it's weird that he's still on their side per say. He was still a vigilante and was still fighting illegally, but he was doing it to help people. Why?

Shouta wanted to ask so badly, but he knew that if he did, he wouldn't get a real answer. What he was getting now was a miracle in of itself. He needed to dig just below the surface, coasting just below the line to keep the kid from running.

"What is your and the detective's relationship?"

The question caught Shouta off guard. "You mean Tsukauchi?" He nodded. "Um, he's one of those friends I mentioned. We've worked together ever since I graduated, and he's become one of my best friends. Why do you ask?"

"Is that your question?"

Oh, he was good. The little turd- "No…" Eraser scowled for a moment, before deciding what to ask next. "What about your family?" Not too deep…

Alright Eraser, getting personal, are we?

This was dangerous territory. "You're going to have to be more specific."

"Do you have any?"

Izuku swallowed the vile that crept up his throat, "I have-had a mom."

He knew as soon as he said it that he had said too much. Why did he have to correct himself? This opened up too many doors for possible questions that Izuku did not want to answer. Ugh, he was such an idiot…

"Did something happen to her?" Wait, maybe he was digging too deep.

"Pass."

Eraser shot a look at Izuku that he refused to meet. He just kept on staring forward and hoped that the hero would take the hint and drop it. "Alright…what about your dad?" Back off a bit Shouta, don't drive him away.

Izuku kept staring forward, the wind ruffling his hair enough that a small strand came out from his bun and he had to tuck it behind his ear. "Never knew him."

"I see." The hero followed Izuku's gaze and switched his sitting position. "That must be hard."

"Next question. Do you know who I am?" Izuku was tired of this conversation. He needed to end it, but there were still a few things he needed to know first, and he might not get another change to ask.

Eraser sighed loudly and let out a half of a sad laugh. "We tried. Went through the entire system looking for green hair and green-eyed kids in Japan and came up with nothing. Although now that some other things are known, it might be a bit easier to narrow it down." He paused before he looked at Izuku again, "You're dead, aren’t you?"

Izuku gave the hero a 'really?' look and gestured to his very much alive body.

"You know what I mean! Officially you're dead. That's why we couldn't find you, because we were looking for kids who were still considered alive."

The two of them let that realization sink in. Izuku was honestly surprised that it took him this long to figure that out, but sometimes people were oblivious to things that they didn't want to see.

Eraser was the one to finally break the silence, "Does anyone know? That you're still alive, I mean."

Izuku took a breath, determining whether or not to answer the question honestly or just avoid it. But he knew that if he did, that would be the answer in of itself, so might as well tell the truth.

"Nope. Just you and Tsuki."

"I'm sorry-"

"Don't. I don't want an apology." He didn't mean for it to come out as cold as it did. And from the way that Eraser flinched, he knew that it was probably worse than he thought.

What did he expect? These were touchy subjects and Izuku wasn't exactly an open person. He didn't even mean to say this much, but there was nothing he could do about it now.

"I think I'm going to go home. See you later Eraser."

Without even waiting for the hero's response, Izuku left. He kept replaying their conversation in his head as he made his way back and every time he did, he regretted it more and more.

He didn't need this. He didn't need whatever this was with Eraser. What he needed was to be gone and that was something that obviously wasn't going to happen on its own any time soon. So maybe it was time for Izuku to get creative…

 

"UGH! WHY WON'T I FREAKING DIE ALREADY???"

Izuku's voiced echoed throughout the empty apartment as he tried to calm his breaths that were big and loud. He was at his limit.

He had tried every trick in the book, from blood loss to suffocation to gunshot through the head. (How he got a gun, don't ask. He snatched it off of one of the many criminals he took down every night and decided to try and put it to 'good' use)

Nothing had worked, he just kept on coming back again and again and he was pissed.

Every time he 'went under' as he called it, it was something. Sometimes it would be Katsuki, sometimes he would have to relive his childhood, one time he had to go through the loss of his mother all over again. There was no rhyme or reason to what he saw when he was 'gone', one time he had even seen what his life might look like if none of this had ever happened. He came back in tears after that one.

Actually, he found himself waking up in tears more often than not. Izuku had refused to cry while he was conscious, but those feelings had to be dwelt with one way or another and apparently his psyche had decided that it would punish him through his dreams and when he was dead.

One thing that did come out of all of this though, was that Izuku was starting to understand his quirk better now.

The time between when he 'died' and when he 'came back' differed and that made him think that he might eventually be able to control how long it took him to come back. He had a theory that right now his mind had a lot to do with what he saw and how long he was out for, but if he learned to control that…

He also found out that he came back pretty much unscathed, the only thing that indicated that he died at all were the scars. It seemed that every time he received a fatal injury, that injury healed along with the rest of his body, but it scared for some reason.

Maybe it was a mental thing? Dying wasn't exactly easy, so it wasn't too far of a stretch.

But whenever he saw Eraserhead he would have to try to hide and come up with creative explanations as to why he had been getting so many new scars. The hardest one by far was the bullet hole scar, but that one was on either sides of his head and could be covered with his hair if he styled it a certain way. The only thing was that the hair over the two little scars stopped growing so it was noticeable if you looked hard enough. But he doubted that people's first thought would be a bullet scar, so he wasn't too worried.

He did have a few scars on his wrists from when he bled out, and he really didn't like them, but that was before he knew he would start developing scars from what he died from. It's hard to scar from falling from a building, so it wasn't apparent until he died from something visible on his body. It was kind of annoying, but Izuku wasn't one to give up. Although, he was on the verge of at least taking a break.

For one, he was tired, like exponentially tired. And it got worse every time he died. That was another theory he had, that his body healed itself kinda like how Recovery Girl's quirk healed others, by using their stamina.

And the other reason was that he was running out of ideas on how to die. There was only so much you can do when you live alone in an abandoned apartment with limited money and resources.

It might be a good idea to take a break and decompress. At least he wouldn't have to deal with his mind until he went to sleep. So that meant that he needed a distraction and what better distraction was there than (allegedly) illegally beating up criminals?

Chapter Text

It seemed like it was the same old song and dance recently.

Shouta would meet up with Serpentine on patrols (unintentionally…mostly) they would talk and bicker, he would try to learn more about the kid, he would shut down and leave. Then repeat.

This routine was getting on his nerves, which was saying something because he was usually a patient person. Or more patient at least. Maybe it was the stress of having a new class to teach? Sure, Shouta had been doing this for years and it had gotten easier, but it was still not easy.

Children never are. They're all different, different personalities, ways of learning, ways of dealing with different situations, backgrounds, and pasts. There was no instruction manual he could read to be a better teacher (no matter how much his newest coworker wished there was). You really had to play it by ear and adjust to each student's individual needs as much as you could while still being fair and consecutive with every other student.

Like he had said, hard. But rewarding despite what most believed he thought.

It was frustrating because he couldn't treat Serpentine like his students. He didn't even know the kid and yet he had somehow weaseled his way into Shouta's life and mind and didn't have hope of getting out any time soon.

That was where Eraser's mind was as he patrolled with the kid.

When he saw him he had to refrain from grimacing. The face mask covered most of Serpentine's face, but it didn’t hide the dark circles under his eyes or the tired look that dominated his entire expression.

He reminded him of himself…and that wasn't something that Shouta was happy about.

Something had happened. A person doesn’t just go from tired to walking zombie within a few days. I mean, they could, but there was something else going on. Eraser had been worried when he didn't see the kid for two days and the sigh of relief that he had when he finally found him tonight was not surprising.

He couldn’t deny it anymore, he worried about the kid. He knew that technically he would be okay, that he couldn't be hurt that badly because he'd come back, but still.

Shouta had come close to death more times than he could count and none of those experiences were fun ones. They had all taken something from him and burned themselves into his mind forever. Almost dying was scaring…and he couldn’t imagine what actually dying must be like.

The number of emotional wounds and scars this kid must have…was terrifying. Not only that, but he wanted to die. What all did he go through for him to give up like that? Shouta didn’t know if he wanted to know the answer to that question.

He found the kid sitting on top of two criminals that were unconscious humming to himself. That seemed to be a habit of his, one that Eraser found endearing.

The hero walked towards the kid and sighed, making his presence known. "You look like crap."

"Hello to you too Eraser."

"It's been a few days. What, were you catching up on your beauty sleep?"

"We both know that you need that more than I do." His answer was quick and it surprised Shouta slightly. The kid was getting better at this whole, sarcastic devil-may-care thing.

He looked at the two unconscious criminals, checking what their injuries were so that he could write the report. Ugh, he really hated paperwork. "You know, I should start making you fill out the paperwork for the criminals you take down. Then maybe you'd be a bit more sympathetic and give me a break every once in a while."

Serpentine scoffed and hopped off of the criminal pile, "Haha yeah…you're funny Eraserhead."

"It was worth a shot." Shouta shrugged and leaned his back on one of the alley walls, "So, how have you been? Staying out of trouble I hope."

The kid gave him a look that was clear as day, "Aww come on, you know me better than that."

"Unfortunately."

"Eh, it's been whatever. I'm still alive, so there's that."

"You know it's not healthy for someone, especially someone your age to want to die so badly?'

"I never claimed to be healthy, just alive." The kid's smirk grew as he looked at Shouta, "And I don't know if you're one to talk about being healthy. When's the last time you took a shower? Or slept?"

Eraser squinted his eyes at the kid, "I'll have you know that I shower regularly."

"Right," Serpentine turned on his heel and began to walk out of the alley, "That's why you look homeless all of the time."

"I'm comfortable!"

"Comfortably greasy!" And the kid bolted, knowing that if he stayed any longer, he'd end up in Eraserhead's capture weapon.

 

"Oh, I know that look, you saw your son tonight!"

"He's not my son!"

Tsukauchi laughed as he followed Eraserhead through the station and grabbed a packet of paperwork for his friend. "Keep telling yourself that Shouta, maybe if you say it enough, you'll start to actually believe it."

Eraser whipped his head around and glared at the detective with his quirk adding an extra edge of intimidation.

"You know that you don't scare me." Tsuki taunted with a grin.

"You're the worst." Shouta stomped around the corner, leaving Tsukauchi to wait for him to get back.

"That's why you love me!" He called out, drawing a few officers' attention to their exchange.

"No I don't!" Shouta yelled back with no real menace.

 

Shinso wasn't having a great day.

The kids in his class weren't like the ones he had before, but he still felt like an outsider. It was partially his fault, putting up a front of not wanting to talk to anyone and scaring them off before they approached him wasn't exactly how he expected to make friends, but at least it kept him from getting hurt.

He wasn’t looking forward to going home either. He knew that as soon as he walked through the front door he would be reprimanded by his foster parents. It had been three years now that he had been with them, and they treated him with every bit of contempt as the day they took him in.

They set up rules, Shinso couldn't speak or make most noises without getting yelled at. Every time he walked into a room he was met with fearful stares and suspicious eyes. Even his foster siblings didn’t like him.

It sucked, but that was just his life. And at least he wasn't in an abusive home anymore, well physically at least. And he was used to it by now. It barely even got to him anymore.

His classmates didn't treat him any different. It was hard to be the quiet kid in class with the 'villain quirk'. It made him a target, one that they knew wouldn't be able to fight back because it would just prove their point.

That's why he was so surprised to be even mildly accepted at UA. His classmates didn't shun him or cower away. They avoided him sure, but really was his own doing. He was sure that if he gave them the chance, they'd talk to him. He might even make some friends.

Not that he'd ever let that happen.

Even though most of his classmates left him alone, there was always a few. They weren't even from his class, but they somehow found out about his quirk and made some comments as he left the building. That was why he was in such a mood.

He left school later than usual today and so he was walking home later. Even just a tiny time difference and the streets were completely different. There were more people, most of them going home from work as it was just after five.

Shinso didn't live in the best part of town. He had seen a lot more criminal take downs by that new vigilante on the news around the area. He didn't understand how someone could do that, people saw vigilantes as borderline villains, so why would they put themselves in that place?

He supposed that some of them didn't have the best intentions, but he knew that some just wanted to help people, just like him. So then why didn't they try to get their licenses and help people legally?

Maybe they had. Maybe they were like Shinso and got the short end of the stick and this was their only option. What if he ended up like that?

Hitoshi shook his head, No. You're going to be a hero. And you're going to use your quirk to help people. You're going to prove all of them wrong, prove to them that you can be a hero.

It was a nice dream, but would it actually come true?

Stop it Hitoshi! You can be a hero.

No, he had worked to get where he was, and he was going to go even further. He had to.

He took a short cut through a long alleyway to get to his house. It was one that he took everyday and didn't think anything of it being later in the day. That was until he heard footsteps behind him and his mind screeched to a halt.

"Hey, kid! Where are you going in such a rush?" A rough voiced called out from behind him.

Shinso paid him no mind and just kept walking, hoping that he would get out of this unscathed. But of course, life never really was on his side, was it?

The footsteps got louder, and the voice got colder. "I said, where are you going?"

Keep walking…just keep walking.

Maybe he'll go away-

Crap.

The guy rounded in front of Shinso, stopping him in his tracks. He was huge, at least twice his size and he looked mean. His quirk looked intimidating too, some kind of crab hand quirk or something. All he knew was that it would hurt like hell to be caught in his pinchers.

"It's rude to ignore people when they're talking to you, you kno-" One second the crab guy was leaning over Shinso, looking ready to kill him, and the next a blur of black and green dropped from the sky with a yelp and landed on the guy sending him crumpling to the ground.

"Ohhh shiitake mushrooms…I really didn’t mean to do that."

The figure stood up and nudged the guy with his bright red shoes and groaned when he didn’t move. He then bent down to check his pulse and breathed a sigh of relief that Shinso took as a sign that he didn’t kill him.

He was small, the guy who dropped from the sky. Maybe around his own age, but smaller than usual. And he was dressed head to ankle in black, the only thing that was even remotely noticeable about him (despite the god-awful shoes) was his bright green eyes and curly green hair pulled back into a bun

Oh. Shinso thought. This was that new vigilante, the one he was just thinking about. Maybe he was summoned by Shinso's thoughts…

The vigilante stood up and looked at Shinso, as if just noticing him. "Oh um, hi? Sorry about that, I wasn't planning on falling on the guy like that, I just missed my footing on the roof, and he just so happened to be there. I hope that he's not a friend of yours or anything."

"Believe me, he's not."

"Okay good. I should probably call Eraser and have him take care of this…" He seemed to go off on a little mumbled rant before he came back to reality and glanced at Shinso again. "Are you okay? Hurt at all?"

Shinso blinked. This was really weird…

"Uh, no."

"Great!" The vigilante pulled out a phone and dialed someone's number on it. "Hey Eraser, I got some fresh criminal for you in an alley here."

Eraser?

…as in Eraserhead?

"Serpentine? How did you get my number?" The voice on the other end asked, the volume on the phone turned all the way up so Shinso could hear the conversation even though it wasn't on speaker.

The vigilante scoffed and nudged the crab man with his foot again. "Your lack of faith in me is hurtful."

"It’s not lack of faith, it's me wondering hOW YOU GOT MY NUMBER! Do you even have a phone?"

"Duh, what teenager doesn’t have a phone?"

"A dead one."

I'm sorry, a wHAT?

"Touché. Anyway, you better come pick this punk up before he wakes up. When I dropped in, he didn't seem too friendly."

Was that…a pun?

There was a long groan on the other line followed by some muffled conversation that Shinso couldn't quite make out, "I'll be there in five. Send me the location."

"You got it!"

"And don't go anywhere."

"No promises," The vigilante replied back in singsong.

Another sigh and then the call ended.

What just happened?

Chapter Text

"Well, he should be here soon. While we wait for him," The vigilante thrust out his hand to Shinso, "I'm Serpentine."

"I'm aware." Shinso shook it wearily, as if it might hurt him if he made any sudden movements. "Uh, thanks…for taking down that guy."

The vigilante looked down at the still unconscious thug, "What, him? Oh, that was a complete accident, but I'm glad that I could help. Why was he bothering you anyway?"

"Who knows. It's nothing new though," The purple haired kid that looked almost as tired as Izuku did answered with his hands in his pockets and refusing to meet his eyes.

He looked around his age, and he was scrawny. Kinda scary looking with the shadows falling on his face the way they did, but to Izuku he just looked cool. "What's that mean?"

Shinso looked at the vigilante, he hadn't expected for him to continue the conversation. That was the perfect opportunity for him to stop talking, so why didn't he? It didn't make sense. "Nothing, don't worry about it. And you don't have to talk to me you know."

Izuku plopped down beside the unconscious criminal and patted the ground next to him, "Come sit." He stretched out his short legs and began to fidget with one of the hair ties on his wrist. "Talk to me, what did you mean that it wasn't anything new?"

Hitoshi complied to the vigilante's request hesitantly. Was he really about to have a heart-to-heart with Serpentine? Really? Well, it wasn't like he had anywhere to be anyway, and he definitely didn't want to go home.

"No, it's nothing just-" He met the vigilante's green eyes that seemed to be tearing into his soul and gave up trying to dodge. He somehow knew that even if he did, he wouldn't get very far. "I get bullied sometimes."

Izuku hummed under his face mask, he knew all about that. "Why?"

"My quirk. They say that it's a 'villain's quirk' and that I can never be a hero with a quirk like that. It really sucks because I've wanted to be a hero ever since I was little and I even took the entrance exam for the hero course at UA, but I didn't pass because my quirk wasn't physically powerful enough."

"And I bet that gave them even more to say."

"Yeah…" Shinso scoffed, thinking back to how bad the bullying had gotten just before he graduated middle school. He would come home with black eyes and bruises all over and his foster parents just completely ignored it. His foster dad even went as far to say that he deserved it one night at dinner. "But it's been getting better lately."

"And what does your family think about this?"

Crap. Hitoshi didn't exactly want to talk about his family issues with some random stranger, ever if he was a up and coming vigilante. He barely knew the guy! "Oh, they're fine…" Serpentine looked at Hitoshi out of the side of his eyes and he knew that his lie wasn't as good as he wanted it to be.

He tried again, "This home is a lot better than my last one. They don't hit me and they provide everything that I need."

"That sounds like basic human decency to me. Did they even try to stop the bullying?"

"Um," What was this? Why was he so interested in Hitoshi's life? "Not-not exactly…but it's okay! It's not their fault that I have such a villainous quirk. I'm just glad that they took me in and continue to take care of me."

"So, you're a foster kid?"

It wasn't really something he liked talking about. Remembering that his parents apparently didn't love him enough to keep him and just dumped him at the door of the closest orphanage wasn't exactly a happy memory.

He had been through six different homes before this one. All of which condemned him for his quirk and got rid of him as soon as they possibly could. This home was the longest one he had ever had. The couple that fostered him had three other foster children that they took care of. They were nice enough, but they were of course wary of him and what he could do.

So, they took some precautions in the house. Hitoshi was not allowed to speak while at home. The whole family took up sign language classes so that they'd be able to communicate with him, and he had a designated notebook he was to talk with at school since he technically wasn’t supposed to talk there either, but he didn't really use it.

They made sure that everyone he was around knew of his quirk and exactly how it worked so that they could be prepared and take their own precautions. And Hitoshi was usually secluded in his room except for mealtimes and other special occasions.

It was to ensure their safety from him. Sure, it was unnecessary, and yeah, it hurt, but if it made them feel better, then he'd deal with it. He'd be out of the house soon anyway and then they wouldn't have to deal with him anymore.

Something that they did when they first took him in was forcing him to attend weekly classes on how to be a good citizen. They'd make him watch villain rehabilitation videos and lectures on how to properly help people. Things to try to teach the villain out of him.

Once Hitoshi told them his desire to be a hero they eased up on the classes and videos. They probably assumed that if he wanted to be a hero then he didn't want to be a villain and therefore they didn't have to deal with those anymore.

Like he said, they really were nice people who had taken him in and kept him longer than anyone else. They did slip up and yell or say something mean to him every once in a while, but they tried their best to keep things civil between them, which he appreciated.

"Are they good?" Serpentine's voice pulled Hitoshi out of his head and he hummed questioningly. "Your foster parents, are they good people?"

Were his foster parents good people? They took him in, so they must be, right? "I think so, yeah."

The vigilante nodded, staring at nothing in particular. Brain working a million miles a minute no doubt, "Do they love you?"

It came out of nowhere, and probably shouldn't have caught Shinso as off guard as it did. But the question hung in the air as he looked at the vigilante who was now searching his eyes for an answer. "I-" Hitoshi didn't know how to answer the question. He didn’t really know what love felt like, all he had ever had was tolerance at best.

Was what his foster parents did for him love? He read about love in books and saw it on tv, but it looked different there. According to them, love was self-sacrificing. Love was putting someone else first and doing everything you can to be there for them and be with them. Love was encouraging one another and listening to them when they needed you to. It's seeing the worst part of them and staying anyways.

That wasn't what Hitoshi had. And he didn't think he ever has.

"…no. I don't think they do."

People who love you express that love, whether it be in telling you verbally, or showing it through their actions. That's not what his foster parents did.

Hitoshi felt a drop of liquid on his hand that was resting in his lap. What? Is it raining? He looked up to see that the alley was covered above them and then he felt another drop run down his cheek. He lifted a hand up to his face to find that he was crying.

"Oh wow, um," He scrambled to his feet and retreated to the alley wall to wipe his face and pull himself together. I can't believe I let myself cry in front of a vigilante. The vigilante! How pathetic can you get…

"It's alright." A low voice sounded quietly behind him. Hitoshi turned around to see Serpentine looking at him with sad eyes. Ones that were very different from before. "It's okay to cry, sometimes. When you need to."

"W-what?" This was too much for Shinso.

"Bottling up your emotions like that isn't healthy and will just hurt you in the long run. Believe me, I would know." He got up and stretched as he continued on. "Crying doesn't make you weak. It proves that you're strong, strong enough to care."

"I-" Hitoshi tried, but the words failed to form as he stared at the sad-eyed vigilante in next to him. The weight of his words…they held so much feeling, so much anguish. It made him sad.

He had never been much of a vigilante sympathizer, in his eyes, they were one step away from villainy and that was one step too close. But as he sat here with Serpentine, someone who was as human as he was, who had feelings like he did, he had to reconsider.

What had he been through to elicit such pain in his expression?

"What's your name?" The sudden question drew Hitoshi from his thoughts once again. The mood had shifted, as if that entire conversation hadn't just happened, and the vigilante looked at him with an expectant raised eyebrow.

"Uh, Shinso…Hitoshi Shinso."

"Hmm, good. It'd be pretty awkward for us to exchange tragic back stories and not even know each other's names."

Hitoshi's eyebrows furrowed, "But I don't know your name."

"Well duh," Serpentine scoffed, "That's kinda the whole idea."

"I-" He started but was cut off by cloth shooting from the mouth of the alley and wrapping Serpentine up like a burrito.

Both boys turned to where the cloth came from and found a red-eyed Eraserhead glaring at them, or Serpentine mostly.

"This is a bit overkill, don'tcha think Eraser?"

"When it comes to you, nothing is enough."

"Okay, that's fair."

The underground hero released the vigilante from his scarf and walked towards them, taking in the scene. All the while, Hitoshi was fangirling in silence at his aLL TIME FAVORITE HERO SHOWING UP AND HE WAS HERE STANDING IN FRONT OF HIM AND-

Stop.

Keep your cool Hitoshi, he's just a hero…

Just the cOOLEST HERO EVER!!!!

The hero walked closer to them and examined the still unconscious thug on the ground. He looked up after he determined that he was still alive, "You did this?" He asked Serpentine with tired eyes.

The vigilante just nodded and the hero sighed deeply.

"Well, he's not dead so there's that."

"Hey now, we both know I've never killed anyone. I'm the one who wants to die, remember?"

Another sigh, "How could I forget…" He then seemed to take Hitoshi into account and looked him over. He nodded his head towards Shinso and asked, "He with you?"

"No, I found him!"

"Oh my god…"

"I slipped off of the roof and landed on that criminal who was threatening him! I saved his life and then we talked about our tragic backstories!"

"And we both know you have plenty of that," Eraserhead rolled his eyes and brought his hands up to his temple to rub as if fighting an oncoming headache. "Are you hurt?" He asked Hitoshi who was still staring wide eyed at the interaction in front of him. "Any emotional trauma? Well, any that wasn’t caused by this one?" He jabbed his thumb at Serpentine, who smiled innocently under his mask and, Hitoshi was just noticing, was somehow free from Eraserhead's capture weapon.

Hitoshi shook his head, still not able to calm himself down enough to function like a proper human being. Pull it together Hitoshi!

"Okay. I'm going to need both of you to come to the station with me to give statements." Before he even finished his sentence his scarf shot out and wrapped Serpentine up once again, who had looked like he was trying to run away. "Not so fast. You need to learn to deal with the consequences of your own actions, and that means paperwork."

"But I don’t wannaaaaaaa," the vigilante whined while Eraserhead dragged him out of the alley with the criminal draped over his other shoulder and motioned for Hitoshi to come too.

"I don't care. You fight, you write, that's how it goes."

Serpentine groaned and pouted as he continued to be dragged the entire way to the police station.

 

"Tsuki!" Eraserhead dragged Serpentine through the station doors as if it was just another Tuesday and the vigilante hadn't stopped grumbling until he saw one of the detectives who, when he saw him, seemed to age ten years.

"Serpentine…" He took in the situation and rubbed his forehead before turning to Eraserhead, "Dang, looks like I owe you twenty dollars."

At this the underground hero smirked and yanked Serpentine to his feet. The vigilante looked between the two of them with a look of betrayal in his eyes. "Have you two been betting on me??"

"Yes." Both answered at the same time and chuckled.

"I was hoping that you'd take a bit longer to bring in, but it seems that Eraser has stepped up his game."

"I don't know about that. If he really wanted to get away, I have no doubt that he could. He probably just wanted to see you again and annoy the two of us as much as possible."

"That's not true!" Serpentine cried out with a scoff. "I also wanted to spend more time with my new friend." He gestured at Hitoshi with his head.

Eraserhead sighed and the detective laughed, an interesting dynamic if Shinso had ever seen one. "I feel sorry for you if Serpentine now considers you his friend." He patted Hitoshi's shoulder and then the two of them turned and started walking through the station, still dragging the vigilante behind him and carrying the criminal on his shoulder.

The hero dropped the criminal off in an interrogation room and made sure that he was restrained for when he eventually woke up, while Hitoshi, the detective, and a burritoed Serpentine waited in the hallway.

"Geez, what did you do to knock that guy out so cold?" The detective nudged the vigilante's shoulder.

"It was an accident!" He cried.

The detective scoffed and crossed his arms, "Of course it was." He looked over at Hitoshi, who was awkwardly just going along with whatever happened, because he had absolutely no idea what to do in this situation. He must've picked up on his discomfort because he stretched out his hand in front of Serpentine who stood in between the two of them, "I'm detective Tsukauchi. And you must be the new friend that Serpentine was talking about, right?"

Hitoshi let out a nervous laugh and accepted the detective's outstretched hand. "Apparently so. My name is Hitoshi Shinso."

"It's very nice to meet you Shinso."

Eraserhead finally came out of the interrogation room with a sigh, "You really did a number on him kid."

"I diDN'T MEAN TO!"

Chapter Text

Katsuki walked into UA with an attitude that he thought he'd never see himself with. He looked around at all of the students and teachers walking through the halls and felt a sense of humbleness.

He was here, he was actually here. He was going to be a hero and help people…

A very different goal than he had in the past.

Past Katsuki only cared about winning and being the best and he didn't care who he had to walk over to get there, but things were different now. He saw just how much that mentality hurts him and, more importantly, those around him. A hero was supposed to save people, to put others before themselves and risk their lives for the well being of those who can't.

That wasn't what Katsuki had wanted to do. His ambitions were selfish and greedy and led to the hurt of everyone around him. He didn't want to be that person anymore. He wanted to help people, he wanted to bring comfort and hope to them like All Might did. He wanted to win sure, but he had a new mentality: win to save and save to win.

There couldn't be one without the other. He couldn't count it as a win if he didn't protect those who couldn't protect themselves, and he couldn't protect anyone if he was too weak.

I won't be that person anymore. I refuse to intentionally hurt the people I care about just to rise to the top. I will be better.

I have to be…for Izuku.

Izuku had it right. He knew exactly what it was to be a hero and he had everything it took. If only Katsuki hadn’t crushed his dreams, if only he hadn't driven him to-

If only he had been just a bit more observant that day…maybe he would've noticed that something was wrong. Sure, he didn't know about Auntie Inko's death yet or about whatever else Izuku was going through, but he should've been able to tell.

They grew up together. They knew more about each other than anyone else.

He should've been able to tell. Then maybe he would still be here.

"Hey Bakugou!" A loud voice yanked Katsuki from his spiraling thoughts and he realized that he was standing in front of his classroom. Class 1-A.

He turned to find that girl from the exam. Uraraka, he thought her name was.

The two of them woke up in the UA infirmary after the exam and got the chance to introduce themselves before Recovery Girl came to do her last checkups to make sure that both of them were okay and then sent them home.

Looking at her now was very different then seeing her during or after the exam. She had this air of warmth about her, maybe it was because she looked so welcoming with her round chocolate eyes and bright smile, or maybe that was just Uraraka.

"Oh, hey." He turned to look at her, "It's Uraraka right?"

"Yep!" She smiled at him and Katsuki felt like he had just been hit with a sudden wave of heat or something. How was it possible for someone to be so cheery? Not even Izuku was this cheery. "Pretty cool that we're both in the same class, don't you think?"

That was a good point. He didn't doubt that she would pass the exam, but what were the odds that the two of them would end up in the same class together? "Yeah. Hey, we'd better head in, wouldn't want to be late on our first day."

Inside of the 1-A classroom was interesting. There were all kinds of students, ones that had physically manifested or obvious quirks, ones with more subtle appearances, ones that just gave off powerful vibes, and ones that were a lot more chill. It was nice, looking at people through this new perspective.

He felt like he was finally able to appreciate those around him, rather than discounting them right off the bat.

As the two of them walked across the front of the classroom, Katsuki noticed something strange out of the corner of his eye and stopped to look. It was a large yellow sleeping bag peaking out from behind the teacher's desk and it looked to have something in it.

Well, that's not creepy at all…

He took another second to stare at whatever that was and then continued to his seat that just so happened to be right in front of Uraraka. What were the odds…

 

Turns out the thing that was in the obnoxious sleeping bag was their homeroom teacher Shouta Aizawa. Honestly, Katsuki hadn't believed it at first, the guy looked like he hadn't showered or slept in weeks, and he had literally just crawled out of a sleeping bag. Not exactly what he expected his teacher to look like, but the longer he looked at him the more he realized that despite his appearance, there was this air about him.

It was hard to explain, but Katsuki knew that all of the teachers at UA were pro heroes, and he could tell that this one was not one to mess with. The way he held himself just standing in front of the class was enough to prove this.

After introducing himself, he told the class to change into their gym uniforms and meet him outside. He led them behind the school to an open area and explained that they were going to go through a quirk assessment to see where they stood.

He also threatened that the student with the lowest score would be immediately expelled, and he was pretty sure that he saw one boy with purple hair burst into tears.

 

Katsuki did well in the assessments. He wasn't just being cocky, if there was one thing that he did have, it was good control over his quirk and different ways to use it so that he could overcome almost any obstacle.

That was Izuku's idea. When he first got his quirk, most people focused on its offensive ability, but Izuku immediately began to think and speculate on how it could be used. He had helped Katsuki learn different techniques and strategies to use in most situations before their…falling out.

And by falling out, Katsuki of course meant when he learned of Izuku's quirklessness and immediately discarded him as a friend and human being.

 

The assessment ended. Overall, the class did pretty well in Katsuki's eyes. Of course, there was always room for improvement, but from what he could tell, all of his classmates were strong and determined. Well…almost all of them.

During the tests, he kept hearing the purple-haired kid make comments and little jokes that were making everyone, the girls especially, more and more uncomfortable. It got so bad that after a particular comment a guy with red spiky hair literally punched him for what he said. Katsuki didn't hear it, but going by the people around him, it was bad.

Mr. Aizawa went through each of their scores and talked a bit before he paused and called the name of the kid with purple hair-Mineta. The kid walked up to the glaring teacher whimpering and Mr. Aizawa told the remainder of the class to go on about the rest of their day and that they'd see him later.

They continued with their first day, being introduced to their teachers and getting accustomed to UA and how it did things. If today was any indication, then Katsuki was in for a wild year.

 

Shouta was right, this year's litter was interesting.

The two who made a big impression during the exam were in his class (because of course they were) along with a few more characters. He had a diverse class this year, and he just hoped that most of them would make it to their second year without being expelled, but that was completely on them.

The first day ended and Shouta felt like he had a solid grasp on each student's potential. Like he said, this class might just surprise him if they focus and pay attention, but he did already have to expel one student. He watched him thoroughly throughout the day and decided that he did not have the potential or conviction to be a proper hero if he was going to act the way he did.

It might've been a quick decision, but Shouta trusted his instincts, and they were telling him that the kid was bad news.

All too soon, the rest of the week came and before he knew it, they were in the USJ waiting for All Might to show up so they could begin their rescue training.

But All Might wouldn't be coming…Thirteen informed Shouta that he had used almost all of his time this morning and that Nezu was making him stay in the teacher's lounge to rest.

The idiot. He had a responsibility to these students. When you become a teacher, they become your number one priority. It doesn't matter that he's the number one hero, he has very limited time to give this class and as such, he needs to be careful and use it to the best of his ability.

Shouta would have to have a talk with him at the end of the day.

Thirteen had been explaining what they were doing today when the hairs on Shouta's neck stood up and he whipped around to notice a purple blob expanding right behind them. This wasn't right…today was supposed to just be rescue exercises and he had never seen anything like this-

A pale hand emerged from the blob and Eraserhead's mind completely switched gears. He pulled his goggles on and crouched into a fighting stance as he yelled at his students to stand back.

"W-what's going on…is this part of the-"

"I said stay back! Those are real villains!"

It was just a hunch, but it was better to be safe than sorry. And once the blob got big enough, more and more people came from it following someone covered in pale hands and wearing red shoes that reminded him way too much of Serpentine.

Not the time Shouta!

"I thought you said that All Might would be here. Was our information wrong?" The hand villain asked the blob that was more recognizable as some sort of person with no tangible body from the looks of it.

"It's seems so Tomura, shall we retreat and try again another day?" The blob, or mist villain responded.

"Hmm," Tomura, apparently, pondered, "Nah, better make an impression while we're here. A few dead students outta do the trick, don't you think?"

Shouta flinched as he heard the two discussing killing his students. No…no he wouldn’t let that happen…he couldn't.

"Over my dead body." Shouta stepped forward and readied his capture weapon as Thirteen ushered the kids away.

The hand villain stepped closer too and smirked from behind the hand that lay over his face, "That can be arranged."

"Mr. Aizawa-!"

"Kurogiri."

Before Shouta could even turn around, the mist villain was already upon his students who were screaming and trying to scramble away. And then they were just…gone.

He turned back to the hand villain with a scowl, "What did you do to them?" He growled.

"Oh, they're fine. For now, at least." Kurogiri moved to the large group of villains behind the hand villain and soon they disappeared as well. "If I were you, I'd worry about myself." But not all of them.

 

This was bad. Like this was really, REALLY BAD! Shouta was an underground hero known for stealth and quick take downs. His quirk and fighting style were perfect for that, but he was surrounded by dozens of villains all coming at him at once and he didn’t know how much longer he could fight like that.

Don't get him wrong, he was winning, but for how long?

It didn't help that that hand villain, Shigaraki was his name apparently, was watching and analyzing him fight, but there wasn't much he could do about that at the moment.

Okay, half of the villains were down, if Shouta could hold out just a little but longer-

Just then, Shigaraki moved and Eraser couldn't dodge out of the way fast enough. He ended up behind him and then a sudden burning pain exploded from his right elbow.

Shouta chanced a look to see what had happened, and found his elbow flaking away and Shigaraki smirking at him. It must've had something to do with his quirk then. Eraser canceled the effect of the quirk which only succeeded in slowing down the disintegration process, but that would have to do for now.

He knocked out the villain that he was currently fighting and then jabbed his leg behind him, landing a solid kick to Shigaraki's gut and sending him flying back.

I have to finish this quickly. There's no telling how much longer I'll be able to hold out.

It took Shigaraki a bit to recover and when he did, Shouta was just finishing off his little gang of goons.

"I bet you think you're all that, don't you." He panted as he began to slowly walk towards Eraser.

He shrugged and got into a fighting pose, "It seems that way. I'm going to make you regret ever stepping foot in UA and attacking my students."

"Oh yeah?" The look on the villain's face wasn't right. It wasn’t the look of someone who was bluffing, but Shouta had just taken out his army so why-

Shigaraki snapped his fingers and every thought left Shouta as he was slammed into the ground by an unknown force. Eraser coughed as the air entered back into his lungs and he realized what had just happened.

There was some sort of…creature sitting on top of him. He tried to cancel it's quirk, but nothing happened. How was that possible? It had to have some sort of strength or speed quirk so why wasn't his quirk working-?

"I bet you're wondering why you can't cancel Nohmu's quirk. Well, that's because there's just too many quirks to cancel."

…what?

"You know, you're actually really cool Eraserhead," Shigaraki knelt down beside Shouta and smiled at him, "It's too bad that you're too much of a nuisance to keep alive. We brought Nohmu here to kill All Might, but I guess that a little warm up couldn't hurt. Not that you have any chance against it anyway."

"Shigaraki, I swear if you hurt any of my-" Before Shouta could finish his threat the Nohmu shoved his face into the concrete with a crack.

"Mr. Aizawa!"

Chapter Text

 

"Shut up," The villain whined as he side stepped the growing pool of blood coming from Shouta's face, "You may be cool Eraser, but you're a huge pain in the butt. And for that, you must die before you become even more of a problem."

He didn't move again, not even when the Nohmu eventually got off of him or when he was apparently carried away by his students. He couldn't wake up no matter how hard he tried or how much he screamed in his head.

He was helpless…useless. And he hated it.

 

Shouta woke up with a gasp and was met with complete darkness. After a moment he began to panic. The quiet beeping that was steady in the background began to increase as his thoughts ran rapid.

The last thing he remembered was getting his face slammed into the concrete…and then again…and again…and again until he eventually passed out. What if that thing had permanently damaged his eyes? His quirk wouldn't work without his eyes. He wouldn't ever be able to see his students, or his friends, or his problem child ever again-

Before he could go into even deeper of a spiral, he heard a soft thud and the sound of something sliding open and then the crash and grunt of someone falling and cursing under their breath.

"Kid??"

The only person who would be stupid and crazy enough to literally fall through the locked window of a hospital was Serpentine, and honestly, Shouta wouldn't put it past him.

"Surprise?"

 

Izuku had heard about the attack on the school and about Eraserhead's condition. That one had taken some digging, but he also managed to figure out what hospital he was at and even the room number he was in.

He wasn't sure if he should be thankful or scared that this information was this easy to find. Not that it was too easy, because it wasn't, but it would be something that he'd have to bring up to Eraser once he recovered.

Then Izuku found himself looking at the front of the hospital, actually the same hospital he escaped right after he came back for the first time. According to his info, Eraser was on the sixth floor in room 6-C…

He could do that.

It wasn't difficult to scale the building, what was difficult was staying out of sight of both the patients in other rooms and the people outside who could see him. And snapping the lock off of the window from the outside was also not a walk in the park, but he still managed to do it.

He just hoped that he had the right room.

Once he got the window open, Izuku tried to shimmy his way through gracefully, but he hadn't ever done anything graceful in his entire life, so why would this be any different?

It wouldn't. And that's why he wasn't surprised when he fell through the window and crashed to the floor letting out a string of words under his breath that he never would've said before.

"Kid??"

Eraser's voice snapped him out of his pity party and when he saw the frantic mummified figure of the pro hero, Izuku felt his heart ease. He could see for himself that he was okay. That he wasn't hurt too badly or…

Did he really care about him that much? Had they gotten that close over the past few months?

"Surprise?"

Even though, he probably couldn't see him, Eraserhead's head snapped in Izuku's direction, and he could just tell that he was glaring at him.

After another few seconds of him *probably* glaring at him, Eraser let out a sigh in relief. "What are you doing here problem child? And did I just hear you fall through the window?"

"Haha…yeah."

"How far up are we?"

"Six floors."

"Oh my-you know what? I'm not even going to try. Why are you here?"

Izuku crossed the room and sat in the chair beside Eraser's hospital bed. "Is it that hard to believe that I was worried about you?"

He couldn't even see his face, but Izuku knew-he knew that Eraser was rolling his eyes under his bandages. The jerk.

"In all seriousness, I was actually worried and wanted to come and see that you were alright for myself."

"I-" The hero started but stopped as if trying to find the right words, "Thank you. For coming to see me…even though I can't actually see you right now."

Izuku shot up from his chair, "Oh yeah!" He walked towards the closed door and opened it gingerly before peeking his head outside to make sure that no one was around. Once he determined that the cost was clear, he nabbed the chart from where it sat in the wall cubby thing and carried it back to his seat. "Let's have a look at your chart. I got some details from snooping, but not a lot."

"You what?"

"Chill out, it wasn't anything too illegal."

According to Eraser's chart, he came out of that whole situation incredibly lucky. Especially considering how much damage he obtained.

His right elbow was quote 'chipping away' and his face was almost completely shattered due to whatever that Nomu thing they were talking about did to him. There didn't seem to be any permanent damage, just some scarring.

Izuku let out a breath and silently thanked God. It could've turned out so much different if All Might hadn't shown up and defeated the monster. Or if his students hadn't gotten him away when they did.

"What does it say?" Eraser asked eagerly.

Izuku hummed, "Nothing much, there's no permanent damage, but you will have a few scars. But that's not really bad news, scars are cool."

The hero scoffed and let out a relieved chuckle, "Yeah…yeah, I guess they are."

"Were you worried?"

"About what?"

"What happened to you. What had been done to you. Were you scared that your sight was gone? Is that why you looked so scared when I dropped in?"

Another scoff, "I guess even with whatever is on my face, you can still read me like an open book."

"Eh, not really. I just happened to get lucky this time."

"I'm glad though. I don't know what I would've done if I had lost my sight…"

Izuku looked at the hero, the hero that was bandaged from literal head to toe from his fight with villains that infiltrated the school and he had to hold off by himself from what Izuku read. "You'd still be a great hero. With or without your sight."

"I guess you're right."

"Of course I am!"

Before Eraser could retort the door to the room opened and both of them tensed, not expecting anyone to come in. Izuku had nowhere to run, so he would just have to deal with whoever was coming in.

The door opened fully to reveal a surprised looking Tsukauchi before his face relaxed into a more tired expression. "Why am I not surprised?"

"Hey Tsuki!"

Tsukauchi walked in followed shortly by someone with blond hair and glasses. If Izuku didn't know any better, he'd say that was Present Mic in a man bun and hipster glasses coming to visit Eraserhead.

He walked in and noticed Izuku sitting beside Eraser's bed and stiffened. "Oh…hey listener. We didn't know that Shouta had any visitors."

"He doesn't. This little gremlin probably broke in here." Tsukauchi commented and received a point and wink in confirmation from Serpentine. "Oh my god. What did you break?"

"Just the window lock."

"JuST THE WINDOW-" He cut himself and held the sides of his head with his hands as he tried to calm himself down.

Present Mic watched the exchange with wide eyes, before he turned to Izuku and looked him up and down. Something seemed to click, and he smiled, "You must be Serpentine. Shouta has told me a lot about you."

"Eraser talks about me?"

"He sure does!"

"Zashi…" Eraser's voice came as a warning.

"First names huh? He must be one of those friends you were talking about, right Eraser?"

The hero sighed as Present Mic laughed and even Tsuki snickered from the corner of the room.

"But if you use his first name, why don't you call Tsukauchi by his first name?"

This time the detective groaned before he joined the rest of them surrounding Eraser. "We do it to annoy him. Tsuki sounds a lot cuter than Naomasa so that's what we call him."

"And I hate it."

"But you love us!" Present Mic leaned his head on Tsukauchi's shoulder only to be brushed off resulting in him and Izuku laughing, Tsuki huffing, and Eraser looking at them with what was probably a confused face. He then turned to Izuku with a smile, "We're only a few of Shouta's friends. Another should be showing up any minute now…"

"Oh no. No, no, no, no, pLEASE ZASHI NO!"

"It's too late, she just texted me that she's on her way up!"

Mic and Tsukauchi looked ecstatic for whoever was coming, but Izuku could just feel the dread seeping off of Eraser. Who could be coming that caused him so much grief…?

"Hey Eraser!" The door slammed open and a woman with green hair and a smile so bright that Izuku actually thought that the room got brighter walked in.

"Ms. Joke?"

"Fukukado…"

It was crazy how many pros Izuku was able to recognize outside of their hero costumes. Guess that's what happens when you spend pretty much your entire life studying and analyzing everything about them.

Ms. Joke crossed the room and sat in the last open chair around Eraser's hospital bed. "Come now Shouta, what happened to Emi?"

"I only call you Emi when I actually like you."

"So, you admit that you like me?"

"I dO NOT!"

"Aww, come on Sho, we all know that you two are bound to get together. Why resist it so much?"

"Shut up Hizashi! I do not like her!" Eraser tried his best to defend himself and snapped his head to where he probably thought that Tsuki was (and was correct, which was really scary/cool) "Don't you dare say a thing Tsuki."

The detective held up his hands in defense, "Wasn’t going to."

"Shouta, who's this? No wait, let me guess!" Ms. Joke seemed very excitable, although Izuku supposed that she was always like that from what he knew of her. She took in Izuku and it was a minute before she spoke up again.

Izuku was glad that he had the mind to slip into his vigilante garb before coming, otherwise, he'd be in trouble. (Not that Tsuki and Eraser didn't already probably know who he was)

"Ohh! Is this that Serpentine kid you always talk about??"

"I do not talk about him!"

The three friends laughed at Eraser's outburst while he huffed and crossed his bandages arms.

"No need to be so defensive Shouta, we're all friends here. Even your son-" Tsuki didn’t even get to finish his sentence before a pillow was thrown at his face faster than any of them had thought possible and with creepily perfect accuracy from someone who literally looked like a mummy.

This just sent them into even more laughter which Izuku joined in with.

Chapter Text

Izuku had begun to pick up the slack while Eraser was in the hospital recovering.

It wasn't like the hero had asked Izuku to or anyone else for that matter. And there were other heroes that were in the area already and more than capable to handle the nightly patrols themselves, but it just felt right.

While he patrolled Eraserhead's usual spots, he made sure to be careful and attentive. This was more than him just keeping an ear out for kicks and giggles, so he needed to treat it as such. Tsukauchi was surprised the first time Izuku called the station to report a robbery that he had stopped and told the young boy to bring the perpetrators down and fill out some quick paperwork.

It struck Izuku as weird that they just let him do that. He was a vigilante, why weren't they trying to capture him or take him down? Sure, he wasn't hurting anyone, and he technically wasn't breaking any laws, but still…

"Hey Tsuki."

"Serpentine, this must be what you called about?"

"Yep, can I have the paperwork? I really need to get back."

This caused the detective to let out a chuckle while he laid a small stack of papers in front of the vigilante. "You only need to fill out the first stapled papers, but I have a feeling that you'll be back."

"Thanks."

Izuku sat down and began to fill out what Eraser had showed him a few weeks ago while Tsuki took the robbers to either a cell or an interrogation room. He came back not too long after and Izuku was just finishing up, "You seem to be taking this very seriously, any particular reason?"

"Nope. Thanks Tsuki, I'll be back in a bit!" And he was out the station doors before the detective could get another word out.

Two officers walking by watched the vigilante skip right past them and out of the station. They stopped in their tracks and looked at each other, making sure that they both just saw the same thing.

"Was that Serpentine?"

"Did we just witness a known vigilante literally skip away from the police?"

They stared at each other for a minute longer before one of them sipped their coffee and shrugged as he continued to walk. "I didn't see anything."

"If Tsukauchi didn't see, then neither did I."

 

They were right of course; Serpentine had paid about four more visits to the station to drop off criminals and fill out the incident reports before going out again.

Each time he'd catch the attention of some police officers just trying to do their job and the poor guys would just gape at the young vigilante running in and out of the station and chatting with the detective.

None of them really knew what to do about the situation. They knew the rules about vigilantism, but neither the chief nor Tsukauchi had directly said anything to them about Serpentine, so most of them just tried to stay out of it as such as they could.

But the sight of the detective having banter with the kid and watching him come and go with a glint of affection in his eyes was what really caught them all off guard.

They decided not to mention it. No one wanted to be on Tsukauchi's bad side.

 

It was nice, helping people semi officially. A small part of Izuku wondered if he might've been able to have this is another life. If maybe he could've applied and gotten into UA to train to be a hero. Maybe work beside Eraserhead for a bit and then eventually branch off and work his way up the hero rankings.

Although, Izuku wasn't sure that if he had his choice now, he would choose to be a daylight hero. They were in the spotlight and had to deal with the media and their image and all of that frivolous stuff that underground heroes just got to brush off and really focus on their work.

He shook his head, that wasn't possible. He knew that he couldn’t be a hero. Even if there was a possibility, what were they going to do, enroll the dead kid in a hero school? And that didn't even take into consideration his quirk and how far behind his classmates he would be.

Even if he did manage to get into UA, he'd just be a dead weight. Better to utilize his skills here where he was useful.

 

Izuku had just left the station for the fourth time and was walking down a street when he heard something in an alley he had just passed.

Why? Why is it always the alleys? Why can't anything happen in the middle of the well-lit street?

He poked his head to try and see what was happening and was shocked when he saw one of the daylight heroes beating up some criminal.

What were they doing? Their patrol was hours ago and not near here at all, so what was going on?

If Izuku was right it was that pro Conductor. From what he knew, the hero was relatively new, hadn't even been on the scene five years yet. His quirk was Electrostatic: he was able to generate and manipulate the static electricity around him. The hero was actually extremely creative with his quirk, utilizing it to form different weapons and even using it defensively, it was impressive.

It didn't take the pro long to finish his take down and once he did Izuku tried to bolt (haha get it) before he saw him, but of course that did not work out. "Hold it." The hero's voice was loud as he called to Izuku from down the alley. "Who are you and what is your business?"

"Business? Oh, I don't have any business. I was actually just about to leave and let you do your thing, so if I could just-" He had tried to leave the mouth of the alley but found that an electric field was stopping him. He turned back to the hero with an incredulous look on his face, "Seriously?"

"I would watch your tone if I were you."

"Look man, I'm really just trying to get out of your hair. If you could just let me leave, then you won't have to see me ever again."

Conductor scoffed as he tied up the criminal he had taken down and began to walk towards Izuku. "I know you…you're that new vigilante! Serpentine, wasn't it?"

Izuku sighed, he still wasn't used to people recognizing him and he didn't think he ever would be. "I guess."

"Hmph," The mood of the alley changed in an instant. What was once cautious and left room for playfulness was now…less than. "I've heard all about you, can't for the life of me figure out why they haven't apprehended you yet, but I guess if someone's gotta do it-"

Oh.

…oH-this was bad. Oh, this couldn't be worse…actually it could, but still.

Izuku was trapped in an alley with a hero that wanted him captured and he had no way of escaping. Great.

"Hey now-" Izuku held up his hands in front of his chest and slowly backed away from the approaching hero, "I'm not looking for any trouble, I actually love your work. You could call me quite the hero fan."

"Hero fan or not, you're still a vigilante and need to be taken down." Conductor cracked his knuckled and charged up his fists with an attack.

Izuku frantically looked around for literally any way he could get out of this. The mouth of the alley was caged off with electricity, any dumpsters were further down, the two fire escapes were also farther down (traitors) and Conductor was slowly getting closer.

The only way he could think of to get out was to go through the pro.

…or around.

A plan formed in his head. It was a stupid one and one that may just get him captured, but he hoped desperately that it would work. He would just have to not get fried and die before he could escape.

"Come on kid, don't make this harder than it needs to be." The hero palmed his hands together and slowly drew them apart, a move that Izuku knew he frequently used to immobilize his opponents. If he hit him with it, then Izuku would go down and have no hope of escaping.

Of course, if he was brought to Tsuki he'd probably be fine, but who's to say that even then he'd be safe? What if the detective has just been waiting for the right opportunity to take him in? Would Eraser be in on it? It is a bit suspicious that the hero hasn’t tried to apprehend him himself.

Stop it Izuku! Focus now, worry later.

Right, okay…just charge and hope that Conductor isn't as agile as he is.

Izuku took off, running full speed at the static hero thinking to himself just how stupid a plan this is. Conductor froze in shock only for a moment, but that was all that Izuku needed. He dodged the hero's stunning attack and used his momentum to run up the side of the alley wall.

It wasn't as affective as he wanted it to be, but it was affective enough. He made it around the hero and booked it to the other end of the long alley.

Unfortunately, Conductor was able to use his quirk at long and close range and so to counter this, Izuku ran in a zigzag to avoid any energy beams that the hero might try to hit him with. The strategy worked…for a bit at least. It didn't take the hero long to counter and hit him with a blast that knocked him off of his feet.

Ah, son of a-

It hurt like hell, but this wasn't Izuku's first time being electrocuted. He had the burn scars on his right hand to prove that. He wasn't down for long, one perk of killing yourself over and over again is that you build up one heck of a pain tolerance and the blast wasn't meant to stun him, just knock him down.

Izuku was back on his feet, much to the surprise of Conductor who was running towards him yelling at him to stop and give himself up.

Fat chance buddy.

He kept running. Even though his legs felt like jelly that could give out any minute, even though he could smell the smoke coming from his now poofed out hair, even though he didn't have a clue how he was going to get himself out of this, he kept running.

Izuku passed by a few dumpsters and a plan-or more of a distraction-came to him.

Picking up loose trash as he ran, he began to hurl beer bottles and soda cans at the still pursuing hero. He even found a banana peel that he threw in his path hoping that he would slip on it like in the cartoons. No such luck.

And after the dumpsters came Izuku's favorite thing…the fire escapes.

Eeny Meeny Miny-Left!

He cut to the left and jumped up to grab onto the bottom platform of the escape swinging himself over the railing. Eraser would be so proud.

Izuku took the stairs two at a time and made use of short cuts when he could, but it was hard to ignore the pain in his body and the fear that he could collapse at any time.

In hindsight, a metal structure probably wasn’t the best escape from someone with an electric quirk, but to be fair, Izuku wasn't in his best mindset. He hadn't made it up three flights before his body seized and he fell to the floor unable to control his moments.

"I'll give it to you Serpentine, you sure put up a good fight, but you're still just a child. It was foolish to believe that you could escape me." Conductor's voice came from below and he could hear the hero begin to ascend the escape stairs.

Oh that was sooooo cool-

NO STOP IT IZUKU! NOT THE TIME!

Ugh! Come on, think! Think!

What notes do I have on Conductor?

His quirk, his costume, some of the weapons that he carries and his support items…

Wait-

Rubber gloves!

Conductor wore rubber gloves because he wasn't resistant to electricity, he could just manipulate it, so while he was on this fire escape, he couldn’t use his quirk to its full potential.

Great, now all Izuku had to do was move…

Come on, come on, come on…yes!

It wasn't much, but Izuku had stopped seizing enough to be able to get to his feet. Now all he had to do was climb.

His body was screaming at him, Conductor was screaming at him, and even Izuku was screaming at himself. What was his plan? Get to the roof and then what? It didn't matter, right now he just needed to focus on one step at a time.

The hero had been very surprised when he found that Izuku wasn't where he was supposed to be, so now it was just a game of who could climb up the escape faster. Izuku had the advantage of being a few flights ahead of him, but Conductor was faster than him at the moment. Even so, he had to keep going.

Come on Izuku…come oN IZUKU!

Please, please, please make it…

Yes, oh my gosh thank you Lord!

It was like Christmas. Izuku saw the light at the end of the tunnel, or the end of the stairs at least. He finally made it…what was he going to do now?

He flopped onto the floor of the roof and took the shortest second that he could before he pushed himself back to his feet.

Conductor was right behind him, so he couldn't stop. He had to keep going…

"Hey!" Oh no…

The hero had made it and he looked pissed.

Izuku had just been debating whether or not he thought he could make the jump to the next building when the hero's voice called out. He flinched and readied himself to make the jump.

He turned back to look at the hero one last time and saw that in a moment of frustration, a mere second of miscalculation, he must've not seen that Izuku was at the edge of the roof, and he fired off a bolt of electricity heading straight for him.

There was nothing that he could do. Izuku's feet were glued to where they were, and his legs refused to listen to his brain screaming at them to duck.

It all happened in slow motion. The bolt came so quickly, but also so slowly, creeping menacingly. Almost as if taunting him and his frozen limbs. The blue light came close and Izuku saw it illuminating his black clothes before it hit him in the middle of his chest.

The attack itself wasn't enough to kill him by a long shot, but that didn't matter. He was already falling off of the roof when the hero's eyes widened in realization of what he had just done.

Even if Izuku could move, he wouldn't have done anything.

His chest stung. He was definitely going to have a scar when he came back, he just hoped that no one would find him before he did so.

As he fell to the ground, he could see the hero leaning over the roof to watch his mistake. And then to Izuku's complete surprise, he just…left.

Izuku didn't die instantly, the fall wasn't high enough for that. So, he just laid on the concrete in an empty alley, soaking in the fact that he had just been killed by a pro hero and he wasn't going to come for him. Conductor had left…he abandoned Izuku.

This pro hero, who was sworn to protect, had killed him and didn't even come to take responsibility for his actions.

Coward.

Slowly death came to take him, wrapping its cold arms around him like an unwelcomed hug. But to Izuku it was fully welcomed; an embrace that he longed for, one he wished would hold him and never let go…

Unfortunately, he wasn't that lucky.

Chapter Text

Izuku woke up on the cold alley floor. It was still dark out, which didn't surprise him, he didn't think that he was gone for that long.

It was quiet…

Not a sound except for the occasional night-goer who passed the alley none the wiser of the dead kid who had resided there not two minutes ago.

Izuku didn't know what to think. He knew that heroes weren't perfect, he actually knew that better than most, but he didn't think…how could one just-

The hero commission was so careful about who they gave licenses to these days, so you'd think that something like this wouldn't-that a hero like that…

It was too much. Izuku's heart was beating a million miles a minute and his thoughts weren't far behind. He needed to get home and sleep all of this off. Maybe he'd wake up and things would go away. Maybe when he woke up, he wouldn't have to deal with the reality that Conductor was a murderer and that he was roaming the streets pretending otherwise.

Sure, Izuku wasn't actually dead, but if it was anyone else, they would still be lying in this alley with little hope of anyone finding their body. And yeah, the hero didn’t mean to kill him, but the fact of the matter was that he messed up. He didn't take in the entire situation and Izuku died because of it. And then he just walked away.

That couldn't go on, Izuku wouldn't let it. The world needed people who cared about its people, not cowards who refused to take responsibility for their mistakes.

Ugh-

But first, Izuku really needed to sleep this off.

 

When he got home, he took assessment of the damage and found that there was a lightning scar growing from the top center of his chest. Honestly it looked really cool, but the story behind it…would haunt him forever.

No, stop it! Get some sleep. Deal with it when you wake up.

I'm sure that Eraser and Tsuki will help you handle it.

Oh…

But what if they don't? What if they just brush it under the rug? There was nothing that Izuku could do if they decided to ignore what happened, he couldn't accuse him outright without proof and what proof could he give if he was dead?

Slowly his thoughts quickened along with his breathing until he was on the verge of an attack.

Stop it Izuku! Stop it!

Eraser cares about you and you know it! He would never let someone get away with killing you.

Deep breaths…in…and out…in…and out…

Crap I'm tired-

When Izuku was particularly tired, it was harder to keep his thoughts under control and he tended to go off like this. Sleep…sleep…

He plopped down on the couch, not bothering to change or put his shirt back on, and as soon as his head hit the cushion, he was out.

 

"NO STOP!"

Izuku shot up with a scream. Another nightmare…at least tonight's was fresh and not the same old guilt or memories. His chest stung, a phantom pain from earlier, and Izuku rolled on his side with a groan. He really needed to get a better handle on himself.

He picked up his phone, thankful he charged it at the hospital while he was visiting Eraser, and checked the time.

Four AM-

He got back two hours ago…great. Guess he might as well go ahead to wherever he was going. There was no sense in trying to fight this if he wouldn't even get to sleep.

Izuku made his way to the station after putting back on his black hoodie that smelled like a fire now-thanks Conductor. He would have to go shopping soon anyway. When he got there, Tsuki was sitting at his desk leaning on his hand. He looked tired, but as soon as he saw Izuku he shot up.

Did the man ever sleep? If he wasn't careful he'd end up like Izuku and Eraser…

"Kid-" He met Izuku half-way and looked him over. It wouldn't surprise him if he looked a little worse for wear, he hadn't showered in a few days and was still covered in sweat from his nightmare. Not to mention his hair was still a mess from Conductor's quirk…the jerk.

"Yeah, I know I look like crap, but can-can we talk?"

The detective's eyes turned serious, and he nodded, looking around and then leading Izuku down into the station. The two of them entered in what Izuku suspected to be an interrogation room and red flags immediately went up in his head. Tsuki must've noticed because he assured him that they were alone and that all of the cameras were turned off.

"What's wrong?"

Izuku grimaced, just the thought of telling him that a hero, someone who was supposed to protect people…Ugh! It hurt his heart. He had always looked up to heroes and what they did, so the fact that something like this happened just…hurt.

"Um," He rubbed his wrist in desperate need to channel his nervous energy somehow, "So something…happened."

"Tell me what happened."

Oh, this royalyyyy sucked.

Gosh dang, Izuku really wished he was dead right now. At least then he wouldn't have to deal with this. Although, if he was, then he wouldn't be able to call Conductor out and he would go free…

No, I can do this, I have to do this.

"So, you know how I was out patrolling tonight?" The detective nodded patiently, even though this was obviously information he already knew. "Right, so I was out and as I was scanning over a few alleys I heard a fight. I went to investigate, and I saw that it was a hero who was apprehending a villain, so I tried to stay out of sight and let them do their thing."

"Which hero was it?" Oh, that was so not what Izuku wanted Tsuki to ask, but it needed to be answered…it needed to be.

He looked away, at anything but Tsukauchi's eyes that were drilling into him as he spoke. "It was um, that hero, Conductor."

This caused a look of shock to flash across the detective's expression, "Conductor? But he's a daylight hero, what was he doing patrolling this late?"

"I had the same thought, but anyway, so he finished with the villain, and he noticed me. I, true to character, tried to run, but he trapped me in the alley with him and then he started going on and on about me as a vigilante and then he tried to capture me so that he could turn me in."

"I see…well you're obviously not captured," Tsuki states the obvious, trying to be patient as he waits for the rest of the story.

Izuku clears his throat, "Heh, yeah…"

"What happened next? Did he hurt you?"

The question surprised Izuku. Why would he care if the hero hurt him? One, he was a vigilante, and two, he was literally unkillable, it didn't make sense. "Um, so anyway," He continues, ignoring the question, "He tried to capture me, but I ended up getting away and he began to chase me up to the roof of a building. And that's where he…" Izuku pauses.

Maybe he shouldn't-I mean, Izuku was a vigilante, and he was unkillable, so it wasn't like it really mattered…

"Serpentine." Tsukauchi's voice draws Izuku back, "What happened next, what did Conductor do to you?"

Without even realizing it, tears began to make their way into Izuku's eyes and down his cheeks as he stared at the detective. The detective that was friends with Eraser, who laughed with both of them and who joined in with making fun of Izuku and Eraser collectively. The detective who cared enough to stay with the hero as they searched for Izuku in public records for who knew how long before he came back.

When did Izuku get so fond over a cop?

"He…he killed me."

"He what?"

"Um," Izuku frantically broke eye contact with the detective, eager to be literally anywhere else but there. "You know what? Nevermind, it's really not that-"

Tsukauchi reached out and put his hand on Izuku's shoulder, causing him to stop trying to get up and leave. "Serpentine, please…tell me what happened."

"I-" He swallowed the lump that had appeared in his throat without his knowledge, "He chased me up onto the roof and…I don't think he saw that I was at the edge, but he-he shot me with a bolt of electricity, and I-he saw me." Izuku, who had been previously staring at his hands on the table, looked up at the detective, "He saw me dying on the ground. And he left."

"Oh my god…"

Tsukauchi sat back with his hand on his mouth. It was a lot to take in, Izuku knew that. He wouldn't have even believed it if it hadn't happened to him.

"I'm sorry."

This caused the detective to snap his attention to Izuku, "You have nothing to apologize for."

"I know but-"

"No buts. You have nothing to apologize for, understand?"

Izuku just let out a breath. He knew that he wasn't going to be able to change his mind, "Yes."

"Good. It's late; I'll look a bit more into this and deal with it, you should get home and in bed. I'm sure I don't have to tell you how tired you look right now."

"Yeah…okay." Izuku stood up with Tsuki and nodded in thanks as he held the door open for him.

"And kid," He stopped in his tracks, "Thank you for coming to me with this. I know that it must've been hard, so just…thanks."

Another nod and Izuku went on his way. He did the right thing. He had to have…

 

Stain crept through the shadows of the building towering over him. It wasn't the plan to be tailing this specific hero, especially because he primarily patrolled during the day and Stain preferred the cover of night, but he had witnessed something last night that had caught his attention.

The hero was one that he had known about. Hadn't done much of anything but had an interesting and powerful quirk. Knew how to use it well too.

He wasn't too fond of what he had observed of the hero's attitude, but he had decided to leave it be for the time being. However, all of that had changed after what he saw.

Stain had no idea why the hero had suddenly decided to switch patrols, but when he accidentally came across him, he had been fascinated and decided to investigate from the shadows. That was when he saw the kid. Some new vigilante that everyone was talking about.

Honestly, he didn't think all that much about it. He was intrigued, but not enough yet to seek him out. Although apparently, he didn't need to. He watched as the young vigilante watched the hero take down a villain and try to leave only to be caught and pursued by the hero.

Stain decided to follow the two of them, wanting to see how this turned out. The kid wasn't half bad. He actually did a lot better than he thought he would, and he'd be lying if he said he wasn’t the slightest bit impressed.

On and on he watched the game of cat and mouse go until the two of them ended up on top of a roof. Stain easily kept his distance on the roof over, but never lost sight of them for too long. That was when he watched as the new up and coming vigilante was hit by the hero's lightning and thrown off of the building. And then he watched as the hero just walked away.

Instantly he saw red.

That was not how a hero was supposed to act! All Might would never make such an amateur mistake and then ignore it as if it had never happened.

No. No, no, no, no, no…this had to be punished. This hero had to be stopped, to be culled for his crimes.

Stain was disappointed in himself. That he hadn't simply ended the hero sooner like he was supposed to. If he had, then that kid wouldn't be dead.

There was nothing to do about it now however, except to avenge his young comrade.

Chapter Text

 

"He what?!"

"Shouta! Shouta, please calm down-nO YOU CANNOT GET UP YET!"

Maybe telling Eraser wasn't the best decision that Tsukauchi had ever made. But he had to at some point, the kid was basically his child.

He knew that he wasn't going to react well, but this was…

"No Shouta! Hizashi, help me hold him down!"

Mic shuffled to the other side of the hospital bed and pushed down on Eraser's shoulders, making sure that he couldn't get up and go kill a pro hero. "Listen, we're all pissed, okay? But you're still recovering."

"What? Do you expect me to just sit here while a pro literally KILLED Serpentine? Absolutely not."

"Careful Shouta, your dad is showing."

"Shut up." Eraser crossed his arms across his chest and glared at the two men braced to hold him down again should the need arise. "Fine, so what are you going to do?"

"I'm going to confront him."

This caused Eraser to scoff as he looked at Mic like he was crazy. "You're serious? Come on Tsuki, like he'd ever tell you the truth, especially since there's no actual evidence."

"You forget that I'm literally a human lie detector."

"So what, you're just going to go up to him and ask if he killed a vigilante? Then what?"

"Then I'm going to detain him, revoke his hero license, and let the chief figure out what to do with him."

Okay, it was a good plan. Eraser couldn't deny that, but he still wanted to make him pay. Just a little bit of pummeling, not too much. But that wasn't very becoming of a pro hero according to Hizashi, stupid pacifist…

"Stop pouting Shouta, it's not a good look on you."

"I wish I still had my bandages on."

"I'm sure…and Serpentine definitely isn't your child."

"He's not!"

"Keep telling yourself that."

 

Izuku was sitting on the couch, relaxing for once in his life when he heard the sound of the door being unlocked.

Alarms immediately went off in his head as he jumped up and out of the open window, quietly shutting it behind himself.

What the ****?

Nobody was supposed to be here, so why was someone trying to get into the apartment?

Did that mean that they had finally sold it? If people were moving in, then what was Izuku going to do? And whoever was in there now would know that someone had been living there…

S***

Izuku poked his head up and tried to look in the window, seeing nobody at first.

The door was open, and he could hear someone walking through the apartment, but he couldn't see them yet. Maybe it was just the landlord coming to check on the condition and-

Oh…

Oh no, this was bad. No like this was really, really bad.

Dad-

It was Izuku's dad. The tall man was unmistakable, even though he had never seen him in real life before. At least, not that he remembered. But it was him, the same curly brown hair, the same dark eyes that he saw in so many pictures.

But what was he doing there?

He knew that he should leave, hide and try to figure out what to do, but he just couldn't take his eyes away. This was the man who had left them all those years ago and never even tried to contact them. Not even when mom died…nothing.

And here he was, rummaging through their apartment, inspecting all of Izuku's things.

He hated it.

Apparently, Izuku's bad luck just kept on coming because it was at the moment that Hisashi decided to look out to the city and the two of them made eye contact.

Oh my god, mother-

The window was closed so Izuku didn't hear what his father said, but he could tell by the way his mouth moved that he had said his name.

He should've left, he should've just gone when he had the chance, but it was too late now and even if he wanted to, he was glued to his spot. They just stayed like that, staring at each other, until Hisashi rushed to the window and opened it with a grunt.

"Izuku?"

Oh, he wished that he could be literally anywhere else.

"Izuku…son, is that you?" He reached out and enveloped him in a hug that made Izuku flinch hard. He didn't seem to notice. "Oh my god-what are you doing alive? I thought that you died. You and…oh son-" He squeezed is arms tighter, oblivious to Izuku trying to get away from this man who had infiltrated his home.

"Stop…" His voice was low and could barely be heard, "Please, let go."

"Oh, Izuku you have no idea-"

"Let me go!"

Hisashi froze and slowly retracted his arms from around his son. "Izuku?"

He stumbled back, looking at this man with horror in his eyes. This was wrong, he wasn't supposed to be here. "What-what are you doing here?"

"Well, when I heard about…everything, I decided to come here to take care of some stuff since it all fell to me. Imagine my surprise when I come to inspect your old apartment that was seeming abandoned and find my supposedly dead son."

"I-you need to leave. Right now."

Hisashi leaned back and let out a small laugh, "What do you mean Izuku? I'm your father."

No.

No this was all wrong. No, he couldn't be here-he needed to leave.

Izuku needed to leave.

All at once Izuku's body seemed to flip into hyperdrive and he just knew that he couldn't stay here. So, like any sane teenager, he jumped off the side of the fire escape landing on the platform below and booked it to the ground.

His father yelled after him, but he refused to look back. He just wanted things to stop. Stop and go back. He was doing just fine on his own and now this…man shows up…

No, he needed to go somewhere, but where could he go? Maybe-

"Eraser," Was the only thought that broke through.

Izuku didn't know why he was thinking of the hero, but he just knew that he could help. He just needed to get to Eraser and things would be okay.

 

Shouta sat in his bed thinking. Tsuki and Hizashi had just left due to visitor hours ending and now he was here alone.

He was quickly getting bored with recovering and was ready to get back out there, something that both of his friends had scolded when he brought it up. Spoil sports…

They were right, of course. But that didn't mean that Shouta was just going to do nothing while his injuries healed, he needed to be productive. He knew that he would be going back to the school either tomorrow or the day after, he couldn't just abandon his teaching duties because he got a little roughed up.

Hopefully that is tame enough for his friends to step off of his butt about resting.

He had been deep in thought when a small pop and clatter sounded beside him followed by the sound of the window opening and someone grunting as they climbed their way inside.

As soon as the person fell to the floor with a yelp, Shouta knew who it was. He would know his number one problem child's voice anywhere.

"Serpentine what are you doing here?"

The kid stood up and slid the window back shut, picking up the snapped off window latch and placing it on the bedside table. He turned towards Shouta, and the hero's face immediately dropped as he looked at the kid's red eyes and tear-stained cheeks.

"What happened?"

He sniffled and tears welled up in his eyes before spilling over with a whimper. "I-" Serpentine tried to say but was cut off by a sob, "My-"

Shouta sat up and beckoned the kid towards him, "Hey, come here. It's okay, it's okay, tell me what's wrong."

He obeyed, walking closer and only slightly flinching when Shouta placed a hand on his shoulder. "Um, my-my dad…"

"You're dad? I thought he was out of the picture-"

"He was! But he just showed up and he tried to talk to me and I just…" The kid was falling apart. He was now sobbing and hyperventilating while also trying to control his breathing and failing (obviously). Under Shouta's hand his body was shaking and the tears were coming quicker than before.

Eraser shifted his body to put his other hand on the kid's shoulder and shook him slightly, "Hey, hey! Look at me kid, okay? Look, you're okay, you're fine. Breath with me…in…and out…in…and out."

Slowly he began to calm his breathing and in turn his sobs and shaking as well.

"Good, that's good. Feel better?"

Another sniffle, "No."

"That's fair. Alright, so your dad came back…and he knows that you're alive?"

Serpentine nodded, "He was surprised when he saw me." He paused, staring at nothing in particular, before his attention snapped back, fresh tears pooling in his eyes. "He-he didn't even show up to either of our funerals-"

Oh my god-

"Hey, hey, you're good. You're with me, okay? That means that you're okay and you're safe. Right?"

He hastily nodded and ran his hands through his hair. The kid wasn't wearing his vigilante garb, he was dressed in All Might pajama pants and a too big black t-shirt. He must've come here on instinct. That also meant that his face was visible, not that it mattered, Shouta had figured out who he was not too long ago.

Izuku Midoriya. Mother, Inko Midoriya, died just before Shouta met him, and the kid…had died just after she did, suicide.

There was no mention of a father in his records except for a name, Hisashi Midoriya. From what he could find, he had left the family years ago and hadn't contacted them since.

It hurt Shouta to see the kid like this. He had never seen him so vulnerable, so…broken. Seeing his dad must've really done something to him, especially considering what he just said, that he didn't bother going to either his or his mother's funeral.

Then that begs the question, why was he here now?

"Um," The kid started, voice broken and soft, "Can I…stay here for tonight? I don't want to go home and see him again."

"Sure kid, whatever you need." Visiting hours were over and Shouta was pretty sure that the hospital had rules against people staying with their patients, but they also probably have rules about people breaking into the hospital rooms and the kid had already done that twice. Plus, what were they going to do? Try to ban the dead kid? Right, I'd like to see them try.

"T-thanks."

"Don't mention it.

Chapter Text

"Oh my god-"

"Shut up! You'll wake them!"

"Hold on, I need photo evidence that this is actually happening because Shouta will never admit it otherwise."

"Good idea."

"Okay, but just be quiet you two!"

Whispered voices slowly broke through Izuku's consciousness. He could vaguely make out what they were saying and soon the pieces fell into place that they were talking about him.

He was debating whether or not to try to pretend like he was still sleeping when a deep and groggy voice cut through the still hushed whispers.

"You know that I can hear you right?"

At once the whispers stopped and the mood changed instantly. That's also when Izuku decided to make his presence known as well, "Yeah, you guys are horrible at whispering."

He opened his eyes and sat up from where he was draped across two hospital chairs and found that three familiar faces were gaping at the two of them with fear in their eyes.

"Oh, heyyy Shouta. Didn't know you were awake yet…"

"I'm aware."

"Did you sleep well? You look like you did-"

"I never sleep well."

Izuku's snickers cut off whatever else Present Mic and Ms. Joke were going to say as all eyes turned towards him. "S-sorry guys," He managed to get out in between laughs.

"No need to apologize kid." Tsukauchi's calm voice called out and the detective walked over and sat in one of the chairs that Izuku had just been using as a bed. "How did you sleep?"

"Meh," He replied and immediately yawned after as if to sell his answer.

Eraserhead scoffed making all heads turn towards him, "Yeah, that's what you get when you argue about who gets the bed."

"Like I was going to let you sleep anywhere but your hospital bed. You're still recovering!"

At this, the hero simply waved his hand in dismissal causing Izuku and Tsuki to both sigh.

"So, what exactly are you doing here kid?"

"And without your gear?"

Crap!

I totally forgot that I wasn’t in my vigilante clothes…well, guess it can't be helped.

"Oh-uh…you know, life…"

Four heads looked at each other as if trying to find any source of sense in Izuku's answer, but when they looked to Eraser he just shrugged.

"Right…well if you spent the night then how did you…wait-you broke the lock again didn't you?" Tsukauchi looked over at the window that was suspiciously missing its latch and then over to the bed-side table that had a latch on it and then back to a suddenly very quiet vigilante who was looking at the floor, "Midoriya!"

"I'm sorry oka-hold on! How do you know my name?" The kid straitened up, his voice rising.

"Shouta and I figured it out weeks ago."

"Eraser!" Izuku shot a betrayed look over to the hero who shrugged under his stare. "Wha-and you didn't tell me?"

"I assumed you already knew."

"Well, I knew that you guys were looking for it, but I didn't know you actually figured it out."

"It was fairly easy once we had all of the necessary information."

"Wow. I really can't stand you guys." Izuku stood up from his chair and stretched his arms above his head, "I'm going to go use the bathroom and then hope that you all will be better when I get back."

All four adults laughed as he left the room and tried to navigate his way to a bathroom.

Once the kid left all eyes turned to Shouta, the amusement gone from every expression.

"Okay, what's going on?" Emi asked since no one else seemed to be willing to break the silence.

Shouta just sighed. It really wasn't his business or place to tell, but the kid was in trouble and they wanted to help. "The kid's father is back. When Tsuki and I went digging into him, we found a name, Hisashi Midoriya, but that was it. As far as we could tell, he had abandoned them when Midoriya was just a child and hadn't contacted them since."

"And he just decided to pop back up out of nowhere?" Hizashi asked with a serious expression on his face. It was rare to see that on the pro, but it showed just how much he cared even though he had only known the kid a short amount of time.

"I didn't get that far, he was kinda a mess last night. All I got was that he showed up out of the blue and thought that the kid was dead. When he saw him, he tried to talk to him, but Midoriya left before he could."

All faces were sad at the situation. Shouta even thought that he heard Emi whisper a swear under her breath but decided to ignore it. "Wow, that's a lot. And it doesn't help that the kid is already going through so much."

"I know."

Like always, Shouta and Hizashi were on the same brain wave, or at least the same frequency. It had been like that ever since their first year at UA. The other two weren't far off either.

It was then that Midoriya entered back into the melancholy room. "Hey so-what happened?" He stopped in his tracks as he took in the feel of the room. "Are you guys okay?"

"I think that we should be asking you that."

"What do you…Eraser told you."

The hero had the decency to look guilty as he looked at Izuku. "Sorry kid, but they just want to help, we all do."

Izuku looked at each pair of eyes in the room and was confused by what he saw. Nobody had ever looked at him like that except for his mother, with eyes that said we care about you. But why? They didn't know him, and even with Eraser who did actually know him, why did he care?

It wasn't like anyone had before, so what was different now?

"Why?"

The group looked at each other confusedly before Mic cleared his throat and spoke up, "What do you mean kiddo?"

"You all barely know me, why would you want to help? Why would you even care?"

"Why do we care? Because even though we haven't known you for long, we know that you're a good kid. A good kid who has been through a lot of crap." It was Tsuki who answered, and that just confused Izuku more because he knew that Tsuki didn't lie. But the words that were coming from his mouth didn't make sense.

"How do you know that? How do you know that I'm a good kid and not just a useless waste of space who would be better off dead?" Izuku hadn't meant to snap at them, but memories began to rush back of his teachers and classmates scolding him and brushing him off.

"Who told you that?"

Izuku stopped. He was ready to say something back but was caught off guard by Tsukauchi's tone. Who had told him that? Everyone. Everyone except for his mother and she wasn't here anymore.

Sure, Izuku knew that what everyone had said and done to him was wrong and that he did not deserve it, but years of being told that you were nothing tend to leave scars. Scars that never really healed all the way.

"I-" He started but the only thing that came out was a small, strangled noise as his throat closed and his eyes burned with tears.

"Kid. Who told you that you were worthless?"

Another couple of tries to answer but he just ended up opening and closing his mouth like a fish. "I-it doesn’t matter." He finally managed to get out.

"It absolutely does matter. Midoriya, you need to know that that is not true. None of us think that you're useless or a waste of space and we certainly do not think that you'd be better off dead. We've seen the good you do and your heart with those that you save. You help people and you do it well."

"I need you to hear this, okay? I know you. I've been working alongside you for months and I can honestly say that you are not worthless. I need you to understand that." Eraser stared at Izuku who refused to meet his eyes, "Midoriya, I need you to say that you understand. That you understand that none of us think any of that."

"I-I understand."

"Good."

The mood in the room lifted, if only slightly. Izuku took back his spot in his chair next to Tsuki and brought his legs to his chest.

"Shouta, you get discharged today, right?" Mic was the one to break the silence yet again. Izuku had a feeling that he was usually the one to do so in these type of situations.

Eraser grunted in confirmation and Mic turned back towards Izuku.

"So what are you going to do kid?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that you can't avoid your dad forever and I'm assuming that you don't want to go back home yet, so what are you going to do?"

Izuku hummed in thought. It was true to going back to the apartment probably wasn't the best idea if he wanted to stay far away from Hisashi, so that meant that he would have to come up with somewhere else to stay tonight.

He could always squat somewhere abandoned, but that felt too illegal. It was different when it was your own place. Regardless, he'd think of something.

He would have to.

"Do you have anywhere else that you can possible stay?" Eraser asked Izuku who was still deep in thought.

The boy came back and shook his head making the hero frown. "But I'll figure something out."

"No." Izuku's head shot up from where it had been laying on his knees and he looked at Eraser questioningly. "I'm not going to let a child live on the streets, you can crash at my place until you find somewhere else."

This time, everyone shot shocked looks at the hero. Where had that come from? That wasn’t like Eraser at all. "What? No, no I couldn't ask you to-"

"You don't have a choice; you're a technically deceased minor with no legal guardian. You're staying with me."

"Eraser-"

"I don't want to hear it."

"Wow Shouta, who knew you could be such a dad?"

"Hizashi if the word dad comes out of your mouth one more time you will be the one in this hospital bed."

Present Mic fell into a fit of laughter with Ms. Joke and Tsuki smirked at Eraser mischievously. "Aww don't be like that Shouta. Now that the kid's staying with you it's official!"

"I'm serious you guys. No more father talk for the rest of the night."

"Whatever you say…dad!" Present Mic dodged the jab that Eraser tried to throw at him and he zipped out of the room before the hero could get up.

 

A couple of hours later, Eraserhead was signing the discharge papers and the two of them were on their way to his apartment that Izuku had been told only a select few had ever been to. The fact didn't surprise him at all, Eraser was a private person and so it made sense that he wouldn't want too many people mixed up in his personal life and where he lived was pretty personal.

The apartment complex wasn’t too far away, but it took them a while to get there because Eraser made them take a bunch of roundabout ways to shake off any potential tails. Izuku didn't think that anyone had been following them, but he wasn't about to complain.

As they finally arrived at the building Izuku was just a tad bit confused. Maybe confused wasn't the word, but just looking at the outside, he wasn't impressed. The building looked old and run down, not somewhere you'd expect a hero to live even an underground one.

Izuku didn't know much about what heroes made in terms of money, but he did know that it was a pretty decent amount. Definitely more than whatever Eraser probably paid for his place here.

Thankfully, despite the rickety stairs and the few holes here and there, the actual apartment was quite nice. As they were walking down the hallway, Eraser explained that a few underground heroes lived in this complex because it was good for discreteness and the neighbors were all good about keeping to themselves. Nobody stuck their nose in anyone else's business and that was very appealing to pros who were trying to keep a low profile.

They got to his apartment and Eraser pulled out a key and unlocked the door. Izuku had honestly been expecting a lot more locks like you saw in the movies, but that might draw too much attention.

Once the door swung open and the two of them stepped inside, they were immediately rushed by two cats. One jumped onto Eraser's shoulders from the shelf next to the door and the other circled Izuku's legs, sniffing him and rubbing it's head against his pants.

"Sorry, I should've mentioned these guys."

"I didn't know you had cats Eraser!" Izuku laughed as he crouched down to pet the head of the white, orange, and brown calico cat at his feet.

The cat that was still on Eraser's shoulders, jumped down to check Izuku out as well and soon was being pet by him as well. This one was pure black with bright green eyes. "Yeah, the black one is Loki and the other one is Milo. He's pretty sweet, mostly just likes attention, but Loki…well, let's just say that he lives up to his name."

Loki's head turned towards Eraser and Izuku could've sworn that the cat narrowed his eyes at the hero almost as if he had understood him.

Eraser put his keys on the rack above the shelf next to the door and made his way across the apartment with Izuku close behind.

The apartment was a decent size. The entryway went straight into the living room where a long grey couch sat in the middle of the room facing a tv on a black entertainment center against the wall to Izuku's right. A matching chair was to the left of the couch a side table to its right and a black coffee table in front of it.

Then there was the kitchen that was to the left. It wasn't too big, but it worked. There was a bar with three black bar stools just along the walkway that led to the hallway.

"So here it is. I know it's not much, but it's comfortable. I live alone, but you'll soon figure out that it's rare that I'm the only one in this place. Come on, let me you show you to the guest room."

He took him down the hallway. There were two doors on the left and one on the right and then two folding doors that were open to reveal a washer and dryer.

"That's the bathroom," He gestured to the first door on the left, "That's my room," He gestured to the door on the right and then stopped and turned to the last door on the left, "And this is your room for the time being."

He opened the door and the two of them walked in. A queen bed with a plain grey bedspread sat against the middle of the wall to the right with two black bedside table on either side of it. In the left corner was a black desk and grey rolling chair and what Izuku assumed to be a closet next to it. And a small bookshelf sat immediately to Izuku's right.

"Here it is." Eraser said sounding slightly uncomfortable.

Izuku looked at everything for a moment more before turning towards the hero. "You really like black and grey huh?"

That brought a surprised laugh out of the hero, "Why don't you take a shower and get settled. I'll go grab some clothes you can change into and then we'll talk about dinner. I'm sure Hizashi will be wanting to join us."

Izuku nodded and made his way to check out the bathroom while Eraser went to get him some clothes. Honestly, this was a lot better than it could've been. Izuku didn't take anything with him when he left except for his phone and so he was really living with only the clothes on his back.

He'd have to talk to Eraser about that, he couldn't wear the pro's clothes forever, for one he would probably look ridiculous in them due to Izuku being significantly smaller than him. If he had his way, he wouldn't be returning to that apartment until his old man was long gone, but he couldn't stop his vigilante stuff, so he'd have to scrounge up a makeshift outfit to wear while he's patrolling that doesn't look absolutely ridiculous.

Izuku sighed, this was going to be interesting…

Chapter Text

"Pftt-oh my god, you look so cute!" Present Mic stood in the doorway trying his best to hold in a laugh as he looked at Izuku standing in front of him in clothes that were very clearly not his size and wet hair that curled around his face and neck.

"It was all I had, not my fault you're so small Midoriya." Eraser said from the kitchen as he finished making himself a cup of coffee.

"Hey! I'm not that small! And are you just going to start calling me by my name now?"

"Oh! Can I call you by your name too?"

Izuku groaned and turned to sit on the couch as Present Mic broke into laughter again as he closed the door behind him.

"You should probably start calling Shouta by his name too. His students call him Aizawa, so you could call him that. And you can just call me Hizashi."

Hizashi. Izuku threw the name back and forth in his head, but he couldn't shake off how close it was to Hisashi, and he wanted to stay as far away from the mere concept of his father as possible. "Is there anything else I can call you? I could just stick with Mic."

Mic frowned at Izuku as he accepted a mug from Eraser and the two of them made their way to the living room. "That's no fun, we're friends now. How about Yamada then?"

Izuku grimaced, that didn't sound right either. Not that there was anything wrong with his name, it just didn't feel right to call him that. "We'll see."

The hero scoffed and fell dramatically against the back of the couch beside Izuku causing him and Eraser to let out a laugh as the cats jumped up to join them.

Mic was dressed casually, like almost every other time he had seen him. He was in grey sweatpants and an old black band t-shirt with his blond hair pulled into a messy bun and glasses. He honestly looked exactly like Izuku would expect from his personality.

Just like how Eraser looked just like he expected him to. Black long-sleeve t-shirt, black sweatpants, black slippers, and he also sported a messy bun, although his was definitely messier than Mic's was.

Izuku's was the only one who had his hair down and it was so it could air dry properly. Actually, now that he thought about it, his hair was pretty long. Maybe it was time to get it cut.

 

The three of them ended up ordering take out and watching a movie together. It was one Izuku hadn't ever seen, but to be fair he had never been one to watch a lot of tv. He enjoyed it, even if he didn't understand it at some parts, but it was good, nonetheless.

Mic and Eraser certainly seemed to be having fun. The two of them meshed to well together it was actually jarring. Looking at them, you'd never expect them to be so close with how opposite they are, but Izuku could tell just in the way they interacted that they truly were close.

Izuku would chuckle every time Mic burst out with whatever commentary he had about what was happening on the screen and Eraser trying to shush him before giving up and joining him in yelling at the characters on the tv.

It was nice. Izuku had only ever been around his mother like this, so it was different, but…it was nice. He would never admit it, but he thought that he would enjoy whatever time he had here with Eraserhead.

The movie ended and Mic stood up to stretch, checking his watch and groaning. "Ugh, I really don't want to get up tomorrow to teach. What if I took a sick day, do you think Nezu would believe me?"

"Probably not."

Mic rubbed his eyes with his hand and sighed, "Yeah, you're probably right. I should get going then, and you better get to bed yourself Shouta."

"Don't tell me what to do." Eraser deadpanned as he stood up to walk his friend to the door.

Izuku waved bye and stood up to stretch himself as the front door closed and Eraser turned back to him.

"He's right though, we should be heading to bed. Tomorrow is my first official day back teaching and so I won't be around the apartment."

The kid sighed. He had been thinking about his apartment and all the things there that he knew he couldn't just leave. He would have to go back there eventually and get his stuff, might as well rip the band-aid off, right? "That's fine. I have some stuff I have to do tomorrow anyway."

The hero raised an eyebrow and Izuku gaped at him in response.

"I have a life you know!"

"I thought that you were dead," Was all he said as he began to walk down the hallway to his room.

"You're not as funny as you think you are!"

"Oh no, I'm pretty sure I'm hilarious. Goodnight."

Izuku rolled his eyes even though Eraser was already out of sight and made his way to his own room.

 

He had hoped that his nightmares would spare him one night in favor of him being in a new place with someone else that he wasn't used to living with, but of course, why would anything he want to happen oblige?

His subconscious must've been extra pissed at him because he dreamt of his mother. Nights that he spent dreaming of her always ended with him screaming and crying for her to come back and not leave him. Tonight was no exception.

Izuku saw memories of her flash in his dream until he went back through her death and seeing her the first time he died. But tonight was a little different, usually the dreams stopped there, but it kept going. Once he was sent back, he saw her again but this time she didn’t glow like an angel, she looked tired and hurt and sad.

She looked at him with bloodshot, tearstained eyes and bruised cheeks. His mother called out to him and stretched out a hand that he tried to grab but couldn't quite reach. This caused her to cry some more, but this time blood streamed down her cheeks rather than tears and Izuku was forced to watch as his mother sobbed and blamed him for not being good enough to save her.

That's when he woke up screaming.

It took two seconds for the door to the room to burst open with a wide-eyed Eraser searching around for any type of threat. Once he assessed that there was no immediate danger, he went to Izuku who was still sobbing and thrashing in the bed.

The hero grabbed both of the boy's arms and held him against his chest in a tight hug whispering calming words in his ear until he calmed down. It took a second, but Izuku finally stopped sobbing and fighting Eraser's tight grip. He fell slack in the hero's embrace and tried to get his breathing under control as one hand left his wrist and began to run through his hair.

After a couple more minutes Izuku was finally calmed down enough to be coherent. He sniffled and curled into himself, "S-sorry."

"Don't apologize." Came Eraser's immediate response, his hand still running through his hair in a calming motion. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Izuku shook his head and the hero just continued to sit with the boy, hugging and keeping him grounded. It was nice, to have somebody there to help bring you back after a bad dream. He hadn't had that in so long, he forgot how much it sucked being alone.

"Are you feeling any better?"

This time Izuku nodded, taking careful, deep breaths. "Yeah…" He sniffled, "Um, thanks."

"No problem kid."

"You um-you can go back to sleep now. I'm sorry I woke you up."

"What did I just say?"

"Sorry-"

The hero groaned which made Izuku let out a small chuckle that he joined in on. "Look, I get it, but don't ever think that you're being a burden to me, because you're not. I took you in because I wanted to. Understand?"

Izuku nodded but said nothing. If he did, he knew that he'd probably start crying again and he was already pissed enough that Eraser had seen him crying because of his dream.

"Do you think you're okay now? Are you going to try to go back to sleep?"

Eraser sighed when Izuku shook his head, but it wasn't a sigh of annoyance.

"Yeah, I figured. Why don't we get out and blow off some steam? I know how much you love to roof jump."

That was exactly what Izuku needed. To get some fresh air and forget about everything for a while. He nodded and the hero told him that he was going to go change and grab him some clothes that he could go out in.

He came back in and Izuku hadn't moved from his spot on the bed, just staring at the wall. He thanked him and changed silently before meeting him in the living room and the two of them left.

 

It felt great. Running across the rooftops and letting everything in his life go for just a minute, it was bliss. Izuku had let his hair remain down, so it was flowing behind him as he jumped, and he actually laughed. It was just like it had been at the start.

Somehow Eraser had known exactly what he had needed. Had they become that close? Was Izuku okay with that?

He had always tried to steer clear of father figures because it always brought back rotten memories of the pain his dad left behind, but he liked Eraser. He felt safe with him. And the hero seemed to like him as well, even though that part still confused Izuku, it was made clear when he had offered to let him live with him.

All of the times before Izuku could write off as him just being a hero that was trying to protect him, but someone didn't let you sleep in their hospital room and stay with them if they didn't like you.

But why was the question. Izuku had asked a few times and had never gotten a clear answer. It was incredibly frustrating. Although the same could be asked about why he liked Eraser. Izuku didn't actually know why, he just knew that these past few months, despite how crappy they've been with him not being able to die and everything, have actually made him the happiest he's ever been.

It's weird having someone who willingly talks to you everyday and actually cares about how you're doing. And it was even weirder for him to realize that Eraser and Tsuki cared about him living, that took some time to get through his thick skull. He still didn't understand, but that might just be his problem.

 

The two of them ran side by side in silence, just enjoying the fresh air and adrenaline flowing through their systems until they suddenly skirted to a stop when they heard someone scream.

Ah, just like old times.

Without saying a word, the two of them went into patrol mode and went to check out what was going on. Eraser disappeared into the shadows and Izuku scoped it out from above only to have his blood run cold when he saw who was in the alley below.

Of course. Of course, Izuku would run into him again, because why would anything ever go his way? Tsuki said that he would take care of Conductor, but maybe he hadn't been able to yet. He had been pretty busy with Eraser in the hospital and everything.

Down below Conductor was fighting some guy who must've been bothering the woman who was crying beside the dumpster. The pro quickly took the guy out and went to comfort the victim and Izuku found himself scowling at the scene.

He was happy that the woman was safe and that the perpetrator had been stopped, but why did it have to be him? It wasn't even his patrol, so what was he doing?

Izuku must've been deeper in his thoughts than he realized because he hadn't even noticed Eraser showing back up at his side and when he finally did, he flinched.

"That's him, isn't it." It wasn't a question. Eraser's face wasn't in his usual scowl or unreadable expression, no, when Izuku looked at the hero he was terrified at what he saw. If he ever came across Eraser looking how he did then, he probably would've peed his pants.

All he saw was pure anger on the hero's face. Tsuki must've told him what happened, that was the only explanation.

"M-maybe we should call Tsuki."

Eraser sighed beside him after a second more of glaring below and pulled out his phone. "He's here." Was all he said when the other end of the line picked up. Eraser told the detective exactly where they were, which Izuku had no idea about, and was about to hang up when Tsuki's voice sounded from the phone.

"Do not do anything stupid. I want him caught as much as you do, but nothing good will come from you acting on your emotions right now. I'm on my way. We'll get him, I promise."

The hero hung up and seemed to pout as he continued to watch the scene below.

The silence was uncomfortable. Izuku was usually good with silence, but this…this was not it. He took a second to gather whatever courage he could muster, but he ended up squeaking out a question, "So, I guess that Tsuki told you."

Eraser nodded stiffly and silence fell again. This was so not what Izuku was used to. He was used to seeing the cold and non-caring hero's warm side and this was definitely not that. Izuku was glad that he was not his enemy because just one look like that from him and Izuku thought he might cry.

Another few seconds passed before the hero turned his head to him stiffly, "Are you okay?"

Izuku stared at the hero. Whatever he had expected him to say, that was not it. "Um, yes?"

"No, like with what happened. I can't imagine what-" He cut himself off and seemed to backtrack, "I just want to make sure that you're okay."

"Yeah, I came back, didn't I?"

"That's not-" Eraser stopped and took a deep breath. "No one should be as comfortable as you are with dying. You treat it like it's just something that you do and it's not. Dying is serious."

"Look, it's really okay-"

"No. No, it is never okay. No one should ever have to go through dying over and over again, stuff like that breaks people Midoriya. Don't you understand that?"

Izuku looked the hero in the eye. They were pleading, begging him to get it. This must be something that Eraser had been wanting to talk to him about with how serious he was being, but he didn't understand. No one did, and Izuku knew that. He had accepted it a while ago.

He continued to stare at the hero, and without breaking eye contact he said it. "What if I'm already broken?"

Something flashed across Eraser's eyes and his entire face fell as he looked at Izuku's blank expression.

Before he could say anything else, something happened down below and the two tore their attention from each other to see what was going on. Tsuki had arrived and had handcuffed Conductor with a pair of quirk-suppressing cuffs.

The daylight hero protested and yelled at the detective as he dragged him into the cop car that was waiting at the entrance of the alleyway, but Tsuki stayed silent. He was probably doing it to protect himself, because he knew if he opened his mouth, he wouldn't be able to hold back.

Two other officers came into the alley. One took care of detaining the criminal that Conductor took down and the other handled the still shaken up victim. Once Tsuki had placed the daylight hero in his police car he poked his head back into the alley and called out, "I know you're here Eraser. Meet me at the station and we'll question him together." Then he got in the car and drove away with the two officers not far behind.

Eraser sighed beside Izuku and stood from where they had been crouched. "I should go. Do you remember how to get back to the house?"

"Yeah, I think so."

"Okay, I'll meet you back there when I'm finished. Please try to get some more sleep while I'm gone."

"Sure." And then the two of them separated and Izuku found himself on autopilot as he headed back to the apartment. He made sure to take a few of the roundabouts just in case and then before he knew it, he was standing in front of the apartment door holding the key Eraser had given him that he found a chain for and hung around his neck in his hand.

A quick turn of the key and the door handle, and Izuku was back with Loki and Milo circling his feet and rubbing their bodies against his legs.

"Hey guys, miss me?"

He knelt down to pet the two cats for a second and then he went to change out of the clothes Eraser gave him and back into the sleep clothes he had been given. He really needed to get his own clothes back.

Izuku laid down in the guest room bed and stared at the ceiling trying to will himself to sleep with no success. The two cats joined him, taking their places on his chest and against his left leg respectively.

The extra weight and presences helped any negative thoughts from getting to far, which Izuku appreciated. About two hours after Izuku had laid back down he heard the front door open and Eraser sigh as he walked through the apartment.

He carefully opened the guest bedroom door, probably hoping that Izuku had been asleep and made a face when he saw that he had not been.

"How did it go?"

"We revoked his license and are detaining him for the time being."

"That's good."

"Yeah," Eraser sighed, "He tried to lie and say that he had never encountered you, but of course Tsuki's quirk proved him wrong and everything kind of snowballed after that. We found out a lot more questionable things about him and so it's a good thing that he was stopped when he was. Things could've gotten a lot worse if he continued on as he was."

Izuku just nodded at the hero's words as he petted Milo who was stretched out across his chest.

"Do you think you'll be able to get back to sleep?"

A shake of the head and Eraser sighed.

"Alright, just don't strain yourself too much please. I'll see you in the morning."

"Goodnight."

 

Well…Stain thought as he watched the police take Conductor away from where he had tracked him and shoved him into a car. That’s going to make things a bit more difficult.

It had already been enough of a pain to finally find the hero again. After that night he kept to day patrols and Stain didn't want to risk trying to take him down in broad daylight. He had finally gone back to a night patrol, why he still had no idea, and Stain was determined to cull him.

He had to pay for his actions.

That's when he caught sight of something that made him stumble.

It was…the kid. The vigilante who was killed. He was there, perched on a roof beside Eraserhead, a hero that Stain was on the fence about. He was no All Might, but he was good in his own way. The underground hero cared nothing of publicity or fame or even the money from what he could tell. And therefore, Stain could not justify culling him…yet.

But how was this possible? How was the kid still alive? Did the hero know that he was not dead? And why was he here with Eraserhead?

So many questions, and unfortunately, he was unable to ask any of them.

The hero being taken into custody was going to be a setback, but Stain wasn’t one to be easily deterred.

Chapter Text

Katsuki walked back into class for the first time since the villain attack at the USJ. The school cancelled classes for the rest of the week and today was everyone's first day back. It was weird.

He had heard some of what happened to their homeroom teacher and some of the other injuries that happened, and he was worried, he'd admit, but he wondered what today would look like. It would be a given that everyone would be a bit nervous considering what they had just gone through, but he didn't know if Mr. Aizawa would be coming back so soon as well. From what he had heard, he had been injured pretty badly by that creature that was there.

However, when Katsuki watched as their teacher walked into the classroom with nothing to show from the attack other than some scratches and bruises that were still healing on his face and a small scar just under his right eye, he somehow wasn't surprised at all. It seemed just like something the hero would do.

"Good morning class. I hope that you all took the time that you had off to rest and recover both physically and mentally, but it's time to get back into things. Before any of you ask, I am fine, so I don't want to hear any of you worrying because I am perfectly capable of teaching. Now that that is over with it's time that we got on with it."

Everyone tensed in anticipation of what he was going to say and when the words sports festival left his mouth the class exploded into chaos.

Katsuki found himself smirking in excitement at the thought of the event. The sports festival was something that he had watched and obsessed over ever since he was a kid dreaming of going to UA. He thought that it was so cool to see all of the students compete and watch the winner rise to the top.

That's what Katsuki wanted to be like. The best. The winner. That part hadn't left him, he was still way too competitive for his own good and he strived with everything in him to do and be the best he could, he just went about it a better way now. Something that he was very happy about.

Shouts of excitement sounded all around until a stiff hand went up and Mr. Aizawa flashed his red eyes shutting everyone up. "Yes Iida."

"Excuse me for saying sir, but don't you think that it might not be the best idea to host the sports festival considering what just happened?" The class representative's stern voice questioned.

It was clear that a lot of the other students also felt the same way but were too scared to say anything.

"If I'm being honest with you, I voted against moving forward with the festival at all, but Nezu believes that we must showcase our strength by pursuing as normal and proving that a villain attack is not enough to bring us down. I did, however, succeed with getting it pushed back a bit so that you have more time to recover and prepare." He sighed, "I know that it's a lot, but you guys just survived an actual villain attack. You have the upper hand of experience, so when you go out there, I expect all of you to do your best and show everyone that class 1-A is strong."

"Right!" Yaoyorozu stood up and pumped her fist in the air. "It's time for us to prove beyond a doubt just how powerful and resilient we are!"

Choruses of yeah's and shouts in agreement broke out and instantly everyone was pumped up about the festival.

In the past, Katsuki would've been excited to prove his power and superiority over everyone, but that just wasn't his goal anymore. He didn't have to be the best, no matter how much his mother disagreed and how much he wanted to be. When he had that mindset, he hurt a lot of people. It didn't matter who they were or how he felt about them, they were in his way and someone that he had to conquer to get to the top.

But that just wasn't Katsuki. He didn't want to hurt anyone anymore.

Didn't mean he was going to go easy on his classmates. They were all going to bring their a-game and so Katsuki would too.

 

"Hey Bakugou!" Katsuki turned at the call of his name. The class was currently doing any extra warming up they needed to individually and were about to come back together to begin the day's training. He had just been stretching out his shoulders when he saw Uraraka walking towards him.

It took him a minute to remember that she actually talked to him sometimes and he just kinda stared at her walking up for a second before finally answering back. "What's up?"

"Nothing much, just wanted to talk to you. I feel like we haven't spoken in forever, especially with what happened at the USJ and everything."

Why would Uraraka want to talk to Katsuki? Sure, he had saved her during the entrance exam, but that didn't dictate a friendship.

"Uh," he paused. What were they even supposed to talk about? "Yeah. How are you um, doing…after everything?"

She joined Katsuki in doing some extra stretches as she answered, "I'm okay, I guess. Still a little shaken, I saw Thirteen down themselves with their own quirk. It was…?

Uraraka looked sad as she spoke, and something twisted inside Katsuki. He didn't know why, but her being anything but her usual bubbly self just felt…wrong.

"Yeah…" Katsuki finished for her. He had seen a fair amount of action himself and he knew that what they went through that day would stick with them, no matter how much time passed. "I'm sorry you had to see that. But I just wanted to say that-uh, you did good. Fighting I mean. I heard from some of the other students talking how you took out some villains at the rockslide zone."

The compliment felt foreign in Katsuki's mouth, but the way that her expression immediately changed from his words made him shake off the feeling.

"Oh," Her face slowly began to redden, "You heard about that?"

Was she getting hot already? They were in pants, and it wasn't the coolest day, maybe she needed some water. "Oi, do ya need some water or something? I can go grab you a bottle." This seemed to redden her face even more and Katsuki told her to hold on as he went to the cooler that was on the edge of where they were training that day.

He came back and her face looked a little less red which was good. It would be bad if she overheated during training.

"Uh, thanks."

"Yeah, yeah. Wouldn't want you passing out on me or anything." They sat in silence as she took some gulps of water and Katsuki finished stretching out his shoulders and wrists. "So, are you excited about the sports festival?"

He had seen her talking with some other students about the event and she always looked so happy and determined every time she did.

This time was no exception. Her eyes hardened and her grin widened as she pumped her fist in the air, "Oh heck yeah! I'm so pumped, I'm going to do my best and win this thing!"

Katsuki accidentally let out a snort and clapped his hand over his mouth as he tried to hide his face that wouldn't stop smiling. "Sorry-" It was just like at the entrance exam. Uraraka was nice, but competitive and when she set her mind to something, nothing could stop her. That much had been clear by her getting second during the entrance exam just behind Katsuki.

"Why are you laughing? I'm gonna win, and I'm gonna take down your little punk butt while I'm at it. You'll see."

If anyone else deserved to win, it was her. Katsuki had seen how hard she worked, just in the few days that they've been here and that much was clear.

He finally got his laughing under control and met her determined stare smiling, "I'll believe it when I see it."

 

Izuku woke up in Eraser's apartment alone. Well, as alone as someone with two cats laying across their chest could be.

He picked up his phone off the dresser and looked at the time. It was just past one in the afternoon. He wasn't sure exactly when he fell asleep, but he must've at some point. Of course, he didn't feel any less tired and probably didn't look too great either, but that was just a given at this point.

Maybe he should start walking around calling his eye bags Gucci. Get tattoos or something so that people know. Eraser would kill him, but it might just be worth it to see the look on his face.

Izuku got up, regretting that he had to make the cats move when he did, and went to the kitchen to try to scrounge up something to eat.

When he got there, he found a note on the bar.

Good morning-or afternoon if my hunch is correct. I won't be home until about four, feel free to help yourself to anything in the fridge and pantry, and try to not get in any trouble while I'm gone. -Eraserhead

Cute.

After taking inventory of what he had, Izuku settled for a bowl of cereal. To be honest, he really wasn't too hungry, but he knew that he should eat. Especially for what he was about to go do, he would need the energy.

He tried to drag eating that cereal out as long as he could, but eventually he finished and knew that it was time to face this. Maybe Hisashi wouldn't be there and Izuku would be able to get his stuff without any hassle.

It was unlikely considering his luck, but he would hold on to that hope.

 

Surprisingly, when Izuku poked his head through the apartment window, no one was there. The place was cleaner than when he left. Hisashi had probably cleaned or had someone else clean for him.

He slipped is way into the apartment and began to search for his things. As much as he could find and carry, preferably before Hisashi returned. Of course, that was exactly when the front door lock clicked.

Izuku was in the middle of stuffing a trash bag with clothes when Hisashi met his eyes. He was like a deer in the headlights, freezing at the sight of his father who looked just as surprised as he did, but not nearly as annoyed as he felt.

Kill me now-

"What are you doing?"

"Nothing."

"It doesn’t look like nothing."

"You know what, I don't think it's really any of your business what I do. So, let me just finish up here and I'll be on my way-"

"Now hold on a minute-" Izuku flinched and froze when Hisashi grabbed his wrist.

"Let go."

Hisashi scoffed, "Izuku honestly, I am your father!"

Something must've broken through because suddenly Izuku could feel his body again and he snatched his wrist out of the man's grip and took a few steps back.

"Can we please just stop with this childish behavior? It's beneath you."

Hasashi made no other move towards Izuku and Izuku refused to acknowledge him. So, without looking or speaking to him, he continued gathering his things into his trash bag pretending that the man wasn't there gawking at him.

"Oh honestly-This is ridiculous, I am your father, I deserve more respect than this!"

A scoff was the only reply Izuku gave, and it was clear that Hisashi was quickly losing his temper at his son's nonchalant reaction to his presence.

He must've imagined it, but he could've sworn that he felt the room become just the tiniest bit warmer and that he smelled the faint smell of smoke wafting through the air.

"Izuku. I refuse to allow you to act this way. You are to respect and obey me-"

It was a mistake, it really was, but Izuku couldn't hold back the laugh that escaped him. "Yeah, no."

"Excuse me?"

"No." He whipped around, glaring at his father who instinctively took a step back at his son's gaze. "You don't get to do that. You don't get to just walk back into my life and try to be a parent."

"I am your father and-"

"Fathers are here!" He couldn't help it. All of the pent-up feelings from when he was little watching his mom try to be brave and strong for Izuku even though she was breaking inside from the loss of her husband so suddenly. All of the anger of him not being there for either of them. All of the rage and disappointment when he didn't show up to either of their funerals and only came back to claim whatever they had left behind. "Fathers love their children and protect them. They provide for them and support them. They raise them. You weren't here and you do not get to just show up now."

"I understand your frustration, but I will not tolerate this behavior. I am your father regardless and as such I deserve to be respected-"

"Stop."

"What?"

"Just stop…" He hated himself. He hated that he came back here and put himself in this situation. He hated that even though he hated the guy, he still deep down wanted that presence of a father. And he hated that the man who hadn’t loved him enough to stay was dragging his tears out of him no matter how much he tried to push them down.

"Izuku I-"

"You left!" His voice cracked at the outburst. "You left me! You left mom! And you sure as hell do not get to come waltzing back now as if nothing happened."

"That is no way to speak to your father."

"Oh my god shut up; you are not my father!" Hisashi took another step back as he watched his son break down and lash out in front of him. "You left me! You left us alone, you walked away, HOW COULD YOU DO THAT? HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO YOUR OWN FAMILY?"

Izuku took in a shaky breath as the tears spilled down his cheeks and Hisashi stared at him wide-eyed.

He steadied himself. "You left…all we-all I ever wanted was for someone to stay. For someone to love me despite something that I had absolutely zero control over. Do you have any idea what it was like? Growing up hated and mocked for being different? Having a constant reminder that not even my father loved me enough to stay? You're just like everyone else. Well guess what? I don't need you anymore-actually, I never did."

Hasashi didn't say anything else and neither did Izuku. He wanted nothing to do with this man anymore, he never wanted to see him ever again and he would make sure that he didn't. He finished grabbing his things and then walked out of the front door without a word.

He didn't care if anyone recognized him. None of it mattered anymore. All that mattered was getting home to Eraser before he did something he regretted.

 

Izuku didn’t know what time it was when he got back. His phone had died halfway to his apartment, so he made sure to grab his charger so that he would be able to charge it when he got back. As he approached the door he heard muffled voices behind it, which probably meant that Mic was over again. When he entered the apartment, like always, he was greeted by two cats that were very excited to see him and two heads whipped around to where he was standing in the doorway.

"Kid!" Eraser rushed over and took in Izuku's probably atrocious appearance. "What happened-are you okay?"

Mic wasn't far behind him and started to check Izuku over for any kind of visible injury that he might have.

Izuku stepped forward to close the door and shook off Mic, "I'm not hurt, and it was nothing. Don't worry about it." He tried to head to the guest room, but the two pro heroes blocked his path, both wearing very different expressions of worry.

"Absolutely not. You've been crying, tell me what happened."

"It's not important, just leave me alone, okay?"

"Izuku…" Eraser took a step forward and grabbed both of his shoulders staring into his eyes. "Kid, you're shaking. Please, just tell me what's going on."

He decided to ignore the surprise of Eraser using his first name in favor of focusing all of his energy on trying to not cry again.

Another hand fell on his shoulder, and he met Present Mic's concerned eyes, "Please…we care about you and just want to help."

Looking between the two pros standing in front of him, Izuku wanted nothing more than to spill everything to them, but could he do that? What if they left just like everybody else? What if-

He looked at them again. No. They were here, and they would remain here no matter what. He was sure of it.

Without warning, Izuku's legs gave out and the two heroes followed him to the floor, two sets of arms wrapping around him as he sobbed and sobbed, letting out everything. All of the sorrow, and rage, and regret, and betrayal that he had been holding onto for so long. He sat there in between the two of them blubbering and wailing as they held onto him firmly, reassuring him that they weren't going anywhere.

It was strange. Somehow, Izuku didn't feel uncomfortable wrapped in their arms. He didn't freeze or flinch at their touch, but rather he leaned into it and clung to the comfort that it brought for dear life.

And they just sat like that. He wasn't sure exactly how long they let him sob between them, it could've been hours, but he was exhausted by the time that he finally calmed down and leaned into Eraser's chest sniffling as Mic rubbed his back.

It was another few minutes before anyone said anything. "Do you want to talk about it?" Mic asked softly beside him.

Izuku sniffled again and rubbed at the moister in his eyes. "Um-"

"You don't have to, but we're here." Eraser quickly added on when Izuku hesitated.

"N-no, it's fine." His voice was hoarse from how hard he sobbed, but he knew that he needed to tell them. He couldn't keep doing this alone, he would unravel at the seams if he continued to try. "Um, I went back to my apartment to get all of my stuff that I left behind."

"Your stuff?"

Izuku raised a shaky hand to point at the trash bag that sat beside the door. He must've dropped it at some point, but he honestly didn't remember.

"When I was gathering everything h-he showed up."

"He as in…you father." It wasn't a question.

Izuku flinched at the word. Both heroes decided to ignore the reaction. It was weird, Eraser somehow always seemed to know exactly how to read him.

"We got in an argument. I think that I made my point, and-and I don't think that he'll be trying to reach out to me again."

"Wow-" Mic breathed beside him and the two heroes glanced at each other before looking back at Izuku.

"That must've been hard, I'm sorry that you had to go through that."

Izuku shrugged, "It was bound to happen at some point, I mean he is my-" He dropped out mid-sentence and no one questioned him on it. They both seemed to have picked up on the sensitivity of the topic. "I'm just glad that I got it over with and got my stuff back. It was embarrassing having to wear your hobo clothes." He chanced a smirk at Eraser who looked scandalized.

"You are literally in my house right now!"

"It's actually an apartment Shouta." Mic corrected and winked at Izuku as Eraser seethed at the two of them.

Izuku let out a weak laugh before his expression turned serious again. "In all seriousness, I'm pretty sure that I needed that. I didn't realize how many pent-up emotions I had towards him, and it felt good to finally let all of it out."

"Yeah…dads can be like that." Mic shot a pointed look at Eraser who just shrugged, "My dad walked out on my mom and I too. It was rough, but we managed."

Izuku's head shot up as he looked at Eraser in shock, "I…I didn't know that."

"You never asked."

"Gotta love daddy issues I guess," Izuku joked with a snicker making both of the heroes break down in laughter.

"Oh, but Shouta's a dad too, so does that still count?"

"Hizashi!" Eraser cried out as Izuku and Mic high-fived.

Things weren't perfect. He doubted that they ever would be. Pain like that doesn't just go away, but maybe…maybe he would be able to start to heal now. He looked at the two heroes still by his side and couldn't help but smile. Yeah, healing would be nice.

Chapter Text

 

Izuku needed a change. He needed something to be different so that he could put all of what happened behind him. It sounded crazy, but somehow, he just knew that's what he needed. A physical representation of him moving on.

He continued to stare at himself in the mirror of the guest bathroom. Eraser and Mic were at school and so Izuku could really do whatever he wanted while they were gone.

Although, why they trusted him in Eraser's apartment alone, he had no idea. Maybe that was just a show of how far Eraser and him had come from when they first met.

"Hmm," He hummed as he was going through all of the possibilities of what he could do. He could get a piercing, that might be fun. He already knew he was going to cut his hair, as much as he loved matching Eraser and Mic with their man buns, it was getting really long and he had a particular style he had been dying to try out.

Dying his hair was out of the question. It seems like a lifetime ago that Izuku had seriously considered coloring his hair just so he wouldn't have to look at himself and be reminded of his mother. But now that's all he wanted. He actively searched for her in everything, and it always warmed his heart whenever he did.

He had done some research about different places in the area, and it just so happened that there was a highly rated salon and barbershop in the mall right next to a piercing shop and a tattoo place. It was like they wanted people to make stupid and impulsive decisions all at one time. But hey, gotta respect the hustle.

If he went ahead to the mall and started with his hair, he could decide if he wanted to do anything else, but he thought that he might hold off depending on how his cut goes. He still had some money, and he was going to talk to Eraser soon about getting a job. Hopefully the hero would help, you wouldn't believe how bad the job market is for dead people.

 

It didn't take him long to get to the mall. It was a big one, three stories tall and packed despite it being a school day. Izuku consulted the mall map and quickly memorized exactly where he needed to go and how to get there. He also kept note of the shops around just in case.

"Alright honey, what are we thinking today?" The hair stylist turned Izuku around in the styling chair and the two of them looked at him in the mirror at the counter.

Izuku moved his head in order to properly see all of his hair, "Well…"

An hour later the stylist was finished and admiring her handywork. "Oh yeah, I think that this is some of my best work. Wanna take a look?"

Izuku nodded excitedly and found himself looking at a completely different person. It was someone that he had never been before, and he loved it. It was exactly what he wanted.

What used to be curly locks that fell just above his shoulders were now shaped into an undercut showcasing the best of Izuku's curls on top of his head. The sides weren't buzzed all that short, and the top fell just over his eyebrows and perfectly covered his bullet scars. Something that he specifically requested.

The stylist had asked about them, just trying to make small talk, and Izuku had fed her some bs story about how he bumped his head as a child, and she seemed to buy it easily.

As he admired his new cut, he noticed that people all around the store kept on looking at him. Did it look that good or did he look that weird? It was hard to tell sometimes. Although, the smile from the stylist made him think it was the former.

He paid for his cut and walked out of the shop feeling like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders…well it had, but you know what he meant.

Izuku decided to stick with just the cut. It was a big change, and he was afraid that Eraser might go into cardiac arrest if he showed up with anything else. Mic, he knew, would be supportive all the way. Actually, Izuku would bet that if he asked, he would come with him next time and convince him to get a tattoo or something. Mic was fun like that.

 

As he entered the apartment building, he glanced at his watch and determined that the two of them should already be back by now unless they needed to stay for some reason. He hoped that they hadn't, the sooner they saw him the better.

Turning the lock, he heard the two heroes chatting in the common area and smiled to himself. He opened the door and watched as two heads turned towards him; one dropped, and one looked so excited that he might explode.

"Uh, surprise?"

Mic jumped up from where he sat on the couch and bounced towards Izuku, "Oh my god Izuku, you look soooo good! Oh, doesn't he look great Shouta?" Mic observed his hair from all angles and tested the texture of his curls, which he must've been happy about because his smile got even wider than it had already been.

Eraser slowly stood up, still staring at Izuku, "Um, wow…"

"Yeah, I thought that it was time for a change, you know? Do you like it?"

Suddenly, the hero's expression turned surprised and then softened into a small smile, "Of course I like it. Sorry, it just took me a minute to adjust, but yeah, you look great kid."

"Thanks Eraser," Izuku could feel his face redden at the fresh wave of compliments the two heroes gave him. He wasn't used to being praised so much. It felt…nice. Nice to be loved and appreciated.

 

Going out that night with his new hair had been interesting. He was so used to having it pulled back into a ponytail or bun, but he didn't have to deal with that anymore and it just felt so weird to not have that weight on his head as he ran.

In the back of his mind a voice popped up worrying how his curls would look after dealing with the wind and humidity and Izuku jumping and running all around, but he quickly shushed the voice and went back to enjoying his nightly roof jumping.

Eraser hadn't come with him tonight, only because Mic threatened to literally tie him up and sit on him to keep him from overexerting himself so soon after his release from the hospital. He wasn’t happy about it and pouted the entire time Izuku got ready and left, but he wasn't worried, it was hard to be bored or stay upset around Mic. Eraser would be fine.

The night was fairly quiet, which sussed Izuku out just a bit. The fact that he had only taken down two criminals so far didn't seem right, but maybe that was just him being paranoid.

Half and hour later he still hadn't come across any disturbances and was now officially sketched out. So, you can imagine his surprise when he found his new friend being threatened in an alleyway…again.

Izuku zipped down to the ground and barreled into whoever was messing with his friend, earning a tiny little "Eep!" from his as he watched. "Serpentine? What are you doing here?"

He got up from where he had landed on the criminal and stumbled over to Shinso, "The better question is why do you keep finding yourself in these kind of situations? How am I supposed to be your friend if you die?"

It was ironic, and if Shinso knew just how ironic what he was saying was, he'd be on the floor laughing…or hitting him. He hadn't really found out what kind of friend he was yet, so it could really go either way.

"First of all, it's not my fault. People must just look at me and assume that I'm good prey or something. And second of all, rude."

"Oh whatever."

"Also, since when are we friends?"

Izuku looked at Shinso, the question didn't sound upset at the idea of being friends, just confused maybe. "Uh, since I saved your life the first time."

"That's a bit dramatic, I would've been fine."

"Right, and I care about my safety and wellbeing." Izuku lightly punched Shinso's shoulder and let out a snort, "You're a hoot Shinso"

"I-" He started but dropped off in favor of just looking at Izuku very confused and concerned.

"Anyway, what are you doing right now?"

"Going home?"

It seemed a little too late to just be getting home, but Izuku wasn't about to question the boy's hobbies after school, so he just let it go. "Do you want to hang out?"

Shinso sputtered before pulling himself together and asking, "Aren't you like, 'on duty' or something?"

"Not technically. Since I'm a vigilante I can do pretty much whatever I want, I just so happen to enjoy patrolling and kicking bad guy butt. But tonight's been really boring and I'm literally starvingggg." Izuku whined as he dramatically leaned against a dumpster.

Hitoshi rolled his eyes at the vigilante. The first time they had met was weird, but this? He didn't know how to navigate this.

He had never actually had a friend, so he didn't know if Serpentine had been joking or not about them being friends. Was this how you make friends? Do you just like save them and then adopt them? It seemed strange, but honestly, he wasn't in any position to say no. For as little as the two of them knew each other, the vigilante had already been the nicest person that Hitoshi had ever met. (Not that it was hard, but still.)

"Okay then, where do you want to eat?" If he was going to go along with this, then he might as well just give it his all.

Serpentine shot up and Hitoshi could just tell that he was smiling under his mask. "I was feeling some ramen!"

"Sounds like a plan. But uh, are you going in your vigilante suit?"

Izuku looked down and silently cursed to himself. He could go like this but then he would have to take off his mask to eat and then people could see his face and that would just be a whole mess. He looked back to Shinso and debated whether or not he trusted him enough to go out in regular clothes with him.

It wasn’t like the two of them actually knew each other, but honestly what was he going to do? Try to out a dead person? Good luck with that.

"Could I use your bag?" He pointed to the backpack Shinso was wearing.

"Uh, sure?" He handed it over and Izuku began to strip off some of his gear in order to look less like Serpentine.

Off went the mask, the utility belt, the pipes, the knife, and anything else he had in his pockets that were vigilante-related. Luckily tonight he opted for sweatpants instead of his usual tight joggers and he wore his usual black hoodie. Once he was finished, he zipped up the bag and handed it back to a tired-eyed Shinso that seemed to be trying to hide his surprise at seeing Izuku without his mask.

It wasn't like the mask covered all that much of Serpentine's face, just his nose and below, but still. When he took off the mask and shoved it into Hitoshi's bag, he couldn’t help but gape. He quickly reset his face and just opted for pretending like he didn't care, but he knew that the vigilante saw right through him.

When he first saw the vigilante his green hair and eyes would've been something forgettable, but the way he held himself made them so interesting. His long hair-now short, Hitoshi had to do a double-take when he first saw it-flowed easily into a bun at the back of his head and the little pieces framed his face in an almost gentle way. All of that went away, however when you got to his eyes. Those eyes that seemed to glow green in the night. Eyes that saw right through anything you tried to throw out to distract from the truth. Those eyes that had so much pain in them that Shinso's chest hurt every time he looked into them for too long.

Of course, that all just added to the way he seemed to radiate strength. It wasn't a cocky sort of thing that dominated any space he was in, but it was more like waves slowly overtaking you and then before you know it, he's already taken you down. His nonchalant attitude and sarcastic tongue all helped to tie in his vigilante persona.

He pulled the mask off and Hitoshi found himself surprised at the bottom half of the vigilante's face. It was so…soft.

A kind face that could warm up any room and bring light to the darkest places. Very different from the Serpentine he knew (barely). The thing that really stuck out to him were the freckles that ran across his cheeks and bridge of his nose and seemed to dominate his face.

If Shinso didn't know any better he'd say that the vigilante was almost pretty. He valued his life however, so he'd never say it to the guy.

Izuku glanced up and noticed that Shinso was still looking at him, "Do you have a problem?" He asked the boy who flinched at his voice.

"What? Oh uh, no. No, it's just that I didn't take you as someone who would have so many freckles."

He shrugged, "I get it from my mom."

And then the two boys were off to go chow down on some ramen. "Oh, and by the way," He continued after walking for a minute, "Don't even try to figure out my identity because you won't."

Shinso stared at him wide-eyed, "Uh, w-wasn't planning on it." He stuttered out and quickly broke eye contact. Izuku tried to hide his smirk, he wasn't used to people being intimidated by him, so this was definitely new to him, but he had to admit that it was pretty funny.

 

It wasn’t long after that they arrived at the ramen shop and began stuffing their faces. Izuku was mid-chew when Shinso cleared his throat and asked him a question. "So, we're friends now, right? When do I get to know what your actual name is? That seems like a thing that friends should know."

Izuku stared at him with his mouth full and ramen hanging from his lips. Quickly he finished chewing and swallowed before raising an eyebrow at a patient Shinso across from him. "Is that so? Well, I guess I wouldn't really know."

"Me neither, I'm just taking a guess honestly."

The two boys stared at each other, both with sympathy in their eyes for the other and the smallest hint of sadness for themselves. It was messed up, but Izuku found a sort of comfort in the fact that he wasn't alone in being alone.

He took another bite, slurping the hanging ramen into his mouth, "Well, I guess if we can joke about our trauma with each other, then you ought to at least know my name. You can call me Midoriya."

Shinso's slight smile fell, and his eyebrows rose. He looked suspicious, but of what, Izuku didn't know. "You're joking."

"What? No, I'm not. That's actually my name."

He didn't seem convinced. "There's no way."

"Why do you seem so against this? Is there something wrong with my name?"

"I just-" He tried to swallow back his laugh but failed and looked back at Izuku. "You're telling me that your name means green? Seriously? That seems kinda on the nose, don't you think?"

Realization dawned on Izuku. His mother had talked to him about his name one time, and he had researched it himself, but for whatever reason it just didn't seem to faze him how much irony there was. "Oh," He could feel the blood rush to his cheeks, "Uh, yeah. I guess I can see how you'd think I was lying, but that really is my name."

"That's amazing." Shinso leaned back in his chair and picked his bowl back up. Izuku allowed a small smile to form on his face. Was this what an actual friend was? Someone that joked without the intent to hurt? It didn't seem real to him.

He shoved some more ramen in his mouth and allowed himself another quick scan of the restaurant. It was something he had been doing ever since they walked up to the building. When you hung around Eraser for long enough, you started to pick up on his habits and paranoia.

Every look around had seemed fine, he knew where all of the entrances and exits were, and he had a rough estimate exactly how long it would take him to get there. No one had struck him as someone to worry about, but he made sure to keep an eye out and keep his senses open. He also had multiple plans of escape if the situation called for it. It was probably him being too cautious, but it was better to be safe than sorry and-

It was at that exact moment that he and Katsuki Bakugou made eye contact and then everything descended into chaos.

Chapter Text

It was at that exact moment that he and Katsuki Bakugou made eye contact and then everything descended into chaos.

 

Izuku's eyes went wide at he stared at his childhood friend and then his entire body decided to activate abort mode. The ramen he was halfway through eating slipped down his throat and he began to choke loudly causing every eye in the restaurant to turn to his suffering form.

Shinso stood up from his chair, "Are you okay?"

He couldn't be bothered to think about his friend worrying about him, he was too worried about the piece of ramen doing the cha-cha slide up and down his esophagus. Tears gathered in his eyes as he struggled to breath unsuccessfully. He stood up and leaned over the table and finally coughed out the little terd, all eyes still staring at him and Shinso fretting over his dying friend.

He straightened up and looked all around him at all of the concerned faces, "Um…" He looked back at a still freaked out Shinso and silently sent him a message that he hoped he got.

Hitoshi stared at Midoriya who had just been on the brink of dying via noodle. It seemed ridiculous considering what the guy did as a night job, but still. He looked into his eyes and the message he got screamed 'ABORT MISSION! ABORT MISSION!' and Shinso wasn’t about to argue.

Without any more indication the two boys whipped out their wallets and slammed cash on the table and booked it out of the restaurant. Eyes followed them and murmurs surrounded them as they left, but they didn't pay them any mind.

Once they were far enough away, Midoriya collapsed his back against the wall of a building and seemed to stare into oblivion.

"Uh, you good?"

It took him a moment to process what was just asked, but he eventually choked out, "N-not really."

"Right…is there anything I can do?"

whAT WAS THE PROCEDURE IN THIS KIND OF SITUATION?? HITOSHI DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO FRIEND! THIS WAS OUT OF HIS JURISDICTION.

Midoriya let out a small laugh out of nowhere and Hitoshi found himself getting more and more unsettled by the second. "Uh, Midoriya?"

Another laugh and he shook his head with an unhinged smile, "Of course…of f***ing course! God-" He then proceeded to dish out every curse word that Shinso had known and then some before he finally took in a deep breath and slid down to the ground as he let it out. It was another few seconds before he acknowledged Hitoshi again, "Sorry for, uh, that."

"…you're good?" He was sorry, okay? Forgive him for not knowing what to say in whatever situation they were in at the moment. Actually, he had no idea what was going on. Maybe now would be a good time to ask. "Um, so can I ask what that was all about?"

Midoriya turned his head toward him and looked at him with significantly more tired eyes than before, "I guess. If we're going to be friends, you should probably know since I doubt that it'll go away any time soon."

"Right, uh," Hitoshi looked around, they were alone where they were, but they were still on the sidewalk in the middle of town. It wasn't exactly the most private or comfortable place, but he supposed that he shouldn't be too worried when he had a bada** vigilante with him.

"I don't know if you saw them, but I recognized one of the family's that were in there. Their son, we used to be best friends when we were kids, but we had a…falling out."

"A falling out?"

"Katsuki was an early bloomer. He got his quirk before anyone else in our class and if that wasn't good enough, it just so happened to be a pretty dang good quirk. Everyone started praising him and wanting to hang out with him because they knew that he would become a pro one day and it's always good to be on the good side of a pro hero. I was one of the people who admired him a lot, although mine was genuine because we had already been friends and I had known for a while he would turn out to be great. He started getting cocky and when I didn't end up having a quirk it all fell to pieces. Our friendship, my friendship with all of our other classmates, any peace I might've had in my academic life, everything.

"Long story short, we stopped being friends and he started bullying me pretty badly. I still have some scars from his worst attacks, but that's whatever. Anyway, so then I died, and I saw him at my funeral, but he didn’t see me and then we just made eye contact in there and it's just all such a mess. Not to mention everything that just went down with my bastard of a father-" Izuku's words died off as his mind caught up with his mouth. His eyes widened and slowly looked at Shinso who was staring at him with literal plates in his eye sockets.

He hadn't meant to say all that, but he just couldn't help it! He finally had a friend that he could talk to (kind of?) and it was so easy to just dump all of the trauma of his life while he was on the train of self-pity, and he might've revealed more than he was supposed to.

"Uh, so I think I've said a bit too much…"

His friend continued to gape at him before his mouth eventually closed and his eyes went back to their normal size. "I'm sorry, we're not just going to speed right past that, did you say that you died?"

That was what he was concerned about? "Yeah? I thought that you already knew?"

"I mean you and Eraserhead have joked about it before, but I didn't think that you guys were actually being serious!"

"Oh…uh, yeah. I actually can't die."

"Uh huh," Shinso nodded his head while continuing to gawk at Izuku with disbelief, "And how exactly did you find that out?"

"You know what? I'd rather not get into all that right now. That's a whole different box of trauma-"

"Midoriya."

"Okay fine!" He had only known Shinso for a short amount of time, but there was no mistaking that tone in his voice. He wasn’t going to take no for an answer. "So, I might've…maybe…triedtokillmyselfaftermyformerchildbestfriendtoldmeto."

He had tried to say it as fast and quiet as he could in an attempt to deflect Shinso, but by the look on the boy's face it was clear that he understood exactly what he had said.

"What?" He let out in a low voice.

"Uh, yeah so anyway it's getting kinda late, maybe we should be-"

"Midoriya, this is serious. You're telling me that friend of yours-Katsuki-told you to kill yourself after years of bullying and tormenting you?"

Izuku nodded gingerly, afraid of what his friend's next reaction would be. He had honestly not seen this coming and didn't know how to respond.

"Does Eraserhead know?"

He had to think about that for a minute, "He knows that I tried to kill myself, but I don't think I ever told him the reason."

"We're going to him right now." Shinso stood up and began walking down the sidewalk.

Izuku scrambled to his feet and called out after him, "Wait, what? Shinso you can't do that!"

"And why not?"

"Because…"

"Because you're scared? You don't want to get Katsuki in trouble?"

As much as he hated to admit it, that was exactly why he didn't want to get Eraser involved. He knew that as soon as he did, the pro would be outside the Bakugou's apartment ready to drag Katsuki out by his hair and have a 'talk' with him. And he didn't think that even Auntie Mitsuki could take him.

"I-" he tried but was cut off by Shinso."

"Nothing. What he did to you is not okay and you need to know that."

"I do know that!" More than he could ever know actually…

That's what happened when you had to relieve all of the tormenting of your childhood over and over again until you just cracked.

"And Eraserhead needs to know too. I don't know exactly what the relationship between you two is, but I know that he cares about you."

Izuku struggled to keep up with Shinso which was extremely surprising, but he had seen mama-bear mode in action before and he knew better than to underestimate it. Something that was also surprising was that they were actually going the right way to Eraser's apartment. He decided to shoot Mic a quick warning text, no doubt he was still there, and he was slightly less terrified of him than of Eraser.

Ten minutes later Izuku had reluctantly guided Shinso to their apartment (with Mic's permission that apparently came from Eraser) and taken him down all of the roundabouts and throw-off roads until they finally arrived outside their door.

Izuku had tried to drag, push, tackle, and beg but there was nothing he could do to deter his friend. Is this what it was like for everyone else? Was his stubbornness this annoying? Probably. But that wasn't the point-

The point was, that there they were. Only a thin wall between them and an unknowingly amount of pissed off Eraser. Izuku was terrified. He could handle him on his own, but to have to protect Shinso too? That was too much, it was hard enough to escape from him alone.

Thankfully? Unfortunately? Izuku's dilemma on whether or not to rip the band-aid off and open the door was thrown out of the window as Shinso knocked before turning the handle and walking right into their apartment.

Did he have a death wish? Was this how he made Eraser feel when he was on a suicidal binge? He'd have to apologize to him some time…

Izuku scurried in after him and gently shut the door behind him. Wouldn't want witnesses to their murders and all that. He walked right into the room with Eraser and Mic sitting on the couch watching a movie and Shinso just frozen five feet from the door.

"Uh, Shinso? You good?" He walked around to see his friend's awestruck face.

It made sense, he guessed. Not everyone saw pros on the regular out of their hero costumes, so he understood how this could come as quite a surprise to him.

Mic stood up first and bounded up to them, "What's up listeners?? I'm so glad you're back Izuku! Shouta was beginning to get boring, and I missed my favorite little gremlin." He slung his arm over Izuku's shoulders and ruffled his hair just enough for it to be annoying, but they were both laughing.

It was crazy how far he'd come with just Mic. He hadn't known the guy a few weeks ago, and now he barely flinched when he touched him.

Somehow, Shinso snapped out of his trance and stared at Izuku and Mic, "Wait, Izuku?"

Izuku's eyes shot to Mic, and he let out a groan.

"Oh sorry! I assumed if you brought him here that you two were on first name basis…"

"It's fine, you didn't know." He looked back at a smirking Shinso, "Izuku is my first name. Call me it if you want, I don't really care."

At that he got another hair ruffling but this one was a bit harder. "Oh shush," Mic called out, "Don't listen to this one. He just doesn't know how to interact with people correctly."

"Yeah, I've noticed."

"Perfect! Then you already decided to be his friend even despite…" He looked at Izuku who glared back at him and being unable to find the correct word he opted for simply gesturing to Izuku.

Izuku's mouth fell open and he thrust his arms out in exasperation, "You just gestured to all of me."

"Right! Oh, don't give me that look Izuku, we both know that you're a lot more like Shouta than either of you want to admit and I would say the same thing about him."

He had to give him that one. It had been a countless number of times that Izuku found himself in the middle of one of the two hero's petty arguments. They weren't actual fights, just the two of them trying to annoy the other and knowing that the best way to do that was to bring Izuku into it. He didn't know whether to be offended or flattered by that, but he decided to just not think about it.

"Anyways! Welcome to Shouta's apartment, I know it doesn’t look like much, but if you look past all of the blandness it's actually pretty cozy."

"I heard that!"

"You were meant to!"

Eraser stood up to join the three of them circled in the entryway and nodded at Izuku which he returned. Izuku took a look around, just remembering something important that was missing. He turned back to Eraser with a questioning look, "Where are the cats?"

"We put them up when we heard that we'd have a guest. You know how they can be around new people."

Izuku nodded in understanding. He did, when there was someone new in the apartment the two cats decided that it was their duty to mark their territory and get as much of themselves and their smell on them as possible. So, it was almost impossible for the person to leave because they would most likely have two cats sprawled across them refusing to get up any time soon.

He found it endearing, Eraser found it annoying.

"So, is there a reason that the two of you are here and why you looked like you were accepting death when you walked in?"

Izuku's cheeks burned as he shifted his gaze down as to avoid the hero's stare. "Well…"

"Are you aware of Midoriya's past?" Shinso's voice spoke up for the first time since they arrived, and all attention snapped to his serious tone.

He looked directly at Eraser who seemed a bit confused by the sudden question. "Um, some of it, but I'd bet not everything."

"Shinso, please don't-"

"Shh," Shinso put his finger in front of Izuku's mouth and he was tempted to bite it off just out of spite but was able to restrain himself somehow. "You know about his quirk, right?" Eraser nodded. "And about how he figured out he had it?" This nod was a bit more reluctant.

"I don't know the details…what is this about?"

"We were at a restaurant and saw his childhood bully there. The same bully he used to be best friends with and that had told him to kill himself the day he discovered his quirk."

Eraser's body stiffened and his breath caught. It was subtle to everyone except for Izuku and Present Mic. The two of them exchanged glances to each other before Eraser's head slowly turned towards Izuku and his scrutinizing eyes fell on him.

Izuku felt five inches tall under that stare. It was what he imagined inspired so much fear in his enemies, but he had never actually witnessed it, let alone experienced it. Although he was like seventy-five percent sure that he wasn't angry at him, Izuku's anxiety still spiked, and he had to beat down the urge to apologize profusely with a mental stick.

"He what?"

"Um…" Izuku shrunk back, "It's nothing really, Shinso's just being dramatic and-"

"Did that actually happen?"

"Can you be a bit more specific? Izuku squeaked out cringing away from the slowly approaching hero.

"Did he tell you to kill yourself?"

He knew he couldn't lie to him no matter how much he wanted to. The two of them had grown too close for that. There would be no easy escapes from this one. "…maybe."

Izuku had closed his eyes and prepared for the worst when Mic's voice rang out and Izuku opened his eyes to see the hero restraining Eraser under his arms and pulling him back. "Now, now Shouta. You're scaring the poor boy and you know how he is."

"Let go of me," Eraser jerked out of Mic's hold and glared at his friend, "I'm not so much of an idiot to go after a child on a whim."

Mic glared right back and crossed his arms as the two of the stared each other down. Izuku felt like he was in the middle of something he really didn't want to be in, and he shot his own glare at Shinso who gave him an innocent shrug and moved to stand by his side.

"When it comes to Izuku all of your common sense goes out of the window!"

"That's so not true!"

"So what? Are we just going to pretend that I didn't have to stop you from going after his father and Conductor when you heard about what happened? You were literally in a hospital bed, and I had to physically restrain you."

"That was one time!"

"Because you were on patrol the other time!"

Shinso leaned over to Izuku's shoulder and whispered in his ear, "What are they talking about?"

Izuku simply shrugged, "My useless piece of crap father came back after I died and tried to control me when he found out that I was alive, and this pro hero accidentally killed me this one time."

"I'm sorry, what?" the boy's voice yelled close to his ear and Izuku jumped at the volume of his outburst.

"What?"

The two hero's argument overtook their own and the boys turned to catch the back end of it. "Fine! Fine, I won't do anything unless he tells me to. Happy?"

"Very." Mic snarked at Eraser who glared back. After a few more moments Mic broke their eye contact and looked back at Izuku, "Are you okay? I can't imagine it would've been easy to have all of those memories brought back."

Maybe Izuku wouldn't mention to either of them how often he dreamt of his childhood and all of the torment he went through. They'd probably just get mad again.

"Uh, yeah I'm fine now."

This time Shinso shot him a look that he dismissed with a wave of his hand.

Eraser, who had been keeping quiet ever since talking with Mic, groaned as silence stretched in between them and took a sip from the glass cup that he had obtained sometime during everything. "Can I at least know their name?"

"Shouta-"

"Shut up Hizashi. It's not like I can actually do anything anyways, I just want to know."

Mic sighed and turned back to Izuku, giving him a look that clearly said that he could do whatever he wanted, and he would support him either way. He thought about it for a moment, trying to figure out if this could come back to bite him in anyway, but came up with nothing. He sighed, "I guess… His name is Katsuki Bakugou."

Suddenly the cup shattered, and tiny pieces of glass rained down all over the wooden floors. "His name is what?"

Chapter Text

"Shouta!" Mic jumped into action, taking the remaining pieces of glass from Eraser's bloody clenched hand and rushed to grab a broom and the trashcan while the other pro just stood there looking like he wanted to kill someone.

Shinso and Izuku looked at each other wearily, "Um, Eraser…?"

The hero gave no response and the two of them shot each other another worried look.

"See what you've done? I freaking told you not to tell them!"

"I'm sorry-next time I'll just let you suffer in silence!" Shinso snarked out not breaking eye contact.

"As you should!"

"That's not what friends do!"

Izuku stopped short. He had another comeback locked and loaded, but Shinso's comment threw him a bit. "You think we're friends?" He could feel his face pull into a pout and his friend groaned as he rolled his eyes.

"I thought we already established this…"

"It's different when I'm saying that we're friends than when you say that we're friends. Aww Shinso!" Caught up in his joy at being accepted as a friend to someone Izuku did something that he never did. He initiated a hug.

Well, it was supposed to be a hug. Apparently, Shinso was just as physically awkward as Izuku was and so when he stretched his arms out to the other boy and began to move closer, he panicked. Izuku, being the graceful person he was, tried to pull back when he saw the look in his friend's eyes, but ended up going off-balance instead and crashed into Shinso sending them both to the floor.

The two boys groaned, and muffled snickers sounded like they were trying to be covered up above them. Izuku sat up and realized that he had fallen directly on top of the other boy and scrambled to get off. "I'm so sorry!"

Shinso let out another pained groan as he felt the weight of Izuku push off of him. This is what he got for having a friend. "-it's whatever," he mumbled as he got to his own feet. To the side the two pros who were still in the process of cleaning up the glassy floor were doubled over in laughter.

In actuality, the fall wasn't too bad. Midoriya was light-like really light. It kind of made sense with how small he was, but even then, he had a feeling that the boy should've had some more weight to him, but that was a problem for another day. The shock was what got him more than anything. Honestly, he was just shocked that Midoriya let himself get flustered like that. He would've expected him to be really chill and coordinated being a vigilante and everything, but the guy was a complete mess.

Oh well, couldn't be helped he guessed.

Midoriya stood beside Shinso, fretting over his friend and apologizing profusely for trying to hug him and then falling on top of him. Logically, he knew that he was there, but in his mind, he was thinking.

Was this what it was to be a friend? To have a friend?

Hanging out and making each other laugh. Getting closer and learning all about one another, your likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams, traumas and tragedies. Protecting each other…

"Oh Shouta, it's like déjà vu-" Mic somehow got out in between his wheezes.

Eraser glanced between the two boys a few times before he let out a sigh, "Oh my god-" He whispered to himself earning Mic dropping to the now glass-free floor in laughter.

"Okay, you guys can stop now. I get it okay?" Izuku said in an annoyed voice, but everyone knew that he wasn't nearly as upset as he tried to sound. In fact…he was kind of happy?

It didn't really make sense. He had just run into the center of his torment as a child and the person who had abandoned him and years later told him to kill himself. He should be in literally any other mood, but he couldn't help but feel happy.

He had people who cared about him-like actually cared about him. Eraser had let him stay with him because he didn't have a home anymore. Mic had practically adopted him right along with Eraser and Tsuki. He had Shinso who actually considered him a friend. Willingly.

These people worried about him. They cared about how his day was. They cried with him and tried to comfort him. They stood by him. They fought for him. They made him feel heard and like an actual person.

…They made him feel loved.

Something he hadn't felt from anyone other than his mother in a long…long time.

"Okay," Eraserhead broke through Izuku's train of thought, "As fun as it is laughing at you two, it is getting late and I'm pretty sure Shinso has school in the morning." He looked to the boy waiting for confirmation.

He nodded frantically and Izuku could see the faintest blush appear on his cheeks. He elbowed his friend flashing him his signature smirk and received a deadpanned glare back.

After a few moments, Shinso broke eye contact and sighed, "It is getting pretty late. My family will probably be wondering where I am…"

Izuku's smile soured into a frown at the thought of his friend's family. He only knew the little bit that Shinso had told him himself, but even so, his blood boiled. It wasn't fair that he was having to go back to a home where they didn't love or appreciate him. It hurt…it was lonely. Izuku knew.

"You could always just crash here for the night, as long as your parents don't mind. It would be no bother to me and I'd honestly rather you not go out this late." Eraser added a moment later, taking his and Mic's dishes to the kitchen.

Shinso shot Izuku a look that screamed panic and hope at the same time. But Izuku was too busy being fake offended, "Do you really think that I'd let my friend walk home alone at night? It's dangerous! I've already had to save him like three times!"

"It was two times, and I don't need your protection."

"Uh huh," Izuku gave his friend a 'really?' look and then turned back to where Eraserhead was washing some dishes in the sink and Mic was putting the trash away. "But I am all for him staying the night. Who knew that you could actually have good ideas?"

Eraser glanced up, his eyes slicing into Izuku before returning back to his task. "I really don't care, it's whatever you boys want. Although, I do have school in the morning as well, so don't stay up too late being loud."

"Oh my god, you are such a dad," Mic called from the living room gathering his things.

"Get out of my house."

"Apartment!"

"Whatever!" Eraser yelled back as Mic was dancing out of the door after giving Izuku a goodbye hair ruffling and when he received a nod of approval, he gave Shinso one too.

 

The plan was to watch a few movies and then figure out sleeping arrangements, but that apparently wasn't necessary as both boys ended up falling asleep half-way through the first movie.

Izuku woke up first. His body flinched as he shocked himself awake-another nightmare. At least it wasn't a loud one that woke Shinso up.

He looked at the sleeping boy-who had half of his body hanging off of the couch and one of his legs draped over Izuku-and smiled to himself.

This is nice…Izuku thought. He had never had this before.

The tv was still on so he carefully reached over to grab the remote to turn it off and repositioned himself to try to fall back asleep. And surprisingly enough, he did. He awoke hours later to the sound of his friend waking up rather than the trauma of his past and it was…nice.

Shinso grumbled as he came back to the conscious world, already complaining about how tired he was. Wow, he and Izuku really were meant to be friends, huh? They could be sleep deprived buddies!

He groggily opened his eyes and saw Izuku smirking at him. The kid looked ridiculous; his hair stood up in every direction, his eyes were barely staying open, he had some drool on the side of his mouth, and his face was covered in indentions from the side of the couch.

To be fair, Izuku probably didn't look great either, but he knew that he didn't look too different from what he usually did.

"Ugh-" Shinso groaned as he turned onto his back and rubbed at his eyes, "Don't look at me like that this early. I need some time to be able to deal with your bs."

This caused Izuku to let out a giggle as he stood up and stretched his arms above his head. "That's fair. I'm going to go brush my teeth while you finish waking up. Feel free to bother me when you're ready."

"You got it," He gave him a tired thumbs up and collapsed his head back onto the couch.

 

Eraser had already left for school. He always got there early because he was a teacher and all so Izuku rarely saw him in the mornings unless he was up because of one of his nightmares.

He finished brushing his teeth and he even managed to somehow make his hair look like less of a rat's nest before he went to the kitchen to find a sticky note on the bar counter.

That was something that had become a regular occurrence. Every morning Izuku would find a note from Eraser, giving him updates of what food was in the house, when he expected to be home, and if he had any plans that he needed to know about. It was nice, the thought that Eraser cared enough to leave him a note every morning. Not exactly something he would've expected, but something that he was pleasantly surprised about.

Izuku had just finished pouring himself a bowl of cereal when Shinso stalked into the kitchen. He still looked dead, but at least he looked like a better kept zombie that fixed their hair and brushed their teeth.

"Don't say it, I know I look like crap."

Mouth full, Izuku replied, "I wasn't going to say anything."

"Yeah, right." He made his way over to the pantry to pull out another box of cereal, the kind that Eraser really likes and joined Izuku at the bar. "I've gotta stop by my house before school so that I can grab my uniform."

"Oh yeah, where do you go anyway? You're a high schooler, right?"

Shinso nodded and finished chewing before answering. "UA." He said it so nonchalantly as Izuku had choked on his cereal and was having a coughing fit.

"You…you go to UA?"

His friend looked at him with his eyebrows raised, "Yeah? You good…?"

"Why didn't you tell me?!"

"I thought I just did-"

"No! I mean before! This is so important, I can't believe that you go to UA, the most prestigious hero school in the-"

Shinso scoffed and took another bite, "It's not like it's a big deal or anything, I'm just in the gen ed course."

"It is absolutely a big deal! Even for the general education students, it's hard to get in due to the written exam. You must be like mega smart!"

"Eh, not really. And even if I was, it didn't do anything to get me into the hero course." His words were bitter. Bitter and sad.

"You tried for the hero course?" Izuku tilted his head.

"Yeah, but my quirk wasn't any good against those stupid robots, but my test score was good enough that I was still able to make it into the gen ed course. The plan was to work hard and try to transfer into the hero course, but the more I think about it, the more ridiculous it sounds. I mean what could someone like me even do anyway-"

Izuku gaped at his friend bitterly moving his cereal around in his bowl. "Excuse me, you are not allowed to be so negative. I thought that I taught you better than that!"

"We've been friends for like five seconds."

"Still! You are not allowed to talk bad about yourself like that." Izuku crossed his arms, staring Shinso in the eye.

The boy met his eye and took up the challenge, "Uh huh…and this is coming from the suicidal maniac who hasn't had a good thought about himself in his life?"

"Okay listen-"

"It's whatever. I mean, they were right, weren't they? Everyone who told me that my dream was impossible?"

"No."

"Midoriya-"

"No! No, that's not true, I will not let that be true. You want to get into the hero course? Fine. I'll help you."

This time it was Shinso who choked on his cereal. "You'll what?"

"I'll help you transfer. Believe it or not, but I'm actually a pretty capable vigilante."

"No, no I couldn't-"

"I didn't ask."

The two boys stared each other down. Both trying to make the other agree, but Shinso underestimated just how stubborn Izuku was.

As expected, it was him who broke first with a sigh, "Fine! Fine, I'll let you train me."

Izuku clapped his hands excitedly and let out a laugh of amusement.

"But I hate you."

"Sure you do…"

 

Shouta stomped through the halls of UA.

It wasn't an unusual sight for him to be grumpily making his way to his classroom or the teacher's lounge, but anyone would be able to tell that this was more than his usual grumpiness.

He tried his best to calm down and keep his thoughts to himself last night for Izuku's sake. He knew that if the kid knew what he was thinking that he'd tried to stop him and feel like anything that might happen would be his fault. So, he opted to go to bed early. Mic caught on to this quickly and took his leave casually. Shouta would have to thank him for that later.

Despite what other's assumed, Hizashi could actually be extremely subtle and quite when he needed to be. He just chose to be loud and out there. He like it like that.

Once he finally made it to his classroom, he b-lined for his desk and pulled out the class roster. And right there, staring back at him was the name that he had been both hoping and dreading to see.

What was he supposed to do? Yes, Bakugou was his student and yes, he did have a certain authority and responsibility to keep the boy in check, but how could he approach this issue? Go to him and accuse him of being the reason why some kid killed himself? A kid that he wasn’t even supposed to know or know that he knew.

That would take a lot of explaining and a lot of lying if he didn't want to out Izuku as being alive. And if he did figure out the Izuku was alive, what would the kid do? Try to find him? Torment him? Get him to attempt again?

No. Shouta couldn't take that chance. He didn't have many options and it irritated him. He hated being backed into a corner and forced to wait for something to play out. It was the same thing with Conductor, if Shouta had his way the hero would be in the hospital striped of his license, his reputation, and his freedom.

Of course, that was a bit too much to ask for when they were accusing him of killing a dead kid who just so happened to be a very much alive vigilante who was supposed to be dead.

Oh my-this was all too much.

Fine. He would have to keep an eye on Katsuki Bakugou. And believe him when he says that the kid will wish that he had never caught his teacher's attention.

Chapter Text

Conductor was counting his blessings.

Everything had gone to crap all at once. He didn't even really know how it all happened, but what he did know was that he was on probation and unable to perform his hero duties for the time being, until they sorted out his case.

What that case was, he had no idea. They had said something about murder of a vigilante, but he had no idea how they could possibly know about that. He had made sure that all traces of him from that night were gone and he hadn't breathed a word of it to a soul.

Granted, he also didn't know what had happened after he left, but he didn't see anything about it on the news or anywhere, so he thought that he was good.

Apparently not. But the good news was that until they had actual proof, they couldn't keep him locked up. They could suspend his license, but that was simply a minor inconvenience.

And what kind of hero would he be if he let something as little as that stop him from doing his duty of protecting people? He would just have to be careful...

 

Shinso left for school hours ago, Izuku had finished all of the things he wanted to get done that day, and Eraser wasn't supposed to be home until later that night. Why he was going to be out so late, he didn't know, but it wasn't really any of his business, so he didn't question it.

Growing more and more bored by the minute, Izuku decided to do what any sensible, technically deceased, undercover vigilante would do and go out to patrol.

The night was relatively quiet. Too quiet some might say. He had only really caught wind of one or two altercations in the past three hours. It was well past sunset and prime time for villain activity, so why wasn't anyone doing anything villainous?

It was weird, and Izuku was getting suspicious.

This wasn't normal. There was a certain feel to the air that night, an air that told him to stay away. What could possibly be going on for the night to feel so dangerous?

Despite the bad feeling he kept on getting, Izuku continued to patrol. He kept at it for a solid hour before he stopped in frustration. What is going on? He sighed exasperatedly. And just then he heard a clang a couple of buildings down and took off in a sprint.

Yes! Finally some action, gosh I was getting bored-are you freaking kidding me?

Izuku turned the corner and was met face-to-face with none other than the bastard that killed him and walked away.

"Conductor…"

The hero flinched when he heard Izuku's voice. "No…no you're supposed to be dead. I-I killed you!"

"Glad you're finally admitting it. Where was that the night you left me dying on the alley floor?"

Slowly, Conductor started backing away and frantically looking all around him. He seemed a lot more shaken up than he should've been. Sure, seeing Izuku alive would be surprising and everything, but he looked terrified.

"No, no, no, no…first I think I saw the hero killer and now I'm seeing dead kids-"

"Wait a minute, what do you mean you think you saw the hero killer?"

The hero snaped his head up to look at Izuku, his eyes full of the fear that his shaking hands clearly showed. I-I thought that I saw him. I felt like someone was following me and then I heard something and turned around and saw him there, but when I blinked, he was gone."

So that was what Izuku heard…but wait- "So you didn't make that noise?"

"What? No, of course not. I'm not stupid enough to be so careless about my surroundings."

Then that means…a shadow flickered overhead and Izuku's body moved without a second thought. "Get down!" He yelled as he tackled Conductor to the ground and felt the wind of a blade pass over his head.

The hero grunted as he fell on top of him, but Izuku ignored him. He jumped up immediately and turned to see that the hero killer was stood right across from him with his blades drawn and a curious look in his blood red eyes.

"Stain…"

"Now this is interesting…I thought I watched you die."

Conductor, still on the ground gulped loudly, but again, Izuku paid him no mind. "You probably did."

Stain let out a low chuckle and flicked his eyes between him and the hero, "I knew there was something about you kid. Tell you what, let me do what I need to do, and we can have a little chat."

Izuku, frozen for a mere second, broke out of his thoughts and lowered his stance slightly, "I can’t do that."

"Wasn't this the hero that killed you? Shot you off a roof because he was careless and didn't take in enough of the situation? Why would you defend him?"

"Yeah, it doesn't make much sense, but I want to help people, and as much as I hate him, Conductor has been a decent hero these last few years."

Stain scoffed and slowly began to move closer, causing Izuku to stiffen his stance, "Bah! Decent hero…no such thing! There is only those who are good and those who need to be culled."

"Where does that leave you and me then? The system says that we're bad."

"I do not go by the hero system that is so corrupt, and if that is where you base your views then you are much more of a fool than I thought Serpentine."

"Regardless, the system is there for a reason. I agree that things need to change, but killing heroes you deem 'unworthy' is not the way to go about it."

"Hmm," Another step closer, and Stain seemed to study Izuku carefully, "And what might you propose be the correct way?"

"I'd love to talk with you about it. Why don’t we go chat over some coffee or something?"

"Nice try young one, but I am not so easily persuaded from my mission." It happened in the blink of an eye. One moment Izuku was standing above Conductor, ready to protect him and the next his body locked, and he was heading for the ground.

By the time he got his bearings, Stain was already taking his katanas out of Conductor's unmoving form. His heart dropped. He had just witnessed a murder…something that he was completely defenseless to stop.

Stain wiped his blades off with his sleeves and turned towards Izuku. He began walking over to him and Izuku started to panic. By the time the hero killer had crouched down, Izuku was on the brink of hyperventilating.

"You're an interesting one Serpentine," He studied Izuku once again with a sadistic smirk, "I look forward to talking with you again soon." Even though his body couldn't physically move, he knew he would've flinched as he felt the cold hand of the hero killer pat his head before he stood back up straight.

And just as quickly and quietly as he appeared, he vanished. Leaving Izuku frozen on the alley floor staring at the bleeding out form of Conductor.

 

Shouta had known that he was going to be home a little later than usual tonight and he had told Izuku as much.

It wasn't as if he had expected the kid to be there when he did arrive, but there was something that didn't sit right with him. The night had a certain air about it that left him feeling uneasy and that feeling only grew as he came home to an empty apartment.

It couldn't hurt to just go out and make sure he's okay, right?

Heading right back out, Eraser put down his jacket and made his way back down the apartment building stairs.

He only searched for about five minutes when he came across a familiar mop of green curls. He approached the alley and instantly knew that something was wrong.

For one, Izuku was lying on the ground unmoving, and second, there was another unmoving body next to him, only this one was sitting in a pool of blood. And unfortunately, Shouta knew exactly who that body belonged to.

"Kid! Kid, are you alright? Please be alive, please be alive-" He ran to Izuku and when he saw his face, he saw that he had streams of tears going down his pale cheeks. Eyes devoid of any and all emotion. He hadn't even noticed Shouta yet.

Oh no, this was bad

Shouta crouched down and put a hand on Izuku's shoulder gently. He flinched at the touch and the hero internally grimaced. He had been so happy when he thought that Izuku had finally gotten comfortable with his touch, but now wasn't the time.

"Hey…" He tried. "Hey," He tried again, this time moving the kid's shoulder a bit. "Izuku!" The sound of Shouta shouting his name, must've triggered something because suddenly his eyes darted to the hero and then all around, as if he was taking in a scene that he had never seen before. "Hey…are you okay?"

Izuku didn't say anything. Didn't move. Didn’t react in any other way than a fresh stream of tears beginning to fall down his face.

"Kid…kid-Izuku talk to me. What happened?"

His eyes slowly met his and all Shouta saw there was brokenness, hopelessness…

"I couldn't do anything…"

"What do you mean? Tell me what happened."

"It was the hero killer…I stumbled across Conductor and the hero killer showed up."

Oh my god-

The hero killer?! Izuku had faced the hero killer and survived?

"He-he killed him, and I couldn’t do a single thing."

"Hey-hey, it's okay. Anybody would've frozen when dealing with someone like that. Do not put this on yourself, it was not your fault."

"No, I mean that I literally couldn't do anything. I can't move."

This time Shouta froze. His eyes scanned Izuku all over and noticed just how uncomfortable of a position he was actually in. And he remembered just how still the boy had been this entire time.

"I think that it may be his quirk…why he's able to take down heroes so efficiently. If he can immobilize them then it's merely child's play at that point."

Eraser continued to search Serpentine for any type of noticeable injury, "And he didn't try to kill you?"

"No…he said um-that he looked forward to talking with me again soon…"

Shouta tensed and he looked down at the empty eyes of this poor boy. A boy who has been through way too much in the short amount of time that was his life, who has experienced things that no one should ever have to experience, who has seen things that he wished that he never would've.

"Izuku…"

There wasn't much that he could do. A minute after Shouta arrived, Izuku was able to move again, but all he did was reposition and then he refused to move.

Eraser called Tsuki and gave him a very brief explanation of what happened and asked him to bring some people to take care of the scene. Once they arrived Shouta promised him a more thorough explanation, but he had to get Izuku away from this place. He didn't know how much he would be able to take.

He just hoped that the kid was sensible enough to not try to handle all of it alone.

 

"Ugh-Midoriya…" Shinso groaned out as he took another hit from the serious faced boy in front of him. Despite his friend calling to him however, he didn’t seem to hear him at all. "Midoriya." Another hit. "Hey! Mid-Izuku!"

That made the boy's eyes snap to Hitoshi's. He wasn’t even the slightest bit winded, while Shinso was already dying, and they hadn't started but ten minutes ago.

"Hey…you good?"

Izuku simply shook his head as if to shake away his thoughts and retook up his fighting stance, making Shinso groan and mimic his actions. "Yeah." He said after a moment. "Your form is terrible."

"Hey!"

They spent the rest of their training time that day with Izuku showing Shinso how to properly take a hit while receiving the least amount of damage as possible. It was slow progress, but it was progress.

Hitoshi's body was already screaming at him by the time he collapsed on the groan at the end. He silently cursed to himself, thinking about how horrible he felt now and how much worse he'll feel in the morning.

"Okay, so that wasn't completely terrible-"

"Midoriyaaaaaa," Hitoshi whined. "Do you have to cut me down so much?"

The boy frowned down at him and handed him a water bottle. The only thing that gave away that they had been training was the sweat stains on his shirt, but Izuku looked completely fine, in fact, he looked relaxed. Show off…

"It's not to be mean, but you need to know exactly where you are so that you can begin to move forward. You're just staring out, and you can't expect to be good right off the bat."

Shinso let out a frustrated huff, "…I guess!"

"I'm right and you know it. Anyway, same time tomorrow?"

Another loud groan followed by Izuku's laughter made the corners of Shinso's mouth to twitch up. He had been told about what had happened the other night with Conductor and Stain and he was worried about his friend.

He seemed to be doing at least a bit better now, but Aizawa had warned him that the boy tended to shut down when he didn't know how to properly handle his feelings and emotions. Unfortunately, he knew about that all too well.

Chapter Text

Izuku hadn’t been joking about the two of them training again the next day. Hitoshi was on the verge of collapsing already due to the amount of pain he was in and he almost fainted when Izuku told him that they'd be working on his cardio and endurance today.

Great…

 

"How are you not even out of breath?"

Izuku, turning back towards a hunched over Shinso literally fighting for his life, looked at his friend and continued to run in place, "How are you still complaining?"

"I wouldn't have agreed to train with you if I knew that you were so freaking jacked."

"Okay, one, we both that's not true, and two, I'm a vigilante. What exactly did you expect?"

After another few seconds of Shinso trying desperately to catch his breath, he finally continued, "But how is your stamina this insane?"

Izuku seemed to think about that for a moment before shrugging, "I guess all of those years running from my classmates helped me out in the long run, huh?"

"The what-?"

 

It went on like that for most of their training sessions.

Izuku would go over everything that they would be doing that day and explain to him why it was all important. Then the two of them would get to working and Izuku would always be right beside Hitoshi. Never told him to do something that he wouldn't be doing himself. It made him feel less alone and embarrassed that he had a friend in all of this.

Then came the bickering…

"Ugh!" Shinso groaned frustratingly after being flipped to the ground yet again and trying to catch the breath that had been knocked out of him. "How are you so…?" He clenched his hand as if trying to strangle Izuku with his mind.

"Good?" His friend peered down at him with a smirk on his face and outstretched his hand to help him back to his feet.

"You're impossible." Hitoshi grumbled as he accepted Izuku's hand.

The boy shrugged once Shinso was back upright, "What can I say? I work out."

"I wOrK oUt-okay, but that doesn't explain how you can do a split and flip me over your shoulder simultaneously!

He simply shrugged again, and Hitoshi threw his hands up in exasperation before the two of them continued with their training.

 

Before they knew it, the sports festival was here, and the two boys were determined to get Shinso in the hero course. He had been putting in work training with Izuku almost non-stop and when they weren't training their bodies, they were training their minds.

It became a daily occurrence for Shouta to come home and find two teenage boys sprawled out on the living room floor surrounded by books. Actually, there was barely a day when Shinso wasn't at the Aizawa residence. Not that he minded, but it was nice to see Izuku becoming so close to someone his own age. He was also thankful that the boy seemed to be doing better mentally, Lord knew he needed it.

And Izuku didn't let up all the way up until the day of the festival. Drilling Shinso on different techniques and plans of how to utilize his quirk to the best of his ability. Hitoshi felt ready. He felt confident in his friend and his training.

He was going to do this.

 

So tEcHnIcAlLy…Izuku wasn't allowed to go to the festival. He wasn't a student or a hero and honestly, Eraser didn't need to deal with the stress of trying to babysit the gremlin while watching over the rest of his problem children.

But he really shouldn't have put so much faith that.

All he could do was sigh when he caught a glimpse of a boy with curly green hair trying to hide in the back of the stadium seating. Mic's laughter boomed all throughout the booth the two of them were in and Shouta merely groaned to himself.

"You gotta love him Shouta-"

He just groaned even louder and put his head in his hands in response, resulting in even more laughter.

They were both sat at a long table that stretched out across the entire small announcement booth and Mic was more than ready to commentate this event. Honestly, Shouta didn't even know how he got roped into commentating with him, but there wasn't much he could do about it now, so he would just have to suffer.

He quickly took out his phone that he had just silenced and dialed a number that he had as number two on his speed dial, a scowl creeping up his face as Hisashi tried to ask who he was calling.

The line rang for a moment before a small voice sounded on the other end. "Hello?" He was trying so hard to sound innocent and not like Shouta was literally looking at him sneaking into one the most guarded events UA hosted. "Can I help you Eraser?"

"Cut the crap Izuku, I can literally see your stupid little smirk."

"IT'S NOT MY FAULT!" He immediately went on the defensive and Shouta had to hold the phone a little ways away from his ear so he didn't go deaf. "Hitoshi was nervous and asked if I'd be there to support him and he gave me his puppy dog eyes and you know how I can't resist his puppy dog eyes so I just kinda snuck in and you guys really need to up your security because I had almost no trouble whatsoever-"

Eraser sighed loudly into the phone cutting Izuku off. "No, I'm pretty sure that's just you. Also, since when did you start calling him Hitoshi?" Shouta raised his eyebrow and glanced at Hizashi who was very curious about their conversation.

The boy sputtered on the other end of the line before eventually being able to formulate a complete sentence, "Wha-it's not like that! He's my friend, the only friend I've ever had actually. And he's literally at our place every day, is it so weird for me to start calling him by his first name?"

His voice had gotten quiet as Eraser could hear the doubt and worry begin to settle in.

In all honesty, he hadn't thought that anything was going on, but he had to poke fun at the kid whenever he could and now, he just kind of felt bad. "Hey, hey-," He interrupted Izuku's worried rambling, "It's completely normal to call your friends by their first names, okay? I'm sure that he'll appreciate it."

"You think so?"

"He thinks of you as a friend too, right? Calling each other by your names is just a representation of how close you've gotten since you met. It's a good thing."

"Alright…okay…if you're sure-"

"I'm sure Izuku. Now I have to go and help Hizashi begin announcing, but I expect you to be on your best behavior and to not cause too much trouble, okay?"

"Yes sir!"

Eraser didn't even have time to roll his eyes at the kid's very obvious sarcasm before he hung up.

"What was that about?" Mic asked with a hint of a smirk in his voice.

"Izuku's freaking out because he's never had a proper friend before. It's actually kind of cute."

Without any words Shouta could just feel the look his friend was giving him and turned to glare at him.

"Don't say a word." He demanded.

Mic held his hands up in surrender, "I wasn't going to say anything," He pressed a button and began to welcome everyone to the festival all the while smirking at Aizawa who just scoffed and turned away from him.

 

'Stay out of trouble'…yeah right.

He couldn't believe that Eraser had actually asked him to do that. Did the man not know who he was?

At the moment he was on his way to try to find Shinso before the events began. He knew that Mic's announcements would take a second, so he wasn't really worried about missing him.

Somehow, he found the right place and wasn't stopped at all by anyone while making his way there. UA really had to do better…Izuku was literally galivanting around without anyone so much as blinking an eye.

The hard part was trying to navigate these hallways, but eventually he managed to find someone. Unfortunately, his way of greeting was to smack right into them and send them both to the ground groaning.

Izuku held his nose as he sat up, regretting all of his clumsiness that he doubted would ever leave him, and looked at who he had just accidentally assaulted with his face. It was a boy, he seemed familiar somehow, two-toned hair and duel-colored eyes that held a very deep coldness in them as they stared back at him.

"I'm so sorry! I was looking for someone and wasn't paying much attention to my surroundings and-"

"S' fine." The boy's voice was monotoned and cold, just like his eyes.

The two of them got to their feet, still assessing the damage of their little face collision. The other boy seemed to be fine, there was no visual evidence of the incident at least. While Izuku continued to hold his nose, surprised that I wasn't bleeding from how much it hurt.

"No seriously, I'm really-"

"Todoroki! It's so not cool to ditch us and go on ahead without-oh." Another boy came trotting around the corner.

This one was shorter and not as physically built. His hair was blond with a cool looking lightning symbol imprinted on it in black. From the first boy's reaction to the other's arrival, Izuku guessed that the two weren't exactly close.

"Who's this?" The new boy asked as he tried to rest his arm on the other's taller shoulder but was quickly brushed off.

"I'm not sure. We haven't officially met."

Blonde boy tilted his head in confusion before Izuku decided to introduce himself and clear the air. "Um, I'm Izuku Mi-Minori…" Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! You can't just give out your full name so willy nilly, people might find out that you're actually dead! "Yeah, Izuku Minori. I accidentally ran into your classmate here while I was on my way to find someone."

Izuku was still mentally face palming as the two-toned kid glared at him suspiciously and the blonde boy looked none the wiser. "Oh, that's cool. Who are you looking for, maybe I know them-well probably only if they were in class 1-A but-"

"Class 1-A?" Pieces began to connect in Izuku's mind, and he couldn't help the smirk curling from his lips as he thought about how much trouble he would probably get in from Eraser. "So, you two are hero students?"

"Sure are!" This time the blonde boy succeeded in throwing his arm lazily around the other's shoulders but was pushed away in an instant. "Hey, come to think of it…are you a UA student? Cause I'm pretty sure that only students and faculty are allowed back here."

Crap crap crap…

Aw man, Izuku should really invest in an acting class. Not that he had any doubts about his acting, but it probably couldn't hurt, especially with how much he was lying recently. "Uh, yep! Yeah, I'm in the general education course though and was just looking for my classmate. He's competing you see."

"Oh, okay," Izuku panicked for a moment, thinking that the blonde kid would see right through him, but let out a breath when he received a bright smile from the guy, "Well I hope you find your classmate!" And then the two students began to walk away and Izuku could hear more coming.

That meant that the events were about to start. He needed to find Hitoshi fast if he was going to catch him before he went out.

Izuku searched for a bit longer and was on the verge of giving up when a mop of purple hair and eyes that held Chanel bags under them rounded the corner. "Hitoshi!" Izuku ran up to the boy who had seemed focused on something and jumped right into him sending them both to the floor…again. He really needed to stop doing this.

"Midoriya!" Shinso looked up surprisingly at his friend who had just tackled him with a hug. Wait-why was he here? How did he even get here? He was sure that he had heard Eraser tell him that he wasn't allowed to come. And how did he find him and- "Wait, Hitoshi?"

The small boy who was still sitting on him began to blush and look away, "Um, yeah. I thought that we were close enough that I could call you that…is that okay? Because if you're not okay with it then I can stop and we-"

Hitoshi let out a small chuckle at his panicking friend. Leave it to him to stress out and overthink every little thing. "No, it's fine. Only if I can call you Izuku though."

Midoriya cringed at the sound of his name out of Shinso's mouth causing the other boy to roll his eyes.

"Ugh, fine! Anyway, I just wanted to tell you good luck," Hitoshi looked down at his friend who was giving him the brightest smile he had ever seen. He was afraid that is he looked too long that he might actually go blind.

He had never seen him smile like that. So pure and happy and…genuine. Izuku had only just began to actually share his emotions with Shinso and so to see something so raw shining on the boy's face, he couldn't help but reflect his expression.

In all honesty, he had been freaking out big time before Izuku showed up. But now…he knew that his friend supported him, that he believed in him, and suddenly he had no doubt that he would be able to do this.

He would do his best and prove to everyone not only did he deserve to be a hero, but that everyone who told him that he would never be able to be one was wrong.

"Thanks Izuku…"

The boy gave another blinding smile before stumbling to his feet and retreating back to wherever he was going to be watching from. "I'll be cheering you on!"

"You'd better!"

This was something so alien to Hitoshi. Having someone who believed in him, who saw his strength and potential and decided to nurture and grow it rather than stomp it out, who literally fell into his life and had decided to stick to him like glue.

He had a friend. One who had just decided to start calling him by his first name. Something that no one had ever done before. Not even his foster parents. He actually…had a friend.

Chapter Text

The festival was insane.

Not that Izuku had expected anything different. For as long as he could remember, he had watched the sports festival on the tv with his mom right beside him. Bouncing up and down just excited to see the hero students compete and show off their quirks and abilities. It was like an analyst's dream come true.

He had never thought that he'd actually be there witnessing it for himself, even when he used to dream that he would be competing in it he always knew in the back of his mind that it was a far-fetched idea.

But he was here. He was sitting in the stands watching the students be announced and waiting for the first round to begin. And he was not only here, but he was here to support his friend.

If only mom could've seen him now. She probably would be crying at how far her baby had come and insisting that Hitoshi simply move in with us to make coming over more convenient.

Maybe she was watching…

Izuku still didn't know exactly how the whole thing worked, but he was certain that he had actually seen his mother that day. He wished that they had longer to talk, to just be with each other, but their time was over far too soon, and he hadn't been able to see her since.

"And here is your student representative; he got first in both the written and physical test during his entrance exam it's…KaaaTSUKI BAKUGOUUUUU!" Before the events could begin, the first-year representative always gave a speech. Something that was intended to light a fire under the other participants, but knowing the representative, Izuku wasn't very hopeful of this speech being exactly encouraging.

He walked up to the podium with his hands in his pockets and his shoulders hunched just like when they were kids. "I just wanna say…I'm gonna be gunning to win, and I expect everyone else to as well."

Short and kinda sweet? It wasn't nearly as bad as it could've been, it was even sort of…motivating???

The crowd cheered and some of the students booed as Katsuki walked back to his class, but overall, this had already been surprising, and the events hadn't even begun yet.

 

"FIRSTTTTT UP IS THE OBSTACLE RACEEEEEE!" Mic's voice boomed over the crowd. Izuku knew that he was using a speaker to do it, but he didn't doubt that the hero could speak just as loud without any additional help other than his quirk.

He could see the students begin to file in and some of those in the front peeking out from the tunnel they were to emerge from. It was hard to try to calm himself down as his body was on the brink of literally shaking with excitement.

Hitoshi would be near the back. For the first round Izuku knew that the boy would be trying to keep a low profile so as to not tip too many people off about his quirk. But Izuku also had complete confidence that his friend would be able to make it to the next round easily

Mic's voice announced the start of the race and before anyone could even think, a loud crack sounded, and the air seemed to chill just the slightest bit as the student with the two-toned hair emerged from the tunnel first riding a wave of ice.

Izuku was too busy watching that he flinched when he heard the familiar sounds of explosions and turned to see none other than his old childhood best friend blowing his way out of the tunnel.

Of course, he would be competing, he was a student here after all.

And he was going to do his best…but how far would he be willing to go to get to the top?

Some other students got out of the boy's ice without too much trouble and ran forward to the next obstacle in the race. And after a few minutes, most of the competitors were on their way, including Hitoshi who Izuku saw riding on the back on some other student before being let down once they left the tunnel.

Izuku smirked, Carried, like the princess he is.

Something that he would not hesitate to tease his friend about once this was all over and would most definitely get hit for, but it would be worth it.

He watched his friend throughout the rest of the race while also doing his best to keep an eye on the rest of the students. Hitoshi was doing well. He wasn't in first, but he wasn't last either. He was just coasting through the middle, just out of the spotlight and exactly where he wanted to be.

Their plan had been to hold off until he really needed to use his quirk so that people wouldn't risk figuring out how it worked. And with all of the training that the two of them had been doing, Hitoshi honestly probably could've finished the race in the top fifteen or twenty, but he settled, and their plan was going along perfectly.

Unsurprisingly, the two-toned kid-Todoroki-came in first place with Katsuki getting second by only the blink of an eye. And Izuku knew that that had to just be eating him up inside.

Honestly, Izuku was disappointed that he hadn't figured it out earlier. He had known a lot about the pro hero Endeavor because of his hero analysis and by default he also knew a bit about the man's life and family, if only just the littlest bit. He had a wife and three children, Todoroki being the youngest of the three.

He remembered when he went through a week of just wanting to know all that he could about Endeavor. The reason, he couldn't tell you. He didn't even particularly like the hero in the slightest, but something about digging and getting to know hero's personal lives just gave him a sense of power and humbleness.

Seeing and knowing that they're real people just like the rest of us is refreshing.

Izuku would have to remind himself to take another look into Endeavor so that he could find out some stuff about Todoroki, because if the rest of the festival continues like how it's going, then things were about to get very interesting very fast.

He had to stop himself from muttering his theories about the boy's quirk. How that he remembered what basic knowledge he had of his home life it made sense. White hair to match his mother's ice quirk and red to match his father's fire quirk. Even his eyes were different colors and scarily symmetrical.

The only questionable thing about the student was the large scar over his left eye. He had his father's quirk theoretically, and so theoretically he should be immune or at least resistant to his fire like his father, right? Then why did he have that scar? Maybe an accident? Or a fight with his siblings that turned bad?

Then there was the big question: why had Izuku only seen Todoroki use his right side. If he was correct and the boy possessed both quirks, he would be able to win the festival with absolutely zero competition, but for whatever reason he had only used his ice. And it didn't seem like he planned on using his fire anytime soon.

Hmm…

 

So far, the festival was going well. Katsuki had come in second in the first round by a hair, but that was okay.

He had accidentally let himself slip into his old mindset of if you're not the best, then you're the worst, but when he caught sight of Uraraka running towards him with the biggest smile on her face, that all sort of faded away.

She was so excited that they had both done so well, and she congratulated him on coming in second. It was just something about that smile…it made him feel like he was doing okay. Like he wasn't as horrible of a person as he actually was. He let himself forget around her, but that was dangerous.

His mind went back to a few weeks ago when he thought he saw Izuku. It had been a split-second thing and as soon as he blinked, he was gone.

Katsuki had been so freaked out that he left dinner early without his parents. That night he didn't sleep a wink. His mind was too wired with what ifs.

What if that was actually Izuku? Did that mean that he wasn't dead? No, that was ridiculous, Katsuki had gone to his funeral. But then did that mean that he was going crazy? Was he seeing things now? Did his grief go that deep?

But then again, this wasn't the first time that he had seen Izuku.

It was at his funeral. Katsuki turned around and out of the corner of his eye he could've sworn he saw the familiar green curls hiding behind something, but once again, as soon as he blinked, he was gone.

He honestly didn't know what to think.

"Uh, Bakugou?"

A sweet voice brought him out of his head and back to reality. "Huh?" He came back to a slightly worried looking Uraraka.

Her lips pulled into a small frown as she looked at him, "Are you okay?"

Katsuki was about to answer when he felt someone bump into his shoulder, hard. He stumbled back a step and was met with some tired looking kid with wild purple hair and a glare that could kill. "My bad."

The two of them held eye contact for another second, the purple kid looking at him like he had just killed his entire family and Katsuki looking at him with the ugliest look of confusion on his face before the kid scoffed and walked away.

Katsuki watched him leave, still trying to wrap his mind around why that guy had looked so pissed at him. "I uh-What?" He turned his attention back to a worried Uraraka. "Yes of course, why wouldn't I be?"

"Well, you just looked kinda freaked, that's all."

"Oh, do I?" Katsuki cleared over his face and forced himself to look happy, or as happy as he usually looked. "Sorry, just lost in thought, I guess. Uh, did they announce the second event yet?"

Uraraka didn't look convinced with his act but must've decided to let it go because she carried on with their conversation. "Yeah! It's going to be a cavalry battle; Midnight is about to go over all of the rules."

"Nice."

 

The rules were simple enough. Form a team and each of its members have a combination of the points that they earned with the last event represented with a headband. The goal was to collect as many headbands and points as possible before the timer runs out while trying to keep your headbands safe from other teams.

Right…okay yeah, this would work.

Katsuki had just begun trying to come up with a plan when Uraraka turned to him with a determined smirk on her face. "Let's win this."

Her determination kind of threw him for a loop, but he liked it. He found himself matching her smirk and energy as he continued to plan out their team, "Absolutely."

Their team turned out pretty solid. It was made up of Katsuki, Uraraka, the red head, Kirishima, and the lightning guy, Kaminari. The two of them had come up soon after their exchange and wanted to form a team with them.

It was a good idea. They already knew that Katsuki and Uraraka worked semi-well together. Kirishima had a great defensive quirk that would also be valuable in protecting himself and their teammates from Bakugou's explosions. And Kaminari's quirk would be a good trump card should the need arise.

Overall, Katsuki was pretty satisfied with their little team.

The plan was to have Kirishima be the base since he was the strongest with Kaminari and Uraraka to be the side supports. With the help of Uraraka's quirk, holding Bakugou up would be a piece of cake. They decided to have him be the rider because his quirk was the most versatile.

Katsuki was confident. As he looked around, he spotted a couple other teams finishing up their planning.

That half-and-half kid's team looked pretty strong. With him as the rider, that was a given, but his teammates were nothing to sneeze at either. He had that smart girl with the creation quirk and Ingenium's kid brother on his team, both of the class presidents, plus that one emo kid with the bird quirk.

And that would be the team to beat. Not only was it just a strong team, but it also had the highest number of points with half-and-half alone.

If they wanted to win, they needed a good plan.

Everyone would be gunning for the million-point headband, so all Katsuki and his team had to do was stay out of the way.

"Okay, so here's the plan…"

 

Izuku watched from the stands and the longer he watched, the more surprised he became.

Katsuki was actually talking with people like they were equals. He was communicating properly, and he seemed to take coming second in the last round in stride. What had happened to change the boy so drastically?

In the past he would've blown up, literally, at losing to Todoroki and he wouldn't've been so easy to team up with. But as Izuku watched him plan with his team, he was shocked at just how well the boy was interacting with his teammates.

And right after the first round when that brown haired girl went up to him, Izuku could've sworn he thought he saw Katsuki smile at the girl.

Mic's voice rang out over the speakers announcing the start of the second round and everything descended into chaos.

Almost all at once teams formed and took of after Todoroki's team. It made sense sort of. His team had the million-point headband, not to mention the addition of the other member's points. Of course, people would want to go after such an in your face prize, but Izuku didn't expect so many teams to be so short-sighted.

On the surface, going after the biggest threat seemed like a good idea, but in actuality, that team was on top for a reason and they wouldn't be going down so easily.

Teams came at Todoroki from all sides and in a single moment all of them were rendered immobile by the boy's ice. Well…almost all of the teams.

Shinso's team, his teammates were students that Izuku didn't know and he doubted that the boy knew either, had opted for staying out of the mix. A good strategy, he must've had the same thought process as Izuku did.

He had to hand it to him, his friend was smart. Cunning, analytical, ambitious, all of the traits that would bring him to the top and also the same traits that he was condemned for his entire life just because of something that he was born with.

It disgusted Izuku.

That was one thing that the two boys shared almost to a tee. They had both been criticized for something that they couldn't control and there was nothing that either of them could do about it. Until now. They had begun to find comfort in their shared discrimination and had started to work to rise above it together.

Izuku's thought process was cut off by his eye catching Katsuki's team doing the exact same thing.

They were riding the corners and going after the teams that weren't bold enough to get caught up in the initial mess at the beginning. As much as he hated to admit it, he was impressed. That was something that kept on happening the more he watched his ex-childhood best friend.

Something about him was different. He wasn't as brash, as rude, as ruthless as he was before. He was openly communicating with his teammates and choosing strategy over ego. And he was doing it well.

Both his team and Shinso's team began to rise through the rankings as they took out the remaining teams and started going for the teams that were still unfortunately stuck in Todoroki's ice.

The time was flying by and before anyone knew it, there were only three minutes left in the calvary battle.

As soon as the announcement was made, Katsuki's team switched strategies. They stopped going about the sidelines and headed right for Todoroki's team that was currently fending off two other teams.

"Get ready icy hot, cause we're coming for ya!" Katsuki's yells could be heard over the roar of the crowd, which actually wasn't surprising in the slightest to Izuku who had to endure his constant yelling as a child.

Todoroki's team finally managed to shake off the two teams that they had been fighting when a kid with a bird head suddenly sprouted another him but like a shadow that pushed both teams away with ease.

Woah…Izuku's mind ran rampant. What kind of quirk was that? Was it actually that kid's shadow or was it sentient? Did he receive the same amount of damage that the shadow did? Would that even be categorized as a mutation type quirk or an emitter quirk? Because the shadow would probably be considered emitter, but then what about the bird head?

On and on his mind questioned until he noticed that his hand was moving involuntarily, as if it were trying to write all of his thoughts down in an invisible notebook.

That brought a small smile to his face. It reminded him of a bit ago when the most he had to worry about what keeping track of all of his notes and staying quiet so the bullies wouldn't hit him for muttering. That smile quickly soured as his mind flashed through all of the abuse that he received back then.

He looked back out on the arena field at the boy who had been at the center of everything that he went through, and all he could think about were the good memories.

Sure, the bad ones greatly outweighed and outnumbered the good, but there was just so much joy around the good ones, even if they were just a few.

He remembered auntie Mitsuki's kindness to him every time he came over. She would always ask him about his day and listen intently and she would make sure that he ate while there because she would constantly comment on how small he was. And uncle Masaru too. He wasn't like a father figure exactly, but at least he tried.

Back to the blonde-haired boy who was currently duking it out with his classmates and doing what he and Izuku had always dreamed of doing…he just couldn't bring himself to hate him.

It was stupid, it was reckless, it was unhealthy, but they had been friends once. Had shared their hopes and dreams and even their burdens every once in a while. Izuku wasn't blind. No matter how kind his parents were to him, it wasn't a secret that there was something going on at home.

Anytime Izuku would try to bring it up, Katsuki would shoot him down and get pissed that he would even insinuate such a thing, but Izuku could see it.

He could see the hurt in his eyes every time his mother praised Izuku. Every time she doted on him and made him feel special and loved. It was the same look of hurt that he saw when the boy came over to his house and watched Izuku and Inko interact.

It was obvious in the way that the boy overcompensated for everything and never took anything as good enough.

Izuku knew, and so he kept quiet. Because he knew that underneath all of that cold hardness the boy was hurting just as much as he was. Izuku also knew better now. He knew that none of what Katsuki had been feeling excused his actions. But even so, something kept him from hating the boy.

Maybe it was because deep down, a sliver of his childhood self still held Katsuki in such a high regard. Or maybe it was because even now, Izuku respected the boy's determination and ability to not only be a hero, but to be the best.

It was so frustrating. Things would be so much easier if he could just hate the kid, resent him for everything that he did to Izuku, all of the pain that he put him through, all of the self-doubt that he embedded into him…but he couldn't. He wouldn't.

And that was one of Izuku's biggest downfalls.

He was too forgiving, too loyal for his own good. If he wasn't careful that nature might just be the end of him…although would that be such a bad thing?

Chapter Text

"Shoto."

The young boy stood in the shadows of the dark hallway after his win in the second event. The victory was a close one, in fact the only reason his team had won was because he was able to hold on to the million-point headband as that explosion kid grabbed every other headband that was around his neck.

His posture was straight. Taut in expectation of whatever scolding he was going to receive, and his head hung low as to not be perceived as defiant or disrespectful.

If he just waited this out, then he could get back to his classmates. Not that he was actually friends with any of them, but he felt somehow safe around them. The probability that Endeavor would yell at him, or heaven forbid hit him in front of so many young and impressionable students was next to zero and that gave Shoto a sense of comfort.

"Your performance in the last round was less than satisfactory. If you would stop with this childish rebellion and use your fir-"

"No."

The second that the word was out of his mouth he winced. He hadn’t meant to interrupt his father; he just couldn't stand to hear this again. He couldn't bear to listen to his father diminish him or his mother's quirk again.

That regret was only intensified as he felt a fresh wave of heat hit him and his father's presence move closer to him. On instinct the boy's body curled up in an attempt to make him look smaller and to protect him, but Shoto pushed his shoulders back and lifted his head, refusing to show such weakness.

"What did you say to me?"

"I said no. We've discussed this before and I think that I have made myself quite clear. I refuse to be your tool." His words were hard, but his hands shook as he stared his father down. It took every ounce of strength to keep his voice from faltering, from giving away just how terrified he was in his father's overbearing presence.

Endeavor's eyes flashed as he glared at his child. "I would be careful how you speak to me boy. I have invested too much into you for you to just throw it all away. You will win, you will surpass the number one hero, and you will do it using the fire I gave you! I am your father and-"

Shoto scoffed, cutting Endeavor off. "You may have played a part in giving me life, but I have no obligation to your petty feud with the number one hero."

"You are my son, and you will listen to what I have to say!"

"I don't care what else you have to say!" Shoto took a breath. He hadn't meant to get so worked up and shout, but he couldn't help it. When it came to his father, something just came out of him. "Make no mistake, I will win, but I will do it without your help and without your power. You can go now; it is against the rules for anyone but the UA staff and students to be back here during the festival."

Endeavor glared at his son for a moment more before walking away without another word.

Shoto watched as his father left and as soon as he was out of sight the boy collapsed against the wall. His back slid down until he was sitting on the floor gasping for breath that he had been holding.

The boy had been trying to calm himself down enough to go back and join everyone when movement caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. His head snapped to whatever he saw and as he looked, a familiar small boy with messily curled green hair froze in his gaze.

The two boys just stared at each other for a few seconds of tense silence. They both knew that Izuku had overheard something that he shouldn't have and now Shoto would have to do something about it.

"Uh…imma just-"

"Hold it." Izuku tried to sneak away but was stopped by Todoroki's intense voice. The boy who had just been hyperventilating out of nerves from standing up to his abusive father had put back up that wall of ice surrounding himself from everyone and everything around him. "Izuku Minori, was it?"

Izuku cringed at his moment of idiocy and the weak coverup that he presented. "Yep…that's me. And you're Shoto Todo-"

"Don’t-" The boy quickly interrupted with just a bit more volume than he meant to, "Don't call me by his name. You can call me Shoto."

Ahhhh…so they were back here huh?

Izuku reallyyyyy wasn't good with people and especially friends and the whole first name thing. What was the protocol? Was he supposed to offer up his first name? It was probably only fair considering that the other part was fake. But had it been too long? Would it be awkward now? And he already had to deal with stumbling in on the majorly uncomfortable situation that happened between the number two hero and his son, he wasn't sure he wanted to add any tension to that.

"Uh, alright…"

"Would you prefer if I called you by Izuku or Minori?" His question was straight forward and uncaring. From what he got from the student from their last meeting, he wasn't the best in social situation either. Maybe that weakness went further than Izuku had initially thought.

He didn't realize that he hadn't responded to the boy's question until it had been just a bit too long since he asked it. "Oh uh, Izuku is fine I guess."

"Good. Now, about what you saw-"

"Look, you don't have to; it's really none of-"

"I need you to be quiet and listen."

It was more of a plead than an order, even with his monotoned voice. Honestly? This was the last thing Izuku wanted to get involved with. He had so many of his own problems to deal with, not including his vigilante work and trying to keep up with his new relationships, but something in Shoto's eyes…

He looked like he needed help. And Izuku helped people.

"Okay."

Izuku made himself comfortable leaning on a wall as he listened to the boy share his story. Of his screwed-up childhood, his father's abuse and neglect of his other children, how he was practically raised to be a tool and soldier rather than an actual human being, of his father's resentment of All Might and his ambition of surpassing him, of his plan to have his own son do what he knew he could not.

Hearing it all made Izuku want to throw up.

He knew that trauma was subjective and that everyone had their own experiences that couldn't be compared to other people, but still…listening to Shoto's story planted a weight in his chest. He knew that his life was messed up, he knew that he had a right to be upset and everything but putting it in perspective was extremely humbling.

That had been happening a lot actually. Hitoshi's story, Shoto's…they all had issues, they were all broken in their own way, and a sick side of Izuku took comfort in the fact that he wasn't alone.

"Now you know. That's the story behind the number two hero."

Izuku couldn't respond for a second, still shocked from hearing everything. "…wow…"

A tiny bit of sadness flashed across Shoto's gaze before he schooled his face again. "I'm sorry that I had to unload all of that onto you, but it was necessary to understand what you overheard."

Izuku only nodded weakly.

After another few seconds he looked up at the expressionless boy. His half-cut hair sticking out in the bland hallway like a sore thumb. "And what about your quirk? Half of it's from your dad and the other…?"

"My mother. She has a powerful ice quirk. My father took notice and practically bought her from her family so that he could breed the perfect successor…me. That's why I refuse to use my left side. I refuse to use his power after everything he's done to me and to my family."

It was those words that snapped Izuku out of his shock. He stared at the boy, analyzing him as much as he could. "That's wrong." The words were out before he could stop them and once they left his tongue, he clapped both hands over his mouth and glanced worriedly at Shoto. "Uh, I-"

"What do you mean exactly?"

Trying to gauge the boy's reaction, Izuku didn't necessarily see any anger at the comment, but he thought that it'd probably be best to tread lightly. "No, it's just-"

"There is no need to be afraid. You can speak freely."

No emotion. Somehow that was even worse.

Izuku sighed, letting go of any worry or protest that he was going to give. "I just think that you're wrong. The way that you're thinking and going about this is incorrect."

"Please explain."

The boy's ineptness was painful and Izuku wished that he had just found Hitoshi like he'd been trying to for the second time that day. "I understand you resenting your dad and anything to do with him, but it not his quirk. There is absolutely nothing about you that has to be tied to him whatsoever if you don't want it to be. You are your own person, and you can be that person apart from him."

"I-" Shoto cocked his head to the side slightly, confusion clearly showing.

"It seems that daddy issues are pretty common lately. My dad showed up out of the blue recently after not showing his face for twelve years, even for his wife and son's funerals, and practically demanded that I respect him simply because he was the one who just so happened to be my father. But even so, I realized that I had no obligation to him or his attempts at apologies-if you could even call them that."

It took the boy a moment to respond, his gaze settling over Izuku and listening intently as he spoke. "I'm sorry you had to go through that."

"It's whatever," Izuku shrugged, "It felt good to finally tell the bastard off though."

This brought the hint of a snicker to Shoto's thin-lined mouth. "Yeah…it did." He seemed to be reminiscing of his own stand against his father only moments ago.

"I get not wanting to do what he asks out of spite and stuff, but don't sabotage yourself because you're so wrapped in his web that you can't see clearly."

The only response he got from the boy was a singular small nod before their eyes met once again. "I think that I should be getting back to my classmates and as I said, it's against the rules for you to be here."

Izuku nodded and started to walk back the way he came and as he did, Shoto could've sworn he heard the boy snicker under his breath, "Oh, you have no idea."

 

As Izuku made his way back to the stands he was blocked by a large body with crossed arms and a very distinguishable scarf. Slowly he raised his eyes to Eraser's glaring ones and tried to give his most innocent puppy dog eyes in an attempt to quell some of the hero's fury.

"Heyyyyy Eraser…"

"Problem child, what do you think you're doing here? This is for students and staff only."

Izuku let out a nervous laugh, "Do you think they'd make an exception if I told them that we lived together?" Immediately Izuku was grabbed by the back of his shirt and was being dragged down the hall by a stomping Eraserhead. "Okay, I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I promise I won't use that card!"

Eraser released Izuku's shirt causing him to stumble a couple steps forward as he caught his balance, and the boy shot a glare at the hero. "That was rude."

"You're being annoying."

"That's kind of my job."

"You're not funny."

"Mic thinks I'm hilarious."

"Mic is annoying too."

"I'm going to tell him you said that."

"You wouldn't dare."

"Try me."

The two stared each other down, both silently accepting the other's challenge and refusing to lose by being the first to look away. Unfortunately for Izuku, Eraser was a literal pro at staring contests and could refrain from blinking for a lot longer than he could.

The boy finally blinked and groaned as a small smirk crept onto the hero's face. "You suck."

"Go back to your seat already, the last event is about to start."

"Yeah, yeah…"

Little did the two of them know that they had a third person watching their interaction and listening to conversations he wasn't supposed to hear.

 

Izuku sat back down in his seat as he studied the bracket that was broadcasted on all of the screens surrounding the arena. Hitoshi's fight was first, and he was against some hero student from 1-A apparently.

He was kind of peeved that he wasn't able to catch his friend before the final event, but he also knew that the talk he had with Shoto was exactly what needed to happen. He didn't regret it, he was actually happy that he was able to help, even if it was just a little bit. Because that's what he wanted to do right? He wanted to help people.

Hitoshi's opponent was named Go Oba. Izuku hadn't met or heard anything about the kid, but that didn’t mean much considering that he only just met a few of the hero students today and barely knew the names that they had given him.

Izuku didn't know if he was nervous or not, his feelings just kinda sloshed around in his chest and mixed into a hot mess.

On one hand, he was very confident in his friend's strength and determination, but they hadn't been training for all that long and they knew nothing about his opponent. Oba had already gotten into the hero course and therefore had to have strength of some kind.

"ALRIGHTTTTT! ARE YOU GUYS READY TO WATCH SOME RAD BATTLES????" Mic's voice boomed once again over the crowd that screamed in anticipation for the 1v1 battles. "OUR FIRST MATCH IS THE HERO COURSE STUDENT GO OBA VERSES GENERAL STUDIES STUDENT HITOSHI SHINSO!!"

The fire on the pillars surrounding the arena fluctuated and the crowd roared as the two boys walked up the steps to face each other.

Hitoshi looked tired as per usual, but Izuku could tell that he was nervous. The way his shoulders were set gave away just how on edge he was. The other guy, Oba seemed excited. Or at least more excited than Hitoshi was letting show.

Even through his facade of uncaring, Izuku could see the small smile pulling at his lips and the way he lightly bounced on his heels. This was where he needed to be. And he was ready.

Oba looked intimidating, just what you would expect from the hero course. His silver hair struck out as if fell just above his bright red eyes that just begged for a good match. Izuku couldn't take any guesses as to what his quirk was from his appearance, but he was excited. This was going to be interesting for sure.

Midnight announced the commencement of the first match and immediately the two boys were off, racing towards each other.

Hitoshi would be trying to end the match before he had to use his quirk. A good strategy, but it also put him in a vulnerable position of not knowing what his opponent would be able to do. He had no indication of his quirk and was therefore literally running in blind with the hope that his strategy was better than the other boy's.

As the two met, they immediately began exchanging blows. Hitoshi was holding his own fairly well, but his form was sloppy from time to time. Overall however, Izuku was proud. He could see his fighting style seep out of the boy's moves and felt a small smile creep to his lips.

He would have to have Hitoshi fight with some other people so that he didn't get too used to fighting him and possibly developing bad habits. Maybe he could convince Eraser to spar with the kid some.

The two boy's blow were more or less matched with the others. Neither was doing too much damage to the other and it was very clear that in physical ability the two were on relatively equal ground. But now it would come down to quirk ability and Oba's was a complete wildcard. Hitoshi's was to him as well, but if he wasn't careful with how he handled this, then even if he won this match the ones after would put him at the disadvantage of his opponents knowing exactly how to avoid his quirk.

Suddenly Oba landed a hit directly across Hitoshi's cheek and the boy went down in a heap on the ground. It wasn't a particularly hard blow, but something was off. Hitoshi wasn't getting up and Izuku knew for a fact that he could take his fair share of beatings. Which meant that something was extremely wrong.

This was only confirmed with the boy attempted to get up but crumbled back down and felt out the ground around him shakily.

Oba let out a laugh as he approached his opponent and knelt down to Hitoshi who didn't acknowledge the boy right in front of him. He didn't even seem to be looking at him. What was going on?

Hitoshi blindly felt out the space around him and when his hand bumped into Oba's body, he struck out with zero hesitation sending the boy flying backward.

Even so, he didn’t seem to even see what he had done. He frantically shook his head and breathed so heavy that Izuku could see his chest rising and falling from the stands. He was still on the ground and his opponent was recovering quickly.

That was before, of course, Oba's body went ridged. Hitoshi got him. He muttered a small command and his opponent obediently walked right over the boundary line, winning the match for Hitoshi. As soon as he crossed the line Hitoshi must've released his control, because the boy crumbled to his knees.

Whatever had been happening to Hitoshi must've been released as well because he was now looking around at everything clearly.

Midnight announced Hitoshi's win and the two boys were ushered away so that the next battle could begin. Izuku would have to ask his friend about what happened later, because he was sooo confused as to what just happened.

On the bright side though, he doubted that anyone figured out how Hitoshi's quirk worked. He noticed the boy enacting multiple false activation requirements so that his opponent would be confused as well. Good. He's doing well…

Let's just hope that he can keep it up.

Chapter Text

The next couple of matches went on and Izuku found himself both intrigued and getting bored as he watched.

He made sure to take notes and try to analyze everybody's quirks and how they used them, but the fights began becoming predictable. Shoto won every one of his matches, as expected with how strong even half of his quirk was. Katsuki hadn't lost any of his either, which again, not surprising. He did notice however, that his first match he was acting a little off. Almost as if he was distracted by something. His opponent trying to punch him out of the ring brought him back though and it wasn't long until the match was over and Katsuki stood victorious.

The only time when Izuku caught himself sitting on the edge of his seat in anticipation was his match against his classmate Ochako Uraraka. She looked like a nice girl, one that Katsuki would've sent running away screaming in middle school, but the way they interacted during the fight and in the past events…it was nice to see him being civil with someone for once.

That being said, he still won the match, but it was a very close win. Uraraka had come up with a brilliant plan of dodging in a way that Katsuki sealed his own loss by blowing up the ground and giving her exactly what she needed to pull one over on him. In the end Katsuki was just too strong to be bested, but only just barely.

And when the girl collapsed to her knees after his finishing move, he lurched after her to catch her before the rest of her body hit the ground.

If Izuku didn't know any better, he'd say that he swore he heard the faint whisper of Katsuki praising her performance and telling her how good of a fight she put up.

Hitoshi had a pretty consistent winning streak as well and from what Izuku could tell, no one had come close to figuring out exactly what his quirk was or how it worked.

That was until this last round. It was the semi-finals and Hitoshi would be going up against Shoto while Katsuki went up against another student from the hero course, Eijiro Kirishima.

Izuku honestly didn't know how this was going to pan out.

From the stands Izuku could tell that something was off. Shoto looked like he was hurting, even from far away Izuku could tell from his usually stale face that was now scrunched in what looked like frustration and pain.

The boy's previous matches had been won without a shadow of a doubt, but he had only used his ice. Izuku couldn't blame the kid, it takes more than one conversation in a random hallway to heal a lifetime of trauma, but he couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed that his words hadn't gotten through to him like he hoped they had.

Mic's voice rang from the above speakers, and the match began.

For as quiet as Shoto seemed to be, he had sure been talkative today. Although apparently all of that chattiness had run out because it wasn't even ten seconds before Shinso was completely incased in ice and unable to move. Hitoshi struggled against the ice and called out to Shoto in a last-ditch effort to take control of the boy, but he had already turned away and began to walk off with such a sad expression that Izuku's heart hurt just by looking at it.

And that was it for Hitoshi Shinso. Made it to the semi-finals and lost against the strongest student in the hero course. Not exactly a bad run, not by any means.

Izuku let a small smile creep to his lips as he watched his friend being melted from his ice prison and sulk off of the ring. He knew that he had to be disappointed. If Hitoshi was anything, it was ambitious and Izuku knew that unless he beat it into his head, he wouldn't see just how well he did even if he didn't win.

It was insane how far he had come in such a short amount of time. He had almost won basically quirkless and without anyone figuring out how his quirk worked, which was a very big bonus.

He glanced up to the booth that held Eraser and Present Mic and could swear that he saw the two heroes smiling with pride, but he must've been seeing things.

Izuku flickered his eyes from the arena to the booth a few times, debating in his head whether or not he thought he would be able to get away with sneaking off to go congratulate Hitoshi, but just as he was about to slip away Eraser's cold stare met his and the boy crossed his arms as he slouched back down under the pro's scrutinizing glare. He would have time to talk to Hitoshi after.

 

Katsuki won his match against the hardening kid, Kirishima. It wasn't an easy match, but it was also clear that the boy would have to train some more to be able to go toe to toe with him. That was okay though, they were only first years after all and Izuku didn't know anyone else who trained so vigorously to perfect his quirk along with everything else before he even got into a hero school.

And then it was the finals. Shoto Todoroki verses Katsuki Bakugou.

The match was brutal. Both boys being exceeding good at fighting and controlling their quirks, but in the end, Shoto's unwillingness to put his all into the fight was what took him down. During their fight, it was clear that Katsuki was getting irritated with his opponent holding back, but he somehow controlled his temper rather than trying to beat the fight out of him like he would've in the past.

After his finishing move and the smoke cleared, Katsuki stood in the arena while Shoto was laying on the ground outside of the line having been blown out of bounds.

Katsuki had to be pissed, but apparently only mildly so. If anything, he seemed concerned about his opponent. Even going as far as to walk over and check on the guy once his victory was announced. The two boys exchanged a few words that resulted in sour faces on both parties and then they parted ways, going back the way they came.

 

The awards ceremony came, with Hitoshi and Kirishima sharing third place, Shoto in second, and Katsuki in first. Izuku was surprised to see All Might giving them their medals, apparently, he had come onto the UA staff to teach the first years? He wasn't exactly sure how great of an idea that was, but what he was even more shocked by was Eraser's self-control. He knew that the two probably butted heads and the fact that he hadn't complained about how stupid the number one hero can be in front of Izuku was impressive. He'd have to have a talk with him and maybe they could exchange their stories of how much the guy sucked sometimes.

Everything seemed fine, but it was clear that there was some tension between each of the students. Katsuki kept on glancing at Shoto and when he did his face would scrunch in anger before it melted into something along the lines of sorrow and then back to normal.

Shoto looked like he was fighting an internal battle in his mind and ignored all of the screams of praise around him.

Kirishima would shoot worried looks at the other boys, clearly uncomfortable with the mood surrounding him.

And Hitoshi made no move to try to hide his hateful glare that never left Katsuki. The boy took notice and was clearly very confused as to why this guy he had never seen before in his life looked like he wanted to jump onto his podium and strangle him.

All Might, oblivious to all of the animosity, congratulated each of the boys and then it was all over.

Izuku opted for hiding in a corner until the majority of the crowds left. He had a feeling that Eraser would want to keep him close while he was on the school campus, and he had already tormented the hero enough for the day.

The people left and the students began to emerge and go home themselves. That meant it was time to find Hitoshi. Or get caught by Eraser, whichever comes first.

Izuku took out his phone and shot a text to his friend to meet him at the front of the school where he was leaning against a pole. Students walked past and looked at him questioningly, but considering that he looked like a student himself, they didn't say anything.

He had been scrolling through his phone when he felt someone walk up to him quietly. Looking up he was met with the blue and grey eyes of Shoto Todoroki.

The kid had looked better. He had some scrapes and bruises from his matches, but overall, he seemed fine physically. Izuku had heard that Recovery Girl was on staff at UA and with her quirk he wasn't worried about anyone leaving too injured.

"Um, hello?" Izuku continued to look at the boy who stood in front of him silently just staring.

"Hi. Did you enjoy the festival?"

Alright… "Uh, yeah, I did. You did great, congrats on second-."

"Did you mean what you said?"

"Excuse me?" The switch was way too abrupt for Izuku to try to recover so soon. The question came out of nowhere and it seemed like one that had been burning within him from his tone and the way his eyes were baring into his own.

"Before the last event, what you said about me not letting my father dictate my life. Did you mean that?"

Izuku softened at the desperation radiating off of the boy in front of him. Maybe his words had done more than he thought. "Of course I did."

"But is that actually possible?"

"I think so. If not, then I'm screwed." He let out a breathy laugh in an attempt to lighten the mood. "Look, our parents might play a big part in our lives, but they are not in control of us. You are your own person who can make your own decisions and forge your own path. Your father might be a dick, but you don't have to let him control you."

"It's not that simple."

"Well, of course not. It's going to take some work, just like everything else in life, but you can begin with taking your power into your own hands. Because that's what it is, your power. Not your mother's, not your father's, it's your quirk and you have to decide what you're going to do with it."

Shoto's eyes continued to stare into Izuku's, to the point that he was getting more and more uncomfortable the longer they held eye contact. "Alright." Was all he said after a few more moments. He broke his gaze and look a deep breath before looking at Izuku again, this time with furrowed brows.

"Um, is everything-"

"What's your phone number?" Interrupting Izuku again, Shoto pulled out his phone that he kept in his pants pocket and held it out to him, his face completely neutral and his tone flat.

"Oh, uh…" Izuku stared at the outstretched phone and then to its owner and then back to the phone. Finally taking it after a second, "Alright…"

He quickly put in his contact info and sent himself a text message so that he'd have Shoto's number as well. He had to stop himself from putting his full name and opted for simply his first name, the boy already called him by it anyway, so why go through the trouble of putting in a fake name?

"Here," He handed it back once he was finished and Shoto took it with a nod."

"Thank you. I will text you and I hope that you will do the same." And with a quick bow the boy turned around and left. Leaving Izuku standing in front of the pole he had been leaning against gaping.

…what just happened?"

Of course, this was when Hitoshi decided to make his appearance. "Wasn't that that Todoroki guy? The one with the ice quirk?" He asked as he walked up to Izuku's side.

The boy could only nod in response, still majorly confused by whatever interaction he had just had.

"What did he want?"

"…I think he wanted a friend."

"A friend? And he chose you?"

This brought Izuku out of his daze with a laugh, "I know right! Man's got terrible taste."

"You're telling me," Hitoshi rolled his eyes as the two continued laughing.

"What are you two gremlins laughing about? What did you destroy?" Eraser's voice came from behind them, and the two boys just descended further into laughter.

Izuku took a breath in between wheezes and dramatically put his hand over his heart, "Your lack of faith in us is hurtful Eraser."

"It's not my lack of faith in you, rather my lack of faith in your ability to behave. I'm not so much worried about Shinso, but you two tend to feed of each other so it really depends."

This caused the two boys to fall back into fits if laughter while the pro rolled his eyes at his problem children.

"Alright, I have to go back inside to talk with Nezu briefly, but I'll be right back. Stay here and please, for the love of God, try to behave."

"No promises!" Izuku yelled as he waved to the fleeing hero who groaned at his response.

Once he left the boys quickly fell into comfortable conversation. Izuku congratulated him on his performance and smacked the back of Hitoshi's head when he tried to say that he didn't do well or that he was weak. They joked and laughed as they waited, and students passed them on their ways home.

 It wasn't too long before two students that Izuku recognized walked by. He hoped that they would just keep going and that they weren't as nice of people as he thought they were. Of course, nothing ever worked out in his favor and the two boys stopped walking as they caught glimpse of him.

"Hey! Minori right?" The blonde with the lightning quirk yelled as he walked up to the two boys.

Izuku grimaced at his stupid coverup, and he caught the look of his friend at his side that he knew meant he was never going to live this down. "Uh, yep…I guess."

The red head with the hardening quirk followed the blonde with a very similar look of joy at seeing them. "Hey, what's up man? How did you like the festival? I was pretty manly right?!" The red head, Kirishima, flexed his arms as the group laughed at his comment.

"Very manly. Yeah, you guys did great, although your quirk confuses me a bit," He turned to the blonde, Kaminari. "Has it always had that drawback?"

Kaminari's cheeks lit up pink as he rubbed the back of his neck, "Yeah…it's just something that happens when I go over my wattage limit."

Izuku put his hand on his chin as he thought, "From what I could gather, your quirk is generating electricity right? Not manipulating it?"

The two hero course students looked at each other and then back at Izuku with surprise painted clearly on each of their faces. "Woah dude, are you like some kind of genius or something?"

"Definitely not." Shinso muttered under his breath that earned him a quick elbow to his side.

"No, I just like observing and analyzing quirks. From what I can tell, you're using your quirk well, but not nearly as efficiently as you could. You're generating all of this electricity with no way of directing it and so you're forced to overuse and overcompensate for it. I have some ideas of how you can get around that if you'd be interested-"

Before he could even finish his sentence, the blonde was up in his face with the widest grin he had ever seen, "Are you kidding? I'd love that!" He grabbed both if Izuku's shoulders and bounced in excitement, leaving the boy to look around in panic of what he was supposed to do.

"Alright man, that's enough. You're going to scare the guy off before you even start." Kirishima pulled Kaminari back by the scruff of his collar and apologized to Izuku. "We'd better get going, but why don't we exchange numbers?"

Izuku and Shinso looked at each other in confusion. This was new for them. Sure, they had become friends, but neither really understood exactly how or why. And the thing with Shoto earlier was weird and not something that Izuku thought would be considered the 'norm' for making friends. These two however, seemed to be experts in the subject.

"Uh, sure." Izuku handed the red head his phone and took his in order to add themselves to each other's contacts.

"You too dude!" Kaminari thrust his phone out to Shinso who just stared at it wide-eyed for a minute before taking it.

Once they were all finished the two boys said their goodbyes and left, leaving Izuku and Shinso reeling from what just happened. They both stood in silence for a while, before the boy beside him let out a noise that sounded like he was holding in a laugh, "Izuku Minori?" He choked out followed by another fit of laughter.

"I panicked!"

Chapter Text

Eraser came back after a while, followed closely by a very happy looking Mic, and the four of them began to head back to the apartment, the two pro heroes asking the boys what they wanted for dinner.

The night had been nice. They ordered in and watched some movie that Izuku hadn't seen before, Mic making constant commentary that caused everyone to laugh out and groan depending on the scene and his comments. The four of them talked and laughed and praised Hitoshi for his performance, while the boy blushed at the praise.

Eraser had brought home a large stack of paperwork and had been working at it ever since they got back. Izuku wasn't sure what it was about or why he had it, didn't they all have like two days to rest before classes started back up? He didn't ask though, not exactly sure what was overstepping and concluding that if he needed to know, Eraser would tell him.

Those two days flew by. With Hitoshi staying with them because his foster parents really couldn't care less at this point, there was never a dull moment. The two boys hung out and laughed and even trained a bit despite the desperate pleads for Izuku to let him take a break.

No such luck unfortunately. Izuku wasn't as nice as people always assumed he was, and he needed to continue to work with Hitoshi if they still wanted to get him into the hero course. He actually had a really great idea that would help both of them and do something for the community. Something that would work out most of their muscles, build up their endurance, and help them do something that was worth it.

But he thought that he could wait two days to let Hitoshi feel at least some sort of rest before they got started.

Izuku even got texts from both Kirishima and Kaminari during the break. It was so different to have people actually reaching out and trying to be your friend. He had just assumed that the two would ignore him until they had to see him again, so imagine his surprise when he got a facetime call from Kaminari and opened it to find that the boy just simply wanted to talk and get to know him.

The two talked about basic things. Childhood, Izuku opted to leave out most of the trauma. School, Izuku told him that he was taking a break before he went back, if he ever did, to which the blonde went on to whine about how cool it would be to have Izuku there with them at UA. This then led into the conversation of quirks and such, which Izuku successfully deterred so that he didn't have to come up with some bs lie that wasn't that he couldn’t die. If he told the boy the truth, then he'd have to get into how he figured out he couldn’t die and then they'd have to talk about his childhood and that just really wasn't something Izuku wanted to bring up to his new friend.

Kaminari was actually a lot of fun to talk to. The boy was a little scatterbrained at times, but he was really nice and funny too, even though most of his jokes were terrible and painful to listen to, they were so bad that Izuku couldn't help but laugh.

The boys made plans to meet up and talk a bit about Kaminari's quirk and how he could improve his use of it after classes started back up and honestly, Izuku was over the moon.

Sure, he had Hitoshi as his friend now, but that was more or less a forced friendship that they both mutually accepted. This thing that he had with Kaminari and Kirishima and maybe Shoto, this was completely just because they wanted to be his friend. Not because he saved them or because they were both so lonely that they gravitated towards each other. No, they really just wanted to get to know him because they liked him.

Hitoshi wasn't as excited about his new friends and Izuku was. He was a lot more introverted and really didn't like to have too many people around, but that was okay. He didn't have to be best friends with them or anything, but it would be good for him to have a few people that he knew when he got transferred into the hero course.

One thing that did surprise him though, was a late-night text he got from a certain two-toned boy asking if Izuku was awake.

The fact that Shoto had texted him at all had thrown Izuku for quite the loop, but also that fact that he had texted him so late in the night-or morning now, he thought.

Izuku:

                Yeah, I'm up. U ok??

Shoto:

                I'm fine. Why are you awake at this hour?

Izuku:

                Wait a minute-

                You are the one who texted me and asked if I was awke…

Shoto:

                Yes. But I didn't expect you to actually be awake. I apologize for disrupting your night.

Izuku:

                It's no prob, what's up?

Shoto:

                I couldn't sleep and I read somewhere that when your mind is filled with troubling thoughts that you should go to a friend and talk to them about it.

Izuku:

                …

                Are we friends?

Shoto:

                Is that not what this is?

                Do friends not have deep conversations and exchange numbers?

Izuku:

                I mean they do but-

                You know what, yeah, we're friends.

                Tell me what's going on

Shoto:

                I'm afraid it would be difficult to explain over text.

                Do you mind if I call you?

Izuku:

                Fine with me

The boys talked for a while. Shoto told Izuku how he was having to deal with his father more than usual due to the break and how much it was weighing on him to have to be around him so much.

It was heart breaking to know just how messed up his home life was and how they could literally do nothing about it. If they tried to out Endeavor the entire hero system would crumble, and it was doubtful that anyone would believe them anyway.

The hero was known for his brashness and aggression. Most found it endearing in some sort of way. Others just simply ignored it. It would be hard to convince people that one of their heroes, someone that they put all of their hope and trust in, was actually extremely abusive and just a huge dick.

So, Izuku opted to do the next best thing and take the boy's mind off it everything. He started talking about everything and nothing as Shoto simply listened and chimed in with his thoughts whenever he had them.

It might have seemed like a small thing, but the obvious shift in the boy's mood from when he called him to when they got off of the phone was what made staying up talking until the sun rose worth it.

 

The morning came that everybody had to go back to classes. Eraser was up early as per usual, and Hitoshi had gone home to his foster family for the night. He couldn't exactly be over all of the time, but most of the time was good enough. Just as long as he wasn't with those people, who clearly didn't care for him as much as he deserved, too much.

Izuku met Eraser in the kitchen as the hero handed him a cup of coffee that he had pre-made for him, assuming that he'd be up before he had to leave.

The boy took it with a nod and small smile and the two just stood in comfortable silence. That was until Eraser broke it, "So I should probably warn you, the hero students are going to be doing their internships soon and so I'm going to be a lot busier that week."

"Internships? I thought that hero students didn't usually get internships until their second year."

"Usually that is the case, but with the attack earlier in the semester and how well they did during the sports festival, pros are eager to get their hands on the potential heroes."

Izuku nodded before taking another sip of his coffee, not too hot with lots of cream and sugar and just a dash of cinnamon. How Eraser had figured out exactly what he liked; he didn't know. Especially because he mainly drank black coffee around him to keep himself properly caffeinated. "So, if they're all going to be going other places for their internships, why are you going to be so busy?"

"Well," The hero cleared his throat, "I think that we all saw just how much potential Shinso has at the sports festival, even if he didn't win, he came pretty dang close. I talked it over with Nezu and we both agreed that he would be a great student to fill the open spot in my class with. Of course, he needs proper training and everything, so I put in the paperwork to take him as my intern for the week to get him ready."

Izuku almost choked on his coffee, as he whipped his head up to the pro, "You wHAT? You're taking him on as your intern? He's going to be in the hero course!?"

It was exactly what they had been working towards. Oh, Hitoshi was going to be so happy! Especially because he'll be spending so much time with Eraser and being trained by his all-time favorite pro hero. Izuku was looking at the half-empty mug of coffee in his hand when he felt a warm drop of water slide down his cheek. He was crying? Wow…he hadn't cried happy tears in so long. It was…nice.

"You know…he doesn't have to be the only one."

Eraser's words caused Izuku to look at the hero with confused eyes.

"It wouldn't be hard to get you enrolled and into the hero course as a transfer student. You have more than enough academic ability and we both know that you're a very capable hero already-"

"Stop." Instantly the mood shifted. This was dangerous territory, and unfortunately, Eraser was none the wiser.

"I-what?" Izuku's only response was to shake his head lowly. "Izuku, you need to stop this. We both know that you can't be a vigilante forever. What are you going to do when you eventually get caught? You have to start thinking about other-"

"What else is there? If I can’t be a vigilante, then what else am I supposed to be?" He hadn't meant to raise his voice, but he couldn't help it. He knew where this conversation was going, and it just hurt. So. Much.

Eraser kept his tone light and his eyes on Izuku. "A hero." He said it with such assurance, as if he believed that it could actually be a possibility.

"No." Izuku's eyes began to pool with tears as he cursed his emotional nature. "Stop, just…please." Memories ran through his head. All of the words that people threw at him to deter him from his dream. Every time Katsuki had beaten him down and screamed at him for even entertaining the thought of being a hero. He thought of when he was diagnosed as quirkless and the tears in his mother's eyes. Of the endless nights of research, he did because he refused to believe that he didn't have a quirk.

He thought back to that day, the day that started everything. Katsuki had been picking on him just like every other day, but for whatever reason he was extra pissed that day. Pissed enough that when he caught sight of one of Izuku's hero notebooks on his desk his eyes flashed with fury, and he chucked it out the window before walking off laughing with his friends about how worthless he was.

It was the same day that Izuku had met his hero. All Might saved him from some sewage villain that tried to kill him and use his body as a skin suit.

That was the day that Izuku's spirit broke.

He followed the hero up to a random roof and poured his heart out to him. Begging, pleading him to tell him what no one else in his life other than his mother had told him. But even your greatest heroes can't always live up to your expectations.

All Might was just like everyone else. He thought that Izuku was weak and useless just because he didn't have a quirk. He didn't even take into consideration how much good he could do with the proper training, just brushing him off because of something that he was damned with since birth.

Izuku considered jumping that day. The thought of his mother's tear-stained face and broken sobs are what carried him down those steps. And then she died.

"Why? Why is this such a-I don't understand why this is such a difficult thing. You can be a hero-"

"Don't." It came out as a growl and Izuku even surprised himself with the poison dripping from his lips. But he couldn't take it. He couldn't let himself fall down that rabbit hole again just to have his heart shattered…again. He wouldn't allow it. "Don't you dare say that to me."

Eraser let out an exasperated scoff and set his mug down, "Why not? We both know that you're more than capable-"

"I just CAN'T, okay?" Izuku snapped, breathing heavily and trying his hardest to keep the tears from falling down his cheeks. "I can't-I can't allow myself to hope that. Not again."

"Izuku," Eraser took a few steps forward and placed his hands on his shoulders. "Look at me."

"No, no-I…just stop! If you truly care about me, then drop it."

"Why are you so against this? You've been saving people for months, what makes being a hero so different?"

"BECAUSE I'M NOT GOOD ENOUGH!" He yelled out forcing himself out of the hero's grip and turning his back to him. "I can't be a hero because I'm not good enough, happy?"

"Who told you that?"

"Oh, come on Eraser, I grew up quirkless remember? People aren't exactly open to the idea of someone so weak and useless trying to save them."

"But you've been saving people and you don't seem to have a problem with it."

"That's different."

"How!? How is that any different than doing it officially with the proper weapons and clothes?"

"Heroes are good! Heroes are strong! They help people and save everyone with a smile. They bring hope to those who need it. That's not me."

"What do you mean that's not you? Do you know how many anonymous thank you letters the police station has gotten from civilians that you've saved? Have you not been paying attention to how much people love you on the internet?"

"No, no. no-"

"Izuku! If you would just listen to me-"

The boy let out a pained sob and he forcibly turned back to Eraser and walked closer. "Don't you get it!? I'm broken…I'll-I'll never be good enough. I'm useless and I'm selfish and I'm-I'm a horrible person."

Eraser grabbed both of the boy's wrists as he tried to grab at his hair, his face, his ears, anything to alleviate the pain he felt inside. "Hey! You are not useless, and you are not a horrible person."

Izuku let out another sob as he refused to look at the hero's eyes, "How-how can you know that? You barely even know me, you don't know the thoughts in my head, you don't know what all I've done."

"I know enough. I know that you've been through hell. I know that with all of the crap that life has thrown at you, you have every right to be angry. You have every right to blame the world and everyone who has ever beaten you down and cursed you for no reason. Hell…I'd be angry, I'd hate everything and everyone around me. I'd want to destroy everything that destroyed me, but that's not you Izuku. Instead, you've chosen to help people. To put yourself in danger time and time again, just to make sure that they're okay. That's not useless. That's strength."

That's when the tears finally fell freely. "But I-"

"No. Izuku Midoriya, you may be upset, you may be angry, you may be broken, but one thing you are not is weak. I've seen exactly who you are and all that I see is light, not this darkness that you try to cover yourself with. I see a boy who wants nothing more than to help people. What could be more heroic than that?"

"You-you mean that?"

"I do."

"I-but I can't-I'm supposed to be dead. I don't technically exist anymore, and I never finished my last year of middle school let alone anything from this year. And-"

Eraser took hold of the boy's wrists again and forced him to look at him. "Hey. Hey, you don't have to make any decisions now. Nothing would be able to happen until after the internships anyway. Take some time and really think about whether or not this is what you want. Not about whether or not you can do it, because you can."

"…okay."

Izuku fell into the hero's arms as he sniffled and just stood there in shock.

"I have to get going or else I'm going to be late. Are you good here? I can probably convince Nezu to let Mic have the day off."

Izuku shook his head as he stood straight up and picked up his coffee again. "No, I'll be fine. I just need to have some time."

"And that's totally fine. I'll be back as soon as I can, okay? Try not to get into any trouble while I'm gone."

The hero was half-way out of the door when Izuku finally got the courage to speak up, "Eraser!"

He stopped and turned to the boy, "Yeah?"

"Thanks."

 

The night was cold, but not too cold. The city around was bustling with people leaving work and going out for the night. Helpless sheep going on about their everyday lives, completely ignoring the retched filth that was their hero society. It made Stain sick.

No matter, that wasn't his objective tonight. Tonight, he was looking for a very specific pro hero in need of culling.

Despite his usual schedule, Stain decided that this particular situation was more important than the other two heroes he planned on cleansing in Hosu. He was actually a little pissed because his last attempt wasn't as successful as he had hoped. He had been going after a very specific speed-type hero that was doing some work there, but another got in the way and ended up being the target instead.

Actually, this target was one that he still wasn't one hundred percent on. The only reason why he was going to go ahead with the culling was because that stupid group of wannabes kept on breathing down his neck and he was getting irritated. He admitted that he was slightly grateful that the other one had showed up and that the speed hero got away with only minor injuries, but he wouldn't ever tell anyone that.

Even so, he might've taken some of that anger out on the young hero, but it was just as well. One less to turn false.

Stain still had a ways to go until he got to his destination. With the last hero, he had to go into hiding for a few days until the dogs backed off. And now he was making his way back to Hosu.

At the moment, he believed that he was in Musutafu. And if he wasn't mistaken, this was where that little vigilante resided. Maybe he would get to run into him again.

Stain liked the kid. It was clear that he had heavy convictions and that he stayed true to those convictions. Although, he was a little too hero-like for his taste. Perhaps he would be able to take the kid under his wing and show him all that was wrong with society. He could do with a sidekick to take his spot when he inevitably got caught.

Maybe spending some extra time in this city would be worth his while.

Chapter Text

Izuku needed to get out and think.

He had spent the day pacing the apartment in thought, but it wasn't enough. And when Eraser came home, it got even worse. He needed to be alone and to be somewhere else. Eraser understood, and that's why he didn't fight the boy when he left through the front door in his vigilante garb.

"Be safe! And try not to make any criminals cry tonight!"

"I'll try!"

 

Nothing felt better than the city air flowing through his hair and stinging his lungs. Something about it just took his mind off of everything in his life and let him take a breath. It was nice and exactly what he needed.

He had been checking alleyways for any suspicious activity when his heart stopped for a moment.

No way…

What was the hero killer doing in Musutafu? He was just in Hosu wasn't he? If he followed his usual pattern, then he should still be there so why-

"Ah, Serpentine." He slowly turned to look at the pale boy and smirked. "I've been meaning to see you again."

Crap- Gosh dang it why is it always me-

"Ah ha…" Izuku was panicking. WHat tHE HEcK WAS hE SUPPosED TO dO IN THIs SITUATION!? "I don't suppose you'd be up to leaving if I asked you nicely?"

Stain let out a low chuckle as he began to walk closer to Izuku. "You know, they told me that you were funny little one."

"Who told you?"

"That's not important. What is important is the talk we're going to have."

Ohhhhh, Izuku was so glad Eraser told him to use the bathroom before he left because if he hadn't, he absolutely would've peed himself right then and there. "Raincheck?" His voice squeaked as he tried to take a step back.

Stain clasped his hand onto Izuku's shoulder freezing him in place and gave him one of those creep smiles that he kept on getting from the guy. "Let's go somewhere more private."

The hero killer led him further and further from the city until he was apparently satisfied with where they were. They stopped on top of an abandoned warehouse in the middle of nowhere and the guy plopped down with his legs crossed as if they were taking a measly stroll in the park. "Come, sit young one."

"I wish you wouldn’t call me that." Izuku grumbled as he obliged.

"What would you rather me call you?"

"I would rather not be here at all."

Stain let out another low laugh as he threw his head back. "Oh, you really are a hoot Serpentine. I will greatly enjoy having you around."

"You-what?" Izuku squeaked as he fiddled with his hands so that he could direct his nervous energy somewhere.

"This is what I wished to speak to you about. I've seen your convictions and they are indeed strong. A lot like mine. I see a great deal of potential in you and would like to help guide you. Together we will be able to cleanse this wretched society of all its false heroes and phonies."

This wasn't happening. There was no freaking way that this is what was happening right now. Did the hero killer just offer to take you under his wing? You've gotta be freaking kidding-

"So, what do you think young one?"

HOW WAS HE SUPPOSED TO ANSWER?? How could he say no without getting filleted by the guy? I mean he'd come back, but still!

"Uh…I really appreciate the offer…but I'm going to have to pass."

"Hmm," Stain placed his chin in his hand and looked at Izuku with narrowed eyes. "I knew that your convictions were righteous and strong, perhaps a bit too righteous. No matter, that does not change the way that I see you Serpentine, so no need to sweat through your costume."

"Huh, whatttt?" Izuku glanced down at his partially soaked hoodie and could suddenly feel every drop of sweat trickle down his neck and back.

"Perhaps you are not ready for such responsibility of culling those who are not worthy. In any case, I'd still like to train you."

Izuku choked on the spit in his mouth as those words left Stain's mouth. "You what?"

"If you’re not willing to take me up on my offer, then you must be gunning to be a hero, yes?"

"Uhh…"

"Then I will train you. I will make sure that you become the best hero who will lead by example and show what a hero should be."

Ohh there was no way that this was happening-

"Alright then, up! There is no time to waste. I assume that the pro hero Eraserhead will be wondering where you scurried off too, no?"

 Izuku's wide eyes must've given him all the answer that he needed as he let out an amused breath and got into a fighting stance.

"Let's see how far along you are young one."

He wasn't sure if it was out of a sense of curiosity or simply just fear of going against the guy, but Izuku got to his feet wearily and prepared for whatever was going to get thrown at him.

Surprisingly enough, Stain was a pretty decent teacher. Don't get him wrong, Izuku got thrown on his butt more times than he could count, but each time the guy would go over what he did wrong and what he could improve on. He even went as far as to teach him a few of his moves that he did to aid in his speed and maneuverability. And Izuku got to learn some about stealth as well.

As wrong and horrible as it was to be learning from a literal murderer, he was learning a lot. Things that he could cultivate and use to save people rather than killing them like his…mentor? Kidnapper? Whatever Stain was-

He wasn't exactly sure how long they stayed out training and sparring, but by the time he got back to Eraser's house, he had already turned in for the night and left a note for Izuku telling him goodnight and that he'd kill him if he didn't come back. That got a small smirk to lift from his lips as he made his way to the bathroom to shower all of the sweat and dirt off of his bruised and already sore body.

The hero killer had praised Izuku on his skills so far, especially considering how new he was to the whole vigilante thing. And once they finished their little session, he told him that he would meet him again tomorrow night while he was patrolling.

How he was going to find him, he wasn't sure. And how he knew he would be patrolling tomorrow night…well, let's just say that even if he wasn't originally going to, the guy scared him enough that he was going to now.

One issue though, was the internal battle that was waging inside of Izuku. On one side he knew that it was wrong to even be associating himself with Stain. The guy was a cold-blooded killer with screwed up views and morals. But on the other, he was already learning a lot and would be able to use what he learned for good.

There was also the issue of Eraser…

Izuku hadn't figured out exactly how he was going to tell him that he was being trained against his will by none other than the hero killer. The guy that no one could even think to catch or take down, had sought him out and insisted on taking him under his wing for some reason.

That was going to be a fun conversation…

He hadn't even thought about Hitoshi. Oh, he would have his own things to say about the situation, because he wasn't a fan of vigilantes to begin with, but Stain was on a whole different level.

Luckily for him though, the two of them would be staying at Eraser's agency for the week and so Izuku had some time to figure out what he was going to say to the two of them.

One thing that had surprised Izuku was that, even though he lived with Eraser and the hero was looking over him, he actually let Izuku do what he wanted. He was happy about that, it wasn't like the guy was his father or anything, but lately…

No. He didn't know, recently the two of them had been getting closer and enjoying each other's company. They've been getting comfortable with each other, which was something that neither of them was accustomed to. And as such, neither of them knew how to handle their growing relationship, so they just opted to ignore it.

It was clear that Eraser trusted him. He wouldn’t let him stay at his home alone if he didn't. And Izuku trusted Eraser. That much was made clear when he openly expressed his thoughts and emotions in front of and to the guy. Something that he absolutely hated doing and did not do in front of people. He learned to keep all of that locked away a long time ago.

But the hero had broken those walls, the ones that he spent so long building up, down. And he did it so slowly and gently that he hadn't even noticed.

 

The next few days carried on. Izuku would do his thing until nighttime came, and then he would go out to patrol only to be kidnapped by the hero killer yet again to train or whatever it was they were doing.

As much as Izuku hated what was going on, he was actually improving by leaps and bounds. His form and technique had been sculpted and perfected by the man and had grown as well. He had been adding new moves and abilities to his arsenal left and right as Stain thought it would be a good idea to teach him how to properly handle a multitude of weapons, mainly blades.

And as much as he hated to say it, the hero killer wasn't that horrible to be around. Don't get him wrong, he still hated the guy and all that he did, but he saw at least some ground in his beliefs, and it was clear that Stain liked him for whatever reason. It also didn’t help that the guy was hilariously oblivious to basic social interactions and was way too stiff for his own good.

So, rather than sulk about the predicament he was in, he decided that he would use the time he spent with Stain not only to get better, but also to try to get the hero killer to see that what he was doing was wrong and that there was a way better way to do what he was trying to accomplish.

During their breaks, Izuku would reply to the texts that his friends would send him. Most were from Hitoshi complaining about how intense Eraser was and how he was getting worked to the bone even more than when he was training with Izuku.

Although, he did get some texts from Kaminari and Shoto as well.

Apparently, Shoto had decided to go to his father's agency for his internship. A decision that Izuku thought was the worst possible one he could've made, but when he heard why he decided to, he guessed that it made since. He still didn't like it though.

One night Stain had decided that Izuku needed a change of scenery and so the two of them took a fieldtrip to Hosu for the night.

Izuku knew that it was just because Stain was probably itching to get his next victim and continue on his three per city pattern, but Izuku had confidence that he could deter the hero killer and possibly save a life if he was lucky.

Strangely enough, Shoto had texted him and let him know that he would actually be in Hosu with his father tonight as well.

Izuku just hoped that they wouldn't cross paths, because he wasn't sure if he could stop Stain from taking down the number two hero. He didn't know if he wanted to…

Better to just avoid that situation all together.

The two of them had been sparing, Izuku with a pair of twin blades going against an 'empty handed' Stain (but he never believed that the man was ever actually without secret weapons stashed who knows where), when they heard a crash.

Stain had been complaining about how this group called the League of Villains kept trying to recruit him to boost their own image the past couple of nights. Apparently, their leader was relentless and some of their members were a little too out there for Stain's liking.

Not that he teamed up with anyone anyway, Izuku being the exception.

The loud noise sounded followed by an unholy screeching that caused Izuku and the hero killer both to cover their ears to try to block out the gut-wrenching sound of whatever it was that had just arrived.

It was far enough away that neither of them could tell what exactly was going on, but Stain cursed under his breath and muttered something about that damn league, which made Izuku's stomach drop a bit.

"Serpentine." Izuku turned to Stain, who was looking over the city from where they stood on top of a building. "Go and see what is going on in the city. If it's what I think it is, then the people of this place are in danger."

"What about you?" Something about this whole situation didn't sit right with Izuku. He could tell that there was something that Stain wasn't telling him, and he knew for a fact that he didn't care about the innocent people that much. So then, what was his ploy?

Stain scoffed and looked at the young boy out of the corner of his eye. "What's the matter hero? Too scared to go and take on some villains by yourself? You help people, that's the whole reason why I've taken to training you. Now go. Help them."

Izuku didn't like this. Not at all. He knew that something was wrong, he just couldn't tell what exactly that was, and it was driving him insane. It didn't help that he didn't trust Stain on his own for a second.

But what was he supposed to do? As much as he hated it, the hero killer was right. People were probably in danger, and Izuku wanted to save all those that he could. And unfortunately, that meant doing what the man said and leaving him to do whatever he was planning on doing.

"Alright. But please don’t get into any trouble. I really don't want to have to clean up whatever mess you’re planning on making."

"Hurry up and go young hero. You have no business worrying about myself and my actions."

He hated it. He knew that something was going to happen, but he had to help. He couldn't just ignore all those people who couldn't defend themselves from whatever was terrorizing them.

Ugh! This was so frustrating!

"Fine." Izuku gave one last pointed look at the hero killer before he took off and towards the many screams coming from deeper in the city.

 

It was like a switch. One moment he was running through a dark and empty part of the city and then he ran into what literally looked like hell.

Chaos was the only way he knew how to describe what he saw. There was devastation everywhere. Crashed cars and damage to the roads and buildings all around with little fires sprinkled in made Izuku's stomach turn.

The screams all around him didn't help the feeling of dread he had as he looked at what had become of the quite city.

People were running away-or at least trying to. Many were unable to move from where they were, either due to terror or injury. And that's when Izuku saw the culprit.

It looked like a nightmare. It was huge first of all, it's exposed arms and chest large and rolling with bulging muscles and veins. Its skin was a sickly shade of purple that had splotches of other colors all over it and its face was distorted with a sort of beak emerging from it below its large protruding eyes and completely exposed brain on top of its head.

Izuku had a hard time looking at it without feeling the urge to throw-up at the grotesque image.

The creature was standing on all fours over two people who Izuku really hoped were just passed out but didn't have much hope considering the blood covering various parts of the monster. It extended it head upwards and let out that same screech that made Izuku want to tear his ears off of his head just to make it stop somehow.

The thing stopped and looked at Izuku curiously. It tilted its head to the side as it took a step forward and began to stand on two feet.

Alright…so this may or may not be the moment that I die.

No big deal. Even if it is, I'll come back.

…Probably.

Izuku began to run at the creature as it began to run at him. He had a skeleton of a plan in his head, but he wouldn't be able to solidify anything until he figured out what exactly this thing could do. He had no way of knowing it's strength or speed due to its appearance, so he would have to go out on a whim and find out for himself.

At least until the pros showed up. They shouldn’t be too far away by now, he could hold this thing off until then, right?

Izuku and the creature ran up to each other and before they collided, Izuku slid under the thing's large legs and popped up behind it to try to land a kick to its head. But when he did the thing didn't even flinch.

He landed in a crouch and watched as the unfazed creature slowly turned its head to him and then its body and took a step towards him.

He jumped forward and tried to give it a few punches, but again, it was as if he wasn't even touching the thing.

Okay…time for plan B-

Izuku unsheathed the twin blades that Stain had given him from his tool belt and spun them around in his hands to get a good grip on them.

He came at the monster, swinging the blades and cutting up the thing without hitting anywhere lethal. Even though it was obviously something extremely messed up, it was also clearly human-esk and that meant that it was most likely once human.

Izuku jumped back as the creature fell to the ground, but when he looked up, the thing was getting to its feet with each of the wounds all around its body sewing themselves back together right in front of Izuku's eyes.

"What the fu-"

"Kid!"

"Hey, what the hell do you think you're doing here?!"

"It's dangerous!"

Voices yelled behind him and Izuku snuck a peak to see three pro heroes running towards him with equally determined and worried faces on each of them.

"Wait a minute-isn't that Serpentine?!"

"The new vigilante in Musutafu?"

"What are you doing here kid?!"

Apparently, the creature had no respect for greetings because it lunged forward in an attempt to punch Izuku in the chest. The only thing saving his life was the reflexes he gained from working with Stain that sent him flipping to the side and away from the freaky-killing-machine-monster-thing.

"Careful! This thing is strong and fast and can heal from any wound I inflict on it. I'm not sure how that's possible, but whatever it is, it's not to be taken lightly."

The three heroes made it to Izuku's side as the watched the creature turn to look at all of them and tilt its head.

"You said none of your attacks worked?" One of the heroes questioned under his breath.

"Nope. It just healed from whatever I did."

"Guess we'll just have to keep on hitting it until it can't heal no more," One of the heroes, a female hero that Izuku recognized, stepped forward as she cracked her knuckled and smirked at the creature.

The hero was one of the top ten, the pro hero Mirko. She had a rabbit quirk and was a complete bad***. He wasn't sure what she was doing in Hosu, but he wasn't going to question the very clear blessing her presence was.

"Serpentine right?" She turned back to look at Izuku.

Izuku squeaked at her attention suddenly being on him, "Um, yes?"

"I heard that you're good. Real good. Let's see if you can keep up."

She turned back and got into position to take off toward the creature that was still just looking at them.

Izuku smirked and spun his blades once more as he prepared to fight again. "You're on."

Chapter Text

The fight was intense. It was four on one, and they were barely winning.

It seemed that no matter how hard they hit the thing, it just came right back and hit them harder. Even so, none of them were going to accept defeat. Not when there were still so many civilians around them that they had to protect.

But they wouldn't be able to keep on going forever, eventually they were going to get tired and then it would all be over.

They had to come up with a plan, but what?

Ugh! Come on Izuku! Think-Think…

"Mirko!" Izuku and the pro had just evaded yet another powerful punch from the bird-thing and jumped back to put some distant between them.

"What's up kid?"

"Have you been noticing that that thing's healing has been slowing down?"

"Not really."

"Well-it doesn't matter. The point is that it has limits just like everything else. All we have to do it exploit those limits before it exploits ours."

"You got it!"

Mirko raced back in and jumped in the air to land a series of fast kicks that bounced off of the creature's face. She landed and jumped out of the way as one of the other pros hit the thing with their quirk over and over again until they then let the other pro have their turn.

It wasn't long until the four of them overwhelmed the monster and one of the pros took it out for good with a knife to the brain. The thing went down and didn't get back up.

Izuku breathed heavily as he looked at the thing they just fought. Was that like what Eraser faced during the attack at the USJ? If so, then what was it doing here? Was that why Stain seemed pissed, because he knew that the League was somehow involved?

Crap! Stain-

"Uh, it was cool fighting with you guys, but I gotta go. See ya-" He took off but turned back when Mirko called out to him.

"Hey-kid!" She smiled at him and gave him a thumbs up, "I look forward to fighting with you in the future."

Izuku nodded and felt a blush rise to his cheeks that were thankfully covered by his mask, before he started running again.

He had to find Stain. He couldn't believe that he left him alone in the place where he knew his next target was. He would just have to find him and hope that it wasn’t too late.

It didn't take him long to find him. Luckily for Izuku, he had grown accustomed to seeking the guy out, unfortunately for him when he did find him, he was standing over a body covered in white armor with another unmoving body slouched a few feet away.

"Stain!"

The hero killer halted in his lifting of his katana. "Serpentine…"

"What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"I was hoping that you would be distracted for a bit longer. Long enough for me to cull these two false heroes, or should I say hero and fledgling." He seethed at the person below him who gave no response.

"We talked about this! You can't just go around killing people because you want to!"

"But they deserve it!"

"I don't care, killing is wrong."

"I have no time or interest in debating this with you right now. Leave if you do not wish to witness or shut up and let me do what I need to do." He went back to his katana and rose it above his head in preparation to bring it down into the helpless body below him.

"If you won't listen then I guess I'm going to have to stop you myself." Izuku crouched down and unsheathed his twin blades.

Stain paused and turned his head to look at Izuku incredulously. "I admire your determination young one, but make no mistake, if you choose to go against me tonight then I will not hold back."

"I'd be disappointed if you did."

"Very well then."

Stain turned fully towards Izuku and readied himself to fight.

"It was a privilege Serpentine."

"Don't count me out so easily hero killer, you didn't teach me everything I know."

Stain's mouth turned up into a smile as his eyes flashed with anticipation. "Let us be done with this." And then he lunged forward.

It was difficult. Probably one of the most difficult fights of Izuku's life.

He was almost always a mere second away from death and the only thing that kept him alive was his training with the one trying to cull him. Not that he'd be down for too long, but probably long enough for Stain to kill the two on the ground and Izuku refused to allow that to happen.

As he was dodging all of Stain's advances the one in the white armor began to plead with him to stop.

"This is my fight! Please do not get involved!"

Was this guy serious? Not only did he seem like extremely young to be targeted by the hero killer, but he was asking Izuku to leave and let him be killed just as he would've been had he not shown up.

"It's Serpentine right? Leave and allow me to do this on my own!"

"Are you being serious right now? Last I checked I was the one fighting and you were the one helpless on the ground."

"Please! Leave now and-"

"Oh my god can you shut up?!"

He had only known the guy for like two minutes and already he was getting on his last nerve. Not that that was necessarily a difficult feat but seriously, he was literally fighting to keep him alive, and he was complaining? Ungrateful little-

Izuku launched himself backward as Stain's blade slashed above him and he rolled away. "Careful Serpentine, you're getting distracted."

"Shut up."

"I thought I taught you better than this?"

"I said shut up!"

Izuku lunched forward and slashed at Stain with both of his blades. Something that the hero killer just barely evaded with some of his scarf being sliced in between his swords.

"Very good…"

The two of them took a second before they started back at each other.

Izuku wouldn't be able to keep this up for long. He was surprised that he had made it this long honestly. He couldn't do this on his own, but what could he do?

All of the pros were dealing with whatever was going down in the city and Eraser was back in Musutafu. He didn't know anyone in-

Wait-

Shoto!

Izuku evaded yet another one of Stain's swings as he jumped farther away so that he could quickly pull out his phone and send a message to his friend. He wasn't sure how much good that was going to do, but it was his only chance.

"Are you texting in the middle of our battle? Perhaps you aren't taking this as seriously as you should. Very well, I will come at you genuinely."

He what!? He wasn't fighting him for real before??

Ohhhh Izuku was so screwed…

If he thought that earlier was bad…this was ten times worse. It was all that he could do to not get filleted by Stain. He wasn't kidding about holding back earlier.

"I must say Serpentine, I am very impressed. No one has been able to evade me for so long before. You should be proud."

"Say that to me when you're not trying to kill me."

This caused a low laugh to leave the man's throat before he almost gutted Izuku as he twisted away from him.

Sh**sh**sh**sh**sh**-

Izuku was not doing good. He was already worn from the fight with that creature, and he didn't have the strength or energy to continue to keep up with Stain.

A string of curses that Eraser would've grounded Izuku for a year for left his mouth as he ducked under a swing from Stain that was almost too slow. He was preparing to jump back from another swing as he lost his footing and panic flashed all across him.

It kinda felt like his body took a snapshot as he began to go down and stared into the crazed eyes of the hero killer who was approaching quickly in order to take advantage of his mistake. That was until a wall of fire separated the two of them forcing Stain to jump away from Izuku in order to not get barbequed.

Izuku's body hit the cement as he let out another string of curses that were immediately rebuked by the kid still helpless on the ground a few feet from him.

"Fire-?" He turned his head to see a very distinct head of hair standing at the mouth of the alleyway and let out a quick breath of relief.

"Um…I must have the wrong place. Forgive me-"

"Shoto!" The boy turned back as Izuku called out to him. "Thank God you got my text! Thanks for the save by the way," He gestured to the wall of fire that was still keeping Stain at bay.

It wasn't until his friend looked at him with the most confused expression that Izuku remembered that he was dressed as Serpentine right now and that Shoto didn't know that he was a vigilante.

"Fuc-"

"Do I know you?"

"Uh," Izuku debated whether or not it was even worth it to try to keep his identity a secret in favor of not dying in this alleyway and just decided screw it. "Right. I'm going to need you to not freak out until we're out of this mess, okay?"

"Freak out? But why would I-"

Izuku lowered his mask and looked frantically at his now gaping friend. "Look, I know that it's a lot, but I don't really have time to explain everything right now. Help me take the hero killer down and I promise I'll tell you everything." He pleaded as he pulled his mask back up.

It took Shoto a minute to regain his bearings, but once he did his face hardened into one of complete focus and determination. "Right."

"More interruptions…you're all starting to really piss me off." Stain jumped through the wall of fire with seemingly no regard for the burns that Izuku could see on him from where he was.

"Cry me a river old man, I told you that killing was wrong!"

"I don't have to listen to the convictions of some child off the street!"

"YOU'RE ALSO SOME CHILD OFF THE STREET! Or did you forget, Stendhal?"

This caused the man to halt, before a curious smirk spread across his face. "You sure do your research, don't you Serpentine? I'm surprised that you know my former name, not many do."

"I make a point to know who I'm around. And I know a lot more than that."

"Impressive. But I'm afraid that knowledge will do you no good in this fight."

"We'll see about that," Izuku readied his blades and glanced towards Shoto. "You ready?" He asked under his breath to which his friend simply nodded.

Plans after plans were forming in Izuku's head as he recalled every single weakness that he had picked up on in the time that he had spent with Stain. He just hoped that they would be enough with Shoto there to back him up.

"Alright…Shoto, ice!"

"You got it."

Izuku jumped aside as Shoto sent a stream of ice towards the hero killer and succeeded in encasing him, but only for a moment as the man sliced his way out of the ice and launched himself forward.

"Fire!"

Another wall of fire separated Izuku and the hero killer as he moved to the side so that Stain wouldn't be able to reach him when he jumped through the fire.

He came through and Izuku got the jump on him. He got up behind him and got a double slash across the man's back causing the man to grunt and fall to the ground before he rolled away from Izuku and to his feet.

Izuku didn't give him the chance to recover as he came at him again with everything he had and trusting his friend to back him up.

"No, please! Please this does not concern you-either of you!"

"Iida!?"

"You know that guy?"

"He's in my class."

"Oh, that's awkward-" Izuku tried his best to not laugh at the irony of the entire situation. "Can you tell him to shut up? I've been trying, but he doesn't seem to get it."

"Iida, shut up."

"Todoroki!"

"If you're so concerned with us getting out of here, then do something about it! Cause doing nothing but yelling at us from the ground is just pissing everybody off."

"No, you don't understand! This is all my fault! I made the mistake of letting resentment and rage consume me and now you two are here risking your lives for me-"

"Oh, shut up! It's not like you’re special or anything. I'd risk my life or any idiot that got tangled up with this guy." Izuku yelled out as he was still going at it with Stain, the two of them now on more equal footing with his injury.

"One cannot simply change their ways so easily! No matter what lies leave your mouth, you're still deserving of culling!"

"He's right-"

"Shut the f*** up Stain! I'm tired of hearing your stupid voice!" Izuku yelled out as he sent a punch straight across the guy's face. It would've been great if Izuku hadn't gotten nicked on his arm by one of the hero killer's many attacks and the guy took the opportunity of his arm being so close by sticking his disgustingly long tongue out to lick the blood that was dripping from his cut.

Izuku's body immediately locked up just as it had before and the string of words that left his mouth as he went down would've resulted in a thorough cleaning if his mother were still here to hear them.

Shoto let out his own curse as he sent another wall of fire to separate Stain from standing over him and he rushed to drag him back towards the other two that were down for the count.

"Crap! Shoto I'm so sorry-"

"Don't apologize. It's not your fault."

"What are you going to do now little hero? Think you can take me on all by yourself?"

"No, Shoto don't-" But the boy was already fired up and ready to fight for his friend's lives.

It was painful to watch his friend go up against the hero killer. Every hit, every close call made Izuku flinch and want to turn his gaze away even though he knew that he couldn't.

Actually, Shoto lasted longer than he thought he would, but he supposed that was to be expected from the number two hero's son and probably one of the top students at UA. But even he went down and then it was just the hero killer and his expanding bloodlust filling the alley.

"Stain, please don't. You've got to listen to-"

"I'm through with listening to you Serpentine." He slowly walked towards Izuku until the hero killer was standing over him. He gazed down at him with an unreadable expression, until he readied his katana and plunged it deep into the boy's shoulder as he let out a small scream. One that he could've sworn resulted in a look of remorse that flashed across his expression before he looked away and unsheathed another blade in order to kill his next victim.

Stain took a step forward but was cut off by yet another wall of fire, this one noticeably less in intensity, probably due to it being so close to Izuku. "I'm beginning to get frustrated with you son of Endeavor. Your father is number one on my list of those in need of culling and if you continue to stand in my way, you will not be too far behind."

He threw a small knife at Shoto that landed in the boy's thigh causing him to lose hold of his quirk and yell out in pain.

The hero killer continued in his steps towards the kid that was apparently named Iida before a blur of white and blue flashed across Izuku's vision and landed a hit on Stain who was forced to take a few steps back.

"Iida? You can move again?"

"I suppose so! I am truly sorry you two. I'm sorry that you were forced to get involved, but I will make sure to correct my mistake!"

"Big talk for someone so selfish and short-sighted."

"Your words mean nothing to me hero killer! I will not let the comments of a murder get to me!"

"Don't forget, you were almost a killer too. Sometimes the intent is all that is needed."

"Silence! I am going to take you down and then turn you in as retribution for my brother!"

"You're referring to Ingenium? That hero was lucky to get away with the few injuries he had. It is very rare that those I go after escape my blade. Regardless, you little fledgling hero…I'd like to see you try-" The man was cut off as a knife was thrown at him, just grazing his face as he turned away.

"Do you two ever just shut up?!" Izuku was on his feet now and dropped the bloody katana to the ground as he ignored the pain in his shoulder. He didn't know how or why, but he wasn't about to question whatever miracle he had been blessed with.

He wasted no time as he ran at the hero killer, he pulled the thick metal pipe he kept on his person from his belt and readied to smack a bi*** with everything that he had as he watched Iida circle the alley in preparation to give Stain the kick of his life.

The killer had no time to counter as another wave of fire came at him while ice tethered him to the ground and all Izuku saw was the look in his eyes before his and Iida's attacks took him down.

It was a look that told Izuku that he was…proud of him. Even in the face of defeat.

"Is-is it over?" Shoto called from where he was starting to be able to move. The other guy in the alley as well, he slowly got to his feet as he gaped at the mess he had just witnessed.

"Yeah, I think it's over."

"Oh, thank God-"

The two boys let out laughs of relief as everyone tried to calm themselves from all of what just happened. Izuku pulled out some zip ties he always kept on him and bound Stain's hands behind his back and his feet together as the other two boys went to removing all of his weapons from his person.

Honestly, Izuku wasn't at all surprised by the shear ridiculous amount they found and even a few that they probably missed.

Shoto limped over to Izuku and examined his shoulder with a frown. "Your shoulder-"

"Your leg."

"I'm used to injuries."

"You think I'm not?"

"Fair enough."

"Let's just get out of here. I'm sick of this freaking alleyway."

Iida and the pro hero that was also attacked, Native, picked up the hero killer and followed Izuku and Shoto as they left the horror scene and made their way down the sidewalk.

That was when they heard the approach of a bunch of different pros.

Apparently Shoto had told his father to send pros to the location Izuku sent him when they were done because there was 'something wrong'. Each of them was confused as they came up to the group and that confusion turned to shock as they took in what they saw.

"Is that…the hero killer??"

"No way!"

"What's going on here??"

Shoto and Izuku sent each other a tired look before turning back in preparation to give whatever bs explanation they would be able to come up with. That was until the sound of the flap of wings along with another one of those gut-wrenching screams was heard and someone yelled out, "GET DOWN!"

"Huh?"

Usually Izuku's instincts were on point, but as he was plucked from the ground by whatever was sinking its claws into his shoulder that wasn't injured, he cured himself for being an oblivious idiot. He blamed it on the shock from fighting Stain.

"No!" Shoto yelled out as he tried to do something to bring Izuku back down but was unable to.

"You son of a-"

Izuku was cut off by a presence appearing behind him, stabbing the creature trying to carry him away in the brain and ripping him from its claws. He cried out and turned his head to look at a crazed Stain holding him in his arms as they began to fall back to the ground.

Well, at least they were…

That was before some sort of purple blob suddenly opened up beneath them in midair and swallowed them both before closing into nothingness once more.

Chapter Text

It was the feeling of being weightless.

As Izuku fell through the portal his senses were all but lost until he felt a pair of hands grip his shoulders roughly. The hands pulled him backward and Izuku looked back to see Stain behind him, trying to figure out exactly what was going on.

"Damn League-" He muttered under his breath as they continued to fall.

All too soon they came out the other end and landed on the hard ground. Izuku landed first with Stain falling on top of him causing him to let out a pained groan.

"Get off of me old man-"

"Shut up you ungrateful child."

"Ah, welcome. We've been anticipating your arrival." A new voice called out and Izuku shot his head up as he shoved Stain's tired and wounded form off of him.

The voice came out scratchy and a bit whiney, almost as if the guy was on the younger side. Not that Izuku had any room to talk about being young. His eyes met the amused red ones staring back at him.

The guy's face was something else and Izuku had to fight to not react in any way. His skin was sickeningly pale and covered in scars from what looked like constant scratching if the fresh wounds on his neck that he was itching at were any indication.

His skin was also extremely dry, like the guy very obviously needed to invest in some moisturizer. Maybe Izuku had some in one of his pouches, he often forgot what all he put in them.

The guy stood up from where he had been sitting at some bar and Izuku's theory about his being young was confirmed by his shorter stature and thin body. His red shoes squeaked as he walked forward and Izuku found himself grimacing at the staple that the two of them shared.

He knelt down to Izuku's level, some of his light blue hair falling in front of his face as he looked at the boy still on the ground.

"My name is Tomura Shigaraki. It's nice to finally meet you Serpentine."

Shigaraki…why did that name sound familiar?

Come on Izuku, think! Why did he feel like he knew that name? Why, why, why-

Oh sh-

"You're the one that led the attack on UA."

"Guilty as charged," The man-child?? replied with a smirk as he stood back up and walked over to the bar. "So, you've heard of me then, that's good."

"Shigaraki-" Stain's coarse voice came out as a growl as the man began to get to his feet, ignoring the various amounts of injuries he had from their fight.

"Stain, welcome back. I knew you'd come around eventually."

The hero killer's expression tightened into a scowl and Izuku felt himself instinctually want to shrink back at the shear intensity of the bloodlust rolling off of the guy.

The guy-Shigaraki-sat down on one of the bar stools and another figure came into Izuku's vision as they made their way behind the bar and began to make a drink. "Tomura, it might be wise to get to the point before things turn ugly." The guy seemed to be made of that same mist stuff that they fell through to end up there.

He must've been the portal villain that Eraser was talking about.

"Now, now Kurogiri, that's no way to treat our guests." Shigaraki turned his attention back to the two of them, "Would either of you like a drink?"

"No thanks, I actually prefer to dehydrate around people that I don't trust."

Izuku heard Stain groan beside him as Shigaraki let out a scratchy laugh. "You're funny Serpentine, I like you already."

As the words left the villain's mouth, Izuku couldn't help but gulp in fear. Of-freaking-course he would gain the favor of yet another criminal. Maybe it was just his winning personality and golden sense of humor that seemed to make him irresistible. He'd have to talk to Eraser to figure out how to be more unlikable. He could learn a lot about that subject from him.

"What do you want Shigaraki? I already told you that I am not interested in your little League of Villains."

"Oh, but we're interested in you. Actually, we're quite interested in both of you."

Izuku's body stiffened.

"Things get around and rumors of the young vigilante's skills have been circling about for some time now. And I assume that under your guidance he has only grown in his abilities."

"Who said that I'm under his guidance? I freaking hate this guy-"

"And I would never train someone so intolerable-"

"Oh, drop the act. I've got eyes in a lot more places than you might think."

Stain and Izuku's eyes met quickly, before turning back to Shigaraki's. "Alright, just tell us what you want."

"I want you two to join the League. Our members have been growing, but for what we wish to accomplish, we need the best. Hero killer, your reputation speaks for itself. And Serpentine…well, let's just say that I have a good feeling about you."

Goosebumps trailed up Izuku's body as he stared at the crazed eyes of the man in front of him. He had never thought that he would ever be sought out by villains. He really wasn't all that great, in fact, he was still trying to wrap his mind around Stain taking an interest in him.

"Right…well I'm sorry, but I'm afraid that I'm gonna have to pass on that one. Hope you find someone though-"

Izuku's words were cut off by the sharp glare Shigaraki shot at him. "I would think long and hard about your decision boy. Believe me, you do not want to make us your enemy."

"You already are. See, I don't take too kindly to people who infiltrate and attack the school where my favorite hero teaches. I'd like an apology for that actually, I'll deliver it to him myself."

"Why you little-" Shigaraki stood from his seat and began to make his way towards Izuku who was now on his feet and prepared to stand his ground.

"Serpentine-"

"Tomura, it is impolite to kill those we're trying to make our allies." Kurogiri's voice called out from behind the bar. The guy looked so done with the entire situation, Izuku actually kind of felt bad for him.

Shigaraki's face was inches from Izuku's, so close that he could feel the irritated breath leaving his mouth. "Fine." He took a small step back. "Serpentine, if you were to join the League you would no longer have to hold back. I can see it you know, all of that pain in your eyes. You must've really been through it to be where you are now. Don't you want revenge on all those who wronged you? Everyone who hurt you? I can give that to you. Join me and I can lift you up higher than you ever thought possible and together we will-"

"I thought I made myself perfectly clear when I said no the first time." Izuku seethed at Shigaraki who was glaring back at the boy. "There is nothing that you could do or say to make me want to join your little merry band of men, sor-"

It all happened in an instant. Izuku hadn't even seen the guy move, and then his hand was around his throat.

Pain erupted from where his fingers wrapped themselves and Izuku couldn't help but let out an agonizing scream before he couldn't anymore, and then his body crumbled to the ground. He twitched in pain as he felt every cell of his neck and throat being ripped apart and the pool of warm blood that oozed from him.

He could vaguely hear Stain's enraged voice and Kurogiri's scolding one before everything was whisked away to black.

 

Stain couldn't believe his eyes. The kid he-

He had just been killed right in front of him. And he wasn't able to do a thing about it.

If it wasn't for that fight he had earlier and his stupid emotions getting in his way…The only reason why he was beaten was because he unconsciously held back against the kid and was overwhelmed. Damn him for making him care about him so much.

If it wasn't for that fight, then he would've been able to take out both Shigaraki and Kurogiri and the kid might not be laying in a pool of his own blood with a half-disintegrated neck and lifeless eyes staring up at him.

He slowly rose his gaze to a wide-eyed Shigaraki who looked to be somewhat remorseful. He looked down at his shaking bloody hand and then back at Serpentine's small body. "That was an accident…"

"Tomura, we've talked about this-" Kurogiri sighed, still behind the bar, "You cannot allow your emotions to control you so much, it makes you reckless and impulsive. Both traits that are unbecoming of a leader."

"It wasn't my fault! He was pissing me off with all his self-righteous talk and-"

"That was a mistake…" Stain's voice came out shaky as he looked back at the boy and then to Shigaraki, "One that you will pay for with your life." Without any more hesitation he lunged forward and brough out one of his many hidden blades that those children failed to find.

It was as if all of his strength had been returned to him. He couldn't feel any of the pain or exhaustion he had before…perhaps his adrenaline was coming back for round two. Whatever the cause, he wasn't about to waste it. And he refused to lose a second time tonight.

He slashed out to which the man dodged messily, and Stain quickly turned his body in order to land a kick to the guy's side that sent him across the bar.

Shigaraki coughed as he wearily got to his feet. The man already struck Stain as someone who was weak and unstable, so this would be like child's play even in his weakened and injured state. He came at the villain once again and had a very clear shot until he rushed through a portal that suddenly opened right in front of him and spit him out on the other side of the bar.

"Kurogiri-" Stain seethed.

"I'm afraid I cannot allow you to kill young Tomura. Master would not be very pleased with the death of his successor."

"I don't give a sh*t about your da*n master."

He went to launch himself at Shigaraki once more when a loud gasp drew everyone's attention to the boy who was supposed to be dead on the floor.

Serpentine shot up and grabbed at his now intact throat and took in what was happening. His eyes fell on a wide-eyed Shigaraki, and his face turned sour. "Dude," He chastised, "That was freaking rude."

"I-" The villain tried to speak but was unable to form a proper sentence.

Honestly, Stain wasn't in much better shape. He knew that he had seen the kid die that night with Conductor, but he opted to simply not question how we was walking around just fine. He couldn't exactly ignore it now.

"Kid-"

Serpentine's eyes zipped around the bar until they landed back on Stain's wide eyes. "You know what? I think I left my oven on, better go check and make sure-" He jumped up and tried to shoot towards what he probably assumed was the exit until Kurogiri floated in front of him to block his path.

"I'm afraid we cannot allow you to do that."

"Look, I'm really just trying to get out of your guys' hair. If you would just step-or float-aside, whatever it is you do, then I'll be on my way."

Shigaraki let out a small laugh as he slowly came back to himself. "Well, well…that is interesting. Tell me Serpentine, what is your quirk exactly?"

"I'm still figuring out myself, why don't you come back in a few years, and I might have an answer for you."

"You know my master…he really loves quirks. You could call him a bit of a collector."

"What is that even supposed to mean??"

"I think that he'd enjoy a talk with you, don't you think Kurogiri?"

"I would have to agree."

Stain stepped in front of Shigaraki, blocking Serpentine from the villain's field of vision. "I think that it would be in your best interest to let us go. Wouldn’t want things to get…messy." The two men stared each other down, neither of them one to accept defeat easily.

Izuku saw Stain's hand twitch towards where he probably had a knife hidden as Shigaraki's own hands twitched with the desire to destroy the obstacle in front of him.

He knew that if he let this go on any longer, then there would be a full-on blood bath, so he quickly made his way between the two and lightly shoved Stain back a few steps. "Now ladies, there's no need to fight over me-"

"You little brat-"

Izuku shoved Stain back another step and reached into one of the many pockets of his pants to pull out the knife he had hinted at earlier and thrust it into the man's hands. "Now!" He quickly unsheathed his twin blades and took a swipe at Shigaraki's outstretched hand, merely nicking two of his fingers, but it was enough to get the guy to back off for a second.

He hissed in pain as he cradled his hand into his chest and Izuku turned to run away, seeing Stain trying to take down Kurogiri.

"His quirk is some type of portal thing made from the mist of his body, but that can't be all that he is. He has to have something tangible that we can exploit!"

Listening to Izuku's advice, Stain quickly found some sort of metal shield around the man's neck and took swift advantage of it. He grabbed the metal shield and used it to throw Kurogiri to the other end of the bar before he kicked down the closed door and beckoned Izuku to follow. "Let's go!"

The two of then tore down the long hallway and didn't let up on their sprinting for even a moment. It was a second before Stain felt comfortable enough to divide his attention slightly and turned to the kid who was easily keeping pace with him even though he was running with all that he could muster at the moment.

"WHAT THE **** WAS THAT!?"

The kid jumped slightly at Stain's sudden yelling and turned to the guy with large eyes. "You're going to have to be more specific-"

"YOU DIED!"

"Oh, that's what you're talking about?" His body immediately relaxed as if this was something that was perfectly normal, "Yeah, that happens sometimes."

"THAT-You're telling me that you've died and came back multiple times!?"

Serpentine merely shrugged, "It's kinda my thing."

"Is that what happened with Conductor? You died but came back because of your quirk or something?"

"Hehe…yeah...sorry about that by the way. I didn't know that you were there and I'm sure that it wasn't something that you really wanted to see-"

"Are you seriously apologizing for dying right now?"

Even from beneath his mask, Stain could see the blush that grew on the kid's cheeks. "Sorry-"

"You've gotta be kidding me…"

"Look!" Izuku interrupted whatever rant Stain was about to go on as he saw a door that looked a lot like an exit to him. Especially considering it had a big red EXIT sign hanging above it.

The two of them barreled out of the door and kept on running. As long as Kurogiri was around they wouldn't ever be able to let up. Izuku didn't know the specifics of his quirk, but it was clear that it was incredibly useful and possibly dangerous if the stories from the USJ were any indication.

They ran and ran until they began to recognize the area around them. They were in the Kamino Ward district. City lights shined in front of them and before they knew it, they could see the still bustling city despite the hour of night it probably was.

Izuku slowed down to catch his breath and Stain followed suit, making sure to take in all of their surroundings in the case there was anymore danger. The boy reached into his pocket and smiled under his mask when he found that his phone was still there.

He took it out and dialed the first of the only three numbers he had on speed dial.

It wasn't even one ring before the other line picked up and a very frantic voice answered out. "Hello? Izuku!? Please tell me that's you and that you're not captured by the League of Villains-shUT Up Shinso! I'm talking to him right now-"

"Calm down Eraser, it's me and I'm not captured by the League of Villains. I just escaped actually…."

"WHAT??? WHEREAREYOUTELLMERIGHTNOWANDI'LLBETHEREINNO-SHINSO CALM DOWN HE'S FINE AND-DON'T YOU DARE GO OUT THAT DOOR-IZUKU I SWEAR TO YOU THAT WE'LL TAKE DOWN THOSE LEAGUE MOTHER-"

"Eraser chill out! Everything's good now. I'm in Kamino and should be home in about two hours if the train isn't too far out."

The line was quiet for a second. "No, no-you need medical attention. I heard all about your little adventures in Hosu."

"No Eraser. You know why I can't go to a hospital. It's not needed anyway; I don’t have any more injuries to treat-"

"What do you mean you don't have any-OH MY GOD YOU DIED AGAIN DIDN'T YOU!?"

"It wasn't my fault this time!"

"I CAN'T LEAVE YOU ALONE FOR TWO FREAKING SECONDS WITHOUT-SHINSO I SWEAR TO GOD IF YOU STEP OUTSIDE OF THAT DOOR I WILL GROUND YOU UNTIL YOU DIE I DON'T CARE THAT I'M NOT YOUR FATHER-"

"Oh my- fine! If I go to a hospital, will you stop freaking out?"

Another quiet pause, "Maybe."

"Alright, but I can't let my identity get out."

"Of course. Meet me at one in Hosu, it's known for treating heroes and keeping their mouths shut. It's also where the other two boys that went against Stain are."

"Shoto's there?"

"Shoto-?" Eraser's voice faded from confusion, "HAVE YOU BEEN CANOODLING WITH MY STUDENTS!?"

"What?! I haven't been canoodling with anyone! Shoto and I are just friends."

"I-you know what? We'll talk when we get to the hospital. Get on the first train to Hosu and text me every thirty minutes so that I know that you haven't been kidnapped again, got it?"

Izuku let out a huffy laugh and smiled to himself, "Got it."

 

The two of them ended the call and Izuku turned to look at Stain, who was still watching everything around them like a hawk. "So, what are you gonna do now? You're technically free I guess."

"Hmm," The hero killer hummed to himself as he took one last look around and then looked down at Izuku. His pointed expression softened, "I think I'll lay low for a while. The League is clearly trying to plan something, so I think that I'll try to do what I can to stop them from the shadows, but I don't think it's a very good idea for me to resurface just yet."

"Good. We could all use a break from you and your-" His comment was cut off by a rough hand ruffling his hair. "Hey-"

"I'll miss you too. I expect that the next time we meet, you'll be well on your way to being the hero that I know you can be. Don't let me down."

And with that he was gone.

Chapter Text

The train ride back to Hosu wasn't too bad. Just long, and kind of awkward with all of the blood and damage his clothes had taken.

Izuku decided that it would be best to leave his vigilante mask and such on so that he would get less questions about why he looked like he got hit by a bus. Didn't stop all of the weary looks though.

He busied himself with fiddling with his phone and trying to not scratch at the still sensitive skin on his neck as he rode. The news was blowing up from the night. Stories about the nomu attacks, Stain, his kidnapping…it was just all-around chaos. Of course, no one knew what had actually happened. It was all just speculation and a few eyewitness accounts of what they saw. He wondered what exactly they were all going to say.

Would they say that the league was behind everything? Would they tell everyone about Shoto and Iida's involvement with the hero killer? If they did, then the two boys would face charges of vigilantism and their hero careers would probably be destroyed.

Izuku mentally kicked himself for that one. It was his fault that Shoto showed up in that alley and fought Stain. If he lost his chance at being a hero because Izuku was too weak…he wouldn't be able to forgive himself.

The other kid-Iida-was still a mystery to him. It took Izuku a second to recognize him, but once he saw his face, he immediately knew that he had to be related to the pro hero Ingenium. It also tracked with their conversation of why he went after Stain in the first place.

Izuku had heard all about how Ingenium had gotten away from the hero killer with only a few injuries and had asked Stain himself about it. He said that he actually didn't have anything against the hero, but that he was getting frustrated with the league breathing down his back and needed a release. Izuku had scolded him for that but was thankful that Ingenium was still alive and kicking. He was one of Izuku's favorites after all.

Eventually he arrived in Hosu and made his way to the hospital that Eraser had mentioned. Izuku was met somewhere outside of the hospital by some doctor and was escorted inside after double checking that no one had followed him.

Immediately he was led to a room to get checked out and when the door opened, he was met with two unfortunately familiar faces.

Shoto looked at him sympathetically and gave him a nervous wave, while the Iida kid refused to meet his eyes as he gave a very stiff greeting.

The doctor sat Izuku on the bed next to Shoto and encouraged him to change out of his vigilante gear and into a hospital gown after reassuring him that as few people as possible would know that he was here and his supposed identity.

It was a good thing that this place didn't ask too many questions because if they tried to look up any sort of records for Izuku Minori, they would come up with squat.

Izuku complied with the doctor's request and went to the bathroom to change. He wasn't very comfortable showing his body to other people. There was just a lot of scars and he had never been particularly confident in his physique with Katsuki's constant berating of every aspect of him.

As he changed, he snuck a peak in the mirror. All of the usual scars were there, including the one on his shoulder that must've been from when Stain impaled him and the three small ones on his opposite shoulder from the nomu's talons. He used the washcloth that the doctor had also given him and rubbed away at all of the dirt and blood that coated his skin. It took a second, but he eventually felt clean enough to deal with everything and pulled on the hospital gown he was given.

He took another look of himself in the mirror. His skin was red from where he had scrubbed it clean and was pale probably from the amount of blood he lost, even though he was healed now. Another new thing he noticed was the scar on his neck.

Shigaraki's quirk had done a number on his skin. The scar covered the entire front half of his neck and stretched from right under his chin to his collarbones. It was gangly and ragged, almost like the edge of lightning, and still sensitive which was a new one. Izuku was so used to just being completely healed when he came back, but with the destructive nature of the quirk, his body must still be trying to heal all that was disintegrated.

Honestly, he didn't feel any particular type of way about his scars. They were just kind of a fact of his life now, but he did worry about the reactions of others when they saw them. It was very obvious that each one had been lethal to some extent and the amounts of questions and worried looks he'd get if he went around flaunting them were less than desirable.

He wasn't looking forward to all of the looks he'd get because of his neck now, but he didn't want to let that bother him. It was one of the few scars that wasn't his fault.

Once he finished, he walked back into the room and sat down on the hospital bed. The doctor was there to do a quick exam, just to make sure that Izuku was really okay and told him that Eraser would be there soon. Izuku groaned when he mentioned the pro, not because he didn't want to see him, but because he could only imagine how ridiculous he was going to be when he got there and saw Izuku's new scars.

Izuku wasn't excited to tell him about all that had happened, but he knew that it was inevitable. Especially the Stain talk that would need to be had…

Yeah…that one was going to result in some sort of extended grounding, he just knew it.

The doctor finished his exam and left the room, leaving Izuku, Shoto, and Iida there by themselves.

"I would like to apologize." The words came as soon as the hospital door shut and Izuku turned to look at the boy who had spoken.

Iida stared down at the blanket covering his legs that his fists were clutching.

"I let my resentment for what almost happened to my brother to cloud my vision and in doing so, I put both of your lives in danger. I am truly sorry for all of the trouble I have caused you both." He lowered his head until his forehead touched his sheets and Izuku and Shoto quickly glanced at each other before turning their attention back to Iida.

"Yeah, kind of a f'd up move dude."

"Izuku!" Shoto's head whipped to look at him incredulously, which was probably the most emotion he had ever seen the boy express. "I mean you're not wrong, but is it really appropriate to be so blunt about it?"

"No, no, he's right. You two should be furious with me and I deserve every word you give me."

Izuku sighed and adjusted his position in his bed. "Look, you messed up, but who doesn't? I mean not everybody leans towards attempted murder when they screw up, but it could happen. The point is that you know what you did was wrong and that you're going to work to be better."

"Yes! Yes, I promise to you that I will strive to be a better person and hero, just like my brother!"

Shoto stared at Iida for a moment before he let out a soft laugh, "I can't believe you went to attempted murder before I did."

"Todoroki! That is no way for a hero student to speak!"

"Ahem, you have no room to talk. And you're right Shoto, if you didn't kill that dick of a father you have, I was going to…or have Stain do it."

This time Shoto actually let out a full laugh, he even snorted, which caused Izuku to break down into giggles as well. "Speaking of which…is now a good time to-?

"Right. I guess that you two need some sort of explanation. Well, as I'm sure you've already figured out, I'm a vigilante. I have been for a second now and for the past week-week and a half-I've been working with Stain involuntarily. Basically, he trained me to be the kind of hero that he deemed worthy, that's why we knew each other. That's also why I showed up in that alley Iida. I was looking for him in hopes that he wasn't on his usual bs, but then I showed up and you know that rest."

"Wow…"

"I wasn't aware that I was befriending a celebrity." Shoto's voice was monotoned as usual as he deadpanned at Izuku who groaned and put his head in his hands.

"Don't start-"

"Yes, you are quite popular as Serpentine."

"Ugh-I don't even want to talk about it."

Just then the door to the hospital room slammed open and all three boy's heads whipped to the dark figure that had already activated his red eyes as he walked into the room.

"Hey Eraser…"

Before Izuku could finish his greeting a flash of purple flew through the door, past a still glaring Eraser, and barreled into Izuku on his bed. "Izuku!"

"Hitoshi-" He choked out as he tried to regain the breath that his friend had knocked out of him. "I know that I can't die and everything, but I still need to breath."

The boy quickly loosened his grip around Izuku's chest and sat up with a glare. "I can't believe that you went and fought the hero killer without me! We're supposed to be a team!"

"Vigilantes don't really work in teams, and it wasn't like I was planning on going against Stain like that, it just kind of happened."

Regardless of his words, Hitoshi still pouted at Izuku and wiggled his way beside him, forcing Izuku to scoot over to make room for the two to sit together in the small hospital bed.

"What were you even doing in Hosu to begin with?" Eraser came to stand beside Izuku's bed, his glare still very much active.

"About that…it's a funny story actually-"

"Izuku."

"Alright! Alright…" He conceded and let out a worried breath. This was how he died; he just knew it. "So, it all started at the beginning of this week when the hero killer approached me and-"

"He WHAT?"

"Let me finish! I can't tell the story if you're just going to interrupt."

The pro hero gave Izuku a pout that almost matched Hitoshi's to a T. Maybe he had made a mistake of putting those two together, they were way too similar.

"Right, so he approached me and said all this stuff about my convictions and yadda, yadda, and basically voluntold me that he was going to train me to be a worthy hero. Was it a stupid decision? Yeah, it was. But was I about to go against anything that the hero killer, literally known for killing pro heroes, was telling me to do? Absolutely not."

Eraser groaned and rubbed his temples with his fingers as if trying to sooth an oncoming headache, "Of course you would attract the literal hero killer. You're more danger prone than anyone I know."

"I know! It's really starting to get on my nerves. Anyway, so then tonight we went to Hosu because I 'needed a change of scenery' which I knew from the get-go was complete bs but went along with it because I knew that he would be wanting to target another hero there to continue with his pattern of three per city and I was going to try to distract him or stop him if the situation called for it. And then the nomus showed up and everything kind of descended into chaos and then Stain and I split up and once I was finished helping the pros take down a nomu I went to find him and ended up finding an almost murder scene instead and I couldn't just stand by and watch him kill two innocent people so I decided to fight him and that's when I texted Shoto because I knew that he was close and I know that I shouldn't have but I also knew that I wouldn't be able to win the fight on my own so I did it anyway. And we ended up beating Stain by some miracle and met up with some other pros and that's when I got abducted by the flying nomu and Stain somehow regained consciousness and got out of his restraints and saved me but then we got abducted by the league and Shigaraki ended up killing me at one point, but we escaped and now I'm here."

The room was dead silent when Izuku finished telling the short version of all that had happened that night. No one knew what to say. What could they even say to all of that?

"I-" Eraser tried to start but was at a loss for words.

"Yeah…let's just say that I've had an eventful couple of days."

"I'll say." Hitoshi grumbled beside him before Izuku felt a hard punch on his shoulder.

"Ouch! Hey-"

"That's for hanging out with the hero killer without telling me-" He hit Izuku's shoulder again resulting in another yelp from the boy, "That's for fighting him and getting kidnapped," And then came the third hit that was the hardest of them all, "And that's for dying. You know how much I hate it when you do that!"

"It wasn't like it was intentional!"

"This time!"

"I-okay that's fair-"

"Boys!" Both of their heads snapped to a very done looking Eraserhead who was glaring at both of them.

The two of them quickly shrunk under the pro's stare and grumbled out, "Sorry Eraser."

"Sorry Eraser."

"Honestly, I can't stand you two sometimes-" He said more under his breath, but Izuku could hear it perfectly clear and made an exaggerated offended face. "Anyway, so you said that you're not injured Izuku?"

Izuku shook his head, "Any injuries I have heal when I come back. Although it seems like the skin on my neck is taking a bit longer to heal completely, I've never had this much trouble with any of my scars before. I think it has to do with that Shigaraki guy's quirk."

Eraser sighed and rubbed his hand on his elbow. "Yeah, I had the same problem after the USJ when he used his quirk on my elbow."

Izuku absentmindedly brought his hand up to rub at his neck when Hitoshi slapped his hand away, "Absolutely not."

"Oh, come on Hitoshi-"

"No. If you scratch at it, you're just going to irritate the skin even more."

"But it's so uncomfortableeeee," Izuku whined as he laid his head on the other boy's shoulder.

"I don't care. If you keep trying to touch it then I'll get you one of those head cones and make you wear it while on patrol."

Izuku's head shot up and he glared at his friend. "You wouldn't."

"Wanna bet?"

"Boys!"

"…sorry Eraser."

"Sorry Eraser."

The hero let out another exasperated sigh, "Look. The police are going to be here soon to take your statements. That includes Tsuki and the chief of police Izuku, so I expect you to be on your best behavior." He sent a glare at the boy who feigned innocence under his stare. "We'll get you your mask so that you can keep your identity under wraps, but I need you to be honest with them. Tsuki will know and he will tell me if you're lying about anything."

"Snitch," Izuku grumbled under his breath.

"Hitoshi, let's go. Here's you mask," Eraser tossed the small black cloth at Izuku as Hitoshi moved to get up which caused Izuku to whine.

"Noooo, you're taking all the warmth with you!"

"You can deal with it. Think of it as punishment for being you."

"Hey!"

Both Eraser and Hitoshi laughed as they left the hospital room, and it wasn't long after that another set of knocks sounded on their door.

Izuku pulled on his mask and nodded at Shoto who yelled that them to come in.

In walked Tsukauchi, who looked very tired but that might've just been his default at this point, the pro hero Manual, who was probably who Iida had been interning under, and a man with a dog head, who Izuku assumed to be the chief of police. How he had never actually met the guy, he didn't know.

"Serpentine…" Tsuki grumbled as the pro hero greeted Iida and the chief took each of them in.

"Hiya Tsuki! Long time no see, huh?"

"Why am I not surprised that you're involved with this?"

Before Izuku could retort, the chief cleared his throat, and all attention was drawn to him. "Hello children. And Serpentine. I know that you've all had an eventful night, but we'd very much appreciate if we could take all of your statements and then we have something we need to discuss with you three."

One at a time, the three boys gave their statements with Tsuki listening closely to each one. As per Eraser's request, Izuku told the truth about what had happened and when he mentioned that Stain had taken a liking to him, Tsuki groaned and muttered a quiet "Of course. Of course, the hero killer would seek you out-" that caused Izuku to laugh.

Once they were all finished the detective closed his little notepad and turned off the recorder.

"Now. I'm sure that you all are aware of just how much trouble you could be in according to the vigilante laws."

Shoto and Iida nodded solemnly as Izuku scoffed which earned a pointed glare from Tsuki.

"According to said laws, the two of you would be facing criminal charges and would most likely ruin your chances at ever becoming pro heroes-"

"Are you saying that we should've just done nothing?" Shoto's voice rang out from his bed, his tone reminding Izuku of whenever the boy would talk about his father, but maybe not with as much hatred. "If Iida hadn't stepped in, Native would be dead, and if I hadn't come, then Serpentine would be dead, and without him, we'd all be dead."

"Yes, I am aware-"

"Heroes are supposed to help people, and you're saying that we should've just stood by and done nothing while the hero killer killed an innocent hero?"

"Todoroki-" Iida tried but was cut off by Shoto standing up and angrily walking towards the chief.

"What kind of hero would I be if I didn’t do everything in my power to help those around me?!"

"I understand, but the law-"

"Screw the law! You all are so caught up in your stupid rules that you lose sight of those who are truly in need of help. But I guess you wouldn't care about that huh? You damn mutt-"

Izuku's head shot up, "Shoto!" He turned to Iida who was just as wide-eyed as he was, "Can he say that? I don't think he can-that felt like it was a slur-Shoto! You can't just say that to-"

"Calm down son, we're not saying any of that."

"Hear him out young Todoroki." Tsuki's calming voice and warm hand on the boy's shoulder helped him to take a few breaths and finish listening to the chief. "I think that you'll be interested in the second part of his speech."

"Yes, you three saved people and successfully took down one of Japan's biggest threats, however, it was still illegal. At least, that's the police's official statement. Off the record, I would like to personally thank you all for the service that you provided last night. Especially you Serpentine. I know that Stain got away, but he failed in killing not only another pro hero, but three young potential heroes as well."

Izuku's eyebrows furrowed at the last part of his sentence. Three? He must've heard wrong or something.

"Now, we could tell the truth about what you three did and you would be heroes in the eyes of the public. But if we did that then you would also have to face the consequences. If we kept this all under wraps however and took your names out of the official story, then you could keep your reputations intact and your records clean. You wouldn't receive any of the glory of course, but you could continue in your journeys to being the best pros you can be and work your way to reaping those rewards legally with proper hero licenses. It's up to you boys."

None of them knew what to say. Izuku and Iida glanced at each other in between gaping at the chief and a smug looking Tsuki.

"You could've led with that…" Shoto grumbled under his breath and took a breath, "I'm sorry chief. I should've heard you out before jumping to conclusions and letting my anger get the best of me."

"Don't sweat it son. What you said is right, but unfortunately, I can't change laws that have been in place for decades so easily. But with a little hard work and some determined minds, I'm positive that we can all create a better society for everyone. Regardless of your decision, the police department thanks you for your service." The chief bowed his head with Tsuki and the pro following suit.

"I think I speak for all of us when I say that we'd be very grateful to keep our names out of the papers. We've still got a long way to go before we're proper pros after all." Iida spoke up after a second with Shoto and Izuku nodding their agreeance with his words.

"Well, I'm glad that you boys seem to have good heads on your shoulders. I look forward to watching each of you grow and work your way to the top. Now, as for the official story…"

The chief explained the story that the department had already created in the case that all three boys agreed with keeping quiet about the whole thing.

The story goes along the lines of Stain trying to kill Native but was temporarily held off by Serpentine until Endeavor showed up and took down the villain who was later kidnapped by the league. Unfortunately, there were already videos of Izuku being carried off by that flying nomu and both him and Stain falling through Kurogiri's portal, so they couldn't leave his name out of the story, but he was a vigilante, so it really didn't matter too much.

The important thing was that Iida and Shoto got off scot-free. Well…almost. All three of the boys were chastised by their mentors, Endeavor yelled at Shoto over the phone, Iida's mentor scolded him after Tsuki and the chief left, and when he left Eraser chewed them all out.

Once it was determined that Izuku really was fine and that the other two boys were healing nicely, Eraser went ahead and checked Izuku Minori out of the hospital and took him and Hitoshi, who claimed that he would never let Izuku leave his sight again, home. But before he left the hospital, another conversation unfortunately had to be held.

The chief and Tsuki had left, and Eraser hadn't come back with Hitoshi yet, so it was just the three boys sitting in extremely awkward silence that was killing Izuku.

"So…" He tried to break the blanket that was slowly suffocating them all, but Shoto had beat him to the punch.

"So you can't die?"

"Hehe, yeah…well technically I can't stay dead."

Shoto glanced over to Izuku, his eyes trailing to the boy's neck, "So that scar…you died from it?"

"That was an accident. Shigaraki got irritated and I just so happened to be in choking distance."

"Is it really appropriate for you to joke about such things?" Iida chimed in, his expression a mix of disgruntled and horrified at Izuku's attitude towards dying.

Izuku let out an amused scoff, "Shut up Iida." The boy complied, his arms crossing over his chest as he huffed out a breath and Izuku glanced over at a smiling Shoto. "Don't think I forgot about you Shoto. I can't believe you called the chief of police a mutt."

Shoto groaned into his hands as Izuku laughed and even Iida let out a small snicker. "Shut up."

"You too Iida, attempted murder? Suddenly, me being an illegal vigilante doesn't seem so bad."

"Alright listen-"

Chapter Text

The nights were starting to warm up again as the summer holiday was beginning to near. Eraser had mentioned something about some summer camp that he would be attending with his class, but he wasn't really listening.

The part he did catch, was that it was supposed to be a secret from Hitoshi for the time being, so Izuku felt that it didn't really matter too much that he didn't know what the heck he wasn't supposed to tell and therefore could not spill the beans.

It was a foolproof plan.

He was patrolling as per usual. It was a quiet night in terms of crime and Izuku decided to take to the ground rather than the roofs since the activity was so minuscule. Of course, as soon as he started patrolling on the grounds, he walked into an already occupied alleyway that two people seemed to be having a conversation in.

One was a shorter girl with buns and the other was a taller boy with spikey hair. He couldn't really see them clearly from so far away, but he had a feeling that getting a closer look wouldn't be in his best interest, so he turned to leave as quietly as he could, but as he did, he heard the voices from the alley call out to him.

"Hey, you there! You're Serpentine right?" The girl's voice asked. She sounded a bit on the young side, probably not much older than Izuku, but she sounded way too excited for his taste.

Izuku groaned at the two of them recognizing him. He was getting really tired of people knowing who he was. "Unfortunately."

The girl began to skip up the dark alley towards him with the tall boy following behind slowly. He seemed to be smoking and held himself in a way that screamed pretending not to care. Izuku had to refrain from rolling his eyes, because he knew that doing so would most likely result in some sort of fight and he really wasn't in the mood for that at the moment. "Hey look Dabi! He's a lot cuter up close," The girl he could see a lot better now due to her close proximity leaned in close to him as she circled his body.

She was dressed in some sort of school uniform but had various knifes strapped around her body which took away from the innocent school-girl look. Her slitted yellow eyes and fangs also distracted from the persona she tried to express.

"You can only see half of his face."

"Oh shush!" The girl giggled as the guy rolled his eyes and brought his cigarette up to his lips again.

Now that Izuku could properly see him, he looked a lot more intimidating up close. His skin was covered in burn scars that were held to his untouched skin by staples that irritated the skin around them. His dark hair hung over his striking blue eyes and sinister smirk that still held the cigarette. "What a coincidence that we'd run into you Serpentine."

Something about the guy was incredibly familiar, but Izuku was having a hard time putting his finger on it. He stared him down in hopes that if he concentrated enough, he could figure it out, but apparently the guy-Dabi-didn't like that and sent an icy glare at Izuku. One that he knew he had seen somewhere before.

"Todoroki…"

He hadn't meant for the word to leave his mouth, but sometimes he still struggled with not muttering what was on his mind.

Of course, he chastised himself as the walking skin-graph grabbed him by his collar and slammed him against the alley wall. He mentally cursed himself for letting up on his training to keep his mouth quiet. "What did you just call me?!"

"I didn't call you anything-"

"Think you're a funny guy huh? How did you find out? Did my father put you up to this?" Dabi continued to scream in Izuku's face as the hoodie he was holding in his hands began to singe due to his quirk accidentally activating.

As much fun as Izuku was having being pinned to the wall and getting yelled at, he was quickly losing his temper and thought that it would be in everybody's best interest if he tried to defuse the situation before things got out of hand.

He grabbed onto both of the guy's hands, using his body and the wall behind him to push off of in order to twist himself to where he ended up behind the guy and pushed him against the wall with both of his hands behind his back. "Look buddy, you can try and burn me all you want, but that lost its effectiveness after the first hundred times, so you might want to try for another party trick."

Dabi growled with his face still pushed against the wall and started to threaten the vigilante but was cut off by suddenly being let go. He turned to see Toga sitting on top of Serpentine's back as she pinned him to the ground and leaned over to talk closely in his ear.

"Uh, uh, uh~" She teased on top of him, "As cute as you are, I can't let you go around and hurt my colleague like that. Our boss wouldn't be too happy about that, would he Dabi?"

"I didn't need your damn help, you blood freak."

"Shh Dabi," She leaned even farther forward and traced the vigilante's face with the tip of the knife that was in her hand, "You're starting to get annoying."

"Who even are you guys?" Serpentine grunted under Toga's weight. It wasn't that she was particularly heavy, it was just the way she was pressing down on him while dangling a knife in front of his face.

"My name is Toga, and this is Dabi! We're part of the League of Villains!"

The vigilante groaned and lightly hit his head on the concrete beneath him. "Of course-"

"We've heard a lot about you Serpentine. Why don't we have a little chat?" Dabi walked forward and squatted down so he could smirk at the frowning boy's smushed face.

"Whatever, just get this girl off of me."

"Toga."

"Aww, you're no fun Dabi," She pouted as she sat up and jumped off of the vigilante.

Izuku stood up and rubbed the side of his face where he felt a few drops of blood trickle down from Toga's knife. "Alright, what do you guys want?"

Dabi placed his hand over his chest and let out a scoff, "So harsh…you came into our alleyway buddy, it's not like we sought you out or anything."

"When you see two suspicious figures in a dark alley, you go and check it out."           

"Suspicious? Are we suspicious?" Toga turned to look questioningly at Dabi, who merely shrugged in response. "Your words are so hurtful," She whined, "Not nice or cute at all-"

The girl walked closer to Izuku with a small pout before her expression quickly changed and was suddenly holding a knife to his throat while she pinned him against the alley wall.

"Unless you're into that." Her eyes turned seductive, and she licked her fangs as Izuku felt himself quickly becoming very uncomfortable.

"Alright," Dabi's voice broke through the bubble of awkward that surrounded the two of them, "That's enough from you." He grabbed the scruff of the back of her shirt and lifted her away from Izuku who breathed out a breath of relief.

He set her down a few feet from Izuku as she pouted and crossed her arms. "You're no fun Dabi."

"Yeah, yeah," He turned back to Izuku and gave him a slight look of pity. "Sorry about her, she can be…a lot."

"Uh huh-" Izuku glanced at the girl who, when she saw him looking at her, gave him a smile and cute little wave while still holding her knife. "So, you guys are the new recruits Shigaraki was talking about?"

"I guess. Heard about your encounter with the boss, nice job pissing him off and escaping."

"Thanks, it's kind of my thing."

Dabi let out a low chuckle, "You know what? I think I'm starting to like you."

"I like you too!"

"Shut up Toga."

"You're so mean Dabi-"

The boy cut her off with a scoff and pulled his phone out of his pocket. He looked at any notifications that he might've got and groaned. "Ugh, the boss wants us back." He turned to the still pouting girl whose face cleared at the mention of Shigaraki. "We should go."

"Okie dokie!" Immediately her smile returned, and she skipped to Dabi's side. "Sorry to leave so soon, I was really looking forward to talking some more."

"Don't listen to her," Dabi pushed away Toga's leaning in face, "I expect we'll be seeing you around?"

"Let's hope not."

"Alright then, Serpentine. It's been fun," The two of them began to leave the alley and Izuku waved as they waved back and disappeared.

Wow…he really wished that villains hated him more. For whatever reason they all seemed to like him, and it was really starting to piss him off. Ugh, he'd have to go home and tell Eraser about meeting two new League members which he already knew was going to be such a fun conversation…

Maybe if he died, he wouldn't come back and then he wouldn't have to deal with weird over-interested villains or protective heroes. He thought about it for a minute, before sighing and deciding that it was too good of a dream to have. He knew all too well that life just didn't favor him enough to let too much of a good thing happen to him and he would come back and then be scolded for killing himself again and he just really didn't want to deal with all of that.

Back home it was then.

 

Izuku was walking along the sidewalk. Usually he would've taken the roofs, but it was a quiet night and Izuku was already on the ground, so he might as well use it.

He got a few stares as he made his way home. People weren't used to seeing Serpentine so out in the open and so it was only to be expected. Didn't make it any less annoying though.

It had been about fifteen minutes, he thought, when he heard some commotion and broke into a sprint to wherever the trouble was. The disturbance sounded like it was only the next street or two over, so he shouldn't be too far away and-

Suddenly Izuku was knocked off of his feet due to the huge mass of a body slamming into him and sending him flying down the street. He rolled on the road a few times before he groaned as he pushed himself to his feet.

The thing that hit him must've been the abnormally large villain standing across from him. He was tall and bulky with a think neck and a large horn protruding from his nose that looked kind of like a rhinoceros horn.

As he glared Izuku down, he growled and began to charge him again.

"Oh crap-" Izuku shot up and quickly dodged to the side as the rhino villain zoomed just past him. "What did I ever do to you man?"

Rhino didn't answer him, instead he just charged Izuku again. He dodged again and circled around in order to land a hit from his pipes on the villain's back, but when he brought them down they didn't even make a dent in the guy. Just bounced off of his back like it was rock solid.

The villain slowly turned to Izuku with pure rage in his eyes.

"You know what? I'm sorry-" Izuku was quickly grabbed by one of his arms and flung down the street again. "Alright," He groaned, "I might've deserved that."

The villain went to charge the vigilante again when a blur of white zipped in front of him before circling back around and landing hit after hit on the guy before he could even react.

The blur was moving too fast for Izuku to get a proper look at it, but he knew enough about pretty much ever pro hero to know exactly who had come to his aid. "Ingenium?"

"You must be Serpentine. Eraser has told me a lot about you." The hero called out as he continued to beat down the villain. "Don't tell him I told you though, he'd kill me-"

"Are you so cocky to think that you can divide your attention like that Tensei?" Another voice called out from the other side of the street and Izuku turned to see a guy leaning against a building with a smirk.

"Welcome to the party. You're late, you know."

"Yeah, yeah, tell me about it later." The guy rolled his eyes before he took off himself and joined in the impossibly fast fight. It wasn't long after that that the two took down the villain and Izuku made sure to secure him and quickly call Tsuki to tell him about the villain.

"Nice work," The younger boy nodded at the pro.

"You too. It's been a while, where you been Crawler?" Ingenium friendly elbowed the boy and gave him his own smirk.

"Wait-you're the Crawler?!" Izuku couldn't help but chime in. He knew that there were other vigilantes but the only one he had met was Stain and he didn't really give him much hope for the other ones.

"The one and only!" Ingenium hyped up Crawler who groaned and rolled his eyes with a small smile on his face.

"Alright Tensei, that's enough, I missed you too."

"And you're Ingenium," Izuku thought that his mind might explode, when a thought hit him, "Wait a minute-what are you doing here? Your patrol is during the day, and you shouldn't be patrolling yet anyway, not with the injuries you got from Stain."

The pro groaned, "Ugh, not you too! Everyone keeps getting on my case, but I'm fine!"

"Oh yeah, I heard about that. Congrats on being the first hero to escape from the hero killer."

Tensei gave his friend a dead look, "Thanks."

"So, I guess the rumors of you two teaming up were true." Izuku meant to mumble under his breath, but he apparently wasn't quiet enough and both guys broke out into laughter.

"I told you we shouldn't have posted that picture of us with that villain!"

"But it was pure gold! How could you expect me to not let everyone else appreciate you looking like a complete idiot?" Crawler held his stomach in laughter as Ingenium glared half-heatedly at the vigilante.

"Are you two talking about the selfie of Crawler with you being drug around by that huge villain in the background?"

"Sure are! Did you see the stupid look on his face? Priceless!"

"Anyways," Ingenium gave Crawler one last pointed look before turning back to Izuku, "Technically pros aren't really supposed to support vigilantes in any way, but as I'm sure you've figured out for yourself, the majority of us actually are quite fond of you guys. As long as you don't go too far off track," He smirked to the side and elbowed Crawler in the ribs with a laugh.

"Shut up, who would bother you if I went villain? It's a full-time job."

"Crawler and I teamed up some a while ago and ever since this guy hadn't been able to stay off my back!"

"I wonder why? I leave you alone for five seconds and you go and get yourself attacked by the freaking hero killer!"

"Oh whatever-"

The two friend's banter was cut off by the sound of a few pairs of shoes running towards them followed by someone calling out Ingenium's name.

"Those would be my sidekicks; you'd better go before they get jealous."

"As they should be. We all know I'm your favorite."

"Yeah, yeah, see you later," The two bid each other goodbye after shaking their hands and doing some quick handshake and then it was just Izuku and Ingenium waiting for his sidekicks to arrive.

"You guys seem close," Izuku's stated quietly. It was nice to see pros who had good relationships with the people around him. It gave him a sort of hope in a strange way, for his future.

The pro turned to him with a warm smile, "We are. Even though he's not an official hero or anything, I know that I can trust him with my life, and he knows that he can do the same with me. I'm still trying to get him to join my agency, but the bastard hasn't given in yet. I'll get him one day though. Speaking of which, I wanted to personally thank you for saving my brother."

That startled Izuku a bit. No one was supposed to know about what actually happened, but he supposed that being a pro hero that was related with someone who was involved and attacked himself would give him certain ins. "Oh, you heard about that?"

"Course I did. I know that Tenya can be a handful sometimes, but he's a good kid at heart. So, thank you for helping him out of that dark place and giving him a second chance."

"What? I didn't do anything; I just was trying to stop Stain from killing anyone else."

"Well, whether you did it on purpose or not, you saved my brother in more ways than one." The hero lightly ruffled Izuku's hair as he gave him another one of those warm smiles of his, "You did good kid. I can see why Eraser likes you so much."

"Um, thank you." Izuku wasn't used to receiving compliments, let alone thank you's, so this was entirely new territory or him. He thought back to the times that Eraser got on him about not being able to accept a compliment and figured that a simple thank you would probably work in this situation.

"No prob kid. You should probably get going, but I hope to see you around more often now that I'm picking up some night patrols."

"You are!?" The young vigilante practically bounced on his feet at the thought of working with Ingenium. He really liked the guy, and even more so now that he actually knew him and how nice he was.

"Yep! So, make sure to leave some bad guys for me, okay?"

"You got it!"

Chapter Text

Katsuki was only slightly freaking out.

His mind was already full to the brim with so many thoughts and things that he refused to think about because he knew that as soon as he did, everything would change again, and he wasn't ready for that yet. So, even though he had a million thoughts and feelings that he had to mentally beat back with a stick, he just kept on going and going. Because if he kept going, he wouldn't have time to stop. And if he didn't stop, then he couldn't think.

And on top of that, exams were coming up.

Mr. Aizawa had told the class about the upcoming exams and how important they were. He stressed that anyone who didn't pass would have to face the consequences and left the class frozen in confused fear as they all speculated what he meant by that.

Some worried that it meant that they weren't going to be able to go to the summer training camp, some thought that maybe he was going to threaten to expel them again, but Katsuki was too caught up in his head to listen. It wasn't that he was worried about not passing, he was just weary of what their teacher had up his sleeve.

The written portion would be easy enough, but it was the physical aspect that was really stressing him out.

Others in his class were dead set on it just being those stupid robots again, but Katsuki didn't think so. As much as the school loved flaunting it's money and seemingly endless amount of dispensable robots, their homeroom teacher loved surprising them even more.

Fighting robots would be too easy with how hard they had all been working. So, the question now was what was that hobo planning?

 

The teachers…

They were going to fight the freaking teachers. Literal pro heroes…

"You've got to be kidding me-" His words were drowned out by the sound of rushing wind and a loud boom as the dust settled and revealed a smiling All Might. "Oh, son of a-"

This was going to end horribly. Like, it could go fine, but most likely it was going to be a disaster. Old him would've scoffed at the challenge and refused to admit that any of the pros were stronger than him, but him now-the more sensible Katsuki-knew better and had a better sense of self preservation.

That same self-preservation that went out the window when it was announced that he would be trying to defeat All Might.

He was going to be partnered up with Go Oba, the kid with the senses quirk. It was actually a pretty good matchup if he really thought about it. Katsuki was one of the most advanced when it came to combat both physical and quirk-based and Oba had some fight training due to his dad's job.

The only other student who could maybe even stand a chance against the number one hero was Todoroki, but he was paired with the creation girl, Yaoyorozu, against Mr. Aizawa, which was almost worse.

Oba and he would be going last, so they had plenty of time to strategize and get their nerves under control.

The kid's quirk let him strengthen his senses and weaken someone else's senses. A very useful advantage if you knew how to utilize it properly. Add that to his fighting style and Katsuki, and the two might've actually had a chance at passing.

The first step to beating the number one hero was to stop thinking of him as such. If they let their biases about him cloud their judgement, then they were screwed. They just had to think of him as just some villain that they were going to fight and ignore the fact that he was the strongest hero probably ever.

Next step was to realize that he wasn't unbeatable. The teachers were going to be wearing weighted cuffs on their wrists and ankles to slow them down, so that was one advantage. Another was that this was an exam after all, and they were first year students. They wouldn't just give their all in this, they would have to allow the students some chance to pass otherwise they wouldn't be doing their jobs. It was supposed to be a test to bring out their skills, and no test was unbeatable.

Step number three was to strategize and come up with different plans of attack and ways that they could exploit All Might's weaknesses. If he had any.

It took them a while, but they finally came up with a solid plan that they were both happy with. And by the time they were done strategizing, it was time to hop on the bus to their test site.

After about ten minutes, the bus stopped and the three of them stepped out into a fake city. All Might bid them farewell and good luck as he retreated into the city to make his own plan and prepare for the two of them coming after him.

A robotic voice above explained the rules of the exam: they had thirty minutes to pass. They could pass either by restraining the villain or escaping and if they did neither by the end of the time then they failed.

Simple enough.

The buzzer initiating the start of their exam sounded and the two boys looked at each other and nodded.

"Let's do this."

"Damn straight."

 

Oba's bright silver hair disappeared behind some buildings and Katsuki trusted that he was setting up the first stage of their plan.

His attention was drawn to something loud and big coming straight for him. He sidestepped and saw that it was one of those wind attacks that All Might sometimes used just by throwing a punch. If he wasn't in the middle of an exam, he might have geeked out a bit, but he knew that then wasn't the time to channel his inner Izuku.

Although maybe that wasn't such a bad idea.

What would Izuku do in this situation?

Katsuki mentally flinched at the mention of the boy's name. As always, he was the center of the million thoughts that plagued him constantly. He had convinced himself that he was crazy and just seeing things, but then he had accidentally walked into the wrong hallway during the festival and…

Let's just say that it took a lot for him to keep up his act as if everything was fine.

Right after the festival, he tore through everything that he possibly could about Izuku and his family, but the only thing he found was stuff that he already knew.

Well, there was one interesting thing he found, but didn't really deem important. He saw that Izuku's dad had been in town for a second but had left just as mysteriously as he had arrived. Did Izuku know that he was here? Did he see him? Did Uncle Hisashi know that Izuku was even alive?

Like he said, way too many thoughts and feelings all at once.

Ugh, focus Katsuki! You're in the middle of an exam right now!

He shook his head in an attempt to shake the thoughts away (it didn't work) and instead focused on strategizing and channeling his inner Izuku.

What would Izuku do…?

He'd come up with a plan and list off everything that he knew about All Might and figure out how to take him down from that.

Now, Katsuki wasn't nearly as smart or attentive as Izuku was, but he did pick up a skill or two from the boy. Something he was very thankful for at the moment.

It wasn't long before All Might himself followed his attack and Katsuki braced for the hero. This fight wasn't going to be pleasant; he knew that. If he expected to win this without a few scratches, then he would be an idiot. You don't just go against the number one hero and leave unscathed. That being said, Katsuki was used to pain and injuries, so, "Game on, old man."

The pro flew at him and before he could get too close, Katsuki let off an explosion in his face that doubled to shoot him away from his target in case he decided to get handsy.

All Might recovered from the attack like it hadn't even tickled, "Is that all you've got young hero? I have to say, I expected more."

"Not even close." Katsuki crouched down and smirked as he saw movement in his peripheral.

It seemed that their plan was already panning out. All Might would try to take out Katsuki first since his quirk was the most destructive, but in doing so, he would neglect Oba and his quirk's usefulness.

The pale boy landed on the pro's back and placed both hands on the sides of his head and braced himself. "Please don't throw me off, please don’t throw me off-"

All Might grunted and reached back to yank Oba off his back and fling him a few yards away, but not before his quirk took effect. The hero looked around frantically and began to stumble on his feet.

"How do you like being blind number one? Not so scary now, huh?"

"Is that what you boys think? That a little obstacle such as this is enough to deter me? They don't call me number one for nothing!" The hero swatted one hand to the side where Oba had recovered and tried to sneak attack again but managed to jump away out of his reach and used his other hand to land a hit on Katsuki.

He smiled brightly as he heard Katsuki's grunt, but it seemed that it was him who had underestimated them. The pro fought the two of them off incredibly well for being blind, but luckily, they weren't nearly finished yet.

Katsuki charged the pro and lit off double explosions in his face to throw him off balance and All Might stumbled right back into Oba who was ready with his quirk once again. He cupped his hands around the pro's ears and quickly scrambled back as the hero began to swing blindly.

Hard to be number one without hearing or sight. He could probably hold his own if he had some time to adjust, but the boys were smart enough to not give him that time.

The two of them began to overwhelm All Might with attacks as the hero did all he could to defend himself blindly. It was almost too easy at this point.

He did manage to get a few hits in however and boy did they hurt. Katsuki was going to have to visit Recovery Girl once this was all over and he wasn't looking forward to it. Although maybe she'd give him a break since his injuries would be All Might's fault. He sure hoped so, he really didn't want another scolding from the old lady.

All Might still managed to hold more than his own against the two boys while being impaired and overwhelmed. Enough that it kinda pissed Katsuki off but also gave him a swell of pride at the man who truly did deserve to be at the top.

Time was running out. Both the boys knew this and that's why when they looked at each other and nodded, Oba danced away from the still swinging pro and sprinted in the city to look for the exit. Katsuki would stay and keep All Might busy, hopefully he'd be enough against the pro's weakened state.

Katsuki knew that in order to even think about keeping up, he would have to bring out the big guns and that meant his gauntlets. The support course had done really well with all of the modifications on the weapons in order to make them safe for a hero in training, but even though they were a lot weaker than he had intended, they still packed one hell of a punch.

He scrambled away as All Might tried to punch him in the gut and positioned himself with his arm raised. "Please work, please work-" He braced himself and pulled the pin on his right gauntlet.

The kickback was what really got him. The weapons worked exactly how he envisioned they would. Storing up an excess amount of his sweat to be able to light off stronger explosions than he would ever be able to do on his own and without hurting himself…it was amazing.

The explosion went off right in the pro's face and managed to blow him back a bit even. As Katsuki recovered from being blown back himself, he took notice of All Might trying to get a grip on his surroundings and took that as his chance to bolt.

It was obvious that he wouldn't be able to beat the hero one-on-one, so the only other logical option was to flee. And that's what he did.

He hoped that the last part of their plan was going to pan out soon, because he wasn't sure how much more of this fight he could take. Katsuki chanced a glace behind him as he ran, "Shi-" All Might slammed directly into him.

How he knew exactly where the boy was, Katsuki didn't know, but what he did know was that he folded like a wet paper towel in the air and landed roughly on the ground as he rolled out his momentum.

"You're not getting away from me that easily young Bakugou!"

Katsuki felt like death. He didn't want to move a muscle and risk his body hurting even more than it already did, but he knew that he had to finish this test. Oba was doing his part, and he had to do his.

He shakily got to his feet and readied himself to fly at the pro with whatever he had left in him. His feet pounded on the ground and as he got closer, he jumped into the air to strike him with a quirked punch, but right as he was winding his fist up the buzzer sounded and All Might snatched him in the air by his collar.

Katsuki's body went limp as he hung in mid-air and the hero boomed with laughter. "Well, well," His voice was much louder than it needed to be, especially with Katsuki right next to him, "It seems that I've been bested. Good work young man."

It was a miracle. If Katsuki had his past mindset, he never would've been able to accept the fact that he was not as good as he thought he was and would've failed due to his own arrogance.

When he really thought about it, Katsuki had changed a lot. But when he thought about it, he couldn't help but frown. The reason why he was different now, why he was able to see just how much as a dick he was and work to being better was because he had destroyed someone so much that they had killed themselves.

It was because of him that Katsuki was different. And it was because of Katsuki that he was dead…even if he was somehow back now, that fact didn't change. So, he had to do better, had to be better. For him.

Thanks Izuku…

"I think I'm going to pass out."

This elicited another too-loud laugh that faded along with everything else as Katsuki's body gave in to the exhaustion.

 

 "Honestly All Might! Did you have to pummel the boy so hard? The other isn't too well off either! You have to learn how to hold back, these are children. First year students." An old lady's irritated voice faded in and out as Katsuki started to come to.

"I know, I know…I just-I wanted them to give their all-"

"Oh, they gave more than that. One is in there with broken ribs and a dozen other issues while the other had bruised ribs and a dislocated shoulder! Did you have to throw him so hard?"

"He took my hearing and sight! What was I supposed to do?!"

"I can’t believe you," Was the last thing he heard before he went under again. He must've been more tired than he thought.

 

"I'm what?!"

"We're what?"

Shouta had just told the boys the news about the training camp, and he was receiving very mixed reactions. One, he had expected. Shinso, after he took some time for the information to sink in, was overjoyed at officially being accepted into 1-A and getting to go to the camp with them. The other reaction…he had actually also expected. Izuku looked royally pissed.

Honestly, he couldn’t blame him. It wasn't really a choice at this point. Shouta was going to be gone with his class and he really didn’t want to leave the kid, so he got permission from Nezu to bring him along.

It would actually be a good thing if the kid ever stopped glaring at him. Izuku was more experienced in almost every aspect than any of the students in his class. He would be able to work with and help them while at camp. And, he would be safe with him, so two birds and whatnot.

Of course, the problem child didn't see it like that.

"Is this your way of forcing your teaching on me?"

"No. This is my way of keeping an eye on you, while also hoping that either your ability will rub off on my students, or some of my students' sensibility and good attitudes will rub off on you."

"Oh, I see, you don't trust me."

"Izuku," Shinso tried to calm the boy down by laying a hand on his shoulder, but he just shrugged it off.

"That's not it either. You know that I trust you, you just so happen to be a magnet for trouble, and I cannot handle another Stain incident."

"That was one time-"

"What about the league? Toga and Dabi? Or what about Conductor?"

"…I see your point."

"Come on Izuku, it'll be so fun to be at the camp together!"

The boy rolled his eyes.

"You already know like half the class, and you'll be there as more of a chaperone than a student, so you won't have to do any of the dirty work." Shinso kept on trying. "Plus, think of all of the trouble we can cause somewhere secluded in the woods…"

Izuku groaned and threw his head back before glaring at Shouta. "Fine."

Chapter Text

It's times like these that Izuku truly wishes that he were dead. Surrounded by hundreds, maybe thousands of people would be bad enough if he didn't also have twenty extremely excited and loud hero students practically yelling directly in his ear.

He scowled with crossed arms as he felt a light poke on his cheek. "How did I let you drag me into this?"

"Oh, stop moping Izuku. It's not very attractive on you."

"I wasn't asking for your opinion."

"Well, you should, because you'll never find a girlfriend with that look."

Izuku turned to glare at his friend who was studying his frown lines very closely. "I don't know if you've noticed, but I've got other things to deal with. I don't exactly have room in my life for romance."

"Hmm, that's true. Still though, if you keep on frowning like that, you'll develop wrinkles."

"If I have my way, I won't live long enough for that to happen."

"Touché."

Much to Izuku's dislike, he had to clear his face as a very loud blonde quite literally bounced over to him. "Dude! It's so cool that you're here with us!"

Izuku let out a small laugh that was very clearly forced, "Yeah…"

"So, what are you doing here exactly? Looking for some clothes? Shoes? Girls? Boys?" The boy wiggled his eyebrows at me him as he said the last option and Izuku couldn't help but roll his eyes catching Hitoshi snickering beside him.

He took a breath and put on a smile. "Nope. Just along for the ride, I guess."

Hitoshi slung his arm over the boy's shoulder and gave Kaminari a lazy smile. "I dragged him here. Dad thought that he needed to get some more social interaction now that it's summer."

Izuku immediately stiffened under his friend's arm. "He's not my-"

"Shh…" Hitoshi shoved his finger in Izuku's face to silence him as he rubbed his head with his other hand. "We all know that you two are father and son, there's no need to deny it."

"But we're not-"

"He's not ready to come to terms with it yet." He said to Kaminari who looked like he was about to explode with laughter but tried to keep in for Izuku's sake.

The tiny head of broccoli turned to argue with his friend and didn't notice as another joined their little group until he spoke. "Izuku."

The boy jumped slightly at the call of his name, especially because it was his first name, but relaxed when he saw that it was just Shoto.

"Oh, hey Shoto."

"I haven't seen you since-"

"Yeah…" Izuku cut him off before he could say anything else. "I've been busy. How have you been? Excited for summer?"

The boy nodded, his face remaining neutral as always. "I'm excited for this summer camp my class is going to. Means I won't be alone with him as much."

"Oh yeah, that's good." Izuku paused for a minute as he thought over his next question. "Has he been…"

"I've been getting better at avoiding him. And I've started to visit my mother which has helped a lot. Saturdays are usually my day with her, but I needed some camping supplies, so I came."

"I'm glad."

It hurt Izuku's heart. Knowing what Shoto was going through, but not being able to do anything about it. He just wished that there was some way that he could help and get him out of that house and away from that bastard.

"Oh, Izuku," Shoto's monotoned voice called Izuku's attention back to him, "It looks like we're scar buddies."

It took the boy a few seconds to realize that his new scar on his neck wasn't covered. Honestly, it was getting exhausted just trying to keep all of his death scars covered, let alone coming up with fake stories on how he got them.

He would've tried to blow right past the topic, but Kaminari jumped in and made his own comment to which Izuku had to give him some bs excuse that really wasn't that believable, but the boy didn't call him out, so he just let it be.

The class began to split up and the four boys ended up staying together. The three of them talked about the things they needed to get and came up with the route they needed to take to get to everywhere they needed to go, while Izuku just sat back and tried to enjoy the ride.

Hitoshi would literally have to drag Izuku to some places as their group bounced from store to store, before the boy claimed to have to use the bathroom and split off from the rest of them.

He let out a sigh as he walked away. Going to the bathroom actually did sound like a good idea, so he found a directory and located the closest bathroom. As he was making his way there, he couldn’t shake off this feeling of just…wrongness.

It was this pit in his stomach and chill up his spine that he had been feeling ever since the class split up. He periodically looked over his shoulder and kept an eye on all of his surroundings. After being a vigilante for so long, you develop a certain intuition with situations, and you learn to trust it as it might just be the thing that saves your life.

That intuition increased ten-fold after his time with Stain. It was almost as if the boy could sense trouble from a mile away, although he wasn't sure if that meant anything considering that it was him that seemed to attract that trouble.

As he was walking and doing his best to look normal, he pulled out his phone and shot a quick text to Hitoshi, telling him that he had a bad feeling and to make sure to keep him and the other boys away.

His friend's text shot back, and it took three more from Izuku for the boy to finally comply and promise to stay away until he said so. As much as he wanted to protect Izuku, Hitoshi knew better than to go against him when he was in vigilante mode and that even if he ended up getting hurt, nothing would keep him down for too long.

Didn't make that sinking feeling in his chest go away though…

Izuku continued to walk, subtly glancing over his shoulder until he finally saw it. Someone in all black and a hood over their head that covered their face was following him. He looked forward and tried to look as relaxed as he possibly could.

Okay, okay, okay-

His mind began racing as he tried to come up with plan after plan of how he could get out of this without letting anyone get hurt.

Right, if I just stay calm and act normal, then I can lead them somewhere less populated. Good thing I memorized the directory when I looked at it…

Stuffing his hands in his pockets, Izuku picked up the pace just a bit, but not enough to look suspicious. He bobbed and weaved through people, checking over his shoulder every few seconds to make sure that they were still following him and playing it off as him looking around at the shops.

His heart was beating out of his chest and his blood was rushing in his ears. Small beads of sweat had begun to form on the back of his neck and slowly tricked to his back, sending a shiver up his spine. He wasn't stupid. He knew how dangerous his lifestyle was and it would be stupid for him to think that his night activities wouldn’t follow him into the day.

It was why he took whatever this was so seriously.

He took in where he was at and let a small smile form on his mouth. They were almost to a bathroom that was down a hallway that also happened to be an exit.

As they approached the hallway, he prayed that whoever was following him believed he was going to the bathroom and not trying to leave because he caught onto him. Luckily for Izuku, this was one of the less popular bathrooms and so there was practically no one when they turned down the narrow hall.

He kept walking, walking and walking, passing the bathroom and making his way to the door with the bright exit sign above it. No way to hide it now. Either the person following him would prioritize him and go outside with him or get irritated and take it out on one of the poor souls in the bathroom. He prayed with all that he was that it was the former and let out a large breath as he heard the door open again once he got outside into an alleyway behind the mall.

The door closed and he turned around. Standing in front of him, hood covering his white-blue hair and shadowing his face was Tomura Shigaraki in the cracked flesh.

"Seriously?"

"What?"

"You had to stalk me all throughout the mall? That seems a bit sus my guy-" Izuku crossed his arms and leaned his back on the alley wall behind him. "How did you figure out it was me?"

No use in beating around the bush or acting stupid. Izuku wasn’t one to sugarcoat things either…at least not anymore.

"It was pretty easy actually. But I won’t bore you with all of that."

"Why are you here?"

Shigaraki pulled his hood down and frowned, "Is it so hard to believe that I simply enjoy your presence?"

Izuku shrugged, "Well, considering I made it clear that I don't enjoy yours, I assumed that you'd take the hint."

"You wound me Serpentine," The man put his hand over his chest and began to slowly pace in front of Izuku. "Actually, it was Toga who convinced me to go ahead and find you. I was going to wait a bit longer, but she insisted…talk about not taking the hint."

"You're point is?" Izuku was getting irritated. All he wanted was some peace in his life, was that really so much to ask for?

"I wanted to talk." Shigaraki stood beside Izuku and mimicked his posture, leaning his own back against the alley wall and letting out a sigh. "Stain's gone, but he's still everywhere. It's really pissing me off. He's taken all of the attention away from my Nomu attack and nobody is paying me any mind. How is that fair?"

"I don't think that the people who got hurt and killed in that attack thought it was fair either."

"I just-" The man slammed his head back and groaned, "I just don't understand what everyone sees in him. Why they all like him so much."

Why was this happening? Why him? Izuku squeezed his eyes shut and silently cursed the world for putting him in this position of villain therapy. "Well, Stain has vision. His goals are clear, and he is unwavering in his convictions. The same can’t be said for you and your little League. How do you expect people to pay attention to you if they can't understand you?"

Shigaraki hummed beside him and placed his hand on his chin in thought. "Interesting…"

"Why are you trying to kill All Might anyway? Why attack a class of first year hero students? Why unleash a bunch of monsters in Hosu? You do things for seemingly no reason."

"I have a reason! I want to kill All Might because I hate him! I attacked 1-A to get to him. And that night in Hosu was to get noticed and to instill fear into the people's hearts."

"But why? What is your overall goal?"

"To destroy hero society, starting with its number one hero and pillar of hope. Once All Might crumbles, so too does your precious system and all of your false beliefs."

"Okay, but why though? Because you’re a villain?"

Shigaraki glared at Izuku and let out a low growl. "Heroes ruined my life. They left me alone. Left me unloved. They took everything from me. I'm simply returning the favor."

Izuku looked at the boy's eyes that were practically glowing with conviction. He really and honestly believed the words he was saying. He truly thought that what he was doing was right.

And Izuku knew that he couldn't disagree with him…

Obviously, he didn't approve with his methods, but he was right, hero society sucked. The system was corrupt and put way too much faith into people who were only human. Things needed to change, but this wasn't the way to go about it.

"I-"

"Serpentine~" A high pitched voice called out in a sing-song voice from the mouth of the alley. Soon, Himiko Toga's skipping form became visible and Izuku's body immediately stiffened.

She made her way to the two boys and as soon as she got close enough, she jumped for Izuku. Her arms latched on to the back of his neck and refused to let go as he tried to throw her off. Her face was way too close for comfort, and he watched as her hungry eyes scoured his face and she licked her lips.

"Did you miss me? I missed you," She leaned her forehead down to touch his and he tried to shake her away, but her grip around his neck was too strong.

"Get off Toga." He seethed out as he finally managed to prey her arms free and throw her across the alley.

She twisted and landed in a crouch before looking back up at Izuku with a small pout. "You're no fun Izukuuu," She whined and began to walk back over to Izuku and Shigaraki.

Izuku stiffened and glared over at Shigaraki who merely shrugged at him and looked away before he caught the glare that was burning into his face.

"Toga-" The man-child tried to speak but was cut off by the blonde skipping to his side.

"Did you talk to him? Did he answer some of your questions?"

Shigaraki let out a sigh, "Yes…"

"Oh yay! Does that mean that it's my turn?"

"What could you possibly have to talk to him about?"

"What do you mean? I have lots to talk about!" Without warning the girl was again up in Izuku's face and leaning forward causing him to lean back. "Like what's your blood type? Do you taste as good as you smell? If I stabbed and bled you dry would you come back and let me do it again? Are you seeing anyone?"

Izuku put both hands on the girl's thin shoulders and shoved her away, "Back off."

"Oh, but I just like you so much. Do you like me too Izuku? Please say yes!"

"What? No!"

Toga pouted at him again before returning to her usual smile, "That's okay! You don't have to like me right now."

"Ugh! I already told you-" Izuku was cut off as the door opened and a tall boy with purple hair walked out before stopping in his tracks with wide eyes. "No…"

"Izuku?" Hitoshi stared at his friend who was with two villains. Tomura Shigaraki and Himiko Toga…were they trying to get him to join the League again?

Izuku's heart spiked, and his composure crumbled to pieces as his mind ran through scenarios of just how bad this could all turn out. "Hitoshi, I told you to stay away until I texted you! Why are you here?!"  

"I-I'm sorry. You were just gone for such a long time, and I saw from your location that you were here and-"

"Who's this? A friend of yours Serpentine?" Shigaraki pushed off the wall and took a step forward before he stopped as Izuku's hand latched onto his shoulder.

The boy let out a growl and glared at the villain so menacingly that Hitoshi got goosebumps. "Don't. Touch. Him."

Shigaraki's mouth quirked into a slight smile as he looked back at the terrifying boy. "Toga."

"On it!" In a flash, Toga was running at Hitoshi with a knife ready to slight his throat.

Izuku disappeared from behind Shigaraki and seemed to blur through the air as his body collided with Toga's sending them both to the side. He wrestled with her and ended up throwing her to the ground and pining her on her stomach.

She let out a laugh that made him very uncomfortable from beneath him and glanced over to where Hitoshi was. Izuku followed her gaze and his heart stopped.

Shigaraki had gone for Hitoshi and had his hand around the boy's wrist.

Chapter Text

You would think that the most agonizing pain would be pain that you yourself felt, but no. It was watching those you love in pain.

Shigaraki curled his hand around Hitoshi's wrist and as Izuku watched his skin start to flake away his friend screamed like he had never heard before. It was a scream that he knew would haunt him for the rest of his life.

It sent the boy to his feet barreling towards the two. He pried Shigaraki's crusty fingers from Hitoshi and kicked the man's face so hard that he heard a crack from the impact. The villain stumbled back and almost fell to the ground but managed to stay on his feet as blood gushed from his now broken nose and he tried to stop the flow.

Hitoshi was on the ground now, cradling his arm that was still being torn apart in front of their very eyes. For whatever reason, the damage seemed to be slower, but Izuku couldn't allow himself to think about that at the moment.

He pulled out his phone and immediately called Eraser telling him to get to the mall they were at ASAP, before he hung up on the pro and dialed Tsukauchi's number. The line rung only once before the man's voice fanatically asked Izuku what was wrong. He told him to come to the mall and promised that he would explain once he got here.

Once he got off of the phone he looked back at the villains. They were huddled together, both trying to stop the waterfall of blood still coming from Shigaraki's face.

"You two better leave before I kill you. I'm not sure how much composure I have left, and I can promise you that you don't want to find out." Izuku didn't recognize his own voice as he grit out those words and wished with all he was that his glare could kill the two people in front of him.

Unfortunately, no matter how much he tried, it didn't. That was probably a good thing though. Once he regained his sense, he would regret taking someone else's life. Even if it was one of their lives, that's still murder, no matter how much they deserved it.

The villains stared back at him with fear in their eyes. They had never seen this side of him, and it absolutely terrified them.

Toga pulled Shigaraki to his feet and the two scurried out of the alley as fast as they could with Izuku watching them until they left his line of sight.

Once they were gone, he turned his attention back to his friend who he was holding on his lap. "It's okay Hitoshi, everything is going to be fine. Help is on the way, and they'll be able to help. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to save you…"

"S-shut up." The boy below him coughed out as he grimaced at his still disintegrating wrist. "You're making me sound weak."

Izuku let out a weak laugh as he felt tears begin spill over. "You're right. You're too much of a bada** to let this take you down."

"Da*n straight."

"Alright, I've got to get you back inside so we can meet Eraser and Tsuki."

Hitoshi hummed in his lap, "Fine, but don't you dare carry me."

"Unfortunately, you can't stop me…princess." Izuku smirked and was met with his friend's glaring eyes.

"Shut up."

Izuku snaked his arms under Hitoshi's legs and behind his neck and stood up. He used his foot to open the door and began running through the mall, hoping that with how scatterbrained he was at the moment he remembered the way to the entrance.

Hitoshi groaned and dug his face into Izuku's chest as his cheeks burned and contradicted his pale face. "I hate you…"

"Say that to me after we get you help."

People stared at Izuku literally sprinted as if he wasn't carrying a teenage boy in his arms. Honestly, he couldn't even tell. Adrenaline was racing through his veins and Hitoshi wasn't all that heavy to begin with. It was something they were working on, putting on some muscle weight and eating more. Of course, he only would agree to it if Izuku also agreed to try to put on some weight.

It wasn’t as if he needed any more muscle, but strong as he was, he was still tiny. He had grown some under Eraser's care. With all of the food he ate, it was only to be expected, but still, he was too small.

After what seemed like an eternity, Izuku finally made it to the entrance where a squad of officers were gathered. Eraser and Tsuki caught sight of him running towards them with a very bad looking Hitoshi in his arms and sprinted to meet him.

Izuku collapsed onto his knees as the three of them met and Eraser immediately took Hitoshi from his arms causing the boy to snarl at him. Tsuki put his hands on his shoulders and begged him to look at him.

"Kid-Kid! What happened?"

"Shi-it…league…Toshi-arm…blood." He was out of breath and the fact that he was beginning to spiral didn't help with all the running he'd just done.

He could feel his throat begin to close and he began to panic. He fell back onto his butt and put his head between his knees, remembering some of the exercises Eraser taught him to do when he felt like he was having an attack.

Tsuki pat and rubbed his back as Eraser raced Hitoshi to some paramedics who took him and told the pro to meet them at some hospital.

He ran back to Izuku and Tsukauchi who were still on the ground and knelt down.

"Izuku…can you breathe? Are you having another attack?"

The boy nodded franticly, feeling tears form in his eyes as his mind yelled at him for being so weak.

If only he had been faster, stronger…Hitoshi wouldn't have gotten hurt.

He tried to do everything he could to eliminate casualties and he still failed.

God-he knew he couldn't be a hero! He couldn't even protect his friend. How did he expect to protect people when those closest to him kept on getting hurt?

"Hey, hey-" Eraser shook his shoulders and brought him out of his mind. "Don't let those thoughts control you. You are better than that. You are stronger than that. I know that you want to help Hitoshi, but you have to calm down first. Okay? Deep breath in…"

He went through some techniques he learned could help with attacks with the boy. Ever since that first night, he researched any and all of the ways he could possibly help someone who was so prone to anxiety and panic attacks. He tried to help the boy ground himself and focus on breathing rather than whatever was running through his mind.

Eventually Izuku began to calm down and as soon as he was able to, he was on his feet weakly yelling at Eraser to hurry up and take him to where Hitoshi was.

Tsuki promised them that he and his squad would stay. They were already clearing the mall just in case anyone had decided to hang around and he sent some officers to gather up their class. "I'll make sure they all get home safe, you two go and make sure that Hitoshi is alright."

Eraser nodded as he tugged on Izuku's shoulder to get him to move his feet and the two made their way to a car. The driver was told to get to the hospital they took Toshi to as fast as possible and Eraser pulled out his phone to call Mic and explain all that had happened. The hero agreed to meet them, and Eraser hung up, his attention falling to Izuku.

"Hey-"

"Don’t."

"What?"

"Don't say that this isn't my fault."

The pro took in a deep breath, as if readying himself for the conversation that they were about to have. "But it's not. You had no hand in those villains coming to the mall, you noticed them being there almost immediately and you managed to remain calm and lead them to a place where they could cause virtually zero damage in regard to civilians. You did everything right."

"But it wasn't enough."

"What do you-"

"Hitoshi got hurt! Hitoshi is being rushed to the hospital right now because I wasn't strong enough to protect him!"

"That's not your job. You two are friends and training to be heroes, the job comes along with some danger, you've got to know that."

"You think I don’t?" Izuku whipped his head to look at Eraser, his eyebrows furrowed and his lip trembling ever so slightly. "Of course hero work is dangerous, that's why I took up vigilantism in the first place, but I'm the one who’s supposed to get hurt. It's okay if Shigaraki gets pissed and uses his quirk on me because I'll come back, but Toshi? He won't. What if he died today? What if he died and I was too weak to save him?"

"He can take care of himself. You won't be able to protect him from every single thing that life throws at him, you're going to have to learn to trust him and the training that you gave him."

"But what if it's not enough?!"

"That's what being a hero is. It's working yourself half to death every single day not knowing if it'll be enough to save everyone, but we do it anyway because we want to help people. That want, that desire, outweighs the fear."

Eraser sighed as he looked at Izuku. This child had been through so much, when was it ever going to be enough? When was he going to get a break? He had already dealt with more than most pros ever would in their lives and he was just a child.

It wasn’t fair.

"Plus," He said, unable to get his voice any louder than a whisper as he thought about what he was about to say, "We don't know if you'll always come back. What if the next time you jump off a building, or run into a fight you're unprepared for…you don't come back?"

"Then it's mission accomplished."

"No!" Eraser's voice echoed off of the car's walls. "No, I thought-I thought we got past this. I thought that-"

"That what? That just because I met you that I wouldn't want to die anymore? Eraser, I'm appreciative of all that you've done for me, I really am, but you forget that I don't have anything. I don't have anyone to live for anymore."

"You have me!" His breath was heavy and uneven as he fought back the tears that threatened to pour down his face. "I thought that you finally realized that you had people who wanted you to stay alive. Me, Zashi, Hitoshi-we all want you to stay alive Izuku. Don't you see that?"

"I-" He started to fight, but when he caught a glimpse of Eraser's red eyes his breath caught in his throat. He forced himself to swallow the lump in his throat and looked down at his fidgeting hands in his lap. "You'd get over it."

"Is that what you think?"

"Of course it is! Why would you care about me so much?"

The hero groaned, "I thought we went over this! I just do, okay? We all do. You think that we'd all just cry for a bit and then get over your death as if you never existed? That's not what the people in your life do."

"Oh, come one, that's what they've always done."

"I-" Eraser started, his voice loud, but he retreated and closed his eyes as he took a breath. If he wasn't careful, he'd end up saying something he would regret. He had to remember that recovery wasn’t always a steady thing. "Look, I would care if you died." He said as he allowed the tears to slowly spill over. "It'd hurt me…so bad. So just-please…please promise me that you'll try to stay alive. For me."

The silence stretched between the two of them before he went on, "We don't know if your quirk has a limit, or a quota, or-or if you just need to die the right way, but I don't want to find out. Please don't make me go through that."

"I-"

"Please."

Izuku searched the hero's eyes. Searched for something, anything that would indicate that he was lying or just saying what he thought he needed to hear because he pitied him, but when he looked…all he saw was pain. Pain and-and love."…Okay."

The rest of the drive to the hospital was silent. Neither of them willing to speak and risk another fight.

Izuku was a bit shaken to be honest. Of course, he was upset about Hitoshi, but that was the first time he'd ever seen Eraser cry. To him, the hero was so strong, untouchable, unbreakable, but when he looked at him and literally begged him to stay alive…a little piece of Izuku broke.

But sometimes things need to break in order to be reconstructed stronger than before.

 

When they got to the hospital, they had just rushed Hitoshi into surgery to fix his wrist and so Izuku and Eraser were forced to sit and wait until they were done. It felt like an eternity and the quiet didn't help Izuku's wondering thoughts.

At one point, Mic had shown up and was trying to comfort the two of them, but they were too far into their own heads to really hear any of what he was saying.

Eventually a nurse came out to announce that Hitoshi was out of surgery and that he was okay. They gave him some medicine for the pain and so he was awake, but extremely out of it, but she said that they could go and see him if they wanted to.

They entered the room and Hitoshi was sitting in his bed just zoning out. Eraser and Mic took two of the seats against the wall and Izuku took to sitting at the foot of the boy's bed. He sat as delicately as he could, making sure that there was no way he could possibly hurt his friend even though it was his wrist that was hurt. He didn't want to take any chances.

He softly placed his hand on his friend's leg that was under some blankets and the boy's eyes zeroed back in as he came back to reality. He turned his head and stared at Izuku who could only give him a sad smile. "Hey buddy…"

Hitoshi stared at Izuku for a moment more before he burst out into laughter, making everyone in the room jump at his sudden volume.

"Uh, Hitoshi? Are you-"

"Why are you all looking at me like that?" He asked in between breaths as he tried to calm himself down.

Izuku glanced back at Eraser and Mic who just looked at him with the upmost confusion on their faces. "Um, how are you feeling?"

"I'm feeling amazing. Whatever they gave me is just," He mimicked doing a chef's kiss before he leaned back with a smile.

"Oh, that's…good. Um, do you-do you remember what happened?"

"Bits and pieces. I remember you being scared and splitting off and I remember being worried and going to find you. And then that crusty dude grabbed my wrist and then it gets kind of blurry." His head snapped to look at his wrist, as if he just remembered that it was bandaged. He lifted it up and looked it over, even tried to look under his bandages at one point, but Izuku smacked his hand away and chastised him which resulted in a pouty Toshi. "Bada**…"

"Wha-no, Toshi, it is not bada**, you could've been killed." Izuku tried to reason with his friend but was simply waved off as he continued to look over his wrapped wrist.

"We're scar buddies now!"

Izuku was at a loss for words. He turned to look at Eraser, but the hero merely shrugged with a slight smirk that he hid in his scarf and Izuku let out a quick breath. Was this what he was like? He wasn't this ridiculous, was he? No, he couldn't be…right?

"I-" He stared at a tired eyed Hitoshi who was looking at him with the widest smile he could produce. He wanted to scream, to chastise his friend for being so reckless and not taking this seriously, but what was the point? Eraser was right, being a hero was dangerous and Izuku couldn't protect his friend forever. "You know what?" He sighed before letting out a breathy laugh, "Yeah, we are. Welcome to the scar club."

"Aww yeah!"

 

It wasn't long before Hitoshi was released, and they all went back home. Eraser sent the boy straight to bed when they got there and told him to at least try to get some sleep before they left for camp tomorrow. He would've done the same for Izuku, but he knew better than to try to tell the boy what to do.

"Just be ready to leave tomorrow morning. And don't you dare die again tonight, if you do, you're going to be extra grounded, and you don't want to know what being extra grounded looks like I assure you."

Eraser actually turned in early as well, something about needing as much sleep as possible so he could deal with all of his gremlins or something. Izuku wasn't really paying attention, he just knew that he needed to let off some steam, so he changed into his vigilante attire and slipped out of the door, locking it behind him.

It was earlier than he was used to, the sun was still out, but he just needed to get out and do something. He had way too much nervous energy pent up that needed to be released.

Running across rooftops helped a bit, but what he was really itching for was to take down some criminals. It was still light outside however, and he knew that there wasn't as much activity for him to see with all of the heroes on patrol. Didn't stop him from hopping down an alley when he heard a disturbance though.

From what he could tell, it was some petty criminal trying to rob someone who was not having it.

The civilian was actually chastising the criminal and insulting him for being a horrible bad guy. As Izuku got closer, he realized that those insults sounded way too familiar and he almost turned back around before his brain berated him and told him that he was supposed to be helping people, not running away from them.

Letting out a heavy sigh, he ran in and quickly took out the criminal. It was sad to be honest, he was almost too easy after being yelled at. Izuku almost felt bad, but the voice in the back of his head that was screaming at him, distracted him before he could do so.

He could hear the boy's familiar breaths behind him and wished so bad that he was invisible. Maybe he wouldn't recognize him? He was wearing a mask after all.

Izuku slowly turned to meet those familiar red eyes that were staring into him and tried his best to seem composed. "I'll take him in, you're good to go." He tried to lower his voice in hopes that it would lead the boy off of his trail, but of course, that was too much to wish for.

"Izuku?" The words were out of his mouth before he could think any better of it and suddenly, all of the pieces began to connect. "I knew it! I knew I saw you-God-I thought I was going crazy, but you're here, you're really-" He paused as he had begun to pace back and forth, and his head shot up to look at the boy who wanted to be literally anywhere but there at that moment. "Wait, how are you still alive? I went to your funeral."

Izuku let out a shaky breath and allowed himself to fall into whatever attitude his mind was begging him to have. "Yeah, I saw. You looked remorseful and everything."

"Well, yeah I-" He stopped, his mind trying to take everything in. "Wait…so you're Serpentine? That famous vigilante or whatever?"

"Guess so."

"Wow," Katsuki breathed, "Never knew you could be such a bada**."

"That makes two of us."

"So, wait-how are you here? Didn't you k-" His words seemed to get caught in his throat and it looked physically painful for him to force them out, "Didn't you kill yourself?"

Izuku scoffed and leaned against the alley wall. "I sure tried to. Turns out the universe hates me or something because I can't actually die."

"I-" Katsuki was at a loss for words. The boy he used to know was not who was standing in front of him now. It made sense, go through enough crap and you become a completely different person, but just how much did Izuku change? "You have a quirk…all this time you've-"

"Yep. Although for once, I wish I didn't."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

The boy actually let out a laugh this time. Was he that stupid? "Oh, come on Katsuki. You think that someone who threw themselves off a building wants to stay alive? I can't die, no matter how much I want to or how many times I try. Pretty screwed up, huh? I finally get a quirk like I always wanted, but it's preventing me from doing the one thing I want to do more than anything."

Katsuki just stared at his old friend as he talked. He couldn't die…so he hadn’t killed him.

No-no, it didn't matter if he actually died or not. He still killed him; he was still a horrible person who did not deserve to be where he was. But the thing was that he was. He was where he had always wanted to be, and he was trying to be better, but no matter how many people he saved, no matter how nice he tried to be, none of it could erase what happened. What he did.

An uncomfortable silence filled the alley. It was clear that neither boy wanted to be there, but they both also knew that this conversation had to happen sooner or later. After a while, Katsuki couldn't take it anymore and finally broke the silence. "I'm sorry." The words seemed to fall from his mouth, surprising him just as much as they surprised the vigilante still leaning against the alley.

"What?"

"I'm sorry. What I did to you all of those years…I'm so sorry Izuku. I know I don't deserve to say those words, but I need to say them. You don't have to accept them; I just need you to hear them. I thought I would never get to apologize for everything I did, but here you are right in front of me alive and-" Katsuki thought back to all that time ago, all the events that led up to Izuku's death and his breath hitched. "Oh Izuku, I'm so sorry…" All he could think about was auntie Inko and how he didn't know. His parents hadn't told him, and he made that comment, and he didn't know. "I had no idea that auntie had-"

"Shut up. Don't you dare say her name."

Katsuki took a step back. He had never seen this side of Izuku before. Actually, if it weren’t for the familiar color of the boy's hair and eyes, he wouldn't recognize him. He looked so different now, he looked older, colder, emptier, but also…better somehow. Maybe he had found someone. Oh, he hoped he had, no one deserves to go through life alone.

"I understand." Katsuki took another step back and kept his gaze on the ground, not daring to meet his ex-best friend's piercing glare. "I just wanted to apologize I-I didn't know back then. That doesn't excuse what I said, but I just…I'm sorry."

Izuku honestly didn't know what to do.

This was what he had always wanted right? For Katsuki to apologize and own up to all the years of torture he put him through…but now that it was happening, why couldn't he bring himself to even look at the boy?

He stood by what he said earlier, no matter how irritating it is. Even looking at him now, he just couldn't hate him. No matter how hard he tried, how desperately he tried to yell and scream and curse the person in front of him, but he just…couldn't.

Katsuki was starting to get worried. Izuku hadn't said anything ever since he apologized, and it was really starting to stress him out. Of course, he had no say over what the boy did, but he just wished that he would say something.

He tried to catch Izuku's green eyes that looked duller than he remembered them, that sparkle, that hope that was always there was just…gone. What had Katsuki done?

After another few nerve-racking moments, Izuku finally lifted his head and looked at the blonde, his face giving away zero indication of what his thoughts were. He stared at Katsuki for a while before he gave him a stiff nod and turned on his heel.

"W-wait! What was that?!"

Izuku stopped and glanced back, "What?"

"That!" The blonde reiterated as if it made things any clearer.

"What, did you expect me to smile and say that it's all okay? Well, it's not."

"That's not what I want!"

"Then what do you want Katsuki?"

"I-" He tried but couldn’t seem to form the words he wanted to get out. "Why aren't you mad at me?"

Izuku stared at the boy. Was he serious? "Who said I wasn't?"

"You should be yelling at me, blaming me for everything I did to you. You should be beating me to a pulp to vent your anger. Why are you just walking away?! Yell at me like I deserve!"

He continued to watch as Katsuki slowly unraveled in front of him. He had never seen the boy so vulnerable before, it was actually kind of unnerving. To him, he had always been a pillar of strength and coldness, but this…this was someone different.

He let out a scoff. "That's what your problem is Katsuki, you always make everything about you. Just accept that, just maybe this one time, what I do has nothing to do with you."

The boy gawked at Izuku. Honestly, he hadn't meant to snap like that, but Katsuki had a way of dragging out the ugliest parts of him. What he said was true though; he got his apology, he acknowledged it, and tried to leave so he could avoid the rest of the conversation as much as he could. What Katsuki said made sense, any sensible person would be kicking and screaming for an opportunity to get at him, but Izuku just felt…numb.

It was like his mind was at war with itself and so everything just felt very gray and fuzzy.

On one hand, he finally knew just how horrible everything he went thought was, but on the other, he just could not hate the boy…and it was driving him crazy.

"I'll see you at camp." The tension was too much. Both of their emotions were all out of whack and neither of them were thinking clearly. If they stayed there, one would end up saying something they'd regret and Izuku could only take so much in one day.

He turned and left the alley with no further communication, and as he left, he could swear he heard sniffling, but elected to ignore it and go back home.

 

Shigaraki was beginning to get restless. Ever since the hero killer made it very known that he was against his league, the guy's been on high alert.

Sure, he had more recruits now, but the hero killer was still the hero killer. His itching had grown worse with the added stress and one of his members had mistakenly made a comment about getting him a cone that almost sent him over the edge, but Kurogiri helped to reign him back in.

He needed to do something about all of this stress and fast. That's how he ended up in the Shie Hassaikai's headquarters.

Tomura wasn't usually one to ask for help, he despised it actually. It made him feel weak, but he knew that he had to make the first move otherwise he'd lose. He had sought out the Shie Hassaikai in hopes of added manpower and influence, but what he was getting seemed more like manipulation than anything.

Chisaki didn't seem like someone who handled partnerships well, but Shigaraki was running out of options and their big plan was quickly approaching, so he had run out of time to be unsure.

He just hoped he didn't regret this.

Chapter Text

"PleASE! Please just let me kill him-"

Izuku sighed as he held Hitoshi back from trying to murder his old childhood friend. They were in the UA parking lot waiting for the rest of the class to arrive and in usual Katsuki fashion, he was early. Unfortunately for him, both Eraser and Hitoshi knew about their past and so both were sending him death glares as the boy tried to act like he didn’t notice.

"No Toshi, you can't kill him. If you did, we'd have to cancel camp."

"Why aren't you mad? You should be the one trying to kill him, so why are you so calm?" Hitoshi wiggled out of Izuku's hold and took a step towards Eraser who was listening and keeping an eye on everything else. He hummed in agreement, but that was the only contribution he made to the conversation. He knew if he let himself get upset, he'd do something he'd regret, and he really didn't feel like dealing with complaining parents.

Izuku simply shrugged which made his friend groan and practically pull his hair out in frustration. "Imagine something enough times in your head and you start to lose interest. I've seen my fair share of him and our past in the times that I'm under, and I've just…stopped caring. That part of my life is over and so there's no use beating a dead horse."

Hitoshi hated when Izuku made sense. He was supposed to be the impulsive and reckless one being a vigilante and all, but he forgot just how smart the kid was sometimes. He grumbled as he crossed his arms, "I guess."

"He's still a dick though, but I have noticed that he has changed a lot. It's nice to see he trying to be a decent person."

Eraser let out a sigh, "That much is true, he has been working to be better."

"I still hate him."

"One of us has to." Izuku ruffled his friend's fluffy hair and earned a small whine as the boy tried to smack his hand away. "You're a good friend Toshi."

Once he realized that he wouldn't be able to fend off his friend, Hitoshi huffed with a pout, "Yeah, yeah…"

"Izuku."

A low voice made Izuku glance to his side and Hitoshi slightly jump from the quietness of the voice's owner.

His eyes fell onto the unmistakable candy cane head of his friend, and he couldn't help but smirk at the memory of the other night.

 

It was right after he had run into Dabi and Toga and Izuku was trying his best to go to sleep, but unsurprisingly, his mind was going too fast for him to even think about resting. He just couldn't stop thinking about that whole interaction.

Why were they there? Why did they seem interested in him? Did that mean that Shigaraki still wanted Izuku to join the League?

That question was answered when he showed up at the mall and forced Izuku to listen to his problems, but that was beside the point.

Mainly it was one thing that his mind kept coming back to. Dabi. The boy was a whole issue, for one, every time he thought about him, he couldn't help but feel like he knew him from somewhere and that was annoying enough, but when he accidentally brought the Todoroki name up the guy like freaked out.

It was weird. Dabi had yelled something at Izuku when he slammed him against the building, but Izuku was a little too preoccupied to really be listening, but he thought that he caught something about Dabi's father…

Father…Todoroki…

Wait a minute.

Izuku snatched his phone from his nightstand and immediately began typing in Enji Todoroki's family into the search. He had done his fair share of research on the number two hero and of course that blended into also learning a bunch about his personal life since he wasn't very quiet about it.

He remembered reading about the tragedy that was Touya Todoroki way back when. The story went that the hero's son died, but it didn't go into any details and there was no other mention of him after that.

There was however, pictures of the family still on the internet and that was what Izuku was looking for.

Come on, come on, come-

"You sly son of a-"

Before Izuku finished his words he was dialing a number that he knew would be up even with the late hour it was. The line rung once before the person picked up on the other end.

"Izuku?"

"Shoto, how sure are you that your brother's dead?"

"I-what?"

Okay, so that was an understandable reaction. Izuku probably should've thought this through before he went and outed Dabi as Touya, but he got excited okay!?

"I um, you know what," He tried to backpedal, "It's really late and you should be asleep and-"

"Izuku. What do you mean, 'How sure am I that my brother is dead?' Are you talking about Touya?"

Dang it, dang it, dang it-

Curse Izuku and his impulsive tendencies.

"Well…it's a funny story actually," He tried to laugh it off, but he knew that the boy on the other line wasn’t going to let this go. Izuku had dug this grave, now he had to finish the job. "So, I may or may not have probably ran into your not-so-dead brother who's going by Dabi now and is with the League Of Villains…"

Safe to say, neither boy got much sleep that night, but by the morning time, they were eighty-three percent sure that Dabi was Touya, so there was that.

 

"Oh, hey Shoto. What's up?"

"I didn't know you were coming to camp with us."

Izuku let out a small laugh as Eraser rolled his eyes behind him. "Yeah…I'm kind of being kept on a leash at the moment. With everything that happened with the hero killer and the league, Eraser's been extra paranoid."

"Basically, he needs to be babysat." Hitoshi butted in and laughed as he dodged the elbow Izuku tried to jab him with.

"I do not!"

"Tell that to your dad," His friend smirked, knowing exactly how to rile the boy up.

Izuku glared at him before exploding, "HE'S NOT MY-"

"Boys." Eraser's voice rang out as a warning, and both deflated with sighs.

"Sorry Eraser."

"Sorry Eraser."

"Please, try to behave on this trip." He scowled at the two boys, his gaze extra fixed on the green gremlin and his smug little smirk, "Especially you. I expect you to be on your best behavior. That means no dying, no fighting, no arguing, no just…whatever it is that you do, none of that."

"But those are all of the things I'm good at!"

"Tough. Now stay put, I have to go get my class together. Toshi-" The hero paused as he squinted his eyes slightly and glanced down at the boy's still bandaged wrist, "Todoroki, keep an eye on them and make sure they don't get into trouble."

Hitoshi let out a fake gasp and gawked in mock offense, "Wha-you're telling me you don't trust me to keep Izuku in line?"

"Absolutely not."

"I'm trustworthy!"

"Not around him, you're not."

Eraser turned away cutting off any further protest with the children and Izuku laughed as he patted his pouting friend's back. "He's not wrong Toshi."

"Yeah, I know…"

Izuku just laughed louder before turning to the other boy who was standing with them. "So Shoto, are you excited for-" He stopped when he saw the utter look of confusion on the boy's face. "Uh, are you okay?"

"Are you two Mr. Aizawa's children or something?"

"Not you too!"

 

Katsuki was walking back from the bathroom when he heard Izuku's conversation with the other two students.

He had been doing his best to avoid the boy at all costs. After their conversation yesterday, he assumed he wouldn't get the chance to see him again, so imagine his surprise when he showed up to see the boy arguing with his teacher over something stupid that he didn't pay attention to.

Thinking back, when Izuku left he did mention something about seeing Katsuki at camp, but he hadn't been paying attention, too preoccupied with his thoughts screaming at him.

Katsuki scoffed as he walked past. He thought back to the festival when he accidentally saw him and Mr. Aizawa arguing in the hall. At the time he was still in denial of the boy's existence and so he didn't allow himself to dwell on it too much, but now everything was starting to fall into place.

The boy being a vigilante that was known for working with Eraserhead, the conversation he overheard, his teacher taking a special interest in him for some reason.

It was funny; Eraserhead had always been one of Izuku's favorite heroes right after All Might. He…he was glad that the boy seemed to have found his people, God knows he needed someone. Katsuki thought back to their childhood and couldn't help but mentally kick himself. He could've been that for him, he could've been Izuku's friend and helped him through all of life's crap if he hadn't been so blinded by his own pride.

He wanted nothing more than to make it up to him, but he knew that he had no right to. The best thing he could do for Izuku now was stay out of his way.

And so that's what he was going to do.

"Alright class." Mr. Aizawa stood at the bus and the rest of the class filed around him. "Now that everyone is here, I'd like to go over a few-" The hero sighed as a student raised their hand. "What?"

"Uh, Mr. Aizawa? Who's that beside you?"

The pro glanced to the boy who was pouting as he was wrapped up in the hero's capture weapon and let out a deeper sigh. "This is Izuku Minori, he's going to be tagging along with us for the week and he's also going to be helping you all train."

Izuku grumbled in the hero's hold, "You didn't have to tie me up-"

"So, we're just going to act like I didn't see you trying to sneak away? Don't forget, you're still grounded."

"Yeah, yeah…"

Katsuki's teacher scoffed, "Anyways," He finished going over the basic schedule they'd be following and some camp rules before he allowed everyone to start piling into the bus.

 

The bus ride was long and Izuku was exhausted. He was still recovering from his last death and not sleeping at all last night didn't help in the slightest. So, it wasn't too much of a surprise to find him sitting beside Hitoshi absolutely knocked out on his friend's shoulder.

Hitoshi didn't mind. It was a normal occurrence for him to be used as the boy's pillow with how tired his quirk made him. Plus, the boy enjoyed the physical affection. He didn't get much affection at all at home and so being friend's with Izuku who was very touch-deprived and affectionate was a huge shift, but a good one.

After a couple of hours, the bus stopped for a bit of rest and the class filtered out onto the cliffside they had pulled over at.

The view was breathtaking. As far as the eye could see was just forest and the steady breeze felt amazing in the warm summer season.

Most of the class went to the edge to get a better look. Izuku sluggishly walked off of the bus yawning and before he could join them, he was grabbed by the scruff of his shirt and held back. Looking up, he was met with Eraser's sly smirk, and he just knew that the hero was up to something. This was too suspicious to be a rest stop.

His thoughts were confirmed when two women in bright cat costumes jumped out of nowhere and announced themselves as the Wild, Wild Pussycats.

Izuku recognized them. Actually, there were very few pro heroes that he didn't know at least a bit about, but he remembered his rescue hero phase and how cool he thought their team was. Only, it seemed like it was only the two of them. He wondered where the other two members were.

The girls explained that they owned this entire plot of land, including the massive forest and the pieces began to click in Izuku's mind as he suppressed a laugh.

That laugh couldn't be held in though when Pixie Bob slammed her hands into the ground and sent the entire class tumbling down the cliff as Hitoshi screamed at Izuku and Eraser for being traitors.

"Kittens who don't make it to camp by lunch don't eat, good luck!"

"IZUKU!" Hitoshi screamed out and Izuku had to literally double over as he laughed while Eraser snickered above him.

"Be-better get going Toshi, wouldn't want to be out here all night!"

"Izuku, I hate you so much right now-"

"Oh, stop complaining. I'll see you at the camp."

And with that, the boy joined 1-A as they all made their way through the forest while fighting the dirt monsters that Pixie Bob created.

Izuku turned to Eraser curiously once he finally stopped laughing, "Why didn't you send me down there with them?"

Eraser simply shrugged, "It'd be too easy. Plus, you're still grounded."

"I-" He tried. "Fair."

 

Izuku took the bus with Eraser and the two cat heroes to the camp where they were staying. Pixie Bob continued to hit class 1-A with monster after monster as she talked up a storm with Eraser who looked less than thrilled to be the receiver of her high energy.

Mandalay was nice. She introduced herself to Izuku and tried to make some small talk, but the two of them soon fell into comfortable silence until they finally made it and hopped out.

Pixie Bob explained that Vlad King, along with the other two members of their group were with the 1-B students and would be joining them as soon as they were finished with them. In the meantime, Mandalay gave Eraser and Izuku a short tour of the camp and briefed them on what they would be doing this week.

The first thing on the agenda was to make lunch for the students once they arrived. Pixie Bob had to focus on keeping 1-A busy, so she didn't help all that much, but Izuku was more than happy to pitch in.

Honestly, he had never tried to cook before. When he was younger, mom would always be the one to cook and then after she died, he didn't really have money to go out and get a bunch of groceries. Even with Eraser, the pro made all of their meals and so Izuku never got to learn.

Luckily, Mandalay was more than happy to teach him and Izuku found himself hanging on to her every word and admiring the maternal nature she gave off.

Was he incredibly deprived of affection and just craving that kind of motherly attention? Probably, but that was something that he could just keep to himself.

Eraser helped to show Izuku how to do some things as well and it seemed like every five minutes the two were arguing about something or other. Not actual arguments, just affectionate bickering like they do. If Mic were here, he'd probably make a dad comment that would send both of them off about how they were not father and son, but thankfully, Mandalay was respectful enough to keep her thoughts to herself, which was ironic considering her quirk.

At one point, another person entered the room, but Izuku was so focused on what he was doing that he hadn't taken much notice of them for a while.

It was a kid, young, short, and he looked incredibly pissed for some reason.

Izuku frowned. Why did he seem so upset? Against his better judgment, he broke away from what he was doing and walked over to where the kid was brooding against the kitchen wall.

"Hey, my name's Izuku. What's yours-" Izuku crouched down to his level and held his hand out in greeting but cut himself off when the kid went to punch him in his nuts. Thankfully he didn’t get very far before Izuku's instincts kicked in and caught the boy's fist. "Well, that's not very nice."

"Shut up." The kid snatched his fist away from Izuku and crossed his arms with a huff. "Stupid kid, what are you even doing here? Aren't you supposed to be with the other losers training to be a hero or whatever?" He muttered under his breath barely loud enough for Izuku to hear.

The boy let out a short laugh and ran his hand through his hair. "I gotta say kid, you pack quite the punch, even if you didn’t actually hit me."

"Don't you dare look down on me."

Oh, where have I heard that before? Izuku sighed at the memory of his childhood friend. "Believe it or not, I was actually being genuine that time. You should be honored; that doesn't happen often."

He scoffed and sent a glare at Izuku. "What kind of hero are you anyway? I've never heard one of you losers be so sarcastic."

Izuku put his hand over his chest as his heart squeezed at the compliment. "Thank you!"

"It wasn't a good thing!"

"It's a good thing to me. I strive to be as sarcastic and annoying as possible, so you saying that means that I'm doing something right."

The kid stared at Izuku for a few seconds, his mind seeming to buffer at his words. "You're a weird guy, you know that?"

"Oh, he knows." Eraser interrupted, still working on making the food.

Izuku turned to send a small glare at the pro who met it with a smirk and Izuku just stuck his tongue out at him. "Look kid, I'm flattered that you seem to think I'm some hero, but I'm not."

"You're not training with the rest of those idiots?"

"Nope."

He seemed to take this new information in for a moment before looking back up at Izuku and giving him a slight hum. "Then what are you doing here?"

Izuku chuckled and jabbed his thumb back in Eraser's direction, "I'm grounded, and he forced me to come to help with his class."

"He your dad or something?"

"Nah, he's just like that." Izuku caught Eraser rolling his eyes out of the corner of his eye and saw Mandalay smiling at the clear relationship between them. She was glad that Eraser had found someone who he genuinely cared for. The two had known each other for a while but this was the first time she had ever seen him care for someone so unconditionally, almost like a child.

She lightly shook her head at the thought. No matter how much those two denied it, their relationship went past just mentor and student or whatever it was. She just wondered when they would finally admit it.

"So, you gonna tell me your name or not? It's kinda rude to not introduce yourself back to me, but you did also try to punch me, so it's not like that's the rudest thing you've done so far-"

"Kota."

Izuku gave the kid a small smirk. Aw man, this kid was going to be a pain, he just knew it, but he also knew that he liked him already. "Nice to meet you Kota. Now, are you gonna help us cook or just stay brooding against this wall?"

"I'm not brooding!"

"Do you even know what that means?"

"Listen here you little-"

Izuku laughed at the boy. He reminded him of a time in his life that made his smile soften with a tinge of sadness. Kota, he acted a lot like Katsuki when they were young and still friends. Something about that sent a ping through Izuku's chest as he looked at the child chopping vegetables beside him.

He was a good kid, he could tell, but he was hurting. That anger, it was a mask, and it made Izuku wonder what had happened to make him like this. What had taken that childish light out of the boy's eyes? What had ripped away his happiness and replaced it with so much bitterness and pain?

Chapter Text

"I wish you were dead."

"That makes two of us!"

Smack.

Both boys winced as Eraser hit the back of their heads. "Toshi don't encourage him, he might actually try to do it again and I can’t handle that this week."

Izuku sent a glare at the hero as his friend tried to hold back a laugh and cover it with a cough, but he assumed that he hadn't tried hard enough as he got his own glare soon after. "He's not wrong, and you already promised no dying this week."

"Shut up."

"You know you love us!" Hitoshi somehow found enough energy to put his friend in a headlock and mess up his hair as he tried half-heartedly to get away with a mock pout.

"Well kittens, you took longer than we had expected, but I guess we based it off of how long it would take us, oops." Pixie Bob was as spritely as ever, even after using her quirk to terrorize the students until the sun began to set. The class groaned at the clear insult, but the pro just brushed it off and continued on, "No matter. Now it's time to eat. This will be the last meal that we will prepare for you all, so enjoy it!"

Without any other prompting the students quickly went to get food and devour it as if they had never eaten a day in their lives. Izuku chuckled at how dramatic this class seemed to be and how much he knew it probably annoyed Eraser.

Even Hitoshi quite literally dug in, taking small breaks to make sure that Izuku was eating beside him and then once he did, returning back to his own meal.

The two of them sat with some other students but as everyone was very busy with scarfing down their food, there wasn't much conversation happening. So, Izuku took to simply observing. He looked around and tried to analyze each of the members of 1-A. He knew a bit about them from Eraser's stories, but the pro mostly kept things to himself, only talking about the more outlandish things his students would do or to brag about the ones he was particularly proud of.

Of course, if anyone ever asked, Izuku hadn't heard anything. He didn’t even want to imagine what Eraser would do to him if he ruined his tough teacher cred.

Once everyone was finished, the heroes announced that they would take care of the cleanup tonight while the students enjoyed their time at the hot springs and got as much rest as they could before the real training began tomorrow.

Izuku was perfectly fine staying and helping clean up, but Eraser stopped him and practically ordered him to go and bond with the boys of 1-A. For someone who accused him of getting too close with his students, he sure did want him around them a lot.

He knew that it would be a losing battle, so Izuku simply complied with the hero's request and walked with Hitoshi to grab their things to take to the room and then head to the springs.

"Minori!" Kaminari ran up beside Izuku with his signature contagious smile.

"Hey Kami, what's up?"

"Nothing much dude, just pumped that we're all here! I'm even more pumped that you got dragged along, even if it was more or less against your will, I'm still glad that you came."

Sometimes Izuku forgot that he had people who genuinely liked him now. He was so used to being practically invisible or hated that the easy friendship he had with some of the 1-A students still came as a surprise to him.

"Thanks Denks, and you know you can call me Izuku, right?"

The boy's eyes widened and somehow, so did his already too big smile. "No way, really?"

Izuku shrugged, "Sure, we're friends, aren't we?"

"Heck yeah, dude!"

The three boys finished taking their things to where they would be sleeping and then they left to join the others.

They were the last three there and so the changing room was relatively empty. Izuku began to change without a second thought. He had been slowly getting more comfortable with his body and he knew that Hitoshi was unbothered by his scars, so he didn't really think anything of it until Kami gasped from where he was changing.

"Wha-" He glanced down and remembered that the boy had really only seen his new neck scar and a few other ones that were visible on his arms and such. "Oh. Uh, sorry, I can-" He immediately got insecure about his scars and started feeling extremely uncomfortable with being so exposed. His scars weren't pretty, he knew that and it's why he didn't like showing them off much. He knew that most would see them and think they were horrible and disgusting, and he just couldn't go through that again.

"No dude, it's okay! I just didn’t know you…you look like such a bada** man." He seemed mesmerized by the scars on Izuku's chest, and the boy found himself blushing furiously from the attention.

I mean, it made sense. The T-shaped autopsy scar and his lightning scar from Conductor weren’t ones you saw every day, so of course he would stare. Izuku just hated that he didn't know what the blonde was thinking.

Hitoshi looked at him wearily, silently asking if he needed help, but Izuku shook his head and turned back to Kaminari who was still basking at Izuku's chest. "Uh, Denks? You good?"

The boy's head snapped up as his eyes met Izuku's, "Dude you're totally ripped! It's usually hard to tell cause you're just so tiny, but holy crap!"

"I know," Hitoshi agreed with a sigh as he finished changing, "Annoying, isn't it?"

"Will you two knock it out?" Izuku glared at both boys who burst out laughing at the weightless threat in Izuku's gaze. "I'm serious! Do you think it's okay for me to go out there? What if everyone thinks my scars are gross or-"

Toshi clasped his hand on Izuku's bare shoulder, causing the boy to flinch slightly at how cold his hands were. "You're overthinking again."

"…Sorry."

"You're good." His friend gave him a wide smile, or at least as wide a smile he could handle without hurting himself. "And if they say something, I'll knock them out."

"Thanks, Toshi." Izuku returned his violent friend's smile and the three of them left for the springs.

They walked out, Toshi and Denki talking about something as Izuku just smiled contently. He had friends…it was still hard to accept sometimes. And they actually liked him…just because. Not because he did something for them, or pity, or anything like that, they just want to be around him to be around him.

How did he ever become so blessed?

The classes were separated into different buildings so the 1-B students were probably at their own building, while the boys of 1-A were all chilling around the hot springs.

Most were already in the water, while some hung around the outsides just dipping their feet in, and others stood around just talking and relaxing. It seemed so comfortable, something Izuku had never really been a part of.

Shoto sat on the edge of the spring with one of his feet in the water talking to Iida quietly. His head looked up when Izuku approached and the boy gave what he assumed was supposed to be a smile, but it was too small to tell.

Izuku took his spot next to the boy and tested the water out. They didn't call it a hot spring for nothing, the temperature was steaming for sure. He hesitated in getting in, wondering if the hot water would be good or bad for his scars when Shoto lightly nudged his arm.

"Are you okay Izuku?"

"Hmm? Oh, yeah I'm fine, just contemplating my scars."

Shoto understood, after all, he did have his own scar and so he got it.

Hitoshi surpassed Izuku and got right into the water and let out a sigh as he sunk down to his neck. Izuku smiled softly and nudged the boy with his foot receiving a glare in response. "You having fun there?"

"Shut up."

Denki sat right next to Izuku and made sure to keep his body out of the water. As much as the boy probably wanted to join in and relax, it was too dangerous with his quirk and so he opted to just hang out from a safe distance. As long as he was with his friends, he was happy.

"You gonna get in?" Hitoshi asked as he eyed Izuku still contemplating the water.

He tested out the water once more and let out a hum. "I dunno, I might-WAH!" Before he could second guess himself anymore, a hand shoved his back and the boy fell into the water with a splash. He broke the surface looking like a wet cat as his friends laughed around him.

"Alright, who pushed me?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Yeah, I thought you just wanted to take a dip." The boys snickered as Izuku sighed and turned to Hitoshi who was also laughing at him. He waded over to his friend and shook out his hair like a dog, making the boy whine as the water got all over him.

"Ah come on, dude! It's not like I did anything!"

Izuku joined in with the laughter this time, and he sunk lower into the warmth of the water surrounding him. It was like heaven on his body, the heat comforting every sensitive scar and aching muscle. He let out a sigh and just stayed neck deep for a second before a voice cleared their throats.

"Um, can I ask?" Iida looked at Izuku with caution. "I understand if you'd rather not talk about them, but I've never seen your scars before."

Oh yeah, I guess that made sense, of course people would be curious and want to know about how he got them. He could be truthful with Iida, he knew of his quirk, but did he want to? Did he really want to talk about all of the times he had died, both intentionally and unintentionally? That might be too much for the boy.

Of course, it wasn't like Izuku took that into consideration often, he sort of lost any sort of empathy with the subject, but he still understood that it was an uncomfortable topic and he didn't want to give his new friends any reason to leave him.

Izuku's eyes flickered to Hitoshi who was watching him for his response, and then he looked back at Iida. "Sorry Iida, but maybe another time? I'd really rather not talk about all of that tonight."

"Understood. I apologize for asking."

"No, no, it's okay. Just…not tonight, alright?"

The other boys seemed to take the hint and their conversation moved on to more light-hearted topics such as school, crushes, and what they thought tomorrow's training was going to be like.

They looked at Izuku as if he had any idea what tomorrow would bring. Unfortunately for them, he was just as, if not more, in the dark as they were.

 

Katsuki kept his distance as he said he would.

He wouldn't go to Izuku unless the boy came to him first. He had said what he needed to and now it was up to him whether or not he was going to accept that apology and move forward. It was out of Katsuki's hands now, but that was okay.

Even though he kept his distance, he still watched and glanced over at his old friend.

When he had first come out, Katsuki had to keep his jaw from dropping. All of those scars…where did they come from? Being a vigilante shouldn't give you that many scars, so then how did he get them?

It was clear that the boy was nervous about showing them off like that, but he seemed to relax as he was around his group more. Good. He deserved some good people in his life.

Even as he was thinking of this, his mind kept wandering back to Izuku's scars. It wasn’t like he was bothered by them or anything, but something about them…the placements of some seemed a little bit too perfect.

Had he gotten those from dying? He knew that the boy couldn't technically die, but he didn't know the exact logistics of all that. What if his scars had come from…what if he had-

No. That wasn't his business. He lost the right to worry about him when he first started bullying him. Didn't make the pit in his stomach go away though…

 

"Alright class," Eraser's tired voice rang out over the half-dead students who seemed a moment away from falling asleep.

The morning's wake-up call had been rough. Everyone had issues getting out of bed, but Hitoshi and Shoto had to literally drag Izuku out of his bed in order to wake him up. The boy was like a corpse with how heavy he had been sleeping and they even had to call in Kaminari to give him a little wake-up jolt.

Izuku stood by Eraser as he spoke. The boy looked horrible, the bags under his eyes could be considered designer at this point, he hadn’t brushed his hair out and so it was still a mess from sleeping, and he looked like a walking zombie. He scowled as he stood there, probably not even meaning to, but that was just his default when he was tired.

"You're all going to be working individually this morning to strengthen your quirks and then after lunch we're going to move onto combat training and conditioning. Your bodies matter just as much as your quirks do and it is very important to hone your skills in the event that you are unable to use your quirk."

Izuku began to look better as the day progressed. He watched over the students as they trained. He would walk around and analyze what their quirk was and how they could improve it, he would even jump in and help sometimes.

It was exactly as Shouta had wanted.

He knew that Izuku was an amazing analyst even if he didn't show it often and he also knew that the boy was incredibly smart. It came as no surprise that he was able to jump right in and start directing his students on what they could do to reach their full potential and it even brought a small smile to the hero's face.

Izuku finished his rounds and came back to stand beside an observing Eraser.

"Having fun?" The pro asked, his eyes still on his students.

Izuku hummed followed by a yawn.

"It looks like even just a small bit of your advice had helped the students tremendously."

"I think you're milking it a bit. All I did was share some suggestions I thought of."

Eraser shrugged with a hum, "Agree to disagree."

Izuku scoffed and was about to retort back with something, but his train of thought was cut off as his head whipped around to stare at something behind him.

"What's wrong?" Eraser immediately went on the alert as he watched the boy search behind him intently.

"I thought-" He tried as he furrowed his eyebrows. Izuku knew that he had felt something just then. A shiver rolled up his back and he felt like he was being watched, but that didn't make sense. They were in the Pussycat's property, and no one should have the authorization to be there except for them.

What was going on?

"Sorry, I just-I thought I felt someone watching me. Guess it was nothing." But that feeling didn't go away as it wrapped its cold tendrils of anxiety around Izuku's chest.

Eraser searched where Izuku was looking but saw nothing. Nobody should be here, but that didn't mean anything. "I trust your instincts. I'll let the Pussycats know and try to see if we can put some measures into place just in case."

"Okay," Izuku breathed out, his chest still tight as his tried to wrap his mind around what could be going on.

"it's almost lunch anyway, I'll talk to them then."

 

Hitoshi dropped into the seat next to Izuku with a groan and immediately laid his head on the table.

He had been working on his quirk and testing the limits of what he could do which was great, but the migraine he could feel coming on wasn't so great.

Izuku rubbed the boy's back with sympathy and went to fix his friend a plate of food. He had sat down as soon as they were done making lunch and so he hadn’t even thought about eating yet. He came back and lifted Hitoshi's head so he could slide the plate in front of him.

The boy sat up and pouted at the plate of food and then at his friend. "Thank you."

Izuku hummed in response as he took a bite and Hitoshi began to pick at his own serving.

The students were talking about their training earlier and asking Izuku questions of how he thought they could improve, and the boy shyly complied. He wasn't used to being asked to help people and especially not with quirks. When he was younger, everyone would call him weird and creepy for all of his notebooks, but now people seemed to value his skill, if you could even call it that.

Izuku answered their questions and took to observing as he usually did. He looked over to where the Eraser was eating with the Pussycats. The other two members had popped by to say hello, Ragdoll and Tora, but left soon after to get back to the 1-B students, and he saw Kota brooding at the end of the table.

The boy didn't have any food and looked like he was pissed about something, but Izuku guessed that there was rarely a time when he didn't.

He nudged Toshi telling him that he'd be right back and then made his way over to fix the kid a plate and bring it to him. He came up behind the boy and plopped the plate in front of him. The kid jumped at the sudden appearance of Izuku, and he couldn't help but smirk when he realized that he hadn't even been meaning to mask his presence, it was just something that happened after his time with Stain.

"You're going to hurt their feelings if you don't at least try the food they made."

Izuku crouched beside the kid and began to fiddle with some grass on the ground.

Kota scoffed, "Why would I want to eat something made by any of you losers?"

"Um, because it's good?" Izuku pushed the food closer to the boy and gave him a pointed look, "Eat."

"You're not my father…" The kid mumbled out as he began to push the food around the plate.

"I'm aware, but you still need to eat."

"What about you?"

"I'm older, I don’t need-" Izuku was cut off as a familiar plate of half-eaten food plopped on the table in front of him. He looked up at Eraser who was glaring down at him.

"Eat."

Izuku let out a sigh and grumbled, "Yeah, yeah…" as the hero went back to sit down. He hadn't even noticed that he'd left.

"You sure he's not your dad?" Kota asked as Izuku looked up and was met with his raised eyebrow as he looked back and forth between the two of them.

"I'm sure," Izuku stuffed some food in his mouth and began chewing, "Eraser and I have a weird relationship. It's kind of hard to explain, but let's just say that he's more of a bother-figure than anything."

Kota mummed in response as he began to shovel food into his mouth as well. Must've realized he was being stupid and put away his pride.

"So, what did you do this morning?"

"None of your freaking business."

Izuku nodded as he took another bite and decided to leave the conversation there, but apparently, Kota had other ideas.

"What, you're not going to push me to answer?"

"Why would I? You clearly don't want to talk."

"I-" The kid started but stopped as he gaped at Izuku who raised an eyebrow at him. "Why don't you treat me like everyone else? They all tiptoe around me and talk to me like I'm three, why don't you?"

Izuku hummed as he finished chewing and took a sip of his water that Eraser had also brought him. "I dunno, you just don't really act like a kid, so I don't feel the need to treat you like one. Would you like me to start-"?

"No!" He yelled out as he waved his arms in front of himself, "No, it's fine it's just-no one's ever spoken to me like that before."

"Why do people walk on eggshells around you?"

Izuku didn’t know that the topic he was treading was the one thing that hurt the boy more than anything else ever could. He had no idea how it felt to have someone ask while casually eating food and splitting your attention.

A small sniffle caused Izuku's head to turn and when he did, he saw Kota with his head down and his fork shaking slightly. "Hey, are you-"

"Shut up! Just shut up already! You're such a freak and loser for wanting to be a hero, even if you're not training with the rest of them! Just get out of here already! Leave me alone!"

The boy's loud voice caused Izuku to lean back as he tried to keep his cool in the face of this child. His screaming was loud enough that almost every head had turned in their direction and Izuku didn't want to be the center of attention, let alone get yelled at again.

So, he took one last big bite of food and stood up to leave as the kid breathed heavily from his outburst.

Yeah, something had definitely happened to Kota…but what, Izuku wondered.

Ever heard of the phrase "curiosity killed the cat…"?

 

Dabi was beginning to feel uneasy with everything that was happening.

He had joined the league to get back at his bastard of a father, not to attack children and abuse and treat another like some sort of object. Dabi was bitter and angry, but he wasn't heartless.

Despite his better judgement, he had kept tabs on his family throughout the years. He even watched little Shoto at the sports festival on tv. Serpentine, or Izuku Minori apparently, he had done something. He wasn’t sure what or how, but he knew that in some way, that kid had helped his brother.

Everyone knew about the vigilante's involvement with the Stain incident, but almost no one knew that Shoto and another of those 1-A brats was there as well. Dabi had only met the kid once, but he already liked him, especially because he had seen how he treated Shoto.

Some might think that he would feel bitter and hatred towards Endeavor's golden child, but all he felt was pity. Don't get him wrong, he used to feel all of that, he used to hate his brother's guts, but then he took a closer look and saw just how horribly he was treated by their father, and he just couldn't bring himself to hate him when he knew exactly what it was like.

Regardless, Dabi still wanted to kill the number two hero and he needed connections to do that. Hence, joining the League of Villains, but he did not sign up for whatever that Overhaul guy was doing to that little girl.

He had only caught glances of the actual child, but Shigaraki had talked to him about what he knew was going on and Dabi was absolutely disgusted. How could someone treat a child like that? It brought too many memories he had worked hard to bury a long time ago.

There wasn't much he could do, however. Everything was preparing to go down and their leader was on even higher alert than usual. The scratching and constant whining were already bad, but now that was all amplified. Add the extra incongruency that were his mood swings, and the guy was practically a nightmare to be around.

Things were about to get bad. And Dabi wasn't sure what to do.

Chapter Text

"Okay you little terrors. I hope you filled up on energy, cause you're going to need it for this fight training."

Shoto leaned to the side to whisper to Izuku who decided to stand with the class rather than by Eraser. "Is he always like that?"

"Yep."

"Even at home?"

"Uh huh."

"Yeah, he's the worst." Hitoshi added in as he kept his attention on his teacher.

Izuku looked around Shoto at his friend with furrowed brows, "Oh don't act like you don't have posters of him in your room."

"IZUKU-"

"Is there something you'd like to share with the class boys?" Eraser's voice brought their attention back as he glared at his two menaces.

"Sorry Eraser."

"Sorry Eraser."

"Izuku, please come stand next to me."

The boy let out a groan as he began to drag his feet to the hero, "You suck," He bit at his friend who smirked back at him.

"Believe it or not, this idiot is actually a very good fighter and will be your opponent this afternoon."

"What?!" The class chorused as Izuku whipped around with his own, "What?"

"First we'll do short one on one battles and then at the end you will all try to attack him at once. Sound good?"

"Wha-no! That absolutely does not sound good!"

Eraser raised an eyebrow at Izuku and let a smirk slither onto his face, "What? You think they'll beat you or something?"

Izuku scoffed and let the conversation go with a grumble. If they continued on, he would end up being outed as Serpentine and there were already too many students in this class that knew.

"That's what I thought. Now, Shinso, you're up against him first."

"Aww, come on!" Hitoshi groaned as the two met in the middle of the circle of students.

Izuku smirked at his friend who was looking worriedly at Eraser. "Come on Toshi, you should be an expert on losing to me by now."

"Shut up." The boy charged but was quickly wrapped up in Eraser's capture weapon.

"I didn't say start. There are rules and you two need to listen extra carefully unless you want to be extra grounded."

"But I'm not even grounded!" Eraser sent a glare at Hitoshi and the boy stiffened immediately.

Eraser explained the basic rules. Fights would last no longer than three minutes, no face or private hits unless absolutely necessary, no weapons, and no quirks. They were simple enough, but also vague enough to be able to have some fun.

The two boys got into their fighting positions and Eraser called out the start of the fight.

Hitoshi charged first, knowing that if he didn't get the first hit in, he was done for. He ran at Izuku and meant to grab him around the waist and tackle him to the ground, but that plan went out the window when Izuku ducked down, grabbed Hitoshi by his waist and flung him to the side.

"Hitoshi is down. Next, Ojiro."

The fights went on. Izuku won them all, as was expected. He had been an active vigilante for months now and had been personally trained by both Eraser and Stain. The students were putting up a fight, but they weren't used to not using their quirks, so it almost felt like child's play to the boy.

Of course, there were a few exceptions. Ojiro, even without the advantage of his tail, was still a skilled martial artist and almost gave Izuku a run for his money, but the boy did end up beating him. Go Oba was also a bit of a difficult win. Mina Ashido was a surprise; the girl was extremely flexible and agile, but she was also a beginner and so he easily won against her. Ochako Uraraka was also a nice surprise, although Izuku did notice that a few of her moves seemed a bit too familiar to be her own. This was confirmed when he went up against Katsuki.

Katsuki and Shoto were the two most difficult wins out of the class. Both were exceptional students who trained their bodies as well as their minds and quirks. Both had fight training and were fairly strong. Izuku beat Katsuki when the boy hesitated to hit him at the beginning of their match and Izuku threw the boy to the ground. The two did not exchange any words, just accepted what happened and moved on.

Izuku beat Shoto by fighting dirty. Having been trained by the number two hero, he was a very good fighter, but he was also very clean and precise, just what you'd expect from the dick. Izuku however, learned how to fight on the streets and was not as nice as Shoto was. He ended up punching the boy in the throat and tripping him as he stumbled back earning a glare from his friend before he helped him up and complimented his technique.

It was just as Eraser had expected and it helped to give him some perspective on each of his student's progress so far.

Izuku had done a good job, but now it was time for the fun part.

"Alright class, now that each of you have gotten a good sense of Izuku's skill and fighting style, I want you all to work together to try and take him down. Same rules apply, no quirks, no weapons, and no unnecessary violence. Other than that, good luck."

Izuku looked at the twenty hero students who were looking at him like he was the last piece of meat on a deserted island and gulped. Oh, this was going to be fun. He allowed a small smirk to form on his lips before he launched himself backward and far enough away that the students would have to come after him if they wanted to take him down.

It was a lot. Not only was it a twenty to one ratio, but there were also a decent number of good fighters that, if they worked together, could give Izuku a run for his money.

Luckily for him, hero students typically thought about number one, and so it took them a while to actually work together. That gave Izuku time to take out as many students as he could. He had just tossed Momo Yaoyorozu to the side when something crashed into Izuku's side.

He looked up but saw nothing but a floating shirt and shorts in front of him. That's when he remembered the invisible girl and frantically began to wave his arms through the air, before he bumped into what he hoped was the girl's arm and he threw her off to the side.

At least she was taken care of…

She was dangerous. In a real-life scenario, her stealth could make or break a fight and so it's important that she learn how to properly hone and utilize her quirk and skills to their upmost potential. He'd have to mention something to Eraser about working with her on some more stealth techniques.

Izuku vaulted away as Shoto tried to bring his foot down on him and he took a moment to catch his breath. He had taken out most everyone except for the actual decent fighters.

Ojiro, Katsuki, Shoto, Mina, and Kirishima was there still as well. The rest of the class sat on the sidelines and watched intently as the five students surrounded Izuku.

It was fine. He could take them…probably.

All five rushed him at once, and Izuku had to maneuver around each of their attacks. It wasn’t easy, but he ended up behind Kirishima and he easily took him out and jumped out of Katsuki's reach as he tried to grab him.

Ojiro appeared behind him and Izuku took advantage of the guy's tail by grabbing and using it to throw him over to the other students who were out. He was flung into a group of them and took them down like bowling pins and Izuku returned to the others when Eraser gave him the thumbs up that everyone was okay.

Now it was just the three of them. They had surrounded him again but weren't doing anything yet. Almost if they were waiting for something…but what could they-

Wait-

"Toshi!" Izuku whipped around just as the boy jumped at him. The two boys went down and began to roll before Izuku stopped them and used his legs to kick his friend off of him.

He sprang up and dodged Katsuki's fist that ended up accidentally hitting Shoto and causing the boy to stumble. Mina ran around the boys and tried to get the jump on Izuku, but he simply sidestepped and grabbed her out of the air by the back of her shirt and threw her over to the rest of the students who caught her carefully.

The three boys recovered and Toshi immediately went after Izuku again. He slid to his knees and tried to take out Izuku's legs but ended up going under them instead and as Izuku landed, he crouched under another one of Katsuki's punches and landed a punch of his own to the boy's no-no-square. He went down and Izuku could hear Eraser yelling from behind him.

"Izuku! I said no unnecessary violence!"

"Believe me, it was necessary."

He ran at Shoto who wasn't too far behind the downed Katsuki, and he tackled the boy. They rolled and Izuku used the same move he did to kick Hitoshi off of him to launch Shoto away in the hopes that he would go down, but unfortunately the boy was better than that.

Hitoshi jumped on Izuku's back and tried to get him into some sort of chokehold but went down when Izuku grabbed his arm and flipped him directly onto the ground knocking the air out of him.

Two to go…

Katsuki got up shakily and glared at Izuku. "Alright…" He bit out, "I deserved that."

"You deserve a lot worse Katsuki, be grateful that I'm feeling generous!" Izuku called out as he exchanged a few blows with Shoto before he swiped the boy's legs out from under him and kicked him so that the boy rolled away and into a few of the sitting students.

That just left Katsuki. Excellent.

He charged the blonde whose eyes widened, and he instinctually brought his hand up as if he was going to set off an explosion, but his hand faltered just enough that Izuku was able to grab it and use it to swing himself onto the boy's shoulders and use his momentum to take him to the ground where he pinned him down from the back.

Izuku pushed his hand that was pressing down on the top of Katsuki's back and tightened his grip on the boy's wrist he was holding behind his back.

"Alright, that's enough." Eraser called out as he walked towards the two boys. He knew that if he didn't break whatever was going on up soon then Izuku's seemingly uncaring attitude towards the boy was going to shatter and fifteen years of pain and anger would rain down on Katsuki Bakugou.

He yanked Izuku to his feet and brushed some dirt off of the boy's back as he sent a quick glare down at the boy who was still recovering from his take down.

"Good job Izuku, so tell me, what are your thoughts?"

Eraser was talking about his class and their potential to be heroes. Izuku thought about it for a minute. His immediate answer was that he thought they were great, but he knew that Eraser wanted an actual thought-out answer that would give him some ideas of things to work on with the kids.

"They need to practice working together. Most came at me individually and that's why I took them down so easily. While it's true that there is strength in numbers, if those numbers do not work together properly, they are meaningless. But other than that, good job guys, you all gave me quite the run for my money."

Shoto was crouched down catching his breath when he looked up at Izuku with a raised eyebrow. "Really?" He knew better. He knew just how skilled he was in fighting, and he knew that with the training with Stain that none of his classmates had even stood a chance against him.

Izuku shot him a very quick smirk confirming his suspicions and the boy decided to let it go.

"Umm," The air questioned lightly, and Hagakure's sleeve raised as if the girl had her hand raised like she was in class. "So, who are you exactly? You look about our age and you seem to know a few of our classmates pretty well and you're like scary good at fighting. Not to mention whatever is going on with you and Mr. Aizawa's father-son-relationship-"

"It's not like that!" Both Izuku and Eraser yelled out simultaneously and then glared at each other before looking back to the air above her shirt.

"Okay, okay…but seriously, who are you?"

Izuku shot a look at Eraser and took a deep breath.

"As I've said, he's tagging along so that he doesn't get into trouble while I'm here dealing with you lot. That's all you need to know."

"Okay but why are you so good at fighting? Some of your moves even match Eraser's, there has to be some type of relationship between you two."

Eraser groaned as he rubbed at the inner corners of his eyes. "Hagakure, I'm going to pretend you didn't ask that question and so are you. Understand?"

The girl let out a sigh, "Yes Sensei."

"Alright, go get cleaned up and ready to start making dinner."

The class complied and bid their teacher goodbye as the made their way back to their rooms.

 

Like the past few meals, the students worked hard to make dinner. It was exhausting and they were all so done that they would've rather done anything else, but not only does this build up their cooking and bonding skills, but it also helps teach them the importance of making something yourself. Not to mention the discipline. It was like one big teaching burrito and Shouta loved it.

He watched as his students worked, Izuku right alongside them. Shouta sighed, Izuku would do so great in his class if the boy only accepted the offer. Eraser wished that he had the heart to just force the kid, but he knew that he didn’t have that kind of authority over him. He wasn't his father, and he didn't need to be.

The students finished and began digging in like wild hyenas when Eraser caught a curly mop of green sneak off out of the corner of his eye.

He immediately sent a glare at his number one problem child, and he must've felt some sort of disturbance in the universe or something, because his shoulders tensed before he turned around to meet a scowling Eraser.

The boy gave his best innocent smile and held up the two plates he had in his hands. When he did, it clicked in Shouta's head that Kota wasn't around and that the second plate was most likely for the child.

As much as he didn't want to let Izuku out of his sight, he knew that he was the only one that the kid barely tolerated and that he needed to go talk to him.

Eraser let out a deep sigh and gave the boy a small nod in permission as he slightly beamed at the pro before setting off to wherever the kid was hiding. As he turned his back, Shouta had to hide his face in his capture weapon.

Izuku didn't smile all that often and so whenever he did, especially those big smiles that reminded him too much of Hizashi or Emi, he couldn't help but smile back. It was like it was contagious or something.

 

It wasn't hard finding the kid. Even if Izuku wasn't practically a pro at stealth and tracking thanks to Stain, Kota just was not trying to hide well enough, and it was child's play following his footprints up the mountain side.

The path opened up to a large cliffside that outlooked a lot of the forest. The sky was in full view above them and Izuku had to stop and just take everything in for a moment before he made his presence known.

"Hey, thought you might be hungry." Izuku walked over to the kid who was sitting on the edge of the cliff with his legs dangling over the edge.

As he did, Kota's head snapped up and he shot a glare at the boy who had taken the seat beside him and set one of the two plates of food he had on the ground. "How did you find me?"

Izuku took a bit of food and rose his eyebrow at the kid, "Call me a magician," He managed to get out through a mouth-full of food.

Kota rolled his eyes and glared at his plate that Izuku picked up and placed in his lap after a few moments.

"Eat."

"You're not my dad."

"I know, we've been over this. Eat."

The kid huffed out a breath before complying to Izuku's instructions. The two of them ate in silence for a bit. Izuku just taking in the views and how beautiful everything around him looked.

Kota ate beside him. The kid tried to seem like he didn't like the food all that much, but Izuku saw how hard he was fighting scarfing everything down. He looked back out and let out a sigh. He had dealt with so much, had gone through so much pain, but it was moments like this, being with the people that had been brought into his life, that he almost, almost, thought that maybe it was worth it.

Those thoughts didn’t usually last long, but they were there. Yeah…they were there.

"You know," Izuku started, waiting for the boy's head to turn to him in a question, "You can talk to me. I won't think any less of you or treat you like glass. I've dealt with my own fair share of crap to know just how annoying that is."

Kota stopped chewing and simply looked at Izuku for a minute. The boy tried to not make eye contact as to give the kid some sort of respect, but he was starting to get nervous.

"Or not-you don't have to or any-"

"No, it's fine. You're cool or whatever I guess." Kota mumbled out as he took one last bite and set his plate off to the side. "But if you tell anyone I'll punch you in the balls again and I won't miss this time."

"Technically you didn't miss but continue."

The kid shot him a glare before taking a deep breath and keeping his attention on his hands in his lap. "The reason I live with Mandalay now if because of my parents. Do you um-do you know the Water Hose heroes?"

Realization shined itself in Izuku's mind and he couldn't help but look at Kota and start taking note of every similarity between him and the duo of pros he used to be obsessed with.

"My parents…they uh, they were killed. Murdered." Kota's fists balled in his lap and his expression turned angry, "All because of their stupid quirks and hero-if they hadn't-if they just loved me more then-"

Izuku placed a hand on the now trembling boy's shoulder. "Hey, you know that's not true. And you know that being a pro has its risks, we're constantly giving our lives for the sakes of others, it's just what we do."

"Yeah?! Well, if they hadn't been heroes then they'd still be here! And I wouldn't be so…so alone." Kota's shoulders slumped and Izuku pretended his didn't hear the quiet sniffling coming from the boy. "So stupid…left me…"

"I know you don't mean that. You know your parents loved you and that they would give anything to be with you again."

"If they hadn't left in the first place-"

"Then they wouldn't have been heroes."

"But they'd still be here."

Izuku couldn't say anything. What would he even say? Kota had lost the two most important people in his life to hero work, and he has convinced himself that heroes are why his parents died. While heroes weren't the reason, being heroes definitely played a part.

He was right in a sense; hero work is dangerous and all consuming. You must constantly put others before yourself, even giving your life for them in some cases. That's just a fact of life, but how does one try to explain that to a child? How are you supposed to look at a kid who just lost his parents and tell him that they were heroes and died an honorable death?

You don't.

And this conversation wasn't going anywhere else tonight, Izuku knew that. So, he simply sat in silence, made sure that Kota knew that he was here for him by just literally being there. After some time, the sniffling stopped and the two sat in comfortable silence, until Izuku deemed it time to go back and dragged the kid down the mountain side so that he could get to bed.

But he would keep trying with him. No kid deserves to feel alone like that.

Chapter Text

"Looks like you have an admirer." Eraser whispered to Izuku while he was in the middle of observing some of the student's individual quirk training.

Izuku's eyes darted over to where Kota stood hiding halfway behind a tree, not even hiding at all, and then back at the student who was shooting as much tape as he could from his elbows. He hummed and circled the student. "He's been there since this morning, don't know why though."

"Maybe he just likes you."

Izuku let out a small laugh, "Yeah right, because I'm sooo likeable."

"Believe it or not, some people actually quite enjoy your charm."

"Aww Eraser," The boy looked at the hero with sad eyes and placed his hand over his heart, "I didn't know you cared."

"I didn't say me, idiot."

"No, but you felt it."

"Did not."

"Did too."

"Can you two shut up please? I'm trying to focus." The student grunted out as he continued to push himself, even though he looked to be in severe discomfort.

The two of them apologized and decided that they should move on to another student before they distracted him anymore.

"So, what we have planned for tonight, do you think it's a good idea?"

"Absolutely." Izuku nodded as a small smirk crept up his face, "I'm so glad you didn't go with the test of courage, this is going to be so much better."

"It better be. It was your idea."

"They're going to love it."

 

Official training had ended for the day, and everyone was cleaning up from dinner and buzzing about the special activity Eraser had said that they would be participating in tonight. Hitoshi had tried to pry the information out of Izuku, but the boy was practically a safe when it came to secrets. No matter how much you tried, he just wouldn't budge.

Once they finished, they all went to meet their teacher right in front of the woods where they found that the 1-B teacher Vlad King and the other two Pussycat members also were.

The class questioned the surprising arrival of the other teacher and pros, but before they could speculate too much, Eraser called all of their attention to him.

"Alright, we have something very special planned for you all tonight. We thought that it would be nice if you all got to do something fun, so for tonight's activity, you'll be going up against class 1-B in a game of capture the flag."

Students all around broke into excited whispers but were quieted by their teacher's cold glare and unmistakable feeling of their quirks being erased.

"The other students are already on their side hiding their flag, the boundary line is the trail. If you get tagged, you'll have to go to their team's jail and can only be broken out by an untagged teammate. The goal is to infiltrate the other class's territory, find and capture their flag, and bring it back over to your territory. Got it?"

Choruses of yes sirs and shouts of approval filled the air and Eraser threw a bright yellow flag to Iida and told him to figure out a good place to hide it where the other team will be able to find it if they make it over here.

He explained some more in-depth rules and then it was strategizing time.

Izuku had decided to referee along with the Pussycats as Eraser and Vlad King had to teach the students who didn't pass their exams in some extra classes. The failed students practically had to be dragged away and Izuku sent the poor kids a sympathetic smile before he went back to observing 1-A's strategizing.

Hitoshi seemed to be integrating well. Izuku was a bit worried that it might be hard for him to transfer in halfway through the year, but it seemed as though the students of 1-A were more welcoming than he had given them credit for.

They finished their strategizing and sent two of the students to go hide the flag and confirmed that they were ready to start.

Mandalay used her quirk to let everyone know that it was time to start and to explain a few safety rules just in case. And just as soon as the word start rang in everyone's head, the students were off.

It was entertaining seeing just how into the game everyone was getting. Eraser had thought that some sort of test of courage would be fun, but Izuku quickly bulldozed the idea and came up with this instead. He was glad to see that the students seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Mandalay decided to start walking around and monitoring, while the other members stayed to keep an eye on the two classes and invited Izuku to join her. He obliged and the two began making their way through the woods.

They walked in a comfortable silence. Izuku liked Mandalay, even if he didn't know her all that well, he could just tell. Unlike the other members of her team, the woman was more reserved and quiet. It was a nice change from the rowdiness that he had to put up with around the 1-A students.

The two of them kept their eyes on their surroundings, which seemed fine until that feeling crept up Izuku's spine again and he whipped his head around to see if there was anything strange he could point out, but of course, it was nothing.

"Is everything okay?" Mandalay asked from beside him.

He stared off just searching for something before he let out a sigh and turned back to the pro. "Yeah, I just keep on getting this feeling like something is off."

"Off like how?"

"I'm not sure, just like something is wrong and things are going to get bad. I've had it since we got here."

"Hmm, Eraser did mention something like that to us. Tora and Ragdoll did a full search of the forest and came up with nothing."

Izuku's brows furrowed, "Yeah, I suspected as much. I just can't seem to get rid of this sinking feeling I have."

"Well, I trust Eraser and Eraser trusts you, so I don't think you should discount your feelings just yet. Our instincts are there for a reason, to warn and protect us from things that we cannot necessarily see yet. We'll keep an eye out and make sure that everything is okay."

The two of them picked their pace back up and fell into silence once again. That was until the pro decided to break it.

"Kota…you have gotten pretty close to him, haven’t you?"

Izuku thought about it for a moment. He wouldn't say that he was close to the kid, but he had to admit that he had gotten closer than anyone else. "You could say that. He's a good kid, just has a lot of baggage."

"He told you." It wasn't a question. Mandalay could see the knowledge of what had happened swimming around in his eyes that were still bright even in the middle of a dark forest. "That's a surprise. He doesn't talk about it with anyone, not even me."

"Because you treat him like he's made of glass."

"Isn't he? He's a child who's lost more than anyone ever should at that age."

"You're right. He has lost a lot, but he's a lot stronger than you give him credit for."

"He shouldn't have to be."

"But he is." Izuku slowed his steps and looked up at the pro whose expression had turned melancholy. "I know better than anyone what that kind of pain does to you, and I know how frustrating it is to be treated less because of it."

Mandalay's eyes shot towards Izuku, "I'm not treating him less! I'm just trying to protect and love him and-"

"And protect him from pain that he's already dealing with. There's no use in trying to coddle him now. Like it or not, he was forced to grow up and deal with what happened; it's unfair of you to try to treat him like he didn't. He's not that same innocent little kid anymore."

The pro let out a sigh and stared forward, her eyes overflowing with sadness. "You're right…"

"Yeah, as much as I hate to admit it, I'm kind of an expert with that kind of thing."

"Understanding kids?"

"Understanding pain. I've been through more than my fair share of it, but now I'm able to help and guide others who are going through similar things."

Mandalay was quiet for a moment before she let out a quiet scoff, "You know, you sound an awful lot like Eraser."

"I will accept that as a compliment just this once, but do not ever compare me to him again." Izuku chuckled softly, trying to lighten the air just a bit and the pro laughed right alongside him.

"Alright, alright, I won't bring up the fact that he acts like your father."

"He's not my-" Izuku's words were cut off as the two suddenly began to smell the scent of smoke. Both of their heads snapped up in attempt to be able to smell more clearly and to try to find the source of the smoke. Izuku looked all around until he saw a rapidly growing pillar of black rising from somewhere in the woods. "I freaking knew it."

"We have to get back to camp and see what's going on. I'll contact everyone to meet us there so we can regroup and-" The two of them had started running back towards camp when Izuku suddenly stopped in his tracks causing Mandalay to stop as well. "What's wrong?"

"It's Kota. He's not back at camp, I know, I saw him sneaking off before we left."

"Where would he be?"

Izuku thought for a moment as he tried to keep his mind from racing with all of the worst scenarios that it could possibly think of. "I know where he is, and if we're really under attack, then I have to go."

"Wait!" Mandalay grabbed his arm as he tried to run off. "I can get to him and tell him to meet us."

"But what if we actually are under attack? There is no way that I'm allowing anyone to lay their hands on that kid. They'll have to kill me first and I'm not one to go down easily." He shook his arm from her grip and broke out into a sprint, running as fast as he could and praying that Kota was okay.

He raced up the mountain trail until he came to a familiar open cliffside, and everything seemed to happen in slow motion.

As he entered the clearing, his eyes zeroed in on Kota, who looked to be shaking and crying as a very large and deranged man stood over him. Wasting absolutely no time, Izuku swooped in under the man, scooped the kid up into his arms, and took off in the other direction.

The man hadn't even realized what had happened until Izuku was gone and he yelled out a taunting curse as he sprinted away with Kota shaking in his arms. "Very impressive, but you won’t be getting away from me that easily!"

One moment Izuku was running towards the trail down the mountain and the next pain erupted from his back and he was being knocked off course and found himself tumbling down the side of the cliff. He caged Kota into his chest and braced himself to take the brute of everything until he eventually got to the bottom and stopped rolling.

His arms stayed taut around the boy and get let out a groan as he tried to take in his surroundings. That guy must've slammed into him and sent him down the cliff. Great.

He shakily got to his feet, still holding Kota, and tried to figure out which way was to camp. He flinched slightly when the man's booming voice echoed down the cliff, and he took off again.

Unfortunately, he wasn't nearly as fast as he needed to be. With the extra weight of Kota, and the throbbing pain that was enveloping the entirety of his body, he wasn’t able to move at his normal speed, but that didn't mean that he was going to give up.

He just kept on running, whispering encouragements to the boy trembling in his arms, and hoping to God that he was going in the right direction.

When he felt the ground shake and a large boom sound behind him, he pushed through the pain and picked up the pace, just repeating prayers in his head over and over again that everything would be okay.

It wasn't too long before his surroundings began to look familiar, but he had to take a bit of a detour when he came across some strange looking fog that just stayed on the edge of the tree line. He wondered if maybe that was some sort of quirk and whose it was, because he knew that no one at camp had a quirk like that, but quickly brushed his curiosity aside in favor of pushing himself to run faster.

After a few more minutes, Izuku emerged at the camp where a bunch of students were gathered. He practically sighed in relief at the sight and actually accidentally barreled right into Hitoshi who could not look more relieved to see him.

The three of them went down, Kota still safe in Izuku's arms and the boy finally allowed himself to let out a breath of relief. Unfortunately, it was a short breath as suddenly that same man from the cliff emerged from the woods with his body looking like it got turned inside out.

Izuku grimaced and quickly shot to his feet and passing Kota off to Hitoshi who was still on the ground.

"Oh hoho? Lookie, lookie, so many young students to kill…" The man looked around with a wild hunger in his eye, until his gaze landed on Izuku, and that hunger seemed to intensify. "Let's start with you though, I love it when they run and you're quite fast."

Everyone was quiet, frozen and unsure of just what to do, when Izuku raced towards the man who had seemed to double in size and began to fight him.

Mandalay and Pixie Bob emerged from the crowd of students and watched in horror as Izuku zipped around the villain that had infiltrated their camp as if they were playing a game of cat and mouse.

Surprisingly, the kid was doing well with holding his own, but Eraser had mentioned briefly his skills and so the two thought that maybe it wasn't all that surprising.

Izuku circled the man, trying to land any sort of hit he could on him, but nothing seemed to quite work, and he had jumped into the air in an attempt to punch the guy when he was snatched up by the back of his shirt and slammed into a tree, his back seeming to curve around the trunk.

"Izuku!" Hitoshi instinctually tried to run forward to his best friend but was held back by a scarf wrapping itself around his wrist from out of nowhere. He turned and saw both Eraser and Vlad King storming out of the building they had been holding the extra classes in and as his teacher's eyes fell onto Izuku's limp body his eyes flashed red. "Eraser-" Hitoshi tried, but as the pro pulled him behind him and took slow steps forward, he knew that he was past reasoning.

As much as he hated to admit it, he cared for Izuku and let that care cloud his judgment a lot of the time. Mic told Hitoshi about how he had to hold the hero back from doing something he regretted multiple times when Izuku was involved, but Hitoshi also knew that he was in no position to try and stop him.

The boy's limp body moved slowly out of the corner of his eye and Izuku let out a pained groan that almost sounded more annoyed than anything. "Ugh…" He pushed himself to his knees and glared over at the large man with the cyborg eye, "Bi***."

He groaned as he got to his feet and rolled out his limbs as if trying to disperse the pain his body was in.

"Sup Eraser, you're late."

"Shut up."

"Yeah, yeah, you go high, I'll go low." Nothing else was said before the two were off and moving almost in sync with each other. Bobbing and weaving as if they knew each other's moves by heart and working seamlessly as they landed hit after hit against the man who was quickly getting frustrated.

He got his hands around Izuku again and frisbeed him at Eraser, who simply jumped over the boy who crashed and rolled on the ground before getting up with a curse and joined back into the fray.

Vlad King stood back and made sure that all of the students were behind him. He turned around and did a quick headcount, trying to see just who they were missing and noted that they were about ten students short and let out a curse under his breath.

The Pussycats had ended up either heading back into the forest to look for the other students or engaging in combat themselves. Two other villains had appeared and were being held off by Tora and Pixie Bob, one who looked like a teenage mutant ninja turtle who had just raided a knife store, and the other was carrying what looked like a huge rectangular magnet that they were using as a weapon.

Hitoshi turned his attention back to Izuku and Eraser's fight and found it already done with. Eraser had cancelled the villain's quirk and Izuku made quick work of knocking him out and tying him up with those zip ties he always had on him.

The two stood up, both panting and eying the villain before looking back at each other. "You good?" The pro asked and the boy simply nodded.

"Where's Kota?" Izuku did a quick scan of the students and his expression immediately softened when his eyes landed on the small child. "I'm so glad you're safe," He knelt down to wrap his arms around the still trembling boy.

"Me? What about you?" He sniffled into Izuku's shoulder, but thankfully he didn't seem to care. "You saved me and-and you could've died and-"

Izuku shushed the boy and rubbed his back, "It's alright, you should know me better than to think that I'd go down so easily."

"Yeah…you're right, you're kinda a bada**"

"Da*n straight." The two let out weak chuckles and Izuku got back to his feet and ruffled the small boy's hair before placing his hat back on his head.

Everyone! I discovered something from the villains, they're after the students Katsuki Bakugou and-

Mandalay's quirk rung in everyone's head, but was cut off when all of a sudden, the entire world around Izuku went dark and then…nothing.

Chapter Text

Time seemed to stop for Izuku, until just as suddenly as he was plunged into nothingness, he was spat right back out with a gasp of breath that seemed to enter his lungs for the first time in a while.

He crashed to his knees, still fighting for breath to reenter his body when an uncomfortably warm hand grabbed him by the back of his neck and yanked him to the side. Izuku let out a quiet whine and sent a glare to the hand's owner, only to see two very familiar bright blue eyes.

"Todoroki…"

The hand threw him to the side as the owner rolled his eyes, "Don't call me that idiot," He bit out as Izuku picked himself up and sent a sly smirk back at the guy.

"Wanna tell me what you're doing here?"

"Isn't it obvious? Also, you should be thanking me, I just saved you from being harassed again." He nodded his head to his right and Izuku's gaze flickered over to a blushing blonde who always sent a shiver up his spine whenever he thought of her.

"Hi, Izuku~"

"Toga, not the time."

The young girl pouted and took one of the knifes sheathed on the side of her thigh out and licked the still wet blood on its blade.

Izuku had to hold back a gag as he looked back at an equally disgusted looking Dabi. "Wanna explain what's going on?"

Dabi shrugged, "Just following orders. Boss says he wants you back, I came to deliver."

"I'm not going back there."

"You don't really have a choice, the only reason you escaped that guy's quirk was because of those stupid hero students."

"I'm not going to go down easily," Izuku lowered himself in preparation to take on both of the villains if not more.

Dabi sighed and ran his scarred hand through his black hair, "Thought you might say that. Compress!"

And again, Izuku's world was plunged back into nothingness.

The next time he emerged, it was utter chaos.

He came out gasping for breath once again and all of his senses seemed to return to him at once, which was extremely disorienting. Once he got a grip on himself, he took in everything around him, and his heart dropped at what he saw.

They were in a clearing; some students were there, and the villains looked to be retreating into portals opened by Kurogiri.

Tokoyami, Shoto, Shoji, and Kirishima were off to the side, frozen as they stared at their classmate in the literal clutches of a villain, the same teal eyed, burn scarred villain Izuku knew and was looking at in horror as he held his old childhood friend by his neck with his other hand threatening to set the boy ablaze.

He looked in the eyes of each of the students in the clearing, his eyes lingering on the bi-toned boy's horrified expression. Shoto gaped at the sight in front of him and when he was finally able to bring himself to say something, the only thing that escaped his mouth was a singular whispered name.

"Touya…"

The villain's eyes widened in surprise before they narrowed and landed on Izuku. He took a step back, one leg in the portal for his escape, before a smirk suddenly grew on his face and he dug out a small marble from his pocket, not breaking eye contact with Izuku for a moment.

One moment, the villain was simply holding a marble, and the next Hitoshi was in the same situation Katsuki was in, being held by the neck with no chance of escape without risking one or both of them possibly getting hurt.

Izuku's mind stilled as his eyes locked with his best friend's terrified ones.

There were no words, no secret messages or signals, just complete and udder silence as Dabi basked in the victory that seemed to have played out exactly how he wanted it to. However, unfortunately for him, he had underestimated Izuku.

Without another thought, as the villain stepped back further into his escape route, Izuku charged the villain and slammed into him, wrapping his arms around his body and causing all four boys to fall through the portal. The last thing he saw on the other side were the crazed eyes of his mentor before the portal closed and Izuku took in just how huge of a mess he had gotten himself into.

Sh*t…

He was in what looked to be another bar, bigger than the last one, was completely surrounded by villains, and was still sitting on top of a struggling Dabi.

The villain grunted and slapped Izuku's arm, causing the boy to jerk it away and rub the slapped area. "You snitch! You told my brother I was alive!"

"Of course I did, I had to figure out if I was right or not!"

"Aren't you supposed to be like an expert with secrets being a vigilante and all?"

"I am!"

"Apparently not, because you went and blabbed about me to my kid brother!"

"How was I supposed to know it was a secret?!"

"CONTEXT CLUES!"

"YOU DON'T HAVE ANY!"

"Will you two shut up? You're starting to give me a headache."

Both boy's heads snapped over to the young and scratchy voice that could only belong to a very special dust-man. Izuku's eyes traveled around the bar and eventually landed back on the still scowling face of Dabi underneath him. "I hate you." He drug out in a sigh before suddenly jumping off of the villain with both of the students in his hands and throwing them behind him as he crouched down in anticipation.

The two of them groaned as they hit the ground again, but other than that, they all knew that they were in an impossible situation and that if they tried to act out, they'd only get killed.

"Now, now, no need for that." Shigaraki stood up from the stool he had been sitting on and made his way to a feral looking Izuku. "We didn't bring you here to hurt anyone."

The very sight of Shigaraki made Izuku's blood boil as he remembered his friend's wrist after his conversation with the villain. He sent the coldest glare he could at the guy, "Forgive me if I don't take your word at face value. You don't exactly have the best track record of keeping your hands to yourself."

"That's fair. I never did get to apologize to you or your friend for…well, you know." He rolled his eyes as if Izuku's anger was more of a petty thing rather than completely valid as he had not only killed Izuku himself, but he had also hurt Hitoshi and Aizawa before. "Regardless, I have no intention of hurting you or your friends."

He nodded his head to the two boys behind Izuku and before Izuku could stop them, the words rolled out of his mouth, "He's not my friend, but touch either of them and you'll be the one dying this time."

"Touchy," Shigaraki began circling Izuku and messing with the hand on his face, "Aren't you supposed to be some sort of hero or something? Killing seems a little dark for you."

"I'm not a hero."

The villain's mouth stretched into a smile under his face-hand that looked like it was on the verge of breaking his face, "My point exactly. I really wish you would reconsider our offer Serpentine; you would be an invaluable member to the League."

Izuku let out a scoff as he rolled his eyes at the mere thought of doing so. "Over my dead body."

"Not as easy as it might sound it seems. Imagine my surprise when I learned of your quirk and told Master. He was even more interested that I thought he would be in you, although to be fair, he's always had an eye for you."

"That makes me uncomfortable."

Shigaraki's expression faltered as Izuku heard Dabi stifle a laugh that threatened to escape his throat.

"So that's why I'm here? To meet with your Master or whatever? Then why drag these two into all of this?"

The villain hummed as he eyed the two boys behind Izuku. "That one has potential. With such a destructive quirk and a little encouragement, he could do great things." He locked eyes with Katsuki who quickly looked away and shoved down the panic that was quickly rising in his chest.

His eyes moved to Hitoshi who hadn't stopped glaring at him since they got there.

"And this one," He leaned closer to the boy, ignoring the low snarl the came from Izuku as he did so. "We all saw his abilities at the festival, mind control…no one knows exactly how it works but a quirk like that…plus we needed some incentive to bring you here."

"You son of a-" Izuku's curse was cut off as Shigaraki placed his hand on the boy's shoulder and shushed him as he forced him back down into a crouch.

"Ah, ah, ah," He taunted, "I'd be careful if I were you Serpentine. Wouldn't want him to get in the middle of our conversation again, remember what happened last time?" He eyed the bandages still wrapped around Hitoshi's wrist and smirked before looking back at Izuku who, if looks could kill, would've murdered the bastard a long time ago.

"Thought you weren't going to hurt him."

"Plans can change." He shrugged as he eyes Izuku with a smirk. "I think we're done here for now," He turned back towards his league members, "Tie them up, separate them, and keep an eye on each of them. If one of them gives you a hard time, just make sure you don't kill them."

He turned back to Izuku; his eyes crazed with power as he spoke.

"Except for this one, Master would like to speak with him…privately."

Izuku glared at the hand-man as he circled around to tie him up. Two of the other villains went to grab the boys behind him and as he looked back, he met their eyes and shook his head, knowing full well that both of them would not hesitate to try and fight their way out of this. They looked at him and relaxed as their hands were forced behind their backs and the two of them were pushed through the double doors of the bar.

"If you lay a finger on either one of them-"

"We'll incur your wrath, blah blah, I know how it goes. Just shut up and stop fighting me." He did as told and allowed his hands to be tied around his back. Once Shigaraki was content with the restraints, he yanked the boy to his feet and began to drag him to the long bar counter, making sure to keep only four fingers on him.

He sat the two of them in some bar stools and suddenly the tv that sat next to the bar turned on and showed a screen of static.

"Hello Tomura." A deep voice came from the television and Izuku could feel every nerve in his body go cold at the sound of it.

"Master." He grinned, "Look who I brought for you."

"I see," The voice praised the young villain, "Very good, you did well."

The villain perked at the praise from the screen and Izuku had to fight to keep from rolling his eyes at the very obvious daddy issues staring him right in the face.

"Serpentine," The voice called Izuku attention, "It's wonderful to finally meet you, although, I'd rather our interaction be face to face." Izuku shifted on his stool a bit. Even though the words weren't particularly threatening, he doubted that it mattered what words left the man's lips, they would sound terrifying nonetheless. "Unfortunately, before we officially meet there are some…precautions that need to be handled."

What is that supposed to mean-

Izuku was suddenly shoved, chair and all, through a purple misty portal and slammed onto the hard ground, still restrained and unable to move.

Shigaraki followed Izuku through soon after and smirked down at the boy. "I wouldn't get too comfortable if I were you."

 

The next few hours were absolute hell.

If Izuku had thought he died a lot before, what they were doing to him now made that all seem like child's play.

He remembered his conversation with Eraser in the car and the hero's pleas for him to stay alive echoed through his mind. They echoed experiment after experiment until Izuku began to relive the conversation and a few other ones he had with the hero as the villains tested his quirk.

Izuku had a little inside joke with himself. He would always snicker at the thought that nothing could ever kill him as much as himself.

He was wrong.

Over and over again. They were testing how much he could die, how long it took him to come back, the repercussions of coming back, how extensive the healing was after dying…they tested everything. They killed him so many times, Izuku just eventually stopped feeling the pain.

At one point, everything just kind of glossed over and everything Izuku could hear and see was blurry, almost as if he was underwater, muffled to everything around him. Even in that state, he knew exactly what they were doing to him. You'd think that after so many times, he'd lose count, but he didn't.

One-hundred and two. That's how many deaths it took for them to finish their tests.

They finished and picked Izuku up, muttering about taking him somewhere, but the boy was too out of it to understand anything that was happening. His body was somehow completely numb and screaming at him at the same time. He felt as if he was being tied down with hundred-pound weights. He could barely open his eyes enough to take in that he was being moved before his eyelids fluttered back closed due to the overwhelming exhaustion that was coursing through the boy.

He had never felt like this before. Sure, he knew his quirk used up his energy and that he needed a few nights of recovery to get back to his usual tiredness, but even though he knew he was alive and healed, he felt like death…death that was dangling in the arms of whoever was carrying him until they got to where they were taking him and dropped him on the hard floor like he was nothing.

The boy slammed to the ground. Not even having the energy to react audibly, he just grimaced at the pain and laid there, defeated. Several footsteps echoed as they left the room and the door shut behind them and Izuku was left alone.

Well, at least he thought so, until a voice that sent ice down his spine sounded in front of him.

"Serpentine." The deep voice echoed in the cold room and Izuku felt his breath hitch as his eyes pried themselves open instinctually. It was as if the sheer amount of exhaustion he felt didn't matter in comparison to the absolute terror that voice instilled in him. "It's nice to finally meet you. I am All For One."

Chapter Text

Hitoshi grimaced as the screams started again. He glanced over at the blonde tied up next to him and the boy seemed to be in as much pain hearing them as himself.

It had been hours and they were still torturing Izuku, or whatever they were doing. That scarred villain, Dabi leaned against the wall. He was quiet, had been ever since dragging them to that room despite Shigaraki ordering that they be kept apart. He didn't do much of anything really, except brood against the wall and grimace occasionally when Izuku's screams sounded extra painful.

After a while, the screams stopped, and Hitoshi couldn't help the thoughts in his head running wild with what could've possibly happened.

He was brought out of his thoughts when the villain's phone rang, and he picked it up. "What?" Hitoshi couldn't hear the other line, so he made extra sure to pay attention to what Dabi was saying. "The girl is what? That bastard…how could he do that to a…I know. Yeah, they're fine, no trouble whatsoever. I-yeah, we all heard…Me too." And then he hung up.

Shinso groaned mentally. Could that conversation have been any more vague and impossible for him to piece together? What girl was he talking about and why did he get so angry when talking about her? And then he seemed to get sad…ugh, villains suck soooo much. He wished Izuku were here.

 

"I am All For One."

Izuku managed to push himself to his knees as he took in what was in front of him. The man was tall and dressed in a suit that didn't seem to have a single wrinkle or speck of dust on it. He was sitting in a large chair that sat in the middle of the room and he was hooked up to what looked to be a life-support machine. He noted one other detail and he looked over the man with tired eyes…he didn't have a face.

"All…For…You're the master Shigaraki was talking about…"

The man let out a deep laugh, "Indeed. You are quite perceptive Serpentine. I have to say, it is quite difficult to impress me, but you have managed to do it on multiple occasions. It's a shame you have no intention of joining us."

He paused, as if giving Izuku the chance to change his mind, but if he thought he would fold just like that, then the guy obviously wasn’t as smart as he thought he was.

"Pity." His voice hadn't changed, but somehow Izuku just knew that with that one word, he has sealed whatever fate this man intended to bring upon him. "You would've been so great by Tomura's side…alas, despite the disappointment of your refusal, I cannot simply let a quirk such as yours go to waste. That is why you are here."

What was he talking about? His quirk? Was that why those people had run so many tests on it? But what-

"You know my master…he really loves quirks. You could call him a bit of a collector."

The man cleared his throat, "Tell me Serpentine, are you familiar with the legend of All For One?"

"Seems pretty selfish to name a legend after yourself." Izuku muttered under his breath, his brain not knowing any other way of dealing with what was going on.

"Young boy, I did not create the legend. The people of this place back when quirks had just manifested told stories about my power and influence for decades. It died out after a while, the idea of being able to steal and give away quirks seemingly nothing but a fantasy, but I assure you that it is very much real."

Steal and give away quirks? What was he on about? That was impossible. There wasn't a quirk like that, and even if there was, they would've known about it. It was too dangerous to keep under wraps…right?

Decades…the dawn of quirks…

"I have been around for a very long time, and I have never come across a power quite like yours. The years have not been kind to me and I'm afraid that I am not as strong as I once was. That is why I raised Tomura to be my successor, but now…" The man stood up from his chair and removed some of the tubes that were under his sleeve before taking slow steps towards Izuku.

He was frozen. All For One approached the boy and Izuku could do nothing but stare at him as his frame began to shake in frightened anticipation of what was about to happen.

The villain stopped just before him and knelt down to Izuku's level. His featureless face staring directly into Izuku's wide terrified eyes. He stayed like that for a moment before the only distinguishable part of his face curled into a smirk and he brought his hand up to graze the side of Izuku's face.

"Oh child…you have no idea. No idea of the blessing your quirk is. Such a shame you were unable to see it. Don't worry, soon you'll be able to fulfill what you long for most. I'll make sure of it."

Even without eyes, Izuku could somehow feel the villain looking down at him as he remained frozen, his limbs shaking in fear, his heart beating out of his chest, sweat trickling down his back, and his throat feeling like it was beginning to close up.

"I'm grateful actually, I was going to take that girl's quirk, a quirk that can reverse like that could restore me to my former glory but yours…" The man caressed the side of Izuku's face, "There is no reason to fear, it'll all be over soon. That's what you want, isn't it? What you've been trying to do since the beginning? I am here to simply grant your wish as I have done for countless before you."

Izuku's breath hitched as the man brought his other hand to the other side of his face and held him in place. He took a breath in, and suddenly a pain erupted from deep within the boy.

He gasped as the pain steadily grew and the air around Izuku began to glow as All For One's hands began to feel hot against his skin. The boy tried to fight, to get out of the man's grip, but he could barely stay upright due to the drawback of dying so many times.

The pain grew more and more as Izuku began gasping for breath that never seemed to be enough. If he had to describe it, he would say it was as if he was being torn from the inside, as if a part of him was being ripped from him.

He whimpered out protests against the man as tears began to sting his eyes and he saw All For One grimace. "Stop…fighting…me!" He growled out as the pain doubled and Izuku lurched forward as he felt whatever was inside him being pried away from him. "This is what you wanted! Don't you want to see your mother again? Don’t you want to leave and not have to deal with this world anymore? I'm trying to help you!"

Izuku tried to cling to his quirk as it seemed to slip through his fingers. "Please…" Izuku whispered before it was gone. All For One let out a breath and as immediately dropped Izuku's head and the boy collapsed to the ground.

He twitched on the ground, his body trying to understand the sudden feeling of emptiness. His breaths came out raggedly as he tried to calm himself down.

As much as he had gone through…all of the pain he had endured up until that point…it didn't compare, to the pure agony he felt in that moment.

All For One began to laugh from above Izuku and the boy tilted his head to look at the man.

"I can feel it…this invulnerability…this security…no wonder you were such a good vigilante, I feel as if I can do anything."

"What did…you do?"

The man chuckled darkly, "Oh poor boy…I gave you what you always wanted. Now you'll be able to die properly as you tried to do all those months ago. I'll even do it myself, think of it as a thank you for your quirk."

He flexed his hands before beginning to kneel down to Izuku with his hand outstretched but stopped suddenly. His head whipped to the side as he stared at virtually nothing before the wall exploded and the man flew away from the boy.

Izuku closed his eyes to protect himself from the debris and smoke, but his body was too weak to move or even wince. What could've happened? Maybe it was Shigaraki? No, because All For One seemed caught off guard, so-

"Have no fear…for I AM HERE!" A loud voice filled the room as All Might's gigantic frame stood at the blown-out entrance as the smoke cleared. Izuku coughed some dust from his lungs and stared at the man with wide eyes.

What was he doing here? How did he find him? What happened to AFO?

The last question was answered as a low laugh echoed from the other side of the room and All Might's winning smile faltered slightly. "All Might…" The man called out, his voice nothing short of amused by the number one hero's arrival. "I have to say I'm disappointed, it took you thirty seconds to get from the bar to here. You're getting weaker."

"Oh yeah? How's your life support holding up?"

"You know I've never been a fan of conventional methods."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"Why don't you ask young Izuku here? Oh, my apologies, I meant Serpentine."

All Might looked down at the child who looked dead on the floor. He was riddled with scars, his skin was as pale as snow, and his eyes were rolling to the back of his head. "What did you do to him you villain?" The hero's way too loud voice boomed from above Izuku.

"Nothing he didn't want, I assure you."

"You…son of a-" Izuku choked out weakly before his voice died off as a fresh wave of exhaustion overtook him. "I didn't-"

"Well, All Might, as much as I want to destroy you, I must dispose of this one first. Thank you for your help young Serpentine, you have been invaluable to me, but now you have outlived your usefulness. Say hello to Inko for me."

Izuku's eyes shot open at the mention of his mother. How dare he…How dare he say her name as if he knew her-as if he knew him? "Take her name…out of your god*** mouth." The boy sent a glare so cold to the man that AFO was almost tempted to flinch, but instead his mouth curled into a smirk as he watched the weak boy push himself to his hands and knees. So weak…so useless…as he's always been. From dust back to dust as they say, he supposed.

All For One outstretched his hand to Izuku and the boy's heart lurched.

Wait-this was what he wanted, right? Mission accomplished or whatever. So why did he feel like this? Why did the deep feeling of dread not go away as he looked at the man as if staring down the barrel of a gun?

He wanted to die…he wanted to leave and go be with his mother…right?

But if he left, what would that do to Hitoshi? The boy was his best friend, his brother, and he knew…every time Izuku would joke about dying or talk to the boy about his past he saw the sadness in his eyes no matter how much he tried to hide it.

And what about Eraser? He promised…he had promised him that he would stay alive…

He stared wide-eyed at the man who wore a sadistic smirk as if he were simply about to squash a bug under his shoe. But Izuku wasn't a bug, he was a person and he deserved to live. He…he wanted to live.

The boy looked up, his body burning with a newfound fury directed at the thumb standing over him, and he chilled his glare at the man's sadistic smirk. "Try it. I dare you-"

It all happened in the blink of an eye. Izuku was blown back from air that came from the man's hand and crashed through the wall of the building, landing on the rocky ground outside. He wheezed as he tried to take in the breath that was knocked out of him, but before he could even move, a black tendril had come from the building and raced towards the boy.

It impaled itself into his side. Luckily, he was able to roll so that it hopefully missed anything major, but it still hurt like a bit**. He let out a cry as blood splattered from the wound and then he let out another strangled cry when he was lifted off the ground and two more tendrils embedded themselves into Izuku's body. One in his left shoulder and one in his right thigh.

A low laugh echoed through the air as Izuku watched the villain slowly emerge from the building they had been in, his smile prevalent on his face and two more black tendrils protruding from his back. "What was that? I couldn't quite hear you." He yelled out with another laugh.

"You son of a-" All Might shot from the building, crashing into AFO which resulted in the tendrils detaching themselves from Izuku and retreating back to their host. With nothing else holding him up, the boy dropped to the ground, wheezing as he rolled over onto his back and tried to focus on the pain shooting through him and not the overwhelming desire to just stop fighting and let go.

No. He couldn't do that, he promised Eraser…and Izuku wasn't one to break promises.

The fight between the two men was intense. Even from as far away as Izuku was, he was still being affected by the sheer power of it. Wind whipped around and blew rocks and debris at the boy who did his best to ignore it and roll back onto his back after being blown back and crashing into a large bolder.

It began to become harder to breath as the boy felt warm liquid enter his lungs slowly and he coughed and coughed to try to get it out, only resulting in more entering.

Footsteps sounded behind him, but he couldn't bring himself to worry about it until a short old man in a cape and mask stood over him with a solum expression.

"I'm so sorry my boy, you never should've been a part of this fight." He looked over his shoulder at the two men still duking it out and let out a shaky breath. "And I'm sorry Toshinori, but I have to get him to safety. Don't you dare lose." He turned back to Izuku and knelt down to pick the boy up.

Adjusting him so that the hero's arms were supporting him under his legs and behind his back, he stood up straight and went to take off, but was blown back, dropping Izuku as the boy crashed and rolled on the ground.

"Sh*t! Don't you dare give up on me boy! I thought you were supposed to be strong!" The hero picked him up again and took off, leaving the fight far behind them.

He brought Izuku to the outside of a building filled with heroes and tied up Nomus. He touched down, stumbling a bit as he did, and called out for help.

Heroes and paramedics alike raced towards him and snatched Izuku out of the man's arms before he dropped him. "Help him, he's hurt, coughing up blood, multiple puncture wounds…"

"We've got him Gran Torino, don't worry." One of the heroes assured the old man as two paramedics looked Izuku over.

"Young man, are you okay? Can you tell us your name?"

"All Might…All For-wait." Izuku coughed violently before looking around frantically. "Eraser…I need-"

"What kid? What do you need?"

Izuku began to take quick short breaths as a very familiar feeling crawled up his spine. He knew that feeling all too well, that feeling that your time was up…but he couldn't, he needed- "My da-where's Eraser? I need Eraser!"

"Calm down, we've got to get you taken care of first, okay? Tell me your name."

No, no, they didn't-he was running out of-WHY WEREN'T THEY HELPING HIM?!

"No, you don't understand! I need him, he's-I need my dad, get me Eraserhead!" Izuku tried to fight the hands that held him down as they transferred him into an ambulance. "Please…" Tears began to race down his face as his breaths got shorter and shorter, "I need to tell him…I promised…"

The paramedics began to work on the boy, hooking him up to machines and checking his vitals, but he knew it was too late. Tears gathered in his eyes as he thought about how angry Eraser was going to be, but one of the paramedics pulled him from his thoughts, "Hey, it's going to be okay. You're going to be-"

"Kid?!" A low voice called out turning every head towards it. It sounded weaker than usual, almost like it did that day in the car, but when Izuku looked up and saw him, everything washed away leaving him to let everything he was holding back out. "Kid!"

Eraser began to run towards where the boy was, knocking anyone in his way aside until he got there and leaned down over him. He ran his hand over Izuku's forehead and into his hair as his other hand found the boy's free one.

"Eraser…I-I'm sorry. He took it-I'm so sor-"

"Hey-hey, don't apologize. None of this is your fault, okay?"

Izuku tried to fight back a sob as he watched the man above him slowly break down, "No I-I promised and…"

"You haven't broken it yet, and I'll be damned if I'm going to let you, do you hear me?"

"No Eraser, he took it…I can-I can feel-"

"Don't you dare talk like that. You're going to be okay, alright? You're going to be fine; Hitoshi would kill you if you weren't."

The boy's breath hitched at the mention of his friend, and he tried to get out the words that seemed to stick to the back of his throat. Eraser saw his panic and quickly shushed him.

"He's fine. We were able to save him and Bakugou."

Izuku breathed out a breath of relief before a fresh wave of tears overcame him. He took in a sharp breath, every one of them hurting now it seemed, "Eraser?" His voice broke slightly as he fought down the sob that threatened to escape. "I…I don't want to die. Please don't let me die…" He choked out a breath and reached his hand up to grab at his chest that was starting to physically hurt from his crying.

"Izuku-"

"Did I um, did I ever tell you that you're like a father to me? N-not like the crappy biological one I've got, but like the one I used to dream about as a kid…I-I don't think I've ever told you that."

The hero shook his head as he tried to fight back his own sobs, "Stop it. Don't you dare talk like that-"

"That's pretty embarrassing right?" Izuku let out a pained laugh, "Admitting that I actually care…You know, I forced myself to act like I didn't care about anything or anyone. Guess that plan sorta went out the window when I met you and everyone else, huh? Kinda hard not to care when people care so much about you…"

"We do!" Eraser choked out, "We care so much about you so please-"

The boy let out a sigh as he leaned his head back with closed eyes before looking back at the pro's tear-stained face. "I'm glad I got to say that. You deserved to hear it after all the crap I put you through."

Eraser let out a small scoff before smiling slightly down at the boy, "Yeah…but I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I told you I wasn't alone when we first met, but I don't think I understood what it meant to truly care for someone so unconditionally until you came into my life problem child."

"Ugh, you're so sappy."

"Shut up."

The two of them let out small laughs as they looked at each other, mutually basking in the walls that had been broken down, but also sitting in the morning that both of them were silently doing.

Izuku took a breath in, ignoring the blurriness of his tear-filled eyes, "Eraser I really am sor-"

"Do not." Eraser glared at the boy, "You are going to be fine."

"Eraser…I can feel-"

"I don't care! We are going to get you out of here and you are going to be fine, just like you promised, got it?"

"We've got to get him out of here now! He's lost too much blood!" One of the paramedics called out as Izuku simply focused on breathing and on the feeling of Eraser rubbing circles on the back of his hand to comfort him.

He wasn't going to win this, Izuku knew that. Even though he knew his time was up and he could feel himself being taken, he knew that Eraser was more stubborn than that and would gladly fight the universe or whatever if it meant he could keep his problem child with him.

And for once…Izuku was fine with that.

Chapter Text

Eraser couldn't take this.

He was standing outside of the E.R. waiting for Izuku to get out of surgery. The doctors said that he was in pretty critical condition and that they would do their best, but that there wasn't a guarantee that he would make it through. But Izuku was stronger than that, he wouldn't let some surgery take him out. If he did, he knew that the hero would tease him about it for years.

He'll be fine…he's going to be fine…

He's strong…he doesn't want to die-

He doesn't want to die.

So much had happened that night. The camp was attacked, and the heroes jumped into action immediately, doing everything in their power to work as fast as possible. Of course, it took some yelling and threatening on Eraser's part for them to actually get a move on, but it happened and that's all that mattered.

Nezu tried to keep him on the sidelines to handle the media and throw the villains off their trail, but it was going to be a cold day in hell before Shouta didn't do absolutely everything he could to save his kids.

He went to the second sight with team B, team A going to where Yaoyorozu's tracker took them, and immediately found Hitoshi and Bakugou. They also surprisingly found a few members of the Shie Hisaaki which made absolutely zero sense, but he had bigger things to worry about at the moment than try to figure all of that out.

Shigaraki made a comment about some master and the vigilante, and All Might took off without further hesitation while the villain and a few of his lackies escaped through one of Kurogiri's portals.

Way too concerned about his last kid, he turned from the escaping villains and took off to follow All Might. It took him a while and when he did, that's when he found Izuku in the back of the paramedic van.

Now they were at the hospital, everything only happening in the span of a few hours that felt like an eternity in hell.

Hitoshi and Bakugou were both in the hospital as well, the two of them with very minimal injuries thankfully, and All Might was there somewhere as well.

Shouta was too busy with Izuku to really be paying attention, but he did know that the number one hero had beaten that "master" or whatever, and that his true form was broadcast for the world to see.

He would go check up on the guy, but Izuku took top priority at the moment.

The surgery took a few hours. Shouta was forced to go sit in the waiting room and was given routine updates on how the boy was doing as it went on. He waited and waited, the feeling that he was going to cry never quite leaving him, no matter how much he tried to push it down.

Hizashi joined him not too long after he was forced to sit down. Tsukauchi and Emi came as well, all of them just sitting quietly with Shouta, comforting him and whispering encouragements to him every once in a while.

Bakugou's parents had come through at one point, but he wasn't able to greet them properly. Thankfully, Hizashi stepped in for him and directed them to their son's room, before he came back to sit by Shouta, rubbing his arm that rested on his knee and held his head up every now and again.

As he waited, the hero couldn't stop the conversation him and the boy had had while in that ambulance from replaying in his head over and over.

The kid…thought of him like a father…he trusted him, and cared about him…

It was a relief to hear, but also kind of stressful. Shouta wasn't a father, he didn't know how to be one, especially not for suicidal teenage vigilantes, but as Hizashi would claim, he had been doing it for months. The only difference now, what that it was out in the open.

So, where did he go from here?

Hizashi broke away a few times to go visit Hitoshi. The boy was alright, and Eraser couldn't be more thankful. He wanted to go see him, he really did, but he just couldn't bring himself to leave. What if Izuku needed him, or what if-

That always happened when Shouta tried to think too hard about anything. Hizashi explained the situation and it took all of his strength to hold Hitoshi down so that he didn't get up and storm into the surgery room to where his best friend was.

He understood and told Hizashi to tell Shouta that Izuku was going to be fine and to keep him updated or else he'd get up and see what was happening for himself. Mic complied and returned to Eraser whispering something about how terrifying these kids were or something.

His friends stayed with him the entire time, only leaving to use the bathroom, grab him food, and to check on the students and pros in the hospital. They made sure that Shouta ate and drank while he was waiting even though they practically had to force him to do so.

After what felt like an eternity a doctor came up to the group and announced that the procedure went well and that Izuku was okay and resting in a hospital room. Shouta immediately jumped up and demanded to be told which one to which Hizashi had to force him back into his seat so that the poor doctor could continue to explain.

"The surgery, while it was successful, was also very hard on the boy's body. He was already weak when he came in and so he'll be out for at least a few hours. At the moment, we're only allowing family in to see him."

Eraser jumped up again causing his friend to sigh loudly, "I'm his dad."

"Now he says it…" Hizashi commented as he rubbed his eyes in frustration.

"From what I can see from his chart, the boy doesn't have any-"

"I'm his adopted father. He doesn't have any living relatives, so I took him in.'

The doctor looked back at his chart and then to Eraser with a grimace, "According to our records, Izuku Minori doesn't even exist."

"I'm the pro hero Eraserhead. He's been staying with me for months on the low because I am an underground hero and cannot risk the exposure, that's why your records wouldn't say anything."

"But that doesn't explain the tests we-"

"Listen. If you do not let me in to see that kid, I am going to get in there myself and I can promise you don't want to see me when I'm pissed off."

"Shouta-"

"I understand. Right this way Eraserhead." The doctor went to grab one of the nurses and told her to show him to Izuku's room since she was already on her way there.

He hated acting this way, but he had to see his kid. He had to see for himself that he was okay. "Zashi, keep an eye on Hitoshi and make sure that he stays in his room. Use Emi and Tsuki to help if needed, just please make sure that he stays in bed and rests, I can only handle so much right now."

"You got it. Make sure Izuku is okay for us, kay?"

Shouta gave his friend a brief nod before disappearing down the hall with the nurse. She led him to a room with a closed door and what looked to be like a full chart sitting in the holder on the wall. He grimaced slightly at that, so many papers and notes couldn't be good…

No. No, bad Shouta, you can't think like that. He's fine. He's good, and you're about to see just how okay his is.

The nurse turned back to him, waiting for him to be ready to go in and opened the door once he gave her a nod and took a deep breath. The door creaked open as she slowly pushed it forward and the hero braced himself for the worst.

They entered the room and were met with three other nurses fussing over a hospital bed and chastising someone. Eraser was only confused for a split second before one of them moved and he caught a glimpse of his problem child arguing with a red-faced nurse over the IV in his arm.

"Problem child…" He sighed as he stepped forward. All four heads turned to him, and the three nurses took a step back so that Shouta could properly see Izuku. "Aren’t you supposed to be half-dead or something?"

The kid froze in his attempt to mess with the tube hanging out of his skin and stared wide-eyed at the hero. The room remained silent for a few moments, everyone waiting for his reaction, for him to just do something, but he just continued to gawk.

"Umm, Izuku?" Shouta reached his hand out to try to lightly shake the boy back to consciousness but pulled it back immediately when he saw tears begin to gather in his kid's eyes. "Izuku? What's wrong? Are you in pain? What can I do? Tell me what I can do to-"

The boy's sniffling cut him off and he quickly wiped at his face with the heel of his palm. "No, no, everything's fine, it's just…"

"Just what? You can tell me, I'm right here…oof-"

Eraser let out a surprised grunt when a small body crashed into his own and held on for dear life. The nurses fretted over the boy moving so suddenly, but Shouta ignored them and wrapped his arms around Izuku's frail frame tightly, but not too tight in fear that the boy would shatter.

He let out his own sob as he clutched the fabric of his hospital gown and took a step forward so that Izuku wasn't reaching so far to hug him. "Hey, it's okay…it's okay," He whispered as he moved one hand up to rub the back of the boy's head. "We're okay, you're safe and everything's going to be fine now."

"I'm-" Izuku let out in a choked sob, "I'm so sorry…"

"Shh, it's okay. Listen to me, you're okay, we're both okay now, okay?"

"I thought-I thought I was going to-"

Shouta tightened his grip on the boy and shushed him as he continued to try and comfort him. "Don't think like that. You're okay, you're here, you're alive…everything's fine."

"When I saw you-wait…Toshi!" The boy broke from the hero's hold and looked around frantically at the nurses that stood behind Eraser. "Where's Hitoshi? And Katsuki, are they okay? Are they-"

"Hey, hey," Shouta grabbed the boy's shoulders and coaxed him back onto the bed in an attempt to calm him down, "They're fine. Neither were hurt too badly and they're healing in other rooms in the hospital."

The tension in his body seemingly evaporated as he allowed himself to sink back into the pillows of his hospital bed and let out a sigh of relief. "Okay…okay, that's good…"

"Let's focus on you for now; how are you feeling?"

"Like death warmed over."

Shouta had to hold back the laugh that tried to escape him at his kid's nonchalant attitude. "Can you um, can you tell me about what happened?"

This was dangerous waters, Shouta knew that. The boy had just been through probably the most traumatic thing in his life-and that was saying something-and he had only just woken up from the multiple surgeries he had to undergo just to stay alive.

He was asking a lot of him, but he was strong.

The boy's attitude immediately shifted and the mood in the room dropped so drastically Shouta could practically feel the unease coming from the nurses behind him. He turned to look at them, trying his best to look as non-intimidating as he could, "Could you do what you need to do and then give us a minute please?"

Each of them flinched slightly at the question and then got to work on a very irritated looking Izuku. They checked his vitals, readjusted the IV he had moved in his arm, took a look at his wounds and stitches that they were afraid he had torn when he hugged the hero, but he hadn't, and finally gave him some more pain medication and left after telling Shouta he had maybe five minutes before the boy would be out again. He thought that he had also caught one of them saying how he shouldn't even be awake right now under their breath but elected to ignore it.

He nodded as they filtered out and turned back to the boy, trying to keep his face as unbothered as possible for his sake. "So-"

"What do you want to know?" Izuku's tone was cold and hard, sounding almost identical to when he had first found him dead. Just sounding so hurt and broken, it tore at Shouta's heart to hear him like that again, but he knew he had to suck it up and get through this. Like a band aid, just get it over with and then he could deal with the healing, right?

"What happened after you got kidnapped?"

Izuku closed his eyes and took a deep breath before staring straight ahead and recounting what had happened with zero emotion.

He told him about how he was separated from the other two and taken to a place where they tested his quirk to it's very limit before dumping him at All For One's feet. Shouta had to completely school his face as the boy spoke even though all he wanted to do was scream and cry over what had happened to his kid. He spoke about it so coldly…but he could only imagine the pain of going through that torture must've been like.

He then went on about how All For One took his quirk and tried to kill him before Gran Torino saved him and brought him to the paramedics.

The story made Shouta want to throw up, but he composed himself as his kid talked and stuck it out until the very end. The whole situation reminded him a bit too much of when Kumo died, and he and Hizashi had to explain what had happened. It was one of the hardest things he had ever done, and he shut down just like Izuku. He just wanted the pain to go away and so he simply stopped feeling.

It worked for a bit, but eventually all of those emotions catch up to you and by then the dam has cracked and it's only a matter of time before you're overtaken by the tsunami you had been pushing off for so long.

He couldn't let Izuku do that, he wouldn't. He needed to get Hizashi and Hitoshi in here to talk to him, he needed the people in his life more than ever right now.

A thought popped up in Shouta's head and suddenly his right pocket felt impossibly heavier than it had a moment ago.

Izuku had left his phone behind before the classes went to play capture the flag and so Shouta had kept it for the boy expecting that he'd want it when he woke up. He reached into his pocket and slowly brought the device out, seeing that the pain meds were starting to pull Izuku under again.

"Hey, uh…I thought you might want this. The class has been worried sick about you and so your messages have been blowing up and I had to put it on silent. I'm going to go visit Hitoshi, text me when you wake up, okay?"

The boy nodded slightly, not even attempting to look at the hero. With a sigh, Eraser laid the phone of the bedside table and left the room, his heart somehow heavier than when he entered.

 

Luckily, dreams evaded Izuku in his medically induced sleep. He didn't even want to think of the nightmares he'd have to relive, so he was very thankful for the emptiness his frequent naps brought. Eraser left and he passed out soon after. He wasn't sure how long he was asleep for, but when he woke up it was one in the morning and Izuku didn't feel better in the slightest.

His entire body ached, and his limbs felt as if they were being chained down by anchors. His mind wasn't totally there either. He took note of how groggy he felt and the fuzziness that occupied his thoughts and shook his head in an attempt to clear his head but just ended up giving himself a headache instead.

He let out a groan before turning over and spotting his phone on the table beside the hospital bed.

He picked up the way too heavy phone and turned it on only to be met with texts upon texts from Denki and Kiri asking if he was okay and a whole bunch of texts from unknown numbers asking the same thing and letting him know that they were here for him.

Someone must've given the class his number, he thought. It was nice, to have people care enough to check up on you, he supposed, even if they amount of notifications he had were slightly annoying.

It looked like Toshi had gotten his phone back as well and was awake if the text he sent followed by a game of eight-ball was any indication. Izuku pulled up the game the two boys had started and sent it back after absolutely crushing his friend, and also sent him a text letting him know that he was awake and okay.

He went down the line of unknown texts, trying to decipher who was who just from the encouraging words or lack-there-of they sent. He was able to deduce a few, but honestly, all of the texts looked the same and his headache was only getting worse, so he decided to give Eraser a call letting him know that he was awake and request some more pain medication before a certain text from an unknown number caught his eye.

The message was very different from the others he had received. There were no apologies, no well-wishes or words of encouragement. There was only one simple sentence. Four words that made his blood run cold.

 

Unknown Number:

                                                I need your help.

Chapter Text

Unknown Number:

                I need your help.

Izuku:

                Who is this?

Unknown:

                A friend…or at least someone who wants to be

Izuku:

                I'm going to need more than that

Unknown:

                Let's just say that I'm still pissed at you for outing me to my brother

Izuku:

                You son of a-

Dabi:

                Yeah, yeah, I know. Now listen. The League is still alive and Shigaraki is calling the shots now that his master is gone.

Izuku:

                Okay…and what does that have to do with me?

Dabi:

                Wow.

                And here I thought you were a hero…

Izuku:

                I'm not a hero.

Dabi:

                Touchy, touchy…jeez, okay.

                Anyway, remember how we were working with the Shie Hisaaki for a minute?

Izuku:

                Vaguely.

                It's kinda hard to pay attention to that kind of stuff when you're being tortured

Dabi:

                Okay, okay, but I wasn't a part of that btw. I was the one who had to babysit and keep your little friends alive.

Izuku:

                The Shie Hisaaki?

Dabi:

                Right. Anyway, they're still here, but there's a problem…

Izuku:

                And why should I care? You guys kidnapped me and my friends, tortured me, killed me over and over again, and then tried to kill me after stealing my quirk. Not exactly bestie vibes if you know what I mean.

Dabi:

                Okay…fair. But again, that wasn't me.

                Anyway, the problem is that they have a child here.

Izuku:

                A child?

Dabi:

                A little girl

Izuku:

                Why would they have a child with them?

Dabi:

                They're using her. They're hurting her and using her to make this serum or something…I don't know, all I know is that they're hurting her, and I can't do anything about it

Izuku:

                Not to sound like a dick, but why do you care? Aren't you supposed to be a villain?

Dabi:

                I'm not a monster. I just want to get back at my dad, but this is an innocent child…

                And I remember being her. I remember being so small and weak and being used like an object by those who were supposed to love and protect me.

                I can't watch them do that to her.

Izuku:

                Then why don't you stop them?

Dabi:

                I can't.

                That's why I'm asking you.

Izuku:

                I'm kinda in the hospital healing from your boss almost killing me atm

Dabi:

                I know but

                Please. Please, I need your help, I can't keep watching as they hurt this little girl. I can hear her crying at night when she thinks that no one's around and…

                And it's heartbreaking

 

Izuku didn't know what to do.

If what Dabi was saying was true, they the League and Shie Hisaaki had an innocent child and were torturing her for their own gain.

…He knew that he was hurt. He knew that he had almost died and that he was lucky to be alive right now, but he also knew that he was the only person who could do something to help her.

And if he just sat back…no, he couldn’t do that. He couldn't just do nothing when he knew that there was a child out there going through the same, if not worse, thing he did. Not when he knew that he could help her. And wasn't that why he had wanted to be a hero in the first place? To help people…

He had to help.

 

Izuku:

                Okay.

                Send me the address. I'll be there by midnight tonight.

 

Eraser was starting to get on Izuku's nerves.

He had called the hero after his conversation with Dabi letting him know that he was awake and ever since, he hadn't taken his eyes off the boy.

It was almost like he could sense that he was going to do something stupid…

Actually, he probably could, to be honest.

"How are you feeling?"

Eraser sat in one of the chairs on the side of Izuku's bed, he had a book in his hand and was sat back with his ankle resting on his knee.

Izuku let out a sigh, "I wish you would stop asking that."

"Can I not worry about your health?"

"You can, but you're acting like a helicopter parent."

Eraser shot up, his legs bracing to get up even though he stayed seated, "I am not!" He relaxed back after glaring at Izuku's snickering form. "I hate you."

"I love you too…dad." Izuku raised a teasing eyebrow that earned one of the hero's famous eyerolls. "Oh come on, you've got to admit that it's funny."

"It's weird is what it is."

"Eh, that too."

Eraser let out a sigh and closed his book before leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees. "I'm just glad you're okay."

"Me too…"

"If me asking questions is bothering you, then I'll stop."

"No, it's fine, I just wish you wouldn't treat me like I'm made of glass. I'm still the same problem child I was before."

"Except now you're one-hundred percent less likely to come back if you get in a mood and decide to jump out of the window."

Izuku let out a scoff as he laid his head back and looked up at the plain ceiling. "That's true, but I promised to stay alive, remember?"

"Promises can be broken…"

The boy glanced back at the hero who was staring at the ground and avoiding his eyes. "Hey," He called out causing Eraser to look at him, "I'm okay. I'm not going anywhere, alright?"

"Right…sorry."

Izuku smiled softly at the hero, but inside he internally grimaced. He wished that he didn't have to lie to the guy, but he knew that he would never let him do it if he knew. It hurt to look Eraser in his tired eyes that looked on the verge of breaking and tell him something that he knew wasn't true.

How was he going to sit there and promise to stay alive when in just a few hours he was going to be sneaking into the League's new headcounters to save a child that he wasn't completely sure was even there.

For all he knew, Dabi could be lying to him and be trying to lead him into an ambush so they could finish what AFO started.

It was a stupid risk to take with the probability it was a lie being so high, but he had to. If there was even the slightest chance that Dabi was telling the truth and there really was a little girl there, he had to try.

He wouldn't be able to live with himself if he didn't.

He just couldn't tell anyone. Not even Toshi. The boy knew that something was up as soon as he saw him, but let it slide after Izuku begged him to drop it. It tore him apart to lie to the people he loved and betray their trust, but there was no other way.

The heroes couldn't take another fight. Too many were hurt and out of commission due to Kamino Ward and everyone was still mourning the loss of the Symbol of Peace. If he told Eraser, he'd try to do things the legal way and then they'd have even less of a chance of saving that child and more people would get hurt.

He had to do this, and he had to do it alone.

It was funny. Just when he finally accepted the people who loved him and agreed to live for them was when he had to put all of that to the side and run into a situation that he knew would kill him. He just hoped that they didn't hate him too much for what he was about to do.

He had to believe that they would get over his death and continue to live their lives. Hitoshi would take a while, but he'd be fine sooner or later. He was in 1-A now and was on his way to being the hero Izuku always knew he would be, and he even had some friends. He'd be okay…eventually.

Eraser would take it hard. He would blame himself and tear himself apart with what ifs, and he had to believe that Mic, Joke, and Tsuki would be able to bring him out of that dark place. He would have to know that there was nothing he could've done to stop Izuku. Maybe he should leave him a note…yeah, that'd probably help. He'd just have to write it when he wasn't looking.

He should actually probably leave a few notes, just to put some minds at ease.

Wow…didn't this feel familiar.

Only this time, he really and truly wanted to live. Izuku wanted to stay with the people he had somehow gained by no power of his and live happily, growing and laughing with them. He wanted to continue living with Eraser and slowly figure out just what their relationship was. He wanted to stay with Hitoshi and continue to remind him that he was not a monster, that he was going to be a great hero-the best hero. He wanted to keep laughing and making fun of Eraser with Mic and he wanted to continue to annoy Tsuki every time he went to the station. He wanted to see Denki to the end and watch as he used his quirk to help people without hurting himself. He wanted to watch Katsuki grow into the person he was trying to be, and who knew, maybe one day they would've mended things and become friends again.

Too bad all of that probably wouldn't happen. Not now…

Eraser left after another few hours and told Izuku that he needed to go to sleep and rest or he'd be back to annoy him until he did. Izuku nodded and shot a teasing comment at the hero as he shut the hospital room door and as soon as it closed, Izuku's face fell.

It was time.

Chapter Text

It was time.

Izuku looked at his text messages and put the address Dabi sent him into his phone's GPS before tearing back the covers, quickly changing into the clothes that Eraser brought him a while ago, and sneaking out of the window as quietly as he could.

Being so far up was different now…scarier. If he missed his footing even just a bit there wouldn't be a second chance. That would be it.

Huh, was this how normal people felt? Scared of accidentally dying and everything just disappearing? Crazy how just a few days ago this was all that he wanted and now he was terrified of failing.

No. He couldn't allow himself to think like that.

He made it down to the ground relatively unscathed. Scaling a building and jumping down to the hard ground was not the most comfortable after almost dying and having to rely on regular bodily healing and the quirks of others to get better. He missed his reset after dying.

As he snuck down to the street and onto a bus, his body screamed at him. Everything hurt, the areas around his stitches were sore, and he was messed up from not training for a few days. His body wasn't used to this anymore, but he wasn't going to let some silly thing like that stop him.

It didn't take too terribly long to get to where he was going, but it took long enough for Eraser to apparently check on his empty room and blow his phone up.

Izuku thought ahead and turned off his location before he left along with blocking any tracing that could be done through his phone. He silenced the pro's texts and did Mic's and Hitoshi's just to be safe before getting off the bus and making his way to where his GPS led him.

It was dark out. I mean, obviously, it was eleven-forty-five, but where he was didn't have any streetlights, or at least ones that worked, there were no cars either, so Izuku had to rely on his night vison to see where he was going.

When he finally arrived, somehow, he wasn't surprised. The League seemed to really like their bars even though he wasn’t entirely sure that Shigaraki was old enough to drink. He guessed that underage drinking was child's play compared to trying to kill the Symbol of Peace and kidnapping children, but whatever.

He sent a text to Dabi's number letting him know that he was here, and it wasn't long before a familiar scarred face poked out of the back door.

"You're early." He said unimpressively as he looked the boy up and down.

"I like to think that I'm punctual. Anyways, I just want to get this over with, show me where the girl is."

The villain nodded before leaning back inside, looking around, and then quickly pulling Izuku through the door by the collar of his shirt.

He dragged him to a dark room off of the hallway where they weren't so easily seen and closed the door behind them.

"Alright, if this is an ambush, can we please just get on with it. I'm really tired and-"

"Will you shut up?" Dabi aggressively whispered as he crept around the room, peaking through windows and making sure they were in the clear.

Izuku put his hands up in surrender and waited patiently for the guy to be done.

Dabi walked past Izuku and flicked on the light switch before turning to him with furrowed brows. "What do you mean ambush? Did you think that I lied to you and was just trying to kill you?" Izuku shrugged in affirmation to which the villain gaped. "I would-you really thought I would do that?"

"You are a villain…"

"I-" Dabi let out a breath and visibly relaxed his shoulders before turning back to look at Izuku. "I wouldn’t do that. Believe it or not, I actually kind of like you."

"Of course you do…" Izuku sighed earning a pointed look from his partner. "Don’t give me that look."

"Anyway, the girl is hidden in a room a few halls down. It's locked and guarded, but I can distract the guards if you can pick the lock and get in."

"And you're sure this isn’t an ambush?"

"YES, I'M SURE!"

"Okay, okay," Izuku chuckled quietly before peeking out of the door and checking that the hallway was still empty. "Alright, let's do this." The two of them snuck their way through the building and were met with practically no problems which put Izuku's instincts at unease. "Kinda weird for a villain hideout to be so unguarded."

"Our numbers were severely decimated after Kamino Ward. Plus, no one knows about this place, so no one's worried about raids."

"Huh, ironic." Dabi looked back and matched Izuku's smirk before the two of them continued down to where they were going.

As they got closer, the number of people around grew, which made sense Izuku guessed. If they were using this girl like Dabi said, then she was very valuable to them.

They snuck around and avoided being seen by at least ten people before they ducked into an empty room in order to take a breath. They sat in the dark and quietly closed the door so that no one would accidentally walk in before they turned on the light and were met with Himiko Toga staring right back at them.

She immediately pounced on Izuku and sent the two of them to the ground, her straddling him and pressing down on his sore chest making him wheeze. "Whatcha two doing?" She asked innocently as Izuku looked to Dabi for help and was met with a shrug and sent a glare at the guy.

"Toga, how did you catch us?" He asked walking around to meet her eyes.

"I followed you, silly. You've been acting suspicious all day and I thought it'd be fun to see what you were up to. And I'm glad I did~" The girl leaned down and brought her face just centimeters away from Izuku's before she was yanked off and thrown to the other side of the room. "Hey! No fair Dabi!"

"For once, can you keep your hands to yourself? We're kinda in the middle of something important."

Toga stood up and gave Dabi her signature pout as she brushed herself off. "And what might that be?"

Dabi helped Izuku to his feet and the two shot a look at each other silently debating whether or not they should tell her, before Dabi sighed. "Remember that girl that Overhaul is using?"

"Yep!"

"Well, we're going to save her."

"Oh…sounds fun! Can I help?" The girl bounced on the balls of her feet and slowly got closer and closer to Izuku who looked at Dabi who, in turn, glared at her.

"Why would you want to do that?"

The girl shrugged lightly, "Things have been boring ever since the Master was arrested and I've been looking for something fun to do for days!" Her eyes seemed to visibly light up as she examined Izuku over and licked her lips.

Izuku rolled his eyes and turned to Dabi. It would be a risk to allow her to help, but they were also only two people up against two villain organizations. Plus he knew her best and would know if it was safe to trust her, if just for a while.

Dabi sighed and turned to Toga. "Can you control yourself?"

Toga let out a huff and took a step back, crossing her arms. "Yes."

"Then sure, we can use all the help we can get."

The girl clapped her hands together and she jumped up in joy. "Yay! I get to work with Dabi and Izuku…I bet you're just as excited to work with me as I am to work with you right?" She leaned forward and Izuku sighed as he pushed her face back.

"Not exactly, but I appreciate your help."

It wasn't the nicest thing, but it was apparently enough for her because she cheered at his words to which both boys shushed her and reminded her that this was a serious and very dangerous mission.

"So, what can I do?" Toga asked as the three of them peered out of the room.

"You're going to help Dabi take out the Shie Hisaaki members while I get into the room and grab the girl."

"Okay, sounds fun!"

"Toga…"

"Yeah, yeah, I know. Important mission, I get it."

"Alright, then let's do this."

Dabi and Toga snuck out of the room and made their way to the end of the hallway where two men stood guard at a door. Each attacked one and while they were busy, Izuku snuck over to the door and easily opened it much to his surprise.

He went into the room and shut the door quietly, trying to make his presence as unknown as possible before turning around and being met with a pair of wide red eyes.

It was a bedroom. The walls were grey and dirty but covered by pink sheets that attempted to make the room seem brighter. There was a large doll house on the left wall surrounded by various toys and games sat on a pink area rug. On the back wall was a long bookshelf and two plush pink chairs. And in the middle of the right wall was a queen-sized bed with a small pale child on it.

She was tiny, way smaller than she was supposed to be, and ghostly pale. She was dressed in a dirty white gown and wore bandages that covered the entirety of her arms, legs, and what he could see of her neck. She had silver hair that was so long it spilled onto the sheets she was sitting on and had a few strands that fell in front of her face, but those strands couldn't block the large ruby eyes that stared back at him with curiosity.

The girl was frozen, her hands hovering over two dolls that she must've been playing with when he came in, and she didn't deviate her gaze from Izuku.

"Um…hi." He said quietly, trying to look as unintimidating and harmless as possible.

The girl waved at him mechanically but didn’t say a word.

He took a step forward, stopped and threw his hands in front of him in a gesture of surrender when the girl flinched, and then took another step when she seemed to relax. "My uh, my name is Izuku. What's your name?"

He didn't let his eyes leave hers and gave her a small smile in an attempt to entice her to trust him even though she had literally just met him. Honestly, he didn't know what he was doing. He didn't know a thing about kids, he had gotten lucky with Kota, and it was foolish of him to think that he would be able to save this girl so easily-

"E-Eri."

"What?"

"M-my name…is Eri." Her voice was so quiet that Izuku had to strain himself to hear what she was saying, but when he did, he couldn't help but tear up at the sound.

Her voice…it was so soft, so…broken.

No. He had to help her.

"Hi Eri, it's nice to meet you."

"Are you here to take me again? They just did a treatment on me and if you do too much then he has to fix me and then he gets annoyed, and I-I don't want him to get annoyed."

Izuku had made it to the bed and knelt down so that he was on the same level as she was. He furrowed his brows at her comment and looked at her curiously, "What are you talking about? Who is 'he'?"

"Chisaki. He gets mad if he has to put me back together too much."

"Chisaki…you mean Overhaul?" Izuku asked the girl.

She seemed to think about it for a moment before her expression lit up, "I think so, I've heard people refer to him as that name before, so maybe he has two. People with two names must be special…" She whispered to herself before looking back at Izuku with those big eyes. "Do you have two names?"

He could feel his heart break at this child. She was so young, so innocent, so pure, and they…they were monsters for using her like this. "I-yeah. I do actually."

"Really?" She gasped in awe, "Can you tell me what your second one is? I bet it's pretty just like your first one."

"Um," Izuku choked up slightly as he felt tears burn at his eyes but just smiled through it and let out a soft laugh, "Some people call me Serpentine."

"S…Ser…"

"Serpentine. It's okay if you can't say it, it's kind of hard to say sometimes."

"Then can I call you I-Izuku?"

"Sure."

"Okay! So, Izuku, what are you doing here? People don't usually come in here unless it's for my treatment."

Izuku furrowed his brows at the girl, "Treatment? Are you sick?"

She nodded softly before looking away from the boy. "Chisaki says that I'm very sick and that my sickness hurts people. That's why he does my treatment, he says that he uses it to cure other people of their sickness."

"And what exactly is this sickness?"

Eri pouted slightly before looking back up at Izuku, "I don't know. He told me one time, but I don't know what it means."

"Well, maybe I do. Can you tell me what he told you?"

She nodded again and brought her knees up to her chest. "He said that the world was full of this sickness called quirks and that he was working to cure everyone of it."

"Quirks…"

"What is that?"

"Oh, uh…" Izuku didn't really know what to say. He had never met someone who didn't know what a quirk was. "Hmm, I guess you could say that a quirk is kinda like a superpower."

"What's a superpower?"

"A superpower is something that a person has that isn't normal. Like some people are really strong and can lift thousands of pounds and some can run really fast. Some can make explosions or heal other people. Does that make sense?"

The girl nodded intently before looking back up at Izuku, her eyes significantly brighter than they were when he first saw her. "Do you have a superpower?"

Izuku sighed, "I did…"

"What happened? Did you lose it?"

"Not exactly. I was in a fight with a very bad man, and he stole it from me."

The girl pouted again and pulled at the covers beneath her. "I'm sorry. What was your superpower?"

"I could…um, it's kind of hard to explain."

"That's okay. So, can I ask why you're here again?"

"Oh!" Izuku blushed slightly at the realization that he had gotten on a tangent and shuttered out a breath. "Well, Chisaki is also a very bad man and me and a couple of my friends heard that he was hurting you…so we uh, came to save you."

"Save me?"

Izuku nodded and gave her a soft smile, "Is…is that okay?"

She was quiet for a moment. Izuku could feel his anxiety grow the longer she was silent. What if she didn’t want to be saved? He couldn't exactly force her to leave with him and even if he did, what was he going to do with her? What if-

"Yes." His spiraling thoughts were cut off by her soft voice and the feeling of her way too light body crashing into his. She wrapped her small arms around his neck and Izuku sat there frozen for a moment before he wrapped his own arms around her and picked her up.

"Alright. Now, I'm going to need you to hold on very tight. Leaving isn't going to be easy, but luckily my friends are very powerful and can help protect us, okay?"

Eri nodded into his neck and tightened her grip on him.

It was honestly very easy to hold her. She weighed light as a feather, but even if she didn't, he hadn’t lost all of his muscle mass in the hospital. Plus, the adrenaline racing through his veins mixed with his unwavering determination made him feel invincible even with the little voice in the back of his head reminding him that he wasn't anymore.

He could do this…he had to do this.

He tightened his hold on the girl and braced to face whatever was waiting them on the other side of this room.

Chapter Text

Izuku opened the door as quietly as he could and peeked his head through to see what was going on in the hallway.

Just as he was doing so, Dabi's own head popped out of the room they were hiding in before and he glared at the boy. "What took you so long!?" He whisper-yelled across the hallway.

"Doesn't matter, I've got the girl, let's go!" Izuku whisper-yelled back and rolled his eyes when Toga popped her head out of the room and waved excitedly at Izuku.

The three of them walked out into the open and conversed as to how they were going to get out of here. Once they figured out their escape route, they took off, Dabi and Toga in front and Izuku at the back, clutching onto the little girl in his arms like his life depended on it.

As they made their way, Izuku found himself whispering encouragements to the girl and telling her of some of the things that made him feel the most at ease. He ended up going on about Eraser and Mic and Toshi to which Eri really enjoyed hearing about and asked all about them and their superpowers.

Every now and then, they would have to duck into a room or take out a villain, but overall things seemed to be going well. Too well…

Just as the thought crossed Izuku's mind an alarm went off and the three of them stopped in their tracks. "Of course…" Izuku groaned.

Eri twisted her head to look in his eyes and gave him a weary look, "What's wrong?"

He shook his head and put on a soft smile for her even though he felt like doing everything but smiling. "It's fine, I just think that they found out you aren't in your room anymore."

"What's going to happen now?"

"Now, we're going to run, come on!" Dabi interrupted, grabbing Izuku's wrist and pulling him forward.

"Don't worry Eri, I won't let anything happen to you, I promise."

"It's not me I'm worried about-"

Her soft words were cut off as the hallway suddenly lurched and began to ripple. "What the-"

"It's Mimic, one of Overhaul's lackies. His quirk lets him merge his body with an object and take control of it, but he shouldn't be able to do it to this-" Dabi's words were cut off when a wall suddenly separated him from the group with a second one separating Toga soon after.

"Dabi? Toga?" Izuku called out, his voice bouncing off of the still rippling walls. He received no response and instinctually took a step backward that he regretted because he ended up falling into a hole in the floor.

He let out a yelp and clutched Eri closer to his chest as she screamed. Soon they hit the ground, Izuku curling so that he took the brunt of the impact and letting out a strangled noise at the pain. He laid on the ground, just trying to catch his breath that had been knocked out of him with Eri leaning over him shaking him and asking him if he was okay.

He managed to get out a weak assurance that he was okay and even was able to smile slightly but that smile fell when a deep voice chuckled behind him.

Immediately he shot up, ignoring how his body screamed and cried at the movement, and pushed Eri behind him as he glared at the man who stood at the other end of the room.

The man was not as tall as Izuku thought he'd be. He was thin and lanky, his jacket sleeves not quite reaching the ends of his arms or the bottom of his torso, but that might’ve just been a really unfortunate fashion decision. His pants didn't meet his ankles either…this man wasn't even that tall, he had no right wearing this ill-fitted clothing.

Izuku already knew he was a villain due to his horrendous style, but the large bird mask on his face told him exactly who he was looking at.

"Overhaul…"

"You are quite the perceptive one, All For One was correct. Too bad he failed at killing you, now his mess becomes my own…such a shame."

"Where's Shigaraki?" Izuku demanded as he kept his grip on Eri's tiny hand that held onto his own for dear life. He could feel her shaking and tried his best to block her view of the man before them.

"Oh, that child?" Overhaul adjusted the gloves on his hands and looked back at Izuku, "He's off doing God knows what, I honestly couldn't care less."

"I thought you two were working together."

"Business, but that doesn't mean I have to like the guy."

Izuku shrugged, "Eh, yeah…he's really not that likable."

"Anyway, I see that you have something of mine, and I would like it back."

"She" Izuku corrected, "Is coming with me." His eyes narrowed as the anger in his chest began to bubble.

Overhaul let out a soft chuckle before taking a step forward to which caused Eri to flinch behind Izuku. "Is that so? Well, I guess I'll just have to take care of you then. Such a pity, I know of how your quirk was stolen and I thought that you’d be quite the ally to my cause."

"Like hell would I ever help you."

"Truly is such a shame…Oh well." The man carefully removed his gloves and stretched out his hands and Izuku could feel Eri fighting behind his back.

He turned around and the fear he saw in her eyes made him flinch back. "Eri?"

"Please! Please don't hurt him! I'm begging you; I'll-I'll do what you want. I'll stay and help you, just please don't kill him!"

Overhaul looked up slightly at the girl and gave her a pitying smile, "Oh little one, it's far too late for that."

"No!" She thrashed in Izuku's grip as he tried to hold her back from running towards that monster.

"Just remember, this is what happens when people try to help you. They get hurt. They get killed. All you do is hurt those around you, that's why me using you to cure people of the sickness that is quirks is really a pitying thing."

"I-" The girl faltered, his words clearly striking home with her.

Izuku watched as the tears welled in her soft eyes and that anger that was boiling inside of him pour over. "You bastard!" He yelled at the man before turning his attention back to the girl, "Eri? Eri look at me. What he's saying is not true, okay? You are not to blame for any of this, he is. You do not hurt those around you, you are a light and-" He was cut off when his chest suddenly erupted with pain and his words choked up in his throat that seemed to be filling with liquid.

Eri screamed as he stumbled forward and fell to his knees. Izuku looked down and watched as his shirt had begun to stain red that was quickly growing outward from his chest. He turned his head to look at Overhaul and the man simply looked bored and was bringing back a bloody-tipped spike that had emerged from the ground.

"You talk too much. It's pointless feeding her lies when she knows just how much of a burden she is."

"Shut up!" Izuku gurgled out, his hate growing stronger even as he grew weaker and weaker.

"I-Izu-"

"Shh," Izuku shushed the young girl, looking at her and giving her one of his small smiles that she seemed to like so much. "Don't listen to him Eri, you are not a burden. Not in the slightest."

A yawn sounded behind them and Overhaul's voice rang out bored as ever. "This is getting hard to watch. Eri, come back to me and leave that boy to die as he should've a long time ago."

"It's okay Eri, everything is going to be okay, I promise…"

"Do not give her empty promises, now you're just being cruel."

"It's not empty. There will always be good in the world and those who believe in helping others even if it means sacrificing themselves. You will not win Overhaul. I can promise you that."

"Ugh, now you're just spouting nonsense," The man faked a gag and shook his head, "Come now Eri, it's time to get back to your room."

The girl refused to take her eyes off of the boy in front of her. The boy who came into her room and smiled at her and told her about superpowers. The boy who said he was going to save her and held her close.

He looked tired. He had before, but he looked a lot more tired now. Maybe he wanted to go to sleep, she hoped that was all that was going to happen, but she had watched Overhaul kill so many people that she knew that wasn't what was going to happen.

Izuku was going to die, and it was her fault.

He wouldn't be here if it weren’t for her, if he hadn't tried to save her…it was all her fault. Overhaul was right, she was a burden and only hurt those around her.

But wait, Izuku said that she wasn't. He said that Overhaul was wrong. She trusted Izuku, but she also knew that what Overhaul said was true…so what did that mean? Was Izuku wrong? No. No, he couldn't be, so did that mean that Overhaul was?

He must be if Izuku said so.

"Eri!"

"No."

"What was that?"

"NO!" Eri's voice hurt her throat as it came out, but she couldn't help it. That feeling in her chest had grown so big that she couldn’t do anything but scream. Her body grew hot all over and she clutched onto the boy who had tried his best to save her but ended up dying instead. Hot tears ran down her face as she screamed and all other noises around her disappeared.

Things were happening, she could tell, but she was too upset to care. All she could feel was the boy's pulse under her hand growing slower and his words getting softer until…they just stopped.

The hot feel of her skin exploded into a scorching heat as her screams echoed even louder throughout the space. Light spilled out all around her and Eri began to fly into a panic. She knew what was going on, she was growing sicker, using her superpower. The same superpower that Overhaul said hurt everyone around her. She didn't want to hurt Izuku, but she couldn't stop, and she couldn't let go.

Overhaul's yells sounded around her, but she couldn't hear them, all she knew was the growing pain in her body and the feel of Izuku's beneath her.

 

Darkness.

That was what Izuku awoke in. And then, it was light.

All around him was blinding white for as far as the eye could see. The only discernible thing in the space was himself. As he looked down, he saw his body and clothes. He was uninjured, no blood or bruises, even his scars were gone, and his clothes looked cleaner than he had ever seen them.

What had happened?

He remembered being with Eri and then encountering Overhaul and…oh.

And then he died.

So that's what this was huh? Guess things finally came full circle. Now that he thought about it, everything was so familiar to that very first time. Maybe this would finally-

Suddenly, a somehow even brighter light shone before him that caused him to squint his eyes closed and cover his face. When he opened his eyes again, his breath hitched, and his body locked up at the sight before him.

"…M-mom?"

In all of her glory, the woman who had been the sole person to love and care for him until her last moments stood in front of him. She wore white and shone like an angel. Her skin was bright and unblemished, her hair full and perfectly in place, and her eyes…they were full of life-no. They were full of more than that.

She gave him that smile he thought he'd never see again, and he lurched forward into her warm embrace.

Sobs racked his body as he fell into her arms and let out everything he had been feeling in that moment. How was she here? Why was she here? Did this mean it really was the end for him?

"Shh, shh baby, it's okay. I'm here, I'm here now."

He sniffled as he brought his face up to look into her too kind eyes. "But how-"

She brought her hand from where they laid at his back to the sides of his face as she looked over every feature. "Oh, my baby," She breathed out, "I missed you so much."

"I-I missed you too mom."

"Look at you," She pulled back to get a good look at Izuku, her eyes trailing down and back up, her smile never faltering, "You've gotten so big. I guess you're not my baby boy anymore, huh?"

"Oh mom, I'll always be your baby boy."

She continued to look over him until her expression changed for a split second. Izuku looked down to see what she was looking at and saw it.

His body…it looked awful.

His skin was pale and covered in bruises, blood, and scars. His clothes were tattered and dirty, and in the middle of his chest was a large bloodstain that covered the fresh hole in it. He looked back up at his mother and was met with her tear-filled eyes.

"Oh, baby…"

"It's okay mom, hey, it's-I'm fine. See?" He held her face and forced her to look at him, his form flickering between the clean and unblemished one and the broken and tattered one. "Look, I'm okay."

She shook her head lightly as she took his hands in her own and removed them from her face. "No sweetie…no, you're not. You're dead."

"I-"

"Do you remember what I said to you the first time you visited this place?"

Izuku nodded slowly, his heart sinking further and further down as he tried his best to hold back a sob.

"I told you that it wasn't your time yet." She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, "Well, now I-I think it is."

Izuku took it in for a moment and his eyes slowly filled with tears that spilled down his face as he met her eyes once again. "No…"

"I'm so sorry baby."

"No-no, I can't be here, this can't be it. I still have so much to do! There's…there's this child, this little girl-her name is Eri, and I have to-I have to get back and save her. And then there's Eraser and…oh my god Eraser…"

The boy began to spiral down as everything hit it at once. He had broken his promise and failed in his mission. How could he have done that? He was an awful person, he should've-should've done more, fought harder, I don’t know, done better.

"Izuku?" Inko grabbed the sides of her son's face. "Izuku, look at me. Breathe. In, and out. Come on, in and out."

"I have to-oh mom, they're waiting for me, and I have to get back and save her, if I don't she'll-"

Inko's own tears continued to fall as she watched her son break down. This was very different from his first time here and she wasn't sure if she was thankful or not. She was happy that he didn't want to die anymore and that he had found people who actually loved and cared for him, but now here he was, and he didn't want to die anymore.

How cruel the world was that right when he found his reason to live, his life was ripped away from him.

"I know baby, I know…I'm so sorry." She held her son tight in her arms as he continued to sob and sob at the life he had lost.

"I don't want to go yet mom…"

"Izuku-" Her voice was cut off by her own sob and she pulled him closer into her. "I'm so sorry baby."

"I promised…"

Just then, a brilliant golden light broke through the whiteness. The light was soft and warm like an embrace and Inko didn't know if she had ever experienced something so peaceful or beautiful in her human life.

Izuku looked up and couldn't help but bask at the light in front of him. "Um, mom? What's that?"

"I'm-I don't know."

"It feels familiar somehow…" Izuku stepped out of his mother's embrace and got closer to the light. The light that felt like a warm hug that felt like coming home, that brought fresh tears to his eyes when he reached out to it. It curled around his hand and up his arm, overwhelming him with a sense of warmth and peace until his eyes snapped open, "…Eri."

It was Eri. He didn't know how, or why, but it was her, and she was reaching out to him. He turned back to his mother, tears streaming down his face and a new hope in his eyes.

"Mom-"

"Go." She stepped forward and laid a soft kiss on her son's forehead before pulling back and cupping his face. "I just want you to know that I am so…so proud of you Izuku, and I am so thankful that you have finally found a reason to live."

Izuku smiled at his mother, but that smile quickly faltered. "Mom…if I go then-" She nodded softly and gave him the brightest smile he had ever seen. "I-I love you."

"I love you too, Izuku."

He tore himself away from her bright light and stepped into the warmth of Eri's light. Even though he was leaving, he knew he was going home, and he had a job to do.

Chapter Text

Izuku came back to himself with a gasp.

Tiny hands clutched at his wrist and shirt as that golden light shone all around him. He looked up and saw Eri above him, her face stained with tears and her body shaking with sobs. He had to get to her and let her know that he was okay. He wasn't sure how, but she had brought him back, he knew it.

"Eri!" He tried to wiggle his fingers as his body was still getting used to moving again and the girl's screams faltered as she felt his arm flinch. She looked down and was met with the soft smile of the boy she had watched die.

"Izuku?"

"It's me Eri, I'm okay. I'm okay…because of you."

She stared down at him with wide eyes and was at a loss for words. "I-?"

"You saved me Eri. It was your quirk."

"My-" She started but stopped as she shook her head, "But I…no. I-I only hurt people."

"No." Izuku took hold of her hand to emphasize his words. "No Eri, you saved me."

Through the entire interaction, the light didn't dim or falter and that most likely meant that her quirk was still active. Since she didn't even know what a quirk was an hour ago, Izuku thought that it was probably extremely likely that she didn't know how to control it either and that could be a problem.

First things first, figure out what she was doing, then try to calm her down enough to stop it. Piece of cake, right-

Suddenly pain tore at Izuku's body. He gasped and looked down at his chest. He lifted his shirt to see what was going on and what he saw took his breath away.

The hole that was in his chest was gone now, which was good, weird, but good. But the other wounds were what concerned him. Those that were healed had reopened and were closing as if they were never there.

What was-

It was almost as if things were going back to how they were before…

Wait. Eri said that Overhaul used her to cure people with quirks, how do you do that? You erase them, but erasing a quirk permanently is practically impossible, which is why they probably agreed to work with the League, because AFO was here and was known to steal quirks. But what if someone was taken back to before their quirk ever manifested?

Back in time…reversed…Eri was reversing time.

"Eri! Eri, do you know what your power is?"

"No, Overhaul wouldn't tell me. He just said that he could use it to help cure people."

"I think-" Izuku was cut off once again by a very familiar pain overtaking him only this time…it was different. It wasn't until the pain subsided that Izuku realized what had happened. "My quirk…" It was back, he could feel it. Eri had just reversed time to before All For One stole his quirk. "Eri, my quirk! You-you gave it back!"

The girl had no idea what was going on, but that was okay. They only thing that mattered was saving her and getting both of them out of that hellhole.

He sat up, never losing hold of Eri's hand, and got to his feet. The light around them had dimmed and Izuku looked directly at a seething Overhaul. "You're supposed to be dead!"

"What can I say? I live to disappoint." And then Izuku charged at the man.

It was a hard fight. It wasn't that Overhaul himself was particularly difficult, but his quirk complicated things. He was doing well staying within close range as he needed his hands to activate his quirk, but even that could only do so much.

Izuku should've died a hundred times over by now. He would've come back, but he didn't need to use his quirk with Eri clinging to him and glowing like a sparkler. Whenever he got hit, she would just reverse the damage and Izuku would be as good as new. He knew he was playing with fire with her quirk, but he also refused to let go of her again.

He got a decent amount of hits in himself, but whenever he would deal any significant damage, the guy would reconstruct himself. It was extremely irritating. The fact that he didn't have his usual gear or weapons didn't help either.

Okay, he had to get the upper hand, but how? "Eri!" He called out; his voice almost inaudible in comparison to the sound of Overhaul's childish temper affecting his quirk. "Eri, do you know anything that could help me beat him? Any weaknesses? Any weapons I could steal? Anything?"

The girl clung to his back as he fought. He used parts of his shirt to secure her so that she didn't fall off, but the way she hung onto him for dear life, he doubted she needed the help.

She thought for a moment and then whispered something in his ear that he could barely hear, but he was able to make out the word gun. "Gun? Where?"

Eri pointed to his side and there Izuku saw a small handgun sheathed. "It's not a normal gun though, when people get shot with it, they get healed."

"Healed? From their quirks you mean?"

She nodded and things began to piece themselves together in his head. The gun must've been filled with some sort of quirk erasing bullets or something. A drug of sorts that he knew they used Eri to make. He didn't know exactly how, but just by seeing the paleness of her skin and the number of bandages covering almost ever visible patch of skin on her, he knew that he wouldn't like the answer. His blood boiled at the thought of anyone laying a hand on this sweet little girl and using her like a lab rat to achieve their ridiculous vision.

As he got angrier, he got stronger. He fought harder and had a specific target now. If he could just get that gun and shoot the bastard, then he could easily take him out. He whispered for Eri to hold on tight as he rushed forward and began to deal blows as close as he could to avoid Overhaul using his quirk.

Maybe getting in close with someone whose quirk relied on their hands wasn't the best idea. This thought ran through Izuku's head as Overhaul's hand clamped onto his wrist and he felt each one of his cells being pulled apart before they were put back together.

The man looked up angrily and locked eyes with an equally angry looking Eri. Before anything else could happen, Izuku kicked him in the balls causing him to falter and quickly ducked low so he could swipe the gun from its holster.

Overhaul tried to grab him, but he rolled to the ground, shifting Eri as he did, and popped up in a crouch, gun in hand. He took quick aim as the man turned around and slammed his hands on the ground and shot. The bullet entered his right shoulder and he staggered backward a few feet before crying out.

He crouched down and tried to use his quirk only to look back up at Izuku with wide eyes. "No…no! NO!"

"Game over." Izuku ran at the still crouching man who tried to lung at him but ended up crumbling to the ground after Izuku decked him in the face. He stayed down, having been knocked out, and Izuku glared at the disgusting excuse for a human being. He maneuvered Eri so that she was in his arms again and after giving Overhaul one last glare, he hugged her to his chest.

The girl was a mess. Her quirk was still active, and she was shaking and crying and refusing to let go of Izuku. He crouched down with her and whispered to her trying to calm her down, but she couldn't seem to be able to control her quirk. "Hey, it's okay. We're okay now. I need you to calm down, okay Eri? Can you do that for me? Deep breaths, in…and out. That's right, that's good-"

"What's going on here?" Two sets of feet rushed in the room and Izuku glanced up to see an out of breath Dabi and Toga stopped in the middle of the area with wide eyes.

"You missed all the fun."

"Looks like it." Dabi walked up to Overhaul and nudged him with his foot. "Bastard," He growled out before kicking his face so hard Izuku heard a snap. "Hey, is she okay?' He pointed at Eri who was still glowing.

"Her quirk is out of control, and I don't think I can help." Izuku tried his best to calm the girl down, but it seemed to be way past that now. "Take care of him before you two get caught." Toga seemed to want to protest the idea but complied when Izuku yelled, "Go!" Dabi nodded at him before tying up Overhaul and dragging him out by the collar of his shirt.

Once they had left Izuku turned his attention back to Eri. He tried every trick he knew, everything he had learned from Eraser and Hitoshi as they helped him through attacks and such, but none of it seemed to be working.

It wasn’t that she was upset-I mean she was, but it was more that she had never used her power intentionally to this extent before-if ever-and you don’t just magically know how to control a quirk after using it for the first time. Especially one as powerful as Eri's.

He whispered encouragements and praises to her as she grew more and more distraught at her own quirk. Her tears hadn't stopped spilling ever since he had come back, and he was afraid that she was going to pass out do to exhaustion soon.

She shook her head back and forth as she contradicted every one of Izuku's words. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry-"

"You don’t need to-"

"I'm hurting you; I can tell. I'm so sorry Izuku. You said that I saved you, but now I'm just making things worse like always."

"No you're not," His heart broke with every word that left her mouth.

"Overhaul was right, all I do is hurt people. I'm sick and would be better off-"

Izuku caught her hands that were grabbing at her hair and forced her to look at him. Her wide eyes now red all over due to the crying, "Don't you ever say that about yourself, you hear me? You are not the problem, he is."

"But I can't control it and it's hurting you and-"

"Hey," He brought her attention back to him as he felt her fall into another fit, "Do I look like I'd go down so easily? You're going to have to do a lot more than this to hurt me, I assure you."

He held onto her as he slowly coaxed her into a calmer state. It took a while and a lot of convincing, but Izuku had been working on his patience, so it wasn't a problem for him. Slowly but surely her quirk dimmed, Izuku looked over his body as he held her and examined this arms that should've been riddled with countless scars due to the torture he went through, but they looked the same as they did a few weeks ago.

It was actually kind of amazing.

She saw her quirk as something so destructive and evil, but Izuku didn't see that. It was that same quirk that brought him back and allowed him to save the both of them. It was that warm golden light that brought him back home and gave him the strength to prevail.

Her quirk wasn’t bad or disgusting. To him…to him her quirk was beautiful. It was such a soft and warm power. One that wrapped you up and made you want to hang on forever. One that gave you hope and allowed for second chances.

He had just gotten her almost completely calmed down when the wall exploded. Izuku shifted Eri so that he got the brunt of the debris and turned around to see a very familiar hand-man saunter through the new door.

"Shigaraki…"

"Serpentine," He let out a scraggly laugh, "This is a surprise. I didn’t expect you to be up and about so soon after your run in with Master."

"Screw your master." Izuku growled out and moved Eri behind him as Shigaraki glared at him, all presence of amusement gone now.

He flexed his hands at his sides and took a singular step forward, "He should've taken care of you back at Kamino."

"Mm, but he didn't," Izuku taunted, "Guess your little master wasn’t as good as you thought he was." The villain seemed to lurch forward before he stopped himself. "What's the matter? Don’t know what to do now that you're off your leash? I always knew you were a little bit-"

Shigaraki flew at him, hands in front and ready to destroy anything in his way, but Izuku was faster. He moved out of the way, making sure to take Eri with him before placing her behind him again. Before the villain could do much more than turn around, Izuku shot up and elbowed him in the head causing him to crumble to the floor.

Izuku breathed out, "I really do hate drawn out fights. Rest in sh*t Shiggy." He stomped on the guy's nose for good measure before going back to Eri who had worked herself up once more. "Eri? Hey I-" Izuku sucked in a sharp breath as she accidentally activated her quirk once more. "Eri-Eri I need you to calm down." But it was no use. He had spent so long calming her down the first time and he wasn't sure he could do it again.

She clutched onto him as she cried out apologies, not being able to let go even though she knew she was hurting him. But Izuku didn't show any pain, he refused to do that to her. Plus, he had be through worse. He just wished he could do more.

He pulled her shaking frame into his arms and ran his fingers through her tangled hair and told her over and over again that everything was okay and that nothing was her fault. She didn't believe him of course, but it couldn't hurt.

Pain erupted on his neck, and it felt as if it was being disintegrated all over again. He bit back a cry and took in a deep breath before ceasing breathing completely until the pain went away. He hugged her tight and kept on telling her that he was sorry and that she was okay and before long his neck stopped burning. He gingerly reached up expecting to feel the rough scarring but instead felt the smooth skin that he had almost forgotten was there before that night.

He didn't have much time to react to this as another person came through the hole into the wall and froze when they saw them on the ground.

Izuku looked up and his breathing hitched as he saw the person he wanted to see more than anything at that moment. "Eraser…"

The hero took in the situation in less than a second and immediately used his quirk to deactivate Eri's. The girl slumped in Izuku's arms, her body exhausted from the extensive quirk use, and Izuku let out a sigh of relief.

Eraser raced forward and looked Izuku up and down as well as Eri before glancing down at a still unconscious Shigaraki. "What happened?"

"The bi*ch got what he deserved."

"Can't argue with you there."

"I'll tell you everything, but we need to get her to safety first, her name is Eri and the leader of the Shie Hisaaki, Overhaul, has been keeping her and using her to create some type of quirk erasing bullet. At least…I think.

Eraser nodded and pulled his phone out of his pocket. He spoke a few words before hanging up and helping Izuku to his feet. He had tried to take Eri out of his arms, but even unconscious the girl didn’t want to let go of him. Izuku assured him that he was okay to carry her and after a little bit of arguing Eraser agreed to carry Shigaraki and lead him out of this hell hole.

As they walked, Izuku saw officers and heroes raiding the place, arresting villains, and taking evidence. It was like a breath of fresh air. Everything that had been going on, all of the villains that had been threatening them…it was all over.

It almost seemed too good to be true.

Izuku turned to Eraser who had Shigaraki draped over his shoulder and was silent as he scowled forward. "Um, Eraser?" He turned to look at Izuku and the boy blushed suddenly uncomfortable under the hero's hard stare. "So uh, how did you-" He stumbled on his words, "How did you know where I was?"

"You have a tracker in your right shoe."

The answer slipped out way too casually and it took Izuku a moment to completely comprehend exactly what he had just said. "I have a what?" Eraser simply shrugged which made Izuku even more flabbergasted. "You have me chipped." It was more of an accusation than a question.

"It's just a small tracker in your shoe, and Hitoshi has one too so don't go off feeling special. You're both just too much for me to keep track of myself." Izuku's only reaction was his dropped jaw opening and closing as if to form words but failing to do so. "I only started doing it after you both were kidnapped by the League. Figured that you would only end up getting in more trouble regardless of my wishes and thought it would be better to cut out the middle-man and be able to come save your sorry butts whenever it inevitably happens again."

"I-" Izuku tried but knew that he was right. "Fair."

"Look, as much as I want to yell and ground you right now, we need to get Shigaraki locked up and that little girl to the hospital. I trust that you can get there from here?"

Izuku nodded and had the decency to look at least a little bit remorseful for leaving with nothing but some goodbye letters.

Eraser looked down at him. His expression was…well, not glaring exactly, but as close as you could get to it. Honestly, his calmness was what really had Izuku on edge. He expected to be getting screamed at and scolded for putting them all through hell over and over again, but instead he was getting this icy calm and he hated it.

"Good. I'll meet you there."

Izuku sighed as the two parted ways, and he went up to a group of paramedics close by. He explained what he could about what happened and after some arguing, they allowed him to ride with Eri to the hospital.

As they were riding Izuku pulled out his phone and was met with countless messages and missed calls from Hitoshi and Eraser.

Oh god…Hitoshi-

Well…

This was going to be fun.

Chapter Text

"HOW DARE YOU LEAVE WITHOUT EVEN SAYING GOODBYE?!"

Hitoshi had met Izuku at the hospital. He walked in with the paramedics that carried Eri to the ICU so they could make sure that she was alright and promised to keep him undated on her. As soon as they ran off with the girl, Izuku turned around to see a very pissed looking Toshi.

And that was how he ended up batting off the boy who had tried to tackle him but was now just scrambling around on his back.

"Toshi! TOSHI! Get off of me!"

Izuku finally was able to get a grip on the boy and placed him on the ground as softly as he could, assuming that he was already on paper thin ice and didn’t need to anger his friend any more than he had.

"I demand an explanation and apology, right now."

"I know, I know, and you deserve one-"

"You're damn right I do."

"Toshi-"

"No. No, we're not just going to stand here and pretend that you didn't go off on a secret mission that almost got you killed again and didn't tell me. AGAIN!"

Izuku let out a breath. Yeah…he deserved this. "I know…"

"How are you even okay right now? You don't just go up against the leader of the mafia and come out of it looking better than when you went in."

"Haha, yeah…" Izuku rubbed the back of his neck, unsure of how he should start. "It's…kind of hard to explain. Come with me to get checked out and make sure that there isn't anything wrong with me and I'll tell you everything."

Hitoshi glared at his friend who was smiling a little too wide and innocently for his liking. How dare he. He left and almost got himself killed for real again, and he just smiled and expected for his puppy eyes to work?

…I mean, he wasn’t wrong, but it still pissed Hitoshi off.

Unfortunately for Hitoshi, Izuku knew that he could never say no to his puppy eyes. They didn't come out often, but when they did, they were his biggest weakness. He couldn't help it, it was so rare to see his friend with such a cute look on his face, it caught him off guard.

"Fine."

Izuku bounced on his feet and jumped into Hitoshi's arms for a hug with the biggest smile on his face, "Thanks Toshi, you're the best!"

"I know…"

 

The two boys went back to Izuku's hospital room and met a nurse on the way who agreed to make sure everything was okay with him. Once they were finished and deemed Izuku to be in even better condition than they could've ever expected, they left and went to go deal with another matter that apparently was going on.

The nurse left, and as soon as the door closed Hitoshi turned to Izuku with a glare.

"Okay! Okay…I'll tell you everything."

 

"Holy sh*t."

"Yeah…"

Izuku, true to his word, told Hitoshi everything that had happened. He ended up having to start way back after they were separated at the villain's base and went on from there. Hitoshi sat quietly as he listened to what his friend had been through, only interrupting to ask a question or make a comment that almost always resulted in the boys breaking out into laughter.

"So, you're practically as good as new?"

"Somewhat. I still have the scars from when I first discovered my quirk and from Conductor, but the rest of them were reversed." Izuku frowned as he watched his friend glance down at his wrist with a sad expression. "What is it?"

He shook his head before looking up at the boy, "It's nothing. It's just…we're not scar buddies anymore."

Izuku instantly descended into a laughing fit at Hitoshi's words to which the boy got very defensive.

"I'm serious!"

"T-that's what you're upset about?"

"Yes!"

After another moment, Izuku forced himself to calm down and look at his friend with sympathetic eyes. "Okay, I'm sorry. I know how excited you were when you found out that we had matching scars from Shigaraki. But just think, all you have to do is get struck by lightning or get an autopsy done and we can be twins again!"

Hitoshi rolled his eyes as he lightly shoved a laughing Izuku. "Yeah, yeah, whatever. I'm just glad you're okay."

"Me too…" Izuku thought for a moment and his smile quickly melted into a worried frown that his friend immediately picked up on. "Toshi?"

"Hmm?"

"Do you…do you think that Eraser hates me?"

Hitoshi stared at his friend with incredulous eyes. How dense could you get? I mean seriously, you'd think for someone so smart, they'd be more socially aware.

He let out a sigh and plopped down beside Izuku, the two of them laying side by side on the hospital bed. "He doesn't hate you."

"How do you know?"

"I just do."

"No," Izuku shook his head, "You didn't see him. When he came and got me…he was so upset. I think I really did it this time."

Hitoshi scoffed before looking over at his friend-no, his brother. "If there was a limit to his tolerance of you, it would've been met long ago. I don't think that there is a single thing you could do to make that man hate you."

"But-"

"Listen." Hitoshi interrupted, "He cares about you. You ran away and put yourself into a very dangerous situation where you could've died for real, of course he's going to be a little bit upset. But he's only upset because he loves you."

Izuku met Hitoshi's eyes with his own sad ones. "You think so?"

"I know so. You should've seen him after you left. He was cursing so loud three nurses had to come and threaten to kick him out of the hospital before he finally stormed out to go find you muttering something about a stupid tracker under his breath."

"Oh yeah, he has trackers our shoes."

"That honestly doesn't surprise me."

"He really should've done it sooner."

"Agreed."

"Well, I'm so glad the two of you are in agreeance." A low voice seethed out from across the room. Izuku and Hitoshi both jumped and looked over at a very clearly upset Eraserhead standing in the doorway. "Hitoshi, I need to talk to Izuku. Alone."

The boy nodded quickly before shooting from the bed and practically scrambling out of the door after wishing Izuku good luck. Eraser shut the door behind him as he left and slowly made his way over to Izuku's hospital bed that he really didn't need anymore.

Izuku's nerves were on edge. Actually, they were practically fraying just at the thought of the scolding he was about to receive. What he did was stupid, he knew that. But he also knew that he would do it again in a heartbeat. He wanted to help people, that was the whole reason he became a vigilante. Well, that and the whole wanting to die thing, but that wasn't the point.

He wouldn't take back what he did for anything, but he might go back and change how he left. Maybe he could've done something to make it easier on Eraser or something.

Izuku closed his eyes, awaiting the yelling that was inevitably going to start happening, but all he heard was a sigh.

"I'm not going to yell at you."

He slowly opened his eyes and relaxed his shoulders that he hadn't realized were so tense. Eraser walked closer and ended up sitting on the end of the bed, his hands in his lap. "You're not?" Izuku's voice squeaked out.

Eraser shook his head and Izuku was so confused. Why wasn't he yelling? He was angry, and he thought that Izuku had done something wrong, so why wasn't he screaming at him?

"Look, I know you think what you did was right and-"

"I don't regret it."

"I know-"

"And I'd do it again."

"I know. You've proven over and over again that you place other's lives before your own, to the point that you would happily die for them, but I need you to hear me out." He took a breath and looked directly at Izuku. "I'm not saying that what you did was wrong. You saved a little girl and that's amazing, but you almost died in the process. So many think that putting their lives on the line for others is what being a hero is, and yes, it is a part of the job, but it's more than that. If you're constantly dying for others, then you won't be able to protect them. You can't save anyone if all you do is get hurt."

"Where are you going with this?"

"My point is," He paused briefly, "That you're good, but you need to be better."

The words stung as they passed through Izuku's ears, but he remained silent and allowed the pro to continue as he could tell that he wasn't finished.

"You've seen how the world is, you've been in many fights and won, you've been a part of my class for almost a whole week, and you've already helped so many of them, not even counting the two children that you saved as well. What I'm saying, is that it is time for you to come to UA and train to be a proper hero."

"Eraser-"

"No buts. I'm not backing down on this."

Izuku scoffed as he crossed his arms like a pouting child. "You can't make me."

Eraser considered this for a moment, "Maybe not, but you and I both know just how persuasive I can be. Why don’t we just cut out the middle-man and drop the act of you thinking you can't be a hero."

"I can't be a hero."

"Hmm. Well, maybe this will change your mind." Eraser reached into one of his many pockets and pulled out a small, folded piece of paper. He handed it to Izuku who took and opened it gingerly.

Dear Izuku (I think that was your name),

Thanks for saving me or whatever. I guess you're pretty cool and you make decent food. Get better soon so we can talk again. Not having you around is weird.

-Kota

"He seems to think that you're a pretty good hero." Izuku looked up as the warm words left Eraser's mouth, his eyes stinging slightly. "And I'm sure that little girl in there would think the same thing."

Izuku looked down at the note and then back to Eraser. "But I…do you really-"

"Yes. I know you can be a hero Izuku. I've known ever since the first day we met."

The tears he had been holding in finally spilt over as Izuku listened to the words he had been waiting to hear his entire life. He jumped up and wrapped his arms around the pro's neck, sniffling against his scarf. "…Thank you."

 

The End.

 

It's been two weeks since everything happened.

Everyone needed time to recover and heal, not Izuku, but regular people who hadn't died and then got brought back to life by a little girl's quirk.

It was only another day or two before Eraser brought Izuku and Hitoshi back home. They would've gone sooner, but the doctors insisted they get some extra time to look the both of them over. Izuku only complied after they agreed to let him and Hitoshi share a hospital room, and he knew that they immediately regretted doing so.

The two of them rarely slept at night, always staying up talking, watching something on their phones, or just being general menaces around the hospital, and so it was common to find them napping on each other during the day.

While they were there, they went to visit the other students that were in the hospital. Yaoyorozu was doing great and had actually been discharged the day Izuku came back. One of the 1-B girls had woken up after inhaling too much of that gas at the camp and she was doing fine. They even went to go see Katsuki who was even more upset about being kept there than they were.

Hitoshi walked into his room first and immediately the boy started yelling and screaming profanities at the poor boy, but as soon as Izuku walked in, he apparently had discovered some manners because he was quiet.

They talked for a bit, went over all that had happened and made sure that they all were okay. Katsuki and Izuku actually had a semi-civil conversation for once which was nice, but Hitoshi kind of ruined it by his constant glaring and little comments he made under his breath.

Izuku also tried to see Eri as much as he could while he was still there. It took a bit of convincing, but after she woke up and began to ask incessantly for him, the nurses finally complied and allowed the two to see each other.

She was doing good…he thought. She looked better at least. They had bathed her and given her some clean clothes, which was good. She looked healthier, she skin wasn't as pale and with the help of some healing quirks, her wounds had also begun to heal.

The first time he went to go see her, she looked scared out of her mind. It was to be expected of course, she was in a new place with new people and the only person that she really knew and trusted had only just been allowed to see her. As soon as she laid eyes on him from her hospital bed her entire frame relaxed, and her eyes lit up.

The action squeezed Izuku's heart. He had never had someone be so clearly excited to see him before. Of course, Hitoshi and Denki were always happy to see him, but the way Eri looked at him, it was as if he had put the stars in the sky. It actually made him blush a little bit.

She told him about what she had been doing since she last saw him and describing how scared she was at first, but that the nurses were all really nice and gentle with her.

Eraser came to see her as well. He was able to cancel her quirk should the need arise and she and Izuku were already so close, it just made sense.

She quickly warmed up to him once she got past his resting scowl and took a particular interest in his scarf. She said that when it was around her it felt like one of Izuku's hugs, only not as good, which made the two of them laugh as she wondered what they found so funny.

The doctors insisted that they keep her with them for a while so that they could continue to heal her and keep a watch on her quirk as they really didn’t know all that much about it. Izuku grumbled a bit about it, but he knew he couldn’t argue. She didn't have anywhere else to go, and this was the best and safest place for her. Didn't make him any happier about it.

Eraser finally took Izuku and Hitoshi home and when they got there, they were met with a very enthusiastic Mic and two equally as excited cats that jumped on Izuku as soon as he walked through the door.

Mic welcomed the boys back home with open arms and pulled all of them into a big group hug despite each of their protests.

The four of them spent the rest of the day relaxing. They decided to do their infamous dinner and a movie thing which Eraser ended up having to cook for after Izuku and Hitoshi begged him to make them some real food.

They sat back, ate, laughed, and just enjoyed each other's presences. It wasn't too long after dinner that the two boys were out like lights on the couch, and that was when Eraser and Mic got to work.

It was something that they'd meant to do for a while, but things were just so chaotic that this was the first time they've actually been able to go through with it.

Hitoshi had called his family to let them know that he was alive and okay, to which they didn't seem too bothered about it either way, earlier that night, but now Eraser was making another, very different, call to them.

 

The next morning came and Izuku woke up more well rested than he had felt in a very long time.

He looked around for a moment, completely unaware of where he was before his mind caught up with him and he realized that he was in his room. Interesting…he could've sworn that he and Toshi had fallen asleep on the couch last night.

Looking down, he saw a passed-out Hitoshi on the floor and decided it would probably be best to let the poor guy sleep for a bit.

After changing and brushing his teeth, Izuku supposed that it was probably time for him to go out and handle the rest of his ridiculous family and-

Huh…

Family. He had…a family now.

It wasn't perfect by any means, I mean you can imagine how difficult it would be for pro heroes, a hero in training, and a vigilante to try to be perfect, but that didn't mean it was bad. No, no it was good. Strange to be able to comfortably say that now. Seems like it had been so long since he had said that word.

He shuffled out into the living room, rubbing his eyes, and taking in the smell of fresh coffee. "Mmm, make some for me?"

"Unfortunately." Eraser handed a hot mug to Izuku once he made his way into the kitchen.

"Oh, don't complain, you know how irritable I get when I'm tired."

"You're always tired."

"Exactly."

"Good morning little listener!" Mic's voice called out much quieter than Izuku thought the hero was capable of being.

He turned with a tired smile, "Oh, what’s up Mic," He greeted. "Um, weird question, but what are you doing here so early?"

The pro let out a small laugh and glanced at Eraser who was too invested in his coffee to notice. "Well, I kinda never left."

"Huh?" Izuku questioned before the pieces began to fit in his mind and he looked back and forth between the two heroes. "Ugh, gross! I didn't need to know that this early in the morning-"

"What?" Eraser lazily looked up from his mug, "Oh-no, that's not why he was here."

"Then why were you here?"

"Oh, well I uh-"

"Izuku," Eraser interrupted, saving a very worried looking Mic, "Can you go grab that stack of papers on the coffee table?"

The boy squinted his eyes at the hero but complied with a shrug. He didn't mind doing it, but did the guy have to interrupt Mic like that?

He grabbed the stack and walked back over to the two heroes. "Why do you need-" Izuku's words were cut off as he caught a glimpse of what was in his hands. "Um, what are these?"

"Come on problem child, I know you've been through a lot, but you're not stupid."

"Yeah but…why would you-?"

"Hey," Suddenly Hitoshi's voice cut Izuku off and the boy dragged his way next to him at the bar. "What's going on?" He asked as he peaked down at what Izuku was staring at. "Wait, are those…?"

"You…you want to adopt me?" Izuku looked up at a smiling Eraser and an entirely more excited looking Mic.

The pro rolled his eyes before taking another sip from his mug, "I mean, I practically already have, so I just thought 'Why not make it official?' Is that okay, or…?"

Izuku stared at the hero before looking back down at the papers and then back up. "I-" He glanced to his side and found his best friend beaming from ear to ear. "You mean it?"

Eraser nodded and suddenly found himself being wrapped into a tight hug with green curls getting in his face. "Hey, you're going to spill my coffee. At least let me put it down first."

"So, this is for real? No take backsies?"

The hero let out a low chuckle as he patted the boy's head, "No takebacksies."

"Oh, and Toshi, we have a surprise for you too!" Mic bounced over to grab his phone from the coffee table and practically shoved it into the boy's face.

"Um, what is this supposed to be?"

"That," Eraser said as Izuku let him go and went over to look at what he was seeing, "Is the beginnings of all the paperwork for you to be moved from your foster family."

"What? But why would you do that?"

The hero frowned slightly before glancing at his friend and then back with a sigh. "Because I'm adopting you too, you idiot."

"You're wHAT?!"

Izuku gasped, "TOSHI!!!!" He squealed before tackling the poor boy to the floor. "WE'RE GOING TO BE BROTHERS!"

"Eraserhead…adopting…"

Izuku pushed himself up and knocked a dazed Hitoshi on his forehead. "Come on, don't go all fanboy on us now. I thought you were over that."

"What's this about fanboying?" Eraser asked as he took another sip from his mug.

"NOTHING-" Hitoshi tried to clamp his hand over Izuku's mouth, but he knew all to well that the kid wasn't opposed to biting and steered clear of his teeth.

Izuku managed to push his friend's flailing hand away from him long enough to explain, "Oh, just that you’re Toshi's all-time favorite hero."

Mic gasped from beside a wide-eyed Eraser, "Is he now?"

Izuku let out a laugh as Hitoshi groaned and hid his face in his hands, "You guysssss-"

"It's nothing to be embarrassed about Toshi, he's my favorite too."

"Well duh, you're practically his child."

"Literally, now," Mic chimed in which earned him a glare from Izuku.

"It's not-"

"Don't you dare give me that Izuku Midoriya. We all know what happened when he found you at Kamino."

Izuku snapped his head back with a gasp, "Eraser! You told them?!"

"I had to do the report!"

"Eraserrrrr-"

 

(The actual end lol)