Actions

Work Header

Crossroads

Chapter Text

Izuku had been nervous as hell as he called Kacchan.  He knew that the last time he had talked to the blonde had been one terrible final argument between them.  But Hitoshi, the tiny quirked Espurr, was in his arms.  The greenette gently squeezed the pokémon, his new partner , as a source of comfort.

Hitoshi purred for him as he dialed the number.  As nervous as he was to call Kacchan, he was even more terrified to call Mom or one of his Aunties.  

But, he should at least warn one person before he shows back up home.  And he needed to go back home for Hitoshi’s sake.  Izuku didn’t have a trainer’s ID to properly link his new pokémon friend to him in case of emergencies.  So… 

His impromptu pokémon-less journey ended here, as Izuku breathed between the rings.

The line picked up with a click.

“Oi, who the hell is calling?”

Izuku tightly gripped the receiver.  “Hey, i-it’s been a while.”

“Izu…?”  Oh.

Oh.  He hadn’t heard that nickname in forever, and he was starting to tear up and cry.

Izuku took a deep breath and tried to muffle his sob.  It didn’t work.  “I’m, I’m coming home.”

“What the fuck does that even mean, nerd?  Is this a good thing?  A bad thing?  Did something happen?  Do I need to come over and fucking murder a bitch on your behalf?  Damnit, I need details, Izuku!”

What?

Kacchan… Kacchan wasn’t mad at Izuku.  The blonde was angry on behalf of Izuku?

What the hell happened while he was gone?  If the reaction wasn’t so obviously Kacchan, Izuku would’ve accused him of being an imposter.  It was just…

Such a relief.  To not have Kacchan scream at him for leaving.  Izuku really thought the blonde was going to hate him.  But he didn’t.

Hysterical laughter rose unbidden from his throat, and tears of stress fell from his eyes.  “Y-you’re not up-upset at m-me, K-Kacchan?”

The blonde scoffed into the receiver, but Izuku could hear the repressed emotions that caused Kacchan’s voice to waiver slightly.  “Why the fuck would I be, Izu?”

But… Izuku had—!  “I-I said g-goodbye, for forever!”

“Yeah, and I missed you!  And I do care.” 

Izuku couldn’t hold back his sobs this time.  He slid down the side of the telephone booth to curl up on the floor.  Hitoshi purred louder and pressed himself against Izuku in an effort to make the greenette feel better.  

His pokémon was truly the best partner Izuku could have found and gained.

“M-missed you too, Kacchan!  T-thank you!  ‘M s-sorry!”

“Why the fuck are you saying sorry?!  I should be the one apologizing, nerd!”  Izuku heard a faint sniffle on the other side of the line.

“But—!”

“No, we’re having this conversation later.  Not over the phone.  I fucked up and was a bad friend.  I’m gonna give you the best fucking apology ever, just you wait!”  

Izuku heard the sheer determination in the other’s voice, and he felt like having a mental breakdown.  But in a happy way.  

Kacchan had changed too, while Izuku had fucked off away from home and discovered himself.  Everything finally seemed, like it was going to be all okay again.  “O-okay, Kacchan!”

“Now, details.  Spill.  Why the sudden change of heart about being a feral cryptid?”

Izuku laughed again.  Kacchan snorted at his own words too, not letting himself fully laugh.

The greenette was… extremely nervous, to say the least.  So much had happened, and he still wasn’t sure how Kacchan would react.  But Kacchan wasn’t angry!  He actually wanted to apologize, so Izuku could tell him all about his adventures.

That didn’t stop Izuku from talking in a barely comprehensible nervous ramble of words.  “I, um!  W-well, I still wanna be a feral cryptid!  But, uh, I kinda maybe sort of have a pokémon partner now!

There was… a very long pause.  Either Kacchan was processing or he didn’t hear what Izuku had said.

Oh no!  Had Izuku broken Kacchan?!  That would be really bad!  Especially since it seemed like they were fast-tracking to best friend status again.

After a few more seconds, Kacchan did manage to string some words together again.  Just very slowly.  “You caught.  A pokémon?”

“Yup.”

“In a pokéball?”  Kacchan’s voice totally squeaked.  

It really did!

Izuku laughed again, definitely hysterical this time.  “Yeah!  I did!  I can use pokéballs without exploding them anymore!  Or well, I can make them only explode when I want them to now.  It's a long story.”

Kacchan made a strangled noise like an angry squeaky toy.

Izuku continued as the blonde was… probably having a mental breakdown.  “So, yeah, I have to go home to get a pokédex.  To properly register him.”

The greenette didn’t even know Kacchan could mimic keysmashes until now, but he wasn’t going to make fun of his childhood friend for it.  Izuku would’ve had the same reaction if someone had told him that he would successfully capture a partner pokémon a few months ago.

That’s why Izuku was patient, and he volunteered more information.

"You can ask about it, Kacchan.  I know I'd be dying of curiosity too."

"What kind of pokémon?  Name?  Basic info?"  Kacchan blurted out the second he was given permission.

Izuku giggled as he gave Hitoshi some proper affection in head scritches.  "In a funny and ironic turn of events, he has a quirk.  He's an Espurr, a rescue, and his name is Hitoshi.  I would kill for him."

Hitoshi was a positively adorable source of comfort as he looked up with his purple eyes at Izuku and meowed.  Izuku chuckled and made a prrb noise before Hitoshi’s purring reached jet engine levels of loud. 

Kacchan was… quiet for a long moment.  But eventually, Izuku heard the blonde laugh softly too.

"In a funny and ironic turn of events, I also got a pokémon partner.  His name is Mace, also a rescue, he's a Magikarp, and he's blue.  I would also murder for his scaly ass."

And just…

"Wow… You're so amazing, Kacchan!"

The intensely familiar words just fell out of Izuku’s mouth.  

“You’re amazing too, Izu…”  Kacchan said it with such soft fondness.  

Izuku sobbed as he was caught completely off guard at his words being reflected back at him.  Kacchan really had changed , and the greenette felt like his heart was explode.  Kacchan, with all of his tsundere tendencies, had just sincerely complimented him?!  

The teen felt like he was going to melt from sheer overwhelming sunshine-y joy.  He… let himself feel hope again.  Because it… it sounded like he had his best friend back again.  Izuku had been so damn scared that the harsh discrimanation that all of the teachers and their classmates had indoctrinated the other and driven a permanent wedge between the duo.  The arguments about Izuku trying to be a Hero instead of a Ranger certainly hadn’t helped.  

The greenette wanted to ramble and spill all of what happened during his journey to the other.  Because he finally had his Kacchan back, and he trusted the other.  He felt like he could talk all about getting adopted by a community of wild pokémon and how Lucario trained him in the ways of Aura.  Confess his worries about revealing the crackling energy he could hold in his hand to others, because it felt like he was losing his quirklessness.  He wanted help deciding on what to do , because he still wanted to identify as quirkless.  Because he still was , but Izuku wanted to use his Aura techniques and abilities freely in public.

Izuku wanted to talk about how his dream had shifted a bit, from Hero to Aura Guardian.  It was a future he could picture so vividly he could almost taste it.  Wandering around and working alongside legendary pokémon to save people and pokémon alike from various disasters.  He’d be somewhere between a Pokémon Ranger and a Hero, funnily enough, and he’d have a really cool cloak to match.

Actually, he had already had a cool cloak that reached his waist that was a repurposed and tailored version of Dragon Champion Lance’s!  Sure, the man’s Altaria had stolen it from the man and altered it to fit Izuku as a welcome gift as he was declared a member of a secret society of crime fighting bird pokémon known as the Bird Mafia, but Lance had approved after he actually met the man during said Bird Mafia shenanigans.

But… as much as Izuku wanted to talk about his entire journey, it wasn’t the type of conversation to have over the phone…

So instead…

“Yeah, thank you, Kacchan!  I… I think I finally figured that out for myself, while I was out here.”

All of the people he had met on this journey, both humans and pokémon, had done wonders for his self-esteem.  From Lucario and Lance, to Blue, to Hitoshi and Era and Tsuno.  The old lady that gave him a knife and the trio of Nurse Joy women, along with an actual Pro Hero, all thought he was amazing and destined for great things.

How could Izuku not believe them all?

Kacchan chuckled.  “Oh?  Guess that journey did wonders for you, huh?  I’m glad that you know that you’re amazing, Izu.  But you’re still a nerd.”

“Well, that’s what journeys are supposed to do, Kacchan.  Help you find yourself and become a better version of you.”

Kacchan hummed in agreement.  

A silence grew between them, and while it wasn’t awkward, Izuku still wanted to fill it.  “So… I can’t tell you about all the awesome shit I did over the phone, but I might have bitten a terrorist.  Or two.”

“What the fuck, Izuku!?”  Kacchan was laughing, and Izuku couldn’t stop grinning.

“Okay, it was actually only one, because the other guy used his Abra to rage quit before I could bite him.  But I got to participate in a full scale battle between two different factions of vicious bird pokémon.  All hail the Bird Mafia, because they led me to a group of poachers, and I got to throw hands with several people.  Kinda hard to convince yourself you’re not a badass when you’ve kicked a terrorist in the face.”

Kacchan was fucking dying of laughter on the other side of the line.  “Wait, birds!?   You became friends with the birds !  Like, those same fuckers that caw ominously in the woods behind the park!?”

Oh.

“Dear Arceus, probably !  Oh, that’s terrifying.  There’s Bird Mafia members that knew me as a little baby.  I am fear.  They probably gossip to the other groups when they do a full meet up.”

“There’s several groups!?”

“Totally.  They have several executives that are the leaders of different groups that live in different places.  I’m fairly positive the Bird Mafia is a intelligence gathering group that works with Dragon Champion Lance to wreck the shit of any human that dares to fuck with and hurt pokémon.  Or they take out the human scum themselves.” 

“Wack.”

Izuku burst into laughter that time.  “Yeah, it totally is!”

“Okay, but I’m fairly positive I sacrificed an MLA supporter to our local group.”

“Oooh!  I sacrificed an MLA goon to a group of ghosts!”

Silence rang between the two for a few tense seconds.  Like a staring contest, except over the phone.

Kacchan broke first with a strangled scream.  “Okay, you have to fucking give me the low down on all that shit when you get home.  I need the deets, Izu!  I’ll fucking die if you leave me hanging like this, nerd!  What’s your ETA on getting your ass back here?”

Izuku thought long and hard for a moment.  “I… don’t know.  I got lost on the way here, and I’m probably going to get even more lost on the way back.  Especially since I’m avoiding main routes like the plague because humans yucky.”

“Humans yucky!   Honestly… mood.”

The greenette was actually memeing with Kacchan.  This was the best day ever.

“So yeah, I have no clue, could be two week or it could be two months.  I don’t know.  My sense of direction might not actually work.”

“Alright, well, I guess there’s no helping that.  But… you better not die on the way back, nerd!”

“I won’t, Kacchan!”

“And put your pokémon on the line!”

“I… okay…?”

That was… a really strange request, but Izuku complied and gave the receiver to Hitoshi.

The Espurr meowed.

“Okay, now listen here.  You’re Izuku’s partner now, and I’m trusting you to get his reckless ass back here.  We live in Musutafu.  If you get really lost, ask the local pokémon for the direction of the Pokémon League or the Indigo Plateau.  Once you reach that area, our city is directly south of there.  If any humans harass Izuku, because they’re all complete assholes that are the scum of the Earth, hiss and growl and get them to back off.  Izuku probably still has issues sticking up for himself, so bite or telekinetically yeet any person that wants to harm him.  You got all that?  Meow once for no and twice for yes.”

To Izuku’s sputtering shock, Hitoshi nodded with determination as Kacchan essentially gave him marching orders.  “Meow.  Meow.”

“Good kitty!  Could ya hand the phone back to Izuku?”

“Mrrwp.”  Hitoshi handed the receiver back to Izuku with a shit eating fucking grin.  He was the most adorable snarky little shit Izuku had ever seen.  

Izuku couldn’t even find a reason to protest the two ganging up on him for his bad tendencies.  Still didn’t feel fair though.  At least the pair were getting along.  “I’m being called out, and I don’t like it.”

Both of them snickered at him.  

“So… should I tell the folks you’re headed home?”

Izuku hesitated with the answer.  “I… Is it bad that I want it to be a surprise?  I don’t want them to worry about me any more than they already are.  And I know that the anticipation will lead to anxiety, at least with Mom.  I just want to show up without worrying about expectations.”

“Yeah, I can keep this a secret, nerd.”

“Thank you.”

Silence reigned between again, tense because this was…

“This isn’t goodbye, Kacchan!  It isn’t!  Not… not this time.  This is just a… see you soon.”

“Yeah… I’ll see you soon, Izuku.  Next time.”

Neither of them had the courage to hang up.

Kacchan took a shuddering breath.  “Can that… can that be a thing?  Always just a… see you next time?”

Izuku nodded, tears in his eyes.  “Yeah… I… I’ll see you next time, Kacchan!”

“S-see you next time, nerd.”  

The phone clicked.  Not on a goodbye.

But on a “next time”.

Izuku pulled himself together after that incredibly emotional phone call, and Hitoshi gently batted at his chest and mrowed at him in concern.

“Yeah, I’m alright.  I just… miss him all the more.”

The greenette kissed Hitoshi on the top of the head, and he curled up around the Espurr in his arms.  The purrs from his tiny purple friend cheered him up after just a few seconds.

Izuku laughed wetly, and he stood up and collected himself.  He cradled Hitoshi closer, and he started walking.  Out of the phone booth and onto the streets, he put one foot in front of the other.  

The pair soon stood on a hill overlooking Lavender Town, just on the outskirts where everything faded into wilderness.  This wasn’t goodbye.

On a silly whim, Izuku waved to the town.

“See you next time, Lavender Town.”

Hitoshi waved too.  The pokémon might not have liked the place, but he would miss some of the people there.  

“Guess it’s time for our first adventure, even if it’s just going home.”

The Espurr hummed, and Izuku hummed back.

The connection of their minds clicked into place, familiar and practiced and comforting.

[Yeah, but we’ll have so many more together.  And so many more “see you next time”s!  Right, Izuku?]

Izuku laughed, indescribably fond of his partner.  The pokémon that had decided to stay.  The one that had asked and begged to be Izuku’s partner, despite knowing the danger Izuku would chase in the future.  

“Yeah, we definitely will!  This is just the beginning and the end of our very first journey together!”

Hitoshi purred in delight, and Izuku held the Espurr close as he took their first steps as a team.

Izuku was looking forward to this adventure!  

Chapter Text

Izuku noticed that it was… a bit different trekking through the wilderness with Hitoshi.  Of course, it became evident that his sense of direction had vanished.  There wasn’t any inherent pull that tugged on his very soul like there was on his Quest to Lavender Town to find his purple pokémon partner.  And Izuku’s memory of the wilderness around the town was vague at best, because his entire existence had screamed at him every time he ever thought about stepping in the wrong direction.  So he didn’t recognize anything at all.

Well, Izuku knew that they needed to go… east?  No wait, Lavender Town was east of the Pokémon League and the Indigo Plateau.  And Musutafu was a little bit south of the League, because it was in that lovely zone between Kanto and Johto.  So they needed to go west.  Which was the direction they were currently going, because Izuku knew that this was the same patch of woodland he traveled through to get to Lavender Town in the first place.  

Yeah, they totally weren’t lost!   Yet…

Besides!  Izuku could also figure out which direction was west from the sun’s position.  And there was no way that the greenette would miss the mountain range right that signified home.  So really, he couldn’t even get that lost.

It would be fine.  He knew what he was doing, and he could easily figure it out anyway.  It didn’t matter that the GPS on his pokétch hadn’t miraculously fixed itself while on his journey.  

Apparently, not fidgeting with his pokéballs on the road also was doing things to his anxiety now.  But Hitoshi was a welcome weight in his arms, and like hell was Izuku putting him down to fiddle with his Aura in fancy metal spheres.  The greenette knew that he was being silly and worrying over nothing because he just wanted to impress his new partner instead of stumbling around Kanto like an idiot.  

And Kacchan had insulted his sense of direction and told Hitoshi to make sure they didn’t get lost.  Which was fair, but the Espurr would totally tease Izuku if he got them lost!

But one other thing seemed to change a bit.  The pokémon reacted to the pair differently now.  Of course, they had treated Izuku with more caution when he was fidgeting with pokéballs than when he wasn’t.  The wild pokémon also seemed more curious.  He must’ve seemed like a lost trainer, but maybe not quite…?

Izuku still felt a bit hurt and upset that the wild pokémon weren’t trotting up to him to idly chatter at him or give him the occasional gift.  It stung to be thought of as more of a weird human instead of an unusual traveling pokémon.  

He…

He really didn’t want to be a human anymore… even though that seemed like an actual option now.

The greenette knew how easily he could pass off his Aura abilities as a quirk, and he couldn’t be called partner-less anymore with Hitoshi at his side.  All of the discrimination he had faced all of his life could vanish in an instant if he wanted to stay in Musutafu and decided to aim for U.A. again.  

Izuku hated that idea.

It left the worst taste in his mouth.  Every time he pictured those same bastards that made his life a fucking hell complimenting him instead for his powerful and flashy "quirk", he was filled with such intense loathing .  Izuku… really hated Hero-based society.  He couldn't bring himself to hate Heroes themselves, but it just seemed to amplify the inner mediocrity and apathy people had towards strangers.  Propaganda constantly influenced people into thinking with discrimination, and it allowed people like the MLA to spread their views.

Hitoshi stopped trying to take in all the new scenery and interesting sights and sounds of the wilderness he had never been to, and he noticed Izuku's inner turmoil.

And the Espurr leaned back and nuzzled Izuku's chest with a comforting purr.

Izuku hummed back, and the connection between their minds snapped into place.

[Izuku… you're upset.  Why?  Can I make you feel better?]

The greenette laughed, feeling a bit guilty over being consoled.  This was Hitoshi's first time in the wild.  The pair should be having fun together.

"I guess I'm just… worried about so many things.  I'm stressed because I'm going back to the place I ran away from.  I'm worried about how my mom is gonna react.  I don't think she'll be mad, but she might try and beg me to stay…  And I don't know what I'll do if she does.  I'm worried that I'll be forced to register my Aura abilities as a quirk, and that the horrors I went through will just disappear and people will expect me to forget it all now that I have a "heroic quirk" or some bullshit.  I think I'm scared of… being called human …  I stopped considering myself that, but I know that I'm not a pokémon either.  I'm just… somewhere in between. 

"And I… I'm also really worried about disappointing you.  That I won't live up to your standard of me.  I have no clue if I can actually be a good trainer or partner.  I feel like I'm gonna fuck up and you'll hate me and I'll… be alone again.  I don't wanna be alone again, Hitoshi."

Izuku stopped walking and started crying.  He hunched forward and curled around Hitoshi.  

The Espurr's comforting purrs became louder as he pressed himself further against Izuku.  

[I’m not going to leave you, Izuku.  You’re my person .]

Izuku couldn’t bring himself to believe that.  Emotions and memories overwhelmed him, and the greenette deepened their mental bond.  The purple fog of Hitoshi’s Aura and quirk that near constantly lurked at the edges of his vision rolled closer in a storm front as Izuku beckoned the clouds closer.  His own green lightning flickered amongst the clouds and linked their two minds deeper as the sounds of a clanging carillon and shrieking pipe organ echoed and overlapped around them.

The greenette brought up the memory without quite meaning to, exposing Hitoshi to the raw hurt he had felt.  The despair that had cut through Izuku back when he first pleaded for Hitoshi to come with him to the wild.  That moment when the not-pokémon had seemingly promised the impossible and had inadvertently broken Hitoshi’s trust.

That moment where Izuku had reminded him of his abusive former trainer, who had made so many empty promises and broke every single one they had made to Hitoshi.

And Hitoshi had screamed at Izuku with the full mental force of his quirk, told him to leave .  

But Hitoshi held Izuku’s mind close, even as the greenette tried to pull his thoughts away and apologize for bringing up that argument.

Yet the tiny pokémon just purred for him and continued the memory.  And Izuku saw it from Hitoshi’s point of view this time.

He felt how betrayed and upset the Espurr had felt.  Because Hitoshi had thought he had found a not- human that understood, and then Izuku had seemingly lied.  And Hitoshi couldn’t help but think that everything between them had been a lie, and he was just getting tricked by an awful human again.

So he had lashed out…

And he regretted it, nearly instantly.  Because there was no way that Izuku would forgive him after Hitoshi had used his quirk to try and hurt and force him away.  Wouldn’t it have been better to believe a lie and not be alone for a while?  Even if it was all a lie, and Izuku would turn mean eventually.

And then, moments later.  Hitoshi had been attacked, and he had really thought he was going to die.  The Espurr… had thought he deserved it.  So he had accepted that it was the end, and he didn’t bother trying to fight back.  Because minutes ago, he had hurt someone he really liked over something that was probably stupid, and that had turned out so well.

But then Izuku came back and saved him .  Begged him to live and brought him to the center, apologized to Hitoshi and hysterically bargained to capture him so he could survive his injuries.  

And every moment after and during his recovery, Izuku had been there for him.  Worked with the pokémon to earn his trust over and over again.  Izuku placed so much trust in him and told him all about Aura, and Hitoshi learned to trust him in kind.  Then, Izuku had saved him from the bastard that had nearly killed him.  The greenette kicked the ass of that fucker on Hitoshi's behalf, even with Izuku knowing that he could get hurt in the process.

Then, Hitoshi had truly known that he wanted Izuku as his person .

[It doesn't matter if Izuku messes up again.  You've always apologized and explained and asked what you did wrong so you can do better for me .  That's why I want to stay with you, Izuku.  You're my person, and I'm not going to leave you.]

Izuku could hardly process those words.  Still couldn’t really believe, no matter how much he wanted to.  “But I—”

[No!  I messed up too!  If Izuku does something mean that I don’t like, I’ll let you know this time!  Because you actually apologize and you explain it if I misunderstand!  And I know that you won’t hurt me on purpose, ever .  Because you saved me so many times, and you tried to do what was best for me.  Always, even if I didn’t like it, or you misinterpreted what I actually wanted.  Even if it hurt you too…]

The memory flashed in their mind’s eyes again.  How Izuku had tried to ask Hitoshi to go be Era or Tsuno’s pokémon, because the greenette had convinced himself that Hitoshi wouldn’t want him.  And then the Espurr had bitten him and asked to be Izuku ’s.

[Izuku, you’re my partner.  I chose you, because I like you as a person, and I’m going to stay.  It doesn’t matter if you mess up or scare me by accident.  You’re caring, and you apologize, and you care about me.   I know you said that the path you walk will be dangerous and sometimes really boring with your training.  It’ll be exhausting and really hard, but I want to walk it with you too!  I really want to be your partner, through all of the good times, the bad times, the boring times, and the scary times.  I want my future to always be with you, Izuku.]

The greenette knees wobbled too much, and he slid to the ground.  He was too overwhelmed by the bond and their emotions to continue standing.  He couldn’t really see through his tears, but his Sight laid all of their emotions for him to read with bright patterns and swirls.

Gratitude, affection, devotion, admiration, determination, and love practically suffocated Izuku with purple strands of light setting each of his six senses ablaze.  The scent of lavender, the taste of sweet raspberries and ozone, soft fur nuzzling against his skin, the vibration of soothing purrs, and the chimes of bells similar to a lullaby.

Izuku felt like he was more at home than he had ever felt in his life.

Hitoshi’s Aura had always complimented and felt like it… completed his in a way that felt addicting.  It wasn’t that Izuku felt less and like there was a hole inside him without Hitoshi’s Aura humming in step with his; he just felt like more of himself.  Like he was amplified, but also more at peace.  The restlessness that had become second instinct to Izuku settled down to a simmer around the other.

Like he was perfectly safe, and at home.

Izuku laughed breathlessly as he cried with joy and wrapped himself around the purring pokémon.  “You’re too good for me, Hitoshi.  I feel like I don’t deserve you.”

[And yet, you’re the only person that does deserve me, Izuku.  But… I feel the same way too, sometimes.]

“W-what, but you’re amazing !”  A beautiful and endless expanse of galaxy to Izuku’s eyes.  Constant shimmering glimmer and purple nebulas in all hues of lavender and violent with the gorgeous echoing of bells.  

[And you’re amazing too!  Constantly heroic, and you saved my life more than once.  You’re capable and determined and kind, and you deserve a partner pokémon that’s stronger than me.  One that’s as strong as you.]

“But, I want you , Hitoshi!  And no one… thought I was those things… before.”  Izuku could finally say it, and for now, he could allow himself to be selfish about this.  At least until that hellish anxiety set in again.

[And I want you too, Izuku!  I just… I’m scared you’ll stop wanting me…  Finally think that I’m useless, or an abomination…]

That was… the same issue Izuku had too.  Probably, it was the main fear he had in going home.  If a classmate from Aldera saw him… then Hitoshi would hear how useless and quirkless and weak and defenseless he had been.  And Izuku knew that he would probably freeze up, and lose all of that confidence and belief in himself that he had carefully cultivated in the wild.

“I’m scared of that too.  No one… no one thought I was heroic and capable and determined like you do.  I know that we’ve already talked about it.  I already mentioned that people treated me terribly because I’m quirkless, and that I was attacked because they thought I was worthless.  But there’s a little part of me that’s still terrified that you’ll see how they treat me, and you won’t— want me anymore.”

[That’s not true!  I wouldn’t!]

“I know that, but that doesn’t stop me from being scared, kitten.”

Hitoshi stared up at him.  [If anyone is mean to you again, I’ll… I’ll protect you too!]

Izuku sobbed, and Hitoshi started purring again.  “I… T-thank you so much, Hitoshi.”

[Of course, Izuku!  We’re partners now, and partners protect each other!]

“O-of course!”  Izuku laughed, finally feeling the burden of terror slip away from him.  He would always have Hitoshi after all.

The pokémon was his partner.

He now had a partner , and Izuku could finally start believing in that fact.

Chapter Text

After their heart to heart, Izuku made the call that it was probably a better idea to set up camp than press on for the day.  The greenette had made decent enough progress away from Lavender Town anyway.  No more quirkest humans to hurt his Hitoshi anymore.  It’s such a shame that the place would’ve probably been nice to live in if it hadn’t been invaded by awful bigoted humans.

Izuku, on second nature, started to set up the tent.  But, also on second nature, he tried to do it with only one hand because he had gotten so used to always holding Hitoshi.

The greenette didn’t realize that setting up the tent with only one hand would be impossible, until the tent smacked him in the face.  

The Espurr snickered as Izuku blinked in confusion.  It had been a while since the nylon monstrosity had decided to attack him with its terrible carbon fiber exoskeleton.  He felt a bit stunned.

The purple pokémon also decided to whine when Izuku tried to set him down.

“Hitoshi, I just proved that I apparently need two hands to set up the tent.  I’ll pick you back up in a minute.”  

The Espurr still protested with various cranky cat noises.

“Oh come on, what if I end up smacking both of us in the face.”

Hitoshi stopped clinging to the greenette’s shirt, but he still pouted at Izuku as he was set down on the ground.

The greenette sighed and quickly set up the tent, even throwing the blankets inside even more haphazardly than usual.  Izuku swept his spoiled princess back into his arms again, and Hitoshi purred loudly as the not-pokémon kissed him on the head.  

Izuku was whipped for his partner, and he didn’t mind at all.  He already knew that he wouldn’t stop spoiling the Espurr any time soon.

So, Hitoshi spent the rest of the evening either in his arms or in his lap.  Izuku showed the pokémon the correct way to temporarily set up a small fire to cook some soup.  There wouldn’t be another baking binge on the road without access to a grocery store.

But… Izuku could probably figure out how to bake on a campfire.  The problem would just be transporting flour and cream.  He also would need to pick up some standard chicken eggs at a store for certain recipes.

Auntie Mitsu and Uncle Saru still went on camping trips… right?  Most of the time they grabbed Kacchan too, but a trial run on a weekend trip with an actual cooler would be fun.  And more manageable than trying to keep milk and eggs from spoiling out on his journey.  After all, the pair were stuck using powdered creamer in their coffee right now.

“And that’s how we cook dinner out here.  It’s a lot easier to just eat premade canned soup while traveling.  You can technically eat it cold, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  Of course, nothing beats homemade, but foraging is pretty difficult out here.”

Hitoshi hummed along as Izuku rambled out loud.  It was just comforting being in each other’s company.  Both of them were fairly emotionally exhausted after their earlier conversation.  The greenette was a bit surprised that he had fallen back onto his habit of mumbling, although his words were more slightly more distinct.  

Izuku trailed off in whatever he was saying as he noticed Hitoshi nod off.  He chuckled fondly as the Espurr yawned.  “Come on, kitten.  We should get some rest.”

The greenette cleaned up their campsite quite a bit, and he made triple sure that the fire was extinguished.  Hitoshi was already asleep in his arms as he made sure the blanket nest was comfortable enough for them.  

The not-pokémon finally laid down after making sure everything was in order, and he drifted off quickly alongside his partner.

There was no anxiety or nightmares to interrupt his sleep throughout the night.  Just comforting dreams of swirling colors and fragments of dreams of him being a proud feral Aura Guardian with a majestic Meowstic companion.

Chapter Text

Hitoshi, as Izuku expected, disliked the powdered coffee creamer.  Izuku didn’t like it either, but he had developed a habit of spoiling the pokémon.  So, he would try and find a solution for that while in Musutafu.

Other than Hitoshi making a face at his coffee, the morning was fairly uneventful.  Izuku had gotten up early and started his stretches after setting up the water to boil for the coffee.  The Espurr stumbled out of the tent while Izuku was about halfway done with his morning Aura katas.  He even felt briefly energized after pushing and pulling his Aura throughout his body, feeling the energy flow through him as he stretched and directed it within himself.  

There was no wild pokémon lurking at the edges of their tiny campsite.  No brave souls tried to creep closer to beg for a portion of their berry breakfast.  Not even a curious snout peaked out from the surrounding bushes.

It was all just… quiet.  

Izuku felt silly about feeling hurt about the wild pokémon all around them ignoring him.  By now, he normally had a Rattata or a Furret approach him.  Or a bug type would have fallen on him, both curious and there to beg for a bite.  But no one had decided to fall into and hide in his hair or nip at his heels yet.

He tried his best not to feel sad or disappointed about that.  The greenette wasn’t all alone anymore; he had Hitoshi by his side!  But…

Still… 

The wild pokémon, all complete strangers, had helped keep him company and looked out for him.  Guided him and walked with him on his journey up until this point.  Gave him little gifts and some spare food.  Chattered and chirped and meowed and barked at him whenever he felt lonely, or sometimes to warn him about something.

He didn’t want all of that to just vanish because he had a partner now.  The greenette still wanted that connection to the deep wild.  Actually, he didn’t really want to leave .  He could tell what he wanted most, and that was to keep journeying and wandering and traveling.  To learn all new things about the world and about Aura.  The thought of staying in one place again just terrified him now.

Izuku… didn’t want to go home.  He wanted to visit home.  The thought of Musutafu still filled him with bitterness and a fair bit of fear.  He couldn’t even begin to guess at what awaited him there.  It terrified him that he would end up being stuck and trapped there, forced to go back to school for some bullshit reason or another.  He wouldn’t put it past a Professor to come up with a few more fucking lies to stop him from getting a pokédex.  The greenette was scared that he would get cornered and dragged back into the hellish nightmare of that daily torture called bullying.  That his old classmates would find him, and somehow beat him into becoming a worthless, quirkless, and defenseless Deku again.

But the most terrifying thing was something else.

Izuku didn’t want to be human anymore.  He didn’t want to be shoved into that mold and pointless label again.  For so damn long, he had lived in the wilderness and thrived .  He couldn’t be happy pretending to be a simple human.  Izuku really did consider himself a not-pokémon that lived alongside them.  He wasn’t quite like them.  He knew he was somewhere between human and pokémon, but the wild felt like home.  Even if he couldn’t have decent coffee out here.

And yet, some human places were okay and nice in small doses.  Lavender Town was a nice place, just not nice to stay and live in.  He really did want both worlds, even if he had a heavy bias with the wild.

Now though, it was like he was being told he didn’t belong in the wilderness anymore.  The first place that had truly felt like home to him since he was diagnosed quirkless felt like it was rejecting him now.

Pokémon saw him as human now.

And that broke Izuku’s heart.  Because now, he was truly considered defective again and completely unbelonging.  Wild pokémon didn’t trust him anymore, just because of his bond with Hitoshi.

He knew it was silly to draw the parallels with discrimination, but it was eating at his insides now.  The one place he had been accepted by everyone was slipping out of his fingers, and he didn’t know what he could do.  

Izuku wanted to go back to the Grove and feel at home there, but now he was scared.  He didn’t know what he would do if his pokémon family lost trust in him and treated him like a stranger to be concerned about, just because of his bond with Hitoshi.  Well, he did know what he would do, actually.

He would break.

And he needed to stop those thoughts right there.  Izuku had spaced out enough with packing down their camp.  It was time to calm himself down with a shuddering deep breath.

Hitoshi had already picked up on Izuku feeling out of sorts, but he didn’t point it out to talk about it like he did yesterday.  The Espurr waited until the greenette had everything ready to go and picked up the pokémon to start purring loudly.  It worked to cheer Izuku up, as he laughed and cuddled with the other.

The not-pokémon wished he could purr back in reply.  But humming along would have to do.  

Yeah, Izuku actually felt like the extra isolation would be worth it for moments like this.  His worry just melted away as he shouldered his bag and continued on the hike.  

Sadly, his good mood could only last so long.

The pattern of wild pokémon avoiding him finally stopped.  The only problem was that the Sandslash that directly stepped into their path wasn’t friendly.  The growling made the pokémon’s feelings towards the traveling pair abundantly clear.

Izuku wasn’t sure what to do or how to deescalate the situation.  Had they veered too far into the Sandslash’s territory by accident?  Was the ground type seeing them as a threat because they might have come too close to their den?  Izuku didn’t know.  He didn’t know what to do, and he was panicking.  Didn’t trainers normally ask their pokémon to fight their fellow pokémon instead of throwing hands themselves?  But Izuku wasn’t going to put Hitoshi in harm’s way like this!  He couldn’t even be sure if the Espurr had even been in a pokémon battle before this!

Yet, to Izuku’s surprise, Hitoshi growled back.  The Sandslash chittered in anger and dragged their claws against each other to sharpen them.  

Izuku tightened his grip around Hitoshi and took a step back.  He had no fucking clue what was going on, but like hell was he going to let his pokémon partner get hurt again.

“Esp!  Esp, esp, esp, esp!  Pur rrrr gh.”  Hitoshi screamed at the other, breaking off into snarls and growls and hisses.

The greenette was even more on edge as this verbal altercation verged closer to a real fight.

But the Sandslash tilted their head and lowered their claws.

Hitoshi hissed an answer, to their unspoken question, probably laced with insults.  

The Sandslash crossed their arms, looking haughty and self-assured for a moment.

The Espurr returned with more scathing insults though, and the ground type finally backed off.  The Sandslash shuffled backwards and ducked their head in… shame?  

Izuku’s vision was shaky from fear and adrenaline, and it was difficult to calm himself down enough to properly see and interpret the other pokémon’s emotions.

The ground type gave Hitoshi a chuffing quip before slinking back into the undergrowth.  The tiny pokémon relaxed in Izuku’s arms, but he was still softly growling under his breath.  Hitoshi was still angry and miffed about whatever… that whole thing was about.

“Hey, kitten, is everything okay?”

Hitoshi purred and nuzzled his chest and against his arms.  Izuku hummed back like always, and purple fog lurked at the edge of his vision.

Izuku was going to need to learn how to color correct his Aura Sight through the sensation of Hitoshi’s quirk, wasn’t he?  Oh well, it sounded like a fun little challenge.

[They were being a judgemental asshole.  I politely informed them of their fuck up.]

The greenette wisely decided to not point out how Hitoshi had clearly verbally eviscerated them.

“So… are we actually okay to continue walking in this direction?”

[Yep!  No one will dare give us anymore issues!]

That was ominous, but Izuku accepted it.  “Okay… and thank you.  I froze up there, so I’m sorry.”

[You don’t have to be, Izuku!  I want to protect you too!  We’re partners, and that means I want to look out for you and help you.  I want to be here for you because you’re my person.]

Izuku blushed, but he didn’t know why.  He was just flattered by the sentiment that Hitoshi wanted to protect him in turn.  The pokémon seemed rather enthusiastic about the idea ever since he talked to Kacchan, but Izuku found that he liked whenever Hitoshi would try to act as his little knight in shining armor.  

The greenette kissed the top of the Espurr’s head, just because.  “Okay, we’ll protect each other.  Because we’re each other’s precious partner.”

Izuku didn’t notice how Hitoshi blushed in turn as they continued on their way.

Chapter Text

Izuku slowly picked up on how the wild pokémon’s behavior changed after their encounter with the Sandslash.  Pokémon of all sorts peeked out of the trees and bushes to catch a glimpse of the duo as they passed.  After a while longer, a few of them walked out of hiding to glance at them.  A bit more time, and some became brave enough to walk alongside them for a bit.

A few hours later, one or two strangers trotted beside Izuku and chatted for a moment with Hitoshi.  Then, they returned to the forest proper after they exchanged a few words with the Espurr.  

Izuku tried to push down the hope that flared in his chest, but it still slowly built up as the days passed.

A few pokémon had taken to giving him gift.  Of course, it wasn’t the same as it was before Hitoshi.  Now, the pokémon that approached them talked at Hitoshi, but a few of the strangers started to try to add Izuku into their conversations.  It was difficult to understand more than one person just based on empathic reading, but it was good practice for sensing around the beacon that was Hitoshi.  There was a bit of a learning curve to see through the constant purple fog that Hitoshi’s quirk presented itself as in his vision.  It reminded him of how he could hardly see through his own Aura at the start of his training.  At least it was nostalgic instead of just being a bit of an annoyance.

But he didn’t need his Aura Sight to see how quietly smug Hitoshi had been whenever a wild pokémon approached them.  Izuku figured out that Hitoshi must’ve said something to that Sandslash to change everyone’s opinion.  

Of course, knowing that didn’t change that Izuku totally cried when a Vulpix tumbled into their camp in the morning and began begging for breakfast.

Other sweet and cute moments like that kept happening, and Izuku was as happy as ever as they kept traveling.  He thanked Hitoshi, but the pokémon pretended that he hadn’t done anything.  Cute little princess was adorable, acting like he hadn’t casually brought the bounce back into Izuku’s step.  

And well, things were truly looking up for them on their little journey.  This was, in a way, what Izuku had wanted to show his partner.  The beauty and kindness of the wild surrounded them, hand in hand with the harshness of survival.  It was incredibly easy going for them anyway.  The day it rained, Izuku kept the tent up and they went back to sleep instead of hiking for the day.  Without any terrifying storms or poachers or territorial strangers, life out here was peaceful and calm.  Just an idyllic routine of continuing the hike.

Minus the tragedy that was a lack of decent coffee creamer, of course.

Other than that hiccup, and the difficulty of sometimes tracking down a small stream to rinse off in, Hitoshi admitted that Izuku was right about the wilderness being a great place to live.

The rest of the week passed by uneventfully.  They co-existed with the wild pokémon and successfully avoided a city of some kind by walking around it.  The only reason Izuku knew that they had passed civilization was that he saw the glimpse of skyscrapers above the trees while standing on a hill.

Of course, the duo’s peace had to eventually end.  

Izuku just didn’t expect it in the slightest.

He thought that maybe he would get lost and run into a bothersome human that wanted to battle.  Or maybe some other inconvenience.  There was even a possibility of running into an area with poachers and fighting those Birdgeoisie bastards again.

Izuku certainly didn’t think to prepare himself, and Hitoshi, in case a Pidgeot dive bombed them from the sky.  

The flyer going near Mach speed knocked the greenette off his feet when the flying type landed.  A mighty bellowing trill scared the shit out of him as the pokémon stared him and Hitoshi down.  Izuku tried to scramble to his feet, but he was too shocked to stand.

He actually recognized this Pidgeot.

Chapter Text

Hitoshi squirmed in alarm in Izuku’s arms.  The little Espurr didn’t really understand what was happening at first, especially since the greenette wasn’t explaining in his speechless awe.  The purple pokémon hissed at the newcomer, but he quieted down with a grumble when Izuku distractedly scratched behind his ears.

Izuku was just giddy with excitement and fascinated by the arrival of his pokémon friend.  The Pidgeot stood tall and proud, nearly at Izuku’s own height.  Golden eyes and feathers gleamed and glowed and twinkled, even without Izuku’s Aura Sight.  Yet, the Pidgeot’s wings were as stunning as his molten gold Aura.  So many vibrant shades of red that matched those on the greenette’s cloak.

Izuku squealed in delight as he took in the new sight of his dear friend.  “Aka-chan!  You evolved!  That’s so cool!”

Aka-chan, now much larger, trilled and preened at the praise.  Izuku giggled back.  He was so damn proud for the other, and he easily pushed aside the little disappointments that started echoing in his head.  He was a bit disappointed that he didn’t get to see the other evolve, and he wouldn’t get to have the other sit on his shoulder or on his head anymore.  It would be really difficult to have sleepovers in his tent too.  Aka-chan had become Izuku’s size after all!

But, his pride and joy in his friend’s achievement outweighed the tiny and minor disappointments he felt over the other no longer being the perfect cuddle size.  

Well, the Pidgeot didn’t seem to mind.  But he did tilt his head to the side when he noticed Hitoshi before glancing back up to Izuku.

The greenette ignored the small twinge of heartache he felt to instead introduce his friends.  “Aka-chan, this is Hitoshi.  He’s actually, um… my partner.  I met him in Lavender Town.  Hitoshi, this is Aka-chan.  He’s one of the many friends I made out in the wild.  We met when I was recruited into the Bird Mafia, and we’ve been best friends ever since!”

Hitoshi stared up at him, tiny mouth open in shock.  [What.]

Oh shit.

Izuku didn’t tell Hitoshi about the Bird Mafia.  Well, he did , but he did gloss over the details when talking about his time in the wilderness.  The phrase “Bird Mafia” wasn’t ignored and overlooked for once.

Aka-chan snickered in short chirps at Izuku’s misfortune.

“Well, I’m pretty positive I’ve mentioned it in passing, but the Bird Mafia is… an organization.  Of flying type pokémon.  That have a loosely mafia-like power dynamic.  And steal certain trinkets.  But they actively fight against poachers and stuff, and I’m pretty positive that they work as an intel gathering network too.  They gave me my cloak, actually.”

Hitoshi kept staring at him, but the pokémon eventually blinked and broke their intense staring contest.

The Espurr wouldn’t kill him on this day.  Yet.

Aka-chan diffused the lingering tension easily with some light conversation though.  Both pokémon struck up a dialougue as they talked about something.  He wasn’t good enough to interpret their conversation, but he guessed that they were sharing their respective adventures with Izuku with each other.  He gleamed that was the subject from how Aka-chan gestured with his wings.  Hitoshi gestured back too with a little smug grin.

Izuku noticed that Hitoshi froze for a moment, but he relaxed pretty quickly.  The Espurr was now less tense than the entire time Aka-chan had been here.  

Hitoshi gave him a quick answer.  [He asked what my quirk was.  He doesn’t hate me.  Actually thinks it’s cool.]

The greenette grinned.  Of course, Aka-chan would be so accepting.  He was just thrilled that the two were getting along.  Izuku didn’t even mind that he couldn’t really understand the conversation.

He did sense when the talk took another turn though.  Aka-chan straighted up and fluffed out his feathers.  Hitoshi looked like he wasn’t sure whether to smugly grin in victory or instantly regret his words.  

Izuku tilted his head and tried to direct his unspoken question to the Pidgeot.  His only reply was a loud chirp and Aka-chan bending down and splaying one wing on the ground.

Wait…

“Are you offering us a ride back to the Grove?”  Izuku was surprised.  He was still getting used to the idea that his flying type friend could hold his weight now.

Aka-chan nodded, looking seconds away from vibrating in excitement.

Hitoshi, on the other hand, looked extremely nervous.  The Espurr still nodded at Izuku anyway, despite his trepidation.

“O-okay, let’s go.”  Izuku was a little nervous himself.  Aka-chan had probably never flown with a passenger before, but he could trust the other.  The Pidgeot wouldn’t do anything dangerous.

Oh… Izuku was about to find out how damn wrong he was.

Chapter Text

Izuku found out rather quickly that he probably should have been concerned over the fact that Aka-chan had never flown with a passenger before.  Let alone two.

Of course, that was a realization in hindsight.  The greenette climbed up on the pokémon with Hitoshi tucked into his arms.  He made sure his backpack was secured and nothing was going to fall out.  Izuku also adjusted his grip on Hitoshi, holding him to his chest with only one arm while he wrapped his other arm around the Pidgeot.  

Hitoshi was nervous about flying for the first time, but Izuku naively reassured him that it wasn’t that bad once you got used to it.

Aka-chan trilled as he flapped his wings and easily took off into the air.  With powerful wingbeats, they were already soaring high above the trees.  It was a little higher than Izuku had been before, but nothing too alarming.

He laughed, feeling the wind ruffle his hair as Aka-chan slowly picked up a bit on the speed.  A few seconds of an easy and non-terrifying flight that lulled him into a false sense of security .  Hitoshi even relaxed in Izuku’s hold.  His tiny mouth was open in awe as he stared down and around at the scenery below.

The Pidgeot trilled again, before he picked up the pace of his wingbeats.  It was a fun soar for a few moments.

Then Aka-chan, with one mighty flap of his wings, decided to break the sound barrier .

Izuku screamed.  Hitoshi screamed.  

The greenette frantically leaned forward and grabbed Aka-chan’s collar and squeezed Hitoshi for dear fucking life.  His ears popped a bit painfully, and he was terrified he would be deaf from this fuckery.  Despite the initial roar and the wind screaming around them, it wasn’t actually that loud???  Izuku noticed he could still hear everyone screaming and Aka-chan laughing as he started doing tricks .  

It took several more terrifying moments to realize that the pokémon was in complete control of the situation.  Sure, they were going fucking Mach speed.  If not double mach or some shit, but the wind wasn’t going to dislodge him or rip them to pieces.  It was just like it was very windy, instead of faster than sound.  He belatedly remembered that Pidgeot were naturally able to manipulate the wind to go at incredible speeds without hurting themselves.  Aka-chan was cutting through the wind and directing most of it away from his passengers.

With the panic somewhat abated, it felt more like Izuku was on a roller coaster.  One without tracks that could go anywhere and didn’t have any safety bars or seat belts.  Objectively terrifying in every way, but it was also so much fun.

Izuku started laughed and whooping in joy as his inner adrenaline junkie finally kicked in.  

Hitoshi stopped screaming, only to start whining in a panic.  The greenette cooed and hummed at his partner in attempted reassurance.

“It’s just like a roller coaster.  It’s fun because it’s terrifying.  Aka-chan won’t let us fall, I promise.”  Izuku consoled the other.  

The Espurr calmed down and snuggled closer to Izuku.  He hid his face for a moment before he peeked out to see the blurring scenery again.  He slowly went from being terrified to actually smiling in awe once again.

Hitoshi still yowled in alarm when Aka-chan did any sort of aerial trick, but he didn’t panic bite Izuku.

Even when Izuku probably deserved it when he let go of the Pidgeot’s collar to put his hand in the air and whoop in excitement again.

Aka-chan probably overshot the Grove, but Izuku didn’t mind and just enjoyed the ride for a while longer.  Going Mach speed on a Pidgeot was fucking amazing once the bone deep existential terror disipated.

Hitoshi started to enjoy the ride too.

Yeah… Izuku was content that his journey was ending like this.  

Chapter Text

Izuku couldn’t be sure if they were approaching Mt. Silver and the surrounding mountain range from the Kanto or the Johto side.  With the amount of acrobatics and twists and turns Aka-chan had done, neither of the passengers had been able to orient themselves.  And a pokémon going Mach speed, if not Mach 2 or 3, could have easily flown them across Japan without notice.  

Now, the aerial roller coaster was slowing down as his Pidgeot friend glided around the hallmark symbol of the Indigo League.  Soon… Izuku would be home.  He’d be back in the grove.  He was going to Mama Arcanine and her Growlithe cubs.  Little Houndour would be learning all about playtime from their older siblings.  Houndoom would be there, napping in the sunshine.  Lucario, the pokémon who taught him how to use his Aura and went above and beyond for him, would be hunting and helping the others in the Grove too.

Izuku held onto Hitoshi tightly with both arms for comfort as his nerves rose impossibly high.  Would his pokémon family welcome him again with open arms and paws and affectionate nuzzles and chuffs?  

Would… they hate him now?

After all, Izuku was now partners with Hitoshi.  The greenette had done an unmistakably human thing in capturing his friend in a pokéball.  Others wouldn’t really care about the supposed “minor details” of how Izuku never had his companion inside the pokéball unless Hitoshi asked.  They wouldn’t spare a moment to ask the Espurr about how he felt in his pokéball.  They wouldn’t know the emotions that Izuku always felt from the other, safe and warm and content and happy and aware .  Didn’t know that it was like a mental hug, one that was prefered when Hitoshi was too overwhelmed with everything to enjoy Izuku carrying him around everywhere like a small child with a treasured favorite stuffed animal.  

What if his poké-family thought of him as a poacher ?  

Izuku was terrified at the possibility.  He knew the canines had no frame of reference for what pokémon trainers were like with their domesticated pokémon.  They were all wild , so deeply entrenched within the wilderness that most of them had never even seen a human.

(Izuku refused to count himself.  He had thrown away his humanity before he had even skipped school on that fateful day.  It had just taken him a while to realize it and fully accept it.  Now, he was fully content with his not-pokémon and definitely not-human existence.)

The greenette knew that Aka-chan was incredibly understanding of his companionship with Hitoshi, but the Pidgeot clearly had a trainer once upon a time.  When they had first met, the pokémon had been surprised that Izuku didn’t have a poké-partner.  

So, Izuku knew that Aka-chan would vouch for him and explain everything, but it still hurt to think about.  He still felt the urge to cry hysterically.

Hitoshi picked up on his emotions and snuggled close and purred at him.  Izuku stopped spiraling as he focused on humming back.  

[What’s wrong?]

“Just worried about what my poké-family will think.  They’re all wild, so they don’t have context for a relationship like ours.  And I know that Lucario will know something is up, at the very least.”  

He would definitely see how deeply Izuku’s Aura mixed with Hitoshi’s.  He’d probably be able to see the near constant fog of purple around Izuku too, from Hitoshi using his extremely potent mental quirk.  The greenette didn’t really know what the fighting type’s initial assumption would be.  

[If they start being mean, I’ll yell at them.]

“Thank you.”  Izuku curled around Hitoshi, leaning down to nuzzle his partner.

Aka-chan chimed in with a few chirps that turned into snickers.

Izuku didn’t know what the other said, but Hitoshi began sputtering, both aloud and mentally.  “Esp!  Esp!  Espurrrrr!”

[W-what do you mean, they’re all dogs!? ]

Aka-chan cackled while Izuku blinked in surprise.  

“Is… uh… that an issue?”

[I’m a cat!  They’re going to hate me!]  “Espurr!  Esp!”

“Hitoshi, they aren’t like that!  I swear.”  Izuku couldn’t help himself.  All of his worry vanished as he started laughing at the silly assumption.  At least Hitoshi wasn’t worried about them not liking him because of his quirk.

The Espurr stopped protesting, but he still pouted up at Izuku.  But both of them knew that the pokémon was glad Izuku had stopped stressing himself out.

Aka-chan was happy for the greenette too, and he began the slow circling descent as he approached the Grove.  Izuku actually trilled in sync with the Pidgeot as he recognized his home and the clearings of the commune from above.  He laughed in delight as flocks of pokémon rose from the trees to fly towards them as they flew in.  The Bird Mafia knew he was coming, and they had flew out to welcome him back!

Izuku laughed in delight as he saw them.  

Aka-chan crowed proudly as their flying friends formed a formation around them.  Honchkrow and Skarmory pulled up to flank the Pidgeot with an equal amount of pride shining in their Auras.  The trio of fliers all exchanged a few words, and Izuku saw how the Boss took in the sight of Hitoshi in the not-pokémon’s arms.

The head honcho nodded in approval as the confirmation glittered in their Aura.  

Good to know that the Bird Mafia approved of Izuku’s companionship of the Espurr, instead of declaring him a poacher and ripping him to pieces.

Izuku also enjoyed the way Hitoshi had his little mouth dropped open in awe as he took in the welcoming party.  He also exchanged a few pleasantries with the leaders when they addressed him.  The greenette couldn’t tell what the conversation was about, but he knew that Hitoshi would tell him what it was about if it was important or pertaining to him.

He was soon distracted entirely as he heard something in the distance.

Izuku knew that sound.  He heard howling in the breeze.

Welcome home .

The not-pokémon grinned and started howling back.

I’m home .

Izuku’s throat was a bit sore when the group of flying pokémon landed a few minutes later, but he quickly scrambled off of Aka-chan to run towards his poké-family.  The whole group was there, tails wagging.

The greenette ignored Hitoshi’s and Aka-chan’s matching squeaks of protests in favor of getting to his family as fast as possible.  He barked in joy and ran directly into a hug with Lucario, who already had his arms open in invitation.  Izuku at least made sure to be careful not to tackle hug his mentor.  He had a chest spike, and the greenette was still holding Hitoshi.

The Espurr squeaked again, but Izuku giggled as Lucario nuzzled him and licked at his hair like Mama Arcanine did while holding him close in the hug.  The Growlithe pups yipped excitedly as they circled around his ankles.  They encouraged Houndour to do it too.

Izuku finally released Lucario from the hug, and the pokémon took in the sight of Hitoshi in his arms.  His mentor blinked in surprise, and he said a few things to Hitoshi in another conversation Izuku didn’t understand.  Lucario then grinned and nodded approvingly and gave Izuku some head pats while looking proud of him.

Okay…?  He didn’t quite know what that was about, but Izuku took the opportunity to kneel down and introduce the pups to Hitoshi.  

“Hey everyone, this is Hitoshi.  He’s my close friend and partner.  Treat him with respect and don’t play rough, okay?”  Izuku tried putting a bit of Aura into his words, wondering if that would work.  

To his surprise, it did.  The pups nodded along before they took turns licking his free hand to say hi.  He giggled and humored them before he stood up again.

Houndoom trotted over to greet him this time.  She exchanged a few brief words with Hitoshi before she leaned into Izuku’s side and nuzzled him too.  She leaned up to lick at his face, and he nuzzled her back.

Mama Arcanine was last, boofing once to get her bipedal cub’s attention.  As if Izuku could forget about his Mama.  She approached and leaned down to nuzzle him, to his delight as he broke out into giggles.  She chuffed as she licked his hair a few times before she decided to duck down and groom Hitoshi too.

The Espurr looked utterly bewildered and embarrassed, but he accepted the affection after a glance up at Izuku for some basic reassurance.  

The not-pokémon was just so damn happy that his family rapidly accepted Hitoshi as one of their own!

Chapter Text

Izuku was starting to think that he really needed to learn how to speak pokémon.  While he was beyond overjoyed that his family adored Hitoshi, he was missing most of their conversation.  And he had a feeling everyone was talking about him.  He tried to keep up and follow the conversation, but he was getting lost in body language changes and intonations.  All of it was just… vague to him.

The greenette was used to everyone emoting more visibly for him.  It was so much more difficult to interpret when the others weren’t talking to him directly.  And he didn’t have this issue when he had lived here, because the canine poké-family didn’t “talk” all that much.  They preferred body language and barks and boofs and chuffs over direct vocalizations.  

But here they were, crowded around Izuku’s precious partner, as they carefully took the time to specify and clarify things about their home.  Izuku saw that Hitoshi started to ask questions about what it was like to live in the wild, and the others answered as they shared perspectives.

Izuku found out that he didn’t mind being lost in the conversation.  He was happy just to sit back and watch Hitoshi relax.  Watched the Espurr’s eyes glimmer with wonder as he laughed in delight.  The tension slowly melted off of his partner’s shoulders, and Izuku watched as Hitoshi found himself a home in this place too.

Eventually though, Aka-chan extracted them from the conversation.  Izuku could at least figure out what was happening this time.  Aka-chan had decided to take Hitoshi on a tour, and he had somehow roped Lucario into tagging along too.  Hitoshi jumped up at the opportunity, both to see the rest of the grove and snuggle back into Izuku’s arms.  

The four of them made a strange little group as they traipsed around to various places.  A giant bird pointing and babbling about the irrigation system.  Lucario, standing quiet and serene, even as he smiled at Hitoshi’s enthusiasm.  There was also the duo of the not-pokémon and the unusually excited Espurr he was holding like a teddy bear.  

Aka-chan and Izuku took turns pointing out the coolest landmarks and important places.  They showed Hitoshi the diverted streams that the water type pokémon used to water the berry bushes and trees and other crops that the grass types maintained.  Izuku made sure to point out the fish in the river to Hitoshi’s squeak of delight.  They approach the hunting grounds, and the Espurr was mesmerized by the sight of a few chickens hopping about through the undergrowth.  

Izuku made sure to show off the watering hole and washing spring.  It wasn’t warm, but a fire type would be willing to heat some up if they had a container if Hitoshi desperately wanted a bath.  The Espurr declined, and he said he could wait for grooming and pampering until they made it to where Izuku’s human family lived.

Human family, Izuku had never called the Bakugous and his mom and Auntie Cynthia that before, but it was a fitting phrase now.  Especially since now Izuku identified as something a little different than human.  The very term made him shudder when it was applied to him.  

Finally, they swung by the little clearing that the Art Club occupied most of the time.  Smeargle and Kirlia stopped what they were doing as soon as they caught sight of him, and they rushed to hug his legs.  Sableye screeched at him in greeting before going back to their gemstones.  Bulbasaur started rambling excitedly, but they didn’t put their weaving down.

Cacnea clearly wanted to hug him too, but they thought better of it.  Instead, the cactus pokémon just approached him and started dancing happily next to their not-pokémon friends.

The bug type trio, surprisingly, didn’t greet Izuku at first.  They caught sight of Aka-chan and complimented him and fawned at his larger form.  It seemed like they hadn’t seen his evolved form yet.  Of course, they got distracted in a moment when they did a double take and saw Izuku.  Sewaddle shrieked in joy, and they dived towards him in the strongest tackle hug they were capable of.  A not very strong one.  Caterpie and Wurmple followed suit.  

Izuku didn’t even lose his balance.

But he still knelt down, even as Hitoshi gripped his shirt tight in alarm at the sight of the bugs as big as him.  

“Hey, everyone, it’s been a long time!  I missed all of you, but I made a new friend too.  His name is Hitoshi.  He’s my partner, treat him well.”  

Hitoshi protested a bit when Izuku set him down, but Kirlia, a fellow psychic type, saved him from the enthusiasm of the bug trio.  Those two were already getting along.

Izuku took a step back and committed himself to watching again, but Lucario motioned him over.  The greenette was a bit confused, but he moved to stand next to his mentor.

Lucario placed a paw on his shoulder, and Izuku noticed the faint glow of it.  In response Izuku opened up his Sight to properly look at the pokémon that taught him.

He saw Lucario’s Aura pulsing bright and blue in his vision, and it projected what his mentor thought of him.

Proud, progress, power, partner, protected, purple.

“Yeah, I did find my purple.”  Izuku smiled fondly as he replied in a whisper.  He concentrated and tried to project his own emotions and feelings and thoughts through his own Aura.

Gratitude, happiness, peace, settled, partner, home.

Lucario gave him another hug when he opened his eyes.  Izuku gladly accepted it.

The greenette knew now that he had many homes in different places.  The pokémon center in Lavender Town, the grove, his mother’s house, at the Bakugou household, and with his precious partner.  Hitoshi was now an intricate part of Izuku, and the not-pokémon couldn’t picture a life without him by his side.  Izuku had evidence and could even see that they were bound together by their very souls.  

He loved Hitoshi.  

With every single ounce of himself, and he knew everything would be okay with the pokémon alongside him.  The Espurr was his home, and Izuku could feel and see his soul intertwine with the other with every breath.

Izuku wasn’t scared anymore of the events to come.  He was no longer worried about human society and the reactions of his human family.  Everything would be alright if Hitoshi was there.  Izuku knew that, and he knew that Hitoshi would never leave him.

They were partners.  It was as simple as that.

Chapter Text

Izuku and Hitoshi stayed in the grove for two more days.  It was a wonderful and relaxing and peaceful time.  The greenette found himself cuddling with Mama Arcanine each night like he used, and Hitoshi fit snuggly into his arms as the whole family slept.  The Espurr also rose early in the morning with Izuku and Lucario and dozed in Izuku’s arms as they walked to the little brook.  The purple pokémon watched them do the stretches for a while before he fell back asleep, and he only woke up again when Izuku filled a small pitcher of water and carefully heated it as an Aura exercise.  Lucario was a bit puzzled by Izuku’s new caffeine addiction, but he didn’t protest it.  

Izuku carefully showed off his new skills to his teacher too.  He had learned quite a lot of fine and minor Aura control, even without finding another teacher to guide him.  Lucario hadn’t even seen Izuku fully form a proper Aura Sphere yet, so Izuku’s ability to vaguely shape was surprising.  The greenette pulled out a few pokéballs to demonstrate what he could to with a vessel, and the pokémon pointed out that Izuku could likely figure out to imbue his Aura into other objects to make himself proper Guardian clothing.  

He’d experiment with enchanting things later.  The not-human already knew that he could add “typing” to his Aura in a vague sense, but his former mentor helped in explaining the concept to him.  How Aura was naturally un-typed, but other pokémon and quirked humans used the life energy in a way that suited their elemental.  Forming an Electro Ball was a type of Aura usage, and so were Kacchan’s explosions, in a way.  

Izuku tried to add in an element to his Aura, but he couldn’t really wrap his head around it yet.  He knew that Heal Pulse was technically an example of altering base Aura with a type.  It was healing psychic energy, and he had a better starting understanding of the move than any other types.  Heal Pulse had been used enough on him throughout his life that he knew what it felt like when he tried to emulate it.

He had no clue what fire or ice or electricity felt like in his own hands.  The closest thing was that Izuku’s own Aura felt like a spark of electricity sometimes, but it was more of a crackle of raw energy, rather than that of electricity.  Izuku tried to make an Electro Ball, but he couldn’t grasp the concept. 

The greenette didn’t feel frustrated or disappointed though.  His mentor didn’t even know the technique he was attempting.  

Besides, Izuku already knew where he could learn such a thing.

The Dragon Clan practiced Aura too, but their whole technique and approach was vastly different compared to the Aura Guardians of the far past.  They focused their energy within their bodies and didn’t emit their power through untypes Aura Spheres or projections.  The members of the Dragon Clan merely enhanced themselves within their own bodies and without visual effect.

They also were more prone and talented at using their innate typing, and a few of the Clan had probably learned how to use typings that weren’t innate to themselves.

The Dragon Champion Lance had already offered his mentorship at any time Izuku wanted it, so he wasn’t in any rush.

Instead of worrying about bettering his Aura, he hung around all of his friends and enjoyed their company.  He still sometimes sat back and observed Hitoshi get fawned over, but the Espurr actively started to drag Izuku into conversations and help play interpreter.  Izuku was nervous the first time the Growlthie cubs and their Houndour sibling approached Hitoshi to play fight, but the tiny purple feline beamed at the chance to play.  Even if Izuku felt like he was going to have three heart attacks and die on the spot, every time he watched a dog child tackle his partner.

Izuku knew that Hitoshi wasn’t fragile, but the memory of the pokémon’s near lifeless body in his arms was a bit too strong sometimes.  He would hate to interrupt their good time by having a panic attack, so Izuku distracted himself with more sewing lessons with Kirlia.

That was mainly why the situation escalated out of control.  

Hitoshi was curled up in Izuku’s lap that afternoon, a bit exhausted after playing with the pups.  He acted as little go between as their little Art Club gossiped together.

Izuku couldn’t recall exactly how the conversation started, but he mentioned that some of his human family were really into fashion too.  It was… a bit of a mistake to say that.  Everyone stared at him as Izuku tried his best to explain how the human fashion industry functioned, even if he didn’t really understand a lot of it.  

He mostly talked a bit about fashion shows and modeling, and that somehow ended up in the whole Art Club deciding that they were going on a field trip with Izuku to his home town to meet the Bakugous and learn about the fashions of humans and domesticated pokémon.  They even asked Aka-chan and some of the Bird Mafia members, who all agreed to take them.

Izuku imagined that the flying pokémon only agreed so that they could witness some of the resulting chaos by a group of wild pokémon dropping in unannounced, but he didn’t actually mind them tagging along to his reunion with his human family.  It relieved him, in a way, because they would draw attention away from him, and he wouldn’t be quite as badly jumped for an interrogation over every single detail of his journey and about Hitoshi.

The canine pokémon elected to stay behind though, and Izuku waved them goodbye once again.

[This is going to be an insane clusterfuck.]

Izuku chuckled, but he agreed.  They were currently flying on the back of Aka-chan with a few more passengers than was probably safe.  The bug trio and Sableye were flying on the back of the Pidgeot along with them.  Kirlia, Cacnea, and Bulbasaur were all secured to Skarmory with a few vines as Bulbasaur rambled excitedly and Kirlia looked mildly terrified.  Cacnea was vibing.  Smeargle was riding Honchkrow, carefully taking in the sights below so they could paint it later.

“Yeah, it totally is.”  Izuku wasn’t going to regret it though, and he kept his eyes peeled as he looked for the Bakugou residence.  Hopefully, Uncle Masaru wouldn’t be too overwhelmed with the aspiring team of fashion designers.  Because Izuku was probably going to abandon him to the group while he hid in a corner with Kacchan or had a tearful reunion with Mom. 

Izuku was still nervous to see everyone again, but as Musutafu crept into sight, he found himself at ease.  He slowly felt excitement rise in him.  Not only was he going to see his family again, but Izuku had the chance to show them how much he was thriving.

Chapter Text

Izuku pointed out the Bakugou household to Aka-chan, easily spotting it from the air.  He was a nervous mess as the small Bird Mafia Brigade landed on the front lawn.  Part of him wanted to break down into terrified sobs as he imagined the worst case scenarios of his human family forgetting or even hating him.  A louder part of his internal thoughts wanted to drop to the ground in hysterical laughter though.  He was returning in the most fucking absurd way possible!  Just dropping an entire group of feral pokémon, quite a few of them members of a vigilante organization and the others an overexcitable fashion club.  He didn’t even give them any warning, and it had been months since he had seen Auntie Mitsu, Uncle Saru, Mom, and Kacchan.  

Hitoshi chirped a prrb and nuzzled his arm.  His pokémon partner helped Izuku calm down as he finally worked up the courage to approach the front door.

It was showtime now!

Izuku took a deep breath, squished Hitoshi a little bit for good luck, and rang the doorbell.  Hitoshi really was like a living teddy bear or security blanket for Izuku at this point.  He knew the pokémon probably preferred it that way as he purred louder and snuggled closer in his arms.  The greenette decided to knock on the door too before he further curled himself around Hitoshi, ducking his head to rest against the pokémon’s and nuzzle him back.

Izuku stood there and waited for a bit.  He knew that it was already after school, because at least the clock on his pokétch still functioned, so one of Kacchan’s parents would be home right now.  He also hoped Kacchan was here too.

The greenette didn’t have to wait long.  He jumped, a bit startled when the door finally swung up.  Izuku froze in place as he looked at his shocked Auntie Mitsu.  She just stared at him, mouth dropped open.  The woman rubbed her eyes and looked at him again, probably not believing that she was actually seeing him.

“I-Izuku!”

He chuckled nervously.  “H-hi, Auntie.  Long time no see.”

He wasn’t surprised when she lunged and pulled him into a tight hug, and Hitoshi yowled in protest as he was squished between them.  The pokémon only grumbled and tolerated the embrace though as Izuku freed an arm and hugged his aunt back just as tightly.  

“We missed all you so damn much , kiddo!  Please, at least give us some damn warning before you run off like that again!  I’d prefer you to travel with a friend or two, just in case you need backup when you finally decide you need to throw hands with a bitch, but I’ll take the peace of mind we can get from you.  Okay!?”  Auntie finally released the pair and ruffled Izuku’s hair in retaliation for making her worry so damn much.

Izuku was a bit confused.  “So… you’re not mad that I left…?  I’m not in trouble…?”

“Of course not, kiddo!  Who could fucking blame you with all those assholes harrassing you!?  And you have a right to go on journeys at your age, little green bean!”  

Ah, hearing Auntie being aggressively caring again after all this time was making him tear up a little.  Izuku didn’t bother stopping himself from crying.  Hitoshi purred louder in his arms as he sniffled through his words.  “Even though I didn’t have a pokémon partner to start.”

“Well, Katsuki told us all off for worrying about your safety in the wild.  Brought us all to our senses when we panicked at the thought of you all alone in the deep wilderness, even though you practically speak pokémon.”

Izuku laughed.  “Well, I’m not exactly fluent, but I’m a lot better at picking up the general direction of conversation at times.  Hitoshi helps translate for me now, so I don’t miss too much.”

Auntie looked surprised again.  “Hitoshi…?”

The greenette sucked in a deep breath.  Time for introductions.  “Ah, yeah, this is Hitoshi.  He’s my partner.” 

Auntie Mitsuki finally noticed the purple pokémon in his arms, and she was speechless as she glanced between Hitoshi and Izuku.  It was rather unbelievable, so he didn’t blame her.

Izuku pulled on the necklace chain around his neck, carefully pulling the minimized Luxury Ball into view.  He nodded and smiled sheepishly before redirecting his attention to his partner.  “Hey, Hitoshi, this is my Aunt Mitsuki.  Did you want to say hi?”

Hitoshi turned to look Izuku in the eyes for a brief moment before he looked up at the woman.  He politely meowed once.

That finally knocked her out of her slightly catatonic state.  Auntie placed a hand over her mouth and muffled her quiet scream of surprise and delight.  She quickly composed herself as best she could, a goofy grin on her face.  “Nice to meet you too, Hitoshi.  Welcome to the family!”

Auntie switched her attention back to Izuku.  “I got to call Inko and tell her the great news.  Anything else I should know?”

Izuku laughed, much more nervously this time.  “Well, I might have made friends with a bunch of wild pokémon, and I brought a few of them with me.  They’re really interested in human fashion and have their own little art club, and they insisted on coming along for a bit of a field trip.  Is it okay if they come inside?”

The blonde blinked at him in shock.  She stared at him with blank eyes before she finally caved and sighed.  “I’ll ask Inko to pick up some groceries.”  Auntie finally stepped out the doorway and motioned Izuku inside.

He beamed at the acceptance, and he turned and called for his friends.  It took a moment for Skarmory in particular to figure out how to walk through the doorway, but Aka-chan mentioned the house was just like a human burrow.  

Izuku spotted Uncle Masaru walking down the stairs, and he zoomed over to give the man a hug.  Hitoshi protested again, but accepted that he was just going to deal with being trapped in between the affection his person showed his family.  After all, the Espurr wasn’t going to ask to be put down anytime soon.

“Uncle Saru!  I’m home, and I have a partner!  This is Hitoshi!”  Hitoshi meowed politely on cue.  “Where’s Kacchan, by the way?”

The greenette bounced a little in excitement.  He wanted to hug the blonde.  It really sounded like they were going to be able to be close friends again.  And Izuku did want to talk about his adventures a little too.  Specifically with a fellow feral teen.

Uncle Masaru was more than a little shocked at Hitoshi’s existence and the general pokémon caused chaos, barely able to mumble a hello, but Auntie answered for him.

“The brat is probably in the woods, studying with his friends.”  She was a bit distracted by the stitching Kirlia was showing her, and she hadn’t made it to the phone yet.

Izuku paused.

“Kacchan has friends?”

Fuck!  Wait, no!  That was actually his outside voice!  Oh no.

But both of the explosive blonde’s parents laughed at Izuku’s slip of the tongue.

“I know right!?  I keep trying to convince him to bring them over, but he denies those ‘extras’ are his friends.  Even though he’s helping them study hard enough to pass the high school entrance exams of some pretty elite places.  Won’t even tell me their names.  Some kind of shitty ultimatum to pass the entrance exam to redeem themselves before they’re real friends or something.”

Kacchan… probably doesn’t even remember their names, not that he would ever admit it.  

“Yeah, that sounds like Kacchan.  Uh… is it okay if I—”

“Go, just be back before dinner.”

Izuku was already out the door before she finished her sentence.  

Chapter Text

Izuku was nervous again.  He just couldn’t help it as his own intrusive thoughts slowly grew louder and louder in his mind.  Sure, Kacchan had promised an apology, but that was over the phone.  It was a completely different thing to see him again in person.  He had seemed so supportive and willing to make it up to Izuku and be friends again, but that was before Izuku found out the blonde was still friends with some no names from that horrible fucking hell hole that was Aldera.

Still, Izuku’s feet guided him forward on autopilot as he walked towards that little section of woods that they used to play in all the time as kids.

Izuku wanted that back.  He wanted his Kacchan back.  He just wanted the blonde to look him in the eyes and not think that he was fundamentally broken.  Too weak to be a Hero.  It didn’t matter that Izuku wasn’t even sure if he still wanted to be a Hero.

All he had wanted as a kid was for Kacchan to look at him like an equal.  And he was , in so many ways, but then all of their teachers in school insisted that Izuku was weaker because of a lack of a quirk.  That he was more fragile .  And then Kacchan believed them and refused to play with him anymore.  No more Heroes versus Villains.  No more invites to trek out into the woods, even though Izuku followed anyway.  Not even tag!  

At least Kacchan treated Izuku the same when it came to playing video games or talking strategy or studying.  But what if that also changed?  What if Kacchan’s new friends had already convinced him that Izuku really was completely and totally worthless and useless?  What if—

Hitoshi purred loudly, and Izuku responded automatically with a hum, even if he was in the midst of panicking.

Purple clouds instantly flooded his vision and pulled him out of the depths of his own thoughts.  Bells chimed from all around as the scenery around them faded away.  Green lightning flickered in the distance.  

The familiar sight and feeling of the mindscape, of Hitoshi’s quirk and Aura all around him, immediately calmed Izuku.

[You’re panicking, Izuku.  Just jumping to conclusions.  It’ll be okay, and if it isn’t, if they are mean, then I’ll protect you.  Okay?  You’re my person.  I’m here now.]

Hitoshi gently patted the greenette’s arm, smiling up at Izuku through the haze of the quirk and their shared Aura.

Izuku felt a little silly and embarrassed.  He really had spiraled out of control there, caught up in his own anxiety.

The greenette could just punch Kacchan in the face if he tried to be an asshole again.  Izuku had the power of confidence and Aura on his side now.  And, of course, his precious little pokémon partner was there for him too.

"Sorry, I really panicked over nothing, huh?  Especially since I'm already pretty positive Kacchan doesn't even know the names of those friends Auntie mentioned."  Izuku laughed and nuzzled Hitoshi.

The Espurr purred and trilled as he nuzzled back.  The purple cloud cover rolled away back into what was just a slight foggy purple haze that lurked at the edges of Izuku's vision.  [Don't apologize.  And is your friend really that type of person?  He seemed loud and aggressive, but not like a bad human, over the phone.]

"Kacchan is…  Well, the relationship we have is… complicated.  We got in a huge argument before I left home, and he grew up with all of our teachers saying that I was weaker and inferior and fragile because I didn't have a quirk."  Izuku wasn't sure what he could say about Kacchan.  He wasn't sure where he even stood with the blonde.  It had truly felt like their friendship had been on the mend after that phone call, like they could go back to the closeness they had in childhood as best friends.  But he couldn't be sure about that.

[But you kick ass.]

Izuku snorted at Hitoshi's blunt reply.  "I wasn't always like that.  And I think the humans that I grew up around were especially bigoted.  Might have even been MLA supporters at my school in hindsight."

[Gross.  I'll rip them to shreds if they ever hurt you again.]  Hitoshi made an adorable disgruntled noise.

The greenette giggled.  "Just don't murder anyone, okay?"

[Okay.]  The pokémon sounded reluctant to agree.

"Promise?"  Izuku only remembered that word was a potential trigger after he said it.  Distant and extremely vague second hand memories shared through the mental bond of Hitoshi's former trainer always giving and going against empty and broken promises to hurt the Espurr.  Hitoshi didn't project those memories or remind him of them; Izuku recalled them on his own and flinched at his own mistake.

The Espurr didn't react negatively though.  He merely looked up at his person, and Izuku tried his best to convey his apology without saying anything.  

The pokémon frowned a bit and nodded, quite seriously.  [Promise.]

"Sorry for phrasing it like that.  Is that word off limits, Hitoshi?"  Izuku was worried that he had upset the other.

[No, I don't think it is.  I still need to think about it though.]

“Okay, but please let me know if it bothers you.”

[I will, Izuku.]  Hitoshi smiled up at him, purring and nuzzling him again.  [Thank you.]

Izuku smiled back.  “It’s no problem, Hitoshi.  You’re my partner.  I’ll do anything for you.”

His purrs grew louder.

“Alright, no more stalling.  I guess it’s time to introduce ourselves.”

[Yeah… but… is your friend not going to like my… quirk?  Because of the other mean humans telling him too?]  Hitoshi seemed a bit worried, but he wasn’t bothered enough to stop purring.

Izuku growled at the very thought.  “If Kacchan starts shit, I’ll definitely kick his ass.  He knows better.”

Hitoshi was really starting to rival a jet engine again, with how loud his purring was at that.  

The greenette paused at that response.  “Do you like it when I threaten people on your behalf?”

[Maybe.  I like it, even though it’s supposed to be the other way around.  But I like that there’s nothing normal about our partnership.]

“Mmm, yeah…  I like it too…”  Izuku trailed off.  He was well aware that his partnership with Hitoshi was already different from the norm.  From the way they communicated, to how Izuku was currently their primary fighter, and how averse Izuku was to the very concept of a pokémon battle.  It was… startling, to realize that he had never really wanted a typical relationship with a partner pokémon, even if he had craved it more than anything.  

He actually preferred it this way.  It was impossible for him to be mistaken as a “master” to Hitoshi, like how some humans treated their pokémon like pets.  Even if Izuku pampered Hitoshi and spoiled him silly, they were always on equal footing and respect.  They were true partners.  Izuku didn’t have more say in their decisions than Hitoshi did.  And the Espurr hadn’t been in his pokéball since he had fully recovered.  

Huh.

Well… it was finally showtime.  Izuku recognized that they were getting closer to the little clearing that Kacchan was probably studying in with his “friends” or lackeys.  Acquaintances.  Whatever, it didn’t matter that much.  Probably.

Izuku was surprised to hear music though as he got closer.  He shared a look with Hitoshi before he ducked down out of sight and crept closer.  Soon enough, he was hiding behind some foliage with a decent enough view of the group of humans and domesticated pokémon.

The sight alleviated his nerves.  Even though he recognized the pair of boys with Kacchan as his brainless lackeys, all of the pokémon around them seemed completely at ease.  The two humans were the kid with the long fingers quirk that hung out around them when they were all kids and the new student that Izuku was fairly positive that he had a smoking addiction.  The greenette couldn’t recall what the smoker’s quirk was, to his own disappointment.  He definitely knew them as Kacchan’s groupies that had constantly followed the blonde around.  They frequented the arcade and often dragged the explosive teen along with them.

Neither boy had truly bullied Izuku.  Sure, they had called him names and insulted him, but they never got up early with the sole purpose of tormenting him before school started.  He had never been punched or pushed around by those two.

Honestly, Izuku felt a bit guilty that he never bothered to learn their names.  He had even grown up with one of them!

And it was obvious that they treated their pokémon well.  There was a Slowpoke, that Izuku recognized as Finger’s starter, lazing about with a strikingly blue Magikarp in the small stream.  That must have been Kacchan’s new pokémon partner.  Lem, the Quilava, laid across the blonde’s shoulders like a slightly flaming scarf.  She was content as ever, taking a nap on her trainer as he growled at a textbook.

Izuku didn’t know the Pichu, so they must have belonged to the suspect smoker.  He really couldn’t hate the new guy when he looked at how happy the Pichu was.  They had a ukulele and were happily playing and humming along to their little tune.  It was one of the cutest things Izuku had ever seen.

Yeah, they were all good humans at heart.  It was obvious to see now.  Even some of the wild pokémon were creeping closer to vibe with Pichu’s music.

The greenette backed up out of his hiding space before standing and approaching the proper edge of the clearing within view.  He was as quiet as a hunter on the prowl.  No one noticed him as he stood within view and leaned against a tree.  The group would see him… eventually.

It took quite a while.  Pichu looked up and made eye contact, but they weren’t a snitch and kept playing.  Lem spotted him too, but she kept her excitement to herself when Izuku motioned to keep quiet.  She barked a small heads up to the other two pokémon chilling in the stream.  

Finally, finger quirk human had enough problems with the homework to ask Kacchan for help.  The blonde looked up from what was probably the assigned reading, ready to proofread and yip at what was going to be an obvious mistake, but instead he saw a lurking cryptid out of the corner of his eye and got hella fucking startled.

Izuku couldn’t help but grin in mischief as he saw Kacchan drop his book to explode his hands as he jumped up in the air, clearly shocked and startled.  “What the fuck , Izu?  How long have you been just fucking standing there?”

The greenette cackled at the mayhem he caused.  The extras shrieked and scrambled away from both of the other teens.  “Only a few minutes, Kacchan.”

The blonde huffed and was clearly about to say something else, but Izuku wasn’t worried.  Concern and guilt and care were written all over Kacchan.  The not-pokémon was glad that there was a buffer between them at the moment.  He wanted the blonde to have time to sort out his feelings and words when it came to apologizing and having their heart to heart.

So it was a blessing that an extra was there to interrupt.  “M-M-Midoriya-san!?  I… uh… you!”  The newer addition to the group scrambled for words as he scrambled to his feet.  Izuku wasn’t sure what to expect from the guy who probably smoked.  Maybe not anymore though, considering that there was a lollipop sticking out of his mouth.  Good for him if he was trying to quit.

Wait, the guy stood up flailing, just to sit back down and dogeza for Izuku.  What the fuck?   Why was this guy giving Izuku the ultimate apology?  

“I am so sorry for my actions, Midoriya-san!  What I did to you was unforgivable!  I should have known better than to believe in only a stranger’s word without evidence!  I believed those fucking MLA bastards in our school when they said that you were cruel to pokémon and treated you cruely in return.  I thought I was justified, but I was so terribly wrong.  Please!  Allow me to apologize and make it up to you!  I should’ve realized you had the Ranger’s Curse!  I am sorry!”

Izuku had no clue what to do.  He looked from the prostrating stranger to Kacchan and back.  The blonde wasn’t any help at all.  He looked just as bewildered, until he facepalmed and held his head in his hands.

Okay, time to resolve this in the most awkward way possible.  “Hey, um, I never had a grudge against you anyway.  Hell, I don’t even know your name.  So, uh, please stand up.  You really don’t need to apologize.”

The extra sobbed in what sounded like agony before he sat back up.  “Your kindness is too much, Midoriya-sama!  All the more reason to strive to make up for the atrocities I committed against you.”

Where the fuck did the sama honorific come from?  Why?  “You only insulted me a couple of times?  Why—”

“I’m sorry too, Midoriya-sama!”  The other extra chimed in as he stood and bowed too.  At least the finger quirk guy only bowed 90 degrees instead of prostrating.  Kacchan audibly groaned and cringed in second hand embarrassment.

“Once Bakugou-sama releases us from studying hell, please allow us to treat you and pay for you at the arcade sometime!”  

The other one looked shocked by that revelation, probably trying to figure out how to one up that effort to “make it up” to Izuku.

What alternate fucking reality did Izuku step into?

“I… I still don’t even know your names?”  Izuku was just defeated.  Hitoshi was holding back his cackling.  Kacchan looked like he regretted living. 

“Fujin Ritsuya!”  The extra that still had a sucker in his mouth shouted first, looking way too excited to say his name.

“Bakanagai Yubidaru!”  The other extra chimed, not even trying to protest that they knew each other since they were kids.

Izuku noticed that Kacchan looked distinctly relieved as the two said their names.  Apparently, the greenette was right about the blonde not knowing them.  The childhood friends made eye contact in a desperate plea for sanity.

‘Please save me.’  Izuku mouthed in the direction of the blonde.

Kacchan glared back at him, clearly not meaning it.  ‘You left me alone with these simps.  Suffer.’

‘At least I could admit I didn’t know their names.’

‘Fuck off.’

‘I could tattle on you.’

‘No, don’t.  Leave Dumb and Dumber to their delusions.’

‘Real original nicknames.’

‘I realized too late that Dumber is the smarter one.’  Kacchan jerked his head in the direction of Fujin.  

Both of them broke out into matching grins as they ended their silent conversation.  Yeah, Izuku knew that everything was going to be alright between them.  

Chapter Text

Izuku felt a bit awkward, well a lot awkward actually.  This whole reunion and interaction weren't anything like what he had been expecting.  But at least the tension in the air had been smashed to pieces by Dumb and Dumber.

Ah, he should call them Fujin and Bakanagai.  He wasn't Kacchan.  Even if he wanted to be rude and call them extras, it was impolite.  Izuku could be a feral cryptid with manners.

Of course, Kacchan saved him from trying to come up with something to say by pointing out the obvious.  "Gonna introduce us or what, Izu?"

The blonde nodded towards Hitoshi, and Izuku brightened at the chance to show everyone how amazing his partner.

The Espurr meowed once in surprise as Izuku picked him up, holding him out in display like a prized favorite stuffed animal for a brief moment before returning the pokémon to his lap.

“This is Hitoshi.  He's my pokémon partner.  We met in Lavender Town and became fast friends after a few incidents.”  Izuku smiled down at his partner in pride.  They really had been through so much together, and they’d go through even more adventures together.

He made an active decision to not elaborate on any of that or mention Hitoshi’s quirk quite yet.  While the other two had apologized, he wasn’t sure if he could trust them to not be assholes to his partner.

Hitoshi made a questioning trill.  [You didn’t mention my quirk?]

Izuku shrugged.  Did you want me to?

[Maybe?  I’m not sure.]

Kacchan didn’t bring it up either, already knowing that the Espurr had one.  He just didn’t know what it was.

Fujin was the first to respond, surprisingly.  “Ah, did you get a pokéball to work!?  Or like, a Ranger partner?  I know that I had a terrible time trying to get those things to function when it came to my own partner.”  He beamed and held out his arms.  Pichu squeaked in excitement, strapped their ukulele to their back, and threw themself into their trainer’s arms in delight.  The duo laughed and nuzzled their cheeks together.

The sight reminded him of his own relationship with Hitoshi, tugging directly on his heartstrings and bringing a fond smile to his face as he cuddled his own partner close.  “You have Ranger’s Curse too, Fujin-san?”

“No need to be formal with me, Midoriya-sama!  And yeah… Pichu here has always been my partner, but I couldn’t get pokéballs to work for the life of me.  They would just short out, so I stopped bothering entirely.  Luckily, I was able to get one working for my partner before my family had to move to Musutafu.  It sucked to leave the rest of Pichu’s family behind, but we’re still happy with just us.”  Fujin giggled as Pichu chirped and strummed a few notes on the ukulele.

Izuku couldn’t stop smiling as hope rose up in his chest.  If the partnership between these two had flourished this much, surely his love for Hitoshi would blossom like theirs had.  Everything would turn out alright, as long as their souls and hearts remained intertwined.  And maybe one they could even—

“Stop infecting us with your sappy feelings and quirk!  Some of us here like to stay assholes!”  And Kacchan abruptly startled Izuku and ended that train of thought before he could finish it and find out where it was heading.  Weird.

A quick check with his Aura Sight, and he could see the yellow gold ripples of Fujin’s quirk rippling out from him.  It was like electricity, and he could see how it intertwined and amplified within Pichu’s Aura.  Maybe the pokémon had an amplification or sound based quirk as well that complimented Fujin’s?

“Ah!  Sorry, Bakugou-sama!”  But Fujin glanced in Izuku’s direction, despite his directed words.

The greenette was curious though.  “What is your quirk, Fujin?”  He hoped that dropping the honorific would encourage the other to answer him.

“I, um, i-it’s Emotion Control!  The sound of my voice can inspire emotions in others, usually the one I’m feeling.  I took up smoking because I kept accidentally using it like that.  I decided to quit, but it came back as strong as it used to be.  I thought it was… villianous, but Bakugou told me I was stupid to think that!  So I f-finally decided to work hard and apply myself.  I’m going to apply for a quirk usage license and become a Pokémon Ranger like I’ve always wanted to!  Um…”  Fujin trailed off, suddenly shy again after his small burst of confidence.

It didn’t help that Izuku was staring at him intensely as he was having some kind of epiphany.  With a small mental nudge from Hitoshi, Izuku blurted out what he was thinking.

“Same quirk!”  

All three teens looked at him like he was crazy, so he quickly backtracked to explain.

“Well, I mean, Hitoshi has a kind of similar quirk.  The Nurse Joy’s in Lavender Town nicknamed it Brainwashing, but the exact limitations of it are kind of unknown.  We just know that it’s voice activated, and Hitoshi can order people to do things.  He mostly uses it to steal people’s coffee, but there’s also a minor telepathy application too.  Although I’m not sure if that’s just a me thing, or if he can use it to talk to others too.”

Izuku felt a bit nervous revealing all of that, but Hitoshi had encouraged him to say it.  He saw Fingers — Bakanagai — open his mouth to say something before Kacchan glared bloody murder at him.  Izuku appreciated the sentiment.

Fujin, on the other hand… “Same quirk…”  was all he said, looking completely lost, distantly amazed, and excited all at once.  “That’s so cool!”

Kacchan tried to look indifferent, but Izuku recognized the way the blonde was holding himself.  It was the same level of attention and that calculating look that he always had when playing a video game or seeing a new Hero debut.  He was thinking and planning and analyzing.  Taking in every morsel of information in front of him and finding the way to best bend it to his benefit.

“Telepathy, huh?  How does that work?”  He tried to act aloof as he asked, but curiosity clearly burned in his eyes.

Of course, Kacchan would ask about that first.

Izuku looked down and shared a look with Hitoshi.  The Espurr nodded and turned back to properly face Kacchan.  “Esp?”

Kacchan glanced up at Izuku first, frowning a little, but he replied.  “Yeah?”

And then his pupils lost their color.   Izuku had never seen someone under the effects of Hitoshi’s quirk before, and he was curious what happened to his own pupils.  At first, Kacchan’s pupils dilated and went as white as Hitoshi’s own pupils and his face went completely slack and emotionless.  But then, the blonde’s eyes focused again and his pupils shifted color once again to a gray.  Kacchan seemed to regain the ability to move once again when his pupils switched and settled on a dark gray, and he rubbed at his face right away.

“Dear Arceus , that fucking feels weird!  Everything is numb.”  Kacchan shook his hands, trying to get feeling back into them.  “But yeah, I’m lucid again and can hear ya.”

Hitoshi made a pleased noise, and Izuku was absolutely fascinated .  The Espurr was holding onto two mental spaces and keeping them entirely separated.  “Can you thought project, Kacchan?  I know that took me a while to figure out.”

Mostly because instead of piggy backing off of Hitoshi’s quirk, he back-tracked it with Aura.

Kacchan scrunched up his nose in concentration, looking unintentionally adorable at the same time.  “Sorta.  It’s difficult to hold onto a sentence, make sure it makes sense, and concentrate on it long enough to send it.”

Izuku was impressed.  The blonde was probably having issues concentrating long enough to send it.  And make sure the sentence didn’t fall apart in his head as he concentrated around it.  The greenette didn’t really have that issue.  He just sort of made a brain noodle out of Aura in his head and wrapped it around his words.  Mentally projected was sort of like talking at this point.  Similar to projecting his voice to a crowd.  Making himself louder without raising his voice.

Of course, it was different when he was relying on his Aura alone.  Projecting thoughts and emotions and feelings were incredibly different.  Lucario had taught him to speak with his Aura, instead of using the energy to carry something as one dimensional as words.  

“That’s a lot better than when I started, Kacchan!”  Izuku compromised and obscured the truth a tiny bit.  It was technically true, considering he hadn’t even bothered to try talking with his Aura until Hitoshi was dying in his arms.  When holding that mental connection between them was literally do or die.  

Kacchan boasted and grinned in pride.  “Of course it is!  I’m one of the best, and you probably didn’t even really try at first, Izu.”  That grin shifted into a soft smile, directed entirely at Izuku.  His words were different too.  ‘One of’, not ‘the’ best.  He had been teasing, and proud of Izuku too.

The familiar phrase fell out of his mouth before he realized it.  “Amazing, Kacchan…”

Izuku blushed as soon as he realized it.  

Something twisted in the blonde’s expression as he stared at Izuku and heard those words.  “Alright, extras, time to fucking scram!”

Fujin instantly started packing up his things, but Bakanagai tried to protest.  “But I haven’t even gotten to say anything this chapt—”

“Did you not hear me the first time?  I told you to fuck off!”

Both boys squeaked and recalled their pokémon as Kacchan glared at them, threatening explosions entirely absent, but still plenty intimidating to them.  The pair did scramble away, wishing them a hasty goodbye…

Leaving Izuku alone with Kacchan, the pupils of his eyes still a hauntingly gorgeous dark gray.  The blonde made eye contact with Hitoshi, and he nodded to something Izuku couldn’t hear.

Izuku wasn’t sure what to expect from the blonde, but he sat there and waited for Kacchan to find his words.  

He didn’t think he was ready for this, but it was happening anyway.

The greenette wanted to hear out the blonde, to mend everything between them.  So he patiently waited for Kacchan to reach out and speak.

Chapter Text

Katsuki was not ready to see the fucking nerd in the slightest.  He wasn’t prepared to see confidence radiating from a toned and muscular form, all lithe and elegant with a power to him that spoke of grace.  He had on a ridiculous little half cape with a collar adorned in feathers of all shapes and sizes, but bright red stuck out the most.  There was a cute little dark green bandana tied around his neck too.

Izuku most likely didn’t realize how he had picked up the habit of ducking his head down to hide the lower half of his face in that neckerchief.  Not out of shyness, of anxiousness, not to hide, but out of a desire to fade into the background.  Watch.  Observe.  

Like a fucking predator .  Lurking and ready to pounce on his prey.  A hunter on the prowl and ready to strike.

At least, that was what every instinct that Katsuki owned screamed at him.  It was why he didn’t feel embarrassed after he startled so badly at the sudden sight of him.  Izuku, appearing out of fucking nowhere , staring at him with those beautiful green eyes that bore directly into his soul.  Sized him up.  Analyzed him and observed him to see if Katsuki was worth trust and a second chance.

But Izuku lifted his head in confidence.  He easily revealed that he was grinning, all too feral and sharp and untamed, with delight in his own mischief twinkling in his eyes.  It felt like an unspoken challenge to Katsuki.  A languid posture that spoke of so many damn new skills, that beckoned the blonde to prove himself.  

Katsuki had never hated the extras more than in this moment, but he was begrudgingly thankful for the bumbling imbeciles.  They stopped him from having to face Izuku alone, from getting lost and overwhelmed in the new presence that Izuku held himself with.  

Stopped his stupid ass gay pining disaster thoughts from taking over and trying to drag the nerd into a kiss.  One that he knew wouldn’t be reciprocated or wanted, because everything between them was still fucked up and complicated.  Katsuki hadn’t even begun to atone or apologize for his actions.  For taking Izu for granted and devaluing him.  It wasn’t his place to even entertain brief fantasies about his crush on the other yet.  Not when he had so much to say.

Not when he didn’t even know how to say it.  He thought he would have some more fucking time to plan a proper apology.

But damn it!  Izuku just looked so damn good!  Confidence made him handsome, and all of his awkward skinniness and gangliness had disappeared.  He had muscles that nearly rivaled Katsuki’s own.  Of course, he was still less bulky.  Izuku was built more for agility and dexterity.  Good for parkour and speed, but he could still probably pick up Katsuki and throw him if the greenette felt like it.

Then, there was the Espurr carefully secured in his arms.  Katsuki had looked up the species after the phone call, so he picked up the subtle differences in coloration that pokémon had from others of his kind.  His fur was more distinctly lavender instead of a purpley gray.  He was a bit taller and larger than average.  His eyes were also different too.  It wouldn’t be that noticeable if you didn’t have a direct comparison, but the Espurr in front of him had pure white pupils.  His eyes were more purple than standard too, and he was far more expressive than usual.  Katsuki could already tell, even with the pokémon keeping a polite mask on.  Curiosity and mirth bubbled behind those eyes, expressing all sorts of excitement and worry and apprehension.

Espurr had a bit of a reputation of having completely blank expressions and dead eyes that stared off into the void.  Most had issues dealing with controlling and repressing their massive amounts of psychic energy.  It took a lot of concentration, leaving them unable to really focus on anything else.

But it wasn’t unheard of for an Espurr to have better control than most.  An innate grip on their overwhelming telekinetic power.  Simply not worried about losing control and living to the fullest and taking in every detail possible with unbridled curiosity and the mischief their evolution was more known for.  From the several papers Katsuki had read, most Espurr rushed to evolve as soon as possible to escape the stress of keeping their energy contained or the occasional accompanying migraines.  Meowstic had much better control over their powers, their forms more acclimated to the power coursing through them.

Of course, maybe the reason that many Espurr might not have perfect control is that they don’t necessarily bother to train themselves to handle their power before being assisted in evolution.  But Katsuki wasn’t an expert.  

Still, the Espurr looked at home in Izuku’s arms.  Almost smug too, looking like he had won the ultimate prize.  Considering he had Izuku as a partner, and probably got cuddled and spoiled at every opportunity, he probably had.  Katsuki knew he would be perpetually smug if he got constantly showered in Izuku’s affection.  

Dear Arceus, he was such a gay pining mess.

Izuku just painted the perfect picture with his pokémon partner cradled in his arms.  A sunbeam hit the Luxury Ball around his neck at just the right angle to make it shine.  He carried the energy and mystery of the wild on him, easily snapping all of the focus to him with the eerie cryptid vibes that made his own natural beauty downright ethereal.

Okay, so maybe all the extras were a little justified in finding Izuku creepy and terrifying and a little bit unsettling.  A hint of eldritch horror vibe had always clung to the greenette, but now he had grown into it and proudly basked in it as a breathtakingly gorgeous feral cryptid.

Ugh, in his all his pining, he had nearly missed Izuku saving his ass and finally giving him the names to the dumb extras.  Katsuki needed to remember those.  Bakanagai Yubidaru and Fujin Ritsuya.  Fujin would probably stick in his head.  Fingers would probably get dubbed as Baka-kun in his head until the blonde forgot his name again.  

He could still be mean, right?  He had a reputation for being an asshole, and he liked the aesthetic of a gruff delinquent.  Even if he cared far too much about his grades to really fit the mold.  Besides, Izuku had forgotten Dumb’s name too!

And yeah, he found relief as Izuku shared a look with him.  They snarked together.  Easily, as if they never stopped being the bestest of friends.  They poked fun and teased the extras while sharing matching grins .

Their friendship really was salvageable!  Katsuki was thrilled, but he was careful not to wear his heart on his sleeve.  Fujin, devourer of lollipops, was more observant than Katsuki had realized at first.  He knew the other had a crush on Izuku, and Katsuki would never hear the fucking end of it if he realized that they liked the same guy.  

The blonde knew he had to keep the conversation going, after silence fell on the group a moment too long.  The less the extras were distracted, the more opportunity they had to realize that Katsuki was emotionally compromised and way too vulnerable with Izuku in the vicinity.

So he brought up Izuku’s pokémon partner and asked for an introduction.

The greenette lit up as he held up the Espurr like he was the most precious thing in the world.  The pokémon meowed once in surprise, but the newly introduced Hitoshi was quickly tucked back into those adoring and protective arms that cradled him close.  A very smug spoiled brat of a tiny pokémon indeed, Hitoshi grinned up at Izuku as the cryptid looked back at him with nothing but pure unfiltered pride and joy.

Katsuki wasn’t jealous at all, for some strange reason.  He was happy for them, overwhelmingly so.  Izuku finally had a partner, and Hitoshi was an absolutely smitten kitten for his person.  He looked at Izuku like he was his whole world too.  

Things started to click more and more in the back of Katsuki’s mind as Fujin rambled and accidentally used his quirk again.  Giving Katsuki hope when his crush was right there and unattainable as ever was annoying, so he snapped a little.  It was easy to be soft in his own bristly way as he scolded the other though.

Then, Katsuki heard about the other’s quirk.  Brainwashing.  Saw with clarity at how Izuku shifted to lean over Hitoshi, ever so slightly, as if to protect the other with his own body.  The blonde’s blood boiled, and he nearly saw red .

The signs might as well have just been clearly spelled out for him, with the way he read between the lines and saw the way Izuku reacted unconsciously.  Slowly getting ready to spring into Hitoshi’s defense in a second.  The nerd wasn’t even aware of it.

What kind of sick fuck would hurt a pokémon because of their quirk?  Especially so severely that a slightly haunted look crossed over Izuku’s eyes as he shook with a bit of nerves.  Worried about whatever reaction everyone here might have.

Katsuki preemptively glared at Dumb/Fingers/Baka-kun into submission before he could open his dumb fucking mouth and say something incredibly idiotic and offensive.  The extra wisely kept his mouth shut, and the blonde went back to his whirling thoughts.

He remembered that phone call, thought back to it.  It had been a throwaway sentence in an already overwhelming conversation, but Izuku had mentioned that he had dealt with an MLA supporter too.  Katsuki’s mind easily spiraled out of control and tried to come up with the worst scenario possible, but he firmly shut those thoughts down.

These two needed reassurance .  That Katsuki wasn’t like those bastards.  So he focused back on Izuku’s words and repeated them in his head.  Analyzing and methodically picking out a good and positive response to the info given him.

Izuku loved analyzing quirks.  

He picked out one detail in the nerd’s explanation and pounced on it.  “Telepathy, huh?  How does that work?”  

It helped that he was genuinely curious about that too.  Pokémon that were capable of telepathy, that could easily form sentences in human speech within their own mind instead of just understanding what was said around them, were incredibly rare and talented.  

To his surprise, person and pokémon just shared a look before turning back to look at Katsuki.  

“Esp?”  A head tilt accompanied the question.  It was an offer, plain and simple.

But to Katsuki, it wasn’t simple.  The pokémon was asking to Brainwash him, and he didn’t know what the correct answer was.  He looked to Izuku for guidance, but the greenette wasn’t visibly alarmed whatsoever.  Only curious and waiting.

Okay, so he was doing this.  Katsuki didn’t have any reservations or hang ups about this.  Hitoshi was Izuku’s partner , and he knew he would be safe to give away his mind.  There was only the slight fear that the pokémon would find out about his crush and tell Izuku, but he didn’t let that stop him.

“Yeah?”

Static .  Echoes.  Submerged in nothing and drowning.  Head in the clouds.  Blankness and void in his vision.  Awareness shut off.  Knowing he wasn’t in control.  Could see if he struggled, but he didn’t want to.

Didn’t want to risk hurting Izuku’s most precious thing in the entire fucking world.  Not in the slightest.

His vision sort of faded back in.  He recognized his surroundings, even though it looked like he was caught in an intense fogbank that was tinted purple.  He felt the warmth of Lem against his neck again.

The fog cleared a little more.  He could feel a little more, and then sensation dropped back into his limbs.  Everything felt like pins and needles, his whole body felt like it had fallen asleep and was numb with the tingly sensation.

[Can you hear me?  Can you move?]

There was actually a fucking voice.   Deeper than he had expected, but melodic and relaxing and easy to listen to.

Okay, this was actually really cool.  Even if he had to rub feeling back into his face and jaw.

“Dear Arceus , that fucking feels weird!  Everything is numb.”  Kacchan shook his hands, trying to get feeling back into them.  “But yeah, I’m lucid again and can hear ya.”

He looked up and peered through the fake fog.  It was clearing up a bit more, only lurking around the edges of his vision now.  Just obscuring his peripherals.

Katsuki could see how absolutely fascinated Izuku looked, and Hitoshi had another smug little look on his face as he made a pleased noise.

The blonde couldn’t blame the other.  He was also smug after he pulled off a new trick.  

“Can you thought project, Kacchan?  I know that took me a while to figure out.”  Izuku’s eyes glowed with curiosity, so the blonde was willing to try.

Hitoshi cut straight to the heart of the matter.  [What do you think about my person?]

It was… difficult to come up with an answer.  But he struggled to find the words anyway, and he tried his best to focus and think them towards the other.  I think I…   Love.  Appreciate.  Resent.  Long for.  Respect.  

… admire him.

[What are your intentions with Izuku?]  The Espurr glared at him, Izuku completely unaware of it.

Apologize .  The first word was easy.  Offer my hand .  That horrible day at the creek, where he had rejected Izuku and his help over something as stupid as a quirk.  Encourage him .  Finally tell Izuku that he would be an amazing Hero.

Hitoshi’s glare softened, but the pokémon still frowned at him.  [You like my person.]

Yes .  He grit his teeth in concentration.  Not my place to act on it.  Not yet.

Katsuki took a break on focusing on his words and the conversation between them.  He scrunched up his nose as he thought of what to say to Izuku.   “Sorta.  It’s difficult to hold onto a sentence, make sure it makes sense, and concentrate on it long enough to send it.”

“That’s a lot better than when I started, Kacchan!”  Izuku cheerfully chimed back.

Katsuki didn’t bother to try and see through the bullshit in that statement.  Instead, he did his best to ignore his mental discomfort at being called out on his feelings and put up a front instead.  

“Of course it is!  I’m one of the best, and you probably didn’t even really try at first, Izu.”  He grinned, but he knew it shifted into a soft smile, directed entirely at Izuku.  

Katsuki stopped breathing when he heard that familiar phrase from Izuku.  “Amazing, Kacchan…”

He really was hopelessly in love.  It was amazing to see Izuku blush as he realized what he had said.  It gave him a faint glimmer of hope.

But his eyes were drawn down to Hitoshi, who… looked crestfallen.  The pokémon careful not to let Izuku notice.

[But… Izuku is supposed to be mine .]

Katsuki didn’t know what to think.  He suddenly felt conflicted.  Several more things slowly started to click.  

Lem hadn’t done or said a single thing.  He glanced at her and saw her focus was entirely between Izuku and Hitoshi.  Looking with faint… melancholy.  

Why.

What was he missing?

Pichu’s focus also happened to be entirely on the pair, pouting in… sympathy?  As they looked at Hitoshi and gripped Fujin’s clothes and cuddled a little closer.

Why were the pokémon reacting like that?  He didn’t understand.  Why—?

It finally clicked.

Fuck.  Was this really happening?

You love him too.

Was Katsuki really going to lose to a fucking pokémon ?  

He was.  Because he could already tell that Izuku would always choose Hitoshi over him.  Would not hesitate to rip Katsuki to pieces if he ever so much as growled at the Espurr.  From the way that Hitoshi was glaring at him again, he already knew that the pokémon had a plan to seduce Izuku.  

And Katsuki hated that he didn’t feel all that conflicted at the duo in front of him being together.  It felt like a natural conclusion to him.  He didn’t feel grossed out that Hitoshi was a pokémon.  Poképhillia was technically legal, if misunderstood in a lot of places, and the main issue with pokémon-human relationships was healthy communication and consent.  But these two could already easily talk and communicate with each other.  Hitoshi was already fluent in Japanese.

They looked good together.  Izuku, of course, was an oblivious dumbass and hadn’t realized that he was in love with his partner when every pokémon in the damn forest could see it.  He would get there though.

Katsuki still hated the fact that he was giving up without a fucking fight.  Because he wanted Izuku to be happy.  He had given the poor greenette enough grief over the years to not be deserving of holding Izuku’s heart.  He had fucked up too many times, and he hadn’t been there when Izuku had needed his support.  

Take care of him .

He wanted to glare at Hitoshi, but he couldn’t bring himself to.  Bitter heartache swelled up within him as the pokémon looked up at him in shocked surprise.  

[R-really?]

Yeah .

The resignation the pokémon had finally melted into a joyful smile.  Hitoshi had probably believed that there would’ve been no way for him to win against a human that had already partially won over Izuku’s heart.  

Everything was fine.  Katsuki would just cry about this later.

He couldn’t take it anymore though, feeling this heartache while the two extras were still fucking here.  His face twisted, and he yelled at them to fucking scram.

He couldn’t be sure if this outcome was any better though.  

Katsuki was finally alone with Izuku.  As alone as he could be, and now he had to scrounge for words to convey what he felt about Izuku.  The apology and the respect, not the hopeless pining.

Izuku patiently and serenely waited as he struggled for words to start with.  

“I’m sorry!”  He suddenly blurted it out, but he didn’t bow like the extras had, only averted his eyes.  “I was such a shitty friend!  I didn’t notice you were being bullied!  Didn’t see you were getting practically tortured every day!  Didn’t support like I should have!”

“Kacchan—”  Izuku tried to protest, his voice breaking too, but Katsuki needed to finish .

“No!  I fucked up.  Big time.  I took you for granted .  I treated you like a fucking fair weather friend !  And I— I let the opinions of others cloud and distort my judgment of you.”

“Kacchan!”

“I treated you like you were fragile .  Arceus, you should have fucking punched me in the face.  Kicked my ass!  I… I actually threatened you… to stop… trying to be a Hero…”  He was crying, openly crying in front of Izuku.   He didn’t care though.

“I knew better.  I knew I shouldn’t have fucking done that.  Not fucking ever.  Not even when it was a fucked up, horribly misguided attempt to get you worry about your own fucking safety.  Just because… just because I thought you were fragile because you don’t have a quirk.  Because I was just a fucking idiot and believed those fucking teachers when they said that your bones were brittle.  That you’d bruise easier.  That I… that I would hurt you if I kept playing with you.  I believed it , even though I already knew that everything else they were saying were a bunch of fucking lies.”  Katsuki was openly sobbing now.  And he heard Izuku crying too, but he… he needed to say this.

"And I did hurt you, anyway.  I permanently broke your trust, at least in me.  And I forced you to suffer through that nightmare, all by yourself .  I kept shutting you down and rejecting your dreams when you needed someone to cling to."  He hasn't looked Izuku in the eye since he started talking.

But he hears Izuku whispering his name over and over again.  And he feels Izuku reach forward to grab at arms and shirt, trying his best to ground Katsuki as they both fall apart in sobs.  There's even a concerned meow, and Lem whines and flattens herself on him.  Mace even echoes his concern from in the creek.

"I was so fucking wrong.  I was always so fucking wrong.  I thought for the rest of that day that you were… gone forever …"

Izuku rushed to console him, insisting on interrupting this time.  "Kacchan!  I didn't mean to make you think that I took—"

"I know, I know.  I just— I even fucked up saying goodbye, and then I…  Fuck, I…"  He laughed.  Katsuki was really going to confess about his yandere habits to Izuku.

"Auntie came by.  Everyone was so damn distraught by you disappearing into the wild, and I was just so relieved .  Because you have always had a way with pokémon, and I knew you would thrive out there.  And I… thought you would never come back.  I was so pissed, and I felt like I needed to make that damn school pay for breaking you."

Izuku curled closer to him, dragging him into a hug.  Hitoshi was squished between them, but the purple pokémon was clinging to his shirt too.

Katsuki shuddered as he realized what he was about to say.  "I hunted down every single extra.  Wanted to make them pay.  They needed to understand how much they hurt you and never do it to another fucking person again.  I… didn't use my quirk a single fucking time.  Fuck , Izuku, I was such an idiot!  It finally clicked— I finally understood that I was doing things the way you would do.  That there was no fucking difference at all.  You were never weak or fragile!  Not all!"  He needed to pull away.  Needed to say this while looking Izuku in the eyes .

Katsuki struggled to pry himself out of the hug, but he finally managed to look Izuku in his crying eyes.  There was a little bit of snot dripping out of his nose as he sniffled.

Izuku was beautiful and adorable and not.  His .  

"I was so fucking wrong.  The entire time.  You can be a Hero, Izuku.  Always could have.  The entire fucking time.  One of the very best there ever was."

And Izuku wailed and flung himself at Katsuki.  And the blonde clung right back, Hitoshi squeezed between them and holding onto both of them.

I love you.   Katsuki desperately thought as he cried with the person he treasured and loved most.  I love you, but you deserve better.

Chapter Text

Kacchan, Kacchan, Kacchan !  Izuku was a devastated wreck as the blonde spilled all his guilt and regret.  He felt his heart crack and break for the other.  His best friend that he had abandoned .  And Kacchan didn’t even see it that way.  He had already resigned himself to the fate of never seeing the greenette again.

His Kacchan thought Izuku had… taken the advice of all those bullies.  That hours passed on that fucking fateful day where Kacchan thought that Izuku was dead .  And Kacchan had been relieved and thankful that Izuku had just run off into the wild.

Izuku had really fucked up big time.  He had hurt his Kacchan.  It didn’t matter that they weren’t close friends before.  Kacchan had no fucking clue that Izuku had been bullied and tormented for years , until the greenette fucking snapped .  

Kacchan should hate him…

But instead, the blonde was blaming himself .  Admitting to all the ways he thought he had fucked up.  Bringing up things that Izuku hardly remembered.

Sure, he remembered the day that Kacchan ‘threatened’ him.  The blonde had pulled the greenette aside one day.  He didn’t even remember if it was at school or in the park, but Kacchan let sparks and small explosions dance in his palm.  He had squeezed Izuku’s shoulder with his other hand, and he had whispered .  

Stop trying to be a Hero.  You don’t have a quirk.  You can’t defend yourself, Deku .  Give it up.  If a villain had this quirk, half of your face would be scorched into nothing while your eyes melted out of your skull.  

“I can’t watch that happen to you, Deku!

Kacchan had been crying back then too, after he closed his hand and stopped the explosions.  There were only a few stray tears compared to Izuku’s silent and terrified sobs.

The greenette had bolted that day, absolutely fucking terrified that the bullies and teachers had finally broken his friend and convinced him to torture him too.  Izuku had avoided Kacchan for the rest of the week, just hoping that he could avoid the pain of having his friend beat him half to death too.

When he finally stopped panicking and running from the other, Izuku realized pretty quickly that the threat was out of worry .  Kacchan still didn’t know that Izuku was getting severely bullied, and Izuku made the decision to hide it all from the blonde.  His friend wouldn’t turn on Izuku, still thought he was somewhat capable and talented in his own way.  He still encouraged Izuku to be a Pokémon Ranger.  

So Izuku foolishly promised himself to hide away his pain and suffering.  He distanced himself away from the other, so Kacchan couldn’t tell that Izuku was getting hurt.  Izuku was the reason that they stopped being best friends.  He could’ve let himself be treated as fragile and insisted on playing video games and studying with Kacchan every single day after school.  Preserved their friendship and slowly manipulated Kacchan into realizing that he wasn’t fragile over time.

But instead, Izuku decided that he didn’t want to hurt Kacchan.  Because he cared about Izuku staying safe and not getting hurt.

Izuku decided that he didn’t want to hurt Kacchan with the reality of him getting maimed with someone’s quirk sooner or later.  Hero career or not.  Because Izuku thought that quirkless people were treated like that everywhere .  He didn’t know that the rampant discrimination was far from normal.  That the school system and city they grew up in was practically an MLA cult.  

He had just thought that it was normal and inevitable that he would end up dead and disfigured in a back alley one day.  It was the fate of the quirkless.  He didn’t want to tell Kacchan about that reality he felt so certain in.  

So, Izuku had been the one to let their friendship fall apart.  By clinging to a stupid dream.  By slowly encouraging Kacchan to hate him.  So the blonde wouldn’t have to feel his heart break when Izuku finally ended up as the victim of a hate crime.

Well, he really fucking failed at that, didn’t he?

Kacchan was falling apart in his arms, and it was Izuku’s fault.  The blonde was telling him all about how he tried to redeem himself, and how he realized how wrong he had been about Izuku in the process.

Maybe he could’ve realized that earlier if Izuku had bothered to try to explain and reach out to the other.  Izuku had just drifted away from him, instead of asking to be understood.

He didn’t want to let go.  Izuku didn’t want to let Kacchan go ever again , but the blonde squirmed out of the tight grip of his desperate hug.

Red eyes finally met green as Izuku saw Kacchan’s desperate need to be understood .  

“I was so fucking wrong.  The entire time.  You can be a Hero, Izuku.  Always could have.  The entire fucking time.  One of the very best there ever was.”

And Izuku finally snapped again.  He threw himself at his Kacchan and wailed .  Because that was the validation he had wanted for fucking years .  

Mom had always apologized.  Kacchan had thought it was too dangerous.  Auntie Mitsu gave him a sad smile.  Uncle Masaru teared up silently and hugged him.  Auntie Cynthia… was always silent in her approval.  She occasionally whispered subtle words of encouragement.  

“One step at a time.  One at a time, kiddo.  Let’s try again to find you a partner.  Have I ever taught you how to throw a punch?  You don’t… you don’t need a fancy laminated card to tell you what you already know.  Okay, Izuku?”

She had never said it directly, but she made sure Izuku knew in her own special way.

It had never felt like it was enough, and now…

Now, Kacchan had finally said it.  You can be a Hero .  It had been all he had ever wanted, alongside having a partner of his own.

And now… Now, it just was…

Izuku laughed through his sobs, nearing hysterics.  “I don’t… I don’t think I even want to be a Hero anymore, Kacchan!”

He giggled as he clung tighter and cried.  It was so fucking stupid .  He had pretty much given up his old dream!  Who needed a shitty laminated fucking card telling him he could use his quirk to save others!?  He could be an Aura Guardian feral cryptid without the government getting in his way.  Why the hell was he getting validated when he didn’t need it anymore?!

It was stupid.  It was hilarious.  He wanted to sob his eyes out and laugh until he couldn’t breathe.  

Fuck it!  He was just going to say it!  Going to finally fess up and tell everything to his Kacchan.

He pulled himself together just long enough to look up into Kacchan’s eyes and grin .  Feral, mischievous, unhinged, and nearly deranged.  

Izuku laughed.  “Why do I need permission from the government to use my quirk to help people when I don’t have one!?   I have power that far exceeds the simplicity of quirks.  So much more potential.  A power far more ancient and objectively cooler than a simple fucking fluke of genetics.”

The greenette was really going to say all of this.  He barely felt Hitoshi shift between them as he realized what he was about to say.  Izuku was going to confess it all to Kacchan.  Without even giving it a single second of thought beforehand.

“I will never bow to the whims of a human society ever again.  It’s beneath me.  Evil doers will know me and fear me, because I’m training to be the first Aura Guardian in centuries.

Chapter Text

He knew, technically, that telling Kacchan about Aura was completely different than telling practical strangers about it.  Lance, Era, and Tsuno had never known Izuku before he first learned those techniques from Lucario months ago.  They didn't have a comparison, and they never would.  They would never know the confidenc e Izuku had gained.  Didn't see how he had changed so drastically.

It was such a big step telling someone that knew Izuku as the meek and powerless weakling.  Saw him when he constantly hid and couldn't bring himself to fight back.  

Completely quirkless.

Izuku was still quirkless, but Aura was still power crackling through him.  Izuku knew that nearly anyone could learn with enough practice and dedication.  He wasn't unique .  But… he knew he was a natural at it.  Most people would need years, if not decades to achieve Izuku's current skills.  And he was still considered an untrained amateur when compared to the real Aura Guardians of old.  

Aura would change his dynamic with Kacchan forever.  Just when the blonde learned to accept and respect Izuku's quirklessness, the greenette was pulling out the rug from beneath him.

And Izuku knew that his words were too feral, too sharp.  He was still hurt and broken from the way the humans in Musutafu treated him.  He still carried a quiet rage that leaked into his voice when he even thought about conforming to the whims of human society again.  

Izuku leaned against Kacchan, still crying a little and laughing unsteadily.  Hitoshi snuggled him close and started purring in his lap.

"Sorry, that was a little much for me to say, wasn't it?  But I… I am serious.  I really am training to be an Aura Guardian.  It isn't… it's not just a fairytale, Kacchan."  Izuku laughed, the intense and borderline insane conviction from earlier mellowing into a more quiet resolve.

The blonde shuddered and curled around him.  “You’re amazing , Izuku.  Like the Sir Aaron guy?”

“Yeah, I can… Can show you… if you’d like.”  

Kacchan nodded, pulling away for a brief second, only to lean against his side.  It was comfortable, being in a side hug with Kacchan.  Izuku wasn’t ready to let go of him either.

The greenette was nervous.  The whole dynamic and all of the complicated feelings they had for one another was about to get smashed to pieces.  

But it had already had changed, hadn’t it?  Kacchan accepted him as quirkless and strong .  Sure, it was different now.  Izuku wasn’t powerless.  He still didn’t have a quirk, but power now crackled at his fingertips on command.  

They were… they were more equal than ever.

Izuku suddenly felt silly.  Why did that scare him?  He should be happy!

He was overjoyed .

So, the greenette let his Aura swirl.  He spun it, and he formed an Aura Sphere in the palm of his hands.

His eyes were only on Kacchan though, watching as awe and fascination took over the blonde’s face.  Hitoshi purred and shifted so he could be on both of their laps as Izuku snuffed out the energy.

Lem finally made a sound, squeaking in excitement as she jumped from Kacchan’s shoulders to finally hop into Izuku’s lap and greet her other best friend.  “Hi, Lem!  I missed you too!”

Izuku laughed off the stress as she abruptly decided to lick the tears off of his face before switching to Kacchan.  

The blonde sputtered at the attention, finally shocking him out of his frozen state of awe.  “I…  Okay, so your fancy magic tricks might be a little cooler than my quirk.”

Izuku squeaked at the high praise.  He was so damn thrilled!  Kacchan was still a tsundere!

But of course, he still wanted to tease his friend some more.  “Okay, but that’s only one thing I can do.  I can see Auras now and track people.  I figured out that my issue with pokéballs was actually an Aura thing the whole time.  But after a bunch of trial and error, I kinda figured out how to make pokéballs explode too.  As an emergency tactical maneuver, of course.  And the Lucario that taught me also showed me how to use Heal Pulse with Aura instead of psychic energy.”

Kacchan stared at him in disbelief.  “A Lucario taught you how to do the blue magic glowy thing.”

Izuku blinked back.  “Yeah… I sort of got adopted by a commune of wild pokémon.  Some of them escorted me here today.”

“There’s wild pokémon at your house right now.”

“Yours, actually.”

Kacchan stared at him in disbelief.  “Okay, talk time later.  My house now.”

Izuku giggled.  “You don’t want to hear about the time I helped the Bird Mafia take down a group of poachers?”

“Later!”   Kacchan stood up in a huff, grabbing Lem and recalling his Magikarp from the little stream before heading back towards home.  

The greenette laughed along with Hitoshi as he picked up his own pokémon and trailed after him.  He felt like he was a little kid again.

Everything was going to be fine.  Izuku would catch up with his human family and get his pokédex and eventually continue his training.  He’d either go back to traveling or call Lance and accept his apprenticeship and learn under the Dragon Clan.

It was all going to go according to plan.  It totally would.

Right…?

Chapter Text

Izuku carefully trailed behind Kacchan.  It was habit really.  Years of always following and relying on and hiding behind the blonde.  He always wanted to be close to Kacchan, as close as he could be without Kacchan being able to see him hurting.  So Izuku followed, like a little duckling.

But this time, Kacchan kept looking over his shoulder to make sure Izuku was still there.

The greenette probably didn’t make a sound.  He was too used to sneaking around in the wild.  His already polished sneaking skills had gotten even more refined through learning how to hunt and stalk prey.  Kacchan was probably just checking that Izuku hadn’t vanished or melted back into the wilderness again.

Eventually, the blonde stopped and turned to stare at Izuku.  The not-pokémon tilted his head and stared back.  Kacchan scoffed and averted his eyes before he looked at Hitoshi.  

Were the two talking again?  Izuku couldn’t see if Kacchan’s pupils were gray or black from this angle.  Actually, were Izuku’s pupils gray whenever he talked to Hitoshi.  He honestly didn’t know.

But both pokémon and human locked eyes and nodded after a few seconds.  Izuku guessed that it didn’t really matter if they shared words through their mind or just meaningful eye contact, but he was getting a little sick and tired of conversations he didn’t understand constantly happening above his head or under his nose.

But whatever they said or didn’t say, Kacchan decided to hold a hand to Izuku.  Palm up, eyes averted, pink blush slowly creeping into his cheeks.  “You’re going to get lost, nerd.”

And Izuku remembered a moment like this from a long time ago.  Right after his quirkless diagnosis, Izuku had offered his hand to Kacchan after he had slipped from a log into the stream below.  Thinking back on it now, that moment had probably been when Kacchan had decided that Izuku was fragile and the blonde wasn’t.  Kacchan had always refused to play outside with Izuku after that.

Now… after all this time, Kacchan was finally offering his hand to Izuku.  

The greenette did not cry.  He didn’t!  He was just tearing up a little, spontaneously gaining an allergy to a nearby plant or something!

Izuku shifted Hitoshi to hold him with one arm, the Espurr purring instead of protesting, and he reached out to grab onto that hand.  He was probably grinning like an idiot now, but it was too difficult to stop.  He was holding hands with Kacchan!  They were finally equals after so damn long.

“Yeah…”  Don’t make it awkward.  Don’t make it awkward.  Izuku, you can’t make this awkward.  The sentimentality of this moment cannot be referred to or you’ll fucking ruin.   “You know me, Kacchan.  The GPS on my pokétch app stopped working a while back.  Never got it fixed, and I was lucky I had the tiniest portion of a sense of direction to figure out that I needed to go West until I hit Mt. Silver.  It was a miracle I could figure out where West was.  Luckily, I got a ride, so you didn’t have to wait another month on my hopeless sense of direction.”

Izuku still somehow made it awkward as he nervously laughed at himself.  He was nervous.  He was holding hands with Kacchan, holy shit !

At least Kacchan was blushing too, gently tugging Izuku along in their walk home.  It would have been even more awkward if they were just standing in the woods, holding hands.  Just a pair of best friends/rivals/frenemys.  Being bros.  Or something.

Izuku giggled, already starting to swing their clasped hands as they continued walking.  Hitoshi snickered, cradled in the crook of his other arm.

“Don’t make it weird .  I have a reputation , nerd.”  Kacchan grumbled, pretending he wasn’t blushing.

“But the extras are already gone, Kacchan!  Please!”

“I hate you.”

“I love you too, Kacchan!”

But Kacchan still didn't let go as they entered the park.  He glared at Izuku when he stopped swinging their hands until he started swinging them again.

Tsundere Kacchan strikes again!  Or something like that.  Izuku thought it was really cute that Kacchan wanted to keep holding his best friend's hand for a little while longer.  He didn’t even let go before they reached the doorstep of the Bakugou house.  

Of course, Lem decided to be cute and licked Izuku’s nose as Kacchan knocked.  She never left her constant scarf-like perch across the blonde’s shoulders, claiming the place like a throne.  Izuku giggled at the Quilava’s little affection before the chaos started again.

Auntie Mitsuki wasn’t the one to open the door this time.  

Green eyes met green as the front porch drowned in Midoriya tears.  Izuku forgot how to breathe as he saw his mom for the first time in months .

“Izuku, I missed you so much!   You’re home!  You’re home !  You’re actually here , sweetheart!”  Mom sobbed at the sight of him.  She held open her arms, and Izuku rushed to let go of Kacchan’s hand so he could squeeze her into a hug.

“I missed you too, Mom!”  Izuku sniffled and tried not to suffocate Hitoshi between them, but the Espurr was purring loudly in content.

Mom let him go too soon, in his opinion.  But she smiled so wide at him, he couldn’t be upset about not being able to cling onto her a bit longer.  “I am so proud of you.  My little baby boy!  I saw the new pictures of you volunteering at the center.  Those kind Nurse Joys practically bragged about how talented you were in their reports!  It was so reassuring to see how much you were thriving .  I just wished I could have seen it myself!  I blame myself for not noticing how much my own son was suffering!  But, I don’t regret it… seeing you now.  You look so confident , and that journey was one of the best things that could’ve happened to you!  You’ve grown so much !  And…”

The green-haired woman smiled wider through her tears, before she looked down at Hitoshi.  “You never would’ve met this handsome young Espurr.  Welcome to the family, Hitoshi.”

Mom slowly held out her hand, offering it to Hitoshi to sniff and decide how he felt about her.  The Espurr decided right away that he liked her with a nod and tiny toothy smile.  Mom giggled as she cautiously pet him and scratched behind his ears, finding out just how loud he purred.

Izuku felt like his heart was going to explode.  He knew his mom would absolutely love and adore his partner.  But seeing Inko accept and pamper Hitoshi right away overwhelmed him with joy.  Izuku was just so happy!

“Come in, come in!  All of your new friends are wonderful, dear!  I already called around and arranged an appointment for your pokédex paperwork.  We’ll be seeing a Professor soon to get that all squared away, so you won’t need to worry about it anymore.”  She suddenly stopped in her tracks after rushing them all inside into the chaos.  She stared at Izuku and looked ready to flood the living room in another waterfall of tears.

“M-Mom?”

She whispered in shock.  “You’re taller.”  

“I am?”  Izuku didn’t really notice a difference at all, but his mother still grabbed him and squished him in a tight hug.  Hitoshi didn’t mind as he kept purring.

She eventually pulled back and wiped away her tears, sniffling.  “I j-just, really missed you, Izuku.  Now come on, we should probably start making something for your friends.  We can introduce Hitoshi to the rest of the family later, okay?”

“Okay, Mom.  Will we be making poffins?”  Izuku grinned, and Hitoshi meowed in excitement.  He really liked baking too.

“Of course!  You’re invited into the kitchen too, Katsu.”  Izuku was surprised at his mother’s words.  Normally, you weren’t allowed in the kitchen unless you were a Certified Midoriya qualified for baking.  Not even Auntie Cynthia was allowed past the doorway.

“Got it, Auntie.  Just let me put Mace in his tank before I fetch the surplus groceries.”  Kacchan didn’t even react to the offer.  

What exactly had Izuku missed while he was gone?

The not-pokémon turned and sent a questioning look at Mamadoriya.  The woman laughed at his shock.  “Katsu learned a lot about baking with me.  I hope you don’t mind…?”

“Not at all, Mom!  I kind of taught Hitoshi a lot about baking too…”  He appreciated that she was asking what he felt about the situation.  Izuku wasn’t worried about Kacchan ‘replacing’ him as her son or anything.  Honestly, he was happy to hear that two of his favorite people were supporting each other in his absence.  Kacchan must’ve been over at their house a lot for Auntie to decide to let him in for poffin making.

She laughed, overjoyed and fond as she finally noticed Hitoshi’s excitement.  “Well, I’d be happy to have one more pair of paws to help stir.”

“Meow!”  Hitoshi purring became louder as the three of them stepped into the kitchen, Kacchan trailing in after them a few seconds later.

Izuku was just so happy!  He was here with his human family.  Auntie and Uncle were in the living room, chatting with his friends.  He was baking again with Mom, and he was learning how to work with Kacchan in the kitchen too.  Hitoshi was another perfect new addition to their baking group.  

It was everything Izuku had wanted and hoped for when he had dreamed about coming home.  This reunion was perfect in every way.

Chapter Text

The rest of the day passed with chaos, but of the welcome and relaxed variety.  Izuku felt safe and at home .  That feeling extended to Hitoshi too, who had never really known what having a home and family had felt like.  

Even after making a mega batch of poffins for everyone, he still had time to lurk at the edges of the room and watch all of the pokémon he had befriended in the wild interact with the pokémon that he had known all of his life and that had practically raised him.  Uncle Masaru’s Leavanny— Nette— was delighted to talk to the trio of wild bugs.  She was clearly giving them all tips on how humans assembled their clothing.  Sewaddle, Caterpie, and Wurmple listened in absolute fascination, and they were clearly amazed at her elegantly evolved self.  Izuku could sort of sense that the group was talking a little bit about cocoons.  He laughed before he looked in the direction of another conversation.

Kirlia was talking to Kelle — Uncle’s Gallade that had done a contest or two with Inko back in the day.  Both psychic types were happily gossiping over one thing or another.  Izuku thought they were probably sharing tips on how to deal with clingy friends that happened to be overenthusiastic bug types.  The greenette still remembered being a little kid and helping Kelle remove not-pokémon insects from the house when he was too freaked out to go near the tiny things.

Chompers — Auntie Mitsuki’s Mawile — was getting on like a house on fire with Sableye and Cacnea.  Izuku was glad that the house hadn’t combusted into flames.  

He also spotted his mom’s pokémon around and about, but he didn’t want to introduce Hitoshi and overwhelm his kitten.  He was content to stand back and watch.  Aka-chan, of course, noticed Izuku and bugged him for baked goods.  The Pidgeot loved the poffins, and the others weren’t sure what to think about the baked food yet.

Izuku understood their reluctance.  The poffins smelled like berries, but they didn’t look like berries.  He made sure he ate a few of them in full view of everyone, and his friends from the wild enjoyed the snacks after he showed them the poffins were actually food.  The greenette lurked around various conversations.  All of the pokémon tried to include him in their talks, but he understood communication was difficult.  He just sheepishly smiled and gave everyone the sentiment that they shouldn’t slow down their excited hyper fixations for his slow translations and unnecessary feedback.

The Art Club were clearly enjoying themselves at least.  The Bird Mafia were happy to casually converse with Archer, his mom’s Decidueye.  It just really brought Izuku joy to see everyone get along.

But… it was slowly becoming clear to him.  He really wasn’t quite of… either world.  Not human… and not exactly pokémon either.  Izuku felt awkward reapproaching his human family too.  All of them were talking to their own pokémon, and Izuku preferred to float between conversations.  Hitoshi was content to stay in his arms.

Uncle Masaru finally approached him.  “So… Izuku…”  He shuffled awkwardly next to his nephew/godson as he struggled to find the correct words.  “I’m surprised…”

“About what?”  Izuku was curious.  He had no clue what Uncle had on his mind.

The man suddenly straightened as he found the courage and confidence he needed for whatever conversation they were about to have.  “When Inko came home one day, crying about how proud she was of you.  The pictures of the volunteer work you did in Lavender Town, all of us treasured our printed copies.  Of course, then that was that video…  I’m surprised.  I thought that you would never step foot inside a human settlement ever again.  It sounded very… final, in your note.  I don’t blame you for hating humans, after so many of them hurt you.  I’m proud of you, for deciding to come back.  I want to know why you decided to give humanity a second chance.  I want to know how you’re feeling about all of this.  But you don’t have to tell me, if you don’t want to.  I’m not entitled to any answers.  I’m just curious and worried.”

Uncle gently guided Izuku back into the quiet of the kitchen.  Mom and Kacchan had already helped Izuku clean up earlier.  It was quiet here, and they were separated from the relaxed clamor of the living room.  Uncle Masaru grabbed Izuku a soda, and they both pulled out stools to sit at the kitchen island.  Hitoshi decided to crawl out of Izuku’s lap to sit on the counter.  The Espurr reassured him by nuzzling his hand and asking for head scritches.

Izuku smiled.  He knew what he was about to say didn’t exactly sound… sane.  “You’re right, Uncle.  I don’t… consider myself human.  I don’t think I ever will again…”

“Have you figured out, what you consider yourself instead?  You shouldn’t rush yourself to find an answer, and you don’t need one.”  His uncle was as understanding as ever.

“It’s a little silly, but I’ve been calling myself a not-pokémon inside my head.  It’s a little ridiculous, but it makes me happy.”  Izuku chuckled as he finally decided to open the can of soda.  

“It’s not ridiculous if it makes you happy.”

“I know…”  Izuku trailed off.  He wasn’t sure what to say next.  He wasn’t quite ready yet to talk about his encounter with Lance and all about learning Aura to an adult yet.  “I actually ended up in Celadon City before Lavender Town.  I ran out of soap and soup, but before that… I was letting destiny and fate guide me.  It compelled me to keep moving in one direction.  It was… leading me to Hitoshi.  But I met a nice human in Celadon that helped me sell things at a pokémart.  He helped me realized that all humans aren’t fucking horrible bastards like the ones I grew up with.  He… he told me that… quirkless people were accepted and welcomed in the competitive pokémon trainer circuit.  Held me as he told me that all the abuse and suffering that I went through so much trouble to hide wasn’t normal in any way.  Even my pokédex being withheld from me was apparently severely illegal discrimation.  I just thought.  I thought that everyone that didn’t have a quirk had to deal with getting beaten half to death nearly every day.  That it was simply inevitable that I would be the victim of some hate crime one day.  So I just… decided to hide it all.  I didn’t want any of you — I didn’t want Kacchan — to realize it.  I didn’t want to take your happiness away.  Didn’t want you to mourn and baby me before my seemingly inevitable murder.

“I really thought that was how the world worked.  But I was proven wrong.  Kind humans do exist.  They aren’t special cases.  I met so many kind people that helped Hitoshi and me in Lavender Town.  I dreaded the first time I saw the town, unable to turn around to the safety of the wild as the weight of fate forced me forward into that place.  And I met Hitoshi.  We saved each other, and I know I’d go through every terrible thing I’ve ever suffered from again to make sure we met.  He’s my precious partner, and I adore him.”

Izuku wiped his tears away before sipping his soda and petting Hitoshi.  His kitten’s purrs made him feel better after that frankly exhausting conversation.  

Uncle Masaru was crying too, and he stood up to give Izuku a hug.  “I love you so much, Izuku.  That school and those bastard Professors are going to pay for what they did to you, okay?  Please, try and trust us some more in the future, okay?  We all love you so much, and we’ll do anything to help and support you.  You’re our kid.”

“I-I will.  I will, Uncle.”  Izuku sobbed into his shoulder, and Hitoshi crawled back into his lap to purr for his comfort.  “I… I don’t want to have this conversation again.  Can… can you do the weird parent thing where everyone suddenly knows the very important and relevant thing the kid told one parent?  I just… don’t want to repeat myself.”

At least that got a chuckle out of his Uncle.  “It’s called a group chat, Izuku.  But sure, I will.”

“Okay.”  Izuku held onto his Uncle a little longer.  

Eventually, they separated and left the kitchen.  Izuku sought out Aka-chan and hung out and snuggled with the Pidgeot until all of the visiting pokémon had to leave.  The flying type chirped sadly, but he made sure Izuku had a few more of his feathers before he had to fly everyone else home.  

He spent the rest of the evening basking in Kacchan’s presence.  It was amazing to see Mace’s aquarium that practically spanned throughout the whole Bakugou house.  But Izuku was mentally drained.  He curled up against Kacchan and cuddled with him until dinner.  The blonde was all soft words and comforting touches.  Leaning back against Izuku or keeping him in a side hug.  Kacchan played the video games that Izuku had picked out for him and gently explained everything to Hitoshi as Izuku dozed on his shoulder.  Eventually, Kacchan dragged the greenette to cuddle in his bed.  Hitoshi was between both of them as Izuku clung to Kacchan’s side.

It just felt so safe and reassuring.  It was starting to register that he was in the same city with all the bad humans that had hurt him.  But he felt safe with Kacchan.  The blonde could protect him if Izuku shut down and couldn’t protect himself.  He felt so vulnerable, but his two favorite people were there to help him feel safe.  

He was so happy Hitoshi and Kacchan got along so well, and they were both making sure Izuku felt safe.  He loved them so much.

Chapter Text

Izuku woke up a little confused.  He wasn’t alarmed, not in the slightest.  Hitoshi was snuggled into his arms, but Kacchan was curled against his back.  The blonde had an arm thrown around his waist, and Izuku could feel him breathing against his neck.  Izuku… really liked this closeness.  But he was still really confused.

They were in his room, not Kacchan’s.  The last thing Izuku remembered was drifting off in Kacchan’s room.  Or well… maybe not exactly.

He had just been so emotionally drained and exhausted that he had sort of shut off.  Dissociated from himself for a while.  Both Hitoshi and Kacchan had helped ground him a little, but he wasn’t much for coherent conversation yesterday evening.  The greenette had just been content to let everyone else interact and talk amongst themselves.  Words were just too complicated for him as he just… let himself be vulnerable .  He willingly withdrew into himself as he realized that the people in Musutafu just hated him, and it wasn’t just a human thing.  He felt uneasy in this city, but he knew that Kacchan and Hitoshi would keep him safe.

He knew that he probably had mumbled a few things to everyone, but he had just focused on all of their Auras.  Hitoshi understood what was happening.  Izuku had done the same withdrawn dissociation thing while the Espurr was in the recovery machines.  The greenette just watched everything in the way that only he could see, with clouds of emotions and pulsing and swirling lights.  He stopped talking and interacting and physically sensing in favor of the deeper understanding brought to him through his Aura Sight.

Hitoshi knew that, had sat on his lap and purred to relax him.  Had meowed to get his attention if anyone had asked him anything directly.  Izuku normally mumbled that he was just mentally drained and exhausted.  He was, in a way.  He had never taken the time to truly understand that he thought it was normal that he would eventually be killed by someone, just because he was quirkless.  He had really thought that everyone that was quirkless would get bullied and beaten every single day.  It had never occurred to him that he was just in a bad situation.  That he had been trapped in a toxic environment that encouraged extreme discrimination.

Izuku had never taken the time to think about all of that until that conversation with Uncle Masaru.  It had shaken him so badly that he just, curled up within his own mind.  Observed and analyzed instead of making simple decisions and trusting in himself.  He felt better now.  Izuku trusted in his own judgment a little more, because he had learned from his mistake.  A mistake he couldn’t even feel bad about, because it had led to him meeting Hitoshi.

The greenette smiled as he realized Kacchan had walked him home and stayed over.  It still warmed his heart when he was given the tiniest bit of evidence that Kacchan really cared about him.  Izuku resisted the urge to giggle.  Instead, he probably had a goofy and ridiculous smile plastered across his face.

But, as comfortable as he was sandwiched in bed between Hitoshi and Kacchan, he needed to get up and start his morning meditation stretches.  It was difficult to get up without waking either of them, but he managed.  Izuku even adjusted Hitoshi so he was in Kacchan’s arms before he started his first stretch.

He felt the Aura inside him, and he willed it to flow inside him alongside his movement.  It stabilized his own Aura and calibrated his ability to sense it.  The stretches he learned from Lucario were also great for his general physical wellness.

It was inevitable that Kacchan and Hitoshi woke up eventually, even if he hoped it would be a little longer.  Izuku felt both of their Auras shift as they woke up.  He could tell Kacchan had sat up and was probably staring at him.  Izuku continued his stretches anway.  Hitoshi yawned at the familiar sight.

It took a minute for the blonde to process what he was seeing.  “What the hell are you doing, Izu?”

“Aura kata thingies.  Helps me calibrate.”  Izuku replied, just as bluntly.

Kacchan sighed and flopped backwards onto the bed.  Hitoshi meowed in protest.

Izuku smiled at their antics as he finished his stretches.  “Would you like me to make you some coffee?  Or do you still prefer tea, Kacchan?”

The blonde scoffed.  “I don’t know how you can drink that terrible sludge, nerd.”

“I…  Kacchan, you do realize that creamer and sugar exist for a reason, right?”  He opened his eyes and looked at Kacchan, seeing red eyes glare back at him.

“They exist for wimps that can’t handle real bitter flavors.”

“I need to turn you into a coffee snob one of these days.”  Izuku shook his head in disbelief as he turned to leave his room.

Kacchan followed, with Hitoshi snuggled into his arms instead of Izuku’s.  The greenette was happy to see it.  Lem was also draped across Kacchan’s shoulders, and he noticed Mace in a brand new fish tank in the living room.  Izuku smiled and got to work as he turned on the already prepped coffee maker and filled the kettle and got the mugs out of the cabinet.

Lem hopped onto the kitchen island and jumped up onto Izuku’s shoulders.  The Quilava quickly settled down and nuzzled and licked at his cheek.  The greenette giggled as he nuzzled back.  “I missed you too, Lem.  Would you like me to pour you some juice?”

She nodded and hopped down, and Izuku poured all of their respective drinks when the water started to boil and the coffee maker stopped gurgling.  Kacchan rolled his eyes when he realized that Izuku was making Hitoshi a matching cup of coffee.  

It was then that Mom stumbled out of her room.  Luct the Luxray and her Mimikyu were following her.  Luct carefully weaved around Inko, making sure her trainer didn’t trip onto her face before she had some caffeine.  Izuku could tell that Kyuu the Mimikyu identified as a girl today, because the tail of her Pikachu costume had the little B shape at the end.  Auntie Mitsu and Mom loved making Kyuu all sorts of fancy costumes.  Izuku came by his spoiling of his Hitoshi quite honestly.

Izuku smiled wordlessly and made his Mom some coffee while getting a bowl and a saucer out for Luct and Kyuu for their favorite juice.  He also grabbed one of the containers of poffins and set it on the counter for all of them.

Mom finally got her bearings after she chugged a third of her coffee.  “Good morning, everyone.  I’m surprised you’re all up this early.”

Izuku shrugged with a sheepish smile.  “I’ve gotten in the unfortunate habit of rising with the sun.  Hitoshi always gets up a few minutes after, and I think Kacchan is allergic to sleeping in.”

“Oi!  I’m not that bad, nerd!”

Mom politely muffled her own giggles.  “I’m glad you’re feeling better today, Izuku.”

“Yeah, me too.  Sorry for… spacing… I think it finally hit me how fucked up I was mentally after I talked about how I… had normalized it all, internally.”

“You don’t need to apologize, sweetheart.  I… I was wondering how long you were planning on staying.”  Mom was struggling for words, and Izuku saw how she looked at Kacchan for moral support.

Izuku wasn’t sure how he felt about her asking that.  “You think I’m leaving again?”

“I wouldn’t want you to stay in a place that causes you pain.  We could move, of course, but… I recognize wanderlust when I see it.”

That was… really comforting for him to hear.  “You don’t… resent me for leaving?”

“Not at all!  I always knew that you would want to go on a journey.  And I wish that I could’ve been there to help you pack the first time, but I understand.  This experience was something you needed , Izuku.  You look so much happier .  I’m so proud of you, for finding yourself and growing as a person.”  Mom got up out of her seat and pulled him to a hug.

Both Midoriyas were tearing up as they held each other.  “Thank you, Mom.  I’ll… keep you informed of my plans.”

“Thank you , Izuku.  Now, we have other things to talk about.  I didn’t want to bring it up earlier, but…”  Mom pulled away from the hug and looked at Kacchan again.

The blonde sighed and continued whatever both of them were trying to say.  “We’re in the process of suing Aldera, after I intimidated the fuck out of all the students.  The administration that enabled and encouraged all that fucking discrimination is going to die in the fire of the legal system.  Apparently, a few teachers messed with our grades according to our quirks.  My grade was always rounded up and yours rounded down.  I’m… also going to be seeing a therapist soon.”

Kacchan refused to look at him, so he didn’t see how blatantly proud Izuku was of him.  The blonde really was trying his hardest to become a better person.  

Although, Izuku had a sudden realization too.  “Uh, do I have to go see a therapist too?  I mean, I think I’d like to, but I’m not ready yet.  And I do want to go on another journey, I’m just not sure when or where yet.  So I have no clue how I would arrange that when I’m not here, and—”

“We’re not going to force you into therapy, sweetheart!  Take all the time in the world that you need.”  Mom interrupted him before he could spiral out of control.  “In other news, I already called Cynthia.  She’ll be here to visit as soon as she can, okay?  Probably within the week.”

“Really!?”

“Yes, she was very excited to hear the good news about you.  Although, she did mention how you met a certain someone on your journey…”

Kacchan’s look of alarm was priceless, and Izuku burst out laughing.  It was funny to see the blonde get completely the wrong idea.

“I just met the Dragon Champion, Mom!  It’s not that big of a deal!”  Izuku laughed.

“Well, it is a big deal!  She said you met him and helped him with something…?”

“It was just a group of poachers!  Lance could’ve handled them on his own, but I somehow showed up first.”  

Kacchan stared at him like he was insane, which he was, while Hitoshi perked up and looked excited to hear the story.

They all spent the rest of the day in their pajamas exchanging stories.  Kacchan regaled them with his adventures in stalking extras and fish-mudering them with Mom’s advice.  Izuku totally believed that, but Hitoshi was surprised to hear his Mom was a vicious badass and just as feral as Izuku was when she was his age.  The not-pokémon talked about some of things he experienced while on his journey, and he carefully tried to avoid talking about Aura.  He probably wasn’t as good at keeping that part cleanly out of his stories, and Mom was probably suspecting him already.

Izuku didn’t mind her knowing about Aura.  He just wanted to wait and tell all of the adults about his ability after Auntie Cynthia was there to hear his explanation too.  

Eventually, Mom’s other pokémon woke up and joined their little pajama gossip party in the living room.  Izuku happily introduced Hitoshi to the other members of the family.  Luct the Luxray was an absolute queen back in her contest days.  Cybele was a female form Indeedee that often helped Mom with her work at the pokémon center.  Kyuu’s favorite number was obviously nine, and the Mimikyu was a genderfluid bean with a whole bunch of different costumes and accessories that the whole family had made for them.  They had always loved performing in team contests and dressing up as their friends.  Archer was a Decidueye, and he might be a member of the Bird Mafia, now that he thought about it.  Argus the Claydol used they/them pronouns, and they had a routine back in the day with Rune the Sigilyph and Inko performing a lot of acrobatics with laserbeams.  Rune liked to wear bows a lot, and she preferred to perch on Argus, even though the ceiling of their apartment wasn’t large enough for that.

The day passed in a flash, and soon enough Kacchan went home.  But Izuku wasn’t lonely.

He had Hitoshi, his dearest partner, to snuggle with that night.

Chapter Text

He had his obnoxious yellow backpack with him, but all of his clothes and camping gear were pulled out of it.  It was pretty much only his recommendation paperwork left inside.  Izuku was glad that Mom insisted on photocopying all of them when he showed her all the papers of the trio of Nurse Joy women, an Officer Jenny, and the Pro Hero Rumbler recommending and approving his partnership with Hitoshi.  He shouldn’t need them, but he felt safer with the copies, considering how bigoted the Professors were when he visited a whole bunch with Mom when he was little.  He would take all the help he could get.

Izuku took a deep breath as he looked at the building they were about to enter from the safety of the Bakugou family car.  It was just the Midoriyas borrowing it today though.  Mom had been driving them in silence, and they hadn’t spoken much at all since they entered.  

Now, they were parked in that same silence.  Mom reached over to hold his hand and reassure him.  Things were different now.  Hitoshi purring in his lap was proof enough of that fact.  Still, Izuku was stressed and worried and forced himself to stop thinking about every little thing that could go wrong.  The Espurr was trying his best to get him to relax and spiral into anxiety.

The greenettes held hands for a few seconds in tense silence.  Both of them were nervous wrecks at the moment.

Izuku spoke first.  “I…  Have I seen this Professor before?”

“No.”  Mom replied in an instant.  “He hasn’t been a Professor that long.  I would… I would never bring you back to one of those horrible fucking bigoted bastards.”

The not-pokémon hummed in understanding.  “What’s his name?”

“Professor Hemlock.”

Both greenettes exchanged knowing looks.  Izuku grimaced.  “That’s a little, ominous and foreboding.”

Inko nodded along.  “We can call this off.  We can try signing up online again.  Better yet, why don’t we wait for Cynthia to get here?  We can all take a little vacation over there and get your pokédex issued from a trusted associate of hers over there.  She’s on good terms with Professor Rowan.”

It sounded like a better idea.  It was a very tempting one too.  Izuku also remembered Blue.  The older teen had offered a recommendation to him to help him get his pokédex.  The greenette still had his number scribbled into one of his notebooks.  He still had the number of the Dragon Champion Lance.  It was well within the capabilities of the local Pokémon Champion to get Izuku in touch with a Professor that would accept his quirkless ass and other eccentricities with open arms.

But… Izuku wanted to at least try on his own.  He’d take that sort of preferential treatment when he needed to.  He didn’t want to rely on the favoritism of the few people that cared about him in order to succeed in the future.  There was also the fact that… a part of him wanted to face that awful discrimination again.  He was more confident now, no longer a doormat.  He wanted to stand up for himself.  So… he knew it wasn’t the best idea, but…

“I want to at least try talking to Professor Hemlock first.”

Mom looked reluctant to let him go, but she didn’t protest.  “Would you like me to go in with you or stay out here in the car?”

Izuku grinned, knowing he looked a touch too feral.  “I think I want to go in by myself.  I know better than to let anyone walk all over me now.”

“Oh, Izuku!”  His mom teared up a little and matched his feral grin.  “I’m so proud of you, baby!  I understand not wanting to show your fangs in front of your mother.”

The not-pokémon laughed and reached over to hug her before he got out of the car.  “I love you, Mom.  See you in a bit.”

Hitoshi chirped at him only a second after he shut the car door.  Izuku hummed back and their connection snapped into place.

“I was wondering.  Do my pupils turn gray when you use your quirk, or is there no visual with me?”  Hitoshi looked up at him while Izuku made eye contact.

[There’s no change.  Your pupils are still black.]

“Hmm, that’s interesting.”  Izuku murmured as he approached the front door.  “Are you ready to start this shitshow with me?”

Hitoshi pouted in concern.  [Do you really think it’s going to be that bad?]

Izuku shook his head.  “Maybe?  I can’t be sure.  I just know that Musutafu is rife with discrimination against the quirkless.  I have all the proper paperwork, but this Hemlock guy just might be a complete asshole.”

He entered the utterly unremarkable building, and the front parlor/waiting room was tiny.  There was only room for a receptionist desk and ten chairs, five along each wall.  

Izuku had a terrible feeling that the man behind the front desk was the Professor himself.  He… had the same vibe as the awful fucking trash quirk specialist he saw as a kid.  That bitch who ruthlessly crushed his dreams.  The bastard had clearly sneered at his x-ray image and might have even “advised” his mother to get rid of him, if it wasn’t for her putting the fear of Arceus into him with just a mere look.  

So… he just kind of felt like he was standing in front of an A-grade douche bag.  

The greenette still remained polite, despite his gut feeling.  He didn’t want to back out already.  “Hello!  I believe I should have an appointment with Professor Hemlock.  It should be listed as Midoriya Izuku.”

The old man, who was giving Izuku creepy vibes, tilted down his glasses to look over Izuku.  He didn’t even try to hide that he was judging the teen.  It was obvious that the man thought he was better than everyone else, just because he had a fancy title.  “Are you Midoriya Izuku?”

“Yes, sir!”  Izuku smiled, hoping it wasn’t obvious that he was incredibly tempted to reach over the table and strangle the man already.  Overly cheerful it was then.

“Hmph.  I expected you to be a toddler.  Aren’t you a little old to be applying for a pokédex?”

Izuku smiled brighter, probably baring his teeth a little too much.  He had to remind himself that he was not a pokémon, and he would get charged with assault if he bit an old man.  “I am, actually!  Thank you for noticing!  Apparently, Musutafu has this unspoken and highly illegal rule that pokémon-less children can’t be issued a pokédex and exist as a citizen with basic identification and rights.  I guess people like me with the Ranger’s Curse are just doomed to suffer as second class citizens and be completely unable to apply for jobs and eventually die out on the streets due to exposure and starvation from a complete lack of income.”

Professor Hemlock frowned and had the decency to look incredibly uncomfortable as Izuku refused to feed his superiority complex and called the entire Professor community of Musutafu out.  The greenette expected to be kicked out of the building right then and there, but to his surprise, the Professor stepped out behind the front desk and gestured for Izuku to follow him.  “Well, there’s no time to waste then.”

The old man grumbled, a bit miffed at Izuku having a spine and some self-respect, but he apparently wasn’t going to deny Izuku’s application out of pettiness.

At least not yet.  Izuku frowned and shared a glance with Hitoshi.  The greenette spoke mentally to the other.  [I don’t trust him, but I’d rather get this over with.]

[I’ll growl at him if he starts anything.  If he tries to hurt you though…]

[I understand.  Just don’t want to risk getting in trouble with the law.]

Hitoshi frowned.  [You have important friends, right?  If… if something does happen, will they help us.  Make sure we don’t get in trouble with the cops if they believe the Professor over us?]

Izuku blinked.  Auntie Cynthia would do everything in her power to help him get away with murder scot-free, even more if it was a false accusation.  [Yeah, but I don’t think that will happen.  You shouldn’t worry about it, kitten.]

The greenette decided to follow the man further into the building.  The Professor got behind another desk at his actual office.  There was a doorway that connected straight to his lab.  It looked like he specialized in the botany of berries.  

Izuku felt uneasy.  He had been at a few lab facilities run by Professors.  Even if they didn’t study pokémon, there was normally at least one running around.  Most of the time, there were at least three chilling in the office area, if not the lab itself.  Izuku didn’t see a single pokémon anywhere.  It was unsettling.

He wanted to check the building with his Aura Sight, but he didn’t give into the temptation.  It was probably just paranoia anyway.

“So you’re here to get your pokédex issued and your partner pokémon registered, I presume?”  Professor Hemlock brought Izuku’s attention back to him before he thought twice about snooping.

“Yes, my initial paperwork should have been forwarded to you.  I have copies of those and additional paperwork.  Mostly recommendation and approval forms for my partnership with Hitoshi.”

“Hitoshi is the name of your Espurr, correct?”

“Yes, sir.”  The greenette was bracing himself for insensitive questions, and he was waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“Why do you have such forms?”

Izuku sharply inhaled.  He just had a bad feeling.  “Hitoshi’s former trainer abused and abandoned him.  I volunteer at Pokémon Centers sometimes, so I was there when he needed emergency medical attention that required capture within a pokéball to recover.  I was the only one there that he trusted to temporarily capture him while he recovered in the machines.  Upon his refusal of me releasing him after he recovered, the Nurse Joys I worked with filled out forms that I would be an outstanding trainer suited to take care of him.  After the same villain that hurt Hitoshi got caught, Officer Jenny and the Pro Hero Rumbler also recommended me for his care and partnership.”

Professor Hemlock sat back in his chair in a hum, clearly thinking about what Izuku had said.  “This Espurr is a different coloration than normal.  Does your paperwork address that?”

The greenette just, had a sudden bad feeling.  He made sure Hitoshi was safe in his arms.  “It is.  He has a quirk.”

“Interesting.  What is his quirk?”

Izuku focused on not growling defensively.  Hitoshi purred to help soothe both of them, even as he snuggled further in Izuku’s arms as an attempt to hide a little.  “Brainwashing.  Voice-activated.”

“Hmm.”  The Professor didn’t react badly .  But he did suddenly look interested.  He also glanced at his computer where Izuku’s file was likely pulled up.  “It says here that you’re quirkless.”

“So?  That isn’t relevant.”  Izuku wanted to run .  He wanted out of this room.  He wanted to drag this biased old man out from behind his desk and fight him.

He didn’t know why the old man was setting off every alarm bell in Izuku’s head.  He wanted to trust his instincts, but he also wanted this damn thing to be over with already.  He wanted to have his pokédex and legal tie to Hitoshi already, so he didn’t have to worry about it anymore.

Professor Hemlock hummed again.  “Alright, let me go check and see if I have any suitable pokédexes here in the back.  Can’t hand you something meant for a toddler after all, and I wouldn’t waste your time any more than I have.  We can discuss your recommendations in further detail when I get back.”

Izuku wanted to scream.  He realized that this was a positive reaction.  He really was about to get a pokédex issued, but every single one of his instincts seemed to scream danger.

It just had to be his anxiety, right?  

[I don’t like him.]

Izuku laughed, silently and out of nerves.  “I don’t like him either, kitten.  But we’ll only have to deal with him for today.  At least everything’s going better than I expected.”

[Really?]

The greenette chuckled darkly again.  “Neither of us have been called slurs.  Or been yelled at.  That’s already better than my entire time at school.”

[Meowch.]

Izuku looked down at Hitoshi, laughing out of happy surprise now.  “D-did you just pun ?”

[May-be.]

The not-pokémon giggled as he got the paperwork from his bag.  He was actually smiling when Professor Hemlock entered the office again with a pokédex that looked like it could function as a phone.  It looked to be a sideflip style instead of a complete touch screen.  Not a smartphone, but he could at least call his mom on it.  

“Now, let’s get to looking through your paperwork so we can finalize this!”  The Professor looked… happy, for some reason.  Maybe he was actually happy for Izuku instead of dreading giving a “quirkless” a pokédex.

The greenette could hope.

And… that hope was dashed in minutes.  The Professor frowned as he leafed through the documents.  Izuku had a feeling that everything was about to go wrong, but it was too late for him to run and bail on this meeting.

“Do you take me for a fool , Midoriya-kun?”

So, Professor Hemlock was thinking up a way to reject Izuku his right to a pokédex without getting sued.  Kind of smart on his part.

Izuku sighed.  “No, sir.”

“Then please explain to me why you decided to hand me counterfeits !”  And there goes the yelling.  Hitoshi hissed at the man for the loud noise.

The greenette kept his composure.  “They are not counterfeits.  They are photocopies.  I already mentioned that they were.”

“You’ve clearly never seen actual recommendation paperwork before!  And you had the audacity to walk into my place of work and convince me you deserve a pokédex!”

“They’re not fake, but they’re photocopies.  You can keep them.  I appreciate you taking the time to see me, but if you’re just going to shout false accusations at me to cover up how you’re a bigoted asshole that refused to give me a pokédex, I’ll just go ahead and see myself out.”  Izuku kept his voice level and monotone.  He had honestly expected this kind of bullshit, even though he hoped it wouldn’t happen.

“You know I shouldn’t have expected a quirkless to be capable of taking care of a pokémon with such a dangerous and volatile quirk!  With how quiet that Espurr is, it’s obvious that you stole him away from his last trainer!  You’re clearly a quirkless poacher and abuser and you’ve been taking out your resentment of your innate inferiority on poor innocent pokémon that have been blessed with a power you don’t have!”

Izuku really should’ve started running at that moment, but he was pissed.   Hitoshi was shaking in his arms, clearly upset at the man’s words.  Still, the greenette carefully cradled his partner close and turned to face the man instead of walking out the door. 

“What.”   His voice shook from anger, and he practically growled at the other.  

Professor Hemlock seemed smug that he had apparently touched a nerve.  “You heard me!  You’re an abusive poacher, plain and simple!  I’m going to make sure you’re arrested for your crimes against this poor pokémon!  And I’ll make sure that Espurr finds a proper new home with a proper trainer through my laboratory.  It is officially relinquished from your care.  You can cooperate or be apprehended with force.”

Professor Hemlock smiled, completely evil and basking in his victory.  He knew that he was doing something completely horrific.  He was well aware how much Izuku and Hitoshi cared for each other.  And yet… and yet

He didn’t care about Hitoshi at all.  Called him an it .

Izuku had walked them both straight into a dangerous trap that couldn’t get out of.  The greenette was crying and he had no fucking clue what to do.  Were the police and Heroes on route?  Would he get caught if he ran?  Would they believe him over the fucking corrupt as hell Professor?

The greenette was frozen in fear and trembling.  He didn’t notice the mist crawling across the floor or the Professor covering his face with his dumb fucking labcoat.

Hitoshi mewled in distress.  [They can’t take me from you!  They can’t!  They can’t !  They’ll see the paperwork and stop, right?  Right?!  Your friends are going to stop this!  They can’t rip us away from each other!  You’re my partner!  Izuku, please!  Promise me!  Promise me we’ll stay together! ]

Izuku was crying, sobbing, and he couldn’t stop.  The despair and fear was too much for him.  “I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry, Hitoshi.”

And then he dropped to the ground.  He couldn’t keep his eyes open as everything faded to black.

Chapter Text

Midoriya Inko was understandably nervous and on edge.  The past few days had been a whirlwind.  She really hadn’t had the time to really sit down and just process anything.  She was thrilled, overjoyed, that her baby boy was back in her life again.  She had missed him so much, and that call from Mitsuki that dragged her out of work had blindsided her.

The greenette had, admittedly, taken to frequently checking on Izuku’s volunteer work file.  She eventually needed to find a way to drop by Lavender Town and thank those lovely Nurses.  They had actually… updated her on the whole situation that had happened.  She knew it was snooping, that she had no real right to keep tabs on and ask for her son’s whereabouts when he was on his journey.   Inko knew it wasn’t right to interfere in such matters.  She was wrong to worry about him to the point of hysteria.  Izuku was so much like her , and she was so proud to see the confidence he slowly built up and the feral edge to him that he wore proudly.

Inko had never been more thankful that she was nothing like her own parents.  They didn’t like her feral side.  Never bothered to pursue contact after she went full goth in her second Contest circuit.  They didn’t approve on how Inko was living her best life as a feral icon on televised competition.

It was heart-breaking that she couldn’t be there for her son.  He had left because she hadn’t noticed just how much he was hurting.  She knew he was bullied, saw the light slowly dwindle and drain from his eyes as despair closed.  Inko tried her hardest to gently ask her baby boy to open up, but she wasn’t going to force an answer out of him.  She refused to break his trust like that.

So, she tried her best to support him in the ways she knew how.  She convinced him to volunteer with her at the Pokémon Center, giving him a safe place to be himself outside of their home.  Inko introduced him to baking as a way for them to bond and a somewhat healthy coping mechanism.  While she had gained more weight as she grew older and her metabolism slowed down, Izuku wouldn’t have to worry about that for another two decades at least.

Inko objectively knew that Izuku was great at hiding his problems, but she still felt like a failure.  She had failed him.  Her heart broke when Masaru had told them all that Izuku thought that borderline torture of quirkless people was normal .  Well, with what Katsuki had found out, Izuku really had been tortured.  It didn’t make sense how he never came home with broken bones or painted in bruises.  He wore short sleeves at home.  She never had any evidence to suspect physical abuse at school.  It was just… the increasing shyness, withdrawing into himself, flinching at loud noises.

She had thought… those were holdovers from that slimy fucking bastard of an ex-husband.  Inko had guessed that kids made fun of him and called him names, that he lost confidence in himself as the years passed without having a pokémon partner to call his own.  Inko couldn’t very well punt a child for calling Izuku a mean name.  She couldn’t report anything if Izuku never admitted to the bullying.  Her hands had been tied at the time.

But, not anymore.  She was going to sue the ever living fuck out of every school her darling son had been enrolled in.  Katsuki had helped stop Inko from going on a rampage with a baseball bat on those little fucking horrible monsters wearing the skin of teenagers by claiming his own revenge.  Inko was pissed enough that she would’ve gotten sloppy and arrested for maiming a kid.  Katsu had more self control than her, and it had helped him to discover that you didn’t need a quirk to be physically strong and annihilate others.  She had noticed the subtle change in his mindset when he had finally made the connection and undid the bias those discriminatory brainless demon teachers had drilled into him.  He was much calmer now, and he was starting to recognize and move past his own guilt.  

Inko wondered if the boys had confessed out in the woods together.  She guessed not, because her son seemed as oblivious as ever.  Izuku was incredibly observant when it came to everything that wasn’t his own feelings or affection directed at him.  She could see Katsu adored her son, but…

Hitoshi looked at Izuku like he was everything .  Inko knew the story between them and could read between the lines.  The Nurses at Lavender Town had reached out and decided to email her when Izuku went fully despondent and borderline unresponsive.  It broke her heart to hear that her son went through something so traumatizing, seeing the pokémon he had wanted so desperately as a partner nearly die in his own arms.  His first capture had been stained with blood.  

Inko had suspicions as she had heard what happened second hand.  Bless the Nurse Joy women that didn’t suspect her badass son of beating a man half to death for nearly killing the pokémon he loved.   They had just been concerned that he had been in danger and thankful that he managed to “escape”.  

The older greenette now saw in person how Izuku looked at Hitoshi.  Her boy was in love with a pokémon and didn’t realize it yet.  And Katsu decided to give up his pursuit of her son, because he saw it too.  

She had… mixed feelings about that.  She wasn’t upset or judging her son for his not-human choice in romantic partner, but she might be a little disappointed that she won’t get to see her son get married one day.  Inko had always thought that she would one day be walking Izuku down the aisle and getting Katsuki as a son-in-law.  

The greenette sighed.  She was… incredibly worried.  She had been sitting in Mitsuki’s car for quite a while now as she waited for Izuku.  She had… a bad feeling about this.  Some contemplation worked wonders at distracting her from worrying herself into a fit of paranoia, but dread started to wash over her.  

Izuku knew how to stand up for himself now.  She didn’t need to worry.  But she was still slowly becoming terrified.  That Professor couldn’t do anything to her son, right…?

She froze as she heard sirens.  Police, coming closer and closer.  Inko closed her eyes and hoped that they would get quieter again.

She heard them cut off instead.  She didn’t want to open her eyes, but her mind whirled with panic and worry.  Inko forced herself to look at the policemen swarming the building.  She held her breath and stayed in the car.

What was happening?  What could she do?  Did Izuku cold-clock a bigoted bastard?  Did that damn Professor hurt her son ?  

Inko didn’t know.  Inko didn’t know what to do either, but she knew she had to do something .  

She made sure her whole team was strapped to her belt and secured before she called out Luct.  The Luxray was surprised she was summoned within the car.  Inko took a deep breath and called upon her unwavering determination to guide her.

“Luct, I know you don’t like battling.  But if something happened to Izuku…”  Inko trailed off, and Luct nodded with conviction as she took in the situation.  

Inko felt a little more grounded as she pulled out a special leash from her purse.  Luct tended to act like a fully trained service pokémon, and Inko let people believe that if they thought she was in “bad health”.  With a leash on, Luct wouldn’t be deemed a threat to the police, even if she growled at them.  Of course, the leash in question had a special quick release button, so Luct could go off and fight at a moment’s notice.  Just in case Luct and Inko needed to protect their little green bean cub.

The woman composed herself before she exited the car and approached the police officers.  Luct flanked her side, reassuring her and ready to strike at her signal.  “Hello, I was wondering what’s going on, officer.  Is something happening?”

There was way too many cops here for a fucking false alarm.  This was fucking overkill, with at least ten of them in sight.  There wasn’t even a single fucking Officer Jenny among them.  

The cop looked annoyed with her, but smiled anyway.  “Nothing to concern yourself with, ma’am.  We’ll be out of the area shortly.”

Inko cut the nice middle-aged woman act.  “I think it does concern me, actually.  My son is currently inside that building, and I should be informed about what’s fucking happening to him.”

The officer sneered at her, not bothering to hide his irritated scowl.  “Well, you’re son is apparently a fucking poacher.  I’m going to be nice and assume you weren’t involved with his illegal actions and let you go.  Got it?”

This man was lucky Inko hadn’t ripped his balls off with her quirk the instant he accused her precious son of being a poacher .  She took a shaky breath to restrain some of her anger.  “Your accusations are entirely false.  You don’t have enough evidence to make an arrest of my son.  You haven’t even done the investigation required to relieve a trainer of his pokémon, especially one that is considered a rescue and has suffered through intense trauma in the recent past.  I won’t cause a scene now, but my lawyer and I will have your job by the end of this.”

Inko noticed a Pro Hero approach, so she didn’t hold back on that particular threat.  She recognized the heroine as the R-Rated Hero: Midnight.  She knew the police officer wouldn’t be able to retaliate or arrest her for being rude to him in front of her.  Midnight was a respectable Hero that was against discrimination.  It was a shame that she was probably roped into this affair without any awareness of the situation.

The costumed woman frowned as she heard the tail end of Inko’s speech.  As the police officer fumed, Inko turned her attention to Midnight.  “Please make sure Hitoshi ends up in police hands and goes through the proper protocol of verifying his feelings towards my son.  I’m a Nurse Assistant at one of the local Pokémon Centers, so I know the proper procedures of handling rescue pokémon.  If you allow Hitoshi to stay in the care of the Professor that thought he could accuse my son of pokémon abuse and poaching , I’ll be suing you too for the emotional trauma of my son and his partner.  I have plenty of friends in high places, so this complete lack of proper procedure will be punished.  I have no malice towards you, Miss Midnight, but please make sure that both of them stay safe and end up reunited at the end of this fucking shitstorm.”

“I…  Of course, ma’am.  I’ve already made sure that Hitoshi the Espurr ended up in police care instead of staying with Professor Hemlock.  I… will make sure that there’s a proper investigation.”  Midnight looked conflicted about what Inko said to her.  Maybe she was starting to realize that zero prior investigation happened prior to this arrest.

Inko nodded in acknowledgement.  “And I suggest looking at his recommendation and approval paperwork for his partnership with Hitoshi.  I know that he had copies with him.  Izuku was just trying to apply for his pokédex .  Since apparently it’s fucking legal in Musutafu to deny a quirkless kid basic universal identification because he doesn’t have a partner pokémon.  Have a horrible fucking rest of your day.  I need to go make some phone calls, because apparently I get to sue the entire fucking police department on behalf of my son today.”

The green-haired woman was fucking livid and fed up with his entire situation.  That was when she saw a pair of cops carelessly drag her unconscious and hand-cuffed son to a police car.  She saw what must have been Hitoshi in a police capture ball with a different cop heading to a different car. 

Inko got out her phone and snapped a picture.  She would definitely use that in court.  That was the only way she could handle her anger without murdering a cop.  She grit her teeth and forced herself to turn away from her precious baby boy getting treated like a fucking criminal because of one very stupid fucking man that had never known the wrath of a Midoriya scorned .

She marched back to Mitsuki’s car with Luct growling at every cop bastard that even looked at her.  She got back in and connected her phone to the bluetooth speakers and called Mitsu.  As soon as the line clicked, Inko was speaking.  Her voice shook with rage.

“That fucking Professor Hemlock just accused Izuku of pokémon abuse and poaching.  He’s been arrested without a single fucking investigation .  I’m going to fucking burn this city to the ground , Mitsuki!

“What!   Inko—!”

The greenette hung up, and she leaned her forehead against the steering wheel.

Why?  Why the fuck did this have to happen to her son?  Hadn’t he fucking suffered enough!?  

The tears finally rolled down her cheeks as she rejected the call from Mitsuki and called someone else.

“Hey, Inks, what’s up?”  The woman she loved answered, cheerily and affectionate.  

Inko sobbed, and Luct leaned against her side and purred.  “Cynthie, I need help.”

Chapter Text

Cynthia was happy and relieved.  It was unusual for her to feel this carefree and relaxed in her life.  She was one to always worry and take things seriously.  Sometimes, she really missed the feral chaos of her youth where she confidently pursued her own path and goals and let nothing stand in her way.  

But that impulsiveness she was prone to had gotten her into so much trouble.  After her years of being in love with her rival and refusing to admit, she grew way too frustrated with herself after Inko got involved with a stranger.  Married a man that Inko had never met, between the time she had obsessively spent training her battle prowess and exploring ancient ruins.  Because she was a gay little idiot that let a distance grow between them, because Cynthia wanted to become Champion.

So she could be famous.  So she could stand hand in hand on the same stage that Inko thrived on.

But Cynthia finally achieved her title, and she finally turned around to see Inko retired and starting a family with a stranger.

So the blonde, in her frustration and heartbreak at losing her chance, found a supposedly decent man and settled down with him.  She settled for second best.  Decided to follow Inko into motherhood, because she didn’t want to get left behind again and lose their precious connection to each other.

Turned out they both made the mistake of getting married to horrible scum that decided to hurt their kids.

Inko was patient and methodical.  Ruthless, of course, in how she made damn well sure Hisashi paid for hurting Izuku.

Cynthia was impulsive and brash.  That monster screamed and threatened to hurt Barry, and Cynthia acted before she thought.  She ruined everything.  She packed two bags and took her son to Sinnoh on the next flight because she was terrified to have him stay in that house with that transphobic menace a minute longer.

Bianca refused to come with them, looked up at her and told her mom to leave before he threatened her identical brother.  She was scared too, but she knew that there were only two seats and she made the choice to save her brother.  

And those fucking Unova courts decided in their divorce that without evidence of abuse, Cynthia was lucky not to get arrested for kidnapping her own kid.  She was apparently the luckiest woman alive that she could still visit Bianca, with supervision needed.  But it was deemed fair , that Cynthia got custody of one twin and he got custody of the other.  Barry hardly ever got to see his sister, because he was too terrified to be in the same building with that man.

Cynthia’s daughter was suffering, because her mother had been impulsive and brash .  How could she be happy and carefree after the worst mistake of her fucking life?  

So, it was difficult to ever let herself be happy.  She tried her hardest to be more like Inko.  To plan things out.  To be methodical and leave her impulsive and rash decisions behind.  She would not fail her kids again.  Not Bianca, not Barry, not Izuku, not Katsuki.

That was why she let herself smile and laugh at the great news Izuku had finally come home.  He had a partner now!  She had… she had failed her nephew before.  Just like how she saw Bianca hurting in Unova, she saw Izuku hurting too.  She had no clue how to help either of them.  But she was glad to hear that Izuku was healing, that he had found a way to thrive .

Cynthia let herself be happy for him.  She would get to visit her nephew towards the end of the week.  

Well… she considered Izuku as more of a son than a nephew.  And she wanted to introduce her sons.  Barry always backed out of social events and avoided meeting new people at all costs.  He preferred living in Twinleaf Town, and he always wanted to stay with the neighbors or with his grandmother in Celestic whenever Cynthia visited the Midoriya family.  Barry was shy and skittish and jumpy, but he had a tendency to cover that with over the top extroverted behavior when it came to Lucas next door.  He adored his own rival best friend, and Cynthia could see how they gravitated towards each in the same way she did with Inko.

Cynthia always asked Barry if he wanted to come with, he had met the Midoriya family once or twice before, but he had always refused.  She really wanted him to meet Izuku, but he wouldn’t force him.  She’d have bribed him, but she didn’t want him feeling uncomfortable.

The blonde woman tried to bring up the conversation with Barry, with both of them relaxing in the living room in their pajamas and watching cartoons, but Cynthia was interrupted by her phone ringing.

She checked it.  It was Inko.  Of course she picked up with a slightly lovesick smile.  “Hey, Inks, what’s up?”

Her blood ran cold as she heard Inko sob on the other end of the line.  “Cynthie, I need help.”

Cynthia sat up, serious in a second.  Barry turned to look at her, concerned about what was happening.  “What can I do, Inko?”

“I-Izuku’s been arrested .  The P-Professor we went to see to get him his p-pokédex called the cops on him!  They’re accusing him of pokémon abuse !  Professor Hemlock called him a poacher .  Izuku was just trying to get a pokédex!  T-they’re going to take Hitoshi away from him, and I don’t know how I’m going to fix this b-before those fucking bastards hurt my kid.  I refuse to wait for a trail, but there’s only so much I can do.  I… I need you here, Cynthie.”

She… wanted to murder someone.  But she couldn’t be impulsive like last time her son was in danger.  Cynthia had to be methodical , but her blood boiled in rage that someone had done this to the woman she loved and their son.  “I’ll be there as fast as I can.  I’ll start making calls and pulling favors.  I know you don’t think you do, Inks, but you still have clout you can pull with your reputation as a former Grand Pokémon Contest Coordinator Champion.  Call everyone you can.  Start making waves.  Call in the media if you need to.  You’ve got this.”

Inko sniffed and composed herself on the other side of the line, regaining her confidence when she heard how much Cynthia believed in her.  “O-okay, I will.  I’ll make them regret ever fucking with my son within the hour.”

“Good, I’ve got to arrange my flight.  Call in my own reinforcements.  We’ve got this.  We’ll protect him.  I… I’ll see you soon, Inko.”  It wasn’t the time for Cynthia to say that she loved her, no matter how much she wanted to.

“See you soon, Cynthie.”

The line disconnected.

Cynthia sighed and sat up.  She surprised herself when she didn’t start growling at her phone as she began searching up flights.

Barry looked really concerned, and he picked up his Turtwig from the coffee table to cuddle with him.  “Mom, what’s going on?”

“They arrested Izuku on false charges.  Without any investigation, they accepted a baseless accusation that he hurt Hitoshi and are trying to separate them!  What the fuck is the Musutafu Police Department doing?!  Bigoted bastards that arrested Izuku because they’re a bunch of prejudice quirkist assholes!”

Barry started shaking as he teared up.  He curled up around Tart as he asked with such a distressed and shaky voice.  “They… they took Izuku’s partner away from him?”

Cynthia… Cynthia had no clue what to say.  She could only mutely nod.

But her son surprised her.  He held onto his partner tightly as fire flared in his eyes.  Barry kissed Tart right below where his leaf grew.  “Mom, please book two seats.  Izuku-nii is going to need a lot of hugs after this bullshit gets dealt with.”

“I will.”  Cynthia marched over and squeezed Barry tight in a hug.  A few taps on her phone and she had a flight arranged for them.  She was so proud of her blonde son.  “Our flight leaves in 15.  We need to get dressed and packed.”

Barry bounced to his feet and sprinted to his room, but he paused before he climbed the stairs.  “You really love Miss Inko, don’t you, Mom?”

Getting called out by her own flesh and blood already.  “Yeah, I do.”

“So… that means Izuku really is going to be my big brother?”  Barry looked a little concerned about that.  Probably worried about what the greenette would think of him.

“He’s going to adore you, I promise.”

Barry grinned before he dashed up the stairs.  “Okay!”

Cynthia smiled, heading to her own room to get dressed.  She put her phone on speaker and made another call.  

Lance picked up the phone, but Cynthia spoke first.  “Cut the regal shit, Lance.  The Musutafu Police decided to arrest Izuku for pokémon abuse and poaching without any proof or investigation.  He’s got a pokémon partner now, and the Professor he saw today to finally get his pokédex and register his partner made false accusations against him.  I’d say he fucking decided some bigoted shit about a quirked pokémon not being allowed to be with someone that’s quirkless.”

The Dragon Champion growled.  “Name?”

“Professor Hemlock.  Izuku’s partner is an Espurr named Hitoshi that has a voice activated mind control quirk.”  Cynthia hoped Lance would Hyperbeam that fucker’s lab.

“I’m on the case, and I’ll help call in more calvary.  No need to consider this a favor.  I’ll rip apart anyone that dares to fuck with the hatchling.  Thank you for calling.”

Lance hung up with one last completely unhinged feral growl of anger.  

Cynthia smiled.  Musutafu would burn, one way or another, for daring to hurt Midoriya Izuku.  She decided to make her next call.

“Am I a Cubcoo, Teddiursa, or a Rattata?  But more importantly, I’m Professor Nedzu, the Principal of U.A.!  Who is calling?”

“It’s the Champion of Sinnoh, Cynthia.  Now, you’re going to do something very important for me, or I’m going to ruin your entire fucking school.”

“Ah.”

Chapter Text

Principal Nedzu was having a wonderful time.  Things were starting to look up in life as he had found his personal stride.  He was satisfied with his position in his career.  He had polished U.A. into new heights of excellence, and he had managed his workload well enough that he finally had the chance to pursue his personal interests over the last year.

He laughed, all too giddy and unhinged, as he drank his tea.  He still got that strange overwhelming and bubbling euphoria every time he saw his certification.  Most humans happened to hang their degrees behind them to intimidate, but Nedzu had decided to hang his newest certification on the wall across from him.  It was for himself , and he loved seeing it.

Nedzu finally understood the intense joy his students felt as they basked in their hard-earned accomplishments and cried at the achievement of their dreams.  He felt the same whenever he saw the framed scrap of paper across the room.

He was a Professor , completely and officially.  It had taken some fighting to get the close-knit and vaguely elitist community of researchers to even consider Nedzu’s application.  He was deeply entrenched in the Heroics of society, and no one knew whether or not he was some kind of pokémon or human.  Eventually though, he had weaseled his way into their inner circles.  Persuaded them to give him a chance and present a thesis to earn his title.

Professor Nedzu now specialized in studying pokémon behaviors.  Of course, he was free to study whatever he wished and present research on any subject, but he was considered an expert in behavioral studies.  It helped that he could talk to pokémon, but there was only so much he could do.  Sadly, he couldn’t go off to pursue personal research while running his school.  There wasn’t time for him to make a trek out into the wilderness to converse with his undomesticated brethren about philosophy and their preferred lifestyles.

It had saddened him for a bit.  It was still strange for him to feel this strongly about his personal affairs, but he was adjusting to it.  

Of course, then Blue Oak happened to wander into his life with the most fascinating paper Nedzu had ever read in his life.  He had been skeptical at first when Professor Oak, the inventor of the pokédex , asked if his grandson could collaborate with him.  The kind and friendly man, who had welcomed Professor Nedzu to the world of academics with eager excitement and enthusiasm, had explained that Blue-san was wanting to publish a paper about pokémon behavior.  So he had seen an opportunity to send him to an expert that would actually bother reading and helping with the research.

Nedzu had accepted, and he didn’t regret his decision in the slightest.  Blue had strode into his office, plopped into his guest chair, dropped a jumpdrive onto his desk, and gladly accepted his offered tea with an excited and confident smirk.  “This is the coolest shit ever.  You’re going to love reading through all of this, I guarantee.”

The newly appointed Professor had been skeptical at first.  He had honestly expected the whole affair to be a bit nepotism, but he did owe a great deal to Professor Oak for his support into getting him into the community.  The younger Oak was a bit of spitfire, but Professor Nedzu could humor him.

To his surprise, he was impressed from the start.  He could tell that everything was properly cited, even if the whole paper still needed major polish.  And secondly, there was a co-author .  Midoriya Izuku, a strange young man that had lived and experienced life in the wilds while living alongside pokémon.  And he had written notes about.  Blue had done amazing work himself, but he mostly left Midoriya-kun’s formatting alone while elaborating on key details and bringing up more evidence.  The beautiful foundation was all written by this brilliant field researcher that had stumbled into this wonderful discovery.  Blue Oak had polished it and added his own evidence into the bigger picture.

Pokémon were more like humans than even Nedzu had ever imagined.  

He was fascinated at the raw copies of Midoriya-kun’s notes, included in a separate file on the drive.  They were all so neatly organized and were evidence of an intelligence that rivaled his own.  

Professor Nedzu desperately wanted to meet Midoriya Izuku one day and pick his brain.  He didn’t hesitate to accept Blue Oak as a Professor’s Assistant and grant the teen full access to Power Loader and his lab.  After all, Blue wanted to build a machine that could prove the existence and provide real time images of Aura.  The Support Hero was just as excited to help with their project.

Overall, things could not be better in Nedzu’s life at the moment.  He was so incredibly happy and pleased with how their research was progressing, and he was thrilled whenever Blue asked for his guidance.  

Of course, all good things had to come crashing down eventually.  Professor Nedzu just hadn’t expected his cultivated happiness to come crashing down through a phone call.  

“Am I a Cubchoo, Teddiursa, or a Rattata?  But more importantly, I’m Professor Nedzu, the Principal of U.A.!  Who is calling?”

“It’s the Champion of Sinnoh, Cynthia.  Now, you’re going to do something very important for me, or I’m going to ruin your entire fucking school.”

“Ah.”

That was very concerning.  The Sinnoh Champion had been one of his vocal supporters when it came to recommending Nedzu to the Professor community.  Withdrawing her vouch of him would be devastating to his reputation, considering he was still new to the title.  That would also include backlash and affect the University of U.A.

Her threat was very real and very likely to happen.

“Dear me, what is the situation?”  He would have to comply with her demands, even if they were unreasonable.  Professor Nedzu refused to lose his composure, despite that fact.  

“My son, in all but blood, was arrested in your fucking city .  The charges are entirely false.  There was no investigation.  This is blatant fucking discrimination against the quirkless by a fucked up Hero-based society.  You are going to fix it .”

Nedzu was worried and concerned.  He had never heard of the Musutafu Police Department making such a severe mistake before.  U.A. worked closely with, and he and his staff held their police counterparts to a high standard.

“You are completely justified in being upset right now, Champion Cynthia, but I need more details.”

She took an audible breath on the other sign of the line.  She was shaking with rage, including her voice.  Cynthia-san at least made the effort to try and calm herself down.  “His name is Midoriya Izuku.  He went to see a Professor Hemlock today, to register his first partner pokémon and finally be issued a pokédex.  Did you know that not a single god damn fucking Professor gave him a pokédex, a basic I.D. , just because he was quirkless and didn’t have a partner pokémon?  Inko even applied online!  Every single fucking time he was rejected outright!  He still doesn’t have one!”

Professor Nedzu was deeply horrified.  He had worked alongside a few of the local Professors.  Of course, there had been hostile tensions between him and them.  Hardly anyone accepted him or vouched for him in Musutafu, but he thought that was just because he wasn’t human.  He had not a clue that their bigotry ran so deep.

“I… didn’t know that.  I’ll look into it, bringing it up to the Professor Committee and the authorities for formal investigation.  What was the accusation made against…”

The name he had heard finally started to process , and he quickly connected everything with his quirk, High Specs.  Midoriya Izuku had been the co-author he had been so fascinated by.  A genius that had likely been beaten down and discriminated against by his peers.  A diamond, not only in the rough, but pushed down into the mud and buried and stomped upon.  Such a precious treasure had been denied and had his entire life and future ruined by Professor Nedzu’s colleagues before he had even had a chance .  He had been just a kid.  A little defenseless kit.  A cub to be nurtured and protected.  He had just been a pup that should’ve been given everything instead of having it fucking ripped away.

Professor Nedzu was going to avenge Midoriya Izuku, and he was willing to shred his city into nothing if need be.

“Izuku was accused of pokémon abuse and poaching.  Professor Hemlock called the police on him.  None of the proper protocol was followed.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he made something up about Izuku not being suitable because Hitoshi has a quirk and he doesn’t.  Hitoshi is an Espurr that has a mind control quirk and his former trainer was abusive and abandoned him.  This shitstorm is going to be devastating and traumatizing for both of them.”

Nedzu boiled with a rage he didn’t know he was capable of.  Whenever he had felt righteous anger before, he had been calm and collected about it.  Cold and callous.  He actually had to focus on maintaining the mindset and not clouding his judgment.  

“I will see to it that the citation is rectified and resolved.  Midoriya Izuku and Hitoshi will be reunited and those that wronged them will be punished.  Thank you for informing me of this corruption happening right under my snout, Sinnoh League Champion Cynthia.”

“Thank you for agreeing to help, Professor Nedzu.  I’ll see you when I arrive in the city.”

She hung up, and Nedzu flopped back into his chair.  The intensity of the whirlwind of emotions he was experiencing was overwhelming him.  He could hardly think straight.  He focused again on clearing his mind and focusing through High Specs, trying to analysis and puzzle out what was the best solution in the most timely fashion.

Professor Nedzu decided to text Eraserhead and Present Mic, requesting them to escort him to the Musutafu PD headquarters and assist with the unfolding situation.  He would drop by the lab and inform Blue of what had happened to his friend as well.  Blue Oak was an influential figure as well; he could help Nedzu terrify the fucking fools that dared to harm Midoriya Izuku before he even had the chance to meet him.

What else could Professor Nedzu do to maximize his ability to quickly remove Izuku and his friend from police custody?  He wanted to arrange the arrest of Professor Hemlock immediately, but he did not want to abuse his own authority to arrest someone without valid evidence.

Oh!  He could definitely call—

Ah.  Nedzu’s phone was ringing again.  He answered it.

“Nedzu, it’s Lance.  I need you to do something for me.”

This was certainly… an interesting turn of events.  “I am… already preoccupied with another matter requested of me from a different champion.”  

The Dragon Champion sighed into the receiver.  “Did Cynthia already call you?”

“Yes.  Did she inform you of the dire circumstances that have befallen Midoriya Izuku?”

“She did.  I’ll be riding into Musutafu after this call.”  

Nedzu hummed.  Two Pokémon Champions, the Principal of the most renowned Hero University, and the grandson of the inventor of the pokédex were en route to the local police department to rip the cops into pieces for discriminatory practice.  It would be quite the scandal when the media found out.  The only upside to this whole situation is that he would be able to manipulate a few news stations into actually taking quirkless discrimination seriously and perhaps chip away at the bias that riddled the current Heroic Society.

“May I ask why you’re personally invested in Midoriya Izuku’s safety, before we hang up and most likely meet up soon.”  The intelligent teen had certainly found himself many powerful connections, despite how poorly life and the universe had treated him.

Lance hesitated, carefully picking out his words.  “He’s… like me.  Pretty severe Ranger’s Curse.  Quirkless, but overwhelming power still runs through his veins.  He’s even feral like me.  I met him while we were taking down the same group of poachers.  I want to take him under my wing and train him in the ways of the Dragon Clan.  

“But I haven’t had the chance to talk to his family about that yet.  So you better not share that.  What about you, Professor Nedzu?”

The unique pokémon didn’t hesitate with his answer.  “I see myself within Midoriya Izuku.  I’ve already seen some of his academic work as it crossed my desk by coincidence, and I feel righteous rage on his behalf.  It’s rare I feel this intensely, but I… hate that he was forced to go through similar hardships that I had to.  I want to help his inherent curiosity in pokémon science and studies flourish.”

Lance chuckled on the other side of the line.  “I guess we have the same goal and motivation then.  See you soon, Professor Nedzu.”

Nedzu stared at his phone for a moment more.  He glanced at a relatively new cabinet he had placed into his office, and he thought about the contents inside.  The Professor hopped out of his chair and unlocked a drawer and placed the retrieved object into a small briefcase he had that was his size.  

He did have the same goal as the Dragon Champion, didn’t he?  

Nedzu tried to make a call as he walked out of his office, briefcase in hand, but his phone rang again.  He frowned, his tail twitching, as he answered it again.

“Am I a Cubcoo, Teddiursa, or a Rattata?  But more importantly, I’m Professor Nedzu, the Principal of U.A.!  May I know who’s calling?”

He heard a woman take a deep breath.  “My name is Midoriya Inko.  As a Former Grand Master Contest Coordinator Champion, I’d like to request your assistance to expedite a solution to a very urgent time sensitive problem of mine.”

Professor Nedzu paused.  So two Champions, a former Contest Champion, a Hero School Principal, and the grandson of the inventor of the pokédex were incredibly angry at one particular police department and would rip the entire city apart if need be.  

“I’ve already been informed of the situation by two other separate Champions.  I know the jist of what happened to Midoriya Izuku and his partner.  Do you have any evidence that could disprove the accusations leveled at him?  That would help to speed things along.”

“From what I understand, Professor Nedzu, your fellow colleague Professor Hemlock declared Izuku’s numerous recommendation forms as counterfeit.  Hitoshi, an Espurr, had been abused and abandoned before Izuku found and saved him from certain death.  Three Nurse Joy women, an Officer Jenny, and the Pro Hero: Rumbler all filed and signed paperwork of recommendation and approval of Izuku’s partnership with Hitoshi.  There’s a police incident filed in Lavender Town where my boy risked his life to protect Hitoshi from the villain that nearly beat the pokémon to death.  Izuku also has hundreds of hours volunteering at Pokémon Centers and is considered a rescue specialist.  He has worked miracles in assisting the rehabilitation of abused pokémon.  He is well beyond qualified for the chance to take specialized training courses and earn his Nurse Certification.  That should definitely be enough evidence.”

Nedzu had been impressed before, but now he was even more impressed.  “It is.  Would you please make all the necessary calls to have all of his notable paperwork forwarded to you and meet us at the police department?  It will help to… take care of… some cops that need to re-evaluate their career choice.  And Professor Hemlock is no colleague of mine.”

“Thank you for the help, Professor Nedzu.  I will see you there.”

Nedzu sighed and immediately dialed his associate before someone else called him in concern over Midoriya Izuku’s well being.  

“Detective Tsukauchi, hello.  I would like to ask for your assistance—”

“If you say this is about Midoriya Izuku, Professor Nedzu, I will eat my fucking hat .”

“Ah.  I will refrain from speaking then.  I wouldn’t want you to need to buy yourself another hat.”

Nedzu , you are the fourth fucking person to call me about this kid’s well being.  I am trying to handle it.  Because apparently , my own fucking department decided to go behind my fucking back to made a baseless arrest on merely discrimination .  I’m the expert in domestic pokémon abuse.  It’s such a delicate fucking matter, and I wasn’t even consulted for this shit storm.  And it is a shit storm.  You might not have checked the news yet in the last few minutes, but those dumbass chucklefucks thought it was a good idea to wake the Espurr up and talk to him and reassure him he was ‘saved’.  Now, Hitoshi is extremely pissed and on a fucking rampage.  None of this is according to procedure in the slightest!”

The detective… was in the middle of having a meltdown and laughing hysterically.  

Professor Nedzu was not going to interfere with that.  “Well, I trust that you already have a plan to handle things.”

“... going to beg Midoriya Izuku for help and forgiveness, that’s what.  Maybe murder some of the co-workers I thought I could trust until now.”

“Well, have fun with that!  Please don’t get caught!”  Nedzu smiled, despite himself.

Detective Tsukauchi sighed.  “I won’t…  See you soon.  If you could help Pikachu calm Hitoshi down and convince him to stop wrecking buildings and Heroes alike, that would be great.”

“I’ll see what I can do.  We’ll meet up when our respective situations are resolved.”

“See ya then.”  The detective hung up, and Nedzu hurried his pace to the Support Department.  He met Aizawa and Yamada-san there, waiting for him as they lurked in the hallway.  

The rather small Professor waved to Aizawa-san, and the man followed his unspoken request to be picked up and tucked inside his capture scarf.  It was faster to walk around this way.  “I need to talk to Young Oak about something urgent, and then the four of us will address the ongoing crisis.”

Aizawa-san raised an eyebrow in surprise, but he opened the door and caught Blue’s attention as the teen was geeking out over something. 

“Hello, Blue.  Sorry to interrupt, but something important came up.  Your friend, Midoriya Izuku, was just arrested on false charges.  He was apparently accused of pokémon abuse, and now his pokémon partner appears to be destroying the city while looking for his favorite person who was taken away from him.  I believe Midoriya-kun is in possible need of your emotional support and friendship, and you deserved to be informed anyway.”

Blue dropped the wrench he was holding.  “They did what to Izuku!  Whoever hurt my research buddy is going to wish they were fucking murdered!”

Nedzu smiled.  A lot of people were pissed about what happened to the young teen.  Enough that perhaps the city of Musutafu would burn.  

Well, it might already be burning.  Professor Nedzu found that he didn’t mind such an occurrence.

Chapter Text

Hitoshi was… confused.  He woke up, but he was all floaty.  He recognized the feeling.  The Espurr must’ve been in his pokéball, but that didn’t make sense.  Izuku didn’t really even put him back in his pokéball.  He didn’t mind the floaty feeling, but he preferred cuddling with Izuku.  Existing as a cloud of Aura was pleasant and relaxing, he didn’t mind it.  Hitoshi also was normally aware of what was happening outside of the Luxury Ball.

He wasn’t aware this time.  It felt like he was suspended in a dark void.  He couldn’t sense his surroundings at all.  Maybe… Maybe he was in a recovery machine again?  That didn’t make much sense.  Hitoshi didn’t remember getting hurt.  It could just be a check up, but…

The Espurr just felt like there was something wrong .  Nothing made sense to him.  Hitoshi was worried , and it felt like he didn’t have the full picture.  It felt like he was missing an important clue.  

He tried to shake the pokéball, let Izuku know that he was confused and worried, but nothing happened .  Nothing around him budged.  Hitoshi felt like he was fucking stuck inside and trapped.  Invisible walls were all around his wispy form, and he was completely without awareness.  There wasn’t a single damn thing to anchor himself into reality.  

Hitoshi whimpered without a voice.  He was scared.  He felt so alone.  He didn’t want to feel alone again.  He wanted Izuku.  He wanted a hug, to feel his kindness and warmth and reassuring voice.  

Hitoshi wanted the person that he had fallen so deeply in love with.  Izuku had done so much for him without a single expectation.  The greenette had saved his life, cradled and cried for him while he was on death’s doorstep.  Begged for him to live, because Hitoshi meant so much to him.  Izuku had shown him so much love and care and spoiled him with so much affection that Hitoshi had even learned how to love himself.

Of course, the Espurr had fallen in love with his partner.  And he knew Izuku loved him back.  Their Auras mingled so close and curled around each in the same way that other pokémon claimed life mates.  Izuku was just dense and shy, a bit oblivious and in denial.  That’s all.

Hitoshi knew Izuku loved him back…

So why couldn’t he sense his person?  Izuku promised to never leave him.  Why wasn’t Izuku here?  Where was his Aura?  Why was Hitoshi alone again?

He finally felt movement, and Hitoshi suddenly had a physical form again.  He didn’t recognize this place.  There were a lot of humans he didn’t know.  They all looked to be wearing… police uniforms?

Hitoshi whined in distress.  He didn’t see or sense Izuku.  Where was his person?  He wanted his person.

There were a few pokémon around too, and an adult Growlithe approached him.  “Hiya!  There’s no need to cry, you’re safe now!”

The Espurr didn’t have time to deal with this shit.  He needed Izuku.  “Where’s my person?  He’s not here.  Why is he not here?”

The Growlithe tilted their head, and Hitoshi was surprised their little police cap didn’t fall off.  “Your human?  Oh!  You don’t have to worry about him anymore!  He’s a bad human that hurt you, so he’s all locked up now!  He can’t hurt you anymore!  Isn’t that great?”

Then, it all finally came crashing down on Hitoshi.  He remembered what happened in that vile fucking Professor’s office.  How that Hemlock bastard turned against them after pretending he was actually willing to help!  He had compared Izuku to the garbage human that had hurt and owned him!  Izuku was nothing like that asshole that taught him that he was worthless and convinced him that he had deserved to be treated like shit and beaten half to death.

Hitoshi wasn’t that pokémon anymore.  He would no longer lay down and let himself be walked all over.  No fucking way would he let these fucking shitty humans take his partner away from him.  Izuku had risked everything to save him from that villain that wanted to finish the job; Hitoshi could return the favor for the not-pokémon he loved.

“No, it’s not fucking great!  Izuku is my precious partner, and you need to give him back to me!”   Hitoshi growled and yowled in fury as his tiny body shook with rage.  He needed Izuku back.  He didn’t care if he had to rip this city to pieces to find him.

The Growlithe yelped and turned tail, and the humans got a fucking clue about him being aggitated .  One dumb one decided to crouch down to his level.  “Hey, buddy, it’s okay now.  There’s no need to lash out.  The mean person who hurt is gone.”

Is.  Gone.

What the fuck did this human mean by that?  Hitoshi didn’t have the willpower to hold himself back.  He just didn’t want to.  He had never hurt someone before, especially not with his quirk, but these humans had hurt his Izuku .  It was completely fair for him to hurt them back.

“Izuku is NOT MEAN!  He has never harmed me, not a single fucking time!  What did you do with him!?  Give him back to me!  He did nothing wrong!”

Hitoshi reached out with his quirk and latched .  He didn’t order them, because he didn’t want to reveal the full extent of his powers yet.  Just enough to scare and disorient them.  

He noticed some of the police panicking, grabbing onto their pokéballs, but they had no clue what to do.  Some fucking idiot thought to voice his opinion about how rescue pokémon weren’t usually supposed to react like this, unless they were rescued from a fighting ring.  Some other was nervously asking about an expert and talking about how they maybe should have had a rescue specialist.

“Oi!  Calm the fuck down!  We’re authorized to deal with pokémon with villainous quirks like yours !”  A cop sneered and took out a stun gun, but another cop tackled him right away to keep him from Hitoshi.

No one had any clue what to do.  They were already arguing and fighting without Hitoshi making them turn on each other.  Good.

The Espurr took a deep breath…

… and he raised his ears .  

About half of everyone in the room froze, and the other half looked confused.  They clearly didn’t know anything about an Espurr’s abilities.  

Hitoshi displayed remarkable control as he tried to give one last warning before he lost his shit.  “Give me back my partner.”

One brave pokémon foolishly stepped forward.  “Why are you doing this for an abusive human who hurts our kind!?”

“Wrong answer .   Hitoshi grinned, completely unhinged and running on hatred and spite.  

Two matching telekinetic blasts destroyed the walls to his left and right as he twitched his ears.  Humans and pokémon alike dove for him in an effort to stop him, but ducked out of the way.  A much smaller telekinetic wave forced a human to fall backwards out of his way, and he climbed over the rubble and escaped whatever building he had been in.

He needed to find Izuku.  Hitoshi heard Heroes getting called, but it didn’t matter .  He needed his person back, and he’d either find someone willing to help or get him back himself.

###

Mt. Lady noticed the exploding wall coming from the direction of the police station, but she was starting to wish she hadn’t.  She and her Golurk were probably just getting in the way and maybe causing more destruction.  At least, she felt that way.  She knew she always caused a little too much property damage in the way she handled things.  The Heroine spotted the tiny enraged pokémon yeeted around rubble and collapsing just a few walls, and she marveled about how the road wasn’t ripped up or destroyed yet.  

She’d be financially responsible for her feet crushing the asphalt again if she transformed now.  Her Golurk partner also tended to accidentally destroy things, so the pair slowly approached the rampaging pokémon without causing more wreckage.  

Mt. Lady thought sneaking might be the best approach, but it soon became pointless as the Espurr turned to glare at her.  They hissed and meowed out their anger in her general direction.  “Hey, where’s your trainer?  Why are you doing this?”

She called out to the pokémon.  She disliked fighting pokémon, if they were involved in villain attacks, it was likely that their trainer was manipulating them.  Hurting them for being forced to follow orders always weighed on the conscience.  

The Espurr hissed again, and suddenly the world… fell… away…

[Give me back my person!]

She didn’t understand.

[They took my person!  Izuku didn’t do anything wrong!  He takes care of me and has always been so kind!]

Her head was all foggy, and she couldn’t think for herself.

[I just want my partner back!]

After that desperate voice stopped echoing in her head, she collapsed onto the ground.  It was like she had just been a marionette with her strings cut.  It felt like she had a hungover.

…  Who was Izuku?

She had a bad feeling about this whole thing.  She couldn’t bring herself to fight a pokémon that was so desperate .  Mt. Lady had a faint idea of what the Espurr’s motivations were.  It sounded like something happened to their trainer.  Maybe Izuku was a villain, but the pokémon seemed convinced that he wasn’t.  

If Izuku wasn’t arrested and had been kidnapped, Mt. Lady wasn’t going to interfere either way.  That Espurr could do anything, and nothing would be able to stop them.

###

Kamui Woods surveyed the situation.  It seemed like some villain had ordered their pokémon to attack the city, maybe they were trying to get the Espurr to break a friend out of holding.  That made sense, considering they were located right next to the police station.

Well, it was time for him to step in.  

“Halt, evil-doer!  Surrender now or face the wrath of justice!  Your trainer may be a villain, but you can be redeemed if you cease your actions at once!”

The Espurr hissed and growled at him, and a chunk of concrete thrown with telekinetic force sailed past him.  It was a warning shot, but it was still intent to harm!

Kamui Woods sent out his trusty Tangrowth, and both of them prepared to use their signature attack.  “Lacquered Chain Pri—!”

His voice cut off as his mind was engulfed by a terrifyingly powerful and angry presence.  The same happened to his pokémon partner.  

[Izuku is not a villain !  He saved my life!  And fuckers like you decided that he was abusing me just because he’s quirkless and I’m not!  Fuck you !]

The next thing he knew, he had a bunch of police officers caught and trapped within his branches, and it was the same with Tangrowth’s vines.  

Perhaps he had passed judgment too quickly.

###

Lopp stopped her trainer before they jumped down to fight the lone Espurr.

“What is it, Lopps?” Miruko tilted her own ears as she turned to look at her Lopunny partner.

The Lopunny started signing what the purple pokémon below was saying, before they even left the roof.  Lopunny was glad she had distinct fingers instead of paws so she could talk to her favorite person like this.

“The Espurr down there had his trainer wrongfully arrested for pokémon abuse?”

Lopp nodded in confirmation.

Miruko sighed.  That was extremely fucked up.  She had been hoping for a good fight, but she wouldn’t interfere in this.

“We’re gonna stay up here, Lopp.  We’re not the pacifying type, and I know we’d just make things worse.  Might step in if some dumbass tries to hurt the little guy, but I think Professor Rat will show up and handle all this.”  Miruko hummed and leaned against her partner, scratching her ears in the way she liked.

Lopp startled though, before she could melt into her trainer’s lap.  “Lopunny!”

“What is it, gi—?  Oh, fuck .  That’s a lot of birds!  Looks like they’re just watching for now.  I think they might be that bird informant group or something.”

“Lo-punny.”

Oh, and there was the Dragon Champion Lance.  He was riding his Charizard for once, and his Altaria flew next to man for a moment before flying off again.  

Miruko was worried for a moment that she’d have to step in and risk getting Hyperbeamed by the Champion to stop him from messing with the pokémon, but to her surprise, he flew over the fight entirely.  He landed near a vehicle, and she was surprised to see Nedzu and some of the U.A. staff exit the car.  A Pikachu in a hat sprinted over to talk to Nedzu.

Actually, that was probably the Truth Detective’s partner.  

Yeah, they all definitely had everything handled.

“Maybe I should start packing popcorn bags in my patrol kit.  We could get you a Fire Punch TM, and we could cuddle on roofs like this and watch people be idiots like this more often.”

Lopp just hummed as she draped herself across Miruko’s lap and basked in the affection shown to her.  

Chapter Text

Detective Tsukauchi was having a rather relaxing day for once in his life.  Even Rey, his Pikachu partner in solving crime, wasn’t causing chaos and up to his usual mischief.  He was being quiet for once, and both of them were reading together in their office and drinking coffee.  

Of course, that didn’t last.  Naomasa wasn’t allowed to relax and take a day off without the universe retaliating and burying him under an avalanche of the worst cases ever.  Why did he expect anything different this time?

He was a little surprised when his cell rang, but he didn’t feel too alarmed as he saw Midnight on his caller ID before he answered.  “Any reason that you’re calling me today?”

She hesitated on the other side of the line.  That wasn’t her typical behavior, so he was a little worried.  “I… I just had an interesting conversation with a woman whose son just got arrested.  It put a lot of thoughts in my head, and I’m… concerned…”

“Go on…”  Naomasa was now interested.  Hardly anything rattled the Heroine like she was now.  He was worried, but he was also extremely curious.

“She claimed that there wasn’t any investigation before her son was arrested.  That protocol wasn’t followed for him at all, and that there was tons of evidence that proved the accusation against him false.  I’m… worried that I was asked to help with a completely illegal arrest.”

Naomasa hummed, that was something to ponder.  But maybe the woman was possibly bluffing?  There was no way for him to know.  “Can I have more context?”

“It was a pokémon abuse and suspected poaching case.  I’m guessing you weren’t consulted for this?”

The detective frowned.  “It’s my speciality, so it’s strange that I wouldn’t be.  Do you remember the trainer’s name?”

“He’s a teenager.  Quirkless and unable to apply for a pokédex until now, according to his mother.  She made some spite-filled throwaway comment about how it’s apparently legal to deny someone their basic universal identification and a pokédex to quirkless people who don’t have partner pokémon.”

Midnight wasn’t even done talking yet, and Naomasa already felt the mounting dread and the overwhelming fear about what she was going to say next.

“I believe his name is Midoriya Izuku.  He had some recommendation and approval paperwork filled out and filed on behalf of his partnership with his pokémon too, but the Professor claimed they were all counterfeit.  I didn’t have a chance to look at them before they were confiscated.”

Naomasa felt the phone slip out of his hands as he had a meltdown.  Head in hands as he rattled off every single curse word he knew, because this was a ridiculously terrible clusterfuck of a situation.  

Rey understood why he reacted so intensely and why he was such a mess.  For once, he didn’t say a snide remark as he picked up his partner’s phone and handed it back to him.

“Tsukauchi, are you okay?!”

“No, I’m fucking not.”

Midnight was confused.  She didn’t have the whole picture yet, and Naomasa was slightly too shocked to think about offering an explanation.  “Um, why did you react like that?  Do you know the Midoriya kid or something?”

“Know him?  Know him!? ”  Naomasa started laughing hysterically in despair.  “I’ve had tea and poffins with his fucking family.  Midoriya Izuku is a miracle worker rescue specialist.  I’ve worked directly with the Midoriya family numerous times.  They’ve rehabilitated most of my worst cases.  Coaxed violently agoraphobic and isolated pokémon that haven’t seen sunlight in years into curling up and cuddling with a few words of patience and a handful of minutes.  Talked death fighting ring victims through medical check-ups.  The staff used to always call him in for help if they couldn’t get close enough to a previously poached and still feral pokémon for medical treatment.  I’ve watched him sit down on the opposite side of a room and work miracles with the most traumatized pokémon and earn their trust as if it was easy .  He’s qualified enough to have taken the specialty courses and earn a Nurse Certification several fucking times over.

“Can you even comprehend how much Musutafu PD has fucked up in order for this to fucking happen?  We’re going to have to throw out the whole damn organization, Midnight!”

She was silent for a moment, before she replied in a quiet voice.  “Oh shit.”

Naomasa burst into more hysterical laughter.  “Yeah, ‘oh shit’.  This is a fucking disaster.  Arceus should just smite the whole damn city at this point.”

He wanted alcohol in his coffee.  He didn’t care what kind, he just really didn’t want to be sober and in his right mind at the moment.

Rey looked up him, pouting and looking vaguely disgruntled.  “If we get her son unarrested, do you think we’ll get thank you poffins from Miss Inko?”

The detective just laughed.  “Be thankful that she might spare us from her wrath.”

He could practically hear Midnight grimace on the other side of the lie.  “Okay, I’ll come over as fast as I can.  Hopefully we can come up with a plan together?”

Naomasa sighed.  “I would appreciate that.  I need to take a moment to have a crisis.”   

He hung up, and he took a deep shuddering breath before holding his head in his hands.  What the fucking hell was he going to do now?  It seemed like there was a simple solution, but he simply knew that there wasn’t.  He knew he could confirm Izuku’s innocence with a simple interview, but it felt like there had been a whole conspiracy planned behind his back to arrest the kid.  To Naomasa, it didn’t matter that the kid was quirkless.  Differences like that just didn’t matter .  The whole fucking media spin in that there was an inherent fucking difference was just bullshit propaganda.  

A quirk was just an extra tool, an extra ability, to learn how to fully utilize.  That’s it.  There wasn’t anything special about it, or the lack of one.

Detective Tsukauchi took another calming breath.  He got ready to make the official request to “question” Midoriya Izuku.  It should be easy to resolve this clusterfuck, but Naomasa couldn’t shake the feeling that someone had it out for the kid and would falsify any evidence that proved him innocent.  They would brush off his request as “unnecessary” or some shit, so there wouldn’t be a way for him to interfere.

Naomasa was terrified as waves of dread threatened to drown him.  A bright young teen was about to have his entire life ruined , and he felt completely powerless to help.  The detective didn’t want to take the chance of his request being denied.

That was when his phone rang a second time.

Detective Tsukauchi rushed to answer it.  He was not prepared to hear the voice that demanded his attention.  “Tsukauchi.”

“I’ve already heard about what happened, Midoriya-san.  Midnight informed me.  I wasn’t involved in this case whatsoever.  I wasn’t consulted, and no one even told me that they were making a pokémon abuse arrest.”

“So, you’re going to help Izuku, right?”  Her voice was steady, harsh, and intimidating.  But the man heard the slight tremble in her voice and how she was holding back tears.

“Of course, I am.  But this has corruption written all over it.  I’m worried that I won’t be able to pull my own authority to stop this before it reaches court.  If this goes deep enough, they might have enough falsified evidence to convict him.”

Midoriya Inko’s voice shook.  “Just try your best, detective.  Thank you sir.  I have it handled if they actually try to convict my son and remove Hitoshi from his care.”

“I will.  I’ll do everything in my power to make sure he’s out of holding by the end of the day.  And I refuse for this charade to end up as a black mark on Izuku’s record.”

“Thank you, Detective Tsukauchi.  I’ll leave you to it.”  

The line clicked off.  Another nerve wracking conversation was over.  He took a few gulps of his coffee and readied himself to fight and kick up a fuss on Midoriya Izuku’s behalf.

But his phone rang again.

As much as he wanted to ignore it, he answered it anyway.  

“Is this Detective Tsukauchi?”

He sighed.  “This is he.”

“Good.  I’m the Dragon Champion Lance; we’ve worked on a few cases before.  I was hoping you would be willing to help prove the innocence of a… family friend of mine.  He had some false accusations levied at him today and was arrested without proper investigation.  Would you prove his innocence for me?”

Okay, a Pokémon Champion was calling him.  Probably about Izuku.  Somehow, it didn’t surprise him that Midoriya Izuku somehow knew the local Champion.  “Is his name Midoriya Izuku?”

“Yes…”

“You’re my third call from a person asking me to help him.”

“Oh.  So you have it handled?”

“Yep.”

“Good.  I’ll be arriving in the city soon.”

The line disconnected again as the other person hung up.  Finally!  Now, Naomasa could file his request to—

Midnight slammed open the door to his office.  Then the building shook.  His phone rang for a fourth time.

Fuck.

###

Izuku blinked.  He was a bit sore and disoriented as he woke up.  The greenette didn’t recognize his surroundings.  He had been… sleeping on the floor?  

That was when he turned and saw the bars of the cell.  His memories of what happened crashed into him.  The not-pokémon curled in on himself.  Hitoshi wasn’t there to help ground or console him.  Izuku knew he wasn’t, but he still reached for the Luxury Ball he wore.

It was still there, but it was empty .

There wasn’t the familiar cloud of purple wrapped around.  Not even a faint wisp of Hitoshi’s Aura clung to it.  The connection was just… dead.  Gone.  Overwritten.

Izuku forced himself to steady his breathing and hold back his tears and sobs.  Hitoshi, his partner , wasn’t here.  The greenette didn’t know where his kitten was.  He wanted his partner.  Would he… would he ever be allowed to see Hitoshi again?

The very thought destroyed him.

The greenette held his breath, refusing to cry in this place.  He knew he had people that would help him.  

Izuku shuffled closer to the bars, and he looked out to see the officer standing guard.

“Um, e-excuse me?  I t-think I’m allowed a p-phone call?”

The cop turned to glare at him with a hateful sneer.  “What’s a quirkless pokémon abuser like you going to call?  You don’t deserve basic rights, you miserable worthless waste of space.  People like you shouldn’t exist .  Don’t bother trying to fucking fight the verdict, no one will let you near another pokémon again as long as you live.  Especially not your supposed partner .”

Izuku had heard worse insults.  He’d been through worse, but he couldn’t suppress his tears anymore.  

Of course, he was hated by the cops too.  Of course, they would never fucking believe his words over that Professor Hemlock .  

The greenette stood and walked to the opposite far corner of the cell.  He dropped to the floor and curled up as much as he could.  The not-pokémon tried his hardest to hide from the world as he muffled the sobs that made his whole body shake.

It wasn’t true.  It couldn’t be true.  Hitoshi was his precious partner, and Auntie Cynthia would save them.  Right?

R-right?

Izuku needed to know where Hitoshi was.  Even if Auntie Cynthia bailed him out, it wouldn’t be worth it if they couldn’t find Hitoshi.  If that fucking Professor had done something to his kitten , Izuku would… Izuku would destroy the entire fucking world.

He was terrified and trembling and all alone , as he reached out with his Aura Sight.  He needed to find Hitoshi.  Even if the cops had already disconnected their bond through the pokéball, Izuku still had the Sight and feeling of his precious partner memorized.

Hitoshi was out of the police capture pokéball and nearby.  And he was absolutely fucking livid .  His rage and fury burned Izuku, and he couldn’t handle it.

Izuku’s heart broke as he called off his Aura Sight and recalled the last moments he had with his precious partner.  Instead of trying to do something , Izuku froze up.  He had apologized.

Hitoshi had desperately begged him for a promise , and Izuku had apologized .  The Espurr wanted to stay by his side more than anything, and he had just given up without a fight.  He hadn’t promised , and he knew Hitoshi’s complicated trust issues around those.

The Espurr hated him now.  He had to.  Not making the promise was the same as breaking it.  Izuku had made a mistake, had shattered Hitoshi’s trust in him, over promises before.  There was no fucking way he would be forgiven and given a second chance.

It was over.

Izuku deserved to be locked up, didn’t he?  It was better to rot away here than to live a life without Hitoshi.

###

“Assaulting and chloroforming another cop is not a good idea, Kayama Nemuri!”

“Do you have a better idea, Tsukauchi!?”  The Heroine hissed back at him.

Honestly, he really didn’t.  He pinched the bridge of his nose in disbelief.  “I don’t.  Let’s do this.”

Rey had already volunteered to go check up on Hitoshi and keep tabs on him while he was on his rampage.  The Pikachu, with his detective cap adorned, would try and calm the Espurr if the opportunity came up.  Otherwise, they were either banking on Nedzu or Izuku to get the tiny purple pokémon to stop mildly tearing apart the city in search of his person.

Breaking Izuku out of holding wasn’t exactly legal, but he wasn’t arrested legally either so…

Well, they didn’t have time to come up with another plan.  Midnight took the long way around the building to sneak up behind the guard on duty while Naomasa talked to him.  If the guard agreed to let Izuku out of the cell for questioning, Midnight wouldn’t have to knock him out.  If he didn’t…

Detective Tsukauchi plastered a fake smile onto his face as he approached the cop he didn’t really know.  He preferred to work closely with Pro Heroes and a few trusted friends and co-workers.  He didn’t know or care about many people in this station.  

“Detective Tsukauchi, what brings you over here?”  

Other than part of the front wall of the building being collapsed and the street out front being sheer chaos while a foot tall pokémon raged and wreaked havoc, not much.  “I need to question Midoriya Izuku about the exact circumstances of his alleged crimes and arrest.”

The cop sneered, and Naomasa barely resisted the urge to punch him in the face.  “And what is a quirkless waste of—”

Midnight, bless her, pounced on the man from behind and pressed her exposed wrist to his mouth and muffled his screams until he passed out from her quirk.  She gently set him down to lay on the ground, even though she clearly wanted to drop him and kick him while he was down and out.  

She grabbed the keys off of his belt and handed them to Naomasa.  “I’ll leave it to you from here.  The green bean probably won’t react well to me.”

Naomasa nodded.  She was probably right about that.  He accepted the keys and looked through the cells to find a familiar mop of green hair.

It broke his heart to finally spot Izuku hiding in a corner, sobbing his eyes out.  Naomasa quickly unlocked the door and swung it open.  He didn't know exactly what to do from here.

“Hey, Izuku-kun.  It’s Detective Tsukauchi.  I already know you’re innocent, so why don’t you come out of there?”

“B-but it’s pointless.”  Izuku mumbled through his sobs.

Naomasa smiled, because otherwise he would hunt down a fellow cop and most likely do something illegal to them.  “Wouldn’t Hitoshi like to see you?  I’m sure he’s worried.”

Detective Tsukauchi was worried when he saw Izuku’s full body flinch at the mention of his partner.  “He’s not!   He has to be m-mad at me.  H-Hitoshi definitely hates me now.”

What the hell did they do to Izuku?  “He doesn’t.  Why would he?  He chose to be your partner.”

Izuku looked up, and he was a distraught mess .  He tried to glare at Naomasa, but he couldn’t through the tears and the sobs that shook his whole body.  “B-because I fucked up another p-promise !  T-there’s n-no way he’ll f-f-forgive me again!  He hated me so much the f-first time, e-every single bit of t-t-trust s-shattered , and now I-I-I-I-I c-c-can’t p-prove myself again!  I can’t.

Naomasa hated this.  Izuku was having a severe meltdown and panic attack, and the only one who could help him was a pokémon that was busy destroying the city while trying to find him.  Hitoshi probably didn’t even realize that all he needed to do was go further inside the building , but the Espurr had an aversion to hurting bystanders.

Detective Tsukauchi had no idea how to fix this.

Chapter Text

Rey the Pikachu jogged through the wreckage on all four of his little yellow legs.  His heart hurt hearing what the Espurr was saying.  Hitoshi’s person had ripped away from him.  He didn’t get a single warning.  No one had asked if he wanted to leave his trainer, or if Izuku was hurting him.  They all had just assumed, and Rey heard the pokémon partners of all those cops talking to one another in confused whispers.  

They just didn’t understand.  In their eyes, Izuku was just another bad guy that hurt his friend.  They chose to assume that Izuku had been abusive, because that’s what their humans had told them.  And they blindly believed them, and they didn’t stop and listen to Hitoshi before assuming they were in the right.  Rey already knew that those pokémon had probably said something stupid to Hitoshi.  Probably “reassuring” the Espurr that he would never see Izuku again.

And Rey could already see it.  Hitoshi and Izuku held a deep, deep bond, and the very thought of separation would break either one of them.  

Rey didn’t know if he could sense Aura more or less than any other pokémon.  He never bothered to ask or compare notes.  It just didn’t matter to him.  He could pick up and understand the emotions of his friends, but never near the same level as Izuku.  Rey still relied on body language, but he could tell if someone was feeling positive or negative.  But he was pretty positive all pokémon could do that.  Their kind were much more in tune with their life energies than humans were.  

But, the Pikachu still thought that any pokémon in the area would have to be blind not to see the desperate affection and longing the Espurr had.  He could never properly explain this to Naomasa.  He couldn’t really ever find the right words, but pokémon bonded with each other.  It was like syncing souls, but different.  It wasn’t permanent.  It wasn’t a “mating for life” thing.  Maybe it was like human marriage, but Rey didn’t think that sounded right either.  It wasn’t a monogamous thing.  One pokémon could bond their Aura and sync their souls with several others.  

The closest thing Rey could describe it as was the bond with a trainer.  Except kinda more romantic and not helped along by a weird magic metal container that assisted with regulating Aura.  It didn’t have to be romantic, but it was just…

Showing someone you wanted to be life partners, to share soul and breath and emotion.  Weave and sync your Auras together with the ultimate form of trust.  Of course, some were more intense than others, and some were more platonic.

Rey’s own quirk relied on his partner bond with Naomasa.  He didn’t hold any romantic feelings for his Nao, but that wasn’t because he didn’t find humans or guys attractive.  The Pikachu had just never wanted to kiss his fellow detective.  He still loved his person, just not romantically.  Other pokémon could sense that.

Just like Rey could tell in an instant how deeply Hitoshi loved Izuku.  

The tiny pokémon detective hated this whole situation.  Izuku didn’t deserve this at all!  He was one of the kindest people that Rey had ever met.  It also helped that he knew… the greenette was very special.  Pokémon knew that Izuku was incredibly special, just from his passive presence.  He radiated safety and raw untapped power .  

Rey liked to call Izuku a ‘link’.  Nao never understood what Rey meant when he called someone a ‘link’ or that the Pikachu considered himself one too.  He didn’t know if there was a real term for it, but he called those that were on the border between human and pokémon ‘links’.  Rey had never considered Izuku a human.  He just didn’t have the energy of one, never had.  Izuku was always more in tune with his pokémon side, and every rescue that entered the Midoriya house realized that the kid had the grace, the heart, the kindness, and the potential of a Legendary pokémon.  

Just one look, and it was easy to tell that Izuku would be someone to change the fate of the world.  Too much energy brimmed underneath his skin for that to not be the case.  Pokémon trusted him because he wore his heart on his sleeve and earned their respect.  It was always part of the reason why hurt and traumatized pokémon easily put their trust in Izuku.

That’s why this whole fucking thing was unforgivable.  The human cops and their pokémon partners that Rey thought he could trust had betrayed them with willful bigotry and ignorance.  Rey would never forgive them.

Because humans had tried to bend the law and take him away from Nao before, just because Rey had a desired quirk that made it so that he could talk to the person he trusted most.

Rey needed to make this right.  Because Hitoshi loved Izuku and was hurting so much and just lashing out.  The Espurr was so distraught, drowning in grief and panic and rage.  

Rey understood.  He had the same fear of the same thing happening to Nao and himself.  But the Pikachu felt powerless to help.  What could he do?  Hitoshi wouldn’t listen to him; Rey was a stranger.  While he was good at talking to trauma victims about how they felt about their humans, this was way out of his skill set.  He couldn’t offer coffee or hot chocolate or a warm blanket or some tasty treats to an already raging pokémon.  Hitoshi would just lash out at him, and he wouldn’t believe Rey was trying to help guide him to Izuku.

But the Pikachu found a glimpse of hope in this situation overflowing with despair.  He recognized the car slowly approaching the scene.  That was U.A.!  Professor Nedzu was here, the one-of-a-kind pokémon always knew how to help and de-escalate situations!  

Rey let himself smile as he adjusted his signature detective cap and trotted over to meet the principal of U.A. University.

###

Lance had made all of his calls.  He had pulled his strings to make sure Izuku would make it out of this situation.  He was thankful that Altaria decided to call up some local members of the Bird Mafia, and the flying type pokémon indirectly escorted him to Musutafu.  For once, he decided to fly on Charizard, but Altaria guided them to their destination as the fluffy cloud flew next to them.

The Dragon Champion soon spotted the Espurr down below.  He hadn’t wanted to meet Izuku’s first partner pokémon in these circumstances, but he didn’t have much of a choice.  He wanted to feel joy at Izuku completing his Quest and finding Hitoshi at the end of it, but he felt melancholy heartbreak for the pair instead.  Being forcibly separated from your partners was a fate he wished on no one .  

He debated on what to do next with the station in shambles and Hitoshi going on a rampage driven by righteous fury and grief.  All he probably knew was that Izuku was with him one moment, and the next, everyone acted like he would never see the greenette.  Expected Hitoshi to be happy about that.

This entire event was a shitstorm.

Luckily, there was a small glimpse of hope from below.  He recognized the form of Professor Nedzu exiting a car.  Detective Tsukauchi’s Pikachu partner was weaving and dodging around the rubble to meet the principal.  Finally, some good news.

He asked Charizard to begin their descent, and Lance jumped off of his pokémon partner a few feet away from the ground.  He landed with grace, cape fluttering in the wind, next to the people he wanted to talk to.  

The Champion recognized the pair of Heroes with Nedzu.  Present Mic was a known radio star and entertaining to listen to with great taste in music, and Eraserhead… well, Lance had worked with the Underground Hero before in disbanding poaching organizations.  Of course, neither of them acknowledged their feral tendencies and habits in their teamwork.  Eraserhead never acknowledged Lance’s feral laughter and full restore super soaker as he Hyperbeamed buildings to pieces.  And Lance hadn’t teased or mentioned Eraserhead’s sadistic habits to jumpscare the fuck out random goons like a terrifying eye-glowing cryptid melting out of the shadows.  Or tying people to the ceiling.  

Lance had almost expected the pair of Heroes, only nodding in acknowledgment at the two, but he was completely surprised at the fact that Blue was here.

“What the fuck are you doing here?”  He let his feral show for once, dropping all pretense in front of the feral teen that had out feral-ed him and his several super soakers of full restore.

He didn’t have to be a Good Influence on Blue.  That damn kid had brought his own super soaker of full restore, and he had been a smug little bitch about it too.  It didn’t matter if Blue managed to only be Champion for less than an hour, he still held a bit of a playful grudge and casual fellow feral respect for the other.

“I could ask the same of you, Lance.”  Blue narrowed his eyes at him.  He was less smug about it and looked pissed, but Lance had a feeling that was because of the general situation instead of his existence.

“I’m here to break Midoriya Izuku out.  Even if I have to Hyperbeam the remains of the police station.  This pitiful shitty city can’t do fuck all to Izuku if he’s an official ward of the Dragon Clan.  I fully intend to take him under my wing and train him one day anyway.”

The Pikachu trying to talk to Nedzu squeaked in alarm.

Blue raised an eyebrow, and Lance had a feeling that the feral teen also knew about Izuku’s talents.  “I guess you are qualified to do that, huh?  But don’t you fucking dare rope my research buddy into doing something he doesn’t want to do.”

Lance scowled.  “I wouldn’t dare do that.  I’m not going to force him into an apprenticeship, especially after all this fuckery.  Honestly, he shouldn’t dive back into training after this.  He needs a good relaxing break.”  

Nedzu cleared his throat.  “Now, if you two are done bickering, I have a pokémon to go and talk to.  Excuse me.”

That left Lance with the Heroes and Blue.  Pikachu trailed behind Nedzu a bit further behind.  Blue looked between their groups.  The feral teen decided to follow the two pokémon a little further behind, careful not to get into the line of fire by accident.

Lance was left alone with the pair of Heroes.  They were already loosely aware of his feral shenanigans, and he really didn’t want to put back on the regal and aloof mask.

So, he decided to turn and grin at the humans right next to him.  There wasn’t much for him to do right now, other than cause chaos.  “So… are either of you two free this weekend?”

The Champion could score a hot date or two, preferably two, or get some advice on how to teach.  It was a win-win.

Eraserhead glared at him with his quirk.  It was not effective!  

“We’re married , Lance.”

The Dragon Champion grinned wider.  “That’s even better!”

Present Mic squeaked and desperately tried to hide his blush while Eraserhead looked both taken aback and that he was already plotting Lance’s demise.  Awesome!

Chapter Text

Hitoshi growled and glared at the suspicious figure approaching this time.  He didn’t know if they were pokémon or human, and the tailored clothing didn’t help in determining that.

The creature waved a paw and they stopped at least five meters away from him.  

The Espurr wanted to attack them.  This person felt so damn different than everyone else that had tried to attack or restrain him so far.  They actually felt like a threat.   He didn’t want to attack unprovoked and find out how accurate his initial assessment was.  

“What the fuck do you want?”

The person merely shrugged their shoulders.  “I would appreciate it if you could stop damaging the city, but I understand if you don’t wish to cease your destruction.  I don’t know what the bond between human and pokémon is like, so I can even imagine how much pain your heart must be in right now.  But I assure you, Hitoshi, I will right this wrong that has been committed against you and your human.”

Hitoshi didn’t bother grabbing the stranger’s mind.  Somehow, they understood him, despite speaking in human words.  He was pissed about one detail though.  “Izuku is NOT a human!”

The stranger easily composed themself.  “My mistake then.  Would you like to stop this and go see your person?”

The Espurr paused.  Was this some kind of trick?  Of course he wanted to go and see Izuku!  But…  “I don’t even know your name.  How can I trust you?”

“Oh, sorry.  You may call me Nedzu; I picked out that name for myself.  And well… I am a fan of Midoriya Izuku’s research, and several of his loved ones called me today to help the both of you.”

Hitoshi narrowed his eyes.  He really wanted to believe in Nedzu.  He just wanted to see and be with his Izuku again.  The Espurr needed him.  He loved Izuku, and he had to tell him that.  Sooner instead of later.  

And yet, this could just be some kind of trap.  

Hitoshi snapped his attention to the side.  He glared and growled at the Pikachu slowly approaching him while wearing some kind of detective costume hat.  

“Hey, hey!  I’m a friend!  A family friend of the Midoriya’s, I swear!  Nao and I didn’t even know the precinct was plotting this bullshit operation behind our backs.  Detective’s honor!  I’ll even swear it on Miss Inko’s homemade poffins!”

The Espurr stopped growling, and he decided to not activate his quirk on the Pikachu either.  He still didn’t trust either of the strangers.  “How do I know you’re not bluffing?”

The Pikachu hopped over the rubble, jogging closer before deciding to stand on their hind legs again.  The electric type decided to stand a bit closer to Hitoshi than Nedzu, at just over two meters away.  “Izuku is Nao and I’s go-to rescue and rehabilitation specialist.  Green bean is an expert when it comes to gaining the trust of scared and hurt pokémon and helping them heal: mentally, physically, and emotionally.  Should already be a certified Nurse if ya ask me, but he’s got an imposter syndrome the size of Japan and thinks he ain’t good enough to go through the special training courses and pass the tests.  The fact that these traitorous fucks I’ve worked alongside for years thought it was a good idea to accuse and arrest him is something that I will never fucking forgive.  I can’t believe I actually trusted those bigots!”

The Pikachu glared over the shoulder to glare at one of the police partner pokémon.  “Yeah, Larry!  I’m talking to you, fucko!  I actually thought you were a great guy!  Did you even consider trying to convince your human this was a stupid fucking idea!?  Both of us helped that Absol settle down with Izuku when he was cleaning out that infection!  Dumbass!”

Pikachu held a paw to their forehead and sighed.  “Did anyone consider that consulting the literal lie detector detective with a quirked Pikachu partner that could actually talk to his human would be a good idea?  When our entire specialty is looking into pokémon abuse cases and verifying evidence so situations like this don’t happen?  NOooo, of course not!  

“Sorry for rambling, it just really sparks my whiskers when shit like this happens because dumb humans think they ‘know more’ than my partner and I.  It just hurts everyone involved.  My name is Rey, by the way.  You like to go by Hitoshi, right?”

Hitoshi nodded.  Despite himself, his anger dissipated.  Rey was rough around the edges, but it was what he needed at the moment.  He didn’t need soothing words, he needed blunt honesty.

He needed Izuku.

“You… really will bring me back to my Izuku?”

“‘Course we will!  I can tell how much you care about him.”  The Pikachu teased.  If only Izuku could figure out Hitoshi’s feelings at a glance like everyone else, instead of being completely oblivious and clueless.  

Nedzu smiled, probably taking notice of Hitoshi’s obvious feelings and bond too.  “We will, Hitoshi.  This whole incident will be resolved, and those responsible for causing your suffering will be punished.”

Hitoshi frowned, the weight of his actions had finally started to sink in.  He had really used his quirk to hurt people, even if he was only trying to get Izuku back.  There was no way that could be forgivable.  Why were both of these kind strangers leading him back to the station to see Izuku when…?  

“But… aren’t I a villain now?”   His voice was so small as he asked.  If Hitoshi was considered a villain now, there was no way that Izuku would still want him as a partner.  He had really fucked up, didn’t he?

Rey turned around and pulled the Espurr into a hug.  “Oh no, not at all.  You’re an incredibly traumatized pokémon that has gone through another extremely traumatizing event, with the records to prove it.  All of the damages are the responsibility of the Musutafu Police Department.  Anyone that tries to charge you for this will get torn to pieces for even attempting.”

Nedzu agreed.  “Considering two Champions, a former Contest Grand Champion, the grandson of the inventor of the pokédex, and the principal of a prevalent Hero University are all enraged and out for blood over what has happened to the both of you, there is not a thing for you to worry about.  Just focus on recovering and consoling each other.”

Hitoshi caught how the few scattered officers within the building flinched and hid behind their desks when he entered the station.  He glared at them and continued to follow Nedzu.  “A principal of a Hero University…?”

That didn’t make much sense to him.  Why would Izuku have a connection to Heroes?

Rey and Nedzu shared a look that Hitoshi couldn’t interpret.  He didn’t have long to worry about it, because a human approached their little group from the direction they were headed to.  

The human looked troubled, and he sped up towards them before turning around to fall in pace with them.  “Professor Nedzu, Detective Naomasa located Izuku.  But he’s refusing to get out of the cell.  He’s curled up in the corner, sobbing uncontrollably and unresponsive.”

Hitoshi’s mind whirled.  Izuku was crying and panicking .  They had hurt his person.  

And Nedzu was a Professor .

“Thank you, Blue.  I know you’re really worried about your friend, but could I ask you to start on the paperwork?  I want Hemlock’s title stripped by the end of the day, even if we can’t gather enough evidence of malicious intent to arrest him.”

“Of course, Professor.  No one fucks with my research buddy and gets away with it.”  The human named Blue grinned with a feral edge that Hitoshi recognized.  These people hated the fuckers that hurt Izuku, just as much as Hitoshi.  That reassured him, seeing that Blue and Nedzu wanted to rip that bigoted fucking ‘Professor’s’ throat out like the Espurr did.  

But Blue’s feral rage melted into a soft and sad look.  He directed that sad smile at Hitoshi.  “You must be Izuku’s partner.  I wish we could’ve met in better circumstances.  Izuku probably never mentioned me, but I met him earlier in his journey and we shared notes and theories about pokémon behavior.  I’m using Izuku’s notes with full credit in the paper I’m writing with additional research help from Nedzu.  The greenette and I are research buddies.  I hope we can be buddies too.”

Hitoshi knew the human wouldn’t understand him, but he didn’t have the time to use his quirk to help build a conversation.  Izuku needed him.  “I feel the same.  Tell him that, Nedzu.  I got to find Izuku.”

Nedzu nodded in understanding.  “I will pass along the message.  Go ahead.”

Rey gave his support too.  “Your person needs you.  You’ve got this.”

And Hitoshi felt he did.  He ran for the first time since he met Izuku.  The greenette needed to know how much he meant to Hitoshi.  

The Espurr only slowed down when he spotted a man in a tan coat standing near an open cell.  The human stepped out of the way, and Hitoshi stopped in front of that door.

Izuku was there, curled up onto himself and shaking as he cried.  His partner was beyond devastated and completely heartbroken.

Hitoshi entered the open cell, and his own heart shattered as he saw Izuku flinch and whimper.

“Esp…”  

Izuku sobbed harder, but he still managed to answer as he garbled Hitoshi’s name through his hyperventilating.  Hitoshi easily took hold of his not-pokémon’s mind. 

The waves of despair slammed into him and overwhelmed.  Hitoshi found himself blindly trying to reassure and support his precious partner.  [Izuku, I’m here.  I’m here.  The cops can’t separate us anymore.  Our friends saved us.  Izuku, I’m here now!  I’m never leaving you!  We’re partners!]

The Espurr’s words failed him a little.  He knew what he wanted to say, but a love confession wouldn’t help or reassure Izuku right now.

Just… what had broken the greenette’s heart this much?  Why wasn’t Izuku looking at him?  Why wasn’t he getting swept up into a hug and latched onto for hours?

Hitoshi felt himself drowning in his partner’s sadness and grief.  He didn’t know how to stop it or help him.

Izuku’s response was so tiny and distant.  Nothing like the soft hum Hitoshi normally felt.

[ ... hate me… should hate me… I broke promise… ]

Oh.   Izuku.  Hitoshi didn’t care about that in the slightest.  He was scared and had pressured Izuku to reassure him when Izuku was probably even more terrified than he was.  That wasn’t fair at all.  [I don’t hate you!  And you didn’t break a promise!  I was panicking and scared, and you were too!  I should’ve reassured you instead of making you panic even more!]

Hitoshi had been hysterical.  He didn’t think about how his desperate words could’ve hurt Izuku .  His partner had been just as terrified at being separated, and the Espurr knew how much his not-pokémon stressed about not being a good enough or suitable trainer for him.  Hitoshi knew how terrified Izuku was of accidentally hurting him.

Of course, Izuku broke down and ended up so hurt and heartbroken.  This was part of why Hitoshi had been so livid.  His partner was insecure, even as he worked so hard to believe in himself.

And now all that progress had been robbed of him in one devastating blow.

[ ... but… you were mad … I wasn’t good enough… can’t be… quirkless… ]

Izuku had sensed his emotions.  He had felt the all-consuming rage that Hitoshi had felt and thought it was directed at him .  And a cop and that Hemlock fucker had probably dug up all of his old insecurities again.  [That’s not true, Izuku!  You’re the only one for me, okay?  I wasn’t mad at you .  I… I hated those cops.  They acted like I should’ve been happy they took me away from you!  But I was so scared and I wanted to see you again.  And then I lashed out at all of them because I just wanted you .  I was willing to rip them all to shreds, if it meant getting you back.]

[... but— ]

[I love you, Izuku.]

The greenette stopped shaking, with one shuddering breath, he finally turned to look at Hitoshi.  [ I… I love you too, Hitoshi. ]

The Espurr knew that Izuku missed the romantic meaning of Hitoshi’s words, but that didn’t matter.  He could confess his attraction later.  Right now, Izuku needed his partner.

[Please, let me protect you too.  Let me support you.  We’re partners .  You’re allowed to be weak and vulnerable in front of me.  I promised I would protect you.  Please… let me, Izuku.]

The greenette started sobbing again, but he still moved.  Izuku sat up and reached out for Hitoshi, and the Espurr ran straight into the arms of the person he loved more than anything .  He purred for both of them as Izuku curled up around him and cried his heart out.

[ I will.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I was so scared.  I missed you so much.  Just wanted you back.]

[Missed you too.  I was terrified they would keep me away from you, so I fought.  I just wanted my partner.]

Izuku hummed through his second round of sobs.  [ I’m here.  I’m right here. ]

Hitoshi knew that.  Could feel it in every breath and every sound.  He still nuzzled his Luxury Ball, and he cried as he fell back into the familiar sense of Izuku’s energy all around him.  The connection sprang back into place, as strong as ever.

Everything was going to be okay again.

Chapter Text

Izuku was too emotionally exhausted and vulnerable to really process anything happening around him, beyond clutching onto Hitoshi like his life depended on it.  In a way, he really felt he did.  The greenette had been so fucking devestated and felt like his heart had been torn out with their bond weakened by the police capture.  

He was so thankful that Hitoshi had strengthened his imprint on the Luxury Ball before Izuku asked.  The not-pokémon didn’t have the words right now, but the tangible feeling and Sight of their bond helped him ground himself.  Izuku didn’t want everyone to worry about him again by retreating into his Aura Sight, even if it made himself feel safer.  Others thought him despondent and worried that he was dissociating an unhealthy amount.  They saw his trance-like state and fussed over him being fragile and thought that he had completely shut down and was on the cusp of a mental breakdown.  But it was just… easier to process when he relied on Aura Sight alone and turned down his standard five senses.  It was easier to sense and react to threats, and he could track those he cared about to reassure himself that they were all okay.

So him, ‘shutting down’ was a self-defense mechanism, but not in the unhealthy traumatized way they thought it was.

Izuku struggled to keep himself upright and walking, forced to rely on his tear blurred vision to look over his shoulder.  He didn’t want to end up blindsided again, either by an insult or a cop that was pissed at him.

The greenette shuddered at the thought of talking to humans right now, even if they were the kind ones that he cared about.  He just wanted to curl up in bed with Hitoshi and sleep .

Hitoshi helped ground Izuku to the present with his constant purr, and the not-pokémon found the mental strength to exist in the same space as his friends and family.  Maybe even talk.  

He didn’t… he didn’t need to worry about unexpected threats right now.  He knew he could trust these humans.  Izuku recognized Detective Naomasa, even though he had distantly registered his presence while he had been drawing in grief at the all encompassing fear of losing his partner.

Izuku tried to give him a teary and wobbly smile, but the man held up an arm with a weak smile of his own.  The greenette took the offer and leaned into the side hug.  He didn’t care to move his arms away from where they were wrapped around Hitoshi and holding him as close as possible to his heart, but Naomasa didn’t mind.

The greenette practically hid behind the man and his tan trenchcoat, using him as a social barrier as more people approached.  He was really surprised to see his friend and research Blue, and that meant the people around him were safe too.

He still tensed and froze in place as he recognized Midnight and Principal Nedzu walking along with Blue and Rey.  Izuku was technically still a Hero fan.  Sure, he was a little disenchanted with them now, but he supposed he could learn to love analyzing them again as much as he loved researching and befriending pokémon.  Of course, he knew that Midnight was the one to knock out the two of them with her quirk when Izuku was arrested .

Naomasa briefly squeezed his shoulders in reassurance.  The living lie detector spoke in a whisper to Izuku.  “She’s sorry and feels guilty and awful about helping enable those cops.  She had no clue she was called in to assist with an illegal arrest, and she called me the moment she suspected there wasn’t a proper investigation and that it was a false accusation.  She also put her foot down on the scene and insisted that proper procedure be followed when that Hemlock fucker suggested that he take care of Hitoshi.”

Izuku looked at Naomasa with terrified wide eyes.  The detective nodded in understanding.  “We’re already looking into the possibility of Hemlock and some policemen being involved with similar incidents like this.  He might end up being accused of poaching himself.”

The greenette processed the new details he was just given.  Things could’ve ended up so much worse without Midnight there.  The cops could’ve killed him and covered it up.  Or Hemlock could have taken Hitoshi and sold him.

I need to find a way to thank her, but I don’t know what to say.  Or have the mental capacity to talk to anyone with sense.

[I could say something.]

Izuku didn’t jump.  He wasn’t startled that Hitoshi was still in his mind, and he knew that he had thought that pretty loudly.

[ You would…?  You’re not mad with her…? ]

[I’m not.  She kept me away from that fucking corrupt bastard, even if she used her quirk on us.]

Yeah… Izuku knew he was going to be jumpy around the Heroine for a while.  He still had no clue why the Principal of U.A. University was here though.

[Nedzu’s the Professor that is helping your research buddy with your collaboration research paper.  Nedzu is really kind and helped me calm down and brought me back inside to see you.]

[ Oh!  I wonder how Blue met Nedzu though.  I didn’t even know he was a Professor until now. ]  It must’ve happened while Izuku was out in the wild.  He wasn’t sure how to feel about any of it.

“Izuku!  I’m glad you’re feeling better.  Do you want a hug?”  Blue was excited to see him, but he quickly became quieter and less overwhelming for Izuku.

Izuku smiled and nodded, side-stepping under Naomasa’s arm and allowing Blue to properly hug him.  The greenette still didn’t move his arms away from Hitoshi, but he leaned a lot of his weight against Blue.  He still leaned against Blue’s side, even after the older teen let him go to sling an arm over him instead.

“I missed you, Izuku.  Kind of shitty we had to meet again in a horrible place like this.”  

Izuku scoffed and grinned.  “Missed you too, Blue.”

Hitoshi meowed, and Izuku was happy to hear almost everyone respond… except for Midnight.  The Espurr looked at her and pouted, and she looked startled at being acknowledged.

“M-me?”

“Esp!”

And Izuku watched with fascination as the pupils of Midnight's eyes shifted into a dark gray.  “You don’t have to thank me…”  She mumbled.

Hitoshi scrunched up his nose.

“I’m serious.  I messed up a lot today.  In fact, I’m actually taking a step back and a break from my Hero Career after this.  I need to get better.”

She paused.  “Thank you!  You’re a very sweet pokémon!  Take care of your person, okay?”

Hitoshi nodded with a bright smile, even as he let go of the connection and snuggled back further into Izuku’s arms.  

Things were a bit of a blur after that.  Izuku slumped against Blue and trusted him to take point.  He let himself doze on his feet, drifting from snippets of nap and awareness.  That’s how he found Blue’s last name was Oak as in Professor Oak .  At least he had the decency to be sheepish about admitting it and keeping his mischievous little secret hidden.  He had just been happy to find someone that didn’t recognize him and idolize him for either of his claims to fame.

Izuku still had a hard time believing that he was somehow research buddies with Blue Oak , a former Pokémon League Champion and one of the teens that had taken down Team Rocket.  Which meant that his boyfriend that Izuku reminded him of was Red .  The urban legend and ultimate local cryptid.  

The craziness didn’t stop there, because the current local Champion walked in like he owned the place and fussed over Izuku’s well-being.  Lance cooed over Hitoshi, being both adorable and vicious.  He also asked for a hug and got one.  He accepted the relayed message via the Espurr that Izuku appreciated the offer of training with the Dragon Clan he had gotten earlier, but he wasn’t…

Lance smiled like he had expected Izuku to not want to train for a while, especially if it meant meeting new humans while he was most vulnerable.  That would be bad for everyone.  

Then, he somehow ended up in a car with three Heroes, Professor Nedzu, a former Champion, the current local Champion, and the detective.  Izuku ended up squished between Blue and Lance as he took a nap while they drove him home through the chaos.  He was pretty positive that Present Mic was driving???  And that might’ve been the Underground Hero: Eraserhead in the passenger seat, holding hands with Present Mic???  Lance was teasing both of them, for some reason???

He didn’t care anymore as he enjoyed a short nap with his safe and kind humans here to protect him.  Izuku just knew he woke up feeling a bit better, and it was his mom hugging him this time.  Apparently he slept through the first few minutes of their tea party, where everyone was plotting the best legal action to take next and comparing notes.  But he noticed the shift in conversation, now that he was finally awake.

Nedzu, Professor Nedzu, had his attention properly focused onto the not-pokémon now.  He smiled as he ate a provided poffin and enjoyed the tea Mom had made.  “Am I a Cubchoo, Teddiursa, or a Rattata?  But more importantly, you already know me.  I’m Professor Nedzu, the Principal of U.A.!  And I know you too, Midoriya Izuku.  I’m a huge fan of your research!”

Izuku squeaked as he finally processed that the unique quirked pokémon had actually seen his notes.  “B-but I’m just an amateur!”

The Professor smiled even wider, nearly grinning.  “You may think that, but I find the possibility of that to be exciting .  If you believe your journal isn’t the best you can do, I can only dream of how wonderful your analysis and research will become if properly nourished to flourish.”

The greenette… narrowed his eyes.  He didn’t know why he was on edge, but he felt like Nedzu was giving him hollow compliments to manipulate him.  

Nedzu continued that conversation while Izuku was trying to puzzle out the Professor’s motive.  “May I be so bold as to ask to look at some of your other notes?  Analyzing is a hobby and passion of yours, from what I can gather.”

Izuku knew that Nedzu was definitely up to something, but he couldn’t see a reason to not humor him.  So many people, friends and family, were here to interfere if Izuku needed it.  Lightning would not strike him twice in one day.

With that thought in mind, Izuku stood up to go to his room.  He grabbed his personal “pokédex” that was his paper copy and analysis of most every pokémon in existence.  It was one of his most precious possessions, since he wasn’t allowed a real pokédex of his own.  He grabbed a Hero analysis or two, but they didn’t matter much.  They were all coded, so there wasn’t much to show in them.

It was with a bit of worry that Izuku returned and placed his precious notebooks on the table, sitting across from Nedzu.  

“May I?”  The Professor had the courtesy to ask and wait for Izuku to nod before reaching for one and gently opening it.

And Nedzu practically squeaked with joy as he skimmed through Izuku’s notes.  “You’re much more skilled than I initially thought!  You really continue to impress me through your meticulous sorting of information.  You handle it so beautifully that it almost reads like poetry.  I even see that you made your own cypher!  How wonderful and inspiring!  I think this would take me at least a full day , if not more to decode!  Your work continues to fascinate me and bring me great joy to read it, Midoriya Izuku!”

Izuku… didn’t know what to think anymore.  Professor Nedzu was so genuinely happy.  His tail was even wagging.  He didn’t… he just didn’t know what was expected of him.

Nedzu continued, trailing off in his thoughts with his own fondness…  “You’re pokédex entries.  They’re beautiful…”

With a wistful sigh, he closed all of the notebooks he had skimmed through and handed them back to Izuku.  It was then that Izuku finally noticed that Nedzu was wearing a tailored book bag as he shifted it off his shoulders.

Izuku forgot how to breathe as Professor Nedzu pulled out a pokédex and laid it on the table between them.  “I am now even more sure of my decision.  When I was given my title, I was only issued three pokédexes to give out.  I knew my role as a Professor was not to be there to assign young children their starter dexes.  I have way too many responsibilities to nurture minds that young and introduce them to the wonders of the world of knowledge.  I have a duty to put the students at my University as a top priority, but I love research.  It’s my passion, but I don’t have the time to go out and do field research myself, as much as I yearn for it.  So I made the decision to invest in the highest end pokédexes that I could find and engineer myself.  I knew that I only wanted the best tools to give to those who I wished to become my field researches.”

The greenette understood the tradition of the next few words.  It was still a holdover from when dex tech was still relatively new and issued to a few trainers that agreed to assist in the research of Professors.  

Nedzu was asking him to make the oath to pursue knowledge.  “Midoriya Izuku, will you accept this pokédex and all the responsibilities that come with it?  Will you seek out all new knowledge and discoveries so that humans and pokémon alike can better come to understand one another so that we may all thrive together?  Will you dutifully accept the role as a researcher and swear to use this tool known as the pokédex to the best of your ability, Midoriya Izuku?”

Izuku… Izuku couldn’t believe any of this.  He was beyond shocked, and he was frozen to the spot as his mind howled.  He had… so many dreams about this as a little kid.  This very moment had become something he looked forward to, despite the heartbreak of all of that rejection.  He had given up that dream, of being valued for his analysis and trusted with the fancy initiation, long before he had given up his dream of Heroics.

But it was right in front of him now.  It was actually happening.  Izuku had long accepted that if he was ever allowed to have a pokédex, it would be issued to him with reluctant disgust.  

And this was far from that.  Professor Nedzu respected and actually liked his analysis.  It was to the point that he wanted to issue Izuku a pokédex himself and make the greenette his Field Researching Assistant.  He could read between the lines, but he also understood that Nedzu wouldn’t even pressure him to do field work, if he didn’t want to.  Izuku could accept this, no strings attached.  

Hell, he had options for Professors now.  Professor Oak would definitely give him a pokédex if Blue asked.

Yet Izuku knew he wanted it this way.  Even as he recently dug up insecurities screamed at him to make some kind of protest, Izuku pushed them all down and banished them from his mind.

He took a deep breath.  “Y-yes, I do, Professor Nedzu.”

The three researchers in the room shared matching maniacal grins.  

“Then, let us start on the paperwork, Midoriya-kun.”  

Izuku found the energy to get this done.  The complicated logistics of him possibly ending up as the Field Researcher Assistant was not lost on Izuku, on top of the forms he needed to connect his dex ID to the rest of the identity.  Then he could start getting official IDs instead of only having his birth certificate and medical records as his only proof of identity.

But of course, they could talk about job descriptions and salary later.  Honestly, Izuku would be overjoyed just to be an unpaid intern, but Mom was handling the legalese.  At least Nedzu would need to provide travel expenses and funds for essentials if Izuku was going on a research expedition for him.  He didn’t know how much money Nedzu had to work with to hire someone in his Professor job, rather than his Principal one.  

Izuku didn’t know whether to be excited or terrified over the possibility of being considered an official U.A. staff member.  

He felt a lot more relaxed as Nedzu showed him most of the different functionalities of the pokédex.  It was extremely high end, as in they were custom made for Nedzu and based off of a prototype of a new model that was still being developed for populace use.  The main feature seemed to be that it folded.  It switched from being the size of a rather thick smartphone, and it had a little back section you could pull on a little to change it into a tablet with a larger touch screen as additional panels that seamlessly blended into the focal screen.

And then there was a keyboard you could somehow pull out of it to turn it into a fully functional and sizable laptop.  Izuku decided not to question it.  His head already hurt, and he didn’t want to give himself a headache by questioning the space distorting technology that was his pokédex.

His pokédex!!  He finally fucking had one!

This was the best thing ever.  

Chapter Text

Izuku was practically dead to the world by the time Aunt Cynthia came by.  As invested as he was in his pokédex , he was just too exhausted to keep his eyes open for long.  He settled for clinging to the device as he clutched Hitoshi tightly.  The greenette probably had a death grip on the pokédex while Hitoshi was pretty much attached to his shirt and constantly purring.

The pair of partners probably would be practically glued together over the next few days.  They were both aware of that fact, and Hitoshi was extremely supportive of Izuku’s borderline obsession over his pokédex.  It was fine if he made sure not to let go of Hitoshi while admiring the elegant masterpiece of tech.

As it was, Izuku was startled out of his nap, by Auntie Mitsuki slamming open the front door and loudly announcing the presence of the Bakugou family alongside Auntie Cynthia and… her son???  The not-pokémon actually opened his eyes and sat up as he tried to dig up the energy to say hello and have a basic conversation.  He hadn’t seen Barry in years , and he wanted to make a good impression to his cousin, brother, or something… 

Barry waved him off, offered a hug, and gently told Izuku that the greenette didn’t have to force himself to be social.  He’d been through a lot and catching up or whatever could wait until tomorrow after much needed rest.

Izuku really was beyond tired and struggling to stay awake, but his exhausted brain came up with an impulsive and ridiculous idea.  All of the people he cared about were here, and he was too out of it to have anxiety.  It was to the surprise of everyone that he pried himself off of the couch with swaying balance.  Nedzu and Naomasa and Lance and Blue were still here along with the trio of U.A. staff members.

Good.

“I think I have an announcement to make while you’re all here in one place.  I’m too tired to have impulse control and anxiety right now, so I’m just going to say it.

“I’m training to be an Aura Guardian.  Yes, that means the long dead cryptids of legends that trained to use Aura Spheres and whole bunch of other cool tricks with Aura.  I even learned how to use the move Heal Pulse and managed to walk on water after I was dared to.  If you have any questions, ask Lance.  He saw me use it while we were blasting a group of poachers together.  Now, I’m gonna go to my room and sleep for hours.  Bye.”

Hitoshi snickered at everyone’s shocked reactions as Izuku stumbled to his room.  Blue was laughing.  Kacchan face-palmed at the abrupt reveal.  Lance was trying to defend himself as Cynthia growled at him.  Nedzu cackled into his tea.

The greenette closed the door, collapsed onto his bed, and passed the fuck out.

###

Izuku woke up groggy, disorientated , and more than a little confused.  He noticed that there were two different blondes in his bed.  He was pretty positive he had gone to sleep with zero blondes in his bed?  Izuku didn’t know what was happening.  At least, Hitoshi was still snuggled in his arms and the pokédex was in his hand.  

Yeah!  He finally got his pokédex yesterday!  It only took getting arrested, gaining a near phobia of losing Hitoshi, and his confidence and self worth shattered by bigots again!  Fun.

The greenette was fairly certain that he said something about his growing Aura power.  He kind of wanted to get up and stretch, his body ached all over, but he wasn't about to let go of his kitten or his pokédex any time soon.  So, he laid there, relaxing and taking in the peaceful atmosphere.  

Kacchan had his face buried in the nape of the greenette's neck.  Lem was curled around both of their heads as she slept curled up there on his pillow.  Barry's Turtwig was laying on Izuku's stomach, to his surprise, while Hitoshi was drooling onto his chest.  Barry himself was flipped around and nearly falling off the edge of the bed.  He was drooling into a pillow near Izuku's shins, one leg already off of the bed as he was diagonally sprawled across the bed.  One of his hands was curled around one of Turtwig's legs.  It was so adorable.

Izuku decided to just lay there and fiddle with his pokédex.  Professor Nedzu had taught him about a bunch of the basics, but Izuku knew that would have to experiment with the settings and functions more to really understand what he could do with it.  The one of a kind pokémon had assured Izuku that the device wasn't monitored in the slightest, and that Izuku would have to forward data and write up reports and email them to Nedzu.  There weren't parental controls or any of that type of shit.  He had complete privacy to look up whatever he wanted or do pretty much anything on the device.

The greenette had it compressed, or perhaps folded, into phone mode.  He was giddy as he pulled up the camera and snapped a picture of the pokémon curled up on top of him and Barry.  The fact that he could just do that now was exhilarating.  He had never used a camera before, and he was excited to use one and "capture" all the sentimental little moments like this.

Izuku logged into the cloud storage account he used to send indie video games and rom hacks of popular titles to Kacchan.  After all, he didn't want to lose his whole collection if his computer died.  He had spent years combing through forums to find decent and enjoyable pokémon battling games that actually required strategy and used some real world techniques and mechanics.  The main and official titles only letting you learn four moves irritated him, along with the move rememberer and deletor.  

He downloaded a selection of his favorites.  Maybe he'd teach Hitoshi how to play.  His kitten might actually like video games.

Next, Izuku fiddled around with the sides.  Nedzu had mentioned something about a stylus.  Izuku found it and pulled up the default drawing app.  The stylus pen had a grip and weight he liked.  He could get used to sketching like this.

Hitoshi shifted and made a cute little prrb cat-chirp noise.  Izuku chuckled and scratched behind his kitten's ears.  The Espurr's grumbles turned into purrs as Izuku pet him.  The greenette felt he was going to drown in the overwhelming affection he held for his partner in that moment. 

Oh.

Oh no .

Izuku immediately shoved those thoughts down and buried them into the depths of his mind to never ever fucking think about again.  He couldn't let himself think about it.  Like hell was he going to risk his friendship, his partner , over some silly notions of romantic feelings.

Of course he loved Hitoshi.  His kitten had fought for him.  The Espurr had protected him and saved him.

And he knew that poképhilia was a thing.  It wasn't wrong or natural.  It just happened to be misunderstood by a lot of people.

But there was no way Hitoshi might love him back.  So denying and repressing those feelings were the only way to go.

"Morning, kitten."

Hitoshi purred in agreement before he leaned forward and kissed Izuku on the cheek.

Izuku nearly died of internal screaming on the spot before he remembered this level of physical affection was normal for them.

Dear Arceus, he loved Hitoshi so much.

Damn it!  He's supposed to be in denial .

"W-wanna get coffee?"  There was no reason to stutter!  Why did he stutter?

Hitoshi nodded, and Izuku worked on getting up without waking his bedroom guests.  Turtwig looked vaguely betrayed as they woke up to Izuku gently pushing them off of the greenette's stomach.  The pokémon didn't mind in a couple seconds as they settled back down, curled up next to Barry's side.  

Cute.

It wasn't difficult to adjust the pillow to hold up Kacchan's head.  With that last adjustment, Izuku took Hitoshi and his pokédex out with him to the kitchen.  He could use the internet outside of his room now!  Maybe he'd look up a tutorial and try to make some latte art.

On second thought, he probably wouldn't.  Mom and Auntie Cynthia had beaten him to the kitchen, both clad in their pajamas.  So maybe…

Congratulations!  Your Auntie Cynthia evolved into Second Mom!

Izuku could hope.  He could hope really really hard.

He might try matchmaking on behalf of his mom, but that would be weird.

Mom perked up, almost acting like a morning person, when she saw him.  "Good morning, sweetheart.  How are you feeling?"

Izuku blinked at her.

"That good, huh?"  Auntie snarked into her own cup of coffee.

Izuku playfully glared at her.  "Coffee and poffins.  Then I'll decide."

Cynthia hummed as Mom made him coffee.  She was a little confused when Izuku got up and grabbed a second cup.  The older greenette understood that Iziku was making Hitoshi's after he mumbled that the Espurr would just steal all of his.

Izuku pulled up a bar stool to the island, Hitoshi still in his arms and sitting on his lap, and they both drank their own cups while sharing a plate of poffins.

Auntie Cynthia laughed quietly at the sight of them.  "You two match in the morning.  It's cute."

The greenette merely hummed in agreement.

The blonde woman waited until Izuku was halfway done his coffee before she brought up serious matters.  "So… Aura?"

"Yeah."  Izuku replied.

"Any reason why, or did it just kinda happen?"

"My pokémon friends decided that I needed to learn, and it just felt natural.  It feels right."  Izuku shrugged.  His dream changing to becoming an Aura Guardian felt like a natural progression.

His mom chimed in with a question of her own.  "Is it… like a quirk?"  

Izuku didn't bother hiding his grimace.  " No , it's not.  Everyone has the potential to wield Aura in the same way I do with enough training.  It has more in common with learning a martial art.  Admittedly, I am a bit gifted, and I have an Aura that's larger than most.  But that's not a big thing!  It honestly means I struggle a lot more to control it because it's too much energy and it might zap me."

Mom smiled at him.  "Okay, it's less paperwork anyway."

Cynthia hummed in agreement, but she decided to change the topic.  "Do you have plans, kiddo?"

Izuku chuckled.  "Get the hell out of Musutafu again.  I don't feel safe in this place anymore."

Both women nodded in understanding, and Cynthia continued.  "Do you want to go and train with Lance?  Or is that too close?"

"Yeah… too close.  Too many people to meet."

"Well… how about coming back to Sinnoh with Barry and I?  There's wilderness to go hide in.  Ruins to explore.  Plenty of things to research.  There's even rumors that there's a Lucario kingdom.  A nice contest circuit for beginners.  You could take the gym challenge and try to dethrone me if you dare.  There's just a lot to do.  What do you think?"

Izuku stared at her for a moment, processing the offer handed to him.  He'd be far away from the terrible fucking city, but he'd still bbe close to family.  This wouldn't be living alone and isolated in the middle of nowhere, aimlessly wandering.  He could set his own goal.  Go out on a proper journey.  

He shared a look with Hitoshi; they were a team after all.  The Espurr nodded and grinned up at him in excitement.  Izuku grinned back.  "Yeah, I'd love to."

Mom pouted in jest.  "I'm going to be left all alone over here, aren't I?"

Cynthia laughed, completely forgetting that Izuku existed as she held Inko's hand and lifted it to kiss the back.  "You could always take a vacation and stay at my villa?"

Izuku watched that happen with wide eyes.  He didn't need to see any more flirting, so he drew attention to himself.  "So… does this mean that I have two moms now?"

His mom giggled with a bright red face and shyly nodded.

"I'm happy for you, Mom!"

Cynthia tried to change the topic again, clearly flustered.  "We've got to plan a party!  It's tradition!"

Izuku paused.  She was right.  Going away and journey send off parties were traditional and common for families that were on good terms with their kids.  He had never expected to have one, but here he was.  Izuku was a bit excited for it.  "I think I'm looking forward to a proper send off this time!"

He didn't know why he didn't expect the tight and emotional hugs from his moms. 

Eh, he got a little bit of revenge by calling Barry his little step-bro later.

Chapter Text

Izuku spent about another week in Musutafu.  Unfortunately, some people had to leave before he did.  Blue got called away for something, but he made sure to spend the day hanging out with him and gave him his send off present  before he left.  It was a TMcase, already filled with a few ones that Blue either bought new or had plenty of spares.  He especially pointed out how overpowered and annoying a Rest and Sleeptalk strategy could be, especially along with Hitoshi’s quirk.

It figures that evasion, rain, and sleeping strats were all Blue’s favorites.  Such battle strategies were called “dick moves” and suited his charming asshole vibe.

Lance also had to get back to the Leauge and deal with a family meeting.  His gift were a few items that Izuku didn’t have the time or energy to make himself.  

Aura conducting clothes.  Or at least instructions on how to treat and make pre-existing clothing more durable and Aura conductive.  He got an impressive set of fingerless gloves, combat boots that were as light as a feather, and a tanktop.  Lance also conspired with Uncle Masaru and Auntie Mitsuki to modify his stolen cloak into something that fitted him more.  It now had a lot of embroidery work on it, from leaves and vine patterns to storm clouds and lightning.  

He loved it so fucking much.

Nedzu politely declined his invite, citing that it would be improper for him to attend because he was not an old friend nor family.  He still ended up with an elaborate stationary kit from the Professor.  Highlighters, colored pens, colored pencils, and sketching pencils.  

Midnight apologized for her involvement and ended up giving him a sketchbook.  Present Mic got him a pair of really nice bluetooth headphones to use.  Eraserhead had even gotten him a gift!  He was surprised at the box full of cat toys and canned food specifically made for spoiled feline pokémon.  It thrilled Hitoshi at least, he never had his own toys before.

Izuku vowed to buy Hitoshi anything he could possibly want.

Then, well… it was finally time for everyone to attend his send off party.  It was a small gathering.  Just Kacchan, Barry, Cynthia, Auntie Mitsuki, Uncle Masaru, Detective Tsukauchi, and Mom.  He also wasn’t leaving until the next day on the flight with his new step-mom and little brother.

There weren’t many decorations, but there was cake. And more presents.  It kinda felt like this was a birthday party.  Well, it technically might double as one.  Izuku was fairly positive his birthday had gone by while he was out in the wild.

Cake was cut first, and everyone chatted while Izuku shared a few more stories.  Barry hung onto every word, completely fascinated by his adventures in the wild.  The now brothers had bonded quite a lot over the week, often playing video games at Kacchan’s.  The Midoriyas and new additions also started playing board games together.  They were all learning how to be there and what each of them enjoyed.  It was fun, learning to be an older brother.  He couldn’t really ask for a better gift.

Of course, Kacchan stood up and interrupted the  conversation entirely.  He grabbed the gift he got and dropped it on Izuku’s lap, careful not to squish Hitoshi with it.  “Present time.  Mine is obviously going to be the best, so you need to open it first.”

“Kacchan!”  Izuku tried to scold him through his grin, but everyone laughed along.

At everyone’s excited smiles of anticipation, Izuku opened it with a healthy amount of fear.  It was Kacchan so…

He was greeted by a surplus of tissue paper, and he had to dig through it to reach his present.  It was a familiar purple and very sof whatever it was, and Hitohsi made a noise of curiousity as Izuku slowly pulled it out.

It took a second to realize what he was holding.  

“You got me an Espurr hoodie!   It’s even the same color as Hitoshi!  I love it!!! ”  Izuku squealed and yanked Kacchan down into a death squeeze of a hug.  

The hoodie was one of the best things ever, he had to admit.  It would be hard to top the excitement he felt when he saw it.  He put it on the second he released Kacchan.  It even had the little ears on the top of the hood.  

It did not matter if Hitoshi snickered at him, he adored the fuck out of this hoodie.

“Told ya it was the best.  Even custom ordered it for the right color.”  Kacchan had a right to be smug.  At least he didn’t taunt anyone before he went to sit back down.

Barry decided to go next.  “So… I wanted to get you something kind of thoughtful too, but I wasn’t sure what you would like or want.  So I kind of just guessed.  I hope it isn’t in poor taste or anything and maybe one of you like it.  No problem if you don’t so…”

He finally stopped fretting enough to hand over the present to Izuku.  Hitoshi watched with a bit more fascination this time.  It was a smaller box too.  It made a bit of noise when it moved, so he was careful not to jostle it.

When he got all of the tape off and opened it, he saw a green collar with a bell on it.  

Hitoshi was the one to get excited this time.  [It’s your color!  And it has a bell!  Can I wear it?  Can I have it?]

Izuku laughed as he got it out of the box and Hitoshi instantly bapped the bell and rang it, absolutely delighted by the sound.  The Espurr was bouncing in excitement by the time Izuku was struggling to fasten it because Hitoshi was moving all of the place.

Barry laughed in relief that his gift was well recieved.  “There’s a card too.”

Izuku snorted as he dug out the card that said “welcome to the world, bro”.  It was funny and clearly a birthday card for a newborn, but it was funny to give to a recently acquired step-brother.

Most of the other gifts were a little less eventful, but they were still just as heartfelt.  Naomasa got him more notebooks.  Uncle Masaru gave him a sewing kit, even in the iconic cookie tin.  Mom got him a whole new cooking set for camping and a super thermal cold box to store half and half and other coffee creamers inside.

Then came the last three gifts.  He hated this fucking family.

But he really should’ve suspected something when he saw the shit-eating grin on Auntie Mitsuki’s face.  But he did not expect such a fucking scandolus present.

“Auntie!”   He screamed in embarrassment, trying to hide the box of condoms and lube from everyone that already saw.

The woman cackled.  “What?  Better to be safe and single than lucky and unprotected!  You never know what might happen on a journey!  I know I met Saru on mine.”

Kacchan gagged.  “Gross!”

Izuku was as red as his dumb obnoxious sneakers.  He was going to fucking combust on the spot.  Even Hitoshi was snickering at him.

Cynthia was the last one to give him a present, and he should’ve suspected something too from the way she was grinning.  “Well, I have two gifts.  One of them is a family tradition.  You should open the book first.”

“A book?”  Izuku asked, completely missing Barry trying to hide his neon blush right next to him.  

“Go ahead and open it.”  Cynthia encouraged, luring him right into her trap.

So he did, carefully reading the title and curious what kind of book she had gotten him.  “How to Communicate and Have a Healthy and Loving Relationship with your Pokémon: A Complete Textbook Guide to…”

Izuku screamed again, suddenly finding a new word to call Cynthia.  “Mum, whaT THE HELL!?”

The blonde woman just cackled uncontrollably, just like Auntie had.  

“You got me a textbook about poképhilia Why!?

Barry saved Izuku from his meltdown, only partially caused by his surpressed feelings for Hitoshi.  “Family tradition.  Great Gran gave me my copy as soon as I became partners with Tart.  It, um, actually has a lot of great tips for just teamwork in general.  There’s also an entire guide for teaching pokémon sign language depending on their body shape.  It makes having conversations with Tart a lot easier.”

Izuku was panicking a lot less now.  That was a valid reason.  “It’s still embarrassing, but it’s not as bad as Auntie’s.”

More importantly, he noticed that Hitoshi didn’t have a negative reaction.  He just looked at the book with curiosity.  He hadn’t stop purring, even during Izuku’s embarrassment.  Of course, Hitoshi was still fascinated with his bell and occasionally bapping it to hear the ring.  It made him so happy, and Izuku was a little jealous that he hadn’t thought of giving him a bell.

“Alright, time for your gift for real this time.”

The package this time was the smallest he had been given so far.  He had no clue what it could be, so he just started to unrap it.

He gently shucked the wallet-like object from its wrapping, wondering what it could be.  The laminated official card inside made him cry as soon as he recognized it.

It was an official Trainer ID.

This meant everything to him, and it was just as important to him as gaining a pokédex.  It helped prove that he mattered .  He existed as an actual person who was valued.  He could participate in so many different pokémon based events.

It was a typical form of ID that most people had, but it was still a tiny treasure to him.

Izuku could definitely buy and sell things at a pokémart now.  If Hitoshi wanted to go star in contests or challenge Gym Leaders, they could just do that now.  He could legally wager money in pokémon battles now.

Cynthia — who had supported him in all his dreams for so damn long, who had been his like a second mother to him, who was his Mum now — came over and wrapped him up in a gentle hug.   

“We love you, kiddo.”

Izuku sobbed harder as his family joined in to hug him, even Kacchan.  He was just so happy.

He was finally, fucking finally , at the starting line.  This moment was not simply ending another chapter of his life.

This was just his beginning.