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Snitches Get Stitches

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The first words out of Izuku’s mouth when he found out his costume had a giant rip in the side were ones he’d learned from Katsuki.  In other words, utter filth.  His mom was out getting groceries so he wasn’t overly fussed that someone might wash his mouth out with soap or anything.

“She’s gonna kill me,” he said, pacing around the room.  “She only just fixed the last tear and now I’ve ripped out a whole seam.  When did this even happen?  I’m so careful!  What did I even do to mess it up?  Was it me?  Was it somebody else?  I don’t have a serger.  I can’t fix this one solo.  She’s absolutely going to kill me.  And then dance on my grave.  Something jazzy, I’m thinking.  Augh!”  He ran fingers through his hair, cursing under his breath.

He wracked every corner of his brain trying to think of some way out of it.  There was no way he could ask his mom.  Izuku wasn’t sure if she even knew what Deku’s costume looked like, but if she did, she might recognize the thing as she was repairing the rip.  It wasn’t something he could just let slide for a while, either – the rip was at least a good four inches wide right under the armpit.  It could have been worse – the crotch, for example – but that didn’t mean it was good.  It was a weakness, a fault in the Kevlar that normally kept his ass as safe as it could be in this profession.

Even worse would be trying to explain how it happened.  He just plain didn’t know.  Maybe training was what dicked it up?  Did it catch on something?  He normally trained with the costume on, just to make sure he’d be as comfortable as possible during a real-life fight.  It was best to make practice as close to the real thing as you could, according to only every psychologist ever.

There was nothing for it.  He had to talk to her.

But not today.  Today was his day off from homework before the school week started back up again, and he was going to spend the day napping, because there was literally nothing better than a quality nap.  Solid plan.  He’d drop by her place tomorrow after school was over and let her wreck his shit then.  Izuku tried to stifle the sense of impending doom and failed.

--

Izuku stared up at the squat little building, trying to swallow the lump in his throat.  He had a bulky bag clenched in his right hand, the costume wrapped up tight where no one could see it.

It seemed so long ago that he’d been introduced to Kijito, even though it had only been a few short months.  She made costumes for anyone who asked and kept her mouth shut regarding what use they were put to.  Most villains, as a matter of course, went around in street clothes, but Izuku had wanted a costume since he was three and by God, a costume he’d get.  It didn’t hurt that her place was relatively cheap and so even a broke-ass high school student like Izuku could afford it.

Kijito was fast and reliable, but she was so mean.

Or maybe just loud.

There were days when Izuku couldn’t tell the difference reliably.

She was a small woman (even smaller than Izuku), standing at roughly 4-foot-10.  Her dark skin didn’t show her age (whatever that was) much, but her shock of white hair certainly did.  She also wore a set of jeweler’s magnifying glasses that made her eyes look about five times their normal size.

And she was standing in the doorway of her home, eyes narrowed and mouth twisted in a scowl.

“What did you do?”

“I- what makes you think I did anything?  I would never!” he stammered.

She glared him down.  “You never show up on my doorstep for tea and gossip, Shnookums.  Don’t think I don’t know what you’re up to.”

Izuku tried his best to look affronted.  “I can’t believe you, Kijito-san!  I know I haven’t been around too much lately, but you’re an honored friend of mine – or at least I thought so.  I respect and admire you for so many reasons other than just your talent with textiles, but the fact that you believe I hold you in so little regard is sad.  I never wanted to give you that impression, and I’m almost offended you’d think I’m so callous.  You know, I brought one of my mom’s cheesecakes to share with you, but I’m of half a mind to take it with me and just go.”

“But you’re not going to do that because your suit is wrecked.”

“My suit is only a little wrecked, I’ll have you know.”

“That’s what I thought.  Get in, smartass.  And bring the cheesecake with you.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

He shucked his shoes at the doorway, tucking them neatly in a corner of the foyer.

Kijito’s home was a small thing with only a few rooms to it.  The living room, kitchen, and dining room were all one medium-sized room, and knickknacks covered every square inch.  She claimed to have traveled to every corner of the world in her youth, and judging from the sheer mass of (admittedly cool) souvenirs, she was to be believed.

She smacked a hand down on the kotatsu.  “Show me your damage.”

Izuku parked his rear end on the opposite side (more cover if she flipped) and unrolled the plastic bags from around his costume.   He paused.  Got the cheesecake container out of the bag first.  Better appease her as a preemptive measure.

Gently, he passed the folded costume to her.  Let her figure out what was wrong with it while he leaned back as far as possible without being too obvious about it.

Kijito found the giant rip in the seam, sure enough.  Her nostrils flared and her already-enormous eyes got much bigger.  Much angrier.  “Fucking troglodyte.  I give you a flawless work of art, and you trash it like it’s from the dollar bin at a thrift store?!  What do you take me for?  No – just – I – I think I need to go into the back for a minute.  You stay right where you are or I swear to God…”  She tottered out of the room and into the back, where Izuku could faintly hear the sound of someone screaming into a pillow.

She came back.  “It’s okay.  I’m back.  We’re good.  I am calm.  Not even a little homicidal.  Deep breaths, Kana, deep breaths.  So –“ she turned to Izuku “-you want a patch job?”

“…If it’s not too much trouble?”

She had a huff a few breaths before answering.  “Yeah, whatever.”  She snatched the garment off the kotatsu and pulled out a rolling sewing table from the wall.

“Actually… no.”

“Wait, what?”

“Izuku, I always wondered what the hell it was you were doing with your life.  You know, mostly I get freelance back-alley heroes in and out of this place.  Villains don’t wear costumes, and then you come through needing one.  Then I see perfect examples of your endless fatuity on my shitty television set that don’t really fit into the category of good or evil.  I’ve never really known what to make of you.”

Izuku blinked.  This was the most she’d ever commented on… well, anything regarding his ‘night job’.  It also sounded like it was coming from the heart more than the empty crotchety words she normally offered.  He hadn’t been lying before – he really did respect her opinion.  Even if her opinion of him wasn’t the greatest.

“I understand.  I won’t impose,” he said, rising to take his clothes back.  He’d just have to find a way to stitch them back together himself.  Unless she didn’t want him wearing her work at all?  It would be a nightmare to try and fight in street clothes, but Izuku mentally scanned his closet for anything even remotely workable.  If Kijito didn’t want to help a villain, that was her choice, and he would respect it no matter what.

She just looked at his outstretched hand.  “The hell is that there for?”

“…The… costume?”

“Don’t be stupid, boy.  I’m making you a better one.  This is a disgrace.  I designed you something that would work for a villain, but we both know you’re not really the same as the rest of them.  No, no.  I’m making you something that suits you.  I’m thinking something with bolder colors.  How does blue work for you?  Like a dark indigo.  Or maybe a deep hunter green to go with your hair, ridiculous puff cloud though it is.  I have sketches to make.  You better not need this thing ready for a few days at least.  Get your ass up.  I have to take new measurements.  You blew out the armpit because your pectorals got too big.  You flex and then – bang! – get a much closer whiff of your own deodorant.  Move it, chop chop.”

Izuku almost burst out laughing as he clambered up.  He really should have known better.