Being strong was a new experience for Izuku.
Lifting half his body weight and carrying it up a flight of stairs, without trouble, was definitely not something he was used to. As he hefted the chunk of steel into the truck, he took a moment to gaze out over the sand.
Three months ago, none of it had been visible. His body wasn’t the only thing improving; the beach was starting to look more like a hangout spot and less like a dump. At least now there were spots to sit down on something nicer than a suspicious microwave. Izuku had more than learned his lesson after he’d been shocked in the rear by one.
Toshinori would be back soon. He’d stepped away to make a call a few minutes ago, but he’d said it wouldn’t take that long.
A hand on his shoulder made the boy jump.
“Goodness gracious, boy! You really don’t pay attention to your surroundings, do you?”
“Al- Sir! Uh, no, I…” Izuku trailed off, his face steaming.
“Ah, cool yourself off. We don’t want a repeat of the microwave incident.”
Izuku rubbed the back of his neck as he remembered his face briefly igniting. “So, um… What was that call about?” he asked, desperately searching for a distraction.
“It was good news, actually. I don’t suppose you’ve got anything planned for the rest of the day?”
“Just exercises and that sort of stuff! My mom asked me to run to the store, but I assume you’ve just made plans for me?”
“I did indeed. I’ve gotten permission from the principal to allow you onto campus for a sort of field trip! I call it the American Dream: Get To Know Your Future School field trip!”
Izuku’s face slackened as he realized the man was totally serious. He’d be visiting U.A.? Was that seriously the name of the trip? Did All Might think the trip needed a name in the first place?
His brain snapped back to the important question at hand: was he actually visiting his dream school with no advance notice?
“When are we going?”
“Now!” Toshinori said, grabbing the boy and rocketing off at the speed of sound.
Izuku tried to scream, but whatever noise he made was lost to the wind.
The cityscape reminded Izuku of the concrete at the beach park: gray, but with little gems of color embedded in it. That was, until a building rose up to meet them, and Toshinori landed, laughing with more than a tinge of professional sadism before launching off once more.
Gray turned to green before finally they passed over a wall and came skidding to a halt in front of a reception building.
Izuku groaned, trying to remember where his lungs were supposed to be. He felt like he’d left them behind somewhere a few miles back.
Toshinori had reverted back to skinny form by now, and was breathing heavier than he had any right to. “Give me,” Izuku said, “a little more warning next time.”
With that, he collapsed, catching himself before he hit the ground. He rolled onto his back and stared at the still-orange morning clouds as the sun rose behind the building.
His mentor chuckled, coughing a small amount of blood onto his sleeve, and reached out his un-coughed-on hand to help the boy up.
“I’ll think about it. I wouldn’t do that if you’d react a little faster. The day you can dodge fast enough is the day you’ll be ready for hero work.”
“Ah, All Might! This must be the incoming freshie you warned me about,” a gentle voice called out.
“It is indeed, young Mirio!”
“Would you introduce me?” the teenager called out, giving Izuku an appraising look. Something about the cool confidence the boy exerted was a little intimidating, but he didn’t look unfriendly. Rather the opposite, really: his posture was welcoming, and he had a mischievous twinkle in his eye.
“Izuku, this is Mirio Togata! He’s considered the best in his class. Class 2-A… Mirio, this is Izuku Midoriya. You already know all about him, though.”
The student waved and used his fingers to push his cheeks into a wide smile. It might have been Izuku’s imagination, but Toshinori’s face seemed to falter for an instant.
“It’s nice to meet you!” Izuku said, as his senior walked toward him. The shadow of mischief passed over his face, but a kindly smile reassured the boy as he reached out to shake his hand.
“And you as well!” the boy said, shaking his hand up and down as it phased entirely through the younger boy’s body.
Izuku shook his hand for a moment longer before he realized the complete absence of contact between him and the older boy. He looked dumbly at the older boy before he processed what had happened, and the faintest hint of realization that he’d been pranked crossed his mind.
Mirio smiled, his eyes now blazing with suppressed laughter, and Toshinori couldn’t help but let out a snicker.
“I considered warning you, but I didn’t want to ruin his fun,” his mentor said. “I once saw him fall through the ground! And, uh, his clothes.”
“All Might! You’re embarrassing me! I blame Tamaki for that one.”
“Ah, yes. Do you know what Nejire said about it?”
Mirio’s face turned beet red and he turned around. “Alright! Let’s get going!”
Izuku had no idea who they were talking about, but based on Mirio’s blushing, he wasn’t going to get an explanation.
He led them to a small cart used for getting around the campus grounds, and gestured for Toshinori to take the wheel. While Mirio was legally allowed to drive a car, it was against school rules for a student to chauffeur visitors.
Izuku nodded as they took a path past the visitor center and toward a collection of large buildings in the distance. He recognized them as the training grounds used for the Entrance Exam, which was televised every year. Unlike the Sports Festival that took place later during the year, the Entrance Exam was broadcast in a much more dull way, on a public broadcasting channel.
Or at least, he recognized the first city he saw. As they came further around the corner, he could see the other test sites, and they seemed to be undergoing some pretty serious rebuilding.
“Hey, Mirio? Do you know what’s up with the sites?”
“That’d be the upgrades they’re doing for next year! I can’t tell you what exactly they’re doing if you plan on applying, and also because I’m not supposed to know, but… Ah, well. You’ll see when you get here!”
Izuku smiled. When he got here. In just seven more months he’d be in one of those cities, fighting for his chance to be a hero. It occurred to him that Mirio might even mean when he was a student, because he had that confidence in Izuku, even after just meeting him. Toshinori definitely seemed to share that confidence every time he talked about the exam.
The school building itself loomed over them a few minutes later on the other side of campus. Fourteen stories of sheer glass topped with a gleaming slab of metal reflected the sun down onto him, and Izuku’s brow beaded with sweat. Maybe three months ago the mere sight of the building would be enough to cause this, but now…
Standing here before the four towers, he didn’t feel as intimidated as he expected. It probably had something to do with the man standing in front of him, no, walking away from him…
Izuku’s face went scarlet and he caught up to them.
“Careful, buddy! Don’t get lost,” Mirio chuckled, giving him a playful jab at the shoulder.
“Y-yeah, sorry, I was just-”
“Taking it in, I guess? Is it everything you expected?”
“Would you be offended if I said no?
Mirio’s smile froze for a moment, before he looked at Izuku’s worried expression and laughed.
“No, of course not! I’ve never heard that one before. You know, the first time I showed up to U.A., I cried a little.”
His words washed away a bit of Izuku’s nerves with their familiarity.
They entered the building and began a tour of the classrooms, though none were in session at the moment. The size of the doors and fanciness of the, well, everything, gave him pause until he realized exactly where he was.
He had yet to see any of the teachers, but he wasn’t surprised. Without classes in session, there was no reason for them to be here - they were professional heroes. They had other jobs to do.
As they entered the cafeteria, the intercom crackled to life, and a high-pitched voice began to echo throughout the large room.
“You three, would you do me a favor and visit my office?”
Toshinori winced, but responded. “Yup, we’ll wrap things up and get over there. I guess you’d like to meet him?”
“I sure do! I have tea here, and biscuits, so don’t worry about getting anything from the cafeteria.”
“Yes, that was Principal Nezu. Don’t tell him I told you this, but I think his use of the intercom system as his personal stalking device is a little bit strange.”
“Oh, he won’t tell me anything! I hear everything going on in my school,” the voice spoke again, with a distinctly cheery tone.
The trio shuddered in unison. Despite the principal’s jovial tone, they all felt vaguely threatened.
Not, of course, that they thought Nezu was evil. Just a little unhinged.
By the time they reached the administrative office, Izuku was beginning to feel nervous again. Nezu’s constant and unnecessary directions weren’t doing wonders for his anxiety. Mirio contemplated taking a restroom break just to mess with the principal, but decided against it in favor of common sense.
Before Toshinori could knock twice, the door swung open - to reveal an empty office. Izuku turned, and despite his advanced knowledge of Nezu, he was still surprised to see the dog-mouse-bear wearing a suit.
He was even more surprised when Nezu started shaking his hand. “Good to meet you, Izuku! You seem like a bright kid.”
“G-good to meet you, Principal.”
“Call me Nezu! Yagi, I believe we have something to talk about.”
“Yes, Principal! I’m, uh, sorry. I’m still getting used to the whole-”
“No need for all the apologies, just be more careful. You only have so much time in that form of yours. When you start teaching here, you’re going to have to budget that a lot better. Running out before you even make it to a meeting here isn’t a good look.”
Mirio exchanged a look with Izuku, a hint of a smirk on his face. Seeing the number one hero get a bit of a dressing down was amusing. It didn’t slip either of their minds that, while Nezu referred to him by his given name, All Might referred to him as Principal.
Nezu was intimidating.
“Of course, with you being able to work as a hero less often, we’ll be needing more people in this line of work ASAP. That brings me back to you, Izuku - let’s sit down.”
Izuku stepped out of the principal’s way as he entered the office, following when he was beckoned forth. He took a seat as Nezu disappeared from sight behind his desk, jumping up to his chair a moment later.
“Now, I’m sure a boy as promising as you would understand the implication of your mentor's diminished ability to work. He'll really be restricted to keeping supervillains and criminal syndicates underground. Small-time criminals may feel emboldened when it becomes apparent that he'll be spending much of his time in classes. Now, we're keeping his specific schedule a secret, but we've got a few other programs in the works to keep them at bay.”
Izuku took a moment to take it in. “You mentioned needing more heroes. Would it be a safe bet to say you’re considering speeding up the process of getting provisional hero licenses?”
Nezu made a face analogous to pursing his lips. “Quick, aren’t you? You’ve almost hit it on the mark. See, UA has a certain status to it. We, and our students, are allowed privileges that most schools can’t boast. Being a student here isn’t quite as good as a license, but with our legal team standing behind students… I’ve been thinking about giving temporary permission for students to act to prevent small crimes from happening. Of course, the danger levels would have to be relatively low. First years would be restricted to, say, stopping a purse-snatcher.”
“You’re saying you’d let your students be vigilantes?”
“Not the word I’d use, but it’s close enough. It’s still an idea in its very early stage of development, but it would work under the same premise as a hero giving emergency authorization for citizens to assist in a disaster. Hawks, for example, asked for help from a quirk user who could make things resistant to fire, in order to help remove people from a burning building.”
“But giving permission to all of your students, under less conditional circumstances… I’m not here to give my opinion on this, though,” Izuku said, wringing his hands. “It would give the students valuable experience in risk assessment, I suppose.”
“I appreciate input from any source, young man. Actually, that gives me a bit of an idea. Because of Yagi’s position with the school, and your possible future attendance, he’s had to file documents stating that he is your mentor and stands guarantor for your behaviour. I won’t bore you with the details, but you could be sort of a pilot trial for this program. Yagi, what do you think? While Izuku processed the implications of what Nezu had said, Toshinori smiled. “Oh, I think that would be excellent! They say most heroes have stories of them from their student days. He’s got all the skills he’d need to stop a robbery, I think. His reflexes are certainly combat-ready.”
“Well, I’ll call that settled, then.”
“Wait, huh? But I’m not even attending the school!”
“Not yet, but with the number one hero as your mentor, there’s no doubt that you’ll get in. Besides, Mirio seems like he’s made up his mind about you, and he’s one of our brightest.”
Mirio grinned at them. “You might see me around, Izuku. I make a habit of checking in on people I like. Maybe we’ll get caught up in the same scene one of these days - my provisional hero license might get you out of trouble.”
“I look forward to it! You’ve got a provisional hero license?” Izuku said, his eyes shining a little.
“I do! I’ll tell you about it while I show you the school. I think these two might have a few things to talk about that they don’t want us to know about just yet.”
“I’ll catch up with you boys later, Mirio is right. As always,” Toshinori said, giving them a thumbs up. “Sometimes I could swear your quirk is mind reading.”
“My Permeation lets me reach right into your brain and pull out your secrets!”
Many hours later, Izuku found himself jogging home from the beach once more. Jogging had become a bit of a habit since he’d started his training. It got him home faster, which his mother was always happy about, and it let him indulge in a few daydreams. With the sun setting behind him, and the scenic route he took through the park, he could almost pretend he was the protagonist of some sort of movie.
Tonight, though, he had an ulterior motive for taking a scenic route. This path led him through the park and around several shady alleys, places where crime thrived. After getting permission from Toshinori, and at Nezu’s request, he’d begun to look forward to being allowed to be a hero. It was a little silly, he knew, but his mentor’s words from earlier echoed in his head.
“Most heroes have stories about them from their school days,” he’d said. The heroes around here were more than capable of stopping petty crime, but it wouldn’t hurt to help where he could.
Now, he wasn’t sure how to break the news to his mother. As a kid, he’d been warned about getting himself into trouble over vigilantism, especially when his quirk manifested. He had never been the sort to break the law anyway. But after the conversation with Nezu…
Getting into trouble was only bad if you couldn’t get yourself out of it, right?
He slowed his pace to take in the scenery. Around him, trees fluttered as the breeze flew out to the ocean. The path he was taking edged closer to the street, and he found himself gazing into the alleys as he passed them.
Nothing stood out to him. A flock of pigeons flapping their wings overhead was the loudest thing he could hear, and the closest thing to a crime he could see was two cats facing off next to a garbage can. Only one car was on the road next to him, and it didn’t seem terribly threatening.
It sped up as it passed an alley, and Izuku kept an eye on it.
As it turned out of sight, another vehicle came into view. The packing truck trundled its way merrily toward him, but screeched to a halt and swerved to the side of the road next to an alley. Izuku’s heart, already elevated from the light jogging, jumped into his throat. Surely they were just checking a tire or something?
Three men jumped from the truck and ran toward an alley they had passed a few feet back. Nothing, of course, could be good about that, not with the way they were running.
So Izuku ran too, doubling his efforts as he heard a girl scream. He could hear fighting, and something hit a wall.
“You’ll pay for that, bitch!” a man yelled, before a loud thwack was heard.
Izuku rounded the corner of the truck, adrenaline making his blood pound too loud to hear anything else at this point. As he peered around the edge of the alley-
His skull bounced off the pavement with a sickening thud, and Izuku knew no more. Another man hit the ground seconds later, the silence that followed broken only by their attacker’s panicked breathing. An arm wrapped around his shoulder and dragged him further into the alley and out of sight.
“Oh god,” a girl said, clutching a steel staff close to her chest. “Shit, shit shit. Uh, fuck.”
Her familiarity with the swear words was shaky at best, and her hands shook as she reached for her phone. She opened it and dialed her first contact.
“Uh, hi, daddy?” I need… um, I… yeah, yeah. I’m okay. But I don’t know if they’re okay. I might have killed one of them.”
A mixture of relief and anguish crawled into her throat as she spoke to the person on the end of the line, and she ended the call shortly after they promised her an ambulance. She rested her back against the wall and slid to the ground, pulling her knees close as she focused on her breathing.
Izuku groaned as he woke up. He felt like he’d been to a baseball game, where he was the baseball. The fluorescent lights overhead did nothing for his headache, and he tried to curl into a ball as his stomach burbled unhappily. Behind him, chains clanked against each other, and he realized his hands were restrained.
Past the bars of the cell, a man wearing a security uniform put his hand on his gun’s holster. “Keep it quiet in there, thug. Your turn is coming up.”
Izuku’s only response was a whimper as he pulled his knees to his chest. He cradled his head in his lap, trying to block out the light, but for the most part it just hurt his bruised neck.
Several minutes went by before he heard any noise outside. A man was fighting back rabidly against the people restraining him, screaming obscenities to anyone who could hear, before Izuku heard a slapping sound and the man’s voice became muffled. The sounds of his resistance got closer.
As they passed his cell, Izuku could see two guards carrying a man with a piece of duct tape over his mouth. It appeared they were struggling with him, and when he saw Izuku, his eyes went wide. He elbowed one of the guards in the stomach, forcing them to drop him, and he ripped the tape off of his mouth, grabbing the bars to Izuku’s cell.
“You bastard! This is your fault! You fucking distracted me!”
The man who had been guarding Izuku’s cell kicked the thug in the stomach, before unholstering his gun and shooting the man with a dart.
Izuku’s heart raced. For a moment, he thought he had been about to see an execution. Either way, they dragged the soon-unconscious man away, before they unlocked his cell and came in.
“No funny business. Don’t wanna end up like that guy.”
They reached behind him, unlocking his manacles, and pulled him to his feet. Spots appeared in his vision, and he knelt again for a moment to catch his breath. The two guards grabbed him by his shoulders and pulled him to his feet.
They half-carried, half-dragged him toward the end of a brightly lit hall. Most of the cells he passed were empty, but he thought one of the prisoners looked like one of the people he had been chasing before he’d been knocked out.
“You guys have the wrong idea, I promise,” Izuku said, groaning as he tried not to throw up.
“We’ll let our boss decide that. That’s none of our business.”
The tiles under his feet swayed with every step they took, and Izuku’s vision went dark for a moment. He heard them open the door, and quickly found himself placed in a chair. He took a sharp breath and leaned forward, trying to regain his grasp on his body, no longer supported by the guards.
“I hope you’ve got better things to say for yourself than the three goons we talked to before you. I’m not in a great mood, and you’re gonna give me the answers I want.”
“I-I’m sorry sir, I don’t know what I’m doing here,” Izuku said, shutting his eyes tight against the lights.
“My daughter did a good job knocking you out, then.”
“Don’t play coy with me, jackass. The girl you were attacking.”
“No, no, you’ve got it all wrong. The last thing I remember is chasing-”
Across the desk, a phone vibrated. As Izuku opened his eyes, he realized it was his phone.
He took in the man’s face as it paled. It looked familiar - he’d seen it before. Maybe on the news? The suit and tie brought the memory back, and he raced to remember the man’s name. A billionaire, one of the richest men in Japan.
“Is this a joke?” the man said, holding up Izuku’s phone so he could examine the caller ID.
“Oh, shit. Oh, no, no, no.”
Izuku’s vision blacked out again, and he leaned over to empty his stomach.
The man picked up.
“Who is this?”
The man’s face paled further, before he ended the call.
“Why the hell do you have All Might in your contacts list? Are you his secret son?”
“Yaoyorozu. You’re the head of the Yaoyorozu Corporation.”
“Answer the question. Who is he to you?” the businessman demanded, before leaning back and pressing his fingers to his temples. “Oh, dear. Someone bring him a towel. Clean him up a little.”
“This is just a misunderstanding, I promise. I was never trying to hurt her. I heard someone scream, and ran to help.”
“We didn’t find a hero license in your wallet, kid.”
“Well, that’s because I don’t have one. I can’t give all the details.”
Mr. Yaoyorozu scoffed. “You don’t have that privilege right now. You’re sitting in my private jail, on my property, with my men surrounding you. The only thing saving you from spending the next several years here is that call from All Might, which you still haven’t explained.”
“It’s hard to explain, really. He’s sort of been mentoring me for a few months. I’ll be attending UA.”
“Certainly a good story. Tell you what, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. You don’t strike me as anything like the other three attackers,” Mr. Yaoyorozu said, gesturing to a man carrying a wet rag and a few pills. “Clean yourself up and take those. They’ll help with the pain, and will probably stabilize that concussion of yours.”
Izuku set the pills on the desk in front of him and took the rag as offered, wiping his face and mouth. After hesitantly taking the pills, his phone slid across the table. “Call him back. Tell him you’re fine.”
Izuku took the phone and did as he was ordered, gently holding the phone to his ear.
“Oh, dear. You scared us there for a moment. What’s happened? Are you safe?”
“I’m sorry. I, uh, got into a bit of trouble. Not with the police. I… I think I’m safe.”
“Who was that on the phone earlier?”
Izuku looked to the man across the table, who nodded. “The head of the Yaoyorozu Corporation. I got mixed up in something. I think I saw his daughter get attacked, but when I ran to help, someone knocked me out. I only woke up a few minutes ago.”
“Where are you right now?”
At that, Mr. Yaoyorozu shook his head and put his hand forward. Izuku didn’t really want to give up his phone, but he didn’t see a different choice.
“I’m sorry, but he wants to speak to you again.”
Izuku didn’t wait. Not in this situation. Not with his head still spinning.
“Yes, this is Yaoyorozu. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding. Due to privacy concerns, we can’t tell you where he is, but we’ll take good care of him. I’ll call you back,” he said, hanging up. “You two. Take him upstairs. Situate him in one of the rooms in the guest house. Make sure the doctor takes a look at him.”
“Wait, my mom, I need to call my mom-”
“We’ll bring your phone up in a moment. Actually, I’ll just call your mentor on my own phone. I’ve got his number somewhere. What was your name?”
“Midoriya. Izuku Midoriya.”
“Alright, my apologies, Midoriya. It would appear we’ve made a terrible mistake,” the man said, standing up and handing Izuku his phone once more. “I’m sure you can understand our concern, though. My daughter is precious to me. When I heard that she had been attacked, I was furious. Perhaps you’ll meet her more properly should you get into that school.”
Izuku’s brain hurt from all the questions he wanted to ask. It hurt from a lot more than that, of course, but the questions certainly didn’t help. At any rate, he didn’t have time to think, not as he was herded out of the room and up a flight of stairs. The door ahead of him opened automatically, a thick, heavy thing which hissed as it slid outward.
The interior of the building surprised Izuku. Firelight flickered across the room and soothed his eyes, his quirk growing uncomfortably close to the surface. Above his head, a chandelier twinkled merrily. Expensive carpets and sofas furnished the room, and he looked around. He could hear a distressed voice, but wasn’t quite sure what it was. As they moved him toward the front door, he saw two figures obscured by the twisted glass window in the door. Closer to the voice, he could make out a few words.
“... dead, I killed… alright?”
The words were alarming, but the tone they were said in was anything but. That didn’t sound like the murderer’s testimonials he’d heard on TV before.
As they opened the door, a guard outside swiftly moved between them and the other figure, who dodged out of the way to get a look at the people exiting the building.
A girl, around his age, peered around the side of the guard. Seeing him, her eyes went wide, and she took a few steps back.
“That answers my question, I suppose. He’s alright?”
“He has a nasty concussion, Miss, but he’ll be fine. He seems like he’s got some sort of healing quirk,” the guard to Izuku’s left said.
“Oh, thank the lord. I really thought I killed him. The sound his head made when it hit the ground scared me.”
“Thanks for that, by the way. I’m sorry if I startled you,” Izuku said, his tone more sour than expected.
The girl’s face turned pink. “What are you bringing him out here for, anyway?”
“I’m afraid you’ll have to ask your father that. I don’t know how much he wants you to know.”
“Oh, you’re his daughter? Future classmates, then.”
“Quiet down, kid.”
“No, he’s got my interest. My dad wouldn’t keep secrets from me. Let him speak.”
“Fine, but it’s our jobs on the line. You better speak up for us if your dad gets our asses for it.”
“What’s he doing out here? If he was dangerous, you would have kept him down there.”
“Fair enough. We’ve got orders to bring him to the guest house. Our shift is almost up, so if you’ll follow us there, we can pass you two off to one of the other guards in there. What was his name? Gerard?”
“Yes, Jerry works in the guest house. We can talk while we walk. I want to hear from him, though. What’s your name?”
“Izuku Midoriya,” he said, his head spinning.
“Momo Yaoyorozu,” she said, extending her hand. She made a thoughtful expression and laughed. “This is a little strange.”
“Not every day I get knocked out, kidnapped, interrogated, and then introduced to a future classmate. Well, hopefully a future classmate,” he said as they began to walk toward the guest house. Sort of, anyways. Izuku mostly limped as the two guards supported him. “What did you hit me with?”
“Oh, that would’ve been a metal stave. It’s sort of my go-to weapon. A lot of my training was centered around bojutsu when I was younger.”
The guards exchanged a look. Seeing their boss’ daughter being so friendly with a guy they had dragged out of a cell less than half an hour ago, who she had apparently knocked out and almost killed in the first place, was odd. Momo was more demanding than her father, but also about twice as scary half the time. She didn’t even mean to be.
“You can definitely hit pretty hard with it.”
“Yeah, I’m proud of it. I guess I need to work on my control, though. I really thought I killed you,” she said, laughing. Izuku finally realized how rigidly she was walking. She must’ve been super nervous.
“Well, I’m still alive. No big deal, right?”
Momo turned to look at him. “Just like that? No big deal?”
“I mean, if it was kind of an accident, there’s no harm done,” Izuku said. He missed a step and groaned as they pulled him up. “No permanent harm, anyway. I heal pretty fast. I think I must’ve bruised myself up pretty bad when I fell.”
“We’ll get the doctor to fix you up as soon as we can, then. Um… I’m really sorry.”
They continued walking in awkward silence for a minute or two before the guest house came into view. The Yaoyorozu estate was enormous, as expected of a billionaire’s residence. Everything was beautifully built, with ancient hardwood trees dotting the landscape. A large fountain filled the middle of the courtyard.
“You never did tell me how we might be future classmates.”
“Oh, well…” Izuku thought for a moment. How much should he tell her? She was a stranger to him, but if what they’d said earlier was correct, her father would be telling her everything anyway. He made his decision. “Your father said you’d be going to UA. Tosh- All Might has been mentoring me for a few months, he wants me to take the entrance exam.”
“You’re mentoring under All Might?” Momo asked, her eyes twinkling. “That’s actually pretty amazing! How’d you meet him?”
“Your dad thought I was All Might’s son when he called me, which probably scared me more than it scared him. It’s sort of supposed to be a secret. If word got out that All Might had a secret lovechild somewhere, my life would be over,” Izuku shuddered. “Oh, how did I meet him? I guess I ought to answer your question first. He was chasing down a villain who had gotten caught stealing, and my friend and I ended up in the villain’s path… I thought we were both dead for a second, but then he showed up and took care of it. He brought us to the police station to get checked up and to hand over the villain and we talked and I guess he took a liking to me.”
They continued chatting as they reached the guest house, a three-story structure that looked like it cost more than Izuku’s entire apartment block. Even if he knew the theory about how rich the Yaoyorozus were, seeing it in person made his head spin. That might have been the concussion, though.
As they entered the building, the guards traded him off to someone new, presumably the Jerry they had mentioned earlier. This guard was a lot more relaxed, helping Izuku over to a couch to sit down. He kept an eye on them, of course, but was nowhere near as on-edge as the guards who had to handle the prisoners.
“Our physician ought to be here soon, he lives on the estate and is always available. He’s usually faster than this, but-”
As if on-cue, the door opened again, and a man walked in. He looked only vaguely recognizable as a doctor, without the tools and gadgets Izuku was used to seeing. No stethoscope hung around his neck, only a white suit and surgical mask. A briefcase by his side jingled merrily with bells.
“Good evening! Or morning, I think it would be by now. I see I’m a little late. Would you like me to take a look now or is there anything you’d like to ask first?”
Izuku shook his head, then grimaced. “I don’t suppose you’ve got any painkillers?”
“Well, after I take a look, I can give you some. I have to figure out what’s wrong with you to choose the right one, and the right dose,” the doctor said, gesturing for Izuku to stand up. “Now, this will be a little different than your usual check-up. My quirk allows me to tap into a person’s body, but it requires the target’s blood to use. Is that alright?”
Izuku couldn’t think of a reason not to, so he gingerly nodded.
The man reached into his briefcase and removed a small needle. “This ought to only feel like a small pinch, I’ve learned how to do this without anaesthetic. Anaesthetics can sometimes work against my quirk, so I try to do this without it.”
As the needle slid under his skin, he looked away. Momo was closer than he remembered, watching intently. It almost looked like she was taking notes. Izuku gave her a weak smile.
“I think you’re having more fun with this than me,” he said.
Her face turned red and she looked away. “Sorry! I’ve always paid attention to these sort of things. It might come in handy during hero work one day. I should’ve asked if you minded first.”
“That’s alright! I actually didn’t think of that. Maybe I’ll watch too.”
“No, that’s not necessary. It’s already over, in any case,” the doctor said, holding the syringe up. A single drop of blood fell into his palm, sinking in. Something tickled at the edge of his mind, a presence he wasn’t used to.
The doctor’s eyes rolled back in his head and he went stiff.
“Uh, is that supposed to happen?” Izuku said, his heart rate spiking.
“It’s completely normal. When he taps into someone else’s body, he loses a lot of control over his own. When he first started here he used a wheelchair whenever he’d do this,” the guard explained.
The quirk's sensation was odd, but not unpleasant, Izuku decided. It felt like feathery touches all over him, something like a curtain waving in the breeze against his skin. In a matter of minutes it was over, and the presence returned to his head.
The doctor's eyes fluttered open as it faded. "Well, I have some good news for you! When I first heard about your condition upon arriving, I hadn't counted on your healing factor. From what I observed, you heal especially fast. Your brain was definitely jostled but it seems to be sorting itself out. You've got a very nice quirk there, young man."
Izuku gave an awkward smile. He wasn't going to dispute his quirk with the doctor, but it was strange for . “I’m not sure that’s my quirk, actually. My mom says I just have a strong constitution. Speaking of her… Can I call her yet? She’s probably worried out of her mind. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her bust down the gates and drag Mr. Yaoyorozu out by his ear until he told her where I was.”
By the time Izuku was finished convincing Inko he was alright (or at least alive), the painkillers had kicked in. He wasn’t sure what they were specifically but they definitely worked. Now that the headache was gone, his body cried for rest. The silk bedsheets of the guest room and heavenly mattress felt strange against his back.
On the one hand, they were mindblowingly comfortable. On the other, they weren’t his own. Sleeping away from home always made him a little tense. His mind was racing just thinking of the consequences of tonight.
He’d made acquaintances with a billionaire and his daughter by being kidnapped. His secret mentor had been revealed to a handful of new people, and he’d had his ass handed to him in the middle of his first semi-legal attempt at heroism.
No, Izuku didn’t think he’d sleep very well at all.
It was another month before Izuku engaged in any sort of heroism again. His concussion had healed within a week, and he’d felt better than ever - having a new friend definitely helped. When Toshinori and Inko had come to pick him up, Momo had given him her number, and had kept up a correspondence. She told him she’d let him know when she’d be in town again, so he could maybe avoid getting knocked out again.
Izuku found himself on a walk once more, this time on the quicker way home. The sun had already set over the ocean, but he’d stuck around to haul a bit more trash away. By the time he’d cleared up another few feet of sand, his mom had grown worried sick.
Even after sunset, the road was busy with people seeking dinner or getting off work. It made a good situation for a bit of extra training, in his opinion - Toshinori had mentioned how poor Izuku’s situational awareness was at times. Despite his fast reaction times, he was almost too easy to sneak up on.
As a result, the boy had made a bit of a game out of walking home. He’d pick out a certain face, or smell, or noise, and focus on it above everything else going on. Tonight, he had chosen a passerby on the other side of the road, pausing before they entered a small shop for dinner. Behind the glass storefront, he could see everything. The smell of food filled his nose and his stomach grumbled at the thought of getting food at home, and his mouth watered.
A different smell permeated the air a moment later. Gas? A pit replaced the hunger in his stomach.
A moment later, the storefront shattered, and flames blew the pedestrian away. Izuku yelled and ran toward the situation, seeing people still in the now-blazing store. Without a thought for his own safety, he rushed in and felt like he’d been punched in the chest by Endeavor.
Behind the register, he could see an unconscious, badly burned man. He held his breath as he grabbed the man, carrying him over his shoulder. Under a counter, Izuku could see a mother and her child hiding, unable to reach the door through the flames. His shoulders felt cold as he ran out of the store and put the injured man on the ground, running back in to grab the remaining two. A small crowd had gathered outside, and he winced at flashes of light as they took pictures.
Adrenaline pounded in his veins as he ran back into the store, and he tore off his burned shirt to beat a path through the flames. He could feel his legs beginning to burn, and his thoughts finally caught up with his actions.
He was on fire. His skin was so hot he felt cold, and he remembered the first time he’d created fire with his own quirk. Someone had tripped him, and the shock of it caused an accidental quirk flareup, with his quirk roaring out and burning his hand terribly. By some miracle, there had been no permanent damage.
He passed through a cloud of smoke and saw the mother and daughter sitting there, almost unconscious from smoke inhalation.
I gotta get them out of here.
It hurt to move, to breathe, and he still had to carry two people.
He picked them both up and took a deep breath of burning air, before sprinting through the fire and smoke, tripping over an overturned stool as he neared the entrance. He threw the mother and daughter out of the store, where they tumbled to safety, burned and bruised but alive.
Izuku couldn’t tell if there was something wrong with his eyes or if the air was just shimmering. He pushed himself up on blackened arms, stumbling out of the flames coated in ash.
The cold air felt nice against what was left of his skin, and seeing everyone alive relieved him. Someone snapped a picture of him, and as the adrenaline, pain, and the associated endorphin response kicked in, he smiled.
And for the second time in two months, he hit the ground.
Izuku woke up in a much more comfortable place than last time, though he felt like he was in a considerable amount more pain than he had been last time.
Izuku tried to grunt in response, but couldn’t make any noise through the tube down his throat.
“No, no, don’t try talking yet, kid. You were roughed up pretty bad at that store.”
Finally, he opened his eyes, and strained against the bright lights in what appeared to be a hospital room. A nurse approached him from the door with a clipboard and pen, and stood next to him, checking machines attached to him.
“You’re a rather remarkable young man. I tell you what, you’re made of hardy stuff to have survived that.”
Izuku smiled, but couldn’t feel it. Actually, he couldn’t feel much beyond his back. His chest, arms, and legs all the way into his extremities felt almost entirely numb. Part of him wondered how bad the damage was, the rest of him wasn’t sure he wanted to see it.
“I imagine you’re wondering how bad it is. Well, the fact that you’re awake right now is a very good sign. When the paramedics arrived for you, you were still on fire, but when we couldn’t put you out we figured out that it was your quirk causing that.”
Izuku’s eyebrows (which had miraculously survived the fire, along with his hair) furrowed. At his expression, the nurse pulled out a small smartphone, turning it to the front-facing camera and pointing it to him.
His face was pink. Like, shockingly bright pink. His hair had somehow made it through the fire intact, but the green against pink did not make him look attractive.
“It looked like you were half burnt to a crisp at first, but your quirk seems to heal you pretty well. When we looked it up, we didn’t get anything about the healing part, but that happens all the time. You should probably update the quirk registry with that information!”
I guess Toshinori was right. My quirk has something more to it than just fire.
Before too long, he was cleared to remove the breathing tube, and promptly drank a half a gallon of an offered electrolyte drink. He was happy to be mostly intact, but still had no feeling in half of his body. The doctors ran tests for about an hour to determine if anything else had changed, but his body seemed to work properly.
“Your quirk seems to have saved your life, son. Take this as a learning experience, though, and don’t go running into burning buildings again! We’ll still have to file a report about juvenile vigilantism, you know,” the doctor said, writing up a note for him. “Here, take this. From what we’ve seen, your quirk draws on the nutrients and water available in and on your body to rebuild itself. It’s not every day you learn something like this about yourself.”
“Thank you sir! I’m sorry for the trouble.”
He was cleared to leave the hospital, but that unfortunately meant a trip in a police car to the station, where he met an extremely frantic mother.
“Izuku!” his mother yelled, rushing up to hold him in a tight hug.
“Ow! Mom!” Izuku yelped as his clothes brushed against his skin roughly.
“Young man, you scared me half to death! What were you thinking?” his mother cried, her face a mixture of stress, parental anger, and relief.
They entered the station, and Toshinori paused in his conversation. He’d been talking to someone with short black hair, wearing a white shirt and a red tie.
“Izuku! Goodness gracious, kid. I’m glad to see you looking well. When I heard you’d been hurt, I was terrified!”
“I’m sorry, I kind of got in over my head. I underestimated how badly I’d get burned.”
“That’s part of why I like you, I guess,” Toshinori said, earning him a dirty look from Inko. “You didn’t think, did you?”
“No. I guess that ended me up here. Toshinori, about the vigilantism stuff…” “Don’t worry about it! My name is Detective Tsukauchi, I’m an old friend of All Might’s. I’ll be sorting things out with the police here, he’s told me all about UA’s intentions.”
“Izuku? What are they talking about?”
A sheepish smile crossed his face. “Well, remember when I ran into some trouble with the Yaoyorozu family?”
His mother frowned. She didn’t like where this was going, not if it would cause her boy this much trouble.
“If I may?” Toshinori said, “UA and All Might are running a sort of program. Since Izuku met All Might, I’m sure you’re aware they’ve been meeting to help Izuku train for the entrance exam.”
Inko nodded, and he continued. “When Izuku visited the campus last month, Principal Nezu asked for a sort of favor. They’re working on ways to give their students more practical experience before they even get their hero licenses. Izuku is running as a pilot for this program, with All Might acting as his hero mentor. That’s the reason Izuku will be off the hook for vigilantism tonight.”
“I don’t like it. Did nobody think to run this by me?” Inko responded, her lip trembling. “Izuku, baby, I know you want to be a hero, but this is the second time in a month you’ve gotten yourself hurt. Can’t you wait until you’re older, or after you graduate?”
Izuku looked away. If he wasn’t careful, he’d start crying too.
“I’m sorry, mom. I should have told you before anyone else. But this is something I think I have to do. Every hero has stories about them from before their high school days.”
That morning, Izuku woke to a flood of texts from Katsuki and one from Momo.
“Izuku? Are you okay? I saw what happened on the news. -6:17 AM” Momo’s message read, with a link attached to a video.
He took a moment to process it, before scrambling to find his clothes. Tugging his shirt over his head stung as his new skin stretched, though he looked significantly less pink than he did yesterday.
Typing back a response was an ordeal. His fingers didn’t hit the right keys, and he almost dropped his phone twice as he entered the living room. Having no feeling in his fingertips was beginning to suck.
“I’m mostly fine. I learned something about my quirk -7:23AM”
As he finished the text, he clicked on the link she had sent and almost had a heart attack. Someone had written an article about him! His act had earned him a spot in the newspaper!