He was… unimpressed.
Izuku twirled his mechanical pencil in his hand.
Quirk history class wasn't what he expected, but then again what did he expect from high school history? They were just repeating the same thing he had read, heard about, and had been lectured about for years.
"The cause of the appearance of quirks is unknown, other than that it started 200 years ago…"
His green eyes glazed over as the teacher regurgitated the same stuff that society had been talking about for over a century.
His interest in the subject- quirks and the emergence of heroes- was the only thing that kept him going. But hearing the same info so many times made him slightly cynical about the start of the era. As amazing as it would have been during the time when quirks were rare, nowadays, Quirk-Bearers formed 80% of the population. They were common, so made the whole topic desperately mundane. The cause of it all no longer mattered to him.
Quirks themselves, on the other hand... those were still interesting. His eyes drifted to the explosion of blonde hair in front of him. His childhood friend... or was she an ex-childhood friend at this point? His pencil stopped twirling as abruptly as his thoughts.
He flipped open his journal, 'Heroics for the Future; Concepts #5', and found an empty page before starting to draw her out. Sharp chin, lean but heavily muscular body, he knew how strong she was under that baggy school uniform from experience. He rubbed a sore spot in his ribs. The gentle curves of femininity, nothing extravagant…
He chuckled to himself.
She's almost... aerodynamic.
His mind stopped drifting as he looked down on the writing and small sketches in front of hi-
"Midoriya!" His attention shot back to his teacher, who was looking down at him with slight annoyance. She huffed. "I know you probably know all this stuff already, but could you at least not mutter?" He looked sheepishly around.
Katsumi had leaned back in her chair and was glaring at him, the livid glint in her crimson eyes shining brightly, the one that hadn't left her eyes since what- they were 4? He could barely remember her not looking at him with such malice. Honestly, he missed when she didn't look at him like that.
She looked prettier without it.
Shaking his head, he apologized profusely, still blushing madly at the small thought that floated through his stream of consciousness. The attention of the class gradually moved back to the teacher, although some girls were still casting him weird looks. They were something between being impressed and creeped out. Then again, those were the looks he- well, men got.
Ever since quirks became a thing, a pattern became apparent. As rapidly the number of quirk bearers increased in women, the number of men dropped with them, and now they only made up 20% of the total population. Seeing one nowadays had a kind of 'novelty' to it, and creeped some people out. But honestly, he couldn't blame them.
With the rare exception of full families, most families were now just a single mother getting impregnated by donated sperm. His own mom was in the same situation and he doubted any of his classmates had ever even seen their dad, let alone been in the same room with a man other than himself.
He began twirling his pencil again.
It was automatic, no conscious effort was given to it, but he found that it suppressed his muttering. Maybe it kept his subconscious busy enough so his mouth remained shut. He took a quick break to jot down the note in his journal as quickly as possible before beginning to twirl it again.
Maybe this was his quirk? Overactive subconscious?
He smiled a sad smile. Yeah right...
Men don't have quirks.
The bell rang, derailing his train of thought. The class was over and so was the day. The teacher bid farewell and left the classroom. He took a deep breath… and was quickly covered in smoke and ash as his desk sprouted a miniature mushroom cloud.
"Dekuuuu…." Katsumi seethed. She was mad at him. Again.
"Y-yes, Kacchan?" He grimaced. Why did he keep letting that nickname fly through his lips? Katsumi's eyes shined even brighter with anger.
"What the fuck were you murmuring about back here?" Her tone was calmer than what he had expected and what was used to. If her hand wasn't sizzling on his desk with enough heat to leave a mark and her eyes didn't have that glow, he might have thought she was actually relatively calm.
But damn did she look terrifying. "N-nothing!"
Smooth, real smooth, Deku, h e chided himself as Katsumi lifted up her hand and took his journal "H-hey, give i-"
She cut him off. "Oh really? 'Cause I could have sworn that you were writing something down on this." She started flipping through pages and pages of concepts, of how pro heroes could use their powers, possible support gear for them and even some for her classmates and- "Oh there it is..." she flipped to the most recent page. The one about her. An analysis of her quirk along with support gear, with a picture of her for reference. "I still can't believe you are making these. Especially when they are not going to work for a man like you." She looked up to see his reaction.
She paled when she saw the raw determination in his eyes. Dammit. It's still there.
"I'll find a use for them."
His stutter was gone.
"When I become a hero."
Some of the remaining classmates tried hiding their giggles, some outright laughed at him.
Katsumi only wordlessly stared at him for a good couple of seconds.
Then his journal in her hands exploded.
Fuck, not again…
She let the remains of the journal drop back to his desk.
"You. Are. Never. Going. To. Become. A. Hero."
He looked down on the sad remains of his journal and felt someone pat his head; the hand brushed through his curly hair and landed on his shoulder. The delicate gesture would be appreciated if the hand didn't start to sizzle against his shoulder painfully. He hoped that the heat would disappear, and only began to breathe again once it started to dissipate.
"So be a good boy," he looked up to catch Katsumi smiling down at him.
His breath hitched.
"And give up."
Katsumi started walking away from him after that.
"And stop drawing me you creep!" she huffed and exited the classroom, hand still smoking.
No one noticed Izuku's increased heart rate, and no one truly knew why he had a full body blush.
He can still look at me like that... She hissed in aggravation, clutching the page she stole from his notebook, the page with his newest sketch of her.
He kicked a pebble across the road, trying his best to ignore the looks he got from children during his trek back home. Sighing, he took a turn leading to a more isolated route.
He didn't want to see the wonder in the little girls' eyes right now, it hurt to see them. Lost in thought, he didn't notice the manhole cover shudder as he walked over it.
He didn't have time to react when it flew off and his whole world suddenly turned a sickly neon green.
"Phahaha!" his captor bellowed as her slimy body wrapped around him in a dangerously affectionate hug. "Such a nice catch~" She giggled as he grasped at her, trying to force her off of him, only for his hands to flow through her harmlessly. "I would love to tease you more but I have someone to hide from..." Izuku felt his mouth get forced open, and her body start to slither in. "So let me borrow your body."
She tasted like lime against his throat.
So this is it, huh?
This is how I die?
He closed his eyes, the pain of her forcing her way through his throat making his eyes water…
Wait- she felt like water!
And she was in his throa-
"C'mon, stop struggling, it'll only hurt for a mome-" She suddenly felt his throat tighten immensely around her tendril, enough to shear the tip off ...
What the hell?
Izuku heaved as the tendril bubbled back out and he managed to cough out the rest, taking deep erratic breaths. His whole throat was burning and aching, but she was out, for now. He forced his legs to move under her slimy grasp until his muscles finally budged and started to move. It felt was like he was walking through cement, but he only needed to move a couple more meters.
Gotta get somewhere public, then she'll be forced to run away.
"My, my~ You are a feisty one, aren't you?" He could hear her mockingly compassionate tone against his neck. "Too bad you're gonna die..." He could feel her pushing against his lips again, trying to get back in. He couldn't pull what he did last time again, his throat was already too tired. So if she got in, it would be the end.
"DO NOT FEAR!" His eyes snapped open as his whole body twisted with shock to look at the manhole.
"FOR I AM HERE!"
Before he knew what was happening, the slime villain was blown off him. He felt his insides rattle from a shockwave.
She did that with just the air pressure of her punch!?
His internal gyroscope won over the imbalance caused by the punch and he managed to land on his feet, skidding to a halt. He slowly looked up and saw her, standing proud with her signature grin.
His idol, the number one hero.
"A-All Might?" he squeaked out before promptly falling on his ass unconscious.
He woke up to a calloused, but slender hand slapping him softly and repeatedly. "Young one? Young one are you ok?" His eyes snapped open and saw All Might looking down on him, her golden hair flowing free with two bangs in that signature gravity-defying V-shape.
She is gorgeous up close- Wait, up close?!
With an undignified yelp, he scooted back away from the hero with a blush on his face. "A-Aall Might?! You saved me?" He tore his eyes away from the larger-than-life stature of All Might: tall and muscular. He looked around trying to find his bag as his inner fanboy kicked in.
"C-can I ha-" He saw her holding up the backpack he was looking for. She tossed it to him with her usual gallant smile and he was awestruck to find his notebook inside... "You already signed it? Thank you!" He began to bow rapidly. She nodded in response and patted the bottles in her pocket, where he could see green slime flowing within them. She had caught the villain.
"Take it as an apology for letting her-" her smile faltered only an increment, Izuku barely managed to catch it- "get to you."
Izuku bowed down once more "I-it's really no problem, ma'am. Y-you don't need to apologize."
She looked him over and saw the redness on his throat "If that mark-" she pointed at his throat, causing him to reach up and touch it reflexively and wince a little as he felt his throat ache again- "got on you. That's on me, so…"
"Midoriya," Izuku answered the unspoken question.
"So, I am sorry, Young Midoriya." The number one hero felt her time limit make itself known in the back of her head. "But with that I must take my leave, more people to save!" She crouched down and got ready to jump.
Suddenly, Izuku's body reared back to life "Wait, All Migh-" Seeing her start to unleash the potential energy in her legs to jump, he reacted.
And grabbed onto her leg.
All Might felt... off, even more than she usually did as her body broke down on her. It felt like one of her legs was heavier… But that didn't make sen-
She looked down.
"Midoriya?! What are you doing! Let go!" He looked back at her with watery eyes and flappy lips as they soared through the air. "Oh... right..."
After a graceful landing on an abandoned rooftop, All Might looked back at her unexpected passenger. "Look kid, I'm worried about you, but don't overstep it." She turned her back and started to prep up for another jump. Izuku managed to shake off his near-death experience and blurted his question out, looking down.
"Can a man be a hero?"
All Might halted and then felt her limit break. Steam started billowing from her frame as she shrank. Her muscular form ebbed away, and her skin tightened around her skeleton as her muscles deflated.
"Can a man save people with a fearless smile on their face, like you? It's just... even before I could speak, I wanted to be a hero, to save people just like y-" He looked up and saw a skeletal impostor where his hero used to be. "-ouuuuuuuuuuuu..." His mouth slammed shut.
"Imposto-" He raised an accusatory finger only to be silenced by said impostor raising her hand up.
"It's me, Midoriya-" She was interrupted by blood spewing from her mouth.
"I am All Might."
"A shapeshifting villain? No, then why would she save me… A shapeshifting hero? Why would she fake being All Might? Then all the credit would go to her-"
"A shapeshifting vigilante? That's possib-"
Izuku found himself standing salute. "Yes, All Might!" he yelled before he caught himself. That person isn't All Might, she couldn't b-
"Look, kid, It's me, and since you have seen this much..." Her sunken blue eyes pierced his green ones as she pulled up her shirt. He immediately covered them and started blushing. "Not that you- Just look over here!" He peeked through his fingers to see a savage scar on her side. "The smile is hollow," she stated, "much like the facade I need to keep after I got this wound five years ago."
He shuddered looking at the scar. If it's half as deep as it was wide, then how is she even aliv-
"Wait, five years ago? Was it in the battle with Toxic Chainsaw?"
All Might lost her serious look and chuckled slightly. "I don't know if I should be creeped out or impressed that you know enough about me to even guess that." The smile melted away. "But no. It was from an undisclosed attack."
Izuku's knees started to feel weak as she continued her speech. "The Symbol of Peace should never bow to evil, so this information stays between us." She let her shirt down, covering her wound again. "And, kid, I am sorry but... You can't be a hero."
Izuku had a hard time breathing as All Might went on. "You've seen what happened to-" She sighed. "Even me." He could tell she didn't want to add that. "I can't condone someone quirkless going after villains and endangering themselves."
She rose to her feet and patted his shoulder before turning and walking away. "But don't worry Midoriya, there are many other ways to become someone's hero. Firefighting, police work, charity…" She sighed again. "I'm sure you will find a way, but don't obscure the facts… For your own safety."
Izuku managed to whimper out an 'I see…' as she opened the roof access and left.
He desperately grasped at his collar, trying to unbutton it and allow air into his empty lungs.
"What the fuck are you doing?" Katsumi snarled, glaring at one of her lackeys and grabbing the cigarette out of her elongated fingers before proceeding to stomp on it.
"Hey, c-calm down, Kaccha- " she yelped as an explosion went off in the ash blonde's hands.
" You don't get to call me that... "
"Oooooo~" the explosive teen turned around to see the source of the sound and got a mouthful of slime for her effort.
"Quite the quirk you got there, Camouflage~" Katsumi felt her body being invaded by the slime.
Her cowardly lackeys already running away.
Her hands started to go off with explosions against her will in panic.
It was a blur for her; battling with her own body to stay conscious took its toll, so she didn't even notice the time passing. In the blink of an eye, the alleyway she was in was covered in flames and the entrance was surrounded by heroes. Yet none took a step forward to actually come and help her.
Why... She was feeling herself fade. Why is no one helping me?
She could imagine why.
She couldn't help but think of the greenish-black mop of hair that she had been friends with way back when-
God, I really am dying if I'm already hearing voices - She saw the familiar black mop dashing towards her.
Izuku had managed to break through the wall of civilians and heroes and was running towards her at speeds she couldn't even imagine him reaching.
No! Go away!
You'll get hurt...
"You lost your chance boy~" the villain mocked him as she lashed out with a tendril.
The next few seconds were replayed in the news for a week straight.
Izuku, now seemingly powered by a goddamn god, did a combat flip under the tendril, not even slowing down a little as his hand grabbed onto a decently-sized rock which he pitched hard at the villain as he got back up.
There was a soft 'What the fuck?' from one of the heroes as the stone flew from his hand and stuck true in the eye of the villain.
As the villain screeched in pain, the tendrils lost their grip on Katsumi, allowing her to get a well-needed gulp of air. But before she could ask what the fucking hell he was doing here, he was in front of her. Red boots ground against the asphalt as Izuku pivoted his body and speared the mass of slime with his arm, grabbing hold of her waist.
Katsumi hadn't felt him initiate contact in ages, but as his hand wrapped around her tightly, she felt…
Throwing his other leg to the side, the green-eyed hero wannabe twisted his whole body fluidly and managed to pull Katsumi out of the villain's grasp.
"BLOW HER THE FUCK UP!" he screamed as he pulled her to an embrace, his body between the villain and her defensively. Katsumi complied and rose her arms up to the 'face' of her tormentor, taking some pleasure in the outright horror that was found in the villain's one good eye.
And let loose an explosion.
The whole street shook.