The dojo had a distinctive scent to it that no matter how many times the hard wooden floor was cleaned hung in the air welcoming all that entered. It was the scent of sweat, of hard work, of dedication, with a healthy dose of incense all bound together through years of training and practice.
She turned the slow movement as they changed from stretch to stretch was reflected by her fellow disciples, some rushed ahead of her, others lagged behind, and a few got the positions wrong. A mirror ran along the far wall of the dojo. One of her earliest memories of this dojo was about that mirror, her father warning her not to lick it when they had first arrived. That was eight years ago.
While the students changed like the seasons the biggest change was her father's mustache, though there was still a bit of pepper hidden among his grey hairs. Her father was a tall slender man that looked more at home in his white training gi than he did in a t-shirt. For as long as she could remember he had served as her father and her Sensei even if he only let her into the "Adult" class just last year.
Once more they all shifted, their legs pressed straight against the ground while they tried to touch their toes. It was a standard stretch one that was even done at school, but still a good stretch, at least that's what her father told her. Outside of knowing that stretching was good for her, she didn't know much more outside of that.
The door opened, allowing the invasive sounds of the nearby road to puncture their tranquility. Lifting her head up just the slightest amount she looked towards the entrance. A plump green haired woman was shuffling her feet to take off her shoes while a green haired boy did the same.
A bandage was stuck to the boy's cheek covering several of his freckles, and another was wrapped around his right hand. Somehow he managed to look twice as nervous as any newcomer that came before him. With his slender stature and the way his posture was slouched, he looked like a nerd.
It was probably some concerned mother trying to toughen up their son to give them more confidence. There wasn't anything wrong with that, but few of those students lasted. Fewer still stuck with her father's class.
"Itsuka, lead for a moment. Stretches, crabwalks, sweeps." Her father said, holding out a simple hand gesture, his smile large enough that it nearly forced his eyes closed. That limp she had known all her life was present in the first few steps before his posture corrected itself.
"Kiya!" She shouted, directing the group into the next set of stretches.
"Hello, and welcome to my dojo," Her father gave the standard greeting, always eager to take on new students, it was a shame he was just as enthusiastic as sending them to what he thought were better teachers.
"Y-yes! Hi!" The woman squeaked, apparently, she was just as nervous as her son. "My name is Inko Midoriya, I spoke on the phone with a Kendo-sensei?"
"Ahh yes, Mrs. Midoriya, it's a pleasure to meet you." Her father said, no doubt giving a small bow to the pair. "And this must be the young man with a heroic soul, Izuku?"
"You, you, your-" The boy squeaked, maybe he learned his nervousness from his mother.
"Kyo!~" She shouted, forcing the group to the turn again.
"You're Kotetsu Kendo the Hurricane Striker!" Izuku blurted out. "Your quirk allows you to extend your legs, you used this in combination with your martial art skills to catch villains off guard!"
"Ohh, I didn't realize there were any fans still interested in a retired pro like me." Her father's laugh drew the attention of everyone. A sharp glare and a quick clap got everyone back on track. "Though don't think I'll go easy on you just because you buttered me up, now please, follow me we can talk in my office."
The office wasn't so much an office as much as it was just a room to the side that allowed him some privacy while still allowing him to see the dojo floor. There was no door, no desk, just two benches, and a small table.
"Ha!" She shouted, turning to face the rest of the disciples, clapping her hand as they all stood. "Alright, we're doing crab walks, get against the wall."
Should he ask him for his autograph? Did he even bring the correct notebook that had his quirk profile? That one was in his tenth notebook right? It should still be on his desk. Would that be weird? It was his fourth time meeting a hero that he had taken notes on, and this was the longest one so far.
Wait, wasn't he going to be his sensei? Would that be awkward?
"My, you sure do mumble a lot don't you." Hurricane Striker gave a small laugh, stroking at his well-kept beard that was a mix of black and white hairs a bit like pepper, his long black hair was smooth and pulled back into a small ponytail. He looked older than he did in the pictures but just as frightening.
"Sorry," He sucked on his lip trying to sink down into the bench. "Mr. Hurricane Striker-sensei sir!"
"It's fine my boy, but before you can call me Sensei, I do have a few questions I'd like to ask you." The retired pro-hero leaned forward, placing his elbows on his knees, his smile fading so that his pale blue eyes were visible. It was amazing how much a simple smile can change a man.
"Yes, Sir!" He shot back into his seat. There was a wave of terror radiating from this man that went well beyond his status as a pro-hero. His mother likewise did the same, place a hand over his chest like they were riding a train and it was coming to a sudden stop. This might have been a mistake.
"Your mother," he gestured towards his mother, she looked halfway to passing out. "Called me yesterday, asking if there was anything I could do to help you. She says that you have a habit of trying to help people, even when it would put your life in danger and she's worried about you."
"I know," he knew better than anybody that he wouldn't be able to do anything, that he couldn't stop them, but that boy was in trouble, and he thought they might listen to him, instead they both got beat up.
"I'd certainly hope so," Hurricane Strike's gaze continued to bore into him, it was hard to look him in the eyes, but harder not to, it felt like he was looking both into him and past him. "But, I didn't ask if you know. What I want to know is, why did you do it?"
He swallowed, finding the words stuck to the back of his throat like frozen grapes, cold, hard, and vaguely sour. The principal had asked him this too, he didn't really know then either. He still didn't know why he didn't get suspended, or why the bullies confessed, but the burn marks on their clothes looked similar to Kaachans quirk.
"I don't know," he said weakly, offering up a small shrug while twidling his thumbs. He spared a look to his mother, who was looking at him with just as much worry as before. He hated making her worry. "He needed my help."
"And what else?"
What else was there? There wasn't. He just saw someone in trouble and the rest was history. "I don't know, my body just moved on its own."
A low hum came from across the table, closer to the rumbling of a landslide than the deep chuckle that it was. A spark ignited in Hurricane Strike's pale blue eyes and he could once again see a smile pulling at his cheeks. "I see, tell me young Izuku do you wish to become a hero?"
"Yes!" He blurted out hands shooting down to the rough wooden bench he was sitting on. That bravado was as short-lived as a bottle rocket, fading before he even knew it was really there, just that one flash remained. "I mean, I do, but I don't have a quirk so I don't know if I can."
"I did not ask if you could," He placed his hand down on the small wooden table that separated them. His hands were rough, full of calluses, with strong well-defined muscles trailing up into his white sleeve. "I asked for your desire, now, place your hand in mine, face up."
He did as asked, the moment his hand touched Hurricane Striker's the man reached across the table sliding his own sleeve up to the elbow exposing his thin arms and nonexistent muscle.
"You have the heart and soul of a hero Izuku, but you do not have the body or mind of one, truly you are a divided individual." Kotetsu dragged a finger along the creases in his palm touching each of his fingers before sliding up his arm. "You are as weak as you are unsure of yourself, unfortunately, the last time will not be a last time, you will act again even when your mind and body are screaming at you to stop, your heart and soul will push you forward until you reach that last time."
"I'm not fool enough to believe that martial arts alone will allow you to stand up to those with devastating quirks. The strength I can teach you will not allow you to save people, it will simply allow you to survive when your heart and soul drive you once again." His smile vanished and his eyes turned into hooks pulling at his very being to shake loose any truths that he himself did not know. "Will, that be enough?"
A sharp pain and the warm irony taste of blood poured into his mouth, had he been biting his lip that hard? His heart was pounding in his chest, someone was giving him a chance. Someone was saying that he could do something, even without a quirk. Even if it was small. But he couldn't lie to him. Not now. His heart spoke first. "No."
A roar of laughter that was closer to that of a crazed war cry erupted from Kotetsu, one hand slapping his knee, while the other enclosed around his hand. "That's the answer. That is the answer! Very well young Midoriya, from this day forth you shall be one of my disciples. You won't let me down will you?"
"N-n-no, sir!" Something surged through him, growing with each passing moment, a new desire that flowed into his dreams of becoming a hero, a small flame that was the hope of success, a dream within a dream, the ambition of ambition. He wanted to study Martial Arts, and he wanted to be good at it. "I won't."
"I know you won't," Kotetsu grabbed his hand forcing it into a fist before placing both hands onto the table. "But I'm going to make you wish you did."
That didn't sound ominous at all.
"Now then, I will talk to your mother payment, as well as address any concerns she might have." Kotetsu, err, it was probably Kendo-sensei clapped his hands twice and paused. Nothing happened. He looked to his side and clapped again. "Hello, glorious first pupil of mine?" He leaned out of the room, "Itsuka! That's you get over here!"
A girl, about his age, with long orange hair tied into a ponytail that ended just below her shoulder, walked into view. She was taller than him, with teal green eyes and a half annoyed, half polite look on her face. She wore a white training outfit just like Kendo-sensei did though her belt was a different color. "Yes, Sensei?"
Kendo-sensei pulled her in by the waist giving her a quick hug and smiling wide enough to show off all his teeth. Much to the girl's embarrassment. "This is my prized pupil and daughter Itsuka. Today, she will be getting you your equipment, takings some measurements, and leading you through stretches."
"But dad," Itsuka began to whine.
"Ahhh ahhh, It's sensei right now. Now, listen to your sensei, one of the most important lessons to learn is how to teach others, because that will lead you to teaching yourself, it's a very important milestone in your growth."
"Uh-huh, and how do I know you're not just being lazy?"
"Ahh, but that is another lesson to learn, now please, take young Izuku for a moment, you two are the same age so I hope you become friends as student and master."
The girl smiled at the last word. He was starting to get the feeling that Kendo-sensei was a master at motivating people. Before he could so much as say hello Itsuka reached over and grabbed him by the wrist, pulling him up and out of the room with ease. She was a lot stronger than she looked. "Come on Izuku, let's get going."
A girl was touching him! And she was going to be talking to him? What was he supposed to do? He never talked to a girl before! Did this counter? He was talking to a girl.
Despite the fact that he hadn't even said anything yet.
She had a pupil! A disciple! Wait did that make her a master? Was this her father's unofficial way of saying that she was a master now? No! That wasn't it, this was a test! A test to see if she could handle her own class! If she had her own class she'd be a paid, which meant she'd be able to start saving up for her own motorcycle once she turned sixteen.
Ahh, this was going to be so great!
And thankfully she wasn't being forced to teach a little kid. Just a red-faced, scrawny, nervous-looking featherweight that had two left feet. No big deal, that was one of the first things they tried to correct. Balance and control over their own body, there were a lot of people that weren't aware of their own muscles.
She pulled him past the dojo, into the back room that was a mix of storage, locker, break, nurses office, and weight room with curtained changing rooms. Her father's massage and acupuncture table sat in the middle, with a pile neatly stacked mats underneath it. Practice weapons, namely staffs, both padded and pure wood were stacked in a corner near a variety of punching dummies. It had been a while since they had used them, even in the child class where the uncoordinated children loved to flail at them. Or hug them. It was 50/50 with most kids.
Releasing her new disciple next to the scales and height measuring equipment, she looked around the room looking for the charts her father kept. He stood where she left him, his mouth as moving and he was making noises but they weren't words. When she looked back at him, he stood straight, mouth shut, hopefully he wouldn't be too nervous to speak.
"So, how old are you?" She asked opening a drawer, finding what she was looking for, a clipboard and a stack of forms that her father filled out for their students. "Oh, and what school do you go to?"
"fourteen!" he squeaked and bowing at his waist hands at his sides. He shot back up a second later. "I go to Aldera Junior High."
"Oh, I think I went there once with the Martial Arts club," She marked his age on the charge, smiling in hopes to put him at ease. It didn't work. He bowed again. "I'm from Dantooine Junior, it's nice to meet you Izuku."
"Likewise." He bowed again. "Kendo-sensei."
She laughed, nudging him closer to the measuring device on the wall. He was a bit shorter than her, but that was true for a lot of boys her age. But she was probably done growing at her 166 cm (five foot five and one-quarter inches) the boys still had a few years to catch up and pass her. "You'll be calling my father that a lot, so why don't you just call me Itsuka? Besides, I don't think I'm your actual Master."
Her father was good at telling people what they wanted to hear. Especially her.
"Now stand straight, I need to get an accurate reading for your height."
She rolled her eyes and took his measurements. He was 157 cm (5'2), with a bit extra and weighed a whopping 53 kg (117lb), which meant that he actually did weigh less than her.
"Alright, now that that's taken care of," she tossed the largely unfilled chart to the side, her father could do the rest if he really wanted it, weight and height were really the only important ones for practicing. The only other thing that was important was - "Oh, wait, what's your quirk?"
"My quirk?" He stuttered, fidgeting with his fingers and shuffling his feet, his face was redder than most girls got when they talked about boys.
"Yea, we need to know if you need anything special done for your Gi, your quirks part of your body so part of training is learning your quirk too." She held out her hands, forcing them to grow. It was slow, but, bit by bit they grew to be roughly the size of her own body. "I'm still working on how fast I can make them grow, and how big I can get them."
"Woah," His face lit up. "Your quirk is amazing, if you can increase the speed of the growth fast enough you can add the extra force to your punches, or maybe not, they don't appear to be weighing you down does their weight not change?"
"It does! My hands are also stronger, watch!" She placed a single finger underneath the massage table and pulled it upwards with great ease. "I can also carry a lot more stuff when they're like this too." She put the table down lightly and began to shake like she was drying them her hands to make them shrink. "Still takes a while to get them back to normal."
"That's an amazing quirk you have, it's almost like your hands stay the same size but everything else shrinks." Izuku looked at her with wide-eyed intrigue.
Only her father had called her quirk interesting before and had been going out of his way to figure out a way for her to use it in Martial Arts. "Thanks, but what about your quirk?"
Izuku's excitement vanished, replaced with that nervousness once again. "Oh, I don't actually have a quirk."
Oh. That kind of explained a bit actually. At least she wouldn't have to go back and fill out that box. "Oh, well, okay then, I guess that you'll just need a regular gi then."
Digging through the storage locker she pulled one out and handed it to him. "Here, put this on, it should fit."
She hummed, waiting for him to finish changing behind the curtain. He didn't have a quirk huh? In a way that almost made him stand out more, it probably made him a target for bullies or teasing. Which was probably why he was in here, to begin with. Well, it was her job to make sure that he would be able to defend himself! Even just a little bit!
"How's it feel?" She asked.
His response was a gasp, followed by some incoherent babbling. Hopefully, he got over his nervousness before it drove him to quit. It'd look bad if her first pupil quit on her.
"Fine," he squeaked. "It's easy to move in."
"Good! That means it'll be easy for you to stretch in and then learn some real Martial Arts." She stood in front of the curtain, hands on her hips smiling in his general direction. He needed to see that she was comfortable around him, and maybe that would make him more comfortable around her. Besides, despite what her classmates said, she was not a scary person. She could just kick their asses. "Come on out, let me see."
The curtain was opened so slowly that it was painful, then Izuku stepped out. He was practically swimming in it.
Still, it was better than nothing.
"Alright, now you look the part of the pupil." She folded her hands in front of her and bowed towards him. He took a moment and mirrored her stance. From there she moved her hands in a circle, drawing herself upwards and into one of her favorite stances. One hand near her head, palm out, the other fully extended and ready to strike, while standing on one leg, the other drawn up so that her foot touched her knee. "Are you ready to learn Izuku?"
He tried to copy her, there was so much wrong with his stance, from the stiffness of his motions to the awkwardness of this resting angle, that it was easier to say the one thing that he did write. He tried. A moment after his foot left the ground he fell forward, barely catching himself before landing on the ground.
"Don't worry Izuku, you're still new, it's going to be a while before you feel comfortable going through the stances, but that's what we're going to teach you. But first, let's practice stretching!" She kept her eyes locked onto his. Keeping her knees straight she leaned forward, bending at the waist while pushing her hands down to her toes, then pressing her palm flat against the floor. She turned to look at him, a kind of amazed look on his face. "Alright, now you try to touch your toes."
He leaned forward like a robot, his knees bending ever so slightly, as his waist came to a right angle and stopped, his arms dangling without even touching his legs. He tried to push forward but lost his balance taking a step forward before catching himself.
Okay, maybe this was going to be a bit more work than she thought.
He gasped, falling forward so that she had to catch him before he crashed to the floor.
A lot more work.
AN: I don't know a lot about Martial Arts, but it really feels like I spent half my time writing this looking stuff up for it to find out what style would fit best. In the end, I decided that it didn't really matter for the story I'm going to be telling with it, that and it's like 300 years in the future so Martial Arts could have blended and evolved so yea. That's why they're practicing Kung-fu in a dojo wearing Gis. That's also largely for aesthetics.
Also! with this chapter, I have officially hit ONE MILLION WORDS on FFN. Woo!
Edit: 3/11/19: grammar and capitlization.