Life wasn't fair. That was the final conclusion Izuku Midoriya had come to after hours of soul searching.
Not too long ago, he would have declared proudly and without shame, that he was going to be a Hero. That he was going to stand tall and alongside his child hood friend and race forward in the shadow of the greatest Hero to ever live. All Might.
Now... now he was wandering the streets of his city despondantly, not sure what he was even doing with his life. It had been a few hours since All Might - freakin All Might - had saved him from being... infested would probably be the word. Izuku was no fool. He knew that in that moment, his death had been almost assured. But he had been saved, by his childhood idol no less!
And yet here he was, hours later with no more tears to cry and a backpack full of broken dreams. Well no, not literally broken dreams. Breaking dreams would be a quirk. A really evil one. But still, a quirk.
And Izuku Midoriya, whatever else he might have in this life, did not have a quirk.
So in reality, his backpack was full of handwritten notebooks. Hundreds and hundreds of pages of research on costumes, fighting styles, and quirks. In another life Izuku was certain he could have been a scientist or a police analyst. But he didn't want to be any of those things. He wanted - more than anything in this world - to be a Hero.
'I'm sorry young man, but those without a quirk simply can't be Heros.'
Such simple words from such a good man. And yet... they nearly broke him. Because they carried with them not just the weight of truth, but of experience.
Izuku stopped walking as he worked to fight back the tears he was sure had all dried up by now. It was growing dark and the shops in the little shopping arcade he found himself in were beginning to close their doors and shut off the lights. Izuku realized forlornly that he didn't even really know where he was. He had no idea how to get home.
"Crap..!" He cursed in panic, looking around the empty streets for anyone he could ask for directions. He didn't find anyone persay, but he did notice a small store situated between a clothing shop and a rental agency that still appeared to be open. It was almost easy to miss, and Izuku likely would have if it hadn't been the only store with the lights still on.
Hurrying over to it, Izuku found the store adorned with some of the strangest imagery he had ever seen. Posters covered the entire front window of the store, obscuring vision of the interior. Images of goblins, dragons and swordsman mashed together in a collage of art styles that cut off abruptly as they touched the door frame.
Izuku hesitantly stretched his arm out and pulled the door open, causing a tinkling bell to ring out. The bell immediately silenced the sounds of excited chatter coming from inside the store as Izuku stepped inside.
"Hey, can I help you?" A chipper voice called from just ahead of Izuku. He turned his head toward the sound and away from the mass of bookshelves and painted miniatures in glass cases lining every available surface, only to find himself staring blankly at... well nothing. Or no... not 'nothing' but...
Izuku allowed his gaze to pan downward to the t-shirt with the words 'Hobby Shop' emblazoned on it. The shirt - which at a glance appeared to be held up by a pair of moderately sized breasts, hung in the air above a short skirt that likewise did so.
"Hey, eyes up hear buster!" The voice said, and a faint swishing of the air around him told Izuku that something had just been moved near him that he couldn't see.
Izuku was so gobsmacked at the talking clothes that he nearly didn't pick up the full context of the statement. When he did his head rocked backwards and he turned his eyes to the ceiling, blushing furiously and screaming internally at how stupid he was.
"OHMYGOSHIAMSOSORRY!" He said in a rush without pausing for breath.
He was met by the sound of raucous feminine laughter and then a few seconds later felt a gentle pat on his shoulder.
"Hahaha! Oh wow that was great. Come on I know you were just looking at my shirt. I just thought it would be fun to tease you. I'm Toru, Come on in~." The woman - Izuku assumed it was a woman anyway from the voice and the... outline... said with a chuckle. Then he felt something warm and soft grab his hand and the clothes started to move, dragging him along behind them.
"My name's Izuku Midoriya and - Ah wait, I just needed to ask... " Izuku blurted then trailed off trying - and failing - to pull his hand away from the girl leading him further into the tiny shop. This wasn't because he couldn't have pulled his hand free given a concerted effort. No, the truth was, Izuku Midoriya simply couldn't muster the strength to do so. He had been having an exceptionally bad day. A day that, to all accounts, had sort of been the capstone to an exceptionally pitiful life. And yet here he was being led on by... he hesitated to think 'beautiful' but at the very least a shapely woman. He couldn't help but seek some slight comfort in her friendly attitude and warm touch - even if, as the owner of the shop she was almost definitely significantly older than him.
Also he was still really embarrassed, and sort of didn't want to admit he wasn't here to buy anything.
Heedless to Izuku's self depreciating train of thought, Toru dragged him through the tightly packed racks of books lining small store, eventually pulling him into a better lit open area at the very rear of the building. There was a table there laden with half eaten bags of snacks, several cans of soda and dozens of the little figurines Izuku had seen upon first entering the store. Unlike the ones in glass cases, these seemed to be placed almost haphazardly atop the table, each on perfectly centered inside of a square on what turned out to be a map of some kind that had been criss crossed with a black grid.
"Hey guys, I found a new customer." Toru said cheerfully, dropping Izuku's hand and slipping around to the head of the table where a large cardboard screen had been erected between her and the rest of the table. Izuku barely noticed, still staring at the table intently as he tried to discern what exactly was going on.
What... was going on? When he bothered to look closer he realized that the majority of the little statues on the table appeared to be little green men - goblins he guessed - with only four outliers. A man in heavy armor wielding a sword, a woman stealthily crouched behind a tree with a bow and arrows, a man in thick robes wielding a staff, and another armored man holding some kind of symbol high overhead. Was this... some kind of war game? A tactical simulator? There were pieces of paper with numbers and bits of information written on them to either side of the map so it definitely seemed like -
"Hey! You just gonna stand there muttering or are you gonna take a seat." A male voice called out to him, causing Izuku to blink in confusion and fully look up from his considerations. The table, he realized, had more than just Toru sitting at it. There were four adult men there as well, some of them nursing cans of beer or leaning back in a relaxed manner while watching him with amusement.
"Eh?! Ah, sorry! I was just looking at your... game?" Izuku tried carefully stepping forward and pulling out one of the many chairs lining the cramped space around the table and sitting in it. Despite the fact that there was an entire store around them, this tiny area almost seemed cut off from the rest of the building, a small world all it's own. There was a friendly ambience to the room as though everyone here had long grown accustomed to each other and the cramped quarters. It was... nice. It had been a long time since Izuku had genuinely sat down in such a warm and friendly environment.
"Don't worry about it. I've seen weirder." The man said, waving him off and then turning a critical eye back to the map on the table.
"Like what?" Izuku asked carefully, sliding his backpack off and placing it at his feet. He didn't really have a lot of money, and he really should have tried to go home at this point but... He liked it here somehow. It almost felt like he belonged here - which was absurd because he didn't even know what was being played or anyones name except Toru. Still, he felt that if he had to he could spend some of his meager savings to purchase something and stick around. It wasn't as though he had many friends to spend it with in the first place.
"Well Gen over there insists on playing 'hot sexy elves' no matter how much we tell him to stop." The first man said, pointing across the table at another man who rolled his eyes and reached out to flick one of the miniatures on the table proudly.
"Listen man, I'll stop doing this when you stop hitting on every serving wench we come across." The man snorted, then reached across the table to a set of dice that Izuku hadn't previously noticed laying on the table. He assumed they were dice because of the numbered sides but... they weren't normal dice. At least one of them seemed to have more sides than Izuku could easily count without holding it himself, something he wasn't likely to ask about given his relative newness to the shop.
"That's not me! It's Kreegor!" The first man said defensively.
"Alright boys calm down. Midoriya I'd like you to meet the Burning Eagle Adventuring Company! We get together every once in a while to play Dungeons & Dragons. If you're looking for something specific in the shop you can ask any of these guys and they'll be able to point to it without even looking!" Tooru cut in excitedly, and Izuku got the impression from the motion of her shirt sleeves that she was waving her arms about ecstatically.
"Oh um. Actually before that, could any of you tell me where I am? And where the nearest train station is?" Izuku said hesitantly, drawing annoyed groans from all four men at the table.
"Hagakure! Come on you can't just drag people into the store like this! Were not doing that badly!" One of the men said admonishingly.
"I didn't! He walked in! You heard the bell!" She retorted petulantly causing Izuku to turn bright red in renewed embarrassment.
"Um I didn't come to buy anything but, I'm really interested in this game now! Does it have a rulebook?" Izuku said, rushing ahead with his last ditch face saving measure. He now felt doubly terrible for intruding on Toru, and really didn't want her to think poorly of him for some reason. She had just been so... friendly. He couldn't even begin to imagine what it would feel like for her to suddenly dislike him, not after the day he'd been having. He thought it spoke volumes about his self esteem that the opinion of this complete stranger could make him feel better.
"See! Bleeeeh!" Toru crowed, saying - literally saying - the sound effect for sticking one's tongue out at you. Izuku could guess pretty easily why given her invisibility but it was still an exceedingly strange experience 0to say the least.
"Pft. Come on don't mess with him. If he doesn't even know what Dungeons & Dragons is there's no way you can just drop Pathfinder in his lap and expect him to understand it." Gen stated.
"Come here Izuku, you can read the rule book while we play." Toru said, ignoring her companion. Her statement was accompanied by the sudden jerking of a chair next to her on the other side of the screen she had erected. Izuku blinked rapidly at the motion, taking a few seconds to remind himself that she was invisible and stuff like this probably happened around her a lot, then quickly moved around the table.
When he sat down he realized that Toru actually had several books hidden behind the screen, many of which lay haphazardly atop each other as if they were actively being referenced. As he sat the books began to close and reorganize themselves, getting neatly stacked to one side and leaving only a single book open, which lifted into the air and shut before drifting towards Izuku.
"Ehem." The first man that had spoken to Izuku faux coughed, eyeing the space Toru occupied meaningfully and causing the book to stop half way to Izuku.
"Oh! Right Boss. This'll be 3000 Yen." Toru said brightly, wiggling the book in front of him. Izuku vaguely recognized the dragon art on the cover as being one of the images emblazoned on the store front, which was secondary to the realization that this book - of which there appeared to be many more - was expensive. Still... he had said he would buy it so...
With robotic movements Izuku jerked his bag open, withdrawing his wallet and almost all of his spending money. He carefully held it out in Toru's direction, then when it lifted out of his hand and towards her, he reached out and took the book. He felt... something as the money changed hands and the book - entitled 'Pathfinder Core Rulebook' dropped into his grasp. He couldn't quite place his finger on what though - so he ignored the feeling as just one of many strange sensations he was likely to feel in a new and uncomfortable situation. He was, after all, in entirely uncharted territory.
Book in hand, everyone present smiled warmly at him before a predatory gleam appeared in their eyes, the entire demeanor of all those present suddenly changing in the blink of an eye.
"Alright! Who's turn was it?" Toru declared, lifting a set of dice in what Izuku assumed was one of her hands, then rattling them against each other in anticipation.
"I believe it was my turn." someone said, followed by several grumbles of agreement.
"Okay. So, the Goblin Chieftain has fled the ruins with the Hangman's Noose, and you have only a short time to dispatch his minions and give chase-" Toru began, her voice growing sonorous and taking on a certain gravitas that Izuku would have expected more from a stage actor than five people sitting in a shop at night. He looked back and forth between the book in his hands and the table, before allowing the book to settle unopened in his lap. After all, he had a perfectly good front row seat to see the game played first hand right?
Several hours later Izuku Midoriya was enamored. He knew that it was just a game, but sometime in the middle he had completely gotten lost in the narrative of what was going on. He stopped seeing the miniatures and the dice, and instead began to treat the goings on at the table like one extended movie experience. One where the players got to be the heroes. True it was all a game, but it was so... so involved. It was as if there was a little piece of each player present in their character. As if they were acting out their desires to the best of their ability in a world where they could do anything they wanted, unburdened by society.
And Toru! Toru was amazing! He had been confused at first that she didn't seem to have a character of her own, and when he'd brought it up tentatively she had laughed raucously at him. Because the whole world was her character! Every person the party meant, every creature they fought, Toru was there narrating the results of rolls, wailing for help, crying out for revenge on the party of do-gooders that had thwarted her nefarious plots. She was ruthless and kind, lazy and excitable. Toru seemed to be able to fill any roll required of her at the drop of hit and enjoyed every second of it.
Izuku had spent the entire night watching them play, and had gotten so lost in the action that he had practically forgotten where he was. At one point he had whipped out one of his notebooks and began to draw the scenes in his head as they played out, making use of his extensive practice drawing heroes to perfectly replicate the images he wanted. He had refused to show anyone what he was doing of course - that was just too embarrassing. But he had resolved that the next time the group played together he wanted to be there to watch. Or maybe play. He wasn't really sure many of the rules worked but he was confident he could grasp it them if he sat down with the rule book for a day or two. It wasn't as though he had anything else to do alone - there was no way he was going to get into UA. Not as he was. Probably not even if he had trained his whole life. After all, he had no quirk. He would never be a hero.
Not in real life anyway.
"See you next week guys." Toru said weakly to Izuku and everyone else as they walking out of the store. Izuku looked blearily at the light of the morning as he exited behind her, feeling alarm bells going off in his head that he was simply too tired to entirely consider the reason behind. The Burning Eagle's had been awake all night, and the owner - who Izuku had finally found out was not Toru - had made the decision to simply close the shop for the day so he could sleep in. They were all pretty tired after all.
"See you next weak Hagakure-san." Izuku said, making sure to use her last name and the proper honorific instead of the overly familiar first name he'd spent most of the night calling her. It wasn't as though he was trying to be overly friendly with her. She just hadn't bothered telling him her last name. He'd only pieced together his own mistake after realizing that literally everyone at the table had called her Hagakure and not Toru.
"Geeze not you too. Don't let those old guys fool you, once I've rolled dice with someone were friends Izuku. Don't forget that!" Toru yelled after Izuku as he left, drawing a wry smile from him as he waved goodbye to her and made his way to the train station. He could have walked home - it wasn't that far - but it was just easier to take the train to a closer stop and navigate home from there. He was insanely tired.
So with a spring in his step, and a hefty hardcover book in his backpack, Izuku Midoriya had happily dragged himself home. It really should have dawned on him what came next, but again, he was very tired by this point. As he approached his home he noticed two police cars parked outside of it. He made note of this, thinking to ask his mother about what had happened, but it wasn't until he walked through the front door of his house to find two police officers consoling his crying mother that Izuku really understood what was going on.
Yesterday All Might would undoubtedly have reported their meeting to the police - assaulting Izuku would naturally need to be added to the list of crimes that sludge bodied villain he had captured would be tried for after all. So not only had Izuku's last known location been immediately after a villain attack, he had then gone missing and not returned home the following night. All of this flitted through Izuku's sleep deprived mind at nearly warp speeds, causing him to pale in distress. He kicked his shoes off and threw his backpack to the wayside, rushing into his living room and to his mother.
"Mom! I'm so sorry!" Izuku yelped as he rushed to her side, causing her face too shoot up from her hands where she had been crying. The two police officers with her turned annoyed gazes on him, to which he could only bow apologetically.
"Oooooh my baaaaaabbyyyyy!" His mother wailed grabbing him and pulling him into a fierce hug that knocked all the breath out of him.
"Well... if that's all then..." One of the officers said placidly, stepping towards the door. Izuku's mother didn't answer them, busy as she was crying into his shoulder, but Izuku himself turned his head towards the officer and nodded at him once more apologetically.
"I'm so sorry for the trouble." He apologized again, bowing as much as was possible with his mother hanging off of him.
"It's fine, but we'll need you to come down to the station to make a statement at your earliest convenience." The officer said firmly, and Izuku nodded already aware that something like this was likely. As much as Heroes subdued and captured Villains, it was still the job of the courts and the police to build a case against them. Japan was a civilized country after all - they couldn't just throw everyone who got beat up by a Hero in jail without a trial. And if that sludge Villain's personality was anything to go by, the police were going to have a very long list of crimes to try him, her, or it for.
"Yes sir." Izuku acknowledged, then watched as the police took their leave.
"Don't ever do that agaaaain!" His mother continued to cry into him, resisting his attempts to lever her off.
"I'm really sorry Mom. Um." Izuku paused, realizing he should probably get this out of the way now instead of scaring his mother half to death once a weak every week.
"Actually I was out with some friends last night and just forgot to call home... I was thinking of going out again next week..." Izuku said with as soothing a tone of voice as he could muster.
"Absolutely not! You don't even have a quirk! How are you going to defend yourself if something bad happens!" She said fiercely, leaning away from him and giving him a menacing glare that Izuku was fairly certain every mother learned by default.
"Mom really it's fine they were... I mean I ran into these four heroes in their downtime and was just hanging out with them when I got lost. They were really cool and said I could come back again so..." Izuku trailed off, realizing belatedly that he had just sort of lied to his mother. He hadn't done it intentionally really, he was just so tired that the larger than life characters he had seen at the table that day stuck out to him. More so than even the people playing them to be honest. The human fighter, the elven archer, they were Heroes of another stripe than Izuku was accustomed too, but they were heroes.
Izuku's mother continued to glare at him for a few more moments before deflating like a struck balloon. She fell bonelessly onto the couch as the accumulated stress of the previous day finally left her and the nervous energy that had kept her up through the night faded away.
"Are you sure they're safe? Are they good heroes?" Inko Midoriya asked finally after a second, knowing full well her sons obsession with the topic. She trusted his opinion on the various heroes of the city. She doubted that there was anyone else in the world who had done even a fraction of the research that Izuku had. If her son said that the Heroes he had met were good enough to protect her baby then she would trust him. Especially when she considered the fact that this might very well be as close to actual heroism as her poor quirkless boy would ever get. The depressing thought ran through her like cold water, further souring her already poor mood as she watched him patiently for an answer.
"The best." Izuku answered immediately, thoughts of damsels in distress and villages under siege filling his mind.
"...Fine. But I want you to call me to let me know your safe!" she said strongly.
"I will Mom." Izuku quickly agreed, tension leaving his body. He really didn't mean to worry his mother like that. If it had even occurred to him to try he would definitely have called her to let her know he was safe but otherwise occupied. Now that the situation was resolved though his sleepiness had once more returned, and he trudged quietly away from the living room where Inko had flicked the TV on to watch intently. He returned to the homes entryway and scooped up his back pack, before walking silently back to his room - where he summarily fell asleep.
The next week went past in a blur. Izuku spent nearly the entire weekend holed up in his room combin through the core rulebook, and the more he read the more he fell in love with it all. In Pathfinder, everyone started out small. Started out even. There was no reliance on inherited super abilities. There was no reason one person should be inherently better than anyone else. And the only way to get stronger was to work hard. To stare down overwhelming odds and triumph.
It appealed to Izuku in a way he found hard to put in to words. The more he read the more he felt as though he was part of something. And the more he read the more he wanted to read. By the time school had started back up on monday Izuku was practically bursting with the need to know more. He about certain rules. He had more money than he was ever likely to spend on himself, and he knew for a fact where he could get both the answers to his questions and more books.
Naturally Izuku didn't dedicate all of his time to his now fledgling passion. The school year was nearly up and he no longer maintained the insane belief that somehow he could get into UA's Hero program.
The acknowledgment of that fact had come to Izuku only after he had started preparing for it. That monday he had been spending his lunch period studying. Reference books on mechanics and wiring he had bought on the way to school seemingly on a whim laid about his hiding place on the roof of the school. Here, he was the least likely to be found and harassed by Bakugou, his long time tormentor and one time friend. He had been just about half way through a scribbled note on how to apply his new knowledge to the creation of armor when he truly understood what he was doing.
He was preparing to take the UA entramce exams... for the support class. The class that made useful tools for the actual Heroes.
His pencil had fallen to the ground just like that and suddenly he found himself unable to concentrate. This was it. The exact moment when he had one hundred percent accepted and given up on his dreams. He felt... hollow. Empty even. Like there was no point in anything and there never would be ever again.
Unbidden he pulled a different book from his bag, and began to flick through the freshly worn pages of the Core Rulebook. It didn't really make him feel better but it was... calming. Like the book in his hand was the last bastion of his delusional dreams. The last tiny ember of hope he could allow himself in this world.
After a few more moments of reading Izuku managed to calm down. He wiped his tears with a sleeve and put away the book. There would be time for that later. Right now, he had to study.
Tuesday found Izuku outside the Hobby Shop after school, staring pensively at the door. Now that he was a few days removed from the bizarre experience that had brought him here the first time, he wasn't sure if he was actually all that welcome here. He wasn't just new to the game or the shop, he was basically entirely new to normal socialization. He was that maligned at school. He basiy had no friends to speak of, and owing largely to his obsessive personality, he hadn't been very interested in making some just for the sake of having them.
This was different. This was a group of people who had - for the first time in a long time - accepted him as one of their own. He hadn't realized it at the time but not one of them had bothered to ask him about his quirk. It was the societal equivalent of 'what's up' at this point. After all, almost everyone had a quirk, and it was fun to compare them.
Just not for Izuku.
"Okay. I can do this!" Izuku said, slapping his cheeks and psyching himself up. He quickly yanked the door to the shop open and navigated inside, chest puffed up with false confidence.
"Gen-san, I've got some questions about-" Izuku said as he marched towards the small counter and register in a corner of the shop. He was forced to grind to a halt when he actually bothered to look at who was at the counter.
Instead of the friendly if someone scraggly man Izuku had veen expecting, Toru Hagakure was there. She was standing on a small step ladder behind the counter and stretching out on her tiptoes while replacing a light bulb.
"Oh. Good evening Hagakure-san." Izuku said, swiftly changing gears even as almost all of the blood in his body rushed to his cheeks. It wasn't just that the invisible girl was present - Izuku wasn't so painfully naive as to completely implode just because he was speaking to a girl. No, the issue came from what she was wearing.
Unlike the previous time he'd seen her, today Toru was wearing a long sleeve sweater and a pair of thick tights beneath her shorts. It wasn't inherently sexual by any stretch of the imagination, but it did serve to do one thing that had jumped out at Izuku the second he'd seen her.
It made it possible to see her legs and thighs. Actually, since it was almost the only part of her he could see it actually became almost the entire focus of Izuku's attention. It didn't help that - primarily because she was on a ladder - her rear end was practically eye level for Izuku.
"Huh? Oh! Hey Izuku, what's up?" Toru said cheerily as she finished screwing in the lightbulb.
"I h-h-had some questions about the rules!" Izuku managed to say, his head swinging back and forth as he tried to find anywhere else to look but at Toru.
"Welllll..." Toru said, humming in thought before she jumped nimbly over the counter to stand before it, then leaned back to sit on it, crossing one leg over the other in a clearly superior pose.
"The first rule is no touching I think." She said decisively, pulling suggestively at the neck of her sweater in a way that would reveal her cleavage if she weren't invisible. She held the pose for a ten count, watching with barely restrained mirth as Izuku's teenage mind reasoned out what she was implying.
She continued to watch with barely restrained laughter as his face turned a brighter shade of red than it had already been. Then his eyes looked up to the space he probably assumed her face was - a surprisingly accurate guess she noted - and his face went completely pale.
"I-I-I wuh- guh- eh?" Izuku gurgled, only slightly intelligably.
This was apparently too much for Toru because she uncrossed her legged and burst out laughing, slamming one hand in sheer amusement on the counter as she did so.
"Hahahaha! Oh man! You're the best Izuku. No one reacts like you do!" She cried out, cackling for a few seconss more before her laughter finally died down.
Izuku stared at her in absolute confusion for a few seconds before he realized that she was just messing with him. Again. By the time Toru had finished her laughing fit Izuku had ready turned to the nearest unadorned wall and began banging his head against in repeatedly. Not hard enough to hurt but more than enough to chastise himself for his shamelessness.
Seeing this, Toru hopped up and moved to lat the boy on the back in a soothing manner.
"Don't worry about it Izuku. Wanna know a secret?" She said, faux whispering conspiratorially to him. He turned his head towards her slowly, eyes watery with unshed tears and an expression that Toru would have thought was extremely cute if she didn't realize how genuinely bad the boy felt.
Taking his attention as acknowledgement Toru continued saying;
"You know how sometimes you pass someone on the street or in class, and you try to look at them without them knowing, so you sorta wait till they aren't looking?"
Izuku nodded, his expression growing more pensive as his quirk obsessed mind started reasoning out where this was going.
"Well you know, it's kind of impossible to tell when I'm looking." Toru said with a knowing chuckle. Izuku stared blankly at her for a few more seconds before paling even more.
"So when I came in..." he said.
"Mhmmmmm?" She encouraged playfully.
"You could tell where I was..." Izuku continued pitifully.
"Yuuuuup." Toru said with a chortle. She watched Izuku shift back and forth between deathly pale and cherry red for a bit before she patted him companionably on the head.
"Heh. Anyway. You had some questions?" She said, walking back around the counter to take a seat.
An hour later - most of which consisted of Izuku spluttering through a dozen apologies - Izuku was happily situated at the back of the Hobby Shop with several new purchases and a much greater understanding of the game than he had when he first arrived. Pathfinder it turned out, was not a part of the main line of Dungeons & Dragons products. As Toru quite enthusiastically explained to him, Pathfinder was actually created in response to an intensely negative opinion from the games fans of it's fourth edition - which apparently drastically changed many of the rules and even the way in which the game was played.
Much of this information went over Izuku's head - after all, he had never seen any other version of the game but this, and he was largely uninterested in exploring his options. He couldn't quite put his finger on why but he simply felt an inexplicable connection to these books. Simply holding one left him with the electrifying feeling of adventure. That day Izuku did almost all of the preliminary reading in order to create his first ever D&D character - which according to Toru was excessive since most people just made a character and learned the rules as they went. He had asked why it was still called D&D when the game they were playing was not, in fact, actually called Dungeons & Dragons, and for just the briefest of moments he could almost swear his invisible host was scowling at him. Then the moment had passed and she had simply told him not to question her on this particular topic. Izuku wasn't quite sure exactly how much of what Toru told him was her opinion as opposed to established fact, given her demands that should he be asked what the best edition was he reply with 'second edition' - despite having never played it himself.
Regardless, Izuku returned home that evening feeling more balanced than he had in a long while. He had never realized the constant stress he was under when he was chasing his... former... dream. Bitter as it was for him to admit it, Izuku was forced to consider that maybe forsaking all social and recreational activity for years in order to chase a dream he could never have might have been bad for his mental health.
Izuku sometimes cursed the fact that he had such a highly organized mind. It took until that Wednesday to realize that he could technically go to the Hobby Shop to study. In his head, 'study' meant 'library'. The idea of visiting what was nominally a game store to study had completely escaped his notice until one faithful day with Toru.
"Hey Izuku, how come your backpack is always full of textbooks?" She had asked during his trip to the shop that day.
"Huh? Because I just came from school." Izuku said in confusion.
"But it's like five pm, school ended hours ago." Toru pointed out.
"I study at school for a few hours before I come here." Izuku admitted easily, more focused on searching out and avoiding any prank Toru may have arranged ahead of time. He hadn't know her long but Izuku had rapidly come to realize that the invisible girl absolutely loved freaking people out. She had an easy going and friendly demeanor that made it easy to get comfortable around, and apparently knew extremely well how to make use of that tendency to make the most of any joke that required shock value.
"Why not just study here?" She asked in confusion.
"Because... huh." Izuku started then felt a twitch develop in his eye as he really thought through what he was going to say. He was going to say that he wasn't allowed to study there. But the fact that Toru was asking him why he didn't do so somewhat negated that.
"I hope you're more perceptive than that this Friday or you're going to get killed by the first trap you come across." Toru teased before heading back to her place at the counter. As much as Izuku would have liked her to keep him company, he was more than aware that he was technically intruding on her while she was working. It was only the fact that he had been coming in spending almost all his savings to buy things here recently that assuaged his guilt over dragging her away from her job.
With Toru's departure Izuku once more returned to his secondary studies of the Pathfinder RPG books. His problem, he thought, was that he had no idea what type of character he wanted to play. There were almost too many options in these books. Izuku could literally do anything he wanted - he just wanted to do everything. Eventually he narrowed his options for classes down to two. He decided on either a Bard or a Magus. Bother classes were a sort of hybrid between physical combat and mystical acumen. Both classes would allow Izuku to play the parties 'switch hitter', moving between the front and back lines at need to fill holes. Both would allow Izuku to play with magic - something he was adamant he use.
Still, he had to now choose between the two classes, which was no easy task. Setting the thought aside for the moment, he decided to ask Toru her opinion when next he got the chance to speak with her. The evenings were when the store was at its most busy, and it was likely that Izuku would leave before he got the chance to ask his invisible friend for any more detailed information. There was a sort of relaxed ambience to the store that more than just Izuku seemed to appreciate. Despite keeping to himself several regular customers breezed into the store throughout the evening, giving casual greetings to Toru and settling in to play a variety of card or board games before leaving. Izuku honestly couldn't understand how the store even made any money when it was just letting anyone who cared to come inside use the sitting area. A fairly large number of visitors didn't even purchase anything.
Not that Izuku was going to say anything about it.
Now for race... Izuku was no stranger the the concept of fantasy races. Intellectually he knew what a dwarf or an elf were - but he just could see himself as one. This made his choice of race for his character a no brainer. He pulled out his - almost entirely blank - character sheet, and filled in 'Human' in the spot that denoted race.
Then, deciding he had more or less gotten everything he could out of his day, he went home.
Thursday was notable for only a single reason. It was the day of his final exams. Izuku breezed through them of course - even before giving up on his dreams, Izuku was very aware of the fact that he was going to have to get by using his brain to achieve what most Heroes did with their quirks. So it was no surprise that - while not the top of his class - he was fairly high up in the rankings. He went to school that day as relaxed as could be, barely noticing the resentful glowers from his classmates at his nonchalance. He was far too engrossed in his own thoughts.
Which class? He had to finish his character sheet today. He didn't want to waste anybodies time by forcing them to wait for him to fill his sheet in on Friday night, but he didn't think he could complete the whole thing properly without help from Toru.
As a Magus he would wield arcane power to empower his attacks and destroy his enemies, but as a Bard he would have a much greater range of utility options. A Bard could heal, replace a Rogue as the local trap expert (in a pinch at least), and buff the entire party with it's singing. By contrast, it's damage potential was much lower than that of the Magus. Which one did the party did? Which one did he want?
His thoughts were cut off abruptly, when he bumped in to someone on the way the Hobby Shop. Classes had naturally let out early once the exams had finished being written, and so the shopping arcade was full of happy and depressed students in equal measure. So it wasn't a surprise that Izuku - who had once again fallen into a trance like state of contemplation while murmuring his rapid fire thought processes had turned the corner into the arcade and nearly bowled over a girl his age.
"Kya!" she yelled cutely when she fell, snapping Izuku out of his thoughts. Without really thinking about it, Izuku snapped to attention, lurching forward to grab the girl by the hand and pull her upright. The girl reflexively grabbed his hand as he reached out, resulting in them holding hands, and they spent a pregnant second staring at each other, their hands intertwined after she had regained her balance.
The girl, who's messy ash blonde hair was styled into two buns that seemed to only barely be holding together, with loose and wild strands of hair sticking out of them at odd angles. Her eyes were angular, their irises a bright yellow that left Izuku thinking of the luminescent glow of a cats eyes in the dark. She was wearing a sweater one size two large that hid her over all figure, and had sleeves that all but covered her hands in their entirety, but between the creamy white hand holding his own, and the girls pale face, Izuku got the impression that she must not get out often. That or she was mixed.
When several more seconds passed and the girls gaze flicked down to where he was still holding her hand, Izuku's mind finally caught back up with the situation at hand, and he jerked his hand backwards quickly. However instead of letting go and allowing him to move his hand away the girl held strong, which resulted in her jerking forward to press into him. Instead of be surprised the girl seemed almost to expect the sudden reversal, and her face split into dopey too wide grin as she tilted her head up to look at him.
"Wh-wh-wh-" Izuku stuttered, unable to discern what exact was going on but realizing that he was deeply uncomfortable with it. His mind started running a mile a minute trying to resolve the situation, until it finally landed on the only possible solution he could think of. A highschool girl who dyes her hair, goes out mostly at night, is weirdly okay with touching strangers.
"SORRYBUTI'MNOTINTERESTEDANDALSODON'THAVEANYMONEYSOIGOTTAGOBYE" Izuku blurted out on a single shallow breath, leaping bodily away from the girl who was still smiling blissfully at him, showing a pair of catlike canines that seemed to gleam in the mid afternoon sun. He then walked as fast as he could around her, directly into the Hobby Shop. He didn't see the girl turn to watch him go. Or the way her eyes - which had rings around them from a lack of sleep - crinkled happily as she gazed after him. She stared patiently at the shop he had gone into for a while longer, her pale hand dipping into her school bag to gently caress something within. Then spun on her heel and walked away, a happy look on her face and a new spring in her step.
Inside, Izuku was taking deep, calming breaths. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that he had just gone through the most harrowing experience of his life. Well, no, if he included earlier in the week when he had nearly died then he supposed it would be the second most harrowing. Still. He would be perfectly happy if things would go back to normal and stay that way for the next several years at least. He wasn't sure his heart could take all this... this... change. He was already stretching the limits of his social acumen making friends with Toru after all.
"What's up Izuku?" Toru called from the counter upon seeing him enter in a panic.
"N-nothing. Um. Hagakure-san, could I ask you to help me out today if you have some time?" He asked instead of answering the question directly.
"I dunnoooo. I'd help a friend out but all my friends call me Toru~" She said with a teasing tone in her voice.
"T-Toru-san I-" Izuku said.
"Toru." She interrupted, enjoying the specific shade of red Izuku turned when presented with this most recent ultimatum. She'd be lying if she said she hadn't taken a shining to the boy. It wasn't often she encountered other people her age that were interested in the same things she was. The vast majority of the shops customers were adult men, and even her own Dungeons & Dragons group was made up of veteran players and old timers. As much as she acted boldly in the shop, there was just no way she was going to openly advertise her hobby's at school. She already had a hard enough time being the girl who's only visible characteristic was her bust.
"T-T-T-Toru!" Izuku finally managed to bark, stuttering and shaking like a scared chihuahua the entire time.
"Alright! For you Izuku, I would love to help! Whatcha need?" Toru asked, hopping slightly and taking a pose that was only visible because of the long sleeve shirt she happened to be wearing that day. She supposed the victory sign she was throwing up could be mistaken for a lot of things given her lack of gloves, but she figured Izuku understood her well enough by now to get the point.
"Should I be a Bard or a Magus?" Izuku stated swiftly, his facial expression shifting quickly to the focused look he always got when he was paying attention to something he thought was important.
"Eh. Bard I guess?" Toru said lightly, amused by how seriously her green haired friend was taking this.
"But why? Isn't a Magus better?" Izuku asked.
It should be said that Izuku - who had until this point, never actually played Pathfinder, had missed some of the nuance of what made the game a role playing game. He had, until this point, entirely discounted the invisible power that came with things like diplomacy or deception. Things that the Bard excelled at, and the Magus did not.
None of this had to be said though, because it was a very common mistake for new players to make. Toru knew that. She also knew that Izuku wasn't the type of person to refuse to adapt, ruining the game for everyone else because of his strict adherence to a war game mind set. Still, what he had just said bothered the shit out of her.
"Oh? And why is that?" She asked with a tinge of menace in her voice as she stepped swiftly forward to place her hands roughly on his shoulders. Izuku was actually about the same size as her - which was surprising because she was actually fairly short - and so this maneuver, which wouldn't be all that intimidating to anyone else, was extremely effective on Izuku.
"D-damage! They do more damage!" Izuku blurted in a rushed attempt to make the sudden feeling of danger he was sensing in the air go away.
"I see, I see. So if you were a Magus trying to get away from me right now, you'd punch me?" Toru mused aloud, tightening her grip on Izuku's shoulders and slowly drawing him closer to her.
"What!? No! You can't just attack everyone you...oh." Izuku yelped, quickly realizing the point she was trying to make and relaxing.
"There it is! Plus you know, Bards are kind of infamous in this game." Toru said, releasing her grip on Izuku and dusting off his shoulders, the air of menace surrounding her vanishing as if it had never been there. She didn't, Izuku noted, step out of his personal space yet.
"How so?" Izuku asked, tentatively taking a step away from her and not being overly surprised when she stepped forward to keep up with him.
"Well Bards you see, are well known for one thing above all else." She said, stretching an arm out and pulling Izuku into a conspiratorial huddle with her arm firmly draped over him.
"W-what's that?" Izuku queried, eyeing her hand on his should suspiciously.
"There isn't any problem a Bard can't solve... by seducing it." Toru said, whispering the last part into his ear. Izuku's explosive leap away from her and subsequent sprint into the sitting area at the rear of the store was harried by the cackling laughter of an invisible woman that lasted far to long.
About an hour later, and finally settled on a class, Izuku now had to decide on only a few more things before he could finish his character sheet. He would never admit it, but the idea of using his wits and charisma (what little of it he had anyway) to resolve his problems appealed to Izuku. In a way, he had been preparing his whole life to do just that. He would certainly never admit that seduction of any kind factored into his decision making process. Especially knowing that any character he seduced would technically just be Toru. Nope. No connection at all.
He decided from the start that he wanted to be agile, and good with his magic, which as a Bard meant to prioritizing his Charisma stat. In Pathfinder, every character had six such statistics. Strength - or how strong you were, Dexterity which was how agile you were, and Constitution which was how durable you were made up the physical statistics. Intelligence which was how smart you were, Wisdom which was apparently how much common sense you had available to you, and finally Charisma which denoted your general attractiveness and force of personality. As it turned out Bards (somehow) cast their spells via force of personality. So, after a few moments of tinkering Izuku settled on the following statistics;
Strength: 10(+0) Dexterity: 14(+2) Constitution: 14(+2)
Intelligence: 10(+0) Wisdom: 10(+0) Charisma: 18(+4)
Izuku frowned down at his character sheet. It was rapidly wearing down at the edges from constantly being transported back and forth between home, school, and the shop. He wasn't entirely happy with the statistics he had chosen, but couldn't decide on exactly how to change them. He knew he needed Charisma to cast spells, and Dexterity to aim those spells - as well as dodge attacks. He also knew he would need some constitution - there was no way he was going to be able to avoid taking damage, so he thought it was for the best that he have some extra health to mitigate that.
Still... he wished he could have put a few more points into his Strength score. He knew he didn't necessarily need it - after all he could still use a sword if he had to - but something about a low strength score simply sat wrong with him. When Izuku thought of the word 'Hero' only one man came to mind; All Might. And when Izuku tried to think of what All Might's stats would be, well, Strength was about the only thing he could think of.
"Wait. I'm not making All Might. I'm not even making me. I'm making..." Izuku glanced down at the blank space where the name of his character would eventually go. Then carefully penciled something in.
"Deku. There." He said firmly. True, it was a weird name - an insulting one given to him but his long time bully in fact - but he had long since decided to simply own it. It wasn't as though Bakugou had always meant it maliciously after all. The fact that he was creating a fictional character brought something else to mind. Namely, the characters history.
"Okay! 'Deku' is a super studious librarian who loves reading stories about 'Heroes'. He's studied lots of old legends, and wants to be a Hero himself one day!" Izuku said, pleased with himself - right up until it occurred to him that he had more or less just described himself.
If he were a fantasy character.
"Is that really so bad though...?" He wondered aloud, biting his lip in thought. After a few more seconds of consideration he decided that no, no it wasn't. After all, everybody else seemed to have a little bit of themselves in their characters. So why shouldn't he? Thinking more on the topic, Izuku quickly shuffled through the growing stack of books he had purchased, flipping through pages until he found what he was looking for. Since he knew that his character was once a librarian, he decided to make them a Bard with the 'Studious Librarian' archetype. Furthermore, he allocated his skill points to prioritize conversation, magic, and most importantly crafting. It made sense to Izuku that a completely defenseless librarian would use every tool available to keep himself safe while adventuring - and when one has access to books, that list of tools was vast indeed.
His character sheet finally beginning to look as though it would be done soon, Izuku excitedly allowed his gaze to fall to the 'Feats' section of the page. A Feat, in Pathfinder, was an ability that was more specialized than a general skill, but that wasn't quite powerful enough to come as part of a class. There were tons to choose from, and they helped differentiate your character from another that might have the same class. However your character only received a feat occasionally, and not every level - so it was important to decide what you wanted before hand.
"Dodge and... Mobility I guess?" Izuku thought, haphazardly ignoring his own screaming instincts telling him he should read every single feat in the game before making such a decision. As a Human, his Bard would receive and extra feat, and frankly, he really didn't think he had time to indulge his obsessive personality in this case. So after penciling in his feats and the abilities his class provided for him, Izuku sat back to admire his densely filled in character sheet.
Human Bard (Studious Librarian) Level 1
Strength: 10(+0) Dexterity: 14(+2) Constitution: 14(+2)
Intelligence: 10(+0) Wisdom: 10(+0) Charisma: 18(+4)
Bluff +8 , Bluff (fool someone) +9 , Craft (Alchemy) +6 , Diplomacy +9 , Escape Artist +6 , Intimidate +8 , Knowledge (Untrained) +3 , Perception +4 , Perform (Oratory) +8 , Sense Motive +4 , Spellcraft +6 , Use Magic Device +8
Armored Casting, Bardic Knowledge, Bardic Performance, Countersong, Inspire Courage
Dodge, Mobility, Scribe Scroll
Known Bard Spells:
1st (2/day)—cure light wounds, disguise self
0 (at will)—ghost sound(DC 14), light, mage hand, prestidigitation(DC 14)
Izuku couldn't help but smile at the sheet. He had chosen his spells partially at random - he understood that they were basically all useful one way or the other, and so he had merely taken the ones that interested him. The only thing he hadn't filled in yet was his equipment - which Toru had told him he could ignore for the moment. The fact that she said that with an evil snicker didn't fill Izuku with confidence, but since she was nominally in charge of the game in the first place, he happily acquiesced.
"Yes!" Izuku cheered, pumping one arm in the air in triumph. There was just something so very, very, satisfying about completing his first character sheet. Looking up from his papers however, Izuku realized that it was getting late, and that he should probably head home.
"Haga- Toru-s - Toru! I'm heading out!" Izuku called out, quickly stumbling through names until he finally landed on the one Toru preferred he use when talking to her. He stood from his table and glanced around himself with slightly tired eyes. He had barely even noticed the passing of time as he worked, referencing different books each time he had to make a decision. He was somewhat surprised to find that there were actually a number of people amiably chatting nearby, mostly because he hadn't even noticed them on his way in.
"Did you see the weird girl just standing outside?" One of the nearby men asked, drawing and then playing a card on the table in front of him then sifting about in his hand for another card which he put down on top of it.
"What the blonde girl? I swear, the street walkers get younger every year." The other man grumbled, eyeing the new card on the table before sighing dejectedly and motioning for his companion to continue.
Izuku froze at that, because he had a pretty good idea of who it was loitering about the shopping arcade. It wasn't as though he had anything against the girl he'd met earlier. Just, the idea of being anywhere near such an 'experienced' woman causing Izuku's teenage mind to go into almost total melt down. He simply wasn't able to process that type of thing very well - least of all from a complete stranger.
"Maybe I can ask Toru if I can go out the back?" Izuku mumbled to himself as he finished pushing all of his bags into his backpack. He frowned as he did so, noting that his poor bag was starting to stretch precipitously as a result of all the extra baggage he'd taken to carrying around. He might have to consider getting a new one.
Or... he could just carry less stuff. A lot less stuff. As in, not carry his entire library around with him everywhere he went.
...God he really was a nerd like Bakugou said.
"Sure." A voice answered his muttered question, causing Izuku to nearly jump out of his skin when he realized that Toru was standing next to him - and probably had been for some time if the way she was leaning against the wall with a can of soda was any indication.
"Gah! Why!?" Izuku practically begged, placing a hand over his heart and waiting for it's excited beating to finally calm down. Toru shrugged, then gestured with her can in Izuku's direction.
"If you didn't react like that I wouldn't do it." She said bluntly then gestured towards the other nearby patrons of the shop.
"Those guys barely even notice me anymore." She continued. Izuku squinted at the floating set of clothes that constituted Toru on any given day.
"So... you just mess with everybody until they get used to it?" He asked forlornly, knowing he wasn't likely to be getting used to the invisible girls antics any time soon.
"Nah, I usually stop after a while. Your pretty cute when your freaking out though, so I wouldn't bet on it." She chirped happily, and was gratified by Izuku's face turning a familiar shade of red.
"A-a-anyway. I'm gonna go now. B-bye." He stammered, turning to walk robotically towards the door at the back of the shop with a huge 'Employee Only' sign on it.
"Byeeee Izukuuuu." Toru said pleasantly as he escaped out the door and into the cool air outside. The sun had set, and and the arcade was lit primarily by a few overhead lights hung at intervals until one made it to the street. The rear of the area was significantly less welcoming than the interior though, as Izuku was immediately assaulted by the unpleasant smell of garbage from the local businesses, many of which kept their garbage bins or dumpsters in this area.
Wrinkling his nose at the scent, Izuku quickly turned towards the street and began walking. He was just about to clear the last dumpster, when a delicate hand whipped out from behind it, grabbing him by the collar and dragging him forward.
"I~ Got~ You~" A sing song voice crooned as it dragged Izuku into the dark recess behind the dumpster. Izuku felt a momentary pang of dread run through him as his eyes adjusted to the light and he saw the blonde from that afternoon standing before him, smiling sweetly. He was momentarily surprised by how strong she seemed to be. She was shorter than him, but somehow seemed to have an iron grip on him, which she used to whirl around and slam Izuku into the brick wall of the building. Realizing that panicked stuttering wouldn't actually help him hear, since this girl had clearly gotten the wrong message the first time he had done it, Izuku firmed his resolve.
"U-Um, I'm really sorry but I'm not... not..." Izuku said, trailing off as he fully took in the extent of the situation he was in. He was - not unreasonably - under the impression that he was going to have to decline this girls attentions on the basis that she was looked for well... money. This was something that he realized might not be the case, when he saw the polished kitchen knife she held loosely in one hand.
"Heehee, I know we just met and all but I think I really like you!" The girl said with a happy, almost manic tone that bordered on delirious. Izuku kept his eyes on the knife in her free hand, unsure of how exactly to respond to that.
"I... but then... knife?" Izuku asked on complete confusion. What this girl was saying and what she was doing were completely at odds with each other.
"Well you see, it's just that I really love tattered guys reeking of blood you know? You seem like you'd look suuuuuper good like that." She said, her eyes turning lidded and her breathing heavy. Izuku was both dumbfounded and terrified. It hadn't even been a week since his last near death experience and now this. He had to find a way to get her away from him. Or call for help. Or both. Probably both.
What should he do though? He was defenseless. He was quirkless. He had wanted to be a Hero but he couldn't even deal with a teenager with a knife. That was just pathetic.
'You can't just attack everyone'
The thought came to him like a bolt out of the blue. Yeah he was quirkless. Yeah he was weak. But you didn't have to fight your way out of every situation. As a point of fact, unless you were a Hero you couldn't fight your way out of most of them. He didn't need to look at this like a fight. He needed to look at it like a Bard. So what would a Bard do?
'There isn't any problem a Bard can't solve... by seducing it.'
Okay. He could do this. He could definitely... probably... do this. His life literally depended on it. With what he would later look back on and describe as a shocking lack of self preservation, Izuku's hand shot out, grabbing the blade of the knife the girl held in his hand. He forced himself to look up from the bladed weapon and deep into her yellow cat like eyes.
"I-If..." He started, then firmed his resolve and plastered a fearless smile on his face that he absolutely did not feel at the moment.
"If you want we could go on a date sometime?" He offered, knowing he was going to call the police the absolute second he was free of this psychopath. The girls eyes widened and then narrowed at him as though trying to peer through him.
"I dunnoooo. I've been burned before you know? I think I'd rather -" She said, the manic expression that had temporarily begun to fade when Izuku spoke returning in full force. Izuku felt the knife in his begin to move, and knew he had to do something. So he took the single piece of information he had on this girl and rolled with it.
He gripped the knife tightly, noting the blond girls eye roll when she thought he was trying to pushed the knife away, then yanked hard on it, allowing his hand to glide over the blade. The result was instantaneous, as this hand tore open and began bleeding profusely. His aggressor was so surprised by the seeming nonchalance he did it with that she forgot that she was planning to stab him - which was, of course, the point. Still inwardly Izuku was...
'Oh my god this hurts so much. Is this going to need stitches? Oh god I'm going to need stitches. And tetanus shots. No, a whole checkup! Who knows where that things been !?'
With deliberate slowness, Izuku raised his now bleeding hand, and pressed it against the nut jobs cheek. It was grotesque. It hurt. And it took literally every iota of his will power not to grimace, scowl, or cry. Possibly all of the above. The girl locked eyes with him for a moment and time felt as though it froze as Izuku watched her process this new situation.
In his head, Izuku could feel something knock itself loose, as though a long forgotten part of himself had suddenly sparked to life and begun to motion. The clattering of dice could be heard, and when they finally stopped Izuku felt more than he heard;
Bluff Check! 22! Success!
And then the crazy girl relaxed, her smile somehow growing less feral and more... appreciative. She turned her head, leaning into Izuku's bleeding hand. When half of her face was covered in the warm liquid, her tongue darted out to flick across his palm, sending a shiver of revulsion down Izuku's spine.
"Mm, fine. I'll see you tomorrow mystery guy." She hummed, spinning away from him with her arms outstretched as though she were a princess in a Disney movie. When she was a few meters away from him, she leaned over, picking her school bag up and depositing her knife in it with a single, smooth practiced motion. Izuku had to wonder exactly how often she had done this to get that practiced at it... then he felt another shiver run up his spine and he decided to put the thought out of mind for the moment.
The girl continued to stand and stare at Izuku, her gaze becoming progressively more crazy looking and her face becoming redder and redder, until finally she covered it with her hands, the droopy sleeves of he too long sweater creating a natural veil.
"Kyaaaaa!~" She yelled in exhilaration, before turning and sprinting away at a speed Izuku would have generally considered impossible without a quirk of some kind. Mentally he added 'some kind of speed quirk' to the list of information he had gathered on his would-be paramour before several things caught up to him all at once.
For one, his hand hurt alot. For another he was pretty sure the stress of the moment had caused him to go temporarily insane. He had definitely heard dice just now. And a voice telling him he had succeeded. And of course, there was the fact that he had nearly just died.
Izuku began to shake, slowly at first, and then more and more violently, until he was practically a nervous wreck leaning against the wall of the building. He started to hyper ventilate, and could see the edges of his vision turning dark as his body failed to draw in the necessary oxygen to maintain consciousness. He needed to calm down. Needed to distract himself so he didn't black out right here in the street for some other sicko to find.
Still shaking, he slid to the ground in the shadows, pulling off his backpack. Slowly, so that he didn't fumble and drop it, he withdrew his character sheet from his backpack. He patiently read each and every word on it. Burning it into his memory, forcing himself to think about literally anything else by knives and crazy women. And then something strange happened. His character sheet, no, 'Deku's' character sheet, began to burn up, as though it had be tossed into the fire. The entire thing simply went up in a puff of smoke and ash that was blown away in the gentle night breeze.
Izuku stared with steadily increasing panic at the blatantly bizarre occurrence, before suddenly a hovering white screen appeared in front of him. It was a perfect copy of his character sheet, except for two things. At the very top and very bottom of the screen. The first difference, was the name. No longer was his bard named Deku. No, now emblazoned atop the strange hovering screen, was the word 'Izuku Midoriya' in thick, black lettering. The other difference was at the very bottom, where a new ability had been added. It read;
Quirk: The Gamer
You, are a D&D Character.
Yoooo. I wrote this whole thing as a relaxation aid. Work has been shitty and is likely to continue to be shitty for a while, and I wanted to do something that wasn't an ongoing work. It ended up being way god damn longer than I had originally intended for a throwaway pilot chapter of something, but I'm pretty happy with it. If your reading this, and your actually familiar with D&D - throw me a bone, I was trying to sort of dumb it down for anyone reading who doesn't have any idea what the hell any of this stuff means. I actually did write a literal character sheet for Izuku here, and was inspired to write this almost entirely by the ending theme where all the BnH characters are in a fantasy setting. I realize that in all likelihood Izuku is probably a Fighter in that world but that would be boring as fuck to write. I dunno. Tell me what you think folks. I suppose this fic would technically fall under the LitRPG category of writing, which is something I don't have a lot of experience writing. I'm kind of trying to feel out how many hard mechanics and numbers to include in the writing as opposed to glazing things over. I'd like non players to be able to understand whats going on but I don't really want to bloat my word count by turning every chapter into a tutorial for the game. And yes, the title is a reference to You Say Run. Shush. I'm simple.
Oh and as always,
Thanks for reading.