Author's Note: Holy fuck it's been a while. First, HAPPY FUCKING NEW YEAR - (even though I'm like, a month late) and second of all, this, like many of my stories, is another experiment that I'm using to try and refine my writing style.
Writing in the first-person perspective tends to overly color what my protagonists do, which I realized was a huge no-no unless I wanted every single one of my characters to be as jaded and sarcastic as possible.
For those not familiar with me through my other works, I gladly welcome you to my first ever attempt to write a BNHA story, which struck me with sudden fervor after I sat and read the manga till the current chapter. This story will contain spoilers for all you anime-only watchers out there, but I'm sure you're already anticipating that. And for my fellow manga readers... HOLY FUCK are we sure Boku no Hero isn't a fucking seinen? I mean... Shimura Tenko - nuff said.
WARNINGS: As I have been called an Edgelord by dozens, if not hundreds of angry guest reviewers and some with accounts, (looking at you Zentari-chan) please anticipate that this story will be dark. Not grimdark, wormdark, or bleakdark, but just your usual Nightmare Fuel and Angst dark. Expect blood, violence, sexual references, swearing, mentions of depression, suicide, self-harm, drugs - and perhaps the occasional sprinkle of fluff like a hit of heroin to make you continue reading.
P.S.: [Yes, I know, I have other stories which have not been updated, and my Book 2 of Janus and Oblivion is in the final stages of the second draft, but to my fans, kindly please refrain from leaving reviews reminding me to update my other stories on this story. Just as Cyberpunk 2077 was delayed, I, too, would rather delay my chapters and guarantee quality than pump them out at lightning speed and have shitty content. Thank you for understanding, and Merry Christmas!]
n. the quality, condition, or fact of being exact and accurate. Marked by or adapted for accuracy and exactness.
Summary: A year before the supposed fated meeting with the Symbol of Peace, Midoriya Izuku unlocks his quirk and discovers that the world is vastly different when one is deemed gifted. With an ability grants absolute precision in all of one's endeavors, the lines of good and evil slowly start to blur.
A Precise Note
He only understood after getting his quirk.
"Come down Mr. Sniffles! Come down! Please?"
The cat on the tree clung to the branches. Feline claws dug into wood at acute angles to keep it stable. The girl at the bottom was young. Older than him. Her middle-school uniform was neatly ironed. She appeared mundane, lacking exotic mutant type features that would give away her quirk.
"D-d-do you need some help?"
No, stupid – heroes don't ask – they just do! What – what if she says no? What if she laughs? She's going to laugh! Maybe I shouldn't have –
She was prettier than he thought. She was closer to his face than he realized. His heartbeat was racing. It was fast. Too fast. Close. Too close. His cheeks were burning. He wanted to step back. He couldn't step back.
What – what would Kacchan do?
"Um – you're… a bit… um… too close… and – and –"
"Can you get Mr. Sniffles down?" She pointed to the tree. "It's pretty high up, and you're pretty small."
I'm still growing. I'm not short – I – I just haven't hit my growth spurt yet.
His face burned. I said that out loud. Oh my god why did I say that out loud? She was smiling at him. And she was close to him.
"I – I can help. My… my quirk. It can help."
"It can?" her eyes widened. "What can it do? Is it telekinesis? Oh = oh, you're going to grow vines from your hair?"
"U-um, no – it… well…" There wasn't any easy way to explain it. "I… can do this."
Two steps, and he was up the tree in a flip. The world blurred into a rush of air as he spun, latching his fingers lightly unto the stomach of the cat. The feline purred. Its claws raked away at the tree. He spun his body, rolled with the cat safely secure in his arms held to his chest. He landed, bleeding off the momentum with a tiny cartwheel, planting his feet unto the ground.
Mr. Sniffles was smaller, now that it was in his arms. A kitten. A cute one. He couldn't resist himself from rubbing the feline's stomach. Soft purrs escaped Mr. Sniffles. The kitten stretched out in his arms, like a toddler trying to sleep.
The girl was staring at him. Her eyes were wide. Her smile was even wider. He found himself taking a step back on instinct. "U-um – I – er – got Mr. Sniffles down –"
"That was amazing!"
"Oh, no – it – it wasn't – I just…"
"You jumped up that huge tree without even having a running start! And that flip – oh, don't tell me, your quirk – it lets you do parkour moves?!"
"Um… kind of."
"That's soooo cool!"
He was smiling, but his smile was awkward. He hoped she didn't notice how awkward his smile was. "Um… can you… take Mr. Sniffles?"
"Hm? Oh! Right, right!"
The dark-furred bundle left his hands. He watched the way she cared for it. His eyes trailed her hands, the position in which she kept the cat. Almost immediately, he wanted to clear his throat and say something. It's not my place – I mean – I shouldn't… I – should I? What if I she thinks –
Mr. Sniffles jerked awake. The kitten swiped its claws at the girl's hands. He was moving before her hand left it. His hands launched out, catching the kitten mid fall.
"Ouch!" she said. "Damn it Mr. Sniffles!"
"Y-you… um… you shouldn't be holding him… like that."
She glared at him, holding her scratched hand. "What do you mean?"
"Um… you're… holding him by his neck. It… it probably hurts."
He extended his hands. "Y-you should hold him more gently. Like… like a baby."
"Hey what's your deal kid? You think just because you got Mr. Sniffles down from a tree, you think you're better than me at treating him?"
"No! No – I – I was just –" I – I just wanted to help –
The girl snickered, before laughing. "Relax. I'm joking."
"Oh." He said. A joke. She's just joking. You can take a joke.
"So, Kid Parkour, you said I should hold Mr. Sniffles like this –"
There was some trial and error to the process. Enough so that she was holding the cat comfortably. Enough so that Mr. Sniffles did not protest at her hands. A decent method. But she could be holding him more securely. If she were to space out her fingers and hug him closer to her chest – oh, no, that wouldn't work because her chest is um… ah – but if she were to properly make use of her biceps and brachialis to support Mr. Sniffle's weight, she could comfortably carry him and at the same time ease the tension on his spine. But if she didn't want to hold him, she could securely place him over her shoulder and prevent him from slipping by using her backpack as a makeshift cat-belt and keeping him at an angle that'll allow for three-dimensional movement without unnecessary jostling –
"Well, thanks for the help Kid Parkour."
"Izuku." He said without thinking. "Midoriya Izuku."
"Tsuchikawa." She responded in turn. "Tsuchikawa Emiko."
Tsuchikawa? Midoriya's brow furrowed. Isn't that – no, no, that's a leap. Just because she has the same last name and has a cat doesn't mean anything. But what if it did? No, it doesn't mean anything still. Even if they're related, I can't randomly ask her to get me an autograph – but if I did, would that be creepy? What if it upsets her? I don't know if I'd like it if everyone badgered me just because I have a relative who's a pro-hero – but wait – what if she's not, and she's just someone who has the same name? Won't that be worse? If she –
A finger moved in his direction. His body moved as well. His hand was up, holding something before his mind caught up.
"Wow," said Emiko. "Good reflexes."
He was holding her hand. Oh my god I'm holding a girl's hand. He let go of her as if he'd been burned from the impact. "Um – ah – sorry –"
"You're in your head a lot, aren't you?"
He tried to smile. I'm smiling awkwardly. Why am I smiling so awkwardly? "I… guess."
"I guess I'll be seeing you around, Midoriya-chan." She said, turning around. "Thanks for helping me with Mr. Sniffles! Bye!"
She waved, once, and she was gone. Izuku rose his right hand, muttering softly, "Bye…"
He wished he could do that. Do what Tsuchikawa did. Just leave a conversation without making it look awkward or wondering if the person has finished talking or caring if the person felt you were just trying to get away –
Had she been trying to get away from him? Was it because he was too quiet? Was that creepy? He knew that some people found it creepy. He didn't want to be creepy. He hoped he wasn't creepy. He hoped he hadn't ruined the interaction by being too quiet. He wanted to talk, too. Be outspoken, too. Maybe even compliment her? She was pretty. He'd have liked to tell her, that he thought she was pretty. That he liked how cute she looked in that school uniform.
Wait – school uniform?
Midoriya glanced at his own clothing. The uniform of Aldera Junior High was clean and crisp. Ironed to a point in which the creases could be mistaken for blades. His left hand went up, the time on the digital clock glaring at him.
Midoriya Izuku's feet began moving as soon as his mind caught up with the information registered on his watch.
The streets were a blur as he raced through. Dodging and ducking and weaving past obstacles and people like he was on an obstacle course of doom. His body moved first, and his mind followed second. Shortcut – need a shortcut –
His feet skidded to a stop in an alley. He ran, jumping off a dumpster, spinning into the air, and running up the side of a wall until he flipped off it and landed on the rooftops. Faster. Sprinting across obstacles on the rooftop was easier than he anticipated. Sliding underneath a line meant for clothes, dodging and weaving through the occasional heaters and miscellaneous vents, the biggest challenge came in leaping from one rooftop to another.
The distance between gaps was covered with effective timing. Landing required him to roll to bleed off momentum, but each roll was used to increase his speed rather than reduce it, furthering himself forward, faster, and faster –
This was something he understood only after getting his own quirk. The tiny ways in which having a quirk made life amazing. The little things in which contributed to a larger experience. The wind rushing in his face. The adrenaline pumping in his system. The excitement and thrills as he dodged obstacle after obstacle, climbed building after building, hopped rooftop after rooftop, ran on walls, flipped, cartwheeled, turned and tumbled –
A Quirk was not some esoteric, odd, foreign part of a person which was only meant to be used when given the green light. It was a part of him. It was him. It was like a limb he always had but never fully utilized. An arm he'd been missing. A realm of experience he'd been locked from. In every conceivable way, having a quirk changed his life, and to not have a quirk – it was like being crippled.
The school was within his sights. He leapt from the nearest building unto the street, careful to avoid pedestrians, and getting a few surprised shouts from his seemingly sudden appearance. With each breath he took, he timed himself, calculated the fastest route and headed for it simultaneously. He ran through the gates, past the gates, ran through the main doors, and past the main doors. He ran, pushing behind his exertion and only skidding to a stop once the familiar doorway was in sight.
Exhausted, he tried to catch his breath before opening the door.
"Midoriya-kun, you're late."
His teacher's voice came from behind him. Stern. Focused. Midoriya felt as if his heart was going to burst from the pressure.
"I – I didn't mean to! But – but there was this girl, and – and Mr. Sniffles – her – her cat – kitten – there was a tree and – and –"
"You were helping a girl get her cat out of a tree?"
His teacher's voice was rich with amusement. He doesn't believe me.
"Y-yes – I –"
"No need to explain at all, Midoriya-kun. I understand you must be itching to use your recently discovered quirk to do some heroics."
"I – well – no, it's not like I –"
"Shhh." His teacher said, waving his hand. "There's nothing to explain at all. These things happen. And I can turn a blind eye to one of this school's finest young students. After all, you and Bakugo-kun are the ones planning on applying to U.A. aren't you? Yes, yes – there's no reason to mar your perfect attendance records."
The teacher didn't listen to him. No, it's not that he's not listening… he's… he's… just letting me off?
"Now, come on, let's enter. Class should have started already."
Izuku pushed open the door, forcing the usual smile on his cheeks as he entered the classroom. Immediately he was greeted by friendly smiles, cheers and waves. "Hey, Izuku! There you are!"
"Izuku, buddy, we were wondering what kept you."
"Izuku-kun, I've kept a seat right beside me. It's warm."
"Alright, quiet down! Class is in session!" The teacher barked. "Izuku, go on and take your seat."
He felt numb. Numb, even as he moved to the back of the class. No one attempted to put out their legs to trip him. No one snickered and whispered 'quirkless' or 'useless' as he passed. That girl who used to stare at him like an insect was looking at him with disturbing, predatory eyes. The two boys who used to toss spitballs in his ear were treating him like royalty.
He took his seat, quietly, feeling his heart pounding in his chest. It pounded so much that it felt like it was going to burst. Pounded so much that he was worried others could actually hear it.
"Oi." A voice came from his side. "You're fucking late Deku. What took you?"
Blonde-haired and perpetually scowling, Katsuki Bakugo was the only one acting… normal.
"I don't understand."
Bakugo snorted. "You make it sound like that's supposed to be something new."
He bit down on his lip. "Everyone is… acting different."
"You mean how everyone is suddenly kissing your ass?" Bakugo scoffed.
They weren't the words he would use, but they were not wrong. He nodded his head, slowly.
"Congratu-fucking-lations," said Kacchan, twirling his index finger in the air. "Now that everyone knows you've got a quirk and it's one that fucking blows theirs out of the water, you've graduated from mob trash to side character."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means you're fucking better than them, and they know it." Kacchan pointed to two boys. Deku knew them. They were Bakugo's cronies. The ones who followed him everywhere. "They'll stick beside you like white on fucking rice, because the morons believe that if they stand in front of a light bulb long enough, they'll start to glow."
Was that true? People would want to become his friend now, simply because he'd finally unlocked his quirk? They would give him special privileges, simply because his quirk was good? They'd turn a blind eye to the minor slip-ups he made, because of a power he was born with? An ability he himself had no choice in choosing?
"That's… that's wrong."
"What, are you fucking complaining?" Bakugo said. "Like you're any fucking different."
His chest burned. "I'm not like that."
"Then why the fuck are you even talking to me?"
"I'm not an idiot, Deku. You were trash without a quirk. I let you know this every day. In your fucking face, every day. Yet you'd follow me with this stupid look on your face no matter what. That stupid look – you never stopped having it for one fucking day." Bakugou snorted. "At least, with the hangers-on I knew they were getting something out of hanging out around me cause they made it obvious. With you, it's like you felt chasing after my fucking shadow could make you more than trash."
"How does that make you any fucking different from them?"
He wanted to deny it. He wanted to tell Kacchan that they were friends. That they had been friends since before Kacchan got his quirk. He couldn't. He couldn't, because Kacchan was right about one thing. He had been chasing after Bakugo. He'd been chasing after him, desperately. He looked up to him. He admired his confidence. His ability. His sure-fire cockiness and self-assured ways of doing things. His ability to not care about the opinions and thoughts of others and say whatever he felt was on his mind.
Was it a friendship, then, if all one person did, was admire and look up to the other? If one person, merely put the other on a pedestal, and placed them as a goal? Friendships were supposed to be give and take, supposed to be equal and reciprocal, but if all he did, was look up to Kacchan, if all he did, was get his inspiration and confidence from Kacchan without ever giving back anything in return… could it even be called a friendship?
Were they, actually ever friends?
Have I ever done anything for Kacchan… as a friend?
Something gnawed at his stomach. Gnawed at him. They were friends, weren't they? He should have, at least once, done something to help Kacchan. Something that Kacchan couldn't have done without him. Some sort of assistance, that he provided, or maybe, maybe a gift? Or – or –
Kacchan's pride won't let him accept help. Or advice. It won't let him ask for it either. The only way he'd do that is if he saw me as an equal. But he won't, because I've been the one chasing after him for so long. If I beat him in a fight, it'll hurt his pride even worse. If I hold back, he'll know I did and things'll go sour. So… how?
"What is it Deku?"
"After school… can you," No, don't ask. He tried again. "I… want you… to show me, some stuff, you think we can do… with our quirks."
Izuku deflated. "Oh."
Don't just… take no! What – what would Kacchan do?
"I'm… I'm not taking no for an answer."
"What was that bastard?" Bakugo's face lit up, tiny sparks emitting from his hand.
Don't be afraid. Don't be – you – you don't have anything to fear from Kacchan. "You – you heard me." Izuku forced out. "We – we're going to do stuff. Have fun. Like… friends. Good friends."
"I said I'm not interested Deku."
"I said I won't take no for an answer." I didn't stutter! I didn't stutter that time!
"Do you have a death wish?"
"N-no," damn it, he stuttered. "You have a death wish."
"That doesn't even make any fucking sense."
"You don't make any f-fucking sense."
Oh my god I just swore. He could feel the mortification from dropping the f-word so casually. He could feel some sort of… thrill from dropping the f-word so casually. He observed Kacchan's momentarily stunned face, keyed in to his body language, his facial expressions, recalled his extensive vocabulary, and his subtle peculiarities.
Then, he fed everything into his quirk.
"You heard me," he said, his voice oscillating in tone until it reached the deepness and octave that matched Katsuki Bakugo phoneme for phoneme. "We're going to fucking have a blast with our quirks, and you're going to come along, sit down, and have fun, or my name isn't Izuku fucking Midoriya."
Too little, too late, he realized that he had been slightly louder than he intended to be. The gaze of the entire classroom was in their direction, in his direction. Jaws were slack, mouths were opened, eyes were wide, and a piece of chalk dropped from the teacher's hand.
Midoriya Izuku, when faced with such an awkward situation, would have shrunk back in on himself, praying for a random blanket to appear and hide his mortification. However, at that exact moment, Midoriya Izuku wasn't the one present. Rather, it was Midoriya Izuku using his quirk to mimic Katsuki Bakugo. Of course, there was only ever one response Katsuku Bakugo possessed when faced with such a situation.
"What the fuck are you all looking at? Do we look like we invited you to sit down, drink tea and listen in on our private fucking conversation? HUH?"
Like clockwork, the student's gazes snapped forward on instinct. Only two individuals were left staring. The teacher, and Katsuki Bakugo himself.
"Ah… Midoriya-kun –"
The teacher cleared his throat. "Ah – er… that is an… interesting use of your quirk. But… er… do, keep it down, just a bit."
The teacher returned to his board, the students gossiped, and, just as they believed the day could not have gotten any more ludicrous, a sound emerged from the back row that no one had ever heard, and no one ever believed they would hear.
It was the sound, of Katsuki Bakugo… laughing.
A ~ P ~ N
"Her, do her next."
Midoriya Izuku cleared his throat. "I do, surely believe, as an Oujo-sama of this distinguished family, that requesting me to perform such paltry tricks for your amusement is beneath someone of my station." The smooth, feminine voice flowed from his mouth with fluidity and grace.
Kacchan was amused, a fiendish grin on his face from the reaction of passersby when they heard the feminine voice, but failed to identify where it was coming from, or who was speaking.
"Try… All Might."
Izuku grinned. "HAVE NO FEAR, CITIZENS! FOR I AM HERE! NO EVILDOERS SHALL ESCAPE THE MIGHTY POWER OF JUSTICE!"
"I heard All Might's voice just now!"
"All Might is here?"
Kacchan held his sides, covering his mouth with one hand as he tried not to bark in laughter. Izuku couldn't help but feel a little bit sad for the people who were now rapidly searching the area with their phones in hand to find the Symbol of Peace himself, muttering, whispering and conjuring theories about how All Might may have gained the power to turn invisible, or project his presence from a distance.
"Fine, I'll admit it," Kacchan said, regaining control of his laughter. "Your quirk isn't anywhere near as strong as mine… but it's fucking damn more entertaining."
"That's some really high praise coming from you Kacchan."
"Don't let it go to your head."
"I'll be sure to cherish the moment you praised my quirk forever, Katsuki-kun."
Kacchan's left eye twitched. "Alright. You sound more irritating than your usual fucking self. Who the fuck are you mimicking now?"
Izuku couldn't help himself. "The only person I'd ever want to mimic is you, Katsuki-kun."
"That's fucking creepy."
"But Katsuki-kun – I thought you liked it when people wore your ski – ouch!" Izuku rubbed the back of his head. "Fine – fine – I'll stop mimicking Hebimaru-sensei."
"That's who you were mimicking?" Kacchan shuddered. "No fucking wonder it sounded so gross. You know he's a slimy fucking bastard right?"
"Just because his quirk makes him part snake doesn't mean he's slimy."
"The fact that he's always loitering around the girl's bathroom makes him fucking slimy."
Izuku cringed. "I – I didn't know that."
Kacchan snorted. "Of course you didn't. You barely notice anything that happens around the school."
"I – I was always dealing with my own problems." Izuku admitted. "Not having a quirk. Not having any friends. Ka-chan stress eating. My own thoughts of how much I just wanted to give up. And you… Kacchan… you didn't make it any easier with your words and… I…"
Izuku bit his lip. "They… hurt. The words… more than the shoves or explosions in my face. Your words… hurt Kacchan."
"Why the fuck do you care so much about anything I say?"
"Because you're… my friend Kacchan. Or at least… the closest thing I have to a friend." Izuku said, awkwardly rubbing his hand. "Even though you berated me, and insulted me, and belittled my dream… we were friends before you got your quirk and left me in the dust. And I – I didn't want to lose that. I'd already lost my dream, lost my joy, lost my mom's peace of mind… and if – if I lost my only friend as well… it'd be like I lost everything. Everything. Just because I wasn't born with a quirk. I – I don't think I could have come back from that."
There was something off, about Kacchan. Izuku wasn't sure what he was. But… his fists were balled up. His expression was fierce. Fiercer than he'd ever seen.
"Ah – s-sorry, I didn't… I didn't mean to u-upset you –"
"What the fuck is wrong with you?"
Izuku flinched from the sheer anger in his tone. "I – I don't understand –"
Kacchan didn't say another word. The boy stormed off, leaving in an arbitrary direction. Izuku wanted to follow him. He wanted to find out what he said, or did that was wrong. He wasn't trying to guilt trip Kacchan or anything like that.
I just… want us to be friends again.
He just wanted to have a friend, again.
He just wanted a friend.
A ~ P ~ N
Katsuki Bakugo needed something to vent on. He needed something solid, and sturdy, to bare the full brunt of his explosions. He needed to fucking unleash out the crushing sensation he was feeling in his chest otherwise he felt it just might explode.
Fucking Deku –
Contrary to what many would believe, Katsuki Bakugo was not incapable of empathy. He was not heartless, or empty, or cold, as many would believe. He understood emotions more than most, just that the emotion he understood the most was anger. Anger and rage. Right now, he felt those two things. He felt them, and they were eating him up inside, because the target of that anger and rage was one fucking annoying piece of shit.
A piece of shit named Katsuki Bakugo.
He kicked aside an aluminum beer can in his path as his teeth grinded against each other. It pissed him off. Pissed him off, listening to Deku. Listening to how someone he treated like trash, no, perhaps worse than trash, talk to him about them being friends. He wanted to call Deku delusional. Delusional and pathetic.
Yet, the real pathetic one was him.
Him, a person who desired to become a hero, to become the hero, not even able to realize when a person needed saving. Not even able to see the harm his words and actions were causing. Too blind to his own stupid temperament and ego.
Did Deku even know, how he looked, when he spoke? He doubted the boy did. He doubted he could see how he looked. How tired, he looked. How empty, he looked. Shattered. Broken. Worn. Desperate.
Bakugo was pissed. He was pissed at himself. He was pissed on Midoriya's behalf. He was pissed, because he knew that damned Deku wouldn't get mad at him. He knew, that damned Deku wouldn't even ask for an apology, wouldn't care if he never gave him an apology, would merely go on and continue acting like Bakugo's own words and actions had not been the final straw that broke the camel's back.
He hated that Midoriya wasn't upset with him. He would have taken that. It would have been easier, to handle that. To handle resentment. To handle rage and scorn. To take all of his hate. It was worse, that Midoriya wasn't upset with him. Didn't demand anything of him. Didn't make it easy, for him. Didn't provide a means or an out for him. All Deku wanted from him… was to be his friend, even after… everything.
Deku chose to forgive him.
And that made Bakugo unable to forgive himself.
It gnawed at him. Ate at him. Burned deep within him. A sense of overwhelming revulsion for himself. Of disgust, for himself. A nausea that struck every time he pictured Deku's face, Deku's empty, hollow face, as the boy narrated how he'd been struggling, and how, Bakugo, the only person in the world he saw as a friend, made those struggles worse.
Three seconds later, Bakugo stumbled into an alley and heaved the contents of his stomach into the nearest trash bin.
Katsuki Bakugo didn't want to be a piece of shit. He didn't want to be that sort of scum. That type of pathetic. Even villains and bastards didn't try to make life harder for their fucking henchmen. Yet alone friends. Yet alone someone who wanted to be a hero.
Some fucking hero you're going to turn out to be.
He'd make things right, somehow. He knew, he had to make things right, somehow.
He just wished he could figure out how.
A ~ P ~ N
"Here, kitty… I've brought some snacks for you."
The stray cats of Musutafu were wary of strangers. They did not approach most people, and were skittish around those with particularly intimidating mutant quirks. Izuku liked that the cats seemed to like him. Animals, seemed to like him. They were nice. He liked animals too. Though he wasn't sure about keeping an animal as a pet. It felt wrong, in some ways. He knew that there were pet owners who did the absolute best for their animal companions and treated them with love and care, but there were also a lot of pet owners who did the opposite. He didn't like those type of pet owners.
"Is it okay if I give you a name?"
The black tabby in question didn't seem to mind. It purred, rubbing it's face against Izuku's outstretched hand. It reminded him of that girl he met in the morning. Of her kitty, Mr. Sniffles who'd been stuck up a tree.
It felt good, to help people in need. It made him feel better about himself, whenever he could do something to make someone's day shine just a little bit brighter. He wanted to do that, to make people's day shine brighter, bit by bit. He wanted to be the type of person he wished he could have met.
The cat purred, it's tail swaying from side to side.
"You don't like it? I guess it's kind of too common a name…"
The voice came from behind him. He didn't startle. He heard the footsteps, long before they had arrived. Though, they weren't his usual footsteps. They didn't seem to have the same level of confidence to them. The sound wasn't like he knew. Wasn't at all like he remembered.
"I don't think that's a good name for a cat Kacchan."
There was a moment's pause. Izuku looked at the cat. "What do you think, would you like to be called Shinigami?"
"You could add a title to it. Make it formal. Kickass. Like… Sir. Sir Shinigami. It'll let it know the other cats know not to fuck with him."
Izuku couldn't help his lips twitching. "How about, Sir Kuro the Shinigami?"
"It's a hell of a mouthful for a damn cat."
"Sir Kuro the Shinigami it is. We can call him Shin, or Gami, or Kuro – or just Sir. What do you think, Sir?"
"There's no fucking way I'm calling a cat, Sir."
Izuku picked up the newly minted Sir Kuro, holding him into the air. He spun on his feet, gesturing the cat forward. "Think fast!"
"Oi – Deku you –"
Kacchan had good reflexes. Enough to catch Sir Kuro. Enough to keep the cat at arm's length. Kuro purred, stretching out and rubbing his whiskers against Kacchan's palms. The blonde's eye twitched, and he shot a murderous glare at the cat.
Kuro ignored it and started to lick his fur.
"I think he likes you."
"He's fucking ignoring me."
"That's how you know he likes you."
Kacchan snorted. Izuku dusted his palms, and threw his head back. "I'm tired. I'm going to head home before Ka-san starts to get worried."
"Hey, De –" Kacchan stopped. "I...Izuku. Wait."
He couldn't remember the last time he heard Kacchan call him by his name. His actual name. Not Deku, or trash, or mob, or loser, or nerd – but his name. He couldn't remember the last time. The last time Kacchan stood, his face a cornucopia of emotions, his eyes averted to the side, his stance solemn… defeated.
"I –" Kacchan opened his mouth, but stopped. Izuku could hear the grinding of teeth. The dry licking of lips. The swallowing of saliva. He could see the accumulation of sweat. The shortness of breath. The slow, unsteady, shaking of hands.
"Hey, Kacchan." Izuku said. "Do you want to come over to my place and play videogames?"
The tension left his shoulders. Izuku knew. Izuku could tell. He knew, because he understood what it was like, to have something eating at him from the inside. He didn't know what it was that was eating Kacchan up, but he knew, sometimes, the best way to get rid of that feeling – was to simply have someone around you.
"Video…games?" Kacchan repeated.
"I started playing, recently." He smiled awkwardly. "Ka-san bought me a console and several new games after I unlocked my quirk. I think she's trying to spoil me, you know, to make up for…" He trailed off. "We can play Heroes Smash V."
"That's… the new one… isn't it? With All Might?"
Izuku took Kuro out of his friend's hands. He reached into his back for one final treat, dropping it in front of the cat, and rubbing the creature's ears for good measure.
"Come on, Kacchan," Izuku said.
For once, he didn't look back, as he kept walking. He didn't agonize, if the conversation was over. He didn't ask, perhaps, if the boy had different thoughts. Izuku Midoriya wanted a friend, but he knew, and understood, that not everything was meant to be. So he walked, he walked, ignoring the tiny pit in his stomach when he didn't hear footsteps trailing behind him. He walked, ignoring the churning bitterness in his mouth when no footsteps followed. He walked, forcing down the lump in his throat at the silence.
And he walked.
"Oi! Izuku! Wait up damn it!"
And a sensation unlike any other rose from his chest. The sound of footsteps echoed behind him, and for the first time in what felt like eons –
Midoriya Izuku was happy.