“Yeah. You can see that we’re pretty much in the middle of nowhere.”
Izuku startled, looking around in the dark for any sign of movement that would betray the speaker’s whereabouts. Despite there being some light from the cabin, though, his eyes didn’t spot a thing.
Was that someone talking about their location…? He wasn’t sure he’d heard right.
“I overheard Sensai talking about something in the woods tomorrow evening, it sounds fun-”
“Hagakure?” Izuku called out upon recognising the voice.
“Oh! Midoriya!” she said, and Izuku heard the distinctive snap of an old flip-phone shutting. “It’s, like, 2am, what are you doing up?”
“Couldn’t sleep so I came out to do some stretches.” He replied, not giving Tooru time to respond before launching into his signature muttering spiel, “Were you calling your parents just now? I can understand the timing if they’re in another timezone, or if you just miss them a lot. I kind of feel like calling my mum, too. But, uhh…”
He stopped himself, thinking back to what he’d heard Hagakure say over the phone.
“You know that we’re not supposed to be giving any information away about our location or what we’re doing, right? I mean, I’m sure your parents are nice and won’t spread the information but anything can be tapped. You remember what happened at the USJ. I think we should tell Aizawa about this tomorrow, just in case.”
He heard Hagakure sigh. Loudly.
“I- I don’t want to get you in trouble or anything! Honest!” Izuku stuttered, suddenly very aware of how Iida-like he was sounding right now. “I think it’s just best to be safe rather than sorry, right? I mean, he might say that they have some sort of protection against it-”
“Midoriya.” she interrupted him.
Her tone suggested her next words would be something along the lines of “Shut up”.
But instead, she asked him a question.
“You have a lot of secrets, don’t you?”
“Uhh..” was his only response to the conversational whiplash she’d given him.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask what they are.” She said with a relaxed giggle. “It’s not my business, right? It’s just that I have secrets too, but I don’t mind sharing them now and again. A lot of them are to do with my quirk.”
Izuku watched as new indentations were made on the grass near him, and they eventually stopped. A sound clued him into the fact that Hagakure had just sat down, her back against the tree. And though he’d only gotten the hang of actually having friends recently, he knew what a social cue for a deep chat looked like. And a quirk-based chat with someone he hadn’t really gotten to know yet? Despite the odd situation, he wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Besides, she sounded like she wanted to talk about something.
So he sat down next to her with a smile.
“What do you think of my quirk?” she asked him after he’d settled down.
“It’s great! Really useful for stealth missions, gathering intelligence, and you even have an upper hand in fighting if they can’t see your next move. Though I guess a downside is that you can’t wear support items – they would give you away – unless you can find a way to make them invisible, too. Maybe items can be made from your hair? Either way you have the potential to be a great hero, especially with your charisma. ”
He heard an amused huff from next to him.
“But my quirk’s not invisibility.” She said simply.
“Oh. Is it light refraction?” Izuku asked, really wishing he’d brought his notes book with him. He’d never even considered that her quirk wasn’t invisibility – which was weird considering the amount of effort he’d put into analysing every other quirk he’d encountered.
“Huh.” Izuku said, then chuckled a bit to himself. “I’m stumped, for once. What is it?”
“I can take things from people’s minds.” She said softly.
Izuku looked at where he assumed her head to be and frowned slightly. The light mood of the conversation had adopted a slightly eerie feeling, not just by what she’d said but that way she’d said it.
Like she was proudly admitting to a crime.
Izuku swallowed. Maybe this situation was similar to Shinsou’s. Maybe she needed reassurance that her quirk wasn’t bad, he trusted her and he wouldn’t treat her any differently because of it.
So why did he feel kind of… tense?
“That still sounds pretty powerful, Hagakure! I can still see that coming in handy when dealing with villains, you know? I guess it can put some people off when you tell them, but your quirk can definitely be used for the good of other people. You’ve just got to show them.” he said, bumping his shoulder against hers in a way he hoped was encouraging.
He carried on speaking after not hearing a reply.
“S-so you take, what, the memory of your appearance from people? From everyone? Why?” he asked.
“Oh, at this point I can’t help that aspect of it. Most people just see my actual appearance and it’s instantly removed from their heads. Weird how that works, right?” she replied nonchalantly.
“Oh. It must be difficult not to be able to turn it off.” Izuku replies delicately, digesting the new information. “What are the conditions that make people forget?”
“Good question. I guess people’s minds are a lot more open when they’re scared. That’s when it’s easiest to take stuff.” She said.
Izuku’s heart skipped a beat. If that were true… why is her real appearance so terrifying that it makes people forget it?
She kept talking before he could decide how to ask her that.
“And sometimes it’s really difficult having to make people scared in order to take stuff when I want. I had to scare the whole class, including Aizawa-Sensai into forgetting I’d come dead last in the quirk test on the first day of school. It would’ve been so embarrassing if I’d been expelled on the first day!”
“You – you did what?” Izuku spluttered.
“Midoriya, I’m invisible. That’s it. Name one aspect of that quirk test that would have gotten me more points than you.”
Izuku’s mouth was wide open.
It made sense. Why hadn’t he noticed this?
“And then I had to take questions out of peoples’ heads when they started actually thinking about it. It’s exhausting.”
What else had she cheated in and lied about?
Something was off about this. Something was off about this.
“Why are you telling me this?” he asked.
“I’ve told you this before, Midoriya.”
A deep-set, uncomfortable feeling started twisting his insides as he sat there, frozen, next to a girl who had just admitted to taking several important memories from him.
“Let me refresh your memory.” she continued easily, “A couple of months ago, you walked in when I was mid-discussion with some of my friends about All-Might’s timetable. You threw a fit about that, and well, I couldn’t let you tell anyone, could I? I mean, it’s a pity my friends showed up at the USJ when he wasn’t there, but whatever. They’ve got a better plan for tomorrow.”
The uncomfortable feeling turned to ice.
A tear tracked down his face as he began to shake. He felt like yelling, like sobbing and throwing up.
It was her.
She’d been right under their noses the whole time, making friends.
She was responsible for what happened at the USJ and… and All-Might’s time being shortened.
And another attack was coming tomorrow. The league of villains knew their location – that’s why she’d been on the phone.
He was so stupid.
“You cry every time.” she said.
In the space of a second, he’d jumped at her blindly, pinning her beneath him as he breathed roughly, half-sobbing.
He aimed a punch at where he thought her head to be, but missed, accidentally hitting the ground and causing the earth to shake. A small voice in the back of his head told him it’s a good thing he missed – that punch had been powered with more than 5% of one-for-all. It could have killed her.
So he stayed there, fist buried in the earth, trying desperately to let his anger override how completely and utterly terrified he was.
He couldn’t let her take this memory. An attack was coming tomorrow – everyone could get hurt or even killed.
“Do you remember your father, Midoriya?” he heard her ask quietly, interrupting his concentration.
“Have you even thought about him recently?” she pressed.
And suddenly, Midoriya felt like he couldn’t breathe.
Because no. He hadn’t thought about his dad at all recently.
He couldn’t remember when he last did.
He’d never even questioned why his dad isn’t around. Which is weird, because he didn’t remember where his dad went.
He knew about his dad from what his mother told him when he was younger, but even his mother didn’t talk about him anymore.
As if he’d never existed.
And then it clicked.
“What… what did you do?” he asked raggedly, because he wanted, no- had to know. Why would she take away memories of his dad? Had she done this to his mum, too?
“Let’s just say, if you ever see a fire-breathing noumu around, you’ll have the family reunion you’ve always wanted.” She replied sweetly.
Izuku heard screaming and he was pretty sure it was coming out of his own mouth.
He raised his fist, that voice in the back of his head no longer warning him to control his strength.
And then he felt something reaching into his mind, and everything went blank.
Tooru watched as Izuku stood back up again, shaking his head.
Then he started doing some stretches, breathing deeply, looking tired but content after an entire day of gruelling training.
She stayed still, not moving and barely breathing until he’d stepped back into the cabin everyone else was sleeping in.
Then she let out a sigh.
That had been difficult. For a second there, he’d known exactly how to evade her quirk.
And that was avoidable – she should really just skip the questions about how her quirk works. In fact, she didn’t really need to build it up at all like she did, watching her victim get more and more scared before they realise exactly how the conversation is going to end.
But where would be the fun in that?