‘’Distracted, aren’t we, my dear ?’’ Ms Kuroichi asked.
Izuku immediately stopped thinking about the course of the UA letter in the postal administration. Admission or rejection. He had a good score but he had to be among the bests to be admitted. And for a moment after he had returned home, he had lived in the fear of UA sending him the bill for their giant killer robot. After all, he was supposed to avoid it, certainly not ram in it with enough strength to turn it into spare parts.
‘’I am sorry, Ms Kuroichi. I was thinking about school.’’
She waved her hand, telling him not to worry about it. At seventy two, Kuroichi Tsubaki was small but very active, never staying in place for too long and and Izuku had the sneaking suspicions she only agreed to sit down so she could feed him more cookies. They had met one week ago and her first words had been something like ‘’Poor boy, you’re so thin !’’
‘’Oh, please, don’t worry. I should be the one apologizing. You came all the way here for nothing after all.’’
Izuku almost felt guilty. He didn't come here to hassle her. He didn't want her to feel bad.
‘’I didn’t come for nothing, those cookies are delicious.’’
She immediately pushed the plates full of sweets towards him, and as he was about to refuse since he had already eaten six of them, he saw something fierce in the sweet old lady’s eyes.
He took another cookie and nibbled on one. Delicious but it was his seventh.
Ms Kuroichi had a taste enhancing quirk. It made her a great cook, but as she had told him the first time he had visited, a good poison detector. Quickly, influential men and women who came for her cooking refused to take a bite of anything until she tasted their meals first.
And once she did, she asked for recipes.
''I thought I could get rid of it. I am getting pickier and pickier now that I have tuned it so much. But I realized as you were coming that I just couldn't.''
''I don't mind.''
Lies. She had regaled him with so many stories that curiosity had devoured him during the whole week.
''Even if you had changed your mind after,'' he reminded her. ''You'd just have to call me and I would have given it back. I only take donations and there is no deadline.''
''I know. You are a good boy.''
''By the way, how long can you stay ? If you're not careful, I might bore you with my stories all day.''
Izuku pulled out his notebook, making her laugh.
Izuku got out of the retirement home a little disappointed but the delicious stories Ms Kuroichi had told him were worth it. Taking a quirk wasn't needed to study it and that might have been his favorite part : knowing how the quirk worked, what were his applications, and how they could be extended.
Quirks kept evolving during life but most people didn't take the time to devellop them. To Izuku, it felt like a waste. He cherished all his quirks, and was working on strengthening them every time he had the chance. It was also what led him towards retires. More experience, so they had found out more practical applications of their abilities.
If he was accepted to UA, this summer would be the last time he could freely explore all his quirks. He had written super power under the mention Description of your quirk in order to be able to use as many as he could, but thi wouldn't stand for anything that wasn't an enhancer.
His phone biped, interrupting his swirling thoughts, and his eyes widened when he saw the caption.
[All Might spotted in Furano.]
Izuku activated one Speed quirk, and ran towards the indicated location. There was some villain on the run, so if he was really lucky, he might be able to see him ! All Might was notorious for finishing fights quickly.
One police officer saw him running, hesitated, but didn't say anything. Some quirks were more subtle than others and he couldn't say if Izuku was using his quirk on public road or if he was just a fast runner. One distinction Izuku was often abusing. He wasn't raised in the respect of the Anti quirk use laws.
Running on the roofs would be quicker, but there were limits to how far he could bend the rules.
Izuku arrived just in time to see a form high in the sky.
''CALIFORNIA SMAAASH !''
People on the sidewalk ducked as the punch created a shockwave but Izuku just grabbed a lamp post, and used Slide and Glide to stick himself on place. He was at the perfect to see All Might neutralize the villain with a gigantification quirk, a woman who was now slowly regaining a human size.
It was the first time Izuku was seeing All Might in the flesh and he was as incredible as he thought. Strong, powerful, nice, and smiling as if nothing bad could happen. And he had the brightest quirk Izuku had ever seen. The teenager had suspected it when he had watched All Might on the screens, but it was nothing compared to what he was seeing with his own eyes.
All Might's quirk was a secret that Izuku hadn't managed to pierce despite years of study. As far as he could tell, it's was an incredibly powerful enhancer quirk, who had probably started as a force ability before evolving along the bloodline. But unless All Might accepted to finally answered his fans' questions, and since he changed subject every time it was mentioned, it was doubtful, Izuku's best chance would have been to take the quirk and to proceed to all the tests he wanted to try.
Not that Izuku would ever consider taking it. People offered him quirks because they didn't need it and sympathized with his desire to become a hero. All Might needed his quirk to protect everyone.
But one could dream.
Izuku wasn't the only one to look at All Might with hungry eyes, and the number one hero had definitely noticed it. All Might stood behind the policemen, waiting for them to secure the villain, and waved at the people who had stopped to observe him. Heroes' fans knew better than to hassle a pro during an arrest, but as soon as the police officers left with the villain, All Might was fair game.
One Zoom quirk allowed Izuku to see the almost worried look on his face when he suddenly faced a cohort of fans. And something else.
All might coughed, putting a hand in front of his mouth, and Izuku could have sworn than his fingers were tainted with something dark.
He tried to see better but All Might disappeared, crushing Izuku's hopes to obtain an autograph.
Anyway, he contained his disappointment and started to leave. Heroes had more important things to do, and it was time to go. His mother didn't like it when he was late for dinner.
No quirk, but quirk analysis in good company and one apparition of All Might. Today was a good day overall.
At least until he saw someone on his way back to the train station.
He had never seen him. He would have remembered, if only because the stranger was so emaciated he could have passed for a blonde depiction of Death itself. Usually, no one would have caught him staring so intently, but there was something else.
Izuku knew quirks. He could feel the moment where someone used them. He could recognize them for the treasure they were.
And in this man who seemed so frail a breeze could have made him fall over, he recognized the golden quirk he had always adored. Despite his skeletal frame, there was strength here. Power hidden under his emaciated physic, and embers of something great.
This couldn't be, right ? But it was...
''All... Might ?''
The stranger froze a moment, then turned towards Izuku, his head tilted.
''What did you call me ?'' he asked with enough disbelief to make Izuku doubt what he was seeing.
But only for a moment.
He just knew.
Same height, limbs that reached as far, same clothes, same hair color, same eye color, same bone structure, same skull structure, similar voice. Either a family member or a , but what are the odds when All Might just rushed here ? No, it’s definitely All Might. Is this because of a quirk or…
Izuku realized he was speaking out loud as the thin man’s eyes were widening to comical proportions and he promptly shut up.
''Are you a robot or something ?''
The teenager suddenly felt the urge to hide somewhere. People were even starting to look at them.
''Sorry,'' he continued, ''but... You might want to have your eyes examined.''
Izuku blushed. Whatever was happening, it didn't concern him and he just made a fool of himself. Not that it was a rare occurrence.
''Sorry for bothering you,'' he said very quickly under his breath, and he left with the firm intention of never thinking about that again.
Or at least to do his best. Embarrassment was good at vividly preserving memories.
Ten minutes later, unbeknownst to Izuku, an arm appeared from the shadows of the hallways, and he only realized it as a hand landed on his mouth and someone dragged him away from the main road.
Though his heart was begging for the right to have an attack here and now, Izuku had no time for this and propel himself backwards, ramming whoever had grabbed him.
He thought it would be enough to hurt him but he only heard a grunt and the steel-like grip was still as strong as before.
And he froze when he saw who was standing in from of him.
''How did you know ?'' the symbol of peace asked.
All Might was standing in from of him.
''I didn't mean to scare you. I... needed to talk to you in private.'' He waited or Izuku to manifest some reaction, any, but Izuku.exe had stopped working. ''So... I am sorry,'' All Might apologized and he seemed so dejected Izuku felt guilty.
Izuku tried to say something, really, but his mind was desperately blank.
All Might poked him. And panicked when Izuku almost fell over.
Izuku might have been a little surprised.
''You're All Might,'' he finally said.
Proving that he was the best hero in the world, All didn't facepalm despite an obvious desire to do so.
This actually freed Izuku from his amazement.
''Of course you're All Might ! Sorry. What did you ask ?''
''How did you know ?'' All Might asked again and on these words, the emaciated man appeared in a cloud of smoke.
Who immediately coughed up blood, which made Izuku jump backwards.
I. Was. Right. So there was already that. But Izuku thought All Might had been hit by a quirk, and now, it looked more like his quirk was a transformation one. Albeit, an unique one.
Izuku realized All Might was still waiting for an answer.
It's simple. I have a quirk that allows me to give and take others quirks and I can use it as a radar. The stronger, the better.
He could have told him. It was All Might. How many times had he said on TV that everyone could be a hero, no matter the quirk.
Izuku opened his mouth to explain and instead : ''You looked similar. Really. Honestly, it was more of an intuition.''
This wasn't a lie. It just wasn't the whole truth.
''Honestly, I am just a fan and I tend to obsess about things I like.''
''You are a fan ?'' All Might asked in a doubtful tone.
He seemed surprised but honestly, who wasn't an All Might fan in this day and age ?
Izuku smiled. ''Of course.''
All Might stared at him for a long time. All Might. It was weird to think of him as such. Not because of his skeletal appearance, though this was strange, no need to hide it, but the more disturbing was his lack of smile.
'' Can we talk in private for a minute ?'' All Might finally asked.
All Might already knew him from the UA entrance exam, which had dumbfounded Izuku. He had been near spontaneous combustion until All Might revealed why he had wanted to talk to him.
All Might told him about his injury and asked him to keep it a secret.
It shook Izuku to the core. Someone had managed to grievously injure the most powerful man in the world.
It shouldn't have surprised him. Everyone could be hurt.
The boy left, leaving Toshinori alone and calmer than before.
Young Midoriya looked like him. The hair, the face, but it was more than physical. The exact same gaze when he had seen Toshinori's true form, with eyes which seemed to look at his soul but not at the man himself. His smile and the way he had obviously loved using his quirk during the exam had reminded Toshinori of the contentment this man had been showing when he unleashed his quirks.
When he killed...
He pushed away the thought before it contaminated his thoughts about the boy. As he had watched Young Midoriya destroy the zero pointer, he had immediately thought about All for One. Even though it was him for one moment. Flaunting his power in Toshinori's former high school. As if to say, Look at me. You're just a shadow of yourself while I am back, as powerful as before.
But five minutes talking with Young Midoriya had disabused Toshinori from this idea. One couldn't exactly fake this level of fanboying. And there was something just too youthful and pure about the boy for it to come from a demon in human form.
Toshinori had killed All for One. He wasn't coming back.