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Of The Feline Persuasion

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From the Journal of Midoriya Izuku (Personal):
A cat cannot see directly under its nose. It’s really annoying.


Izuku wheezed out a breath, backing up quickly.

This was bad, this was so very bad.

He just wanted to prove to Mom he could talk care of himself! Just for a quick trip to the grocery store! And now the whole grocery store was taken hostage!

She was never going to let him outside again! He was going to be on house arrest until he was fifty!

If he survived this. The thought slid wet and cold down his back. They had guns and the super tall guy had spikes coming out of shoulders that he could shoot and he took out the front lights! And it was a bit cool, mutation or emitter, though possibly linked to his muscles as he seemed rather stiff and tense, except it was not.

Izuku bit down a whimper as he peered around the aisle cap, clutching his bag of flour to his chest. The cashier had pushed him off this way just before the guys came in. And they hadn't noticed him yet.

A superhero would be here soon right? Any moment now!

“I'm going ta check the back.” One said, shifting his gun to his other hand. Izuku saw the pretty cashier girl bite down on a shriek, her eyes briefly darting towards him.

“There's no one here! It's just me!” She insisted. “My manager was sick and the stockers checked out earlier.” The tall spiky guy sneered at her.

“Better safe than sorry. Get rid of anyone you find, we only need one.” Izuku pressed his hand to his mouth. That was bad. That was really really bad. Where were the pro heroes? Mom wouldn't be happy if he, if he got shot.

He could hear footsteps clicking up the tiled aisles. Izuku pressed himself pack into the end cap, wishing he could just disappear. His eyes darted around, trying to find a hiding space for a kid but the gaps in the aisle were too small. He’d be noticed in seconds.

Any moment now. Izuku squeezed his eyes shut, wishing he had a big flashy Quirk. To blow these guys away like All Might. Or even just a little one! Just a teeny weeny one that let him hide.

He just wanted Mom.

For a brief second, Izuku felt really sick like he was about to throw up. The clicking stopped. Izuku’s chest hurt. The bag of flour slid out of his fingers, thudding softly to the ground.

The clicking continued. “Don't see anybody back here. Some stuff got knocked around but nobody’s here.” The man said. Izuku’s eyes popped open. But he was right here!

The first thing he noticed was the shorter man was really tall now.

The second thing he noticed was he was rather a lot smaller than he was a few seconds ago, crouching behind the now massive bag of flour. Izuku blink owlishly, glancing down.

He was furred. A green fur, just like the color of his hair. And the tail! It looked like a bobbed little bunny tail. It flicked slightly on the floor reflection as he watched. For a second, he wanted to chase it, grab it, hold it down because it was clearly mocking him.

But that was silly because he didn’t have a tail or fur or or. His chest felt tight again.

Izuku shook himself, gritting his teeth. Focus! He could afford a panic attack right now. He forced himself to breath, slow and long.

He was a kitten. If he squinted well, he could see a blurry floofy green kitten reflected on the floor.

But… But he was marked Quirkless! The doctor told him about the toe joint and everything! His heart seemed to thud louder and louder in his ears.

His, ears maybe?, drooped. This was a silly Quirk though. All Might probably would've turned into a tiger or something super cool and just swatted the villains away. He could hear the nice cashier girl starting to sob.

Slowly, Izuku took his first step.

And promptly face planted against the bag of flour. He made an irritable mewling sound, his paws scrambling for purchase against the floor. Not quite the most auspicious start but he would get this. He would.

He had to

Slowly, he slid his front paws forward, inching along. He stuck under the little shelf at the bottom and man was it gross. He could see all kinds of things down here like moldy bread crumbs.

It was when he was nearly to the front, that the hero came to save the day.

It sounded like shattering glass but louder and Izuku’s ears pinned back as he hissed. No. That was a bad noise. He blinked rapidly, trying to get the sudden influx of light out of his eyes.

Light sensitivity. That could be a real bitch in a fight. If someone brought a camera, he might as well roll over now. Possible night vision though, which was really cool. His ears perked up at a sharp cry of dismay, he couldn't tell from who.

He was just a few steps away from the end cap. Further along he could see… The nice cashier lady. Who complimented him and told him how brave he was to go to the store alone and tried to give him time to run and and…

And she was trapped in spiky guy’s arms with a gun pressed to her head.

Short guy laid a little further away, smelling like blood and sickness. He didn't know who the hero was. The colors looked kind of funny, all faded like the photographs Mom occasionally pulled out. Faint shadows of the real colors. Mostly red and blue, he thought.

At least he wasn’t colorblind like a real cat. Izuku inched slowly along, eyes focused on the scene. The hero wasn’t moving, stuck in a fighting stance.

“I'll shoot her, you know I will.” Spiky guy said. The cashier made a tiny little gasp. Izuku hissed, his skin feeling prickly. He couldn't just stand here! Most hostages never survived!

Heroes never shy from danger!

He darted out from under his shelf, almost skidding across the floor. The guy didn't move when he head butted his ankle but Izuku didn't care. Asshole shouldn't have worn capris today.

Izuku dug his needle sharp baby teeth in, claws coming out to clumsily claw at the guy’s ankle. It tasted yucky, like dirt and Izuku gagged. The guy howled and kicked, and the world was kind of tumbling over and over, for a moment he was airborne. Izuku’s chest hurt again. When the world stopped spinning so much, he was lying on his side, near the door mats. There was a crash and Izuku wobbly lifted his head.

It looked like superhero guy threw spiky guy out the front window. Huh. He'd write that in his notebook. Super Strength at the very least. Cashier lady was hiding but he could hear, and wasn't that funny, her frantic heartbeat. Mom was going to be…

Izuku perked to attention. Mom! He had been gone a whole hour now! She was gonna be so mad. Forget getting murdered in the robbery, she was going to kill him!

He scrambled awkwardly back to his paws, wobbling slightly as he did and ran outside, out the broken doors. The pavement was hot and it hurt but he didn't have shoes on. Noise assaulted him as soon as he hit the bright sunlight. Izuku’s muzzle scrunched up. They yelled way too much.

Everything was so much louder as a cat.

It was a little easier now, to run along the sidewalk as he headed home as quick as he could. He got past a few corners and then suddenly the sick hot feeling swept over him and Izuku yelped as he was tumbling head over heels over the sidewalk.

He sat up. And then blinked.

Everything was back to normal. No fluffy green fur, no tantalizing tail, or the weird twitching on top of his head. His All Might shirt didn't even look stained. He scrambled back to his feet on reflex, jogging down the sidewalk. His mind spun with ideas.

A transformation Quirk? Maybe activated by him feeling scared? Linked to adrenaline perhaps. Sort of like the super cool hero Grievous they read about in History! Except his was like shadow monsters and Izuku turned into a kitten.

A giggle burbled up from his chest. Izuku clamped his hands over his mouth then dropped them slowly.

Who cares? He wasn't a Quirkless failure.

Izuku turned the corner and was snatched up, soft hands pulling him into a hug. “Izuku! I heard about the robbery and I came as fast as I could.” Inko gasped out. She adjusted her grip, not wanting to set him down. “Are you okay? Did they hurt you?”

He couldn’t help his huge smile. “I found my Quirk Mom!” He cheered. Robbery or no, this was the best day ever. Giddiness threaten to overwhelm him. Inko’s eyes widened.

“But Izuku dear, they found the toe joint.” She said softly. Izuku pouted. It was definitely his Quirk! Quirks that induced transformation usually required close proximity or DNA ingestion and the closest hero who could do that was Abracadabra who worked over fifty miles away.

“I'm not lying. I just.” He grimaced, trying to bring back the sick hot feeling that helped him. The glint of the faint light off the guns. The crackle of breaking glass. The clicking someone was walking up no no no. His stomach lurched to the side, everything went topsy turvy and then-

He was falling.

Izuku let out a terrified scream, more of a yowl, as he slipped free of his mother’s hands, abruptly too small. An elastic band tugged his chest, pulling himself back up into Inko’s now cupped hands. Izuku bounced up and down. His mother's Quirk was incredible! He had never felt it like that before! Less like a pull and more like gravity control!

He had so much to add to his notes!

Inko stared down at him with wide glistening eyes. “You did find your Quirk!” She said. Izuku tried to say yes but all that came out was a mewling sound. He frowned, tried again. Still mewling. Awww. That was going to get frustrating quick. “Can you turn back now?” She asked.

Izuku shook his head slowly. He felt really kind of tired now. Nap time hadn’t been a thing for years but it sounded awesome right now. He burrowed into her hands, ignoring her little giggle.

“I don’t have flour to make a cake but I have your favorite ice cream in the freezer.” She informed him. Izuku sleepily perked up in excitement, curling into little fuzzy ball and closing his eyes.

Nap, then dinner, then yummy dessert. That sounded nice. And time for his notes of course.


“Both males broke out of prison a day ago.” Naomasa said. The start to a stressful week, he’d be doing hours of paperwork just for charging, not counting the paperwork for increased security on their cells. Both had been in for shoplifting, but someone had missed cosmetic surgery scars that linked them to much higher profile crimes. They should have never been placed in the general population.

“Could have been worse.” Toshinori said softly, watching as the cashier was bundled into an ambulance to monitor for shock. Even with the ache in his bones, his heart was light. The situation nearly went downhill fast. Even then, he blew through most of his energy and had to duck away to change.

“True that.” Naomasa said. He spotted another detective walking up, a minor intern. “And I have a feeling that it’s going to be.”

The intern had the dignity to look apologetic. “We’ve searched the store but the kid she said was there, isn’t.” Toshinori felt his heart drop. A missing kid in the presence of escaped criminals? That never meant anything good, but these criminals got that surgery somewhere.

Toshinori knew intimately well how many uses a kid had in the underworld. Even dead.

Naomasa cursed. “Cameras? Can she identify them?” The intern flinched slightly under their combined stare. Toshinori couldn't quite brain himself to be sorry. This was serious.

“They took out the cameras and someone wiped the server. The cashier was new, said they had green hair but fairly androgynous. Pinned them as either a kid or teenager, wearing an All Might shirt.” The intern reported. “She didn’t get a good look before the men broke in. Said he was hiding in the back but one of the criminals went up there and said there was no one.”

Toshinori sighed, the point about the shirt bringing a bitter smile to his lips. Hopefully the kid had safely escaped but they couldn’t afford not to keep track of the situation. He never saw a kid either except… “I saw a small animal around the criminal’s feet.” He said, mood lifting. Transformation Quirks were uncommon in the area.

He had briefly seen the blur during the hostage situation, startling the man into releasing. There had been a brief squeal and then… Nothing. He couldn’t remember seeing it afterwards. The thought weighed him down like a stone.

The intern shook his head. “Ran a preliminary search but everyone is either too old or change into a larger breed.” Toshinori groaned. That meant the kid was either a tourist or unregistered, hard to track. Easy to kidnap.

Naomasa rubbed a hand through his hair. “So you’re telling me we have a missing kid.” Toshinori couldn’t fault him. Missing kid cases were always terrible and this one currently had no leads.

“Most likely, yes.” The intern said, avoiding their eyes. “But hopefully, they just bolted out of fear.”

“Can’t treat it like that. Put a ping on any Transformation Quirks, even if they are safe, their testimony could be useful in court.” Naomasa said. The intern nodded, hurrying away.

“Already hard on the newbies, aren’t you.” Toshinori prodded, trying for a cheery tone. Naomasa shook his head.

“They gotta learn. This isn’t just the easier version of hero work. When shit happens, people die. We already have an unknown kid or teenager who fled the scene.” Naomasa said. “And if the media gets a whiff of this, they’re gonna need to be tough to survive the backlash.”

“True.” Toshinori said. Too many unsuited people went into the force thinking of it as the easy alternative. “I’ll keep an eye out, pull some contacts.” He offered. Anything to get the kid found as soon as possible.

“Thanks.” Naomasa said, smiling weakly. It was going to be a long night and even longer week.


“I suppose we’ll have to be updating the Quirk Registry.” Inko hummed, slipping off her apron. Izuku glanced away from his bowl of ice cream.

“Will that mean seeing the doctor again?” He mumbled through a bite. That doctor was kind of creepy. His office was sterile and Izuku had never seen another person in the waiting room no matter how long they had to wait. And he always had this weird gleam in his eye. Even Mom agreed he was kind of creepy but she was much nicer about it.

“Don’t talk with your mouth full.” Inko chided, sitting next to him with her own bowl of ice cream. “Oh Detective Enigma? I love this show!”

“Yeah!” Izuku cheered. “It’s the first episode.” Detective Enigma was his favorite after All Might because everyone thought he was Quirkless but he actually could turn into a super cool mist cloud and that’s how he solved mysteries.

On screen, he had just made the first step into mist. Izuku frowned, glancing down at his bowl. The wheels churned in his head. Most Underground heroes or detectives had removed themselves from the registries as much as they could.

Or were never registered right in the first place...

“Do we… Do we have to tell?” He said quietly, looking at the screen. Kacchan would probably tease him forever for turning into a kitten. Everyone probably would. And he didn't feel like being a science experiment, to be poked and prodded.

“It’s what you’re supposed to do.” Inko said. But her words held an edge of doubt that curdled Izuku’s insides. “I will warn you honey, they’ll probably want to examine you quite a bit.”

“Than can we not?” Izuku pleaded. It could be his secret surprise card! Just until he figured out how to turn into a tiger or something cool. Plus he hated being examined by the doctor. And he had this weird feeling it’d be twice as bad as being diagnosed Quirkless in the first place.

He was supposed to be Quirkless but he wasn’t. And a very bitty part of him was terrified that if he was examined, all of this would go away like a dream.

Inko chewed her lip. “I don’t know about it.” She said. Izuku pouted. “Maybe we can wait a year or so and then you can tell.” Inko amended.

Izuku popped right back up. He wasn’t ever going to tell but if that made her feel better, so be it. “It’s gonna be so awesome! I’m gonna be just like Detective Enigma!” He could even sneak around and watch more hero battles! Somebody always shooed him off before.

Inko smiled, not quite regretting her decision. This was the happiest she had seen Izuku since his diagnosis. If it made him feel better to play detective with his new Quirk, she would let him.

“Oh and dear?”

“Yes?”

“Don’t go to the grocery store without me anymore.”

 

On the second week, Izuku tore his pajamas. He frowned, carefully tugging it over his head to examine. It looked like someone had taken a pencil or something and jabbed holes in it.

And then he dropped his shirt on his bed because those were claws what.

“What.” Izuku whispered. His fingernails had sharpened and lengthened, looking more like something you’d find on a cat than a human. He flexed his fingers, watching as the claws slid away, back into the skin. There were barely raised bumps on his hands now. Flex. Bam claws.

Those had not been there yesterday. Or the day before. Izuku practically sprinted to the bathroom, nearly bowling over Inko as she passed.

“Izuku! Are you alright!” She called after him. Izuku gritted his teeth, forcing a smile back at her when he reached the door. Heroes always smiled right?

“Just fine!” He said,ducking into the bathroom. He shut and locked the door behind him for good measure. The bumps were still there and when he flexed his hands, the claws slid in again too.

Didn’t cats have retractable claws? He’d have to look it up, double check his sources. Izuku glanced away, up into the mirror and nearly fell over.

The pupil of both his eyes had elongated and thinned, not quite cat like but if anyone looked him straight in the eyes, he wouldn’t look human either. Almost a bit afraid, Izuku smiled at himself in the mirror.

Not quite the mouth full of needle sharp baby teeth he had in cat form, but his canines had definitely gotten longer. Izuku couldn’t help it. A giggle pushed past the rock in his chest.

“I look like a corny vampire.” He said between giggles. Full on master of the night. Fear him for he was long teeth boy. “Bleh bleh bleh.” Izuku said, forcing an accent.

That did it. Izuku toppled to the floor for real, shrieking with a mixture of glee and relief. He had vampire teeth and claws and who knows, maybe he’ll wake up tomorrow with a tail. Something straight out of an anime. The idea sent him into further hysterics. The look on Katsuki’s face if he came to school with a tail!

He ignored the worried taps on the floor in favor of laughing until he was sick. He was going to regret worrying Inko later but this was the best thing ever.


Inko paused before the doorway.

Every blind was thrown open, bringing in the early morning sunshine into the house. That wasn’t what had her smothering a smile.

Sprawled on the floor was Izuku, looking blissfully happy. “Having fun?” She asked. It almost reminded her of the old cat she had when she was younger, that seemed magnetically attracted to sunny patches.

“Mph.” Izuku said intelligently, waving an arm. Inko giggles slightly, stepping over him. A hand wrapped around her ankle, tugging slightly. The universal sign of naptime.

She hesitated, glancing at the basket that still needed folding. But it was the weekend, wasn’t it? Time for relaxing? As soon as she sat down, Izuku adjusted to sprawl over her as well.

Inko snorted, closing her eyes. She could get used to this.


Katsuki tore around the corner, the shitty background characters barely keeping up. Deku has decided to wimp out and run away this time instead of taking his punishment. Katsuki sneered at seeing the empty hallway.

He’d vanished. Fucking figures, the little coward. And he wanted to be a hero.

One of the extras giggled. “Maybe he got a warp Quirk.” The other shrieked with laughter, grating on his ears.

“Yeah, in his dreams.” Katsuki whipped around, glaring at them.

“Why don’t you go the fuck away if you’re just gonna be noisy!” He snarled. Fucking hell, he hated having to deal with them. One of them put up their hands.

“Fine, fine, we’ll go.” He said. Both of them vanished down the hallway. Katsuki gritted his teeth, pushing down the urge to push his hand into the wall and blow a chunk of it away. Noisy background extras. He couldn’t wait until he was at UA, a REAL school. Then all of this, even Deku, would just be some long forgotten bit of his backstory. They’d go on to have boring lives while he became Number 1.

He jammed his hands into his pockets. The hag would howl though if he got another detention. As he turned, a glint called his eyes.

A small dark greenish kitten sitting in the loaf position on the window sill staring outside. It barely even twitched as he drew closer. Katsuki huffed. “Little bitch probably ran inside earlier.” He said. Or someone smuggled in their pet.

He reached out, trailing a hand over its fur. The kitten reacted like it had been shot, spazzing out and nearly falling of the windowsill. “Mieeee! Mee.” It hissed. Katsuki scoffed, eyeing it. The fluffy greenish fur almost reminded him of that stupid Deku. It even had the short bobbed tail like that bunny costume he wore every Halloween like a little bitch.

It was certainly just as clumsy.

Katsuki rolled his eyes as the kitten hissed, reaching past to undo the window latch. “I’ll just put you outside then.” Either it’d find its way back home or hang out until the stupid student that left it came back. They were on the first floor, not like the runt would fall.

The kitten hissed and swatted at his hands. Katsuki gritted his teeth. No detention, no detention. “Just go the fuck outside.” He said. Katsuki slammed the window shut. Little fucker would make him late. He should have just let the shitty student get caught. At least its swat didn’t connect.

Katsuki ignored the kitten’s irritated glare through the glass as he stomped away, jamming his hands back into his pockets. For all the shitty kid’s luck, it’d probably be Deku’s. Because of course he couldn’t just roll over like the shitty extra he was, he had to break the rules too. And then cry and whine about his punishment.

His mood was further worsened when Deku stumbled in late part way through class because of course the fuckhead couldn’t show up on time. Katsuki hunched over his desk with a low growl, his pencil scratching furiously over paper. The shitty teacher barely even noticed Deku walking in late.

Izuku couldn’t quite bring himself to care what Kacchan thought though. Was everyone so blind?

He didn’t notice the leaves stuck in Izuku’s hair or his rumpled clothing like he had pulled himself through a bush. Izuku spent the rest of the class trying to subtly tug sap out of his hair because apparently the sap from the bushes outside was an unholy adhesive only touched by lava.

And could Kacchan stop glaring at him like that?

It was really hard to pull the sap out when someone was glaring at him like his very existence was an insult.

Izuku did note down later that Kacchan didn’t notice his cat thing. He had honestly thought he was done for when Kacchan caught sight of him but well. A bitter smile rose to his lip. Apparently being thought as Quirkless dismisses that. But he just wasn’t.

It had taken over a year to get it mostly on command and he was going to use it as much as possible. Luckily the pure boiling fear when he thought of guns and spikes and that dreaded clicking- stop breathe he was safe. Though if he hadn’t bolted, Kacchan would have possibly scared him so much, he would’ve changed anyways.

Izuku thanked him by bolting out of the class as soon as the bell rang and sprinting the entire way home, ignoring the enraged yelling behind him. It only had a 63.5% chance of working, depending on the bullies reflexes but he was looking lucky today. All the way without incident. He breezed through the house, throwing himself down on his bed.

So now what? It was his first change outdoors since the grocery store. Izuku rolled over, staring blankly at the ceiling. He had made notes yet but mostly little joking kind of research. He hadn’t wanted to poke and prod too much in case it all fell apart and left him to pick up the pieces.

Hey, if you don’t raise your hopes, you never get them broken. Izuku already had his heroic hopes, he didn’t think he could handle losing his little secret.

It had helped. Every moment he curled under the blanket, covered in bruises, and flexed his hands, watching as claws slid in and out. The hours he had spent staring at his eyes, relieving the memories and shifting until he was a shaking mess on the floor.

Because everyone was wrong.

After careful consideration, Izuku cut out all of his relevant notes and pasted them into a new notebook tastefully covered in kitten stickers. He glanced down, feeling the weight in his hands.

“It’s hasn’t stopped.” He said quietly. He had to admit, the afternoon had scared him. First, Kacchan has stormed up with the most furious look on his face and Izuku had bolted.

And for a terrifying heart stopping moment, nothing had happened. Like it never existed. Izuku had stumbled for a moment, his heart thudding. Just a dream?

It had taken everything he had to clamber on the window sill instead of sobbing when the sick hot feeling struck.

His joy had buoyed him past tearing his way through the thorns when he turned back into a human and fell off the sill. Past stumbling through the school entrance under the disapproving glare of the secretary. Not even Katsuki could get him down now.

He actually had a Quirk. Not just some fun Detective skill to sneak around the house with but an actual honest Quirk.

Izuku hiccuped softly, rubbing his sleeve against his eyes. It seemed so different now. Before, he’d only changed in the house and it had such a dream like quality that he wasn’t sure it was true or if Inko was just helping him in his delusion.

A soft tap at the door and Izuku jumped slightly. “You okay?” Inko said quietly. Izuku rubbed his finger over a grinning pink cat sticker.

“Just fine.” Everything felt just fine right now.

Everything felt great right now.

“If you’re sure.” Inko drew away just as quietly. There was the clatter of kitchen utensils. Izuku turned it out and flipped open the cover, tracing his fingers over the scribble of a kitten in a Detective coat, a monocle on its misshapen face.

It had taken a lot of research and twisting in front of a memory to pin himself as a Japanese Bobtail Longhair kitten, albeit of a different color. Same color as his hair which worked slightly against him for scouting. But animals of a different color weren’t too uncommon, even just due to stuff like coat dye.

“Heh.” He wasn’t so sure he’d name himself Detective Kitty though. It’s not like he had ever left to do any scouting between mom and homework and not wanting the dream to shatt-

Why wait now?

Something irresistible tugged his eyes to the window. Outside, it still looked bright as day, a weird secondary effect of his Quirk.

Izuku would bless everything he ever owned that Kacchan hasn’t noticed his eyes were slightly slitted now.

He had no reason to stay behind. He could change and run and hide and it was all real. It wouldn’t vanish on him. The thought of it was intoxicating and Izuku swallowed heavily, setting the notebook aside. The window seemed to draw him forward.

Throwing a look back, he unlatched and pushed open the window.

“Thank god for fire safety.” He muttered, popping out the screen. The teachers had practically devoted themselves to hammering into the students, especially after Kacchan accidentally lit a tree on fire. He swung out of the window, nearly snagging on the edge but landing on his feet in the end.

Catlike reflexes! Sometimes. Not much. Once in a blue moon. Possibly connected by the influx of adrenaline to his system? More research needed.

He had about an hour to explore before Mom would check in. Izuku took a deep breath, then started coughing.

Whoever lives down the street had serious body odor. He patted his chest down, grimacing. That wasn’t very fun. Izuku turned, carefully tugging his window down until it was cracked ever so slightly. They lived in a nice neighborhood but better safe than sorry.

Then that was it. Nothing standing between him and exploring to his heart’s delight.

Izuku couldn’t remember smiling so widely since that first terrifying grocery trip.

Chapter Text

From the Journal of Midoriya Izuku (Personal):
Cats purr during both inhalation and exhalation with a consistent pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz. Various investigators have shown that sound frequencies in this range can improve bone density and promote healing. Further investigations will be needed to determine if this power is carried over or even strengthened.


Izuku checked around every corner before he walked around it. He rarely came to this district, it had its reputation even if most activity took place in covert situations. Most criminals weren’t stupid enough to commit illegal activity in plain sight.

It still made him nervous though. Even the police hesitated to come here, a Quirkless kid would vanish like smoke.

But,he thought viciously, I’m not a Quirkless kid anymore except on paper. He was going to savor every moment of that.

He didn’t have any illusions about it not being dangerous still but he could do this. He could. Even in the darkness, it looked like daylight, negating the most dangerous factors of the area statistically. He probably wouldn’t even see anything. The most dedicated forum trackers only tended to get a glimpse of a hero every few months (and Izuku privately thought some were making it up, especially that girl who claimed Umbral kissed her after her heroic rescue of him). And criminal brawls usually stayed under wraps, hidden in some back alley. Not the figurative Main Street.

Still, the night air tasted like freedom.

And something vaguely chemical, noxious gas, and smog. Blech. Izuku wrinkled his nose. He wished something like nose bleach existed. It felt like it was stripping the inside of his nose.

Izuku made a face, skirting wide around a minor argument. He had picked up a pattern eventually, don’t stare but don’t fully ignore either. It looked just as obvious as staring. A few subtle glances and most dismissed him as a street kid.

No Quirks either. His mouth pinched. He had been hoping to see something when he came out.

Not a full scale fight But just a little squabble. A bit of Quirk flashing. Izuku turned down a side street, his feet taking him home. Mom would probably notice him missing soon.

It was walking by an dimmer alley that he heard the noise.

Izuku paused, ears perking slightly. A muted thud, the sound of something hard impacting flesh. Izuku chewed his lip, staring down the alley. He couldn’t quite see it but there was definitely a fight going on.

He should walk away. He should walk away and maybe alert the police. That would be the legal and safe thing to do.

Izuku didn’t come out here to do the legal and safe thing.

He slipped in, creeping carefully along the wall. Another muted thump, someone growled. The back of his neck prickled. Ahead, the alley turned, twisting to delve into the twisty maze of backstreets.

Izuku peered around the corner. His heart seemed to have taken permanent residence in his throat and it beat so loudly, he was surprised the people didn’t hear him coming.

The fight was vicious, something he had only seen in a shaky video before. No flashy tricks or gymnastics. No glancing at the audience or heroic last second rescues. There were only two people, but both went after the other with full intent to murder. Nothing was off limits. Eyes, neck, groin, they went for it all.

Izuku was fascinated. Even without the Heroics, there was an eerie grace, a realness to the fight. The victory seemed to fluctuate constantly but both seemed to fight like it would end with death if they didn’t. Desperation. The shorter, teenager maybe?, wove around the blows with a practiced grace but his punches were obviously weaker. But the briefest brush of his hand against the taller and broader man sent him backing away, howling in pain.

A Quirk maybe? Izuku crept slightly closer, tucking himself against a reeking garbage can he’d regret tomorrow. Something tactile based and painful. The taller man wasn’t showing any Quirk so his was likely too weak or nonoffensive. Even then, they were well muscled, each landing punch hitting hard. Izuku’s eyes gleamed even as his nails bit into skin, seconds away from his claws sliding out.

Could he bend like that? The teenager seemed to twist around every blow. The teenager smoothly ducked a punch but the second smashed into his ribs, sending him into the alley wall. The same thudding noise he had heard earlier. The teenager staggered, hand going to their ribs. The man chuckled and Izuku’s breath stuttered in his throat.

There was a gleaming flash in the man’s hand and Izuku’s pupils blew wide. A knife. He nearly glanced about widely before catching himself. There was no back up here and there didn’t seem to be a miraculous last second recovery either. The teenager was still staggering from the last blow which had probably cracked a few ribs. They weren’t even looking.

He could watch somebody die click click cli-

His mind caught up to his body just after he seized the trash can lid and frisbee threw it right into the man’s arm. Izuku froze in horror and disbelief, hands still hanging in the air as the man howled with pain and rage, the knife clattered to the ground.

The teenager’s head snapped up and they lunged, seizing the man’s face. The man howled again, throwing the teenager back and fleeing away, deeper into the alley. Even at the weird angle, Izuku could see something wrong with their face. The smell of coppery blood filled the air.

Another difference. Izuku noted numbly. Most of the time, the heroes didn’t let the villain flee. Here, if you couldn’t fight, you ran away.

“I could have taken him.” The teenager snarled. Raspy, like their throat had been hit too. It took a few moments to comprehend that it was aimed at him, Izuku staring dumbly. He almost felt painfully naked next to the teenager, he had pulled on a beanie to cover most of his green curls, but the teenager’s hoodie obscured most of his face as well. Their red eyes seemed to gleam under the hood.

“I couldn’t just let you get stabbed.” Izuku said quietly. Not quite sure how else to respond. Most people didn’t exactly get offended by being rescued from what he had seen.

“I don’t need an NPC swooping in.” The teenager said, shifting. His right hand went to his side again. Izuku chewed his lip, hand slipping into his pocket. The teenager tensed noticeably and Izuku startled.

“I’m not trying to hurt you or anything! Just- here.” He said, pulling out a roll of gauze. A leftover from him preparing for the worst. Kacchan could get a little vicious at times and Izuku was getting pretty good at bandaging it up. He could smell blood drifting off of the teenager under the overwhelming stink of garbage. They’d probably scraped something in the fight.

For a second, Izuku nearly stepped closer to hand it over but the teenager was still watching him with gleaming red eyes. The man’s scream echoed in his ears. His throat tightened but Izuku fumbled on, determined to help. He put his other hand up, carefully tossing the item over with the other.

Despite his earlier bluster, the teenager snatched it out of the air. He wrapped his hands with an odd ease, leaning carefully against the wall. “There. No go away.”

Izuku didn’t just want to walk away and leave an obviously injured person alone! “Is there someone I should call?” He asked. Even under the hood, he could almost see the teenager rolling their eyes.

“I’m fine.” They grounded out. They didn’t look fine at all. They slid down the wall, settling into a seated sprawl against it. Which was good, resting was good. They pulled a phone out, by four fingers Izuku noticed, typing on it carefully. “My ride will be here soon anyway.”

The air seemed to drop a few degrees and Izuku tensed. “Now go away.” The teenager snapped, not even looking back. Izuku’s hands were shaking, he thought distantly. Probably symptoms of shock because he had attacked a criminal and was having a conversation with another likely criminal. Every thought seemed to be moving slower and slower.

He felt like he was going to throw up.

Izuku slipped back around the corner just as the world jerked off its axis and everything became a lot bigger. And worse. Izuku crinkled his muzzle, stomach threatening to rebel for a rather different reason now.

Part of him thought the garbage smelled interesting and the other half thought it smelled absolutely disgusting. And the latter was winning out.

Izuku padded down the alley, rough stone rasping against his paws. Mom was gonna be so worr-

Shit. He couldn’t just leave the teenager now. What if the man came back before the guy’s ride came? He darted back, checking around the corner. Still there, tapping away on their phone. No ride in sight.

It’s not like there was much he could do if the guy came back, his logical side insisted. Ruin his ankles maybe.

But there were maybe other ways right? Cat’s purrs were supposed to be in the right frequency for healing and while he never really purred (except when Inko and him took those perfect naps together), he was really ready to give it a try.

Would All Might leave, his traitorous mind whispered. Nail in the coffin.

No. He would not leave.

Izuku slunk closer, tottering awkwardly to try to keep his belly fur away from the ground. Who knows how sanitary it was here.

Then again, he shouldn’t be worried about that when he’s walking up to a teenager with an unknown, most likely dangerous Quirk. Who… hadn’t even noticed him yet.

Izuku craned his head, pausing. Was that a gaming app? It probably was a good thing he came back, they didn’t seem to have much situational awareness. Izuku shook his head. Probably a good thing though. A few seconds more of life was nice.

Izuku mustered up his bravery, padding forward the last few steps to nestle against the rough hoodie fabric. The teenager hissed, and there was a hand jerking towards his face, Izuku squeezed his eyes shut, tiny body stiffening.

A beat passed. Then another. Slowly Izuku uncurled, blinking slowly. The teenager was staring at him with a furrowed brow, looking confused. Izuku blinked back.

Huh. Those red eyes were a lot less creepy up close.

He probably shouldn’t forget his mission. Izuku purred, a soft rumble at first as he strained his muscles. Slowly it became smoother, more natural, and unbidden, Izuku’s eyes began to slip shut. His paws flexed.

Something brushed his back and Izuku’s eyes flew open, purr jerking into a high pitched mewl. The teenager was almost pointedly ignoring him, playing on his phone with one hand. His pinkie finger raised, strangely enough.

One hand because the other was slowly drifting along his back. Only two fingers, Izuku noted numbly. So whatever Quirk he had used full contact or was controlled.

Izuku watched warily as he began to purr again. It flowed easier now especially when the hand stopped to scritch right in the blessed spot behind his ears ooh yes. Izuku leaned in, begging for more scritches. What’s common sense? Never heard of her. There was only now and ear scritchies.

The teenager chuckled, rasping against his ears and this time it only mustered a blink from Izuku. Man, they might even be better than Mom’s ear scritches, not that he would ever admit it.

“First an interfering NPC and now a cat.” They said raspily. Izuku was almost offended by that. He’d prefer to think of himself as some vaguely useful side character. Though Kacchan would likely call him useless, Izuku thought with a tiny kittenish huff.

He still cut off the purr to mewl at him, ears flicking back irritably. He was trying to apply the possible healing power of the purr here, no insults allowed, thank you very much. Important medical services were happening.

Another raspy chuckle and Izuku practically melted under a perfect chin scratch.

He almost didn’t notice when the air pressure dropped and rose. Izuku’s eyes flickered open, his purr stuttering.

Oh wow.

Oh holy shit.

That was a Warp Quirk.

Those were freakishly rare, Izuku thought numbly, watching the black mist swirl. This was the teenager’s ride? Probably because the teenager didn’t even look up from his game. That or the teenager was almost suicidally oblivious.

The likelihood of this teenager being involved in something very dangerous just jacked up to 87%. Izuku shifted to a crouch, getting ready to bolt.

Mom would not be happy if he had been warped to Alaska or something. He’d almost certainly be late to breakfast.

His thoughts flatlined for a moment as a purple mist-person dressed in an elegant suit stepped out of the cloud, fixing their tie. “Shigaraki, you were required back ten minutes ago.” They said. Their voice echoed oddly.

The teen- Shigaraki Izuku corrected himself- chuckled. “Got in a bit of a fight.” The mist sighed, so this was likely an often occurrence? That could not be healthy.

He should go. He should really go. He should really go before something bad happened.

The hand slowed on his back. “Made a furry friend though.” And then the hand was starting to tighten, and Izuku twisted, hissing. He slipped out as smoothly as greased butter, and bolted away, towards the mouth of the alley. Completely ignoring Shigaraki’s cut off growl.

Like he should have done, he thought viciously. He shouldn't have just come back and purred at a dangerous individual, no matter how nice the ear scratches. He caught a flash of something out of the corner of his eye and he swerved, practically skidding around the corner.

For a brief second, he entertained the thought of hiding, behind the trash can or tucked away in some shadow. He dismissed it just as quickly, little paws pounding on the ground. Shigaraki and the mist person probably knew the area better than he did, if they really looked, he’d be picked out in a hot second.

Even so, he didn't feel quite safe until he had left the alley long behind him, streaking through the streets in frenzied loops just to be sure. His paws ached by the time he leapt onto his windowsill, flattening himself to wriggle under the cracked window.

It took a few long moments before his heart slowed and the world twisted once again, leaving a very human Izuku sprawled on the carpet. “Note for the journal.” He croaked. “Speed and endurance under pressure.” To be continued. Hopefully not under the same circumstances.

He pulled himself to his feet slowly, intensely grateful school wasn't tomorrow. He didn't think he could walk ten feet at this point.

Izuku was out like a light as soon as his head hit the pillow.


The indignity! Barbarism! Cruel and unjust torture that should have been outlawed!

Izuku mewled indignantly, squirming under the bristles. Inko huffed, brandishing the brush at him. “Now, now Mister. I said you could either tell me what happened or let me clean you off.” She said.

Izuku slumped in her lap with a hiss. He remembered perfectly. Of course she would have noticed, especially with how he staggered out of his room looking and smelling like warmed over garbage.

It was either transform and submit to a thorough wash and brush or tell the truth. Izuku chose the wash.

Izuku’s ears flicked back. At least the wash was over. He had nearly launched himself to the ceiling to avoid the tub if it hadn’t been for Mom’s Quirk. Cheating! Cheating he said!

But if he told the truth, he’d be grounded for the rest of ever. Until he left for college at the very least, sneaky skills or not.

And it isn’t that brushing was bad, the bristles rasped over his back soothingly enough. He just preferred them on his terms, when he wanted it.

Inko rolled her eyes, setting the brush to the side. “No more pouting, I’m done anyway.” It took everything she had not to laugh as Izuku practically sprang off her lap, glaring at the brush like it had mortally wronged him.

Cat or not, he could practically feel Mom’s mood dropping as she watched him. Izuku meowed, pawing at her knee. He couldn’t exactly help her if she was just glancing at him with a frown on her face.

“Izuku? You know you can come to me for anything, right?” She said. Izuku nodded as best he could. Of course he knew! He just had some things to do and he’d tell her as soon as he could. No secrets here, just short term keepaways.

“Absolutely anything.” Mom stressed. Izuku’s ears pinned back at the thought. Everything was fine! He was calm. He was safe. The change hit him smoothly, leaving a human Izuku crouched in front of his mother.

“Of course I know Mom.” He said, smiling up at her. She smiled weakly back. Izuku reached up, putting his hand over hers. “Trust me. Everything is alright.” He was just fine.

Inko nodded slowly, still looking unsure. “But if things aren’t alright, tell me.”

“You’ll be the first to know.” Izuku promised. He had every intention of keeping it. Maybe last night wasn’t alright and it was kind of scary, but it felt miles away now. He already had a new plan and notes percolating away.

This time, her smile looked more genuine. “Okay but let me tell you Mister, the brush may be coming out more often.” Izuku feigned horror, throwing his arms up as if to shield himself.

“Not the brush! Anything but the brush!” Inko laughed, drawing the smile back to Izuku’s face. He’d do anything to keep that laugh.

Alright, maybe a few nights off. Information collecting was important but not worrying Mom was just as important.


Izuku arched his back in a yawn, flopping down on his bed. He felt fantastic. He’d been lucky enough to outrun his bullies again or had a lucky turning that let him scramble into a convenient shadow.

Bruise free even if the stormy look on Kacchan’s face promised nothing pretty if he was caught.

A sly smile slid onto Izuku’s face. He didn’t plan on getting caught.

He swung up into a sitting position, reaching for his notebook. Kacchan hadn’t seemed to connect him to the kitten, not that he had seen him since that day in school.

They had a few close calls but nothing too major. Izuku shuddered at the thought. He did not want to relive the time he had sat in a mud puddle pretending to be a leaf after another kid spooked him. He had been brushing off dirt for the rest of the day.

He scanned the notes he had. A few of the newer ones were unfamiliar, originating from late night, maybe early morning transcript sessions. But it looked like he was just about done on his latest stack of cat books.

Izuku sighed dramatically, tossing his journal to the side. Pickings at the library were getting slim, he had to pull out a cat training book last time.

As if he could be trained. The thought of it was almost offensive.

Izuku staunchly ignored the time he had rolled over for Mom. It was just something cute and funny! It made her happy!

Back on topic, he had a few books to get back to the library. Just three because the library had a limit and Izuku was pretty sure the old librarian didn’t like him.

You climb up the shelves one (twice. Maybe three) time to reach an out of reach book and they hate you ever since.

Izuku scooped up the books that sat beside his bed. They were nearly overdue anyways, he got a bit distracted and then had to pull a few all nighters to glean any useful information.

Maybe the internet would be more helpful but as the Pro Hero Bookworm always said, Paper could be key.

And it was meditative at this point. Finish homework, log and duplicate it in case that prejudiced teacher ‘forgot’ again, and pick out a book to read. His journal on his lap, a book in his hand, and Izuku could block out the world.

Mom was already busy in the kitchen when he trotted past with his arms full of books. “Going to the library! Be back soon!” Izuku yelled.

“Be careful!” She yelled back. Something inside him twisted at the rote warning. She said it every time he left since that day.

“Of course!” Izuku said. When was he not careful? The very thought of not planning was preposterous. He was the very picture of caution.

He staunchly ignored what happened on his last night time adventure. That was planned, just very quickly.

The day was actually quite nice for a walk to the library. The air was fresh, the sun was low enough on the horizon his eyes didn’t need to adjust, and it was just about the perfect temperature. Izuku grinned.

Izuku took his time walking down the street, just basking in the warm light. Maybe if he had some time, he could do a bit of sunbathing in that little roof nook he had found. Now that was amazing.

A loud voice cut through the air and Izuku stiffened. Now that was not so amazing.

“Fucking heard Deku was coming up here after running around like a little coward.” Izuku bit back a groan. The worst place too. He’d have to go past them to get home.

He hadn’t been joking earlier when he mused Kacchan would be furious if he caught up to him. Maybe he should slip him a stress ball sometime.

Izuku glanced left and right. The street was empty but nowhere to hide. He could cram himself under the low metal bench nearby but then they’d just drag him out and tease him. In seconds, they’d turn the corner and see him. Could he outrun them to the library? The librarian had casually ignored them lurking outside before.

Nothing for it.

Izuku shoved the books under a nearby bench, and closed his eyes. One- dull gleam of spikes, two, his breath was shuddering in his chest. Thre- a low sob.

The world warped around him.

When Katsuki and his not friends turned the corner, it was to an eerily familiar kitten bouncing around after a leaf like their life depended on it.

Katsuki slowed, glaring around. Not a Deku in sight. “Guess somebody was wrong.” He growled. The extra with the wings cringed back. They should with how much they whine about becoming a scout type hero.

And there was that cat again. Maybe Deku ditched it on the street. Some hero he was. It hadn’t even seemed to notice them yet, batting a leaf up into the air and leaping to catch it in their paws before it hit the ground.

Katsuki snorted. “He was here! I know it was him!” The extra insisted. Clearly not unless the fucker had somehow developed a speed Quirk. Why he trusted this fool he would never know.

“Honest mistake?” The other extra chimes in.

“Which could lead to a villain escaping fuckhead. Some hero prospect you’ll be. This is why I’m the one who’s gonna be moving to UA.” Katsuki sneered. They deserved it. He stepped forward, towering over the kitten who was poking at the leaf.

It peered up at him, blinking. All this fuss over a kitten. The extras were probably arguing as they always did but Katsuki ignored them.

Inko would probably be fucking happy if he carried the kitten back. Heroes were suppose for rescue kittens and shit, right?

It darted forward in a stumbling lunge away as if it had just realized what to do. Katsuki easily swept it up in his hands. Fucker was light, nowhere near the weights he worked with. It squirmed in his arms, heart hammering against his wrist.

Not like he was gonna do anything, the fear was annoying him.

Katsuki turned on a dime, striding past the fucking extras who were still arguing. Another tally for how much they fucking sucked, they barely noticed anything.

The current tally board was 547-0.

Much to his chagrin, he found his way back to the Midoriya place easily. Another note on his past friendship with that pathetic wimp being a footnote. He’d rather grind it into dust. All Deku should be was a brief word in his future biography.

That fact that he wasn’t, filled him with rage.

He raps on the door once, moving the kitten to one hand, shifting uneasily. Hopefully no one saw him around. The kitten stilled, focused on the ground like it was nervous, silly because animals couldn’t get nervous. Katsuki scowled at the thought.

“Yes?” Inko said, opening the door. Same bright smile as always. “Oh! Katsuki! I haven’t seen you in a while! Izuku’s out and about if you were looking for him.”

Katsuki bit back a retort. “Just found your cat wandering around.” He said, shoving the kitten towards her. It kicked at the air, meowing indignantly.

Confusion flashed over Inko’s face briefly. “A cat? Oh, Zuzu!” The kitten meowed, sounding irritated. “Sorry, he gets out quite a bit! Very adventurous, just like Izuku. ”

“No problem.” Katsuki said, biting back a frown at Deku’s name. Inko carefully took the kitten, tucking him in the crook of her arms

“Now that you’re here, would you like to wait for Izuku? He should be back soon.” Inko said sounding so hopeful he wanted to gag. Katsuki shook his head.

“I’m good.” He lied. Hang out with the wimp? As if. “Keep your cat in, it could get hurt.”

He could almost swear the kitten huffed but cats didn’t do that. Katsuki glared at it anyways. It was a relief to stop back down the path far away from cheery Inko and that annoying cat.

Fucking Deku, he’d get off free for now. Thinking about hurting him just replayed that picture in his head of Inko beaming with a tiny green Bobtail kitten in her arms.

Katsuki growled in frustration, running a hand through his hair. Fucking Deku. Always trying to be more than a footnote.


Inko kicked the door closed behind her, grinning down at the kitten in her arms. “Got lost again, did we?” She teased. The kitten managed to give off an air of pouting despite the lack of facial expression necessary before leaping for the floor.

Instead of a light thump, Izuku sprawled across the floor, looking up at her. “Zuzu? Really?” He said, sounding wounded. Inko smothered a laugh.

“It’s not like you gave me a code name dear.” Zuzu was a perfectly nice name. It even matched his name! She admitted, she hadn’t thought she was going to be on the spot like that but it worked out well. Katsuki seemed to buy it, though he didn’t stick around.

“Still! It sounds childish.” Izuku said, sitting up when she lightly nudged him with her foot. He combed his hair hurriedly for any leaves, a light flush spreading across his face.

“Do you have anything better?” Inko says. The tiny huff conveys it all. “It can just be a placeholder. If you change it, we can say we changed our minds.” She thought it was cute but boys will be boys. Always determined to find the coolest name. It reminded her of the sweet little All Might themed hero name list Izuku kept.

Izuku climbed to his feet. “Now I have to walk all the way back an-“ He stiffened. “My library books! I left them under a bench!” He twisted on a dime, diving past her to open the door and run outside much to Inko’s surprise.

Slowly, her frozen look melted into cheer and she shook her head, closing the door. “I wish Hisashi could be around to see your energy.” Inko remarked to thin air. Hisashi would have loved it. Boys will be boys indeed. Hopefully he found his books before anything happened.

 

Izuku did indeed find his books but arrived home out of breath and panting. Running was definitely something he’d have to take up. He got tired way too easily and that could be a threat.

Izuku closed his door securely behind him before relaxing.

Especially if he wanted to continue his night time runs. Izuku emptied his pockets of the extra gauze and antiseptic he had picked up on the way, tossing them on the bed. He was switching to a hat and a hoodie now for an extra layer. As well as the convenient pocket.

A first aid kit would be useful. And a notepad. He’d rather not get stuck in the first situation again.

He shuddered at what could have happened if he had been a little slower. “Definitely going running more often.” Izuku remarked. Cats were faster than most humans right? Maybe he could compare his current speed to average human speed without Quirk improvement and… Izuku snagged his cat journal and pen, flipping to a clean page.

It would have to be an important and comprehensive experiment! The results were quite vital after all!

Izuku rapped his pen on his paper, mind spinning with the possibilities. If his base speed was faster, then training could make him a faster hero. A better scout! If he couldn’t hit hard, he’d just have to hit fast. A lot of Underground Heroes were built on that concept.

It made him feel warm inside every time the possibilities he thought of linked to hero work. Maybe his Quirk wasn’t flashy or incredible, but it was his. And he’d make it useful.

As long as he didn’t get murdered on one of his night time trips of course.

He really hoped that teen, Shigaraki, has a bad memory to go along with his poor situational awareness. Or didn’t connect him to his Quirk at least. But hey, this had to mean his next nighttime adventure would go better, right? He had gotten all the bad luck out of the way.

At least, Izuku hoped so. How much trouble could a kitten get into?

Chapter Text

From the Journal of Midoriya Izuku (Personal):
The ability of a cat to find its way home is called “psi-traveling.” Experts think cats either use the angle of the sunlight to find their way or that cats have magnetized cells in their brains that act as compasses. I don’t think I’ve gotten lost ever since I found out my Quirk. That’s useful. I used to get lost about once a week before.


It was official, Izuku thought, Fate was the Cruella de Vil of the world and they were aiming for one particular green kitten to make a coat out of (he'd make a terrible coat, he was too skinny and there was a decrease in fabric because of his bobbed tail).

He was probably getting way off track in his panic but Izuku thought it was completely justified.

After all, wandering into a gang war didn't exactly leave you with a clear mind.

It's not like he had meant to wander in. It had been a nice night so far, just cold enough he didn't sweat under the hoodie and hat combo. Izuku had skirted way around the area he had been last time, not wanting to run into the duo again.

He had just started to turn towards home, about to throw in the towel for the night. Why stick around? Not like anything was happening.

Izuku should have known better than to say that.

It started as an itch. Izuku slowed to a stop, glancing around. The hairs at the back of his neck prickled as the itch ran over his body again. He frowned, patting himself down. Didn't feel like he had walked into anything.

A low pulse and Izuku hissed, pupils blown wide as he flung himself back, half jogging half throwing himself backwards. It sounded bad, it sounded really bad. Another, like a muffled explosion.

Izuku felt sweat creep down his spine as the air shuddered.

And the wall in front of him exploded outwards.

Izuku threw his arms up to protect his face. For a second, his hearing seemed to short out, a sharp line of pain awakening on his right arm. The world was silent and full of pain.

And then the world crashed in again and Izuku slammed to the ground.

For a second, he laid there stunned, heart thudding against his ribs. Smell of burning, smoke- no. This wasn't Kacchan. No smoke, no too sweet smell of nitroglycerin. Izuku scrambled to his feet, his shoulder protesting the movement, glancing about wildly.

Another low boom and his ears ached. The rubble flipped, skidding forward along the pavement as he watched. The air seemed to pulse.

Some sort of sonic Quirk. Izuku thought numbly. Not quite Explosions, just a sonic blast that imitated it. No wonder his ears hurt that bad. His hearing was much more sensitive, even when he wasn't a cat.

Then the analysis urge rushed out because someone just took out a wall in one shot. Izuku chewed his lip, legs feeling frozen to the ground. If he strained, harder than usual his ears still ached, he could hear loud angry voices.

“I'm not gonna pay ya a fucking cut! Ya just gonna have to take what we give ya!” A voice roared. Izuku paled impressively and bit off a curse when he heard the reply.

“Let's see what me and my boys have to say about that.” A low growl, too guttural to be fully human. Izuku backed up slowly, his heart hammering faster and faster. This didn't sound like a street fight.

A shape flew out of the hole, slamming against the opposite wall and making Izuku bite down a shriek of fright. Whoever it was didn't get up again. They weren't dead, he could hear a low thumping heartbeat, but it was enough. Izuku turned and bolted just as the war spilled out into the street.

He couldn't keep running, Izuku thought wildly, he didn't have any fucking time. The street was cursedly clear and somehow he had ended up on the one street where the closest alleys were dead ends.

Izuku estimated he had a minute before one of the guys saw him running and decided to take out the witness.

Izuku slid to a stop, hissing under his breath. Corner of his eye. Gutter up to the low roof. Good enough.

His claws slid out with a flex of his hands and then he jumped, digging in for a hold and then scrabbling up the cold metal. It creaked ominously but held. “Sorry.” Izuku whispered under his breath to whoever owned the building, wincing as one of his claws punctured the rusted metal.

Gods, he hoped he didn't get tetanus on top of this crappy night.

Izuku wrapped his arm around the concrete ledge, practically flinging himself over. Another low pulse, this time rattling the building underneath him. Izuku levered himself up, fingers drifting along his forearm.

They came back coated in blood. Izuku stared at his fingers, swallowing thickly. He'd have to wrap it, get some antiseptic-

The building rattled again. Izuku hissed, shifting to look at the war below him.

He was barely three buildings over and while it looked like no one saw his escape, the sonic pulses had already smashed through the opposite wall. People were sprawled around like rag dolls. Izuku swallowed again, feeling sick. He couldn't see who exactly was the detonist but he did pick out a whipcord thin person, their hair oddly waving and moving like tentacles as it wrapped around another person’s throat.

Izuku felt a crazed laugh bubble up. Well this was really not his night.

A scream split the night and he flinched back, eyes squeezing shut for a moment. First death maybe, he couldn't hear quite right yet.

And then he opened his eyes and oh.

Wow.

That was definitely not a gang war anymore.

Not unless you counted the figure who had leapt down and was now soundly kicking everyone’s asses a gang. He sure had the strength of one. For the first time that night, Izuku felt a smile slip onto his face. The flash of a vaguely familiar scarf.

Eraserhead…

Izuku felt practically giddy. He didn't know much about the guy, almost nobody did, but out of all of the underground heroes he knew of, Eraserhead was top.

The way his scarf snapped out, the elegance to his movements. Much more vicious than a hero fight, Izuku noted distantly. Every move was economical and swift, none of the flashy theatrics some heroes put on, all of it aimed to put enemies down as quickly as possible. And the way he fought practically Quirkless.

All Might gave him hope but Eraserhead practically turned that hope into reality.

Izuku bit down on his fist to silence himself, ignoring the dots of pain where needle sharp teeth sank in. This was what he came out to see. A hero, whirling like a dancer, every movement economical and refined. The criminals fell one after another, the tendril one Izuku picked out darted forward.

For a moment, Izuku tensed, eyes darting along the rooftop for something to throw as the tendrils closed around Eraserhead’s chest and neck.

And oh, it was beautiful.

Eraserhead twisted, tugged on the tendrils dragging the man closer, and slammed a kick into the person’s stomach. They staggered back and Eraserhead pressed the advantage, slamming a fist into the person’s temple. They went down like a bag of rocks and Izuku bit down harder, forcing down the cheer that threatened to burst out.

He could not mess this up. He had seen videos of Eraserhead’s fights before but they had been blurry and dark. Perhaps on purpose, to accentuate Eraserhead’s reputation as a ghoulish boogeyman, Izuku mused.

His eyes were drawn to movement and Izuku froze, thoughts sliding away.

A criminal had slid out of the shadows, arm pointing towards Eraserhead’s unguarded back. The arm was bulky, a gauntlet perhaps and the air around it seemed to shake. A preparation period, the thought felt like it swam through syrup. No wonder they were hiding. Izuku tore his fist out of his mouth, leaning over the ledge.

“Hey!” Izuku yelled, practically a yowl. Eraserhead jerked, spinning around and then he was moving again. Sliding out of range like a dancer and when the criminal followed, Eraserhead struck.

A low boom.

Out of range. Eraserhead was out of range, he’d jumped at the last second, like a matador with a cape. Twisting the man's arm until they fell and there was a sharp crack.

Izuku wasn't out of the way.

The building below him blew apart and the world jerked out from underneath. Shrapnel-like spikes, was that the sound of windows shattering or someone shattering the lights.

His stomach jerked and Izuku nearly sobbed as everything around him got bigger. Alright, twist, cats always land on their feet, don't they? He really hoped he could.

Izuku pressed his eyes shut, not wanting to look.

And then something soft was slipping around him, nestling him in its fold, jerking him up and away. Izuku’s eyes flew open, surprise jerking a meow out of him.

He couldn't see. There was fabric wrapped around him, tan and rough. Izuku stayed frozen, shock locking his limbs in place.

And then the fabric unraveled, revealing him to the light. He was nestled in someone’s arm, Izuku noted. Like Inko did all the time. Fingers drifted over his back, causing his fur to prickle.

“A kitten, huh.” A voice said above him. And just like that, life seemed to return to Izuku’s limbs. He jerked his head up, not sure if he was going to say thank you or scold them for not warning him.

And then he temporarily forgot to breath because that was Eraserhead looking down at him. He was even more impressive up close. Izuku knew he probably looked as undignified as a kitten could be but one of his favorite heroes was literally holding him.

Izuku could die happy now. Thank you, Fate. You are a lovely person and he never should have doubted you.

“Could have sworn it was a human yelling.” Eraserhead murmured and Izuku twitched. Shit, he had hoped the distance would have drowned it out. He already had sounded animalistic in his panic. Those red eyes, bloodshot through the goggles so he must suffer from acute dry eyes. No wonder he never went Pro, Izuku noted quickly.

And then that hand was drifting up again and he was getting chin scritches from a hero. Put his paws in concrete and drop him in the sea, Izuku was done. He beat life. He purred loudly, leaning into the touch as much as his position allowed.

“Looks like you’re fine. Caught you just in time.” Eraserhead said. Ugh, Izuku could barely even care now. He'd probably die of embarrassment later but right now there was a hand rubbing right under his chin. Perfection. Clearly, Eraserhead liked cats, he was far too experienced in the art of chin scratches to not be.

Izuku almost whined when the hand slipped away. “I'll drop you off at the police station, they can get you to the shelter from there.” Eraserhead said. Nooo, not the shelter. Izuku sulked even as the hand wrapped around him again and he was deposited in the long folds of the scarf.

He twisted around, paws settling on top of the scarf so he could look around. It was a little bit bumpy but the scarf clearly made a far better carrier then it looked. Eraserhead definitely did this a lot.

It kind of made him feel warm and tingly that Eraserhead had a fondness for cats.

Focus, Izuku scolded himself. He couldn't end up in the shelter. It'd be hard to break out, even if he transformed back because there were cameras. And ugh, he didn't even want to think about possible adoption.

But even worse, it meant having to escape from one of his favorite heroes. Clearly Fate had not appreciated his comment earlier.

Izuku bided his time, watching as Eraserhead efficiently cuffed each criminal. Most were cuffed to the metal bars of a broken down bench. So he couldn't take everyone in at once. Faintly, he could hear the crunch of gravel underneath tires and Izuku nearly purred in pride. Eraserhead had already called it in, of course he did.

Eraserhead surveyed his work. “Time to get you and you to the police station.” He said, directing the last to the sonic villain. Izuku’s stomach roiled.

They were unconscious. They couldn't hurt him. Still his ribs felt like they were constricting in on his lungs, making every breath shallow and quick. And Eraserhead just picked the man up like a doll after securing those strange gauntlets on his arms, carrying him easily like a football.

Izuku craned his neck. The gauntlets looked like cannons, covering over the hands, but not woven into the skin. Unless he could retract it, he likely had limited hand mobility but without it, the sonic blasts were likely unconcentrated. Izuku itched to write in all down.

No wonder the man was in a gang. But why the fancy tech? That had to take some connections.

He was cut off from his musing by Eraserhead slipping up a fire escape and bounding along the roof.

Then they were airborne.

Izuku refused to close his eyes, wanting to commit every moment to memory. Even with his awkward stride, Eraserhead still moved from roof to roof gracefully, like his Quirk was Flight not Erasure. It took Izuku’s breath away.

Could he do that? It slipped into his brain and curled like a disease. He was probably too small as a kitten but as a human…

He could, couldn't he. The thought of it filled him with delight. Another ability to hold close to his chest.

With this, he could have slipped away from the war easily. But then, he never would have been able to see Eraserhead in action. Choices, choices.

Then again, if he hadn't stuck around, he wouldn't be on his way to the police station and then to a shelter. Which was an extremely bad thing. The thought of it loomed like a dark cloud over his joy.

Would Mom even think to look in the shelter for him? Or would she think he finally got in over his head? He couldn't seem to shake the thought.

“Miao.”

“Anything wrong?” Eraserhead didn't even stutter in his movements, touching down on the next roof.

“Mioaaa.” Louder now.

That earned a slight pause, Eraserhead’s boots crunching the rooftop gravel. “What now?” Izuku squirmed, trying to get out of the scarf. Probably wouldn't be too healthy of a fall but he would manage.

A hand slipped around him, lifting him out of the scarf. Izuku paused for a moment, blinking wide eyes up at Eraserhead. “You’re going to get hurt, if you keep doing that.” He said.

Izuku wriggled in the hand. He probably shouldn't get too badly hurt. The thought of falling was terrifying but the shelter was even more terrifying. No contest. “Morowr.”

Eraserhead sighed. “You’re a cat. It's not kidnapping.” He remarked, only half to Izuku. Izuku would have frowned if he could. Just because he was a cat didn't mean he didn't have rights! Look at Nedzu!

“Mirrrra.” This time he nearly eeled out of his grip if it hadn't been a quick catch on Eraserhead’s part. The man sighed roughly.

“Even the cats feel like being annoying tonight.” This cat saved your life, Izuku thought waspishly. He wished he could change back and talk but it didn't look like that was going to happen anytime soon.

Also, well, Inko would murder him if he got called into the police station. He was around a gang war after all. Izuku bets the police wouldn't even charge her, it would be perfectly justified.

“Fine, brat.” Eraserhead muttered. Izuku blinked in confusion and then holyshithejustjumpedoff. He squeaked as their altitude changed rather abruptly but Eraserhead hit the ground like he did it everyday.

He probably did stupid Deku, Izuku thought, scowling at himself.

Despite his irritation, Eraserhead rather gently placed him on the ground. Izuku sat there for a moment, not quite sure of what to do with himself.

A boot nudged him in the side, scooting him forward a step. “Scram. If I see you around again, I really will be dropping you off at a shelter.” Eraser head said. Izuku purred, rubbing his head against the boot before bounding into the shadows. He never saw the slight smile on the hero’s face as the man headed up again.

After all, Eraserhead said if he saw him.

Izuku trotted happily down the street, tail held high. He escaped! In a manner of speaking, but at least he wouldn't be in the shelter at the end of the night.

He would, however, be in the doghouse if he didn't get home soon. Izuku’s steps quickened even as he skirted around walls and corners, not wanting a repeat of earlier. His hearing was still kind of wonky.

At least, he seemed to heal better than most. Part of the Quirk?

It was probably why he didn’t hear the low humming at first.

And footsteps behind him.

In fact, the first warning he got was a harsh foot to the ribs, slamming him into the wall. Izuku flailed, trying to right himself even as he shook the mugginess out of his head. His mouth tasted like copper.

Three shadows loomed over him. Izuku blinked slowly, still trying to clear the fogginess.

Three teens, the lead smirking down on him as he tapped a baseball bat against his shoulder. “I thought I saw a pussy cat.” He said. The chuckle sounded like the gasp of metal against concrete, making Izuku’s fur stand up on end.

“And I thought there wasn’t any fun to be had here.” The left one said. No identifiable Quirks. Izuku shoved down a whimper, inching slowly back. How far could he get? Usually when Kacchan got mad, he just took it but he had a feeling these teens wouldn’t be satisfied until he was a mess on the pavement.

Not for the first time, he wished for a stronger more intimidating Quirk.

Izuku leaped, twisting in midair, but not quite fast enough to avoid the next kick, sending him skidding toward the pavement.

Blood was oozing down his fur, he registered numbly. The wound on his forearm had torn open again.

He needed to get up, get up or you’ll die getupgetupgetupgetup-

Instead he laid there like a bruised lump as the bat came down to rest on the pavement. “Let’s make this quick, I got places to be.” A different voice.

He was gonna die here, Izuku thought, beginning to tremble. He should had stayed with Eraserhead, he should have stayed home, he should have ran.

His legs twitched and a sharp stab of pain went through his head. This time, Izuku really did whine. A low chuckle again or maybe not, it was getting harder to sift through the fog in his head.

Everything hurt.

GetupgetupGETUP-

“Hey what do you assholes think you’re doing.” A new voice from behind. Izuku blinked, taking the brief distraction to wobbly get back to his feet. He didn't dare to look behind him, in case the teenagers took another swipe.

“None of your business. Now why don't you scram.” Please don't, Izuku thought wildly. Don't scram. Or if you do, take him with you. Stay safe.

“Thanks for that.” What? “Now turn around and walk away. Forget about me too.” The voice seemed to drop an octave, almost purring now. Izuku hissed, tail bushing out. He’d go for the ankles if the teenagers turned on another person. He could do it. Ankles hurt like a bitch when needle sharp teeth got embedded in them.

Instead, the bat clattered to the floor in front of him. Izuku leaped back, wincing as a spike of pain shot up his front paws. The lead teenager almost seemed dead as Izuku watched him turn and walk away. His cohorts backed up, fear showing through the cracks.

“I'd scram right after him.” The new voice said. The right one gritted his teeth.

“We’ll get you for this.” They snapped. The left one didn't quite seem to share the sentiment, glancing back and forth.

Scram.” The voice purred again. It almost seems to echo oddly in Izuku’s ears. That was the last straw. Both teens fled, their footsteps clattering down the street. A snort, and his rescuer kicked the baseball bat hard enough to make it roll a few paces away, making Izuku jump.

“Jerks. Can't believe they'd go after a kitten.” A soft scraping on the pavement. “Wanna come closer so I can take a look at you?”

Well he did kind of owe them now. Most of Izuku’s plans were bite and bolt. Be kind of rude to still enact the plan on his rescuer. Slowly, still slightly nervous, Izuku twisted around to take a look.

They were… Not quite what he was expecting. Though most of the expectations had been built on shadowy figures and a general kind of concept of who lurked here at night. The teens had reeked of malevolence, all of them having scars or bandages on their faces. The lead alone looked like his right cheek had been brutally clawed.

Instead, they looked tired and Izuku wholly empathized with them. Their purple soft looking hair stuck up wildly and dark circles had formed under their violet eyes. The scraping noise had been them sitting down apparently. Izuku crept closer, poking at their outstretched hand.

The soft scowl bloomed into a hesitant smile. “They're jerks, you should really be more careful if you’re going to run around here.” He said softly. Mulishly, Izuku acknowledged he did have a point. It had been a bit of a wild night so far.

Izuku purred roughly, rubbing against the hand. “I'm Shinsou.” The boy said. His fingers drifted over Izuku’s back, making Izuku arch into the touch. Now that felt good on his aching muscles. “Looks like you really are a lucky cat. Doesn't feel like they broke anything.”

Now that was good news. Izuku purred even louder, feeling positively cheery. He had been nearly blown up twice and then kicked multiple times. But at least he wouldn't have to worry about explaining away broken bones.

Maybe there was some kernel of truth to the lucky cat stories. Further investigation would be needed.

Shinsou pulled his hand back and Izuku tensed immediately. Instead, it came back with a roll of gauze. “This may feel weird, but I need to wrap up your leg.” He said, his voice low and soothing. Izuku relaxed slowly. That was it?

He moved cautiously closer and allowed Shinsou to cradle him in one palm as he wove the gauze around the wound in quick deft movements. Izuku winced at the sight of it. It didn't look crippling and last he checked it was shallow but it was bloody all the same. It stretched from what would be his wrist to his elbow.

Izuku averted his eyes with a grimace. It was a relief to finally have it wrapped.

“You’re doing great.” Shinsou remarked softly.

“Miraowr.”

“I’m not kidding. Most cats I wish I could use my Quirk on them.” Izuku perked up. Quirk? What kind of Quirk? It obviously had something to do with mind control but how? By what factors? Tell the cat more, Shinsou. Tell the cat everything.

“You’ll be done soon. Which is good because you’ll probably need sleep and I need to head home.” A hand drifted down his back. “I think I’m tired enough to get to bed and seeing a lucky cat may make me lucky enough to do so.”

Ugh, insomnia. More like Izuku’s work time. Night time was the best time.

The ensuing crashes were never fun but Izuku preferred to think on the positive side. He got so much done at night!

Shinsou carefully set Izuku, down rubbing the top of his head. “Stay safe little buddy. I’d take you with me but I already have four cats and my parents said no more.” Clearly Shinsou had great taste.

“Mier.” Izuku managed, padding down the sidewalk. Shinsou was nice. Honestly, that had been the best encounter he’s ever had with someone his age. Shinsou’s footsteps went the opposite way until they slowly faded into the distance, leaving him alone once more.

This time though, Izuku stuck closer to the wall, running as fast as he could manage. Even so, he still didn’t change back until he landed safely on the floor of his bedroom.

Izuku hissed in pain, prodding the wound. The gauze wrap Shinsou had done wasn’t quite good enough to cover the wound was he changed. Clumsily, Izuku unrolled it with one hand and rebandaged with his own gauze.

Despite the fact it was a bloody wound, the sight still brought a giddy smile to his face. He had met Eraserhead.

Eraserhead.

It wasn’t technically a meeting but still. Eraserhead petted him and he rode around in his scarf and and- Izuku presses his hands to his face trying not to squeal from glee. The only thing that could top this night was meeting All Might.

Izuku blinked, realizing a soft eeing sound like the hiss of a leaky balloon had seeped out while he was distracted. He flushed red from embarrassment, checking his door. Nothing. Izuku slowly relaxed back under his blankets.

As cool as it was, the arm wound would keep him inside for now. He’d rather not test his immune system. Izuku pouted, reaching over to switch off the lamp he had turned on for light. At least he’d have plenty of time to record everything from last night. Seeing Eraserhead was going to open up a whole new world of analysis.

And Shinsou. Izuku eyes the bloody gauze draped on his desk. He was definitely finding him again. He seemed nice. Maybe even proper friend material. A small smile drifted over Izuku’s face and he snuggled into his bed.

It’d be nice to have a good friend again.

Izuku fell asleep dreaming of cats, purring voices, and glowing red eyes.


Shinsou frowned, tugging the collar of his jacket higher. The day had decided that it wanted to be freezing but still burn his eyes to a crisp. And someone needed to get groceries while his parents were at work.

He yawned, rubbing at his eyes. He really shouldn’t have stayed up so late. He felt like he just lay down on the sidewalk and sleep right here.

Whatever, he had the groceries, heavy as they were. He could head home now. Mission accomplished and all that jazz.

He wove through the crowds easily enough until someone stepped straight into him, sending him stumbling back. “Watch where you’re going!” Shinsou snapped. He wasn’t in the mood for assholes this time of day and he swore if it was that jerk Genki again, he was gonna tell him to climb a tree. See how the fish moron liked climbing out of one.

“Oh I’m so sorry!” Shinsou blinked slowly. That wasn’t one of his bullies. He twisted around the heavy bag to see better.

Green hair almost as fluffy as his, green eyes, and greenish freckles. Dressed in one of the most neon All Might hoodies he had ever seen. This kid had an aesthetic going. Good for him. The kid beamed up at him.

“I’m Izuku! Sorry for running into you, I wasn’t looking where I was going. Here I’ll buy you a coffee to make up for it. There’s a really nice cafe near here!” Izuku said, beaming. Shinsou blinked again, trying to make sense of the torrent of words.

“It’s fine. Just watch where you’re going.” Shinsou said, stepping around to continue walking. Free coffee was nice but this kid was straight up shifty.

Unfortunately the kid kept pace. “But I really don’t feel good about leaving it at that.” Shinsou came to a stop, sighing loudly. He didn't have much of a choice, did he?

“You’re not going to stop bugging me until I accept, are you?” Shinsou said. Izuku’s grin got wider.

“Nope! You’ll just have to accept my apology.” Izuku said. Ah well, it was his money and coffee did sound extremely good right now. Preferably caffeine injected straight into his veins but Shinsou wasn’t picky.

“Fine.” Shinsou grumbled. He had time so he let himself be tugged into the cutesy little shop. Huh, he remembered this one. It had his favorite drink.

Izuku remained blissfully quiet as they moved up the line, occasionally glancing at him with a glint in his eyes. Shinsou pretended to ignore it, especially after he met Izuku’s eyes and the kid flushed bright red like his hoodie.

“May I take your order?” The cashier girl said, looking just as dead as he felt. Shinsou shifted his grocery bag around.

“One death coffee, extra espresso.” Shinsou said. Izuku glanced at him.

“Death coffee?” He asked. Shinsou jumped in before the cashier could.

“Five cups of espresso mixed in a dark chocolate mocha with a packet of energy powder.” He said. Izuku’s eyes got a glint that bordered on unholy glee.

“That sounds great! I’ll get that as well.” Izuku said. Shinsou spluttered. That could not be healthy for a little kid! The amount of caffeine alone bordered on obscene, one of the reasons he loved it so much.

“Are you sure? I’m pretty sure your parents would be pissed if you showed up over caffeinated and kids shouldn’t drink espresso.” Shinsou said. He did not want any angry parents blaming him for ruining their little angel.

Izuku spluttered, flushing bright pink. “I’m almost fourteen you dick!” He hissed. Shinsou froze. Huh, he looked way younger than that.

“Really? Same age as me.” Izuku made a hiss like an angry cat, shoving the money at the poor cashier.

“Stupid tall people.” Izuku huffed. Shinsou rolled his eyes. He was standing right here you know. Then again, first time someone used that kind of insult on him. It was novel. Usually they poked at his Quirk.

Then again, Shinsou thought bitterly, he didn't even know about his Quirk. Probably would run away screaming if he did.

The coffee was blissfully hot though and the shot of caffeine hit his tongue like a sledgehammer. Izuku was humming cheerily, taking another sip. “This is good, I can't believe I never ordered this before.” Izuku said.

“Kind of not a thing you find on the menu.” Shinsou said. He had found out after two all nighters and the cashier told him about it out of pity. “I order it all the time. Sleep is for the weak.”

“True that.” Izuku said, nodding at the wisdom. “Everything is better at night.” He took another sip.

“Yup.” Shinsou agreed. No bullies, no school, nothing. He eyed this Izuku fellow. “I should probably get going though. Got milk and cheese in the groceries. Thanks for the coffee though.” He stood, shifting the coffee cup so he could carry it and the bag at the same time.

“Wait!” He paused, glancing back. Izuku squirmed under his gaze. “This was fun. Do you mind if we exchange phone numbers and talk sometimes?”

He doesn't know about your Quirk. You said it yourself, he would run away screaming if he did. Shinsou felt like he couldn't breath. “Sure.” He strangled out, juggling everything until he could pass his phone in its violet Cheshire cat case over. Izuku squealed at seeing it.

“That's adorable! Mine is All Might. He's my favorite hero.” Izuku said. Shinsou snorted, eyeing the colorful hoodie Izuku had on. His hands twisted awkwardly underneath the weight.

“I never would have guessed.” He snarked. Izuku flushed bright red, sliding his phone back.

“I, ah, added myself under Deku. Have a great day!” Izuku said. Shinsou shoved the phone into his grocery bag, not wanting to bother with maneuvering it back into his pocket.

“You too.” He said. The bright sunlight didn't seem quite so harsh now when he stepped outside.

Deku, huh?


Deku:

You Awake?

Shiny:

yeah why

Deku:

If Eraserhead erased lunch rush quirk could he still cook
Can he still chef

Shiny:

...thats a question

Shiny:

why would you do this

Deku:

It makes me feel better to know the question
keeps others awake

Shiny:
rude

...I can't stop thinking

Deku:
welcome to my shadow realm

Shiny:
Thanks I hate it

Chapter Text

From the Journal of Midoriya Izuku (Personal):
Cats have the cognitive ability to sense a human's feelings and overall mood. This would be useful but no signs of an empath based facet yet. I wonder what Kacchan would feel like?


“Izuku, when I said make friends, I meant human ones.” Inko said, smothering her giggles. Izuku shot her a wide eyed adorable stare as the fat grey tabby wound itself between his ankles.

“But the Furumi’s left and their new neighbor is an asshole who leaves poison lying around!” He said, scowling at the thought. Hime wouldn’t hurt him, so why the guy would be such a dick was beyond him. Probably had some rat in him, Ito was an asshole to him too.

Ugh, he hated rats.

Hime sniffed, settling back on their haunches. “As if I wasn’t able to tell easily.” Izuku nodded, rewarding her with an ear scratch. She purred.

The whole speaking to cats thing took a while to get a hang of (he totally did not fall off the sidewalk when it first happened. No witnesses). But Hime had a special place in his heart. She was the one who tugged him out of the way of a bike and taught him the dangers he really had to look out for.

Izuku has literally no idea the amount of dangers in the cat world and the answer was apparently a lot.

So when he heard she had been practically evicted from her warm home, and an asshole was leaving poison around, he had to intervene.

She grumped quietly as he lifted her. “She even has extra toes! It’s called polydactylism!” And wasn’t that amazing? He kinda wished he had that. “I’ve seen her pick things up!” He was honestly kind of jealous. Maybe he could get little kitten mechanical gloves? Robokitty!

Hime lolled in his grip. “Chin scratches and your hands shall be spared” Rolling his eyes, Izuku scratched her chin, not looking away from Inko.

Inko sighed, shaking her head. “Do I even have much of a choice here?” She said ruefully.

“Nope.” Izuku said, not even missing a beat. Without the Furumi’s who had been like the semi-caretakers (cats weren’t owned, excuse you) of Hime, they were in danger. And Japan had some weird stuff about strange cats so he didn’t know she’d be adopted if he dropped her off at that really nice no-kill shelter like he usually did.

Inko chuckled. “Fine, alright but you’ll be taking care of her. Hopefully this’ll keep you out of trouble.” Hey! He wasn’t that bad. There was only that one time… and that other time… and the time before that… okay, but he was usually careful!

And yet here he was, attacked and besieged on all sides.

“I'm emancipating myself.” Izuku mumbles. “Go off and become a vigilante on the streets.” Inko shot him the Look. Hime squirmed, dropping to the ground neatly as could be. Show off.

“The last time you spent the night on the street, you nearly got stabbed.” She glared at his forearm and Izuku winced.

He had kinda gotten blood on his blanket and as it turned out, Mom had an Eagle Eye Mother Quirk. She picked it out as soon as he tried to sneak it into the washing machine. It was either reveal it or she’d march him straight to the counselor. Again.

Even then, it left an ugly scar from his wrist all the way up to a knot of tissue on his elbow.

“It’s not going to be like that!” He insisted. He hadn’t even gotten Shinsou to vow to avenge his death like a proper friendship!

Inko gave him another Look and Izuku deflated. That had to be some sort of secondary Quirk. “I’m certain it will. Now, we have cat supplies but it’s going to be you who make sure Hime is comfortable.”

Izuku nodded. He expected that. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of her.” He looked down to ask if she’d be alright and-

Oh he lost her already.

You should get better at scenting kit.” Izuku jumped slightly, wincing as he glanced over. Hime has eeled her way onto the couch, stretching herself out over one of the pillows. “Senses are a very important part of survival.

“And are you going to teach me how?” Izuku asked. Hime made a very believable motion towards rolling their eyes.

That’ll take out the learning experience.” She said cheerily. Inko cooed, looking oddly happy.

“It’s nice to see someone can keep you cautious.” Inko said. “You’ve been even more reckless lately. I was starting to get worried.” Izuku winced at the slight scolding he could hear in her voice.

“I promise I’ll be more careful.” Izuku said. Well, he had kinda been careful before. But maybe extra careful? But that meant staying locked in his room!

“And I’ll be holding you to that.” Inko said primly. “I need to work on the computer for a bit, you get her settled in.”

“Good luck with work!” Izuku called after her. As soon as she was behind the closed door, he threw himself on the couch, earning an irritable hiss from Hime as her pillow shifted. “Well, at least she didn’t ask about the claw marks in that asshole’s door that gave him a panic attack.” Or the fireworks.

Izuku took his friends’ lives very seriously.

Speaking of which…

Hime didn’t even blink when the camera went off, stretching out further on her cushion. Izuku grinned, fingers flying over the keyboard.

Deku:
[lookatthefluff.png]

Shiny:
Gijgffyhbv

Shiny:
STOP DISTRACTING ME WITH CAT PHOTOS
IM BUSY

Deku:
I just wanted to show you my new cat friend! ^.^

Deku:
Her name is Hime.

Shiny is now idle!

Idle, huh? That was weird. Izuku gnawed on his lip, glancing over. Maybe Shinsou didn’t actually like cats? Or was it just Hime? He tapped out a query and then erased it. Ugh he sounded like some kind of jealous girlfriend.

“How do cats remain detached all the time?” Izuku asked. There had to be some kind of secret to it he could learn, right?

Hime gave him a deadpan stare and very pointedly went back to cleaning between her claws.

Right. So probably no secret and he was just a paranoid mess. Izuku sank lower on the couch, balling his hands up on his face. Gah, friends were so hard.

Maybe he should just stay here like this. Yeah, that sounded like a good idea. Mom would be happy it kept him out of trouble. Izuku pressed himself further into the couch because he lived here now.

Izuku knew he was possibly getting worse about this likely really minor thing but he didn’t feel like caring.

And then he promptly fell off the couch when the front door slammed open.

Izuku’s first thought was welp looks like someone’s about to break in. Which really was not a good indicator of his mental state. His claws shot out automatically, nearly putting a hole in the carpet.

And then Izuku short circuited because no, not intruder, Shinsou was stalking in like a man on a mission.

“Where’s the cat?” He demanded. Izuku blinked hard, momentarily thrown. Was breaking into each other’s houses normal in friendship? Maybe? Huh, note that down then.

“Hello Izuku, it’s nice to see you.” Izuku said, flicking his hands to get the claws to slide back in. Wouldn’t that spawn some awkward questions!

“Hello Izuku.” Shinsou parroted. “Now, where’s the cat?”

“I feel used.” Izuku complained, even as he pointed to Hime’s lounging spot. Hime, for their credit, had done absolutely nothing about the sudden interruption except to flick one ear in irritation.

Look, he hadn’t exactly brought her here to act as a guard dog. As nice as it would have been.

Shinsou made an odd little happy hum, ducking behind Izuku to flop on the couch and rub under Hime’s chin. Izuku pouted as Hime purred. She never purred for him after all. Betrayal! Attack against dignity!

“Izuku, is something wrong?” Inko asked, poking her head in. Izuku couldn’t miss the floating ceramic coffee mug behind her. He leaned back against the couch, waving lazily.

“It’s fine! Shinsou just heard about Hime and decided to come over.” Shinsou, the bastard, just made a noncommittal noise and waved. Hime seemed delighted by the attention. Rude.

Inko’s eyes widened and she took a step back. “Oh it’s so nice your friend came over! I’ll leave you two boys alone. Have fun!” Izuku blinked hard as she ducked out of the doorway, humming happily.

He wasn’t that bad in the friendship department, was he?

Speaking of friendship… “How did you get into my house?” Izuku asked, tilting his head up so he could look at Shinsou. Shinsou glanced away from Hime.

“I learned how to pick locks when I was younger. You should get new ones, yours are Ton-demonai brand and their locks are shit. Barely even a few twitches and they pop right open.” Shinsou said offhandedly. Well then. That wasn’t kind of weird at all, not that he could say anything like that. Izuku really wanted to be at level five so he could get some sort of explanation for this.

“Well… that’s… interesting, I guess.” Izuku said. His skin prickled uncomfortably at the second part. How many times could someone have broken in their house like the robbers-

Izuku made a small strangled noise as the world tried to twist off its axis and his stomach flipped. He couldn’t change here not right now, he didn’t even know if he could trust-

“Midoriya.”

“Huh?” Izuku tried but really it came off more as a pathetic whine as he curled forward over his twisting stomach. He was hissing, a faint noise as the world faded in and out. Cold hands pressed into his temples, but they felt slow and indistinct. Was someone touching him? He couldn’t tell.

Breathe” Izuku wheezed, his breath coming in and out like clockwork now. “Good. Now calm down. You’re safe.

It felt like being pulled out of murky water and taking his first breath of clean air even as the water burned like fire in his lungs. They stayed like that for a few moments before there was a soft plaintive meow right by Izuku’s ear.

Izuku jumped, dislodging Shinsou’s hands and control. “Thanks.” He stuttered out. It sounded choked, almost animalistic. “I’m really sorry, I just-“ get panic attacks linked to a robbery? My Quirk tried to force shift me and I’m kinda worried I’ll lose your trust?

“It’s okay.” Shinsou said. His voice was still kind of odd. Like someone had scooped out his emotions with a melon baller. “I didn’t actually know I could do that.” There, a note of something new.

Izuku giggled with only a touch of hysteria. He was kind of proud of himself. “So I was a guinea pig? Not cool man. I’m classy, I demand at least a few clinical trials.”

“Huh.” Shinsou said. Izuku tipped his head back again, wincing as his stomach lurched to the side.

“Everything alright?” Shinsou was looking at him like he was some sort of fascinating puzzle. Izuku twitched, aborting the reflexive hands up to his mouth. Did his teeth extend? Could he stop it? He had never been able to stop it before when it got to that point, who knows what Shinsou saw.

Before Izuku could bolt like he was thinking of, Shinsou shook his head. “Usually people don’t like when I use my Quirk on them.” He said. Izuku frowned. What, really?

“But like, you got me out of a panic attack. That’s pretty cool.” Izuku said. What was so bad about that? People were weird. At the very least, Shinsou was going to be an incredible counselor.

And how could Izuku judge, he turned into a kitten.

Shinsou sighed, gently rubbing a hand over Hime’s back again. “Most people would call it a Villainous Quirk.”

That… didn’t make sense. Error 404, does not compute. “But Ivy had plant growth.” Izuku said slowly, trying to unravel the threads. “Harmony could induce a state of bliss. And they were both villains, pretty terrifying ones too. Harmony nearly killed four pro heroes and had a stranglehold on the drug trade while Ivy nearly brought down an entire city. They’re just the villains that come up off the top of my head! And Vlad king has a fairly terrifying Quirk with the blood but he’s an awesome hero. It doesn’t make any sense!” Izuku wailed, tugging at his hair.

Shinsou looked a little shell shocked. “Harmony? Ivy?”

Ah, shit. “Major villains kept on the down low?” Izuku offered weakly. Shinsou’s eyes narrowed, the tired fog seeming to clear away in an instant.

“Midoriya, is that a confession about breaking into police records?” Izuku sunk down, chuckling awkwardly.

“No?” Did it count if he just kinda snuck in and used a distraction to rifle through folders on a desk? They were practically out in the open! Behind a locked door and a seriously pathetic guard who didn’t note a kitten slinking in through the window.

Did it count if he didn’t get caught?

Shinsou gave him a deadpan look before glancing up at the ceiling. “I must have been a major criminal in a past life to deserve this.” He said drily. Izuku pouted even as Hime snorted.

“That’s it, you suck.” Izuku said, crossing his arms. “I don’t know if we can be friends anymore.”

“How shall I ever recover. I’ll just have to work myself to death and go to my grave a lonely miser bemoaning my loss.” Shinsou said drily. Izuku rolled his eyes. “What’s with the calendar, anyways?”

Izuku wiped any amusement off his face. “What calendar?”

Okay, maybe he had gotten a calendar to count down to UA. A very brightly colored one. With a countdown attached. Pinned to the wall with construction paper arrows pointing at it. It was on sale and All Might themed, how could he not?

Shinsou looked at. “So, UA, huh?” Izuku ran his hand through his hair, smiling sheepishly. They had been kind of dancing around the topic for a while.

“Yeah. Hoping for Heroics but I’ll settle for General Education.” Izuku said. It would depend on the test but he had heard it would be robots and he hadn’t quite tested his proficiency against that.

“Same, I guess.” Shinsou said. “Knowing my luck, I’ll end up in General Education.” There was that note of bitterness again and Izuku winced.

“General Education is pretty good though! Plenty of good heroes come from there. Hell, if you plan to go Underground, a lot of them come from General Education.” Izuku insisted. He had been hunting for information ever since he got his Quirk.

As much as he’d love to be someone as big and impressive as All Might, a kitten might be better used to the subterfuge and tracking of Underground.

Still, if he had the chance… Izuku chewed on his lip thoughtfully. He could do it. Not every Pro has the big flashy Quirks. He would have to do more combat testing though.

“Underground is probably good.” Shinsou said. “My Quirk, well, you see how that goes.”

“Don’t sell yourself short. It works through speaking, right?” Izuku said. He had seen it before when that bunch of thugs when after him. His ribs ached at the memory of it. “You’d be great in hostage situations.”

“Yeah, Brainwashing. If you reply, I get full control.” Shinsou said. It wasn’t quite everything and Izuku knew that. But, well, he was kind of lying too? By omission? Shinsou was watching him though like he could pierce his soul. Just daring him to mock him.

Izuku had seen that look before, on some of the braver people when bullies came through.

He had never done it himself.

“Sucky name.” Izuku said lightly. “You think for the amount of trouble diagnosis is, you’d get something cool.” Shinsou snorted, his shoulders relaxing.

“That’s pretty true.” He said, the corner of his mouth just barely tipping up. Ha, he had gotten a Shinsou smile! He was the greatest! “What about yours?”

“I don’t like to talk about it.” Izuku said reflexively. Shinsou frowned again and Izuku scrambled for a reply. “Look, it’s a really long story and kind of embarrassing and well…” his shoulders slumped. What was he supposed to say?

“I don’t want to talk about it.” Izuku finishes lamely.

“Okay.” Shinsou said and to Izuku’s slight surprise, that was that. The purple boy could care less really. “So where did you find this beauty?”

Hime purred their approval. “I like this one. Keep him.” Hime hissed, rolling over for belly scratches. Izuku rolled his eyes. He had already planned on that, the snobby little princess.

Izuku grinned, launching into the whole, actual, tale of how he got Hime. There were illegal fireworks. Shinsou look like he approved.

“Asshole deserves it. I don’t see where people get off on hurting others, especially innocent animals.” Shinsou said, sneering. Like those thugs, Izuku added mentally. Shinsou shifted, regretfully pulling his hand away. Hime hissed, twisting off the couch and trotting away.

“Anything wrong?” Izuku asked. Shinsou tipped his head.

“I got homework to do and I kind of barged out really fast.” He admitted sheepishly. Izuku snorted. Well, Shinsou was obviously a tried and true cat lover.

“I walk you home.” Izuku said automatically. Shinsou opened his mouth but Izuku waved him away. “I’ve already got mine done and I’m bored anyways.” And maybe, he thought ruefully, I can finally get up the courage to tell you the truth.

“Fine.” Shinsou said. “But it’s your time.” He slid off the couch, hands going to his pockets.

He probably shouldn’t take it as a victory but Izuku did. This had to be at least another level, in the past month or so, they had just been texting and occasional coffee study date.

And now he was walking Shinsou home!

He was definitely leveling up!

“Going out, Mom! Be back soon!” Izuku called. Shinsou was already out the door, walking like he didn’t expect Izuku to come along.

“Stay safe!” Izuku winced at the underlying caution in Mom’s tone. He wasn’t just gonna walk up to any criminals he saw! It was just going to be a brief dip into a seedier part of town and then they were in the clear. The lengthening shadows as the sun began to dip made him nervous though.

The door shut behind him, he should look into the locks, and Izuku was flying down the street after Shinsou. Running was where it was at, his feet hitting the pavement methodically, muscles straining… And Izuku was very very good at it.

“So.” He said, slowing next to Shinsou. Shinsou looked only slightly flustered by this. Good, he was learning. “Have you seen that latest Eraserhead video?”

As much as he liked seeing Shinsou relax, that slow easy smile slipping in, it wasn’t just for him. After the Incident, Izuku got a trifle obsessed with Eraserhead.

Look, the guy was cool. Not All Might cool, but he had his corner of the market locked down. Izuku had pretty much all of the grainy blurry videos bookmarked.

He actually considered it, even more after actually meeting him. Night vision, scent, increased agility… Izuku would make a cool Underground Hero.

The thought of options was exhilarating.

“Did you see how-“ It was comfortable like this. Just ambling along under the warm sun, chatting about heroes. Suck it Kacchan, he had friends! Not everyone disliked him!

It was good, Izuku mused as they turned off on Shinsou’s street. It was the quietest day he’s had in a while.

So Fate decided to bitch slap him in the face.

Izuku knew this day was going on the top ten list when an inhumanly slender arm curled around his throat, dragging him back with freakish strength. Mutation most likely- shut up, Izuku cursed himself. So not the time for this.

“Freeze kid, or your friend is gonna get it.” Wow definitely a mutation type. Izuku winced as the voice rasped against his ears. Shinsou took a step away, turning to face them.

Shit, shit, this was meant to be a good thing. Izuku gritted his teeth. He knew Shinsou lived in a bad neighborhood but this was just ridiculous. It was broad daylight, even if nobody was calling the police, most minor villains didn’t like attacking kids. The criminal was basically knifing themselves in the back.

“Give me all the money you have and nobody gets hurt.” The criminal hissed. Izuku wheezed as that arm tightened again around his throat.

“Let him go.” Shinsou said slowly, his voice wavering. No reply and goddamnit, Izuku knew he was bad luck. If it wasn’t for him, Shinsou would have gone home faster, would have been able to run.

He’s never felt more useless.

And scared.

“Shinsou, go.” Izuku said. It felt like iron band were crushing his ribs and was the world spinning or that the air loss?

Shinsou eyed him, brief rage sparking in those tired eyes. “I’m not leaving you.” Idiot, Izuku wanted to stay. The man would kill them as soon as he got any valuables. Shinsou needed to go.

But he was staying.

The villain laughed but instead of the rasping chuckle, it was something darker and lower and no not again, never again.

It was almost a relief when the world finally spun out and he was falling.

There was an angry curse from above them as Izuku’s now far smaller form dropped to the ground, automatically twisting in midair to land on his paws. He scrambled to his feet, gasping for breath.

Shinsou was already moving and Izuku followed, stubby baby legs eating up ground. Just another block and Shinsou’s house was there.

His ears strained, hearing the thumping footsteps behind them, the slow wheezing curses and nope, not happening. Shinsou wasn’t getting hurt again, he was fast but still staggered by confusion, Shinsou stop looking over here! Look forward!

Nothing to it, then.

Get home safe, Shinsou.

Izuku twisted on a dime, speeding past the criminal. His paws already felt raw but he kept running, couldn’t stop. He needed a lead.

“Get back here you little fucker!” Bingo. One villain with tunnel vision coming right up. Izuku pushed himself further, heading directly for a corridor he knew led to the back alleys. The longer he kept them distracted, the less risk to Shinsou,

Sludgy ink felt like it was filling his chest, choking him, but he couldn’t stop.

At least that’s what he told himself when he staggered back home hours later, hands and feet raw and blistered.

Note to self, practice landing. And acquire shoes, Izuku mused, closing his bedroom door as softly as he could. Inko was asleep for now, after fussing about his wounds. He’d be lucky if he got to go to chill tomorrow but honestly, Izuku could care less. His chest still felt like it was going to burst.

He had never needed to run so far or so fast before. Contrary to his lanky scrawny appearance, the criminal was fast and had a healthy endurance.

Second note, more cardio, Izuku thought muzzily, glancing down.

...oh

His hands were still shaking.

A semi hysterical giggle slipped out of his lips as Izuku leaned back against the door, sliding down.

He could have died. Shinsou could had died.

It had been like escaping Kacchan but Kacchan would never had threatened to hold him down- ”Scrape out your ribs, and tug at your heart until you can’t scream anymore”.

Izuku closed his eyes, swallowing heavily as the world started to tilt.

He was fine. He escaped. Shinsou was safe as far as he knew.

In for four. Hold for seven. Out for eight. Izuku leaned back against the door, still shuddering silently. Great. Yet another experience to get shoved into the box of let us never speak about this again.

Izuku spent one long moment like that before reality punched him in the stomach and he jerked back to life, scrabbling for his phone.

Oh fuck, Shinsou.

No new messages.

Izuku chewed his bottom lip, hand hovering over the keyboard.

Shinsou knew, had to know. The hopeful part reasoned that their first meeting was dark, maybe he didn’t notice? The more cynical parts of his mind immediately mauled that idea. Shinsou had mentioned the kitten before offhandedly. No way he couldn’t put two and two together.

That wasn’t quite what had Izuku simmering with terror.

Shinsou has to know he had timed that first meeting. It shouldn’t be that weird, wasn’t meeting new friends good? But Shinsou was private and just as paranoid as him and, and-

The silence hurt more than a condemnation ever would.

There should be something there, he wasn’t quite sure what. Anger, maybe. Hurt. He could deal with all of that.

Damn it, he had just now upgraded! They were slowly moving out of meme buddies!

Stupid Deku, hurting your friends…

One message. He wouldn’t bug Shinsou anymore than that. Izuku tossed his phone aside as soon as it was sent, burying his head in his hands.

He should get up, get changed, and go to bed.

He really didn’t feel like it though.

A warm weight settled into his lap, a soft rumble reaching his ears. Hime didn’t speak, she didn’t need to. They both knew to keep the silence.

Izuku stayed like that till morning.

Deku:
I’m so sorry Shinsou.

Read


The rest of the morning almost seemed to happen in a fog. The teacher almost seemed to take a special delight in announcing his dream of getting into UA, making his hand tighten around the journal. Kacchan was ranting.

Was this what they called a give no fucks cat status?

Huh. He hated it.

Kacchan finished his yell off with a rousing threat and tossing his journal out the window.

Shit.

He needed that.

It was kind of like swimming back up to the surface. Kacchan was still waiting for some kind of reaction.

Apparently, the crew didn’t expect a slow yawn before Deku took a few quick steps and vaulted out of the window.

Izuku winced, landing neatly on his feet and trotting forward to scoop his journal out of the pond. A slow smile split his face. Salvageable, definitely so. Good thing he caught it quickly.

The air seemed to rumble slightly and Izuku slowly blinked. “Oh, I just jumped out of window.” He said slowly, turning the thought over. In front of Kacchan. So he could land on his feet! Delightful to know, he should go now. Preferably very fast, the rumbles were increasing.

How Kacchan expected to pass the Minimum Sanity Requirement, Izuku wasn’t quite sure. Then again, Kacchan had mostly dropped the maniacal cackling habit and that was the real point sink.

Even so, he wasted no time tucking the journal under his arm, and sprinting away. The fast route home was a bit dangerous but he could not get attacked twice in less than two days, right?

Right?

Ahaha, fuck no, Fate hated him.

It was the stench that alerted him first and Izuku skidded to a stop, flinging himself back in a half jump, half flail that defied physics and semi masterfully dodged the slime arm that lashed out at him.

“Meat suit! Hold still!” The slime snarled. Seriously? Ducking seriously? The villain was oozing and smelled like the sewer it crawled out of.

“Uh, no? I’m good?” Izuku said. Meat suit, that implied some kind of possession. And judging by the slimy nature of the villain’s body, not a kind one. Izuku hissed, his claws sliding out.

“Come on, it’ll only hurt for about three minutes.” The slime villain cajoled, slithering forward. It was forced back moments later, growling as Izuku slashed at the floating eyes. “Ach, fuck!”

If Izuku has his ears right now, they’d be pinned back. Fuck no, he was not being a meat suit, he still needed to rebefriend Shinsou, and Mom would be so mad if he lost his body! More baths for a week!

Though, he thought, nose scrunching as slime splattered against him, he wasn’t quite averse to the idea of a good scrub right now.

Then the air pressure changed and the slime villain was blown to pieces.

Izuku blinked slowly, not quite comprehending.

Okay. Sure. That made sense.

Guess he didn’t have to fight it anymore? It was kind of splattered all over the wall.

“Are you okay my boy? I noticed you were having some trouble!” And Izuku freezes because he knows that voice, practically memorized it. His face goes bright red.

“Ah, All Might!” The man was glorious. Smiling even as he scooped the villain easily into a bottle and-

He smelled like rot.

Izuku fumbled, forcing the smile to stay on his face even as he ran through the possibilities. There had been suspicions All Might was hurt but this? This smelled bad, it made the part of him that was wholly feline sit up and take note. That smell meant bad things, especially for a hero.

“Uh, sir. Are you alright?” Izuku asked carefully. And wow that was a bright smile, it nearly made him melt.

He really hoped he wasn’t making that high pitched squee again because that would be embarrassing.

“I should be asking you that question! My apologies for allowing this dastardly villain to attack you!” Oh god he was perfect. If All Might could see how Izuku was turned into a flustered mess, he wisely didn’t mention it.

“I’m fine.” Izuku said. He sounded like a dying balloon. “But no, really, are you ok-“

“My apologies! I must be leaving now.” Izuku’s journal is ripped out of his arms before he could even reacted and there’s a scribbled signature when it’s pushed back into his unresisting arms.

Faster than expected, despite his range of vision, he only picked up on the initial move-

Wait just a minute.

Izuku knew a distraction technique when he saw one. God knows, he used enough of them. All Might was entering jump sequence and goddamnit, he had already let somebody important to him walk away.

Curiosity killed the cat.

But satisfaction brought it back.

Just as All Might jumped, Izuku did too, clinging on to the suit for dear life.

He knew he could land on his feet, had tested it, but there was nothing that measured up to the dizzying speed that the world passed by underneath. It was exhilarating and absolutely fucking terrifying.

Then they were thudding onto sweet sweet terra firma. Izuku nearly sobbed in relief.

Wincing, Izuku extracted his claws from the suit material and very dearly hoped he didn’t cut through completely. Or that All Might didn’t have a mirror because those were some noticeable tears. He slid to the ground slowly, stepping back slightly so All Might could turn around.

And All Might looked irritated. Still happy and smiling but Izuku could feel the Disappointed Look.

Oh god, he met his favorite hero and already he was screwing up.

“Boy! What you did was extremely dangerous.” All Might scolded. “You could have fallen!”

Haha. Ha. Izuku winced, thinking about the torn holes. And probably ripped off his own claws or the All Might suit in the bargain.

“I was being safe, just, look are you okay?” Izuku said, trying for tact. All Might looked honest to god confused but it wasn’t like he could elaborate that much. How did you explain a person smells like rot and sickness without being offensive?

Well, Kacchan would just say it but that was Kacchan.

“I’m perfectly fine! Fit as a fiddle!” Izuku squinted.

“You could sound less like a flustered cover up.” He said, delicately. “I just, if it’s something bad, you don’t have to tell me details. I just wanna know if you’re okay.” Preferably details. His mind was spinning through possibilities. Leftover wound? A recent addition? So many threads to uncover!

All Might looked deeply uncomfortable. “My boy, I’m really sorry but unfortunately, I can’t answer your question. I am, however, just fine! Don’t be worried!” The chuckle now sounded a bit forced.

There were a myriad of things Izuku could say about that. Most started with a variety of “No, you are fucking not”, (what can he say, Kacchan did rub off).

And then the air pressure dropped so fast, a whine slipped from his throat. That fucking hurt his ears. And there was a spray of blood iron in the air no not right now.

And what looked like an All Might scarecrow was standing in front of him. Tall and lanky, his blond hair still a jagged mess. Still smelling of rot and sickness, Izuku noted absently, gaping at the scene.

But undeniably All Might.

Izuku blinked slowly. All Might the scarecrow blinked back.

“I’m just gonna repeat my question, are you okay?”