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legends are told (as dust)

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The first time Izuku saw the man, it was when he was ten years old.

He remembered the day clearly, because there are so many things happened on one day. For one, Kacchan burned his Hero Analysis Number 8 notebook because Izuku was careless to let Kacchan saw it. He remembered how he was teary eyed and forced himself not to cry because it was filled halfway already and how he hated to write them again. Yes, Izuku did remember what he wrote but it will never be the same as his first time.

Defeated, Izuku walked down to the park, silently trying to reach a secluded spot between the trees. He needed to calm himself down before he could face his mother. He couldn’t show his tears to her, couldn’t make her worry again.

Why did Kacchan do it, anyway? Is what he always asked, every time Kacchan was being particularly nasty, what is his fault? Why did Kacchan never leave him alone? Why does everything have to be turned out this way? He just wanted to pursue his dream, is it wrong? Can they just be hero together? When exactly did Kacchan turn this way? Why can’t we just be friends?

“There you go, Midori-kun.”

For two, Izuku met a strange man with an amazing quirk. Looking back, that man was odd, but—

Ten years old Izuku gasped, staring at the brand new notebook in his hands. Blinking, he flipped the pages open and found them in its previous condition, without any burn or dirt. A bit dazed, he looked up, trailing an impeccable white shirt and black vest, a black tie and a black suit draped on the figure’s shoulders, up to a smiling face and a pair of stunningly glowing hazel eyes. His brown hair was gravity-defying yet some if his locks fell down between his eyes, almost reaching his chin.

Abruptly, Izuku stood up and bowed a perfect ninety degree, “Thank you very much!!”

“Yes, of course,” the man replied, and Izuku straighten himself back in time to see the unknown man sat up beside where he sat earlier. Awkwardly, Izuku sat back down.

The small bit of silence was broken when the man said, “I didn’t know you start writing hero analysis, Midori. And volume eight, too. Why didn’t you tell me?”

Izuku remembered how the gentle, young feature of the man’s face looked confused but mostly dazed. For a moment, Izuku was confused, but then maybe, he thought, the man mistook him for his friend. It could be because faulty memory, or maybe he was hit with a quirk which affect his mind?

Tentatively, the middle school student replied, “I’m sorry, um, Sir. This is the first we met? My name is Midoriya Izuku.”

Spring, afternoon wind blew around them; green leaves falling down around the quiet place. Yet Izuku did not focus on admiring how the water sparkles in the fountain or how the wind brought a faint scent of flowers, no. Izuku’s eyes was focused solely on the man’s face, how his bangs covered his eyes and his mouth was pulled to a straight line. Izuku thought the man was hiding his cries, then, by how his shoulders faintly shook and his black-gloved hands clenched in fists. Those terribly familiar gestures he used to stay quiet and hold himself in the middle of his class’s bully.

The man lifted up his head then, and his smile looked horribly sad as he replied, “I see.” For a second, Izuku admired how his voice remained level and gentle, “Yes, i can see it, now. I’m sorry, Midoriya-kun. I’m afraid my memory is bad due to my old age.” Old? Izuku kept his bewilderment in his head; he looked like he is in his twenties, though? “My name is Shimizu Tsunayoshi. It’s nice to meet you.”

“No, it’s nice to meet you, Shimizu-san! No one did—no one ever come to this particular place, and you just came and repaired my notebook using your quirk! Thank you very much! A-And,” Izuku blushed faintly, “it was such a useful quirk! I wonder if it could repair other materials? Like steel or concrete or glass? Could it repair other than burns? Like cut or tore? Oh can i—“ he rummaged his pocket and pulled out his pen, “—can i write your quirk in my book?”

The man’s smile widens, and Izuku gave a mental pat on the back for himself because the man's smile turned more sincere and warm than before.

“Do you want to be a Hero, Midoriya-kun?”

(Izuku just realized that Shimizu-san did not answer any of his questions when he was laying down on his bed, that night)

“Yes!” Izuku jumped up, smiling and beaming, “I mean, I’m not sure at all since i’m, you see i’m,” he swallowed, “i’m quirkless,” Izuku quietly said, carefully observing the man’s expression to anticipate disgust or pity yet surprisingly he found none, “I’m quirkless,” Izuku repeated, “and people are telling me that it’s impossible to be a Hero but i like an idiot i just can’t give up. I just want to—“ Izuku stopped, “I’m sorry for suddenly blabbering to you, Shimizu-san.”

And Izuku is surprised to see how warm Shimizu-san’s smile is, far more different that the pitying smile or indifferent looks other adult gave him. Izuku wanted to cry.

“It’s fine, Midoriya-kun. You are very passionate on your dream, and i am proud to see that the world have not drag your spirit down.”

Crying a little, Izuku wiped tears with his uniform sleeve, and grinned to the smiling brunet. Izuku played with his pen in a gesture of nervousness, before he asked,

“So, you think i could do it? Become a hero, i mean.”

“What is the definition of ‘Hero,’ Midoriya-kun?”

Eh?

“Our society, the world as it is, define Hero as someone who saved others from other people they dubbed as villains. They fought with colorful clothes and the world know their deeds. But what of a Doctor who sacrificed his lifespan to heal his patients? What of a police officer who pulled a kid out of traffic? What of teacher who defended his student from his corrupt, abusing family? Are they not heroes? And what is the definition of a Villain, for that matter?” The man’s smile turned sad yet again, “If pro Hero is how you dream as a Hero, Midoriya-kun, please do your best. But please remember that for some people, they are not real heroes.”

The man gets up then, still smiling, and Izuku was pulled out of his thoughts as he felt a hand ruffling his green hair.

“It’s nice talking to you, Midoriya-kun. I hope we meet again, sometime.”

Izuku watched, as the man waved his hand and turned away, walking to a hooded man on another side of the park who stood and leaned to a tree behind him. They talked for some seconds and the second man pulled his hood off to reveal a young teen with black hair and piercing black eyes. Hand to hand, they walked away together; Izuku saw Shimizu-san chuckled before they turned to the corner and disappeared.

And as if the encounter (and thoughts on what Shimizu-san said; Izuku already planned for research, too) was not strange enough, for third, Izuku would remember the UA Sports Festival which aired on the TV that evening.

On the the first place of Sports Festival was a first year student named Shimizu Tomura. The teenager, form what Izuku could see from his TV, looked calm if not disgruntled as he received the mic from Hero Present Mic.  It’s what he said which Izuku remembers.

“I enrolled here because my dear father and sensei told me that i will enjoy it. I’m standing here as the winner of this sports festival only to tell him, no, i am not enjoying it and i will never be.  This society, frankly, pisses me off. Enrolling to school of heroes only makes me hate it more. I repeat, father, i hate this society more—no, i despise it now. You heroes captures others you dubbed as villains only because they used their quirk to defend themselves. No matter what the condition, everyone are villains for you.

So by going on this logic, my father is a villain for you. No, he is, in fact, what you label him as Supervillain.

Who am i kidding? He is really famous, i know he is, and if i say his name then all of you will scramble to get me and my father. No matter if he did what he did because he had to. No matter if he is compassionate and kind, no matter if he put the safety and happiness of his people—the safety of the world—before his own. No, all of you only want to throw him to jail.

And for that, you ungrateful bastards, mark my words; I, Shimizu Tomura, will reform this society. I am the son of—“

The face of wickedly grinning Shimizu Tomura was cut with a black screen, and a formal apology from the TV station appeared. His mother brushed it away and goes to cook dinner, indifferent, but not Izuku. Was that supposed to happen? This is the first time such things happened. If it wasn’t supposed to happen, then.. was that speech supposed to be cut out? If so, then what of Shimizu Tomura now? What will UA do to him, for giving such speech? Expelled maybe?

(.... was there a relation between Shimizu Tsunayoshi and Shimizu Tomura?)

 


 

In fact, Izuku still did not find the answer of it, even two years later. He still couldn’t find a definite answer for Heroes and Villains. He couldn’t find any answer to Shimizu Tomura’s disappearance two years ago, too. And yet he couldn’t forget his conversation with Shimizu-san, that day on the park. He couldn’t forget his warm yet sad smile, his words of encouragement—the only one in this world who ever did encourage him, after all this time. Tomura’s speech was also hard to forget, if how he looked in determination at the camera and his grin always appeared in his dreams.

... and as if mocking him, Shimizu Tsunayoshi himself was suddenly there, sitting on the park’s swing, swaying back and forth faintly.

Izuku broke off to a run, and stopped right in front of the man. Shimizu-san lifted up his head, stared dazedly at (through, passed Izuku) his figure, before he blinked and smiled.

“Midoriya-kun. So we do meet again.”

“Shimizu-san,” trying to regulate his breathing, Izuku staunched up his shoulders in determination, “I have thought about what you said, that day when we met.”

And because Shimizu-san’s slight frown made him look like he is very confused, Izuku continued, “about what is heroes and villains in this society.”

“Aa,” Shimizu-san nodded, then his hazel eyes completely focused on Izuku, unlike all other adults who shrugged his opinions off and deemed him simply unworthy, “and what do you think about it?”

“What you said was true. There are more heroes in this world than those who appeared on television. There are many... questionable things about pro Heroes too but! But being a pro Hero is my dream and i could never stop to try to be one. The definitions of villains are... unfair, at best. I think, if other people used their quirk to defend themselves or if the situation calls for it, then there should be more efforts for them to change. For a second chance.”

For some seconds, Izuku thought the man looked proud at him, “And what of other heroes you and i spoke of? Are they not worthy to be recognized like these pro heroes? And what are you going to do with the villains?”

“I—“ Izuku paused, “—I don’t know what should i do with other heroes, but about the villains, if they could change, and if i have the power to change it then—!”

Izuku never get the chance to finish his words, though. Before he knew it, Izuku was pulled back and his vision was hidden away by a wall of concrete. Stunned, Izuku could only gape as Cementoss curled his concrete hands around his figure and pulled him close. For a moment, Izuku was shaking in excitement because Cementoss is here, with Eraserhead, Present Mic, Ingenium, Midnight, and Kamui Wood but—but then he realized, Shimizu-san was there!

“WAIT—!”

“Say still, Kid.” Cementoss said, pulling him back and kept him in place.

“My—My friend is there! You—you can’t just pull me without him!”

Midnight turned to look at him then, sharp and assessing. “Your friend, kid?”

Undeterred, Izuku pushed. “Yes, friend! He didn’t do anything wrong and if there’s an attack then he should be saved too! He is there, isn’t he? I just want to see him!”

“Cementoss. Show him.”

“Are you crazy, Midnight?”

“This kid needed to be taught a lesson and we better do it now.”

The concrete wall in front of him disappeared then, and all Izuku could feel as he looked at Shimizu-san was pure, unadulterated dread. Shimizu-san was trapped with ice which crept to the sitting man, freezing his feet and a half of his body. Then a white steel-made bandages curled around his body, along with wood and vines, topped with a giant centipede which curled and its head threatened and hovered beside Shimizu-san’s head. And if that wasn’t enough, Endeavor pro stood behind the man, threatening.

“Shimizu... san?”

As his glowing, hazel-orange eyes looked at Izuku, he looked incredibly sad and apologetic, and Izuku’s breath hitched. Shimizu-san closed his eyes in resignation at the same time Cementoss pulled him back.

The sound of police sirens sounded dull in Izuku’s roaring mind.

 


 

After that, everything passed in a blur for Izuku.

He listened as Present Mic gently told him about who Shimizu Tsunayoshi i; they didn’t tell him anything confidential, only that he is a leader of the current biggest criminal syndicate in the world, Cielo, and he has done many terrible things. That the heroes has been looking for him for ages and he is notorious for easily getting out of traps and broke out of jail. Izuku numbly replied all questions the detective asked him; what’s your name? How did you meet him? what were you both talking about? Did he hurt you?

Shimizu-san is a villain. Shimizu-san, who ruffled his hair gently and told him words of encouragement, who looked incredibly sad yet sounded sincere at the same time. Shimizu-san is a supervillain.

....

We are all human, after all. We could be full of lies. We could have more than one face at the same time. We could be cruel and kind at the same time. We could—

(Izuku remembered how the man’s shoulders tremble slightly and how he clenched his fists. How he bowed down as he sat, as if the world took many things away from him. As if the wight of the world itself weighed his being.)

—Midoriya Izuku refused to believe it. He refuse.

(He will definitely become a Pro Hero, and he will find the truth. This, he swear in his heart.)