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to drive the beast

Chapter Text

Izuku keeps his head down as he leaves the school. Other middle schoolers throng around him, chattering and making plans, but their focus never strays to Izuku. No one ever notices him. No one has any reason to, with how plain and boring and useless he is.

He splits from the main group and starts down a darkened alley. Trash skitters around Izuku’s feet in the frigid wind. Everything is darker here- the ailing middle school Izuku attends is cramped in between taller, destitute buildings, and grime as old as the city covers everything. He wonders if the same grime covers him, seeps beneath his skin and roots in his body like an infection. Izuku kicks a half-empty can and it skips off into the darkness next to a dumpster- but there is no sound of metal hitting metal. Izuku does not notice.

He pulls out a worn notebook and flips through it, settling on a half-filled page and rooting in his pockets until he finds a chewed pencil. He scribbles notes in the margins of a detailed rendition of the third ranked hero, wings covering two pages and a diagram of a feather immediately below. Izuku’s mutterings cover the sound of stealthy footsteps behind him and he’s too focused to catch the ominous shadow approaching him- his curly head is almost pressed against the pages of his notebook.

Drool falls in delicate arcs from the gaping jaws of Izuku’s stalker. It inhales deeply, delighting in the scent of young child healthy young of its prey. Scythe-like claws reach- reach, and reach, and ever so gently brush the vibrant curls, soft delicious food . Izuku stumbles to a halt at the gentle stir against the back of his head, confused, and jerks his head up, turning just enough to catch sight of the beast. His eyes go wide and the bitter tangy hungry delicious smell of his fear and disbelief swamp the cramped alley, and he only manages to take a few steps back before the hunger overwhelms it.

The thing jumps and Izuku’s back slams into the ground. He chokes out a whine as the beast presses down on him, rank breaths gusting across his cheek. It’s only seconds before a blinding pain lights up his shoulder, racing down his spine, and Izuku’s lungs stutter to a stop. The pain strikes his nerves like lightning and he screams. Adrenaline floods Izuku’s body and he lashes out- he fear is pushed aside by his brain’s desire to live.

He fights back, slamming his fists against its broad head, kicking at anything he can reach, but his attacker is several times his size. It pulls back and snarls, Izuku’s own blood dripping down and landing on his face- he doesn’t notice the warmth, the wetness. All he can see is the stretched maw above him, bloodstained teeth.

A massive clawed hand catches both his wrists and pins them above his head and the other presses down on his throat- it’s only then Izuku stops screaming, the pressure closing his trachea. His body seizes and bucks, desperately trying to free itself, but Izuku feels himself drifting away. He scrabbles for control, for anything, but he loses his grip. His vision goes spotty and then tunnels. His chest screams for air but at this point Izuku is far, far distanced from his body.

When he goes limp the creature trails its claws down his chest to his belly, slipping below his uniform and brushing along his stomach. It licks its jaws with an overlong tongue. Izuku is dragged back into his body when the claws press too hard and split his skin, spilling blood and ripping through his mesentery. His screams are silenced into a wet gurgle with a crunch of deadly teeth.

No one notices.

 

Izuku opens his eyes to a blur of white and blue. Wherever he is, it’s bright, and he flinches from the pain. It’s impossible to move: his limbs are heavy and stiff, and there is something tight and restraining around his neck and head. Izuku tries to swallow and something distracting scrapes against his throat- it’s only then he realizes a thick tube sits between his lips and dives down the back of his throat.

Izuku tries to take a deep breath and stay calm- how did he get here? Is he in a hospital? That’s his best guess, but how? Why? What happened to-

something in the dark fangs thick drool blood pain claws snap choking

Izuku squeezes his eyes tighter and struggles to breathe around the sudden oppressive panic. Where did that- what was that? What is he remembering?

A monitor by his bed begins beeping angrily, too shrill and sharp, and Izuku groans around the tube in his throat. He clenches his hands into fists and hears the sound of plastic complain under pressure, but he still can’t move. His panic builds at his immobility and Izuku jerks his head as best he can, tears beginning to streak his face. The monitor grows louder and another insistent shrill joins in.

There’s a bang on the other side of the room and several blurry figures rush in through an open door. They crowd around Izuku’s bed, speaking above him, until one specific individual kneels beside him.

“Midoriya, I need you to calm down, okay?” They murmur, eyes on something above Izuku’s head. One of their hands comes down gently on his shoulder and draws Izuku’s eyes- he can see a swathe of bandages under his thin gown.

Izuku tries to choke out questions or pleas or anything- but his mouth won’t work right, and he can’t talk around this damn tube anyway. He makes a strange whining noise and the doctor shushes him, standing and leaning closer.

“I’m going to remove this, okay?” They say, closing a hand around the tube in Izuku’s mouth and another around a syringe, and all he can do is close his eyes and endure it.

 

The doctor refrains from pestering him- the nurses present get Izuku water, brush out his hair, fix his pillows and help him sit up; all nice things, but what Izuku wants are answers and his mom. It’s a struggle to speak or move his hands how he wants, though.

“You’ll have motor skill and speech problems for a few days, maybe weeks.” The doctor assures him, adjusting IVs here and bandages there. They go through a number of sensory exams, poking Izuku’s toes and avoiding the elephant in the room. “You’ve been in a coma for almost a month now. Your brain needs some time to get things back in order.”

And of course this remark- a coma? A month? - only gives Izuku more questions and doesn’t help to settle his anxiety. The doctor promises to call his mother but it’ll take a while for her to arrive, since the hospital is several cities from his home. Apparently the hospital back home wasn’t equipped to handle his injuries and that- Izuku doesn’t think about that.

He’s asked if he can remember anything and his best answer is to shrug and drop his chin to his chest. He has no way to articulate the nightmarish memories flitting just behind his eyes. What would he even say? That a dog- because what else would it be?- attacked him? There are flashes of things- suggestions in the back of his head, whispers of what it was, but nothing complete. Nothing he could articulate, anyway.

Most of the nurses leave the room, the doctor too, until only a dark-skinned woman remains, knitting in the chair in the corner of the room. She smiles at him when she catches Izuku’s gaze and moves closer.

“I’m one of the only pediatric trauma nurses here,” She says softly, settling next to his bed. “You’ll be seeing a lot of me in the coming days.”

And that’s- well, that’s nice and all, but Izuku doesn’t care. He honestly doesn’t care because right now his throat feels like someone’s been squeezing it and his chest and abdomen and shoulder are a mess of bandages and he has a fucking central line- and his mom isn’t here, and he’s all alone, and he really just wants his mom and to find out what happened to him.

“You came in late afternoon,” The nurse suddenly says. She doesn’t look up from her knitting needles but she smiles sadly. Izuku’s breath catches in his chest. “You were transferred after being stabilized. No one knew what happened, but that’s sometimes how it goes. Your shoulder and throat were a mess- looked like you were savaged by a big dog, bite marks, the bones crushed. You had a tracheostomy, the damage was so bad.” She glances up at that and gestures at the base of her throat. When Izuku lifts his fingers he can feel a small bandage there.

Click-click goes the knitting needles.

“The real damage was your thoracic and abdominal cavities, though. Our best guess was, again, a big dog- your intestines were all chewed up, your stomach punctured clean through. There wasn’t enough left of your pancreas or liver to even try and put them back together.” The needles still for a moment, and Izuku can’t take his eyes off the nurse’s hands. He thinks he can see blood caught under her nails. He thinks he can feel it.

Click-click. The needles move again. Light glints off the metallic green surfaces.

“We fished pieces of your ribs out of you for hours. An entire lung just- had to go, in too bad of shape for anything. Same with a kidney and your spleen.” Izuku watches the gold cloth knit, weave in and out of itself, feels his fingers curl in the sheets below him. Feels the stitches holding him together.

“None of us thought you would make it, but- it was a miracle you had already survived that long.” The needles stop. Izuku thinks he can hear a smile in the nurse’s voice. “You’re a miracle kid, real lucky. Most of your organs useless and bleeding out, and you still held on. You outlasted three different surgeons.”

And that’s such- what the fuck, what kind of - Izuku squeezes his eyes shut and fangs come at him out of the dark, mangy, matted fur looming towards him, ugly eyes like radioactive lamps. Huge hands catch and hold him, lethal nails scritch-scratching his skin, and Izuku rips his eyes open with a gasp and all he can think is lucky .

He doesn’t even hear the clatter of the nurse’s chair tipping over or the shrill of his monitors- he watches the needles fall in slow motion, watches the light catch them as they click-clack against the floor and spill yarn like ropey intestines. Is that what his guts looked like, splattered across the alley?

An alley- and something closed around his throat, something caressing his hair- a man? A dog? And then- and then-

And then nothing.

 

When Izuku comes to again his mom is in the room. She’s obviously been crying, face wet and red, buried in one hand. Izuku follows the other arm down to his, where she gently clasps Izuku’s hand. He can only watch her for a few moments; he’s too confused and obsessed with the new hollows in her cheeks and the pale sheen to her usually dark skin. Her hair is a mess of a ponytail.

Despite all of this, she’s still his mom.

Izuku tries to catch her attention- she’s awake, he can tell- but all he manages in a gasping little sound. Nonetheless, she jerks up, eyes catching on Izuku’s face. For a moment she only stares as if memorizing what Izuku looks like in that moment. All it takes is a tear spilling down Izuku’s face, following the curve of his nose, and his mom catches his face and buries hers into his hair.

“My baby, my baby boy-“ She whispers, voice breaking, and Izuku can’t stop the gasping tears that finally break out of him. He sobs into her embrace, grabbing onto her sweater and trying to bury himself in her reassuring smell and feeling. It hurts to cry so hard, hurts his throat and his chest and his stomach but- but it doesn’t matter because his mom is finally here and he’s safe, he’s finally safe with her, and he can hurt all he wants because she always makes things better.

It takes time for them both to settle down. Izuku refuses to let go of his mom- he can’t give up the visceral comfort of her smell and touch now that it’s finally here- and she doesn’t seem inclined to let go either. They don’t even speak; just cling to the fact that both are present and okay.

The doctor shatters that mood, however.

“We really need to figure out how he’s still alive,” They apologize, a few nurses and other doctors clustered behind them, and Izuku wants to bury himself in the blankets. He still can’t even talk .

“I’m not going to change my mind,” Inko says, her voice firm despite the shake in it. “You will leave my son and I alone. He’s been through enough.” Someone mutters in the back of the group and Inko moves her chair closer to Izuku’s bed.

“Please ma’am, you don’t understand-“ A doctor with vibrant purple hair and horns says. “Your son is a literal miracle, he’s regenerated all of his damaged and missing organs, that’s not possible-“

“His injuries were fatal.” Someone says bluntly. Inko flinches, and Izuku feels useless in his inability to speak. “He should be dead. We need to know why.”

But even with the pestering, the posturing, his mom doesn’t back down. She glares every single doctor and nurse away until Izuku can breathe easy in the empty room and sag back into the pillows. He doesn’t understand how he’s alive, and it seems no one else does either, but- he’ll figure it out.

 

Speaking comes quickly, as do gross motor skills. Once he’s had most of his stitches out, Izuku gets put in physical therapy to try and recover from his injuries and his coma. The therapists are kind and don’t press him like the doctors do. He gets back his ability to talk, and walk and run and hold things- his shoulder hinders him the most, when all is said and done. The joint was badly damaged and the therapists are unsure he’ll ever fully recover.

Despite all of this- despite the ugly scars and his unexplained survival and the half-there specters that follow him, Izuku returns home with his mother before a month has passed. No matter what happened, what attacked him, he will always feel safe with his mom.

Izuku is safe- until he wakes up one bitterly cold February morning, weeks after he was attacked, and looks down to see dangerous claws and long furred fingers where his hands should be.

Chapter Text

Izuku doesn’t tell his mom.

That’s perhaps his biggest mistake- not telling her the moment he woke up with claws and fur and, when he checked, dog-ears poking out from his green curls. He doesn’t tell her that it’s a constant thing every morning, and that he wills away most of the changes- it’s only his ears, soft and folded and nearly concealed, and a thin, fluffy tail that stick around permanently. He doesn’t- can’t- hide those, but when she asks, Izuku tells her those are the only changes.

In reality, he wakes up every night with long claws and fur covering him and a body he doesn’t recognize. Every night he wakes up to a new horror.

 

The face that stares back at him from the mirror is distinctly canine.

It’s taken him hours to get to this point- hours spent during sleepless nights fighting back panic attacks and self-hatred. It’s been weeks since he first saw his changed face, yet this is the first night Izuku faces it with determination. The hands that grip the sink are both his and not, an ugly parody of Schrodinger’s theory that allows him to deny his own monstrosity as long as he does not look down. That had held for the mirror as well, but things have changed. Izuku has forced himself to change.

He meets his own eyes and squints, watches the eyelids of the beast close with his. Too large pupils dilate, and for a moment Izuku sees a flash of burnt gold amidst the green. He sniffs the air and the muzzle twitches. The smell in his bathroom is strong, but not overwhelming; there’s mint, and citrus and the smell of shampoo and soap. Below that lays cleaners and the smell of plastic, then the rug’s odor. Izuku can handle it as long as he doesn’t breathe too deeply.

He opens his mouth slowly and feels his stomach twist at the sight- massive jaws unhinging slowly, a pale tongue and yellowed teeth and bloodstained -

Izuku snaps his jaws shut and bares his teeth at the mirror; startled to see the fangs appear below his curled lip. He stumbles back and squeezes his hands into fists. His heart thrums angrily and he purposefully slows his breathing. This isn’t- this isn’t the time to panic or lose control. He can do this. He can, and he will.

Izuku steps back to the mirror and opens his mouth again. This time he forces his trembling hand to brush along the long teeth, poke at the punk gums. He lifts the edge of his lip and it’s weird- it looks almost exactly like a dog’s mouth, except that it’s his. He’s touching his mouth with his hand and yet they don’t look like him, don’t belong to him- he’s covered in soft, curly fur the same colour and texture as his hair, which isn’t as bad as it could be, but it’s the principle! He’s furry! He has paws and- and dog beans, or whatever the hell they’re called, and an actual muzzle. He looks like an actual dog.

Izuku turns his head to study his profile, follows the curved line of his- his snout? His nose? It has the same arch as greyhounds, or the fancy Russian ones- borzois? The fur is fine and short here, leading up to a patch of curls that come down between Izuku’s eyes. The curls continue up his head, crown him and cradle his ears, and then crawl a ways down his neck- the thicker patch of fur ends around his shoulder blades, but also wraps around his shoulders until he looks like he’s wearing a scarf. A thick, curly-haired scarf.

The scars he received from his attacker so many months ago are still here, even in this form. They part the short fur in ugly pink scars; his shoulder is remise of a mass of torn flesh, and his throat bears the overt bite mark of a killing blow. Farther down, his lower chest and abdomen are just- literally just crisscrossing scars, over and over, like someone had taken a sharpened rake to him. Only small patches of fur have been able to crop up between the almost fatal injuries.

Beyond his boxers his legs look just as strange as the rest of him. They’re most definitely canine, just- weird. Weird in that he’s still bipedal, despite the- the paws. And another thing- Izuku sits on the toilet seat and lifts his foot up to his face. His joints don’t bend like they used to; there’s a greater range of motion in his hip than before, but less in his knee. If he still has knees. If he still has knees.

His paw is bigger than he expected, with large nails that Izuku can only guess are for grip like soccer cleats. He tries to flex his toes and- and he does, kind of, but the movement is definitely more restricted than before. He leans over and grabs a plain notebook and pen and flips to the section titled “legs” to scribble in some notes.

The faint sound of shifting feet reach Izuku’s ears and they perk up immediately to better catch the noise. A door opens on the other side of the apartment and Izuku springs up, tail whipping around and sweeping several things off the surface of the sink. He whirls around and scrabbles against the slick surface, trying and failing to right everything. His claws leave long, pale lines along the counter.

“Izuku?” His mother calls, knocking against the door. Izuku catches sight of his face in the mirror and sees ears folded back, eyes surrounded by white. He can’t let his mother see him like this, he can’t-

“S-sorry mom, I need a minute!” He calls, hoping she doesn’t catch the shake in his voice. She only hums and shuffles towards the bathroom off of the kitchen.

Izuku slumps against the sink with an explosive sigh. He can’t believe how close that was. He might have to start moving his- whatever this is- outside.

But- deciding to keep this a secret, to move it away from his mom in order to continue, that just- he should come to a decision about this, right? He should make a choice to- to either continue being terrified of it, to continue shaking apart every night when his bones lengthen and twist and curled fur sprouts from his skin, or to use it for something.

Izuku hasn’t thought about applying to U.A. in months. It just didn’t feel that important, not when he was learning how to walk and talk again in the hospital, and after- his mom has homeschooled him for a while, until he got writing under control and his scars had healed as well as they were going to, but then she switched him into a different school.

It’s a little bit more of a commute but it’s a lot nicer, in a safer, cleaner neighborhood, and Izuku wasn’t going to say no to that. He’s away from his bullies, from Kacchan, from the miserable, dark halls where all he was known for was being quirkless. But that’s not really true now, is it?

In his new school- in the clean, well worn rooms and welcoming halls- he’s known for his sweet kicks and his tendency to blush when people talk to him, for his cute dog quirk that gives him soft ears, a tail that wags and a keen nose. He’s had to learn how to have friends who don’t beat the shit out of him, but it’s- it’s nice to not have to watch his back every time he steps into the bathroom, even if he does anyway. He doesn’t have to fear half-drowning every time a bully gets a bad grade or trying to hide his bruises and cuts from his mom. It’s nice and Izuku gets caught up in that. It’s been a long, long time since he’s had nice.

But now he has to make a decision. Does he try to use this new quirk he has to get into the school of his dreams, or does he try to bury it with all of the nightmares and repressed memories and panic?

It’s something he’s agonized over for hours. Is this even his quirk? Does he have any right to it? Izuku only has it because of the thing that attacked him, and it makes his stomach roil to think that he was gifted this, lucky, like the doctors told him. He feels dirty every time he looks at his rolling, canid eyes, his savage teeth bared and smeared in drool. When girls coo and squeal over his soft ears he feels- he feels ugly and used and a fake. This isn’t his, this has never been his, it’s- it’s some sort of quirk that can be transferred like a virus, is what Izuku’s come to think.

He’s remembered enough of the ally to know something like a werewolf attacked him, even though he feels silly for thinking in terms like that. Hours scouring the internet only made him feel sicker and grotesque, because for all intents and purposes, he’s infected with lycanthropy. He has the quirk to be a werewolf- albeit with considerable control over his transformations- but it’s not even the quirk itself that turns his stomach, it’s how he got it. He didn’t have any choice, any voice in the matter, literally, because the other werewolf ripped out his throat because he was crying, and-

Izuku buries his snout in his too-human paws and squeezes his eyes shut.

It’s so- it’s so hard to see himself in this. It’s difficult and painful and humiliating to look in the mirror and look at that hunched figure, look at the folded ears and tucked tail and scars, and try to see himself. Izuku wants to rip his new, lethal nails up and down his skin until he can peel away everything that isn’t him, isn’t his, but-

But his mom.

She had looked at his new features and kissed them with the same love she’s always shown him. She still helps him brush his hair around his ears and tailored all of his pants, shorts and boxers to fit around his tail. She modified his diet when he asked in shaking words for more protein and fat, and she’s never once flinched from his too long teeth and reflecting eyes.

If she can still see him in this creature, this beast, then- then he can too, can’t he?

Izuku meets his eyes in the mirror and watches his lips draw back in a determined snarl. He’ll make this- this virus, this quirk, this lycanthropy- into something dangerous and powerful and heroic, and he’ll get into U.A. and he’ll never, ever let another kid be hurt like he has.

It doesn’t matter what it takes. It doesn’t matter if he can or can’t, because he will.

 

There’s a small twist in his plans, as it turns out, because Izuku didn’t quite count on All Might, and he- he definitely, most assuredly should have.

It starts with him going through an underpass near his old school to switch train stations and ends with him on a rooftop with a man that smells like All Might and death, like the terminal patients on the fourth floor of the hospital with their dialysis machines and oxygen pumps, and Izuku can’t quite hold back a puppyish whine when he sees the scar twisting All Might’s chest.

It starts with a desperate bid for validation and attention from his biggest idol and ends with being trained by the most incredible person in the world, and Izuku goes to sleep that night curled in fluffy, green fur the color of his hair, and he goes to sleep dreaming of becoming a hero.

Chapter Text

Dagobah Beach reeks.

Izuku doesn’t want to be rude or seem picky in front of All Might, but this- he can barely breathe through this. There’s the overwhelming smell of fish and salt from the ocean, the smell of sun-warmed sand and baked seaweed, and then the trash. It’s rusting metal and peeling plastic and rotting food. The first big inhale practically bowled him over, definitely filled his eyes with tears, and trying to breathe through his mouth only made it worse.

But Izuku has never been a quitter and he’s not going to start now.

So he kicks his shoes and socks off and leaves them on the cement walkway, sheds his shirt as well. He can tell All Might is looking at his scars- he knows by now how it feels, after enduring curious looks and pity in locker rooms. Izuku does his best to put it out of his mind and pushes himself to shift- breathes through the stretch and twist of bones, the lengthening and shortening and resizing of organs and his skin and his joints, and gives himself a good shake when everything feels to be in place.

It’s the first time he’s shifted during the day, the first time someone else has seen him completely changed, and when he looks up he doesn’t know what to expect from All Might- but it’s certainly not for the other man to be beaming at him from beneath his ragged bangs.

“Excellent, young Midoriya! You have an admirable level of control over a transformation quirk such as that!” He cheers, and Izuku- Izuku doesn’t know how to respond to that, what to say to that, but it’s- it’s acceptance and support and-

He bursts into tears.

It’s discomfiting to be sobbing in the middle of a public beach in front of a pro hero, but it’s made worse by finding out a new aspect of his anatomy like this is that most of his tears go back down his nose and throat instead of all falling from his eyes. He resolves to never cry in front of another person again after he almost chokes multiple times.

Embarrassing breakdown and awkward comfort from All Might aside, Izuku throws himself into training. His paws give him a better grip on the sand than his sneakers and he has a better reach in this form; stronger, more flexible joints. He drags part of a car engine across the beach and stares at the several inch-deep grooves his nails left in the sun-softened metal.

The hours in the sun pass too quickly for Izuku to keep track of. He quickly learns that he only sweats on his paw pads- his hands and feet are quickly coated in sand- and panting feels both very strange and very normal. All Might doesn’t comment on his long tongue lolling from his mouth and Izuku isn’t sure if that’s comforting or not. He just sees all of this as part of Izuku, right?

When he had explained himself to All Might on the roof- begging for validation, for his permission- and told him he had a quirk that made him feel ugly and dirty and wrong but he still wanted to be a hero, could he still become a hero, All Might had- had given him something more precious than just support. He had given him his secret.

So no, All Might doesn’t know how he got his quirk, doesn’t know about the alley or nights of panic or any of that, and Izuku- Izuku is going to keep it that way. He’s too scared of how the hero will react. Logically, he can tell himself it’ll be with compassion and kindness, but- but what if he blames Izuku for being so dumb in the first place? It was foolish to walk in the alley by himself, he knows, or- will All Might take back everything he said? Will he see Izuku as dirty and wrong? Will he think he’s not worthy enough for One For All anymore?

Yeah, Izuku’s not taking that chance. No fucking way. He’ll just let All Might think he was attacked and fought back, let him think what he wants, and Izuku will keep quietly training in the corner. That sounds a whole lot better to him.

“Stop for a drink break, Midoriya!” All Might calls, and Izuku’s muzzle twitches as the smell of rice and sandwiches reach his nose. He drops the microwave he was carrying and bounds towards All Might, his brain more focussed on hungry thirsty feed me feed me feed me! than the way his shoulders naturally rotate forward to let him run on four limbs.

The cement is almost scalding against his sensitive paw pads, so he grabs his food and water bottle from All Might and drags his shirt over with his mouth, and it’s not until he’s sitting down and scarfing up his rice that he realizes what he’s done. Izuku swallows the lump of food and feels his ears pull back, hunches down in his seat like he’s watching for All Might to chastise him, but- but the hero is eating his own food and humming, picking small pieces from a cute bento box. Izuku slowly shifts back, an eye on All Might’s expression to see how he reacts, but the older man just mutters something about how warm fur must be in this weather and smiles at him.

Izuku starts on his sandwich and pretends the salt he tastes on his lips is from the sea spray.



Other animals are very, very quickly becoming a problem.

Izuku hadn’t noticed it when he first returned home, and maybe because part of this quirk hadn’t manifested yet, but now that he’s shifting everyday and training with All Might it’s a thing.

Most cats hate him. The few feral cats that had loitered near his and his mother’s apartment complex are long gone. When he passes any on his way to school or the grocery store they hiss and swipe at him. Most dogs seem unnerved by him, too- they stare at him too long, stare with their big, round eyes and sniff discreetly at his feet and hands, as if saying I see you and smell you and I know you’re not what you look like, and they’ll keep their heads ducked when he looks back at them. Some animals don’t seem to care at all, the few cats or dogs that just seem happy to have attention or a friend, but they’re far and few inbetween.

And then….there’s the people.

Izuku’s much, much happier at his new school. He has people who are friendly to him, who sit with him at lunch and ask to work on projects with him. There’s a cohort of girls and a few boys who find his ears adorable and ask permission to put clips and bows in the hair around them. The teachers are kind and helpful and attentive, but lately-

Lately, a few have been avoiding him. There’s a boy in his math class who has a rabbit quirk and starts shaking anytime Izuku looks at him too long, a girl in his homeroom who made eye contact with him two weeks ago and hasn’t looked at him again. His literature teacher doesn’t call on him in class anymore. It’s small and not frequent, but he can tell- he can tell that he scares them, that he unnerves them. They’ve noticed that something is wrong with him.

A few months into training with All Might, just after one of the school’s short breaks, Izuku is sketching a rising hero into one of his most recent journals during lunch when he feels someone’s eyes on him. It’s not a glance or a passing look, it’s a stare, and Izuku feels his hair stand on end. He flicks his eyes up and peers through his eyelashes and there, just on the other side of the room- the girl who’s been avoiding looking at him is staring him down.

She has unnerving fuchsia eyes that meet his and don’t pull away, and Izuku’s ears press back at the challenge. He bares his fangs in a silent warning, a I don’t want to fight but I will if I have to, and she narrows her gaze at him before pushing to her feet. She crosses the room swiftly and Izuku curls in on himself, tucks his chin to cover his throat and braces his feet underneath him.

“What happened to you?” She suddenly asks, stopping a short distance away, and Izuku tries to swallow the questioning whine building in his chest. She rolls her eyes and focuses those eyes on him again, and suddenly Izuku wants to- wants to snap out and bite, push her away from him and keep her there, but he drags that back ruthlessly.

“My quirk is that I can see people’s potentials, and your potential just changed a couple months ago.” She says, matter of fact and intent. She leans closer and Izuku curls his lip back just a little bit more. “What. Did. You. Do.”

“Why do you care?” He asks shakily, jerking back when she flips her hair in annoyance. She eyes him before settling into the desk across from him.

“I like to know things about my quirk. You affected it, so I want to know how.” She settles her chin on her fist and just keeps looking at him.

“Tell me what- tell me how my potential changed, and I’ll tell you what I did.” Izuku says, cursing his stuttering and tucking his arms into his chest. The girl huffs and crosses her legs, bobs her foot up and down.

“I don’t get a say in what I see, first of all.” She says. “The vision is completely dependent on the person themself. How they see themselves, what they can achieve with this. Sometimes the only thing they’ll ever achieve is the way they die.” She makes eye contact with Izuku and suddenly- suddenly he feels a chill run down his spine.

“It was- it wavered, sometimes, depending on how you were doing. But the most prevalent one was always….always you….dead. And you had….you were sad, and it seemed like you killed yourself. In the vision.” She seems distinctly uncomfortable, and drops her hands to her lap. It’s now that she doesn’t make eye contact.

Izuku just- he just stares at the desk. It’s not necessarily something he’s shocked to hear; he’s definitely thought about it before when his body was unrecognizable and his throat ached from his nightmares. It’s a little upsetting to know that- to know that, for some time, his only potential or future was his ultimate suicide. Is that because of the werewolf attack? Did he have a different future, before that day?

The girl snaps her fingers in front of his nose and Izuku startles, snaps his teeth at her in a warning, and she jerks her hand away from him.

“Don’t drift away on me.” She says scowling, but Izuku- if Izuku’s right, there’s definitely something like concern in her eyes. “Like I said, it’s changed- a few weeks ago, I noticed that it’s different, and it-” A frown twists her face and she looks away.

“I was scared, I guess.” She finally says.

“You were scared of whatever my- my potential changed to, but not the specter of my corpse?” Izuku asks, half incredulous, and she sneers in an impressive show of teeth.

“I see corpses all the time,” she snaps, “most people won’t amount to more than how they die. It’s people who change their potentials that- that scare me.”

“That seems very sad.” Izuku says, staring down at his twisted fingers. “Just seeing- just seeing that all people will achieve is dying.” She’s quiet for a few moments before snorting.

“You get used to it,” she says, flipping her hand, but Izuku can see the way her lips press tightly together. “We’re not getting off track- your potential changed a short while ago, and it changed to a green wolf with-” The girl suddenly cuts herself off with wide eyes and leans closer.

“Do you have more than one quirk?” She hisses, and Izuku blinks dumbly at her.

How does she know about All Might and OFA? Did she see it?

“Nevermind, that’s not- hell, your stupid puppy eyes are-” She growls and rakes her long nails through her short, curly hair. The yellow color is mildly mesmerizing.

“So I gave up my bit, tell me what you did.” She says, gesturing her hands in a go on motion, and Izuku frowns at her.

“I just decided to become a hero.” He says. She stares disbelievingly at him.

“You little shit.” She says, and the rising ire in her voice scares Izuku into flinching back.

“You just decided to become a hero?” She asks, almost mocking, and he pulls his chin back down. “I looked you up, y’know,” she suddenly adds, and Izuku feels his entire body go cold.

“Your scars, the sudden transfer in the middle of the semester- of course I was going to look you up. And you know what? I found some things out.” She leans closer and narrows her eyes, and Izuku curls his hands under his desk, feels the bite of sharpening nails.

“You’re the kid who was gutted behind that shitty middle school, who had all his important bits smeared across the ground, and everyone blamed some big, rabid dog, but it wasn’t, was it?” The girl gets closer and Izuku can’t- he can’t breathe. He can’t breathe, because there’s something with its teeth closed around his throat.

“That’s a pretty funny pattern of scars, huh? And cute ears, nice little tail- is that from the ‘dog?” She sneers at him. She nails tap across the desk and she pushes to her feet, looks down her nose at him. “I’ve been doing some reading on quirk transference- there’s not much, but a bit. And quite a few neat myths about….werewolves?” Her voice lilts up at the end and Izuku- the word just breaks something in his chest, just rips it right in half.

He lunges out of his seat and growls, lips peeled back until his fangs are bared. The girl throws herself back and sends her desk skittering, and Izuku drops onto all fours and lets his chest rumble with a threat this time. His muscles tremble with tension, with the effort of holding himself still- not running, not attacking, just- he feels so trapped and small and cornered, and this girl- he doesn’t even know her name- she comes up to him and says these awful things and Izuku can’t- Izuku doesn’t-

“Holy fuck,” the girl snorts, splayed back on her palms. “You really didn’t like that, yeah?”

Izuku rears back and stares at her, feels his ears finally pop up from their flattened position.

“Sorry to rile you up, I just wanted to see a different emotion than shy and flustered.” She says, brushes her skirt off and hops back up to her feet. Izuku stares up at her. The panic and sick feeling in his gut is fading, but he’s still-

“I’m sorry for saying those things.” She says finally, eyes softening. Her mouth tilts and she rubs at the fabric of her skirt. “Sometimes I just- I let myself get out of hand, and I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said any of that and I promise I didn’t tell anyone.”

Izuku rocks back onto his heels and stares down at his hands. He’s not surprised to see his lengthened nails or the little spaced out paw pads on his fingers.

“I think I’m going to throw up.” He says. The girl looks down at him.

“That’s not funny.” She says. Izuku swallows roughly and squeezes his eyes shut.

“Oh- fuck, okay, not a joke- let’s get you up, the bathroom is just down the hall-” She hooks her hands under Izuku’s arms and pulls him up swiftly, keeping their arms linked and half-dragging him from the room.

“Think, uh- think nice thoughts, not vomiting thoughts, we’re okay we’re okay we’re okay-” She half sings, half shouts as they barrel down the hall, and Izuku stumbles into the boys room and latches onto a sink. His nails squeal as they drag over the surface.

His breaths come in swift, hot pants, and he can feel his tongue lengthen, feels his teeth continue to grow. His jaw shifts for a form that he’s not currently occupying.

A whine drags itself out of his chest and he drops his forehead to the sink, whimpers around the pain of his body panicking. The girl flutters around him until she finally settles her hand on his shoulder, pats it and squeezes a little, and it’s- teeth in his shoulder-

Izuku flings his arm out and throws himself away. He trips over his own feet and his head slams into the adjacent sink- there’s a burst of pain and light behind his eyes, and he gasps for breath as he rolls onto his back.

She leans over him and dumps ice-cold water over his face.

Izuku splutters through the onslaught of feeling. He lurches over to his side, coughs and gasps through the aftermath of the panic attack and the water that got inside his mouth.

“You back with us, puppy?” She asks, and Izuku squints at her, but she’s keeping her distance- she doesn’t try to touch him, just wipes her hands dry on her skirt.

“I’m sorry for triggering you.” She says. She slumps onto the floor. “I didn’t know- when I read the police workup I knew it was probably- it was definitely horrible and traumatizing, but I guess I never really thought- never called it PTSD in my head. I’m sorry.”

Izuku swallows a few times and clears his throat.

“How’d you get the police report?” He rasps, his syllables clumsy around his not-quite-human mouth. “Did you hack them?”

“And of course that’s what you ask.” She scoffs, rubbing her hand over her face. “Yes, I did. The truth, Izuku, is that- I didn’t ask to upset you or get a rise out of you. I said all those things because you made me mad.”

Izuku stares at her from where his cheek is pressed into the floor.

“You don’t get it, what my quirk is like- people’s potentials don’t just change.” She says, lets her head rock back to rest against the wall. Her throat is bared.

“You have to change how you see yourself, how you live and think, and it’s not- it has to be something that sticks, that’s real, and for you to just say that you- hearing “I decided to be a hero” just made me so, so mad.” She sighs and rocks her head back forward. She glances up and huffs out some laughter when she sees Izuku’s face.

“I know, I’m not a very good person.” She says, and then scoots closer to Izuku to lean against a stall door.

“These floors are fucking gross.” She mumbles after a while, and Izuku giggles into the tile. She shoots him a glare but it’s- Izuku likes to think it’s a little fond.

“I don’t want to- I feel really bad to ask this, but I- can you tell me what-” Izuku mumbles, curling over himself, when the girl snorts and says “I never told you my name, huh?”

Izuku flushes a violent red and buries his face in his still not-quite human hands. His nails are slowly shortening as he continues to calm down.

“I’m Himawari, because my parents were so original-” She gestures to the wild curls of yellow hair framing her face. “-but you can call me Hima, everyone does.”

“I’m sure you don’t actually want to be my friend, and your- seeing your potential change is something I’m never going to not be scared of, but I….I’d like to be friendly, I guess. With you. If that’s okay.” Himawari says, determinedly not looking at him, and Izuku hears his tail wagging against the tile floor before he can stop it. Himawari glances up and snorts.

“That desperate for a friend?” She asks, her posture relaxing a little, and Izuku wraps his arms around his furiously blushing face.

“I don’t have- I’ve never had many friends.” He mumbles, and thinks of Kacchan and his bullies, and- no. No, he’s never had many friends, it turns out. Himawari hums.

“Bet you had loads of bullies, though.” She says. “You’re too nice and sweet for your own good. Bullies can tell from miles away.” Izuku glances up at her and she taps the side of her nose.

“They can smell it.”

Izuku wants to ask if she’s speaking from personal experience, but he thinks he already knows the answer to that. She said she wasn’t a good person already, after all. Maybe she’s as desperate for real friends as he is.

“So- about your quirk-” Izuku starts to ask, doing his best to ignore the uneven beat his tail hits against the floor, when the door suddenly swings open. Himawari glances up nonchalantly at the boy staring at the two of them. There’s silence for a few moments.

“Yes?” Himawari asks, impatient. “Do you need something?”

The boy- clearly a year or two younger than them- pales and shakes his head quickly. He backs out and flees, and Himawari sighs.

“First years,” She mutters before pushing herself to her feet.

“C’mon, puppy, lunch is going to end soon, and we don’t want to get in trouble with teachers, yeah?” She offers a hand to Izuku and he lets her pull him up. He finds it easy to relax into her arm over his shoulders, lets her ruffle his hair and doesn’t try to quell the wagging of his tail.

This isn’t so bad.

And then Himawari brings a rawhide bone to homeroom the next day, cackling at the nonplussed look he gives her, but it’s- it’s still nice to laugh with her, and if he shifts that night in his room and chews on it until he falls asleep, then- then that’s no one’s business but his.

Chapter Text

“Dear diary,” Izuku mutters, staring up at the cloudy sky. His broken legs and arm throb with pain. “Next time All Might says you’re prepared to use his quirk, tell him we’re both idiots.”

How is he going to face his idol again, knowing he’s failed to get into U.A.?

 

Or maybe, as it turns out….he didn’t fail.

 

If Izuku’s learned anything from the disastrous entrance exam, it’s that he has two quirks. Yes, he has All Might’s quirk, which is- well, it’s One For All. Of course it’s amazing and cool and so, so incredible to wield, but he also has his lycanthropy quirk. And for whatever reason- fate or destiny or pure, dumb bad luck- he got his lycanthropy quirk first. Izuku has to accept that. He has to accept the fact that this transformation quirk is a part of him, however he got it and whoever gave it to him.

So yeah- he has two quirks, and he needs to start acting like it.

Training with All Might takes precedence, because he needs to work the most on being able to handle One For All, but now Izuku has another appreciation for his more….furry side. He goes for his daily run and shifts in secluded areas, works on his hearing and sense of smell. He chases squirrels through the park for endurance and agility, forces himself to become more comfortable in this different skin.

As he shifts more and more, Izuku finds that he has greater control over his other form. He still shifts during most nights, especially around full moons, but a lot of the time he can revert back or hold his human form for longer. His wolf form, for lack of a better term, also gets stronger- his sense of smell, eyesight, hearing all improve, and they start to bleed into his human form too. It turns out dogs don’t see the same color scale as humans, too, which is a headache and a half, literally, for Izuku to deal with as a human.

He fills up an entire notebook and then resorts to stapling and folding in articles from the internet about wolves and dogs, and somewhere along the way, he dedicates a new notebook to finding the person who attacked him.

With Himawari’s hacking skills he gets the copy of the police report of his attack, the medical files from his hospital stay, and a program Himawari designed to search the news for attacks similar to his. The latter is perhaps the most useful thing he could have had, because it gives him a timeline and other victims.

The attacks started a year before his. They’re not every month- there’s only five prior to him- but every single one either occurs the night of a full moon or the day after. Izuku prints the articles and glues them into his notebook chronologically with little profiles on the victims- a businessman, a baker, a janitor, a lawyer, and a college student. They were all under thirty years of age and were all found dead, with the exception of the college student, who’s still in a coma. There was no gender or occupation discrimination, and no race discrimination, either- two were white American immigrants, one was Hispanic and Japanese, and two were native Japanese.

The only real connections were the brutal murders themselves and the time; centered around the full moon and several weeks of spacing between them. There hasn’t been a similar attack since Izuku’s, several months ago, and it raises his hair to know that another could occur soon. He can’t help but feel- feel responsible, feel like he should do something. He’s the only survivor so far, and the only one who inherited the quirk. He could- if the person was still in the city, there’s a possibility he could find them, right? So he should- isn’t that what a hero would do?

So against his better judgement, just a few weeks before he’ll start attending U.A., he makes his decision. Izuku shifts a few hours after nightfall and sneaks out from his room to slink across the city like a shadow. His sight isn’t perfect in the dark, though it is a far cry better than what a normal human would see.

The alley where he was attacked doesn’t look like a place where a kid almost died. It looks plain and dirty, and smaller than he remembers- though that may just be because he’s almost six feet in this form. It makes it easier to keep the memories at bay.

Izuku moves slowly and carefully; he starts at the mouth of the alley and goes from wall to wall, muzzle to the ground on all four limbs. Deep inhales wash hundreds of scents over his nose and while most make him gag- rat droppings, trash, urine- there’s some that catch his attention.

Blood and the raw smells of guts soak the center of the alley just beyond the beat up dumpster. Izuku can smell his own washed out scent amidst it, fear and sweat still poignant despite the time that’s passed. There’s another scent, though, that- Izuku opens his mouth and breathes it in. It’s something like- ripped up bark and dried blood, old ink- and then the smell hits him like a truck.

It’s all dominant mine territory NOT YOURS mine mine mine and Izuku skitters back with a whine, ears pressed flat and his tail tucked between his legs. The chemical marker is so, so strong, and his instincts scream for him to run- they tell him there’s a bigger, stronger wolf here, meaner and angrier and older and he needs to run, get back to his territory where it’s safe and he can hide, get back to his pack-

Izuku braces himself against the dirty wall and snarls at himself. He’s not- he’s not some mindless beast, not something controlled by his instincts, he’s not- no matter what he looks like or smells like or thinks like, he’s a human, he’s human and he won’t let anything change that. Before he had his quirks he was a human and his brain is still his greatest power.

He forces his shaking limbs to carry him back to the strongest scent and inhales as deeply as possible. If he’s going to find other older than he’ll need to recognize this scent. Now that he’s paying attention and not panicking, the smell tells him more than the police reports and online articles did.

The other older is male, older than him but not by more than a decade- he’s healthy, he eats well, he’s unmated. He’s big and strong and he knows it. Not many will dare to challenge him- that means big territory, big pack? No, smells solitary, smells like lonely nights and isolation.

Izuku shakes his head and lets out a whine of frustration. He needs to stay focussed, he can’t- it’s too easy to let the wolf part of him claw its way to the front. He has what he came for- the scent of other older sits in the back of his mouth and is burned into his mind. It’s time to travel to the other attack sites and check for the same scent.

Izuku lopes down the dark streets and avoids streetlights. He keeps low and hopes that if someone does see him they just think he’s a normal, big dog- he purposefully chose dark shorts to blend into his fur. He doesn’t think he’ll ever be comfortable just running around naked in this form.

The other sites of attack all share the same other older smell, though they’re fainter with age. At every spot there’s the thick, musky smell of marked territory, and for a single moment Izuku has the urge to mark his own territory, but that’s- that’s way, way too weird.

At the fourth location he’s stopped at, there’s a clatter and sudden snuffling on the other side of the decrepit parking lot. Izuku whips around and hunkers low, lips pulled back in a warning. He can’t- there isn’t the overwhelming other older , just wet fur hungry lonely sick , and Izuku feels his ears snap forward when a dog limps out of the darkness of an overgrown bush.

It’s a small Japanese terrier, mostly white but with the characteristic brown and black pattern on the head and neck. Even several dozen yards away Izuku can smell the rot of infection on it- him. The terrier gives a questioning bark, a friend enemy hello? Izuku whuffs back at him and relaxes out of his crouch. He watches warily as the terrier hobbles closer. Once he gets close enough he can make out the matted blood and pus around the thick wound on his hind leg.

Friend? Big dog not dog human? Not dog not human? The terrier whines, his little tail wagging as Izuku settles into a seated position. Izuku snorts- he wants to know the answer to that question too- and stretches out his neck to sniff at the terrier once he gets close enough. His ears swivel around in interest because the little dog smells like thirsty hungry family? cold wet lonely. He must have been abandoned or lost.

Izuku licks at his little jaw and huffs out laughter when the terrier scoots between the cradle of his front limbs. He runs one of his strange paw-hands down the dog’s back and scratches his rump, smooths his tongue over the mussed and dirty fur around his ears. The terrier’s scent shifts just a little- safe friend family please?- and Izuku feels his heart pull as tears gather in his eyes. Why is he such a sucker? Why does he have to be such a crybaby?

This dog probably has fleas and ticks and who knows what else- the infection in his leg smells like sick rotting death and he’s too skinny, too ragged to have been abandoned recently, and there’s no way his mom is going to let him keep him-

But even so, Izuku gathers the dog in his arms and licks the fur of his neck flat, lets him warm up until he stops shivering. He hasn’t visited every attack site but- but the dog is so little and sad, and the scent of relief safe comfortable just grabs at something in Izuku’s stomach that feels like responsibility. He can only fight with himself for so long before he has to give into his heart.

So Izuku cradles the terrier close to his chest and lopes awkwardly home on three limbs. He digs the first aid kit from their bathroom and cleans the wound on his leg as best he can, whimpering in comfort whenever the terrier yelps his pain, and when he curls up in his bed a few hours before sunrise, the terrier tells him his name and something else.

San! He wags his tail and licks at Izuku’s mouth and cheeks, showing him his deference even in his human form. San! Pack happy healthy safe! Pack! Family!

And the look on his mom’s face when she sees the dirty, scrappy dog in his arms the next morning is worth it for the way San smells happy and comfortable.

They work out a deal together- Izuku will do all of the training and chores when it comes to San, and his mom will pay for the few things they’ll need, like food bowls, a collar, and a leash. They go shopping as soon as the pet stores downtown open, and San leaves with more than just the necessities- he gets a nice blue sweater, a bag of treats, and a plush dog bed with little fish stitched into it. Izuku’s mom is just as much of a sucker as he is.

The real problems start when they take San to the vet the following day.

“I wouldn’t recommend surgery if it wasn’t needed. The infection is too severe to try to reverse with antibiotics- he needs the limb removed.” Dr. Suzuki says. Izuku can’t pull his eyes from San’s trusting face- he just keeps looking up at him, eyes wide and innocent and worried. He licks away the tears that Izuku can’t hold in and that makes him cry even harder.

But in the end- in the end, it’s worth it. San comes home a week later missing a leg but healthier for it. Izuku does his best to reassure him and explain it to him, but San is just a dog. He doesn’t get it and probably never will. All he needs to know is that he’s staying with Izuku, with his new safe family pack, and he’s happy. That’s what it comes down to.

And the morning of his first day at U.A. comes with San leaping up and down on his bed, barking at the top of his lungs about cat cat cat! Cat on OUR territory fight! Fight! and Izuku can forget for a little bit about highschool and other older and everything that waits for him.

Not for long, of course.

Chapter Text

Aizawa-sensei smells like tired powerful exasperated interested? sleepy. 

Izuku doesn’t even try to meet his eyes.

He’s powerful in a different way than All Might- it’s something sleek and deceptive, and he wears it in his bones and under his clothes, while All Might wears it where everyone can see. He’s powerful like alpha dominant dangerous loner and Izuku has to swallow back to urge to bare his throat and whine.

He keeps his head down as best he can, but some people are so friendly- Uraraka coos over his ears and tail and Iida seems determined to be friends. Izuku is more than relieved when Aizawa has them change out and leads them outside for a quirk assessment test. It gets him out of their cramped, smelly classroom- filled with the vibrant and sweaty smells of 19 other teenagers- and into an open field where Izuku just wants to run.

It is more than a damper, though, to hear that the lowest scoring individual will be immediately expelled, and it’s also terrifying to see Kacchan again. He’s only gotten bigger and angrier in the past two years. Izuku can feel his eyes on him sometimes and it makes him want to snarl and hide at the same time. Why did they have to end up in the same class?

“We’re starting with the fifty-meter dash.” Aizawa says, motioning to the painted lines, and Izuku feels something in him perk up.

It’s definitely all his wolf side, but Izuku- Izuku loves running in his other form. Just letting himself fall forward and go, his spine long and flexible, his feet barely touching the ground- he and San had spent more afternoons than he can count just racing around the park together. And only fifty-meters? This is going to be easy.

And then Izuku feels his entire body crawl with ice, because doing well in this assessment- and thus staying enrolled at U.A.- means he’ll have to shift. And all it takes is a glance down at his pants to know that there is no way in hell they’re going to hold up to his change in stature.

Thinking as fast as he can, Izuku shuffles to the back of the crowd and runs through his options. He can take his pants off with the rest of his clothes and shoes and go through the entire assessment in his boxers, and- and then die from embarrassment and shame, because there’s no way in hell he’s going to strip to his boxers in front of the class. The other option is to mangle his pants into something resembling shorts that will hopefully accommodate his changed form. The pants are already tailored for his tail, so at least that fits.

Izuku stares down at his pants mournfully. His first day at U.A., his first uniform from them, and he has to rip them apart. Fantastic.

With a sigh he kicks his shoes off and then stuffs his socks in them. Aizawa is lining up the other students, so he’ll just- he’ll strip as fast as he can, shift, and then get this quirk assessment over with. The best he can hope for is nothing terrible happening. This is fine, this is all fine.

Izuku leaves his shirt for last and lets his hands transform just enough to give him long, sharp nails- and then he digs them into the pants at mid-thigh and rips them. The fabric tears with a loud rrrrrrrrr and he can feel his face burning, blushing, fuck he’s so embarrassed please let no one be looking this is awful- and then when the first leg is done he tears through the other leg as fast as possible. They look so dumb, the edges torn up and just long enough to cover his boxers, but Izuku is- he has to do this, if he didn’t the pants would tear even worse and be- literally crippling with how uncomfortable they are.

He forces himself to take a deep breath and straighten up, ignoring the stares from the rest of the class, and pulls his shirt off his head. There’s immediately a ripple among the other teenagers and Izuku almost turns his back- are his eyes watering? Seriously?- when Aizawa snaps for them to focus.

That tiny reprieve is enough for Izuku to shift completely into his other form. He hunches forward as his leg bones lengthen and rotate, change positions; as his spine grows and his chest expands and his skull folds forward; breathes through the sharp teeth sprouting in his long jaws; shudders as his fur coat springs from his skin; flexes and rolls his joints until everything feels settled.

When he glances up again everyone is looking, just like before, but- even Aizawa is looking at him, the scent of disbelief surprise interest heavy in the air. There’s a few moments of silence before Aizawa snaps again and gets everyone ordered, and Izuku slinks forward until he’s in line behind Iida.

“If I am not mistaken, you greatly resemble the Borzoi, which is one of the most elegant of the sighthounds.” Iida says, turning to smile up at him, and that’s- well. That’s a little too weird. Izuku drops into a crouch and snuffles at Iida’s hand.

“That’s what I thought, too.” Izuku says, his syllables a little awkward. He’s far more interested in investigating Iida instead, anyway. He has lots of smells on him- gear oil and fresh ironed clothes and well-worn pens. Izuku sniffs in interest at the exhaust pipes on the back of Iida’s legs.

“Iida and Asui are up next.” Aizawa says tiredly, and Izuku drops onto his haunches to watch the race. Iida is obviously the strongest contender for this assessment- his quirk is definitely speed based. Asui, though- she greatly resembles a frog, smells like freshwater frog lily pads dirt? and Izuku isn’t sure exactly what her quirk enables her to do.

And then- and then Iida is gone in a burst of steam, tearing down the strip, and Izuku feels his ears perk up because chase run toy prey? His tail starts thumping against the ground and he practically bounds to his feet when Aizawa motions to him and whoever he’s racing with, but that- that doesn’t matter, who it is doesn’t matter, because Izuku wants to run, wants to tear down this strip and keep going, let out the anxiety fear stress that’s been building up-

There’s the signal and Izuku explodes forward. His feet hit the dirt then air then dirt wind in his fur on his face he’s running racing chasing this is fun! Fun! He wants to keep running until he hits the edge of the field and-

“1.33 seconds.” Comes a robotic voice, and Izuku- Izuku scrambles to stop, feels his paws and fingers slide and catch through the dirt, and he spins in a circle as he plants his hind paws and drags himself to a stand still.

He’s barely breathing hard, more excited than anything- Izuku whirls around and gives a pleased bark, sees his classmates cheering and yelling, and he play bows and wags his tail wildly before he remembers exactly where he is, but it’s okay because-

“What the fuck was that, Deku!” Comes a furious shout, and Izuku startles away, his ears dropping flat at the loud noise. He turns and sees Kacchan- whose face is screwed up in an angry scowl, who smells like sweat burning angry. Izuku rears back as his palms pop and spark and feels his teeth bare in a grimace.

“When have you had a fucking quirk? Why do you look like a goddamn dog? Were you lying to me this entire time?” Kacchan yells, stalking closer, and Izuku hunches over in fear because- has Kacchan always been so loud, so angry? Why is he so mad? They were just racing- just running, chasing, it was fun-

And then there’s sparks and fire in his face and Izuku snaps out in panic, leaps and twists away to crouch against the torn up ground, and Kacchan stares after him with empty palms and furious eyes.

“That’s enough, Bakugou. Keep your petty squabbles out of my classroom.” Aizawa says. He only glances over at Izuku, his hair settling around his face again, but that- Izuku hunkers down even more, feels his ears flatten into his fur, and he wouldn’t be surprised if his tail was invisible with how far it’s tucked under him.

“Midoriya, why don’t you come stand with us.” Iida suddenly calls, gesturing to himself, Uraraka, and Asui. Izuku scrambles over to them and wedges himself between their bodies, so, so hopeful they’ll just- he just wants to be with pack, because pack is safe and he’s- his entire, big frame is shaking, and when Uraraka throws an arm around his neck he leans into her until she almost topples over.

Their smells don’t really mesh very well- gear oil and lily pad mud and powder cement- but it helps to settle Izuku down because it’s all you’re safe we’re here this is okay. His breaths come through open-mouthed pants, his dying panic twisting his guts up. Uraraka squeezes his neck and rubs her face into his fur, cheers “you were so fast!” and Izuku’s tail starts beating against the inside of his hind legs.

“Yes, your speed was quite impressive!” Iida says, and gestures stiffly at the entire class. “I’m sure you’ve beat everyone in the class, and perhaps set a record!”

Asui doesn’t say anything, but she squats next to his heaving flank and leans against him, and that’s- this is maybe the most selfless kindness he’s ever received. It’s easier to calm himself down with the friendly scents and people around him.

He can’t quite pull his eyes from Kacchan’s seething, lone figure, though. His angry, acrid stench is heavy in his nose, and Izuku curls his lip and sticks his tongue out to try to rid himself from the smell.

It’s grip strength next, and it’s hard to hold the machine correctly in his hand-paws, but he does his best- 200kg isn’t so bad, right? The standing long jump is fun, even if he can’t quite get as far as some of the others- and the side step is completely hopeless. He has too many limbs and it’s too hard to coordinate himself, so he just- hops from side to side and gives Aizawa a sheepish look.

It’s the ball throw, then, and it’s annoying, but Izuku doesn’t really have shoulder joints like he’s supposed to. The desire to chase the ball is so overwhelming he barks out loud and then drops his head in embarrassment. To fight the urge to chase the other throws he hunkers down on his belly and watches the dirt from between his forelimbs. Why did he have to get so many dog instincts with this quirk?

Sit-ups are painful and awkward with his tail, and Uraraka doesn’t really know how to hold his paws- she ends up sitting on him, because- well, he is almost 200 pounds in this form, okay? Izuku isn’t sure who was more embarrassed between the two of them.

The seated toe-touch is painful too, and he accidentally snaps his teeth in annoyance when Aizawa-sensei passes too closely by- the dark look he gives him is enough to send him cowering, but the annoyance and discomfort linger under his skin like ants.

They return outside for their final assessment. Izuku shakes himself out in the sun and tries to keep from pacing at the back of the crowd- a few of his classmates give him nervous looks and it makes him want to bury himself in the dirt. 

And then, like a sign from god, Aizawa-sensei tells them they have a long distance run. It’s a single mile circuit around the field their assessment took place in, and even though Izuku really, really could use something like a secluded five mile route, he takes his place on the outskirts of his class and just thanks his lucky stars Aizawa likes to make them run.

When the signal goes off Izuku throws himself into it. He holds back from a full-out sprint- it’s so, so easy to let himself go full tilt like this- and keeps himself at a loping run. His long legs eat up ground like nobody’s business, and he lets himself just relax into the easy motions of running. It’s compress and expand, easy breaths and a solid rhythm that’s echoed in his heartbeat, and Izuku lets his tongue loll out of his mouth in the closest grin he can manage in this form. 

He finishes the run in under two minutes and tries not to feel guilty as he splays himself out on a patch of grass. He watches his classmates from afar as they huff and puff towards the end- Iida finishes his mile in under four minutes, and when he heads towards the buildings in search of water, Aizawa-sensei settles onto the ground next to Izuku.

“You know, Midoriya,” Aizawa says, and Izuku glances over at him from the corner of his eyes. He’s sure the white is showing all the way around. “There are very, very few individuals who have a transformation quirk that’s as….streamlined as yours. Very few transformation quirks at all.”

Izuku hunkers down between his shoulders and whines questioningly, desperately fighting the urge to roll onto his back- Aizawa is his sensei, his homeroom teacher, not a- not an alpha or more dominant dog, despite what he smells and carries himself like. Aizawa stares at him and sighs, leans back on his palms and turns his face to the sun.

“I don’t know what I did to make you so scared of me.” He says. “But I’m your homeroom teacher, and I’ll be playing a very large role in the next three years of your life. If there’s something you want to say to me, you should say so now.” 

Izuku covers his muzzle with his hand-paws and whimpers, tries to take a few deep breaths. He doesn’t- does he just tell Aizawa-sensei that he smells like dangerous powerful dominant? How would he react to that? Even if it’s uncomfortable, though, he can’t- Aizawa is right, he can’t keep being scared of him like this.

“You-” Izuku mumbles into the ground before growling and jerking upright into a sitting position. He doesn’t miss how Aizawa tenses. “You smell like- you’re powerful! And strong! You smell dangerous, like other older, and it’s hard for me to- my- the animal side of my quirk is telling me to be submissive and show that I’m not a threat!” He huffs out in frustration and hunches back over, knows if he didn’t have fur he’d be flushing a deep, deep red.

“Well.” Aizawa says, sounding even more tired than before. “I really don’t have time to deal with that shit.” Izuku stares at him.

“If you see me as an alpha or something- I cannot believe you made me say that- then that’s fine.” Aizawa grits out. He seems to be in actual, physical pain. “But I’m not going to hurt you. I don’t want you to act differently than any other student would.”

Aizawa-sensei seems to reach his limit then, because he swears under his breath and jerks to his feet just as the next students reach the finish marker. Izuku can’t say he isn’t relieved for the conversation to be over. It takes a bit longer, but eventually everyone finishes the run and gathers around Aizawa near one of the buildings. Izuku tries not to be overt in wrinkling his nose at the sweaty smell of his classmates.

“I could show you your scores, but I’m not going to.” Aizawa-sensei says, quelling any complaints with a glare. “I’ll save them and we’ll see how you improved at the end of the year.” He turns to go, but then pauses as if remembering something-

“By the way, no one is going home today. I only said someone would be expelled so you’d all do your best. It was a logical ruse.” He offers a chilling smile and Izuku feels his hackles raise. None of his classmates seem to pick up on it- it’s more than just a scent coming from their teacher, more than just body language. Aizawa is dangerous. 

“Read the syllabus and come to class tomorrow prepared. It only gets harder from here.” Aizawa departs from them on this note, and everyone shares nonplussed looks before making their way back to the classroom with all their clothes. Izuku gathers his shoes, socks and shirt into an arm and trots next to Iida and Uraraka; the former is very loud in his displeasure over Aizawa’s deception. Izuku is just relieved that no one was actually going to go home.

“Hey, Midoriya?” Uraraka suddenly asks, startling both him and Iida. He feels his ears flick around to focus on her. “You had to rip your pants to- to use your quirk, so what are you gonna do for your hero costume?” Iida makes an agreeing noise.

“That hadn’t occurred to me, but it is true that you change size significantly.” He says.

“Well- yeah, that was one of my biggest problems when designing my costume, but I- when we sent in our registration forms with our hero costumes, I sent in a rough sketch and included a long explanation about my quirk, so I think- I’m pretty hopeful they’ll be able to do what I had in mind.” Izuku says, licks at his muzzle nervously. Uraraka and Iida both nod seriously.

“You’re pretty smart, huh?” Uraraka says solemnly. Izuku’s eyes go wide.

“I- what?!” He splutters, feels his skin heat under his fur.

“Yes, it is quite impressive you already had something special in mind!” Iida agrees. Izuku ducks his head and tries to keep his wagging tail still. It’s so nice to have friends, to have pack. He really, really likes it.

He had been excited about attending U.A.- of course he was excited! It’s the school he’s dreamed of attending since he was a kid. It’s just….he was so unsure of actually attending. He’s only really ever had Himawari as a real friend, and their friendship isn’t exactly normal; she mainly just helps him skirt the law. He’d really….if he could make friends here, it would make him really, really happy.

Izuku glances up at Iida and Uraraka, who are cheerfully debating something, and he doesn’t try to stop the doggy grin that grows on his face.

The light feeling in his chest doesn’t fade, even when some of the other boys in the class stare at his scars in the locker room, even when he has to return his torn uniform to an unenthused Aizawa, even when he parts from Iida and Uraraka at the station.

It does fade, however, when All Might meets him near his house, because he has to tell him that he didn’t use One For All in the quirk assessment. He has to stand there and smell the regret sadness shame that wafts from the hero and know that he did that, he caused that, all because he was too much of a coward to try.

“I’m not disappointed in you,” All Might insists, and Izuku bows his head and hides his teary eyes behind his bangs. “You have two quirks and it’s good that you used your transformation quirk! You’re still learning to control One For All, and that’s alright!”

But the heavy, ugly feeling in his stomach and crawling under his skin tells him that he’s wrong, and that it’s not alright.



By school the next morning Izuku’s managed to work his excitement back up. It’s the first real day of classes, is what Aizawa said, so he spends a lot of his sleepless night writing out the strengths and weaknesses of Lycanthropy. One For All really only has weaknesses at this point, Izuku can’t help but crankily think.

He goes into U.A. short on sleep and patience, a low growl almost permanently rumbling in his chest in warning to others, but it’s hard to stay cranky when he’s surrounded by his new friends. Uraraka, Iida and Asui all seem to pick up on his poor mood and keep their voices low but don’t hesitate to surround his desk.

They check on him throughout the day, and by the time lunch rolls around Izuku’s calmed down enough to not want to snap at everyone in sight. He gets himself a big serving and prepares to find himself an empty table or a seat on the edge of a group- but then Iida waves him down with his big arms, and Izuku sees Uraraka sitting next to him. He swallows back his tears at the sight of their beaming faces when he sets his tray down across from them.

 

Their first hero class after lunch is absent a teacher right up until the bell- and then Izuku hears familiar footfalls down the hall; he swivels his ears around to double check the noise even as his tail begins to beat against the back of his chair.

“I am here!” All Might booms, hopping through the classroom door like an incredibly large, muscular bunny, and Izuku can hardly contain his excited wiggle. The rest of the class reacts with the excitement he would expect, and he even hears a comment from Asui about All Might’s silver age costume- it seems everyone is a fan.

Maybe even more exciting than seeing All Might outside of their private training are their hero costumes. Izuku fumbles his open with shaking hands and feels his eyes widen as he takes his in. It smells so crisp and clean- new fabric, just for him to soak his scent into, his his his- and the uniform everyone will recognize him in. A whine of pure, unadulterated happiness makes its way out of his throat, and he buries his face in his costume.

It’s made up of three pieces of highly flexible, kevlar-like fabric; the arm pieces are long fingerless gloves with extra padding and support around the wrists and elbows, and the white fabric ends at about mid-bicep. The piece that acts as the shirt is built like a wrestling singlet, and it’s a deep green that’s just a little lighter than his fur; white squares decorate the sides and outline additional padding around his shoulders and ribs. The final piece is a modified hakama. Izuku’s been the most worried about this part of his costume- the fabric needs to be sturdy enough to protect him from attacks, but also stretchy enough to accommodate his shifted form. The hakama is the same color as the singlet and has built in ties at the bottom for him to tighten around his calves, as well as a strap that will run below the sole of his foot. He has to hope it’ll still hold in place even when he has paws instead of feet.

The entire class changes out in the locker room and then meets All Might at the same training ground as their entrance exam was. Izuku hangs back just enough to be on the outskirts of the group, and doesn’t try to catch up to Iida or Uraraka. He takes his time jogging there in his human form. His heart is practically beating out of his chest with anxiety.

Is All Might expecting him to use One For All during the training exercise? Is he expecting him not to, since he knows Izuku can’t control it? Does he want him to try? Is it a better idea to keep growing familiar with Lycanthropy instead, and let his body acclimate to One For All on its own? Izuku just- doesn’t know what the right course of action is here, and it’s going to give him a heart attack soon.

And then he gets paired off against Kacchan. Fantastic. 

“This floor plan is so complicated.” Uraraka mutters, squinting at the map. Izuku mumbles his agreement and glances to and fro the building to the identical map in his hands. He drops into a crouch and smooths the paper flat against the sidewalk.

“Uraraka, I have an idea….” He says. She makes a noise of interest and squats next to him.

“It’s banking on Kacchan still being hot headed and impulsive, but if I try….” Izuku spends the last few minutes of their time explaining his plan to an interested Uraraka, who seems to grow more and more energized the longer he speaks. With a plan in place, Izuku shifts into his other form and gives himself the chance to adjust to the smells and sounds of the area around them, and then the exercise begins.

Uraraka sticks with Izuku just long enough for them to find Kacchan- or rather, for him to find them, and then she sprints down the hallway as Izuku faces his old classmate.

“Are you going to tell me why you look like a giant dog, or am I going to have to beat it out of you?” Kacchan hisses, his eyes too wide and too angry, and Izuku waits until Uraraka’s footsteps reach the floor above them before speaking.

“Why does me having a quirk make you so mad?” Izuku asks, drops lower on all fours until he can slink belly to the ground. He slowly, steadily herds Kacchan in the opposite direction of Uraraka. 

“Because you don’t have a fucking quirk!” Kacchan yells. He throws himself forward with the swell of explosions that are too loud in the tight space of the hallway, and Izuku turns tail and runs.

He streaks down the hall and swerves off to one side. There’s a virtual maze of pillars and rooms, so Izuku weaves through them like an eel and takes cover as soon as Kacchan’s yelling fades a bit.

“Uraraka, have you found it yet?” He murmurs, hunkering down in his hiding spot. There’s some tinny silence before her voice comes through their comms.

“Yeah I did, but Iida is keeping close to it. He moved everything out of the room that I could use my quirk on, too.” 

Izuku snaps his teeth together in annoyance. That definitely throws a wrench in their plans, but Izuku is hardly surprised- Iida is very smart.

“Give me the room and Iida and the bomb’s positioning. I’ll lead Kacchan around a little more before heading to you for the next step.” Uraraka gives the location and her affirmative, and Izuku works his way back to where Kacchan is making a nuisance of himself, as usual. 

He’s not really my friend, though, is he? Izuku thinks. His ears hurt from the explosions. My friends- my pack- are Himawari and Iida, Uraraka, Asui, San; they’ve never hurt me like Kacchan has. Maybe- maybe he’s not Kacchan anymore. Maybe he’s just Bakugou.

Izuku has to sit at the end of the hall for a few moments before Bakugou notices him. He’s busy screaming at the top of his lungs- get out here, Deku! I’m going to burn your mangy face off! Stop being a fucking coward! -and kicking doors in, and as Izuku peers down at him, he wonders why he was so afraid of him. The worst Bakugou’s ever done is bruise and burn him- and he’s been through far, far worse than that by now. 

When he finally notices him, Bakugou chases after him just like before, but he seems even angrier now. It’s something Izuku was counting on, and he’s not sure if he should be glad or feel pity over the fact that Bakugou hasn’t changed much in the past year and a half.

He leads him on a merry chase across the building and down a floor. Izuku had noticed a curious location on the map earlier- a utility closet that sat behind several rows of heavy duty metal filing cabinets. When he and Uraraka had checked, there was a very convenient lock on the outside of the door.

Izuku skids to a stop on the tile floors. The utility closet is just behind him, the door open and cabinets moved closer for convenience. He doesn’t have to wait long for Bakugou to come barreling at him full speed. All it takes is a chest-to-the-ground-low crouch and shift inside his guard as he swings wildly at him; Izuku catches his right arm and flips him over his hip into the closet. Bakugou hits the ground with a clatter and choking noise, but Izuku’s already slamming the door shut and locking it. He sinks his nails into the side of the closest cabinet and drags it in front of the door, and does this again and again until all the cabinets are stacked in a blockade.

Izuku doesn’t give himself a moment to rest. He breaths in great big pants as he runs for the location Uraraka had given him, cutting corners close enough for his legs to almost go out from under him. He’s not sure how much time his chase with Bakugou had wasted.

“Uraraka, I’m in the south corner room of the fifth floor,” Izuku pants, swiveling his ears up, and yes- he can hear Iida’s steps, just barely make out his steady heartbeat and Uraraka’s own rabbit-pace. “Part three of the plan is a go.”

Izuku pries the corner window open with his nails and climbs precariously onto the sill. It’s windy out here, but not quite windy enough for Bakugou’s screams to be drowned out. Izuku holds onto the sill as best he can with his hind paws and stretches to his full length, fingers grasping for the- yes! He can just barely hook his fingers over the sill of the next window up: the window of the room with Iida and their target.

In an ungraceful, awkward heave, Izuku drags himself up the side of the building, kicking and wheezing for breath. He has to cling to the window for the few precious seconds it takes to scan the room and see that Uraraka is keeping Iida distracted on the other side of the bomb. With shaking hand-paws, Izuku eases the window open, the sound of it covered by Iida’s surprisingly passionate monologuing. He slips inside with a sinuous movement and crouches on the ground.

All it takes is eye contact with Uraraka and they’re both exploding into movement at once. Uraraka goes straight for Iida; at the last moment before he could grab her, she drops into a slide and slaps her palm against his thigh, sending him straight into the air. Izuku launches himself at the bomb as the building trembles with the force of Bakugou’s explosions, but even with those deafening noises and Iida’s cursing, he still hears Uraraka’s victory cheer when he wraps his limbs around the bomb.

Chapter Text

They won. They won. 

It doesn’t even sink in until Uraraka grabs him in a wild hug, her grin so wide it’s almost splitting her face. She shakes him side to side as best she can with his current size and buries her face in his fur.

“That was amazing, Midoriya!” She cheers. Izuku can feel the hot blush spread under his fur and hides his face behind his hands. His tail beats against Urakara’s leg.

“Hero and villain teams, please report to the front of the exercise building for debriefing!” All Might’s voice echoes through the speakers in their ears. Izuku winces at the loud tone.

“Uraraka-” Iida starts to say, his voice coming from the ceiling, and Izuku watches in horror as Uraraka’s face suddenly goes pale and a little green around the edges.

“I’m sorry, Iida!” She squeaks, tapping her fingers together before slapping one over her mouth. Iida lands with stilted grace and waves her apologies off.

“You maneuvered around me admirably!” He says, striding over to them as they move towards the door. Uraraka offers him a queasy smile and Izuku pats her on the shoulder carefully, trying to ignore how his hand dwarves her upper back. They descend a few flights of stairs in amicable chatter about the exercise and how they felt they’d be graded when Izuku smells red hot anger fury embarrassment disbelief .

Bakugou rounds the corner ahead of them.

For a moment, everyone freezes. Izuku feels the fur along his shoulders and back shiver upright as his hackles raise with the tension- and then Bakugou’s face twists and he launches himself forward.

“Thought you could lock me in the fucking closet?!” Bakugou yells, kicking off the wall to bypass Iida. He bowls through Uraraka, sending her to the floor, before slamming his shoulder into Izuku’s chest.

The hallway is too narrow, too crowded for Izuku to dodge or avoid him, and he takes Bakugou to the chest with a punched out wheeze. The other boy bundles his costume in his hand and slams his fist into his jaw, hand glancing awkwardly off of his muzzle. Static explodes between Izuku’s ears at the weight on his chest and pressure at his throat.

“Unhand him immediately!” Iida yells, a looming figure over Bakugou’s shoulder, and Izuku catches Uraraka’s scent swelling with outrage protectiveness anger beyond the other two, but it all melts away because there’s something crouched on his chest and bright blooming pain and pressure on his throat and bright eyes in the dark and gleaming teeth and rank sweat and fear fear fear he is so afraid he doesn’t want to be hurt again not again not again not again please not again-

And then the weight disappears.

Uraraka slumps onto the ground beside Izuku, her face scrunched up in pain as she holds Bakugou off the ground. Iida has both his ankles in a tight grip and is tugging him away.

“You okay, Midoriya?” Uraraka asks, her voice tight around her nausea, and Izuku whines as he rolls onto his side and into a ball. He feels- painfully off-balance, because that was- that was a flashback to the alley, and the last place he expected one of those to occur was during an exercise at U.A.

Izuku takes a few moments to breathe deeply and check himself over: his back and chest hurt from the collision, his mouth is bloody and swelling from the hits, but everything else feels okay. He’s a little shaky and a lot overwhelmed but still in one piece. Okay. Okay.

“I think I’m- um, good.” Izuku says, mumbles around the swelling in his muzzle, and drags himself upright. Bakugou is still screaming at Iida, but Izuku can see All Might and the rest of the class gathered down the hall, just inside the exit. 

“Underestimated me, didn’t you, you fucking mutt!” Bakugou yells, and Uraraka scowls and releases him with a slap of her fingers. Iida steps neatly out of the way to let Bakugou fall to his ass. All Might is right there with a heavy hand on his shoulder when he scrambles back to his feet.

“I think that’s enough, young man.” He says. He’s still smiling, but his tone- Bakugou stiffens and scowls, dropping his gaze to the floor and sneering angrily. Izuku can see his hands shaking from where they’re clenched at his sides. Izuku is pretty sure his entire body is shaking.

He forces himself to shift back. He feels smaller and more vulnerable when he’s shaped like a human, but he also feels like a smaller target. Uraraka immediately loops her arm through Izuku’s and leans against him.

They complete the debriefing outside the building in the sunlight, and Izuku forces himself to listen and take note of all the points as best he can with his head buzzing. Words swim through his ears- dangerous reckless team exercise destructive- but his mind keeps looping back to Bakugou’s expression as he crouched on his chest. He was furious, and Izuku has a feeling it’s because of more than him just being locked in the utility closet for most of the exercise.

Izuku knows this is going to bite him in the ass later, but for now he’s going to focus on the other students and their performances. He pushes Bakugou from his mind and tries to breath through the ugly stench of fury disbelief envy emanating from the other boy.



“--and that’s why I think Gang Orca deserves a higher ranking.” Izuku says, closing his hero notebook with a self-satisfied snap. He glances up at Iida and Uraraka and balks at their bewildered expressions.

“I’m sorry, did I go off on a tangent? I shouldn’t have talked so much, I always ramble, I’m so sorry-” He squeaks, burying his face in his hands as his cheeks warm. His ears flatten against his curls.

“No, Midoriya-” Uraraka says, her little hands patting his upper arm. “I’m just amazed at how much thought you put into this! It’s so cool!”

“I agree!” Iida interjects, leaning forward until Izuku can see him through his fingers. “Your analysis is in depth and well-thought out! I’m quite impressed!” Izuku pulls his hands away and glances at them with wide eyes. His cheeks still feel on fire, but he hesitantly relaxes.

“You guys d-don’t mind?” He asks. His tail begins to wag, to his extreme mortification. 

“Of course not!” Iida insists. He jerks his arms upright as Uraraka coos over his tail. “Every time you speak, I find myself learning something new!”

That sends a fresh wave of embarrassment through him, and Izuku whines in his throat as he claps his hands over his face. Uraraka laughs as his tail picks up the pace. Iida drops a warm, big hand on his shoulder and squeezes.

It’s- it’s definitely odd. Iida and Uraraka are both friendly and nice and talented, so it’s no surprise Izuku wants to be their friend. It’s startling to him that they want to be his friend, too. He’s too used to people not really caring or listening to everything he says.

Uraraka comes to a sudden stop and Izuku starts to stammer an apology when he catches a whiff of her scent. Instead of being relaxed and happy like it was moments ago, it’s tense and angry and acrid, and her body language is all rigid and protective. She has a frown on her face that, when Izuku follows her eyes, is directed at- at Bakugou, who is leaning against the gates leading out of U.A. Bakugou is glaring right back at her.

“Midoriya,” Iida suddenly says. Uraraka’s gaze doesn’t waver. “Why don’t we accompany you to your station?”

For a moment Izuku flounders, glancing between the other three and trying to understand what exactly is going on. Iida’s scent has gone sharp, too; his brows pull tight and low over his eyes. Izuku hesitantly steps around Uraraka.

“It’s- it’s not far, I can get there okay.” He says, glances at Bakugou and balks at the intensity in his gaze. Izuku swallows the urge to whine and tacks on a shaky smile for Iida and Uraraka. “Bakugou probably- probably just wants to talk, so-”

“He can talk to my fist.” Uraraka says darkly, and Iida and Izuku both gape at her she sets off towards Bakugou with a purposeful, tight stride. The two boys scramble to follow her.

“I’m here to talk to Deku, so you extras can fuck off.” Bakugou says, tone dismissive, and Uraraka gets up into his space and pushes him.

Bakugou stumbles back and brings a hand to his chest, shocked right into wordlessness. Uraraka plants her fists on her hips and puffs her chest up.

“Midoriya has no interest in talking with a bully like you, and I’m not going to let you hurt him again!” Uraraka spits. Izuku clasps his hands together nervously and glances up at Iida- to beg him to keep a fight from breaking out, to calm Uraraka down, anything- and startles to see his nodding along.

“I protest against using physical violence, but Uraraka is correct.” He says, straightening with all the air of authority that a fifteen year old can have. Izuku blinks back the sudden smarting of tears in his eyes.

“You- you guys don’t-” He starts to say, off-kilter and unsure of how to proceed, because- because no one has ever defended him before. Whenever Bakugou had been- well, a little cruel, yes, but- the teachers and other students had just looked the other way. Izuku doesn’t know what to do now that Uraraka and Iida refuse to.

“I don’t give a fuck about you two, so scram,” Bakugou growls, dropping his bag and squaring his shoulders. “Deku is the one I want to talk to.”

Uraraka growls right back at Bakugou and pushes the sleeves of her uniform up, as if she’s gearing for a fight right on the front lawn of Yuuei, too, and Izuku yelps and throws himself between the two of them.

“Enough, e-enough!” He says, hates that he can feel the way his ears are pinned to his curls. “Bakugou, you can- say whatever you want in front of Uraraka and Iida, or- or leave.”

Bakugou’s face screws up for a few moments, his eyes narrowed in a very worrisome way, before his features suddenly smooth out.

“Maybe your friends would like to hear this too.” Bakugou says, too much of an edge to his voice for it to be considered smooth, and Izuku’s stomach goes tight and twisted. He has a horrible feeling about what Bakugou is going to ask.

“How did you get a fucking quirk? Where did the fucking hound come from?”

Of course, of course; Izuku can never have anything easy, he can never just have a quirk or attend U.A. or have friends before something is ruined-

“Izuku doesn’t owe you jack shit!” Uraraka yells. Iida gasps at her language, but she speaks right over his noise of shock. “You’re a shitty person! You’re an asshole! I’ve known you for less than a week, and I already want to kick your ass!” 

Izuku makes a confused, frightened noise in the back of his throat and edges slowly out of Uraraka’s range of ire. Her face is purpling at an alarming rate, and Izuku watches with something like terror as her hair starts to float and halo around her head.

“You’re a pathetic bully that can’t accept Izuku is a good person and is gonna be a good hero- a better hero than you- and you just want to ruin his happiness to make yourself feel better!” Uraraka lunges forward and slams a finger into Bakugou’s chest. “You’re pathetic and awful and a pathetic, awful bully, and one of these days everyone will notice and you’ll be left alone with no friends, just like you deserve!”

Uraraka gives one more jab, shocking Bakugou into flinching back, before turning her back on him and grabbing Izuku’s hand in hers.

“We’re leaving.” She says sharply, tone hard and broking no discussion, and Izuku puts his head down and scuttles after her and Iida. He feels the horrible sting of tears and tries to sniff them back discreetly as they leave campus, but he hears Uraraka make a sad noise.

“Oh, Izuku, did I upset you?” She asks worriedly, leaning forward to see his face, and this time Izuku’s smile is genuine if shaky.

“No you didn’t, you just- I just- no one’s ever stood up for me before, so I-” Izuku mutters, rubs his hand furiously across his eyes- he’s a crybaby, such a crybaby- and swallows around his aching throat.

“Well, we’re here to stand up for you now.” Iida says firmly, and Izuku blinks up at him through watering eyes. Uraraka’s grip on his hand tightens. “I certainly will not allow Bakugou’s harassment of you to go on any longer.”

“He just needs to give me a reason to kick his ass!” Uraraka says, and her determined expression is so earnest, and Iida looks so decided, and Izuku really, really can’t help himself.

He bursts into tears in the middle of the sidewalk, but even as he sobs and tries to reassure his friends, his sunny smile stays fixed in place.

I have friends, I have friends, is all he can think, and my friends won’t let anyone hurt me.

 

The thought that U.A. is going to be different from his past schools is- well, it’s obvious. Izuku is learning to be a hero, here. He’s learning and training and growing, and he’s surrounded by other students who believe the same thing and want the same goal. Of course it’s going to be different.

But the realization that his friends are different- that he has friends, other than Himawari, is strange. He can’t get it out of his head for the next few days, can’t help but turn the idea over and over and think about it every time he has a moment or two to himself.

“Midoriya!” Sero says with a cheerful smile; Izuku has come to learn that Sero, unnervingly, is always smiling. Even when he smells like misery, or fury, or annoyance, he is always smiling. “I wanted to tell you that you have sick kicks, dude.”

“Thanks! I- I got them from a website, you can customize shoes there-” Izuku says, smiles back as his tail wags. He slides into his desk and scribbles down the URL for Sero when he asks, and waves to Kirishima and Kaminari where they’re settling into their own desks. Tokoyami sits at the desk to the left of him and appraises him with his deep, dark gaze.

“I offer my salutations, Midoriya.” He says. Izuku rubs the back of his neck nervously and fights to keep his ears from flattening.

“G-good morning, Tokoyami!” He says a little shakily.

Tokoyami is- is a little odd, if Izuku is honest. It’s not how he talks or dresses, or anything superficial like that, but the way he smells. There’s the scent of feathers and faint frankincense, the whiff of sandalwood, and then- nothing. There’s a part of his scent that just smells like absence, like emptiness, and Izuku can’t help but feel like he’s facing a bigger, scarier predator when he meets his eyes.

The emptyabsencevoid grows stronger, shifts, and then a tiny little shadow appears on Tokoyami’s shoulder.

“This is Dark Shadow.” Tokoyami intones. Dark Shadow makes a low chirping noise and tilts his head at Izuku.

“Oh, you’re-” Izuku blinks a few times and fixes his smile back in place. “It’s nice to meet you, Dark Shadow!” He wriggles and fluffs himself up, clearly preening, and Tokoyami sighs.

“He’s afflicted with an unfortunate sense of self-grandiose.” He says seriously. Izuku laughs honestly this time and reaches forward hesitantly. Dark Shadow is both smooth and ruffled under his hand, feeling just like the surface of water before the tension breaks. When he pulls back Tokoyami has a faint flush on his face.

Before Izuku can apologize for overstepping his boundaries, Aizawa calls the class to attention and whips a clipboard out of his massive sleeping bag. He reads a flurry of announcements off of it in a dead tone, and Izuku feels a surge of excitement when he hears they’re having a field trip.

What kind of field trip would a hero course at Yuuei do? Where would they go? Izuku can hardly contain his glee and excitement, wriggling in his seat even as Aizawa gives him a disapproving look, and he can smell the same where when field trip excited nervous cool! emanating from the classmates around him.

He worries for a moment about traveling for it- who is he going to sit with on the bus? Will they have to form pairs? Who will he walk around with?

That was always the worst part of field trips in middle school, but now- Izuku glances around the room and meets the smiles of Iida, of Uraraka and Sero, and feels the nervousness in his heart settle a little. It’ll be alright. He has friends here, real friends.

Chapter Text

The training facility is massive. 

Izuku always thought of U.A. as huge with its sprawling lawns and towering buildings, but the USJ is on another level. The ceiling arcs up, high, high, high , the sun near blinding as it comes through the glass. Izuku has to blink his watering eyes clear before he can properly appreciate the size.

He listens with half his attention as Thirteen explains the different portions, keen to get his eyes on everything. There’s a ship wreck zone? A storm zone? A mountain range? Izuku knows that U.A. is loaded, okay, but this goes beyond that. This is absurd. 

A breeze lifts from the fire zone and Izuku wrinkles his nose at the seared stench of smoke and wood- and then he pauses for a moment. There’s something on the wind that doesn’t smell right. It’s curiously light and clings to the back of his throat, and Izuku sneezes a few times at the tickle. 

The smell is metallic and biting. It seizes at his taste buds, floods his mouth with saliva, and Izuku peers around to try and spot the scent’s origin. He’s never smelled something quite like it- it sends all his hair standing on end, and he grimaces at the squirm of his fur just under his skin.

Izuku is thinking of saying something to Aizawa when he’s hit with a sound. It starts off like a whistle, sharp in his ear, and then- it shatters.

Izuku drops to his knees and claps his hands over his ears. The sound grows and splits until it’s multiple sounds, until it’s reverberating and bouncing off itself, until it’s near blinding with how painful it is. Izuku grinds his teeth together and whines, tries to yell and drown the noise out, but it’s too loud-  

And then, suddenly, everything is silent. 

He jerks his head up at the feeling of a hand on his arm and sees Kirishima’s worried expression, sees his lips moving, but all he can hear is the dull rushing of his own heartbeat.

“I can’t- I can’t hear anything.” Izuku tries to say. He feels the vibrations in his throat and knows he managed to make noise, because Kirishima looks shocked and turns to say something over his shoulder, but-

ripped up bark and dried blood, old ink-

Izuku bowls Kirishima over and stumbles to the front of the group. He’s unsteady on his feet, wobbly, but there’s something hot and terrified in his chest and his throat, and when he gets up next to Aizawa he sees-

He sees rows and rows of people, some he recognizes from television and others he doesn’t, but all ragged and smelling like anger excitement blood-hungry. It’s not their smell that caught his attention, though, and he glances them over because

T H E R E.

Izuku feels part of his mind white-out. The smell of other older saturates his tongue and he barely registers the tickle of saliva down his lip. He’s here. He’s here. He’s here, on Izuku’s territory and near his pack, and Izuku can s m e l l the hungerlustexcitedfreshmeatsoyoung coming off him in waves.

Other older sees him, or smells him, and lifts his head and bares his teeth. He’s bigger than Izuku by far, with huge shoulders and shaggy brown fur that ruffles along his back. A fresh wave of his scent hits him and Izuku flinches back, whines in his throat even though he can’t hear it, because it’s all mine get out this is mine now get out I’m going to eat everyone whole.

Aizawa throws himself forward and Izuku startles, stumbles. Ojiro- worry warm cotton should we flee soft fur?- catches him by the arm and holds him up, but all Izuku can see is gaping jaws and eyes like gas lanterns and claws reaching for him.

Other older doesn’t look at Aizawa. He keeps his eyes on Izuku- on his classmates. He sees the moment the other wolf’s eyes flick to Ojiro, sees the moment his tongue licks his bared teeth; Izuku sees it all, and he snarls.

Ojiro flinches next to him but keeps a hold on his arm, says something- his lips move- but Izuku lunges forward and rips free of his grasp. The first few stairs are taken with half-human half-wolf feet, his bones misshapen and twisted out of position, but then- then his shoulders click into place and his spine locks and he pins his ears back in fury, because this is his.

This is his territory, his pack, it’s all his and other older is here and smelling like blood and hunger and squaring his shoulders in the open center, and Izuku covers the rest of the stairs with a leap that ends with his nails raising dirt and concrete. He feels his hackles lift, feels his chest puff in a bid to make himself look bigger, and growls from low in his belly in a challenge.

Other older is broad and patchy, scars that say I’ve been in fights and I’ve won them parting his brown and grey fur, and he drops low along the ground to growl back. His tail is up and says I’m bigger I’m stronger get out of my way. Izuku’s heart hammers in his chest, and he begs himself to be brave.

The other wolf eyes flick beyond Izuku- up to the entrance, to his classmates- and Izuku leaps forward.

He grapples for a hold, snaps his teeth at anything vulnerable he can get to, needs to end this fast- other older kicks at his belly, his chest, his feet sliding across Izuku’s reinforced vest- claws bite into his bare upper bicep and Izuku sinks his teeth into ragged fur and skin.

Other older vibrates with the force of his howl and he rips himself free, rolls a few feet back and snarls. Izuku shakes his arm out and tells himself to ignore the blood slowly matting his fur. He can hear a low whining in his right ear that he hopes is his hearing returning.

Aizawa leaps over other older and lands next to Izuku. His hair stands on end and he reeks of sweat outnumbered where’s backup? and Izuku chuffs nervously. He’d like to know where backup is, too. He doesn’t think his heart can keep beating this fast for long before it bursts out of his chest.

The other wolf takes a step forwards, nose curled to smell Aizawa, and Izuku barks a warning and cuts in front of his teacher. It wins him the attention of other older again, who paws at the concrete. His eyes are the same burnt yellow Izuku remembers from the alley. His muscles tense and-

He slams into other older in the air, feels his legs go out as the heavier wolf spins. They land in a tangled ball, Izuku’s shoulder taking the brunt of the impact, and he snaps his teeth at an elbow joint- be brave, be brave- at a shoulder-

Pain lights up the side of his neck as sharp nails catch and dig, splitting skin unprotected by his vest; dangerous teeth snap at his throat and Izuku has a heart-stopping memoryfeelingthreat of that horrible mouth closing around him. He jerks to the side, rips his own flesh open on the claws still in him, and slams a fist into the side of other older’s head.

He lashes out again, digs his hind nails into the vulnerable, bare belly of his enemy and pushes and claws until he yelps out with pain; he tumbles away from Izuku whose neck is finally freed. Izuku lurches after him and closes his jaws around the extended hind leg, bites, tries to crunch bone and muscle and sinew between his teeth. 

Other older spins and snaps at him but Izuku darts back, gathers himself over his hindlegs and leaps forward. He hits low and hard, bowling the other wolf over; he gets a handful of fur and uses it to pin him down. He’s furious, desperate, don’t run away be brave be brave be brave heart hammering because he’s fighting someone more experienced and bigger and dangerous and his classmates are behind him, his pack is behind him-

And then One For All rushes forward. It’s intense and heady and Izuku drives his fist forward- sees light wreathe his arm in arcs of yellow and white-

His entire arm thrums and shakes with the impact. The other wolf goes flying back, his body scraping against the concrete and leaving bloody smears. Izuku stares down at his hand-paw, flexes his tingling fingers in wonder because- because he just used One For All, and his arm isn’t broken.  

“Midoriya!” Aizawa snaps, and Izuku whirls to see his teacher facing a thinned out crowd of people. “I’m going to ensure you’re expelled if you ignore me one more time. Get out of here!”

Izuku doesn’t get a chance to explain that he couldn’t hear before, that he’s only just getting his hearing back, because other older slams into his side and punches his nails through the weak seam of his vest.

Izuku yelps, tries to swallow the scream at the hot pain welling up between his ribs, and just manages to bring his arm up and wedge his forearm in other older’s mouth. He snaps and gnaws wildly, teeth tearing at flesh and kevlar alike, and Izuku scrabbles for some sort of leverage on the dusty concrete.

He’s desperate and panicked- other older is bigger and older and smarter, run away run away has claws in his side and is close to pinning him down, and Izuku is at every single disadvantage in the book- on his back, throat bared, run run run smaller and weaker and-

I don’t have every disadvantage, he suddenly realizes, and winds up one of his hind legs. One For All rushes through him in a torrent and he slams his foot forward- nailing other older right between the legs.

The other wolf scream-gurgles, throws himself back, and even though Izuku can’t quite stand on his trembling leg he still tries to smile. Other older snarls and gives off a wave of fury insolent pup I’m going to eat you whole. Aizawa is back and to the right of him, and his classmates-

Izuku’s entire body floods with ice. He can’t smell all of his friends, his pack- only a few smell like they’re still up at the entrance, he can’t smell the others, where are they? Where is his pack? What happened to them?

He hears the skrit skrit of nails on concrete and spins to face other older, dodges to the side as he barrels past him. The other wolf skids as he turns, his face wild with a furious snarl, and Izuku tenses as he rushes towards him, gets ready to leap again- and his leg gives out.

Other older snarls hot in Izuku’s ear and closes his jaws over the side of his head.

The pain is white hot and tears down his face, his neck. He lashes out wildly and yells when his arms are pinned, desperately breathes around the horrible pressure of a paw against his thigh that pushes- pushes- and snaps his femur with a wet crack. He screams.

Other older flexes his jaw tighter, works his neck from side to side to saw at his flesh, and Izuku tries to blink through the blood flooding his eye; tries to strain and free his arms or budge the weight on him- 

Izuku throws his head back with all his strength behind it. He leaves behind fur and flesh and part of his ear in the other wolf’s mouth but he’s free, he can see, he’s free, and bites as hard as he can at one of the hands holding him down. Other older pulls away, snaps at his head, but Izuku catches his muzzle in a wild right hook.

He follows his momentum and rolls, grabs the other wolf’s mouth in his hand and holds it shut; Izuku kicks at other older’s belly and tears the hand holding his other arm away with a violent motion. For just a moment- just a second, a moment of quiet and stillness in the middle of dust and sweat and blood, Izuku meets the other wolf’s eyes.

They’re wild and wide. Izuku can’t see beyond the hunger fury fight in the ugly yellow, but for a second he swears he sees the realization there. Other older looks at him and Izuku looks back, and then he goes to bury his teeth in his throat.

Hot blood cat fur steel pain- Aizawa, and-

Izuku pulls his head up just in time to see Aizawa’s head hit the pavement and his goggles shatter. Blood splatters. Izuku stops breathing.

“Do I have your attention, now?” Someone says. Izuku slowly turns his head to see a pale man covered in hands approaching him. He smells like sandpaper dry skin old blood bright bright anger excitement. 

“I wish you hadn’t interfered so much.” He says, his hand coming up to scratch at his neck. Other older has gone still below him.

“There was only supposed to be Eraserhead, Thirteen, and All Might here- where is he? Where is All Might? Who are you?” The man shrieks, and Izuku’s heart is going a mile a minute, but- no one is moving. The strange beast that doesn’t smell right is still, and other older is still, and Izuku can just barely hear Aizawa’s rabbit-heartbeat from here.

“Shouldn’t you know?” Izuku asks, his tongue awkward around his not-human teeth. His mind races despite the exhaustion, despite his blood-loss dizziness, despite the pain. The strange man freezes.

“What did you say?” The man asks. Izuku inhales unsteadily and slinks off of older other, tries to keep his weight off of his broken hind leg. I can’t run away. I can’t run. Be brave.

“You’re asking after All Might because you’re here for him, aren’t you? It’s a shame he isn’t here, then.” Izuku says. He knows All Might isn’t coming because he already used up his time today, knows because he heard Aizawa and Thirteen talking. This strange man didn’t know, though- he knew about the class trip, knew about the teachers, but doesn’t know who Izuku is. He doesn’t recognize his quirk. That means- if Izuku can buy some time, or something-

The pale man begins to shake. His fingers scratch at his neck harder, and Izuku catches the scent of blood.

“Noumu!” He shrieks, and the dark blue beast steps forward, it’s beak opening to let out a high-pitched chitter. Izuku’s stomach goes cold and heavy. He licks his teeth and lets his tongue loll out, pulls back his muzzle until he knows he looks wild and furious. The pale man stinks of insecurity, of vulnerability, like a just-weaned runt abandoned by the pack.

“Shigaraki,” A cloud of a man says, coalescing in the metallic scent Izuku had caught earlier. “One of the students escaped. We must depart before any teachers arrive.”

And that- that alone, knowing at least one person got out, knowing someone is getting help- sends a shudder of relief down his spine so heavy that Izuku almost topples over. A few yards away, Aizawa’s breath rattles in his chest. 

“It’s too bad that you didn’t plan better. This was almost successful.” Izuku says, and his voice trembles, but Shigaraki’s scent swells with fury upset disbelief who is this brat? He turns slowly to Izuku and lowers his hand.

“It would have been perfect if All Might was here-” Izuku continues shakily, flicks his eyes to Shigaraki- then the cloud man- then the silent beast. Other older is panting on his side to his left. Aizawa is still bleeding out onto the dry ground. 

“You- defeated both of the teachers, and it doesn’t matter about the students, because they’re all kids, right?” Shigaraki nods wildly. Izuku tries not to throw up around the sick panic in his chest. Be brave. Please, be brave.

“I planned all of this out perfectly, and it- if All Might were here, I would have succeeded.” Shigaraki says- and then he stills. His head tilts a little, and Izuku can just make out a pale white eye glittering from behind the hand on his face.

“All Might isn’t here, but you are.” He says, and takes a step forward. Izuku tenses before he can help himself, goes rigid and ready to run. Shigaraki’s pale face stretches in a sickly smile.

“Who are you?” He coos. He takes another step forward and this time Izuku forces himself to move. He circles slowly, keeps Shigaraki in front of him but never lets the other villains out of his sight.

“I’m surprised you don’t know.” Izuku says. His chest is numb with ice cold fear. “Another thing you missed? Maybe you didn’t plan as well as you should have.” Shigaraki’s smile twitches.

“I didn’t think I’d need to plan for an errant puppy. Where’s your collar? Who let you out of the house without one?” Shigaraki asks, an edge coming to his voice, and Izuku catches the double meaning- who are you? Where did you come from? Who do you work for?

“I don’t think such a devastating blow to Yuuei could be ruined by just me.” Izuku says. He skips a little to the right, until Aizawa is completely behind him, and flicks an ear back to catch his shallow breaths.

“Who said anything about it being ruined?” Shigaraki asks, but Izuku sees the hunger and interest on his face. Aha, Izuku thinks. 

“Exactly. With two of the teachers k-killed, and the school’s security compromised, what do I matter? No one is going to be talking about me.” Izuku curses the way he stumbles over his words, but Shigaraki doesn’t seem to even notice. He stops in his steps and brings his nails to his throat again.

“What will they be talking about, then, puppy?” He asks. His voice is oily and sickly sweet. Behind him, the cloud man starts to speak, but Shigaraki shushes him. 

“I suppose whoever it is that broke in, and how Yuuei’s faculty was useless to stop them.” Izuku says. His voice is barely more than a whisper, but Shigaraki’s smile spreads beneath the hand on his face. Izuku can’t contain the shudder than runs down his spine. Don’t run, he tells himself. It’s a powerful instinct. 

“I suppose that would be me, wouldn’t it?” Shigaraki asks, his smile evident in his voice, so self-satisfied, and Izuku swallows. Shigaraki’s head tips forward.

“Do you think I’m scary, puppy?” He whispers, too playful, his pale eyes foul and evil, and Izuku swallows again- and realizes he doesn’t.

He’s terrified for his classmates; for Aizawa bloody and wheezing on the ground; for the fate that awaits him and the pack he only recently gained, but- but not of Shigaraki. He smells and carries himself like he’s got something to prove, like he’s desperate for approval from the head bitch or the rest of the pack. That is the only thing that makes him dangerous.

Izuku has- he has fought and survived other older, who has haunted his dreams, who ripped his throat out and made him feel weak and pathetic and too small. He’s seen scary, in the alley where he thought he was going to die- he’s seen scary, and-

“You don’t have the smile.” Izuku says.

Behind him, the entrance to the dome shatters inward, and All Might lands between them.

“I am here!” He bellows. He is not smiling.

 

“All Might-” Izuku can’t help but go weak with relief. His broken leg throbs as he stumbles, but it’s alright- because All Might is here. Izuku doesn’t have to stand alone anymore.

“Young Midoriya, you’ve done admirably.” All Might says. “But it’s time for you to return to safety and wait for the other heroes to arrive.”

And Izuku is about to answer- but then Shigaraki shrieks, smelling like blood and fury and a sick excitement, and the strange silent beast explodes towards All Might.

Izuku throws himself backwards, rolls and comes up besides Aizawa-sensei. He’s barely breathing, his heart weak and fast, but he’s still alive. Izuku tries to block out the sound of All Might and Noumu fighting behind him as he carefully scoops Aizawa into his arms. 

His leg has only just started healing. It’s a prickly heat up and down his thigh, centered at the break, and Izuku bites his tongue to bury a whine from the pain. He tries to hold Aizawa’s head and neck in a straight, level line, terrified of a spinal injury, but- he can only carry Aizawa in one arm. He could have managed walking on only his hindlegs if one wasn’t broken.

“Midoriya!” Comes a shout, and Izuku glances up to see Kirishima and Bakugou racing across the compound towards him. Todoroki approaches from the mountain range, and Izuku would just about faint from seeing his classmates safe, but they’re runnings towards the danger.

“You need to get out of here!” Izuku says, and Bakugou doesn’t even look at him, but Kirishima comes to stop just in front of him.

“You’re in really bad shape, dude.” He says, and winces when he looks over Aizawa.

“I’ll be fine, but we need to get Aizawa-sensei medical attention. He’s still al-alive.” Izuku insists, and Kirishima nods and helps Izuku set Aizawa down. With quick movements, he pulls his shoulder guards off and positions them on either side of his neck and head, strapping them in place with care. Izuku blinks at him.

“A portable neck brace seemed handy!” Kirishima says, flushing red, and Izuku- has so, so many things to say to that, but instead he whirls around at All Might’s cry of pain and sees the silent beast’s nails sinking into his side.

His panic wells up again, thick and clogging in his throat, because the beast’s talons are buried in All Might’s injury and he can see the strain on the hero’s face-

Ice races across the ground and freezes the beast in its place. All Might breaks free in a spray of ice chunks and frozen flesh, and Todoroki comes to a stop next to Izuku. The chill off of his body stings Izuku’s nose.

“Kirishima, can you carry Aizawa out of here?” Izuku asks, looking at the other boy. He stares at Izuku for a few moments, eyes flicking to his bloody fur and mangled leg, before nodding.

“I can carry him on my back if you help position him.” Kirishima says, and- Izuku can tell he knows by the look in his eyes. He knows Izuku isn’t asking because of his injuries, but he doesn’t say anything.

He positions Aizawa as fast as he can with the reek of Todoroki and Bakugou’s impatience in his nose. Izuku doesn’t understand why they haven’t already moved forward to help, but he isn’t going to question it.

As soon as Kirishima has a firm hold on Aizawa, Izuku spins and takes off. He can’t move as quickly as he wants with his leg still healing, but Todoroki and Bakugou keep pace with him as they propel themselves forward with their own quirks. Izuku’s breath saws in and out of his chest. All Might and the creature exchange blows so quickly they’re a blur.

Bakugou splits off and throws himself at the cloud villain, who seems to be controlling the strange warp gates with the high pitched noise. Todoroki flanks tight to Izuku’s side until the last moment and freezes the creature to the ground; his ice is pungent and almost hungry as it captures dark flesh.

Izuku sees All Might go to finish off the creature, his muscles tensing as One For All rushes through him; Izuku sees Shigaraki lurch towards the hero’s unprotected back. He smells half-wild and desperate. He doesn’t know what Shigaraki’s quirk is, doesn’t know what’s going to happen when his out-stretched hand meets All Might’s back, but he knows he can’t let it happen.

The concrete beneath his paws shatters as One For All propels him forward. He feels his bones break, feels his veins and muscles froth with the energy, and-

And, as it turns out, break his legs for nothing.

The other teachers and heroes arrive just in time to wound Shigaraki and force him and the warp villain back. All Might defeats the strange creature, and when the dust clears, everyone may not be standing, but everyone is still alive. 

Izuku sprawls on the ground and forces himself to breathe evenly. His legs hurt viciously, both from the injuries and the hot-prickly healing rushing through them, and all of his other wounds ache in tandem. He wants desperately to cry.

“Midoriya, are you alright?” All Might asks, skeletal and weary. He settles onto the ground next to Izuku with a quiet groan.

“I’ll heal.” Is all Izuku says, because there are much more pressing matters.

“You pushed past your time limit, didn’t you?” He asks. All Might sighs and waves off Cementos' concerned look.

“I did. I had used up too much energy chasing villains this morning.” All Might reeks of remorse guilt what if I had been too slow? and Izuku noses at his hand dangling over his knee. All Might gives him a small smile, sad and tired but sincere, and ruffles his hand gently between Izuku’s ears. It sends a bolt of pain through his torn skin but the warmth and weight of All Might’s hand makes up for it.

“I’m glad you’re alright.” Izuku says, blinks until a few errant tears slip through his fur. All Might’s face softens and he smiles a little wider.

“I’m glad you’re alright too, my boy.” He says, and Izuku promptly bursts into unrestrained tears.



Somewhere in the dingier, isolated part of town, Shigaraki digs into his neck furiously with blood stained fingers. Kurogiri dismisses the doctor and watches his charge from a distance.

“Find who he is.” Shigaraki hisses. “Find me that mutt.”

A massive wolf, brown and grey and scarred, sprawls across the dirty couch and watches Shigaraki with too human eyes. He looks forward to the rematch with lightning folded paper bruises hope potential.