When Izuku was called to a teacher’s break room to speak to All Might, he wasn’t that concerned.
He was a third year now, All for One and Shigaraki finally, permanently defeated, not even two months ago. Izuku was still nursing some bruises, but he felt energized nonetheless, buoyant as graduation approached ever nearer.
“Sensei!” Izuku greeted with a smile. He would have waved but one hand held a cane to reduce stress on his weaker foot, and the other was still in a cast.
Recovery Girl had warned him that his body had been on the verge of death after the attacks, and that even in his current state, speeding up his healing would probably sap him of all of his remaining strength. She concluded that once she was done making her rounds with the victims of the League’s final attacks, Izuku would probably be okay to be healed with her Quirk, but that wouldn’t be for another week.
“Midoriya-shounen! How are your injuries?” Toshinori asked as he got up to pull out the chair for Izuku.
Izuku accepted the help gingerly. His sides still ached something fierce when he stretched it too much. Once he was settled on the plush couch, he smiled reassuringly. “I’m fine, Toshi-sensei! But more importantly, you called me in for something?”
“Yes, most of the students are going to be called in within the next few weeks for a similar discussion. As you know, you are on the cusp of graduating, and so this meeting is to establish if you have any idea of what you want to do right after graduation,” Toshinori explained. “Normally, this discussion would be held with your homeroom teacher, but Nedzu talked Aizawa into letting me hold this discussion with you, though we are being recorded for Nedzu’s files.”
Izuku perked up. “Oh! Okay! That sounds amazing. So this is basically just job counselling or something? Making sure we know what we’re gonna do after graduation and to see if it is feasible? I guess that shouldn’t be surprising given how we’re just teenagers but I always assumed that if you made it to your third year you were sure what you wanted to do with your life. But I guess being sure doesn’t mean you’re ready to actually head out into the real world, or that you know how to start the journey—”
Toshinori laughed. “Slow down, Midoriya-shounen! But yes, that’s the gist of it. We want to assure ourselves that you do indeed want to go into heroics, and that you know what your next steps are, instead of some nebulous idea like ‘I will become a top hero.’ There’s so much more thought that needs to go into it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve already had several plans brewing in your mind for your after-graduation plans!”
“Yes!” Izuku said excitedly. “I’ve been doing a lot of research into what I should be doing next and I thought about becoming a sidekick at one of the agencies here in Japan but I just recently got an invitation to work abroad and I’m thinking of taking it!”
Izuku was so into explaining the offer they’d made him that he completely missed Toshinori’s concerned stare.
“The agency said they’ve been watching me for a while now, and that they’d love to have me on board with them! I looked them up online and so far I’ve seen nothing but good things about them. They’ve even offered to pay for any and all moving expenses! And well… you also went abroad and you always sounds so nostalgic when you talk about it so I was wondering if I should do the same and then this offer fell into my lap. The agency apparently works with some really big names in America as well like—”
“Izuku,” Toshinori cut in.
Izuku shut his mouth with an almost audible click.
“Yes?” he asked.
“Izuku, why do you really want to go and work in America straight out of graduation?” Toshinori asked, curiosity in his eyes.
Izuku looked down, blushing.
“Do you know why I went to America?” Toshinori continued, unfazed by his successor’s silence.
Izuku shook his head. “No. I’ve always wondered, though.”
“I… I was 18 when Shishou died,” Toshinori whispered gravely.
Izuku gasped. He couldn’t… He was 18! The idea of losing his beloved mentor devastated him.
Toshinori continued, gripping the sleeves of his pants. “All for One killed her, after she sent me away with Gran Torino,” he whispered. He took a breath to steel himself, allowing his voice to come out stronger. “We fled to America, where we assumed All for One could not reach, and there, Gran trained me until my return to Japan. It was a hard time, a grieving time. Yes, I made friends, most notably David Shield, but always, in my mind, there was the aching loss of Shishou. I did not want to leave Japan, to leave her. The decision had been made for me.”
“But you,” Toshinori said, looking up into Izuku’s eyes. “All for One is gone, there is no need for you to sequester yourself across the globe. Not when you only wish to follow in my footsteps.”
“But—” Izuku protested.
“Toshinori did not relent. “And what of your friends? Your mother?”
Izuku stopped short at that.
“I know you love your friends Izuku,” Toshinori said softly. “You all work so well together. So much better than I ever did on my own, or with my sidekicks who I always kept at arm’s length. And an ocean between you all will be hard to overcome. You won’t see any of us as much as you’d be used to.”
“I just…” Izuku couldn’t really protest any of Toshinori’s words. Not when they rung true in some deep, dark part of himself he’d assumed was gone, that unrelenting worshipful fanboy that Izuku thought had been replaced a proud but more realistic disciple.
“You were trying to imitate me again, Midoriya-shounen,” Toshinori said fondly, if firmly. “And we both know that imitating me is how you have hurt yourself time after time.”
They both looked at Izuku’s right hand, ruined as it was.
“You are already far beyond where I was at your age,” Toshinori said proudly. “You have done things not even I could have done and for that I am so proud of you, my boy. And so I ask that you please, think about this decision a little more. If you truly want to go to America, I will support you, but only if that is truly what you want to do, and not because you think that is what we expect of you as my successor.”
Izuku nodded faintly. “Alright, Toshi-sensei. I’ll think about it.”
“Good. Now, I suppose it’s time for you to return to the dorms. I hear that it’s a certain someone’s turn to make dinner,” Toshinori said with a smile.
“Goodbye, sensei,” Izuku said distractedly.
“I will see you tomorrow, Midoriya-shounen,” Toshinori said with a nod.
As Izuku made his way back to the dorms, he thought.
He thought about Toshinori, revealing how young he had been when he lost his master, how alone he had been, with only Gran Torino and his training. It sounded so lonely. Even now, Toshinori’s grief was palpable, though blunted by time and age.
He thought about the distance, the time zones that separated Japan and America. The agency he’d been planning on working with was on the West Coast, which made it a sixteen hour time difference.
Communication would be scarce, done in the dead of night or at the crack of dawn.
He thought about why he wanted to go to America, rather than stay in Japan. In Japan, it was guaranteed that his class, the focal point of the League’s final battle, would be able to rise up in the ranks quickly, but Izuku didn’t feel like he deserved the rise for something he did as a student. Not really.
And some part of him was still that starry-eyed fanboy who wanted to be All Might come again, to let his legacy live on.
But they’d already been through this hadn’t they?
Izuku was already All Might’s legacy. He didn’t need to follow exactly in his footsteps to be such.
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it also led to so many of injuries, even if subconsciously.
His right arm twinged.
With a sigh, Izuku walked into the dorm building. The cheerful, if somewhat subdued chatter of his class was like a balm to izuku’s soul.
There was Kouji, helping Rikidou, Momo, and Katsuki in the kitchen.
There was Denki, cheerfully chatting with Hitoshi, Hanta, and Eijjirou. They were watching some video on Hitoshi’s laptop.
Over in the corner, working on their homework was Tenya, Tsuyu, and Ochako.
Fumikage and Mezou sat in the opposite corner, reading peacefully.
Yuuga was chatting with Mina and Tooru, doing each other’s nails. Mashirao had Tooru in his lap, and was talking with Kyouka about one of their lessons. They were all quieter than usual, conscious of Kyouka’s hearing being extra sensitive ever since the League’s last stand.
Arms wrapped around Izuku’s waist. “Welcome back,” Shouto said in his ear. “How was your meeting with Yagi-sensei?”
“Oh hey! Izuku’s back!”
“How’d everything go?”
“Are you in trouble?”
“Pipe down everyone! The snacks are almost ready!”
“Come on everyone, Kyouka’s still got that headache because of her hearing, let’s quiet down, alright?”
Izuku’s eyes watered. These people… they weren’t just friends, they were his family. He didn’t want to leave them.
“I’m fine,” he said aloud. “I’ve just been thinking.”
He didn’t want to leave everyone when graduation came along.
America was a crapshoot anyway.
“Hey everyone, I have an idea.”
“Oh. Jesus Christ on a bicycle,” Eraserhead swore. Those listening couldn’t quite tell if that was pride or irritation in his voice.
“What happened?” Present Mic asked.
“Look at this,” the Underground Hero demanded as he slammed a stack of sheets on his desk.
The teachers in the lounge, which was basically all of them, picked up a sheet.
“Class A… Hero Agency?”
“Oh my god, Aizawa’s Hell Children™ are opening up their own agency,” Vlad King said in horror.
“They have Hatsume as their tentative Support Department head!” Power Loader said with a sob.
“Oh dear,” Toshinori said. Still, he was smiling.
“That’ll be quite an adventure!” Nedzu said cheerfully. “I can’t wait to see how it turns out.”
“If you Hell Children are really going to do this, you will do this right or so help me, villains will be the least of your worries. Understood?”
“Good. Now then, you all cover a different range of skills and settings that you work best at. I suggest that—”