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curiosity kills the cat (but satisfaction brings it back)

Chapter Text

This can’t be real, Tsuna thinks to himself, staring down at the puddle. It was the closest reflective surface near him that he could clumsily make his way over to.

Life hasn’t been entirely kind to him, but right now that feels like an understatement.

It probably says a lot that he can’t be surprised when he wakes up in strange places. This alley was nothing compared to a coffin, but it hadn’t been until he tried standing up that he realized there was something wrong. Very wrong, actually, because when he had looked down, his hands had been replaced with paws.

Voicing his grievances hadn’t done much except result in the sound of a caterwaul that had him wincing at his own volume.

Whoever’s at fault for this is going to get a piece of my mind.

The likeliest of subjects responsible for this was Byakuran. Maybe Kawahira… Or Shoichi, with the right machine. Even Lambo’s bazooka… And he can’t discount Reborn. Oh heck, why doesn’t he just put everyone on the list?

He looks back at his reflection and watches his ears flick back at his unease.

There’s definitely a cat there where a human should be. It’s a bit disappointing that he looks nothing like Natsu. Instead, he’s scraggly, a few steps away from underweight, and he has long messy brown fur. He had discovered early on that he could wrap his tail around his legs if he sat down, which was cool, he guessed. Uncomfortably, he could also see his scars on display (the most striking of them all being the x on his back). It’s a gruesome thing to see on a person, let alone an animal.

Maybe I should focus on where I am, he thinks, and find a way back home.

Easier said than done. Clumsy was his name normally, but now that he has to figure out how to walk on four legs, he finds himself stumbling around as though he’s drunk. Plus, he’s a cat. He doesn’t think he can outrun animal control like this if he’s spotted.

He spends a few moments practicing before he gets impatient and sticks his head out of the alleyway. There are people walking by, in a rush. He suspects it’s lunchtime. His stomach rumbles at the thought of food, but he’s much more distracted by something he sees.

Are those wings? As it turns out, they are in fact wings. Then an entirely purple person walks by and Tsuna’s struck again that maybe there’s something more to his awakening as a cat than he’d thought.

After getting his panic under his control and walking along the outskirts of the crowd to find out where he is, he finds a store with a television playing behind a window. He picks up on things like ‘quirks’, ‘heroes’, and ‘villains’, but he’s only a little less lost by the end of it.

He does get a time and date, though.

(He doesn’t want to think about it; leaves at ‘the future’ and dances away from the memories of what happened the last time he was transported into the future).

With nothing else to do and no one to turn to, Tsuna finds himself wandering around. He tries his hand at begging for food once but doesn’t try again after he’s swept away by a broom.

He finds himself missing his friends and his mother. He would hope that she’s not too worried about him, but Reborn usually covers for him when he goes missing. The usual excuse is a sleepover at a friend’s. With any luck, she’ll be too busy with Lambo, Fuuta, and I-pin to think about where he’s gone.

Tsuna shakes his head and skirts around legs that threaten to trample him. He dutifully waits at a crosswalk, which gets him some looks, but no one tries to touch him or pick him up, which he’s eternally grateful for. He doesn’t know where he’s going and his paws are starting to hurt, but he doesn’t stop walking.

At least until he hears the sound of tiny explosions that remind him of Hayato. It’s a foolish thing, to get his hopes up, but he can’t stop himself from running towards the noises. The sounds bring him close to a park, where a bunch of kids group together around two boys in the middle of what seems to be a very one-sided fight.

Disappointment fills him but is quickly replaced by concern when he watches as a green haired boy gets shoved onto the ground and kicked by the blond who is producing the explosions. Tsuna doesn’t even stop to think about what he’s about to do. Instead, he launches forward towards the kids and leaps through the air.

Any other time, he probably would have laughed at the picture he made, latched onto the boy’s pants, tearing holes into the jeans. When the sound of the blond’s shrieking starts to thrill him, he wonders when he got to be so vindictive. Maybe Reborn’s personality has rubbed off on him. Well, whatever. He never liked bullies anyway.

Tsuna is shaken off the boy’s leg and gets kicked for his troubles, but he doesn’t stick around to process how much that had hurt. Instead, he darts towards the bushes and listens to the sound of footsteps pursuing after him. He loops through the park and manages to make his way back to the boy who had been targeted by the group of bullies once he loses them.

He’s still there, looking dazed. Tsuna sympathizes.

Unable to help himself a second time, Tsuna approaches the boy in the grass and sits down in front of him. Forgetting he can’t actually speak, his greeting comes out as a chirp. It’s embarrassing, but it does pull the boy from his thoughts.

Alarmingly, the boy’s green eyes fill up with tears. When he’s pulled into a hug, Tsuna ignores the instinct to squirm away. He stays still and offers the other a silent comfort (until he starts purring, which, weird). Tsuna isn’t aware of how long they sit there and hadn’t known how tired he was until he dozes off. He barely registers the feeling of being carried until he’s swept away, lost in his dreams.

Chapter Text

Tsuna wakes up in the arms of the bullied boy just before the door to an apartment is opened and they both step inside. He has half a mind to wiggle his way out of the boy’s hold, but where is he meant to go when he achieves that? For now, he sits still and perks up, feeling his ears reflect his attention.

“Izuku?” A woman calls from where he suspects the kitchen might be. The boy in question stiffens, clutching Tsuna closer to his chest. If he had to guess, this is the part where he begs his mother to let him keep the cat. Tsuna’s a pretty scarred cat, he’s not sure if he can pull this off, but he’ll try.

A plump woman pokes her head out from around a corner and her eyes flick from her son to the cat in her son’s arms. She’s confused, rightfully so, but instead of saying anything, she simply makes her way out of the kitchen. She’s drying her hands off on a dishtowel as she raises her eyebrow at Izuku, asking a silent question.

“I…” Izuku hesitates, before lifting Tsuna higher into the air. “Please? I know this is sudden, but he found me. He scared Kacchan off.”

There’s a lot to dissect about that, but the boy’s mother sighs, looking at Tsuna again.

“He looks…”

Tsuna narrows his eyes and waits for her to finish that. Yeah, sure, he looks feral, but he’s sure with a little brushing, he might actually be cute. Maybe. Eh, Tsuna’s never had much self-esteem, why would that change when he wakes up with fur all over his body?

“You don’t want… a different one?” The mother finishes her question, coming closer to observe him.

Quick, Tsuna, he thinks, what do cats do that people love?

Desperately, he flicks his tongue out and leaves it hanging in a shoddy attempt at a blep.

He is so glad that Reborn isn’t here right now.

“He chased away Kacchan,” Izuku repeats, in a tone that suggests what Tsuna had done was a big thing.

“Well in that case,” she drawls sarcastically, but it’s playful, eyes warm. “You have to take care of him. Feed him, change his litterbox, and all that fun stuff.”

Oh, no. Tsuna had been trying to ignore it ever since he woke up, but at the reminder, Tsuna quickly realizes that he will indeed have to use a litterbox at some point. That is if he can’t figure out how to balance himself on a toilet in this form. Ugh. This is what suffering looks like, he decides.

Don’t even get him started on cat food. It’ll probably taste alright with these tastebuds, but the thought is still revolting. He can probably get away with sneaking bits of food off their plates, right?

“Since he doesn’t have anything, why don’t we go get him some stuff? And he’s going to need a name,” the mother suggests.

Izuku enthusiastically nods and though they try to leave him here, Tsuna follows Izuku, slipping out the door at the last second. In the end, they realize it’s more trouble trying to herd him into the house than it is to let him trail after them.

Izuku- and Inko, as he comes to find out- bounce name suggestions back and forth on the way to their first stop.

The pet store is loud, but at least it looks nice. It’s quaint and mostly pastel. There are a few people inside and they whisper when they see Tsuna following behind Izuku. He dutifully dodges around interested dogs, because no thanks. Inko parts from them to grab a cart as they make their way to the collars.

Tsuna doesn’t like the idea of wearing something like that, but he knows that right now, he’s a cat with no say in the matter. Plus, it’ll help him avoid being picked up by animal control if someone spots him wandering around outside- something he’ll no doubt have to do if he ever wants to find answers about why he’s here and why he’s like this.

He spots a collar with pineapple patterns and has a quick mental image of Mukuro wearing it. His laugh comes out as a chuff and Izuku gives him a weird look for it.

Inko comes back and helps Izuku pick out a collar. It’s a standard orange floral patterned collar with a soft fabric material. They made sure it has a breakaway clasp in case Tsuna gets caught on something, which he’s grateful for. After that, Izuku picks out a cute matching harness and leash set. Tsuna doubts they’ll ever really need to use it, considering Tsuna isn’t going to just bolt from his side, but whatever makes them feel better, he supposes.

They wander about the aisles. Tsuna has some input on the food he’ll be eating because he stands up on his hind legs to bat at a bag. It boasts about ‘real flavor’, something he doubts very much, but it’s better than the other ones in his reach. After that, he simply goes along with the things they pick out, from shampoo to combs.

Izuku picks out toys that Tsuna pretends to be interested in and by the time their cart is moderately full, Tsuna’s exhausted. With that, a decision is made, and he calculates the distance from where he’s at and how high the cart is. He wiggles back and forth, hopping into the air.

It does not go as planned.

He smashes face first into the side of the cart and falls onto his side with a pitiful sounding mrrp.

There’s a moment of silence before he hears Inko laughing. Izuku’s at least better at hiding it, but he does check on Tsuna to see if he’s alright. Aside from the bruised pride and the sting of his nose, he’s fine. He dangles limply as Izuku picks him up, letting himself be cradled like a baby.

“Oh my god, that was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen, Shouta,” comes a voice, whisper shouted from further down the aisle. Tsuna twists his head around to look at who said that, spotting long blond hair pulled into a ponytail, standing next to a scruffy man with tired eyes.

Izuku and Inko don’t appear to have heard the exclamation, but he certainly did.

Heightened senses?

As he continues to look at the two men, it finally hits him that the weird feeling in his gut is his intuition telling him that while they’re capable, they’re not dangerous to him. Knowing that he still has his hyper intuition is a relief.

But does he still have everything else? Would he be able to use his flames in this form? It’s worth trying at a later point.

Just then, the blond approaches, eyes glittering in wonder and amusement. Of course, the other man trails after, likely to make sure he doesn’t get in trouble. It reminds him of Takeshi and Hayato, for some reason.

“He’s so cute. What’s his name? It’s a he, right?” The blond asks, having made it over to them. Inko looks over, examining him for a split second before she decides he’s fine.

“You know, I’m actually not sure,” Inko says, blinking.

Oh no. Reborn, kill me.

After the humiliating experience of them checking to make sure that he is, indeed, a boy, they have a pleasant conversation about how Izuku found Tsuna.

Tsuna’s tail twitches in irritation at being reminded that Izuku was being bullied when they first met.

“So he’s a stray?” The scruffy man asks, reaching over to let Tsuna ‘smell’ his finger. Not that he does, because that’s kinda gross. “You don’t know why he has those scars?”

A troubled expression comes over Izuku’s face.

“No,” Izuku replies, fingers soothing through the fur on Tsuna’s sides. It makes him purr, surprisingly loudly, and it only grows in volume when the scruffy man targets the underside of his chin. Who knew it’d feel so good?

Cats are so lucky, Tsuna thinks.

“People who do things like that to animals are sick,” the blond man says, lips twisted into a frown.

He squirms when a finger gingerly runs over the scar tissue on the ‘x’. It doesn’t hurt, but the skin has always been sensitive since he got it.

“Can we take a picture of him?” The blond asks, already pulling out his phone. When Izuku gives him permission, he proceeds to snap what sounds like thirty pictures. Because he can, Tsuna sticks his tongue out, to the delight of the scruffy man. Though it’s not obvious, his eyes brighten up at the sight of Tsuna’s imperfect blep.

“Thank you,” the scruffy man says before they go back to whatever they were doing before they approached.

Tsuna is cradled the entire time they go through the rest of the store. He puts up with people approaching, trying to pet him, but for the most part, they’re left alone. He is immensely happy when they head back ‘home’.

The happiness does not last, because it turns out that they did not in fact head ‘home’. Instead, Tsuna is taken to the vet’s, where is thoroughly vaccinated and checked over for anything he possibly could have contracted considering the only thing they know about him is that he was a stray.

The vet is incredibly unhappy about the scars and, from the x-ray vision, the sight of his crudely healed bones. The life of an heir to a mafia organization is not an easy one, but it looks even worse now that he’s a cat.

Once he’s given a clean bill of health, they take a moment to fill out some papers, where names are heavily debated once more.

It is by pure luck that Tsuna spots ‘27’ on one of the pages. Everyone in the room goes silent when they notice that Tsuna has been consistently tapping the number on the paper.

“Tsu-na?” Izuku sounds out, watching as his ‘cat’ perks up, mewing at him.

“That’s… Hm.” The vet puts a hand on her chin, eyebrows drawing together. “An animal with a quirk? That’s incredibly rare.”

There’s that word again, Tsuna notes. I should look into that more when I get a chance.

“I did notice that he was acting intelligently,” Inko says, adding her own input.

“I’ll make sure to register him as an animal with an intelligence quirk. If he does anything else, please notify me right away and we’ll adjust specifics accordingly. Oh, and as a warning? Keep an eye on him. Animals with quirks are incredibly desirable.” The vet leaves that hanging heavily in the air.

As they get things figured out, Tsuna is eventually taken back to the apartment, where he has a quick bath (ugh, wet fur). Thoroughly wrung out from the day, Tsuna finds a nice spot in the sun and proceeds to curl up in it.

Chapter Text

It’s surprisingly easy to follow Izuku to school. After all, the other boy can’t hear his footsteps, especially not over Izuku’s muttering. He has a feeling other people might find the habit creepy, but he thinks it’s pretty endearing. At least compared to some of the habits his friends have (Kyoya’s habit of calling people herbivores comes to mind).

Regardless, Tsuna learns a lot about this world from what Izuku’s murmuring under his breath. Quirks are still weird, but he’s quickly adjusting. He kind of has to, considering what his own world is like. He idly wonders if the mafia is still a thing here, before deciding firmly that it doesn’t matter and that he doesn’t want to know.

When they get to the school, Tsuna waits carefully in the shadows until the last of the students head inside, darting in through the doors just before they close. It’s easy to dart through the halls after that, ears flicking around to see if he can hear Izuku or ‘Kacchan’, knowing that the two share the same class. It’s probably nothing short of a miracle that the door to said class is still open by the time he locates the other boy.

He peeks his head around the corner and when no one looks over at him, he lowers his body and slinks around the chairs, coming to a stop between Izuku and ‘Kacchan’. It’s then that the teacher walks in. A brilliant idea pops into mind and Tsuna slides under the bully’s chair.

Time goes by and Tsuna is officially as bored as they come, but he has to admit that listening to the lessons have given him some more insight into the history of the place. Math hasn’t changed a bit, though. It isn’t until almost lunch period that someone finally notices the cat in the room and his presence is loudly announced.

The teacher looks from Tsuna to ‘Kacchan’ and frowns.

“Bakugou, you’re not allowed to bring your pet to school,” the teacher scolds.

Bakugou seethes in the indignation of the accusation, looking under his chair. When he meets Tsuna’s eyes, he hisses out, “It’s you.”

When the bully sits back out, Tsuna winds himself around Bakugou’s legs, chirping loudly.

“It’s not fucking mine, sensei,” Bakugou shouts, fists slamming down onto the desk. Bakugou can’t even kick Tsuna away, though he does nudge him towards Izuku. “It’s Deku’s.”

The teacher looks down at where Tsuna’s made his way back to Bakugou’s legs, rubbing against his shins, then back to Bakugou, raising an eyebrow.

“Right. Know that if you bring your pet in again, you’ll get a detention, not a warning,” the teacher says. He ignores Bakugou’s sputtering, already returning to the lesson.

Tsuna sits in the aisle and stares at Bakugou in smug satisfaction. Some of the other students are snickering under their breath. Both Bakugou and Izuku are the only ones who appear to be mortified, though the blond is a lot angrier than Izuku is.

Tsuna doesn’t care about that, though, because he’ll be there to protect Izuku from his wrath. With that, he turns around and hops delicately onto Izuku’s desk, keeping off his notes, even though it means half of his body is precariously balanced off the edge. He’s had plenty of practice jumping since the cart incident, not wanting to embarrass himself again. He’s barely got it down and thinks he should count himself lucky it worked this time.

That takes care of that, he thinks to himself.

When Tsuna turns his head to face the blond, his eyes meet red. With nothing better to do, Tsuna bleps.

Bakugou doesn’t get a chance to harass either of them when lunch comes around, which Tsuna’s grateful for. Instead, they spend it outside under a tree and Izuku takes a few pictures of Tsuna playing in the grass, who was trying to cheer the other boy up by acting silly. He thinks Izuku’s been posting said pictures to his Twitter, but he can’t be too sure.

I wonder if I can snatch his phone and use that to communicate? It’s worth a try sometime.

The rest of the day passes by relatively quickly, though Tsuna finds himself having to put up with students trying to stealthily pet him. He’s surprised by the number of students who try to make a petition to let ‘Bakugou’ bring ‘his’ cat to school. If the teacher approves, though, Tsuna won’t have to sneak into the school, which would be helpful.

After school, Tsuna waits by Izuku’s side, keeping a close eye on his blond bully. He kneads at the ground, claws out where Bakugou can see them. When Izuku’s bag is packed, Bakugou doesn’t make any movements to follow, watching them go with a glare.

“You’re going to give me early gray hairs,” Izuku says on the walk home.

Tsuna looks up and tilts his head, mewing innocently. He knows now, without a single doubt in his mind, he’s spent too much time around Reborn.

Later, Tsuna is lounging on the floor of the living room when a red dot appears in the corner of his vision. Turning his head towards it, he watches the dot move closer. Tsuna’s smart enough to know what’s going on here, but… well, his intuition tells him that Izuku’s been a lot happier since Tsuna launched himself into the boy’s life. He can give him this one thing. Tsuna sits up and chases after the red dot, hearing Izuku stifle his laughter. He thinks he hears Inko join them from the kitchen, to see what the fuss was about.

Tsuna doesn’t stop chasing the dot. Even when it means doing sharp circles on the carpet, getting dizzy enough to stumble around and flop onto his side. Both Inko and Izuku have given up on hiding their mirth. It’s a nice sound to hear. When he lifts his head and looks over at them, he can see that they’re leaning on each other.

He gets a pang of homesickness, wanting to see his own mother, but… if he’s honest, they hadn’t been this close since before everyone started calling Tsuna ‘dame’.

Tsuna doesn’t get to linger on those thoughts any longer, because Inko scoops him into her arms and cradles him in a warm embrace. She presses a kiss to his head and he can’t stop himself from purring. He’s handed off to Izuku after a moment and the boy carries him to the couch, where they sit there, watching a movie. He thinks it’s a movie about a hero, but he can’t bring himself to focus when Izuku scratches under his chin.

He may not like the situation he’s in, but at least he’s not totally alone here.

Chapter Text

Over the course of a week, the teachers begin to ignore the random cat that appears inside the school, making it pretty easy for Tsuna to come and go as he pleases. Tsuna, more often than not, ends up attending classes if only to keep his studies up, made easier by the fact that Izuku has a tendency to explain things under his breath.

Not only that, but Tsuna’s suspicions about Izuku’s Instagram was basically confirmed when he managed to get a peek at the other boy’s phone. It’s flattering that it’s doing so well, but a lot of the weird faces Tsuna unintentionally makes ends up being posted. Now that’s embarrassing.

It did, however, remind him that he has a mission to get ahold of Izuku’s phone. If he can do that and manage a cohesive sentence via texting, maybe he can get Izuku to help him find a way back to his universe or time or whatever happened to him. With the phone, he could probably search to see if Namimori exists.

Getting Izuku’s phone is not as easy as Tsuna had thought it would be a week ago. The boy has a tendency to distract him with chin scratches or he’s gently nudged away. Something always comes up when Tsuna gets close to grabbing the device.

His latest attempt is diverted by Izuku, who lifts his backpack onto his desk, outside of Tsuna’s reach. With a huff, Tsuna sits on his haunches, thinking about what he should do now. Does he attempt to go for someone else’s bag? Tsuna tilts his head and looks over his shoulder, eyes locking onto Bakugou’s form.

He’s definitely like Hayato in some ways, Tsuna thinks. Not totally; he can’t imagine Hayato doing half of what Bakugou does. However, the blond is much more studious than anyone gives him credit for. Despite calling Izuku a nerd, it’s clear that they’re both alike when it comes to taking notes. Oh, and the copious amounts of explosions they both like to use (though Hayato’s own comes from handmade dynamite).

Which is scarier- being able to secrete explosive fluids and ignite them? Or being proficient with making handmade dynamite? Both. Both are scary.

Maybe it’s desperation, but Tsuna inches his way over to the blond’s desk and eyes his bag. Taking the zipper between his teeth, he tugs as quietly as he can manage and pulls it open. If he can’t find Bakugou’s phone and he’s caught, he’s not sure what’ll happen, but he knows it won’t be good.

He digs around and must somehow forget about being stealthy because shortly after, he hears a quiet, “What the fuck?

He’s lifted by the scruff of his neck and Tsuna doesn’t even know what happens, because he lashes out at Bakugou, clawing his hand. The blond drops Tsuna with a curse and he falls off the desk, bellyflopping onto the floor. It hurts, but what hurts the most is the flashback to Daemon’s fight, where his neck had been grabbed. Consequently, the fight resulted in every single one of Tsuna’s bones being broken, pretty much.

Thinking about it makes him feel sick. He gets up from the ground and makes his way back to Izuku’s desk, ignoring the cussing of the explosive boy behind him. Izuku must sense that something’s wrong because he lets Tsuna curl into a tight ball on his lap. A tender hand runs along his spine. Tsuna closes his eyes, but he does not fall asleep.

Tsuna comes to a startling realization later that day, as they’re leaving the school.

Izuku is my emotional support human, Tsuna thinks, and I’m his emotional support cat. With a side of bodyguarding on his part, making sure that a certain explosive blond doesn’t mess with Izuku.

Is he finally giving up? Tsuna wonders, when Bakugou leaves without an attempt at harassment towards Izuku. It’s possible that the blond feels bad for something, but he strongly doubts it. Even his own bully, Mochida, had taken breaks from picking on Tsuna on certain days.

Either way, he doesn’t know what to do with this information. Instead, he walks at Izuku’s side and listens to him talk about heroes. It’s not hard to tell that Izuku wants to be one, too, and apparently, the only thing stopping him is his lack of quirk. Tsuna doesn’t agree.

While he must admit that it’d be ten times as dangerous, Tsuna was a wimpy kid failing every single one of his classes when Reborn popped into his life to train him into a mafia heir. If small ‘useless dame-Tsuna’ could become something remotely like a mafia heir, then this brave green bean of a boy could become a hero.

Tsuna doesn’t know how he’ll help him out, though. Communication is difficult as a cat and Izuku still won’t let him anywhere near his phone.

As they pass by a beach covered in garbage, an idea comes to mind.

He diverts from their path and starts walking over to the endless pile of trash on the sand. He grabs Izuku’s attention by meowing loudly. Izuku stops walking. Tsuna looks back and, hoping that the other boy will catch the challenge on his face, darts under some debris.

Izuku shouts something that Tsuna doesn’t catch, distracted as he is by the smell. Ugh.

Why do I do these things to myself?

Doing his absolute best to not touch anything, he picks up a piece of cardboard with his mouth and crawls back out of the debris, making sure to catch Izuku’s eye.

Izuku stops pulling at bags to get to Tsuna, noticing that he’s come back out. They stare at each other and the silence extends even further when the green haired boy watches as Tsuna takes the piece of cardboard over to an actual trash can. He can’t exactly reach up and put it in, but he thinks he makes his point when he sets the cardboard down in front of the bin.

A few repeated cycles of this seems to get his point across.

“You’re kidding me,” Izuku says. “We can’t clean up this entire beach ourselves.”

Who said anything about ‘we’? Tsuna thinks, tilting his head to blink up at Izuku. Despite not being able to reply, Tsuna taps a paw on a ripped up magazine, over the name ‘All Might’.

Tsuna may not know much about heroes in general, but considering the state of Izuku’s room, the boy’s got a hero crush on this one in particular.

“...You really do have a quirk,” Izuku mutters. There’s more being said under his breath that Tsuna isn’t hearing, but in the end, Izuku’s fists clench. With determination in his gaze, Izuku continues with, “I’ll do it.”

He still would have preferred being able to encourage Izuku with actual words, but when he rubs his body against Izuku’s shins, he thinks the other boy will understand what he means, all that same.

Over the course of a week, they keep returning to the beach. Tsuna’s noted the feeling of some eyes on their actions, but no one approaches them to ask what they’re doing. Or rather, what Izuku’s doing. It probably seems weird that Izuku keeps looking back to Tsuna for his approval and that a cat sagely nodding is equally strange, but whatever.

Tsuna’s a cat right now. He can do what he wants.

If I keep myself busy, I don’t have to think about the total disarray my life is and has become. Consequently, I don’t have Reborn here to smack me for panicking over every ‘little’ thing.

Bringing attention to himself reminds him of what the vet had said to Izuku, so maybe he can’t do whatever he wants. Whatever.

The point is, he wants to investigate whoever is watching them so closely.

Every time he’s managed to get close, the person mysteriously vanishes. It’s another thing that reminds him of one of his reminds, this case being Mukuro. The older teen’s always had a way of appearing and disappearing as he pleases.

Today, he’s been waiting in some shadows. Helpfully, his intuition is telling him to be patient and that the stranger is close.

Five minutes turns into fifteen when the stranger finally shows. From where he’s hiding, the stranger appears to be a very tall hunched man. His blond hair is vibrant, so much so that Tsuna has no idea how he missed him before. His features are gaunt and outside of Chrome, he’s probably the skinniest person he’s ever seen.

What sticks out more than that is how much he aches. It’s a pain that taps at his intuition with the force of a brick being thrown through a window. The squeeze in his chest is so strong, he doesn’t notice he’s been rubbing against the stranger’s shins until the man jumps in surprise, bumping into Tsuna’s side.

It doesn’t hurt, but the man is so distraught over possibly hurting him that he’s murmuring apologies frantically, hands hovering Tsuna’s body. It’s reminiscent of when Izuku accidentally steps on his paws. Unable to help himself, Tsuna moves closer, rubbing against the man’s knees.

Tsuna has a brief mental image of doing this as a human and shudders, tail flicking. The tip of his tail smacks the man’s nose, who promptly sneezes.

This meeting could have gone better a lot better.

Tsuna’s pestering must have attracted some attention. He can hear Izuku’s voice timidly asking if the man’s alright.

“I’m alright, my boy,” the man says, in a voice that is unexpectedly deeper than Tsuna assumed it would be. He’s rubbing the back of his neck, sheepish, but his other hand is gingerly running down Tsuna’s back.

“He’s not bothering you, is he?” Izuku asks, looking down at Tsuna. He’d take offense to the implication that he’s being a pest, but it’s not like Izuku’s wrong. Besides that, he knows Izuku doesn’t actually think Tsuna’s being a bother (despite his habit of sticking his nose into business that he’s not a part of).

“Of course not,” the man says. After a pause, the man speaks up again, “I couldn’t help notice that you’re cleaning the beach by yourself.”

“Oh, that? Yeah, um. It’s part of my training,” Izuku replies, scratching at his head. Sensing the nerves, Tsuna walks over to Izuku and stands up on his back legs, attempting to knead at the boy’s pants.

“That’s an admirable goal. I assume by training, you mean to become a hero?”

Izuku nods his head, hesitating for a moment, “I’m at a disadvantage. I need to make up the difference.”

“Disadvantage?” The man asks, raising an eyebrow.

Tsuna is picked up from under his armpits, his cat body stretching twice its length as he’s hefted into Izuku’s gentle embrace. He doesn't know why everyone insists on holding him like he’s a baby, but he thinks it might be comforting to Izuku. If that’s the case, he’ll let it happen.

“I’m, um, q-quirkless,” Izuku replies, squeezing Tsuna as he buries his fingers into Tsuna’s soft fur. Tsuna can’t reach very high, but he is able to lick at Izuku’s jaw, who laughs at the feeling.

The man is quiet, examining the two of them with a sharp blue gaze.

“And you understand the dangers?” He finally asks.

Izuku nods, his expression showing his determination.

“What’s your name, my boy? You can call me Yagi.”

“Izuku. Midoriya Izuku, sir,” the green haired boy bows as much as he can with a cat in his arms.

“I look forward to seeing you become a hero,” Yagi says, bowing back. “Do you mind if I return? Perhaps I can give you some tips.”

Izuku’s head whips up to peer at the blond in shock. His eyes get watery and he accepts. Seeing his job here is done, Tsuna purrs loudly.

After the two trade numbers, they walk back home and Izuku doesn’t hesitate to let himself cry. Despite knowing they’re happy tears, Tsuna curls up to Izuku for the second time that day and offers him comfort this time.

Chapter Text

A week after the start of Izuku’s new exercise plan, they both finally get a break and stay home on Saturday. Tsuna isn’t really tired, per se, but with nothing else to do, he lounges around and sunbathes in the light peeking through the living room’s curtains. He thinks that he can already see an improvement in Izuku’s confidence.

Not only was Yagi there to verbally coach Izuku about the routine, but he’s even come up with a meal plan for Izuku to follow. It’s way more than what Tsuna was able to communicate, of course, but he thinks there was one thing missing. That being a way to defend himself.

Tsuna has never been a fan of fighting, but even he’s seen the uses self-defense has. If anything, without it, he would have died a million times over by now. That’s why, the day before, he’d wandered the city for two specific martial art dojos. Yagi and Izuku had the strangest looks on their faces when Tsuna dropped the pamphlets off at their feet, but he couldn’t decide if it was because Tsuna’s a cat or if it were the two chosen martial arts he chose.

His first pick had been Judo, his second had been Krav Maga.

There aren’t a whole lot of teachers for the second one, Tsuna thinks, recalling just how long he’d scoured the city for it. Actually, why didn’t Reborn even get me official martial arts training? Nah, nevermind. One does not simply question the world’s greatest Hitman or whatever.

He knows the dangers that come from Krav Maga for both parties, but in the end, Izuku is going to have to learn that villains will never hold back and that sometimes you use any advantage you can get.

Regardless, once Izuku had his mother’s permission to sign up (which Tsuna had to bribe her in bleps for), Yagi adjusted the routine accordingly.

Now, Tsuna has one more obstacle to overcome and it doesn’t relate to Izuku at all. He’s been putting it off as much as possible, with no real good time to try it out while Inko and Izuku were home. It’s now or never, though, because the Bakugous will be here any minute, and Tsuna’s had to use the bathroom all day. At first, he’d caved, using the litterbox, but Tsuna hates it. The way the litter feels between his toes? The way he tracks it all over the house without meaning to?

Which brings him to where he is. He gets up from the warm spot on the floor and, casting a look at a distracted Izuku, makes his way to the bathroom. Once there, he contemplates the jumping distance and how much bounce he’ll have to put into his leap. He doesn’t want to land in the water, ew.

Here goes nothing. Tsuna leaps from the floor onto the toilet and, balancing precariously, gets to business.

It isn’t until he’s flushing that he hears stifled giggling.

No. Please, no. Don’t tell me.

He turns his head and meets Inko’s gaze. She has a hand over her mouth and a phone in her other.

If Reborn showed up out of nowhere and shot me, I would be okay with that.

Izuku isn’t far behind Inko as he comes up behind his mother to see what’s going on. Tsuna, with dread, meets his gaze too. There’s a minute of silence, broken when Inko breaks out laughing. She hands the phone to Izuku, who watches the video.

Tsuna doesn’t wait to hear Izuku laugh, too, because he runs from the bathroom. Humiliated yet again, Tsuna burrows his way under Izuku’s bed and curls up in the corner, paws over his eyes.

Izuku tries to coax him out once, five minutes later, but Tsuna doesn’t budge. He doesn’t move, even after the doorbell is rung, and he can hear chatter from their guests.

He does manage to catch Inko saying, “Why don’t you two go to Izuku’s room? Dinner will be ready soon.”

Tension fills the room as two sets of feet make their way into the room. There’s a bit of Izuku’s murmuring, trying to fill the silence, but Tsuna will bet his left paw that Bakugou doesn’t care about anything he’s saying. That is until he hears Bakugou snort.

“You got that on video?” Bakugou asks. There’s the sound of rustling clothes like he’s putting his hands into his pockets.

Tsuna wants to die.

“Oh, uh, yeah. I posted it to the account.” Izuku sits on the edge of the bed and likely hands his phone over to Bakugou.

“Your cat’s fuckin’ weird,” Bakugou remarks after a long period of quiet, busy watching the video.

“Sometimes,” Izuku agrees, before adding, “The vet we took him to says he has an intelligence quirk.”

Bakugou hums and decides to take a seat on the floor, opposite of where Izuku’s sitting.

“Where’s he now?”

“Under my bed, sulking,” Izuku replies, sliding off his bed to look under it. Bakugou does as well, spotting Tsuna’s curled up form in the corner.

Tsuna turns around to stare at them both, stubbornly remaining where he is.

“Hey, that shithead was going through my bag last week. Did you tell him to do that?” Bakugou suddenly exclaims, glaring at them both.

“No?” Izuku says though it comes out as though he’s asking. He sits back on his knees, feet tucked under him. “He was going through mine too, but I don’t know why.”

Bakugou reaches for Tsuna so fast, he doesn’t have any time to react as he’s pulled out. Izuku jolts in alarm, but before either of them can do anything, Tsuna’s set down in Bakugou’s lap. A calloused hand runs down his side, tactfully avoiding his scars. In his shock at the gentle handling, he can only sit there and let it happen.

“Can’t believe you kept him after watching him attack me like he had a case of rabies,” Bakugou remarks, raising an eyebrow at Izuku.

“I’m, um, kind of surprised you’re petting him after that,” Izuku replies, avoiding the accusing look Bakugou’s shooting him.

“I might be an asshole, but I’m not a total monster,” Bakugou growls, glaring at the green haired boy.

“I d-didn’t say that.” Izuku’s gaze drops to where he’s tugging at his sleeves, keeping his hands busy.

“Yeah, whatever.” The blond looks away, eyebrows furrowed. After a moment, he pipes up, “I’m seeing someone.”

“Oh, uh, congratulations?”

“Not like that, Deku,” Bakugou hisses, flushing red. His fingers thread through Tsuna’s fur softly, despite his fuming. “Just, uh, listen. Auntie finally contacted my mom about my behavior or whatever. Said I needed to shape up and got me in to see someone about my issues.”

Tsuna peers up at the blond, then back over to Izuku, who appears to have no idea where this is going. If Tsuna’s being honest, he can’t believe this is even happening.

“I need to talk about my problems or some stupid shit,” Bakugou continues. “So, I guess, here I am. Talking about my… my feelings.”

Bakugou takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. Tsuna notes that the way he’s being pet is eerily similar to the way Izuku does when he’s nervous.

“I… I can’t be too much of dick to not apologize when I know I’m being one. Blah, blah, inferiority complex, and something about thinking you’re better than me, or whatever. The point is, I’m sorry, and it’s the last time you’ll ever hear that from me.”

Tsuna watches Bakugou clench his jaw, waiting for what Izuku has to say in response.

Izuku pulls at his lip, as he always does when he’s being thoughtful. When he lets go, he faces Bakugou, green eyes watery but determined.

“You… It took a lot for you to say that, so thank you,” Izuku says, before clasping his hands, trying to curb the shaking. “Some of the things you did over the years were far from okay and I don’t think I can ever forget them, but… b-but! I can forgive you.”

Bakugou listens with a frown that deepens when he hears ‘I can forgive you’.

“Idiot, don’t forgive me so easily,” the blond mutters, his grip on Tsuna tightening.

“I said I can. You need need to stop seeing me as a threat, Kacchan. I only ever wanted to be your friend,” Izuku replies, sniffling.

Tsuna slips out of Bakugou’s hands when the boys hug briefly. It hardly lasts before the blond pushes Izuku away.

The awkwardness slowly fades when the topic changes to heroics and Izuku slips about his training. Bakugou doesn’t get angry, though, and Tsuna wonders why no one got this boy into therapy sooner.

Tsuna watches the boys closely before his eyes catch on Izuku’s phone sitting on the bed. Tsuna makes sure Izuku isn’t watching when he hops onto the covers, paw touching the screen. It flickers on and Tsuna’s met with a lock screen.

What was the code again?

Before Tsuna can begin to tap on the numbers, Izuku plucks the phone from his grasp and pockets it.

“Time for dinner,” Izuku chirps, picking Tsuna up into his arms.

Tsuna lets himself go limp in his defeat. If only he could cry as a cat, Tsuna thinks. If only.

Chapter Text

Despite Katsuki’s apology, nothing much changes, except that Katsuki doesn’t call Izuku ‘Deku’ anymore, by the green haired boy’s request. He leaves them alone at school and hardly hangs out with Izuku, though that’s probably for the best in Tsuna’s opinion.

Even still, when Katsuki is pulled over to the Midoriya residence for dinners, the conversation is stilted. They have no idea where to go from here. Tsuna would try to help, except someone keeps pulling his phone out of Tsuna’s reach every time he attempts to mess around with the code.

Regardless, the end of the school year is coming up and Tsuna’s lazily hanging out on Izuku’s desk, batting at a thin piece of string dangling from the boy’s hand. There’s not much going on in the classroom- frankly, the teacher’s given up on talking much besides talking about U.A and how some of the class is attempting to get into it. The direct callout towards Izuku trying resulted in some laughs that didn’t last long when Tsuna hissed in their direction, not that he even meant to (instincts, okay? They’re weird as a cat).

This teacher reminds him of the one he had to suffer through back in middle school. Getting him fired had been amazing.

The school bell rings, signaling the end of the day. Izuku packs up slowly, then slowly tries tugging the notebook out from under Tsuna without sliding him off the desk. It turns into a game of ‘How annoying can I be before Izuku gives up and picks me up?’

Turns out Izuku has the patience of a saint because he eases the notebook out eventually and goes to stuff it into his backpack. It’s grabbed by someone before he can and Tsuna’s standing up before he even thinks, bristling in a warning.

It’s that bully with the really long stretchy fingers- they kind of freak Tsuna out a little if he’s being honest.

“You’re still writing in this? Don’t you think that it’s time you started being realistic?” The bully asks, flipping through the pages. Before he can even think about ripping them out, Tsuna wiggles his body and then flies through the air.

Turns out hooking your claws into something helps you stabilize; unfortunately for the bully, his claws are neatly lodged into his skin as he starts biting at his stretchy fingers. The kid freaks out, yelling and flapping his arm, trying to get him to let go. Izuku’s notebook lands on the floor, unharmed.

Katsuki snickers to himself, but picks up the notebook and hands it back to Izuku. Izuku looks at the blond in surprise, taking it back and stuffing it into his backpack. Tsuna lets go when he’s decided the boy has had enough, landing on a chair nearest his green-haired companion.

“You should put that rabid mangy animal down,” the bully cries, darting from the room.

Izuku huffs indignantly, picking Tsuna up to examine him and make sure he’s not hurt. Tsuna feels warmth, reminded of Hayato’s insistent fretting and worrying.

“Fuckin’ hilarious when it’s not aimed at me,” Katsuki comments, finger rubbing under Tsuna’s chin. “Kinda badass, actually. Of course you would pick up a bodyguard in the form of a cat.”

“He came out of nowhere that one day. He is pretty special,” Izuku replies. “When he’s not sleeping on my clean shirts, getting fur all over them.”

“He only does that after you take embarrassing pictures of him,” Katsuki points out, following the green haired boy as they start walking out of the school.

“Are you suggesting my cat has a vindictive streak?”

Katsuki’s answer to the question is a raised eyebrow.

“Fair enough.”

Their conversation halts as they make their way through an underpass. It’s about then that Tsuna’s intuition starts blaring at an unseen danger. Tsuna frantically looks around from where he’s draped around Izuku’s shoulders like a living scarf. Though he doesn’t see anything, his intuition is screaming that they’re running out of time to escape.

Behind them, the manhole cover is blown upwards and a thick green sludge pulls itself from the sewers, frantically muttering about quickly hiding. When the sludge turns its eyes towards the boys, it grins menacingly.

“Now isn’t this perfect? An invisibility cloak served to me on a silver platter!” With those words, the sludge shoots forward towards Izuku, paying Katsuki no mind.

Ignoring Katsuki’s warning explosions, the sludge envelopes Izuku, unfortunately taking Tsuna with.

It’s a lot harder to hold your breath as a cat, Tsuna learns, frantically scratching at the sludge around them. The warmth in his chest goes unignored and he closes his eyes as something bright takes over around him.

It’s hot. It’s too hot.

The world goes dark.

Coming to awareness is like swimming against a current, leaving him more exhausted for even trying, but Tsuna is determined. If anything, he needs to make sure that Izuku and Katsuki are okay after whatever happened. He can hear something muffled, something sounding excited.

Tsuna peels his eyes open and blinks. Through his blurry vision, he sees a muscular blond hero standing with his arms on his hips, talking to Izuku. Looking around him, he doesn’t see Katsuki. Worry feels him, heavy in the pit of his stomach, and he attempts to force himself to stand. He crashes to the floor, scraping his chin, but his third try goes much smoother.

That is until he’s plucked up by a calloused grip. He’s cradled into a too-warm embrace and upon looking up at who it is, he is filled with relief at the sight of the explosive blond. He seems entirely unharmed, but there’s a look on his face that speaks of unbridled rage and frustration.

“De- er, Izuku,” Katsuki snaps, interrupting the bonding between the green haired boy and All Might.

Izuku’s worried eyes light up at the sight of Tsuna.

“You found him,” Izuku exclaims, rushing over.

All Might’s shadowed smile seems tense when he walks over to examine the cat in Katsuki’s arms, but his touch is gentle when prodding at Tsuna’s ribs.

Tsuna knows it’s a bad idea to close his eyes, but his blinks are getting longer, and his head is feeling fuzzy (pun not intended; Reborn would have smacked him for this).

Except, he becomes significantly more awake when Izuku latches himself onto the blond hero’s leg and flies off with him.

“Oh my fucking god,” Katsuki says, watching the hero become a speck in the sky. “That reckless shit! What am I supposed to do with-?”

Tsuna tries to weakly pull himself from Katsuki’s arms, but he holds on tightly and begins walking towards the direction of the nearest vet.

“I can’t believe him,” Katsuki mutters darkly, but his lips tug into a reluctant smirk. It was kind of funny to hear Izuku’s scream when he realized what he’d just done, fading into the distance.

And he thinks I’m going to give him gray hairs?

“Hey,” Katsuki says, looking down at Tsuna. When Tsuna looks back up at him, Katsuki scoffs, “intelligence quirk, sure. I’ll buy. You act too fucking human not to have one. That does not explain how you caught on fire.”

Tsuna wouldn’t even know where to start. Besides, it’s not like he can explain anything right now. He settles on blinking at him.

“Right, I’m talking to a cat,” Katsuki mutters.

Their walk is largely uneventful, but Tsuna can’t help look around, trying to find Izuku.

Tsuna must drift off for a little while because he’s jarred a little while later by an unfortunately familiar voice.

“You think I’m going to jail?” Opening his eyes, Tsuna sees the sludge once more. Somehow he got away from All Might.

Tsuna tries not to despair. He’s suffered worse at the hands of Reborn’s antics. If anything, Tsuna feels more exasperation at this villain than fear. Still, Katsuki’s explosions did basically nothing. The sludge’s eyes lock onto Katsuki’s form and the grin becomes eerily thrilled.

The pro heroes around them do nothing even as Katsuki and Tsuna are once again enveloped within the sludge. Tsuna claws and bites, causing the sludge to flinch, but as time goes on, Tsuna becomes more aware of the fact that the pro heroes around them aren’t doing anything.

The warmth starts up again, becoming almost unbearable. It feels nothing like his flames, but he knows that’s what they are. It’s different, though. Like there’s too much for his body to hold.

Even as he glows brightly, flames dancing from his forehead, he doesn’t get a chance to do much with them. Izuku charges from the crowd, eyes desperate, to reach them. He throws his yellow backpack into the sludge’s eye.

The sludge finally lets them go when All Might comes from nowhere, throwing a punch that blows him away. Tsuna, with nothing to hold onto, goes flying as well.

The last thing he sees is Izuku reaching out for him.

Chapter Text

Waking up feels like a monumental task that Tsuna is not prepared for, but in the end, he manages to pry his eyes open long enough to get a glance at his blurry surroundings. He blinks a couple of times to try and focus his vision. There are splashes of color that he turns to first, seeing All Might’s grinning face staring back at him. It’s one of the more recent movie posters. Relief fills him; he’s in Izuku’s room.

He examines himself, covered in white bandages, and supposes he can thank his vet for not sticking him in a cone of shame. He huffs, amused by the trail of thought- had Kyoya been in this situation, he’d be up and walking around by now. Thanks to Reborn, Tsuna has a high pain tolerance, but Kyoya is a different kind of beast.

Propping himself up, he sits there letting the room swim around him.

Must be the pain meds, Tsuna thinks. Where’s Izuku?

Despite knowing he needs to rest and that Izuku is probably just fine, he hops off the comfortable nest set up on the green haired boy’s bed. Remembering where to put his feet to walk forward is a test designed for him to fail, but he’s doing alright. At least, he hopes he is.

Luckily for him, the door is open. He limps his way down the hall and towards the living room, where he can hear people talking. He recognizes most of the voices, detecting Inko, Izuku, and even Katsuki. He thinks he hears Yagi, which is strange, but he must have heard about what happened.

He pokes his head around the living room, where Yagi is sitting in a slumped way. It’s not hard to detect guilt, even without using his intuition. It… It hurts. Makes him want to rush over there and reassure him. Yagi acts as though the weight of the world is on his shoulders, and Tsuna longs to tell him that it isn’t.

Tsuna hobbles into everyone’s view and, using their momentary surprise, makes his way over to Yagi’s legs, where he rubs against his shins in exactly the same manner as when they’d first met.

“Can we all just agree that your cat’s as reckless as you are?” Katsuki pipes up first, face turned towards Izuku, causing everyone else to spring into action.

“It’s not anyone’s fault,” Inko chides, responding to something that must have been said before Tsuna walked in. She’s much calmer than Izuku and Yagi, leaning down to scoop Tsuna into her arms.

Tsuna mrrps as he’s lifted into the air. Inko shushes him, tucking his head under her chin.

Tsuna isn’t expecting the memory he gets from such a simple action. His own mom, Nana, had stopped carrying him like this when he was younger, and their hugs had grown sparse. Tsuna knows it a factor that played a part was Nana’s embarrassment at having such a useless son, but her absence of touch left him craving something as motherly as Inko’s embrace.

It’s a good thing he can’t cry as a cat. It’s also a good thing that he’s not human right now.

I don’t remember being so… this, he thinks. Sentimental? Weepy? Emotional? Well, no, he’s always been those things. Nostalgic, maybe? Then again, I am on pain meds.

“But I knew both of the boys were there,” Yagi speaks up. “I should have suspected that Tsuna was as well. Those two are inseparable.” He motions from Izuku to Tsuna.

“You are one man, All Might,” Inko says. “You are human. You are capable of making mistakes.”

Wait a second. Tsuna knows Reborn would punish him for being so slow to catch up, but did Inko just call Yagi All Might? What happened while he was out?

“There was no time to grab all of us,” Izuku points out.

Yagi sighs, the slump of his shoulders easing. He still casts an uncertain gaze Tsuna’s way. Tsuna, who had been enjoying Inko’s warm arms, squirms towards him.

Inko sets him down on Yagi’s lap. Tsuna, in an attempt to do something cute, tries his hand at kneading his paws. He’s clumsy about it in a way that gives everyone a good laugh, but he can see the gratitude in Yagi’s eyes. Feeling accomplished, Tsuna slumps and lets himself rest. He doesn’t have to force himself to be okay right now.

He wonders if Hayato knows he’s been hurt- his ‘jyuudaime’ senses always had been extraordinarily good.

“He’s still gone?” Hayato asks, eyebrows furrowing. His hands twitch towards his pockets, no doubt full of dynamite as per usual. He has a bad feeling; it’s been itching at him all morning, made worse by the fact that no one can find the Vongola heir, even now.

Reborn tips his hat forward, hiding his glare. He doesn’t blame any of Tsuna’s guardians for misplacing him, because it had been Tsuna’s idea to slip away for a walk, leaving him open for attacks. Except, that’s not the problem here.

“There have been no families asking for ransom, no enemies bragging about their prize, and Kawahira’s been smirking at me,” Reborn grits out. To him, he already knows who’s at fault right now. Or at least, who is partly at fault.

“Has anyone seen that marshmallow guy around?” Takeshi asks. Reborn gives him points for the good question, finding that the answer is a grave ‘no’.

Beside him, Chrome is as serious as he is. It’s a stark difference from her shyness. She’s held still, hands not wringing around the trident she’s holding.

“This is extremely bad,” Ryohei cuts in, for once not his loud and usual self. His arms are crossed and he’s frowning. It’s the same face he makes when boys bother his little sister- except, this is because his self proclaimed little brother is missing.

If Reborn were someone else, he’d have smiled.

As it were, he pulls out his phone.

“I have some calls to make. If any of you find something worthwhile, you know where I’ll be. Do try to keep yourself out of trouble,” Reborn says.

From opposite corners of the room, Mukuro gives his creepy laugh, and Kyoya scoffs.

“I’ll find that little animal.” Kyoya pushes himself off the wall and gives a deadly smirk. “Whoever dared to take him will be bitten to death.”

Reborn turns his body and smiles to himself. It is not a friendly one.

Tsuna is forbidden from moving from the nest Izuku set up, but Tsuna does not think anyone can really enforce that rule, because the moment their backs are turned, Tsuna’s following the green haired boy outside the door.

The beach is almost clean, helped by the fact that Katsuki has been tagging along, now that he knows who is training him. It’s not a big deal, but it does mean they see the blond more than ever before. At least when Izuku’s hands are full, Tsuna can slip into Katsuki’s without hearing a word of complaint about it.

Now that Tsuna’s been filled in on who Yagi really is, it’s become more of a goal than ever to get that man to take care of himself. Tsuna’s been dropping boxed lunches into his lap whenever the hero’s distracted and it works in his favor because the man’s too busy instructing Izuku what to do that he ends up idly eating the food pushed into his hands. It helps that it’s become Inko’s goal as well.

Proudly, Tsuna thinks he can detect the man’s gaining some weight, looking far less gaunt now.

Izuku has also been attending training sessions for Judo. Tsuna approves of the teacher, Hisaki. He’s a playful wily man, who seems to be getting on in the years, but he hasn’t once mentioned Izuku’s quirklessness as something that he should be ashamed of. Hisaki is strict about getting the forms right, but for the most part, has only showered Izuku in a rain of praise that’s been going a long way towards improving his confidence in himself.

A direct contrast from Hisaki is Sakiko, the teacher of Krav Maga. She’s a stricter woman, but not reluctant to show her emotions. At the very least, it’s easy to see her favorite is Izuku, the determined boy who gets back up instead of giving up.

“Krav Maga is about aiming for your opponent's weak points and getting them neutralized as quickly as possible. When your opponent is no longer a threat to you- Stop. Fighting,” she says during the first training session. “Crossing the line from self-defense to unnecessary aggressive behavior means you’ve lost control. If you lose that, you’ve lost more than just the fight.”

As weeks inch by, it’s easy to see the way Izuku carries himself is very steadily changing. He’s gained more muscle and stamina, no longer wheezing during his runs from the apartment to the beach. Tsuna trails behind him, refusing to be carried. If Izuku’s maintaining his form, then Tsuna should be as well.

When it looks as though Izuku’s attempting to work out on his rest days, Tsuna will plop himself over Izuku’s lap and beg for scratches. It’s embarrassing, but it works well, and from there, Izuku can simply focus on studying for the U.A’s written exam. Tsuna doesn’t pay attention when he mutters about Hero Laws, but when it comes to things like Math, he’ll perk up. These are things he’ll need to use, after all.

It’s on one of Izuku’s rest days that Inko pokes her head into Izuku’s room, hands behind her back. Her eyes are glittering in mischief and Tsuna, who has been lazing about on one of the hoodies left on Izuku’s floor, feels a sense of danger trickle up his spine. It’s the day after his bandages have been taken off and he’d been stuffed into a bath not too long ago.

“What’s up?” Izuku asks from his chair, turning away from his computer.

Horror strikes Tsuna when Inko takes her hands out from behind her back, holding up a cat-size All Might onesie.

“Do you remember those pajamas I got you for your birthday last year?” Inko asks. “I found a matching pair at the pet store while shopping around for some things and thought you might like this.”

“Mom,” Izuku says, very seriously. “I love you so much.” He gets up from his chair to dig through his closet, pulling out a much bigger All Might onesie.

Tsuna has a feeling where this is going and he’s not sure he’s happy about it.

“Don’t you have a pair, too?” Izuku asks as he darts towards the bathroom to change.

“Oh, now that you mention it,” Inko says, coyly, before he shuts the door. Inko looks back down at Tsuna. They stare at each other for a moment. She smiles, ominously.

When Izuku comes back, Inko’s dressed in her own onesie and Tsuna’s tucked in her arms, sulking in his defeat. He’s wearing the tiny pajamas, hood pulled over his head. Izuku lets out a laugh and they all crowd into the living room, where Izuku and Inko proceed to take dozens of pictures.

The last one they take, Izuku is crowded up against his mother, an arm around her shoulders. Both of them are smiling up at the camera as he takes a snap, Tsuna still in her arms.

“Another one for the family album,” Inko says, the corners of her eyes crinkling as she looks at the picture. “I’ll have to get it printed and framed. I have the perfect place in mind. Please send it to me, won’t you?”

While Izuku nods, Tsuna buries his head into Inko’s shoulder. It probably looks strange to press his face so flatly against her, but how else can he express how happy he is, at this moment? How else can express how he longs for this to have been how his own family was? He wonders if it’s strange to miss Nana so much despite how she’s probably not in the least bit worried about him right now?

His mood is interrupted by the door to the apartment opening. When Tsuna looks over, his eyes meet Katsuki’s, who stares at them all in bewildered silence. Inko lets out a nervous giggle, that spurs Izuku into laughing, and soon the two of them are feeding each other’s endless loop of infectious laughter.

Once things calm down, Inko pulls back the hood to her All Might onesies and turns to Katsuki fully.

“Can’t say I expected you to be here tonight,” Inko remarks.

“Ah, yeah,” Katsuki says, then reluctantly rubs the back of his head. “Hey, Auntie? I was going to ask if I could stay tonight.”

Inko frowns at Katsuki’s hesitant tone.

“Of course. Did something happen?” She asks, mother instincts leading her over to examine the blond boy. When she lifts her hand to cradle his cheek, he flinches minutely. It’s hardly noticeable, but everyone in the room catches it.

“Just- my mom’s in a mood tonight and thought I could stay here. Get out of her way,” Katsuki says, lifting a shoulder in a half-hearted shrug.

“You’re always welcome here, Katsuki,” Inko chides, gently. There’s a pause and then she brightens up.

“You’re just in time. I bought you some pajamas too.” Inko prods at Katsuki, getting him to move further into the apartment.

When they’re out of the room, Tsuna’s eyes meet Izuku’s. The green haired boy is pulling at his lip, lost in thought. He shakes his head, after a moment.

“Come on, we have more pictures to take,” Izuku says, picking Tsuna off the floor.

Tsuna flicks his tail.

If he stays closer to Katsuki for the night- well, no one seems to mind.

Chapter Text

It’s been almost an entire year since Tsunayoshi was last seen and Reborn’s patience is slowly dwindling down to almost nothing. Rounding up the guardians into something less destructive has been a job he likens to herding cats and it’s driving him up the wall slowly but surely.

What should have been his first resort became his last resort in how busy he’s been, calling all of his connections and pulling the strings behind the scenes. Unfortunately, there have been no clues aside from Kawahira’s staring and now, without nothing else to do, and no one else to pester, Reborn has decided that it’s time.

He pushes open the door to Kawahira’s noodle shop and finds the man sitting at a table in the back, staring out the window. Reborn has never lacked in courage and is not known as the strongest hitman in the world for nothing, but Kawahira is a different entity altogether.

“Reborn,” Kawahira greets, voice cold. “I was wondering when you would show up.”

“Can you blame me?” Reborn asks from the entrance.

“Come now,” Kawahira coos. “Tsunayoshi-kun broke your curse. What have you to be afraid of?”

“Where is he?” Reborn asks, storming up to the table. He’s not here to play games or dance around with words.

“At least have a seat before you throw your accusations at me,” Kawahira says, gesturing to the seat across from him. He turns his face away from the window and raises a condescending eyebrow.

Snapping would feel so wonderful, but it would get him nowhere. He pulls the chair out and sits down.

“Byakuran’s missing and, conveniently, so is Tsuna.” Reborn’s chameleon, Leon, crawls off his hat and down the length of his arm, transforming in his hands. The weight of Leon as a gun is familiar and, not surprisingly, comforting.

“So you mean business,” Kawahira notes, watching in rapt anticipation. “But, I’m afraid, you’ll have to take it elsewhere. This was not done by me.”

“Bullshit,” Reborn says, a warning in his voice.

Kawahira disregards it with a thin smile.

“You think I’m the only one capable of altering and playing around in different realities? If I do recall, Byakuran had such abilities himself,” Kawahira points out. “Verde’s a smart scientist, no? What about Shoichi and Spanner? Lambo’s bazooka can send his future self back five years to take his place- what do you think it could do if it malfunctioned?”

“I don’t like the implication of Tsuna being sent to a different reality,” Reborn says. Kawahira picks up on the disbelief, not unlike a predator catching the scent of blood.

“Do you really think it’s not a possibility?” Kawahira tilts his head, voice heavy with sarcasm. “Out of all those things I listed, surely this isn’t hard to understand as well.”

Reborn hates the fact that he’s right and the fact that Tsuna would be unlucky enough for this to happen to him. Every second he sits here in denial is another second his student could be in danger, which is unacceptable.

“Can you bring him back?” Reborn asks, grip tightening around the gun in his hand.

“Seeing as I have no idea where he is at specifically, no, and it also depends on a great many other factors,” Kawahira replies, and before Reborn can say anything, holds up a finger. “I can, however, send people to the same reality he is currently residing in.”

Reborn knows Kawahira well enough.

“You’re hiding something,” he accuses, eyes narrowed. “And you just said you had no idea where he’s at.”

“I’m always hiding something,” Kawahira admits, but then smiles to himself. “You should know that I keep tabs on where Tsunayoshi is. I can, at least, detect where he was sent or taken. That’s not the problem here- It should be said that there’s a chance I won’t be able to bring anyone back.”

If Kawahira had been anyone else, Reborn would have shot them twice over by now.

“So he’s stuck there?” Alone. Almost certainly afraid. Getting himself into trouble.

“Possibly, and if you decide that I should send anyone else, they could be as well.” Kawahira’s hands bring his teacup up to his lips, where he takes a long and delicate slurp, exaggerating the sound. Reborn can feel his finger twitch where it sits on the trigger.

“Anyone going after him risks being stuck there permanently,” Reborn says, to clarify. When Kawahira nods, Reborn leans back in his chair, taking a moment to think.

To him, he’s made tough decisions before, but it goes without saying that this one takes the cake. He carved his way to the top once and could do it again if he had to, but leaving behind all he’s ever known is a big ask. However, he can already predict what he’s going to have to do.

“I can send more than one after you, but I think you should make sure everyone knows the risk they’re taking,” Kawahira advises.

Reborn wants to say ‘no shit’. He manages to hold his tongue.

“Is there a limit to how many you send over?” Reborn inquires. It would be nice to know.

Kawahira hums, thinking, then shakes his head. “Not that I know of. I could possibly even merge these realities if I cared enough to. You are so very fond of chaos, aren’t you?”

Not that fond of it.

“Do you know anything about the other reality?”

Kawahira smiles at this, swirling his tea as though it’s a glass of wine.

“As convenient as it would be to have an instruction manual on alternate realities at hand and the specifics of each one, I think you’d be better off seeing for yourself. Oh, but, when you get there, you might not be the same as you are now.”

Reborn, who has been trapped as an infant for many, many years before Tsunayoshi came along, hesitates at this.

“I need time to think,” Reborn says, pushing himself up from his chair. He can’t even begin to fathom which of Tsuna’s guardians would risk permanently residing in another reality in an attempt to save him (it feels like a lie, to think that, but Reborn has always prided himself on looking at all probabilities).

Kawahira stays seated as he watches Reborn.

“Kawahira, I dream of a day I get to break your kneecaps,” Reborn says, as he walks towards the door.

“Looking forward to it,” Kawahira replies, amused.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Izuku asks Katsuki as breakfast is being served. Inko’s listening in, very obviously, and her eyebrows are drawn in worry.

“She’s not a total fucking nightmare,” Katsuki says with a shrug. “She doesn’t know what to do with me sometimes.”

“That’s not an excuse to smack you,” Inko pipes up. She’s always suspected Mitsuki was a tad aggressive- just look at how persistently she pursued Katsuki’s father.

“I did call her a hag,” Katsuki says. He’s not looking at either of them now, focused on the table. He’s idly drawing patterns into the surface with his index finger. “Look, it’s not often, if ever. I’m just tired of all the fucking yelling. I’m fucking getting help, I don’t know what more she wants from me.”

Inko isn’t particularly surprised Katsuki and Mitsuki are fighting, having always been too alike in personality to see eye to eye all the time. For all that Mitsuki genuinely loves and cares for her son, ever since Inko called about Katsuki’s bullying, Mitsuki’s been forced to face something she didn’t want to admit was a problem.

She’s never had to work around these issues before- there’s no such thing as a perfect parent, so Inko can sympathize. Except, Mitsuki has a tendency to blame Katsuki’s ego and insecurities on everyone else as though she wasn’t right there along with them, praising her son.

Not only that, but it seems she’s expecting him to improve overnight. Unfortunately, it’s hard to unlearn behavior that was previously rewarded. If you ask Inko, she thinks he’s already come a long way, going through extra efforts to stop calling her son that dreadful name, and apparently, he’s apologized, too. It doesn’t excuse what he’s done, but he’s making the effort.

Inko firmly believes that things will work out and if they don’t? Well, Inko can always clear out that empty guest bedroom of theirs.

“If you ever need some time away from home, you’re always welcome here, Katsuki,” Inko says, as firmly and sincerely as she can. “And if it worsens at all or at any point, please don’t hesitate to tell me.”

“She’s not like that,” Katsuki insists, lifting his shoulders in another shrug, seeming incredibly awkward at the attention. “But thanks.”

Inko eyes him but takes him at his word. She ruffles his hair, something he allows, and then heads over to pick up her purse.

“I’ve got a couple of things to do today. Please, boys, stay out of trouble. All of you,” she stresses, pointing especially at Izuku and Tsuna.

Izuku gives her a playfully offended look. She shakes her head and the door shuts softly behind her.

While Izuku and Katsuki hang out in the living room, playing on a console Tsuna doesn’t recognize, he takes the time to slip out an open window. His intuition has been pushing him forcefully to go somewhere and it feels too important to ignore. Luckily, although Tsuna can’t say he likes it, Inko put his collar on him this morning. It means he can safely explore the city without getting picked up as a stray.

He slips through countless legs, trying his best to not get stepped on. He twines around corners, running in and out alleyways that smell of garbage. Mindlessly, he follows his instincts until he comes upon a street he’s never been before. It’s quiet, almost eerily so. Wind ruffles through his fur and if he were human, he suspects he’d be shivering right now.

His ears flick back as he hears a rock kicked from approaching footsteps. Tsuna turns his head and looks at who it is, feeling increasingly unsettled by the mask covering half a face. Bright yellow eyes meet his and scrunch up. Tsuna knows that this person is smiling and does not at all think it’s meant to be welcoming. Tsuna steps away from the person and watches as the person continues to approach.

Tsuna springs into a run and hears the person follow, speeding up as well. Though cats are faster than humans, he doubts he can outrun someone who no doubt has a special ability. He proves himself right when thin yellow ropes grab at his back legs and lift him up in the air. He dangles as the person slows in a walk, a raspy little laugh coughed out from their lips.

“The same cat from that news report,” the person whispers, sounding pleased. The yellow ropes adjust, bringing Tsuna down to their level. The stranger’s eyes are glittering dangerously, glowing from the active use of their quirk. “You’d sell for a decent amount, wouldn’t you?”

Tsuna does not like the sound of that and swipes out with his claws, hooking onto the material of the mask. He later regrets that he rips it off, because he gets a face full of sharp teeth bared in a grin that soon turns into a grimace.

“Now why’d you have to go and do a silly thing like that?” The stranger asks, ropes tightening painfully around his back legs.

“Hey,” a voice calls out from behind them. Tsuna tries to turn and see who it is but is getting awfully dizzy from being hung upside down.

“What-?” The person holding him snaps before their eyes go unfocused.

“Put the cat down nicely and go home. Forget this ever happened,” the voice says.

The person attempting to capture him puts him down instead and leaves, doing as commanded.

Sitting neatly on the ground, Tsuna shakes his head and looks at who saved him. It’s a boy, roughly his age. He has thick bags under his dark eyes and a wild head of purple hair. He reminds Tsuna of Skull, except Skull is much more lively. And probably more terrifying than this boy.

He doesn’t care what Reborn says, everyone’s bullying of Skull notwithstanding. Behind Skull’s exuberant personality sits a man capable of taking hits that would straight up kill people. He was one of the chosen seven- one of the strongest people in the world- for a reason.

Though, Tsuna muses, being able to mind control people is kind of scary.

The thought is quickly tossed away when the purple-haired boy awkwardly crouches down and clicks his tongue, trying to get Tsuna to walk over to him. Probably his attempt at appearing friendly, so he doesn’t make Tsuna run away. Not that he was going to, but in a normal cat, that’d be their first instinct.

When Tsuna cautiously walks over, he’s rewarded by gentle strokes down his spine. It reminds him of the way Yagi pets him when he’s trying his best not to hurt Tsuna. Immediately, Tsuna decides he likes this purple-haired boy. Tsuna reaches up and grabs the boy’s scarf, tugging it off his neck. The boy seems to find it funny, if confusing. It’s when he goes to grab the scarf that the small smile on his face falls away because Tsuna backs up with the fabric in his mouth.

“What are you doing?” The boy asks, suspiciously. “Give that back to me.”

When Tsuna isn’t inclined to give it back, he realizes that there must be a way to activate the quirk- like with that person that tried to take him. Either that or his quirk doesn’t work on animals. Either way, Tsuna starts to walk away with the scarf in his mouth.

The boy quickly catches up to him and his complaints go ignored. Tsuna is followed by the boy (nicknamed affectionately as Sleepy Purple in his head) all the way up to the street that Izuku’s apartment sits on.

To Tsuna’s surprise, he can see Izuku and Katsuki sitting outside. Their conversation reaches his ears, their tones worried (or as worried as Katsuki will allow himself to be). It stops when they look over at Tsuna’s direction and they catch sight of him, leading a boy back with a scarf in his mouth.

Tsuna struts over with his tail high in the air in his satisfaction at leading Sleepy Purple all the way here.

“Ah, there you are!” Izuzu says, panting after he darts over to them. “You worried me. Where’d you go?”

Tsuna notes that Sleepy Purple has gone tense as soon as Izuku approached and gets even more so when Katsuki joins more slowly.

“You should keep a better eye on him,” Sleepy Purple says, tone accusing. Tsuna looks back at him.

“He has an intelligence quirk, fuckhead,” Katsuki snaps back, eyes narrowing. “He goes where he wants.”

“Sure,” Sleepy Purple drawls. “What happens when no one’s there to stop someone from trying to take your cat next time?”

Instead of getting angry, Izuku gasps, interrupting whatever Katsuki was about to say next.

“You stopped someone from taking Tsuna?” Izuku asks, swooping down to tug Tsuna into his arms. His fingers examine him carefully, fingers catching one some tangles in Tsuna’s fur.

“...Yeah,” Sleepy Purple replies, guarded and eyeing Izuku in suspicion.

“Thank you so much,” Izuku says, eyes glistening. Tsuna knows from firsthand experience that it’s hard not to soften at the sight of Izuku’s devotion- has seen even Yagi crumble when faced with it. Tsuna is not at all surprised when Sleepy Purple’s expression turns incredulous.

“No problem?” The purple-haired boy kicks at a pebble, determined not to look at either of the two boys in front of him.

A glance at Katsuki says the boy’s lost his anger as well, but there’s something thoughtful on his face. Tsuna’s gaze goes from Izuku to Sleepy Purple, and then back to Katsuki.

“What’s your name?” Katsuki asks Sleepy Purple.

“Shinsou,” the boy replies after a couple of minutes, silently thinking over whether he should answer or not. “Shinsou Hitoshi.”

Izuku’s smile, to the untrained eye, is friendly and open. To Tsuna, who has known him for months now, can say with one hundred percent certainty that Izuku is hiding something mischievous behind it. Izuku is definitely Inko’s son, Tsuna thinks.

“Nice to meet you, Shinsou-kun,” Izuku says, then motions with his head towards his apartment. “Wanna come hang out for a little while?”

Shinsou, unaware of the dangers of being adopted by Izuku’s compassion, agrees after another moment of thoughtful silence, dooming himself.

Tsuna, proud of himself, finally drops the scarf in his mouth and watches as Shinsou collects it from Izuku’s hand.

Chapter Text

It only makes sense that Shinsou begins to join Izuku and Katsuki in training. Surprisingly, all three of them have made fast friends, thanks to Izuku’s persistence. Katsuki’s less gruff and Shinsou’s considerably less shy. There had been a brief hiccup when Shinsou told them about his quirk, but Izuku’s gushing quickly nipped that in the bud.

Tsuna’s delighted that he’s been able to add to the group, but there’s been something bothering him. Lately, Tsuna’s been feeling a bit left out. There had been a conversation between Yagi and Izuku that he hadn’t been able to be a part of. He had tried slipping away from Inko, but she must have been practicing with her quirk or he apparently counts as a ‘small object’ because she’d able to yank him back from the door, at the request of Izuku.

It’s kind of upsetting. Tsuna knows he’s not obliged to everything Izuku does or says, but it feels important. Yagi had offered a hair to Izuku, which, what? Izuku had appeared to be grossed out but proceeded to take it from Yagi and then he ate it. Tsuna can’t even begin to guess what it could have been about, but with his intuition blaring at him from across the room, Tsuna can feel its significance.

Not only that, but he thinks it has something to do with the way Izuku’s been throwing himself into training, slowly cutting back on his martial arts to work with Yagi in a controlled environment. Tsuna has no idea where Izuku’s suddenly super strength came from, and more than once thinks back to the exchange with Yagi and Izuku.

It sucks because normally Tsuna would be able to insert himself into the picture when Izuku’s pushing it, but now he’s not, because he’s pushed off to the side. There’s a restless itch under his skin- the same one he gets when he feels like he’s doing nothing. He wants to feel needed and useful, but Izuku only pays him attention when he’s home. Even so, it’s hard to actually lounge on Izuku now, since he’s covered in aching bruises. It even looks as though he’s been close to breaking something and Tsuna… hates that.

Even Shinsou seems to be in on whatever’s going on and he hasn’t been around for that long. It makes Tsuna feel- weird. Not jealous, no. He’s happy that Shinsou now has a group of friends to call his own. But he looks at the trio and thinks of Hayato, Takeshi, and himself. He looks at those three and wonders what he could be doing wrong that they don’t want him in it for.

Is it dangerous? That’s never stopped Tsuna before. In all honesty, he’s stumped.

All the more concerning is that the closer the U.A exams get, the more tense Izuku is. Tsuna wants to help him. He feels so lost.

Tsuna refuses. He’s not going to sit back and do nothing.

Hayato threads his fingers through his hair for the third time in five minutes. His desk is covered in sheets of paper, scribbles all over them. He’s been staring at the page in his hand for so long, he swears that sentences are starting to dance around. He blinks and they return to their spots. He stifles a yawn and exhales roughly.

A hand grips the back of his chair and he jolts up, elbow rocketing back to meet another hand, preventing him from hitting whoever it is. When Hayato turns his head, he’s displeased to see it’s Takeshi. Hayato would never verbally admit it, but Takeshi has been a big help to him ever since Tsuna went missing. He’s a mess, but certainly not as much of one as he could have been.

“Have you been- Er,” Takeshi pauses for a moment, unlike him. It garners Hayato’s attention fully and he turns around in his chair, mouth closing from where he’d been about to cuss him out for startling him.

“What Reborn said,” Takeshi tries again, eyebrows furrowed. “Where Tsuna is?”

“I’ve been thinking about it,” Hayato confirms. “I’ve already made my decision.”

It hadn’t been very hard.

“You’re going?” Takeshi asks, arms folded across his chest. It used to be a surprise to see Takeshi so conflicted, but after the things they’ve been through, Hayato can’t say it is anymore.

“Yes,” Hayato says, firmly. Takeshi takes note of the fire in his green eyes.

“What about Bianchi?” Takeshi asks.

Ah, family. Hayato scoffs and turns around, shuffling some of the papers on his desk. Takeshi barely understands, but Hayato’s situation is vastly different from his. Takeshi has a close relationship with his father. Hayato? Well. It’s not like this isn’t anything he’s said before.

“Do you think I’d really have a hard time choosing between Tsuna and my older sister?” Hayato asks, keeping his hands steady on the stack of papers in his grasp.

To him, his decision makes sense. Bianchi spent his entire childhood poisoning him at the behest of their father’s whims for piano recitals that apparently turned out better when he was half out of his mind. He still can’t even look her in the eyes without feeling old pangs lining his stomach, unless she’s wearing those ugly orange goggles over them. Choosing between her and Tsuna, who has wholeheartedly accepted him, helped him, and has preferred him to be a friend instead of a subordinate, is not at all a hard choice.

Tsuna gave him something he’s come to consider a real family.

“She still cares about you,” Takeshi says. “She went out of her way to find you again.”

“She went in search of Reborn over her one-sided crush on him. Finding me with him was just a bonus,” Hayato disputes, adjusting his glasses. In his mind, he thinks it’s not even a crush, but the idea of one. She loves when they went on jobs together. Surely his sister didn’t actually fall in love with Reborn. He was a toddler when they met! A cursed one, but still.

Besides, when she had found Reborn, she tried to kill Tsuna, assuming that if she had, Reborn would be free from his duties. He won’t forget that.

On the other hand, she is his sister. No one can say for one hundred percent certainty that Hayato doesn’t care for her in some way.

“You’re not changing my mind on this,” Hayato says, finally turning back around to meet Takeshi’s turbulent brown gaze. If she wants to follow him, she will, but if she does, he thinks it’ll be more so to follow Reborn.

In his opinion, a real guardian of Tsuna’s would go regardless of any personal feelings about it, but Hayato’s devotion is different. He’s at least logical enough to recognize that.

“I don't want to leave my dad behind,” Takeshi says. Hayato doesn’t understand, will never be able to understand in the way Takeshi does, but he can at least offer his shoulder. He lifts an eyebrow and motions for Takeshi to continue.

“I also don’t like the idea of never seeing Tsuna again,” Takeshi admits. “He saved my life on that rooftop. I’ve followed him ever since.” He doesn’t say ‘It’d feel like a betrayal if I stayed’, but Hayato hears it anyway.

“Your dad was an assassin once. Take him with us,” Hayato suggests, hiding a smirk. “Pack him up in a little bag and let Kawahira drop him off-”

“You- Stop.” Takeshi doesn’t hide his grin this time, but he shakes his head. “I’m not uprooting my dad. You heard Reborn. He said it’s a different reality, but we don’t know how different.”

Hayato’s eyes gleam. He has always been interested in the unknown. Who knows? Maybe aliens are normal and walking around there, without a care in the world.

“How about you talk to him and let him decide?” Hayato stands up, stretching his arms above his head. He winces at the popping of his back.

“Hayato,” Takeshi starts, then pauses. “Is that a good idea?”

“Tell him it’s a game,” Hayato jokes, poking fun at the way Takeshi used to ‘obliviously’ remark about the Mafia being some sort of elaborate joke. (He still does it, too, if only because he knows that Hayato fucking hates it).

Takeshi shoves his shoulder but seems as though he’s actually contemplating taking Hayato’s advice. Hayato wonders if it’s a good idea to take a lot of people over there all at once- what if they all get spread out and lose each other? Kawahira said different forms. What does that mean?

Hayato decides it’ll be interesting to see who has decided to go and who has decided to stay.

The day that U.A’s exams arrive, Tsuna sits firmly by the door and waits for Izuku to head out. He takes a sprinting pace next to the boy when Izuku’s almost made late by Inko, who fusses over him and his needs. They take the train and Tsuna hides in his bag. The journey isn’t long and before they both know it, Izuku’s walking into the courtyard, staring up at the large school in awe.

Until he trips and nearly sends his bag flying, Tsuna tumbling out the opening of it with a high pitched yelp. He lands with his butt in the air, then flops onto his side. Dazed, he looks back to see what happened to Izuku and finds him floating in the air. A brown-haired girl stands behind with him with confusion and concern on her face as she rights Izuku.

“Sorry for using my quirk on you, but it’d be bad luck to trip right before the exams,” the girl says, a smile on her lips. Tsuna, thinking briefly of Kyoko back home, wonders when he’ll stop being reminded of people he knows.

Izuku looks frozen, likely having never spoken to a girl before. Tsuna can empathize and quickly darts over to headbutt Izuku’s shin, jolting him into speaking.

“Oh, t-thank you!”

Tsuna watches the green-haired boy’s face erupt into color, turning red from cheek to cheek.

“Making friends already?” Shinsou interrupts from a distance away, lazily walking up to them. He’s slouching, hands stuffed into his pocket, and he turns his eyes towards Tsuna. He raises an eyebrow but has long come to accept that Tsuna goes wherever he wants and no one can truly stop him.

“Just making sure he doesn’t trip,” the girl cuts in with a chirpy tone. Shinsou squints at the force of her sunny grin.

“How nice of you,” Shinsou says, managing to make it sound sarcastic. Tsuna knows it’s unintentional, that he’ll always be defensive at the drop of a hat. The girl doesn’t take any offense to it.

Instead, she introduces herself as Uraraka Ochako.

The boys respond in kind and that’s about the time where Katsuki approaches. He looks less than pleased that the size of their group has been increased, but he doesn’t say anything. Instead his tips his head towards the building.

“If you nerds are done chit-chatting, the exams are about to start and I want to find a decent fucking seat,” Katsuki says. With the number of students trudging into the doors, he has a point.

Izuku, not wanting Tsuna to get lost, scoops him up into his arms and picks up his bag from next to him.

Uraraka peers down at Tsuna in surprise and more confusion.

“Um, if you don’t mind me asking, but why do you have a cat? Are you sure you can take him inside?”

“He’s…” Izuku pauses for a second, unsure of what to say. Uraraka’s expression changes to something understanding.

“Is he an emotional support animal? Where’s his vest?” She tilts her head.

Tsuna watches as embarrassment blossoms over Izuku’s face.

“No, um, I mean. He’s kind of like one? But not officially. He just kind of tags along and, um, it is comforting,” Izuku says, stumbling over his words.

Izuku doesn’t add that it isn’t just him that finds Tsuna’s presence calming.

“I see,” Uraraka says, before grinning. “That’s really cool. He’s pretty cute.” Tsuna still notices her eyes dipping towards the x on his back. He can see the way she bites her lip, deciding if she wants to ask about it.

“Can I ask about- I know this is personal, but the scars?” She points, getting jostled from the crowd of students starting to surround them all.

“Those are from when he crash-landed his spaceship,” Shinsou pipes up from behind them. It’s been his favorite joke conspiracy theory- that Tsuna isn’t actually a cat, but an alien. Tsuna huffs.

Izuku lets out a laugh and Uraraka joins in. Even Katsuki smirks a little.

Luckily for them, they manage to find four empty chairs side by side. In the loud chattering of everyone else trying to find seats around them, the group exchanges numbers with Uraraka. Tsuna can tell they’ve all just made a new friend and he didn’t even have to do anything to make it happen.

Tsuna remains hidden from sight on Izuku’s lap as Present Mic speaks up, amplified voice beginning to explain the rules of the hero exam. The voice itself sounds familiar, but he has no idea where to place it. At one point, Izuku’s mumbling starts getting a little loud, which he is then called out for. Tsuna feels bad, because Izuku sinks down, looking both ashamed and embarrassed.

At some point, when they start heading for the exam spot, Izuku comes to the realization that he can not, in fact, just take Tsuna inside with him. Luckily- or unluckily- he doesn’t have to decide what to do next, because Present Mic sneaks up on the group, just before they go to split between their tests.

“I knew I saw someone familiar in the crowd,” Mic says, though it’s more of a shout. Some people look back. Izuku shrinks into himself, something hard to do when Tsuna is being held as though he’s shielding Izuku from view. “Glad I was able to catch up to you.”

Present Mic then points a finger at Tsuna.

“Hope you didn’t plan on bringing him into the exam itself,” Mic says, sternly. Izuku quickly shakes his head.

“No, sir, I’d never,” he sputters, then quiets down when Mic holds out his arms and makes grabby hands at Tsuna.

“I’ll watch him for you and give him back when your exam is over. Promise.” Mic’s tone is genuine and delighted. Izuku, happy to have a solution to his problem and to not be in trouble over bringing Tsuna to U.A, hands him over carefully.

“Thank you, sir,” Izuku says, with a grin. He stills seems to be in shock of talking to a pro-hero. When Izuku is waved off, Izuku presses a tiny kiss to Tsuna’s forehead and leaves. Tsuna blinks in shock, as it’s the first time Izuku’s done that but feels warmth nonetheless.

Once they’re left alone, Mic vibrates a little in his spot, whispering in excitement;

“Wait until Shouta sees this.”

Chapter Text

As Izuku walks through the halls, heading towards the bus that’ll take the applicants to the test site, he spares a few moments to worry about his strange cat. A small part of him knows he’s fine and that he’ll remain fine, considering he’s going to a room full of pro heroes. The other part of him knows that Tsuna is inclined to do what he wants when he wants to and he’s not sure how well equipped the pros are to handle a cat who has human intelligence.

Or at least, at times, it certainly seems that’s how smart he is. How else could he explain the way Tsuna appears as though he’s listening intently on conversations? Or how he nods, as a way to respond to something he’s asked? What about the time he brought home pamphlets or started Izuku on training to become a hero?

Izuku hasn’t yet gotten to test the extent of Tsuna’s intelligence, but he has a feeling that Tsuna is not an ordinary pet- if he ever was one before he leaped his way into his life. And isn’t that a thought? What had Tsuna been doing on the streets? How’d he get those scars?

There’s a lot of things he doesn’t know about his cat, but he does know that he really enjoys getting into whatever Izuku’s doing, which is a not-so-good thing when Izuku’s acquired a brand new quirk that could quite possibly get himself hurt. He had a little time to explore its uses before the exam, but he’s still not confident he’ll be able to use it to the fullest extent.

It’s partly why he had his mom prevent Tsuna from listening in on the conversation with All Might. It’s funny to think that a cat would be intent on getting into his business in this way, but it’s dangerous, isn’t it? Especially when, later on, Tsuna had almost been taken. Not that he thinks a cat could tell anyone else, but… It’s just a precaution. Right?

It didn’t feel so great after that, though- watching the way Tsuna had stared in what appeared to be hurt. He shared everything with Tsuna except that. He could see the way it was like he was shutting him out, but he hadn’t meant it that way. Maybe he should tell him after all?

Ugh, he should be focusing on the exam, not this. Izuku pulled at his lip and looked back, seeing the faint outline of Present Mic carrying Tsuna away. Katsuki bumped his shoulder, surprising Izuku out of his thoughts.

“Get that look off your face,” Katsuki murmured under his breath, eyebrows furrowed as he tries to avoid being jostled by the other students around them. Izuku thinks he looks one step away from punching the kid behind them that keeps stepping on the back of their shoes like it’s some sort of game.

“What look?” Izuku asks, but it’s a pointless question. He knows he looks worried.

“If you’re that broken up about it, talk to your cat,” Katsuki says, rolling his eyes. “Or you can sit there in your pointless guilt feeling like shit for yourself. Your choice.”

“Wow, you always know just what to say,” Izuku snarks back, but grins a little. Somehow, Katsuki really does know what to say- and how to take Izuku’s mind off his problems.

“Whatever, just don’t break all of your limbs, dumbass,” Katsuki says. He shoves at Izuku’s shoulder and looks at the piece of paper in his hand. He has a letter different from Izuku’s, meaning he’s going to another test site. Izuku supposes it’s to make sure kids from the same school don’t help each other.

“I’ll try,” Izuku says, shoving the blond right back.

“Think of Tsuna’s disappointment,” Katsuki teases, smirking. It’s a sharp one, full of mean teasing.

Kacchan,” Izuku snaps, but he’s not angry, not really.

Instead of replying, Katsuki cackles and heads towards a bus off to the right of them. As he walks away, he flips the bird over his shoulder, his departure marked with a finger wiggle added to it.

“How rude,” someone shouts off to the side. Izuku thinks it’s the same blue-haired boy that scolded him but doesn’t linger on the thought as he’s ushered into an orderly line for his own bus.

Shinsou steps in behind him, cutting in front of half the line, without a single fuck given for the people behind them that are complaining about it. He dismisses them with a dark look. From the messy hair to the darker-than-usual eyebags, Shinsou’s intimidating, and Izuku doesn’t miss the way the students behind them stop talking.

“For not wanting students to team up, they messed up,” Shinsou whispers, leaning closer to Izuku’s ear so only he can hear it. Izuku finds himself grinning.

“At least we’ll get to use our plan,” Izuku says. Shinsou holds out his fist and Izuku bumps his own against it. Nothing in the rule book actually forbids anyone from teaming together.

Now to see if it’ll work.

Mic holds Tsuna close, shifting him in his arms comfortably until they come to a stop at two large doors that he slides open. Tsuna knows from the numerous halls they walked through that Izuku will absolutely get lost on day one. Try as he might to commit everything to memory, Tsuna knows he’ll end up relying on his intuition to guide him. Hopefully, he can sneak his way into Izuku’s bag.

The new room is filled with what Tsuna assumes are teachers. He spies one dressed like a cowboy, one bundled up in a sleeping bag on a chair in front of a bunch of monitors, and another he recognizes as Yagi. There’s also a bear… mouse…? He’s sitting on a large chair, sipping at some tea. Tsuna gets the feeling that he’s being stared at by him and shivers in Mic’s arms.

Shouta!” Mic whisper-screams, dancing his way over to the bundle in a sleeping bag. “Guess who I found?” The last bit is sung, Mic lifting Tsuna into the air as though he’s Simba from The Lion King, except Tsuna is wiggled a little, like Mic’s making him dance.

If he were anyone else, Tsuna might have clawed his way out of Mic’s hands to escape this torment. As it were, he goes limp and lets it happen. It’s by far the least humiliating thing he’s had to go through as a cat, he’ll tell you.

Who knew these two would be here? Tsuna thinks, as two new hands reach over and snag him from Mic’s grasp.

“That green-haired kid brought his cat to his exams?” Shouta, Tsuna presumes, asks.

“Saw the little listener hiding among the other applicants when I was announcing the rules,” Mic says, folding his arms across his chest in a vaguely smug way. “It looked like he was getting comforted after some kid called him out for muttering to himself.”

Shouta seems to catch onto what this might mean. “Support animal?” He asks, looking down at Tsuna, who is without a vest stating this. He’s only wearing the collar Inko puts on him every morning. Shouta reaches for the tags on his collar and flips it around, showing off Inko’s contact number and the registration of ‘Quirked Animal’ on another tag. He hums thoughtfully. Tsuna does not like the sound of that.

“Doesn’t say he is,” Shouta speaks up again after a moment of contemplation. Out of the corner of Tsuna’s eye, he can see Yagi not-so-subtly peeking at them, looking like he wants to take Tsuna away.

“Sure was acting like one, though,” Mic says, eyebrows furrowing. It doesn’t quite take his grin away. “Maybe I should ask about it? Suggest that he makes it official?”

“Mm,” Shouta shrugs. “Might not be able to afford it.”

Mic nods, frowning this time.

“Don’t slip him some yen,” Shouta says with a sigh, having known Mic for too long to not register what the look on the blond’s face meant.

“What if he wants to bring his cat on campus and he gets in trouble for it?” Mic whines.

“I can pull some strings,” comes a voice to their left that startles Tsuna into grabbing onto Shouta’s bag, fur puffing up. He doesn’t miss Mic’s coo.

Tsuna turns to see the mouse-bear-animal in a suit, standing right next to them.

“It would be remiss to deprive a student their unofficial support animal.” The mouse-bear-person reaches out to look at Tsuna’s tags, just as Shouta had. “Yes, I thought so.”

“What is it, Nedzu?” Yagi asks, having scooted closer in his chair, the wheels clattering across the linoleum floor.

“Just a while ago, this cat was featured on the news after that incident with the slime villain,” Nedzu, the mouse-bear-animal says. “Some people were saying that the boy with the explosion quirk had set the cat on fire-”

Yagi grunts in alarm and a little bit of red drips out of the corner of his mouth. Nedzu doesn’t stop talking but does offer a handkerchief to Yagi.

“-but if you have eyes, you can easily notice that the source was the cat himself. Quirked animals are very rare, indeed.” Nedzu adjusts his tie and then holds his hand out. “My name is Nedzu. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Tsuna.”

There is no reason to suspect that Tsuna has the same amount of intelligence, but Yagi watches as Tsuna reaches his paw out in return. Nedzu gives it two shakes. Yagi feels himself sputter a little. He knew Tsuna was not ordinary, but this was something else. But… is he really all that surprised? No, perhaps not.

“Perhaps I’ll speed up the process. Do you prefer a vest or a collar?” Nedzu asks. “Blink once for the vest, twice for the collar.”

Tsuna can’t imagine either would be comfortable, but the vest might let him have more freedom as he roams, so he blinks once. He does stop to consider if this is something Izuku would want, but... he's not here, so...

Nedzu nods to himself, pulling a notebook from somewhere, writing something down on a free page.

Tsuna thinks he hears Mic whisper something to Shouta, but when he looks up, Mic is no longer watching them- he’s staring at the monitors. When Tsuna follows his gaze, he sees that the buses have arrived at the test sites.

Shouta, who seems conflicted about Tsuna now, asks if he’s comfortable sitting in his lap. Tsuna doesn’t make any moves to leave, so he must receive his answer from that. From the corner of his eye, he can see Mic sneaking his phone out, aimed in his direction. Ignoring that, he spots a head of green hair getting off one of the buses. Tsuna doesn’t notice he’s begun to purr and knead his paws against Shouta’s shirt, but everyone else certainly has.

Kyoko folds a clean shirt and sets it neatly into a bag sitting on her bed. As she leans over to grab a sock that fell onto the floor, she finds herself tucking her hair behind an ear to keep it from falling into her face. She almost doesn’t hear the door open behind her.

“What are you doing?”

Kyoko shoots up and clasps the sock closer to her chest, turning to face her brother. She takes in the stern look on his face and steadies herself for an argument. He’s not going to like what she has to say.

“I’m going with Reborn,” she admits. Sometimes the thickheadedness gets in the way of their civil conversations; she hopes it doesn’t happen to this one.

“What about mom? Dad?” Ryohei asks, lacking his usual yelling and enthusiasm. Instead, he’s folded his arms across his chest and his thumb it rolling against the bandages on his hands. Kyoko hates that Tsuna’s absence has changed them all so significantly.

“Have they even noticed our ‘adventures’ in the first place?” Kyoko asks, squeezing the sock in her hand. So busy are they that they’ve yet to notice Kyoko’s been doing the cooking and cleaning since they were young. Ryohei, more often than not, has been tasked with keeping an eye on her, but she certainly doesn’t need it now- nor has she ever. In fact, somehow the roles had reversed, with her trying to keep her older brother out of trouble (something she fails to do, despite her efforts).


“Don’t,” she snaps, then slumps. She shakes her head. “I don’t want to hear it. The mafia is dangerous, I get it. This alternate reality thing is also dangerous. I get that, too. But when are you going to realize that I can take care of myself?” Ever since that trip to the future, she’s been doing her utmost best to catch up with training. She’s not so helpless anymore, especially not with her friends there, every step of the way.

“Kyoko,” he says, shoulders slumping as well. There’s a shadow over his eyes as he thinks.

“If you go- and don’t think I don’t know you’ve made your choice- then isn’t it better I go with you? I don’t… If everyone I know and love leaves me behind, what would I do then?” She can’t even begin to imagine how lonely that’d be. Even Haru and Hana have decided to go!

There’s a moment of silence and then Ryohei sighs, crossing the room to fold her into his arms. They hug for a few moments, before he pulls back, hands on her shoulders. After they communicate silently through looks, he grins.

“Can you help me pack? I’m an extreme mess.” Ryohei laughs when Kyoko pushes at him, but she agrees. She’s not so eager when she walks into Ryohei’s room and discovers that it looks as though a tornado hit it.

With a sigh of resignation, she smiles to herself. She can’t wait to see Tsuna again. She hopes he’s doing alright.

Chapter Text

When the exams begin, Aizawa finds his attention split between the monitors and the weight on his legs. He could have never guessed that Tsuna would be a quirked animal, as they’ve always been quite rare. Even rarer than that, few of them have intelligence that reflects a human’s. A quirked animal is always going to be smarter than the average animal, but this is something else entirely.

Consider him intrigued. He wants to know more about Tsuna- and has a strong feeling that Nedzu does as well. He wonders what’ll happen if Tsuna’s green-haired owner doesn’t pass the exams.

Said exams were always unfair in that they cater to those with physical quirks, but there are other ways to get into heroics. The green-haired boy doesn’t seem the type to give up. When a camera had zoomed up close to the faces of the applicants, he could practically feel his determination from his very seat.

A look at the boy’s folder tells Aizawa that he does have a physical quirk, but it’s newly registered, which means he’s at a disadvantage when compared to many of the other students trying to get in. All Aizawa can do from here is hope he does well enough.

Skimming over the rest of the application, Aizawa can’t help but think that a boy with a talent for analyzing quirks and an intelligent quirked animal is a dangerous combination.

He almost grins to himself, but instead snaps the file closed and sets it down on the table to his left.

Truth be told, even if Tsuna isn’t registered as a support animal, he would let it slide if the cat followed the boy into his class. He’s pretty sure Nedzu would have as well, if only out of his own curiosity and bleeding heart. It’s one thing to look at the scars on the cat’s back, it’s another to realize that Tsuna’s a quirked animal and how he received those is probably vastly different to what he first assumed.

Maybe, sadly, Nedzu and Tsuna have something in common in that regard.

Interrupting his thoughts, Midnight’s heels clack across the room and she props herself next to him. Although she appears as though she’s slacking, her keen gaze is also on the monitors, making sure the students aren’t getting too rowdy before the start.

“Has anyone asked if he enjoys being a pet?” Nemuri whispers, eyes flicking down to Tsuna. Aizawa looks at him as well, watching his ears twist, signaling that he’s listening to the conversation.

“Why don’t you ask him directly?” Aizawa suggests, dryly.

Midnight’s lips pursed, but she stares down at the cat in his lap. She’s probably thinking about how weird this is.

Tsuna looks up and blinks, then nods. That settles that, Aizawa thinks.

Tsuna is watching closely when Present Mic signals the applicants to begin. His eyes are drawn to some intriguing people, but he looks back at Izuku and finds that Shinsou is right beside him. Tsuna curls his tail, feeling only slightly bad when it swings back to smack Aizawa’s side. He can’t help be anxious. He knows how much this means to both of them.

It’s a shame he could go with Izuku. Not that he could help all that much, but maybe it’s a good thing he didn’t go. He watches a robot slam into the side of a building and decides yeah, probably a good thing he didn’t go.

If Shoichi and Spanner were here, they’d want to dissect those, Tsuna thinks.

He puts his thoughts on hold, suppressing the longing he has for his old friends, and instead watches as Izuku leans closely to Shinsou. They’re whispering to each other, so quietly that the microphones aren’t picking anything up. When they’re done talking, they bump fists and start running, heading down the left at the first intersection.

Tsuna tilts his head, but a quick glance at another monitor tells him that there are sparsely any other applicants down that way, which means all the robots there are ripe for the picking. Watching Izuku snap a pole in half is mind-blowing, to say the least. When did he get that strong? If Tsuna had the capability, he’d be frowning by now.

There’s something there that his intuition is picking up on, but before he has a chance to try putting the pieces together, he watches as Izuku hands the other half of the pole to Shinsou. From there on, they take turns drawing the attention of robots, giving each other enough time to a) stab the pole through the robots, b) time to flick the hidden off switch on the back of the robot’s neck, or c) all of the above.

With their teamwork, they’re swiftly making their way through dozens of robots.

Tsuna is both confused and really proud.

They’re both making their way up another street when Present Mic turns to Nedzu, who signals with a paw. Tsuna watches as a large red button is pressed and even from this room, he can feel the vibrations of the Zero Pointer rumbling to life.

It tears its way through the fake city. Tsuna watches in apprehension as some rubble is knocked loose from a tall building, coming down to fall onto an applicant. At first glance, Tsuna doesn’t recognize who she is; until she looks up with desperation and pain in her eyes. It’s that girl they met- the one that saved Izuku from tripping.

Tsuna sits up urgently, watching the Zero Pointer as it begins to slowly approach her. There’s a hand petting his back soothingly, but he wants to shake it off- wants to get down there to help her.

Other applicants are running away from the large robot.

She’s going to get hurt, Tsuna thinks. Why isn’t anyone helping her?

Just as Tsuna is preparing to leap from Aizawa’s lap to get to the red button, a familiar head of green hair leaps into the frame, followed by Shinsou. Shinsou is shouting something at a few applicants that have yet to run away, but it doesn’t seem like anyone’s willing to respond to him.

In the end, Izuku seems to have made a decision. He crouches and then jumps through the air, flying at the jump at incredible speeds. Tsuna can’t help his yelp, nearly falling off Aizawa’s legs in his haste to get closer to the monitor.

What is he doing? Tsuna frantically squirms around when two calloused hands pluck him up from where he’s panicking. While the familiar warmth of Yagi’s arms is nice, it does nothing to calm him. Not when Izuku is now falling from that height.

Tsuna remembers Takeshi and that rooftop. He can’t help the wail that leaves his mouth.

Later, he’ll feel awful for leaving scratches along Yagi’s arms, but he’s too desperate to think.

Luckily, Uraraka is able to escape the rubble in time to slap Izuku’s cheek, where he hangs in the air until she releases her quirk. He falls to the ground and she turns to the side where she retches, face green.

Although Izuku is now safe, Tsuna is not at all reassured. He won’t be until he sees the green-haired boy himself. He doesn’t know where that boy’s gotten this sudden quirk, but maybe it had something to do with that hair? He doesn’t know and he doesn’t care.

Somehow, he manages to wiggle hard enough that he’s jostled loose from Yagi’s arms. He takes off immediately, slipping through the door when it’s opened by an older woman, who seems to be heading in the same direction as he is. He thinks that her name is Recovery Girl?

Either way, he zips through the halls, letting his intuition guide him as the sound of footsteps follows behind. He swerves around a sharp corner, bumping face-first into a pair of shins. He bounces back and sits on his hind legs, shaking his head. When he looks up at who he’s just collided with, he’s struck by how cold the boy’s eyes are- one with a burn scar over it.

Just like Lal, Tsuna thinks, blinking up at the boy. The boy blinks back, incredulous at the sight of Tsuna and the teachers closing in on them. Which reminds Tsuna.

He gets up and darts around the boy. As fascinated as Tsuna is, there’s no time to stop for this. He speeds up again and doesn’t stop running. Not even when his ribs are heaving, nevermind that his legs feel about ready to fall off. He barrels his way around the school, across the courtyard, through the campus, and down a long path.

He doesn’t know how he manages to make it to the fake city that he knows Izuku’s at, but he does. He makes his way around countless downed robots, weaving carefully around the legs of numerous applicants until he can make his way to where he knows Izuku is.

His paws are raw by the time he skids over to Izuku, who is laying on the ground with his eyes closed. He’s breathing slowly and the logical part of Tsuna knows that he’s just resting, but he doesn’t like it. Not after what he just saw. Tsuna walks over and leans against Izuku, tucking himself into his shoulder, covering a little bit of Izuku’s face. From there, he can feel Izuku’s breaths disturbing the fur on his side.

There’s a bit of jostling as Izuku opens his eyes and moves, sputtering when he gets Tsuna’s fur in his mouth. He carefully sits up, listening to Tsuna’s displeased mew.

“How-?” Izuku asks, rubbing his eye with his uninjured hand. The other is broken, clearly, and becoming a sickening shade of purple. His legs seem to be fine, but Tsuna has a feeling they’re fractured at least.

The injury doesn’t stop Izuku from trying to pick Tsuna up, though he protests.

“You’re shivering,” Izuku notes, tone hushed and, dare Tsuna say it, sad.

All Tsuna can do in return is glare up at him.

Tsuna has no doubt in his mind that when someone goes to brush him later, half his fur will come out from the stress he just went through, watching what just happened.

Shinsou comes out of nowhere to take Tsuna from his boy. He bristles but doesn’t make a fuss. Izuku is way too hurt to cuddle him right now. Tsuna lets Shinsou tuck him into his neck.

It’s at that point that Recovery Girl comes huffing along, muttering about troublesome kids under her breath. There’s a pleasant smile on her face when she presses a kiss to Izuku’s forehead.

“Make sure you rest up,” Recovery Girl says. “My quirk uses up quite a bit of your energy. Don’t use that arm unless you have to.”

Izuku nods and gets up from where he’s sitting, offering his uninjured hand to Urakaka. They both accept gummies that the nurse hands them, Shinsou juggling Tsuna’s weight to get his own handful.

They make their way out of the testing site, where Tsuna spies Present Mic, holding something. Mic shouts “hey” from across the way in English, causing a few applicants to stumble. The teacher makes his way over and hands Izuku a few pieces of paper.

“We weren’t sure if you would be interested, but it’d certainly make it easier for you to bring your cat to school,” Mic says, hands on his hips. He gives Tsuna a concerned look, eyebrows furrowed at the way Tsuna’s claws have locked themselves into Shinsou’s shirt.

“Oh, um, t-thank you?” Izuku peers down at the papers in his hands. He stares in disbelief when he sees that it’s for registering Tsuna as a support animal.

“Just get your parent to sign and send it back to us,” Mic says.

“What if we didn’t get enough points?” Shinsou asks, quietly. His eyes are drilling holes into the side of Mic’s head. The teacher shudders a little.

“Send it back to us,” Mic reiterates. “Regardless of where you end up going, this is the least we could do.”

“I’m not quite sure that, um, I need one?” Izuku pulls at his lip, eyes sliding over to Tsuna, who glares at him from where his face is pressed against Shinsou’s chest.

“Just think about it,” Mic suggests, taking a couple of steps back. He shouts ‘Okay?’ in English and then waves, walking away.

“Don’t need one,” Shinsou mocks, dodging Izuku’s fist aimed at his shoulder. “I think you really scared him.”

That’d be an understatement, Tsuna thinks.

“Yeah,” Izuku says and frowns. “Wait, how’d he know?”

“Maybe he has an ‘Izuku’s in danger’ sense,” Shinsou jokes.

Tsuna heaves a sigh and stares up at the sky as they walk, listening to them talk. What a day. Why does it feel like this won’t be the last time Izuku does something as reckless as that? Ugh.

Chapter Text

Tsuna is tucked into the front of Shinsou’s hoodie as they make their way out of the school and through the courtyard, having been dropped off by the same bus that had taken them to the test site. Izuku is talking quietly about the fact that U.A made fake cities for the exams, Shinsou in equal disbelief. Ahead of them, Tsuna spies Katsuki playing around on his phone as he waits across from the gates, staying out of the way of the leaving crowd.

Katsuki, ever the perceptive one, flicks his gaze between Izuku and then Tsuna. Katsuki stuffs his phone into his pocket and lets them walk over to him.

“How the fuck did you get injured in an exam?” Despite the obvious answer that the exam was incredibly dangerous regardless, the teachers should have immediately responded. The fact that Izuku is standing there with his arm in a sling is a little alarming.

“Uh, actually,” Shinsou says before Izuku can respond. “It was his quirk. Still isn’t used to it.”

“Shh!” Izuku shoves at Shinsou’s shoulder, Tsuna’s eyes locked onto his form. Izuku can practically see the gears turning in his head.

“Oops,” Shinsou drawls, not sorry one bit.

Tsuna is just glad he has something so he can decipher what this means. Yagi, the private conversation, the hair, All Might… The training. Did All Might pass on his quirk to Izuku, who clearly didn’t have one when Tsuna first met him? Why didn’t Izuku tell him?

Tsuna looks up into Izuku’s eyes, watching as he slumps, defeated.

“Maybe we should get going?” Katsuki suggests before they can say anything more. It’s not a great idea to talk out in the open, even as all the other applicants have dispersed, none of them lingering in the area.

At least, until one exits the gates, reluctantly. Tsuna recognizes those eyes; it’s the same boy he ran into on his way to get to Izuku. His intuition is poking at something- not far from a warning. It gets louder when a man approaches around the corner, practically stomping his way up to the boy. The man’s wearing a hero suit and has a wreath of flames in the shape of a beard. It’s not the strangest thing he’s seen, but it’s out there.

Tsuna decides he immediately doesn’t like this man when he stares the boy down with anger.

“You sure do like wasting my time,” Tsuna overhears the man saying. “You only had a few forms to sign.”

Tsuna doesn’t know how or why, but he squirms out of Shinsou’s hoodie and lands on the ground. It hurts his aching paws. He hardly notices, walking over to the boy anyway. He wraps his body around his shins, brushing up against him with a mew. He hopes this is something humans find cute. He’s still not sure if this is what cats even do.

The man’s mouth, which had been open for more scathing remarks, snaps shut. Both the boy and the man stared down at him, confused.

Izuku darts over, calling out an apology.

“I have no idea what’s gotten into him,” Izuku says, which is a filthy lie. He knows well enough that any person Tsuna’s approached has gotten sucked up into the friend group.

Tsuna has seen his fair share of terrible fathers and hopes that, at least, this one doesn’t hate cats. He looks up and blinks, chirping. He really hopes he’s getting this cat thing right.

“He looks familiar,” the man remarks, his stare drilling holes into Tsuna. He tries not to shiver.

“Oh, does he?” Izuku laughs awkwardly, shifting.

The man only hums in response, then crouches. Tsuna is not a fan of the rough hand the sweeps down his back. It doesn’t feel like a pet- no, it feels like he’s being subtly examined.

“He was on that news report,” the man eventually says out loud, standing back up. He looks as though he’s interested in taking Tsuna home. Tsuna does not want that, thank you very much.

“Didn’t think Endeavor would care much for those,” Shinsou says, having walked over to stand at Izuku’s side. He looks as uncomfortable as Tsuna feels.

Endeavor doesn’t appear to be insulted by that, whatever Shinsou meant by it. He turns his attention back to the boy, deciding that everyone else is no longer worthy of it. Tsuna is offended on Izuku’s behalf.

“Let’s go,” Endeavor snaps, turning on his heel. A black vehicle has pulled up and around the corner that he came from. He clearly expects the boy to follow and doesn’t stop to check if he is or not.

“I’m Midoriya. Midoriya Izuku.” Izuku offers his hand out to the boy, who regards it coldly.

“Todoroki,” is all they get in return. He hesitates for a second, then stoops to slide a gentle hand down Tsuna’s side. It erases the sensation of Endeavor’s heated palm across his scars. He appreciates that and is sad when they watch Todoroki leave.

“What a dick,” Katsuki says, watching Endeavor climb into the passenger seat of the car. Izuku, interestingly enough, does not dispute this.

M.M doesn’t know why she follows Chrome to the cliffs, but she does. She takes in the quiet calm of a sunny afternoon and finds herself unusually solemn. She takes a seat on a rock, while Chrome stands a few steps away. They’re both packed to leave and are now simply taking in the view of the abandoned amusement park they’ve been staying in for a year or so now. M.M isn’t inclined to have kept track of the time.

She knows Chrome- knows the girl enough that she will be going after Tsuna. It was confirmed to her not even a couple of hours ago. Though she would never admit it, what she does know about Tsuna is that he has always been kind to them, a group of criminals as they are.

Even going as far as to offer a couple of rooms in his house.

“Eh, I don’t think mom will mind,” Tsuna had said, sheepish, but earnest. “Besides, I think the house gets bigger every time I look away. Seriously, I have no idea where all the extra rooms came from.”

They never took up the offer. Mukuro already felt he owed Tsuna a debt and didn’t want to owe him more, despite Tsuna insisting that Mukuro had no debt to offer him. It’s not everyday someone can bargain with Vindice. Getting Mukuro released from that prison is no small accomplishment. M.M goes where Mukuro goes- if he wants to live in a dirty disgusting amusement park, then M.M will too.

(She’s partly relieved because a small part of her knows how uncomfortable it would have been to live with Nana. How could anyone accept the affection given by a mother who barely tolerated her own son? And maybe M.M’s lied about how little she cares for Tsuna. It’s not like anyone will ever know what she truly thinks or how she feels. Still, she sucks down her empathy, the shared experience, and keeps it locked up in a box, deep inside her.)

“I didn’t come up here to make us sad,” Chrome says after a moment of silence. She turns her gaze to M.M, searching her in a way that used to make her uncomfortable. She left behind her annoyance and dislike for Chrome somewhere in the past year or so. She can barely even remember why she didn’t like her in the first place.

“I’m surprised Mukuro’s going,” M.M lies, instead of diving into emotions.

“He’s not very good at letting people know he cares about them,” Chrome agrees, seeing right through her, as usual. M.M rolls her eyes. Why does she bother?

“If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be going,” M.M lies again. Chrome’s smile grows a little on her lips. M.M snaps her eyes away from it, folding her arms across her chest.

“You’d miss us if you didn’t come with,” Chrome says, taking a seat next to her.

She’s not wrong. Ken, Chikusa, Chrome, Mukuro, Lancia, and even Fran, have all become a weird friend-family group to her. When she thinks of home, she no longer thinks of yelling adults and an almost-always empty house. She thinks of them, and Tsuna, and Tsuna’s weird group of friends, too. It makes her sick.

Not as sick as the thought of staying behind out of her reluctance to explore the unknown.

M.M gets over her fears, charging right through them like a bull because fear is what holds people back. She refuses to let that ever stop her (never again).

“Shut up,” she says instead of everything she’s thought since coming up to these cliffs. Must be the fresh air that’s making her sentimental, she thinks.

“I don’t think we should have packed,” Chrome says. M.M appreciates the topic change.

“Why’s that?” She asks. Leaving behind what little she has left leaves a sour taste in her mouth.

“A feeling I have,” Chrome answers. After some contemplation, she says, “It’s too late, though.”

“I don’t really care,” M.M says. There’s a chance of going to the other universe and losing her stuff somewhere, but at least she could possibly track it down. Maybe. She hopes.

They sit there for a moment longer.

“Thanks,” M.M whispers. She hadn’t said anything that’s been on her mind, but she feels lighter regardless. Chrome smiles but doesn’t reply. She doesn’t have to.

When they get home, Katsuki and Shinsou are invited to stay for a celebratory dinner. Although there’s nothing to really celebrate, they don’t protest. Instead, they head out to a restaurant and Tsuna opts to stay home. He carefully hides Izuku’s phone, pushing it under the bed. Because Izuku doesn’t want to get left behind, he gives up looking for it.

Tsuna waits for a minute to make sure they’re really gone before he nudges the phone back out and taps on the screen. He doesn’t know Izuku’s code, yet, but that doesn’t stop him from attempting as many combinations as he can. He doesn’t know how long he sits there for. At some point, he gives up out of frustration and bats it across the floor, where it lands safely on a pile of dirty clothes.

Somewhere deeper in the apartment, he hears a click. He perks up at the sound, wondering if they’re back already.

That was fast, Tsuna thinks. He creeps out of the room but is struck by the fact that no one’s turning on any lights. He pauses, feeling the fur on his back rise. Across from him, where the apartment door is hanging open, a silhouette stands.

In the black that surrounds the figure, Tsuna can clearly see a grin spread across the figure’s face.

Oh, Tsuna thinks. That’s not them.

The door slowly shuts behind the figure and a step is taken. And another. Closer.

It is in this moment that Tsuna realizes that he’ll never truly escape danger.

Chapter Text

In hindsight, Tsuna could- and probably should- dart back to the phone.

It’d be the smart thing to do. Logically, he knows that. But everything inside him is frozen in indecision. Does he dare attract attention if and when the phone is answered by emergency services? He can’t exactly say anything, either. If he meowed, the responder would simply hang up.

He could follow the figure around, but what if he gets caught? There’s no guarantee this person is here for him, after all. It could be a simple robbery. Should he try to stop it? That’s what Izuku would do, right?

But if this person is here for him, he’d be walking right into their arms. What if they have a quirk that can overpower his attempt at fighting them?

He winces at the sound of the figure throwing things around the house. They’re making a mess, Tsuna thinks.

In the end, he pads carefully towards Izuku’s room and hops up onto the desk, leaping onto the window sill. If he can get out, maybe he can lead someone back to the apartment to help? But what if they get hurt trying to help him? Tsuna hasn’t felt this conflicted in a long time.

Tsuna paws at the window in the way he’s done before a thousand times, propping it open. He hears the figure cross the hall, likely having heard the sound of the glass. Tsuna looks back in time for the door to be pushed open further. The light in the room illuminates the grinning face, dark glasses glinting. Tsuna has a feeling that their eyes are locked onto the cat getting ready to leap out the window-

And leap he does. He catches himself on a dumpster, landing on all fours. He is not sticking around for that, no thank you. He starts running, ears flicking back when he hears the heavy thud of boots landing on the alley’s floor. The person kicks some garbage out of their way, steps picking up in speed as Tsuna starts to book it.

His paws still hurt from his race to get to Izuku, but he powers through it because who knows what’ll happen if this person gets ahold of him? He doesn’t want to stick around and find out. He nimbly makes his way through legs of people, hoping the crowd will make the stranger lose sight of him. When he makes it across the street, narrowly avoiding vehicles, he thinks he might have done it.

He looks around but doesn’t see the stranger. His intuition is still yelling at him to get away from here, so he listens. He doesn’t slow down, not even when his sides begin hurting. He doesn’t pay any attention to where he’s going or where he’ll end up. He needs to get far away from them.

He loses track of time. Inko and the boys might have even returned from the restaurant by now. He doesn’t know- doesn’t want to lead this dangerous individual back to them. He darts through side streets, in and out of businesses, and through parks. He must have gone in so many circles, it’s almost funny.

He runs and runs until he can’t anymore; quite literally, he rounds a corner and rams his face into something solid. He stumbles back, ignoring the stinging of his nose as he pants. This is starting to become the norm for him, he thinks.

He looks up, nearly reeling back from the steely blue-eyed gaze locked onto his form. Tsuna almost thinks he might have been better off in the figure’s presence than here.

Endeavor folds his arms across his chest, looking away from Tsuna to examine their surroundings. Tsuna thinks it’s a small miracle that he must have noticed how frantically Tsuna was trying to get away from something. Tsuna’s intuition is still pinging- the danger is far from over. He can’t tell if that’s because he’s in a new dangerous position or if the figure had somehow managed to track him all this way.

Soft hands pick him up from the ground, startling Tsuna out of his thoughts. It’s the young Todoroki, Tsuna realizes. He’s as stoic as he had been earlier and the coldness in his gaze has abated. Or it’s been redirected to the superhero standing next to them. He really is intimidating, Tsuna thinks.

Then, Tsuna’s ears pick up heavy boots. They’re walking at a lazy pace and when Tsuna turns his eyes to look back, he sees them still grinning.

“Jackal,” Endeavor grinds out from clenched teeth.

The figure laughs, lifting their hand in a wave.

“Fancy seeing you here. Mind handing over that cat? My boss gave me a report- said that there’s a cat loose around here,” Jackal coos. It would sound genuine if Tsuna hadn’t been looking for the deceit. Endeavor must pick up on it too because he folds his arms across his chest.

“In this district?” Endeavor looks as though he couldn’t be bothered talking to this person.

“Aw, come now. We’re heroes,” Jackal drawls. “It can’t be helped that I accidentally chased this cat into your zone.” Jackal pulls up their glasses, letting them sit on their curly black hair. Their eyes faded from a glowing blue to brown.

“Hm, and since when did you start responding to lost animals?” Endeavor asks. The suspicion is thick enough to make even Jackal shift guiltily.

“Look, I just have to return this cat to my boss,” Jackal says. “He’ll make sure the cat’s delivered safely to his owner.”

“Oh? And you know what the owner looks like? What’s their name?” Endeavor asks, not shifting in the slightest.

A couple of fingers trail through his fur, soothingly. It helps, just a little, but Tsuna is reeling from the information overload. A hero broke into their apartment to get him, but why? For this supposed boss to get his hands on him? For what?

Jackal hesitates for a few moments too long.

“Alright, fine,” Jackal finally responds. “You can take the cat back-”

“Jackal,” a voice calls out to the left of them.

When Tsuna turns his head, he’s delighted to see Izuku, decidedly ruffled. Inko is next to him, similarly ruffled, hair escaping her ponytail, cheeks flushed. Her eyes are creased in anger. It’s… it’s rather frightening, actually.

Standing beside them, on the other side of Shinsou and Katsuki, is Yagi and a man that looks very much like a detective.

“Aw, fuck,” Jackal whispers under their breath, hands clenched for a brief moment before they hide them in their pockets. “Hey, All Might. That you?”

All Might’s grin is nowhere in sight.

“For breaking and entering, attempted kidnapping of a cat-”

“No, no, come on now,” Jackal says, holding up their hands. “That’s not what this is.”

All Might hesitates, but he looks about as willing to listen to them as Endeavor is- which is to say, not at all.

“Don’t you see? This is bigger than all of us,” Jackal says, then points at Tsuna. “He’s a danger to this world. Quirked animals have no place in the hands of civilians. I’m doing the city a favor.”

That’s as far as All Might lets Jackal go. In the blick of an eye, All Might has Jackal in cuffs. The detective at Inko’s side heaves a sigh.

“It’s concerning that a hero such as you would be willing to break into a civilian's home to steal their cat,” the detective mutters.

Danger subsiding, Inko rushes over to Tsuna and Todoroki.

In the face of such pure gratitude, even Endeavor blinks twice at it.

“Thank you for saving him,” Inko says. “When we got home to see the place a mess, I was so worried.” To Tsuna’s surprise- and the heroes' alarm- Inko begins to tear up.

“It was no problem, ma’am,” Endeavor replies. He looks almost disappointed that he didn’t get to fight, Tsuna notes.

Inko turns back to Todoroki and repeats her thanks, holding out her hands. Todoroki carefully places Tsuna into her arms. Tsuna is then hugged tightly, though not enough to hurt. She presses a kiss to his head and he relaxes in her hold.

“Can I extend a dinner invitation? As thanks?” Inko asks, looking from Todoroki and Endeavor. When the man begins to say no, Inko grows teary once more. Something tells Tsuna that this time, they aren’t real. Still, it gets the job done because she manages to exchange numbers with Endeavor under the promise (and possible legal action that would ensue) that she keeps it to herself.

“Corruption? In the hero world? It’s more likely than you’d think,” Tsuna hears coming from the alley. He turns his head towards the shadows, catching a flash of red eyes before they’re gone. He doesn’t know what to make of it, so he ignores it. Pushes it to the very back of his mind and closes his eyes, leaning against Inko.

As Jackal is put into the back of a police vehicle, Izuku rushes over, followed by two other boys. They crowd around him and pet him. It’s too much to process what everyone’s saying, but it does feel nice that they’re happy to see him. What a day, he thinks.

“Mm, I don’t know,” Shoichi mutters, holding onto his aching stomach. “Can’t we just stay here and work on a machine that can bring him back? Wouldn’t that be safer?”

Spanner doesn’t look up from the robot he’s tinkering with. A slot opens up and a lollypop is procured. He picks it up and looks at it from all angles. Without hesitation, he shoves it into his mouth and almost immediately spits it back out.

“Almost,” he murmurs to himself, then shoves his tools aside, folding his arms onto the surface of the table. He finally gives Reborn his full attention.

Reborn gives Shoichi a long look with an eyebrow raised. Although nothing shows on his face aside from that, there is an aura of danger hanging around him, slowly growing colder the more Shoichi talks. Spanner doesn’t know Reborn too well, but he does recognize the slowly fading patience. He twists his lips and hides his grin, biting down on a newly found lollypop that isn’t a bizarre flavor he can’t place.

“I just-” Shoichi stops talking when he catches the sight of Reborn’s cold grin. “I’ll get packed right away.”

The defeat is palpable. Spanner laughs softly to himself and watches the hitman leave the room, having established that Shoichi and Spanner are going.

“Think of the science of an alternate reality,” Spanner says, offering up the only comfort he knows how to give his friend.

Shoichi groans loudly and faceplants on his desk, but the slump in his shoulders is less defeat and more resignation.

Shoichi would never admit it, he’s not all that upset about going with everyone to find Tsuna, but if he didn’t show some reason, he’d be just as bad as the rest of the group, wouldn’t he?

Tsuna, Shoichi thinks. You’re lucky your friends love you this much. We’re coming for you, just hang on a little longer.

Chapter Text

Naomasa threads his fingers through his hair, trying not to lose his patience. He looks over at his friend, exhaling sharply. Yagi’s features are shadowed, more contemplative than the anger that had been there moments before. Naomasa understands; yesterday had been an absolute shitstorm and the news is going wild over Jackal’s latest scandal. Even after investigating, Naomasa doesn’t know what to make of their motivation.

“Start from the top,” Yagi requests, less of a demand and more of a question.

“For starters, Jackal, real name Tashiro Rikyu, works for Karma Corps. The boss is Natsukawa Seiji, who has very recently begun funding research in medications- for what, Jackal has refused to tell me. Says they can’t or their boss will get angry,” Naomasa replies, reaching out to curl his free hand around his coffee cup.

Yagi nods, leaning forward in his seat, eyes not once leaving the window next to their table.

“Hisaki’s quirk is named Mark. The quirk allows Hisaki to track targets up to miles, but only if the target is first seen and Marked. It does not work on unseen targets.” Naomasa rips open a packet of sugar and taps at the side of it, watching the granules fall into his drink. “When prodded about Seiji, Hisaki becomes visually nervous and tends to lie a lot more, despite knowing about my quirk and how it works.”

“Hisaki gave themselves up pretty quickly. Do you think it has anything to do with Seiji?” Yagi asks.

“A well-known scientist funding unknown medications, sending his employees on a hunt for quirked animals, no it couldn’t,” Naomasa drawls, sarcastically.

“So blackmail?” Yagi ignores Naomasa’s sarcasm.

“Unfortunately,” the detective agrees with another sigh. “Hisaki didn’t even ask for a reduced sentence. Says they’re better off where their boss can’t reach them. Then, they added that Stain might be looking for them now, too. That’s another can of worms I don’t want to open right now.”

“Understandably,” Yagi agrees, then folds his clasped hands over his mouth in thought.

“My work is never done,” Naomasa says, then tilts his head back to gulp down his coffee as though it’s water and he’s been in a desert for two days.

“If you need any help-”

“I know where to find you,” Naomasa interrupts. Yagi has a feeling that Naomasa doesn’t want to involve him at this moment.

Although not happy about being unable to help, Yagi nods. He trusts Naomasa’s making the right judgment call.

Tsuna looks at the water in the tub and then back up to Izuku, blinking his wide eyes in a cute manner, hoping that the boy will change his mind about this. Unfortunately for Tsuna, Izuku lowers him into the water regardless and begins cupping water into his palms, running it down his back. Tsuna sits in the bath, feeling claustrophobic at the way his fur clings to his body. He finally understands why cats hate this.

He sits there feeling sorry for himself as Izuku starts scrubbing some shampoo into his fur. It’s been a long time coming, considering he refuses to groom his fur with his tongue, so he can’t blame Izuku. At the same time, he really does not like this. He hasn’t had anyone bathe him since he could do it himself- however old he was. He doesn’t really remember, but he knows it’s been more than a dozen years.

It doesn’t help that Katsuki’s in the bathroom too, sitting on the counter, playing on his phone. Tsuna thinks he can see the phone being angled his way a couple of times, which makes his mood that much sourer.

Since yesterday, no one has let him out of their sight. He’d spent a majority of the night being pampered by Inko and Izuku, with Shinsou and Katsuki not far behind. He came to find out that All Might had pulled strings to find him quickly. After that, Inko had been signing papers for what felt like hours. Tsuna thinks it might have been the support animal thing Izuku had been handed back at the exams.

Then, at midnight, Tsuna had listened to Izuku’s whispered confession about where his quirk truly came from. A surprise, definitely, but nothing Tsuna hadn’t been piecing together himself from all the dropped hints. He still appreciates Izuku’s apology, though Tsuna doesn’t think he needed to apologize at all.

Regardless, it’s been a wild time, and Tsuna’s beginning to realize that he’ll never truly have peace. If it isn’t mafia, it’s strangers trying to abduct him because he’s a really smart cat. His supposed vacation has turned into this.

Tsuna shakes his body, flinging water everywhere, covering Izuku in it. Best not to think about these things. Really, Tsuna would feel much better if he were taking a nap.

“Is he sulking? I think he’s sulking,” Izuku says, prodding at Tsuna’s side. Katsuki’s answer is a muffled snort.

Tsuna’s pulled from the water once the shampoo has been rinsed. He is then thoroughly dried off with a towel and a hairdryer set on the lowest heat. Tsuna doesn’t once stop pouting through the entire process and doesn’t want to admit that he does feel a little better after the bath.

“Now he doesn’t stink,” Katsuki says, putting his phone into his pocket.

“Kacchan!” Izuku reprimands, but the twitch of his lips says it all. Tsuna glares up in betrayal.

Wiggling out of the green-haired boy’s hold, he makes his way to the kitchen, where Inko is nursing a cup of tea. She has dark circles under her eyes and her hair is a mess from where she couldn’t be bothered to fix it. Her head is tilted forward, nearly drooping into her drink. Tsuna mews, prodding at her leg. She jolts and looks down, then laughs.

Unsure of why she’s laughing, Tsuna looks down and realizes his fur is sticking straight up. Just as he’s about to head for Izuku’s bed, he’s plucked off the ground and held in her arms, fingers smoothing down the mess his fur has become.

Izuku makes his way towards the dining room, followed by Katsuki.

“He’s so soft,” Inko coos, bumping her nose against Tsuna’s. Unable to help himself, he rubs his cheek against hers. He feels her laughter more than he hears it.

“Maybe the teachers were right,” Katsuki says after a few seconds of watching.

“About?” Izuku asks, snagging a seat at the table.

“Think about it, dipstick.” Katsuki points his finger at Tsuna. “That little shit’s been making his rounds, comforting everything with a heartbeat.”

“Don’t word it like that,” Izuku protests, but pulls at his lip in thought. “It just… it doesn’t feel right.”

“Why not?” Katsuki asks, raising an eyebrow.

“Well, I don’t really need a support animal, do I?” Izuku asks.

“Tell me you don’t feel more secure when Tsuna’s around,” Katsuki replies, looking at Izuku incredulously.

Izuku scrunches his nose but doesn’t say anything. Katsuki takes the unspoken victory and smirks at him. When Izuku kicks at his leg, Katsuki kicks back, initiating a kicking war under the table. Inko watches in exasperation, but smiles to herself, hidden behind Tsuna’s head, where she presses a kiss.

Reborn lifts his head from where he’s polishing his gun, the pause of his hand unnoticeable. Behind him, the door clicks as it’s shut. He swings his arm around, aiming at the unseen intruder. When they round the corner, he pulls the trigger and the bullet flies into the wall, the figure moving their head back just before it can hit them. Reborn clicks his tongue.

“What do you want?” Reborn asks, letting his hand fall back to his lap.

Mammon doesn’t float their way over like they normally do, instead choosing to pad across the floor. Reborn tracks the footsteps until they’re right next to him. He doesn’t spare them another glance, returning to cleaning his weapon.

“Word travels quickly,” Mammon replies. “Information also pays well. I came to check and see if it was true, that you know where the little boss is.”

“If I say I do?” Reborn asks, tilting back in the chair. With a quick shove, he twirls it around and faces Mammon, the legs of the chair landing with a soft thud.

Mammon remains unimpressed. Hmph.

“I’ve heard that you’re going after him and taking the little boss’s friends, too,” Mammon says, perching on the table’s edge. “If a fellow Arcobaleno is going, shouldn’t the others? Although, I’d say that’s troublesome.”

“You are not going,” Reborn nearly growls. There’s no way Mammon has any personal investment in seeing Tsunayoshi come back.

“If you decided to pay me,” Mammon drawls, leaving the offer out there on the table. Reborn doesn’t take the bait, nor does he offer to pay Mammon.

“No,” Reborn says. He’s already got more than enough people going to this alternate reality, he doesn’t need Mammon tagging along.

“Just kidding,” Mammon says, voice bordering on teasing. It’s a far cry from their normal monotonous tone. “I’m already getting paid to go.”

“The fuck you are,” Reborn growls, irritated.

“Guess what?” Mammon lifts their head, gaze seen from under their hood. “I’m not the only one.”

Please, let it not be the Varia. Reborn doesn’t need to herd them around, too.

“Skull’s probably already spread the word, too,” Mammon says. Reborn refuses to throw a fit because that would be unseemingly, but it is tempting. Very tempting.

“Who told you?” Who told them?

“Who do you think?” At this, Mammon grimaces, the way most people do when they have to talk to Kawahira. Reborn grits his teeth and nods once, sharply.

“We’re almost ready to go,” Reborn says after a moment. “Can everyone be gathered quickly enough? I’m not opposed to leaving you behind if any of you are late.”

There’s no guarantee Kawahira will bother to send them all at once, too. It’s a waste to gather such a large party but Mammon doesn’t need him to point it out. They likely already know.

“Who do you think I am? For that, I’m charging you two thousand yen.” Mammon sniffs, head tipping into the air.

“And if you bring the Varia as a surprise, I’m burying you in the ocean,” Reborn says. He knows Mammon well enough, though. That is something they would absolutely do. First the other Arcobaleno, now this.

His headache just keeps growing, doesn’t it?

The things he does for Tsuna. His student had better be grateful.

Chapter Text

There’s an itchy restlessness in his bones after waking up. Even though the burglary has been settled and the hero is in jail, there’s something telling Tsuna that something will happen soon. His intuition isn’t being helpful for once, so he has no idea if this something is good or not. He hates not knowing, because he can’t properly prepare himself for whatever it is. Still, he sits up from Izuku’s pillow, having stolen it sometime during the night.

He shakes himself and then hops off the bed, landing less gracefully than he’d like. He makes his way out to the living room to check on Inko, catching her standing in the kitchen. It appears that she’s just woken up as well if the way her head keeps nodding is any indication. He watches in amusement for a couple of moments, then heads to the table, where he hops up and waits for breakfast.

Izuku comes out of his room in a manner that resembles his mother very much. His eyes are barely open as he stumbles his way over. Luckily he doesn’t try to sit on Tsuna again, instead choosing the seat to his right. Tsuna watches as he leans on the table, burying his face in his folded arms. With nothing better to do, Tsuna hops onto the table and crawls up onto the back of Izuku’s head, folding himself into a position better known as ‘cat loaf’. Izuku doesn’t move to push him off.

Inko leaves briefly to go grab yesterday’s mail but hurries in. She no longer looks as though she’s sleeping standing up. In her hand, she waves an envelope, stuttering urgently to Izuku. In her excitement, Tsuna can barely make out the words ‘results’ and ‘U.A’.

Izuku reaches back to grab Tsuna and lift him, so he can sit up. Settled in Izuku’s arms, Tsuna gets a front-row seat to the family scrambling around, huddling around the envelope that is set down on the table. In Inko’s other hand, there’s a box, but it’s set aside for the time being.

“It’s finally here,” Izuku says, picking up the letter. Although he looks tempted to bring it back to his room, one look at the eager faces of Tsuna and Inko has him changing his mind. He slides the envelope open, ripping some of the paper.

Just before he can find out what’s inside, the door is knocked on. From the frantic knocks, it’s likely Katsuki. Inko looks from the letter to the door, but the internal battle is decided when she jogs to the door, telling Izuku not to look without her. Tsuna uses his ears to figure out who’s at the door- from the raspiness of the voice, Tsuna was right. It’s Katsuki, but he’s brought a friend.

Shinsou is shoved into the house when he hesitates but is then bypassed by the blond, who makes his way to the table where they’re settled.

“Oh, good, right on time,” Katsuki says, giving Tsuna’s head a rub as he rounds the chairs and picks a seat right in front of Izuku. Shinsou takes a seat in front of Tsuna. Inko sits next to Izuku.

“Who goes first?” Shinsou asks, holding up his own letter. He exchanges nervous looks with Izuku. Katsuki clicks his tongue in distaste.

“I’ll go first.” Katsuki rips open the letters with a faint mumble that might have been ‘cowards’. A metal disk comes rolling out and with a flash of bright light, a hologram of All Might appears, shouting loudly about Katsuki’s test scores.

It comes as no surprise that Katsuki passed with flying colors and thus will be attending U.A. Even still, there’s a very real grin on the blond’s face, with no smugness. Inko claps her hands, then ruffles the boy’s hair, grinning with him.

Izuku’s practically vibrating with nerves, but he goes next. All Might talks about Izuku’s outstanding written score and then talks about his use of teamwork to overcome a system not geared in the favor of those whose quirks aren’t physical. He congratulates Izuku on passing and earning rescue points for saving Uraraka. It’s no surprise that Inko and Izuku start sobbing together, Shinsou watching with a smirk.

When Shinsou opens his own letter, he hesitates again. Tsuna nudges at his hands and rubs up against his arms, trying to provide what comfort he can.

“There he goes again,” Katsuki remarks to Izuku, who’s watching Tsuna with an unreadable look on his face. Tsuna wonders what he’s thinking.

Shinsou’s disk rolls out and by the time All Might’s done talking, Shinsou’s fists are clenched, head bowed to his chest. His shoulders shake, warm tears dripping onto Tsuna’s back from where he’s being clutched to Shinsou’s chest.

“You did it,” Izuku shouts in elation, hands thrown up in the air. “I knew that tactic would work!”

“Thank you,” Shinsou sobs, trembling in relief. “Thank you.”

Inko rubs his back and for once, Katsuki doesn’t say something insulting. If anything, he looks awkward and unsure of what to do. Tsuna would laugh if he could.

Inko moved her hands away from her mouth, eyes scrunched in delight.

“I’m so proud of you all,” she says, fanning at her face as though it’ll help prevent her from crying again.

“What’s in the box?” Katsuki asks, pushing the package around with his index finger. Tsuna, intrigued, leaves Shinsou’s embrace when the purple-haired boy rubs at his face.

When Inko encourages Tsuna to help open it, he uses a couple of claws to prod at the tape. It turns into a family endeavor to open the box when Tsuna’s claws get stuck. Once the box is open, Izuku reaches inside, and his hands grasp at the contents. He pulls out a small blue vest, with ‘emotional support animal’ written in white letters on the side, eerily close to U.A’s uniform. While Izuku looks it over, Inko grabs the papers inside, reading them carefully.

“It’s official,” she says, handing the papers over to Izuku. “He’ll be able to come with you to most places, if not everywhere.”

Izuku looks at the signature of All Might and has a feeling that he, as well as Nedzu, pulled a lot of strings for Tsuna.

“Well? Put the vest on him.” Katsuki nudges Izuku’s shin with his toes. Izuku sticks his tongue out at him but starts putting the little vest on Tsuna, who puts up with it.

It’s not unlike wearing a life jacket, Tsuna discovers, but it’s more form-fitting and free. He suspects that it was tailor-made to let him be able to do normal cat things, without it being too constricting.

Thank you, Nedzu.

“I suppose this calls for another celebration!” Inko suggests, discretely tucking her phone away, as though Tsuna hadn’t caught it from the corner of his eye. He’s onto her, okay? He knows. He knows.

“Oh, wait,” Izuku yelps, realizing he’s still in his pajamas. “Give me a minute!” He zips from the table to his room, the door slamming behind him.

He comes out a few moments later, dressed casually, hair still a mess. Inko gathers up her purse and waits for them all to gather at the door, Katsuki hefting Tsuna up onto his shoulders. Tsuna takes his cue and hangs around his shoulders like a shawl. They all march out of the house.

As they decide on getting some ice cream, Tsuna has the distinct feeling of being watched. He examines the crowd and notes that a few people are looking, but it might have something to do with the fact that he’s a cat being taken on a walk more than anything. With his back covered up, he looks like any other cat, he thinks. Hopefully.

The feeling persists, from the ice cream shop, all the way to the park where they pick a seat under a large tree, away from crowds of people. Though Tsuna can’t see anyone around, he knows he’s still being watched. He’s really getting tired of it. He knows better than to wander away, but he does take a few steps away from where Izuku is sitting. He paces around, trying to see if he can find anything.

A bush to his left rustles, bringing his attention to it. He looks back at Izuku, who has stopped eating his ice cream to watch what Tsuna’s doing. As tempted as he is to investigate the bush, he has a feeling that Izuku would protest leaving their sight. He stands there, conflicted, but it turns out that he doesn’t have to make a choice. Something steps out of the bush, standing in front of him, looking incredibly smug.

Byakuran?” Tsuna asks, incredulous.

Sure enough, a white cat stands in front of him, a purple mark under his light purple eyes. For some reason, white wings are on his back, folded up against his sides. His long fluffy tail waves back and forth, ears flicking around.

“You would not believe the trouble I’ve had to go through trying to find you, Tsunayoshi,” Byakuran cooed. “You’d think Reborn would have found you first.”

Tsuna shivers at that. When Reborn finds him, Tsuna predicts a world of hurt coming his way.

“Does this mean…” Tsuna can’t finish his question. Is he going home now? He doesn’t know how he feels about that. On one hand, he’s missed his life back home, as chaotic as it was. He could do without the mafia, but his friends? He’d love to see them all again.

“Sadly it’s not as easy as picking you up and taking you back,” Byakuran replies, catching the unspoken question. He darts in and licks Tsuna’s forehead, a strange comfort coming from him.

“Wait, what do you mean?” Tsuna asks.

“You know Kawahira,” he replies, tilting his head and sitting down. “He might not have sent you here himself, but he clearly thinks you being here is a good thing. He’s not in a rush to get any of us back.”

Tsuna doesn’t know what to think about that.

“Is something happening back home?”

“Who knows?” Byakuran asks, though he clearly knows. No matter what, though, Tsuna doubts he’ll get him to spill anything about it.

“Is anyone else here?” Tsuna asks, looking around him. It’s silent.

“Nope, not yet, but in due time,” Byakuran says. “If you think it’s chaotic now, just you wait.”

Tsuna would weep at those words if he could.

“Is that…” Katsuki squints, ice cream melting over his hand. He points at the white cat across from Tsuna. “Are those… wings?”

“Better yet, are they talking to each other?” Shinsou asks hearing meows from where they’re sitting.

“Dibs,” Izuku says before Shinsou can open his mouth again.

“What? Fuck off, you already have one,” Katsuki says, licking at the melting ice cream.

“Even if we wanted the cat, I don’t think the white one’s gonna part from Tsuna,” Shinsou points out.

“So it’s not just limited to people,” Inko says, eyebrows furrowed. “I have to be worried about other cats, too.”

“Oh, so we all caught that?” Shinsou asks.

Izuku laughs, Inko giggling when he does. Shinsou smirks a little and Katsuki scoffs, but it doesn’t hide the smile on his face.

“Why do I have the feeling that our apartment is about to get really crowded?” Inko asks with a sigh.

Chapter Text

After taking in the fact that someone else from his world is actually here, Tsuna brings him over to the people he’s been staying with. Byakuran has been taking in his adventures with the same amusement that never leaves his face. Tsuna wonders how he’s doing that with a cat face, but decides that logic has never once applied to anyone that lives back home.

Inko coos over Byakuran and takes a few pictures, while Izuku closely examines his wings with fascination. Byakuran puts up with it- even seemingly enjoys the attention- and sits there, waiting for them to finish passing him around. Inko takes one look at Tsuna and Izuku, who both have a pleading look on their faces, and she sighs in resignation.

“What should we call him?” Izuku asks, after a repeat embarrassing situation in which Inko had to check Byakuran to see what he was. Tsuna feels empathy for him, for he looks just about as disturbed as Tsuna felt when it happened to him. He also doesn’t know how that’s going to work for Mammon and then decides that the illusionist will figure it out when they get here- if they do. He still has no idea how many people are going to come for him.

Byakuran spreads his paw, letting his claws slide out. Inko, Katsuki, Izuku, and Shinsou all watch quietly as he starts scratching at the dirt they’re sitting next to, under the big tree spanning above their heads. Byakuran carefully writes out the kanji of his name and sits back, leaving them stunned. It hits Tsuna now that maybe he should have thought about doing this ages ago, instead of wasting time trying to figure out what Izuku’s code is to his phone.

“Um,” Inko sputters, the first to speak up. “Another one?” Her eyebrows furrow and she looks from the kanji to Byakuran.

“I am going to have so much fun here, Tsunayoshi,” Byakuran says. Tsuna does not like the sound of that, at all.

“Be nice,” Tsuna chides, sitting down, tail curling around his front paws.

“Getting attached?” Byakuran asks, turning his head to look at Tsuna. If he had eyebrows, one would be raised, Tsuna thinks.

“How long have I been here?” Tsuna asks, incredulously. Give or take a year or two, staying with the same family... obviously, he’d be attached!

“Point taken,” Byakuran says, but in a dismissing tone that gives Tsuna an inkling that he’s going to be a shithead no matter what. Tsuna glares at him.

“They’re doing it again,” Shinsou says, phone in his hand. He taps at it and Tsuna thinks he hears the sound of a shutter. Tsuna’s glare turns towards him instead.

Beside Shinsou, Katsuki’s narrowed eyes swivel from Byakuran’s wings to the scars on Tsuna’s back.

Inko stands up and catches everyone’s attention.

“If I’m going to be hosting another cat, we need some stuff,” Inko says. She claps her hands and then dusts her pants. If she’s thinking about how strange the situation is, she doesn’t show it on her face and instead waits patiently for the boys to stand up, too.

Tsuna knows there’s more going on behind Inko’s poker face, but he’s reminded of his own mother who would have accepted all of this readily, without a second thought.

“Do you know when the others are going to get here?” Tsuna asks, shaking away the creeping homesickness. “And who all is going?”

“I can’t say for sure,” Byakuran replies, following Inko who has begun to walk. Tsuna scampers over to him to keep up. “Kawahira could send one at a time if he wanted to. As for who all is going, well… by the time I finished listing the names, it’d be dark out.”

Tsuna looks up at the sky, remembers that it’s not anywhere near time for the sun to set, and feels his heartbeat stutter. Byakuran could very well be messing with him, but his intuition says that he’s not. Besides, he knows Byakuran. He’s being serious- exaggerating a little, sure, but the implication that that many people are coming after him… He wonders what Kawahira’s planning.

“Reborn will be the next one,” Byakuran speculates. “You better prepare yourself.”

There’s no amount of preparation that can be done when it comes to Reborn. Tsuna can only brace himself for the incoming world of pain that will be dealt to him for getting himself into this situation, even if it wasn’t his fault.

The rest of the walk is silent on their end. They listen to Shinsou, Izuku, and Katsuki talk amongst each other, with Inko chiming in with her input here and there. They make their way to another pet shop. Byakuran has been doing well enough with the attention he’s been getting as they march their way through the city, but Tsuna knows from experience that it’s a little overwhelming.

Tsuna sticks beside Byakuran and offers silent support.

Izuku is having a lot of thoughts. He’d thought life had gotten weird when Tsuna first tumbled into his life after saving him from who is now his best friend (though he has not forgotten the things that happened before this point).

At first, he’d thought Tsuna was just a really smart cat. Like how some dog breeds were known for their intelligence and how easily they pick up tricks. Izuku had assumed that Tsuna was trained and then tossed away when he was no longer useful. It’s sad, of course, but a reasonable assumption, right? Because… Because there are terrible people out there and the scars on his cat’s back spoke of dark times.

Now, though, he’s not so sure. Tsuna is a smart cat, but there’s a second one and that’s… that’s pretty weird, isn’t it? And they talk to each other, or so it seems…

Well, whatever’s going on, Izuku’s got a second cat and that’s pretty cool, right? There’s no need for him to figure everything out right now, after all.

Inko stops all of them in front of the section of collars and crosses her arms over her chest, letting the boys have free reign of the decision. Byakuran observes in that not-so-hidden amusement again, eyes half-closed, tail twitching beside him. He doesn’t offer any opinions on collars, just sitting there being unhelpful as one of the boys holds up one they like.

In the end, Tsuna bats at a purple collar in Shinsou’s hand as he’s bent over trying to see if it’ll look good on Byakuran.

“Finally,” Shinsou mutters. “At least someone’s being helpful.”

Byakuran yawns in Shinsou’s face.

“Your new cat’s an asshole,” Katsuki says to Izuku, who makes a face. “Have fun with that.”

“Do I have to wear that?” Byakuran asks, turning to Tsuna.

“Yeah, but it’s not so bad,” Tsuna replies. Compared to other things Tsuna’s had to do as a cat, wearing a collar is easy.

Byakuran only hums. Tsuna doesn’t know how long he’s been in this world, but it’s likely he’s already had to deal with some of the downsides.

Speaking of-

“Where have you been staying?” Tsuna asks, following as everyone starts down the aisle where bowls are.

“Anywhere and everywhere.” Byakuran gives him a meaningful look. “I didn’t stay in any one place long enough to make a temporary home here.”

Tsuna winces and tries not to feel guilty. He did get pretty lucky when he first got here, didn’t he? Byakuran bumps into Tsuna’s side.

“Stop trying to take on everyone’s burdens,” Byakuran scolds, looking away from Tsuna.

Tsuna doesn’t say anything, but he does feel better. He knows, logically, that unless he had known Byakuran was here, there was no way he’d have been able to help him.

“Besides, I didn’t exactly accept anyone’s help,” Byakuran continues. “You don’t have to be a genius to know that anyone offering was more so intrigued by the wings than anything.”

Tsuna’s intuition decides now to give him insight as to Byakuran’s beginning in this world and the only fitting words that come to mind is ‘a hot mess’.

“Nothing happened, right?” Tsuna tries not to show how worried he is, but he thinks he's doing a poor job at hiding it.

“I’m here now, aren’t I? It’s fine, Tsunayoshi,” Byakuran dismisses.

They watch as Inko sets a pair of bowls into the basket she’s managed to rope Katsuki into carrying. It’s steadily being filled with more toys, treats, the collar they’d picked out, and a leash that’ll probably never see any actual use. When Shinsou points that out, everyone looks at it for a few seconds, and then Izuku makes a run back to the collar aisle to return the leash from where they got it.

They check out the items and make their way back home, where it’s decided that Katsuki and Shinsou are staying the night for a sleepover with Izuku. It’s not hard to tell Katsuki’s reason for staying, by the face he makes when he holds his phone away from his ear, the sound of his mother’s yelling coming from the other side. Shinsou’s own reasoning seems just as personal if the way he gets evasive about it has anything to say about it.

“My foster parents fight a lot,” is all Shinsou had said once. Tsuna wishes he could offer more comfort than sitting on the purple-haired boy’s lap and purring as loudly as possible.

Byakuran explores the apartment that he’ll be calling home for the time being and eventually makes his way back to the couch, where Tsuna is curled on a pillow, vest taken off him. Tsuna opens an eye when he feels the other cat lay against him but closes it when Byakuran settles. Tsuna hears another shutter go off, knowing without looking that it was Izuku taking a picture.

Tsuna drifts off to the sound of Inko working her magic in the kitchen, the boys setting up the game console in the living room, and Byakuran’s steady heartbeat against his ear.

Yagi takes one look at the picture sent to him and chokes on his tea. Wordlessly, he shows Naomasa and Nedzu; they peek at the screen of his phone, stunned.

Nedzu’s eyes glint and he lifts his own tea to his mouth, paw shaking. Anyone else would mistake it for fear- Yagi knows Nedzu, however.

May mercy be kind to those who dare make Nedzu angry, Yagi thinks.

Naomasa and Yagi exchange worried glances.

Chapter Text

Days after Izuku meets up with All Might to congratulate him on passing the exams in person, the start of school has quickly arrived.

“Aw, you’re all so cute,” Inko coos, tears running down her cheeks as she takes approximately thirty pictures with her phone. Before her, Izuku, Katsuki, and Hitoshi all stand there wearing matching school uniforms. Sitting in front of Izuku’s legs is Tsuna, in his vest, with a tiny red tie that Inko managed to find at the pet store.

Mom,” Izuku whines, but there’s a grin on his face. He’s not all that bothered by her fussing- he’s only putting up a token protest.

Byakuran watches this in amusement from the patch of sunlight coming from the window. He’s already stated that he doesn’t want to go to U.A just yet. The night before, he said, and Tsuna quotes, “‘You’re going to have your paws full enough without me there, Tsunayoshi-kun.'”

Tsuna had asked if he was sure again this morning but received a lazy blink and yawn in reply. Byakuran deserved getting pushed off the couch for that, okay? He did. He totally did.

When Inko’s finished taking pictures, she puts her phone down on the counter and follows them all to the door, where Izuku says one last bye. Tsuna follows the group as they make their way to the train, where Hitoshi’s the one who picks him up to keep him out of harm’s way while in such a crowded environment. Tsuna doesn’t doubt the possibility of getting stepped on otherwise.

“You didn’t have to go out of your way to walk with us, H-Hitoshi,” Izuku says, peering over at the purple-haired boy.

It still comes as a surprise that it had been Katsuki who suggested they all use each other’s given names (or nicknames, in that Izuku cannot, for the life of him, stop calling Katsuki ‘Kacchan’).

“It was one extra stop,” Hitoshi replies with a shrug. He appears tired- more so than usual.

Tsuna wonders if it’s because he’s been having doubts about the legitimacy of his passing the exam. Izuku had been having the same doubts and without being able to use his words, Tsuna’s merely offered comfort and distraction. The things you can accomplish by acting cute and purring.

“Shut up,” Katsuki groans from his seat, throwing them daggers with his eyes. “Stop being sappy, it’s too early for this shit.”

Izuku and Hitoshi snicker to themselves, ignoring the blond’s ire. Katsuki had been the only one of the three to have been fussed over by two moms. Tsuna muses that that may be the reason he has such a short fuse already.

They talk amongst themselves until the train gets to their stop. The walk to U.A from there is only a few minutes and soon enough, they find themselves staring up at the gates of the illustrious building.

“Um,” Izuku says, after a few seconds of silence. “Do you think they have maps?”

Before they can despair and begin wandering the many halls of U.A, Tsuna chirps at them to get their attention. Although they’re early and certainly have time if they get lost, Tsuna can lead them to the classroom. It’s not technically cheating if you rely on your hyper intuition, right?

As skeptical as Katsuki appears to be, he’s the first to start following Tsuna when he begins walking into the building. Izuku has to scramble to catch up and from there, it’s a game of ‘don’t let Tsuna out of your eyesight or he’ll disappear into the crowds of lost students trying to find their own classroom’.

Tsuna brings them to a halt in front of a huge door with ‘1 - A’ on the front of it.

“Never doubt the almighty one,” Hitoshi jokes from behind Izuku, eyes sliding to look at Tsuna. Tsuna sticks his tongue out at the pun.

“I want to ask how,” Izuku says, “but I know I won’t get any answers.”

“He was here with the teachers, right? Must have remembered the way,” Katsuki replies, opening the door. Inside, there are a few other students, all of them lingering around some desks or other students.

“Hm, point,” Hitoshi says, voice low in an attempt to avoid drawing attention. If that was his goal, Tsuna thinks, he shouldn’t have decided to stay by Izuku.

No sooner than he thinks this, eyes turn their direction, attracted by the movement and newcomers.

Izuku gulps and stoops down to pick up Tsuna, feeling self-conscious. All it does is invite excited whispers about how there’s a cat in class.

“Oh, it’s you!”

Izuku’s head snaps over to a blue-haired boy, who adjusts his glasses and marches his way around numerous desks to get to them. It’s the same boy who called him out for murmuring during the rule explanation before their exams.

“Hello, I’m Iida Tenya from Soumei Junior High,” the boy introduces, after clearing his throat.

“I’m Midoriya Izuku. Um, it’s nice to meet you,” Izuku manages to stammer out, eyes tracking Iida’s wild hand gestures.

Tsuna zones out listening to the rest of the conversation. He examines the rest of the students with interest. His observations are cut short when Uraraka bursts into the door and begins thanking both Izuku and Hitoshi for helping her during the exams. Hitoshi is curt about the praise, shoulders hunched as he uncomfortably shuffles his way over to his seat.

Katsuki’s found his own, as well, and has thrown his feet up on his desk, which immediately starts a fight with Iida. Tsuna watches the back-and-forth between the two before his gaze is drawn to someone familiar. It’s Todoroki! How incredibly convenient, Tsuna muses.

Tsuna’s ears pick up the sound of something sliding across the floor. He turns his head and searches for the source, then freezes at the sight of a yellow sleeping bag inching its way into the classroom.

“If you’re hunting for friends, go somewhere else,” says a voice, coming from the bag. It rolls over to reveal a familiar face. Tsuna supposes it’s not the weirdest thing that he’s witnessed coming from a mentor. While Izuku flinches in surprise, Tsuna is free to hop from his arms, though he sticks by the green-haired boy’s legs.

Aizawa frees up an arm and sips from a juice pouch. In the room’s silence, everyone hears the obnoxious slurp of air getting sucked up through a straw from the bottom of the pouch. Tsuna’s ears flick back at the sound.

“This is the department of heroics,” Aizawa drawls and then slowly starts the process of standing up, making it look much easier than it probably is.

Izuku tries not to look as though he’s gawking, closing his open mouth with a click of his teeth. Wait a minute. Isn’t this…?

“It took you all eight seconds to quiet down,” the teacher continues, scratching at his stubble.

The guy from the pet store that one time?

“Life is short, kids. You’re all lacking in common sense,” Aizawa says. Tsuna watches as he moves towards the front of the class, facing the students. “I’m your homeroom teacher, Aizawa Shouta. A pleasure to meet you.”

He doesn’t waste any time. He rummages through his sleeping bag, producing a bundle of gym clothes. He tosses them onto a random desk and instructs everyone to change into the uniforms.

When everyone’s done as he asked, they all meet their homeroom teacher outside, where he reveals to them about a quirk apprehension test. Tsuna can practically taste everyone’s curiosity and dread.

Tsuna wishes Izuku luck. He’s had his own fair share of bizarre teachers. At least this one seems serious about having the students’ best interests in mind.

Good luck, Izuku, Tsuna thinks. And don’t break any bones.

Chapter Text

It is with regret that Tsuna zones out most of the explanation when it comes to the physical tests that the students will be required to participate in. At least, up until the words “The student who ranks last in total points will be judged at hopeless and instantly expelled” reach his ears.

All at once, the air is filled with fear; the most tangible coming from Hitoshi and Izuku- might be biased, though, Tsuna thinks, as he’s spent the most time around them that his intuition is more keyed into how they’re feeling. More than that, he gets the sense that the teacher might actually be serious about this.

How is that fair?

Tsuna takes a moment to look at all the students around him. Each and every one of them has trained for this, but physical tests leave those without physical quirks at a disadvantage. It could be that Aizawa is trying to get them to think outside of the box, but Tsuna can’t be one hundred percent sure about that.

The speech about heroes is nice and all, but Tsuna can only focus on the way Izuku is shaking. Unable to help himself, Tsuna determinedly climbs up the leg of Izuku’s pants, being careful not to claw the boy himself. There’s a subtle snort at the sight of it, Katsuki from the sounds of it. Tsuna knows he must look funny, but if he’s wearing this vest, he might as well take responsibility (part of him likes to think that Reborn would be proud of that).

Izuku snatches Tsuna off his clothes and holds him until he stops shaking. He’s within reach of Hitoshi as well. Taking advantage of this fact, Tsuna reaches out and with a delicate tapping, he pats at Hitoshi’s shoulder to get his attention. Hitoshi grabs his paw and holds it, trying not to draw too much attention from their new teacher, but Tsuna knows without a doubt that Aizawa has noticed everything that just happened.

One by one, students are called up to display their strengths and weaknesses. When Izuku and Hitoshi are taking their tests, Tsuna finds himself bundled up in Aizawa’s arms. Some students mutter their surprise, but Aizawa seems content with holding him. On occasion, Aizawa will dangle the ends of his strange cape over Tsuna’s paws, amused when Tsuna bats at it distractedly. Tsuna’s way too busy keeping an eye on Izuku to really acknowledge what he’s doing subconsciously, anyway.

There is a pause when Aizawa erases Izuku’s quirk at the ball throw, in which Izuku seriously considers what his teacher had to say (and looks as though he’s had a realization about who Aizawa is, which piques Tsuna’s curiosity).

It’s then that Izuku breaks his finger throwing the ball.

Tsuna is out of Aizawa’s arms faster than anyone can blink, darting his way over to the boy.

“The one thing I told you not to do,” Tsuna wails, watching Izuku’s finger turn purple. It’s kind of gross to look at, he thinks, but then shakes his head. He knows Izuku can’t hear what he’s really saying, but he should get the point because he looks sorry at least.

Even though Izuku’s been training with All Might before school, Izuku can still barely manage his powers- concentrating it all into one finger, instead of fracturing his arm, is smart. At least for a demonstration. It doesn’t make Tsuna happy about the situation, though.

“Geez, that looks like it hurt,” Uraraka murmurs off to the side, eyebrows drawn together. She still looks enthusiastic that Izuku got a high score, but it battles against the concern she has about what just happened.

Even still, off to the side, Hitoshi’s gaze is on the ground, fists clenched at his sides. It doesn’t take a genius to know that with Hitoshi’s quirk, he’s fairly low in the ranks, having decided against trying to mind control one of the other students to help him with these tests.

Tsuna whirls his head around towards Aizawa, heart racing. Conflicted, he doesn’t know who to go comfort.

“Oh yeah,” Aizawa says after a moment, gaze on his students. “That whole expulsion thing was a lie.”

Tsuna’s intuition pings that as false. He doesn’t know how to feel about it, other than it seems like something Reborn would have done (except any loss on Tsuna’s part would have resulted in lots and lots of pain).

“It was a logical ruse to pull out your best performances.” Aizawa shifts where he’s standing and then whips out a hall pass to hand to Izuku, who takes it as he’s trying to process his teacher’s words. “Get yourself to Recovery Girl. The rest of you, your curriculum sheets are in the classroom.”

The class disperses with overwhelming chatter, though Tsuna can tell they’re trying not to be overheard by Aizawa (not that they can hope to hide what they’re saying, considering they’re not that far from the man). Izuku finally snaps out of his thoughts to head in the direction he thinks the nurse is. Tsuna scampers over and helps guide him.

After receiving an earful from Recovery Girl, Izuku tiredly returns to the class with Tsuna trailing next to him. Once inside, he’s greeted back by his friends and some of the other classmates. It’s nice to see that so many of them are friendly, Tsuna thinks. Maybe he won’t need to worry so much about bullies and having to defend Izuku from them. That’s a relief.

Tsuna looks around the desks after perching on Izuku’s. He catches the gaze of that one bird-like student, who eyes him in distrust. Tsuna skips over that and finds Todoroki. Before he heads over, he checks to make sure Hitoshi, Katsuki, and Izuku are all okay. He then parkours across the desks, coming to a stop in front of the boy. He doesn’t want to just intrude, but without a way to verbally ask if he can climb onto the surface, he settles to tapping politely on the desk.

Todoroki watches this, eyebrows raised. They stare at each other in silence, Tsuna’s paw still awkwardly outstretched in front of him. When Todoroki finally nods, Tsuna climbs onto the desk and sits down. There’s no way to get his invitation across, so he lays on his side and hopes it speaks for itself. There’s a moment where Todoroki’s hand hesitates, but soon enough he’s petting Tsuna’s side.

Todoroki glances up and meets Izuku’s gaze. Immediately, he does not like the amusement he finds written on the freckled boy’s face. It feels a lot like he walked into a trap, but he doesn’t know how or why.

Todoroki ignores it and continues petting Tsuna.

Tsuna stays with him until the class is over for the day.

“I’m so tired,” Izuku mutters, trudging home. Walking beside him, Katsuki and Hitoshi both grunt out agreements, although the blond is definitely the one with the most energy left.

“I thought I was going to be expelled,” Hitoshi says, slouching into himself.

“We’ll just have to train harder,” Izuku replies, nudging Hitoshi’s side. “We won’t let something like that happen again.”

“I wonder if you can use Tsuna as a bribe,” Katsuki pipes up, smirking down at the cat behind them. He’s been looking over his shoulder frequently ever since they left the school. Tsuna wonders why.

“I feel like that’s cheating, somehow.” Even still, Izuku appears as though he’s considering it.

Tsuna slows his walking as they pass by an alleyway. The fur on his back raises, something unsettling nagging at him as he watches the shadows. Red eyes meet his gaze. A glint of a sharp blade and then it’s gone; the alleyway is silent and left undisturbed.

Yeah, no thank you, Tsuna decides, firmly, and darts ahead to catch up with the group.