Mic walked around his hometown with his head hung low. His first year at Death Weapon Meister Academy (aka, DWMA) was not going how he had imagined it at all. He had known going in that his soul’s nature made him a hard weapon to sync with, but that was why he had worked so hard to go to Death’s personal academy; if any place had a meister that could handle him, it had to be DWMA.
So it had been nothing short of crushing when one of his teachers had pulled him aside before semester break and told him that a meister who could handle him was “one in a billion.”
One in a billion?! Those had been some tough odds to swallow, but Mic tried to stay optimistic. If one in a billion could handle him, then there were a good seven people on the planet whom he could partner up with! He just had to find one of those seven people and he…! Well, he would just….uh…
His body deflated further with a heavy sigh. Trying to stay optimistic had somehow made him more depressed. “One in a billion” posed the situation as odds he could overcome, but “only seven people on the entire planet” shed light on just how hopeless things had become.
The reality was that a weapon without a meister could only do so much. Did this all mean that DWMA, the place he had bet all his dreams of becoming a true Death Weapon on, was the place where those dreams actually died?
Mic’s street-side misery fest was interrupted by a sick vibration in the air. He stopped mid-step and waited on a tense breath to see if he could locate the source. Mic wasn’t able to see the souls of others, but he was sensitive to their energies, especially when those energies were negative.
Unfortunately, the bad wave he had picked up on this time had come and gone. Mic would usually leave a random burst out of the blue like that alone, but this hadn’t been a burst of anger given off by someone who had just died before the end of an excruciating level in a video game; no, what he had sensed had been dangerous, murderous even. Mic couldn’t let it go in good conscience.
So, he performed a little trick that he had picked up through some boredom-induced experimentation. No one had ever asked him about the trick before, but if someone did, he’d tell them he called it “Soul Echo Location,” and that it was actually pretty simple. All he did was send out a burst of energy from his own soul in a wave all around him, and when that energy came into contact with another living being’s soul, a small burst of soul resonance took place. As a result of that burst, echoes of souls would bounce back to him, and he’d gain a general idea of who was around, their temperament, and where they were. See? Simple!
It was a trick he was secretly really proud of coming up with, and he really, really hoped that someday someone would ask him about it, but that was really a problem for another day. The energy burst from his soul had indeed collided with the souls of others, and while most of the dozen or so echoes were normal (and a couple quite familiar), one pushed the air out of his lungs with its intensity.
There was something wrong with this soul. He physically staggered back a step and thought he must have accidentally bit down on his cheek when he felt the taste of blood fill his mouth, but then he realized the sensation was a side-effect of this soul.
This person, this creature -they had killed, and they were eager to kill again.
Mic found himself frozen in place.
What was he supposed to do? As a student of DWMA, he felt responsible for tracking the soul down, seeing if they were on Death’s hitlist, and dealing with them accordingly. On the other hand, he was a lone teenage boy, and, half-weapon or not, approaching known murderers was not the best tactic for staying alive. In fact, it was the kind of action he’d mock a young protagonist in a horror movie for doing. He felt instinctively that he should run, but -but he knew there were other innocent souls likely completely unaware of the monster lurking around the corner. Could he really leave them behind?
As Mic stood stock still on an empty sidestreet, his mind racing back and forth, a decision was reached for him.
The thing about his little trick was that while, yes, it did allow him to find other souls, it also allowed those souls to find him.
A woman appeared before him with slumped shoulders and her face obscured by long, black, patchy hair. As Mic’s constantly-vibrating soul stuttered, his eyes fell to the katana wrapped around her hand so tightly that her fingers had gone purple.
“You…” The woman seethed. Her blade glinted in the sunlight, and that glint was all the warning Mic got before she lunged and slashed at him.
Mic transformed his left arm into the blade of his scythe form as fast as he could and blocked to coming katana just in time.
“Hey, hey, hey,” Mic stammered, his mouth running on adrenaline alone. “Can’t we -can’t we try talking this out?”
The woman said nothing, just pulled back and came at him again. He supposed that was answer enough.
Once engaged in battle, the woman’s thin hair blew away from her face, revealing painful inflammation, discoloration, and scarring on that pushed her right eye shut. Mic recognized the disfigurement. This had to be Oiwa, one of the human souls located near the top of Death’s hitlist for countless gruesome murders. Only the highest-ranked meister-weapon pairs from DWMA were meant to even attempt taking her on, and yet there was Mic, a lone weapon, going blade-to-blade with her.
Metal clashed with metal as Oiwa relentlessly came at Mic with her full strength behind every swing. Mic was stuck in a stance of reactive defense as he struggled just to keep up. He had no more time for “witty banter”; if his arm was ever a second too slow, he was done for.
He wanted to cry for help, but who would come? Who could help him?
He was locked with Oiwa in a tense contest of strength, both trying to push back the other with the force of their weapon and too scared to pull back and be made vulnerable to a deadly up-close attack. Then, suddenly, a person swung onto the scene -and directly into Oiwa.
Completely caught off guard, Oiwa stumbled far back and away as the person -a boy- landed and righted himself on his feet with all the grace of an experienced alleycat.
Mic’s heart was hammering in his chest as he both tried to catch his breath and take in the boy before him. He realized he recognized him as a… heartbreaker of sorts from back at DWMA. Aizawa Shouta was, apparently, a meister who could sync up with just about any weapon, and yet refused to partner with any of them. Mic had seen more than a few weapons in tears -frustrated, disappointed, or otherwise- after being told by Aizawa that he saw no potential in their partnership. Mic was told by enough people that he was impossible to work with, and so he had chosen to save himself the embarrassment of inevitably getting rejected by Aizawa, too. Their teachers had more or less silently agreed and never pushed the two to try partnering even once.
But all of that meant that this kid had no weapon, and yet here he was, standing between Mic and a serial killer, posed and looking ready to fight. Did this kid, Aizawa -did he have a fucking death wish?!
“Hey,” Mic cried out as he watched Oiwa steady herself. Aizawa was careful not to turn away from her, but his eyes did flick back to Mic to let him know that his call had been heard. Mic extended his non-weaponized hand and demanded (begged? pleaded?), “Use me!”
Despite the danger of doing so, Aizawa actually turned his head all the way back to meet Mic’s eyes. He was looking for something, and while Mic didn’t know what that something was, he kept his eyes forward and fierce. Even if they didn’t work as a meister and weapon pairing, they had to try. It was their best hope given the circumstances.
Maybe Aizawa understood that, or maybe he found whatever he had been looking for in Mic’s eyes. Either way, he took Mic’s hand and squeezed it tight.
The rush of transforming while connecting with a meister was a feeling unlike any other. Mic’s soul surged, reaching out with all its energy to find his partner’s soul. He found Aizawa’s to be a quiet, sturdy, unassuming thing. As soon as their souls connected, Mic’s soul went to work testing for the right frequency that would perfectly resonate with the tone of Aizawa’s soul and amplify it to its highest potential.
That was a big part of Mic’s problem: his soul always seemed to be resonating. He couldn’t make it stop, and the intensity of such an immediate connection and power surge turned off so many potential meisters.
Aizawa’s frequency was low. If they were talking light, he was infra-red. Still, once Mic hit it, Aizawa’s soul began to react, and this was the moment things always broke apart. Souls always rejected Mic’s push, and so both him and his meister would always end up in a heap on the ground. Mic was too much; he clashed with souls as bold as his own and eclipsed any with less presence. Even experienced meisters just couldn’t seem to get a handle on him.
Mic waited on a tense breath for the push back, the rejection, but… it never came. Aizawa’s soul was stubborn in a way he had never experienced before. It took Mic’s amplifying waves, absorbed what it felt it needed, and dampened the rest until their two souls reached an equilibrium: Aizawa’s soul had energized, and Mic’s had quieted down for the first time… ever.
Mic released his held breath and relaxed into his scythe form. He had never felt like this, never felt so… calm. Or, at least, as close to calm as he could get.
“Not bad,” he heard Aizawa mumble. Mic looked down and swore he caught a flash of a satisfied smile on the meister’s face. He couldn’t say for sure, though, and he didn’t have any time to really analyze what he had seen before he felt Oiwa’s soul closing back in on them.
“Aizawa,” he shouted for just the other boy to hear. “Look out! Here she comes!”
Aizawa’s grip on Mic tightened. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I see her.”
This time when their two blades clashed, there was real momentum behind Mic. Aizawa was able to use him to parry with Oiwa and quite quickly put her on the defensive.
Mic was in awe. It didn’t take a genius to see that Aizawa was a skilled fighter. No wonder so many weapons back at the academy were hurt by his rejection!
“Wow, Aizawa! You’re amazing!”
“Thanks,” Aizawa grunted back. Though Oiwa was the one defending, Aizawa’s swings weren’t relentless. They were calculated, precise. “Now focus.”
“I am! I’m super focused!”
How could he not be? It was exhilarating to be used like this!
“Good,” Aizawa replied. “Because here it comes.”
“‘It?’ What’s it-?”
Aizawa saw what Mic had never seen: an opening. And, having the skills to take advantage of it, he swung Mic right through Oiwa.
There was a tension in the collision of living being and blade. It felt like Mic was being pressed up against an inflated balloon that resisted being popped, but Aizawa kept pushing, and the pop inevitably came. The resulting release of pressure was intense, but Aizawa’s feet remained firmly rooted to the ground and kept them both stable. When the explosion cleared, Mic heard the katana clatter to the ground and found himself holding a soul in his hands.
Everything about this was strange and new and exciting. No one had ever been able to wield him long enough for him to have the chance to properly experiment while in his scythe form. He’d never materialized his torso out from his blade like he’d seen other weapons do, and he’d certainly never held a soul in his hands before. He swore he could hear the little red thing hissing curses at him still.
Aizawa’s voice snapped Mic out of his reverie of the moment and he turned to look at him.
“Aren’t you going to eat it,” Aizawa asked.
“Just -Just give me a moment,” Mic replied, his eyes flitting back and forth between Aizawa and Oiwa’s soul. “I’ve… I’ve never held a soul before.”
“Yes, really,” he squawked. “Laugh all you want, but not all of us are the most eligible partner at DWMA at the moment!”
“I’m not laughing,” Aizawa insisted. “I’m just surprised.” He shrugged, looked away. “Take your time, then, I guess.”
“Thank you,” Mic huffed. He may have sounded a bit indignant, but he really was grateful for Aizawa’s patience. This was a soul he was holding, afterall, and he felt that fact deserved some respect, some reverence.
He turned the strange thing over in his hands. His soul, never one to really rest, couldn’t resist reaching out, couldn’t resist trying to truly feel this soul.
“It feels… sad,” Mic muttered to himself, a frown tugging down at his lips.
Aizawa raised an eyebrow up at him. “It feels… sad?”
“Yeah, it’s, um… it’s hard to explain, but underneath all the cursing and bloodlust I feel… sadness. Heartbreak. Betrayal.” His frown grew. “It seems like this soul has been through a lot.”
Aizawa didn’t look impressed. “You’re talking about a murderer , you know.”
“I know that,” Mic shot back. “I don’t feel bad about stopping her and eating her! It’s not pity for her , it’s just…” He sighed and shrugged. “I don’t know. I just wish things could have been different, ya know? If not for her, then for her victims.”
He felt Aizawa’s eyes on him, analyzing him again. Geez, what was this kid looking for?
“If you don’t eat it soon, someone else will probably snatch it away from you,” Aizawa said, looking away again.
“Okay, okay! I’m eating it, I’m eating it!”
He popped it into his mouth in one go. Eating it was a bit like biting down on a tapioca pearl: a little gelatinous, mostly flavorless. It went down easily, and then it was gone.
His first ever soul.
Mic couldn’t believe everything that had happened. He had nearly given up all hope for his future as a Death Weapon a couple minutes ago, and yet now he had just consumed his first ever soul!
He looked back at Aizawa. This was all thanks to him. If he hadn’t shown up, Mic would have been a goner!
Maybe syncing up and fighting was nothing to Aizawa, but it was everything to Mic. Aizawa rejected partnering with everyone, but it still didn’t hurt to ask if he would consider partnering up with him, right? If Mic just explained the full situation, he would surely see the logic in it all!
“Hey, Aizawa? Would you-”
The words caught in Mic’s throat as a violent soul wavelength cut viciously through the air. It was discordant and powerful, and it actually registered as a sort of chaotic white noise in Mic’s ears. As his face scrunched up in pain, Mic clamped his hands over his ears and tried to block out the sound with little effect. He thought he heard Aizawa’s voice, but it felt far away, like there was a deep valley between them.
Through the pain and disorientation, he forced an eye open and looked towards the source of the wavelength. Standing where the katana had fallen was now what appeared to be a disheveled samurai, and while his lips were stretched into a large grin across his face, the rest of his features were twisted up in a rage. He never opened his mouth, and yet words began to filter through the static noise and directly into Mic’s mind.
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This was madness staring them down and raring to tear them apart.
Mic’s last coherent thought was that he had to straighten up, that he had to protect Aizawa.
But then everything went black.
When he woke up again, he found himself in the recovery ward of DWMA with Aizawa. After it was confirmed that neither of them had any serious injuries, they got lectured for over an hour by their teachers for taking on a threat like Oiwa and her weapon/ex-husband, Iemon. Their punishment ended up being two months of detention.
Throughout their scolding, Mic was able to piece together what had happened while he had blacked out. Aizawa had, thankfully, called DWMA before swooping in to save Mic’s ass, and their teachers had taken care of Iemon while they were ushered away safely. No one was exactly sure why he had passed out, but it was assumed to be his soul’s response to brushing with madness.
Which, admittedly, Mic thought was kind of lame.
Passing out when his meister needed him most was not the kind of first impression he had wanted to make on Aizawa. It was also embarrassing to him that he had never sensed Oiwa’s katana was a weapon like him. Given Oiwa and Iemon’s history together, it wouldn’t have surprised him to find out Oiwa had been purposefully smothering her ex-husband’s soul, but he still blamed himself for not picking up on anything until it was too late. He could have warned Aizawa about how dangerous the situation was, but instead he almost got him killed and then he had gotten him detention.
There was absolutely no way Aizawa would want to be his partner now.
So, after their scolding in one of the classrooms, Mic slumped over onto his desk and waited with a heavy heart for Aizawa to leave. Or curse him out. Mic supposed he deserved one or the other.
“You don’t have a meister, right?”
The question surprised Mic. He slowly peeked up from his arms to find Aizawa standing before him, looking down, waiting for an answer.
“I, um, no? I, I mean -right!” Mic popped back up into a proper seated position. “You’re right! I don’t have a meister!”
“Would you consider being my weapon?”
Mic’s jaw dropped.
“Wh- What?!” Mic’s chair nearly fell over because he jumped to his feet so fast. “You want me to be your -are - are you sure?!”
Despite Mic’s painfully fluctuating volume, Aizawa only winced once before nodding.
Mic couldn’t believe it. Was he dreaming? Hallucinating? Was this another side effect of brushing with madness?
He purposefully bit the inside of his cheek to try to wake himself up, but Aizawa didn’t go away. This was all real, but Mic still couldn’t process it all.
“But! But, but, but, but why? Why me,” Mic asked. “Why not anyone else?”
Aizawa awkwardly rubbed at the back of his neck as his eyes drifted to the windows. “Other weapons aren’t bad,” he started, “I’m just not a good fit for them. My soul isn’t very powerful, and because of that I’m a meister that holds most weapons back, but... when I wielded you, I… I didn’t feel that way. You had so much energy that there was no way I could hold you back. For the first time I… I felt like I had real potential as a meister, but if you don’t feel the same way, I-”
“ No!” Mic lunged forward and took Shouta free hand into both of his own. “Are you crazy?! I, I would love to be your weapon! I need someone to hold me back a little! I’m too much! Oh, please be my partner, Aizawa, please!”
Aizawa had tensed up defensively when Mic first grabbed him, but as Mic pleaded with him, he relaxed.
“I… should warn you that weapons who do end up working with me for a while say that I’m… difficult.”
Mic laughed to try to ease Aizawa’s awkwardness. “Oh, don’t worry! People say I’m impossible!”
Aizawa snorted. “Yeah, well just because they lack the proper skills to wield you doesn’t mean you’re the problem.”
Mic felt like his chest was about to burst. He pushed up his glasses and rubbed away any tears before his face-splitting smile could push them out.
One in a billion. Against the odds, Mic had found his one in a billion meister.
“We’re going to be the best partners this school has ever seen,” Mic cheered as he hopped over the desk and swept Aizawa up in a hug. Aizawa was stiff in his hold, but he didn’t push him away. Mic considered that a win.
“Yeah, yeah. Can I ask you a question?”
Mic released Aizawa from his hug. “Of course you can, partner!”
Aizawa rolled his eyes at “partner,” but again didn’t tell Mic to stop. He just went on with his question. “I felt your soul sort of… resonate with mine way before we synced. In fact, that was how I found you in the first place. How...How did you do that?”
Mic didn’t know his smile could get any wider.
He looped an arm around Aizawa’s shoulders and started for the exit with him.
“Oh, that? That’s a little something I call ‘Soul Echo Location’...”