Midoriya Izuku never intended to go into Underground Heroics. He was All Might’s successor, the Ninth user of One for All. It was one of the flashiest quirks in existence—it literally covered his body in green fucking lightning . How the hell was he supposed to go into Underground Heroics with a quirk like that? Don’t even get him started on the popularity he and his classmates have due to their very public takedown of the League of Villains. He was the #12 hero in the rankings and slowly climbing his way to the #1 spot, just like he promised all those years ago. He was perfectly happy doing what he did.
Well, that was true (for the most part). He didn’t enjoy how his agency kept trying to force him into merchandise meetings (no, he didn’t care what shade of green was used for Deku underwear , that shouldn’t even exist in the first place—) or how the media kept trying to rope him into interviews. He was a hero, why should he spend his time catering to the media vultures when he could be patrolling or saving people? While interviews are important for keeping public morale, the constant flooding of his inbox made him turn away from the whole ordeal. It also bothered him that whenever he tried to do any form of community service—he’s run the numbers countless times, social programs were a good deterrent against crime and villainy, and no, Etsumi from Support, those are not the same thing— he was politely told to spend his time doing “better things”.
For some unholy reason, merchandise meetings were apparently more important than helping out at his local homeless shelter. Thank Kami for his plain face. All it took was a wig and fake contacts to make sure no one knew where he spent his free time.
But all of this was a major digression. He was saving people and keeping morale up as a Limelight Hero. Even if he wasn’t a fan of the celebrity status people seemed intent on giving him, it was all part of the job. Nothing he could do about it. As long as he was doing good in the world, he was happy.
This existential crisis wasn’t without a source. Recently, his agency asked him if he wanted to participate in a raid on a local villain group that was on the rise. Apparently the police and Under’s needed a bit more firepower on their side. Izuku immediately agreed, obviously. Even if his manager tried to hide the file from him, he was going to participate. Organized crime was still uncomfortably high since All Might’s retirement. Any role that he could play in lowering that number was worth it.
Even if everyone in the room kept sending him weird glances. He was basically the only Limelight there. Already he could hear the whispers of look at the Spotty and also what’s number twelve doing here? He even saw a few people glaring at him. He ignored them all and faced ahead.
The policemen in charge called the meeting to order. After a round of introductions (where Izuku had to hold himself back from fanboying over all of the cool and amazing heroes that he was going to work with), the meeting began in earnest. It was a pretty standard meeting. They had a location, a time, and a solid plan. Izuku, along with Stardust (quirk: Plasma, can produce plasma from their hands for a limited amount of time, making them a devastatingly effective close combatant) and Greenster (quirk: Poison Ivy, can shoot poison ivy leaves from various parts of her body, rounding out the team with ranged support and close fighting), were going to assault the front while other Under’s and Semi’s were going to approach from the sides. A three-prong attack that would hopefully end with everyone in the building arrested.
Izuku had no issues with this plan. The setup made sense, his role made sense, and neither Stardust nor Greenster appeared to hate him for his popularity, so he called it a win. The issue came when they started going over the known members and quirks of the organization.
He was starting to wonder if he would have done more good in the world as a support analyst if this was the standard.
Izuku combed through the debriefing files as the policemen explained over and over again that analysts were unsure what quirks were at play and to be careful and expect the unexpected . He wanted to cry bullshit . In the five minutes he took to read through the mission files and the private (and totally, he swears, legal ) research he compiled before the meeting, he already knew the quirks of the six more prominent fighters. One had a balance-altering quirk, another had strength augmentation, one had a minor time dilation quirk (which was super rare, they could have done so much good with it ), another had a standard pyrokinesis quirk, the second-in-command had paralysis, and most importantly, the leader was Quirkless.
But Izuku wasn’t a support analyst. Quirk analysis was his hobby, not his career. He was probably completely and utterly wrong. If the professionals couldn’t identify these quirks, then there must have been something that he was missing. Maybe he’d share his thoughts with Stardust and Greenster—
“What was that, Deku? Do you have any thoughts on their quirks?” The policeman asked.
Izuku blushed and ducked his head, rubbing his neck. He heard a few snickers in the room. “Well, I think I have a few ideas…”
No one was laughing by the time he explained himself. The room was creepily silent after his little speech (or was it a ramble? There wasn’t much a difference between the two these days).
“At least, that’s what I think. I could be totally wrong though, it’s not like I’m a support analyst or anything. Actually, I’m going to stop talking now so we can continue with the meeting. Forget I ever said anything—”
The officer gestured towards someone on the side. “Call support and ask them to verify everything Deku said. He’s on to something here.”
It all went downhill from there. For his career, not the raid. The raid, in and of itself, was a success with minimal damage done to the compound. The villains were arrested for assault, drug possession, and human trafficking, which reminded him too much of the Shie Hassaikai Raid. Izuku would never regret going behind his agency’s back and taking the raid. Nor would he regret the information that he gave out.
He did regret the rumors that began to spread. Rumors about his analysis, his tactics, his brains. Soon, he was getting more and more requests to join raids or do more investigative work. Hell, sometimes people contacted him just to give on-the-spot analysis (which was only a little bit illegal as long as they listed him as an official consultant on the case). His days were spent going through these requests. While the work was mind-numbing at times, it gave him a perfectly good excuse to cancel all merchandise and marketing meetings. No one could argue that a Deku-themed water bottle was more important than catching a serial killer.
Did Izuku use that excuse every single time Hayato from Marketing brought it up? Possibly. Was he lying? There was no proof to the contrary, so what Hayato didn’t know wouldn’t kill him.
To facilitate all the consulting/investigative work he did, his patrols were indefinitely moved to the graveyard shift: 9 pm to 5 am five or six days a week. He didn’t even mind the schedule change. As Gran Torino once said, all of the smart villains lurked at night. It certainly made investigating the leads he discovered during the day easier.
Next thing he knew, a more discreet and darker-colored version of his costume was made and most of his coworkers became Under’s and the occasional Semi. He hadn’t seen any of his classmates in months , except for Shinsou and Tokoyami. Strangely enough, they were seeing each other more and more frequently, either with coinciding patrols or debriefings. Shinsou always laughed whenever he saw Izuku at those meetings, though (which he had asked about, only to receive more laughter in response). Tokoyami would pat him on the back, talking about how he was surprised that Izuku had stared at the Abyss of his soul and decided to join it or something to that effect.
He never asked Tokoyami to elaborate.
Obviously, his rank fell. He went from eighth to fifteenth, to thirtieth, to forty-fifth, all in the span of six months. It only continued to drop after that. Technically the decrease in pay should have left him weeping, but due to the sheer amount of cases he helped close and the villains he caught during his night patrols, he wasn’t hurting for cash. Hayato (finally) stopped asking him to sign a brand deal, which improved his quality of life drastically. And he was still saving people and improving lives.
He had never felt happier.
All of that led to his current situation, however. It was the tail end of his shift when someone decided to rob a local bakery. Izuku called it in, dealt with the robber, and comforted the hostage while the police arrived. All in all, he could say that it was a job that even Aizawa-sensei would approve of.
That didn’t stop the police officer from mistaking him for a vigilante of all things .
Yes, his suit was all dark colors, and no, the officer wouldn’t and didn’t recognize his hero name. It took a while, but he finally convinced the man to let Izuku show him his hero license. Still unconvinced, the man called Support to see if the license was valid.
Izuku tried not to scream during all of this.
One the man confirmed that Izuku was, in fact, a Pro Hero named Deku, his demeanor changed.
“Sorry about that. It’s always hard to identify you Underground types.”
“You did good work here today. Remember to submit your report to the police statement once your patrol is over. Have a nice day, Deku.”
Before Izuku could explain himself, the policeman had walked away to collect witness statements.
Izuku wasn’t an underground hero. He couldn’t be an underground hero. He had a legacy to uphold and a promise to keep. So naturally, he bitched about the incident to all of his friends. And if most of the people he kept regular contact with were Under’s, then it was only a coincidence.
All of them proved unhelpful. Shinsou, once again, only laughed before hanging up the phone. Stardust simply started chanting One of us! One of us ! before Izuku hung up on them. Tokoyami welcomed him to the void and offered to bring him cookies next time they had lunch.
The situation didn’t improve during the next Class 3-A reunion, either. He spent most of the time catching up with his old friends (and gosh, had it really been years since he last spoke to them?), the conversation naturally turned to the recent ranking announcement.
Todoroki was the #4 hero, with Bakugo trailing behind him. Uraraka had just broken into the top 10, while everyone congratulated Yaoyorozu for moving into the #6 slot.
Izuku hadn’t even made the top 50.
That fact should have bothered him. He was slowly getting farther and farther away from keeping his promise to All Might, to being the next Number One. He was a failure of a student, successor, and One-for-All user. None of his friends brought up his decreasing popularity. Tsuyu even asked how Underground Heroics was going for him!
Did everyone think he was an Underground Hero?
In a last-ditch effort to get a clear answer, he invited Aizawa-sensei out for coffee.
“So, you’re having an existential crisis over your Heroics designation,” Aizawa-sensei asked bluntly.
“You could say that.”
“And why did you call me instead of All Might?”
“You are the Underground Hero, Aizawa-sensei—”
“—Not your teacher anymore—”
“—and even if Underground Heroes aren’t ranked, I ran the numbers and you come in the top or near the top for villain apprehension, civilian rescue, and lack of property damage—”
“—And I’m not an official analyst or anything despite what the police think since they keep asking me to give consultations—”
“— Midoriya —”
“—so it’s entirely possible that my math is incorrect but regardless you’re, like, an icon for the Underground Heroics Association, so you can probably give me the best guidance on this matter.”
Aizawa-sensei pinched his nose. “You give police consultations?”
“I keep getting calls to verify or give quirk analysis.”
“It’s not illegal if they list me as a consultant on the case. You correct one support technician and get asked to consult on everything ever since,” Izuku sighed, exasperated.
Aizawa-sensei snorted. “So you could say that you have a good working relationship with the police.”
“Have you worked with other Under’s?”
“Constantly. I keep running into Shinsou and Tokoyami. They keep laughing at me or thanking me for ‘succumbing to the darkness of your soul’. Stardust is nice to work with too. Greenster I don’t see as often—”
“Okay, I see your point,” Aizawa-sensei interrupted, “Do you do night patrols?”
“For the most part.”
“What kinds of cases do you work on?”
Izuku started counting on his fingers. “Investigative, consulting, raids, stuff like that.”
“Do you have merchandise or want to have merchandise?”
“What are your thoughts on the media?”
“To quote you, Sensei, they’re a bunch of vultures.”
Aizawa-sensei laughed and took a sip of his coffee. “Well, I can say that you aren’t an Under—”
“—I knew it—”
“—But only because you haven’t signed with the Underground Hero Association. I highly recommend that you do that after this meeting.”
“Midoriya. You literally just described my hero career back to me, but with more detective work. You are currently working as an Under without any of the identity protection or anonymity. Sign with the Underground Hero Association before a villain decides to track you down and murder your family.”
Aizawa-sensei left soon after that, leaving Izuku to his thoughts. Was he an Underground Hero? According to Eraserhead himself, he practically was. He needed to talk to All Might. It took a while, but he finally gathered the courage to call the man.
“So you’re basically an Underground Hero and having a crisis because you think you’ve disappointed me. Is that a good summary, my boy?”
“...Yes. I’m sorry Yagi-sensei, I’ll try harder—”
“Izuku. Why did you want to be a hero?”
“To save people with a smile, even the ones who are forgotten.”
“And are you doing that, right now?”
“Then you haven’t disappointed me, my boy. I would only be disappointed if you weren’t living your dream.”
“But I’m your successor and—” Oh, Izuku was crying now. Lovely.
“But nothing. When I gave you One for All, it was to accomplish your dreams, Izuku. Not so you can stubbornly cling to mine. If being an Underground Hero is how you feel is the best way to accomplish your dream, then you have my blessing. It’s your quirk, Izuku, and ultimately, your life.”
The rest of the conversation was just Izuku crying with All Might—no, Toshinori whispering reassurances in his ear. He knew what he needed to do.
This current meeting reminded him of that fateful debriefing years ago. This time, instead of snickers, he was met with whispered awe. Taking a seat between Shinsou and Stardust (who still refused to give him a name, damn it, even after all these years), he got settled in and braced himself.
“We have the Underground Hero Deku working with us today—”
An introduction had never sounded so sweet before.
Extras that are also canon but didn’t fit the flow or tone of the story:
“SHINSOU, STOP LAUGHING AT ME!”
“HAHAHAHAHAHA THIS IS AMAZING.”
“ STOP .”
“How the hell do you accidentally become a police consultant? Actually, I can see it.”
“I don’t know! My analysis isn’t even that good!”
“Dude, remember that time in our second year when you completely blew everyone off and spent the whole night working on quirk analysis?”
“...I don’t remember that.”
“Uraraka had to carry you downstairs.”
“ No .”
“ Yes. You started doing complex math on your arms and legs because you couldn’t find a piece of paper and we were forcing you to sleep on the couch.”
“Wait, was that the math about the rate at which Eri stockpiles energy for her quirk?”
“I think so.”
“I always wondered why I woke up with a linear regression plot on my legs…Hold on, I actually have that written down somewhere in volume 15—”
“And this conversation is over. Call me when you decide to commit to the Underground, bitch.”
“Wait, no, unblock me. I have actual advice for you.”
“You have 2 seconds.”
Izuku hung up.
“Midoriya, it is truly admirable that you are slowly joining the Dark Side.”
“I’m not joining anything—”
“With a soul as light as yours, it is no wonder that there has been a seedy underbelly this whole time—”
“A what now?”
“Yes...the only way to counteract such blinding light is to have a secret dark side.”
“Thank you? I was just calling—”
“As always, the darkness is capable of corrupting us all. You stared into the abyss and decided that it would make a good pet.”
“It will be a glorious day once you slowly succumb to the darkness of your soul—”
“I’m hanging up now.”
“YOU CANNOT STOP THE ABYSS—”
“So you finally figured it out!”
“Figured what out?”
“That you’re an Under!”
“Stardust, I’m literally still in the rankings.”
“And dropping. Aren’t you tired of being nice? Don’t you wanna go apeshit?”
“Stardust, I’d still have to be nice if I’m an Under.”
“So you are considering Underground Heroics.”
“ONE OF US, ONE OF US—”
“STAR NO —”
“STAR YES! ONE OF US! ONE OF US!”