Big Brother Chapter 3

The only reason Koichi knew that the session was over was the text from Makoto that alerted him that she would be home late. Looking up from his phone he took a quick glance around at the now near empty gym. Most of the kids had gone, as had the other volunteers. Had they really been talking for that long? It didn’t feel that way, and they’d covered so many things. Movies, hero watching, he’d even gotten into deep discussion about whether or not Ryuku could take on Endeavor in a one on one fight.

Izuku had a surprisingly in depth argument for why that would be the case.

As Koichi put up his phone he rose and held out a hand to Izuku to help him up. The young boy hesitated before taking the extended hand as Koichi pulled him to his feet. Almost immediately Izuku stumbled and Koichi had to use his other hand to steady him.

“Ah! Sorry, sorry, my legs fell asleep. I-I didn’t…”

“It’s okay.” Koichi cut off the apologies. It was no big deal. “I suppose we were sort of supposed to get some exercise in today, but well, we got a bit side tracked.”

Izuku looked down at the gym and saw a few balls being put away, “Was, was there supposed to be an event? Would you have wanted to go play? I’m sorry, I didn’t know, I was just…”

“Again, it’s okay.” Koichi tried to give an easy smile. “I had fun regardless. Did you have fun?”

“Ye-yes! I mean, it was great! I usually just have these conversations online, but in person, you really know a lot about heroes. Most people usually hesitate or don’t cite their sources. I have to bring up resources all the time when they’re mistaken.”

“Ah, well my fiancee works as a PR manager in the industry.” Koichi let Izuku take a step back before walking with him to the bleacher stairs. “So I get a lot of information about it from her.”

“Really? That’s so cool! Wait, you’re getting married? I thought all the big brothers were in high school or early college.”

Koichi rubbed his head, he was one of the oldest volunteers. Apparently they didn’t like letting married men enter since they believed they’d need their time for working on their own family. Not that it was much of a concern for him. Makoto made the money in their relationship and made it abundantly clear that she had no intention of getting pregnant any time soon. Maybe later, after Koichi got established as a professional hero, but not for a few years. “I’m out of college actually. Mostly I work in community service.”

Izuku nodded as he wandered down the stairs towards a stout woman with hair in a matching shade of green and the same large eyes waiting for him. Relation was confirmed with Izuku’s cry of okaa-san as he moved to her side.

“Okaa-san, this is Koichi-san, he lives in Naruhata and does lots of hero watching there. He even got a picture of Ingenium out of armor.”

“That’s very nice, Izuku. I saw you two talking. Did you want to sign him officially to be your big brother for the program?” The woman said kindly.

“Yes, he’s so cool, I know that…” Suddenly he trailed off.

“Is something wrong?” Koichi wandered down, putting himself on the same level. Though even on ground level he was a bit taller than both of them. “I’m fine with working with Izuku for the program.”

“I,” Izuku looked at his mother and turned towards him. His head pushed into his shoulder making him look even smaller, “We talked for so long, but, but, I didn’t get to tell you.”

“Oh, Izuku.” His mother said, and Koichi blinked a few times in confusion.

Was something wrong? He thought they had a good conversation? Still, as he continued to watch Izuku started shaking and his mother hung her head and he was just sort of… looming there. Getting down to a knee to put him just below eye level, he looked at Izuku. “Tell me what, exactly? Is something wrong? Do you need anything? Or are you late on medication? If it’s a medical condition it’s fine.”

The last words made Izuku visibly wince as he turned to Koichi, still shaking and looking very much like he was going to cry. “I, I’m,” He lowered his head. “I didn’t tell you, I’m… quirkless.”

The words hung in the air for about a second before Koichi scratched his head. “And?”

This response seemed to surprise both the boy and his mother. Izuku actually stepped back, head whipping up in surprise. “And, what? I’m quirkless.”

“Yeah? And?” He looked from him to his mother, “Is there something else? Like can he not do sports for some reason? Because a lot of the activities are physical, that would be more of a concern.”

“No, he wouldn’t. He’s perfectly healthy, just… he doesn’t have a quirk. That doesn’t bother you?”

“No?” His eyebrows knit as he looked back down at Izuku, “Why would it?” He didn’t know many people who were quirkless, but it had also never bothered him. Knuckleduster was quirkless, and he was the best fighter Koichi knew. “I’m not sure what that has to do with anything or this program. It’s not like we’re allowed to use our quirks anyway.” Well mostly, he was allowed to use his quirk whenever, but now he was thinking he’d probably hold off.

Still as he watched the two exchange a look he could see Izuku start to shake a little bit again and the tears started to well up. “Woah, woah, are you okay?” Koichi reached out and hovered his hand on Izuku’s shoulder, looking from him to his mom for a moment. Taking the small nod of approval he set it on the boy’s shoulder.

“I’m,” He huffed through tears, “I just, for a moment, I was scared, because, because…” The tears flooded out and he wiped his eyes. “Just, a lot of people, because I’m quirkless, I thought you might…”

“No,” Koichi shook his head, “No, I wouldn’t. You don’t have to worry about that.” He moved his hand from the shoulder and looking at the mom again for permission moved it to Izuku’s head. “Now, why don’t we go make it official? Because I’d love to have you for a little brother.”

“Are you ready to go?” Inko had to move to the side as Izuku ran past her. Her smile widened as he quickly pulled on his shoes.

Inko walked to the divide and spoke softly. “You sure you’ll be okay on the train?”

“I’ll be okay, Koichi-san said he’d meet me at the station.” He said.

“You have quite a full pack today.”

“We’re going skating today, but I figured I could show Koichi some of my figurines. He said he used to collect them too.” Izuku’s back straightened as he adjusted his backpack’s straps.

“It sounds like you’ll have lots to talk about.” Inko walked to the door and opened it for her son. He gave her a dazzling smile as he ran out into the cool morning air. It had only been two weeks since the initial meetings, but every additional meeting Izuku got more and more excited to go meet with his volunteer. Haimawari Koichi was a polite enough young man, but even if he wasn’t Inko wouldn’t have kept him away. Izuku was just so happy to have someone who would talk to him so freely about his interests.

This was the first time Izuku would be going alone to the weekly meetings, as much as Inko wanted to keep watch, the same problems that other groups had didn’t really happen here. Most of the other participants were younger than Izuku and none went to Aldera, so none of that leaked into their interactions. Even if they did, the time spent was focused on one on one, and Koichi didn’t blink at the mention of Izuku’s condition.

The sheer relief from both her and Izuku was staggering as they continued with the program. After the first meeting at the Might Tower, they’d then gone to a park. This one was inside, so Inko was less concerned about anything happening. Plus Izuku would be going to high school next year, so she would have to get more used to him traveling for school.

As the door clicked shut she grabbed her phone and checked her messages. Maybe she could go have lunch with Mitsuki today.

Adjusting his bag as he entered the indoor skating center he scanned a prepaid code onto the turnstile. Izuku searched the crowds, a touch of anxiety touching his mind before he saw the group of volunteers and specifically Koichi holding up a hand. He was wearing last year’s All Might hoodie. Yes, he was in the right place, wasn’t that a relief. He’d double checked his phone three times to make sure he got off at the right stop. Out of habit he’d looked back down and when he’d looked back up Koichi had somehow closed the distance, causing Izuku to jump. His phone went flying and Koichi reached out and caught it.

“Oops, there we go.” His volunteer big brother scratched the back of his head as he often did when he was embarrassed or startled. Not that Izuku knew why he would be, he was so cool and knew so much about heroes. He’d even been inside the Ingenium Agency before to help volunteer. “Did you find the place alright?”

“Ye-yes! It wasn’t that long a train ride. But that’s not, I, um,” He absently pulled his backpack strap, “I brought something, I wanted to show you I mean. It’s in my bag.”

“Oh alright. Well we have a bit of time before our skating time starts. We should probably get you a locker anyway.” They then headed for some tables in front of a small cafe at the side of the rink.

Pulling the bag off his back he gingerly set it down and opened it slowly. He pulled out the cube of foam and gently pulled out the figure, he’d kept all the foam from the original packing just for transport. As he pulled it off with a pop Koichi leaned forward, “Ah, isn’t that one of the limited runs from the states?”

Izuku smiled as he held up the All Might figure, “Ye-yeah. My dad actually sent this. He works overseas.”

“Well he has great taste. I heard they only made a thousand of those.” Koichi smiled, and Izuku returned it as he set the figure in a suitably heroic pose on the stand and got his next model out. “This one’s a little more obscure but…”

“What?” Koichi looked at the model as Izuku pulled it out, “No way, you have an O’clock figure?”

“I know you talked about him a little bit before. I actually got him in a collection box I ordered online.” Izuku rubbed his head. He got a lot of lesser known hero figures in collection boxes sellers online often offloaded. Sometimes he even did trades, though only if he got doubles for his own collection.

“Man I didn’t even know he had any merch, given he’s been retired for a while.” Koichi very gently picked up the figure and pulled out his phone to take a quick picture. “Makoto will love this.”

“I’ve got a few more.” Izuku piped up as he pulled out the other two he brought. One was of Best Jeanist, it was a common figure but he loved the pose, the other was of Hound Dog. Again, common, but this figure showed him cradling a kitten. Despite his fearsome exterior he was apparently trained as a counselor.

Koichi chatted with him over the two before his phone alarm went off and the two of them carefully repacked the figures and put them back in his bag. Walking to the locker, Izuku slid the bag in and put in a few coins so he could turn and remove the key. Carefully tucking the key in his pocket he followed Koichi quickly to the counter and they grabbed their skates.

It had been a long time since he’d gone skating, he vaguely remembered doing so in elementary school at a friend’s party. The memory came about unbidden. Of that same excitement that had been in his heart as his mom took him into the rink. Of him holding the present in his hands and walking to greet the kid in the class who had invited him. Of looking into his eyes and seeing disappointment.

The kid hadn’t wanted to invite him at all, he’d only gotten the invitation to be polite but he hadn’t actually wanted the quirkless kid to show up.

“Izuku-kun?”

The words brought him back to the present and he met Koichi’s eyes this time. No disappointment, but concern, deep in the wrinkles, “Are you feeling okay?”

“It’s f-fine,” he stammered out, “Ju-just nervous. I haven’t been skating in years.”

“Oh, don’t worry too much about it, I’ll be with you the entire time.” As he tightened up the laces on Izuku’s skates, Koichi held out a hand. Izuku looked at the long fingers before grabbing them and he pulled them up. He was a little shaky standing on the skates, but Koichi put a hand on his back and pulled him along. Izuku took in a breath and held back his tears as he moved into the rink.

It was always a little weird for Koichi to go skating. He’d done it before, even somewhat recently, Makoto liked to go to the rink to get a better feel for how he felt when he used his quirk, though that was hardly an apt comparison. While the principle was the same he had far more control of his movement when using his quirk, partially because he could also use his hands for stability but also because he had control of his speed as well as the fact that no surface would slow him down regardless of the amount of friction. Still, the experience made it quite easy to switch to skating since he had excellent balance from all his sliding.

Izuku’s balance was less than good, but no more difficult to lead along than Makoto. Plus, even though he’d never say it out loud, the boy was far lighter than his fiancee, so much easier to catch if he slipped. He got better in that regard as they circled the rink and despite his hesitance the boy was eager to try and keep up with Koichi regardless. He was worried about how he’d go about teaching since the rink was pretty slippery. There was a small section off to the side with a rope to hang off of that kids could practice on but it was already filled up with some of the younger kids and their mentors. Either way, they spent a good amount of time circling as they moved. Eventually Izuku even got enough footing to roll on his own without holding onto Koichi or slipping and his grin as he managed to do an unassisted turn warmed Koichi’s heart.

After doing a loop without a hand Izuku rolled to the edge and wiped his forehead at the exertion. “That was fun.” He huffed out.

“Hey, do you need some water?” He asked.

“Oh, no I’m sorry I…”

“Don’t apologize, wait here.” Standing he pulled off the skates and walked in his socks to the concessions to grab a cup. As he did, a flash of color caught his eyes as he saw a hooded figure walking with a familiar bag. Did he buy the same bag that Izuku d-

He breathed in before he ran to the lockers and pulled on the one Izuku had purchased. It opened to reveal empty space and he turned in time to see the hooded figure dashing forward. He gave chase as the figure jumped the turnstile, darting through a crowd that had bunched in a line at it. If he got out the doors Koichi could lose him in the streets and then Izuku might never see his figurines again. Palms and feet glowing he launched himself first straight up, then with another burst over the heads of the crowd, the turnstile and the thief as he spun midair so he landed right in front of the thief who stepped back a moment, stunned. Koichi took the opening and slid forward, catching the thief’s arm and tearing the bag off him. The momentum sent the thief spinning for a moment before he fell to the ground.

Koichi opened the bag and sighed in relief as he saw the boxes for the figurines still inside before he heard muttering and the clicks that signaled camera phones were out. His gaze moved up to see they were both surrounded on all sides, both from the crowd that was trying to get in as well as more people pouring out from the rink. Some of them hadn’t even bothered taking off their skates. Rubbing his head Koichi held up the bag and said, “He was, um, he took this from the lockers and…”

“Koichi-san,” The voice gave him pause as he saw Izuku’s mop of green hair poke out as he tried to get to the front of the crowd. The boy looked from him to the bag to the thief on the ground, eyes wide. “Koichi, you, your quirk, it’s…”

He winced, he’d avoided talking about his quirk in front of Izuku. It wasn’t that big of a deal after all, there were plenty more powerful, plus the boy didn’t have his own, so bringing it up would have been insensitive. Still, as the boy stammered Koichi tried to open his mouth to apologize but the boy burst out into a smile.

“SO COOL!”

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