When the strip mall security arrived most of the crowd had dispersed, though Izuku stayed glued to Koichi’s side asking questions, muttering to himself and, when he got his bag back, pulling out a notebook and scribbling down notes about his quirk. Honestly the kid could speak at quite a clip when he got going. Koichi knew that much already but he’d never seen him so focused. He’d managed to give most of his statement to the officers, flash his ID, and sit down next to Izuku, who was still scribbling away. A bit curious, Koichi leaned over to see the writing and noticed something.
“I don’t actually do much sustained flight, it’s easier for me to maneuver on the ground.” He said.
This startled Izuku out of his furious writing, causing his All Might pen to go flying. Catching it out of the air, Koichi held it out to him and smiled, “Are you doing alright? Did any of your things get damaged?”
“N-no, they were all in their foam casings. One of the straps tore a little on the bag, but I needed to get a new one anyway.” He adjusted the backpack absently before looking up at Koichi, eyes wide, “But your quirk, it’s amazing. You cleared that crowd with no trouble at all, just to get my bag back.”
Koichi shrugged, “He would have gotten away otherwise.”
“Yes but, wait,” Izuku’s eyes widened as sweat started to trickle down his face, “Yo-you didn’t get in trouble, did you?” His gaze went to the officers, “Did they give you a fine? Maybe call your job? What if this gets put on your record, or if they make you leave the program because of this? Did I cause you to-”
“Breathe,” Koichi said as he grabbed Izuku’s shoulder, “Just breathe, it’s okay, I didn’t get into any trouble.”
Izuku took in a deep breath, color returning to his face as he returned to a calmer state then returned his gaze to Koichi, “But you used your quirk.”
“I’m allowed to.” Pulling out his wallet, Koichi showed him the laminated card that rested in the place where most people put a driver’s license. Well, it was a different type of license.
Mouth open, Izuku took the wallet and stared at the card, “Hero, you’re a hero! Bu-but, I watch heroes! I’ve kept track of all the debuts, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone with your build or quirk in action. Was it out of the city? Do you do country work? Was this in Osaka or Kyoto? How did I not know?!”
Rubbing his head Koichi had to smile a bit, and maybe lightly chuckle that was the part that got Izuku riled, “I’m not really with any agencies yet so I haven’t had any publically set debuts. But I am qualified, that’s actually part of the reason I’m doing volunteer work.” He lightly grabbed his wallet and looked at the card, “There’s some required community service among active heroes with or without an agency.”
“But you’re a hero, a real one. You can use your quirk to hunt down villains. Have you had any hero fights yet? Or are you working underground?” He shook his fists in excitement.
“Not exactly,” Or more specifically, not officially. The incidents with Villain Factory were never an official hero or villain fight, and he wasn’t actually supposed to talk about it. “But I’ve gotten a fair bit of practice.”
“Can I see it? The practice, your quirk, I wanna see what it can do. Mobility quirks are so useful since scene arrival and reaction times are one of the most important aspects of high apprehension rates for villains. It’s why Ingenium has such a high apprehension rate, especially among mobile villains.”
“Well that and he has a lot of vehicles at his disposal for assistance. I’ve seen him deploy like six vans with his support teams to do chases.” Koichi laughed, “Tensei always says he’s not sure who’s faster at running down villains, him or his drivers.”
“Wait- Tensei, is that- do you actually KNOW Ingenium?”
“We run together sometimes.” Though running often turned a bit more into quirk racing on the longer strips, “I mean, I told you I live in the area.”
“But that’s different from knowing a hero! Though, you are a hero, so of course- wait, what other heroes do you know? Did you go to hero school? What class were you in? Did you go to UA?” His eyes lit up and Koichi breathed out slowly. Well, he guessed this was better than Izuku being upset about talking about quirks.
“No, it’s um- complicated.” He rubbed his head and stood up, “Let’s just say, the whole hero thing is all very recent. Maybe I’ll be able to debut soon but who knows.” Holding out a hand he looked towards the rink. “But why don’t we get back to skating? We still have a little more time.”
There was a torn look on Izuku’s face, one Koichi knew just a bit. Talking about heroes was one of his favorite things, he knew that, but he really didn’t want to go too much deeper into this subject. Being a hero was one thing, but being a vigilante, well he wasn’t sure how much about that he was supposed to talk about. Makoto had advised he didn’t spread too much around how exactly he’d gotten his field experience. The questionable legality of his past along with the loopholes of self-defense he used to avoid any real trouble after the Villain Factory incidents made it pretty messy.
Eventually Izuku took his hand and they headed back to the rink to delay this part of the conversation. Though if the look in his eyes was any indication, he’d have to find a way to talk about this later.
Izuku was practically bouncing as he got off his train and headed home. Koichi wasn’t just his big brother for the program, a fellow hero enthusiast and collector, he was also a hero himself! Plus his quirk was AMAZING!
Despite the obvious advantages of fast movement and the ability to cling to any surface, he also could project bursts of energy and do very small localized shielding. It was SO dynamic, he couldn’t wait to talk to him more at the next meeting or even see more of his quirk in action. Koichi had even offered to give him a ride sometimes, as he sometimes let people cling to his back if they were late. He was so nice, he was going to be such a great hero.
When an agency picked him up, Izuku would definitely be first in line to pick up merchandise, maybe he’ll even sign it for him. If he isn’t too busy, Naruhata was known as a busy city so he’d definitely be busy. He’d definitely be busy once his hero career started. He probably wouldn’t even have much time after the program ended to visit.
Would he visit afterwards?
The thought stopped him in his tracks as he stopped at the bottom of the stairs up to his apartment. Summer vacation, that was the length of the official program. There were events apparently for later breaks, but they didn’t run during the regular school year. Apparently a lot of the volunteers were college students, Izuku read it in the materials. Would Koichi want to visit him outside the program? He seemed to like talking to him, but then, he was really nice. Maybe he was just doing this to fulfill his community service.
Maybe he didn’t actually like Izuku at all and this was all just to be polite.
Face scrunching he bit his lip, he didn’t want to believe that line of thought. There were all sorts of kids there. Younger kids, kids with quirks who weren’t useless, but Koichi had spoken to him, they’d been paired together. He must like him, but in the back of his head that nagging doubt returned.
What would he do with himself if he didn’t see Koichi again?
“Oi Deku, the hell you doing blocking the stairs?”
The loud voice broke him out of his thoughts as he turned around in time to be shoved back by Kacchan. Izuku caught his hand on the rail to prevent falling, but Kacchan looked down and glared at him. “The hell you go today anyway?”
“I-I went skating.” He adjusted the strap on his bag, holding it closer now that the strap was damaged so it wouldn’t fall.
“Skating, you?” He let out a derisive snort, “That’s pretty physical for a nerd like you? Was some rolling hero doing an event? Is that what lured you out of your hole?”
Izuku shifted a bit, he hadn’t left his house much since the summer started. Just going out on errands for his mother, or to the Big Brother, Little Brother events. It wasn’t that he didn’t get a bit stir crazy, or didn’t want to go out hero watching, it was just…
His eyes roamed up to Kacchan’s scowling face. He was reaching out a hand and Izuku flinched back as it gripped onto the bag strap, “You tore your bag? Probably dropped it, clumsy shit.”
“I-I didn’t, it was…”
“Whatever loser, you just…”
“Oi brat! Why the hell are you taking so long with those groceries!” The familiar voice rung out through the apartment as Bakugou’s mother’s head hung out of a nearby door.
“I got your shit right here you old bat!” Kacchan held up his other hand showing a plastic bag dangling before heading up the steps.
Izuku watched him go before breathing out a sigh of relief and following up the stairs. He really hadn’t done much with his summer so far because he hadn’t wanted to be caught alone with Kacchan and his friends. They generally kept to local places like the arcades, but since he lived in the same complex it was hard to avoid him completely.
Well, it wouldn’t be a problem after this next year at least. Though he still didn’t know what he would do himself. As he got inside he walked into his room and his eyes lingered on the poster of UA. Two more semesters of middle school, then high school exams. Sitting on the bed he started looking for a sewing kit so he could patch up the tear. If it didn’t hold he’d ask his mother for help, maybe even tell her what happened today.
As he entered his apartment Koichi dropped his bag and headed to the fridge. Since Makoto wasn’t around, the pickings were a bit slim. Shutting the door, he scratched his head,grabbed a cup of instant ramen from the top of the fridge and started boiling some water. Setting the kettle, he moved to the table and opened his laptop to go through his emails.
He sorted through the spam pretty quickly before he went over the emails. So far he hadn’t gotten any responses from the agencies he’d applied to. He hadn’t really wanted to apply, he was sure Tensei would find a spot for him but Makoto had insisted that he had to have more options available.
Except no one had replied beyond the automated message that confirmed they’d gotten the application.
Koichi wasn’t sure what he’d expected, but to double check he looked at the dates for the emails confirming the applications were in. Two months, a little less for the other ones, of applying for sidekick positions at several hero agencies. It’s not like he’d been greedy or very ambitious in where he signed up. In fact, the most prestigious one he’d applied for was the Ingenium Agency, which also sat unanswered. But no replies, not from any of them.
Taking a deep breath in, he stood as the kettle started to whistle and poured it into the cup while he waited the three minutes at the counter. He skimmed through his phone going through some hero forums for recent activities. His eyes moved to the section of town he’d been in but from what he could see there was no report from the hero watchers on his apprehension. Well that was to be expected, he hadn’t debuted so they probably wouldn’t care much about his work.
Absently he typed in Crawler in the forum and skimmed through the handful of posts about him that were, at this point, several years old. It had been a big thing once upon a time, the whole Villain Factory case, and there had been fans. But it had died down as all these things did. Maybe he should have applied to a hero agency then, when the press was on, but he’d been greatly encouraged to go through the proper channels, which had taken much longer than expected.
The legal system was slow about these things, and the hero association even slower for evaluating his case. He’d had to take a full on probationary exam with several high school students in hero courses and he had to admit, he was quite dazzled by their skill. Every student had a full costume, all made especially for them, gadgets that helped them utilize their quirks and lots of personal training he couldn’t have gotten on his own. Plus their own camaraderie and teamwork to help them through the direct confrontation parts of the trials. It amazed him with how much younger they were but so very competent and he was looking forward to seeing all of them become the heroes they were on track to being once they finished their own work as sidekicks.
Honestly if his quirk hadn’t been so great for dodging he doubted he would have gotten through the trial at all.
The beeping of his timer for the cup noodles brought him out of his thoughts and he sat back down at his laptop before he started eating. There was no point lingering on that now, he had to work with what he had available. The best way to get through debuting was working as a sidekick and to do that he had to apply to established agencies. It wouldn’t pay very much, but Makoto said she was willing to pitch in on bills and he wasn’t afraid of getting a part time job in the meantime to help cover any differences. He just had to work through it and…
Clicking on the email the page refreshed and he saw a new email had surfaced. Eyes skimming the title he saw it was from the Ingenium Agency. Smiling, he clicked the email and went through the top. It had the standard professional heading, the logos special fonts, that sort of thing but as he went through the email his eyes dropped towards the bottom of it and blinked confused before reading it one more time. It was the last line that got him as he tried to process what was happening.
We regret to inform you that because of new legal precedence set by the heroic public safety commission that we will have to reject your application at this time.