UPDATE: Thanks to the awesome help of my beta reppuzan, I'm going to be updating the past chapters with his skillful editing now in place. He adds quite a bit in detail, so it would likely be even better to read through the story again once all the edits are done.
"Now arriving at Yongen-Jaya station."
The overhead announcement quickly roused a young boy who was on the verge of falling asleep. Standing at five-foot-five, he was about as tall as one would expect a fifteen-year-old to be, if not a bit shorter. His hair was a large mess of dark green bordering on black with matching colored eyes. A cluster of freckles rested under each cheek. As far as muscles went, he looked fairly average in his everyday clothes, though one would realize that he was actually quite well-built if they caught shirtless or in a tank top. they'd realize that he was actually quite well built.
This is Izuku Midoriya, a first-year high school student who lived in Mustafu, home of U.A. High, the most prestigious Hero school in Japan. But now he was traveling through the bustling streets of Tokyo to live with a family friend. Around him was a sea of unfamiliar faces, all men and women just trying to get on with their lives without a fuss, same as him. But he doubted that they faced the same difficulties that he now faced.
As the subway arrived at the station, Izuku couldn't stop a heavy sigh from escaping his lips, taking a moment to breathe before stepping through the exit. He pulled out his phone and checked his navigation app, making sure that he was heading the right way.
"It's not that far from here…" he muttered to himself. As Izuku moved to close the app, he jumped as another appeared at the center of the screen. It was a strangely persistent program, always returning no matter how many times he deleted it. The app's logo was an ominous red eye with a black star for a pupil against a jagged black starburst, as if it were suspended in the remnants of a broken mirror. Its creepy appearance only made him want to get rid of it more.
"What kind of virus did my phone catch? I should probably take it to a repair shop when I get the chance…" Izuku sighed, touching the app and placing it in the trash bin. He looked up at the signs littered across the walls of the tunnel, following one that directed him to the backstreets of Yongen-Jaya.
In comparison to Shibuya, this tram was far smaller and had less crowded than the trains he rode earlier. Truth be told, Izuku was grateful for the tamer scenery. After all, he was going to spend a year in a city known for its bumper-to-bumper traffic and massive crowds just to get to his new school. At least he could relax in a place away from the worst of the hustle and bustle.
As he climbed the staircase to reach the streets, Izuku found Yongen-Jaya to be exactly what he expected: a quiet sub-section of the city with little foot traffic compared to the rest of Tokyo. This certainly made it easier for him to find his way to the backstreets where his supposed guardian was now living. But when Izuku arrived at the back alley, he realized his navigation app wouldn't be of any use in this part of town.
"Guess I should ask for directions…" Izuku glanced about at his surroundings. For a backstreet, the area was oddly busy with both people and businesses than he thought it'd be. To his left, he saw several apartment buildings with pedestrians loitering around. To his right, he spotted a sign for several businesses: a public bath, a batting cage and a coffee shop. Izuku also remembered passing a small thrift store as well. None of these were particularly busy from what he could see, but the people that were here seemed to frequent the area.
"Mom said that… Sakura-san owned a coffee shop, right?" Izuku mused aloud, trying to recall the words his mother had said to him before he departed.
I-I'm sorry, Izuku! I don't want to do this, b-but please bear with it! It was the only choice I had…
Izuku pushed back the memory of his mother's farewell, tears threatening to escape the edges of his eyes. No one was more broken up about his departure than his own mother, not even Izuku. It was a harsh reality for both of them to face the day the verdict came in. No, Izuku was more broken up about the opportunity that was lost to him...
"Hey, kid. What are you loitering around for?" A gruff voice disrupted the teen's line of thought. Izuku turned to his left to see an officer approaching him. True to his nature, Izuku felt his voice catch in his throat as he waved his arms around spastically.
"S-sorry, officer! I-I'm just trying to f-find my way around!" Izuku stuttered. He'd always been something of a nervous wreck and today was no different.
"A-alright kid, slow down." The officer coughed, realizing how much he actually scared Izuku. "Where… exactly are you trying to get to?"
"O-oh, uh…" Izuku nearly choked on his words, trying to collect himself and formulate a proper response. "I am-uh-trying to find Sojiro Sakura's place of residence, sir!" He said louder than he meant to. The officer raised a brow at this and nodded, pointing further down the alley.
"Sakura-san lives about three rows down, on your right." The officer helpfully pointed out before Izuku offered a grateful smile.
"I-I see, thank you, sir! I'll be on my way, then." Izuku bowed in appreciation as he spun on his heels to leave.
"Wait, kid. Sakura-san likely isn't home right now. He's probably at his cafe." The cop stopped him, pointing down one of the closer alleyways with his thumb. "Just go straight down, it'll be on your left. It's called Cafe Leblanc. You can't miss it."
"O-oh, I see. Thank you again, officer!" Izuku gratefully nodded, following the man's directions and heading for the coffee shop. Once upon a time, Izuku wanted to be a police officer and couldn't help but admire those in the line of duty. Of course, he knew that some of them t were corrupt, but Izuku had faith seeing how the officer went out of his way to help him.
But those dreams fell to the wayside the first time he saw All Might in action. It was then and there that Izuku knew what he was going to do. He was going to find his Quirk, become a Hero and save people with a smile!
Or so he thought, at least.
When he found out that he was Quirkless at four years old, that dream seemed to be an ocean away. Now he was a Quirkless kid with a criminal record. What little chance he had to become a Hero seemed to be shrinking more and more with each passing day.
It only took Izuku a few minutes to reach the cafe in question. It was a hole in the wall, charmingly modest in size. A peppermint colored awning with the shop's logo, "Coffee and Curry: Leblanc", hung over the entrance, illuminated by a single red light bulb. With bated breath, Izuku meekly pushed the door to the cafe open, a bell above the door jingling at his arrival.
The interior was no more extravagant than the exterior. A row of five booths sat on his left while a bar lined with jars of coffee beans was positioned to his right. The furnishings were all a chocolatey brown save for the rainbow mosaic ceiling lamps, the cherry-colored seat cushions by the bar and the marble white tilings and tables. But the impact of all of these things paled before the rich, dark aroma of coffee that filled the teen's nose as soon as he stepped inside.
At the moment, there were only three occupants, an elderly couple and a middle-aged barista sitting on a cherry-colored chair in front of the counter. The barista wore a pink button-up shirt and khaki pants underneath an apron. His face was beginning to show signs of wear, a few wrinkles ran across his brow and on either side of his nose, but he certainly looked decades younger than the people he was serving. His hairline had receded all the way back to his scalp, but what remained was slicked back and as dark as the coffee he was serving. He sported a matching chinstrap beard with a goatee that protruded from his chin. His round, thin-rimmed glasses clung tightly to his pointed nose, which was currently stuck in a newspaper.
Seeing no one else around, Izuku assumed that this was Sojiro Sakura.
"These crashes are becoming rather frequent. I'm beginning to wonder what exactly is going on in the world right now." The old man of the couple commented aloud, most likely speaking to the distracted store owner. "Perhaps some of those Heroes will be able to put a stop to it."
"Four letter word for a shellfish that's used for farming pearls…" Midoriya heard the barista mutter.
"U-um… sir…" Izuku began, finally making his presence known. The man Izuku assumed was Sojiro pulled his attention away from his crossword, glancing up at the teen for a moment before sighing.
"Right… Inko did just call earlier…" The man hummed, folding his paper and placing it back on the bar behind him before standing up. At the same time, the old couple also stood from their seats, bowing politely.
"I believe we'll be heading home now, Sakura-san. It's nice to have to not worry about any cars crashing in here." The old man chuckled, his comment seeming rather random to both Sojiro and Izuku.
"What?" The coffee shop owner asked in confusion.
"The rampage accidents. They've been all over the news lately, after all." The old man reiterated.
Izuku remembered hearing a few news channels mention the crashes. Drivers would suddenly have mental shutdowns at the wheel, causing their cars to careen out of control. Now that he was living where all of these terrible accidents were happening on a daily basis, he couldn't help but shudder at little.
Sojiro, on the other hand, was entirely unperturbed.
"None of my concern."
"Nothing phases you, eh, boss? Anyways, have a good day." With that, the elderly couple walked out of the cafe, Sojiro waiting for them to disappear around the corner before sighing.
"Four hours for only one cup of joe…" Sojiro grumbled tiredly before straightening up as he looked at Izuku. "Sorry for the wait. I'm Sojiro Sakura, your new guardian for the time being." He finally introduced himself.
The boy's composure collapsed in an instant under Sojiro's gaze.
"I-I'm I-Izuku Midoriya! I-it's a pl-pleasure to finally meet you, sir!" Izuku sputtered out, bowing low as he tried to make a decent first impression.
"Geez, kid. Relax a little. I was going for intimidating, not terrifying…" Sojiro sighed, waving for him to stand up. "And enough of the 'sir' thing. You can call me boss or Sakura-san."
"Ye-yes si-I mean-Sakura-san." Izuku corrected quickly, straightening his posture as best he could as he continued to tremble. Sojiro gave the boy a quick once over before smirking.
"I figured you'd look like your mom, but to be honest you're almost the spitting image of her," Sojiro continued, leaning on the bar as he spoke. "Now, I'm sure you understand the circumstances behind our arrangement. From today on until next year, I'm going to be your acting guardian. You'll be staying with me until your probation is over. Though, to be honest, when Inko told me her kid was in trouble like this, I had no idea what to expect. Far as I can tell, though, you're actually pretty similar to your mom."
"Y-yeah, I get that a lot…" Izuku sheepishly rubbed the back of his head. It was no secret that Izuku took after his mother when it came to his looks and his frayed nerves.
"But that's what gets me. You got in trouble for assault, right?" Sojiro hummed, holding his chin in thought. The mere mention of his crime caused the teen to visibly flinch. "Why would a kid like you stick your nose in something like that when you're this skittish?"
Izuku cast his gaze towards the ground, the words leaden in his throat until Sojiro was just about to change the subject. "That woman was calling out for help. I couldn't just do nothing…"
Sojiro raised a brow after he got his answer, watching as Izuku glanced up and met his eyes for the first time. The cafe owner sighed, scratching under his chin and shaking his head. "Well, whatever your reason for butting in, you should have stayed out of it. Sticking your nose where it doesn't belong brings you nothing but trouble. Not to mention the trouble it causes for people around you like your mother. There are professionals for this kind of thing You could've gone to a police officer or even an actual Hero, for that matter. Did you even think about what the consequences of meddling were before you ran in?"
The boy couldn't come up with a response, only casting his gaze away from his new guardian. Had Izuku been anything like he expected, Sojiro would have been far more firm in his approach. But considering what he'd already seen from his new ward and the fact that this kid was Inko's son, he decided to ease up.
"I'm sure I can trust you not to cause any trouble. From what your mom's told me, you've never had an incident like this before, anyway. Just try to keep your head down and you should get through the school year just fine."
"I-I see… thank you again for taking me under your roof, Sakura-san." Izuku nodded, bowing again in appreciation.
"Geez, kid. You're making it hard to give a stronger hand on all this," Sojiro sighed, shaking his head before turning around. "Come on. I'm going to show you to your room."
He led Izuku to the stairs at the back of the cafe. Once they reached the top, Sojiro stepped aside to allow Izuku to step further inside. The boy wasn't quite sure what he was looking at.
"This will be your room from now on. You've got a bed in that corner and some sheets I'll bring you a little later to put on," Sojiro declared, seemingly oblivious to the mess that had overtaken the room.
A half dozen cardboard boxes, canisters of gasoline, a heater, a stepladder, opaque garbage bags and a tropical house plant of some kind sat on a tarp on the right side of the room. It was hard to decide what was trash and what wasn't. The floor was caked with dust and the left side of the room, which was littered with even more boxes and bags, looked no better than the right.
There were a number of shelves and even a coffee table, but they were all filled with old newspapers, chair cushions, and assorted junk that were all covered in cobwebs. A number of bare, white light bulbs hung from the ceiling. There was also clouded glass window above the bed, but it was so filthy that little natural light filtered through.
"It's um… big?" Izuku forced out, unable to come up with anything more polite to say. At the very least, it was bigger than the room he had at home, but there was just so much stuff in here that he couldn't use any of the space.
"You mean cluttered?" Sojiro chuckled with a smirk before placing a hand on the green-haired teen's shoulder. "You'll have to clean it all yourself, kid. By the way, your mom sent all your clothes and things earlier. It's in the box over there." Sojiro pointed toward the dusty worktable on the far corner to the left of the window, a cardboard box sitting at the bottom.
Izuku nodded. "I-I see, thank you…."
"Yeah. By the way, while I don't think you'll do anything of the sort, don't go taking anything from the shop, got it? I won't hesitate to throw you out, even if your mother is an old friend of mine."
The venom in his words made Izuku flinch, but he nodded in understanding again.
"Now I've gotta keep the shop running," Sojiro continued. "Get yourself situated here, but try to keep it down. I don't want my customers bothered by the noise, got it?"
"Y-yes, Sakura-san. I'll do my best…" Izuku glanced back at the ocean of clutter before him. Sojiro only nodded, turning around and heading back down the stairs to the cafe. Izuku took a moment to process his situation, trying to sort out what exactly led to this sudden change in his life.
The consequences of meddling, huh?
It all happened a little over a month ago. That one, meaningless incident had escalated in a heartbeat..
Izuku was on his way home from the gym after a long day at school. The sun had already set and the streetlights were flickering to life as he proceeded down the familiar sidewalks of his hometown. He was looking over all of his notes from class as well as whatever he had written down in his burnt Hero Analysis notebook.
"Eraserhead's capture weapon is really cool… it has to be made of some kind of special nanofiber and metal alloy to be able to restrain Villains so well. I probably won't be able to get anything that expensive before the exam, but could I get something similar? I should probably study his techniques too since his Quirk doesn't enhance his physical prowess…." He thought aloud.
The U.A. Entrance Exam was fast-approaching. If Izuku was going to get into the school of his dreams, the alma mater of the World's Greatest Hero, then he had to put in twice the amount of work as anyone else to make up for his Quirklessness. Never mind the fact that the school only admitted one-in-three-hundred applicants. U.A. had never admitted a Quirkless student before, but that didn't mean it was an impossibility, right?
Then, as he was rounding the corner just a few blocks from his home, he heard the woman scream.
"Someone, please! Help me!"
Izuku's eyes immediately began darting around to find the source of the scream. Not much further down the street, he spotted a woman trying to wrest her hands out of the grip of a bald man in an expensive-looking suit. Izuku didn't stop to process anything else as he sprinted towards them.
He'd always done this. It was a problem of his, rushing to the aid of anyone who asked for it before he even had a chance to think about what he was doing.
But he couldn't help it, his feet just moved on their own.
"You bitch… you think you can... Refuse me?" The man slurred out, obviously drunk. He reached out and grabbed her other arm to hold her in place. "You've got no idea… what I can do…"
"St-stop it!" Izuku's voice scratched out, almost cracking but holding just enough weight for the fighting pair to pause at his intrusion. The drunk threw a sideways glance Izuku's way.
"Get lost, kid… this is… none of your concern…" The drunk huffed out irritably before turning back to the woman and pulling her closer. Izuku bit his bottom lip, unsure what exactly he could do against the much larger man.
He may have started working out, but he doubted he could do much against a fully grown man. But Izuku didn't waste another second as the woman cried out again, dropping his bag on the ground and rushing forward.
"I-I told you to stop it! Leave her alone!" Izuku snapped, summoning whatever courage he could muster as he grabbed the man's arm and pulled. Much to Izuku's surprise, the man quickly lost his footing and tripped, hitting the ground face first.
"Wh-what? I-I didn't… pull that hard…" Izuku muttered, the woman beside him gasping in fear. The man grunted in pain before rolling on his ass and glaring at Izuku, holding his face to cover the bloody cut he received.
"You damn brat! I'll sue!"
Izuku found it morbidly funny how a single decision could have changed his life so drastically. He imagined that this would have been a life-changing event, but he hoped that it would have been for the better. Now, only weeks after being arrested and placed on trial, Izuku was now on probation with a record for his "violent act". He could already feel the tears at the corners of his eyes as he gripped his hand in frustration.
But it wasn't moving away that hurt the most. Nor was it his year-long probation. What stung most of all was the fact that with a criminal record, his chances of becoming a Pro Hero had all but vanished.
The trial made him miss the U.A. Entrance Exam, meaning that he'll never be able to get the training he needed to become a Hero. He'd never be able to get a license or get employed at a Hero Office.
Sure, Shujin was a prestigious preparatory school, but it had no Hero Course to speak of. Even if it did, the school would never admit someone like him into it.
As if being Quirkless wasn't enough of a strike on his life already. What kind of Hero Office would accept someone with a record, anyways?
Izuku shook his head, trying to erase those drifting thoughts from his mind for the moment. "No use dwelling on it… just have to endure…" He muttered. Those had words having become something of a personal mantra ever since he was sentenced.
He'd cried his eyes out over this too many times to count. As things were, he would try and just deal with it now. It wouldn't do him any good to keep shedding tears.
There has to be a way I can become a Hero. There has to be way. There has to be a way...
He glanced around the room at the clutter again. It was a bit of a depressing sight, but it was a welcome one. At the very least, it'd be the perfect way to get his mind off that fateful day.
"I'll start with this room!" Izuku huffed, radiating a determined glow as he set to work. For the next few hours, Izuku devoted himself to the tedious task of sorting through and throwing away the junk he found. He wasn't a neat freak, but he didn't plan on spending the next year in a pigsty. After all, Heroes needed to organized and ready for anything.
The day came and went, Izuku finishing whatever he could as night fell. By the time he realized that the moonlight was shining through the now cleaned window, most of the left side of the room had been cleared and the junk on the right side had been sorted into what was obviously junk and what he would ask Sojiro would be okay to throw out or keep.
"Damn." Izuku heard Sojiro whistle, turning around to see the coffee shop owner glancing around the room. "I figured you were a hard worker but I didn't think you'd get so much done already. Not bad. Though I guess it's normal to want to keep your room clean."
"I-I've come up with a list of things I found in here." Izuku declared, reaching into his back pocket and pulling out a notepad. "First, there were a bunch of things like books and small pieces of hardware lying around. I wanted to ask you what would be okay to toss out. There was a bike in the pile that seems to be in decent shape. I put the less practical but noteworthy items in a trash bag for you to sort through. The ones that seemed more important I put into those boxes next to them, but if you find something you still want to throw out among them, you can. I then started to…"
And so began one of Izuku's infamous mumble storms. Sojiro could only look on incredulously as the green-haired teen muttered his way through each and every item he had jotted down.
"Wh-whoa kid, slow down. Breathe a little before you choke," the cafe owner finally interjected, snapping Izuku to attention. "You always ramble like that?"
Izuku blushed, rubbing the back of his head in embarrassment.
"Y-yeah, sorry about that… I've been known to do that sometimes…" He admitted, remembering the times he'd be caught doing the same at school.
"Well… anyways, I'm getting ready to lock up. Try and head to bed. You don't want to stay up too late and catch a cold," Sojiro suggested, turning around to leave. "If you're hungry, I made you a plate of curry downstairs. Just warm it up and you should be good to go."
"A-ah, I see. Th-thank you, Sakura-san." Izuku nodded, bowing in appreciation.
"Yeah. Just remember not to touch anything else. Oh, just as a reminder before I go, tomorrow we're visiting your new school, Shujin Academy. We've got to get your class schedule and meet with the principal."
"I-I understand. Thank you again…" With that, Sojiro turned again to leave.
"B-but I was wondering… how come I'm staying here instead of… at your house? If you don't mind me asking…"
He stopped for a moment before glancing back at Izuku.
"There are a few reasons for it. All of them are none of your concern."
Izuku flinched at the blunt statement, nodding in acceptance as it was obvious he wasn't going to get much else out of Sojiro on the subject.
"R-right, sorry for prying…"
Sojiro saw the look of defeat on Izuku's face and sighed. "Look, just know it's nothing to do with you. Besides, this place is much bigger than any room I've got and we'll both have our privacy this way. Anyways, I've gotta get going to make dinner. I'll see you in the morning."
With that, the shop owner finally took off for home. Izuku sighed in resignation, glancing around and looking at his new bed. With all the work he put into cleaning this place, even a beat-up mattress like this one looked welcoming and he felt too weary to venture downstairs and heat up a plate of curry.
"Guess I'll just head to bed…." Izuku took a step forward, but paused when he heard his phone ring. He blinked as he whipped out his phone, only to be greeted by the familiar app that infected his his cell. "Again? This spyware just won't go away…"
More for self-reassurance than anything, Izuku moved the app to the trash bin. Releasing another weary sigh, the green-haired teen trotted to his bed and laid flat on his back, lazily pulling the blanket to cover his legs.
"Guess this is the next year for me…" He muttered to no one in particular, his eyelids becoming heavier with each passing second. He didn't fight it, allowing sleep to come.
It didn't last long.
Izuku's eyes suddenly shot open as an unsettling feeling overcame his body. Something was definitely wrong.
The ceiling was much darker than before and higher off the ground than he remembered. A faint light shined above his head, and the walls around him were much closer than before.
The teen sat up in a state of panic, now getting a look at his attire.
"Wh-what is this?!"
Gone were the clothes he had decided to sleep in. They were replaced with the prisoner's costume you'd see in cartoons. The shirt and pants were worn and ragged, covered with alternating horizontal stripes of black and white. His wrists were bound by a set of dark iron cuffs with a chain between them. Izuku got chills at the thought of a possible kidnapping.
He leaped to his feet and searched for an exit, only to find it sealed off by steel bars. He threw himself at the bars, nearly tripping when he realized his ankle was being weighed down. He then glanced toward the back of the cell to find that his leg was shackled to a comically large iron ball bigger than his head, including his hair. But nothing about Izuku's situation felt humorous.
"So you've finally awoken." Izuku jumped when he heard a menacingly deep voice, snapping his attention back out of the room. Outside of his cell was a circular room lined with other cells that were all bathed in a deep blue glow. An aging man sat at a large desk covered with papers and a single lampshade in the center, a few meters away from Izuku's cell. A single searchlight shone down on the man and a four-directional megaphone hung above his head.
Even though Izuku was used to seeing people with strange Quirks that gave them multiple arms, animal-like heads and other unusual mutations, something about this man was unnatural and unnerving.
The top of his head was completely bald, strands of snow white hair ringing the sides and back like the edges of an old tapestry. His arms were unusually lanky and noodle-like. His eyes were wider than saucers. Most notable of all was the man's obscenely long, hawkish nose.
"Trickster," he began as he gestured towards Izuku with a gloved hand. "Welcome to my Velvet Room."
Izuku meekly placed his hands on the bars as he stared at his captor, unable to formulate a solid response. Instead, the man's lips curled up as watched the teen fruitlessly pull at the bars. The captive screaming the one thing any sane person would in this predicament:
"What's going on?!"
To be continued…
I know, I know. I'm terrible. I keep saying 'hey, remember to keep a balance of stories! You don't want to overwhelm yourself!'. Then the evil side of me responds with 'it's one more story, don't be a bitch'. That meme aptly describes my situation lol.
Now, to be honest, I would really like for someone to take this story from me and write it out themselves. That would be awesome. But it's also fairly rare for me to see anyone actually take one of my story ideas and expand upon it. I won't count on that possibility.
So, yeah. This is my latest story idea, Thieves Can Be Heroes! I've been wanting to do an MHA crossover as well as a Persona crossover, which just happened to work well together when I thought it out! Now, usually I'm not one for replacing the main protagonist entirely by another character, but considering the little actual character in Akira that you get aside from what you make him do, I didn't really feel bad about it.
I've come to really like Izuku's character and resolve, and I think it actually works well with the whole theme of Persona 5. I look forward to making this story to be honest, even with my other projects, and trying to make it feel a bit fresh as well. I don't want to spoil anything, but I am going for a slightly more original run on this.
Now there is one issue I wouldn't mind receiving ideas for: MHA characters and incorporating them as Arcana's. Now they don't have to be teammates, they can be just regular arcana's made like Hifumi Togo or Chihaya. Certain characters, I feel, can be replaced for this sake as Arcana's, and perhaps even add additional teammates. Someone like Aizawa could be added as a combat/knife instructor for instance. Among other possibilities.
Anyways, that's it for this first chapter. I just wanted to establish the story and it's starting ground. I hope you all liked it as an intro and that you will decide to follow and review for me, maybe even favorite. It would be greatly appreciated, thank you!