Darkness. That's all there was, at least at first. Nothing to see, nothing to hear, nothing to touch. There was no way to tell where one was. Slowly information started to flood in. First was that it was warm, especially whatever was he was snuggling up against. Second was the light pressure of something on the left and a stronger one on the right, pressing up against the entirety of his body. Next came the feel of some air playing in his hair as well a gentle rise and fall centered around where his head was.
"You… Mid-a, …ng To-ki"
A relatively large weight rested on his shoulder, softly shaking it. Light started to poke at his eyelids, dispersing more and more of the dark fog that hung in his mind. Attempting to escape for a few more minutes, he shuffled more into the warmth, burying himself into the firm, minty fresh object.
"Oi, Deku, Icyhot, wake up, you fuckers!" Explosions sounded to the side, jumpstarting the poor boy's body before his head was working at full power.
The explosions may have cleared out the rest of the cotton in his head, but catapulting up into sitting position caused the world to tip for a few seconds. Besides him, there was a groan, suggesting someone might be experience something similar.
"Oh good, both of you are awake," came the dry comment. Looking in front, there was Uraraka, Aizawa and… All Might in his skeletal form? Izuku squinted a bit, his mind trying to piece together what was going on. He could hear most of his classmates, and even see a few beyond the three in front of him, but he couldn't remember where they were or why All Might would be dressed casually and smaller when surrounded by his students.
Izuku glanced to his right and was met with a splash of red hair, and pink skin surrounding a slightly unfocused eye. The boy blinked a couple of times before turning his head to meet with the eyes looking at him. It took a heartbeat or two before something clicked and then Izuku felt his cheeks awash with heat, his hands flying up to try and cover as much of his face as possible while his feet kicked out in an attempt to put as much distance between him and his classmate who was acting as his pillow not even a minute ago.
"Whelp, it looks like everyone's up," a voice sounded overhead, cutting all arguments off. A huff followed along with something that sounded like a grumbled "and they were so cute, snuggled up together."
"You don't exactly sound happy about it. Now, where are we and who are you?" Aizawa asked, his eyes shooting around the room. All Might was tensed in front of Izuku, his own blue eyes searching for something.
"I would tell you to relax, but seeing as four of you are Pro-Heroes as well as teachers -though one of you is supposed to be retired from both professions- that's not likely to happen. As for your questions, can't I just wish to let two poor cinnamon rolls sleep a little longer. They were so cute!"
Silence followed that comment as both Aizawa and All Might continue their visual dissection of the room, which presumably the two other pros were doing, and the students were questioning the sanity of the being that held them captive.
"Right, most would not agree or understand that. Moving on, for your other questions, I will start by explaining who I am. I am a being known as the Gatekeeper, though you may call me Merritt. I watch over the many realities that exist and make sure things are as they should be. Very rarely do I step in to meddle with the goings on in a reality, only when that reality is facing possible destruction that would cause many negative consequences in others. I don't think I need to explain too much as to why I pulled you here."
"So our reality is possibly going to be destroyed," Present Mic's voice called out from behind Aizawa. Izuku leaned to get a look and saw a blonde with long hair not defying gravity nor was the man decked out in leather. The only hint about who the casually dressed male was his tine mustache and his eyes continued to shoot around what was looking to be more and more like a giant living room.
"That is correct, Present Mic-sensei. Your reality will likely end in a rather violent manner that will cause a lot of problems for me if you do not take steps to prevent it, and even then, those preventative measures will only decrease the chance of your destruction instead of outright save you."
"So what do you propose we do? And why drag these kids into it?" an older and deep voice sounded behind Izuku. The boy turned and- does Gran Torino wear his costume all the time? He and possibly Aizawa were the only ones who looked like they were in uniform. Everyone else that Izuku had seen, himself included, looked more like they were relaxing at home than what was shaping up to be a mass kidnapping.
"One, I can't be involved that much. I may exist outside the realms that you mortals understand, but that doesn't mean I don't have my own set of rules that I must follow, annoying as they may be. Instead, I am more going to give you information that you can use to your advantage. And two," a chuckle accompanied this, "I didn't drag the kids in, as they are the major players in your reality's future. Instead, I dragged along their teachers and someone who is very familiar with the past relevant to the information that will be imparted onto you today."
"Major players?" All Might spoke up, his thin form wound up, as if ready to inflate himself and fight should it come to that. The tension in the room was growing thicker as the students glanced from one another trying to understand what was going on.
"Correct, Yagi-sensei," the anxiety in the room skyrocketed at the name. "Ah, sorry, I figured you wouldn't want your hero identity revealed just yet, though I should warn you, if you decide to accept the information, that will not remain a secret.
"But to answer your question, when All Might retires, it is not a singular pillar that attempts to take on the title of Symbol of Peace, but rather many who become known as the Symbols of Unity. However, when these Symbols are ready to step into the spotlight, the world will be in chaos. Trust in heroes and government in general is shattered, villains come out of the wood work to exert some control on the masses, death and destruction are a rather common sight, far more than it is now. The Symbol of Evil's heir will take his predecessor's place and move out of the shadows to take over the world."
"So the information you are going to provide us with will help us prevent that level of chaos, or at least help us manage it," Aizawa spoke, his eyes narrowed at one point on the ceiling.
"And we get to choose if we wish to accept this information or take our chances," the blond, Present Mic (?), added on.
"Correct on both accounts, though really, most of the information is already known by a few members in the room you are in. In fact, one of their most closely guarded secrets is something that both the Heir and his predecessor want. The predecessor wants his creation back, and the Heir believes it is rightfully his."
Izuku's blood froze. The Symbol of Evil, that could only be All for One. The child had a suspicion on who the Heir was, but did not want to say anything in case he was wrong. However, the "creation" wasn't hard to guess, and from the way All Might's fist clenched, he figured that too. And from the way Aizawa and Todoroki were looking at the skinny man, they noticed.
"I will give you some time to discuss if you are willing to accept the information," Merritt's voice was neutral, as if commenting on the weather instead of letting 24 people decide the fate of their reality. Then again, to them, it might just be. This one just happened to be a thunderstorm instead of something benign.
"Before we do, may we have some ideas, both about how much this information will affect the chances of our reality's survival as well as how you are going to pass this information to us, especially since the kids need to know this," Present Mic requested, his eyes narrowed.
"Of course. Without the information, the chances of your success range from 12% to one sixteenth of a percentile. With it, those odds increase to be between 30 and 50%. Still not the best, but far better than before.
"As for how I will share the information, well, I've always enjoyed the principle of showing, not telling, and, well, look around, doesn't the room you're in look a bit like a rather large living room with a nice long couch to fit a few adults?" At the silence that greeted that comment, there was another sigh. "You see, there are people who have the ability to tap into another's reality and share the stories they see with people in their own. These people are referred to as storytellers, writers or artists. In your class, you happen to have an heir of your own, this heir inheriting the main secret you may be learning about. Well, in another reality, someone tapped into yours and is following that heir's story while sharing it will his own in the form of a manga. That manga has gotten so popular it's gained a rather faithful anime adaptation. And since I don't trust a couple of you with my precious manga, I will be presenting you with the anime version of it."
"W-what do you mean 'following the heir's story'?" Uraraka looked to the spot that Aizawa had been looking to earlier, her body looking like it was screaming to fight. "Do you mean- "
"That one of you is the main character of an anime in another reality? Yes. And they already know exactly who they are. However, to make it easier for the rest of you, no, Bakugo, it is not you."
"What the fuck are you talking about! Who else could possibly be the fucking main character?!"
"I don't know, maybe the one who's going to have an anxiety attack when I point out that by the time the opening to the third episode plays, the biggest secrets that he wanted to hide will be revealed, about one per episode."
Izuku wishes that he could say Merritt was wrong, however the amount of panic and adrenaline that coursed through his body told otherwise. A large weight rested on his shoulder, grounding him before he completely lost himself. The boy glanced up, his eyes meeting the glowing ones of his mentor who was offering the most comforting smile his face could muster in the form it was in now.
"Whelp, I will leave you to discuss things now, as well as have the two… lesser known members of the party introduce themselves."
Everyone resituated themselves over by the couch that Present Mic had been at during the discussion with Merritt. The three UA teachers commandeered the couch along with Izuku, who curled up on All Might's left. Aizawa sat on the other end of the couch, his sleeping bag draped over the arm. Present Mic sat between the other two heroes, tapping his fingers as he thought. Gran Torino claimed the arm chair that sat to the left of the couch, watching both of his students. The rest of the kids were scattered a bit, forming more of an amoeba than a circle.
"So," Uraraka spoke up from her spot between Izuku and Gran Torino, her eyes bouncing back and forth between All Might and Torino, "may we ask who you are? I mean, a few of us saw you," she indicated to All Might, "when Deku-kun was in the infirmary during the Sports Festival, but we never got to ask you who you were. And I've never seen you before," she said, turning to look at the elderly hero.
"From what Merritt-san said, you're both Pros, but I don't recall ever seeing you in the news, kero," Asui piped up, watching both with her hard to read expression. Like most of the students, they were paying more attention to All Might, given their classmate's obvious familiarity with him.
"Ah, yes," All Might said, clearing his throat, "well I don't get in the news as much as I used to," to this Aizawa scoffed while Mic chuckled, "and I look rather different when in uniform. I actually teacher a couple classes at UA, as well as help Young Midoriya with his quirk, given how similar ours are," and now Gran Torino scoffed.
Curiosity was piqued amongst the students, but they shifted their focus to the still relatively unknown man. Gran Torino looked down at the kids before rolling his eyes a bit. "Name's Gran Torino. I never was big in the news even before I started getting old. Taught at UA for a year and was this one's homeroom teacher," he said, his thumb jabbed at a shivering All Might, "and took this one out for your field training," he continued, now pointing to Izuku, "at least before he wound up in the hospital."
There were a couple cries of shock, but most of all were a couple smacks as hands met foreheads. Aizawa himself was shaking his head before he turned to the elder.
"Gran Torino, according to Merritt, one of the four adults is extremely familiar with the history of the secret we may be learning about today. I am assuming that you are that person?" Gran Torino nodded once, "Then can you give us some idea of what we may be learning about? What is this creation that the villains want?"
"That's a bit hard, not because it's difficult to explain, but because it was never mine to really share. You see, the creation is not a physical thing, but rather a kind of power that's been handed down for as long as quirks have existed." At this, murmurs rippled through the students. A power as old as quirks themselves? That was something that even Izuku would be love to speculate about, if said power didn't rest inside of him, and he was actually feeling anything but dread.
"What is so important about this power? Aside from its age and the fact it can be passed down, it doesn't suggest why a villain would really want it for any other reason than him being the one who created it," Aizawa pressed. Izuku sensed a few eyes on him, questioning, and curled more into All Might.
"Because it's the one power he can't take by force, and it has the potential to beat him. In fact, for a good few years, both myself and Toshinori here were convinced that the eighth holder had destroyed the Symbol of Evil. From what we have learned recently, that's not the case, but either way, he did not escape without heavy injuries.
"However, right now, we need to know if the current holder is willing to reveal his secrets."
Izuku couldn't help but flinch, curling more and more into his mentor. This did not go unnoticed by his classmates who were now staring at him. Tears sprung to his eyes, unable to handle the weight.
"You're rather familiar with the current holder's situation?" Present Mic asked, unable to get a good look at the boy on the other side of his colleague.
"Mostly, though I will admit to having a good idea on his motivation behind keeping the secret. You see, if the information, once revealed, will bring with it other things, things that have a rather heavy stigma in today's society." A stunned silence fell over the students as they looked to the couch, where their classmate was half hidden behind a walking skeleton and the cushions. All Might moved his arm to squeeze between the boy and the back, pulling him forward a bit so he didn't suffocate.
"You're all talking like Deku could keep a secret! The insect can't hide anything to save his life!" Kacchan roared from his spot in the back. The two older pros to either side of the shivering boy sent a quick glare in his general direction, and it was rather hard to say which was more intimidating.
"Normally, I would agree with Bakugo," Todoroki spoke up, though the words sounded a bit like they had to be forced out. "However, I have a feeling that Midoriya would be especially careful if someone asked him to keep the secret as opposed to him just keeping it for himself."
Izuku spoke no words of confirmation, but the quick look he sent the dual quirk user was enough. He turned to hide his face again when All Might's hand rested on his shoulder and pushed the boy into a sitting position.
"Young Midoriya, no one is going to force you, but I want you to think about this. Are you alright with what could happen should everything remain a secret?"
Izuku could not look his mentor in the eye. Shame weighed heavily on the boy, but he couldn't help but war with himself. Yes, by keeping these things a secret, he was risking the survival of their reality, but he wanted to be a little selfish. He finally had friends, friends who weren't scared away by Kacchan. Why would he want to reveal that he's just a quirkless kid and see them leave just like everyone else? After all, who would want to be friends with the quirkless freak?
But… but if he didn't let them learn about One for All, they probably wouldn't live that long. Another few years, perhaps. Not only that, but Gran Torino, All Might, Mom, all the people who knew and still cared for him, all of them would die.
Damn it, why? Why him? Why did he have to sacrifice this? He just wanted to be a hero, so why did he constantly have to be jerked around like that. But then again, being a hero was all about sacrifices. They're constantly risking their lives to protect others. If he wanted to be a hero, if he wanted to be like All Might, he'd have to make sacrifices to. Now if only they didn't hurt so much.
Tears ran down the boy's face as he turned to look his teacher in the eyes. Concern overflowed from the two electric orbs as they looked at each other, silently pleading for a different choice but known there was none. Izuku closed his eyes, and took a shaky breath, leaning once more into All Might. Goodbye friendship, it was nice knowing you.
"You don't need to be so worried, Midoriya," Merritt's voice sounded through the room. "Have a little faith that the people in the room are different than those you grew up with."
Izuku barely acknowledged the Gatekeeper, just soaking up All Might's comfort. He felt something soft being draped over his shoulders and saw a blanket fall over his form.
"I'm providing somethings to help make this a little more comfortable. Blankets and pillows, as well as some beanbags. Also, on the left will be a few restrooms: men, women, and gender neutral. Use whichever you prefer, though I recommend only using them between episodes if you don't want to miss too much. Food and drinks are on the other side when they're required.
"I recommend everyone get settled, because there's two seasons to get to where you are all in the present. I'm still debating between including somethings from your future, so as of right now, you're looking at at least 38 episodes."
"Thank you for the accommodations, Merritt-san, but won't our absences be noticed?" Present Mic finally asked.
"Ah, right, I have yet to explain where exactly you are. You see, I pulled each and every one of you from your reality into a little pocket dimension. I have complete control over the objects in here, and when I return you, it will be like you were never missing in the first place. So you may take as much time as you wish with the episodes, though I recommend not to push them off. Midoriya may have the most revealed, but he is not the only one with things exposed."
With that, Merritt silenced themselves, and left the class to get situated. Izuku did not move too much, just turning so he was facing the screen while wrapped in the blanket (All Might themed, of course). Iida, Uraraka and Todoroki hung close, wanting to try and comfort the poor boy. The lights lowered themselves and the television turned on, starting the first episode.
Yup, I'm doing one of these. Sorry, it just seems so interesting when someone does something like this. I know there are a couple, I've seen them, but I won't be drawing too much from them, as this is my own. Also, I have not yet decided if I'm going to include Season 3 or cut it off after Season 2, as Merritt explained in the story proper. Feel free to comment on if you think I should or not.
For those who are wondering, this takes place right before they go on their training camp, so Shouto is starting to open up and Bakugo is also beginning to grow into a decent human being, but only the teachers and Izuku know who All Might is (obviously), for now. Also, yes, I'm including Mineta because 1) I'm mostly neutral on him, outside his really perverted tendencies and 2) he's in canon and I'm not kicking him out. I have other possible stories to do that in.
Now for things on the story itself: 1) I hc that Izuku really is insecure about his past, particularly related to him being quirkless, and thus really doesn't want others to know about it, especially not his friends. The reason for this is due to the bullying he grew up with leaving its scars. I mean, he his only friends left him as soon as they found out he was quirkless. I don't think he wants a repeat of that, even if we know that 1-A isn't like that at all. 2) Yes, I ship Tododeku. However, I will try and keep it so that they really only seek comfort from each other as the story goes on, as well as occasional small fluffs that can be platonic if you wish it. So don't worry about kissing or anything more. I mean, both are very awkward cinnamon rolls who are still getting used to friendship, plus they're surrounded by their classmates and teachers. 3) I'm using the subs. I have no problems with the dub, I was just introduced to it via the subs, and I have no clue how to change the language settings on Crunchyroll since Hulu is being annoying. Yes, it'll be hard to properly get down things the subtitles can't give you, but it'll also be easier for me since the lines are written right on screen.
Hnn, that's it for now, see you guys next time! Please RR!