I keep forgetting people talk with one another. Like, they have actual dialogue. Guess I'll have to wait until next chapter. And you will too.

I own nothing. Nothing here is really original. Any character exists off of other people's works. I'm just messing it all up.

Have fun.


God, was Hope far away. And tiring. Very…very tiring.

So, from the top of that night. Izuku got home in time for dinner not too later. His mother had questioned him (really hovered over him in doing so) about how he was and what he was doing. The news of the slime villain, as the news was calling him, had reached her through the TV not too long before he got home, and Inko was reasonably worried for her son and his health and safety. Izuku explained the Quick Notes of his day, meeting All-Might and the villain in an order that wasn't true because he omitted a talk about what happened under the bridge and the more personal talk between him and All-Might but he was able to get it across how fine and alright he was. He was able to calm her down enough to trust his word and understand he would be fine. Then she noticed the bat and took a lead into conversing about it. Izuku didn't follow the conversation, and instead used its acknowledgement as a means to break into the conversation he wanted to have with his mom.

Izuku wanted to learn self-defense, plain and simple. Not how to fight head-on; that could wait for the day his body was more capable to fight. He just wanted to learn how to defend himself from people attacking him, and maybe lead them or stall them so people more capable in combat could subdue them. He gave it thought on the way home, and while he could learn how to fight hand-to-hand too, he really didn't have the body to hit someone and get it to mean anything. He would have to improve (or really finally gain) muscle mass to be efficient in fighting. Besides, his mother would probably worry and advocate more against that idea given his current situation.

But he could be passive with self-defense. Learning to fight without needing to throw a punch, to be quicker on his feet to avoid confrontation and contact. It would be a good place to start, to learn how to use his body and weight and improve himself and then improve it all over time. A way of avoiding the fight without having to run away and keep himself involved for the greater good. Tactical running.

And to explain the bat, it would be a tool. He was familiar with some similar weapons in martial arts from media alone, and maybe he could learn those first and then translate them to the bat. He didn't have to use it for attacking, and the day he would could wait for the future. He understood enough that if he wanted to fight to protect others he would have to keep himself protected to be there, so all of this is what he needed to learn first. He had to convince his mother to let him take a class to teach him what he needed to know, and assure her he would do everything in his power and the power he would grow in practice to keep himself safe for her.

With hesitation and small amount of playing the Devil's advocate, Inko complied, but with a few rules. The whole rest of the week would be nothing. They could look around online for a self-defense and martial arts class or school not too far from home, something Inko could afford with the money she had and that Izuku's father across seas was supplying them with. After the incident in the shopping district, and the bridge she wasn't made aware of, the last thing she wanted was to have Izuku going too fast into all this and jumping back into situations like that when he still wasn't ready to take action. Then, after the week of getting everything ready and giving Izuku time to breathe and accept everything he was asking, to make sure he truly wanted to do it all, he could take the class they found a few times a week, just so it wouldn't get in his way of school. He could take the class as long as he wanted to, until he either wanted to quit if he ever got second thoughts or until the possibility the money couldn't keep him attending. He would keep his training only on self-defense, and any combat sparing that went beyond those studies and teachings were to be avoided until both of them thought he was ready. And under no circumstances was he to be using that bat without learning how to wield a proper weapon, and that too could wait if it wasn't a part of his self-defense class.

And Izuku agreed to it. To all of it. He wasn't offended by his mother helicoptering the whole ordeal, seeing as how her only child wanted to get into the heroics program and profession. It was a worry she probably shared with all parents with sons and daughters attempting to become heroes. Her worry was warranted, and Izuku didn't want to betray that or her, so he agreed to her terms. He'd take it slow and ease into the whole ordeal before picking it up to keep up with those around him attempting to become heroes. He promised.

Izuku coughed into his sleeve, collapsing on the sand and swiping the water bottle from his bag.

He took the whole week off from any confrontation and physical involvement that would get him in trouble and danger. Kacchan was the only one who stepped close enough to make him feel threatened, but the blond only yelled at him to back off next time there was danger, and not to butt in when he couldn't do anything. Words Kacchan apparently wanted to say following the slime villain's attack but never found Izuku around to tell him. Aside from that, the class around him kept their own distance too, some dropping their jeers towards him altogether and others lightening up on the teasing and bullying. It seemed Izuku getting involved with that incident unsettled the previous thoughts they had about him (all but one person's) and wrapping their minds around it and the Izuku they showed on the news was still underway.

They were beginning to think, at the very least amuse the idea, that Izuku was and could be heroic. It was a start.

And in that week, outside of school and inside his room and on his computer, when Izuku wasn't studying for class and doing his homework, Izuku found himself working around his whole new plan to make himself a hero. Lucky enough for his mother, and especially himself, there was a martial arts school not too far from where they lived, a place that would take Izuku minutes to reach on the railways. Their training schedule was online too, and they had a block that was two hours long in the afternoon, for two days a week, that would focus specifically on teaching self-defense; jujitsu, specifically. It wasn't a class about throwing a punch (which Izuku checked online and found quite a number of videos he could use to practice that form outside of class) but about disarming and pinning opponents. He ran it by his mom: the price of him attending both classes a week was manageable, and the class description fit the bill of what he was looking for and promised to focus on, and the distance from it to their home wasn't an issue.

They went to the school later that week, to see the place for themselves and to meet the instructors. Inko, albeit reluctantly, made it clear that Izuku was quirkless and didn't have experience with martial arts prior, but the instructors had no problems with it. According to their rules, emitter quirks were forbidden in class, and any physical mutant quirks were to be minded at all times, with practice for and against those with enhanced physical abilities mixed into the classes if need be. And it wasn't required that Izuku had experience with martial arts, as long as he understood what he was and would be doing. Izuku explained that he did, and the lead instructor kept the talk going a little longer to learn of the whole situation and when Izuku would be attending their classes.

The lead instructor of the school asked Izuku directly why he wanted to take their self-defense classes, and within his stuttering he explained the dream and drive he had to be a hero. He explained that he thought it would be smarter not to learn how to fight but how to stop the fighting, something the class description voiced similarly and that helped draw Izuku into taking it. Heroes did know how to fight, but if he could learn how to do so in a means that was less messy and destructive to everything around them, the better off he would be. And while Izuku was nervous his explanation didn't win him any points or promises, the instructor very much liked his state of mind. He explained that many of the students his school got voiced a similar hope, a few aiming to put it into heroics, others aiming specifically for the police positions, and others learning it knowing their quirks couldn't help defend themselves, especially if they didn't have the license to use them freely out in public. Izuku need not worry about his reasons to join. They were reasonable and acceptable enough for the school owner and lead instructor to give him a pass and offer him a "Good luck."

The price his mother would have to pay for him to attend regularly each month was discussed and worked out, and when all was said and done, the two Midoriya's waved goodbye with the workings of a smile on their faces. The instructor offered them a seat to stay a while and watch the classes going on so he could be familiar with that, but since the class Izuku wanted to take would be the day following, Izuku promised to stop by and watch that day to get himself familiar with it then. He wanted to keep his focus on defending himself before letting it ease into learning how to fight back, no matter how much his mind edged him on doing so.

The rest of the time Izuku had that week, he spent online searching up everything else he needed to know about that he thought would be important. The diet he worked out with his mom wasn't anything too demanding on her wallet, which Izuku was just as grateful for. He didn't want what he was doing to be too much for his mother to handle and by no means did he want her to run the wallet dry just for him and dream everyone was against. And, letting his mother know and understand, Izuku would spend the time around his studying, sleeping, and jujitsu classes running to help get into shape. Nothing too extreme, just a few laps around the block and near his home; however much he could manage a day when he had the time. He kept to running on the days between his martial arts class.

And he did run on those days, usually for an hour to just over half an hour around the block of their apartment. It really put into perspective the first few times just how out of shape he was. And when the jujitsu classes started, the same point was made there. Teaching went slowly the first few days, going over just what the martial art was apart from all the others there were to learn, and the practice they had dug a lot into Izuku's head. His form greatly needed work, which was something he could also be practicing outside of class just to remind himself of what he was learning. It was advice the teacher had passed on the first day for those around Izuku who were struggling too. And Izuku personally had to lose his stiffness problem. He was too hesitant to move and act on the small techniques the teacher was giving them. His grip also needed work. Hand and foot placement also needed work. Most of him needed work, but the instructor he had seemed not offended or angry with him at the dilemma. They were understanding of everyone's problems and promised that the more everyone practiced, the more everyone could overcome those problems. Izuku couldn't remember a teacher as pleasant as her since the one he had in preschool.

Izuku straightened his back where he sat and worked on controlling his breathing, bringing air back into his lungs.

His classmates were also something else. For the most part, everyone was strange to Izuku, though it was apparently normal by everyone else's standards. No one was really rude to anyone else, and people made friends and conversation in and between practices fairly easily. Only one other kid, someone a bit younger than Izuku, was abrasive with their words but their instructor was by no means pleased with their attitude and promised to kick the kid from the class if he kept his mouth yapping with those words.

Izuku really only interacted with one of the boys in his class, avoid the girls because no and the other boys because they seemed more interested in other things than he was familiar with. Mashirao Ojiro was a fairly nice and interesting boy, being the only one in the class with a mutant quirk, given he had a pretty big tail coming out from under his shirt. The few talks Izuku had with him at the start of all their classes made it clear he was there for almost the exact same reasons Izuku was. He was aiming for hero classes too, and for the same Yuei High School that the young Midoriya wanted to attend. He was pretty nice too, so Izuku stuck to him for most of the classes and practices they did. Mashirao had to avoid using his tail in most of the exercises until one came up specifically for defending with and against it. A lot of the other kids seemed hesitant to spar with him having a fifth limb in the way, but Izuku jumped to the challenge to partner with him. It gave him someone he was growing more comfortable with near him more often, and learning how to defend against someone who had more experience in martial arts and had a physical quirk that could benefit himself in battle gave Izuku a good challenge to work with and learn for his future endeavors.

And when class was over, Mashirao had to wait for his mother to come and pick him up, seeing as how they actually had a car for transport and Izuku only had the rails to move him around. So Izuku decided to keep him company when his mother was running a few minutes late, and the two boys got into discussions about heroics and the specifics of their quirks, or in Izuku's case the lack-their-of.

God be forgiven, but Mashirao didn't have any problem with Izuku being quirkless as so many others had been towards the green teen. Mashirao saw himself as practically quirkless, having nothing special but a big tail that, for most of the time in everyday life, just functioned as an extra limb. It wasn't anything special like controlling water or releasing explosions from the palms of his hands, nor did he have enhanced strength or muscle fibers or bones throughout the rest of his body, so for the most part Mashirao saw himself as being a normal kid. With a big tail. At least he was nice about it.

Izuku set his hands on his knees and pushed himself back up to his feet. It had been a month since he met All-Might, nearly died a few times, was told to give up on his dream by numerous big people and a bully, found a bat in a dump of a beach, and worked out with his mother how he could become a hero. He'd taken his jujitsu class for four weeks, practicing loosely outside of class when he was alone and trying harder in class to make ends meet and was slowly working his way to getting the hang of it. He kept running every other day to keep his body growing fit, and had moved his running plan just last week from his neighborhood to the abandoned beach, running along the shoreline back and forth as many times as he could before his body told him he had done enough for the day. At best, that meant from one end to the other and then halfway back. It was a start.

Izuku cracked his neck, wincing at the small snap he heard, and moved himself forward in a jog, keeping the sea on his right side and following it along. Kacchan had been bothering him less, especially since Izuku was keeping so quiet and introverted about everything he was doing that the blond had no interest in bothering as often. Every now and again Izuku would hear the snide comment or sneer, but Izuku could put that off. And Mashirao was really nice. The two boys had exchanged numbers and kept small discussions in text whenever they had something to talk about, be it heroes or something they had learned in their self-defense classes. A new friend was a new friend and Izuku appreciated having him.

Izuku slowly eased his jog into a run, moving his feet faster and farther a second at a time. His breathing was shortening as his pace moved up, and his arms swung to join his legs.

Running was tiring. Really, really tiring. But Izuku liked doing it. He liked running when he had the time, and learning how to throw a punch properly, and practicing yoga-like forms to better his balance. It was bettering him, and he was getting better at doing them. That was what he wanted, and he was happy to be doing them.

The only thing he had not done in that month was touch the bat. It sat lonely in his closet, leaning against the wall beneath his shirts, waiting for the day Izuku took it out again. He had seen the various weapons in the martial arts school that was used in other classes, and his instructor had explained that they would practice disarming people who attacked them with a knife or a gun in the future. Those weapons weren't anything similar to the baseball bat, but he would learn how to use those other ones and then learn how to fight against them eventually.

Izuku let himself smile through his short breaths. He would learn how to fight eventually. He would know how to fight and win eventually. He would get into Yuei eventually.

He would become a hero.

Eventually.