A/N: The reaction to this so far has been insane. I'm seriously grateful to you all.

Who wants some more?

(***)

"It's not going to happen, I'm afraid."

Words that struck like hammers through glass, smashing his world to smithereens. When the doctor said he'd never be a hero, not without a Quirk... all he could do was sit there and stare straight ahead. Days, weeks went right on by and he didn't say anything to anyone. He just remembered finding that clip, that one clip of All Might, the first clip.

The rest was already a teary blur, all he remembered was asking his mother if he had a chance of ever being like All Might. All she could do was hold and weep, apologizing over and over.

The day that followed All Might's death... he couldn't do much more than sit there and stare again.

Cameras, teary eyed reporters with lines on their faces from fear, so many voices all at once. All for the boy who was there. Right there.

Questions he couldn't answer, anxieties he couldn't soothe, fears he couldn't assuage. All the while his mother sobbed, inconsolable at the disappearance of his father. Little Izuku just felt... numb. Like his whole body had been motionless for far too long, circulation no longer flowing.

Eventually, they just wandered home. Lines of houses, all with bright paint that hadn't chipped. Lush green trees, bushes and grass trimmed and hedged. Windows were clean and clear, cars polished and repaired. Roads were smooth and dark, the lines painted bright and fresh.

So idyllic a place to go home to, and be miserable, so bold a contrast to the war zone in which he had been trapped. Phone calls came in, in the days that followed, one by one. The insincerity of the sympathy from some of his mother's friends made him choke back tears, almost as much as the call from his father's parents where they screamed their frustration and sadness to high heaven, blaming her for letting daddy die.

Izuku just hugged her, squeezing her tight. "It's okay, mamma... if All Might couldn't stop it, how could anyone?"

The first reasonable or sensible thing anyone had said to her in almost a week, and it was from her own baby. Her response wasn't much more than picking him up and squeezing until both their arms hurt. Eventually, when she'd fallen asleep, Izuku let his numb and empty mind decide what he did next. A long walk, with no destination in mind.

Little feet in little red shoes carried him along streets filled with mourners holding candle-lit vigils. Children were crying at the death of the world's greatest hero and idol to all, parents were holding each other as they stared fearfully at the odd future ahead.

Maybe he wasn't so different, but they were trying to make themselves feel better. He wasn't. It wasn't easy to decide if that was a good or a bad thing, so he didn't try. Mental energy was in short supply right now; better to save it for things that really mattered.

Hours passed, and his body wasn't in a place where it could tell how tired it was anymore. It was only after it got dark that he went home and curled up on the couch next to his mother. When morning came, he got up on his own, dressed and had cereal, then walked to school. Just like every other day now, he couldn't really hear what was being said by almost anyone. This time, grief was a barrier too; not just being their outsider.

Considering it was their first day back since All Might's death, the teacher just decided to ease them back into the swing of things. However, when their break time came, things did not stay so relaxed.

Two sets of little arms grabbed Izuku and started dragging him, and before he knew it he was behind the shed and staring down Bakugo.

Quivering shoulders, bared teeth and piercingly furious red eyes that burned holes into Izuku's face; Kacchan looked demonic. His voice wasn't any different. "It was your fault..."

Izuku blinked. "H-huh?"

Bakugo snarled, "It was because of you!" Tears pushed themselves out of his eyes, little explosions popping in his palms. "You're the reason All Might died!"

His jaw dropped, eyes fluttering and going wide as his heart cracked. "N-no! That's not-!"

"SHUT UP!" Bakugo's fist flew like an arrow, hitting his face almost as hard. "If he didn't have to protect you, then he would've won and been fine! Shut up and take your punishment you, stupid, WORTHLESS DEKU!"

With every punch and blast of Bakugo's quirk, a cold desperation pooled in Izuku's chest. Pain in his ribs, face and jaw, the other two boys gripping his arms so hard he'd almost certainly have bruises. Stars flashed in front of his eyes, blood dripping from his lips and nose. Bakugo only hit him harder, used his quirk more and more. Izuku's clothes were burned, his flesh singed and charred and his hair smouldered.

Electricity moved through his body like ice through his veins, wondering if Bakugo was going to kill him. The harder he hit, the louder the explosions, the more that seemed to be likely. Struggling to get away, finding it to be a useless gesture, desperation began to claw at Izuku's brain, black and red began to fill his eyes. He had to do something, had to fight back! But how could he? He didn't have a quirk or the strength to do that!

Why don't I have a quirk!? Why is life...

Bakugo pulled his fist back again, roaring like a lion as he went for the killing blow. "DIE!"

SO UNFAIR!

Then maybe... you should make it more fair?

A flash of black, a shockwave pulsing outward and all four boys went flying in different directions. Izuku was left lying on his back, Bakugo's stooges groaning as they rolled weakly on the ground. Red sparks flickered between Izuku and the other two boys, but not between him and Bakugo, before winking out of existence. Groggily, with the worst headache of his life, Izuku forced himself to sit up.

Sitting up as well, Bakugo blinked. "What just happened!?"

One by sniffled, his eyes shining with water pooling in them. "I... I don't..." then he started sobbing into his palms.

When the other boy did too, Bakugo snarled at them. "What the hell!? Why are you babies crying!?"

Neither of them could answer, far too busy being overcome with emotion. Not one to waste an opportunity, Izuku took this as his moment to flee for his life. Bakugo was screaming for him to come back, raving, but Izuku was done listening to him. Red sneakers skidded and scuffed along the ground as he ran, no concept of time in his mind. Heartbeat hammering away, cold sweat on his skin, he fled without thinking about the destination.

Eventually, chest heaving as he leaned against a wall to stay upright, he finally felt calm enough to stop.

My... fault...

A fist clenched. No, that made no sense. All Might hadn't even known he was there, neither had the villain. Izuku wasn't the reason their hero was dead, he couldn't be. All the same, palms to his eyes, he started sobbing. He just stood there, against the wall and crying, for the longest time.

Then, as he slowly quieted, he still heard someone sobbing uncontrollably.

Sniffling, Izuku looked up and tried to find the source of that voice. Wiping at his nose and eyes, Izuku cautiously wandered over across the street to a crouched person. The person he could hear was just another boy with shaggy ice-blue hair and the rattiest hoodie, jeans and sneakers he'd ever seen anyone wear. When he looked up, with his bloodshot and glassy eyes, he saw a mole just under the right corner of his lips. He couldn't be much older than Izuku, just a couple of years at most.

"Who are you?" Izuku said, kneeling beside him.

Reddish brown eyes stared into Izuku's green ones, searching for something like a frightened cat. Not seeing anything alarming, the other boy murmured, as he relaxed. He wiped at his face with a hand stained by old, dry blood. The lack of visible injuries on his skin somewhat telling.

"Tenko..." he spoke with a small voice, pitiful enough that Izuku couldn't help but feel sorry for him. "My name is Tenko..."

Smiling, the green haired boy offered him a hand. "I'm Izuku."

Cautiously, a hand reached out and grasped his, and Izuku thought it strange that the other boy was making sure to leave his pinky far away from Izuku's skin. "Nice to meet you..."

After shaking his hand, Izuku shuffled around and sat next to him. "So... why are you crying?" Looking the other boy over again, he saw no small amount of dust covering his clothes. Blood stained the fabric and his skin in a few places, and there were bruises just beneath his collar. "Did someone hurt you too?"

Thinking about this for a moment, Tenko nodded. "Yeah..." His hands balled up, tightly, so much so his knuckles went white.

Not knowing what else to say, Izuku went with his feelings. "Can I help?"

Tenko shook his head. "It doesn't matter anymore..." Standing up, sniffling and wiping at his face some more to clear the tears, he sighed. "That questline is cut... can't be completed without the NPCs anymore."

Izuku stood up too, not quite getting what Tenko was talking about. "A-Are you sure?"

"Yeah..." Tenko looked Izuku up and down. "What about you? Who messed you up?"

Laughing nervously, Izuku mumbled. "My friend Kacchan... his name is really Katsuki Baku-"

"No he's not."

Izuku blinked. "Huh?"

Tenko was glaring off to the side. "If someone hurts you that badly?" He pointed at the various cuts, bruises and burns on Izuku's skin and clothes. "They're not your friend. They're a villain. A jerk, an enemy worth only farming XP from."

Scratching the back of his head, Izuku gave a lopsided frown. "What's XP?"

The bluenette sighed. "Just... he's not your friend, okay? Friends don't hurt each other without saying sorry."

Feeling his heart sink, hugging himself and staring at the floor, his next words weren't even really a squeak. He wanted to argue, really he did. He wanted to fight tooth and nail for Kacchan given how they'd grown up together, how close his mother was with Kacchan's parents. But with a horrible sinking realisation, he knew he couldn't deny the truth in Tenko's blunt words. "... Oh."

Reaching forward with a closed fist, Tenko offered a small smile. "But I'll be your friend."

Immediately, Izuku's face warmed, and he felt the happiness inside him rise. "Really?" He paused as Tenko nodded, still smiling. "Even though I'm... Q-quirkless?"

With a shrug, Tenko replied. "Eh, just less chance of you using a dumb quirk to hurt people with. Trust me... you're kind of lucky."

Looking at Tenko's fist, just waiting there, Izuku reached out and did the one thing that made sense. He made his own fist and tapped his knuckles against those of the other boy. "Yeah, maybe I am lucky." He smiled at the other boy, the one who had shown him more kindness in moments than Kacchan had in years. "But not because of that."

Snickering, Tenko put his hands in his pockets. "Lame."

Taken aback, Izuku's face flickered with shock, confusion and then indignity. "Nuh uh!"

Now Tenko was laughing. "Yeah, a little." As Izuku pouted, his grin became sincere. "Thanks for cheering me up."

Now it was the green eyed boy's turn to smile. "You too, Tenko."

Seeing that the sun was setting, Izuku decided he'd better get going home. They said their goodbyes and went in different directions. Izuku would go home to a sobbing mother, worried sick about him leaving school like that and would go to bed feeling terribly guilty.

But he had made a friend.

(***)

At school, the next day, Izuku would be met with an apologetic teacher and two very depressed students who didn't so much as nod all day. Bakugo's friends were very torn about something, but no one could make them say.

When lunch break came, they just sat there, watching the other children play with their Quirks in stone cold silence. All the yelling, screaming and goading in the world from Bakugo wouldn't make them move. They just stared with eyes full of cold, mindless envy at their classmates while Izuku sat at a table and drew in his notebook. He didn't know why their eyes widened when they looked at him, or why Kacc-, no, Bakugo's eyes wouldn't meet his.

You don't know what you did, do you?

He had no idea why he'd asked himself that, but he didn't know, that much was true.

When school ended for the day, Izuku would wander home and find the biggest surprise of the day. Tenko was waiting for him on the front steps, talking to his mother.

It was the happiest he'd seen her in a month. "Welcome home, little Izu!" She bounced to her feet and picked him up, hugging him close.

Laughing up a storm, Izuku hugged her back. "Thanks mom."

Petting his little head and kissing his cheek, she plopped him back down on his own two feet. "When were you going to tell me you made a friend?"

Bashfully, Izuku scratched the back of his head. "Um... well..."

"We just met yesterday." Tenko explained. "I was all sad and junk, but he cheered me up."

Inko turned and gave her boy a smile, eyes twinkling with pride. "Well, of course he did."

Izuku blushed, but still turned to look at Tenko. "How did you find out where we lived?" He giggled. "You stalker."

Tenko's eye twitched. "Damn brat... I asked one of your classmates how to get here. I had some games I wanted to show off to you."

Inko ushered them inside. "Well then who am I to get in the way of you playing? Come on you two, dinner will be ready soon before you play, and I think... Tenko?" The bluenette nodded. "You can put that bag down in the living room. It looks quite heavy."

Grabbing the strap on his shoulder, the older boy adjusted his backpack. "Yeah, it's all my games as well as my gaming consol- OH CRAP!"

At the touch of all five fingers, the strap turned to dust and the backpack dropped. Only by leaping forward, his palms outstretched and snagging under the falling bag, did Izuku save the precious cargo. His stomach hit the ground and the wind was immediately knocked out of him, stars in his eyes as his wounds from yesterday ached.

"Izuku!" Inko leapt to his side. "Are you hurt?" She pulled him up and dusted him off, checking him over for any sign of further injury.

Embarrassed, Izuku shook his head. "I-I'm okay, mom... really."

Making sure not to touch it with all his fingers this time, Tenko picked up the backpack with a timid, sullen expression. "Sorry..."

Izuku shook his head. "Don't worry about it." Grinning, he gave a thumbs up. "Is everything okay?"

Unzipping the back, he looked everything over. "Yeah, looks fine." Zipping it back up, he shyly nodded. "Thanks for the save... can't exploit and clone this stuff if it breaks."

Both Midoriyas blinked. "What?"

Feeling self conscious, Tenko slung the bag over his shoulder. "Nothing, never mind."

With that they went inside, and Izuku noticed how Tenko was doing his best not to touch anything with all of his fingers. "So... your quirk turns stuff to dust when you touch with all your fingers at once?"

Sighing, putting the backpack down, Tenko nodded. "Yeah, it's awful. I have no other way to control it either."

After some thought, a light bulb might as well have gone off over Izuku's head. "I've got it!"

Running to the closet, he rummaged around until he found some simple, fabric-mesh gloves. Running and grabbing some scissors from his room, he cut off all but the middle two fingers. Then he turned them inside out, and put some electrical tape around the inside of the remaining fingertips and set them right again.

"Here!" He offered the gloves to Tenko, smiling brightly. "Try them!"

Skeptically, Tenko reached out and accepted them, carefully putting them on. When he made a fist and nothing happened, his face lit up with the biggest smile his face could make. "You're a genius!" He jumped forward and hugged Izuku, both of them laughing up a storm.

When dinner came, they all sat around the table and ate katsudon together, chatting about various things that held no real meaning. Laughter, food and pleasant company helped all three forget the world outside. Afterwards, the boys helped her clean up and then set up to play the games Tenko brought over while Inko read a book, occasionally looking up and asking them about what they were playing.

It was just some old role playing game back from when Inko was a little girl, one of the few cooperative games in the collection that Tenko had somehow packed into his bag. For a moment or two, Tenko looked like he wanted to play one of the fighting games, squaring off against Izuku one on one, but decided otherwise. Nothing ruins a friendship like a good competition, so the old saying goes.

When the sun finally started setting, Tenko packed up his games and went home, giving them both a hug goodbye before he left. Both of the Midoriyas could clearly see the change in his personality. Whereas the older boy had slouched when he first arrived at their home, and hung back from everything with some uncertainty, he seemed to almost have a spring in his step.

Almost.

Patting her son's shoulder, Inko gave him an affectionate squeeze. "I think giving him those gloves was wonderful idea, little Izu."

"Why's that?"

Inko pulled him back into the house, locking up for the night. "Did you see how happy he was?" Izuku nodded and she giggled. "Well, I think you made a life-long friend today."

He almost exploded with excitement. "You think so!?"

Shrugging, smiling coyly, Inko did her best not to answer too directly. "Maybe. We'll just have to wait and see, wont we?"

Humming happily, Izuku nodded. "Guess so."

His teeth brushed and his face washed, Izuku kissed his mother goodnight and headed up to bed. His room was still full of All Might figurines and posters, special edition action figures lining every available shelf space, but the den of a young boy's dreams had become something far more forlorn, a shrine to an age that once was. He wouldn't dare get rid of them, even with the memories they gave him.

As he drew the covers up around him and drifted off, he blinked away one tear, but not one of sadness. This was one of hope. "A life long friend..."

Maybe his mother would be right.

Wouldn't that be nice?

(***)

(Izuku and Tenko. Aged: 8 and 10.)

(***)

A/N: Tomura with no Sensei. Can't help but love the idea. There's a few more where that came from.

A quick shout out to two authors in this fandom who deserve my praise. If you haven't checked out CannibalisticApple, and their story "Ignite to the Call", you need to; a very compelling alternative world built with so many layers and so many tricks up its sleeve. They've also helped me out with planning this going forward to, and I'm always grateful to a bigger author for sparing some time to guide.

Also on that basis, KingofShallowynd deserves some more appreciation. Everywhere at Once is in my opinion, the best OC story on this site for My Hero Academia. If you ever want inspiration on how to get power balance and growth right, how to write compellingly, and how to be faithful to the personalities of canon, you need to read that story. I hope to do my own OC story in the near future; if I make something one tenth as good as King's story, I'll be proud.

As always, grateful for your thoughts. Reviews, favourites and PMs are always appreciated; just don't flame, yo. And if you like this, feel free to check out my other works. My one-shots will always love more attention.

Ya boy, out.