A/N: This is now my most followed story on this site, and has reached over fifty favourites far quicker than I ever expected. You're all amazing and mad, and I'm very grateful.

In the words of Shoto Todoroki, "let's continue".

(***)

"Makoto Kobayashi here with your morning news. Local police and Hero Agencies in Nabu have advised that people continue to remain inside after dark. While this group of criminals has yet to target anyone other than heroes, it is still a possibility that civilians could be caught in the crossfire. Just last week, the hero Yoroi Musha was left with life threatening injuries and hanging out of a tenth story window. It is unlikely he'll ever walk again, or perhaps even speak. More on the crime report, later tonight."

Izuku paused very briefly when he heard that news. Yoroi Musha was a household name across Japan, and had been consistently one of the top ten Pro Heroes for the last thirty years. He was a veteran with practically unmatched combat prowess, a paragon of virtue and honour and a masterful tactician from years of experience fighting villains. And yet, in the crazy world as it was, someone had been able to best him. Whoever Yoroi Musha had fought, they were supremely strong.

The Pro Heroes could be shaken, after all.

It had been a few years since the day in which the world came crashing down around Izuku Midoriya. The funeral of All Might had been and gone, a public outpouring of grief centred on a snaking procession through the streets of Musutafu. The world had seen Endeavor's head bowed as he spoke about taking on the mantle of Japan's Number One, and the tear in his eye as he spoke of the sweeping changes which would need to come to society in the wake of All Might's death.

Izuku, shedding his own tears, had been more focused on the old man at the head of the cortège, so small and so utterly crushed by the death of All Might. The name Gran Torino had not meant anything to Izuku before that day, but this man, All Might's teacher and a retired Hero, had appeared utterly broken and yet so completely alone while surrounded by the finest Pro Heroes in the nation. As hollow as he may have felt on the inside watching the proceedings, Izuku could feel the man's despair even through the grainy sepia of the television screen.

Before disappearing, Sorahiko Torino had been cornered by one of the more persistent media outlets, one of the less mainstream news stations who had less qualms about bothering a man during his mourning, and asked his thoughts. The impromptu speech that subsequently followed went around the world, and while the Hero Gran Torino had disappeared completely from public life following this, his words of anguish were seismic in their impact.

"Toshinori Yagi was a blessing to us all. He might have been a pain in the ass to teach, and he was terrible at keeping in touch with his old teacher, but he was a true Symbol of what our world could be. Hope, justice, peace, virtue, and above all else kindness. He wasn't just a Symbol of Peace, he was a light holding back the darkness.

I fear for what we have in store for us now. Not for the villains who will crawl out of their holes and pester us- I'm sure even I can take you on. No, I fear for the mantle of the Symbol of Peace, for the Heroes who follow All Might. There are Heroes among us who make me ashamed of the name Hero, who are not fit to hold a candle to Toshinori or follow his legacy.

They are not strong enough to protect us from what is to come."

It turned out that the incendiary and pained words of Gran Torino had been a true prophecy. Within a month of All Might's funeral, Ketsubusu Academy was attacked and bombed, resulting in serious injuries for the Pro Hero and teacher Ms. Joke. As other schools ramped up their security, villains who had been content waging petty wars with each other turned their sights elsewhere, and malicious creatures content to slip under the Police's radar and not draw the attention of them or All Might felt emboldened. The old guard, the Yakuza, the drug dealers and the traffickers, all reared their heads to test where the wind was blowing, and they liked it.

That had been within the first month after All Might. Now, a couple of years on, things were only going to get worse as more and more of the downtrodden and dastardly fancied their chances at glory in the new age.

Taking a sip from his juice, Izuku kept on scribbling notes into his notebook while the radio played the news. He was still listening in case anything came up about Yoroi Musha that piqued his curiosity; deep down, he wondered if this was the same Villain who had attacked Air Jet a few months ago, or the gang who had tried to take on Mirko only to be beaten back savagely by a very pissed-off Rabbit Hero. However, with everything going on in the world he found that he was numb to new news, and wasn't getting shocked by it anymore. There were times he would tunnel-vision himself away and focus himself intensely on the real world, to keep away from the crushing reality that the world was snowballing out of control; this was one of those times.

Shaking his head, Izuku focused on the here and now. He watched his classmates, as he never tired of seeing how their quirks functioned and carefully estimating their limitations. This was all part of his continued Hero Analysis for the future; drafting up battle tactics, ways to counter their abilities or even compliment them should cooperation become necessary. His notebooks were overflowing, and his eye for Quirks was growing even more refined.

There are so many useful Quirks around, after all. Imagine what could be done if you had them.

He still had no clue why those thoughts came into his head sometimes, or why he referred to himself as 'you' sometimes. It happened more and more as he grew up, but he was trying to knock himself out of that habit. It wasn't good to be envious.

Looking at his classmates anew, he could practically hear Tenko speaking in his ear, even when he wasn't there. 'Remember: good party composition is either balanced, or highly specialized. But all that's worthless without a good tactician making the battle plans for the troops to follow.'

Over a few months, Izuku had gotten used to Tenko being around more and more, weird video game vocabulary and all. He still had questions about the older boy, because he would freeze up and go into a depression any time that Izuku and Inko tried to pry about his home life. He wasn't going to pry though- Tenko would tell him in time, if he wanted to. And anyway, it was just so good to see him so happy the rest of the time.

Almost every night after his school, his new best friend would come home, dragging in board games and his heavy games console to share with Izuku. The world might have been going to hell in a handcart, but he was happier than he had ever been with any of his previous friends, and it seemed Tenko felt the same. The night that his mother told Tenko she was tired of him dragging a heavy bag too and from their house, and so was buying their own games console, the bluenette's eyes had shone like fireworks.

So here he was at break-time, drafting up mock battles with his classmate's quirks by pitting them against each other, and seeing how many different scenarios he could create. He could imagine so many outcomes shifting his classmates around to face different opponents, creating different challenges for them to overcome, shifting who was fighting on the frontline with who was organising evacuations in support... the possibilities were truly endless. He just wished that he had someone else to share this with, to challenge his conclusions. Another mind to test his tactics against.

There's nobody like that at this school.

Cheek against his palm, he pouted at the playing students. Bakugo was trying to play with his Quirkless friends, the same ones from three years ago, but they were about as lifeless as ever. Something Izuku could sympathize with; he knew all too well that Quirklessness wasn't an easy diagnosis to live with. Still, it wasn't impossible. Having just one friend was an immeasurable help, and Izuku had more or less made that friend by accident in Tenko. It wasn't impossible.

Or was thinking that sort of thing dismissive, now that he didn't have it so rough?

Frowning at himself, Izuku sighed and closed his notebook, looking over to see that fierce red eyes were glaring daggers at him all of a sudden. Break-time was about half over, and Bakugo looked angrier than he had ever seen him.

Ever since the incident where Bakugo and his friends had tried to beat Izuku up, the day after the death of All Might, Bakugo had kept his distance from Izuku with gusto. The two friends, now sullen and cowering, flinched every time Izuku has tried to approach them to talk; Katsuki no longer bothered talking to Izuku, or engaging him at all whenever they were around.

His mother and Mitsuki had noted it too, but prying from Inko (and yelling from Mitsuki) hadn't budged Katsuki one bit. He glared, and glowered, and huffed, and made it clear that every fibre of his being despised Izuku with a passion, but he never said why.

Apparently today, after nearly three years, he had made up his mind that he wanted to say something. Maybe now, Izuku thought, he might understand why the boy he formerly admired as Kacchan growing up might actually give him a chance to say what was on his mind. But as the spiky-haired blonde strode towards him and got nearer, Izuku saw the all-too familiar look of the bully with fists balled and teeth gritted, and realised more accurately what was going on. Bakugo was about to fight him.

Once by the green haired boy's side, his hand clasped roughly down on his shoulder. "Move."

Knowing it would be worse if he didn't, Izuku gulped and complied as Bakugo practically threw him, pushing him along until they were both out of sight under a tree. Taking a deep breath, Izuku gripped his fists. "Long time no see, Bakugo. What did I do this time?"

Rage flashed across Bakugo's features, his eyes bulging with his anger. "You know why I'm here."

"You've not spoken to me for years, Bakugo. I don't know what you're talking about."

Bakugo pointed at his two former friends, sullenly sat beside each other in the shade as others played around them. "Tell me what you fucking did to them."

Blinking, Izuku took a step back. He wanted to talk about them? What was there to say? "...Me? What do you mean, what I did to them?"

With a growl, Bakugo clenched his fists. "You know exactly what I mean!" Rather than explain, he just launched himself at Izuku. "STOP PLAYING DUMB AND OWN UP TO IT!"

Izuku reeled as an explosion ignited into his shoulder and jostled him, before a follow-up punch wrapped in the ignition of Bakugo's Quirk met his jaw, rattling his brain inside his skull. He felt a tooth give and staggered, flailing his hand up in front of him to catch a forceful elbow. "Kacchan, please-"

"DON'T YOU DARE CALL ME THAT! YOU HURT THEM, DEKU! YOU TOOK THEIR POWER!"

What? "T-Their power. I didn't do any-"

Another fist struck him, this time dangerously close to his temple, and a flash of orange from an explosion made him flinch with how close to his eye it was. "YOU HURT THEM, YOU MONSTER!"

Tasting blood, seeing stars, Izuku almost toppled right over. "I don't even-"

"ADMIT IT, YOU FUCKING DEKU!"

Punch after punch, explosion after explosion, and Izuku could probably kiss another outfit goodbye. "That's not my-" An explosion right next to his ear made him scream, falling to the ground and writhing in pain as he clutched at his ear.

This wasn't fair! He didn't do anything to them!

He's a bully. He's hurting you.

Hurt him back.

"I. SAID." Bakugo was gritting his teeth so hard he'd practically forced them out of alignment. "ADMIT IT, DEKU!"

Opening his eyes, feeling the world come back into focus even as his ear rang out in a high pitched shrill, Izuku started to stand up. This wasn't going to be like before. He wasn't going to be Bakugo's punching bag. Not for something he didn't do.

Stand up to him.

Punish him.

"That's..." Bakugo charged at him, roaring savagely. "Not..." Izuku turned and glared at him, his own eyes burning with anger. "my..." He jumped up, his palms outstretched and shouted in defiance of the schoolyard bully. "NAME!"

Before Izuku's palms even touched Bakugo's body, before the living warhead could even set off his Quirk, something neither of them were expecting to happen happened. A burst of force blasted itself from Izuku's palms, an airborne shock wave sending both him and the raging bully flying. Bakugo's eyes widened as he flew before he hit the trunk of a tree dead onto his shoulder with a crunch and a sickening scream. Izuku, meanwhile, was launched backwards and skidded to a halt just before the fence of the schoolyard.

Looking down, his eyes widened at something entirely new. His arms were scarred with burn marks and blood from Bakugo's attacks, but his arm tingled with something else, raw and untamed energy that made his hairs stand on end. Dancing across his skin and weaving around his fingers, red and black sparks crackled with a smell like ozone, before dying down like the last embers of a fire and leaving him back to normal with his scarred arms aching in pain from the assault.

He had powers? He had... a Quirk?

And why did it feel familiar?

Good. Now we're in business.

As Izuku picked himself up off the ground, Bakugo clutched his bleeding shoulder, and Izuku's eyes widened as he could clearly see his bully's arm hanging limp, dislocated by the impact with the tree. Despite the tears in his eyes from the pain, he was biting down any scream of pain using his sheer anger, instead manifesting it as a snarl of a wounded alpha male.

"... What the... what the hell did you do, DEKU?!"

Something long overdue.

(***)

Teachers arrived not long after the incident between him and Bakugo, alerted by the furious shouting of the walking time bomb when he popped his own shoulder back in. Dragging the both of them off for a medical examination and for an interrogation at the hands of the callous headmaster, Izuku was reprimanded and Bakugo was coddled while the nurse checked to ensure there was no lasting damage to Bakugo's shoulder or the ability to use his Quirk. All the while, the school faculty ignored the wounds on Izuku.

Bakugo was their star for the future and for U.A after all, the Hero they wanted to take credit for. Izuku wasn't their concern at all.

Pathetic self-preservation from all involved.

Hands stuffed into his pockets, Izuku quietly sulked as he wandered home. He kicked a stray can, hearing it rattle and clatter against loose stones on the asphalt surface as he plodded along. What had once been a proud neighbourhood, idyllic and maintained by people who took pride in their homes, had fallen to the wayside in the previous couple of years. Graffiti was in abundance running along street-side walls, name tags mixing with anti-Hero, anti-police and anti-government messages. At one intersection, a group of people dressed in rather rebellious-looking attire who had gathered on one street corner gave him the occasional odd look as he muttered to himself about how unfair the situation was.

He just kept his head down as he walked, ignoring them; it was safer that way as he walked through the rough neighbourhood they called home. It really had been trashed recently; shopfronts were damaged, glass had been shattered, with windows boarded up in some instances following break-ins and looted. Doors had been smashed in on properties, and Izuku shook his head in sadness as he saw people, shop-owners and assistants, working to replace the locks or the entire door. At one point crossing an alley, Izuku saw a man in a trench coat and a weird face mask open a leather bag to let a couple of older teens peruse his wares. He tried not to gulp as he saw plastic bags with white-ish powder, blue capsules which looked like bullets, and some other things he didn't really recognise.

Drug sales like that were all too common, and something he would really rather avoid being anywhere near. If he were stronger, or a Hero, he would have stood up to the masked man and said something. Instead, he kept walking, making a mental note of the alley name in the hope that he remembered it to be able to call the police later, to get them or a Hero to investigate.

It's a wonder the police can even keep up...

They couldn't. But they were trying.

Grumbling and sighing to himself, he completely failed to notice when Tenko had joined him, walking by his side in that classic slouch that he had gotten used to. "Another fight with the jerk?" Izuku nodded, and Tenko sighed. "Need to vent about it?"

Izuku shrugged, unsure how much to say. "Kept calling me 'Deku' again..."

Tenko rolled his eyes. "How original. Not like he's been trying that since you were tiny."

"Right!?" Izuku fumed, his outburst drawing some attention from passer's by, before he took a deep breath to calm himself. "You'd think he'd come up with something new by now."

Tenko raised an eyebrow. "Did calling you that make you fight back?" Somewhat self-consciously, Izuku nodded, and his friend sighed. "Crap... he's just gonna do it more now."

Groaning, Izuku pushed his palms against his face. "Really? How do you even know that?"

Face flinching with sadness, Tenko drew his hood up over his head, chapped lips pursed in something resembling anger. "...I just do. It's always the way with those character types."

Not quite sure what he'd just seen there, Izuku fished about for something else to say, and in his mind red and black sparks flickered. "...I have a quirk."

In an instant, Tenko's gloved hands flew to Izuku's shoulders, stopping him in his tracks as he grinned wildly at him and shook him. "SINCE WHEN!?"

He was so overjoyed the poor green-eyed boy almost forgot to say anything back. "I don't know!" He blurted out. "It just... happened?"

"THIS IS AMAZING! What can you do? How did it come out? Are you more of a brawler or support type?"

"I-I..." Izuku's shoulders sagged. "It came out during my fight with Bakugo. It happened so fast, I d-don't know how to describe it or how to really activate it. I'm kinda... at a loss with it."

Rubbing at his chin, Tenko thought about this. "Okay, let's go to your house. I have a plan."

(***)

"Makoto Kobayashi again, for the evening report. Following the armed assault on the shopping mall in Kiyashi Ward by an unknown gang, we spoke to the Pro Hero Ryukyu who attended the scene and apprehended some of the criminals. She had this to say following the flight of a few gang members lucky enough to escape her clutches.

'It was... horrible to see what they had done before we had gotten there. I'm thankful to Edgeshot and Death Arms, and to the Kiyashi Ward Police, for the assistance in taking down the majority of these thugs, and I can only apologise to the families of those we were too late to save. We cannot let these people run free... but I'm so tired now. It feels like the world got a lot heavier, these last two years, and we are facing more than we've ever dealt with before...'

Not sure how well she's holding up there, folks. Like many Pro Heroes, Ryukyu has been running herself ragged to catch up with the drastic increase in the crime rate across Japan these past few years. I get the sense that we may be seeing a temporary hiatus from the Dragoon Hero soon, to save her from burnout. God knows she deserves it.

Send her prayers and well wishes, folks. To her and all our Heroes, still fighting the good fight no matter the cost, thank you."

Inko wiped the sweat from her brow, frowning at the radio as the news played. What a world she was raising her son into, and what tragedy had befallen Japan since that fateful day when Izuku was right there at the fall of All Might. Would it ever end?

Dinner was almost ready, but the boys were still outside playing. Setting everything aside, she went to the sliding door at the back of the house and went to call them from her garden. That was when she saw what they were doing. Tenko was standing behind Izuku with a notebook, one of Izuku's beloved Hero Analysis workbooks, while Izuku...

Her baby boy was standing there with his palms outstretched, fixing his gaze at loose cans and empty bottles which Tenko had lined up on the fence.

Izuku was making faces, concentrating, trying to make... something happen. Tenko, it seemed, was there to help. "So... what'd you do when it happened?"

Her son fidgeted where he stood, flexing his fingers about as his arms remained outstretched. "I don't know. I got all mad and lashed out, my muscles just kind of... did stuff."

Leaning against the doorframe in silence, Inko watched intently as the boys carried on. "Hmm... well, do you remember what it felt like?"

Giving this some thought, Izuku nodded, then turned toward Tenko. "Punch me in the face."

"What!?" Both he and Inko yelped, taking involuntary steps toward him.

Blushing, shrinking into his own shoulders a bit, Izuku mumbled. "Well that's what Bakugo did before it happened..."

Somewhat lost, Tenko looked to the only adult in the scenario, his eyes pleading for an answer. With sigh, Inko stepped outside and sat down on the patio. "Izu dear, Tenko... what are you two trying to do?"

Tenko mumbled, but she still heard him. "Trying to get his quirk to activate..."

Inko was up to her son and lifting him into the air in less than a second. "YOU HAVE A QUIRK!?" The smile on her face was impossibly wide, and she laughed with joy as she spun around, hugging him tight. "My little baby! you must be so happy!"

As they continued to spin, Izuku felt his brain loosing track of the planet. "Dizzy... DIZZY!"

Blushing, clearing her throat, Inko set him back down. He wobbled so badly Tenko had to catch him. With a vigorous shake of his head, Izuku regained his balance. "Uh yeah, I have a Quirk momma. It came out today."

"Izu, I'm so happy for you!" Inko paused, and frowned. "But why are you asking Tenko to hit you to bring it out?"

"O-Ohhhh, um, you see, it kinda... came out today because of that. Because I was only able to activate it after Bakugo... attacked me at school."

With an expression of forced neutrality, Inko drew in a long breath. She had long suspected that Mitsuki's boy had it out for her son, and long suspected that her sweet-hearted young man had been forgiving the unforgivable from the Explosion user for some time. This was the final domino in the chain. "And what did your teachers have to say about his behavior?"

Hands to his pockets, Izuku grumbled. "Nothing. I was the one who got in trouble for fighting back..."

A shaky, menacing, joyless smile perched itself on Inko's lips and she stood up with chilling slowness. The domino had tipped over. "Children, mother will be right back." Then she went inside and dialed the number for the school, before hanging up rapidly and dialling Mitsuki instead. This was not going to stand in the least, not if she had anything to say about it. The school would come after.

Hell hath no fury like a mother on a warpath.

With his mother's furious departure, Izuku turned back to Tenko. "Will you do it?"

Scratching at his neck, squirming in place a little, Tenko's face twisted with anxiety. "I-I dunno... why would I hit you? I like you, you're my friend, you helped me out with my Quirk and the gloves. I-"

Sticking out his tongue, Izuku crossed his arms. "Dragon Quest is a dumb game."

While Tenko growled and stamped his foot, he did not hit him. "Hey! No it's not!"

"Aww..." Izuku frowned. "Thought that would work!"

"Of course not! I like you more than that game, you idiot!"

Puffing up his cheeks, Izuku stomped his foot. "Who's the idiot if you won't even punch me once?"

"No!"

"Why won't you help me?"

"That's not help!"

"I just wanna show you!"

"Then show me..." Tenko suddenly grinned, and it was alarmingly wide. "Deku."

He went there. This one is bold.

Izuku flinched as he turned to his friend. "What... did you say?"

"You heard me. Or are you just gonna stand around doing nothing... Deku?"

Summoning his anger in a blur of motion and a scream at the use of that name, Izuku turned his palms on the cans and bottles. Rewarded for his efforts, his arms once again crackled with crimson and black electricity, as a burst of rippling air lanced from his palm. A bottle shattered, the fence shook, and Tenko flinched. The fence continued to wobble afterwards, as Izuku panted for breath to calm himself down.

He took a long moment to just inhale, before releasing the air again with deliberate slowness, watching the sparks jump across his skin and relishing in their tingle. "That works too... thank you, Tenko."

"That was... so cool." The other boy breathed with a smile, laughing giddily, nervously. "Didja figure out how it worked?"

Nodding slowly, Izuku turned his palms back toward the cans and bottles. "I think so." Focusing, his eyes narrowed, the red sparking of light coiled around his arms and the shockwaves blasted forward through the air, sending cans flying along with just as many of their glass brethren.

In the place of his green haired friend, Tenko furiously scribbled down his observations into the notebook. "Looks kinda like you can focus it?"

Izuku nodded, staring at his palm. "Hard to say... it was kind of a burst earlier. Like a shockwave or..."

Tenko smirked. "An explosion?"

Rolling his eyes and sighing, Izuku put a hand over his face. "Yeah..."

Snickering, the bluenette scribbled down some more notes. "Don't tell Bakugo he inspired your Quirk. I'm not sure if he'd get angry or if his ego would inflate."

Despite himself, Izuku chuckled a little, and with a smile loosed off another blast which further shook the fence. "Thanks Tenko. I guess I've figured it out now." He looked at his palms and one spark which was running up and down each finger on his right hand. "Focus hard enough and I can push the air from my palms to make an explosion of air? Maybe?"

"Whatever it is, At least it's not determined by anger now." Tenko paused writing. "That's fine, we get the air side of your Quirk, but what's with the red lightning? Do we know?"

With a puzzled expression, Izuku looked at his arms, seeing the last sparks die down. "Not really. I guess it shows up whenever I activate my quirk?"

Not having any better idea, Tenko wrote that down, putting question marks at the end of everything. "It's as good a guess as any for now..." Then he grinned. "Looks like that doctor who said it wasn't gonna happen was full of it."

Izuku's mind flashed back to the second worst day of his life, and he nodded resolutely. "I'll train with everything I've got from now to get stronger. I can do it. I can be a Hero."

Tenko's smile vanished when he saw Izuku's face. "Not like that you can't. Wow, you are really bleeding."

Raising an eyebrow, Izuku looked himself over for any sign of injury. "Where?" Then he tasted the blood. Blinking, he raised a finger to his lips and felt it dripping down his face. "A nosebleed?"

Tenko nodded. "Could be your Quirk's drawback... not exactly great, but it could be worse." Chewing on his lips, he put his eyes to the notes and started thinking it all over. "Looks fairly cut and dry, but I don't know the first thing about physics or quirks. Not nearly enough points in my intelligence score to be a wizard, like you."

Wizard? Flattery will get you everywhere.

Izuku smiled. "So what class are you?"

Shrugging, Tenko gave an offhanded answer. "Eh, probably just a rogue. Not burly enough for a fighter, not enough charisma to bard, cleric or be a sorcerer, my constitution definitely isn't high enough to be a barbarian." Holding up a finger, he almost looked bored. "Only one option left, really. Not that my dexterity is really all that great either." When he noticed Izuku giggling, he raised an eyebrow at him. "What?"

Smiling wide, Izuku just spoke plainly. "You're such a geek."

Tenko blew a raspberry at him. "Takes one to know one, Quirk nerd."

As timing would have it, before the insults could get more childish that was that. "Boys!"

Inko returned with a glasslike smile. "Dinner is ready in the dining room for you both. Go ahead and start without me."

"Mom? Are you okay?" Izuku had never seen her like this.

"Of course, dear. I've just had a lovely chat with Auntie Mitsuki." Inko stopped herself from shaking a little. "I've got to go and have a phone call with her and the school now, dear. I might be a while, so I'll reheat my food when I'm done okay?"

Tenko's eyes widened, looking over Inko and the rage which clearly pulsed through her body at the outcome of what had happened. "Remind me to never get in your mom's bad books, Izuku."

"Y-You'll never be in those, Tenko, I promise." Izuku nervously looked at his mother. "Are... are you mad at me mom? For what happened to Bakugo today?"

"Mad? At you?" Her face softened ever so slightly. "Not in a million years, Izuku. They hurt you, and pretended to be blind to it, for so long. I couldn't be mad at you for trying to protect yourself and stand up for yourself. I'm so proud of you for getting to this point, and I'll support you getting stronger with your Quirk no matter where it takes us. No matter how scary this world is."

"I love you mom."

"And I love you too," she replied, kissing his forehead and ruffling his messy hair, ignoring the groan from her embarrassed son and the chuckle from the teasing Tenko. "Now let me go and fix this okay?"

He nodded, and urged Tenko to follow him inside, as his mother began to dial the school in the living room. "I guess this is gonna make school a bit difficult, huh?"

"Whatever happens, you've got your mom, and me," Tenko said, holding out a fist to bump fists with him as they sat down to katsudon; Izuku smiled when he saw that his mother had made his favourite to try to keep his spirits up. "That's a strong party, no matter what the boss fights throw at you."

"Thank you." Izuku returned the fist bump, and smiled gently at his best friend. "I'm lucky to have you both."

Nothing more needed to be said between the two best friends, as they sat down and began eating. The tune of Inko letting loose a dam of motherly concern and rage over the phone couldn't dent Izuku's happiness.

The torment he had suffered at the hands of Bakugo and so many more finally stood a chance of being dealt with. He had made a best friend who he was sure would last a lifetime. And most of all, he finally had a Quirk, a chance of making his dreams reality. He finally stood a chance of becoming a Hero.

Things were looking up.

And so it begins, Izuku Midoriya. The best is yet to come...

(***)

Izuku and Tenko. Aged: 11 and 13.

(***)

A/N: The potential to play around with who rises and who falls in the post All Might society still gives me chills. As much as I love writing Izuku in this, it's as fun to plan out the paths of others from the sidelines, who stands to gain, who becomes our Big Bads and who falls from grace. Such good fun.

Also, don't mess with Inko. Chapter 97/Episode 50 shows the overpowering maternal protection instinct, and you do not want to mess with that.

As always, hope you enjoyed. Reviews, favourites and follows are always appreciated, and again, thank you for all your support so far. After two chapters, the reaction has been nuts and I'm so grateful.

Ya boy, out.