Chapter 1

Shouts and screams came from behind the door.

A little boy sat against the wooden barrier, crying to himself.

'Why do I feel all this… anger?' he thought to himself, confused and scared by a feeling that wasn't his.

Fury. Spite. Wrath.

All words that could perfectly describe the emotion he was feeling at that moment. Emotion that didn't really come from inside him but from outside. Seemingly seeping through the door, from the kitchen where his parents continued their argument, as usual.

The adults would never know that they had utterly ruined the day their son used his Quirk for the first time.

And the son, himself, wouldn't even know what was happening until much later.


Kazuki Endo sat at a metallic table in a silent room.

He hummed to himself as he felt the seconds and minutes pass him by. His head nodded along with the tune, his eyes half-closed. He was the picture of boredom, or at least so he supposed, but that was to be expected. One couldn't help but be like that when they had to wait with nothing to do, right?

Leaning forward, he ran the fingers of his right hand through his white hair. It was unnecessary, really, more of a habit than an actual effort to keep it out of his eyes. After all, it was so short that there was no way it would block his view anyway. Moreover, he could care less about how he looked, if he was honest.

'Are they getting here anytime soon?' he couldn't help but ask himself. Really, they were the ones that called for him and now they were making him wait for… How long had it even been? 'They could at least have placed a clock in this shitty room, right? Or is that a tactic of some sort? Sounds like it could be…'

Finally, he almost cheered when the door opened and in came the strange chimera that was Nezu. Kazuki was almost tempted to try and decipher what the hell he was, but, honestly, he couldn't be bothered to do so. The guy/thing gave him a headache just looking at him.

Blinking, he tried to get a feel of Nezu with his Quirk but found nothing. 'That's encouraging, at least,' Kazuki mused as he watched the Principal of UA walk up to the table and sit opposite from him.

"Kazuki Endo," he started, with a tilt of his head. "It's a pleasure to meet you."

"Pleasure's all mine, Nezu," he replied, lying through his teeth. He didn't feel too bad though. Kazuki was sure the other party had lied too. After all, he was-

"You know why I'm here, right?" the strange creature asked and it was the boy's turn to tilt his head.

"To get me in your school, it's my guess. God knows why though," he added quickly after answering. A smirk formed on his face. "It's been a while since the last time I was out, but I'm pretty sure they don't take criminals in hero schools."

"But you aren't a criminal, are you?" Nezu shot back with a smile of his own. "You are a victim."


"Can't you stop being so antagonistic! You are affecting Kazuki!" his mother screamed hypocritically.

Kazuki himself, now older by a few years, sat trembling at the table between both his parents as they shouted at one another. Again. It had been a few minutes since he had given up actually eating his dinner. His stomach seemed to rebel against the idea with so much negativity around him, so he'd just simply pushed it away a bit.

"Like you are one to talk!" his father shot back, too angry to really think of his child. "I come here from working the whole day and all I get is you nagging at me for the smallest of things! Leave me alone, woman!"

Kazuki flinched at those last words. Not because he particularly understood what they could mean, how they could be taken as. He didn't know that it planted the idea inside his mother's head. He didn't know that his father realized a second too late what he had said.

What he did know was that there was a feeling of absolute regret coming from his father and a feeling of unbridled fury coming from his mother.


"Don't know what you are talking about, Mr. Principal," Kazuki replied with an amused grin. "I'm a criminal. After all, why else would I have been placed into this pri- Excuse me, this Secure Confinement? That's how you call it, right?" he asked, almost mockingly. As if anyone that actually knew the places would call them anything other than prisons.

"A misunderstanding. A tragic one, but a misunderstanding in the end," Nezu replied solemnly and Kazuki could only raise an eyebrow at him. "I can only apologize, even if I had nothing to do with what happened. If I had found your file sooner-"

"No, you just so happened to find my file when I reached the age to enter your school. I'm sure many will believe that," Kazuki interrupted with a condescending smile. He was young, not stupid.

Nezu sighed.

"I know you don't believe me, but-"

"Not a single word, no," Kazuki confirmed, having some fun cutting the man/creature's sentences short. He had to give it to him though, Nezu didn't get riled up easily. He'd seen guards that got angry for much less. He didn't even feel any repressed anger with his Quirk, which was even more impressive. Respectable as that was though, the teen still wanted nothing to do with the man, or whatever Nezu was. "What makes you think that I want to be a hero, Mr. Rat?"

"A chance to get out of here, for start-"

"I've been left to rot here for 5 years, sir," Kazuki shot back, lazy smile still in place. The last word said as if it were a bad joke. "And don't say this is my chance to get freedom again. I'll just be trading a prison for another, and that's all you are offering," he added, not really feeling up to playing the principal's game on that front. He knew how that would work out.

"You would be able to go out, study with people that aren't criminals, go into the city,-"

"With babysitters, I'm sure," Kazuki pointed out.

"-eventually, you'd be able to live a normal life once you graduate," Nezu finished, as if he hadn't spoken at all.

"Yes, as a "hero", right?" he replied, pantomiming the quotation marks with his fingers. "Which in this case is another word for slave or something. In this normal life you are talking about, I won't be able to get a normal job, will I? Hero is the only thing I'll be allowed to be, isn't that right? And if I refuse, then back to hole we go. Tell me I'm wrong, Mr. Rat."

The silence that followed was very telling, but the creature seemed unperturbed. It was galling, really, that Kazuki couldn't even pick up any anger, any frustration, any disappointment. There was nothing there, and that just made him grow more annoyed as time passed. What was up with this… thing?


"I can't believe it!" his father continued ranting as the boy closed his eyes, fighting back a grimace and tears. Anger was, once more and as usual, the emotion projected from his only remaining parent. It had been a whole year since he had last seen his mother. "You are truly that woman's child. Why can't you do better than this?"

The paper was slammed on the table and Kazuki made an herculean effort not to jump at the loud sound.

It wasn't his fault. It wasn't his fault that everyone else was so nervous he couldn't concentrate on the exam. Maybe if he had had a good night's sleep instead of having to hear his father drone on about how awful the boy's mother was. Or maybe if he didn't have to take care of himself since his father was always working.

But his father didn't care about that.

The man only saw his mother in him. Kazuki knew that, since he felt the same anger he had felt during their arguments back then, this time directed at himself. And sadly, the boy also knew that his mother wouldn't have been better than his father.

Maybe he shouldn't have gotten distracted by the foreign feelings.

Maybe that would have stopped his father from striking him. But the fact was that he did. And the next second the boy laid on the floor, a hand over his cheek where his father's palm had hit him, feeling the stinging hot pain on his skin.


"Did you get that out of your system?" Nezu asked, and Kazuki almost gaped at him. Did it sound… amused? "You are angry because of what happened, because of your Quirk, because of your childhood."

Kazuki wished he could use his Quirk on this bastard, talking like he knew anything about him. Like whatever he'd read about his life could even measure up to reality. Alas, he couldn't, because he was sure there was at least one top tier hero behind the door. He could feel it, after all, their wariness.

He felt his grip on his emotions slipping. The lazy smile he'd kept on his face slowly turned into a flat line. His hands clenched into fists as he pushed down the wish to use his Quirk. The guards wouldn't appreciate that.

"And you are angry because you are right," Nezu added, which managed to shock Kazuki out of his anger. "That's exactly the deal you are being offered."

Almost ready to throw caution to the wind, he felt his Quirk start triggering. The shadow beneath his chair darkened, becoming a pitch black stain on the floor and growing larger. Was Nezu mocking him? Was that why he didn't feel anything? Was the guy having fun?

"It's still your only chance, Mr. Endo," the thing continued speaking, unaware of what was going on beneath the teenager. Although, a part of the boy's mind wondered why the guards hadn't intervened already. Surely they were seeing it, through the cameras. "If you don't take it, you'll be here for a few years more, as I'm sure you know. I doubt you'll have plenty of options even after getting out, however."

"So, that's your game? Threaten me into becoming a puppet? A life with no freedom or no life at all? Wonderful options, I gotta say," Kazuki said, anger and bitterness slowly bleeding out of his voice. In the end, he deflated, and the only thing that remained was a mockery of a smile and resignation.

He'd held on strong, hoping against hope that he'd be free someday. That someone would see what had really happened and let him out early, maybe. That the system would see reason and give him a chance. He knew by then though, that'd never happen.

Even when his sentence was finished, who would ever look at him and not see his past? What he'd done? What he'd caused?

"I'm sorry," Nezu said, the thing's expression shifting the smallest bit. Although, if not for his Quirk's sense, Kazuki would have never guessed that he really felt bad. That he really was ashamed and guilty. "But that's the best offer I've been authorized to give you. For anything else, my hands are tied."

Kazuki's hands clenched into fists again.

The darkness grew, from just underneath his chair to the point where it covered the ground and the wall behind him. Wispy shapes moved inside the shadows, as if reaching out. Growls and snarls echoed in the room as Kazuki and Nezu remained in silence. The small creature felt no fear for the abominations that threatened him, however.

Then, the boy's shoulders slumped and he leaned back against the chair. The darkness vanished, like dust in the wind, and the room returned to normal. 'What's even the point anymore?' he asked himself.

"Sure," he said then, giving Nezu the most hollow smile he'd ever wore on his face. "What do I have to lose anyway, right?"

"I'm glad you accepted." The Principal smiled, but Kazuki could feel the underlying impotency he felt. Then, to the boy's shock, Nezu was filled with pain and, more importantly, absolute, uncontrolled rage. He was even more surprised to see that nothing had changed outwardly with the creature. "And also, believe me when I say that I know exactly what it is to be in a completely unfair situation such as yours."

Kazuki stared at him for a moment before chuckling weakly.

"I believe you," he said, because what else could he do? He'd felt those exact emotions more than once himself.


"Are you even listening to me, you stupid-!"

"Shut up!" Kazuki shouted, for the first time in his life raising his voice against one of his parents. But he was tired of feeling anger and sadness and nervousness and fear and many other emotions that weren't even his. He was tired of having to deal with that when nobody cared for his own feelings. He was tired of shouts and arguments.

He was just... tired.

And at that moment, he felt something in him. Something that had always been there but he had never noticed. When the emotions came his way, the negativity would enter his body. He knew that. What he hadn't realized was that those went somewhere inside him.

A pool of negativity that he had gathered inside him. A well of dark energy that he could, maybe since the first day, access with his Quirk. And so he did. He reached a metaphorical hand inside that pool and pushed it outside.

With a scream that was midway between a roar and a wail, a shadow spread from beneath Kazuki.


"Thanks for the clothes," Kazuki said as he walked beside Nezu, his hands in the black cargo pant's pockets. He had black boots and a plain white t-shirt to go with everything. It was a plain outfit, but he didn't have preferences in clothes anyway. He was fine with that.

"Don't mention it," the strange chimera thing replied with a wave of his hand/paw. Kazuki really wanted to ask what the hell he was, but at the same time he got the feeling that wouldn't get a straight answer to that, if he got an answer at all. "This," Nezu said as he stopped in front of a door. "Will be your home while you study at U.A."

"Nice," the teen said as he walked through the door and looked around the place. "I love the decoration here, can I get the number of the guy that did this? I want to give them my compliments," he commented, spreading his arms to signal the walls bare of anything that would make the place remotely welcoming. There was nothing but the absolute necessities, really. He might be fine with simple clothes, but the apartment was just sad. "Wonder if the neighbors will be as nice as this, honestly."

That last part wasn't just a joke either. He knew very well that at least one hero must live in the building. There needed to be someone to keep an eye on him, after all. 'Then again,' Kazuki thought as he looked at what seemed to be a sensor on the window. 'Guess they don't need someone in the room with me at all times,' he added, deciding not to look for or even wonder if there were cameras in the apartment.

"I suggest that you prepare for the Entrance Exams," Nezu said as he walked in too, not really looking around. The teenager doubted the guy needed to. From what he'd gathered, the principal's brain was a scary thing, no doubt Nezu had already memorized everything about the place or something equally as absurd and over the top. 'Guess Plus Ultra is applied everywhere.' "You need to pass the practical and the written test, might I remind you."

"I know. I'll study," Kazuki said, waving the thing off. It wasn't even that he was a bad student at all. He was pretty confident on the written part. As for the practical… Well, he was as good with his Quirk as he could be considering that he'd spent years in a place that didn't allow its use. Fortunately, at least he was in good shape. Not amazing, but he was confident in his physique too.

"I know it's not ideal, but don't throw away this chance, Mr. Endo," Nezu said and Kazuki took a deep breath in before sighing.

"I won't," he said, although he himself didn't know if that was the truth or not. He still wasn't sure what was worse, being in a cage or having a leash around his neck. Having a peek at freedom might just be worse than not seeing it at all.

"Well, I think I'll leave you to get acclimated with the place," the creature told him, preparing to leave.

A minute later, Kazuki, now by himself, simply looked around the apartment. There were clothes in the bedroom, the fridge was stocked. He had everything he could possibly need, even if the place looked bare of anything personal or decorative. He could even watch TV!

And yet, he felt just as trapped as he had back in juvie.

When he went to sit at the table, he noticed that there was a small pile of books on top of it. Absently checking them, he noticed that they were the kind of thing an aspiring hero would read. From physical training to general Quirk training, passing through all the subjects they'd probably test during the written exam.

Kazuki wondered, as he read through one that explained how being a hero worked, how it would be to be one of them. He chuckled when the idea of having fans crossed his mind. There was no way that would happen, not once everyone realized who he was. It was a nice thought though, imagining how it would be to have a kid approach him for an autograph.

He smiled bitterly.

Still, he looked at the picture of the book. The current chapter seemed to explain how to act during a rescue situation. As he saw the generic hero model - who looked suspiciously like All Might - carrying someone with arrows pointing what to do and what not to do, he couldn't help but imagine himself there. Not as the hero, but a much younger Kazuki being the one that was rescued.

'Nobody came for me though,' he thought despondently. 'And now they want me to be a hero?' he thought, chuckling hollowly as he closed the book. As he stood, intent on seeing if there was anything he could drink, he hesitated and looked back at the now closed book. 'Nobody came for me but… Maybe I can be that hero… for someone else.'

Maybe it was late for him, but if he could make that difference for someone else… If he could do that, what? His parents would be proud of him? His father was dead and his mother didn't even want to acknowledge his existence. It was stupid.

And still, now that the idea was in his mind, he couldn't help but continue thinking it over.

Kazuki imagined how his younger self would have felt if a hero would have come to save him. He imagined little kids out there, in houses that held people worse than most villains, away from the spotlight heroes lived in. 'I could see them though,' he thought, even then still sensing the negative emotions of people around him. Like the person that was feeling very jealous on the floor beneath his or the annoyed person two doors to the left of his apartment.

He took those, those and many more from around and drew from them. He felt the power in him gather, filling him with energy. He felt it pool in him and swirl, eager to come out and do something. The shadow of his hand on the table darkened and grew wider. Wispy figures came out of it then, as if some monster was coming out of the piece of furniture.

Then, from it rose a beak, and then a head, all of if black as the starless night. A body soon followed and wings extended. The creature of darkness cawed, turning its bone white, masked face towards him. His red eyes surrounded by black sclera found the same color in the creation's sockets.

"A hero, huh?"

That night, Kazuki went to sleep pretty late.

There were books to study, after all.


"Do you think you are ready for the exam?" his new guard/minder asked and Kazuki looked up from his meal towards Aizawa Shota. The man was apparently a teacher at UA and had been assigned to watch him for the day. He was only one of the people with that duty, at least. The pale man with black, messy long hair was the only one he saw though, which made sense considering that he was the one that apparently lived in an apartment in the same building.

Kazuki had also found that the man was perpetually annoyed and tired.

"Not really, but does anyone?" he replied with a shrug after a moment of silence. He'd had most meals alone, so far, but he wasn't sure if that was better than having Aizawa with him. As it turned out, he wasn't gonna have his minders hovering over his shoulder, but it was expected of him to inform them of where he went and such things.

Kazuki refrained from complaining. He still could do pretty much whatever he wanted anyway, that was the important part. He was used to having people watching his every move, so he could put up with those terms, no problem.

Unfortunately, he couldn't do nearly as much as he would have liked. He could practice with his Quirk. The problem was that there was only so much that he could do inside the apartment and doing so outside… Implied a whole lot of problems that he didn't want to deal with.

At least his minders seemed to be completely fine with him going to a nearby gym so that he could train physically. He'd even gotten some classes on how to fight, but with the time he had, there wasn't much he could do on that front. Still, something was better than nothing.

So, Kazuki spent most of his time just studying, which was something he never thought he would do. At least not nearly as much as he was, that was for sure. It had the added benefit that he'd gotten to know that all his guards were teachers at UA, something that he'd learned when they offered to help him out while they were on guard duty and he informed them of his plans. He hadn't taken them up on their offers, but it was still appreciated, he supposed.

"You know, if children annoy you so much, maybe teaching isn't for you," Kazuki commented, pointing at the man with his chopstick. "Honestly, that's all I ever pick up from you, annoyance and weariness."

"I like teaching," the man refuted, to which Kazuki raised an eyebrow. The annoyance had only grown with that. 'Yeah, really enjoy your job, man. I believe you now,' he thought sarcastically. "What's your excuse?" Aizawa shot back then, taking Kazuki off guard. "You don't want to be a hero, and yet here you are."

"Well, there's just something about not being in prison, you know?" the teenager replied with a bright smile. "It's nice, especially when, you know, you shouldn't even be there."

"So, that's the whole reason? To get out?"

"Of course," Kazuki lied through his teeth. He was going to be a hero, but not for this teacher, not for Nezu, certainly not for the Hero Public Safety Commission. He wouldn't even be a hero for himself. He just wanted to save people. If he could stop even one child from ending up like himself, if he could stop even one tragedy from striking… then…

That was enough for him.

"I don't believe you," Aizawa told him, eyes narrowed.

At that, Kazuki could only chuckle.

"Then maybe you won't be as bad of a teacher as I thought you would be," the younger man admitted.

"I can already tell you are going to be a problem child," the pro hero grumbled. "I really hope you won't be in my class," The man added and Kazuki laughed even harder.

"How much do you wanna bet I do?" the teenager asked.

"As a personal rule, I avoid taking sucker bets."

[} Chapter End {]

Hey guys! How's it going?

Yes, I know Game of Shadows isn't finished quite yet, but I'm an impatient bastard and I wanted to get started with this. I need that sweet, sweet validati- I mean, I want to deliver my stories to you so you can – maybe – enjoy them.

Anyway, hopefully the chapter's format isn't too annoying for you, guys. I quite liked how it turned out but I could see it not being some people's cup of tea. Also, I had written this quite a while ago, and while I have gone over it a few times, I might have missed mistakes and such, just to let you guys know. And… eh… I think that's it for the notes.

I hope you enjoyed the chapter.

As always, if you can't wait until next week for next chapter, or if you just feel like supporting my writing, there's up to three new chapters in my Pa tre on:

P a treon . com (slash) AdrianKing

Discord Link: discord .gg/UTDransjJZ

Random Question: I don't know, man/woman/helicopter. You got any idea how hard it is trying to come up with a different question every chapter for three (now four) stories? Tell me something.

See you.