Something Spectacular - Just_Low - 僕のヒーローアカデミア | Boku no Hero Academia (2024)

Chapter 1: Welcome To The Neighborhood


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Like all spiders, Araneus Filistata has a body of two parts. Its diminutively small abdomen holds its book-lungs and the bulk of its paunch. Whereas the arachnid’s pate is dominated by two large eyes facing forwards for acuminated binocular vision, beneath a pair of tiny tufts that crown the head like horns. Filistata is fuzzy with filaments in broken patterns of brown umber and stygian black. To predators, it looks more dead leaf than live prey.

Now, it’s just dead. A crowbar wedges its way into the spider’s home, chiseled pinch point splitting Filistata’s two parts while simultaneously withering webbing that had been strung by it. Prying deeper into the dark and compact space of circuitry wires, the crowbar begins to bend from its point of entry. Stainless steel peels back and exposes light to the compartment. A squeak followed by a pop is due to the paneling of Filistata’s former house being broken into; what’s inside the metal box is exposed to the invader.

Bent over an ATM, crowbar in the hand of the culprit, is a man. He’s flanked by three others, though they’re empty handed unlike him. The one doing the prying grunts with effort, sweat dripping beneath the heat of his facemask. It’s bad enough that it’s summer, his tank top doing nothing to stop his tan from getting any darker; doing all this manual labor can leave a guy breathless. He drags a calloused hand through his slick blonde hair, trying to shield himself from the sunbeams of the bright morning.

“Daiki! Give me some shade with your blubber, will ya?!” Blondie grumbles and grouses with a glance back over his shoulder to address the biggest member of their group. A portly guy with a mutation quirk of some kind that makes his mouth oversized grimaces, the harness on his head clinching with the expression; he must be Daiki. “It’s the least ya could do to help”, tan man keeps ragging on his partner while increasingly adding ire to his tone.

“I told you, it’s not blubber, my mom says I’m just big boned!” Daiki positions himself behind blondie despite sharing his grievance over being used as a human sunblock. As a corpulent goliath, he casts a broad shadow that spreads over more than just the ATM. His triangular pig ears twitch with irritation now that the sun is boring into his back.

The other two of the four crooks stay on the sidelines, one of which sporting an orange mohawk and the other a tall flat top flaunting brown hairs bound by a blue headband. Ginger guy nudges his partner in crime in the ribs with his elbow to get his attention. Followed by a head nod gesture as though to say ‘watch this’. Headband adjust his shades like that’ll help him see better, a grin forming on his face. “Funny, cause that’s what your mom said about me last night”, mohawk man smirks behind his green mouthpiece. His brunette buddy snickers, sunglasses nearly sliding off and winding up requiring another adjustment.

Daiki twists his head, flabby rolls of flesh creasing under his neck as he shoots a scowl over his shoulder. “Not cool, guys, not cool…” He watches the pair behind him double over with laughter now, mohawk having to prop himself up against their getaway vehicle. That white truck so happens to be his mom’s pickup that he’s borrowing by the way, so the least they could do is show a little respect; he begrudgingly grumbles under his breath rather than waste it telling them that though.

The bronzed blonde of the bunch rolls his eyes as he finishes cracking the ATM’s small safe lock system, ignoring his gang member’s antics. Just a little more pressure applied with the crowbar and he thinks he can get it to completely pop open. It’s just hard to get a good grip, his hands slick with sweat and all; he pats his palms on the legs of his pants. He bites his upper lip as he concentrates on reasserting his hold, tasting the bitter saltiness of the sweat that he didn’t wipe from his face. Daiki isn’t doing a very good job of being an umbrella shade for him anymore.

Too transfixed on doing all of the work by himself, he doesn’t notice when a new shadow descends upon him. Upside down, gripping a web line that lowers him into the same vicinity as the ATM robbers, is a boy clad in red and blue. Mohawk and Shades choke on their laughter, pointing at the newcomer on the scene. Daiki turns his neck back towards the bank machine to see what they’re seeing. A spider themed figure waves nonchalantly, still strung in an inverted position. “Hey guys! How’s it hanging?”

Daiki responds by unintelligibly screaming, full weight shuffling back with heavy stomps of his feet. The two that had been carrying on behind the giant dart in opposite directions to avoid a collision with him. Daiki slams into his mother’s pickup truck instead, creating a huge indentation thanks to his body mass. His friends wince, feeling sympathy for him. “Ah.. Man…”, Daiki whines when he thinks about how much trouble he’s going to be in when his mom sees what he did to her vehicle.

“That bad, huh?” Two white lenses where the spider themed interloper’s eyes should be narrow to convey some sort of emotion, startling the ATM burglars further. He sounds as young as he looks, small size made smaller by his poised form. However, that doesn’t stop the bandit wielding the crowbar from standing up and taking a swing at the meddling pest. Lenses returning to their originally wide default state, the boy reflexively reacts to avoid being wallopped on the head.

He bounds backwards, performing a semi-somersault, before sticking his landing by literally sticking to the wall behind him. It’s a shocking sight to behold, making bronzed blondie gasp in awe. Tan man does a doubletake when his crowbar is snatched away from him by a webline, sticky string fired from the red and blue boy’s wrist. The spider themed problem for the crooks continues acting casual, as though one of them didn’t just attempt to assault him. He asks as modestly as he is mousy, “Mind if I test out some material on you?”

Now relieved of his crowbar, the bunch’s bronze leader backs up. That gives their pesky opponent more time to quip. The boy tugs on the front of his red and blue suit, elastic fabric stretching from where his gloved fingers grip the spider emblem etched into his chest. “Not this material – this is just some spare spandex I found laying around in my attic”, he releases his hold on the cloth so that it snaps back to being flushed against his abdomen in a skintight fit. When none of the ATM robbers give him the decency of chuckling, at the very least, the youngster winces behind his mask; they’re a tough crowd apparently.

“Yeah.. I’m no comedian..”, he springs back into action when the brunette bandit rushes him. A swift spiral movement carries the spider themed boy over his challenger, before he lands gracefully behind the criminal. Despite his short stature, it doesn’t take much of a punch for him to knock the crook over. A strong shove takes out the thug, flung into the brick wall where the kid had been sticking in place. “..Hence this whole vigilantism gig”, the young do-gooder gestures between his handiwork and himself as though to provide an emphasis of action to his statement.

Mohawk man tears away the mouthpiece that had been covering the lower half of his face, unveiling a modified mandible. Bottom jaw unhinged to capacious proportions, a serpentine orifice full of fangs and a forked tongue sibilate a spray of verdant acid. The vigilante reacts with more common sense than anything, bounding out of the corrosive spit’s projectile path. Hydrofluoric fluid splatters against the ATM, eating through the metal base with a steaming hiss. Ginger guy growls, angry that he missed. His intended target lands safely atop a street post, crouched on all fours in a poised position akin to the form he’d used while upside down earlier.

“But if you’re willing to give me a chance instead of trying to kill me, I really think I might manage to get a good laugh out of you!” The boy’s voice cracks as he shouts at them to stop attacking, making him grateful for the mask that’s pulled over his face, his blush of embarrassment hidden so that he can keep his dignity for a while longer. Two web lines tie the mohawk member of the group to his blonde buddy, tangling them together. He ducks his head down and speaks in a lower tone of voice to avoid another spontaneous pubescent pitch adjustment, “Or I hope you’ll give me one of those nose exhale things at the very least.”

Daiki takes a swing next, hefty hustle easy to dodge and get under for the nimble vigilante. A fist slams into the thick hide of the giant’s stomach, making the big burglar double over. “Oh! I’ve got one for you!”, the boy spectacularly hoists the burly bandit over his head as though the man weighs no less than a body pillow, “How many criminals does it take to rob an ATM?” Daiki is given no time to answer. Instead, the colossal crook is chucked back towards his mother’s pickup truck. Daiki crushes the vehicle’s cargo bed when he’s forced to fit via crash landing.

“Four”, the vigilante places his hands on his hips as he mentally counts the number of ATM robbers he just thwarted. One lens of his mask squints as the other expands, an expression of bewilderment clear through his mask. “...Apparently…”, the fact that the number was higher than one is pretty humiliating for them, come to think of it. He shakes his head, ridding himself of those distracting thoughts, as humorous as they might be. He still has a job to do. Even with the criminals defeated, he should round them all up to prevent them from trying to escape before the police arrive.

It takes just as little an amount of effort for the marvelous youth to carry each criminal as it did to render them all unconscious. After gathering the group of goons in gossamer, the boy produces a notebook seemingly out of nowhere from his pocketless spider themed spandex. Also, a pen. Somehow where that had been tucked away is more mysterious than the journal. He flips through pages full of scribbles and sketches before landing on a blank sheet. Then, he gets to work. This part is just as much fun for him as it is to trip up the bad guys. What started as a fun interest or a hobby quickly became part of his hero work – er – or rather, vigilante work.

Circling his quarry more-so than pacing, because he doesn’t pace unless it’s on the ceiling, the boy begins breaking down the tells of each opponent he faced. He’d be nibbling the end of his pen if not for the mask covering his mouth. Instead, he starts muttering as he performs his quirk analysis, another force of habit; the page that had been blank gradually gets filled. Starting with Daiki’s clear mutational type quirk, he writes down qualities that apply to the criminal such as super strength and increased mass. Daiki’s brunette buddy has a mutation as well, two elongated ears protruding from beneath the burglar’s blue headband; that’s a quirk that grants a heightened sense of hearing, just as blatantly obvious as the brute’s giant genetics.

The bronzed blonde of the bunch is a little harder to analyze, no clear mutation to discern like his pals. Not until the vigilante sneaks a peek behind the crook’s mask. A secret third eye was hidden away, albeit closed like the others. Cool … but nothing too shocking to see in a society where superpowers are passed off as a person’s sense of quirkiness. Moving on to who’s last but not least, the reckless youth leans in to inspect the mohawk man’s venom tipped fangs. He can’t help but draw a little doodle for this one. As for the ginger goon’s quirk, he writes about the acidic spit he saw firsthand, adding an underline note that it’s very cool for extra emphasis.

He nods, satisfied with the documentation of his fight and what he was able to take away from it. Not too shabby. Carefully so that the pages don’t rip unevenly as he tears them out, the vigilante transfers his quirk analysis from the journal that he wrote in to being stuck upon his webbing. It’s a perfect gift wrapping, complete with a heartfelt message and all. Only one thing remains left for him to do. Of course, he can’t scurry off without scribing his signature. Etched at the bottom of the page in cursive kanji, he writes what can only be read as an autograph.

-Courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man

A portfolio of quirk analysis lies strewn across Detective Naomasa Tsukauchi’s desk. Sat upon splintered softwood in stacks, each page is written in descriptive detail. He can’t help but admire every breakdown. As much as the other officers would hate to admit it, he himself has no problem thinking that it’s nice to have a vigilante who does the paperwork for him for once; the heroes are usually no better than the vigilantes in that regard, even the number one head honcho himself being guilty of leaping away when the bad guys are all punched out. Spider-Man, however, truly is quite courteous. New on the scene, but somehow efficiently elusive.

Behind Tsukauchi is a dented filing cabinet. It’s full of past cases. A good margin pertains to previous vigilante activities. This one, however, is presenting itself a little differently than when The Crawler or Knuckleduster were operative. Spider-Man doesn’t wait for heroes to arrive and assist him nor does he brutalize anybody. It’s no use dwelling on past experience or comparing unlicensed good-doers. As close as he’ll get going simply off presumption is that Spider-Man might share Crawler’s knack for sticking to walls. He doubts the vigilante is a rare quirkless case.

Light seeps in through the slits of his window shades as the sun sets outside, cascading his office in shadows. Tsukauchi leans back, allowing the back of his cushioned chair to bend and give him a comfortable position. It’s private moments like these that he’s able to conduct his best investigative thinking. Many might assume a detective goes around tailing people in a tan overcoat like the one he has hung up across from him, and while that might occasionally be what he actually does, it’s also a lot of this. Silence. Thoughts. Mulling over the facts to get to the truth of the investigation.

So let’s start with what he knows. Spider-Man isn’t actually a MAN per say; if Tsukauchi were a gambler, he’d dare to wager that the vigilante is a boy that’s just begun puberty. While the quirk analysis is composed at a scholar’s level of expertise, the handwriting has the sloppiness of a teenager more accustomed to typing on their phone or computer. Not to mention, the gang of ATM thieves that were busted had lied about Spider-Man being twice their size with a deep intimidating voice. The group of petty crooks were embarrassed to have been bested by a kid and did a poor job of hiding that shame.

Secondly, Spider-Man must be based somewhere within the Shizuoka Prefecture. A majority of the vigilante’s movements revolve around the Musutafu area in particular, with sporadic stretches of criminal catches in that same region. It’s a location home to many schools though, the top hero school in the nation a part of that long list, so it’s not like this deduction does much to narrow down where the kid attends classes. Still. A couple more patrol cars and a few favors from heroes to also comb the streets wouldn’t be a bad idea. It’s not exactly a crime ridden place to have been a point of interest before, so the detective really has to hand it to the vigilante yet again; Spider-Man wasn’t kidding about the neighborhood part of his cheeky signature.

Tsukauchi brings a hand up to his chin, thumb pressing into the crook of his jaw and index finger placed upon his upper lip. He holds that pose as he muses other plausibilities. There’s not many that get to cycle through his mind before his office door swings open; a dent is beginning to form from where the handle slams into the wall. Of course, out of all his co-workers who enter unannounced without the generosity of knocking first, he’s not surprised to see Sansa Tamakawa is the one responsible this time … not to mention all the other times.

“Hello every~nyan!” Tamakawa’s tabby mutation gives him a ginger cat’s head, his miniature muzzle moving like an ordinary mouth. His whiskers wobble as he speaks in broken english, “How are you? Fine! Thank you!”, and Tsukauchi can’t help but slide his hand up from his chin to palm his face when he hears Tamakawa answering his own question. The off duty cop ditched his uniform for a floral printed shirt and shorts. To top it all off, Tamakawa is wearing crocs and not sandals, mismatching the outfit.

“Oh my God…”, Tsukauchi drags his internal groan up from deep within his throat until it leaves his mouth externally. “Please don’t subject the rest of us to your shenanigans just because you’re going on vacation to America for the summer”, the detective reaches for one of his desk’s drawers before remembering he’s not an alcoholic and doesn’t keep a liquor bottle or flask stored there. His hand hesitates before it settles for grabbing a mug full of lukewarm coffee, forgotten from this morning, but still guaranteed to hit the spot if the cup’s printed kanji of ‘Don’t bother me until I’ve had my caffeine!’ is true; this particular mug is actually a gift from Tamakawa, by the way.

Not without laughing first, the cat-like cop steps deeper into Tsukauchi’s office, taking his co-worker’s comment as an invitation to do so. “You look like you could use a vacation of your own”, Tamakawa smirks as much as his snout will allow. The officer’s humored look meets the detective’s withered stare. Then Tamakawa’s eyes are drawn down to the papers littered across Tsukauchi’s desk. His whiskers wobble as his smile falters but he asks anyways, “Whatcha working on there?”

Tsukauchi lowers his mug from his lips long enough to grumble, “There ain’t no rest for the weary so long as there ain’t no rest for the wicked”, before downing the last of its remains. Considering Spider-Man helped with the quirk analysis though … Maybe wicked is a poor choice of words to describe the vigilante. Spider-Man is no Knuckleduster and he’s certainly not bloodthirsty like Stendhal. Still, this particular problem poses a challenge of its own. “There’s some kid about to get into things way over his head”, is the best summarization of the situation that he can muster.

Tamakawa responds with what sounds like a cross between purring and humming. He paws at the papers atop the desk with his grubby mitts, inspecting them closer. Crocidolite cat eyes dilate when they skim through what’s written. “A kid wrote these?”, he sputters with disbelief as he glances between the quirk analysis and Tsukauchi. It then crosses the officer’s mind just what these breakdowns are derived from; a child through firsthand field experience wrote these. It’s not like Tsukauchi to pull pranks but Tamakawa is ready for a punchline by this point.

“We haven’t dealt with a vigilante this young before”, the detective agrees with his co-worker’s skepticism to a certain extent but still feels inclined to defend himself and his findings, “Although … It shouldn’t come too much as a shock that our new gen children would do such in our quirked era where society idolizes heroes…” He considers himself and the government lucky that this sorta thing didn’t happen sooner actually. Unlicensed quirk defense occurs regularly every day; there are more cases where police get involved with illegal quirk usage than actual criminal activity.

Tamakawa shakes his head, making a noise of disbelief that’s just short of him choking on a hairball. “Whatever happened to playing cops and robbers?”, his ears droop down when he thinks about the rules and regulations that basically made police a less than glorified cleanup crew for the real professionals, “I used to play heroes and villains while growing up too but kids these days are really something else” It’s not like Tamakawa could’ve made it into U.A with a quirk that only gives him a tabby’s attributes, but this Spider-Man fellow seems more than adept enough to apply for a hero course. Or rather, the force could use an individual such as this if he’d like to be Spider-COP.

Tsukauchi can’t help but share a similar sentiment. He ponders that part of the mystery a little bit; Spider-Man’s motives may be a little more than simply living an amazing fantasy. He blinks back to being aware of Tamakawa idling at his desk, clearing his throat while regathering his thoughts. “Eraserhead has a strange way with kids that I was thinking about getting him involved”, the detective actually already left three texts and a voicemail telling the underground hero to get back to him but he thinks better of himself to disclose that information, “It’ll do the department some good by keeping good relations with the heroes. At the very least.”

“Ah, man! Not Eraserhead!”, Tamakawa strikes a dramatic pose in which one hand is placed over his heart while the other rests atop his furry forehead. A particular harrowing memory of when the underground hero tried to pet him makes the cop further slink down. “When he’s not treating me like a kitten, the guy’s a total stick in the mud!”, Tamakawa can already feel his fuzz bristling into a case of piloerection and that’s just from THINKING about sharing the same room space as Eraserhead. There was a time when he found the brooding types cool and mysterious but now he knows better; it’s true what they say that you should never meet your heroes.

Tsukauchi struggles to keep a smirk from stretching across his face. As amusing as it is to imagine another instance in which he gets to see the cat loving underground hero interact with his tabby quirked partner, he has to force down that mischievous side of himself and focus on doing his job. He rolls his eyes at Tamakawa’s antics before brushing them off, “It should go without mentioning that Eraserhead was a huge help when it came to prior vigilante cases – this thing is sorta his area of expertise by now…” Considering how those cases turned out, that’d be putting the past lightly; the underground hero should be more than well equipped to aid in the investigation of Spider-Man.

“You have fun with that”, Tamakawa’s voice is laced with sarcasm but his body language tells a different story. Tsukauchi doesn’t need his lie detecting quirk to know that he’s convinced his co-worker that he’s right about bringing the underground hero into the fold. Nevertheless, Tamakawa feigns a somber sigh while backing away from the detective’s paper patterned desk. “I’ll be having real fun on some american beach across the ocean”, he bids his friend farewell with a mock salute just as he ducks himself out of the room. The squeak of his crocs pedaling him through the doorway follows suit.

Tsukauchi can’t fight down that pesky smile anymore, not that he has to worry about anybody seeing it now anyways. He waves goodbye despite Tamakawa not being there to witness the gesture. While the cat-like cop may be out of view, he isn’t completely out of earshot quite yet. The detective raises his voice ever so slightly to call after the officer, “Just don’t treat the sand there like kitty litter!”

Muffled, but only a little because of how thin the precinct’s walls are, Tamakawa shouts back. “I resent that!”, his whine carries over from however far he got with every receding squeak of his crocs. Thanks to Tsukauchi’s quirk, he knows that his friend doesn’t truly mean that. But again, he didn’t really need his power to confirm it. He could hear the smile in Tamakawa’s tone. It’s probably just as broad as his own.

Gloved fingers curl under a window sill, carefully raising it up so that it slides open without so much as a squeak. When the lower sash is lifted halfway, through the narrow aperture crawls a boy adorned in red and blue spandex. He stealthily creeps atop the ceiling of an unlit bedroom, moving along on all fours from an inverted angle. When the boy is far enough away from the opening in which he entered, he extends his leg to nudge the window down in order for it to close behind him. It slides shut as quietly as it was raised. A quick left and right glance to ensure nobody saw him comes much too late, but he’s able to breathe a sigh of relief since it didn’t cost him getting caught.

He slowly turns himself to be upright, still clinging to the ceiling of the room with one hand. Once his feet are lowered close enough to nearly be touching the bed below him, he allows his fingers to stop sticking to the roof. The sneaky spider themed vigilante lands on the All Might blanketed mattress, springs creaking ever so slightly; the lenses of his mask squeeze into narrow slithers as he winces, body tensing under the stress of his nerves. He pauses, staying as still as humanly physically possible. After waiting for a moment, holding his breath and listening closely in case he hears anyone else’s, he trusts his senses that he can proceed with stepping down from the bed.

Spider-Man grabs the back of his mask, giving it a good tug so that it slips off of his face. The freckled features of fourteen year old Izuku Midoriya are exposed to the air conditioned environment; the boy’s mop of fluffy hair puffs out upon being freed of its confinement, green curls twisting up and down at odd angles as an unruly mess. His toned torso stretches as he stands a little straighter, he comes to his full height but it’s still rather short for his age. He really is only a kid, circular eyes stretched wide as watery and innocent as they can be, his irises as green as his hair gaze out at all of his bedroom’s hero memorabilia.

Decorating all four corners of his room are posters of the number one hero, a clock and a door sign sharing the same design. Even the color scheme of the paint on the walls match All Might’s costume. He looks down at his own suit, the red and blue pattern inspired by the symbol of peace’s outfit. Iterations of All Might’s wardrobe are on display across mounted shelves via collectable action figurines and miniature models; Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, you name the version and he has a variant so long as it exists. He has no need for an altar to perform any hero worship to his idol considering the entire bedroom itself may as well be a shrine dedicated to the symbol of peace.

Each corner of Izuku’s mouth turns upwards as he looks from poster to statue, all of them share All Might’s signature smile that he can’t help mimicking a similar toothy grin. Sure, it’s not an expression he can show with a mask on, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hold a powerful purpose. All Might keeps a rictus grin plastered on his face 24/7 to assure civilians he has everything under control; he always puts them at ease, a quality Izuku admires and always wanted to share as his own hero by saving people with a smile too. Well, with a secret identity to keep, he wound up having to find an alternative route. All Might’s sidekick, though always having a constant sourpuss expression by contrast to his partner, made up for his part by cracking jokes. Izuku decided to borrow Sir Nighteye’s quality and try cracking quips as Spider-Man.

Considering the reception he got from those ATM robbers, his material could probably still use a little work. He shrugs it off, thinking he can make up for it by getting a notebook to jot jokes in like he does with his hero analysis. It’s harder than he thought to come up with stuff on the fly. It’s not like the quips can’t write themselves in particular situations, and talking does sometimes come easy when he’s scared or anxious, but there’s a difference between cringe humor and what he hopes will alleviate panic in anyone that he’s saving. There’s still a lot to this hero jig that he needs to figure out. Or, well, vigilante hobby is more like it. But those details aren’t important. That’s what he tells himself anyways.

Izuku removes his web shooters, metal armbands light enough to tuck under his bed where he can web them away for safekeeping. It sure would be more convenient if his webbing were organic when it comes to this part of the whole secret identity thing. It’d also be a whole heck of a lot cheaper too; he’s been running low on allowance when it comes to the ingredients to make more of his web fluid formula but he can’t bring himself to ask for more money. Not to mention, he’s having a hard time coming up with excuses and lies to maintain this secret, so bringing up his allowance is only bound to do him more harm than good when it comes to that. He sighs, checking the drawers of his desk to see what remains of his supply. A couple of cartridges wait on standby; it’s enough for him to make due with for another week.

Now for the spectacular Spider-Man’s next big decision. He must contemplate whether he’ll swap his current onesie for a pair of pajamas. The spandex may as well be a pair of lightweight long johns already. Then again, he has to keep it hidden from his mom, so… Yeah, the whole secret identity thing. Izuku keeps his suit on but pulls a pair of sweatpants to his waist and then grabs an oversized long sleeve shirt to wear over it. Sometimes compromises must be made and he figures this makes for a good middle ground. Look, he has no problem convincing himself that it makes for a time saver whenever he needs to do quick transitions between his alter ego. This isn’t lazy. It’s actually assiduous if anything.

The boy stops, nostrils flaring as he suddenly catches a whiff of pork and eggs. That aforementioned toothy grin of his not only returns but grows tenfold. Afterall, he can’t be expected to be energized without some proper nourishment; a self proclaimed superhero has gotta eat and he’s been operating on an empty stomach all day. Izuku finishes hiding his vigilante gear before eagerly heading downstairs for his mother’s katsudon. The wooden handle bar mounted above each step makes for a nifty little railing system to slide down in order to get there faster. Spider abilities or not, that’s always been a fun way to reach the living room. Though he is forced to walk the rest of the way to the kitchen from there.

He does a little waltz from carpet to tile, finding the source of dinner’s alluring aroma. Inko Midoriya stirs rice in a frying pan above her oven top, simultaneously seasoning a tray of pork. She’s humming to what sounds like the tune of ‘the itsy bitsy spider’ but Izuku doesn’t have the ear for recognizing songs to know for sure; he brushes it off as his imagination since that’d be way too much of a coincidence for his liking. When he gets close enough to wrap his arms around the chubby woman, he pulls her into a hug from behind. “Hey mom!”, his sudden greeting is unexpected enough to warrant a small jump though.

Inko places a hand over her heart, startled. However, that surprise passes and she quickly recovers. She begins matching her son’s energy with equal elation to see him, returning Izuku’s warm embrace. “Oh, Izuku, I didn’t hear you come in!” Her hair, green genetics passed down to her son, is pulled up and tied into a bun; until she undoes the bobby pin and lets it fall free. Next comes her pink apron, the woman tossing it so that it lands atop a cabinet. She turns the oven off, finished cooking.

Izuku doesn’t have to be told or asked anything, he starts grabbing silverware to set the table for supper. Besides, he figures he owes his mother that much. “Sorry for not giving you a heads up”, and his apology is sincere even if he doesn’t bow. A couple of cups with some plates are set out as he mulls over what to say. “I was–”, but there is a considerable amount of overlap for him to pause when contemplating an excuse for his vigilante activities, “-out writing some quirk analysis” Well … That’s technically not a lie.

A soft smile etches its way across Inko’s lips. That reason for tardiness sounds like her son well enough; it’s an excuse befitting of the one that she raised and watched grow into a teenager. “I figured as much”, her tender tone holds no anger but rather complete acceptance and understanding. The little boy she knows lived a sheltered lifestyle; he was a quirkless kid in a quirk filled society, so he took up analyzing the powers he himself didn’t have and so very much admired. For all she knows, he’s stayed exactly the same. “Just be sure to text me next time”, her only caveat if that’s to remain the case is that he doesn’t make her worry anymore than she already does.

If she only knew the truth. That he’s got a ‘quirk’ of his own now. She’d be worried sick. Izuku returns her smile, albeit his is a tad strained. He can’t let her know. He knows she wouldn’t be able to handle the stress. “You’ve got it”, so he lies instead. It’s the only way to put her at ease. After what happened … Izuku refuses to put her through any more emotional turmoil. His eyes water as he recalls a particularly harrowing memory. That was tough on them both. The boy blinks his brimming tears away to get his eyes out of their glossy state before his mom can notice. If he starts crying then he knows he’ll never hear the end of it and that’d be just as bad as her finding out that he’s Spider-Man.

“So! Do you wanna tell me about some of the quirks you saw? Any interesting ones?”, it’s fortunately not so hard to postpone his angst and brooding when his mom has a knack for cheering him up. Inko serves her famous katsudon dish while letting her son launch into a quirk otaku rambling. It’s times like these that Izuku doesn’t think things can get any better.

“Heck yeah!”, the boy shovels a spoonful of rice to munch on. Some bits fly out of his mouth as he chews and talks with it open, “There was one that could spit acid–”, a demonstration of his own version mimicked with whatever food he doesn’t swallow. “And another that made the guy huuuuge–”, his next visualization is spreading his hands out wide to convey a semblance of width. It’s all in good fun, nerding out completely with an overstimulated sense of excitement, but it can sometimes be a bit much even for Inko.

She delicately disrupts his spiel with a slow raising hand. Izuku’s words trail off when he notices the movement, his eyes following the gesture as she then points to his napkin. “Izuku, sweetie, don’t forget your manners” It’s not so much a reprimanding as it is a reminder. Even so, the boy bashfully shrinks in on himself as he blushes from embarrassment. He dabs at the sauce smeared across his mouth and collects the crumbs that got on the table.

“Sorry, mom…” He realizes he got a little carried away. Time to reign it in a bit. “They all had some type of mutation, like, there was another guy with super tall ears or a dude with a third eye – so it was kinda hard not to notice what their quirks were – oh, did I mention that the acid spitting guy had fangs like a snake? He had a forked tongue and everything! Now that I think about it, I should’ve looked to see if he had scales on his skin or not – I mean, the big guy had blubber with his mutation so it’s not that theoretically impossible – which can only mean I might have not noticed something about those other two either… OhnowhatifImissedanimportantdetailinmyquirkanalysisthatwouldhavebeencrucialtounderstandingtheirabilitiesandnowmymistakewill–” Oh. Whoops. That wasn’t reigning it in at all. As a matter of fact, he would have probably kept going if he didn’t have to stop in order to breathe.

Inko laughs at her son’s antics, a small shake of her head not so much due to disbelief but because of how uncanny those ramblings always are. “Oh my!” She picks at her plate of katsudon before stabbing a piece of pork and putting it in her mouth. “That sure sounds exciting, dear. I’m just glad that you had a good time”, the food is as sweet as her son’s smile and it’s times like these that Inko doesn’t think things can get any better.

Izuku feeds himself a hearty portion of eggs, making sure to chew it completely and swallow, before shifting the conversation in a slightly different direction. “How was your day?”, he doesn’t just ask her to be polite but does so with genuine sincerity and curiosity. Inko occasionally has interesting stories from work to share, some involving cool quirks customers have. He has a sip of water, listening intently just in case there’s something he doesn’t want to miss.

Inko falters, nearly choking on her food. Izuku stops when he sees this, but pretends not to notice. He instead follows her gaze that’s casting itself to the side now to discover the source of her disgruntled behavior. It’s his turn to swallow hard on katsudon when he discovers a stack of overdue bills hidden atop the fridge. It’s no wonder that she’s hiding them from him, he guesses that she shares the same sentiment he has as Spider-Man with not wanting her to worry, but it still comes as a harsh reality check. It’s been hard on her ever since she was widowed, in more ways than one. Paying everything alone in this economy is next to impossible.

Inko clears her throat, readjusting her smile to remain intact. “It was just your run of the mill kinda day”, she shrugs nonchalantly in an attempt to disregard the question as a topic altogether. Izuku opens his mouth to push the matter further but closes it just as promptly, thinking better of himself. If she wants to keep the bills to herself, then he’ll leave it alone for now; Izuku figures, or can only hope, that she’ll tell him on her own eventually.

The boy gathers another mouthful of katsudon on his plate as he mulls things over in his head. “I’ve been thinking about getting a summer job”, it’s not like he can’t make subliminal suggestions to help out though. Okay, that may not have been the most subtle approach, but… “I need to start thinking about what my future career will be and it’s probably a good idea to build my resume”, he smooths out the rough edges of his proposal while also spreading sauce on his pork, “It’s not the worst idea – Right?”

Though shocked by the suddenness of this suggestion, “I think that’s a wonderful idea”, Inko is as supportive as ever with her son’s decision. She wouldn’t ever say it aloud, but it’s a relief to hear he’s beginning to think realistically about getting a job. Izuku has always wanted to be a hero from toddler to tween, but the odds of that happening plummeted when he was diagnosed as quirkless. She’s not aware of his vigilante activities or his newfound abilities that help him do them, but even if she were, this is the safest course of action for her son that she would like for him to take. “Any particular places you would like to look at?”, she asks for more details in order to encourage him further on this promising path.

“Uuuhh…”, he hadn’t really thought that far ahead since this whole thing was a spur of the moment conceptualization but he can’t let his mom know that; so he goes with the first thing that pops into his head, “Pizza!” There’s a coupon magnetized to the fridge right under the bills up top that his eyes land on, helping him come to a rational conclusion. “I’ll be a pizza delivery boy”, because that’s the type of heroic service that this world needs and only someone with spider powers can do it. Izuku inwardly groans but accepts that there’s no going back now that he’s already suggested the job.

“Oh”, Inko sounds just about as thrilled but runs with it anyways, “We all start somewhere! Why not?” Just once, Izuku would like for her to go without the overly supportive parenting. It’s not like he could make it as a scientist somewhere just yet, but he also hadn’t really considered turning Spider-Man into a mascot for pizza. He can already hear the new slogan in his head now: ‘Nobody out pizzas the spider!’ Okay, it’s a work in progress, but you get the idea. Then again, his mom needs financial support, and if that means slinging pizzas instead of swinging crooks, then so be it.

Izuku’s silverware nearly falls out of his hands when his phone suddenly vibrates against his leg. While what he’s dubbed as ‘Spider-Sense’ warns against incoming danger, it sadly doesn’t prevent him from being scared or surprised by other things. He plucks the cellular device from his pocket to see what all the buzz is about. Thanks to the Midoriya Household’s monthly subscription to the Hero Feed App, Izuku is always notified when there’s some sort of hero related activity going on – or, alternatively, villain activity. Crime alerts are to let civilians know which places to avoid, but for a certain wall crawling vigilante, those can sometimes be places of interest.

“Izuku”, Inko’s voice startles the boy so much that he comes closer to dropping his phone more than he did his silverware. Darn Spider-Sense, it’s never useful when he most needs it. Especially since his mother is fixing him with a look that may as well be a death glare. Seriously, Izuku could’ve sworn this was some sort of danger sense meant to alert him when his life is at risk. “No cellphones at the dinner table”, Inko gestures with the prongs on her fork for him to put it away before stabbing a piece of pork to emphasize her point, “Manners. Remember?”

“Sorry”, Izuku agrees to stop scrolling through Hero Feed with little to no argument. Not without taking a quick glance at the latest news report though. The top story pertains to some criminal that’s been posting their crimes as YouTube videos. Mostly misdemeanors and pranks bordering the line of the law. Nevertheless, a villain garnering an audience that supports these types of activities so long as they remain unpunished is proving to be a problem for hero society. If Izuku wanted to attract attention, he wouldn’t have worn a mask, but maybe this is something Spider-Man can help with.

In the meantime, he puts his phone away like he was told and enjoys some quality time having dinner with his mom.

A collection of lights, all of them in the shape of four sided boxes, bleed a blue hue into an otherwise vantablack environment. They’re computer monitors. Hero Feed, YouTube, blogs, anything and everything of interest to the woman viewing them is distributed to individually designated screens. All of social media is at her fingertips as she uses one hand to tap at a single keyboard and the other to hold a cup of tea to her lips. Within the dimness of the dark, she stews and she schemes. She is Manami Aiba, and she is the internet personality known as the dastardly delicious Screwball.

The namesake wasn’t decided out of her own will, but rather it was an alias given to her from the authorities and internet trolls; though it has admittedly somehow become fitting for her on screen character after a while. She even went as far as to design her costume to further sell the gimmick; her vibrant vermillion hair is always made into pigtails, as flashy and bright as her stark white costume with patterns of pink mixed in. It’s all to grow her audience in pursuit of a single goal, in order to turn her dream into reality. She figures if she can make a big enough name for herself, then she’ll be able to gain the attention of the criminal vlogger that inspired her to begin with and maybe even perform a collab together. A monitor separate from all of the others displays Gentle Criminal and his own villainous videos; he’s her idol and he makes her swoon.

Switching her sights to a screen that shows the view count on her latest post makes her sigh. The number is fine but it needs to be higher. Making Best Jeanist split his pants and covering Fat Gum in Dubble Bubble proved to be funny but they just aren’t good enough of pranks to sell her brand. Gentle Criminal actually pulls heists and brings an extravagant elegance to his videos. Manami is missing that and she knows it. She needs to come up with something big for Screwball to screw up. She needs to orchestrate a huge event to guarantee her publicity. Even better, Manami decides that whatever she ends up doing, it will have to be done LIVE.

The self proclaim to fame will be a hell of a lot easier if she ups the ante. A couple of searches on the dark web to hide her cyber trail and another tea packet later, she starts putting together something a little more concrete. The woman has a knack for hacking but that’s not all that will come in handy for this villainous scheme. She also has a brain inside that head of hers, contrary to her namesake as a internet star; she has a brain smart enough to hardwire and engineer all sorts of other fancy technological gadgets. Some camera mounted drones ought to do her live stream some good. As well as … ‘fireworks’ … for an explosive finale.

Manami giggles to herself, delighted that a plan is finally starting to formulate. Working out the details and applying finishing touches can wait though. She’s uploaded her video but now Gentle Criminal is about to upload his. The redhead has already gone through two cups of tea but she makes room for a third. There’s also no watching YouTube without a snack either. Everything must be perfect. She munches on caramelized almonds, taking care not to chew on them too loudly so that the crunches don’t overlap with Gentle Criminal’s voice. She wonders if her fellow villain vlogger’s lips taste as good as her treat. The thought alone makes the woman’s cheeks burn bright a red as her pigtails.

Soon, she will show him and the world just how great they can be together.

Frayed sneakers scuff a series of steps, retracing footprints down the Midoriya Residence’s small perron. Izuku hops the last stoop of the staircase just as he’s about to reach the bottom, shoes smacking the cement path beyond. The ol reliable reds are so worn and old that they may as well be tossed out with the trash bag that the boy is carrying with him, but he can’t bring himself to part ways with his shoes for sentimental sake. It’s not like he needs fancy slippers or anything of that sort to take out the garbage anyways. Well, he does wear them routinely and recreationally but that’s beside the point. If they’ve carried him this far and they can keep taking him further than they may as well stick around. Pun unintended. Kinda. The soles seeping out do allow his spider-like ability to cling to surfaces a little more leeway with these particular sneakers.

Izuku catches the front of his foot on a cracked part of the cement path, nearly tripping. That’s completely unrelated to his shoes being old though. They’re still completely reliable; only if you ask him and not his mother, but … that’s just because he forgot to pay attention to where he was walking. Which is to the neighborhood dumpster. Right. No running off to do some Spider-Man-ing because he can hear sirens in the distance. Izuku pauses, staring off in the direction in which he can see the red and blue lights of a police cruiser. He watches and waits. Spider-Sense is an attribute to his ‘quirk’ that may not help with moms but in the case of criminals, that’s a little different. Except, the cop car is only pulling somebody over for speeding. It’s a false alarm. Izuku releases a breath that he didn’t realize he was holding. Spider-Man isn’t needed for writing up tickets; not yet, at least.

Continuing on his merry way, the off duty vigilante can’t help but smile at the notion; imagining a peaked cap and aviator sunglasses added to his mask, maybe even a mustache. It’s enough to make him consider such a career path. It would beat being a pizza delivery boy. Maybe that won’t be so bad either though. It’s hard to really know anymore. Izuku just wants to enjoy his stroll through the neighborhood. He does enough overthinking while web swinging. He doesn’t need to do it while getting his steps in too. The rest of the way is a short walk, so Izuku allows himself that much time to let his mind go blank for a bit. For the remainder of the trip, it’s solely silence in that head of his. Until he recalls a song’s beat but not its lyrics, making him brainstorm like crazy in an effort to remember them.

Izuku shakes his head, reorganizing his thoughts. He’s made it to the dumpster now. A little spider strength to throw his trash bag over oughta do the trick. His old quirkless scrawny self couldn’t throw a ball through a hoop to save his life, but now this sorta thing comes easy. Strangely, seconds later, a second garbage bag joins his. It’s a little more than simple deja vu though. He pivots on his heel, spinning himself around to see somebody else disposing of their junk. Not just anyone though. A girl. A pretty girl. Izuku’s Spider-Sense took the day off apparently; this is the sort of stuff that he’d like to get a warning for.

Her hair is as radiant an orange color as the sunset behind her, a natural glow of the lowering light highlighting the way it’s done into a ponytail. Then there’s her face and how it’s illuminated in a way that brings out the teal tone of her eyes. Izuku snaps out of his dazed demeanor, realizing that she’s been saying something to him this whole time. “It’s nice to see people around here still throw their stuff out where it’s supposed to go instead of just on the beach”, she shows him a perfect set of teeth with a bright smile that’s possibly more blinding than the sun. Izuku refrains from smacking his cheeks to get himself together. He focuses on what she’s saying and not her looks. Oh, she’s wearing a pair of work gloves. He really needs to focus better. But it’s thanks to those gloves that It finally clicks in his head what she was talking about and where they’re at.

“Y- You’re t- talking about T-Takoba?”, Izuku can’t help but stutter when talking to a pretty girl his age. He tries thinking about the beach that they’re referring to in order to distract himself from her b- b- b- — beauty — he was going to think about her beauty. It helps a little. The sandy spot became a junkyard after years of dumping and pollution. Nobody dares swim there anymore. “It’s a shame what happened to it”, he vaguely remembers a time when he’d build sandcastles there as a kid, “Summer would’ve been a great time to go there too.”

“Yeah”, the girl agrees wholeheartedly if her distant gaze and somber smile are anything to go by. She pulls her work gloves off, tucking them into the back of her pants’ waistline. When she holds out one of her hands, it takes a second for Izuku to understand that she’s performing an American gesture of greeting. “I’m Itsuka Kendo”, she introduces herself when he accepts the handshake. “I’ve actually been working on trying to clean the place up a bit”, and he can’t help but admire her more when he feels calluses instead of smooth skin as a result of that tough labor.

“Izuku Midoriya”, he shares his own name before allowing himself to gush a little, “Wow! You’ve been clearing that junk out all by yourself? That’s incredible!” He calls himself the friendly neighborhood wallcrawler but he hadn’t even considered doing community service until now. Spider-Man collecting recyclables and sweeping sidewalks isn’t as silly as delivering pizzas. It’s not a bad idea. Even All Might occasionally stops to help seniors across streets sometimes.

“It’s no big deal”, Itsuka proves herself to be humble about it all when she waves Izuku’s praise aside. It’s like each second spent with this girl only raises the boy’s admiration for her. Especially when it comes to what she says next. “It’s part of my training to get into U.A”, Itsuka may as well have dropped a bomb on Izuku’s head the way that his mind is blown. She says it so casually but that particular tidbit of information means the world to him.

“You’re trying for U.A?!”, Izuku can’t contain a shout of sheer shock. There may not be any in the sky just yet but there are stars twinkling in his eyes. “You must have an amazing quirk if you think you can get in”, a notebook has already spawned out of thin air and landed in his hands like the Death Note when he begins mulling over the possibilities of what Itsuka’s quirk can be.

“Well”, Itsuka gets the hint and obliges by inflating each of her hands, “Super sizing my fists can make them pack a better punch” Izuku’s own hands move at a pace that might make someone believe his quirk is superspeed; he’s already filled three pages with theories and analysis. Itsuka waits for him to finish writing before adding as an afterthought, “My strength is also enhanced when I make them grow – though that’s a skill I only recently discovered while cleaning up Takoba.”

“That’s so cool!”, Izuku beams with an unprecedented amount of joy that Itsuka is somewhat taken back. “There’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll be able to get in”, and his awe just keeps bursting forth. If she’s not careful, the girl can get radiation poisoning from how much brightness the boy is emitting. A light blush appears on her cheeks when she sees the way that he’s looking at her.

“Thanks”, Itsuka feigns a cough into one of her enlarged fists to clear her blush more than her throat; then her hands return to their ordinary size so that they can rest on her hips. “I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what I’d do if I didn’t”, the redhead’s gaze moves to her feet when she considers the possibility of not meeting the expectations that have been placed upon her.

“Yeah”, Izuku can’t help but relate when recalling his own dream to attend U.A’s hero program, “I can understand that” He finds himself staring down at his feet too; the aged set of shoes he chose to wear stare back. “But, hey, you should be already thinking about your hero name if that’s the case”, he offers Itsuka an encouraging smile when lifting his head back up.

She returns the expression, “Fair point”, successfully cheered up. “I actually already decided though”, Itsuka flexes one of her hands before fully clenching it, “I WAS gonna go with Battle Fist but after–” Her lapse in speech lasts a second too long before she readjusts her sentence, “I changed my mind to go with Mighty Jab now.”

“Mighty… ?”, Izuku lingers on the girl’s hero name more than the pause that came before it. If he were a clockwork machine, the gears would be spinning. “Is that inspired by All Might?!”, he’s back to being overly excited again but he can’t help himself when it comes to the number one hero.

“No!”, Itsuka answers a little too hastily. She backpedals, “I- I mean- …Maybe… Yes”, wincing with each change to her response. She had been way too forceful to start but now she’s not nearly resolute enough. The girl wants nothing more than to bury her face in her hands at this very moment.

But Izuku doesn’t notice her consternation in the slightest, still stuck on the symbol of peace being her inspiration. “That’s awesome! I love All Might too! Well, everybody loves All Might, but I’m super inspired by him in the same way that I thought about calling myself Small Might as a sidekick or Mighty Man when I’m older or–”, he cuts himself off when he realizes he’s rambling and that Itsuka is staring at him with eyes as wide as saucers, “Sorry.”

“No! No! It’s okay! I just didn’t expect to meet an All Might super fan”, she laughs it off much to Izuku’s relief. She’s rather relieved herself, a drop of sweat sliding down the side of her head before she flicks it away. “I wonder how he’d react”, she speaks as though she knows the man personally but hides it well.

Considering the judgment Izuku received from his childhood friend turned bully and his other peers, there’s already an assumption in his mind of how his idol would react. “He’d probably be creeped out”, the rational conclusion is pretty obvious when he thinks about how his bedroom could be turned into an All Might Museum. Otaku is a term that comes to mind but that’d be putting it lightly.

“I wouldn’t say that”, but Itsuka quells his inner turmoil by saying otherwise. Hey, if a pretty girl says something, then it must be true. Izuku feels his cheeks heating up. They only burn brighter when she tacks on, “It’s kinda cute”, turning the boy’s face from ruby to rose in terms of red. He can’t believe that he’s actually been holding a full conversation with her once he’s reminded that they’re the opposite sex.

“C- Cute… ?”, his brain short circuits as though it’s run by wired electricity. He’s back to stuttering again. He can’t formulate a coherent sentence anymore. Izuku can feel his hands getting sweaty; he pats them on his pants legs in an effort to dry them.

“Well, it was nice meeting you, Midoriya. But I gotta get going. Hope to see you around”, he’s spared by some miracle that she’s ready to end their conversation now that he’s lost his ability to speak. Itsuka waves as she starts to part ways with him.

Realizing that he’s just standing there like a fool without returning the gesture or saying anything back, he forces himself to blurt something out. “Y- Yeah! Y- You too!”, he’s still stuttering but it’s better than nothing. No, he can do even better. He steels himself, trying for a better farewell, “Good luck on the U.A Entrance Exam, MJ!”

Itsuka stops short, glancing back at him with a perturbed look on her face. “MJ?”, she raises her eyebrows inquisitively.

“Oh – I- It’s short … f- for Mighty Jab”, Izuku cringes when he says it aloud. He’ll have to leave the nicknames to his bully, even if the kanji in Izuku being read as Deku to mean useless is rather mean, he has to admit that it’s way more clever than how he came up with ‘MJ’. He bows in order to apologize, “Sorry! I just thought–”

“I like it”, but Itsuka gives the nickname a huge thumbs up. Izuku slowly stands up straight, stupefied. Her smile flares with the sunset. A boy can easily get mesmerized by a girl as gorgeous as she is. “Bye!”, but he doesn’t get to stare for much longer since she’s trotting over the hill to leave now.

“B- Bye…”, Izuku is left breathless as he exhales.

He really does hope that he’ll get to see her again. Then again, it’s much more likely with his typical luck that he’ll be seeing Screwball as Spider-Man first.


I've returned - with yet another MHA fanfiction! And like my previous fanfics, this one too will be mixing & meshing stuff with the MHA world. This time, it's Spidey. I know, I know. There's more than enough SpiderDeku stories out there and I could have done literally anything else. But I couldn't help myself. I had all these ideas of what I could do and it's now a thing I'm writing. So, here we are, for better or for worse.

If you're familiar with my BatDeku stories, ChainsawDeku story, or GhoulDeku story, then you probably already have a good idea of what this one will be like in terms of how I'll be blending the Spider-Man mythos with the My Hero Academia one. If you haven't read any of those, then I humbly request that you do and/or stick around anyways to figure out my style.

That being said, you otherwise know the drill. I appreciate any and all comments & feedback and will do my best to keep up with them as you keep up with me. Looking forward to getting those as much as I hope you are the next chapter!

-Courtesy of your friendly neighborhood author!

Chapter 2: On The Air


PREVIOUSLY, on 'Something Spectacular' ...

The vigilante, Spider-Man, catches the attention of Detective Tsukauchi Naomasa; the mild mannered boy, Izuku Midoriya, catches the attention of Prospective Hero Student Itsuka Kendo.

THIS TIME, on 'Something Spectacular' ...

Spider-Man catches the attention of a villain with more than a few screws loose, and he just may catch a few others in his web.


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Clouds of condensation waft from a loose manhole cover, sewer steam lacing the air with an odor that makes Izuku’s nose tingle more than his Spider-Sense ever did. Damp cardboard that’s matted to the ground in patches where puddles aren’t already occupying space paves a path forward; it’s not the most charming welcome rug but it is probably the cheapest. A metal door plastered with newspaper is just as moist from the precipitation of the alley, layers sheeting the surface the way a child’s drawings would be clipped to a refrigerator, except there’s no magnets to hold these soggy pages in place. Moldy brick on either side of the boy presents an unlit bar sign shaped to fit the kanji in a bottle.

Izuku digs a hand into his back pants pocket to produce the paper slip that his recent employer gave him. The address written down appears to match the location. He shrugs before stepping up to the metallic entrance and rapping his knuckles on the door to knock. While he waits for somebody to answer, he hoists the stack of pizza boxes that he’s carrying a little higher to rest upon his shoulder, hoping to keep them suspended away from the less than sanitary environment. It also helps to smell parmesan cheese and pepperoni instead of whatever rank filth coats the pavement. Seriously, his shoe outsoles are starting to stick to the ground, and that’s without spider abilities. Finally, the metal door’s lock unlatches with a click and creaks open a crack for someone to peer through. Their voice is raspy but Izuku deciphers the question well enough, “What is it?”

Izuku offers the best smile he can muster under these circ*mstances as he presents the person’s order. “Pizza time!”, his tone of voice is much more chipper by comparison. A combination of the two, however, manages to convince the customer to open the door a little further. Izuku can see now that it's a guy whose face could use some moisturizing, which is ironic considering the dampness of the alley; though he doubts splashing some dirty puddle water would do anything to help – then again, Crusty McGee here does look to be a special case…

“Hang on”, the man’s throat must be as dry as his skin since his voice somehow sounds raspier when he shouts over his shoulder, “Kurogiri! Did you order a pizza?” Uneven waves of blue hair are paling as much as the guy’s face; he’s either never seen a day of summer sunlight in his life or he really needs the nourishment from the pies Izuku brought to deliver. Red eyes flick back and bore into the boy’s contrasting green gaze, prompting Izuku to quickly divert his stare. Considering what some quirks are capable of, the teen worries that he might’ve insulted the customer, since mind reading isn’t too far fetched of a possibility.

“Yes, Tomura, I thought it best to order takeout tonight”, a much smoother tone of voice that likely belongs to ‘Kurogiri’ can be heard from somewhere within the bar. ‘Tomura’ gives Izuku a skeptical look despite receiving confirmation that the pizza is being delivered to the right place; in all honesty, Izuku is still wondering whether this is the correct customer. “Allow the delivery boy to enter. The longer you leave the door open, the more moths there are that get in”, a few bugs flutter from the broken bar sign to the narrow gap of the entrance as though on cue and that seems to be enough to convince Tomura more than anything else.

“Tch”, Tomura steps aside. The door’s hinges squeak as it swings fully open. Surprisingly, the interior of the bar is much more refined than the establishment’s exterior. Izuku gets an eyeful of decorational design and decor. When his shoes step on blackened ebony floorboards instead of blackened asphalt, zero stick or puddles and not even so much as a creak from the wood, he has half a mind to leave his sneakers at the door. “You answer the door next time then”, Tomura grumbles and groans as he saunters to one of many seats lining a bar counter. Bottles brim the wall beyond the serving station, lining shelves until they reach the ceiling where a fan is set to a lazy and slow spin.

“It’s the least you do to pitch in around here”, Kurogiri doesn’t even try to hide the snark in his retort when he disregards Tomura’s complaint. It almost makes Izuku laugh. Almost. He’s too awe struck by the man’s quirk to admire any quippage. Clearly the bartender, if his elegant suit and tie assembly of attire is anything to go by, Kurogiri is made up of a purple smog coating his entire body’s form. That smokey overlay conceals the man’s face, leaving only two glowing slithers of yellow to emote for him. Izuku would have whipped out his quirk analysis notebook by now if it didn’t mean dropping the stack of pizza boxes he’s been holding.

Remembering that he has a job to do, Izuku stops gawking at the bartender’s quirk and places the man’s order atop the serving station. He then retrieves the customer’s receipt from the same back pants pocket where he stuffed his address slip. The boy reads off the amount due. “That’ll be four thousand yen”, his earlier smile returns as he holds out the bill. It’s what he supposes can be considered a customer service smile. It’s not really had the best of luck with results thus far but maybe that’ll change with experience. God, he can only pray and hope so.

“Pass it over and gimme a slice already”, Tomura grabs the top box for himself before it can even be paid for. He licks his chapped lips, tongue running over scarring. “I’m starving”, the guy is practically salivating as he flips open the box’s lid to get at the pie within. When he sees what’s inside though, his composure immediately changes to one less than thrilled by the prospect of devouring a pizza. “What the– ?!”, his face scrunches into a world record breaking number of creases and wrinkles. Izuku glances over to see what the fuss is all about, his face doing the opposite as it drops.

Melted mozzarella clings to the box’s top, whereas tomato sauce paints the rest of the cardboard container like a Picasso painting. Dough lays mashed in the middle, looking more like a misshaped potato than a circular pizza. Izuku tries to blink in order to break his mesmerized gaze but the sight is just too baffling to look away from. He had thought it was a good idea to web swing across town, thinking that he could deliver orders faster that way, but apparently the ride is way too bumpy of a trip for pizza cargo. All those flips he did are going to make his boss flip if these customers don’t first.

Since Tomura’s red eyed glare is making the guy appear ready to kill him at any given moment, Izuku’s Spider-Sense even triggering a mild warning, it’s an easy guess as to who is gonna flip out first. Fortunately, Kurogiri is the much more sensible member of the duo, and he intervenes before things can escalate to a level of violence. “I believe it would be in your business’ best interest to let us have this one on the house”, talking things out even if all Izuku does is rapidly nod in agreement winds up being a much better alternative. “And as dissatisfied patrons of your delivery service, we will also be excluding any sort of tip”, though that may as well be a verbal kick to the butt for him to run out the door.

The metal entrance slams shut behind him on his way out, latch locking with a sharp snap. Izuku starts to sigh but finishes with a disgruntled groan. That was a total bust; not only is he coming back short handed on the balance due but he’s not even got a personal tip to stash. The boy runs a hand through his hair, fingers coursing over green curls. He won’t be surprised if he gets fired for this. First day on the job and he’s already messed it up. Now might be a good time to start considering alternative occupational trades. Izuku forces down a scoff; he wishes it were as simple as something smacking him right in the face, but the chances of that happening are slim.

First peeling off the bar’s metallic door and then secondly blowing through the air with a gust of wind, a wet newspaper slaps against Izuku’s face. The boy sputters and spits as he pries the damp paper away, cursing his Spider-Sense for the zillionth time for not warning him while hoping it’ll at least let him know if he catches a disease now. When he stops and sees what’s printed on the front page though, he’s not so concerned about his health anymore. All that praying paid off. He’s found his solution to his job and money problems. An ad posted by Juko News flying right into his head is all it took.

70,000 Yen Reward For Photos Of Spider-Man!

Izuku tugs at the heel of his left sneaker, using his thumb to pry it off, as he hops up and down to maintain balance with his other foot. A brief alternation to switch sides in order to do the same process with his other sneaker nearly causes him to trip. Nevertheless, once they’re both removed, he sets each of his shoes down at the welcome mat of his home. “Mom! I’m back!”, he shouts just loud enough to be heard; he figures he’ll do his mother the courtesy of announcing his return this time rather than giving her another fright.

“I’m in here!”, he hears his mother raising her voice from the living room before heading that way. The boy can’t help but smile fondly, knowing that she’s been there waiting for him to come home. Izuku finds her sitting on the couch while she knits a blue sweater that’s still missing its sleeves; the television is on, playing some sort of game show, but the audio is muted. “You’re done with work so soon?”, Inko sets her crochet hooks aside and puts her project on pause in order to address her son as soon as he enters the room.

Izuku feigns a laugh, but only manages a forced chuckle. The boy bashfully rubs the nape of his neck, hand running up to the back of his head where he can nervously scratch his itchy mess of a bush that he calls hair. “Funny you should ask that…”, his voice wanders off with his eyes when Inko fixes her son with a stare. Clearing his throat to cease his act of amusem*nt, he tries to salvage the situation by getting straight to the point and asks, “Do you know where we put dad’s DSLR from America?”

Inko blinks back her initial shock, having not expected that from Izuku. Any other parent would probably sit their child down and interrogate them in this type of scenario; her son came home early from his new job, acting stranger than usual, and now he’s asking about his late father’s camera. This parent, however, knows her kid to be the most sweetest sincere and honest person in the world. So she lets her questions wait for later and answers her boy’s instead, “That old thing? It should be up in the attic with the rest of our storage.”

A look of relief washes over Izuku’s face. He’s already turning on his heel, an arm thrusting a thumb over his shoulder. “Is it okay if I go dig it up?”, but the boy knows better than to bolt from the room without first getting permission.

Inko nods, granting him the seal of approval. That’s more than enough for Izuku that he doesn’t wait for her to confirm it with words, “I don’t see why not but–”

“Thanks, mom! I’ll explain later!”, Inko watches her son scamper off as he promises to make sense of his absurdity some other time. The woman sits still, a baffled expression on her face for way too long, before she rolls her eyes at his antics and smiles.

Inko reclaims her crochet hooks, returning to her hobby of knitting. She doesn’t concern herself with her son’s shenanigans. She knows that whatever his reasons for acting this way, they’re likely noble and righteous; he’s not a delinquent. As fortunate as Izuku is to have her as his mother, she’s grateful that he’s her son. Inko can count on her boy making good on his promise, and that the explanation will be worth the trust of waiting.

Whereas Izuku waits for nothing, climbing into the attic without needing to use a ladder. The space is cramped and covered in more cobwebs than he can afford to weave with his own webbing. If not for his Spider-Sense, he’d no doubt stub his toe on one of the many packing boxes covering the room in towered stacks; it takes the pull chain whipping his forehead for him to find the attic’s light. The bulb burns once it’s switched on, casting a yellow tint to the dusty domain. Izuku fans his hand by his mouth, fending off any floating particles that might be tempted to make him sneeze or cough.

“Let’s see…”, he muses aloud as his emerald eyes slowly search the labeled cardboard cartons. The boy moves from one box to the next, naming them off. “Christmas decorations.. Blankets… More Christmas decorations”, Izuku pauses when he reads the kanji written in marker on a container that’s stowed away in the back, “My old manga?!” He’s half tempted to bust it open and binge read his collection right there. Except, he shakes his head clear, remembering that he’s on a mission. Izuku moves a few boxes around in an effort to dig deeper. After a little more poking about, the boy comes across a pile of bags, and he finally finds a leather satchel with the initials ‘H.M’ embroidered on it.

He holds it up to the attic’s light. It’s his father’s old camera case. Izuku’s eyes water and it isn’t because of the room’s dust. When he opens the satchel, Hisashi Midoriya’s DSLR is still inside the bag, completely intact as though brand new. There’s even an SD card lodged in the device, saving him a trip to the store. Izuku’s thumb presses the power button up top. Its battery life hasn’t drained after all this time, leaving Izuku impressed. Whatever memory is kept preserved on the SD card becomes accessible when he powers the camera on.

Pictures appear on the display screen. They’re photos from a time when Izuku was younger; his mother looks less aged as well. It’s stuff from a trip to America, most of the images showing them at landmarks like Mount Rushmore or The Statue Of Liberty. It’s all things that make the boy smile. What he doesn’t realize until getting to the final picture though, is that they all only contain him and his mother in them. The last photo is all three of the Midoriyas as a family, his father holding him and his mom close, the man grinning in between them.

Everyone has always said Izuku takes after Hisashi in the genetics department. Considering Inko shares the same color of locks as her late husband, the green hair was bound to be passed down by one of them. The curls, however, those are all thanks to Hisashi’s side; the man’s messy mop is a spitting image of his son’s. Even the freckles are a byproduct of the boy’s dad. Izuku can’t help but wonder if what he’s looking at is an image of his future self. The glimpse ahead becomes a bit blurry, confusing him momentarily, but then he understands why when a tear drops on the tiny screen. He’s crying. Of course he’s crying.

“Oh, shoot!” Izuku wipes the water off with the hem of his shirt before giving the device a few good blows in an extra added effort to dry it. He looks the camera over to make sure it isn’t damaged from his tears. When he confirms that it’s fine, he allows himself a few more sniffles and then proceeds to dry his face next, but this time using the sleeve of his shirt instead of the bottom. “Get a grip, Izuku…” He laughs at himself, voice still wet even if his eyes aren’t anymore. While rugged handsome features may have come from his father, Izuku knows that the waterworks are a trait given to him from his mother. That makes him laugh again, this time a little more humored than sad.

He clicks the camera off before shoving it back into his father’s bag for safekeeping. Having found what he came looking for, Izuku slips the satchel’s strap over one shoulder to take it with him. He steps over the boxes blocking him on his way back, also making sure not to exit without pulling the attic’s light chain first. Izuku leaves the dark place behind, heading for a bright future that he’ll be able to capture with his camera’s flash.

Spider-Man steps onto a rooftop’s ridge, naturally balancing himself by making his soles stick to the slim surface. It’s from there that he begins pacing, walking along the eave as he pulls his trusty notebook out from the tucked confines of his spandex. The vigilante keeps going even when reaching the ledge’s end, feet moving down and under to walk beneath the overhanging architecture; he defies gravity by pacing below the platform, back the way that he came. “Let’s see… Quips… Quips…”, Spider-Man thinks aloud with mild mutters while tapping a pencil against the blank page of his notebook, “Should I be expecting to stop another robbery? If so, then what would make for a good opener?”

“Hey guys! Making a withdrawal?”, he tests some material by rehearsing it first. For a second, there’s only sky high silence and the slap of spandex covered feet against brick to be heard, the vigilante considering whether the joke works or not. Spider-Man ultimately winds up scribbling over the line he wrote and shaking his head, “Ugh! That’s lame! I have a reputation!” A moment more of rethinking what he can open with when making an epic entrance leads him to trying another quip on his tongue, “Hey guys! How’s it hanging?” But that doesn’t work either. “No.. I used that one already – didn’t I… ?” He can’t go rehashing jokes; not only is repeating himself insincere and unbecoming as a hero, but he can imagine the humor would get old fast.

Spider-Man stops, stumbling upon another self imposed criticism of his comedy. “Besides – maybe they’re not all guys – heck, it could be just one guy!” He hums, hanging from his upside down demeanor. All of the starting statements he has jotted down already get scratched off, the plural approach completely scrapped. He tries another take, “Hello there!”, even adding a little wave for added emphasis. The boy’s raised hand comes back down, but towards his masked face instead of swinging down at his side; his palm places itself over his eyes as the lenses covering them squeeze into strained slithers. “Ugh.. Am I expecting to run into General Grievous now?”, but when he considers the chances with some villains and their quirkiness, “I guess that’s not too unlikely to happen…”

An alarm’s shrill shriek startles the boy, nearly causing him to drop his pencil and notebook as he fumbles to keep them from falling out of suspended animation. Once his gloved fingers get a good grip on them, he puts them back under the waistband of his uniform. A quick turnover from using his feet to stick to using a single hand gives him a proper perspective of the city. That bell isn’t school letting out nor is it church calling. “Guess I’ll just have to improvise”, he was right when predicting somebody would wind up robbing a bank. The vigilante lets his fingers slip from the surface of the eave, dropping down into a free fall. It’s time to spring into action.

Spider-Man juts out an arm, already firing a line of webbing from the shooters concealed by his gloves. His pinky and thumb point with his index finger while the other two digits in between press the trigger of his customized support gear. The instant his fingers lift from his palm, he snatches the end of the thick strand shooting from the nozzle strapped to his wrist. The line goes taut, sending him curving through the air. Spider-Man’s body becomes a red and blue blur that zips between buildings. The boy lets out a whoop of excitement, “Whooo HOOO!!”, as he performs a thrilling maneuver that not even a skydiver would dare to do at such a height without a parachute.

Mere moments later, Spider-Man swings down, already arriving on scene before any police or pro heroes can answer the bank’s alarm. The young vigilante enters the building with a series of acrobatics, feet bouncing from wall to ceiling as he ricochets across each surface. He ends the flow of movement by landing atop a bank teller’s desk, crouching into a form that qualifies as ‘perfect pose’ material; this would no doubt make for a good shot to put in the paper, he thinks. Wanting to make sure the camera gets his good side, Spider-Man webs it into a corner with the auto function enabled. From there, the vigilante gauges his surroundings to see what kind of situation he sprung himself into.

Spider-Man does a double take, the expressive lens of his mask expanding with his eyes. There’s nobody there with him. No bank tellers, no customers, and surely not a single robber. The vault isn’t even open. Spider-Man glances around, looking for whatever it is he may be missing. It’s not until the alarm stops ringing that he realizes he’s been lured into a trap. Drones that have been painted pink uncloak themselves, at least ten of them hovering close by with cameras of their own mounted to the bottom. The remote piloted machines surround the vigilante, getting multiple angles of him as he twists and turns to keep track of how many there are within the room.

“It seems our guest of honor has arrived–”, a squeaky voice blares through the bank’s hacked speaker system before cutting itself off, “Wait! You’re not any pro hero that I recognize!” A good margin of the drones hover back while one draws closer; the camera beneath the lead drone’s belly whirs as it focuses and zooms on Spider-Man. “I was hoping to reel in a big one but we’re already live so I guess I’ll settle for you…”, the disembodied voice loses its earlier flare before boosting to a higher volume again, “I know what we can do! We’ll have you introduce yourself! Who are you?”

The vigilante bounces back, doing a flip to leap over the drones, clearing them completely. The flying cameras turn in the air, making an effort to track his sudden movement. When he sticks to the ceiling only using his feet, Spider-Man gestures with his hands to the insignia on his chest. “The spider emblem didn’t give it away, huh? Go figure…”, whatever damage is done to his ego gets put on the backburner when he realizes there’s an armada of cameras pointed directly at him, “Wait – Did you say that this is LIVE?”

“Correct, Spider-Guy!” Spider-Man resists the urge to correct his videographer; he has other problems, like being filmed for the internet to see. But before the vigilante can web the cameras or flee the scene, he finds himself pausing to listen a little more from the remote controlled drones pilot. “You’re the first ever guest star of Screwball’s live show! Prepare to prove yourself the hero that you claim to be by completing my villainous challenge!”, the streamer’s squeaky voice carries on with increasing enthusiasm. Spider-Man squints at the camera that’s closing in on his masked face, not quite matching that energy.

“Gee.. What if I’m too camera shy to participate?”, the vigilante covers the photographic lens in thick gray goop so that it backs off. Another drone flies in to replace the one that’s been webbed, but Spider-Man is already turning to leave. The other UAVs follow along in an effort to block his path. They’re nothing a little added agility can’t help him get through; Spider-Man springs surface to surface, redirecting himself a route towards the bank’s exit. Not without snatching his father’s DSLR first though, unable to leave without it.

He’s just about to swing away, “I guess it’ll be your fault that the bombs I set up will go off all over the city then”, until he hears Screwball say that. Spider-Man stops, turning back to reevaluate the challenge that he’s being given. Suddenly, the bright pink drones look a little darker. The severity of the situation seems a bit more serious since the bank’s security system was hacked to make this shindig happen. Screwball suddenly sounds more like a threat than a streamer trying to get views. “Oho! It appears Spider-Fella is reconsidering looking the other way!”, the feminine voice giggles with glee upon seeing she managed to gain the vigilante’s attention, “Will he stick around to play?”

Spider-Man lowers his head, staring down at the DSLR he brought with him; it serves just as much of a reminder as Screwball’s dare is to what happened the last time he looked the other way. “Never again…”, he whispers to himself a reconfirmation of the vow he made back then before fully facing Screwball’s drones, “Alright! I’ll bite! What’s your game?” The vigilante hops onto a pillar that supports the ceiling, giving the villain exactly what she wants by presenting himself to the flying cameras. He figures it’s a good idea to play along for now, not willing to take any chances with her bomb threat.

A light clap carries audibly clear through the bank’s speaker system; she seems appeased afterall. “You’re gonna love it as much as my viewers will”, Spider-Man somehow doubts that but he listens to Screwball anyways, “We’ll do some sightseeing and decide whether or not Musutafu’s hotspots are up to par together!” The drones circle around the vigilante as though to emphasize her excitement. He watches them closely, still sticking to one of the building’s support pillars.

Spider-Man hesitates to ask, “And what if you decide that they aren’t to your liking?”, but it’s a question that he needs answered. There’s a sinking sensation in his stomach that tells him he already knows the answer but he ignores it. Despite Screwball’s clearly deranged and delusional performance, the vigilante’s Spider-Sense hasn’t warned him of any danger just yet. There’s some small semblance of hope that he’s holding onto.

“I’m so glad that you asked!”, but that hope drops when Screwball makes puns about her aforementioned explosives, “We’ll do what anyone would do when visiting a landmark – we’ll photoBOMB the place – which is always a guaranteed blast!” Her laugh echoes from drone to drone but Spider-Man doesn’t reciprocate her sense of humor as he grits his teeth behind his mask instead. The villain is unphased by the vigilante’s lack of amusem*nt, still giggling for the both of them in between the words that formulate her next sentence, “Shall we get started then?”

Spider-Man leaps from the pillar he was occupying to perch himself atop a wall frame instead. From there, he crawls out the way that he came in. The drones continue to follow him. “You really do have some screws loose, lady…” The boy can’t help but mutter his thoughts aloud, a habit he has no chance of breaking any time soon. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing remains to be known when he hears an offended gasp.

“It’s Screwball!”, the villain scoffs over her speaker system. This time, Spider-Man keeps what he has to say on the tip of his tongue, thinking better of himself to instigate by telling her that she’s one to talk by always getting his name wrong. “I’ll let that one slide, but you should know that it’s rude to insult a woman”, he swallows his retort completely when he considers the punishment he could receive from a mad bomber.

Realizing that he might need to win her favor back, he lets his body move freely while parkouring through Musutafu’s concrete terrain; some stylized moves to show off for the cameras oughta do the trick, or so he hopes. “Anyways!”, Spider-Man clears his throat before trying to take her mind off his remark by refocusing it on the task at hand, “Where to first? We don’t wanna get caught up in the morning crowd!”

“Ah! Right!”, Screwball startles at his reminder. That seems to do the trick, much to the boy’s relief. She reverts back to her streamer personality with a rejuvenated chirp to her voice only matched by the drum of her drones, “Just try and keep up while I lead the way”, the machines make haste with their flight as though suddenly spurred on by their controller’s cue. Spider-Man leaps atop a ventilation unit before using it as a springboard to catch up.

“Way to keep me in suspense”, the vigilante’s retort flies out of his mouth faster than he spins a web to follow along. He can’t help but find some satisfaction at the fact that he’s getting better with his comebacks; then again, Screwball’s banter is easier to respond to than the usual death threats that simpletons shout. Spider-Man swings low, hiding the disappointment he has in himself for somewhat complimenting her.

“First stop, the Musutafu Monument!” Screwball announces their destination when they turn a building’s corner and enter a less than web friendly area. Spider-Man drops down, a communal square waiting below him with a torii gate as the only reliable place to land. Much to the vigilante’s dread, he finds that the place is pretty populated. “Doesn’t it make you just wanna EXPLODE with joy?”, Screwball’s tone takes a turn when she drops her cheerful act for a more dastardly decibel.

Spider-Man hops from his perch to the ground. There’s no structures in the surrounding area for him to latch onto with any web lines; the silver lining that comes with a lack of foundations though, is that Screwball’s hiding spot for her bomb can be narrowed down. A simple shrine at the square’s epicenter stands out as a particular place of interest. “Not really”, he dismisses the villain’s commentary and heads for what he suspects is the right spot. As he does so, he waves for everyone in his way to move while shouting, “I was actually gonna suggest that we GET OUTTA HERE”, in a less than subtle effort to evacuate the monument.

A good margin of civilians pick up on the vigilante’s cue and begin to flee. When the screams start though, that’s when the others who hadn’t caught on to his warning follow suit, fully clearing out the shrine. “Why would we do that when we have the place all to ourselves?”, Screwball tauntingly tisks him as her drones film the citizens running away, “We can still have a BLAST without them!” Meanwhile, Spider-Man searches the shrine for the villain’s explosive.

The vigilante only stops to clutch his head in order to feign a headache, “You’re really blowing my mind with your puns”, hoping that he’ll actually manage to buy himself some extra time by playing along instead of losing seconds. Judging by Screwball’s speaker squeaking laughter, it seems to work. He quickly goes back to scavenging the shrine’s surroundings while he has her distracted. It’s within that brief moment that he finds the bomb discreetly stowed away beneath an offering box.

Spider-Man no longer needs to fake a headache, the base of his skull starting to tingle. Not that he needs the warning. He stares in the face of danger, eyes expanding with the lens of his mask when he sees mere seconds remain on the bomb’s countdown. While his first instinct is to drop the explosive like it’s a VERY hot potato, he figures that’ll only set it off sooner, and he also doesn’t know the range of its blast radius to take such a chance. So what he does instead is carry it with him back towards the Musutafu Monument torii gate.

It’s there that he’s able to carry out a quickly conjured plan to berid of the bomb. Spider-Man spins two web lines, each strand attaching to each end of the shrine entrance. He pulls them together where a pouch carries the explosive in the middle. It’s a makeshift slingshot system that he hopes will be enough to launch the thing high in the sky where its detonation won’t harm anybody. Spider-Man pulls back, applying pressure and power, aiming the course of fire towards the clouds. Then he lets the webs snapback and catapult the bomb overhead.

An eruption of conflagration colors the sky with pink plumes of smoke. “I thought dangerous gender reveals were an American thing…”, Spider-Man feels as though he’s able to make light of the close call now that he’s handled it. That doesn’t make him sweat any less though; then again, that could just be from the heat of the blast. He hops up onto the safely preserved torii gate whilst receiving an applause from Screwball. The feeling of relief he had fades when he’s reminded of the drones that are surrounding him.

“Wow! That was something spectacular! Truly inspirational!”, Screwball sounds sardonic with her praise but it fits the mood of the moment when Spider-Man gives an exaggerated satirical bow in response. It’s what comes after that which seems a lot more genuine. “So inspirational that it seems some of my viewers are taking it upon themselves to find and dispel the other bombs”, the vigilante is unable to blink back his shock due to the expansive expression of his mask eye lenses, “Way to steal my adoring audience with your charm – you ruined the stream!”

Despite his small revolution potentially putting those people in danger, Spider-Man’s feeling of relief returns with one of gratitude. All that’s left now that the explosives are dealt with is Screwball herself. “I don’t suppose that means you’ll end it early and turn yourself in now?”, he gives asking the villain to cooperate a try. The sound of her drones humming in place of her voice is safe to say is a no. Well, he can’t say it wasn’t worth a shot.

“Who wants to watch the same spiel of you running around disarming a bunch of bombs anyhow?”, Screwball dismisses the matter as a minor setback with a question the boy can tell is meant to be rhetorical. While that should add to his relief, it winds up having the opposite effect when she adds, “We can just skip straight to the grand finale I had planned!” The deep drumming of the drones sounds freakishly foreboding as Spider-Man is reminded how very real of a threat this woman is despite her internet personality charade.

“How about we don’t?”, his riposte comes with an action in which he uses two web lines to tug a set of drones into one another while simultaneously pulling himself from his perch. He lands atop another UAV, crushing it with his weight. The others veer away to avoid being destroyed too. Spider-Man doesn’t let them get very far though. “I’d much rather wrap this up now”, the webspinner weaves a net of gossamer to capture and contain the drones. He smashes a good margin of them by slamming the silken sack against the ground.

All but a single drone has been eliminated. The remaining one’s speaker screeches from Screwball’s shouts causing her microphone to peak. “The event has already been set in motion! You have no choice but to play along, Spider-Jerk!” And although all Spider-Man wants to do is destroy the device to prove her wrong, he has to admit that she’s right; the vigilante’s fists unfold as he listens to what the villain is saying. Screwball wasn’t lying about her bombs. He doesn’t doubt this is any different, and even if it were, he’s not willing to call her out on a bluff.

“What is it now, Nutball?” He is, however, willing to take a chance when it comes to mocking her. Besides, he knows from years of experience dealing with a hot headed bully that getting somebody worked up will cloud their rational judgment. If he can get her worked up then it might be an exploitable weakness he can use. Remembering the way she reacted the first time that he parodied her name, he hopes that he took the right approach to attempting such an act.

“IT’S SCREWBALL!”, the woman’s shrill shriek of pure unbridled anger assures the boy that he chose the right insult to bait her with. The villain’s drone whirs as it whips around the vigilante, piloted in a fit of rage, losing its graceful flow. “Brat..”, her hiss is full of so much loathing that Spider-Man is willing to bet she’s regretting having him on her livestream as a guest now. And yet, the show must still go on. Her next line is full of snide satisfaction, “You have a plane to catch”, her drone tilting up towards the sky to direct his attention towards an aircraft high above.

“You have got to be kidding me…”, is all Spider-Man can manage to mumble from his mouth after that. All out of witty remarks, he finds himself grounded in more ways than one. This isn’t the first time he wishes he had access to Airjet’s support gear. It’s just the one time that he actually needs it. The vigilante frantically brainstorms alternative solutions to compensate for his lack of flight capabilities regarding jetpacks or booster boots. Seriously, he’s starting to think he needs his own suit support department already. Then again, that’s the downsides of being a vigilante and not a professional hero.

Spider-Man spins a set of web strands on the torii gate again. Some steps back to stretch the bands a bit sets him up for a launching mechanism. He figures if it worked the first time with Screwball’s bomb, then a slightly bigger version to slingshot himself oughta be fine. Well, or so he hopes, considering it’s all he can come up with on such short notice. “Thisiscrazythisiscrazythisiscrazy”, the boy rapidly repeats a slurred pattern of internal to external panic but continues pulling himself back to add more power to the catapult contraption anyways.

A couple quick breaths to prepare himself isn’t enough but it has to do. With one final application of strength to the slingshot system by arching his back to bend the web strands as far as they’ll go, Spider-Man aligns his projectile course for the plane above Musutafu. Then he releases his grip on the strings and lets it shoot him straight into the sky. Wind brushes against him harder than when he swings through the city. Wind presses into him as he soars higher and higher, nearly pushing him back as strong as he flies forward. All the boy can do is shout at the top of his lungs like he’s on some sort of reverse rollercoaster ride.

Rising rather than falling brings the boy through a radical rush of vertigo. Defying gravity is not without punishment, his mind fogging as his eyes are blinded by thick white clouds. He can hardly manage a harbored intake of the air that surrounds him every which way. Not until his forceful thrust to such a height begins losing altitude. Spider-Man flails as his arc curves away from the sky above and closer to the airplane he had intended to catch mid flight. His scream returns when he falls beneath its wings and below the aircraft’s belly. It’s thanks to his spider-like agility that he manages to brush his fingers against the plane’s bottom, and even more so thanks to his spider-like stickiness that he manages to keep the grip.

Spider-Man slides along the surface, clinging to the plane’s underside with both hands and each foot for extra adhesion. It’s safe to say that he needs to hold on for his dear life or else he’ll go splat. “Mom would so ground me if she saw this”, his labored breathing makes it hard to talk out loud but it helps him to think through the dire situation that he’s found himself in. He’s so high above the city now that the Musutafu Monument is merely a speck below him, “Although… Being grounded doesn’t sound so bad right now…” He gradually crawls his way up from the bottom of the plane to the top, diverting his vision from the horrifyingly high view.

Just as things don’t seem like they can possibly get any more dangerous, Screwball sets off a bomb that dismantles the plane’s turbines. Smoke flows from the aircraft as it ruptures and rumbles. Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense goes haywire, alerting him to what’s starting to become an early descent for Musutafu. “As if I didn’t realize that already…”, he speaks to the tingling sensation rather than himself before realizing that he basically is only talking to himself still. Each side of the plane rattles, thrusters exploding a second time when what ignited as an inferno sparks another flurry of flames. Spider-Man’s head is on a swivel, senses signaling him that it’s only bound to get worse.

“Where are the professional heroes when you need them?!”, his first instinct is to search the sky for someone like Ryukyu or Hawks who can both fly and catch the falling plane. Except, neither one of them arrives in the knick of time like he sees on the news during villain fights. He’s all on his own. He’s going to have to be the hero here. The boy’s mind goes back to a memory, of a time when he’d watch a rescue video from All Might’s debut on loop; the symbol of peace actually laughed as he carried everyone out from a burning bus. “What would All Might do now?”, the vigilante finds himself asking for a solution he knows he isn’t capable of. He’s not like All Might or those other heroes. In this situation, he needs his own style of rescue. “No.. I’m not All Might…”, he shakes his head to get out of it before setting his sights on the moment, “What would Spider-Man do?”

Turbulence shakes the plane side to side, but Spider-Man stays stuck to the aircraft’s roof with firm footing. While both turbines have been completely blown away, each wing is still intact. Thick webbing latches onto the two triangular extensions, stretching only when the weaver folds his hands into fists to grip them as tightly as possible. Spider-Man pulls upwards with all of his might to shift the level of descent. He begins piloting the plane manually by shifting the trajectory of air against the nose of the plane so that it blows beneath its belly and carries the wings up. A strenuous scream careens with black smoke billowing behind the aircraft.

Clouds clear away when the plane gravitates further into Musutafu’s airspace. Spider-Man tugs to turn the aircraft when it flies into city limits, deviating its course of descent to avoid crashing against any buildings. Fortunately for him, his application of strength deters the flight path to head for a harbor instead. A water landing suddenly seems like an option. There’s only one remaining problem. There’s a bridge in the way. Spider-Man reapplies his webbing to the plane’s wings, and pulls harder than before. Everything rattles as opposing forces fight one another; the boy’s bones tremble just as much as the plane shakes. Spider-Man gives one final forceful tug. His webbing rips, strings snapping. The aircraft creaks as metal shifts and bends. Off comes the wings, breaking away and flinging themselves through the air as debris.

The plane comes just short of doing a nosedive, passing over the brink of the bridge, just barely scraping by with a literal scrape against its abutment point. The slight impact causes the aircraft to bounce and avoid crashing front first. Spider-Man hangs on to the plane’s roof while it collides with open water. A huge splash raises over him as his ride touches down. Though the ride isn’t over just yet. Still carried by momentum, the plane glides along the wet surface it uses as a landing strip. Waves part for the sky carrier made floatation hauler. Until it loses enough steam to bring itself into a strong lurch of a stop.

Spider-Man stumbles, nearly slipping and sliding off the plane’s roof. He’s exhausted. He’s ready to slump over and fall asleep. The boy’s arms are so sore that he’s barely able to raise a single one. When he does, it’s not even worth the effort, since his web shooter spits and fizzles a spray of non goopy adhesive. The nozzle hisses as nothing comes out after that except for air. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened. Spider-Man used up the last of his supply of webbing. He lets his arm swing back to his side, energy draining further as his attitude drops too.

To make matters worse, an array of boats come into view just beneath the bridge. It’s the coast guard. Along with a few sea rescue heroes like Selkie or Gang Orca. The Oki Mariner leads their charge with a flash of red and blue lights. “Oh! NOW they show up!”, Spider-Man would throw his hands up in the air to express his grievance if his arms weren’t too heavy to lift. Nevertheless, he figures it’s better that the heroes come later rather than never. Not that he thinks it’s a good idea for him to stick around and find out if they feel the same way, considering he’s a vigilante and those are illegal. “It’s a nice summer day… May as well go for a swim…”, the boy’s gaze shifts from the approaching collection of ships to the water shifting in tall to low tides. He just holds out hope that it won’t be too cold before diving in.

After the day he’s had thus far, he should have expected nothing less than a freezing harbor. His suit isn’t exactly insulated to prepare for such a temperature drop. Well, it wakes him right up, at the very least. Like a cool shower or an ice bath helps to rejuvenate muscles, he’s able to move just fine if it means getting out of the water faster.

Glossy photos reflect through large circular lensed glasses, dim lighting provided by an unshaded lamp casting a glare against the thin framed spectacles. They slide down the bridge of the man’s nose, his black wavy hair hanging to one side as well when he tilts his head to view the pictures from a different angle. Taneo Tokuda, a journalist for Juko News, sifts through more images from the set that Izuku Midoriya provided him with; each one somehow deems itself an improvement from the previous photo. He goes from propping his elbows upon his desk in order to look at them closely to placing his full forearms across it in order to lay all of the pictures out. Tokuda finally tears his gaze from the images he was given to their originator, a boy with an ancient DSLR camera and a dream if his watery eyes are any indication.

The kid’s eyes aren’t the only part of him that’s damp. What looks like a giant green sponge atop his head is a moist mess. The boy looks like he either forgot his umbrella during a monsoon or just came out of the shower room; considering the weather outside is as sunny as summer can get, Tokuda assumes it’s the latter. Young Midoriya is being kept in suspense, waiting to hear the journalist’s judgment as he lounges in an old armchair. Well, lounging would imply the kid actually allowed himself a second to relax. If anything, the boy appears less than comfortable despite sitting in a nice cushioned seat; he shifts in place every so often, wriggling with worry. If they weren’t in a publishing studio, Tokuda’s office light would make the situation seem like a dramatic police interrogation.

Eventually, the journalist decides to take pity on the youth and finally shares his thoughts. “Wow.. It’s almost like you were on the plane”, Tokuda speaks sincerely when he says the tight closeups on Spider-Man are better than anything he’d be able to snap from a distance and that’s when taking his quirk into account. The shots appear as though they’re exclusively personal. It’s a masterstroke of photography he wishes he could capture with his Whole-Body Lens ability. The kid beams at the man’s praise, sitting up a little straighter.

Until, that smile dims back to the room’s level of lighting. “No!”, the boy bursts with a shout of denial a little too forcefully before dialing the pitch of his voice back down, “I mean – My camera just has a really good zoom function…” Tokuda gives the kid his strongest side eye ever conceived. Young Midoriya does a poor job of covering for whatever his sudden weird shift of composure is about, especially when he gives the journalist a goofy grin as though that’ll smooth it over any better.

“Right…”, Tokuda uses his forefinger to push his glasses back into a position where they aren’t in any danger of sliding off his face. Shrugging off the strangeness of the kid in front of him, he returns his focus to the pictures he’s been brought. “In any case, these are more than worthy of the reward”, he can see them as front page material already and wouldn’t want to miss out on using them as such; he slides out a desk drawer to grab his checkbook.

“Actually, sir…” The journalist pauses when he hears his guest revert to the original demure demeanor that had been there when they first started this meeting. Young Midoriya folds his hands over one another, holding them in his lap. The boy bends a bit, bowing just enough to perk Tokuda’s interest even further. “I was hoping for a little more than just the reward”, the kid stops to swallow some saliva in order to moisten his mouth before continuing, “It would be much appreciated if you allowed me to continue providing photos to your newspaper.”

Tokuda shifts back in his seat, somewhat surprised despite realizing such a request shouldn’t come as too much of a shock. The kid’s photography skills are exceptional and it’d be a shame to turn him away. On the other hand, the boy is likely much too young to begin working and it’s not the journalist’s call to make. He resumes with writing out Midoriya’s check while also supplying the boy with the best answer he can give for the time being, “Tell you what – Freelance – It’s the best thing for a kid your age”, Tokuda rips the pay slip from his checkbook to hand over, “Keep bringing me photos like this and I’ll take them off your hands.”

That seems to be more than enough to placate the prospective photographer, a broad smile overtaking Midoriya’s facial features until his freckles are folded over by cheerful creases in his cheeks. “Thank you so much!”, the boy expresses his gratitude with a complete bow. He humbly accepts Tokuda’s check with trembling hands, fingers curling over the paper. “I won’t disappoint or let you down!”, a second bow that’s even deeper at the waist than the first catches Tokuda by surprise. The journalist fully expects a third if he doesn’t stop the boy before the conveyance of appreciation can continue.

“That’s quite alright, Young Midoriya! You’re completely welcome!”, Tokuda waves his hands to signal for the kid to stop. When his freelancer friend picks up on the gesture, the journalist allows himself a relaxed huff of short laughter. But his amusem*nt is brief; he sees the boy’s hair is still damp before looking at the pictures on his desk again. “All I ask is that you keep using that zoom function of yours”, he also notices the way Midoriya’s cheeks color at that comment, “Be careful and don’t worry about prioritizing your safety over snapping photos if things get too dangerous out there.” The journalist stares at the boy a little more closely now, waiting for a response.

Midoriya stiffens, a stark contrast from his bent bout of bowing earlier. His head bobs up and down, nodding a little too hurriedly. A second later, he clears his throat to speak softly and says a simple confirmation, “Yes… Of course, sir…” Some small specks of water drip from the curls of his hair as he hangs his head, making him appear almost rather ashamed, but nevertheless it’s as much of a satisfying agreement to the freelancer terms & conditions that Tokuda is going to get.

“Then we’re all done here”, the journalist dismisses the kid as he slumps into the cushioning of his chair. But that doesn’t mean he’s fully taken his eye off of the peculiar photographer either. He doesn’t miss the way that the boy jumps when he says, “See you the next time that you decide to swing by”, or the nervous way Midoriya shuffles from his seat to the door after that. He waits until the kid completely leaves the room before having another look at the kid’s photos. There’s something more spectacularly special about them now than there was before.

He ducks under a fence of bright yellow barrier tape, brushing it away with the back of his hand to pass through without having to crouch completely. In the man’s other hand is a styrofoam to-go cup full of black coffee, which he’s grateful to have brought with him once he sees the scene that he’s just stepped foot into. A plane, or what remains of it anyways, floats within Musutafu’s harbor along with a bunch of rescue rafts and safety ships. This wasn’t the way that the underground hero wanted to end his night. As if he wasn’t overworked already, the bags beneath his eyes paying tribute to that fact. He scratches at his stubble as he contemplates turning around before he can be noticed by anyone; the thought crosses his mind to feign ignorance and act as though he never even saw this mess in the first place.

He took too long to make such a judgment call, even if it was a partial joke meant only to personally humor himself. Detective Naomasa Tsukauchi is already heading his way, left hand in the left pocket of a tan overcoat while the right hand does a half wave to flag the underground hero down. The investigator is looking rather run thin himself, no doubt having skipped a meal to get here sooner than the other officers or heroes; working late hours with unhealthy lifestyle habits is something the two have in common. “Eraserhead!”, Tsukauchi cordially greets the underground hero with a brief bow of his head and a smidgen of a smile, “I’m glad that you could make it.”

“That makes one of us”, Eraserhead’s quick retort isn’t without charm; he returns the detective’s gesture of greeting, nodding his head only a fraction. When his chin burrows into the warmth of the capture cloth wrapped around his neck like a scarf, the underground hero almost keeps it there. He instead draws heat from the coffee that he’s carrying, “I don’t suppose you called me out here for a reason less troublesome than that vigilante case you mentioned on the phone?”, taking a good long sip like the beverage is alcoholic to brace himself for what he can already presume the answer to his question will be.

The detective’s mouth makes a grim smile as he glances back at the plane in the harbor. When he turns his neck to face Eraserhead again, he lets his mouth straighten out. “I knew he’d get himself into something way over his head sooner or later”, Tsukauchi clicks his tongue when referencing Spider-Man but doesn’t convey any real displeasure when he adds, “Didn’t even have time to write an analysis or to leave behind one of his cutesy calling cards…”

That makes the underground hero raise an eyebrow. “Calling card? Analysis?”, he pries Tsukauchi for further details. Having dealt with vigilantes in the past, they tend to leave behind messes like this whole plane debacle, but Tsukauchi makes it sound as though this one is a tad bit more courteous. If his caffeinated cup of coffee wasn’t enough to wake him up, this fresh information does the trick; though he does take another sip from the drink just to be safe.

Tsukauchi pulls a face, something slightly similar to a grimace but not quite. “Well… That’s actually why I called you here…”, he draws back with an added cringe to his expression when he sees Eraserhead’s skewered stare, “Spider-Man’s immature trademarks tipped me off that he might be–” The underground hero nearly burns his throat when swallowing a mouthful of coffee; he prays that the detective isn’t about to say what he thinks the man is about to say. “-a bit on the young side…”, Eraserhead would cry if his eyes weren’t always so damned dry, “I was thinking that you’d have a good shot at getting through to him with your schooling background.”

“You thought wrong”, he curses U.A’s rat of a principal for giving him a prestigious reputation as a teacher for Japan’s top hero school. It’s not like he dislikes kids, it’s just that they’re always so impractical; whatever hopes he had about Spider-Man earlier completely evaporate when he hears the vigilante might be a kid. It’s bad enough that someone’s out there illegally using their quirk without a license but for it to be a reckless youth that he’ll have to reprimand is a whole other problematic matter.

“I’m being serious here”, Tsukauchi does half an eyeroll before stepping closer to the man so they can speak at a lower level. “If he really is only a kid, then we need to make sure he doesn’t get himself hurt thinking this thing is a game…” The detective’s tone is as soft as his touch when he places a hand on the underground hero’s shoulder. The contact is meant to convince Eraserhead but it winds up nearly having the opposite effect. Eraserhead pulls away.

If not for what Tsukauchi said, the effort to make things personal would have been futile. But the underground hero hangs his head, burdened with the weight of a painful memory when a friend of his died young due to the shortsightedness of not taking hero work seriously. It’s a common mistake children make. They see heroes and think it’s all about being flashy or cool. It’s all power and fame without the responsibility to them. “I’ll see what I can do”, Eraserhead grumbles in an equally low voice but Tsukauchi hears him.

“Thanks”, Tsukauchi’s smile is somewhat sympathetic as he stuffs each of his hands in his coat pockets. Only somewhat though. “In the meantime, I’ll focus on finding the villain behind this whole bomb business…” The detective has it hard himself with catching criminals as opposed to stopping vigilantes. Especially when he has to deal with one capable of such destruction, a digital trail in their wake that becomes untraceable when anyone attempts to follow it. “This ‘Screwball’ character is still out there too”, Tsukauchi tries not to think about the villain crossing paths with Spider-Man a second time but he knows such a situation is bound to happen in this line of work.

Izuku kicks off his shoes at the door, as is customary in the Midoriya household. However, the boy feels as though he should be kicking himself instead when thinking about his failure to capture Screwball. She had him play right into her trap, making a game out of endangering people’s lives, and he just went along with it all. The stream she posted has already been clipped and reposted everywhere, highlighting his oversight as heroism just because he stopped a bomb or two. Little do they know, he thinks, that the villain is still out there and more than likely to strike again. He figures it’s all his fault. That if he had confronted her directly somehow that maybe she’d be locked up behind bars already.

He feels the yen from the check that he cashed in his pocket with a pat, and it feels oh-so very-heavy. Izuku starts to wonder if he was being vain in pursuit of fame with his performance for Screwball’s stream while simultaneously snapping pictures of himself to sell; since when did he start prioritizing power over his responsibility to do good with his quirk, he wonders. Whatever guilt there was before has now only doubled. It’s not his place to be a vigilante in the first place; he hasn’t proven himself worthy of being a hero by getting a license – to make it about himself instead of doing it to save lives would just be the cherry on top.

But… Then he thinks about how he inspired Screwball’s viewers to ban together and help by evacuating potential bomb sites. He did that just through action as Spider-Man and not words. And if it weren’t for Spider-Man, there would have been nobody to stop that plane from crashing completely. He stares down at his hand, the one capable of forming a fist that can smash down a wall or that’s able to flex his fingers in order to cling and climb. He wasn’t born with a quirk. He was given this one. It’s a gift as much as it is a curse. Spider-Man stays because Spider-Man is needed, he decides. So long as he has the power, he also has that as a responsibility.

And while on the subject of responsibility… Izuku peers around the quoin of the kitchen entrance to see his mother going over a pile of bills. The poor woman has a hand clasping the side of her head as she leans against the table, stress oozing from her downtrodden demeanor. She hadn’t even noticed her son come in through the door. She’s too absorbed by her bank statement to be aware of anything other than her financial problems currently. Izuku’s heart aches for her, weighing heavily in his chest; the yen in his pocket is just as laden, feeling as though it’ll tear straight through the material of his pants. He grabs the money with the same spider power infused hand he was staring at a mere moment ago.

Izuku clears his throat, stomping his feet a few times to feign footsteps; he watches as his mom scrambles to hide the bills she has out when hearing him. His intent was solely to let her know he’s home so that he doesn’t scare her, not to let her succeed in keeping the bills a secret, so he heads into the kitchen without waiting for her to finish. “I’m back!”, he forces a smile at first but it becomes a natural one when he sees the woman who raised him, “And I’m ready to tell you why I was in such a rush earlier!”

Inko stands, making an attempt to conceal the bills with her body. It’s harder to do so when her son steps closer and closer. “Izuku!”, she nervously checks to see if the papers within his eyeline give anything away about their money problems before covering them with a hand that she feigns as a means to prop herself up against the table, “Now’s not really a good time. Sorry, sweetheart.”

“On the contrary–”, Izuku pulls a wad of yen out from his pocket to proudly present what his smile turned grin is all about, “-now is the best time!” The money lands beside the bills when he gives it a light toss. “I picked up a photography gig”, the boy sheepishly shrugs as his mother glances between him and what he brought home, “I figured it could help with paying for things around here since.. Ya know, since dad’s not able to help financially anymore..”

“Oh, Izuku, honey… My sweet baby boy”, Inko wastes no time embracing her son in a mama bear’s bigger than just big kind of bear hug. Izuku feels his mom shaking in his arms, he can tell it’s taking all that she has to resist breaking down into tears, and that makes him have a hard time fighting back the waterworks by extension. She holds him closely, shaking her head. She sniffles but stays strong as she starts to say, “You didn’t have to go and do that for me … It’s not your responsibility–”

“You’re wrong!”, Izuku’s outburst surprises her so that she stops short. Especially since his shout IS emotional. Izuku doesn’t bother hiding or suppressing the tears that are starting to trickle out now. “You ARE my responsibility”, his voice wobbles with his body as he cries but he still manages to find a firmness to his tone in order to show his resolve as he replies, “It is a man’s responsibility to take care of the people that he loves before himself.”

Inko’s eyes expand, stretching wider than her gaping mouth. When the initial wave of disbelief passes, then comes a forewash of tears. She shakes her head again, unable to shake the feelings overcoming her no matter how much she does or tries. “Did.. Did your father tell you that?”, the woman stares at the face of her son and starts to see how much he’s grown; even with water welling up in her eyes to the point of blurring her vision, Inko can still see clearly how much Izuku looks like Hisashi.

Izuku nods, albeit shakily. “He…”, the boy gets choked up on his words before swallowing and trying again, “He told me a lot of things that I’ll keep with me for the rest of my life…”

Inko coughs on her chuckle until it becomes a light laughter. The tears in her eyes aren’t so sad anymore, no, they are now rather fondly filled. “Your father always did have a way with words”, she smiles when reflecting on memories of the man that she married, “That was a big part of what convinced me to give him a chance when he first asked me out on a date”, she finds herself laughing yet again, “That and his silly sense of humor…”

Izuku can’t help but smile and laugh along with her. “It was hard to figure out whether what he was saying was wise or nonsense sometimes”, the boy agrees that his father did have quite a way with words. When the man worked overseas to support them financially, their conversations on the phone were significantly improved by Hisashi’s skillset in speaking.

“Sometimes I think you inherited that trait of his”, Inko is unable to resist teasing Izuku with a poke to his ribs for extra effect. The boy squeals before breaking out into harder laughter, which only prompts his mother to do the same.

The two continue cackling like goofballs, with tears still in their eyes while they do. It’s not until they’re catching their breath that the laughing comes to a close. Izuku wipes at his face with the back of his hand. In doing so, it’s almost like he smudges his smile. The boy slowly settles down, turning somewhat somber. He opens his mouth. Then closes it. Then reopens it again to say, “I… I miss him…”

Inko’s smile wavers, falling into a forlorn form. She sighs as she blinks back the threat of more tears to replace what has dried. “Me too..”, her voice cracks and so does her son’s heart when he hears it. She sees him regretting saying anything and reaches out to place a hand on his head to stop him from doing so, “But I’ve still got you – my little provider – my personal hero.”

Izuku looks at the yen on the table and then back at his mother. He almost tells her the way that he got the money. Right then and there. But thinks better of it when considering part of that story involves him landing a plane. He hugs her to hide his face, unable to school whatever expression overcomes it. Izuku knows the risks he’s taking by being Spider-Man. He’s not some naive kid thrill seeking as a vigilante. So he also knows how much his mother would worry for him. Truth be told … He worries too sometimes … That one of these days, he might not come home to her, and that’ll be when and how she finds out about him.

Manami Aiba reclines within the comfort of her home, scrolling through a collection of comments on Screwball’s latest stream with her mouse. Until… She hears a not-so-familiar noise coming from her doorbell. The woman jumps up from her seat, surprised by the startling sound. Her heart pounds in her chest when she thinks that it may be the police; her head swivels to check the monitor that displays a code she developed for the sole purpose of leading them down a cyber rabbit hole in the event that they try tracing her IP address. When seeing that her system is still functioning properly, she allows herself to discard any concerns about cops at her doorstep. And yet, there’s still the question as to just who the hell could be paying her a visit…

Slowly. Cautiously. Anxiously. The woman tiptoes to her door. Manami suddenly doesn’t feel like the internet personality she usually depicts herself as. All of that bravado Screwball shows to her subscribers is all but nonexistent currently. Manami never gets any visitors. NEVER. Not even from her own family. The woman, to say the least, is a bit of a shut-in. She hasn’t ever even had a proper interaction with her neighbors. Manami reaches for her doorknob like it’s a hot iron that’ll bite her with scalding hot metallic pointy teeth. It may as well. When her tiny hand grabs the knob, she nearly pulls it back, shocked by how cold the metal is.

When finally having worked up enough courage to do so, Manami opens the door to greet whoever is on the other side of it. She certainly isn’t expecting to find a very tall and very handsome man. He smiles at her, handlebar mustache and well kept beard shifting with the uplift of his cheeks. She marvels at his refined appearance. It’s an extravagant one that she’s all too familiar with. Dressed head to toe in a pinstriped suit, a cane in one gloved hand while the other is barehanded while sweeping through his already slicked back hair – he is a gentleman in all manner and meaning of the word.

Manami recognizes him immediately, but her mouth refuses to function while it hangs open as though having lost a few screws to its hinges. Her cheeks turn as bright a red as her hair. She’s unable to do anything but stare. It’s hard to believe what’s happening. Part of her thinks she’s hallucinating him. Another side to the woman wonders if she’s dreaming. All of those theories could be tested if her body weren’t in a state of petrification and she were just to reach out and try touching him. As it turns out, there’s no need. He bows down to her height, taking her hand in his; she wants to squeal with excitement because of how well her hand fits in his but she still can’t find her voice. Then he does the unthinkable and applies a bushy lipped kiss to her hand. She just might faint.

The charming character pulls his lips away from her knuckles to use his mouth as a means to introduce himself, despite her already knowing exactly who he is, “My dear lady… I am The Gentle Criminal – and I would like to propose a collaboration with the darling Screwball”, the internet villain’s biggest fan delights in hearing that she’ll get a shot at being maybe more than just a fan now.


This chapter hopefully packed more of a boom than the first (SpiderDeku isn't the only one who can do puns! Remember that I'M the one who writes them in the first place!) but I really appreciate the few of you who left such kind worded reviews regardless!

To AtreyuFlames, TWO thumbs up in return! If I or Izuku ever wind up sprouting extra limbs, I'll give you more!

To Grieflord 101, I'm glad that you had nothing to grieve over in the first chapter and hope that I can keep that up with this one!

To Raccoon404, thank you in return for reading!

Like last time, I encourage everyone to let me know what they're thinking of the story and I'll get back to you by the next chapter at the latest. Until then, take care!

-Courtesy of your friendly neighborhood author!

Chapter 3: Judgment Call


LAST TIME, on 'Something Spectacular' ...

Spidey got photobombed by Screwball, in more ways than one, gaining himself some more attention from the public.

NOW, on 'Something Spectacular' ...

If Spider-Man's haters weren't already bad enough, then he probably won't like his crazed fan either.


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

A scintillate shine presents dust particles floating within ray beams. It’s as much of the outside world as these windows will allow to be let into the room, the sun having burnt the glass panes to translucent iridescence. A glare streams and shimmers along a katana that’s been propped upon a weapon stand with other various sharp objects, light casting over each tool, an arsenal that ranges from sais to kunai all glistening under the sunlit glow. Where illumination doesn’t pour in, shadows cascade over a series of masks mounted to an otherwise barren wall; a particular face covering glimmers due to its reflective surface, sunlight streaking across the curvature shape that resembles a heater shield. A lack of carpeting or furniture leaves a natural echo of ambience in the air. For the man meditating at the epicenter of the room, that atmosphere when there aren’t any honking horns from the street outside interfering, is absolutely perfect for his concentration.

While the morning traffic is light today, other interferences to his reverie are an entirely separate matter. Such as the strident screech of his abode’s silvery steel bypass entrance door sliding open; his ‘roomie’ as she calls herself has returned from her A.M outing, and he can tell as such without having the need to open his eyes because of her heels having a more than familiar fortissimo clack to them. She’s half his height, and she’s half his age. Which makes for a distasteful deed of practically parenting the girl when he’s not grabbing things off of high shelves for her – which tends to be a problem even while she’s wearing those obnoxious heels that click with every step – which only disrupt his zen state of mind as they draw nearer to him. His eyelids twitch but don’t part or peel open in the slightest until after he hears the affectionate name that she calls him, “Uncle Chizome”, he can hear her huffing and puffing with no doubt in his mind a pout on her face.

When the man spares his niece a glance, he sees that he’s right; the blonde bunned teen has her arms folded over eachother and she’s leaning all of her weight onto one side with a popped out hip. The sassy stare that she returns his gaze with is one that he’s seen many times before, more often from her but occasionally in the thin slitted irises of cats before they pounce on their prey. “Why aren’t you wearing the cheetah printed yoga pants that I got you?”, her attitude carries into her tone as a heated hiss. The comparisons and commonality of felines in everything makes the man sneer, especially when thinking about the ‘thoughtful gift’ his niece keeps urging him to wear. The teenage girl’s fashion sense vastly differs from his own. Even now, she’s wearing some chic vest made to look like a lion’s head; it’s ridiculous, a bushy mane wraps around the back like those equally ridiculous boa scarves that she wears, the fluffy fabric anything but stylish in his eyes.

“Himiko..”, he grunts the girl’s name to address her the way that she’s expecting before uncrossing his legs and pushing himself up with them to stand over her, “Don’t tell me you’re stealing clothes again..” Even with his natural hunch hindering his height and her heels amplifying hers, he towers above his niece. He usually saves the intimidating stature for scum he deems deserving of it but knows from past experience how troublesome his agnate can be, so he’ll sometimes spare her a reminder of what’s right and wrong by using it on her. Petty theft tends to be a habit that he’s having a difficult time getting her to break. Though he does suppose there can be worse issues for him to deal with that raising a teenage girl can pose. The man suppresses a shudder at the thought, surprised that he can still rarely feel shivers strike his spine.

Himiko hums, tapping a finger against her bottom lip to feign ponderment. “No”, she denies stealing anything as she sheds the vest. Though not without tacking on an alternate deplorable explanation, “I bought this with money I got from pickpocketing”, and adding a cheeky little grin to boot. Chizome can almost see the deep frown on his face in the reflection of her perfectly pointed teeth. She has on a school uniform but he doubts that she actually bothered attending any early classes. The girl is proving to be quite a piece of work in all facets of teaching someone how to behave. When Himiko plucks a dagger from one of Chizome’s weapon stands to twirl it playfully, he does somewhat see what part of the problem may very well be deriving from; he as an uncle may not be the greatest role model for her to have.

Chizome grabs the blade from her before she can accidentally hurt herself. A sigh and a second later, all he can do is shake his head. The man is almost at his wit’s end. As he returns the dagger to its rightful resting place upon a mounting rack, he finds himself lost in thought. The miscare and departure of Himiko’s parents was dramatic enough. Schooling her quirk and helping her handle it properly is another matter. Then there’s this. Himiko’s impulsive behavior, or rather – misbehavior – is proving to be apart of her personality and not just a child’s or teenager’s rebellious phase. “What am I going to do with you?”, he mumbles a question that’s meant to be rhetorical but he halfheartedly hopes someone will answer him.

Himiko does, “You can start by giving me a hug”, and it’s actually not that bad of a start to a solution. Some tenderness and care is just as important as tough parenting. Chizome can’t help but chuckle a little. The way his niece has her arms spread out, waiting for him to wrap his own arms around her, it reminds him of when she was smaller. He steps into her warm embrace, ignoring the scent of blood that’s in her hair and on her clothing. There’s no telling whether she killed someone this morning or if it’s leftover from yesterday; at this point, blood is the smell of her natural perfume. So, he opts to ignore it. He instead focuses on her heartbeat against his chest. The steadiness is as soothing as the sun shining in and he nearly returns to his zen state of mind.

Chizome pats Himiko on her tiny blonde head, careful not to disturb the buns she tied her hair into. He looks down at her and sees that kid again rather than the troublesome teenager, “My little Chameleon”, his affectionate nickname for her rolls naturally off the tongue that it may as well be her actual name now. She rolls her eyes, knowing the real reason he calls her by that moniker isn’t simply due to the properties of her quirk, but rather because of how her eyes never change no matter how her face might. The distinct slants she stares at him with are surprisingly innocent when coupled with the sinister smile that reveals a mouth full of fangs. He holds her a while longer before letting her go. Once released, she then carries herself in the direction of the kitchen, guiding him as much as she urges him to follow along.

“By the way – You never answered my question”, Himiko throws her uncle a quick mischievous glare before filling java into and switching on their bean grinder. The gray bottoms he chose to wear instead of the tights she got him are covered in coffee stains; she contemplates ‘accidentally’ spilling the currently brewing batch on them to mimic the cheetah spotted print of her gracious gift with a fuller pattern of brown patches. She figures that then he’d HAVE to wear them either way. When she turns around to shoot another glare at her uncle, she sees that he’s ignoring her with a broad newspaper held up in front of his face. “Ugh”, the girl rolls her eyes, “Sweatpants and a tabloid? Are you sure you’re my uncle and not my grandfather?”

Chizome crinkles the pages of the publication, folding the paper over so that he can simultaneously look at it and spare his niece a glance at the same time. “Print is a superior source of information to the news station propaganda put on television”, he skims the hero section for articles on incident reports to check for listed casualties or property damage and turns it to face Himiko when he finds a counted number, “That’s the problem with kids your age! You don’t look past what’s solely showboating and praise! You don’t look for the full story to better understand the reality of this sham society!” It’s Himiko’s turn to do the ignoring, having already heard this type of tirade from her uncle a dozen times. He sees her tuning him out and waves the newspaper around to test her attentiveness, “Are you even paying attention to me?!”

“Yes, Uncle Chizome, I’m paying..” Himiko’s absentminded response fades off when she sees an image on the newspaper that she hadn’t noticed before. She takes a small step forwards to look at it better. Atop a plane while his arms are straining to support the aircraft's wings with webs, is a boy wearing skin tight spandex that defines the muscles he’s using to do so. Himiko runs her tongue along the pointed tips of her teeth. “I’m paying a whole lotta attention”, she snatches the tabloid away from her uncle to look at it more closely. Being more of a gal that prefers pretty pictures over paragraph walls, Himiko only briefly skims the story to learn about the boy in the photo. When she discovers he’s a vigilante and not a licensed hero, her intrigue only increases. The girl begins to blush with excitement. It’s been a while since she’s had a celebrity crush and it’s not too often that someone can win her affection when wearing a mask, but this appears to be a special case.

Chizome takes the newspaper back from his niece while she’s distracted with her fantasization of the spider themed vigilante. It’s then that he sees the article too. “Another thrill seeker”, he grumbles his first impression of Spider-Man aloud. “But not worth my time”, and sets the tabloid aside without so much as a second thought to the unlicensed hero. Chizome subconsciously picks at the exposed olfactory nerve where his nose was caved in by a past encounter with vigilantes. The flat but marred surface flares with his nostrils. He hopes to avoid sustaining such an injury again and believes the fakes under the public eye will be more thoughtful towards pulling their punches. Cornering someone who may not be so concerned about their reputation could prove a riskier feat. Chizome knows his limits; he can reach into cracks and crevices to pull out the weeds but this metaphor also means being aware of thorns and what types of plants he’s dealing with before derooting them.

Himiko hurriedly skirts around the table, a blonde blur before she scoots out a chair and plops into it. “Let’s not be so hasty, Uncle Chizome!” She shoves the newspaper back into his hands so that he can have another look at the article about Spider-Man. “It might be a good idea to get ahead of this one before he gets popularized”, a twinkle sheens from her irises when the girl tries convincing him by transforming her cat eyes to pleading puppy eyes, “The least we can do is have a looksie at him to see what he’s all about!” She bats her lashes with a couple of blinks for an added cuteness factor. Himiko even juts out and wobbles her lower lip. The whole act is completed by a teeter and then a tilt with her head so that it leans sideways.

Chizome bends his neck, a look of bewilderment crossing his facial features. His stare shifts and becomes a skeptical one, suspicion focusing into a sharp and thin line as his eyes narrow. He spends what seems like an eternity studying the strange behavior of his niece, occasionally cross referencing with the newspaper in an attempt to make a connection, before settling on an outcome while making a slow shift in his seat to stand up. Another moment passes where he contemplates Himiko’s begging before he finally opens his mouth to formulate a response based on what he’s gathered. Chizome’s niece eagerly leans forward with anticipation evident on her face. The man sucks in a breath. Then simply says, “No.”

“Hmph!”, Himiko falls against the back of her chair while pouting and crossing her arms under her chest, “You never let me choose who we hunt!” But Chizome is too busy occupying himself with the java bean grinder to be affected by the small fit that she’s throwing behind him. The girl tosses the newspaper aside now that she deems it useless to her cause; it lands on a column about the infamous Hero Hunter claiming another ‘victim’, but she’s not lost in the irony of that coincidence. Her Uncle Chizome who so happens to be the ruthless Hero Hunter will always just be her Uncle Chizome to her. Especially when all he does is deny her of any actual fun hunting while burning himself with the coffee maker.

Chizome blows into the pink mug that Himiko got him for his birthday last year before asking her, “Why are you so interested in this one?” She draws her eyes back down to the newspaper but it’s not of much use to her anymore. When she looks back up at her uncle, he’s drawing a long sip from his coffee cup while waiting on an answer. They make eye contact for a moment and hold that stare as more light shines in through the windows of the kitchen. Himiko can see steam wafting from her uncle’s mug under the glow of the sunbeams. A roasted aroma of bitterness and sweetness makes her wonder if he can smell what he’s drinking despite having a nose job like Voldemort from those weird wizardry American films.

She stifles a snort at her own sense of humor while breaking eye contact with her uncle. “No particular reason”, a slight shrug is all that she has to offer. But a single fang edging out to bite her bottom lip betrays her when she adds, “I just wanna know if this is the kinda spider who’s gonna stick around or not…” Secretly, she hopes that he is. Most vigilantes don’t last very long, living short lived careers before meeting their ends one way or another; sometimes they’re stopped by the law, other times they’ll get in way over their heads with a villain, but most cases tend to be that the vigilantes simply just vanish as suddenly as they appear. Himiko wants to believe Spider-Man stands out from the rest as the type who wants to live his life the way he pleases without the world telling him what’s right or wrong about it, because if so, then he’s more her type than anybody will ever know.

Chizome hums with intrigue, still trying to discern what it is about Spider-Man that’s caught his niece’s eye. He’s completely oblivious to the blush on her face when she flips back to the vigilante’s photo in the newspaper. Instead, he ponders what he’s taught her about his philosophy on heroes and the injustice of licensed pros nowadays, believing that has something to do with her infatuation. At some point, a lot of heroes stopped being selfless. No longer was the word hero associated with someone who saves civilians or stops criminals, but rather, it was reserved for merchandising and commercial marketing with false idols for role models to each generation of children. Vigilantes, on the other hand, are an entirely different breed. One may assume they’re different from the typical hero because of the lack of a license or an agency to promote them. However, Chizome knows better. Vigilantes garner just as much attention by being mysterious and alluring to the public. They tend to be glory hounds and thrill seekers rather than genuine do-gooders. He wonders if his lessons have been paying off and Himiko is starting to wonder if Spider-Man falls under that category of character.

When Chizome rouses himself from his rumination, he has to do a double take upon finding an empty chair at the dining table rather than his niece. He’d been so absorbed in his own thoughts that he never noticed her getting up or leaving the room. Chizome chases after her, finding Himiko heading out the metallic bypass door that she’s slid back open. “Where are you going?”, he tries and fails not to sound accusatory while asking her this question but figures that’s fine since she just got back and has no particular reason to be going out again so soon. The way that his niece flinches when she pauses only confirms he has a valid reason to suspect something is amiss. He holds off on taking another sip of coffee, trying to appear serious and stern despite still holding onto the bright pink mug.

Himiko slowly turns to partially face her uncle, one foot halfway out the door already. Another one of those noncommittable shrugs and a wry grin from the bunned blonde doesn’t help ease Chizome’s concerns. “Just going to add more to my wardrobe”, an ambiguous answer alludes to much more than what she’s saying. She throws up a peace sign that turns into a wave goodbye and then she’s gone before her uncle can protest. He severely doubts she’ll be coming back with anything like the lion vest that she brought home this morning. He highly doubts she’ll be bothering to actually go through trying on clothes at all. He just doesn’t know what the alternative could possibly be for her to be running out so suddenly.

Sighing into his cup before he takes a sip of the now lukewarm beverage inside it, Chizome decides not to dwell on the matter. Himiko has a lot to learn about responsibility but he also knows she has enough power to handle herself just fine. It’s this corrupt hero society that needs to worry about he and her, not the other way around. The man passes by his array of mounted masks and assorted weapons on his way to the center of the room. Then, he squats down to sit on the floor. Chizome crosses his legs and closes his eyes, trying to filter out his mind from the mystery of his niece’s departure.

The Hero Hunter returns to his meditation rather than to the dining table. So he never sees the picture of Spider-Man in the newspaper was cut out with a kitchen knife.

A blue banister carries into the sky, morning moving within another summer day that splashes reflectively against the sea’s surface by just a pinch of gold from the sun’s shimmering arcs. Clouds careen along the brim of it all, mirroring the ocean’s tide of rolling spume, fluffy frothing foam burning a bright white that matches what passes overhead. A cool mist of particles swell to contrast a warm blanket of air, waves creasing over whatever water covers the sandy bedding of the beach. It’s nearly translucent within its tranquility. If not for the remaining litter that needs to be cleared away. Scrap metals, torn tire rubber, and aged appliances like a minifridge are still wedged within the grainy ground. Itsuka Kendo walks along Takoba Beach, still nonetheless pleased with her progress since, at the very least, she doesn’t have to worry about stepping on any hidden glass shards. There’s not quite as much junk piled up anymore. What stood in stacks has diminished to a low amount of garbage groupings. The redhead places her hands on her hips while surveying the shoreline, doing an estimate in her head on how much more work needs to be put into it to fully cleanse its appearance.

Parked so that the loading bed is facing the beach, a white truck waits to haul a pile of trash away. Its owner, a slender blonde, swings the vehicle’s door open to climb out and join Itsuka on the sand. Itsuka smiles at him kindly, a greeting he returns instead of waving. He’s the one who orchestrated this whole community service thing as a training regime in the first place. He’s her mentor; Toshinori Yagi. And despite his sharp angular features defining his hollow cheeks, he can prove pretty capable of doing some heavy lifting himself. “Nice work”, the man takes note of his pupil’s handiwork as he strides toward her, “You’ll be ready for U.A in no time!” The grin on his face shows bright white teeth per his signature smile. It contagiously makes Itsuka reveal a few teeth in her own grin by being within the smile’s sheer vicinity. When drawing close enough, Toshinori places a hand on his protege’s shoulder, giving it a soft squeeze of encouragement while also adding, “But more importantly – You’ll be ready to inherit my quirk.”

Itsuka looks into the sunken eyes of the man before her, beyond the shadowed border and at his righteous blue orbs that radiate as much as the sky or the ocean do. She feels both inspired and intimidated by his stare; which is the same as she feels about inheriting his power. When she was approached by the number one hero – the symbol of peace – she wasn’t expecting him to confide in her about his quirk or to offer it to her. Beneath Toshinori’s baggy shirt is a cicatrix that he received years ago during a battle with what sounds like the most powerful being beside All Might himself. A fated fight between that man named All For One and the quirk that exists to oppose him which had belonged to his brother and got moved mantle to mantle unto All Might resulted in severe scarring. It’s that injury that prevents Toshinori from maintaining his iconic buff form, and what limits him to being All Might for only a few hours a day. As such, Toshinori sought out someone to carry out his legacy. Again, Itsuka is still unbelieving that the world’s greatest hero ended up choosing her.

“Thanks, All Might.. I’ll do my best to make you proud”, the girl feels the weight of such a burden placed upon her shoulders via Toshinori’s touch but that responsibility is one that she’s willing to accept for the sake of the world. She unconsciously clenches her fists, imagining the power that will soon fuse into them to maximize her punches. A breeze brushes against her face and tussles her sunny shade of hair. It’s a moment of predecessor and successor that could be captured on a canvas, backlit as though they’re being painted.

Toshinori gives his successor’s shoulder another soft squeeze before releasing it. “That’s all that I ask”, his smile sparkles while his eyebrowless features upturn to express a genuine joy, “And I know that beyond a doubt – you will!” Itsuka wishes the malnourished man were chubby rather than skinny since that’d make him much more huggable. Forgetting and forgiving that his bones will poke her own ribs, she expresses her gratitude with a warm embrace anyways. “I know that you will…”, Toshinori reaffirms his statement when he sees what it means to her.

Over and behind the man, Itsuka spots a flicker of green. She pauses, pulls back, then sees the source of verdance belongs to a boy’s bushy head of hair. It’s the boy that she remembers meeting not so long ago. Itsuka wracks her brain to recall his name and then flags him down with both a shout and a wave, “Midoriya!” He slows his run to a steady jog before fully stopping. She figures from the way he’s dressed in sweaty clothes that he’s out for a morning exercise the same as her.

“MJ?”, Izuku stalls when he sees the girl that he met not so long ago. It takes him just as long to process her presence as it does to register that she’s waving to him. Stammering and stumbling, Izuku tries to return the gesture a little too hurriedly while heading down onto the beach, “I almost didn’t see you there!” The boy stalls again when he realizes there’s a man present with Itsuka. Minding his manners, he bows to both greet and acknowledge his elder. He nearly chokes on his own inhale of air, “Nor did I notice your father–”

The man coughs in interception with Izuku’s sentence, choking on – blood? – an exhale of stupefaction. He wipes at the corners of his mouth, clearing away a combo of red splatter and red blush. “I’m not Young Kendo’s father..”, Toshinori sheepishly corrects Izuku on the misunderstanding. He avoids eye contact with both of the kids, opting to instead count the grains of sound beneath his feet. The beach is looking mighty beachy today, he thinks, which he also thinks is all thanks to Itsuka clearing away Takoba’s filth – who is not his daughter, just to clarify their relation to one another again.

Itsuka’s cheeks shade a stronger tone of pink, her blush covering her makeup. She’s just as embarrassed by the misconception as her mentor but she handles it a little better than he does. “R- Right! This is just my Sensei; Toshinori Yagi-San!” She presents him with her hands, resisting the urge to enlarge them with her quirk. The flourish could use a little work and so can the way Toshinori holds himself but Izuku doesn’t seem to mind. Itsuka then thinks to add, “He’s the one helping me clean up the beach”, for clarification’s sake.

Toshinori shakes his head side to side, mirroring the movement of a hand he holds up. “I can’t take any of the credit for that, Kendo. I’m merely moving it out. You’re the one doing the real cleaning here”, he humbly gives all that honor to his pupil despite the way it makes her blush shift from pink to red. Rather than embarrass her with more praise, he decides to leave it at that. “Speaking of which – I should be loading the truck bed to get this next batch ready for transfer”, he subtly excuses himself with a thumb thrust over his shoulder in the direction of his vehicle while beginning to back away.

“It was a pleasure meeting you, Yagi-San!” Izuku flashes a smile so bright that Toshinori mistakens the boy’s glow for staring directly into the sun. He has to shield his eyes with the back of his hand. In doing so, he sees within his peripheral vision that Itsuka is doing the same.

“You too, young man” Toshinori lowers his hand when the brightness level on the boy’s smile settings lowers. Then uses that same hand to cover a cough and he excuses himself again, “I’ll give you two some .. privacy” He steps away so that the duo of kids can catch up without an adult looming over them.

Izuku waits a second, noting the significant change in the amount of litter on the beach. “Still training for U.A?”, he offers Itsuka a smaller smile of encouragement when he sees she made a lot of progress. The boy tries not to ogle her body but he can see the physical efforts required to make such a movement have clearly paid off.

Itsuka nods while smiling back. “You know it”, she fans herself until a breeze blows through and eliminates the need for a manual coolant. The wind untangles a few strands of her hair, locks lingering over her forehead. “The time for the Entrance Exam is almost here”, Itsuka brushes them back and out of her face.

Izuku hums before asking, “Nervous?” A second gust of air comes through with the tide, but the breeze has no such luck untangling the boy’s mess of curls when compared to Itsuka’s hair. Even so, the green bush atop his head sways side to side as he tilts his chin down.

“Excited”, Itsuka’s answer is almost immediate. When she takes a second after to mull it over though, she reconsiders her response. “Okay, a little bit nervous too..” The girl shyly sheds a huff of laughter. It feels good to admit to her anxiety. It’s not something she wanted to confide in All Might with since he’s counting on her to pass the exam easily.

“Who wouldn’t be?”, Izuku’s light laughter trails behind Itsuka’s. Applying for a school, any HERO school, let alone the most prestigious top hero school in all of Japan would be expected to be at least a little stress inducing. “You’ll have to let me know how you do”, Izuku finds himself admiring her bravery for persevering through whatever doubts she might have about taking their Entrance Exam.

“Oh! Sure!”, it’s not until Itsuka is fishing her cellphone out of her pocket that he realizes he indirectly expressed his admiration by technically asking to keep in touch. She holds it out for him to take and enter himself as a contact, “I was meaning to get your number anyway!”

Izuku fumbles briefly, but catches the mobile phone out of partial fear of damaging it should it drop and partial spider-like agility. “R- Really?!”, the high pitched squeak he lets out makes him wince before he corrects it by clearing his throat. He winds up applying a false deepness to his voice, “I– I- I, uh, I mean – Really?”, but that doesn’t quite sound right either. He has to fight the urge to facepalm over his own stupidity.

Itsuka hides her giggle by muffling her mouth with her hand, but Izuku can still hear it and he winds up turning a shade of red as a result. As if things can’t get any worse, “Yeah”, the redhead feigns her own deep masculine tone to mockingly tease him, “Really!” She sees his blush somehow get even redder as blood rushes to his face so she fortunately decides to show mercy after that, “You seem nice and I thought it’d be cool to hangout with you some time.”

Little does she know that’s just as bad, “H- Hangout?!”, the boy’s ears emitting steam as his head spins. Izuku can hardly process any of what the girl is saying, his mind in a complete utter daze. Incoherently, he makes an attempt to say something. Anything. He somehow manages to ask, “W- When?”

The suddenness of that question shocks the girl. She glances up and then down, left and then right. “Well… I mean…”, Itsuka timidly suggests the first thing that comes to her mind, “I have a karate class tonight.. If you, maybe, I dunno.. Wanna come by that?” She nervously nibbles her bottom lip, sneaking a glance at the boy as she waits for his answer.

But Izuku is too stunned by another revelation about the girl’s abilities to answer right away. “You do karate?!”, his jaw unhinges to express his audible awe. It makes sense when he thinks about it; a hero requires a combat prowess of some type. He just never considered learning any fighting styles of his own, thanks to his trusty Spider-Sense aiding his agility like a reliable crutch to lean on.

Itsuka opens her mouth to respond, but before she can utter a single syllable, the wail of police sirens interject. The source of them collectively come by in a flash of red and blue lights mounted to three cruisers. Izuku pivots to track the trajectory of where they’re headed while Itsuka turns her neck to also watch. She’s somewhat startled but shakes the interruption off before turning to face Izuku again in order to answer him.

Except, what she sees when she does is that he’s taking long strides backwards from her. “I’ll, uh – I just remembered I have to be somewhere”, his hands fidget worse than his eyes as they avoid meeting Itsuka’a gaze. He eventually gives up and throws them up in the air before he turns to resume the run he had arrived at Takoba with. “Text me the details about that karate class though, please!”

Oddly, what Itsuka finds the strangest about that whole abrupt farewell is that he’s running in the opposite direction that he had been headed in when she flagged him down. He’s running the same way that the police cars went. Her eyebrows are up and her heart plummets down. The waves crashing behind her have gotten rougher.

“I think you scared him off”, Toshinori approaches his successor from the side with an expression that crosses sympathy with amusem*nt. He hasn’t seen anybody flee a scene like that aside from villains when they’re confronted by him as All Might; he knows better than to share that tidbit of information with Itsuka though.

Itsuka heaves out a long and heavy groan. “Gee.. Thanks for the vote of confidence, All Might..” She turns on her heel as best as she can in the sand, grateful for the traction it gives her at the very least, and slightly storms off from her mentor to express her disdain. Toshinori received the same kind of ponytail hair flip she leaves him with enough times from his own sensei that he fully understands the meaning of his mistake.

Toshinori sweatdrops, such a reaction the best display of his nervousness upon witnessing Itsuka hoist an oven from the beach’s sandy bedding without having even received his quirk yet. He mutters under his breath in a quivering voice, “Why did you have to run off like that, kid?”

Turned sideways, an armored vehicle takes up two lanes of traffic. The bulletproof backdoors lay opposite of the truck, completely torn from their hinges and battered. When Izuku donning his persona’s suit as Spider-Man arrives, the vigilante having swung ahead of the police en route to the crash site, he lands on the side that opposes honking horns from angry drivers. He holds out an extended arm with his palm open as though that’ll do anything to placate them, throwing the waiting cars a quick glance. Then Spider-Man cautiously steps forward, redirecting his sights on the crashed cash cargo carrier. He tentatively tests his Spider-Sense, waiting for a warning in case something dangerous waits around the corner. Primed, ready, fully prepared – Spider-Man moves around the blindspot and confronts what’s on the other side.

It’s like looking in a mirror. Just without the aluminum polished glass. Reflected in the lenses of his mask is a near replica of the web patterned face covering. Two Spider-Mans stare at one another as though they’re Deer-Men instead and they’ve now each been caught in headlights. After a moment of what might be an existential crisis, Izuku shakes off his stupor and reminds himself that he’s the ONE and ONLY Spider-Man. He points at the imposter – surprised to see his impersonator matching the gesture when he does – and simultaneously shouts with the fake, “Hey!”

“Don’t you ‘hey’ me!”, Izuku doubles down with a shake of his extended finger, “And don’t point at me either!”

“You pointed first!”, Izuku is as amazed as he is horrified to hear a voice so similar to his own coming from the copycat. The mannerisms match him too, both Spider-Men lowering their aimed fingers.

“Touche…” Izuku settles for a draw when it comes to that debate. There’s a much more pressing matter to resolve. He crosses his arms over the spider emblazoned on his chest while standing a little straighter, “Who are you?”, there’s a tone of toughness he hopes gets conveyed to his doppleganger that will deter any sorta funny business.

And he finds what the impersonator does next anything but funny. The red and blue costumed character juts a finger at the uncovered spider emblem on their chest whilst claiming, “I’m Spider-Man!”

“No, no. You can’t be Spider-Man…”, Izuku shakes his head in denial before replicating the imposter’s gesture of aiming his thumb at his sternum’s spider symbol, “I’M Spider-Man!” After a moment, he jokingly throws around a careless wave and offers, “But if you play real nice – maybe you can have a turn tomorrow. Okay?”

“Whoa!”, the telltale tingle of Izuku’s Spider-Sense saves him from getting a gash across his chest. A miraculous maneuver that vaults the boy over a nearby streetlight for him to then use as a perch makes for a daring dodge. “Crossing out the spider on my chest won’t change anything”, Izuku tentatively touches the spot that was nearly torn into before pointing with that same hand at his attacker, “Especially since you got the part wrong about Spider-Man using knives!” He takes a second to wonder whether or not a boxcutter counts as a knife before deciding that distinctive definition doesn’t matter.

“Cool moves”, the fake Spider-Man spins their pointy weapon in their hand before striking a pose, “But I’ve got some of my own!” No Spider-Sense is necessary to know what comes next is another attack from the poser. A flying kick with their leg extended and the knife wielding arm co*cked back comes at Izuku with both an agility & grace that nearly makes him believe he actually is fighting himself.

However, a REAL Spider-Man would be able to sense the counter attack that Izuku meets his impersonator with. Switching his pointing posture to a hand sign that triggers a line of webbing from his web shooters, he wraps the weapon wielding fraud of himself in sticky white goo. Both the imposter’s arm and leg go down, bound by gossamer. Then the rest of Izuku’s doppleganger drops; a full body thump onto the ground leaves the faker wriggling around for a while. ‘A while’ is the key term here. Adapting to their entanglement to free themself, Spider-Man’s masquerader uses their boxcutter to cut themself loose.

“Wanna show me what else you’ve got?”, Izuku taunts his evil twin with a beckoning body motion. He even hops down from his perch to make it easier on them. When his goading doesn’t result in an immediate assault, Izuku takes it a step further by producing his DSLR to snap a picture. “Or would you rather show the camera?”, the shutter clicks when he takes another photo to follow the first.

THAT earns a reaction. Izuku swerves from a sudden stretched out leg aiming for his head. Such an abrupt attack and dodge makes him accidentally drop his camera. Instinctually wanting to save it from getting damaged, the boy backflips to grab it underhanded and pivots backwards from a second sweeping kick. “You break it and you buy it!”, he shouldn’t expect his assailant to abide by that rule but he feels the need to say it anyways. Especially when he needs to raise his camera above his head to keep it from getting caught in the crossfire of a swipe from the aggressor’s razor knife.

“I wonder”, Spider-Man’s imitator strikes straight at the original’s torso as though jousting with something bigger than a boxcutter, “Do you care about your life as much as you do that camera?” Spider-Man’s evasion may or may not answer that question but it was more rhetorical and intended to lead into the next inquiry, “What about other people’s lives?” The boxcutter repositions itself to a stabbing state and its wielder redirects themself to face the traffic. “Which do you prioritize?”, sham Spidey makes a mad dash for the cars.

“Is ‘all of the above’ an answer on this test?” Izuku spins a set of two strings from each of the nozzles hidden beneath his web patterned gloves. One web line catches the downward blade while the other snags the blade’s holder by the crook of their elbow. Showing some of his spider strength to demonstrate he’s the true Spider-Man, Izuku gives both wires of webbing a good tug to pull his impersonator back from the traffic being targeted.

The fraud falls on their backside, boxcutter clattering on the same cement ground. “Sure”, they shrug off the thwarted effort to attack civilians and redirect their aggression back onto Izuku, “That’s fine by me..” Somehow, that sends a shudder through the vigilante. His imposter could be SpiderS-Man, a feeling of creepy crawliness careening over Izuku’s skin and making him check it for arachnids.

Izuku shakes the feeling off, returning to the fight as he squats to duck below an incoming attack, his doppleganger having produced a spare boxcutter to replace the one they lost. He bends back and semi flips to dodge a secondary swipe of the blade. Before those slashes can get relentless, he puts a stop to the assault by smacking the assailint’s wrist with just enough force to make them drop the weapon.

“How am I supposed to see what you look like covered in blood if you won’t let me cut you?!” A sudden screech full of strife comes from the fraudulent Spider-Man; the original Spidey would be lying if he doesn't admit the shout scares him.

“That’s a good question”, Izuku hopes the only thing bleeding out from him will be sarcasm as he gives his crazy copycat a quick riposte, “Cause’ I don’t think you can!”

The bloodthirsty boxcutter enthusiast must take offense to that, since they then suddenly gain an ability to teleport with their attacks. Or maybe it’s invisibility. Izuku would contemplate some theories in his analysis notebook about spiders having camouflage capabilities and how that can potentially be a part of his quirk or this poser’s — if not for his Spider-Sense filling his mind instead. The warning doesn’t prepare him for a sudden tackle into his abdomen though. His impersonator abruptly appears in front of him. Or rather, on top of him. Being straddled by a variant of himself is strange to say the least.

“Come on!”, Spider-Man’s lookalike leans in so close that the warmth of their breath can be felt through their mask; Izuku turns his head away, trying to avoid it like a cough. “Just lemme have a little taste~” The sing-song tone of the thirsty bloodseeker makes him look back though, albeit only because he has to make sure he heard that right. His expressive eye lens expand to convey a combination of shock and fear.

It’s not hard to imagine fangs under his impersonator’s mask. Fighting a vampire would be pretty freaky. As freaky as the freak themself. He then imagines a vampire with his ability to stick to surfaces – like an octopus, suction cups on their hands to leach plasma or something – somehow, that’s worse than the thought of fangs sinking into his neck. Eager to get the potential vampire off of him, Izuku somersaults to gain the advantage in their grounded struggle. The short grapple reverses their roles so that he’s the one on top. “I eat a lot of Katsudon. Use your imagination!” There might not be anyone able to vouch for the ‘you are what you eat’ claimology, but Izuku would like to keep it that way by keeping his copycat – potential cannibal – pinned down.

Beneath him, his doppleganger copies his countenance next, the white eyes on their mask widening with their own shocked reaction due to having the tables turned on them. The lenses then narrow into suggestive slithers. That coupled with some squirming makes Izuku pretty uncomfortable. Especially when the secondary Spider-Man asks with a slightly seductive edge to their tone, “Is this flirting?” Izuku makes the mistake of allowing that to negate his guard via nerves and he winds up being on the bottom again – which turns out to be a submissive state he isn’t all that thrilled about when the Spider-Man on top then says, “Cause’ I think we’d make a really cute couple.”

“Talk about taking self-love a little too seriously…” Izuku can’t help but make a wisecrack under the pressure. Though it does help to ease that tension a little, by turning the situation into a joke of sorts. Leading with that so he can stay calm and reclaim the advantage, he follows up with another quip while reaching under himself to distribute his camera. “But sure! Why don’t we commemorate the moment with a photo?” The flash goes off directly in his strange stalker’s face. Since they aren’t the real Spider-Man, they lack the Spider-Sense to prepare for it, and that allows the genuine article to throw the phony off.

Separated by a few paces between them, each of them standing on their feet again, they square off with one another. It’s the fraudulent Spider-Man that makes the first move. The real Spider-Man just isn’t expecting that move to be backwards and away from him instead of forwards. “You can have that to remember me by”, Izuku’s impersonator indicates towards the camera so he knows the comment is in reference to the picture just taken. “Until next time…”, seeing his persona as Spider-Man blow himself a kiss is something he’s glad he didn’t get a photo of when coupled with the others. That being said, he can’t just let the crazed version of himself turn tail and escape. Which is exactly what his evil twin is trying to do.

Izuku thrusts out his hand, making the same hand sign he always does when spinning a web. Except, this time, nothing comes out. The nozzle of his web shooter fizzles with a soft spray of leftover residue from an otherwise empty cartilage of webbing solution. “Ah! Come on! Not now!”, he wishes he could curse himself for giving his yen prize to his mom instead of using it for the chemicals he needs to make more fluid but knows that he made the right call back then even if it means losing a criminal now. Izuku lets his hand drop to his side, slapping his waist out of frustration. “Just great…”

The department’s air conditioning is out today. Sweat seeps out from beneath the hair matted to the detective’s forehead; there’s no wiping his face dry when the back of his hand is just as damp. Hung over the back of his desk chair is his conventional overcoat, his office way too stuffy to be wearing a jacket. That’s not all the clothing he’s shed either; he’d tugged and tossed his tie a while ago. Tsukauchi also tried opening the room’s window to filter some air in but the summer weather has been so unmerciful in its heatwave that there hasn’t been a single cooling spell to compensate. He’s been seriously considering buying a fan, the department’s budget be damned. Except, having to dig splinters out of his hands every week makes him reconsider, since replacing his desk would be a wiser purchase. Then there’s, not to mention, the dinged up filing cabinet behind him. Nothing has been spared from being worn down around here. Including him.

Outside the doorway of his office, one of the new hires runs by to deliver something to the detective one room over. Tsukauchi feels some empathy for his co-workers, reminded that he isn’t the only one doing duties under these conditions. Whoever isn’t caught in crossfire within the field is stuck here with the machine gun fire of tapping keyboards. A noisy ambience that’s missing the hum of a coolant system can make it hard to do anything other than sigh or groan. Especially when the fridge in the breakroom isn’t stocked and the temperature is too hot for coffee; Tsukauchi could never go for that iced crap, a few of his colleagues suggesting he try drinking java cold, but he can imagine the ice melting into the drink anyway that it wouldn’t really matter much. More keyboard clacking, now significantly louder for whatever reason, pulls the detective out of his thoughts.

When Tsukauchi hears his office door creak closed and slam shut, he’s at least grateful for a buffer that drowns out the rapid clicking of computer keyboards. What he’s less than appreciative of, however, is the sudden intrusion. He half expects to see Tamakawa back from vacation already. What he finds instead is an unexpected visit from a familiar underground hero. “Eraserhead?!”, Tsukauchi is just as shocked by the man’s state of attire as he is by the man’s presence; how the underground hero can wear a baggy bodysuit that may as well be a snuggie sweater while in this heat is beyond him.

“Detective”, Eraserhead returns Tsukauchi’s nonplussed greeting with a curt nod before throwing a glance back in the direction of the office’s entrance. The man’s mouth is set in a straight and solid line; he has something he wants to say but is keeping withheld.

“We won’t have any interruptions or eavesdroppers”, Tsukauchi tries to placate the underground hero’s concerns while partially hoping to quell some of his own nerves. For Eraserhead to be cautious, there must be something serious afoot. The detective leans forward to ask, “What seems to be the problem?”

Eraserhead remains silent a second longer, eyes still set on the door, before he finally relents. “You asked me to work the Spider-Man case…”, the slow start to the presented topic makes Tsukauchi raise a singular eyebrow, “...Something has come up…” Eraserhead has practice prolonging his blinks, so it comes as no surprise that he wins the staring contest when his gaze meets Tsukauchi’s. “I wanted you to know before word got out to any kind of press”, the underground hero gives the office door one final check before saying, “Spider-Man robbed a transport truck.”

Tsukauchi raises his second eyebrow along with the rest of his body as he shoots up from his seat. The chair topples over behind him but he pays it no mind. Having heard what Eraserhead just told him, his head is much too jobbled to care about that. All he can manage to reply with is what anyone would have to say about a vigilante switching up their M.O. Tsukauchi releases a flabbergasted shout of his inner turmoil, “What?!”

Not a single one of the pictures that Izuku developed shows two Spider-Men together at the same time. If anything, the photos are highly incriminating towards his alter ego; there’s a shot where he or his imposter is literally standing in front of the transfer truck. Izuku has half a mind to discard them all in order to spare himself from self sabotage. There’s a trash bin right beside him where he can throw them out. But then he thinks about his mom and all the bills. And he is already at Juko News that it’d be a wasted trip for him to just turn around and leave. Izuku takes a big breath and then breathes all that hot air out as one great big sigh. The boy hands his shots over, deeming the pros of doing so greater than the cons.

Tokuda thumbs through the collection of photos, a humored hum escaping his mouth despite his lips remaining firmly pressed together. Each picture has a crazy composition that calls for a tripod but one in particular really gives him pause. It’s slightly blurred but so close up that it’s still considerably impressive. Tokuda pulls it from the stack and turns it over for Izuku to see. With a co*cked eye, he asks the young freelance photographer, “How did you get this one?”

“Um”, Izuku lulls when he recognizes the picture as the one he took while pinned under his impersonator; the framing aside, it’s right up in their masked face. He swallows some spit before suggesting anything other than having been up close and personal, “Long lens?”

The look thrown at him is amicably suspicious. But Tokuda doesn’t press the matter. “Considering you’re the only one to get coverage on this story, I’d say the quality of the shots don’t matter so much this time as does their existence in general”, he instead sets the pictures aside to talk about what’s going to be written on the check that he’s grabbing from his desk drawer, “I’ll say these are worth about half the amount as last time – you should get acquainted with that long lens of yours or do away with it and go back to the zoom function.”

Izuku’s cheeks color crimson but he manages to diminish the blush by shaking the blood flow back into order with a nod. “I’m still getting a handle on this whole, um, ‘photography’ thing..” He scratches at his freckles as though they itch while awkwardly angling his mouth to smile, “Thank you for your patience and consideration while I figure it out though.”

Tokuda casts aside the boy’s bailiwick with a wave of his free hand while writing out the check with his other. “There’s a learning curve for all beginners, kid! Nothing’s better than practical experience”, the man recalls when he himself first had to figure out how his quirk worked when snapping pictures and laughs at the memories; his mom made scrapbooks preserving spontaneous unchoreographed early photos that he would take when startled or excited, but he doesn’t quite feel so generous to share that with his young apprentice.

Izuku is about to respond when his phone lets out an interjectory chime. The boy apologizes before checking what the notification is all about. He fully expects to see a text message from his mom. What he finds instead makes him sit up a little straighter in his seat. It’s a text from a girl, but not his mother. It’s a message from Itsuka. It’s straightforward to let him know the location and time for their date – he wonders if it’s a date and not just a friendly ‘hangout’ like she phrased it – but that doesn’t matter because it’s a TEXT from a GIRL who isn’t his mom.

“Girlfriend?”, Tokuda’s voice makes Izuku jump a little in his chair. The boy double bounces when he registers what the man actually said. A tingling sensation runs through Izuku that is distinctively different from his Spider-Sense but still puts him on edge. He squirms in his seat while sweating; he tugs at the neck of his shirt collar in an effort to let some air under the warm material.

“N- Not exactly”, Izuku nervously laughs the question off. His eyes flit from Tokuda to his phone as though he’s paranoid that it’ll suddenly dial Itsuka and she’ll be able to hear everything. When Izuku glances back up and sees Tokuda fishing out yen to pass over, he becomes anxious for a different reason. “Wh- What are you doing?!”, he tries pushing it away.

“You need extra money for your date, don’t you?” Tokuda stops Izuku with a raised hand before again attempting to pass over a wad of yen. The man’s glasses slip a little as he eyes the photos taken of Spider-Man presumably robbing a transfer truck. “You can always say you were asked to be paid in advance”, he forces Izuku to take the yen by pressing it into the boy’s hands.

“B- But..”, Izuku falters and fails to communicate as he looks down at the money in hands. He bends over into a bow as best as he can while seated to say, “Thank you!”, and then sits back up to look Tokuda in the eyes to say it again, “Thank you.”

Tokuda passes Izuku the check on top of what’s already been given, yet again showing no real dwelling on the courtesy of charity. All he has to say in regards to it is a simple statement that only makes Izuku all the more a fumbling mess of nerves, “I was young once too.’

Shurikens strike several spots framing Endeavor’s face on a hung up poster of the number two ranked hero. The pointed throwing stars stick true to their target, half embedded through paper and wood. Chizome allows his mouth to morph into a lopsided grin as his ruby red eyes admire his own handiwork. A little self embellishment to his practice makes him eager to apply those efforts to a real scenario. Though that will have to wait. Especially since he can hear his niece returning from her outing, via the usual squeak and squeal of the building’s bypass door sliding open. Chizome drops the second set of shurikens he had ready in favor of welcoming Himiko home. Especially since the only thing that’s been on his mind since she left has been whether or not she’d be returning to him at all.

Himiko hears her uncle’s affectionate call over the grind of the entrance door sliding shut, “Chameleon”, except that there’s a touch of fridgedness to his tone this time. She flashes him her signature grin, going in for a hug; whether or not the effort to quell her caretaker’s attitude will deem futile is yet to be known. Until he pulls away from her embrace with a deep seeded frown. Her smile wavers, now knowing it’s not worth the effort. “Where have you been?”, he asks.

She twists a stray strand of blonde hair on a finger, a self-effacing act that can only stall for so long while she thinks up a half truthed white lie. “Doing a little reconnaissance”, she doesn’t miss the twitch of disapproval within her uncle’s expression, “You did teach me that we need to learn our prey’s habits before hunting them!” The defense doesn’t change very much but she does get some self induced pleasure out of turning the tables on his lessons.

“I also told you not to disobey my orders”, Chizome drags a calloused hand up over his forehead and into his unruly tanglement of hair. He might not have graduated from U.A or any other distinguished schools but he doesn’t need a degree or a doctorate to figure out his niece is referring to Spider-Man and not any of the targets they’re supposed to be tracking. “Looking at problems not worth our trouble only breeds trouble”, he keeps his hand on his scalp so that he can attempt to soothe an oncoming migraine with some soft squeezes.

Himiko’s grin grows back into an upturned genuinity, as though he said something to spur that on and encourage her rather than the opposite. When the girl produces a new print of today’s tabloid, this one covering a story on Spider-Man supposedly stealing from an armored transport truck, Chizome can understand why. He slowly takes the newspaper from her to look at it more closely. “And what if Spider-Man is a fake like all the others?”, she prompts him to reconsider his evaluation from that morning.

“Then..”, the paper crumples at the seams when his grip on it tightens, “Perhaps this ‘Spider-Man’ IS worth hunting...”

Izuku, again garbed in his red and blue spider themed spandex, swoops around a tall building in a wide arc. The web line anchored to the top of it stretches but holds throughout his entire swing. When the string goes taut and reaches the extent of its bending length, the airborne boy releases the irregular rope and fires a second strand from his other arm. This webbing wire wraps around a flagpole and helps him with a descent rather than a hoisted oscillation. Wind brushes past his flying form until he levels out a few yards above the streets below. It’s about here that he’d let out a holler of exhilaration; Izuku refrains from doing so, considering this swing is about staying out of sight and unnoticed. There’s people beneath him that he’d rather not alert with his arrival. The spider themed outfit isn’t just for show, the vigilante’s spider powers pay tribute to their owner’s costume when he sticks the landing of a crouch upon a glass paned wall; Izuku’s fingers and feet adhere to the surface once making contact.

Tucked between where the top and bottom half of his outfit meet, he brandishes his camera from the waistline belt. He figures he may as well snap a few shots while he’s here. The boy plants a patch of webbing where the DSLR can sit nice and snug. Then he returns his focus to the setting down below. The police have the street and the transfer truck itself cordoned off. Yellow tape rustles slightly when a warm breeze blows through. Cops are on standby, the guards fanning themselves with their hats. Izuku starts second guessing his decision to return to the scene of the crime from this morning; whilst he saw a bunch of flicks and read tons of manga to suggest it’s a good idea to scavenge some evidence in such a way, he’s only now realizing he got the idea from movies and manga. Plus there’s the matter of cramming this stealthy search in before his date/hangout, his phone vibrating from the same spot where he kept his camera.

But then again, if gathering SOME bit of evidence to prove his innocence is a plausibility, then he also figures the chance might be one worth taking. Izuku takes a moment to text back Itsuka and then he’s gracefully crawling at an inverted angle to get closer to the crash site. It shocks the boy how nobody really bothers to look up or glance behind them, the guards paying him no mind when he bounds over the police line wrapping around the scene. While lax security should be a cause for concern under ordinary circ*mstances – Izuku is grateful for such a lazy system this time around, if only for the reason that it works in his favor. That doesn’t mean he wants to spend too much time lingering around either though. The odds of being caught increase the longer he stays. So Izuku gets to work, searching the scene for anything out of the ordinary with a haste akin to the way he looked for Screwball’s bombs.

The spider themed vigilante takes to the ceiling of the truck, clinging to its roof as a vantage point to look around. He hums when surveying the bags of yen still stashed away. It’s not like he counted it all himself to know whether it’s all still there, and there are good odds he prevented any theft with his involvement, but he still notes none of the bags appear to be disturbed. Izuku can’t possibly think of a reason why anyone would want to ruin his friendly neighborhood good name but something tells him the heist was never really a heist. The red and blue figure twists so that his arms go where his legs were, making a complete turn with his body. From there, he sees a different perspective. The doors that had been torn off have some sort of residue on them. The vigilante’s eye lens narrow when he sets his sights on what looks similar to his webbing fluid. Except, when Izuku hops down to inspect the goop, he can tell that the properties of it aren’t exactly the same as his.

The substance squishes and slides between his gloves fingers rather than sticking. “Hmm… Interesting…”, he wipes the strange stuff off his hand but chalks it up as his first real clue to catching whoever cares to frame him. Since he doesn’t recall his copycat spinning a web, he figures the goop is something to do with the imposter’s none spider related quirk.

But before Spider-Man can mull over that thought any further, his mind is filled with something else. An incredibly loud ringing that doesn’t belong to his cellphone. Spider-Sense! “Whoa!”, the vigilante narrowly avoids a throwing knife’s jagged edge by swerving his neck to the side right in the knick of time. “That was a close shave-”, Spider-Man snatches the blade’s handle out of mid air while turning to face its owner, “-and I’ve not even grown any facial hair yet!”

A malformed mashup of tattered cloth hides in the shadows of an alleyway, red occasionally flickering within the darkness. Among that crimson coating are a set of equally blood shaded eyes. Spider-Man pivots, taking his gaze off the eerie figure, only when he feels another tingling sensation within the base of his skull. Whilst this internal alarm signal isn’t as dire as the first warning, it still warrants a look behind himself. And what he finds is the set of cops on guard duty running towards him; they must’ve overheard his sudden scuffle and came to investigate.

“Spider-Man! Hold it right there!”, one of the two officers shouts at him to surrender. The other reaches for their belt to grab – A taser? Mace? A gun?! Spider-Man doesn’t wait to find out which. Instead of holding it right where he is or surrendering, he does the opposite and springs into action.

Gray goop, this kind very much so Spider-Man’s webbing, binds the two policemen. “You two just stick around for a while and wait for me to wrap this other guy up, yeah?” The cops topple over while writhing in their gossamer cocoons.

And then Spider-Man’s attention returns to his attacker. “Returning to the scene of your crime and now assaulting two policemen”, the strange as much as he is suspicious of a man steps out from the shadows to judge his opponent with a critical gaze, “It seems the newspaper was right about you after all…”

Spider-Man returns the scathing stare with one of his own. Though definitely intimidating, his newfound enemy looks like a hobo that just rolled out of their cardboard bed. Not to mention the bad posture that the supposed bad guy has. “Don’t believe everything you read, hunchback of notre dumb-and-dumber!” He gestures with a finger at the creepy character and then at himself with his thumb, “I’m being set up!”

When Spider-Man spins a web to subdue the knife thrower, he is surprised to see the man has a backup blade stashed away in his hanging cloth that’s used to slice the string before it can stick. “Do you expect me to believe you?!”, the slouching stranger straightens themself just enough to possess a powerful posture while pointing the tip of their knife at Spider-Man.

“I was holding out a vague hope for it – yeah”, retorts Spider-Man. He speaks with a flippancy that he doesn’t feel, but then again, the last thing he wants is for a villain to know just how terrified he is. It’s like this guy is exuding bloodlust now. And yet, the flippancy somehow comes naturally to him. As if the costume by providing an onymity somehow gives rise to a devil-may-care attitude that precludes caring about annoying anyone.

“Hope”, the man draws a katana to replace his dagger and assumes a stance, “-is one thing you do not have.”

Izuku is used to his Spider-Sense typically being a notification of threats behind him rather than directly in front of him. So the fact that his natural warning system is telling him to avoid the stabby stick being swung at him is more than enough of a reason to be extra cautious. He figures the blade is tipped with poison or something, twisting his torso to avoid any means of contact with it. “Someone’s a fan of samurai”, Spider-Man bounds above a slash and a swipe of the katana with ease, “Bro’s got a whole sword for his weapon of choice.”

“You’re quite the pest…” The swordsman sneers in a way that would suggest his nose would shrivel if he had one. Izuku pauses, lenses of his mask widening with his eyes when he realizes the guy he’s fighting has no nose.

“Well, Voldemort, I AM part spider!” Izuku swivels so that he falls backwards into a one palmed handstand, simultaneously dodging a hacking motion of sir stabs alot’s sword. That same hand presses off the ground so that Spider-Man soars some more. The vigilante lands in a poised position that crosses crouching with squating.

Spider-Man’s opponent becomes a blur, red scarf streaking behind them. Fortunately for Spider-Man, spiders can move pretty fast when they need to, which means he can match his enemy’s speed well enough. Three swings of the swordsman’s katana whizz through the air rather than slicing through the spider powered boy, agile athletics from Spider-Man making it look easy to dodge such savage swipes of a blade.

“You’re lucky that thing isn’t a baseball bat”, Izuku ultimately decides the katana is less dangerous out of his enemy’s hands even if it is simple enough to evade and yanks it from the man’s grip via web line, “You’d be out of the game by now otherwise!”

“So then this is all just a game to you?” The noseless menace curls his upper lip into another one of those overly exaggerated sneers he keeps making to compensate for the lack of his schnoz. Suddenly there’s shurikens spiraling in a sideways spin, thrown from each of the man’s outstretched hands.

“If it is-”, Spider-Man ducks down so that the throwing stars pass him by overhead, “-then I’m winning!” When a second set of shurikens fly at his masked face, he cartwheels backwards into a bounce off his heels to dodge those too.

“Children playing hero often require a dose of reality…” Izuku’s Spider-Sense tells him his opponent has something hidden up their sleeve. Literally. The man is – apparently – a living arsenal of weapons. Two sais slip out from either side of the terrible threat’s bandaged arms, falling into his hands where he spins them in preparation for their usage.

Izuku performs a gesture just short of facepalming, his hand pressing into his forehead as he conveys disbelief over what he’s seeing. “Dude, seriously, how do you get through the airport with all those things on you?”

Dual three pronged daggers dart down in an attempt to stab the young hero hopeful. Again, the vigilante veers from the blades; he may be overly reliant on the combo of his Spider-Sense and spider agility, but it hasn’t failed him yet. Spider-Man sways away from the dragging of the sais back up from the ground to his chin, all the additional pointed ends of these special stabbers coming dangerously close to the jawbone. Such a close brush makes him wish for some distance to be made. A tap of his front foot to his attacker’s stomach does the trick, only a small portion of his strength is needed to apply a decent amount of space.

Once he puts a gap between himself and his opponent, Spider-Man dares to ask the REAL question that’s been bothering him since he started their fight. “Really though – Who are you?!” He silently thinks it’d help the villain’s branding as much as it does a hero’s if they were to wear an insignia on their chest like he does.

Each of the villain’s sai stop swinging at the vigilante and instead swivel with a spin’s flourish to formulate an X shape, a shrill pang from the collision of pointed steel reverberating from them when they collide. “A Stain on what you call this ‘hero society’ and a hunter of everyone who contributes to it”, those words are spoken with such conviction that Izuku isn’t sure whether he’s imagining a thick Russian accent in the man’s voice or if it’s that much of an aggravated growl.

“You’re…”, the witty retort that had been on the tip of Izuku’s tongue gets swallowed down and a quivering tone comes up from his throat instead, “..You’re The Hero Hunter?” If his Spider-Sense had been screaming at him before, then it’s yelling right in his ear now. Registering just exactly what kinda threat it is he’s being warned about is all the more reason to trust his body’s reflexes.

An extension of wood whizzes past the boy as he turns his upper torso to dodge it. Attached to the end of the long stick is a sharpened stone, a stone sharp enough that it becomes embedded in the wall behind Izuku. “Was that a spear?!”, Izuku does a double take between what just flew by him and the villain that it came from, “Where were you hiding that? Did it materialize out of thin air?!”

The two turn clockwise to the transport truck covered with police tape. Below beams that support an unfinished tower, the building still under construction, they shift and move their fight into the site. It’s there that a spectator follows along, bounding from support structure to support structure. A girl with her blonde hair tied into two messy buns grins with pointed teeth, a blush from the blood in her face a causation from the desire to see some blood spilt. She appears as though she just came from school, a uniform’s skirt and Kansai collar bristling with the summer breeze; she carries a backpack with her by one sling.

Skipping on such slim surfaces leads to a slight slip, the girl dropping her backpack. The pouch, unzipped, opens by the frontal flap. A red and blue suit with web patterning comes spilling out. “No!”, the blonde reaches to grab the uniform and her bag before they can fully fall but she winds up tilting over the beam she’s on and drops with it as a result.

Spider-Man hears her shout, the rest of his head turning with his ear. Seeing someone in danger, the young hero hopeful prioritizes her over his battle with The Hero Hunter, and flips himself to become airborne with the girl. A web line latches to a taller support beam and propels him forward so that he can intercept her descent. Spider-Man grabs the girl by her waist and holds her close while he swings to save her within the knick of time.

“Got you!”, he tries not to let the sound of relief bleed into his tone as he assures the girl that she’s safe. He can imagine she’s startled enough that she doesn’t need some vigilante doubting himself; now is one of those times that he wishes he didn’t wear a mask so that he could quell her fear with a smile like All Might does. When he sees the girl is close to his age and pretty though, he decides it may be for the best that he’s covering his face, even if his mask is as red as the blush beneath it anyways.

The blush is more than likely a darker shade of red than his mask though. Especially since the girl is cozying up to him now. She nestles her head into the crook of his neck and leans against his chest, a dainty hand placing itself over the spider emblem there. “My hero”, she caresses his sternum as coquettishly as sultrily as she speaks.

“Uh–”, Izuku’s brain short circuits. Luckily, his Spider-Sense gives it a good rebooting. Izuku glances back, expecting to see Stain chasing after him or a pointy projectile. Imagine his surprise when he feels a sharp sting where his rescuee’s tender touch had previously been. What had been warmth from a palm placed there now blossoms into a burning heat. Probably because the girl he saved is holding a bloody knife – a knife stained with his blood to be specific – she just cut him! “Hey!”, he calculates that they’re close enough to the ground and releases his hold on her.

The blonde girl drops down, landing on her feet with the gracefulness of a cat. Opposing her, Spider-Man releases his second grip, the one he still has on his web line, and also falls to his feet. It doesn’t take a brainiac to deduce what just happened. He sees the backpack behind the girl that emptied its contents; a replica of his costume lays like dirty laundry in the dirt of the construction site. She’s Stain’s partner, confirmed by the knife toss that transfers her weapon to The Hero Hunter.

Stain grabs the bloody blade by its handle, but makes no move to use it. Rather, his eyes narrow into sharper slithers beneath the cloth covering the upper half of his face. He too sees the replica of Spider-Man’s suit. His tongue coils and rolls in his mouth before he clicks it against the roof of his upper jaw. Stain drops the knife bladed end down so that it sinks into the ground.

Both Spider-Man and The Hero Hunter’s accomplice are shocked to see this. “Uncle?!”, Stain’s niece loses her rictus grin when she realizes the man is starting to shuffle towards her rather than the vigilante, “What are you doing?!”

“Quiet”, Stain snaps at the girl in a tone scarier than any of the types he used on Izuku. The boy flinches, feeling sorry for the villain’s niece, even if she’s a villain herself and cut his chest. Stain scoops up the Spider-Man knockoff outfit, lifting it by one hand to shove in his niece’s face. “We will have words about this”, that Russian growl is back briefly, “But not now.”

Spider-Man stays back, gauging the situation with a curious and yet still critical caution. The vigilante steps away ever so slightly when Stain shifts to face him again. He expects his enemy to be glaring but stares into apologetic eyes instead. The Hero Hunter hums, glancing up at the web that dangles overhead and then back down at the one who spun it. There’s some sort of unspoken sentence that hangs heavily in the air. Words with weight. Or maybe that’s still the guy’s insane bloodlust.

Izuku’s Spider-Sense doesn’t warn him in time to prevent what happens next. Stain plucks a pellet from a pouch and throws it down with enough force that it breaks. Black smog envelopes The Hero Hunter and his partner until the dark cloud consumes them completely. Izuku realizes that they’re trying to escape only after the smoke begins to subside. “Hey! Hold it!”, he finally moves from his spot to theirs. But it’s too late. They’ve both already vanished.

Izuku fans the residual fumes from his face while stepping through what’s left of the vapor. The hand he used to wave smoke away comes down to tenderly touch the fresh mark on his sternum. “Ah.. Just great..” On the long list of things to check off that he’s royally screwed up, he can now add needing to somehow stitch up both his suit and self. “How many times am I gonna let these guys get away… ?” Then there’s the matter of, despite being spared because he rescued the bad guy’s niece, Stain’s escape among the other villains he let get away like Screwball. Not to mention the fact that they took the fake suit with them that could have proven his innocence.

Izuku sighs, bitter about what he chalks up as another failure. He’s not so sure there’s anything that can cheer him up at this point. Not even his phone vibrating to notify him of a message from Itsuka. Izuku’s eyes widen under the lens of his mask. Itsuka! She’s reminding him of what he nearly forgot – which is their DATE – he still has a date to get ready for! Izuku checks the time, panicking internally, and maybe a little externally too when he hops from the ground to a construction support beam.

“Phew! I’ll just barely make it!”, he allows his shoulders to sag a bit from the amount of burdens placed upon them when he sees he still has about an hour left before deadline. Though the tension in them remains. And they only raise up again a split second later when he hears fire engines in the distance. The horns and sirens are adding up, coupling together. It’s something big. Izuku struggles with the phone in his hand, unsure of whether he should respond to Itsuka or not, or even how or what it is he’d even say.

“Do I really have to… ?” Izuku grips his cellphone a little tighter, weighing it like an option in his hand. “Rescue services is on the job – it’ll turn out fine – right?”, but he feels a force pulling his other hand upwards so that it becomes fully outstretched in a way that typically means he’s about to spin a web from it. He puts the phone away without answering Itsuka, ultimately deciding it can wait for later.

He remembers the last time he left things to rescue services. He has the power to help. It’s his responsibility to help. He remembers that much too. Spider-Man swings in the direction of the emergency sirens, setting a course for the next problem that he has to deal with.

His set of shoddy red shoes have been left at the door, afterall, the spent feet that slipped out of them can no longer hold their owner upright. Izuku sinks into his seat at the dining table, allowing his legs to rest next. The rest of his body follows suit, eyelids weighing as heavily as his hand when he blinks while reading the texts from the cell phone held in his palm. It comes as no surprise when he sees what he sees. He knew before looking what they’d say and he’d already looked more than once while on his way home. Still. He has to reread them just to make sure he isn’t delusionally tired.

Itsuka Kendo: where r u?

Itsuka Kendo: you okay?

Itsuka Kendo: unbelievable

You can no longer send messages to this user.

She blocked him. He can’t blame her. From Itsuka’s perspective, he straight up ghosted and ditched her. Still. It doesn’t make his night any easier. Especially when his other reading material is the Juko News night tabloid condemning him as a potential criminal under the headline Spider-Man: Hero Or Menace – complete with photos he took of himself to further beg an answer from such a question; Izuku feels like if Spider-Man is a menace to anyone that it’s to himself at this point.

“I haven’t seen you make a face like that since the time we missed All Might’s autograph signing in Kyoto”, Izuku’s mind dives back into his body with a jolt when he hears his mom’s voice invading his thoughts, “What’s the matter?”, she asks. He wasn’t aware that he was making ‘a face’ and can only imagine what it must have looked like.

“Just.. Had a tough time making decisions today”, he withholds a lot of the details but decides to be honest tonight. It breaks his heart any time that he has to tell a fib to his mother to keep his secret as Spider-Man. Having already had his heart bruised so thoroughly today – a scar left on his chest, courtesy of The Hero Hunter, more than enough to prove that – he doesn’t want to do any more damage to the organ turned punching bag.

Mama Midoriya’s motherly instincts kick in when she sees her son sulking. The portly greenette goes from the kitchen to the dining room. When she reaches Izuku, she places a hand on his head of inherited green hair to gently move his gaze to hers. “Did you make the right choice?”, she’s careful to use a soft tone while asking him what she thinks is the question he needs to be asked first.

Izuku pauses, considering his answer for a few seconds. Inko can feel his skull shifting to tighten his face and clench his jaw. A look she can only hope holds resolution in it is what he gives her while he responds to her with a tiny nod. “Yeah.. I think so..”, his voice is small and full of cracks but not so delicate that his words break.

She sighs, accepting that for the time being, but not entirely satisfied so long as her son isn’t. “Then you shouldn’t feel bad about making the decision that you made”, Inko ruffles his unruly mop of green curls like she’s shaking out the negativity from his mind, “I’m sure even All Might had tough calls to make every now and then.”

A hint of a smile sneaks its way onto Izuku’s face at the mere mention of All Might again. Especially in this form of context. The hero otaku reconsiders the number one hero with all his power and how much responsibility that amount of power must come with. Surely there’s a lot of times All Might had to give up his social life in favor of his responsibility as the symbol of peace! Right? Then again… All Might is beloved by everyone. He isn’t slandered or considered a menace. Well, one out of two is about even as fifty fifty, or so Izuku would like to believe.

When Inko brushes aside the boy’s phone and the newspaper like problems being waved away and replaces them with a fresh steaming bowl of Katsudon, Izuku can think of one thing All Might probably doesn’t have which ought to balance things out a bit. Izuku has an awesome mom. Or so he would like to believe.


I know it's a slight divergence from canon to make Toga and Stain related, but I thought they just paired too well together for a Chameleon & Kraven dynamic to not take advantage of them both having blood type quirks. Though minor tweaks and changes to the original MHA story should probably be expected in some capacity, so I won't apologize TOO much.

I want to express my thanks to Raccoon404 for sticking around and leaving another kindhearted thoughtful review last chapter! Since you liked the Inko & Izuku scene from the previous chapter, I thought to include another moment like that to end this one off on too.

And thank you drako900 for asking the questions that other readers might be too scared to ask! (I'm not that scary, everybody, I swear!) To recap, the question was in regards to whether or not I'll be having Marvel characters appear in the story (the way I had Uta from Tokyo Ghoul appear in my MHA 'Glassy Sky' crossover fic, for example). My answer for the time being is 'no', rather that I'll be blending Marvel characters with MHA characters like I did with Screwball/La Brava or Himiko/Chameleon and Stain/Kraven this chapter, BUT I am no stranger to doing so in previous stories and am no stranger to changing my mind or making exceptions so it's a very loose no. There just might be a cameo later down the line if I deem it necessary.

Remember everyone, it's good to ask questions and to leave comments, so please don't be shy!

-Courtesy of your friendly neighborhood author!

Chapter 4: Birds & Bees


LAST CHAPTER, on 'Something Spectacular' ...

Izuku learned what having his secret identity really means when it comes to consequences.

THIS CHAPTER, on 'Something Spectacular' ...

Izuku learns a few things when it comes to secret identities that are not his own.


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Radiant light from the summer sun shines down on the city, reflecting off each building like rows of skyscraping jewelry. Today, Spider-Man barely notices Musutafu’s polished pearl appearance despite swinging across its rooftops way overhead. Web slinging, which often serves as a release and a joy for him, one of the things that makes being Spider-Man fun, holds no allure even on this bright morning. Ever since his reputation was tarnished, he frankly hasn’t had much of a taste for anything lately. Not even his mother’s infamous Katsudon dish. He stops that train of thought, derailing it himself before chucking it out of his head, pretending to drop it to the pavement dozens of yards below. If there had been any saving grace, it had been his mom’s attempts to cheer him up with Katsudon. He’ll be grateful for that much.

She had suggested he see a therapist if he doesn’t feel comfortable sharing his feelings with her. Even with doctor-patient confidentiality, Izuku isn’t so sure he’d feel that much better revealing his double life as Spider-Man to somebody he never met before. “Nah. This is better than any therapy!”, the boy’s thoughts filter out through his mask covered mouth since there’s no worrying about anyone hearing him from so high up in the sky. “This way, the only thing I feel is the wind against my face and the cool breeze in my tights”, he does a little aerial maneuver as though to emphasize his point and grins a little under his mask upon pulling off the trick, “Besides! It’s not Spider-Man who needs help, but always somebody else that needs–”

“HELP!”, a shout loud enough to be heard even from his current heights draws Spider-Man’s attention. It’s as though on cue. And it isn’t like he WANTS there to be trouble or anything, but it does make his hidden grin grow a bit now that he has something to take his mind off things. The vigilante readjusts his swing by firing a web line from his other hand so that the wire of webbing anchors to a building opposite of his current path. Then he pulls himself in the direction of the desperate cry for help.

It’s a familiar sight that he sees from the sky. A speck retreating from another speck amongst indifferent dots gradually grows until increasing to a size that shows what they really are. A purse snatcher fleeing from an innocent old lady comes into view for Spider-Man once he swings low enough. Instead of launching another web line towards the buildings suspended above, he spins a string straight for the thief. The web snags the purse that the crook is holding instead; Izuku’s aim was just a little off, but he’s still glad because it’s better than missing his quarry completely.

“Hey! Is that Gucci brand? Let ME have a look!”, a jeering joke alerts the purse snatcher to the vigilante’s arrival before the web line’s firm pull does. The handbag flies into Spider-Man’s gloved palm.

“Hey!”, the purse snatcher stops short when he realizes the purse has now been snatched from HIM. Spider-Man looks the man up and down, seeing that the bag clashes with a rather punkish aesthetic. Purple mohawk. Facial piercings. It just doesn’t work. “Give that back!”, although the punk himself apparently disagrees.

“Funny you should say that”, Spider-Man quickly wraps things up before hopping down to street level. Literally. The punk doesn’t say much else with webbing sealing his mouth shut, nor does he do any more snatching or running away with the rest of his body as equally bundled up. “I was just about to suggest the same to you”, Spider-Man figures it’s all in a day’s work after that.

Except, when he hands the purse back to its rightful owner, he doesn’t quite get the thanks he expects or deserves. “Menace!”, the grandma has quite a mouth on her when she spews a few alternative unaffectionate names at the spider themed vigilante. She also starts whacking him with her purse, now having been supplied with a weapon from the very same person that she’s using it on.

“Ow! Hey! What gives?!”, Spider-Man shields his head with his arms to block the blows that his Spider-Sense deems insignificant to warn him of. But some of those blows land pretty hard. So he backflips away and sticks to a higher spot where the old lady won’t be able to reach him.

Unfortunately for the vigilante, the grandma gains enough attention with her behavior to garner a group of more civilians and her backup has no qualms about throwing things at him to account for that distance. Tomatoes splat and cans crack when groceries get tossed his way. Spider-Man scrambles up the wall in a full retreat as he’s verbally assaulted to go along with the flogging. He’s only able to escape the crowd’s booing by ducking into a dark alley.

“I didn’t think my reputation was THAT tarnished!”, Izuku goes back to feeling dejected now that his effort to forget about his problems turned into another harsh reminder of them. The whole neighborhood – no, scratch that – the entire CITY has been turned against him! He solemnly shakes his head. It’s not like he’s in the hero biz for the praise but it does bring him down a bit to be considered a criminal.

A trashcan sits opposite to a dumpster, probably separate disposals for whatever businesses interconnect to the back alley. Izuku bounds over to the can, peering inside to see that it’s emptied. Part of him wants to shed his suit and throw it in there. Spider-Man No More! might make for a good following headline to Hero Or Menace?! But that other side of him knows that he’d regret it later. Doing the right thing doesn’t mean you’ll always be rewarded. That’s the funny thing about responsibility.

Deciding that Spidey stays for now, he starts crawling his way back up the alley wall. He’s just about to reach the top and hoist himself over onto the roof when he hears something back down below. It’s distant but not as hushed as one might think a hidden conversation might be. Izuku twists himself to have his hands front first on the wall and climbs towards the source of noise. He makes sure to be much quieter than the two talking. And it is two talking, he can tell that much upon getting nearer to the voices.

“I’m the only Trigger supplier left in Japan”, one of the speakers has a buzzing drone in their tone that sounds more like a side effect of their quirk than intentional speech pattern. The decibel sharpens to a sting when they add, “You don’t have much of a choice but to pay the price that I give you for it.”

The other talker has some sort of voice filter disguising their voice, the type that meshes a high pitch and a low pitch together to formulate one tweaked tone. “You’re forgetting that the Yakuza has drugs too”, the distortion discloses their mood that it sounds like a monotonous machine but it’s anyone’s good guess that they aren’t happy just by what they’re saying, “I could always buy from them.”

“Who do you think they get their resources from?”, the other voice’s buzz becomes brasher. It seems they’re both irritated by their discussion. “Prices go up when it’s a matter of resale value”, a cross between hissing and humming tails the end of that sentence like a period.

Spider-Man doesn’t require his Spider-Sense to know things are bound to escalate if the attitude these two are giving eachother stays the same. Intrigue increased and now prepared to intervene if a fight breaks out, the wall crawler carries himself closer. He’s able to see the two back alley conversationalists clearly but they’re unable to see him so long as they don’t look up; he hopes things stay that way.

“You’re sure they or none of your other resellers aren’t able to replicate it?”, the altered voice belongs to a man dressed like a – Parrot? Hummingbird? Green wings that are way too sharp to be comprised of feathers are enclosed at his sides. A matching metallic mask shaped into a long beak hides his face.

The other person also covers their tracks well, a lavender hood hanging over their head and draping down into a cloaked cape. “If they were capable of pulling that off, then Trigger wouldn't be in such short supply with such a high demand…” Small specks wisp around the cloth, weaving in and out of it. At Izuku’s distance, it’s hard to see just what those specks are though.

That susurrated sound emitting from the hooded figure suddenly seems a lot louder. Pretty soon, Izuku’s Spider-Sense buzzes with it. He looks about to find the source and discovers a small bee bumbling around beside him. Izuku waves a hand to shoo it away but the bug is unbothered by his attempts to scare it off. The buzzing of the boy’s Spider-Sense gets more intense than the bee’s buzzing, causing him to return his attention to the two people below.

The hooded figure is staring back. Or rather, a swarm of bees under a cowl directs their focus on him. “We’re being watched”, the organized droning that composes a voice alerts the bird bad guy of Spider-Man next. Which causes Izuku to backpedal on all fours along the wall that he’s clinging to.

“Oh God…”, Izuku shudders when he realizes what those specks are under the lavender cloak, “Not the bees!”

When the cloak levitates and ascends out of the alley, Izuku is surprised to see it’s the bird person who remains grounded. “Wait!”, the flightless fellow calls after their partner in crime when they see that there is no honor amongst thieves. A sentiment that Spider-Man can agree with when spinning a web line to snag the swarm’s fancy robe.

“What he said! Nobody told you to buzz off just yet!”, Izuku gives the web line a good tug to reel his quarry in. What he gets is only the lavender cloak, the fabric flying off and a whole hivemind of bees exposed in the sunlit sky still managing to slip away. The lenses on Spider-Man’s mask expand as much as they can when he sees there’s seemingly no physical body to this baddie.

The vigilante shakes it off, filing that one away for a later date. The buzzard villain is still here, at the very least. And he doesn’t plan on letting that one get away as easily. “And where’d you come from? Sesame Street?”, Spider-Man hops overhead just in case this fellow tries flying the coop too. He watches the end of the alley to make sure they don’t try to make a break for it on foot either, which is where that empty trash can is. “I did see Oscar’s house closeby, come to think of it…”

“Spider-Man!”, the metallic wings that had been tucked behind the villain’s back suddenly expand into steeled feathers that are sharpened to a point. He crouches while preparing for liftoff, or maybe he’s just striking a fighting pose. Either way, the vigilante has his full undivided attention now.

“Was it the web patterned suit that gave me away?”, Spider-Man judges the jumping distance between himself and the villain before springing from his spot on the wall. It’s all in good timing when he sticks the landing on a fiend taking flight.

“No! Get off!”, the tackle causes some turbulence but Spider-Man isn’t so willing to oblige to that request, “I’m not the one you should be going after!”, even after hearing that. The airborne duo dive down towards street traffic, narrowly avoiding a brush with passing cars. “You need to understand! I’m not someone you want to fight! I’m not a bad guy!”, Spider-Man’s struggling ceases momentarily, “I work for The Commission!”, but then he’s back to trying to land his opponent.

“The Commission? Yeah, right. Let me guess – the leader of your secret organization is a stereotypical big fat guy with a diamond topped cane and an ascot?”, Spider-Man’s skepticism comes out in the form of sarcasm. He’s well enough versed on heroes that he doubts this guy is an underground hero and he’s never heard of some task force before either. There is one way to know for certain though. Spider-Man grabs for the guy’s beak shaped face covering.

“No!”, the feathered fink fights back. Spider-Man swerves as he’s sky bound, dodging a sweep of the villain’s bladed wings. It takes some aerial acrobatics but the vigilante manages to stay attached to his flying foe all the while. “I’m trying to tell you that there’s no need for this!”, the filtered voice practically screeches through the helmet’s speaker system.

Spider-Man shouts back to be heard over the wind whipping around them, “You sure have a funny way of doing so!” His back bangs against a rooftop’s trimming when the bird baddie tries shaking him off again.

The two twist whilst doing a nosedive, the maneuver meant to disorient and throw Spider-Man off. While Izuku might admit to getting a tad bit dizzy, he still manages to keep ahold of his pilot as a passenger. “I’m starting to think you ARE a menace like the paper says!”, the villain glances back at their unwanted freerider with what must be contempt underneath the visor of their helmet.

“A menace to guys like you? Any and every day of the week, bird brain!” Spider-Man co*cks an arm back as he prepares to throw a punch, planning on cracking that stupid beak shaped mask wide open like an egg shell.

But his Spider-Sense stops him short. He has to swing himself back to avoid getting close lined by a flagpole. Which leaves him open for an uppercut from the villain. He maintains his hold. But in doing so, earns himself another shot. Izuku isn’t content with letting a bad guy have their way with him but there’s not much else he can do if he doesn’t want them to get away.

The two grapple some more as they get close to a particular rooftop. They nearly crash into a billboard sign before slamming into the side of a water tower instead. It’s there that Izuku loses his grip. And his opponent takes immediate action with that advantage. Izuku finds himself getting thrown into the elevated tank and sealed inside. If it were a giant waterspout, he’s certain that he’d drown in it.

“Don’t think that’ll stop me!”, Izuku calls out from his water enclosed prison with the vain hope that he’ll be heard. A good spring in his step launches the boy up and out of the water tower. Except, once he’s perched atop the elevated tank, he sees that the person who stuffed him inside is long gone; he gets flashbacks to similar situations with lockers and bullies, and he’s sure that there’ll be plenty more made when the next school semester starts – he just didn’t think he’d be getting a head start of practice in beforehand.

“Great way to start the morning…”, Izuku huffs and grumbles to himself. He shifts from a squatted position to sit down before tugging a spandex sock off. The sopping material squelches when he wrings it out. “Soaked to my skin and still hated by the general public”, the vigilante allows himself to feel a bit of angst before sliding the spandex sock back on and getting over it.

There’s still a lot to be done on his to-do list and he won’t let a little plunge in the pool or some negative nancies ruin it for him. He was able to, at the very least, save his camera from getting water damaged. Which means he’ll have some shots to sell. And there’s a particular beach he plans on paying a visit later too, even if he won’t be swimming there. He’s already done plenty of cooling off already, courtesy of his friendly neighborhood buzzard boy.

Spider-Man hops off of his perch and spins a new web line in order to swing to his next destination. If he’s fortunate, there won’t be any more causes for interference. Though he can’t remember the last time he wasn’t unfortunate enough to think that.

Izuku can’t help but contain some contempt for the pigeons swimming above him within the oceanic blue sky. When silvery feathers that have sunlight sheening through them gracefully descend rather than feces though, he reconsiders his vendetta for birds and limits it to one in particular. It’s not like they’re all in cahoots with one another. Or so he thinks… The lens on the boy’s mask narrow when he shoots the sky a suspicious stare. It seems silly to be paranoid without his Spider-Sense so much as registering a single tingle of threat, so he shakes his head and goes back to terraining the city.

The boy bounds from rooftop to rooftop as he nears Juko News. Only to discover an empty parking lot and darkened windows with their blinds closed. The lens on his mask blink with his eyes. A little creepage down the wall of the building gets him close enough to read a sign. The place is closed. Of all the dumb luck, he can’t even sell the photos he got of his own humiliation like he had last time. He gives a rough sigh before scaling the building back up and away from any potential people booing him again. The last thing he needs right now is another putdown. Which is why he’s dreading the decision to make a second stop before heading home.

A strand of webbing shoots out from Spider-Man’s wrist and anchors itself to a cellphone tower. Then he’s off. A sailing in the wind that’s controlled by spinning strings sends him splashing through the sea colored sky.

Radiating off seashells in the sand are streaming strands of sunlight; the yellow glow along the smooth surface is simulating a burning grill with its graininess compacted. That long line formulates a perfect path only darkened along one edge by waves bordering into it. It’s as clear as the stretch of water beyond it. Not a single speck of scrap metal or litter juts out from the beach. Itsuka finished cleaning it all.

Nobody would ever guess Takoba Beach had been a dumping ground for waste of varying types. Izuku would like to tell Itsuka that he’s impressed by her handiwork, but she’s nowhere to be seen. Which is a shame because that was the reason that he came here in the first place. He was hoping to explain himself to her and get unblocked but that doesn’t seem very likely now that she’s finished doing her voluntary community service.

The boy sighs, mentally scratching out another unmet task in his imaginary to-do list. First his flop with getting paid for pictures and now this… He’s been so down in his luck lately that he makes sure to watch out for any ladders or black cats. Neither of his identities can seem to catch a break. At this point, he wouldn’t be surprised if he ran into one of his old bullies. That they’d be the only people actually around somehow feels practical. He quickly gets rid of that thought before he jinxes himself and makes it happen, instead opting for just swinging straight home.

A lone seagull flaps its wings to slow its landing. Once planting itself on the beach, it looks up to see Spider-Man taking to the sky that it left.

Still clad in red & blue, Izuku clandestinely crawls his way through his bedroom window. Spiders tend to creep carefully into corners, unnoticed and unheard. Whether the bite that gave him his inherent abilities passed that skill along or not, it’s a quality matching his namesake that has helped him hide those definitive gifted powers from his mother. As quiet as a mouse – Izuku spares a second to thank God he wasn’t bitten by a radioactive rat – the boy moves from his ceiling to his wall. It’s not until the boy turns rightside up that he notices a note taped to his computer, the note informing him that his stealthy entry wasn’t necessary; his mom wrote a message letting him know she went out for the day. Izuku’s smile is the first thing unveiled when he pulls his mask off. Not only does his mom deserve a day out for herself, but his luck finally allows for him to have some time to do some Spider-Man-ing without having to worry about her finding out.

Izuku tosses the facial covering aside, allowing it to fall to the floor where dirty laundry casts a pattern of other clothing. Next, off comes the gloves and the web shooters. Those go on his desk where he keeps a miniature screwdriver and other tools to touch up the support equipment occasionally. But in the meantime, he opts for a seat at his computer to do some researching on other potential gadgets. After having so many encounters with villains but all of them managing to get away as of late, he’s been trying to think of a solution. The notebook he tucked between quirk analysis journals contains some of those thoughts in the form of writing. He grabs the book and flips through its pages to find where he left off before syncing up the data with a web page. Izuku taps a couple of keys and follows along with what some forums say, jotting down what he agrees with and disregarding the rest.

A miniature tracking device. That’s his goal here. It’d be a plus if he could get the device to somehow also be in the shape of a spider. He figures that’d make it all the less discoverable too. The only hitch in that idea is how difficult portably wireless relays tend to need more packaging in their mechanical makeup. In other words, he can’t fit all the required tech into such a compact widget. Not if he wants the signal to span a good length, at least. So Izuku spends a lot of his time trying to think of a way to remedy that problem. The city does have a lot of cellphone towers and there’s always satellite dishes he can bounce the signal off of. Except, that becomes too contingent on the person he’d be tracking staying within city limits. Someone suggested having the opposite receiver carry all the tech on them to compensate but that wouldn’t work since that’d mean asking villains nicely to do so; he can’t blame his online helpers though, since he has to keep details scarce enough for them to not figure out what he needs trackers for.

Needing a break away from his computer to simply think to himself, he gets up to grab some clothes off the floor. A few sniff tests help him find a sweater and a pair of pajama bottoms that he can wear to cover up his spider themed spandex. An idea enters his head then. He starts thinking about how he can use his senses. If he could somehow interlink his sense of smell or possibly his hearing to pick up a specific decibel, then that could compensate for a signal. Except that the matter of distance still remains a major issue. The range in which he’d be able to smell or hear is a fundamental factor that not even his spider abilities increased enough to resolve.

And then it hits him like his palm against the side of his head. He has a built-in signal already. His Spider-Sense. He figures that if he can somehow link the tracer to his danger sense that he’d be able to track someone based on how sensitive the tingling is. It’s a bit of a long shot since technology and organic matter don’t tend to mix well but he also believes it’s worth a try. Especially since this method would allow for him to make his tracking devices as small as possible per his preference. A quick search for forums about heroes having quirk support gear specifically built to aid or enhance their quirk helps to spur him on a little further. Present Mic has a speaker system created as a collar that helps him calibrate and control his vocal chords, for instance. Something that takes his internal power and makes it external doesn’t seem all that impossible afterall.

Eventually, blueprints and plans lead to the actual activity of building these things. Izuku flips on his desk lamp as he leans forward to get a better look at what he’s putting together. Tweezers maneuver metal parts that are nearly at a microscopic level. It takes a scientific mind to see what parts of the process work for this type of surgery. Wires that can leak fluid like blood vessels or veins are carefully connected. The Spider-Sense that’s meant to tune into and link with the device warns him when he nearly makes a mistake or two, preventing short circuiting or spark bursts. His eyes narrow with intent focus; he’d probably have needed a pair of glasses to see something so small if not for his enhanced senses, which fortunately includes sight. Izuku pays no mind to the bead of sweat rolling off his face while he works. He’s in the zone now.

Afternoon shadows move across his room, and at some point, the window in which he entered loses the sun. Izuku barely notices that or his mom peering into the room as night falls. He didn’t hear her come home or call his name. But Inko is okay with that. She’s just happy that her son found something to be passionate about again – something other than being a hero – little does she know.

A cool splash of water washes over Tsukauchi’s face, the hands that had been cupping that water lingering rather than sliding away with what drips from his bottom jaw. He typically tries waking up to his mornings with a shower and then a cup of coffee but today calls for this extra measure. The detective stops the sink from jacking up the department’s plumbing bill – they don’t need any extra cutbacks – and looks at himself in the mirror. He’d never win a competition against Eraserhead when it comes to who has the droopiest eyebags but he can certainly qualify for second place. In addition to Spider-Man, Trigger is back on the streets, and that’s splitting the underground hero’s attention as much as it is the department’s. He doesn’t know whether he’d be lucky for the two cases to intersect or unfortunate but he half expects some sort of connection sooner rather than later.

And as such, that means making up a corkboard with strings and the whole nine yards. Which if he’s wrong that they won’t connect, will mean he’d be doing that work for nothing. Meaning he won’t get anywhere with either case and he’ll be pulling another all nighter. Tsukauchi doesn’t even bother wiping his face with paper towels. He lets the dampness remain as a reminder of how vexing the day is going to be.

As though the universe is deciding to emphasize his point, he winds up bumping into Tamakawa on his way out of the restroom. Turns out the cat-cop is back from his vacation. “There’s my favorite detective!”, the returning co-worker seems chipper despite having come back to duty – that’s a surefire way to tell he’s not been doing his paperwork – a smile playing at the tabby headed officer’s whiskered maw, “Missed me?”

“Can’t say I have”, Tsukauchi may be able to disguise his tone but he can’t hide his own small smile. He’d never admit to it but he may have actually missed the chucklehead. That doesn’t mean Tamakawa is any less distracting though, and he really can’t afford a distraction at this stage in either the Spider-Man or Trigger investigations. “I’ll catch you later though”, the detective gives his colleague a friendly pat on the shoulder as he brushes by.

“That’s it? That’s all I get?”, Tsukauchi can hear Tamakawa whining behind him but he knows better than to stop or look back. The best he can do is give a half hearted wave of his hand. Sticking around and playing into Tamakawa’s neediness will only lead him to the breakroom or some place other than his own desk.

Which is where he needs to be. And where he finds Eraserhead waiting for him. The detective raises an eyebrow, wondering if the underground hero snuck his way in or bothered going through the front desk, considering they hadn’t crossed paths earlier. Regardless, Tsukauchi wastes no more time in shutting his door and getting down to business.

“Hope I didn’t keep you waiting”, he pulls out a chair for Eraserhead to sit in before plopping down into his own.

Eraserhead’s only acknowledgement to an answer of how long he might have been waiting is a barely audible grunt. “Was that Tamakawa’s voice I heard?”, he’s rather more interested in Tamakawa. Which makes the man’s poker face funny now that the detective knows what’s hiding behind it.

Tsukauchi stifles a laugh, nodding. “He happened to come back from his vacation today”, the detective is already plotting how he can pit the cat loving underground hero and the cat quirked cop together in the same room.

Fortunately for him, he doesn’t have to plot too much. “We should get him in on this”, Eraserhead suggests Tamakawa’s involvement in the case. “It might help to have a … fresh perspective”, he even offers a ‘logical’ excuse for the partnership.

Come to think of it, that excuse may be actually logical in a sense. To get an outside-looking-in opinion on the matter, from an officer who hasn’t been around to know anything about the situation, could prove beneficial. “Let’s go grab him then”, Tsukauchi reconsiders the case and his co-worker’s return now that the vexation is able to have some merit to it.

“The least we can do with him is have him scope out the scene for us”, Aizawa agrees with a nod that may as well serve as a smile.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Shie Hassaikai aren’t exactly subtle with their stronghold. It could have to do with that whole ‘hiding in plain sight’ thing. Then again, they probably wouldn’t have bothered erecting concrete walls to hide their property if that were entirely the case. Izuku bets they didn’t build those barriers with spider powered individuals in mind though – or the types that like to fly and get an aerial view – the old Japanese architecture all dates back to a pre-quirk era. Suited up as Spider-Man, Izuku infiltrates the site as stealthily as he can. He remembered the Yakuza being mentioned during whatever illegal transaction he interrupted and decided that’d be a good lead to follow up on, if not for the sake of testing his newly developed spider tracers.

And apparently, that hunch was as good as any instinct to act upon. None other than bird brain himself stands across from what must be Yakuza representatives. Gripped in the fiendish fink’s talons is a plastic bag that makes it evidently clear where the payload is. Izuku figures whatever drug that living hivemind had to offer is also available here. If one seller falls through then there’s always the next best option. This bird apparently needs a little help when it comes to getting high. So, Izuku places his camera in a good spot to snap some shots and takes into account what some wildlife photography may have to offer.

“No wonder Toucan Sam got the cereal mascot job instead of you”, Spider-Man flips from the wall to a more revealing spot where the group of baddies can see him, “You may have the Fruit Loopiness down but you’d make a bad spokesperson if kids saw this!” It does the trick. They’re focused on him and not his hidden camera. Now, he can get down to business.

“You again! You’re ruining everything!”, the Fruit Loops mascot reject retaliates towards Spider-Man’s second interference with a literal lashing out of his winged arm. The sweeping appendage releases a barrage of bladed feathers that are flung full force at the vigilante.

Spider-Man contorts his movements to outmaneuver the projectiles before sticking his landing on a water fountain’s center statue that’s made to look like some sorta unicorn lady. “I have a knack for that!”, he keeps up his quippage and takes to dodging some coverfire from the Yakuza people next.

The gun toting thugs are easy enough to dispatch. A little webbing here and there with occasional frontflips or backflips manages to take them down quickly. It’s their feathered friend that Spider-Man wants to keep an eye on. “Stay out of business that you don’t understand!”, he’s not sure whether to consider himself lucky or not when he sees the bird hasn’t tried flying the coop; while the villain staying grounded does make the vigilante’s job easier, it does seem a little odd for the bird brain to be choosing ‘fight’ in their fight or flight response.

“I’ve played enough Monopoly to understand what’s important”, Spider-Man snatches the money bag with a thick line of webbing, “Yoink!”, and catches it in the same extended hand.

The beaked baddie’s mask tilts, noting the cash grab. Which is a little less of a reaction than Spider-Man had been expecting. Nevertheless, he takes to the water fountain statue again for a good vantage point and prepares for what comes next. What comes next is a buzzing. But not the typical type that he gets from his Spider-Sense. Spider-Man glances up, recognizing the sound as a signature to the swarm of bees heading his way.

“Looks like someone else wants the honeypot”, Izuku has enough time for one last wisecrack before dropping down to avoid getting stung to death. He lands in the fountain’s water pool, hoping that the theory about water warding off bees holds true.

It’s strange that the cool splash of water loses its initial chill seconds after. A stroke of heat hovers over Izuku’s back. For a moment, he fears the worst that he’s been stung or hit somehow. Except, when he turns over, he sees the source of warmth targeting someone other than him. A wrist mounted flamethrower from the bird villain burns the swarm with a streak of fire. Izuku shields himself from the orange consumption as well as he can in what may as well be a kiddie pool.

Confused by their spat and very much not wanting to get caught up in it, Izuku dives away from the two villains. In doing so, he finds himself by the gate of the facility. Which so happens to be the entrance. Which so happens to have a police officer outside of it. The cop has a cat-like head, ears perked and eyes dilated, as he stares up at Spider-Man.

Izuku looks down at the clear bag of money that he’s holding in his hand and then back up. He has flashbacks to his framing with the transfer truck and tenderly hoists the yen sack out to emphasize his innocence within the misunderstanding when he says, “This isn’t what it looks like…”

But it very much looks too much like what it looks like, he guesses. Because the officer’s response is to draw his weapon and shout, “Hold it right there!”

“Maybe YOU should hold onto it instead”, Spider-Man tosses the bag towards the law enforcer. As expected, the officer’s innate reaction is to catch it. Which means dropping their gun. Which means Spider-Man can get away without getting shot.

Tamakawa gawks when he’s left with the sack of yen. He’d been sent to the Shie Hassaikai stronghold to perform reconnaissance. He wasn’t expecting all of this.

To be fair to the vigilante, neither had he. Spider-Man swings around an old architecture before landing on its roof. From there, he sees the swarm of bees being dealt with. The druggie is also a murderer. Go figure. And NOW the murderer wants to flee the scene.

“Not on my watch”, Izuku does what he had anticipated he’d be doing in coming here; he performs a field test of his new support gear and fires a spider tracer from his wrist shooters. It lands on the villain’s calf and stays.

After watching it fly away, he starts listening to his Spider-Sense and puts the tracer to the test.

The bird themed villain, along with the spider tracer attached to him, gradually glides from the sky to the mid level height of buildings. It’s there that his front facing flight path redirects itself into a feet first landing. Like a platform prepared for him, he comes upon a broad balcony with equally wide glass panes opened up for him. That entry overlooking Musutafu leads into a dimmer setting with an oval desk and other office materials. Seated with hands clasped and fingers interlocked, overlooking all of this all-the-while, is an old woman.

Izuku keeps his distance, but that’s fine and dandy, since his camera does actually have a zoom function despite all of the lies he told Tokuda about using it beforehand. The lady has a stoic and steely expression as she watches a villain fly right into her office, so he supposes the two must already be acquainted. Considering her ash blonde hair is slicked back and her attire consists of a suit jacket along with a costly necklace, he’s starting to believe there may as well be a ‘Commission’ involved. Well, at least his guess about it being run by some large guy with an ascot didn’t turn out to be the case.

“Progress report?”, the woman’s voice is low but it still carries in the wind well enough to be heard by Izuku’s enhanced sense of sound. Even so, the boy cranes his neck and angles his head to turn an ear closer.

The villain’s voice is just as tonally deep. More-so because of the filter in his mask, but it does create quite a tense atmosphere; at least, in Izuku’s humble opinion. “Spider-Man intervened again”, the vigilante feels a little tense himself at the mention of his name, “But there was still a relative resolution to my assignment this time.”

“Kuin Hachisuka?”, that name doesn’t ring any bells in Izuku’s head but he keeps listening anyways. It turns out that there isn’t much to listen to though when a holographic bio appears above the desk between the lady and her avifauna assassin.

Izuku snaps a silent shot of the bio. It lists a few aliases Hachisuka went by like ‘Queen Bee’ at a point. Apparently now, this lady goes by ‘Swarm’. Considering she’s a living hivemind, Izuku supposes that makes enough sense. And then, a red X crosses her out, the image fading as the crimson lines cover over the bio.

“Eliminated”, the villain reports her dead. Izuku’s heart clenches at that. He starts feeling guilty for not trying to intervene more. Being burned alive can’t be a good way to go.

“Along with the drug?”, Izuku refocuses at the mention of that Trigger stuff they were pedaling between themselves and the Yakuza. There must be some sorta power struggle between criminal factions, he thinks.

The villain produces a tiny vial, setting it upon the desk. The lenses on Izuku’s mask shift between squinting and widening; he doesn’t recall this guy snatching any of that stuff during their scuffle. “They call me Vulture because I take care of the scraps”, ‘Vulture’ must take some pride in that.

“Then Trigger can finally be laid to rest with the Shie Hassaikai”, the Commission lady takes the vial and looks at it closely but lacks any actual interest in what she’s holding.

Vulture nods, moving away from the desk so that he’s facing the balcony. Izuku hunches down, worried momentarily that he’s been spotted; the red and blue color scheme of his Spider-Man suit seems like it would stand out. Fortunately for him, it somehow doesn’t. Vulture doesn’t notice that he’s being spied on.

Which must be the reason why he’s so comfortable with removing his mask. “We can get Nighteye’s Agency to follow through”, the voice filter falters and fails as the helmet dislodges from the man’s head, “It could prove troublesome if anyone were to find out the number three hero was masquerading as a villain” The pro hero Hawks shakes his sweat slicken blonde hair loose once the beaked helmet is removed.

The wind ceases. Spider-Man slips, startled enough to lose his firm foundation of sticking to a building. After he catches himself from falling, he releases a breathless choke of a gasp; it’s hard to breathe behind his own mask. Izuku’s forefinger falls numbly on the shooter switch of his camera. The DSLR snaps a picture of the unmasked fiend.

A hefty heave carries the bag high enough to thud against Tsukauchi’s desk; all of the yen inside spreads with the landing of the bag’s bottom, pushing pens and other materials like the detective’s stapler aside to make room for it. Tamakawa pants heavily, having carried the sack of money all the way to the office. Behind him, Eraserhead offers a cup of water. The officer greedily takes it before flitting his tongue to lap it up, much to the underground hero’s amusem*nt.

“Where’d you get this?”, Tsukauchi refrains from gawking at how much dough is on his desk currently. It’s not likely Tamakawa made a withdrawal from an ATM while he was out. Though he doubts an enforcer of the law would rob a bank either.

“The Yakuza”, Tamakawa breathes out his answer eventually enough. Though that only raises other questions until further elaboration is given. “Spider-Man was holding it”, the officer gestures with his free hand as though to demonstrate that it’s clean and he’s not the thieving type.

“Guess the papers are right about him turning over a new leaf from vigilantism to crime afterall”, Tsukauchi doesn’t keep himself in check anymore and allows a grievanced sigh to escape his downturned lips.

“How did you get ahold of it then?”, Eraserhead prompts Tamakawa to keep sharing details. As he does, the underground hero simultaneously works on refilling the cop’s cup of water.

“He, uh, threw it at me?” Tamakawa pauses as he recalls the order of events. Suddenly he’s itchy behind the ears and he needs to scratch at his head.

“So what you’re saying is… he tossed the money bag back?”, Eraserhead crosses his arms over his chest while giving Tsukauchi a quick glance. The detective swallows and nods.

“What else did Spider-Man do?”, Tsukauchi looks between the bag of yen and his partner while reconsidering his opinion on the web patterned person.

“He actually looked to be feuding with the Yakuza”, Tamakawa hums while trying to come up with his own theory on what transpired, “Could it be some sort of intergang dispute?”

Eraserhead refrains from facepalming. He’s had students brighter than this. “Not likely”, the underground hero deadpans. But rather than waste any more time spelling things out for the officer, he heads for the window to carry out his own fieldwork. “I’ll be in touch…”

“Sure thing..”, Tsukauchi nods despite the man’s back being turned to him. After Eraserhead is gone, he looks back down at the bag to find the vigilante’s usual calling card is left inside.

Thought you could use a raise in your allowance!

-Courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!

Not even nightfall can cool the summer shimmer in the air. Ripples of erosion waft through puddles in potholes. Dust mounds roll and billow into shadowed crevices. Moths flutter as they struggle to remain stagnant within a lamppost’s tint of yellow light. It’s a repeated array of those miniature beams and even smaller ponds that forge a path for Tokuda to terrain. And it’s that trail that he follows to his parked car.

He stops short so that he can unlock its doors, but before the man can fish his car keys out from his pants pocket, he catches a glimpse of something in his peripheral vision. A red and blue blur. A colored haze that comes to a halt atop his car and perches itself there once becoming clearer. Tokuda instinctively staggers back, startled, and drops his keys the way someone might do in a horror movie.

“S- Spider-Man?”, Tokuda fights the urge to take his glasses off and clean them to make sure that what he is seeing is legit. Instead, he opts for pushing the bifocals up the bridge of his nose in order to readjust the lens over his eyes. “Wh- To what do I owe the pleasure?”, it takes him a moment to regain his composure but he manages to do so nevertheless.

“Contrary to popular belief about the youth these days, I myself do a little more reading than just manga”, Spider-Man starts by trying to smooth out the strangeness with a joke but he can see that it’s more of a miss than a hit when Tokuda doesn’t laugh. Resting on his haunches, he goes for making his body language less intimidating instead. “You like to write about me quite a bit”, he also tries keeping his voice even to not make it sound like he’s upset or anything.

Though Tokuda is more occupied trying to place the familiarity of the vigilante’s voice rather than the tonal vibe of it. He nods nonetheless, agreeing with Spider-Man’s sentiment. “You’re hot and fresh news that sells”, the photojournalist pauses to consider what he says or does next before daring to add, “Especially what with your whole turning over a new leaf.”

“You got it all wrong”, Spider-Man shakes his head. “I’m still just a guy trying to do good and only good”, the vigilante clarifies his vigilante status with enough waving of his hands to show he’s genuinely passionate about emphasizing that point, “There was a whole misunderstanding with this other person posing as me and then another misunderstanding with me holding a bag of money that wasn’t mine and now everyone thinks I’m their not-so-friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”

One corner of Tokuda’s mouth twitches with amusem*nt as he holds back a smile. “Is that why you’re here? To set the record straight?”, he bends down to pick his keys up off the ground now that he feels safe enough to take his eyes off the masked figure, “I don’t presume you’d be open to an interview about it?” But he still makes sure to right himself quickly and continue making eye contact with the strange lens on that mask.

Spider-Man physically recluses at the mention of an interview, “Uuhh.. Not quite”, but there’s a hint of humor from him about the prospect too. Tokuda is glad that he returned his field of vision to the vigilante when the spider clad do-gooder makes a move from point A to point B. Point A being Tokuda’s car and point B being the post that’s a few feet closer. “But while we’re talking about sharing the truth – that does have something to do with why I’m here”, the vigilante’s fingers wriggle between the material waistline of his spandex to procure something.

Tokuda’s eyebrows raise when he sees what Spider-Man has to give him are printed pictures. He takes them, a little hesitantly, but can’t help letting curiosity get the better of him to have a look. “Where’d you get these?”, it starts as an honest question probing for a honest answer but then he sees what it is that he’s actually looking at, “This is…”

“Our mutual contact has his ways”, Spider-Man keeps it vague but Tokuda gets the hint.

“Midoriya?”, the shot composition is familiar enough now that he looks at the photos closer but Tokuda has to swallow some saliva to keep his mouth from running dry when making that connection. Amazing shots for a story are one thing but how the kid got them is another.

“Yeah… But I think we both know why I’m the one giving these to you and not him”, Spider-Man sounds a little more reserved now – which would be odd by contrast with his personality upon introduction – but Tokuda can understand somewhat under this set of circ*mstance.

Tokuda breathes a husky breath out through his mouth, something much heavier than a sigh. It makes sense why keeping anonymity with such a sensitive subject being brought to light is essential. The poor kid would be put in grave danger otherwise. Hero Society is one thing but society in general and how they’ll react is another thing entirely. Hawks, the number three ranked hero, is secretly operating as a well known villain. And the one to expose that information is Izuku Midoriya – or rather, now, Taneo Tokuda.

“Why come to me with this? Why not a bigger press?”, Tokuda hides the compromising images in his coat as though somebody is spying on them. Considering the situation, someone may very well be. Tokuda glances about, becoming slightly paranoid.

But what Spider-Man does next clears the man’s mind completely. Spider-Man hops down to stand like a normal person and says, “Because Midoriya trusts you more to do the right thing with it”, the sincerity in that statement slamming Tokuda enough to jar his thoughts. “And so do I”, Spider-Man holds out his hand.

It takes Tokuda a moment to realize what the gesture is for, but he does take the extended hand and he does shake it. He steels and resolves himself, regaining his nerve. “Then I guess it’s up to me not to let you down”, the photojournalist gives Spider-Man a lopsided smile.

“Uuhh, you mean each of us, me AND Midoriya…” Spider-Man co*cks his head to the side, somewhat tracking that smile.

“Right”, Tokuda winks at the vigilante.

The eyes on Spider-Man’s mask widen ever so slightly. He doesn’t say anything for a second before the lenses return to their usual size and he begins backing away. “Right”, the vigilante clears his throat with a feigned cough, “Right..” Before performing a backflip and crawling back into the shadows that he came from.

No matter how gently he closes the door, it still shuts with a resounding click. The snap of the lock makes him wince. And as though to confirm he should be worried about his mother overhearing his arrival back home, the lights to the room flick on so suddenly that a flash grenade may as well have gone off. Izuku’s eyes don’t need to fully recover from the shock of bright adjustment for him to know it’s his mom standing by the lightswitch.

She has one arm crossed over her stomach, the one holding the lightswitch moving to fold over and join it. “You’re late”, she states the obvious but Izuku still acts strangely surprised.

The boy gives his mom a sheepish smile, “Really? I didn’t notice…” His smile wavers when his mom raises an eyebrow. Her eyes move to a window, his eyes darting to track her glance. It’s pitch black outside. Izuku has to swallow to keep his jaw from unhinging, “Is it not daylight savings time?”, but that means being able to talk and say something stupid that’ll dig him a deeper grave.

He knows he messed up and made things worse when Inko’s gaze comes back to him with a hardness to it. She practically glares right into his soul. “This is beginning to become a bad habit of yours”, she speaks sternly enough that Izuku knows better than to keep joking around about the subject matter.

“I know, mom, I really did just lose track of time though…” He knows it isn’t the greatest of excuses but there’s not much of an alternative. Subconsciously, Izuku adjusts the collar of his shirt to be pulled up a little higher on his neck, a subtle move to hide his spider themed spandex beneath it.

“Where do you go when you stay out so late?”, Inko’s stare softens as she uncrosses her arms to reach out with. She moves to grab him, maybe give him a hug. “Is.. Is it a girl that you’re sneaking off to go see?”, but Izuku jumps back to avoid getting caught up in it.

“What?! No! Mom! No!”, he feels his face flush red from embarrassment. He’d rather get accused of being Spider-Man than have to go through any sort of girl talk with his mom. Well, maybe not, but the pros and cons of either difficult conversation compare surprisingly close.

Inko notices his physical reaction, withdrawing a bit to give him some space. She holds her hands up as a sign that she doesn’t mean to put any pressure on him. But she’s quite literally backed him into a corner. “Okay… Is it a boy then?”, her change of paced slow and steady approach is a bit too cautious for his liking now.

“No!”, Izuku buries his face in his hands. He’s not even able to look his own mom in the eyes anymore. Yet, he can feel her presence lingering over him even without his Spider-Sense and that’s only making things worse that he forces himself to look at her again anyways.

Inko backs up a bit, something Izuku is grateful for. But she still doesn’t let it go. “It’s okay, Izuku, I really don’t care whether–”

“Mom!”, Izuku interrupts her before that line of conversation can go any further. Romance is one thing but sexuality is another. “Can we please just drop it?”, he all but pleads for her to stop.

Inko is hesitant but ultimately agrees with a nod. “Fine”, she sighs and finally allows him some more breathing room with a complete backup, “We’ll put a pin in it for now.”

“Thank you…”, Izuku releases his own sigh. One full of relief. But that was a mistake; he really should have known better than to lower his guard.

“But I think it’s still time that I tell you about the birds and the bees”, Inko unknowingly gives her son some equivalent of a heart attack with that suggestion, “Just to be safe…”

Izuku has to brace himself against the wall to keep from falling flat on his face. “I’ve already had enough birds and bees for one day…”, his grumbled mumble of complaint leaves his mouth before he can think better of himself to utter it aloud.

“YOU WHAT?!”, Inko does a complete 180 to face her son again when she hears what he said about birds and bees.

Which sends Izuku into a flustered tizzy of flailing his arms around, “Wait! Mom! It’s not what you think!”, he squeaks each protest a higher decibel than the last until his screams shift into screeches.

Inko doesn’t let her baby boy get away with playing innocent. Not this time. She tackles him to the floor, where she wrestles the reckless youth to make sure he doesn’t re-escape, and prepares to teach him a lesson or two. Even if she has to silent his shouts by shoving a bar of soap into his mouth in order to clean it.


There's not many personal thoughts for this chapter's notes, but there ARE a significant amount of comments to go over, so let's skip the small talk and get right into it! Shall we?

To begin, Raijin2099 asked what Spider Abilities will Izuku have (whether they'll be like Miles or Peter) to which I give you two answers. The short answer is Izuku will only have Base Peter Parker Powers. The long answer, however, is that I considered giving Izuku any other advanced abilities as too OP; there are plenty of SpiderDeku fics where he can turn invisible and Miles' electricity powers turn into some variant of OFA that I really wanted to avoid that with my story in order to make his battles a bit more challenging at times.
Raccoon404 followed up on this question by additionally asking if other Spider Person Powers are on or off the table like Miguel's claws & fangs. While I do think that it would be cool to have that or even Kaine's wrist stabby things, again, I'm gonna have to opt for the traditional approach for sake of simplicity.

Thank you mansorg for sharing with me what you like about the story! Maybe instead of the Ol' Parker Luck we can call this one the Midoriya Misfortune!

And thank you as well Jackson Mr Fruity! I'll try and make sure this is a healthy hyper fixation!

Last, but not least, Raccoon404-- Wait, again? Very well! If you like Izuku fumbling the bag, then you may be happy knowing that there's plenty of other opportunities for him to keep doing so later in the story! That is, indeed, another element of Spider-Man that I want to carry over here; so, I'm glad that it's getting accomplished well enough.

Welp! That's it for now, it seems. Thanks again all old and new readers & commenters! I hope to see you all again, as well as more of you, in the next one!

-Courtesy of your friendly neighborhood author!

Chapter 5: Staying Static


PREVIOUSLY on 'Something Spectacular' ...

Spider-Man questioned a pro hero's heroism.

NOW on 'Something Spectacular' ...

Spider-Man questions his own heroism.


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

There’s a better likelihood of a villain attack having shaken his bedroom than an earthquake to have caused it to be in such disarray. So, standing on his ceiling with his hands on his hips as he surveys the messy space, he decides that will be the story he goes with should his mom walk in before he finishes cleaning it up. At some point, the boy must’ve mistaken the waste bin for his hamper, since that’s where a good portion of the dirty laundry takes residence. Ironically, things like crumpled paper and tissues or empty soda cans are distributed in the opposite container. All of his reading and writing material looks as though it was flung off his bookshelves to occupy his floor rather than his desk. Izuku huffs aloud to nobody in particular but himself. Kicking it all under his bed to hide it won’t be enough this time around.

But that’s where he starts. The small space makes for a good shadowy crevice to cover up a good margin of the junk. The drawers on his desk are already too filled with other stuff to cram anything else in there. The boy’s closet is a maelstrom of pants and shirts that he’d just given up on hangers. The ol’ bed technique is a reliable one. It’s one he knows very well. So does his mom, but… He figures he’ll cross that metaphorical bridge when he gets there. Izuku just has to make sure his Spider-Man stuff stays out of it, at the very least. He can’t risk any accidental discoveries. So the boy grabs his spandex suit and web shooters to stuff some spot that they won’t get found like everything else.

Izuku holds it all in his hands, feeling the weight of it. He winds up holding onto it in more ways than one, staring at the spider symbol etched in a webbing pattern. With U.A’s Entrance Exam coming up, he figures he could now stand a chance to get into the hero course. But there’s a hesitation to try. Not only because of the whole secret identity thing or the vigilantism charges he’d get but… Well, there’s a certain responsibility to what he’s decided to do with what he’s been given and he might not be able to do anything until he gets a license if he goes down the U.A route. Izuku sighs, squeezing the hemming of his costume.

Fortunately – or unfortunately – he doesn’t get to dwell on those thoughts for long. He doesn’t need his Spider-Sense to pick up on the handle to his room starting to turn, but he does wish it had alerted him considering that could very much mean danger right about now. Quickly coming out of his rumination and acting on impulsive instinct, Izuku throws the suit up and webs it to the ceiling. His mother opens the door to just miss him hiding his web shooters behind his back.

“Izu-”, she starts.

“Mom!”, but he’s too fueled by the sudden spike of adrenaline in his system to let her. He tries covering up his jumpy & fidgety behavior with a smile but it comes out forced. “What are you doing here?”, his voice is just as strained.

Inko pauses in the doorway, noticing her son’s strangeness straight away. She tries and fails to hide her concern that’s coupled with confusion from showing on her face, an expression of scrunched proportions creasing her aged wrinkles. After a second, “I.. live here…”, she treads carefully with her response while gauging the situation a bit more.

Izuku nervously laughs, backing away and turning his body to continue hiding the web shooters behind himself when his mom steps further into the room. “I meant what are you doing here right now – in my room – right now?”, the boy winces when his mom gives him another troubled look, “Without … uh … knocking first?”

Inko’s eyes hone themselves into perfect slithers, narrowing to such a finely squinted point that she should be able to find any discrepancies in her child. It’s the type of critical glare she’d give him when he’d come home claiming to be fine while wearing a hoodie to hide bruises or burns from being bullied. Right now, strangely, she’s having a hard time identifying the source of his strange behavior. He’s gotten eerily good at hiding things from her lately. It admittedly makes her sad that he’s trying to keep secrets from her. She’s tried not to turn it into an issue but if he persists on– Inko’s eyes widen when she finally finds something to zero in on.

A small speck of some sticky substance, liquid but elastic enough to not spread into a bigger puddle. It’s a bit of the webbing fluid that was used to hide Izuku’s Spider-Man suit; a part of the formulaic gossamer came apart and dropped to the floor. But Inko doesn’t know that. She keeps looking down instead of up. And so, the woman comes to her own conclusions about what the white material is. To the mother, it suddenly makes sense why her son is acting so sweaty & weird right now. A teenage boy full of raging hormones with something to hide from his parent…

“I’ll be sure to knock next time”, Inko apologetically retreats from her son’s bedroom. She closes the door enough to give him privacy but also doesn’t fully shut it just yet so that she can quickly tell him, “Come downstairs when you’re finished…” The greenette then hurriedly leaves the boy to his vices.

Izuku is left confused for a second, not completely comprehending what just happened, but ultimately accepts it as his chance to lower his guard. A relieved sigh escapes his mouth in the form of an exhale. He’s had more close encounters than he’d like to have when it comes to guarding his secret identity. A little touching up to better hide his stuff before heading downstairs is definitely needed now more than ever if he bothered to doubt it.

When Izuku finishes hiding the last of his vigilantism materials, he heads for the living room. There, he falls back onto the couch where he can stretch out across it, and pulls out his phone to look through the latest scoops in Hero Feed. As expected, there’s the digitization of Juko News blowing the whistle on Hawks being wrapped up in the criminal underworld. A court date has been set and the hero’s license temporarily revoked. Obviously there’s going to be arguments on the internet with people picking sides. But Izuku had an up close and personal experience firsthand to know the truth himself that he just closes the app and focuses on his mother entering the room.

“You gonna make room?”, Inko pauses with her hands on her hips when she sees her son hogging up all of the couch space.

“Mhm”, Izuku moves his legs so that his mom can sit next to him. He draws his knees up closer to his chest while shifting to be snuggled closer to her. The two lean on one another, Inko draping an arm across her son’s shoulders to give him a half hug.

“Tomorrow is the big day”, Inko holds him a little tighter than just a squeeze, “Are you sure you still wanna try for U.A?” She meets his eyes with an affectionate and tender look that appears as though it could water and spill over with tears at any moment.

Izuku smiles at her as he nods. “U.A is still good for their General Educations course”, his reply somehow doesn’t come out as confident as he had intended though. And a mother knows best, always taking notice of such things; especially Inko ‘Mama’ Midoriya. She must hear the lingering desire he has to try out for the Hero Course since the look in her eyes starts to change ever so slightly to something sterner.

“Oh? And is that the only department that you’re interested in?”, she prods him gently with a delicate tone but Izuku is able to pick up on her tells just as much as she can his. He starts to weasel out of her hold and shifts slightly apart from her on the couch. “You wouldn’t also happen to be considering trying for another course, would you?”

“I mean… It doesn’t hurt to try, right?” Izuku accidentally lets a bite of bitterness slip out and immediately regrets it. He knows that Inko is only being cautious because she cares, and for all she knows he’s still quirkless – but that doesn’t make it any easier to have these conversations reminding him of how she and the world constantly perceive him as a fragile being.

Inko reaches for one of his hands, placing hers over his. “It doesn’t, dear, but…” She pauses to think about her phrasing of words before committing to anything she might regret saying. “I just don’t want you to be disappointed if it doesn’t work out is all.”

Izuku slips his hand out from under his mother’s before using it to push himself up from the couch. “You already have it in your head that I’m gonna fail?”, the boy conveys his betrayal with an expression of disbelief.

Inko stands up with him, “No! Of course not!”, trying to deny his claim. But then Izuku sees past her, at where a print of Juko News is sprawled out and sharing the article of Hawks’ exposure; he sees that and understands where she’s coming from, why she’s so extra worried and why she especially doesn’t want him getting into the hero profession now more than ever.

He hangs his head, his words coming out as a garbled grumble. “We didn’t even specify which department for you to think that way…”, but Inko hears through his mumbles nonetheless.

Inko’s eyes widen as though she’s seeing the truth in that, realizing that he’s right, that they never defined that they were talking about him trying for the Hero Course in particular. He could have been expressing interest in the Support Department for all she knew. “Izuku…”, she reaches out for him in an attempt to apologize.

But Izuku pulls away, not allowing her to have that opportunity. “I’m… I’m going out. I think I need to go for a walk and get some fresh air.”

Inko is about to refuse, opening her mouth to tell him that he can’t. But then she thinks better of herself and closes it. She simply nods, a sad but understanding gesture.

Izuku hesitates to turn on his heel and walk away. He feels bad seeing his mom’s face look like that. But he does need the time to think and cool off. So he ultimately turns and leaves.

Hues of blue blend with the sandy beach bar. Sky and sea meet to cast a streak of white, sun spots shimmering until becoming one broad reflection. Grains glisten as a giant cluster occasionally sharing space with shells of faded pink shades. Izuku stands just outside of it all, taking it in like a painting brought to life. This is the handiwork of Itsuka Kendo and it never gets old to see.

He recalls that cleaning up the beach had been apart of her training to get into U.A. Her aspiration to join the Hero Course had spurred him on as Spider-Man, and now, it’s motivating him to want to try and do more as Izuku Midoriya. The boy fishes his phone out of his pants pocket. He’s still blocked by her. But he’s starting to think there’s a way to change that. It’s a small chance but one he doesn’t think is impossible.

A breeze brushes through Izuku’s curly mess of green hair, locks blowing back as though the wind is an invisible comb. The reckless youth breathes in the air. His freckled face forms a smile. An idea has just become a plan. Izuku shoves his phone back into his pocket before turning and jogging off from the boardwalk. The smile he wears starts stretching into a grin when he picks up speed to run for his destination.

“Okay… On second thought, this might have been a bad idea…”

If Izuku’s head were to crane itself back any further, it’d be prone to snapping off. But that’s how high the wall to U.A’s Entrance Exam field testing site goes. Not even Mt. Lady would be able to reach the top so easily. The boy makes an audible gulp when swallowing a harsh intake of air, feeling smaller than a spider in this situation.

He had thought to himself that he’d be able to easily sneak into U.A in order to gain a tactical advantage of the practical portion of the exam. If not for his own sake, then to give Itsuka the upper hand. It seemed simple enough to manage with spider powers; afterall, spiders go undetected all day every day. Seeing high tech scanners, turrets, motion detectors, and all other sorts of fancy security equipment advanced enough to make his Spider-Sense rattle his bones has made him rethink it a bit though.

Izuku is about to turn around and walk away, almost ashamed of himself for even considering cheating. Even if it’s to impress and win back a girl’s favor, he knows it’s wrong. But his shoe sole kicks a pebble that bounces into a ventilation exhaust. And he takes note of it. It’s such an easy way to bypass all of the pesky security, and since he’s already made the trip over here… he backpedals his thinking to sneaking in.

Pretty soon, Spider-Man is infiltrating the most prestigious hero school in all of Japan. The red and blue figure scurries through the ventilation system, occasionally batting away a cobweb left behind from his kindred brethren. The bright side is that it’s cool air flowing through the shaft and not heat. Which with this summer weather, is more of a blessing than one; he’s glad there’s no rain to wash this spider out of this particular spout.

Spider-Man breathes through his mask, glad that he kept a spare on him. A hero should never leave home without their uniform just like his mom taught him a man shouldn’t go anywhere without their wallet. Especially if that hero is a vigilante and they need to keep their identity a secret. And especially ESPECIALLY if that already wanted ‘fugitive’ – Izuku likes to use that term loosely – is in the act of breaking and entering.

As the vigilante peels back a thin sheeting of galvanized duct, he prays that he isn’t caught. It’d really suck to have to go up against the heroes who may be the ones teaching him. There’s a brief moment where he wonders if that’s what the practical exam is for the Hero Course and if this whole reconnaissance mission was for nothing. And then he sees the giant mechanized goliaths stationed at charging ports; it’s like he walked – or crawled – into some sort of sci-fi military movie.

The expressionful eyes on Spider-Man’s mask convey his awe. It makes sense to have examinees go up against disposable faux enemies of such design. And yet, there are so many. Not just in numbers but in that state of design. Spider-Man hops from the wall to the ceiling, moving deeper into the massive supply station. There are some robots that look like child’s play and then there are others that are seriously no laughing matter to have to deal with.

Spider-Man lowers himself on a web line, viewing one of the bots up close and personal. It makes no difference that he performs his examination upside down. He can tell from a slight rapping of his knuckles on the bot’s base that it’s mostly hollow, which means it’s very combustibly punchable. The vigilante alters his position on his string to view behind the machine. There, he finds a button on the robot’s exposed back; it appears to be some sort of deactivation switch.

The one beside it is less forgiving. Spider-Man sways with his body on the web line that he dangles from until he gains enough momentum to pivot over. The robot he lands on is poised in a low crouch, with shields guarding its legs and two tail-like extensions covering its surface area akin to that of a scorpion. Spider-Man shivers, slightly scared of this one out of some strange instinct. It has three camera lenses for eyes on its front and a button on its belly for turnoff beneath it instead of on top.

Spider-Man’s reflexes kick in, his body moving when his Spider-Sense shouts at him to move. For a second, he worries that the robots may have turned on. When he lands perpendicular to them though, he sees that they are still disabled. What he finds himself facing instead is the back snap of Eraserhead’s capture cloth. The underground hero coils the fabric around his neck like it’s a wearable scarf; it’s a fashion statement as bold as web patterned spandex.

Eraserhead raises an eyebrow, as though he himself is only getting to see who he’s quarreling with for the first time. “You’re the one breaking in here?”, it’s supposed to be a question but it’s said matter of factly, “You’re about the right height for an eight year old.”

“I’m fourteen!”, Izuku’s instinctually offended shout of protest comes out whinier than he’d like for the provent point of his age to attest to.

Eraserhead seems unphased nevertheless, simply doing a onceover of the boy’s height to reconfirm his estimation. “Well… Then you should be taller”, the underground hero’s drawl carries past his analytical eyes and Izuku finds himself ignoring the verbal assault in favor of paying attention for a physical advance.

“This isn’t what it looks like”, Spider-Man holds up his hands in an attempt of effort to show he’s no threat.

“You aren’t breaking into a highly secured facility?”, Eraserhead’s sarcastic retort is undoubtedly rhetorical but Izuku still feels a need to answer despite his reflexive flinch.

“Okay, maybe it is what it looks like… but I’m not doing anything wrong!” Spider-Man winces when he sees Eraserhead’s skeptical stare. “I mean I’m not here for any nefarious reasons”, Izuku is not entirely sure why he shrugs while saying that second part but he instantly regrets the nervous motion since it likely doesn’t make him appear all that much more convincing.

Eraserhead pulls a pair of golden goggles over his eyes, the slits where glass windows should be proving to be more of an intimidating feature. Spider-Man swallows a lump in his throat, nearly choking on whatever other excuses he had on the tip of his tongue. The underground hero takes a stance, stepping further into a fighting position. The lazy drawl is gone; the nonchalance from earlier is replaced by a stern statement as he says, “Right. That’s why you cut the power to the building.”

Spider-Man stumbles, taken aback. “Wh- What? Huh?”, he almost scratches the top of his head but is much too afraid to make any sudden movements that might trigger the underground hero to attack. The vigilante hadn’t questioned why the room was so dark when he entered it. He had just assumed U.A wanted to save power and money by keeping the lights off. But if the power was cut, “That wasn’t me…”, then that must mean he’s not the only one breaking and entering U.A currently.

Eraserhead catches on, noticing Spider-Man body language isn’t aggressive. He keeps his stance but untenses his form. “You’re telling me that you weren’t the one to blow the breaker?”, the underground takes a moment to contemplate; he starts considering what to do about one intruder while having to worry about the other.

And that singular moment of hesitation is all that Spider-Man needs as an opportunity to make his grand escape. The vigilante bounds to the ceiling, “Nope! I’m just the one blowing this popsicle stand!”, and begins running along it with his two feet rather than crawling on all fours.

“Hey!”, Eraserhead calls after the fleeing figure. Neither that short shout or the quick snap of his capture cloth manages to stop Spider-Man though. The vigilante evades getting his ankle snagged by the binding line with an acrobatic maneuver that simultaneously carries him over to the air duct in which he entered the room to begin with.

Izuku breathes several sighs of relief through a series of adrenaline high pants. Not only did he somehow manage to break into U.A but he also somehow managed to outwit a pro hero. A combination of disbelieving panic and exhilarated excitement accelerates his heartbeat. Hand over hand, he crawls through the ventilation shaft as at brisk a pace as he can. He knows that security will try meeting him at the exit so he needs to move fast. There’s no time for celebration or complete & total relief just yet. He refuses to pat himself on the back – especially not when what he’s doing is wrong.

Izuku stops crawling. It was a wrong knee-jerk decision for him to sneak into U.A to begin with. And now that he’s discovered he isn’t the only one breaking and entering, he’s using that as a distraction to run away. Izuku recalls the last time that he looked the other way when he could have done something to prevent a possible problem. He knows full well what it means to take responsibility for one’s actions. Rather than continuing to crawl for the exit, Spider-Man makes a sharp turn and uses the ventilation system to terrain deeper into U.A.

“I know I’m gonna regret this…”, Izuku mumbles under his breath what he knows isn’t true. His conscience would have regretted leaving Eraserhead alone much more. And so, the vigilante tunes out his thoughts in favor for the other tingling turnover at the back of his mind. Like he’d done with the Spider-Tracers, Spider-Man follows his Spider-Sense.

Wherever danger is closest, the boy’s special sense increases in terms of signaling him. He’d like to think of it as searching for the vibration of his silent cellphone in order to find it but his Spider-Sense can prove to be much more obnoxious than that. Seriously. Izuku knows he’ll need some ibuprofen later at this rate. But then Izuku feels the kinetic energy traveling through the duct and understands that those vibrations in the air aren’t only coming from his heightened senses. Spider-Man’s gloved fingertips receive tiny zaps as he nears the end of this shaft’s filter.

In what must be another containment room for U.A’s exam bots, is the source of that strange energy output. Spider-Man’s eye lenses reflect a yellow hue that illuminates from the other person occupying the space. A suit the same shade of green as Izuku’s hair beneath his mask conceals the person’s body; golden bands & similarly vibrant strands of lightning etched embroidery crosses over that green in patterns that matches what radiates as an aura.

Izuku knows his hero trivia and he can confidently say this guy doesn’t appear to be anyone other than a plausible villain. The supposed electrical villain turns his head when Spider-Man climbs into the room; Izuku can see now that U.A’s second intruder has a face mask designed to look like a starfish bursting into a static shock. He wants to crack a joke about it but is at a loss for words over how dumb it is that he ultimately decides that it’d be too easy to make fun of.

The electrical villain speaks first, “Spider-Man!”, unintelligently unable to exclaim anything more than the identification of his surprise guest-mate.

“Aaahh, there we go, finally a bad guy who understands the etiquette of these things!” Izuku throws the villain a bone and decides to run with that as a positive stall tactic instead of going in all gung ho. “I show up. You shout my name in disbelief. Then comes the butt kicking!”, though not without a little action of extending his leg.

“It’s you who will get their ass kicked!”, the villain defends himself with the electrical current covering his body. Spider-Man barely hoists his outstretched leg back up before it can get caught in the current.

“Yeesh!”, the vigilante flings himself down to where U.A’s robots are so that he has better cover to hide himself from any residual electrical attacks, “Whatever happened to etiquette?!”

The villain tracks his newfound opponent’s movement only for a moment but then Spider-Man manages to disappear within the assembly line. If Izuku were the patient type, he’d continue stalling and wait for Eraserhead or some of the other pros to arrive before trying to get closer. But he’s learned from his solo vigilante experience that it’s sometimes up to oneself to try and resolve things. So he twists under the legs of a faux villain to slide up close and personal with his enemy.

Spider-Man juts out with both of his legs this time. They connect with the villain’s torso. Spider-Man feels the impact jarring up through his heels before he feels the defensive electrical shock barrier from the villain. First comes a crackle. Which is then followed by a pop. Spider-Man’s teeth rattle as he shouts, and he’s blown back like he’s just made contact with a bug zapper.

The boy bounces three times, skipping harder than a stone tossed across a lake. Forget ibuprofen. He’s gonna need something much better than that. But first, he needs to MOVE. Spider-Man forces himself to turn over and bounds away from a streak of electricity. Had he been a fraction of a second slower, he’d likely be fried to a crisp right about now.

His vision swims shallow while his mind swims deep. It becomes hard to think up a quip, “Just–”, as hard as it is for him to dodge with his body still reeling from getting blasted so recently. The vigilante flips and falls away from a high voltage beam.

It’s there that Spider-Man stumbles and lands on his backside. The shock to his system earlier is still reverberating throughout his body. He holds up his two hands, gesturing with a palm over fingers held vertically to form a T shape. It comes out a tad bit as a mumble but Spider-Man manages to say, “Timeout..”

“Huh? Timeout?”, the villain falters for a moment. But only a moment. After that brief lapse of confusion, he shakes his head clear of it and rekindles the energy brimming from his body, “There’s no calling timeouts!”

“I’m afraid I have to agree with Electro”, a third voice interjects from above. Both vigilante and villain pivot their heads in the direction of the voice to see it belongs to Eraserhead. The underground hero jumps down to land between them, “There’s no such thing as ‘timeouts’ or fairness in a real fight.”

Electro pauses a second time, taking a step back when he sees that he’s now outnumbered. “Oh, great, now there’s two of you…” The villain glances left and right in search of something; it could be a check for additional reinforcements to the heroes or himself, a search for an exit route, or anything else for that matter.

To Spider-Man, it doesn’t matter, he’s just relieved to have backup. “Took you long enough to catch up”, he forces himself to stand up beside Eraserhead. Now having recovered both physically and mentally enough, he processes what’s going on at a pace that would mean he’s finally caught up. “Wait – Electro? This guy’s name is Electro?”, which has him doing a doubletake.

“What’s wrong with the name Electro?!”, the villain sparks up with a flash of anger evident within the flash of electrical energy emitting from his form.

Spider-Man shrugs, using that movement of his shoulders to rotate and stretch them. “It’s not that much better than Eraserhead, I’ll give you that!” The vigilante jokingly gives his now temporary partner in crime fighting a quick glance.

Eraserhead growls, not returning the eye contact. Or maybe he does. It’s kinda hard to tell with the goggles. All that Spider-Man knows is that the underground hero isn’t trying to arrest him anymore. So he takes that as a sign of good faith and strikes a pose beside the man’s stance. The two form a truce and team up against Electro.

The villain unleashes a blinding wave of amperage. Eraserhead instinctively shields his eyes with an arm, the light shining through the slits of his goggles more than enough to be blinding. Spider-Man squints but the lens of his mask are a reflective glass that he fairs a little better. The two part ways, ducking down in opposite directions to avoid getting caught in an electrical shockwave.

Spider-Man veers under the belly of a robot, starting low. Velocity and voltage strike the machine, causing it to combust. Spider-Man uses that as momentum to carry himself high, going over the next robot in his way. Electricity surges underneath the springing spider being and destroys another hunk of metal.

Eraserhead parkours on the opposite side of lined up robots. He dodges short and long bursts of controlled currents with as much agility as Spider-Man – or, he comes close to matching those acrobatic movements, at least. There’s a few tricks that the underground hero isn’t able to pull off and needs to compensate for. Eraserhead pushes off the leg of a robot for an extra boost to avoid getting electrocuted.

Electro switches his aim from the two gymnasts to the ground. He uses the beams that he’s able to produce from his palms as a means to launch himself up and away. Which is what saves him from getting tangled up in either Eraserhead’s capture cloth or Spider-Man’s webbing. The villain cackles while landing atop one of the robots. It’s on touchdown that he emits an electrical signal into the machine and all of the others.

Spider-Man wishes Eraserhead’s goggles could have been made as expressive as the lens on his mask when he reacts to the robots turning on and the underground hero doesn’t. Electro is no longer the one who is outnumbered. The vigilante and his temporary partner have found themselves surrounded by mechanized faux villains engineered to put up a fight.

Eraserhead locks onto Electro with a glare, the red glow passing through the slithers of his goggles indicating the activation of his quirk. “You’re too late!”, but the villain boasts when the erasure quirk has no effect on shutting down the already activated robots, “Good luck!”

Eraserhead grits his teeth to keep a frustrated grunt from becoming a shout as he’s attacked by robots. The machines force him to look away from Electro in order to defend himself. Which allows for Electro to flee and escape. Eraserhead snags a bot’s leg with his capture cloth to pull himself away from another bot. But that simply propels him into a situation where five more corner him off.

Eraserhead must admit his surprise when Spider-Man jumps in front of him to land a solid punch on one of the machines. The robot caves inward and goes crashing into one of its copies. Not only is that an impressive feat of strength but the underground hero had expected the vigilante to follow Electro’s example and use this as a distraction to run away. He gives Spider-Man a small nod to express appreciation for the save before moving to hit the shutdown switch on a bot behind him.

“I always thought the robot uprising was gonna be the vending machines! Not this!”, Spider-Man throws out a wisecrack while throwing out a faux villain’s battery pack. He jumps onto another one’s back where he punches a hole into it in order to rip out that machine’s too.

“Take this seriously”, Eraserhead warns the vigilante to be cautious while performing defensive maneuvers of his own, “It’s not U.A controlling these. They aren’t programmed for the Entrance Exam so they could very well be out to kill us.”

As if on cue, a missile fired from one of the robot’s back turrets comes rocketing towards them. Spider-Man snatches it mid air with a web line in order to redirect it into another of the automations. An explosion ensues, heaps of burning scrap metal bombarding the surrounding area. “You don’t say?!”, Spider-Man flips away from a second missile sent to do what the first couldn’t.

Eraserhead lassos what would be a one pointer in the Hero Course exam with his capture cloth before using all of the strength he can muster as a means of winding it around to knock into its robotic brethren. The hunk of metal clumsily slams into its copies and they all crash into one giant pile. Eraserhead then uses that stack of steel as steps to carry himself into an overhead leap. After going airborne, the underground hero twists himself to land on a robot’s back where he can hit it’s deactivation button.

Spider-Man is in the midst of dispatching some of the other bots in their way when there comes a sudden shift to the environment. For a second, he thinks he’s been electrocuted again or that a metal arm caught his skull. But he quickly realizes that it’s his Spider-Sense going off; the alarm pounds harder than any headache, slamming into his skull as though someone is banging a garbage can lid behind his head. Spider-Man spins around to see why. And he sees why.

A robot, much MUCH bigger than all of the others, slowly lurches to life to join the others in their assault on him and Eraserhead. This one appears to be some type of excavation machine with tank tread tracks to wheel its massive mechanical body around. More robotical eyes than can be counted on a spider peer down at the vigilante and the underground hero.

“So… How many points is that one worth on the exam?”, Izuku gestures towards the massive automation like it’s something Eraserhead could have somehow missed noticing.

Eraserhead lifts his goggles up from his eyes to his forehead. He sees the colossal mechanism bearing down on them with no regard for its smaller compatriots, wheel belts crushing whatever gets in its way. Without tearing his gaze from it, he answers Spider-Man’s question. Eraserhead says, “Zero.”

Izuku looks between the man’s stoic & serious expression and the Zero Pointer, dumbfounded. So this is what it means to try to get into U.A’s Hero Course. All the boy can mutter in response to the ridiculously (and quite literally) high expectations of the school’s students is, “Oh..”

Spider-Man flips backwards to gain distance on the incoming threat towards him and Eraserhead. He lands on a One Pointer where he applies all of his weight into that landing to bring it down. Across the way, Eraserhead uses his capture cloth as a grappling line to hoist himself towards the containment room’s rafters. The underground hero secures himself there while looking for solutions from the newly acquired vantage point.

Spider-Man bounds from bot to bot, still staying out of range from the massive mechanism’s belt crusher. But as he does so, he stretches web lines from automation to automation. The connected bands begin to pull the crowd together until there’s a significant pebble in the path of the giant machine. One that gets run over carelessly, which results in a sticky surface beneath its rotating tread track like gum on the bottom of a shoe. “Yes!”, Spider-Man pumps both of his hands into the air as celebratory sky punches. But the celebration is premature; the tread track winds forward and rips the floor free with it rather than remaining stationary.

“Ah, come on!” The spider themed vigilante springs away from the machine’s footing before it can crush him. As he’s falling back, the boy uses a web line to careen and carry himself to the rafters where Eraserhead resides. There, the underground hero has finished planting small charges to drop a few of those beams on the bot’s head. If attacking from the bottom didn’t work, then the man is hopeful that an assault from above might.

It doesn’t work. Though heavy enough to pin the two humans down should the beams have fallen on them, the rafter supports aren’t near enough to do anything other than disturb the mechanical goliath beneath them. In the words of Spider-Man, ‘Ah! Come on!’ seems appropriate, but Eraserhead only voices his disgruntlement with a low rough noise good enough to be a growl.

“Now what?”, Spider-Man makes an inquisitive shrugging gesture with his arms spread out. Communicating with his body language comes easy when he’s hiding his expressions behind a mask.

Eraserhead’s face isn’t fully covered though, and it takes on an expression of surprise that notifies Spider-Man of danger before the vigilante’s Spider-Sense even does. “Move!”, the underground hero shouts a warning for them to dodge an incoming mechanical fist.

Fortunately for Spider-Man, the giant metal arm isn’t wielding a comically large newspaper to whack him with. He diverts his movement away from getting slammed and begins maneuvering through the rafters that still remain. Across the way, Eraserhead’s jump turns into a dive that takes him down to ground level. The man isn’t as nimble and young as the boy, and takes damage on his legs when landing.

Spider-Man hears a pained grunt, which causes him to look back. The eyes on his mask expand to cover his full face when he sees Eraserhead stuck in a compromised state directly in front of the Zero Pointer’s warpath. “No!”, the vigilante redirects himself to go back into that same field of danger.

Spider-Man’s landing is with a little more grace when he puts himself between Eraserhead and the monstrous machine. “What are you doing?! Save yourself!”, Eraserhead strains to get up when he sees someone younger than him putting themself in danger. But to no avail, the underground hero falls back, too injured to stand.

“Oh yeah? Then who’s gonna save YOU?!”, Spider-Man is quick with a retort as always. The vigilante snakes an arm behind Eraserhead to lift and support the man’s weight. The other arm extends to spin a web line. Except, no string comes out. The nozzle fizzles out the remnants of what’s left in an otherwise empty web shooter. “Oh no – Not now!”

Spider-Man swiftly switches Eraserhead to his other arm, opting to try and spin a web from that shooter. But the second nozzle has the same effect. He’s all out. And with the Zero Pointer bearing down on them, Spider-Man is unable to replace the cartilages fast enough to swing him and Eraserhead to safety. He’s left with one option; it’s a desperate gamble but Spider-Man is able to think quicker than he moves currently.

Spider-Man plucks a cartilage from his spare supply. But instead of lodging it into one of his web shooters, he chucks it towards the Zero Pointer’s tread tracks. It’s the same idea as his first attempt to stop the massive machine, just on a larger scale. The web cartilage combusts under the bot’s belt and explodes with webbing. Goop covers the wheels and messes with the functionality until the movement loses out.

Mere inches from getting rolled over, Spider-Man and Eraserhead stare straight ahead at what looks like a snow cushion collision. The vigilante releases a sigh of relief while simultaneously setting the underground hero back down. “I’m glad that worked…”, Izuku can’t imagine what it would have been like to get flattened. Judging by Eraserhead’s hum of agreement, neither could he have.

“Your friend got away”, the underground hero spares a tired glance in the direction that Electro fled before returning that tired stare back to Spider-Man.

To which the vigilante indignantly throws his arms up in the air to argue, “I told you that he’s not my friend!”, before backpedaling under the underground hero’s gaze and more timidly answering, “I guess I was just at the right place at the right time..”

Eraserhead huffs something shy of a laugh. “Or the wrong place at the wrong time”, but he otherwise displays no real amusem*nt as he drags a calloused hand over his stubbled facial features. A moment later, he’s waving that hand towards the room’s ventilation as though he’s shooing Spider-Man away. “Go on and get out of here before I change my mind –”, he sees the vigilante about to speak and abruptly cuts the unlicensed hero off, “-this is only a one time offer. I won’t ask what you were doing here but it’s clear from your actions that you’re telling the truth when you say you wanted to help. So go. Now.”

Spider-Man stalls, but only for a second. With a murmured, “Thanks”, he bids an appreciative farewell. Eraserhead watches with fasciation as the boy leaves using an abnormal agility to move.

The door opens with a pop, one loud enough to inspire onomatopoeia and make Izuku believe the noise is coming from his back for a moment (crawling and crouching 24/7 has proven to have that kind of effect on him if he doesn’t stretch in the morning). It’s a sound also loud enough to be heard by the boy’s mother. Inko arrives to greet her son at the household entrance as he kicks his signature red sneakers off. She doesn’t see him wipe his brow with his web patterned mask like it’s a handkerchief or the way he sneakily hides it in his coat jacket – which is already suspicious enough for him to be wearing all the way zipped up during such a sweltering summer – but she does note the way he’s hunched over with a sour expression.

Inko tenderly treads towards him with outstretched hands; she hesitates to hug or console him, still cautious and careful because of the place they left off earlier. “The walk didn’t help, huh?” So the anxious mother settles on wringing those two hands together, praying for him to not be as still sad or angry as he appears.

Izuku falters, seemingly startled by his mom and her question. She senses that he must have been deep in thought and waits for his mind to buffer. When it does, because Mama Midoriya’s motherly instinct is always right, her son offers a somber smile to placate her concern. “Not the way that I thought it would..”

“Oh, Izuku..” Inko’s heart clenches as tightly as she squeezes her hands together. She really doesn’t want to say it, her mouth opening and shutting, but she eventually convinces herself to speak. She tells him, “I gave it some thought while you were gone and.. Sweetie, you can try for the Hero Course if you want–”

“No”, Izuku’s curt cutoff renders Inko speechless. So he continues talking instead of her, “You were right, mom. My ego got too big and I made – er – was going to make some poor decisions regarding U.A. I’ll just stick with Gen Ed.”

Inko blinks, but is unable to blink back her disbelief nor the tears starting to seep out of her sockets. “But.. But I don’t understand… You seemed so sure?”, she means to ask him what about his walk could have possibly changed his mind but is much too moved to do so.

Izuku swallows, choking down his own tears before they can join his mother’s. “I just realized you were right is all”, his shoulders give a small shrug, “There’s no use trying for something that’ll just wind up being a big waste of time.”

Inko can hear the hurt in her son’s voice to know that he hasn’t fully let his dream go, and so she finally gives in to her need to hold him. But she doesn’t try rekindling his passion to alleviate that hurt. “I just don’t want to see you in danger is all”, she can’t bring herself to take that chance when he’s quirkless and has no power to defend himself.

Izuku stiffens in her hold, eyes going wide. Inko worries that she said something wrong again. Until his body loosens, and he leans into hers. Slowly, Izuku’s eyes slide shut and he returns her hug. He rests his chin atop her head as he whispers, “I know… I know, mom..”

When they finally break apart and end the embrace, Inko forces out a laugh to clear her throat. “I won’t have to worry about that with you being in Gen Ed though! No villains and no potential explosions that you could get from being in Support either!”, it’s a poor attempt at humor but Izuku fakes a chuckle to avoid making the moment any more awkward.

“Yeah..”, he mumbles something else under his breath but Inko is walking out of ear shot as he does. She likely expects him to follow so he raises his voice after that to call out and let her know, “I’m gonna head to my room for a bit! Alright?”

“That’s fine! Just be back down for dinner!”, she shouts back from the other end of the house a second later.

Izuku sighs. He didn’t tell his mom the real reason that he changed his mind. Afterall, how could he? That’d be like telling her that he’s Spider-Man. After the mess that he got mixed up in (and that he’s wondering if he’s partially to blame for even) he feels too responsible for the mishap at U.A to show his face at the Entrance Exam. Not to mention the way Eraserhead and the rest of the school’s staff must feel about him now, even if they did let him go.

Izuku toys with the zipper at the top of his jacket, thumbing the metal pull tab. He has a secret identity to keep as a vigilante now more than ever. It’s not like he can go using his powers at the exam to pass it without exposing himself. Slowly and ever-so-slightly, Izuku pulls the zipper down. Just by a bit. Just enough that the top part of his Spider-Man suit is exposed, right where the emblem resides. He’s able to do what he always wanted without passing the Hero Course, which is helping people and saving lives. That’s what the alter ego is all about. That’s what Spider-Man is for.

And as for Izuku Midoriya… he pulls out his mask, the reflective lens on it staring into his eyes. He can do some good too. He has a responsibility to his mother. A responsibility to his studies. A responsibility to those in his life that he doesn’t get them tangled up in Spider-Man’s web; Izuku shoves the mask back into his pocket and pulls the zipper on his coat back up.

What he did, thinking that it was for Itsuka, was wrong. Even if it was some small part for her, he broke into U.A for himself and his own selfish reasons. She blocked him because of his responsibility as Spider-Man and he almost gave up that responsibility trying to win her back. He hangs his head, thinking that his father would probably be disappointed in him. He can’t compromise himself and doing the right thing for anyone, not even cute girls. He thinks of that blonde girl that cut him across his chest; especially not the crazy ones either, no matter how attractive that craziness can be at times.

“Spider-Man really is just a kid. He thinks like a kid. Acts like a kid”, Eraserhead ceases his pacing back and forth to whirl on Tsukauchi and give the detective a hard stare, “He talks like a kid.”

There’s a hard tone to go along with that stare too. Which makes Tsukauchi hold up his hands in a placating gesture. “Okay, just calm down, we expected as such that getting a confirmation shouldn’t rile us up” Tsukauchi takes a second to let that suggestion hang in the air, hoping that it’ll settle.

It does, as much as it will when it comes to quelling Eraserhead’s attitude, at least. The underground hero heaves a heavy sigh up and out of his mouth. “He wouldn’t stop talking. In all my years of teaching, not even any of my students come close to being as unserious as he was” The man continues his complainative critique with his hands on his hips. “But…”, only lagging for a second with contemplation to correct himself, “What he did was still somehow effective nevertheless.”

Tsukauchi raises a brow at that. Receiving any sort of praise from Eraserhead is uncommon, even if it’s tacked on with criticism. “Luck?”, he presumes that he must be mistaken.

But the underground hero shakes his head, denying that Spider-Man got this far as a vigilante solely on luck. “It was more than that”, Eraserhead thinks back to what he saw, “It was more like an ingrained instinct or a third sense keeping him alive. What would have been otherwise reckless was turned into innovation.”

“Interesting”, the detective makes a mental note of what could be a quirk effect or something else to follow as a lead in the investigation. Then asks, “Anything else you noticed?”

Eraserhead nods, still giving credit where credit is due. “His webbing isn’t organic”, that bit of news surprises Tsukauchi, “He’s also smart enough to build himself support items.”

“Or perhaps he’s getting them from a supplier?”, but the detective isn’t so shocked that he can’t rationalize that information; he stops the underground hero from jumping to any sort of conclusions, “It’s not implausible to rule out that Spider-Man isn’t working alone.”

Eraserhead crosses his arms, not following that same line of thinking. “He didn’t seem the type”, the underground hero recalls the way that Spider-Man utilized the cartilages to stop the Zero Pointer, “I can tell that he knew what he was doing by the way that he handled his gear. Not even Pros familiarize themself enough with their items to be that comfortable with them; that only comes with knowing the insides and outs as an inventor.”

“So then we’re dealing with a boy genius who’s abnormally aware of his surroundings”, Tsukauchi chews on his bottom lip to bite down on a bitter laugh, “That should make catching him all the easier” He’s unable to keep the sarcasm from coming out though.

Eraserhead hums instead of agreeing, which makes him sound like he’s hiding something. It’s no secret that the man has a soft spot for both vigilantes and kids that the detective can come up with a few theories as to what. But before Tsukauchi can ask about it, the underground hero is already moving on. “Since this incident happened on the grounds of U.A, I’m sure that Nezu is going to want to get his grubby paws on this too, so don’t worry about cracking the case too much” He refers to the hero school’s principal like he’s referring to vermin (and he may as well be) before settling into the seat opposite to Tsukauchi’s desk.

Tsukauchi sits down too, nodding along. “He’s already emailed me with a formal request for copies of the Spider-Man investigation”, the truth is that the detective has been blatantly ignoring that request and he knows he’s safe in sharing such information with someone who understands exactly as to why he would, “That rat bastard likely already has his own case file built that he won’t bother sharing with me or the rest of the precinct anyways.”

Eraserhead hides his small smile of amusem*nt within the crook of his capture cloth that doubles as a scarf. In doing so, he feels the brim of his goggles brush against the bristles under his chin. They remind him of something else that he can share with the detective. “Speaking of which… You might want to boot up your computer – or get a pen out – whichever is faster”, he mimes jotting down notes so that the detective gets the message and Tsukauchi does just that.

“You mean to tell me that there’s more?”, Tsukauchi steels himself with a glance up at the underground hero. The tip of his pen presses into a blank page of his notepad, ink seeping into the paper already.

Eraserhead slides his goggles up over his head and sets them down on the desk between he and the detective. “I tried using my quirk during our encounter”, there’s an intake of breath between both of the investigators that leaves what comes next lingering in the air before it can even be said, “Erasure doesn’t work on Spider-Man. You might want to consider altering the type of quirk suspects on your list.”

Pink petals flutter about with applicants, covering the grounds that are overlooked by cherry blossom trees. A vast expanse of leveled stone sidewalk leads into the prestigious place the way a red carpet may get rolled out for guests to a major event. There are even camera flashes to enhance that environmental effect, several people snapping memorabilia photos at the widespread entry gates. Izuku gazes up at the arch of it as he walks under what’s suspended overhead; he half expects torches to be on either side the way that American film Jurassic Park had its entry gate. Despite having broken into U.A prior to now, it’s all awe inspiring new ground to tread; it’s a stark contrast between cramped vent shafts and assembly warehouses.

The boy’s eyes marvel at what’s ahead of him. Built atop a forested hill, resides the hero school’s student center. There are enough floors stacking the suspension of the facility that it could be a skyscraper. Glass panes radiate the sun on the horizon, only dimming where a connector bridge attaches the center with a second tower. From this far back, the architecture appears to deliberately mimic the letter ‘H’, undoubtedly standing for Hero if it is anything intentional. That’s just one of the many impressive structures surrounding the campus as Izuku follows the flow of applicant traffic. Acres of land stretch beyond what the eye can see. Anxiety, excitement, eagerness, and many other emotions swell within the youth.

Izuku is so caught up in his fanboy fascination of it all that he winds up mis stepping. A pebble in his path catches the front of his foot, causing him to trip over himself. Naturally, Izuku’s Spider-Sense warns him of the accident; his instinct is to catch himself so that he doesn’t fall and scrape his knees or elbows. He’s about to obey that bodily impulse. But on the way down, he can see the prying eyes of those around him. With an active audience watching, he can’t boast his powers without risking exposure of his double life in vigilantism. Izuku fights his instinct, allowing gravity to take him instead of stopping it.

Except, midway through his descent, there’s suddenly no gravity left at all. Izuku starts to levitate above the ground! The boy frantically flails his arms, grasping at air as he reaches for the surface beneath him. He knows that if he can just touch the floor that he’ll be able to stick and keep himself from floating away; secret identity be damned now, he decides that he is not going to drift off into space before he even gets a chance to try out for U.A’s Gen Ed department.

“Whoa, no need to freak out, I’ve gotcha!” A bubbly voice breaks through Izuku’s panic and he realizes that he’s just bobbing about in one place rather than soaring into the sky. It all makes sense to him what spared him a tumble when a brunette girl explains, “It’s just my quirk”, her hands pressing together with a whispered, “Release”, being what returns gravity to him.

He breathes a sigh of relief, meaning to say thanks with it, but all the wind apparently leaving him in that sigh making it rather difficult. Izuku tries again. A wheeze comes out. Well, now this cute girl is only going to think he’s weirder than she probably already does… The fact that she’s cute doesn’t help with his spiking anxiety either, by the way. If not for it being the tail end of a sweltering summer and his raging teenage hormones, he’d also like to imagine he wouldn’t be so sweaty right now.

The girl scratches the back of her head, starting to feel awkward about the interaction too. “You look super nervous. Sorry if I startled or bothered you, I just didn’t think it’d be good to trip right before your exam, bad luck and all” She waves over her shoulder while walking with the other candidates, “Well, anyway, we don’t wanna be late either. Good luck on your exam!”

Izuku raises his hand to wave back to her, the shaky appendage giving her a thumbs up that she can’t even see from behind. It feels like going for a fist bump when the other person wanted a high five, especially when he keeps the gesture poised for way too long after the matter of her having left awhile ago. But, he still beams with some pride anyways. Afterall, he did just talk to a girl. Well, he didn’t actually do any speaking, but that’s a lot easier to do when wearing a mask so he has some anonymity to hide his embarrassment. Which he doesn’t have now. And Itsuka was a special case, their meeting behind a dumpster much less romantic than U.A. Whatever. The point is that he technically talked (not really) to a girl, and that’s a good omen to balance out the tripping as a bad one.

Having recovered well enough, Izuku puts one foot forward and takes another step to replace the one that he screwed up. Which promptly leads him into a person’s back. “Oop! Sorry!”, he staggers a bit to put some space between himself and the other U.A applicant. Only to see when the person turns around that it’s somebody he recognizes. How his Spider-Sense didn’t warn him of his childhood friend turned bully is beyond him.

Katsuki Bakugo whirls around to glower at the person that dares brush shoulders with him, “Hah?!”, his spark of anger only kindling into a more burning fire of fury when he too recognizes who bumped into him, “Deku?!” The boy’s ashen blonde hair bristles like pines on a porcupine.

“H- Hey Kacchan”, Izuku reflexively recluses from his irritable neighbor. Past experience has proven that getting too close can result in some burns, which sucks when they practically live right next door to one another.

“What the f*ck are YOU doing here?!”, Katsuki closes the gap between he and Izuku. The angry blonde’s hand grabs a clumpful of the other boy’s shirt, the blonde’s quirk singing the material as it dares to detonate. “Are you trying to apply to be a hero when I distinctly remember telling you to back off and not even bother?!”, spit flings itself at Izuku as the other boy barks at him like a pomeranian.

“N- No! I’m not!”, Izuku holds his hands up while wildly waving them to display himself as submissive and not willing to fight. They’ve gained themselves a few onlookers. Izuku tries laughing it off to deescalate the situation, playing up his act so that the spectators will go back to their business. “U.A has general studies too”, he explains himself to the bully as best as he can, “I wouldn’t even dream of trying out for the Hero Course!”

Katsuki bares his teeth, his resemblance to a pomeranian now looking like one prepared to bite. But he too takes notice of the passerbyers. And not even he is willing to start a problem in public that might hurt his chances at getting into U.A. “Tch”, he releases Izuku’s shirt – but not without a shove – and lets Izuku go free, “So long as you know your place!”

Izuku deflates with his second sigh of the day. He expected U.A to be an eventful place but this is unbelievably unprecedented luck. The kid who rearranged his name’s kanji to mean useless and got all the other children at his school growing up to call him ‘Deku’ just so happens to run into him amongst all these other examinees… What are the odds? But it is a firm reminder that he must maintain his unassuming appearance if he’s to survive. He was only treated that way because of his quirkless nature, the switch up from his friend coming after that diagnosis. And so long as Spider-Man is a secret, it’ll have to stay that way.

Izuku gets back on track, following the flow of examinees towards the exam center. They start splitting at a fork in the path, various trails leading to different exam halls. It’s not so hard to know which one is for the Support Department, lots of those candidates carrying heavy machinery with them. As for which path is the correct one to follow for Gen Ed, that’s a little tougher to figure out. Izuku slowly walks closer to the buildings where people file into separate auditoriums, hoping it might get easier to know who goes where from there.

While browsing the exam halls, he becomes distracted by a familiar tingling sensation in the back of his mind. Izuku’s face twitches and then scrunches up in confusion; why his Spider-Sense would be ringing here of all places is a strange occurrence. So, he turns around and tries to find the source of its cause. Some scanning of the potentially future students sea takes his eyes to a blonde boy with a black lightning streak dyed into his hair. He’s on the phone, appearing nervous while talking to whoever is on the other end. But the guy is heading for the Hero Course, so he can’t be all that bad.

Izuku looks around some more. He gasps. Who he spots next also sees him. Itsuka Kendo stares from across the way, people putting them apart, but the two making direct eye contact nevertheless. She seems surprised to see him too for a second before frowning and joining her group in loading into the auditorium she belongs to. Izuku shudders, believing his Spider-Sense to have warned him about the girl’s animosity from what she thinks is him ghosting her. That’s not how he hoped to see her again, especially that she’d make his danger sense go off.

Little does he know, that’s not the case at all. He had been right the first time when taking notice of the Hero Course applicant beside Itsuka. The boy with a lightning streak design in his mess of electric blonde hair tugs at the collar around his neck. He’s holding a burner phone close to his ear while listening to the modulated voice on the other end of it. The mysterious caller that he’s in contact with gives him a command, “Pass that exam and do your job as our spy, Electro, or it’s lights out for you.”

The unmasked villain who opposed Eraserhead and Spider-Man clutches the phone tighter in his hand while pressing it closer to his ear. “Yes, Sensei” The boy’s name tag reads Denki Kaminari and he’s the one that sabotaged the exam bots so that he can pass the exam.


Back when there was speculation over who the U.A traitor could be, I always sorta liked the Kaminari theories (plus it makes sense in this context with Electro, I felt) so I'll be opting for Denki over Yuga Aoyama.
This chapter also hopefully helped address everyone's questions about Izuku's schooling status a little more.

I'd additionally like to backtrack to the previous chapter to explain a few things about Vulture & Swarm since I got some comments about them. To clarify, Hawks was using Vulture as an alter ego to perform undercover operations for The Commission; the HPSC is known for shady under the table stuff like Lady Nagant being an assassin so it seemed feasible. As for Swarm's character, she is the 'bee villain' from the Vigilantes MHA spinoff manga; it was briefly brushed upon with a name drop but maybe it was missed.

It might be worth noting that 95% of the characters I use are always within the existing content and not OCs unless absolutely necessary. For instance, the group of ATM Robbers in Chapter One was Team Reservoir Dogs (the villain team that got merc'd by Overhaul). So always be on the prowl to pinpoint familiar faces!

Hope this chapter was able to still maintain the spark that the first few did!

-Courtesy of your friendly neighborhood author!

Chapter 6: Just Another Day In The Life


PREVIOUSLY on 'Something Spectacular' ...

Izuku arrived at U.A to take the Entrance Exam for the General Educations Course.

THIS TIME on 'Something Spectacular' ...

The aftermath of the exam and all of the worries that come with waiting for the exam's results.


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Izuku finishes the exam early. When he hands in his sheet of filled out answer bubbles, he’s among only a few others that have done the same before the end of the exam period. And since he’s only applying for General Education, there’s no practical portion for him to provide any physical demonstration of talent. Which means that he’s free to head home and wait for his results to get mailed to his house address. He takes the long route off campus, hoping to spot a pro hero or two before he leaves; the walk also allows him an opportunity to see some more of the establishment.

While he doesn’t run into any heroes doubling as teachers, he does manage to find a canteen corner near the Gen Ed auditorium. A variety of vending machines are available to choose from. Off to one side, there’s some other fellow who finished their exam early. Izuku sees that they’re buying from the canned coffee selection. Feeling like he could go for a bit of caffeine himself, Izuku decides to strike up a conversation. “Hello”, he announces himself before approaching as to not startle the stranger.

Half lidded eyes glance Izuku’s way. Upon getting closer to the person, Izuku sees that there’s much more to their dreary demeanor than just their eyes. Hair as unruly as his own stands on end, an indigo bush of bed head making the dude appear taller. Izuku suddenly understands why this guy came here to get himself some coffee. The vending machine spits one out for the sleepy stranger to take. The can lid cracks open and he takes a slow sip.

Despite not having his greeting returned, Izuku continues talking to the guy. “Do you think you did well on the exam?”, he figures it’s only natural and polite. Especially since they have to pass eachother by in close proximity to switch spots at the vending machine, and it’d only make for an awkward exchange if he didn’t say something.

There’s an uncomfortable pause anyways. Izuku thinks for a moment that he’d have better luck talking to a wall and hoping for it to respond. But then he sees that the person appears to be considering something. Despite that contemplative look, the stranger answers, “Don’t care..”

“Really?”, Izuku reacts with genuine surprise. It’s beyond him who’d go through the trouble of applying to a school without an actual care, much less a place as prestigious as U.A. But then he reconsiders and thinks that it’s possible this person is applying to more than one department. “What kindof placement were you hoping for?”, he lets his curiosity carry the conversation further along while choosing his own canned coffee from the vending machine.

The indigo insomniac makes an expression that knits his brows together. An already skewered stare shrinks even further. “What do you care?”, Izuku hears some agitation in the tone of that question; it’s accompanied by a pop from the boy’s beverage when pressure is put on the grip of the can.

Believing that he could be dealing with a potential secondary Kacchan, Izuku dials it back a bit. “I- I don’t mean to pry”, he uses his signature submission method of displaying his hands as a sign of surrender, “I was just wondering if we might get put in the same class or not” He lets a nervous laugh escape, hoping that the possible aggressor will laugh it off too.

Fortunately, some of that tactic must have worked, because there’s a visible release of tension in the fellow U.A applicant’s shoulders. But there isn’t a complete loss of attitude, not judging by the snippiness to the stranger’s next sentence. “It takes a lot of pride to automatically assume you’re already in the Hero Course”, he says it with a sneer.

Izuku’s emerald eyes widen at that. Realizing that there’s clearly been a misunderstanding, he begins waving his hands around in an exaggerated effort to clear it up. “Oh! You thought– No, no! I only applied for Gen Ed!”, he starts laughing again while nervously rubbing the nape of his neck, “I’m not exactly Hero Course material by society’s standards..”

The indigo insomniac’s slitted stare parts enough to be considered wide too before blinking. It’s as close to a surprised expression that the stoic poker face allows. “You’re not.. ?”, but his humbled hesitance in what to say next gives away a lot, “Sorry. I didn’t realize.”

“No need to apologize! You had no way of knowing!”, Izuku continues to laugh and wave it off. When he sees that the other boy isn’t laughing along, he sobers himself with a couple of feigned coughs to make it seem like he’s clearing his throat. Izuku pauses before trying to pick up from where they left off, “So.. I take it that you applied for the Hero Course then?”

That standoffish demeanor remains in the stranger. Even when he twists on his heel to walk away. “No”, his answer comes as he turns his back to Izuku; which of those two things is more surprising to Izuku is a tough competition.

The shellshocked spiderling soaks it in while grabbing his canned coffee from the vending machine. Once his mind catches up to his body, he realizes that he’s standing there all alone now. “O- Oh”, Izuku stammers out a quick response while stumbling forward to catch up with his acquaintance. “S- So, um, what did you apply for?” He speaks up just enough to be heard from behind the other boy.

The stranger side eyes his pursuer until they’re walking next to eachother. After a moment, those eyes roll dramatically and the boy answers, “Same as you”, albeit with a less than enthused sigh, “General Education.”

“I see”, Izuku nods along while mulling over that fresh bit of information about the purple headed puzzle. Pieces of that puzzle snap together in his mind. Pretty soon, he’s come to a conclusion. “If you’re like me, you must have originally wanted to try for the Hero Course instead then!”

The sleepy stranger sobers up enough to shoot Izuku a serious stare. “We’re nothing alike”, his voice growls into his coffee can before he takes a long swig from it.

Izuku recluses after that, realizing that he may have made a mistake in being so presumptuous. Embarrassed, the boy diverts his gaze and takes a sip from his own beverage to-go. “Yeah.. Probably not..”, he drags his feet with a downtrodden mien.

The other boy’s feet stop completely, other than turning to face Izuku. “So why do you keep following me?”, he glares as he gives Izuku an accusatory attitude.

Izuku jumps, startled by the sudden stop that was immediately followed by an interrogative advancement. “A- Ah! Sorry, I didn’t mean to! It’s just that – Well, the exit is in this direction, so..” He fidgets while trying to come up with a logical explanation to cover for something as stupidly simple as ‘trying to make small talk and become friends’.

The peeved purple headed person continues to stare down Izuku a while longer before eventually accepting that answer. “Tch”, he steps back and then begins heading for the building’s exit, “Fine.”

Izuku takes that as a sign that he can at least follow the other boy off the premises, so he hurries to catch up. It becomes a bit of an awkward walk when the two of them don’t say anything more to one another, the silence only broken up by periodic sips from their drinks, but it’s better than arguing at least. Until… The uncomfortability becomes a bit much even for the one who caused it to be that way.

The bedhead boy begrudgingly clears his throat before awkwardly asking, “..When you said you don’t meet society’s standards.. What did you mean by that?”

Izuku stares at the indigo haired fellow, surprised by his inquisitiveness. “Oh, I-” He stops and swallows. He hadn’t expected to talk about it and ‘reveal’ this about himself, but he figures it won’t change anything if the stranger already dislikes him. “I’m.. I’m quirkless…”, it’s weird to say that now that he has spider-like abilities but it may as well be true still. At least, as far as the public’s perception of Izuku Midoriya is concerned, he is still quirkless. He has a mirthless smile on his face to go along with his bitter laugh. “Not exactly Hero Course material, right?” The irony of him not being up to society’s standards IS kinda funny though.

Izuku isn’t sure whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing that he’s the only one laughing right now. So he doesn’t look at his acquaintance. He can’t bring himself to do that. He looks ahead instead. And is relieved to see that they’ve reached U.A’s frontal barrier. “Ah, we’re at the exit gate.. Well, guess this is where we part ways..” He turns to leave, throwing a wave goodbye over his shoulder as he does.

“Where are you headed? Train station is this way”, but finds himself shocked still rather than continuing to leave. He whirls himself around to look at the boy he was walking with, as if that will help him to make sure that he heard that correctly. The stranger’s stoic stare is still there but there’s a notable softness to it now. Izuku realizes that the guy has lowered his guard somewhat.

Green curls fall to one side when Izuku tilts his head, “Eh?”, looking at the stranger from another angle doesn’t help him to understand either. He momentarily believes it must be pity or something along the lines of that but he’s seen what that looks like from people before and this doesn’t quite fit that category.

Seeing Izuku’s delay, the other boy raises both his eyebrows. He casually points behind himself in the direction that he’s going in. “You did come by train, right?”

And that makes some sense to Izuku. “R- Right!”, he figures that it’s nothing to do with anything other than what would be expected of their situation and decides to stop overthinking it, “Thank you!”

Izuku internally laughs now. From what he knows about this boy’s behavior, he bets all of what he said to him went in one ear and out the other. Even someone who’s quiet or reserved would gasp or shout when hearing he’s quirkless. The fact that he got no such reaction means what he said fell upon deaf ears most probably. Izuku feels slightly relieved at that. It’s hard enough being judged as Spider-Man when he’s trying to do everything right that he doesn’t need judgment imparted onto Izuku Midoriya again.

“You were right”, a short sentence from the stoic stranger stabs straight through Izuku’s thoughts.

“Huh?”, Izuku does a doubletake.

The indigo insomniac gives his fellow U.A applicant a brief glance before elaborating, “I did want to try for the Hero Course…” Izuku is wondering why this is getting brought up or where it’s going, listening intently. “But I couldn’t because of my quirk”, he has to withhold a gasp when he realizes that the acquaintance was listening to him about his quirklessness afterall and that’s what this is about, “It was.. A bad matchup. I found out that the exam has robots, so I doubt I would have been able to pass.”

Sensing that what was shared is due to some small relatability in their experiences, Izuku can’t let that sit or slide for more than two seconds. “You could have still tried though”, he offers some encouragement with a strained smile to boot.

But the other boy shakes his head. “Nah, I don’t think anybody would have appreciated me using their quirk on them because I couldn’t on robots” The corners of his lips tug in no particular direction, fighting to lift into a mirthless smile or fall into a frown but neither expression winning.

Izuku misses a step, nearly tripping over himself. He realizes that he doesn’t know what this guy’s quirk is; part of him wonders if he had just assumed the person was also quirkless. “Wh- What’s your quirk?”, his gaze is immediately met with a glare. He recoils. The other boy appears to regret that, loosening his steely stare. But Izuku can tell that he overstepped, “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want–”

“Did you get bullied growing up because you’re quirkless?”, that question is personal enough that Izuku can understand the point of it being asked after asking one of his own over-the-boundary types of questions. He knows he should leave it at that. He should just stay silent and let the other boy know that he understands he crossed a line. But another part of him feels inclined to answer.

Izuku starts to say, “Yes–”

But suddenly, he loses all of his cognitive function. Followed by the paralyzation of his body when those brain functions return. Despite his eyes being glazed over, they still see clearly that he’s been frozen in animation. A numbness relaxes his muscles to the point where he can no longer feel them. For a second, he thinks he’s fallen asleep. But that can’t be the case since he’s still standing. It should scare him to feel so disconnected from himself but his Spider-Sense doesn’t register whatever is happening as a threat currently so he just keeps trying to analyze it as an experience rather than escape it.

Which doesn’t last long, because his escape comes promptly with a release and relinquishment of whatever control harbored him.

“My quirk is called brainwashing”, the Hero Course wannabe explains what happened with a remorseful and shameful shrug, “It does exactly what its name implies…”

Izuku understands why such a quirk wouldn’t prove effective against robots. “That’s…”, but he’s still overwhelmed by what that kindof power can do, “That’s amazing!” His urge to perform quirk analysis has him materializing a journal out of thin air to write in with a pen that seemingly also teleported into his hands.

The brainwashing boy takes a step back, flabbergasted by both that incredible ability to make pen & paper appear and – more importantly – that unusual reaction to his quirk. He’s used to people ridiculing him and calling him a villain or evil because of his ability to take away their body’s free will. He’s certainly not used to anyone praising his power in any sortof way. He’s pretty sure nobody has ever called it ‘amazing’. He stares, openmouthed and wide eyed, “Wha–”

“You should totally resubmit yourself for the Hero Course! You’d be so good at rescue – Oh! Or hostage situations! – And it’d only be even better if you can control more than one person at a time!”, Izuku loses himself in his hyper fascination of quirks as he tends to do. And while some of those ramblings may have gotten lost in translation to the owner of that quirk, they are all kind words that tug at his heart strings. Izuku stops spewing stuff out of his mouth about how cool the power is when he sees the boy’s poker face has been broken and there are now tears bordering his tired eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry, I probably got a bit carried way–”

“No!”, the brainwasher stops Izuku from apologizing. He allows a small smile to appear on his face as he dries his eyes with the sleeve of his shirt. “I mean.. Thank you.. Nobody has ever said any of that to me before”, he bows ever so slightly to express his gratitude.

“Y- You don’t need to thank me!”, Izuku scratches the top of his head as he tries to pull a more coherent thought out of it to quell his nerves. He’s not really sure what to say or do in situations such as this and it’s quickly starting to become awkward again. And then he’s struck by a sudden realization, “Oh! I never got your name!”

There’s a bit of hesitation from the acquaintance before he finally formally introduces himself, “Hitoshi Shinso”, which is followed by the question, “And yours?”

“Izuku Midoriya!”, the broccoli headed boy straightens and smiles as he returns the favor, “It’s nice to meet you, Shinso!”

Shinso raises an eyebrow, appearing skeptical. “Midoriya.. ? Really?”, his drawl is full of just as much incredulity.

Izuku blinks, confused as to why someone would doubt his name is legit. But when he follows Shinso’s eyeline and realizes that the boy is staring at his green hair, he understands. “Oh! That’s just a coincidence!”, he laughs since that does happen to be such his type of luck in life.

If Shinso believes him or continues to doubt it, he doesn’t bother pushing the matter further. He simply brushes that topic of conversation off with a wave, which then becomes a gesture for them to get a move on. “Come on. We’ve got a train to catch”, he urges for Izuku to pick up the pace.

Izuku follows along, impressed by the other boy’s sense of direction. “Do you take the train often?”, he figures that must be the case for Shinso to have such a familiarity with the process.

Shinso shrugs, “I guess”, not really elaborating enough to give Izuku a real answer. But that’s fine since they’re already boarding one of the train cars and there’s not much room for conversation when getting crammed into what’s essentially a sardine can of people.

They don’t get a seat; those are already occupied. So Shinso holds onto a roof strap to brace himself while Izuku grabs the car’s support pole. Even with something to keep themselves sturdy, they along with everyone else lurch a little when the train gets its sluggish start. It’s muffled by their enclosed carrier but what comes next is the clashing of steel wheels against railway tracks. And then the car rocks side to side while being pushed along.

After a while, Izuku moves closer to Shinso so that he can whisper with him for the rest of the ride’s duration. He goes back to the original root of their conversation and asks, “Why don’t you try applying for a different hero school?” Shinso gives Izuku a look that makes the boy feel inclined to explain why he’s asking that, “I mean – if you don’t care about going into Gen Ed, then why bother applying at all?”

“Dude.. It’s U.A”, Shinso says that like it’s an obvious enough answer. Which, to Izuku, it may as well be; Izuku nods, understanding completely. But even so, Shinso continues to explain himself and his reasoning behind going for Gen Ed, “Plus… I heard that it’s possible for students to prove themselves during the Sports Festival so that there’s a shot at getting transferred to the Hero Course.”

Izuku’s eyes widen at that news; it’s a first for him, he had absolutely no idea that was possible. “Really?”, his awe leaks out through his mouth before he can stop himself from saying anything aloud about it.

Shinso nods, reaffirming his statement. “Only General Education students are able to do it, apparently. So that’s what I thought I would try to do”, he grips the ceiling strap above him a little tighter as he adds, “It’s my last shot at getting in that I don’t want anyone sabotaging me.”

Izuku understands the implications of that last part. It must have been why Shinso started out so suspicious and aggressive towards him. “I won’t tell a soul about it”, Izuku crosses his heart with his pinky finger before holding it out towards Shinso, “As a matter of fact – I wanna support you in your dream.”

Shinso stares at the outstretched pinky. Albeit apprehensively, he performs the pinky promise ritual. Afterwards, Shinso scoffs. “You trying to live vicariously through me?”, he eyes Izuku up and down with what might still be some distrust.

Izuku chuckles, admittedly not able to deny nor confirm that possibility. “Maybe so..”, he answers honestly, “But what hope does a quirkless kid have compared to you?”

Shinso falters at that. A beat later, he hums in agreement. Izuku worries that he might have soured the moment by bringing up his ‘quirklessness’ but his concern gets alleviated when Shinso asks, “So how exactly are you going to help me then?”

Izuku smiles as he fishes out his quirk analysis journal from the back of his pants. Already, the otaku is mulling over ideas in his mind of how Shinso’s brainwashing can be used as a hero. Thoughts of how they can train his talent to prepare for the Sports Festival share that headspace. Like he did when preparing himself to become Spider-Man, he even considers making some sort of support device. Izuku clicks his pen to begin writing notes, “I’m glad you asked–”

Suddenly, something screeches throughout the train cabin, interrupting Izuku; it sounds similar to the brakes being hit but that can’t be the case since they’re still going. Izuku covers his ears along with everyone else, hands clasped around either side of his head when he drops his journal and pen. Through squinted eyes, he sees the source of the shrill squall. It’s the announcement speaker system reverberating some kind of feedback. Thankfully, whatever connectivity problems were causing that issue gets resolved. Unthankfully, that means the next thing everyone on the train hears is an announcement that isn’t from the conductor. The voice they hear is just as high pitched and it belongs to–

“Screwball.. is.. LIVE!”, a villain that Izuku is familiar with announces her takeover of the train, “Consider yourselves lucky because, thanks to yours truly, you’ll all be going for a joyride today!” Already, the hijacking has caused passengers to panic. A full swing of murmurings that are coupled with shouts makes it hard to hear whatever else Screwball has to say. Whatever her announcement, it can’t be good since the train notably begins picking up speed per her proclamation.

Izuku subtly shifts closer to one of the train’s windows. From there, he can peer outside onto the tracks and gauge the speed override more practically. Everything zooms by, blurring together. They’re definitely going faster than they’re supposed to and he imagines Screwball has no plans on stopping them any time soon. To make matters worse, the villain sounds euphoric about it all, “And joining me for a special guest appearance is none other than the most gentlemanly criminal of all!”

She introduces a partner in her crime when the rustling of a microphone being passed over diminishes, “Quite the introduction from our lovely host! Though this particular type of content isn’t my usual forte, I must say that I am quite honored to be doing this collab!” A man’s voice, much more even and refined by Screwball’s contrasting enthusiasm, takes the wheel. Izuku fears that the transfer of control isn’t just figuratively but also quite literal. “We pay attention to what you enjoy watching, dear viewers, and there was a noticeable spike in viewership with Screwball’s most recent stream. After putting our heads together, we thought it best to raise the stakes – and what better way to one-up a plane's nosedive than a train wreck?”

“Yes! Let’s cause a train wreck in this lowly society built around heroes!”, the ‘gentlemanly’ voice suddenly gains some energy as he begins performing for everybody that’s listening, “Did you know that this railway was founded and built to transport civilians in critical condition during hero battles? That’s why the system collectively runs around Musutafu Hospital! But obviously there’s been a change in the train’s usage over the years. Yes, I’d dare say its originally intended purpose has gone off the rails!” Screwball’s guest star breaks out into hysterics, along with Screwball herself giggling up a storm. Izuku shares a look with Shinso, each of them sharing the same dread.

Izuku grips the hemming of his shirt. Underneath his casual clothing is his superhero spandex. It’s not like he can make a subtle change with all of these people surrounding him though. If he does then his secret is out. But if he doesn’t, he might not be alive much longer to have a secret. It’s a dire situation and the stakes are high that he can’t just idly wait for a pro hero to come and save the day. This calls for the vigilante Spider-Man to appear on the scene. So, Izuku balls up the bottom of his shirt even more and begins to slowly raise it up. He prepares to face the consequences of exposing himself because he has the power to help and it’s his responsibility to use that power.

Izuku pauses, seeing something up ahead through one of the passenger windows that grants him a miracle. It’s a tunnel! When they go through it, the car will be barely lit. He’ll have just long enough to switch into his Spider-Man persona before anybody can see him do it. Izuku thanks God above for saving his butt. Not even Shinso who’s right beside him will get a glimpse within the darkness.

And so that’s exactly what Izuku does. He waits until the train enters the tunnel. As soon as the car gets blacked out, he pulls his shirt off to unveil the spider emblem centered in the web pattern of his suit’s top. Then, just for caution’s sake, he pulls on his mask next. Which is followed by his web shooters and gloves. Lastly, off comes his pants and shoes. He falters, realizing he has to hide his top layer of clothing somewhere. With time running out, the train about to come out of the tunnel at any given moment, he tucks his clothes under his seat.

Spider-Man hops to the ceiling right as sunlight recolors the car’s cabin. All of those murmurings from earlier return full swing at their loudest decibel, everybody surprised to see the vigilante sharing space with them. Not wanting to cause a panic or for any of them to get the wrong idea, Spider-Man quickly thinks of a joke to lighten the mood. “Somebody here doesn’t have their boarding pass – and I don’t think it’s just me!”, he turns to address the car’s announcing system so that Screwball and her partner in crime get the message too.

“Spider-Man!”, synchronized shouts from the pair of villainous streamers confirm that they can hear and/or see the vigilante. Knowing that, Spider-Man starts looking around for where the cameras and microphones are located. “You meddlesome menace!”, Screwball voices her disdain. While her other half calmly and cooly addresses the vigilante with delight, “I expected that someone would attempt to stop us but I wasn’t expecting you! Nor for it to happen so soon!”

Remembering his previous encounter with Screwball, Spider-Man knows how important it is to play along. “Well, what can I say? I like to be punctual!” Luckily, it comes easy with his quippage-like nature. He just hopes that he’s able to buy himself and the rest of the train passengers enough time by doing so.

“Alas, the show must go on!” Screwball’s guest star shares the commentary with the host of the stream like any good professional. “That’s right, Gentle! No pesky bug is going to ruin this one!” She starts explaining the scenario that’s set up but it’s all just straight yapping. Spider-Man gets tired of hearing it and webs up the announcer system.

“Yadda yadda yadda! First off, I’m an ARACHNID, not a bug! And second off, it’s time to hit the brakes on this thing!” Spider-Man uses the pole he’d been using to support himself as Izuku Midoriya to loop himself around the car before diving through one of the windows. He goes feet first through the glass, free from the confines of the carrier. Once outside, he uses a few web lines to pull himself ahead to the front of the train.

Flying alongside the track are familiar looking drones. Spider-Man waves to them, knowing that they’re a direct line to Screwball and her newfound ally. But he doesn’t stop to showboat for long, considering time is of the essence for him. Spider-Man clings to the head car of the line, trying to think up a solution to his problem. Stopping a runaway train is going to take some innovation. He finds himself wondering what other heroes would do in this situation.

“All Might would probably…” He gazes down at the rapidly passing of the train track beneath him. It’s going to take a lot of strength to pull off but he figures that it’s worth a try. Spider-Man hops down to put himself between the train and the railway. Immediately, he regrets it. Using his legs as a brace to try and stop the powerful force pushing forward doesn’t work out so well. If it weren’t bad enough using his body as a physical blockade, fragments of the track tear loose and pelt against him due to his foreign presence.

Spider-Man jumps back, unable to withstand the pressure. He grabs his calves, tenderly touching them as though that will somehow ease their soreness. The boy seethes through his teeth, hissing due to his pain like the steam from the train’s barreling treads. That hadn’t been the brightest idea. He’s not All Might. He’s Spider-Man. So he needs to stop the train how he’s able to. He remembers how he stopped the airplane from crashing. If it worked once, then it might work again. Spider-Man abandons the first plan and decides to go with his newly improvised plan B.

Web lines, and lots of them, attach themselves to passing buildings. The vigilante anchors the strands on either side of himself. He acts as the connector at the forefront of the train. Whatever strings snap get replaced in an instant. Until the fluid in his current cartilages runs out, he just keeps laying it on thick. It becomes as strenuous as it was when he tried using his legs as brakes instead of his webs, but now on his arms. He’s forced flush up against the train’s front, pressed against it with all of the pressure of the fighting forces between going or stopping. Izuku screams with all his might, not letting go and not giving up.

But the train does start to slow. When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, this is apparently what happens. Spider-Man stays firm, clinging to the cords that he grips in his hands. Though the web bands stretch to their limit, they don’t snap anymore. Gradually, the train’s treads clack and churn with less power. The locomotive grinds itself to a lurching halt. Coincidentally, where the train stops is one of its stations. A release of steam from the vessel’s overworked engine announces its arrival.

Spider-Man releases his hold on his webs, also releasing a lungful of air as he sighs with relief. With that heavy duty of a workout done, he almost feels content with passing out right then and there. But he can’t do that just yet. He first makes sure that everyone on board the train is safe and sound, glancing back at them all. “Welp! Looks like this is your stop!”, he’s out of breath and he can barely get the joke out but he knows it’s necessary after a close call rescue the same way All Might’s soothing smile is. A few chuckles from the civilians he can hear assures him that he properly put them at ease as he intended.

Above him, the drones that had been tracking the train and recording everything start to fly off. He wants to follow them back to Screwball’s presumably ‘evil lair’ but knows that he’s currently in no condition. He can hardly carry himself up onto the train’s roofing, much less do a high speed pursuit through the city. And when he hears Shinso calling his name, he’s reminded of another cause for concern with swinging off into the sunset. Izuku Midoriya’s mysterious disappearance is going to go unexplained because Spider-Man reappearing to retrieve his clothes would be just as exhausting to explain.

Izuku sighs, resigning himself to leaving his clothes behind and worrying about giving Shinso an explanation later. Right now, he has to worry about somehow swinging home without throwing out a shoulder blade. First, Izuku replaces the empty web cartilages in his support items with some spares. Then, instead of swandiving over the edge of the locomotive like he’d normally be capable of doing, he takes a ginger step off to ease himself into a soft spin.

A long agonized groan flies free with Izuku. He starts web swinging his way home nevertheless, taking his time and not overexerting himself. With his whole body feeling like one big bruise, it takes twice as long to go through the motions. There’s no whoops or hollers; he saves his breath for when he wheezes while taking in sharp intakes of air. And he definitely doesn’t do any astounding aerial acrobatical moves – not when doing so would be what causes a wipeout. Several times, he even has to stop and squint his eyes due to his vision wobbling or swimming.

During one particular bend around a building, his Spider-Sense alerts him to danger. The only problem is that even with his early warning system, he’s too tired to do anything about what it is he’s being notified of. Which so happens to be a kick to the back from somebody else occupying air space. Spider-Man is sent plummeting down, the wind knocked out of him. Instinctively, he tries spinning a web to catch himself. Instead of the line going taut, he feels it go loose; whoever hit him has also cut his cord. All Spider-Man can do now is desperately grab for something to cling to. By some lucky chance, he manages to get his grip on a flagpole.

A spike of pain stretches across the dangling vigilante’s arm as it supports his weight. It would hurt a heck of a lot more if he were to fall further down though, so he doesn’t let that stop him from holding on regardless of how strenuous it is. He instead directs his attention to the reason for his current predicament. None other than another enemy from his past has returned to cause him trouble; Hawks’ alter ego, The Vulture, hovers over him. No doubt to exact revenge. Spider-Man turns his head down, seeking something to save him. When he finds what he’s looking for, he spins a web downward where Vulture can’t cut it this time.

There’s too much throbbing in his head to think up a good enough quip. So he goes with a half assed attempt, “Something about air mail”, while using his web line to toss a mailbin at Vulture.

The aerial attacker bats the mailbin aside; there’s not enough force behind it with Spider-Man so weakened. Which means the vigilante is completely vulnerable to Vulture’s counter move of diving down at him.

Unable to jump or pull himself up in order to dodge or evade the incoming attack, Spider-Man is left with only one option. He lets go of the flagpole and goes into a freefall. Vulture passes overhead and the vigilante spins a web to carry himself further away in the other direction. It saves Spider-Man’s life. Except that Spider-Man is still too siphoned of strength to be moving so rapidly, and he finds himself overexerting his body to a point of collapse.

The vigilante tumbles onto a rooftop, rolling across its surface with no refinement or control of the crash. The boy’s body aches all it can to protest against his attempt at getting back up. With Vulture barreling down towards him to continue their spontaneous battle though, he doesn’t have much of a choice but to tolerate that pain. Spider-Man gets on his feet to stand up, legs wobbling as they try to keep him that way. But by the time that he’s gotten himself vertical, he has to throw himself sideways again to dodge an attack.

Vulture veers overhead with the full width of his wingspan unleashed. The bladed tips of the feathers slice through the support stand of a water tower. Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense screams at him to move but he’s barely able to even get on his feet by the time that the storage tank comes toppling down. Millions of gallons of water within the container crashes over the vigilante; he’s knocked to the ground like a surfer going under a wave. What remains of the broken tank lays on top of Spider-Man as rubble.

From beneath the wreckage of all that’s landed on top of him, Spider-Man stirs with what’s left of his remaining consciousness. “You got my suit wet… Now I’m really mad..”, his voice barely carries itself over his choked coughs.

But Vulture’s landing is loud and clear. Upon touchdown, heavy metallic boots create a splash from the water that’s been spilled. “You’re mad? You don’t know mad”, more stomps from the villain walk through the rooftop’s giant puddle, “I found your little tracking device on me! I know it was you who leaked this side of me to the public!” The footsteps grow louder the closer that they get.

Spider-Man is about to roll himself over, but one of Vulture’s wing extensions beats him to it. The villain places a boot over the vigilante’s chest to keep him down. Right then and there, with Spider-Man unable to muster the strength to lift that foot off of himself, Vulture may as well have him dead to rights. Vulture levels the sharpened wing tips of his metallic feathers just below Spider-Man’s jugular.

Through a shattered eye lens, Izuku defiantly glares against what’s basically the Grim Reaper’s scythe to his throat. That young rebellious stare gives Vulture some form of pause. The villain also sees a green tuft of hair poking out through another damaged section of Izuku’s mask. And after a beat of taking that in, “You’re just a kid..”, that becomes a revelation capable of appealing to the hero persona of Hawks.

Working under The Commission has led to Hawks doing some dirty stuff. The line got so blurred that he more than likely crossed it a few times. But even after all that he’s done, even as The Vulture, he never went as far as to kill a kid. Despite having his reputation tarnished, he doubts he can start murdering children now. Hawks spares the boy beneath him, drawing the dagger shaped feathers of his wings away.

But that doesn’t mean he’ll forget what the brat did to him either. “You’ll only get mercy from me once. Give up this masked crusade of yours. If I catch you in my skies again, you won’t get another chance” A warning is bestowed from Vulture’s beaked helmet before the buzzard bats his wings and takes off.

Izuku is left laying on the rooftop, where he finally allows himself to succumb to the exhaustion that had been accumulating within him. “Yeah.. You better fly away…”, he mumbles a retort that his subconscious mind makes for him. And then, he blacks out.

It’s slightly less painful to walk home rather than swing. Because of his initial attempt at stopping the train being the usage of his legs, every step sends a stab of muscle strain up from his feet through to his calves. It’s significantly better than the stretch of torn ligaments in his arms and shoulders as he tries not to lose his grip on web lines for being at risk of plummeting to certain pancake shaped doom though. It’s also better than having to worry about another ambush. Clearly he isn’t capable of defending himself as Spider-Man if he’s caught in costume. So, for the time being, he’s mild mannered and ordinary looking Izuku Midoriya.

The bruised boy brushes a hand over his sore spots. His current state reminds him of the days of when he’d get beaten by bullies for being quirkless. There wasn’t much that he could do to defend himself then either. The only difference is that now he has no intention of curling up into a ball and surrendering. When it comes to threats from genuinely bad guys like The Vulture, he won’t allow himself to be submissive nor will he back down. There’s no hanging up webs or threads for his double life as the wallcrawler just yet. He only needs to rest and recuperate first. And then he’ll go and return Vulture the favor.

It may be because of that desire for R&R, or maybe it’s because he’s dressed down and within a few blocks from his house, but Izuku finds himself gradually lowering his guard. Which is why he isn’t all that concerned when his Spider-Sense signals him to a potential danger. It’s that mistake of ignoring his danger detection that leads to a knife getting pressed against his jugular. Izuku stops short, a hitch in his breath causing his Adam's Apple to lean against the edge of the blade touching his throat.

“Don’t try to be a hero”, Izuku feels the warmth of a girl’s breath tingling behind his ear in unison with his Spider-Sense. “Your pal Spider-Cutie does that enough”, and he’s able to tell without the need for eight eyes like a spider to know just who it is behind him saying such things because of that. He’s willing to bet that the blonde girl who works with The Hero Hunter is one and the same who’s currently holding him hostage. And he’s also willing to bet that she’ll go through with her threat if he doesn’t answer her question, “You ARE buddies with him, right?”

“With Spider-Man?”, Izuku feigns fear well enough thanks to plenty of years practicing with Kacchan and his cronies. “Uuhh..”, but the act of innocence can only do so much when someone is actively wanting an excuse to hurt him; the knife pushes into his skin to pressure him into talking faster, “I take his pictures – he tips me off and I snap photos.”

The knife eases up, but only momentarily, before nearly giving him a close shave. “Really? You two never hang out?”, the girl’s tone is one of genuine curiosity but Izuku is no fool to knowing there’s still a real danger to her.

As he commonly does nowadays when in high strung moments, Izuku turns to his knack for humor to hide his anxiety. “He’s the one who does most of the hanging–” But his captor doesn’t appreciate it any better than all of the other foes he faces; she raises the knife up to his chin to give it a tap. “I’m not sure what it is that you want from me”, Izuku bites down on his tongue to keep himself from provoking her with any other jokes that might try to slip out not of his own accord.

In truth, he has a good idea of what this femme fatale may want from him. While she hasn’t let on to any hints towards suspecting he himself is Spider-Man, there’s a chance that she’s playing some twisted game with him while actually already knowing. Or, perhaps, she wants to use him as a means to hunting Spider-Man since he’s his own personal photographer. It doesn’t take a genius to deduce whatever the connection is there.

“What any girl wants when it comes to their crush!”, but he doesn’t expect the phrasing of her motive to be like she says, “I wanna stalk em!” She sounds more like a yandere than anything else as she yaps like crazy, “I can only find so much about him online – it’s not like he has a social media page – but you, the one guy he has ties to, on the other hand!”

Izuku tries gesturing with his shrug while not making it too sudden of a movement that she might cut him, “Sorry to disappoint but I don’t have much to tell.”

“Hmm”, he’s surprised that the yandere actually sounds considerate rather than upset. Until she resorts back to her threatening of his life, “Maybe you aren’t that close afterall. He wouldn’t be all that upset if I killed you then?”

Izuku finds himself wishing that he had kept his web shooters on. As he is right now, there’s not much of a chance of saving himself. “I can say in good confidence that I don’t think he’d be very happy”, he tugs at the collar of his shirt where the top of his suit hides underneath.

This would be the one time that he does listen to his Spider-Sense – if it were bothering to buzz anymore. “You’re probably right!”, the knife is brought away from his neck and the dangerous situation is alleviated … somewhat. The girl changes the blade’s positioning to where his kidney is located as she leans against his side; he tenses but doesn’t react more than that since his danger sense doesn’t react. At this angle, he can finally see and confirm that she’s the villainous girl that he thought. “So I’ll just ask you this once…”, her voice is venomous and part of him wonders if the fangs that she grins with are as well, “Do you know what he looks like under the mask?”

Izuku is too used to wearing a mask that hides his expressions from people to put on a good poker face. “Um..”, he visibly falters with wide blinking eyes.

“That’s a yes”, the girl’s grin grows. He feels his face heat up when she presses against him more than the knife currently is. “Is he cute?”, her own face is just as red but he’s pretty positive that it’s for a different reason.

Izuku stutters, feeling his mouth move as it struggles to say something that won’t compromise his identity but won’t get him stabbed either. “He’s… Some might say he’s pretty plain looking?”, Izuku recalls what people said to describe his appearance before and decides to roll with that.

It instantly backfires, “YOU’RE pretty plain looking”, the comparison made between himself and his alter ego makes him start sweating more than he already is. The girl either doesn’t notice or simply doesn’t care though. She’s still too in a state of mania, “..but I bet you would look good covered in red like him”, her cat-like eyes look Izuku up and down. She takes note of his fit form pressing against her own, “A girl can look for more than a handsome face.”

Her hand snakes around his side and up his chest, sharp fingernails just as deadly as her knife. The close contact makes Izuku shudder; it tickles through his clothes but pricks at his skin. She moves her face forward that it nearly mashes into Izuku’s. The boy swallows a breath; he’s right on the brink of hyperventilating. Just as he believes this girl is about to steal his first kiss from him, her mouth stops short from his. She says, “I wanna know who he is”, and he’s reminded that her fascination is with his secret identity as Spider-Man for a reason.

He’s about to push her away for that reason. Maybe even expose his identity for the sake of stopping her. But as it would turn out, he doesn’t have to do anything. A third wheel gets in between he and her, disrupting the private moment. “Deku?”, a confused voice grabs ahold of both he and the girl’s attention.

“Kacchan?”, Izuku recognizes the blonde boy who lives on the same block.

As for the blonde girl that the blonde boy doesn’t know, she recovers from the awkward disruption better than any film actor would be able under improvisation. “Hiii! You must be one of Izukun’s friends!”, she enthusiastically greets the newcomer with a cheerfulness that wasn’t there before. And the act only gets better when she adds, “I won’t keep him away from you for much longer”, playing to the part that she gave herself perfectly. She leans in towards Izuku’s face again, as though she’s about to plant a peck on his cheek, but instead whispers in his ear. “I’ll just come back another time”, the foreboding farewell shifts back to her fake friendliness when she breaks away to skip off into the sunset, “See ya!”

And Izuku is left standing in his spot as dumbfounded as the blonde boy across from him. “Um.. That was..”, he tries and fails to think of an excuse to hide that he was just held at knife point.

“Spare me the explanation”, but he’s fortunate enough that his childhood friend turned bully apparently doesn’t need one. “I don’t care who you’re hanging out with, nerd” ‘Kacchan’ grabs ahold of Izuku’s shirt, “I just don’t want you or them anywhere near ME!” The manhandling gets a little rougher when the blonde bully gives the other boy a hard shove, “Got it?!”

“AGH!”, Izuku doesn’t need to pretend to be hurt this time thanks to his muscle soreness from being Spider-Man that morning. “G- Got it..”, he winces while squeezing his stinging side in an attempt to quell the pain.

Katsuki pauses, noting that reaction was more dramatic than the other times that he’s gotten rough with Izuku. But it’s only a momentary pause and nothing more. After a once-over, Katsuki scoffs and says, “Good”, before shoving his hands into his pants pockets and walking away.

Izuku pauses after that too, picking up on his old friend’s strange hesitation; he’d swear by anything that Katsuki would normally have stayed and done more. But then again, he figures it’s about time that he gets an ounce of luck from the day he’s been having and decides not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Izuku stands up and dusts himself off. At the rate of familiar foes that he’s been encountering, he half expects another one to swoop in and knock him back down. But at long last, he’s able to get home and spend the rest of his time recuperating instead.


Surrounded by more enemies than he is friends, it's a wonder whether or not our protagonist will pull through. Let's take a quick comment/review readthrough to see what else you may all be wondering about.

Thank you Raccoon404 for always being there to support me on this story!

And thank you drako900 for bringing the wonder! Per Denki's reasoning for being Electro and whether or not it'll be blackmail like the canon traitor, I'll be honest and say that I haven't really decided on whether or not I want him to be a full blown villain or not just yet. There's an idea in my head to do the best of both worlds and have him get overloaded into insanity from his power per Electro's usual fate but we'll see what works when the time comes since his storyline will be a bit more of a slow burn in the background.

Until next time ... keep wondering, dear readers!

-Courtesy of your friendly neighborhood author!

Chapter 7: Mysterious Mister Midoriya


LAST CHAPTER on 'Something Spectacular' ...

Izuku gained a sleep deprived friend.

THIS CHAPTER on 'Something Spectacular' ...

(Spoilers) Izuku loses that friend already. (Spoilers)


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Izuku hums, his hand moving to his face. There, his fingers feel a piece of paper stuck to his forehead. It’s not as firm as the gripping that his spider powers give him but it definitely has a good holding that slightly stings when he peels it away; that pain blends in well with the bruises from last night that have now had time to stiffen up during his sleep, the sticky note he’s holding no different from taking off a bandage at this point. It’s a post-it left behind by his mom with small handwriting to let him know that she’s gone out for the day.

The boy sighs, partially with relief and partially due to stress. He considers himself lucky to have the time alone so that he can mend his wounds without having to hide them but the secret is starting to take its toll still. He knows that he can’t tell his mother that he’s Spider-Man; otherwise, he’d be laying in a hospital bed right now instead of his own. Inko’s overprotectiveness would never allow him to go out and be a vigilante ever again, ESPECIALLY if she ever sees him like this. But to keep having to lie to her… It hurts to do since he has such a close trusting relationship with her.

He’s pulled from yet another one of his many commonly recurring moral dilemmas when the doorbell rings. “So much for being alone..”, Izuku’s groan of complaint is only half committed to being genuine though; he’s somewhat grateful for the disruption to his moment of teen angst since it can sometimes lead to straight up depression otherwise.

Izuku rolls himself out of bed, also grateful that there’s no sharp feathers or explosions to evade as he does. A couple of stretches to get his joints back in sync helps him to finish the waking up process. And then he’s off to answer the door. He’s assuming that it’s his mom doing a quick turnaround because she forgot her keys or something. Maybe it’s the mailman or a package delivery. Whatever he was expecting, it certainly wasn’t who’s actually there.

“Shinso?!”, Izuku is shocked to see the fellow Gen Ed applicant from yesterday standing at his doorstep.

With tired eyes, Shinso blinks. “Midoriya”, his greeting is much more reserved.

“How the heck did you find me?!”, Izuku fully steps out of the house to speak with the boy who managed to track him down to it. He worriedly looks around, paying acute attention for any signal from his Spider-Sense.

Shinso raises a brow. “Did you think you could get rid of me that easily?”, he has some semblance of a smile to go along with his snarkiness but it’s all sarcastic ever still. After Shinso has had his fun with Izuku, he hoists up a familiar looking backpack. “You left your bag on the train”, the sack hangs by one strap as he hands it over, “I thought it best to return it.”

“Ah, jeez, thanks” Izuku checks the zipper to confirm Shinso didn’t sneak a peek inside, “You didn’t have to-” He sees where his mom wrote their address in sharpie if he were to ever lose it and connects the dots, forgetting about the risk to his identity as Spider-Man for a moment. “You’d make a heck of an underground hero the way you tracked me down”, he breathes out through his mouth with a short laugh.

Shinso shrugs, “Maybe I’ve got a bright future as a detective ahead of me”, his small smile returning for a second.

Izuku does an underhand toss of his backpack so that it lands in the house before turning back around to face Shinso and asking, “Would that be so bad?”

Shinso’s eye sags sizen up as he considers the question. He scratches behind his messy indigo bedhead of hair and mumbles quietly, “I dunno…”

Izuku nods, understanding more than anyone how hard it is to imagine a profession other than heroism in one’s preferable future. He clears his throat in an effort to clear the conversation as well. “So, uh, um…” And remembers his manners. Izuku gestures at the doorway behind him, “You wanna come in?”

“Oh”, Shinso awkwardly steps forward and then backpedals. “No, that’s fine, I was just passing through” He waves off the offer.

“Oh, okay” Izuku instead steps further outside to join Shinso on the sidewalk.

After a beat of silence, Shinso crosses his arms and raises both his eyebrows. “So, we’re not gonna talk about your vanishing act on the train?”

Izuku winces, wishing that he’d somehow get out of having to explain himself. Or, at the very least, he was hoping to have enough time to think up an excuse for the next time he saw Shinso rather than getting blindsided so soon. “Do we have to?”

After a lapse of time that feels like forever, Shinso sighs and shakes his head. “Nah”, he unfolds his arms to throw them up in the air, “I guess a little mystery ought to make this interesting” He smirks and points at Izuku, “I’d suggest YOU try to be an underground hero with style like that though.”

Izuku huffs, keeping himself from laughing at the irony of Spider-Man becoming dark and gritty with his bright red and blue outfit. “A quirkless hero? Imagine that”, he instead tries picturing himself as some separate entity – like, he could call himself Dusk and work only at dusk.

“Hey, you’re unassuming as it is, that would only help in getting your enemies to underestimate you” Shinso somehow stays serious with his suggestion. He even goes as far to admit, “I know that I underestimated you when we first met”, while tacking on, “I won’t make that mistake again.”

Izuku swallows a retort, realizing that it’s not so much of a joke anymore since it might mean Shinso paying close attention to him can compromise his identity. “Right.. So..” He tries changing the subject, “Did you get your letter from U.A yet?”

Shinso shakes his head, “Not yet.”

“Me neither”, Izuku pauses when he rethinks what he said. “Er, well, I haven’t actually checked the mail yet but..” He waves his hands like he’s wiping down a whiteboard with all of his thoughts on it. “Anyways! I was gonna suggest we open our letters together if you, I dunno, wanna hangout later?” Izuku sees Shinso’s hesitation and starts to take back his suggestion, “Unless you’re gonna open them with your parents or–”

“My parents don’t care”, Shinso interjects with maybe just a tad too much force. He bites his bottom lip and recovers his cool demeanor. “I mean, sure, we can open our letters together..”

“Cool”, Izuku smiles in relief, “We can go get a pizza or something and do it at the same time.”

“Sounds good”, Shinso pulls his cellphone out of his pants pocket before holding it out for Izuku to take, “Text me the details?”

Izuku nods while typing in his contact info. “Yeah, I gotcha” He’s just about to finish entering everything when he hears something strange that makes him glance up.

Shinso says, “Thanks..”

“Thanks?”, Izuku’s face curls up with confusion, “YOU’RE the one who brought me my bag back!”

Shinso dithers when it comes to his response, “I meant thanks for being a fri–” Shinso stops short. He takes his phone back, “Nevermind”, and waves to leave. “I’ll see you later”, the farewell leaves Izuku dumbfounded.

“Yeah.. See ya”, he waves back before stepping backwards back into the house and closing the door.

A sigh and a second later, he gets ready to start what he’s sure will be a long day ahead of him.

Stepping out of the elevator and nearly getting run over by frenzied journalists is surprisingly comparable to when he got off the A train this morning to be almost stampeded by work commuters. But nevertheless, Izuku shakes it off along with his head while letting his Spider-Sense guide him through the hustle & bustle. He’d never seen Juko News so busy before. Usually he’d be able to waltz into Tokuda’s office without an issue. Now he’s wondering what all the buzz is about.

And he gets his answer. “We don’t have anyone to give us coverage! We need to get on this NOW!”, Izuku overhears someone shouting within Tokuda’s office. The muffled yelling breaches out into the lobby when he lets himself in.

Tokuda, from behind his desk, perches up a bit. The man that he was talking to turns around. They both stare at Izuku, as though waiting for him to break the awkward tension. That’s obviously a mistake since the only way that he knows how to handle the pressure is to smile and wave.

“Why don’t we send Midoriya?”, Tokuda gestures towards the freelancer as the solution to the problem that they were having.

And Izuku gets to know more about what exactly that problem really is. “You want to send a kid to an active robbery where no heroes have shown up to yet? Are you crazy?” Tokuda’s co-worker somehow makes their frowny face more wrinkled. But Izuku isn’t all that concerned with making impressions anymore. Once he heard about a robbery in progress, he’d already begun backing out of the office.

Tokuda shrugs, not expressing as much concern about the issue anymore. “He’s our best photographer”, he gives high praise to Izuku that makes his co-worker even more baffled. Which shockingly can only escalate to even more puzzlement when Tokuda points back to the boy’s absence to say, “See?”

“Huh? Where’d he go?!”, Tokuda’s co-worker shouts to express his surprise.

Tokuda smiles, knowing exactly where Izuku has gone.

Spider-Man swings around a corner, rapidly gathering momentum, before entering what he has no other words to describe as than a scene of pure chaos. Emergency units cordon off the bank below, doing their best to minimize the problem until heroes arrive. But that obviously isn’t going over so well. Several of their cars and cruisers are upturned. Fires are burning. Smoke is rolling; some of that smog isn’t from the inferno either, but what appears to be a purple gas that could be anything depending on a person’s quirk or support item. Then there’s the alarms beeping and wooping all around. It’s enough to make anyone nauseous.

The red and blue webslinger lets loose the line that he’s holding, allowing himself to come in hot. As he does, he sticks his landing on a billboard for Best Jeanist’s latest summer attire. From there, closer to the street, he can see where the bank’s windows were broken and glass lay everywhere. He can also now smell what all that caused havoc has concocted; a stench of burning plastic and motor oil by his guess. That aforementioned purple smoke coils around the bank in particular, confirming his suspicions that it must be a controlled gas to conceal its manipulator or ward off anyone who tries entering.

Careful not to inhale it through his mask, Spider-Man sucks in a lungful of air and holds his breath before breaching the purple smog. There’s no telling whether this smokescreen is for show or if it’s poisonous; so far his Spider-Sense hasn’t warned him of it being too dangerous but he doesn’t take any chances. Spider-Man waits until he’s inside the bank and past it all to breathe again. And even then he remains cautionary, taking to the ceiling where he’s got some distance on the residual fumes inside.

Exactly how a real spider would scurry around, the vigilante takes to crawling his way between corners and crevices. He’s learned his lesson from going against Electro all willy nilly that it’s better to scout out the scene first. He doesn’t want a repeat of getting his butt kicked. So Spider-Man stays to the shadows, moving in and out of those special spots where light doesn’t quite reach. The vigilante does this until he reaches the bank’s vault; once he gets there it becomes a little harder to stay out of sight due to the building’s architecture. Spider-Man takes a moment to appreciate the irony that the design layout was likely meant to prevent robberies before going for the gusto.

Except, what he sees once he climbs into the vault is enough to make anyone stop short. A person wearing what can only be described as a fishbowl on their head turns his way, a purple cloak shrouding their body swaying with the motion. It’s a villain getup that he isn’t familiar with but that’s probably for a reason due to how much of a fashion disaster it is. Spidey contemplates cracking a quip about that in particular but deems it way too easy to pick on and instead leads with the fact that this villain is a newbie.

“First time in the city?”, Spider-Man stands up straight so that he can gesture with his arms and hands; he stays stuck firm to the ceiling by his feet as he continues walking forward, “Lucky you! Turns out I’m a good guide! Let me show you around!” Once close enough, Spider-Man drops down while turning himself upright. “How about we start with a visit to the police department?”, the vigilante rears back a fist.

What follows is an onomatopoeic CRACK that he’s more than familiar with when punching a baddie. Except, this time, the crack is followed by a shattering. Fortunately, it’s not from a skull. Or maybe unfortunately… It’s the glass orb atop the villain’s head that breaks. Though, instead of finding a face beneath it, purple smoke and a matching tone of light comes pouring out.

Spider-Man shields himself with his arms. The light subsides and the smoke filters away. He warily moves his arms aside to see that the villain has disappeared. For a moment, he worries that the thief may have escaped. But then, “I can’t leave without my money”, the mysterious menace reappears behind him.

Spider-Man glances around, checking for any signs of duplicates or partners that may be aiding the criminal. When he finds that they’re all alone and all he can see is the bank’s cash supply, he regains his confidence. “Well.. You should’ve probably thought about how you were gonna transport it all then”, he puts his hands on his hips as he assumes a humored posture.

But the villain doesn’t fret for lack of bags or a getaway vehicle as Spider-Man had imagined they would. Instead, the stranger has the gull to chuckle. With a snap of the cloaked criminal’s fingers, all of the money in the room somehow vanishes within a flash of light. Once the sudden surge of brightness recedes, Spider-Man notices that a green marble is now clutched between the villain’s fingers.

“Oh, I did!” What may as well be a magician’s trick comes next; the stranger removes their spherical head from their neck and replaces it with the marble. Both balls resized to conveniently be swapped is shocking enough. But the real spine tingler is when the shrunken sphere releases a flash of light that’s followed by a big ol’ bus barreling forwards.

Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense doesn’t warn him any faster than his eyes do. He’s hit by the large vehicle like roadkill. The vigilante grunts as he’s rammed through the wall behind him and out into an alley.

“Freaking Fortnite, man…” Spider-Man groans from his prone position on a pile of bricks for cushioning, his head that’s titled up to look at the big blue bus falling backwards to gaze upward at the sky.

What he sees above him is what he almost thinks is a hallucination brought on by a concussion. But his eyes don’t deceive him afterall, the underground hero dropping down from the fire escape to land beside him all too real. “Fortnite? Christ, you really are a kid” Eraserhead is undoubtedly giving the boy a disapproving look under his goggles.

But Spider-Man pays the supposed stare no mind, considering that to be the man’s default ‘resting bitch face’. “How would you even know what Fortnite is, old man?” The vigilante returns the look with what he can manage using the white eye lenses of his mask.

“...No comment…” Eraserhead glances away. And then back, a more concerned expression crossing his facial features. “You alright?”, he asks.

“Yeah”, Spider-Man forces himself to his feet as if to prove his point to the licensed hero that he can keep up, “I’ve shrugged off a lot worse before.”

But for some reason, that doesn’t alleviate the underground hero’s worries any better. Eraserhead just keeps staring at him with that face. Spider-Man stares back. Eventually Eraserhead stops and gets back to being his serious straightforward self. “Let’s stop this guy then”, he motions for them to enter the bank.

“So, what brings you to the neighborhood?” Spider-Man strikes up some casual chit chat conversation as they venture through the gaping hole in the wall and into the now empty bank vault.

“Not that it’s any of your business, but I was the one deemed most suitable to deal with this villain considering we don’t know their quirk yet” Eraserhead grabs at the capture cloth around his neck as he prepares to do his job.

“Ah”, Spider-Man blinks behind his mask, “That actually makes sense! Because then you’d be able to erase their quirk and–”

Eraserhead silences the reckless youth with a finger to the boy’s masked mouth. “It’s not wise to openly discuss strategy when the enemy can potentially hear us”, the underground hero fixes his temporary ally with a stern stare far worse than the one from earlier.

Spider-Man shrinks under the man’s glare. He squeaks out a soft, “Sorry!”

“I couldn’t agree more”, the two turn and strike stances when they hear a voice that’s not their own. Levitating off the ground by a few feet is the cloaked criminal responsible for fender bending Spidey. “As Mysterio, I know better than anyone that some things are better left just that – a mystery!”, the villain proudly proclaims their presence once gaining the duo’s attention.

Spider-Man squints one eye on his mask while the other expands, giving him an expressionism that resembles befuddlement. “Wait, wait, wait – I thought your quirk had something to do with smoke and lights? Now you’re floating? Pick a power, dude!” As soon as he says that, Spidey recalls that he’s one to talk due to the amount of things that he can do himself, but he decides to keep that thought just a thought.

Mysterio chuckles to themself again, amused. “As I said… A mystery!” Spider-Man can sense even without his Spider-Sense that the villain is about to act on that declaration. So, thinking fast, the vigilante quickly shoots out one of his recently developed Spider Tracers. The small tracking device lands on the criminal’s cloak, attaching itself to the fabric like a tick sinking into skin. And good thing too, because his sense was right. Before Eraserhead can throw out his capture cloth, Mysterio vanishes in a flash of light and purple smoke.

“Damn”, Eraserhead swears through gritted teeth. When he’s through mentally beating himself up over Mysterio’s vanishing act, he turns towards Spider-Man. “At least I’ve still got YOU”, he reels his capture cloth back in so that he can use it on the vigilante instead.

But Spider-Man has other plans. Rather than waiting around to be caught, the vigilante throws himself backwards to perform an acrobatic exit. “Uuhh – See ya on the flippity flip!”, his quip goes along with some actual flipping until he too escapes the bank.

Eraserhead could probably pursue Spider-Man. He himself is well versed in parkour enough to chase the vigilante down. But something holds him back. He hesitates for too long. And by the time that he’s ready to do anything, it’s already too late to bother trying to catch up. He lets out a sigh and shakes his head.

She’s so used to finding her solace by sitting alone in the dark, with her computer monitor’s HEV light being the only thing worth setting her sight on. But now, she’s no longer alone. And now, there’s something – someONE – who is far brighter, and far more worth looking at. Her sweet gentle Gentle, who so caringly flips on the lights to the room so that she doesn’t strain her eyes anymore; he is more motivating than any number of subscribers to her streams, he is but one number and that is enough for her.

The redhead swoons, also grateful to him for her recent rebranding. Once previously known as Screwball, a name that was born of mockery – she’d realized her fans were rather laughing AT her instead of with her when they turned on her to help Spider-Man – she has now taken on a different persona. This new identity of hers fits The Gentle Criminal’s style so much better that they can now stand side by side as partners and be a perfectly matched couple. She is La Brava, the frills and pinstripes of her outfit that comes with this guise finishing her transformation.

La Brava plans on making an announcement about this collaboration turned forever-union soon, as a big debut crossover stream between her old Screwball account and Gentle’s. She just needs to come up with something clever and big enough to wow her audience first. It’s hard to up the ante after going for planes and trains. And despite Gentle’s brilliance, even he has a hard time thinking up something for them to do.

So she sits and she schemes. Her malware feelers browse the dark web for avenues that might develop into something bigger. And after a few pings, each hit becomes something to save aside. But then there’s something different. Something, not quite an IP address, seeks HER out.

“Hello, my fellow criminal performance artists!” A bubble headed figure appears on her screen without warning. She doesn’t know how but someone has hijacked her system. This hacker, whoever they are, has a collared cape similar to the aesthetic of Gentle; La Brava believes they may be a fan but doesn’t want to take any risks without asking first.

“Who are you? What do you want?”, La Brava does her best to block whatever feeds that she can to prevent any further intrusion to her servers while stalling for time with her questions. At the very least, she can cut the video camera’s readout.

“I am the master of illusion! Mysterio!”, Mysterio doesn’t seem bothered by the lack of visual reception if his continued bravado is anything to go by, “And I come seeking an alliance!”

Gentle toys with his mustache, pinching the ends between two fingers. La Brava glances his way, watching him think. When the criminal finally figures out what it is that he’s putting together in his mind, he snaps with those same fingers. “Aha! I recognize that voice!”, he grins and nods for La Brava to turn their video back on, “You wouldn’t happen to be Mr. Compress would you?”

“Ah, so you’re familiar with my work! I’m charmed”, the hacker places their hands together to convey their pleasure. While La Brava personally has never heard of Mr. Compress or Mysterio before now, she holds her tongue, thinking it best to keep her ignorance a secret. “But I must request that you keep my past exactly that – a thing of the past.”

Gentle comes closer, sharing the seat at the screen with La Brava and making the woman blush. “Why?”, Gentle Criminal shows some sincere curiosity in his question that La Brava stops trying to hack her hacker back; she ultimately decides that she’s much too distracted by her proximity to her partner to focus enough anyways.

“The same reason Miss Screwball altered her appearance, I imagine” The former Mr. Compress gestures enthusiastically to his new appearance. “A stage artist, performer, or magician, must never reveal their secrets! Part of the allure is the mystery! And what better a mystery than Mysterio himself?”

“So this is all a publicity stunt?”, Gentle hums as he follows along with the man’s reasoning.

La Brava glances between both villainous performers and gasps. “Ooohh, I get it now! He’s trying to mooch off of us! He’s a has-been!”, she points an accusatory finger at the menace who dares to hack and attempt using them.

“I am no has-been!”, she’s met with even greater aggression than her own. “I am Mysterio!”, the fury she feels through her computer speakers makes her jump backwards into Gentle’s arms, “I am… I will become the greatest villain that this world has ever seen!”

After a moment of stunned silence, Gentle clears his throat to ask, “And how do you suppose you’ll do that?”

“Gentle, you can’t seriously be considering working with this guy?” La Brava gazes up at her idol with indecision over whether she herself would like to participate in collabing with anyone other than him.

But Gentle has such a way with words. “Let’s face it, dear, our well has run dry and we could use a fresh perspective” And his hands and the way that he caringly caresses her cheeks. She folds. Like a lawn chair. Not literally, but it’s close to happening with how she melts into his touch.

“Come”, Mysterio’s image is replaced by a GPS location as he invites the two of them to his hideout, “Let’s meet and discuss how we might perform together.”

Gentle Criminal and La Brava accept the offer, hand in hand, with a polite bow. “We’ll bring the tea”, they say in unison.

Spider-Man swings clear of a guard tower. As he passes by, he sneaks a peek, and exhales with relief when seeing there’s no occupant within the stand. It seems whatever sort of studio that he’s stumbled upon has been shut down and abandoned. Various stages are closed off and materials covered with thick tarps. But when he checks his Spider Tracer’s signal, it sure enough continues to tell him that this is where Mysterio is hiding out.

He moves from a warehouse roof to a radio tower. It’s not like he’s expecting to find a film crew waiting for him or anything, but he doesn’t want to take any chances. This is all a little too fishy and it’s not because of the fishbowl Mysterio wears for a helmet. The way that the site is set up appears to be too spacious for anything other than storage but what the villain could be keeping stored is but a mystery of its own.

Just as Spider-Man thinks that he’s doing a pretty good job of sneaking around, he senses something behind him that makes him instinctively leap away. It’s only when he realizes that it was his natural sense of surrounding and not his Spider Sense which triggered that he allows himself to unclench his hands from fists. “Oh, it’s only you” The vigilante reconsiders lowering his guard though, uncertain of whether he should be relieved or not when seeing the ever familiar underground hero that he’s slowly starting to grow accustomed to sharing scenes with.

“That’s not the reaction from you that I was expecting”, Eraserhead raises a brow above his goggles, “What are you doing here?”

Spider-Man crosses his arms over his chest, squinting the lenses of his mask in Eraserhead’s direction. “I think the real question is: what are YOU doing here? I put a Spider Tracer on Mysterio but you found him HOW exactly?”, he waits on an actual answer to let the underground hero know that this isn’t one of his rhetorical question type of quips.

But Eraserhead is just as mysterious as Mysterio and doesn’t really offer much of a real answer other than, “It gets easier to track down bad guys when you’ve been doing it for so long”, he lifts up his goggles from his eyes to his forehead to look at Spider-Man more seriously afterwards and adds, “Go home and leave the rest to me.”

Spidey shakes his head, “No can do”, and hops down to join Eraserhead on equal footing – minus their major height difference, of course. “I think you’re gonna need my help on this one”, he places his hands on his hips to show some sass.

“Doubtful”, Eraserhead grumbles under his breath as he looks off to the side. But before he can turn his head back, it’s from that direction in his peripheral vision that he catches with his eye a contradiction to that mumble. “Move back!”, the underground hero orders the vigilante to hide immediately.

Spider-Man and Eraserhead take cover in a shaded section of a warehouse’s corner. Their backs are flush up against the wall to keep themselves as hidden as possible. But just because nobody should be able to see them, that doesn’t mean they can’t still see whoever is around that corner. Which means Spidey can get a good look at who caused such a disturbance to he and Eraserhead’s conversation.

A very short woman with red pigtails and a funny outfit walks alongside an elegantly dressed man. Spider-Man can’t say he recognizes them all that well but he’s willing to bet they’re bad news if Eraserhead does. He’s also willing to bet that they’re associates of Mysterio. He keeps his voice low while poking fun at the underground hero, “See? Even Mysterio has teammates.”

Eraserhead responds without looking back, also speaking in a hushed tone. “Teammates are a liability”, he brushes Spider-Man off before making his move from the corner’s cover to a closer spot.

Spider-Man follows along, keeping up with both Eraserhead and the two that they’re tracking. Not quite done messing with the man who so clearly needs to lighten up, he continues his teasing. “Really? Then what am I to you?”, he plants himself on the ceiling to crouch beside the underground hero but at an upside down eye level.

Eraserhead glances up with just his eyes before meeting Spidey’s gaze, unamused. “An unavoidable irritation”, his grumble is back. And with it, so is his goggles over eyes look, the underground hero gearing up to make another move.

The unlikely duo weaves up behind a stack of crates, using every few groupings as steps on an impromptu staircase. And as they venture further and further, they wind up finding themselves deeper and deeper into a storage station. “An abandoned warehouse? In this economy?”, Spider-Man tries quelling the nerves rising up inside of him when he sees the villain duo below opening up a trap door.

Eraserhead exchanges a quick look with his temporary partner, and gives a nod. Spider-Man is confused at first but soon understands the gesture as some sort of signal. Since, well, the underground hero then springs into action before he can. Two grunts sound out below where Eraserhead tackles the two villains into the hole that they had been preparing to climb into.

Spider-Man follows closely behind, throwing a fast glance over his shoulder when he hears the trap door close off the exit upon his entering it. But there’s more than just that problem. Another major concern is the fact that it’s pitch black where they are. Unable to see a thing in the dark dungeon (he’s assuming it’s an evil dungeon) he relies on his Spider-Sense to help him navigate.

“Gentle!? Gentle?!”, a voice that he regrettably recognizes calls out before anybody else can. “Whoever attacked us, you won’t get away with this!” Yep, he’s absolutely positive that he can match the sound of that voice to a name now.

Since he knows who he’s dealing with and that Eraserhead has no Spider-Sense like he does, Spider-Man decides it’s time to test out his latest invention. He had planned on using it as a beacon in the sky or something but this is as good a trial run as any. The room illuminates with a red hued light fashioned into the same design as his mask. It’s a circle that shines right on the pig tailed woman. “Gah!”, she shields her eyes from the sudden blinding shift in light spectrum.

“Oh, come on Screwball! I thought you liked the spotlight!”, he announces himself and what he knows with glee over the fact that he’s finally caught her.

But that excitement is short lived. Suddenly, his tiny utility belt spotlight isn’t the only source of light in the room. Everything brightens as stage lights activate. And Spider-Man finds himself in a scene that he certainly wasn’t ready for. He had been expecting a dungeon but where he’s at looks a lot like the moon of all places.

Considering Eraserhead, Screwball, and Gentle aren’t suffocating from a lack of oxygen and neither is he though, he’s hoping that it’s safe to assume they’re only on a set made to look like the moon. Which also hopefully means the martians marching towards him are also fake. “Wait – Martians?!”, Spider-Man can hardly believe his eyes when he sees the uncanny little green men just like they’re portrayed in the movies.

Eraserhead kicks one when it tries to grab him, knocking its head clean off. “Robots”, he seems unphased by them regardless of if they’re sparking from damage or growling like the real deal.

And while he could potentially wrestle with whether it’s all that surprising to discover the aliens are fake, Spider-Man instead thinks about his sudden case of deja vu from them. He fights Eraserhead back to back just like their first teamup at U.A against Electro’s hijacked exam bots. “We really need to stop meeting like this”, the vigilante decks one of the robots as he tries getting the underground hero to appreciate that fact.

But Eraserhead isn’t as willing to participate in witty banter. He dispatches his enemies silently. Likely because he’s a licensed pro and older, but Spidey also likes to think maybe the man just isn’t that used to having a sidekick around either. Speaking of sidekicks, Spider-Man literally kicks one of the robots aside to protect his partner.

“What’s going on?”, the recently rebranded Screwball clings to her partner’s side as they watch the show that’s being put on.

Gentle Criminal rubs his head, still recovering from how he landed when being tackled by Eraserhead. “I wish I knew, my dear…” He can hardly understand the current set of circ*mstances as much as anyone else.

That is, until Mysterio materializes out of a thick purple fog. The master magician sits upon a throne of his own design. “I see you have stumbled upon my little secret”, and from there is where he operates the martian machines by using a scepter that doubles as a magic wand, “I am here to invade your planet.”

“Sure”, but Spider-Man doesn’t buy the act one bit, “And you’d be surprised to discover I’m actually All Might under this mask!” The vigilante’s sarcasm has a bit of a sting to it that makes Mysterio glower even through the spherical helmet covering his face.

Eraserhead doesn’t bother saying a single word. He’d seen through the villain’s parlor tricks long ago. Besides, it’s not really his style to brag or boast. He simply focuses on dispatching the remaining robotic enemies so that he can hopefully put an end to this and finally call it a night.

“Then perhaps you’ll believe my alternative story”, Mysterio drops a handful of what looks like marbles as he rises from his throne. The balls bounce their way towards Eraserhead and Spider-Man where the two brace for whatever tricks that they hold. In a stunning array of flashing lights, the scenery shifts and changes to that of an ancient Egyptian tomb. “I am a past prophet who rose from the pyramids!”

“I feel like the first story was better sold…”, even Gentle Criminal can’t back up the fellow villainous performer on that one.

“You’re all out of robots”, Eraserhead stalks towards Mysterio with his capture cloth wound around his arm, “Give it up.”

“I don’t think my loyal servants will allow that”, Mysterio folds his arms across his chest as he taunts the underground hero. From high above upon his perch, he’s mighty prideful. “Even from beyond the dead, they do not forsake me!” Because down below is where crypts uncover to release what looks like mummified zombies.

“More robots?”, Spider-Man wastes no time punching one of the ‘undead’. Except, when he tries, his punch winds up going right through it. “Wha– ?!”

“They’re holograms!”, Eraserhead swears under his breath when he realizes that the bluff had just been a ploy for Mysterio to start running, “Don’t let them distract you!”

But as Spider-Man starts to push past the mummies, a few of them wind up triggering his Spider-Sense. He’s grabbed and restrained by what are certainly tangible zombies. “Oh yeah?! Easy for you to say! Cause’ these guys definitely seem real!”, the vigilante struggles and resists until managing to break free.

Eraserhead turns back to help. What few of the zombies aren’t illusions get caught in his capture cloth and flung against a wall where they are reduced to shambles. Spider-Man dusts himself off, grateful for the rescue.

“It seems that those two are a bit preoccupied”, Gentle pulls his partner away while watching the entire exchange, “Perhaps it’s best for us to take our leave while we can.”

But Eraserhead spots them straight away, his eyes flaring red behind his goggles when he turns his head to glare at them. “Go deal with Mysterio”, he addresses Spider-Man despite having his gaze focused on the pair of villains, “I’ll handle these two troublemakers.”

Spider-Man is about to object, but quickly remembers that he’s working alongside a licensed professional. “You got it, boss!” He leaves that problem for Eraserhead while pursuing his own, and he’s dead set on not slipping up this time when it comes to letting villains get away while on his watch.

Mysterio may have all sorts of tricks up his sleeve, but he doesn’t have web shooters. Spidey spins a glob of fresh fluid that he had handy to snag the villain’s cloak. Mysterio trips and tumbles, the fishbowl covering his head flying off and shattering. The man’s face underneath isn’t one that Spider-Man recognizes but that’s of no concern as he lets loose another round of webbing to wrap the guy up in a cocoon.

“Looks like it’s curtains down for you, pal!” Spider-Man can’t help but quip one final time.

Or maybe he quipped too soon. That blasted purple smoke returns, and it’s apparently toxic enough to melt through his webbing. Spider-Man grimaces under his mask. He obviously won’t be able to wrap this guy up in webbing, the way he had planned.

“The show must go on, wallcrawler!” Mysterio tosses another handful of marbles at the vigilante once his arms are free.

But Spider-Man has learned his lesson about those marbles. He creates a web sack to catch them in and closes it before they can do their thing. What feels like a miniature explosion nearly makes him drop the bag, but it manages to hold.

“Now you see me”, Spider-Man tosses the sack aside to free his hand up. Once flexing that hand into a fist, he uses it to knock out Mysterio. “Now you don’t…”

“Good work”, Eraserhead finishes tying up his own quarry from across the room. And getting that compliment from him really stirs something up in the ol’ hero otaku.

“Ah, well, ya know!” The bashful boy blushes under his mask. Once seeing their handiwork put together though, he sobers up, and he’s reminded that what they did was a team effort. “We make a pretty good team you and I”, he holds his hand out to shake on it the way adults would.

Eraserhead pauses, looking down at the extended hand. Spider-Man is about to retract it, embarrassed that he even tried. But then the underground hero accepts the gesture. “Maybe it IS good to have friends you can rely on”, Eraserhead shakes the surprised Spider-Man’s hand.

“Wow… Yeah… Friends..”, the vigilante is left in a dazed stupor. Not only did he get to team up with Eraserhead again, but he got formally acknowledged by the guy. They shook on it and everything! And Eraserhead called him his friend!

“Wait.. Friends?”, Spider-Man stops short when realizing he forgot something important. “Oh no…”, he smacks his palm to his forehead, “Shinso!”

Shinso casts aside his acceptance letter from U.A, not caring that it’s now covered in greasy fingerprints or sauce specks. With nobody to share it with, it’s nothing more than a piece of paper anyways. He had expected to feel sour over his newfound ‘friend’ ghosting him in what should have been an otherwise happy moment in his life. But like the remains of the pizza slice that he stuffs in his mouth, it’s a basic blandness that he tastes on his tongue.

Having lost his appetite – and having lost his ‘friend’, if they ever even were friends – the recently accepted Gen Ed student of U.A gets up and leaves the pizza parlor.


With the loss of one sleep deprived friend, there comes another. When Spider-Man wins, Izuku Midoriya loses - and vice versa. Will Deku ever manage to juggle both of his lives properly without there being a tradeoff? That's just one of many mysteries yet to be solved. But I digress, onto solving a few others...

I received some questions regarding whether or not this will be my last MHA fic and/or what type of other stories may I take up writing. While I do have other stories in mind, it is a bit of a hard question to answer since it's difficult to find time to write as much as I would like to. All I can promise is that I'll finish this story first and foremost. As for what I do next, I may condense concepts into one shots or shorter stories depending on what happens. Unfortunately, I can't assure anything other than that.

But nevertheless, thanks again to everyone still reading my stuff otherwise! Hope you all swing by again next time!

-Courtesy of your friendly neighborhood author!

Chapter 8: Your Ears Are Burning


LAST TIME on 'Something Spectacular' ...

Spidey got to chill with Eraserhead!

THIS TIME on 'Something Spectacular' ...

Things heat up as they get a little rocky~


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Orange omits what was once bright blue as the sun slides leisurely down towards the western horizon. Finally, things begin to cool a little; Spider-Man is glad enough of that. The web slinging vigilante’s uniform is definitely going to need a rinsing when he gets it off. Web swinging in such humidity drains as much sweat from him as it does his stamina. He only hopes that the paycheck he just picked up from Tokuda doesn’t get ruined by being drenched too; those shots of Mysterio were tough to get and he’d hate for them to go to waste.

Well, okay, maybe it isn’t too much to also hope for this last week of summer to lose its heat. Not even spandex is a breathable enough material nowadays. He’s willing to bet that’s the reason why crime has started to slow down. Everybody is probably too busy trying to stay cool at the beach. Wind blowing against his body as he free falls is his only saving grace when flying so close to the sun, but there’s no water at the bottom, so he always has to cut it short for the sake of not going splat instead of splash.

Part of him wonders if he should be spending his last bit of freedom at the beach like everyone else. Itsuka cleaned the one close by his home to be usable again. But then again, it doesn’t make for a good reminder of the girl that blocked him or the fact that he hasn’t even opened his letter from U.A yet to even know if he’ll be going to school in a week. He’d meant to do the grand reveal with Shinso but … Well, Shinso blocked him too. He can’t say he blames Shinso for thinking he was stood up, likewise to Itsuka, but he also can’t say he doesn’t blame Spider-Man for his new habit of losing friends either.

Well, there’s always the possibility that he’ll make new ones if he does get into U.A. And opening the letter with his mom will be just as nice, despite the inevitable waterworks. Then there’s also Eraserhead who said they were friends, which he’s pretty sure that guy’s hero-ing life is just as lonesome as his. Maybe the only social life that heroes have is with eachother. It’s not like All Might is often seen mingling with civilians at the mall. Spider-Man smiles at that thought, thinking it makes for a good enough reason to stop throwing himself a pity party.

Teenage angst is for the bedroom back at home. Right now, he’s Spider-Man. And by golly, web swinging always does the trick of clearing his head when he does it long enough. The view alone is something that just can’t be beat. “Who knew the best way to see the calmness of the city was forty feet up?”, he asks himself a rhetorical question. But, of course, the universe has to give him an answer. Down below, there’s what looks like an explosion. “Because it’s not! This city is NEVER calm!”, Spider-Man releases his current web line and redirects himself with a new one to look into what is most certainly not going to be a pretty view of the sunset.

And Spidey’s right. What the vigilante sees when he swings himself lower is not a pretty sight at all. Flames have consumed a store that sells musical instruments. Ironically, the shop’s marketing has an Endeavor cutout propped over it, the fire themed hero burning rapidly along with everything else. Spider-Man’s white lensed eyes expand when they see the ad sign break and collapse over the front of the building. The entrance, which most likely doubles as the exit, is now blocked with whoever might still be inside trapped.

“Great..”, Spidey mumbles a sarcastic comment to himself about the predicament. Not only is it a hazardous situation to be in, but the heat having been turned up on an already sweltering summer day isn’t doing him any favors. He has to act fast not to pass out from heat exhaustion. Which means ripping off an air duct as an alternative way into the burning store.

He kicks off the second screening layer once he crawls inside. Immediately, smoke fumes filter through the newfound opening of space. Spider-Man coughs as he tries fanning some of it away from himself. Breathing isn’t his only problem either. Even with his eyes covered, they begin to sting and water. Spidey blinks and focuses, trying to see through the thick blackness; his search for anyone that may need rescuing begins.

Since his vision isn’t at its optimum potential, the vigilante opts for a secondary method of looking. He cups his hands around his mouth and shouts, “This is a music shop isn’t it?! If there’s anybody still inside, I need you to do what you do best and make some noise!” Spider-Man strains his ears to listen for a response that he can use to navigate better.

And, albeit faintly, he hears someone. It’s a voice that sounds weak and full of coughs, but he hears it. “Over here!”, a person calls out to him from somewhere deeper within the rising fire.

Spider-Man makes haste to follow the sound of the voice calling for his help. It takes veering over a collapsed shelf of old records and crawling atop the ceiling, but he manages to make it to what looks like the rock & roll section of the store. Once there, it’s easier to hear the civilian’s coughing fit. Spidey stalks his way down the aisle with his hands out in front of him as though that will help to clear out the smoke blocking his path; what he finds waiting for him at the end of the rock & roll row is a ransacked drum set laying atop what looks like a young girl.

“I’m no expert but I don’t think that’s how you’re supposed to play with those”, Spider-Man does his best to lighten the mood while working to clear away the debris pinning the girl down – it’s not like he really needs help with that though, the fire’s bright glow is getting dangerously brighter – he moves a little faster.

While helping the girl up, he notices that she has jacks dangling from her ears; his inner nerd puts two and two together that her quirk must have been how she heard him and why she’d be musically inclined to shop here. He also realizes that her quirk must make her hearing sensitive, hence why she can hardly stand without wincing so much; her equilibrium must be off due to all the noise from the debris dropping around them. Thinking fast and acting just as quickly, he webs little globs to her ears in order to muffle some of the noise.

She leans into him as he continues to prop her up. He worries that his webbing noise cancellers aren’t doing enough to help. Until she mumbles a soft, “Th- Thanks”, and starts to regain her balance in order to walk a little.

They aren’t able to walk very far though. Some of the wall fixture crumbles away and blocks the other end of the aisle. Fire spreads across and begins burning the newly acquired material to melt. Unless they’re able to put those flames out, it’s only going to get worse for them. Spider-Man has to free up his arms from holding the girl in order to do anything, so he carefully lets her go.

“Hope this works..”, he first tries spraying the flames with a thick coating of webs. He may as well have just been adding kindling to the fire though since it doesn’t do very much to put it out. Which leaves him with only one alternative option, which is to search his surroundings for a different means of combating the flames.

By some saving grace, he finds the front desk where emergency supplies are kept. Next to a panic button that’s already been hit, there lays a fire extinguisher. He picks it up and returns to the girl’s side where he can use it. Spidey struggles with the asphyxiator while trying to figure it out. He’s never worked one before. So, he makes up his own way of using it. Spider-Man uses his spider strength to tear the top clean off.

Foam extinguishes the fire in front of him and the girl as it comes bursting out. It’s a blessing and a relief that there’s just enough in the small tank for them to clear the way. Spider-Man tosses the empty container aside once he’s finished using it and starts shifting aside the rubble. Escape from what would have been their fiery coffin is just within reach. He only needs to dig a little further…

Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense shouts at him to move. Flames consume the spot where he once was. However, there’s something different about these flames. THESE flames are burning blue instead of orange. The vigilante bounds backwards, using his fingertips to briefly touchdown and spring himself into the air again. More blue fire follows. It’s almost like the flames are chasing him.

Maybe because they are. Spider-Man stops and sticks to the ceiling so that he can see who the puppeteer of pyrotechnics is. Certainly the guy covered in severe burns all over his body must be one and the same. The same fella has staples keeping that damaged skin from sagging too much, which weirdly goes along with whatever gothic punk aesthetic he has going on that involves piercings. “Whoa, dude, that whole fit just screams daddy issues” Spider-Man looks the arsonist up and down, also noting the edgy Matrix style jacket.

Spidey’s new patchwork pal responds with a snarl and some more fire. As to be expected. Afterall, they haven’t even properly introduced themselves yet and he’s already roasting the guy’s looks; Spider-Man dodges a burst of blue flames, considering the close call a repayment of roasting in return.

After taking up a poised posture atop the service station away from the girl that he’s supposed to be rescuing and keeping safe, the vigilante makes himself a wide open target. “So! What do you call yourself? Molten Man?”, a little goading also goes a long way to lure the villain away from the endangered girl.

What would make for a good human torch responds with another snarl, “Dabi”, the reveal of his villain name sounding just as deadly as he looks and acts. Spidey may be on summer break, but he’s enough of a bookworm to know dabi means cremation under a certain arrangement of kanji characters.

Ordinarily, that type of name would be nothing to joke about. But he IS Spider-Man and wisecracks IS kinda his thing by this point. “DaBaby?”, he just HAS to push his luck.

Which he hopes is hotter than the flames heading towards his way, since cremation doesn’t sound like a good way to go. The wooden desk is charred black before evaporating instantaneously afterwards. Spider-Man had moved just enough in time to spare himself the same fate. “Dabi”, the villain reiterating the clarification of his name with his display of power lets the vigilante know that the self imposed alias isn’t by any means a underminement.

“Meh”, Spider-Man shrugs to hide the shaking of his shoulders, “Molten Man is better” He trusts his body’s ingrained instinct to leap before another wave of blue barrels at him; he really wishes that the blue wave was water at the beach instead of superheated fire. While regretting his decision to take up vigilantism instead of surfing, he figures he may as well keep trying to make Dabi regret that name. “Heck, DaBaby is better!”

“I don’t care much for the opinion of what’s about to be a BURNED BUG!”, Dabi disregards Spider-Man’s critique by – you guessed it – hurling more fireballs.

“That’s some hot temper you have! You sure you don’t have daddy issues?”, Spider-Man starts to get used to the one note attacks and gets into the groove of dodging. Now he feels silly for shaking with fear earlier. It’s not even remotely close to chilly in this fiery death pit of hell.

Dabi doesn’t dignify that with a response, but Spidey can tell it’s got the villain steaming. Just a little more toying with the baddie’s nerves and he’ll be able to control where the fire is going. Which, at this rate, is everywhere. But more specifically where Spider-Man wants to direct it, is at the ceiling. “Come on! Say ‘flame on’ just once for me!”, the taunts lure Dabi’s attacks like moths to flame.

Spider-Man throws himself out of the way so that the heavy assault destroys the roof and not him. An opening is made where debris rains down. Through smoke and soot, the sky is a sight to behold. “You really know how to bring the house down”, but Spidey knows that it won’t be so easy to escape through that exit without dealing with Dabi first, “Maybe next time you can use a guitar to do it!” The vigilante grabs ahold of a big bass and uses it to bludgeon the villain.

With Dabi down, Spider-Man hurriedly grabs onto the girl he had bothered entering the burning building for in the first place, and he scurries out with her. She’s still coughing up all the ash that she inhaled but he takes it as a sign that she's alive at the very least. It’s all in a day’s work for the Spectacular Spider-Man! He just barely made it out unscathed but–

Neither Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense nor his instincts could save him from the jet of blue flame that chases after him out through the hole that he created. He cries out, his back blistering as it burns from the intensity of how hot Dabi’s fire is. Not even Kacchan’s explosions hurt that badly. He takes it like a champ though, powering through and still doing his best to prioritize the ear jack girl over himself.

Spider-Man tumbles to the street outside of the music store as it collapses behind him. He skins his knees and elbows while protecting the girl from their crash landing, but that’s nothing compared to how inflamed his back is. And unable to catch a break even after all of that, he shields her from the blast of the store exploding – or, what was left of it – fire still remains when the dust settles but there’s no apparent sign of Dabi within it.

Spider-Man squints as he continues to stare at the arsonist’s work. Irony or no irony, he can see that the Endeavor ad is both buried and cremated. If Dabi’s goal had been destroying the hero’s image in some sense or fashion, then he got away with it; Spider-Man suspects that won’t be the last that he sees of the pyromaniac either.

“Ah, man.. What am I supposed to tell my boss?”, a disheveled kid who looks about the same age as Izuku himself also stares at the destruction in dismay.

Realizing the poor fellow must be an employee of the place that just got demolished, he thinks to offer up an excuse that he would probably use in the same shoes. “Uh… Tell em that you had a fire sale?”, he shrugs when the kid’s openmouthed expression is directed at him, “And that it was a blowout?”

The kid shakes his head, then hangs it. Whether that’ll be what he tells his boss or not, he has no other options at the moment but to walk away and sulk about it. Spider-Man watches the victim leave, feeling both pity and sympathy.

He flinches when he hears someone clearing their throat from the other direction. He double flinches when he realizes that it’s the girl he saved. He’s still holding her. “The way you handled that was pretty hardcore”, and she’s complimenting him. And now that he’s actually getting a good look at her, she’s actually pretty cute.

Grateful for his mask, and not for the first time, Izuku blushes beneath it. “That’s me”, he awkwardly laughs while trying to think up something clever to say back, “Always hard!” He hates himself. “Core! Hardcore! Me.. I mean..” He really hates himself.

The girl laughs though, so what he said can’t be all that bad. She brushes one of her jacks behind her ear like a loose strand of hair. His eyes are drawn to it and her hair. It’s short, not going any farther down her head than to her chin. And it’s purple. Even with ash splotching her face, she’s beautiful. “Well.. Thanks for saving my life, I guess.”

He nods, finding it hard to form any words to respond with. It’s a problem that he has when occupying space with pretty girls. Fortunately for him, he’s also occupying space with police. Or, rather, he’s about to – and that would actually be UNfortunate considering vigilantism is illegal – he snaps back to attention when hearing the incoming sirens.

“I should probably be going”, he lets the girl stand for herself and begins backing away. She doesn’t fall over now that she has his webbing ear plugs out, so he assumes she’ll be fine for him to swing off. Before he does though, he hears her laugh again, and he has to look back to find out why.

The girl is making the same hand sign that he is, a grin on her face. “It’s rad how you choose to spin your webs”, she holds it up high over her head like she’s waving goodbye in her own way, “Rock on!”

Izuku doesn’t have the heart to tell her that the real reason for his specific hand gesture when spinning webs is so that he hits the spray nozzle properly, so he responds back with a faulty confidence as Spider-Man. “Yeah. Rock on!”, the vigilante swings off into the sunset with the girl watching.

Ordinarily, there would be no better way to end his day despite the mild detour with Dabi. However, there is just one minor inconvenience. Okay, it’s a MAJOR inconvenience. Izuku realizes mid swing that he had his check from Tokuda tucked in between the waistline of his suit, which so happened to be the same spot where he got blasted by Dabi’s blue flames. The check is singed to a crisp and unable to be cashed. And as if that already wasn’t bad enough, he also had his letter from U.A stored in the same spot, the envelope sharing the same fate.

Izuku lands on a rooftop to regain his bearings, holding the blackened unreadable remains of what were originally important documents to him. It’s going to be hard explaining either of these to anyone, much less his mother. And if the music store employee’s opinion is one to chalk up as a validated opinion, then it’s not like whatever excuse he comes up with will be a very good kind.


Sorry that this chapter is much shorter than the usual length that I try to write them. It's not necessarily 'filler' but there's some final summer days that I want to fit in before Izuku starts school. Which means the next chapter will likely be rather short and of a similar style too. Nevertheless, I'm glad to finally be bringing some of my favorite MHA characters, Kyoka & Dabi, into the story; and the chapters will still accomplish a lot in that regard going forward.

Now, onto some of the big questions that you've been asking!

Regarding anyone who wants to know about Venom & symbiotes, I don't want to give away the specifications on who or how or what or when, but I can promise you all that I have plans for how that stuff is going to get adapted. It's probably what I'm most excited about to write for this story, actually.

As for Izuku's secret identity and who might discover it, I don't want to reveal too much there either but let's just say you might want to reconsider wanting that since some people if or when they find out won't react well under particular circ*mstances. Until then, I hope you enjoy the subtle implied 'up to interpretation' thing I got going for some characters already like Tokuda.
Oh, and as for Izuku finding out about OFA, that's something I don't mind telling you will absolutely inevitably have to happen; so at least there's some clarity I can give there!

Hope you all swing by again for the next chapter!

-Courtesy of your friendly neighborhood author!

Chapter 9: The Eruption Of Mt. Fuji


PREVIOUSLY on 'Something Spectacular' ...

A short chapter in which Izuku fights a fire villain!

THIS TIME on 'Something Spectacular' ...

A short chapter in which Izuku fights a fire villain!
...Wait a minute-


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Closing the oven door comes with a clack, one that sounds an awful lot like the same sound that the temperature dial makes when being switched on. Since he’d never taken the time to learn from his mother whether or not there should be a distinction between the two noises, he crosses his fingers and just hopes for the best. It’s not like he can call her to ask and learn now that he’s trying to surprise her. And besides, it’s also not like making muffins will be enough to set the house aflame… Izuku chews the inside of his mouth, not because of any anticipation for what the baked food will taste like when finished, but out of worry. Well, at least he has his Spider-Sense to give him a heads up. Plus he had recent first hand experience handling a fire thanks to Dabi, so…

Izuku steps away from the oven, letting it do its thing. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s going to take time for the muffins to bake and it does him no good to just loiter around being anxious about the wait. It can’t be any harder than staking out a warehouse for Mysterio. Nor can it be more difficult than coming up with a web formula, much less the support gear to use that webbing. Or so he hopes. Speaking – or, in this case, thinking – of which, he can kill two birds with one stone by also baking a batch of more of that web fluid.

While heading upstairs to his room to do just that, Izuku listens for the kitchen’s fire alarm; when content enough that he doesn’t hear it because the muffins are fine and not because the smoke detector needs new batteries, he stops straining his ears. He wouldn’t even be bothering to bake if not for the reason that he’s trying to surprise his mom. Which, is a good enough cause for celebration. Long story short, after making a phone call to U.A about getting a replacement letter for the one that he ‘lost’, they had told him that it’d be a waste of postage & mailing, and that he’d either be in class or searching for a different school by the time he got the new letter. So, he got his answer outright then and there. As of that moment, he learned that he’s going to be a Gen Ed student at U.A. What better way than to tell his mom than with muffins?

It may not be the Hero Course, but it’s definitely something to be excited about. It’s something he wants to shout and proclaim to the world. Except, who is there besides his mother to tell? Izuku had tried texting and calling Shinso to see if they’d be sharing a class together or not, but he’s still blocked and couldn’t even leave a voicemail. His not-so-friendly neighborhood childhood fri- bully is off the table too, considering Kacchan would sooner nuke him than congratulate him for it. Izuku makes it to his room, stopping by his bedside end table where a photo of him with his dad rests in a frame; he wishes he could tell his father, but that’s not possible either.

Alone, he has nothing better to do than get to work on that web fluid. Izuku opens up his hidden chemistry set within his desk drawer, also shifting aside Hero Journals for ‘Ingredient’ and Compositional Compound Notebooks. It’s a lot of effort moving this stuff around each and every time but it’s the cost of keeping a secret. Which is why it comes in handy to keep spare cartridges on him at all times. Izuku digs into his pants pocket to procure the container that he’d been carrying around, prepping to pop it open and refill it.

Izuku pauses. Or, maybe it’s more like he freezes. What he sees in his hand is NOT a web cartridge. Sure, what he’s holding is the same rectangular shape and size as a web cartridge. However, what he’s holding is not metallic or hard. What Izuku has in his hand is soft and wrapped in a thin plastic coating. Common sense battles with his Spider-Sense when he realizes that he accidentally mixed up a yeast packet with the web cartridge.

Which means… What’s currently being baked in the oven is a whole lot of web fluid. Izuku spins around on his heel so fast that the carpeting beneath it slides out from under him; while the adhesive ability of his feet can keep him firm with his footing, the rug itself is another thing entirely. Izuku stumbles over himself, having to spring from all fours to get off the floor – and onto the wall – before getting back down to the floor again.

But by the time that he makes it to the kitchen, it’s already too late. His Spider-Sense reaches a new high as he feels an all too familiar heat against his face. The oven door bursts open to unleash a horrible mixture of black smoke and gray goop. Warmed webs go everywhere, the gunk splattering all over. Izuku coughs as much as he did while swallowing the smoke from Dabi’s flames or inhaling Mysterio’s gasses. It’s like Screwball returned and set off one of her bombs in the kitchen.

Once the smoke clears enough, confirming that the fire alarms DO apparently require replacement batteries, Izuku looks around to survey the scene of disaster. He winces when he sees what the webs did. His mom is going to kill him if a villain doesn’t first. It’s like somebody tried cementing the drywall. Not to mention what he himself looks like. It clings to him more than mud. And he JUST took a shower right before this happened too.

Izuku places a palm upon his head, regretting the move immediately when his hand sticks itself to a clump of baked webbing. Since he already did the gesture though, he completes it with a sigh while sliding his hand free. Some of the slimy substance comes off but he’s sure that there’s still plenty of it left in his hair. Checking the kitchen clock to see how much time he has to get things done, he figures it’s better to start sooner rather than later on getting cleaned up then. Including, but not limited to, himself.

Izuku hops in the shower for a quick scrub down only AFTER mopping up the kitchen, knowing better than to take any chances when it comes to getting his webbing stuck to him again after being washed. In all fairness, the stuff dissolves on its own after some time – but he doubts his mom would be okay with that – plus, he’s pretty sure the chemicals leave behind a smell. Izuku raises his arm so that he can do a quick sniff test to test that hypothesis. It’s probably a good thing that he used soap.

Izuku plops onto the living room couch, already exhausted despite having no muffins to show for his labor. He doesn’t even have any web fluid for his vigilante side gig. Izuku checks the time on his phone; even though he’s lost valuable time on cleanup, he still has a shot at grabbing ingredients from the store to replace what he lost before his mom can get home. It’s better than sitting around and sulking over screwing up. Summer time sadness can end sooner than summer itself, or so he figures.

Izuku can’t even make a quick trip to the grocery store without encountering a villain anymore, apparently. He grumbles under his breath to himself about how stupid anybody would be to rob a small shoppee instead of a bank or somewhere like that. If criminals carried common sense, he wouldn’t currently be suiting up as Spider-Man in a janitor’s supply closet instead of buying muffin mix. It’s seriously cramped and it doesn’t help that a broom handle keeps falling against his head. Nor does it help to hear people panicking right outside the closed door, urging him to hurry up while putting on his web patterned booties. Seriously, it would be a nice change of pace if he could put his costume on in a phone booth or somewhere more accommodating, at least.

Once donning his vigilante identity with his mask pulled down over his face to complete the transformation, Spider-Man flings open the closet door and throws himself out into the open. Now he can get a good look at who it is that disrupted his dutiful day. But the lenses on his mask can’t even convey just how shocked he is to see the style that these crooks chose to go with.

One has his blue hair tied into a ponytail as elongated as his face, goggles that aren’t as nearly as cool as Eraserhead’s are the only aquatic themed thing he’s got to go along with the end of his long protruding duckbill mouth; for some reason, he’s otherwise got a fan attached to his back and teal sneakers that clash with the color of his dark jumpsuit. Then there’s a woman, also with her hair tied into a ponytail – maybe their team title is the ponytail pals – and that’s as far as he’ll go with her visual description considering there isn’t much clothing there to describe anyways. Lastly, but not least, is what’s basically an evil looking version of Endeavor – okay, a MORE evil looking version of Endeavor.

“Let me guess”, Spider-Man assumes a thinking posture as he gauges them all again. “You’re Howard The Duck”, he singles out the first of the trio to turn towards him before moving onto the duck dude’s ponytail pal, “She’s Silver Sable”, he focuses on the color of her hair instead of her bo– bo– …body. “And YOU’RE Molten Man instead of Dabi!”, Spider-Man quickly shifts his gaze from the woman’s voluptuous figure to her criminal partner’s volcano figure.

The volcano figure steps forward, presumably the leader of the group. “Who the hell is Dabi?”, his voice is heated but Spider-Man more-so focuses on the question than the tone of it.

Considering there was no correction to any of the aliases given to them, Spidey takes that as a sign to also step forward. “So you’re saying I guessed your names right then?”

The fiery leader thrusts each of his hefty arms forward, flames flying from both extended limbs. At least the flames are orange and not superheated to burn blue this time. Except, the hot stuff thrown towards Spider-Man is a different state of matter entirely; instead of gas, it’s liquid. The scalding stuff is orange because it’s lava! Spider-Man jumps away, allowing the shelf behind him to melt rather than his spandex.

“We’re The Volcano Thieves!”, the lava leader announces the title of his trio as if nearly getting boiled wasn’t any sort of clue. And Spidey is willing to bet that the ‘Volcano’ namesake comes from the magma themed man in particular, if things couldn’t get any more obvious.

“Really?”, but the vigilante can’t help but glance at Volcano’s partners in crime again, “Did your friends not get the memo about your gimmick then?”

The woman criminal takes offense first and charges in with what looks like a ninjato club. Being slightly more scared of her less-than-clothed body making contact with his than the weapon that she’s wielding, Spider-Man quickly reacts by restricting her rush with webbing. The lack-of-lava lady goes down.

“I mean, one of you is modeled after a duck” Spider-Man moves on to the second grunt of the small group. Unfortunately, this fodder puts up more of a fight than the first. Unexpectedly, duck dude uses his elongated fingers and winding wrists to create some sort of wind funnel. “Ducks are water type Pokemon! Not fire!”, Spider-Man has to spin a web to keep himself from being blown away so he adds, “They aren’t air types either!”, to his quippage.

Spider-Man spots an abandoned shopping cart behind Gust Boy. When he spins his next web, it’s to snag the buggy. It’s a good thing ducks don’t have any sort of sense to detect danger behind them, since Spider-Man’s move with the cart is to pull it towards the villain. It crashes into the criminal’s back and knocks him down.

Seeing his allies get taken out, Volcano takes it upon himself to intervene. “Enough of this!”, the raging villain secretes a spray of lava. Spider-Man evades it, of course, but the projectile stream of magma follows; the vigilante has to continue running along the wall to avoid getting doused by the superheated liquid chasing him.

“If I had a nickel for every fire quirked villain I fought this week”, Spider-Man takes cover within the frozen food section – whatever hope he’d been holding out that the cold might somehow help counteract the lava doesn’t last – and he has to flee to the next aisle, “I would have two nickels!” His next course of action is taking to the ceiling where the sprinkler system is; just a little bit of water won’t put out the lava either but it’s worth a shot at trying to do SOMETHING he figures. “Which isn’t a lot.. But it’s strange that it happened twice”, he keeps talking to distract his internal panic when realizing all of these half assed solutions aren’t actually helping him.

But sometimes the best and most obvious solutions are right in front of us. Spider-Man stops when he notices that the villain’s muscles have diminished somewhat. Smoke wafts from the man’s build, the guy’s gains gradually deteriorating as he uses his quirk. Volcano can’t keep this up for much longer or he’s going to burn himself out.

Spider-Man swings around the store, doing a broad loop to make sure Volcano has to lay lava on extra thick to keep up the chase. When he touches down on the opposite side of the place, where Volcano’s range doesn’t reach, he takes a moment to pull out his Quirk Analysis Notebook and begins writing his theory down. What he believes is going on is that Volcano’s quirk burns through fat cells in order to be used. Like most quirks, any extensive over usage will bring the villain to his limit and eventually the man will deflate to a lesser than formidable foe.

It’s been awhile since Izuku was last able to leave behind detailed notes for the police, so he really relishes in being able to do so again now. He gets so caught up in the passion of his hobby that he winds up going on autopilot with his Spider-Sense to dodge Volcano’s lava while focusing on his writing. It’s not until a corner of the notebook gets slightly singed that he snaps out of it. “Oh! I’m sorry! Did you want your receipt?”, Spider-Man rips out the quirk analysis so that he can leave it for the police but jokingly waves it in front of himself so that it goes along with his quip.

Panting with effort as he tries to catch his breath, Volcano is starting to look a lot more like a hill now. The villain’s footfalls aren’t as heavy anymore, each step forward with his feet missing their former weight. But the criminal doesn’t seem to notice. He’s much too prideful in his thinking to realize what’s happened to himself, because all that he can see is what’s in front of him; Spider-Man is cornered at a deadend of the store. “Nowhere to run now, webslinger!”

Volcano finally notices the backlash caused by his quirk when he sees how thin his arms have become, no more lava pooling out when they’re raised. “Okay, then I’ll stick around!” Spider-Man continues to quip from his spot on the wall, self satisfaction in his voice. And there’s a little satisfaction in the finishing blow that renders Volcano unconscious too.

Izuku pops a few new web cartridges into the shooters on his wrists, careful not to confuse them for the baking mix that he picks up from the floor. Then considering all of his chores done for the day, he leaves money behind to pay for what he takes, along with his notes for the cops. And lastly, but certainly not least, he writes out one last thing to leave behind.

As he swings out of the store, he calls out behind himself exactly what it is that he scribbled across Volcano’s forehead. “Courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!”

“Courtesy of your favorite son!”, Izuku presents to his mother a tray of freshly baked muffins.

Having just walked in through the door, Inko is more than surprised. “Oh my!”, she covers her widemouthed expression with one hand while removing her purse from her shoulder with the other. “It’s a good thing that you’re my only son or there would be quite some competition”, the woman laughs at her child’s antics before helping him with the hot tray so that he doesn’t accidentally burn himself, “What’s the occasion?”

“Well, there’s no sugarcoating it – literally, we’re all out of sugar and I forgot to get more at the store – so I’ll just come right out and tell you”, Izuku pats his hands on his pants to cool them off before bringing them together with a resounding clap, “I got into U.A’s Gen Ed Course!”

Izuku doesn’t recall getting balloons for the surprise celebration but what he hears is certainly a pop. It takes his mom’s startled scream and the tray that she’s holding falling to the floor for him to figure out that what bursted wasn’t a balloon afterall. Feeling something soft and creamy on his face, he worries momentarily that he somehow wound up mixing up his web formula with the batter again. But then he sees that it was just the regular muffins which erupted.

“I hope that there aren’t any baking lessons involved..”, Izuku draws back when he sees that he’s made another mess in the kitchen regardless of what it is that’s been splattered everywhere.

But fortunately for him, his mother doesn’t care about the mess, or not at this moment she doesn’t. She’s much too shell shocked by his revelation to care about that. “Oh, Izuku!” Inko wraps her son in a hug, holding him close. Tears stream out through her closed eyelids and she has to wipe them away with the sleeve of her shirt. “I hope that they do”, her retort makes both herself and Izuku laugh.

Pulling away from the hug, but only marginally, there’s something that Izuku needs to ask. He stops laughing and says it seriously. “Mom.. You’re not upset?”

Inko shakes her head, smiling at her son despite seeing him through watery eyes. “How could I be upset? Izuku, I’m so proud of you!”

Izuku smiles back, recompleting the hug so that they can hold one another tighter. “I just wasn’t sure since.. Well, so long as you’re okay with it…” He’s had talks with his mom about applying for schools more geared towards a field of study that isn’t playing second fiddle to heroes, so there’s relief in knowing that she won’t hold U.A against him.

Inko courses her fingers through her son’s fluffy hair. It’s something she’d done for him as a baby to help sooth him. “What was it that your father used to say?”, she asks him this question as if there weren’t a lot of things that Hisashi Midoriya would say but it must be rhetorical since she answers it herself, “Life is like climbing Mt. Fuji. Just be careful that you don’t climb too high in case it erupts.”

Izuku hums, understanding the meaning of that analogy; like everything else his father told him, it all has to do with being responsible enough to make the right decisions. Right here, right now… He feels as though he’s making the right decision. “After today, I really do feel like I climbed Mt. Fuji…”, and he can only hope that he also makes the right choices as Spider-Man as much as he does as Izuku Midoriya when starting school.


And there you have it that Izuku is officially going to U.A through the General Educations department! (If that weren't obvious enough already..) I also wanted to utilize these game villains as some D lister small fry, so if you do or don't recognize them then it doesn't matter much more than if they were OCs but it's more-so a cheeky cameo than glorified cameo in such a case.

Thank you Raccoon404 and goodx for laughing at my jokes!

And I hope you swing by again next time for some more of them, since the next chapter ought to be longer with that humor!

-Courtesy of your friendly neighborhood comedian!

Chapter 10: Past Problems To Future Frustrations


LAST TIME on 'Something Spectacular' ...

Izuku got accepted into U.A.

THIS TIME on 'Something Spectacular' ...

Izuku's first day at U.A.


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

It’s just like old times. Being shoved up against a locker, his shirt sizzling under a vice grip. What better way than to start the first school semester than to revisit routine? Izuku could probably think of a few alternatives. He thinks about shifting himself and the bully bruising him up to be in opposite positions, that maybe good ol' Kacchan should see things from his perspective for a change. But then, he also thinks about his late father’s words of wisdom. Hisashi Midoriya once told his son that the reason Katsuki abuses his quirk is that he was never taught ‘with a great quirk that there must also come great responsibility’. That had been before Izuku acquired a technical ‘quirk’ of his own and learned that lesson the hard way. So, understanding full well what his dad meant now more than ever… Izuku withholds his power and doesn’t fight back. He lets himself get bullied. Yup. It’s just like old times.

“I don’t know how a worm like you weaseled your way into U.A–”, Izuku has just as much of a hard time refraining from making a wisecrack about being a spider and not a worm as he does hiding his abilities, “-but you’d better not let me catch you anywhere near the Hero Course!”

Playing up the act of being weaker than he actually is, Izuku wriggles within his bully’s hold. It’s actually not all that hard when he has the former experience; he doesn’t think that he’s out of practice from summer break either. “Like I told you at the Entrance Exam, I- I’m only in General Education!”, he holds up his hands as a show of surrender, “You probably won’t even see me anywhere around here!”

Katsuki sneers at Izuku with contempt. Surely, there would have been more of an exchange between the two of them and this interaction. If not for the morning bell chiming to notify students of their classes beginning soon. Izuku prays a silent thank you. Katsuki drops his victim and turns to leave but makes sure to give one last comment before he goes, “I’d better not! Or else I’ll pound you for being on my turf!”

Izuku knows better than to request a definition from the blonde bully for his meaning of ‘pounding’. He’s been roughed up enough as it is. And he really doesn’t want to take any chances being late to his first class on his first day. So, he bends down and scoops up the textbooks that were originally in his locker before his encounter with Katsuki. And then he makes a beeline for his homeroom.

Ordinarily, Izuku would be thrilled about the prospect of starting his semester at U.A of all places. Anyone would assume that moving into a new school would come with a fresh start. Except, according to Katsuki, this turf is no different from Aldera High. And if that close brush between the two of them was of any indication, there won’t be much of a difference in terms of what comes with being on Katsuki’s kind of turf.

And as though to prove that point… “Didn’t hear the bell? I told Nezu we should have made it louder”, he’s already being hassled by his homeroom teacher as soon as he steps foot through the door, “Try not to make a habit of being tardy anyways” Izuku turns to apologize, not expecting to find himself face to face with a pro hero. Present Mic is his homeroom teacher even though he’s only in General Studies. It’s so sudden a revelation that it stuns the poor otaku. The licensed professional must notice that his latest student is starstruck because he doesn’t seem bothered by Izuku’s unresponsiveness, “Why don’t you go grab a seat before you’re too late for that too?”

Izuku nods, regaining enough motor function to steer his body to a desk in the back. It’s not the first impression that he would have liked to make, much less to PRESENT MIC of all people, but he’s still super stoked about meeting the pro hero that he doesn’t dwell on it. Getting into U.A was worth it afterall, for the sake of simply getting to be around heroes like Mic, or so Izuku personally believes. He just hopes that Katsuki doesn’t hold it against him somehow.

Speaking of people holding grudges, it would just have to be Izuku’s luck that the only remaining desk is one beside the boy that he ghosted. Well, at least it’s nice knowing that Shinso managed to get into the Gen Ed course too. “H- Hey..”, Izuku tries to defuse the awkward tension between the two of them with a wave but Shinso doesn’t even acknowledge the gesture that he decides to give up and just sit down already.

It’s not going to be easy getting through the rest of the semester if every day is going to be like this one. Izuku plants a hand against his forehead, propping it up on one elbow. Already, the boy is mulling over methods to resolve the problem that he’s made for himself. He can’t come right out and explain his duties as a vigilante got in the way but maybe he can try being transparent with Shinso to a certain extent. It’s not like Izuku’s had a lot of experience in friendship and how friends are meant to interact with one another, not since Katsuki turned on him, but he knows that friends trust eachother enough to share things and so he knows he should start there if he’s going to fix & forge this friendship.

Izuku finds enough resolve to make a vow to himself then and there to fix things as soon as the first period ends. He figures it won’t hurt to invite Shinso to lunch so that they can talk, at the very least. He spares a glance at his classmate, seeing that Shinso still hasn’t returned a single stare. It might be more difficult than he previously thought… but he doesn’t need another Katsuki Bakugo on his case, so it’s still worth trying to absolve.

Present Mic gets the attention of him and the class, snapping Izuku out of his angst ridden thoughts. It’s pretty easy to listen to the teacher when the teacher has a quirk that amplifies their voice. Mic goes over some syllabus stuff for the semester. There’s roll call. First day details to iron out. Then the real schooling starts. Which, proves more boring and difficult than Izuku remembers from Aldera. Learning English as a whole other language is not as fun as it sounds.

But nevertheless, Izuku gets through it somehow. And the time for him to flag down Shinso for their much needed conversation comes. “Hey, Shinso, wait up!” He calls after the brainwashing boy whilst stuffing his textbooks into his backpack. In his scrambled effort to not let Shinso get away from him, Izuku winds up spilling the books all over the floor rather than zipping his bag closed. “Crud..”

As expected, nobody stops to help him. There’s only a few quick looks of pity. At least none of them step on his books or hands as they walk by – he figures that’ll change when they learn about his quirkless status. Sighing with sorrow and feeling sorry for himself, Izuku bends down to scoop the books into his bag.

“If you’re always clumsy like that, then it’s no wonder why you were late to class!”, Izuku looks up to see none other than Present Mic approaching him from the other side of the room. Izuku diverts his gaze, worried that his opinion of the hero is about to get tarnished since he hasn’t had the best of experience with past teachers. But when Mic squats to help Izuku, the boy is delightfully relieved of his concern. “Here, Little Listener, we wouldn’t want you being late for your next class too.”

Izuku is at a loss for words again, albeit this time for a different reason. He’s so emotionally embarrassed that he could cry. Shutting his eyes and shaking his head, he mentally resets himself. “Th- Thank you… S- Sir..”, Izuku forces himself to show his appreciation to the hero that helped him in a time of need when others wouldn’t.

Which makes Present Mic super happy. Mic smiles, beaming brightly. “He talks!”, the Gen Ed Homeroom Teacher stands with Izuku, “I’d love to hear you speak up a bit though! Don’t be so shy, kid!” Most would consider the extroverted fellow a bit much, what with his blonde hair styled into a large spiked tuft making him seem arrogant, but Izuku understands that the man is genuinely trying to help in his own way.

“Y- Yes sir!”, Izuku forces himself to shout a little. Much to he and Mic’s elation, it makes for a good moment between the two to share some smiles.

“That’s the spirit!”, Present Mic laughs and gives Izuku two thumbs up. Then Mic uses those hands to usher Izuku out the door and into the hall, “Now get a move on! We’re trying not to make you late again! Remember?!”

“A- Ah! Right!”, Izuku waves behind himself as he jogs down the hall. He catches a glimpse of Mic waving back. For a moment, he thinks that it may not be like Aldera here afterall.

But when he’s inevitably late for his second period, his second teacher isn’t as forgiving as his first. Cementoss, also a pro hero but with a heart of stone (literally? Izuku plans on researching that later) scolds him for being tardy – and he even gets a pink slip for it! Cementoss makes it clear from the get-go that he’s much more of a stickler for the rules. And so Izuku finds himself sulking in a seat beside the ever still unsociable Hitoshi Shinso again.

After English is apparently History. Izuku knows all about the lesson in which the past is doomed to repeat itself thanks to personal experience. But he knows better than to make light of such a joke with how serious Cementoss is. The guy is actually a big block and that’s not just his personality. No, literally, he’s stone shaped into a humanoid cube. It’s interesting considering the man somehow has that stone pulled back into a ponytail behind his head but Izuku doesn’t want to risk getting caught doing quirk analysis instead of taking notes that he doesn’t linger on that thought.

Instead, Izuku focuses on being ready to actually stop Shinso this time. Or, at the very least, keep up. As soon as class lets out, Izuku chases the other boy out the door and into the hall. “Wait! We need to talk!”, he weaves his way through other students of the school and actually requires aid from his spider abilities to be able to do so that he wonders how Shinso is able to do this without a similar quirk.

“I personally think actions speak louder than words”, Shinso shoots a stare behind himself back at Izuku. Glaring daggers are surprisingly harder to dodge than real daggers, the look effectively slowing Izuku for a fraction. But Izuku insists of staying a step behind Shinso anyways, still trailing the other boy.

“Look – I know what I did was messed up – but I want to apologize!”, Izuku pleas for Shinso to stop but the pace only gets picked up, “All I’m asking for is a chance to explain myself!” The two weave their way around a corner opposite to the direction of the cafeteria. “This isn’t towards the mess hall?”, Izuku wonders aloud why Shinso steered them this way.

He gets his answer, “Because I’m not interested in eating with you”, Shinso shows no restraint in trying to shake Izuku off his trail when he makes another sharp turn. Where they’re going, Izuku has no idea and he’s pretty sure neither does Shinso, but it’s evident that they’re bound to become lost at this rate. “Just leave me alone”, Shinso says.

“Not until you hear me out first”, Izuku hurries to catch up before the chase gets too out of hand. But as he draws nearer to Shinso, he receives a sudden spike of his Spider-Sense.

He half expects that his body will instinctively pull him away from a punch. If Shinso is annoyed enough, that shouldn’t be too far fetched. Surprisingly, instead, Izuku finds himself flying towards Shinso rather than away. When he turns his head to the left, he sees why. “Look out!”, Izuku tackles and throws Shinso along with himself out of the way of a giant steel door.

Smoke surrounds the two boys, making them cough when they try to catch their breath. Having more experience with recovering from explosions, Izuku gets on his feet first. He worries that a villain may have followed him to U.A, somehow having discovered his secret identity as Spider-Man. Except, his Spider-Sense has stopped signaling him to any signs of danger. Which means this explosion came from U.A itself somehow… ?

“Hatsume! That’s the tenth time today!”, an angry shout comes from within the smoke shrouded frame of a missing doorway. But when the smoke starts to clear, it becomes clear as well as to what happened and why somebody is shouting. Izuku and Shinso stumbled upon the Support Studio where a gadget must have malfunctioned and exploded. “You’re banned from working here until further notice!”, the same shout continues and confirms Izuku’s observation.

“Hmph! Fine, but you can’t stop me from working elsewhere!” A girl with pink dreadlocks comes storming out, just about as mad as the voice shouting at her sounded. She must be Hatsume, Izuku figures. And she doesn’t seem to notice or care to notice that her accident nearly crushed him or Shinso, brushing by the boys without sparing a single glance in their direction.

“No, I’ll let that be another hero’s job”, the voice arguing with Hatsume draws closer that it no longer needs to shout anymore. And the owner of the voice is revealed to be another pro hero that Izuku as a hero otaku recognizes immediately. Power Loader as the teacher of the Support Department makes so much sense and also explains the Entrance Exam robots. Even now the man is in his bright yellow excavation power suit, making it easier to recognize him. Power Loader asks, “You boys alright?”, when noticing Shinso and Izuku.

“Y- Yeah..”, Izuku dusts himself off alongside Shinso. The two share a quickly exchanged glance at one another.

“You two shouldn’t loiter around the studio”, Power Loader shoos them away from an otherwise unsafe environment, “It can get a bit dicey with or without protective gear like my own, as you saw firsthand.”

“We were just passing by”, Shinso steps in with an explanation for himself and Izuku before heading back the way that they came, “Sorry for the intrusion.”

And it seems to be more than enough for Power Loader since the man allows them to walk away without asking anything else. Izuku falls in pace alongside Shinso, grateful that it’s an ordinary speed compared to previously. And now that they’re heading for the cafeteria, it’s also nice to have an idea of where they’re at.

“I owe you for pushing me aside back there so I’ll give you five minutes”, Shinso speaks without bothering to look at the person that he’s addressing. Not until they reach the mess hall, which is when and where he whirls on Izuku to look him in the eyes, “Five minutes only. Understood?”

Izuku swallows a lump in his throat, opting for a nod to answer with, for fear of accidentally starting the timer on those five minutes. When he sees Shinso still waiting on him, he ultimately caves and gives a verbal response. He promises, “Five minutes is all I need”, hoping that it’s a promise that he can keep.

The two of them separate to grab their food before reconjoining at a table. And it’s then that the official five minutes start. Izuku pushes his lunch aside, not wanting to waste any of the time given to him on chewing or drinking. Shinso is super focused as well, not touching his meal either.

“The truth is…”, Izuku pauses when he feels his mouth go dry; he now wishes that he had stopped to take a sip of his drink, “I had to take pictures..”

“Pictures?”, Shinso gives Izuku a skeptical stare. It prompts Izuku to elaborate.

“For Juko News”, Izuku pulls out his phone to pull up an article on their site, “There was a villain attack and I wound up – uh – having to stick around..” He hands his cellular over to Shinso when finding a story that uses some of his shots.

Shinso browses and scrolls a bit before handing the phone back. He still doesn’t seem all that convinced by the explanation if his expression is anything to go by. “So you forgot about me or you chose to do this instead?”, there’s an accusatory tone in there that makes Izuku flinch a little.

“I…”, Izuku doesn’t have an answer for that. “Look.. I’m gonna level with you”, but he does have what he believes to be a good reason otherwise for his cover story that isn’t exactly a lie, “My family really needs the money right now. It’s just me and my mom and I want to help support her with the bills as much as I can ever since my dad died.”

Hearing that, Shinso’s stern expression drops completely. “Oh..”, he breaks eye contact by turning his head away; ashamed, he apologetically bows his head and says, “I’m sorry..”

“It’s okay”, Izuku waves his hand for Shinso to stop bowing, “You didn’t know” He didn’t mean to guilt trip the guy and now he too feels bad about it.

Shinso shifts in his seat. Suddenly, there’s an awkward silence between them. Shinso starts eating. Izuku takes that as a sign that he probably should too. It’s not much of a help for them to be chewing and drinking across from one another without talking to change the mood of the moment. So, eventually Shinso sighs and shoves his meal aside so that he can address it.

“Alright, I’ll let you off the hook this time” Shinso gestures toward the phone on the table and adds, “Just text me and let me know you aren’t coming next time.”

Izuku is so relieved by his friend’s forgiveness that he can’t help but smile. “Thank you”, he shyly stirs the straw sticking out of his cup while admitting, “I’m still not used to this whole ‘friendship’ thing yet that I don’t really know how it fully works..”

Shinso lets out a huff of a laugh. “You’re preaching to the choir…”, and he can’t help but smile somewhat too.

“I dunno about singing or preaching but I promise not to leave you hanging again”, Izuku pauses to take a bite from his bento box before adding, “Even if it means missing out on snagging shots of Spider-Man.”

“Wait – You’re the dude that takes pictures of Spider-Man?” Izuku jumps in his seat when his Spider-Sense doesn’t warn him of somebody sneaking up behind him. He internally curses the selective timing of the power when he turns around and sees that the person is also a GIRL. And not just any girl, but the one he so happened to save from Dabi just a few days ago. She’s as cute as she was then, even more so now that she’s cleaned up and shyly tucking an ear jack behind one of her ears like a stray strand of hair. “Did you ever get to meet him? I mean… What’s he like?”, Izuku’s eyes are drawn to the girl’s lips as she asks him questions that he has a hard time registering any answers for.

“Yeah! Is he as freaky as they say?!”, Izuku snaps out of his daze when he realizes that there are in fact MORE THAN ONE girl crowding around him; the one who wants to know if Spider-Man is freaky has a pink shade of skin that makes her stand out as much as her extroverted personality does.

“He definitely looks freaky”, a floating girl’s uniform is just as vocal and energetic if the swishing of the suspended skirt is anything to go by. The invisible girl and the pink girl damper Izuku’s mood a bit over being flocked by them since they’re inadvertently calling HIM freaky.

But he’s perked back up when his supporter of the bunch chimes back in to defend his alter ego’s honor, “He’s not freaky!” The girl who had seemed so reserved and introverted earlier shocks them all with her outburst, even herself if her recoil is anything to go by. She returns to her shy state and quietly adds, “He’s – He’s – Heroic..”

The pink girl grows a mischievous grin while sing songingly saying, “Does somebody have a celebrity crush~ ?”, and begins hanging off of the ear jack girl. She’s joined by her invisible partner, the two tag teaming their teasing.

“No! No! I mean–”, the ear jack girl is reduced to a stammering mess that has to cover her blushing face with her hands to hide her shame. Unbeknownst to her or the girl’s friends, Izuku is blushing too at the mention of her potential crush on Spider-Man.

But Shinso notices. He rolls his eyes, not knowing about his friend’s alter ego but knowing from the short time that he’s shared with Izuku that the boy isn’t used to receiving such attention. Already fed up with the girl’s roudiness, he interjects with a feigned cough to gain their attention. “If you don’t mind..”, he drawls and gestures to the food on the table, “We’re busy trying to eat here.”

“Oh! S- Sorry for the intrusion!”, the ear jack girl is quick to apologize on behalf of herself and her friends. Though her friends don’t appear all that apologetic themselves, or so anyone could imagine the invisible girl shares a pout similar to that of the pink girl’s expression.

Before Izuku can alleviate the situation, somebody somehow manages to escalate it. “Don’t mind them”, he’s shocked to see that the person is none other than Itsuka; Izuku is starting to understand just how small a world it is that he lives on, “They’re jerks not worth talking to” Izuku winces when Itsuka directs that statement towards him with her stare.

Whatever the odds are that all these girls would share the Hero Course together is just his kind of luck. His father had always called it the ‘Midoriya Misfortune’, and while his mom took to denying such a thing, Izuku is starting to believe in the superstition. Shinso glares right back at them, not really helping matters. But whether it’s for the best or the worst, any further development in their confrontation is cut short by Itsuka dragging the girls away from conflict.

“WE’RE the jerks not worth talking to?”, Shinso scoffs at the receding backs of the Hero Course girls. He’s acting like he was the one that got personally insulted. For all Shinso knows, Izuku figures that would be the obvious conclusion without context. So he turns back towards his friend and decides to clear up the confusion.

“She and I have a… short history…”, he realizes that explanation is rather ambiguous when Shinso blinks at him with raised eyebrows and elaborates, “Uh – I kinda ghosted her…”

Izuku isn’t sure what kind of reaction he was expecting to receive, but it certainly wasn’t Shinso bursting out in laughter. Shinso wipes at his eyebags like he’s drying tears, “I guess it’s not a thing to be taken personally with you, huh?”

“Hey! It’s not like I did it on purpose!”, Izuku responds a little too defensively but Shinso doesn’t seem to take it the wrong way if his continued laughter is to provide any sort of clarity.

“If it were anyone other than you saying that..”, Shinso smirks and shakes his head, “I don’t know how it’s possible to pull off but I believe you.”

Izuku opens his mouth to retort but relents and huffs out a laugh instead. “Thanks”, he stops to think about whether or not it’s a compliment that he was given before adding, “I guess?”

“Don’t mention it”, Shinso returns to polishing off the last of his meal when he sees his friend lost in thought. It makes for a good show to go along with his lunch.

But Izuku’s phone chiming with a notification cuts the entertainment short. Izuku takes a glance at the screen to see his Hero Feed app blowing up with news relating to spider themed robots terrorizing the city. Izuku does a doubletake. He has to grab his phone and get a closer look to make sure he's seeing things right. And unfortunately, he is. Robots designed to scuttle around on eight tripoded legs were caught on camera causing property damage. And, of course, the media is taking to blaming Spider-Man for the spider themed destructors.

“I- I, uh… I need to go..”, Izuku starts to subconsciously stand up despite still thumbing through the Hero Feed reports. He’s unaware of Shinso doing the same across from him, albeit the other boy wearing a confused expression.

Shinso sees the strange state Izuku is in and immediately questions it, “What? What’s going on?”

“Um..”, Izuku shoves his phone in his pocket as he prepares an excuse to use. When he lifts his head up and meets Shinso’s eyes though … he just can’t do it. He has a hard time lying to his friend that he just repaired that friendship with over having told lies before. “It’s a Spider-Man thing–”, but he realizes he can’t tell the truth either as soon as the words leave his mouth, “-I mean I need to go take pictures of a Spider-Man thing.”

Shinso slowly sits back down, processing that reason for Izuku’s abrupt departure. Oddly enough, he isn’t mad; he’s just confused. “Right now? You’ll never make it back in time for class”, nevermind the personal argument he could make about their friendship and the promise that was LITERALLY just made about this when the bell for their next period rings as though on cue.

Izuku’s facial expression twists & screws when he hears Shinso’s statement backed by the bell, as though he himself hadn’t considered this a problem until having it pointed out. “Cover for me?”, he begs his buddy more-so than asks him to find a solution for his absence.

Whether or not Shinso is willing to agree to that request remains to be known, since he’s still too shocked by Izuku’s desire to run out already. “You really need money that bad?!”, Shinso stands up as he shouts with an open mouth of surprise.

Izuku begins backing away, answering that question before actually answering it. “You’re really gonna ask me that with how much U.A’s tuition costs?!”, Izuku then turns and runs the rest of the way out.

Left alone at the table and stunned, all Shinso can say in response to that is, “Touche…”

Suited up and swinging, the resident vigilante of Musutafu takes to clinging next – clinging to the smooth windowless face of a private garage based across from U.A – and then promptly climbs up to sit on its corner ledge. From there, in a poised position that would strain an ordinary person’s knees until they buckle, the red and blue figure fishes out his phone from the waistband of his colorful suit.

The Hero Feed app requires some refreshing to generate new articles and postings, but it’s full of live reports and instantaneous updates; with enough tech savvy, it’ll be easy to figure out a trail or a pattern in terms of locating the spider robots. Izuku scrolls past information on Hawks’ trial, some blind big shot American lawyer flew out to defend the hero in court, the Vulture scandal still getting plenty of coverage; while interesting to keep up with, it’s not what he needs to be reading about right now.

Izuku tugs at an uneven fold in his mask that started making his face itch. He’s starting to get anxious. Thumbing through updates on these robots with other articles appearing in between can make the work a little tedious. As the elders of Japan would say about his generation though, they’re handy with the internet. Izuku eventually figures out what areas and hot spots make for the warpath of the spider robots. It’s an expensive district that Izuku is certain there must be some bigger scheme revolving around making money.

Spider-Man stops scrolling and stuffs the cellphone back into the waistline of his suit. He’ll need both hands available to swing faster if he’s to make it in time for the robots not to flee the scene. And so, Spider-Man dives into a somersaulted swing. His body careens and his web line carries him into the city. The vigilante flips forward, fires another strand of webbing, and takes a turn around a building.

It makes for a good mode of transportation aside from the train. It’s especially better than sitting in traffic. Which is likely due to those cars getting into way too many wrecks. Down the street from which Spider-Man swings, a truck tumbles across the road end over end. It bounces along like a child’s Hot Wheels toy that’s been tossed aside. The vehicle knocks over a fire hydrant, sending a geyser of water into the air, and then crashes through the front window of a bookstore.

If property damage is the goal here, then the spider robots are doing a mighty good job. Spider-Man lets loose the hold that he has on his current web line and doesn’t bother spinning a new one. It’s his drop into the scene that he plans on using as an opening attack. While certainly not being able to make heavyweight, the impact from his fall will be enough to bring one of the bots down; or so he hopes, if the machines are anything like what he fought at U.A with Eraserhead.

Spider-Man stomps the spider robot responsible for chucking that truck earlier. It caves, crushed down by the pressure of his landing; each of the mechanism’s legs snap off as it loses its structural integrity. That’s one down. Spider-Man raises his head to get a good look at what else he’ll be dealing with. Three more to go. Each of the robots are similarly designed as the damaged one.

“Do I waste my good quips on you guys or is it not worth it since you aren’t human?”, Spider-Man feigns worry with a stroke of his nonexistent beard. But if he is to be concerned about anything, it certainly isn’t that. Rather, he worries about what these robots are capable of should they not be remote piloted by a person.

The trio of spider slayers advance on the vigilante, forcing him to maneuver himself away from them. Having restocked and refueled his webbing, Spider-Man is able to keep his distance while still fighting back; he releases a good glob of the sticky stuff to coat them in a cocoon. His experience with fighting U.A’s Entrance Exam robots reminds him of how useful it is to stall their rotors with webbing. It slows the spider slayers down, at the very least.

Spider-Man slides under the belly of the nearest one. From there, he punches into its gut. Wired intestines spill out, sparking somewhat as they get torn free from the machine’s insides. Compromised of what makes its system run, the robot sways and staggers with its steps before toppling over. Spider-Man kicks off of it to go for the other two next.

His Spider-Sense sends a warning. That’s the only reason that he’s able to duck under a swing from one of the spider slaying machines’ leg spears. All of the other limbs tear free of Spider-Man’s webbing and the robot pivots. Its partner does the same. Spider-Man does an aerial backflip to clear the distance between himself and the ceiling. From above, the robots can’t wallop him with their metallic limbs.

Until, the spider slayers steal his shtick and start climbing the walls too. “Hey! I’ll sue!”, Spider-Man halfheartedly swears. He has to survive this battle first if he ever wants to try though. The vigilante scurries out of reach as the machines chase him on the ceiling.

Turned upside down, he imagines the robot’s programming requires a more intense processing speed; with luck, that leaves room for error. Spider-Man suspends himself upright to get under one of the spider slayers, which is on the thing’s back from such an angle. Breaking the body rather than the belly still releases a spray of slickened oil. It twitches and falls free from the ceiling, bleeding out a black fluid.

That only leaves one remaining. Except, Spider-Man has learned from previous encounters not to destroy it just yet. If he had followed Screwball’s drones back to her base all the way when they first tussled, maybe she wouldn’t have had the chance to become La Brava. But then again, that was before he developed his trusty Spider Tracers. Since they already had their field test up against Vulture, Spider-Man relies on them again now. He chucks the small tracking device at the remaining robot.

It doesn’t notice, too transfixed on its opponent and lacking a human mind to comprehend anything other than its current directive. Which means that while Spidey accomplished his goal, he now has another problem, which is somehow getting it to run back to its inventor rather than sticking around to keep fighting. Regrettably, the only solution Spider-Man can think of is to take a fall this time around.

Spider-Man allows himself to get smacked by one of the robot’s legs. It certainly doesn’t pull its punches. He gets knocked into a wall; brick buries the vigilante. Presumably, that means the spider slayer won. The robot turns and leaves. But just because it won the battle, that doesn’t mean it won the war. Spider-Man climbs out of the wreckage a moment later, still alive.

“Alright, Sparky, take me to your leader!” The vigilante follows closely behind, already putting his plan with his tracer to the test.

After battling the likes of Mysterio, Spider-Man expected to be led to an abandoned warehouse again per the usual villain hideout status quo. An industrial plant is close enough. And judging by the means of which the spider slayer enters the property, the owner of the place either rents cheap or not at all. The robot crawls through an already torn into metallic fencing, followed by its pursuer. Within a narrow peninsula of land is a brick building supported by landfill.

Spider-Man separates from following his mechanical mascot for a moment, opting to find a different point of entry in order to remain stealthy. He crawls up the wall while searching for an unboarded window. When he does locate a way in, he goes about it very cautiously. Even though his Spider-Sense hasn’t alerted him to any trouble, he knows it’s only a matter of time.

Especially when he ventures into the building to get up close and personal. In doing so, he discovers mechanical parts no doubt intended to be constructed into more spider slayers. As a matter of fact, there’s a reason the robots seemed so familiar. Spider-Man lowers himself down to see that the dismembered parts come from U.A’s Entrance Exam faux villains. They’re being rebuilt, reprogrammed, and repurposed.

Spider-Man hears something distant and ducks down behind a crate containing machinery. It sounded strangely like a woman’s voice. No. Not an adult. A girl’s voice. He thinks back to his close call with Shinso earlier; Hatsume stormed off with a temper and a motive while having access to these spare robot parts, he thinks. Maybe there’s a connection there. He figures there’s no point in waiting around to find out.

Spider-Man hops up to the walls again, taking to his usual vantage point tactics. And it’s there that he sees the source of who spoke. As he thought, it appears to be a girl. She’s seated in some sort of hover chair while she tinkers at a table. And on that work station alongside widgets and tech is a cellphone. She’s talking to someone.

“There’s no way it can lead back to us”, the suspicious girl speaks assuredly to whoever is on the other side of the phone, “Don’t worry. We won’t get caught.”

While he could and probably should stick around to hear more, Spidey can’t help himself. “Are you sure about that?”, he announces himself while dropping down to let the girl know that she’s been caught red handed.

“Huh?! Spider-Man?!”, she spins herself around in her hover chair to face him. And she’s not Hatsume. But she IS someone that Izuku recognizes and remembers. She’s the brunette girl that he bumped into at the Entrance Exam.

“And you must be the little Tinkerer that went about framing me as of late”, Spider-Man plays it cool and acts like he doesn’t know her since she wouldn’t know otherwise; plus, he still needs to know what the motive of a prospective U.A student would be in such a situation.

“Sorry”, she apologizes and the apology sounds sincere, “That was … an occupational hazard..” She taps her cellphone to hang up the call with whoever she was talking to before refocusing on the vigilante. “I needed to divert attention from myself and what I was doing, and you were the most recently obvious option to go with…” Her explanation thus far still isn’t very assuring though.

“And what exactly is it that you’re doing? Who were you talking to?”, Spider-Man continues prying for answers. He doesn’t want to spring into action without getting all the facts first. Even with whatever lingering doubts or concerns that he may have.

The tinkerer hesitates, uncertainty flashing across her face as she glances back at her phone. “I wouldn’t expect you to understand”, she then taps at what appears to be a hidden keyboard on the armrest of her hover hair before apologizing again, “Sorry.”

“Oh, brother…” Spider-Man already knows that whatever she did isn’t good, his Spider-Sense saying so. And he and his sense is right. She must have reactivated the spider slayer that he was following, the robot scuttling towards them to intervene.

It puts itself between its creator and Spider-Man. Not that one robot will be enough to do anything as opposed to the group of them that he fought earlier. Spider-Man kicks one of its legs out before using another as a brace to pull himself up onto its backside. As he did with the others, he punches it inward until it breaks down. It’s as fragile as it was originally. No matter the rematches, that’s robots zero and Spidey still victorious.

“Wanna try that again?”, Spider-Man turns around to face the girl again; before she can hit anything else on her keyboard and hover away, he spins a glob of webbing over the small console and hops aboard.

“I still have my quirk, Spider-Man” She’s close enough to him now to reach out and touch his arm. And it’s then that he remembers more about her. The way that they had met was by her removing his gravity to keep him from tripping. Their reunion though, is her taking away his gravity to make him trip up.

“I hope you don’t get air sick like I do!”, but he’s able to bring her along by keeping himself adhered to her hovercraft. His feet stay firmly planted to the special chair so that his floating takes her along for the ride.

“Now that you mention it..”, the girl’s face gets a little green as her already chubby cheeks blow up even bigger. She’s holding back from puking. And until she releases her quirk’s hold on them, she stays sick like that.

“Now that we’ve got that out of our system… Wanna finally explain all of this to me?”, Spider-Man crosses his arms over his chest when he sees that the girl has essentially tuckered herself out.

She nods, albeit still reluctant about doing so. Though she must realize she doesn’t have much of any other choice and relents. “I did it for my parents.. They were who I was talking to on the phone..”, she solemnly starts.

Noticing her pause, Spider-Man tries to help her along. He guesses, “They put you up to this?”

“No!”, but she’s quick to correct him on that assumption, “No.. They actually.. They weren’t all that keen about this.. Know that it was all my idea and none of it REALLY their fault..”

“Okay..”, Spider-Man nods along while probing her for more information.

“They work in construction. I figured if I used these old U.A bots to demolish expensive districts that they’d be able to pick up more work. You see… They’re very poor and.. I just wanted to help them”, the girl blinks back tears that have begun to stream down her chubby cheeks.

Anybody else would have probably left it at that and convicted her a criminal. But having met her before, Izuku knows that there’s more to this story. She wasn’t in a motorized wheelchair before. Not at the Entrance Exam. Plus there’s the matter of how she managed to get ahold of the spare U.A bot parts to pull this whole scheme off.

“They could afford this though?”, Spider-Man raps on the hovercraft with his knuckles to prompt another explanation from the girl. And it works.

“No”, she shakes her head and reveals, “This was a … ‘consolation gift’ from U.A..” Spider-Man must convey some sort of shock through his mask since she doesn’t waste time on continuing her expositional dump like she was earlier, “I partook in their Entrance Exam for the Hero Course – I thought I could make money as a hero to support my parents – but one of the robots from the exam malfunctioned and..” She sniffles as she looks down at herself in the hovercraft.

Spider-Man realizes that she must have been severely injured during the exam thanks to Electro’s tampering. If she was paralyzed from the waist down somehow then it’s no wonder why she would give up her dream of becoming a hero. “What did they do about it?”, Spider-Man breathlessly asks one of many questions on his mind about the matter.

The girl looks down. Spider-Man follows her gaze. The hover chair that she’s sitting in is the answer. Or, at least a part of it. The brunette shrugs, “They compensated me and my family a little … in return, we signed an NDA to keep U.A’s mistake off the record..” She looks into the white eye lenses of the vigilante’s mask, “They said it would ruin the reputation of heroes and ultimately disrupt society that it would be too great a risk to share publicly.”

First Hawks as The Vulture for the HPSC and now U.A. Spider-Man starts to wonder if All Might ever did anything scandalous that got covered up. He shakes his head, clearing that thought out; he decides there and then that there’s no way EVERY hero is like that, least of all All Might. But then again… U.A let Katsuki Bakugo into their school and the things he has done as a bully are… That inkling of doubt makes Spider-Man sulk. He doesn’t know who to trust anymore. Even the underground hero that he’s teamed up with is supposed to catch and arrest him.

“For a while, that was okay… We made peace with it and we made our dues..” The paralyzed girl continues her story; Spider-Man goes back to listening when she shares what led to her becoming a ‘villain’. “But then I saw you, a vigilante, and I got to questioning the whole system – if anybody knows better, then it should be you how flawed and corrupt it is that sometimes we need to do things outside the law – so I went into mechanical engineering through my parent’s company to get ahold of what was scrapped by U.A at the Entrance Exam and redesigned their robots to be based on you.”

Hearing that he himself had a part to play in this only brings Spider-Man’s mood down even further. He had hoped to inspire people, but it wasn’t his intention to inspire them THIS way. He feels responsible for this whole turn of events as much as U.A should. He tries wrapping his head around how this girl could have gone down such a path, “You were going to be a hero.. You should have known better than to wreak havoc–”

“The robots were never going to hurt anybody! I activated the U.A failsafe chip in them and set their prerogative to only destroy buildings! I swear it was never meant to cause any harm!”, the girl is quick to try and justify her actions but Spider-Man stays unconvinced.

“I’m sorry but I can’t let you go after this”, he uses a web line to snatch and yank the girl’s phone to his hand before passing it to her, “You might want to call your parents back and tell them.”

The girl looks like she’s about to continue protesting, tears welling up in her eyes until they stream down her cheeks, but she winds up surrendering peacefully. Remorseful for her actions, she nods and accepts Spider-Man’s offer to at least speak with her parents before being taken into custody.

Returning to school when classes for the day are already over might not have been the best idea. Izuku finds himself being escorted to the principal’s office. Not even Shinso’s cover story that he ‘got terrible diarrhea’ from the cafeteria food was able to spare him the remedial trip apparently. Probably because the staff checked the restrooms and didn’t find him there. Plus it’s hard to believe the pro hero Lunch Rush’s cooking could cause stomach problems. Izuku can’t be too mad at Shinso though since his friend DID at least try.

He expects expulsion. And that’s somehow only the least of his worries once his mother finds out. Izuku’s double life was bound to cause problems with his schooling, he had figured as much, but he hadn’t imagined that it would come to such a tipping point already on his first day. He sighs. He drags his feet. He sulks. Typical teenage angst. Hound Dog, the pro hero school staff escorting him, must see and deal with it enough to not be phased by it.

After hearing Ochaco Uraraka’s story (he had later learned during her arrest that this is The Tinkerer’s real name) there’s a small part of the boy’s brain that tells him this is for the best. He doesn’t want to be associated with U.A if it’s in any way shady as she said. There’s always hero schools like Shiketsu or Ketsubutsu that he can try applying to instead. He’d be able to avoid any further encounters with Katsuki or Itsuka as well. Though, he would have liked to try clearing things up with the latter half.

Hound Dog stops and holds the door open for Izuku once they reach their destination. After some courteous thanks and bows, he’s let into the principal’s office. Izuku walks in with his eyes closed as he takes a deep breath. He prepares himself for the worst. Once he exhales, he reopens his eyes. He expects to find an expulsion letter in front of him. What he finds instead is a police badge.

Izuku stops short. A police detective stands idly by to greet him. Suddenly, he starts to reconsider the reason for why he was brought here. He worries that they may have deduced something about his secret identity. Then again, his Spider-Sense hasn’t triggered or warned him of anything that would make this feel like a trap. He has to do something very difficult after his recent revelation from Uraraka; he has to trust U.A’s intentions.

Across the way, separated by a desk, is the hero school’s principal. It’s not a shock to anyone versed with hero media like Izuku, but it is surreal to see firsthand; the tall tales are true that the head of U.A is not human but indeed some sort of animal with human intelligence. It’s half the height of Izuku and what part of it isn’t covered by a business suit is covered in white fur. Izuku’s eyes stare into beady black eyes, one of which is glossy from an old injury that has scarred over.

“How nice of you to join us, Mister Midoriya!” The critter carries a cheerful chirp to its voice as it gestures with its paws to a set of lounge chairs, “Please! You and Detective Naomasa should sit down.”

Izuku glances over at the detective he has yet to have a formal introduction with, but obliges anyways. Naomasa does the same, but with a slight smile. “I’m sure you have questions as to why I’m here – funnily enough, it’s because I have a few questions for you too”, Naomasa crosses one leg over the other as he gets comfortable.

Izuku swallows his initial retort, thinking better of himself to say anything rash. “Oh? Am I in trouble for something?”, he instead chooses to continue acting oblivious.

“Not necessarily”, the detective keeps his answer vague.

U.A’s principal, on the other hand, chimes in with a different response. “Likely not with Detective Naomasa. As for being late to two and then skipping the remainder of your classes…”, Izuku nervously wriggles in his seat as he prepares to be reprimanded as initially expected, “Well.. That can wait. Or, perhaps, we shall manage to kill two birds with one stone.”

Izuku has his expectations subverted once again. In his confusion, he only gets further confused. Especially when the principal chuckles as though just telling a joke and the detective groans. It makes a little more sense when Naomasa elaborates a little, “I’m here in partial regard to The Vulture case with Hawks.”

“Hawks? What do I have to do with that?”, Izuku avoids making eye contact with either of the two when his reason for thinking this might actually have something to do with Spider-Man becomes a little more justified.

Naomasa uncrosses his legs in order to lean forward a little. “Well, it’s public information that you take pictures for Juko News – most notably, pictures of Spider-Man – and Spider-Man is notoriously known for being apart of the case pertaining to Hawks”, Izuku bites his bottom lip to keep from blurting anything out that he might regret as he listens to what led the detective to him, “While the photojournalist who broke the story behind Hawks denies your involvement… It’s all but confirmed by his checkbook and my quirk that there’s more going on there.”

Izuku stiffens up at the mention of the detective’s quirk; there’s no telling what it is or how it can confirm or deny Tokuda’s telling of events, but there’s a good likelihood that it will work on him too. “I’m not sure what to say”, he tries not to give away too much while still feigning innocence, “It’s a sensitive matter that requires anonymity amongst the staff and I need to honor that even if I am a freelancer.”

Naomasa hums, as though actually taking that line of reasoning into consideration. But when he asks, “Did you sign an NDA?”, it’s clear that he like U.A knows what limits the law bends before breaking apparently.

“..Y-”, Izuku notices the detective’s facial expression subtly shifting, “-yyyyyeess?” He knows while dragging it out that he gave the wrong answer.

Naomasa sighs. He shares a look with the principal who has quietly been observing with its paws clasped together. “Okay, Midoriya” The detective returns his focus to Izuku and delivers spine shivering news to the boy, “I suppose I should tell you that my quirk is a form of lie detection. I know what you told me just now was a lie.”

Izuku has to clench his jaw to keep it from going slack. The last thing he wants to do right now is react to that information more than he probably already has. While he’d ordinarily be super enthused about the detective’s quirk, he knows now is not the best time to geek out either. He has to do his best to continue playing it cool.

“Not to worry though”, Naomasa placates some of the boy’s concerns by saying, “I don’t really care whether or not you signed an NDA or why you lied about it” Though there’s still plenty of concerns left to have as he adds, “That was just a precursor for the fact that you tend to put yourself into dangerous situations in order to get these pictures; all of them relating somehow to Spider-Man.”

Izuku carefully considers his response. He doesn’t know whether or not the detective’s quirk only registers yes or no questions or what other type of technicalities he may be able to scrape by on. So he tries to test his theory on it, even now in the midst of potentially getting caught, unable to avoid doing quirk analysis on some scale; he answers, “I guess I’m just lucky.”

“Once is happenstance, twice is a coincidence, and the rest…” But Naomasa doesn’t need to rely on his quirk to pull the truth out of somebody, not when he’s been working in the line of law enforcement for years. “I’m sure you know that vigilantism is illegal. It’s part of my job to bring Spider-Man into custody. If you happen to know him on a personal level, then I’m going to need you to comply with me on this.”

Izuku shifts in his seat, struggling to decide on whether he should get comfortable or attempt to bolt out of the room. He figures a good course of action is to answer questions with questions when actual answers are only a no-win situation, “What makes you think I would know him like that?”

“For starters, we know Spider-Man is around the same age as you are” Izuku knows he shouldn’t be shocked by that response, especially since Eraserhead likely reports back to whoever, but he’s still shaken somewhat to know the police are gradually narrowing down their search to his age. “Secondly, that’s the most plausible explanation I can come up with as to how you manage to get an inside scoop every single time Spider-Man shows up somewhere.”

“Imagine my surprise when I discovered Spider-Man’s personal photographer attends my school”, the principal makes Izuku jump with a sudden interjection, “I’m just giddy about it!”

“I wouldn’t say I’m his personal photographer or anything…” Izuku tries denying their claims but knows better than to lie about it either. “I’m telling you, I just have a natural knack for being a magnet to villains” That isn’t necessarily a lie. Happening across Electro is a perfect example.

“You’re what Aizawa would call a problem child”, the principal flashes a set of sharp canines when it grins, “It’s a shame that you aren’t in the Hero Course with him as your teacher.”

Hearing that is Izuku’s last straw. “Don’t you know? I’m quirkless”, he can’t help but let some of his annoyance from this confrontational conversation ooze into his tone.

“Of course”, but the principal remains unphased and ever so constantly cheerful.

“That’s the only reason I’d be led to believe your reasoning”, Naomasa reinserts himself into what was originally his interrogation to begin with. No longer content with allowing this to go on as it is, he sums up the situation. “Let me get this straight for you… Because you’re quirkless and can’t be a hero, you thought you’d better use your problem with getting drawn towards villains as a solution by becoming a photographer of them”, he skewers his stare at the boy.

Izuku narrows his eyes too, returning the look, “You said it. Not me.”

Naomasa picks up on the kid’s attitude. Having had enough of it, he gets straight to the point. He asks a question that leaves no room for error, “When you left U.A during your lunch period, you went to sell shots of the spider robots causing chaos downtown, didn’t you?”

“No need to answer what we already know, Young Midoriya” But the principal interjects once again. The critter’s calm mannerisms are intended to dissolve any tension in the room, though it is still an animal and can sometimes unintentionally drudge up the wrong human emotions; Naomasa glares at the creature for interrupting him. “I’m sure we’ll be seeing fine angles of the action in tomorrow’s paper, Detective” But again, the principal is unphased by any signs of anger or resentment.

“I’m sure we will..”, Naomasa grumbles under his breath as he relents to knowing that fact is more than enough to answer the question later. But he’s still not done with Izuku Midoriya just yet. He asks a series of questions to try and get more out of the boy, “And that’s all you got out of it? Pictures at a distance? Nothing more, nothing less?”

“Um..”, Izuku knows that he’s screwed if he answers that question this way but he does it anyways, “Yeah.”

Naomasa stares at Izuku. The two of them know already the answer but the detective asks anyways, “Are you lying to me, Midoriya?”

Izuku has no choice but to say, “..Yes”

The detective’s face softens. Maybe it’s because Izuku finally told the truth. Maybe it’s because Izuku is just a kid. Either way, Naomasa eases up a bit. He asks, “Do you have to?”

Izuku thinks about Uraraka and how even though he didn’t sign anything that she did and how that could affect her. He feels it’s the truth when he responds with, “Yes.”

Naomasa nods, and then stands. “I understand”, he sighs before offering a small smile, “You can’t blame a detective for following a lead, can you?”

Izuku smiles in return. “No hard feelings, sir.”

“Glad to hear it”, Naomasa digs into his coat pocket to produce a business card, “If there’s anything you ever want to share with me more that you might feel more comfortable about sharing later… Well…”

Izuku takes the card, sparing a quick glance at the contact info inscribed on it. “Thanks”, it goes into his pants pocket, “I’ll keep that in mind.”

And with that, Naomasa grabs what must be his fedora from a hanging rack, tips the hat to both Izuku and U.A’s principal, and then exits. Izuku is left alone with the creature that called him there. Its name is scrolled across a toblerone plate, the kanji reading ‘Principal Nezu’.

Nezu claps its paws together. “Well, now that I know what you prioritized over your classes, I suppose that resolves that!”

“It does?”, Izuku must admit to being baffled since he had been fully anticipating some sort of punishment.

“For now”, but Nezu’s ominous reply is punishment enough. “All that I ask in return is that if you do happen to know anything more about the spider robots and what occurred today, that you kindly share that information with me before it makes any headlines” Izuku stares into the abyss that is the creature’s black beady eyes; he doesn’t dare to blink.

“Don’t worry.. There’s nothing you don’t already know yourself that won’t make for a headline”, Izuku clenches his hands into fists at his sides under the principal’s desk where Nezu can’t see.

“Splendid”, Nezu produces a cup of tea from seemingly nowhere to sip on; Izuku pauses to imagine that must be what it’s like for people when he does the same with his notebooks. But his mind quickly returns to U.A’s principal when he hears the creature continue talking, “Next time that you wish to dismiss your classes for other duties though, please try to be more considerate and communicative.”

Izuku nods in response. He can come to a temporary compromise if it means eventually exposing U.A the same way that he did to Hawks and The Commission. Sometimes it takes doing things from the inside and being patient. He doesn’t know if he can trust Eraserhead, but he imagines the underground hero would agree with that sentiment.

Nezu reveals its pointed set of teeth when it grins again while saying, “We wouldn’t want any more misunderstandings…”


I've returned, and with my return also the return of longer chapters! The premise for this one and making Uraraka a cross between Alistair Smythe & Tinkerer to build the Spider Slayers was something I wrestled with since it wasn't as seamless a character meshing as some of the others I came up with, but it made sense in essence through motivation of how she'd become handicapped to a wheelchair and use the Slayers for her parent's business; I also wanted to use Hatsume as a red herring considering she'd be a more logical choice considering her background in mechanics. Otherwise, it was also a big chapter to introduce U.A as an implementation into the story for you all to get an idea of how it'll affect things going forward. I'm interested in the feedback since I can imagine it getting mixed responses but hopefully you're all vibing with it on a more positive note.

Until next time, True Believers!

-Courtesy of your friendly neighborhood author!

Something Spectacular - Just_Low - 僕のヒーローアカデミア | Boku no Hero Academia (2024)
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