Hatsume Industries was an intimidating sight at first glance, a block of a building built like a parking garage. If a parking garage was the size of a full sized mall and designed to serve as a prison instead, complete with tinted windows and an industrial grade bay door marked at the front, set in the corner a smaller door for actual humans to enter and exit without having to activate whatever doomsday button was required to even begin to open said doors.
Though the intimidation factor was only slightly negated by the bright, neon sign spelling out “Hatsume Industries” in hot pink.
It even had that little crackle and flicker neon signs had in the movies.
At the thought Shinsou chuckled, burying his face in his capture weapon. An old habit from Aizawa sensei he hadn’t managed to break and never would it seemed.
Didn’t help with those damn secret love child theories Todoroki liked to come up with.
He quickly stepped up to the door, the human sized one, pressing the button on the intercom to the right of it, a buzzing sounding out before the speaker crackled to life.
“MindJack yes or no?” A feminine voice called through, the secretary perhaps.
The speaker cut off, Shinsou stepping back a few steps as the door hissed and groaned, what sounded like locks undoing within the metal clicking about ten times before it hissed open with a creak, opening up to cool breeze of darkness compared to the high noon sunshine that beat down on the pavement and cooked the back of his neck.
“You may step inside now MindJack.” The voice told him, speaker cutting off once more.
As soon as he stepped through the door closed behind him, leaving him in a massive room that more or less did look like the first floor of a parking garage, the only difference being this floor had two massive bay doors on opposite sides, the edges meeting at a corner with a receptionist’s desk in said corner.
The woman behind the desk looked bored, casually filing her nails as she glanced at him with bone white eyes. Even without pupils he could tell she was looking at him, if the cold shiver that ran down his back was anything to go by.
The sound of explosions and the rumbling of machinery carried through the air from above, likely a few floors up given how muffled it sounded.
“Ms. Hatsume Mei will meet you on floor three, please follow the pink line on the ground to make your way to your appointment.” The woman said, idly clicking a few keys on her keyboard before she reached under her desk.
Just as suddenly the lights turned red and started flashing, alarms blaring in such a way it reminded Shinsou of those sci-fi movies he watched where they used those same sounds to convey the bay doors of a ship opening.
And lo and behold the giant, industrial grade bay door to his right began to open, smoothly opening all the way before the lights returned to normal and the alarms fell silent.
Without any further prompting Shinsou hurriedly walked through, as soon as he gotten over the threshold the lights turned red and the alarms started up again, this time signaling that the door was closing, hitting the ground with a resounding slam that shook his bones.
He took a moment to look around, the corridor he was on veering sharply to the left in a rounded way, forming a ramp up as if the building really was made to be a parking garage, just re-purposed to handle whatever Hatsume Mei created.
And from what Shinsou could remember of the girl back in his days at U.A it would need all the help it could get.
He had to hand it to the architect though, six massive sounding explosions had gone off and there wasn’t so much as a speck of dust dislodged from its place.
Five more explosions went off at least before he made it to what he assumed was the lab door, the hot pink line that had appeared at his feet leading him straight to it, so he could only assume.
That and the giant bay door that housed yet two more explosions was also a pretty big clue.
Seeing the same intercom device from before he pressed the button, another explosion going off before the speaker crackled to life.
“Teonna? I Told you I got it all under control, no need to call the rescue heroes again! It was just the one time and besides! It was only six explosions this time!” A voice spoke out, sounding out of breath yet still as gleeful and manic as he remembered from his limited contact with the former support student.
“This is MindJack and it was seventeen actually.” He corrected her dryly, getting nothing but a manic laugh from the woman as she ushered him inside, speaker cutting off as the lab door opened to Shinsou with a hiss into another massive room.
Just how much square footage was this place?
As seemed to be the pattern, the door closed behind him, finding himself standing in the midst of either a lab or an indoor scrapyard, either of those seemed applicable.
Though guessing by the head of pink hair that was bounding along through the piles of metal and scattered blueprints, he’d have to attest to it being a lab.
“Shinsou-kun! Welcome to my lair! About damn time you showed up!” The woman said, the manic look in her eyes and smile giving him cold shivers down his spine.
He was second guessing this already, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
Or maybe he shouldn’t have trusted Uraraka when she suggested he take his support gear up to Hatsume for an upgrade.
But, thinking about it now, it’d be nice to be able to get through a patrol without his modulator breaking or misreading frequencies.
It was a pain in the ass and nearly got him killed that one time. And it wasn’t like he could afford to switch support companies, not many specialized in underground hero gear and didn’t find it worth their time to put so much into gear that wouldn’t get any publicity for their company.
So he was basically left with shit.
It was only a chance encounter with Uraraka on one of his patrols that he had even been recommended this company specifically, the gravity girl helping with a late night rescue that had taken hours after her normal shift ended. Shinsou had happened to be in the area and was called on the scene to help with the civilians, using his quirk for those either in the midst of a panic attack or in the process of having one, mostly kids.
It’d been an hour later when everything was said and done, Uraraka and him just having a small conversation, nothing more than small talk when he’d complained about his equipment and then Uraraka had chimed in about Hatsume Industries and how Hatsume and her assistant had helped her with her own support gear and costume as well. They’d even worked on a few others costumes like Yaomomo and Hagakure’s.
Which, now that he thought about it, would explain how Yaomomo had gotten her suit upgraded to a fullbody suit, completely compatible with her quirk so she wouldn’t need to actually take anything off.
Would explain the bob cut she sported too if they needed enough of her DNA to pull it off.
The tabloids had loved the fact that she had matched with her now wife Jirou, for months after the fact.
And Hagakure actually had a suit that went invisible in response to her quirk he remembered. And the costume itself actually allowed civilians and her teammates to see her now while she was on the field so there wasn’t any friendly fire.
The first two trips to the hospital because of it were nerve wracking to say the least.
And due to Uraraka’s insistence, he was now here.
At Hatsume Industries standing before the boss lady herself as she spoke.
“So what brings you here?” She asked, hands poised on her hips as she looked at him, still grimy and covered in soot and oil but attentive all the same.
“Didn’t you read the form?” Shinsou asked, eyebrows furrowed in a puzzled manner.
Hatsume waved him off, “Nah, I only read that stuff when Izukkun’s not here because Koromi will throw it at my face if I don’t and have you ever had papercuts on your face? Multiple? Hurts.” She spoke, voice full of a wisdom built off personal experiences.
“But Izukkun’s here so he should know and since this is your first time coming here to get one of my personalized babies for your line of work, I don’t have a profile or any basis of knowledge to go off on, so you’d have to see Izukkun first anyways before you get to me!” She explained, prompting him to follow her through the death trap called a lab.
Shinsou focused his eyes on the ground, only stepping where she was stepping, as she seemed to have a methodical pattern to her steps. Better safe than sorry.
Especially where Hatsume Mei was concerned.
“Now, Izukkun should be around here somewhere, this is usually about the time he leaks into my labs.” She spoke, more to herself than anything.
Shinsou’s brows furrowed more, “Leaks?”
She waved a leather gloved hand through the air, “Oh yeah, he has this thing sometimes where he can’t work in silence? It’s too distracting or something? So he’ll come in here for the noise. And since he’s the only one that can actually not get brained by whatever I end up throwing, or whatever shoots out when something explodes, he's actually allowed to be in here without signing a waiver! It’s a natural born talent I tell ya!” Hatsume explained, a bit of pride in her voice for her friend he assumed.
Though the waiver portion of the explanation was a bit concerning.
“You signed it on the form when you filled it out! Real fine print, small enough you can barely notice it but just the right size to be legal!”
Shinsou personally thought no one should have that amount of pride in having people unknowingly sign their death warrants.
“IZUKKUN! ARE YOU IN HERE!” Hatsume yelled, Shinsou wincing at the volume.
This woman was a headache waiting to happen.
She was multiple headaches.
Which was ridiculous, he could handle Present Mic but apparently his body drew the absolute line at Hatsume Mei.
A mood if he ever saw one.
“Meichan, no need to be so loud, I’m over here.” A voice piped up, at least two piles of scrap away, near some computer screens just large enough he could see the blue glow of the screens from where he and Hatsume stood.
“IZUKKUN!” Mei bounded over to the voice, forcing Shinsou to keep up the pace lest he fall victim to a misstep that could end his life.
They came upon a cleared out space, a miracle within the lab it seemed, a perfect semi circle cleared around the wall of computer screens that flickered with information and various videos and news articles, some current and others dated as far back as ten years ago at least.
What a support assistant would need with that kind of information Shinsou wasn’t sure, but he pushed the thought into the back of his mind as he laid eyes on the infamous “Izukkun” that Hatsume spoke of so fondly.
The other male was hunched over a few papers, a tablet under one hand while the other held a pen to scribble down notes. He looked around Shinsou’s age, maybe younger, the male’s build in contrast with his baby fat face didn’t allow him to get a sure read on that part. His hair was a mess of dark curls, wild and free with a hint of green in the light.
He was dressed comfortably, not so different from Shinsou’s own outfit if only by color and the fact that the other male had various heroes printed on his plus a large, oversized All-Might hoodie that he swears he saw on a commercial once. One of those limited edition kinds that they only made one hundred of.
But Shinsou could be mistaken.
“Mei there wasn’t any need to yell. And did you remember to turn off your blow torch before you answered the door?” He asked her, his voice holding every bit of exasperated fondness in his tone despite not having looked up even once as the woman let loose a curse and hurried like a bat out of hell to presumably turn off her still flaming blow torch.
"Sorry about that, she's a bit of a handful. And about the fine print also, but if we didn't write up the forms that way then we wouldn't have seen Endeavor get brained that one-" His rambling was cut short as he finally looked up from what Shinsou assumed were his notes. "-time." He finished.
"You okay?" Shinsou asked, getting slightly concerned with the lulled pause in conversation.
"Um...yeah?" Shinsou's brows furrowed in confusion, it seemed this would be a recurring theme throughout this whole visit.
"You're actually MindJack."
"Yeah...didn't you read the form?" Shinsou asked, getting slightly uncomfortable with the wide eyed look the other was giving him. Coupled by the fact that if the guy didn't know he was arriving today how did he know who Shinsou was?
He wasn't exactly putting himself out there being underground and all.
"The form..." His voice trailed off as he seemed to come to a realization, wide eyes getting impossibly wider as he frantically shuffled through the papers on his desk, jostling them around so much a few glided down off the table in his rush, mumbling under his breath as he searched.
"Where did she put it? MEICHAN WHERE DID YOU PUT THE FORM FOR MINDJACK?" He yelled, at least courteous enough not to yell in Shinsou's direction. It was still headache inducing of course but he appreciated the well intentioned thought at least.
"WHERE I USUALLY PUT IT IZUKKUN!" Mei yelled back, a small explosion sounding out right after.
A step up from the larger explosions that rocked the luckily sound building.
The green haired male pushed himself back with his feet, rolling himself in his chair towards an over stuffed cabinet, filled to the brim with papers and manilla folders also filled to burst with papers and files as well.
He was still mumbling under his breath as he searched through the monstrosity of a filing cabinet, leaving Shinsou to look around the space and take in more details.
Like how even though Hatsume had mentioned that this "Izukkun" would come to her lab for the noise he seemed to have his own space carved out in the lab that Hatsume seemed careful enough about to not set even one piece of scrap in, the whole space looking settled in and heavily used by said man. Notebooks were piled high both on and around the desk, a few open with pens scattered across the pages, sticky notes highlighting what he assumed to be important scribbled notes on the colorful pieces of paper, and of course the various screens and a couple tablets that showcased more notes, information, and several articles.
He was pulled out of his observations by an exclamation of triumph from the green haired support assistant, the man holding up a familiar form, smile blinding.
He almost had to squint against such a sight.
Green hair looked through the multiple pages of forms, just as green eyes getting brighter with each pass he made over the pages, buzzing with what looked like giddy excitement.
"Looks like it's your first time here..." He trailed off, looking expectantly at Shinsou as if he was supposed to answer some unanswered question, to which he blinked slowly at, realization dawning.
"Midoriya Izuku, nice to meet you! I'm a big fan!" The grin grew ever brighter as Midoriya spoke, eyes lighting up as has looked over the form.
Meanwhile, internally, Shinsou was reeling over the fact that he had a fan.
Someone actually knew who he was?
And they were a fan of him?
He didn't get into his line of work to be recognized, was apart of the job description that it was better if he didn't. But there was a certain feeling of something warm that someone knew him and actually liked him.
In hindsight that was kind of sad.
It wasn't like he didn't have people that he could call friends now, that invited him on get togethers because they wanted to see him, being courteous of his flippant schedule, and that actually spoke to him without the clipped answers and restraint most had when they found out his quirk.
Point was this wasn't his childhood, it was comparatively different. A good different.
But being met with someone who didn't know him personally, who was a fan of him?
It was a good feeling.
"So Shinsou-kun, what are you here for?" Midoriya asked, still looking as if he'd buzz under his skin, but less so as he continued to look through his file.
From his neck Shinsou retrieved the reason for this whole appointment, placing his beaten up looking voice modulator down on the desk with about as much care as someone dropping a cat from their arms would.(Which was not careful at all.)
Midoriya looked at the lump of beaten up metal, a few bits holding poorly to the main piece and pretty much turning to dust on his desk.
"And...what was this in it's previous life?" Midoriya asked, setting aside the papers to poke at it carefully, cautious of it considering it looked one breeze away from breaking down completely.
"Voice modulator, helps with my quirk."
"Which is?" Midoriya inquired, eyes sparkling with interest.
Shinsou hesitated, still on the fence about revealing his quirk to people even now. "It's brainwashing, someone responds to me I can take control of them." He bit out, subtly tucking his face into his capture weapon.
"That's so cool!" Midoroya spoke softly, awe apparent in his voice and on his face as he shot question after question at Shinsou right after. Said man staring wide-eyed at the enthusiasm Midoriya showed for his quirk, shooting off potential theories and inquiries as he scribbled in a notebook he procured from atop his desk with a speed his eyes could hardly follow.
Shinsou answered as best he could with how fast Midoriya was mumbling and throwing questions at light speed, not used to having someone talk so much and so fast to him.
Then the questions came to a pause, Midoriya focusing his attention all on the notebook as if Shinsou wasn't even there.
"He's going to be there for awhile."
Shinsou, used to his Pop's antics, didn't even flinch when Hatsume popped up next to him.
"You turn off the blow torch?" Shinsou inquired, rather curious about her little sidequest.
"I actually did remember to turn it off when I had to leave it!" She answered him, sounding every bit proud of that accomplishment, "It was the soldering iron that was on!"
Shinsou blinked slowly at her, internally wondering how she survived as a human her whole time on this earth.
The pink haired support mechanic never once gave him a glance as she looked over at her companion, the man still mumbling up a storm and now turning the remains of his voice modulator over in his hands, various tabs opened on the screens and tablets scrolling through information he only seemed to glance at for a second before moving on to the next one, his hand writing away in a notebook off to the side.
"Is this...his usual behavior?" Shinsou asked, leaning back against the wall of metal, the hold sturdy and tall behind his back. Hopefully nothing would fall and bludgeon him. But the fact that he'd seen Hatsume run overtop of the piles without so much as a paperclip dislodging was promising.
At least she made a secure mess.
She hummed, prompting him away from the scene with a wave of a gloved hand to follow her carefully through the organized chaos, "Yeah, kinda? I mean, he's doing a bit more than normal considering your one of his favorite heroes and all."
"I'm...what?" Shinsou startled, face open and littered with surprise. Someone knowing about him was one thing, being one of their favorite heroes?
He didn't know quite how to process that bit of information.
"Easily top three! Now I'm going to need you to come back in a few days, but then Izukkun might have about ten pages worth of possible support gear upgrades including those that apply to your costume, so you come back in a few days, we discuss what you want or don't want and what you absolutely need and then we build said support gear and costume if applicable." Hatsume said, her spiel sounding rehearsed as if she'd done this many, many times before.
"Oh! Before I forget!" She dug around in her front, overalls pocket, procuring a significantly smaller notebook than the regular size, opening to a page before handing it over to him.
"If you wouldn't mind signing this? Izukkun wouldn't be able to forgive himself if he didn't get your autograph." She explained, smile wide and warm. A stark difference from the manic grin and dangerous light in her eyes just minutes prior.
Shinsou signed the small book, though he wasn't sure quite what Midoriya would want in regards to an autograph, so he signed both his name and his hero name on the page; something Hatsume's grin grew wider at but she made no other comment towards it as she snapped the book shut.
"Excellent! Thank you kindly Shinsou-kun! I look forward to working with you in the future!"
The door to the lab shut with a slam, nearly taking his foot with it if it wasn't for his honed reflexes.
He decided right then that Hatsume Mei was a hazard to his health.
He started to follow the pink line from the lab door down back to the ground floor, taking his time and thinking over the events that had just transpired.
Especially concerning one Midoriya Izuku.
The person that Hatsume said considered him a favorite and was a fan.
That...that was alot for someone like him to take in.
As he left the building he gave Teonna a wave goodbye, a glance up and a simple nod her only acknowledgement towards him.
Outside was a bit cooler, the sun a little ways down more than when he'd last seen it. Looking at the time he'd unknowingly been inside for awhile it seemed, lunch having come and gone.
His stomach let out a growl, reminding him of that fact.
Cat cafe it was then.