In which words turn the world on its hinges and where sometimes, all you need is one person to reach out to you.
Even if it may be the wrong one.
Izuku is never alone, and yet, always alone.
Such a state of contradiction moulds his constitution to be both fragile and strong. Ever since his once best friend, Bakugou Katsuki, gained his Quirk and he remained without one, Izuku is constantly surrounded by people he had called friends at one point for all the wrong reasons. Constant jeers, taunts, and insults are flung into his despairing, desperate face and swirling inside his head, tearing down his determination slowly.
A year into the change in their relationship, tears well up in his eyes, one bruised, blue and purple, and his nose dripping with a slow trickle of bright red blood. Bakugou keeps yelling cruel words and throwing blows accentuated with small explosions from his palms.
“Fucking useless Deku! Maybe you had some shitty hope of being a stupid ass late bloomer, but one whole fucking year is really too fucking long, don't you think?”
“Bakugou, absolutely right! As usual!” One of his lackeys shouts, cheering on the boy with a powerful Quirk on. The accompanying child with the extendable fingers makes a sound of agreement.
“And as if it wasn't enough you’re a weak-ass Quirkless bitch, but you still have the fucking guts to say you're still going to be a hero? What the fuck can you do without a fucking Quirk? Give up your stupid dream of becoming a hero already.” The blonde male picks up Izuku’s fallen notebook that was designated Hero Analysis for the Future No. 13 with a certain amount of disgust and aversion.
“I-I…” Izuku stutters, his gaze meeting anywhere but his former childhood friend's. “I can still try, right?”
“What? Are you fucking kidding me? You want to ‘try?’ That’s a fucking laugh.” Bakugou snarls, another miniature explosion erupting from one of his palms, making the notebook he is holding to burst into flames. Izuku's eyes trail the ashen remains of his precious notes scattering in the breeze, still bright with dying embers.
“N-not my hero n-notes…” Izuku mumbles, salty rivers flowing down his face at the sight. His hands reach out in an attempt to catch the charred paper scraps. Bakugou gives him another condescending look and slams what was left of the notebook that he hadn’t already destroyed on the ground, causing the surrounding papers to flutter.
“Tch, fucking pathetic. What the fuck did you think you were going to use them for anyway? There's no fucking way you'd ever be a hero without a Quirk, you stupid Deku!” Bakugou’s eyes widen as a thought crosses his mind. “I know… why don't you just fucking throw yourself off a shitty roof and pray to some fucking god that you'll be reborn with a Quirk in the next fucking life?”
A wave of shock courses through the green-haired boy’s frame, his eyes enlarging and pupils contracting so small, they are mere specks in his irises. Kill himself… and reborn with a Quirk..?
Izuku trembles, previously clenched fists slackening in despair. The other boy’s malicious taunts echo within him. By the time he finishes processing his former best friend's words, the other boy is long gone, tired of looking at the freckled boy’s despondent face.
Kacchan’s words, although harsh as they were, aren’t wrong. What hope is there to dream of developing a Quirk now? How can he be a hero when everyone keeps telling him he can't without a decent Quirk?
The doctor had said no. His mom too. And Kacchan. Too many people to count had told him no. Tears continue streaming down his cheeks, and he closes his eyes, feeling whatever resolve dissipate.
“Was that your friend?” An unfamiliar voice speaks up from in front of him, startling him out of his train of thought. Izuku belatedly realizes that there is a pair of sneakers in his gaze and that he is kneeling on the ground, arms hanging by his side as useless as he felt emotionally. Glancing up, he sees a man, a teenager really, with a black hoodie covering his ashen hair and severely chapped lips. The older male’s eyes condescendingly stare down at him, but they are somewhat kind and understanding as well.
“A-ah, I g-guess? I mean… w-we used t-to be really c-close, b-but ever since he got h-his Quirk--” Izuku starts muttering.
The one with chapped lips gives a light snort at the long-winded explanation for a yes or no question and interrupts the kid’s speech, “Shitty friend. Where do people get off treating others like that..?”
Izuku doesn't reply. The teenager is about to walk away, but his eyes catch sight of the remains of Izuku's Hero Analysis notes and picks up one of the pages that had mostly been spared the same fate as the rest. He quickly eyes them, grasping them with only four fingers before speaking again, “Hm, you have a pretty good eye for detail.”
The green-haired boy's head snaps up at this statement and his eyes wander around the other’s face, looking for signs of sarcasm or cruelty, but finding none.
His heart burst with hope with the next words.
“I think I can find you useful. What do you say to paving your own path as a 'hero?’”
Shouto is never alone, and yet, always alone.
His “loving” father, the No. 2 Hero, Endeavor, is constantly dragging him in multiple directions. From Quirk training (more like intense rage relieving sessions and beatings, really) to additional academic studies outside of regular school, Shouto is hounded by responsibilities and insane expectations. He can't help but feel like he is slowly losing pieces of himself, crumbling underneath the pressure and stress. His only escape had been the calming presence of his mother, but that no longer is an option after the incident. Absently, his hand traces the rough, dead skin of his scar on his left side of his face.
His father is the reason his mother had acted up that day--she too had felt the overwhelming strain and had lashed out. She is right, his left side is atrocious, especially because Shouto inherited it from his father… no, that man, because that man isn't anything close to being a father to him.
He is the reason why this so-called family is cold and distant and scared. He is the reason his mother was forced into a loveless marriage and forced to give up her livelihood as an independent woman and hero. He is the reason Shouto can't see any bright prospects in his future. And he is the reason that Shouto will never use the fire half of his Quirk.
After a particular gruelling training session, Shouto is given reprieve from that awful man, who had run off to the scene of a villain attack. He can't stand being in this house for any longer than necessary and takes to wandering outside. Shouto isn't looking where he is going; he just wants to get away from all the negative feelings that house pushes on him. He never notices a pair of yellow glowing eyes tracking his movement.
The red and white-haired boy grows angry and he punches a nearby wall, ice coats his fist in an attempt to soften the blow slightly, but his knuckles still come off bloody and red.
“Oh dear, boy. You shouldn't have hit that wall so hard… what did it ever do to you?” An amused tone can be heard from behind him, and Shouto whips around, ready to fight just in case. “I'm sorry for startling you, but please let me at least tend to that hand of yours.”
Shouto warily eyes the man made of black mist and well-tailored clothes, still tense despite the placating words. “Who are you?”
“My name is Kurogiri. I am a doctor who runs a small clinic in the area.” He shows the boy his medical license and business card briefly, to which the boy gradually lowers his guard. The man doesn't seem to want to cause him any harm. “I was just passing by and couldn't help but notice your aggression towards to wall.”
Suddenly feeling a bit sheepish, Shouto rubs the back of his hand distractedly. A smoky arm reaches out, asking to see the boy's injured limb.
“It doesn't seem like you fractured anything, but come with me so I can bandage this up and prevent infections, alright?” The man is compassionate and understands his initial apprehension, slowly coaxing him to trust him.
And so Shouto follows the man to the clinic, feeling oddly comfortable to talk vaguely about his situation at home with the neighbourhood doctor, once they arrive at an examination room.
“I see… Your father seems to have a great deal of expectations for you. I can see why you'd feel distressed. You said he is a Pro Hero?”
“Well, isn't that utterly ironic? A Pro Hero that inflicts grievances upon his own blood. Disgusting.” Shouto can’t see the man’s expression, but he imagines the other’s features are twisted into a nasty sneer. “If you ever need someone to complain to or to tend to your injuries, feel free to stop by anytime, Shouto.”
And Shouto seeks solace every time that man gets too rough or too difficult for him to bear.