“If you really want a quirk so bad, then why don’t you dive off the fucking roof and look for one in your next life!”
That hadn’t been funny, Izuku thought a few minutes before. Had it been anyone else...had he not been who he was as a person, Kacchan could’ve been an instigator for someone’s suicide. That surely would’ve ruined his chances at being a hero. So he’d pushed aside the cruel and heartless jab at his uselessness and pressed on like he always did.
It wasn’t like he would have to face Kacchan’s treatment for too much longer. He just had one more year together with him in middle school. Then Kacchan would go to U.A. and he’d go...somewhere. Izuku liked to think of himself as a realistic person to some extent. As much as he would love to go to U.A. as a hero, he had already realized that probably wouldn't be something he’d be capable of.
Kacchan, on the other hand, would be in his preferred school in no time. All he had to do was pass the tests. Maybe once he was there, he would mellow out a bit, realize how insignificant his rivalry with him was. That even if Kacchan hadn’t decided that his single, most important opponent in life was a quirkless, freckled loser who muttered too much for his own good and stalked after heroes like he'd die without them, he already had a magnificent quirk.
Still, with the way things were going now, Izuku would’ve wondered if Katsuki had some sort of precognitive addition to his quirk.
He would’ve wondered, except he was too busy trying to breathe.
Green sludge forced its way down his throat, blocking his airways as it settled in his lungs and stomach like liquid cement. No matter how much he clawed and bit at the man trying to force his way into his body, to force out the one trying to wear him like a convenient meat suit, he wasn’t strong enough to fend them off. Instead, his efforts seemed to just tire him out faster, the corners of his eyesight already tinged black at the edges.
He was hit with the realization that he was swiftly being ushered into the afterlife, but by that time, he was already starting to lose feeling in his limbs. He couldn’t quite hear what the sludge villain was saying to him as he forced him to drown, but it didn’t matter when he was losing the ability to kick his legs. The tips of his fingers tingled with the loss of sensation and it quickly extended to his whole arm.
It felt like his lungs were squeezing him from the inside, refusing to let any more air in, killing him.
A villain had him in its grasp, constricting him like a boa with his quirk--such a powerful and ridiculous quirk-- and he had nothing to face off against it, he was so weak and he could not breathe and oh God, he was dying, he didn’t want to die, he’d ignored Kacchan before, so why was it happening to him now, there was no hero, no one was coming to save him and he was dying and he wanted to live dammit, he wanted to live--
...Hm. It looks like he wants to keep living, so it only makes sense that someone gives him the chance.
Izuku’s vision had almost completely blacked out when he saw something flash inside of the villain’s body. For a moment, a thought flashed through his mind that it was the pearly gates opening right on up for him, but it looked too small, like a little circle that glowed a magnificent yellow, a beacon in the sea of green. It was a sight he couldn’t forget even after his eyes closed.
Despite the cold suffocation that had settled into his stilling body, he reached into the the muck, trying to vaguely touch where he had seen the glow just moments before. His arm was weak with the slowing of his blood, but still, he pressed on, trying to exceed the limits of his own body to reach the only hope he had a chance for.
By pure force of will, his chilled fingers managed to stiltedly curl around the glow, and, from his touch, it accepted his strength as his will and testament.
The sludge villain frowned in confusion at the building feeling in his guts where he was sure his suffocated victim floated. He watched with wide eyes as the glow that was in the boy’s right hand extended beyond it, encasing his entire body in a flow of gold. Before he could completely grasp what was happening, that flow expanded inside of him, pushing all different ways as it splattered his body onto the walls of the tunnel, not dead but also no longer conscious.
The golden light completely encasing the boy finally began to settle into a shroud that covered his whole body, altering his clothing to suit the purpose, before finally setting him down once he coughed out the last of the human’s gunk.
There, the boy lay, and there he was found, when a man with a different kind of golden aura arrived.
To All Might, Musutafu was a new and interesting place. It wasn’t as though he’d never spent time in Japan in his life, that certainly wasn’t it. As it was, he was mix-blooded--Japanese and American. But despite how small Japan was in comparison to the United States, Japan managed to encompass a lot of different traditions and ideas in its various prefectures and cities. Walking into a different area sometimes felt like walking into a similar yet different place each time he did it. So, he was very eager for his first time through Musutafu.
He became even more eager when he witnessed the retreat of the sludge villain, body filled with stolen dollar bills.
Quite frankly, the villain’s quirk was amazing from what he could see. A body seemingly made completely of a viscous liquid--it certainly made thievery easy in some accounts. Still, doing crime was doing crime, and it had to be stopped if he could help it. He still had another 30 odd minutes in him, so he figured he’d cuff--or bottle, in this case--the villain and take him in.
The villain had been a strangely tough one to pursue, especially after he’d dipped down into the sewers. He’d followed without hesitation, of course, but then the villain distracted him with the sounds and emissions of the underground tunnels, losing him temporarily. That, well, hadn’t been good. It was obvious the villain was good with sewers. Still, he wasn’t good enough to escape his grasp. Though, if he were to be honest, he was even more easily found from the bright light that flashed through the manhole he was in.
Upon his arrival, All Might found the villain splattered across the walls, dollar bills of different kinds floating or plopping to the ground. As gruesome as it looked, he saw one of the villain’s eyes, a cartoonish X mark where his pupils would be. The man wasn’t dead, which was good. What he ended up more concerned about was the other human in the tunnel.
All Might wasn’t quite sure how to categorize the quirk of the girl he was looking upon. Was it a glowing power? He’d seen it flashed, so perhaps it had something to do with light energy? Either way, she’d built up enough energy to escape the villain's’ grasp, but perhaps not soon enough. Her body was still glowing lightly, sparks of golden glitter almost seeming to flow off of her, so he was at least certain she was alive...unless her quirk was on its last legs, as it had happened certain other times he’d prefer to not think about.
The chill of a potential death ran through his body, and he used that motivation to gather the villain into two bottles easily. He then rushed over to the girl, gingerly picking up her body. She was light as a feather, it seemed, wearing a cotton softer than anything he’d felt before. She’d probably made it herself, heading to a cosplay cafe or something. Poor girl. Still, faintly, he could feel her heart beating when he felt along her left wrist, the right one covered with what looked to be an important watch.
Knowing now that she still had a chance, he rushed her to the open air, away from the tunnel, before setting her down spread eagle. As lightly as he could, he did CPR on her to ensure she no longer had any of the villain stuck in her lungs. When she didn’t cough, he bent low, listening from her chest to her lungs. He noticed then that he couldn’t hear any obstruction. Perhaps her quirk blew it out of her system somehow...what a convenient quirk! It just meant she’d gone unconscious from the stress of the situation. Seriously, to defeat a villain like that by herself…
She shouldn’t have had to do that if he’d been on top of his game.
He shook his head then, deciding to not go down that road. After all, there was little better a way to greet a young girl than with a smile! With that in mind, he moved to hurriedly pat her cheek, hoping that would wake her. He paused, though, when he distinctly remembered something being on the ground in the tunnel. He turned quickly to find what it was, and surely enough, his memory hadn’t betrayed him.
There was a burnt, soggy notebook on the ground, very eloquently titled “Hero Analysis for the Future: No. 13”, the number underlined twice. Flipping back to the page it had landed on, he found an elaborate, if a tad misguided, design for a surprisingly masculine hero costume. It had no indication of how any quirk would work with the design, but it did have basic protective additions. It was an endearing design.
Was she looking to be a hero? Well then! He’d greet her with a smile and a signature for her troubles! He flipped through the book quickly, trying to not invade her private journal as much as possible, before he found the first set of blank pages. Digging into an empty pocket, he took out his marker and quickly wrote his autograph. It was the least he could do for her, anyway.
He closed the book setting it down on the ground outside of the tunnel and went back over to her still unconscious body.
Hmm...well, if she was looking to be a hero, with a quirk like hers, he was certain she’d be a rising star. He’d have to look for her when the applications for U.A. started rolling in. Sighing deeply, he put on his best smile before he started patting her cheek as he’d planned to beforehand.
“Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! He--Oh!”
She eventually blinked awake, groaning low in her throat as he sight cleared. He backed up a little, almost blinking with shock from the look of her eyes--where he’d been expecting some color of iris surrounding a pupil, he was met with a bright yellow four-pointed star instead. Must be another part of her quirk. He waited a moment while the stars settled on his form before raising his hand.
“Good!” he said, earnest relief spilling into his tone.
The shock on her face was priceless, if he were honest, even if he’d somewhat expected it from the title of her notebook. After the initial shock wore off, she backpedaled away from him, screaming, though the stars in her eyes became brighter, sparkling.
He really didn’t deserve that kind of look from her. Rather than letting that be known, he stood up to his full height, one hand on his hip.
“I’m glad you’re okay!” he announced, giving her as much of a show as he could. “Sorry ‘bout getting you involved with my villain fighting. I don’t usually make mistakes like this, but I was in high spirits on my day off in a new place!” He laughed loudly then, pushing down the sick regret in his stomach.
If anything, the laugh made her glow brighter, her cheeks flushed in what he could only assume from her previous responses to him as undeserved adoration. Knowing this, he had to tell her more.
“But, you were a big help. A huge one, in fact! Thanks!” he reported joyously, holding up the bottled, still unconscious villain, “I have captured him safely before he could do harm to anyone else!”
“Th-the-the number one hero...A-All Might…!” she muttered to herself out loud, trembling as the grin spread on her ruddy, sweaty cheeks. Maybe he’d underestimated how much of a fan she was. Could she be a hero otaku? “H-He’s the real thing! ...H-He looks completely different in person!!” Ah, definitely an otaku.
He watched with a glowing smile as she searched for something for him to sign, glad that he had predicted her desires accurately before she woke up. The rabbit ears on the big, round clip in her hair bobbed as she searched blindly for something--anything--for him to autograph, before her eyes set on her notebook. Apparently she instinctively knew which page she hadn’t marked yet, because she turned to it a lot swifter than he’d expected. She muttered out another pleased scream when she saw his signature before clutching the notebook to her side, bowing so quickly over and over again that her body was a bit of a blur.
“AHHH!!! Th-thank you very much!!” she said, finally loud enough for him to know he was meant to hear it this time, her head a blur of green and yellow as she bobbed, “It’ll be an heirloom! A family treasure!!”
Wow, he’d only seen this level of otaku in boys. Sure a few girls had gotten quite a bit close, but...she was probably next level or something. Well, there was a first time for everything. He really didn’t have the heart to feel icky about her method of appreciation, so he stuck his thumb up in approval.
“Okay! Well, I need to take this guy to the police,” he said, turning away from her before looking back, a hand raised, “See you soon at U.A.! With a quirk like yours, I’m sure you’ll do splendidly!” He turned back, tuning out the confused noises behind him as he stretched until he recognized one of them as ‘Wait--already?’ “Pros are constantly fighting enemies and time. You’ll know that soon enough,” he explained quickly.
As it was, he only had enough time to make it to the police if he got there in one jump. So, without too much further adieu, he leapt into the air, hoping he could bend time just enough to make it there, not knowing the confusion he left his fan in.
Meeting All Might was a complete and utter dream! No, even better than that! He was so much more amazing to see in person! It was just...such a shame that their time together was so short. He’d been eager--no--desperate to ask All Might if he could be a hero. To see if his all-time favorite hero could tell him those words he’d wanted to hear for so long, to push past the doctor, Kacchan, even his own mother! To see if he could get the motivation from the person it mattered most from!
But...All Might had been confusing. Rather, the man had been confused.
While All Might didn’t know about it, Izuku was more than aware that he didn’t have a quirk. Several doctors visits, his crying mother, and ten years of vicious bullying had made sure he was aware of that.
“...Why on earth would All Might think I’d have a quirk?”
Maybe it was because of some way he looked. His legs did feel a little breezier than usual.
“W-well, now that you mention it…” he muttered, looking down at himself.
He froze immediately.
Instead of looking down at his bland, black uniform, he was staring at the pink of a silky yet cotton dress. Its collar fluttered around his neck in a very short Elizabethan collar, the top rim waved like flower petals instead of a solid line, which reached down to the rest of the dress, the cuff sleeves ending at the elbow rather than the wrist. The chest of the dress was white with three yellow buttons lined down each side of his chest until it met with the white wrap of the puffed, frilly, white waist apron, which only partially covered the pink of the skirt of the dress.
The dress’ skirt was the circle kind, which folded and ruffled easily, the underside of the skirt lined with lace. The breeze he’d felt was from the distinct lack of pants, his thigh-high, frilly-topped socks keeping his legs warmer than the space between the socks and the short leg of his boxers. He wore kneepads over his socks at a darker shade of pink than his dress, and his shoes, rather than the usual red, were two shades of pink, the front of the shoe a lighter pink than the main part. On his hands were fingerless, short, frilly white gloves, and around his whole body was a yellow aura he was very much not used to seeing.
Rather, he wasn’t used to seeing any of what he was seeing. It kind of short-circuited his brain.
Well, not enough to not scream.
He did several things at once. One, he pressed himself against the closet wall he could find. Two, he reached down, pulling his skirt down and stretching the fabric--HEY kid! I worked hard on that dress, don’t you ruin it yet!
The boy jolted, a fresh bout of confused tears trailing from his eyes, “Eh?! What?! EH?!”
I said stop stretching the dress! Do you know how long it took me to make that? No! You don’t. So don’t immediately go on and start stretching out my hard work, okay? Geez.
Midoriya Izuku cried even harder, looking around to see if he could find who was speaking to him. “Wh-what? I--what?? What is-I’m-I don’t-I just--”
Haha, holy crap kid, calm down a bit. I mean, I can’t blame you for freaking out, but seriously. Take a deep breath.
Izuku followed the strange voice’s advice--well, no, he didn’t. He actually looked to be staring into open space, getting more and more confused about what’s going on, so maybe I should...ah...right...didn’t press ‘off’...ahem. Right. Okay. You listening?
Izuku nodded tearfully, trying not to hyperventilate.
Alright, I mean, it makes sense that you’d only get more confused. I thought I had my mic turned off, but, eh, occasionally I forget to press the ‘off’ button on that. Anyway. You hear me?
He nodded again, faster this time.
Good, cause you’re going to need to hear me quite a bit from here on out. I mean, if you want to stay alive and all.
“S...stay alive?” he asked, the cool numbness of a lack of understanding and a death experience recalibrating his common sense.
Yeah, stay alive. You know. That thing you’re doing right now. With the breathing a toxic oxidizer and all. Why the Big Guy even has you all doing that is beyond me.
Well, I mean, he’s genderless, but hey, he accepts he/him, she/her, they/them, all the pronouns. But you know, it’s all for the sake of convenience.
“Wh...wait a minute...I just...I’m...what is going on?!” he screamed, his face flushing a rather magnificent shade of red, “W-why am I wearing this? What’s happening?! Where are you?! Wha--”
Eyyy, chill with the questions for a second. I’ll answer all of those, but only in the order I want to, okay? Okay, I said, not waiting for him to reply. First thing’s first. ‘Where am I’. Okay. Check your right wrist, kid.
He had to muster the strength to do it, apparently frightened out of his mind. His eyes were closed when he moved his wrist forward, you know, like a dingus, then he slowly peeked them open.
The first thing he noticed was his reflection on the watch there, iris and pupils turned into a yellow four-pointed star in each eye, a big, faceless, white rabbit head clip in his hair on the left side, baby yellow ears sticking out of it, his hair a brighter green than before with an outline of yellow. His entire visage was actually glowing a bit, which was harder to tell in the daytime sun, but easy enough to see.
Once he finally looked past his own face, he saw the face of the clock on his wrist. The minute hand was pointed in the 12 position, the hour hand pointed in the 4 position. But rather than having any numbers on the face of the clock, there was only a black dot in the middle...which twitched in the same direction as Izuku’s eyes to keep eye contact.
Midoriya Izuku pressed himself harder against the wall, terror seeping out of his voice. “Wh...what?” he mustered.
I blinked at him.
You looked into the abyss, kid. Now I’m looking back into you.