It had started fine. Their class was on a field trip in Musutafu to check out various hero agencies, all separated into four groups of five watched over by a teacher. Izuku’s group was made of Yaoyorozu, Todoroki, Uraraka, and Kirishima. They were led by Aizawa and had stopped for lunch when it happened.
“ Deku ?” Izuku flinched at the voice. It’s odd to hear the nickname nowadays coming from anyone other than Kacchan or Uraraka, and this was not Uraraka’s bubbly and soft voice speaking right now, nor was it Kacchan’s angry growl. This was a voice Izuku hadn’t heard in awhile. A voice associated with pain and torment and—
“Holy shit, Deku that is you!” Izuku turned a shaky smile towards Tsubasa as the boy approached Izuku’s group. Uraraka shot Tsubasa an odd glance at the use of Izuku’s nickname, and suddenly Tsubasa was right there , in all his winged glory and mildly malicious grin.
“H-hi there Tsu-Tsubasa…” Izuku said, trying to calm down as Tsubasa glanced at his classmates.
“Hey Deku, why aren’t you at Korasunto High? Did your mom send you somewhere cheaper? Is that what’s going on right now?” Tsubasa gestured vaguely towards Aizawa-sensei, and Izuku wanted so badly to just have a hole open underneath him and consume him.
“I, uh, I actually go to UA now… wi-with Kacchan…” Tsubasa laughed at that, and Izuku’s smile was gone, and he instinctively shrunk into himself.
“Wow, you actually thought I’d believe that? Come on Deku, everyone knows that only Katsuki got in! And you’re still calling him Kacchan ? God, what are you, five—” Izuku thought to himself a dark thought in that moment, as Kirishima stood and moved forward, which was simply that the noise made from Kirishima’s hardened fist punching Tsubasa’s nose was oddly satisfying.
Tsubasa recoiled, wings flapping awkwardly to try and regain his balance, only to make him topple over anyways. He looked up at Kirishima with a rage that was quickly doused by the fact that Aizawa had stood and was now staring menacingly down at Tsubasa.
“As a teacher at UA, I can vouch that Midoriya does in fact go there,” Aizawa said, and Tsubasa scrambled back a bit, eyes wide with disbelief, “now please leave my students alone—we are on a school-sanctioned trip that should not be interrupted right now.” Tsubasa nodded dumbly and scampered away, and all of Izuku’s previous anxieties rolled out of him like a wave.
“Midoriya,” Izuku turned to face Yaoyorozu as she placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder, “Are you alright?” Izuku thought for a moment. Was he alright? Izuku glanced over at Kirishima who was glaring at the last place Tsubasa had been, and then to Todoroki, who looked like he was ready to set something—or someone —on fire, and then over to Uraraka who, like Yaoyorozu, was looking at Izuku concernedly, and finally to Aizawa, who despite looking tired and generally disgruntled, still held an air of protectiveness.
“Yeah,” Izuku said, smiling at Yaoyorozu, “I’m good.”
The second time something happened, Izuku was not surrounded by friends and teachers, and not in a public place where most people at least try to contain a sense of dignity. He had made a stop at a local convenience store to pick up a snack with what little pocket change he had, and had continued his walk home, when out of the corner of his eye, Izuku spotted elongated fingers reaching out to him.
“ Hey , if it isn’t Deku !” Izuku felt a panic rise in him as Oshiro’s long fingers spun around the shorter boy, forcing him to face his old classmate. Izuku gave a weak wave.
“H-hi there Oshiro. Ho-how have, uh, have you been?” Izuku asked, stumbling over his words, and cursing himself for it. Oshiro looked Izuku up and down and Izuku felt the growing urge to vomit.
“I’m good, but,” Oshiro’s eyes came back up and returned eye contact with Izuku, “what I wanna know is how the fuck you convinced UA to let a quirkless kid into the hero course?” Izuku felt his knees go weak as he stuttered out a response.
“We-well, it, uh, it turns out that-that I did , actually, have a, uh… a quirk, it just… took a long time to, uh, t-to come in. Yeah.” Izuku felt Oshiro’s piercing gaze stab into him and wished he was anywhere but here.
Finally Oshiro simply shrugged, fingers letting go of Izuku and retracting back to a more average length.
“Whatever floats your boat.” And then Oshiro walked past Izuku, forcefully bumping the boy as he walked by, and dislodging Izuku from his state of paralysis. Izuku glanced at Oshiro, and gently touched where the other boy’s fingers had dug into Izuku’s shoulders.
Izuku shuddered as he was met with a soft ache. That was probably going to bruise. Izuku went home that day, and couldn’t bring himself to eat dinner.
No one had been there to protect Izuku that time, and chances are no one would be there to protect him if it happened again. Izuku’s fingers brushed idly against old scars now that he was home again.
Not the broad burn scars from where Kacchan used to use his quirk on him, nor the newer scars that came with One for All. These scars were simpler—thin and precise, made in the cold of what was arguably one of the lowest points in Izuku’s life.
Caused by the same boy he had crossed paths with today, and many others. Izuku refused to call them what they were—self-inflicted
Izuku had been walking home with Iida and Todoroki, not long after the incident with Stain, when another ghost of Izuku’s stepped across their path. Hiretsuna had a quirk which made her light on her feet—leaving no noise when she stepped—so Izuku didn’t notice until someone grabbed his shoulder, wrenched him towards them and pressed a kiss to him.
Once he was free, Izuku backpedaled, bumping into Todoroki who looked about as affronted as Izuku probably did, but that look faded fast, morphing into abject horror. Standing before Izuku was a nice looking girl with dark hair and bright blue eyes.
“Hi there Deku!” Iida gave the girl a look and Izuku wanted to shout at her don’t call me that . “I saw you at the sports festival, and for someone who was quirkless for fifteen years, you really slip into the role of a hero well!” Izuku gave Hiretsuna a weak smile.
Hiretsuna moved forward, hands placed gently on Izuku’s chest as she leered up at him. “ So , I was wondering if you’d maybe like to go out sometime?” Maybe once, when Izuku had just begun Middle School he would’ve jumped at the opportunity, but now? Izuku felt no warmth or love for Hiretsuna, only a cold pit of despair and regret.
“I-I, uh, uhm,” Izuku didn’t know what to say—afraid of saying no, absolutely despising the concept of saying yes, when Hiretsuna decided his answer for him.
“Great! It’s a date!” Hiretsuna leaned in again, and Izuku wondered if Hiretsuna would leave him alone if he did what his stomach wanted to do and upchuck all over her shoes, when someone gave Hiretsuna a shove. The girl looked affronted, and then went red at the sight of Todoroki staring her down.
“My friend doesn’t want to go out with you. Go away.” Hiretsuna looked a little put off, but then fully turned her attention to Todoroki.
“If you want to go in his place, I wouldn’t mind —” “Excuse me miss!” Hiretsuna turned her attention to Iida who had pulled Izuku back— thank god —and was now waving his hands at her in a very reprimanding manner.
“It is very impolite to walk up to someone and initiate acts of affection without their explicit consent, and it is also equally reprehensible to assume they reciprocate your affections when you haven’t even given them a chance to respond!” Hiretsuna was looking a little weirded out now.
“Well, jeez I’m sor—” “Also,” Iida fixed Hiretsuna with a surprisingly menacing look, “It seems my friend is discomforted by you, so if you could please do as Todoroki said and leave us, that would be much appreciated.” Hiretsuna gave a pout that didn’t move Iida in the slightest. She then sighed, and turned away.
“Whatever. Have fun with your boytoys, faggot .” Izuku flinched at that word, but names were not something Izuku was unfamiliar with, not even that particular one. Izuku stumble just into a space between two buildings that could hardly even be considered an actual alleyway and released the contents of his stomach onto the filthy ground.
A hand started rubbing soothing circles into his back as Izuku let out a soft sob. He didn’t like remembering middle school. Those were dark times for him. Iida and Todoroki lightened the weight of it all, and when they all stayed together at his house, Izuku, for the briefest of moments, forgot about all of his worries.
When Izuku was younger—not that young—he had a friend named Akiyama Haruto. He had once prevented Haruto from being beaten up by Kacchan, Tsubasa, and Oshiro. Haruto had clung to Izuku for the whole of elementary.
Haruto’s quirk let him feel what other people were feeling if he looked at them, and he always knew how to help Izuku. Bottling up was never going to work around Haruto, and Izuku was glad that he had one person with him.
But then one day, Haruto gave him the bad news; Haruto’s father had gotten a job offer that would require Haruto’s family to move to America. A whole ocean away. Their last day together had been bitter, if sweet.
Izuku knew he would probably never see Haruto again, and he had come to terms with that, even if the next few years would be hell without him.
And hell they were. Suddenly Izuku had no one to lean on, no one to lessen the blows he had faced since forever. Kacchan, Tsubasa, and Oshiro got meaner and their hits started coming closer to home. Hiretsuna lightened his load for a little while before leaving it to crash back down on him.
Hiretsuna had pretended to be Izuku’s friend and she was so nice to him and one day she had politely and softly asked if Izuku would like to be her boyfriend and Izuku had looked at her like she had offered the world, and the vision came to a stuttering stop when she let out a loud laugh.
“God, your face ! Pretending to like you was so worth it if only for that , oh my god. ” Izuku felt his heart break in that moment. The day after that, Izuku was truly alone, none of the students wanting to be friends with a quirkless loser like him, and none of the teachers ever bothering to do anything about it.
Izuku had fallen into a low point, one of the lowest points in his life, and he had done something he would never forget and always regret—he had turned to self-harm. It was… liberating, for a time. Six months. He cut himself once or twice a week for six months until his mom realized and asked him to stop.
And he did, just like that, because his mom went through enough. And so Izuku suffered, not having enough money to afford a therapist, and only having his mom to talk to about what was going on, but he couldn’t tell her because it would make her want to do something , and Izuku didn’t want his mom to face any trouble.
So Izuku suffered quietly for three years, taking the pain and bottling it up like he had never done before and just dealing with it, and then he met All Might and everything got so much better .
Izuku got into UA, Izuku made friends, Izuku got a quirk , and things were so much better. Izuku ran into the ghosts of his past only every once in awhile, and even if they always left him shaky and hollow, those meetings never lasted long. And then Izuku came across a different ghost.
“ Izuku ?” Izuku stopped dead in his tracks, eyes widening. Uraraka paused and looked nervously at the person behind Izuku. The dark-haired boy turned, eyes wide and his gaze landed on a familiar, albeit different figure.
“ Haruto !?” A grin spread across Izuku’s face as he reached out, arms wide open and embraced his old friend. Izuku pulled back, bright green eyes meeting Haruto’s inky black and understanding flitted into Haruto’s gaze for a second before he spoke.
“It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”