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Pathseer

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Izuku Midoriya is a normal kid.

He has a loving mother and a loving father, a great best friend, and a quirk on the way. He goes to school and he follows all the rules. He’s maybe more considerate and affectionate than the other kids, but it isn’t so bad. Not really.

He’s normal looking, too. A mop of green hair and a smattering of freckles are the only things that might pop out, but only if you really went to look for him. Otherwise he mostly fades into the background.

So he’s a normal kid. That’s fine. His mother was a normal kid too, and she turned out to be a wonderful human being. Normal suits his son just fine, and there’s no way that he’d complain about it, but…

Hisashi sighs, rubbing the back of his neck as he watches his wife pick up their son and carry him around like a superhero.

His son was a normal kid, and that’s why this was so hard.

To the experienced eye, it was obvious Izuku was going to have a quirk. To him, it was equally as obvious that it would be that quirk, the one his Mother had. Such a wonderful, extraordinary quirk, to see into the future that way, and if his hunch was right about quirk theory than Izuku’s would be even better than hers was. He could see it in his son’s eyes, every time they flashed at him. It would be a good quirk. A strong quirk.

In his line of work, kid with a strong quirk would all too soon become a quirkless one.

He examined the phone in his hands, turning to his boss’s contact. It was His idea to have the boy evaluated for his quirk early. It made sense. He wanted to grow his collection now, for the quickly upcoming battle. And who would be easier to take a quirk from than an unassuming child? Who better to get the children from than his own employees?

If Hisashi wanted to further that cause, his cause, if he wanted to keep going down this path… he’d have to tell him soon. He’d have to bring Izuku in soon. Because with that quirk, they would win. They would win easily.

But it was his son. His little Izu-kun. He almost hated himself, how quickly he fell in love with his son. Inko was one thing, Inko had been there for a long time, but his son was always meant to be a tool.

Not to mention that he’d been warned about this, right from the beginning. That it would be a liability if he allowed himself to fall for the tool- his wife was bad enough to be attached to a child as well- it would be too much. A villain couldn’t have such attachments. But sue him, he was just as human as the rest of them. His heart couldn’t help it- he’d already fallen the first time he’d felt those feeble kicks.

He closed his eyes, breathing out slowly. He had to consider his position carefully.

There was always the choice to just do it. Take Izuku, get him tested, get it overwith. Izuku wouldn’t know anything else. He’d just be quirkless, a quirkless little boy. But… To inflict such a horrible fate on his own son, to force him to become ostracized, unable to get his happy ending… Not to mention, the future that the boss wanted wasn’t exactly hospitable to people like that. It just wasn’t.

He could run. Run away from everything, pack up Inko and Izuku and put all three of them somewhere else. But where could he go that the boss wouldn’t find them? Not to mention, he’d have to explain this to Inko. Poor, sweet inko, who’d never even witnessed a villain in action outside of news and horror movies. No. This wouldn’t work.

Or maybe he could just lie?

He paused.

It was a thought. He could lie- claim that his son was quirkless, or maybe that he had a weak quirk… They would still want to test him, of course. But that wasn’t really an issue, was it? He had his own underlings. He could get a quirk-prohibiting drug, something to delay his’s son’s quirk by a year… or maybe two years. It would be hard on him for a while- he’d effectively be quirkless, after all, but it would still be clear that he had one, to the doctors. This way, he wouldn’t be isolated- He’d just be a late bloomer.

But how would he get through that with the boss? He wouldn’t expect him to stick around too much with his son after something like that. And the longer he stayed with Inko and Izuku the more danger they would be in anyway. What if He decided they could wait for Izuku’s quirk? What if He wanted Inko’s?

He would leave. The thought struck him with quick clarity. He could really leave them, go overseas. Tell the boss something about not endangering Inko, or not being able to handle her despair, something- he’d believe it, he loved seeing people’s emotional sides, that was obvious. The boss was a master manipulator. He wasn’t cocky, but he was confident. Confident enough for the tiny lie to appeal just right…

He was shaken from his when he felt someone collide with his legs, staring down at two fluffy yellow tufts and bright green eyes, just a shimmer of a rainbow in his pupils. He smiled widely, crossing his arms. “And which hero is this?” He asked, laughing gently when Izuku struck a pose, fist in the air.

“Junior! Junior!!” Still laughing, Hisashi pulled the boy into his arms for a tight hug, releasing him when Inko called for lunch and watching him speed off.

His boy. This was for the best. Maybe he’d still be able to call, from wherever he went. Gesturing Inko to wait for him with a point of his phone, he watched her disappear to get food for ‘junior’, gently closing the door after a moment and pressing the number before he lost his nerve.

It only took two rings before a smooth voice answered. “So? Are we finally going to meet your son?”

Hisashi took a deep silent breath, setting his voice.

“He’s useless, practically quirkless. I can bring him in if you want, but…” He sighed then. “It’s hopeless. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to handle sticking around. Not with him like this and Inko…” He trailed off, straining his ears to make out the tiny chuckle on the other line.

“I can see how that would be difficult.” He sounded so sympathetic. So sincere. But then again, All for One was always a great actor. “Don’t worry, we’ll transfer you somewhere nice. How about America?”

He closed his eyes against the feeling of tears. “Sounds great,” he said, refusing to allow his voice to waver for a moment. Tomorrow, he’d slip Izuku the drug. Tomorrow he’d set up an appointment for testing, and tomorrow he’d break the news about his trip overseas. But today, he’ll hang up the phone, sit down for a meal with his family, read his son to sleep,  and forget that in just a few days it would all be over.

Chapter Text

Not yet.

Not yet.

Izuku was so tired of hearing people tell him that. He already knew it wasn’t yet. So why did he have to keep coming back to these places?

He frowned as the doctor checked his eyes for the millionth time, turning away and clinging to his mom when he let out a disappointed sigh.

“Miss Midoriya, I’m very sorry to tell you this but you son still hasn’t developed any further with his quirk yet.” Izuku frowned, pressing his face into his mothers shirt even more and trying to not be upset about the news. He already knew that was the case. He got it, he was still a quirkless nobody.

“Oh, no. I was hoping there would be.” His mothers voice rumbled through his ears, and he pushed himself further into her arm to try and feel that, instead of her disappointment. “You see, Izuku has been having more issues with his eyes recently…”

“Yes, well.” He heard shuffling. Papers and clothes. The doctor must be getting ready to leave, then. Good, they’d get to leave too. “I’m afraid it’s nothing to do with his quirk.” There was a pause then, long enough that Izuku finally pulled back a little, catching another glimpse of the doctor.

A short man. He was weird looking, as usual, with his round rimmed glasses and his bushy white mustache. He stood before them, and it was the air of finality around him that finally made Izuku look at him completely, waiting.

“At this point, it has been several months,” the doctor continued at last, looking vaguely uncomfortable and- was he angry? “I’m afraid to say, with each passing month your son’s chances at revealing his quirk become even slimmer.”

“W-what are you saying?” There was a wobble in his moms voice- he didn’t like it. He didn’t like it when she sounded upset like that. He moved away then, attention fully on the doctor, anticipating the next words with dread.

“I mean, Miss Midoriya… I’m pronouncing your son Quirkless.”

The world dropped out from under him. Quirkless? But that wasn’t right. He had a quirk. He had to have a quirk! He had to be a hero, so he had to have a quirk! He stared in shock, eyes wide. Did he not?

“This is mostly just for paper reference, but the fact of the matter is that your son does not have a quirk, and with no telling when he will manifest one-“

“P-please hold on! Don’t you think this is a little bit hastey? We don’t even know what to look for in the quirk-“

“Miss Midoriya, please. It’s only until his quirk actually does come in.” He shook his head, then wrote something out and held it out to her, who took it quietly. “This is a referment to the ward upstairs, to take a look at your sons eyesight. I suggest not waiting for his quirk to clear it up.”

And then he was gone, but they were still there. Izuku’s world had shifted on its axis. They called him quirkless? No. That wasn’t- the doctor was wrong. He knew he was wrong. He shook his head, looking to the piece of paper, despite everything still feeling slightly off around him. For his eyes, next. He glanced at his mom to say something before freezing, watching big fat tears fall down her face as she stared hollowly at the paper in her hand.

 Izuku suddenly jerked back into place. His mom was sad. He made his mom sad. Tears started to well up in his own eyes, and he looked down to the floor, biting his lip. But that wasn’t right, either, was it? Because his mom shouldn’t be sad because of him. He was there to make her happy.

Think, Think…. People cry on the news often, before the heros stepped in and saved them and cheered them up. He just had to save his mom. So… what would All Might do?

“Mommy…?” He looked up at her again, reaching for her hand and missing it just by a little. “I-It’s okay.” He tried for a smile. “See? It’s okay. It’s just a little while. Till I get my quirk right? So, so it’s okay. I’ll get one too.”

Her eyes snapped to his then and with a shaky breath she smiled back. “Yes, that’s right, baby. It’s just for a little bit.” He watched as she wiped her tears away, scrunching up his face when she reached over to do the same to his own. “Come on. Let’s go upstairs and look at your eyes, huh?”

Izuku held his grimace at seeing another doctor, resolutely keeping his smile.

“Okay mommy.”

-

The upstairs didn’t do much, anyway, so he didn’t need to worry. He was allowed to play with the toys in the kids area while his mom explained his symptoms to the lady in the front, much better than the usual doctor visits. It took a while, and his mom looked visibly shaken when she returned, but she smiled so he smiled back, letting her take his hand before heading back to their little house.

It was a nice place, all things considered. It used to be his grandma’s, on his dad’s side, and when he was still around he would sometimes tease the boy that her spirit would still be haunting the place. Since he left, however, Izuku noticed there was a lot less ‘paranormal activity’ around, so she must have followed him to America. Regardless, the house was a little bit far from any towns, but not totally isolated from others. Izuku really liked it, for some reason. Being around people for long enough always gave him a headache anyway.

The only bad thing about the house was how indirect it was. Hallways would loop around and doorways would lead into separate hallways. Izuku swore last week he had traveled down a hallway that his parents claimed didn’t exist.

His dad always said it was just because his grandma was an “eccentric lady,” which izuku took to mean she was a little crazy, but that’s okay. It made the house fun, despite how many times he ran into the walls and doors. He knew his mother didn’t like it, but she tended not to like anything that he ran into, so he tended to ignore her, brushing away her worries with a small “I’m fine!” like he usually did.

Immediately after returning from the doctor, he ran into the computer room, barely noticing when he clipped his shoulder on the door frame. His mom ran up to him as he sat in the big chair, pulling his shirt sleeve back a bit to eye the red patch where he hit it.

“It doesn’t hurt, mommy,” Izuku assured her quickly with a grin. “So? Computer time?”

She smiled slightly, shaking her head. “Yes, computer time. DO you want to watch the same one as usual?”

“Hmmm… a new one!” He didn’t see her eyebrows go up in surprise that time, focused intently on the screen, eyes squinted just slightly so he could see it clearer.

The clip she pulled up was of All Might, of course, fighting a newer villain. Izuku’s eyes widened when he saw the new hero next to him, fighting side by side. “Mommy, mommy! Who’s that one?”

“Huh? Oh!” She turned from where she was headed out the door, watching the thinner figure besides All Might, taking care of a villain and directing him towards the civilians. “let’s see… I think that’s his current partner. What was his name again… Sir Nighteye, was it?”

“What’s his quirk?” Izuku  scooted closer to the screen, trying to get a good look at the man. He heard his mom hum besides him and turned to see her on her phone, typing something in. a moment later she was frowning at her screen.

“Foresight,” She read aloud. “He can look into someone’s future.”

Izuku gave an appropriate awed sound, then turned back to watch his battle. “He really wants to save people too, huh? Even though he doesn’t have a fighting quirk.” HE smiled, leaning in closer. “I can’t wait to save people like them!”

“I’m sure you’ll be a great hero, izuku,” he mom said quietly, though he missed the tears running down her face as she said them. Wiping them away quickly, she leaned down to kiss the top of his head.

“You have another doctors appointment tomorrow,” She murmured. “So you won’t be going to school. This one’s really important, but it should be the end for a little while, okay?”

Izuku just smiled. “Okay.”

-

The next day saw him holding onto his mom’s hand all the way to a new doctors place, frowning when they got in. It wasn’t nearly as nice as the quirk doctor’s or the eye doctors, and there were no toys around. Actually, everything looked really white… and it smelled like a hospital. He huddled closer to his mom’s legs, following her into an elevator and shying away from the erious looking doctors inside as well.

For her part, Inko did what she could to reassure him all the way to the waiting room that everything would be okay. Inside the waiting room there wasn’t much for kids either, but she pulled a kid’s magazine out of one of the racks, reading some of the passages about quirks to him in an attempt to keep him more calm in the new environment.

Luckily they were called in shortly, and she sat with Izuku in her arms as the doctor came in.

The first indication to the boy that something totally out of the ordinary was happening was when the doctor tried to address izuku himself to ask what was going on. He curled in closer to his mother out of habit, looking up at her, though she gestured him to go ahead and talk.

He ended up muttering something about not seeing well and falling a lot and the doctor simply nodded his head, like he already knew, which made Izuku frown. If they already knew, why bother talking to him? He clutched his mother’s arm a little tighter, though finally after the two talked it over he was finally made to stand up. She lead him to a different part of the room and knelt to talk to him, and he immediately started to tear up.

“Oh, Izu baby no, it’s okay. It’s okay. They just want to look at your head, okay? That’s all. It’s going to be okay, baby.” She rubbed the tears from his cheeks, smiling warmly. “Did you hear what Dr. Mirai said before?”

He shook his head no quickly, rubbing at his eyes while she explained it for him. That he had to go into the room and sit down very still while they had a machine circle him so they could look inside his head. IT didn’t sound scary on its own, but no one else was going to be in the room with him, which is what he was getting caught on.

Unti she pulled out her trump card:

“If All Might had to go in there alone, do you think he’d let his fear stop him?”

Izuku frowned at the floor. “No,” He said resolutely, looking back up with more determination now. “All Might says you should try to do things you have to do, even if you’re scared! Cos’ that’s being brave!”

Inko smiled warmly. “That’s right. So can you be Mommy’s brave hero for a little while, Izuku?”

“Yeah!”

And he was. They got all of the scans they needed, then they had him do some eye tests, and finally they were back in the doctor’s room waiting for results.

The results… well, they weren’t good.

“I’m sorry to have to inform you of this, Miss Midoriya,” The doctor started slowly, and for a second Izuku only saw the short bald one with the bushy mustache instead of the younger one in front of him. He shook his head and bit his lip, reaching for his mom’s hand.

“Your son…” The doctor stopped with a frown, visibly upset before turning and putting the images up. “This is his brain, compared to the brain of an average kid his age. As you can see, there’s… quite a bit of damage on his parietal lobe.”  He grimaced, looking down at his clipboard paperwork. “Normally, I’d also cross reference this with the kid’s quirk, but seeing as the young Midoriya is… well, functionally quirkless for the time being, it’s possible the damage is just a defect from birth.”

Izuku looked up when he heard his mothers breath hitch- and for the second time in as many days, Inko was crying because of him. HE frowned, looking back when the doctor continued.

“The symptoms you and he have described make sense for what I see here. Blurry vision, inability to define objects in three dimensional space, and reduced pain receptors are common, as are a quality decrease in motor skills- falling, being considered clumsy.” The doctor stopped there with a heavy sigh that shook Izuku to his core. “On the bright side, those should be the only issues he will caryy, and other than those he will be able to advance as a normal, healthy kid. However, many of these problems are… unfixable, by current medicine standards. We could get him glasses for the time being to try and help sight, and prescribe a type of physical therapy that might enable him to at least have a better understanding of his limbs in space. Usually I only prescribe it to those with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, but in his case I’m sure it won’t hurt to try it.”

“Are you saying…. My son is permanently brain damaged?”

Inkos quiet voice cut through the doctors speech, and Izuku tried not to whimper at the tone of it. Slowly the doctor nodded.

“Yes, that’s it exactly. I understand this may be a hard thing to come to terms with.” HE was quiet a moment, then he inclined his head. “I will write up my referrals and get you a prescription for glasses. Please take all the time you need, miss midoriya.”

And with that he left them there, Izuku still trying to understand everything in his own terms. Finally he looked to his mom, tears in his eyes.

“Mommy?” He whispered.

She didn’t hesitated to pull him into her arms, shaking with her own sobs while he held on a best he could through his own.

_

His dad wasn’t happy when she called him, afterword. He cursed and yelled, and Izuku could hear it all the way from his room. He sat in the dark, reaching old All Might videos and trying to keep himself calm, and work through everything as he understood it.

So he fell a lot because he had brain damage. Which was, evidently, something that meant exactly that there was damage in his brain. Like an injury? Heroes got injured all the time, didn’t they? And usually they were fine? But the doctor had said it was unfixable. He frowned and said it they couldn’t do anything to help him.

He adjusted the glasses on his face when he started to see blurry again, then realized it was only because of the tears running down his face. He looked down at the wet drops on his hand without really comprehending it. If he was unfixable… then he was permanently broken.

“I AM HERE!” All might’s signature voice called from the speakers, forcing him to look up. All Might’s face, bloody and worn. Injured All Might was saving people with a smile. Helping them with a smile. He heard the door behind him open, and without looking back he spoke.

“All Might… He always saves people. He helps them.” Helps them, like the doctors couldn’t help him. Saves them so they aren’t broken by the villains. He turned around to face his mom, straining a smile onto his face. “Can I… be a hero whose smile… would stop people from feeling like this?”

His mom broke down, holding him tight and apologizing over and over, but Izuku didn’t want to hear that. He didn’t. So instead, he smiled. Even with his tear flowing down his eyes  and his mother’s words in his ears, he forced himself to smile.

Because maybe, if he smiled big enough like All Might, he could save himself from being broken too.


 

Someone was crying.

Bakugou frowned, rubbing sleep out of his eyes as he sat up in his bed. Someone was crying? Was it the tv again? But a quick glance outside his bedroom door said no, the TV wasn’t on at all. It must be his parents bedtime too, they must be sleeping.

 But someone was crying.

Frowning more, Bakugo fully crawled out of the bed, yawning and walking out of his room, trying to follow the noise around his house until finally peaking out from behind a wall at his mom, face illuminated by a computer screen. She didn’t look happy, but she wasn’t crying. Then who…

He stopped when he saw the phone propped up against the computer, with auntie Inko on the screen. It was coming from her. Bakugo hid behind the wall a little more, eyes widening as he woke up faster. Why was aunti Inko crying? She never cried, she was always smiling at him when he saw her. What would have made her cry? A bad guy?

He poked his head out when his mom started talking next, straining his ears to pick up her words.

“…It looks really bad, Inko. Shit, from what I’m reading he might even need a fucking school aid… Maybe you guys should move closer to the hospital? There’s a great apartment complex not far from here, and of course we’ll help where we can…”

Bakugo frowned, edging closer. What happened? A hospital? He gripped the wall tighter, tiny firecracker blasts going off in his palms after he became more aware. Something happened to Auntie Inko.

His mom immediately whipped her head around to face him, features softening. “Oh, Katsuki honey…” She sighed, looking back to her phone, although Inko must have said something to her because the screen turned black a little while after and she was looking back at him not that much longer. For a little while, it was quiet.

He couldn’t stand the quiet.

“Was that Auntie Inko? She sounded sad.” His frown was more pronounced now, while he watched his mom stand up and move towards him, finally kneeling besides him on the floor.

“She was a little sad,” she admitted quietly. “But it’s okay. It’s nothing you have to worry about, okay?”

“Was it a villain?” He tried to remember back to TV. Sometimes people cried when Villians attacked them. But when a hero got rid of the villain the people usually started smiling again. Right? What would All Might do? He balled his fists, tiny explosions sent light and sound ricocheting off the walls when he dropped into what he thought was a fighting stance.

“Lead me to them! I’ll beat them up and then Auntie Inko won’t have to cry any more!” He let loose a few punches on an imaginary bad guy before hearing a weird, wet sounding laugh from his mom. He looked back, seeing a smile on her face but… it was weird.

“Sorry, honey, but there’s no villain to beat up.” She bit her lip before sighing. “It’s about Izuku.”

His stomach twisted into knots, shock making him drop his fists. “Izukun?” He blinked, then frowned. “What did Deku do? He’s not supposed to make her cry!”

“No, Katsuki, not like that.” Another long pause, Bakugo having crossed his arms while waiting for an answer. “Izuku is… sick,” she said, finally. “Really sick. You know how he hasn’t been in school recently?”

“Yeah, I know that.”

She smiled, that weird smile again. “He’s been at the doctors. The… sickness, it makes him hard for him to see and feel stuff. Which is why he’s always running into things and falling, and why he’s always leaving school with bruises.”

Bakugo averted his eyes, frowning. No, he knew why Deku always has bruises. But maybe the sickness is what made him so weak in the first place? In that case, it wasn’t really his fault right? When his grandpa was in the doctors he was really weak too, but he used to be really strong. Maybe it was like that. Or maybe… He looked back up. “Is it because he doesn’t have a quirk yet?” He asked, watching his mom’s expression change.

“Maybe. We don’t know.”

He went quiet again for a moment. So then Deku’s sickness meant he got hurt, and then Auntie Inko cried because he got hurt. And heroes were supposed to stop people’s crying. But there wasn’t anything to beat up. You can’t beat up sickness, or else he wouldn’t have gotten that cold a few weeks ago. But… what had his mom said then? You can’t beat up a sickness, but you can protect yourself from it. Well, in that case…

“I’m going to protect Deku.”

His mom looked surprised at that. “Really? Are you?”

“Yeah!” He looked back with fire in his eyes, nodding. “Because I can’t beat up his sickness! But I can make him not get hurt, and then Auntie Inko won’t cry! If Auntie Inko’s still crying that means that I’m a bad hero, and I’m going to be the number one hero like All Might! So I’ll protect him my whole life!”

Mistuki finally laughed at that, and when Bakugo looked at her again her normal smile was back. “All right, Mr. Number One Hero. But then to do that you gotta go to bed so you can protect Izuku later. Right?”

He nodded, putting his fist out and marching back, crawling under the covers with determination filling his heart. Just before falling back to sleep, he muttered,

“Just you wait, Izukun. I’ll protect the crap out of you.”

Chapter Text

Izuku didn’t go to school the day after that. Or the next day, or for two weeks, while they tried to settle into a new normal.

Inko was, understandably, a wreck for the first few days. She would worry every time Izuku banged a hand against a table or a door- despite his having done so before. In light of new information, every single scrape seemed a million times worse, and made her worry increase tenfold. She would also stop more often to check Izuku for bruises, seeing as the boy didn’t notice them half the time, and would make him ice them and sit still and let them heal a lot more than she'd made him before.

Which is to say, the first few days for Izuku were the worst.

He wasn’t doing anything differently than before they heard about his injury. The fact that he was being treated differently already made him feel itchy. He understood, though, on a lower level that it wasn’t something he could avoid- just because they didn’t know about the injury before doesn’t mean he didn’t have it, so now that they knew they’d have to be more careful he didn’t seriously hurt himself.

(He was resolute that it was an injury, not a sickness)

His mother doted on him as if it were a sickness, though, and she treated everything like a possible threat, resolved to keep him always within eye distance, at least until they could try to find ways to alleviate the symptoms. The only problem there was that Izuku was a kid. He wanted to do things that weren’t sitting by his moms side all day, talking or watching TV or playing boring board games with her. He wanted to move around and go outside, talk to people, maybe even go see Kacchan again.

Despite everything between them, at least he wouldn’t know about the injury. Wouldn’t treat him like he was broken.

But no matter how he phrased it, the answer was no. Especially when it came to Bakugo. Any questions about him were met with a tired variation of, “No, you always get hurt when he’s around.”

Izuku would proceed to sulk for a while after that one, because he couldn’t really refute it. He did get hurt when he tried to play with Kacchan, especially when the blonde’s other friends were around. But it wasn’t like it was all his fault- plenty of those injuries were because he was just clumsy.

Or, not clumsy- injured.

It only took a few days for his mom to let up, though. She started to let him run around the house again, play with his toys or be in other rooms without her there. Sometimes she’d even take him out on trips, usually to the grocery store or the nearby nature park.

Once, after a particularly bad trip to the quirk specialist who finally told her to stop questioning it and stop bringing him in, she even took him to a special museum all about quirks and heros. After a week of being treated like ‘a broken action figure,’ the trip was definitely a highlight of Izuku’s week.

He even got to talk to his dad again at the end of the week, and although the call was basically a repeat of his mother’s tearful apologies Izuku felt like it was different, somehow. Like his dad took it just a little harder.

His father had definitely smiled when Izuku explained that it was just an injury, like the heros get, he could hear it in his voice. And that, for the time being, was enough.

They’d talked a little more after that, the three of them, with Izuku animatedly explaining his experiences at the Hero Museum. Hisashi, for his credit, had managed to sound interested and keep his apathy towards the system a secret through the entire conversation. Izuku tapered out eventually, prompting a topic change from Inko.

“I was thinking of moving out of the house.”

There was a stunned silence after she announced it before Izuku started to tear up.

“What? But- But I don’t want to move! I like it here!” He sat up, looking at his mom with wide eyes. “I like our house!”

“I know, Izukun, but it’s not… you get hurt a lot here. The place I was looking at is nice- there’s lots of space so you can run around and play.” She tried to smile, but Izuku wasn’t having it, looking to the phone instead.

“Daddy, tell her! Tell her we have to stay!”

Silence. For a minute. Fat tears started to fall down Izuku’s face before finally he responded.

“Don’t sell the house, Inko. You might still end up moving back. But… I agree with your mother, son. Just for a little while. Then you can go right back, okay? But, at least until your quirk comes in… it might be better to move somewhere else.”

Izuku shook his head, hands coming up to rub at his eyes under the glasses, but he didn’t say anything, letting his parents talk over where they would start while he cried. Inko pulled him closer in little increments, hugging him while they nailed out a plan and then said their goodnights.

Izuku was quiet all the way to bed, sniffling when his mom tucked him in.

“We’ll move back, right? When I get my quirk?” He whispered.

She kissed his forehead and turned out the lights.


 

Much to their individual disdain, Izuku did have to go back to school at some point.

Inko was worried about Izuku going back in the middle of all of the craziness. Things had just settled down in terms of his injury, but no they were moving and they'd be living somewhere else by the end of the week, so the school paperwork would be due as well. Not to mention, she still hated it when he left her general field of vision. She didn’t doubt he would be safe enough- he had been safe enough before, hadn’t her? And she knew she couldn’t continue to isolate him just to keep him unharmed. But the thought of it made her queasy. Regardless, she steeled her nerves and told him he would be going back after the weekened.

Izuku, well. He didn’t want to go back for other reasons. What if he walked into school and they knew about his brain injury? Would the other kids think of it as a bad thing? Brain damaged was a term that was used to mean bad things. If they knew about it then he might get pushed around more. They already made fun of him for not having a quirk yet.

And that’s all without mentioning his weird feelings about Kacchan.

But his mom was being brave in letting him go. He had to be brave too, like her.

So, the following Monday he was carefully walked through the school building, backpack set square on his tiny shoulders. His mom had asked him to wait outside the door for the teacher while she talked to him about something, so he was anxiously shifting from foot to foot, waiting. When they finally came back, something was different.

Where the teacher was usually a bright person who encouraged him to run around and play with the other, now he looked… sad? Maybe? He offered a hand to Izuku, who took it quizzically before waving goodbye to his mom and being walked inside, where the other kids were playing. He started to run forward, but the teacher stopped him.

“We’re about to have circle time in a few minutes, Midoriya,” he said with a little smile. “Why don’t you just sit down for now? There will be time for playing later.”

Izuku frowned, but nodded, moving to his seat at his table. He put his backpack around the chair and sat, looking around at the people who were scattered around in various play modes. No one noticed him- or everyone was avoiding him, he couldn’t tell anymore. He looked around for Bakugo, freezing when the made eye contact, but then the other boy just looked away and kept playing with the other kids.

Izuku’s frown deepened at that. At the very least, Kacchan would usually come up to say hi, or to ask about his quirk. It wasn’t normal that he’d ignore him.

Then again, nothing about today has felt normal so far.

He looked to the front of the room instead, waiting for the teacher to ring the bell and call people for circle time, moving over and siting in his spot there instead.

“Time for the morning news!” The teacher announced cheerfully, looking to Izuku, whose stomach dropped in an instant.

“MIdoriya-kun! Why don’t you stand up for the class?”

The sinking feeling got worse when he stood up, then moved to the front of the circle when the teacher beckoned, looking around at the other kid’s faces.

“Midoriya-kun was absent from school for a while, why don’t we all give him a big welcome!’

A smattering of ‘welcome backs’ passed around the room with little interest, but the teacher plowed on anyway.

“Midoriya had something very big happened to him while he was out. He’s very sick, so we have to be extra nice with him so he doesn’t get hurt, understand?”

Izuku stared at him, flabbergasted. He’d just tell the whole class that? So everyone knew?

Tsubasa raised his hand. “Um, sensei, what was Midoriya sick with? Is it contagious?”

“No, not at all. He just has a small problem with his eyes and his coordination- moving around. He gets hurt easily, so I expect you all to be careful when Midoriya wants to play, okay?”

A chorus of okays followed Izuku back to his spot, where he sat quietly, not daring to look up at his classmates faces yet. It wasn’t the worst thing ever, he supposed, oozing himself in his thoughts while the teacher went on to talk about other ‘news’ for the kids. He didn’t mention too much. But he didn’t need to be treated so unfairly.

They broke circle time to work on worksheets for a while, until lunch and recess inevitably came around.

Izuku, unusually, found himself alone during lunch. He sat at his usual table, but everyone seemed to keep a three foot radius around him at all times. He didn’t particularly enjoy it.

Recess wasn’t much better. He was sitting alone, trying to think of what he wanted to do before things finally changed up a bit, with a gaggle of kids coming up to him. He smiled at them, standing up.

“Did you guys need me to play with you?”

Quiet. The other kids looked around a bit before one girl spoke up.

“So you got glasses?”

Izuku tilted his head to the side, smile dropping just a bit. “Um, yes. They’re to make it so I can see, and- wait-“

He frantically tried to snatch the glasses back fron the long-fingered boy who’d taken them off his face. Immediately the other kid shoved them on his own face, laughing. “Man, this is super bad. How do you see like this?”

“They’re different for everybody- please give those back, I need them.” He blinked, frowning when he saw them pass the glasses around, everyone remarking on how blurry it was when they put them on before finally the first girl got them, making the plastic melt with her quirk and a hum.

“Oh, sorry Deku,” she said quietly, throwing them back. “Guess they broke.” She smiled. “You can just get another pair, right?”

Izuku stared at the melted, only kind of recognizable glasses, eyes watering. “I-I needed those to see,” He said again, wincing when the long-fingered boy gave him a push and falling backwards, staring up at the kids with wide eyes. He raising his arms when it looked like someone was going to throw a punch, but then-

“Enough!”

He blinked, peeking out to see Bakugo in front of his, fingers sparking.

“Leave shitty Deku alone! Don’t you have other things to do?”

Slowly the crowd dispersed, everyone shying away from the area. Deku sniffled, wiping at his eyes as he looked up with a tiny smile.

“Thank you, Kacchan,” he murmured, bakugo huffing bedside him.

“Whatever, shut up! Just stop crying and get up already.” He crossed his arms with all of the attitude he could muster, but watched carefully when Izuku got up.

“I thought if I made them stay away from you that’d be enough, but yo really are useless, huh Deku?” He scoffed. “You can’t keep getting hurt, idiot.”

“Idiot isn’t a nice word…”

“Shut up! Get your glasses. We’re going to the nurse.”

Izuku blinked before nodding, picking up his glasses and wincing when he noticed his scraped up palms. He stood up again, clutching his glasses, and Baugo grabbed one of his wrists and started to pull him to the nurse.

“W-wait- Kacchan, really I’m fine- it doesn’t hurt, see?” He tried to resist the pulling, but Bakugo huffed again.

“Idiot Deku. I know about your brain thing, I made my mom tell me about it. Just because it doesn’t hurt doesn’t mean it’s not bad.”

He pushed Izuku at the nurses door, huffing.

“Don’t do anything stupid, I’m going back outside. When you’re done, find me. Obviously you can’t keep yourself safe on your own, so from now on you stay with me, got it?”

Izuku looked at him with wide eyes, nodding quickly.

He smiled back when he saw Bakugou’s smirk, then turned into the nurse.


 

 

Of course Inko was concerned when she saw the state of his glasses, but after listening to Izuku's story about how Bakugo had saved him from the bullies who'd broken them, she lightened up a little. Her son was a little different, she already knew bullying was going to be a problem. As long as little Katsuki would be there to help him, though, she had a feeling it would all be okay. 

She made a note to give the Bakugo's her thanks later, maybe with some cookies.

Chapter Text

For a while, things really did seem to get better.

Izuku and Bakugo’s relationship was on the mend. Sure, there would be strained moments, but in true child fashion they’d fade away pretty quickly, enough so that the boys appeared to have developed the same kind of closeness that they had before they dealt with quirks at all.

The apartment that Inko ended up renting at was nice. It was close to a doctors office in case something were to happen, and it was close to the Bakugo’s as well. There was a nice open floor plan, and with some rearranging so the furniture sat as flush against the walls as was possible in the area, there were many less incidents of Izuku running into things. In fact, all he had to do to navigate cleanly around was trail a hand along a wall, and he could navigate the entire space with no bumps or bruises at all. Inko wasn’t ashamed to admit that she teared up when she saw her little boy running around the place freely for the first time. It was a miracle.

Incidents of bullying became less also. The initial problem with the children messing with Izuku’s glasses had to be handled, of course, and Inko was never really sure the school addressed it properly, but slowly Izuku began to tell her about encounters he had with the class, friendly ones, which she hadn’t heard since they all developed quirks. It was nice.

That wasn’t to say there wasn’t anything else to worry about.

Inko wasn’t blind. She saw her son becoming moody, more bitter when she took him to physical therapy, or any appointment for a health check up. And after a while, she noticed how his inflection would change when he spoke about ‘Kacchan’ protecting him. Something was up, even if he wasn’t being overly talkative about it.

She didn’t know quite what to do about it. She couldn’t find any particular problem, other than his not liking the Injury. No kid would, she supposed, but despite the monthly visits to make sure nothing had changed, despite her inquiries there wasn’t any news on being able to heal him in any way. In fact, by the time she found a doctor willing to even look further into the issue, she was told that enough time had passed for the problem to cement itself.

She tried at first to make him feel better by talking about it often, hoping to make it feel more normal, but Izuku resisted the idea so quickly she started to just pretend there was nothing at all. She still took him to the doctors, but for ‘checkups’ and physical therapy became ‘hero strength training,’ and that did seem to lighten his mood a bit, but she could tell it wasn’t enough.

She couldn’t figure out where to help.

Despite it all, time moved on. Summer came and went, Hisashi visited, and Izuku grew another year older with no further complications, excluding the fact that his quirk still hadn’t come in.

Inko told herself to just support him where she could and wait for his problem to show itself more fully.

She never expected it to happen in such a horrible manner.

--

It was the start of the new term.

Izuku was six, almost seven, and he had friends but no quirk, a brain injury with no fix, and a glower that was starting to appear even more than Bakugo’s.

It had taken him a while to understand what was happening, how things had changed, and it didn’t help that it started out so gradually. No one was going to tell a five year old to stop playing with his friends. But now it was fully fledged elementary school, and they would stop a disabled kid from participating in PE classes. And they would stop a quirkless kid from using up teacher’s time when everyone else needed ‘quirk counseling’.

Not to mention the other side of things. Sure, no one would call him a nerd for reading to pass the time, but they’d gladly talk behind his back when he dully told the teacher that he’d already read all of the assigned reading books. And despite their general friendliness and the time they took to talk to him now, they’d still slip him notes when they knew Bakugo wasn’t looking, reminding him that nothing changed from that day with his glasses.

Bakugo was different too. He watched his closest friend start to ignore his own favorite pass times to keep him company. Oh, he put on his show to make it all better, he’d scoff and he’d call the others extras, but Izuku saw when he’d look out at the others playing Heros and Villians. He knew that Kacchan wanted to be out there, badly.

And he wouldn’t even give him the change to let him help! It was always “Don’t you dare run” and “You know you’ll hurt your shitty self doing that” and it was like having a second mom! And really, forget it if he told Kacchan to leave him alone, the other kid would ramble on and on about protecting him and being his hero and he never stopped to think that Izuku did not want that.

But he couldn’t ever bring it up to his only friend, not really. He didn’t want to lose him again, and even though it kept him up at night when he admitted it, he didn’t want to loose the protection that Bakugo gave him either. He knew that if he lost that it would just go right back to the way it was before. And he really did love his friend’s company anyway, he loved talking about heros and writing about quirks, he loved it when he thought of a new thing for Bakugo to try with his own quirk. And he didn’t want to give that away, but it was hard when it went hand in hand with everything else. He didn’t like the conditions.

So when the incident happened, he couldn’t help but feel it was a long time coming.

--

He had finally convinced Bakugo to let him come along with him on a ‘Hero Patrol’ through the woody area around the park. It had taken weeks of wearing him down before finally the other kid agreed to let him walk with them, on the condition that he didn’t try anything stupid and listened when he was told to do something.

Of course Izuku agreed, he was finally out doing something active with the other kids. It was what he’d wanted, right? And apparently everything came with some set of ‘conditions’ anyway.

Before he’d left that morning his mom made him pack extra bandages, had him wear the stupid red info bracelet, and even made him take his emergency button. Those were her conditions. And he took them- of course he took them, he wanted to go into the woods and he wasn’t going to not take the chance.

He took every condition like a blanket on his back, and even weighed down by them he took off towards the meeting place at the beginning of the park.

There, flanking Bakugo, were two other boys he saw around. He knew one of them, Tsubasa- he was his doctor’s nephew, he remembered that much. The other boy he didn’t know as well, just that his long fingered quirk was one of the few he hadn’t really looked at in his class yet.

Bakugo was smirking when he showed up, and Izuku could see his eyes travel over the bag on his back, probably wondering what was in there, though he didn’t say anything about it. Instead he turned to the group as a whole.

“Alright, losers, you know the deal! I’m gonna be the best hero one day, and heros do patrols, so we’re gonna patrol. You two extras are in the back, you’re my fanbase! Deku-“

Izuku gave a wide grin when the other boy turned to him. Bakugo, for his part, just narrowed his eyes before jabbing a thumb behind him.

“You stick close to me. I guess you can be, like… a sidekick. Or an intern or something.” He grinned then. “Like All Might has that new guy! Nightwing, or whatever,”

“Sir Nighteye?” Izuku’s eyes widened. “I can be Sir Nighteye? Really? But he’s a super cool hero too, Kacchan! Really?!”

The blond huffed slightly, crossing his arms. “He’s okay. And he’s not a hero, he’s still just All Might’s sidekick.” He scoffed. “Anyway, you’re like that guy, so you stick close behind me, okay? And hurry up so we can go now!”

Izuku wanted to argue a bit more, but settled for nodding and scampering to get to his spot in the lineup, bouncing on his toes as Bakugo faced the forest.

“Alright, then. Bakugo Hero team, march!”

And on it went for a while, them looking for imaginary villians that Bakugo would beat up. Izuku would more often be pulled from his sidekick role to be someone for Bakugo to save from the imaginary monsters, but even that wasn’t a bad role. It was annoying, sure, but it was better than being part of the fanbase. The only job the other kids had was to clap and cheer on Bakugo, which was way way worse, even if they didn’t seem to mind it that much. The day was going really well.

And then he started to notice a pattern.

Bakugo was being really careful about when he took them, keeping them close to the edge of the forest and having them stop often to fight. The boys in the back had begun to figet around, looking at each other weirdly, and it didn’t take long for Izuku to realize this wasn’t the normal patrol behavior. At one point, while Bakugo was blowing up tiny twigs, he even stepped back to talk to them about it.

And their only answer was to at each other uncomfortably.

His glower to come back full force. Of course he was being treated differently. Of course.

“Where do you guys usually go after this?” He asked instead, shifting eyes to Tsubasa when he pointed into the trees.

“There’s a little bridge area through there,” he said. “Usually we cross the bridge and see the older kids on the other side of the playground.”

Izuku nodded, turning back to Bakugo when he returned, brushing leaves out of his hair. He followed him further, noting when they got to the log that made a makeshift bridge across a river. Bakugo peered over the edge for a second, quiet, before turning back to the other kids.

“That’s it today, I think. Mom is gonna wanna make dinner soon.”

And Izuku’s stomach twisted. So it was true. Bakugo was making everything easy on him. He felt like throwing up- and then the feeling rose into his chest instead, and he burned.

“You always go over the bridge.” He muttered, glaring when Bakugo gave a ‘hah?’ in response.

“I said, you over go over the bridge!” He could feel himself trembling, but more than that he felt like too much. Like someone big trapped inside someone smaller. All of his anger that had been building up, that he’d been pushing away, it all rose to the top. He was boiling, and suddenly there wasn’t any weight on him anymore. Like he finally stood up straight and the blankets fell over. He stared directly into the blonde’s red eyes, fists clenched.

“They said it! They told me! They said you always go over this bridge! And I know you never stay that close to adults, you never go this easy with this group! I know you want to play hard like the other kids- and I know you don’t really like watching people’s quirks!”

He was yelling now, tears coming up that he couldn’t be bothered to wipe away.

“Ever since the stupid injury you treat me like I’m some broken toy! Like I’m your favorite All Might figure that lost an arm! Like you can’t do anything with me, but you stay around cause you feel bad! But I’m not broken!”

He seethed, watching bakugo’s eyes go wide. “Deku-“

It was the wrong thing to say. “I’m not useless!”

He jumped up onto the log.

“And I’m not different either!”

He stomped towards the middle, then he turned, glaring right at Bakugo, until he saw the fear and the worry on the other’s face.

And all at once the anger left him, and he was left feeling like Izuku again. Little Izuku, cold Izuku on the middle of a log, realizing belatedly that the world was blurry because of the tears in his eyes and on his glasses. He took them off, staring down at them and choking on quiet tears.

“I’m just like everyone else…”

And after a moment of sitting there, crying to himself, he saw a streak of red light in front of him. Startled, he looked up towards it, following it back towards Bakugo, who was climbing up onto the log too, walking across towards him with a frown on his face.

He didn’t say anything, just stood there and looked at him for a minute, before slowly extending a hand towards the greenette.

Izuku watched his hand for a minute, waiting to see if it sparked, before slowly reaching with his own, stepping forward to take it.

And neither of them moved for a minute, not sure what to do now, but Bakugo tugged on his hand.

“Let’s get off the bridge, Deku,” he said, and it was quiet and soft in the moment, but the nickname seemed to slap Izuku in the face. He shook his head, pulled away and running across the bridge towards the other side, stumbling once but miraculously keeping his balance until he triped right onto the grass. He turned around then, facing the three boys now on the bridge in a silent stare down.

Until he saw another flash of red light that made him clutch his head. Vaguely there was the sound of running, of someone yelling “Izuku!” before a loud splash.

He whipped his head back up wildly, staring at the place Bakugo had just been, seeing instead Tsubasa and the other leaning over the log, calling his name over and over. And before Izuku knew what he was doing, his feet were moving him, eyes darting around looking for a way to get to the river before he found what looked like a light blue string that lead him down, down, down to the riverbed, water splashing about as he ran over to his friend.

His only friend. Lying still in the water.

“Kacchan?” he shook him, moving his head to see closed eyes. His eyes traveled a little bit further and he whimpered.

Blood.

“Kacchan? Come on, get up.” He shook him again, feeling ice in his veins when he realized that it wasn’tt working. He slung his bag off and rummaged through it for his bandaids, but that wasn’t working. There was too much blood, he couldn’t find where the cut was. He wiped tears out of his eyes, looking again through his bag for anything, and his eyes landed on the emergency button. Without another thought, he grabbed it and pressed it over and over again, looking around for the police or someone to come, but they didn’t.

With a sob, he shook his friend again, fat tears falling onto the other boy’s face as he yelled and cried his name several more times, holding his still bleeding friend close in his despair.

It was eternity before he finally heard the sirens.

He finally looked away from Bakugo when they started to get louder, eyes wide. They were coming. They were on their way. Glancing at Bakugo again he realized the strings were back. One was pooled around Bakugo, orange, thick cables that seemed to hold him in place, weighing him down and holding him up, and Izuku felt his tense shoulders relax at the sight.

The second string was light blue, and thin, like his mom’s sewing strings, but it was bright. And it lead up the bank and through the woods back where they’d originally come from. He could follow it. He should follow it.

Glancing down, he knew that Bakugo would be okay. The strings told him he would be okay, that there was no other danger.

So he ran.

Following the string, he ran all the way through the woods, weaving in and out of trees and ducking under branches, always with his eyes on the string in front of him, until finally it lead him to the sirens, where a police car and an ambulance where.

He wasted no time following his blue string over to one of the doctor-looking people’s yellow one, grabbing their arm and starting to pull them into the forest, explaining as fast as he could that his friend was hurt and bleeding. He fought back a pounding headache while he followed the strings back to the orange beacon that was Bakugo. He saw a few other colored strings lead in front of him too, and he ran after them, leading the group of people to the river. Immediately the doctors were in the river, picking Bakugo up, and Izuku saw his cables unravel and start to point towards the same direction as their did, back to the ambulance.

But his own thin string didn’t change, starting to rope around his feet when he tried to follow, and then he found himself trapped in the arms of a police officer, struggling to free himself from the pink cables that pooled around their feet. She was saying something, he knew she was, but he couldn’t hear her. He couldn’t hear anything, just his panicked breathing, the beat of his heart in his chest. He couldn’t feel anything as the world around him dissolved into meaningless color.

The last thing he registered before he fell into the bright light was a ringing scream.

Chapter Text

As like most of his mornings, the first thing he recognized waking up was the sound. Quiet, soft hushed voices and footsteps echoed around his sleepy head, and he could almost imagine the people walking outside his door in his sluggish mind.

The next thing he noticed was that this was not morning, and not his house. He stiffened, but didn’t open his eyes quite yet, the earlier events playing out in his mind.

Yelling at Katsuki, acting out, the fall, the ropes-

Just what the heck happened there?

He slowly drew himself into a sitting position, cracking open his eyes only to shut them again quickly with a groan, covering his head where a lance of pain shot through. He had to push through it. He had to find Bakugou. There was so much blood-

But the emergency people came, didn’t they?

He frowned, clutching at his hair when he tried to recall. The only things he really remembered were the bright lights. People’s lights.

He slowly squinted his eyes again, waiting for them to get used to the lights around him, opening his eyes against the building headache as he started to take in his surroundings.

It was a hospital room. He’d been in them a couple of times, when his mom worried that he’d hurt himself too badly. The fact of it allowed him to relax a little bit. If they were in a hospital, then Bakugou had probably been taken care of well. So he didn’t need to worry.

His room was gentle. A small room with a window, a bed, and a little table. Nothing fancy. He watched outside the window for a short while, blinking his eyes as he took in the trees just outside. It was nice. There was a little breeze coming in through the screen, blowing the curtains around. Very nice. And no headache.

He turned his head towards the door, then immediately looked back to the window with a wince.

There were what looked like hundreds of strings on the floor in the hallway, blinding lights of colors that covered the floor like a carpet. Even catching a glimpse of it from the corner of his eyes was a struggle to handle.

So instead he looked resolutely out the window, staring up towards the sky. Not extra lights up there, just the fluffy white clouds to see.

Keeping his gaze of the window, his hands fumbled about the bed, searching for the button that would bring a nurse or a doctor. There was supposed to be one, he knew, the nurses last time told him that there was always one in case he needed to talk to anyone.

Luckily, he didn’t need it anyway, because there were harsh harsh footsteps in the hall, and then his mom’s voice.

“Izuku!”

He smiled, turning his head automatically before gasping sharply and turning back to the window, hands still threaded in his hair not gripping the strands as he blinked back another headache.

Softer footsteps this time as Inko slowly walked to his side, wrapping him in a hug.

“Thank goodness you’re okay- I should have never let you out of the house this morning, I knew something felt wrong about it all. I’m so glad you thought to use the button, Izuku, that was such a smart move.”

She was trembling, he realized then. Crying. And eh couldn’t even turn around to face her properly, or his headache would get worse. He shifted as much as he could to wrap his arms around her own, plastering his usual smile on his face.

“It’s okay. It’s okay, Mom. I’m safe, I’m okay.” He paused. “…Where’s Kacchan? Is he alright?”

“Oh, honey.” She sniffled, moving her hands away, probably to wipe at her eyes. “Yes, he’s okay. He wasn’t woken up yet, but the doctors said he should be just fine. No brain injuries or anything, he just got a little cut up, and his ear got a bit hurt.”

Izuku let out a little breath, smile falling a bit as it became more genuine “Good. Okay, good.”

Then there was quiet for a little bit. He tried to sneak a glance back, but Inko was still right in line of sight of all the lights, so he kept his eyes forward until he heard her hiccup softly.

“Izuku? Why are you looking outside the window?”

“Oh. You know, all the- the lights. The strings in the hallway.” He gestured with one hand. “They hurt my head when I look over. There aren’t any lights outside.”

Silence, then

“What lights, honey?”

He turned again to look at her, eyebrows furrowed, before squeezing his eyes shut and covering them with a small groan, wincing.

“What do you mean what lights? They’re all over the floor- they’re so bright, I can’t- I can’t look at them. They make my heard hurt.”

The bed shifted as Inko looked in the hallway, her own eyes scouring the place and seeing nothing. She turned back to see Izuku, her boy so obviously in pain, and wrapped him again in her arms.

“Okay… Okay. Then, don’t look at them right now,” she murmured. “Look out the window again. I’m going to call a doctor, okay?” She searched for the button beside the bed, pressing it quickly as izuku did so, taking a deep breath in.

“You don’t see them, do you?” He asked quietly, balling his hands in the fabric of the blanket. “Is it- Is it the injury? That’s making me see them?”

“I don’t know sweetie.” Inko sighed, rubbing his back lightly. “Just wait, we’ll have the nurses come, they’ll help us figure it out.”

Izuku nodded, going quiet while his eyes searched the sky until a nurse did eventually show up, smiling gently.

“Midoriya family. Is something the matter?”

Inko nodded, taking a deep breath, but Izuku beat her to it.

“Um, two things, t-there’s another patient here- Bakugou Katsuki?” His voice shook a bit, his shoulder quaked with his timidness, but he pressed on. “C-Can, can I talk to a doctor soon, about him, if that’s okay?”

“I will see what I can do about that, Midoriya-kun. Was there a second thing?” She asked  kindly, waiting when Izuku nodded.

“I- I um, need a doctor about my eyes, please? I’m seeing something, um… mom?”

Inko squeezed his shoulder lightly, looking to the nurse and taking over.

“My son says that he’s seeing bright lights in his vision. He’s already in here from in emergency incident, and he has some… special circumstances that I’m sure are already in his chart. If we could please talk to someone who might be able to help us understand what’s going on?”

“Of course, Midoriya-san. I’ll have a doctor come by shortly.” She smiled, inclining her head politely before backing out, leaving the two in a state of suspended silence, waiting.

It didn’t take too long for a doctor to actually come by, luckily.

Izuku watched a younger-looking woman walk in with a grim face, pulling a chair out in front of him, although he couldn’t focus on her long. There was a weird blur around her shape, vaguely lavender colored, and he shifted his gaze back to the window to try and avoid another headache.

“The child known as Bakugo katsuki is in stable condition,” she started off, formal and business like, which Izuku had to admit was pretty nice to hear. Her voice was soft, but it wasn’t coddling. “He took impact damage to his left ear and received a cut just above it. It will probably scar and he might have hearing problems, but he will be fine and he’ll live a completely normal life, so there’s no need to worry.” She paused, then gave a small ‘humph’, crossing her arms. “You’re the boy that brought the paramedics to him, aren’t you? You did a good job.”

Izuku smiled slightly, blushing and shaking his head. “I just wanted to make sure he was okay,” he murmured softly. “Thank you.”

She inclined her head a bit, then moved to squat in front of him, forcing his attention on her.

“Now that you know your friend is okay, tell me what’s going on in your vision.”

And he did. All while she shined a light in his eyes and checked his head for further injury, he explained the strings of light, the glimpses he remembered from the forest and the way the hallway made his head hurt by looking at it too much. She took it all in stride, nodding and occasionally muttering it back to herself, like she was committing the details to memory, before finally she stood up to address him and Inko both.

“Your chart says that you are quirkless, with damage to the parietal lobe, yes?”

Izuku nodded quickly. That sounded familiar.

After a moment, she finaly gave her first smile.

“Well, then I’d say it appears you’ve gotten your quirk. It’s a few years late, but it being primarily vision based and with the state of your brain it makes sense that that would be the case, and besides- it isn’t unheard of for people to gain quirks in stressful situations, such as the one you just encountered. I’ll recommend you go home-“

“Wait!” Inko sputtered, hands pulling Izuku closer to her. “Is this- this is for real? You aren’t even writing his symptoms down. How do we know this isn’t- this isn’t just his problem getting worse, or-“

“Midoriya-san.” The frown was back on her face. “I assure you, I am not lying. You may have been treated wrongly by doctors in the past, but this isn’t a joke.” She sighed and shook her head, crossing her arms again as she sat back in the chair.

“My quirk enhances my memory, I can go back and recall things with vivid detail and accuracy. I’ve seen these symptoms before, exactly once, and I will get you all of the proper paperwork to fill you in of course, but make no mistake. Your son has a quirk.”

Inko let out a small watery laugh, squeezing her son before reaching up to rub at her eyes, whereas Izuku…

Izuku just stared at the doctor in awe.

A quirk! His quirk. He’d finally gotten it. But then- but then… why did it hurt him? He frowned and looked to the doctor again, ready to ask, but she held up a hand.

“I’m just going to run it through with you quickly, once,” she said shortly. “But the information is out there. It’s a rare quirk, but I have seen it before. A previous patient of mine called it Pathseeing.”

“Pathseeing,” Izuku murmured back to himself, watching the doctor nod.

“It’s rare, and if you don’t learn the ins and outs it can be very dangerous. Essentially, it’s a future-seeing quirk.”

Inko stiffeled a gasp behind him, but Izuku only sat up straighter. “Future seeing?”

“Yes.” Her eyes shifted to Inko’s. “I’m sure you understand the magnitude of that, Midoriya-san. Midoriya-kun,” She leaned down a bit, looking him in the eyes. “It’s very important that you learn how your quirk works. We can’t tell you how, everyone’s quirk works a little differently, and there will be some trial and error in understanding what your quirk is trying to tell you. It’s very important that you don’t push the learning process.”

She took one of his hands, squeezing it gently. “If you remember anything at all from this talk, you need to remember that. You’re already at a disadvantage, getting your quirk late, and we don’t yet know whether your brain condition will affect your quirk either. You need to be very careful, okay?”

“Yes. Of course I will, but… But why?” Izuku’s frown deepened. “What happens if I’m not?”

The doctor paused before letting out a small breath, leaning back a bit. “Future seeing quirks are tricky,” She said at last, pursing her lips. “The brain doesn’t always… handle them, correctly.’ She leaned forward again. “If you aren’t careful… well. You could die, for one.”

Izuku’s eyes went wide. “Die?”

She nodded. “Or become insane. Loose yourself. I don’t know which is worse.”

Inko frowned, wrapping Izuku in her arms again while he took that in, eyes traveling to the floor, where finally he saw the few paths that lay there- a lavender one that lead away from the chair and towards the door, and a small, shimmering white one, looping delicately around in place across the bed.

He could die from this. That was a scary thought, even more so than being ‘insane’, he could die.

He looked up again, meeting her gaze and nodding with all of the seriousness he could gather. “I’ll be very careful,” he promised. “I won’t die. I’ll do my very best.”

The doctor smiled at him briefly, standing up. “I’m sure you will. Midoriya-san,” she turned to face Inko. “We will send you readings about future quirks, and I’ll see what I can do in regards to pathseeing specifically, although I’m not sure how much information is available about it anyway.” She shrugged. “We’ll do our best to make sure Izuku doesn’t become a statistic.”

Inko just nodded with a shakey smile. “Thank you.”

“As for care instructions. He didn’t receive any injuries in the debacle he called for, but I’ll be giving him a pair of blinding glasses to keep him from getting overwhelmed in the halls or outside in the city. I suggest taking him home and working with him simply with your own paths at first. Integrate people slowly for him to meet, understand his limits. And if you have any problems,” she searched her pockets for a moment before handing over a card. “That is my number. A case like young Izuku’s here… I haven’t seen one in a long time, but I do have perfect recall. I’ll be glad to help where I can.”

Right before she stepped out, however, she turned back to address Izuku, who was still looking at his own string.

“Midoiya-kun. Your friend, Bakugou-kun. Wait for him to get out of the hospital before visiting him. I’m sure he’d much rather see you safe than see you early.” 

Izuku nodded slowly, although he did doubt it, listening as her footsteps retreated before reaching for his mom’s hand.

“I have a quirk,” he murmured, smiling slightly before turning his head just slightly to be able to see her.

“Can we move back to the house now?”

Chapter Text

Katsuki was seething on the bed, shaking his way through an ear exam where he was, once again, left with hands down while they checked his left ear for tones over an over.

Partially deaf, they’d said.

Partially deaf from impact.

What the hell kind of nonsense was that, anyway? That he hit his ear hard enough to go deaf. That was ridiculous.

He shifted, gripping the bedsheets tighter.

Every since he woke up, it’d felt like there was a tiny black ball of horrible inside his belly, and he was hating it so far. Every stupid test they ran, every stupid quirk they used on him that little ball would grow until he forced back down, back away.

He was dying.

It was all fucking Deku’s fault this happened, anyway. He didn’t have to be such an idiot. He didn’t have to cross that stupid log. And yelling about how he wasn’t any different than the rest of them-

Utter nonsense. Of course he was different. Couldn’t he see that?

He grimaced as they motioned him to take the headphones off, looking to the nurse that stood next to him.

“You hear anything about him yet?” He asked, scowling when he was treated to another negative.

“I already told you,” the other man started. “All I know is that he isn’t hurt physically, but as far as I’m aware he hasn’t woken up yet.”

“Of course he hasn’t. Useless little-“ He huffed, pulling the sheets up a bit higher when his mother came in.

“Good news, Katsuki-kun! The doctors say that with a hearing aid you should still be able to hear like normal!” She was smiling so brightly, but he just scoffed, a glower falling over his face.

“Aw, don’t be like that, hon. You’re starting to look like Izuku-kun.” She laughed gently as she sat beside him, (on the right, he noticed) before wrapping an arm around him. “They said you’ll be cleared to use them in two weeks. We’ll do our best to get through then, alright?”

He ignored her, gripping the sheets tighter. “Did you visit him?” He asked, narrowing his eyes at the bed. From his side, he heard her sigh.

“Not yet. Inko promised to text me when she knows about the situation.”

He made a noncommittal sound, the familiar feeling of fireworks going off at his palms. He hated that he could only sort of hear their small pops now. He jerked slightly when his mother moved, but she only took the burning sheets out of his hands folding it in front of her before hugging him a bit tighter.

“Don’t be worried. He’s going to be fine,” she muttered, rubbing soothing circles into his back, He bit back tears with a growl.

“I’m not worried about him, useless hag,” he tried, though his voice just didn’t have the right tone.

His mind kept flashing to the last time he saw Izuku. Bent over, clutching his head. That pitiful, tiny half yell when he did so. The only thing he could think was that it was because of his brain, because he was still different, even if he didn’t want to be. And then…

His hand reached up to touch the bandages around his head.

“Did they say anything about this?” He asked, looking to his mother then, noting her wince.

“It… It might scar. We’ll have to see when the stitches come out. Honey, what the hell happened?”

He pursed his lips, dropping his hand back down, staring at it. Deku didn’t tell them? Or they didn’t ask him because of his issues? He couldn’t tell anymore. Damn him.

“Katsuki.”

“Like I told the police, it was nothing, alright? I just fell.”

He flipped onto his side, burying his right ear into the pillow. Even still, he could make out his mother’s disappointed sigh. He growled, leaning on his arm to cover his ear, so the only thing he could focus on was the ringing sound that accompanied silence.

He felt when the bed straightened without her weight though and spoke up then.

“Just ;et me know when Izukun’s okay.”

Like a whisper, soft enough he couldn’t hear himself.

He didn’t bother to listen for her response.

--

The hospital was boring, he decided.

Boring, and it was impossible to be treated fairly. Whenever he tried to talk to a nurse, they just smiled and gave him empty words. The doctors weren’t better, they’ve mostly been speaking to his parents, and then he’d have to hear what was happening second hand.

And everyone kept looking at him with pity, which he hated. They shouldn’t be pitying him. No one should pity him- he should pity them, he was coming out of this with a fucking cool scar and a good backstory for when he became a hero!

Plus, there was too much free time. Too much thinking time. And when that happened, he’d start thinking about all of the things Deku said to him on that bridge. And, even worse, it started to make more sense.

Because that was happening here, right? They were treating him special. Treating him different. Like he was broken too, because of his shitty ear. He grimaced. And the more he thought about that, the more his skin crawled, because not only was Deku right, it meant he’d been doing this to him too, making his feel like- like freaking-

He set off an explosion in his hand, watching the three startle and look at him, and he huffed.

“I’m done with the hospital,” He said. “Take me home.”

His mother smiled, but he could almost see a vein pop on her forehead. “Oh really, you’re done with the hospital, are you?” She chuckled. “You’re lucky you’re a cute brat, Katsuki.”

“Hag! Don’t call me a brat!”

“Don’t call me a hag!”

The doctor sighed, looking to Masaru. “Well, his spirit is up, which is the best thing. Since there isn’t too much we can do for him today, nor do we have any real concerns that he’ll have complications with the doctor’s quirk, we will pardon him, but with some rules.”

“Why don’t you fuckin tell me the rules?!”

The doctor ignored him, writing on his clipboard for a minute before passing a paper to Masaru. “Just make sure you follow that regimen for a few days and the come back towards the end of the week so we can check up on him.

“I’m not invalid!’

Mistuki winced, a hand half coming up to cover her ears

“Katsuki, not so damn loud!”

Which made him shut up pretty quickly, because… he wasn’t being that loud? No louder than he usually was anyway, and he usually stayed just above the threshold for ‘inside volume’ after a few scolding’s. The confusion must have shown on his face, because all of a sudden, his mother’s expression was softening.

“Oh, honey.”

Katsuki stared at her for a minute before balling his fists up, gritting his teeth. Of course. Of course, it was the stupid hearing loss. Of course it was. He stared down at the bedsheets, ignoring whatever the doctor said to them before leaving.

He felt the bed dip again when his mother sat beside him again.

“Kastuki, baby. I didn’t mean to yell at you. This is new for all of us, it’ll take a little while.”

He didn’t say anything, just continued to stare at the linens until he heard a muffled noise, and his mother nodded emphatically.

“Exactly, just like your father said,” she told him, squeezing his shoulder.

And suddenly the situation seemed to hit him, all at once. The tiny pit of horrible feelings grew into a void in his stomach, a void he couldn’t close down anymore, and he forced himself to look up between them.

“What… What did he say?” He all but whispered the question, watching their shocked faces before feeling his eyes well up with tears. He reached up to furiously wipe them away, even as his dad stood up and walked closer, wrapping him in a hug.

“I said,” He started, slowly, and in a voice that was clearly not comfortable. Probably louder than he was used to. “That this was a major development. We won’t all adjust overnight. My sweet Katsuki-kun… All three of us will make sure we figure it out together, okay?”

Katsuki couldn’t say anything, for fear of the tears in his voice, so he just nodded, clinging for the first time in a long while to his father’s shirt.

The three of them stayed in an awkward three person hug for several long minutes after that, just holding each other. Finally, though, his parents had to leave- they wanted to get him some real clothes for him to change out of the, quote unquote, “shitty fucking not child friendly hospital bag” he was in now. His mom left him her phone for entertainment and in case he needed to call, and they left quietly- or maybe it was just quiet to him.

He held the phone for a while after that, staring at it, before finally opening the phone app. He scrolled through the contacts for a bit before finding who he was looking for, pressing the phone to his better ear.

It rang once. Twice. Nearly a third time before-

“Mistuki-san?”

He let out a small breath.

“No, auntie. It’s me.”

There was a pause, and then Inko’s voice returned with a chipper, “Katuski-kun! Are you alright?”

Always to the heart of the matter. He bit his lip.

Inko was always something special. Not like the doctors or the kids at school or his parents. She never looked at him with pity, not for anything. She just wanted to help him. She was a lot like Izuku, in some ways.

He let out a heavy breath, feeling the tears return and angrily wiping them away. She couldn’t know what a weak loser he was, though. She could never see that part of him, not when he was supposed to be the one protecting her son.

“Auntie… How is Izukun?”

He could practically here her smile from the receiver. “Izuku-kun is well. It’s very considerate of you to ask. He isn’t hurt at all, so there’s no need to worry about him, I promise.”

Wasn’t that a burden off his chest. He closed his eyes, basking in that for a minute. Maybe he wasn’t that much of a weak loser after all. But still, the things that were said… He frowned.

“Can I talk to him?”

There was a pause. “Katsuki-kun… I’m not sure this is the best time for this. Is your mom there with you?”

He closed his eyes again against the tears, steeling himself for his next move.

“Please, aunt Inko. Please let me talk to Izukun. It’s important.”

More pauses, then, “Did you really fall, Kastuki-kun?” His heart stopped cold at her voice. Dead serious.

“What-“

“Listen. I don’t pretend to know what’s going on between you two, but I know it’s something. And, I’m not going to get in the way of your friendship, but sometimes…” She sighed. It sounded tired. She sounded tired. “Sometimes there are things you need to talk to adults about.”

He didn’t say anything at all in response, staring sullenly at the sheets. She sighed again.

“I’m sorry. I’m sure this feels uncomfortable. It probably sounds like I’m sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong, but I just want to make sure you kids are okay. So, please, Katsuki-kun. I won’t prevent you from speaking to Izuku if you really feel it’s that important. But I just want to know if you really fell today, or if something happened.”

He was quiet for a moment more before he cleared his throat.

“Something did happen.” God, he hated this. His voice was scratchy and weak sounding, and he had to wipe even more tears from his eyes. “But… But I also really did fall. But something happened before that, that’s why I want to talk to him.”

Inko’s smile was back in her voice when she responded. “I see. Understood, Katsuki-kun. Give me a minute to get him, okay sweetie?”

He nodded, before remembering that she couldn’t see him. It didn’t matter anyway, because there was scuffling over the line and he could hear her takig to Izuku, and then he was on the phone himself.

“Kacchan? Are you okay? Are you hurt? The doctors said something about your hearing but I didn’t ask again before I left, and you fell so hard and there was so much blood, Kacchan, you looked really bad and band aids weren’t helping, of course they weren’t helping but it was all that was there, and the people didn’t come at first and I thought you might get hurt really bad, and-“

“Izuku.”

He held back the tiny satisfaction he got from startling the other kid into silence, before he spoke again.

“K-Kacchan?” His voice still sounded so weak over the phone. So small.

“I was being shitty,” He started at last, shaking his head. “I think. I was trying to think about what you said before, on the bridge.”

“N-No, I was just being angry, that wasn’t-“

“Izuku.”

He went quiet again, and Katsuki took in a deep breath.

“Just- just, shut up for a second, okay? I’m going to say somethings, and I’m not repeating them for you.” He closed his eyes again, pursing his lips at he thought.

“I’m… sorry.”

He exhaled hard after that, grimacing. “I’ve been a shitty hero, right? Hurting you? Hurting your feelings, or whatever. And then this whole thing happened. Look. I’m… going to become the best hero. The greatest hero. And if I can’t even protect the one stupid person who-“ he sucked in a sharp breath, cutting off his thought and shaking his head.

“I’m going to become the number one hero. Which means I’m going to protect you. Better than I have before now. Okay? And I’ll do whatever that takes. I didn’t do it good before, but I’m going to get better. Which means… not treating you like you’re useless.” He thought about his time in the hospital and grinded his teeth slightly. “Maybe you can still be… different, injured, without being useless.”

The other line was quiet for a long time before he caught a hiccup.

“Are you crying?”

“N-no!” But there was a very clear sob working its way over the receiver. “You just… said a lot of really nice things, Kacchan.”

He growled then, wiping at his own eyes. “Yeah, well, you know what? I don’t care. Cry, damn it.”

“You’re crying too, Kacchan.”

“You stupid liar, I’m not.” He shook his head. “That was it. That was all I wanted to say. I’m hanging up now, stupid De- Izuku.”

“Kacchan, wait.”

He did, tapping impatiently at the phone as he did.

“Are you- are you out of the hospital tomorrow?”

“Yeah.”

“Come visit me? S-Something happened. I want to tell you, but. Not over the phone.”

He huffed a loud sigh, but smiled slightly. “Yeah. I’ll tell my hag to talk to Auntie.” He paused. “I have something else to tell you to. It can wait till I see you.”

“Okay. Then, um, I’ll see you soon?”

“Yeah, bye shitty nerd.”

He hung up the phone, turning it off and staring out the window at the darkened sky, waiting for his parents to come back so he could ask them about going to Izuku’s.

Chapter Text

 

The glasses were heavy.

Izuku frowned to himself as he clung to his mother’s arm, blinking rapidly behind the dark lenses as if that would help them clear.

He didn’t like this at all. He was completely at the mercy of his mom, needing her to guide him through the halls to the ground floor, where there was supposed to be a car waiting to take them back to the apartment.

He hoped the apartment would be easy and nice, so he could take the blinds off.

At least there wouldn’t be so many people as in the stupid hospital. He moved closer to his mom as someone brushed by him, his glower returning.

Luckily, he had a pretty great mom. He was able to weave between people to get him to the elevator, but the said elevator was… pretty packed. He was curious about what the sight would be with his quirk, but the threat of death still hung over him, so he didn’t dare touch the blinds.

The car ride was more jarring than he thought it would be, the feeling of movement was there, but it also wasn’t, and with no scenery to look over his mind fixated on every bump and turn. He clung resolutely to his mom, though neither of them spoke a word.

It wasn’t long until he was being lead up to the apartment, toeing his shoes off in the small doorway before stepping up onto the lip, opening the door for the rest of the apartment. He paused for a minute, still swimming in his inky blackness, before he felt his mother’s hand on his shoulder.

“Only when you think you’re ready. Don’t force it.” She said quietly, but Izuku shook his head. He was ready, he wanted to see with his quirk.  He took a deep breath before slowly lifting the blinds off.

The floor was awash in green string, soft bright and minty- and vaguely illuminating the ground. He walked over it, looking around in awe. It moved around the house, coiling in places, branching out in others, the string seeming to thin and thin and thin before vanishing completely, somewhere by the couch. It was a dazzling sight.

He startled at the chuckle behind him and turned to see his mom, really see her. She was surrounded by a fuzzy haze, the same mint green as the ropes across the floor. So that was her path, then, winding around the house a bit.

Where was his?

He stared down at his feet, squinting to make out the brightly colored string he found there, a white color, with maybe a hint of blue. It stretched out straight in front of him a few feet, then stopped, completely unlike his mother’s string. It didn’t even pool beneath his feet, not really.

He watched It for a minute, then hummed. For a brief moment, he thought to himself, maybe I should try to follow it to my room? And all of a sudden the white stretched out before his eyes, leading him on a path to his bedroom door.

He grinned then, turning again to his mom, and with the shift of intentions his string immediately pointed him right to her. He ran up to her without so much as a stumble, following his path to her feet.

“Mom! Mom it’s so cool! You’re like- you’re this kind of green color and it’s all over the floor! Everywhere, mom! And mine is white- maybe, like, because they’re all lights and I’m the seer, the white is ‘cause I have all the colors? Because my art teacher says white is all the colors, even though when I mix all the colors it turns brown, but- Mom, stop laughing!”

But she didn’t stop, scooping him up into her arms instead.

“I’m sorry, Izuku, but you’re so very cute.” She laughed again, holding him tight for a second before letting her down. “I’m so happy you have a quirk, baby. I knew it was only a matter of time.” She smiled, but Izuku saw it now. The red rim on her eyes, the worry in them. He grabbed her arm, features twisted with his own worry now.

“Mom?”

Inko, just shook her head, smile dropping off now. Izuku saw the brief few seconds before she moved, the map of the house shifted, and her path lead her straight to the kitchen. He headed that way just a bit before she did, and he could see the surprise on her face before her eyes softened.

“How about I make some Katsudon for tonight?” She asked with a warm smile. ”In celebration of your quirk, and because you did a very good thing when your friend got hurt.”

 Izuku nodded at once, intercepting his mother’s path to the fridge and the cabinet to start collecting ingredients. He heard her sigh and looked over, noting that her path had shifted to grab a bag from the couch. Since when had that been there?

“Mom?”

She looked back at him with a small smile. “Sweetie. I saw this in the hospital giftstore… I hadn’t thought it would be so crowded, but I couldn’t not get it for you, not now.”

Oh, so that’s why it had taken so long to leave. He put the ingredients he was holding on the table, walking over with wide, curious eyes. A book? He took it when she handed it out to him before gasping when he saw it.

The cover was thick, a hardcovered book, with a what seemed like a million pages- much more than there usually were in the notebooks he used. A sort of green blue wave print was stretched over the whole thing, but the most amazing part was what looked like a big silvery tear shape in the center. When he tilted the book back and forth, it would shine like a rainbow.

It was beautiful.

“It’s just… well, I’ll have to check with Hisashi about your quirk, if someone in his family had it they might also have a book you could read, but…” She smiled slightly, wringing her hands in front of her while she watched him. “It’s so you can keep a record of how your quirk works. I know you like to write about other quirks, too, but this is more special than that, so… it needed a special notebook.”

Izuku stared at it for a moment. His own quirk book. For his own quirk.

His face split into a huge smile, and he immediately hugged the book close to his chest. “I’m gonna take really good care of it! I promise! I’ll use it all the time- I’m going to go use it right now!” He immediately took off toward his room, Inko tensing as he ran, but he didn’t crash into anything, so she sighed and relaxed against the couch, only jumping slightly when her phone went off.

“Mistuki-san?”


 

Izuku couldn’t wait for the next day. He couldn’t wait for the Bakugou’s to arrive.

A lot of the reason was that finally, finally he had a quirk! He wasn’t just the useless Deku like Katsuki said he was! Not that he should discredit Katsuki either, though, because obviously his friend had understood something, had promised to be nicer to him.

And he’d wanted to explain something to him, too.

His mom seemed more apprehensive about the whole thing, and Izuku didn’t miss it when she put the blinders out on the table, although he did hope he wouldn’t need them today.

To be fair to her, though, she was doing her best to keep herself relaxed. She didn’t move around much either, which he was thankful for. Her threads were small, but bright, so when she was active it covered the carpet in lights.

It was a little easier to manage when there were just small pools.

But the occasional threads still poked out every which way, constantly changing and moving while she thought about pacing or getting up or doing anything.

It was something he had realized the night before. He quirk worked in branches. Every possible move that could be made was illuminated, but also some were brighter than others were for some reason, and the more they branches out the thinner they would get.

He still didn’t understand half of the quirk itself, but it was sort of fun to just sit and watch his mom’s branches, let them spiderweb out and change. They almost reminded him or little octopus tentacles, reaching out and retracting and moving.

It was really relaxing. He had watched it for a while the night before, letting the soft mint glow soothe him, and he wathed it now, although he interrupted himself every five minutes to watch the door intently.

“They’re on their way, Izuku-kun. Just be patient, okay?” He mom told him, offering a smile even though her attention seemed to be focused on the computer screen. He huffed and leaned against the back of the couch, staring at her quirk again before his eyes went wide and he shot up when suddenly one stretched out towards the door.

A second later saw him covering his eyes, groaning at a headache as the floor became awash in color. He sank back to his knees, waiting for the sharp pain to dull and ebb away before managing to crack his eyes open again.

Inko was kneeling before him, hands outstretched but not touching him yet, and he tried to wave her off. “I’m okay, I’m okay it’s just a headache. I’ll be alright.”

He didn’t look convinced, but he did his best All Might protection smile for her. “They’re on their way up, I think,” he said, still half shielding his eyes from the colors that swarmed around him, waiting for his eyes to adjust before sighing and covering his head again.

Maybe this was a bad idea.

He heard the shifting of the floorboards as his mother stood up again, listening to her footsteps as she reached the door, seemingly seconds before they heard a knock. The door opened and closed, and he heard the soft murmurs of muffled conversation.

He dared to peak his eyes open again.

To his great relief, the colors seemed to have died down a bit as some of the branches disappeared, but threads still cover the carpet before him, what looked like two shades of orange and a thread of grey now filled the spaces left behind by Inko’s soft green.

He groaned, rubbing at his head before he heard Bakugo’s signature yells from behind the door, although he seemed much… louder than he usually was.

“What do you mean I can’t see him? He’s the one who invited me!”

He cracked a tiny smile at that, then pushed himself up, ignoring his pounding head. There was so much light, too much light. He recognized the signs of overstimulation, though. It happened to him before. So he forced himself to take slow steps towards the table, focusing exclusively on his own path, letting it lead him to the table.

The minute he slid into the darkness of the glasses, he felt more at ease. The light was gone, and after a moment his headache dissipated too. Katsuki was still yelling on the other side of the door, sounding… distressed, to say the least, so Izuku took a deep breath and started to walk in the direction that he thought he remembered the door was at, arms outstretched for any obstacles around him. Eventually he made it to the hallway, and he switched to a hand on the wall until he got to the door, opening it up.

HE knew he made a scene when all the voices outside suddenly fell quiet. He shifted in place a little before finally putting on a smile.

“Hi.”

Immediately, there was movement, and he was suddenly being man handled by Katsuki, who had grabbed his head, pulling it this way and that, ignoring the adults when they yelled his name.

“You did get hurt,” He said at last, sounding vaguely upset. “Izukun. I thought you were fine.”

“What?” Izuku was left blinking in confusion behind the glasses when he was pulled into a sort of hug.

“I was told you were fine. Everyone told me you were fine!” He could feel heat against his back where bakugo held him. “Auntie Inko said…! I can’t believe you lied to me!”

“Katsuki-kun, it’s not what you think it is.” That was his mom’s voice then, speaking over the blond. “Izuku-kun isn’t hurt”

“Cut the crap, I see his glasses! He’s blind!”

And then it hit Izuku, and he shook his head and pulled away from his friend, arms out in a placating manner. He didn’t miss how Katsuki grabbed his wrist, though.

“No, Kacchan, it’s okay. I’m not blind. I can still see- just not with these glasses on,” He tried to explain.

“Then why are you wearing them?”

“For my quirk!”

Dead silence, and then-

“What?”

That had to be Mistuki’s voice, but it was so quiet and unlike her. He smiled brightly, though he dropped it when he heard someone sigh.

“This is going to take a little while to explain, just- give me a moment, Izuku, sweetite.” He turned toward his mom’s voice, biting his lip. “Are you sure you want to do this today? Your head…”

“No, mom- I’m fine, I promise. The glasses help a lot. I don’t even have a headache right now!”

“If you’re sure.” There was the rustle of fabric, and then, “Katsuki-kun, why don’t you take Izuku-kun to the living room.”

“No, my bedroom! I want to show him my notebook!”

“Well… Okay, then. Your bedroom. And I’ll talk to your mom and dad, Katsuki-kun.”

“Yeah… Okay, Inko.”

And then suddenly he was being pulled back into the house, and oh boy. If he thought that he didn’t like his mom leading him around, then he sure didn’t like it when Katsuki did it. He was pulled relatively straight, trying to follow close behind the other boy so as not to run into any walls. The minute he was sure they were in his room, though, he pulled his arm free, reaching for the closest wall and following it to his bed.

And then there was a silence.

“Did you get more All Might figures since the last time I was in here?”

Izuku smiled to himself. “Maybe. Dad likes to send stuff from the US sometimes.”

“Yeah, of course he does.” A snort, and then Katsuki was pushing him over from the left.

“Why not just sit on the other side of me, Kacchan? There’s more space-”

“Because I want to sit on this side. Shut up.”

He did, waiting a little before finally he heard Katuski suck in a breath.

“So you said you had a quirk.”

And Izuku broke into a wide smile, bouncing on his bed a little.

“Oh! It’s amazing, Kacchan!” He did a little double fist pump, hand wave of excitement while he spoke. “The doctors said that my quirk just came in late! They said it’s a thing that can happen sometimes, and because it’s a vision quirk it  might just be late because of the injury anyway! And it’s so cool! There are so many pretty lights and colors and- I have- ah,” he looked around the room a little, realizing that he was completely disoriented with it all when he couldn’t see. “Mom got me a notebook, it’s around here somewhere. It’s sort of green and blue and purple?”

“This one?” He looked in the direction Katsuki’s voice was coming from before sort of shrugging. Katsuki seemed to sigh before explaining, “It looks like a sort of ocean-y kind of picture. There’s a water drop on the front.”

“Yeah! That’s it, that’s my quirk book!”

Katuski settled onto the bed besite him again, and he could hear the pages flipping before a small scoff.

“Pathseeing?”

“Yeah! That’s the name of it. It’s a future seeing quirk.” He heard a sharp intake of breath, but barreled on anyway. “It’s like- how did the nurse put it. It’s like, if you decided to walk across the room, I would see the line you’ll make before you move, but I see it for everything, everytime someone moves. They look like strings. And people have a lot of them. And everyone’s color Is different!”

“Okay…” Katsuki flipped another page. “What about when someone stops moving?”

“Then it sorta pools around them, like a pile.”

“Hm.”

Izuku’s smile faded a little bit at Katsuki’s noncommittal noise, scooting closer.

“Is something the matter?”

“Yeah, You have really awful handwriting, that’s what’s the matter. You write about quirks all the time, how is your writing this bad?” There was a teasing lilt in Katsuki’s voice, and Izuku laughed without thinking about it, giggling when he was pushed.

“Don’t laugh, nerd, it’s a real problem!”

“I know, I know.” Izuku’s laughter died out a little, and he gestured towards where he thought his table was. “I was practicing everything I was going to write, too, to make sure it looked nice. Maybe I’ll wait until I write better to try again.”

“You should.” There was a smiled in Katuski’s voice, though, and Izuku felt the silence they fell into was more comfortable than before. Until he closed the book.

 “But I don’t understand- why do you need the dark glasses? You already have a nerdy normal pair.”

“Oh.” Izuku’s smile fell at once, and he fisted his shirt in in hands, looking down a bit.

“My quirk… it’s too much for me right now. The doctor I talked to said, said my injury could make it worse. So, I have to be really careful. And not push it.” He sighed. “Earlier today when you guys came, all of your strings covered the floor, it was really bright. I put on the glasses to block it out.”

“Okay. Then you can’t see through those glasses?”

“No.”

There was pause. “Can you see through walls, Then? Do you see the lights past the walls?”

Izuku paused at that, considering it. “I don’t… think so? No. I only see the lights where I can see the floor.”

Katsuki scoffed. “Then you can probably take them off in your room, idiot.”

Oh! “Oh yeah!  I probably can.” Izuku grinned. He forgot about that part. He could handle his mom after all- Kacchan was no different. So he took his glasses, trying to let his eyes adjust to the light before another pair of hands slapped over his eyes.

“Kacchan!” He hissed through his teeth for a moment, covering the hands that covered his eyes. “That hurt.”

“Don’t look yet.”

“..What?” Izuku frowned.

“Just- look, you know I fell off the stupid bridge, I got hurt. It’s not bad, but it looks bad, okay?”

Izuku’s heart fell through his stomach, and he rushed to push Katsuki’s hands away, only to have to stifle a gasp.

Kacchan looked like he went through hell. He knew the doctor said he got cut up, but this was something else. He wasn’t bruised or scraped, but there were nicks and small scars where there weren’t before across his arms, and a small scar on his face, just under his left eye. And his head-

His head was covered in white bandages, completely covering his left ear as well.

He looked scared and embarrassed by the whole thing, to boot.

And for a moment, Izuku can only think, ‘So that’s why the Bandaids didn’t work. They needed heavy duty ones.

But then he shakes his head and reaches out for katsuki’s arm. “Is it- is it bad?”

“No.Not really.” Katsuki rolls his eyes, but then stares at a blue bandaid on his knee. “Mostly It’s just to keep the cut from being infected. But,” He bit his lip, adverting his eyes completely away from Izuku, turning his head too. “I can’t hear in one ear because of it.”

“Oh. You’re deaf.”

“No! I’m not!” He looked back then with a huff, but his cheeks pinked and he glanced away just as quickly. “I can still hear your stupid voice, can’t I? Just… Only in one ear is all.”

“So… half-deaf.”

“Deku!”

Izuku laughed softly, but then he raised his hands.

“There’s a language that uses hand motion. No talking. Maybe we can learn it together?”

Katsuki blinks at him, honestly looks mystified by the suggestion before huffing and crossing his arms, but the blush doesn’t recent and he doesn’t rebuke the offer, so Izuku calls it a success.

“Anyway, you can see again. So?”

“Uh, So what?”

“So what’s my path… thing look like.”

Izuku’s eyes go wide, and he grins, looking down, and sure enough.

Thick orange cables draped across his knees, pooled in a pile on the floor.

“Well, you’re not moving anytime soon. It’s kinda thick and it’s like and orange? But not completely orange. It’s sort of reddish. It’s a nice color, though.”

“Hn.” Bakugo was fighting to keep a pleased smile off of his face. “Of course it’s a nice color, d-Izuku.”

Izuku laughed, then shook his head with a grin.

“Just call me Deku. It’s okay.”

Bakugo watched him with a squint. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah. It’s okay. All the heros have to remember their roots, right? And I’m not going to be useless in the future, but if I was in the past that’s fine. It’s in-Incentive.”

Katsuki snorted and rolled his eyes. “Whatever you say, Deku. Do you still have that all might fighting game, the one for the DS?”

“Of course?”

“Get it out. It’s been a while since I pummeled you.”

“Oh, in your dreams, Katsuki!”


 

Somewhere else in Japan, a tall figure with curly black hair was curled in a ball in a dark cold room, clutching a photo of his wife and son with shaking hands.

He muttered apologies over and over while desperately trying to breath fire.

Chapter Text

Izuku doesn’t have as much trouble adjusting as he had thought he would.

They couldn’t get in contact with Hisashi, which is upsetting enough on it’s own, but the doctor did send them some informational pamphlets about future seeing quirks.

The straight statistics were enough to make his mother cry.

“Future seeing quirks make up about .001% of the population. Of that, 25% make it to adult hood, and 5% reach their fourties. Common threats to the future seer’s health and safety are over usage, over stimulation, and kidnapping.”

It didn’t paint of positive outlook for his future.

He said as much to Katuski once, who simply scoffed.

“Yeah, but that’s normal people, Deku. We both know you’re better than that. How else are you going to be my sidekick when we get older?”

“I’m not going to be your sidekick, Kacchan.”

“Sure you will, don’t sell yourself short.”

Katsuki always went on about how he would be his sidekick one day, despite how much Izuku told him he’d become his own hero. Apparently, the idea was absurd to him, but Izuku wasn’t deterred from it. He knew what his goal was- to be a hero who saves people with a smile.

It seemed like a much closer goal now that his smiles were coming easier.

It wasn’t like getting a quirk fixed everything. That would have been some miracle on it’s own. No, he still couldn’t see well without his glasses and he still couldn’t understand objects in space. He still had weekly meeting with the physical therapist, still dubbed Hero Training even after he had come to terms with it.

In fact, getting a quirk had only added problems, because now he had a whole mental aspect that he had to watch out for as well, not just a physical one. He had to add Quirk training biweekly until it was shown that he could handle the effects. He couldn’t go to school without his ‘blinders’ as he called it, for a while.

But it was better! Better than before, anyway. For one thing, Katsuki stuck around him not because of any innate sense of duty, but because he wanted to. that was better.

However, he couldn’t ignore that Katsuki had to struggle with his own hurtles as well.

The first two weeks had come and gone, and he’d acclimated to his lack of hearing pretty well, or as well as he could. He grumbled about music being different, and he was constantly angling his head to try and hear better, but he never for a second let the experience get him down.

He did have a bit of trouble with his parents.

Izuku was experienced at the whole being injured thing.  When they got the news about his quirk there was worry and tears, but it wasn’t something that his Mother forced him into isolation from. She already knew that wasn’t helpful.

(to be fair to Inko, she tried to warn Mistuki about being overbearing, about how Katsuki would probably react worse to it than Izuku did, but worried parents are a force to be reckoned with)

Katsuki ended up running away from home a handful of times over the first two weeks while they struggled to get adjusted to the new normal they found themselves in, but he would almost exclusively head to the Midoriya’s, so there was never too much trouble waiting for him.

But it did put Izuku into a weird sort of worry where he tried to figure out what to do.

He still went to school (excluding the first few days where both he and Katsuki stayed home while their respective families tried to figure out what to do) and he knew he needed to find a way to become self-reliant, and quickly. He didn’t have to have to burden Katsuki while the other boy was still going though his own problems- and he really didn’t want to risk the fragile friendship equality they had going on.

So, despite doctor’s orders, he did push himself with his quirk.

He started just by waking around at night, with Inko. Less people at night meant less paths, but there were still plenty of stragglers for him to have to sort through. He realized quickly that the wider amount of area meant the paths were a lot less constrained, so the spacing did give his head a reprieve.

In fact, it was mostly these late-night walks that helped him figure out a lot of stuff.

For example, there was a shade of red that didn’t occur in paths naturally, and it meant pain. If it appeared in a path, either for a blip or a period of time, it meant that that person would get hurt in some way. Had he not been out watching a villain fight that night, it would have taken longer to realize that, which would have sucked because that bit of information was particularly helpful to him.

(At least, that’s how he justified watching nighttime villain fights)

But he wasn’t wrong! It was helpful, because as weird as his own path might be, it still showed him those blips where he would hurt himself by tripping or stubbing his toe, so as long as he saw it coming he could avoid it best he could.

He also took the time to study the colors of the paths surrounding him, trying to figure out what they meant, but he knew it would take a while to get to the point where glancing at a path would immediately reveal the kind of person someone was, though he had no doubt he’d get there.

And even better, after a few unfortunate experiences at night involving villains, Izuku learned how to tell a hero from a villain, and it wasn’t always consistent with what the news said.

Here was the difference: A hero was always saving and helping other people, without thinking about themselves at all, at least not in the moment of saving, and their paths shone with a metallic sheen whenever they did hero work.

A villain was someone who exclusively only thought about themselves and didn’t spare a single thought for anyone else around them. Their paths were dingy, dirty, muddied versions of what their colors were originally supposed to be, especially at the moment of crime.

You can see how this wasn’t always the case for textbook heroes and villains, right?

Izuku met a lot of vigilantes at night, even later after those first few weeks, that he wholeheartedly considered heroes without one regard to the hero industry.

He also met many a villain that he could tell never truly had villain intent, with golden paths as well- though it was mostly only thieves who held that honor. Those who stole while only thinking about others and not the consequences to themselves held a special place in his bleeding heart.

It didn’t take long for Izuku to realize that the whole system was broken, because of his quirk.

He also relayed that to Katsuki, who to his surprise spent a long while mulling it over, trying to understand.

Only he clearly didn’t get it, Izuku realized, because he loudly exclaimed about how that was ‘fucked up’ but then turned around and promised Izuku that when they became heroes, he’s assigned Izuku to handle vigilant cases, which was… less than ideal to prove that he understood the concepts, but it was obvious he was trying.

Eventually, Izuku slowly learned to tune out his quirk, which he likened to learning how to see again.

He described it like this: instead of taking in all of the information that his quirk was trying to give him at once, he’d learned to let it just brush by him.

Basically, it was selective focus.

He would let all of the information in, instead of purposely trying to block it out, and it became a subconscious decision the what information was needed and what information wasn’t. His quirk began to feel like a part of him. He was able to go to school without blinders.

And two more years passed in the blink of an eye.


When he was nine, going on ten, he’d come up with a basic sort of list of rules about his quirk.

He saw people’s physical paths as they moved through spaces. Each person had branches for paths they might or might not choose, and the thicker the string seemed the more likely they were to take it. The paths would generally go forever, but after a certain point the branches would just become so small they’d be minuscule. This means that someone who generally has clear sight on what they’re doing will have a easily traced path that he could follow for a long time, while someone who was more indecisive would have a few small paths that he could only trace a little while, depending on their options. Everyone had a special color just for them, but each color group generally had the same meaning. What that meaning was constantly being worked on though, as he and Katsuki studied color theory and tried to figure out what certain groups of people had in common.

His own path wasn’t bound by the rules, it basically just provided a beacon for him to use when he’s decided to go somewhere, to understand where it was or to see where certain pain would come from to try and avoid, which didn’t always work anyway. Most of the time he used it as a crutch, relying on it to see rather than using his glasses.

He also learned that the quirk had a secondary ability which came in handy when he started to get frazzled and needed to fall back on his blinders. If he couldn’t see, his intuition and sense of direction were heightened immensely, which combined with muscle memory meant that after school he could afford to slip on his blinders and walk home in his own pitch-black world.

It was especially helpful, because as of one year ago, the mother son pair had moved back into their old house.

They’d held onto the apartment about as long as they could get away with, in order to support the Bakugous with Katsuki’s ear condition.

The blond had asked Izuku to go with him to every doctor visit regarding his ear, whether it was about potential surgeries or trying new hearing aids.

The first few models didn’t work for him, because he wasn’t really deaf. Being able to hear in one ear meant he needed a hearing aid that would actually regulate the sounds in balance, which seemed impossible. And then he also needed a hearing aid that would be compatible with his quirk, because even after they found one that worked he couldn’t use it in conjunction with his explosions, it’d make the thing go haywire. His ears were adapted for his quirk- hearing aids were not.

Which fed directly into talk of surgery, and then specific procedures, and then specific dates.

And Izuku was there for every single one.

But eventually, the Bakugous couldn’t bear to keep going with no results, and the medical staff didn’t want to preform on the boy anymore for fear of messing it up further, so they circled back to hearing aids, which is where they were when finally, the Midoriya family was forced to leave the apartment.

But that had been a long time coming, too.

Inko wasn’t able to contact Hisashi at all in the past two years, even going as far as listing him a missing person when she called his office and they claimed not to know of his whereabouts either. There was still money coming in from somewhere that Inko was grateful for, but didn’t understand, and it wasn’t nearly the amount that had been coming in when they still kept contact.

So Inko had to get a job.

And money was tight for a while. Izuku’s allowance was put on pause, as was his steady flow of merchandise, while she tried to figure it out, and eventually there was just no other choice but to move back to the house. The apartment just got too expensive.

But despite it all, Izuku worked hard and kept up his smile, never once loosing sight of his goal. His notebook was filled with quirk ideas and theories to test, for both him and Katsuki, and he had been high in terms of grades for a long while.

He had long since grown out of quirk counseling, which freed up his nights, and although he still needed physical therapy (and it felt like he might need it all his life at this point) he managed to have free time every night.

So he took Katsuki and went patrolling.

One thing about understanding how broken the system was, was that it gave you lots of time to develop your own morals independent of the way the world worked. With enough explanation, he even managed to finally explain the whole things to Katsuki as well.

They weren’t vigilantes, but they weren’t not that.

With Izuku’s pathseeing quirk and Katsuki’s explosions, they were a wonder duo that could solve many a common person’s problem. Izuku convinced Katsuki that they should go out and try to help as many people as they could, not by fighting but by doing what they could to prevent petty villains from trying their hand.

That meant that a portion of the meager allowances they had would go towards buying food and blankets, and they’d head to the backroads, looking for paths of people who needed help.

This also lead to the best encounter or Izuku’s young life.

It was dark out and Katsuki was struggling with another new hearing aid when Izuku spotted the telltale metallic sheen of a hero, but it was completely interspliced with bloody raw red. He explained it to Katsuki, gripping the other boy’s arm tightly as they snuck between buildings, trying to get to the epicenter of such a path.

Izuku gasped when he finally saw the culprit.

A rather emancipated looking old man, in baggy clothing, was seated on a public bench, staring at his hands as if lost in thought. From every side, his paths were a glowing metallic gold, betraying all of Izuku’s understanding.

Metallic colors usually meant that that person was thinking of helping other people, without regard to his own state of being. That this man was constantly thinking of that was amazing.

To be fair to the old man, it wasn’t consistent. The sheen would fade and return, generally with dark ashen patches Izuku learned to associate most with villians, but they were far and few between. It was a feat in and of itself to have those moments of self-thought and still have the shining shimmer of hero in a day-to-day setting.

Katsuki at his side was becoming agitated the longer he stared, though.

“What is it? Is the old man some sort of mob boss? Yakuza?” He asked, hissing it in an effort to stay as quiet as possible. Izuku shook his head, looking back.

“I think he’s a hero?” He muttered into the blonde’s good ear. “But I can’t tell. His path is shining gold, the whole way through.

Bakugo’s eyes went wide at that. “You mean-?” Izuku nodded seriously.

“But more than that, there’s pain-red everywhere in them. Like he’s just… in pain. Constantly.” Izuku dared a glance back at the man, sucking in a breath quickly when all of a sudden the paths converged into one, one that was rapidly becoming translucent.

“He’s going to get himself killed- come on.”

“Deku, wait-!”

But it was too late, Izuku was already on his way to greet the man.

 

Chapter Text

Toshinori stared down at his hands with a frown.

What was he supposed to do now?

All for One had significantly weakened him, to the point that he wondered if it might have even been better to just die. Whatever he did, however he did it, he managed to create a total divide between him and his quirk- him and one for all. Prior to the fight, the quirk had felt just as natural to him as his arm, like an extension of himself. Now it felt just as divided as it did when he first got it.

How was he supposed to help people like this?

He’d requested the information be withheld from the public, which made sense at the time- he didn’t want people to worry about the end of an era. But with that came a stretch of time where All Might just… wasn’t active. And all the worry that he was trying to circumnavigate was just coming in slower than it would have, and it would only go up the longer he stays out of the public eye. After all, the whole reason he kept the damn story away from press was to uphold his image as a pillar, the symbol for hope, but if he couldn’t go out to re-enforce that image than what even was the point of it?

So then he needs to get back into heroics. He has to do something, doctors be damned.

Would it hurt him, though?

But what did that matter, truly? The doctors said it would always hurt, even just a little. And he knows, he knows he’s not supposed to be out there yet, but what else is he expected to do? Wait around until it hurts slightly less?

No. That is unacceptable.

He breathed out slowly, tensed. Then… it was time to see what he could still do with All For One. If he could maintain the muscle form that he’d so painstakingly crafted, even just for a moment-

And suddenly there was a kid there, staring at him.

He pressed a hand to his mouth in an effort to keep the blood from spilling out in surprise, heart thundering in his chest. That was sudden, much too sudden. And he didn’t even feel a presence... He must be in worse shape than he thought.

“Um, hello,” he said at last, when he was comfortably certain the blood would remain in his body.

The kid didn’t say anything for a moment- nerves, Toshi thought. He looked like he was just a pile of nervous energy wrapped into a human shape. Poor kid, he kept looking down at his feet before trying to glance back up at him, fidgeting with the hem of his shirt.

Toshinori thought, belatedly, that the kid might just be afraid of him because of how he looks. He fought to keep a grimace off his face then, schooling his features into something he thought was more soft.

“Hey, kid,” he said quietly. “Is everything okay? Did you need to say something? I’ll listen, to whatever it is.”

That seemed to get him to relax, if only a little. He saw the briefest smile appear for a moment before the kid finally looked him in the eye.

“I need you to come with me.”

It came out with a gravity that made Toshinori blink in surprise. The kid seemed to realize it too because then he was wincing and backtracking and stumbling over his words.

“That is, uh, If you can, that would be really cool, please. Not that I’m trying to do anything! I promise that I’m not a villain or anything or, well, maybe you wouldn’t accept that at face value, not that many people are out at night but and Kacc- my friend, we just like to help people and you looked like you needed help, so…”

He raised a hand to stop the kid, reeling for a moment at the amount of information that he’d gotten in what felt like a single second. The kid talked fast, and gave him a couple of things to unpack there.

He glanced behind him at the blond kid, still partially hidden behind a corner but inching ever closer, with what looked like a bucket with blankets and apples in it. They said they liked to help people?

His gut sank suddenly.

So this kid saw him and thought he needed help. Was it really that bad, that a couple of kids thought he was homeless just by his appearance?

But he couldn’t be rude. It was an incredibly selfless thing these children were doing, helping those in a rough patch in their community. These were the kinds of kids you needed to encourage, right?

“Thank you very much, young man,” he tried, giving the kid a smile and a small thumbs up. “That’s very kind of you! But, I’m not in need of assistance tonight. Please, save your good for those a little less fortunate than I.”

“What?” The kid turned and saw his friend, and tensed slightly, arms flapping in the air in an uncoordinated fashion as he looked back. “Oh, n-no! These are for other people- we weren’t going to give you a blanket. Er…” He trailed off then, a rather stricken look on his face as he mouthed something to himself- probably just trying to put his words together, Toshinori thought. He was trying to come up with his own in response too, he felt that.

“I’m sorry for the misunderstanding,” He tried then, watching the kid’s face carefully. “But I promise, I’m not in need of any other assistance tonight-”

And the kid was immediately shaking his head, back to staring at the floor.

Okay… so now he was allowed to get a little tense. He opened his mouth to try and excuse himself from the conversation, but the boy’s head immediately snapped up.

 “Are you a hero?”

And now he was super tense.

No, there was no way the kid could possibly know who he was, not to mention that with him looking the way he did, his ‘status’ wouldn’t be easy to see any other way.

Was this some kind of scheme? Were these two boys working for a villain hideout? Did they have connections to All for One, somehow, was it all a trap?

He set his jaw. First of all, calm down Toshi, he told himself. Even if it was the case, these kids were small enough that they may not realize it, or might be forced against their will to do bidding to someone so evil. He eyed the dark haired one, noting the bruises and scrapes, and then his eyes slid to the light scars on the blonde’s left side. Very possible he had a hostage situation on his hands. Even if it was a trap, there was a serious chance he could help these kids, and he wasn’t one to turn up his nose at the idea.

 “I am a hero, yes.”

The relief on the boy’s face was palpable.

“Could you- could you follow me, please? There’s- there’s someone I need to save, but I can’t do it on my own.”

Toshinori nodded grimly, standing up and trying to ignore his creaking knees.

“Of course, young man. Lead the way.”

The smile that broke out on the kids face was almost enough to dispel any worries he had before. Almost.

He watched the mop of dark hair stare at the floor again for a second before looking back at his blonde friend and waving him over before turning back.

“I’m Midoriya Izuku,” He started, then pointed back at his friend. “He’s Bakugou Katsuki. I’ll lead you where we need to go- it isn’t far, I promise.”

Ah, right, names. “I’m Yagi Toshinori.” He tried for a reassuring smile. “Lead the way.”

It was interesting to watch them walk together. Midoriya seemed intently focused on the ground around him, although Toshi started to understand why when he lifted his head to speak to is friend and began to stumble.

And in direct contrast, Bakugou walked wiht all of the confidence a young boy could have, although he did tend to favor his right side, Toshi noticed. His thoughts drifted to the scars he had seen, wondering what the story was behind those.

But they were both out here, at night, willingly giving up their time and resources to people in need, doing their best to help. They seemed like true heroes, through and through.

They could be the next generation, he mused. The next group fo aspiring heroes, the ones that would push back on the darkness. They could be the ones to inherit the world All Might would soon be giving up.

I think it’s time for you to pick a successor.

His smile faded suddenly, frowning as Nighteye’s words rang through his mind. There was no need to think of that yet, not when he could still be the pillar that everyone needed him to be. The next generation was coming, yes, but there was still plenty of time before he had to give up his quirk-

He stopped in his tracks when he felt a pair of eyes on him, looking up to see Midoriya staring.

“Are you alright?”

Toshi nodded slowly. Right. He shouldn’t focus on that. Right now, he was there for these kids, and whoever it was that they were trying to save.  Midoriya smiled at him before turning and leading them to a small house… and when had they moved out of the more populated areas?

“Okay… stay here for a second, alright? Um, I have to go inside and let- let her know you’re coming, okay?” Toshinori raised an eyebrow. Her? The person he needed to save, maybe? He nodded, taking in the relief on the boy’s face again before he turned to Bakugou. “Kacchan, you stay out here too,” He said quickly, eyes shifting in a way that must have been meaningful to them before entering the house.

And once the boy’s presence was gone, the world immediately felt ten degrees colder. Bakugou, across from him now, scoffed and crossed his arms.

“Let me get one thing straight with you,” he started. “I don’t know who you are, and I don’t care. If it were up to me, you’d still be dying on that park bench.”

Toshinori floundered a moment. Dying? He didn’t think- did the kid think he looked like this because he was dying? It made sense, of course, but it hadn’t crossed his mind-

“The only reason I’m still allowing you here” The kid continued on, drawing Toshinori’s attention back.  “Is because Deku said you’re a good person, and in most cases he’s right about that.” Bakugo inclined his head slightly. “But I don’t like it when people prove him wrong.”

The tiny crackle of explosions went off in the boy’s hand as he continued to stare Toshinori down, as if trying to make a point. Toshi immediately raised his own hands to placate him, shaking his head.

“I have no intention of hurting Mirdoriya,” he said quickly. “I am only here to help, I promise you.”

The small explosions still went off for a few moments before Bakugou looked away with a huff. “Yeah. Alright. But don’t even fucking blink the wrong way at him, or I’ll take you down, old man.”

Toshinori gaped at him for a moment, but before he could even piece together what he’d just heard come from the young kid’s mouth, the door was opening again.

The kid- Midoriya- was standing in the archway with a smile. Behind him, a woman who also had dark hair- green hair, he realized, they both had green hair- smiled as well, although it was much more uncertain.

“Welcome, Yagi-san,” she said, and he was surprised to hear the warmth in her voice, at odds with the worry in her eyes. “I’m Midoriya Inko, Izuku’s mother. I was just preparing a late night snack for the boys- why don’t you come in and eat with us?”

A meal? Wasn’t he supposed to be helping someone? And this was certainly no hostage situations. He supposed, then, that now was the time to back out if ever, but then he saw the younger Midoriya watching him with wide eyes, and his resolve crumbled away.

“That… would be lovely, Midoriya-san.” He said softly. “Thank you for the offer.”


 

The ‘snack’, if it could be called that, was more than he'd thought it would be.

Really, it was more of a meal, something Midoriya-san explained was due to the boys going out to patrol every night. 

He did question the patrols. Something of his incredulity must have shown on his face when she said 'every night,' because then young Midoriya was mumbling something about it being easier to see at night. It sounded interesting, but much to Toshinori’s disappointment it was almost immediately overshadowed by Bakugou’s shouting about being heroes and getting started on hero work early to be better than everyone else.

Then he asked what they were doing on the patrols.

“We beat up all the bad guys!” Bakugou said at once, fork raised in triumph.

“Usually we just give food and blankets to the homesless,” Young Midoriya murmured, looking down with a clear blush. “It’s not much.”

“Don’t tell him that, Deku. We beat up villians! Like heroes do!”

Young Midoriya pushed some food around his plate. “Sometimes we find lost people. Kids who wandered away during the night.”

“Oh yeah! Tell him about the invisible girl!”

“The invisible girl?” Toshinori asked, shifting his eyes to Midoriya, who finally looked up again with a bright smile.

“Yeah! There was an invisible family, they said their daughter ran away from home, and they couldn’t find her. So we offered to help. “

“Deku was actually pretty cool, we walked around the city until he saw her path, and then I lit up the way and got her home safe.” Bakugou grinned, looking to Inko as she praised him for his good work, but Toshinori’s mind had gone elsewhere.

“Her path?”

Young Midoriya seemed to flush again, back to poking around on his plate. “It’s my quirk,” he mumbled out. “I can see where people are about to go, their choices, and if they’re going to get hurt. I just looked for the path that seemed out of place.”

So a future seeing quirk. How odd.

“And this just happens… all the time?”

“Um… yes.” Toshinori took notice of the crease between the kid’s brows and the way his mother seemed to purse her lips, and garnered that it might be a sore topic, so he quickly switched tracks.

“Well! It sounds like a very good ability. I’m sure with time and practice, you could save many people with it!”

Commence the staring- open staring, from young Midoriya, making Toshi pause. Had he… said something wrong? He immediately raised his hands when he saw the big tears starting to collect in the boy’s eyes, but before he could get in a word he was beaten to the chase.

“Thank you.” He was wiping at his eyes with the back of his hand, the smallest smile on his face. “That’s, um. It’s just very nice to hear that. Thank you.”

 Toshinori sat in shock for a moment before feebly offering his own smile. “No need for thanks, my boy. I’m simply sating the truth.”

There was quiet for a moment before a chair suddenly screeched backward, Toshinori bringing a hand up as he coughed and stared at the blond kid who suddenly stood.

“Kacchan…?”

“He’s fine now, right? You did whatever you wanted to do with him?” Toshinori’s brows went up at the tone of voice Bakugou was putting out. “Why won’t you be done, then!” When Izuku said nothing, he grit his teeth.

“Well I’m going to sleep, then. Fu- forget this, and forget you,” he spat at Toshi before stomping off, Izuku immediately springing up with a ‘Kacchan, wait!’ and heading after him.

Toshinori watched them go before turning to Inko, who simply sighed.

“Sorry about that. Katsuki-kun tends to become jealous easily if he’s not the center of Izuku’s attention.” She shook her head, getting to her feet as well and prompting Toshi to stand. “He’ll be fine after they talk it out tonight.”

“Right.” His eyes strayed to the door the boys disappeared behind, then shook his head. It’s none of your business, he told himself firmly. “Then it sounds like I should be taking my leave.”

“Ah, yes. Let me see you to the door.”

Toshinori simply nodded, following her around a corner to the door and only pausing when he heard footsteps behind him.

“Um!”

He turned to see the young Midoriya standing, shirt clutched in his fists as his eyes shifted quickly up to Toshinori’s face.

“Yagi-san!” He fidgeted, but his face was set in determination. “Please be careful on your way home! And please come by and see us again whenever you’d like!”

He felt rooted to the spot, watching the boy stare again at the floor and smile, and- oh, his quirk. The reason he’d reached out before, the reason he was still reaching out- the boy must be seeing something in his future.

This kid… was just too kind for his own good, wasn’t he?

“My boy,” he said at last, kneeling down to be closer to eye level. “I promise to be very careful.” The relived smile on his face almost made him not want to ask the question, but… “I just want to ask one thing before I leave. You had mentioned needing me to save someone.” And the kid’s face fell.

“I didn’t lie,” he blurted, very quickly. “I didn’t- You weren’t coming with me, and your path was shutting down, so… so…”

“So you wanted to save me?”

“R-Right.” He was tense now, like he expected something bad to happen, but Toshinori simply smiled, reaching out to ruffle the kid’s hair gently.

“Do you want to be a hero, my boy?” He asked, eyes crinkling into a smile when he watched the green curls bob up and down.

“Well, you have the marking of the truest hero I’ve met yet..”

The shocked look he received made him laugh softly, and tightened his resolve to help the kid. If he knew anything from Nighteye, it was that those who would make the best heroes were often overlooked, and he couldn’t bear the thought of losing the young Midoriya to such an uneven world.

“Midoriya-shounen,” he said seriously. “You already possess the number one thing that makes heroes the best at what they do.” He smiled. “The drive to help others. It’s something people tend to forget about when they want to be heroes, but having that drive, acting on it, that’s what makes the best of them so great. Can you promise me you’ll remember that?”

He watched the kid nod, fast enough to make him feel dizzy before he heard the quiet “I promise.’ He nodded, standing back up.

“Then keep it close to your heart, Midoriya-shounen… And you can be a hero.”

Izuku nodded again, a smile splitting his face ear to ear before he rushed back into the house.

And then Toshi heard more sniffles from behind him. I guess the whole family tends to be criers, he thought, patting down his sides for the tissue pack to offer Inko.

She took it gratefully, dabbing at his eyes. ‘sorry, it’s just… I think he really needed to hear that from someone. Thank you so very much.”

 “Ah, no, don’t worry about it.” He chuckled. “With that kind of quirk he’s uniquely suited to see these situations.” He raised on fist, smiling proudly. “That fact that he already steps in to help where he can already makes him a wonderful hero. I’m excited to see where he goes from here.”

Which was apparently the right thing to say, seeing as Inko’s tears came in full force then, and he scrambled to give her more tissues.

“His invitation was well placed,” She said at last. “If you ever need anything, feel free to stop by again one of these nights.”

“I will certainly keep it in mind,” Toshi vowed, inclining his head slightly. “And maybe we’ll see each other again soon.”

Inko smiled warmly. “I hope so.”

He smiled as he thanked her for the meal and left, although his thoughts kept circling to the green hair boy late into the night.

I think it’s time for you to pick a successor.

He had a feeling he’d be visiting the Midoriya family again soon.


 

Izuku could not sleep that well that night, Yagi-san’s words echoing in his head. You can be a hero.

The truest hero I’ve met yet.

He turned to face the other bed that Katsuki was asleep on, letting the words float around his head for a while before smiling.

You can be a hero.

Yeah. He could be.

Chapter Text

Toshinori slowly became a part of their lives.

Izuku was ecstatic about it, of course. An actual hero! A heroic hero! His golden path did waver a lot more now than it had on the first night they met, but there was still more metal in his path on a normal day than any other person he’d met yet, and how exciting was that?

He’d often come by on Friday nights, right when Izuku and Kastuki’s ‘snack’ time was, and he’d trade stories of his days as a hero for stories of theirs.

After a few weeks, he was treated to more personal anecdotes as well, especially if he could pick out Izuku’s rants. He heard more about Izuku’s quirk, some information about Katsuki’s hearing (although he never got an explanation for his scars) and just daily stories unrelated to anything in particular. It was nice, though. It made him feel a part of the dynamic.

In return, he explained more about himself as well- mostly to Inko, or just to the two on those rare days Katsuki went back to his own household. He didn’t divulge any serious information- for example All Might was still completely under wraps- but he could give them some things. Bits of his childhood, information about his personal life, explanations about living alone and other such small things.

Although once, much to Izuku’s pleasure, he did slip up about his injury in front of all three of them.

He hadn’t meant to say anything... ever. It came out by accident when Inko asked if there was a reason he never ate. While Izuku might have been content to let it go and ask about it in private, Katsuki held no such ideas. He immediately bombarded him with a million and one questions about what happened, and how he was supposed to go back to heroism now, so he explained- carefully.

The boys knew that the information they were handed was full of holes and half-truths, but they ate it up with glee- especially Izuku. The fact that this man, the most heroic man in the industry, was finding workarounds to continue to be a hero- it was everything to him. He never shared with the older man his own injury- he didn’t want to lose the one person in his life that didn’t compare him to it, not yet anyway- but he did take in the information Toshinori gave him and hold it close. 

Plus, after Toshinori explained his injury it made Inko feel a lot better about the supposed pain in his path and the fact that he was neglecting any food she tried to feed him. She took the chance to look up a few recipes suited for his condition, in order to try and bring back some semblance of health into the man’s frame.

She enjoyed having around, if she was completely honest with herself. Not only was he a great role model for the boys, but he filled a gap in their family dynamic. It wasn’t necessary, exactly, to have a male figure in their lives- but it was helpful, wasn’t it? So that Izuku could have readily available a semi-substitute for Hisashi. One that was more tangible than All Might, at least.

He was a good stand in, as much as it hurt her heart to admit. The more the more weeks that flew past with him settling into their lives, the more her apprehension about the man began to leave her as she realized he was really as kind as he seemed. Her initial fears about his secretism faded, as she started to comprehend just how dangerous the life of a hero could be, as well. His secrets may very well be something that protected her boys, after all, so she couldn’t judge him for that.

Besides, it wasn’t a well hidden fact, that he was so paternal towards the kids. It was a little awkward but overall incredibly gentle and caring. He seemed to really try to be a good model, to lead them by example where he could and words where he couldn’t, and while he never interfered or even tried to step into a parenting role ( a good thing, if he ever really did she might reconsider all of her original worries) it was undeniable that he formed some kind of connection with them- and especially with Izuku.

It wasn’t a one hundred percent fit, he still didn’t take the place where Hisashi would have, once upon a time, but- and this she realized with a clarity that made her heart run cold- he was a very close match. And as it continued, as the weeks turned to months and nearly half a year passed them by, she worried if there might be a day where even subconsciously Izuku would accept this man as his father instead.

It was a sobering thought, one she didn’t know how to go about considering- would it be a bad thing? A good thing? It had been years, Hisashi didn’t seem to be returning and Toshinori wasn’t a bad guy at all. Could she stand to have this father figure when they still didn’t know where Hisashi was?

Fortunately, or unfortunately, life chose that point to give her answers.


 

It was quiet. Izuku hadn’t gone out on a patrol in a few days, his head had been acting up more than usual. He and Inko had been relaxing together on the couch, watching one of the latest All Might specials where the hero was recounting a story that sounded suspiciously similar to one that Yagi-san had been telling them earlier that month. Just before he could voice that, though, there was a heavy knock at the door.

Izuku’s eyes immediately darted to the floor, finding an almost rustic violet-grey path that seemed to wind it’s way through the house in a few different lines before settling itself in a way he’d seen very few paths do, making a concrete beeline for food, then to the bathroom, and then to the couch, before once again starting to branch off. He frowned suddenly, leaning in to inspect the paths closest to him, watching them slowly start to grow crimson.

He felt hand on his shoulder and glanced up to see his mother watching him with intense eyes and a near silent whisper. “Should we be worried?”

“Maybe, but not the way you’re thinking.” His eyes shifted back to the paths, checking out his mother’s before humming. “Whoever it is, they won’t hurt us,” He said at last, sighing. “There’s purple in his path, he’s secretive. And grey- quiet, I think. Do we know anyone like that?”

“No... Unless, maybe Toshinori?” She asked, Izuku shaking his head. It was true that Yagi-san was quiet at times, and tended to be a secretive person, but his light was usually a more yellowy chartreuse color, and nearly always intersected with streaks of gold and red. This was completely different from that.

And then something else caught his attention.

 He frowned, running his fingers over the delicate white-blue light of his own path, looping around the couch before pointing him towards the door in a way that was… new. Usually his quirk didn’t make a path for him without his direction, or at least his inclination to do something, but he didn’t have any intention of opening the door right now, so why…?

Then he heard it.

“Inko? Izuku? …Please tell me you’re there.”

Izuku’s heart beat out of control. He knew that voice. He quickly met eyes with his mother before practically vaulting over the back of the couch, uncaring of the bruises he’d undoubtedly get or the small sharp pains in his feet as he raced to open the door.  He stared up at his father’s form, the disbelief etched on his face as he looked down on his son.

“Izuku…?”

He could barely bring his mouth to form the shape of ‘dad’ before the man was on his knees, arms wrapped around his son’s body, with sobs wracking his form. His much too thin form. It was almost as bad as Yagi’s.

Izuku wasn’t a fan of curse words, but at that exact moment he completely envied Bakugou’s ability to have the right words for the situation.

Inko was on her knees too, in just a few minutes, pulling them both in closely. They cried together for what felt like hours, no one daring to disrupt the sanctity of the moment. Inko was the one who finally took a step back, collecting herself and trying for a smile.

“Hii-kun,” she murmured, hands twitching up slightly when he turned to stare at her too, with his too-wide eyes. “You need to get up- oh, look at you. Izuku, dear, bring him to the table for me? I’m going to warm up dinner.”

Izuku nodded, letting her path disappear in his peripherals as he made himself stand and pull on his father’s hand.

“C’mon, dad. You have to be hungry.” He didn’t miss the way his father seemed to flinch at his words. Pursing his lips for a moment as he considered what to do, he decided to just pull his face into the best ‘it’s okay’ smile he could manage. “Come on. It’s okay now. You’re here. Just... come inside, please.”

“Right.” Hizashi seemed to pull together a bit more then, pushing himself back to his feet, letting Izuku pull him to the table. He breathed a small sigh of relief when he double checked, making sure his father’s strings were looped around the legs of the chair and table. Hisashi sat roughly, shifting in the chair, clearly uncomfortable as Izuku took the seat at the end of the table.

Inko brought out the remains of the night’s Udon in front of Hizashi, along with a pair of chopsticks. Hisashi seemed to wince again- or maybe that was just always how he looked- but dutifully picked up the chopsticks and did his best to get in a few bites. It wasn’t long before they were taken from his shaken hands by Inko, however, replaced with a fork. He offered the shakiest, sort of there grimace Izuku’d even seen before then digging in, with slightly less mess now.

He ate in silence. No one knew how to start any kind of conversation, nor did Izuku really want to bother him, not when he ate his food like- like that. Like he was relishing the food, like it was the first thing he’d ever tasted. Or like it would be the last thing he ever got to eat.

Izuku’s eyes slid to the red-covered lights in the corner of his eyes, and he shivered. No, this wouldn’t be the last meal his dad would ever eat. He’d make the right choices.  

But still, it was silent until the man was finished. Inko moved to put a hand on his shoulder once he drank the last of the broth, picking up the empty bowl and chopsticks with her quirk as she helped him stand. “Why don’t you go and bathe, dear,” she murmured. Hisashi nodded, stumbling down the hall then as his current path disappeared.

Izuku dutifully waited until he heard the click of the door before letting the tears fill his eyes, staring down at the paths again. “Mom- Mom,” he sniffled, taking off his glasses to fully rub at his eyes. “Mom, he’s so- so thin. And his paths, they- Mom, I don’t want him to get hurt, he’s already-“

Inko was immediately at her son’s side, wrapping him in her arms and shushing him gently. “It’s okay, It’s okay baby,” she murmured. “It’s going to be okay.”

Izuku shook his head, grabbing the edges of her cardigan and pilling her in. “We can’t let him eave, mom,” he said quietly. “We can’t let him leave, we can’t, we can’t-“

“We won’t, baby. We won’t,” She murmured softly. “It’s going to be okay, I promise. Hey…” she tilted his head up, startling him- he hadn’t even realized he’d been staring at the ground all this time. “We can figure this out, Izuku,” she said quietly, wiping tears out of his eyes. “And we will. We’ll take care of him, I promise.” She searched his eyes quickly before pursing her lips. “Do you want your blinders?”

“I- I, um…“ He sniffled again, closing his eyes now and burying his head in her arms. Did he? This was… overwhelming, but not in that sense. And besides, what if they made a wrong choice somehow, and he didn’t see it coming in time? “…No. No, I’ll be okay, just- we can’t let him go, okay?”

Inko nodded. “Okay,” she said simply, letting her fingers card through his hair as he slowly forced his emotions back.

She was still playing with his hair when Hisashi came back into the living room. Izuku peeked up at him, forcing himself not to cry again, not to make his dad any more uncomfortable being here- because he was, right? That was what he was reading off him, when he saw the twitchy fingers and the half-aborted steps.

So he pulled himself back, rubbing at his eyes again as Inko stood.

“Why don’t we all sit at the couch,” she offered. “And… talk.”

Izuku nodded, letting himself stand- and he could feel his mom’s influence too, small nudges of her quirk on his shirt sleeves, guiding him away from a wall in the nick of time. Hisashi seemed to hover for a minute before he took a few hesitant steps forward too- if he still had his glasses on, Izuku would have looked for the telltale signs of his mom pulling on his shirts or his arms also. As it was, he moved towards the couch obediently, eyes fixated on the ground.

The strings seemed to shiver in front of him. Taunting him. One false step and he could ruin everything.

He wished that his quirk let him know what to say. He took a spot on the couch, half in his mother’s arms. As it was though, he just had to scramble his mind for something- anything- that wouldn’t scare Hisashi off too quickly.

He ran his fingers over the bump of his own strings, once again looped delicately in his lap, not pointing him any which way- that, at least, was vaguely reassuring. That there was no predestined path for him right now, he was still in control.

He looked up in time to catch his father staring at his hands, startling slightly. Right. Hisashi had lost contact with them just before his quirk had come in- he might still think he was quirkless. Quirks were an easy topic choice anyway, right?

“I got it a couple years ago,” he said at last, expecting the oppresive silence to break then. It didn't. He powered on. “It’s called Pathseeing.”

Hisashi nods slowly. “My mother,” he said. There was more to the sentence, but his face was pinched, and he shook his head. Instead, "You must have gotten it from her.”

Well, he had been wondering. They figured it was in Hisashi’s bloodline before, they just weren’t certain. He could feel his mom stiffen behind him, though, and frowned.

“Michi-san? Michi-san had Pathseeing?” Izuku held his breath as Inko spoke, as Hisashi looked away, the paths flickering again. “I never knew.”

“Well. Of course you didn’t. By the time you had to the chance to really meet her, she was already…”

“Ah.” Izuku felt his mom reach for his arm, biting his lip from asking what he meant. What happened to her? He could guess, but… was it because of her quirk, or…?

Hisashi still didn’t look up, the paths still flickered and moved before them- he had to change topics.

“Um… Oh! Me and Kacchan are- are going out…” He trailed off when he noticed a lilt in the paths that grabbing his attention. He frowned, staring at the floor as he tried to parse out the weird jump he’d seen, the flash of red everywhere, but it was already too late. He sighed and forced his attention back to his dad. Who was staring at him. With worry. Wait, what did he say?

“You and the Bakugou kid?” Hisashi was floundering slightly, mouth moving without words for a second. “I mean, I knew you were close but- Izukun, aren’t you a little young for that?” Was that panic, in his voice- his eyes? “You’re still a kid, I mean. Right? Aren’t you not supposed to know about that stuff yet? But, I guess I have heard things about middle schoolers, but- but what grade are you in again? Inko-” His eyes were up then, seeking Inko’s validation, but the woman was barely holding in laughter.

“No, no… That wasn’t what he meant, Hii-kun, they’re going out for patrols for hero practice, not that. He just didn’t finish his sentence.”

Izuku turned back to look at her, eyebrows knitted in confusion which only seemed to make her laugh more. He brushed it off, though, when Hisashi seemed to relax all at once, huffing a tiny laugh. “Oh, thank goodness. That got me so worried.”

And all at once the paths shifted out of the red. Almost every choice lead Hisashi back through the house, away from the door- there was no more red for any of them.

Izuku went boneless against Inko, hardly hearing her gasp as she tried to keep him from falling off the couch. “That was so close,” he muttered.

Hisashi looked confused for a moment before he followed Izuku’s eyes to the ground, starting to put the pieces together.

“Was there something in my path?” He asked quietly, sighing when Izuku nodded his head frantically before scooting over to his dad and putting himself firmly in his arms.

“I really missed you,” he said quietly. The worry of the situation left all at once, leaving him tired and more than a little content with the situation. “I’m so happy you’re home again.”

“Me too, Izukun,” He murmured. Izuku let his eyes close, humming when he felt small circles rubbed into his back by cold hands. “I’m sorry. I’ve missed out on so much.”

Izuku nodded, wrapping his fist into Hisashi’s shirt. “Yeah. But now you won’t.”

There was a terse moment, and had Izuku looked up he would have seen the pain flash across his fathers face, but as it was he allowed himself to sink into the man’s embrace and listen to the rumble in his chest when he responded.

“Yeah. Now I won’t.”


 

About an hour later saw Izuku in his room, winding down for the night. Hisashi had promised him multiple times that he’d be there in the morning, and even walked with him through the house while Izuku checked his paths to make sure (“You’re still purple,” he announced, clearly happy with the fact even though the older man didn’t know what it meant in the slightest) before seeing him to bed.

It was a good hour. Solid father son bonding time, talking about Izuku’s school, his ‘patrols’. His little boy really had grown up, hadn’t he? He still saw the rainbow of colors that flashed in his eyes,, a circle around his emerald pupils, stronger now that his quirk had finally come in.

Although he was a bit confused about that too. Izuku might have gotten Pathseeing from his mom, but his derivative of it was completely different. A sort of mutation from something of Inko's bloodline?

Regardless, it was a good thing. Maybe it was what made it easier to control? Good thing.

Now he just had explanations left.

He turned his attention to Inko, sitting on the couch, still, almost the same position as she’d been in earlier. She didn’t trust him, that much was obvious. There was still love in her eyes, but it was mixed with a weariness that he’d never seen in her face before. Framed by worry lines. The face of the woman he loved… marred with unhappiness.

And other marks of the passage of time. He was genuinely surprised by it. He’d noticed in the bathroom, earlier, in his own reflection. He was so much… older, than he remembered. And the stress hadn’t helped him, neither had it Inko, but…

But even so, she was gorgeous. The smile lines around her eyes and mouth seemed to exacerbate her beauty somehow. The mars of unhappiness where outnumbered by her general healthy look, and… If only it weren’t for whatever mental battle was raging in her head, at that moment, she looked positively angelic.

“We need to talk, Hisashi.”

Even her voice was still beautiful.

His stumbling feet brought him back to the couch. He felt like a wet noodle, weak limbs flailing as he made his way there- it was a different couch, they’d bought a new one while he was gone- and he sat down harder than he should have.

“I’ve kept a lot of secrets from you,” he said immediately, the words spilling out. Good. It was only time. “I’m sorry. I thought I was protecting you. I thought I did the right thing.”

She didn’t say anything, lips pursed, so he added on.

“I’ll tell you everything now. Anything you need to know- but I promised Izuku I’d be here tomorrow morning, and at the very least, I…” He took a deep breath. His boy, all grown up. His little Izukun, grown up… without him. “I want to keep that promise. He deserves it, he deserves… whatever I can give him, really. I want to honor that promise, at least, while I still can.”

There was a sharp sigh, a rustle of cloth before he dared look back up. There were tears in Inko’s eyes, and without thinking he raised his hand to wipe them away.

She turned away from him, shattering his heart into a million pieces. Right. Things couldn’t just go back to the way they were. Actions had consequences.

“I just… want to understand,” she whispered at last. “What happened? Why did you… where did you go?”

He breathed out hard, bringing his hand down and clasping them both in front of himself. Staring. Where had he gone. That was a good question.

“I think I need to start at the beginning,” he said at last, sinking back into the unfamiliar couch a little more. “I think that’s the only way you’d understand. It’s a long story, though.”

Inko just nodded, looking unimpressed, still vaguely turned away from him. “Well,” she said, also leaning back. “You have plenty of time.


 

“What I wanted, more than anything else, was control.

You know how my life was. My mother, sick. Crazy, messed up in the head because she couldn’t handle her quirk. My father would either be doting to her, devoted to her, or off somewhere at a bar, drinking and picking fights and doing anything he could to forget it all. They weren’t bad people. They weren’t even bad parents, but they were… unsuited for it. Unstructured, incapable.

And her quirk- My mother’s quirk. Always spouting nonsense about destinies. Always saying that things were- were predetermined. Set in stone- a stark contrast to Izuku’s, now that I think about it. She saw a person like a timeline, she would pick out a time and see what was going to happen. God- Always on me about- about not falling to it. My destiny. Not succumbing to it, or whatever. Like I had no other option but to struggle against it- and I could tell, as I got older, I could tell she thought I couldn’t do it either.

When she was finally sent to a hospital, when Dad finally gave up on the entire family… I was just broken. Barely an adult, a mess of a man, angry and bitter and unhappy with how everything turned out… and that’s when he found me.”

“…Who?”

“…

All for One.

I just called him the Boss. A powerful man- a deeply hidden man. He collected the people like me, those who skirted the edges of society, or those who had already fallen too far to ever be accepted back again,  or those who were just confused and sad and needed guidance- he took them in. No, he drew them to him, like moths to a flame.

He was powerful. His reign was absolute. He had this way of just… commanding attention. He ruled over us all. A common name for him from back in the day was the Black King. He had absolute… absolute control, over everything.

I wanted to be just like him.

I was a stupid, stupid kid. I wanted to control my life, my parents had beaten me down, and I needed to do something, to prove even to myself that I was still in control of my destiny.

He catered to a few people, like me. Made us feel special. Brought us into his in circle, gave us what we thought we wanted.

I was in charge of a squadron. I had men. He gave me assignments, and I was allowed to go about it however I saw fit.

It was never… good. I never enjoyed what he asked us to do. Robbery. Shaking people down- killing people, eventually. He groomed us, into the perfect villians, cold calculating minds that he could trust to take over when he needed his attention elsewhere, to handle the big things, the strategy things.

And then I met you.

You were… everything I really needed. All the things that I was neglecting. Kindness and heart and love… you were a light. A normal life. And exemplary life. You were my happiness.

And he let me stay with you, and I was thrilled. Not many people were… were allowed to have spouses, you know? It was a liability. But he said you could never know… you wouldn’t understand. You’d hate me, you’d tell someone, and so you could never know.

…I see it on your face, Ii-chan. That he was right. Why do you think I never mentioned it before?

But we were so happy. We had our love, that was enough. And every day I saw you I fell more and more and more-

When we got married it was the happiest day of my life. My life. People say that to say that, I think, but truly it was… the single best thing to happen to me- well, until Izuku, of course.

I panicked, when you got pregnant.

Not many people had spouses, Ii-chan. They were one more thing to use against you. Marrying you, staying with you was… a risk, on both of our lives, not that I was thinking rationally about it then, because it was also the highest form of blessing imaginable to me. I never considered the consequences until you got pregnant.

Boss was angry at first, but then he… thought of something. There was a person he was trying to fight. And Boss…

His quirk… His quirk is that he can take quirks.

Yeah, I know, hear me out though, it’s true. And once I brought up what happened… he said that he’d allow it. He’d accept it… if the moment my child got a quirk, I brought him straight there. To have it taken. For the betterment of the future- my future, and his future, a future where the strongest quirks prevailed, and…

God. It was all so horrible, and I never even questioned it.

I love Izuku. I love him. I loved him from the start. Even if he was only supposed to be a tool, and instrument for the future. Even if he was a dangerous, dangerous tool, that had me ensnared from the get go.

…I delayed his quirk.

There were drugs, black market things.  Things for… for other uses. Suppressants and such.

I didn’t want him to lose his gift, his incredible, amazing gift- not when he still had a chance to use it, to learn from it, to- to be better than my mother, in every way. Not when he was still innocent, not when he could do no wrong in the world, not when he was my son- I couldn’t do it to him. Force him through that.

So I delayed his quirk, and if I knew what that would do to him, to his brain, maybe I wouldn’t, but I thought it was the only way, and…

And I was transferred away, to keep him safe. To keep the Boss from looking into it too much. To keep him away from you. He sent me to the US, to live another life there, a spy of sorts.

Until he caught wind of what I’d done.

The only solace I had was that he thought I’d destroyed Izuku’s quirk forever.

He had no real way to access any files on him, at that point. He didn’t send anyone to check, at that point. So I played into it. I knew some of his weaknesses. I wasn’t an idiot. I sobbed about destroying Izuku’s amazing quirk, and he bought into it just long enough that a few of my guys, the ones still loyal to me, they managed to scramble the files and the information and report to him that Izuku was indeed still quirkless.

He raged. I wasn’t a treasured pawn anymore. I was broken, to him, I betrayed his trust and I ruined his chances of winning his game. He brought me back to japan, he… he took my quirk. He gave me other quirks, he made me into so many things, broke me in so many ways…

Ii-chan, I was so lucky to escape. My guys shook him off the trail, they gave me some time that I could come home, could see you and Izukun again, at least for a few days- So now I’m here. Not for long. Not forever, but I’m… I’m here.”

Inko looked up into her husbands eyes, fists balled at her side as she tried to work through the hailstorm of information she’d been given.

An entire life story, so many questions answered- the stranger in front of her with the face of the man she loved was watching her. She could feel the tears in her eyes, and she made to move to brush them off now. There’d be no use, they likely wouldn’t stop anytime soon.

“Hisashi. What… am I supposed to do with this information.”

He said nothing. Continued to stare at her, with incomprehension.

“What do you… expect me to do now? Let you live here until that… that man comes knocking? Until he traces this back to you, to us? Until he takes it out on Izuku?” She shook her head. “No. Hisashi- We’ve made a life here- and you want to, to uproot it all? Is that it?”

“Ii-chan-“

“Inko. Please.”

There was silence. She could feel the world around her go still. Deathly still.

When had it all become so wrong?

“You can’t stay here- Hisashi, you can’t. You- to think, this has all been, some… cover story, for you!”

He flinched then, looking away, and her heart fell first at the sight of him, then more at the realization. That was how he rationalized it, to his boss. That was how he found the work around. God, she was so stupid.

“We can’t accommodate you anymore. Not like this, not again. I’m sorry.”

“Inko, But- What about… what about us?” He was whispering it, looking back into her eyes. “We’ve still- I still love you.” He looked so desperate. So desperate, and so small, swallowed whole by the couch cushions. So much like the scared young man she’d first met, the one she she just wanted to help, the one that she had learned to love.

She swallowed thickly. “I love you too,” She said at last, now looking away herself. “I don’t think I’ll ever not.” He looked briefly hopeful at that, but she shook her head quickly. “But I can’t do this.”

“Because I’m a villain?” He asked bitterly, causing Inko’s eyes to snap up yet again.

 “I don’t care, Hisashi. I don’t care that you’re a villain.”

He gaped at her, and she sighed, backtracked a little. “I knew you were hiding something. I’m not an idiot. I could tell when you lied. Plus, you made too much money for an office job, and were home too often to do anything political by nature, not to mention I would have heard your name before. I knew you were into something Illegal. I accepted that. I thought you’d at least know to keep us safe, from it, because as long as it kept us safe-“ And, oh boy, wasn’t she doing the same thing with Toshinori right now, too? But that was for another day, focus- “I don’t care, I wouldn’t have cared. If you’d have explained this, way back when. Even if you’d waited, explained this when Izuku was still young. I would have been shocked, for a second. I would have been hurt, certainly. But I loved you, and I knew you, and we could have figured it out back then.”

“But now?”

She shook her head. “No. Not now. We have a life, Hisashi. And we have too much at stake for you to jeopardize- we have ourselves as stake for you to jeopardize. Do you even understand, how dangerous this is? You even being in our house right now? You know this is the first place he would look, the first place'd expect and still-”

She took a deep breath then, forcing herself to calm down. Right. He still made a promise, to Izuku- she’d made the promise, to allow him to stay with them, to protect him from the red in his path, at least for tonight.

“Tomorrow you say goodbye to Izuku, and- and turn yourself over, or flee the country- or whatever you want to do.” She stood u. smoothing down her skirt with an aborted sigh. “But I don't want to see you around here again, until you've sorted this out for yourself."

And she left the living room.

Her heart hurt. It was fractured into a million pieces by his story. She'd loved a villain. A smart, handsome, sweet villain- but a villain. Like she had to force herself not to think about, all those years.

When she was younger that was fine. When Izuku was younger, that was fine. They could have left. They could have fled, or even just talked to the authorities, they could have made a deal, they could have worked it out.

Why was now different? She went through he nightly routine, grimacing to herself. What was it about him now that made her so unwilling to let him stay?

The danger, for one. All For One, that man was on his side then, and now was turned against him. He was like some kind of ex-yakuza member; the danger was upped. Izuku, at risk more than ever because of his quirk, that it could get taken away- she stopped, muffled a sob on a spare blanket she held.  That was going to be a problem forever, wasn’t it? A desirable quirk. Before it was just that people might try to use him, and she'd been so very careful with that alone, but to think someone had the power to take it from him-

Without thinking she took out her phone, clicking Toshinori’s name and practically collapsing to the floor while it rang, tears falling freely once again. At the very least, the very least, she could protect her family with the limited options she had now.

At the very least, those people wouldn't get close to Izuku again..


 

Izuku didn't know about any of this, of course, when he woke up the next morning, rubbing at his eyes and staring at the figure of Hisashi in his doorway. 

Hisashi held him close, whispering 'I love you's and 'goodbye's before heading to the door, a groggy Izuku following him for a few minutes in utter confusion. But the pieces snapped together when he caught that final glimpse of his father's path, headed out the door. The purple-grey path... slowly becoming translucent. 

He chose wrong.