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Blood Butterfly

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DISCLAIMER: My Hero Academia is the property of Kōhei Horikoshi and Shōnen Jump.

This is a non-profit fan-fiction.

Now enjoy.

Inspired by
Tokyo Ghoul
2003's Fullmetal Alchemist
The Dark Knight
Joss Whedon's Serenity

I: Fluttering Wings

It's a story we're all familiar with by this point. A boy, born into a world filled to the brim with super powers with none of his own. Bullied and ignored by his peers and betters, all save for his mother; who did little to ease his lingering and incessant doubts that he could ever live his dream. Be that as it may, there he lay, flecks of his skin and hair smoldering, on the wood chips of the playground.

The other children laughed at him, Bakugo especially -being the one who'd reduced him to such a state- rubbing salt in his already tender wounds, non physical as most of them were. As they walked away, snickering amongst their four-year-old selves, an utterance of his mockingly bequeathed moniker was issued, passed between them for the cheap laugh its mention usually produced.

Deku, a shortening of the famous idiom Dekunobou: Useless Person. Perhaps there was some truth to the unfavorable label he possessed. In lending aid to the child of Bakugo's initial outburst all he'd really succeeded in accomplishing was adding another injured child to the scenario. A bitter pill to swallow, for one so young as Izuku 'Deku' Midoriya.

He needn't have, perhaps, and so Deku did no such thing. Years went by, just one over a decade for those who count such things as relevant, and little had changed. He and his classmates at the various schools he'd attended had remained stuck, such as they always had -as youths often do- affixed to their convictions and driving forward with the unshakable bravado of their lack of years.

So too had the child Deku, yearning to be a hero despite his handicap. Despite the bickering persistence of those around him, he clung to his dream. When a dream is all one has in total, save for their families, it is not a thing so lightly relinquished as some may wish; whether for their own desires or the wellbeing of the dreamer.

Yet, for as familiar as we are with this tale, there exist many versions. Many branches along the pathway of one child's life. Born with a 'quirk', these cherished superpowers, left broken a by foul deed of the aforementioned bully Bakugo, bitten by a spider only to inherit its miraculous gifts. Influential chance meetings denied he and those such meetings affected and some laughing at reality altogether. The fever dreams of those with only the only most base and -as some would argue- pointless of wishes to be fulfilled; usually involving nights loudly spent with many a differing soul.

Alternate realities. Like the pebble that begins an avalanche, subtle changes and variations in this path can lead to destinations not before spoken of or much less imagined. "It has been said that something as small as the flutter of butterfly's wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world." - Chaos theory, a quote about the phenomenon known simply as the Butterfly Effect. So when, may it be known, did the fabled flutter occur? Near the closing of his tenure at middle school.

Their teacher had dared to ask a question most obvious: who among his students wanted to go into the hero course of the various high schools soon to be attended. Not one student, even defenseless little Deku, had failed to raise their hand.

"As expected," jovially said he, "you all want to be heroes." An outburst of every student in the room brazenly displaying their quirks erupted midway through his first sentence. "yes, yes," scolded he musingly, "you all have wonderful quirks, but you know it's against the rules to use them at school."

"Sensei, don't lump me in with these losers!" Roared the ever boisterous Bakugo, laughing mockingly at his fellow teenagers. "As if I have anything like their crappy quirks!"

"Get over yourself, Katsuki!" screamed a very offended student.

Bakugo merely howled back in laughter. "Shut up! Extras should act like extras!"

As always the teacher shook his head in bemusement, rather than apply any sort of discipline to the rowdy teen. "Ah yes..." he started slowly, "Bakugo. You must be aiming for UA High School."

Pandemonium ensued in the form clamoring, students exclaiming about the schools incredibly high standards and low acceptance rate. You had to be among the most promising students in the country with a powerful and versatile quirk to match. Academically, Deku was one such student. This was however his only boon, and only ticket in.

"Ah," Bakugo bellowed, stomping on his desk after jumping upon it, "the stupid chattering of extras! I aced the mock exam! I'm the only one here with the stuff for UA!" He struck a dynamic pose, palms flexing outstretched and fingers curling upward. "I'll even surpass All Might and become the best hero out there!"

"Oh," A timid voice said, "you're also going for UA aren't you Midoriya?" A declaration that left Bakugo in a state of furious shock and Deku hiding underneath his own, scrawny arms.

He'd never wished for an invisibility quirk before that moment... Compounding his embarrassment and fear was the turn of every head in the room toward him. The laughter that followed only served to intensify his humiliation at it all. Someone across the room shouted something about good grades not being enough to get anyone into UA. "Th-" he spoke with a stutter, "that's not necessarily true! Sure, there's no precedent, but-

"Come on, Deku!" Following Bakugo's shouting was an explosion that sent Deku reeling to the floor and his desk clattering off in pieces. As Deku, that scrawny, trembling child with messy, green hair, scrambled backwards Bakugo kept right on berating him. "Forget the crappy quirks," he grinned maliciously, "you're totally quirk-less!" He guffawed, "and you think you can rub shoulders with me!?"

As his back collided with the wall Deku was shaking on the point of jittering. "I wasn't saying I would compete with you, not at all!" Pleaded he, voice cracking with nearly every syllable. "I mean it!" Bakugo scoffed, Deku lowered his head, staring timidly at the floor. "It's just... been my dream since I was little. And well..." he gulped, quite audibly. "There's no harm in trying." muttered the quirk-less teen, downtrodden as could be.

"Try!?" Bakugo's palms exploded as his voice rocketed in volume. "Try at what, the entrance exam?!" Figures of other students loomed behind the explosive teenager, laughing at the display. "You're taking the exam just to try?!" The other students cast shadows Deku's fragile form, the entire room, enveloped in darkness, threatened to swallow him up.

"What," demanded Bakugo, "can you even, do?" No answer was forthcoming. Gaze cast to the shadowed floor Deku remained silent, beaten both in mind and body. It was difficult to produce an argument when he couldn't even protest such treatment.

It took only a few minutes for order to be restored. Desks replaced, to their original positions or entirely, and things gathered up before the ringing of that last bell. Students nearby, as class closed for the final time, murmured amongst themselves about Karaoke. While Deku had his eyes on his phone, scrolling through the local news, Bakugo had approached him yet again. As his fingers clung to the edges of his notebook -filled with drawings, diagrams and notes on various heroes and their quirks- the explosive one snatched it from him.

As a gasp resembling protest squeaked past his lips Bakugo growled. "We aint done here, Deku." He turned a scrutinizing eye to the notebook in his hand. "What is this?" he drolled, " 'For my future'? Really, Midoriya?" his smirk lined with contempt, an eyebrow raised.

"Come on!" Deku pleaded, "give it back!" Bakugo's smile disappeared completely, replaced with a disdainful scowl.

Clapping his hands together, notebook sandwiched between them, he unleashed a focused blast from his palms, nearly incinerating the volume betwixt his palms. While Deku looked on in helplessness, hopes crushed as he squawked out one word, begging the question why Bakugo would do such a thing, the other teen merely scoffed.

"The best heroes out there, well..." and he flung the book out the classroom window, "they showed signs of greatness even as students."

Hand reaching for the singed book even as it fell, Deku could only watch as it plummeted.

"I'll be the first and only hero to come out of this crappy public middle school!" Bakugo snapped, grabbing Deku by the shoulder and pulling him close.

His breath reeked of his lunch, blowing over Deku's freckled face in a cold wave. A sadistic smile bared his teeth as his voice dripped with venom, "in other words: don't you dare get into UA, nerd!" Even as he spewed such bile, terrorizing the smaller teen, he unleashed his quirk just enough to singe the joint in his vice-like grip.

With a harsh shove, Bakugo had moved him aside and joined his friends as they left the building, leaving Deku to try in vain to hold back tears.

"You wanna be a hero so bad? Here's some advice," berated he, over his shoulder, "take a swan dive off the roof! Maybe you'll have a quirk in your next life."

The words bit into Deku's fragile ego more than he could take. That was saying something after over a decade of such treatment. He spun on his heels, glaring with wide eyes even as he trembled with tears threatening to burst fourth.

Bakugo met that look with one of cold confidence, daring him to attack with a raised hand popping with small explosions. "Yeah? What?"

Reduced to nothing but the lone figure left in the classroom, he stood there shaking with fear and numerous other feelings, as they all abandoned him there with his wounded heart.

Standing up to one bully was a task akin to climbing a mountain for the green haired, freckled boy. What hope did one such as he hold to become something so towering and strong as All Might? His greatest aspiration, forever out of his reach. Idiot! He thought, Saying that kind of thing without thinking... if he'd said that to someone else and they had jumped what would he do then?

He'd made his way outside, eyes tracing the ground ahead of him. Eventually he found the spot where his notebook had landed: in the school's koi-fish pond. To make matters worse for the piece of driftwood, the fish were nibbling on it. It seemed the groundskeepers had neglected to feed the captive animals yet again. Hey, thought he, that's not fish-food, give it back.

His fingers found the edges of the book, plucking it from the water. From the feather light touch of his digits, the fish barely noticed until the book was removed entirely and ripples were sent across the surface of the water. With the edge of his shirt he dried the battered container of his thoughts. The vessel of his dream and repository of all knowledge he'd no doubt need going up against quirks like Bakugo's.

Idle fingers gripped at his notebook as he walked, sullen and eyes downcast. He seemed to shrink into the crowds, among the more fortunate members of his species, as he made way to his home. Perhaps that dream being so unattainable was what made it so appealing. If one were to live such a thing in their waking moments, could it truly be called a dream? Deluding himself may have been his only solace, growing up friendless as he had, afraid of human contact even at his best.

Without his dream, begged an unspoken question, 'what had he?' An anxiety disorder, no friends, an extra joint in his little toe and -naturally- no quirk. The new minority, such as it was. Shuffling, dragging footsteps kicked up stray pebbles and trace amounts of concrete-dust. What of a pep-talk he managed to give himself did remarkably little to bolster his spirits. But it was enough, enough for the end of the day before turning in.

It is here, as one might note, that the flutter of the butterfly's wings may be observed. For in his distraught, though climbing, state of mind Deku had failed to take his usual route home. Avoiding walking beneath a certain cobbled bridge with a manhole cover laid beneath it. As he shuffled along, some distance from the local, his Idol All Might did battle with a being made of slime. The herculean figure of a man lost track of the thing, leaving it to escape him in the sewer system. When it reached the exit by the bridge, it found itself alone. Oozing its way back into the more crowded streets of the city: Musutafu.

Whispers of a breeze, carrying into the wind, rolling in tune with other small breaths along a shared path, this is one such beginning for a hurricane. Where the storm truly began was in a crowded street, three now graduated students from Deku's school had been wandering in an alley when the slime-man had happened upon them. Several professional heroes had gathered, attempting fruitlessly to approach and rescue someone held captive within it. Even from the distance he was presently at, the commotion roused his attention. Curiously, he crept toward the source of the disturbance. Watching him from shadows were a pair of glowing, blue eyes. Hungrily, the owner thereof stalked behind him, looming just beyond the periphery of his awareness.

While Deku drew closer to the violent spectacle a long tongue slithered across ruby colored lips adorned on a slender face of pale skin, flashing glistening white teeth peeking from within the maw of this predator. It had been so long... control was a concept nearly beyond what it now knew. It was by chance that the hunter's senses were returned and her hand stayed. When the boy reached the source, the slime thing struggling to control another teen, enveloped at its core, while buildings burned around it and the one trapped within.

Hmmm... curious... she thought as the green haired child wandered forward. Fingers snaked into the pocket of her long, black dress -earning a few jealous stares from women with time enough to notice- and produced a pair of sunglasses that soon perched on her nose. Drawn in by the chaos? She quirked an eyebrow, tossing her flowing dark hair over her shoulder as the wind picked it up, watching the teenager with now rapt attention. What manner of child would willingly approach such danger?

Standing on tip-toes, trying to get a glimpse of what was going on, Deku readied his battered notebook. For now, this was all he could do. Take notes, learn, strategize and... who was he kidding. Shoulders shrinking down toward the ground, the pages of the notebook fluttered to a close soon followed by the cover. Corners of his mouth lowering as his eyelids drooped and gaze dipped to the ground. Reluctantly, he had to concede to Bakugo's point made earlier that day. Without a quirk... what chance did someone like him stand against a man like-

"Hey, I can see who's in there! It looks like a middle school student!"

...Huh? Deku returned his eyes to the spectacle of chaos unfolding before he and the crowd. As had been pointed out earlier, there was indeed someone at the center of the oozing mass. Someone with red eyes, a uniform matching that of his middle school, a piercingly gravelly voice, spiky, ash blond hair- Notebook dropped, flapping like a wounded bird as it hit the street, his feet hit the pavement rapidly as his form sprinted toward the mass of slime.

A pair of glowing blue eyes crept wide open as the quirk-less teenager charged at the villain. Backpack dropping from his shoulder, strap in hand he hurled it at the face of the thing, spilling its contents across the burning alley. Smoke bit at his lungs and eyes as his breath became quick and sharp. The heat scalding at his skin like the quirk of the one within this slime thing had so many times. His body had moved of its own accord and even still did it move so. Fingers clawing at the teeming mass of sludge Deku dug desperately, trying to free his classmate from this thing even as it taunted him.

Bakugo's eyes flashed, a question screaming behind those red mirrors of his. A question left unspoken as his next barrage of explosions reduced more of the alleyway to rubble. Ringing in Deku's ears clouded his hearing as the flashing of the explosions put white spots in his vision, blinding and disorienting him. Whatever sort of commentary the slime monster made it went beyond his observation. As did the monster's next move.

From the vantage point the predator had, her keen eyes saw much that the others failed to. The first round of explosions ignited much of what remained of the loose trash in the alley. Additionally, the green haired one was knocked off balance. Footing of the evidently quirk-less teen now unsure, the slime monster made its move. As the buildings burned and crumbled around them, it let loose a guttural snarl. Forcing the captive child to raise his hand, in time with blasting of explosions.

The predator's eyes went wide for a moment: the green haired one had been flung into the air. Soaring, leaving a trail of smoke in his wake as he flew far, far away. Murmuring of the crowd focused on much, but not that detail amidst the chaos. She was the only one who'd noticed...

Why? Again, the thought persisted as she strode, elegantly against the burning wind from the alley. Was he trying to die? Her gaze remained fixed on the boy's trajectory, though he was long out of sight. Surely there must have been some logic behind his- Something crumpled beneath her foot. Shifting her weight to her other leg she removed her shoe from the object she'd trodden upon.

A notebook? Gingerly, she lifted the soggy kindling with the tips of her thumb and index finger. 'For the Future?' What future? He just threw that all away... As it unfurled her question was answered. Even as the other people in the crowd fled, wind billowing through their clothes, embers biting at their heels, she remained. That boy... It was an old pull, a heartstring she'd thought long atrophied, made all the more pronounced for the fact she knew that she was the only one who'd witnessed his fate.

"It's all right now..." A wave of relief was so tangible in the air she tasted it on her breath, "because I am here!" A battle cry that had suaded many a persistent fear to relent to calm.

The battle cry of the world's greatest hero: All Might.

"Stand back, civilian!" His booming voice urged, "allow me to handle this cretin!"

With a single bound he'd put himself right next to the now terrified slime being.

With a mighty roar, announcing the name of his attack as his fist sent a torrent of wind into his enemy, stripping the slime from the teenager it had swallowed up. She let a short exhalation escape her. This sort of bravado... she'd lost her taste for it so many years ago. Tasteless, flashy, showboating self indulgence. So long as it got the job done it didn't seem to matter how obnoxiously flamboyant someone was.

"Alright there, youngster?" All Might pulled the stunned blond to his feet.

The teen gawked, utterly unsure what to say while the hero laughed. As the fires were extinguished by a hero dressed almost like a firefighter a few others tended to the crowd. Another exhalation, eyes drifting back to the sky, she found the path the boy had followed and made chase. Walking quickly, notebook still in hand, she ventured to where the other boy had been thrown to.

"Again?! Izuku, I think you're responsible for tens of thousands of this video's views." While her son threatened to rattle his head free from his body in anticipation, Inko Midoriya hovered over him and the computer chair setting up a certain video he loved to pieces. "It's a little too scary for mommy to watch."

As she backed away, making her way to the door, the four year old Deku watched with rapt attention. It was an old clip, a big disaster from a while back had left a city block looking like Armageddon had taken place there. But in the aftermath a certain hero made his debut. Newscasters spoke in tones that screamed of awe and wonder. In the wake of such catastrophe one man had save a hundred people in under ten minutes, carrying them to safety as a shepherd to the strays his flock. All the while a bright and determined smile had been engraved onto his imposing features.

"Fear not!" said the booming voice of the herculean man, "Why you ask? Cuz..." whether the dramatic pause was strictly necessary was a matter of debate, but there wasn't a hero alive who hadn't camera-nerves on their debut. "I am here!"

Ever since the first time he'd seen this clip it had been the child's dream to be just like him. Just like All Might. Longing for the day his surely amazing quirk would surface and his ascension would begin. That was until one day when he'd been taken to the doctor's office.

"It's not gonna happen." the pediatrician had stated clear as day.

While his mother had gone on, discussing the how and why with the man, Deku sat there, expression frozen, unable to do anything but sit there lifelessly. At such a simple phrase so thoroughly had his spirit been shattered that he failed to recognize the world around him. Amplified, was this, by the ensuing foul treatment of his peers and the invisibility he seemed to posses to all adults in the world but his own mother.

So it was in such a state that he watched the video again, late at night, trying desperately to feel as though his dream were not doomed to forever linger beyond his waking hours. Sniffling, watching with but embers of his resolve remaining.

"Mom..." Deku let the tears run down his cheeks as the video played. "No matter what kind of trouble you're in..." murmured the wavering voice of the child, "he'll save you with a smile." The chair swiveled round at a crawl, tears overflowing in his eyes and a smile born of quivering lips; a sight to pitiful not to cry at the sight of, and so Ms Midoriya did. "Do you think," strained the voice of this near sobbing child, "I could be a hero like that?"

Her arms were around him in seconds, cradling her child closely as her own tears ran into his hair. "I'm sorry, Izuku!" sobbed she in utter hysterics, "I'm so sorry!" Blaming herself for everything her son was sure to endure from the nature of his birth. What else was a mother to do, with a child so inherently disadvantaged?

No... no mom...

back then...

That was the exact opposite of what I needed you to say...

A faint beeping tickled at his ears, probing into his skull with throbbing pain. Never had he known the feeling of a migraine before this moment. With a sedated flutter his eyes peeled open. Where...? Deku's senses took what felt like a millennium to crawl back to a state of functioning. He was... still alive? In a hospital, warm and safe. No shortage of pain in his chest but he felt almost normal. What happened?

Vague images of an abandoned house, broken legs and some grievous injury to his chest plagued his mind. But it was all so hazy, so unfocused he may as well have forgotten it entirely. Musing of that sort held at the forefront of his mind as his strength seeped back to him. With a numb hand he tossed the blankets off himself. Legs in the correct shape, no sign they were ever damaged. Pulling his hospital gown up he saw bandages on his chest. Though there was an IV in his arm, blood trailing into the vein, as he'd lost enough blood to need a transfusion he was otherwise intact.

I Guess it wasn't as bad as it feels like, smirked he, I almost feel fine, actually. And he sighed in relief. Still alive, his scrawny, quirk-less self. Speaking of such miracles, his movements as he re-covered himself, had roused a certain woman by his bed.

"Izuku!" his mother cried, springing to his side, arms flung around his neck and shoulders. His shoulder was soon drenched with her tears as she sobbed against his neck and side of his head. "My baby..." she sniffled, a hand trailing up to tangle itself in his hair. A task that required no effort whatsoever, rats-nest as it perpetually was. "Why did you run into danger like that?" She gently demanded, holding him by the shoulders at arms length. "What were you thinking, child?"

An answer seemed as though it ought to have been forthcoming, but none was produced. It hadn't truly been a decision on his part... "I... wasn't," plainly said he, "when I started running," his fingers tightened at the hem of the blankets, "it was like my feet had just taken over my body. I couldn't not run in like that." What truly worried him though was another matter. "What happened? How did I end up here?"

The answer to his question was issued by the doctor at the door, just entering in on the scene. "That last explosion sent you flying into a nearby house," said he, "you wound up with a chunk of wood in you." lightly jabbing the boy's side with the eraser of his pencil. "You're lucky it wasn't worse. By the time we found you, you'd nearly bled out. Hell, you've been unconscious for three days."

"Three days?!" He blurted out.

"Mm-hmm," nodded the doctor, "worrying your poor mom sick the whole while." at the mention of her, her hand squeezed his. "Next time your legs 'start runnin on their own' you make sure they take you someplace safe, alright?"

After a numb, cursory nod the doctor's voice seemed to disappear. Echoing like stones in a cave as he discussed his outpatient treatment with his mother. Those memory fragments of what he'd seen before his eyes had been true after all. Perhaps the latter portion thereof had been a product of delirium due to his state of severe exsanguination. It had to have been. All the same, he was in much a better condition than he'd have expected. Appetite slow to return it took some effort to down his lunch. Hospital food, forever the bane of taste buds. Staving off the nausea he felt from ingesting food so foul he and his mother left the place of healing behind them.

It was a short drive home but felt longer after all that had happened just moments prior, from his perspective at least. It was much for a teenager to handle, as he'd been trying to, so alone, and that was speaking merely of the memories he'd been subjected to reliving. Coupling that with some hint of a near death experience in his memory left the young one feeling hazy in the subsidence of such a high. Car pulling into the driveway of their humble home, Deku and his mother were soon inside, attempting to relax as best they could after such a thing's occurrence.

Dinner that night had come and gone without conversation but with worried and apologetic looks shared between the family members present. Going to bed that night, after washing the dishes despite his mother's protests, he noted he didn't feel quite full. So he snacked on some loose fruit, brushed his teeth and turned in, saying goodnight to his mother. So it was, with a clear imagination and quiet stomach, that he ventured off into a deep and peaceful slumber. What dreams that came were of strange shapes, shifting about in cloaks of darkness and shimmering lights dazzling his imagination. Shapeless, amorphous and dancing with an elegance that entranced, it slowly came into focus.

Though he knew not what or where this was, it dared to feel familiar. Architecture of makes long erased from the annals of history, trees old and bent with barren, black branches. Howling of wolves coloring his ears, but they produced not fear in him. Their distance was great enough that it was but foolishness to be thusly apprehensive at their song. So along he trod, alone on a winding road through this blackened wood. It comforted him, in some strange way. A night sky so visible and bright with stars it hardly seemed black at all. A moon so bright and full it lit the heavens blue around it. Subtly did a smirk make purchase upon one corner of his lips.

Hands to his pockets, humming as he strode, it was indeed a peaceful night; a peaceful dream. Such a strange place he had never visited in hours waking but now that such a thought occurred, he supposed he wouldn't mind one day finding such a place. Provided the wolves kept to themselves, of course. It rather brought out the poet in him, not that he'd ever dabbled with such musings. It was only as he reached his destination, an old, oaken door with iron hinges on a shadowed dwelling, and his knuckles rapped upon the door that he felt the world fading again.

Daylight tickling his eyes had roused him from that realm. So with a yawn and stretch of his limbs and back did he swing his legs over yonder side of his bed and into some socks. The day passed uneventfully, without anything said of real note. His announcement to participate in the UA entrance exams was met with a nervous nod from his mother. While she knew talking him out of it was pointless the thought remained, as always, that she should.

Some days passed in the interim between his hospitalization and the start of the next school year. It would only be just a dew short weeks until the entrance exams began in earnest. All the while Deku felt himself growing uneasy. Studying for the written test was a full time endeavor all its own and his nerves were thus adversely affected. With the prolonged time spent on his studies, couped inside for days at a time, tension rose in his core as surely as his appetite. It was on the fourth day of his studies that he could take it no more.

With gusto he rose to his feet, grabbed his notebook and ventured out for a walk. Grabbing a few granola bars on his way out he winced at the scant sunlight encroaching on his retinas. For his isolation the sensitivity of his eyes greatly increased, having spent so long away from the touch of the yellow star. For all his time indoors he felt none the worse for it, his joints as free as though freshly stretched. Brisk was his pace even as he was forced to squint in the brightening light. Perhaps he'd spent a bit too long inside, staring at those books. Around the neighborhood and back again in time for lunch with his mother.

"Out for a walk?" She asked in a chipper tone.

His reply was a subtle nod, rubbing at weary eyes. "It was a bit bright out," he confessed, "thought I'd try again later if it gets a little darker outside."

Eyebrows raised, expression mildly curious Ms Midoriya chanced a look out the window, up at the sky. "It doesn't seem that sunny out." commented she, in an offhanded sort of way. "You might need to spend some more time outside to readjust your eyes."

Again the teenager nodded, a fraction slower this time. "I have been inside for a while..."

She gave him an encouraging smile. "Tell you what, if you don't get up to it today I might have an errand you can run in town." He gave her a questioning glance as he took a bite of food. "It's just some shopping, one or two things we're almost out of. It's really just an excuse to get you out of the house if you need one." Figuring he'd cross that bridge when he reached it Deku acknowledged the suggestion silently. After lunch it was straight back to his books, pouring over them as diligently as he could. Even one so used to social isolation as he was prone to go stir crazy reading through books so bland as those he'd been. In time the fall of the sun had declared his studies done, after dinner he gathered the dishes and started the water, preparing to scrub them clean, when he yelped in pain. "Sweetie?" His mother's ears perked up. "What's wrong?" Her head poked around the corner.

Shaking the offending water from his hand, "I just burned my hand in the water," Deku explained, "it's fine mom, nothing to worry about."

An eyebrow quirked as she stepped toward the sink. "Strange..." she said, running the water over her finger with no adverse reaction, "the water doesn't usually run hot enough for that."

Deku shrugged, unsure precisely what had happened. "Well it's fine now." He stepped back over, grabbing the sponge and pouring some dish soap onto it. "I've got it, mom."

Nodding she walked back to where she had been, relaxing with a book. Eye the faucet cautiously Deku started running the water again. After scrubbing a plate and sudsing it up he put it under the running water and winced, yanking his hand back and clutching it as he hissed in pain. When it finally subsided, as it took its sweet time to do, he glared at the faucet with an angry pout. Not wanting to repeat the experience he filled the sinks with water, one with soap and one without, washing them in one and then rinsing them off in the next. At least it hadn't hurt to wash them in this way. He rolled his eyes. Moody plumbing, as problematic as the day they'd moved into this house. Not worth much though. If it happened again he had a solution at least. Dishes cleaned he walked to couch, toweling off his hands and clicked the remote. There was a nature documentary on, featuring his least favorite creature in the animal kingdom: Spiders.

Shuddering at the sight of the things his hand went for the remote to change the channel when a realization stayed it still. Facing things far more deadly than arachnids was required for those in the profession he sought after. So with a gulp he pulled back his hand and hugged his knees to his chin, watching the documentary with wide, fearful eyes. From the sticky, steel-strong, tensile webs they spun to their long, numerous legs and overcast midnight-black-eyes there was nothing about them that didn't make him shudder.

Worse than their appearance was the way they fed.

Waiting for an unsuspecting creature -larger spiders could eat things as sizable as rats- to stumble into their web and then bear down on them, immobilizing them with a venomous bite only to then cocoon them; saving them to be drained dry at the arachnid's leisure. The venom of some spiders was so horrid it could liquefy the insides of small mammals. Thinking of such a creature sinking its teeth into his flesh made his skin crawl. A poorly phrased metaphor as the thought made him shudder violently.

That nature could produce a predator so venomous and unnerving as the spider mad his stomach churn, going queasy. As soon as it was over his hand darted for the remote and turned off the TV. It was with shaking hands that he brushed his teeth and clawed into his Pajamas. It was only after reading one of his All Might Comics that he was able to calm down enough for sleep.

It was a fitful sleep, fraught with tossing and turning, his mind frantic with images of spiderwebs and their sinister makers antagonizing him as he slept. Drenched in a cold sweat and with a loudly beating heart he awoke the following morn. Shaking as he pulled his socks over his feet and clothes over his limbs he left his room for breakfast. Perhaps it was the mood his nightmares left him in but he found himself nauseous when it was done. Carrying the dishes to the sink he heard the voice of his mother, "Oh, Izuku," she chirped, "did you want to run that errand for me?"

In his fear addled state the poor boy had all but forgotten about that. "Uh, sure." he attempted a smirk but, like his nerves often dictated, it was hardly convincing. "What do you need me to get?"

Reaching for a pen and a scrap of paper she wrote down a small list. It was only three things, some toothpaste and such. "Don't stay out too late, okay?" She smirked. Nodding quickly he took the list and put on his silly, square, red shoes. As he opened the door, and the light of the rising sun found his eyes, Deku winced with sharp pain. It took several moments for him to get used to how bright it was. Maybe it was something wrong with his eyes... A concussion might have gone unnoticed by the doctors, leaving his eyes unable to dilate properly, thus making them so painfully sensitive.

It was no matter as soon he'd gotten used enough to it that he was able to proceed. It was no small walk to his destination but he found himself arrived with energy to spare. A quick jaunt to the convenience store and to the grocer from there and he'd collected the items of his quest. As he was about to venture outward his eyes all but screamed at the light contacting them. With another pained yelp he stumbled back from the door, recoiling into a backpedal.

"You alright, kid?"

He couldn't see the source of the voice, his eyes refused to open as tears streamed out of them. "M- my eyes hurt." He admitted.

"Well that wont do," said the gruff sounding woman, "lemme see." A hand on his chin perked up his face as his eyes strained to open. "Oooh..." she said, "those look painful alright." looking over to a nearby display stand she grabbed a pair of sunglasses. "here, you might want to use these." As he took hold of them, uncertainly, he noticed she had glasses and long purple hair. "Don't worry about buying them," she placed a bill in the shopkeeper's hand, "you just take care of your eyes. Can't have your senses not working on you, right?" she offered him a friendly smile.

Smiling appreciatively Deku nodded. "Thank you, Ma'am."

"Oh, don't you Ma'am me," she batted that sentiment right out of the air, "I'm not that old."

"S-sorry," he stammered, waving timidly, "thanks again." at her farewell he ventured out into the afternoon sun.

From behind the tinted lenses of his newly gifted sunglasses the sun didn't gnaw quite so sharply on his retinas. After a few minutes time he didn't even need them any more. Removing them tentatively he pocketed the darkened frames as he boarded a train. Every so often he winced at the light, and made a mental note to stop by a free clinic if the problem persisted. Although if it was a concussion chances were he could only ignore it for so much longer. Medical bills notwithstanding, even if he didn't have a vested interest in maintaining his health, his mother would go back into hysterics if his health took another dip like it had days ago.

He sighed, head slumping back against his seat while he frowned. The price you pay for reckless behavior, but if he had his way... Maybe he'd best see the doctor now. If he was that seriously injured it was best to just deal with it now. As soon as the train stopped he exited and found his way to a familiar place. From there he extrapolated where to go to find the nearest clinic. After seating himself in the lobby he tried his best not to feel awkward around so many strangers. A task that became more difficult when his stomach started growling.

"I know your pain, man," said a rather scruffy man with graying hair, earning a very curious look from the teenager, "if goin hungry was a sport..." the old man let his voice trail off with a laugh, the unspoken words becoming obvious as his stomach started protesting too.

Adjusting his ratty clothes scattered flecks of moldy fabric to the wind the elder's laugh turned to a raspy cough. Feeling somewhat over his karmic limit for the sunglasses Deku fished some spare pocket money from his own clothes along with the granola bars he had and offered the goods to the man. At the sight of the offering, the dusty old man's eyes flashed with gratitude.

"Mighty kind'a you, man." He accepted the gift carefully, "thanks."

Deku just nodded with a smirk. Better the old man have it than him, he had more than enough to tide him over waiting at home; something Deku suspected this guy hadn't known the comfort of in some time. It was just then that the old man was summoned to meet with a doctor. Giving Deku a final appreciative smile he walked unsteadily to whoever would be helping him, and Deku's stomach growled again.

Curious that it was so vocal, he'd had a decent breakfast. Assuming it to be another growth spurt he stood up and walked to the nearby vending machine. Not much aside from junk food... Trail mix would have to do. Punching in the code he stopped moments before entering the final key. Another item had caught his attention. Jerky. At the sight of it his stomach growled. Confused at the odd craving, as he'd never cared much for the stuff, he decided to embrace it.

The bag was empty before he reached his seat, his appetite only slightly appeased.

Before a chance to mull this over could be taken he'd been summoned by the doctor. Problem dictated, questions answered he was subjected to a numerous tests, all indicating he had not only no concussion but perfect vision. The best the doctor could offer was that his eyes were simply becoming more sensitive to light as he got older. After being subjected to increasingly brighter lights he was given a prescription for sunglasses. Unusual as there had been no precedent in his family history for anyone needing such a thing. Not quite sure what to make of this he resolved just to use them whenever his eyes hurt.

Laughter was not far off from the thought So... just what everyone else does then.

Bag of items in hand he ventured home, only just making it aboard the next train heading for his neighborhood. Sitting in a secluded spot he rubbed at his stomach, for the chorus of growls it insisted on producing was beginning to become quite painful. Must be some growth spurt... mused the teenager as his brow furrowed with the growing discomfort.

Finally, some guy on the train got sick of listening to his stomach growl and handed him a sandwich. "Take it," said the stranger, "you need it more than me."

"I- I'm almost home." Insisted he, even while the growling persisted.

"Come on, listen to that! You can hear it halfway across the compartment."

Deku opened his mouth to deny the offer once again but his stomach gurgled at a volume he'd never heard it reach prior. With a blush he nodded and meekly accepted. "Th-thank you."

The stranger nodded, "Just make sure you're eating right." As the train pulled to a stop the stranger left.

Mere seconds later the sandwich had vanished down Deku's throat. What was going on with him? It was like swallowing spongy dust for all it did to alleviate his hunger. Gulping back some nasty acid reflux he felt as though he might be sick. It was just an egg salad sandwich for crying out loud. Store bought if the wrapper was to be believed. In fact it was in perfect order, not expired even labeled as having been prepared earlier that day. Nothing suspicious about it save for his innards reaction to it.

Ceasing this train of thought was the stop of the literal train. A flicker of the lights, the sound of a mechanism breaking and sparking and the machine had crawled to a halt. An apology from the conductor was issued over the intercom as passengers began to groan and shuffle toward the door. Deku could be counted among those who'd made such protests, as his journey home had just lengthened by an hour. Phone from his pocket and thumbs dancing on the screen to inform his mother of his impending lateness was met with no reply.

Of course, she'd only ask for him to run errands when she had a late night at the office. Exhaling through a corner of his lips blew hair away from that same corner of his forehead. If nothing else this extended voyage afforded him time to ponder, and now that he did, some things occurred: first and foremost was that, even at his worst, growth spurts had never left him so ravenous. Hell, even Bakugo, for all his testosterone, hadn't complained of hunger this severe. More suspicious than this was the realization that he hadn't felt quite right since leaving the hospital. Nothing he ate seemed to quite satiate his only growing hunger. The sudden onset of his eyes extreme sensitivity to light was also something quite concerning.

Try for the life of himself though he did, there was no answer he could conjure. Far too famished to think, supposed his slowing mind. Gripping his gut his other hand trailed to the side and caught the wall, supporting his unsteady weight. Audibly swallowing back more acid reflux he groaned and winced. Hands clutching, one at his stomach through his clothes, the other-

A loud cracking sound erupted from his left, loose sandy dust glided across the sides of his fingers.

Slowly, he turned to see what some part of him already knew had transpired: His hand, his scrawny fingers, had crushed their way through the brick wall he'd been leaning against. Startled by this discovery he recoiled, gawking wide eyed at what he'd involuntarily done.

"Hey!" Shouted someone across the street, "easy on the architecture, kid! It's illegal to use your quirk like that!" After some thought they added, "It's also vandalism or arson! ... One of those!" Before walking on their way.

But- His mind stammered as he felt a cold sweat coming on. But I don't have a quirk...Catching his attention was a faint sound. Instinctively focusing on it he soon found his legs scurrying toward the source. Wind ripped through his hair, clothes, dragging at his eyes. Someone was screaming. Screaming about someone trying to kill them. What am I doing?

Something illegal, was the guess of the piece of his mind yet rational. The reason no one but heroes used their quirks to fight criminals or defend themselves was because it was illegal to do so. A loophole for Deku was that he didn't have a quirk, but that didn't make fighting crime in place of the police any less an act of vigilantism. Before he could think better of this decision he'd arrived at the source, skidding to a stop, near the wall to his right, as the plastic bag swayed on his wrist. The sight befalling his eyes was that of a woman, beaten unconscious, by a man in black. Blades protruding from his forearms pointed back toward his elbows. Not something the teenager was prepared to handle...

"Who the hell are- doesn't matter!" and the thug ran right for him, "You've already seen too much!" A bladed arm swung for Deku's jaw, leaning to the side, his feet pedaling in the same direction, he soon came crashing -unharmed- against the opposite wall. His eyes went wide at one realization: he'd just lounged twenty feet to the side.

"What the hell!?" Demanded the delinquent man, something Deku very much wanted to do for an answer himself. "Quit screwin around and die!"

At his second charge Deku hadn't reacted fast enough to leap to the side, too caught up in his own thoughts, so he was forced to duck. As the thug's arms arced over his head, blades scraping the wall, Deku lurched a hand forward toward the man's gut, something he only narrowly avoided. "You're fast," said he, kneeing the teenager's nose and cracking the back of his skull against the wall, "but not fast enough!"

Rolling deftly to the side Deku avoided being rended open by the blades on the man's arm. Managing to get back to his feet he lounged to a standing position just in time to dodge another attempt to lacerate his flesh. The last swing left the thug off balance, and Deku took his chance. Swinging again, his knuckles caught on the man's sleeve and threw off the teenager's balance entirely. As the two of them spun around in a comically circular motion the thug was flung aside as the teenager's fist crashed into a steel dumpster. A more shocking sight he could not have imagined as, with the strength of his swing alone, he'd smashed the metal to pieces. Large hunks of metal scattered across the ground, clanging loudly in a cacophony that sounded like someone knocked over a shelf of gongs.

"Wh-..." he stammered, eyes wide in horrified awe, "Wh-at the... hell?"

His voice barely a murmur, shaking with fear he could only marvel at the feat of his newfound power. Somewhere off to his left he heard a groan. The thug was straining to regain consciousness. Deku was about to go and check on the unconscious woman when a scent enraptured his attention. A smell so sweet, so utterly delicious it may as well have been cooked in heaven.

Ravenously, with barely a grasp on his own mind, he spun toward the source of it. The... thug? Blinking, sentience somewhat returned, he took a cautiously inquisitive step forward. Looking him over, there was no obvious stain on him or bulge in his pockets denoting the presence of food. So what was that sme-

And then he'd noticed.

Flowing freely from the side of the man's neck was a cherry red fluid that captured his attention so thoroughly it seemed to radiate crimson light. Like a man possessed Deku stepped forward. Hands on the man's shoulders he wrenched his throat to his mouth. Growing from his canines were a pair of long, sharp, glistening white fangs as he bit down into the wound and drank.

It was then, as the most delicious thing he'd ever tasted ran down his throat, that it all came flooding back: what had happened that put him in the hospital...

Discerning in which direction 'up' currently lay couldn't have been a task more demanding. A shaky breath kicked up what dust his landing hadn't. His tongue tasted of iron, mouth warm and sticky. Chest throbbing in sharp pangs as he felt his ribs were soaked in what must have been in his mouth. Eyes peeling open, he saw little but darkness. Old wooden floors and walls, furniture laden with dust and sagging inward. A spectacle of decrepitude, someone's home left to rot. Like lifting stone, his emerald eyes strained, shifted to behold where he'd come from.

The wall, torn asunder by his body, was a jagged mess. Splintered wood, adorned with tattered strips of bloody cloth, a hole torn large enough for three of him to leap through. With great exertion he pulled his arms to his front and pushed against the ground, trying to raise himself from where he lay. A strangled yelp sounded from his throat and he went crashing back to the rotting floor. Fingers clutching for his ribs, the objects of his pained outburst, he found something where it shouldn't have been. Wide with horror he dared to shift his eyes toward the source of his agony: A chunk of a wooden plank that had pierced his flesh, bone and the lung behind it all. Worse than that was the state of his legs. Twisted and mangled like the necks of mice caught in traps. Tears blurred his vision, reality made a home in his mind.

He, Izuku Midoriya, was no one knew where, bleeding out and broken. He was dying, cold and alone in an abandoned house. Gurgling in his throat, blood spattering the floor in front of his face, replaced all sounds of crying. It was only after his lungs and throat had cleared that he was able to vocalize at all. He was frustrated, bereaved and filled to the brim with horror. Tears splattered the floor, mixing with the blood that pooled out to meet them. Fingers and toes going cold, the icy sensation of death spread up his limbs as he went pale and weak. Breath reduced to nothing, voice too beneath the state of whimpers, he begged silently for a savior, a second chance, and promised that no matter the form he would take it. By some twist of fate, or the hand of a god he'd never dared to believe in, he heard footsteps coming up the rickety stairs.

"H..." his voice rasped, "help..." Sneaking into view was a pair of shoes, caped by a flowing silk dress darker than any black. Grace was in the footsteps, the kind that seemed to be of another world. Whoever she was, she'd stopped at the sight of him. "Please..." he managed, "I... don't... wanna die..." not like this.

Two final footsteps and she knelt beside him, palms on his side and shoulder she pushed him onto his back. "Child," her voice was like cold velvet, "what is your name?"

As the fear of the inevitable settled in, fresh tears trailed down his face. "Izuku..." he squawked, "Midoriya..."

Her ruby colored lips shifted to a sad smile. "You want to be a hero when you grow up, even though you don't have a quirk, don't you?"

He only had enough strength left for the ghost of a nod. Her hand cupped his cheek, holding his gaze affixed to her eyes, hidden behind her sunglasses, was somehow colder than him. "I can promise you this," she said soothingly, "you will have your chance to be a hero," his heart fluttered, her other hand reached for the sunglasses perched on her nose and removed them, revealing eyes that glowed like sapphires in moonlight. "with powers only very few remain to claim," peeking from behind her lips... glimmering white fangs. "But it comes with a price."

Edges of his vision stated fading closer to the center as she kept whispering. "It comes with a hunger unlike any you've ever known..."

He'd made a promise...

"a life devoid of companionship..."

No matter what the form... "and most harrowing of all, child" that his salvation took... "you're going to die."

He would take it.

"But it won't be the end." her gaze was soft, contrary to everything his instincts screamed she was in that moment, as she peered into his eyes. "Do you accept my gift?" With the barest remnants of his strength Deku nodded and she smiled, "close your eyes, little Midoriya."

He did as was commanded of him, his body raised from its place on the floor, lips then teeth on his neck, a sharp pain as her fangs sank into his flesh and she began to drink. As the last of the sensation left his body, he felt her press a wrist to his lips. A warm fluid spilled into his mouth, the flavor so sweet it bordered on ambrosial, and down his throat. With that final kiss of warmth, gracing his fading form, he felt the world vanish and time disappeared entirely. His end had come... Izuku Midoriya had died.

But he hadn't stayed that way...

Teeth still digging deep into the thug's throat, eyes wide with horror Deku employed every fiber of his self control to release him.

But he was still hungry.

Trembling, eyes threatening to run with tears, he whimpered as though he might cry even as he involuntarily drank. After a few agonizing seconds longer he wrenched himself away, crying out in horrified disgust. Spitting the liquid from his mouth, dragging fingers across his tongue he tried to erase the evidence of his sin from his mouth. The way his throat gulped at the remainder of it made him gag. Inhaling and exhaling simultaneously his muscles strained and shook as he fell to his knees. Hands clutching at the cold pavement he tried his best to vomit and found he could not.

His face scrunched up in a sorrowful grimace as he did, he stated to silently cry. You wanna be a hero so bad? The words of Bakugo echoed in his mind, Here's some advice: take a swan dive off the roof! Maybe you'll have a quirk in your next life. Arching his back, arms half curled and hands clutching at nothing Deku faced the heavens and let loose an agonized, frustrated and helpless screaming, wail. Those words had essentially come true: he'd died and come back as this hideous thing he now was.

If the change in Izuku's path home that day -which had placed him in such a position to meet the woman who'd graced him with this gift- was the flutter of the butterfly's wings... then all that would follow in its wake was a hurricane beyond anything he could have predicted.