Izuku could always see the lights. They pulsed around the heart inside people and sometimes in animals, but those were rarer. They would swirl and pulse to their separate tunes, sometimes fast and other times barely at all.
No one believed him at first, he remembers that much. “Such a good imagination you have!” they would coo as they pinched his cheeks or ruffled his hair. But then he started studying the lights and he eventually realized, even though he was super young, that he could tell what the person’s quirk was with just a glance.
That’s when mama took him to the doctor. They couldn't meet with his normal one, Tsubasa-san, so they went to this super nice lady that said to call her Mikoto-chan! Izuku really likes Mikoto-chan because she lets him play with her floating hair while she talks with mama about grown-up stuff.
Izuku was only two when his quirk was named Telling Light. An early bloomer, they called him even when he’s seen the lights since he was a baby. Mama thinks it must be from daddy’s quirk, but she doesn't know what it was because she only met daddy once.
Izuku wonders. If his dad had been in the picture could he have warned Izuku that his quirk wasn’t just seeing lights? That would’ve relieved a lot of stress and panic.
It happened on Kacchan’s fourth birthday when they were over at his best friend’s house for the party between their families.
Now, it wasn’t a new development that Izuku noticed everyone had a glow to their chest from their heart-light. Mama, Kacchan, auntie Mitsu and uncle Masu. Everyone…everyone but Izuku.
Izuku had been staring at mama’s light as he made grabby hands for his slice of cake she was floating toward her hands. He didn’t get the cake. What he got was the plate falling to the floor and a pale green pulse coming from under his chin.
Mama’s light had flown into him.
He cried for a long time after that because he didn’t want to take mama’s quirk even if Kacchan called Izuku’s own dumb and that he couldn’t be a hero with it. It was still his. He didn’t wanna steal!
It ended up being Kacchan who calmed him down in the end. And it was because of Kacchan that they found out he wasn’t able to only steal other’s quirks and keep them himself. It was because Kacchan’s bright orange light jumped into his chest while mama’s green flew into Kacchan’s chest when they hugged.
Bright sparks popped from his palms in shock behind Kacchan’s back.
It took a long time to get everyone’s lights sorted out again after another freakout, but Izuku’s very glad he has Kacchan there with him the whole time. Especially when, a few years later, the ash-blond lets him borrow his quirk to train “in case I can’t save your fucking ass because I’m too busy kicking others! If we’re going to be a duo you need to know how to work a familiar fucking quirk!”
Izuku isn’t sure how far he would have gotten with everyone else telling him he could never be a hero if not for Kacchan, who stopped being mean to people because of their quirks since “what if you get it, shitface!? Then it’d be cool! Not my fault all these extras don’t know how to get the full potential from their own quirks!”
Trade-Off became the new name of his quirk, and with training and hard mental and physical work, he managed to perfect the ability to swap quirks without even passing through himself first. There was that one awkward moment where Izuku accidentally rammed mama’s and Kacchan’s quirks together — Explontrol ended up allowing Izuku to make an explosion and then control where it went as it popped like mad. It took forever to untangle them inside his own chest, but he managed.
He was never more thankful for this training then when at his dream school Yuuei, on a field trip to the USJ…they were attacked by villains. A giant horde of them.
Aizawa-sensei said he would handle it but Izuku could sense the mutant-types and knows that despite how good Eraserhead is, he couldn’t fight too long once he loses the element of surprise. His quirk just doesn’t work that way, and his body will fail eventually.
So before Aizawa-sensei could throw himself into battle Izuku was at the top of the stairs, arms raised as he flicked his fingers wildly. People stumbled with new or less weight and cried out in shock when their quirks were no longer what they had been. It would be an absolute mess getting everyone’s quirk back but he figures when a black portal opens up underneath him too quick for anyone to do anything and he ends up in front of the leader that it would be worth it in the end.
Why? Because Izuku’s butt barely makes bruising contact with the ground before he’s pulling a twisted grey light away from the young man with…oh, Izuku’s gonna be sick. Severed hands; real, formerly attached to living people hands all over his body!!
The quirk lands in his chest like an old friend while a piece of nothing settles like a void in the man’s. Decay. Five fingers, can’t be turned off, can work on anything but their own skin (his now) and could work insanely quickly if pushed. The man grabs Izuku’s arm but Izuku is already throwing him off when the man is shocked his quirk doesn’t activate.
Izuku whips around to the warp-gate man as he calls out the name Shigaraki Tomura, and Izuku yanks. The two quirks in his chest meld into something truly horrifying if Izuku is being honest. Anything that’s warped will now decay. Not fully, but multiple trips will destroy it.
“NOMU!!” Shigaraki screeches when the mist-man falls to the ground as…is he only inside the neck brace!? Holy heck!
Focus! Time to see how well he can use a warp that requires locations to work. He opens the portal with a raised hand to direct it. He doesn’t trust himself to not miss if he doesn’t.
The nomu doesn’t even pause as it charges through, so Izuku opens it up above the plaza before putting another wider one above the ground so it couldn’t land. It screams shrilly as it falls and falls and falls.
Shigaraki howls behind him, louder than the beast, but Izuku side-steps and kicks him in the back as he passes. Training with Kacchan numbed him to all surprise attacks no matter how inhumanly fast they may be.
“Please don’t,” Izuku says, watching the skin of the nomu full of multiple quirks repair itself with regeneration over and over. “Your nomu can handle multiple warpings. You won’t. I don’t want to hurt you if I don’t have to.”
Shigaraki lets out one last scream before the doors burst open and All Might is there.
“Umm, well, my name is Midoriya Izuku, I’m a fifteen-year-old first year at Yuuei. I’m in the hero course class A. We were on a field trip when the villains warped in.”
“Your quirk is registered as first being Telling Light, but was later changed to Trade-Off, am I correct?”
“And your mom is Midoriya Inko, whose quirk is registered as Attraction of Small Objects. Your father is not listed whatsoever. Do you think your quirk is somehow related to his?”
“Umm, mom thinks so, yeah. I mean, I never met him, and mom never got his name so it’s…it’s up in the air. We think so, though.”
“And you’re the one who switched over thirty quirks around during the attack? I simply want confirmation of your sensei and classmates’ observations.”
“Oh, umm. Yes. I’m sorry about that. I also have the two ring-leaders’ quirks with me. Decay Warping is what they’ve become. It’ll take me a while to untangle them but…I’m not sure it’s a good idea to give them back yet? Sorry if that’s overstepping, sir, but I figured telling you outright is better than lying and saying I want to give them back because…well, I mean I do. I don’t want to leave them like that–”
“Midoriya-kun, it’s okay. We will have you give everyone back their original quirks eventually. After they are secured with quirk suppressing cuffs, but in the meantime, I’d like you to explain what you know about the creature.”
“Um, they– well, the pale blue-haired man was called Shigaraki Tomura, and he called it a nomu. I knew right away that it wasn’t…um, there? Like, physically it was a very intimidating presence, but it only listened to Shigaraki’s call so it wasn’t thinking for itself. It had regeneration, super strength, and super speed bulked up in bundles. That’s why I put it through the warp. I tried to keep it alive– wait, did I? I sorta passed out from using the new quirk for so long!”
“The nomu is fine. Completely docile since it isn’t being given orders, and despite its former state it has completely regenerated itself.”
“Oh thank goodness.”
“Thank you for answering. That’s all the questions I have for you, Midoriya-kun. Do you have anything you’d like to ask me?”
“Just…how is everyone else?”
“Unharmed thanks to your quick thinking. There were other villains scattered throughout the USJ, but they were all dealt with swiftly by the pro heroes at your school. Your friends were all very worried about you. Now, is that all you want to know? Your mom is waiting outside for you.”
“Um, one more thing. Is the reason you asked about my quirk…because of the nomu? Because it has multiple quirks?”
“I…I’m afraid so, Midoriya-kun. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you why–”
“Is it because of All Might’s quirk?”
“Oh! You know about that?”
“All Might…confided in me……after I saw him…late? He wanted me to take something but I was too afraid of accidentally trading it. Very pretty lights. Lots of different colors.”
“I’m sure they– wait. How many colors, you say?”
“I think about…eight? Two are really closely melded together, while the other seven float around it. Like the sun! I always wondered why he only used the sun–”
Shit. “I need to make a call.”