At three years old, Izuku Midoriya was a bright young boy who had a smile that rivaled All Might’s and a bleeding heart bigger than most heroes out there. He had a sharp mind for such a young age and was often told he was going to amount to something great in the future. Something bigger than the rest of the children around him.
Something like becoming the next Symbol of Peace.
Izuku remembers it vividly- the day when he first learned about All Might that is.
It was a time when quirks were barely on their minds- just another thing that would make them stronger than they already were. They were three and had been praised since the day they were born; cut them some slack. It was a time where it was just ‘Kacchan and Izu against the world’. When they would play heroes vs villains with each other in the privacy of their rooms and share food and clothes with each other just because it seemed fun.
In this memory specifically, he and Kacchan were sitting on the couch with a red blanket wrapped around their shoulders, watching TV.
The screen was playing a popular children’s anime at the time, both of them cheering along with the heroes and yelling at the villains. And then the screen cut to fizzing static that startled both them and their parents who had been gossiping and chatting with each other in the kitchen.
“Is everything alright?,” Inko called out with concern, peeking from the door to check on the boys.
“Somethin’s wrong with th’ TV,” Kacchan called back, getting down from the couch to try and smack the TV back into shape, a trick he had learned from his mom after their own TV cut off one too many times. Izuku watched on with curiosity.
Kacchan jumped nearly a foot into the air when the TV suddenly cut back in- relaying something completely different from their usual program.
“I’m sorry to interrupt your programs, but this just in- a villain is rampaging in the midst of downtown Tokyo. It appears that the villain has a mutation quirk, one that allows the user to transform into a demon- truly a quirk meant for villains,” the anchorwoman relayed, looking mildly green. She was in a helicopter after all- it must have been her first time- not that Izuku would realize until later. “Many buildings have been damaged and people are still attempting to flee the scene-”
The anchorwoman’s words started blending into the background when a huge gust of dust and wind made its way to the scene on camera, blocking out at least half of what was being shown. Slowly, the air around the camera settled, revealing a huge man with golden hair and shining teeth. The man sucked in a deep breath, glaring at the villain while still smiling that cheerful grin.
“NEVER FEAR, FOR I AM HERE! ,” the man bellowed, crystal blue eyes glinting from the angle the camera was at. “ I, ALL MIGHT, HAVE COME TO STOP YOU!”
As the man promised, he took down the villain and three seconds flat, the permanent grin never fading and the twinkle in his eyes never dulling. Izuku was enraptured. Every part of the man was calling for attention and Izuku was living for it. He wasn’t the only one if Kacchan’s following war cry was any sign.
“Kacchan! Did you see that?!,” Izuku practically screamed. He jumped off the couch to take Kacchan’s hands in his own, bouncing up and down with limitless energy. “He was so cool!”
“I know! He was like WHAM! BAM! KAPOW!!,” Kacchan yelled back, with cheeks that hurt from smiling to much. “But ya’know what?”
“What is it Kacchan?”
“We’re gonn’ be better than him! We’re gonn’ be the bestest heroes ever!!”
Izuku grinned his thousand watt smile, eyes twinkling with a newfound fire in them. Kacchan grinned back, TV forgotten and blanket left draped on the couch. They both knew that their parents were still watching them- but they could care less because-
“Of course Kacchan!”
“Izu and Kacchan against the world!,” they yelled in unison- followed quickly by a war cry that had Mitsuki, Kacchan’s mother, yelling at them to “SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTHS BRATS!!!” It was the first time Izuku had heard a cuss word. Inko yelled at her for corrupting her little Izuku too and accidentally used a cuss herself. That was his second. All in all, it was good- great.
It changed when they both turned four.
Kacchan got a quirk.
Izuku remembers when he and his mom, Midoriya Inko, started fretting and worrying when, two weeks after his fourth birthday passed, nothing happened. ‘Nothing’ being that he didn’t show any signs of his quirk. No minor fire-breathing, no minor telekinesis, no mix of the two.
And trust him when he says that he tried.
Izuku tried for hours upon hours every day to try and force his quirk to work; standing in front of an open stove, pushing his mind into trying to make one of his figurines tip over, doing breathing exercises with his mom in the morning.
He tried and tried and tried until his mom set up an appointment with the local quirk counselor.
Three days later saw them standing in front of their house, Inko was shaking with sobs and Izuku was standing with a blank look that had stayed with him from the doctor’s and back.
“You should just give up” was what the doctor said in the face of Izuku’s dreams. No sympathy and no sugar coating. He looked his mom in the eye with his own cold ones, a faint but still visible amount of disgust on his face when he peeked at Izuku and he bit it out.
Those words and looks had Izuku shrinking into a shell of shame. Five simple words was all it took to shake Izuku’s world and shatter his hopes and dreams into thousands of unfixable shards. A couple of looks enough to make him want to hide in his room. The cold words kept echoing in his head.
It turned out that Izuku was a part of the diminishing twenty percent of humanity. It was a simple x-ray scan that the doctor took of his foot. The only difference between he and the other eighty percent of the population was that his pinky toe contained an extra bone. It was laughable to think that simple change in genetics would determine how the rest of his life was going to play out. It was only an extra bone- a tiny thing really.
Except that singular dissimilarity meant that everything he had been doing the past two weeks was for naught.
He wasn’t going to get a quirk.
The doctor was pretty clear about that.
Distantly after the doctor started listing possible historical reasons why, Inko started dishing out her own reasons why this couldn’t be possible. Both she and her husband had quirks- telekinesis and fire-breathing respectively, and none of their past family had ever been recorded to be quirkless past the century when quirks first started coming into play.
Izuku and his mom left soon after that, the revelation of Izuku’s genetics suddenly coming at them with a new force. Shock was one hell of drug, he remembered Kacchan’s mom once saying. He didn’t quite know what it meant yet, but in the future, he would look back and agree.
The shock wore off slightly when they entered the house, Izuku making a beeline to the computer and his mom to the kitchen. He sat in the worn chair, pressing play on the video he had watched on loop just before leaving. It was Izuku’s favorite video- the video of All Mights debut.
The hero had fearlessly took off into flames in order to save hundreds of people, laughing in the face of danger and smiling fearlessly when yelled at by the crowd of civilians who had just been saved by him.
All he had to say was “NEVER FEAR, FOR I AM HERE” to make everyone in his vicinity feel at ease.
Izuku wanted to be like him- like All Might.
He wanted to save people, have people feel protected when he was there. He wanted to be strong and be able to give someone peace when they needed it because he would never be defeated. He had wanted to be the next Symbol of Peace. He wanted to be a true hero.
But then the words from the doctor came back with vengeance.
“You should just give up.”
"̶̩̗͝Y̵̳̹̘̹̎o̷̡̜̫̣͒u̴̢̳̺̇ ̴͔͔̊̍s̵͍̥͋̊ͅ ̴͔̬̪͓̓̌̚ḥ̸̦̪̄̈́̕o̸̖͗͆̅ụ̴̩̏ͅl̵̙͍̺̮̑͑ ̷̹̱̽d̴̛͔͖̓͝ ̷̢̜̳̤̽͝j̷̩͑̄͋ũ̸͉̓̚̚s̸̡̱̺͙̈́̉ț̵̝͂ ̶̱̦̗̩́͝ģ̵̮̥͗͛i̷͎͑͊͝v̷̟̺̻̌ ̸̩̝͆̀͗̒ě̸̘̰̜͔̔̈́͝ ̷̲̘͖̓̆ŭ̴͕͔̲͚͘p̷̳̖̯̣͆͛̈́̕"̶̪͚̦̾͋̕̕
"̵̼̼̰̱̲̺̿͛͐̏̏Ȳ̴̩͚͙̟̖̳͉̩͒͋͆̕̕ͅo̴͖̮̥̺̿͑̓͆̇̑u̴̡̡̝͚̘͓͇͆̈́̓̊́́̋̕̚̕ ̴̧͍͙̑͑̍̚s̴͎͈͉̏̃̂̍̆̓̎̿́̂̓̾̆̎ͅh̷͍͉̤̿̈̽̑̏̈́͒͐͘̕͘͠ơ̵͉̣͒̓͋̿̀ù̶̡͇͇͚͔̽̇̏̾̈́̔͠l̴̛̗d̴͉̖̳̀̈́̔͑̐̆̈́̏̊͂̕ ̷̢̤̼͙͔̤͖̪̥̬̳̬͎̌j̸̗̖̓̈́u̸̧̧̱͔̝̱̰̹̖̺͚̺̻͍̕ ̴̢͖̣̲̝̳̹̿̋͐͌̇͂̈́̃̎͘͜ṡ̸̡̭̺̆͒͛̑̊̔́̄t̷̨̮̳͖̝̱̙̬̝̠̱͈̓̋̀͗́͛̈̚͝ ̶̠̥͇̝͔̼̺̎̓̾̀͛̾͐ǧ̸̺̮̬̪̳͇̻̠̹͖̈̈͗̉̀̚͝ ̵̡̟͊̀̎̒͘̕i̴͕̮͚̭̜̥͓̭̻̅̊̑̒͊̔͂̏̏̈́͛͜͝v̸͓̫̩͇̋̉ẹ̷̡̢̖̰̻͓̮͎̮̪̲̏͌̓͜ ̶͈̱̫͍͔̙̘͖͚̐̈́̈̌̊̐̕u̷̟͓͈̲̜̥̦͕̜̝͐̽̌͗̽̊̔͛̉̎͗̉̍̃p̶̡̺̺͙̩͇̝̙̥͆̍̑̆̈́̉͜͝͠"̴̧̱͛̾̓͐̋̏̐͐͑̓̒
"̴̢̨̧͉̥̣̜͔̟͓̺̮̳̦̝̜̓͋̀̈͒̋̉̀́͐̎́͐͊͌̿͐͆̕̕͠Y̴̲̟̭̘̞̙͍̼̺̆̽̅ͅ ̷̠̙̾̅̇̑̾̄͐͌̚͠Ơ̶̢̨̛̦̮̺̘̭̘̈́̍̔͗̓̓̓͗̓̅̊̃̉̈̅͊̅̾͆͌͊͘͝͝͝͠ ̵̨̡̢̭̯̬̪̥̝̮̞̩̖̯͙̣͖͍̞͈͚̱̠͂̀́͑͑̈̑̆̅̓̕͠͠ͅŮ̵̢̢̺̭̩̞̹͓̻̖̗͓̦̈́̏͐̈́̔̽̐͊͝͝ͅ ̷̧̢̟̭̟͈͈̮̣͉̭̿̑͆̀̆Ș̵̡̯͚̯͓̼̳̫̣͔͎̼̬͍͔̓͛̀́̈͌̃̑̀̍͊̈́̅ ̸͙͚̞̫̹̊̋̈́̇̉͛͑͛̔̽̒̿͘H̵̤̲̃̑̎͊̈̈́̎̆͌̔̆̕͝ ̵̡̨̖̺̹̭͈͎̙̣̦̜̏̿̐̌̽̌̌͑͋̇̆͗̾̈́̈́͌̾͒̓̈́̾̓̄̅͘̚͝Ơ̸̢̧̥̓̂͂̈́̏̆̊͒͘͝͠ ̴͎̠̩̭̟̠̬̫̗́͒͛̈̌͊̌̚U̵̡̧̘͎̮̹̳͍̻̜̗͕̟͖̪͍̹̫̫̝̮̰͂̅͘͜ͅ ̷̛̛͖͇̙̭̗͂̎̋̎̃̾̈͌̈́̐̇̆͌̀̐̾̑̅̈͌̚͘͝͠L̷̨̢̡̫̤̓͒̓̈́̓͒̓̍̈́̍̊̎̉̒̈́̓͌̕̚̚͜͠͠͠͝ ̶̧̢̨̧̨̙͙͔̤̭̣̱̻͎̝̦͇̩͈̗͖̲͍̬͖̃̋͒̒͛̅͐̄̅̌̑͐̿̒͘̕̚̕͜͜͠D̶̡̠̗̟̣̰̤̘̣̭̗̭̥̫̤̱̼̳̭̟̰̊̎̏̍̌̓͋̎͆̒̒̄̈́͗̅̈̐̈̚̕͜͝ ̷̨͉̼̫̦͚̺̺̬͉̥̳̼̼̯͍̈́J̸̨͚̲̠̲͖͕̼̗̜̣̞͆̐̇͌͊̑ ̷̨̢̨̛͈̗̩͔͕͖͎͍̫͎̜̖͙̬̙͕̺̘̯͆̽̈́̿̈́̾͋͒̂͒̍̏̎͑̿̀̚͠͝ͅͅƯ̷̡̮̠̺̰̥̯͎̝͍̯̝̦̯͔̳͍͍͍͉̹̲͙̻̦̊̅͐̈̿̅̈̈́͑̋͑̅͊̋̑̄̾͊͒͊̆̎͌̊͘͜͠͝ ̴̧͎͓̙̦̹̖̺͚̩̻̩̱̮̯̩̯̼̱̘̭͍̠̬͙̱͖̆̽̏͛̽͌́̓̚̕͜ͅS̶̛̲̦̏̐̽͆͊̋͑̅̏́͛̀̃̈̆̍̀͘͜͝ ̶̡̢̞̜̠͕͙̘̠̳̖̩̪̖̘̯͖̉͆̆̆̿̂͒͛͘͝ͅT̸̨̢̛͓̥̠̣͎͉͙͓͓̣͇̥̙̙̪̰̳͈́̽̉̂̇̄̎̍͆̿͛̃͐̔͐̽͐̋̿͠͝͝ ̸̧̛̛̜͖̠̯̱͚̀͐͛̎̃̅̃̿͆̅̊̐̓̔̕̚̚͠G̶̛͈̼̞͔̺͖̑̾̑̆́͗͂̆̾͑̿͒̍̓͗̈́͆͐͌̑͆̏̑̕ ̷̢̨̛͇̳̦̳̭̠̫͓̭̲͚̳̝͖̹͔̬̤͍̳̹̻̬͂̂̓̂̓̏̇͌̃̑̉̈́̿̂̈̓̕̚͘͝͝I̵̢̖̝͎͉͚̞̲̦̬̼̞̝̺̯̫̺̞̙̬͔̳̖̺̠͐̃͊̍͊͗͊̾̚͠͝ͅ ̶̡̡̨̪̦̫̯͕̤̞̟͉̟̼̺̪̦̈́͒̂̄͂̄̔̇̄̏̈́̊̋͂̒̒̾̈́͛̓͂̌̚̚̕͝͠ͅV̵̨̡̧̨̧̛͔̞̰͕̹̟͙͙̱̦̻͔̤̗̲̝̽̽͋̈̀̿̈́̍͐̂̇͊̅̋͆̇̂͑̽̕̚̕͝͝ ̸̧͓͖̖̝͓̈͠E̸̺̩͓̮̰͉̗̩̠̹̣͖̠̫͗̿͌̈́̋͂̃̎̂̓͗̑͒͂̍́̽ͅ ̴̨̡̛̥͉̘̝̮͕̩̬̱̗̱͍̆̿͒͊͊Ǔ̷̡̧̟̣̰̺͖͕̺̤̮̼̪̮̦̖̠͖̮̙̼̙͜͜ͅ ̸̧̤̯͚̥͓̞͚̂̎͠͝P̵̨̢̢̛̩̩̪̠̱͇̹̺̳̼̜̟̪͖̦̑͂̀͆̉͒͛̒͝ͅ"̵̛͖̹̩͉͇̦̠͎̲̖̰̭̎͛̈́̾̃̐́̎̄͆͂͂̔͋̑̓̅̌͊̓̏̔͋͋̕̕̚̕͜ͅ
The door creaked open, the familiar sound of his mom’s nervous shuffling seeming to echo in the empty room. The video kept playing in the loud silence. Izuku turned around to face his mom, willing those burning words into a box in his head, forcibly locking them away them away.
With a shaking hand, he pointed to All Might, smiling fearlessly as the crowd cheered.
“Can I still be a hero mommy?”
His mom’s breath caught in her throat, the sound of her heart breaking was near audible in that moment. Her eyes glistened with tears but she didn’t seem to care. Instead, she’d stepped forward with shaky limbs, then ran and collapsed onto Izuku with a cry.
“I’m so sorry Izuku” were the words that came.
They hurt more than the doctors cold burning ones. All Izuku could feel was the regret and shame that surged in a wave within him when the words finally processed. It was the equivalent of saying no.
From Inko, his mom, that hurt more than anything else.
Izuku let himself shatter in Inko’s arms, nowhere else to turn to. He sobbed and cried and rubbed snot and tears along her shirt; her own tears had been soaked up by Izuku’s. Because just like Izuku, Inko had no one else to turn to. Izuku didn’t know at the time, but Hisashi had called her asking for results. He hung up as soon as the word quirkless came from her mouth. She knew he wouldn’t be calling anymore.
Maybe Inko could have handled it better with words of agreement and hope instead of sorrow and regret. But she needed someone to lean on and Izuku allowed it, holding her and hugging her despite his own shattered self and unattainable dreams. His arms were tiny, barely able to wrap around her head- but she still reveled in the comfort of her son.
It was only later, after Izuku had been tucked into bed, that she remembered that Izuku was only four.
Izuku listened to her from the comfort of his blanket. He listened to her sobs and cries of being a horrible mother and ‘how could I have done this to my own son?’. He couldn’t do anything else. Just listen.
At five years old, Izuku became more privy to the darker side of humanity. It had been a whole year after it was announced that he was quirkless. Apparently rumors fly faster in quieter towns, and his quirkless status was spread like wildfire for those vultures that everyone called ‘people’.
With the rumors came changes. One of them being than Kacchan had immediately taken to calling him ‘Deku’, a mispronunciation of his actual name, when his status reached the Bakugou household. Apparently it fit him to a t- he was a worthless, quirkless bastard and now had a name to match. Additionally, and unsurprisingly, he started getting bullied as soon as school started. The kids called him weak and stupid and a bastard and other words that he’s sure he’s not supposed to repeat. One of the most common was a bitch; the reason being he was quirkless and that was all he was good for was bending over like one. The silent changes, however, were only noticed by Izuku; the pictures of his dad disappeared. All of his things were put in a garbage bag and sent to the dump. His mom started going outside less. He wished he didn’t know why.
Izuku didn’t know when, but his mom found out about this new development. He was at an age where being quirkless meant being treated like glass among the adults. He did say that that rumors fly in small towns, right? This time was no exception.
Inko found out through the ‘grapevine’ called Bakugou Mitsuki. And his mom was absolutely furious when she first found out, nearly tearing down the neighborhood on a warpath. She wasn’t nearly as innocent as she looked. She was the reason he learned his second cuss word after all. The only reason she hadn’t was because she remembered how she had reacted in light of Izuku’s development. It wasn’t any better than how the others were currently treating him. Izuku personally felt that there was a significant difference between her and the others, but she was almost as stubborn as he was.
So one fateful summer day, she took him and dragged him into the computer room, practically throwing him onto her lap after she took a seat. Izuku was very confused and slightly terrified. He was five and she looked like she was about to murder anyone else who got in her way. Izuku said as much.
“Mommy, you look like you’re going to kill someone. What are you doing?” The words ‘kill someone’ coming from him made her falter slightly, but huffed and proceeded to log into the computer.
“I’m going to help you.”
At Izuku’s utterly confused face, she chuckled.
“I wasn’t a good mommy to you when you really needed me. And… I feel horrible,” she answered his unasked question. “So I decided that, if everyone else is going to try and bring you down, we’ll find something just as good as being a rescue hero like All Might. Maybe we’ll find something even better for you. Only the best for my Izuku after all.”
By the end of her short rant, Izuku’s eyes had lightened up in a way that she hadn’t seen in months. She hadn’t even realized it had diminished at all until it reappeared so suddenly. It made her feel even better about her sudden decision.
“Let’s get started, okay?”
So for hours upon hours, the sat in front of the computer screen, searching through hundreds of different occupations. And they tried, trust Izuku when they say they tried to find the perfect job for him. Most of their options got thrown into the ‘not even worth mentioning’ pile. They hadn’t even realized how many offers and occupations relied on quirks until that day. (Izuku was kind of disgusted by it. He never voiced it though.)
They landed on two or three that didn’t completely rely on quirks, but all of them fell under Izuku’s personal ‘wouldn’t be interested pile’.
After a couple of hours, they sighed. The results had put a damper of both of their previous moods and it was showing rather clearly. Izuku hopped off his mom’s lap -which had gone numb with how long they had sat there for- and stretched his limbs out, his mom following behind him.
“I didn’t realize how hard it would be,” Inko sighed again, ruffling his green curls. “It’s getting late- too late to make dinner. I’ll go order us some pizza okay? You can stay and look for a little more.”
“Okay mommy,” Izuku answered with a small but genuine grin.
“I’ll be back in a bit honey.”
With that, she shuffled her way out. Izuku plopped down onto the rolling chair. With that quick stretch, he was fired up again. Hey, he was five years old with the first glimmer of hope in more than a year. You would have been equally as excited, wouldn’t you? He looked through the list of goals and occupations he had crossed of in the document next the the web page. It was the longest list Izuku had ever seen. He closed it, refusing to let it bother him and maximized the web page.
Izuku clicked the next page of results (he and his mom had flipped through 120 pages already) and clicked the first one that appeared.
The Unknown Heroes, the title of the article proclaimed in large bold comic sans. At first glance Izuku was sure it was going to go straight to the ‘nope’ pile. The wording was boring and the articles appearance was bland at best. All in all, not something that would catch Izuku’s five year old eyes.
But then he started reading the article.
‘The heroes who couldn’t care less about the spotlight.
The only true heroes this world seems to have are truly underappreciated. Police, Doctors, Construction workers, etc. all seem to fall under this category. Without these wonderful people, where would we be today?
But this article will be talking about the best that Heroism specifically has to offer.
Underground heroes have worked just as hard, if not harder to gain their licenses as pros. After all, most Underground Heroes, after thorough research, have quirks that would have been labeled ‘unsuited’ for hero work by society. It would have been difficult to make it into a hero program with their specific quirks, let alone graduate and become pro.
But they do . After earning their license, they immediately take off into the shadows and do the jobs most villain apprehension and rescue heroes wouldn’t even think of approaching. They continue to remain anonymous, even to most of the people they’ve rescued, and well into their lives as Underground Heroes.
Our well known heroes aren’t nearly as giving as these heroes cloaked in darkness are- we have all seen the increase in ‘cold cases’ and ‘unsolved crimes’ after all.
But these heroes don’t need media and attention and don’t have a reason to go about causing trouble like our more famed heroes. They don’t need or want to show off to the public with long winded, and often destructive fights. They do their jobs as quick and impeccably as possible- the reason heroism became an occupation in the first place.
So stop looking at these heroes who flaunt their excessive powers in these unconventional ways. Look towards or real heroes- the doctors who save lives every day, the police who protect just as many people as heroes, the construction workers who repair all those buildings damaged from villains and heroes alike.
And, of course, the Underground Heroes, the best that heroism, as an occupation, has ever given us.’
To say that Izuku became enamoured, would be a complete understatement. Izuku was practically bouncing in his seat, inches from falling out of his chair. It was still a type of heroism, and it never said that quirks were a requirement like most other heroes. It was perfect. Inko, who had walked in, not long after he finished the background, had picked up on his good mood. It was infectious really. She, after reading the article herself, smiled down at her son.
“You’ve found the one I see,” Inko said warmly, sweeping back his green locks with a smile. “You’re going to do great honey.”
Izuku smiled up at his mom with a genuine grin, eyes closed and crinkled, mouth shaped into a thousand watt smile. This was the first time that someone had believed in him- the first time his mom seemed to truly believe in him despite her constant worrying. Even if it was just his mom, he was glad.
“I need to go take out some plates, Izuku,” Inko finally said, giving Izuku a kiss on his forehead before she headed out. “I’ll call you when the pizza comes, okay?”
Izuku nodded vigorously, unable to articulate his words without screeching like a fangirl. As soon as the door shut behind him, he had whipped his head back to the computer, the air around around him practically sparkled.
Izuku scrolled down, careful to read every word, before he’d hit the next subtitle.
Eraserhead- one of the best Underground Heroes to date.
And that’s when Izuku first began his new obsession. Eraserhead, the erasure hero with a quirk that would be labeled ‘villainous’ in society's eyes. His quirk though, is only to erase his opponents quirk, which also meant that everything else- his prowess, his agility, his ability to blend in with the shadows- was thanks to his training. And that, that by itself, was enough to earn Izuku’s admiration.
“Izuku! Come down, the pizza’s here!”
He bookmarked the page quickly, promising himself to come back to research more about this hero.
And he did. Oh, he definitely did.
Let him list out his favorite things about Underground Heroes in general after very extensive research.
One. Most Underground heroes usually start out of spite. Although this wouldn’t usually be praised, Izuku learned that even though these heroes may start out out of spite, they learn from their spite. It’s something that Izuku has yet to see in anyone around him, and this singular fact is enough for him to respect all Underground Heroes.
Two. Underground heroes have saved just as many lives as regular rescue heroes. It’s not the typical “I’m here to save the day!” kind of saving. It’s the prevention of future events that could lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths. Izuku as looked up many villains that turned up ‘anonymously’ and those villains, they usually have the power and charisma to outwit many heroes alike.
Which segways to reason number three. Underground Heroes don’t care for the spotlight. Sure most of the time it’s just out of convenience where it’s better if they’re in the shadows and unknown. But the thing is that they’ve never complained about their Underground position. There have never been no riots or uproars. It just showed to Izuku that they properly respect their jobs or really just do it to save for people. Unlike the more fame based heroes. Izuku’s researched a lot.
And finally, the most prominent reason.
Underground heroes have loser morals and care less about the law. Again, not something a lot of people would consider praise worthy, but in Izuku’s eyes, it became something that was essential to becoming a hero. During the pre-quirk era, where they were the minority and quirks were called ‘super powers’, many had stepped up, using their powers in order to stop horrible people from letting their villainous dreams come to fruition. They didn’t do it for fame- some even despising it. Instead they used their powers to help these strangers around them despite no one else really knowing the person they were underneath. And in order to do this- to save as many people as they possibly could- laws often became pushed to the bottom of their priorities. And yes Izuku adored readings on the pre-qiurk era, which often came in the form of comic books and short clips.
Underground heroes portray the reason why heroes first came to be. Not to be dressed up in ridiculous outfits and pushed in front of people to seek fame and fortune and abide by these limiting laws- but to give their lives to trying to save the world, even if they did it person by person. Even if they weren’t praised for it. Even if they put the law behind them.
Gosh, that became a long rant. However, let’s get back to the story at hand.
Now, if you remember, this was all in the past- something Izuku has already overcome, if only a year ago.
Currently though, he’s standing in front of his second most favorite hero. Eraserhead, the hero he had written about seven pages on despite the limited amount of information on him. And yes, Izuku still prefers All Might over him. All Might is still the number hero and someone he’s been praising since his first real memory after all. It’s no something you can just wash away.
“-ey kid? You alright?,” the hero in question calls out, reaching forward to see if Izuku has any major injuries. He backs away when Izuku finches though, but the concern doesn’t fade.
“Are you alright kid?.” he repeats.
“I- yes! I’m completely alright, sir!,” Izuku stutters out, covering his burn scars and patting his All Might sweater down quickly. “I-I’m sorry for bothering you!”
Eraserhead’s eyes follow Izuku’s hands, squinting at the sensitive pink skin underneath. Izuku thinks, for just a second, that Eraserhead’s quirk wasn’t Erasure, but x-ray vision or something of the like. He keeps staring at Izuku like he knew everything about him. It was starting to freak him out actually.
“Kid,” the hero starts in a disbelieving tone, one eyebrow quirked up. “You’re out here at…” He checks his watch. “7:30 pm with burn scars on your arms and dirt in your hair in an empty park. I’m a hero, kid. If you think I believe for a second that you’re ‘completely alright’ than you’re underestimating my knowledge and understanding of common sense.”
Izuku bows his head in slight defeat. It was silly of him to think that a pro-hero wouldn’t notice such obvious facts. For someone who analyzes heroes like it’s the end of the world, he really should have understood that trying to fool someone like Eraserhead is near impossible.
“A-Ah… well. It wasn’t anything too bad,” Izuku tries, smiling up at his hero. But he can already tell that the hero was going to want more than reassurance from him. So he drops his head and his weak smile. “I-It was just my friend- K-Kacchan. He was j-just being his usual self, but then h-he got angry at me for, um. Helping him up? Ah! Please don’t get mad at him! It- it was my f-fault for not knowing my p-place.”
Eraserhead turns these words around in his head, schooling his features into the usual emotionless man he was. The only reason Izuku could tell he’s feeling frustrated is because he’d often tried and use that technique himself. Even if it didn’t work out as well for him.
“You’re only six kid- there shouldn’t be a ranking system for kids like you. There should be no such thing as ‘knowing your place’,” the hero finally says, checking his phone before putting it away. “I’ve got some time. I’ll walk you home.”
“Wa- you don’t have to do this Mr.Eraserhead,” Izuku blurts out, eyes wide. “You should be out helping people.”
The hero’s eyes grow wide before it returns to it’s expressionless state. Izuku forgot that Eraserhead is an Underground Hero- meaning Izuku shouldn’t know his name. It means that he’s cemented the hero’s decision for him. Knowing there’s no way around, he nods with defeat and eventually starts walking with the hero by his side.
“You know about me, kid?,” Eraserhead finally asks after a couple of moments.
“Yeah! I-I’m a big fan of heroes and you’re one of my favorites,” Izuku answers shyly, looking away. “I’ve known about you for almost a year and y-you’re one of my biggest inspirations.”
If Izuku was to look up, he would have seen the genuine surprise on the hero’s face accompanied by the rare but small smile. Of course that immediately changes after Izuku’s next words.
“A year after I was diagnosed quirkless, I found out about underground heroes,” Izuku continues. He pauses before breathing deeply. “Every time Kacchan would hurt me, I would always think of you because you fight nearly quirkless and you kick butt all the time- and if you could do it, then I could do it too.”
His stuttering disappears in light of his ranting, fire igniting in his eyes. They dim once more when a thought bubbles up. He eyes Eraserhead out of the corner of his eyes.
Izuku knows he shouldn’t be expecting anything good to come of it. He was supposed to be saving this thought for All Might- but then he contemplates. He knows that All Might is always busy- and when he’s not, he’s usually on the opposite half of Japan. Right now, the person standing next to him isn’t some idol that seemed fake and distant from the real world. Eraserhead is an actual person he can touch and talk to right now and-
“Can a quirkless De- Izuku like me- can someone like me become a hero?”
Izuku is staring down at his shoes, stopping his trek completely in favor of asking the simple question. If he looks up, then he would find an angry Eraserhead, fists clenched and eyes glinting red, hair floating menacingly along with his scarf-like capture weapon. Silence rings loud between them and Izuku starts his shuffling back home again, the hero following closely behind. After what seems like years of contemplating his words, Eraserhead speaks.
“In this day and age, almost nothing is impossible.”
Izuku raises his head to look at the straight-faced hero, unshed tears glimmering in his eyes. His lips tremble, trying to move, to speak- but Eraserhead still isn’t done.
“If you try hard enough, I guarantee that you’ll definitely get somewhere.”
With no warning, Izuku throws himself onto the hero, sniffling and sobbing. A large hand strokes his green curls with uncertainty, though it becomes less hesitant when Izuku hugs him tighter. Even if his voice is muffled, Izuku knows that Eraserhead hears him when he says “Thank you mister Eraserhead, sir.”
He knows because the hero responds with "My names Aizawa, kid. Feel free to use it.”
“Ah, um. My name is M-Midoriya I-Izuku Era- um. Aizawa-san.”
Izuku wipes his tears away hastily, embarrassed that he had just cried all over a Pro-Hero, someone he’s barely talked to for an hour. He would’ve been more so if he wasn’t so emotionally exhausted, so for the time being he sweeps most of his embarrassment aside, leaving it for future Izuku to deal with as he starts walking home slowly, Aizawa-san beside him the whole time.
When Izuku does get home, he leaves Aizawa-san with his mom, as the man requested a couple of minutes before they arrived. He stumbles into his room, collapsing in a heap on his bed. He would have listened into their conversation if the serious face that Aizawa gave him didn't terrify him.
He knows that if he does, somehow, manage to eavesdrop on their conversation, Aizawa-san will know.
Izuku is a curious person, not a dumb one.
Slowly, he drifts off, worn out from the long day. He wanted to stay awake, if only to thank Aizawa-san one last time. But before he could wrestle his body into wakefulness, his eyes shut and his mind falls into darkness.
Aizawa Shouta, also known as Eraserhead, is an underground hero. A good amount of people would say that he’s just as cold-hearted as his career seems to be. And, while that was true to an extent, Shouta still holds a soft spot for a couple things.
A few of these things include people who have been bullied or harassed, and cats.
And this kid he just happened upon during the beginning of his patrol seems to have tripped his way into Shouta’s first category. The kid’s hands tremble slightly; with pain or embarrassment was anyone’s guess though. He clutches onto his All Might sweater with a sad look before zoning out completely in the face of Shouta.
“Hey kid? You alright?,” Shouta tries, looking at the small kid staring at him.
He can see hundreds of thoughts running through the kid’s eyes and reaches out to pull him out of his trance. Of course Shouta backs off as soon as the kid flinches away and hides his burns with a fear Shouta recognized.
Shouta doesn’t think the kid even realizes he started hiding his scars at all. It seemed more instinctive and reflexive with how quick he was to react. It makes Shouta want to punch whoever was the cause of it. But that’s illogical and irrational. He doesn’t know the context of the situation. So he goes back to observing the kid.
“Are you alright kid?,” Shouta asks once more, finally capturing the kid’s full attention.
The kid stutters out an obvious excuse, patting down his sweater nervously and covering his burns once again. Shouta can’t help but follow the movement, scrutinizing it, and probably scaring the absolute shit out of the kid. Finally, Shouta answers the kid’s excuse with his own observations.
When he calls him out on it, Shouta’s heart almost twinges with guilt. The kid’s excitement and energy depletes instantaneously. Like an untied balloon. The kid looks down and starts to explain something about how he was put in his place and fucking hell. This kid looked about six, maybe seven at most, and he was talking about discrimination like it was another normal thing.
Underneath his calm exterior, he’s sizzling and boiling. Sure it may be to the fact that Shouta had been oppressed in a similar way, but it doesn’t make it any more right for there to be a hierarchy put in place in elementary school.
Shouta says as much, which the kid obviously doesn’t seem to believe, and then offers to take him him. The kid refuses vehemently, making more excuses of how he should be out saving other people.
But his brain picks up on only one thing.
His hero name.
Something he hadn’t told the kid, yet something the kid knows anyways. Shouta’s eyes widen involuntarily before he’s able to school his face once again. He really needed to start perfecting that technique. The kid also seems to realize his mistake and nods in defeat, allowing for Shouta to follow next to him.
“You know about me, kid?,” Shouta asks after gathering his thoughts properly.
“Yeah! I-I’m a big fan of heroes and you’re one of my favorites,” the kid answers with an embarrassed blush. “I’ve known about you for almost a year and y-you’re one of my biggest inspirations.”
Now, Shouta had already accepted from the day that he decided to go underground, that it was unlikely he was ever going to get a fan. But seeing this kid, openly admit that Shouta is one of his favorites, is more emotionally pleasing that he would have ever expected. He lets one of his rare genuine smiles slip past his ‘emotionless’ defenses. Not that Shouta’s luck had ever stuck before. Immediately, he’s hit with an onslaught of words that leaves him with a feeling of dread.
“A year after I was diagnosed quirkless, I found out about underground heroes. Every time Kacchan would hurt me, I would always think of you because you fight nearly quirkless and you kick butt all the time- and if you could do it, then I could do it too.”
This was the second time this mysterious ‘Kacchan’ was brought up. Just another typical bratty kid who thinks his quirk dictates everything. Shouta scoffs internally. There were a countless number of those kinds of kids these days- adults treating the strong like the heroes they weren't, and the weak like porcelain or some other fragile glass. Porcelain that bratty kids like ‘Kacchan’ took pleasure in breaking it seems.
It’s silent for a moment, Shouta mulling over his thoughts and the kid equally absorbed in his own. The kid looks constipated for a moment before straightening himself and blurting out-
“Can a quirkless De- Izuku like me- can someone like me become a hero?”
Shouta stops next to the kid who’s found sudden interest in his shoes and the floor beneath them. Shouta heard the slip up the kid just brushed over and he can feel his quirk activating without consent. The kid doesn’t notice, thankfully, but Shouta realizes he’d been too silent the whole time when the kid starts his trudge again. Shouta follows next to him, contemplating his next words carefully.
“In this day and age, almost nothing is impossible,” Shouta says, looking up to the sky for answers before finishing.
“If you try hard enough, I guarantee that you’ll definitely get somewhere.”
The kid throws Shouta for a loop when he runs face first into him for a hug. His hand hovers over the green mop of hair before gently petting it with hesitance. The kid just holds on tighter. Shouta keeps giving him as much assurance as he could through his small acts.
“Thank you mister Eraserhead, sir,” the kid says, voice muffled. But Shouta hears him clearly enough.
"My names Aizawa, kid. Feel free to use it.”
“Ah, um. My name is M-Midoriya I-Izuku Era- um. Aizawa-san.”
Shouta almost laughs at the stuttering but keeps following. The only words exchanged afterwards is his request to talk to the kid- Izuku’s- mother alone. He must have made a terrifying face when he’d said it though since the kid nodded vigorously; fast enough to make Shouta worry slightly about whiplash.
The kid stumble into his room when they make it, his mother offering Shouta to come in.
“You must be his mother,” Shouta says. The similarities are obvious when putting the two side by side. “My name is Aizawa Shouta.”
“Ah, y-yes. My name is Midoriya Inko,” the lady, Inko, says with a smile, hands nursing the cup of tea she’d brought for her and Shouta. “Thank you Aizawa-san, for bringing my baby home. I was worried when he didn’t come home with Katsuki like usual.”
Shouta acknowledges it with a nod, mind putting simple pieces together. Katsuki to ‘Kacchan’ wasn’t too big of a jump.
“I wanted to talk about Izuku’s supposed friends,” Shouta starts, sipping his tea. “Particularly one named ‘Kacchan’.” To his surprise, Inko seems to brighten up at that name.
“Ah, Katsuki Bakugou. He’s a wonderful boy. He and Izuku have been friends since they were babies,” she rambles happily, sipping her own tea. “The seemed to have distanced a bit, but they still play with each other every other day.”
“...huh,” is all Shouta can provide. The mother didn’t even know about their new development from friends to bully and victim. He hates to be the one to shatter that illusion, but he’d rather that than have the kid put up with the other. “Well. The reason I came to you today is because I noticed your son in the middle of the park with a dirty All Might sweater and starburst burns. Do you understand where I’m going with this?”
Inko stares blankly for a moment before her mind catches up. She looks horrified at the implications and puts down her cup more harshly than she probably intended.
“I believe it would be better for Izuku to not associate with Katsuki Bakugou from here on,” Shouta says bluntly. Inko looks shell shocked but looks more understanding than Shouta thought she would. And then the regret appears and he knows it won’t be so simple.
“I… wish I could,” Inko says, gripping her pants with honest regret. “But I can’t. I would, but I can’t. I don’t have any money for us to move, and my husband is no longer in the picture. The only elementary school available is the one Izuku is already attending.”
Shouta nods. He figured as much. Even if their current apartment is cozy, it’s not the greatest. Still, it hurt that the kid would have to put up with his situation for that much longer. Shouta couldn’t just keep coming here to help the kid. It wasn’t in his nature, nor was it something his job would allow for. Shouta finally nodded, heading towards the genkan to put his shoes on.
Before he leaves, he turns around and says, “when you do get a better paying job, make sure to pay attention to your son while doing so. It’s your judgement call on whether moving would be more beneficial or detrimental. Think it through Ms.Midoriya.”
“Thank you Aizawa-san.”
Shouta leaves the house with a sense of foreboding on his shoulder. But there was nothing more he could do for now. Hopefully the Midoriya’s will have it easier from now on.
But then again- when was luck ever on Shouta’s side?