Midoriya was quirkless.
He knew that.
He hated that.
Not that he was quirkless. That was just fate. He was just unlucky.
No. He hated how everyone treated him like he was useless. His classmates treated him like a piece of shit, like he was just there. Something to be bullied. Something to be thrown away and trashed. Something beneath them. All because he had an extra toe joint and lacked a super power.
The adults weren't much better, treating him like he was made of glass, like he would break any moment someone even laid a finger of him.
He wasn't weak, dammit. He could take care of himself.
His mom ignored him. He was quirkless. She didn't want to have a quirkless child. She provided for him, but that's all. She treated him like he didn't exist.
That was good. He could be independent. His mom didn't care.
He hated bullies. He was sure he wasn't the only one discriminated against because of quirks. People needed help. People with weak or usless quirks needed help. The quirkless needed help.
He wasn't a wimp. He could be strong too even if he was quirkless. He needed to be strong. He wanted to prove his existence to himself.
So when Midoroya found himself face to face with All Might, a person he admired all his life, just the tiniest bit more than Eraser Head, after he had defeated a villain near his school on his way home, he couldn't help himself.
"Ne... All Might... do you think a quirkless person could be a hero?"
The answer hit him.
"I'm sorry. I don't think that's a good idea. It's good to dream, but please, make it realistic."
That statement shattered the boy.
But that one small shard of hope, deep in his heart, shined the brightest.
He couldn't be a hero?
Then he won't be one. No one officially acknolwdged by anyone anyway.
He was smart, he liked to analyse quirks.
He could do this.
After all, he could only get arrested if he used a quirk, right?
He thought he had done a good job keeping a low profile. He was never mentioned in the media, very few police officers knew of him (it was annyoing having to call in Tsukauchi everytime he showed his licence to tell his subordinates that yes, he was a hero, and yes, he dressed like that on purpose, and yes that was the point of an underground hero - being unknown)
So when this crook he was stalking had been taken down by another person, he was surprised. There weren't any underground heroes that worked in his area, or wore so much green.
That wasn'r what aurprised him.
What surprised him was that the person had faced him after he had finished off the crook, waved, yelled "Bye Eraser Head!" and ran off into the darkness.
"He was caught in the end, right? Stop worrying about it." Yamada tried to encourage his friend.
"It's not the criminal! I didn't take him down. A person wearing green did it!" Aizawa groaned.
If he was an underground hero, why didn't Aizawa know of him? If he was a villain, why did he sound so happy to see him. How did he even know who he was?
He was a vigilante then.
The new vigilante was annoying. Incredibly annoying. Utterly annoying. Every single adjective the pro hero knew was added in front of annoying, and his mental list kept growing.
And he was so small! Almost like he was a child! He was even smaller than those kids he was teaching in UA.
Dammit. He was worried. The kid looked like he knew what he was doing, but it would put Aizawa at ease to know that there weren't kids running around trying to be heroes.
That meant he was going to have to find out who the heck this kid was.
Midoriya was happy.
He actually met Eraser Head! That was awesome!
His classmates had bullied him again, but that wasn't enough to damped his spirits. Good, treat him like he was crap. One day karma was gonna get em. He only hoped he would be there to witness their eventual downfall.
He had been training himself since he was eight. Ever since All Might said he couldn't be a hero.
It was worth it. The exhilaration of being strong behind his peers backs. The joy of knowing he was helping others. Being able to help the society even if it was just taking out purse snatchers or idiotic drunk villains. It was all worth it. The training, the pain, all the effort his put into this.
Meeting Eraser Head on his ninth birthday was just the icing on the cake.
Yup. He could actually live like this. His mother didn't care enough about him to check if he was sleeping or not. As long as he kept his grades up, he wouldn't have to bother anyone, or make his teacher's suspicious.
"Eh?" Midoriya glanced around as he heard sniffling. He was in his way home, and had checked out a hero fight just because it was nearby.
He peeked into the alley next to him, eyes widening as he noticed a small boy with purple hair, sitting on the ground. He looked like he was crying, had bruises everywhere, and his clothes were dirty and smeared with dirt.
"Are… you okay?" Midoriya asked, carefully approaching the boy like he was a scared animal. In all fairness, he was just a toddler, and humans were technically animals if he took the official classification that humans were mammals and mammals were animals.
The boy just looked at him, with large, purple eyes, before he turned away and tucked into a ball, backing away from the older boy until his back was pressed against the wall.
"Ok ok. I won't come close to you. But can you tell me if you're okay?"
The child just looked confused at the question. Damn. How old was he? Two? He was small. Very small. And most children were aware of their surroundings when they wre six to seven months old. This kid was too young, too small, too vulnerable on his own.
The child carefully slid over a piece of piece of paper robotically. Almost like he didn't want to but something in him was forcing him to do so. The poor kid looked so tired, like he was going to drop and pass out any time soon.
"I'm sorry. I cannot take care of this child anymore. Adoption centres won't take in a person with a brainwashing quirk. Please give him the home and love that I, as a mother, failed to give. His name is Shinsou Hitoshi. He's one year old and manifested a villainous quirk early. Take him in at your own risk. His father's a villain with the same quirk, and I'm sick of seeing the same purple eyes and hair grow up and turn into a villain as well. Please don't hurt him anymore because he did nothing wrong to deserve this fate and he will turn into a villain one day. You don't want to become a target."
The handwriting kept changing. The paper was crumpled. Almost like two people were fighting over who got to write, and they had ended up both writing the letter. He was getting really mixed signals.
He did understand a few things. Shinsou's mom wrote this. Her husband was a villain, and it literally drove her mad that her son looked like his father and ended up with the same quirk. Her motherly side and her angry deranged side probably had a very bad disagreement about him, and she ended up with a split personality or something. They were fighting, probably ended up hurting the poor kid in the process, and she decided to leave the boy where hopefully someone would take him in.
The date at the bottom of the letter suggested that the kid had been here for a few days. It was definitely not healthy for the child to have gone starving for so long, or possibly even longer.
People with mental quirks were considerably smarter. While the bodies of people's with physical quirks had adapted to allow the quirk to grow stronger, mental quirks weren't as straight forward as physical ones. They needed to brain capacity to understand the fine tuning of their quirks, and to avoid the negative mental backlashes that came with it. They usually also had better memory so they don't forget how to use their quirk and give themselves a burst blood vessel in the brain cause they couldn't control their quirk.
A normal child at this age would probably only know that he was abandoned. Shinsou was probably too young to understand the true intent of his mother. All he knew and understand was that his quirk was bad, and his mom hated him for it and how he looked, and he felt sad about it. He understood, and felt bad. He was inclined to give the letter even though it was probably the thing that kept him from being adopted because he wanted people to understand, as if he was trying to chase people away. It was a wonder he hasn't been kidnapped already.
Midoriya empathised with him too much. Being quirkless, he was often treated like he was trash or just plain fragile. He was always getting pushed away, but his mother never raised a finger against him and chose to ignore him like he was a ghost or a spectre. He was lucky that he still had a place to stay, and his mom just left him alone. He had it better than Shinsou. At least he wasn't living on the streets.
Shinsou needed love. More love. If everyone he had ever met treated him like crap, all the more he had to shower this poor child with all the love and care and affection he could. He had tons of it to spare, but no one to spare it on.
Until he found this poor kid.
Midoriya placed the letter on the ground.
"Come here, Shinsou."
The child just looked so surprised.
Someone wanted to take him in?
The child shook his head.
"Me.. bad... bad power."
Midoriya knew he could literally just pick the child up off the ground, but he wanted him to come willingly. To understand that he wasn't bad because of his power. He didn't know how much the child knew, but if he was saying things like that... he probably knew a bit too much.
"It's not a bad power. You can chose how you want to use it. Come on."
Shinsou shook his head.
Damn. For a one year old, even with a mental quirk, this kid was smart and stubborn. Too stubborn. Midoriya liked smart.
Midoriya slowly advanced, and Shinsou just looked at him curiously and tiredly.
"Use your power on me."
Shinsou's eyes grew slightly larger and he shook his head even harder. "No... hurt..."
God dammit. He was just a kid. A baby! And he had to suffer like this, thinking he's hurt everyone!? Midoriya was taking him in if that was the last thing he did.
"Shinsou. You're not a bad person, okay? It doesn't matter what everyone tells you. You're a good child. You won't hurt anyone."
Shinsou wanted to believe that. He wanted to, so badly. But that nagging feeling deep within him wouldn't let him. He remembered the last thing his mom told him before she dumped him on the ground in a cardboard box.
"No one would want a little villain like you."
He had no idea what a villain was. But he knew it was bad. He was bad. That's why no one wanted him.
Midoriya stopped moving. His eyes glazed over.
Shinsou panicked. He used his quirk. By accident. His power was bad. It was bad, it was so bad, it was bad bad bad bad -
The strain on his mind was too much. It hurt too much. He tried to stand, and felt his legs wobble before everything turned black.
He passed out.
Midoriya blinked when the haze over his mind disappeared.
He noticed Shinsou was lying on the ground, and he panicked. How the heck do you deal with a child that passed out?! He was ten for goodness sake. He was smart, but he was no parent. He wasn't a doctor.
Hopefully the child was just tired. Hopefully.
Midoriya scooped up the child in his arms and slowly exited the alleyway.
"You know, I don't think that's a good idea." A man said.
Midoriya just frowned and faced the man.
"Look. I know he's a kid. But all of us around here saw the note. A brainwashing quirk is dangerous. Nothing good will come out of taking a child like that home. I'm just warning you -"
"Look, sir. I understand you're warning me out of the goodness of your heart," The man flinched at Midoriya's sarcasm, "But he's a child. It wasn't his fault he was born with a quirk like this, and I'm sure I can land you in jail or at least a fine for quirk discrimination against what's practically a baby. So run along, and I'll forget I met a person who practically just called a child a villain for having a quirk that he had no power over choosing."
Shinsou slowly opened his eyes. His body wasn't against the cold hard ground. It was... soft. And there was something fluffy.
The fluffy thing was green. It ticked his nose, and he sneezed.
Midoriya shot awake, and sat up straight, looking around him warily, before his eyes settled on the child on his bed.
"Whew. You're awake Shinsou."
Shinsou just looked at him curiously as he sat up. He felt refreshed. He hadn't felt like that in a long time.
"So... sorry I just brought you into my home and you kinda passed out and I panicked and I didn't know what to do so I just decided to bring you here cause I understand what you're feeling and the world really ain't fair and I really like you and I want to you be safe and I think you deserve to have a home and be loved and..."
Shinsou literally lost him as he started rambling on and on.
But he understood on thing. The boy know how he felt. He understood. He wanted to take him in. Despite Shinsou using his quirk on him by accident.
"... bad... power..."
Midoriya gave the small child a grin.
"You used your quirk and nothing bad happened!"
Shinsou had no idea how to react. People don't accept him for his quirk. Never did when he used it by accident.
Why? Why was he so nice!?
"Shinsou. Please. I don't know it you know what I'm talking about, but the world is wrong. You were never bad, okay?"
He placed his hands on Shinsou's shoulders, and the child couldn't stop that warm feeling travel up his arms and warm his entire body. He liked the warmth. He wanted the warmth.
Midoriya knew how to read people. He had to, in order to predict his opponents moves. Shinsou was as easy to read as an open book, and Midoriya pulled the boy in for a hug.
Shinsou didn't protest. He liked it. He missed the warmth. He missed the feeling of someone caring about him. He missed the feeling of someone loving him. He wanted to cry, but crying was bad. That was what his mom said. He didn't want to be bad. He was good, right?
"I know how you feel. You think crying is bad."
Shinsou just tried to blink the tears out of his eyes.
"I used to cry a lot too when I was younger."
He... did? And he was so nice. He wasn't bad.
"It's okay to cry. Crying isn't bad. It's natural to want to cry. I feel like crying too, so it's fine."
That was true. Midoriya wanted to cry. But he had forced that side of him aside for so long... he'd forgotten how to cry. Getting teased for crying. Getting bullied for crying.
You hypocrite. You stopped crying long ago. Crying is a sign of weakness.
Shinsou didn't need to live like that.
"No one will hurt you for crying. No one will blame you for crying. As long as you're with me, crying will never be bad."
The floodgates broke, and Shinsou burst into tears, crying into the older boy's shirt.
He was wanted. Someone wanted him. He was good. He wasn't bad.
That was all Shinsou wanted.