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A Mother's Touch (Currently Being Revised)

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She first came to him when he was a baby. Only a day old, Midoriya Izuku was a tiny bundle of newly born nerves, flesh, and blood. He had pinkish skin, chubby cheeks, and a curl of dark green hair on his head. He was living with the other newborns in the hospital nursery, his mother still recovering from giving birth. 

He was the only baby awake, the others lulled to sleep by an, unseeable, unhearable, bone deep pulse. A rhythmic hum that made them feel as if they were still in the womb.

She was invisible, unseen by eyes or camera lenses. She was not even reflected in window or in the vibrant eyes of the newborn She was looking down upon. Regardless, he still stared at the empty space in the nursery, where She would be if She was solid. 

And it made Her smile. Already, little Izuku had such good intuition. She reached down to caress the baby’s cheek.

It was past midnight. The nursery was bereft of any caregivers at the moment. Izuku let out a soft, gurgling sound, possibly pleased by the affection he was being given. And how beautiful it was, to see a brand new body test itself, explore itself, and hear the sounds it could make. He was so utterly beautiful.

She had waited so long for this child to be born, to finally see his eyes and hear his soft, little sounds.

And now, here he was. Her darling little Izuku. Already, Her heart was so fond of him. She could not wait for him to grow up and see the young man he’d become over time.

Unfortunately, She would have to wait just a tiny bit longer. This newborn body was as delicate as Izuku would ever be. It was too dangerous to embrace him now. But She still wanted to give the baby something to remember Her by. Just a little gift. A small blessing. 

So She leaned down, pressing a light, phantom kiss to his forehead. 

“Sleep well, Izuku. I’ll be seeing you again soon.”

Her voice, like Her body, would not be detectable by audio recordings or human ears. But the little baby cooed again, blinking.

And when his eyes opened, they looked just a little bit brighter.


Izuku spent the first few years of his life dreaming of vague shapes and indecipherable, infinite starry skies. His dreams sometimes came with a voice, a laugh, but nothing more. And as soon as Izuku opened his eyes, his dreams slipped away like sand through his fingers. 

He was five when it all changed. He was five when he started retaining his dreams, and when he learned that he wasn’t Quirkless after all.

It was also when he and Kacchan stopped playing together. But it wasn’t his fault, he honestly had no idea what he did wrong at first.

Izuku didn’t even remember much from that day. All he knew was that Kacchan was just mad at him. Izuku thought it was for stopping him from picking on another boy on the playground. Or maybe Kacchan wanted to know why Izuku kept trying to hang out with him, and why he’d bother standing up for someone else. Kacchan started pushing him, and Izuku scraped both his knees. Kacchan let sparks fly across his palms, and the sleeve of Izuku’s shirt smouldered and started smelling like smoke. Then Kacchan started calling him names.

Annoying. Useless. Deku.

When Izuku felt the first of his tears flow down his face, he began praying for someone to help him. Anyone to come stop this. An adult, his mother, anyone. 

Then he felt a rush go through him. His bones burned while his skin raised with goosebumps, his whole body buzzing with energy like a sugar high. Izuku got up slowly. and Kacchan froze. Kacchan and the other two boys with him stepped back, all of them speechless.

Don’t worry, Izuku. I’m here now.

A voice that sounded like a hundred people whispering in unison, so quiet and yet so overwhelming, filled his ears and coiled in his head. Izuku felt a strong wind blow from behind him, whipping his hair and clothes, but he could distinctly remember Kacchan’s spiky hair standing perfectly still. 

Countless disembodied arms, severed at the shoulder, appeared on either side of Izuku, pulled from seemingly nothing. Translucent and glowing green with pitch black veins,  but unmistakably human. They were larger than his own, the size of adult arms. 

Mom used to surprise Izuku by coming up behind him and covering his eyes with her hands. Something like that happened. Two hands, pulsing like the aurora borealis, covered his eyes and drenched his vision in green light.

Izuku didn’t remember what happened right after that. It felt like only a second later, but when Izuku blinked, he was alone. His clothes and hair were no longer blowing in the wind. The hands and strange looking arms were gone, and Kacchan was on the other side of the park, running for the exit.

The air was still, the park silent.

Izuku blinked, wanting to go after Kacchan but still so dearly confused. What just happened?

Izuku, the voice spoke again. 

He jumped, spinning around, but the playground was empty.

Izuku swallowed, heart beating a little bit faster. “Hello?”

Hello, my dear.

Izuku flinched, clutching his hands to his ears. Too much, he thought. Too loud.

Sorry…

The voice was softer now, sounding more like a gentle, babbling brook than a cacophony of people. But… there was still no one in sight. 

“Who are you?” Izuku asked the air. “Where are you?”

… 

I’m a friend. 

Izuku frowned. “Then what’s your name?” 

I don’t have one. 

Izuku’s frown deepened. “Why not?”

Everyone had a name, didn’t they? 

I don’t need one. 

A pause. 

Although, the closest thing I know to a name is Her.

And something in her voice made Izuku smile. She sounded as if she was amused, happy even, and Izuku didn’t have many people who liked having him around. Her name was also unusual, but it would work. 

“So are you invisible?”

… In a sense, I suppose.

Izuku’s curiosity was piqued. He asked, “Then what are you?”

I’m your friend. The voice said again. And I’m going to keep you safe, I promise Izuku. 

And it made Izuku’s heart soar. He momentarily forgot all about Kacchan because meeting Her meant that he did have a Quirk! Izuku could be a hero!

That night, he told his mom about his new Quirk, and his new friend. But Mom looked at him strangely. She asked what this voice sounded like, but Izuku couldn’t explain it. 

She sounded like a woman, maybe why She wanted to be called a Her. She almost sounded like Izuku’s mom, but also like Auntie Mitsuki but also a little like Izuku’s teacher. Her voice also sounded like Izuku’s own, if he were to hear it coming from someone else’s mouth. There were other voices too, underneath those. Countless. They all spoke as one and echoed like a person shouting across a canyon, but also only at the volume of a whisper. 

The next day, Izuku was taken to a special therapist, one who was an expert in abnormal Quirks and young children. 

Izuku insisted that She was real, that she came to help him. And the therapist, a nice lady with glasses and gray hair, actually believed him. She asked him lots of questions about the arms that manifested and what they looked like. What it felt like to use his new power. 

Then the nice lady spoke to Izuku’s mom, saying words he didn’t fully understand. Possible psychological Quirk mental manifestation highly volatile … the list went on and Izuku soon lost interest.

Don’t listen to them, the voice said. Izuku tried not to show how excited he was to hear Her again, because having Her meant he really did have a Quirk! He could achieve his dreams and everyone would take him seriously now!

She laughed softly.

Yes, Izuku. With my help, the whole world will see you.

The rest of the doctor’s visit passed by in a blur. Izuku was just too excited to pay attention. Not only did he have a Quirk, but a new friend!

Oh, Izuku. You’re my baby boy, and I promise I’ll do anything for you. 

Between the therapy session concluding and Izuku’s joy, he never questioned what She meant by saying he was “Her boy”.

He was just so happy. 

But not all men were created equal, as Izuku knew too well. Just because he had a Quirk now didn’t mean that his classmates would like him. In fact, when he went to school the next day, the classroom seemed to be swirling with rumors about him. Classmates asked him if he really did have a Quirk, if he really did beat up Kacchan, what really happened in the park that day… 

But Izuku couldn’t really answer. All he could remember were those hands over his eyes. Everything else was just as blurry as his dreams. Suffice to say, Izuku left more than one classmate walking away disappointed. 

Eventually, he began feeling bad about the whole situation. Kacchan was still amazing, and Izuku wanted to apologise to his friend. So Izuku approached Kacchan on the playground that day, but frowned when the other boy refused to even look at him. 

“Please, Kacchan. I-”

Kacchan kicked a pebble at his feet, still not looking up. “Just go away, Deku.” 

Izuku didn’t know what to do, so he listened to Kacchan and left him alone. But when the other children saw that even Kacchan refused to go near Izuku, they all followed suit. So Izuku got what he always wanted. He got a Quirk.

But he was more alone than ever before. 

While the class was outside for recess, Izuku sat on the swing set alone. He held his hands out in front of him, trying to make the arms manifest again. To feel that strange wind. Anything. 

He strained his body, trying to summoning the arms, but nothing happened. Then Izuku remembered his new friend. 

“H-hello?” He asked the air.

A moment passed.

Yes?

Izuku grinned. 

“Hi,” he said, “Can you do the thing again?”

The voice made a sound like an entire forest quaking in the wind, but it also reminded Izuku of what his mom sounded like when she laughed. 

A glowing green hand appeared in front of Izuku, this time ending at just the wrist. The hand cupped Izuku’s face, brushing it’s thumb over his cheek. He giggled. The hand made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, but not in a bad way. It felt more like the static that came from rubbing a balloon. 

Izuku held the hand with his own, observing the fingers and the black veins flowing through it. Up close, he noticed that the hand was much larger than his, but with thin, slender fingers. The skin (if it could be called that) felt much less like a human and more like warm glass. 

“How do you do this?” He asked. 

She made that laughing sound again. 

I promise you will learn when you’re older, Izuku. For now, this power will be my gift to you.

The hand crawled playfully up his arm, making him giggle harder. Then Izuku laughed as the hand came up to boop his nose. Izuku glanced around, hoping one of his teachers was nearby so he could show them his Quirk. But the only person he found staring at him was Kacchan. Immediately, the other boy looked away and ran off. Izuku frowned, going back to staring at the hand. 

He asked, with all the grace and tact of a child, “Did you hurt Kacchan?”

She was silent for a moment.

...Yes.

“Why? He wasn’t going to hurt me that bad! We were just playing.”

You’re my baby, Izuku. She said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, I would do anything to protect you. 

Izuku furrowed his brows, confused. He stared at the hand that was holding his own. He was five, he wasn’t a baby anymore! But maybe She called him that like how his mom did. Although, that confused Izuku even more. 

“You aren’t like my mom, though. Right? I already have a mom.”

She laughed again. Not exactly. I’m a different sort of “mother”. It may sound confusing now, but I promise you’ll understand one day.

Then the teachers called all the children back from recess, and Izuku saw his classmates gathering to go back inside. 

“I have to go,” he said. 

I know. We will speak later.

Izuku smiled even as the hand faded away and vanished, leaving behind the lingering smell of copper and the scent of thunderstorms. Izuku didn’t think much of it. Instead, he hopped off the swing and ran to catch up with his classmates. 


After a few weeks of Quirk therapy and visiting various doctors, Izuku’s Quirk was given official recognition. As far as his doctors could tell, Izuku created his spectral arms using energy from an unknown source. His mom filled out a form to have his Quirk registered, and called it Energy Manifestation. Izuku found it strange that no part of the description mentioned Her, but his mom told him he didn’t need to worry about it. The most important thing was that they describe the glowing green arms he created. Izuku still didn’t like it, he was already so fond of Her, but he didn’t try to argue with his mom.

And that night, Izuku had a strange dream. Usually, his nights were spent in a blur of colors with no distinct memories. But tonight, he dreamt the world around him was black, with no sky, no horizon, and no ground. But all around him were stars. Big red ones, small white ones, and bright yellow ones creating a world unlike anything he’d ever seen before.

“Izuku…” She said, in a sing-song voice. 

Izuku turned, finding someone standing a few feet away from him. Immediately, Izuku could tell that this was Her. There was no one else this being could be. She had the form of a human woman, but everything else about Her was unlike anything he’d ever seen before. Her skin was smooth and glowed with a greenish light, lined with dark colored veins. But Her skin was also translucent, letting Izuku see inside of Her. Instead of organs and bones, She had a starburst of countless miniature cosmos under Her skin, constantly shifting and changing in color. Her hair looked like a massive sun flare, like molten magma and wispy fire cascading down Her back. Her face had no features, except for Her eyes. 

And when he saw Her eyes… Izuku almost couldn’t comprehend what he was seeing. 

They reminded him of when he saw the aurora borealis on TV, if those beautiful lights could be packed into marble-sized balls and simultaneously be swallowed by black holes. Izuku saw no irises, no whites in Her eyes, and no real pupils, either. Instead, he saw hues of green mixed with hints of blue and yellow all swirling with what looked like pitch black ink. The colors funneled into the center of Her eyes, where Her pupils should have been, and disappeared into an oblivion even darker than black.

The corners of the being’s eyes crinkled, as if She was smiling, and She held Her arms out to Izuku. 

“Come to me”, She said.

And in his dream, Her voice did not sound like a whisper at the back of his mind. Instead, it sounded like Her voice was coming from all around Izuku, being spoken into his ear from every angle and yet no louder than a normal person’s voice.

Izuku smiled and nearly flung himself into Her arms. He did not question how he could run across an invisible floor, or how he could breathe in such an environment. All he cared about was Her. 

She wrapped him in a warm embrace and ran Her fingers through his hair. 

“Hello, my dear.” 

Izuku smiled and looked up, but his breath caught in his throat. Her eyes held pinpricks of every color Izuku knew, and even more that he knew humans were not designed to see. Izuku didn’t want to look at Her pupils though. They felt like they were pulling him in, inviting him to come closer and join the colors being swallowed by Her eyes. 

She tilted her head, and cupped Izuku’s chin. 

“Do my eyes scare you?”

Izuku shook his head.

“They’re just… so much.” He said. 

“But they’re very pretty,” Izuku added, because he knew it was impolite to comment on others’ appearances.

She chuckled softly. “I’m glad you like them.”

She bent down and pressed where Her lips should have been to the top of Izuku’s head. All at once, Izuku felt his body flush with a bone-deep warmth. It was as if he was wrapped in a blanket fresh from the dyer. But when Her touch faded, it left goosebumps and a chill going down his spine.

Regardless, She smiled at him. 

“Did you know that when you use my gift, your eyes look like mine?”

Izuku’s eyes widened. “You mean when I use my Quirk?”

She nodded.

Izuku distantly thought that if his eyes looked like Hers, then maybe he understood why Kacchan refused to look at him now. If he didn’t know what he was seeing, he’d think it was scary too.

“People will be afraid of you, Izuku.” She said, as if reading his thoughts, “In the future, there may be people who hate you. Who will try to convince you that your power is wrong. Do not listen to them.”

She tilted his head up, so he had no choice but to look into Her eyes. And Izuku stood still, speechless, as Her eyes tugged at the core of his very being and urged him closer.

“You are going to be something far greater than any of them. I promise.”

Izuku didn’t understand what She meant. Couldn’t, even. He just kept staring into Her pupils, and it took all his strength to not feel like he was being sucked out of his own skin. She tucked a lock of hair behind his ear and the corners of her eyes crinkled again. 

“Goodbye for now, Izuku. Sleep well.”

Izuku felt a mild pain behind his eyes, and squeezed them shut. When he opened them again, Izuku found himself back in his own bed.


From that moment on, Izuku dedicated all of his free time to studying Quirks. Not just those of heroes, but his own. Since his first dream, Her voice became a near-constant presence in his mind, but he dared not tell his mom or teachers. 

Even if he tried, he knew they just wouldn’t understand.

His mom tried to explain more than once that hearing voices wasn’t normal, so Izuku didn’t feel safe talking to his mom about Her. And he also knew that his mom was only saying this because she didn’t understand Her like he did. 

She was his best friend. Since connecting to her, She used her power to help Izuku clean his room and carry his notebooks. She let him sit in Her lap while he dreamed and told him stories of long gone stars and ancient civilizations. 

Under his mom’s supervision, but more often in secret, Izuku tested the limits of his Quirk. He asked Her for one hand, for two, and worked his way up from there. She also taught Izuku how to speak to Her through his thoughts while he was awake, so he would draw less attention than speaking aloud. It took a bit more concentration than talking normally, but all for the better. 

She explained that they would also be closer this way, so if Izuku needed her for anything, he could call on Her right away. It made sense to Izuku, who was already eager to explore the full properties and boundaries of his Quirk. And from his mom’s perspective, he was learning to wield his power by himself. 

It was a win-win situation for everyone!

After a few months of secret training, Izuku asked for Her help in rearranging the living room when his mom decided to buy a new couch. However, Izuku’s curiosity was immediately piqued when two glowing green arms picked up the old couch all by themselves. 

A storm of questions started brewing in his mind: How much weight could the arms hold? How many could he manifest at once? How long could he keep them projected? 

So many questions, all demanding answers at once. 

It made Her laugh. Patience, baby. You can have all the answers you want, with time. 

So Izuku tried testing himself again and again. After school, at night in his bedroom, when no other eyes were on him. And the more he learned, the more questions he had. 

Izuku was five when he lifted the couch. 

He was six when he lifted the fridge to get a crayon that rolled underneath it. 

He was eight when he successfully manifested two hands for an entire day, a Saturday when mom needed lots of help with the chores around the house. 

He was ten when a hand as tall as Izuku himself lifted the back end of his mother’s car when it got stuck in a snowbank outside their apartment. 

It looked like a natural development of his Quirk over time, but that was just what he could do in the physical world. 

Since first meeting Her, every time Izuku slept, he found himself back in Her world. She had essentially placed all the power of a newborn star in Izuku’s small hands and let him do as he pleased with it.

This is a safe place for you to practice. She said. Nothing can go wrong here, not while I’m with you.

And with that unfamothable energy, in Her dimension, Izuku’s power was nearly infinite. He could make or break stars, shape galaxies and watch them spin through space. And like a mother showing her child how to sculpt clay, Izuku manifested arms that could shape planets.

In a way, Izuku also felt less alone than in the real world. He knew it was silly, She often came to him during the day anyways, but there was something about actually being able to see Her. Something soothing, something comforting, something akin to seeing his mom after a long day at school. Izuku loved being with Her to the point where he sometimes dreaded waking up.

And by the time Izuku was eleven, he no longer needed to ask Her to manipulate the arms in the physical world. Their bond was so strong, he learned how to summon the power from Her world and manipulate it himself while awake. However, the one question from when Izuku first received his Quirk went unanswered. 

He was twelve when he was beginning to suspect that his Quirk didn’t have a limit. Despite the tiredness he felt from using his Quirk for long periods of time, there was no sense of true exhaustion, no pain that would tell Izuku when he was at his maximum capacity. It was scientifically impossible, though. Every Quirk had a limit, right?

So what about his?

Izuku only ever brought it up with Her once. It was after his twelfth birthday. That night, he found himself in the familiar starry plane that was his second home, where She waited for him once more. They sat side by side, watching as two nearby galaxies collided in a burst of golden light. 

“What’s my Quirk’s weakness?” He asked, straight to the point.

She turned to stare at him, tilting her head. “What do you mean, my dear?”

“I just… I’ve never felt tired or sore after using my Quirk,” Izuku said. “But every Quirk has a weakness.”

She contemplated Izuku for a moment, then laughed. “Oh, you don’t need to worry about that, Izuku. You don’t have one.”

Izuku gaped, eyes wide. He stared at the spot between her eyes, still not entirely comfortable looking into her pupils, then frowned. 

“That’s impossible,” he said, “Every power has some kind of limit, o-or some kind of drawback.”

She placed a hand on his shoulder and gestured to the two galaxies merging together at one million times faster than they would in the natural world. 

“This shouldn’t be possible either. But in my world, I make it possible.”

Her hand squeezed reassuringly. “So long as you listen to me, you will never struggle to wield your power. You will always have me to help you.”

Izuku frowned at Her. There was something about Her words that bothered him, for reasons he couldn’t fully understand. This power was like a gift, one that he had because She loved him. He knew that.

But if there was a stipulation to his power, did that mean it could be taken away?

Was that his weakness? Was he entirely dependent on Her?

Izuku was just about to prod Her further when Her head turned sharply, gazing down at him with Her piercing, black eyes. Izuku groaned as he squeezed his eyes shut. He clutched his head, feeling a pulsing ache flow through his body. 

The next time he opened his eyes, he was staring at his bedroom ceiling. 

He never again asked Her about the limitation to his Quirk. In fact, the nearly ever-present question that persisted in his mind for years had vanished from his conscious, leaving him doubtless of his own power.


Izuku was fourteen when he met his hero, All Might. He was being attacked by a slime villain, suffocated by vile smelling muck. While he struggled to breath, Izuku’s Quirk burst to life in his veins. Every nerve flowed with a familiar green energy without him activating it. Hands, dozens of them, clawed at the villain only to seep through his fluid body. 

LEAVE HIM ALONE! She screamed. 

Izuku flinched from how loud Her voice was, echoing in his mind and making him even more lightheaded.

But when the man gazed into Izuku’s eyes, he stilled. Seemingly unable to tear his eyes away, the man inhaled slowly. His breath was staggered, shaky, eyes wide. And even as Izuku was growing more and more lightheaded, something in the way the villain stared at Izuku didn’t feel right. He knew Her eyes were a little bit unsettling to look at, but they couldn’t be that scary.

But it bought enough time for All Might to appear. 

And Izuku was fourteen when he discovered his hero was putting up a kind of facade to hide his injury from the world. Izuku still showed the man his Quirk, his eyes, and asked if being a hero was possible even if others found him scary.

The man regarded him carefully. 

“I think you certainly have potential, young man. But those eyes of yours are certainly… interesting.” 

Izuku could feel Her flare up with irritation, but suppressed it quickly. 

All Might’s response wasn’t exactly what Izuku hoped for, but he couldn’t help but smile. If All Might thought he could be a hero, then that was all that mattered. 

Later that day, Izuku found the same villain fending off heroes while trying to take a captive, a boy with short, spiky hair. The entire street reeked of smoke and something sickly sweet. It was a smell that Izuku would recognize anywhere. It was Kacchan’s nitroglycerin. 

His childhood friend was in danger.

Izuku ran without thinking. He ignored the way both the slime villain and Kacchan stilled. The villain recoiled from him, stunning the onlooking heroes and civilians. 

Izuku started reaching for Kacchan, ignoring how the other boy flinched from his touch. Izuku ignored the way Kacchan screamed at him to go away. He ignored everything around him as Her power flowed through his veins yet again, coursing through him like lightning. All he wanted was to save Kacchan. All he wanted was to be a hero.

Izuku watched, almost from outside his own body, as his Quirk bathed the entire street in bright, green light.

But before he could truly do anything, All Might appeared. 

Then, in the blink of an eye, it was over. 

Izuku walked home alone, until he heard footsteps from behind him. He paused, breath catching in his throat when he saw Kacchan stopping a few yards away. 

"Deku,” He spit out, breathless but somehow still with a snarl on his lips. 

What does he want now? She asked.

Izuku silently shushed Her.

“Kacchan?” Izuku almost smiled at his former friend.

Kacchan still refused to look at him, but he bared his teeth. “After all this damn time, you still can’t control that power of yours, huh?”

Izuku frowned, not sure what he expected but certainly not surprised.

Kacchan continued, “So if you think I’ll thank you for saving me, you have another thing coming!”

Kacchan’s hands balled into fists at his side, but he didn’t come any closer.

“I’ll become a way better hero than you, Deku. Just you wait.”

Then he turned on his heel and stalked off. But Izuku could still feel his heart beat a little fast. That was the closest the other boy ever willingly got to Izuku! Kacchan didn’t even insult him once!

“You don’t have to worry about me, Kacchan.” Izuku said, “I’m still going to be a hero!”

Kacchan’s shoulders stiffened, but he didn’t turn back.

Izuku smiled, content, until he encountered All Might again. 

He told Izuku the secret to his Quirk, how it could be so powerful, and that he was in search of someone to carry on his torch. 

All Might held out his hand to Izuku.

“Young man, I can teach you to hone that strength you have. I can teach you to be a hero!”

Izuku heard Her voice in his head, but Her words were drowned out by the immediate onslaught of emotions Izuku felt. Joy, disbelief, absolute gratitude. It all brought Izuku to his knees, sending rivers of tears down his face.

Thank you, he wanted to say. 

Thank you so much.


Izuku fell asleep that night much later than usual, still far too in awe to sleep properly. But when he did finally find himself in Her world again, Izuku thought She would be happy for him. 

“Can you even believe what happened today!”

She laughed softly, although something was amiss. Her usual voice, like a shivering forest or a chorus of bells, sounded stifled. Forced. As if the forest had only a weak breeze running through it, or the bells were rusted over. 

“Yes, baby. I was there, I saw everything.”

Izuku flushed red, embarrassed. “Right…”

She invited him to sit with her, and he did. The stars seemed brighter tonight, glimmering like gemstones in the sky. He leaned against Her side, and She wrapped an arm around him. 

Eventually, She asked, “You still want to be a hero?”

Izuku looked at her strangely, and found that he almost had the strength to look right into her eyes. “Isn’t that what you’ve been training me for?”

She didn’t speak for a moment. Her fingers absentmindedly combed through Izuku’s hair.

“My intention was always for you to become stronger.” She finally said. “But I suppose I must be failing, if both Katsuki and that man think you are incapable of handling your own power.”

Izuku tilted his head to the side, confused. “What do you mean? Are you talking about All Might? He just wants to help me.”

Izuku was sure that All Might didn’t mean to insult him, or Her. He didn’t know the full extent of Izuku’s Quirk, and he didn’t know about Her.

But She only stared at him. Her eyes, like always, felt like they were trying to pull in him.

“What does that man know, he’s not even a century old.”

Izuku frowned. Not for the first time, he questioned exactly how old She was. 

And at the back of his mind, another thought popped up. If She thought a century was young, what did She think of Izuku?

But She looked away, and stared out into the infinite cosmos of Her world. 

She sighed. “I’m sorry. I know you look up to him, baby, but I’d rather not talk about this now.”

“I-” Izuku started. But he knew better than to press Her, “...alright.” 

He looked down at his hands, folded in his lap. “Can I wake up, then?”

She looked over at him and nodded. She pressed a kiss to Izuku’s forehead and with a jolt, he woke up in his bed. The morning light filtered through the crack in his curtains and made him squint. 

Even though he was more than a little curious at this point, Izuku knew not to ask Her about All Might again.


Training with Izuku’s new mentor was not exactly what he expected. Cleaning a gross beach forced him to use every part of his body, training muscles that he seldom ever used. 

But All Might had one major rule: Izuku could only use his Quirk for objects he was absolutely certain he couldn’t carry on his own. While the work was brutal in the first few months, All Might’s rule did encourage Izuku to use his physical strength to prepare him for the toll of having One For All. Izuku forced himself to grow accustomed to the hard work to the point where he sometimes forgot he was even allowed to use his Quirk.

But one day, when he was too tired to carry heaps of scrap metal after already dragging trash to a dumpster all day, Izuku summed a pair of incorporeal arms to carry it for him. When the task was done, he found his mentor eyeing the arms curiously. 

“Young Midoriya, may I see one of those arms you can manifest?”

Izuku lessens his focus, allows one of the arms to fade and let his hero run his thin, gaunt fingers over the remaining spectral arm. All Might hummed slowly.

“It’s smoother than I thought. Not at all like skin,” he said, “In fact, it feels more like glass.”

All Might chuckled. “I’m not sure what I expected, but it’s certainly a useful Quirk to have.”

Izuku grinned, giddy from seeing his mentor smile. 

Then, the arm formed a fist and jerked away from All Might’s touch, fading into the air. Izuku’s smile vanished, eyes blown wide. 

He didn’t do that.

“S-sorry!” He said. Izuku tried laughing it off, “Got a little excited, I guess.”

All Might chuckled good-naturedly. However, for the rest of the day, Izuku replayed the scene in his mind. He knew that She didn’t like All Might, for whatever reason. But to be rude like that? Especially without talking to Izuku?

If this continued, it might make it harder for his training to progress. 

After another day of long, hard training, Izuku tossed and turned in bed until he eventually fell asleep. However, the next thing he knew, he was waking back up. Izuku blinked up at his ceiling, disoriented. He checked his alarm clock. He thought he was asleep for maybe a few minutes, but the entire night had passed. 

Izuku frowned. Not once, not in all the years since gaining his Quirk, did he ever sleep without dreaming. He almost always saw Her, or at the very least her starry, dream-like landscape. Something like this had never happened before. 

Izuku kicked off his blankets, got dressed, and went about his daily schedule, even though his hands shook and dark shadows started to form under his eyes. Even worse, All Might noticed it when Izuku fumbled with a twisted hunk of driftwood. He noticed when Izuku’s exhaustion caught up to him again and again, catching him staring off into space more than once. 

“How about we end early today, Young Midoriya?”

“What?” Izuku almost dropped the broken chair he was hauling across the sand. 

All Might caught it before the clunky chair could fall on Izuku’s foot.

“You don’t seem to be in the right mindset to work at your full potential,” He said gently. 

Izuku made a soft sound at the back of his throat, and he couldn’t tell if it was relief or disappointment. Even if every part of him did want to rest, he couldn’t let his mentor down!

“I can still train, though. I promise!”

All Might smiled softly at him. He put one hand on Izuku’s shoulder, and it felt firmer and much more calloused than Her touch. “I’d rather you rest and work harder later, than push yourself too far now.”

Izuku’s shoulders sagged, although he tried to hide his disappointment with a smile. It wasn’t until All Might pulled away that he realized his arms were trembling from over exertion. 

Maybe he was just tired. Maybe all he needed was a nice, warm dinner and a good night’s rest. So Izuku went home, ate, showered, and slept. But he didn’t dream. He woke up after what felt like mere minutes to a beam of sunlight shining in his face.

Izuku bit his lip, sighing loudly before dragging himself out of bed. But he didn’t dream the next night or the night after that, and Her voice became smaller and softer with each passing day. After a week of dreamless sleep and of gaining increasingly dark bags under his eyes, Izuku found himself crying and curled up in bed.

“Please,” he whispered, hoping She would hear him. “I don’t want to be alone anymore.”

He wanted to go to sleep. He wanted to rest. 

He didn’t understand what was wrong with him, or what was happening to Her. Was she disappearing? Was training with All Might making their connection weaken? She was Izuku’s closest confidant, he didn’t want Her to go away. Izuku’s fingers shook with how hard he gripped his sheets. 

“Please,” he pleaded again, “please…”

Izuku tossed and turned for hours, fitfully falling asleep only to jerk awake once more. 

Eventually, his eyes managed to stay closed for longer than a few minutes and he succumbed to his exhaustion. When Izuku opened his eyes, he nearly sobbed in relief. He was back in Her familiar star-lit world. And She was waiting for him. 

“Izuku,” She gestured for him to sit next to Her and Izuku nearly fell into Her lap when he rushed to hug Her. 

“Dear?” She asked. 

Izuku squeezed his eyes shut, expecting Her to hug him back. Except, the seconds passed and She didn’t move. Izuku opened his eyes and pulled away, finding Her staring at him. Then, slowly, Her shoulders slumped and She cupped Izuku’s face in one hand. 

“What’s wrong, baby?”

Tears threatened to spill from Izuku’s eyes. “I- why haven’t I been able to see you?”

Her thumb wiped away the one tear that started slipping down his cheek. She sighed. 

“I’m sorry, Izuku. I should have known that this would happen.”

Izuku blinked, wiping away his tears. 

“What do you mean?”

“That man, All Might, he’s been driving a wedge between us.”

Her eyes narrowed, as if sneering. “I tried to warn you. That man is nothing but trouble.”

Izuku frowned. “What… what do you mean? All Might wants me to inherit his Quirk. He’s only trying to help.”

Her hair suddenly grew brighter, less like a sun flare and more like a burst of piercing, white light. It blinded Izuku for a moment before dying down. When he could see again, She was standing, staring down at Izuku with narrowed eyes. Her chin was tilted upward as She looked down on Izuku.

“̛Y͠o͡u͏ ̛sţil͘l͡ ͠d͜on̨’t͏ u͝n͟d́e͡r͜st̕áńd.̕ ” 

Her voice echoed around Izuku, so much louder than usual, reverberating in his chest and behind his eyes. Izuku shouted in surprise, squeezing his eyes shut and clutching his head. 

“Stop,” he pleaded.

“Wę’ve̴ ha͜d t̛hi͘s ͞c͘onv̶ȩrs͝at̨i̡o͢n͡ ͜s̛o̴ many tíme̛s͞ al͞rea͞d̢ y,̵”͟ She said, “I’m̛ ͡s̨i͢cḱ ̸of ̧i͝t! Y̴ou ̧nev̧er ͝l͡ęa̧rn.”̡

Something hazy formed in the back of his mind, the remnants of a forgotten memory, but it vanished as soon as it formed. Izuku gritted his teeth. He was so tired, too weak to even ask what She was talking about. He remained kneeling at her feet, helpless, as She continued,  

“͎͍͚͈Į̥̖͆ ạ̡͚̪m̰̥̩̹ t̡̩̬̭h̨̢͚͛e͔̰̝ͅ o̝͓͜͢ṇ̥͔̻l̠̟̲̮y̙̻̖̲ t͚̮͇̪e̢͎̗͆a̭̬̤̻c̲̲̦͆h̡̗̞͙e͇͚̜͆ṟ̙͈͇ f̜͎͜͢o̡͎̦̙r̢̘͜͞ y͙̥̗͓o͎̫͢͜u̝̜͆͢,̧͙̤̮ I̯̩̻͢z̜̺͛͜u̢͕̞͜k̨̹̜̥u̡̥̻̖!̢̺̗͞ Ẉ͔͓̦h̰̹͈̞a̢̩̘̩t̗̗͛͜ c̪̹̣͝ḁ̤̻ͅn̜̣͓̣ t̥̖̻͆h̥̟̹͚a̦̻̤͛ṭ͕͍̱ m̢͔̻ͅa̜̹̝̺n̟̲͓ͅ d̖̙͆͞o̡̜̣̘ ţ̮̦͛h̢͎͙͝a̗̲̪͞ț͍̟̬ I̝̻͢͝ c̡̩͈͆a͔̭̮͛n̢̲̩̣’̢̲͇̖t̰͛͜͜?̧̣͙͛”̧̩̥͢

Her voice grew impossibly loud, permeating Izuku’s clothes and his skin and his organs until Her voice shook his very core. He let out a sound, the beginnings of a word, but couldn’t muster much more. Internally, he begged Her to stop. A moment passed, with the echoes of Her words still shaking him.

Then, she asked, “Finally silent, Izuku?”

Izuku opened his eyes, finding his vision clouded by tears. He stared at Her and at the risk of Her wrath once more, he said, “I’m sorry. I… I still don’t understand.”

The furious light radiating from Her hair dimmed and Her eyes seemed to soften a bit. 

“You never do, Izuku.”

And She sounded so tired.

He stared at Her and shook his head, a silent question in his eyes. Izuku genuinely did not want to upset Her, but he couldn’t fix his mistake if She wouldn’t talk to him. 

She sighed, more forcefully than before, but Her voice was still much softer than before. “I’ve tried talking sense into you every night for the past week. But every time, you always insist that All Might is a good teacher, as if he can do a better job at nurturing you than me.”

Her hands balled into fists, and Izuku flinched, terrified She’d start screaming again. He sucked in a breath, although it was shaky and shallow at best.

“You’re my baby, Izuku,” She said, voice no louder than a whisper, “Do you not trust my judgement? Do you not think I know what’s best for you?”

Izuku started crying again, more confused than ever. 

“I- I’m s-sorry…” He said between hiccups and sobs. 

He didn’t understand what She meant by saying they’ve spoken about this before. He hasn’t dreamt of her in days! And he didn’t doubt Her! He loved Her like a second mother, and All Might couldn’t change that.

She stared down at him for a moment. Then She turned away from him.

“This was a mistake. If you won’t listen to me, I’d rather not have this conversation again.”

Izuku felt a familiar, pulsing ache take hold of his entire body, then he jerked awake. 

Izuku blinked in the early morning light, already disappointed. He sighed as he rolled over in bed, not yet ready to toss off his covers. He closed his eyes, tired from yet another night of dreamless sleep. 

Eventually, his mom knocked on his door to make sure he was awake. Izuku crawled out of bed, went about his morning routine and walked to school. Later, he went on a long run by the beach with All Might before heading home. He did his homework, ate dinner, and crawled back into bed. 

He expected another awful night, either full of tossing and turning or gone in seconds, but as soon as Izuku closed his eyes, he was asleep. He expected to be jerked awake by his alarm clock again, but when he floated back to consciousness, he still felt weightless. 

When Izuku opened his eyes, he nearly sobbed in relief. He was back in Her familiar landscape. And She was waiting for him. 

“Izuku,” She gestured for him to sit next to Her and Izuku nearly fell into Her lap when he rushed to hug Her. 

“Dear?” She asked. 

Izuku squeezed his eyes shut, expecting Her to hug him back. 

And Her arms wrapped around him as Her energy cascaded over his body. Izuku sighed as that familiar, comforting warmth washed over him, weaving newfound strength into his tired body.

“I missed you,” he said. 

She laughed softly, sending even more warm waves of energy flowing down Izuku’s back.

“It’s alright, Izuku. You’re here now, there’s nothing to worry about anymore.”


Having Her by his side made a notable improvement in Izuku’s training. He ate more, slept better, and was able to work harder and for longer. 

“You seem to be getting much better, Young Midoriya.” All Might said. He smiled, observing the pile of garbage Izuku hauled that day. Already, it was as large as the trash he’d been collecting over the past few days. 

Izuku smiled, brightening up at his mentor’s words despite feeling Her mild irritation at the back of his mind. 

“Have you been getting more sleep?” All Might asked. 

Izuku opened his mouth, but paused. All Might didn’t know about Her, right? Izuku only explained his power, but not his link to Her. Maybe he should, especially since he had been training with All Might for a while now. Besides, his mentor ought to know everything about his power to best help him. 

Izuku, She said. Her voice was sharp and clipped, drenched in warning. 

Startled, Izuku closed his mouth. He ignored how All Might tilted his head in curiosity and instead focused on moving an old tire. 

“Is something wrong?” Izuku asked aloud when he thought he was out of earshot. 

I don’t want that man knowing about me. About us. 

Izuku frowned as he tossed the tire in the dumpster All Might rented. 

“Why not?” 

She didn’t respond, leaving the back of Izuku’s mind feeling barren and hollow.

“Young Midoriya,” All Might said, “you’re muttering to yourself again.”

He chuckled, already quite accustomed to Izuku’s habits. But Izuku didn’t join him. He didn’t like the idea of keeping secrets from All Might. 

He paused in his training, playing with his hands to distract himself from the growing pressure at the back of his mind. 

“Did I ever tell you about Her?”

All Might frowned. “Who?”

The pressure at the back of Izuku’s mind became a steady headache, but he ignored it.

“She’s part of my Quirk. She was the one who first taught me how to use my power.”

Izuku clenched his jaw tight when his headache exploded in a starburst behind his eyes. He gasped, swaying, until two large hands caught him. Izuku squeezed his eyes shut as All Might guided him to a spot in the sand to sit. 

“Young Midoriya, what’s wrong?” 

Izuku shook his head. He opened his eyes, finding piercing blue eyes staring back at him. Human eyes.

He forced himself to speak. “My Quirk lets me communicate with this person from another dimension. Or from space. Or from a different time, I’m still not sure.”

Izuku blinked the tears from his eyes, his headache burning hot now. All Might left for a moment to get him a water bottle, and Izuku downed half of it in one gulp. His headache lessened for a moment, and Izuku could breathe a little easier.

He continued, “This person, She doesn’t have a name, but I talk to Her everyday. I… I don’t think She wants me to tell you about us...”

All Might gently tilted Izuku’s chin up, studying him carefully. Then his eyes widened and his hand jerked away.

Izuku groaned softly as the pressure at the back of his mind faded away. He heaved his first steady breath as All Might placed a hand on his shoulder to keep him upright. 

“I saw Her…” He said, breathless.

Izuku furrowed his brows, looking up. His hero’s gaunt face stared back at him, eyes abnormally wide. 

“I saw Her in your eyes, Young Midoriya. She was reaching for me...”

He opened and closed his mouth several times, starting and stopping a new sentence each time. Eventually, he just shook his head and helped Izuku stand up. 

“We’re done for today. I want you to go home and rest. Do you understand?”

Izuku was about to protest when All Might spoke again, much softer this time. 

“Do you understand?” He repeated.

Izuku shut his mouth and nodded. “Yes, All Might.”

“...Good.”

Izuku picked up his backpack and water bottle, heading for the stairs leading out of the beach.

“And Midoriya.” 

Izuku turned back. All Might’s burning blue eyes were so easy to focus on.

“...I’m not sure what it is that you see, but that being, whatever you call Her… did not look human to me.”

An unspoken warning hung in the air, one Izuku was still too light headed to fully understand. 

“I’m sorry,” He said. 

She’s not usually this mean, he wanted to say. But he was too tired to speak. 

All Might walked him to the train station that day, which was unusual. He stayed with Izuku until he boarded his train, eyes never once leaving him. 


In the following months, Izuku focused more and more on honing his physical strength. Fat melted off his body as he pushed and strained himself to become capable of bearing All Might’s power. As a consequence, he was using his original Quirk less and less. Izuku handled weights that She could easily pick up, forcing his body to become stronger on it’s own. He went for longer and longer runs, focusing more on his stamina than on Her voice. 

It created a delicate push and pull between Her and All Might. 

She couldn’t influence Izuku as much during the day anymore, so long as he focused entirely on his studies and his training. She didn’t even bother manifesting on the days when Izuku was particularly invested in his exercises. But at night, Her presence was overwhelming. 

She burned brighter, eyes darker, power washing over Izuku with an unshakeable, pillowy warmth. She spent less time training Izuku to improve his Quirk, and more time urging him to simply spend time with Her. She listened as Izuku recounted each day to Her, and let him simply recover from his harsh exercise regimen. 

On one such night, Izuku leaned against Her side, watching an infant star form in the distance.

“Isn’t it nice here?” She asked.

Izuku blinked and turned to face Her. “Yes?”

He spent half his life here, it was his second home. Why would She question it?

“It’s beautiful to watch stars and galaxies be born, yes? To witness it with your own eyes? Very few humans have ever seen what you have.”

Izuku continued to stare at Her, and nodded. 

“Yes,” he repeated, “Why are you asking?” 

She pulled him closer and started gently carding Her fingers through his hair. 

“I just want to know if you’ve been enjoying yourself lately. I know training with All Might has been leaving you exhausted lately.”

Izuku bit his lip. “It is hard, but it’ll be worth it in the end.”

Yuuei’s entrance exam was coming up in a few months, and Izuku needed to be ready for the physical portion. He turned his attention back to the stars around them, content to sit in silence. Sometime later, She asked, “Izuku?”

“Hm?”

“How dearly do you wish to be a hero?”

Izuku jerked his head towards her, frowning. “More than anything in the world.”

She knew that already, though. Isn’t that why She helped train him since he was young? 

And it should have been even more apparent now that he had the best hero in the country training him. But She didn’t respond. She only made a soft, tired sound and returned to stargazing in silence. 


Izuku could hardly contain his excitement, and his anxiety.

Tomorrow, he’d finally receive All Might’s Quirk and take the entrance exam for Yuuei. Almost a year of hard work and a lifetime of training lead up to this. Izuku tossed and turned in bed, too eager to fall asleep, but knowing he should. Eventually, he managed to drift off into that blissful oblivion.

Even before he opened his eyes, Izuku could tell that something was off. The familiar hum from stars and planets, the whistle of meteors, and all other sounds were barely present. The world felt too cold, too barren, as if bereft of Her. The world felt dead.

Or, as if it was waiting. Holding its breath.

Izuku opened his eyes. 

Everything looked the same. It looked like he was surrounded by the same galaxies and stars that he grew up with, but it didn’t make his uneasiness go away. 

“Izuku…” 

He turned around, spotting Her standing nearby. She held her arms out to him and his body moved on instinct. He sighed softly as he was enveloped in Her hold. She ran a hand through his hair, playfully twirling one lock around Her finger.

“Your entrance exam is tomorrow, yes?” 

Izuku pulled away and nodded. He managed to muster up a nervous grin. 

“I hope I’ll do well. But I had both you and All Might to teach me, so I think I’ll be ready.”

She hummed, letting go of Izuku and inviting him to sit with Her. Usually, they stargazed together, but tonight She and Izuku sat face to face. Her eyes, still the ever-swirled vortex of color and darkness they were, were abnormally bright today. But Izuku, either from excitement or nerves, found himself able to look directly into Her eyes tonight. 

The corners of Her eyes creased. She clapped her hands together. “I’ve been waiting for so long to have this talk.”

Izuku blinked. He certainly hoped She didn’t mean that talk, because even though he was a teenage boy, it wasn’t like he had time for girls (or boys). Plus, he already got the most embarrassing talk from his mom and-

Maybe She sensed his hesitance, because she reached out and squeezed his hand gently. 

“I wanted to wait until you were old enough, but I supposed you’re ready now. I’m finally going to teach you what this place is, and what I am.”

Izuku perked up, intrigued. She gestured to the cosmos around them. 

“This world has been my home since the dawn of time. It frequently overlaps with your dimension, hence how we can communicate. It’s how I can speak to you in your world, and how I can bring you here in your sleep.”

She booped Izuku on the nose for emphasis. She hadn’t done it since Izuku was much younger, but it made him grin. 

She continued, “But this is still an inherently separate plane of existence.”

Her “smile” faded. “For a very long time, I was content to watch your universe and your planet exist without interference. But I saw the way your species created the concept of families. You all had friends, loved ones, and…”

She sighed. “I began to feel lonely here, all on my own. I grew envious of humanity, and wanted companionship for myself.”

Izuku sat in rapt attention, eyes wide as he finally began to understand Her life before him.

“So you started to communicate with me?” He asked.

She smiled again. “Very close, Izuku. Many times, I tried to conceive a child by myself, to no avail. So I decided to find a surrogate, so to speak.”

Izuku cocked his head at the word surrogate. But he didn’t dare interrupt her, not yet. There was so much more he wanted to learn.

“Out of all the children who would potentially be conceived throughout all of humanity’s history, I picked one baby to be mine.”

She reached out and gently cupped Izuku’s face, forcing him just a little bit closer. And Izuku once again felt himself drawn in by the miniature black holes in her pupils. 

“This place, Izuku, is your home. You’ve always been my baby boy, but ironically, I’ve had to do what that man is doing now. I had to train your body to withstand my power.”

Her thumb brushed gently over his cheek. “I gave you your Quirk so you could start training at an early age. And now, you’re ready to live with me.”

Izuku’s eyes widened. The bated breath of the universe around him suddenly felt wrong. It felt like he was the air inside a pair of lungs, trapped. Ready to be absorbed. 

He jerked away from Her hold, confused. His heart began beating harder, his breathing a little faster.

“If I stay with you, would that mean I can’t go back home?”

She laughed at his question. “Izuku, this is your home. Your life before was a… a temporary placeholder.”

Izuku blanched from her words, scrambling backwards until he stood up. He was a day away from receiving All Might’s Quirk. He was a day away from taking Yuuei’s entrance exam. His life was at a far too crucial stage to even consider abandoning it. Plus, he already had a home and a mother! A wonderful mom who he wouldn't trade anything for.

“No. I can’t.” Izuku found himself saying. His voice sounded loud even to his own ears. It echoed across the eerily silent landscape, making him cringe inside. A moment passed. Then She stood as well. 

Deadly calm, She asked, “Excuse me?”

“I-I’m sorry!” Izuku backtracked, “But even if I wanted to, I can’t live with here with you!”

He put his hand over his heart. “I want to be a hero! I want to live with my mom and go to school at Yuuei!”

Then a thought occurred to Izuku. He furrowed his brows, tears already gathering in the corners of his eyes. 

“If you always wanted me to live with you, then why did you encourage me to become a hero in the first place?”

Was it all a lie? Was Izuku’s only companion throughout his childhood a front for something far more devious? Were Her promises of greatness just words to fill his head? 

Izuku blinked away his tears, waiting for an answer. But She only sighed, as if She was truly tired of dealing with him. 

“When you were a child, I promised you that you would become something great. And you will! You will become immortal, Izuku. You can have power beyond any human, even more than All Might!” 

She spread Her arms again, trying to invite him back into Her embrace. 

“You can achieve greatness Izuku, just as I always promised, but you have to stay here with me to have it.”

Izuku took in a staggered breath, heart beating faster and faster in his chest. 

She lied to him. 

She manipulated him, and hid Her true intentions for his entire life. And she never intended to let him actually become a hero. Izuku didn’t realize he was crying until he was choking back a sob. He shook his head. He wanted to go home now, back to his true home.

She took a step closer. “Are you truly this attached to your old life, baby? Here, I can make it better.”

She raised one hand, and Izuku watched as an iridescent aura surrounded it. Next to her, bits of stardust and cosmic energy condensed until it formed the shape of a teenage boy. Then the figure grew short, spiky hair and glowing red eyes. Izuku stared, mouth open, as a parody of Kacchan came to life in front of him. But there was nothing human about this duplicate. He glowed with a similar aura to Her, with translucent skin and stars for organs. His face had no nose, no mouth, and no discernable features other than his solid, ruby red eyes.

“W...what..?”

“This can be your new Kacchan, but he’ll be much better than the old version. This one will want to be your friend. This one will adore you the way he should.”

She smiled at him. “Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted?”

Izuku shook his head, repulsed. He always wanted to become friends again, but not like this. And certainly not with a fake version of the boy he always admired. 

“Whatever this is, I don’t want him.”

Her smile faded. “Fine, then.”

She lowered her hand, and the false Kacchan dissolved into dust. “What will it take for you to stay, baby? I can make anyone or anything you want.”

“No, I don’t want anything!” Izuku said. His fists clenched at his sides. She didn’t get it, he was never going to stay. “I’m not going to live with you. And… and if you don’t want me to become a hero, then I don’t want your help anymore!”

There was a second of silence, then Her hands balled into fists at Her side. The hairs on the back of Izuku’s neck stood up. He took a step back. 

“You...ungrateful... B̢̳̭̮̠̀ͥ͐R̥͎̠̒͐͘͢͠Ȧ̡̻̫̱̥̘̌T̡̜̗̲́̂̈̐!

Izuku flinched. Her voice became high and loud but bone-shatteringly low all at once. The sound was unlike any She ever made, painful enough to make Izuku’s knees buckle and force him to collapse. He looked up, but immediately winced. She was glowing too bright to even see Her black pupils anymore. 

Then Izuku’s breath caught in his throat as She grew. She was suddenly taller than his home, taller than Mount Lady, taller than a mountain, but She. Just. Kept. Growing.

She engulfed him in burning hot white light. She radiated with the fury of a hundred stars all exploding at once.

"̡̻̫̱̥̘̇̌Í̡̜̗̲̂̈̐ M̯̰̥ͪ͂́̐͢A̭̹͙̩̯̐͐͢D̴̷̢̨̲̺͗̄Ȩ̢͙̫̎̔̎͆ Y̭̻̻͚̹ͦͤ͛Ŏ̢̳̥̘̝͊͢U̫̤̪̠̙̇ͧ͜ T̴̵̻̰̰̏̉͆Ỏ̷̡̞̞̗̀ͤ B̰̱̰̻͇͙ͦ͝E̹̭̞̣ͫ͗͛͢{[ M̢̨̻̦̬̰̐̓Ĭ̡̧̻̗̖͚ͫŅ͚̪̩̇ͦ̆ͅȨ̛̬̖̻͚̇̊!̧̣̜͓͈̐͠͞ !̢̯̣̜̗̪ͨ̉ !̭̺̻̱́̈̃ͅ !̵̱͇̝̞̜̏̈ !̭̜̭̓̍ͣͦ͛"̯̤̦̘̄ͤ͜ͅ}]}}

 

Her voice was shredding Izuku from the inside out, bursting cell after cell and sending bits of him scattering across space. Izuku screamed, the sound drowned out by Her voice. It was like he wasn’t even screaming at all. Izuku was nothing compared to Her. 

 

Ȉ̸̸̷̯̖̙̺ C̰̺̣̭̖̹̈̍H̟̱͎̲ͤ̄̑͆Ó̠̻̥͎̠̇̂Š̵̰͙͌͆͢͜Ě̢̛̹͈̪̈́͢ Y̹̳͔̯ͣ͜͝͝O̵̪̲̱ͣ̈̏͛Ų̧̣̪̻̺̉ͨ O̧̺̹̮͎ͨ̉̑Ṳ̥̖̣͐ͤ͋͆T̴̨̥̩̹̩ͤ̑ Ǫ̢̭̮͚͔̑ͥF̴͓̣́̊̋͜͢ T̟̟̲̮̙̽̏͘Ḫ̸͇̪͎̾̀ͥḘ̬̤̻̲̓͂̃ B̸̠̗̞͙͂̓͆I̵̙͈͇ͥ̉͜ͅL͎̦̙̘̈ͮ͑̓L̥̗͓͎ͭ̓ͧ͡I̫̝̜͙ͮͨͭ͆Ọ̝̰̱̩̻̜͢N̢̨̼̞ͧͥ͜͞S̡̢̹̟̟̻̖̈ Ơ̻͔͓̦̰ͫ̃F̢̹̦̘̩̗͊̋ C̨̹̣̥̃ͦͨ͝H̜̣͓̣̥̀̾̈Í̞̟̹͚̦̓̽L̛̝͕͍̱͔̽ͥD̹̝̺̾̔̀̈ͅR̹̙̜̍̀͆͘͞Ȩ̢̛̮̦̓̅ͦN̲̪̦ͫ͒̃͠͞ D̡̬̝̻͋̎ͭ͝Ȩ̭̮̲͊͂͛͛Ş̸̢̛͇̖̓͜Ţ̵̧̣͙ͦͨͦI̸̦̞͓͙̖ͮ͆N̵̨̮̥͈͗͢͡Ȅ̢̢̞͚̮̑̅D̡̝̳̜ͮͫ͞͞ T̟̥̲͓̈́͛͠͡O̸̷̤͈̺͇̠͊ B̮̲̞͈͑ͮ̀̌E̝̮̰͔͕͈͒͢ B̥̞̗̤̥̀̍͛O̪̯̭̤͙ͭ̋͞R̞̺̖̹̱ͩ͒͆Ṋ̡̡̱͍̫̊͞.̞͈͚̩̄͗̓̊ 

 

Ị̞͍̦̲̌̑͜ P̵̺͓͕̀ͅͅͅÌ̲̘̮͔ͬͫ͝C̨̻̝̜͎̪̋͂K̨̮̮̰͕̻ͧ͒Ę̤̠͓̘̄̔̊Ḍ̴̭̦̗͎͠ͅ Y̢̜̼̣̫͙̋ͪO̳̞̪͇ͣ̚͝ͅÚ̳̠̝͎̙̠̋ T̨̞̟̯͇̅͝͡O̝̞̙̮̙ͭ̒̒ B̮͙̠̓̍ͩ͘͢Ḛ̥̦̓̓ͭ͋͞ \\\ M̗̩̦̈́́́͛͆Y̺̗͕̙̍̉̐͛\ ] \ C̺̺̊̄͂̐͛ͅḪ̟̤̜̉̽̓͝Į̭̲̰͙̮ͧ͂L̛͎̭̲ͥ̄͛͠D̡̹̰̬̄̓̄͞!̯̬̲̻͍̺̍ͭ”̢̱̬̖̊̃ͥ́

 

Izuku was far beyond the verge of death, and yet not allowed even the blissful relief of dying.

Y̷̵̵̷̵̴̴̶̨̢̭̻̺̯͈̘̝̙ͤͦ̽ͣ̆͢Ȍ̵̴̵̷̵̶̶̶̶̷̶̡̲̖͚̞̞̗͕̉͂̾̉Ṷ̴̷̵̶̴̴̷̶̢̨̜̺̩̬̰̦ͫ͗̌ͮͦ̐͆ 

 

Ċ̷̵̴̴̷̷̶̵̢̨̧̧̨̛̬̙̝̖̻͚ͦ̆ͣĄ̵̴̶̶̴̴̴̴̛̯̜̗̭̺̻̱̟ͨ̉̉̂́ͅN̶̷̵̶̴̴̵̴̨̮̮̯̘͚̦̘̫̍ͣͦ̇ͦ͜ͅŅ̷̷̴̶̶̵̵̵̷̝̯̫̞̗̙̰̲̈ͤ̈͆͝͞Ǫ̵̶̷̶̴̷̵̶̶̨̛̣̹̞̺͚͔̞̂̌̇̚͠T̶̴̴̴̴̴̴̵̨̯̪̝̟̘͇̖͇̞̟̫͙ͧ̾͘ 

 

Ṡ̢̨̧̧̨̛̬̙̝̖̻͚ͦ̆ͣA̧̢̭̜̣̜̗̪̖̐̇ͫ͗͊͜͠Ÿ̶̢̭̼̮̜̱͇̝̞̜̃̽́̏ N̨̮̮̯̘͚̦̘̫̍ͣͦ̇ͦ͜ͅO̢̻̥̱̤̜̮͚̫̜͕͛̀̓̓̔ 

 

T̸̢̳͔̣̲͍̬̭̮͎̍̂ͫ̆͂Ǫ̵̨̛̣̹̞̺͚͔̞̂̌̇̚͠ M̵̵̴̩͔̭̪̻̫̤̥ͦ̅ͩ͂͜Ē̢̡̪͈̟̠̙̘̪̈́̀̍̎͠ͅ!̯̤̲̪͍͈͔̯̖͍̈́̓ͤ̈́͆ͅ!̮̟̟͔̺͕̗̟͙͙̑͐̾̋ͥ͡!̻̲̲̠̬̤̥͓̺̑ͥ̃̔ͭ́͝



Izuku couldn’t even scream anymore, he had no lungs or vocal chords. He couldn’t run or breath or even slip into a blissful unawareness as his body evaporated into dust. He was helpless as the echo of Her voice threatened to shatter his mind and join the shapeless, scattered cloud that was his body.

All around him, the world shook from Her rage. He couldn’t see or hear it, but Izuku could feel the stars around him bursting from the sheer energy She unleashed. Countless galaxies, destroyed. Just like him. 

With the remnants of his mind, Izuku thought, I’m so sorry, mom…

Izuku expected to die. He expected to become less than nothing. 

He waited for his mind to fade away, to join the infinite oblivion around him.

But after a second, a minute, a year, a century, an eon, or however long it look for the world to recover from Her onslaught, Izuku could hear a silence with ears he no longer possessed. Slowly, painstakingly slowly, Izuku felt his protons and neutrons and electrons reunite. His cells begin to stitch themselves back together. Tissue reformed, and he could feel his heartbeat again. He could hear the blood roaring in his ears again. He took in a short, shaky breath to fill his reborn lungs. But Izuku didn’t dare open his eyes yet.

“Izuku?” She asked, voice soft and inconceivably human.

Izuku let out a strangled scream and flinched from Her voice, cowering from the sound.

When nothing happened, Izuku risked opening one eye. He winched immediately. She was kneeling in front of him, hands on her lap. Her body looked human again, although Izuku couldn’t bare to look at Her for more than a second. The sight of Her burning brighter than a star was seared into his mind. He squeezed his eyes shut, waiting for Her inevitable fury once more and silently begging for death this time.

“I’m so sorry, baby.” She said, “I shouldn’t have yelled at you.”

Izuku said nothing, knees pulled to his chest and wishing he’d wake up now. 

She asked, “Are you scared of me?”

Izuku found himself shaking his head, terrified of upsetting Her again. A hand touched his knee, and Izuku shrieked and jerked away from it. 

“I’ve only ever done what was best for you. I made sure that Kacchan stopped hurting you, remember? I helped you grow stronger, didn’t I?”

Izuku did not respond.

She asked, “Be honest with me, baby. Do you hate me now?”

Izuku opened his mouth, but only a raspy sound came out. He kept his eyes closed and sat there for however long it took until his alarm clock woke him up.


Going to the beach at the crack of dawn was done entirely with muscle memory. Cleaning the last bits of garbage was easy when Izuku didn’t dare think. He poured all his energy into his movements, never once dwelling on Her for longer than half a second. All Might did not find him standing atop a mountain of trash he collected, as Izuku had envisioned in the past. Instead, All Might found him wandering down the beach in search of debris that was no longer present.

“Young Midoriya?”

He continued walking. 

“Young Midoriya!”

Izuku blinked, and turned. At first, he only saw All Might. Then, he looked into his mentor’s eyes and saw blackness with pinpricks of color and it was all it took for Izuku to fall to his knees. He sobbed into his hands, dreading having his body decimated once more. 

“Midoriya!” A voice that was certainly not Hers said. 

A hand, large and rough, touched Izuku’s shoulder. Stick thin arms wrapped around him, holding him until Izuku was calm enough to think. Then, red hot embarrassment flooded his body.

“I… I-I’m… so s-sorry…” Izuku hated himself for downright sobbing in front of his mentor.

“Shush. Now talk to me, my boy. What’s wrong?”

Izuku hurried to wipe his eyes and nose before looking at All Might, but he pointedly made sure not to make eye contact again. 

“I… I had a bad dream.”

All Might was silent for a moment. 

“Did it happen to involve… Her?”

Izuku bit his lip, and nodded. He clutched his arms around his abdomen in an attempt to make his anxiety go away. He knew She could hear his thoughts, but Izuku didn’t care. 

“All Might, I don’t think I want to use my Quirk anymore.”

His mentor was silent once more. Izuku thought he’d get scolded for being so irrational. He though All Might would brush off his fears as nonsense. 

“That’s alright, Young Midoriya.”

Izuku’s eyes widened. He found the strength to look at All Might’s face, wondering if the man was just trying to coddle him. 

“That figure I saw in your eyes that day, I almost wasn’t even sure what I was seeing.” All Might put his hand on Izuku’s shoulder. “I didn’t think She was necessarily evil, but Her appearance was certainly unnerving. So if this is what you want, then I will support you.”

All Might smiled. “Besides, in case you’ve forgotten, today is the day you get my Quirk anyways.”

Izuku tried to smile back. All Might got to his feet and helped Izuku up. Although the act of swallowing one of All Might’s hairs wasn’t fun, it did help Izuku feel better. And the entrance exam was a much needed distraction. Even the pain from fighting the Zero-point robot, including a sprained his ankle and a few broken bones, was a welcomed pain compared to disintegrating. But with no official points to his name, Izuku couldn’t help but feel that his future was in jeopardy.


The nights after the entrance exam were plagued entirely by nightmares. Unbeknownst to his mom, Izuku started drinking coffee and energy drinks at night to keep himself from going to sleep. It didn’t matter if his hands trembled as he lifted weights or if he kept tripping over his own feet everywhere he went. It was fine. Because nothing was worth what he felt when he slept. 

When he dreamed, all Izuku could feel and see was Her ripping him apart.

It used to only happen on occasion, but Izuku sometimes had actual dreams. No Her, no other world, just him and the nonsense that came with normal dreams. Except, these were nightmares.

Izuku dreamt that he couldn’t see, couldn’t hear, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move. All he felt were his cells being pulled apart, shattering at the molecules, and becoming nothing but stardust. His consciousness clung to the scattering bits of himself, desperate to stay together, stretching and fraying like a thinly-woven blanket. And when his mind felt like it was ready to snap, his body would slowly pull itself back together again. Over and over, he dreamt that he was broken down and rebuilt. It happened night after night, although sometimes, Izuku could also hear Her. 

Her voice was strangely muffled. She sounded like She was calling out to him, and sometimes Izuku felt hands trying to keep him together. Or maybe they were trying to pull him further apart. He was never sure. But like sand, his cells slipped through their fingers. 

The dreams lead way to insomnia, causing perpetual dark bags to form under his eyes. Izuku stopped brushing his hair, letting it hang in untamed curls around his face. More than once, his mother sat him down and asked him what was wrong. 

Izuku always tried to smile at her. 

“I’m okay, Mom. I’m just having a hard time sleeping.”

His mom tugged on the hem of her sweater, making the same sound Izuku made when he was nervous. 

“Is this about your Quirk?”

“What do you mean?”

Izuku’s mom shook her head. “Izuku, I know about the person you call Her. I know you talked to her almost daily, but it’s like you’ve stopped. You’ve stopped interacting with everyone, and you’ve stopped exercising as much as you used to.”

She put her hand on Izuku’s knee. “Please tell me, is this about Her?”

Izuku blinked, surprised that she even remembered Her. But then, Izuku started to suspect that keeping his relationship with Her private all these years was intentional, at least on Her part. 

He swallowed. “Mom, I promise I’m just having some bad dreams, is all.”

If She found out that Izuku’s mom suspected Her, Izuku didn’t want to even think about what would happen. Being disassembled at the atomic level was a fate worse than death, and something he never wanted his mother to even try thinking about.

His mom pulled her hand away. “Alright, then.”

Izuku got up to go back to his room, but paused when his mom called out to him.

“Please remember, baby, you can always talk to me.”

Izuku had one hand on his doorknob, and nearly crushed the handle with his newfound strength. A cold shock went through him, and Izuku squeezed his eyes shut. She liked to call him baby too, and hearing the word from his mom made Izuku feel sick. 

He yanked the door open without another word and locked himself inside.

He spent the next hour sobbing into his pillow.


“Izuku?” 

For the first time in however many nights, Izuku didn’t dream of turning into dust. He opened his eyes, finding himself back in the world he knew too well. And She was waiting for him.

She stood in front of him, making no move to touch him.

“Oh, baby,” She said, “I’ve been trying for so many nights to reach you, but your nightmares were too strong.”

Izuku was silent, any words he could think of dying in his throat. He stood still, not daring to move a single muscle. 

“Izuku?”

His shoulders tensed, and a soft sound escaped from his throat. 

She moved closer, reaching to touch his face, but Izuku flinched. She paused, and lowered Her hand. 

“My dreams…” Izuku said, although he couldn’t get the rest of his words out. 

Are you giving me these dreams? He wanted to say. 

But he didn’t dare accuse Her of it.

Her eyes stared at Izuku with something akin to guilt. 

“Your mind is still trying to process what happened during my… my outburst. I’m so sorry, baby. I shouldn’t have lost my temper with you.”

Izuku took half a step back. Something about Her words were sending up red flags in the back of his mind. Some part of Izuku was warning himself that She was intentionally treating him like a child. But another part was relieved that She was no longer furious with him. 

She said, “But now that you’re here, I can finally fix this.” 

Izuku took another half step back. “What do you mean?”

The corners of Her eyes creased slightly. She was trying to smile. “I can erase your memories. It’ll be like it never happened.”

Then She was reaching for him again. The same hand Izuku used to see almost every day, the hand that helped shape him into who he was, began eclipsing his vision. Before Izuku knew what he was doing, he was smacking that hand away.

She froze, hand still raised, staring at Izuku with wide eyes. 

For a moment, neither of them spoke. Then a tiny memory, faint and garbled, tried to materialize in the back of his mind. They’ve fought before, him and Her. Izuku began to remember a night he was supposed to forget. 

“I’m the only teacher for you, Izuku. What can that man do that I can’t?”

...

“I’m sorry. I… I still don’t understand.”

“You never do, Izuku.”

Then nothingness. 

Izuku took a full step away from Her, arms wrapping around himself.

“This isn’t the first time you’ve tried wiping my memories, is it?”

She finally lowered Her hand. She didn’t move closer. 

“I blame that man, All Might. None of this would have happened if it weren’t for him.” She said, “If he never came between us, you’d still be my perfect baby boy. None of this fighting would be happening.”

Izuku shook his head, tears clouding his vision. 

“He was only trying to teach me. And just because I was spending more time with him didn’t mean I stopped caring about you.”

She shook Her head. “Izuku, I heard what you said on the beach that day, before your entrance exam. You wanted to stop using the power I gave you.”

“Because… because you did something to me!” Izuku sobbed. 

His entire life, he looked up to Her as his guiding light, his helping hand. A motherly touch that prodded him on the path of becoming a hero. But now, he knew it was all for nothing. The only thing he associated with Her now was pain.

He felt sick, a pounding headache behind his eyes coalescing with a sickening uneasy feeling in his stomach.

“Please,” He said, “just leave me alone-”

At least for now, He wanted to add. 

But She cut him off.

“What ?”

Izuku flinched, mouth sealing shut. Already, flashbacks to the last time She was mad at him invaded his mind. 

“Izuku,” She said, voice steely calm. “I won’t yell at you again. Whether you believe it or not, I don’t want to hurt you. But I think you need to be reminded of all I’ve done for you.”

Hands manifested all around Izuku, grabbing him. Izuku let out a yelp, struggling to get out of their hold. A hand gripped him by the chin, tilting his head up. Another grabbed the back of his neck, imbolizing him. And more hands gripped his face, keeping him from closing his eyes. 

“This might be scary, but it won’t hurt. I promise.”

Then all Izuku could see was Her face and Her hand as Her pointer and middle fingers touched Izuku’s eyes. 

He thought he started screaming, but Izuku couldn’t hear anything over the ringing in his ears or his heart hammering in his chest. It felt like his vision was being sucked out of his head, eyes collapsing in on themselves like black holes. He couldn’t jerk his head away, couldn’t close his eyes, couldn't do anything as his vision went black. 

Izuku woke with a scream, the sound muffled into his pillow. He jerked upright, touching his face. His eyes were still there, and he could see again. Gray morning light was weakly filtering in through his window, and Izuku sat in silence, just trying to catch his breath. He waited a full minute, but it seemed that his scream didn’t wake up his mom. Izuku swallowed dryly, but it took another few minutes to gather the strength to get out of bed. He stumbled his way out of his room, down the hall, and into the bathroom. Izuku fumbled with the faucet, getting the water running so he could splash some on his face. The rush of cold water helped calm his nerves a little bit. 

Izuku took a slow breath, then looked up. 

His blood froze in his veins.

He almost screamed again, not comprehending what he saw in the mirror. Izuku backed away from his own reflection until his back hit the far wall of the bathroom. 

Izuku squeezed his eyes shut. This couldn’t be happening. He was just tired and scared. He was seeing things, that was all it was. Izuku took a deep breath and opened his eyes. To his mounting horror, his reflection hadn’t changed. Izuku instinctively raised a hand to touch his face, mouth hanging open. 

His eyes were black. No whites, no irises, no pupils. The entirety of his eyes were inky swirls of black with wisps of glowing green, along with and every other conceivable (and inconceivable) color. And all the light in his eyes pooled into inconceivably black pits where his pupils used to be.

His eyes looked exactly like Hers.

Izuku started shaking, a silent scream on his lips. A single tear fell from his eye, and it too was pitch black.