Izuku startled from his daze, where he had been staring out of the window during class. He jerked upright in his seat and turned his gaze to the front of the classroom, ignoring the stares from the rest of his class.
He could feel Bakugou’s glare burning a hole through his skull.
His teacher - Mr. Yagisaki - let out a heavy sigh and rolled his eyes, before adjusting his glasses again.
“I said - can you give me a brief summary of how quirks came into existence?”
Izuku blinked hard.
“Well, uh, sir - nothing has been confirmed-“
“We are,” Mr. Yagisaki grunted out, “well aware that the exact source of quirks is unable to be discerned. Even so, what is the widely accepted theory on such?”
Izuku swallowed and felt his face burn in embarrassment.
He heard a girl on the other end of the class giggle.
“Yes, uh, well the origin of quirks is distinctly demonic in nature, which can be proven by the substantial demonic energy output found-“
Izuku felt his jaw tighten.
“It is believed that a cult invoked a particularly powerful demon and the demon managed to manifest a physical form, resulting in a massive shockwave of demonic energy which altered the human genome at a fundamental level, resulting in the advanced evolutionary feature we refer to as quirks.”
There was a silence in the class, before the students broke out in a muttered whispering. Izuku took his eyes away from Yagisaki’s form and met Bakugou’s eyes.
His red eyes glinted in the sunlight.
Izuku broke eye contact and looked down at his notebook, which was filled with diagrams and notes on the connection between quirks and demonology.
A thought broke out, and he felt himself scribble it onto the paper before he fully realized what he was thinking.
Could I invoke a demon to gain a quirk?
Izuku blinked hard, before shutting his notebook with a slam.
It was ludicrous.
It was illegal.
Izuku jumped when the bell rang.
He grabbed his bag quickly and yanked it up onto his desk, before shoving his notebooks into the bag and sitting up.
He collected his stuff and made his way out of the classroom, making his way to his last class - second floor, room 3.
He pushed through the crowd, being jostled back in forth, before reaching the stairs and darting up them.
As he reached the top, his left shoulder slammed into someone else, and suddenly he was falling and-
At last moment, he dropped his bag and grabbed the hand rail, watching his bag fall down the stairs and fuck his books were going everywhere.
At least he didn't fall.
He looked up to who he impacted, and met an unfamiliar face and broad shoulders - probably plays a sport.
“Watch where you're going, freak.”
The kid frowned, before getting an ugly look on his face, twisting it into something cruel.
“You’re the kid who’s obsessed with demons, aintcha?”
“N-no! I just-“
Before Izuku had the chance to deny it, the kid melded into a crowd of unfamiliar faces.
He stumbled down the stairway, the halls clearing as it neared the beginning of the final period.
He reached a pile of papers with footprints and dirt covering them at the bottom of the stairwell, and he hastily shoved them back into his bag, and ran up the stairs and towards his class.
He had barely made it through the doorway when the bell rang, but thankfully the class was still unruly so he managed to slip to his seat near the back without notice.
Finally, the teacher came in and calmed the class down.
He started talking about some inane stuff, mostly nonsense that Izuku didn't need to hear, so he tuned him out and opened his notebook again, flipping to a new page.
He started writing absentmindedly, a basic analysis of what he had seen of Mount Lady and Kamui Woods from that morning, and before he knew it papers were flying in the air and everyone was screaming and quirks were going off everywhere.
He looked up just as Bakugou started to brag about applying to UA, and he felt himself tense up because -
“Say, Midoriya, aren't you applying for UA too?” His teacher, Izuku decided, sucked.
“Well, uh, actually it’s just-“
Bakugou’s head whipped around like an apex predator who just caught a whiff of its favorite snack, but his face was twisted in anger and Izuku knew that he would probably be going home with a burn or two that day.
Bakugou shouted and roared, did all his usual taunting - a quirkless nothing like you, getting into UA? - and the rest of his class laughed and joined in.
Izuku bowed his head and stuttered out his excuses, feeling something ugly shifting in his stomach and wanting nothing more for them to shut up-
Then the bell rang, and the laughter died and the class shuffled out of the room.
Izuku didn't bother getting up, just moved to put his notebook into his bag.
Then the notebook was snatched and Izuku looked up at Bakugou, whose hands were sparking and who had his notebook and it was burning and Izuku felt a little flare of hatred well up inside him because who does he think he is?
It must’ve showed on his face, though, because Bakugou’s eyes narrowed and he leaned in close to Izuku and stared for a moment with those cruel red eyes.
“A quirkiness nothing like you getting into UA? Please, don't make me laugh,” Bakugou said, his face smiling but his eyes not, “If you want a quirk so badly, why not take a dive off the roof and pray you have better luck next time?”
Izuku tensed up. His jaw clicked.
Bakugou stood up and began to walk away.
“After all,” Bakugou said, stopping by the entrance and twisting his head to look at him, “It isn't like anyone would miss you, huh?”
Then he left.
Izuku was suffocating.
The villain - the slime monster - was all around him, was pressing in, was going inside him.
The villain was forcing himself down Izuku’s throat, and Izuku couldn't breathe but he was powerless to stop this and -
He was dying.
It was like burning iron against his skin, branding his soul, to realize that he was going to die here, alone, and that this sicko was going to take his body and was violating it.
Izuku wanted to scream.
He felt black spots fill his vision.
Right before he passed away into nothingness, he heard -
“I AM HERE!”
Then, everything went black.
When he woke up, he felt the slime still covering his throat and he retched, his body rejecting the foreign object.
He convulsed over and over again, expelling his breakfast and lunch and stomach acid to get rid of the violation and when he finally finished he couldn't find the strength to stand and he collapsed in the puddle of his own filth. He closed his eyes.
He breathed in.
He breathed out.
He opened his eyes.
All Might’s wide smile was above him.
Izuku smiled, because what the fuck this was his childhood hero and he had just saved him.
“Are you all right, kid?” All Might boomed, his voice gentle and reassuring despite how loud it was.
“Y-yeah, uh, but-“
“I will have to be taking my leave, then! I must return this villain to police custody!” All Might said, already striding towards the exit of the tunnel.
Izuku swallowed hard.
“W-wait! I have to ask you a question!” He said, pushing himself to his feet, his palm against the wall to prop him up.
“I am very sorry, I really must be going-“
“Can someone become a hero without a quirk?” When Izuku said it, it was just a whisper but it felt like screaming.
All Might paused from his crouch, but did not turn around.
“…without a quirk?”
“Well it’s just that I've always wanted to help people and I don't want to be helpless like just now but I was born with the extra toe joint and I don't have a quirk but-“
“I am so sorry, kid.”
“I just really want- wait, what?”
All Might wasn't looking at him.
“Being a hero without a quirk is… it’s just too risky. It’s a danger to both yourself and those you wish to help.”
Izuku wondered if this is what heartache meant.
This tension in his chest, this pain that filled every part of him but had no wound that he could fix. The tightness in his throat, the burning in his eyes, the weight of his limbs.
“-again, I am so sorry, kid, but I really must be going.”
Just like that, accompanied by a blast of wind, All Might was gone, leaving Izuku alone in that tunnel with just his notebooks, slime, and his broken dreams.
Izuku felt his legs shake, and then he fell onto his knees because he couldn't support his own weight.
When he got home, it was to silence.
He wandered the house, marveling at the silence because his mom was usually always home, when he made his way to the kitchen and spotted a note on the table.
Went out to get some milk, will bring some takeout home for dinner. Love you!
Izuku sighed, before crumpling the paper and tossing it into the trash.
He made his way into his room and dropped his bag by his door, plopping down at his desk and leaning back.
Slowly, he reached for his laptop and opened it, letting it power up, before flicking over to a search engine and pulling up one of his favorites, All Might’s premier video.
The screen turned red from the flames of the scene, people screaming for help and the destroyed remains of the building a sharp contrast to the fire.
Then All Might came on, saying his tagline.
Izuku stifled a sob.
A tear drifted down his cheek, before falling down onto his lap. Then the video was finished, and Izuku saw his reflection in the black screen.
His eyes were bloodshot, and they seemed so… empty.
Izuku stared for a moment, and then he let out a choked sigh and grabbed his bag.
He needed something to do.
He couldn't just sit there.
He couldn't just be-
Izuku didn't register pushing himself out of his desk chair, didn't see himself rear his arm back and throw his book bag at the wall, didn't hear himself scream because what was he supposed to do?
Then he fell to his knees.
Before him, on the carpeted floor of his room, his notebooks were scattered open just like on that stairway.
Right in front of him was his Quirk History book, and he went to grab it and put it away when his eyes snagged on a familiar sentence, a familiar idea that was utterly insane and totally illegal.
Izuku traced the lettering - could I invoke a demon to gain a quirk?
He was already a freak, the boy at the stairwell told him so.
He was already useless, Bakugou told him so.
He couldn't be a hero, All Might told him so.
Maybe, though, just maybe, he could change that.
Quirks were just demonic energy manifesting itself in the human genome due to its impressive ability to adapt and change.
Quirks weren't evil.
So, if it was a one off thing…
He just needed a quirk.
Nothing too big, nothing too powerful.
If he did it right, he could get away with his soul and no lingering contract over his head.
If he did it right, he could help people, could save people, could become a hero.
He could prove All Might - prove Bakugou and the boy on the stairs - wrong.
He didn't have anything to lose, not really.
This was his life.
He was nothing without a quirk.
Izuku made his way to his computer, opened a new page in his notebook, and clicked his pen.
He had nothing to lose, and everything to gain, right?
So he wrote, and he planned.
First things first - what demon would he go for?
He needed one that was… more open to bribery, one that he could try and trick or convince that it would be interesting to give him his wish.
Issue is, most demonology texts are only available if you take Demonology in university, and Izuku was very much planning on heroics, not university.
So he had to make due with what was on the internet and at his library.
Meaning, not a lot.
They were all too weak to have the power to alter his very genetics, or they would need a sacrifice that Izuku either couldn't or wouldn't made.
(Though, passing the pet shop and the shelter, he considered it for a beat.)
One day, though, passing through an alley as a shortcut to try and escape Bakugou’s lingering eyes, his eyes caught on a book hidden under some trash.
It was filthy, covered in dirt and other things, but Izuku managed to wipe off most of the trash from the cover and was met with intricate, twisting golden lines that formed archaic symbols that looped together.
Fire and Flame; The Art of Sacrifice
And, shoot, that sounded interesting.
So he stuffed it into his book bag and when he got home snuck his way upstairs and cracked it open.
Reading it, he figured that it was owned by either a college student or a cult, because those are the only people who were stupid enough to carry around demonology texts and then lose them.
Ignoring that, the book detailed how the high-mid tier demons used fire to seal deals for the most part, the fire usually taking on a signature and unnatural color, and these were binding.
It was impossible to even attempt to break the deals, unlike the low ones where you could try but it usually didn't end well.
So, a little scary, but whatever.
It also gave a list of of demons with this characteristic and a basic description of them.
That’s where he stumbled upon his pick for the summoning.
He’s known for hating heroes, but he has a… sense of humor. He likes to hear people out, basically, and usually doesn't ask for animal sacrifices or the summoner’s soul.
The type of demon traditional summoners ignore, because they're iffy and usually too powerful. That cults don't summon them because, well, eccentric demons are hard to make their god.
The ones not necessarily looking for a fair deal or for power, but for some fun.
Izuku could do eccentric.
Izuku grinned - he finally had an idea of what he was doing, for real.
Where in hell would he do the summoning?
He didn't have a basement, all of their house’s rooms were carpet.
The only place he could think of was school but-
It looked like Izuku was due for some after-school studying.