“Something as small as the flapping of a butterfly's wings
Can cause a typhoon on the other side of the world."
There are some events in life that can trigger unexpected results and change you forever.
Izuku Midoriya knew that well. He understood that since an extra bone put a stone in the way of his great dream, excluded him from his pairs and made his life more difficult. Or how by reaching out to someone, it made him lose whom he once considered a friend.
You don’t always understand the impact of those events until one of them hits you in the face.
So Izuku didn’t know that coming home that November at the age of ten and meeting an unknown man having tea with his mother would be one of those events.
His mother looked at him with a nervous smile on her face, but she did not seem to be in imminent danger (and that told a lot about his life in recent times when he could recognize a harmful presence from afar). Still, he didn’t relax.
"Okaeri, Izu-kun. Come and greet your father."
The now-not-so-unknown man stared at him, set the cup on the coffee table and headed toward him. The smile on his face made him look youthful, even with the red eyes that reminded him of Kacchan. Eyes he'd learned to associate with danger.
The freckles were the same as his and their hair were the same mess, just in a different color. It was like seeing himself in another pallet. Now he understood why his mom had trouble staring at him a few times. His youthful smile made him relax even more, though he was still tense with surprise when the man hugged him without warning.
"You're so big!"
The now-not-so-unknown man, Hisashi Midoriya, stepped away from him and then looked at him with an analyzing stare.
Izuku was an intelligent boy. A very smart one. So, he realized that behind the bright smile and soft eyes, there was something else.
He noticed there, still in the doorway, his mother standing on the couch staring at them uncertainly, three vital things about the father he didn’t remember:
First, Hisashi Midoriya was a dangerous man.
Second, he was completely devoted to his family.
Third, he was more like his father than he had ever imagined.
It seemed the visit was not permanent. It was just that: a visit.
Izuku sought within himself some feeling about that but could not find anything. After all, at that point, Hisashi Midoriya was just a stranger who had come to dinner with them. Who had spent the night asking about school, dreams, staring at his son as he tried to make half-truths about his non-existent social life.
No one needed to know that instead of going to the park to play with friends he would spend most of his time outside watching heroes' fights or running away from the funny games of other neighborhood kids. Deku Hunting, for example, was a game to which he was vital, but he didn’t like to get involved, if possible.
It was not something that you tell a father that you just met when even his mom knew nothing about.
And yet, somehow, he felt it was not as easy to fool this man as it was to appease his beloved and innocent mom.
"So, what does father work on?"
His mom, who was laughing at something his father had said, stopped and looked up a little alarmed. He tried not to be more nervous about it, looking at the man's reaction to the question, ready to retreat and apologize if necessary. Although the question seemed quite innocent.
Children usually knew what their parents worked on, right? Especially a job that allowed him to send enough money into his mother's account every month for her not need to work for the last ten years.
His father didn’t look upset or alarmed at the question. Instead, he could feel some amusement in his red eyes.
"Oh, Izuku, I work with garbage."
Okay, he didn't expect that.
His voice sounded skeptical, and the man smiled more.
"Yes. Your dad is responsible for removing the garbage from Japan that goes unnoticed."
"Then why are you not in Japan?"
The man gave a small laugh, the two staring at each other without blinking.
"Because now and then the garbage from Japan ends up going to other countries, and then dad must go and take care of that garbage there. It looks bad for Japan to pollute other countries, right?"
"Right" He agreed uncertainly. "I didn't know that garbage could lead to such a good income."
For some reason his mom choked on the tea with it, his father tapping her on the back and laughing.
"Where people are, there is garbage, Izuku."
He could usually tell when someone was lying, he was observant like that. His father didn’t seem to be lying.
And yet it made no sense.
He shrugged it off and resumed to eat.
At the end of the night, his mother went to bed and they were both left with the dishes. He knew it was an excuse for both to have a father-son moment. For some reason, he had caught her staring at them both with an odd expression between disbelieving and amusement at various times of the night.
"Your mother told me that you want to be a hero."
The low voice interrupted their silence as he dried the plates that his father gave to him.
It was what he expected and feared the most. Throughout the night the subject quirk had not been touched. Even though he was biting his curiosity to investigate his dad's quirk, none of the three raised the matter. Talking about being a hero always made his mom sad, and the look of remorse and pity on her always made him uncomfortable.
Another motive was something that had happened years ago, as soon as he'd received the damn diagnosis, as if it were a disease, about his lack of quirk. Some children at school, who knew about his father's absence began to comment that he had left his mother because his son was a quirkless loser. For months this became the most frequent insult, though strangely Kacchan had never used it.
He never commented this to his mother, she could never know. He ignored this, as he tried to ignore any discouraging words he received, and yet ... there had always been that doubt. Was it true?
"Hun? Oh, yes!" He gathered his courage, even though his eyes were still on the plate, already very dry, in his hand. "I want to be a hero."
He expected several answers to that. The I'm sorry of his mom or, you can't be a hero, it's useless that he heard practically every day, or even the stop dreaming, Deku! that he was already accustomed.
So, what came was unexpected.
He nearly dropped the plate again, and this time his father caught it with quick reflexes.
"Why do you want to be a hero?"
His tone was neutral, he could not identify skepticism, scorn or pity in the question.
"'Cause I want to help people!"
"Well, you don't have to be a hero for that." His father closed the tap and wiped his hands, beginning to make tea for them. "Doctors help people. Nurses, police, firemen. People who take care of the garbage. Why a hero?"
He seemed interested. Really interested. No one had ever been interested.
Izuku followed him into the kitchen, his eyes wide and slightly moist, his voice shaking.
"I want to save people." He answered, trying to put his thoughts in order, still shocked by this turnaround. "Even ... even when I'm not there, you know? Like, the thought that I'm coming will make them calm. I want to save people with a smile."
He may have a pose at the end by accident if his father's laughter meant anything.
"Ah, an All Might fan, your mother told me about this. Save people with a smile, huh? Be a symbol."
He nodded because his father really seemed interested. He has a calculating look in his red eyes.
And suddenly he felt insecure with that look. Deflating. The phrases he heard daily repeating in his mind, and he turned his eyes to his hands, playing with the hem of his shirt.
"I know it sounds silly." His eyes burned, and he thought it was a miracle he had not cried that night yet. It should be a record. " 'Cause I don't have a quirk, but-"
The stern voice made him look up. His father had an even more analytical expression on his face, his eyes, he noted, staring at the burn marks on his arm that he had not had time to deal with yet. He swallowed, feeling an insect being evaluated so intensely.
"Izuku, do you know what the advent of quirks means?"
"It means they didn't exist before. And yet, mankind survived. We had heroes before, you know?"
His father smiled at something in his expression.
"You're smart, but you're pretty silly, too."
He stared at his father wiped his face with the dishcloth. Apparently crying was inevitable.
"They seem to have forgotten what the heroes are made of." His voice sounded more absent. "Besides power and fame. There are a lot of people saving millions out there who will never be recognized ... And then they are judging who doesn't have a quirk or if a quirk can make a hero or a villain. They create villains. They make their own garbage."
"Oh, sorry Izuku! Your old man was just thinking. So, kid, you want to be a hero. You want to help people. Be a symbol. What's the plan?"
"Yeah, kid. We can’t just say that you want to be a hero and then it happens." His father ruffled his hair and turned to the tea. "You have a head, a very good head. You must use it. I'm not going to lie to you, Izuku, you're at a big disadvantage in this society. Don't look at me like that, you don't have to cry!"
He nodded, wiping his face.
"What I mean is, you can be a hero, Izuku. It will not be easy, but you can make it happen. Now, let's have our tea, then take a look at those wounds you've been hiding all night, and have a talk about it. Oh, are you crying again?"
" I'm not-" He hiccuped.
You can be a hero, Izuku.
It was the first time anyone had told him that.
"Of course, he is not crying." His father joked. "A tap opened in his face. Are you sure this is not your quirk, kiddo?"
He laughed through sobs, his dad still rubbing his face with the dish towel awkwardly.
"Can you show me-" More sobbing. "-Your quirk later?"
His father left early the other day before he even got up. He did not know if it was a dream or not when he noticed him at the foot of his bed, a hand in his hair.
"Don't let anyone say what you can or cannot do. Not me, not your mom. No one. I want to see what you will become, Izuku."
Izuku would never see his father again.
Some events can transform someone's path and have a profound impact on who they are and who they could be.
In some universe, one in which Hisashi Midoriya would not have the opportunity to see his wife and son for one last time, Izuku Midoriya would continue his dream of being a hero, even against everything, with no one to believe in him. He would eventually become one receiving a quirk from his hero. For there could not be a hero without a quirk, right?
In this universe, at the age of ten, the small world of Izuku changed completely from its orbit, simply because someone believed in him.
Then, that day, when he got to school he ignored the insults-
Do not let anyone say what you can or cannot do.
-And he started to think about the ancient heroes. They made their own power and defied all the odds to become who they were.
You have a head, a very good head. You have to use it.
He could manufacture his own power, too, right? He just needed stuff for that. And he had already seen a source of material in the dump when passing at Dagobah Municipal Beach Park in this morning.
Oh, Izuku, I work with garbage.
He had always been good at building things. It was time to test this. Self-defense lessons also, and his analysis.
You are at a great disadvantage in this society.
Turn the disadvantages to your advantage.
"You can't be a hero without a quirk, Deku!"
A confident smile appeared in his face, apparently learned with mastery in just one night of coexistence.
You can be a hero, Izuku.
"Do you wanna bet, Kacchan?"