Midoriya Izuku looked up at Bakugo Katsuki as small flashes burst forth from his best friend's palms popping like firecrackers, a look of amazement on his face. A storm of remarks rained down on the young Bakugo remarking on his strong quirk as the rest of the preschoolers and teachers congratulated him.
None smiled as wide or praised Bokugo as loudly as Izuku. "Kacchan that's amazing! Your quirk is perfect for being a hero!" He crinkled his nose as the smell of smoke affronted him and he had to stifle a cough.
"What did you expect Izu?" the blond shot back, "We're gonna be the best heroes! Once your quirk comes in no one will be able to stop us!" A devilish grin took over the boy's face.
Midoriya had never seen his friend look so proud and he smiled back, "Y-yeah! I hope my quirk is something cool, like dad's! He can breathe fire! Then we can be heroes together!"
The boys were interrupted as the teacher called the class to order and continued onto the next child for show and tell. Neither could pay attention as the young girl showed off some new toy she had gotten over the weekend, both thinking about their own quirks.
"K-kacchan? What are you doing!?" Izuku screamed at his friend. The class was playing outside and Bakugo was standing over another kid who was shaking and crying face down in the grass.
"Relax Izu we're just playing hero," Bakugo remarked cavalierly with a wave of his hand at his friend. His eyes never left the boy at his feet. "This guy's the villain!" he said and laughed as his palms crackled with explosions. In the months since his quirk came in, he had learned that he could make the explosions larger and hotter and his personality grew to match. The boy had been growing loud and hot headed.
"Kacchan this is wrong!" Izuku shouted at his friend. "It's mean and... and your acting like a villain!"
The explosive blond rounded on his friend with his red eyes filled with rage. "Who are you to tell me I'm wrong! All I'm doing is helping this quirkless freak realize he's useless. He can't even stand up for himself against a four-year-old!"
Izuku's stomach dropped and he looked at the boy crying on the ground. He realized the boy wasn't in their class. He must be older since he was larger than Izuku or any of the trio made up of Kacchan and the two boys he had decided were worth his time due to having interesting quirks. Izuku felt the blood drain from his face. Kacchan wouldn't treat me like this...would he?
"You can't just decide someone's worth off their worth Kacchan! That's not nice!" Izuku was shouting at his friend, a cold fist seeming to squeeze his insides.
Seeming to read his thoughts a smirk appeared on Bakugo's face. "What's wrong Izu? Worried you might be just as useless?"
"I-I'm not..." Izuku tried, but his voice failed under Bakugo's intense gaze. Bakugo's two friends turned away from the quirkless boy who they had dubbed the villain and backed up the explosive boy sensing that it was about to get more interesting.
"You might be," Bakugo sneered and his tone made Izuku flinch backwards and fall into the grass. "You might be nothing more than a worthless Deku." Bakugo was so close that his words were barely more than a whisper, but he might as well have shouted them for how bad Izuku's ears were ringing.
"B-but," Izuku began but as he was speaking Bakugo reared his small hand back and for Izuku the world slowed. He watched as the Kacchan's hand began coming towards him, crackling and popping, with disbelief. He won't! Kacchan is my friend! He wouldn't hurt me! He screamed at himself. Even as he felt the blow land and his head jerk to the side, he couldn't make himself believe what was happing. The explosion left his ears ringing and spots in his eyes. Izuku felt the heat long after Kacchan's hand pulled away.
"I bet you are Deku," Kacchan said with a dangerous glint in his eyes. Izuku thought they looked like the eyes of an angry dog, full of rage and hunger. "The sooner you accept that the better. You're nothing and you're beneath me."
Izuku couldn't take it anymore. He got up and ran, tears stinging in his eyes. He heard the boys behind him laugh but he refused to look back and let Bakugo see how much his words had affected him.
Inko was doing the dishes in her apartment lost in thought. She had had a late lunch after getting lost in some briefs on her latest case. She was preparing for Friday when she'd be representing a young woman trying to separate from an abusive husband. Unfortunately, the evidence was lighter than she would have preferred, and she was worried that the request for a restraining order might be refused.
She was remembering the shock on his face when she had served him his court date, the way his sneer had transformed into confusion and his eyes had gone wide when she was pulled from her thoughts by the front door being slammed open before being swiftly shut again.
"Izuku is that you?" she called coming out into the hall. The boy was supposed to be in preschool for another few hours. He had never so much as come home on his own without his mother picking him, much left early before. "Izuku wha..." but the words died in her throat as she looked at her son.
Izuku stood just inside the door staring down at the floor. He was panting heavily and his body shaking. Inko approached and kneeled next to her son. His head sunk lower as she came close and she couldn't see his eyes.
"Izuku honey what is it?" Inko asked her voice soft and as comforting as she could make it. He mumbled something too softly for to make out. "Izuku look at me," she said and while her tone was sill soft it left no room for refusal and slowly, he looked up at her.
Inko had to bite her tongue to stop a gasp as she saw her son's face. A large red burn decorated the left side of his face, a burn with welts and blisters. Tears fell freely from his eyes and ran down clear tracks to his chin before falling to the floor.
"M-mom..." Izuku began wetly as he fought against the sobs trying to escape him, "am- am I... quirkless?" he finished voice cracking on the last word.
"Izuku honey why would you think that? Who did this to you?"
Izuku just shook his head and said nothing as tears poured from his eyes with renewed vigor.
Inko sighed. Truthfully, she had been having similar doubts and fears as the weeks and months had gone by since the Bakugo boy had developed his quirk, but she had been careful to keep such thoughts from her son. The fact that someone had attacked him proved that she had put this off for long enough.
"Izuku I know somewhere we can go where someone can help us determine your quirk." His eye shot up to her and filled with hope. "But I want you to tell me who hurt you."
"I don't want anyone to get in trouble," he said softly eyes shooting back down.
"Izuku, whatever happened, this isn't your fault. No matter what it's not okay for someone to hurt you." She fought to keep the bite out of her voice as she thought about someone hurting her baby.
Slowly Izuku told her how he had stood up to Bakugo and he had turned on him. He had run all the way home afterwards not wanting to face anyone while so upset.
"Izuku," Inko said and waited for the boy to lift his emerald eyes and meet her own, "I'm proud of you. You did the right thing standing up to Bakugo. It wasn't right for him to treat someone that way and it wasn't right for him to turn on you either. Now I need to make a few calls and then we're gonna go see someone about your quirk. Why don't you go change into some fresh clothes and then I can get something for your face before we go."
Izuku looked conflicted to leave her, eyes flashing between excitement and worry. "Is... is Kacchan going to get in trouble?"
"Yes," Inko responded shortly, "but Izuku that is not your fault. Bakugo is the one who acted out and hurt others and it is not your fault. You did the right thing telling me. Now I can call the school and they can make sure that Bakugo doesn't hurt anyone else."
"But Kacchan is my friend! I don't want him to get in trouble!" Izuku shouted.
"Izuku would you ever hurt one of your friends?" Inko asked.
When he hesitantly shook her head she continued, "Would you ever bully someone for being quirkless?"
Izuku shook his head quicker this time.
"Do you want to be friends with someone who would, someone who has and who you stood up to because of it?"
Izuku realized the depth of this question. That his answer would determine the future of how he viewed Bakugo and he wasn't sure he wanted to answer it. Inko fixed her son with a firm look making clear that she expected an answer.
"No," he finally relented. Fresh tears filled his eyes, but they didn't fall.
"I know it's hard honey, but I promise it's for the best. Now go get changed and we can go find out about your quirk."
Izuku nodded and Inko thought she saw the hints of a smile as he dashed further into the apartment.
Inko pulled out her phone and began looking through her contacts. She would call the preschool and give them hell for allowing bullying to take place under their watch and demand that they take better care of their charges but first she had a more personal call.
The phone rang a few times before the familiar voice answered, "Hey Inko, what's up?"
"We need to talk Mitsuki."
Izuku sat in a chair next to his mother in a small room with white walls and a bed with paper over it. He was looking up at a diagram he had seen before during his research into quirks. He hadn't been able to understand it at first, but he had asked his mom to help. It took her awhile to explain to him, but she had done so with a smile. The diagram displayed the four types of quirks with little figures to help explain their affects.
The first was labeled mutation and showed a man with horns protruding from his head. The next was labeled transformation and showed number of figures. The first figure was that of a man and each figure changed a little more from the one before it as the man hunched forward and changed into a dog. The third was labeled emitter and its figure was a man with his hands out in front of him and some sort of beam springing forth from his palms. The last had been labeled as augmentation and it showed a figure flexing his muscles.
It had been the last one that had taken Izuku the longest to understand. Not because the man's quirk was hard to determine, it was obviously supposed to have super strength but because of the description which was paired with it.
His mother was reading from the computer screen "An augmentation quirk is one which changes the natural human body in a way that is not always obvious. Quite simply it either enhances or hinders without affecting the person or others in any visible way. It is theorized that many with augmentation quirks which are not particularly powerful never know their quirk and live their lives as though quirkless."
"But how can someone have a quirk and not know it?" Izuku had asked, "Wouldn't they be able to tell that something had changed even if it wasn't by a lot?"
"Hmm," Inko said, "I think the problem is that everyone is so young when their quirk develops that everything is still new and everybody's still changing. So, if it wasn't a very big change or if it activated when something happened that had never happened to them before then they wouldn't know that anything was different."
Izuku had pondered the problem for a long time after that night but he still thought that he would be able to tell no matter how little the change was.
A tall man wearing a white coat walked in and broke Izuku out of his thoughts. The man took a seat at the desk in the room while reading from an open folder in his hands. He closed the folder sharply and turned towards the Midoriyas with a smile.
"Hello Mrs. Midoriya, young Midoriya. My name is Dr. Tsubasa. How are you two doing today?"
"Very well, thank you doctor," his mother responded for the both of them.
The doctor turned slightly more towards Izuku, "Young Midoriya, I am a quirk therapist, that means I help young boys and girls learn about their quirks. Would you be willing to answer a few questions to help me learn a little about you?"
Izuku nodded and the doctor continued, "Do you enjoy school Midoriya?" which earned him another nod. "Do you have lots of friends?"
Izuku thought of Bakugo and his hand moved up to the bandage on his cheek before he shook his head.
The doctor’s eyes followed the movement and a frown flashed across his face before it was replaced once again with a soft smile. "That's okay. Often with less friends one can truly appreciate those they do have. Now, your mother's quirk allows her to pull objects towards herself and your fathers allows him to breath fire correct?"
Both Midoriyas nodded, Izuku more vigorously and Mrs. Midoriya only subtly when she saw the doctor look her way for confirmation.
"Now have you noticed anything strange lately? Anything stand out, anything at all?"
"Everyone at preschool has been getting their quirks," Izuku responded in a soft voice.
A chuckle came from the doctor, "Yes, you are at the age after all. And what about you have you noticed a quirk?" he asked.
Izuku shook his head, "But I might not notice if it were an augmention type, right?" he said, he hoped he sounded hopeful, but he wasn't sure if he believed it.
"Augmentation," The doctor corrected before continuing, "that's true young man, very good. We have a number of tests we can do compared to those you did when you first started preschool to test for any subtle augmentation quirks but first, I have a few exercises I'd like to walk you through. I'm sure you've tried something similar yourself so humor me if you will please. I'd like you to try and pull this pencil towards yourself. Mrs. Midoriya how would you describe it when you use your quirk?"
His mom cleared her throat, "Well my palms tingle and I feel a tug in my gut. But mentally I just have to summon it, kind of like how you move your arm closer to yourself."
"Okay Midoriya now I want you to try and think like your mom and pull the pencil towards yourself. Go ahead and put your palm out, it might help."
Izuku extended his palm and tried to imagine the pencil as a part of himself and call it to his outstretched hand. He imagined it rolling towards him, flying towards him, even zig zagging towards him. He scrunched up his face and focused on the pencil as hard as he could.
"Well I expected that to be honest." The doctor said and pulled the pencil back. Izuku let out a breath he hadn't even realized he'd been holding. "Truthfully if you were to have one of your parents' quirks and hadn't noticed I would expect it to be your father's as I understand he isn't around to help. I have a note from a man with a similar quirk however. 'When I breath fire I feel a rumble growing as though I were very hungry, and a burn in my throat as though I ate something spicy, and then it bursts forth in a torrent of flame. To call it I take a deep breath, as deep as I can pulling in all of the air with my diaphragm, and then I let out everything pushing from the very depths of my being.' Now Midoriya could you try that for me?"
With a nod Izuku took a few breaths to steady himself and then took as big a breath as he could, making himself a little light headed at the effort. He imagined a great fire burning within him and tried to call it forth, before exhaling until he had nothing left and spittle was flying from his mouth.
After a few more attempts the doctor stopped him. "Well that's okay too. I have a few more exercises we can do here before moving to a few specialty rooms. I'd like to start by taking a few samples of saliva, ear wax, etcetera just to check that you have no subtle mutations."
The doctor moved to grab a jar of cotton swabs from one of the shelves over his desk. As he was pulling it down, he knocked another jar full of tongue depressors over.
As the jar began to fall the world seemed to slow for Izuku. He heard his mom gasp as the jar raced towards the floor and pulled it towards herself. The sudden jerk sent the tongue depresses flying mostly over Izuku, who was beside his mother. As they began to fall Izuku extended his hand with fascination. He was slow but he knew exactly how quickly he could move. Carefully he began to move his hand and, in a single wavy swipe, grabbed the tongue depressors from the air, his small hand barely able to contain them all.
Izuku looked up to see both adults looking at him with raised eyebrows.
"Well," the doctor said with a grin spreading on his face, "I guess that answers that."
Inko watched from behind a panel of glass as a volley of tennis balls shot towards her son from the other side of the narrow room he was in. A cold dread filled her as the six balls made their way towards her four-year-old fast enough that she knew they would hurt but not so fast that she couldn't watch as her son danced between them all. He reached out and plucked one from the air with all the simplicity of plucking fruit from a tree. The doctor had started the exercise with a single tennis ball shot relatively slowly and had increased the parameters slowly. Inko still couldn't stop the cold sweat that over took her with each new wave.
"How?" she managed looking on in awe unable to look away from her son as he smiled widely at her and waved before another volley shot his way and his head whipped around so quick, she was sure he'd get whip lash.
"Well it could be a mutation of your own quirk, where as you can summon things towards yourself, perhaps he has a hyper sense when something flies towards him. Perhaps it's an increase in his adrenaline production allowing him to enhance the sensation of the world slowing. Though if it were simply that then he would be far more exhausted after doing this for half an hour. He doesn't seem to have any increased speed or strength either. It's as though his reaction time is simply perfect. It'll take a few tests to confirm but I believe he has near perfect reflexes." With that he turned a little nob in front of him and the next volley that sped towards her son was so quick that she couldn't follow them as they flew. Her head whipped towards her son to see if he had been hit only to see him lying on the floor.
Inko rushed into the room slamming the door open and running to her son's prone floor. "Izuku! Are you okay?" She knelt down next to him so see her son smiling up at her, his fingers laced behind his head.
"Did you see that mom! They were so fast! I couldn't even weave through them, I had to fall, or they would have hit me!" He spoke so fast it was hard to tell that he was panting from the exertion of dodging for so long. Her son was so excited, she couldn't help but smile back relief mixing with pride as she saw that he was okay.
That night as Inko was preparing dinner, Izuku sat on the counter his notebook open in his lap. Inko had asked him not to bring it to the doctors so that they could focus on learning as much as possible. Izuku was excitedly asking questions about what his mom and the doctor had talked about while he was in the testing room trying to make sure he got everything he could recorded. Inko did her best to remember everything he had told her but truthfully it hadn't been her main focus at the time. He would ask her a question and then descend into a storm of muttering.
Inko noticed that Izuku hadn't asked a question in a few minutes and his muttering had stopped. She looked up from the pan to see her son with a scowl on his face and the pencil pressed firmly against his chin.
"What is it sweetie?" she asked him.
"Well... do you think I can be a hero? I mean I know my quirk is really amazing and it'll keep me safe. But can I save anyone with a quirk that..." he paused seeming to be at a loss. "I mean I'm not any stronger, I'm not any faster, I can't shoot anything out of myself. How am I gonna defeat any villains? It's not like I want to hurt anybody, but I wanna make sure that the people feel safe when I show up, like All Might. Whose gonna feel safe because aguywhocandodgewellshowsup?"
"Hmm," Inko interrupted the muttering boy before he started speaking faster than she could keep up. "I suppose you're right. It won't be very easy. You'll have to work extra hard. Maybe we should look into some martial arts. I know you can do it though!" She could see the tears trying to escape his eyes as he smiled so wide she thought his face wouldn't be able to hold it.
"Yeah! And I bet I could be really good at parkour too! Or maybe free running? I don't know the difference. I'll have to look it up or at and compare the pros and cons and which one I'm more naturally suited for. I should do the same for martial arts too. Though I'll have to factor in dojos and what's available and"
Inko let her son ramble a small smile on her face as she turned back to her cooking. She was making Katsudon, his favorite. It was a day of celebration after all. Her son had a quirk and he was gonna be a hero.