Katsuki held out the package to Izuku, looking at the floor like a schoolgirl presenting her crush with a love letter.
“I don’t want to… force you to take the exam, but…” Izuku could see Katsuki’s arms shaking slightly, despite being draped in oversized cream-coloured sleeves. “Just…take this, and please understand how amazing I think you are.”
Katsuki lifted his head, allowing Izuku to see the tears welling up in his best friend’s eyes. “You’re so intelligent. You can analyze somebody’s strengths and weaknesses in a single meeting. You can make up an amazing strategy from one look of a situation-” he cut off, choking on a sob. Izuku instinctively stepped forward to gather him in his arms, but Katsuki was relentless. “Wait! L-let me finish…”
Katsuki gulped, and Izuku could now see how he shook. So subtly it seemed like just an occasional shiver from the cold breeze. “You’re not just smart. You say you’re bad with people but you know just what to do to make me happy. You’re so creative and brave.” He paused for a second, hiccupping, “A-and don’t laugh! I know you don’t think you’re brave, or amazing, but you are.”
Katsuki closed his eyes, holding the package close to his shaking body. “Y-you can be a hero, Izu. You saved my life today.” He looked at Izuku, showing him his slightly bloodshot eyes that seemed to only make his vermillion pupils brighter. “You’re already my hero.”
From then on, Izuku promised himself one thing. With his best friend standing in front of him like that, looking so desperate, he thinks,
If, for nothing else, I’ll do it for him.
Izuku sat at his desk, the carefully wrapped package sitting there. It was wrapped like a present, the brown paper folded neatly and tied with twine. Unconsciously, he reached his hand out to feel the twine, reluctant to undo it for whatever reason. He pulled on the twine and carefully unwrapped the brown paper, idly wondering if he could reuse it for a gift and paint it.
Inside he counted one, two… thirteen notebooks. The first ten were full of pages and pages of incredible analyzation that didn’t match the messy handwriting of the young child who wrote it, scribbled in crayon and coloured pencils. The last three, full of familiar inked handwriting that certainly wasn’t his, but the words definitely were. One thing they all had in common was written on each cover, the writer clearly trying to make it look nice: Hero Analysis for the Future. Books one through thirteen.
Observations he’d made years after he stopped writing these books were all here. Each word was carefully written, quoting him completely.
He recalled the words he said at the earlier villain attack this morning, scribbled on the white paper in contrasting black ink. She’ll be popular, I think. Though, a lot of other female heroes have tried to use their appearance to up their popularity with minimal success. Her quirk, clearly gigantification, might damage the surrounding area but it might be helpful against villains with quirks that make them bigger. If her pain sensitivity lessens as her size grows, then it might be good against long-ranged quirk attacks too.
Katsuki had kept the heirlooms from the time Izuku still had hope. From the days both of them fruitlessly waited for Izuku’s quirk to appear, before Izuku had it beaten into him that it would never happen. Not only had Katsuki kept the hope, he also kept the evidence from when Izuku had hoped too.
Izuku read and read, every single word he’d written since he was four. He didn’t notice when his heart jumped. Didn’t notice how it pumped with strength, now that it had something to beat for again. As if his life kept going solely out of obligation, empty and blank. Like a sentence that kept going with nothing to communicate.
He didn’t notice how his very being began to spark with the promise of a bright, burning hot blaze that could engulf the whole world.
He recalled Katsuki’s words. He recalled his own words to the pros after he saved his best friend, pushing out courage and anger he didn’t know he had in him. His own words that he didn’t know he believed.
“What were you thinking!?” The pro, Kamui Woods, said. “You could have gotten yourself killed! You should’ve just left it to the pros, we would’ve taken care of it!”
Izuku found himself doing it again, his mouth moving before he could think. Just like how he ran to Katsuki. To save him. “By doing nothing?”
Woods seemed stunned, another tangent dying on his lips. Clearly surprised that the boy, who seemed to shy away from his loud words suddenly bit back. After a moment he found himself again, “Kid, we couldn’t do anything! None of our quirks would’ve worked. The only thing we could do was wait for someone more fit to help.”
His excuses only added more fuel to the anger Izuku didn’t know he felt, “So I, a kid with a great whopping lack of a quirk, could do more to save somebody? Couldn’t you think, for one second, you were capable of doing something without your quirk?” He said, capturing everyone’s attention, “You’re more than your quirk! The power to help someone isn’t dictated by that! Any hero could’ve been a villain if they decided to! Any villain could’ve been a hero if that was what they wanted, if a hero was what they believed they could be!”
He went over every word he’d written, every word he’d said. Every word Katsuki said, every word All Might had said.
“Look, kid,” the hero said, sickly and frail but expression so different from his tired one when Izuku first saw this form. “You don’t need to give me your answer right now. I know it’s a lot.” He chuckled. “You know Dagobah beach, right? Meet me there tomorrow at 9 am. You can give me your answer then.”
“I want to give you my quirk, and take you on as my successor.” He said. “Because I believe you, young Midoriya, can be a hero!”
He’s thought about things enough, he thinks. He puts the books away somewhere safe, his eyes already tired and eyelids heavy. He should get to sleep, he thinks. He has somewhere important to be tomorrow, after all.