Izuku cups his hand under his chin, careful to avoid the shallow cuts there. He slants his head forward in hopes of staunching the blood flowing from his nose. The school is more than a few blocks away, and he really doesn’t want to have to pretend anyone isn’t staring at him as he wanders back. But he also doesn’t want to face the looks of both anger and sympathy his mother will no doubt wear.
It’s unfortunate, Izuku held a pretty good streak of avoiding Bakugou and his goons for months. But it seems the blonde had finally stalked Izuku’s schedule long enough to catch him off guard. He supposes he should be thankful there are no burns this time.
Izuku flicks his blood into the grass to stop his palm from overflowing. Every part of his body aches. His face feels the worst of all— like it’s some sort of big, ugly throbbing bruise. Izuku doesn’t bother with dusting himself off when he manages to stand. The ground shifts under his irregular steps, nearly sending him plummeting once more.
He’s in too much pain to take the alleyways back, so he shoulders the concerned looks sprinkled with suspicion from the passerby. By time he staggers through his front door, he’s unable to hold back the pain ridden whimpers.
Inko appears around the corner as if she’d been summoned. He watches the look of joy freeze on her face. It isn’t long before it begins to crack around the edges, leaving a chilling, empty gesture.
Izuku figures he must look worse than he feels because his mother doesn’t even bother with asking what happened. He ends up sitting on the toilet lid for the better part of an hour. His mother remains silent as she cleans and dresses his wounds. Her expression is eerily blank, like the calm before a storm.
“We’re changing schools.”
It’s said so suddenly Izuku thinks he’s imagined the words. His mother snaps the medical kit close. Everything finally catches up and Izuku’s mind nearly blanks.
The payments from his father has trickled out over the years. He doesn’t know if the man had been fired, or if he’d stop caring about their financial stability. Izuku doesn’t really want to know, or care. He and Inko had cut back on what they had to and continued with business as usual. At first, he’d worried about whether or not his mother has her emotions hidden under a layer of carefully crafted apathy. He hasn’t seen a sign of the opposite, but he’s been careful not to bring up his estranged father. Which is why he does a full body flinch after blurting out,
“Mom, we can’t do that. We’d have to move districts and we both know we don’t have the money for it right now,” Izuku prepares for an onslaught of tears, blinking up at his mother with guilt in his eyes.
Inko doesn’t even so much as twitch at the statement. Izuku reluctantly continues, “Bakugou just caught me off guard today,” Quite literally in fact. Izuku has over four years of martial art classes under his belt. He assumes that it can’t really be put to good use if someone catches you over the head with a rock beforehand.
It’s with a look of utter horror from his mother that he realizes he said that last part out loud.
“Mom. You’ve called at least twenty times this year.” Izuku points out in a small voice. When she turns, Izuku’s mouth clamps shut with a loud clack.
Inko looks ready to burn down the entire city. Her mouth opens, and it’s with a deceivingly sweet voice that she says,
“Go to your room sweetie. Supper will be ready soon.”
Izuku doesn’t even consider disobeying her.
His mother has never yelled at him— stern scolding’s, yes, but never has she ever raised her voice at him. It’s always surreal when he listens to her scream at other people. The times she’s done this is few and far between. She always makes sure he’s doing something else during. The activity doesn’t have to be anything specific. It just has to be loud and interesting enough to catch his attention. Izuku can understand why she doesn’t want him peeking in on her screaming matches.
He’s sure most Gods would kneel in the face of her ruthless anger.
The conversation starts off cordial enough, but it doesn’t last for long. Inko is a friendly woman, but Izuku has come to understand she has an alarmingly short fuse when it comes to him— rightfully so, of course. She storms around the house as she debates over the basic amount of protection Izuku has rarely ever been allotted. He’s sure there are more topics that he’s missing but eavesdropping on his mother as she unleashes a verbal wave of torment upon the head of his school isn’t something he wants to bear for long.
Dinner isn’t a quiet affair. His mother speaks with someone higher up the chain than the principal as they eat. It’s almost hilarious how she practically curses the person into the ground and then turns around to kindly gesture for Izuku to pass the bowl of vegetables to her. Per his mother’s request, he has his headphones in as he watches a recent villain capture. They’re noise canceling, of course, but he can still see the sharp gestures his mother makes, like she’s trying to stab the person through the phone. With how venomous her glare is, she might just succeed.
By lights out, Inko is off the phone and back to fretting over him. The small dose of painkillers is doing their job by that point, so Izuku doesn’t have much to report. Inko, as doting as ever, pulls a chair next to his bed to watch over him. Izuku knows head injuries aren’t to be taken lightly, but the rock hadn’t even drawn blood. He doesn’t say this, utterly reluctant to spark another debate with his mom over such small technicalities.
Izuku falls asleep to the feeling of Inko’s soft fingers brushing through his hair.
“I promise I’m fine.” His mother continues arranging his freshly replaced bandages as if he’d never spoken. “Mom,” Izuku sighs, shoulders sagging.
“You shouldn’t go to school. You should stay home and rest.” Inko mumbles, eyebrows creased to set off her anxious expression.
“I have two tests today. They’re half of my grade. We both know those vultures are always looking for ways to fail me.” Izuku says. There’s a reason he remains number two in the school’s rankings even though he aces just about every assignment. The quirkless kid can’t possibly show up Bakugou, the boy who not only has a great quirk, but the brain to back it up.
Inko’s eye twitches, which isn’t a good sign. Her expression starts to darken considerably. Before she can open her mouth, Izuku ducks out from her hold.
“I’ll call you if I start to feel weird, okay? See you later, mom!” Izuku calls, snatching up his bag on his way to the door.
He clicks the door shut.
There aren’t a lot of things Izuku looks forward to when it comes to school. His quirklessness, while old news to him, remains a constant topic of conversation for his fellow students. The faculty does little to stop the verbal abuse most of the student body hurls at him daily. It usually doesn’t end in a physical confrontation— unless Bakugou is involved of course— but whatever teacher is around usually pulls the person away from him. Izuku learned long ago not to fight back, but dodging is another story. He’s been suspended multiple times while his assailant walked off scot-free. It’s like being quirkless is a crime that adds time to his sentence.
Despite all this, he can find a couple of things to look forward to, lunch being one of them.
The kitchen staff is composed of mostly women. Izuku can’t really join the cafeteria line unless he wants his food spread out on the floor. They allow him to sneak in through the back to grab meals, free of charge. He usually talks with any interns, or just relaxes in a corner, milling through social media or hero happenings.
Food quirks have always been fascinating to Izuku. If he’s able— and the staff member free, they would experiment with the person’s quirk. It either ends with a new delicious recipe to gorge themselves on, or a lumpy monstrosity that they would have to strike down lest they accidentally unleash it on the student body.
He’s running a bit behind schedule because he’d been held up in the teacher’s faculty room. Bakugou’s lackeys had been identified and suspended accordingly. Of course, Bakugou, the absolute wonder child he is, remained free of reprimand. Izuku accepts this as easily as ever since it always happens.
We can’t ruin the track record of our star pupil, can we? We hope you and your mother understand.
Izuku shudders at the absolutely revolting smile his Japanese Literature teacher showcased, like he actually believed that entire sentence didn’t lack any decency at all.
He shoves it into the recesses of his mind as he pries open the kitchen door. It’s warm and bustling with activity. Ms. Hirai is calling out instructions as always. Her light brown skin is riddled with green, iridescent splotches, which usually means they’re behind a few orders. Izuku knows that if she were to turn entirely green, he was going to need to hide in a cupboard.
Her dark eyes latch onto him immediately. She gives a sharp toothed smile, it falls as soon as she spots the gauze. Her ladle drops into the sink with loud a thunk. The workers around her startle, but don’t give any reaction aside from that, too busy trying to catch up with the lunch rush.
“Goodness, hun! You’re lookin’ like a bruised peach.” Calloused fingers lightly pinch his chin, turning his head this way and that. Her light blue eyes narrow in assessment. There’s a molten fire brewing in her expression. It’s only a matter of time before it settles into stone. Before he can respond, another familiar voice pops in.
“It’s that boy again, isn’t it?” Shari appears from behind Ms. Hirai. She’s one of the newer interns, only a year older than him. She and Izuku have taken to each other like a fish in water. Her skin is dark and entirely free of imperfections. Her bouncy black hair is tied up into a high ponytail instead of it being wrestled into a hairnet, which means she’s either about to clock in for the day, or clock out. Izuku hopes she stays, she always has more stats on upcoming heroes than him.
Shari turns her neon pink eyes to her boss, mouth turned down into a fierce frown. “It’s that boy again!”
Izuku sighs, grateful for the concern, but he just wants to sit down and enjoy lunch with his friend.
Ms. Hirai, ever perceptive, speaks up for him.
“Alright, let’s back off for now, Shari. You know his momma has doted on him enough to last for the day,” She points a finger at him, eyebrows raised to set off her prying look, “But only for the day. You come on back in tomorrow and we’ll talk through it then.” She states, leaving no room for argument.
Izuku surrenders, used to this routine by now.
“We should put a little shrimp into his food.” Shari offers, an eerily placid smile on her lips. Ms. Hirai gives her an amused side glance.
“He should be expelled, not sent into anaphylactic shock. Plus, I ain’t tryna get fired.” She says through a chuckle.
Shari flicks her hand dismissively.
“We have the medication to deal with it. A little near-death experience never hurt anyone.” Shari mumbles petulantly. Ms. Hirai lets loose one of her more rumbustious bouts of laughter and smacks Shari on the back. The staff smile as they work, unable to fight off the waves of Ms. Hirai’s infectious joy.
“Go on and take the boy to the back. I’ll give you an extra twenty minutes for your break.”
Shari shrieks like a startled canary, snatching up Izuku’s hand and beelining for the breakroom.
“Did you see Black Parade’s newest move? She took out an entire squad of villains in like, five seconds!” She prattles on, tugging on Izuku’s hand a little harder.
He can’t fight the urge to smile.
Izuku ignores the snickering around him as he walks down the hall. He catches their pointing fingers somewhere in his peripheral. Izuku doesn’t bother shying away. This has happened off and on so much it’s easy to shove away the feeling of humiliation.
As casually as ever, he saunters into his next reason for getting up every day.
His chemistry teacher— and Inko’s longtime friend, Ms. Ito, is a beautiful middle-aged woman with a heart of gold to match. Her brown skin it mottled with freckles, just like his own. Except hers look like they were plucked from the night sky and lovingly placed on her body one by one, a stark contrast to the freckles that coat his skin like a sickness. Her shimmering, silver hair reaches down to the ends of her back in a curly mess. She either wears it as it comes or wrangles it into a messy ponytail. Today, her eyes are a golden brown whereas yesterday they were a baby blue.
Currently, his teacher is propped against her podium, riffling through a stack of papers. She sighs heavily, most likely remembering she left a student’s essay in the faculty office yet again.
“I could make a run, if you want.” Izuku offers, setting his bag down next to his assigned desk. It’s one of the few standalones in the room, for obvious reasons. Ms. Ito’s fuse is just as short as his mother’s.
She’s gotten more than a few kids expelled after Izuku first let the harassment slip.
“Thanks, sweetie, but I should do it. I’m pretty sure I’m hiding these things on purpose at this poi-,”
Ms. Ito takes one look at his face and her smile freezes, lips twitching at the ends before it morphs into a full blown scowl. He must not be the prettiest sight. The morning has only allowed the bruises to grow darker, small splotches of them appearing in places he didn’t even know got hit. Thankfully, his pain medication hasn’t wavered. He’s sure he would be a mess on the floor if that wasn’t the case.
“You came to school like this?” Ms. Ito’s soft hands cradle the sides of his face. “How on earth did you convince Inko to let you go?” She asks incredulously.
“I didn’t. I kind of ran.” He admits. He can’t smile so wide now. Every part of his face feels raw, even Ms. Ito’s gentle caress borders on the edge of too much.
“Oh, Izuku,” Ms. Ito sounds both fond and exasperated. “Why don’t you take it easy today? Just prop your book open and pretend to look busy. I’ll have everyone else run a lab,” Before he can protest, she ushers him toward his seat. “No buts, mister.” She says when he grumbles under his breath.
“How did test number nine go?” Izuku asks as he delicately lowers himself onto the seat. His teacher is a lover of science and engineering. The few numbers of times he’s been to her lab, it’d been packed head to toe with all manner of odd creatures and inventions. He’s sure most of them were illegal for her to harbor, but he won’t split hairs.
Ms. Ito blinks slowly, eyes squinting as she tries to properly interpret Izuku’s inquiry.
Her irises shine gold when she finally understands.
“Oh! You must’ve missed my email! I was wondering why you didn’t responded-” She suddenly snaps her fingers, pointing toward Izuku with one of her wider smiles. “There, you want an assignment so bad, give me your thoughts on my data, hm?” Ms. Ito challenges. Izuku narrows his eyes but rises to the bait.
He really doesn’t want to be alone with his thoughts for an entire hour.
Students trickle in as the time for break starts to end. No one pays any mind to him, seeing as this is one of the few teachers on staff who will actually give out suspensions for harassing him.
Izuku opens his book and places his phone down horizontally on the desk to avoid suspicion. He flips his notebook open and scans his eyes over Ms. Ito’s notes.
It’s during the midday break when Izuku peeks his head through the doorway of the chemistry room, disappointed to have missed his beloved teacher. The room is still brightly lit, so he’s able to spot his notebook resting on a stray desk. He’s surprised to see that it’s untouched.
Ms. Ito must have set it down there, so no one realized it was mine…
Izuku strolls over to collect it as slowly as possible. It’ll give him time to figure out where Bakugou and his minions are, so he can go in the opposite direction. Bakugou usually doesn’t stake out his multiple routes home for long.
Once he’s ready to leave, he notices the state of the room.
Jeez, I guess she left to go find the students on cleaning duty.
The room is completely trashed. There are paper balls everywhere, suspicious puddles of liquid linger near the beakers, and he just prays none of the students left their portable stoves running.
Cleaning the room is a monotonous routine, but it’s one he’s gotten decent at. His selfless act isn’t to save the students from a lecture or detention, it’s just so Ms. Ito doesn’t have to stay any longer than she must.
Izuku is amid placing a container on the shelf when he spots something with girth scuttling across the tabletop. He doesn’t jump, only looks to the insect with faint interest. It’s when it crawls closer that he does a double take.
It’s a spider— or that’s what he hopes it is.
It looks odd— more than odd, really. Its body keeps warping like it’s not sure what it wants to be. One moment it looks like a spider, then the next it looks like some sort of meaty ball of smoke. The aura of it screams ‘spider’ so he’ll play along so he doesn’t lose his sanity.
The insect is smooth, like it’s made of plastic instead of a hard exoskeleton covered with fine hairs. It’s entirely black in color, but it shines an iridescent purple alongside the artificial light when it moves a certain way. It doesn’t have any pincers that he can see, but he doesn’t want to get too close to find out. If it weren’t for the darker, oily bumps on its face, he wouldn’t be sure if it had any eyes at all.
It watches him with a cold intelligence. The feeling of indifference he’s getting from this unknown breed of arachnid makes his hair stand on end. Izuku immediately knows he doesn’t want its undivided attention.
Maybe one of Ms. Ito’s experiments got loose? She’s never spoken about bringing any of them to school, but Izuku doesn’t want it getting away just in case.
He moves a good distance away from the spider, steadying his grip on the countertop. He props his knee to gain leverage to grab one of the clean glass cups. Just as his fingertips brush against something cold, a sharp pain erupts through his hand and shoots up his arm. With more grace than he thought he could, he jumps down and cradles his now bleeding thumb. All he sees is a flash of black before he redirects his attention to his wound.
Shit, is that thing venomous? Izuku’s heart goes haywire, eyes searching for the culprit. Panic seizes his throat when he comes up empty.
“Where are you?” Izuku mumbles, eyes scanning the floor and tabletops.
“Midoriya? What are you- ah! Your notebook! Of course!” Ms. Ito’s cheerful voice remarks. Izuku jumps, cradling his hand to his chest. Ms. Ito looks appropriately worried.
“There’s a spider here, it bit,” Izuku gestures to his hand. It takes one look at his thumb for his blood to freeze.
“me.” He finishes uselessly.
The bite is gone— there isn’t even any blood.
“A spider bit you?” Ms. Ito questions, quickly walking over to take Izuku’s hand in hers. Honey irises access his digit with a worry that makes him break into a sweat. Something flashes in her eyes, like she’s able to see what his wound may have been. Izuku isn’t too sure though. The look is gone so fast he wonders if he imagined it.
Like the spider, his thoughts chide.
Without dropping his hand, she presses her palm to his forehead, eyes skyward. A frown stretches her lips soon after.
“You are a tad too warm,” She mumbles. Her phone is out of her pocket and ringing before Izuku can get in a word of protest. “Hey, Inko,” She pauses, and he assumes his mother must be responding. “Yes, I’ve got him right here,” Izuku sends her a pleading look. Much to his intense displeasure, Ms. Ito only looks away. “He’s running a little warm, can you pick him up?” Another lengthy pause. “Alright, I’ll keep him here with me then.”
Izuku uses the time during the call to sink low into a nearby chair. He tries to stave off a sigh, but he figures he’s not as successful as he hoped because he hears Ms. Ito’s tinkling laughter. Her nails click against the screen of her phone as she ends the call.
“You can’t keep her from feeling emotions, love.” Ms. Ito remarks, amused.
Izuku grumbles, sinking lower into the chair.
“A mother’s emotions for her child are amplified. So, when she feels worry, it’s going to be ten times more intense for her.” She says, as she always does when it comes to things like this.
“How do I stop it?” Izuku ponders aloud.
Ms. Ito gives another amused huff, eyes soft and sympathetic. As she strolls pass him, she ruffles his hair.
The ride home is quiet, but not uncomfortable. Inko keeps reaching over and placing her hand on his forehead. She whispers several times to herself. He’s able to pick out the words ‘infection’, and ‘stayed home’ several times. She doesn’t protest when Izuku leans away to press himself further into the seat.
His mother helps him up the steps to their apartment when it becomes apparent his sense of balance is off. Izuku’s sure that if it weren’t for the fact that his mother had to let go to open the door, she would stay glued to his side.
They’re shuffling out of their shoes when his mother finally speaks directly to him.
“Why didn’t you tell me you weren’t feeling well?” Her tone is neutral, but it doesn’t stop Izuku from flinching with guilt.
“It wasn’t like this when I went to school,” It’s the truth— kind of. He’s been feeling like roadkill for most of the day, but the fever symptoms didn’t pop up until the imaginary spider.
Inko hums, like she’s not sure what to believe.
“I’ll make you some soup, go ahead and sit on the couch.” She instructs, shuffling toward the kitchen before she can finish her sentence.
“Can I go lay down for a little bit?” Izuku asks, not very keen to brave the bright light spilling in from the living room for so long. Inko pokes her head around the threshold, eyeing him for something. She must find it because she nods wordlessly before returning to dinner preparations.
It’s only a short journey down the hall to his room, but it feels like eons to his sore muscles. Izuku barely has the frame of mind to drop his backpack before he throws himself onto his bed, only intending to take a short nap before joining his mother in the living room.
His eyes snap open as soon as his head hits the pillow. Only a handful of seconds should have passed when he manages to pry his eyes open, but he’s soon disoriented by the bands of light that accosts his vision.
Wasn’t it just dark? He sits up, body heavy and movements sluggish. “God, please.” Izuku groans, hoping against hope that what just happened, didn’t.
“Crap, where did I put it?” He nearly jumps out bed at the sound of another voice. Of course, it’s his mother’s, but it sounds like it’s right next to him, even though he knows for a fact she’s down the hall, well out of earshot. The sharp metal clang of pots and pans linger in his ears like the echo of a drum. A headache bites at the back of his eyes, throbbing in time with his heartbeat.
“Ow.” Izuku mumbles, throwing his arm over the edge of the bed in a halfhearted attempt at getting up. That small movement sounds like he’d thrown himself into a shelf full of crinkled plastic. The covers, while still soft, feel like they’re chafing his skin the longer he’s near them. He angles his head away from the piercing light that’s starting to act as if it holds an actual weight. The wind drifting through the curtains makes a piercing sound, like a knife moving through empty air. Izuku presses his hands to his ears, but it does nothing to alleviate what must be an intense bout of oversensitivity. In fact, it’s like he isn’t covering his ears at all.
“Izuku! Are you awake?” Inko’s voice cuts across his senses like a gunshot. He grips his head, crying out at the intense wave of pain. “Izuku?” And with that desperate shout, he passes out.
He stirs at the press of cold metal against his bare chest. Curiously, Inko’s face is pressed close to his, dark eyes staring at his face like it’s withholding the secrets of the universe. Izuku’s happy to realize that he can no longer hear the air moving around him. As soon as she realizes he’s awake, she gives a shout of delight. “Honey! How do you feel?” Izuku looks to the cellphone in her hand, spotting the number for emergency services displayed in the text box.
“I’m fine. I just got a really bad headache.” He says quickly.
Inko’s mouth twists disbelievingly.
“And it made you pass out?” She inquires, pressing lightly against his scalp. The pressure gradually shifts to his face, where she pauses. Izuku glances up at her when his mother makes a perplexed sound.
“Your injuries,” She whispers as if that’s enough of an answer.
Izuku blinks, realizing both of his eyes are open, and that they’ve been open since he ‘awoke’ the first time. He knows for a fact that the black eye would have taken more than a day to heal fully. He presses his fingers against a face that should feel tender, but he only encounters unmarred skin. “What’s happening to you?” She whispers. A look of alarm flashes across her features. “A quirk?” Izuku’s eyes widen. He snaps upright, smacking his hands against his cheeks to affirm to himself that his injuries have, indeed, magically disappeared.
“Holy crud.” Izuku whispers. Inko moves so she’s back within her son’s line of sight. She grabs his wrists and lowers his hands to his lap. There’s a look on her face that he’s seen replicated a thousand times over in Ms. Ito’s eyes when she’s about to start another interesting project.
“I-is it a healing quirk?” Inko questions, eyes so wide now that they look like saucers.
“N-no, that can’t be all. When I woke up earlier everything was kind of,” Izuku’s thoughts linger on the horrid, painful sensations, “enhanced.” He finishes flatly.
“Is it like that right now?” Inko drops her voice to a whisper, going so far as to cover her mouth with her hands.
Izuku smiles at the sentiment.
“No, it’s normal now,” He pauses, mulling it over. His mother remains quiet, picking up on his uncertain expression. He closes his eyes in concentration. A second barely passes before his mind is sent reeling from the high hiss of a passing car. “Agh!” Izuku eyelids fly open, throwing him back into the stillness of his home. “Not normal— definitely not normal.” He reports through clenched teeth. The noise from the car ricochets in his head like a bad song.
Inko rubs his shoulders soothingly, eyes wide with fear.
“That car that always passes by, the one with the screwed-up muffler.” Izuku explains, gesturing sharply at the window. They can hear it as it travels down the street.
Inko hisses in sympathy.
Silence settles over the room for a while as Izuku and his mother ponder their situation.
“How is this possible?” She whispers to herself.
Izuku is just as clueless as she is. He’s got the toe joint, there should be no way he could have a quir-
“The spider…” Izuku breathes, floored.
He’s only heard of these things happening in those ancient comic books he’s managed to get his hands on.
Izuku had wished for any type of power each year on his birthday since he was four. Of course, he’d stopped in his early teens because he’d finally come to his senses. But now he’s here with powers transferred to him from an ethereal spider.
“Did you say something, Izuku?” His mother asks. Izuku jolts, shaking his head so fast he worries about whiplash.
“No. I was just thinking,” Stupidly, he says the first thing that comes to mind, “Like maybe that rock knocked something loose,” Izuku jokes. He backtracks as soon as he catches his mother’s unimpressed stare. “Uh,” He says lamely. Izuku takes the moment of tense silence to scooch off the dining table. He can see his mother’s medical equipment is strewn across the part of the table his legs couldn’t reach.
Inko steps close to his side, gloved fingers prodding at his ribs and stomach.
“Does this hurt any?” She questions, eyes still trained on his chest.
Izuku shakes his head, straightening his spine when Inko tugs on the stethoscope around her neck.
He breathes how she instructs him to, used to this routine. After a couple of minutes, she takes out the uncomfortable looking ear plugs, seemingly satisfied.
“You’re all clear.” His mother reports with a small smile. Izuku returns the gesture. A shiver wracks his frame as he fully registers how bare his torso is.
“Can I put my shirt back on?”
Inko tiptoes around him for most of the morning until it becomes clear that his supposed ‘super sonic hearing’ is activated through will only. They end up reheating the breakfast that had gone cold as Inko fretted over him. Izuku’s busy trying to wrangle a stack of plates from the cupboard when it happens.
There’s a familiar tickle in Izuku’s nose, his face twitching with the buildup. He means to raise his elbow to his face, but the sensation comes quicker than he anticipates. He barely gets his hand to his nose before he sneezes violently. What happens next has Izuku completely floored.
Something smacks him in the face hard. The momentum is so great it sends him sailing across the small kitchen and into the hallway before he hits the ground. His hand is pressed almost painfully close to his face, vision completely obscured.
“Izuku?” Inko shrills. He feels the heat of his mother’s body as she kneels next to him. “What is this?” There’s a rough yank somewhere near his hand, but whatever holds his face hostage doesn’t relent. Izuku hasn’t moved in fear of whatever covers his head might take his hair with it if he isn’t careful. He can breathe just fine, which is odd since his hand had been snug against his face moments ago.
Is this some sort of adhesive at all?
Deciding to take his chances, Izuku pulls the substance away. It comes off easy, curling around his hand like smoke. It’s white but shines silver against the overhead light. When he tugs, it tears like cotton candy.
“It’s,” Izuku trails off, not believing for one second what he’s about to say next, “a spiderweb?” The chemical characteristics are off. Spiderwebs usually aren’t sticky— well not noticeably so. It isn’t an unpleasant sensation since there’s no residue that lingers on his fingers. It’s like tapping against an already dried out piece of gum. It’s like, “experiencing a spiderweb from the point of a tiny insect, not a human.” Izuku remarks, pressing a finger to his chin. He holds a strand of it up to the fluorescent light, noting the almost ethereal way it gleams.
“Uhm,” He hears his mother’s voice quakes, as if she’s in distress. Izuku hurriedly looks up to see her struggling with the webbing over her hands. They’re stuck together, and no amount of tugging on her end helps.
“Sorry, mom!” Izuku removes it without a problem.
Inko brushes away the stray wisps of silk he misses with ease.
It guess it makes sense that smaller strands wouldn’t cause a problem.
“Where did it come from?” Inko asks the million-dollar question, tripping Izuku up.
“I don’t know.” He raises his palm to his face, turning over his wrist. There’s nothing abnormal about his skin, nor his veins.
He doesn’t know what tripped the action, and he doesn’t know when he’s going to sneeze next, so the only thing they can do is go through the rest of their breakfast routine.
Nothing else as odd happens for the rest of the day, no matter how much Izuku wishes it would.
The following morning he finds himself eating his words as he wakes up on his ceiling.
“Mom!” He screams. His duvet sticks to a portion of his leg, but the additional weight doesn’t even register. Tugging on his arm does absolutely nothing. It feels like he’s experiencing sleep paralysis. “Mom!” Izuku yells again.
His door crashes open.
Inko, disheveled and panting, stands in the doorway. She brandishes a hairbrush, her emerald eyes scanning over his empty bed before following the trail of his duvet.
There’s a clatter and an audible gasp.
“Izuku? How did you get up there?” Inko questions, walking further into the room.
“I don’t know! Can you help me down?” Izuku inquires. He’s still trying to wrench his limbs from the wall, but nothing works.
“How long have you been up there?” She asks. Izuku can feel the familiar tug of her quirk as she speaks.
He doesn’t budge.
“I don’t know. I woke up here.” He admits.
Inko snorts, a giggle passing through her closed lips. “Mom!” He admonishes.
“I think you need to calm down, sweetheart.” She soothes.
“I’m on the ceiling!”
“I know, but panicking won’t get you down. I’m here now, let’s work on getting you down without the yelling.” She says gently, eyes warm pools of murky green.
His mother’s right— of course she’s right.
He feels a little silly for worrying at all.
“Okay, calming down. I can do that.” Izuku huffs. He blinks and turns his gaze to the floor, studying the uneven ridges of his carpet.
His arm swings away from the ceiling with a sound akin to snatching up tape. He meets his mother’s amused expression with an astounded gaze.
“Uh,” And with that word he plummets to the floor. His fluffy duvet cushions the blow, but just barely.
Izuku travels to a sparsley populated portion of the city the next day. He’s on spring break, but his mother’s office job doesn’t have such a thing, unfortunately.
The brick buildings around him are high and plentiful. Izuku finds himself bathed in shadow more than sunlight, which would usually make him nervous, but all he feels is contentment.
He strays into a relatively clean alley, rolling up the sleeves of his hoodie. Izuku knows for a fact that the point of origin was his wrist. He’d been able to feel the slanted position of the web before he ripped it off.
For half an hour, he tries different hand positions. He feels ridiculous by the fifth one, but he perseveres.
Something finally happens when he curls his middle and ring finger toward his palm. A small web shoots out and smacks against the wall, splaying a brilliant web pattern on the splintered brick. Izuku tries the same position again and is rewarded with the same occurrence.
He rolls down the sleeves of his hoodie and tries again. The web ejects at the same pace, unhindered by the fact that his wrists are covered.
Good to know.
Izuku steps closer to the web, marveling at the complex pattern. It’s a bit different from the web he’d shot at his face. The strands of that one had been thin, whereas the one in front of him looks much thicker.
Are they randomized, or can I control it?
He steps away from the wall, arms outstretched.
Capture. I want to capture something.
Izuku doesn’t expect it to work, but it does. The web makes a more audible thwack sound than the other. When he draws closer, he catches the sheen of moisture. Whatever the liquid is, it doesn’t have any sort of odor, so he has no idea what it could be.
A paralyzing agent?
He really doesn’t want to go around harassing the wildlife to test his theory.
Izuku releases the same type of web to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. It turns out to be consistent, the only difference being how damp it is.
He’s not sure how to control that.
He mulls over what to try next, finger pressed to his chin.
Can I use them for mobility?
Not wanting to waste anymore daylight he has debating with himself, Izuku widens his stance and closes his eyes.
This web releases with a heady, thunk.
He opens his eyes so he can observe the full web, only to notice just how dense it is, like a rope. There are small, smooth bumps in it, almost like knots. The ends of it are spread out so they’re thin at the end.
Izuku eyes it incredulously and gives an experimental tug.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t dislodge.
He sticks his feet to the wall, using the leverage to yank as hard as he can.
He places his feet back on the ground and snips the web from his wrist, watching closely as it dissolves into the air. Izuku wiggles his fingers through the empty space, encountering something. Before he can get any further in thought, the sensation is gone.
Izuku stands in front of a filled dumpster and sends out another grapple shot. He yanks, but he’s not met with the results he expected.
The dumpster comes sailing at him like he’d been yanking on an empty trash bin instead of a metallic, five-hundred-pound deathtrap. Izuku jumps out of the way with a shrill scream.
Subsequently, the street becomes coated in oozing garbage.
It takes him an hour to collect the rancid mess and stuff it back into its rightful place.
Super strength, great. That was the best way to figure that out, Izuku thinks bitterly.
He comes across another web shot completely by accident. He’s preoccupying himself with tossing the cleaner bits of trash into the dumpster from an entertaining distance. There isn’t anything in particular running through his head when he lobs a can toward the garbage. He flicks his wrist and is met with a sharp sound. The can smacks into the alley’s brick wall and stays there. Izuku blinks slowly but is happy enough to observe the new display of power.
The can is covered in a copious amount of webbing, so much so that it seems to ooze.
Izuku frowns, partially in disgust.
It looks like something a giant would sneeze out.
Not one to be discouraged, he throws another can and aims his wrist at it. He sends a quick ‘snot-shot’— I really should come up with a better name— out. Not only does he manage to hit the can dead on, the collision is more powerful than he anticipated. Without a sound, the projectile sends the can into the sky.
He completely loses sight of it.
Alright, that works.
Izuku makes a mental note to practice his aim a bit more.
It’s four in the afternoon when Izuku decides to take a break. His mother has sent him several messages inquiring about his location. Izuku gives her a one worded response alongside a vast amount of heart emoji’s. Shari keeps sending him random reaction images she finds on Instagram. Izuku finds himself laughing at most of them. He doesn’t visit the site quite as often as she does, but he tries to repay her in kind.
Izuku looks up from his phone when his foot squeaks on a slick surface. He wonders if he’d stepped on another dead laptop, only to look down and see he’s walking on the railing of a bridge. He screams, thrown off-kilter by his sudden panic. His footing slips, sending him careening to the concrete ditch below.
Izuku steels himself for impact, but his body twists, as if by instinct, and he lands softly in a splayed position. He slowly picks himself up, not quite believing he’s about to walk away from a twenty-foot drop like nothing happened.
It’s then Izuku gets a bad idea.
He's tied several thick chords together, linking them between two lamp posts. They aren’t too high off the ground, but he knows if he falls it’s going to hurt.
Izuku wraps his arms around the rusted pole, using his free foot to delicately test the give of the wires. Slowly, he lowers himself onto the line, only to fumble and slip. He doesn’t catch himself well this time. A dull pain ripples up his legs when his feet hit the concrete. He bounces on one leg as he tries to steady himself. His left ankle is sore from taking the brunt of the landing. He waits for the unsettling tingle to simmer down before he tries again.
I fall from a bridge, nothing, but god help me if I fall from a four-foot drop.
He sits down on the sidewalk, rubbing his ankle absentmindedly as he stares at the bobbing wire.
Am I thinking too much? Izuku wonders.
It only takes a minute more for the pain to vanish.
He takes in a deep breath, trying to clear his brain as much as he can, and jumps.
Izuku opens his eyes, unaware he’d closed them, only to see he’s balancing on the thin wire— honest to god balancing.
He bites back another squeal of giddiness. He stretches his arms out as he’s seen on television. It helps somewhat. He walks a total of five steps before he begins to wobble dangerously. Izuku quickly jumps of his own free will before gravity does it for him.
Izuku allows himself to feel impressed. Of course, he’s got a long way to go before his power becomes completely applicable for hero work, but he’s elated at the progress he’s made so far in just one day.
“Whoo!” Izuku exclaims, jumping up and down in celebration. He sprints down the street, reveling in the steady thrum of his heartbeat. In a fit of absolute elation, Izuku starts to bend forward, hands meeting the concrete. Gravity shifts around him in a world titling moment before he’s back on his feet again. Izuku freezes as soon as he’s upright, mind blanking at what just transpired.
“I just did a back flip.” Izuku whispers, awed. Yes, he’s taken defense classes, but aerial moves had always made him unbearably queasy. His specialty lies more in grounded attacks.
He’s never even done a somersault without hurting himself.
As the shock slowly fades, Izuku screeches happily, executing a flawless tumble down the sidewalk.
This is so cool!
Izuku ignores the weirded out looks of a lone citizen lingering nearby.
He does make a mental side note to move a little further into the city, and maybe take down the wire.
Izuku exhales slowly, poised on the edge of a relatively tall building. Blood roars in his ears as he stares down at the ground. The end of a grapple shot rests in his trembling hands. Without a single word, he lets it go, hands up in surrender.
“Nope, absolutely not.”
“Okay, let’s try this.” Izuku bounces from foot to foot, shaking out the stiffness in his shoulders and wrists.
Without further preamble, Izuku sends out a grapple shot, latching onto the mouth of an alley’s walls. Careful of letting his feet leave the ground first, he heaves himself forward.
The sendoff is much too powerful. It shoots him across the sidewalk, past the street, and into the adjacent narrow space. His heightened agility is the only thing that saves him from eating concrete.
“Ow.” Is all Izuku has to say to that.
He dusts himself off and readies to do it dozens of times more.
Izuku thanks his super healing as he heads back home. His body aches, but not unpleasantly so. The burn makes him feel more alive than ever. Just for the fun of it, he uses the rooftops as a quicker mode of transportation. There are points where the gaps between the buildings are too great, and at that point he has to fumble his way down and walk. While he’s got most of the patrol routes down for certain heroes— not counting underground— patrolling his area, he doesn’t want to chance it.
“Mom, I’m home!” Izuku shouts, grin shining bright on his lips. Inko curves around the corner as he ends his sentence. Before he can warn her about the sweat, she mashes his face between her hands.
“Midoriya Izuku, where on earth have you been?” She chides, eyes glossy enough to deflate a bit of Izuku’s enthusiasm.
He should’ve warned her earlier. Bakugou has a bad habit of harassing him after school hours. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s arrived home late because he took more than a few back roads to avoid his ex-friend.
Bully, a portion of his mind corrects lightly.
“It’s okay, mom! I was out practicing my quirk!”
Able to hear the truth in his voice, his mother breathes a sigh of relief. Izuku thinks he’s in the clear, that is until Inko pinches his ear. “Young man, do you know how dangerous that is? Not only is it illegal, what are you going to do if you get hurt?” She demands.
“I didn’t know what else to do to practice.” Izuku admits, hands twitching near his stinging ear. His mother releases her grip, eyes narrowed as she regards him with a calculating gaze.
She spins on her heel and walks down the hall without any explanation. Izuku doesn’t move until he hears his mother’s door close.
Izuku doesn’t know what on earth could be going through his mother’s head. After breakfast, she’d instructed him to get dress and meet her in the car, which was baffling in itself because they don’t have a car.
You can imagine his surprise when he arrives downstairs to see his mother waiting patiently in a black hatchback.
“Mom, where are we going?” Izuku questions, cautious of the stiff air around his mother. He can’t get a read on her emotions, and that scares him more than Bakugou ever could.
“You’re going to get help for your quirk.” Is all she says.
Izuku has no idea what’s happening. They both know they don’t have the funds to boot a quirk gym membership. There’s an assortment of free programs to help with these sorts of things, but they’re located in an entirely different prefecture on account of just how brand-new the programs themselves are. Even if they were to attempt the journey, it would only be a matter of time before the cost of continued trips would come back to bite them.
He watches his mother through the corner of his eye, head propped up in his hands. Inko’s grip on the steering wheel is loose, her expression content. While his mother has become skilled at hiding traces of her worry, the telltale signs of it can be seen if he watches close enough. No help can be garnered there, though. Either Inko has leveled up in the façade department, or his mother has found a way to help with his quirk training that won’t break the bank.
In a drive that feels suspiciously short, they arrive at their destination.
Dagobah Beach? Izuku can’t keep the skepticism off his face. It’s not so much of a beach as it is a dumping ground. He can smell the rust and rot even from his distant perch in the car.
“Uh, mom?” Izuku squeaks.
Inko removes the key from the ignition without sparing him a glance.
“C’mon.” She says sweetly.
Izuku obeys wordlessly, mind blank. He follows his mother deep into the heaping piles of garbage and ruined appliances. They stop at a ‘clearing.’ There are smushed piles of food and flattened, unnamable substances both organic and metal, but it’s the cleanest spot they’ve across so far so he counts it. He scrunches his nose up at the combination of revolting smells, pushing through as much of it as he can to concentrate on his mother. “Mom, what are we doing here?” Izuku drawls in mild annoyance, voice comically high since he’s pinching his nose.
“I’ll let her talk.” Inko says, pointing toward a familiar shape near a pile of what looks to be microwaves.
“Wha- Ms. Ito?” Izuku shrills.
His teacher whirls around like she hadn’t heard the ruckus they made journeying to this spot.
“Oh, would ya look at that, you guys are here already!” Ms. Ito releases a hunk of metal she’d been seemingly studying.
“I know it’s ahead of schedule, but I figured Izuku would want to get a start on this as soon as possible.” Inko says apologetically. Ms. Ito gives a tinkling laugh, waving off his mother’s apology.
“No worries, Inko. We both know what he’s like.” Izuku would take offense with that sentence if it weren’t for the set of workout gear placed on a clean patch of sand.
“What’s that?” He questions, gesturing to the out of place pile.
Ms. Ito clicks her tongue and whips her hand out. Izuku blinks at the flash of white in his peripheral. He can’t help but stare incredulously at his teacher when he sees what it is.
“A syllabus.” Izuku snorts good-naturedly. Ms. Ito whacks him with what can only be her own copy.
“Shush. You’ll be following this as strictly as you can. I’m not about to have you keel over on me,” She chides playfully. “Your mother already has a copy. We’ll both be monitoring you to make sure you don’t overwork yourself,” Izuku opens his mouth to deliver a quip of his own, only to silence himself at the flash of steel within Ms. Ito’s gaze. “Good heroes know how to take care of themselves, and when to back down.” She says, waving the stack of paper in the air. “This is how you make your mother worry less. Follow the syllabus.” Ms. Ito continues.
Izuku swallows, nodding. He skims over the papers in silence. Ms. Ito gives him a few minutes before she speaks. “You brought the notebook?”
Without looking up, Izuku produces his quirk notebook from his hoodie’s pocket. They both sort through their own valley of info, with a sprinkle of mumbling from Izuku.
The sun is high in the sky when Ms. Ito snaps the book close. “As detailed as expected, Izuku,” Ms. Ito’s grin turns razor sharp, gaze piercing. “Good, I expect great things from you, future hero. Training begins tomorrow at five o’clock sharp. Don’t be late.”
A cocktail of fear and excitement bubble in Izuku’s stomach.
Izuku ends up wearing something close to a glorified hazmat suit for the entire length of the cleaning process. It’s made of a tough, thin material so as to not impede his movement, and a mask so thick, a bullet couldn’t pierce through it. Izuku finds it functions perfectly for both protection and fitness.
As expected, training is grueling. Parts of Izuku ache that he didn’t think could ache. He fights sleeping in class daily, his only reprieve being lunch where he’s free to faceplant next to Ms. Ito’s podium for a short nap.
He continues to simultaneously hone his quirk and clean off the beach by following Ms. Ito’s unique tasks. His mother looks close to hauling him into the bathroom herself each time he comes home positively reeking of sewage and sour sweat.
It doesn’t take him too long to clean off the countless mountains of trash. The advanced strength training leaves him with the ability to lift a stack of refrigerators with ease. That doesn’t mean Ms. Ito allows him to do that though, tetanus is a thing after all. Neither of them is sure how well his self-healing works against raging infections.
Ms. Ito doesn’t make him pick out any of the sharp objects from the sand. When word gets out that someone’s cleaning up the beach, she’s able to find a few certified adult volunteers to assist with that task. Don’t even get him started on the trash in the water. They found out that whatever helps him stick to surfaces also helps him walk on water. Consequently, fully submerging and staying there, posed a problem.
Toward the end, they could no longer host the heavy-duty workout equipment on the beach, but by that point, Izuku had moved onto yoga. It became a common occurrence for Ms. Ito to roll out her own mat alongside his own and join him through his multiple sets.
A little while longer after that, people started to join them. They were always older than him, but he’d been able to make pleasant conversation with them well enough.
Ten months later, and the twinkling horizon rings out, clear as day.
“Look at that,” Ms. Ito’s whistles. Izuku beams, eyes misting. “Can’t believe I did all this by myself,” She says in mock seriousness.
Izuku laughs and gives a playful push to her side. Ms. Ito grins, rustling Izuku’s wild mess of curls. “Good job, kid.” She bends down to gather their mats. “Come on, let’s go. Your mom wants to go out tonight to celebrate.”
“Can I stay here for a little bit longer?” Izuku asks sheepishly. Ms. Ito doesn’t look surprised by his question, it was almost as if she was expecting it.
“Of course. I need to run the last truck to the dumping site anyways. As soon as I finish that, I’ll come back. Be ready to go then, alright?” She tells him as she walks away.
Izuku hums in affirmation, turning his gaze back to the vibrant horizon.
He doesn’t know how long he stands there, finally able to enjoy the fruits of his labor.
“That’s quite a sight to behold.” Izuku doesn’t startle since he’d heard the light prance of the stranger’s steps a while ago. He turns his head to regard them with a smile. The gesture sticks to his face like a particularly slimy piece of putty as he notices the state of the stranger.
There, in the middle of the sidewalk, is a tall, spindly man. The shadows that hangs over their eyes is so dense it only allows the bright blue of their iris to shine through. Their hair, a vibrant blonde, is thick and wild, the long fringe the tamest thing about their hairstyle.
Izuku tilts his head at the skeletal figure. He’s not one to assume things based on appearance, after all, their visage may be attached to their quirk, but Izuku’s heightened senses allow him to pick up on the pain ridden hunch and the shortness of breath. He’s seen the same posture on himself, after all. However, this person looks much sicker, like they’re suffering from a longstanding injury.
He’s just remembered that he hasn’t greeted them back when the stranger starts coughing. It’s the sort that leaves you weak and sputtering for breath— and is that blood? Izuku wonders, horrified. He’s on his feet in an instant, hands outstretched.
“Sir, are you alright? Do you need me to call someone?” His phone is already in his hands before he can finish.
“No, no! This is normal but thank you.” They say between wet, shaky exhales of breath.
Izuku has no idea what to do because this person shouldn’t be walking around, and if they must, it shouldn’t be without oxygen.
And a staff of nurses.
“Sir, I can see blood, that’s normal for you?” Izuku presses. He really doesn’t want to walk away only to see this stranger’s face in the obituary tomorrow.
“I assure you it is, my boy.” They say, solemn.
Well, shit. Izuku stutters out an incomprehensible response as he scans his eyes over the beach park. I remember there being a— yes! Izuku jabs his pointer finger towards an improvised sitting area.
“There’s a bench over there, can I at least walk you to it?” Izuku feels like he’s been punched in the gut at the feeling of uselessness. He’s got enough first aid knowledge to tend to most wounds, but he’s not a full-blown doctor, nor the specialist this person clearly needs.
The stranger looks taken aback at the sentiment but doesn’t reject. Izuku takes their arm as gently as he can. They run warmer than anyone he’s ever met. It’s like there’s a river of liquid sun coasting underneath their skin. Izuku presses his palm to their forearm, that odd, enchanting warmth instantly sinking into his bones. He staves off a content sigh, because that would be very creepy.
“Is that your quirk, my boy?” Izuku hears them suddenly say.
He blinks slowly, forcefully pulling himself from the lulling heat. It’s then he hears an acute sound, like frost slowly taking over a cold, moist window. He shoots a look to where he and the stranger are joined, only to be perplexed by what he finds.
His silk is spreading out from under his wrist. It’s a translucent golden color that gleams in the light of the sun. The only thing stopping him from tearing his arm from the stranger is that they’ve finally stopped hunching over. Their smile, strained before, is now wide and infectious.
“Um, yeah. It doesn’t happen too often, I’m sorry.” Izuku says sheepishly, praying they don’t pick up on the lie.
“It’s quite alright. I’m happy for the relief,” The stranger pats his arm. The action feels startlingly paternal.
They continue to speak, seemingly unaware of the shock they’ve given Izuku, “Where on earth are my manners? You can call me Toshinori, young man.” Izuku startles at the impromptu introduction. They reach the bench quicker since they don’t have to take Toshinori’s trembling steps into account.
“Ah- whu- uhm, I’m Midoriya. It’s nice to meet you, Toshinori.” Izuku gives a respectful nod as he guides Toshinori to sit. He takes a seat next to the man, fiddling his thumbs.
“Do you a healing quirk?” Toshinori asks, tone curious and almost overwhelmingly amicable. Izuku bites down on his lip before conceding to the guilt.
“I’m sorry, that’s not my main quirk. It’s new, actually. I wouldn’t have used it on you without permission first.” Izuku confesses. Toshinori blinks, seeming to be pleasantly surprised.
“My, my! That’s a versatile quirk you have. Would you mind telling me the base of it?”
“Uh, I share the abilities of most breeds of spiders. Jumping, web making, sticking to stuff at the worst possible times. I can heal myself too, but I guess I never thought it would extend to anyone else.” Izuku babbles out. Toshinori chuckles, nodding his head as Izuku continues to infodump on him. Izuku starts to slow down after a little while, realizing he’s talking someone’s ear off. It’s not a common occurrence for him. Though, the only people he does this to are his mom, Ms. Ito, and his school’s kitchen staff. He’s beyond embarrassed that he’s subjected a total stranger to it. As he settles himself down, he stares at the gaunt lines of Toshinori’s face. “Is… your injury devastating. If you don’t mind, could you tell me the nature of your injury.” Izuku inquires. “I’d like to have a basis to go off of for my notes.”
Toshinori stares at him, but Izuku doesn’t think he’s being seen. Something grim and venomous flashes across Toshinori’s features, twisting the air around them until it feels like they’re sitting at the bottom of a rancid swamp.
Izuku really hopes he’s not sweating, because it feels like he is.
“I got into a pretty bad accident,” Toshinori’s voice is nothing more than a rumble deep inside his throat. The faintly hurt expression the man wears makes Izuku regret asking. “A couple of my organs were damaged beyond repair,” He presses a large hand to his side where the wound must reside. “I’ve been to countless doctors and have been through even more surgeries.” Izuku bites his lip so hard he has to consciously relax his jaw, so he won’t completely tear through it.
“I-I didn’t aggravate it, did I?” He asks, voice high with uneasiness.
Toshinori gives a booming laugh, somehow dispelling the stiff aura around them as if it wasn’t there in the first place.
“No, the complete opposite, really. I can’t handle the more powerful painkillers anymore. This is the first time in months I haven’t been able to feel a thing.” Toshinori discloses. There’s so much relief in his voice that Izuku finds himself fighting back tears.
Toshinori’s hands hover a few paces away as Izuku furiously wipes at his eyes.
“Sorry,” Izuku says, voice thick with emotion.
“It’s quite alright, my boy. Everyone should have a good cry now and again.” Toshinori says quickly. His tone isn’t condescending, nor is it uncomfortable. Izuku’s absolutely bewildered by that. If a random teenager boy started crying near him, he wouldn’t know what to do. He wonders if Toshinori has a job that centers around dealing with kids, it certainly seems like it.
Izuku turns his head toward the oncoming breeze, letting nature dry his eyes.
“I want to be a hero,” Izuku admits softly after a moment of silence. “For a while now, I’ve been scared about not being… enough, I guess,” Memories and emotions he’d long buried start to scratch at the limits of their restraints. He desperately tries to ignore how they smell faintly of smoke. “I-I,” Izuku grits his teeth. “I feel…” Like a fraud for subconsciously giving up on his dreams, only for some magic spider to bite the remedy into his hands and give him an easy way out. Like he’s a waste of space for taking advantage of both his mother and Ms. Ito’s pep talks about being the ‘first quirkless hero.’ Like he’s as useless and hypocritical as Bakugou sa-
A goose squawks overhead, drawing him from his reverie. Instead of jumping, as he normally would, Izuku only watches it flutter further up into the sky.
Out of the corner of his eye, he can see the unreadable expression Toshinori wears.
Izuku chuckles, wincing at hollow it sounds even to his own ears.
He lightly twists the skin of his index finger, nervous to speak these next words into the air. “I know I want to help people. I’ve been working on power moves for months now. But I still don’t think I have what it takes to be a hero,” Izuku sighs, gaze falling to his lap. “And I don’t know how to...” At a lost on how to properly articulate his thoughts.
“You seem well on you way to me. Besides, community cleanup is a good waypoint.” Toshinori remarks lightly.
Izuku blinks, confused. At Toshinori’s knowing look, Izuku beings to flounder.
“What? No! I-I didn’t…” He stutters out, hands flailing as he tries in vain to ‘defend’ himself.
Toshinori’s smile widens to a length that would be unnerving on any other face.
The man slowly gets to his feet, joints popping.
“I can see the pain in your eyes. I have no idea how deep it runs but try to fight through it. You have admirable passions; the world would benefit from your drive,” Toshinori smiles then, it’s different from the others. This one is soft, but tight, like the man speaks from experience. Izuku doesn’t doubt he does. “Let your actions speak of your intent, Young Midoriya.” Toshinori grips his shoulder, giving it a strong squeeze. Izuku bites the inside of his cheek so he doesn’t cry again. At this, the man pivots on his heel and strolls toward the steps leading up to the paved street. His gait is much more relaxed, his debilitating injury either no longer a concern, or staved off for the time being.
Izuku wishes he had gotten some sort of contact information from him so he could find out which one.
It’s drawing up on the final month of his middle school career, and the topic of high schools have come up yet again. Izuku stares at the same form they’ve been going over for weeks, as if they’ve all reverted to their adolescent stage and therefore, can no longer read. The questions are straightforward enough:
‘Which high schools will you be applying to?’
‘Are you interested in the path of heroes, science, medicine, etc…’
It’s a simple answer sheet. He can understand being stuck in the counselor’s office going over it nonstop, that’s what they’re supposed to do, but he’s in homeroom so sure this has nothing to do with algebra.
He’s busy fiddling with the lead in his mechanical pencil when his worst nightmare comes to life. All it takes is eight words to bring the world crashing down on him,
“Hm, Izuku, it says you’ve applied to U.A.”
God, even when he didn’t have any powers, he still wouldn’t have wanted that information to be leaked.
Is he even allowed to do that?
It’s like his hell spawn of a teacher knows Izuku will be leaving him soon, and he just wanted to dish out one last bit of abuse before he became nothing but a bad memory.
On cue, laughter and poisonous jeers erupt throughout the class. Bakugou’s glare burns a hole into the side of his head. There’s a small part of him that’s undeniably wary— and a bit scared— of his ex-friend, but the other part is full of rage and spite. So, he falls into the comfort of his practiced indifference, refusing to even grace Bakugou with a glance.
A few bold souls throw paper balls that he dodges neatly. The teacher reprimands them, but it’s featherlight and holds no venom whatsoever. It’s safe to say Izuku’s counting the seconds until he can kiss this hellhole goodbye for good.
Ms. Ito has an experiment she needs to tend to, so that leaves the rest of his day free.
I wonder if mom wants to do something today.
Izuku pulls on his lip as he tries to recollect whether his mother’s work schedule conflicts with his plans. The answer is on the tip of his tongue when he smells the sweet, acrid scent of Bakugou’s ire.
He ducks in time to avoid a blast to the face. Izuku executes a double full flip out the way of an impending attack, taking care to reinforce his ankles as he gives more power on the second land in order to gain distance between him and his assailant.
“Is that it? You learn a few fancy tricks and you think that’ll get your useless ass into a top tier school?” Bakugou seethes, face twisted into that distressingly hateful expression he always wears when he talks to Izuku.
Izuku steels the slight tremor in his hands, remaining quiet. A voice in his head that sounds suspiciously like his mother tells him he doesn’t owe Bakugou an answer, nor his attention.
Izuku turns and sprints for gymnasium door. “You fuckin’ coward! Get back here!” Bakugou screeches.
He heads straight for the school’s main entrance. There’s a throng of students going about their business. It gives him enough cover to lose his bully for a short time. That isn’t to say Bakugou gives up, there’s too much tenacity in that inflated, washed out head of his. Izuku has the upper hand on both agility, and endurance. He runs hard enough to be out of Bakugou’s reach, but that’s it. Izuku knows if he doesn’t tire the blonde out, he’ll just keep coming after him.
“Deku!” Bakugou rages behind him.
Izuku can hear the telltale pop of his quirk.
Is he serious? Has he been running track again? Izuku hadn’t keep tabs on Bakugou’s schedule, but maybe he should have. If it was going to take this long to lose him, he would have hopped out of sight long ago. If he disappears at this point, it’ll be too suspicious.
Should I try to fight back? They’re far enough from the school that no one can blab to the principal.
Izuku realizes then that he’s been punching abandoned cars instead of his fellow man for a while. He has no idea how much damage would be inflicted on Bakugou if Izuku punched him. And while hitting Bakugou isn’t low on his bucket list, totally incapacitating him isn’t ideal.
“Leave me alone.” Izuku snaps.
He should’ve known that would only spur the hell child on.
“You’re gonna have to beg better than that you fuckin’ waste of space!” Bakugou screams back.
“Spoken like a true hero!” Izuku yells, barely able to hear himself over the incessant pound of his heart.
“Say that to my face!” Bakugou growls. Izuku thought that would inspire his bully to maybe think on his actions a little— at least long enough to ensure his escape. He didn’t think they would be completely bypassed. It makes him a little sad to see just how far gone his ex-friend is.
He’s got about a minute more until they reach a more populated area and Bakugou will be forced to back off. Izuku can see the bustle of the early evening crowd with the help of his enhanced sight. He smiles, relieved.
Izuku barely manages to duck before the air above his head turns to static and explodes.
Should’ve figured Bakugou knew time was running out too. Izuku deflects another attack with a quick back handspring. Bakugou doesn’t let him get far this time. He’s up in his face by the time he lands, hand glowing from the sparks writhing at his palms.
“Will you come off it? You self-absorbed airhead!” Izuku twists in a low swipe, which Bakugou easily jumps over. He anticipates this and follows through with a butterfly twist. What he doesn’t anticipate however, is the feeling of his foot connecting with something. It knocks him off kilter for a second as he flounders in the air before righting himself at the last second. He turns, taking deep breaths to calm his heart.
Bakugou’s splayed out on the ground, cradling his cheek— and if looks could kill.
Izuku barely stifles a snort because he’s never seen the blonde looks so affronted. He supposes he shouldn’t be so shocked. Izuku has never hit him back before, and from Bakugou’s expression, Izuku can assume he doesn’t like the change of pace.
Bakugou lets out an animalistic howl of rage before he shoots to his feet. Izuku steps out of the way, feeling the fist tucked into the breast of his uniform too late. They’re both sent careening to the ground.
Bakugou is on him in an instant. Panic is the only thing that has Izuku bucking the blonde off of him like an irate bull. As soon as he’s free, he tucks his knees in and rolls away from Bakugou before arranging his feet under him. Izuku discards his earlier plan of remaining inconspicuous and puts as much power into his legs as he can and jumps.
The rest of the journey to his home is a blur. He thinks a few heroes try to slow him down to either reprimand him or question him on why he’s running like his house is on fire. Izuku ignores everything but his mental map until he’s at his front door.
He barrels through the threshold, stops long enough to flip the deadbolt and remove his shoes before he races down the hall. His mother, thankfully, isn’t home yet. He feels close to bursting, whether from anger or grief, Izuku isn’t sure. He’s just glad the universe has allotted him the time to compose himself before facing his mother.
By time Inko arrives home, his tears have been dried, and the puffiness around his eyes has settled.
Bakugou doesn’t speak to him for the rest of the semester.
Izuku scrolls through his twitter feed idly. His timeline hasn’t moved in the past few minutes. Everyone seems to be stuck on All Might’s recent fight with a villain made entirely of mud. It happened halfway across town, which sucks because Izuku had just been there.
He takes the time to skim over All Might’s existing stats, which seem to have increased over the passing months. Mind you, they’re nowhere near what they used to be, but the small bump has been acknowledged by recent polls concerning lowered villain activity. Izuku adds the bits of information to his memory bank for later recovery.
He’s about to respond to a text from Shari when there’s a sharp, metallic clang to his left.
It’s one of the shortcuts he takes when he’s in a hurry to get home. Izuku can sense that something exponentially terrible is going to happen if he wanders down there. There’s a sludgy sound coming from underneath the circle of painted plastic and concrete. It’s exactly how he would think a river of slime would sound like. The tunnel is lit up rather well by the afternoon light, but he doesn’t chance it. He clicks on his phone’s flashlight and points it toward the manhole cover. It’s shifting minutely to a rhythm that makes it seem like there’s water raging just beneath it. He’s about to turn to find a nearby hero, because he’s not about to deal with a flooded sewage drain, when the thick metal cover shoots upward.
A deep, rickety voice echoes through the short tunnel.
“Damn that blonde bastard. I almost didn’t get away.” The creature hisses.
Izuku shuts off his phone’s light.
The creature doesn’t notice. Their large, watery eyes are trained upward like they can’t control which direction they look. Izuku can see why, their body is constantly wiggling about, even as they sit— stand? still. He can grasp the concept of everything on them being just as unsteady.
There’s a wet, squelching sound as their eyes flutter about in their sockets. Izuku doesn’t know if this is a maintenance worker, a hero, or whatever else, but they’re a stranger— a large one at that. He’s not about to stick around for whatever is on their agenda. Izuku shoots out a two-handed grapple and shoots up toward the sky.
“Hey, I saw you, you little shit! Get back here!”
Izuku has his hand out for a follow up, but he’s snatched back down to the ground in an instant. He bounces against the concrete, a spiderweb of cracks denting the sidewalk. He’s not too disoriented to miss the sight of the ball of revolting sludge secured around his ankles. His bookbag startles him by slamming down onto the ground near his head. It looks flatter than it should. He prays his schoolwork isn’t too messed up.
When did that even fall off? He wonders idly.
He landed just on top of where the tunnel is, so the creature gives another yank to haul him back down. Izuku, in a fit of panic, sticks his hands to the sidewalk. The next tug is so powerful it feels like his legs are going to pop right out of their sockets. “What the hell!” They grunt, clearly irritated. Izuku’s legs won’t be able to take another pull, so he lets go.
Since he relinquished his hold just as the villain was in the process of another yank it gives him enough momentum to launch the collection of rebar and concrete at the villains exposed eye.
Since the time between his descent and attack were so close, he didn’t factor in his landing. He smacks against the ground so violently his mind whites out for a good five seconds.
His sight returns just in time to watch as a dark spurt of blood splashes onto the ground next to his feet. The villain releases his ankles as they scream in agony, giving Izuku the chance to widen the distance between them. He doesn’t get far though, his vision slants and wavers like a television with bad reception.
Blood is till gushing from the villain’s wound. Izuku figures the rebar must’ve been lodged in his eye, and they’d foolishly pulled it out.
His head throbs painfully with every move he makes. Izuku knows the skin has broken since his brain feels like it’s been exchanged with a toddler’s rattle. His sight tips dangerously as he blinks hard. “You little shit! Your death would’ve only lasted a few seconds! Now you’re gonna suffer!” They seethe. A big, yellow eye zeroes in on him. Izuku grits his teeth against the white-hot pain in both his limbs and head. He readies himself to jump, when a familiar, booming voice rings through the air.
No fucking way!
A large hand cradles his stomach before he feels a rush of cold, powerful air. The villain screams again, but Izuku’s brain is too scrambled to figure out why.
That’s all his senses register before he succumbs to blissful nothingness.
When he comes to, he’s pressed against a very sturdy, very wide chest.
Who? Izuku tries to pry open his eyelids, but they won’t cooperate. He groans form the effort, not keen to remember why it’s so hard to move his body.
He’s aware enough to know he’s being held princess style by someone heavily muscular in stature.
“Are you awake, my boy?” He can feel the way their voice vibrates in their chest. He’s tempted to close his eyes and forget the world again, happy to be lulled by such a soothing vibration. It’s then that one of his arms shifts, and the pain comes rolling back in. He grits his teeth to bite down a whimper, but he’s not so successful. “My deepest apologies. Had I apprehended the villain sooner, you would not be experiencing such pain.” They murmur, a deep, emotional agony laced in their tone. It’s enough to startle Izuku into forcing his eyes open. Blood has crusted on his eyelashes, which Izuku figures explains why his first attempt was so difficult.
“Alhl Miht?” Izuku slurs, astounded. His favorite hero looks heaven-sent, even through his murky eyes.
“Try not to speak, alright?” He’s not used to hearing All Might’s voice sound so quiet.
Memories of his encounter with the villain rush back, and Izuku finds himself fighting back both nausea, and a panic attack. He’s still bleeding, so it probably wouldn’t be a good idea for his heartrate to increase so rapidly.
“Wha happa?” Izuku tries in vain to speak clearly.
A concussion will do that to you.
All Might— All Might— shushes him gently. He walks for a time that Izuku can’t measure well enough. There’s a lot of noise suddenly, but it’s thankfully dull in Izuku’s ears.
Before he knows it, he’s being lowered onto what he assumes is a gurney. Unfamiliar hands insistently press down on his shoulders, and he realizes he’s fighting, and has been since first contact with the uncomfortable lounge. Izuku isn’t sure why he’s fighting, his thoughts, though sparse, feel like they’re overcrowding his head so he can’t figure out why. Before he can get anywhere with his half-assed attempt at an escape, a large hand settles on his arm. That same warmth from the beach smooths over his skin. Izuku’s head feels like it’s filled with cotton, but he recognizes the sensation. “It’s alright, Young Midoriya, it’s just the medics. They’ll take care of you.”
Reluctantly, he lets All Might’s hand guide him to rest against the gurney.
Wait, did he just say my na— No, that doesn’t make any sense. I must’ve imagined it.
He’s too exhausted to try and argue with himself. Instead, Izuku listens the shrill, dipping tones of the ambulance’s siren. There are people either speaking to him, or around him. There’s a featherlight touch to his face, and he follows the direction they push him.
A bright light accosts his blurred vision, but he’s pleasantly surprised to note it doesn’t aggravate his headache. More speaking, more nudging different parts of his body, and then something awfully sharp pricks Izuku’s arm, forcing him into a dreamless slumber.
There’s no news of the sludge villain’s escape, but there is a report of his impending trial.