Not all men are created equal. Izuku Midoriya learned that when he was only four.
All children learned that important lesson at one point or another, but not usually so young. Not from being called useless by classmates and former friends for not having a strong Quirk. Not by getting beaten to the ground before going home.
He was four when he was told it was near impossible for him to be a hero. When his mother apologized instead of saying he could be anything he wanted. When Kacchan became a bully instead of a friend. He would still be an amazing hero, even if he beat down the little Deku near the playground slide. Izuku thought only villains did that.
He came home that day with starburst burns and purple bruises. There weren’t many tears, an odd thing for him.
Kacchan had tried to bully another kid, and Izuku stopped him. He didn’t regret it. Not even when he was pushed to the ground and kicked when he was down. Not when Tsubasa had whacked him with his wings. Not even when Kacchan dragged him to his feet to blast his arms with firecracker pops. He had saved someone for once. That was all he needed.
The one thing he did regret was letting his mom see him like that. The instant he walked into the kitchen she was on him. Fussing and demanding to know what had happened. Only then did he cry, nestled in her arms on the floor. He didn’t cry because of the pain. No, he cried for what he had lost when he was told about his Quirk.
“Oh my baby, what happened?” Inko murmured softly as she held him tight.
He told her everything. Kacchan and his bullying, everyone ignoring him, and even the negligent teachers. He told her how he would always hide the bruises and burns to stop her from worrying.
How her words had hurt him even more than the fire on his skin had.
His mom treated his burns and bruises while he spoke. They weren’t too bad, since Kacchan’s explosions weren’t very powerful yet. Izuku could tell she was mad though. Not at him, but at the school. The Bakugou’s too, even if Mitsuki was her friend. At least that’s what he hoped.
“Izuku, you know this isn’t alright, yes?”
He nodded mutely, knowing she was referring to Kacchan’s burns. She sighed, and gently ran her fingers through his fluffy hair.
“You were so brave, Izuku. Even if…even if you aren’t strong like Katsuki, you still stood up to him. I’m so proud of you, my baby boy, but you still got hurt.”
Softer than a mouse, Izuku finally spoke up. “I wanna be a hero, Momma. Heroes save people.”
“I know, baby, but they get hurt a lot. You don’t have a Quirk that can stop that.”
“But I’m smart!” He insisted. “Smart can stop the hurt from happening in the first place.”
“I…I guess that’s true, Izuku, but it’s still dangerous. Let’s focus on getting these burns treated, ok?”
He didn’t go to school the next day, or the day after that, since his burns were still healing. The bruises didn’t hurt too much after thee two days, but the burns itched a lot.
Izuku heard his mom talking quietly to someone over the phone. Someone named Hisashi. At least he thinks so, but he had heard it from the other room. Four year-olds aren’t known for being good eavesdroppers.
It was that night that Momma told him the news. He was being moved to a different school, and his dad was coming back. Izuku didn’t remember his dad. He asked maybe a few too many questions about him over the dinner table. His Momma just laughed and told him everything he wanted to know.
Dad coming home was…odd. They both went to pick him up at the airport, even though Izuku didn’t really know what he looked like. Not until he came out of the exit gate and near instantly ran over to swoop Momma off her feet to twirl her around. She was laughing, and that alone made Izuku like the man he didn’t remember.
His dad was tall, but nothing compared to All Might. The pictures in the hallway looked different than he did now. He had black hair that was curly like Izuku’s, and freckles too. His eyes, filled with happiness as he stared at Inko, were yellow like a fire. Flecks of black like ash too. He looked nice.
When he finally put Momma down, smiling just like Izuku did when he was happy, he knelt down to be at eye level with the four year-old. He gingerly put his hand out. Izuku took it in his own tiny hand, fingers only able to wrap around two or three of his Dad’s fingers.
“Hey there buddy. I know you don’t remember me,” he said softly. “But I’m staying from now on, ok? No leaving ever again.”
“Never ever,” Hisashi laughed. It was deep and loud, but happy. “As long as your Mom can handle my terrible cooking skills being back in the house.”
Izuku giggled, and knew his Momma was too. She was an amazing cook, but she had told him stories. His favorite was when Dad apparently lit a kitchen towel on fire when he had tried to use his Quirk to boil water faster. Izuku was grateful Momma had already started teaching him to cook, and that so far nothing’s been set ablaze.
“Come on then, you two,” Momma laughed, rolling her eyes. “Let’s get home.”
Having Dad back was nice, but weird. The house was livelier, and there was more laughing and giggling than ever. Certainly more fire. That was the weird part. He caught a cold a few days after coming home (probably from the airport, Momma said) and Izuku watched as he sneezed out embers. It was funny. Dad stayed near the fireplace, just incase.
Going to a new school was even weirder. He didn’t know anyone, but they didn’t know him either. No one called him Deku, only Midoriya. The teachers were kind and didn’t treat him different because he didn’t have a strong Quirk.
All in all, he liked his new school. Even if he was only going to be there a few weeks before going to kindergarten. Kacchan wasn’t there, but he was starting to realize he hadn’t been his friend, not really.
The break between school years was short, but it was fun. Izuku’s whole family even went on a trip to the beach! He got to bury his dad in sand and chase seagulls! Everything a little kid could want to do in a day.
They had a picnic there too. The sunset was really pretty, but watching his parents together was even better in Izuku’s opinion. He got to watch Dad splash Momma in the waves. They were laughing, Izuku giggling right alongside them in the ocean. Dad made Momma happy. It made Izuku happy too.
Izuku came to the conclusion that defending someone else that day was the best decision he had ever made. Even if he originally got hurt, everything good had happened because of it. He switched schools, stopped getting bullied, and got his dad back. For once, everything looked like it was going to be okay.
None of them were going to be left alone again. Not if Izuku could help it. Never again.
No one left behind.