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We Are (The Lost Ones)

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~ Multiverses are such an interesting concept, don’t you agree? Reiterations of the same story over and over again, each one with a small difference setting it apart from the iterations around it, and the closer you get to the origin point, the more alike things get. The further you get from the origin point, the more different things get. Some multiverses rarely get too far from the origin point, while others rarely stay near, and anything in between. And there are so many possibilities, so many worlds and stories bleeding over into each other - well, who can tell where one ends and another begins? There are so many different multiverses, each with so many universes making them, that it’s difficult to keep track of them all. So many stories, even the greatest library couldn’t record them all, not even including those outliers that don’t belong to a single universe or multiverse. So, we’ll focus on one story. One that I found particularly interesting. This one… lies on the far edge of a multiverse whose iterations are largely clustered together. It’s at the edge of a bleedover area, where the borders between multiverses are… faint. It’s… quite different from its peers - an outlier, if you will. And that is what makes it so interesting.

After all, when everything’s just different versions of the same thing, something different is quite refreshing. ~

 

“... and the back room has spare parts, no one really goes back there aside from the mechanic.”

“I see. What about…”

A child giggled as they ducked behind a door, just out of sight of the passing adults. They were clutching a stuffed toy mouse-dog-bear thing to their chest, eyes sparkling with mirth as they hid. When they were sure the coast was clear, they darted out and down the hall, gunning for the door on the other side of the building’s largest room.

They were almost there. They could almost reach out and touch it…

The child squealed as a pair of arms wrapped around their middle and picked them up. The child was turned to face a woman with straight green hair pulled back in a half-bun, amused eyes belying the frown on her face. She huffed as the child pouted at her.

“Izuku Mikumo Midoriya, just what do you think you’re doing?”

Izuku giggled, his grin stretched wide over his face. “I wanna go outside, Mama!”

Izuku’s mother sighed, a fond little smile creeping onto her face as she brought the boy firmly into her arms. “I already told you, Izuku, you have to stay inside today. It’s going to rain, and I don’t want you getting sick.”

The three-year-old reached out to pat his mother on the face. “I won’t, I won’t! I promise! I’mma just be outside and back in real quick, and it’s not raining yet! I won’t get sick! I promise, Mama, it’s okay! I won’t even get hurt or nothing! Just play a bit! I promise on my candy!”

That got a smile and a gentle laugh out of Izuku’s mother. “Still, I don’t want to run the risk of you getting hurt; who knows what I would do without you?” She tapped her son’s nose, earning more giggles from him as she carried him through the restaurant. They passed the stage, and Inko felt a spark of pride at seeing the robots her husband had designed working perfectly as they were turned on for the day.

Izuku pouted. “But-”

“No buts, Izuku,” Inko gently reprimanded, setting her son down in the office. She gave him a coloring book and some crayons. “Now, I have to go check on your dad, so why don’t you color for a little bit? Look, it’s even All Might!” She gently pushed the comic-book-character-themed book towards Izuku. The boy pouted, but gave her a blinding smile a few seconds later, happily accepting the offerings.

“Okay, Mama! And I wanna see the show later, when Nezu and Poki and Bonrai are all woken up, okay?”

Inko smiled and nodded. “Of course, like I would stop you!”

The pair shared a laugh before Inko ruffled her son’s hair one last time, leaving him alone in the office as she went to check on her husband. Izuku smiled to himself and began coloring.

He would get out later, though. After all, he had a friend out there that he wanted to play with!

 

Much later, as the sun had just barely set, Inko was frantic, searching the whole restaurant top to bottom for Izuku. He’d disappeared some minutes ago, and she was cursing herself for not noticing sooner. She was trying her best not to disturb the customers, but her panic was rising each minute that her son was missing.

Outside, under the heavy downpour that hadn’t let up for several hours and showed no signs of letting up for several more, the only one to witness the entire thing was a scarred young street cat, perched safely beneath a nearby overhang.

Izuku, soaked to the bone with tears pouring down his face, trudged back to the restaurant, his safe place, his favorite place, with the limp body of a puppy cradled carefully in his arms. He was hunched over the animal, mourning the loss of his friend’s life.

He would never see cars the same way again.

When Izuku reached the door to the restaurant, he looked up and realized that he was too short to reach the handle. He’d had to drag over a chair to get it open earlier. Lethargically at first, then increasingly frantically as he realized no one could hear him, he knocked on the glass, calling for someone, anyone, to let him in. The bracelet locked on his wrist beeped, and one of his dad’s robots, a winged puppet that was connected to a police database, turned its head to face him. It began walking towards the door, and Izuku smiled, relieved that he would be let in.

Before it got more than a step, though, a hand landed on Izuku’s shoulder. He whirled around to find his dad’s business partner staring down at him. Izuku beamed. Mr. Alli was nice, if a bit strange. Izuku trusted him.

“Hi, Mr. Alli! I snuck out to play with my friend, but…” Izuku’s face crumpled a little bit as he glanced at the puppy in his arms. “A car hit him… and now I can’t get back in… But you can let me in, right?” He smiled again, though it was noticeably subdued compared to his usual blinding sunshine grins. After a few moments of silence, Mr. Alli smiled gently and spoke.

“Alright, Izuku, but let’s go around to the side entrance. That way you won’t disturb the guests, and we can get you dried off and give your friend a funeral while we’re at it. Does that sound good?”

Izuku considered it for a moment before he nodded solemnly. Mr. Alli grinned and led the boy into the alley around the side of the building.

The cat was the only one to hear the poor boy’s cut-off scream, to see the car’s headlights turn on as Mr. Alli started it up and drove away. The cat watched the security robot look around as it confused before moving to a side door, standing there uncertainly, not programmed to know how to proceed. The cat was the only one to witness the boy’s final moments, as he carefully sheltered the dog’s body from the rain. The cat was the only one in the area who even had a chance of witnessing the boy’s soul, luminescent and determined, rising and floating through the wall, taking temporary refuge in the security robot, ready to help others just like it.

For the moment, though, it was simply there, dormant, as there was no one to help.

Ironically enough, the cat was at the funeral the next week.