“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essentially invisible to the eye.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
As Izuku was still around five years old, he started to draw a lot. It began with messy scribbles, scratched on the paper for fun and it changed into a bundle of shapes, drawn on every surface he could find. Even though these surfaces included walls and tables, Inko couldn’t be mad at him. Not when he wore such a bright smile as his shapes progressed into traced animals and objects. Eventually, he didn’t even need to trace them anymore, his mind remembering every line by heart. It was such a wonderful sight, to see him draw so excitedly, discovering a world full of creativity. Yet there was one strange thing about the whole situation—he never colored the drawings in.
Even though Inko bought him lots of different colors, in the hopes of seeing what his favorite would be, he only stared at them before shaking his head and continuing to draw. After a while, he would use them to draw the lines but never to color in. She couldn’t understand why. But he seemed genuinely happy drawing his creativity out and for her, that alone was more than enough.
He looks up from his desk and stares back into red eyes. It’s scary, he realizes, a bit startled as the teacher sighs and shakes his head. He almost fell asleep in class once again. His mother would be disappointed if she found out about that.
“Seriously, you’re such a problematic chi…”
The words merge together and he loses focus once again, unable to think about it, unable to breathe—but it hurts so badly as they press against him and take his breath. A part of him registers the erupting laughter of his classmates and he wishes it would stop, that it all would just crash down.
He knows it doesn’t work like that.
He knows he’ll have to remain strong, even if it hurts, even if he can’t breathe anymore.
Midoriya Izuku knows that people like him just don’t belong in a world full of people with great wishes and big desires.
People like him are just drowning under everyone else.
As everyone quickly leaves the classroom, a few shoving him on their way out, he waits for the teacher to address him. How many times did he have to wait just like this before? He counts the days in his mind, wondering if today will be any better. It will never get better, a voice whispers but he shakes it off.
Izuku bites his lip as the man turns around and sighs at him once again. His stare is cold and Izuku has stopped long ago with careless wishes that the man before he would care for once. Not many people do almost no one. Almost no one. He has to keep that one person that does in his mind, anchor himself on her warmth and affection. She’s trying her best for him so he should try his best for her. For his mother.
“Midoriya,” he speaks up, annoyance barely concealed, “what do you want?”
Izuku blinks as he fidgets with the hem of his jacket before he eventually gathers the courage to speak up. “M-my gloves?”
He knows he sounds uncertain but he’d really like them back. His mother bought them for him and he’s not about to go home and tell her that he didn’t have them anymore. That a teacher took them and kept them. That would make her think something’s wrong when everything’s fine. Unnecessarily worrying her is the last thing on his mind and he absolutely refuses to let some stolen gloves be the cause.
The teacher shakes his head.
“Those stupid gloves?”
He takes out a pair of thin, black gloves and holds them up for Izuku to see. They shine in the light of the lamp hanging in the classroom and Izuku wants to take them out of the other’s hand and run for it. But he can’t, that would only get him into trouble.
“I don’t understand what’s so great about them… also, I’m not sure if I should give them back to you.”
Izuku stops fidgeting and looks up at the man, a baffled expression on his face. He thinks about these words, thinks about the implications and how the teacher in front of him just told him he’d confiscate his gloves forever.
The teacher smiles and somehow it looks like he’s sneering but Izuku doesn’t want to think like that—doesn’t want to think that an adult would have ill-intent behind his actions. That an adult that’s supposed to care and protect would harm him willingly—that just wouldn’t be right. But his gloves hang in the air and he can’t deny it as much as he wants to.
“Well, you see, Midoriya-kun , you know it’s against the dress code to wear those gloves in the midst of class… but I had to reprimand you so many times now. Frankly, it would be better if I keep them until you learn your lesson.”
Until when , he wants to ask, Why?
He can feel his limbs tremble and the tears gathering at the corner of his eyes. What would he tell his mother? What would she think of him? Losing these precious gloves she got him with her own money.
“Y-You…. Please... !”
How would he even explain it to her?
“G-Give them… back, please.”
Would she be mad?
Of course, she would have all reason to.
The teacher sighs again as he places his right hand on the table, the impact echoing in his ears.
Izuku blinks, his sight blurred by the tears.
“I’ll call your mother about the gloves today.”
And he wants to curl up on the spot and cry it out but the teacher’s glaring at him and Izuku doesn’t want to give him more reasons to hate him and be annoyed at his mother, so he nods and then turns around and runs out of the classroom. He makes it out of the school building faster than usual, his heart beating loudly in his chest. He really should stop crying or his mother would believe something is wrong.
But he just can't—every day he fails himself a bit more.
Izuku doesn’t like the feeling of suspense he gets whenever he's on his doorstep.
He always counts the seconds that pass, always leans a bit closer to the closed door, in hopes of hearing if someone is home. Sometimes there isn’t, but most of the time there is, proven by those quiet steps.
He's gotten good at that—picking the faintest noises out, every movement, everything. He has to. There’s not much choice in between getting caught or not. Sometimes he sits there for more than one hour, anxiously biting his nails, wondering if someone will open the door and discover his presence. Other times he decides to take a walk in the park or repeat the way from school to home once again. But one days like this, he knows it's better to go inside as soon as possible.
Still, his hand shakes badly as he holds it up, reaching for the door handle. He opened that door so many times before, walked in without any problems but still every time everything starts from the beginning.
The door remains closed and he understands that he can only thank himself and those countless fears.
Sighing, he stares at his slightly red hands, at the bluish fingertips, which remind Izuku that it's the middle of winter and his teacher stole his gloves just half an hour ago. If that’s not a sign that life hates him then he doesn’t know what else could be. And maybe it’s really because life hates him then in the next minute he hears screaming coming from inside the house. The screams are quiet and stuttering as if they are being muffled.
Izuku knows this can only mean one thing and well, he’s always been an idiot so he opens the door and closes it before he rushes into the living room and there he sees her, on the ground clutching her stomach—his mother is hurt and he sees black and blue mixing in splatters on her face. She looks up, their eyes meeting but then Izuku has no choice but to react because the reason for these wounds noticed him as well of course.
“Brat,” the man starts, turning around to face him with cold, blue eyes and Izuku hates that gaze. “You’re back, huh?”
He hates it all.
The way he’s shaking, holding onto his backpack with both his hands, hoping to hide the trembling from that man—that monster. He tries his best to not look at that familiar grin the other wears, that grin that means bruises and tears. God, he hates that gaze.
“I-Izuku,” his mother calls out, eyes wide and fingers clutching at her wound.
He continues to stare at her, trying to convey to her that it’ll all be fine—except that’s wishful thinking because, in the next second, the man whirls around to face Inko, an undeniable angry expression on his face. “ Whore, shut it.”
He raises his leg to kick her again but Izuku’s always been so damn weak and he can’t just let her get hurt in front of him so he takes his backpack, yellow and full of heavy books (Thank God, geography, and history books have always required a hardcover book full with over 300 pages) and throws it with all his might at the man. It hits him on the upper man and as he’s processing the pain, Izuku takes the chance and screams, “Mom, run! Get aw—”
Except, in the end, even hardcover books can’t beat that asshole that calls himself his mother’s boyfriend. Before he knows it, his mother is screaming his name and he’s being shoved back into the table, followed by the sound of glass breaking on the ground.
“You whore! I told you that brat was no good!”
And as he slowly recovers his breath, he listens to his mother’s wails of pain and wonders. He wonders what exactly went wrong in his short life, how he ended up quirkless, with wounds covering his body hated by everyone except his mother. He doesn’t know. He can’t explain this. Does he even deserve this?
His mother’s voice gets him back to reality and he gulps as he slowly stands up. He has to do something. He looks around, trying to find anything he could use again that asshole. Anything that could do damage or protect his mother. Anything. There had to be something.
And then he sees it—near him lies his phone it’s All Might-themed phone case hard to miss.
He can’t take the man on alone—not even his damn hardcover books could and Izuku’s way weaker than those. This obviously means he needs help. He takes the phone and then crawls away as quietly as he can, keeping a watch on the other man. Then almost before he made his way to the staircase his mother notices him.
And of course, the asshole follows her line of sight and spots Izuku.
Without further ado, Izuku stands up and sprints the staircase up, followed by that man’s screams.
“You brat! Come back…”
But he gets there on time and opens the door before getting in and quickly shutting it, locking it. And as he listens to the footsteps he presses call on the touchscreen and hopes, prays, that the police would do its job. The banging on the door starts when someone answers his call and Izuku’s scared.
“You—open the damn door!”
“... Please state your situation.”
Izuku takes a breath and then, tuning out the loud noises, he speaks up.
He knows he’s got not much time.
Not when he can hear the other stop hitting the door and—and do something with the lock instead.
Oh god. Every room door in the house has the same lock.
“Don’t panic, Midoriya-kun.”
“You’re going to regret this!”
And as he hears the familiar sound of a key turning a lock—
Aizawa Shouta wasn’t necessarily happy with being called to work outside his working hours—in the damn broad daylight.
But the thing is, it’s not even that he’s gotten an official job this time. No, he just was on his way home from grocery shopping because the cats needed food and who would he be to deny animals their basic needs for survival? Except apparently going out of his way for those damn demons and getting them their favorite even if it meant traveling a few hours from his apartment for the only pet shop who sold them, was reason enough to stumble upon a bad situation.
And there he was because only a few seconds later his ears picked up loud noises and confusing voices. Too quiet from his position so he walks closer until the sounds get louder and he sees from where the screams are coming.
From an apartment building with grey walls.
Some neighbors are standing in front of their own doors, and a few others are in front of a yellow door, looking worryingly at it.
Aizawa sighs. He knows very well that he can’t escape this anymore. Setting his groceries down he readies himself for another horrible day.
And as he hears the familiar sound of a key turning a lock—it stops.
Izuku blinks, unsure of what’s going on. Minutes pass but he can hear some struggling—it’s coming from the asshole and he wonders if….
“...Midoriya-kun? Are you okay?”
“I think… an h-hero is here?”
Suddenly the monster stops screaming and there are lighter steps. Some fiddling with the key.
The door opens and he blinks, eyes settling onto the figure with dark hair and dark eyes.
“Kid? Are you okay?”
I think, Izuku stares at the man, squinting his eyes a bit, No, I’m sure this is...
“A-Are you… E-Eraserhead?”
The man blinks.
Izuku slowly turns to look out the door—his mother’s boyfriend unconscious on the floor.
The hero— Eraserhead —sighs.
“Well, that’s new.”
Izuku gulps before shaking his head. “M-My mom…”
“Help’s on the way, kid.”
He runs past the hero and downstairs into the living room where his mother is. She’s sitting on the floor surrounded by a few of their neighbors and he takes a step closer, calling out to her, “Mom!”
But then she looks up.
And time seems to stop as does Izuku when he stares into those eyes, freezing. Oh. Oh.
Those two words are all he needs to remember.
The black and blue splats swirl over her and he wants to forget this once more—to forget and go back and why’s she glaring at him like this? He tried to save her but he wasn’t strong enough. She knows that! She knows that, she should… she always tells him… so why.
Izuku shakes his head, trying to banish those thoughts and takes another stop.
Even the neighbors recoil from the yell and Izuku wonders about the grey on his mother and all that went wrong. He’s so stupid, he’s so—
There’s a hand on his shoulder. He looks up.
The man doesn’t say anything but Izuku gets it all the more.
Her glare is blazing.
Izuku thinks about all shades of grey.