Those words echoed in Izuku's ears as the man with the long coat kneeled in front of him.
"I'm sorry Izuku but your mother passed away, you won't see her anymore."
"Wha- what d-do you mean?" Izuku sobbed, gripping his day-care jumper. Gone? She can't just go not like his dad did, she doesn't work away. She never would leave him.
"Your mum's dead, kid. She killed herself." Another man behind the coat man said, earning him a glare from the coat man.
Dead? What did he mean dead? She killed herself? But only villains killed people.
"W-why?" Izuku managed to get out between sobs.
The coat man looked like he was about to say something before the other man blurted out. "Probably couldn't handle having a quirkless kid like you."
Was it his fault?
He didn't notice the coat man get up from in front of him. He didn't hear the distant sounds of the two men arguing. The daycare he had just come out from blended into the background.
Was it his fault he wouldn't see his mom any more?
Of course it was his fault. He was just a quirkless, useless, worthless Deku. That's what everyone thought, he knew that. That's what Kacchan thought. That's what his friends thought. That's what his teachers thought.
That's what his mom thought.
Everyone thought that.
He looked up at the two men arguing. He wanted them to stop. He wanted them to take him somewhere else. He wanted to go home.
No, not home, he wanted to go somewhere better. He wanted to go to a place no one thought he was useless or worthless.
The two men didn't notice him at first when he began to run. He didn't pay attention to their shouts as he worked his way through the streets and the crowds. He knew the way there better than anything else. He didn't even pay attention to the people around him or the roads that he crossed, cars screeching to a halt around him. He ran and ran, and cried and cried.He just wanted to get away. Just wanted to go to the only place he felt safe. The only place he wasn't the useless, worthless Deku.
Izuku's sprint only quickened when he saw the small shop in front of him. He was tired, his legs ached, but he didn't care, he didn't even notice. He burst into the shop, causing the bell on the door to ring out loudly. A young woman with dirty blonde curls and a dark purplish apron on looked over to the door with a wide, gentle smile.
"Izuku! You're earl-" she started, her smile dropping as she saw the sobbing boy and immediately rushed to the boy's side. "Oh my gosh. Izuku what happened."
"A-auntie Azzy," the boy flung himself into the woman's arms, tears busting out with newfound intensity. "T-there were men tha-that came to me a-after I-I left. The-they said tha-at m-my m-mom." Izuku choked up as he cried into her shoulder. "T-they said that she w-was g-gone"
"Oh Izuku, I'm so sorry." She tried to calm him by rubbing his back. And she could feel how weak the child was under his own weight. Had he ran all the way here from day-care? "I'll take you upstairs where you can sit down. I can make you some hot chocolate and we can talk about it if you want, ok?"
Aslea felt a small nod into her shoulder as she picked up the crying boy and set him down on a small sofa in her apartment upstairs. She stayed and hugged him for a while until he calmed down slightly before getting up and heading for the kitchen. She looked back for a second to see Izuku just sat there, remains of silent tears rolling down his face, staring distantly at his feet. She frowned as she slipped into the kitchen and started to boil some water. 'What had happened? I only saw just Inko about a week ago and she looked fine. Why so sudden?' Aslea started to try to connect the dots and figure out what to do 'Those men he mentioned were probably from the police, could Inko have been involved with a villain attack? If Izuku ran all the way here then he probably was running from them, they're probably worried and looking for him. I should probably tell Iki what's happening too.' Aslea sighed before taking out her phone. 'Police first then Iki'
The phone only rang a couple times before a woman picked up.
" Hello, Musatafu police department, who is this?"
"Hello, um, it's Maimacrillium Aslea, I have a boy with me, from the sounds of it he just ran from some of your officers after finding out about his mother's death. I just wanted to check in to let you know where he is and that he's ok."
"What's the boy's name?"
" Right, wait a second I'll hand you over to the detective that's looking for him." The phone beeped and went quiet for a few seconds before a male voice took over.
" Hello, this is detective Tsukauchi. You're Maimacrillium with Midoriya correct?"
"Call me Mai it's less of a mouthful, and yes he's currently in my living room. I'm a family friend and I assume he ran straight to me after hearing about his mother. He looked so distraught."
" Good to know he's safe but can I ask you for your address, I think it best if I can check on him and explain what happened."
"Yes of course. I live in an apartment above my shop, it's called Maimacrillium's."
" Right, thank you I'll be there in about twenty minutes. I'll speak to you then" he added before hanging up.
Aslea sighed as she flicked to Iki's number. Iki was probably still working and having her panicking and rushing home probably wasn't a good idea with Izuku in a fragile state and the detective coming over. So she decided to send her a text instead as she prepared the hot chocolate, detailing as much as she knew about the situation and telling her not to worry too much.
Izuku was still silent and staring when she came in with the tray of hot chocolate and set it down on the coffee table in front of him. Izuku absent-mindedly took one of the mugs and drank a small bit and then just stared into the cup. Aslea sat close to him in silence and just drank her own. She didn't push for answers, the detective was coming to explain what happened anyway. She knew what the child was going through, even if she didn't experience it so young. At least she thought she did until Izuku finally spoke up.
"Did mom hate me?"
Aslea simply stared in shock. What had happened? She tried to figure out what to say before Izuku spoke again.
"Did she think I was worthless and useless like everyone else?"
"You're not worthless or useless Izu, why would anyone think that?"
Izuku hung his head in shame. "Because I'm quirkless." Oh. So they finally found out.
Aslea had known Izuku was quirkless since she first met him and she used her mage sight on him. She never had the heart to tell him and she could never explain how she knew. And now she had started to regret letting them figure it out on their own.
"Well people aren't useless because they're quirkless. Especially you Izuku." Aslea tried to get him to look at her with his vacant eyes as she smiled softly. "You are a very intelligent and bright person Izuku, better than most other people with quirks, and I'm certain your mother thought so too."
Izuku looked back down at his mug with the same vacant look. "But she killed herself because of me."
Aslea was still working out how to respond before she heard a ringing noise coming from the speaker set up at the door of her apartment.
"Sorry Izuku but that will probably be the detective, I'll be back in a second, ok?" Izuku nodded slightly but was otherwise unmoving as Aslea went downstairs to greet the detective, who was curiously glancing around the small cluttered shop. The detective's eyes immediately shot up as Aslea entered from the back room.
"Ah, Mai I presume. Where's Midoriya?"
"He's upstairs with a drink, do want to explain what happened with or without him."
"I think I should see how well he's doing before anything else. The other officer I was with said some pretty harmful things to him when I tried to explain it to him the first time."
"I see. Follow me then." Aslea said as she led him through the back room and upstairs.
"Hey Izu. This is detective Tsukauchi. He wanted to speak to you and see how you're doing." Aslea spoke gently as she entered the apartment. Izuku didn't look up.
"Hey Midoriya, you gave a bit of a scare there, running off like that." Tsukauchi tried to joke, receiving no reaction from Izuku. Tsukauchi just sighed slightly and sat opposite to Izuku.
"I just wanted to apologise for what that officer said. He wasn't right and he shouldn't have said it."
"But he was right though, it's my fault mom killed herself because I'm quirkless and useless."
"No Midoriya. We're still not sure if your mom killed herself and even if she did it's not your fault."
Izuku didn't answer and Tsukauchi decided it was best to not talk about this in front of him. He stood up and gestured to Aslea to talk to him away from Izuku and she led him into the kitchen.
"What happened exactly?" Aslea asked, leaning against the counter opposite from the detective, still keeping Izuku in her eye line.
"They found her this morning, she had jumped off of a building. It looks like suicide and a lot of the other police think so, especially after they found out that she had a child that was diagnosed as quirkless a few days ago."
Aslea looked at him quizzically, "But you don't think it was?"
Tsukauchi shook his head. "There were quite a few things wrong with it. For starters she had a handbag with her, full of stuff that looked like she would need for an average day and there was no suicide note. By itself it was uncommon but not exemplary but I still looked into it a bit and found that she had called in the day off work the day before which doesn't make much sense. The most unsettling thing was when I saw the cctv footage. She hadn't hesitated. Most jumpers would stand on the edge of the roof for a while before they jumped. She didn't even really jump or fall forward either, more like she got up to the roof and just walked right off the edge. I don't really know what could of happened, and because I have no realistic theories everyone else just wants to write it off as suicide, especially given the 'motive' they think she had."
Aslea stood quiet for a few seconds before responding. "I will admit I've always been closer to Izuku than I was with Inko. I became like a mentor to Izuku, teaching him about history, quirks, english, and whatever else he was curious about and didn't learn about in school. I only occasionally spoke to Inko outside the brief conversations we had when she brought him to visit but even just from that I'm pretty sure she wouldn't kill herself. If only because she wouldn't want to leave Izuku behind. She was worried about him not having a quirk but not because she didn't want a quirkless son. It was more because Izuku's always dreamed of being a hero and she didn't want him to be disappointed."
"I see. I've spoken to the Bakugous and they said a similar thing." Tsukauchi nodded to himself. "I'll try my best to continue the investigation but right now my biggest concern is where Izuku is going to go. Since we can't find his father the most likely place he will go would be with the Bakugous bu-"
"No." Aslea interrupted, taking Tsukauchi aback slightly. "Sorry, but I don't think that's a good idea. He hasn't said anything outright but I suspect that some people in his class may be bullying Izuku, their son, Bakugou Katsuki, in particular. Izuku doesn't need to be at a home with a potential bully, especially in this situation."
Tsukauchi just sighed and nodded. "That seems fair and the Bakugous seem hesitant to take him on even though they're the ones Inko had previously stated she wanted to leave Izuku to in an emergency. But if they don't take him on then he'll simply be put into the system."
"Then I'll take him in."
Tsukauchi looked up at her suddenly. "Are you sure? The situation he's in currently will be very difficult to deal with in terms of mental health, it will be a big responsibility to help him recover."
"I'll have to talk to my wife about it but yes I'm sure. I may not have known Izuku for a long time but I think he trusts me a lot and he always seemed to be more open with me than his own mother, I'm sure I will be able to help him. A lot more than the Bakugous or the system can anyway. I'm pretty sure Iki will agree to it, she's always liked Izuku a lot."
"If its okay then I'll let Izuku stay with you tonight and we can arrange it all properly tomorrow."
"Ok, that's fine."
"I should get going then." Tsukauchi began to walk out of the kitchen towards the apartment door, looking over at where Izuku was, who still hadn't moved. "I'll be in contact with the details tomorrow. Goodbye Mai."
Aslea shut the door behind him and looked over at Izuku. He was still holding the mostly full and probably cold mug on his lap as he stared at it. She couldn't imagine what he was thinking right now. Not only had his dreams of being a hero been shattered a few days ago, he was probably getting even more bullied at school and now he'd just been told that his mother had killed herself and it was all his fault. And all this because he was quirkless, something he couldn't control. What was she supposed to say? How could she assure him that he wasn't what they said he was? That it wasn't his fault?
Aslea took a deep breath before sitting down next to Izuku and put an arm around him. Let him recover a bit for now. Just tell him what's happening, make sure he isn't any more uncomfortable than he already is. You can talk to him about himself later.
"Hey Izu. I just finished speaking to the detective. He said that they're not sure what happened to your mother yet. He said he's going to continue to investigate, but you can't go home anymore so you're going to be staying with me tonight." She hugged him closer to her, "Tomorrow we're going to decide where you will go after, you will be either staying with the Bakugous, here with me and Iki or you'll be found a place with some new people. What would you prefer?"
"Stay here. With you and Auntie Iki." Izuku responded in a quiet voice. Good, at least he's able to respond.
"Ok then I'll see what I can do. Iki should be back soon and we'll have dinner before we find some clothes for you to sleep in tonight. Alright?"
Izuku just nodded slightly as Aslea took the cold cup from his hands. He didn't seem to notice the object he had been staring into had disappeared as his hands flapped limply onto his lap. Aslea took the tray and mugs away and began to wash up and prepare dinner. She looked back into the room to check on Izuku. He never moved and still had his backpack on from day-care. She couldn't tell if he was still in shock or was lost in thought at this point. She just hoped that he wasn't blaming himself.
He didn't deserve all this. She knew Izuku was kind and pure and she hoped that that wouldn't be taken away from him like everything else was. She looked on at the broken boy and promised to herself to make sure he recovered. To make sure Izuku grew up happy and to make sure he achieved his goals. She could help him realise that quirkless did not mean powerless. And she could make sure he became the hero he wanted, and could, be.