"You want us to wait? That's it?" A young Midoriya Inko asked the doctor.
"I'm afraid that's all the advice I can offer you, ma'am. The x-rays are telling us that your son is missing the extra toe joint, so he should have a quirk. However he should have been showing some signs of one by now, either yours, his father's, or some combination of the two. The fact that he hasn't shown any sign of one yet either means he is an extremely late bloomer, or that he will never develop one at all. Not developing a parent's quirk, despite lacking that extra toe joint, is very rare; but it's not unheard of. In either case there's nothing you can do but wait and see what happens."
"He definitely hasn't shown any sign of one of our quirks, but isn't it possible he could develop a different one? I mean, when people first started developing quirks they certainly weren't inheriting them from their parents. So maybe he has one and we've just been missing the signs." Her voice had taken on a desperate tone.
"You bring up an interesting point, and I suppose it's possible. There have been a few documented cases of people developing quirks not associated with their heritage, even after DNA tests have confirmed their parentage. Again, it's extremely rare, but it can happen."
"I see." Midoriya Inko sighed with relief. She smiled and turned to her young son, who was sitting on the stool next to her. "You hear that Izuku? There's still a chance you can become a hero like All Might! We'll just have to keep our minds open."
Five year old Midoriya Izuku smiled back at her, despite the guilt and shame twisting his stomach. He hated lying to her, but seeing her sad and disappointed would be even worse.
"Okay Mom, I'll try my best!"
"I know you will sweetheart."
She hugged him, and Izuku had to force himself not to pull away.
'Your quirk doesn't work like that. She's still alive, so hug her back.' He told himself. After a moment, he puts his arms around her as well.
He knew that his mother would be happy to hear that he had a quirk, but it would only last a moment. Because then he would have to tell her what his quirk was and how he had discovered it.
He couldn't do that. He couldn't tell her; he couldn't tell anyone. It would be better if everyone thought that a mistake of genetics made him Quirkless.
Izuku doesn't know precisely how old his father lived to be. Part of that was because Izuku didn't know what time his father had been born; the other part was that Izuku hadn't timed how long his father lay dead on the ground before being brought back to life.
His father's quirk was fire-breath. Which Izuku thought was pretty awesome. Unfortunately, having both fire-breath and a fiery temper sometimes resulted in damage to the apartment. This didn't make Izuku or his mother afraid; it was always an accident and Hisashi was always very apologetic when it happened. He even went so far as to fix all the damage himself.
In hindsight, he really should have just paid someone to do the repairs.
Izuku had been playing in the living room when he heard a loud thud. Izuku remembered that his father had been working on replacing some blades on the kitchen ceiling fan. Had he dropped something? Curious, Izuku put down his All Might action figure and went into the dining room.
There must have been plenty of things off about the room when he walked in, but Izuku only had eyes for two. The dark stain on the corner of the table, and his father's body on the ground.
His father did not respond. Izuku knelt down beside him.
"Daddy, are you okay?"
He didn't make a sound. Maybe he just needed to be shaken a bit, like Mom does when Dad falls asleep on the couch. Izuku reached out and touched his father's arm.
The man gasped and opened his eyes.
"I...huh? Izuku what...what happened?"
"I don't know. I heard a crash."
His dad pushed himself up, groaning as he did so. He looked around, absentmindedly rubbing the back of his head.
"Looks like I must have slipped when I was working on the fan. Lucky I just got knocked out, that could have ended a lot worse. Sorry to scare you son." Hisashi smiled down at his boy. Izuku smiled back, but then pointed to corner of the table.
"Dad, what's that dark stuff?"
Hisashi looked at the dark stain, frowned, and then stopped rubbing his head so he could look at his hand. There was a coating of blood on it.
"Guess I didn't get out unscathed after all. Go get the first aid kit Izuku."
Izuku nodded and quickly did as he was told. He wanted to make sure his Daddy was going to be okay. As Izuku was getting the kit out of the hall closet he heard the front door open and close.
"Oh my goodness! Hisashi! Honey, what happened?!" His Mom cried as she entered the kitchen.
Izuku grabbed the kit and ran back.
"Inko, dear, its fine. I just got a little bump on the head."
"That looks like more than a bump to me." Inko accused. Izuku entered the room, and his mother immediately turned to him. She sighed when she saw what he was holding.
"Izuku, thank goodness you're okay. And you got the first aid kit, good job." She took the kit from him, much to Izuku's relief. His Mom was a nurse, so she would know what to do.
Inko knelt down and started to gently examine the back of her husband's head. Hisashi did his best not to move. Izuku handed his mother items from the first aid kit while she berated his father on not being more careful.
"I really think I should take you into the hospital, Hisashi."
"Oh come on Inko, I feel fine."
"That could change quickly."
"And I'll let you know if it does. With you and Izuku here to help me, I've got nothing to worry about." Hisashi smiled, and then reached out to ruffle his son's hair. The moment his hand came into contact with Izuku's head the light left his eyes, and he slumped to the floor.
"Hisashi!" Inko was by her husband's side immediately. "Izuku, get me the phone, now!"
Everything after that was a blur. Looking back on it, Izuku would never be able to tell anyone the exact sequence of events that happened after he brought his mother the phone. All he could remember was the outcome.
His father was taken to the hospital, but he was declared dead immediately. The doctor was confused by Izuku's description of events, because she said that the internal injuries she found should have killed him instantly. She didn't say that to him of course, he overheard her talking with another doctor. They got a ride home from one of his mother's coworkers, because Inko was in too much shock to drive.
The one detail he did remember about that night, was seeing Kacchan and his mother in the hospital. He didn't remember where exactly, just that Kacchan's mother was yelling at a doctor. Neither of them noticed Izuku or his mother.
After her coworker left, Inko sat down on the couch and began to cry. Izuku crawled into her lap and cried with her. She held him tightly through the night, until they both fell asleep from pure exhaustion.
Izuku didn't have much to do over the next few days. His mother was busy making arrangements, and Izuku had been excused from school. He almost wished he hadn't been. He didn't want to face his classmates yet, but he couldn't just sit around either. He had to do something.
While laying in his room, he thought about the way his father had gotten up when Izuku touched him, and how he'd fallen when he touched Izuku again.
'I didn't touch Dad at all in between, did I? No, I'm pretty sure I didn't. But what does that mean?'
Izuku had already become obsessed with quirks. A lot of the first 'super heroes' had written stories about how they first discovered their quirks. He couldn't read well yet, but he often requested quirk discovery stories at bedtime.
His father had done different voices for each story. Izuku shook his head and buried his face into his pillow, trying regain his train of thought.
A good number of stories involved the hero realizing something strange happened when they touched things. Was that what had happened that night? The doctor said that his father should have died right after falling. What if he really had? Could Izuku's touch bring people back from the dead? No, it couldn't be that simple. He'd touched his father's body after he was brought to the hospital, and his father didn't come back to life then. Did it only work once per person? Some quirks had limits like that.
The first big question was: Had Izuku done something, or was it just a coincidence? He had to figure that out somehow, but how would he test it? A knock on the door brought him out of his thoughts.
Izuku got up and opened the door. He'd never seen his mother look so tired, not even after working a double shift at the hospital. Still, she did her best to smile at him.
"The garbage gets picked up today, but I need to make some more calls. Could you bring it out to the dumpster for me?"
"Sure Mom! I can do other chores too, when I get back."
"Thank you sweetie. I'll let you know if there's anything else."
Izuku started out carrying the garbage bag, but got tired and started dragging it once he was outside. When he reached the dumpster, he was reminded how tall the side of it was. Izuku had to shove and jump and struggle to get the bag inside, but eventually he succeeded. He plopped down on the ground to catch his breath.
Now that he wasn't fighting with the bag, Izuku noticed a droning sound on the far side of the dumpster. She shuffled closer to inspect it, and wrinkled his nose. Someone had just dropped their garbage next to the dumpster rather than putting it inside, and something in the bags had gone very bad. The source of the noise turned out to be a bunch of insects buzzing around the two bags. It must have been there a while, because there seemed to be just as many dead bugs as there were were live ones.
An idea suddenly struck Izuku. The bugs on the ground were clearly dead, some flies were laying on their backs and everything. If Izuku really did have the power to bring dead things to life, would it work on bugs as well as humans?
There was only one way to find out.
Izuku pinched his nose with one hand, and reached out with the other. He brushed his finger against a dead fly's leg.
The insect's wings started to buzz immediately.
Izuku gaped as the fly flew off to join the others around the bag. Had he really just done that? He poked all the insects within arms reach, about 10 in total, and each of them rose up from the ground seconds after he touched them.
'This...this is real. I brought those flies back to life. I have a quirk.' Izuku thought. He always thought the discovery of his quirk would make him feel important and happy, like it had for Kacchan. Right now, Izuku didn't know what he was feeling. He wasn't even sure he was feeling anything at all.
Maybe he would figure that out once he answered his other question. If he could bring things to life, why didn't his father come back when Izuku touched him again? He couldn't test it on the flies, because they were too fast for him to catch. He'd have to find something that wouldn't get away so fast. Izuku searched the ground, but kept glancing back to the flies he'd touched. They all stayed gathered around one bag, crawling on it's surface like they had never been dead.
Izuku noticed movement just past where he was looking, and shifted his gaze just in time to see a group a flies a little further away drop to the ground. Not land, drop. That was...weird. Was it normal for bugs to all die together like that? Maybe they had all eaten from something poisonous in the other bag.
Little drops of dread started to form in the back of Izuku's mind. He ignored them and went back to searching. He spotted some curled up centipedes, and decided to give those a try. He touched one, and after a moment the centipede was wriggling and getting back on its feet. Izuku watched it crawl a couple inches, then reached out and touched it again. The centipede immediately stopped moving.
Izuku waited, seeing if it had just frozen for a bit. The centipede did not move however, and it didn't even curl up when Izuku tried poking it again. It was dead again, and clearly not coming back.
So...one touch brings life, a second sends it away permanently? That was almost too simple. Whenever heroes on TV talked about their quirks there was a bunch of rules to how their quirks were used. Izuku hadn't even needed to touch the insects with all five fingers to bring them back.
He would have to investigate this further.
Izuku pushed himself up and brushed his hands off on his shorts. He looked down at the centipede he'd been experimenting with, and quickly bent down to pick it up. He could hide it under a cup or something in his room, see if it ever came back to life. It was a long shot, but if there was any chance the use of his quirk would cause his father to come back to life, he wanted to know about it.
His mom gave him a bone crushing hug when he got back inside. Apparently he'd been gone long enough she'd just about gone out after him.
"Don't scare me like that Izuku! The thought of something happening to you is just-" She looked to be near tears again.
"Mom! I'm sorry I...I just had trouble getting the bag to go inside."
"Oh, I'm such a scatterbrain Izuku, I should have thought of that."
"Your brains aren't scattered!" Izuku argued indignantly. "You're too smart for them to be scattered." Izuku felt warmth bubble inside him when his mother let out a small laugh, the first one he'd heard from her since that day.
"Thank you Izuku, you always know just what to say." She ruffled his hair. "I think it's getting a little late to make calls now. Do you want to help me get dinner ready?"
Happy in the knowledge that his mother was counting on him, Izuku let thoughts of quirks fall to the side for a bit.
Inko wanted to give her son time to grieve before having to face his class. She could tell Izuku was not very popular with the other kids, a fact she blamed mainly on Bakugo Katsuki's reaction to her son not manifesting a quirk yet. She didn't want Izuku to have to deal with the treatment 'Kacchan' and the other kids might give him on top of everything else right now.
Even so, she realized that being stuck at home with nothing to do until the funeral wouldn't be good either. So after a couple of days she and Izuku walked to his school to pick up his missed work.
Inko had called ahead and made sure it was okay for them to come by after normal school hours. By the time they arrived the school was empty, except for a few staff members. The playground could be seen from the school's office, so Inko was okay with Izuku playing outside while she talked to the secretary.
"I'm very sorry to hear about what happened." The elderly woman said. "Just let us know if there's anything else we can do to help."
"I'll keep that in mind, thank you." Inko said softly. She leafed through the pages, looking at the different assignments. She looked up when the secretary hummed thoughtfully.
"Is there something else I should know? Any projects going on?"
"Hm? Oh no, the teacher didn't mention anything like that. I was just thinking about how different people react to grief. Your politeness is much welcome after what I got from Bakugo Mitsuki earlier. Not that I blame her of course."
"What do you mean?"
"Oh...I suppose you wouldn't know. As it turns out, the Bakugo family has also experienced a loss. Katsuki's father, Masaru, passed on, the same night as your husband I believe."
Inko could only stare for a moment, baffled by the sheer unlikelihood of those two deaths occurring on the same night. She suddenly felt a bit guilty for her uncharitable thoughts towards the neighbor boy.
"I had no idea. Do you know what happened?"
"Apparently, the man had a heart attack. I hear Mitsuki really chewed the doctor out for that diagnosis. Masaru was in very good health, you see."
"That is very odd." Inko admitted, then looked down sadly. "But I guess life just deals us an unexpected hand now and then."
The secretary lay her hand over Inko's, and gave it a brief squeeze. Inko gave her a grateful smile. She looked out the window, and watched Izuku play on the swings. She had hoped she wouldn't have to deliver more news like this to him so soon.
Izuku had cried when his mother told him about Kacchan's father. He hated the idea that his first friend was going through the same pain that he was, and he'd begged his mother to drive him over to Kacchan's house. He wanted to be there for his friend!
His mother had held him tightly while he cried, and said they would try to find the time to visit soon. Izuku felt guilty at the way his mother's voice choked up as she said it. She was already so sad, and now he was making her more sad! He really was a crybaby, just like Kacchan always said!
"I'm sorry Mom! I shouldn't- I- I'll t-try not to cry so much..."
"No, no sweetie, you don't have to d-do that. It's okay to cry. It's o-okay. Especially for s-something like this."
Once both of them had calmed down, they headed home and made supper. Izuku had the idea to make something to bring to Kacchan and his mother when they visited. Despite her tiredness, Inko happily helped her son make a pot of stew for the Bakugo family.
As Izuku lay in bed that night, he finally let the full details of what his mother had told him sink in.
Kacchan's dad had mysteriously died the same night as Izuku's dad. The same night that Izuku discovered his quirk.
The trickles of dread were starting to pool in Izuku's gut.
It was just a coincidence. Of course it was. Stranger things had happened, plenty of things, plenty of times. The appearance of Quirks was stranger than this, and now almost everyone had one. Even a 'Deku' like him had one now.
But that was precisely the problem. Izuku had a quirk now. He had no idea how he got it, neither of his parents had anything close to it, and that meant he was in the dark. He had figured out some of the rules, but there could be more. Lots of quirks could go bad if you didn't use them right. Even heroes, who trained so much, could cause damage with their quirks. The news always covered it if a hero agency went bankrupt because their heroes caused too much property damage.
Had it only been a coincidence? Had his quirk done something to Kacchan's dad?
These thoughts ran around and around in Izuku's mind, and prevented him from getting any sleep. He was still awake when the sky began to brighten, and the birds began to sing outside.
Izuku startled when a dull thud came from his window. It was enough to interrupt his anxious thoughts for a bit, and let curiosity take their place. Izuku went to his window and opened it. He looked down, and noticed a small, feathery body on the pavement below. A bird had flown into his window.
'Is it dead?' Izuku wondered. His window was only on the second floor, so maybe it was just stunned.
'I'll go down and check.' Izuku decided. 'Maybe I can help it!' With his new quirk, he'd be able to help even if the bird was dead.
His doubts nagged at him as he tiptoed out of his apartment and down the stairs. Should he really use his quirk if it meant something else would die?
He didn't know that would happen though. If he had the ability to help, he should do his best to try.
The little brown bird didn't stir at all when Izuku, still in his pajamas, kneeled down next to it. He leaned down and watched it closely, but the eyes did not blink and it's chest didn't rise. He didn't know if it was the window or the fall, but either way the little bird was definitely dead.
Izuku leaned back, took a deep breath, and brushed his hand against the bird's side.
The bird's head twitched, wings fluttered, and the bird flew off with a frightened tweet.
Izuku watched the bird as it flew, and saw it land on a nearby power line. A number of birds were already perched on the wire, and were twittering among themselves. His bird landed on the left end of the line, and started to imitate them. Izuku smiled softly at the sight, and for a moment he thought this quirk might not be so bad.
Then a bird on the other side of the line dropped like stone.
The smile fell from Izuku's face, and his gut twisted. Kacchan's father...the flies...the bird...
Something his teacher once said to him sprang to mind. 'Once is chance, twice is coincidence, third time is a pattern.'
It had happened to many times to be a coincidence now. He used his quirk, and something died a short while later. In Izuku's mind, this left one undeniable fact.
'Kacchan's father is dead because of me.'
Izuku almost threw up onto the sidewalk.
He ran back to his room and burrowed under the covers, as if that would hide him from the awful truth. Izuku cried into his pillow, and wished he was Quirkless.
Inko couldn't understand what had happened to Izuku overnight. Even with the death of Hisashi and the news about Masaru, her son had still been mostly himself. He'd been crying a lot more than usual of course, they both had, but he had still been helpful and animated. He'd been doing his best to be strong and, though she wished it wasn't necessary, she'd been very proud of him for that.
Today though, Izuku was listless. It took a while to get him to respond to anything, even simple questions, and he didn't offer to help with things like normal. He didn't read or watch TV or play, he just sat. The only thing that was stopped her from taking him to the hospital was that he did respond to her questions after a while. He said he hadn't fallen or got hurt at all, and he wasn't feeling sick, he was just tired.
Maybe the reality of everything was finally settling in for him. Grief had a lot of stages, and no one experienced them quite the same way. She'd just have to do her best to be there for him.
Inko had thought that the visit to the Bakugo family would shake Izuku out of his numbness, and she was right. But instead of being eager or nervous, Izuku had looked terrified. She had rushed to assure him that he didn't have to come with, that she could deliver the refrigerated stew by herself. It looked like he might take her up on that offer, but at the last minute Izuku said he would come with.
Inko carried the pot while Izuku marched along beside her. She sneaked a glance at him now and then, to see if he was okay. He walked with determination, but he looked so nervous.
He'd been so eager to do this yesterday. What had changed?
They were at the Bakugo's door before she knew it.
"Are you sure you're okay Izuku?" She asked.
"Yeah...I have to do this."
Izuku's voice trembled, and Inko mentally prepared herself to hand off the food and end this quickly if it became to much for her son. She used her elbow to ring the doorbell, and a few moments later the door swung open.
"What the fuck do you- oh." Bakugo Mitsuki had looked furious when she opened the door, but it morphed into confusion when she saw who it was.
"Hello Mitsuki, I hope we aren't intruding, but the school secretary told us what happened. Izuku wanted to come over and make sure Katsuki was okay, and we thought you might appreciate not cooking for one night." Inko held the stew out to the other woman.
"Shit, Inko, you didn't have to do that." Mitsuki said, but she carefully took the pot.
"Well, it wasn't just me. Izuku helped me make it." Inko said with a small smile.
"Damn, you help you're Mom out with shit like this?" She asked Izuku. He didn't quite meet her eyes, but she didn't seem to mind and turned back to Inko. "You got a real sweet boy Inko. You said he wanted to see Katsuki right?" She turned around.
"HEY KATSUKI! GET YOU SHITTY ASS OUT OF BED! YOU HAVE A VISITOR!"
"O-oh, he doesn't have to come if he doesn't want to! I know how hard this is, it's been hard on Izuku too."
"What's been hard on him?" Bakugo Mitsuki asked as she turned back to them.
At that point, Inko realized that the Bakugo's hadn't heard about Hisashi. She did her best to explain without breaking out into tears. Saying it out loud was still so hard.
"Holy fuck, Hisashi too? Same night and everything?! Goddammit! How does that even happen?! Fuck!"
"I don't know." Inko said softly. She didn't notice that Izuku had started trembling.
"I'm here bitch, what the fuck do you want?!" Katsuki's voice sounded from behind his mother.
"Watch your fucking language!" When Mitsuki turned to address her son, Katsuki was able to see the Midoriya's in the doorway. He scowled.
"What do you want Deku?"
"You're friend came here to make sure your shitty ass was okay, and that's on top of his own Dad being dead. Show some fucking gratitude!"
This actually gave Katsuki pause, and he looked more closely at Izuku.
"You're Dad too?" Izuku nodded, but didn't look at the boy. Katsuki scowled more and looked away. "The world is so fucked up right now."
Izuku didn't say anything. Inko looked down at him, and saw how much he was shaking.
"Izuku? Sweetie?" She knelt down and put a hand on his back. His breath hitched and Inko's heart stuttered. She looked up at Mitsuki.
"We should probably go, there's a lot to attend to...as I'm sure you know."
"Yeah, they gotta make dying so fucking complicated." Mitsuki growled, but it didn't have much fire.
"Izuku...is there anything you want to say too the Bakugos before we go?" Inko asked softly.
Izuku raised his head slowly. He looked up at Mitsuki, his eyes filling with tears. He turned his gaze to Katsuki, and when the boy looked back at him, the damn broke and tears streamed down Izuku's face.
"I'm sorry Kacchan! I'm so sorry!