"Remember to make a wish."
Every year, the same words.
"I know mom. I gotta think of something."
It was a lie. She already knew what she would wish for. But she would play along, waiting an appropriate amount of time before taking a deep breath and blowing out the candles.
"What'd you wish for, sweety?"
"Dad, you know I can't tell you. It won't come true if I do that."
His grin widened as he rested his hand on her head, just a little off center, and ruffled her hair. "Never hurts to ask, does it?"
The girl shared a laugh with her parents as the cake was cut and passed. Their conversation moved on quickly as her dad shared stories from work and her mom gushed about the children she taught. It was a routine, one she was comfortable with. It was easy for her to be the upbeat, bubbly girl her parents had raised.
"Mom, dad, mind if I excuse myself? I still have a bit of homework I need to get done."
Her mother smiled at her. "Of course. Dad and I will clean up, so don't worry about that."
She took a moment to give her parents a hug and kiss goodnight before heading upstairs. There was a soft click as the lock on her door slid into place. After habitually testing the door handle, the girl slipped out of her clothes, laying them neatly atop her dresser before gently sliding her window open.
"I'll tell them next year," she muttered to herself as she stepped out into the warm summer night. The shingles were rough on her feet, but it was nothing she wasn't used to. "It'd be so much easier if they could just look me in the eye."
She arrived at her usual perch, laying back against the warm roof and gazing up at the stars. This was the final part of her annual ritual. With a breath to steady herself, she whispered the words that had been repeated in her mind for years.
"I wish someone could see me."
And with that, Tooru cried.
His hand fumbled across the nightstand, searching for the blaring alarm clock only to knock it onto the floor. Pressing his face into his pillow, he groaned loudly, straining to reach the beeping abomination.
"Izuku?" Inko's voice came in from the hallway. "Is everything ok in there?"
A second groan escaped him as he lifted his head. "Yeah, mom. Everything's fine. I just dropped my alarm clock." 'Again.'
Finally, after a few more seconds of grumbling and feeling around, blessed silence filled the room. Izuku breathed a sigh of relief before pulling his covers off him and moving to a sitting position at the edge of his bed.
Still slightly groggy, he shuffled his way to the bathroom door, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He pressed his hand to the wall, sliding it up until he reached the dual switch there. After a brief hesitation, he flipped on the fan.
A few minutes later, Izuku stepped out into the hallway. Immediately the smell of fresh toast and the sound of sizzling eggs hit him. He couldn't stop the smile that followed.
"Smells amazing, Mom." He felt her turn towards him as he stepped into the kitchen, reaching for the handle on the fridge. It was a minor struggle, but he managed to pour himself a glass of milk.
"I hope you don't mind, but I may have added a little more cheese to your eggs than usual this time." His mother's smile sounded almost sheepish.
He just smiled back in her direction. "It's ok, really." He sniffed at the food when he felt his mom turn away. "A little more than usual" was putting it lightly, but it didn't seem like it'd be unbearable.
His tongue disagreed.
While the milk and toast helped, Izuku had a feeling he'd be tasting cheddar for the rest of the day.
The humming from his watch broke their morning chatter, alerting them both that he would need to leave soon for school. After helping his mom clear the table, he gave her a quick hug and a peck on the cheek, then turned to grab his bag and shoes.
"Be careful on your way to school," Inko called. "Are you sure you have everything you need?"
His smile returned briefly. "Yes, Mom. I have everything."
He could hear her smile in return. "Okay. I love you, Izu~"
"I love you, too."
With that, Izuku pulled open the front door and opened his eyes.
The green-haired boy looked up, stopping his muttering. "O-oh. Hi, Kacchan." The smile on his face tugged at Katsuki's heart, bringing the guilt he'd keep hidden for years dangerously close to the surface. "Y-you ready for the t-test today?"
The blonde huffed, pushing the guilt away. "Of course I am." He forced a grin onto his face. "And you better be, too. Especially if you still want to go to UA."
Izuku's grin widened. "You know it. Even if I can't get into the hero course, their general studies program is still nothing to sneeze at."
"Then we better get going." Katsuki turned and started off in the direction of their school, barely hiding the tears forming in his eyes. "Can't pass the test is we're gonna be late."
'Why did he have to say that with a smile?' he thought, gritting his teeth as they walked. 'I know he forgave me already, but…dammit, I still can't forgive myself.'
"Shut up, Deku," he growled. "I don't need a quirkless loser like you looking down on me."
A small explosion burst from his palm as he shoved the other child back. Izuku cried out before landing on his back, head hitting a rock sticking out of the creek bed.
"See, you can't even protect yourself from…" Katsuki's words trailed off, eyes widening. A small trickle of red was flowing down the side of the rock and into the water.
Everything was a blur from there. He remembered someone carrying his friend away. He remembered the sirens as his parents followed the ambulance to the hospital. He remembered his friend lying on a white bed, bandages all around his head.
As young as Katsuki was, he didn't understand everything the doctor said to his mom and Auntie Inko. There was just one phrase that echoed in his mind.
"...your son is blind."
The final bell rang through the school, signaling the end of classes and the start of the weekend, and Tooru could not get out of that building fast enough. The warm spring air felt glorious and she took a moment to bask in the unobstructed sunlight before making her way home.
As she walked, she swung her bag around and pulled out her phone, checking for any messages she may have missed while in class. Nothing important there, aside from her parents telling her they would be home late that evening. Tooru sighed with relief at the revelation; she now had the freedom to head to the park and relax before heading home.
So that's exactly what she did.
The park was her haven. There, she could lay out in the sun, read, do homework, you name it. But the best part about the park was the people. No one cared that she was invisible. In fact, most people kept to themselves, minding their own business while others minded theirs.
This isn't to say that she hated being around her loved her school friends. She knew they accepted her for who she was, invisible or not. But for some reason, she never felt fully comfortable. The friendly jokes, the "I'm sorry, I didn't see you there" comments, the eye contact that was always just a little bit off. She knew it wasn't or meant to be harmful mean-spirited.
It still hurt, though.
Her thoughts continued this way as her feet followed the familiar path to the park. But then she turned a corner.
And walked face first into something green.