Not all men are created equally.
While that may not have been true at one point in time, that is the reality of this world. A world where 80% of the world's population have a unique ability that gives them power, these are known as Quirks. Everything from being able to call down lightning from the sky like a Norse god, to having an extra limb. There was an almost limitless possibility to what someone could be born with, and how they would use their Quirks for the world.
Within this world was the nation of Japan, and on the small continent was an apartment building, red exposed brick caked the front of the structure, with the mortar flaking off as the years passed by in Sharda Ward. Every building in the neighborhood was like that, old, a little broken, but standing nonetheless. This time of night the only lights were from the streetlamps on the sidewalks below, casting dark shadows on the faces of the buildings. But in the distance to the North, there were lights beaming out in the skies of Musutafu, lights that cast an even grater shadow over the entire ward known as Hell's Gate.
The ward had been given the nickname decades ago, during the time where Quirks weren't entirely under government regulation. A great fire spouted up from the ground in the middle of the ward, one of the heroes at the scene said it was hotter than Hell itself. But another hero joked, "No this isn't hell, hell is what's behind that fire. This right here is Hell's Gate." and so the neighborhood gained it's nickname. Though the name seemed to scar the ward, crime was higher here than the surrounding areas for one thing, though that was due to the glaring fact that in all of Japan, Hell's Gate was the only pace without a hero agency.
When people get power, they are often given choices with what to use it for, those who use it selfishly and for other's pain are known as Villains. But those who protect and defend people who can't protect themselves are known as Heroes. Heroes have become a part of this society, they patrol the streets, they aid police with crimes, preform search and rescue, and countless other tasks. But there were no heroes in Hell's Gate.
There had been attempts of course, a new hero would see there being no competition here and would easily garner a reputation with both the locals and the hero community if they could succeed. The Hero of Hell's Gate? The title alone had an appeal to it.
But every time, the same thing would happen, they would give up. It wasn't that the hero couldn't handle the crimes being done. More that the criminals and villains doing them were too damn persistent. Just as was the people of Hell's Gate, they would hardly give up willingly, nor would they stop after being defeated. The villains that operated here were wise to how the heroes and laws worked, and so they slipped out of the heroes' grasp every time.
They would abandon the ward out of frustration, and who could blame them?
But none of this mattered to him, to the boy atop the brick caked apartment building, looking out across the rooftops of his neighborhood. To the eight year old with thick ginger hair, who leaned upon the outcrop of the building, he didn't care. He didn't care that his home had a name he couldn't say in front of his dad, he didn't care about the crime, or heroes, or villains, or anything. But he did care about quirks, he envied them, because he had none of them.
Akuma Goto, or Kuma as he was called by everyone, was born quirkless, no power whatsoever gifted to him, it was unusual for this world for someone to be born without some power. The kids in school called him quirkless like he was some sort of defect. His dad didn't have any quirks either, but Akuma doesn't care about that, he is proud of his father, he was a fighter. A boxer to be precise, though since quirks couldn't be used by either combatant it wasn't really popular.
The kids in the neighborhood, the ones that picked on Kuma, they called him and his dad cursed quirkless, it made him mad, mad that he didn't have any power like them, mad that he couldn't do anything to shut them up. He wanted to hit them, just like his dad hit people in the ring, but he knew how mad his dad would be. But it didn't stop him from wanting to, the thought alone made him smile, one of them getting laid out by the quirkless kid? That'd shut them up….at least he thought it would.
That's why he was up here, on the roof of his home with a bruise on the side of his face.
Down stairs his dad was talking with an officer that saw him punch Rei, one of the bullies who teased him. Rei could stretch his arms out a foot like a toy made of rubber, so when Akuma hit him, he hit Akuma back. The policeman broke up the fight before things could get worse, but that wasn't what hurt. What hurt was seeing the look on his father's face when he opened the door to their apartment and found his son with a police officer.
Hearing the ringing of the fire escape, Kuma leaned his head down against the stone of the ledge as he heard his father climb up the fire escape.
Bato Goto reached the top of the metal staircase, Bato was a sturdy man for his age, large but in the way that made him look like a fighter. His arms were both thick and slightly exposed by the rolled up white sleeves of his shirt, his hands however were heavily calloused and beaten, with lacerations on the knuckles from years of work. His son inherited his hair, but his was more short with the sides of his head shaved close to his head so his hair wouldn't get in his eyes in his fights.
Kuma didn't meet his father's eyes as he stepped off the fire escape and onto the roof, sitting down beside his son. He breathed a heavy sigh, the officer was understanding to the situation. Especially when he found out that his son was quirkless, it didn't ease Bato's worries though, "Akuma…we've talked about this." he began with disappoint, calling his son by his full name. His son remained quiet, "You can't let those guys get you riled up."
Kuma looked at his father, his idol, with shame, "But dad they-" he stopped himself, his father's gaze told him to finish. "-Rin called me worthless, and he called you a bum! And-and-he's wrong! I'm not…..I'm not worthless." he grumbled out spitefully through clenched teeth.
He felt a large hand on his back, his father's hand, "And your right about that. But Kuma, you can't just hit other kids because they say rotten things." his father said.
Kuma looked back over the neighborhood, "He's still a jerk."
Bato scoffed, "Lotsa people are jerks Akuma." his son pouted at that answer. It didn't make it right. "Look….I know you want to smack those kids upside the head. I don't blame ya' for feeling that. But I don't want you to be like me and think with your fists." he said, his eyes drifting down to his hands, his hands sorely clenching together. "You got a good head on your shoulders Kuma. More than I did when I was your age." he said with pride, small smile etching onto his features.
Looking over at his son, he saw the unsure look he had looking out to the rooftops, "I just…..I don't like bullies." he retorted. His father looked at his son with a sadness hidden behind his eyes, his son, his pride and joy didn't deserve this. But Bato knew that the world wasn't made for people like them, people who were quirkless. When he was young he couldn't do anything but fight, so that's what he did, boxing is what helped make their living. But Kuma had options, he was smart, much smarter than he was when he was his age, he had a chance to make something of himself.
"Well, that's why we got rules." his dad began, "They stop guys like Ren from being meaner and nastier."
"Meaner than Ren?" his son asked skeptically.
"Way meaner." his father affirmed, trying not to smirk at his son's surprise at the idea that someone could be worse than a nine year old kid who doesn't know much better. Reaching his hang up he ruffled the hair atop his son's head, "But you gotta fallow them you hear me? No more starting fights, even if they call you names." he stated. His son nodded, but his father's gaze didn't leave him, "You gotta say it. I want to hear it." he enforced.
Kuma sighed, "I won't start any fights…I promise." he said, his dad held his hand pit with the pinky extended. Kuma snorted before raising his own hand and locking his pinky around his, "Pinky promise." he affirmed.
His dad finally smiled, "Alright then." he agreed before looking out to the rooftops. He chuckled to himself, their home wasn't the nicest, hell it was far from it, but he could at least apricate the view. Looking over at his son, he saw his child's forlorn expression, "Akuma…..I know it hurts…..getting called Quirkless." he said knowingly. He had been called that ever since he was his son's age, and he had already been caught in more than a couple scrapes because of it. "I…I did the same thing you did today only a lot more and look where I turned up." he admitted.
The boy looked at his father with surprise by the confession, "But dad…..your great." he replied simply. There was no other word he could think of that captured how he saw his father, his dad was great, he was kind to him, he was strict sure but never unreasonably so. "I…..I want to be just like you."
Bato couldn't decide if that was the best thing he ever heard or the most heartbreaking.
The large man turned and faced his son, setting his hands on his shoulders, his massive palms covering them. "And I want you to be better than I am Kuma. I don't want you to…" he paused, considering his words and his son. "…I want you to have something better than what I got us right now."
Kuma frowned, "Dad….." the boy began. He knew that they were…..they weren't wealthy, that when Christmas came he couldn't get the new toys he wanted. But he didn't care, he knew his dad fought for their money, he knew because he had to help stich him back together a few times when he got home after a fight. His father didn't want that for him, and he understood that…
Bato looked into his son's eyes, "Look…..I know it's frustrating…..but tell you what. You behave yourself? Stay out of trouble for a while? You can come to the gym with me….punch the bag a little, blow off some steam." he said, making his son's eyes light up. His father raised a stern finger, "But what you learn there stays there. Understand?" he asked.
"Yeah! I do." he said with excitement. He had wanted to learn how to box since he was five. But his dad nixed the idea every time he asked.
Bato nodded, just because his son was quirkless didn't mean he wasn't going to let him be defenseless. "Alright…..and you better start thinking of what you want to be. You got brains, your gonna use them. Ya hear me?" he asked, gently hitting his knuckles against his son's noggin.
(Four years later)
It was a long three weeks until one afternoon on a Sunday, Kuma's father took him to the gym. OB-1's was a small local gym in Sharda Ward, it had been built back when the neighborhood was constructed. Kuma had been there before, but never as one of the people training there, most he got to do was ring the bell for practice matches before, but now he could learn to punch properly as his dad put it. For the first month he attended, he learned the basics, jabs, crosses, hooks, and uppercuts, which he was already familiar with watching his dad do in the ring.
The hardest part was not showing the guys who picked on him what he learned, however Bato's instinct proved right as whenever Kuma go angry about what they said he would ease himself with a simple thought. Save it for the bag. And he would, he'd go straight there after he got his homework done for school, as was the agreement his dad and he had. And to be sure his dad would make him bring his bag with him and go over his papers during his breaks to make sure his son was fallowing through.
But Kuma was not lax in his studies, he did as his homework, studied every night, and did all his classwork as best he could. He wasn't perfect straight A's but it was enough to make his dad proud.
However in the months following his talk with his father on the roof of their apartment, their talk still stuck with him. He admired his dad, so why didn't he want his son to be like him That's what he wondered as he jabbed the heavy bag twice before fallowing to a right cross. It's what he wondered as he lifted himself up off the ground of the parallel bars, and jumped rope for hours on weekends.
He understood why when one day when he was eleven, he came to the gym later in the night, his homework had taken longer but he wanted to try out the new boxing gloves his dad had bought him for his birthday days beforehand. There was a car parked outside that looked way to nice to be in the neighborhood, it probably would have been stripped for parts if left out for too long…but it belonged to the people who do not get their cars stripped for parts.
He couldn't get inside because the door was locked, but he could still hear muffled voices inside. So he stood in the alley of the gym and waited until whoever was inside left, Akuma would never forget the man who stepped out, he was older than his dad, with grey hair on the sides of his head, but it was his eyes that stood out. The corneas were stark black instead of white with red irises. And Kuma knew him.
He was The Fixer, a member of the local Shie Hassaikai Yakuza. The Fixer was his street name obviously, Kuma learned his real name was Shin Yukki because the spots network did a report on him being accused of Bribery, Illegal Gambling, and extortion. However all there were was accusations with no physical evidence. But Kuma didn't even breathe until he entered the back of the car where a young man wearing a black mask over the lower part of his face was waiting for him.
His father exited the gym a few minutes later, his face freshly beaten and bruised. Kuma had to wait until he was out of sight to book it back home. He understood after that night, that was why he couldn't be like his father. He understood why his father made him obey the rules, why they needed to be enforced….and so he made a choice in what he wanted to do. He wanted to be a Hero. So that he could enforce the rules.
When he told his dad, he expected him to temper his expectations, there were no quirkless heroes in the world. Not to say there wasn't anything he could do in the field, but he wanted to be a hero so that people like the Shie Hassaikai couldn't be what Rei was to him, bullies. People who picked on the weak and helpless.
He planned for disappointment. But instead his father grasped him by the shoulders, looked him in the eyes, and smiled, "Alright then. Your gonna be a hero Akuma."
OB1 gym was old fashioned in almost every meaning of the term, the equipment was mostly over ten years old, the ring was nowhere near as clean with old bloodstains caking the inside of the ring. It smells like sawdust and old sweat, and it' still Kuma's favorite place in all of Hell's Gate.
The gym wasn't too popular, the people that came here had been coming for years, Kuma actually knew them as his dad's friends. As he hit the bag, they called over to him, "Footing Akuma! Watch your footing!" Mr. Yuma called out as he lifted his weights over by the wall. He looked down and saw that his feet were in fact too close together. Spreading them apart he threw a right hook, the bad making a noticeably more loud 'Fap!' than before.
Refocusing on the bag, the boxer's son laid into the bag, letting out some frustration that he had been feeling. Earlier one of the kids at school was showing off their quirk, they could have dragon wings pop out of their back, he asked Kuma what he could do and then 'realized' his mistake. Kuma's mind suddenly went back to the night he saw the Fixer, his fist reeled back and hit the bag hard, causing it to swing around. The pre-teen eased out of his stance and grabbed the bag until it was steady, he never told his dad he saw him that night.
Kuma stood quietly, watching the bag sway on the chain keeping it off the ground. Over the years he learned a lot more about the world beyond the academic side, people like him and his father who were quirkless? They were easy targets for people who did have quirks and abused them, he heard about it often enough on the news, how some defenseless and quirkless person had been attacked, robbed, or worse because they couldn't possibly defend themselves against people who did have quirks.
Kuma was never a victim. But boy did he sure get pitied like one.
Whenever he met someone and they asked about his quirk, the next thing they would say was either, "Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that." or, "For real?"
Don't know which is worse, getting picked on for being Quirkless, or being pitied. He thought irately before slipping his red boxing gloves off his hands. Getting picked on was one thing, it was just some jerk who thought they were better than him because they had a quirk. It sucked, but Kuma tended to ignore it until they stopped. But being pitied? Like he was defected? Or there was something wrong with him? His dad once told him that kids he'd hit for picking on him back in the day called him the devil because of how angry and mean he looked while doing it.
Kuma was the same way when pitied, only he knew better than to just smack someone for doing it to him. Walking over to the ring where his dad was sparring in, he watched as his dad practiced against the padded up trainer, Fogswell, he had a quirk that made his bones more dense. Nothing special, he could just take more hits than normal people, making him the perfect human punching bag. Or at least that's how he called it.
"Hey dad, I'm gonna head home early." He said to his dad as he landed a body blow to his trainer.
He backed off as he would from another boxer, "You sure Akuma? You've only been here a hour." he asked.
The son shrugged his shoulders, "Yeah, I'm not feeling it today. You want me to pick food?" he asked, his hands beginning to unwrap the boxing tape from one another.
Bato raises his gloved hands and makes a T to the trainer, Fogswell nods as he walked over to the ropes, leaning down to look at his son. "You ok?" he asked.
Kuma smiles at him with a roll of his eyes, "I'm fine. I'm also hungry."
"Grab some BBQ then. Taki knows my usual, you get whatever you want." he said, thinking of the barbeque place two blocks from their home. His son gives him a coy smile, before he can speak however his dad beats him to it, "Don't you get on me about my calories or I'll ban you." he said, the joking smile he had showing he wasn't at all serious while his son backed away from the mat.
"Alright but I'm getting you a salad too!" Kuma said before turning and making his way to the locker room to change while his father shook his head before getting back to training.
Entering the locker room, Akuma walked to his locker and opened it before changing into his regular clothes. His years of training had been great for his body, Kuma was easily one of the most fit boys in his entire school. Which was something he took pride in, Quirks don't mean shit if you can just run away faster than they can use them. he thought as he slipped his shirt over his head and changed out of his sweatpants. After changing clothes, he exited the gym and began his trek towards the BBQ place.
The streets of Hell's Gate was busy today, dozens of people walked the street on the cloudless summer day. Turning the corner, the teen jogged towards the intersection in hopes of getting through the crosswalk while the light was green. Passing an older man with a cane who was going too slow, he reached the crosswalk just as the light began to flicker. Sprinting across the street he reached the other end as the light turned red, stopping on the other end, as a taxi pulled up to the red light behind him he heard the blaring horn of a semi-truck.
Turning his head back out of curiosity, his eyes widened when he saw the older man he ran by earlier crossing the street. "Hey look out!" one of the people standing by the curb shouted as a chorus of voices rang out, calling for him to run, the older man looked around wildly at the voices in confusion. Looking down the street, Kuma saw that the truck wasn't stopping yet. "What the hell is wrong with him?!" another voice called out.
Before Kuma could join in shouting, he saw the cane the man was carrying was white with red on the end. He was blind, and he had no idea of what was going on.
Kuma ran forward, jumping onto the hoof f the taxi as the semi's tries screeched as the brakes were hit. Jumping off the taxi, Kuma hit the ground running and dove at the ild man as the cab of the truck turned, tackling him out of the way of the semi and onto the pavement. Kuma felt his arm bend wrong, pain shooting out from his shoulder as he landed on it. The truck meanwhile had turned to avoid the pedestrian, causing it to rear end the taxi and the hull to twist out across the road with the rear doors flying open.
Black barrels flew out the back, rolling across the ground as they force of the impact punctured them. Kuma looked up painfully from the ground in time to see a yellow hazard sign on the size of the barrel before it's contents hit him directly in the eyes! "AGHHHHHH!" he howled in pain as he fell onto his back, the crowd of people converging around him.
"Holy shit did you see that!?"
"Bravest thing I ever saw-"
"Someone call an ambulance! Get one here now!"
"Did you hear that? It sounded like a crash."
"You bitch! How could you do this to us!?"
"You hear about Yukito?"
"Yeah, I did! Such a shame."
When Kuma wakes up, everything hurts. The last thing is the deafening scream of his father before he passed out from the pain. It hurts….it all hurts…. he internally whimpered, it felt like his blood was boiling inside him, his arm tries to move but it feels like his skin is grinding against a cheese grader, no….no it's…it's not sharp, it's not pricing, it's…cotton? He opens his mouth to speak and he cruses himself for even thinking to do it, his throat and nose burn as though he swallows fire. The smell, it's like nothing he's ever known, it peels at his nostrils and makes him want to gag.
It's unbearable, more so because of what Kuma sees. Nothing.
The void before his eyes terrify him, he had been in the dark before but after a few minutes his eyes would adjust and he would be able to make out some form or shape within the darkness but this…this was an abyss that was endless. "Akuma?" a whisper that might as well have been a loudspeaker asked his eardrum. His hands flew up to the sides of his head to cover his ears, the sandpaper like sheets scraping against his flesh and a sudden steel cold feeling above his wrist being his response to such sudden movement. "Akuma it's me! It's your dad!." the booming voice said, the boy heardit through his covered ears.
"D-dad? Dad what's-Ah!" he whined, his own voice sounding like nails on a chalk board. "it-it hurts!"
He felt a pair of hands on his wrists, large hands, hands that were like worn catcher mitts, they had held him since he was nothing more than a child. They embraced him, ruffled his hair, patted him on the back, they were warm, they were his father's. "Akuma, listen to me, you were in an accident. Your in the hospital right now, your going to be ok." his dad assured, his voice wavering as relief, fear, and joy all flowed out of his mouth at once.
"Dad, can-can you turn on the lights? It's too dark in here." he asked. he heard a sharp intake of breath that sounded like a whistle. "It's too loud!" he hissed.
"Akuma….listen, there's a hero on their way here. She…she should be able to help you but…it's your eyes son they….they got hurt." he explained. The door opened and it sounded like metal being dragged against more metal, the boy grit his teeth as two sets of footsteps echoed within the small hospital room. "Akuma listen, it's gonna be ok. Alright? I'm here, daddy's here." Bato said soothingly to his son as he heard one of the guests stop at the door while the other one made it to his side.
Bum. Bum. Bum. Bum. Bum. Bum
"Akuma? I'm Recovery Girl, I'm here to help you." a older female voice introduced. "Before I do, I need you to tell me what your hurts."
"Everything." he whimpered.
"Doc-" Bato began before he stopped himself.
He heard a sigh of sympathy, "Akuma, can you describe it?" she asked.
Bum. Bum. Bum. Bum. Bum. Bum
Kuma took a calming breath, inhaling the fire once more, "My throat burns like…like it's on fire." he described. "M-My skin, what's on my skin?" he asked, reaching over his chest and brushing against what was covering him and feeling a army of needles at his fingertips.
"Buddy it's just a cotton shirt, they had to change you into it." his father's voice said, making him calm down. That made sense, but why didn't it feel like cotton?
"It feels like it's cutting me." he tried to explain, despite not making sense.
Bum. Bum. Bum. Bum. Bum. Bum. Bum. Bum
"What is that? Wha-what's that beating sound?" he asked.
There was a pause before his father spoke, "Akuma what sound?" he asked with confusion.
"It's….it's like a heartbeat but it's way faster." he explained before it seemed to skyrocket, "Augh! It's even worse now!" he exclaimed.
Recvoery girl paused again before she ever so gently placed her hand on his arm, "Do you feel that?" she asked, it felt….dry, but rubbery? He nodded, the wrappings around his eyes digging into the back of his head.
"What? I'm sorry I didn't-" Bato began.
"Akuma, I'm going to talk with your dad for a minute, but I'll be right back. Ok?" she asked.
"Hold on I'm not leaving him!" Bato argued.
Akuma swallowed, "Dad…..go….I'll….I'll be ok." he assured, not at all sounding convincing. His father's lips pressed together, somehow, Kuma could almost feel it. Bato leaned down and pressed his forehead against his son's, it was a display of affection that Bato showed when he was proud of his boy, Kuma always found it comforting. And for the briefest of moments, the cutting of his skin, the burning of his throat, and the beats in his ears subsided.
The door creaked open again, his father's heavy footprints walking out the room, scraping across the tiled floor. Listening the room empty out is like standing at the train station and listening to the metro pull to a halt times a thousand. But when the door closes, Kuma does not find relief. "From what your son described, it sounds as though he's suffering from tactile hyperesthesia." Recovery Girl's confusion reached Kuma's ears unmuffled.
"I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with….um.." Bato began.
"He's sensitive to the touch, what he described? Knives on his chest? It's the cotton fibers on his scrubs. I thought the burning in the throat was from the same chemicals that got in his eyes but the doctor reported no burns in the throat" she explained.
Bato seemed in disbelief, "But-listen, doc, my son goes to the gym every day for the past few years. He's been in a boxing ring and has been knocked down on the matt over a dozen times! He's not overly sensitive…how could what happen to his eyes-" he asked.
"That's what confuses me as well, your son was able to pick up me whispering, which isn't much in itself. But…..from what he described, I think he was hearing our friend here's heartbeat." she explained. Kuma felt his stomach drop into his feet, the-their heartbeat?!
"But-but they were at the door, Kuma wasn't even near-"
"I realize that…I think this might be a form of hyperacusis, or hyperesthesia." she informed. "You see, we rely on dozens of different senses to operate normally. The most commonly known and used are our senses of hearing, touch, taste, smell, and sight. When one of these is lost, people's bodies will sometimes correct for the lost sense. For example, if someone loses their sense of touch, their sense of taste becomes more acute to try and compensate for it." she explained.
Bato swallowed, "And sense Kuma's eyes are….."
"It seems that your son's other senses are compensating for the lost one. But to an extreme measure….your son's medical record mention that your son was quirkless, is this true?" she asked. Kuma's hands dug into the sheets, what did that have to do with any of this!? "This would be explained if your son had developed some sort of passive quirk that affected his eyesight, however this might be the cause of the chemicals your son was exposed to if not." she explained.
Bato gulped, "Is-is there anything you can do?"
Recovery Girl sighed, "I'm afraid not. My quirk works by accelerating the body's healing process, but the damage that was done to your son? Even if it was possible to recover from, my quirk uses the body's own metabolism to heal itself. If it were just a broken arm, then it could be mended with your son only feeling tired. But this….this could kill him." she explained.
Kuma swallowed the bile that was making it's way up his throat at the news.
He was blind, and there was nothing that could fix it.
It had been three months since his accident, and only two since coming back home.
While Recovery Girl was unable to help Kuma recover his eyesight, she did the next best thing, she got Bato in touch with a lawyer which sued the company which was transporting hazardous radioactive waste through the city without following proper safety regulations. While it didn't make Kuma feel much better, it did give him and his father something they didn't have for a while, a lot of cash in the bank. More specifically money that was going to Kuma's education and wellbeing. His father had bought him a bookshelf full of braille books, a braille watch, even a laptop with a keyboard in braille.
So obviously, Kuma needed to learn how to read braille.
So for the past month, Kuma's hands were on his braille for beginner's book. For days Kuma sat in his room, his hands going over the pages with the hundreds of indentations on them. His sensitivity had gotten itself under control. A few hard weeks in the hospital, his body had seemed to adjust to his missing sight, more importantly his sense of awareness had seemed to develop quickly. He could now walk throughout his apartment without either hitting something or his cane.
Right now, Kuma was in his room on his bed, at his side was one of his books with the pages open to the hundreds of bumps on the paper. In his hands were his glass tinted black so that his eyes were not visible. While the burns from the chemical left no scarring behind, his eyes remained their warm brown color, but his pupils no longer reacted to light. Running his thumb over the glass, Kuma sighed.
His dad was out at a fight and wouldn't be back until later tonight, leaving the boy alone for a few hours. However despite being the only one in his apartment, he wouldn't say that it was quiet. His hearing, for some reason, could pick up voices of all the tenements in the building. Upstairs on the fifth floor he heard the 13 year old girl talking on the phone to her friend, down his hall he smelled the old woman, Temari Ruma, making some of her favorite fish sticks in the stove.
However strangest of all was that sometimes it was like he could see, not like he used to, it was more like….shadows in the darkness. Like he could almost make out shapes at random times, but the doctors he talked to about it said that it most likely was his optical nerves adjusting to the lack of light. But as he sat on his bed he could just vaguely see the curve of his glasses when he ran his thumb over the rims. And within the sea of darkness which was now his sight he would take any sort of change than the abyss.
Standing up from his bed, he slid the glasses on over his eyes, the plastic on the ends of them sliding over the back of his ears. Reaching his hand to his side, he gingerly felt for his cane that was between his bed and his nightstand. Grabbing the end of it he slid his hand through the thin rope looped around the end for security and tapped it against his wooden floor.
In his sight the area around the cane reverberated in red, like dropping a stone into still water it rippled out along the floor. Using his cane to guide himself, Kuma walked though his apartment to his door. Opening the door the sounds from the rest of the building assaulted his senses, biting his lip he closed the door behind him, the lock sounding like a thud against metal before tapping his way down the hall.
Walking down the hall to the door leading outside, he quickly opened it, finding some relief in the outside air. His dad would be gone for a few hours and he wasn't supposed to leave his home without someone escorting him…..but Kuma hated it. Whatever pity he had for being Quirkless, that was nothing compared to what he had now. He heard the whispers across the street about how sorry they felt for his father, having to support a quirkless blind son, that they think Bato Goto will take care of his son until the day he dies.
It made him feel like a burden, and that was worse than any sort of pity.
Making his way down the metal steps was easy, the smell of rust and vibrations from a tap of his cane showed him the way. Taking the elevator down a floor would be simple, but the sound of motors and gears sounded like being right next to a plane engine. Upon reaching the solid concrete ground, Kuma turned to the street, barely anyone was out at this hour of night and he was glad for it. No one to gawk at him, the people who were out now where all ignoring him as he walked down the street, tapping his stick ahead of him as a guide.
The echoes on the concrete were different than the ones he 'saw' on his floor, they were more widespread, the street was more focused, he could make out finer detail just not as far. As he reached the curb, he stopped as a taste entered his mouth that burned, this is where it happened, this is where he was blinded, the taste of the chemicals on the pavement was like acid on his tongue. Closing his mouth shut he listened for any cars, when the walls of the buildings carried no echo of motor enegines, he briskly cross the street.
Reaching OB1, he stopped outside the front entrance, he hadn't gotten a good work out in since his hospitalization, and his father had kept him home for fear of something else happening? What could be worse than this? I get hit by bus next time? he spitefully thought as he walked around the side of the gym. The rear entrance door didn't lock, which was why nothing of value was kept in the gym after Fogswell closed for the night. Entering the door, the familiar scent of sawdust brought a sense of comfort to the blind teen as he walked through the gym. He had been here a hundred times, he knew the layout of this place like the back of his-
Something suddenly appeared in front of his foot, tripping him forward and falling flat to the floor.
….unless someone left the equipment lying around…..
Picking himself up from the floor, Kuma rubbed his face, "Ugh…..ow…." he groaned, reaching his hand out for what tripped him up, his fingertips brushed against cool metal in a flat ovular shape. "Stupid weights…." he said as he grabbed the handle and lifted it up from the ground. He had probably used every type of weight that this place had, the slight pull downwards told him that either this was one of the heavier ones, or his arms were weaker from his time away.
Reaching his other hand out he felt the other set of weights and placed the other half down next to it. Sitting on the ground, his head lowered in sorrow. The stillness of the gym was calming, he could see the outline of the room, the ring in the center, the ropes connecting the posts together still felt loose but held sturdy regardless, the heavy bag swinging on it's chain making the most discreet of noises that gave the room it's general shape. However as Kuma took in the room he noticed a disturbance, there was a shape against the wall, not naturally part of the room.
Holding his breath he could just make out a faint heartbeat, "Wh-whose there?" he asked aloud, hoping that he was mistaken and there was no one there.
The shape stepped away from the wall, it's footsteps silent as it walked around the ring and Kuma's head turned around to try and relocate the shape but couldn't tell it was standing in front of him until it spoke. "Get up." a cold voice said. It was a man, his voice sounding like gravel to Kuma's ears.
"What?" he asked in disbelief, something hit him in his chest, something thin and long, his cane. "Who are you?" he asked as he got up from the ground. A whisper through the air was the only sound before something stuck the side of Kuma's face, knocking him back down to the floor, "Gah! What the fuck?!" he exclaimed, rubbing the now sore spot on the side of his face.
"You felt it, didn't you?" the man asked, Kuma wished he could glare at whoever this man was.
"Yeah no shit I felt you hit me in the head!" he retorted angrily as he picked himself hack up, lifting his cane up defensively. He heard a guff chuckle in front og him, the shape coming into his vision once more before another whisper, this time it hit his hip, he didn't stumble this time. He retorted with a blide swpe of his cane, the shape moved back almost unnaturally, just out of reach of his weapon's length as his own hit Kuma directly in the chest, it was small but the force behind it was enough to throw him off balance.
"Not the pain. The air. You feel it, don't you?" he asked as Kuma rubbed the spot hit in his chest.
He fliched as he brushed over the sore skin, "The air? What air? There's no breeze in here dumbass!" he shouted as the weapon his opponent held hit him in the face again, his glasses flying off his face and hitting the ground.
The shape let out a dissatisfied noise, "No. Don't feel it with your skin, feel it with your touch. Feel it the same way you feel the ropes on the ring. Feel it the same way you feel the ground through your shoes, feel it the way taste the smell of sweat and blood on the matt." he said. His words struck a cord within Kuma, giving him pause and the shape an opening to strike him again, "Don't just stand there like an idiot, moron." he chastised.
The shape in Kuma's vision hit him again, and again, and again, a slap to the side of his face, a backhand, a thunk o the head with something not flesh but solid. But with each swipe, his vision begins to change, the shape in front of him begins to shrink into the form of a man. A skinny man whose shape is formed by the air, that's when he feels it, a thin shape poised to tike him in the head again. He raises his cane and instead of wood on flesh, the sound of metal on wood echoes through the room.
Kuma smirks to himself and swings his cane out, the shape recoils back as Kuma swings back and advances. The man catches the cane with his hand, "Congratulations. Your out of kindergarten." he says before letting go of the cane in Kuma's hand. Kuma backs away, the shape is still blurry but it's clearer than before now, in fact the whole area around him seems more….clear.
"What…..what just happened?" he asked in bewilderment as his head tilted down to his cane.
The shape tapped his weapon, his own cane, against the ground. "You just took your first step out into the real world kid." he said as he walked around the blind teen. "You can't see jack shit with your eyes, but there's other ways to see the world." he said, gaining the teen's full attention as his cane tapped out the area in front of him.
Just like Kuma was taught to do, "Your blind." he realized.
"Yeah I am. And unlike you, I was born this way. Didn't need a truck to give me a shortcut to see the world like this, like you do." he replied, stopping back in front of Kuma. The teen was floored once again, this time in the mental sense instead of physical.
He thought he was going crazy with what he was….feeling, hearing, tasting, smelling. But he wasn't, "But….how? I mean I'm quirkless, how can-"
The man let out a grunt, "You think you need some genetic superiority complex to be skilled? No. Millions of people have powers but what do they do? Jack shit. Because they're too scared to see what they can do without getting in trouble." he explained.
"Yeah I mean it's against the law." Kuma pointed out dryly.
He scoffed, "Doesn't stop people with power from kicking the shit of those who don't have any." he replied. "But someone who knows control? Know how to fight? How to think? Those are warriors. And a trained warrior can beat a hundred people with powers who don't know how to use them, or just don't out of habit." he added, taking a step forward so that he was directly in front of Kuma. "Your chances of that? Are shit."
Kuma frowned, "Wow. Gee. Thanks."
"Your undisciplined, emotional, and indulgent." he listed off with a finger each. "…but I'm willing to take a chance on you. I need warriors. I need whatever help I can get."
Kuma smirked, "And you came to Hells Gate for help?" he retorted. He heard a rattle in the man's throat, a choked chuckle. "…why do you need my help?" he asked.
"I'll answer that when I finish training you." he curtly replied as he held his hand out before the teen. "We got a deal?" Kuma was sketpical to say the least. However looking at his condition, and seeing what he was able to hear, feel, taste, and how he was able to still operate? If he trained himself, and became even better? He could still be a hero and do good.
"…alright. I'll do it….um…what's your name?" he asked, realzing he never caught the man's name.
"My name is Stick. And from now on, I'm your sensei."
AN: That seems a good place to end things. I wasn't always a big fan of Daredevil, I first was introduced to him from the Spider-Man 90's episodes with him actng as Peter Parker's lawyer and fellow crime fighter to Spidey. But even then when I wasn't a fan, I did like him and his character. But I remained a Spidey fan and didn't look much further into DD, however over the years I did learn more and more about him and his origin, characters, etc.
It wasn't until I saw the 2003 movie that I really saw the appeal of Daredevil, and though that film doesn't totally capture Daredevil as the MCU captures the Avengers, I still have a fondness for it. It wasn't until 2015 when the Netflix series was announced that I became interested in him. Said series still holds up to this day and is something I need to re-watch in full because I was a fool teenager and skipped the parts I thought were boring. Hell I still do that.
But I still didn't write a fic with him as the star for a few reasons, first and foremost he's blind and I felt a little weird about the idea of writing about someone with a disability I have absolutely no experience with. And two, Catholicism is a part of Daredevil that's been present since the 1980's run with Frank Miller, who stated that only a catholic would be both a lawyer, and a superhero. However it's not a key part of being Daredevil as some versions have shown.
But a friend of mine turned out to be a huge Daredevil fan, having never read the comics I asked him for some recommendations and I started reading the comics, precisely the Frank Miller and Kaluse Jansen run. I instantly became enamored with this era for horn head, and I still read it on occasion just for the stories alone. But I still wasn't sold on writing any fics.
However I was browsing fanfiction when I found the story, The Devil's Justice by Xenophobic Creeper, and has become one of my favorite fics to read. It sowed me that you can write a fun, engaging, and original DD story while both trying new things, and respecting the source material.
And that inspired me to wonder, what else would DD fit into? And so here we are.
I've watched MHA since season 3 started and began reading the manga when the Eri Retrieval arc was just about to end so I could find out what happens. I'll keep what happens to myself but I'm so looking forward to everything that happens in the show, and with the latest chapter coming out today, I thought…why not finally publish this?
The only thing I want to address is some things are different because of the setting, for instance Matthew is a western name whereas Akuma is more Japanese, Bato same thing but he'll play out a little differently than what you might traditionally expect.