It began with a glowing child. It didn't get better from there.
With the sudden emergence of superpowers, life as we knew it was lost. The world changed, society upheaved, and chaos ruled. And as in all chaos, there rose those who would profit from it, carving chunks of land and people for their own. Like the warring kingdoms of old, those with power fought against those with power for money, for territory, for supplies or for the thrill. And as always, those weaker, those without true power, suffered for it.
But as it always is, as it always had been and will be, those with power of their own, determined to bring order back to the world, ascended to fight in the name of the innocent. With wills of steel and the hope of the down-trodden, they overthrew the warlords and brought civilization back. But not as it was before. It couldn't be.
It became a world of the different, the strange. But what once was inconceivable, inhuman, became accepted, normal. Expected, even. It became just another…Quirk of humanity's existence. And life went on.
Those with the greatest power rose above the rest, becoming beacons of hope and pillars of order, bringing with them an era of scientific advancement, a celebrity culture of Professional Heroes, peace, safety and stability.
As well as a hierarchy of power. Those with the strongest of abilities were lauded and praised. Those without are demeaned. Every child grows up wishing to join the ranks of heroes. Some, bolstered by the teachings of the previous generation, rocket to heights once thought impossible.
Many more fail.
But nothing lasts forever. Unheard and unseen, a storm gathers and thrashes, upheaval hidden beyond the horizon. Chaos is coming once again. As it always has. As it always will. That is the truth.
But equally true is this: the greatest changes, for good or for ill, begin with the smallest of actions. The hurricane is formed from the delicate flutter of the butterfly's wings. The avalanche descends from the echo of the bird's call. Society is burnt to the bones lit by the glow of a child emerging from the womb.
And all it takes to shake the world…is the right pebble, in the right place, at the right time.
It started on a random playground in Japan, no different from any other except for who was there that day. One was Bakugou Katsuki, proudly displaying an open palm to show off her newly discovered Quirk: the ability to ignite her sweat. At the moment it was only a small flash and pop, but visions of earth-shattering Kabooms and mushroom clouds danced in her head.
"Wow!" The other kids cheered, none louder then her friend, Midoriya Izuku. "That's so cool, Kacchan!"
Much like their mothers, the two of them were a study in contrasts. Bakugou had pale blonde hair that spiked; Midoriya had fluffy dark green. She had ruby red eyes that, even at four, held a sharp, taunting edge; his eyes were a soft green and couldn't be anymore wide and innocent if he tried. Her skin, like her mother's, was on the darker side and flawless; his skin was like his mother's, on the paler side and sprinkled with freckles. She knew what her Quirk was. He did not.
"You're damn right it's cool!" She crowed, holding her hand up as more little flashes popped on her palm. "I'm gonna explode so many bad guys they'll make me Hero Number One!"
"Hey, if you think that's cool, look what I can do!" Another kid shouted, waving his arms for attention before taking a deep breath, his cheeks and throat bulging out like a frog. Then he spat a small vortex of wind directly at the group of kids.
Let it be known that kids aren't the smartest at the best of times; adding superpowers to the mix only made it worse, hence why Quirk regulations were strict, especially in public and especially for kids.
Katsuki, showing a startling amount of instinct, dove aside. The other kids, showing a startling amount of common sense, followed her.
Izuku stood directly in the path, eyes sparkling. "Oh, that's cool-!" It hit him directly in the chest. Luckily, it was rather weak and only sent him skidding back in the gravel of the playground.
There was a second of stunned silence, the kind that comes when a little kid smacks their head on a table or face-plants; a second where everyone holds their breath to see if the kid would start bawling or not. Slightly dazed, Izuku sat up, rubbing his chest, large green eyes watering.
"You're right!" He told little Mr. Wind-spitter with a shaky smile. "That is cool!"
Katsuki rushed over to his side, snarling at the other kid. "What the hell, dumbass?! Who just shoots their quirk at people?!" She turned to Izuku, with worry written on her face. "You okay Zuku? Are you gonna cry like a big baby?"
Izuku sniffled and said, "No," then wiped his cheek with his hand. And gasped in pain.
"I knew it!" Katsuki crowed, her face a contradiction to her words as she was already standing to go look for their parents, only for Izuku to grab her arm. "What, you need to hold my hand?"
"Kacchan, look," the boy murmured, holding up his hand. There was gravel stuck to his skin, but luckily no blood.
"Yeah, you got rocks on you," Kacchan dismissed, even as her eyes were glued to the sight and her fingers wrapped around his protectively. "So what?"
"Look," he urged, then made a face. After a second, she was just opening her mouth when the gravel stuck to his skin lifted off and began to gently orbit his hand. "…I have a Quirk."
"…So what, you can move pebbles, big deal," Katsuki whispered, sharp red eyes tracking the rocks as they glided above his flesh. She blinked and looked away, finding the huddle of parents in the distance and put her lungs to work. "HEY! OLD PEOPLE!"
Coincidentally, the parents had just been talking about their kids' Quirks, so they rushed over at the shout. Upon seeing the activation of a new one, they gave the two their congratulations right before Izuku's mother, Midoriya Inko, bundled him into the car and drove them towards the office of in-depth Quirk investigation. And she only had to pull over twice to wipe her happy tears away.
At the office, Izuku was pushed through a large battery of tests; first to determine what type of Quirk, then once that was narrowed down, how strong it was, what it could affect and how long it could last. After a rather tiring three hours, Izuku sat in his mother's lap, clutching her arm and wishing he'd been able to bring along his favorite All-Might action figure as the doctor slowly went through the pages of information previously gathered. He clicked a pen, circled something and adjusted his glasses before looking up at the pair.
"So. Midoriya Izuku," he spoke carefully and concisely, like every word was being recorded for quality purposes. "After several tests, we have determined that your Quirk is an Emitter type, which can only affect rocks no more than three inches wide or long, in a telekinetic field that emanates no more than two inches from the skin on your body. It has been designated as 'Rock Field.'" He stopped, flipped the pages closed and set the clipboard down on his desk. "That's it."
Inko blinked, holding her son. Hearing it described as such, it sounded like a more concentrated, focused version of her own Quirk, Attraction of Small Things, but one that only worked on pebbles and gravel. Part of her was relieved. As far as Quirks went, it wasn't impressive, and Izuku, like almost all kids his age, wanted to use their Quirks to become famous, powerful Pro Heroes. Which was, by the nature of the work and the world they lived in, extremely dangerous. On the other hand, she felt guilty about feeling happy that such a lacking Quirk would make it nearly impossible for her little boy to get into such a perilous line of work.
And a deeper, smaller part was very glad that she wouldn't be the one to break Izuku's fluffy little heart.
"Um, Doctor?" Izuku asked in his sweet, childish voice, "Do you think…do you think that My Quirk…Can I be a Hero with it?"
The doctor sniffed, looked through the pages again, then blinked at the boy. "As far as Hero Careers go, a Quirk like yours…would be almost entirely useless." He stated with zero tact. Inko squeezed her boy as he gave a hurt gasp. "It isn't all bad. Many people, like your mother, have Quirks lacking in power, but with some small niche uses. And, of course, it's better than being Quirkless."
Izuku blinked his large, watery green eyes, and let out a tiny, "…Oh." And then he hugged his mothers arms.
"Thank you for your time, doctor," Inko said tersely, guilt and relief warring in her chest as she stood up and carried her son from the office. He remained quiet even as they left the building and she secured him in his carseat. It was only half an hour later that he spoke.
"H-he, he wasn't right, r-right, mom?" He asked shakily, and she could see him playing with the buckle of his carseat in the rear-view mirror, peering up at her through thick lashes, eyes rimmed with tears, shining with the pure hope that his mom would be able to make everything better with her words. "I-I can s-still use my Q-Quirk to be a Hero…r-right?"
Inko looked at the road and swallowed hard, licking her lips. "Izuku…" She couldn't find the words. "Like the doctor said…it's not all bad…right? There are other jobs…safer ones. Maybe…maybe you're meant for something more than Hero work, honey." She chanced a look in the mirror and felt her heart seize. Izuku was staring at her in horrified silence, tears running from his eyes. He'd recognized what she was trying to do and he'd seen right through it. And it had shattered his little heart.
His voice, when he spoke, was infinitesimally small. "…Okay, mom."
She blinked hard and tried to focus on driving, her throat feeling tight. "I-it'll be alright, okay Izuku? How…how about when we get home, I make us tonkatsu pork…your favorite. How does that sound, sweetie?"
He didn't look up from his lap. "…Okay."
It was only that she was driving did Inko restrain herself from closing her eyes and letting herself drown in her guilt and grief.
Eventually, Izuku's good nature won over his heartbreak, and he returned to his normal, cheerful self. Some might've said it was a hunger borne from envy that he developed a hobby, a talent devoted to watching the fights of Heroes, to examining and breaking down their Quirks in his mind and, once it was overwhelmed, many notebooks. Others would say it was his natural mental state, to see things and automatically take them apart and figure out how they worked, how they could be used differently and how they could combine with others.
And when the current crop of Heroes had filled his pages, he turned an eye to his classmates and his best friend, Katsuki. Their Quirks, how they could develop over time and generally just how cool he found her led to Katsuki's potential covering many pages. He noticed with some envy that with age, her explosions became more powerful and with training, more focused. And there was only more room for her to grow.
For him, though, it was hopeless. He spent hours a day holding rocks in his field, having them orbit his body in increasing numbers and speed. Eventually, he managed to move them around his body faster.
That was it.
He'd tried to think of a way to use his Quirk as a Hero, perhaps covering himself in pebbles, spinning them at high speeds and then throwing them? The problem with that, though, became obvious the first time he tried such a thing on a crude target painted on a tree. At point-blank, the rocks could actually do some damage. Outside of his field, however, the rocks lost velocity quickly and became just a tossed handful of gravel. And no matter how hard he tried, his field simply wouldn't extend, not even a millimeter.
That was a blow to his battered hope of heroism.
The next, most devastating blow, came when he was eight. During recess, he, Katsuki and some of their friends were exploring in the nearby copse of trees. The others had pulled ahead, crossing a fallen tree over a small stream, leaving the two to mosey at their own pace.
The explosive blonde hopped onto the log without a care, practically stomping her way across it. Izuku was more tentative, carefully measuring his steps. She, eventually, slipped on a wet patch and tumbled into the stream with a cry, landing hard on her back. Blinking in the light of the sun streaming through the leaves, Izuku stood above her, offering his hand with a smile. "You okay, Kacchan?"
"'M fine," she grumbled, taking his hand and pulling herself up. "I don't need your help, Zuku." Yeah, that hadn't changed in four years.
"Remember what All Might says!" Izuku chirped with a smile, holding a finger up like an instructor, "Even Heroes need a helping hand once in a while! And when ever Queen Explosion Murder needs a hand, her best friend and partner Shrapnel will be there!" He mimed an explosion with his hands and gave her a bright smile.
It was so adorable, Katsuki felt her lips twitching upwards into a smile, red eyes subtly sparkling with humor…and then it left, and her lips flattened. "All Might never needs a hand…" She muttered, still looking at him but speaking to herself.
"Well of course not!" The green-haired boy smiled, posing like the Number One Pro Hero. "He's All Might! The greatest Hero!"
Her brows furrowed in thought. "…I'm gonna be the greatest…" Her mind raced, images flashing through her head.
Izuku blinked. "U-uh, yeah?" He couldn't shake the feeling of something bad coming his way.
Her eyes turned back to him and narrowed into a glare. "All Might doesn't need help. I don't need help."
He gulped under the intensity of her gaze. "W-well, I mean, Sir Nighteye helped him…as a sidekick, and a…a partner?" Her visage remained unchanging. "K-Kacchan?"
That seemed to be the final straw, and she snapped. "Don't call me that!"
Izuku stepped back, hurt filling his features. "K-Kacchan, what-"
"I said," she stepped into his space and shoved him back, "Don't call me that, dammit!"
"Kac-uh, Katsuki…what's wrong?!" He panicked, eyes darting around her face, his hands worrying at each other. "Did-did I do something-?"
"You're useless, Izuku."
Those three words, stated so simply, felt like she unloaded her most powerful blast directly into his heart. "I…what?" He knew what the other kids said, what some of the teachers whispered behind their hands. The boy with the useless Quirk clinging to the coattails of a girl destined for greatness. A leech. A parasite. Useless. He saw, sometimes, when he used his Quirk, that she would give the pebbles he moved with his mind angry glares like they'd personally offended her. But she'd never said anything. She couldn't possibly think that for real…right? "Katsuki…that…that's not true…"
"You're useless, Izuku," she repeated like it was a stunning revelation. "You will never be a Hero. You'll just d-get in the way. Like a little, useless pebble, getting in the way, tripping up the important people and making a mess. You. Are. Useless."
He gasped for breath, trying in vain to blink the tears out of his eyes. "I…Kacchan, that hurts…"
"Shut up," Katsuki said simply, stepping into his space, looming over him even though they were the same height, her dark, ruby red eyes dominating his vision. "You're delusional to think you could ever be anything more than useless…Koishi. Deku Koishi. A useless, worthless little rock only fit for stepping over. Being a Hero…is a road filled with danger. All you are, Deku, is a childish distraction on a path where distractions Kill!" Her eyes blazed with anger. "You're nothing but a pebble, the smallest of stepping stones on my road to being a Hero! The Greatest Hero! Of ALL TIME! You. Are. USELESS!" With the last three words, she shoved him back another step until his back was against a tree. "So stay out of my goddamn way, Deku. Or I'll kick you aside. You worthless little extra."
Even though his eyes were wide and tears poured down his cheeks, Izuku summoned some hidden well of strength and pushed her back. "That's not t-true, Kacchan! I'm not-"
She shoved him hard enough that his spine bounced off the bark, dropping to a knee to rip a handful of earth from the ground and slap it into his hand. "Prove it," she growled, one hand gripping the front of his shirt. "Use the pebbles, Koishi. Make them do something other than float, or spin or whatever. Hurt me, Deku. Prove me wrong."
He blinked at her, gaping at the handful of dirt and rocks in his hand. "K-Kacchan, I-" He inhaled sharply as she shook him roughly. Breath coming in sobbing gasps, he turned his attention to the rock and felt his power latch on, the extraneous dirt falling away as the pebbles began to float above his skin.
"Come on, Zuku," Katsuki whispered, and the pebbles began to spin. "COME ON, IZUKU! DO! SOMETHING!" She roared in his face, the rocks escaping through nerveless fingers. He looked down at the hand grasping his collar, up at her face, then down at the ground.
His face crumpled and he began to sob.
She let him go, and he fell to his hands and knees in the dirt. "…That's what I fuckin' thought," she muttered, a pained expression and a flash of regret shining in her eyes. But her thoughts were dominated by a vision of the future. Izuku, jumping into a battle to save her. Taking on someone more powerful, and dying horribly, his chest ripped open. His green eyes glazed, soft face frozen in a terrified rictus. Of a funeral. Inko crying over a casket as it was lowered into the ground. "You stay away from me, Deku. I don't want your worthlessness stopping me from my destiny. Deku Koishi. Useless little pebble."
And then she turned and walked away, hands in her pockets.
Izuku bowed his head to the ground and cried freely, heart shattered into a million little pieces. Underneath his hands and knees, unseen, the rocks within his field dissolved into grains of sand.
After their…confrontation, the rest of the school day saw a depressed Izuku say nothing, and barely acknowledge anyone or anything, except for the ending bell. The teachers picked up on it, but they didn't care. A few hours free from his constant muttering under his breath was welcome. His mother also immediately noticed his mood but, despite her gentle prying, he refused to answer. It was only over dinner, chicken soba with vegetables, that she got a word out of him.
"Mom…" His voice low, hoarse and sad, and his green eyes reflected those emotions as he peered at her from under his lashes. "Am I useless?"
"What?!" She jumped in her seat, surprised by the shrillness of her voice. "Oh Izuku, honey, no, you're not useless, not at all! You're a smart young boy, friendly, too! And you're absolutely adorable, maybe a little shy, but you've got little Katsuki as friend and-"
"Mom," he interrupted her with a surprisingly firm tone, making her blink. He'd never spoken to her like that-she didn't know he could talk like that at all! Inko met her son's eyes, green like hers but darker in color. "Do you think I can be a Hero?"
"I-Izuku…" She felt her throat grow tight and tears prick at the corners of her eyes. "Y-you…there are other c-careers, and-"
Izuku set his chopsticks on the table and gripped the wooden surface with white knuckles, gritting his teeth. "Mom." He nearly growled. "Can I. Be. A Hero."
Inko stared at him, her lower lip trembling. "…No, Izuku." She finally answered, a tear tracing down her cheek. "My sweet boy…Heroes have to be strong, otherwise…they die. And you…you aren't strong enough, Izuku. It's not your fault, it's j-just how it things happen, sometimes…"
Her son stared back at her, and for the first time, she couldn't read what he was feeling from his eyes alone. Then his gaze fell and he slumped, the last ember of hope drowned by his last source of comfort. "…Thank you for the meal," he whispered, pushing back from the table and leaving the room.
"I-Izuku," Inko mumbled, the pure dejection writ large on his frame striking her heart far worse than any shouting or tears could have done. Her chopsticks slipped out of her hands and she buried her face in her sleeves to muffle the wails that escaped her mouth.
Distantly, she heard a door close.
Half an hour later, she'd finally been drained of grief, for now, and went to offer what comfort she could to her boy. Knocking on his door, she didn't expect him to answer, and therefore wasn't surprised when she received silence.
"Izuku, honey…I'm sorry. I-I want you to know that, okay? A mother…a mother should be the last one to stomp on their children's dreams, but…no, no 'buts,' I'm your mother and I should support your dream, because it shows just how big your heart is, how brave and full of love you are…b-but…" Her lips trembled and her eyes watered. "Heroes get hurt, and Izuku…just the thought of you getting hurt…it-it breaks my heart and I…I'm sorry that I hurt you." She sniffled and wiped her eyes roughly. "Listen, Izuku, maybe I let being your mom get in the way…maybe you can still be a Hero? There are more ways than j-just…p-punching people…okay? We can…we can talk about it tomorrow, when you're feeling better…"
There was still no answer, and Inko bit her lip in worry. The thought of her son hating her or worse, loathing her dispassionately…it may have been a stretch, but it still terrified her.
"Izuku…can I come in? I just w-want a hug, and then I'll leave you alone, okay?...Izuku?" She knocked, but silence was the only answer, not even the rustle of a blanket or the creaking of a chair. "I-I'm opening the door, okay?" She eased the door open and stuck her head in, only to freeze as her heart skipped.
The room was empty. Besides his backpack slumped against his closet, there was no sign of him. The bed was still made, there were no notebooks scattered on his desks. Only his posters and action figures filled the room, staring at her silent, glossy eyes.
"...Izuku?" Inko murmured, her chest heaving as a shot of cold adrenaline dripped down her spine. Her mind jumped, and she remembered the sound of a door closing. It was only now that she realized that it had come from the front door. Her bare feet slapped the wooden floor as she raced for the door, the knob turning itself and opening it before she could touch it. "Izuku?!"
There was no one on the landing. She descended the stairs faster than she thought she could move, nearly tripping several times before she emerged into the sidewalk. "Izuku!" There were only a few people milling about, and most barely looked up from what they were doing. She grabbed a man with ram's horns by the arm. "Have you seen a little boy with fluffy green hair, beautiful emerald eyes and a round, sweet face with freckles?"
"Nope," he said flatly, pulling his arm out of her grasp.
Inko felt her world crashing down around her. Everywhere she looked, she couldn't find even a hint of Izuku. Chest heaving from fear, she quickly dashed the tears building in her eyes and hurried back up to her apartment to grab her phone.
Izuku wasn't sure where his feet were carrying him, only that it was away from the pain that seemed to come at him from all sides. It had started with the doctor, then his mother…now his best friend hated him, and his mom agreed with her. He was useless, everyone agreed. Would All Might agree with them? The desperate part of his mind asked.
He didn't want to know the answer.
Izuku sat down on a bench and looked up at the sky. Even the world is laughing at me, he thought bitterly. Such a terrible day should've been overcast or even stormy to match the tumult of his life, but the sky was clear and the sunset painted the sky in beautiful streaks of purple and orange. As he looked up at the clouds, he felt the pain in his heart slowly dissipate, and his thoughts wandered. Maybe…maybe being a Pro Hero isn't possible, he thought with discomfort, grimacing as it betrayed his very dream to even acknowledge it. But…there are other ways to help, aren't there? I just…don't see how my…useless Quirk could help. Maybe mom will know…
Though it hurt to think of it, perhaps his dream needed changing. He looked down from the sky at the buildings around him. Oh great. I'm lost. He sighed and tried to stifle the fear building in his chest, casting his eyes around for a familiar point of reference, falling on a convenience store with a large front window. Well, they'll at least have a phone and I can call mom...His eyes widened and he gripped his head in panic. Oh no, Mom! She's probably so worried! He looked at the strange buildings, their looming presence suddenly hostile as the sunset, once peaceful, gave way to the dark of night. I want my mommy…
Hopping off of the bench, he scurried over to the store, eyeing the shadows as they grew. But as he approached the door, he heard shouting muffled by the glass. Chancing a glance through the plate-glass window and froze at what he saw.
Behind the counter huddled a pair of adults, one with mouse ears and the other with the teeth of a squirrel. On the other side of the counter stood a man in a dirty trench coat, a hand held threateningly near his mouth. His lips were oddly thick and the back of his hand appeared to have a speaker growing out of it. He was shouting something at another figure near the door, a rookie hero from the look of her or possibly a vigilante, one he didn't recognize, holding a pair of batons with one pointed at the villain.
The villain's eyes flickered over to Izuku then back to the rookie, before flicking back as his eyebrows arched in surprise. The rookie hero followed his gaze and looked out of the window, her jaw falling open at the sight of a kid staring at them in muted surprise and horror.
The villain smiled cruelly and blew into his fingers, a visible wave of sound radiating from his speaker hand directly at the window…and the eight-year old on the other side.
As if air has been replaced by molasses, the window went opaque, cracks spider webbing across the surface before it burst with high-pitched shriek. One shard near the center of impact burst out before the rest, meeting the flesh of Izuku's cheek and carving a bloody line through the skin under his right eye.
His mind raced, the pain providing a cruel burst of adrenaline. His eyes were wide with terror as he watched the wave of glass begin to rain towards him, his thoughts helpfully reminding him of the Hero fights he'd watched, some of the bloodier things he'd seen coming to the forefront. What was descending on him was freshly-broken plate glass. If he was lucky, he'd be shredded to the bone in an instant.
…I just distracted a Hero and gave a Villain an opening to kill me and get away, he thought distantly even as a scream ripped out of his throat and his arms came up to desperately cover his face. I really am useless…and now I'm gonna die painfully…will Kacchan cry at my funeral?
His life, short as it was, flashed through his mind. His mother, sweetly holding him after he'd fallen and scraped his knee. Aunty Mitsuki playfully ruffling his hair after he'd beaned Kacchan with a pillow. All Might, the greatest Hero, someone he'd never met in person, but whose legend, strength and infallible smile had built his dream of doing the same, protecting the innocent and comforting them with nothing but a broad grin. And finally, Katsuki herself.
Even after the events of that afternoon, she still had a special place in his heart as his first, best friend, though she'd done her best to rip it out and grind it into the dirt. The first time they'd met, her playfully annoyed glare as he stumbled over her name. How every time, except for the last, when he called her 'Kacchan' and she grumbled about him butchering her name even as her ruby eyes glittered in the way he knew meant she enjoyed it. Every sleepover where, bar none, she started a pillow fight. She usually won, but he gave as good as he got.
But then he saw something else. Katsuki all grown up, standing shoulder-to-shoulder to him as they stood tall against a horde of shadowy villains. Together, not as Hero and sidekick, but as partners, equals. The future he so desperately dreamed of. The dream he would never achieve if he died.
I don't want to die! He shouted in his head as the rain of glass fell on him. He braced for the unbearable pain of being mulched by shards of sharp silicate…and continued to brace.
Izuku squeezed an eye open and glanced around. His arms, still up to cover his face, were undamaged. As was the rest of his body. The foot he had instinctively curled into his chest to minimize his profile slowly lowered onto the ground, and he dropped his arms, followed shortly by his jaw.
The entire section of sidewalk was practically carpeted in shards of glass…except for the immediate area around and behind the eight-year old boy. Izuku patted himself down, a disbelieving laugh escaping his lips as he looked up at the adults in the store. All four of them were gaping at him, the rookie hero with naked relief on the visible parts of her face. "I'm alright!" He cheered, the sheer relief he felt buoying him. The villain remembered just where he was and what he'd tried to do. He spun on his heel and raced toward the back of the store. "He's running!"
The heroine's head snapped towards the criminal, a snarl on her lips."You tried to kill a kid! YOU'RE DEAD, ASSHOLE!" And then she jetted off after him to dispense righteous justice upon his ass. And subsequently the rest of him.
Her words pierced through the haze of 'oh-thank-god-I'm-still-alive' juice running through Izuku's body, and he paled. I almost DIED! His brain screeched, and he took off running.
He wasn't looking, but if had been, he would've seen and heard that his footfalls on the broken glass didn't crunch even slightly, and that every step left a perfect space of bare concrete.
His eyes darted up to a sign and he breathed a sigh of relief as he recognized the name. Still running on a heady mix of mind-numbing fear and sheer relief, he dashed down the sidewalk, stopping next to the mouth of an alley near his home. As he caught his breath, he noticed something. He was breathing hard, yes, but it was coming back quicker than it had before; and if anything, he felt light, like he could keep running for longer.
As he wondered why, his skin prickled strangely. Pulling up his sleeve revealed a coating of glass shards innocently sticking to his skin, as if they'd been there all along. Izuku hiked up a pant leg and sure enough, there were more on his pale, bony legs. He yanked open his shirt and boom, more glass. Blinking, he unconsciously focused his Quirk and the glass rose from his skin and began to move.
And then he remembered that glass is really sharp and he was really fleshy. The glass halted mid-spin, then zipped back to his skin. He giggled a little as it tickled him, and noted that, with all the glass pressed together, it kind of resembled snake scales or chain mail.
Holding up a hand, Izuku directed the glass to slowly crawl up his arm to his hand, marveling as it twinkled like miniature diamonds in the low light. "Glass is a mineral…so it's not just pebbles and rocks...I wonder what else I can control?" He muttered to himself. The glass around his hand almost resembled armor, like that worn by Tech Knight…the image of the gauntlet formed in his mind, sketched out in detail by his thoughts. His hand tickled and silently, the glass flowed into solid, protective plates around his skin. The planes of glass were opaque, but held firm under a testing tap.
Izuku blinked and flexed his fingers. "Why does it feel so easy to move my hand?" He wondered aloud, rubbing his forefinger and thumb together. There was no grinding or crunching, just the rasp of smooth glass on smooth glass. "Wait…a telekinetic field…I'm moving my hand with my body and my Quirk at the same time. Twice the movement, twice the effort...twice the strength?"
His eyes fell on the nearby dumpster just emptied that morning, then at his hand which curled into a fist. The glass withdrew, leaving plain flesh. He grimaced but threw his fist at the dumpster. It let out a disappointed little bong, and he clutched his hand to his chest, trying not to cry. Izuku breathed deep and felt the pain eventually fade into a dull throb. He focused and the glass flowed back up to become a silicate gauntlet.
He grit his teeth, drew his arm back, and threw it forward.
His knuckles impacted the metal of the dumpster…and the metal gave, sliding back a foot with a visible dent. Izuku, arm still extended, blinked and for the second time that night, a burble of stunned laughter bubbled up out of his chest. Then he thought. If I can do that with glass covering just my hand…what could I do if it covered my whole body? Which was followed by a realization. I need more glass.
And he knew just where to find some.
Though the shadows grew long and the night had truly begun, Izuku felt lighter than ever before, hope once more rekindled in his chest. Retracing his mad dash, the boy found himself drawn by flashing lights and distant conversation. Hiding himself from behind a trash can, he peeked out and cocked an ear to listen in. Apparently the rookie hero had, eventually, caught the speaker-handed villain and beaten him within an inch of his life. At first it seemed like she would get in trouble for excessive force, especially since the attack on a child couldn't be corroborated as his ultrasonic whistle had fried the security cameras. Thankfully, both of the clerks were willing to testify that there was, in fact, a kid and that the villain had, in fact, purposely used his Quirk to either kill or at the very least severely injure a child, and were willing to testify to that.
The young Midoriya kept himself hidden, though he felt strings of guilt twisting in his chest. He wasn't happy that the rookie would get in trouble, but at the same time, coming forward to tell the police would definitely worry his mother even more. So he stayed, and watched as the officer got in his car, killed the lights and pulled away. The clerk began to sweep up the scattered remains of the window, pushing it into a pile by the side of the building. As he finished sweeping, a woman called him from inside with a question about their insurance. The clerk went inside, and Izuku saw his chance.
Bolting from his hiding place, Izuku reached out and touched the sole of his shoe to the pile of glass, watching with an awed smile as the shimmering shards of silicate slid up his leg and disappeared under his clothes. It felt like grains of soft sand skating over his skin, slowly covering every part of him until there was nothing left of the window. He should've felt heavy, but he felt almost lighter than air. Glass covered him entirely, weighing down his hair and resting on his face like a very poorly-made mask.
The door opened and he shot off in a panic. The clerk turned to look at the pile of glass and stopped upon noticing that it had vanished. He checked down one side of the street, then the other. No one. "Did you dispose of the glass yet?!" His fellow clerk shouted from inside, and he shrugged. No skin off his back.
Izuku skidded to a stop in the alley by his home, eyes wide and breathless, but for an entirely different reason. I moved SO FAST! He crowed in his head and also out loud, though he didn't notice. "With glass or rock covering just a limb, my strength and speed are doubled! But when I'm covered entirely…it's expo-expa...very increased! Like telekinetic power armor!" He announced to himself, holding a glass covered fist in the air. Then he looked at the dented dumpster. The back at his fist.
He punched the dumpster, and his hand went straight through. The screech of shearing metal rang out in the twilight and Izuku winced at the noise, as well as the noise following when he yanked his arm back out. When no one came to investigate, he relaxed. Then he threw his hands up and whooped. "YES! My Quirk isn't-GAH!" The door at the end of the alley slammed open, startling him so bad he jumped.
Two men came out, holding trash bags and grumbling, though they stopped as they caught sight of the dumpster several feet from where it was supposed to be with a hole in the middle. Then they shrugged, tossed the trash inside and went back through the door. "Damn racoons."
Above them and stuck to a wall, Izuku sighed as his heart finally stopped feeling like it was about to beat out of his chest. And then his eyes went wide as he realized what had happened.
He'd been startled, jumped ten feet up and instinctively used his field to anchor himself to the brick wall.
Slowly, carefully, Izuku pulled his hand free and rolled over, looking down at his hands and feet stuck to the wall. "…My Quirk is amazing…" He muttered, before looking up. Several floors of brick stretched before him, beckoning him to climb.
He released his field on his right hand and slowly reached up. Then on his right foot. Then his left hand. Then his left foot. And he began to crawl up the side of the wall, quickly gaining confidence and speed until he was soon six stories off of the ground. He looked out over the low grouping of buildings, the smile on his face blinding even without the glass helmet around his head.
Izuku looked at his hands, then down at his feet. Could I use my field to anchor just my feet? The thought of trying and failing made him lick his lips anxiously, but the thought of succeeding…that ruled over everything.
Carefully, so carefully, he placed the soles of his shoes against the brick wall, redirecting the glass to free up more of his field and firmly anchored himself in place. Gulping and squeezing his eyes shut, he peeled his fingers away from the wall, one by one…and pushed himself up. His arms windmilled as he tried to keep his balance, directing his field to flow towards the wall like it was the ground…and he went still.
Izuku opened his eyes and gasped. He stood on the wall like it was solid ground, as if he'd changed the orientation of just himself to sideways. His stomach heaved and a laugh escaped from his mouth, and before he knew it, he was laughing so hard he was crying. His Quirk was amazing! His Quirk did something! His Quirk wasn't useless at all!
"Everyone says it's a useless Quirk," he muttered to himself flexing his glass-covered hand again, "The Doctor, the teachers, the other kids…Kacchan. Even mom. Even…me. But it's not useless! I was only trying to apply it one way, when there are so many! So many uses! My Quirk…is powerful! I'm powerful! I'm not useless!" He threw his head back and shouted into the night, "I AM NOT USELESS!"
Izuku had never felt so free before. And then a realization struck. "…I can be a Hero," he whispered to himself, before throwing his hands up. "I can be a Hero! Yes!" He cheered, turning around to face the actual ground and just then realized how high up he was.
Vertigo struck like a sledgehammer. He wobbled in place as his stomach heaved and his field fluctuated. Then he tilted forward with a yelp, slamming face-first into the wall, holding on only by the field from his toes until, in his panic, he let go of that, too. He skidded down the side of the building, hands flailing desperately for purchase as the ground rushed up to meet him until he managed to slap a hand on the brick work. It wrenched his arm and painfully pulled his body around, but he grabbed hold with his other hand and tried to anchor himself.
He slowed, but didn't stop, sliding down the side of the building with the sound of glass grinding against rock until, six feet off the ground, he slowed to a stop.
Panting, Izuku clutched onto the wall like a limpet until he could catch his breath. "Oh god," he muttered, resting his head against the wall, "I thought I was gonna die…" His head snapped up. "I gotta tell mom!"
Without thinking, he let go of the wall and fell six feet onto the concrete below. He landed in a crouch, the sound of breaking glass echoing in the alley. He looked down at his legs and saw spider web cracks running up and down the surface, before he flexed his field and they smoothed out. Closing his eyes in concentration, Izuku directed the glass to break apart into grains and hid them underneath his clothes. It felt fine, but that amount of glass on his eight-year old body made his clothes appear very tight.
Glass now hidden, Izuku raced up the stairs and burst through the door with a cry of, "Mom!"
In the living room, a haggard Inko jumped with a scream, throwing her phone across the room before darting for the front door. "IZUKU!" She wailed in relief, arms out to give him glomping of a lifetime when she stopped short, watering eyes going wide.
"Mom," Izuku started excitedly, "I have something to show-"
"IS THAT BLOOD?!"
Then he remembered the cut on his cheek.
Inko rushed them to the nearest urgent care, where it was determined that the cut was shallow enough that it wouldn't need stitches, thankfully. It would leave a scar, a straight line near his nose that went out under his eye nearly two inches long.
If that was the cost of learning more about his Quirk, Izuku decided he would pay it gladly.
Once they were back home, his mother turned on him with all the motherly energy her short body could contain. She sat him on the couch and wailed about how worried she was. She cried about how scared his leaving so suddenly had made her. She sobbed about the hour she'd spent, horrified at the thought of never seeing her sweet son again. Then she raised her voice about how he was never to do such a thing again, and that he was to apologize to Mitsuki right away, because that was who she was on the phone with, just about to set off on search and rescue.
Izuku had known leaving would hurt his mother, and her tears were too much for his fluffy little heart to take. The guilt tore at him and he cried too, mother and son tearfully clutching each other and wailing about how sorry they were.
Eventually, though, the waterworks were capped. Inko pulled away from her son, wiping her red eyes. "Izuku honey, listen…I'm sorry about what I said. I lied, okay? I know you can be a hero, Izuku, but just not a Pro, okay? You have the heart of one, but your Quirk is just…it wouldn't save you and I'm sorry but I love you so please don't put yourself in danger there are other career paths, okay?"
She expected that he might nod in solemn acceptance, or cry and agree or any number of things. She did not expect the sly smile he gave her. "Mom," he said gently, stepping away from the couch. "I have something I need to show you."
Inko gasped in surprise as the glass flowed out from under his clothes and formed into rough armor. She shrieked when he then picked up the couch with her on it. "Izuku…how?"
His armor broke apart and hid under his clothes once more. "We were all wrong, mom. We thought it could just move rocks, but it has so many more applications then I ever thought!" He looked down at his hands, glass sand swirling around in his palms before it settled on his skin. He peered up at her through his thick lashes, emerald eyes wide and hopeful. "Mom…do you think I can be a Hero?"
She swallowed thickly and rubbed her eyes. She had only seen the repressed energy and the sheer hope and dreams in his eyes before he'd found about his Quirk. She knew he would never be satisfied with anything less. "Yes, Izuku," she gasped out, tears flowing again despite her efforts. "I know you can!" She burst into tears.
Izuku burst into happy tears and hugged his mother.
There was a whole lot more crying. It went on for some time.
And then came the next day.
For everyone else, Izuku's sunny disposition was a mystery after his defeated air the day before. Students wondered why he had a bandage on his cheek, and teachers cursed to themselves as they dreaded the muttering storm that was sure to follow. He only brightened as he saw the familiar spiky blonde hair of his best friend. "Kacchan-!" He raised an arm to hail her, only for the events of the previous day to slam back home with a vicious spike of pain.
In the excitement of his discovery, Izuku had forgotten the words Katsuki had just about eviscerated him with, how she had taken years of friendship and so easily smeared it under her shoe like it was nothing.
A split second decision was made. He had planned on telling her about his discovery. But she had hurt him so badly. He hoped that she regretted her words, that she would apologize and then he would reveal what he'd learned…
"Hey! I told you not to call me that you damn nerd!"
…But he should've fucking known.
Izuku dropped his hand and his gaze as she stormed up to him. "S-sorry, Kac-I mean, Katsuki."
"Bakugou!" She growled, jamming a finger in his face. "You ain't my damned friend, Deku Koishi!"
He swallowed his ruined hopes and nodded. "…Okay, Bakugou."
Her eyes found the bandage on her cheek, and her fist clenched with a pop of her Quirk. "What's that, you lose a fight with your toast this morning?"
Izuku looked up at her, dark green eyes meeting ruby red. "…Do you care?" He asked softly.
Her visage twisted and her hand gripped his collar. She opened her mouth to scream something, then stopped. She released her grip and shoved him out of her way. "Out of my way, Deku!"
He watched her back as she stomped down the hall, followed by a posse of other kids. He looked down at his hand as grains of sand slipped out of his sleeve to gather in his palm and coat his skin. If that's how she wanted it to be, then fine. Let her insult him, let her think him useless. Izuku would take her insults, hurled like stones and catch them, hide them under his clothes until he could pull them together into armor and floor her with his true power.
Let her build herself, let the sycophants build her a tower. When he was ready, he'd rip out the foundations and watch it crumble.
And maybe then she'd feel an iota of the betrayal, of the upheaval of his world as he felt that day when she did her damndest to stomp on his heart.
But she wasn't blowing smoke. She was naturally powerful, gifted with razor sharp instincts and surprising intellect. She could back up what she put down, and she would only continue to get stronger.
She also had four years for a head start.
Izuku would need everything he could get to catch up, let alone surpass his best friend. He needed to delve into his Quirk, study everything he could eke an advantage out of…
…And most importantly, he needed to train.
It is only at our lowest do we truly know how far we can rise.
And Izuku had only just begun to step up.
A/N: So, bet you weren't expecting to see this from me, were you? (Ignore all the Naruto stories, please). I've been lurking on a server or two, reading MHA stories, pulling ideas and characters together for months until…this. My very own My Hero Academia story, hopefully the only, and the only new story for this year.
NS: At last! I've been waiting for what feels like all year for this.
It's also the first story I've posted on AO3. That's right, this is the first step in ya boi beginning his journey in bringing my older and current stories to another site. Starting with this one, it'll be posted on both FF and AO3.
A little background, but this originally started out as a Legend of Korra story, well, the powerset, anyway. After a little lurking and reading I started thinking how different the Izuku's story would be with that power, namely, an aura of telekinesis focused entirely on rock. And generally shit just spiraled from there. I've got quite a bit of story planned out, from here to the Sports Festival and to be frank I'm kinda giddy to be working on it, so…there might be more coming sooner than you'd think.
Sooner than I'd think, too. Seriously, I wrote almost the entirety of this chapter in two days. Mostly while I was working.
But anyways, thanks to the usual suspects for editing, shooting the shit and just general workshopping, but most of it goes to NorthSouthGorem. He is what one would call a "massive weeb" and his borderline encyclopedic knowledge of BNHA came in handy many, many times in even this first chapter alone. Check him out, yeah?
I hope you enjoyed it, let me know if you did, and I'll be back to entertain you as soon as I can.
Stay Safe, Stay Awesome.
P.S.: And yeah Bakugou's a girl, don't give me shit about that. I like the whole 'destined rivals' thing a lot more when there's the implication of rough sex in the future. And no, Katsuki isn't the only one but it's not crazy, okay?
Also, just something I find humorous is that in a lot of stories with Bakugou as a girl, they change the name to 'Katsumi' even though, to my knowledge of the language, "Katsuki" is perfectly acceptable as a girls' name. I mean hell, his mom is named 'Mitsuki' and what would they change it to if they bent her, huh? 'Mitsuhi'? Mitsushi? Mitsubishi?
Also 'Deku Koishi' means 'Worthless Pebble.'
Stay Awesome Some More.