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i found a hero in you

Chapter Text

Midoriya Izumi particularly favored the cold weather. There was just an indescribable feeling during the late fall and all of winter especially that really made Izumi feel like she was at her peak. She adored the feeling of the frost against her face and the wind, too. She loved the way the cold seeped through her clothes no matter how many layers she piled on. It almost seemed like a game of sorts - between her and the frigidity of winter. It made her feel most coy when she would pretend to try to escape the cold and pretend to be disheartened when she could not. Not only was it exhilarating, but it was a strange sort of comfort she couldn’t find anywhere else.

Not that she was being offered comfort by anyone, mind, aside from the few half-hearted “good days” she received from passerby in an attempt to appear a decent person. She knew better; really, she did. She wasn’t fooled by any fake smiles sent her way or any empty wishes regarding her wellbeing. But it would just be impolite to not accept them, and if Izumi was anything, it was polite. Perhaps a little useless or freakish or even villainous if you were to consider the opinions of those who were there when her quirk presented. But she was polite. And so, with a forced smile she had perfected to look natural as the earth she prances on, she thanked them.

Regardless, Izumi’s love for the cold weather was strong and consistent and only slightly beaten down when she didn’t have a home for the night. Now, her love for the rain and snow and wind and freezing temperatures of winter were truly quite genuine, but even she could admit she would rather not be sleeping on the just barely dry-ish sidewalk underneath a ratty old awning in front of a convenience store on the bad side of town. In the rain, no less! Izumi thought to herself. But still, she could admire the natural beauty that came even in the filthy urbanness of the city. She was mesmerized by the sound of rain pattering on the awning, by the cute little plops! it made as the smaller droplets hit the ground, by the way the water dripped off the tree leaves like a mid-morning dew. It really was great.

But as she was listening to the nice little pitters and patters of the rainfall, another sound caught her ear. It was much less comforting than the rain, she acknowledged. It sounded almost like… a person. But who would be in the worst side of town in the freezing cold heavy rain at…  3:30 AM? She heard the sound again, and it had gotten closer. Again, and closer. And although Izumi had never been one to be frightened by such things, a shiver still ran down her spine at the thought of unneeded violence interrupting the beauty of the rainfall. She sighed and could hear a startlingly close panting from the mystery person.

The sound was more unsettling than the sound of Kacchan’s explosive fits of cursing. This mystery person, they seemed to be in… pain. Izumu cursed her social awkwardness. Of course , she of all people would be confronted with what could possibly be a victim of a crime or attack or abuse, goodness forbid it. Her hands felt damp for reasons other than the rain and her thoughts are running a mile a minute. What should I do? Oh my goodness, what do I do. I don’t know what to do. What if they need help? I should help them! But what if they don’t want help? I should…  I should still help them, right? But what if it’s all a ploy! What if it’s a trick to get me to come over there with such good intentions just to be attacked myself! Oh, but even so, even if it may be a villain most dangerous to the world, it still may be an innocent person in need of help! Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, I need to help them! I need to help them, right, uh, I, uh, what do I do.

“You know, I think you may have a muttering problem.”

The sudden voice surprised a screech out of Izumi as she was roughly thrown from her thoughts. The voice, although deeper than hers by much and raspier, too, sounded distinctly feminine, and Izumi almost let herself be sucked into another almost panic attack. But her will was stronger than that. It needed to be, with Kaachan’s consistent (and, admittedly, unfortunate) presence in her everyday life. So, she turned her whole body the slightest to the left, looked up from where she was sitting on the cold floor, and started to make an attempt at a greeting to the mysterious person before - ah.

Well, shoot. She’s hot.

Everything about her physical appearance seemed to contradict another piece. Her expression was that of distance that almost seemed to compete with the frigidity of the weather. But the look in her eyes was definitely too warm to be aimed at a complete stranger. And they were mismatched, too, which was so cool and Izumi was really, really screwed. Her skin, too, was paler than Izumi’s own - but that may just be because Izumi’s cheeks are in a constant state of blush - save for a large scar that encased her left eye. It looked like it hurt, and Izumi felt a stab of empathy for the girl, but she was simultaneously mesmerized by the way the beautiful blue of her eye and the soft red of her scar; it only added to her charm.  And her hair was split straight down the middle -- snow white and fire red. It looked soft to the touch and reminded Izumi of when her and her mom would sit by the fire while it snowed outside and watch All Might videos together in the comfort of their home (Izumu was always just as captivated by the fire as she was by the snow and remembered quite a few times she would reach out to try and touch the flames). Ah, mom…

“Excuse me? Are you, uh, are you alright?”

Izumi jumped but luckily didn’t screech this time. Ah, she must be so annoyed…

“Y-Yes! I’m alright! I’m so sorry for spacing out, r-really, I am! I didn’t mean to offend you or disrespect you; it’s just, I was really taken aback by how p-pretty you are, haha, I mean! Oh, uh, I shouldn’t have said that; why did I say that?” She paused her unfortunate ramblings and took a deep breath as she bent to touch her forehead to the cold cement. “P-please forgive me. Or end me. Anything.”

She heard a chuckle from the pretty girl. Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Izumi managed to think, this world is cruel and unfair, and I demand a refund.

“Oh? A refund? But then you wouldn’t be able to see such a… what was it? Gorgeous and stunning girl, like me, right?”

Izumi was so embarrassed. She slowly lifted her head from the ground and was pleased to find she only had a minor headache from the cold. “I didn’t say that,” she mumbled and maybe she pouted, but that was unimportant.

“Oh, yes, forgive me. Would you like me to restate what you actually said, then? Hm?” The girl was smirking just slightly down at her and her eyes were full of mischief. Some stray strands of hair found their way plastered to her cheek and Izumi wanted so badly to tuck them behind her ear. Her wispy bangs somehow were unaffected by the wind, however, and for how thick and glossy and perfectly straight her hair seemed, it also added to her vibe of effortless beauty. And was that an undercut? It really was unfair. How could a girl be this enchanting?

“Effortless beauty? You know, if you keep mumbling like this, I’m just going to have more ammunition,” she drawled in a way that didn’t even sound condescending. Goodness, was she an angel? Izumi could practically see a halo above her head and feathery white wings from behind her.

“U-uh-uh, I mean, uh, what?” Evidently, Izumi’s brain had turned to mush for the time being. She shook her head quickly. Get it together! “That is, I, uh, mean to say… A-Are you alright? I-I heard you panting earlier and you seemed hurt. Do you need to go to the hospital? What hurts? You weren’t attacked, were you?” Izumi was nearly screeching now, but she couldn’t contain her concern for the hot-and-cold angel before her.

“W-what? I’m-I’m fine. Don’t worry about it. What are you doing out here so late, anyway?”

“P-please don’t change topics! You really seemed like you were hurt. And I really want to help if I can, so please just… tell me?” She looked the girl in the eye and was embarrassed to feel tears coming on. But Izumi could see her resolve crumbling.

“Fine. But please, don’t look at me like that,” she muttered as gracefully as someone can mutter, and averted her eyes from Izumi, who blinked away the tears and hastily stood up upon her agreement. It was this action that showed both girls how much taller the newcomer was than little Izumi. Izumi felt her jaw drop just the slightest bit. Her angel was so tall! She had to be at least ten centimeters taller than Izumi.

“Oh. Just how tall are you?” It would almost be intimidating if she didn’t seem to warm-hearted.

“Ah… I’m one seventy-six centimeters. Y-You?” Oh, now you’ve done it, useless Izumi. You’ve made her feel awkward! What if she’s self-conscious about her height?

“Wow! You’re super tall! I’m only one fifty-two, but! That added height is totally super charming! I’m always teased by Kaachan because I’m a shorty; I imagine it would be super cool to be tall! A-Anyway, we’ve gotten off topic. Please, are you okay?”

“Ah, I mean, yeah, I’m alright. It’s just that I was jogging because I couldn’t sleep when the rain started and it aggravated some recent injuries. I promise I’m alright, though. You don’t need to worry.” The girl smiled at her just barely and it was overwhelmingly pretty. “How are you, though? You didn’t seem to be going anywhere when I came by. Could it be that you’re lost?”

“You know what? Y-Yeah, I think I am.”

Chapter Text

Why did I tell her I was lost? I literally had a fat zero other options of where to go and I go and tell her I’m lost ? What the heck, Izumi, you’re so stupid! Ah, what if she thinks I’m weird now?” A moment’s pause. “And I didn’t even get a name. I will live my entire life without the one piece of knowledge I seek most; I will never obtain true content for I will never know the name of my beautiful angel; I will live on in agony just because I couldn’t tone down the lesbian just this once. My life will end here, surely,” Izumi mumbled with her head hung low. Tears brimmed the corners of her eyes for the second time today and frankly, she was unsurprised. She had always been a ridiculously easy crier, another thing she inherited from her mom.

Every time she thought of her mom, Izumi’s heart groaned. Midoriya Inko was an amazing woman. She would be forever when anyone at all remembered her, except maybe Hisashi. Izumi recalled an early childhood memory from when everything was nice and good, and she used to stand in front of the mirror and practice her mom’s smile. She couldn’t ever quite get it she thought, but Inko seemed happy if her frantic sobbing was anything to go by. Oh, she could distantly recall another memory with her mom, too, when she learned about Izumi’s quirk and pleaded I’m sorry I’m sorrysorrysorrysorrysorry -

Izumi was on the ground now. She didn’t think she was before, but now she was, and it wasn’t such a terrible turn of events. While there may have been a distant ache in her head and her ass, at least she wasn’t so lost in her head anymore.

“Ahhhhhhhh, I’m so sorry for bumping into you! I should have been paying more attention, haha, I’m super sorry-” She cut herself off when she looked up to an empty space before her. A quick glance around told her she bumped into a kid who seems to also be in junior high and who was currently hightailing his way to the other side of the world as if he’s being chased by an army of villains . Izumi was really getting sick of people reacting to her this way and couldn’t help but grumble. It’s not like she was scary by any means if you didn’t look at her quirk.

Besides, it wasn’t the quirk that made someone scary or evil. But other people didn’t seem to understand that. It was a shame, really, that society had become so dependent on these quirks that they couldn’t see past them. Everyone was determined by their quirk, and if you didn’t have a quirk or if your quirk was deemed evil by others, you were likely screwed.

Or you could prove them all wrong and become a hero even when the only person who tried to support you had been dead for seven years. That sounded good.

Yikes.

Moving on, Izumi’s day so far, while not great, definitely had been above average. Her mind continued to wander back to the pretty girl from earlier and her heart still did that annoying fluttery thing. But Izumi always was one to look at the bright side of things, so she thought, At least if I want my heart to stop fluttering, I can just think about going home to father and treasuring the all-encompassing dread that overtakes me. There’s always something to look forward to.

As Izumi trudged along the path to Hisashi’s home, she wondered if she would be welcome again so soon. The rainfall had long since stopped and as the frosty temperature from that morning had dropped even further to support the idea of snow. If the rain came back, it would surely turn into a snowstorm soon. Izumi just hoped she could make it to his house before that happened, but if not, she would just have to live with it, she supposed. The rain was a nice friend, after all, and the snow was the beloved cousin of her beloved rain.

 

_______________

 

The Midoriya household has undergone much change throughout the years. Although Inko and Hisashi bought one house and never moved from it, the house Izumi grew up in felt like a whole different reality when compared to the house now. Growing up, Izumi has looked at that house as her home, her happiness, somewhere she could go to and depend on regardless. That house was her home and more importantly, Izumi as a child always knew her mother would be safe inside.

Midoriya Izumi stopped being a child at age five.

As she approached the house, she couldn’t feel much besides dread. It was a dull kind of dread, just barely heavy enough in the pit of her stomach to make her nauseous and just barely light enough to offset her balance. She stumbles - once, twice - as she walked up the neat stone pathway that led to the deceptively friendly-looking arch of the rounded door top. That dread was gone now. Izumi was suddenly filled with a familiar thick feeling of just numbness that she spent most of her days stuck in. It was just the slightest bit concerning how quickly she transitioned from feeling like nothing to everything then nothing again. She took a minute to wonder and decided.

It was infinitely more enjoyable to feel the nothing. Even when her heart and her stomach and her bones and her everything ached so intensely she was almost tricked into believing she was physically injured. But she hadn’t been able to feel physical pain in a long time, and even if she could, it would still not hold a candle to this.

The bones in her fingers broke as she rapped on the locked door. Her jaw dislocated as she clenched her teeth tight in an act of almost-defiance. Her ears bled as she heard his footsteps get closer. And she wished she was blind when he opened the door with his signature snarl disguised as a smile.

“Back so soon, Izu-chan?”

His voice sent shivers down her spine.

“Well,” she replied, like her lips burnt when they touched, “I don’t have anywhere else, now do I, dad?”

“Ah, that’s right, little Izu-chan!” He ushered her inside with a disingenuously gentle hand on her back, and the neighbors who were loitering around in conversation didn’t suspect a thing. The door closed with a resoundingly muted thud. “And why would that be?” His smile was some mixture of cocky and evil, while still managing to not look like either.

“I wonder that too, Hisashi-san.”

That hand crept up her back and it was hot hot hot hot until it reached its smoldering destination on her shoulder. His nails were long and sharp and every little crease in his palm felt like streams of magma seeping into her skin.

“You’ve gotten insolent, brat. If you keep this up, you’ll never make it.” The ‘ as a villain, as my apprentice’ was left unsaid, but managed to be louder than his words said. “Let’s work on that.”

She smiled a toothy grimace. “Let’s.”


Chapter Text

In a well-intentioned attempt to thank whatever power above that was looking after her, Izumi exercised the small amount of self-preservation she had and barricaded herself in the basement when she could escape Hisashi. She looked at her arm, distantly aware it was likely broken, but not feeling too enthusiastic to make herself number than she already was. There was a rather nasty bruise rapidly forming on the length of her forearm, dark purple - near black - and like little streams of water on a map, her veins shone through the darkness. Izumi grimaced at the sight a small bit and reached up to poke at a bone sticking out of a bloody mess at the center of the bruising.

She didn’t feel it.

And so, with a sigh, she snapped her head to look away as she restored her arm. It gave some unpleasant squelches, a crack of her bone becoming new, and oddly enough, a mysterious thud coming from goodness knows what. She distantly wondered what side effects could result from her quirk use. She had yet to find one and while she wasn’t necessarily looking forward to knowing what about her quirk was her weakness, she was curious nonetheless.

Speaking of quirks, she thoughts traveled back to the Mystery Girl from earlier for the nth time since meeting her. What could her quirk be? Is it simply a mutation-type quirk that dictates the color of her hair? Or is it the cause of her beauty? Or is it temperature-based? It would be ironic considering her hair giving off the whole “hot and cold” vibe, Izumi thought, giggling to herself from behind her palm.

She thought of the journals she had before. Her Hero Analysis for the Future series was something she used to be so proud of, something she spent so much time and effort on. But now, as they lied beneath the bottom of one of her drawers, hidden away from the world and Hisashi, she regretted writing them. If he were to find them… she didn’t want to ponder the possibilities of what he could do with that information. She could have been responsible for so many deaths… the deaths of the civilians she had always worshipped and the civilians she had vowed to protect.

She changed her mind. She wanted the numbness back.

She could have handled the fear and self-loathing and anything except the thought of that possible future. Not for the first time, she wished Kaachan would have destroyed more than one of those journals. A world where Midoriya Izumi wasn’t alive to potentially be forced to become a villain would have been better.

Above her, she could hear the door slam shut. Although it was very much possible that Hisashi was tricking her to come out of hiding like he had before, she was too hopeful to risk missing the opportunity. She could hear that the rain stopped and was excited to be able to get out of that house as soon as possible. So, she was careful as she snuck up the stairs to the main house and even more so as she hurried to the door. He’s gone! Big thank, thought Izumi, and she relished in the feeling of the cool air against her face. Second thought, I should probably grab a jacket.

_______________

Musutafu in January was truly a very pretty spectacle. Izumi’s neighborhood in particular, despite being filled with bullies, was admittedly gorgeous. The Midoriyas excluded (since Inko’s death, at least), the rest of the street all had intricate decorations spread between them to create a sense of unity in the neighborhood. Even with the Midoriya household not being a part of the affair, it still managed to create a stunning view.

Izumi couldn’t bring herself to like it. She adored the sense of community within her neighborhood when she was younger when she and Inko would go along with the decorations and laugh with the neighbors and Izumi would play with the neighborhood kids. After Inko’s death, the neighborhood avoided Izumi like the plague.

She didn’t blame them but wondered why they were still friendly with Hisashi.

Heaving a big sigh, she continued on her route to that little convenience store on the other end of town. She wondered if her Mystery Girl would be there by chance. Izumi having some semblance of luck for once? Unlikely and improbable, but have a great day. Her cheeks flushed a deeper pink and felt hot to the touch when she laid her palms on her cheeks.

“Aaaaaaaaaahh, what if I see her again! It will finally be the last of Midoriya Izumi, local useless gay and aspiring hero, who never once even held a girl’s hand. A meaningless life,” she despaired, bringing the back of her hand to her forehead in a dramatic display of dismay.

She got some odd looks. It was really embarrassing. For the rest of her walk, she refrained from being so obviously gay. She figured it could wait for a more opportune time. For example, when she was walking straight into the girl from that morning wait what why was she there what is happening -

“Fancy seeing you here. And so soon, at that. Hm? Maybe an early birthday present for my birthday. Aren’t I lucky?”

What the heck what the heck what the heck what the heck whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatWHAT???????

“W-What.” Why was it that any time Izumi was faced with a pretty girl, she became a person made of goo? This is the peak of homophobia, Izumi thought to herself.

“Ah, I don’t mean to offend but… you’re a bit of a mess, aren’t you?” She was smirking just the slightest bit and her lips looked so soft and not chapped at all despite the cold and dry air. Izumi really couldn’t find it in herself to be offended.

“O-Oh, I’m sorry! I-It’s just… I didn’t quite expect to see you here, you know. Like you said! S-So soon, haha. Not that I’m upset to see you! Quite the opposite, actually; I was just thinking about you - well, actually, I’ve been thinking about you pretty non-stop since I last saw you except when-” Izumi forcefully cut herself off. Since she was five, she had managed to keep quiet about Hisashi and all of a sudden, she was almost blurting it out to a random girl she just met solely because she was gay and had no filter? That girl wasn’t beneficial for Izumi’s health.

“Hm? Midori, what were you saying?”
“I-It doesn’t matter! But… wait. How-How do you know my name?” As pretty as the girl was, Izumi wasn’t quite ready to interact with a stranger who could have been a stalker.

“Your… name? I don’t? Is your name Midori?”

“Ah,” Izumi mumbled with warm cheeks, rubbing her palm against the back of her neck. “It’s Midoriya. I-I’m Midoriya Izumi! If I may ask, w-why did you call me ‘Midori’ if you didn’t know my name?”

“Really?” The girl leveled her a vaguely disbelieving look. “You’re green. Midori. Ah, that’s… frankly, that’s what the kids would call wild.”

Izumi paused for a moment, taken aback, before she recovered (somewhat) and stammered a shy, “W-What about you?”
“Hm? What about me?”

“Your name! That is if you feel comfy giving it to me…”

“Oh. I’m-I’m Shioko. T-Todoroki Shioko.” Todoroki averted her eyes and emitted an aura of discomfort. Izumi panicked.

“O-Oh! T-Todoroki, haha, you, um, must be Endeavor’s kid! Ha, Endeavor sure is a great hero, right?” It pained Izumi to the core to say this. “B-Being the number two and all, he must be really, uh… g-great.”

Todoroki looked amused. “You can be real with me, Midori; he’s a piece of shit, I know.”

“Oh, thank goodness, that was so hard - wait. T-Todoroki-san, Endeavor… is he? I mean, that is to say, does he… uh.” Izumi made a helpless gesture with her hands. Todoroki seemed to analyze her for a while, and every second of having her gaze on her made Izumi more and more flustered.

“Well, I can’t be sure as to what you’re trying to convey. But… if it helps clarify anything, please don’t call me ‘Todoroki’.”

Izumi was at war with herself in her head. It was likely obvious to Shioko, too, who was appearing more concerned about Izumi’s health by the second. She made up her mind.

“If it… If it helps at all, Shioko-san, my dad’s a, uh, I consider him a ‘piece of shit’ as well.” She paused, and because she was a fool who was either completely analytical of decisions or the exact opposite and never in between, blurted out, “A-And, please! Call me Izumi!”

Shioko grinned just barely. Izumi wanted to smash her head into the wall for many reasons.

“Alright, Izu-chan.”

Izumi’s world crumbles around her, and although Izumi and Shioko’s individual stories have long since begun, their shared story just now sets into action. And it all starts with the feeling of ice cold water being thrown over Izumi.  

 

Chapter Text

Izumi doesn’t think her pencil has ever moved so quickly before. It makes her handwriting a bit more difficult to read, but it’s a small price to pay for all the analysis Izumi is able to document. She thinks about Shioko and her pretty, contagious smile. She thinks about Shouto and the hurt in her eyes when Izumi called her ‘Todoroki’. She thinks about the way Shioko’s voice was full of what seemed to be affection ( How could it be, though? She’s only just met me and even so, she has no reason to like me. I’m just plain old Izumi, so what could it be..? ) when she called her ‘Izu-chan’.

It had been a weird feeling, hearing that nickname from someone who wasn’t so malicious. Izumi had been washed over with freezing cold dread, but... Shioko didn’t know Izumi would have some weird complex about a specific nickname; really, there was no way she could have known... Still, Izumi had been scared. And she regrets it now. She remembers how badly she reacted and she regrets. She remembers the confusion on Shioko’s face slowly morphing into hurt and she regrets. Why did she run away? Izumi wants to scream into her pillow. But she’s back at the house with Hisashi and somehow, she doesn’t think of it as the best idea, even to her standards. And she has looked Kaachan in the face with her eyebrows raised.

Now, that hadn’t had a particularly favorable outcome and no , she doesn’t regret it and yes , she would probably do it again if she were placed in the same kind of situation, but also no , that doesn’t mean she has a death wish. Besides, the only reason Izumi is afraid of Kaachan is because of what she could do to him if provoked beyond her control. The thought of hurting her childhood friend or whatever he is by now... that’s what Izumi fears every day she comes to school.

And while on the topic, Izumi halts herself just before the modest gate of Aldera Junior High. As much as Izumi may dislike school, she can honestly say it is and will always be miles better than being with Hisashi, so she always makes sure to arrive early and leave late. When she was younger, Izumi was never able to enjoy primary school as it was the source of her worst torment. However, although she’s still bullied and isolated and tormented here, she’s able to enjoy school for what it is - or rather, what it could be - and treasure her education.

She holds back a sigh because she really thinks she’s been sighing too often as of recent and it’s becoming worrying because -

She hears an explosion in the rather nearby distance.

Why is Kaachan coming to school an hour early.

 

 

Now, Izumi perfectly understands that everyone has their own reasons to every action and choice they enact and even if she doesn't agree with most some  of Kaachan’s decisions for perfectly good reasons and although she swears she’s fair and just and doesn’t judge unnecessarily, she feels almost vexed due to his presence.

She’s… not accustomed to that, but she supposes she can question herself later when Kaachan isn’t directly in her face and on the verge of exploding her face off.

 

 

When did Kaachan get so close.

 

 

She can’t muster an expression. She’s so done. She wants to crawl in a cave. She wonders idly if there are any nearby. Those could be fun to explore.

Her ear aches.

Ah, yes. Kaachan. Right .

“H-Hey, Kaachan. G-Good morning?” Heck yeah, Izumi! Barely any stu -

“Hah? Don’t ‘Kaachan’ me, dumb villain bitch!” He’s frothing at the mouth it looks like. And it seems that he raised his voice as high as possible when imitating Izumi. She’s more offended by that impression that what Kaachan considers to be a good insult.

“Ah, you really thought long and hard about that one, h-huh, Kaachan,” she blurts out in an admittedly common act of snark that still manages to surprise both her and Kaachan. Izumi doesn’t really expect higher of herself because frankly, she knows better. But Kaachan? Izumi used to idolize him (“secretly”, she still does, but that’s unimportant). She really is a bit disappointed whenever Kaachan is... himself. It’s a paradox she doesn’t think she’ll ever understand, but she’s content with not knowing everything.

“What the fuck did you just say to me, freak? You really do have a death wish, huh. What have I said,” he shouts, “about talking back to me, useless Deku ?” He’s devolved into a snarling mess in a display almost comparable to a frightened feral animal. Almost accurate, but animals - even feral ones - are... cute. Kaachan is just. Hm. Kaachan is a myste - Deku? Izumi wonders. That’s a new one.

“You know, Kaachan...” Izumi ponders, feeling suddenly daring enough to send a sly smirk Kaachan’s way as she sees him deflate, “‘Deku’ almost sounds like ‘you can do it!’ don’t you agree? Wow! To think I’d live to see the day where my beloved Kaachan gifts me such a-- such a--! Such an encouraging nickname! You really are the nicest, Kaachan,” Izumi finishes, willing some tears to her eyes and trying her very hardest to not gag at herself.

Midoriya Izumi may very well be the primary source of her own misery.

Kaachan, on the other hand, the primary source of his misery is unmistakably Izumi. She feels bad about teasing him, really, she does! But she might just so happen to relish in it, too, just every once in a while. Just the sight of his disbelieving eyes and his jaw dropped down to the floor and the rising touch of pink to his cheeks: a telltale sign of Bakugou Katsuki’s ever-so-rare embarrassment.

Izumi reconsiders her choices. Kaachan looks broken and it’s becoming concerning how little he’s moved. She feels like such a jerk. A real villain.

“A-Ah, Kaachan, I, uh, I’m sorry!” She bows to him maybe twenty times in her haste. “That was really mean of me and I didn’t mean to make fun of you! Please don’t be embarrassed,” she gasps out. She can somehow manage to ramble on for minutes on end without needing to breathe but whenever she’s actually talking to someone, why is it that when she’s actually saying something important, her lungs seem to shrink in upon themselves?

Her thoughts are interrupted by a nearly-screaming Kaachan.

“Y-You didn’t fluster me, fuckin’ nerd!” he seethed, clearly flustered. “Just... stay away from me, useless nerd!”

Oh, the beauty of the human race in a nutshell .

Izumi, for all of her insecurity, finds she really laughs at her own jokes too much as she tries to stop giggling. She supports that conclusion much more after realizing she’s surrounded by her peers. She has not the slightest clue how she managed to miss this, but she’s too panicked to be surprised. Her trek to class is full of many almost falls, but luckily no actual falls, so Izumi considers it a job well done. As she sits at her desk, she notes on the board the words “Career Paths.” The other students seem to be distracted by their friends and ramblings of the newest All Might battle uploaded to his fan-page. Even amidst her anxiety about the day to come, she, too, can't help but get pulled into the excitement of her peers. That video... it really is amazing. It doesn't take much to encourage an awestruck reaction from Izuku being the hero nerd that she is, and she's always been especially drawn to All Might as a beacon of light and hope and a wonderful example of everything good the world has to offer. And yet, this video... it strikes something in her. Even this is not an accurate statement about the extent Izumi adores it because, well, every All Might-related piece of media sends her into the stars with admiration, but she can't say she's ever felt so much because of the number one hero. 

The video itself isn't getting nearly as much media coverage as most of them do, but even that says something. She recalls the earnest twinkle in his eyes and the confidence with which he stood and spoke and breathed. It wasn't loud like Kaachan's or insincere like the rest of their peers, but it was confidence nonetheless. Izumi could discern it from the solid genuineness of his smile and the gentle nature of his posture - not nearly as overbearing as usual - and even the way he moved his arms. All Might... Izumi can't quite be sure if it's just his natural character because, well, she's never met him, but the part of her that has idolized him since she can remember tells her it is. There was no waver in All Might's voice. There never has been, really, so Izumi isn't quite sure why she's so dead-fixed on something so mundane and consistent about him. But the sureness in his voice as he spoke... as he said something Izumi, who knows so much about so many heroes it's difficult to believe there's anything about them she doesn't know,  has never heard a hero say. It rings in her ears again.

 

“You...” And she’s tearing up in the middle of her classroom before the school day has even officially begun.

 

“You all have the potential to be amazing heroes...” But she can’t help it... her hero for years is...

 

“But until then...” He is putting his trust in her.

 

“You can count on me. And I won’t let you down. “ And she’s determined to not let him down either. She’ll become a hero if it kills her, she swears it.

 

And she’ll start by putting her phone down because class has started and she’s not supposed to be on her phone oh no. She’s subtle, though, and only gets a few weird looks from the other students, so it’s all cool. Peachy, even.

“Now, I’ve decided today,” her teacher begins, glancing warmly across the class, “to dedicate today to you. Your futures are important. And you all have such potential to succeed. And while it is undeniable that the noblest choice of action would be to become a hero, it is apparent that there are those, few and far in between, with no potential.” She and Izumi are engaged in a staring contest, it seems. Well, ha! Tricks on you because my eyes aren’t feeling dry at all! In fact, I’d say they’re... getting more... moist than usual... Ah.

Midoriya Izumi is not an idiot. She may be considered naive by a select few, and every once in a while she may get a ninety-eight instead of a hundred on a particularly difficult test, but Izumi, even in her wallowing self-consciousness, will not tolerate being treated as an idiot. She knows this is a last-ditch effort from their professor to divert Izumi and Izumi alone from her path to becoming a hero. But Izumi isn’t the idiot if her professor really thinks she can do anything to stop her from becoming a hero. So, with tears brimming her eyes and threatening to begin flowing down her face, Izumi raises her head up and maintains the eye contact with her teacher.

“Professor... I’m sorry to interrupt, but I disagree. I don’t think there’s anyone in this class with no potential. You’re mistaken.”

Izumi’s almost shaking in nerves. She’s never been so rude to an adult besides Hisashi before. But she can’t make herself regret it.

From his seat, Kaachan explodes.

At least I didn’t comment on the whole “noblest choice of action” part, she thinks I would probably be dead where I sit, obliterated by Kaachan’s sheer force of anger.

_______________

“Shitty Deku! Where do you think you’re going, piece of crap! Fuckin’ trash can, stop running away!”

Izumi wonders briefly if the Bakugous just let Kaachan swear to all his heart’s content. He never seems to stop. Or even hesitate, for that matter.

Izumi doesn’t even try to hold back her frustrated groan. “ What, Kaachan? What else could you possibly have to say to me?”

“You’ve forgotten your place, shitty nerd." 

Izumi freezes. 

"You've gotten insolent, brat."

Bakugou Katsuki's smile is that of a predator finally winning a life-long chase for its prey. 

"Just give up! You'll never be a hero." 

"Little Izu-chan, you seriously aren't still dreaming of being a silly hero, are you? Come on, now. Can't you see? It's not where you belong..." 

Bakugou Katsuki is someone to be feared. His smile is made of little blades in his mouth. Izumi sometimes forgets teeth aren't made of bone. 

"After all, your quirk... it would fit a villain best." 

Five feet before Midoriya Izumi is not Bakugou Katsuki, but rather some horrifying hybrid between Izumi's lifelong bully...

and what at this time seems like her worst nightmare. 

Midoriya Hisashi. 

She can't breathe. Her lungs are filled with smoke. It stings her eyes and gets stuck in her throat. She tastes ash on her tongue, clinging to her teeth. She can't breathe. She can't breathe she can't breathe she can't breathe she's choking she's dying she c a n ' t  b r e a t h e . 

And then she can. 

Izumi can't figure out what has happened for a good moment. Her eyes still sting and her lungs seem like they're each an inch in diameter. Her breaths are frantic and unsuccessful and just because she can breathe doesn't mean that she does. She feels like she's just been dragged to an inch of her life and then hauled into good health in the blink of an eye. It's a tad confusing, at best, and her brain is a muddled mess of panic and fear and just about every negative thing Izumi thinks she's capable of feeling. Her hands grapple at the suddenly clear and clean air before her and her lungs expand like balloons and she's gulping in air like she has just run a marathon. She takes great comfort in the gentle hand on her shoulder. 

It takes a moment to register before... HAND, Izumi's brain all but screams at her and she's rearing back as far as her shaky legs can take her. It turns out it's not very far because next thing she knows, she's falling to her doom and then suddenly safe again and she's just so, so confused. And possibly dead. She may very likely be dead because there's an angel beside her looking at her. 

Death might not be so bad, Izuku concludes in a daze. 

"Death? Are... Are you alright? Did that angry lapdog from before hurt ya'? 

Oh, Izumi said that out loud. And 'angry lapdog'? She must mean Kaachan. She's right. He does seem like a poorly trained chihuahua. With explosive sweat... and a hatred for Izumi deeper than Tartarus. Haha, that's right. Just a lapdog. Harmless. 

"Hun," OH MY GOODNESS, "you're shaking. Are you alright?" 

Izumi's head spins. The angel... her hair is a really pretty purple. And it looks really light and soft and wavy and it seems gravity-defying and it's s h o r t  hhhhhhh she looks really really gay--

"I'm getting worried. Can you remember your name? What is it?" 

"M-Mido... Midoriya. Izumi. Mi-Midoriya Izumi." Izumi pauses for a moment, but finds that her brain-to-mouth filter is in a state of disrepair. "Are you an angel." It's not even a question by Izumi's tone. 

The girl beside her who now appears to be much much much taller than Izumi had noticed before sends her an amused smirk and cocks her head to the side. "Well, I've definitely heard worse, so I won't correct you on that. But I think you've got it wrong, Midoriya, because it's definitely you who's the angel. I'm just Shinsou, but you can call me Hoshiko." 

Her name's definitely fitting, Izumi thinks. And maybe I have a type. 


Shioko's pretty face smirking down at her flashes through her mind. 

 

Maybe.