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Present Mic’s Radio Show!

 Tuesdays and Thursdays from 18:30 to 19:30

Canary’s Hour

 

PRESENT MIC: YYYEEEAAAHHH!

CANARY: Yay.

PRESENT MIC: IIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTT’S six thirty! And we all know what that means…

CANARY: I should be doing my homework.

PRESENT MIC: YYYEEEAAAHHH – wait – that’s not what you’re supposed to say!

* faint scribbling sounds can be heard *

PRESENT MIC: Are you actually doing your homework?!

CANARY: Well, someone set us a massive English essay –

PRESENT MIC: You’re fluent in English!

CANARY: – that I thought would be acceptable to leave until last minute for precisely that reason. But then I remembered it’s due on a Friday and therefore leaving it until last minute would mean I have to do it on a Thursday evening and here we are.

* silence follows as the scribbling continues *

PRESENT MIC: Ok, are you actually going to –

CANARY: Almost finished…

PRESENT MIC: What’s it on again?

CANARY: You were the one who set it!

PRESENT MIC: I have a lot on my shoulders and –

CANARY: Whatever you say, Cockatoo.

* frantic tweeting noises *

CANARY: Yes, thank you, Siren – but if you poop on my work I will disown you.

PRESENT MIC: I think I need a pet bird too.

* flapping followed by a yelp, Canary’s muffled laughter and Siren’s squawks *

PRESENT MIC: PET WAS NOT AN INSULT – I REPEAT – PET WAS NOT AN INSULT!

CANARY: I think Siren has an intelligence Quirk – she is way too smart for her own good.

PRESENT MIC: I meant I need a bird companion too.

* a tense silence ended by a satisfied tweet and a sigh of relief *

CANARY: Finished! Can I hand it in now?

PRESENT MIC: NO! Because I will lose it, guaranteed.

* Canary sighs and a rustling of paper indicates he has shoved his work into a backpack *

PRESENT MIC: ANYWAY – Moving on! We have a show to get to! First things first, as always, let us begin with our weekly talk with one of you lucky listeners!

CANARY: I know what you guys are plotting, and I swear – I will hang up.

PRESENT MIC: I’m just going to pretend I didn’t hear that and LET’S SEE IF OUR LISTENER PICKS UP!

* a ring tone can be heard – one which Siren repeats dutifully in the background *

LISTENER: Hello?

PRESENT MIC: YYYEEEAAAHHH! You have made it all the way to our radio show!

LISTENER: Great, so, Midoriya –

CANARY: OH MY GOD, JIRO – I literally just said –

LISTENER {JIRO}: Yeah, yeah, whatever – so anyway – what was the English essay on again?

* Canary sighs exasperatingly *

CANARY: You know what, in punishment, I’m not going to tell you.

* A collective groan can be heard from the listener’s end *

CANARY: Ok, someone in the radio station is putting you through every time any of you guys call – and to that someone, Siren will find you and make your life a living hell.

* Siren tweets in agreement *

PRESENT MIC: WELL, you get one question that is not school related, Jiro!

LISTENER {JIRO}: Sure, err… why Canary? You could have chosen literally any other bird name out there – and you went for Canary, why?

CANARY: Oh, that’s an easy one. Let me tell you a story!

 

 

In a tradition dating back to 1911, canaries were the heroes of the underground, known for the capture of a silent killer, and for being the saviours of countless lives, all because of their singing.

Deep in the coal mines, where men were hard at work, chipping away at the stone walls in search of a black gold, hanging from the ceiling were tiny cages, each inhabited by a little bird – a canary.

The canaries would sing and sing, for it was all they knew – trapped in that tiny box, incapable of flight – all they could do, was sing. And so, they sang. They sang and they sang their little hearts out, finding melody within the rhythmic beat of the miners’ pics as they hit the walls mercilessly, desperate to find the fuel that would keep the cities alive and running. There were times when the miners would live for the singing of the canaries, a gentle reminder of the world above – of the morning sun and kind world they learn to love that little bit more as they spend so much time away from it.

And so, when the singing stops, it’s not hard to notice.

The miners look up at the ceiling, and see the little birds, collapsed in their cages – sounds no longer whistling from their throats.

Carbon monoxide – the silent killer.

The gas binds to blood instead of oxygen in a permanent fashion, meaning no matter how much more oxygen a person inhales, it would not satisfy them. It would never reach their cells, and they would die quickly – drifting off into an endless sleep.

There are several reasons that canaries were killed by the gas before the miners. The first, was the chemical make up of a bird’s blood. Whilst a human’s red blood cells are formed from stem cells in the bone marrow, a bird’s simply replicate themselves in the blood stream. This means, poisoned cells can not easily be replaced like they can in a human. However, the more potent reason is the size of a canary – so small, so fragile. Less blood means more can be poisoned at a faster rate. Meaning they drop dead before the miners.

And so, leaving the little bodies of the birds deep in the mines, the men are evacuated before the gas can kill them too.

The sweet sound of bird song, or the lack thereof, being the only reason that their descendants walk this Earth today.

 


 

 

Almost two years earlier

 (...Before the radio show, not 1911 - you know what? I'm just going to shut up and let you read, yeah? Yeah...)

 

Midoriya sighed as he closed his book. He was procrastinating – learning about things he really didn’t need to learn about – but when did that ever stop him? Anyway, all this talk of canaries in mines was far more interesting than any of the other facts he should have been committing to his mind.

He was supposed to be going over his history work. He was far ahead of the rest of the class, but one of the things he could never have known for sure, was what was to be on UA’s entrance exam, and he could never be too careful.

He needed to get into general studies. UA was his first step to –

He glanced up at the poster of All Might looming over his computer. He’d taken the rest of them down. But he couldn’t bring himself to completely free his room of memorabilia, and so, the poster remained.

becoming a hero.

No, no – NO.

It was a childish dream. It was about time he gave up and –

wish for a Quirk in your next life and take a swan dive of the roof of the building!

– and focused on a more realistic goal.

It’s good to have dreams, but… make sure they’re attainable.

Attainable… attainable…

“Izuku!”

Midoriya jumped, almost falling off his chair.

“Can I come in, Izuku?”

He didn’t say anything, so his mother let his door creak open.

“Still studying?” she frowned. Inko carried a bowl of ramen into his room and slid it in front of him. She pulled up a chair and sat to eat her own bowl beside him.

It took a moment, but eventually he picked up the chopsticks and began to eat too.

“If you overwork yourself, or you won’t be able to perform as well as I know you can in the exam tomorrow!” his mother insisted.

“I’m sorry, Mum,” Midoriya said in an impossibly quiet voice. It was almost a miracle his mother heard him at all.

“Your brain is much like any of your other muscles. You wouldn’t go for a run before a marathon! Why should you do the same for an exam? Your brain needs a rest.”

Midoriya smiled meekly and nodded.

“Good. If you can’t sleep – do something different! Play one of your instruments. I don’t mind what time of the night it is – oh, as long as it’s not the drums.”

Midoriya almost laughed. The smile was good enough for his mum.

“Maybe you could even sing! You know, I don’t think I’ve ever heard you sing before - at least not in a long, long time. You should give it a try!”

He shook his head frantically, almost losing the noodles, halfway to his mouth.

“Why not, Izuku? You were so unsure about dance class at first, but that turned out to be really fun, remember?”

“Singing’s different,” he protested, his voice still as quiet as a mouse.

“Why is that?”

“Because to sing, I have to first talk.”

Inko sighed. She put down her chopsticks and gently rubbed her son’s shoulders. “You will get into UA – I’m sure you will. And once you’re there, you’ll make lots of new friends! They won’t be like the people at your old school. This is a hero school. Even if you’re not on the hero course, no one there is going to say anything about your Quirklessness. If they do, just tell one of the teachers and they will sort the problem out. The teachers are heroes, remember? You used to love heroes so much.”

You can’t become a hero.

She gazed up at the remaining All Might poster. “Things are going to be different,” she insisted, as if she was convincing herself of the fact. “And then, maybe talking won’t be so scary!”

Quirkless – useless – mute.

But he wasn’t mute – really. Midoriya could talk if he wanted to. But it was just so much easier to fade into the background – to not argue or complain. They pick on him less. He knew his place now – quiet, silent. But then that made it worse. He didn’t understand why – but eventually his classmates realised he hadn’t talked for months – that they didn’t remember what his voice sounded like. Kacchan noticed it too. He found it funny.

So, so funny.

And the teachers didn’t care. They told him off for not speaking in class or not answering for the register in the morning. And suddenly the words became harder and harder to say. Uttering a simple yes or no felt as hard as cracking open a locked safe. His mother took him to see specialists. She said that he would speak to her – but anyone else…

They told him he was selectively mute.

He told them that he wasn’t. He just didn’t like speaking. That confused them. But, nonetheless, Midoriya took the title, hoping his peers would leave him alone now his shyness had a name.

They didn’t.

“You could get their autographs!” Inko said suddenly, interrupting his thoughts. “Wouldn’t that be nice?”

Midoriya grunted in reply and put down his chopsticks.

“But honey, you’ve hardly eaten anything! You need brain power!”

“I’ll be alright.”

Inko hesitated. “D-Does that mean you feel prepared?! That’s wonderful to hear! N-Now… it’s seven o’clock – so a little early to go to bed quite yet. Why don’t you play something? The neighbours said they can hear it if you leave the window open – they really like it! Honestly, if you sang along, it could help with your confidence a little!”

“Maybe one day.”

Inko smiled as her son opened the window and picked up his guitar, tuning it slowly and fiddling with the fret.

“I’m proud of you, Izuku – you know that, right?”

He smiled at her, “Thank you, Mum.”

She picked up her empty bowl and her son’s worryingly full one, before beginning to walk towards the door as Izuku began to strum a tune.

 

~Tiny Dancer – Elton John~ 

 

She left his door open to let the music flow through the apartment, a skip in her step and a smile creeping across her face as she threw away the remainder of the food and washed up the bowls.

Inko began to hum the melody to the famous song. Music drifting through the air and giving the otherwise tedious task a new life and a new rhythm. It gave her such joy to hear her son pour his heart and soul into his music. He loved it more than he had ever loved anything. It gave him a purpose; something to enjoy. He’d wanted to be a hero all his life, but he was Quirkless, and as much as Inko wanted to support him; to say you can be a hero! she just couldn’t. Because it wasn’t the truth. Izuku deserved nothing but the truth.

The last ten months had been hard for him. She didn’t understand why but, all of a sudden, that stubborn light of hope that shone so lustrously from him was snuffed out. He stopped talking – focused only on his studies. Consequently, he was so bright that not even that school could put him down. But… that brightness just didn’t hold the same warmth as it once did. All Inko wanted was to see him happy again.

He was so good at the guitar. He had to stop lessons when the teacher said there was nothing more he could possibly teach him, and Izuku refused to spend money on something that was no longer necessary. He had the same attitude for nearly every instrument he’d ever learnt. He knew the guitar, piano, drums – but no instrument that required his mouth to play. Inko wondered if it was because he wanted to sing, but he refused every time. The only class he continued to attend was dance. It had kept his fitness up. If it weren’t for that, Inko was worried he’d waste away, locked up in his room forever. But the boy had always been drawn to such things – it was like music was a part of him.

Not that she was surprised. It was her husband’s influence, she supposed. With his Quirk, fire breath, he could never sing without filling the house with smoke, but that never stopped him when they were younger. He had such a beautiful voice. He told her she wasn’t so bad herself. That always made her smile. Inko wondered if Izuku had inherited it. She longed to hear him sing so much, to see if he had.

Inko opened the other windows across the apartment, letting the sound free from its cage to sing to the rest of the world, even if Izuku wouldn’t open his mouth to do the same – his music still brought others joy. It held a certain magic in it.

Tiny dancer. He’d danced to this song once before. It had brought her to tears. Hisashi always said she was such a crier.

Inko leant on the windowsill and gazed out at the rest of the world. There were drunks, hobbling home, arm in arm, down on the street.

As she opened her mouth to sing the chorus, more tears pricked at her eyes when those drunken souls began to kick at the puddles in the rain and sing along too.

“Hold me closer tiny dancer…”

If only Izuku had the bravery to sing along. His voice could change the world; Inko was sure of it.

A canary couldn’t save any lives if it refused to sing.