‘What's the point?’
A simple question. A question you might ask a lot. A question that could quickly turn dark in the right context, a context no child should ever ask it in.
Yet that was what six year old Izuku Midoriya wondered as gripped at the new burn on the back of his arm. It hurt to touch but it hurt worse when the cold wind blew into it.
There'd been a game of dodgeball in P.E. that day and by a complete fluke it had come down to Midoriya and Bakugou and, in a panic he'd somehow managed to put the blonde out.
That had been a horrible mistake. A horrible, horrible mistake. The child winced, eyes stinging as the pains seemed to flare as he recalled how Kacchan had trapped him in a corner, alone…
He didn't start with the explosions. Midoriya was almost resilient to the burns after he'd taken so many, so Bakugou had started instead with a punch. A kick to the ribs, came next….
He shook his head as he sniffled, wiping his nose with his sleeve. He didn't want to remember the beating. It wasn't even the blonde's blows that caused the majority of the pain, it was the knowledge that people had seen it.
That the teachers just ignored it. That the students watched like he was some zoo animal for their amusement because that's really all he was…
‘You're nothing but a fucking useless shitstain you quirkless bastard. Don't ever forget it!”
He was just a freak of nature for their amusement and nothing else. He'd cried at the time because of the physical pain but as the rest of the day past, the thoughts of his…station plagued him.
He'd held back his tears as best he could, walking out of the school to his mom. It was the only time he was safe, where parents would actually say something.
Yet, he hated it. Every time he walked out of the school, with a new bruise or a fresh cut, the light in his mom's eyes seemed to die that little bit more. Her body was changing as well.
She said it was just age but a part of the boy knew, it was his fault. He was making her get worse because he kept worrying her. His mom was the only person who seemed to care for him, and he hurt her by just existing.
He'd been lucky today when she didn't realize there was a new burn. She looked relieved even. He couldn't take that from her, so he kept quiet.
Still, the thoughts continued to eat at them as they walked home. He didn't even remember why he had the thought he did exactly, it just seemed to jump at him from nowhere as his mother stopped to purchase groceries.
‘It would be better for everyone if you didn't exist. It would help them more than being there, and heroes were meant to help….’
It had took him off-guard and before he knew what he was doing he ran off. He passed a few streets, not sure if his mom had even noticed yet. That was how he found himself wandering blindly on a foreign street by his lonesome, confused and scared and just…sad.
A part of him was screaming at him he shouldn't of ran off, yet another voice, almost like a whisper in the shadows told him he was doing the ‘heroic’ thing. So why did it feel wrong?
Without really thinking, he decided to take his chances with the closest store. He didn't really read the sign, only seeing the word ‘Karoke' at the end.
There didn't seem to be anyone inside.
He timidly set foot on the carpeted floor and found himself strolling past shelves lined with vintage records and normal CD's. As he got closer to the end, he came across some sort of machine, that had a microphone attached.
Looking around he still failed to see anyone around and he recalled something he'd once heard All Might say in an instant he liked to re-watch.
‘Sometimes, singing to ones self, much like poetry can help you understand your own thoughts better.’
The machine had no coin slot and seemed active. With nothing better to do and mind still swarmed with thoughts, he reached up and looked through the list.
He didn't really recognize any of the songs, most of them were completely unfamiliar to him. There was one though that he recognized, just barely.
In fact, it seemed perfect to the greenette's thoughts. Without another thought he turned it on, and hoped he could learn the lyrics quickly. Not that it really mattered on his own.
He failed to hear the soft footsteps behind him as he began, voice too sombre for a young child., with one or two of his own lyrics thrown in.
“If I wasn't here tommorow, would anybody care?
If my time was up, i'd want to know you were happy I was there.
If I wasn't here tommorow, would anyone lose sleep?
If I wasn't a quirkless and hollow, then maybe you'd miss me.”
Behind him, someone hardly a few inches taller fumbled around for her phone.
“I know i'm a mess and I want to be someone,Someone i'd like better.
I can never forget, so don't remind me of it forever.
What if I had just pulled myself together, would it matter at all?
What if I just tried not to remember, would it matter at all?
All the chances have passed me by, would it matter if I gave it one more try?
Would it matter at all?”
The tears couldn't be stopped anymore. His eyes pricked and his vision blurred as they began to fall. He was sure he knew the horrible answer to the question of the song…
“If I wasn't here tommorow, would anybody care?
Still stuck inside this sorrow, I got nothing and going nowhere…”
He closed his eyes as he continued to pour his heart into the song, doing his best not to let any sniffles ruin it. His voice had gotten deeper than he'd expected as he sang.
It didn't take long for him to finish the song, it was only four minutes long and they seemed to pass in no time while he sang. He let out a shaky breath as he finished and was startled by the sudden noise of clapping from behind.
He whipped around, wiping at his face quickly and he came face to face with a little girl about his age who had a soft round face and pretty purple hair. He had bangs and protruding out from her ears were a mutation that looked incredibly similar to headphone jacks. She wore a black skull t-shirt and a purple skirt.
The girl was smiling, and her applause actually seemed genuine. (That was weird. No one ever wanted to praise him…)
“That performance was awesome!” She said, placing her hand into her pocket, other hand twirling her earjack(?).
“P-performance???” Midoriya questioned quietly. He didn't like the idea of talking with another kid, none of them ever had anything but insults and injuries to give him. He doubted it would be any different with this person.
“Yeah, performance. Though I guess you weren't singing to anyone so it wasn't a proper performance but, well I guess I kinda listened in.” The girl said, before facing the boy who had begun to sweat a little. “Though, I guess you're the nervous type. I didn't mean to listen without permission, I hate that myself but I couldn't interrupt such a good singing voice.”
“G-good?! I-I rea-really doubt that. I know I’ll suck like always.” Midoriya muttered quietly, yet the girl heard him. Somehow.
“No I mean it dude! You're not a pro or anything obviously but…” She then gestured to her odd ear appendages with a smirk. “I'm kind of an expert on sound and music. Both my parents are musicians so…”
“Wait, why do you think you'd suck? That's the most confident you seemed so far.” She asked confused and, as if only to mock him his own mouth betrayed him before he could stop it.
“B-because qui-quirkless losers suck a-at ever-everything.”
He slapped his hand over his mouth as soon as the words left, and he caught a glimpse of shock in the purple hared child's eyes. “Y-your quirkless?”
“I'm sorry! Pl-please d-don't hurt m-me.”
…god, he really was as pathetic as Kacchan said…
“I’m not! Wait, I thought you just got the lyrics wrong but….” The girl frowned and she took a tentative step forward, gasping when she saw the bruises on him. “…What's your name?”
“I'm…I'm Kyoka Jirou. You?”
“I'm….M-Midoriya.” He said, and the girl looked up at the karaoke machine they were beside.
“Emotional performance, tears, quirkless…” The girl whispered quietly to herself, looking over the song lyrics. “Midoriya? Why did you pick this song, exactly?”
“I….” He didn't, turning away. Apparently that was answer enough, as Jirou sighed quietly.
“…I don't think you’re a loser.” The girl twirled hear earjack as she said so, and Midoriya looked back surprised. “If anything only the strongest people can handle being quirkless, and so you must be strong!”
“…It's alright to get upset you know.” She said, causing the boy to cock his head confused. “Hang on…stay there.”
Curious he stayed rooted to the spot as she disappeared around the corner, and came back a moment later with a CD in hand. Midoriya watched with curiosity as she fiddled with the karaoke machine a little, putting in the disc.
Without a word, she set up a song from the same band as before and grabbed the mic. “I…don't normally sing for people but…”
The drums kicked in, and she began.
“Do you know what it's like when, you're scared to see yourself?
Do you know what it's like when you wish you were someone else
Who didn't need your help, to get by
Do you know what it's like? To want to surrender?”
Unconsciously, he nodded his head with a sad frown. For a brief moment a frown crossed the singers face. Without saying a word she gestured at him and the screen and he realized what she was asking. He didn't comply yet though, feeling nervous.
“I don't want to feel like this tommorow,
I don't want to live like this today.
Make me feel better, I want to feel better.
Stay with me here now, and never surrender.”
With a light blush, the girl grabbed a hold of the boy's hand, which caused him to blush much worse. She pulled him closer so he could see, and he sighed, studying the lyrics. Jirou smiled despite herself.
“Do you know what it's like when, you're not who you want to be
Do you know what it's like to be your own worst enemy?
Wo see's the things in me, I can't hide
Do you know what it's like, to want to surrender?”
And finally, the boys deeper voice from before joined her sweeter one, dancing together in a blissful harmony in the melancholy.
“II don't want to feel like this tommorow,
I don't want to live like this today,
Make me feel better, I want to feel better
Stay with me here now and Never Surrender”
The two sung together through too the end of the song and more and more, as it went on Midoriya found a smile growing. He didn't even realize he didn't stutter when he sang.
As the music came to a close, Jirou gave the boy a kind smile which he couldn't help but return as he blushed. “T-thank you, Jirou.”
“Well…I couldn't do nothing.” The girl shrugged. “You obviously needed help and a hero can't just turn their back…”
“Wait…hero?” The boy questioned and even he knew his eyes had probably start glistening with excitement. Jirou smirked as she brushed her bangs out of her eyes.
“Yeah, heroes and music have always been my two favourite things. When I get older, it's my dream to be a touring pro, like the pro Waveform.” The girl explained, and Midoriya grinned wide. “So…I take it you like heroes?”
“Honestly, m-more than like. I…I know it seems unlikely seeing as i'm quirkless and all but…It's my dream to enroll at U.A high, in the hero course.” The boy explained and Jirou's eyes widened.
“That's ambitious…” She commented and the boy flinched, making her frown. “Still, there were no normal pro's until someone bothered to do it so…I guess I hope i'll see you there! I want to go to U.A. as well!”
The two shared determined smiles, and for the first time in a while now, Midoriya wanted to jump back into everything with new vigor.
“Hey, I should be able to do one more song before my mom gets back. She's in a meeting through the room. I'd love to do a proper duet…” Jirou said, and though nervous Midoriya nodded.
“I-i'd like t-that.”
“Well then, Midoriya….your choice.” She said with a grin. “After all, it is your session I crashed.”
He looked over the songs, in contemplation. He previewed the lyrics but nothing stood out, and there was nothing he knew…then he passed it.
It was by a different band to the previous two songs. A simple title: “special"
Looking over the lyrics, a sad smile crossed his face and he gestured for Jirou to have a look. Once she did, she nodded at the selection and the music was playing a moment later.
“Good choice for you.” The girl whispered.
The two turned to each other and they began.
“Hurry up before you go and get old.
Hurry up before your blood runs cold.
None of us were ever meant to stay,
We're all gonna find out one day.
You see, life's to short to run it like a race,
So it's never gonna matter if you win first place
Cause we're all the sa-aa-me
Stop waiting on your fifteen minutes of fame
Cause you're not special
I'm not trying to rain on you're parade
But you're not special.
I'm not trying to bring you down,
I'm not trying to sound so ineffectual
But you're not special.”
As they finished, they shared another silent smile.
“You really are a good singer you know. You should get some lessons and I bet you'd be amazing.” The girl suggested and the boy scratched the back of his head, face red. He went to respond but before he could-
Ah. Mom finally found him. He'd forgotten he'd just run off.
“WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!”
As he sat, getting scolded by his crying mother and the police officer with her, he didn't get a chance to say goodbye to his new…friend? She seemingly had to leave in that time.
The next few days, he'd somehow convince his mom to go with him, just to see if he could find her again. She didn't like him staying long after the disappearing act though. Not that it mattered, he never did see her again.
As time went on, the details got fuzzy about that day. Still, it never exactly left the greenette's memory. When the worst of his sad spells would hit, and he was on the verge of giving up his dream, a certain voice seemed to appear in his head, with just two words.
Naturally, he did track down the songs they sung to remember her by at least.
9 years later
It's funny how memories can work. Sometimes you can't even remember what the exact words you said were just minutes ago, and other times a whole experience could remain for years.
Still, even when those experiences did stay, they'd often change without you realising, you'll forget details or replace them with incorrect ones.
Izuku, now a first year student sat quietly in his room, listening to an mp3 player with a certain song on it. He'd never forgotten that experience in the music store.
Still, it had been almost a decade ago, and only a single day. Ultimately, he'd forgotten details or found questionable ones in his memory. Often, he'd rack his brain over this nowadays to try to come up with anything. It was a silly exercise in futility most likely but he could hardly be blamed for wondering what happened to the girl. He felt guilty he'd forgotten her name.
He was about to give up for the third time that week when, as the song on the mp3 blurted those two words the song was named after, he suddenly remembered a new detail.
“I want to go to U.A. as well'
His eyes shot open and he sat up in surprise. He shook his head, as he thought about it. ‘I mean…only so many people get in so it's unlikely but maybe she's here? I mean then again wouldn't I have-'
Then another simple detail he’d never forgotten jumped back out to him, and he felt ready to scream at his own obviousness.
The girl had purple hair.
He knew a girl in the U.A. hero course with purple hair AND a love of music. ‘I'm an idiot!’
Quickly he paused the music and jumped up from his seat. He could be wrong but he had to check! ‘Is she still in her room maybe?’
With no real plan, he quickly travelled to the girls side of the dorms and the third floor. As the elevator door slid open he went up to the first door and knocked, considering how he was even going to ask this.
After a moment, the door opened and with a frown and a quirked brow, there stood 1-A's Kyoka Jirou in her pajamas.
“Midoriya? What are you doing here?” She questioned confused and Midoriya rubbed the back of his neck.
“Uh…Well honestly I have a kind of weird question to ask, but it's important.” He said and a slight smile tugged at the rocker girl's lips.
“Weird but important? Sounds par for the course with this school.” She said, and Midoriya let out a small laugh. ‘Well she's not wrong.’ “So what’s up? I really can't guess."
“Well actually, it has to do with something before U.A.” He said, and the girl gave him a confused stare. “Specifically about nine years ago. Did you ever go to this…music shop with a karaoke section?”
“…Dude. The fuck?!” She demanded as she opened the door properly. “How the hell-"
“Do you remember ever meeting a kid singing…well…” He pulled out his mp3 and just played the song he'd sung by his lonesome that day. For a moment he started to feel disappointed as Jirou didn't react. However just as he went to turn it off her eyes widened in surprise.
“AHH! Midoriya! You…you're….” Her eyes glowed with recognition and Midoriya gave her a soft smile.
“Y-yeah. And…kinda weird to say this considering we already know each other and all but…it's nice to finally meet you again.” He said, and then the girl gave a genuine smile of her own. He never realized how rare it was until now, compared to how he remembered her back then.
“Y-you too. I tried going back by myself a few times but…I never found you.” She said, sounding genuinely saddened. “It honestly kinda upset me. I really wanted to get to know you more at the time.”
“And I, you. You were the first person to be nice to me in so long that….well I really am just glad I finally figured it out.” He grinned, and the girl returned it.
“Yeah. And…I see you listened to what I said…or uh, sung…way back then.”
The greenette gave her his brightest smile at that one.
“Yeah. There were a few rough patches but …I always reminded myself to never surrender, or i'd be letting more than just myself down.” He explained, before looking up at her. “Really…thank you for that…you have no idea how much I actually needed it.”
The girl nodded, and the two stood there for a moment, unsure of what else to say. It was honestly a bit odd, they didn't talk that much normally. Midoriya wondered how much that would have changed had he known sooner.
Finally, the hearing heroines eyes glistened as she had an idea, and she grinned at the boy.
“You know…My room IS completely soundproof. No one could hear and I have always wanted to sing at least one more duet with…well you.” The girl said, as she stepped aside, allowing the boy to enter. “What do you say? I wonder if you've gotten any better.”
“I'd love too!” Midoriya said happily, stepping inside. “And, I think it's only appropriate to start with one song.”
“I think you're right…”
And the last thing anyone could hear from outside were to voices meeting in harmony once more.
“Do you know what it's like when, you're scared to see yourself-"