When Izuku was seven years old, he began to realize that Kacchan wasn’t a very nice friend. Sometimes Bakugou played a little roughly, and sometimes he smacked or hit Izuku when he did something stupid or said something that made him mad.
Like now for instance.
Izuku darted through the trees, scrambling up the hill and through prickly bushes in his attempt to outrun Kacchan and his friends, shouts and explosions ringing out behind him. He gasped as he ran, heart thudding loudly in his ears as he scrambled through the forest.
“Where the FUCK do you think you’re going Deku?!” Bakugou shouted after him, only pushing Izuku to run faster.
He stopped short in a clearing, head whipping from side to side in searched for escape. “Which way which way?” He muttered, eyes flickering from left to right.
“Got ya!” Two feet slammed into his spine, knocking him face down into the dirt. Tsubasa grinned, crouching on Izuku’s back like a gargoyle as Izuku coughed harshly. “Oi! Bakugou! I caught him!”
Izuku grimaced, spitting out dirt as two more footsteps ran to the clearing, snickering loudly. “I’d have caught him anyway you extra.” Kacchan growled, even as his lips curled into a smirk. He smacked his fist, sparks erupting as he did so. “So Deku, you blabbed again today didn’t you?”
Izuku tensed, his small fists clenching in the grass beneath him. Sharp fingers wound through his curls, yanking them up painfully.
“Speak up idiot!” Tanigushi demanded, turning his face to Bakugou.
“S-s-sorry K-Kacchan….” Izuku whimpered, tears already springing to his eyes.
“Tch.” Kacchan stepped closer. “Not good enough Deku!” Taniguchi’s fingers unwound from his hair, and before Izuku could even let out a sigh of relief, Kacchan had a sizzling fist in his t shirt. “Hold him down.” Izuku immediately began to kick and struggle, even as Tsubasa and Taniguchi effortlessly flipped him unto his back, pinning his wrists against the ground.
“You shouldn’t have done that Deku.” Kacchan snarled, glaring down at him. “So let me remind you.”
His fist cracked across his jaw. “You’re Quirkless!”
His fist crunched against his nose. “You’re weak!”
His fist sank into his stomach. “You’re nothing.”
Burns sizzled against his skin, and he couldn’t keep in a wail of agony. “You should just disappear!”
Izuku wept under the blows, struggling uselessly against his captors as he fought. Eventually even his struggles fell away, in favor of curling up against the hits as best he could. Finally Kacchan stilled, panting as he climbed off of Izuku’s prone form. “Come on, guys. Let’s go to the playground. I’m bored here.” The boys released Izuku, eagerly chasing after their fearless leader as they strode away from the forest clearing.
Izuku lay quietly on the forest floor, tears slipping quietly down his cheeks as he shivered, the skin of his shoulders and chest blistered an angry, bitter red. He couldn’t remember how long he laid there, waiting for his tears to run out, for someone to come and find him, for someone to care.
Slowly, ever so slowly, he uncurled from the soot covered soil, hissing at the new burns blooming across his collar bone and shoulders. He staggered to his feet, wiping his eyes with a dirty sleeve as he began the long and arduous journey home.
All Men Were Not Created Equal.
That was a fact Izuku accepted at 5 years old.
Bakugou wasn’t a very nice friend.
That was a fact Izuku was still struggling to accept.
“You should just disappear!”
What a cruel thing to say.
Would he have said that if he'd been born with a quirk? Would he have said that if he could breathe fire, or move things with his mind? Would he have said that if Izuku had been dealt a better hand in life?
It wasn’t fair.
It wasn’t fair at all.
A sudden tinkle of a bell broke him out of his misery.
Blinking, he paused mid step, turning to look. Warm lights filtered through the trees, and bell like laughter chimed in the distance.
Izuku, the bright and curious boy, found himself drawn to the light, and turned from the path, slowly wandering through the trees towards the light to find a scene unlike any he had ever seen before.
There was a large ring of mushrooms, gold and shriveled, like honeycomb deprived of its nectar at the base of a hill. And in the center of the ring of mushrooms was a large party, with men and women all wearing brightly colored clothes. Their hair and skin were covered with fruit and flowers, some with bark and moss. It must have been a family party, but Izuku had never seen so many people with the same quirk type before. Even big families he’d seen at restaurants or event centers had one or two parents or kids who stood out from the bunch. Not like this. He stared at a young woman who kissed a young man’s cheek, only for a bright yellow rose to bloom there as they laughed. A girl was braiding another’s hair with brightly colored ribbons, her fingers weaving through her vines with ease. A boy raced past them, tossing something bright and sparkling into the air with glee.
The family, and it must have been a family, were dancing a dance Izuku had never seen before, leaping off the ground and landing delicately in twirls and spins, kicking their feet in boundless delight. There were floating, sparkling lights, someone else’s quirk, Izuku gathered, setting a warm and cheery glow among the party goers, with large tables set with mounds of food stacked atop them. Berries and cheese and bread and what looked like goblets filled with wine like his mother liked to drink sometimes in the evenings at home.
He drifted closer, stepping into the ring of mushrooms, and suddenly one of the figures caught sight of him. “A child!” They cried, and suddenly the music stopped, the clearing stilled into shocked silence.
Izuku froze, as all of the heads turned to look, many eyes focused on his small and trembling form. “I-I-I’m sorry, I-I didn’t mean to disturb your party….” Izuku shrunk under their intense gaze, a hand rising self consciously to his dirtied and singed t-shirt.
There was only stunned silence, and then a tall man stepped forth. His hair was dark, black as midnight with a crown of white flowers sat above his brow, and he wore a velvet blue coat. As he knelt down in front of Izuku, he could see silver embroidered hounds stitched along the collar, twisted and curled into unusual shapes. The man smiled, his lips curling up in amusement. “It appears our merriment is positively contagious tonight.” The man chuckled.
Izuku blinked, the friendliness of the man taking him by surprise.
The people behind the man were whispering softly amongst themselves, staring at him in wonder.
“It’s been so long…”
“His hair is so green! Like ours!”
“How many moons has it been since we…”
“Look at him! So small and beautiful…”
The man slowly held out a hand and Izuku could have sworn his hands were empty a second ago, but now, a pomegranate sat in the palm of his hand, already opened, with the bright red arils exposed to the air.
“Are you hungry?” The man asked, his dark eyes gazing at Izuku, eerily calm, yet Izuku couldn’t shake the sense that the man’s eyes seemed to pierce deeper, past the surface of him and into parts of him Izuku didn’t know how to describe. “We have food and drink, and you are free to take any of it if you please. You seem weary from your travels child.”
Izuku blinked in confusion. “But…Musufatu Forest isn’t that far from town….”
The man didn’t react, but to simply smile wider, as if at a joke. “I simply mean that you appear to use some cheering up it seems, and that we are more than happy to help.”
Izuku looked behind him, and the party seemed to have resumed, laughter and music ringing out once more over the clearing.
Izuku smiled shyly at the man, who seemed nice enough, and reached out, carefully plucking out an aril to eat.
The man’s smile widened as Izuku popped it into his mouth, the sweet burst of juice sitting on his tongue. He didn’t notice the thorns peeking under the white petals above the man’s brow, like a spiked crown, nor how the party seemed to bloom with renewed excitement and energy.
“What is your name child?” The man asked, never looking away from him.
Izuku smiled, and like a fool, gave it to him.
“Izuku. Izuku Midoriya sir.”