The edge was so close. Mere step away. Izuku could see some people on the street below, unhurriedly making their way home. Darkness slowly consumed the world. More and more lights appeared in windows of the few apartaments he had view on.
It was cold. And with every passing second it was getting colder. Izuku could feel autumn's chill slowly venturing inside his coat. Scarf his mother wrapped around his neck this morning no longer kept the cold away.
His mother. His poor, lovely mother. The woman who is stronger than any superhero he knows. The woman who, despite everything, loves him dearly. The woman who sacrificed everything and more for the sake of his happiness.
He is an ungrateful monster. She deserves so much better than him.
Izuku took a step closer. Now he could feel adrenaline in his veins. The people below became clearer.
Coming to this place wasn't an easy and fast decision. Izuku fought with himself over it many times.
But unfortunately the voice, that sounded suspiciously like Kacchan, won.
And here he is. Few steps away from his demise. Few breaths away from the last one he will ever take. Few heartbeats away from the silence filling up the space in his chest forever.
If anyone asked him he wouldn't be able to answer. Not because he didn't have a reason for it. But because there were to many of them. All piled up until he could no longer breathe. Until he felt like the only option of relieving himself of this suffocating pain was to jump.
When Izuku imagined his death, he was so sure he would die saving someone else's life. He imagined something heroic, something that would inspire future generations. He wanted to die with a smile on his face.
But his fate turned out to be different. And there was nothing he could do about it now. His mind was set. There was no turning back. He couldn't turn back. A letter left on his desk for his mother to find has probably already been opened and read. He couldn't go back to his life as if nothing have happened anymore.
Soft sound of opening door has reached his ears. He froze. There shouldn't be anyone here. He was supposed to be alone.
He almost fell down with how fast he turned to look at the unwanted guest.
"Sorry." Deep but undoubtedly belonging to someone Izuku's age voice has spoken. "I didn't know that this spot is already--" The stranger struggled for an accurate word. "Occupied."
Izuku looked at the boy, because the voice couldn't have belonged to a girl, with bewilderment.
A moment passed, then another. When the true meaning of the stranger's voice finally registered in Izuku's mind, he burst out laughing.
"Yes, unfortunately it is. But there's much space, I'm sure that both of us will have more than enough of it." Izuku wondered what strange magic has overtaken him. His stuttering was gone for now. He could almost say that he sounded confident. So unlike a mumbling mess he usually is. Is it how an awareness of incoming death works on a person?
The stranger didn't say anything. He closed the door and walked closer to him.
Izuku could see him better. Some stray rays of moonlight lit up the stranger's face.
He looked no older than fifteen. The black characteristic uniform was enough for Izuku to deduce that the boy is, as he himself is, a middle-schooler.
What has become of this world. Instead of meeting at some school tournament, two middle-schoolers met at the rooftop with intention of taking a shortcut to the bottom of the building.
The boy was a opposite of Izuku. Where Izuku was plain, the boy was outstanding, where Izuku was scrawny, the boy had lean, trained muscles.
Where Izuku had smooth, freckled skin, the boy had a scar. One old enough to be healed but serious enough to be clearly visible. His bi colored hair took some of the focus off the scar but not enough.
The boy's eyes were beautiful.
He had a strong quirk. Izuku has come to recognising when someone had such one. The bearing of the person was different than that of someone with less lucky genetics.
Someone like him shouldn't be up here, ready to throw his life away.
"Why?" Izuku asked only. He couldn't help himself. Despite his earlier joke about the rooftop having space for both of them, Izuku didn't want anyone to accompany him on his journey. Not because of some sort of selfishness. But because he didn't want anyone else to die. He was a waste of space but the boy certainly wasn't.
"I could ask the same question."
"But I was the first to ask." Izuku pointed out.
Silence has overtaken them. The only sound that accompanied them at the moment was the whistling of the wind. They were too high to hear bustle and hustle of the big city coming from the streets below.
The boy, whose name Izuku suddenly wanted to know very, very much, even if only to stop calling him 'the boy' in his head, took a deep breath, before finally speaking after what seemed like forever: "I should have never been born. My existence should have never come to a start. That's just me correcting mistakes of my father."
Izuku's mind become blank for few seconds, only to unexpectedly flare up.
"Wow--" he uttered with slight beliwerdement. "I didn't know that hearing it from someone else would sound so stupid."
"What?" The boy seemed confused and a little bit annoyed with Izuku's response.
"Forgive me. That was insensitive of me." Izuku started. "It's just that, apart from the father part, I could say that my reason for being here is the same. Hearing it from someone else's mouth seems so pitiful. It sounds like throwing life away for just a moment's whim."
"Maybe I should go." The boy said in response. He wasn't 'a little bit annoyed' anymore.
Izuku didn't want him to go. It was more than likely that the boy would just change a building, not a mindset that led him here. And for some reason Izuku was determined to do everything possible to prevent the boy's death. Maybe his inside hero was acting up. Maybe the fact that they seemed so different, yet so similar, has made him want to rescue the boy. Because he knew first hand how it felt to not have anyone to rescue you.
He shifted, ready to go after the boy when suddenly he stumbled. And for a few long, agonizing seconds, Izuku was sure that it was it. He was going to fall. Not even jump, as Kacchan voice was still chanting. Just fall.
But Izuku didn't fall. He steadied himself in the last moment.
And when he raised his head, his eyes met terrified bi colored gaze of his companion. The boy's hand was stretched out in his direction as if he tried to reach him.
And suddenly Izuku felt some strange, warm feeling building up in his chest.
Someone did try to save him. And that was probably the best feeling Izuku has ever had.
"Come away from the edge." The boy said with a strictness in his voice. "Please." He added with a sifter note.
"Only if you promise that you won't go and that you will hear what I have to say till the end."
And so Izuku walked away from the edge.
They sat down on the rooftop floor.
The darkness has completely overtaken the city. The wind seemed to calm down a little bit.
"I didn't mean to offend you." Izuku said, looking at the sky, hoping to see stars. But it was impossible to do with all the lights of the city below them. "It's just that I don't think that your reasoning is very wise. I see my own birth as a mistake. I think that I should have never existed. But looking at you, I don't think that it's the same with you."
"Why do you think that my reasoning is stupid, if you have the same one?"
"I'm quirkless." Izuku hesitated before saying it. Most people tended to walk away from him the minute they found out that he didn't have a quirk. But when the boy didn't make a move to leave, Izuku continued: "It's different with me. Countless people share my thoughts. Even today Kacchan, my friend, or I guess my ex-friend, has told me that it would be better to just end it all and hope, that in the next life I'll get a quirk. I can't imagine the same with you. I don't know your quirk but I know that it has to be something very powerful."
"Being quirkless isn't a reason to die."
"Hating one's father isn't a reason to die either." Seeing the look on the boy's face, Izuku added: "I am not an idiot. You have called yourself your father's mistake. And while you were mentioning him, there was so much resentment in your voice."
"He is the worst scum this planet has seen."
"Is he a villain?"
"In my eyes, yes. But in the eyes of society, he is a hero."
"Is there--" Izuku hesitated for a moment. "Anyone else in your family?"
"My sister. She would miss me, if that's what you wanted to ask. And maybe my brother. He is distant but he is a good man." It was somehow reassuring to know that the boy had someone to live for. And he was aware of it. "And you?"
"There is my mom. She is the most wonderful person I know. She shouldn't have had a failure of a son like me. She deserves so much better."
"I don't think that she sees you as a failure." The boy's voice was honest. As if he really believed that what he said was true. Even though he has never met his mother.
"Maybe she doesn't. But her life would be much easier without a burden like me."
Silence once more filled the air.
"I've always wanted to become a hero." The boy whispered. "To save people. People like me, who are bred not born. Those who are prisoners of their own lives. But somewhere along the way, I've lost the sight of it Becoming a hero started to be only about fulfilling my father's goal. Not my own. And to ruin my father's plans, what was the better way than killing off the vital figure in it?"
"If you had died there would have been no one to fulfill your goal. There would be no one to save those people whose suffering is overlooked so greatly. And your father would probably not change. He would stay the same. Maybe he would become even worse." Izuku laid down. In this position the only thing he could see was the darkness of the endless sky. The boy seemed to be deep in thought at what Izuku has just said. "I wanted to become a hero too. Save people with a smile, like All Might. Attend UA, take part in Sports Festival, then graduate and become Number One Hero. Isn't it laughable? Quirkless, pathetic me wants to take a place equal to those of the Symbol of Peace."
"I don't think it's laughable."
Izuku turned his head. He was now looking at the boy's profile.
"You becoming a hero isn't something laughable. The lack of quirk may prove to be an obstacle. But what you've said so far--" he stopped, carefully thinking about what to say. "I think that I don't want to die anymore. And that-- that is what I think a hero does." The boy too, turned his head. Now both of them were looking into each other's eyes. "I didn't mean to make you cry."
Izuku was confused for a moment. He lifted his hand up to his face. And there, indeed, tears were streaming soundlessly down his face.
"Oh--" he could only say, before a sob ripped out of his throat. And the tears weren't soundless anymore.
Izuku sat up. Before he knew, the boy's hand was awkwardly placed on his back, as if he didn't really know what to do to comfort someone.
Izuku cried louder. He cried because he was happy. He cried because he was sad.
This cruel world gave him someone who has compared his actions to those of a hero. That was something Izuku longed for since he was four. Since the only kind person in his life left was his mother. But he also cried because someone who has made Izuku's day brighter had just few minutes ago wanted to end his life. And that too was the work of this cruel, unfair world.
How could a life be so beautiful and so ugly at the same moment? How someone can want to live and die at the same time?
They sat like this for some more time. If anyone asked them how long exactly they were engulfed in the moment, they wouldn't be able to say. The only indication that it has become really late, was the fact that the light, that Izuku had seen being turned on in the windows of the opposing building, were now turned off.
"Do you still want to die?" The boy asked, breaking the silence between them after what seemed like forever.
"No, I don't think I do."
Izuku wiped his cheeks clean. He had finished crying some time ago but the remnants of tears were still present on his face.
"We should probably head home."
And that was what Izuku was dreading the most. His poor mother must have been in so much distress in the last few hours. Guilt started to slowly build up. She has probably already read the letter he left for her.
She will be so mad at him for pulling off something like this.
"I'm going to attend UA too." The boy said, while standing up. "Let's see each other there." He added, stretching out his hand. As if he was proposing an official agreement. And Izuku liked this agreement. It was assuming that neither of them will try something like today again. That both of them will live long enough to meet again.
Izuku nodded and wrapped his small hand around that bigger and stronger one that belonged to the boy.
"My name is Izuku." He introduced himself. His first name. The one reserved for family and close friends.
"My name is Shouto."
"Nice to meet you, Shouto. As you said. Let's see each other at UA."
Shouto, finally not only 'the boy', nodded and send Izuku small but sincere smile.
Izuku smiled in return. He smiled honestly and widely for the first time in many years.
Today was supposed to end differently. But Izuku liked it better the way it really ended.