Ever since she was old enough to dream about the future all Izumi has ever wanted to be is a hero.
Someone who saves the day with a smile.
Someone that others can look to for safety.
Someone that helps.
A hero, a pillar, just like All Might.
It is, she knows in some part of her young heart, what she was born to do.
But then Izumi turns four and her quirk doesn’t appear no matter how hard she tries to make it.
Weeks and months pass by but there’s just … nothing.
A void where her quirk, her personal power either big or small, should be.
And, unfortunately, as more time passes by Izumi isn’t the only one who notices her lack of quirk.
The kids at school whisper and the teachers all watch her closely and frown behind their hands when they think she's not looking.
Worst of all, Kacchan’s smiles start turning into frowns and the way he calls her ‘Deku’ seems sharper somehow.
It doesn’t take long at all before Izumi doesn’t like her nickname, the one she’s always been so proud of because Kacchan gave it to her, as much as she used to.
At home Inko tries her best to smile for her, tries to hide her anxiety with food and games and time spent cuddling on the couch watching hero movies or videos, but even though Izumi is still young, not yet five years old, she’s still smart.
She sees it, sees the worry and the sadness her Mama can’t fully hide from her.
She doesn’t understand it but she sees.
Two months shy of her fifth birthday Izumi goes to see a doctor.
In the span of one afternoon her entire world shatters.
Afterwards, once the doctor dismisses them, Inko tugs her out of the office and they make their way back home together in silence.
Izumi, pale and clutching Inko’s hand as tightly as she can, feels numb and buzzy all at the same time, like TV static some part of her manages to think.
It doesn’t feel real.
Izumi hopes it’s not real.
“I’m sorry, Izumi,” Inko wails, clinging to Izumi as she cries. “I’m so sorry.”
For once the sight of her Mama in tears doesn't make Izumi cry too. She doesn’t well up with sympathetic tears or sob as if her heart is breaking.
She just ...
There’s a red mark on Izumi’s files now.
A large blood red stamp of almost hateful kanji branding her as other.
Marking her as Mu Kosei.
It’s one difference that the world never forgives her for.
After that ...
Huddled on the ground, knees drawn up to her chest and arms covering her head, Izumi does her best to bite back her sobs.
Tears have always come as easy to her as they do to her Mama but, unlike Inko, if there’s one thing Izumi has mastered over the years it’s the art of crying quietly.
Because loud tears make her Mama worry, they annoy the teachers at school, and they just make her classmates laugh louder.
But, worst of all, crying loudly always makes Kacchan madder.
Which, of course, only makes him hit harder.
And, with her body aching and ears ringing, her braid already singed in places, and her favorite All Might backpack smoldering somewhere on the ground beside her, Izumi really doesn’t want him to hit her harder.
But then Izumi rarely ever gets what she wants.
She can’t help the way she squeaks just a bit when the heat of one of Kacchan’s explosions hits the protective shield of her arms.
But, just like crying quietly, Izumi’s used to that too.
After all, she's ten years old now and five, almost six years, is enough time to get used to almost anything.
“You cryin’ again?” Kacchan growls harshly, voice undercut by the all too familiar pop crackle pop of his quirk.
“All she ever does is cry,” Sasawa sneers, his long fingers reaching out to tug sharply at her arms to try and get her to uncover her face and look at them. "It's all she's good at."
Izumi just curls down tighter because after all this time she knows better than to leave her face unprotected for even a second if she can help it.
The thin white scar through her right eyebrow is all the reminder she might ever need if she does somehow forget.
“Don’t ignore me, nerd,” Kacchan growls. The kick he sinks into her side hurts and sends her down onto the ground, but Izumi still doesn’t uncurl.
“Oi!” A loud call suddenly breaks through the taunts and name calling that’s once again surrounded Izumi. “The fuck are you little bastards doing?”
“What’s it to you rabbit hag?” Kacchan bites out. “Ain’t your business.”
“Watch your fucking mouth and check the license you little shit,” the woman growls back. “I’m making this my business.”
“W-We should go,” Sasawa stutters, sounding uncharacteristically uneasy.
“Tch.” Izumi can well imagine the sneer on Kacchan’s face without having to look. “Fine. Catch you later, Deku.”
Izumi, still curled in on herself, listens to them leave but still doesn’t uncurl.
For a long moment there’s silence and all she can hear are the sounds of the city outside the park and a steady sort of thump-thump sound coming from beside her.
“You ever gonna get up kid?” the same voice that had interrupted earlier finally sighs.
There’s the feeling of movement beside her then before someone reaches out and pokes lightly at the side of Izumi’s arm, right over one of the scorch marks on the sleeve of her uniform top.
But, unlike the way most people tend to poke at her, the touch doesn’t actually hurt.
It’s enough to give Izumi the courage to finally uncurl and look up at the woman who’d saved her.
Izumi feels her breath catch in surprise and awe at who she finds crouched beside her, staring down at her with brows arched high.
“Y-you’re the … you’re a … you’re Miruko,” Izumi struggles to make her tongue work but finally manages to squeak the words out, hands automatically reaching towards her backpack and the notebook that’s never far from her.
“Good eye kid,” Miruko, hair pulled back in a low tail and not actually dressed in her hero gear for once, grins down at her, expression still fierce but somehow not frightening.
She’s a hero after all, Izumi doesn’t have to be afraid of heroes. Not like she's learned to be at least some degree of wary of most other people.
“You’re so cool,” Izumi can’t help but say, already flipping through her notebook to find the rabbit hero’s page and holding it and her pen out towards the hero. “C-Can you please?”
Miruko might have only been on the pro hero scene for a few years now but she’s already climbing the ranks at a steady pace.
Izumi admires her on more than one level and wants to be a hero like her when she’s older. Well like her and All Might of course because they’re all so strong and they help so many people and Izumi just wants ...
“That’s a good dream and all but you know you’re bleeding right?” Miruko looks kind of amused even as she takes the notebook and pen from her. She reads over the page, brows arching even higher somehow as she hums and then finally signs it in bold strokes right beside the drawing Izumi had made of her. She even doodles a small crescent moon below her name.
“Ah,” Izumi can feel the way she’s turned red after being caught mumbling yet again but she brushes it aside as best she can. Instead she looks down at her skinned knees and brings a hand up to poke lightly at her now tattered sleeves. “I-It’s okay ... I’m used to it.”
Izumi does her best to smile, just like All Might, when she looks back up but by the snarl like frown that comes across Miruko’s fierce face she’s pretty sure she’s failed at that too.
“Those kids mess with you a lot?” Miruko asks, handing the notebook and pen back to Izumi.
Izumi clutches it to her chest, shoulders rounding just a bit, and can only bring herself to nod.
“Look, Deku,” Miruko starts to say but Izumi can’t withhold the way she flinches just a bit at the name. Miruko seems to notice though because she stops for a second before she speaks again. “You alright kid?”
“I-Izumi,” Izumi murmurs. “My name’s Midoriya Izumi. Deku’s … that’s just what Kac- they call me… it means useless.”
“Little bastards,” Miruko huffs lowly, ears twitching in apparent agitation. “You tell your teachers about them?”
“They won’t do anything,” Izumi confesses, a truth that she’s long grown used to. She's quirkless after all, even if Miruko doesn't know that, and that means Izumi comes last in the teachers eyes. Or, sometimes, she doesn't actually rank at all. “They never do anything.”
Izumi can count the number of people who’ve ever cared about her getting hurt on one hand and still have fingers left over. The people at her school are very much not on that list.
“Figures,” Miruko says, one foot thumping on the ground harshly. “Well if they won’t stand up for you then that means you need to start standing up for yourself instead of just curling up and taking a beating.”
“But they’re all so strong,” Izumi protests. “And I’m just …”
The word hangs there between them, unsaid but still heard.
“Yeah you are kind of scrawny looking,” Miruko muses lightly, her sleeveless turtleneck showing the way her shoulders and arms ripple with muscle as she shrugs. “Just means you need to train.”
Izumi blinks, shoulders lowering just a bit.
“That notebook's pretty impressive and it says “for the future” right?” Miruko nods towards the notebook Izumi’s clutching. “Means you wanna be a hero right?”
Izumi nods because yes, yes she does.
More than anything.
“Then you gotta train kid,” Miruko tells her as she stands to her full height again. “You gotta get good to be a hero. So that means you train up, get strong, and then you jab those little bastards who’ve been bullying you in the throat. Make sure they don’t do that shit to you or anyone else ever again.”
“I-I can’t do that,” Izumi exclaims, eyes wide at the very idea of throat punching Kacchan or anyone else at her school for that matter. They might hurt her all the time but they’re not villains. “What if I h-hurt someone?”
“Hm,” Miruko hums, ears twitching and right foot thumping out a low but steady rhythm. “yeah you’re probably right. Plus you’d get in trouble for fucking up their windpipes or something.”
Miruko’s silent for a second and then she slams one fist down into the palm of her opposite hand.
“Then you get ‘em down and you put their heads in a thigh lock,” Miruko nods decisively. “Getting their skulls crushed for a few minutes won’t even leave bruises and it should teach the little shits a lesson. Trust me, works like a charm every time I do it.”
“O-Okay,” Izumi agrees because, well, Miruko’s a hero so obviously she knows what she’s talking about.
“Well I gotta go kid,” Miruko finally says. “You good to get home or you need some help.”
“I can do it,” Izumi nods as she pushes her way up onto her feet.
“You can do it huh?” Miruko’s expression is bemused for a split second before she grins again, wide and fierce. “You know that’s a good saying right? You should turn that name those little assholes gave you around on them. Go from Deku to Dekiru.”
Izumi stills, heart skipping a beat.
Deku to Dekiru.
She … she really wants to do that.
“I-I’ll train,” Izumi manages to stutter out, grabbing Miruko’s attention just so she goes to turn and walk away. “I’ll g-get strong and good. But … what should I do after that?”
“Hmm,” Miruko taps a finger against her lips. “Well I’d say there’s four simple steps to take after that.”
Izumi immediately flips her notebook open to a blank page and makes a small numbered list.
“First thing you gotta do is save bitches,” Miruko announces. “You see someone in trouble and you get them out of trouble. Plain and simple.”
Izumi dutifully writes the instruction down beside her first bullet point.
“Number two,” Miruko continues, “you gotta fuck motherfuckers up. Someone steps to you or someone you’re protecting then you back them down hard. You can’t afford to lose when you’re a hero cause it's not only you on the line.”
Izumi’s pen moves rapid fire across her page, heart pounding hard enough to burst.
“Number four,” Miruko says then, “you profit. Cause heroics ain’t about money but there’s a lot of shit you can get down if you’ve got it. So don’t forget that either.”
Izumi pauses for a minute, counts back in her head, but then shrugs and writes that down beneath her fourth bullet point. She’s not gonna question this too much cause, once again, obviously Miruko knows what she’s talking about.
“You follow those points and you’ll be a damn good hero when you’re older,” Miruko announces, a hand coming down to ruffle Izumi’s messy hair with surprising gentleness. “Hell, I don’t like working with anyone but who knows, by the time you get into a heroics program maybe I’ll even take you on as an intern if you’re good enough.”
Izumi’s pretty sure her entire soul is going to depart her body out of sheer joy and shock because no one has ever said anything even close to as encouraging as what Miruko herself has just said to her.
“Now I gotta hop, kid,” Miruko turns to leave once again. “So get home and then get busy. You're young right now but time’s wasting you know?”
Izumi watches her go, hands clenched around her notebook and pen.
She feels as if her entire world has, once again, been irrevocably changed.
It feels as if the slowly dimming fire in her chest has been reignited into a roaring blaze.
Because she fully intends on living up to what she’s told Miruko.
Izumi is going to be a hero one day.
And now she has a solid plan to follow.