In Izuku’s mind, it began when he met Kamui Woods.
In the future, he had many different stories of his beginning, and would liken his meeting with the pro hero to something of a stepping stone along his path. However, he never forgot about the meeting, especially considering everything that came before it. He would often consider Woods’ words in the middle of a fight, holding onto that support and determination in his life as a pro hero.
But that was later, a much more interesting later.
Izuku’s beginning wasn’t a dull moment, not by a longshot, as he vaulted over the barricade, hoping to save his former friend, Kacchan. Kacchan, who had once promised they would be heroes together. Kacchan, who had turned on him because of his weak, useless quirk. Kacchan, who had never afforded him a quiet moment at school since the day his quirk came in.
“Hey kid, those were some pretty slick moves out there”
Oh right, he was talking to Kamui Woods, his idol and inspiration, more so than All Might.
“What’s your quirk?” asked the pro hero, hoping to better understand the middle schooler standing before him.
“...uh..,” said Izuku, still running off adrenaline and unready for the shock of a pro hero actually talking to him (he had met All Might earlier, but he had forgotten that already, and wouldn’t remember until he saw the signature in his journal later that day), “It’s a pretty weak plant quirk, I can just ‘talk’ to them and control their growth, but it's not like your’s where you can grow out your arms in order to fight villains or anything, I can just make them bend and stuff, honestly it's not that good, just a minor mutation of my dad’s quirk, and I really look up to you so can you please sign my journal,” he says, pulling his hero analysis journal out of his bag and flipping to Kamui Woods’ page (it's the first one, in all 13 of them).
“Woah,” exclaims the pro hero,”calm down kid, I didn’t ask for your whole life story.”
The hero signs under Izuku’s drawing of the man, glancing at the paragraphs of in-depth analysis, and is surprised at the level of depth that the kid has been able to put into just a single page on him.
“Mind if I look through this a bit?” asks Kamui, interested to see what the fanboy has written about him.
“Yes,” replies Izuku, stunned that his idol is taking the time to read what he said about him, “is the information in there right? I have so many questions about your quirk, like, were you born made out of wood or did that happen because of your quirk? Is your quirk a mutation of your body, or is it a transformation and can you look like a regular human? What’s the maximum distance you can stretch out your arms? Can you plant yourself in the ground to gain more power? Can you sw-”
“Hey kid, do you want to be a hero? This says Hero Analysis for the Future.”
“Well…, I want to be, but everyone always says my quirk is too weak, and I’m starting to believe them,” Izuku says, remembering what All Might said earlier in the day. Izuku knew that everyone was trying to look out for his best interest
“Have you ever tried analyzing your quirk like you’ve done with all these heroes? I’m genuinely impressed with some of the stuff you’ve written about the applications of my quirk, it gives me a lot to think about. I think, even though you might have a weak quirk, you could probably find a use for it somewhere.” Kamui Woods says, attempting to encourage the youngster, as it's not every day he comes across someone with such a fanatical devotion to heroism.
“I haven’t in a while, I don’t think that I could find anything though, and I’m not really cut out for being a hero, I mean, All Might had to come save both of us from the slime villain, I couldn’t even use my quirk to do anything,” replies Izuku, surprised at the pro heroes words. No one had ever taken Izuku’s writings seriously, not that he had anyone to show. His classmates all thought it was creepy, and attempted to mess up his journals, which was why he was on the 13th edition, as the sixth and eighth had both been destroyed by his tormentors afterschool. His parents didn’t understand why he wrote either, and didn’t really encourage his dreams to be a pro hero, believing that he would be better as a florist like the rest of his family for the past few generations, saying that he had the perfect quirk to work with the plants.
“When you ran to save your friend, what were you thinking?” asks the pro hero, breaking into Izuku’s train of thought.
“I didn’t, I don’t think I did, I just moved”
“ Exactly ,” replied Woods, “that's what I’ve heard from every pro hero, their bodies moved before their mind could comprehend what to do.”
“But. I endan-”
“But nothing kid, you, in that moment, acted like a true hero.”
A true hero
Izuku flushed at his words, words that he had never heard said before. He wondered if this was really true. Did all pros really move before their minds, or was Kamui Woods just saying that to make him feel better about what he did? Should he redo his quirk analysis, maybe he could discover something to make it stronger, something that would make it easier to work with plants so he could become a true hero. But that wouldn’t work, especially if he wanted to be a hero in the city, there weren’t plants on the street save for a few weeds growing in between the cracks. Maybe he would have to have all his fights at the park, or something like that, even if he could become better at controlling plants. He didn’t want to worry his parents though, they were probably already worried if they saw the news of this incident, there’s no telling how they would feel if he risked his life every day as a pro hero.
“Hey kid, you’re mumbling,”
Izuku glances back up at the pro hero, and apologizes profusely.
“It’s not that big of a deal. Look, if you want to be a pro hero, you probably want to get into the U.A. right?” asks Woods.
“Of course,” replies Izuku, “it’s where all of the top heroes, except for Hawks, went, even All Might, and Endeavor, and you. It’s the best hero school in the nation at the moment, even rivaling Shiketsu in the success of their graduates. The res-”
“You’re going to need training…”
“Izuku Midoriya,” Izuku supplies, wondering what the pro hero is leading towards.
“Midoriya. If you want me to help you, meet me at Minami Park next Saturday, bright and early.”
Izuku was shocked at this declaration, amazed at the thought that his idol had offered to train him in order to get into U.A.
“I’ll be there, should I bring anything?”
“Just bring yourself, and you should probably start heading home Midoriya, it’s getting dark.”
Midoriya looked around, noticing that most of the crowd had already left, and that the villain was being loaded into the back of a police van. The fires caused by Kacchan’s quirk were almost all put out as well, and he could see the other pro heroes discussing the event with the police. Predictably, All Might was long gone from the scene, most likely ducking into hiding in order to deflate once again. Likewise, he could make out the figure of Kacchan walking away from the scene, with his head down and hands in his pockets, shoulders tense as he fumed, at least from what Midoriya could guess.
Izuku looks back at the hero and nods, “Yes sir.”
Inko Midoriya and Hisashi Midoriya lived a modest life in Musutafu, making due with the money they made from the plant shop they lived above that had been passed down by Hisashi’s family through the generations. It was a quiet store, with its brick and mortar design out of place in the city that had been built up around it. Izuku always felt at home when he was in the store, as the feeling of the plants around him always made him feel calm. From what he could tell, this was a result of a combination of his parents’ quirks, with his mother’s telepathic powers combining with her husband’s ability to sense what plants needed at all times.
When Izuku opened the door to the families loft above the flower shop, he was immediately greeted by his mother’s tears as she held him in her arms and fussed at him. His father, ever the stoic man, hung back, but it was clear to Izuku that he was glad his son was safe and relatively unharmed. He could smell the scent of katsudon emanating from the kitchen, and heard the news go on about the incident that he had just been a part of.
“Mom, I’m fine, I promise,” said Izuku, attempting to comfort his mother and stop her tears, “In fact, Kamui Woods said he wants to help me train for U.A., he said I acted like a true hero!”
“Is that really what you want Izuku?” asked Hisashi. While Izuku’s parents had never actively stopped him from pursuing the heroic path, they never encouraged it either, instead hoping that he would live a normal, quiet life, just like they had.
“Don’t worry, I don’t think we’re doing anything dangerous, he just told me to meet him at Minami Park this Saturday, and nobody even goes there anymore, it’s too overrun with plants.” When Izuku had realized this, he had been confused, but then understood that the pro hero probably wanted some privacy during his time off, and probably wasn't bothered by the plants as much as other people would be. Neither would Izuku, he had always had a home in the plants, and the park wouldn't be any different.
“Well if you're sure Izuku, just make sure you check on regularly, we want you to stay safe,” said Inko, ”Now, why don't we eat, I'm sure you're hungry from all the excitement earlier today.”
For Izuku, Saturday could not come quick enough.
“DEKU!” said Katsuki.
There it is , thought Izuku. He had expected Kacchan to be furious after his actions of yesterday, and he had yet to be wrong when it came to predicting his former friend’s actions.
“I never asked to be saved, you shitty nerd,” yelled Katsuki, “I had it all under control, you just got in the way. I won’t let you, a worthless little rodent, look down on me, and if you think I owe you some kind of favor, you got another thing coming.”
“N-no Kacchan, you’re right, I didn’t really do anything, b-but at least I tried to act like a h-hero,” replied Izuku, emboldened by the words of his idol.
“WHAT? A hero? There’s no way you can become a hero, not with that shitty quirk of yours,” Katsuki says as he sparks up his hands. Izuku knew what came next of course, and chose to run the rest of the way to his classroom.
“GET BACK HERE!”
Izuku could hear the whispers as he walked into the classroom.
“Did you see Deku trying to be a hero again?”
“...got in the way..”
“...Bakugo was so brave..”
He assumed that they had seen the news of the incident last night, it was hard to miss, with Kacchan’s quirk setting the street on fire, which in Izuku’s opinion, had made it harder for the heroes to help, and did more damage to the surrounding area than the villain. He kept his mouth shut, not wanting to be on the end of another one of Kacchan’s beatdowns.
Izuku could hardly focus throughout the day, feeling the stares coming in from all directions in the classroom. He did his best to ignore them, trying to focus on the teacher, and he brought Kamui Woods’ words to mind, “you acted like a true hero,” which helped him push onwards, knowing that there was someone who believed in him after being told the opposite his whole life.
Another thing Izuku noticed was Kacchan ignoring him. Usually, there would be an outburst or two during class and lunch, but today, it seemed that the gods had taken mercy on Izuku, and he was able to go home without an incident, something that had rarely happened since Kacchan had gotten his quirk.
Saturday had arrived, and with it, Izuku’s excitement and nervousness peaked.
He woke up before the sun, not wanting to be late and cause his new mentor to wait, while simultaneously reducing the burden on his parents, as Saturday was their highest traffic day of the week for Midori (Flowers and Stuff). He decided to wear workout clothes, and packed some water bottles and snacks, along with a new notebook he had started dedicated to his quirk. Unfortunately, Izuku didn’t have a lot of ideas of how to make it stronger, only clever tricks that he could use in order to distract or confuse an opponent. He hoped Kamui, with his far greater experience, had thought of some better strategies for him, but he refused to get his hopes up, because if he couldn’t come up with better ways to use his quirk, how could anyone else?
As he left, Izuku left a note with the time he left for his parents, and started heading toward Minami Park. It was hard to make out much in the predawn darkness, apart from the headlights of cars. Despite the park’s distance from his house, Izuku decided that going on foot would be the best option, allowing him to warm-up for whatever the pro hero had in store for him. He didn’t encounter many on the way there, only a couple of early rising businessmen and the mail service of Musutafu.
By the time he reached the park, the sun was half way over the horizon. Izuku was surprised to see someone there already.
“Kamui Woods?” Izuku asked tentatively.
They were dressed in skin covering clothing, and with a hat pulled low over his face and a scarf covering the rest, Izuku could only see the eyes of the person in front of him.
“Midoriya,” the pro hero nods, “I’m surprised you actually came, and showed up this early. Also, I’m Nishiya Shinji off the clock.” The hero scans him, “I’m sure you’re wondering why I asked you to come to this overgrown park today, Midoriya.”
“A little bit, I assumed that you like to practice your quirk in private?”
Izuku looks out over what was once flat grassland, now teeming with plants of all variety, from vines and creepers to bushes and shrubs, the density doesn’t allow him to see much, but with his quirk, he’s able to sense the insane amount of plants surrounding them. It’s sad that the city wasn’t able to keep taking care of the park , Izuku muses, I’m sure it was beautiful once upon a time.
“Something like that, but we’re here for another reason as well.”
“To clean it up, of course! It’s a hero’s duty to take care of the community, and that doesn’t just consist of taking down villains. In fact, it’s more impactful for hero’s to do community service than to fight villains, as it gives them the ability to interact with the people they serve, as well as have a longer lasting impact,” the pro hero explains this, gesturing to the wilds.
“B-but how, I didn’t bring any tools or anything, just some food and water,” Izuku replies, confused.
“With our quirks! It may be hard, but using your quirk will help make it stronger, and what better place to practice than a place filled with plants?” Shinji-sensei questions, “Now, tell me more about your quirk, how do you connect with the plants?”
Izuku pulls out his quirk journal, “Well, I can feel them with my mind all around me, and I can communicate with them, usually by humming, but sometimes talking works too, it’s really rare though, and I haven’t been able to figure out why,” says Izuku as he shows the hero what he’s written so far in the journal.
“Is there any other way to activate your quirk besides humming?” asks the hero. Nishiya could tell that that wasn’t all there was to the quirk, as quirks that had a sound component usually got stronger with louder noises, but Izuku probably didn’t know that, only observing pro heroes that had already learned how to maximize their potential.
“Not that I know of,” Izuku says, sounding defeated.
“Let me see your quirk in action, make us a path to that tree.” He points to an apple tree near them, the way obscured by the brush.
Izuku starts humming a tune, sending his quirk out to the plants. He’s not sure where it’s from, but it's stuck with him ever since he heard it. Slowly, the plants begin to move, just enough to be noticeable. It always fascinated Izuku to see his quirk in action, as he didn’t get the chance to use it often in the city, and his parents didn’t appreciate him messing around with the plants that they were trying to sell.
“I see, so the plants react to the noise. Are you thinking about making them move in any particular direction, or are they just feeling your intentions?”
Pausing in his humming, Izuku says, “W-well, I am thinking about creating a path in a certain direction, but I’m not controlling any of the plants specifically, m-more like sending my thoughts to the group as a whole, and then letting the plants choose how they move in accordance to my wishes.”
Shinji-sensei nods,“That’s interesting, I have to control my quirk pretty intensely, but I suppose that’s because it’s an extension of my body, rather than a different organism. I would assume that being louder would affect more of them and cause them to move faster, but does physical contact have any effect?”
Izuku shakes his head, and starts walking forward into the path he’s created, with his mentor following close behind. As they approach the tree, Nishiya removes his gloves and places both his palms on the tree, with his fingers disappearing into the bark. Izuku’s never been able to really control trees, probably due to their strong and steadfast nature.
“Midoriya, I’m about to show you a technique that I don’t get to use often. You asked the other day if I can plant myself in order to gain more power, right? This is something like that,” Shinji-sensei explains, as a tree branch bearing apples lowers itself within reach, “re-tree-ve a couple of apples, it’s healthy to fuel up before we start training, and they’re a great tree-t.”
Izuku reaches up and grabs a few apples, pondering this new development and what it could mean for his analysis. If other quirks could have multiple applications like this, how would they be applied? It made sense for Shinji-sensei’s quirk to be able to interact with the trees, seeing as they are made of the same thing, but was that true for other types of quirks? Would Endeavour be able to gain more strength from standing in fire, or would it just be like normal for him? If Kamui Woods could interact with trees during a battle, it would probably make restraining criminals easier due to the already present wood, meaning that it would probably be beneficial for him to patrol closer to parks and other areas of nature in order to maximize its use. In fact, he could probably build something into his hero cos-.
“Midoriya, not that your muttering isn’t in-tree-guing, but you have to stay focused, there will be time for theorizing later.” The pro hero seems to have anchored himself into the ground, lending more credibility to Izuku’s theories about his quirk. “So, what was the song you were humming earlier, does it have any significance to your quirk?”
“I-I’m not really sure what the song's title is, I heard it somewhere and it just stuck with me, but going by a tune always helps me focus more on the activation of my quirk, r-rather than just a flat note. I think it’s because song’s have more feeling in them, and maybe that feeling gets transmitted with my thoughts to the plants?” Izuku hypothesizes, putting into words what he’s only thought about before.
“Well right now, I’d say your quirk has a volume problem, since the effect you have on your surroundings is tied into that. You come up with any ideas to remedy that?” As he speaks, Nishiya uses his connection with the tree to lift the branches higher and spread them farther apart, creating more shade, which would hopefully slow down the growth of the overgrown plants.
“Umm… N-no, not really, but I don’t get a lot of chances to experiment. One of the only ways I can think of is if I can figure out how to activate my quirk by speaking, but I’ve only had that happen once, so… I’m not really sure what else I can do,” Izuku states, unsure of himself, hoping that his mentor has some ideas for him to get stronger.
“Have you ever tried whistling?”
“I don’t know how..,“ Izuku admits, ashamed that he doesn’t know how to do such a simple skill.
“Well, I would teach you,” Shinji-sensei says, “but I don’t know how to either, due to the fact that I physically can’t, but I’m sure that you can learn from someone else. For now, I can make you a wooden flute, I’m sure that it would work the same.” Shinji-sensei takes his hands off the trunk of the tree, and takes a twig off of a branch, using his quirk to fashion a flute.
Izuku examines the flute, enthralled by it’s creation and the finesse probably required to make it. It’s simple, with only a couple of holes to control the sound, but it would be fine for a test.
Izuku puts the hole up to his lips, and blows in.
And nothing happens.
“Midoriya, you’re holding it the wrong way.”
“Oh, my bad!”
Izuku turns the flute to what he assumes is the proper orientation, and tries again.
And the plants jump .