Midoriya was shaking. He wanted anything but to have to go to class today.
Last night he had finally worked up the courage to open up to the class about how he was once quirkless.
He thought he had prepared for the worst, but apparently he had too much faith in his classmates. Midoriya thought that he'd be accepted, or at least, that that was the most likely scenario, so it hurt to see that they were so close-minded.
The class along with all of his friends had turned their backs on him when he needed them the most, and he regretted ever getting to know them and opening his heart to them in the first place.
But Midoriya knew that he still had to go to class, so he reluctantly got out of bed, deciding to skip his morning routine just for the day, giving him some more time to wallow in his stress. Heading to the bathroom, he looked in the mirror and did something that he hadn't had to do in a very long time.
Midoriya looked himself in the eye and pasted on that perfect fake smile that he had spent years and years shaping to flawlessness. It looked so authentic that he felt sick. But there was some sad part of him that was proud of how easily the faux smile came, but he mostly hated how that smile came to be so easy even after such a long time of not needing it.
Then he wiped away the tears that were quick to fall, and he got dressed. Sure he was wallowing, but he didn’t want tear tracks and red puffy eyes when he went in. He didn’t want the class to know that they got to him. Midoriya remembers his old bullies making fun of him for having obvious remnants of sadness and panic on his face, so he made sure that he didn’t make the same mistake.
It was hard not to cry though, thinking about how he’d have to walk into class without Uraraka, and without Todoroki walking up to him to greet him, or at least nod in greeting. And thinking how Iida probably wouldn’t smile at him for making it on time cut too deep not to let tears slip. He leaned forward and let the tears fall onto the floor and he didn’t rub at his eyes to prevent any visual remainder of his tears. There was some sick satisfaction that he got as he watched his tears hit the floor.
He sighed as he checked the time. Grabbing a tissue, he carefully dabbed at his eyes and started on his way to class. He made it into the classroom at about the same time he does every day, conflicted on whether he wanted or didn’t want Uraraka to walk with him. Did he still want to be their friends even though it’s clear that they’re discriminatory? He thinks it’s fair to miss them, but at the same time, it feels wrong morally.
Either way, it was clear that there was a clear change in atmosphere when he walked through the door.
He pretended not to notice even though each set of eyes lit a small fire under his skin.
His classmates stared at him with various expressions on their faces, ranging from disgusted to neutral to hate-filled. And it was cruel. But he ignored them with practiced ease, calmly taking his seat behind Bakugou.
And, oh, wasn’t it ironic that Bakugou was the only one not looking at Midoriya.
Bakugou had always known that Midoriya was quirkless, so there really was no reason for their relationship to change. Midoriya didn’t know if it would change later though, he was just grateful that it hadn’t yet. But if his recent luck was anything to go by, he knew better than to hope for it to stay that way. To be honest, this was most likely the best it was going to get. (It was.)
It was daunting to know that he was probably right. (He was.)
Midoriya went on through homeroom keeping his muttering to a minimum, and his head down.
Not one person tried to speak to him. Not Uraraka, Iida, Todoroki, Aoyama, or Tsuyu. There wasn't even a hello directed his way from any of the others in the class.
And it continued to hurt for days.
It hurt when he had accidentally called Tsuyu by her last name and wasn't corrected, and it hurt for days after he had fallen in front of Uraraka instead of tripping and getting a casual save.
His friends had abandoned him when he needed them most.
Midoriya was now shrinking into himself to be as small as he could at all times, minimizing any damages that he could do to anyone or anything other than himself.
Midoriya knew UA was too good to be true. He should have known better, and he was kicking himself for ever letting himself be fooled.
Midoriya should have been more cautious. He always has been! And the one time he wasn't, and decided that the truth was worth telling, he got hurt. Midoriya should have figured that this would have happened.
And yeah, he could 100% end all of this in just 15 minutes by telling Aizawa or any other staff member. He's aware of the strict anti-bullying and discrimination policy that UA has and upholds, but he couldn't be the cause of several student's expulsions. He wouldn't give other people more reason to hate him.
Plus, the world couldn't really handle a shortage of heroes. Not when the world needs as much help as it can get after All Might’s retirement. So bitterly, he knew that he couldn’t share his problems with anyone. And his mother would just try to pull him out of UA. Midoriya knew that she was just looking out for him, and that she has the right to worry about him as his mother, but it just wasn't what he wanted at the moment. He was going to try his hardest despite the circumstances.
Then Midoriya had the realization that All Might was a really bad teacher and so if Midoriya explained why the class shouldn't be expelled, then he could rant to All Might without consequence!
He made a mental note to talk to All Might later.
Midoriya was heartbroken, but he was still able to focus in class. He had experienced much worse in the past. He'd be fine. The conditions he's had to deal with in the past have been much worse than this. Though it may take a while to get used to again, he thinks he'll be alright.
At least now he'll be able to give his all to his hero work and studies.
Forget about his friends, and fun outings, and the things he used to have. Midoriya was at UA to become a hero. Those few months of social normalcy were nice and fun, but now it was over, and Midoriya planned on making the most of it.
And yeah, maybe throwing himself into his hero work was just a detrimental form of escapism to help distract himself from the pain of what he was going through, and a way to put off dealing with his issues and grief over losing the people that he was closest to aside from his mother.
But so what?
Who was going to stop him?
Haha. Good one.
No, actually the answer ended up coming to him in the form of one Yagi Toshinori.
Midoriya was cornered in the hall after class ended one day by All Might, and they went to the staff lounge which was usually empty at this time of day.
All Might spoke up once they were there and comfortably lounging on the beanbag chairs that Nezu had supplied, "You can't keep doing this to yourself kid."
"Doing what?" That was absolute shit, Midoriya knew exactly what All Might was talking about.
Midoriya's eye bags got darker every day, and his smile lost the authenticity it had once had.
But Midoriya would never admit that. Admitting it meant facing what had happened, and he wasn't ready for that just yet. It would only make him sadder, and he wouldn't do that to himself.
"My boy you're hurting yourself." All Might said. "I'm sure you can recognize that, you're a smart boy." All Might watched as Midoriya pouted and pulled his knees into his chest and tucked his head into them.
Tears started to fall down Midoriya’s face. That was one thing that'd probably never change.
"Look in the mirror young Midoriya. You’ve changed. You’re hurting yourself and that needs to change. I’m so glad to see that you're doing well in your classes and have been improving on your percentage of One for All, but you aren’t sleeping well, and- and I haven’t even seen you speak to your friends I-” All Might was cut off by muffled words from Midoriya.
“What was that my boy?” All Might asks, coughing lightly.
“We aren’t friends anymore! All of my friends don’t talk to me anymore. We don’t talk, we don’t hang out, and we don’t even study together anymore!” Midoriya lifted his head and wiped his nose before throwing his arms out and violently gesturing with them.
“Oh…” All Might paused, processing the new information, “I wasn’t aware of that.” He had definitely noticed that something was off with the class, though they may act normally, something had been much different. Their energy had been lacking somehow in the past couple of days. He didn’t know what was going on exactly, but he was almost certain that it had to do with why Midoriya and his friends weren’t speaking to each other. “May I ask why?”
Midoriya finally cracked under all the weight he had been placed under. He didn’t have time to purchase a book to write his thoughts in, which was how he usually vented, but he didn’t have anything but his hero analysis books to write in. Midoriya didn’t like the idea of doing that since his hero analysis was his happy place, and he didn’t want to ruin it with his bad thoughts. The thought of doing that made him vaguely sick.
And so he took the invitation and spilled what had been happening, happy that Nezu didn’t have a camera in the teacher’s lounge.
Midoriya continued to rant after explaining the situation, “They just started to exclude me and treat me differently as if I was a whole different person! Which, even if I was someone else, that’s still really rude. But I’m still the same! I don’t have any friends anymore, and I can’t tell the other teachers because they’ll either expel the others or they’ll treat me differently as well! I only told you because you’d understand.” That wasn’t the whole truth, he chose All Might because he was kind of a sucky teacher and wouldn’t uphold the rules of the school if Midoriya gave him some random reason not to. All Might was gullible like that. He was a good hero, and Midoriya’s biggest role model, but teaching really wasn’t his thing, even he could recognize that, and he had the biggest rose-colored glasses on for All Might.
Midoriya took a deep breath, there was a pause before, “I hate that I was quirkless.”
That took All Might by surprise. Midoriya was always so full of love, and it was different to see him so genuinely angry. Midoriya had never shown real spite, but the way that he had hissed out those words was really something else.
Even when fighting villains, Midoriya was always righteous in his emotions. There was never anger. But rather, pure determination to do what was right. Midoriya was always saddened by wrong acts, but not angry. Never angry.
But then all of a sudden, all of the emotion just drained out of Midoriya with a sigh leaving only his pure exhaustion.
And All Might was hit in the face with just how young Midoriya was, but how old he looked.
But through All Might’s rampant thoughts, Midoriya began to ramble, talking was always his thing. “I don’t mean that.” Midoriya slumped.
“I just don’t like how the world treats them, er, us,” Midoriya ruffled his hair as he was deep in thought, before he blurted, ‘the quirkless. I don’t like how everyone just left at the first sign of it. Because here’s the thing, I didn’t even say I was quirkless, I just said that I was an extremely late bloomer, just to tell the truth, but still keep One for All safe. And they immediately closed off anyways! I know I didn’t do anything wrong! I didn’t-” Midoriya cut himself off with sobs.
All Might immediately pulled him into a big warm hug.
“It isn’t fair! Please! What did I do wrong?! What did I-” Midoriya slumped into All Might, crying extremely hard. All Might’s heart ached for the boy.
They stayed like that for a while before Midoriya tired himself out. He stood numbly and walked to the door despite All Might’s protests, and he walked back to his dorm room with a monotone ‘thank you’ to All Might, leaving All Might alone in the room.
He sighed. All He could do now was hope that Midoriya found a light in his situation.
Life went on for Midoriya.
He didn’t make any new friends, and no one changed to accept him for who he was and used to be.
Occasionally he got glances of pity, but there was never a move to help when his things were stolen, and when he was pushed or tripped in the halls.
The students were all sneaky enough as students of UA to hide from the staff in their unkindness. The best that he’d receive was basic respect. And it was only shown to him by a few choice people.
Like Shinsou, who helped him up about 1/10th of the time that Midoriya fell near him. That was 1/10th more than over half the entire school including some teachers.
Shinsou didn’t really speak to him though. Shinsou knew where Midoriya sat for lunch, but he still never joined him, and Midoriya was too afraid to seek him out. Midoriya didn’t want to open up again, afraid that he’d be hurt again.
And little did Midoriya know that he was correct. Shinsou had spent all his life consoling himself after being bullied that at least he wasn’t quirkless, and it had eventually evolved into a prejudice.
It was sort of bitter to think that Bakugou was most definitely the one to treat him the best. Bakugou would convince the people around him to not pay attention to Midoriya and focus on him instead. It was more than what anyone else tried to do, and though Bakugou would try to act like he wasn’t doing anything, Midoriya had known him for his whole life, there was no way that Bakugou could get anything past him.
Plus, at least Bakugou kept a continuous faith in Midoriya that he could become a hero. He made it seem like he didn’t by saying that Midoriya would be a shit hero, but at least Bakugou said that Midoriya could become a hero even if it was a bad one. Everyone else just told him that he should drop out of UA, though it was really rare that someone would say it to his face.
Bakugou basically just kept the same energy towards Midoriya that he always had. He still constantly tried to fight him, and they fought to prove themselves to each other, but Bakugou antagonizes himself so much when it comes to their relationship, so he’s able to slide it past the others in the class. Midoriya was just glad to see that Bakugou wasn’t reverting back to how he was in middle school.
Midoriya was grateful that something had stayed the same, but it was hard to see Bakugou with people who hated him. Midoriya knew that he couldn’t be selfish though.
Plus, why would Bakugou get rid of his friends for him?
Soon everyone in the class started to normalize excluding him to the point where Midoriya wasn’t even a thought that crossed their minds.
They had made a class group chat without him in it, quickly deserting Midoriya and isolating him. And when they speak about class activities, they really mean the entire class except for him.
One time, about a month and a half after Midoriya was abandoned by everyone, the class made plans to have a karaoke night at a place that Mina had found.
Midoriya had heard about it and got excited when he had heard that they were going to buy a room for the entire class.
But then he overheard Kaminari, Uraraka, Mina, and Yaoyorozu talking as he was making his way to the gym.
“Well, I have all 19 spots paid for, so I don’t think there should be a problem with that Uraraka. You really don’t have to pay me back, I’m doing this because I want to! I want us all to have a good time there.” Yaoyorozu said cheerily as if she hadn’t ripped the air out of Midoriya’s lungs.
Why did Midoriya keep getting his hopes up?
He had always tried to see the best in people, but it was clear that the best of these people only happened without him. Midoriya didn’t know why he kept letting himself dream. It was never going to happen, so there was no reason for him to keep hoping for the best.
“Ocha are you feeling ok?” Mina asked.
“Oh, yeah, it’s just that I got the feeling that we were missing something, but I guess not.” Ouch, Midoriya already felt like shit, and now they were talking about him like he was a ghost.
Midoriya felt a spite spike through him so he turned the corner and walked through the hall to the gym, directly passing by their path. He heard a small 'oh' from Uraraka, followed by,
“That’s what I think we were missing.”
Is Midoriya a thing now? Not even a person? THAT?
He knew that he was probably just reaching for a reason to feel bad, and that it didn’t mean a lot to him, but he couldn’t help that it made him sad.
“Did you really want him to come though?” Mina asked, and damn did that hurt.
Why do they hate him so much?
He knew exactly why, but that didn’t make it any easier to hear someone say that they didn’t want you around.
“Ah, you’re right. This feels kinda mean though.” Uraraka said, not making Midoriya feel any better.
Midoriya started to feel nauseous after overhearing that, but he headed to the gym anyway. He wouldn’t want to just turn around and pass them again, that would be weird, plus he didn’t want to miss out on working out. Midoriya had become a lot stronger over the past weeks, most likely because all on working out and no one reminds him not to overwork himself anymore.
Other than working out, he usually just calls his mom and does his homework in advance. There was nothing else to do. He tried to make online friends, and it worked for a while, but he eventually lost the energy to keep up with them.
And so he mostly worked out his emotions on the training equipment in the gym.
Midoriya may tell himself that it’s harmless, but deep down he knew that he was just hurting himself.
But it was his routine.
He would wake up feeling like literal garbage, go to class, and eat lunch alone in the deserted area that he had discovered by the pool. Well, mostly deserted. He’s been found a couple of times, and he’s been pushed into the pool a couple of times as well. Then he’d finish class, relax or do homework (he usually did his homework in advance, so a lot of days, he could just lounge in his room or analyze), he’d eat dinner. But dinner was kind of complicated.
The class made him food because they were being mean, but they weren’t cruel. They wouldn’t starve him. But he didn’t feel comfortable sitting at a table with the class so he usually just got his food, sat far away from the class, ate his food quickly, thanked whoever made the meal, and then headed to his room.
Then he’d relax or analyze for a little longer, possibly do his homework in advance, and then he’d head to the gym as if he wasn’t already exercising every hour of every day. Midoriya didn’t actually sit in chairs, he had the support course make him some small weights that he wore on him at all times, and he had a morning workout routine as well, which he made more complicated every month to adapt to his ever-strengthening form. He knew that he didn’t really need to do all this work, but it was what he was going to do anyways. So after dinner he’d go to the gym and work himself to the bone for about 1-3 hours and then go to his room and pass out from overexertion because he wouldn’t be able to sleep otherwise.
Midoriya knew that this wasn’t healthy either physically or mentally, but it was what he had. All that he was really paying attention to was making sure to stick to a healthy diet, to do well in class, to save as many people as possible, and to keep his mom happy.
He was well aware of the significant toll that this was taking on his mind, but he couldn’t stop. He wouldn’t know what to do if he stopped. If he stopped, everything would crash down on him and he’d probably stop functioning (he was barely functioning properly as it was).
But Midoriya was working harvest to make do with the circumstances (both placed on him by himself and others) that he’s been given and nothing would stop him.
Until something did.
All Might was attached to his successor.
But the person who Midoriya had become was not the same Midoriya that All Might had come to love as a son. No, this was someone else. This was someone new. And this someone was not the successor that he had chosen.
All Might had been mulling it over for weeks, but it’s been too long now. He needed to accept that what Midoriya was going though wasn’t a phase, but rather who Midoriya had become. And though All Might was attached to the kid and loved him to death, he took a step back to look at the situation logically and without bias.
This new Midoriya wasn’t symbol-material as much as he hated to admit it. Midoriya had worked so hard that he had lost sight of his goal. He had forgotten what made him someone that All Might could see as a future star. That undying flame of determination had been extinguished, and now he’s fueled by spite, and that wasn’t something that the world would need in these trying times.
So, though it pained him to do, he texted Midoriya after dinner to meet him outside of the Heights Alliance, and like the good kid he was, Midoriya showed up without making him wait log, though there was a missing spring in his step that made All Might want to cry.
“Hey All Might! What did you need me for?” Midoriya said, brightening a little, making what All Might was about to do much harder.
“My boy there is… something I need to tell you.” All Might looked away, he couldn’t bear to look at Midoriya when he knew that he was going to hurt him.
Midoriya always looked the happiest when he was with All Might.
All Might hated to be the one to crush Midoriya like this, especially since he knew how big of a role model he was to the kid, but this was for the sake of the future.
“Yeah?” Midoriya asked, prompting All Might to continue, unaware of the aching heart that the retired hero had as he gathered himself up to deliver the news to the rotting, dying, and stinky mule that was Midoriya’s happiness.
“I have made an incredibly hard decision, and there isn’t any other way to tell you this but to be straightforward.” All Might said, finally looking Midoriya in the eyes, immediately regretting it.
Midoriya's eyes were sparkling with trust and happiness. All Might knew that he was one of Midoriya’s only saviors during this time for him, and so Midoriya had left his heart open for him, and now he was going to have to hurt Midoriya.
All Might felt sick as he said his next words, “I am going to take One for All back.”
He made sure not to say ‘take One for All away from you’ because he was sure that it would hurt Midoriya more.
It took a moment for Midoriya to process before the light in Midoriya’s eyes dimmed until they were just expanses of emotionless inky black. And All Might could tell that Midoriya was 100% closed off now.
He was sure that there would be some sort of lasting effects of what he just did. All Might knew that he was one of Midoriya’s last hopes. Midoriya he had told him so. But he had just cut their ties, and he couldn’t even imagine the pain that Midoriya was in, if he was even in any pain at all, because if it were Yagi, he’d probably feel numb to it all.
All Might figured that Midoriya deserved an explanation, “My boy, isn’t because you aren’t doing well. You were doing incredibly! And you’ve become so strong over these past months, but you’ve just become someone else. I’m sure you’ve seen it. Are you the hero you wished you would be? It this how you hoped it would go? Because you aren’t…” There really was no easy way to explain it, so All Might just decided to say it straight up. “You aren’t who I had chosen as a successor anymore. My Midoriya was full of light, but look at you now. My boy, you’ve become so unhappy.”
“What happened to you?” All Might asked as if Midoriya hadn’t asked himself the same thing every time he recognized his own self-destructive behavior. But hearing it from All Might was so much worse.
“How will you save everyone with a smile if you don’t know happiness?” If Midoriya’s heart was broken, then that question shattered it.
“When was the last time you genuinely smiled?” And the blows just kept coming.
Midoriya knew that All Might was just trying to give him closure or something like that, but it really only succeeded in making Midoriya feel like shit.
So he stopped listening.
Midoriya tuned out everything that was being said, and he plucked two hairs from his head (just in case one got lost, knowing All Might, that would be likely), and, unfeeling, he handed over to All Might, effectively shutting him up.
“I- My boy, you’re just going to give up?” All Might asked, surprised at the easy exchange.
“Well, yeah. What good would it be to refuse? You’ve obviously made up your mind about taking it back, and I know that this isn’t some test so see if I’m still worthy or something like that. I don’t have any honest rebuttals to what you said. You’re right.” Midoriya finished, watching with slight satisfaction as All Might was stunned into silence for a moment before sighing in acceptance.
“You’re right my boy. I’m sorry for taking this away from you.” And deep down, Midoriya knew that All Might wasn’t talking about the quirk.
“I’m sorry too.” That was the last thing that Midoriya said before going down to his dorm room and starting to pack it up.
He called his mom and let her know that he was coming home.
Midoriya knew that he was proving everyone right. All the people who said that a quirkless person couldn’t be a hero, and that he’d never make it. He was proving them right.
But he was so tired of constantly justifying and proving himself to others. He hated it.
Midoriya just couldn’t do it anymore. He was so tired.
He couldn’t live like that anymore.
So he left.
And by the time morning came, Midoriya Izuku had left UA without a trace that he had ever been there.