She was pretty. Really pretty.
Messy blond hair, tied into a haphazard bun. Pale, ghostly skin that almost seemed to glow in the dim, orange light. Thin, gentle fingers tipped with chipped crimson nails.
The little girl huddled closer to the woman on the sofa, nuzzling into her belly. It was warm and soft, like a pillow that was fresh out of the dryer. The girl always liked clothes that were just dried. They were a special kind of warm, and they smelled nice.
But the woman didn't smell nice. The woman smelled different now. Before, she smelled like flowers. It was a gentle smell, the sort that tickled the girl's nose and made her smile. That smell was still there, but it was different. It was too strong, like someone was pinching her nose, and it mingled with the woman's nasty breath. The girl's eyes drifted, catching sight of the glass bottles on the table. There were a few of them, all of them empty. Whenever the woman drank that many, the girl got worried.
"Did you have a good day at daycare?" The woman spoke softly, her fingers combing through the girl's hair.
"Y-yeah…" The little girl smiled. It was a nervous, forced action. It felt wrong on her face, like sweet syrup being poured over burnt pancakes. But the girl didn't want to tell her the truth. She didn't want to see the woman cry. "My friends and I made up a game to play at recess!"
"That's wonderful…" The woman's eyes blinked slowly, hazy and unfocused. She was smiling, as though floating in a dream. "I'm always so glad to hear that. What was the game?"
The girl paused for a moment, her smile flickering. She hadn't made up a game today. Her friends hadn't wanted to talk with her. They hadn't for a while. But looking at the woman, meeting her sleepy gaze, the girl knew she couldn't say that.
"We… uh," She forced the smile back onto her face, gulping down the sickly sweet syrup. "It was like tag, but with special rules. We couldn't use our quirks, and we had to tag a rock to be untagged."
The woman chuckled, and hugged the girl close. "Was it fun?"
"That's great… Do you think you could help me a little tonight? I had... a stressful day." The woman's tone didn't change in the slightest, but the girl's stomach tied itself in knots.
Out of the corner of her eye, the girl saw something. Tucked between the bottles on the side table, warm orange light bounced off of cold metal, tracing the smooth, sharp curves of a knife. Of the knife. The one that was always there. The girl held back a shiver, and looked up into the woman's eyes. Fear settled in her stomach like a fat stone, but she ignored it, trying her hardest to be enthusiastic. Mama had always said she needed to stop being afraid if she wanted to help people.
The woman licked her lips, and reached for the knife. "Thank you, dear…"
"It's not bad to dream, but you have to face reality, young man." There was the scrape of metal against concrete, and the door to the roof closed, leaving Izuku alone.
Anyone can be a hero. That's what he had been told his whole life. Anyone, with enough training and determination, could become a hero. It's what every child wanted, what Izuku had always wanted.
Izuku had been laughed at, beaten, and pushed around. Even today, he had been told to go throw himself off a building. But he had held on. Because, at the end of the day, after all the cuts and bruises, the burnt notebooks and public humiliation, All Might had been there. That's who All Might was: the hero that could save anyone.
'Anyone can be a hero.' In every magazine interview, every reality TV appearance, All Might always said it. It was his catch phrase. And those words had always brought a smile to Izuku's face. If anyone could be a hero, so could Izuku. And so, even if no one else believed in him, All Might was there.
But now… now All Might was gone too.
'I'd be lying if I said you could be a hero without a power.'
It hadn't felt like a punch to the gut. It had felt like All Might had delivered a Detroit Smash straight to his stomach. All of his blood had been drained from his veins, and replaced with frigid ice water. His feet were lead anchors, sealed in concrete and caught on the ocean floor. The boy stared at the spot his hero had been sitting at, as though he were still sitting there, leaning against the rail and staring at him with those narrow eyes.
He swallowed, but his mouth was dry as desert dirt, filling his throat and choking him. Stumbling forward a few steps, the boy supported himself with the guardrail, his heart and mind still reeling. He felt… Rejected? Disappointed? Empty? No, no, those words didn't fit the way his stomach was tying itself into knots, and how heavy his chest felt. It was some mix of them, a disgusting emotional stew, one that was bitter and overcooked.
The wind was crisp and sharp, suddenly far colder than just a few minutes before. His hands shook as he set his backpack down, and pulled out his notebook.
Hero Analysis for the Future, No. 13
The hardback of the notebook was singed, with browns and blacks tarnishing the whites and blues of the cover. The pages, crisp and flaky at the edges, crumbled slightly as he flipped through them.
So many hours poured into these detailed notes.
So much passion, so many nights staying up far too late.
Izuku sifted through the notebook, hands and heart unsteady. His eyes traced every word, but his brain didn't read any of them. It was busy reeling, trying to reorient itself after having it's sole goal shredded in front of it.
He couldn't be a hero. All Might himself said so. The number one hero, the man who Izuku had admired for his heroics and smile, the man who believed in everyone, just told him it was impossible.
His eyes fell on the page for Kacchan, and he paused. His entire body steadied for a moment, relaxing as he read through the description of his friend's powers. Every detail he could find, potential uses, potential weaknesses, all written in such detail. But it missed a crucial detail. In fact, every one of these entries did.
It never mentioned who they are.
So much space dedicated to Kacchan's quirk, but not a single word about what he was like, who he really was. Izuku grit his teeth, his gaze filling with confused, tearful fury.
All of these people. Each and every one of them in this notebook, along with athe dozen other notebooks he had written, they could become heroes. Many of them were. Even Kacchan, the boy who had berated and abused him day after day, could become a hero.
But Izuku couldn't. Not according to All might. Not according to everyone else.
Something snapped. Something in Izuku's thin frame shattered under the pressure of his mind drowning in his own thoughts. He was just a worthless deku. To Kacchan. To his classmates. To his hero.
Carefully and methodically, the frail boy tore each and every page out of the notebook, tossing them to the wind. He wouldn't need them. Why was he bothering to write it? Why was he wasting graphite and ink on it? He didn't know how long it took. He didn't care. But eventually, the notebook only had one page left. A large signature of All Might's name, done in sharpie. Izuku hesitated for a moment, but then ripped it out too.
He didn't deserve that signature. He wasn't worthy of it.
And looking at them empty hardcover, Izuku felt truly alone. Purposeless. Powerless. Useless.
A deku, completely and entirely.
The walk home was a slow trudge, but it seemed to pass in instants. There had been a fight somewhere in the city, but Izuku ignored it.
A few days ago, he probably would've run in, pen and notebook in hand. Live notes were better than anything you could find online, after all, and he'd have to be ready when he became a hero. His hand clutched the doorknob shakily, and he gave a heartbroken laugh. He wouldn't have to worry about that anymore, at least. He pushed open the door and slipped off his shoes. "... I'm home."
"Welcome back!" His mom glanced over her shoulder, and gave Izuku a worried smile. "Dinner should be ready in a few minutes, if you want to put you want to put your things away."
Izuku simply nodded, unable to bring his typical, if forced, smile to his face. He slunk past his mom, and cracked open the door to his room, as though he had to sneak into it. Mom always gave him that smile, something in the back of his mind said. She was always worried about him. He must cause her so many issues.
Of course he did. Who was he kidding? Things would be so much easier for her if she didn't have to worry about him.
Izuku's bag landed with a thud, and he collapsed onto his star-spangled sheets. His eyes wandered aimlessly until settling on a poster. His favorite poster.
It was taped to the wall beside his desk, so that he could always see it while working. It wasn't a fancy poster, or even a big one; just All Might's smiling face, with the words 'ANYONE CAN BECOME A HERO' in big, bold lettering. Izuku smiled for a moment, almost out of habit. That's right, anyone can become a-
And then his brain reversed, full throttle, as he remembered his day. That poster might've been able to convince him when it was Kacchan laughing at him, but when it's All Might himself? Izuku's freckled face scrunched up, holding back tears.
All over the room there was All Might. Posters. Action figures. Even his rug and curtains. That smile used to make Izuku feel strong, like he could make a difference. But now, the hero was just laughing at him, taunting him, just like everyone else. And no matter where he looked, there was another All Might, laughing.
Why was he like this? Why was the world like this? He wanted to be a hero, but he was just a quirkless loser who weighed everyone down. His breathing hitched, and he squeezed his eyes shut, as though that would make his problems go away, a desperate attempt to purge the thoughts that haunted him.
He had been lied to.
The heroes always said that anyone could become a hero, but they forgot to say that 'anyone' excluded those without quirks, excluded him. But somehow, it included bullies like Kacchan, who abused their power.
Kacchan was the type that got all the praise. Born with a strong quirk, and he knew it. And so, whenever he pushed someone like Izuku around, no one stopped him. No hero swooped in to save him. He almost growled. It wasn't about helping people, was it? It was about being strong. And if that was the case, what was the difference between heroes and villains? He pushed the thought away, though. Heroes were the only thing he believed in; his heart refused to push them out. If Izuku couldn't believe in them, who could he believe in?
Beneath all the pain, something was building. Slow and heavy, like a fiery beast dragging its feet as it lumbered out of its cave.
It was anger. Anger at his classmates. Anger at all the heroes. Anger at everyone, but no one in particular.
But what was he supposed to do?
He was just a deku.
Friday afternoon had arrived, and with the ringing of the school bell, the students of Aldera Junior High were set free. Many casually chatted as they made their way home, enthusiastic about their plans for the weekend, while others simply put in their headphones or leafed through the pages of a book. Cherry blossom petals fluttered on the warm breeze, and the bright blue sky was dotted with patches of clouds that lazily followed their aircurrents.
On days like this, Izuku would usually go to the park to study. He could do that at home, but it would be a waste, really. It also meant he'd be closer to downtown, in case a villain situation broke out, and seeing heroes in person was always so much better than relying on the recordings the news provided.
But today, he did no such thing. His head held low, and walked slowly, as though he was simply following his feet instead of directing them. His emerald eyes locked on the ground in front of him, he only glanced up to avoid running into other students. His lips mumbled apologies to anyone he passed by, and his in his hands was clutched a sheet of paper, neatly folded.
The paper wasn't that big; just a single leaflet he had torn out of his science notebook. But it felt heavy. Far too heavy for any one piece of paper, at least. He had been thinking a lot, and all of those thoughts had spilled out of him, soaking into the paper as red ink. He knew the note was a mess, but there was too much to say, and not enough space. He could've filled pages upon pages with words, explaining everything, but it didn't feel like that would change anything. He had made his decision, and it had to be done today.
At least that's what he told himself as he strolled, taking his time as hesitance weighed on his heart. He forced down his fear, choking down the vile liquid that threatened to drown him. It was better this way, for him, for his mom, for everyone.
The past few days had felt… odd. But not in a good way, no. Empty of purpose, drained of emotion. He'd had days like it before, of course. Izuku was familiar with the emotion, or rather, the distinct lack thereof. He wasn't sad, or angry, or anything like that. His heart just felt sore, like a pulled muscle. The entire world simply existed behind a foggy pain of glass, everything distant and muted, without the slightest bit of urgency or energy.
Izuku was just an observer, watching a dull, lifeless TV show. And all he wanted to do was turn it off. But it would feel wrong not to take one last look at the set.
He seemed to walk through the whole city that afternoon. He passed by apartment buildings and schools, restaurants and convenience stores. He never entered a single one, just watching people as he passed, almost wistfully. So many people, each one living a life just as complicated and messy as his own, if not more so. He could fall off the face of the earth, and everything would continue on as normal for these people. None of them would know, let alone care. The idea sent shivers down his spine.
By the time the sun was setting, he had reached his destination. Izuku had seen enough. Well... Not really. Not at all. But he couldn't bear to see any more. He might stop himself if he kept wandering, and if he was only going to follow through on one thing in his life, it would be this. He entered the building, and began climbing the stairs. There were a lot of stairs, but he took his time. When he reached the rooftop, he sat down, crossing his legs, and pulled his bento out of his backpack.
It was supposed to be his lunch, really. Some rice, a few boiled vegetables, and a couple of hotdogs, all long since cold. He clicked his chopsticks together, and smiled softly. Mom really was the best. He knew she was busy, but she always took the time to make him lunch every morning. She even cut up the hotdogs, slicing them to look like little octopi. The rice was stiff and dry, and the vegetables were practically tasteless, but he savored every bite.
As he ate, his eyes and mind both wandered. The sky really was pretty, the orange sun painting the clouds in hues of red and pink as it dipped below the horizon. There were the sounds of traffic in the distance, but it was actually rather quiet near where he was eating. It was a rather desolate area of the city, now that he thought about it.
One thing that stood out in his mind was that Kacchan hadn't shown up to school for the past few days. He wondered why. His gut twisted at the thought of Kacchan getting hurt. Looking back, his feelings about Kacchan were... complicated. Kacchan was always the one yelling at him, beating him. He was a bully, a tormentor that made Izuku's life a living hell.
But he was still Izuku's friend. He couldn't bring himself to reject that, reject him. Their relationship was part of him, a patch sewn into the fiber of his being. He reached down with his chopsticks, only to snap out of his thoughts and find his lunch box empty. He licked his lips, gulping down what was left in his mouth, and clicked the box shut, carefully returning it to his back. He didn't want to make a mess for his mom.
For a moment, he thought about Kacchan. No, he wouldn't be hurt. He probably just skipped school, now that Izuku thought about it. He was far from weak, and his quirk was nothing to scoff at.
He grimaced. It all came back to quirks, didn't it? That was the difference between him and everyone else. He was a deku. His eyes lingered at one particular spot near the guardrail, and his heart ached.
That's where All Might had been sitting. Izuku could practically still see him sitting there, a phantom watching the boy whose dreams he'd crushed.
No, that's not the right phrase… That makes it sound like it was All Might's fault. It wasn't. No, All Might was simply answering his question honestly. Izuku just had stupid dreams. He had his entire life. The system made it impossible for him to achieve them, and everyone had told him so, but he had just ignored them. He had been childish, thinking that, if he tried hard enough, he could make it through.
It was immature.
He was immature.
But he was going to fix that now. His mom wouldn't have to get up so early to make him lunch, his teacher wouldn't have to bother with his mundane essays, Kacchan wouldn't have to tell him over and over what Izuku had failed to learn his entire life.
And Izuku could be at peace. He wouldn't have to deal with the humiliation and the beatings. He wouldn't have to hear them laugh anymore. And maybe, if he was lucky, he would reincarnate with a quirk that he could use to save people. A quirk he could use to be a hero.
He checked his pocket, making sure the note was there. His hands gripped the railing so tightly that his knuckles went white, and he swung his leg over, catching his footing on the edge. He paused for a moment, looking down. It was odd; he imagined he would feel more afraid. The fear was there, but it felt… subdued, he supposed. Like a gladiator that knew his fate was sealed, and had already given up on fighting. Instead, there was just a moment of clarity, all the puzzle pieces falling into place. He didn't see his life flash before his eyes, he didn't see all of his failures and regrets. In fact, knowing that these were his last moments, they felt so much more vivid, so much more alive, then the rest of his life. They were moments to savor. The cold metal dug into his palms, and the smell of pollen hung in the air.
What a beautiful day. There weren't many this pretty. The sky at dusk, the blues, purples and pinks that stained the clouds and atmosphere, it was truly gorgeous. It was an odd thought to have, but he should be thankful that his last day looked like this. Maybe the world did care enough to say goodbye.
His eyes burned with unshed tears, and he held his breath in anticipation.
Thank you, mom. Thank you for believing in your stupid son.
He's sorry he couldn't be any better.
Then the door to the roof screeched open, and Izuku's head whipped around, his eyes those of a caught criminal with no chance of escape.
There, peeking out from the door with a rabid dog's smile and bright yellow eyes, was a girl in a cardigan.
"Ooh, are you gonna jump?" Her smile settled into a feverish grin, and a hot blush spread across her cheeks. "Can I watch?"
A/N: Good evening, all, this is Imp, the writer with an unhealthy attraction to J-rock and yanderes! I'll leave it up to ya'll to decide which of the two is worse.
So, with that in mind, I've decided to toss my hat into the ring of BNHA fanfiction, a fandom so large it makes me wonder if the show is one of the modern classics of literature. And, just to make plenty of enemies, I'm gonna come out and say it straight out: Toga Himiko is best girl.
Well, kinda. Her characterization is neat, but she also has less backstory than the newscaster with one horn, that shows up every now and then, which has always disappointed me. Plenty of people seem to like her spunk, per se, but in almost every story I've read, she more of a prop or plot device than a character.
And with that said, I've laid out my main goal in this story: take Himiko, and make her a complete character. Take a long look at her and Izuku, what's different about them, and more importantly, what's the same.
So this is the start of my villain deku story, Compassion, and the Lack Thereof!
Make sure to leave comments and suggestions below!
[2019/6/20 - edits to sentence structure, repetition, and the word "Momma."]