A/N: In AO3, the first two chapters are actually a one-shot on their own, sort of a prequel to the main story. Since this site doesn't have AO3's series feature, I decided to just put them into one.
WARNING POTENTIALLY TRIGGERING CONTENT: graphic description of suicide, self-harm, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, vomiting, violence, gore.
This story explores themes of suicide, self-harm and depression explicitly. Viewer's discretion is advised.
note: if you think this is going to be an action-packed bamf deku a la shounen anime. yeah... no :)
Midoriya Izuku wakes up in a morgue.
The first thing that comes to mind is that, wow, he's never felt so cold in his entire life. The second thing is the realization that he is buck naked for all the world to see. 100% clothing-free. Izuku sits up, shivering as his palm holds full contact with the metal bed—where is he?
The room is cold, spacious, and has an air of sterility to it—hospital, then?—but there is something else about the smell it offers. There is something other than the distinct, odd hospital smell—something chemical. Something foreign. Nothing that Izuku has ever encountered before. He blinks. He looks down, and realizes, for the first minute since he woke up in this foreign environment, that he is in a body bag.
Huh, he thinks, as he notices the red band circled around his wrist. Written on it in typed out Kanji: name of the deceased. Next to it, in a neat handwriting: Midoriya Izuku. And then the date. And—
He stops reading, mind reeling.
Huh, he thinks, for a second time, and decides to stay still in place, processing.
He's never been in a morgue before. There is a first time for everything, he guesses. At this line of thought, the door across the room opens and a woman in comes in. She is in a dark green medical gown, along with a cap. She doesn't seem to notice his presence as she walks to a nearby table, looking through documents.
"Uh," he says, an arm raised politely as if he is in a classroom, "Ex—excuse me, Ma'am?"
The woman stops whatever she is doing. And turns, agape, to look at him.
"I think there's been some kind of mistake?" Izuku says, unsure.
The woman—who Izuku learns later on is thirty-five year old Kubo Miyako, who is, apparently, Izuku's mortician—stares at him, and he stares back. This eye contact lasts for approximately the longest, most awkward three seconds Izuku has ever experienced in his life.
And then, naturally, Kubo Miyako screams bloody murder.
Half an hour later, after Kubo Miyako has run out like a bat out of hell and came back with another mortician (Shiro Yoshiro-san, Izuku later learns his name), who then also ran out and came back with yet another mortician (Fukuda Fomio), Izuku is nibbling on a strawberry pocky in a hospital gown. He is very hungry, for some reason.
"Your mother is on her way," Fukuda-san tells him, as he gives him another glass of water. Izuku is also very thirsty. "Honestly, I've been doing this job for twenty years, but—" he shakes his head, and doesn't continue his sentence.
"Thank you," Izuku says after swallowing down the whole glass.
"No problem," Fukuda pauses, and he's still staring at Izuku like Izuku has grown a second head. "Is this your Quirk, son?"
"I don't have a Quirk," Izuku says automatically. Not something he usually tells to strangers, but—he isn't really feeling like himself, today. Or rather, he feels—calm. Oddly relaxed, almost like he is in a dream. Things don't exactly feel real , right now.
Fukuda looks at him, again with that same, awed inspection. "I think," the fifty year old mortician says, taking the empty glass gently from Izuku's hand, "you might want to consider that again."
Midoriya Inko arrives not two minutes after, looking like she just got hit by a truck. Her eyes find Izuku's the second she gets through the door—and then Izuku is enveloped in the most bone-crushing hug in his life.
Another half an hour later, Izuku is in a jacket and jeans that are at least three times bigger than his size, kindly lent by Shiro-san, and nibbling on yet another packet of pocky (vanilla, this time). He is in the backseat, his mother is next to Bakugou Mitsuki, who is driving and keeps stealing odd glances at him from the rearview.
Next to Izuku is a big paper bag. It looks heavy. He wonders what's inside of it. "Izuku."
Izuku looks up, slowly, to see his mother's eyes—red and swollen, but adorned with a watery smile—at him. "How are you feeling, sweetheart?"
Izuku considers this. "I'm okay," he answers. And he is. He feels okay. Still kind of floaty, honestly, kind of dreamy. He doesn't feel exuberantly fantastic or anything, but he feels good . If empty. Good, in an empty kind of way. "Weird," he says again, in honesty. "Okay. But weird."
"That's great, sweetheart," a pause, and something conflicts in his mother's face. "Do you … do you know what happened?"
Izuku stares. Something is tugging at him, behind the fog, behind the pleasant, tranquility in his head. "What do you mean?" he asks, softly.
Another pause. "Do you remember what happened?"
Blank. The tugging thing stops abruptly. He blinks. Something, there is something at the back of his mind. A raised hand, waiting to knock.
His mother smiles, again, but this time it's explicitly strained. "It's okay if you don't, honey. You don't have to think about it, okay? Just get some rest, it's been—" a huffed laugh, almost a sob "—it's been a long day."
When they arrived, Aunt Mitsuki hugs his mother for a long, long time. And then she comes at him and hugs him too, for an even longer time. When she lets go and he finally gets a good look at her face, Izuku feels the fog in his head dissipates, if a little. Izuku is a crybaby, he knows, he got it from his mom—hence, he's seen his mother cry a lot. But seeing someone like Aunt Mitsuki—who's always been so confident and smiley and loud— cry, that … that surprises him. Not in a pleasant way.
The tugging feeling comes back, this time more insistently. Something. Something.
"Izuku-kun," Aunt Mitsuki says, hand cupping the side of Izuku's face. "Take care, okay?" her face is contorted, like cracked mirror.
"Okay," he says, immediately, and utters it with as much conviction as he can, because he doesn't want Aunt Mitsuki to look like that anymore. To be so heartbroken.
Another half an hour, and Izuku is scourging a warm bowl of katsudon with gusto. He is so hungry. And the food is so delicious. "This is my favorite food," Izuku says, for the millionth time in his fourteen years of life.
The way his mom smiles when she hears him, though—the brightness never falters every time. And this time, she is absolutely, positively beaming. And then she crumples and cries.
Izuku stops chewing. He awkwardly puts his bowl down. The tugging sensation is back again. Insistent. Distant, angry rapping deep down in his head. Something. What is it?
"I'm sorry, sweetheart," his mom sobs, chopsticks askew on the dinner table. Behind them, the TV runs on, blaring a rerun of an old episode of an anime. "It's just—I love you. I love you. So, so much. You know that, d-don't you?"
"I love you too, mom," Izuku says, helpless. Food forgotten, he hugs his mother until the sobs dissolve into halted breathing.
His mother is asleep, snoring gently after falling in bed with him curled between her arms. She is completely exhausted, it seems. The crying must've taken a lot out of her. Izuku puts her arms off his back as gently as he possibly could, and tip-toes out the bedroom, as silent as can be.
He goes out to the hallway, thoughtful. Or not. He isn't actually thinking of anything. Anything at all. Which is odd, because Izuku is an anxious person. He is always thinking of something. Often several things at once. But the fog is still there. The void. A bereftness in him. The persistent null clouding his head.
He walks to the living room. He looks at the clock. 11:54 pm. He feels wide awake. His eyes wander the room and stop at the porch. There, beside the shoes, is the paper bag from the car.
"Mom, I'm going to school!"
"Izuku, wait, your lunch—"
It looks heavy. Izuku walks to it. His mother must've meant to throw it away, and forgotten about it.
(Something. Something. Something. )
He looks inside.
"We're not done talking yet, Deku."
It is heavy. But he can manage. He carries the bag to his room.
"If you want to be a hero that badly, there is a quick way to do it—"
He took out the content of the bag. There are a lot. He recognizes his school backpack, and his uniform, wrapped in plastic. Something stutters in his chest. His heart, a drum beating down his ears. But he is calm. He is so very calm. He takes a scissor from his desk—bright yellow with All-Might cartoonish face imprinted on the handles—and gets to work.
When all the plastic are set aside, he lays out the content on the floor meticulously side by side. His backpack, his uniform, his undershirt, and his shoes. Even his socks. They are all the ones he wore this morning.
Huh, Izuku thinks. With that same sense of clinical detachment. The now growing void in beneath the cold, cold containment of his ribcage.
He touches the hero notebook, volume thirteenth. His familiar handwriting. The charred edges of it, courtesy of Kacchan. Like his uniform, and shoes, and backpack, the notebook is covered in blood.
"—believe that you'll be born with a Quirk in your next life and jump off the roof! "
Izuku stares at the items laid out on the floor of his bedroom contemplatively. And then he looks at the All-Might scissors, still gripped tight in his right hand.
He thinks he understands. The tugging has stopped. His heart is steady. He understands. He understands.
Too bad, though. He likes the scissors.
He takes a deep breath. Calm. He is calm. He is empty.
He takes another deep breath, and—and pain blossoms through his wrist.
Izuku wakes up and looks to the face of All Might in the summer edition poster plastered at the ceiling. He blinks. What time is it? And why is he so hungry?
"Izuku, are you in your room?"
Before Izuku manages to open his mouth reflexively to yell an affirmative, his bedroom door slams open. "There you a—" his mother's words cut short, and she gapes at him. He looks at his mother's horrified, shock-still face and looks at himself. He is in a pool of blood. His favorite scissors are gripped in his right hand, more red than yellow, now. Next to him is his uniform, shoes, and backpack, laid on the floor—he blinks.
Oh, right. He'd killed himself. Twice.
Kacchan was right, Izuku thinks with some level of distant, hysterical amusement. He gets a Quirk in his next life, after all.
He looks at his mother, who looks like she is in the middle of a mental breakdown. "Mom," Izuku says. "I think I found my Quirk."
His mom looks to the blood, to the scissors, and then finally, at him.
And of course, Midoriya Inko, single mother, the only person who has known Izuku every day since he was born, musters up the perfect, lovely response to her son finally finding his biggest and most painful wish coming true.
"That's great, honey," she says.