As he clutched the cold railing that All Might had been pressed up against minutes before, Izuku could only faintly recall the events that had led to such a crushing encounter. It was hard to believe that he'd almost been suffocated to death by that sludge villain just half-an-hour before. Now everything just felt numb. Even All Might—the pillar of peace—had said that Izuku could never become a hero. He would never be anything more than quirkless Deku. Useless, pathetic…
He should've just died at the hands of that sludge villain. Instead, he'd learned that his idol was a fraud and that he was a hopeless cause. If Izuku had died back then, he would've at least died oblivious.
Now he was here. Stranded on some rooftop. Kacchan's words from earlier were not lost on Izuku and he couldn't help but revel in the irony. What had he said? Take a swan dive? That was a bit too performative for Izuku's taste. Though, he could probably do a cannon-ball if he tried.
If he tried.
Oh, how he wanted to. Ending everything sounded so tempting. But the street below was occupied with by-standers. There were so many things that could go wrong. If he was going to shuffle off this mortal coil, there was certainly a better method.
Maybe he wouldn't do it tonight. Maybe not the night after that either. Still, Izuku couldn't see the purpose of carrying on with such an inane existence. What was he supposed to do after junior high? After high school? Endure the sidelong glances shot his way? Endure the ostracization? Endure bruised ribs and bandaged wrists? Endure a miserable office job?
Was Izuku supposed to endure everything for the rest of his fucking life?
Now that All Might had finally pulled the wool from his eyes, he wouldn't do it. Not if he had the choice to opt-out.
Sometime soon, Izuku was going to die.
In a snap, he was somewhere else.
Izuku's memory was heavy. It felt like he'd been asleep for a very long time even though he was fairly certain that he'd just been on a rooftop deliberating suicide. Now, he was in a well-lit room, propped up in some bed. None of it made sense and Izuku half-wondered if this was some side effect from the sludge villain's quirk. Maybe he'd dreamt the whole encounter with All Might? That would definitely explain his skeletal appearance.
There was an elderly woman beside him wearing a white coat. Her silver hair was styled into a bun, held together by a gray syringe. Izuku felt like he should know her... was she some kind of rescue hero? No, no. That couldn't be it, could it?
"That was quite a quirk you were hit by, Midoriya-san," she said.
He swallowed. "Um. I guess?"
So it really had been the sludge villain? That entire thing with All Might had been some bizarre dream his brain conjured when he went under? God, he hoped so. It had felt so vivid.
The woman tsked. "You're lucky that Iida-san was standing so close to you. Your head surely would've hit the ground if he hadn't caught you."
"I'm sorry. Who?"
Had someone found him after the sludge villain possessed him? That didn't sound right, he was alone in that tunnel... and there was nobody immediately nearby. Unless the villain actually did use his body as some kind of meat puppet and paraded him around the city. The idea made Izuku shudder.
"Iida-san, your classmate. Maybe he does have a concussion..." she said the last part to herself.
"I don't know an Iida-san," he insisted.
The woman narrowed her eyes. "You should. Midoriya-san, can you tell me who I am?"
Izuku drew a blank. This woman was vaguely familiar, but he couldn't place her name for the life of him. As far as Izuku knew, they'd never met before.
"No. Should I?"
She sighed. "What exactly do you remember?"
Standing on a roof. All Might, reduced to skin and bones, a gruesome scar stretched around his waist. The edge in his voice when he said that a quirkless boy could not become a hero. Staring down at the street below, contemplating death.
"Uh, my name is Midoriya Izuku. I—I go to Aldera Junior High. I live with my mom, Inko..."
"How old are you, Midoriya-san?"
Shouldn't that be in his chart? Assuming this was a hospital. Though, the longer he spent here the more he wondered if this was actually a professional medical institution. It certainly looked like it, but it was... off.
She inhaled through her nose sharply.
"I'll be just a minute. Please stay where you are."
The short woman spun on her heels and exited the room just as swiftly. Izuku was alone for a good five minutes before she returned with a man. This man was more familiar than the woman. From his apparel, he was definitely some kind of hero. Dressed head-to-toe in black with a gray scarf, piercing red-rimmed eyes and black hair down to his shoulders. No way. Eraserhead? The underground hero?
"Hello, Midoriya-san," he greeted. "It seems you've been hit by some kind of amnesia quirk."
Izuku barely had enough time to process oh my god Eraserhead—the underground hero—knows my name oh my god before registering the rest of his words. He didn't feel like he had amnesia. Surely, Izuku would know if there were any explicit gaps in his memory. Of course, this was a pro-hero and pro-heroes usually knew what they were talking about.
Izuku tried not to ball his fists. "So what happened? What don't I remember?"
Eraserhead cocked his head to the side. "It's hard to say. Maybe about a year or so of your memory is gone. Not for good, though, don't worry. You were helping out at an expo with a visiting class of grade school children and a young boy's quirk hit you by accident—knocked you out on impact. From what he's told us, it's a memory quirk that lasts from anywhere between two to five days."
"So... I'll get that year of memory back?"
Eraserhead shrugged. "Eventually. The boy doesn't have much experience with his quirk, but he assured us that its effects have never had any permanence."
"Oh… okay then. So uh, where am I?"
"For someone usually so perceptive, you're a bit slow on the uptake today, problem child," Eraserhead deadpanned. "You're at UA High School. You can call me Aizawa-sensei and this is Recovery Girl."
Was Eraserhead saying that he was Izuku's teacher? At the top hero school in Japan? That couldn't… that couldn't be right. After all, All Might had just said that he'd never make it. That Izuku's dreams of heroism were in vain.
Maybe it was just a misunderstanding. Maybe Izuku was just visiting UA High School. Eraserhead—Aizawa—had mentioned some kind of exposition. There was no chance in hell that he'd actually been admitted as a student!
"Uh, nice to meet you, Aizawa-sensei. But uh, why am I here?"
Aizawa stared at him. "You got the bit where I said this was a school, right?"
"I mean, yeah. Of course I know about UA, everyone knows about the top hero school. Almost all the top heroes are UA alumni like All Might, Endeavor, Best Jeanist… and I mean, of course I've always wanted to be a UA student—who wouldn't? But uh, that isn't really… yeah."
"I don't think I'm following," Aizawa said.
Izuku looked between the black-clad hero and Recovery Girl. They both seemed genuinely confused—more so than Izuku.
"There's no realistic way that I'm a UA student," he said matter-of-factly. "So why am I here?"
"Why would you think that?" Recovery Girl asked.
Apparently, nobody had told them. It wasn't the first time Izuku had to explain himself to an adult, but it was definitely a rare occasion. After all, most adults in his life already knew Izuku's whole deal.
Did you hear about Inko-san's little brat? Word on the street is that he's quirkless… You have Midoriya-san in class this year? Watch out for him—that quirkless little runt knows trouble like nobody else… Don't make eye contact with the quirkless kid. I heard he bursts into tears if you even breathe in his direction… God, what a fucking freak.
The rumor mill—believe it or not—was a double-edged sword. Despite the adults' malicious agenda, Izuku rarely had to explain why he was different.
"I'm quirkless." Izuku tried not to meet their eyes while he spoke. "I love the idea of being a hero… it's just out of my reach."
Aizawa sighed. "Midoriya-san, you're not quirkless. I'll admit you've got miles to go before you become a pro-hero, but you're on the right track."
That was not the response Izuku was expecting.
"Why do you think you're quirkless, anyway? Since your first quirk assessment, I've suspected you were a late bloomer, but geez. Fourteen is pushing it."
Izuku didn't know what he was talking about. 'Late bloomer?' There was no way. Izuku had surpassed that age years ago and the doctor had been pretty thorough assessing his condition.
"I am quirkless. No offense, Eraserhead—sorry—Aizawa-sensei, but there's no way I have a quirk. After all the money my mom spent 'double-checking', I'm pretty sure being a late bloomer is out of the question."
"Look, if you don't have a quirk then how have I seen you use it?" Aizawa countered. "Hell, you have scars from where you've overexerted yourself. I think it's safe to say that you have one."
Izuku shook his head. "Whatever you saw, whatever I did—it was probably just some kind of fluke. Developing a quirk at my age is medically unheard of. Trust me, I've done enough research. Unless… unless I wasn't hit by an amnesia quirk and I'm really just from an alternate dimension? Or maybe my memories have been altered? Or maybe—"
"If I may interrupt," Recovery Girl said. "In rare, often undocumented cases, it is possible for quirks to develop in adolescence if the body isn't able to handle the strain of its own power."
That sounded fake. Quirks grew with the individual—they weren't locked behind some mental wall until the body was 'ready' to channel it. Still, it'd been a while since Izuku had brushed up on quirkology. For all he knew, Recover Girl could be correct.
Did he have a quirk, then?
Izuku had wanted a quirk his entire life. He'd dreamed of breathing fire, creating walls of flames to ward off villains. He'd fantasized about levitating falling debris, catching it before it crushed innocent civilians. He'd laid awake at night, praying that one day he would wake up with power… any power… so that he could be anything but quirkless.
Now, being told that he'd had that power all along… Izuku didn't know how to feel. Having a quirk meant that he could be a hero. It meant that in society's eyes he had value. That was a good thing, right? Shouldn't he feel happy that he supposedly had a quirk?
In light of what All Might said, Izuku felt hollow.
Having a quirk is the only thing that gave Izuku merit. According to All Might, it's the only thing that gave him worth. It's the only reason he was at UA. Not because of his work ethic, not because of his drive… he only made it in because he had a quirk.
He almost didn't want it. Whatever it was.
"What—what is my quirk then? Something with fire? Levitation?"
Aizawa frowned. "Strength augmentation."
Well, that was completely left field.
"You're sure I am Midoriya Izuku, right? Like, this isn't some bizarre mix-up?"
"Yes, problem child." Aizawa pinched the bridge of his nose. "I doubt any other student of mine would give me this much grief."
Recovery Girl elbowed him. "Shouta."
Aizawa paid her no mind. "Now, since we've established that your memories will be gone for at least a few days, I will give you a choice Midoriya-san. I can excuse you from classes for the next few days and you can make them up later… or you can attend them now and take notes for when your memory returns."
UA was one of the most prestigious schools in the country. Izuku honestly doubted he'd be able to keep up with their curriculum this far into the school year. The obvious choice would be to make up the classes later so he wouldn't fall behind. But Izuku was selfish. He wanted to experience UA High School, even if it meant future-Izuku would have to put in more work later.
"I'll go to class!"
Aizawa rolled his eyes. "That's what I thought you would say. Once Recovery Girl says you're free to go, I'll show you to the dorms and answer whatever questions you have. This has to be a lot, suddenly being a UA student."
Izuku looked down. For the first time, he noticed that Aizawa hadn't been lying about those quirk-inflicted scars. There were thin, puckered marks along his right arm and a few on his left. Most of them were obscured by his uniform's sleeves, but it was still jarring to see.
"Yeah… it's definitely a lot."
"If you don't mind me asking… there was another detail about the boy's quirk that was a bit concerning. He said that his quirk brought a person back to 'their lowest point'. You don't have to share anything if you don't want to, but what exactly is the last thing you remember, Midoriya-san? What happened to you?"
Izuku adopted a well-practiced facade of confusion. "Nothing notable. I think I was just in class."
Aizawa-sensei may be pro-hero Eraserhead… but there was no damn way that Izuku was going to spill everything that easily. Why would an adult care in the first place? So what? A supposedly quirkless boy wanted to kill himself—was that so unheard of? It's not like he could explain the whole All Might thing anyway… even though the man had crushed his dreams, Izuku owed it to him to keep his dirty little secret.
Aizawa sighed again. "Alright. If that's how you want it to be, that's fine. Is he good to go, Recovery Girl?"
"It seems to me he is!" she chirped.
He pressed a hand to his temple. "Good. Now, let me walk you to the dorms and pray that nobody abducts us on the way there."
Izuku was in the process of getting out of bed when it hit him.
"Wait. UA has dormitories now?"
"So… to get everything straight. UA's training camp was attacked by villains, someone was kidnapped, and now students have to live on campus?"
"That about sums it up, yes."
Izuku kept his pace steady, trying not to lag behind Aizawa on their walk to the dormitories. The campus was beautiful, but he was having trouble taking in the sights and the mind-boggling information Aizawa was casually spouting off at the same time.
"I wasn't the one who was kidnapped, right?" he asked. "Because that seems like a very me thing to do."
"Oh, no," Aizawa dismissed. "You shattered all the bones in your arms and then helped organize an illegal rescue mission to save your kidnapped classmate."
Izuku shot him an incredulous look. "Shattered my bones?"
"For you it's not that big of a deal."
"Isn't it bad for UA to take on a hero that constantly breaks bones, though?"
Aizawa snorted. "That's what I said when I met you."
His stomach dropped. "Oh."
"You've taken great lengths to prove me wrong though, so don't worry."
Izuku had only known Aizawa for less than ten minutes, but if he kept this up Izuku would cry before they reached the dorms.
"So that rescue mission you mentioned…" Izuku started. "Did it uh, work?"
If anything, Aizawa looked annoyed. "It did, but it was still highly illegal and you were lucky that I didn't expel you, the other participants, and the twelve others that were in the loop."
"Oh. Um, thank you for not doing that?"
He scoffed. "It's nothing personal. Given the circumstances of the incident, mass-expulsion would be inconvenient."
Something about that explanation didn't sit right with Izuku. There was something more Aizawa wasn't saying, something that suggested it was personal but wouldn't admit it.
Before Izuku could ask, they approached a subdivision of about twelve buildings in two rows of six. Each dormitory had its own lawn lined with greenery and its class name posted above the door. Aizawa led Izuku towards the first dormitory in the group of buildings: the 1-A Alliance.
"This is your dorm," he said. "I'll explain the situation to your classmates and from there, they can show you to your room."
Izuku was taken off-guard by Aizawa's sudden departure. "Wait, you're leaving me alone with them?"
Aizawa frowned. "I know you might not remember, but they are your friends. You'll be fine, Midoriya-san."
He found that hard to believe. Even though Izuku supposedly had a quirk now, he'd never really had a real friend. Was he supposed to just accept that these strangers—future pro-heroes—cared about him? Sure, trusting Aizawa-sensei was a gamble but adults played by different rules than teenagers. If Izuku wasn't careful, his classmates would eat him alive.
(Just like they had before.)
"Alright," he said. "But uh, I can come to you if something goes wrong, right?"
"I don't see why it would, but my number is already in your phone," Aizawa assured.
Izuku brushed his hand along his pocket and felt a familiar weight. Well, at least that hadn't changed. Though, having one of his teachers in his contact list was definitely new.
"Thank you for all your help, sensei!"
"Don't mention it. It's not every day my problem student gets hit by an amnesia quirk."
Aizawa stepped forward and entered the dormitory, leaving the door ajar for Izuku to follow. He trailed behind his teacher and tried not to curl into himself. Appearing weak was often his go-to defense mechanism when it came to his peers but Izuku had a feeling that wasn't the right card to play.
"Attention everyone!" Aizawa called out. "I have an announcement regarding today's mishap at the expo."
There was a group of around ten students congregated around a couch. Some appeared to be doing homework together and others were watching a movie on the widescreen TV. They all whipped their heads toward Aizawa, expectantly.
"Is Midoriya-kun alright?" asked a sharp-looking boy with glasses. "I tried my best to catch him before he hit the ground but—"
"Physically, he is fine." Aizawa stepped aside to reveal Izuku standing behind him and the whole group collectively sighed in relief. "However, the quirk he was hit with had a few temporary effects. At the moment, he essentially has amnesia and can't remember the past year or so. It'll wear off in a few days."
"Wait, so he doesn't remember us at all?" a spiky blonde-haired boy asked.
Izuku bowed his head. "I'm sorry, I don't."
Aizawa nodded. "He's asked to attend class as normal, so I expect you all to act as his guides until his memory returns. If anyone tries to take advantage of him in this state, I will not hesitate to punish all of you. Understand?"
"Yes, Aizawa-sensei!" the group chorused.
"Also," the teacher said, "someone make sure Bakugou doesn't blow another gasket. The last thing we need is another fight between these two."
Izuku almost choked. "Ba—Bakugou? Bakugou Katsuki? He goes here too?"
Oh God. Kacchan was at UA with him. There was no way things were going to swing in Izuku's favor with him around. He was fucked. Completely fucked.
He should have taken the dive off the roof when he had the chance.
"Yeah. You guys are childhood friends, right?" a boy with strange elbows said.
Friends was a strong word. Once upon a time, Izuku tried to be friends with Kacchan, but that time was long forgotten. Sure, Izuku still admired his bully's strength and quirk—but that sure as hell didn't make them friends.
"Not really, I guess?" Izuku laughed nervously.
"Well, there's some unexpected tea!" an overzealous blonde boy exclaimed. "I'm so parched for drama! Spill it, Midoriya-kun!"
Aizawa coughed. "What did I just say, Aoyama-san?"
He didn't sound sorry.
"I think it's about time I leave," Aizawa said. "Call me if there's any trouble, but actually don't call me because I'm taking a well-deserved nap. Eri-chan thinks I need more sleep and she is right, so if you wake me up you will be disappointing her, not me."
"That's playing dirty, Aizawa-sensei," a pink girl accused.
"Take your complaints up with the boss lady, then."
Without further explanation, Aizawa exited the dormitory and left Izuku at the mercy of his classmates. He was tempted to run after the teacher but instead stayed rooted to his spot. He could do this. After all, these people didn't even think he was quirkless! To his knowledge, they had no reason to discriminate against him.
"So, Midoriya-kun—this has got to be pretty overwhelming, huh?" the first blonde boy asked.
Izuku gulped. "Yeah, sorta."
"I suggest that we all introduce ourselves to Midoriya-kun!" the boy with glasses announced. "I am Iida Tenya, Class 1-A representative. Pleasure to meet you again!"
"Oh, uh, you too!"
"I'm Asui Tsuyu, but you call me Tsu."
"Oh, me next! I'm Ashido Mina!"
"Yaoyorozu Momo. Nice to meet you."
A few others introduced themselves, but it was hard to keep up with all the names. Izuku doubted he'd be able to remember them all.
"So Midoriya-kun, what's the last thing you remember?" Jirou asked.
"Oh, uh. Nothing that important. I was just in class and then snap! I woke up here."
"I don't know how I'd be able to handle it if I was in junior high and then suddenly became a UA student," Kaminari pondered. "I mean, obviously I did become a UA student… but you know what I mean."
"I don't think I'd be that surprised," Todoroki said.
Ashido scoffed. "Well, duh. You're the son of the number one hero."
Izuku's brain short-circuited. "Wait… you're All Might's son?"
Todoroki responded with a confused stare. "My father is Endeavor."
"All Might retired a few months ago," Asui explained. "So that means Endeavor is the number one hero now."
All the surgeries have pretty much worn me out and it can't be fixed… Right now I can only do hero work for about three hours a day…
Damn, he wasn't kidding. The idea of All Might stepping down as the symbol of hope was terrifying. Endeavor was a competent hero, but no one was All Might. Apparently, not even All Might himself if that chance encounter was anything to go by.
"Oh, uh. Wow."
"It shocked all of us too," Yaoyorozu said solemnly. "Society is struggling to find a new normal in a post-Kamino world."
"Wow, it only took two minutes for us to delve into the depressing political climate. That's record time, Momo-chan," Jirou teased.
Kaminari snorted. "What next? Are we gonna tell Midoriya how many life-threatening situations he's been in, or what?"
"I must insist that we do not, Kaminari-san! I am sure Midoriya-kun is very stressed right now and—"
"Oh my God, Iida-kun. It was a joke!"
"Okay but does anyone here even know how many life-threatening situations Midoriya-kun's been involved in?" Todoroki pointed out. "Because I've lost count."
"Wait, you guys were serious?" Izuku asked.
"Well," Sero started, "there was the USJ, the time he blew his fingers off in the Sports Festival, the thing with Shigaraki at the mall—"
"I don't think the Sports Festival counts. He did that to himself," Todoroki protested.
"So? Midoriya-kun can still be a danger to himself. He got you to use his flames on him, didn't he?"
"Fair point. Proceed."
Asui picked up where Sero left off. "There was also Kamino, the Hassaikai Incident, and whatever happened with Bakugou after the Provisional License Exam."
"Don't forget Hosu," Todoroki added.
"Oh yeah," Kaminari said. "Endeavor saved you guys from the Hero Killer!"
"Sure, that's what happened." Todoroki coughed.
"I'm sorry, Endeavor saved us from who?" Izuku squeaked.
"Whom," Iida corrected.
"If we're still talking about times Midoriya-san's been in danger, I happened to overhear Hound Dog talking about a villain turning himself in just outside the School Festival… around the time Midoriya-san went out to buy rope and came back with minutes to spare. I know it's a shot in the dark, but—" Jirou shrugged. "At the moment, I figured it was best to let it go."
"That would make sense," Aoyama realized. "He looked atrocious when I found him!"
His classmates made it sound like Izuku ran into danger whenever he saw an opportunity. Sure, he'd never really had much luck when it came to bullies… but he didn't seek them out! Izuku wasn't confident or powerful enough to do any of those things!
(Says the quirkless boy with zero self-preservation skills.)
Well. Now that he thought about it, maybe there was some accuracy to their claims.
"Hey, what's with the text that Mina-chan sent me?" called out a new voice. "Does Midoriya-kun really have amnesia?"
A spiky red-headed boy descended from the left-wing stairwell, with a familiar figure in tow. Izuku subconsciously cowered away from Kacchan and his friend, hoping that the universe (for once) would take pity on him.
"Oh hey, Kirishima-kun, Bakugou-kun!" Kaminari called. "It turns out Midoriya-kun can't remember the past year because of that little kid's quirk. Crazy right?"
Kirishima's eyes widened. "It's not permanent, is it?"
"Oh, nah," Sero said. "Aizawa-sensei said it should only last a few days."
Kacchan turned toward him. "What? So the fucking nerd thinks he's still in junior high?"
Izuku flinched. It didn't feel like Kacchan would attack him here, but past encounters had taught him to be wary. "H—hi Kacchan."
He didn't look that much older than Izuku remembered him. If anything, Kacchan was a little more buff from a few months of hero training, but that was to be expected from any UA student. Izuku included, apparently.
Kacchan scowled. "So you really don't remember anything, huh?"
"Uh no. Not really…"
Izuku waited for him to erupt. Usually, whenever Izuku spoke and Kacchan didn't like his answer he responded with a good nitroglycerin-charged blast in Izuku's direction. Instead, Kacchan just scoffed.
"Well that's fucking stupid."
"Bakugou-san, come on." Jirou sounded exasperated. "You're the only one here who he actually remembers right now, can't you—I don't know—not be a dick for once?"
"That's rich coming from you, earphones," he growled.
Ashido whistled. "Well, for Bakugou-kun that sounds like a maybe."
"Aww… not even a 'shut the fuck up'. You're really showing your soft side today, Bakubro," Kaminari said.
Izuku was confused. Nobody talked to Kacchan like that and got away with it. Not even his 'friends'—what the hell had happened to him in the past year? Had UA changed him that much? No, no. Probably not. This was just… a ruse. Yeah, this was just an act to lull Izuku into a false sense of security!
"Fuck you guys!" Kacchan spat. "I'm going back up to my room."
"Alright, see you later!"
Izuku tried not to gawk as Kacchan exited the room without a single explosion. That was… wow.
"Oh hey, do you need us to show you your room, Midoriya-kun?" Kirishima asked. "I'm assuming you don't know your way around yet."
"Yeah, I don't really," Izuku admitted. "That'd be great, thank you!"
"I can show you!" Aoyama volunteered. "We're room neighbors!"
"Follow me, mon ami!"
Izuku reluctantly followed Aoyama to the second floor, amiably agreeing with the other boy's nonsensical ramblings about grandeur. He wasn't used to holding casual conversations with other people his age—especially about fall fashion—but it was a little refreshing. Maybe Aoyama sensed his stress and was trying to distract Izuku or maybe he was oblivious as he appeared. Either way, Izuku was grateful for the change of topic.
"Here we are! I'm the door on the left so feel free to ask me any questions if you need to."
Aoyama frowned. Had Izuku said something wrong?
"Sorry, I'm just used to you calling me Aoyama-kun," he explained. "Makes sense, with no memories and all! Quelle tragique!"
Izuku's cheeks felt hot. "Oh, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to—"
"Midoriya-kun, there's no need to apologize. Really!"
"If you say so…"
"Yeah. I'm sure you'll get your memories back soon!"
And wasn't that a comforting thought?
"I—I guess. Thanks for all your help today," Izuku said. He gave Aoyama a polite nod and turned the handle to his room. Izuku was immediately overwhelmed with familiar banners of red, white, blue, and yellow—All Might merchandise.
Most of the paraphernalia adorning his room were keepsakes he'd collected over the years, but Izuku spotted a few additions among his mementos. Holy shit. Was that… the tenth anniversary All Might poster that was never for sale? How the hell did he get his hands on that piece of merch? Also, was that an All Might autograph pinned to the wall?
Was that… the same autograph that Izuku remembered?
It was disconcerting. Izuku knew that he was an All Might fanboy—he'd been one for as long as he could remember. Still, he couldn't fathom why he would still idolize the man who'd clearly stated Izuku would never be a hero. Izuku doubted he could forget those hollow eyes and skeletal frame; that man on the roof was only a shell of Izuku's idol. He was a fraud.
The more Izuku wracked his brain for an explanation, the less he understood why his present self admired All Might.
After two minutes of stony deliberation, Izuku collapsed onto his bed. He ran his fingers up his All Might themed comforter, the same comforter his mom bought him for his thirteenth birthday. Something beneath him buzzed and Izuku realized that his phone was still in his pocket. He turned it over in his palm and pressed the on button.
His top notification left Izuku reeling. Kacchan… had texted him?
Don't tell anyone you used to be quirkless. Thank me later, asshole.
What the fuck?
What the fuck did that mean?
It didn't sound like a threat, but it definitely felt like one. Then again, Kacchan said something about 'thanking him'? The way he'd phrased it almost suggested that Izuku was keeping his quirklessness a secret, which made some sense. Aizawa-sensei hadn't known that his quirk came in late, so it was likely that none of his peers did either. But why would Kacchan help Izuku keep that a secret? Kacchan hated his guts! If anything, he'd be the first person to tell UA that Izuku was in far over his head!
Even earlier, Kacchan was acting weird. Sure, he wasn't polite or anything but he wasn't physically aggressive either. Nothing made sense!
Maybe reading their past conversations would bring something to light. If that didn't work, then Izuku could scour the rest of his phone for answers!
two days ago
Hey shitty nerd wanna spar or some shit
Sorry Kacchan I can't. I'm studying for English with Todoroki, Iida, and Uraraka
Bullshit. When are you ever gonna learn to use blackwhip
If you change your mind i'll be at gym gamma anyway
Kachhan wanted to train with him… as equals? Also, what was blackwhip? Was it some sort of special move? Dammit. Now Izuku was more confused.
eight days ago
Hey do you still have that 2xxx platinum All Might figure bc I need to compare it to mine bc I think it's arm may be broken. Though, I need to make sure that's not how they're all manufactured. I promise I won't swap them or anything
Fuck off Deku
I left mine in a box at home. Call my mom or some shit I don't fucking care
Izuku willingly messaged Kacchan about one of his collectibles and Kacchan actually responded? What the hell…?
two weeks ago
Hey All Might wants to know if you want to join us for lunch in the teacher's lounge
I think we're gonna talk more about OFA
Only if you want to come ofc I get it if you don't want to be involved
Stop fucking texting me
I'll be there
Izuku and Kacchan had lunch with All Might? Was All Might at UA? Oh no. No, no, no.
Not only were Izuku and Kacchan on good terms, but apparently he was also on good terms with All Might despite everything the man had said? Furthermore, what was OFA? Maybe it was some kind of new internet lingo? Although, Izuku doubted that. He knew how he texted—the emphasis he'd placed on OFA suggested it was a noun.
Izuku scrolled back through his texts with Kacchan, scanning for more clues. Most of their conversations were brief exchanges about sparring and schoolwork. Nothing too personal, which is exactly what Izuku expected from Kacchan. After a while, Izuku decided to call it quits and look through the rest of his phone. There had to be something else on his device that explained why Izuku was so buddy-buddy with All Might and Kacchan.
His messaging app had grown exponentially. Before UA, Izuku only texted his mom on a day-to-day basis. From the looks of it, Izuku had texted almost half of his new classmates in the past week! He was even in a few group chats! He'd never been in one of those before. The first chat was called 'Official 1-A Groupchat' and the second chat was called 'thicc chat for thicc heroes.' He was also in a smaller chat called 'bone juice is BAD juice.'
From what Aizawa-sensei had mentioned about shattering his bones, Izuku had a sinking feeling that was a jab at him.
Aside from group chats, it appeared Izuku most frequently texted his mom, Todoroki, someone called Shinsou, someone called Uraraka, and… All Might.
He had All Might's phone number…? How far did this go?
Izuku still couldn't imagine having any kind of relationship with the man after their exchange on the roof. He looked Izuku in the eyes and said that not only was he a fraud, but he also believed that Izuku couldn't be a hero. Because he was quirkless (weak, useless, a liability). Izuku had been ready to end his life! Hell, maybe he was still ready! Sure, Izuku liked to believe this was all real and not some near-death induced hallucination but it was a weird fucking world! Besides, even if this was real Izuku was essentially experiencing emotional whiplash; given the circumstances, it wasn't his fault that suicide was still up for debate.
Against his better judgment, Izuku decided to read the texts between him and All Might. He doubted he was in the right mindset to read them, but emotions be damned. Izuku wanted answers.
three days ago
Midoriya-shounen, Recovery Girl told me today that you haven't broken ANY bones in over a month! Keep on working hard!
It doesn't feel that long...
You're welcome. Here's a picture of the board she keeps on you.
[photo of a whiteboard that says "days since Midoriya Izuku has broken a bone: 31"]
Well that's embarrassing
I thought it was quite nice if I say so myself.
You thought it was hilarious when you took pictures of me cleaning the beach, bawling my eyes out those first months
by comparison of course THAT'S nice
I still stand by that.
They made for some pretty funny Before VS After pictures!
You're literally the only one who finds them funny, but go off I guess
That… was far from what Izuku had expected. He hadn't really expected anything specific, but certainly not that. Where did he even start? He and All Might were talking casually and apparently All Might was in the loop about how often Izuku broke his bones? (Izuku was still having trouble believing he'd broken so many bones!) All Might was proud of him for working hard and apparently there was something about pictures? Izuku had cried at a beach? All Might thought it was funny that Izuku was crying?
There was so much depth in that one conversation that Izuku couldn't begin to fathom. Somehow they had managed to move past what had happened on the roof and settled into some sort of… hero-fan relationship? Some kind of mentorship? Izuku still hadn't gotten a good read on what their dynamic was yet.
Before Izuku could come to a coherent conclusion, there was a knock on his door.
"Hey, Deku-kun! Are you in there?"
It was a girl's voice.
There was a girl at his door.
"Uh—uh, yeah?" His voice cracked. "Just a minute!
Izuku threw himself off his bed and tried to assess what he knew. There was a girl at his door for some reason and he'd never spoken to a girl one-on-one before and now there was one at his door and holy shit she's still waiting there! What's he supposed to do—?
The door opened to reveal a brown-haired girl in a pink sweater. She met his eyes and he almost fell over out of pure panic.
"Deku-kun? What's wrong?"
His throat felt tight when he spoke. "You, uh, just startled me."
"Oh! I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking." She laughed nervously. "I kinda just jumped the gun there, didn't I?"
She was calling him Deku-kun. Why was she calling him Deku-kun? The last thing he'd wanted was for that insult to follow him to UA...
"So, I heard you were hit by a quirk at the expo, but it looks like you're all good now! I was wondering if you wanted to hang out and do the homework for tomorrow like we planned to earlier, or if you need some time to recuperate," she rattled off, oblivious to Izuku's internal crisis. "And don't you lie to me! If Recovery Girl said you need to rest, then you need to rest!"
"That's uh… not really all that happened?" Izuku managed.
The girl pinched her nose. "Please don't tell me you broke your bones again… you were doing so well!"
"What? No! Why does everyone keep bringing that—ugh!" Izuku threw his head in his hands. "I'm sorry, um, whoever you are. I was hit by a memory quirk and can't really remember the past year?"
She stared at him. "You're shitting me right now."
He winced. "I'm sorry…"
"This isn't like permanent, right? I mean you're going to get your memories back?"
"I'm—I'm supposed to," Izuku said.
She sighed in relief. "Well, that's good at least. Since you don't remember, I'm Uraraka Ochako! We're pretty much best friends."
Izuku was best friends with a girl? What was even his life!
"It's nice to meet you!" He bowed his head.
Uraraka giggled. "You don't have to be so formal, Deku-kun!"
"Oh, sorry!" He paused. "I uh, was wondering why you call me Deku-kun? Th—that's not my name."
"Huh? Oh, I'm sorry! It used to be an insult, didn't it? That's what you said the first time I called you that accidentally. Long story short, I thought Deku was your name since that's what Bakugou called you. I thought it meant dekiru, like koto ga dekiru (I can do anything)!" She pumped her fist into the air. "After that, you said that I could call you Deku-kun! You even made it your hero name."
Izuku gaped. "My hero name?"
"Yeah! It's super inspiring!"
Deku… as the name of a hero.
Izuku could kind of see it. The way Uraraka put it, he was essentially undermining all the years of torment he endured by choosing Deku as his hero name. It was almost poetic, in a sense.
"Since you can't remember anything, I guess that study session will have to wait," Uraraka realized. "You don't even know what we're studying!"
"I can try if you want?" Izuku offered.
"Oh, no! You're fine! Do you know if you still have to attend classes tomorrow, though?"
"Aizawa-sensei said I could choose. It's probably a stupid choice, but I want to see what classes at UA are like instead of sitting in the dorms all day. Even if that means I won't understand most of the content…"
"I mean to be fair," Uraraka said, "most of us don't understand the content on any given day."
"Oh!" Izuku laughed.
"Yeah, and it's not like this is the first time you've had to play catch-up. After our work studies and the Shie Hassaikai Raid, we both had to make up a handful of classes."
"Wait, what happened?"
Earlier, his classmates had listed a bunch of incidents Izuku had been involved in, but that hadn't given him much context.
"Oh, there was this whole thing. About two months ago, you interned for Sir Nighteye and I interned for Ryukyu. Let's see… I don't really know how to put this lightly. In short, there was this Yakuza group torturing a little girl to manufacture quirk-erasure bullets. We went in to rescue the girl and to arrest the leader! Eri—the girl we saved—actually lives at UA now! She's super sweet and looks up to you and Togata-senpai!"
Oh. That was heavy.
At least they'd saved her, from the sounds of it! And apparently this girl looked up to him? In all his years, Izuku had never had anyone look up to him before. Even though he didn't know her at the moment, the idea touched his heart.
Moreover, Izuku had interned under Sir Nighteye? All Might's only sidekick besides David Shield? Maybe this was some sort of hallucination, after all...
"Earth to Deku-kun!" Uraraka waved her hand in front of his face. "You sorta zoned out there for a second. Which, I get. I'm sure this is a lot to process."
"Heh. Yeah, you could say that."
"We've all gone through that. I spent my first few months here in a daze. There's so many pro-heroes here! Hell, we all became celebrities after the Sports Festival. All of Japan watched my brutal fight with Bakugou… it's so weird to think about!"
Izuku's breath hitched in his throat. "You fought against Kacchan?"
Don't get him wrong! Izuku respected female heroes, but the idea of a bubbly girl like Uraraka going up against Kacchan—who pretty much assaulted Izuku on the daily—almost made him sick.
"Oh yeah! I was never going to win that match, but I tried my best! I devised this whole strategy and everything. You see, my quirk is Zero Gravity."
She touched one of Izuku's All Might figurines with her pinky, sending it floating into the air. After a moment or so she touched her hands together and it fell back onto Izuku's shelf.
"I can make anything float by touching it! So, during the Sports Festival… well, it might just be better if I showed you!"
She slipped her phone out of her pocket and spent a minute or so searching something online. Finally, she pulled up a video and placed it in front of Izuku.
GRAVITY GIRL V. SLUDGE VILLAIN VICTIM (UA SPORTS FESTIVAL)
7 minutes and 13 seconds
Izuku squinted at the title. Why was Kacchan called the sludge villain victim? Had he gotten to Kacchan too? But he couldn't have! All Might captured the villain and—and—
Izuku grabbed onto All Might when he leaped into the air. The villain was in his pocket. Was it possible that the villain escaped because of Izuku…?
Before he could wrap his mind around that, the video started to play.
"…eighth and final battle of the first round of matches! He was kind of a hotshot in junior high and just look at that determined face! From the hero course, Bakugou Katsuki!"
The camera cut from Kacchan to Uraraka, who were both donned in the UA gym uniform. Both appeared stoic and ready to fight.
"...also from Class 1-A, Uraraka Ochako!"
The video displayed juxtaposing cards of Kacchan and Uraraka, side-by-side. Dramatic battle music had obviously been added post-production and a timer counted down to start the battle. Finally, Present Mic called out, "Begin!" and Uraraka charged towards Kacchan. Before she got in too close, Kacchan threw a right hook and blasted her backward. Even though she was beside him, Izuku winced. He knew that had to hurt.
"Keep watching!" Uraraka said excitedly. "It gets better."
The fight resumed. As always, Kacchan was ruthless against his opponent. After uproar from the audience, Aizawa-sensei announced over the intercom that Kacchan was only going hard on Uraraka because he recognized her strength. When the smoke finally cleared, Uraraka released a shower of debris. It was an admirable attempt, but unfortunately, Kacchan threw up his arm and blasted the debris into smithereens. Uraraka was left defenseless and the match went to Kacchan.
When the video ended, Izuku turned back to Uraraka. "Even though it didn't work, that was a really good strategy!"
"Thanks! I'm just glad I got as far as I did, you know? There's always next year!"
"... anticipation in the stadium! The second round's first match is gonna be EPIC!"
Uraraka hadn't turned her phone off. The next video in the Sports Festival playlist had automatically played… and holy shit. Was that Izuku?
CRAZY FINGER-BREAKING KID V. ENDEAVOR'S SON (UA SPORTS FESTIVAL)
12 minutes and 27 seconds
In the video, Izuku was standing opposite Todoroki, their eyes locked in some sort of silent understanding.
"Uh, I don't know if you want to watch that," Uraraka said sheepishly. "Compared to my fight, yours was even harder to watch…"
Maybe she was right… but Izuku was already invested. He wanted to see how his own quirk worked. Was that too much to ask?
"I think… I think it's fine."
In the video, Todoroki shot a shard of ice towards Izuku who deflected with a flick of his finger, sending an icy torrent back towards his opponent and the audience. Izuku hadn't expected an ice quirk from Todoroki nor the sheer power of his own quirk. That was… wow.
Izuku really did have a quirk.
He'd already been told that much… but seeing himself use it was something else entirely. Izuku wasn't quirkless, he wasn't useless, and he wasn't better off dead.
He was going to be a hero!
Before he knew it, Izuku had started sobbing. Uraraka turned her phone off and wrapped her arm around him. "Hey… it's alright Deku-kun. You don't need to be upset."
He shook his head and sniffled. "I'm not sad. I'm… I'm happy. I'm really a UA student and I—" Don't tell anyone you used to be quirkless. "—I'm glad I have a grasp on my power!"
Uraraka laughed. "I'm happy too! It wouldn't be the same without you here."
If he was being honest, Izuku cried a lot. He cried when Kachhan used his quirk on him, burning his palm into Izuku's skin. He cried when a teacher told him that he was a liability, that he was a poor candidate for any high school. He cried when he was alone in his bedroom, silently, so that his mother wouldn't hear and wonder exactly what had upset her son.
This was the first time in a long time that Izuku had someone to cry with. Even though he couldn't remember much, he knew that Uraraka was a true friend.
He and Uraraka made small talk for about half an hour before she lured him back downstairs for dinner. Most nights, everyone just fended for themselves—hero students didn't always have time to cook a well-balanced meal for twenty-or-so ravenous teenagers. However, they did have planned meal nights once or twice a week, where they all contributed something to the meal and ate together.
Tonight was one of those nights.
When Izuku descended the stairs, there was a group of guys bustling around the kitchen. He recognized some from earlier, like Kaminari, Todoroki, and Sero, but there was also a buff guy with brown hair and big lips and a bird-headed guy. Jirou and Yaoyorozu were arranging the tables in the common area so they could all sit together and an invisible girl helped tidy up around the room. The bird-headed guy—who Uraraka had quickly told him was called Tokoyami—stared straight at Izuku.
"Midoriya-kun, could you help chop up these vegetables?"
Before Izuku could respond, Kaminari cut in. "Dude, not cool! Midoriya-kun has amnesia!"
Tokoyami looked confused. "He doesn't remember how to use a knife?"
"No! Well, I'm sure he does! Since he doesn't remember any of us, I thought we should treat him as a guest," Kaminari elaborated.
"I don't mind helping out," Izuku said. "I uh, help my mom cook sometimes!"
"You don't have to," Uraraka insisted. "I can do it if you'd like."
"No! Really, it's fine. I don't want to be a burden…"
"Why would you say that?" Todoroki asked. "Not helping out doesn't make you a burden."
Izuku shrugged. "Well, you're all being productive and I'm not."
"Productivity does not determine your worth," Tokoyami said. "If that were the case, then why would we—aspiring heroes—go out of our way to save others?"
"That's different," Izuku pointed out. "That's real life and this is just… dinner. I can help."
Uraraka frowned. "It's really not that different, though. You matter, Deku-kun. Not helping with dinner doesn't change that."
Izuku couldn't remember a time in his life where someone had told him that he mattered. Most people in his life told him the opposite, constantly. You're just quirkless, it's not like what you feel means anything to us… Midoriya, get out of the way! We're trying to play a game here, you ruin everything… What's that quirkless kid doing in advanced algebra? He's just taking up someone else's seat, someone who will actually make it to high school…
In the end, Izuku did end up helping out with dinner. It was actually pretty fun lending a hand and making small talk with his classmates, even if most of the conversation went over his head. He didn't know a thing about what they were learning in class nor any of the recent trends. His peers were nice to him though, way nicer than they should be.
Izuku couldn't help but think it was because they didn't know he used to be quirkless.
If they knew, would things be different?
No. He didn't want to think about it.
Still, there must be a reason he hadn't told anyone. Kacchan seemed to know why Izuku was keeping it a secret, at least.
Izuku really didn't want to ask his bully why he hadn't shared one of the biggest parts of his life with his supposed 'new best friends'. It's not like the answer was that far-fetched. If his classmates knew he used to be quirkless, he'd obviously be ridiculed and ostracized again. The real question was why Kacchan even cared whether or not Izuku was harassed. It was clear that something in their dynamic had changed and Izuku wanted to know what.
It was hard not to look at Kacchan during dinner. Izuku was sitting between Uraraka and Todoroki, four seats down from Kacchan. He could see him, just out of the corner of his eye and Izuku couldn't help but wonder exactly what he would ask him.
Why don't you think I should die anymore? What changed to make you view me as a human being? What's our deal with All Might, anyway?
Izuku had a feeling that none of his questions would elicit any sufficient answers.
"So, Midoriya-kun," Hagaruke said, "if you really don't remember any of us, who in this class do you think ranks highest in the class right now? Like, if you just had to guess?"
"Uh. I don't know?"
"Come on, bro," Kirishima egged him on. "You've gotta have some kinda hunch or something!"
"Yeah, you analyze everything in that notebook of yours. Your intuition is on point!" Sero added.
Izuku could hardly remember his classmates' names—this was practically a shot in the dark. "I guess Iida-san?"
There was a short round of laughs around the table and a few cries of "good guess!" Well, at least Izuku hadn't completely missed the mark.
"That was an astute deduction, but I actually ranked second in last term's midterms!" Iida said.
"Oh, okay then." Izuku thought for a moment. "Kacchan wasn't first, was he?"
Kacchan choked on his food. "Fuck off, Deku."
"He actually ranked third," Kirishima provided. "Which is a fact I still find hard to believe."
"You better believe it, shitty hair! I'm better than all of you!"
"Except Iida-kun and Momo-chan," Hagakure muttered.
"I don't like thinking of myself better than any of you," Yaoyorozu cut in. "Just because I scored highest in the written exams doesn't mean that I'm a better hero!"
"See, Bakugou-kun—that's real humility!" Uraraka said.
"I don't need humility to be the best!"
"That's not what we're learning in our remedial lessons." Todoroki took a long sip of tea.
Kacchan's face was almost red now. "No one asked you!"
Todoroki set his cup down. "I know."
The rest of dinner was mostly amiable with only a handful of outbursts from Kacchan. Izuku enjoyed sharing a meal with other people his age, especially since he'd helped make it. It was always more satisfying eating something you cooked yourself, after all. He also stayed around and helped clean up before going to bed. His classmates promised that they'd show him around tomorrow and even wake him up if his alarm didn't go off—which was way more than Izuku could have asked for. All of this was way more than he could have asked for.
Izuku had almost forgotten what it had felt like to feel hope. If this was his future—his life—then surely everything would be alright.
His first class in the morning was homeroom with Aizawa-sensei. Iida had rapped on his door at seven o'clock sharp—as promised—and fretted over every aspect of Izuku's uniform. It wasn't his fault he didn't remember how to tie a tie! It must have been hell to learn the first time around…
"This is your seat here, Midoriya-kun!" Iida gestured to the seat directly beside Kacchan. "Let anyone know if you have any questions. I'm sure you'll do fine!"
"Thanks, Iida-san," Izuku said softly.
Kacchan scoffed. "You still don't have any fucking memory? That's still a thing?"
Izuku flinched again. "Yeah?"
"Hurry up and remember, asshole."
"You can't just tell him to remember, Bakugou-san," Jirou cut in. "Have some fucking decency."
"I can tell him what I want, earphones!"
"Yeah, if you're nice about it."
"Bakugou-kun, Jirou-kun," Iida stepped forward, "I must insist that you—"
Kacchan slammed his fist on his desk. "I'm being nice!"
Jirou rolled her eyes. "Well, that's a first!"
"Why are you targeting me all of a sudden? Usually, you're shouting at the perv!"
Jirou groaned. "Do you really want to know? Really? Ever since Midoriya-san lost his memories, his heart rate has spiked when you speak. He's scared of you. I don't know what happened between you two in junior high, but you need to either man the fuck up or shut the fuck up."
The classroom was so silent that you could hear a pin drop. Jirou could… hear his heartbeat?
"Ahem, is this why you said you and Bakugou-kun aren't friends yesterday, Midoriya-kun?" Aoyama asked.
Izuku had said that. He really shouldn't have…
"It's uh, complicated!" Izuku dismissed. "Really, I'm just… blowing everything out of proportion. It's all good!"
"Deku-kun..." Uraraka frowned.
"Look," Kacchan said, "this is Deku from last year. If you guys haven't noticed, he's not fucking scared of me anymore. It's not my fault he's stuck in the past."
"Even if he can't remember, it's still kinda concerning that he used to be scared of you, man," Kirishima said. "What did you do?"
Kacchan shook his head. "That's none of your business."
"Midoriya-kun is our classmate and our friend," Iida said. "It's as much our business as it is yours."
Several voices rang out in agreement. As much as he appreciated the kind gesture… Izuku didn't want to be there anymore.
The air smelled too sweet.
Izuku wanted to leave.
Before it was too late.
"Uh… guys," Jirou said. "I think Midoriya-san is having a panic attack?"
No. No, he wasn't he was just—
Having a moment. Yeah!
But were the walls always so close…?
He couldn't breathe. Why couldn't he breathe?
"Midoriya-kun… stay with us. You're fine, everything is fine."
No one called him Midoriya-kun.
He was always Deku. Useless.
Midoriya-kun was almost a foreign name.
"Someone get Aizawa-sensei or All Might!"
Pro-heroes are always having to risk their lives. Some villains just can't be beaten without powers. So, no. I honestly don't think you can become a hero without a quirk.
"Please, not All Might…" Izuku croaked.
Izuku didn't need help.
He was fine!
He was quirkless, he had to be fine. If he wasn't fine, he was hurt more!
"Aizawa-sensei will be here soon, Deku-kun. Just hold on."
Warm fingers softly brushed his shoulders and Izuku bit down on his tongue to keep himself from crying out in alarm.
The last time someone had touched his shoulder, Kacchan had burned holes into his uniform. The heat had prickled at Izuku's skin and he almost wondered if Kacchan would finally go all the way and blast one of his limbs clean off his body.
"No!" Izuku wheezed. "N—ng."
"What's going on here?"
"Aizawa-sensei! Midoriya-kun is having a panic attack. We uh, we were asking about why he was scared of Bakugou and…"
"I see. Bakugou-san, move away from Midoriya. Actually, everyone move away from Midoriya."
"He needs his space." Aizawa's voice was clipped, professional. "It's nothing personal."
His classmates shuffled away from him and Izuku couldn't help but feel a vague sense of familiarity…
Get back from Midoriya, everyone! I heard if he touches you, he'll make you quirkless too!
It always turned out the same, didn't it?
Every year, every class—
Izuku was cast out from his peers.
Even here, at UA.
He was pathetic.
"Midoriya-san, I need you to take steady breaths. Alright?"
Aizawa-sensei was leaning in front of Izuku's desk. Shit. Was he in trouble for causing a scene?
"Breathe in: one-two-three-four. Hold. Breathe out: one-two-three-four. Hold. Can you do that?"
Izuku nodded numbly. "O—okay."
Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out. Hold.
Within a minute, Izuku was breathing normally again. He wiped the tears from his face and tried not to look Aizawa in the eye. The moment he made eye contact, the shouting would start. Izuku had played this game far too many times to know.
"Midoriya-san, can you look at me?"
No. Izuku's nerves were too frazzled. He couldn't handle more noise.
He just wanted to sleep.
Izuku met Aizawa's piercing, red-rimmed eyes. They were full to the brim with an emotion Izuku couldn't name if he tried and he suddenly berated himself for such a stupid, visceral reaction.
Aizawa was trying to help him?
"Everything is going to be alright. I know this is jarring and sudden, but you are at UA. Nothing bad will happen to you now."
"If you want, you can lay down in the teacher's lounge until you feel up to coming back to class? Does that sound alright?"
Aizawa was so genuine. For the first time in a long time, Izuku placed his trust in an adult. Not just any adult: a teacher.
The teacher's lounge was a mellow environment. Izuku was sprawled across a forest green couch, staring up at the beige ceiling. The room itself was lined with gray cabinets and wooden shelves containing various history and science textbooks. There was also a large window overlooking Musutafu, letting in plenty of natural sunlight. If it wasn't for the stellar view, Izuku was tempted to just hide his face in the blanket that Aizawa had left him.
What kind of teacher gave a student a blanket? Sure, it was a kind gesture but… it was unnecessary. Teachers didn't really care. Well, at least that's what Izuku had thought until Aizawa-sensei. Maybe it was because he wasn't a real teacher. He was also a pro-hero. Was that why he was so nice?
Aizawa knew that Izuku was a late bloomer and he didn't care. He knew that Izuku identified as quirkless for most of his life and he still treated him with respect and kindness.
Nonetheless, it was puzzling.
After an indeterminable amount of time, someone entered the teacher's lounge. Izuku tried not to fall off the couch when he saw the skeletal figure donned in a baggy, yellow suit.
Izuku fell off the couch.
So he really was a teacher at UA after all!
Oh God. All Might was a teacher at UA and they were in the same room. It wasn't like Izuku could pretend that he hadn't just said his name!
"Midoriya-shounen? Shouldn't you be in class?"
Izuku kept his gaze trained on the floor. "Aizawa-sensei said I could rest in here."
"Is something wrong? You didn't get hurt again, did you?"
"Not really? It's a long story. I was, uh, hit by this quirk yesterday and now I have amnesia… it's this whole thing."
"Amnesia?" he asked quietly.
"Mm-hm. I can't really remember UA… or most of the past year. Really, the last thing I remember is you telling me I couldn't be a hero on that roof. But I guess it's fine since I have a quirk now and all."
All Might went slack. "Midoriya-shounen, I am so sorry."
Finally, Izuku looked up from the floor and found All Might's luminescent, blue eyes. "Why? You meant what you said. Quirkless kids don't get to be heroes."
"That's exactly why I'm sorry, Midoriya. I should have never told you that. You have the heart of a hero, you have the passion. Above all, that's what set you on this path—not your quirk."
"But my heart didn't do anything for me until I got my quirk, didn't it?"
All Might shook his head.
"That's not exactly what happened. You… you impressed me. Midoriya-shounen, you sprang into rescue Bakugou from the sludge villain with nothing but your fighting spirit. Even I was docked at the sidelines, hoping for another hero to arrive on the scene. And I… I offered you my quirk."
All Might sighed and took a seat on the couch. Izuku slowly raised himself from the floor and sat opposite his idol.
"You'd think it's impossible, but there are some quirks that can be transferred from person-to-person. Mine was one of them. I used to be quirkless too, a long time ago. It's been so long now that I almost forgot what it was like until recently. The power that I gave you is called One for All and can be transferred from one person to the next. It stockpiles power from each user, as well as quirks from previous users. To my knowledge, Midoriya-shounen, you're the only user of One for All that has ever accessed a previous user's quirk."
Izuku's head was spinning. That… that couldn't be…
Everything made so much yet so little sense. Izuku knew that he shouldn't have a quirk. He knew that! And—and the video with the Sports Festival where he blasted back the ice! That strength was similar to All Might's quirk! Holy shit this was all coming together and it all made sense why he didn't hate All Might anymore and kept all his merch and had All Might in his phone and—
"You're mumbling, kid."
"I'm sorry. It's… a lot to process."
All Might gave a hearty laugh and ruffled Izuku's hair.
"You're taking it better than last time."
"To be honest, I think I'm just in shock."
"That would also make sense," All Might said.
"So… I have your quirk? And… and you don't have it anymore?"
The idea was ludicrous, but given all the evidence it was hard to refute. Besides, in a world of quirks, who was Izuku to deny the possibility?
"No. I used up the last of my quirk a few months ago and publicly retired. Now, I'm a full-time teacher here at UA."
Izuku tilted his head. "Why UA, though?"
"I thought that was obvious," he said. "So I could mentor my successor."
"O—oh? Who's that, then?" Izuku asked.
All Might smiled. "You. You're my successor."
Izuku was going to faint. This was so not real.
"You… you want me to be your successor? With your quirk?"
"I did tell you that you have the heart of a hero, Midoriya-shounen. I believe you'll make a great symbol of peace!"
Izuku was not crying. He was not!
All Might sighed. "It wouldn't be you without the waterworks, would it?"
Before Izuku could respond, All Might—all eighty pounds and elbows—pulled him into a hug. He didn't seem to care that Izuku was sobbing into his clothes and generally making a mess.
What did Izuku ever do to deserve this?
"So, this amnesia is temporary, right?" All Might asked.
"Huh? Oh, yeah." Izuku wiped some of his tears. "They said it should wear off in a few days…"
"Whew, that's a relief! I was afraid we'd have to start all over there, for a second."
"Nope… just a few days."
There was a beat of silence.
"So, how do you like UA?" All Might broke the ice.
They made amble small talk for about half-an-hour. Somewhere along the lines, Izuku started off on a long-winded tirade about All Might's fiercest battles. His idol looked like he'd heard it all before, but listened patiently. Before long, there was a soft knock on the door and Aizawa-sensei entered the lounge.
"All Might," he noted, "I see you've found our local amnesiac."
"He wasn't that hard to find," All Might replied lightly.
"Mm-hm. Anyway, I was wondering if I could talk to Midoriya-san alone about what happened in class earlier?"
All Might frowned. "What happened in class earlier?"
Aizawa hesitated. "Midoriya-san had a panic attack. Given the circumstances, it was a reasonable reaction. I just want to make sure that he's alright."
"Of course," All Might said. "Midoriya-shounen, I trust you have my number if you'd like to talk more."
Izuku nodded. "I do."
In a matter of seconds, Izuku was left alone with Aizawa-sensei.
"I understand that your classmates asked why Bakugou makes you uncomfortable," he said.
Izuku's mouth felt dry. "Yes."
Aizawa crouched, slid a metal stool out from underneath the tea table, and sat opposite from Izuku. "I'm not going to make you talk about it, Midoriya-san, but I just want to make sure that you're okay."
Izuku didn't respond. What could he say to that?
"You're a UA student now. I don't know the extent of what happened to you in junior high, but I can't imagine it was good nor deserved. I promise you though, as long as you're here no one will hurt you. Not even Bakugou."
Izuku shook his head. "You can't promise that. Kacchan… Kacchan always does what he wants. No matter what the teachers do."
"Maybe not the teachers you've had in the past, which is grossly disconcerting and indicative of how Bakugou's behavior went unchecked for so long, but here at UA we have zero tolerance for bullying of any kind."
Izuku lowered his gaze back to the floor. "That's—that's what they all say until there's a quirkless kid. Bullying is bad unless it happens to me."
"And that should have never happened. Being quirkless should not warrant that sort of prejudice. If I had anything to do with it, all those teachers that failed you would be fired. Regardless, I can't apologize on behalf of others who have wronged you, Midoriya-san, but I will apologize for taking your relationship with Bakugou for granted."
"You don't have to apologize," Izuku said. "You… you haven't done anything."
"Maybe not in your eyes, but I stand by it," Aizawa insisted. "All these months I've believed you and Bakugou to be rivals, childhood friends. Even if you don't remember, it was irresponsible of me not to catch all the red flags."
Izuku didn't look up. "So what now? What will you do when I get my memories back?"
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"Will you just keep apologizing for things you didn't do?" Izuku accused.
Aizawa sighed. "No. I was actually thinking of placing you and Bakugou in counseling. Not together, of course. But it seems like a lot of your past trauma is unresolved and that properly processing it would do both of you some good."
"So you want me to see a shrink?" Izuku asked.
It wasn't the first time an adult had suggested he needed mental treatment. Several of his teachers over the years had suggested that therapy would shut down all his 'disruptive tendencies' and 'hysteric behaviors.'
"Therapy is not a thing to be ashamed of, Midoriya-san," Aizawa said. "Many great heroes have therapists, including me. Hell, most regular people need therapists too."
"You have a therapist? Eraserhead?"
He pinched the bridge of his nose. "Yes. We all have issues."
His admission felt genuine and once again, Izuku realized that he didn't deserve this man.
"Okay… I guess once I get my memories back, I'll consider it," Izuku conceded.
"You'll more than consider it. I'm your teacher."
"You can make me go, but you can't make me talk."
"Fair enough." Aizawa stood from the stool and edged towards the door. "Do you think you're ready to return to class? Bakugou shouldn't give you any more trouble."
Izuku nodded. "I think I'm ready."
UA was not Aldera Junior High.
Izuku had a quirk, a quirk that could be passed on from person-to-person. All Might was Izuku's mentor and Aizawa-sensei had promised that no one would hurt him. He and Kacchan were on amicable terms and Izuku had several new friends.
If this was his future, then Izuku was grateful that he'd stepped away from the railing that day. He thought he'd been marked for death, but really, his life had only begun.
Izuku was going to make the most of it.