Izuku’s hands are clenched, his white knuckles a stark contrast against his red, feverish skin. There is a tickle beneath his ribs, a nausea brewing in his stomach, and he breathes deep enough to inhale thousands of dust particles. Although it's too early in the morning for anyone else to be reasonably awake, the U.A. dorms have thin walls, so he shushes his own panicked laugh and turns on the tap instead, washing the residue of his own urine from his hands.
On the slate counter next to the sink, three drug store pregnancy tests lay side by side, all from the past two hours. Two of the three have very faint, barely discernible second lines, the third one the only with two bold lines. Pink and pronounced, as obvious as Izuku’s pounding, erratic heart. He's not in shock, no. Or, at least he doesn't think so. He's mostly horrified, the mirror reflecting his haggard terror as it begins to condensate from the steaming water cascading over his hands.
Stiltedly, he shuts off the tap, his skin angry and crimson, and he knows they’ll blister in an hour or two, but he finds that he has much more pressing matters to attend to. He takes a wad of toilet paper and knocks the three pregnancy tests into the trash, wiping the counter half-heartedly before covering the tests with some more toilet paper, then slams the door on his way out of the washroom.
He’s strong enough that the walls shake, angry enough that his feet pound, hurt enough that his lungs heave. His binder itches, tight and constricting, and he hooks two fingers underneath it and grips, trying to force himself to stop grinding his teeth, trying to force his body to stop shaking. He is seventeen, an aspiring hero, and so not ready to be a dad. It’s an undisputed fact that he’s the shittiest at taking care of himself in class 3-A, so he doesn’t even want to fathom taking care of a kid.
To his left, he hears a bed creaking, and a loud, low groan. “Whoever’s stomping outside, can you not? It’s five in the fucking morning.”
Izuku winces in guilt.
“Sorry,” he manages to grind out of his throat, his voice cracking in such a way that he’s untimely reminded of how much higher his natural voice is. Of how many years of testosterone it took for it to even get to this point. Of how shitty it’ll feel to be reminded of his traitorous body as his uterus decides to house a growing fetus.
He needs to find Recovery Girl.
He would feel worse for startling Recovery girl if his mind wasn’t currently spiralling. But it is, and it sucks just enough for him to be a little ruder than usual.
Mostly, he’s surprised she’s already in the infirmary. He wonders if she sleeps there.
“Midoriya,” she sighs, voice neither deterring or welcoming, with just enough resignation sprinkled in for Izuku to know that, by now, she’s hardly surprised to see him at odd hours.
He wraps his arms around himself, and ducks his head, trying to force himself not to feel embarrassed because he knows that he has nothing to be ashamed for. Nothing about this is his fault, but he can’t help the red crawling up his cheeks, or the stone he keeps swallowing before trying to choke up.
“I need help,” he whispers, barely aware of himself, and tries to unfold himself because he hates feeling small. He hates being helpless, but that’s exactly how he feels right now, which is why he’s making a conscious effort to seek out help. Even though it’s difficult. Even though he’s not used to doing this.
Sitting straighter in her chair, recovery girl raises an eyebrow and hooks her foot around another chair, bringing it closer next to her. She pats it. “Sit,” she says, not unkindly. “You look like you’re about to faint, dear.”
He tottles over and sits, pulling his knees up so he can rest his chin on them.
“You...can’t tell anyone yet,” he says, feeling oddly juvenile for requesting something so childish. But Recovery Girl doesn’t have a single ounce of judgement in her bones, so at her encouraging nod, he soldiers on. “I, uh, might be pregnant.”
“...Ah.” It’s clearly not what she was expecting, and she leans back in her chair a little before swinging herself to her feet, leading Izuku to one of the beds. Izuku lies down without being told, feeling his muscles relax, and he counts the tics coming from the clock on the wall. For a while, the room is filled with a mutual understanding for the need of a bit of silence. A silence that Recovery Girl graciously volunteers to break.
“Did this happen at the party?” she asks, sitting at the edge of the bed, her feet hanging off the floor. If he sticks his tongue back far enough in his throat, Izuku wonders if he can choke on in.
She’s referring to just over a month ago, when Izuku got drugged at a house party by someone in class 3-B.
“You mean when I was raped,” he says, haltingly.
“Yes.” Recovery Girl is very careful with her touch, waiting for Izuku’s approval before resting her hand on his leg, her palms calloused and wrinkled from work and age.
“Then yes. Probably. That’s...the only sexual thing I’ve ever done, so…” Izuku trails off because he becomes preoccupied trying to force the tears back into his eyes. But physics prevail, and they slip off his cheeks leaving salty trails behind, stinging the dry skin on his face.
“I can do another test, to make sure, and then we can talk about your options,” Recovery Girl offers, empathy undiluted in a way that doesn't make him feel suffocated, but rather reassured.
“Okay.” he tastes blood as he licks at his cracked lips, his eyes closing because the lights are becoming too intense. Still, the lights bleed into his eyelids and reverberate inside his skull.
She helps his sit up, and looks at him dead in the eyes. “For your tests, there are some options. You found out through a urine test, I’m guessing, and we can do another for you right now. You can also choose to do a blood test, which is more accurate, but also not usually necessary.”
“I’ve been on testosterone for three years now, so will that affect anything?” He knows a little about pregnancy, mostly due to the female sex ed he received before he was given the OK to change his gender legally. But in saying that, he has no clue how pregnancy tests work.
“It won’t.” Recovery Girl hands him a cup and a pregnancy test, and Izuku clutches them to his chest, anxious even though it already feels like the answer is set in stone. “Blood tests check for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, or just hCG. Even if you’re on testosterone, it can still detect hCG. However, regarding testosterone, you won’t be able to take it anymore for the time being if you are, indeed, pregnant.”
Izuku nods, standing up on unsteady legs, and points to the washroom. “I’ll just, uh, do the test.”
Almost like she can sense how nervous he is, she gives him a gentle smile. “Bring the cup back, dear. And don’t be scared. We’ll figure out what to do.”
Izuku can only nod again as he scurries off to do his business. He doesn’t even know if he has any pee left.
Recovery Girl handles the pregnancy test with gloves, nodding at the results. “You’re pregnant,” she confirms, then traces Izuku up and down with her eyes, as if she’s just waiting for his face to crumple. Which is does. Quite quickly.
“Oh,” he squeaks because hearing it confirmed is so much worse than he thought it would be. She rubs her gloves together, sighing, and places the pregnancy test on her desk, and leans forward until they’re in breathing distance of each other.
“You’re not at at dead end,” she reminds him, and he tries to digest that, but he can’t see how that’s true. Because he feels trapped, and squished, his entire life being flushed away. “You’re around four weeks along--give or take--considering that the incident happened a little over a month ago. It’s a bit early to do an ultrasound, but we have someone on call with a quirk specializing in pregnancy, so she can do one for you if you choose to get one done right now.”
Izuku shakes his head, swallowing the vomit that has started to crawl up his throat. “No, that’s—it’s fine.”
“Okay,” Recovery Girl says, as if it’s that easy, and it’s really not.
But her not freaking out is making Izuku better at not freaking out, so he forces himself to relax and wipes away the sweat plastering his curls to his forehead. With the sun only now rising, he wonders about the time, and about his classmates in bed, unaware of the shifts and cracks going through his life, his body.
“I think it’s important to bring up that you don’t have to keep the baby.” She sets her hand on his knee, slowly enough to give him plenty of time to shuffle away. He doesn’t, and instead traces his eyes over her knuckles, her watch, her blister on her right, middle finger from writing too much.
He starts to sweat again, but it’s no so much from learning about the pregnancy as it is from the lack of air circulation in the room.
“Can we open a window?” he croaks, fanning at his face with quaking hands, the room waning around him like his entire body is being wrung out.
Recovery Girl is immediately on her feet, cracking open all the windows with speed he didn’t know she had before coming back to him with a tall glass of water. “Sit,” she says once he tries to stand. “Did you hear what I said earlier?”
He drinks long and steadily, trying to flush out his system, and puts the glass of water down on her desk. “Yes. You said I didn’t have to keep the baby.”
“But I need time to think.”
“I would hope so.”
With a less than subtle glance at the clock, Izuku grimaces. The school day starts in less than ten minutes.
“Do I have to attend class today?” He asks, watching the newly installed drapes by the window blow in, cream coloured and speckled with cyan.
In lieu of answering verbally, Recovery girl pats down the bed Izuku was previously in and fluffs up the pillows.
“This bed here?” She points, “It’s all yours for the day.”
Izuku almost moans in relief getting out of his seat to slowly crawl under the covers. He brings the freshly-washed duvet up to his forehead, inhaling the detergent scent. A garbage can is inconspicuously kicked to right next to his bed, and Recovery Girl settles back in her chair, typing rapidly away on her computer.
His mom greets him with welcoming arms, her warmth as inviting as it’s always been, and he sinks into it like he’s three again. He almost wishes to be three again.
“How was your week, Izuku?” She murmurs in his hair, content with just holding him. Her eyes are bright, and although there are heavy bags under them, she looks happy. Regretfully, Izuku might ruin that in a couple of seconds.
“Can I talk to you?” He asks, and she must notice the hesitation in his voice because she’s nodding before he finishes the question.
“Of course. You can talk to me about anything? Are you in trouble, in danger?”
“No, no, not really.” They both go to sit on the couch, and his mom is still smiling, but more nervously now, her body jittering like it always does when she’s stressed. Before she even fully turns to him, he’s word vomiting, “I’m pregnant.”
She falters, nearling stumbling into the couch, and turns around with wide eyes. “oh,” she says, mouth opening in something like surprise, or maybe shock, or maybe horror. Izuku’s too afraid to look closely to decipher everything she must be feeling.
“It, uh, happened at that party…” He trails off, but she knows exactly what he’s talking about, and she gathers him back into her arms, rocking him back and forth. He’s not as small as he used to be, and nowhere near as frail, but he likes this. Being held. There’s a certain stability about his mother that he can’t find anywhere else, and she’s the only support system he had growing up. Until he was 14, he had no one else but her. “What...what do I do ?” His voice cracks on the last word, heavy and hurt, and he hates that he’s scared but he thinks it would be weirder if he wasn’t.
“That’s up to you, sweety,” she says.
“But I don’t know. Can’t you tell me?”
“No, baby, that’s up to you," a hesitation, "but whatever you decide...I’ll stand by you 100%." She brushes the stray hairs off his forehead. "You can keep the baby, or you can get an abortion. I’ll be there for you no matter what.” her lips press gently into he cheek, and he squeezes his eyes shut.
It feels nice, but he doesn’t want nice. He wants someone to tell him what to do so that he doesn’t have to choose.
Here’s his main problem: Izuku doesn’t know if he wants to keep the baby.
Here’s his secondary problem: he desperately, desperately wants the support of his friends, but he has no idea how to tell them. They're already reeling from the aftershock of the party, endlessly cautious in their misplaced, but good-intentioned, desire to offer support. But bottling things up is hard, and he's exhausted.
Which is why, he supposes, he blurts out, “I’m pregnant!” to Todoroki the moment Todoroki walks into the infirmary.
Todoroki stares at Izuku, and Izuku stares back, petrified. After a long enough pause to get Izuku’s blood pumping furiously, Todoroki swallows and opens his mouth. Then closes it. He seems to be trying to put together something in his mind, and it’s obvious when everything clicks because his expression changes to that of horror, then painful understanding.
“Was it at the party—”
“Yes,” Izuku cuts him off with an answer, and Todoroki nods, stricken.
He grabs a bandaid off the shelf by the door, which was probably what he came here for, then sits on the chair next to Izuku’s bed.
“So, what are you going to do now?” He asks, and Izuku shrugs, somehow, even though he’s lying down. The entire bed seems to shake with him.
It’s a difficult question to answer. Izuku doesn’t want to be a parent, and has no desire to uproot his life for something that was nonconsensually put in his body. It has little to do with the possible dysphoria, and more to do with the oh my god I’m not ready, I’m not ready, fuck.
“Do you want the kid?” Todoroki asks, softly and bluntly, delivered in a way only he can. At the moment, Todoroki doesn’t smell the best. He’s sweaty, and his gym wear is covered in dirt. They must’ve been out training. But Izuku still holds the hand that’s reaching out for him, the skin tough from hero work.
It’s easy to admit that Todoroki’s question breaks something in Izuku, but he’s not entirely sure what until he’s sobbing into Todoroki’s lab, shaking his head vigorously.
“No. No, I don’t want the baby. At all.” The admittance crawls out of his mouth, clawed and sharp, and it hurts so intensely that it feels physical. “Does that make me a bad person? To not want whatever’s growing inside of me?”
Todoroki shifts, and Izuku spots a cut under his shirt, just now starting to clot. Probably what the bandaid is going to be used for. “No. At least, I don’t think so. This is your body right? Shouldn’t you have the choice?”
And that’s where Izuku just doesn’t know.
This is the order people find out in: Todoroki first, then Uraraka, then Iida, then Kirishima, then Tokoyami, then Shinsou.
At least, that’s the order Izuku tells those specific people in, but the entire class finds out eventually, and well, he’s not mad about it. Maybe just a little peeved.
He finds out because he walks into class the next day, and everyone sits up straighter, goes quieter, looks kinder.
“Great,” Izuku deadpans, and walks to his desk. “Who blabbed? And in less than a day too. Thanks guys. This is great.”
As it turns out, everyone blabbed. Except for Uraraka and Todoroki. But he loves everyone in the class, so he’s not mad. He’s not.
“Sorry,” Kirishima apologizes to him before class starts, and Izuku realizes that yes, he was mad, but the apology drains his anger out of him. “It wasn’t for us to tell. So, sorry. We’ll be better about this entire situation starting from now. I promise.”
At six weeks, he gets an ultrasound, and sees the baby for the first time. It’s barely even two dots dancing across the monitor, but Izuku cries anyway. He doesn’t know if it’s out of panic or fear or happiness. He supposes it’s all three.
“I hate it, but it still makes me a little happy,” he sobs, and his mom slowly rubs his shoulder. “I hate that I’m 17 and not ready, and that a dickhead put his penis in me without my consent. But that’s a baby. A...living thing inside my uterus.”
“Midoriya,” Recovery Girl gives him a juice box and some tissues, her voice a soft comfort. “Remember that you have a choice.”
Aizawa sits with him on the field after school, and Izuku doesn’t know why because Aizawa’s not his teacher anymore. He’s seven weeks along now, and still not showing. Unless being nauseous at the smell of mushrooms counts as showing.
“Midoriya, I’ve been meaning to talk to you,” Aizawa starts, and Izuku turns to him, feeling the grass shift between his fingers as the wind blows a little stronger.
“Your body is your own, and every decision you make will be yours to make. If you choose to get an abortion, that will be your choice. It’s your body. I should remind you that—although you’re training to be hero—not everything in life is divided by good and evil. You must look out for yourself first and foremost, and if that means getting rid of the baby, that’s okay. There may not be a good choice present, but there is your choice, and that’s the only one that matters.”
Izuku lies down on the grass just as Aizawa stands up, brushing off his back and legs. When Izuku looks up and away from his first year teacher, he spots blue skies and gray clouds rolling in, and shuts his eyes. He presses his hands to his belly and feels nothing but the sheer panic that’s constantly budding in the back of his mind. He pushes down more firmly and feels regret, and feel guilt, and feel grief.
But he still makes his choice.
“I want to get an abortion,” Izuku says, and Recovery Girl is immediately hyper-focused, her support a steel beam and unwavering. “What are my options?”
Recovery Girl takes a scrap paper off her desk and untucks a pencil from her breast pocket. “You have a couple.” She smiles at Izuku softly, as if to reassure him, but it only works somewhat. His nerves are frayed, and the panic eating away at him threatens to overwhelm his false confidence.
She writes for no more than ten seconds before handing the paper to Izuku, hopping up to sit down in her chair. “You can get a medication abortion,” she leans over to point to the first phrase on the paper, “which uses pills. Or,” she points to the second phrase, “You can get an aspiration abortion, which is when medical instruments are used to directly go into the uterus to terminate the pregnancy. Since we have some time, would you like me to explain them in more detail?”
Izuku wets his lips and tastes blood, his shoulders rising and falling with each deep, stuttering breath he forces into his lungs. “Yes please.”
“Great!” A hand on his knees quickly steadies the shaking, and Recovery Girl looks up with an earnest, determined expression that makes Izuku realize just how supported he is. He’s not good at trusting adults after growing up quirkless and belittled. Before, teachers would do little to help him, but it’s different at U.A., and Recovery Girl has seen him at his weakest since the beginning of his One For All journey.
“We’ll start with the medication abortion.” Recovery Girl hops up and carries a ladder to underneath the tallest cabinet, climbing steadily up the rungs. When Izuku gets up to help, she waves him away with a huff. “I’ve been doing this for decades, boy. Sit down.” He does. She comes off the ladder soon after getting what she needs, and sits back in her chair with two pill bottles and a long tube. She then tosses the long tube-like thing onto her desk behind her and leans closer to Izuku with only the pill bottles.
She shakes the bottle in her right hand. “This is Mifepristone--one of the two pills you would have to take. If you choose to go this route, you can take this right here right now. One pill with some water. This,” she shakes the bottle on her left hand, “is Misoprostol. You would take this around 24 hours later, but anywhere from 6 to 48 hours should be okay. Four of these little guys would go into your mouth with no water, and you would simply wait for them to dissolve.”
Izuku nods, and it all sounds wonderfully easy. “What’ll happen after?” he asks, because as nice as that sounds, the growing cells, soon to be life, in his uterus can’t just disappear.
“You bleed,” Recovery Girl says, and Izuku nods because it’s obvious in hindsight. “It’s like a very heavy period with equally heavy cramps. We usually compare it to an early miscarriage in terms of symptomes.”
The more Recovery Girl talks, the more Izuku finds that he can relax. He closes his eyes and tries to let the jitters out, but it’s hard when anxiety follows him like a cloud. “That sounds easy.”
“For some people it is. For others, it’s the hardest thing they’ll do. You just have to make a decision for your body.”
Izuku nods. “What’s my other option?” He doubts he’ll go with the other one. Why would he wants a bunch of tools up his vagina if he can simply down some pills? But he wants to hear it anyway because he hates going into any situation without all the facts. He lives for information, analysis, details.
“The aspiration abortion can be done right here too, and the actual process probably won’t take more than ten minutes. I’m quite good at them, if I say so myself. A suction catheter is used,” she takes the tube thing off her desk and shows it to Izuku. It’s long and ends in a spile-like attachment. “I would use metal rods to dilate your cervix, then I would insert the catheter to suck out the baby. After, a curette--which is a metal rod--would be used to scrape away the last of the pregnancy. You’ll have some light bleeding for a couple days after, and the bleeding can continue on and off for some weeks. And of course, cramps.”
“You don’t have to decide right now,” Recovery Girl reminds gently, but Izuku shakes his head.
“I know. But I’ve been deciding for a while. Can I...can I take the pills?”
He goes back to class after taking the 200 mg Mifepristone pill, determined to get through the rest of the day in one piece. His stomach is rolling partly out of nerves and partly from the pill, small cramps squeezing his lower belly.
The class shoots him glances, and Kirishima keeps asking him if he needs water. Izuku doesn’t need water. But he really needs to do his work. He has some late assignments to catch up on. And he knows he should be doing them, but instead, he’s deep-dive googling in his phone.
He reads that abortions used to only be available for rape victims in Japan, or for those who have medical issues. And Izuku knows he’s a rape victim, but he can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if he wasn’t. What would’ve happened if he had unprotected sex and got pregnant instead? He can’t even imagine having to go through the pregnancy. Even just the thought makes him want to panic.
“Hey man, sucks that this happened to you.” Kirishima drags a chair over and sits down, forcing Izuku to look up from his phone, hiding his screen away. Uraraka books it over as well, sliding her chair next to Izuku smoothly as she props her chin up on his palm.
“Water?” She asks. Izuku shakes his head. Why do people keep asking him if he needs water?
“Just, we’re here for you,” Kirishima adds on, and Izuku turns to him, anxious, and leans over so abruptly that Kirishima almost looks like he wants to run. “Wh--”
“Would it be different if I wasn’t raped?” Izuku breathes, but he has so many questions and has no idea who to ask.
“Deku...what?” Uraraka tilts her head, confusion etched onto her face.
“Would it be different if I had unprotected sex and got pregnant? Would you guys still be so accepting if I chose to terminate my pregnancy?”
“I would.” Hound Dog walks up and crouches down so that they’re eye to eye. As the school counsellor, Izuku’s been seeing him for the past month, but he has no idea what Hound Dog is doing in the classroom. “Let’s talk outside, Midoriya.”
They crouch out in the hallway, and Hound Dog looks Izuku dead in the eyes.
“What did I say to you before?” He’s referring to weeks ago, but Izuku still remembers.
“That my body is my own.” it's hard to forget when everyone has been telling him the same thing.
“That’s right. It’s easier to accept the idea that only rape victims can get abortions because humans prefer a black and white world. That’s why we have heroes and villains. That’s why we label things as good and bad. And if it was someone’s own fault that they got pregnant, then that wouldn’t make things so black and white anymore, would it?”
“No,” Izuku agrees, voice muffled by his knees. “Then people would want to take sides because pregnancy is the development of a new life, and if someone didn’t use protection, society wants them to accept the consequences.” He hates that idea. It makes sense, but there’s so much more than that. What happens to the unwanted kids? What happens to the person who was not ready to be a parent? Why does no option feel like the right option?
“But Midoriya, listen to me carefully. There’s no... good option. Both options hurt someone, but I think, as a teacher, that it’s very important to let people choose for themselves what’s right.”
“But a baby can’t choose.” Izuku points out, and wonders what he’s done. He took a pill, he’s going to take four more later, and then he’ll bleed out a pregnancy he didn’t want. What does that make him. “I’m terminating the pregnancy,” he whispers. “So what does that make me?”
“Human. Human, with the option to decide what’s best for you. Life isn’t as simple as hero and villain, Midoriya. Sometimes we have to make decisions that we won’t like, but are necessary to keep ourselves safe. Do you understand?”
He does, kind of. He’s always understood to a certain extent. But the panic he feels is real and visceral, and it clings to him in such a way that he can’t seem to shake it off.
Izuku nods and stands up with a huff, his uterus squeezing with unease.
“Are you okay to head back to class?” Hound Dog asks, putting a hand on Izuku’s back. Izuku nods again, and walks back inside.
Todoroki hands him a glass of water when he gets back to class, and Izuku takes it with a small thanks, downing it. He feels better with something to soothe his throat, his face cooling down even as his winces from a cramp. Cold water was maybe a bad decision.
“Better?” Todoroki asks, and Izuku nods, inhaling and exhaling every five seconds, closing his eyes to clear his head.
“Good to hear.” Kirishima looks guilty, like he’s the one who did something wrong, and not Izuku who totally lost it.
“Thanks,” Izuku mumbles. “Sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it, Deku!”
“Yeah, don’t worry, man.”
When Iida sees Todoroki, Uraraka, and Kirishima gathering around Izuku, he comes around too, awkwardly shoving his chair into a tiny space between Izuku and Uraraka.
“I’m glad to see you’re feeling okay, Midoriya. Is there anything I can do to help? Would you like some water?”
Todoroki is already melting more ice into the cup Izuku drank from before, and Izuku stares quizzically. “You know there’s a water fountain outside, right?”
He doesn’t go to school the next day. Instead, in the morning, he takes the four pills and lets them dissolve slowly in his mouth without any water. Then he slaps an overnight maxi pad onto his boxers and crawls into bed.
In the kitchen, his mother has a kettle of water boiling away, ready to make some tea. She’s staying home with Izuku for the day.
Five minutes after taking the pills, he has tea, a blanket fort, and a laptop propped up on some textbooks on his bed. He sips the green tea slowly, the warmth alleviating some of her nervous shivers, and watches reruns of “Japan’s Hidden Heroes” on Netflix.
Three and a half hours in, his cramps go from mild to actually painful, and he feels a flow of blood starting. When he goes to the washroom to check, he’s greeted with a substantial clot, so he changes his pad and crawls back into bed.
His mom knocks on the door every half an hour to ask if he’s okay, and five hours in, she watches him with worried eyes as he paces the hallway.
It sucks. 1. Because he’s terminating a pregnancy. 2. Because it’s quite painful. 3. Because his dysphoria is going haywire.
He used to get periods. They were heavy, and awful, and he nearly forgot the feeling. But now that he’s experiencing this bleeding thing again, he can’t help but be reminded of his more confusing, more upsetting years.
Those aren’t the thoughts he should be thinking though, so he chucks them away and hugs a bag filled with hot water to his lower belly instead.
When he checks for bleeding again, his pad is flooded, and a clot falls right into the toilet. He almost throws up. Not because it’s gross, or whatever, but because these are cells that were forming a life. He’s relieved, and then feels like shit for feeling relieved, and by the time he reaches hour seven, he’s near tears.
Back in bed, he has five new pillows behind his back and around his sides, and he’s exhausted all his favourite episodes of Japan’s Hidden Heroes. His tea is only half-finished when he remembers to drink it again, and the coldness only brings out a bitterness he couldn’t taste before, leaving the tea to die on his tongue.
“Hi, All Might. Uh, do you have time to talk? Are you teaching right now”
“No! What, uh, what can I help you with, my boy?”
“I’m tired, and bored, and cranky, and sad. Can you just, tell me how your day went or something?”
“Uh...Well, today, Uraraka nearly killed Bakugou, and Bakugou nearly blew up Todoroki, and Todoroki nearly froze K…”
Izuku falls asleep to the sound of All Might’s voice.
Of course school is filled with rumours. Izuku expected it to spread much sooner than it did, but that doesn’t make it any less disheartening to go back to school and have people in the hallway stare at him.
“Looks like class 3-A is filled with careless teens after all. How did it feel to get pregnant?” Monoma asks, strutting up with enough bravado to make Izuku want to punch him in the face.
“Well jee, Monoma, I don’t know. Why don’t you ask your mom who had to go through nine months of it only to give birth to you?”
Bakugou--who was apparently behind Izuku the entire time--laughs so hard he chokes.
No one’s too horrible about it, and Izuku deals. Does he get called a slut a handful of times? Sure, but all he has to do is power up All For One and they shut their mouths. All talk, no bite.
He wonders what it was like back in the day, when people didn’t have quirks to defend themselves. It makes him a little sad, and he’s still thinking about it when someone throws a picture of a dead baby at him on his way to lunch.
“Who did that?” Uraraka belts, crumpling up the picture before handing it to Izuku who tucks it in his pocket to recycle later.
The cafeteria quiets for two seconds before everyone starts whispering. No one responds.
“I said: WHO. DID. THAT?” Uraraka is terrifying, and it’s worse with Todoroki and Iida flanking her, both tall and intimidating. And Todoroki has literally started to smoke.
“Uh,” a first year swallows as his friend shoves him up, snickering. “Me?”
Uraraka doesn’t soften, even at the sight of the cowering first year. “You, what class are you in?”
The boy swallows before stepping forward, trying to colour on bravado with a washable marker. One wipe, and it’s gone. “Class 1-A,” he says, clearly proud, but his voice shakes anyway. Izuku would’ve probably felt bad for him if this took place two years ago, but now he doesn’t feel even the slightest hint of sympathy.
“Right,” Izuku says, shushing Uraraka before she can talk. “The hero course. You’ll definitely go far if you keep bullying others. The teachers love that. Especially yours. You have Aizawa-sensei, correct?”
The boy takes a step back when Izuku takes a step forward.
“Uhhhhhhh,” he mumbles, and Izuku bends down to look him in the eye.
“If you do something deliberately to hurt someone, that makes you the opposite of heroic. Instead of pushing others down to make yourself feel good or whatever the reason is that you do what you do, how’s about you learn to help people instead? Isn’t that what the hero course is all about?”
“I-it doesn’t matter what I do once I get popular,” the boy grouses, crossing his arms as he shrinks down from Todoroki’s cool gaze.
“If you’re being a hero for fame,” Todoroki says, “I suggest you leave this school right now.”
Iida looks like he’s itching to add something, his foot tapping rapidly on the floor, but before he can even open his mouth, Aizawa is already pushing between them, exasperation making his eyes nearly roll back into his head.
“What’s happening here? Why can none of you ever eat your lunch in peace?”
“Aizawa-sensei!” The boy immediately perks up, rushing behind his teacher while worrying his lips. “They were antagonizing me!”
“We were absolutely not!” Iida marches forward looking angrier than Izuku’s seen them in a long time. “He threw a tasteless image at Midoriya. We were simply defending him.”
With curled lips, Aizawa regards the entire situation like it’s curdled milk, and it almost makes Izuku want to laugh.
“That’s a lie!” The boy yells, but Izuku’s already getting out the picture. He hands it to Aizawa before the teacher even asks, and Aizawa takes one look at it before letting out a long, suffering sigh.
He turns to the boy behind him. “Why on earth did you think this would be an appropriate thing to do?”
For second, it looks like the boy isn’t going to say anything, but eventually, he peers up at Aizawa with guilty eyes.
“I...thought…” he trials off, and aizawa sighs again. By now, the entire cafeteria is watching, and the rest of class 3-A have gathered behind and beside Midoriya.
“It was just a joke,” the boy's friend defends, addressing Izuku. “Take a chill pill. Why are you beating down on someone younger? You think you’re cool with your entire class gathering behind you? What, you can’t speak for yourself and just admit that you did a crappy thing?”
“And what was the crappy thing he did, pray tell?” Aizawa asks as he looks at the picture again, eyebrows furrowing. “And why would you think that bullying would solve it in any way?”
Both boys wince, the picture-thrower looking down in shame as the other looks up, angry. “We’re not the bullies here! Why are the older kids yelling at us?”
“Maybe because you threw a picture of a dead baby at our friend,” Todoroki says cooly.
“Because he deserved it--”
“That’s enough,” Aizawa cuts in, voice sharp as a whip. “You two,” he points to both boys, “come with me. Midoriya,” he turns to Izuku, and Izuku looks up, raising an eyebrow. “My apologies for these two.”
“It’s okay,” Izuku tries to wave off before Uraraka slaps a hand over his mouth.
“I don’t think he wants an apology from you, Aizawa-sensei,” she says tightly.
“I didn’t think he did,” Aizawa agrees, “but I’m offering one anyway.” He pats Izuku’s shoulder before herding the two boys off, and the cafeteria slowly rebuilds its buzz, now with added gossip.
It’s not that Izuku doesn’t appreciate Uraraka’s protection. It’s more like he doesn’t need it, so he licks her hand until she yelps and pulls it away, and sends her an eye roll for good measure.
“We weren’t that...uncool two years ago, were we?” Kirishima asks, eyes wide, and Izuku turns to him with a grimace.
“God, I hope not.”
Izuku gets his apologies from both boys later. The boy who threw the picture looks near tears as he stumbles through his words while his friend spits it through gritted teeth.
“S-sorry about the picture,” the former says while the latter kicks a chair in the classroom.
“I don’t care about the dumb picture.” With a tired glance at the door, his last hope for freedom from this mess flies out, and Izuku surrenders himself and tries to get both boys to look him in the eyes. It works, and even the fireball kicking chairs over there stalls, swallowing down a clear lump in his throat. “What I care about is that you decided to bully someone based on rumours. A person you didn’t even know. You both wanna be heroes, right? You’ll make tough decisions in life, and some of them might be a decision you might not want to make. That’s what I had to do, and as future heroes, you two should’ve been more aware of the consequences of your actions.”
“Sorry,” both mumble, looking down, and Izuku ruffles both of their heads.
“You’re forgiven. I’m sorry too, by the way, because I’m sure Aizawa-sensei wasn’t as forgiving, and you both have detention for at least a week.”
“Two weeks,” Aizawa coughs by his desk, and Izuku swears he doesn’t mean to laugh at the boys’ expressions, but it’s so hard.
He’s never had a teacher better than Aizawa, and he doesn’t think he ever will.
“How are you?” His former teacher will ask him later while visiting Izuku during his checkup with Recovery Girl, and Izuku will smile.