His dreams were always like the sky. Bright, and filled with joy- at least for Izuku. But just like the sky, he could never touch them. He could reach out, as far as he could, but was always stuck on the ground. So, so far away.
Bakugo and his friends' words just confirmed his thoughts. He'd never be able to be a hero. At least not in the condition he was in right now. He was willing to improve himself, but without proper training and people to support him, that'd be rather difficult. Not to mention he was quirkless- in a world filled with so many strong, flashy, and overall interesting quirks.
So, that put a damper on things, too. He sat in his room, in the desk chair he had had his whole life. Watching the same video on repeat. Seeing the way All Might's smile- his laugh and voice- immediately calmed those around him. The way they felt safe in his presence. He wanted that- so bad. He wanted people to feel safe and protected around him.
But, all he could do at the moment is watch- in a mix of awe and envy. It was nearing midnight and he knew he had school in the morning, but in the darkness of his merch-littered room, he couldn't bring himself to care. He didn't care to get up from the chair he had slumped down in until it was almost two in the morning- instead continuing to look the same video countless times.
Eventually, though, he took a glance around his room- noticing a few dishes sat on his nightstand and the clothes that were spread across his floor and piling up on his bed. With a sigh, he turned his monitor off and pushed himself up from the chair- shuffling over to pick up the dishes and some little bits of trash that were left as well.
Without really thinking about his movements- or anything at all really- he staggered his way to the kitchen, gently laying the dishes in the sink as to not wake his mom. He glanced around the dark space, everything was so still and quiet. It was odd.
Again, Izuku didn't feel like moving. He just stood there for another five-to-ten minutes- or was it more like twenty? He didn't care- it didn't matter- before sulking back to his room.
He pushed the growing pile of clothes and a few other things- mostly posters and figures that he didn't have a place for yet- to the ground. He used one of his feet to push all of the items in the floor into one pile to be picked up and put away later. He pulled his All Might themed covers away from the mattress where they were messily done up beforehand and crawled his way under them.
It wasn't long until he was waking up to his alarm, a groan erupting from his throat as he turned it off. He staggered his way out of bed and into his bathroom, regretting the low amount of sleep he got last night. His appearance also looked like he regretted it. His green hair that was usually soft and curly, looked rough and knotted- he didn't think he took a shower that weekend, it had all gone by too quickly for his liking. His eyes were dull and sunken, showing the lack of rest the most.
Overall, he just looked pale. And dead. He felt dead too, like a zombie just stumbling through the world- trying it's best to not collapse. The shower he took that morning made it a little better, though. The hot water calmed him down and was able to clear his thoughts. Talking with his mom that morning also helped. He was able to throw on a smile- one that wasn't too far from genuine- and push those negative thoughts aside.
"Maybe you should go take a swan dive off a roof- you might get a quirk in your second life!"
Those words rang through his head as his lungs filled with the sludgy substance of the man's body and his eyesight grew dark. He helplessly clawed at the liquid, only thinking that the blonde was right- how would he ever be a hero if he can't even defend himself?
"Hey? Are you alright, young man?"
Who..? What- oh- there was someone lightly tapping on his face, trying to get him to wake up. He cracked open his eyes to find an oddly familiar silhouette hovering over him. Once he came-to, he almost passed out again.
"All Might??" He asked, honest surprise melding it's way into his voice. He looked around a scrambled for his notebook- only to notice it had already been signed.
"Well, you look like you're alright and I have places to be.." His green haired head snapped back up to the hero, only to see him about to leap off. He honestly didn't know what he did after that, or why he did it- but the next thing he knew was that he was sitting dizzy and disoriented on a rooftop.
He shook his head to clear it, looking back up at his idol. He exclaimed in surprise as- instead of the strong, smiling hero- he saw a thin and grumpy skeleton of a man in his place. Midoriya was to focused on the man to pay attention to the smoke surrounding them.
The man sighed and sat down in front of the boy before telling him he had to keep quiet about what he was about to be told. A bit confused, Izuku agreed. And he was told everything. It almost seemed invasive. After a few moments of silence, he decided to speak up and ask a question that was on his mind since he met the hero.
"Could.. Could I still be a hero if I'm quirkless?" He just wanted validation. He wanted someone to tell him he could. He wanted someone to support him- they didn't even have to help other than just tell him that he could. Well, maybe point him to some gyms that accepted people like him.
"No." It was short and blunt. And it stung so, so bad. "Sorry kid, it's just not possible. Maybe become a police officer or something." With that the man got up and walked through the roof access door, leaving Izuku to himself.
He sat there for a few seconds- or it could've been a few minutes- he didn't know. He was crushed. Maybe everyone was right- maybe he wouldn't ever be able to become a hero. He eventually got up, making his way down the stairs of the building and out the front door. He sulked down the sidewalk before a loud explosion caught his attention.
He rushed to the source of the noise, hoping to see a hero and villain fight- maybe it'd be someone with a flashy quirk like Endeavor or something cool like Edgeshot! No matter what any hero said to him, he wasn't going to stop enjoying analyzing them.
No, instead what he saw was something a whole lot more terrifying. All he could register was the same Sludge that had attacked him earlier- and the fear in Kacchan's eyes- Kacchan! That was Kacchan! He swerved his way through the other pros- none of which he cared to put a name to- and launched his bookbag at the villain. It seemed to startle him, but not do much more.
Everything was moving so fast. He was clawing at the slime that was encasing his childhood friend. There were voices of protest behind him. Then he was being grabbed by the back of his shirt and there was a rush of air. The villain was gone, and All Might was there in it's place, once against in his buff form and in a pose that looked like he had just punched someone- based on context clues, and just common sense, it was most likely he did.
After being scolded- and verbally abused by Bakugo- he was able to slip away and started to walk home. He took back roads, out of the sight of people. He really didn't want to be called out as 'that dumb kid on the news' by any passerbys yet. The teen kept his head down, watching his feet all but drag against the concrete.
With a sigh he shook his head for what felt like the millionth time today. The soft patter of his footsteps the only sound echoing through the alley. Until there was a whistle to his left and before he forge a reaction to it someone was speaking.
"Oi, kid! Ya got a moment?" The boy jumped at the voice that popped up next to him. Whipping around, he almost fell backwards at the unexpected sight of someone next to him. Instead, he fell right into a fluffy cloud.
"Don't be so jumpy, I don't bite!" The man smiled down at Izuku, who could nothing but gape up at him in return. This couldn't be happening. He was meeting two pro heroes that day. The thought was enough to make him dizzy- or perhaps he wasn't even awake yet.
Light and puffy blue hair swirled above the male's head, teal eyes surveyed the kid like he was trying to soak in every detail of his appearance- a smile never once leaving his face, though faltering just barely as his eyes flicked over to certain parts of his face, bruises and other injuries seemingly worried the pro. He was hovering on a thick cotton-like platform, much like the one Midoriya had landed on.
Loud Cloud. He was standing- well, more like laying- in front of the number three hero; Loud Cloud. And all he was doing was just staring. After a few seconds that passed like an eternity, the cloud user pushed Izuku back to his feet, making sure he was steady before continuing to talk.
"That was quite the move back there! How old are you, kid?" His voice was cheerful- and he definitely lived up to the loud part of his name. (Though based on the knowledge Izuku had, the hero went to school with Present Mic- so he may have to be loud to be able to hear himself.) It took him a second to register he was asked a question that he hasn't answered yet.
"F-fourteen.." He managed to push out, albeit quietly, still looking like a deer in headlights. He didn't pull his eyes away from the other's- that in turn bored into his own like he was to see into the boy's soul for a more confident answer.
"Fourteen? Are you looking to get into a hero school next year?" He seemed genuinely interested to hear his answer- it was a nice change from all the other conversations Izuku had had lately. He truthfully didn't want to answer it though- he didn't like telling people he was quirkless, it always ended up with him getting pushed away- shunned even.
With a sigh, he decided to answer truthfully. "I'd like to- but I'm quirkless.. And..." He reached up to rub at the back of his neck nervously, dropping his eyes to his feet before he trailed off. He dropped his arm with a swing and a 'well-thats-that' movement.
He expected that in the best scenario, he would get a 'well that sucks' and maybe a pat on the back before being left to walk back home. Instead what he heard made him question his sanity. A very nonchalant shrug and a "so?" drew his attention back up to the man's face.
"You don't need a quirk to be a hero." If Izuku wasn't taken-aback before, he definitely was now. He studied the other's expression, trying to see if there were any signs of lying or not. The only change he saw was the smile softening and his eyebrows resting into more of a serious position. Immediately after he finished talking, he made a sound not too different from a bird call- which were normal for him, as Midoriya had noticed them happen all the time in his interviews.
Before he could think about it, his mouth was moving on it's own- voicing his immediate thoughts. It was dangerous for someone without any powers to go up against someone who does- he'd end up dying before he could go anywhere with his career- what would people think of a quirkless hero?-- his mumbling was cut off by Loud Cloud, interrupting with a chorus of 'kid'- which he had been so eloquently labeled by the hero since the beginning.
He apologized, clasping his hands around the seam of his shirt- enticing a chuckle out of the man in front of him.
"You don't need a quirk to be hero." The seriousness in the other's voice drew Izuku's eyes back up to his face. "Yes, you'd have to be willing to put in a lot more work," The man's facial expression hardened, his eyebrows furrowing and smile dropping from his face for a spilt second. "But- as long as you have a great amount of bravery and determination, anyone can become a hero!"
The smile was back just as soon as it was gone, and the cloud user fell back into his typical, media-shown happy-go-lucky personality. Despite the almost almost calm demeanor the teen was showing, he honestly felt like he could cry any second. And despite how much he didn't want it to, a break in his voice was an outcome of that. "You- you think I could be a hero?"
"Listen, kid," The hero slipped off the cloud, kneeling down in front of Midoriya. The change in lighting allowed the boy to see his face better, as well as the pale splotches on it that stood out against the rest of his carmel brown skin (Vitiligo, Izuku was pretty sure.) His expression was much softer than All Might's, filling the boy with reassurance and almost making him want to smile himself.
"That." The man pressed his fist against Midoriya's chest, right across his ribs. "That is the heart of a hero."
The young teen realized there was a difference between All Might's smile, and the one he was seeing now. This one was genuine, he realized. It reached the other's teal eyes to a point they were squeezed shut, and it held a level of warmth and sincerity Izuku had never seen in another hero's face before.
He smiled, too.
Maybe. Just maybe he could do this.