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Venality

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Not all men are created equal. It was a truth that Izuku Midoriya learned all too well. Izuku was born in a world of Quirks. Over 80% of the population had a quirk and even then most of these Quirkless were elderly. A quirk was, essentially, a special super power that they controlled. This could be anything as mundane as growing eyes on the back of their head to powerful like creating and manipulating fire. And as quirks became more common place, society changed. It began to bend to fit those with quirks and soon, human society began to revolve around those with strong quirks. Heroes were created as a new occupation to help combat the growing crime rates of those with powerful quirks feeling they could do whatever they want. They called those powerful criminals villains. Izuku idolised these heroes. When he was younger, he wanted to be one.

But Izuku was one of the unlucky ones. He was born without a quirk. In a society like his, that was a death sentence. It didn’t take long for everyone to abandon him. The only one who he could still count on was his mother. And yet, he hung on to his dreams. Even after everyone branded him useless. Even after his best friend abandoned him because he didn’t want to be seen with a weakling. Even as everyone told him he was wrong and stupid. He kept dreaming.

He studied heroes. It was a hobby but even he had to admit it was pretty weird. Even still, he couldn’t help it. He told himself that one day, the books he filled with information about heroes would be useful. When he was a hero. Then it would matter. It would matter somehow. It just had to matter somehow. It wouldn’t matter how much he was mocked. How much he was pushed down. If he became a hero- WHEN he became a hero- then everyone would know. They were wrong. He knew it. They had to be wrong.

Izuku knew his history. In the past, there were only people without quirks. In that time, anyone could be anything they wanted. It was a constant anecdote in pre quirk era movies. Izuku didn’t know when that idea died. But he was determined that it would live through him. But everyone has a limit.

Izuku’s came on a day like any other. He went to school as always. His old friend and his cronies did their usual jeering at him for being quirkless and no-one stopped them. He didn’t expect them too anymore. Kachan’s future was more important than any quirkless kid anyway. But his teacher just had to announce to the class he applied to UA as well. Bakugo made sure to corner him in the classroom at the end of class. Izuku left with his shoulder badly burned, trying to ignore the scent of burning fabric and roasting flesh, and a message from his old friend. “ If you want to be hero, take a swan dive off the roof and pray to be born with a quirk in the next life.”

It hurt. The words more than the injury. But Izuku moved on. Kachan didn’t mean it. He was still his friend. Deep down. That was what he told himself as he fished his torched notebook from the school pond and moved to leave for home. That was when it happened. He was attacked by a villain but was saved by an unlikely person. His hero. All Might. All Might saved his life. Izuku needed to ask him but his nerves got the better of him. He became an unintentional passenger on All Might Airlines flying across the city. He wasn’t supposed to.

It was here he learned a dark secret. All Might was injured. So badly injured. His muscular form wasn’t his real form. Because of a fight Izuku had watched over and over as he was growing up, a fight against the great villain All For One, All Might was forced to turn into a skeletal figure after using his quirk, his insides mostly destroyed. The dangers of hero work even got to the symbol of peace, a man who always had a smile on his face and encouraged everyone to do their best. Despite this knowledge, in a fit of desperation to cling to his dream, he begged All Might to tell him he could be a hero even without a quirk. But All Might just shook his head. “ You need to be realistic.” He didn’t even stop to comfort the clearly broken Izuku before he left.

Izuku leaned against the rail of the building he’d been abandoned on, looking down at the street far below. The cars. The people. Everyone looked so small from up here. He could see across a lot about the city. Izuku judged he must be at the top of the local shopping centre. It was the largest building in the area he could think of. As he looked down, the words he heard that day swirled around in his head. 

“ Be realistic.”

“ Take a Swan Dive off the roof. Pray for a quirk in the next life.” Izuku looked down. He seriously considered it. Then the face of his mother flashed in his mind. He couldn’t do that to her. Not to her. The rest of the world could burn but his mother? Sweet Inko who had been saddled with the burden of a worthless, quirkless child? No. Not her. Izuku screamed falling back, away from the edge.

“ THEN WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO!” He shouted. Izuku sat up. His eyes were drawn to nearby. Smoke was rising from the buildings. The sound of police sirens and fighting echoed out from the city streets. Another Villain. He wondered who was on duty. He laughed dryly as a though entered his head.

Who was getting hurt?

It wasn’t the heroes. It was probably the villains. But what about everyone else? Izuku sat there silently. “ Everyone else, huh?” Izuku leaned back and pulled out his phone. He entered the search engine and absentmindedly typed in ‘Civilian casualties hero’. He slowly scrolled through the list. At first it was just news reports. People tragically dying to villain attacks before heroes could save them. Heroes dying in the line of fire. That sort of thing. But the more he scrolled, the more incriminating things he found. Izuku got up. He needed a bigger screen.

****************

He returned home, taking the back streets to avoid the fighting, and slipped in through the front door. “ Izuku? Is that you?” He heard his mom call from the front room

“ Y-Yeah. It’s me.”

“ Oh thank god. Have you seen the news?”

“ Villain attack. Yeah. I know. I’ll be in my room.”

“ Well, that’s part of it but…” Inko trailed off as she heard Izuku’s door close above her. Izuku threw his bag into his rooms corners. He paused as he saw All Might’s smiling face covering his room. He couldn’t help but feel that it was more hollow than when he left that morning. Izuku ignored the feeling and went for his computer. When it logged on, he entered the same thing he did into his phone and scrolled through a few pages till he found the interesting parts. It was an old report. A small story in an independent newspaper about a number of accusations that Number 2 hero Endeavor was doing more harm than good. People who had been horrifically burned by the pro hero. He wondered how this story hadn’t circulated more. He looked into the paper. He really wished he hadn’t.

The story on Endeavour had come from an issue before it was announced it was closing down operations. As it turns out, the newspaper was sued because of the story but settled out of court. Their crime was defamation. The Hero Commission had issued the law suit and the resulting pay out had crushed the newspaper and run them out of business. The story was buried. It wasn’t the only story that ended this way. A journalist was fired from a fairly high position in his newspaper for issuing a story about a number of sexual assault allegations involving pro hero Midnight. Another was a collection of heroes who’s reckless behaviour had killed innocents. This paper was crushed as well. All Might’s name came up a few times in that story. Other stories included how some petty thieves had their arms crushed beyond repair for stealing some money for their family. Another involved the straight up murder of a suspected villain in his own home but because he was thought to be working for at the time wanted organisation, Villain Factory, all charges were dropped. The sun long set before Izuku took a break. He looked up at the poster of All Might above his bed. “ How many lies have you been involved in?” He muttered.

The Hero Commission was corrupt beyond repair. Rotten to the core. The people had been led to believe that the heroes were paragons of justice but that couldn’t be right. Not from all he had read. All the proof was in those articles. Images of people who were suffering not because of Villains abusing their powers. But of Heroes doing the very things they were supposed to be protecting others against. Children idolised them. Wanted to be them. He wanted to be…

The realisation hit Izuku hard. He felt hot. Far too hot. He found it hard to breathe. He pulled his burned school blazer on and headed for the front door. He needed air. “ Izuku honey?” His mom asked him. “ Where are you going?”

“ I’m going for a walk.” Izuku lied. It wasn’t the walk he needed. He just needed air. He needed to clear his head.

“ Alright. Dinner will be ready soon.”

“ Alright.” Izuku said dismissively. “ Love you, Mom.”

“ I love you too, Izuku. Be safe.” Izuku didn’t respond. He just closed the door and went down the stairs of his apartment building, stepping out onto the street level. He looked up at the sky. The moon suspended in the sky and clouds swirling around it. He walked over to the nearby park. The cold air helped a little but he had to undo the top few buttons of his school shirt just to feel like he could breath again. He sat down with a sigh on a park bench and exhaled deeply. All the stories he’d seen ran through his head. He had wanted to be a hero. If he did become a hero, would he have done something like that? He shuddered to think.

“ Excuse me. Are you alright?” He heard a deep voice ask.

“ Huh.” Izuku looked up sharply. Looking down at him was a man in a suit. His face was indescribable. Just a thick black mist with two golden lights were his eyes should be. A mutant quirk Izuku realised. “ Oh. I'm fine.”

" Are you sure? You’re shaking and you look awfully sickly.”

“ I am?” Izuku looked down at his hands. As the man had said, his hands were shaking. Far beyond any amount of chill he was feeling could bring. In fact, he still felt boiling. However, despite this, Izuku was shaking like a leaf. His whole body was.

“ Indeed you are. Are you sure you’re fine?”

“ No. Don’t worry about me, sir. It’s fine.”

“ Is something on your mind?” Izuku paused.

“ I… Yes. There is. But I don’t think it’s anything to worry you about sir.”

“ Ha. I’m a bar tender. I’ve hear worries from a variety of different people from all walks of life.” The mist man sat down next to Izuku. “ I do not mind hearing you out.”

“ Well. You see… I’m quirkless so…” Izuku sighed.

“ I don’t see how that means I should worry about you less.”

“ Huh?”

“ Please. Go on.” 

“ I… Alright then.” Izuku started slowly. He told the mist man that he had met a hero and that hero had told him he couldn’t be a hero because he was quirkless. That’s all he had meant to say. He kept All Might's name out of it. But the more he talked, the more he ended up going. He went on about his old friend, Kachan, and how he really thought about taking his advice. He talked about his mother and how he just wanted her to be happy. Then he talked about what he searched for. His findings. His thoughts. He couldn’t hold himself back. The words just came. He fully expected the mist man to stop him. To get uninterested and realise he was a freak. But that time never came. The man listened intently from beginning to end. And when Izuku finally finished, panting slightly from his rambling, the man slowly nodded.

“ I believe I understand your problem.” The Mist Man told him. “ You found out that even something that shines as brightly as the hero industry also has its own shadows and you don’t quite understand how to process it.” The man looked up. “ Truthfully, I’m not sure how quite to help you understand those feelings, but I do understand how you feel. Heroes are treated like deities in this age as Villains are treated like demons. It’s easy to forget both are as human as each other and the general public. No man is perfect. But the hero industry… it’s far from that.”

“ Yeah. I found that out the hard way.”

“ I know someone who shares your mind set. I work for him in fact.”

“ You do.”

“ I do.” The man stood up. “ My name is Kurogiri by the way.”

“ Oh. Right. Sorry, I never introduced myself either. I’m Izuku Midoriya.”

“ A pleasure to meet you, Midoriya.” Kurogiri seemed to smile. “ My quirk is called Warp Gate. It allows me to open portals to any place I have been too or envision, within reason. I cannot, for instance, warp from here to America or New Zealand. I can reach as far as Yokohama however.”

“ Wow. That’s really cool.” Izuku gasped. Kurogiri’s eyes widened slightly as Izuku immediately got lost in his own little word of mutterings. All kinds of speculations about Kurogiri’s quirks were spoken, answered with the most probable answer and then stored away in Izuku’s mind. Kurogiri listened in for a moment before clearing his throat. “Oh. Sorry. Was I mumbling again?”

“ Indeed you were.”

“ Sorry. I didn’t mean too. I know it’s really creepy. I’ll stop.”

“ I do not mind. Is it a habit?”

" Yeah. I just really like quirks. They’re so fascinating to me. I’ve studied a lot of hero quirks. I… When I still wanted to be a hero, I thought they’d help me some day, you know?” Izuku laughed slightly. “ It’s really stupid, I know.”

“ No, it’s quite interesting actually.” Kurogiri told him. “ By the way, and I understand if you don’t agree to this, but I mentioned a friend of mine who has the same mindset you have now. With my quirk, I could take you too him. Of course, I could also return you at any time as well but I feel he may be able to convey a message about what your feeling.” 

“ Go with you?” Izuku asked.

“ For a short time, if that is what you wish. Don’t feel like you have to. I just believe it is something that would benefit you greatly.” Izuku paused. For all intents and purposes, Kurogiri was a complete stranger. He knew he shouldn’t trust him. And yet, from what he had said, Kurogiri seemed like a nice guy. He listened to Izuku’s worries despite knowing his status as Quirkless. And he was probably the most sincere person Izuku had ever met. He knew he shouldn’t but Izuku slowly nodded.

“ Alright. Just for a bit.” Izuku told the mist man. Kurogiri seemed to smile again.

“ Right this way then.” Kurogiri opened a gateway. Izuku looked amazed for a moment before gathering himself again. With a breath, he stepped through.

That evening, Izuku Midoriya went missing.

************************

“ And enter.” Izuku sighed in relief. “ Finally. Done.”

" Is it that website of yours?” Tomura Shigaraki asked, not looking up from his game.

“ Yep. All finished.” Izuku stretched. On his laptop screen was a mundane looking blog website with a plain black background and red headers. The website was simple. It was designed so the average everyday person would simply over look it. But people who understood the meaning behind the name would likely check it out. Those were the people he was looking for. Not the usual run of the mill person but those who were suffering under the corrupt hero society. The blogs name was Venality. The tag line? “A blog for those suffering under saviours.” Izuku had already detailed his own story under the Pseudonym “Usagi”. His struggles with being Quirkless and his journey to the truth.

“ Why do you even need a blog anyway?” Shigaraki asked.

“ Because.” Izuku smiled innocently. “ We can’t exactly tear down this society without just us can we? Call it a recruitment drive.”

“ Ha.” Shigaraki laughed dryly. “ I trust Giran to find us talent more than I trust your stupid website. But, Sensei trusts you. So I guess I’ll let you do whatever.”

“ Don’t worry, Tomura. This will work. I bet… hmm.” Izuku pondered the thought. “ Wrath of the White Witch special edition. You’ve been looking for that for a while, right?” This got Shigaraki’s attention. He grinned.

“ You’re on, Usagi. I’ll be glad to let you buy it for me.”

“ Just you wait and see, Tomura. Just you wait and see.”