I Know What I Have To Do Now

BY : SilentJo
Category: +M to R > My Hero Academia
Dragon prints: 2070
Disclaimer: I do not own My Hero Academia or any of the characters within this story. No profit is being made from this story.

The newspaper headlines all read the same: "All Might killed while defending the city." They didn't go into detail on exactly how it happened, although they did mention that he was able to disable his enemy, All For One, to the point he could be subdued and taken into police custody. But in the grand scheme of things, his arrest wasn't what made everyone stop what they were doing in their individual lives, but the realization that All Might would no longer be the one to say, "I am here!" and save the day anymore. No one felt the sting of that reality more than Izuku Midoriya, who was training to be All Might's successor.

"Deku, are you there?" asked Ochako Uraraka through the door of his dorm room. She was fully aware that he was in there, but she didn't want to intrude any more than necessary. She knew how much All Might had meant to Midoriya, and that his death would be a heavy shock. She didn't want to put any more pressure on him than he was likely already feeling himself.

"I'll come back later, just... We're here for you, alright? So please don't think you're alone with your pain," she said as she walked away, giving him the space she felt he needed to begin the healing and grieving process. She wouldn't know until much later that this would have been the best moment to intervene on his behalf.

Midoriya had barely slept through the night. He just laid in bed, lazily sliding through his news feeds reading what the websites and news pages had to say on All Might's sudden demise. There wasn't much of a difference between them. They all reported that All Might had died during his last stand against All For One. That he had positioned himself between the villain and the few remaining students in the area that had yet to be evacuated. He knew that All Might had died to ensure their escape, and he spent the night running through the entire evening's events in his mind. He exhausted himself trying to find the one spot where he had miscalculated, where if he had done just one thing different, that All Might would still be among the living. But even though he spent his entire evening awake to the point of insomnia, he never found that one mistake that could have made a difference. No matter how the scenario had played out, in the end, All Might had no chance of making it out alive.

His fatigue made it difficult for him to even think of attending classes the following day. So, he resigned to stay in bed, his only comfort provided by the warm covers he hid under. But they couldn't even shelter him long enough as he continued to torture himself over the situation. If only he'd managed to master One For All faster, he might have been able to help All Might during his battle. But even now, he had no better idea of how to use his new Quirk than when he had first received it. All that ran through his mind now were thoughts of how All Might had wasted his time on an unworthy successor.

Midoriya decided to step outside for some fresh air, thinking that it would help disperse the hazy funk that had been hovering over him since he first heard the bad news. No matter where he went, he couldn't find comfort anywhere. He had somehow managed to avoid running into his classmates, deciding to walk around at the nearest mall to try to clear his head. But what did he expect to happen? The hero he'd idolized since he was a small child was dead now. And since they were at the scene, he knew that it was his fault. No amount of walking or talking it out with anyone would change that fact. All Might was dead because he'd gotten in the way.

Keeping his head down amongst the crowd to avoid being recognized, Midoriya had covered himself in a dark black hoodie since most people easily recognized his brilliant green hair and freckled face from the UA Sports Festival. Keeping those features hidden, he slouched as he walked among the crowd, having no specific place to go while at the same time wishing not to stop moving. This made it even easier for Tomura Shigaraki to make his approach and catch Midoriya off guard.

"Well hello again, hero. I'd say that it's a delightful day to run into you again, but we both know that isn't true," Shigaraki said as he gently slid his hand around Midoriya's neck, cautiously keeping at least one of his fingers raised up and away from the teenager's vulnerable throat. "Why don't we sit down and have a chat, shall we?"

Steering him over to the nearest available bench, Shigaraki allowed Midoriya to sit down comfortably before setting down next to him, leaning against him while wrapping his hand around his neck once again.

"There's no need for that, I'll sit and listen to what you have to say," was Midoriya's answer, and just as he said it, Shigaraki withdrew his hands from the boy.

"Well, at least that's out of the way. I'm assuming that you're at least vaguely aware of why I'm here now, right Midoriya?"

"If you're here to gloat about All Might's defeat, I have better places to be right now," Midoriya said as he started to stand up.

"Oh no, no. I'm not here to throw it in your face, Midoriya. I can still show respect for a worthy opponent. Even though I wasn't the one that fought him, I know that he was a formidable foe. I won't disparage him in front of you. That would be in poor taste on my part. But think about this for a moment, hero-in-training, would he even be dead had this silly concept of heroes not existed in the first place?"

Whether it was through lack of sleep or just general lack of feeling anything at all, Midoriya genuinely thought about the question that Shigaraki had put before him. If heroes hadn't been such a necessary device for the world, would it be true that All Might would still be alive? The hero society that they had depended on to keep the peace was needed to keep the people of the city honest and law-abiding, right?

"He's dead because you villains exist! He wouldn't have had to step up to become the world's Symbol of Peace if your kind hadn't come around first!"

"And just what is 'our kind,' Midoriya? I'm sure the incident with Stain is still fresh in your mind. Do any of his ideals start to make sense now? Or what about how those who possess Quirks that aren't designed for hero work are doomed to be less than those who do have those heroic qualities? It's almost like they were born to become the villain, right? Don't you see how flawed that way of thinking is? No one goes out of their way to become a villain, Midoriya. It's when the world mistreats us that we then decide to act against it, with every intention of changing that world!"

"You're wrong!" shouted Midoriya, fed up with Shigaraki's monologue. "Everyone has the opportunity to become a hero. No one has to be the villain!"

"Oh my dear boy, you've had your eyes set on the shining Symbol of Peace for so long that you can't even identify the darkness that writhes below the city's surface. Your classmates have seen this obvious bias in their lives, haven't they? That boy you fought in the Festival, Shinso I believe was his name, has been ridiculed and held back in his attempts to become a hero, just because his Quirk doesn't work so well with that high school's standards for heroics. Do you realize how easy it could be to convince that boy to join our side? He's already been shunned by those he's idolized, why should he continue to believe in their ideals when they've failed him so many times?"

"No, if he truly believes in his heart, then he can always be a hero!"

"That's your problem, Midoriya, ever optimistic in the face of opposition. You can't stop the revolution that's coming. Even All Might himself wasn't able to stand against it! This world is going to change, whether you're for or against it, is going to be your decision. The hero culture is unbalanced, and I'd like to set all counters back to zero and give the world a restart. If everyone is reduced to an even ranking, then shouldn't it be possible to avoid another scenario where the one single Symbol of Peace has to sacrifice himself for the sake of the world? If we start over, Midoriya, there will be no heroes, but there would also be no villains. Everyone has an equal chance to be useful. Isn't that something to work toward? If you keep defending this hero culture, the chasm between those with Hero abilities and those with Quirks that aren't heroic will only grow larger."

"I can't do this, none of this is what he would have wanted!" Midoriya shouted as he leaned forward, his hands framing his face.

"He's dead, Midoriya. He's gone beyond the point of influencing what this world should do. You are here now, in his place, and given the information you now possess, you are the only one that can decide just where this world will go from here. Knowing that there are many who possess Quirks that will never be worthy of hero status, you will be the one to decide if they will fall to ruin and lowered to the rank of a hated villain. Or will you join us in reforming this broken society and give everyone a chance to start anew without the burden of negativity attached to them?"

Midoriya's mind was a mess now, aching with the grief of losing his idol and mentor, as well as struggling with the pressure of knowing that he was the sole successor of the Symbol of Peace. He wasn't ready for this responsibility, not even close to it. All Might was supposed to be there to guide and support him while he worked to make One For All his own power. That wasn't possible anymore, and just why was that? Because a villain had won against a hero? Or was it true what Shigaraki was telling him, that the hero society they had relied on so heavily was starting to crumble from underneath them? It was true that there were people that possessed Quirks that wouldn't be considered useful for Hero work, but did that mean that they were doomed to play a villain's role? Midoriya remembered Hitoshi Shinso, who was so insistent in his attempts to join the Hero course, though the entrance exam had been skewed against him because his power didn't mesh well with the requirements of the exam. Midoriya saw the flaws in that, and it wasn't like he realized it for the first time.

Seeing that his words were starting to influence the young man, Shigaraki kept talking, "You're starting to realize it now, aren't you? How unfair this world is to so many who only want to be treated as equals! There's no doubt that you've still got that noble, heroic nature within you, but wouldn't it be wasted if you couldn't save those who were in the most danger of falling out of grace? I know you see the cracks in the surface, Midoriya. Now is your chance to decide whether to half-heartedly seal them, knowing they'll only grow larger, or give them the opportunity to break open and create a brand new start for everyone. The choice is yours, hero."

He was still at a loss. He knew what All Might would do in this situation. Without a doubt he'd refuse to let them take control and save the day. But knowing that, he could see that there was truth to Shigaraki's words. The entrance exam had been unfair to those with Quirks that weren't suited for the tasks required. But was that one solitary truth enough to sway him from the path he had decided for himself so many years ago? The one person who influenced his life was no longer alive, and if there was any truth to Shigaraki's words, had there been no hero society, there would have been no need for him to die. If he continued living under All Might's influence and ideals, who's to say that this situation wouldn't happen again, with him being the one to sacrifice everything? By then, could he say that the world was worth taking that extreme of an action? If he didn't do anything to fix that which was wrong with the world, wouldn't he only be contributing to its eventual demise?

"Shigaraki... I don't want to make the wrong choice here. I know what All Might would do, without a doubt. But... He's not here anymore, and I'm to blame for that. I'm not prepared to step up to replace him, either. Not yet."

"Come then, Midoriya, we have more to discuss. Once you meet our other members who have suffered through this biased treatment, you'll see that this is the only way to make a difference." Shigaraki signaled in the air, and suddenly a black mist began to swirl beside them. Gesturing for Midoriya to step through, he waited patiently, a creepy smile crawling across his face. He knew he had gotten into Midoriya's head and skewed his worldview. Taking advantage of him while he was weak with grief and low self-confidence was necessary for his plan to bring the successor of All Might to his side. Once he had obtained All For One from his sensei, then he would be ready to destroy the world of heroes. Tainting Midoriya was only the first step in achieving their primary objective.

Standing up, Midoriya stared into the dark abyss that had formed in front of him. He realized that stepping through would take away everything that All Might had ever instilled in him since they met. All his beliefs about becoming the world's greatest hero would fall apart. Without All Might, was it even worth continuing this path? His lingering depression weakened his resolve to hold onto those ideals he had held so dear. All Might was dead now, what point was there to let the world continue as it is?

Looking once more at Shigaraki, Midoriya took a deep breath and walked through Kurogiri's portal.



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