So while writing “Talk to me” and “Stay with me”, I spent quite a lot of time thinking about why Izuku of all people was the one who give Toshinori his will to live back – since we have seen quite a lot of people worrying about Toshi before, telling him to tone it down, to be careful, take care of himself. Reminding him that he could – would – die if he kept going. It wasn’t them that change his mind, though, but Izuku.
And then I remembered that one post I made some time ago: All the people we have seen being close to Toshinori are co-workers in a sense. Be it nurse, sidekick, former mentor or policeman – all the people around him where those who worked together with him, who worked with All Might.
Toshinori’s mindset seems to be something along the line of “I’m only worth as much as I can help other people”. As long as he is a hero, as long as he can help, save or protect people, he is useful, and he will continue to do so until he dies. And even if – when – he dies, everything that matters to him is that there is someone who can take over where he ended, someone who can be Number One and give people hope and protection.
Toshinori spent the last six years not fighting his fate, or lamenting about it, but 1.) continuing his job as a hero and 2.) making sure that everything was set up for his death. He took up the job as a teacher to make sure that he would find a worthy successor, one who could carry on his work, and on top of that, to make sure that the system of heroes will stay strong and full of capable heroes that could serve society.
If that was made sure, he was okay with death, because then, All Might would no longer be needed. It wouldn’t matter if he died when he had begun to be useless and when there were others who could be of more use.
He probably convinced himself that those worried about him where just worried about what could become of society when they lost their pillar. Didn’t let himself think about the fact that they were worried because they would lose a dear person and friend.
But then, Izuku came into his life. At first, he could have pretended that the boy needed All Might, the hero. Once he died, Izuku would just have to either be strong enough to make it without him, or there would be others – Aizawa, Gran Torino – to take care of him. After all, Izuku’s wish had been “To be just like you”, right? Like All Might.
But here comes the twist. Because Izuku literally didn’t stop looking up to him, not even after he had found out about his true appearance and persona. Sure, the boy was surprised, even shocked at the revelation that his hero is not some invincible, always smiling being and could – has been – injured so terribly.
But afterwards? Izuku’s respect and adoration for All Might – and Toshinori – didn’t falter. No matter if the hero wasn’t as hero-like and invincible as he had thought, or not the best teacher, Izuku didn’t stop wanting to gain the Toshinori’s approval, didn’t stop to adore him. He hung onto every word, rose up to meet the high expectations the man had of him time and time again (surpassing them, even), and risked his own life for him, too.
Izuku didn’t only care about All Might, or what the hero could do – he cared about Toshinori, too, and that a great deal. He made it clear more than once that he couldn’t stand the thought of losing the man. That he needed him, not only for being a supercool hero, but also as a mentor, friend, father-figure or whatever it is that he considers Toshinori.
I’m not saying that the others, friends and co-workers, never did that, but when it came to them, Toshinori would be able to brush it off as “They don’t want to lose All Might”. Izuku? Nah, that boy wouldn’t let himself be brushed off like that.
Izuku basically silently said “Hero or not, you’re important, and you can’t die, I need you, I want you to live” over and over again, through actions and words alike.
It was probably a really slow process, considering the low self-esteem Toshinori seems to have about his non-hero persona, but Izuku thinking him worth living and needed, coupled with the fact that Toshinori wanted to see his student rise to fulfill his dream and become a great hero, was most likely what gave him his will to live back.
And once again, those two break my heart,
gosh darn it.