I was four when I discovered that not all men were created equal. Many are born with quirks, superhuman abilities and characteristics. They've come to dominate society in a way not seen since fire was discovered. While eighty percent of the world is born with a quirk, there are those who aren't born with such gifts. I am one of them, that twenty percent without a quirk. I was born quirkless, destined for an unfulfilled life, for I wanted more than anything to be a hero.
In the early years of our quirk society, many with quirks used their abilities to commit crime, and some went beyond simple crime to become true villains, interested in destroying and controlling society. As such, heroes arose to fight them and to save people. And the greatest of all heroes is All Might. Nobody knows much about who he is and what his quirk is, but when he first appeared ten years ago, saving people with a laugh and a smile, everyone knew he would become the greatest.
The Symbol of Peace.
And then I took a test when I was ten and began my own journey to become a hero!
"Now this is something new, but the government has mandated that everyone ten years of age is to take the Heroic Reasoning and Logistics Test, or HRLT for short," the teacher said, her voice tired and monotone. "The purpose of this test is to weed out those who have the mind for heroics and potentially be given an easier route into various heroic high schools, including U.A. High."
Although Izuku Midoriya had been closely paying attention to his teacher's statement, he straightened in his seat hearing the words 'U.A. High.' He glanced around and saw that nearly everyone else had straightened up too and became excited, including Katsuki Bakugou. Of course Kacchan would be interested. He has such a versatile and powerful quirk in explosions and he has the confidence to be a great Pro Hero.
"This test should take about an hour. For those of you unable to finish in time, you'll be allowed to finish after school." There was some grumbling, but they were all focused on the test.
Izuku watched as thick packets were handed out, stacks shrinking as they moved backwards. He passed on all but one test when a stack came to him and his eyes immediately went to the name. It really is a Heroic Reasoning and Logistics Test. I should do well, memorizing all five of my Journals for My Future.
"And you can begin…now!"
Papers shuffled as they all turned over the first page. Izuku read the first question and grinned.
1. A five-story building contains two villains, both with Shapeshifting Quirks. They have taken two dozen civilians hostage. The three heroes have responded. One has a Pyrokinetic Quirk, the second with a Chameleon Quirk, and the third with a Speed Quirk. How do they take down the villains while minimizing property destruction and injuries?
A lanky man with long blonde hair walked into the office of U.A. High's principal early on a Saturday morning. He grumbled as the large white rodent in suit and tie poured two cups of tea, steam floating from the ceramic cups. He slid one across his desk as the lanky man sat.
"Why have you summoned me on such secretive terms, Nedzu?" the lanky man asked. He took a cup and sipped, smiling with the warmth.
"You are aware of the Superhero Reasoning and Logistics Test?" Nedzu asked. "I would hope so, since it was initially designed to help us select a successor for you and One for All – "
"I am aware of the purpose of the HRLT. We both know how important that if something happens to me that there'll be someone to take up my mantle as the Symbol of Peace."
"Of course I do, Toshinori." Nedzu set down his tea and scooted forward. "After your fight with All for One two years ago, both us at U.A. High and the government believe it best to begin preparing your successor. With your predecessor's death at All for One's hands, it is of the greatest importance that your quirk can be protected from the villains that remain."
"You have selected someone?" Toshinori asked.
Nedzu nodded and slid a portfolio across the table. Toshinori flipped the cover and stared at the photo of a nervous boy with green hair and freckles. Frowning, he glanced up at the Principal, who had stood from his chair and was walking around the table. "His name is Izuku Midoriya and he pulled off something none of the team that designed the test expected.
"He aced the test. The only one out of over three hundred thousand children. There were many who were close, but Midoriya had a unique insight into the ways in which quirks work and how they can be applied to a variety of situations." Nedzu paused and smiled, head leaned back and eyes close. "It is quite clear he is thoroughly aware of the operations of most Pro Heroes, even minor ones like Aizawa. That likely played a role into his insight, especially since he is quirkless."
Toshinori's eyes went wide and he reopened the Midoriya file. He scanned through the basic government report until he eyes rested on "Quirk: Not Applicable". I never did considered a quirkless successor. Nana truly believed in me, just as I should in whoever I pass One for All onto.
"I know you well enough, Toshinori, to know what you're thinking. I believe this boy would be a perfect successor. He is still years from being an eligible candidate for U.A., but I know you can train and prepare him not only for this institution, but to control One for All by the time he arrives."
As always, Toshinori could feel the power of One for All coursing through his body. He allowed it to fill him and his lanky frame filled with muscle in an instant. "He's perfect! Nana would approve of him, although I think I might have to test him myself."
Nedzu's head tilted. "Oh? How do you plan to test him? As you know, I have many ideas on testing and maybe if you ask kindly I will tell you all about them!"
"You know Seaside Park? I will give him exactly ten months to clear the beach. If he does it, I know he will be ready to accept One for All. If not, then he will have to wait until his thirteenth birthday."
"Ah," Nedzu said, understanding. "You plan to test whether he can become worthy not to possess One for All, but if he has the drive and will to become the Symbol of Peace. I'm impressed, Toshinori." He grinned. "I approve. Once young Midoriya has finished your trial, for I know he will do so, you will begin working with him to control One for All. You will have to speak with Recovery Girl once that time comes, so that in case he injures himself, he can be quickly and discreetly healed. Much is at stake here."
Toshinori stood, releasing his muscular form with a plume of smoke. "I will go and speak with Midoriya and his family." He scooped up the file. "Now it is time for an exit. Why? Because I am done here!" With that, he burst through the door and towards a fateful meeting.
Izuku ignored the fact nobody spoke to him as his class waited for their test results. Their teacher had told them, in her tired manner, that their test results had been sent to their school and would be distributed to them the day after. Today is the day! If I did well enough, I might just be able to get into U.A., even if I don't have a quirk. The door flew open and their teacher marched in, shoulders back and head high. She strutted to the from of the class and set down a stack smaller than the HRLTs.
"Three hundred thousand students, all age ten, took this test last month," she began, fingers tapping the papers. "Out of all of them, only one was able to ace the test."
"You saying one of us aced it?" a girl with floating hair asked.
"I am." Her eyes scanned the class once more before falling upon Izuku. "Midoriya was that student."
The class turned to him, all angry voices and curious glares. He shrunk back, wishing he could slide under his desk and disappear. Before he could move, a smoking fist slammed his desk.
"How you do it, Deku?" Katsuki asked. His red eyes pulsed with anger and the smoke from his hand grew thick and dark. "How did you cheat? How did a quirkless Deku like you ace a test nobody with a quirk could?"
"I…I, uh…I don't know!" he squeaked out. "I w-would've expect-ted you t-t-to be the o-one."
Katsuki continued to stare down at Izuku for a few more moments before grinning. "You got that right, Deku. Don't let the fact you did better than everyone else on some test change the fact you can never be a hero. Maybe if you had a quirk, but that won't happen."
The teacher sighed. "Please sit, Bakugou. I'll hand out your results and you can look them over." She paced around the class, handing paper after paper to their recipient. When she reached Izuku, she said, "Be proud of your accomplishment, Midoriya. One of the other boys who took the HRLT is Shouto Todoroki, the son of the Number Two Hero, Endeavor. You, someone who has no quirk and must work harder than everyone else did better than a boy likely preparing to become a hero his entire life."
Izuku walked home in a daze. The fact he had done better than everyone else in Japan – for who else could've taken that test when only three hundred thousand did – had made him feel great, but the scorn it had brought from his classmates had been confusing. He wasn't terribly surprised Kacchan had been furious that he had done better, but he had hoped at least a couple people would congratulate him on his accomplishment. At least I get to tell mom myself. Maybe she'll make my favorite tonight!
When he reached the apartments where he lived, he frowned at the fancy black cars out front. A man with long black hair and a long, grey scarf stared at him.
"You're Midoriya Izuku." The man's raspy voice surprised Izuku, who could only stare in shock that the man knew his name. The man shifted and a pair of golden goggles, with bars over the eye sockets, caught his eye.
"And you're Eraserhead, the Erasure Hero. Is this about the test?"
Eraserhead nodded. "Yes it is. Principal Nedzu of U.A. High and All Might are waiting for you with your mother. I suggest you head on up."
The boy nodded, still shocked a Pro Hero knew his name, and started up the staircase. As he reached the second landing, Eraserhead's parting words struck him. All Might is in my apartment! He's with the Principal of U.A.! And they're speaking with my… He broke into a run, rushing up the concrete stairs as is they were melting his shoes. When he reached the door, he paused, took in a deep breath, and opened the door.
His mother shuffled between the kitchen and their small dining room, a plate of steaming mugs in her arms. She set them down and smiled. "Welcome home, Izuku. I was quite surprised when these two gentlemen showed up this afternoon. Apparently there was a test last month that you took at school and they wanted to speak with you about your results."
They both stood. One of them was an animal dressed in fine clothes, the scar over his left eye standing out against his white fur. The other was tall and lanky, his blond hair hanging long over his shoulders. Two bangs hung over his face and Izuku realized seeing them that somehow the lanky man was All Might.
"If we may introduce ourselves, I am Nedzu, Principal of U.A. High," the white rodent said. "My friend here is Toshinori Yagi, a Pro Hero."
"I never would've guessed that All Might's true form would be so different from his heroic persona," Izuku blurted out, his assumption out of his mouth before he could think through such an announcement. His mother gasped while their two visitors sighed.
"Yes, I am All Might," Toshinori said. In a blink, his body expanded into the familiar muscular form of the Symbol of Peace. "We have come to speak with you, young Midoriya. Tell me, what do you wish to do?"
"I want to be a hero," Izuku said, eyes blazing. But then his passion faltered like a stalling engine. "But everyone says that someone without a quirk cannot become a hero."
"They're technically correct," Nedzu said. "It is more difficult for those who do not have a quirk to deal with the strain of training and the powers of villains. However, we have a solution for you."
All Might stepped forward, knelt before Izuku, and with a smile said, "How would you like to become my successor? To become a Hero!"
Note: A couple things:
1. I'm uncertain about any pairings. Given the changes that'll occur in Izuku's character leading up to U.A., I don't think Ochako would be the ideal pairing as with the manga. I'd love suggestions both on that and any comments on the story.
2. If you have an interest in being a beta reader, please send an email to writingsam with "Beta Reader - Headstart" in the subject line.