Chapter 1: The Power of Determination Is Overpowered, Please Nerf
A hero is what any young child would dream of becoming. A shared dream. An everlasting dream. A dream everyone dreams about, but for many that dream is lost when they become an adult. Every second spent idle is a lost opportunity. Though everyone is born with great potential, every second that passes that potential is diminished, until the time of death.
In a world where almost everyone was super, young 12 year old Izuku was the wrong type of special for he was unbearably normal save for his characteristic seaweed hair and freckles.
As a quirk-less one, he couldn't breathe fire or move objects with his mind. Even so, he wanted to be a hero, an All Mighty hero, but reality isn't kind to those with such ambitions.
" Still in grade school I see. Violating the dress code."
" Don't try to push it on someone who will become someone someday"
" Trying to jerk me 'round?"
" No Sir."
With his uniform burned in a few places left behind by a certain narcissistic ticking bomb as he walked home with unsavory thoughts.
" I don't fit in…..I don't know how to live…..I'm a loser…how can I become a hero if I'm so weak….."
As he was walking, he walked past a group of hooligans surrounding an old bald homeless man with an outgrown white beard.
"How dare you touch the boss's sweet chocolate pompadour. I wanted to be the one to eat"
The horse faced man tried to correct himself in front of the one with the odd hair style and picked up the old bald man by the collar of his dirty yellow jumpsuit, but at this moment Izuku succumbed to his nature.
He couldn't overlook the old man's lifeless eyes that seemed to give up on everything and picked up his book bag.
Izuku's book bag did absolutely nothing.
"I really am a good for nothing aren't I."
The group of hooligans descended on the young boy without a hint of mercy and the young boy fought with everything he had. Stepping on toes, aiming for the eyes, but it wasn't enough. He was too human while his opponents were something more. The man with the uncharacteristically large right arm grabbed onto his from behind putting him in a lock.
The young boy's arm was dislocated and tears were streaming from his eyes, yet he did not make a sound biting onto his lower lip trying to overcome the pain.
"People shouldn't be picking on retired heroes!"
"That old man was a hero?," in their confusion, Izuku collected his thoughts.
As the centaur man prepared his hind legs, Izuku prepared to duck.
" They don't realize how much shorter I am?"
The one holding him back was knocked out cold.
High on the pain, steadying his two feet and clenching his remaining fist, Izuku dawned the persona of victory of his daily tormentor.
"Still got my left arm. I CAN STILL GO!"
The fire in young boys eyes was not lost on the seemingly lifeless old man lying next to the wall.
" Like looking into an old mirror…...I was once a boy like that too….wasn't I?"
Thus a spark re-ignited the flame.
When Izuku regained consciousness he saw an unbelievable scene. A billowing white cape and the shining reflection of the sun above it blinding his vision. The image was burned into his memory.
Young Izuku had seen All Might's triumphant form in videos before, but never had he seen a hero up close before. As he turned his head he saw what became of those he was fighting against.
All of them unconscious, cradled in their individual craters.
A hand reached out and the scene was ruined.
"Gahhhhhhhhh," the pain of having his dislocated arm being put back in place put him back into reality.
The plain apologetic figure of an old bald and bearded man bowing to him wasn't very imposing or impressive.
"Sorry. I thought an aspiring hero like you was a little sturdier."
"Hero? I'm just some middle school student. I don't even have a quirk."
Reminiscing with his hand on his chin, old Saitama could only answer with a snide look,
"You really haven't seen some of the heroes I knew…..."
As the young injured Izuku was picked up and carried on the old man's surprisingly strong back he couldn't help but ask,
"Can I really become a hero?"
Izuku had no expectations, but the old man's response were words he didn't know he had always wanted to hear.
" You're already a hero aren't you?"
The happiest moment of his life was a short lived one. Though he was elated, Izuku's pessimism overtook him.
Is he really a hero?
Despite his costume, Izuku could not recall a single hero that fit the old man's description and Izuku knew his heroes. He simply assumed the man to be retired one from his costume despite how plain and unimpressive.
"Can someone born without a quirk really become a hero?"
"Quirk? Back in my day, almost all of us had to work for our power. "Quirk" wasn't even in the dictionary yet."
"….How old are you?…..," but Izuku had enough self control to not question the old man.
"Then how did you beat those thugs?"
The tone of the air shifted, the old man's pace halted to a stop. Uncharacteristic enthusiasm boomed out of the old man's mouth.
" 100 PUSH UPS!
100 SIT UPS!
10 KM RUNNING!
EVERY SINGLE DAY!"
It sounded so normal that it was absurd, yet it made sense. Izuku was skeptical, but the old man's words gave him hope and in times of desperation, people seek the light however small.
Who decides limits? What are they based on? Izuku had barely worked toward his dream. Reminiscing on today, with tears in his eyes and mucus in his nose the only thought on his mind was,
" I'm such an idiot! The me today was already stronger than the me yesterday."
" Instead of giving in, move forward. The power of humans is that they can change themselves."
" Change myself? Of course!"
" At first, you'll wish you were dead, but to be a strong hero I never took a day off even as my arms started making strange noises."
"Nothing is easy. Anything gained comes at a cost. Without giving up something in return….I really should write this down…..Great….I left my notebook back there…..."
" The most important thing is no AC in the summer and no heat in the winter to strengthen your mind."
"That's a hard sell to mom…...wait…...isn't that just a money saving suggestion?"
Before he knew it, Izuku was home and his mother was in tears.
"Thank you for saving my son…."
"Kid's gonna be a great hero someday."
In the many years of no one believing in her son, not even herself, her next words were only natural.
"…...THANK YOU…...YOU DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH THOSE WORDS MEAN TO HIM."
Before he even realized it, Saitama had become his personal live-in fitness trainer for the price of shelter and 3 square meals a day.
" Is he just taking advantage of us?"
Those were thoughts he couldn't help but think, but he stomped down hard on those thoughts.
To become a strong hero, he would endure anything.
The first few months were torture and his body never really got used to it.
" 4 more KM to go."
Izuku remembered Kacchan's words.
" DEKU! DEKU! DEKU! That homeless man is just a fraud!."
Despite that, he kept on training. Old Saitama-sensei despite his age was training along side him without showing the slightest sign of discomfort on his face so it was only natural Izuku had to keep going even as his joints were making creaking strange noises.
The lack of AC in summer or heat in winter turned out to be something more than just a topping to the hardship he was eating.
He felt sorry for his mom, but with a smile on her face, she endured that part of the training together with him. He couldn't imagine the torture that was turning on the stove in summer or opening the fridge in winter.
Faster, stronger, better.
Month by month, the time required to complete the entire workout decreased minute by minute.
" Just 3 more push ups."
During some of their daily runs they would run into various scenarios.
"Is that a speed quirk?", that was the only way onlookers could rationalize the pair in green tracksuits.
Chasing down that purse snatcher and tackling him was cathartic, but victory was short lived as Saitama-sensei's figure disappeared from view.
" Just 2 more sit ups."
On the news, All Might's exploits were being investigated.
"Yesterday, near Orudera Junior High School, notorious kidnappers who were targeting middle schooners were apprehended. The suspects sustained critical injuries and cannot be questioned at this time, but judging from the type of damage, experts are certain it was All Might."
" Gah! If I didn't crash into that van yesterday, I could have gotten All Might's autograph!"
"Focus, just 1 more squat!"
Eventually, what had taken hours, Izuku could complete under half of one. The quirk-less boy had undergone a metamorphosis.
After 2 years of training, Bakugo noticed something different about the quirk-less boy.
" DEKU! You have bald spots!"
"Was that an apology?" Considering the nature of Bakugo's power, it wouldn't be surprising if Izuku lost some of his hair from their daily squabbles.
"Moron. You shouldn't have listened to that fraud. Your health is failing!"
Many would have taken it as an insult, but not our young quirk-less hero.
"I feel fine."
"Come on. LET'S GO! I'LL SHOW YOU THAT YOUR TRAINING WAS USELESS!"
"I don't like how your talking about Saitama-sensei."
In the school yard, the 2 boys stood opposite each other readying their stances. Even though the time bomb never acknowledged anyone, he always took everything seriously, maybe too seriously. It was that serious nature of his that made him see even kindness as a slight.
The time bomb was the one that went off first.
" Kacchan's signature right."
Not wanting to hurt the boy he perceived as his friend against common sense, Izuku side stepped.
Was the only thought as Izuku followed up with pulling on Bakugo's sleeve in order to make him lose balance.
The result in reality was different than what Izuku had in mind. Instead of losing balance, Bakugo was sent hurtling in the air, spinning around like a propeller.
Despite this setback, Bakugo followed up using the spin to his advantage, preparing himself for his signature attack by building up his momentum with the explosions created from his nitroglycerin soaked palms.
"Kacchan is so cool…..," was Izuku's only thought.
With stars in his eyes he had totally forgotten that they were supposed to be fighting.
Bakugo's attack never connected as he found Izuku behind him pulling him by the collar. He was nearly choked to death by his own momentum.
Bakugo tried one last desperate swipe, before a palm was planted into his stomach.
Bakugo was made to see stars in a slightly different manner after careening through several wall of the school.
"Are you all right?! !"
When a teacher was coming in to check up on the scene, Izuku against his own morality ran away.
Bakugo would never acknowledge the fight and attribute it to some bad dream, while the school would attribute the incident to some serial vigilante. They never suspected the quirk-less Izuku was behind the incident.
On the edge of a certain beach littered in trash Izuku couldn't help but criticize himself for today's incident in front of his sensei who naturally wasn't listening a bit.
"…..I really am a coward…..why did I run away….."
"Too many words. 10 words or less."
Forcing back the tears, Izuku forced himself into composure.
"I pushed my friend through a wall by accident."
"Maybe you should take a break from training?"
"But…..I want to be the strongest hero….."
"There is such thing as too strong..."
" Know this, The Strongest Hero isn't necessarily The Strongest Man. The farther you get from the people you want to save, the harder it is to save their spirits. I learned that the hard way."
At times, Saitama would get serious with his speech and Izuku couldn't help but write it down, but once again, tragedy struck. Clutching his head, he exclaimed,
" Ahhhhhh,.. Forgot my notebook at school!"
"Forget it. Let's see your progress. Throw your strongest punch into that ocean."
Izuku got into his stance, with his left hand covering his right fist just like he had seen some heroes do in the videos he watched in his childhood he threw what he thought was his strongest punch.
Serious Series…...Serious SMASH!
His fist broke the sound barrier creating an audible crack. The shock-wave generated by his fist parted the waters of the ocean. The waters reached up to the sky as if to tie heaven and earth together, but the waters could not escape the pull of gravity. Somewhere out there, a weatherman was cursing an irresponsible quirk user.
Both student and master were flabbergasted with the artificial downpour soaking their clothes….though for different reasons.
"This…..This is…...my power….?" Izuku was overcome with gratification.
Not even the rain could hide his tears. It seemed even without a quirk, he was getting ever so closer to becoming a great hero like All Might or Saitama-sensei.
Saitama was on the ground, clutching on a tuft of hair.
"Your hair…..you're already getting bald…..." Saitama was overcome with regret. Bald spots were already appearing in several places.
Izuku wasn't even paying attention to his master's words anymore, simply putting his knees on the ground performing a series of serious dogeza.
"THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!"
The weatherman would once again curse another quirk user for causing unaccounted for quakes.
Trying to calm his disciple down and trying to dodge the issue of his disciple's receding hair line he tried coming with generic words of wisdom. Trying to appear as sincere as possible, he reached for the ham within him.
" Hold your head high, Genos! Unlike others born with their power, you have won it through your hard work and determination."
Overcome with joy, Izuku didn't even notice that his master said someone else's name.
" Yes Saitama-sensei!"
Saitama could not bring himself to admit the truth.
" Your strongest is still kinda lacking, but I guess it will have to do."