Disclaimer: As per usual I do not own My Hero Academia.


Chapter 10: Knowing One's Self

"Good afternoon mister Midoryia, please take a seat," politely offered Nezu.

This was the first time Izuku had seen the principle's office. To be fair, it was far nicer than the ones he'd seen when he was in elementary and middle school. The large cherry desk seemed to dwarf the brilliant yet diminutive manimal.

The careful look with which the two held each other never left as he took his seat. Izuku wasn't naive, he understood why he was here. His behavior during the mock battles was called into question, that was fine. Or, at least, it would've been fine with anyone else. Honestly, as brilliant as he was, Izuku had no idea where he stood against the principal in terms of intelligence.

"Do you know why I called you here today rather than let one of your teachers handle this situation mister Midoriya," questioned the principal.

Izuku replied instantly, "At least partially, yes."

"Good, you at least can admit to not having a full understanding. You'd be surprised when the truest wisdom is simply knowing that you do not know something," snickered the principal, "To put simply, you're here and not with them because I'm smarter than you."

Izuku's eyes widened momentarily before he relaxed once more, "I would say you're being arrogant and presumptuous, but you aren't are you?"

"Nope," Nezu chuckled once more, "Just stating the facts as they are. It's true that with all of the technology you possess you may be able to think just as quickly as I, an impressive feat, but a human mind is still far too limited. As such, your technology is limited since you are the one who programmed it."

The quirkless teen couldn't argue such a logical conclusion. He could state that since his tech could process data far quicker than either of them he'd have an edge, but that would simply lead back to the answers it reached. He could even make the point that his tech was self-learning and would eventually make up the difference created by his programming limitations, but that left room for error with the thoughts being quantified by an inorganic mind.

Nezu took the boy's silence as agreement and nodded, "It seems you understand. As much as I would enjoy having a nice conversation with you about such things as the wasted inherit potential of mankind, it would likely serve us both to get to the matter at hand."

Izuku couldn't help but agree, "True, it would be nice to talk with someone smarter than me and learn new avenues of thought that I hadn't approached, but perhaps another time. I can only assume you wish to discuss my behavior during the simulation today."

Grabbing a remote, Nezu clicked a button and various screens appeared before Izuku. Each screen denoted a certain image during his match. Pressing another button, the images replayed bits and pieces of the match, centering around his confrontation with Mineta. Hearing his own voice question the child's will to be a hero, threatening his very life, brought a surprisingly gentle grin to Izuku's face.

"A smile, not something most would expect when listening to something like that," the principal commented.

Izuku waved a hand through the images, dismissing them, so he could clearly see Nezu once more, "I imagine you made me watch that to test my resolve. To see if hearing those words, instead of just saying them, would make me second guess myself. If that's the case then you couldn't have been more wrong. I smile because when pressed, when he couldn't be sure if he'd live through it or not, even though this wasn't real hero work and he's not even a real hero yet, Mineta Minoru was able to rise above the fear and embrace what it truly means to be a hero. I'd say that he most likely learned something about himself today."

"While slightly fanatical, I can understand where you are coming from. Now let me get to why you are actually here," this shocked the teen to learn, he'd thought that had been the reason he was here, "Why do you want to be a hero?"

The reply came as if it was a textbook answer, "To prove to the world that quirks aren't everything. I can be a hero, the best hero, even though I was born quirkless."

"Yes, that's what I thought. Now, let me ask you this. If that's the case, then why did you go to such drastic lengths to test this boy's character? Why did you need to find out whether or not he had what it takes," and the teen found himself faced with an interrogation.

Taking a moment to collect his thoughts after the turn of events, Izuku sighed, "It's the same thing I told mister Aizawa. Too many people think being a hero is just a fad or a cool job. They want to be looked at as a hero, not actually be one. Ever since I'd met the boy everything he'd said and done had screamed that he didn't belong here. I will admit that I'm still not entirely convinced to be honest, but if he somehow passes the hero course and goes out there I worried he might get himself or worse, someone he was supposed to protect, killed."

"Oh, so his death would be less important that someone he was rescuing?"

"Yes. That's part of being a hero," Izuku answered the sudden question with no hesitation.

"My, my, weren't you made with tougher stuff," it wasn't a question, "I think you don't realize the extent to which you care for others. That's likely why miss Ashido, who you seem to have taken well to, has been able to befriend you. That girl simply doesn't know how to hold herself back and gives her whole heart to people. To people like you and I, she is an anomaly, something we can't figure out, and that makes her all the more intriguing."

What Nezu said made sense. It explained perfectly his fixation with Mina as well as her ability to stand by him. He still didn't understand what made her tick at all after having to got to know her a bit better.

The principal seemed to smile, "It seems you understand. I can see that you aren't exactly anti quirk, and understand your need to prove your own worth. I also had to fight for everything I have, even at times when it made me look like the bad guy. Just remember two things, if nothing else, we have spoken of today. First, is that you aren't alone here. If you reach out and make friends it won't make you any less the amazing hero that I know you will become."

Izuku couldn't help but notice the expression on the tiny creature's face become far more imposing, "Calling into question the judgment of the staff is the same as calling into judgment the person who put them there. I am that person. You are not an educator here, I would request that you refrain from acting like one in the future. Is that clear?"

"Yes sir," Izuku nodded swiftly while in the back of his mind thinking, 'You still hired Midnight.'

The atmosphere in the room returned to a peaceful one suddenly and Nezu smiled once more, "Then you're free to go."

It took Izuku a moment to register the dismissal, still in shock from the principal's sudden change in demeanor. With a deep breath, he got up and started heading out of the room. He'd already opened the door before Nezu called out to him.

"One more thing, what if you were to suddenly discover after all this time that you actually had a quirk? Or what if someone were to somehow offer you one?"

Not that Izuku hadn't ever considered having a quirk after receiving the news that he didn't. As if by chance they simply couldn't detect it, or figure it out. Still, he had dismissed such fanciful thoughts long ago.

"I simply wouldn't use them, nor would I accept them. Quirks are great, and they help us do a lot of amazing things, but they aren't everything. People need to remember that and I'm here to show them," he answered the principal fervently.

"Even if using that quirk could help you save far more lives than you could without it," questioned Nezu, calling into question his dream versus his duty, "Just something to think about."

Izuku nodded his head, the suggestion clearly having an effect on the brilliant young mind as he walked away. The principal, having made sure the boy was gone pulled out a cell phone and place a call.

"Yes, it's me. I've done all I can to help you. The thought is in his mind and he is at least considering the possibility now. By the time you approach him he will certainly have come up with an answer," Nezu waited for a moment, a reply coming from the recipient of the call, "Very well, good luck my friend."

With that done, Nezu could only stop and wait. He couldn't help but think this young boy would make life far more interesting around here.

-That Night - Midoriya's Apartment-

"Oh Izuku, you beat me home," Inko Midoriya stated as she walked through the door.

Izuku chuckled as he cooked dinner, "Only if you don't consider the fact that you were in the building the whole time. Then yes, I beat you home."

"Pish posh, sweetie, outside those doors is work. The two are entirely different," explained the mother before sniffing a bit before walking into the kitchen, "Oh, you're burning dinner for me, what's the special occasion?"

Both laughed at that while Izuku just calmly walked over and checked the rice. The first time he'd tried to cook dinner for her as a surprise he was still in elementary school. It had been an unmitigated disaster. Half the facility had been evacuated due to the fire alarms going off before they'd figure out it was just severely burnt chicken. The teasing had been relentless, calling it a sacrifice to the gods.

"Haha, I'm never gonna live that down, am I," he asked mildly.

"Let's see, that happened five years ago so~, add twelve, carry the two," her son could only roll his eyes as she did imaginary math, "I'd say it'll be over by about the fifth of never."

"Oh great, sounds like I'll be putting you in the nursing home a bit earlier than intended," a harsh laugh could be heard from his mother's room where she'd gone to change out of her work clothes, "Or maybe I'll just move into my own place with Mina, since we're the hot new thing after all."

Quiet reigned in the house for a few minutes before his mother came back into the kitchen, "That's not even funny."

Maybe to her it hadn't been, but his mother's reaction sent Izuku into a fit of giggles. The laughter died immediately when he went to grab a pan lid, only for a kitchen knife to impale itself in a counter by his hand. With wide eyes, he stared back at his mother.

"Not. Funny," she stated seriously before smirking slightly.

If it wasn't for the almost unrealistic control that his mother now possessed over her quirk such a thing would have scared the life out of him. Sure, he was shocked, but this was just another example of the two of them taking a joke too far. Still, he had stopped by a grocery on the way home and had one more hand to play in this game.

"Yeah, if you don't like the thought of me together with other girls then you really don't want to look at the main article in the magazine on the dinner table," the glint in her son's eye as he spoke filled Inko with fear.

The look her son was giving her promised him victory, he'd never been wrong when he had that look. The telekinetic mother found herself approaching the face down magazine like it was booby-trapped. She knew now why her son was cooking dinner. Whatever was in this article was likely to send her into a melodramatic spiral, something she'd had more of a habit of doing in recent years.

She flipped it quickly and recoiled slightly, only to look on in surprise. The next few moments sent the woman on an emotional rollercoaster the likes of which she had never experienced before. At first glance, she looked on in pride at the image of her son on the cover, he looked sharp as it was an image of him in the suit he'd worn to the gala. Her first hint that things were going to go bad was the title 'TEEN' on the top of the magazine, followed by the caption by his picture.

"Teen Magazine's number one guy girl's want to date, Izuku Midoriya," the woman's lip quivered, "M-M-My b-baby is a chick magnet?"

Izuku, who had been taste-testing the curry at the time, abruptly spat. He watched as his mother flipped through the pages to find the article about him. The teen watched his mother's face light up at certain parts, he figured those were the parts bragging about his achievements. He had no doubts in his mind when she reached the part about him and Mina, and the theories about his whirlwind romance, as her face quickly paled and she began to wobble a bit.

"Whoa there mom, let's take a seat, shall we," he offered while fighting off laughter.

Inko could only mutter to herself quietly, "M-My baby's off the market? My baby isn't even old enough yet to be on the market, much less be taken off of it. This has all got to be a nightmare."

"Calm down mom, it's all gossip from a trashy magazine. You like Mina, remember," Izuku reminded his distraught mother.

"Yeah," she reluctantly admitted, "I guess it was foolish to think the world wouldn't realize how amazing you are just because you don't have a quirk. If you think about it, it's like your dream is coming true. The world is starting to recognize you."

His mother's comment had gotten the boy thinking about the conversation he'd had with his principal that day. It wasn't like he'd gotten in trouble, though he probably should have. It was midst his pondering that his mother reached over his shoulder and turned off the stove.

"What's wrong sweetie, you seemed kind of out of it there," Inko's hand made its way to his forehead, "Not feeling sick are you?"

Izuku merely shook his head, "We had a test today. The students in my class were split into teams of two, half of us were villain teams and the other half heroes. I was on a villain team."

The single mother didn't see her son so lost in thought unless he was working on a major project. It was easy for her to tell that whatever he was thinking about was weighing heavily on his mind.

"That sounds interesting, what happened," she encouraged.

"It was an odd experience, but I figured I'd have fun with it. Then I found out that one of the two heroes my team was against was a boy who I'm not sure really belongs there. I mean, nothing that comes out of the kid's mouth is anything but perverted. I just worry what might happen to him or someone he's supposed to be protecting should he graduate," explained Izuku passionately.

None of that surprised Inko, her son was always forward thinking. She had no doubt that he'd evaluated every one of his classmates potential as heroes. There were sure to be those that he'd thought wouldn't cut the mustard. Just hearing that horrid Katsuki boy was in his class had been more than she could stand.

Her son took a shuddering breath before he continued, "I needed to know. I didn't want him to waste his life and maybe die as a consequence of inadequate evaluation. I tried to speak to mister Aizawa about it but he wasn't going to do anything."

A strong clap in front of the teen's face snapped him out of his rambling, "Better?"

Izuku favored his mother with a small smile, "Much, yeah. Where was I...oh yeah. So I pushed him during the test. His power isn't really suited to confrontation like that and I was able to easily corner him. I offered him a choice, no, I threatened him. Either he could give up his hero career which he wasn't well suited for, or I'd hurt him bad enough so that he couldn't continue it, if not worse."

The boy's face hung low, he was afraid to face his mother and see the look on her face, "He surprised me in the end though. He lunged at me, did his best to fight back. He refused to give up in the face of overwhelming adversity, even with everything that was on the line. I mean, he could've lied to me, just to save himself, but he didn't. Sure, in the end the whole thing was a prank and I did the finger gun gag, with the flag and everything, and then the naked girl jumped out. I even apologized to him later, but still...did I got too far?"

Two warm hands cupped his cheeks and brought him face to face with the affectionate gaze of his mother, "Izuku, ever since we found out you didn't have a quirk we have both pushed ourselves to excel. You are a brilliant boy and I have never run out of things to brag on you about. I trust you emphatically and know that you will always do what you feel is best. I'm sure even if you turned to villainy I would likely still support you because you were only doing what you feel you must. There is only one thing that I haven't told you."

Sniffling a bit, Izuku questioned his mother, "What's that?"

"You aren't perfect," she smiled at him as she spoke, "No matter how perfect I think you are, you won't be right all the time. You are going to make mistakes, and that's okay. Did you learn from this," he nodded, "Will you be able to handle it better now," he nodded again, "Then I think it'll be just fine."

"Thanks, mom, you're the best," Izuku praised as he wrapped the woman in a hug.

The mother preened a bit under the praise, "I'd have to be to have such an amazing son. High school is tough sweetheart. Things like pervy boys, bad choices, and naked girls tend to… WHAT DO YOU MEAN NAKED!?"

"Ah ha ha," Izuku laughed nervously, "Did I say naked? I meant she was invisible."

"Izuku," the woman's bangs shadowed her eyes as she rose slowly from the table.

"Was this girl naked," Inko asked calmly.

"Y-Yeah, I mean, her quirk is invisibility so she can't wear clothes when she's doing hero work or she'll be spotted," the nervous son explained as best he could.

Inko nodded understandingly as an eerie smile crossed her face, "So if I review the visual logs with this watch you gave me, I'm not going to see anything because the girl was invisible, right?"

"Uh heh, funny you should mention that," he gulped hard as he slowly backed away, "Ya know with all of my infrared and stuff I could pull up a perfect image of what she looks like. I, uh, told her that if she came in we might be able to find a material that could become invisible with her."

"Izuku," the teen in question shivered having never heard his mother say his name that way, "Only naughty boys peek on naked girls. Did I raise such a child?"

The quirkless teen's head shook furiously, "No, but I didn't know she was naked until she jumped in front of me! I swear! I thought someone else had just gotten her outfit like the stomach laser guy. Until she jumped in front of me I had no clue that she wasn't wearing anything. I hadn't put on my armor until the test started."

Out of the corner of his vision, Izuku noticed a large meat tenderizing mallet float towards his mother, "Don't worry sweetie. I'm going to make you forget all about it. Then we'll just have a talk with your teachers and make sure this never happens again."

Even in a soundproofed apartment, some terrifying sounds found there way out. Many of the other employees who lived in the building reported hearing sounds that night that would haunt them for the rest of their days. It would be forever known as the night of the agonizing screams.

A/N: I hope this answered a lot of your questions about Izuku. This Izuku realizes that heroes die, that this isn't fun and games. He sees these kids who have these quirks acting like being a hero is a game and feels like he has to do something. Still, he can recognize his mistakes and is learning that he doesn't always know what's best. Serious Izuku will pop from time to time, but overall I prefer writing his sarcastic fun-loving side.

I'm actually really excited because the USJ chapter will be coming soon and with it an unexpected twist.