"Isn't that the Sawada boy?"
"His poor mother...giving birth to a son like that."
"What an embarassment, being quirkless!"
Quirks. One day, a child was born with a unique gift...it was the sign of things to come, as soon children were being born with special unique powers that would be known as "quirks". Nearly every child had them these days, though a small number of the population was "quirkless".
According to the popular opinion of Namimori, Tsunayoshi Sawada was born "quirkless", and thus was an even bigger embarrassment to his family.
Even his own mother had fallen prey to such thinking, through no real fault of her own. Then again, she had long since given up on her son before he fully entered middle school.
Tsuna tuned them out with his music. It wasn't like he cared about what they thought.
He dodged the Disciplinary Committee...and more importantly their leader Hibari Kyouya.
It had taken some doing to figure out the range of Hibari's quirk, which gave him supernatural awareness of his "territory", but once he did it made things so much easier.
Or perhaps it was a Hibari thing where they had unlimited ability to find people within an area they had claimed.
Either way, Tsuna didn't particularly care.
Once out of the 'territory range' of the terrifying Skylark who went after those who broke the rules...like skipping class... Tsuna broke out into a run.
It had taken him two years to learn how to run without tripping over nothing.
It had taken him even longer to develop a way to survive even without access to his quirk.
Contrary to popular belief, Tsuna was not actually "quirkless".
For some inane reason, his sperm donor decided to seal his quirk away without even consulting anyone on the matter. It wasn't like quirks were rare after all... Tsuna had three kids in his class who had odd 'extras' like tails or animal ears. Hell, his own mother had a quirk that allowed her to keep the house clean without having to bring out any cleaning supplies!
So the fact Iemitsu decided to seal his quirk away before it had a chance to fully manifest and develop was extremely suspicious.
Tsuna still couldn't figure out how or why Iemitsu had asked the old man to seal his quirk away. The only reason he knew his father was responsible was because the trauma of it left an imprint in his subconscious and the memory had merely needed a nudge to come back.
He simply couldn't understand their thought process at all, unless they had sensed something about his quirk and felt threatened by it...like he was a potential rival or something equally ridiculous.
Despite their best attempts, they couldn't fully suppress his quirk. However thanks to their actions, he was forced to develop a secondary personality that managed to keep the seal from ruining his life even more than it already had.
He called that other voice in his head Homura.
Tsuna almost hated the current society. Everyone thought that quirks were everything, and those without them were "useless" or to be pitied. Even his own mother had given up on him because of it.
Which was why he retaliated the only way he knew how. After reading so much manga, the answer became painfully obvious to him.
The first thing he did was work on his coordination. It took him two long, painful years to determine that whatever kept his quirk from appearing had set warning signs. Homura was a huge help there...he could 'sense' when the seal or whatever was blocking his powers was about to act up and screw him over.
Once he began to pick up on when the block would act up, training became much easier. He was still considered "pathetic", but at least he wasn't clumsy anymore.
The next step was increasing his strength... he took to rock climbing on a cliff that was just outside the city limits and therefor not part of Hibari's territory...that was both painful and very rewarding, as he developed his new favorite hobby. It didn't take much for good old fashioned training to take effect.
He was in better shape than half the kids in his school, baring a few oddballs like Hibari or Sasegawa-sempai.
Once he was at a point he felt comfortable with, he looked into some martial arts training. Long before quirks became a thing, people would defend themselves with basic hand-to-hand combat. No weapons involved.
Guns were difficult to come by in Japan, not to mention socially frowned upon. For someone like him, just buying one would raise a lot of alarms in the heads of authorities...especially Hibari.
Swords were a no go as well. Never mind that it took years of training, the simple fact was that most blades tended to be custom made for specific heroes only and the rest were dull showpieces. And again, buying a weapon would raise too many flags considering he was constantly bullied.
The simple fact was that any sort of weapon was going to raise flags in the minds of the authorities and the Pro-Heroes, never mind Hibari.
Martial arts was literally his only option. Fortunately there were plenty of videos to be found so he didn't have to suffer through the mockery of a real class. It meant he had to take his time and figure out what he was doing wrong, but it was better than nothing.
Besides, no one would think twice about him learning martial arts for self-defense purposes.
He was "quirkless" after all, and villains didn't often limit themselves to just the Pro Heroes when they were up to no good.
Tsuna resigned himself to yet another weekend of rock climbing, martial arts training, and generally avoiding humanity. It wasn't like he had much else to do, since his middle school years were coming to a close and he had no real goal in life beyond finding the two who had messed with his quirk to the point it was unable to come out and making their life hell.
And yes, that was probably villain-like thoughts, but to be honest he couldn't bring himself to give a damn. They deserved everything they got for ruining his childhood with their idiocy and delusions of adequacy.
He really wished something would happen. Something that would allow him to transcend his own personal hell.
He just didn't expect to get family out of the deal.
Dead silence. That was the only way to describe the scene.
It was another ordinary day of heroes and villains. Random bad guy shows up, causing a stir and the civilians wait for a Pro Hero to arrive and deal with the issue so that they could continue on their peaceful day like normal, save for an interesting story to tell their families later.
The villain's quirk wasn't all that impressive, really. Just some minor strength amplification, but his ability to use it was below acceptable limits for the hero career path. Never mind the fact that the guy's personality left much to be desired.
It was pretty clear he wasn't from Namimori, or Hibari would have put the man in his place long before he became a public nuisance.
Hibari was being his usual violent self, but was currently out dealing with some new delinquents in the area and thus unavailable to deal with the villain disrupting his town.
Tsunayoshi Sawada, the "quirkless disaster" had been passing by minding his own business with his earbuds in, ignoring the entire thing when it happened.
The villain spotted him, and decided the oblivious fourteen year old was the perfect hostage for when the Pro Heroes finally got off their ass and made it to the scene. They were only ten minutes away, after all.
Except that didn't happen. The moment his hand touched Tsuna's shoulder, the teen reacted in a manner no one expected.
He grabbed the hand, then did a basic aikido throw before punching the man so hard in the gut that he was left wheezing. Then, for good measure, Tsuna began to kick him when he was down right in the balls.
Tsuna looked at the villain with a positively scathing expression.
"Power means nothing if you don't bother to learn how to use it correctly. And I'd love to see how you explain to your friends how a quirkless civilian kicked your ass long before the heroes even arrived," he spat.
Tsuna put his headphones back on and continued heading to his usual training spot, unaware of the man watching him from the roofs.
All Might would have done something, except the teen had beaten the villain long before he would have reached him.
A quirkless civilian had beaten a villain? It was unheard of!
However he wasn't there to scout out potential talent...even if he was looking for a successor to his quirk.
No, the entire reason he was in the city at all was the recent news he received after looking up an old girlfriend from his first days as a proper Hero.
Learning she had been pregnant when she broke up with him had come as a shock, but none more so than the fact she was smart enough to hide the knowledge he had a daughter in the wake of how many enemies he made as he rose to the number one spot. He could hardly blame her for hiding their child from the press, because any number of villains would have happily made an example of her.
He looked at the address his ex had given him. Perhaps it would be best to ask a local where the neighborhood was.
A few hours later...
Tsuna took one look at the odd scarecrow of a man in his house, and dismissed him. He only partially acknowledged the fact he was home, before heading back up to his room to study.
Today had been mentally exhausting, in more ways than one. He just knew tomorrow would be worse.
"Tsu-kun! Come down and meet your grandfather!" called his mother cheerfully.
Tsuna took off his headphones. He could have sworn his mother had said that his grandfather was here. A man he had never met in his life, and who his grandmother never talked about outside of the fact he was one of the more famous Pro Heroes, which was why she never gave out his name.
He walked downstairs, a dubious expression on his face.
"I thought Grandma said that she couldn't tell her ex boyfriend about us because it was too dangerous?"
"More like I had no reason to rekindle things with an ex, since it only put her at risk. Besides, the fan girls would have eaten her alive back then," corrected the odd scarecrow. "Aren't you the one who took out the villain earlier?"
"I really don't want the Pro Heroes bothering me. Besides, the second they find out I was registered quirkless they'll just get on my case for doing something reckless," he replied quickly.
"From what I saw, I doubt it. You were minding your own business when he went after you specifically. Clearest cut case of self-defense I've seen in a while. Not to sure about the kicking him when he was down part though."
"Are you kidding? I had no idea what his quirk was, and considering he was open to a cheap shot I saw no reason why I shouldn't insure he left me alone long enough for the heroes to arrive. Better to put him in the sort of pain all men fear and avoid any further trouble to myself than worry how others will think of me," replied Tsuna incredulous.
To his surprise, the odd man started chuckling.
"Well said. Well said indeed. How did you perform that throw anyway?"
"You can find any number of martial arts videos online. At least that way I didn't have to suffer my classmates mocking me about not having a quirk while I was trying to get stronger," deadpanned Tsuna. "Aikido is very useful, especially for someone as scrawny as me."
Tsuna got the distinct impression his mystery Grandfather actually approved of that. Even if he had absolutely no idea which hero his grandfather was.
Tsuna...couldn't help but stare when he found out his grandfather was in fact the number one Hero, All Might. Suddenly the knowledge his grandmother kept their existence a secret from his grandfather made far too much sense.
It was no secret that All Might was both powerful...and had a great deal of enemies who would happily use his family against him if they found out he had children. Much less a 'quirkless' grandson.
He still didn't get why his grandfather insisted on seeing how he spent his free time. At least it was the weekend, so Hibari wouldn't bother tracking him down later.
"So...you do a lot of rock-climbing?"
"Not like I have any friends," snarked Tsuna. Now that he was outside the limits of Namimori, his real personality came out. Instead of a timid weakling there was a snarky, downright bitter teenager who was sick and tired of being pitied for something he had no control over. Especially when it wasn't true in the first place.
He just found it easier to ignore everyone and pretend his classmates didn't exist, regardless of how much it pissed them off. Why bother to befriend anyone when they would treat you like you were a helpless child because you were 'quirkless'?
"No one wanted to hang out with you?" he asked.
"After the neighbors quit hiding their opinion that I shamed my family for not having a quirk, I quit caring about others," admitted Tsuna. "I learned it hurt less if I spent my time trying to get stronger the old fashioned way, before quirks became common, than it was to make friends who don't actually care. Besides, most of the parents told them not to be friends with me, in case my condition was contagious or some nonsense."
"Oh? What sort of training do you do?" he asked, though there was a hint of empathy in his voice.
"Well as you can see I got into rock climbing. That helps with my agility and upper body strength. And I found several sites that teach at-home students how to fight with martial arts, since it's one of the few ways people can learn how to defend themselves without having to go through the specialized companies for heroes to get weapons. Never mind that if I bought any weapons it would have raised all sorts of red flags to the authorities and heroes because I'm quirkless and a target for a lot of bullies," said Tsuna. "Martial arts has been around for centuries and only requires the ability to memorize how to move your body."
Toshinori looked rather pleased hearing how his grandson had found a way around the flashiness of quirks to defend himself. It was more than most heroes bothered to do nowadays.
"What would you do if you had a quirk?" he asked seriously.
"Try out for Pro Hero, I guess. At the very least I would still move out of Namimori and try to find a boarding school with a decent curriculum instead of bothering with a local high school," said Tsuna speculatively. "It's rather pointless trying to plan for the future when everyone around you keeps reminding you that you don't have one."
Tsuna had learned to accept the fact that no one expected anything out of a 'quirkless' child...including his own mother. As if he were an embarrassment that one had to cover up and hide, rather than help along to a decent future. As such, he had never really bothered to think of what he would do with his life.
Toshinori looked at his grandson. A child who had been treated horribly his entire life because of bad luck, to the point even his own mother had given up hope for him. The brief conversation with his daughter had been enlightening...and not in a good way.
Tsuna was dying. Little by little, his empathy for humanity was almost eroded away because of circumstances outside his control. Worse, no one bothered to help him or encourage him to be anything other than "useless".
More than a few people were in denial that Tsuna had beaten a villain, without using a single quirk. As if it was inconcievable that a quirkless child might actually have the ability to do something.
Toshinori looked at his grandson, and his mind made up on what to do almost instantly.
"How about I make you a deal, Tsuna?" he said calmly. "Why don't you come live with me for a while, and in exchange you try to get into Yuuei High?"
"Isn't that the most difficult to get into high school for pro heroes?" he asked dubiously.
"I didn't say you had to pass. There are other paths that are available through UA besides being a Pro Hero, like support specialist and logistics. But even I can see that you're wasting away here in this small town, so a change of scenery might be good for you."
"And if I did somehow manage to pass the entrance exams?" asked Tsuna, looking interested.
The idea of attending high school had never occurred to him, but at this point he'd leap at any chance to leave Namimori early.
"Then I would make sure you had everything you needed to become a pro hero, so long as you put in the actual effort to do so. That way once you were experienced enough to stand on your own, you could proudly say you're my grandson despite the enemies after me," said Toshinori.
Tsuna thought about his options, but really what choice did he have? Namimori was slowly killing him, and eventually he would end up an empty shell that was bitter against the world in general to the point his ability to connect with others was ruined forever.
"What do I have to lose? I'll try to pass the exam, but I make no promises," said Tsuna.
"That's the spirit. Since it's going to be eleven months before the next exam begins, I'll put you through some extra training. Fair warning though... I've been selected as one of the special instructors at the school. At the very least I intend to introduce you to some of my colleagues and other pro heroes."
"Joy," said Tsuna dryly.