It was a stupid thing to do. I admit it. But I was just so angry. Angry at the teachers and my classmates for enabling it, even encouraging it. At myself for never standing up. Not that it would have done me any good. He was stronger and faster than me. And that's not counting his Quirk.
But yeah, most of all I was angry at Kacchan. Bakugou Katsuki, my supposed friend. He had always been rough. But after he got his Quirk, he got worse. Everyone praised him, no-one stopped him.
I knew I would never be a Hero. I wanted it, studied for it. But I was Quirkless. In a world where 80% of the people had powers, and that number was growing every day, I was abnormal. Subpar. Even if I tried the other route, learning martial arts and acrobatics, I just didn't have the genes for it. No amount of exercise would increase my height. And there was no way I could build up the necessary muscle. Not without some kind of drug. Maybe if I had started years before.
Still, I couldn't let it go. I watched Heroes and Villains. Learned their Quirks. Figured out their weaknesses and limits. And strategies to take them down. Also their untapped potential, ways they could have used their powers, but didn't. I even had a ranking system, based on an old game book from before powers were real. It wasn't perfect, but it gave me a structure to work on and good estimates.
Kacchan got angry again. Because I had put down that I wanted to go to UA. Wanted to be a Hero. Only this time, he took my latest Hero notebook. He blew it up with his power, and then threw it out the window, into the koi pond. When I fished it out. Saw it. It was like everything from the last ten years just bubbled up. Exploded out.
You might think that was me explaining how my amazing Quirk suddenly manifested. It wasn't. No, I just got mad and punched the cement barrier around the pond. Full on with my right hand, as hard as I could.
Like I said, stupid. I didn't think I had broken anything. But the knuckles on my first two fingers split, and bled freely. The rest of my hand was all scuffed up, and it hurt like hell. Tears spilled from my eyes, the physical pain matching the hurt in my heart. All I could do was wrap my hand as best I could in my handkerchief. And then trudge home.
"Izuku, honey," my mom cried out when she saw the blood dripping from my hand. She hurried over, and drew me gently to the table. Mom quickly got the first aid kit. I always wondered if she had been a nurse, the way she treated my injuries. Or had she just gotten so good, taking care of me?
"What happened?" she asked softly.
"Bullies," I said, evasively. With my dad away all the time, it was just her and me. We were close, and I couldn't lie to her. But at the same time, I wasn't going to rat out my friend.
She looked shocked, and I quickly clarified, "Not like that. He threw my notebook in the pond. And when I saw it, I got mad, annd I... I punched the barrier."
"Oh, Izuku," she consoled me, as she finished cleaning my cuts, and began wrapping them.
"Mom?" I asked carefully, "Do you think it is okay, for me to try to go to UA?"
I didn't mention becoming a Hero. It was an unspoken thing between us. She regretted her reactions, after we found out I was Quirkless. And she worried about me. UA had other areas of study, like costuming and technology for Heroes, and legal and promotional studies to support them. We both pretended that I would be happy in one of those classes.
"Izuku, I'm not going to tell you that you can do anything," she said firmly, "Even All Might can't fly, or move things without touching them."
She illustrated that by pulling the scissors out of the box with her own power.
"But that doesn't mean you can't try. That you shouldn't try. You should follow your dream as far as you want to. There we go."
She taped down the last bandage.
After dinner and homework, I had tried to play the Nippon Hero Musou. I was hoping to finally get All Might up to level 100. I'm sorry to say I had been maining Mount Lady, for the long reach of her normal attacks, and Present Mic, for his omnidirectional specials. But now I had enough materials for all of All Might's badges, so I wanted to unleash his full power. Unfortunately, with the pain in my hand and the bandages in the way, I couldn't play very well. So I ended up going to bed early.
Have you ever woken up, and been caught thinking your dream was real? That you were late for school, or aliens were invading? At first I thought that was what was happening to me.
I opened my eyes, only to see a familiar notification screen hovering in front of me. It didn't match any specific game. If anything, it looked more like the 'yellow boxes' from Dad's old American comics.
[You have had a proper meal and a good night's sleep. Health and energy fully restored.]
"That what I get for playing games while on Tylenol," I muttered, waving a hand before my face before wiping the sleep out of my eyes. The box obligingly vanished.
I levered myself out of bed. Normally at this point I would have been stifling a yawn or even hitting snooze. But today I felt really good. Alert and energized. And the normal morning chill didn't seem to bother me either. I skipped my robe, and went out to the kitchen.
"Good morning, Izuku," my mom looked a bit surprised, "How is your hand?"
"Pretty good, so far," I told her. I flexed my fingers to show her.
"That's good," she smiled, "If you have any pain later, be sure to go to the nurse."
After wolfing down my breakfast, which earned me another odd look, I went into the bathroom to clean up. I washed my face, ran a comb through my hair in vain, brushed and flossed. Then I rinsed with mouthwash. I closed my eyes when I spit it out, having learned that minty spray in the eyes was not a pleasant feeling. And when I opened them again.
[You have taken good care of your teeth. Skill Oral Hygiene (lvl 1) unlocked.]
I blinked at it. I definitely wasn't waking up anymore. It stayed there, hovering right in between me and the mirror. I reached out to touch it, and my hand passed right through it. But it stayed in place. I noticed the little X in the upper right corner, and tried to tap it. There no sensation, but this time the message disappeared.
"I'm going crazy," I told my reflection, "Either that, or someone in the building has a hologram Quirk, and is messing with me."
It didn't answer, which I took as a good sign. I was used to pranks, some of which could be really elaborate, depending on the powers involved. But I didn't have time to worry about it now. I had to get to school.
[You are on guard and looking for information. Skill Analyze (lvl 1) unlocked.]
I was watching for whoever might be doing this. And just in general for Kacchan or his groupies. But even though I let the window hang out for a few minutes, no-one else on the street reacted. It seemed like I was the only one who could see it.
[You are paying close attention to the lesson. Skill Mathematics, Basic (lvl 1) unlocked.
You have gained two new Wit skills in one day. Wit +1.]
If it was a prank, whoever it was, was either in my school, or had a really long range. But a new suspicion was forming in me, and a new hope. I pushed it down, and kept listening.
[You are trying (poorly) to avoid the getting hit. Skill Dodge (lvl 1) unlocked.]
I would have thought I had that one already... Hooray dodgeball. I wonder if I could get my hands on the ball, if I could unlock a 'Throw' skill, or something like that.
[You have made a good guess based on available information. Intuition +1.]
If this was a prank, it had to be some form of telepathy Quirk.
[You are paying close attention to the lesson. Skill Chemistry, Basic (lvl 1) unlocked.
You have gained three new Wit skills in one day. Wit +2.]
[You are paying close attention to the lesson. Skill Creative Writing (lvl 1) unlocked.
You have gained two new Charisma skills in one day. Charisma +1.]
By the time lunch rolled around, I wasn't sure if I was more confused or annoyed. But I was also finally ready to consider that thrid option.
"So I could be crazy," I mumbled, "or it could be a prank. Or maybe, just maybe, it could be that I finally gained my Quirk. It's not impossible. After all, Jobs, the Fruit Hero, didn't discover his power until he was sixteen, because his dad was so allergic to apples. But then what happened to trigger it. Nothing out of the order happened yesterday. I've been hurt before, I've played games before. Dinner wasn't anything strange. And wouldn't it make more sense if I had just finally had too much and snapped. That happened to a lot of kids in America before they passed those laws. I should be glad I don't have access to a gun. But if I was going crazy would it be like..."
I was cut off when a pencil hit my forehead.
"Cut it out, you shitty nerd!" Bakugo roared at me. I suddenly realized I had actually by thinking out loud. Again.
Fortunately the pencil was a light plastic one. And hit me eraser first. So it didn't break the skin.
Break the skin. My eyes widened as I thought that, and remembered the first message. I quickly dug my thumb nail under the tape, and pulled off the bandage on my right pointer finger. It was clean. No blood, no scab, not even a scar. I glanced around, and realized since I had shut up, no-one was looking at me anymore. I peeled off the rest of the cloth and tape as quickly as I could, and stuffed it in my pocket, only vaguely noticing that pulling the tape off didn't even sting.
My right hand was unmarked, like the stupid punch yesterday had never happened.
Hindsight being twenty twenty, I recognize that my lack of injuries could just have easily been part of the hallucination or trick. But by that logic, I could have imagined everything since. Or I could just be a manga character. I can only accept the reality I have, especially when everyone else seems to share it.
I could barely believe it.
"I have a Quirk," I said as softly as I could, not wanting anyone to know before I could be sure.
I had originally planned to linger around town on my way home, hoping to see Heroes in action. Especially since the news said All Might was back in Musutafu.
Instead I rushed home as quickly as I could. I beat mom home, which was good. I wasn't ready to explain my hand. Not yet. Not until I was sure.
I got changed into comfortable clothing. I sat down at my desk, my computer still off. I took a deep breath. Then I said the word that would change my life.
Another of the screens appeared, this one noticeably larger.
[Name: Izuku Midoriya
Race: Human (Quirk metagene negative)
Active Title: The Gamer]
There was more, a lot more. But what got my attention was the Race. Human, of course. But "Quirk metagene negative"? Did that mean I didn't have a Quirk after all. Was this really just a trick? Or was it something else?
I considered that for a while. I also glanced quickly through the other tabs. In fact, I jumped back and forth between them as fast as I could, hoping to trip up my own brain or whoever might be tricking me. But it failed, the screens always said the same thing as the last time, and shifted immediately.
[You have conducted a logical experiment to try to disprove a hypothesis. Wit +1.]
Another screen appeared in front of my status. I quickly closed it, staring at my attribute that had just increased.
Could this really be real? But if it wasn't a Quirk, then just what was it?
"Izuku, honey," my mom called out gently from the other side of the door. It was her worried voice. Had I dropped the bandages?
"Izuku, can I come in?" she said again, "We really need to talk."
"Sure mom," I told her. And left the screen up, to test if mom could see it.
She opened the door, and I could see she had been crying, but had tried to dry her eyes.
"Mom," I said nervously, "What's wrong?"
"It's... It's about Bakugou-kun," she said, "There's been a Villain attack..."
That was both the best and worst day of my life. And the start of my path to being the greatest Hero in the world. A path I walked for both myself and my fallen friend.
Name: Izuku Midoriya
Race: Human (Quirk metagene negative)
Active Title: The Gamer
Modern Tech (W): 13
Computer Gaming (W/A): 14
Japanese Language (W/C): 11
English Language (W/C): 4
Scientific Method (W/I): 6
Oral Hygiene (C): 1
Analyze (W): 1
Mathematics, Basic (W): 1
Dodge (A): 1
Chemistry, Basic (I): 1
Creative Writing (C): 1
Author's note:For those who are wondering, Bakugou was killed by Sludge. Because Izuku wasn't there to slow Sludge down, it escaped from All Might. So it was still able to catch Bakugou. And because Izuku wasn't there to inspire All Might, Sludge killed Bakugou before getting killed by Endeavour.