Izuku stands in front of the gates of UA on the day of the entrance exam, and they're incredibly nervous. Of course they are. Their entire future depends on the exam ahead of them.
They had done a bit of research ahead of time to see what the practical exam would likely include; they’d been relieved to find that it was just robots. Robots with fairly simple AI are something Izuku can deal with. And they've always had good grades in school, so the written exam shouldn’t be too much of a problem for them.
…Even so, they can’t help the wave of nervousness settling over them.
I can do this, Izuku tells themself, taking a deep breath, I can do this -
They're broken from their thoughts as someone bumps into their shoulder, and they spring backwards in surprise. Just as they're about to blurt an apology for being in the way, they look up and see Bakugou and their mouth promptly snaps shut.
Bakugou looks back at them surprised. (And also angry. But the angry part isn’t surprising to Izuku, given that angry is like Bakugou’s default.)
The last time they had interacted was when Bakugou had threatened them to not apply to UA. Since then, Izuku has been trying their best to avoid him, and the only reason they can see for Bakugou leaving them alone was that he didn’t want to mess up his record just before applying to UA. (Not that bullying Izuku had ever put a scuff on his oh so perfect record before.)
So, Izuku doesn’t know what Bakugou is going to do here, in this situation. Izuku being here is deliberately doing what Bakugou threatened them to not do. But at the same time, would he really risk getting into UA just to threaten them…?
Eventually Bakugou scoffs and turns away. “Whatever. It’s not like you’re gonna get in to UA anyway. Just stay out of my way, shitty gearhead.”
Bakugou stalks away, and Izuku stares after him, surprised. For Bakugou, that was incredibly civil. He even called Izuku ‘gearhead’ instead of ‘Deku’ which is rare.
Then they look up and sees a few people staring; as soon as Izuku looks at them, they immediately turn away and pretend they weren’t watching, but it’s still incredibly obvious.
...Oh. He wasn’t being civil because he’s trying to be better. He was being civil because there are other people watching who might actually care. Izuku frowns, and takes a deep breath. Whatever. Bakugou doesn’t matter. He doesn’t. I’m not going to let him ruin this for me. This is my one and only chance.
They take a step forward.
I’m finally on my way to being a hero…!
Or I’ll just die, They think glumly, staring at the ground as it rises up to meet them. They close their eyes at the last second and waits for the impact but it… never comes.
Izuku blinks open their eyes to see the ground in front of them, as they… hover over it? They feel weird too- a little weightless.
“Sorry!” A cheerful voice says, “I shouldn’t have used my quirk on you without asking,” a pair of hands steadies them onto their feet, and weight returns to them. Izuku turns to the person who had stopped their fall. “...But it would have been bad luck to trip and fall on the first day.”
After a second, Izuku realizes they should really say something in reply. “I, um,” Izuku stammers in response, “er, thank you?” Nailed it, Their thoughts hum sarcastically.
She smiles. “You’re welcome! Well, good luck on your exam!” The girl waves at them, then walks away.
She’s really nice, Izuku thinks to themself as she walks away. …Maybe this is a sign that things are turning for the better?
With that hope burning inside of them, Izuku steps forward and walks into UA to take the entrance exam.
The written portion of the exam went well; at least, Izuku thinks so, now that it’s over. After the written portion, they have to take the practical exam, and none of Izuku’s worries over it have vanished yet.
They’re standing at the entrance to the fake city where the exam is held along with a large group of other examinees, and waiting. The others that are there pay them no mind, and Izuku doesn’t recognize any of them but two; first is the girl who talked to them just before they entered, and second is a boy that they had made upset by mumbling too loud earlier when they were going over the rules for the practical exam. Izuku winces, thinking about that.
They could thank the girl again, or wish her luck, but they decide against it. She looks like she’s busy trying to prepare herself, and they don’t want to bother her if that's the case. They also could apologize to the other guy for mumbling too loud, but that thought just makes them embarrassed, so they decide against that too.
Eventually, they settle on pulling out one of the gadgets they brought with them and fiddling with it nervously. For now (since they haven’t activated yet) it’s just a small thin rod, and Izuku spins it in their hands over and over.
Deep breaths. I can do this. I’ve been working on these two gadgets specifically for the past ten months just for this exam. I’ve tested them hundreds of times, and I know they work now. Well. One of them for sure at least.
That's not the point! What matters is… I can do this. I can pass this exam-
“AND, GO!” Present Mic’s voice announces.
“C’MON, C’MON, YOU’VE GOT NO TIME TO WASTE! THE EXAM HAS STARTED NOW!”
At that all of the participants run forward and start the practical exam.
Izuku splits off of the large group quickly, taking a path down a narrow alleyway. The end of the alleyway opens to another large street and waiting there is one of the fake villains, a large “3” written on it's front.
A three pointer! Izuku thinks. They're suddenly very relieved that they had been messing with their gadget ahead of time, because that means they don’t have to worry about pulling it out now. Instead, they press the first button on it, and the small thin rod shoots into a much longer staff.
They run up to the robot, dodging the lasers it shoots their way, until they're right in front of it.
Swiftly, Izuku stabs one end of the staff into the robot and then presses the second button. A shockwave runs through the staff (though, Izuku doesn’t feel it because they're wearing gloves they specifically designed to protect against the shockwave), and the robot short-circuits, falling broken to the ground.
Three points. I have three points. They tell themself, determined, as they run off to find more robots.
“THREE MINUTES LEFT ON THE CLOCK!” Present Mic’s voice echoes throughout the fake city.
Izuku takes in a deep breath.
I have 47 points. Will that be enough to pass…?
And then there’s a giant crash that booms through the area.
Almost in unison, everyone slowly looks up.
…Ooooh that’s what the zero pointer looks like… Izuku thinks, numbly, as they stare up at the giant robot towering over them, bigger than all the surrounding buildings, the one robot that is worth exactly 0 points. Time to run away!
Turning to do exactly that, Izuku is suddenly stopped when they hear the sound of someone crying out in pain. They turn back towards the zero pointer. And then they see, caught in the rubble laying right in the zero pointer’s path; it’s the girl that stopped them from falling before the exam.
Izuku is already running forward before they even have the time to think, Oh boy, time to do something reckless.
“Hey!” They call to get her attention, and she looks up at them desperately. “Can you push that rock up as hard as you can? You don’t have to lift it all the way, just-”
“Yeah,” She grunts, interrupting them. She pushes on the rock hard.
Izuku pulls out their second gadget, the only one they brought aside the staff, and holds it against the rock. Please, please, please, actually work this time, They pray, because while they got it to work before, that was just the day before the exam, and they're not entirely sure whether or not it was just a fluke.
Mentally begging that it works, they pull the trigger on the gadget. There’s a pause; and then, the rock that’s pinning down the girl cracks, falling apart into pieces. Quickly, the girl pulls herself from the now-smaller rubble, and steps out onto shaky feet. Izuku is starting to panic a little, because the zero pointer is right there, and they’re running out of time.
“Can you walk?” Izuku asks quickly.
The girl shakes her head, “My foot- I think it’s sprained-”
“Okay, okay, okay, here, put your arm around my shoulders, we’ve gotta go.”
She quickly leans onto them, holding an arm around their shoulders as instructed. As fast as they can, the two hobble away from the zero point robot, half running and half limping.
Thank god it’s so slow in the first place, Izuku thinks.
Then, abruptly, the robot stops.
“AND, TIME’S UP! THE EXAM IS OVER!”
Izuku is so relieved that they could fall over, but they're still holding up the girl, so they keep themself standing upright.
Next to them, she lets out a heavy sigh. “Whew…” She turns to face them, but it’s a bit hard when she’s leaning her weight into them. “Thanks. For your help.”
“It… it was no big deal.” Izuku mumbles. “They probably would have called the robot off before it could have actually hurt you.”
“I know, but still. Thank you.”
“I’m Uraraka Ochako!” The girl- Uraraka- introduces herself.
“I’m… I’m Midoriya Izuku.” They introduce, nervously.
“Well, Midoriya-kun,” Uraraka says with a smile, “I hope that we both pass and end up in the same class together. You’re really cool.”
Izuku is a little surprised at that. No one ever… really calls them cool . “…Yeah. Me too.”
From there, Recovery Girl (the school’s nurse) shows up, heals Uraraka, and… they split ways.
They still think about what Uraraka had said though. “I hope that we both pass and end up in the same class together. You’re really cool.”
With those words in mind, Izuku looks toward the future with hope.
The letter from UA is here. And Izuku is almost too nervous to open it. Because this- this letter is going to determine their future. Sure, there are other hero programs available, but none are quite as prestigious as UA.
They take a deep breath. Open it. Just open it already.
Carefully, Izuku opens the envelope.
Inside it is a folded letter.
[Dear Midoriya Izuku,
We would like to congratulate you on your scores for the entrance exam to UA’s Hero Course. On the written portion of the exam, you scored 95%, which is definitely enough to pass. In the practical portion of the exam, you scored 47 villain points. There was also a secondary system which recorded rescue points for helping other examinees during the exam; you scored 50 rescue points.]
Izuku smiles to themself, feeling hope beaming in their chest. …But the letter isn’t over.
[Normally, this would be enough to pass.]
They feel a sick feeling settle over them. "Normally…?"
[However, upon checking your record, it came to our attention that you are quirkless. We applaud you for the scores you got on the entrance exam for the Hero Course, however, due to your unique circumstances, we find that admitting you into the Hero Course may not be the best idea. Instead, due to your use of technology that you built yourself, you have been admitted to the Support Course, Class 1-H. Congratulations!
Sincerely, The Staff of UA]
“Congratulations.” Izuku mumbles, numbly. “Congratulations.”
They can’t- they can’t just- they can’t just do this, can they? Izuku thinks, unbelieving. They read the letter over again, and then again, and then again, and then again.
The words on it don’t change.
The sick feeling that settled over them grows deeper and deeper each time they read it.
They passed the exam.
But UA still won’t let Izuku into the Hero Course, all because they doesn’t have a stupid quirk. They don’t want to be in the Support Course, they want to be in the Hero Course.
Izuku wants to be a hero. It’s all they've ever wanted.
But no matter what they do, no matter how far they push themself, no matter how much they grow… Nobody else ever notices or cares.
Eyes stinging with tears, Izuku feels a lump starting to grow in their throat. It’s not fair. This isn’t fair. They passed, and still they…!
Izuku draws their knees closer to themself and rests their head on top of them. You knew it all along, didn’t you…? You’ve always known. Life isn’t fair. Life is never fair to you.
This time it hurts more though. Because, they had felt like they were so close. They were so close this time, but it still didn’t change anything.
All anyone will ever see them as is quirkless.
And the Support Course. Now, they're supposedly in the Support Course. They know that getting into UA at all should be like a great honor, but this- this just feels like some kind of consolation prize.
They had joked before that if nothing else they could work for a support company, but they hadn’t meant it.
All Izuku has ever wanted is to be a hero. To save people who need help.
Well, now what? Izuku thinks, glumly. It would be pretty rude to just not go to UA after being accepted, but… Still. How am I supposed to be a hero now?
They know there are people out there that are vigilantes, people who save others without the use of a hero license.
But that’s illegal- it’s illegal to use your quirk to fight villains-
Izuku’s thoughts stop abruptly.
It’s… it’s illegal to use your quirk to fight villains…
For a moment they're overcome with a burst of curiosity, (a small ray of hope, even,) and Izuku quickly checks the official definition of the word “Vigilante”.
“Vigilante: Someone who illegally uses their quirk to fight villains without a hero license.”
Someone who illegally uses their quirk… to fight villains without a hero license. Izuku thinks over it in their head. They feel the loophole growing. I don’t have a quirk though.
Switching tabs, they search something else; self defense laws for fighting villains.
…Technically, they all say that as long as you don’t use a quirk, it counts as self defense.
Izuku leans back in their chair, fingers threaded together, thinking. …This is crazy. I- I can’t just…
Except I can just. It’s right there. It says there’s nothing illegal about fighting villains without a quirk.
It means it’s not illegal to defend yourself from villains as long as you don’t use a quirk.
Then they should have written it that way.
Izuku bites their lip. This isn’t an easy decision. It’s not something to be taken lightly. …I still have a chance of becoming a hero. Of getting an actual hero license. Is this really the right decision to be making, now…?
…Well, maybe… maybe just until they let me into the Hero Course. And, hey, it’ll give me some experience fighting villains.
This is, by far, probably one of the most reckless decisions they've ever made.
…They can’t help but feel a little excited at it though.
Well. All of the comic book heroes were vigilantes. And people who read those still see them as true heroes. And as long as I avoid causing property damage, I should be okay.
A shaky smile grows on Izuku’s face. Just until they let me into the Hero Course, though. And then, I can be a real hero.
Shinsou Hitoshi is having a bad day.
…Most of it had been getting the letter from UA, though.
He hadn’t gotten into the Hero Course. Of course not. Why would that surprise him? Their practical exam was more geared towards people with physically strong quirks. Obviously, that’s the only thing that matters to being a hero, right?
The sarcasm in his thoughts is so thick, it’s almost like an actual presence on his brain.
So, now, Hitoshi has been admitted to the General Education Course of UA. Whippee. Fantastic.
Oh, oh, there’s the sarcasm again.
Bitterness and anger and frustration and tons of other emotions are running through him. So much that he feels like he could drown in it.
A while ago, he had decided to go out, take a walk, get some fresh air.
It hasn’t helped.
He’s still as bitter, angry, frustrated as he was when he had left home. Now he’s even more frustrated, because these awful thoughts and feelings just won’t go away. If anything, at least there’s no one around to bug him-
Suddenly, Hitoshi’s back hits hard against the side of a building, and there’s a knife at his throat.
Wow, that went from zero to one hundred really quick, is his first thought, and then his second thought is, …Shiiiiit.
Before, there was no one around ‘to bug him’. And now, that means there’s no one around to save him.
The attacker stares him in the eyes. “Give me all of your money, or else.”
Hitoshi rolls his eyes. “I don’t have any money. Sorry about your luck.”
This is, apparently, not the right thing to say. The blade presses closer to his throat. For a brief moment, he considers using his quirk-
“Don’t even think about using a quirk to escape.” The attacker growls, and Hitoshi almost wonders if he has a mind-reading quirk. “It’s illegal to use your quirk against someone else, y’know? Even in self defense.”
Hitoshi grits his teeth. That’s a really stupid law.
“If you really don’t have any money, then give me one reason that I shouldn’t kill you right now.”
“I don’t know. Maybe because murder is illegal?” Hitoshi tries.
“So is robbery,” The other deadpans. “You think the law is enough to stop me?”
“Well, I mean, you’re operating under the assumption that the law would be enough to stop me," He mutters.
“You talk too much.”
“Sorry,” Hitoshi apologizes without truly meaning it.
And then, a new voice speaks up. “Um… excuse me?”
The attacker spins around quickly, surprised. Hitoshi is about to sneak away, and then the attacker almost immediately falls over along with the sound of a loud BONK.
Which is then immediately followed by a surprised shout of, “Wow! That actually worked!”
“…What?” Hitoshi asks numbly, because, there really isn’t any other way to process the current situation.
His apparent ‘savior’ is another kid who’s about the same age as him.
“Are you all right?” The kid asks him, “That guy was attacking you, right?”
“Um… yeah…” Hitoshi says slowly, “I’m… I’m okay, I guess…”
“You just… you just… um… you just took that guy out.” Hitoshi mutters, mentally kicking himself. Yes, Hitoshi, that’s a bit obvious.
“You don’t have a hero license, do you?” Hitoshi asks, skeptically.
“Um… no…” The kid mutters sheepishly.
“Doesn’t that… kind of make you a vigilante?”
“…Kind of. ”
“Isn’t that… um… illegal?”
The kid immediately backpedals, “Well, I’m only kind of a vigilante, technically, I’m not!”
“How are you only kind of a vigilante?!”
“The official definition of vigilante is someone who uses their quirks to fight villains without a hero license.”
The kid looks away before replying, “You can’t use your quirk to fight if you don’t have a quirk.”
Dear lord. What is the kid even getting themself into?...
Eventually, Hitoshi mutters, “Yeah, uh, I don’t think that kind of excuse would fly with law enforcement.”
The kid grimaces at him. “You’re not gonna turn me in, are you?”
Hitoshi breathes deeply. “No. I guess that would be a pretty shit way to repay you for, uh, literally saving my life I guess.”
“Oh. Good. Thank you.”
…I should just walk away now. I can walk away now. They saved me, we had a nice chat, things can just drop here. Hitoshi thinks.
And then, his curiosity gets the better of him, and he doesn’t. Instead, he asks, “Shouldn’t you wear a mask or something, though? I mean if I did plan on turning you in, you could get in trouble even if you run away.”
The kid gives him a sheepish look. “I, um. I guess I didn’t think about that.”
Hitoshi blinks at them, exasperated. Seriously, are they prepared for what they're getting himself into, at all? He thinks, and then, that train of thought… leads him somewhere else.
“…Why did you even decide to become a 'kind of' vigilante in the first place?”
The kid pauses for a moment. “…I just want to help people. To-to be a hero. But no one thinks I can because I’m quirkless. So, if they don’t think I can, I’ll prove them wrong. I’m… I’m still going to try to be a hero, but until then, I guess I’ll have to settle for being ‘kind of’ a vigilante.”
They… They just want to be a hero, huh…? But no one thinks they can be one…
Hitoshi thinks it’s a little eerie how closely he relates to that. Because, that’s. That’s what’s going on with him right now.
Oh, this is reckless.
Ooh, this could end up bad.
But, well. Obviously they need some help. And they seems like they’ll make so much of a mess of this that Hitoshi can’t help but feel like he should offer his help.
This has got to be one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done.
“What’s your name?” Hitoshi asks, because he can’t just keep thinking of them as ‘the kid’.
“I’m Midoriya Izuku.”
“Shinsou Hitoshi,” Hitoshi introduces himself. “So, Midoriya, do you have… some kind of base, at least?”
“Why?” Midoriya asks.
Hitoshi sighs, deeply. “Because, against literally all of my better judgement, I’ve decided to help you.”
Midoriya blinks at him, clearly surprised. And then they repeat, “Why?”
“…Let’s just say,” Hitoshi mutters, “I know what it’s like to want to be a hero, but to have everyone tell you that you can’t be one.”
Midoriya pauses. “I do have ‘some kind of base’ I guess.” They then glance down at the person who had attacked Hitoshi and started this whole thing. “…We should probably do something about this guy first, though.”
“Oh. Right. I guess that’s important.”
They deal with the would-be-robber/murderer rather quickly. All they have to do is restrain him and leave him somewhere that the police will find him; Midoriya also leaves behind a few photos to prove that he had been in the wrong.
(When Hitoshi asks how the hell they even had those, Midoriya shows him a small camera device that he has connected to a portable, wireless, printer. Hitoshi comments that he had no idea that you could even buy those kinds of things anymore, to which Midoriya vaguely responds, “You can’t,” )
And then, Midoriya leads Hitoshi to their ‘base’.
“This is the garbage beach,” Hitoshi says, blinking at it. “Your base is at the garbage beach.”
Next to him, Midoriya shrugs. “There’s privacy, supplies, and hey, it gives you motivation to shower every day.”
Okay, deep breaths Hitoshi, you can do this.
“All right, all right, I’m good. Lead the way.”
Midoriya leads him through the mountains of garbage carefully, until they approach what looks like some kind of a shack. One end of it seems newer than the other, and Hitoshi assumes that Midoriya must have expanded on the size of it more than once.
They walk in.
“Well, um… here we are,” Midoriya says, and gestures around at the space.
There are three piles, not labeled, but one of them looks like a bunch of broken technology pieces, and the other two look… like possibly working but very skeptical quality pieces of technology. There’s a work table with a chair in front of it; on the table is a bunch of scattered papers, and at least seven cans of soda. The chair itself is green with a tacky pattern, but it has a bunch of red… stains…
“It’s paint,” Midoriya assures him immediately when they catches Hitoshi staring at it. “I’ve checked. I promise.”
Then, there’s the sound of papers crinkling, and cans clinking, and Hitoshi looks back up at the table. There’s a ferret sitting there now, looking at him; it has a small visor on its head, and the screen display simply shows [?].
“What the hell.”
“Oh, that’s Garby,” Midoriya says nonchalantly. There’s a pause. “Short for ‘Garbage’.” There’s a moment where Midoriya tries to keep a straight face, but then their mouth twitches, and they snort a laugh. “Sorry, I’ve just… I’ve always wanted to be able to tell someone that.”
Hitoshi blinks. “Garby.”
“Short for ‘Garbage’.”
“…You must love him a whole lot,” Hitoshi mutters, sarcastically.
With complete sincerity, Midoriya replies, “He’s a treasure.”
“You know, Midoriya, I don’t know if you’re trying to scare me away, or if you’re literally begging for help at this point.”
Midoriya sucks in a deep breath. “Please help me, I have no idea what I’m doing.”
Hitoshi nods. “Yeah. Mhmm. That’s apparent.” He sighs. “Okay, first things first; you need some kind of a mask to block your face.”
Midoriya seems to consider it for a moment and then starts digging through one of the piles off to the side.
“Not to interrupt you,” Hitoshi mutters, “But next thing to work on is definitely organization skills.”
“…That’s fair enough, I guess,” Midoriya mumbles back.
Eventually, they pull back from the pile with a bulky pair of… goggles? Glasses? Both? They explain, “I made these a while ago, so I’ll have to check that they’re, ah, still functional, but they’re supposed to be able to switch between night vision, regular, and sunglasses.” They put the goggles on, and they cover the upper half of their face. “Well? That good enough for a mask?”
“Hmmm…” Hitoshi hums, thinking. “Just one more thing,” He reaches to the hood on Midoriya’s jacket, and pulls it over their head so that it comes down to where the goggles stop.
Midoriya frowns. “Is my hair really an issue? I mean, everyone always tells me that I’m… I dunno, plain looking. ”
“How many people do you know that have curly green hair?” Hitoshi shoots back.
“Fair point.” Midoriya sighs.
Another thought comes to Hitoshi again. “This one is just an idea, it’s not exactly necessary… But if we’re trying to hide your identity as a vigilante, it would certainly help.”
“Well? What is it?”
Hitoshi hesitates for a moment, then mutters, “If you were to fake having a quirk, less people would suspect you because you’re quirkless.” Midoriya’s eyes fill with an emotion that Hitoshi can’t name on a first glance. “It’s just an idea. I understand if you’re against it…”
“I think it’s brilliant,” Midoriya says. “And if we’re on the topic of identities, I need a vigilante name too. So the quirk and the name should be related somehow.”
“Hmmm…” Hitoshi turns to the piles of gadgets. “You made all of these, didn’t you? Is there some kind of motif that’s similar with all of them? I mean, besides being made out of garbage,”
After giving a small pout at Hitoshi’s last sentence, Midoriya’s expression shifts to one lost in thought. “Hmmm… Oh, I got it! Usually, adding electric charges to things is really simple and effective, so I do that quite a bit! So it could be some kind of electric quirk.”
“No one in your family has an electric quirk, right?”
“Not that I know of…” Midoriya murmurs. “Now, I just need a name…”
They sit there for a moment, thinking. Nervously, Midoriya fiddles with the sleeves of their jacket, when suddenly, they seem to have a realization.
“I got it! What about… Green Lightning ?”
“I mean, don’t get me wrong Midoriya, Garby is a treasure,”
“Of course he is, Shinsou-kun.”
“-but aren’t you… I don’t know, worried about other rodents- no offense Garby- getting around in your space?”
“Nah, Garby takes care of that problem himself. Kinda like a cat. Also, ferrets aren’t rodents.”
“Oh. What about diseases though? I mean, if Garby is just living in this garbage dump…”
“That’s his quirk. He can’t get infected with diseases.”
“Oooh, that’s convenient. Wait, how do you know?”
“This. It’s a quirk sensor. I used to know someone who’s quirk was, well, sensing quirks, and they helped me put this together.”
“…Do most animals have quirks?”
“Not that I know of. Heh, it’s funny. Animals with quirks are rare, and people without quirks are rare, but here we are. A quirkless kid, and a ferret with a quirk. It’s… kinda ironic when I think about it.”