"I can't believe it, they still haven't caught this man?" his mom said, "He's erased people's quirks permanently!"
"You'd think they'd catch someone like that by now!"
"They might not want to catch him all that much Mom, he's a vigilante, he only takes Villain's quirks"
"But isn't it wrong to take something that belongs to someone else like that?"
"Hmmm, you might be right Mom, but I think it's fine since they've used those powers to hurt others in the first place, they don't deserve them."
"Oh, I suppose you're right Izuku." she looks away from the news, which is talking about one of the most, if not the most, notorious vigilante in Japan 'The Headhunter' who leaves his victims (comprised solely of known criminals or people who have committed crimes that were unknown before his attack, but found out soon after) quirkless, people assume his quirk is Permanent Erasure. Inko checks her wristwatch "Oh dear! Izuku I have to leave for work now, make sure you get to school safe, okay?"
"I'll be fine Mooom, I'm going to school with Kacchan, you know how he is, if anyone lays a hand on me they may as well be asking to get fried."
"That's the problem Izuku, I'm not scared for you...I'm more scared that Katsuki will hurt someone."
"Yeaaaaah, that's a lot more likely than me getting hurt." 'Especially if you knew what I was capable of...'
"I'll keep him under control, don't worry." Izuku smiled brightly at his mother.
"If you say so, honey," she kisses him on his forehead "Have fun at school"
His blinding smile quickly turns to a devilish smirk.
"They really could've come up with something better than 'The Headhunter'."
"Although...There are vigilantes called Pop Step and Knuckleduster... You know, 'Headhunter' is actually pretty good."
"But... 'Permanent Erasure' huh? They really have no idea, oh well, hopefully, they never find out. Ignorance is bliss after all." Izuku has always had a habit of talking to himself, it slows his brain down to comprehensible levels. The closest to relaxed he ever gets.
"Well, best get going otherwise Kacchan is going to be pissed." he says picking up his backpack having already dressed and eaten breakfast.
"Deku shut the fuck up, you don't have to scream."
"Ehehe, sorry Kacchan, I got overexcited. I didn't think I'd enjoy going to U.A with you, but I guess I was wrong."
"Tch, course you were. How's general ed, Mr Honours student?"
"Too easy... I've already covered all of the material, in fact, I'm excluded from the lessons and allowed to do my own thing as long as I sit the exams and get above 90% on them!"
"Pfft. Y'know that's the fucking reason people assume you have an intelligence quirk, no one in their right mind is going to assume you're 'quirkless'" Katsuki knew about Izuku's quirk (of course he did, Katsuki was the first person to experience Izuku's quirk first-hand. He made Izuku promise to tell him everything he could find out about his quirk after that incident), truth be told he knew more than Izuku realised he did.
'Well... I technically do have an intelligence-augmenting quirk but it's more geared towards tinkering with equipment and stuff... Maybe it has some side effects?'
"Oi, dork, you're spacing out again!"
"Ahh! Sorry." He said as he started rubbing the back of his neck, another habit he had developed over his lifetime.
And so this pattern continued, small talk, Izuku getting lost in thought and Bakugou bringing him back to reality, as it has all throughout their friendship...One Izuku was so very grateful for, although he really thought he blew it back then.
"Oi, Deku, why are you crying again?" the blonde with the explosive nature and quirk said.
"I-I-I still haven't mani-manef-"
"Stop trying to use complicated words when you're crying, idiot!"
"I-I still haven't gotten m-m-my quirk!" he says as sobs escape his lips.
"That's why you're crying? It's fine, even if you end up being quirkless!"
"No, it isn't! I can't become a quirkless hero!"
He reaches out to grab Izuku and pull him up so that he can get him off the ground and explain why Izuku is being an idiot.
But Izuku feels something new coming from Katsuki.
A light. Bright and powerful and just itching to be released and just under the surface of his skin. Izuku doesn't even think he just grabs it and pulls.
And the light fades from Katsuki. He gasps. And the look on his face is nothing short of horrified.
The explosions suddenly coming from Izuku make no sense to him, this was Kacchan's quirk, why did he have it?
More explosions, Izuku can't control this new ability, one he shouldn't logically possess.
'This isn't good, he doesn't know my quirk, he's scared.'
"Deku! CALM DOWN!"
Katsuki's shout managed to get Izuku's attention.
"Listen, calm down, my quirk works partially on emotions."
"Deep, slow breaths."
Izuku follows his instructions.
"Okay, do you know how to give it back?"
"I-I think so."
This time he looks at his hands and he sees that same bright, unrestrained glow.
He grabs it but pushes it toward Katsuki this time.
Smaller, quieter, much more controlled explosions form in Katsuki's palm as he tests out whether or not his quirk is the same.
Izuku cowers 'H-He must be so angry, I took his qui-'
"Your quirk is so cool! It's so strong!"
"B-But I take other's quirks? I can't become a hero with a quirk like this!"
"You could take the villain's quirks!"
"And give them to others!"
"Like Robin Hood!" Bakugou said, his eyes glowing almost as brightly as the power Izuku can feel dwelling within him.
"Oi, Deku, what's the stupid smile about?"
"Oh, Sorry I was reminiscing."
"Hmmm, what about?"
"That time you said I could be like Robin Hood!" the boy's smile blind Katsuki as he turns towards him.
"Y'know as cheesy as that line was, I still think you could be a hero Deku. Your quirk doesn't sound like it's fit for heroics, but it's not the quirk that matters but the person behind it."
"People would be scared of someone with a stealing quirk Kacchan, even if they were a hero. Besides I've already found a different dream, I'm fine with not becoming a hero."
'Liar, you think I haven't seen all the hero notes you've made? Or that I don't know why you leave the house at midnight every night? Idiot, course I know I've been your best friend for forever, stupid Deku...'
"Whatever you say, man, I still say you're more fitting to be a hero than most of my classmates."
"That's mean Kacchan! Your classmates will make great heroes! Ochako, Tenya, Tsuyu, Kirishima, Todoroki, you're all so amazing! There's no way I could ever match any of you with a quirk like mine!"
"Deku," the venom in Katsuki's voice is almost tangible "I fucking hate when you talk about yourself like that and you fucking know it. You could be a hero, that's a fact, you've got that push to help people even though you pretend to be quirkless."
"Hell, you'd be able to take the hero license exam right now and fucking ace it, I'm sure of that."
"Ehehe, it's nice to have someone believe in you." his wide smile returns somehow even bigger than before
"Sure it is, why do you think I get so pumped up when you tell me something like that? Stupid Deku..."
Most of their walk is spent in similar idle chatter until they get closer to the school and others join them on their pilgrimage.
"Heeeey Deku, Bakugou!"
"Hey! I have a name, you know!" Ochako replies, pouting.
"He won't listen, nicknames are kinda his thing..." Izuku says with a sigh "That's how our whole class thought my real name was Deku and not Izuku... They only found out at graduation..."
"That was fucking hilarious, considering you spent ages helping them with their exam preparation and they STILL didn't know your name."
"Don't rub it in!"
The rest of their trek was complete in a trio. Half of Izuku's mind focused on responding to them, the other half focused on planning tonight's mission.
His quota for today was only 2, normally he'd try for more even if they were basic thugs, but tonight's targets weren't any basic thugs, they'd need his full attention and an elaborate plan, he had to be careful.
'I have another 6 hours to plan this out considering I'm exempt from all lessons today... Tonight's going to be longer than most, it's been a long time since I've gone after so many dangerous criminals in a single night.'
An alarm, blares loudly, signalling Izuku to start his preparations for the night.
'9 pm, mom is asleep. Coast is clear.'
He thinks as he slips on his black and grey costume, he prepares all his weapons, straps on his armour plates and puts on his self-engineered voice manipulator.
The Headhunter used blades without points, enough to make shallow cuts but not to maim or kill. That was effectively his signature. If he got a cut on you, it was already over, he could take your quirk immediately all it took was ingesting his victim's DNA.
Izuku's fighting style was focused on his speed, damage was irrelevant, once he took the thug's quirk they were unable to stand up to him even if he didn't use any of his offensive quirks, not that he ever needed to. These kinds of people knew when they were outmatched and bolted.
'Alright, here goes.'
His hearing enhanced and sharpened as his chosen quirk started to function.
This quirk he got from basic gang member near the beginning of his 'career' as The Headhunter, said gang member got cocky and tried to take on Izuku but that didn't work out so well for him.
'Okay. First target is Muscular who recently killed the water horses, leaving their only child an orphan.' Izuku's heart cried out...He was too soft for his job, but he was the only one who could do it, and so he would continue doing it.
He focused on the specific words he wanted to hear, any information on Muscular, minutes past, or maybe they were just second but he eventually got something better, a sighting.
"AAAAH, IT'S A VILLAIN!" 'Woman's voice, middle-aged.'
"SHOW ME YOUR BLOOD!"
'That's definitely Muscular, crazed motherfucker... I'm bringing you down, you'll pay for what you've done.'
'Judging by the sound that was... 7. No, 6 blocks away.'
'I can't use [Bolt] right now, I can't control it well enough yet, running into buildings definitely isn't something I want right now...'
He breaks into a sprint, blowing his previous highest speed out the park even without using [Bolt], desperate situations call for these kinds of measures after all.
'Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, if you're too slow she'll die, go faster, you can do this.'
"I'LL JUST RIP YOU APART, IT WON'T EVEN HURT."
"YOU'LL ALREADY BE DEAD!"
'Put a hand on another person, and I will personally make sure you end up in Tartarus, or worse.'
'And that's after taking that prized muscle enhancement quirk of yours...'
Izuku's blood boiling only increased his speed further. He didn't believe in limits, not when someone was in need of his help. The day he can't rise to the opportunity, is the day he stops being 'The Headhunter', no, the day he stops being Izuku.
And that day...It most certainly isn't today.
With his identity hidden, he can be a hero, he can help people, he can save lives.
No judgement, no social interaction, no bullying.
He can live up to his true potential.
Izuku is a weak, meek, quirkless kid.
The Headhunter is a powerful, respected, unparalleled vigilante.
And he was going to live up to his name.
"YOU'RE DEAD MEAT!"
He didn't even need his super hearing to hear that.
It came from the alley right in front of him.
He was going to fight Muscular, the man who murdered two heroes.
And he was going to win.
So he runs into said alley.
'Huh, there's no one here.'
"Stop hiding Muscular, I'm here to take you down!" he shouted, a last-ditch effort in case the villain was about to kill whoever it was he was toying with.
"HAHAHA!" that bellowing laughter... It didn't belong to Muscular... Izuku recognised that laugh, he'd heard it a million times over "What a heroic spirit to run all this way to find a Villain about to hurt a civilian!"
"Unfortunately for you Headhunter, Muscular was never here!"
'Oh fuck... Now I've done it... I'd need at least a hundred quirks to take All Might on head-on.'
What happens next was unexpected, a fireball flew toward Izuku, one he blocked effortlessly using [Forcefield].
"Endeavour! No need to attack him! We negotiate first remember?"
"I don't negotiate with scum... I eradicate it, he's as much of a villain as those he captures and leaves quirkless..."
"Unlicensed quirk use is a crime, you'd think a Number 1 Hero would know that..."
'Hold on... Is this a fucking joke? Am I hallucinating? Not only did they send All Might after me... But Endeavour too?'
"I advise you to stand down." a tired voice sounded from above him, a silhouette on the lamp that illuminated the two heroes and the vigilante.
"Eraserhead." Izuku blurted out.
"Oh. I'm flattered, you managed to recognise me."
"With that position you'll have me in your line of sight at all times, ready to erase my quirk at any second..."
"Apt analysis Kid, too bad you ended up being a vigilante, UA could've used a kid like you."
'Well, actually I'm a student at UA sir, in fact, you've seen me around and even ended up allowing me to stay with Class 1-A once in a while when I get bored...'
"Enough talking! I'm burning him to a crisp!"
"NO, ENDEAVOUR, STOP!"
All Might was too late to stop the hot-headed (literally) hero who had prepared another more massive fireball, due to its brightness Eraserhead couldn't erase it... Or he had other reasons.
It didn't matter, fact was... Izuku was about to get cooked alive.
'FUCK, [Forcefield] won't be enough... I have to use it... This could go horribly. Oh well, better that than dying.'
Izuku created a shield using his [Forcefield] quirk.
The shield became more opaque, defined, solid. It was easy to tell how much stronger it had gotten.
The fireball was nearing quickly...
Once it hit the shield, instead of slowly withering out of existence...
It got reflected.
'He won't be able to dodge it!'
So Izuku ran, in his subconscious, he realised he wouldn't be able to make it, especially not running up a wall, so his body automatically used [Bolt] and [Amplify] to ensure he'd save Eraserhead.]
The world slowed down, the fireball barely moved, and the blood trickling from Izuku's nose, through the holes in his helmet/mask seemed to resist gravity.
He ran, faster than ever in his life.
Towards the building closest to the lamp, and right up it, once he was on Eraserhead's level he shot off the wall toward the other building, grabbing Eraserhead as he went.
Then he ran all the way up that building, slowing down as he went so he could expend the momentum he had built up without killing both of them, they wouldn't have made it to the roof had Eraserhead not used his capture weapon like a rope and pulled them the rest of the way up.
"You're more of a hero than him..."
Izuku had no air left in his lungs, no oxygen in his body. Everything ached.
He looked back at the Class 1-A homeroom teacher... His worst mistake.
Izuku turned back around almost as fast as he had ran up the wall.
His mask was gone, his identity revealed.
"Y-Y-Yes... ?" He saw no reason in lying, his disguise quirk wouldn't help him now, it was too late.
The man stared at him dumbfounded.
"Your papers say that you are quirkless."
"W-Well... To the rest of the world, I am quirkless t-there's only one other person that knows about my quirk."
The little whimper Aizawa got in return told him all he needed to know.
"Why did you keep your quirk secret?"
"I steal quirks."
"What Japan thinks is permanent erasure... Is actually the ability to take someone's quirk for yourself permanently."
"I knew I wouldn't be able to become a hero... S-So I started taking criminal's quirks, thinking I'd be at least somewhat helpful."
"B-B-But I've probably done more harm than good, huh?"
His voice broke several times, betraying the stream of tears that Aizawa was likely to see should Izuku turn to face him.
"I-I just wanted... To help people. T-To turn something which could only be seen as a Villainous quirk into something heroic...I-I-I failed, miserably."
"Midoriya." Izuku visibly flinches at the man's tone "Did you or did you not just use a combination of quirks which could've easily gotten you to another district in a minute to save me? Did you or did you not just sacrifice your only escape to save someone?"
"Did you or did you not just stop an idiot hero from frying someone?"
"Then you just did something very heroic. With your 'villainous' quirk."
Endeavour's shout could be heard from the alleyway.
"Listen Midoriya, run to Dagobah Beach, I'll meet you there with All Might once I manage to get rid of Endeavour. We'll discuss this whole ordeal, properly."
Aizawa turned around and jumped down to street level.
Izuku ran, jumping from roof to roof toward Dagobah beach.
'It's over, I'm going to be exposed as the Headhunter, taken to juvenile detention... Kacchan will be mad.'
'I hate this, why couldn't I just have been born with a normal quirk...'
"Midoriya!" 'Aizawa? But how did he get to the beach before me?'
Izuku jumped off the roof he was on and rolled as he hit the ground so as to absorb the impact and not hurt himself.
"Young Midoriya, I truly can not believe you were the Headhunter all this time..."
'He's disappointed, course he is, he's All Might. A hero, he looks at vigilantes like me with disdain.'
"WONDERFUL WORK YOUNG MAN!" 'wHa-?!' "I really shouldn't be praising a vigilante, but you were an honest help, taking care of thugs in a more permanent way, and often leaving nothing but a scratch or few on them too!"
"Alright, stop gushing over a student All Might."
"Oh, right." All Might clears his throat with a cough.
"We've got a proposition for you from Principal Nezu himself!"
'Nezu?! This won't end well...'
"We won't reveal your identity as the Headhunter."
'Oh? Maybe not so bad after all...'
"In exchange for your teaching at U.A. You will assist in all of Class 1-A's subjects and some of Class 1-B's subjects, you will also be a Quirk Advisor, that is to say, any student of U.A may ask you for advice on their quirk."
"B-But, isn't a requirement of teaching at U.A being a Pro-Hero?"
Both heroes are now sporting dangerous smiles.
"You'll take the Hero License exam tomorrow, you won't even need to make a debut just the fact that you are the youngest Pro Hero in Japan will make you popular, besides, you being an assistant teacher to 1-A will be helpful seeing as they all already know you. Oh, once you do become a teacher you will need to be professional at times but you can just talk to them as your friends, you're just a child denying you that would be ineffective."
"B-But... This all sounds too good, shouldn't this be more of a trade? And what about the exam, you're treating it like I'll pass it no problem even though I haven't studied or anything, and I'm not really hero material as i-"
"Midoriya." Aizawa's voice was powerful a stark contrast to his usual tiredness but he has to put his point across "It is a trade, U.A gets a young prodigy teacher and you get to become a hero. As to that exam... You managed to block Endeavour's attack, you'll pass no problem."
"We look forward to working with you!" All Might says jovially "Now, off you go Midoriya! You need all the sleep you can get in preparation for the exam! You have an authorised absence for tomorrow, Aizawa will go to the testing grounds with you, after which you will be switched from U.A student to U.A faculty member!"