At nine years old, there were two things Izuku knew: one, All-Might was the greatest hero ever and two, quirkless people were believed to be useless, no matter what they managed to achieve. So when Izuku met his hero on his way home one day, he automatically decides to mark the day as the greatest day of his life, ignoring that he had to be saved by said hero when the villain reached out to grab him. He didn’t think about the villain groaning on the ground, or the bullies that were chasing him, or even about the fact that everyone considered the quirkless as less useful than dirt. All that ran through the child’s mind was, “Can I be a hero without a quirk?”
He felt his heart shatter when his hero looked at him with an unforgiving gaze. “Be realistic and have obtainable goals,” he said before grabbing the villain and leaping away. Izuku could hear the people behind him shuffle their feet awkwardly, before they started to move forward. Izuku barely reacted, doing nothing more than half-turning his head to the side to see how much he’d need to brace himself. He idly noted that Kacchan was walking the other direction, while the others came forward. Wind quirk, wings, elongated fingers, and then he stopped trying to figure out their quirks and simply stayed on the ground. Nothing mattered anymore. It was the worst beating he’d ever gone through.
Rather than going home to a mother that would stare with a pitying gaze, Izuku headed to a beach not too far from his home, hiding in the trash to bandage his wounds. He eventually stumbled home, bandages covering cuts and bruises, his ribs wrapped with bandages, and an ace bandage on his wrist, to find a burned out husk of a home. His suitcase fell to the ground. He’d thought to come home from the week-long trip to Tokyo to find his mother waiting for him, but instead he only found a home that had burned down long enough ago that the heat had fully dissipated, leaving nothing more than the smell of fire and ash behind. Izuku turned around, and ran back to the beach. His mother hadn’t come to the school to pick him up, nor called while they were gone, meaning she either was dead or had done like everyone else and given up on him.
It took a little over seven months, but he eventually managed to compile enough information from the library to learn how to make a welder, which lead to him knocking out pieces of cars with a sledgehammer, and then welding them together. The end result was two buses that still had all their sides and most of the roof still up, doors taken off, welded together for the main living area, with eight cars, four on each side, connected, one side for his sleeping area, the other acting as a kind of storage space for tools and other supplies. The cars were turned to where their side met either the front or the back of the bus, giving more easily accessed space than if he had simply left them from hood to trunk, though his sleeping space actually did have the cars connected by the hood, making it harder for anyone to spot them should they actually enter the makeshift house while he was sleeping.
Izuku didn’t enroll for school at the start of the next year, choosing instead to continue with his self-education method and teaching himself everything he felt he needed to know to go to UA. It wasn’t hard to get a homeschooling license, especially since he got paid while helping people with random chores. No one seemed to realize he was homeless, and so he made an okay life, learning how to make things and eventually finding books in the library on different martial arts styles. It didn’t take long before he accidentally became a vigilante.
Izuku had taken to going to the more run-down parts of Musutafu, everything in those sections being cheaper than they were in the general populace. He always, without fail, wore a hood and a small face-mask to hide his age and appearance. Then he started noticing people getting assaulted in alleyways and kids getting snatched from their parents. The first crime he solved was an attempted kidnapping. He left the perpetrator tied and dangling from a light post while the family thanked him for saving their two kids.
He became Apparition, the vigilante that came out of nowhere, went nowhere, and always saved his target. Many people had tried to follow him home, but always, without fail, got lost in a trash heap. A few years later, thirteen year old Midoriya Izuku was a little above the average high-school student’s education level, had a home that, while it would never be the envy of the neighborhood, served every purpose he needed, and was a kick ass vigilante. He’d heard rumors of a man for the past few years building up, rumors that said he took and gave quirks as he chose. One thankful victim had told ‘Apparition’ about the man and told him to go there if he wanted a specific quirk. Izuku bowed to the victim, before vanishing onto the roofs, not even considering the words. He’d made it this far without a quirk, and he’d be damned if he used one now.
He’d met Eraserhead on several occasions, and worked with him on three of those occasions, but he was not prepared for the Underground Hero to be waiting on him on a rooftop one night with food. He eyed the hero warily, not sure if he should accept the food. He’d been surviving fine on the scraps he found.
“It’s not laced with anything, Problem Child. We both know I can’t take you in for breaking the law anyways. Eat, you’re too skinny.” The hero huffed at the technically-is-but-not-a-vigilante in front of him. The kid was obviously severely underweight, and while one meal wouldn’t fix that, maybe he could gain the kid’s trust enough that he’d accept more things from him. He activated his quirk for a second one more time just to make sure, but he got the same result as always. This kid had no quirk. He carefully walked over and sat next to the kid, pulling out his own snack. “So, you look about middle school age. Where do you plan on going to high school at?”
The boy tensed. “I wanted to go to Yuuei, but everyone said it’s impossible for someone like me. But, they would have said this was impossible for someone like me too, so I don’t know. What do you think, Eraserhead-san?”
“I think that quirkless people face too much discrimination. I think that it’s going to be hard as hell, but a quirkless person can do just as well as someone with a quirk. I think you already have more potential than all the classes I’ve had previously combined.” The hero placed his hand on the vigilante’s shoulder. “The quirk doesn’t make the hero, Apparition, the hero makes the quirk, or lack of one. There are plenty of heroes whose quirks are useless in hero work, but they are heroes anyways. Think about it, Big Shot’s quirk is literally knowing how to disassemble and reassemble electronics. Lunch Rush makes good food. Ectoplasm, while he can clone himself, has no legs. It’ll be hard, and you may have to make your way up from the General Education course like I did, but you can go to Yuuei, and more importantly, you can become a hero.” The Erasure Hero turned to see tears streaming down what little of Apparition’s face he could see beyond the mask. “No, kid, no, don’t, fuck.” His hands fluttered a bit, not knowing what to do with a crying kid. Usually he knew what he did to make kids cry, but this time he had no clue.
“It’s fine, you’re just the first person to tell me that.”
“What? That you’ll have to work hard?”
“That I can be a hero.”
At fourteen, shortly after sending Yuuei his application in the mail, Apparition got seriously injured while saving Present Mic from an ambush. He was joined in rescuing the vocal hero by Eraserhead, who it was a treat to see in daylight. Apparition disappeared before the two heroes could notice just how hurt he was, intent on reaching his home so he could stitch himself up in time. Doing parkour with a hole not only in your stomach but two more in an arm and a leg? Near impossible. It was hard enough that he didn’t take in the presence following him. He crashed through the bus door, moving as fast as he could to get to the medical side of the two buses, and immediately sitting down to try and stitch himself up, only to wake up moments later to find himself on the ground. The last thing he saw before he finally completely faded out was a pair of worried gray eyes and ragged black hair.
Izuku finally came too to see white walls and a green curtain. He had no clue as to where he was, he’d never been in a hospital room with so many cots in it. He turned his head to the other side to see Eraserhead, his head pillowed in his arms on the side of the bed, sleeping. Izuku lazily reached up to brush at his eyes and hummed when he felt his hand touch skin… HIS MASK! He felt himself spiraling into a panic. He barely recognized when Eraserhead got up and started coaching him, bringing him down from the panic attack. “It’s okay kid, no one knows anything except that you got hurt by a villain. They know that you are a vigilante since you helped save Mic, but they haven’t been allowed in here, and Recovery Girl and I have been the only two to see you without your mask. They don’t even know your vigilante name. Recovery Girl didn’t even run any tests to find out who you are.” Eraserhead’s voice and reassurances finally brought him down enough that the hero felt safe enough to leave the kid alone for a minute to go get Recovery Girl. She’d healed a small amount of the injuries, but there was still some healing needed, especially since the kid had been too tired to allow for her to do much more than force the wounds loosely closed and bandage them.
Izuku watched the tired hero slip out of the room, glad that if anyone had to see a face he hadn’t shown to the public in a long time, it was Eraserhead. He glanced back to the door when it squeaked open, tiredly glaring at the skeletal-like man that slipped in. “You’re not supposed to be in here.” Izuku nearly growled. The man quickly spun around, staring at the kid that was supposed to be unconscious.
“My boy!” The man half-bellowed, puffing up to reveal All-Might. “I was not aware that you were awake!”
“Probably because there are only two people allowed in here right now.” The young boy glared at the number one hero, too tired to be surprised by him being a living skeleton. Served him the fuck right.
“Ah, yes, well. There was a very important matter I wished to discuss with you! You see, I am the eighth holder of One For All, a power that has been passed down for generations, from the start of quirks. I was in a fight with a villain about five years ago, and he managed to land a hit that destroyed my body, leaving me with no stomach and only one lung. This is all very hush-hush, as you may can realize, but I wish for you to be the ninth holder! I-“
“No.” The vigilante’s voice was bland, but still lashed out like a knife. “I don’t need your quirk.”
“But, you see, your my last hope! I really-“
“Pass it on to someone else. I don’t want it.” He went to turn over, only to find himself suddenly pinned against the bed.
“I’m sorry it has to be this way, but this quirk really needs to go on so that he can be defeated.” All-Might quickly bit into his skin hard enough to draw blood, holding the dripping hand over the greenette’s mouth. He tried yanking his head away, but the symbol of peace simply forced it to still and forced him to keep his mouth open while blood dribbled in. He tried to spit it out, neither of the pair noticed the door opening to reveal furious red eyes and a woman waving her syringe cane, but Izuku instinctively knew some of the blood had gone down his throat.
Eraserhead’s voice was colder than a blackhole when he spoke, “What do you think you’re doing?”