"If you want a Quirk so much, maybe you should take a leap of faith off the roof, and get one in the next life!"
Izuku Midoriya had listened to thousands of people tell him he was worthless, helpless, someone who was worse than the lowlifes, lower than low, because he was Quirkless.
"He's pathetic! He still can't face reality!"
He'd been told thousands of times, in hundreds of ways, that everything he wanted- to be a hero- was impossible for him due to his lack of power.
"What can you do? You're Quirkless."
He'd shrugged them all off, over and over again, because he wanted to be a hero the way most people wanted to breathe. It was almost involuntary, needed in a way Izuku had never been able to put into words. Not in a way anyone would be able to understand.
And then he met All Might and- and-
"It's not bad to dream, but you also have to consider what is realistic, young man. You should probably give it up."
-he thought, maybe, he should have been listening all those thousands of times he was told to give up on his dream. That he would never make it. All those times Kacchan had scoffed and called him a 'useless, shitty nerd'.
All he really had was his brain.
And he proved that, when he later saved Kacchan from the slime monster. He gave the heroes their opening from the shadows, and slipped away in the chaos. He had no desire to deal with the way he knew he'd be treated by the pros due to his lack of quirk.
In most universes, Yagi Toshinori would then find Midoriya Izuku and offer him a hand and hope. Izuku would rise to become a shining example of heroism, a bright pillar, a shining sun for others to follow into a golden age of heroes.
In this universe, that was not the case.
In this universe, another saw what Izuku had done. Another saw a chance, and one who would consider Midoriya Izuku worthy in another universe, would instead reach out to him in his hour of need.
Akaguro Chizome hated so called 'heroes' like those he had just seen. 'Heroes' who pretended they were like All Might, heroes who stood around and did nothing because their Quirks failed them. Heroes who waited for others to do the work they were supposed to do.
Heroes….that stood by while a child acted.
Chizome tilted his head, a low considering hum escaping his throat as he tracked the boy who had given All Might his opening. His notebook was sitting on the ground.
Chizome picked it up without anyone seeing, and flipped through it. He paused, backing up and reading rather than scanning the pages. This…
This was something completely unexpected.
The boy was Quirkless, but a genius. This notebook broke down every hero he had gotten ahold of, laid out strengths and weaknesses, plots and notes on how to deal with them if they went rogue, how they could have handled their previous fights better…
Chizome laughed. This boy was a prized blade not yet forged. He had all the makings of someone great laid out here, in this notebook. In the way he revealed his tactical thoughts in the breakdown of fights, and suggestions for how to handle another situation like the previous.
This boy was a gift. He had no need of a Quirk.
How had no one picked up on him yet? Chizome's eyes snapped up and he darted through the crowd, following in the boys footsteps.
He would watch the boy, and perhaps...perhaps he would be a worthy heir to making the world a better place, full of heroes that were worthy of that title.
Time would tell.
Chizome frowned darkly from his place perched on the tall powerline poll. The boy was so full of potential and this...this scum was crushing it. Teachers were useless and worthless, and the children were being all but encouraged to bully him. None stepped in, not on behalf of this boy- Midoriya Izuku- because he was quirkless and apparently not worthy of the same protections they enforced on behalf of the children with Quirks.
Chizome sneered. He absently sharpened his prized blade, using the repetitive and meditative motion to temper his fury. He'd watched this boy over the last few weeks. He was bright, and alert, and so very willing to learn. But he was overlooked. Pushed around. Looked down on, and it… it made Chizome angry. Made he want to pay a visit to these fools that called themselves teachers.
There was a reason he called himself 'Stain.'
If these supposed adults would not act, would let this bright child be crushed without a whisper, would ignore the mother who tried to interfere where she could well- If the system was content to set the mother's complaints aside because her son was quirkless and thus worth less to the system...
Chizome would step in for them both.
Inko almost brained the man with a frying pan the first time she saw him.
He had been hovering outside her kitchen window, up in the trees. She just happened to catch a glimpse of movement that didn't belong and she had spotted him shifting along the branches. She would have thrown the frying pan at him- even if she missed, her Quirk would have allowed her to redirect it- but then she spotted her son in his arms.
And to be perfectly honest, Inko wasn't...exactly sure what she did next.
She only knows that she launched herself out the window, into the tree, her entire kitchen collection of knives floating around her head, the frying pan still clenched in her hand, dripping suds of soap onto the ground. She isn't sure she would have stopped beyond the snarled-
"Give me back my son-"
-and the insane thought in her head:
Organs are small objects, all I need to do is pull-
-because Inko isn't stupid, her son got his analyzing skills from her and she can see the calluses on the male's hands, the way he held himself, the way he moved. And she knew she wouldn't be able to hurt him and keep Izuku safe at the same time, not in a straight fight, so if she had to grab his heart with her Quirk and rip it out of his chest, well what mother wouldn't do anything for their son?
But her son was awake and aware and he lifted his hands and called out, halfway panicking-
Inko paused. The man is in what she would later learn is civilian wear for him, dark pants and heavy combat boots that lack the spikes of his 'Stain' outfit. She can still see the various knifes and daggers tucked away under the turtleneck- a dark red- that he wears, his black hair pulled back into a messy tail.
She paused, and the knives she had been prepared to use, pause in the air, hovering over her shoulders like a deadly shawl. She looked at the blood red eyes that had stared at her, analyzed her, and she said absolutely nothing, but the man nodded anyway, having heard the unvoiced warning that shone so brightly in her eyes.
It was this moment, this meeting of minds, this change and quirk of fate that would ripple through the verse and change everything.
Izuku applied for UA.
He doesn't aim for the Hero Course. Isn't even sure he'd get in if he tried, not right then, instead he turns his attention to General Studies.
Even if it's not the Hero Course, UA's curriculum is still one of the very best in Japan as a whole, and graduation from this school would open an entire world to him that would otherwise be closed. Especially since he had no Quirk and would be discriminated against anyway.
(And, to be entirely honest...Izuku wasn't sure he wanted to be a hero anymore. Hadn't been since All Might had told him to give up. That Chizome had sat him down and talked about what he knew, what he learned….what he'd seen-
Well. Izuku wasn't sure he wanted to be a hero and have a system like that get in his way. He'd already seen how the system worked with the Quirkless after all. Perhaps he would just….work around it?)
Chizome had worked with him over the months leading up to the entrance exam, despite how he told Izuku that the world of Heroes had degraded into a place not worthy of the name. He trained Izuku the entire time, worked on his speed, on his mind, on his ability to think under pressure, and trained him on the dos-and-don'ts of fighting hand to hand.
Izuku thrived under his attention.
And he finds himself smiling, laughing in ways he never had before.
Catches his mother laughing and smiling over tea and dinner in a way she hadn't since almost before Izuku can remember. He sees Chizome-san coaching his mother through the motions that would enable her to fight. To keep herself safe, and it soothes Izuku in a way that he can't quite put into words.
Izuku noticed that his mother walked with her spine straight, and her shoulders back, her head up and eyes forward and alert. He noticed as she lost weight, and her entire baring changed just a bit.
She was….happier. More confident. Showing her skills and brain off. Working with her quirk. And even beyond the way it makes Izuku happy to know his mother can defend herself….for just this, for this, for watching his mother bloom and smile, watching as her confidence is built up…
Izuku would give Chizome almost anything if he asked it of him, and he thinks Chizome knows it. Is sure he does. And still the man doesn't ask of him anything he would not already give.
Izuku thinks he might love the man the way a boy loves a father, just a little.