(Original Upload 6/6/2019)

(Edited 11/23/2020)

CH 1: Cost of A Dream

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The afternoon was largely a peaceful one in a small, quaint town in Japan. The sun shined bright in the clear blue sky, warming the white and blue colored homes with birds tweeting from their place in the trees between homes and on the streets.

"C'MON, LEE! IF WE CANNOT COMPLETE OUR HUNDRED LAPS AROUND THE CITY ON OUR FEET THAN WE SHALL TRY AGAIN ON OUR HANDS!" A rich, masculine voice belted out to his protege.

The voice belonged to an older man in a green and white striped tracksuit with white shoes. He stood at a neck-bending six feet tall with two thick, yet-perfectly-plucked eyebrows, a black bowl cut that gleamed under the sun, and a suspiciously white smile that was on full display as he ran with his apprentice.

"YES, GUY-SENSEI! I WILL FINISH THIS LAST LAP BEFORE EVEN YOU!" The apprentice answered just as loudly. The apprentice was, well, the man but just...smaller.

Literally.

The 10-year-old running behind the man was nowhere near six feet, but he stood around five feet and had every feature aforementioned on the older man: the tracksuit, the bowl cut, the eyebrows, and the shoes.

"YOSH! LEE, YOUR FLAMES OF YOUTH ARE RAGING LIKE A WILDFIRE!" The man, Guy-Sensei, answered passionately. "IF YOU BEAT ME TO THE DOJO, LEE, I PROMISE TO TEACH YOU THAT NEW MOVE AS YOUR FLAMES OF YOUTH WOULD THEN BE READY!"

The man smiled to himself as he began to speed up. The boy, Lee, let off a "YOSH!" before pumping his legs harder to match his sensei's long stride.

He and his sensei were in the last stretch before they reached the dojo, a straight away street, and they were neck and neck. A few more blocks and they'd be there. Lee could literally see the green roof of the dojo in the distance. He couldn't lose now with his goal within sight!

Lee dug deep, pushing his legs to go even faster. His heart pounded in his chest and his legs burned, but he ignored it all to go faster and faster. Street signs blurred by as He pulled ahead. It was one step then two and then he was an arm's length ahead of his sensei. Lee couldn't help smiling as he ran, the sweet feeling of triumph filling him. He would do it!

To his dismay, he heard his sensei's footsteps quicken from behind him. He could feel his sensei beginning to close the gap, but Lee refused! He forced his legs to move even faster, the wind began whooshing in his ears and he felt his hair flopping back. The street became a blur with how fast he was going.

His sensei wasn't one to make things easy, and he started running faster, nearly matching Lee's pace easily it seemed. Lee didn't dare risk a glance at his sensei and put his focus into jeopardy. No, he'd win this contest of youth and show Guy-Sensei that he was ready for the new technique.

Lee clenched his teeth and threw one foot in front of the other as fast as he could, he powered through the burn in his legs. Faster he ran until he felt he could go no faster. This was it - this was as fast as he could go, but Sensei was getting faster.

And he was almost there. The wide green-roofed dojo sat underneath the big winding cherry blossom tree that awaited its season to blossom.

Lee reached deep, through the exhaustion and the pain and found...something.

Something that he couldn't see but he could feel. Feel it warm with energy that sent tingles down his spine and snapped with the crackle of a fire. Lee reached for it, felt its touch, and was born again.

Like he'd been struck with a lightning bolt, Lee felt supercharged. Like he'd been given a new pair of lungs and legs. And he ran faster than before, faster than Sensei. His legs were eating up the sidewalk, his peripherals were nothing but a blurred mess of color and he felt so go-

He tripped and suddenly he was sailing through the air. It felt like time had slowed down, as he sailed and over end through the air. He looked and could see Sensei, Crystal clear in his sweatsuit. He looked surprised with a slightly gaping mouth. Lee guessed him suddenly tripping would be surprising.

Then he saw the sun. And its heat, its power connected with something in him and he felt like how the sun felt for a moment. Bright and powerful.

Then he slammed butt first into the grass and the moment was over. Lee found himself gasping for breath as his backside throbbed in pain. His lungs grabbed for breath so hard he choked and coughed. His mouth felt dry and his tongue felt like he hadn't gotten a drink of water in days. What was that feeling just then? Where did that energy come from? Has he...

But no, there was no way. Lee felt his breath hitch in his throat as his thoughts ran wild. He'd never felt like that before. Maybe his chance had come!

Lee forgot about his fatigue and tried to recreate that feeling before he lost it. He closed his eyes and tried to remember how it all felt. There was this hot, electrifying energy like he'd been supercharged. It couldn't be that hard to find again if it was a Quirk, right?

"Lee,"

All he had to do was find it again. Reach deep and find that spot of energy that made him feel like the sun. Maybe it was a Quirk that had to do with fire. The Heat would make sense then.

"Lee, stop."

Or maybe it was electricity? Something that would charge him up and make him unstoppable surely, and then he could-

"Lee!"

A pair of heavy hands clamping down on his shoulders jarred Lee from his task. Lee opened his eyes to see his sensei staring at him with his brows furrowed and staring at him intently.

Lee felt a flash of irritation shoot through him. He was so close! He could feel it. Why did Sensei interrupt him?

Sensei took his hands off Lee's shoulders and folded them over his knee. Lee realized he was still on his butt in the grass and Guy-Sensei had come over to kneel next to him. Wasn't he just down the street?

Wait, this was perfect. He had such good news!

"Sensei you won't believe it," Lee felt a smile break out across his face. "I think I've found it."

Sensei raised a thick brow in confusion, and Lee couldn't believe his Sensei wasn't getting the message.

"A Quirk Sensei," Lee said and sensei's confusion cleared up in a snap. "I think I found my Quirk. I can't believe it!"

Lee looked up at the sky, letting the beautiful blue, and watched the soft white wisps float by for a moment. Imagining not for the first time what it would be like to have a Quirk.

Sensei cleared his throat to get Lee's attention. "What," Sensei started off slowly. "Did it feel like Lee?" He asked.

Lee thought about it and found the answer easily enough. He'd remember that moment forever.

"It felt like I'd found a well of starlight - like the sun but smaller," he said, then paused trying to find the words. He needed to explain it just right so his Sensei wouldn't think he was crazy. "It felt like fire - hot and bright. But it was also electric - tingly, in an odd way. It felt like I had all my energy restored at that moment like we hadn't spent the day running laps around town."

Lee looked expectantly to his Sensei, waiting, and watching to see how he'd react. To his building disappointment, his Sensei tucked in his lips and looked away. Lee knew that look and felt all his hopeful cheer begin to leak away.

"This, this isn't like those other times, Sensei," Lee tried to explain, clinging onto the hope in his chest. "I know what I felt. This time was different. It was unreal. If you'd felt it, you'd be," Lee trailed off as he remembered the feeling again.

It was entrancing how good it felt. Lee had to feel like that again.

"Amazed?" His sensei's sudden question knocked him for a loop. "Astonished? Awe-stricken?"

By this point his Sensei had looked back over at him, eyes soft but expression stern like how he looked when he was starting a lesson.

"Am I hitting the mark with any of those?" Sensei asked and Lee nodded. It was kind of scary how on the nose his Sensei was. How did he know what it felt like when, to the extent of Lee's knowledge, his Sensei didn't have a Quirk like him? It was one of the reasons they connected so well.

"It's as I thought," Sensei said ominously. He humphed as he got up from a knee, offering Lee a hand up as well. Lee took it and was brought to his feet easily.

"What do you mean, Sensei? Are you not excited that I finally found my Quirk?" He asked, and his Sensei only shook his head. Lee didn't understand why. "This could mean my dream of being a hero is-"

"Isn't any more or less attainable than what it was before, Lee," Sensei interrupted, his voice drowned out anything Lee had to say. "This doesn't change anything because what you feel isn't a Quirk."

It took Lee a couple of moments to fully register what he'd just heard. He blinked a couple times, mind spinning in a confusing mess. He.. how could Guy-Sensei just say something like that? Lee knew what he felt wasn't like anything he felt before. It was a Quirk; it had to be a Quirk.

"Let's go inside," Guy-sensei said, turning and proceeding to do just as he said. "You no doubt have questions, and you did best me in this race. It's only fair you receive your reward before the day is over."

Thoughts tumultuous, Lee followed his Sensei inside, not exactly feeling like he'd won anything.

It was with a subdued air the teacher and student settled across from each other. They wore matching dark green gi and black belts around their waist.

Inside the dojo was simple yet nice. The floor was made up of light brown wood that gleamed under the lights and ran throughout the house all the way down the halls into their rooms.

Ornamental weapons and a few pictures decorated the white walls and potted plants rested in the corners or by the windows where they could get sunlight. To the right was a hallway leading into the bedrooms, the left led to the field outside.

A painting of a white tiger and a grey elephant rested on opposing walls of the dojo, one fierce and ferocious, the other stalwart and indomitable. They were the two animals Guy-sensei felt represented his fighting style the most, and so he had them painted on the walls. Between the two animals and in the middle of the main area of the dojo was the Mat.

It was a big built-in khaki-colored tatami mat that served as the practice area and classroom. It wasn't as hard as the wood but not as soft as other padded mats Lee had felt. It was at least soft enough to fall asleep on after passing out on it.

Sensei and student sat across from each other on their knees, hands resting on their thighs.

"Alright, Lee," Guy-sensei began and Lee paid rapt attention, "What have I told you about your spirit, Lee? Your chakra? Explain it to me in your own words."

Lee took a moment and thought back to his previous lessons with Guy-Sensei. "Spirit is the fuel that drives the body," He said confidently. "It runs throughout your body thanks to invisible Chakra pathways that lead to eight different Gates. It grows through meditation and the breathing techniques you have me cool down with. This is, of course, all meta-physical. Chakra has no real impact on the physical body."

Guy nodded looking serious. He was in lecture mode now. "Good job, Lee, but you're incorrect that it doesn't impact the physical body."

Lee didn't understand. He thought it was all metaphysical. The spiritual side wasn't meant to interact with the physical. Chakra and the Eight Gates were something he imagined to help him meditate.

His confusion must've been palpable because Sensei started to explain more.

"It is of no surprise to me that you've come to that conclusion because I haven't told you the whole truth," Guy revealed to Lee's surprise. "Chakra is real, but unlike a Quirk, to use it, you must earn it. That power you felt earlier? The fire and rush of energy? That was you reaching for your Chakra." Guy told him.

Lee's eyes went wide with shock. His heart knocked against his ribs. Was sensei really saying what he thought? Did this mean…

"So, it's powerful?" Lee asked, growing eager. "How do I earn it Sensei? Use it? What must I do?"

"The only way to utilize the Chakra in our bodies is to learn the Eight Gates Technique. It-"

"Then teach me, Sensei please!" Lee interrupted. "I'm willing to do whatever it takes to become a Hero. I can do it, I know I can. Give me the chance!"

"Lee!" Sensei rarely raised his voice, but when he did it boomed like hitting one of those big marching band drums. Lee swallowed thickly and tried his best to calm down. He knew it wasn't respectful to interrupt, but just thinking about it made him antsy. He didn't care what warnings sensei had to give about it because they didn't matter. He was going to become a hero no matter what it took.

"Patience. let me explain because this is important," He said and Lee nodded. "The Eights Gates isn't something to be taken lightly. You've just turned 14, so your body should be prepared to undergo the training process, but it isn't easy. I will go into more detail later, but the amount of work to utilize the Eight Gates effectively is greater than anything you've dealt with so far, and," Sensei paused here, and his face sort of grimaced. "The price of using it is too high for some to pay."

"I'll pay it, sensei, I will."

"Lee," Sensei's expression softened. "You don't know what you're signing up for. Allow me to explain-"

"I don't care!"

Guy-sensei stopped short. Lee felt his hands shake, his eyes burn with unshed tears, but he kept talking anyway.

"I don't care, sensei, I just don't," Lee said. "Becoming a Pro-Hero is my dream - you know that. It doesn't matter what the cost of using the Eight Gates is. I won't back down from the challenge. Not now, not ever!"

Lee wiped his eyes and stared hard at the floor. It didn't matter what the obstacle was in his way. He would become a Pro Hero, and he'd save lives just like Guy-sensei did his.

"Heh," Lee's head snapped up at hearing his sensei's chuckle. Guy-Sensei was smiling at him and Lee felt his heart jump in his chest.

"You never fail to surprise me, Lee. I can see your determination from here; your flames of youth continue to burn bright. I also see there is no changing your mind, so I think a demonstration will serve as great motivation," Guy said.

Guy-sensei indicated for Lee to back up and give him some space. Lee moved to the back edge of the Mat and sat down to watch.

Lee looked on in wonder. He dared not take a breath as his sensei slid his feet apart into a Horse stance. He watched transfixed as Guy-Sensei tucked his arms to his sides and bent them at a 90-degree angle. Sensei closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. His stance was carved from stone, nothing moved besides his chest as it rose with each breath he took.

In.

Out.

In.

Out.

That's when Lee began to feel...something. As if the very air started to become alive and charged with some type of energy. The hair on his arms rose, and Lee's pulse quickened in response like he was experiencing a surge of adrenaline. The air around sensei started to vibrate and Lee felt the Mat tremble. He felt a sudden breeze pass through his hair when he knew the doors and windows were shut.

Then, light blue wisps of some kind of energy or light begin to rise from Guy's body. His whole body began to be outlined with the blue energy. Was this Chakra?

The very air around him looked to be picking up speed as his hair began to slowly rise in defiance of gravity. Lee couldn't believe what he was seeing.

"Fourth gate: Gate of Pain, open!" Guy-Sensei yelled.

Sensei erupted in a shockwave of power.

The shout set off what felt like tornado force winds and Lee struggled to stay upright. His hair began whipping back and everything inside of the dojo from the lights to the weapons on the walls began to shake and rattle. Lee had to squint and shield his eyes to even keep sight of Guy-sensei.

His heart pounded in his ears and his knees shook from the power his sensei was giving off. There, wreathed in an green, ethereal cloak of Chakra, stood Guy-Sensei. His bowl cut straight up and his Gi flapped violently. His skin looked an angry red with veins bulging out from near his eyes that shined a bright white like the 12 o'clock sun. Lee couldn't believe what he was seeing. Was this all really happening?

"Though you are without a Quirk, Lee, that doesn't mean your dream is any less obtainable!" Guy yelled over the powerful wind. "Believe in yourself, Lee, and let your flames of your explode! You can be a Hero without a Quirk!"

Lee prostrated himself until his forehead met the mats. He clenched his eyes shut felt the power resonate within him just like he felt earlier. Sensei was right! It was time to work even harder than before! He would prove that he did not need a quirk to become a great Hero.

"Guy-Sensei!" He yelled over the powerful winds to his sensei. "Teach me!" He pleaded with all what he was.

Lee heard the winds die down and heard his sensei walk over to him. He looked up to see his sensei's kind smile and bushy eyebrows just like so long ago. Guy-sensei pulled him to his feet and gave him his signature thumbs up and brilliant smile.

"You got it, Lee," He said. "Now, c'mon, my beloved pupil," Guy prompted eyes ablaze with an unmatched fiery passion. "Wipe your eyes and let us begin! We've got a lot of work ahead of us if we want to make sure you're ready for the U.A. Entrance Exam."

Lee rubbed at his eyes and scrambled to his feet, his flames of youth burning brighter than ever before.

"Yes, Guy-Sensei!"

"That's the spirit, Lee!"

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(5 Years Later)

Principal Nezu sat at the head of the table surrounded by his fellow U.A. staff members and teachers. It was quiet besides the ticking clock and the low chatter between Present Mic and Midnight, as per usual.

Nezu looked down at the stack of applications before him. Narrowed down from the hundreds upon thousands of applications submitted, Nezu had taken one in particular and made copies to...gather important data from his co-workers.

Normally, Quirk users from across Japan and other parts of the world submitted an application to U.A., the most prestigious Hero academy in the Eastern Hemisphere of not the world. Not many schools can boast the fact All Might graduated from their halls after all.

But Nezu would say 'normal' got thrown out of the window thanks to this unassuming application he had before him. The name was written across the top:

Rock Lee.

"Principal Nezu," Vlad King, real name Sekijiro Kan, Pro Hero and wonderful teacher in Nezu's opinion spoke up in his deep, throaty voice. "You usually don't need this many hands to help you sort through the applications. What are we here for?"

"Yes," Thirteen chimed in from across Sekijiro, spacesuit giving nothing away. "We've sat here for approximately 7 minutes and 25 seconds and you have not said a word."

Sekijiro was always one to cut straight to the crux of matters. And Thirteen was always so precise in her observations, Nezu should've known better than to dilly-dally with them two on staff. So, he pushed his thoughts to the side and started the meeting.

Nezu cleared his throat softly, grabbing everyone's attention he didn't already have. Midnight and Present Mic or Nemuri Kayama and Hizashi Yamada respectively when off duty like they were right now.

"Ah, my apologies to you all," he said, "I was caught up in my own thoughts, haha. True, it is very unusual for me to require your assistance with the applications," he began.

"Thank goodness for that," Hizashi muttered under his breath.

Nezu continued on, used to Mic's comments at this point. "Truthfully, I don't require it much here as well, but I thought it most prudent for you all to get the chance to see one of the students who may be attending in the coming year," he said.

They shifted in anticipation as Nezu gathered the application copies. He took one off the stack and passed the rest to Thirteen on his right.

"Could you take one and pass it down, Thirteen, please?" He asked her.

Wordlessly she took the stack and did as he requested and took one then passed the stack to Cementoss, Ken Ishiyama, next to her. As they were going around Nezu kept explaining.

"We are entering unprecedented times. Going around is U.A.'s first Quirkless applicant in quite some time. Look through it thoroughly, please," he tried to add on at the end, but was drowned out in the exclamations of astonishment and disbelief from the staff.

To his right and moving down, Thirteen was peering at the application close, helmet nearly pressing against the paper. Next to her was Ken, whose stony expression was flat and focused, and Ectoplasm who was reading through it as well. Snipe at the end of the row looked skeptical. How interesting.

To his left was Sekijiro who had uncrossed his arms and was going through the application silently, Nemuri and Hizashi were flipping through animatedly, whispering and pointing things out to each other as they flipped through. Even the lethargic Shota, or Eraserhead, straightened up and began to look through the application set in front of him.

The initial shock wore off quickly and the outburst of noise was quickly settled as everyone dived into the applications. Nezu could only guess what they were thinking, and that was no good for anybody. He would give them a moment to gather their thoughts, as even he needed a moment after he read through the application.

Fortunately, it did not take long until someone broke the silence.

Hizashi spoke up, "Well, it's not like he's applying for the Hero Course, right?" He asked with a slight chuckle as the application finally came to him. His smile lasted until he read the words in bright red at the top of the application 'For the Hero Course'.

"How did I miss that?" he asked himself

Snipe flipped the application over to the front page was planted on the desk. "With all due respect, Principal Nezu," he said. "we can't let the kid apply for the Hero Course for his own health and safety."

That piqued Nezu's interest. This was what he was hoping for. "Care to elaborate?" He asked.

"Because he has no quirk," Snipe immediately answered as if the answer was obvious. He looked at his gathered colleagues and said, "He cannot in good conscience be allowed to attend. Without a Quirk, he won't be able to keep up. He'll be putting himself in more danger than he needs to be."

"Whoa now, Snipe, you act like it's your decision. Plus, this is a school. Everyone can come here to learn how to handle stuff like that because we're supposed to teach 'em," Nemuri interjected, as Nezu guessed she would. Both her and Hizashi had sounded more excited over the prospect than anything else.

Snipe leaned on the table and planted his chin in his hand. "And when he isn't at the level as all the other students are at cause their Quirks help them, what next? He might as well be a police officer or a firefighter."

"You're suggesting we do what? Throw his application out to stop him from trying?" Nemuri shook her head, long dark hair swaying. "We're better than that. I say we give him a shot."

Snipe scoffed lightly as she finished, and she shot him a look until Sekijiro spoke up.

"I agree with you Midnight," he said. "We cannot just imagine he didn't submit an application. His scores are sufficient. He's medically cleared to participate. We've no reason to not give him a shot."

"Besides the fact that he's Quirkless?" Snipe shot back. He looked around the room. "We just gonna ignore it? Act like that isn't important?"

"We don't have to mention it in every breath like you," Nemuri murmured just loud enough for everyone to hear.

Before Snipe could respond, another voice spoke up.

"We cannot ignore the fact he does not have a Quirk. The kind of danger he would be in would be greater than the average Quirkless student's," Ken explained to the table in his gravely voice.

The soft-spoken Thirteen chose that moment to speak up. "Every Quirk gives the user some sort of enhanced resilience, stamina, strength, or speed. He'd be severely behind the others and, as a Hero, one cannot afford to be," she reasoned.

Hizashi skimmed through the application again until he got to the page he was looking for. The National Quirk Assessment Test scores. "But are you seeing these scores? He doesn't have a Quirk and he's still middle-upper percentile of the pack."

"It is impressive regardless of if he had a Quirk or not," Ectoplasm said.

Hizashi nodded his head with a wide smile. "That's what I'm saying! He wouldn't be behind anybody. If anything, these scores show that he can and will perform to the expected levels."

Snipe flipped the application to the page and shook his head side to side. "You and I both know that assessment does not accurately do anything. It's only the government-mandated test that gives everyone a 'fair' chance at getting into the school they want to. You all know the benchmark standards are ridiculous. Throwing a baseball? Running laps? If we cared, we wouldn't have our own Entrance Exam," he argued.

"That is true," Ectoplasm said and Snipe spun around his chair with his arms up as if to say 'finally'. "While his scores are impressive, they only tell us what they're supposed to and that is not the complete story. Furthermore, what of the backlash the school would face in the wake of accepting a Quirkless student?" he asked and the table descended into silence as they thought about that.

Nezu, of course, already thought of such a possibility. As principal, it was his job to be prepared for most anything. Should such a thing occur, he was confident they could handle it. He wondered what his staff would have to say, though.

"So what?" Nemuri said. "We've enough clout from having 'The Symbol of Peace' graduate from here that we're set for long after we all retire. One student isn't going to ruin U.A.'s legacy."

"And what if he gets hurt during a training exercise?" Cementoss asked. "Or worse, killed? We'd have the finger pointed back at us.

"Easy, he doesn't die. Boom problem solved," Nemuri responded with a simple shrug.

"Uhh, a problem not solved because what do we say to a kid after he accidentally maims his classmate?" Snipe asked her. "What then? We can't hold back the students with Quirks just because one of their classmates isn't fit to become a Hero."

"There is no mold that dictates what a Hero can or cannot be," Sekijiro said. "It will require us to monitor closer than normal to prevent any occurrences such as those, but I believe the likelihood of that happening is low under our watch."

"And what about afterward?" Thirteen asked. "Accidents happen, and him being Quirkless makes the likelihood of an accident happening that much more possible and the results that much more dangerous. I don't wish for something like that to happen to him nor the backlash of it to negatively impact the school's reputation."

Mic nudged his lazy friend with his elbow. "What about you, eh, Shota? You've been quiet even though you teach class 1-A," Hizashi said to his friend.

Everyone turned their attention to the scruffy man. If Shota felt the eyes on him, he didn't show it. Instead, he yawned once and stretched, unknowingly increasing the sense of anticipation in the room.

Finally, he answered in his slow, tired voice, "Let him try."

"What?!" Snipe snapped from across the table

"Yes!" Nemuri cheered from beside Aizawa. "I knew I liked you for a reason."

"You can't be serious, Eraserhead?" Snipe further questioned.

"Oh, he's definitely serious!" Nemuri answered for him.

"But he has no quirk!" Snipe tried to argue.

"So?" Aizawa responded back promptly.

"So? The boy is at risk! The media will eat us and him for breakfast if they catch wind of us letting the first kid without a quirk into U.A. if he gets hurt in any serious way, that's reflecting badly on us for letting him in, and -," he stopped suddenly, causing everyone to look at him in confusion.

"And what, Snipe?"

"And what if the students don't treat him right," He said suddenly a little quiet, more serious. "He's going to be the odd man out, the Quirkless amongst a bunch of Quirked students. Most of these students went to majority Quirk schools, they don't know anything about having classmates without them."

Nezu had to give it to Snipe. He saw things for what they were despite, perhaps, not seeing the whole image. Nezu knew that would be the biggest point of contention he'd have to deal with. Quirkless people weren't outright treated poorly, but they were largely ignored by society and the direction it was headed. Some had become outright antagonistic towards those without Quirks, holding within them Quirk Supremacist values, but even regular people would find the aspect of a Quirkless Hero at best odd and at worst the wrong decision.

"Better they learn now than later," Shota answered.

"Come on!" Snipe was clearly frustrated. "We can't let him-"

"We aren't 'letting' him do anything," Aizawa responded back calmly. "If he happens to make it past the entrance exam, it would be off his own merit and skill. Let the media run their mouths. We will still continue to do our jobs in preparing the next generation of heroes as best we can. If I catch one of my students or any student treating him differently because he's Quirkless then I'll discipline them. Simple as that," he explained tiredly.

With that, Aizawa slumped back down in his seat and closed his eyes to take a nap.

Nezu took the opportunity to close out the discussion. He cleared his throat and their eyes shifted to him.

"I understand that this isn't a discussion that stops here in this room and that's fine, " he said. "This is why I showed you the application in the first place so you'd be ready should he make it in, as Aizawa put it. You are correct Snipe in that we do have the Entrance Exam for a reason, and should he fail, he fails. But if he succeeds, then we will admit him into the Hero Course and we all will help him as well as the others grow into great heroes."

They were teachers. Educators. It was their job to see the potential where no one else saw it. It was their job to help children realize their dreams no matter how ludicrous they may seem. It was their duty to prepare them to face the horrors they will encounter and come out on top. This child was different, and different didn't have an easy time being. Nezu could only imagine how it was growing up for him, and yet Lee still achieved. He'd gone beyond what some with quirks have and get good enough grades in every subject.

Nezu knew the odds were stacked against the boy, but his instincts told him something different. They told him something was changing. He could feel it. Maybe the teen was to be the catalyst, maybe not. He didn't know which to hope for, but, as he looked at the picture of the smiling boy with thick eyebrows and a bowl cut who wanted to be a Hero, the first Quirkless Hero at that, Nezu realized that maybe it didn't matter. All that mattered was that he had the chance to help a child achieve their dream.

Lee was up against the world and impossible odds, but Nezu didn't believe anything was impossible.

Not with enough hard work, at least.

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A/N:

Just wanted to update the first chapter to fix some things and make sure it matched up with the chapter I posted on Ao3. I'm on there now too under the same author name, so go check it out of you want to. The general idea of the chapter is the same. Expect this to happen to a few of the other ones as well. Sorry if this makes it confusing.