A.N. - Taking a break from my other stories to write a new muse. This was originally from my Snippets Thread in SpaceBattles, before I decided to make it its own thread. Right now, there are six chapters already done. I'll slowly transfer them over here until it's up to date.
Chapter 1 - Inheriting the Dream
The first time 'I' died was when I was four years old.
If I had to be technical, my first death was actually in my past life. I only counted that somewhat since I managed to somehow keep my memories into my next life. Yet since it had nothing to do with the mechanics of my quirk, I've only officially died a total of three times.
My quirk was 'Regeneration'.
Not a regeneration quirk, but Regeneration with a capital 'R'. Instead of giving me a powerful healing factor, the potency of my quirk was scaled on the levels of resurrection instead. Death was no longer a problem for me since I could heal from almost anything.
But there was a reason why I called it Regeneration instead.
The name was a nod to a famous science fiction show in my past life, even if I wasn't a Time Lord from Gallifrey*. For those of you unaware, the titular character of the show was an alien with the biological ability to undergo a transformation into a new physical form and personality after a normally fatal incident.
Basically, I was immortal.
Nevertheless, my quirk didn't change the fact that 'death' was still a permanent loss of life. The only difference between others and myself was that a replacement would take the place of the person who died. I was living proof of that, a byproduct of those that lived before me.
[Zero] couldn't recall how he died.
[One] died in a hit and run.
[Two] was murdered by a villain.
[Three] died with a knife stuck through her chest.
If you really thought about it, that technically made me only a few months old. That was approximately how long ago my predecessor died and my quirk activated to save us.
I kept the name I was born with, but I wasn't the person my mother gave birth to. [One] was a child that no longer existed, save for a few photos that my parents sometimes showed me. Staring at the face of my predecessor, I had mixed feelings even if we were technically the same person.
After going through such traumatic events all throughout my lives, I understood far better than anybody else how painful death could be. Not just the physical sensations, but how it affected those around you. And more than anyone else, I was aware of the fragility of life.
I personally conducted my own 'funeral' a few days after [Three]'s passing. Only my parents and her friends decided to attend, but my memories of that day were vague at best.
What probably hurt the most was that the picture we had of 'me' at the time was that of her with a beaming smile. A smile that told others how much she enjoyed living life to the fullest.
The fact that despite being born in a first-world country, I managed to experience death multiple times told me how much our current society was deteriorating. I didn't—couldn't—place my faith in heroes anymore after everything I've been through. Neither could I understand those my age who dreamed of becoming heroes.
Why couldn't anyone else understand that death was always lurking around the corner? That life was simply a continuous roll of fortunate probability, and that simply being unlucky could mean the end of everything you ever held dear.
But my parents made sure to impose certain values on me.
If life could be snuffed in an instant, then it was best to enjoy life to the fullest no matter what.
So I tried my best. Despite the rumors that surrounded me during the last few months of middle school, I made sure to keep in contact with 'her' friends. I wasn't [Three], not really. But at our core, we still wanted to keep hold of the bonds we made in our lives.
I made sure to live.
I made sure to smile.
If not for me, then for her. The girl that lost her life all those months ago.
Yet despite that, I couldn't do the one thing she truly wanted. I couldn't share the same dreams and motivations she did, despite being the same person.
I couldn't live with the idea of becoming a hero for her.
Yet I didn't want her dream to die with me either. So without really thinking about it, I applied to the same school she wanted to when she was still alive. But I compromised and applied for general studies instead of the hero course.
I wouldn't be a hero for her.
But I would watch out for the heroes that she wished to one day meet.
"Nice to meet you. My name is Hatsu Iijima**."
I practiced my introduction in front of the mirror, channeling the same extrovert energy that [Three] once had. The smile on my face slowly turned awkward as I continued to observe myself until I turned away in embarrassment with a bright blush on my face.
Still, I tried again.
"Yo! The name's Hatsu Iijima."
"Hey there, I'm Hatsu Iijima. How's it going?"
"I'm Hatsu Iijima, and my dream is to become the Hokage!"
By the time my mom called me for breakfast, I was a ball of shame rolling around on the floor.
Leaving the house, I checked my phone to make sure that I would make it to school on time. Finishing my meal only took a few minutes, but dealing with both my parents fretting over me held me back another dozen minutes. The two of them saw me off with a wave and smiles on their faces.
Some days, I had trouble returning the smile back at them. I knew that they were simply making it up for when they couldn't do anything for my predecessors. The fact that they've technically lost three of their children to death must have been agonizing. But still, they somehow managed to put a smile on their faces whenever they talked to me.
Why did such kind people end up with a child that had a quirk like mine? God must have been especially cruel the day they gave birth to me.
Entering the school gates, I took the time to gaze up at the large and eye-catching buildings. Even [Zero] in our previous life never went to a school this fancy, and he went to a reputable university.
I entered Class 1-C. Since I was cutting it close, the room was already filled with a lot of students. I didn't recognize anybody, which made sense since nobody from my middle school had applied to Yuhei as far as I was aware. Still, I assumed that I would at least meet a certain purple-haired character today.
Maybe Shinsou was just late?
Either way, I made my way towards a seat and sat down. Soon, the rest of the class began to fill up. And only when everyone else was here did the person I was looking for finally appear.
Almost running, Shinsou made it through the door and sped past me before I could get a look. Right as I was about to turn around, the teacher entered the room and called for our attention. With no other choice, I focused on paying attention instead.
"—and if that's everything, time for the school entrance ceremony. Everyone come with me and line up in an orderly fashion. It should only take a little while, and then afterward we can introduce ourselves."
Somehow, I completely blanked during the entire ceremony. Compared to my previous incarnations, I was a bit more absent-minded than they were. By the time I brought my focus back to reality, we were already being dismissed back to our classes.
"Alright everyone," the homeroom teacher called out. "Let's go over introductions, starting with the front row."
This was when my nerves acted out. I knew that this was going to happen, and I wanted to make a good impression on my classmates. But as several students introduced themselves, I realized that most of them also gave out what kind of quirk they had along with their names and hobbies.
That caused a minor dilemma for me.
Should I reveal what my quirk was? In [Three]'s case, she decided to be honest despite the insensitive questions her classmates asked her afterward. I didn't know if I was ready for that yet, but neither did I want to keep my quirk a secret.
Usually, the secret would reveal itself eventually. It was pretty rare for somebody to never have heard of the 'child disliked by the shinigami'. Unfortunately, there was plenty of news regarding me due to my past 'incidents'. Having a pseudo-immortality quirk meant that I had something of a reputation, even if only a minor one.
Already, it was my turn to speak.
"My name is Hatsu Iijima," I said. "My hobbies are reading and playing video games. My quirk is Regeneration."
There. Technically, it was a lot more complicated than that. But to my classmates, they would simply just assume that I had a healing factor or something.
I made sure to pay particular attention once Shinsou stood up.
"Hitoshi Shinsou. I like cats and enjoy bicycling. My quirk is Brainwashing."
Shinsou ignored the dumbfounded looks on his classmates' faces and sat back down. Meanwhile, I just continued to stare at the clock to see how long it was until lunch.
Despite being born several centuries into an alternate future world with superpowers, school was still pretty much the same as it was in his previous life.
Usually, I only post the main chapters for my stories on this site. If you want omakes and extra stuff like drawings, check out the thread on SB.
Just to clarify, since some readers were confused when I first wrote this chapter. [Zero] was a guy from our world, who died and was reincarnated into the MHA world. [One] was born a boy, who got into a car accident when he was four. He regenerated into [Two], still a boy. Only [Three] was a girl. The current [Four] is a guy again.
This is not a crossover, even if the SI's quirk takes a lot of inspiration from Time Lord Regeneration.
* (Time Lord from Gallifrey) - Reference to the popular BBC sci-fi show Doctor Who.
** (Hatsu Iijima) - A combination of the names of the two main characters of the manga Toki Doki by Komi Naoshi (Hatsu is first, and Iijima is last). In my head, I imagine [Two] is somewhat like Poppo-kun and [Three] based on Takagi-san.