The first time Izuku used his quirk, he distinctly remembered being hit on the nose by the book he had tried to bring to him, and the thump sound he had made falling had brought his parents at full speed.
When he had showed them what had happened, they had smiled, while his mother was infinitely smugger because obviously, their son had taken after her.
Until she realized she couldn't use her own quirk anymore.
His father had teased her for weeks.
Izuku had received quirks from his dad ever since. It was their thing, studying the quirks, dissecting them until there was no more secrets, no more hidden applications. To Izuku, using them was almost secondary as long as he could keep them in mind, cherishing the memories, daydreaming about what could be done with them.
It was also their secret. No quirk was bad, only people were, but there was a real stigma associated with unheroic quirks, so Izuku had quickly learned to zip it.
His father was another secret. No one told him he was one, but he was strongly discouraged to talk about what he could do. Other people didn't matter when it was the three of them, and when his dad was away, Izuku and his mother were vague.
It was another thing. His father was not always there. In and out Izuku's life, for work, to protect them and give them a good life, of course. And each time, he came back, it was as if he brought joy and colors in his wake, with quirks for Izuku, with presents for his mother, and once again, the world was safe and nothing bad could happen.
Well, at least as long as he was here.
One day, his mother had grabbed him from their home and they had crossed half a continent without looking back. They had come back to Japan a year later under a different name, the fourth one, and Izuku's mother had taught him to stay low. People didn't need to know too much about him, about his history or about his family. And they certainly didn't need to know about his quirk.
Not even because it was a ill omened quirk. But because bad people could recognize it and now that it was only the two of them, it was dangerous.
For his first day at UA, Izuku was so jumpy it was a miracle he managed to reach his class without stumbling on something or hitting a wall. It might have been explained by the fact he had been using three quirks since this morning, Speed, Balance, and Cooldown. One because he was late for school, the other because he was a klutz and didn't want to risk falling on the pavement at high speed, and the last because he didn't want to arrive sweaty and red on his first day at a new school.
Technically, quirk use was forbidden in public places but Izuku had been raised in the belief that no harm was done as long as one didn't get caught.
Izuku stopped in front of the enormous door, barely able to contain his excitation. It was his first steps to become a hero. To completely dedicate himself to who he wanted to be. No one knew who was Midoriya Izuku, what was his quirk, and what he could do.
He opened it, revealing the familiar hum of a class. And there was already some agitation.
''You cannot put your feet on the desk,'' someone waving said, ''It's disrespectful to your fellow classmates, to the ones who preceded you, and to UA.''
His interlocutor didn't seem in a listening mood. Blond, not wearing a tie and with a proud smile on his face, he was goading the honor student. And he seemed familiar.
''Or what ?'' the blond asked after another invective about good conduct, showing his palms and Izuku paled when he heard the crackling even before he saw the tiny explosions.
He recognized him the way people realized they were about to get hit by a car. With a rush of adrenaline, without making a move, and by thinking furiously and hoping he was wrong.
A childish nickname came back to him. One belonging to a past classmate, his best friend for a time, when he was little, before he'd moved out. Kacchan had known Izuku when he had started manifesting his quirk, well before Izuku had learned to pretend he had an enhancer quirk. When he had another name than Midoriya.
Izuku took a step backwards, trying not to panic, and all his efforts were ruined when he accidentally hit someone who fell on the ground with a yelp. He turned in time to see the girl he had helped during the exam but wasn't quick enough to catch her. He didn't even think to use a quirk.
''I am so sorry !'' he apologized before helping her to get back on her feet. When she took his hand, her pinkie didn't touch his skin. A habit people with a contact quirk acquired. Interesting.
''Well,'' she smiled, ''I guess that makes us even for when I almost threw up on you. You know, at the end of the exam.''
Not exactly. Izuku had cleaned the tip on his sneaker in the grass as soon as he had seen a green spot.
''I remember,'' he said instead, and he slightly turned because it was suddenly quiet behind him and unless Kacchan had drastically changed, it was a bad omen.
From the corner of his eye, he was the blond boy watching him, strangely quiet. Almost calm.
''Deku ?'' he asked and there was something strange in his voice.
As if he wasn't sure. Hope fluttered in Izuku's chest.
''Shit... What was your full name again ?
''Midoriya,'' Izuku whispered.
Bless be the faulty memories.
Kacchan hesitated a second before nodding slightly. He believes me. And furor passed on his face, coming from nowhere and making Izuku reached for his quirk.
''WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING HERE ?'' he roared.
The silence plunged on the class, everyone surprised by the brutal mood swing, included Kacchan himself. His eyes wide, completely still, he didn't seem to know where all this rage had come from, and now, everyone was frozen in place, waiting to see what he would do next.
Izuku just waited, fully ready to bolt.
But Kacchan didn't charge or scream again. He half shrugged, anger still burning in his eyes, but more subdued.
''You know what ? I don't give a fuck. Just stay out of my damn way.''
Izuku could completely do that.
And as if a spell was broken, silence was chased by quiet voices and slowly, the class found back the gentle humming it had when Izuku entered, though some students blatantly glanced at Kacchan and him, curious.
Izuku was saved from the embarrassment of being the center of the attention and from the enthusiastic introduction of Iida Tenya by a man in a yellow sleeping bag who admonished all of them before talking about tests.
UA was definitely unlike any other school.
They followed the caterpillar after they changed. Everyone was excited and in a good mood, eager to show what they could do. Izuku didn't share their enthusiasm. Not after seeing Kacchan who knew him with a different quirk. Izuku was certain he had once used a fire quirk in front of him.
That was why his family had moved out. Izuku was careless when he was little.
You should have known.
He had placed all his hopes in high school, desperately wishing for a new life and the opportunity to make friends, so he had never considered the aleas of life and how coming back near a zone he lived in could put him in danger. He couldn't afford to be negligent.
You know him. You knew he would want to go to UA. You should have seen such a situation coming.
''Midoriya ?'' Iida called.
''Mm mm ?'' Izuku answered, showing once again his skills as a wordsmith.
''You look... Well, you look green.''
Izuku was about to answer that he was just a little stressed, but hesitated, touched his hair, and tilted his head.
''No,'' Iida rectified, ''I meant that you seem anxious.''
Don't worry, it's only because I am scared.
''I was born anxious. Don't worry about it.''
''I have to !'' he said as if it was obvious. ''Why are you anxious ?''
Izuku gestured vaguely at everything around him.
Next to him, Uraraka burst out laughing. She tried to hide it, but no hand in front of her mouth could have prevented Izuku from hearing it, under Iida's outraged exclamations because he thought she was making fun of Izuku.
''Don't worry,'' she finally said and her cheerful mood was contagious. ''You're super strong. And even if you mess up today, we are at school to learn ! You're allowed to make mistakes.''
At those words, Izuku couldn't help a smile. He didn't have to be perfect today. He just had to be average, to take his time,
''The one with the lowest score across all eight events will be judged hopeless... And will be expelled,'' Aizawa declared ten minutes later,
Izuku and Iida both glared at Uraraka.
One couldn't get wrong with an enhancer quirk and that was why Izuku has chosen to define his ability as such. Society liked flashy quirks. Anyone was willing to believe an enhancer type could go beyond his limits, because as far as they were concerned, it was just them being super. A proof that nothing was impossible with enough incentive, and they were more willing to forgive some manifestations that weren't purely based on Strength.
Also, he was an All Might fan, so it didn't hurt.
Izuku watched Uraraka cancelling gravity to run faster. She dashed out, a determined look on her face, and he dutifully noted her time. Since her quirk wasn't physical, he could run faster than her.
He made sure to be among the last ones to pass every time, noting the results and aiming for third or four place. Though the students were worthy of UA's name and were good at using their quirk., they weren't great at it. How could they when they were self-trained ?
Kacchan was one blatant exception. All in power and rage, he seemed unstoppable.
Another boy with red and white hair was even better, but he wasn't as dedicated as Kacchan, looking almost bored. But his quirk was powerful and he used it in a fluid way that just caught Izuku's eye.
I miss having an elemental quirk.
Iida was also among the best. Not only did he know his quirk, but he was giving it all.
''… Midoriya ?''
He finally realized Uraraka was talking to him, and worse, that he had accidentally ignored her. He apologized profusely, making her laugh.
''Don't worry. What were you thinking about ?''
''I think I like this school,'' he smiled, realizing he wasn't lying despite all the anxiety
''Despite the threats of expulsion. ?''
''Despite that. There seem to be so many amazing people here.''
And he wasn't talking only about their quirks. They had all strong personalities, all seemed interesting. And most of them seemed friendly.
''Aww,'' Uraraka teased him.
He realized what he had just said and blushed.
Shouta was watching one of his students, more annoyed by the minute. Most of them had taken his threats seriously, a sign of intelligence, but not all of them were taking it as serious as they should.
The first one was Todoroki Shouto. Talented. He had obviously been trained by his father, and was among the two bests of this class, though he wasn't going above and beyond for this test. He was simply following Shouta's instructions. This meant Shouta would have to push him as soon as he knew all of his students' strengths and weaknesses.
Midoriya Izuku, the number one of the entrance exam, didn't even do that. Not only did he not use his full power despite the test being perfect for his quirk, but he seemed to make sure to be just in the above tier of average.
Of course, the power he had shown during the entrance exam could be because of adrenaline. Maybe he had pushed his quirk too far at the time because he was afraid the robot was going to crush a fellow candidate, hurt himself in the process, and was now more careful. This would have been plausible if Midoriya had broken a sweat during this test. He was never out of breath, he was never red, and he didn't tire at all.
''Midoriya, a word,'' he called.
The student froze like a scared rabbit and left the classmate he was talking with, looking sheepish. He was right to do so.
Students immediately looked at them. Teenagers were good at smelling blood in the water, so Shouta made sure not to talk too loud.
''What are you playing at ?''
He saw worry in the boy's eyes. Yes, you just got caught. Deal with it.
''This speed is nowhere near what you showed during the entrance exam. I don't know if you think you can have an advantage by pretending you're less than what you really are, but this won't do. I have no time for those who think they can slack off in my class.''
''I am not slack...''
His voice died under Shouta's gaze.
He had been teaching for several years. Expelling children because they didn't have the ability was a matter of mercy. He wouldn't send them to their deaths. But expelling people who had the ability and weren't taking it seriously was even more logical. After all, there were driven kids desperate to enter te hero course and whose place was taken by students with flashy quirks.
''If I am not convinced in the five next seconds that you're not wasting my time, you're out.''
Midoriya was paler than before when he took the ball. He played with it a little as he reached the throwing spot, but it was more a nervous gesture than a way of showing off.
He transferred his weigh from one leg to another, and hesitation turned into determination. He threw his arm back, his fingers clutching the ball so hard they started to whiten, and he moved so fast his arm almost blurred.
No one seemed to expect his strength, not with the results he had been showing, and surprised cries followed as the sudden wind pressure disturbed the dust of the stadium. It was quickly followed by excited exclamations and Uraraka Ochako even loudly congratulated Midoriya.
Aizawa looked down on the measurement device, though he already knew what he was going to see.
With the rest of his results, this was clearly enough to be in the top 5 of this class.
''Clearly not enough to destroy a zero pointer.''
The excited chatters died down.
Midoriya guessed in a second what Shouta was about to say. At least, if he wasn't wise, he was smart.