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Fanfic / Erased Potential

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Midoriya Izuku wants nothing more than to become a hero. Not only does he have the desire, but the determination to see it through — too bad he doesn't have a Quirk. But that's a disadvantage, not a dealbreaker, right? Lots of professional heroes have managed to succeed while despite not being able to apply their quirks to every challenge they face...

Like Eraserhead. Which is why Izuku turns up on his doorstep in order to ask for his help after spending weeks tracking him down. Aizawa wasn't exactly looking to take on some second-year middle schooler as a student, yet here he is.


Thus begins Erased Potential, a My Hero Academia fanfic by theslytherinpaladin exploring a world where Izuku aims to become a quirkless superhero under Aizawa's strict instruction.

The fic can be read on Fanfiction Dot Net here and Archive of Our Own here.

Erased Potential contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Because of both Aizawa handing him the Break the Haughty treatment and Izuku refusing to take his crap anymore, Bakugou is forced to mature faster than he does in canon and is the one to save Uraraka from the zero-pointer instead of Izuku.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In canon, Bakugou and Uraraka are friendly rivals, with Uraraka having a crush on Izuku. Here, Uraraka is much friendlier overall to Bakugou after he saved her life and lacks her crush on Izuku.
  • Adult Fear: The League's assault on the USJ taps into a much deeper vein of this here, as Thirteen is Forced to Watch his own power get turned upon several of the kids, and Shigaraki successfully disintegrates part of a student's face.
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  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Katsuki approaches Inko for the first time in years, he initially catches himself when about to call Izuku 'Deku', only to slip up later. Inko calls him out on it, and when he tries to defend it as 'just a stupid nickname'...
    Inko: "You started to call him that name when you first got here, but you cut yourself off. Didn't you? If you didn't think there was anything wrong with it, if it was really just a silly nickname, then why would you do that?"
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Izuku's observational skills are part of why Aizawa agrees to start training him in the first place, and some of his mental exercises include honing his ability to quickly gather information.
  • Backhanded Apology: Downplayed. When Nedzu manipulates Toshinori into revealing Izuku's status as a recommendation student to Class 1-A, all Izuku wants from Nedzu is an apology. While Nedzu does just that, absolutely no one buys the idea that Nedzu actually regrets his decision. Especially because Nedzu first tries to dodge out of it.
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  • Badass Normal: Izuku vows to become a hero without a quirk, using his analysis skills and a variety of gadgets to compensate. It becomes an Enforced Trope when he actively turns down One For All, wanting to become the Number 1 hero using his own abilities.
  • Bothering by the Book: One of the ways Aizawa intends to get revenge upon Nedzu for his 'logical ruse' is by making staff meetings 'a living hell'. How? By not intervening to stop Hizashi from running his mouth when he normally would have stepped in.
  • The Chessmaster: Nedzu. Once he becomes aware of Izuku's existence, he immediately starts weaving plans around him, setting several events into motion and bringing him to Toshinori's attention. Later, he neglects to tell Toshinori that Aizawa and Izuku were trying to keep his position as a recommendation student a secret so that Toshinori would unwittingly reveal it to Class 1-A, reasoning that it would be better if they knew this sooner rather than later.
  • Condescending Compassion:
    • Yoshida-sensei regards Izuku's desire to become a Hero as a Tragic Dream due to his Quirklessness, and attempts to humiliate him into giving up on U.A. so he can focus on something more achievable.
    • Upon learning that Izuku is Quirkless, Tenya goes straight into this. Izuku's having none of it:
      Tenya: "I do not mean to overstep—"
      Izuku: "Starting your sentence that way means that you're definitely going to overstep, and that you know you're going to before you even say anything."
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Denki. Izuku and Mei are horrified when he casually mentions how overusing his Quirk fries his brain, with Mei immediately declaring that he's inspired a new project: preventing that.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Yoshida-sensei appears to think he's being this when he asks his second-year students to list off their plans for the future specifically so he can try and convince Midoriya to give up on U.A., as he considers that a waste of his time and talent.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Goes both ways during the USJ incident: Izuku struggles against Shigaraki, but still manages to land some good hits on him, especially when Shigaraki's attempt to disarm him blows up in both their faces. On the flip side, All Might completely wrecks the Nomu once he arrives, forcing the League to retreat... but they dealt far more damage to Class 1-A before reinforcements showed up than their canon counterparts.
  • Demoted to Extra: While in canon Mineta was one of the recurring members of Class 1-A, here his perverted antics get him booted out during the first training exercise and moved to Gen Ed. Justified in that the author dislikes him and didn't want to give him a major role.
  • Domino Mask: Izuku incorporates one into his hero outfit as a homage to the comics that inspired him.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Erased Potential refers to how Izuku's potential to be a hero has gone ignored due to his Quirklessness, as well as the What If? scenario itself. Eventually, it gains another potential meaning when Aizawa faces the possibility of losing his own Quirk.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Rave mistakenly believes that Izuku and Inko are Aizawa's secret family, whose existence he supposedly denies in order to keep them safe.
  • Entitled Bastard: After learning what Izuku's been doing, Bakugou decides that he wants in, expecting Eraserhead to automatically agree to start training him instead. Suffice to say, the lesson he receives instead isn't exactly what he anticipated.
  • Facial Horror: Happens in Chapter 48 when Shigaraki gets his hand on Kaminari, and again when he disintegrates Izuku's eskrima rods enough to make them explode, catching both Izuku and himself in the blast.
  • Failure-to-Save Murder: Outrage over this drives two people to villainy, as Rave holds Aizawa personally responsible for his sister Atsuko's death during a Hostage Situation, and drags their brother into helping him get revenge.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • U.A.'s Entrance Exam unfolds differently thanks to Midoriya's absence, as he got in via recommendation instead, with Bakugou's Character Development leading him to be the one who intervenes and helps Uraraka with the zero-pointer. As a result, Uraraka is now bound and determined to befriend him.
    • During the USJ attack, Kaminari holds onto Midoriya's hand tightly enough to end up with him and Asui in the water training zone.
    • Kurogiri only sends half of the class through his portals, and successfully redirects Thirteen's black hole against the remaining students while Tenya makes his break for help.
    • When Shigaraki goes after Izuku and his friends directly, Aizawa does not look up in the nick of time, and Denki shoves Tsuyu out of the way, getting grabbed in her place.
    • Because Toshinori has yet to pass on One For All, he ends up having a significantly easier time taking down the Nomu.
  • From a Certain Point of View: Nedzu's official statement regarding the League's assault on the USJ is that an attack had been attempted, but was ultimately thwarted when All Might arrived on the scene with several other teachers. While technically true, this omits how long it took for them to arrive, as well as the amount of damage the League was able to do before then.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: In the wake of the USJ incident, Aizawa himself faces the grim possibility that their injuries have rendered them unable to use their Quirk anymore.
  • Grew a Spine: While Izuku was already determined enough to hang onto his dreams in the face of others constantly telling him they were impossible, under Aizawa's tutelage he gains the strength to stand up for himself more often. Bakugou and the rest of his middle school classmates first become aware of this shift when Izuku calmly shuts down their teacher's attempt to humiliate him into giving up on U.A.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: While fighting Izuku, Shigaraki decides to taunt him by disintegrating his equipment. Specifically, his eskrima rods. Which blow up in his hands.
  • Hope Spot: During the League of Villains' attack on the USJ, Izuku briefly thinks that Aizawa managed to cancel out Shigaraki's Quirk before registering that no, his head is still down.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Though the circumstances surrounding it are very different, with Nedzu pointing Toshinori towards Izuku and all, Toshinori still offers Izuku the chance to become his successor.
    • Uraraka is still threatened by the zero-pointer during the entrance exam. Midoriya isn't there, having gotten in on recommendation, and Bakugou saves her instead.
    • The League of Villains still attacks the USJ, and Midoriya and Asui both end up in the water training area, though Kaminari is with them.
    • A guardian still considers pulling their child from Yuuei in the wake of the USJ attack. Instead of Inko, it's Kaminari Koharu, Denki's grandmother.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Toshinori means well, really, but his decision to offer Izuku One for All comes off as a slap in the face. Best summarized by Izuku's thoughts on the matter:
    Every word from All Might had been well intended, but they sat ice cold and burning in the pit of Izuku's stomach. All Might didn't believe in him. He had watched him, had seen what Izuku was already capable of, and had decided that it would never be enough.
  • Ironic Echo: Nedzu uses one of Aizawa's favorite turns of phrase against him when he pulls off a 'logical ruse' of his own: falsely convincing Izuku that he'll lose his recommended spot if he can't beat all of the students Aizawa expelled.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Izuku is well aware that being Quirkless is a natural disadvantage. He also privately acknowledges that someone like Tenya, who grew up surrounded by Pro Heroes, would be very familiar with just how dangerous their line of work is and have plenty of reason to be concerned.
  • Like Mother, Like Daughter: Just like Mei, Natsumi refers to her inventions as her babies.
  • Locked Out of the Loop:
    • Defied with Inko. One of the first conditions Aizawa sets before he agrees to train Izuku is that he has to get his parent's permission first, and he keeps Inko well informed of all developments.
    • Aizawa also defies this once Toshinori gets involved, being highly unamused by Toshinori's attempts to justify approaching Izuku to discuss some kind of secret without getting clearance from his mother or instructor first.
    • After getting to know Inko better, Toshinori muses that he could have ended up the subject of a rather unflattering headline: "Symbol of Peace Murdered by Righteous Mother's Fury".
  • Loophole Abuse: There's no laws forbidding someone without a quirk from applying to U.A. or becoming a pro. It's simply never happened yet.
  • Morton's Fork: Shouto regards being stuck with mandatory counseling in the wake of the USJ incident as one: if he says too much, Endeavour will punish him for tarnishing the family name and his ever-so-precious image. If he doesn't say anything, however, then she won't clear him to return to school, and his father will punish him for that instead.
  • Motive Rant: Rave and Asahi both get one about why they're after Eraserhead; they blame him for the death of their little sister. However, Izuku takes advantage of Asahi's attempt to explain his motives by attacking before he can finish.
  • Not Helping Your Case:
    • When Toshinori first approaches Izuku here, he unintentionally sets off his 'stranger danger' senses, and his poor choice of words keeps making matters worse. Once Aizawa arrives, Toshinori manages to make an even greater mess by completely failing to read the room or the dangerous vibes coming off of his fellow hero.
    • When Tenya approaches Izuku to express his doubts about his ability to pursue his chosen path safely, Izuku cuts him off before he can start. Tenya's refusal to accept the out gracefully and back off only makes Izuku more annoyed with him.
    • When Izuku tells Nedzu that he wants an apology for his behavior, Nedzu's immediate response is to pretend he didn't hear him, followed by a non-apology, making clear that he considers his actions completely justified. This leads to Aizawa threatening to quit outright, with Hizashi and Toshinori backing him up.
    • In the wake of the USJ incident, Nedzu manages to alienate and enrage Inko and other aggrieved parents even further by suggesting that the attack will prove to have been 'a valuable learning experience' for their children. All while trying to gloss over just how many of them needed to be hospitalized in the aftermath.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: While ensuring that Class 1-A gets some therapy after the traumatic events at USJ is a good idea, Nedzu's decision to make 'clearing' it a mandatory requirement for returning to school is seen as less so. Inko points out that this places pressure upon the students to consider faking it in order to make it back to class.
  • Paparazzi: Kadano Eiko, a reporter who firmly believes that when it comes to money versus morals, people choose the former every time.
  • Rage Quit: Aizawa, Toshinori and Hizashi threaten to quit should Nedzu continue manipulating them and Izuku after he tricked Toshinori into revealing his recommendations status to Class 1-A.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Nedzu's willingness to exploit Izuku and Toshinori for his own ends quickly costs him not only their trust, but that of Aizawa, Hizashi, and others who learn about his actions as well. Without that trust, doing his job becomes significantly harder.
    • When Toshinori drops by another student's place unannounced in the wake of the USJ attack, their parental figure bars his way and asks for proof that he works at U.A.
    • Mineta is kicked out of Class 1-A and forced to take weekly counselling for his perverted antics and selfish motivations.
    • Nedzu's intention to downplay and minimize the acknowledged impact of the USJ attack further undermines his standing with parents and staff alike. Being the principal does not grant him carte blanche to ignore any advice that clashes with what he wants to do; Recovery Girl resolves to remind him of this when he blows off her recommendation that Class 1-A be excused from the Sports Festival.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: All Might proves to be one. As soon as he figures out that he's done wrong with Izuku when he asked if Izuku could be his successor, he immediately starts asking what he should have done, and apologizes to all relevant parties. He then visits Izuku personally and lays out his reasons for wanting Izuku to be his successor, apologizes again, then says that he'll help Izuku anyway at Yuuei because he does think Izuku has great potential to be a hero. He even specifically mentions that Izuku has made his choice and he won't offer again (although Izuku suspects that All Might still wants him to take on the power anyway).
  • Refusal of the Call: Played with in regards to the whole situation with All Might. Izuku wants to be a hero, but rejects Toshinori's offer of One For All, having already revolved to become a hero without a Quirk.
  • Scars Are Forever: Izuku's injuries from Shigaraki's assault leave him with a collection of thin scars where the shrapnel from his exploding escrima rod struck. Kaminari is also left with a zig-zagging scar across his cheek.
  • Secret Chaser: Bakugou pretty much immediately realizes that Izuku's hiding something, and sets out to determine exactly what it is.
  • Secret Keeper: Izuku selects Kaminari Denki as the first among his classmates that he wants to reveal the truth about Aizawa being his sponsor to, making them into one of these. It isn't just about trusting them, though; Izuku wants to do this so Denki might be willing to trust Aizawa more, and open up to him about his Quirk's side effects.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • It really says something about Bakugou that his reaction to interrupting a kidnapping attempt is to attack Izuku demanding to know why somebody considers him worth kidnapping.
    • Endeavor is honestly disappointed that his son was spared the worst that the League of Villains' assault on the USJ had to offer, seeing the horrific attack as nothing more than a wasted opportunity for Shouto to demonstrate his strength.
    • Inko takes Principal Nedzu to task for mishandling the USJ, scolding him for being more concerned about managing the press and protecting Yuuei's image than about the students who got caught in the crossfire.
  • Taking the Bullet: Happens during the USJ attack when Denki shoves Tsuyu away from Shigaraki.
  • Tempting Fate: As he's heading to school for the first time after the USJ assault, Denki reflects upon recent events and thinks about how, for the first time since the attack, things feel like they're actually going to be okay again. The very next scene reveals that somebody is breaking their silence regarding their suspicions about Endeavor... but rather than going to the authorities, they're selling that information to a reporter.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted; in the wake of the League of Villains attacking the USJ, all of the students of Class 1-A have to be evaluated by therapists before they can return to school. This proves especially challenging for Shouto, who sees this as a Morton's Fork.
  • Tranquil Fury: Aizawa goes into this quite often, such as when All Might attempts to offer Izuku One for All.
  • Trickster Mentor: Nedzu. Deconstructed in that while he seems to mean well, his manipulations mean that by the time school starts, Izuku is now paranoid over what will and what won't be some test or manipulation by Nedzu. After Toshinori is tricked into revealing that Izuku is in U.A. on recommendation, Nedzu's own staff start distrusting him as well.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Toshinori is repeatedly manipulated by Nedzu in his efforts to use Izuku to his advantage. As of Chapter 40, this has led to Toshinori joining Aizawa and Hizashi's threat to quit U.A., with Aizawa resolving to keep Toshinori in the loop to make him harder to trick.
  • Wham Episode: The USJ attack goes significantly worse than its canonical counterpart. By the time the dust settles, over half of Class 1-A needs medical attention, with several requiring serious treatment. Shigaraki is also severely injured, and clearly blames Izuku and Denki for the worst of his injuries.
  • Wham Line:
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: In-Universe, Aizawa does not approve of the Canonical uniforms, seeing them as emphasizing marketability over function. He's especially disgusted with what they offered for Yaoyorozu. This is blamed on Yuuei branching out and working with other suppliers; when Aizawa contacts their original supplier, they're just as horrified, and help salvage what they can while completely redoing others.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Nedzu sets up one when he pits Izuku against the latest batch of students Aizawa expelled. Whatever the outcome, he gets plenty of footage to show the school board in order to secure and justify his recommended spot. Oh, and Izuku's spot was never in question- what was was the opportunity for the expelled students to come back. So either those students would shape up and prove themselves worthy, in which case U.A. wins, or they don't, which means that U.A. still wins for not having awful students, and either way Izuku shows off his stuff to people, which justifies his placement. For Nedzu, there wasn't a "Lose" scenario here. ...Save for losing Aizawa and Izuku's trust and respect, anyway.


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