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Fan Fic / Sleeper Hit AU

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Midoriya Izuku may have been Quirkless, but he wasn't about to let that get in the way of his dreams. Through hard work and determination, he managed to pass U.A.'s Entrance Exam and make it into the Hero Course... only for Aizawa to expel him after he placed last in his Quirk Assessment Test.

Four years later, Class 1-A gathers to watch the announcement of the first Hero Rankings since their debut. Among those who made the list is Sleeper Hit, the first Quirkless Pro Hero, who gives an interview afterwards. When he reveals how he was expelled from U.A. on his first day, everyone is stunned to realize he's their former classmate... especially Ochako, who's determined to reconnect with the boy who saved her from the Zero Pointer.

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The Sleeper Hit AU consists of several stories:

  • Sleeper Hit: Follows the fallout of the titular hero's interview and Ochako's efforts to reach out to him.
  • Imposter: Centers on Hagakure Tooru realizing the full implications of her teacher's actions and grappling with the insecurities and doubts that sparks.
  • Wasted Potential: Focuses on Todoroki Shouto/Promise encountering Midoriya/Sleeper Hit on the field, and the latter's realization about why the Frostbite Hero seems to struggle with his Quirk at times.
  • Hindsight is a Harsh Mistress: Imari Tengo, Midoriya's long-fingered classmate and former bully from junior high, crosses paths with him again.
  • The Speedster Plays Catch-Up: Iida Tenya wakes up from his coma.


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This fanfiction series contains examples of:

  • All for Nothing:
    • After everything he did to prepare himself and pass U.A.'s Entrance Exam, Midoriya got expelled on his very first day for failing to pass Aizawa's assessment, with his teacher declaring that he simply lacked the potential required to make it there. This sent Izuku into a Heroic BSoD that was only worsened by Uraraka calling him 'Deku', creating his Jade-Colored Glasses.
    • Aizawa justified his decision to expel Izuku by telling himself that Midoriya wouldn't be able to make it as a Pro Hero, and that he needed to ensure there was room in his class for Shinsou once he proved himself worthy of the Hero Course. Midoriya goes Pro anyway, though Aizawa's actions made him much more cynical and distrusting, while there's plenty of extra room by the time Shinsou's able to enter the Hero Course thanks to Mineta and Asui getting murdered by the League.
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    • Izuku fears that if he exposed Katsuki/King Nitro as his long-time abuser, it will render everything All Might and his fellow Pros did at Kamino to save him irrelevant, convincing the public that he wasn't worthy of being saved. He still frets about this after Bakugou loses his license.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The fate of Iida Tenya is not specified in the original story; while he is no longer part of Class 1-A, the exact circumstances are never revealed, leaving the results of their confrontation with Stain unclear. The fifth installment reveals that the fight left Tenya comatose, waking up four years later.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • After learning that Aizawa rigged the results of his test in order to create a spot in his class for Shinsou while retaining Hagakure, Shinsou blows past his teacher's self-justifications this way:
      Shinsou: If I'd passed the exam, and there was another Gen Ed student with a quirk you thought was more useful than mine... would you have expelled me too?
      Aizawa: ...I don't know.
    • Inko gently challenges her son's dismissal of his former classmates with a one-two punch:
      Inko: Do you really think I only started supporting you because you proved me wrong?
      Izuku: Of course not! I'd never... I mean, even after I met Mei, you were my biggest supporter through most of my time there.
      Inko: So why don't you give that girl the same chance?
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Sleeper Hit is known as the Analytic Hero for good reason. During battles, his mind is running several miles a minute, and he also figured out the secret of One For All without being let into the loop.
  • Badass Normal: His Quirklessness may have complicated matters, but mostly in the sense of dealing with others shutting doors in his face. This hasn't stopped Midoriya from going Pro.
  • Bland-Name Product: At one point, Izuku eats at a WcDonalds, an obvious alteration of McDonald's.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Shinsou's regard for his teacher and mentor takes a massive hit after learning that part of the reason he expelled Midoriya was to ensure that there was space in his class for his protégé. Especially after learning Aizawa rigged the results since Midoriya did not in fact place last.
    • Katsuki's fellow members of the Hell Class are disgusted to learn about his bullying. The news hits Ejirou and Mina especially hard due to their own experiences with such matters.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Getting unceremoniously expelled from U.A. on his very first day, casually outed as Quirkless, and having the girl he saved during the Entrance Exam call him 'Deku' all worked together to convince Midoriya that U.A. was a toxic environment and that everyone there was just as bad as Bakugou.
  • Death by Adaptation: Asui, Mineta, and Yagi are no longer around by the time the story begins.
  • Deconstruction Fic:
    • Of the invoked Dad Might and Dadzawa concepts. Without the incident with the Sludge Villain, Toshinori lacks any real investment in Izuku, and does nothing to help or encourage him beyond a single sympathetic glance after he's expelled. Aizawa, meanwhile, is invested — in Shinsou, and sees nothing wrong with crushing Midoriya's dreams in order to make room for his protégé.
    • Also deconstructs how Bakugou's bullying is treated as just part of his role as Midoriya's rival. Instead of going through slow Character Development on his own, Bakugou grows more set in his ways, so when he finally does get challenged directly, he's completely unable to handle it and doubles down.
  • Dream-Crushing Handicap: Aizawa sees Midoriya's Quirklessness as such, which is part of his self-justification for booting him out of U.A.
  • Easily Forgiven: Downplayed. Izuku struggles to get over his anger at UA at first, but ultimately forgives most of his would-be classmates, Aizawa, and one of his middle school bullies after they all apologize. Bakugou remains unrepentant and is given no such courtesy.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: During "Hindsight is a Harsh Mistress", a villain named Zeitgeist takes a WcDonalds hostage and steals some of the civilians' drinks for himself. It's later revealed that he's made a clone army of himself with a time travel Quirk, and is using the drinks to keep himself fueled because the oldest clones have been awake for 20 hours straight or so.
  • Entitled Bastard: Bakugou. By the time Sleeper Hit begins, he has grown so thoroughly convinced that he deserves to be the best that he throws a hissy fit over placing #38 in his very first Hero Ranking, insisting that he should have been in the Top 20 at least.note  To say nothing of his reaction to placing seven spots beneath the Quirkless Sleeper Hit, long before finding out just who he is...
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: After spending several years in a coma, Tenya grapples with feeling out of place, able to see how so many of his peers have grown and matured over time while he missed out on all of it.
  • Flashback B-Plot: The Speedster Plays Catch-Up alternates between scenes in the present day and Flashbacks to key events in Tenya's past. Namely involving his time at U.A., and what led to him playing catch-up in the first place.
  • Foil:
    • Aizawa and Bakugou both wronged Midoriya due to their personal biases. While Aizawa came to regret his decision long before getting called out, Bakugou remained convinced that he was right all along, and takes being challenged poorly.
    • The side-story Hindsight is a Harsh Mistress reveals what became of Imari, one of Katsuki's former followers. Unlike Bakugou, he was unable to go Pro, ending up in retail where his long fingers proved useful. Both were motivated by feelings of inferiority, but Imari came to regret his behavior and reformed all on his own, while Bakugou doubled down.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • Since the incident with the Sludge Villian never happened, Toshinori never approached Midoriya and offered him One For All. The Quirk instead eventually went to Kirishima instead.
    • Kirishima's Quirk helped him avoid seriously breaking his body while training with One For All, as he reflexively hardened in response to the pain.
    • Midoriya's expulsion reinforced Bakugou's beliefs that he was naturally superior to his Quirkless former friend, as well as the notion that he'd only gotten into U.A. by 'cheating'. Since his delusions were never seriously challenged or broken, he never grew out of them, and the discovery that Izuku didn't give up on going Pro hits him even harder, causing him to spiral completely out of control.
    • Aizawa was already acquainted with Shinsou before holding that fateful test, which informed his decision to follow through on his threat of expulsion.
    • Izuku's absence from Class 1-A led to several key events having worse outcomes. The League's assault on the USJ resulted in two casualties, and Tenya's vengeful pursuit of Stain ended with him in a coma for four years.
    • The Sports Festival had a different top three roster: Todoroki placed first, Shinsou second, and Bakugou third.
    • The Kamino Incident left Toshinori fatally wounded, and he passed on his Quirk to Kirishima on his deathbed.
    • Without the influence of somebody like Izuku around, Shouto continued using his ice side exclusively and debuted as the Frostbite Hero Promise.
    • Due to the surrounding circumstances, Ochako calling Izuku 'Deku' did not lead to him reclaiming it as his hero name, as she only reinforced the insult's painfulness.
  • Foreshadowing: At the start of the story, it's noted that all seventeen members of the former Class 1-A have gathered together to watch the Hero Rankings. This hints at how Midoriya is not the only student who's no longer considered to be part of their class, for... various reasons.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse:
    • Katsuki is the only one who believes that his Inferiority Superiority Complex justifies the way he treated Izuku. Everybody else is disgusted and Disappointed by the Motive.
    • Izuku also rebukes Shouto after realizing that he's been holding back so much of his power, stubbornly refusing to use it even when fire would come in handy, placing his promise to himself above his sworn duty to protect others.
  • Friendly Address Privileges: For all that Katsuki seems to blow off Ejirou calling him 'Bakubro', he's surprised when he drops the nickname and reverts to a strict Last-Name Basis.
  • Fusion Fic: Downplayed. Midoriya wound up attending the Hamada Institute, a Support-centric school founded by the Neuronic Hero Macro Six, aka Hamada Hiro. Wasabi also puts in an appearance as the Slice-n-Dice Hero, who mentored Izuku and Mei during their second-year apprenticeships.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Zig-Zagged. All of Izuku's efforts hit a brick wall at U.A. thanks to Aizawa; however, he was able to find recognition elsewhere. The fact that he worked so hard also enables Shinsou to poke holes in Aizawa's defense of his actions, as he realizes that Midoriya likely scored higher on the fitness test than Hagakure.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing: Implied. Bakugou submits himself to anger management classes and community service, but this is right after Shinsou forced him to "go home and rethink [his] life".
  • Heroic BSoD: "Impostor" centers on Hagakure falling into one after it comes out that Aizawa rigged the test to justify expelling Izuku, and if he had not done so it would have been her head on the chopping block.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Katsuki's decision to crash the meeting at Dagobah Beach and confront Izuku costs him the respect of Ejirou and the other classmates present, along with his Hero License thanks to the whole thing being caught on camera.
  • Humiliation Conga: Not only does Aizawa expel him on his very first day, but he also outs Izuku as Quirkless in a brief-but-brutal speech about refusing to give him any special treatment for it.
  • Hypocrite: For all that Aizawa espouses about rationality and logic, he still sabotaged the Physical Assessment scores so his sole Quirkless student would have the lowest score, giving him an excuse to expel the boy and make room for someone Aizawa wanted in the class. He acknowledges this in his apology to Izuku on the beach.
  • Ignored Epiphany:
    • Zig-Zagged with Aizawa. Though he came to regret expelling Midoriya long before Sleeper Hit gave that fateful interview, he still lies to Shinsou and attempts to convince him that he wasn't completely misguided.
    • Bakugou's sincerely stunned by Kirishima rebuking him, wavering before redirecting his rage back towards Midoriya. Subverted by the later revelation that he's started therapy after getting cut out of Kirishima's life.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Being Quirkless didn't stop Midoriya from saving Ochako from the Zero Pointer.
    • Despite being expelled from U.A., Izuku still wound up working with Hatsume Mei courtesy of her connection with Wasabi.
    • Ochako and Tenya still became friends, and their first Heroics lesson still involved Katsuki, though the teams were different — Ochako joined Tenya on the Villains side while Katsuki and Jirou were Heroes. Katsuki also still demonstrated his gauntlets, with incredibly destructive results.
    • Shinsou still started out in General Studies, and still used his powers to brainwash Ojirou into helping him.
    • Katsuki still wound up forcibly restrained during the awards ceremony for the first Sports Festival, though here, it was because it was the only way of keeping him from throttling Shinsou.
    • Bakugou was still kidnapped by the League, and several of his classmates still risked themselves in an effort to save him. This incident also led to Midoriya opting to stay silent about the abuse he suffered at his hands.
    • Katsuki still failed the Provisional License Exam the first time he took it.
    • During their confrontation at the beach, Katsuki gleefully uses his gauntlets in much the same way he did in Canon.
    • Izuku is still the one who convinces Todoroki to start using the fire part of his Quirk.
  • In-Series Nickname: The former Class 1-A is widely known as 'U.A.'s Hell Class', due to the various horrors and hardships they endured during their time there.
  • Innocently Insensitive: As in Canon, Ochako mistook 'Deku' as Izuku's name, leading to disastrous results.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • The story opens with Sleeper Hit revealing how he was expelled from U.A. on his first day, allowing his former classmates to make that connection, along with the rest of the public reacting to the news.
    • Aizawa reveals to Shinsou — and eventually to Izuku and several other students — that he was the one who sent out an anonymous recommendation to the Hamada Institute.
    • Katsuki himself reveals while confronting Izuku that he dared him to 'take a swan dive off the roof'.
  • Irony: One of Aizawa's main motivations behind booting Midoriya out was to secure space in his class for Shinsou once he proved himself worthy of the Hero Course. By the time the Sports Festival rolled around, another vacancy had opened up courtesy of Asui and Mineta's deaths, rendering the expulsion entirely unnecessary and leaving him saddled with regrets.
  • It's All About Me: Bakugou remains thoroughly convinced that Midoriya only ever wanted to become a Pro Hero in order to 'show him up' and destroy Katsuki's own dreams. No amount of evidence to the contrary can convince him otherwise.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • U.A. gets publicly crucified for their treatment of Izuku, and is forced to shape up their treatment of those with poor or no Quirks.
    • Bakugou brutally pays for his bullying and violence when Aizawa records him assaulting and using lethal force against him, leading to him losing his Hero License.
      "Izuku had to admit, all the abuse he’d endured at Bakugou’s hands might have been worth it just to see the blood completely drain from Bakugou's face."
    • Aizawa has his teaching license revoked and is put on probation for rigging the test to kick Izuku out. While he did technically have the right to expel students at his unilateral discretion, sabotage went beyond the pale.
  • Loophole Abuse: Unintentional example. Tenya's surprised to learn that he was never expelled from U.A.; Aizawa intended to wait and only make it official once he woke up. However, with Aizawa no longer working as a teacher, the point seems to be moot.
  • Mama Bear: As much as she worried about her son's chosen career path, Inko was furious when U.A. kicked him out, and threw all her support behind him as they searched for another school that would take him in.
  • Meaningful Echo: Shigaraki told Bakugou that he was more like a villain than a hero. After seeing firsthand the way he treats Midoriya, Kirishima repeats those words, adding that "He was right all along."
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Midoriya becomes invoked Sleeper Hit, referencing how he was dismissed and derided simply for being Quirkless, yet became a Pro impressive enough that he broke into the Top 50 of the Hero Rankings upon his official debut.
    • Bakugou named himself King Nitro, showing how little he's changed since childhood... that indeed, his ego burns brightly as ever.
    • Shouto became Promise, the Frostbite Hero, emphasizing how he swore never to use his father's flames.
  • Motivational Lie: Averted; Aizawa's threat of kicking the lowest-scoring student out was very real.
  • Motive Rant: Katsuki launches into one on the beach:
    Bakugou: Of f***ing course I did! Because if I didn't break, if I'm weaker than Deku, then what does that make me?! Ever since Kamino, people have been looking down on me, pitying me, blaming me... I have to be the strongest! And after all I've been through, Deku still came out on top!
  • My Greatest Failure: Even before Sleeper Hit gave that revealing interview, Aizawa had come to regret expelling Midoriya, believing that it would have been better to keep him around. He also suspected that if he had been present, the USJ incident might not have ended with the deaths of Asui and Mineta.
  • Name's the Same: invoked It's commonly assumed that the Hamada Institute was named for its founder, Hamada Hiro. However, he actually named it for his late brother, Hamada Tadashi. Tadashi contributed heavily to medical science, creating the microchip technology used in most modern medical robots, but has had his accomplishments downplayed and ignored due to his Quirklessness.
  • Never My Fault:
    • Upon realizing that Izuku didn't stop pursuing his dreams after being booted out of U.A., Katsuki recalls seeing someone who looked like him at the Provisional License Exam... and promptly blames him for the fact that he failed.
    • He also immediately blames Izuku for Kirishima turning against him after seeing him in full Rage Mode.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The reason Bakugo's team (playing Heroes) loses in the Battle Trials is because, when facing Iida and Ochako (playing Villains), he uses his gauntlet at full power; besides badly injuring them both, Bakugo also blasts the fake bomb. As Recovery Girl points out, if this situation had been real (with a nuclear bomb involved), Bakugo's actions would have condemned the whole city.
  • Noble Bigot: While his main motivation was to make room for his protege in the Hero Course, Aizawa still lied about the results of the physical assessment specifically so he could expel the Quirkless Izuku rather than Hagakure who scored lower but had what he saw as a valuable Quirk.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Mei's demonstration during the second Sports Festival apparently involved the atomization of some bleachers. Kirishima notes that she still needs to repay U.A. for that.
    • Midnight's reaction to learning about Aizawa's actions. All he says on the matter is a question posed to another:
      Aizawa: You ever been on the receiving end of Midnight's whip when she's not playing around?
  • Not So Different: Shigaraki repeatedly attempted to convince Bakugou that he wasn't all that different from the villains he supposedly stood against. Kirishima admits that Shigaraki was right after seeing how Bakugou treats Midoriya.
  • Oh, Crap!: Ochako reacts this way after Yaoyorozu points out that Bakugou is wearing his hero costume while confronting them.
  • One Hero, Hold the Weaksauce: As Midoriya points out, Kirishima is much better suited to being the inheritor of One for All than he would've been due to how his own quirk complements it. One for All's self-destructive power is easier to manage with a quirk like Hardening to mitigate the backlash and prevent his limbs from shattering.
  • Playing the Victim Card: Bakugou of all people does this, insisting that everything Midoriya has done was out of spite, trying to sabotage Bakugou's dreams rather than simply pursuing his own. Because everything naturally revolves around HIM, after all.
  • Plot Parallel:
    • After learning/figuring out that Aizawa rigged his Quirk Assessment Test to their benefit, both Shinsou and Hagakure are left with a sour taste in their mouths, questioning whether they truly earned or deserved their place in his class. Ojirou also compares Hagakure's guilty conscience to the way he felt after Shinsou hypnotized him and led their team to victory.
    • The first time that Ochako approaches Midoriya hoping to apologize, the attempt gets rejected outright, and he coldly accuses her of only caring about him now that he's a Pro. The same thing happens to Imari with the exact same reasoning, drawing a parallel between how each reacts to the rejection.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Thanks to Ochako calling him by the same insulting nickname Bakugou used right after he was outed as Quirkless, Midoriya believes that she knew what it meant. And the timing of her efforts to reach back out to him leaves him convinced that she and the rest of Class 1-A are hoping to use him to climb the rankings.
  • Reformed Bully: Imari Tengo, one of Izuku's former classmates and a member of Katsuki's personal squad, has since come to regret his behavior towards him without any outside impetus.
  • Rejected Apology:
    • Ochako's first attempt to reconnect with Midoriya goes very poorly, as he doubts that she's even remotely sincere.
    • After learning the full truth of Aizawa's motivations for expelling him, Izuku admits that he's not ready to forgive him yet.
    • When Imari gets a chance to try and apologize to Midoriya after a chance meeting, he immediately rejects him, assuming that he's only apologizing because of Midoriya's newfound status as Sleeper Hit.
  • The Resenter:
    • Midoriya's natural grudge against Aizawa bleeds into his perception of U.A. and Hero Culture as a whole, making him regard everyone connected to the school with disdain. It takes time and individual effort to help him work past those initial presumptions.
    • Downplayed regarding Kirishima. When the pair get a chance to talk things out privately, Midoriya admits that he did resent how his Quirk 'mutated' after figuring out the secret of One For All, but by the time they meet, he's long since worked through it, having realized that such a powerful Quirk would have wreaked havoc on his unprepared body, while Kirishima's hardening was tailor-made to help him avoid serious injury.
  • The Scapegoat:
    • Played With. While Nedzu freely admits the part he played in enabling the situation, and doesn't intend to throw Aizawa under the bus, Aizawa still resigns from U.A. and gives up his teaching license.
    • There are still those who blame Bakugou for the Kamino Incident, feeling that All Might and his fellow Pros should not have tried saving them.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Technically, Hagakure scored lower than Midoriya during their assessment. But Aizawa wanted to keep her around because of her Quirk, so he fudged the results in her favor.
  • Shout-Out: When Mei hears Izuku refers to himself as a 'Quirkless Deku', she initially thinks that he's comparing himself to a Deku Scrub.
  • Suicide Dare: Bakugou reveals that he hadn't really meant it when he suggested that Midoriya kill himself back then. Unfortunately, his sense of entitlement has grown over the intervening years to the point that when he brings it back up, he sincerely wishes that Izuku had taken his advice.
  • Superpower Lottery: To those unaware of One For All, Kirishima appears to have won it, due to his Quirk 'mutating' after the Kamino Incident to provide more strength.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Midoriya mistakenly sees Ochako as one after she calls him 'Deku'.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Ochako calling him 'Deku' left Izuku convinced that all of Class 1-A were cut from the same cloth as Bakugou, triggering his slide into cynicism and guarded isolation.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Bakugou spends the entirety of Sleeper Hit spiraling increasingly out of control after learning that Midoriya wasn't broken by his expulsion, and in fact went on to become a Pro anyway... one who ranked higher than him in their debut.
  • Wham Line: During the final chapter of Sleeper Hit, Katsuki's declaration that "And we'd all be better off if you'd just taken my advice and thrown yourself off the roof!" hits everyone present like a truck.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Nobody is happy with Aizawa after Sleeper Hit's interview, and it only gets worse whenever anyone learns about the deeper details of his decision.
    • Kirishima, Ashido, and Bakugou's other peers are also disgusted to learn the extent of his bullying, especially when he doubles down and refuses to admit that he did anything wrong.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Played With. After expelling Midoriya, Aizawa decided to secretly endorse his bid to enter another school. As far as anyone who learns of this is concerned, it doesn't make up for his public actions.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: After everything he went through in order to make it into U.A., Izuku doesn't even get to spend a full day there before getting expelled, with his temporary teacher utterly humiliating him in front of his would-be classmates.


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