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All Roads Lead Home

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Shadows danced across the battlefield. Flames once controlled by allies now raged out of control without care for who or what they consumed. It was hard to determine who was simply injured and who was dead in the commotion.

His classmates had fought back-to-back with pros, their difficult school years giving them the edge they needed to stand alongside seasoned veterans. He shuddered to think of how many wouldn’t make it to their graduation in less than a week. To come so far and fall short... Deku clenched his hand, feeling the stretch and rebound of One For All as it bounced around his ligaments, pushing and pulling against itself to keep his body in check. He could feel all of the quirk’s former wielders at his back. The specters of Shimura Nana and Yagi Toshinori flanked either side of his shoulder, points of light in a dark vista.

Kacchan was still up and heaving, sweat running down the side of his face mingling with blood on the way down. Deku knew the other hero was at his limit. They were being overrun.

Shouto on the other hand, looked to be standing on his own. At least for now. One less thing for Izuku to worry about.

“Izuku, we can’t keep this up much longer,” Shouto panted, kicking another villain down using all his elemental advantages, throwing out a spray of ice to cool Bakugou off.

“We just need to hold on a little bit longer! Reinforcements are coming," Deku shouted from where he fought.

Tomura zeroed in on what was taking Midoriya’s attention away from him and scratched at the sides of his arms. Large red welts raised along the seams of his skin. He laughed.

“Oh, reinforcements are coming,” he growled.

Midoriya followed Tomura’s eyes, to see a tidal wave of villains approaching from the east.

“Shouto! Behind you!” Midoriya screeched.

They tumbled over the battered hellscape in roiling waves of body, each quirk melding them together in Midoriya’s mind as they swarmed towards them. There was no way that they could take that many people on and still stop Tomura from reaching the device.

Shouto turned to face the tide.

“Shouto, no! Don’t even think about it!” Midoriya screeched, clawing his way out of one battle and into another.

Shouto looked over his shoulder.

“I’m sorry, Izuku.”

He led with his right side, bracing his foot before spinning forward launching out a supernova of ice, spreading across the gap between buildings, not only freezing the villains in their tracks, but creating a physical blockade for half a kilometer in each direction.

And at the center of it all, encased under several tonnes of ice, was Todoroki Shouto. The ice wasn’t clear enough for Deku to actually see his boyfriend underneath it, but he couldn’t help but register a blot of deep red hazed by cloudy ice. Deku realized he was screaming only when he stopped.

“Look around you, all this destruction is laid at your feet, Midoriya Izuku,” Tomura laughed, disintegrating debris around him to reveal more bodies.  

This wasn’t a battle between the prodigies of All For One and One For All, it wasn’t a knock down drag out fight for the age of heroes itself, it was a massacre.

And Todoroki was down. Down. That word rebounded around his head along with One For All. He grit his teeth against the pain in his heart. “You’re going down, Tomura.”

Deku spared a moment to wipe the sweat out of his eyes. Bodies of his fallen comrades flashed before him, Tsu, Ochako, All Might. He saw their broken forms in every shadow, but his tears had long since run out.

Swift eye contact was made with Katsuki, one eyebrow raised in silent question.

Kacchan smirked in response and gave a nod. If this was to be the end, they’d go down fighting. For their friends. Their families. They would end this here.

Using all the power he could muster, Deku took to the air, following Kacchan as he took them both higher with the power of his explosions.

The reached the zenith of their climb in the thin air above Takoba, in the distance Izuku caught a clear beachfront once covered with trash out of the corner of his eye.

“Y’know. You’re not so bad Deku.” Kacchan said, gripping tight to Deku’s forearms.

They had one shot at this, but Deku found the time to smile in response. “Let’s make this a home run.”

Kacchan used his quirk to increase their momentum, turning it into a spin. At the last moment he flung Deku towards the ground and Midoriya accessed maximum power that rippled and ravaged through his entire body. He pulled all the energy into his feet and prepared for impact.

He released a wordless battle cry, keeping his eyes open as the ground raced towards him. This was not the time for cheesy attack lines and cheek, this was beyond all of that, beyond anything they’d be taught to handle.

A flash, and a shockwave, and shapes moving in front of his eyes. Nothing enough to resemble shapes. He was laying in the center of a crater, and at the edge of it crawled Tomura. Injured, but still alive. Damn All For One and his menagerie of fucked up quirks he'd passed on to his apprentice.

Pain edged in around his vision, creating tunnels of darkness into the air. He could see Kacchan, mouth agape. That alone told him that the state of his body had to be bad.

He opened his mouth and shouted the only thing he could.

“Run!”

And then the tunnels around his eyes closed in. His last moments agony. If only he could have done something different. Changed things. Been a better hero from the start and save everyone.

As Izuku closed his eyes, one by one the specters of One For All flickered out of existence until it was just Nana and Toshinori in front of him, each of them with a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

His eyes closed and they were still there, both of them wearing their signature smiles and outlined in light.

Nana smiled and pressed a kiss to his forehead. “You’re going to be amazing.”

Her light shattered into sparks leaving just Yagi Toshinori, a sickly form silhouetted by a hero in his prime. Both images moved in tandem.

Firm arms gripped his shoulders in a hug and Izuku felt very, very small.

His mentor looked at him seriously, before poking him in the cheek.

“Don’t forget to smile.”  

In the darkness, Izuku brought to mind his friends, each of their faces, not as he had last seen them, but smiling as they had done thousands of times.

A small tinder of hope ignited in his chest.

Maybe he would see them soon.

 


 

That tinder of hope grew like a butterfly unfurling its wings inside his chest, reflecting a vibrant green glow around a the dark room. It sang with a feeling of relief.

He was watching his life in reverse in a large pool of water. All the moments of joy, every trial and tribulation that led up to this point.

The water showed him everything: the friends and the fights, every mistake he had made and every moment he wished he could have done something different. Something better.

If only he had lived up to his mantle, his mentor.

The recollection started to slow approaching his childhood. Posters passed in a flash. Years of not speaking up when bullied flashed before his eyes, letting problems get out of hand. Flashes of working his hardest to surmount an unattainable goal.

Deku closed his eyes, and wished that he could have hugged his mother one more time. Out of anyone, his life had been the hardest on her. It would be no different in death.

He sank backwards into the water.

 


 

When he opened his eyes again, he felt the wetness on his face first, and then realized he was looking into the tear filled eyes of his mother.

“I’m sorry, Izuku, I’m sorry!”

Izuku dropped his hands to the keyboard, accidentally canceling the replay of the video. He pushed his way out of the chair and away from his mother’s arms. This was… this was.

He looked down at his hands, unscarred and small.

This was that memory. The one he’d used as his driving force for ten odd years.

His head ached like his brain had been run over by a truck and wanted to leak out of his ears. Which was rude of it. Tears of pain mixed with the tears already running down his cheeks.

The All Might calendar on the wall proclaimed it was the day his dreams were dashed, broken, and glued back together anew.

It was also definitely a part of the past. His past.

He clenched his hands, digging his fingernails into his palms to try and balance the pain in his head with the rest of his body. He pushed away from the computer, slipped out of his mother’s grasp, and sprinted down the hallway.

“Izuku, it is ten o’clock at night, where are you going?” his mother called, but Izuku’s shorter legs were too quick for her to catch the back of his shirt. He’d already bolted down the stairs and grabbed his shoes by the time she ran into the hallway.

Something was going on here and he wasn’t going to waste this chance. Whether this was a dream or reality- he couldn’t know. But damn if he wasn’t going to do something to prevent this if he could. He had to find Shouto. He had to.

He was six years old. That meant that All Might hadn’t fought All For One yet. If he could stop that, he could change everything. He could save Shouto, Tsuyu, Uraraka, Tenya, Hitoshi, even Kacchan. He could save everyone.

Trying to sort through the scattered thoughts in his aching brain, a flash of an explosion went off in front of him. It brought him to a halt moments from running into the street. Wind tore at his hair as a car passed, going too fast for the suburban neighborhood it was desperate to escape.

“Stupid Deku! What are you doing out so late?” Kacchan sneered even as he dusted soot off his sleeves. He was short, almost as short as Izuku, and his hair looked too big for his head. Those red eyes were unmistakable, even through a haze of pain. Especially through a haze of pain.

This… this hadn’t happened the first time through.

“What? You got rocks in your ears or somethin’? Answer me stupid. Did you find out what your quirk was?” His snide words did little to belie the curiosity in his eyes.

He opened his mouth to say that he was quirkless and then paused.

Was he?

“My quirk’s kind of complicated, I don’t really understand it yet but I’ll tell you all about it later,” Izuku replied in a disjointed voice. How had he spoken when he was six years old? Not how he spoke now, he was sure.

He had no idea if he would still have One For All at any point, or what was up with his current situation but maybe he could set Kacchan up for an easier future with a small blow to his ego. Remove one of the blocks that formed that foundation of his pride and the rest of them would fall. It was a chance worth taking.

Plus, it wasn’t a total lie. There was no way he could be here now with the chill of the night air rippling through his hair without a quirk. This had to be real. He was in the past. He wouldn’t be in so much pain if this was only a dream. Could it have been because of a quirk that had been looked over the first time? A quirk like the one All For One’s brother possessed?

“You better not try and one up me, Deku! Whatever your quirk is!” Kacchan said animatedly, turning and walking back through the gate into his house.

When had they gotten here?

“Don’t stay out too late and get abduc- abduck- taken by villains! I don’t want to have to save your ass, Deku!” Kacchan shouted from the stoop. His mother shrieked something about language but Kacchan’s glance back at Izuku was utterly unapologetic.

Izuku could only nod, a little dumbfounded by the exchange.

“Midoriya Izuku, you get back here this instant!” He heard his mom shout from further up the sidewalk, using her own quirk to pull him closer by his clothes. “You can’t just run outside like that. I know you’re upset but-”

“I’m sorry, but can you please relax Mom?” Izuku said, leaning into her embrace out of years of habit.

She scooped him up off the ground entirely. “What’s with this change in attitude? You sound so grown up all of a sudden!”

Izuku froze- Damn, his mother had always been pretty perceptive when she wanted to be- and he was a bad liar.

As his mother walked him back inside, Izuku fiercely debated with himself over what to do. If he told his mother the truth she might be able to help, but would she be able to believe him? What would become of him if she didn’t believe him? What if she thought he was crazy?

Back inside, Inko set her son on the counter and fussed around the kitchen making him a hot chocolate.

The gesture strengthened his resolve. He had to do something.

“Mom.”

“Yes, honey?”

“I have something I need to tell you, and I need you to listen to me. I mean really listen to me. Regardless of how improbable it seems. Can you do this for me?” he spoke quietly, but with conviction in every word. If he was going to pull this off, he needed people in his corner. It was the only reason he’d gotten so far in the first place.

Inko took a seat on a stool, looking into her son’s eyes. Seeing the hard glint in them that did not belong to a six year old whose dreams had just been crushed.

“I promise,” she said, leaning forward to listen.

He opened his mouth to begin explaining and paused. “Actually, I have a really bad headache. Could you get me some medicine, mom?”

“Of course, sweetie.”

His mom didn’t let him out of her sight, using her quirk to grab the bottle from the shelf in the pantry instead of walking over to grab it. It was one she used a lot when she got home from hospital to make dinner. Perks of having a nurse for a mom, great painkillers.

He took the pills, rubbing at the side of his head as he tried to figure out a way to word what was happening to him. “Where do I start? First off, I’m beginning to think that I’m not quirkless-” at that Inko choked a sob back.

She wiped her eyes, “Honey, I know you want to believe that, but-”

“No, Mom. Listen to me. I’m here because I died.”

Inko dropped the cup from her hands, catching it with her quirk before it shattered on the wood floor of the kitchen.

“Honey, I don’t understand,” she said as she brought the cup back up to the counter, bracing her hands on either side of it. “I haven’t let you out of my sight all day.”

Izuku ran a hand through his hair and sighed, a surprisingly adult gesture before waving his hand in the air. “I think, I’m not sure yet. This could still be a dream for all I know. Let me start over. Hi, I’m Midoriya Izuku, a third year student at UA operating under the hero name Deku, I mentored under Grand Torino and All Might. My classmates included Bakugou Katsuki and Todoroki Shouto. We were a week away from our graduation when the League of Villains made one all out attack to take me down. And in that battle I- along with many others- died.”

Inko said nothing as she reached up her hands to cup her son’s face, green eyes to green eyes. Looking for a lie that she desperately wanted to find.

“The doctor was wrong about my quirk… or it wasn’t something he could read. I think I travel back in time when I die; actually, that could be totally wrong. Something happened though, and I’m here. I’m not going to waste this chance by sitting here trying to figure out how it happened.” Izuku looked away from his mother’s eyes, unable to bear the scrutiny there. Not when he was as unsure as she was. He wanted to backpedal all of a sudden, laugh and play it off as one big joke.  

“You promise to me that you aren’t playing pretend,” Inko said, “Swear to me, on All Might.”

Izuku took a deep breath through his nose. “I swear on the life of my mentor, Yagi Toshinori, otherwise known as All Might, that I have told you nothing but the truth.”

Inko’s eyes filled with tears. Izuku froze, that seemed like a bad reaction. Why did he think this was a good idea? He hoped he didn’t look as bad as he felt, the pills would take awhile to start chipping away at the mountain of memories hammering away at his brain. Izuku looked away from his mom, if his age showed anywhere, it would be in his eyes.

Izuku picked at the back of his hand, feeling for scars that were no longer there. “Do you believe me?” he said.

“Of course I do, I’ll always believe you.” The mug clinked against the counter as she set it to the side, forgetting about the hot chocolate completely. “What do you need me to do?” she asked, bringing herself up to her full height as she wiped the tears out of her eyes. There was steel in the posture of her spine.

“I’m going to do my best to save everyone and prevent All For One’s rise. It starts here, and now.” Izuku looked up at his mother. This was his vow. He would start here and now. One For All or not, he would save everyone. Everyone.

He couldn’t get the vision of Shouto turning towards a tidal wave of enemies with a sad smile on his face out of his mind.

Tomura had laughed .

“We need to track someone down, Shimura Tenko. He’s about ten years old at this time, I think. We also need to report Todoroki Enji for child abuse and spousal abuse-” He would do everything he could to help Shouto, not matter what life threw at him.  “-then I need to tell All Might to protect his left side when he fights All For One. Fuck, that fight should happen in a few months, right around the same time he fights Toxic Chainsaw. I should probably take care of that before the Enji thing, damn.”

“Language!” Inko chided.

Izuku rolled his eyes with a small smile. “Yes, Mom.”

Reaching across the counter he took one of his hero assessment notebooks.The first few pages were filled with childish scribblings, a few tear marks scattered here and there. He had only gotten around to filling out one page about All Might. Muttering, he started writing down bullet points and critical intersections of his life that he needed to meet in order to stop the League of Villains before they began. He wrote down every important detail he could think of, his friend’s names, their abilities, descriptions of the foes they had all faced. Whatever could help. He’d always been good at analyzing things.

He continued to speak as he wrote in compact, neat kanji. “I need to talk to All Might, or you need to. He might listen if it comes from an adult. I know it’s late, but do you think I could stay up and use the computer for a while?”

He was nowhere near finished writing everything down and there were things he would need to look up to make sure he was right. He grabbed the notebook and pen in his hands.

“Just this once, because of extenuating circumstances,” Inko booped her son on his nose. He seemed to be in higher spirits than earlier, at least. That was one thing she could find to be grateful for. Collecting him from the counter she wrapped him in a bone crushing hug.

“Thank you for trusting me. I don’t know how much I can do, but I’ll do what I can.”

She sent him up the stairs to his room, but Izuku stopped at the top of the steps and looked back at her. For a moment, the shadow of her son loomed high, looking like that of a grown man.

“I never told you, but to me, you were always one of the greatest heroes.”

Without another word he turned and walked down the hallway.

Inko felt the tightness in her chest break and the tears start to flow down her cheeks. On unsteady legs she walked over to the table and slumped into a chair. It was all so much to take in one day. She repeated in her mind the three things that Izuku had placed the most emphasis on; Shimura Tenko, Todoroki Enji, and Yagi Toshinori.

It was going to be one hell of a year.

Up in his room, Izuku found the cursor blinking against the search bar. With steady hands he typed a name and began the first step on his plan for a better future.

When he was six years old he learned that life wasn’t fair, but you could always choose to fight.

Chapter Text

There were a few glaringly obvious holes where the white of the ceiling showed through all the hero posters he'd hung over the years; places where posters that included Endeavor had been torn down before he’d gone to bed. He couldn’t sleep with that man’s face looking down on him.

Early morning light cast shadows over the face of his mentor as Izuku desperately thought through different plans to save him. So far, none of them seemed reasonable and within the means of a six year old to carry out. At least his headache was starting to let up from ‘deadly migraine’ to ‘regular headache’ levels of pain.

What chance did he have of meeting All Might again? It would be easy enough to track down Yagi Toshinori, but he wasn’t sure that was the best idea.

The circumstances of his first meeting with All Might floored him when he thought about the situation logically. The whole thing had been chance built on chance, if Bakugou hadn’t decided to walk through town in that route, if he hadn’t made the decision to hold on to All Might’s leg- one wrong move and he never would have become a hero. He would have ended up becoming someone completely different.

Maybe he was just thinking too hard about it, but he had to make a move soon. Before the fight with All For One, before All Might was injured.

But what impact would extending All Might’s hero career have on the world? He had no way of knowing what it would change. Would the war between heroes and villains break out even sooner?

Was it morally right for him to change these events?

Yagi Toshinori, for as long as Izuku had known him, had always done the best with what he had been given, had tried his hardest, and done everything with a smile. Was it right to take a life experience from someone, even if the experience would bring them harm?

Was it wrong to fix an injury that had become a part of someone? Izuku knew he missed his own scars and the memories they had been attached to. They were important moments of his life, but those injuries had never stopped Izuku from being a hero. They had never taken his dreams.

Only a handful of people had known that Toshinori’s health had been in decline before he chose a successor. It was only because of Izuku (and technically, Bakugou) that the world had learned of All Might’s weakened form.

The only outcome he could foresee, if he changed things, was his mentor having more time to pass on One For All to whomever he ended up taking under his wing. Izuku rolled over in his bed again, covers twisting around his legs.

Maybe All Might had made the wrong choice picking him over someone like Togata Mirio. The covers bunched up under his fingers where his hands gripped the covers. He resolved that he wouldn’t try to get All Might to pass his quirk to him at all in this timeline. Maybe that would help things. He knew now that he didn’t need a quirk to be a hero. There were so many heroes that he had met that had amazing combat capabilities despite having quirks that weren’t oriented for battle, having no quirk was pretty much the same as having an unhelpful one.

He could learn how to be a hero all over again, his way. Hell, most of the time during his first year at UA he hadn’t been able to use his quirk without breaking his bones, and he’d still made it to the final round of the Sports Festival. Now that he had the time, he could make a plan that would cover for his weaknesses and better protect his friends.

With that thought in mind, Izuku got out of bed. Out of habit, he began to go through his morning routine of stretches and pushups, dismayed to find out that he could barely do 15 without feeling exhausted. The lack of physical conditioning was something he could work on later.

Grabbing his tennis shoes, Izuku flew down the stairs and into the kitchen.

“Mom, can you take me to-” Izuku was brought up short when he saw his mom sitting at the kitchen table. Next to her was Kacchan’s mom, looking like the morning sun.

“Mom?” he asked, looking between the two women.

“Mitsuki-chan here came over to congratulate you on your quirk, she brought cookies and they’re only mildly burned,” Inko teased, watching her childhood friend light up like a stoplight.

He dropped into a quick bow before smiling up at Kacchan’s mother, “Thank you very much.”

“It’s no trouble, I was just telling your mother how Katsuki’s appointment went a few months ago. They recommended us to a psychologist to deal with some of his more ‘explosive’ personality issues before his quirk strengthened.” Mitsuki laughed. “I didn’t think much of it at the time, but your old lady here has convinced me to give it a try.”

“I’m not old, Mitsu-chan,” his mother gasped, brandishing a damp dish towel at Kacchan’s mother.

For the first time he realized that they were close. He’d always known that they had gone to school together, but he’d always been so preoccupied with his own childhood that he never recognized what that meant. That his mom cared a lot about Mitsuki. 

The list of people he needed to protect kept getting longer and longer.  

“Anyway, as I was saying, Shinsou-sensei seems nice on the phone, but I don’t really put that much stock in western counselling you know? But if Inko-chan thinks it’ll help we can give it a try.” She leaned forward conspiratorially to stage whisper to him. “She’s always been smarter than me.”

The world slowed to a crawl around him, Shinsou. Shinsou . It might not be related, but it felt like the universe was throwing a boon at his feet. Someone else he could help. The list just kept getting longer and longer. Shouto, Toshinori, Kacchan, and now Hitoshi if this lead panned out. Izuku chanted the names in his head. He was doing this for them.

Last night he had thought out his life for the next 10 years; planning as best he could around what a child was capable of. Here he was, already throwing half of that plan out the window.

Well, they say no plan survives contact with the enemy and his enemy was time.

“Mitsuki-san, I could come with Kacchan to see this doctor. It might make him more comfortable to have a friend there.” Friend was stretching the truth of things a bit, but this chance was too good to pass up.

“Oh Izuku-kun that’s so sweet of you,” Mitsuki gave him a blinding smile. “I’ll set the appointment up for next week then. I think this will be good for him.”

Inko stood with Mitsuki and walked her to the door, shouting goodbye after her. Before turning around and giving Izuku a once over. Leaning back on her hip she grabbed his All Might hoodie from the coat rack and handed it to him. “I take it she didn’t come to offer her congratulations on your quirk last time? Apparently Katsuki-kun told her about it last night.”

“No, this is all new,” he mused, mostly to himself as he put on his hoodie and walked with her out the door.

“Is it good change?” she asked.

“I think so.”

 


 

In the week it took for Katsuki’s appointment to arrive, little progress was made in the overall plan. Izuku continued his morning routine, pushing himself to try and regain more of the motor functions he’d mastered as an adult. The agonizingly slow pace was one he feared he would need to become accustomed to. Ten long years lay ahead of him before he even got close to the same level of ability he’d been at before the jump back in time.

This time he’d be better, faster, more analytical.

Of course, Kacchan knew about none of this, so he sat in the corner glaring at Izuku’s face. That was familiar at least.

“I don’t see why you have to be here, idiot”, he sneered. The effect was much diminished by the red plastic children’s chair he was sitting on. As well as the the fact that each time Katsuki sneered at him, Izuku couldn’t help but remember the horrified face of a seventeen year old Kacchan being told to run away.

That more than anything cemented one part of Izuku’s plan. This time, he wouldn’t be Deku. He would succeed where Deku had failed.

He wasn’t sure who he would end up being, in the long run. Maybe it was a good thing he was waiting to see a therapist, he needed one. Though he doubted anything she had to say about Kacchan would be relevant to his situation.

“Bakugou-san and Midoriya-san?” A woman with lilac hair poked her head out from the locked door that lead to the therapy offices. “We’re ready for you now.”

Kacchan sprang up from his chair, looking between the two people in the room. He opened his mouth for a pause, before holding out his hand to Izuku as he looked away. Izuku took the offered hand with a smile, feeling it tremble slightly as they both walked forward.

The office was comfortable. A little warm, but open and bright with a large couch facing an arm chair. The combination of neutral tones and warmth reminded him of how Shouto had kept his dorm room. All at once another wave of emotion crashed over him. He hadn’t been making any progress gathering evidence against Todoroki Enji. It would require more resources than he had at his disposal. All he’d been able to do on the computer was find out that the traditional family compound Shouto had once joked about being a prison was still standing. He had no idea if they lived there presently.

The voice of the therapist shook him out of his panicked reverie.

“Welcome, Bakugou-san, Midoriya-san. Please sit,” she gestured to the couch in the room.

Her lilac hair was piled on top of her head in a neat bun, and reading glasses hung from the neck of her cardigan. It wasn’t until she smiled that he saw the resemblance to Hitoshi. “I’m Shinsou Mikoto, and I’m a licensed psychiatrist that also practices western style clinical psychology. Which just means that your parents won’t have to pay out of pocket for these visits.” She perched on the edge of the armchair as she talked.  

Kacchan shifted on the couch cushion, his grip on Izuku’s hand tightening until it was almost painful.

“You’re not going to make me take any fuckin’ medicine, right?”

“Kacchan!” Izuku scolded, eyes wide as he did so. In his last life he never would have considered reprimanding Katsuki like this. But this wasn’t his Kacchan, not really. He’d never gotten a chance to sharpen his resentment against Izuku’s lack of a quirk.

Maybe this was Kacchan’s second chance just as much as it was his, the blond just didn’t know it. Deku’s last act had been to try and save Katsuki, it was only fitting that Izuku would try and see the job all the way through.

Small strands of hair escaped from her bun as she shook her head. “No, Bakugou-san, I won’t prescribe anything without running a lot of tests first. Since quirks can mess with brain chemistry it’s difficult and unreliable to help people that way. For now we’re just going to be meeting and talking.”

“Shinsou-sensei-” Izuku began, only for her to hold up a hand.

“Please, none of this sensei stuff, call me Mikoto-chan. I want you both to feel as comfortable as you can talking to me.” She smiled, making a gesture for him to continue.

“Both of us?” Katsuki interrupted.

“I sense that both of you need someone to talk too.” She smiled and pointed to her head. “Part of my quirk.”

Katsuki and Izuku looked at each other, leaning away slightly. Izuku took the bait, “Can you read minds?”

Her laugh echoed around the room like a bell, “Not quite, more like I get snapshots of a person’s mental state. If they’re speaking to me, the pictures can become clearer and I can guide people to the things they need to realize and confront.”

That made sense. Hitoshi’s quirk was probably a variation of hers. He filed that information away for later analyzing. He couldn’t help but think of Hitoshi as he had last seen him, blood caked to the side of purple hair. Eyes empty.

Katsuki kicked his ankle lightly, making a face.

Izuku stuttered for a moment, “O-okay.”

“Now, I understand that you’ve both recently come into your quirks.” She asked in a firmer voice, not deterred by the surliness or reluctance of her patients. “Bakugou-san, yours is Explosion and Midoriya-san, yours is- oh, it’s not listed here.” She frowned.

“They weren’t sure how to categorize it, so they’re still working on coming up with a name for it.” Izuku offered shyly. It was the easiest solution. His mom would file the paperwork for his quirk in a few months complete with a vague name for it.

She nodded at that, clasping her hands in her lap and leaning forward. “How did recieving your quirks make you feel? Bakugou-san, you first.”   

Katsuki looked over at Izuku, eyes scanning across his face in a quick moment before grabbing the fabric of his jeans with one hand.

“I guess, I felt relieved. I always wanted to be a hero, but I was worried I would inherit my mom’s quirk. It’s really nice skin and it works for her, but it’s not something you can use to stop a bad guy.”

“So you were worried about your dreams becoming impossible?”

“Maybe?”

Izuku felt his eyebrows climb towards his hairline. So his reality had been Bakugou’s worst nightmare. But why take the time and energy to make it so much worse?

“Alright, Midoriya-san how about you?”

“Shocked. In a word. I’d been convinced that I would never have a quirk. I’ve always had a nervous disposition.” And wasn’t that just hell in his current situation. He had an extra ten or eleven years of what-ifs to worry about in his head now. “But I guess it makes me feel hopeful. I’m going to do my best no matter what and this is just another tool.”   

“You sound very mature for your age Midoriya-san,” she nodded, a twinkle in her eye.

Shit.

He laughed in a short burst, leaning away from both of them and looking around the room for something else he could bring up in conversation. Had he really just spilled the beans to someone with a mind reading quirk?

Mikoto raised an eyebrow at him, but said nothing.

Shit.

“It seem to me like both of you are trying to plan far ahead for your future-” he was totally busted. “And that can be a good thing but it’s important to remember that you're allowed to be children. Bakugou-san, you don’t always have to be the best in order to become a great hero later on. Some of the best lessons in life are learned from failure. I want you to think about how you would feel if you had inherited your mother’s quirk. Would you have given up on your dream to be a hero?”

The reaction from Katsuki was immediate. “No!”

“So, there was really no reason to be so worried about it to begin with, right?”

Katsuki frowned, looking to Izuku for some sort of answer. He settled for shrugging.

“You both want to be heroes, right?” she continued to press gently.

The boys both nodded to her and she continued. “You’re both probably aware of how dangerous that profession can be.” Another nod. “So I think that both of you should work together towards your goal.” The two boys shared another uneasy look, and Izuku held his breath while he waited for the blond to come to his own decision.

“You’re mean we’re gonna be better heroes if we work together?”

Mikoto nodded.

Kacchan looked unconvinced but sprang to his feet anyway. “Then we’re gonna be the very best!” he crowed, jerking Izuku up from the couch with him.

Izuku caught himself smiling. It wasn’t an immediate fix, but it was progress. Maybe, if he had Kacchan at his side instead of working against him… they could change things. If they could work together for a few years without you know, killing each other.

The session continued until Mitsuki opened the door to pick up Katsuki, leaving Izuku alone with Mikoto. The door to the office closed with a quite click that spread silence throughout the small office.

Izuku looked at the clock, unsure of what to do.

When he looked back, he was shocked to see Mikoto bent over in her chair with teardrops staining the suede fabric of her skirt.  

“Mikoto-chan?” he asked hesitantly.

She looked up at him, tears clinging to her eyelashes, “You’re going to stop it?”

Oh, for the love of All Might, was there not a single adult that he could keep this time travel thing a secret from?

Mikoto only seemed to get more frantic at the lack of a response. More hair falling from her bun to frame the the sides of her face around dark grey eyes. “You’re going to save Hitoshi-bou, right?”

“I’m not going to let any of that happen. I’ll do everything I can to stop it,” he promised.

She seemed to pull herself together at that, brushing the hair back from her face and letting out a small laugh. “I’m sorry. I’m supposed to be your therapist and I’m just putting more stress on you.”

“It must have been a shock,” he demurred.

“Well, you could say that,” she laughed, “I would say I’ve seen weirder things in my line of work, but this really puts them all to shame.”

A knock sounded on the door, causing them both to turn.

“As I was saying, I have a son about your age that I’m sure you’d love to meet,” Mikoto said calmly, reaching over to get the appointment book from her desk. It was a quick recovery, but he knew his mom would still suspect something.

Izuku smiled, shaking his head. Mikoto must not have seen that his mom already knew about his situation, “I’d love to meet him.”

Inko poked her head in through the door. “Izuku? Are you organizing playdates behind your mother's back?” She faked a gasp, clutching at the front of her sweater. “The betrayal .”

Giggles followed, leaving the office a happier place when all was said and done.

 


 

Therapy had helped more than Izuku ever thought it might. Mikoto quickly worked out that each boy needed both group help with each other and individual time with her. Under the new schedule they were making incredible progress. He hadn't expected therapy to actually help both of them.

Talking about what had happened to him, even in vague terms, made his demons easier to bear and eased his anxiety from ‘extreme’ to ‘still pretty bad but now sort of manageable’. It was almost enough to make life as a six year old feel normal.

But that complacency would get him killed, and he had less than a month to warn All Might about the fight with All For One now. He couldn’t help but feel like he was wasting time he could spend preparing for the fight; or better yet, finding evidence against Endeavor.

If only the circumstances weren’t so vague. He couldn’t reach Endeavor right now. Even if he wanted to strangle the man, there was nothing he could do without more information, or more help. Neither of which he had time to cultivate right now. There wasn’t much he could do sitting under a tree in his local park watching Kacchan try to use his quirk.

All he had to go off for saving All Might was the Toxic Chainsaw fight and that was in a week. That had to be his focus.

An idea started to form.

He could interrupt the fight, feign an injury or anything… something to get All Might’s attention after the fight and tell him to be careful of All For One's attack. Last time he’d clung to the man’s leg for god’s sake, but that was when he was fourteen, not six.

It was still worth thinking about as a last resort.

Izuku watched as Katsuki attempting to control the output of his explosions. The other boy was struggling to make them any larger than an apple.

“Hey, try and explode this,” he called, tossing a small stick in Katsuki’s direction.

A relatively large explosion sounded. The stick was incinerated before it even came close to Katsuki’s face.

Katsuki was frowning, “Why’d you do that?”

“You made a bigger explosion defending yourself than you did attacking something else,” Izuku pointed out. Why wait ten years for Katsuki to come to that conclusion on his own? Small hints wouldn’t hurt anyone.

Katsuki just stared, and for a minute he wondered if the other boy was going to find a stick to throw back at him. He grinned instead. “Do it again! Find another one to throw at me!”

For a moment, Izuku wondered if another face should have overlaid Katsuki’s in his mind. An older, scarred face, but he couldn’t recall the exact expression that was supposed to be there. He knew in his mind something should be there, the face he’d last seen on an adult Bakugou Katsuki, but nothing clicked in his memory.

Izuku cast his eyes around the clearing of the park. His hair picked up all the green in the surrounding area, turning even lighter as it reflected the warmth of the day. He walked around the trees and grabbed armfuls of sticks to hurl at his friend.

For the first time in his life, the relationship between him and Katsuki actually felt like a friendship. It was no longer a one sided rivalry full of abuse- it never had the chance to become that. Funny that he should think that while gathering ammunition to throw at him.

“We should do this with baseballs sometime!” he shouted over Katsuki’s explosions. His friend stuck his tongue out at him in retaliation.

A few minutes into their game, a dark haired girl in a short yellow sundress and rainboots  wandered closer to the two friends from the sandbox. She inched closer every time Katsuki exploded something, looking between the two boys and the rest of the park.

“You two really shouldn’t be using your quirks,” she said quietly, she had a firm voice and for a moment Izuku was plagued with the sense that he’d met her before. He couldn’t for the life of him pin down the feeling.

“We’re practicing to become heroes!” Katsuki proclaimed loudly.

Her expression brightened immediately from disapproval to interest. “Really? My big brother just joined an agency. He’s the Turbo Hero Ingenium!”

Izuku froze, snapping the branch currently in his hand. Both kids looked at him curiously, but Izuku’s eyes were far off. Stain. The start of it all. The real kick off to the League of Villains amassing power. He hadn’t even thought to see if he could do anything about stopping Stain before he started to murder heroes.

Sound filtered through the sunlight like water. He was dimly aware of hands on his arms pulling him down towards the ground. For a moment he thought it was the souls of all of his friends dragging him down to where he belonged.

And then an explosion went off in front of his face.

He recoiled, looking wildly around. Katsuki and the girl were both staring at him.

“Are you okay?” she asked softly, causing Katsuki to glare at her.

“Yeah, I’m sorry that was rude. I’m Midoriya Izuku and this is Bakugou Katsuki,” he said.

She smiled at him in return, “I’m Iida Mikumono, but you should call me Tenya! Cause I’m a great runner and that’s gonna be my hero name!”

He managed a polite bow to her, schooling his expression as he did so. Had coming back in time changed something like this? Tenya had always been reluctant to talk about his childhood apart from anecdotes about his older brother. For all he knew he was stumbling into something he had no business changing in the past.

“It’s nice to meet you, Tenya-kun,” he managed, suffix slipping out of habit. She brightened at his response.

Katsuki butt in between them, “So your brother’s a hero? Has he taught you any cool hero moves?”

She, and god that was going to be confusing for a while, nodded at him and walked away to the center of the slightly singed grass in the middle of the clearing. She took off her rainboots and set them to the side. After a moment she kicked up and around: the engines in her legs carrying her momentum over to the other leg with a spin.

“Maybe you can do that with your explosion,” Tenya said, “I don’t know if it’ll work with your quirk though.”

Izuku waved away her concerns, settling into a stance that would have been natural if his limbs weren’t too short. He kicked out with his leg, and sprang back onto one of his hands. But the momentum was different and he over rotated, falling to the ground.

“That was almost really cool, Marimo,” Katsuki chuckled walking over to help him up.

He took his hand, “Marimo?”

“Well, I figured since Mikoto-chan said Deku was mean, and that you probably didn’t ‘preciate it. I’d come up with something different. I can pick something different but I figured, since your hair is kinda round and green.”

“I like it. Let’s try again, we’ll probably get it right if we try enough times.”

They practiced until dusk started to fall and Tenya was called away by her father. Though the afternoon didn’t last much longer, Izuku had to admit it was a lot of fun.

Chapter Text

“Hey, Mom?” Izuku asked, looking over the back of the couch towards the kitchen.

“Yeah?” she called back from out of his field of view.

“I think I figured out what I’m going to call my quirk. How does Zero Relativity sound?”

Inko walked back into the room with silver pots and pans in her arms, setting them on the counter before picking out the one she needed.

“I think it sounds good, but are you sure you want to put it down in the system?” She set water on the stove to boil as she spoke.

Izuku considered not registering his quirk. There was something to be said for the element of surprise, but if he couldn’t figure out his quirk, he doubted anyone else could use the knowledge of its name against him.

If things went badly he could always just die and try again. He shuddered at that thought. It was a dangerous mindset to have. Complacency like that got people killed. He’d seen it happen to other heroes that got too confident and put civilian lives in danger.

What if he had to fight against someone like Eraserhead? What if his quirk was tied to a part of his body- for that matter what if he didn’t have the energy to use it the next time he died? He could be shortening his life every time he made a jump back in time. If this trip wasn’t a one time deal to begin with.

He couldn't waste his second chance like that, he owed it to everyone to see this through to the end, if he could.

“I’m sure.” It would be more suspicious to not have a quirk than to put one down. “After all, I’m not sure what it does, so anyone else probably couldn’t plan against it just by knowing its name.”

“Alright, I’ll put in the paperwork tomorrow.”

He slid off the back of the couch and turned back to the TV, “ ‘sides I can’t keep deflecting Kacchan’s questions about it anyway. I’m going to have to have to tell him something sooner or later. Sticking close to the truth is the best idea. I could tell him that I came back in time but shorten the length by a lot. Maybe say I went back a week.”

Inko clicked the stove’s dial back to zero, leaving the pot abandoned with its simmering contents.

She walked out of the kitchen, her eyes on his. It was like looking into a mirror. “Izuku, honey, You’re not thinking about trying to practice your quirk are you? Last time you said it triggered because you- it triggered because you died. Please don’t do anything reckless. I know you want to help everyone, but if something went wrong I couldn’t bear it. Promise me you won’t do anything dangerous to try and activate your quirk.”

Izuku nodded, “I’ll do my best to stay safe, okay Mom? I can’t promise that I’ll always be safe.”

She sat down on the gently worn couch and held out her arms out for him to crawl into, which he did without hesitating. She ran her fingers through his hair and sighed.

“I know you’ve grown up, but it’s hard to see you trying to do all of this. You’re still my little boy. I want to help.”

“I know.”

It wasn’t like he wanted to take risks. He’d settled back into his childhood home like he’d never left. The more time he spent here, the less he thought about the past. Things he could have done differently, everyone he failed, it all faded into background as he took in the present.

He hadn’t failed any of them yet.

Inhaling the soft vanilla of his mom’s perfume, he resolved not to try and test his quirk, not on purpose. It wasn’t worth dying over. That was something he learned after years of not comprehending the effects of overusing One For All: you can't help anyone by destroying yourself in the process.

“Have you looked into Shimura at all?” he asked, twisting around to look up at the ceiling with his head in her lap. 

She hummed, “Yeah, he’s not being fostered under that name anywhere. I found records of his birth though. Didn’t you say that All Might would know where he is?”

“Mhm, he's got more resources to find him, anyways. Nana made him promise not to visit his father, but I think he’d be willing to reconsider visiting her grandson. If he’s willing to listen to me at all.” Izuku still hadn’t figured out how he was going to do that. He had to take one problem at a time.

Right now saving All Might’s life was what he needed to focus on.

 


 

The Toxic Chainsaw fight had come and gone without any fanfare, and Izuku was going out of his mind with nerves. Any day now, All For One would make his move. If only he'd sat down with All Might and asked for more details about how the original fight, but he could never bring himself to pry into what Toshinori saw as his one of his greatest failures.

He’d done the math based on what he remembered from things All Might mentioned over the years, like the fact that one of them had demolished a mountain in the fight. There was a mountain about an hour away from his home that was demolished sometime in the past, because he hadn’t been able to recall it being there in the future, yet here it stood in the present. He couldn’t be sure that it was the right mountain, but it was as close to a lead as he had.

The trails up and down the mountain led through a peaceful forest, and Izuku had been making excuses to take day trips there for the past few days. After all, knowing the battlefield was half the battle.

The mountain trails also had the added benefit of helping Izuku condition himself to the best of his current abilities. He wasn’t going to be able to fight anytime soon, not that he would be expected to fight as a six year old. Running was going to be his only option for a while, so he worked on his endurance when it was possible.

Today, he’d eschewed the mountain in favour of the city nestled in the shadow of its base. The city was just as likely to be part of the fight, even if it had somehow been kept from public knowledge the first time. Fights between people like All Might and All For One rarely stayed contained in one area- no matter how hard pro-heroes tried to keep things localized to one area of destruction. Izuku cringed to think of all the civilians that could get caught in the crossfire.

Hell, that was probably how All For One got through All Might’s guard the first time; All Might would stop to care for civilians and All For One had the luxury of not caring who was killed so long as he got what he wanted.

Walking down to the corner store to grab a drink, Izuku ducked out of instinct as a medium sized car sailed right over his head.

“So much for going to the library,” he sighed. His idea had been to see if he could access any of the city plans to see where people would need help evacuating from and pass that information on to the pro-heroes on the scene.

He flattened himself along the sidewalk, crawling to an alley nearby. Using the wall as cover, he took in his surroundings. “Alright, new plan: think on your feet, Izuku,” he said to himself.

Aside from the smoking car stuck halfway through a wall, everything looked normal. If that was true then the car must have come from a fight further away. That fit the information he had about the fight. This was it and he still had no plan.

Izuku rubbed his arm where a small piece of shrapnel caught him in a glancing blow. No plan he could work with, so long as he took action. He crawled into the damaged building and pulled the fire alarm, waiting for the first person to make out into the lobby before going to prop open the front doors with chunks of concrete.

“Tell everyone to get to the subway if you can, if you need help, call the hotline for villain attacks. Warn the people in the nearby buildings to get out before the fight spreads here.” Izuku yelled, before turning on his heel and sprinting down the street.

He didn’t have time to check if the person had followed his directions. As he skidded around a corner towards the unmistakable sound of battle, he realized that he hadn’t smiled at them either.

Izuku found the battle by sound. It wasn’t hard, not with Present Mic- well, present.

He was shouting out information, collaborating with the other groups of heroes. There were hundreds of them, and Izuku wondered how on earth this battle had been kept secret from people the first time around.

Izuku wove through debris half on instinct as his mind stayed fourteen steps ahead of his body as he approached his old teachers.

“Do you have anything from All Might?” Mic asked, leaning over. He was using a quieter voice, but it was still easily audible over the sound of pro heroes fanning out and clearing the city. They were setting up defensive points and delegating tasks. A handful of police officers were collaborating with them, speaking into radios.

Eraserhead shook his head. Shorter black hair whipped around his face like a halo of shadow, his black eyes scanning around the place.

“You know how he is, never calls before coming over.” He heard a whistle followed by a rumbling bang. “Or dropping by.”

Concrete dust whirled in the mid morning sun. It shimmered around a form that Izuku hadn’t seen in years.

Well, not counting posters.

All Might pulled himself out of the crater, smile still on his face.

He turned his head to the right to look over his shoulder, “Is the city clear?”

Over his right shoulder.

Leaving his left side exposed.

Izuku sprinted forward before his brain finished connecting the dots. His All Might sneakers lit up the concrete dust around his feet with blue and red like a police siren. A roar of sound drumming against his ears as he pushed himself forward. He skid along the concrete coming to a stop in front of All Might’s left side just in time to see an open fist framed by a midnight blue suit hurtling towards his face.

He braced himself, knowing at least that this time All Might wouldn’t be fighting his own body every step of the way. His career would continue and he’d have time to pass on the mantle to someone who was worthy.

Again, Izuku was hit with a wave of emotion. He should have called his mother when the car had come hurtling across the street, at least then she’d know what had happened to him. There might not be anything left of him to find after this.

A second passed, then another, and Izuku opened his eyes onto a smoking car breached halfway through the wall of an small high rise.

His mind reeled against the sudden backlash. He hadn’t died there hadn't been a moment of pain or contact. He didn’t need to die in order to activate his quirk! He just had to feel like he was going to die.

He’d gone back less than an hour, he was back on the street where the car had crashed into the building.

People were starting to flee from the buildings, forming groups that escorted each other down to the subways. Those with more protective quirks looking out for those without. He had time, and more importantly, he had a plan.

His skull felt like it was splitting in two, but Izuku couldn’t worry about that right now. He sprinted towards the battle again, pausing to drag Eraserhead out of the conversation he was currently having alongside Present Mic. Mic could handle himself, if not, he could always call for reinforcements.  

“Aizawa-sensei you need to erase All Might’s quirk when I tell you too,” he shouted, dragging the teacher by his scarf to the carpark that was about to become the main battleground.

The pro-hero looked stunned at being drug along by a child, “Kid, what the hell are you doing here?”

“Aizawa-sensei please just trust me. There’s no time!” Izuku positioned them both to the left of where All For One had come crashing down into the earth, and All Might’s left side minutes ago. He could see the terrain in his mind, overlapping with his present vision like a rewound tape playing over something currently being recorded.

There was a sound like a baseball hurtling through the air, and Izuku tapped Eraserhead’s thigh. All Might had just started to pull himself out of the crater, head already turning to look over his left shoulder.

“Three, two, one, do it now!” he shouted, ready to spring into action on his own if this failed. He didn’t know how many jumps he had in him but he was going to try until he got it right.

All Might's bangs flopped onto his forehead in the space of a breath, Yagi Toshinori wasn’t quite as small as he had been when Izuku had first met him, but his quirkless form was still sizably smaller than his typical All Might form. Still bigger than Aizawa, but small enough that All For One’s attack slipped past his side to hit concrete. The grey material pulled and wrapped around the open hand, taking on the appearance of metal as it twisted into shape as his hand pulled away.

No wonder that attack had taken so much out of All Might the first time. Doctors would have had to cut the affected tissue away and patch him back together with what little remained.

“Okay you can blink now,” Izuku said with a wobbly voice. Even with his limited strength, he was able to pull a blinking Aizawa back from the front lines. All Might countered All For One with a punch of his own, looking appropriately wary of the hand that had just delivered the metallic attack. Good, he wouldn’t be caught by surprise.

Izuku grinned.

“Holy shit, kid, how did you know to do that?” Aizawa asked, positioning himself between Izuku and the continuing battle between All Might and All For One.

“Zero Relativity quirk,” Izuku said with a tired smile.

Aizawa looked back to the fight to see All Might pummel All For One into the side of a mountain, nearly out of view.

His thin lips were set in a frown when he looked back, “What does that even mean?”

Izuku shrugged with sluggish shoulders, opening his mouth to answer as the black around the edges of his vision swam forward to consume him.

 


 

A voice boomed in his head, rattling the edges of his mind and dragging him back to consciousness. It was conferring with a quieter voice, and a not so quiet voice.

Boom. “Did he say who he was?”

Quiet. “No, but he knew all of us.”

Not so quiet. “That’s not very suspicious. We’re all pro-heroes.”

Quiet. “He called me Aizawa-sensei.”

Boom. “What did he say his quirk was?”

Quiet. “Zero Relativity.”

Not so quiet. “Is that some kind of space-time thing? We’d have heard about it if someone had been registered with that powerful of a quirk.”

Quiet. “Not if they were editing existing quirk documentation.”

Izuku repressed the urge to groan. His entire body felt sore. More than that, he had a splitting headache.

“Five more minutes,” he managed through a throat that felt caked in grit.

Boom. “My boy, can you open your eyes?”

The groan that Izuku suppressed slipped out as he uncurled along the ground, holding a hand in front of his face to protect his eyes from the sun.

He was looking up into three familiar faces, two blond and one with a messy patch of black hair. All three of them looked tired. The sun shone directly overhead now, hours must have passed while he had been passed out on the ground like a toddler.

This wasn't an embarrassing first impression to leave at all.

All Might’s form leaned down closer. He looked battered, and maybe a little bruised, but nowhere near death’s door. That was good. Wasn’t it? He’d accomplished what he set out to do here; somehow, he felt like he'd just lost something important.

“Did we win?” he asked, sitting up with Present Mic’s help.

“Did we win, he asks!” All Might threw his hands in the air.

Izuku just rolled his eyes as All Might slowly lowered his hands, as if he was unsure why he had raised them in the first place. Yamada and Aizawa looked at each other, having an entire conversation with their eyebrows.

“Is All For One dead?” Izuku asked firmly. He had to know if he needed to go back before the window to jump closed. If it hadn’t already.

The heroes around him seemed to freeze, Yamada looking to Aizawa, who in turn was looking at All Might. The latter kneeling down to get a better look at him.

“My boy, how do you know about that?” All Might asked. His large hand dwarfed Izuku’s shoulder in comparison.

An echo of an image overlayed All Might for a moment, a smaller form with a frail hand on his shoulder.

Remember to smile.

Midoriya Izuku ached at the reminder.

Toshinori had been nowhere near this size when he had last seen him, and Izuku had to wrestle his emotions back into submission after being faced with him looking healthy and whole. He could not act on the instinct to share everything with his mentor.

Izuku brought his knees up to his chin.

“I’m thinking that because we’re all just sitting here, All For One is either dead or he’s gone into hiding after a heavy defeat, or you think he’s dead and he’s really just in hiding,” he said to avoid the question.

All Might looked between Aizawa and Yamada, gesturing for them to give him a moment of privacy. He sat on the ground. Not minding the cloud of dust that rose up in a puff around him and settled on the dark blue of his uniform.

Izuku felt his lips twist into a small smile. It was better than no smile at all.

Remember to smile.

“You seem to hold a lot of mysteries, young man,” All Might said softly.

What could he say? What would All Might accept as an answer? Maybe it was naive to think he could change history and slip away with no one the wiser.

“I lived a future that I would like to prevent from happening,” Izuku began, still smiling up at the sky. “I saw my friends, UA students, die fighting a collective of villains that was created by All For One’s protegee.” He paused, waiting to see if All Might would say anything. When it was apparent he was waiting to hear him out, Izuku continued, “I managed to set the clock back, but there are things that I need to tell you. Today was the first step in changing the future, but the next is one you must take.”

“That is a heavy burden to bear,” All Might said.

Izuku gave him a wry smile that looked out of face on a six year old, “Like being the symbol of peace?”

“I imagine so,” All Might laughed.

“I’ve taken the first step, several steps actually, but the next step is one that only you can take, Yagi Toshinori.”

All Might leaned back, bracing his hands behind him. “It seems you have me at a disadvantage young man. You know me, but I do not know you. You seem to know how my quirk works, but I have no knowledge of yours.”

“Mmmn well, you can call me Marimo. My quirk is Zero Relativity and you’re welcome to try and figure it out because I sure haven’t,” he said, rubbing at his temple.

“And did you use your quirk today young Marimo? Was the battle not going well?” he asked.

Izuku nodded, “The attack with the open fist, the one that turned the concrete to metal, the first time that hit you in the side and a good deal of your organs had to be removed. Your civilian form grew sick because of it. It forced you to stop being All Might. The second time, I ran in front of the attack, but ended up jumping back in the timeline a few minutes before anything happened.”

“It seems we all owe you a debt of gratitude,” All Might said gravely.

“Keep that in mind, because I’m going to tell you something you won’t like,” Izuku rolled a small chunk of concrete between his fingers. Steeling himself, Izuku looked straight at All Might, pinning him with what he hoped was a serious expression. “You have to find Shimura Nana’s grandson. His name is Tenko, and right now he feels like no hero is ever going to come and save him. Shimura Kichirou is dead. You only ever promised Nana that you wouldn’t interrupt her son’s life. Her grandson needs you.”

With his peace made, Izuku hopped to his feet. He gave a short bow to All Might. “Thank you for listening.”

And then he bolted. It shouldn’t have worked, but his old mentor was clearly stunned by what he had said, and the others were too far away to stop him before he disappeared around a corner.

His chest heaved as he ran. Sliding under debris and around cars until he made it to the informational board near the foot of the smoldering mountain. With shaky hands, he opened his flip phone and dialed his mom’s number.

“Mom, I did it. I saved All Might.”

He slid down the tree he was bracing his back against. He could finally focus on getting Shouto away from Endeavor. A wave of relief flooded his body, making him dizzy.

 


 

Izuku rode that emotional high for a week. The fact that he was making frustratingly slow progress on helping Shouto didn’t bother him until the moment his mom made an offhand comment at breakfast.

“Have you thought about what you’re going to do about school?”

He had not, in fact, considered it. Because his sixth birthday had been after April, he didn’t start school last year. It hadn’t seemed important enough to worry about when weighed against all the other things in his life.

He’d be starting school in this upcoming April. For the second time.

What a nightmare.

“Don’t I still have a few months?” he pleaded, not just with his mom but with the universe. What sick universe wanted to see him suffer by sending him through primary school twice?

“I’m just saying so you don’t forget. You’re going to have to balance school and everything else. Winter’s done sneaking up on us.”

That would be just perfect, trying to balance training, stopping Endeavor, and tracking down Stain- who could still be a vigilante for all he knew.

He opened his notebook and wrote in red pen to adjust some things he would need to do, and wrote ‘HERO KILLER STAIN’ in big kanji across the top of a blank page with a question mark.

“Alright, Mom,” he said, taking a piece of toast.

 


 

The meadow behind the park became Izuku’s go-to headquarters. It was a large open space, and no one thought much of children running around practicing their quirks. It was a convenient place to keep an eye on everything going on in the nearby area. Which had the unexpected side effect of Kacchan and Tenya joining him sometimes. They were good at getting Izuku to forget about the future for a while. He didn’t complain, after all, Katsuki’s quirk meant that they could huddle together and stay warm if they got cold.

Today a heavy chill in the air that hung over the park, snow was on the way. They’d have to find a different place to meet up sooner or later.

As he walked up to the park he saw a familiar head of purple hair clutching to the skirt of a young woman with bright purple skin and glitter on her cheeks. Her red hair was so dark it was almost black, and she kept it braided back away from her face. Two small horns curved out of the top of her head, each with a silver band around them that accented the two silver bug wings she kept folded over her back, close to her skirt. One of them was sticking out slightly askew to cover the purple boy’s form.

He was faced with the rare moment of not knowing who someone was. Obviously, the boy was Hitoshi, but he’d never seen this woman before. Hitoshi seemed content to stand close to her. Maybe she was his babysitter?

No one would expect him to show up in their clearing for a while yet. He told Katsuki he would be late, hoping to catch a few moments of peace to plan his next move. The only idea he had right now was breaking into the Todoroki family residence to gather evidence. He’d already gotten his hands on a camera, but what if that wasn’t enough? Who would take evidence from a six year old with anything more than a grain of salt? This was the Number 2 hero he was talking about, who knew how many friends he had in high places? Shouto would chastise him for becoming so obsessed with this. If he were here.

He wasn’t, but Izuku had friends that were here. People he could help just by existing.

Marching up to the boy, Izuku held out his hand for the purple haired kid to shake.

“I’m Midoriya Izuku, but you can call me Marimo,” he waited until the other boy tentatively took his hand before continuing, “Do you want to play?”

The boy looked at woman who nodded sweetly, “Go play Hitoshi-bou, I’ll be right over here on this bench okay?”

She patted his head and kneeled down so that they were the same height, planting a small kiss to his forehead as he mumbled a response.

“Okay, Mama.”

His voice was much quieter than Izuku remembered. He must not have started school yet either. No one had a chance to make fun of him. Maybe no one had put the idea that he was destined to be a villain in his head yet. Good. Izuku would see Hitoshi become a student at UA again, and not just as the star of the general studies course.

“Great!” Izuku said with a bright smile as he pulled the boy over to the swings.

Hitoshi stayed quiet for a few minutes, content sit on the swings with someone.

“You’re not afraid of me?” the purple haired boy asked after a moment.

“No. I don’t think I should be either,” he said, kicking at the sand underneath the swings.

“Why? The other kids say I look like a bad person, and some of them are scared of my mom,” the other kid said, stalling his swing.

Izuku looked over to him and shrugged. “I think it’s stupid to judge people before getting to know them.”

“Oh.” Hitoshi went back to swinging.

The other boy looked up at the sky, watching as the clouds lazed across the sky. It might snow today. There’d been a few very cold winters when he’d started primary school.

“Hitoshi.”

“Hmm?” Izuku looked back to his friend.

“My name is Shinsou Hitoshi,” the boy offered again.

“It’s nice to meet you, Hitoshi-kun,” Izuku said. Right before a blond blur slammed into the side of his swing.

“Hello Kacchan,” he said, laughing slightly.

The blond boy looked at the purple haired boy, eyebrows crawling down his face like angry caterpillars. They regarded each other uneasily as Katsuki stepped closer to Izuku, nearly knocking him out of the swing.

“Hitoshi-kun this is Kacchan, we’re both working to become heroes together,” Izuku said quickly.

The other boy nodded, daring Hitoshi to say anything to the contrary.

“That’s cool. I think I want to be a hero too.” He kicked at the sand beneath his swing again, sending it back into motion.

Katsuki frowned, looking between the two other boys for a minute before sighing. “I can’t fucking leave you alone for five minutes without you finding more hero wannabes.”

The sun shone down the the three of them, reflecting off Katsuki’s hair the most. The rest of the park was quiet, a lot of kids preferred to be inside rather than face the chilly winds of early winter. Because of that, Katsuki’s vulgarity seemed to echo around the park.

Hiroshi's mother looked up from her book, startled, but she didn’t seem to be able to tell who was swearing, only that it wasn’t her son.

Midoriya shushed him.

“Maybe it’s part of my quirk,” he joked, trying to keep Kacchan from repeating his more colorful language.

Both boys turned to him, Katsuki with his arms crossed and Hitoshi with open curiosity.

“You never talk about your quirk,” Kacchan complained.

That would be because he didn’t understand it, but there was no way he was telling that to anyone who didn’t already know. A promise was a promise though, and Kacchan’s patience wouldn’t last much longer. Months had passed since he promised to tell Kacchan about his quirk. Months he’d been living in his past. Months it had taken to save All Might. Possibly changing the future. Months he hadn’t been able to help Shouto.  

Well, that stopped now.

“Okay, but not here,” Izuku said, taking both boys by the hand and hauling them off to the clearing they frequented on a regular basis.

Tenya was already sitting there waiting for them. She was wearing pants and a puffy jacket, and her hair was cut short to her head.

“Tenya-kun, your hair looks great!” he yelled as he approached, causing her to blush.

“No distractions!” Katsuki yelled, taking lead of the chain and pulling all three of them to sit down beside Tenya.

“Marimo’s gonna tell us about his quirk, finally,” Kacchan said to Tenya. She nodded while Hitoshi mouthed the word ‘Marimo’ to Izuku. He shrugged.

The undivided attention of all three children fell on their green haired friend, the only sound in the clearing being the wind in the trees.

“My quirk is called Zero Relativity, and it lets me travel back in time.”

“No fucking way!” Katsuki jumped up, losing control of his explosions for a minute.

Tenya reached over to tug on Katsuki’s pant leg so he would sit back down, completely unphased by the loud pops, “That’s really cool, Midoriya.”

When Katsuki’s explosions stopped simmering, the clearing was a good deal warmer than it had been. Unzipped jackets were piled together in the center of the group. He was stalling, but no one else needed to know that.

“Like I said, I go back in time, but only my brain does. If I take a jump back in time two hours, then I wouldn’t still be in this clearing. I’d be wherever my body was two hours ago,” he said, leaning forward to put his chin on his knees.

A pile of grass slowly built up where Katsuki was ripping it out of the group.

“There has to be a downside to something like that,” Hitoshi spoke up to the shock of the rest of the group.

All of them turned back to Izuku, who frowned. “I get headaches after jumping back, and I can’t really use my ability on purpose. It usually only happens if I feel like I’m about to be hurt.”

As soon as he said that, Kacchan lunged forward on his knees to try and tackle Izuku.

“Nice try,” Izuku laughed. It would take a lot more than Kacchan being mildly violent to trigger a jump. The last one had been caused by All For One and Kacchan, for all his determination, was nowhere near the level of the greatest villain of all time.

“Could you try and do it on purpose?” Hitoshi asked. He had pulled the jackets from the center of their group and onto his lap, as if to keep them all away from Kacchan’s flailing and sometimes explosive limbs.

Izuku shrugged. “Alright, tell me something secret and I’ll try to go back 30 seconds.”

“I exploded my stuffed bear with my quirk on accident when it manifested,” Kacchan said, looking away from all of them.

“I’m scared of my quirk and I have two moms,” Hitoshi offered.

Tenya looked indecisive, as if she wanted to share something but shook her head in the end.

Izuku breathed in, trying to feel within himself for that thread of emotion a desire to protect his friends. To see them safe. He yanked on it.

And nothing happened.

Frowning, he hissed out a breath. He’d never yanked on it before. He’d sunk into it. Like sinking into a pool of water. Izuku let himself fall backwards in a smooth sensation, visualizing himself falling off a dock into a peaceful lake.

And gasped as he felt the vertigo of jumping back into his own consciousness.

His vision was doubled again, seeing both timelines at once. He held out his hands in a gesture for everyone to stop before they told him anything.

Before he could speak, Kacchan was crawling forward, looking at him weird. “Your eyes are green.”

“Uh, yeah?” Izuku leaned away, hitting his shoulder against Tenya’s.

“No, they’re like glowing green,” Kacchan persisted.

“What?”

The overlay of the previous timeline ended, and Izuku looked around his friends, “Is it gone now?”

Hitoshi nodded, and everyone exchanged a look.

“Do you still want to know what everyone told me as a secret?” Izuku asked, rubbing the back of his head.

“Did you really go back in time?” Kacchan asked, still leaning forward.

“Did you really explode a teddy bear when you manifested your quirk?” Izuku teased, stumbling to his feet and running away from the shrieking blonde. Kacchan chased him around in a circle yelling about betrayal.

“If you didn’t want anyone to know you shouldn't have told me to use it as proof!”

Chapter Text

Izuku heard his old teacher before he saw him, Present Mic’s voice was hard to forget once you’d heard it, and it was recognizable even when it was arguing over which bag of chips to buy.

“We got Doritos last week, this week we’re supposed to buy Ruffles.”

Midoriya rolled his eyes, walking alongside his mom as she picked out cereal.

“I don’t care if I still have a bag at home!”

He snorted, trying to imagine who his future teacher must be talking to.

“No, I will not quiet down! You quiet down!”

Hizashi, for fuck’s sake!

He froze, slipping away from his mother's side as she continued walking forward. The corner display providing cover as he peeked down the aisle.

Aizawa was staring down Yamada, brandishing a tube of pringles at the man. They were both dressed casually, Yamada with his hair down and Aizawa wearing a familiar pair of black pajamas.

Izuku smiled to himself. Did Aizawa not own anything else? Had he not been clothes shopping in eleven years?

“Put them back!” Aizawa demanded, bracing a hand against his hip.

With a put upon sigh, Yamada reached into the basket and withdrew four bags of chips, putting them all back on the shelf.

“All of them!”

Yamada Hizashi, for lack of a better word, pouted.

“But Shouta-”

No, anata.”

Well… that certainly would explain a lot of things. Suddenly a lot of interactions between his two teachers made sense. Like how Aizawa would sometimes pull Yamada away from class with some vague excuse, or that time he’d been with All Might and walked into the teacher’s lounge only to find Aizawa asleep in his sleeping bag laying on top of Yamada who was already occupying the couch. Wow, he was suprised he'd never come to the conclusion that they were together before now.

Mic sighed and put the chips back onto the shelf. When he turned back to Aizawa, his eyes made contact with Izuku over his shoulder.

“Shouta, isn’t that the kid?”

Aizawa turned, and Izuku felt for the string of emotion and readied to take a jump back in time. Except when he fell back, nothing happened.

His future-former teacher was looking at him with red eyes, his hair defying gravity in a short halo of shade around his head.

He walked over, eyes wide and unblinking. He’d never noticed how unnerving it was to be on the receiving end of one of Aizawa’s quirk canceling glares. It hadn’t happened since that first day at UA.

This was bad, this was a very bad situation, terrible even.

The pro hero knelt down and pulled out a piece of paper that he handed to Izuku before he could run off.

“When you finally want to talk, call us,” Aizawa said. Turning on his heel and walking back to Yamada's side. The blond started furiously whispering to his partner, and Izuku took the chance to turn tail and run away from both of them.

He bolted out of the store and hid behind his mom’s car, looking down at the phone number in his hand.  

What the hell was he supposed to do with this?

 


 

Winter set its teeth into Japan with vigor, and visits with Shinsou Mikoto got harder to book as her clientele increased with the approaching holidays, but both boys were still going to see her when they had time. Katsuki was showing up for regular sessions every other week and Izuku went about once a month. Their group sessions ended entirely as Mikoto saw the grown in their friendship and teamwork.

He was lucky he’d offered to go to that first session, it had a much bigger impact than simply giving him a way to meet Hitoshi (something that happened on its own anyway). Sometimes telling Mikoto about things that had happened in the future, or the things experienced living in his past again, helped him to work through how he felt about the situation. The advice she gave always helped, and Izuku was usually grateful for her counsel.

Today, however...

“So your old teacher, Aizawa Shouta, gave you his number? This is the same Aizawa-sensei that you used to help save All Might’s life a few months ago correct?” Mikoto asked, offering him a water bottle.

He took the bottle. “I prefer to think we collaborated on saving All Might, I don’t want to use anyone.”

Mikoto nodded and set aside her notebook. “And the number?”

“I don’t know what to do with it. Should I call and see what he could possibly want? Maybe All Might wants to get in contact with me? Maybe they haven’t been able to find Shimura Tenko? There’s so many variables,” Izuku said in a rush, twisting the plastic cap on the water bottle between his hands.

She looked pensive for a moment. Her foot bobbing up and down the way it always did when she was deep in thought.

“I know what you’re thinking, and I don’t recommend it. Using your quirk to get out of sticky situations isn’t the best course of action, and it has the potential to limit your growth as a person. The best choice, in my opinion, would be for you to call the number and see what he wants. At the very least you’d have more information to make a decision with.”

Izuku sighed, it wasn’t what he wanted to hear. Which meant she was probably right.

“It just feels like everytime I get close to someone in this time period I forget more of what they were like. Sometimes I don’t know who I am anymore. Was I ever really Deku? Did anything he do matter?”

“Does anything?” she countered.

“What?”

“Well, everything in life is fleeting. Temporary. Pains heal and things grow. Nothing ever stays the same. Not even the past, apparently. You’ve always seemed so focused on the end of the journey, the results of your changes. Not the journey itself. You've handled this situation about as well as anyone could have, maybe it's time to give yourself some credit,” she said.

He shrugged, unsure of what he could say in response to that.

“Even if you’re not Deku anymore, you’re becoming someone different. Maybe someone better than he was. Even if you don’t feel like him anymore, he’s a part of your past. That’s okay.”

“Okay, huh?”

He looked out of the office window and wondered if he could be okay with that.

 


 

The phone felt heavy in his hand, and it was, compared to the slim smartphones he was used to. The piece of paper in his other hand felt just as heavy.

This needed to happen. Somehow. Preferably without him having to actually make the call. If it happened on it's own, that would be great.

He had people supporting him. People like his mom and Mikoto, and to an extent he also had Kacchan, Tenya, and Hitoshi. It would be fine. This was just a phone call. He could do it. 

If he was going to do it, he should just get it all over with.

Izuku grasped the phone in his hands typing in the number and hitting the call button. The dial tone rang once, twice, and Izuku began to think that it would go to voicemail and he’d be free to say he’d tried and leave the matter at that.

“Hello?” came the voice from the tinny speaker.

“Hi, this is uh...the Kid, if that’s what you’ve been calling me.”

“You wouldn’t happen to feel like sharing your name, would you kid?”

Izuku snorted. “I don’t think so. I know better than to give my name to strangers.”

“Ah, from sensei to stranger in a matter of months, I’m hurt.”

“You know what, this is a bad idea-”

“Midoriya Izuku, don’t you dare hang up.”

Izuku froze, feeling the emotion well up in his chest. It would be so easy to grab that thread and fall back. He’d try things Mikoto’s way. At least just this one time.

“How do you know that name?”

“You told me the name of your quirk, it was easy enough for a pro hero to look you up from that. You know, some heroes pick their proteges that way.”

Izuku frowned, chewing on the skin near his nail.

“Kid, look. I’m not going to tell All Might unless you want me to.”

“Tell All Might what?”

“That you’re his son.”

Izuku dropped the phone.

“What?” he said faintly.  

How had he come to that conclusion? When had he come to that conclusion? Izuku realized his breath was coming in short bursts. He had no idea how far back he’d have to jump to undo Aizawa coming up with this conclusion.

Me might even have to go back and undo saving All Might. That wasn’t an option.

Izuku’s father was dead. He’d been dead for fifteen years. Or five, or something like that. It wouldn’t be like he was betraying anyone if he let this continue. Except that he would be lying to Aizawa. God knows what All Might would say when Aizawa brought his theories to him. He'd been amused whenever they came up in the past, but this Yagi Toshinori didn't even know him.

Fuck.

He leaned over and picked up the phone and put it back to his ear, sliding down the wall to sit on the floor. Several posters came with him as he came to a rest on the floor. One of them being the only candid shot of All Might from the wall. His face frozen in a small smile instead of a wide grin that graced all the other posters.

“Kid? Kid?”

Izuku took a deep breath, trying to even out his breathing. “How did you come up with that idea?”

“You know, the doctor’s visit was in the file too. The toe joint was in there, and the doctor’s conclusion that you would never manifest a quirk. All of that. It was overwritten by the new information about your quirk, but if you pull on a thread hard enough it unravels. The only other person I know with a jointed toe and a quirk is All Might. Add that to the fact that you appeared from nowhere to save him and didn't stick around to take credit for it- things start pointing in that direction. Like the fact that you had knowledge no one but All Might should have had. You must have gotten that knowledge from your mother who got it from him.”

The phone’s crackling speaker (it didn’t appreciate being dropped) relayed most of this information without emotion. Izuku found himself briefly contemplating jumping back in time to before his birth just to escape this situation.

He couldn’t let his therapist down. Growth as a person and all that.

“All Might isn’t my dad,” Izuku said faintly.

“Sure, kid.”

“I’m serious,” Izuku protested.

Aizawa sighed on the other side of the line, “Listen kid. You wouldn’t have called if you didn’t want to hear something. If you don’t want to talk about All Might, then I’ve got no idea why you called. Out with it.”

He didn’t remember Aizawa being this irritating to deal with when he was a teacher.

“I need your help. There’s someone that I need to help, but I’m not old enough to get people to listen to me. It’s serious.”

If Aizawa was surprised by the request, his voice didn't betray him. “How serious?”

“Serious like the number two hero having an illegal quirk marriage, abusing his wife, and training his six year old son into the ground trying to make him into a weapon.”

Izuku heard ambient noise from the other side of the line. “Fuck, kid. You don’t do anything by halves do you?”

He snorted. “No, not really.”

“You’re certain about this?”

“Beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

“Okay, okay. I have some contacts. Yaoyorozu Ayako is a family lawyer from a pro hero background, I know her pretty well. She should be able to meet with Todoroki’s wife without raising much suspicion. Do you know if she’d be willing to testify?”

Izuku ground his teeth, “I don’t know. She’s been suffering at his hands for so long that I don’t know how mentally sound she is anymore. If you talk to Todoroki Fuyumi she might be able to shed some light on things. She’s the oldest of their children. She wants to be a teacher.”

“I’ll see what I can do, don’t do anything rash kid.”

The line went dead, and Izuku flipped the phone closed.

His heart was pounding a mile a minute and showed no sign of stopping soon. He looked up into the dark ceiling of his room and let himself slide completely onto the floor. He pulled the comforter off his bed, wrapping himself up in the red, blue, and yellow patterned fabric laid out on the floor.

What if it wasn’t enough? What if he was failing Shouto?

He couldn’t bear the thought of failing him for a second time.

Moments flashed in his memory. Shouto laughing in the common room of the UA dorms. Uraraka floating a bowl of popcorn over to Tenya and it going everywhere when it bumped into Hagakure’s knee. Tsuyu catching the bucket with her tongue. Mina tripping Sero and Denki when they ran into the room to see what was happening. Hundreds of late night conversations. Dozens of pizzas. A handful of minor injuries and embarrassing stories.

Happier times.

Times that he might never see again.

Would they all grow up to be the same people they once were? Katsuki wasn’t. Izuku didn't think that he was either.

Worse than that were the thought he tried his hardest to banish; the fear that Shouto never love him in this life. Without his father, Shouto would be free to choose his own path. One where they might never meet.

Izuku tried to tell himself that it wouldn’t matter as long as everyone was safe, but even in his own sanctuary away from the world he had to admit the idea of a life without most of his friends- a life without his family wasn’t one Izuku wanted. He wasn’t sure if he could bear it.

 

"You're doing the best you can," he whispered furiously to himself. He didn't believe it. 

 


 

The four of them had a plan to build snow forts and go over strategy vis-a-vie a snowball fight. No quirks, only brain power and agility. They’d planned very carefully so that they could go warm up at Katsuki’s house afterwards, Mitsuki had promised them all hot chocolate.

“I have a secret to tell you guys,” Tenya said as they all walked into the snow-filled clearing they claimed as their own. “I’m a boy.”

He looked to the other three boys for a reaction.

Hitoshi seemed to accept the statement at face value, giving only a simple, “Okay.” as his response. That wasn’t entirely unexpected, given that he had two moms, one being a therapist and the other being purple.

Katsuki on the other hand looked confused, making Izuku tense up, crumbling the snowball he was holding into fine powder.

“Were you not a boy before?” he said after a second.

Tenya looked flustered, “What do you mean?”

“Marimo’s always called you Tenya-kun, so I thought you just liked to dress like a girl. I was a little confused but I figured it wasn’t any of my business.” Katsuki shrugged as well. There was more than a hint of Mikoto in Katsuki’s words.

The snow fell from his hands uselessly. He was worried over nothing. On one hand Hitoshi was raised by Mikoto, and on the other Kacchan had probably brought it up to her if he was confused by it.

Tenya looked nervously to Izuku and waited for the other boy to say something.

He stepped forward to give his friend a big hug. “Thank you for trusting us,” he said, stepping back quickly in case Tenya wasn’t comfortable with the contact.

Transgender issues had come a long way after the development of quirks, with people manifesting all sorts of extraordinary mutations. Older prejudices fell to the side. Not all of them, of course. Deviations from the norm were still viewed with suspicion, but it was progress. His first childhood had been proof of that.

It still would have been a scary thing to tell people, which is probably why Tenya hadn’t brought it up later in life.

There was a long stretch of silence as no one knew what to say, it itched up Izuku’s spine like ants.

“I have a secret too,” Izuku blurted out. He immediately slapped a hand over his face, damp mitten leaving a chill of melted slush on his skin. That wasn’t what he meant to say.

Everyone turned to him, and he laughed nervously. Now he had to say something. He grasped around for anything to say other than the fact that he was from a decade in the future.

Well, there was one thing he could say that wasn’t incriminating.

Izuku cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck. More melted snow dripped down the back of his shirt.  “I’m working with a pro hero,” he said.

“No way!” Kacchan yelled.

“What does a pro hero want from you?” Hitoshi asked, idlely making snowballs to prepare for the fight if it ever happened.

“Well, I found out another hero was doing something bad to their family, and no one would have believed it coming from me. So I told this hero so he could do something about it.” Izuku was satisfied with what he’d come up with. It was vague. It didn’t include the use of his quirk or any of Aizawa’s suspicions about Midoriya’s parentage.

“Are you sure this hero’s legit?” Kacchan grumbled.

Tenya also nodded. “What if they already knew what the bad hero was up to and they were covering it up.”

He pretended to consider their concerns. Maybe if he hadn’t known Aizawa for years before coming back to the past he’d have some of those same concerns, but Shouto had told him about how Aizawa had tried to get information on how Endeavor was treating him when everyone moved into the dorms, he could be trusted. At this point in time Aizawa was the only option he had to help Shouto and the rest of his family. Family that excluded Enji of course.

“I think it’ll go okay. After all I can just jump back in time if it goes badly. We’ve only been talking on the phone since our first,” second, “meeting,” he said.

“One of us should go with you,” Hitoshi said, already getting started on building his fort.

“Yeah, the buddy system!” Tenya said from where he was kneeling on the ground. He had realized the wisdom in Hitoshi’s approach, and had also began to pack snow together in another corner.

“Okay then, whoever wins can go with Marimo to see this pro hero guy and check out if he’s cool,” Kacchan declared. With that, he ran off to an unclaimed corner of the meadow to start setting up his fort.

“Wait, what if I win?” Izuku said, eeping as he was pelted with snow from three different directions. He scrambled across the clearing towards the trees. With no time to make his own fort he had to rely on existing environmental conditions.

It was a good day. One that made Izuku feel silly about how much anxiety he was having about the future, the past, and everything in between.

Maybe things wouldn’t turn out the same. Maybe Shouto would never love him the way he had before, but as long as he was okay it didn’t matter to Izuku who he found his happiness with. The same had to be said for All Might, he’d saved his mentor and in doing so completely obliterated all events that led up to Deku becoming the next symbol of peace. In fact, he was starting to forget how horrible it had been to see his mentor push past all of his limits, coughing up blood and still trying to save everyone.

If Izuku learned anything from All Might, it was that determination was a superpower all on its own. That and that no one should ever have to hold up the entire world’s hopes on their shoulders. It didn’t work. There had to be a better solution than someone being a living sacrifice that carried the burden alone.

If there wasn’t a solution, he’d make one.

In the end, Hitoshi thrashed all of them with his superior planning skills, and the fact that he wasn’t accidentally heating up the air and melting the snow around him like Tenya and Katsuki were.

 


 

Aizawa’s house didn’t look intimidating on the outside. It was a simple two level home, done up in grey and green. A lonely home on a side street full of cafes and other small businesses. The only indication Izuku had about the house’s owner was the matching address that Aizawa had given him during their last phone call, and the presence of three cats lounging around the small fenced in area in front of the house.  

There was no way that Izuku was just going to leave saving Shouto up to the adults, that didn’t work well last time. It would be stupid to assume everything would work itself out. Working with it from the background with Aizawa Shouta was the best compromise he could make with his current abilities.

So he stood in front of Aizawa’s house, holding Hitoshi’s hand.

“You didn’t have to come,” Izuku said.

“Well, if it was a bad idea you’d have come back in time and told me about it wouldn’t you?” Hitoshi reasoned, already walking forward and climbing over the gate to approach a large cream-colored cat curled up in a flower pot.  

“You didn’t say he had cats,” Hitoshi accused. Purple eyes scanning the entire front of the house.

“I didn’t know, Hitoshi-kun,” Izuku said.

Izuku pressed the buzzer and clambered after Hitoshi, who already had the large cat in his arms. White fur neatly fell all over his dark felt coat. Mikoto was not going to be happy about that.

“Oh my god, isn’t that the cutest!”

Izuku and Hitoshi turned in tandem to look at the blond man at the front door who had yelled in English.

“Nekonata, come here there’s a mini you in the yard!”

Yamada Hizashi stood in the door, clad in sweatpants with his hair pulled up into a bun behind him. Izuku leaned over to Hitoshi and whispered, “That’s Present Mic.”

Mic stepped to the side so Aizawa could look out the front door, cat sweater a huge departure from the black shirt he normally wore.

He almost giggled at the sight of his sensei in pastels.

Aizawa’s eyes softened, “Well, come inside you’re going to freeze out there.”

Hizashi led the way into the house, ‘whispering’ to Aizawa. “I thought Menthol didn’t like anyone but you.”

“She just has good taste,” Aizawa said simply. All of the cats from the front slipped through the door behind them before it closed.

“You can hang your coats anywhere there’s a free spot,” Aizawa said, nudging piles of books out of the way. There were a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. Most of the titles were unfamiliar sounding or in English.

The cat, Menthol, lolled in Hitoshi’s arms as he settled onto the couch.

Mic disappeared into the kitchen, bringing out cups of what Izuku assumed was tea. Along with a bag of cat treats, which he handed to Hitoshi.

“No more than three for each of them. Five will try and convince you that he hasn’t been fed in 10 years. Don’t fall for it.” Mic said seriously. He put a hand on Aizawa’s shoulder and leaned down, “If you need anything, I’ll be upstairs.”

The living room was cozy, but the atmosphere did little to ease the awkward tension in the air. He had no idea how to start this conversation. At least Hitoshi seemed content with the crowd of cats that had him cornered on the couch.

“So, Midoriya-kun,” Aizawa said with an eyebrow raise. “Who’s this?”

Hitoshi looked up from his horde of cats, leveling a calm look at Aizawa’s face. “I’m Shinsou Hitoshi, my quirk is brainwashing, I like heroes and cats and I don’t like two-faced people. If Izuku said this hero was doing bad things then he was. My mom says that he’s never lied to her and I don’t think he’s ever lied to me.”

Izuku had to suppress a wince at that statement. It might be true, but to be honest he hadn’t been keeping track of all of his lies, whether they were told by omission or otherwise. Even if it were true, which he wasn’t sure it was, he was keeping a lot of information from everyone except his mom and Hitoshi's mom. 

Aizawa set aside the cup he was holding, clasping both his hands over his knee. “You know what Hitoshi-chan, I think he’s telling the truth too. Endeavor is not, and has never been a good man. A passable hero, yes, but never good.” He leaned forward conspiratorially, “And that’s why he’s never going to be the number one hero, because the people that hold that spot. They’re truly and genuinely good.”

Izuku was starting to wonder if this was another mistake, but Hitoshi didn’t seem to notice the way Aizawa looked right at Izuku when he said that.

“So I take it Yaoyorozu Momo found something?” Izuku said.

Aizawa looked startled. “Momo? No, Ayako went. Momo is only seven.”

Izuku felt his face flush and reached back to grab the thread of emotions to fall back in time a few seconds. He closed his eyes and waited for the brief glow to fade.

“So, did Yaoyorozu-san find anything?” Izuku asked. Second time’s the charm, right?

Aizawa regarded him critically for a moment, “She did. She said that Todoroki Miyuki told her everything. She’s desperate to get her three remaining children away from that man.” He spit the last word. “She wants to go back to being Toushirou Miyuki, but she was worried that Enji would retain custody of Todoroki Shouto if she did.”

Each fingernail was biting into the heel of his hand. “That’s unacceptable,” he hissed.

Aizawa nodded, taking a sip from his mug.

“Miyuki-chan would agree with you. That’s why she’s stayed for so long, but one of her other sons recently ran away from home. They’re not sure what happened to him, but I can tell it’s eating Miyuki-chan up inside worrying about him. He had a degenerative quirk.”

“She should talk to my mom,” Hitoshi said, dislodging a cat to fish around in his pants pocket before pulling out a small white square. “This is her card, she puts one in my pocket every day just in case I get lost. If you ask her and tell her it’s me and Izuku-kun that told you to call I think she can-” Hitoshi made air quotes “-pull some strings.”

The pro hero leaned over to take the card, inspecting the number on it. “What kind of strings?”

Hitoshi plucked the cat back off the floor and settled it back on his lap with the others. “Stuff like how you’re not supposed to see patients outside of the office and for free. She’s done it a few times before. Like when she meets someone at a cafe to talk with them when it’s an emergency.”

The hero nodded, pocketing the card. “I’ll see if she’s willing to see Miyuki-chan. It would help if she could be found well enough to testify. Because this involves a prolific pro hero, the divorce proceedings will be made by district court, not mediation. They’ll probably favour Miyuki-chan for custody. Domestic abuse is still a very big problem in Japan, so the court may decide to make an example of Endeavor.”

Izuku nodded, his heart in his throat.

“It’s not a perfect solution yet, but if we can prove it’s Endeavor’s fault that Todoroki Koudai left home, it’d be getting close.” Aizawa said, taking a long sip from his mug.

The room was quiet but for the soft sounds the cats were making as Hitoshi tried to please all of them at once with scritches behind the ears.

“Well, that’s settled.” Izuku drummed his fingers against his glass. He was looking between Aizawa and Hitoshi. It felt like there was something he needed to piece together. The former was watching the latter interact with the cats, a strange expression passing over his face.

“You know, Hitoshi, Aizawa has a really similar quirk to yours.” Both of the room’s occupants turned to look at Midoriya. Aizawa’s eyes widened with something close to fear, and then to suspicion.

He turned to Hitoshi. “He can stop bad guys from using their quirks by looking at them, and you can stop bad guys by speaking to them,” he hid his expression behind his cup as he watched the both of them size each other up.

“How do you fight if you can’t use your quirk for it?” Hitoshi asked.

Aizawa tapped the side of his temple. “Usually, I work in a team with other heros covering the close range fighting. But I’ve come up with some ways to compensate. It requires a lot of strategy and a ranged form of attack.”

The purple haired boy nodded, looking serious. “So like a gun?”

Izuku spat tea all over his shirt, choking a bit. He wiped his mouth and set the cup down.

“Excuse me,” he said.

He bolted from the living room down the hall, finding the open bathroom door and seeking refuge within. He grabbed some tissues to wipe the mess off his shirt, flushing them into the toilet when he was mostly dry.

The idea of Aizawa with a gun was terrifying, the idea of Shinsou with a gun was even worse.

Maybe he shouldn’t have left them alone without supervision.

Izuku poked his head out of the bathroom, looking down the hall. Hitoshi was standing up, dwarfed in one of Aizawa’s scarves. He looked like a mummy in it.

He could hear Aizawa’s voice from down the hall. “Now you should probably think about choosing a darker color. One, you don’t have to wash it as much; two, it’s more stealthy.”

“He’s something, isn’t he.” Mic’s voice startled Izuku.

Izuku turned to the blond man.

“You know, he told me what he thinks about you, you know. With the All Might situation.” Hizashi was using the quietest voice Izuku had ever heard from him. “For the record, I don’t think he’s right. I’ve told him that, but he won’t listen.”

“How do you know he’s not right?” Izuku asked, leaning against the door frame.

“Because the truth is usually stranger than fiction, and All Might talks when he’s drunk, a lot, and I don’t drink.”

He snorted at Izuku’s wide-eyed stare.

“Whatever it is you’re up to, you saved All Might’s life. You knew Shouta, you recognized me. You’ve been helping even if most of us don’t realize it. I don’t think they know, but with some distance it’s easier to see the pattern. Also, I read lips, and All Might came into Yaoyorozu-san’s office the other day and had a very interesting conversation with her about adoption papers and prosecuting a 'sad excuse for foster parents’.”

He sighed out his nose, “So All Might found him? That’s a relief.”

Hizashi bobbed his head, “It was also interesting how one Midoriya Inko had already filed a missing child’s report on him, under his birth name.”

When had his mom had time to do that? Sure, it had been a few months but she worked full time.

Hizashi continued, “Whatever’s going on… you’ve found yourself involved in a lot of other people’s problems. I know they say relativity affects space, light, time, and gravity; that’s a lot of things to keep track of.”

“I don’t remember you being this wise,” Izuku accused.

Hizashi laughed. “What? Who did you think all these books belonged to? Certainly not Shouta.”

“I dunno that cat encyclopedia looked pretty convincing.”

They heard a crash from the living room.

Hizashi shook his head, “I think they killed a lamp. It’s probably time we interrupted them. Hey! Shouta if you’re going to train don’t do it in the living room!”

The living room was suspiciously quiet when Izuku walked back into it. They were all standing around a lamp that was mangled on the floor. The cats were nowhere to be seen.

“Next time, don’t aim for where the neck would be.” Aizawa patted the purple boy’s head. “But good job.”

Even if this trip had been misguided, Izuku couldn’t bring himself to regret it when he saw Hitoshi's smile.

Chapter Text

Trepidation filled every molecule of his body as Izuku stood in front of the entrance to his primary school.

Last time it had been six years of torture (both because of the schoolwork and the attitudes of the other students), but this time things would be different. He had friends watching his back.

Still, it was going to be hours of time wasted going over things that he already knew, every day, for years to come. He couldn’t imagine a worse punishment.

The wasted time wasn't the only thing bothering him about the situation. He had to be careful not to show how much knowledge he had. If he did, it could put his chance to change the future in jeopardy. Katsuki might believe Izuku studied the material and then jumped back in time so that he always had the answer, but that excuse wasn't going to work on anyone else.

New day, new start, and a new share of problems to deal with.

Winter had come and gone in a flash of playing with his friends and visiting with Aizawa to check on the progress of Toushirou Miyuki’s case. He finally felt like he was making progress on helping Shouto, and it calmed some of the demons in his soul. One step forward…

...two steps back. He couldn't help but return to the feeling of dread in his stomach. It was going to be nine long years of reliving school. The gulf between who he was and who he needed to become had never felt so large before.

Kacchan held his hand in a firm grip, pulling him through the gate. The reassurance that someone was there for him made him feel a little better. He wouldn’t be alone in his suffering this time.

Hitoshi was waiting for them inside, dwarfed by a long purple scarf despite the fact that the weather had turned warm for spring. At the last minute his moms had decided to pull him from another school so he could attend with his friends instead. Izuku still didn’t know much about Hotaru, Hitoshi’s other mother, but she was present today along with the rest of their parents.

She seemed nice.

The sakura blossoms were yet buds on the trees, having been chased deep into their boughs by a bone chilling winter. Usually, they’d be out in force for a child's first day of school. Some parents were taking it as an ill omen, but not theirs.

Behind them, Mitsuki and Inko were joined at the hip cooing over the photographs they’d taken a few minutes ago with the whole family. They’d crowded everyone in front of the school gate for a group photo, and then made them do individual family photos and one of the just the boys. It had taken over half an hour and pissed off more than a few other parents that were waiting to make commemorations of their own.

After that, the thought of wasting another half hour to get through the entrance ceremony was abhorrent. At least the ‘first’ day of school would only have twice, maybe three times in his life before he was free of school. Izuku was going to do everything in his power to never repeat all 12 years of schooling ever again. No matter what the outcome of this was.

Otherwise he’d just get stuck in a never ending cycle of compulsory education until he died, he was not about to spend his entire life in high school like that American comic book character who kept getting movie reboots.

“Why don’t you three huddle together for one last picture under the trees,” Mitsuki called out, gesturing for them to group together.

With one friend on each side, he smiled at the camera and hoped that it reached his eyes.

He wasn’t the only one. Hitoshi’s smile fell right after the flash.

“It feels wrong that Tenya-kun isn’t here,” he said quietly.

Izuku could only nod.

Tenya’s father had gotten a new job, and Tenya had moved away at the last minute. Logically, Izuku figured something like that must have happened, because he had no memory of Tenya attending the same school as him before UA.

It would have been nice to keep everyone together, but Izuku knew that wasn't realistic. A lot of things could happen in nine years.

“I’m sure we’ll see him again,” Izuku said.

“Awww, you all look so cute. Micky-chan look at how cute Hitoshi-bou looks,” Hitoshi’s stay at home mom was nearly fluttering in the air in excitement. She darted forward to mess with his hair again, trying to get it to lay flat.

“Mooom, I’m not a kid anymore you can’t keep calling me Hitoshi-bou,” Hitoshi pulled his scarf over his head to hide from his overzealous mom.

As if Hotaru had released the floodgates, Mitsuki also rushed forward to rub some soot off the side of Katsuki’s nose. She committed to the losing battle, vigorously wiping at his face even though she knew he was likely to explode another four times before lunch. As she scrubbed at the spot with her handkerchief, Katsuki’s face went through the entire range of human emotion and landed on exasperation.

Inko simply gave Izuku’s head a pat, turning to the Hitoshi's parents. “Mikoto-chan, Hotaru-san, it’s good to see you both.”

Mitsuki looked up from her work on her son’s face, “Yeah, it’s so rare you’re both in the same place at the same time.”

Shinsou Hotaru beamed at the other two women, “You know how it is, my Micky-chan’s always busy with her work, now more than ever. In fact she’s got to rush off to another meeting right after this.”

Mikoto looked down at her watch in shock. “Why didn’t you tell me it was so late! I’ve got to go!” She kneeled down in front of Hitoshi. “I love you, behave, don’t let your friends get you into too much trouble, and be safe.” She kissed his forehead, stood and turned to kiss her wife, then walked back through the gate with her phone out, already tapping away at it.

Izuku's ears caught a soft sigh from his left where Hitoshi stood. 

“Anyway, we should all let you go through the doors now, I guess.” Mitsuki said, finally relinquishing her hold on Kacchan. His father was standing farther back, taking video of everything.

All of their parents, minus Mikoto, retreated to the gate. They waved at their children as a group, Inko supporting the more emotional ones with gentle reassurances. Kacchan’s mom was crying, and Hotaru was providing her with tissues from her purse.

Izuku leaned over to Katsuki, “If they’re this bad on the first day just think of how bad they’ll be on graduation.”

The blond boy groaned, “I don’t even want to think about it. That’s years away. Let’s just get this entrance ceremony done and go home.”

 


 

They ended up in the same class, against all odds, but they didn't have any time to celebrate it. They were assigned an upperclassman as a guide at the end of the ceremony, which kept them split up until lunchtime.

Katsuki laid their claim all over the ground in front of the largest tree in the courtyard, scattering all his possessions around until Hitoshi and Izuku found him. His bento still closed, Izuku felt a flash of affection as he realized Katsuki had waited for them to show up before eating.

He didn't look great. The edges of his cuffs had been blackened between first period and now. Either something had set him off or embarrassed him. One of the two.

Katsuki rubbed the back of his head. “Ugh, Chihaya-senpai just wanted to show me all of the clubs. Like first year students are supposed to be thinking about that kind of thing. We’re only six years old who cares about sports?”

He revised his assessment of Kacchan’s morning. It was obvious his senpai had stressed him out and annoyed him- she was playing a dangerous game if she was angling to get Katsuki on a sports team or into a club that didn’t have anything to do with heroes.

Izuku and Hitoshi nodded, sharing their sympathy. Katsuki had gotten assigned one of the more energetic upperclassmen as a guide. Their orientations had been almost entirely unremarkable.

“Nakamura-senpai showed me how to break into the roof, which was cool,” Hitoshi mused.

“To be honest, I wasn’t listening to Hanamura-senpai at all,” Izuku admitted. It wasn’t like he’d forgotten his primary school experience, he’d spent a large portion of his life here and he hadn’t repressed all of it, yet.

Speaking of repression, they had class introductions after lunch to look forward to. It would be different this time, now that he had a quirk to his name during roll call on the first day.

“Do you think our classmates are gonna like us?” Izuku said, poking daikon radishes around his bento.

Kacchan sat up, grass falling out of his hair. “Who cares? We’re gonna be heroes someday! Whether they like us don’t matter.”

“But Aizawa-san says that only good people become the best heroes, and good people care about others and their feelings,” Hitoshi said, adjusting his scarf.

“Okay, so how do we get the rest of our class to like us?” Katsuki said, finally opening his bento.

They all looked at each other for a bewildered second.

“We could bring some kind of treat for the class?” Hitoshi said.

Katsuki shook his head, “Nah, that would make the kids from the other classes dislike us.”

“Bribery doesn’t last long anyway,” Izuku said.

“We don’t need to come up with an answer now do we? Can’t we just, I don’t know, be nice to people?” Katsuki said.

The irony of that made Izuku inhale some of his rice.

Hitoshi rolled over to thump Izuku on his back until he stopped coughing.

He waited until Izuku finished to speak. “We can’t be pushovers either, and we can’t get in trouble. I’m not explaining that to our parents.”

 


 

Their teacher was a kindly looking woman in her forties, with short brown hair and long curved horns spiralling away from her head.

“We’re going to go through class alphabetically and introduce everyone. Please stand when you give your introduction,” she said, stepping to the side of the green chalkboard.

Izuku tuned most of the proceedings out, he’d heard it once before.

Bakugou Katsuki stood when called, looked put upon and announced his quirk with a bang before sitting back down. It was a simple introduction, but one their classmates were unlikely to forget.

“Midoriya Izuku?”

He stood, even though he didn’t want to, and looked around the class with a small smile. “Present, my quirk is Zero Relativity.” He provided no demonstration and the rest of the class looked uneasy and confused. They would live with the disappointment of his mystery. He wasn’t about to demonstrate his own ability by traveling back in time and announcing everyone else’s quirks.

That’s not what All Might would have done.

If he thought the class looked uneasy at his introduction, he wasn’t prepared for their reaction to Hitoshi.

“Shinsou Hitoshi?”

His purple haired friend rose, sighed, and looked straight ahead. “Present, my quirk is Brainwashing.”

The entire room broke out into a furious buzz as he sat back down. Izuku caught his eye and tried to convey a smile of reassurance. Kacchan just scoffed and simmered quietly. Izuku was privately grateful that Katsuki didn’t cause a scene over everyone’s reactions.

There wasn’t much time for people to react before the teacher steamrolled over all attempts to interrupt the introductions to get to her lesson before school let out.

 


 

It seemed like they would make it through the first day of school unscathed for the most part; until it was time to go home. 

The only way out was through a large group of loitering students, everyone talking about their first day, trying to find their friends from other classes, it was a disorganized mass of people that took a while to weave through.

“Hey look, it’s that villain kid with the brainwashing quirk.”

Izuku whipped around and zeroed in on the person who said those words. It was a boy their age, unremarkable in appearance but Izuku couldn’t help but compare him to Monoma Neito from class B. It was the same insufferable arrogance born from injured pride. Just once he would love for someone to actually work through their issues instead of projecting them on other people.

Izuku chose not to self-reflect that last statement to much.

His hands clenched and he stopped himself from retorting, but Kacchan looked ready to jump into a fight.

Cooler heads prevailed when Hitoshi put a hand on each of their shoulders. “Come on, don’t. Izuku don’t go back in time. It’s not worth the headache, let’s just go. Kacchan, think of how mad your mom would be if you got expelled for exploding someone on the first day.”

It was only because Hitoshi bodily pushed them out the door that they made it outside before Kacchan lost control.

“How dare they!” Kacchan barely made it a step outside the school’s front door before blowing up. Quite literally.

At least he’d dropped his backpack on the ground; which meant his homework was still safe. His uniform, on the other hand, was not. It was to be expected. It’s not like they generally made explosion resistant clothing the norm for elementary school uniforms.

Still, Izuku didn’t envy Kacchan the lecture he would get at home.

Hitoshi shrugged. “Don’t worry about it. People fear what they don’t understand, look at how they reacted to Marimo’s quirk. They were just as…”

“Hostile,” Izuku offered.

“Yeah, hostile.”

Izuku picked Kacchan’s bag off the sidewalk, slinging it over his other shoulder. They had convinced their parents to let them walk to Izuku’s house where they would work on their homework before their parents came to pick them up. At least Hotaru wouldn’t have to see Hitoshi’s expression right now. He was putting up a strong front, an attempt at a facade, but Hitoshi couldn’t pull off ‘blank-faced indifference’ yet.

Hm, blank-faced indifference, that gave him an idea.

“Kacchan, put a lid on it. I’ve got an idea.” Izuku walked ahead and turned around so he was facing both of his friends.

“How about we don’t go straight home?” he said, leaning forward.

That caught their attention, Kacchan’s miniature explosions cutting out with a sputter.  

“Where would we go?” Katsuki asked.

He smiled, “Just follow me!”

 


 

“You could have just said that your plan was to go to Aizawa-sensei’s house,” Hitoshi said as they walked up the road.

“Kacchan hasn’t been before! It’s a surprise to him.”

“Okay, but what’s the big deal about this hero guy? You’ve mentioned him before, but I’ve never heard about Eraserhead in the news before. If he’s as good as you say then wouldn’t we have heard about it?” Kacchan asked.

“I have heard of him, and so has Hitoshi-kun. It's not our fault if you don't pay attention.”

The gate was cracked open, so the boys headed straight up the short path to the house and opened the door.

Right into the startled face of All Might.

“Young Marimo!” All Might boomed.

Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit . Izuku jerked backwards without a second thought. His foot slipping off the step as he reeled back out of instinct. It was only when he realized he was literally falling that he made the conscious decision to metaphorically fall back as well.

And suddenly he was standing in the middle of the road, with a fresh headache and eyes that glowed in the late afternoon shadows.

“-but I’ve never heard about Eraserhead in the news before.”

He grabbed his friends’ backpacks and yanked them to the side of the gate. He pushed them both down and held a finger to his lips. Within the shadow of the brick wall it was even more obvious that his eyes were glowing. Izuku watched the replay in his mind as the other version of him reached out to open the door, the sound overlapping with the sound of the door opening in his current timeline. It made his headache substantially worse.

He couldn’t be seen by All Might. He would ask Aizawa who Izuku was, and while Aizawa had promised not to bring his concerns to Toshinori, he wouldn’t lie to him when asked a direct question. Right now his anonymity relied on a fragile balance between All Might not knowing to ask in the first place, and Aizawa and Yamada playing it cool about who tipped them off to Endeavor.

Izuku heard All Might’s distinct booming voice. “Thank you for your help, Shouta-kun. Yours as well Hizashi-kun. I never thought I’d be thrust into a position like this. I’ll be sure to call this Doctor Shinsou you recommended.” Izuku felt Hitoshi seize up beside him at the mention of his mother. “Tenko-kun deserves whatever I can provide, I’m going to go pick him up from the hospital now, they should be done with the cast.”

Kacchan had a death grip on his backpack, strangling the straps where they were wrapped around his wrists.

“And if you need my help on Miyuki-san’s case, just ask. I’ll give it in whatever capacity.”

All Might walked through the gate without looking back. He wasn’t in his hero form. Not that it made much of a difference. He was still huge. His hair was held back by a bright green headband that looked oddly familiar.

No one moved in the shadow of the wall until All Might turned a corner out of sight.

“Holy shit,” Izuku said, collapsing against Kacchan’s side.

“Marimo… was that… you know who?” Kacchan brought his fingers up to his head and made little bunny ears in the front. Izuku nodded.

All three boys screamed as something jumped on them from the top of the wall, the dark shape fleeing from the noise as soon as its paws hit the pavement.

“Well, at least you didn’t mob him,” Aizawa said sagely from where he was leaning against the door.

“How’d you know we were here?” Kacchan shouted as they all peeked around the brick wall.

Aizawa pointed to the the wall, and they boys craned their necks to see around the gate. On the other side of the bricks, three of Aizawa’s four cats milled around the wall, meowing at its grey facade. The fourth cat, Five, launched itself back to the top of the wall, using it as a springboard to get to Hitoshi’s head, his original target.

Hitoshi caught the cat with an ‘oof’.

“You three might as well come in, I’ve got more tea.” Aizawa said.

Hitoshi dropped his backpack on the ground in favour of collecting all the cats in his arms that he could possibly carry. Kacchan scooped it up off the ground before Izuku could step forward. He noticed Izuku staring at him, and shrugged in response.

When they walked through the doors, Hitoshi was already on the couch, ensconced in a fortress of cats.

Kacchan dumped both bags by the door, and Izuku hung back to grab everyone’s homework and take it into the living room.

“So why are you two here? Who’s the third?”

“This is our friend Kacchan, Bakugou Katsuki,” Hitoshi said, accepting his homework papers when Izuku handed them over.

Katsuki was reluctant to take the worksheets, but did so after minimal prodding. “I wasn’t sure if you knew my actual name.”

“Even if I didn't already know it, we had class introductions this morning."

"Oh, right."

"Besides, you’re the one who keeps giving out nicknames,” Hitoshi shrugged. A cascade of meows followed the movement as one of the cats slipped off his shoulder and onto one of its siblings.

“That’s wonderful, but it doesn’t tell me what all three of you are doing here.” Aizawa said, getting the standard fare of snacks and tea from the kitchen. He returned with enough mugs for everyone and passed them out.

Hitoshi was the one to break the silence. “The other kids in class… they didn’t like my quirk.”

Aizawa sighed imperceptibly, and Izuku wouldn’t have noticed if he hadn’t already been listening for it. They shared a glance and Izuku shrugged at him.

This was really an area Aizawa would have better advice for. No one had ever actively disliked Izuku for his quirk before, just the fact that he didn’t have one at all. Somehow, the latter didn’t lend much advice to the former.

Settling down on the floor near the coffee table, Izuku set to work doing all of his homework as quickly as he could while Hitoshi and Aizawa spoke. The discussion faded into the background as his hand flew across the worksheet. His pen strokes flew across the paper in neat, compact kanji until he ran out of page and flipped it over to work on the back. Unconsciously, his hand reached out for the next worksheet when the first was finished and paused when all his hand felt was empty wood where they should be.

He looked up to find everyone in the room staring at him, Hizashi holding the rest of his worksheets hostage and bending over to look at what Izuku had written so far.

The blond hero plucked the worksheet from his hands and gestured with it to Aizawa, they were doing the thing where they had an entire conversation via eyebrows. Kacchan scooted up to the edge of the couch and looked at the sheet as well.

“Damn Izuku, I knew you were smart but this is crazy, I can’t read half of these kanji.” He must be shocked to use Izuku’s real name instead of his nickname.

“Language,” Aizawa chastised, still scanning over the worksheet.

A hot blush burned on Izuku’s face. “I just wanted to get it done fast, I’ve got a headache.”  

“And leave your friends behind?” Hizashi needled him, handing the other worksheets back and passing the finished one back after Aizawa read it.

“No-” Izuku denied it out of reflex, but wasn’t that exactly what he was doing. He had friends, but he hadn’t confided in any of them. Not really. He was basically lying to them all because he couldn’t bring himself to burden them with everything. How was he supposed to explain everything ?

When had he made the decision that keeping secrets was the best course of action?

“I can’t-”

When had he started crying?

It felt like all of his pent up emotions were escaping through his eyes. When was the last time he had cried like this? Had he cried in the last six months outside of the lonely nights where he mourned everything he had lost? He’d been such an emotional kid the first time around- it was no wonder that his mom so easily believed he was a completely different person. He would have never been able to hide it from anyone who already knew him.

Hizashi was right, even if he didn't know it. Izuku had left all of his friends behind, all of his dead friends. The ones he’d pushed out of his mind because their tragic demises technically hadn’t happened yet. Did that mean that their sacrifices were made in vain because he didn’t recognize them? Their bravery had to mean something, it had to.

Everything was crashing down around his ears. He wanted to jump back in time and undo everything. Escape the sword that hung over his head every day, swaying with his every choice. Why had the universe left everything up to him?

Was this the burden of peace?

Could anyone ever be ready for a burden like this? One that wanted to snap your bones and suck the very marrow from your existence.

Purple invaded his vision.

“Izuku?” the blob in front of his face shouted.

“What?” Izuku shrieked back.

He felt the crawl of something in his mind, freezing him in place for a minute. It wasn’t a familiar sensation, but he had felt it once before.

“Breathe,” Shinsou said, an older face overlaying the younger’s in his watery vision.

It was simple to listen, let his watery emotions escape from his grasp completely until he felt nothing. Izuku breathed, the blackness creeping away from the edges of his vision with each breath in and out.

“Sleep.”

Then everything went black.

 


 

Returning to wakefulness wasn’t peaceful, Izuku knew the moment he woke that this was going to be one of those situations where it would ultimately be better to roll over and go back to sleep.

“You gave your friends a fright.”

It was Aizawa, using that soothing voice. The one he brought out when something bad had happened and he was trying to keep the entire class from rushing off to help the heroes.

He opened his eyes to an unfamiliar ceiling.

“Hizashi says that yelling usually fixes all your problems, if you do it long enough. If you wanted to try that.”

Izuku smiled in spite of himself and sat up. “Is there some sound canceling room in the city that he does that in? Or do you just drop him in the ocean and let him terrify all the fish?”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Hizashi-san scaring all the fish?”

“No.”

“You’re just going to tell Hizashi-san later aren’t you?”

“Do you think I could ever keep something secret from him?”

“No.”

His hands fiddled with the blanket on his lap.

Aizawa sighed, “Well, if you don’t want to talk. How about I go first? I’ve revised my initial assessment of you. I think that you were telling the truth to me when you said you weren’t All Might’s son. After all, you know things that All Might himself didn’t know, like the thing with Endeavor and the fate of his mentor’s son.”

Well, fuck. That wasn’t much better. It must have shown on his face, because Aizawa quirked an eyebrow at him.

Fuck it.

“The first time I jumped back in time was a hell of a longer than half an hour. Do you want to hear about how lost eleven years of my life in a time jump I had no control over?”

“Izuku-kun-”

“No, let me finish. I’m All Might’s protege from the future. Is that what you wanted to hear? That I don’t really know how I got here, or why it happened? I’ve got no idea whether it was One For All, or whether it was something dormant in myself, or any combination of the two. All I know is that my quirk hasn’t been responding like One For All used to, with sentience. I haven’t seen any of its previous avatars since I’ve been in this time, and I don’t know what's happened to them.”

The bones in his hand creaked audibly as he clenched the blanket beneath them.

“Or maybe you want to hear about how I’ve seen the deaths of nearly everyone one I’ve ever cared about, including yours. Including Hizashi-san’s? Do you want to hear about the fact that the love of my life entombed himself under several hundred tonnes of ice to buy me seconds to make a counter attack? Do you want to hear about the fact that All Might could barely speak without coughing up blood, due to the organs he lost in the battle with All For One three months ago? That the only reason he’d passed his quirk on to me was because I asked for it and he was at his limit?

“Do you want to hear about how I failed everyone? Absolutely everyone. I’ve got no idea whether I’ve eliminated that timeline entirely or if I’m simply not there anymore. Did I abandon everyone’s sacrifices? Did I leave Kacchan alone in a hopeless world to die?”

He thought that he would shout, that he would feel anything, but the words just spilled out of him in a voice barely above a whisper. He didn’t even look at Aizawa.

“And for all I know, I might get to watch it all happen again if I’m not good enough, fast enough, and strong enough to stop it.”

Aizawa scrubbed his hands over his face, sighing, “Kid… that’s, that’s a hell of a lot of things to process. I… I don’t even know where to start.”

Izuku didn’t say anything, he just sat there wondering at the empty sensation in his chest. It had been so full of worry, stress, and misery for so long. Six months of living without answers, doing triage with his mental health, but that was all it was, triage to stop him from bleeding out. At some point, he'd run out of bandages to stop the bleeding.  

“You need to tell All Might,” Aizawa said after giving him a minute.

Izuku, for lack of a better word, squawked, “What ?!”

“I can tell you right now; he is the only one that will understand the kind of burden you’re dealing with. Unless you know anyone else that tries to carry the entire world’s miseries on their shoulders?” Aizawa looked like he needed a drink. “Who else knows?”

“My mom and Mikoto-chan, I wasn’t… processing everything at my best when I came back. Mikoto-chan found out because I didn’t take steps to guard my mind, and she made me think of Hitoshi-chan.”

Aizawa reached and grabbed Izuku’s shoulder, pulling the small boy into a hug with both arms. He curled into the contact, letting himself feel small and share the burden he’d been tasked with by fate even if just for a few moments. He’d take it back when he got out of bed.

The green haired boy wiped at his burning eyes.

“What are the chances that everyone isn’t right outside that door eavesdropping on me,” Izuku said with listing voice.

“You know better than to take a sucker’s bet,” Aizawa whispered. He held a finger to his lips and prowled towards the door. The handle turned without a sound. The hallway behind it empty of all occupants.

“Huh, guess there really are miracles,” Izuku said.

Aizawa raised an eyebrow at him. “Really, that’s the miraculous part of this?”

 


 

He hadn’t stayed in bed for much longer after that, he felt bad that he burden Aizawa with everything. He couldn’t deny that it helped to vent to someone about it. He always asked Mikoto-chan for advice, but he’d never let himself go and talked about how he really, honestly felt.

Never stopped to acknowledge the bitterness behind the hope in this second chance.

Izuku trudged down the stairs, stopping on a landing as he heard voices.

“Hitoshi-bou, you know better than to wear your shoes in someone else’s home.”

“At least your son came home with shoes! I’m beginning to think I’m going to have to clothe this child entirely in kevlar.”

He tiptoed down the last step to see shimmering silver and purple crowding around the couch. “Is this why you’ve been asking for a cat so much?” He overheard Hotaru ask as she fussed over her son. Something about her demeanor seemed… off, but Izuku couldn’t place it. Her wings fluttered in an expressive manner, rather than staying neatly by her side.

“We called your friend’s parents, we tried yours, but Midoriya-san said that there was no way they’d let her off the hospital’s rotation tonight. You never said your mom was a nurse.” Hizashi offered from the doorway of a room that looked like a study and a music store had a one night stand in a windtunnel.

“It never came up,” Izuku said honestly.

Hotaru spotted Izuku in the hallway, “Look, he’s fine.” She said mostly to Hitoshi, both hands on his shoulders as she leaned down to his level. “You didn’t do anything bad. In fact, I think you did a very good and brave thing using your quirk to help your friend, even though it scared you to do so.”

“Are you sure?”

She nodded seriously, “You can ask him yourself.”

Hitoshi looked nervous, “Izuku-kun, are you okay?”

He opened his mouth to say he was fine, but thought better of it and settled on a neutral response instead. “I feel better than I did earlier. Thank you for helping me.”

Hitoshi smiled, and Kacchan wriggled between Hotaru and Hitoshi to get to Izuku. “See, I told you he wouldn’t be upset. You were helping, he knew that.”

Katsuki pulled both of them into a hug, strategically putting his friends between his mother and himself. Izuku shot Katsuki an amused look.

Mitsuki rolled her eyes at Katsuki and stuck out her tongue before she recovered her composure to address Aizawa and Yamada. “Thank you both for putting up with them, I’ll take Izuku-kun home with us so Inko-chan can pick him up when she gets home,” Mitsuki said giving both pro heroes a smile.

“What’s that all about?” Izuku asked Hizashi.

“We may have told them that Midoriya-san asked us to look after you and make sure you all did your homework, we couldn’t very well tell them that you’re all sticking your noses into dangerous situations and we’re here to try and keep you safe. Although realistically, they’re the same thing.”

“Thanks Hizashi-sensei,” Izuku said, seeing right through the babble. His teacher had been worried. Well, that worry was going to skyrocket when Aizawa got a chance to fill him in.

Hizashi just nodded and waved him on.

Izuku took Kacchan’s hand and turned to Mitsuki, “I think I’m ready to go home.”

 


 

To say Inko looked tired when she knocked on Mitsuki’s door was an understatement. She looked ragged, her hair was pulled completely out of its bun and her uniform was all over the place. The headband she’d worn to work was nowhere to be found.

“Izuku!”

She ran inside and kneeled down to wrap her arms around her son as soon as Mitsuki stepped aside. Today was just a hug day, Izuku was going to call it here. He was going to sleep as soon as he could and try again tomorrow.

“We are going to have a discussion later,” she promised him quietly, gathering up his stuff from a sympathetic Mitsuki. At least he’d managed to finish all his homework while waiting at Bakugou’s house.

His mom’s composure only lasted until she locked their front door behind them.

“Izuku, honey, I thought we were a team. Didn’t you promise to do everything that you could to change the future? You can’t do everything, and I can’t help if you’re not letting me know what's going on.” She leaned forward and brushed the hair out of his face.

Fuck, Aizawa had definitely called her.

“I know, I do. I just haven’t talked about this because I wasn’t sure that I could. Mom, I haven’t talked about… certain things, like Shouto, at all since I’ve been here. Not until earlier today.”

He’d already had his share of emotionally draining conversations today, the last thing he wanted was to have another one. But his mom deserved better than a cold shoulder. Not after she’d had such a hard day.

He pulled his mom over to the couch, gesturing for her to sit down as he got a bottle of water out of the fridge for her.

“Shouto, that’s the boy you mentioned as one of your UA classmates, the first time we talked,” she prompted softly when he didn’t resume the discussion after sitting down.

“Yeah, he was more than just a classmate though, much more.”

Inko’s face was unimpressed, “You’re acting like I’m going to get on your case for dating when you were seventeen.”

A startled laugh burst out of him. “I guess I did expect that, you have a pretty expressive reaction the first time- but I guess you did kind of, uh- walk in on us.”

Inko laughed, holding her hands over her face. “I didn’t!”

“No you did, you were concerned because the school called you after I was injured during class, very mild injury by the way! Compared to some that I’d had. But I digress, you marched right into my dorm room!” he leaned forward, some of the lethargy leaving his body as he talked.

“I’d never seen Shouto’s entire face turn red before! I thought he was going to jump out the window to get away from the situation, but you just walked up to him as calm as can be, smiled at him, and then you thanked him for giving me what you assumed must have been a ‘very thorough’ examination. He blushed so hard he caught the curtains on fire.”

They were both laughing, and Inko caressed his cheek with a thumb.

“See, you’ve got to talk about these kinds of things! You haven't talked about any of the happy times.”

He shrugged, “I guess.” He did feel better between this conversation and venting to Aizawa.

“Now, I’ve got a story of my own to tell you,” she said with a twinkle in her eye.

“I met Yagi Toshinori today, he brought in his son with a broken arm that needed to be set after a quirk accident happened while he was sleeping. Yagi-san was very distraught about the whole situation, seeing as how it was the first time Tenko-kun had been injured in his care. It seemed only right to sit down and have a chat with him to calm his nerves while the doctors did x-rays. One parent to another.”

Izuku jumped up on the couch so he was standing on the cushions, pointing an accusatory finger at his mom. “You gave him your headband!”

His mom’s face turned entirely pink, “How did you know that? I hadn’t gotten there yet! His hair kept falling in his face when he was trying to sign the paperwork, so loaned it to him and told him he could keep it. It was common courtesy.”

“He was at Aizawa-sensei's house before we came over. We saw him on the way out but he didn’t see us,” Izuku said, taking his seat again. “He was still wearing it then.”

“He must have forgot he was wearing it.”

“Yeah, sure .”

“Don’t take a tone of insinuation with me,” Inko tried to remain serious, but laughed seconds into trying to keep a straight face.

It had been a bad day, but it could have been worse without the people he loved- the ones he had in this timeline, being there to support him.

At least his first day of school was over, and he was never, ever doing that again.

Chapter Text

The situation at school failed to improve over the first few months, but it also didn’t get any worse. Most of the kids outside their class didn’t think much about the three friends, but Izuku kept a close eye on the kid that reminded him of Monoma. It was almost disappointing that he didn’t push his luck any further than his initial comments. There were whispered words here and there about the trio, but nothing Izuku could prove originated with him.

That probably had a lot to do with Katsuki making it abundantly clear he was willing to start a physical fight every time the kid so much as glanced in Hitoshi’s direction. They were a united front on that, despite how much Izuku would rather stay out of trouble. He hadn’t been in a fight since he’d come back (it was the longest he’d gone without a fight since he’d turned fourteen) and he could use the practice.

That distraction is what Izuku blamed when the results of their first exam period came back.

Top of the class: Midoriya Izuku, there in glaring black and white proclaimed across the results board in the hallway. Hitoshi and Bakugou were right behind him on the list, with Katsuki coming in third. It wasn’t a surprise to see his friends at the top, they were both intelligent even if Katsuki didn't always show it, and they earned their spots at the top with hard work. He hadn't, and Izuku couldn't help but feel like he'd taken the top spot away from Hitoshi.

(Mitsuki tried to throw a party for them when she heard they were at the top of their class, but Inko managed to talk her out of it before she could really get going.)

Belatedly, Izuku realized he wasn’t doing great at hiding his abilities when it came to school.

No one seemed to think there was anything weird about Izuku's test results, none of the teachers brought it up to him, and he got a few scattered congratulations from classmates. One ambitious girl asked for his study guide, and he didn't have the heart to tell her he hadn't used one. 

Overall, School was going as well as it could. Which meant Izuku was able to focus on how badly everything else was going. Working with the district court was a slow process, and it was one that he couldn't be involved in directly. Aizawa said they had enough information to move forward as soon as Miyuki felt she was well enough to testify.

Not being involved set Izuku’s nerves on the edge of a knife, holding his breath for things to fall one way or the other.

Mikoto refused to disclose any information about another patient, so Izuku was left to pick out hints of Miyuki’s progress from whatever Hitoshi overheard his moms discussing.

Most of their information came from whatever Aizawa saw fit to tell them, which wasn’t much. Three kids had no real reason to be involved with the case from an outsider’s perspective. To anyone else, keeping them out of the loop kept knowledge of the case from getting to the media, or worse, Endeavor. So long as Izuku’s knowledge of the future remained a closely guarded secret, they were left in the dark.

Not that a testimony including time travel would ever be admissible in court.

No one had asked him for one either. Aizawa hadn’t brought up the future at all since the night when he’d learned about everything. It seemed like he was going to let their former agreement around Izuku’s other secrets extend to the new, earth shattering ones he’d learned without protest.

They continued to use Aizawa’s house as a mock headquarters, much to the chagrin of the two pro heroes living there. (Not that Aizawa could deny them anything when Hitoshi was there, the cats wouldn’t stand for it.) Still, they were pro heroes, and sometimes they'd be called out together to take care of a situation, sending the boys packing to the nearest house (Hitoshi’s) to continue with their day.

Those days were mainly used for getting through homework, rather than planning for their future as heroes. Hotaru was a cool mom and everything, but even she had her limits when it came to overhearing her only son plan dangerous team maneuvers.  

They’d all gotten to know Hitoshi’s other mom over the first few months of school. She was a novelist who worked from every part of her home, carrying her small laptop with her as she perched anywhere in the house that could help her think, her spots ranging from the top of the fridge to underneath Mikoto’s office desk. She said it helped her creative juices to flow unrestricted.

So when the three boys entered the house and didn’t see Hotaru, it wasn’t exactly unusual, they knew she had to be home- her keys were sitting on the table by the unlocked door. That was good enough for the boys. They set their shoes by the door and walked into the living room, sitting down at the traditional styled coffee table and dumping their homework on it.

What started as an unorganized slew of papers and books got sorted into neat piles, all of their work stacked together by topic. The piles helped them concentrate on each subject they were best at. Izuku would help with history, Hitoshi would help with English language exercises, and Katsuki looked over everyone’s math. The system was responsible for the three of them getting the top 3 spots in their class, or at least that’s what Hitoshi and Katsuki believed.

Pens barely touched paper before Hotaru bolted out of the guest bedroom and into the bathroom, speed-walking back through the hallway with a bright red medical kit in her hands. The door slammed behind her before they got a glimpse of what was going on in the room.

A whole sewing machine could have dropped in the silence without disturbing it.

“Izuku do you wanna test the recon strategy we talked about?” Hitoshi asked, setting down his pen and readying his scarf in his hands. It was only a knitted scarf that probably wouldn’t do much in a fight, but they weren’t planning on a fight.

Izuku set aside his work and marked their place in the textbook before shutting it. “Are you sure? It’s your house.” Hotaru’s demeanor was setting his nerves on edge, that kind of frantic rush never bode well, but this wasn’t his call.

Hitoshi nodded, Izuku wanted to clarify, but everyone else was up and acting before he could get the words out.

They stationed themselves around the bedroom door, Katsuki past the door’s line of sight around a hall corner, he’d watch their backs while they focused on the door; Hitoshi took up a position to the left of the door, within reach of Izuku. Wordlessly, Izuku held his left arm out for the purple scarf to be tied around his wrist.

With it snug around his wrist, Izuku made eye contact with his teammates and waited for their confirmation that everything was ready.

When it came, Izuku threw open the door without hesitation and stood in the doorway, eyes scanning over the entire room to commit it to memory. Hitoshi would tug on the scarf when it was time to recall after thirty seconds passed.

Everyone in the room turned to look at Izuku, but he only had eyes for one person sitting on the bed. He looked tired and nervous, both expressions Izuku was well familiar with on that particular face. The young boy with a head of half-white, half-red hair and off-colored eyes was easily recognizable, even with his face was clear of the burn scar that Izuku had never seen him without.

On the bed next to him was a woman with long white hair framing blue eyes. Her wrist held out for Hotaru to wrap a bandage around.

The scarf tugged at his wrist.

Thread, emotions, fall back.

He couldn’t do it. Shouto looked so sad, his eyes sliding from his mother’s injury to the intruder in the room.

Him , he was the intruder in this situation.

Thread, emotions, fall back.

He was starting to hyperventilate.

“Izuku-kun, what are you doing?” Hotaru began, turning her body to block line of sight on the guests with her wings.

Hitoshi tugged on the scarf as hard as he could, wrenching Izuku to the side.

Thread- scarf , emotions- overwhelming , fall back- to the side .  

He fell into his past consciousness like a drowning man.

His eyes were burning bright enough to reflect off the white paper in front of him. He was still hyperventilating. He’d pushed further back than he meant, before they’d made the decision to see what was going on. What should he do? What could he do? He didn’t have time to run, and it wasn’t like he was the one that wasn’t supposed to be here!

Why were they here? Hotaru knew they probably would be staying over at her house today! She knew- but she didn’t know how this would affect him, or why it was important.

He couldn’t help but feel like he was the one that wasn't supposed to be here. His heart felt like it was going to burst out of his skin and he just wanted to jam it back down into place. He wanted out of this situation he wanted out-

The lights in the house went out without a sound. Everything turned pitch black, even the gap under the curtains where late afternoon light should have leaked through regardless of power to the house.

“Marimo? Hitoshi?” Kacchan threw his hand to the side, and Izuku heard the soft pop of an explosion. It stayed dark.

“I’m here,” Hitoshi said, reaching blindly across the table to grab Izuku’s arm. “Here, hold onto my scarf.” He pushed the soft knit into Izuku’s hands.

There was rustling, a soft curse, and a worried voice on the other side of the door.

Katsuki set off a larger explosion. Still no light.

“Mom!” Hitoshi yelled, pulling slighting on the scarf as he turned to look towards the door where he’d heard the curse from.

A door opened, and Izuku heard the a soft buzzing sound. “Hitoshi-bou?”

“We’re at the table!” Katsuki yelled.

“Ah, Katsuki-kun too? Is Izuku-chan with you as well?” she asked.

“He’s here.”

“Good, you all stay put. If anything happens, crawl under the table.” The buzzing got fainter. “Oh good, the emergency kit is still where I left it.”

The buzzing sound stopped as she closed the door again, but Izuku heard the soft voices better in the dark.

“It’s alright Miyuki-chan, it’s just my son Hitoshi and his two friends. Maybe it’s related to a villain attack nearby, but nothing seems to be wrong inside the house. I can’t smell anything that doesn’t belong here and none of the doors or windows have been opened. I’d feel it in the air pressure.”

“If you say it’s safe, then I believe you. It was just startling that Shouto’s flames weren’t creating any light.” Miyuki’s voice was soft, just as it had been when Izuku had gone with Shouto to visit her in the hospital in the past. It hadn’t been a regular occurrence, but they tried to make it a point to visit her at least once a month.

“I’ll do better,” Shouto said.

“No honey, it’s okay. You don’t have to do better. Hotaru-chan, can I have the bandage? I can feel where I need to place it.”

The immediate noise from around the table drew Izuku’s thoughts away from the conversation happening in the other room. Right. He hadn’t explained anything to anyone, not that he was entirely sure what was going with the darkness.

“Well, this sucks,” Kacchan complained loudly. “How are we gonna finish our homework now?”

He opened his mouth to answer, but Shouto’s voice drew his attention like an arrow, even rooms away. He couldn’t help but focus on it. As timbered and quiet as it was, so different than what he was used to, it was still Shouto’s voice.

His therapist was going to have a field day with all of this.

“Mom, is that Mikoto-chan’s son?”  

“That was probably Katsuki-kun, his quirk is Explosion. He was trying to make light for his friends to do their homework with earlier, same as you tried to use your fire to help your mom.”

Izuku flailed forward, wrapping his hand around Kacchan’s wrist before the other boy could shout anything else. Kacchan pulled back at the unexpected contact, flailed his arms, and exploded out of reflex.

“Ouch,” Izuku bit down on a swear before it slipped out. Hotaru hated when they swore around Hitoshi.

Kacchan had no problem swearing, however. “Marimo? Oh my god, holy shit, don’t just grab someone that explodes. Are you okay?”

Mom! Kacchan exploded Izuku!”

Kacchan shrieked, “It was an accident!”

“On accident!” Hitoshi yelled the addition.

“No, don’t,” Izuku flailed his good hand out smacking the side of Kacchan’s face to try and cover his mouth, he couldn’t reach Hitoshi across the table but he was more likely to actually listen without Izuku taking drastic measures.

“I jumped back in time earlier and it’s Endeavor’s wife in there with her son, I think they’re waiting for Mikoto-chan,” Izuku hissed out, leaning towards where he thought Hitoshi was based on his yelling.

“Oh shit!” Kacchan swore again.

The door opened behind them.

“Boys, I told you to sit still!” Hotaru fussed, “Izuku-chan where are you?”

“I’m over here!” he said, shuffling to the side so no one would run into the table.

Her wings buzzed, but she stopped before reaching out to him. “Okay, can you hear where I am? I have some burn cream and some bandages. Where did you get hurt?”

“My hand, I grabbed Kacchan trying to find him,” he said, stepping forward carefully with his good hand out until it brushed Hotaru-san’s arm.

“Okay, hold it out and try not to move.”

He opened his hand in front of her, guiding her hand to his palm and trying not to wince when her fingertips brushed over the raw skin.

It wasn’t the worst pain he’d been in, but he hadn’t been in pain- other than his headaches, for over a year. No fighting skills, no pain resistance, he really was starting his hero career from square one.

“Okay, spread your fingers out.” She applied the cream on the front and back of his hand, making sure it covered in between his fingers as well. She tucked the burn cream away and grabbed the bandages from under her arm, unrolling the bandage and wrapping his hand with it.

“Does that feel better?”

Izuku flexed his fingers. It was a bulky wrapping that kept his fingers separated. His hand would ache later from being kept in the awkward position, but it was serviceable for now.

“Yes, thank you.”

“Hotaru-san?”

Izuku felt his breath catch. It was easier in the dark. He didn’t have to look at Shouto’s face. Remember things that would never be again. His voice didn’t sound the same as when he was older, it lacked a certain- calm tone that Shouto had mastered at some point before UA.

“I can make some ice, if he needs it.”

“Thank you, Shouto-kun, but Izuku-chan’s going to be okay. Here, why don’t you go sit with the other boys while your mother and I figure out what’s going on,” Hotaru said quietly. Suddenly she placed a cold hand in his uninjured one, an action that Izuku had no time to prepare for in the dark. His lungs were a furnace fueling a blush that could power the sun, there’s no way that Shouto couldn’t feel it buzzing under his chilled fingertips.

Squeezing his eyes shut was a moot point in the darkness surrounding them. Breathe in, and out, and in and out, rinse and repeat.

Breathe.

“You two sit down at the table, alright?” she said, flying back to the other room.

Breathe.

“...I’m Toushirou Shouto,” Shouto said after the quiet dragged on for too long. His warmer hand grabbing Izuku’s forearm to reassure that he was still there.

Izuku couldn’t speak. Couldn’t think. There was no one here to bail him out this time. No Aizawa to intervene, no Mom to cheer him up and pull him out of it, no Hizashi to make him think twice about his decisions, no Mikoto to guide him.

He suddenly remember Yagi Toshinori’s remnant, a glowing light in the darkness, reminding him to smile. Shimura Nana reassuring him that he would be alright.

Remember to smile, things will be alright.  

“It’s nice to meet you, Toushirou-kun,” Izuku smiled. In the darkness one could tell that it was fake.

They existed in the darkness, neither of them fully there in the still silence.

“Where’s the table?” Shouto asked after another awkward second.

“Oh, right!”

Izuku took a step backwards into the void, walking until the back of his knees hit the table. Running his injured hand along the edge of the table, he guided Shouto to sit down on the unoccupied side.

He cleared his throat, “Toushirou Shouto, this is Shinsou Hitoshi and Bakugou Katsuki. Uh, not that you can see them.”

“Yo.”

“That was Katsuki,” Izuku offered. “He’s blond and has red eyes, just to help you visualize him.

“Hello.”

“That was Hitoshi, he has purple hair and purple eyes, like Mikoto-chan, if you’ve met her before.”

“It’s nice to meet you both. Were you were doing homework?” Shouto asked politely.

“Well, not anymore, we’d barely started on math and you can’t do it in the dark,” Kacchan complained.  

“I could quiz us on English vocabulary, I’ve got some of it memorized,” Hitoshi offered.

Kacchan groaned, something thunked down on the table to echo around the dark room. “I hate English.”

“We might as well. It’s the only thing we can work on in the dark. Shouto-kun, do you want to practice with us?” Izuku asked.

The endearment slipped out, as well as the use of Shouto’s first name. Izuku wanted to kick himself. But no one else seemed to mind, let alone react. The darkness covered his faux pas better than any lie he could have come up with.

“Sure, I’m good at English, what type of words are you studying?”

 


 

Thirty minutes passed as the boys sat in the dark, quizzing each other on English words until they ran out of vocabulary. They started sharing random English phrases that they knew just to stave off the boredom.

The two mothers had given up staying in the spare bedroom, and were sitting on the couch on the other side of the room. They were speaking softly with each other, but Hotaru would sometimes shout out an English word for them to learn.

“Izuku are you listening, it’s your turn to say a word!” Kacchan said, poking the other boy in the cheek. Or at least that’s what he meant to do. What Kacchan actually did was poke Izuku right in the eye.

Izuku jerked to the side and the lights came back on.

“F-” Izuku bit down on his lip and covered his eye with his hand. Everyone looked around the room at each other, startled.

The room around them appeared normal. Nothing had changed, aside from the company, and the fact that Izuku now boasted two injuries. He uncovered his eye and blinked a few times. His vision was fine, so no harm done.

Everyone looked around at each other, no one willing to break the silence around the low table.

“Well, that was weird, why don’t we call your parents over?” Hotaru said from the couch. She pulled out her cell phone and frowned at the screen. She polished the screen against the leg of her pants, bringing the phone closer to her face.

“What is it? Did something happen?” Miyuki asked anxiously.

“No, it’s not that. Look.” Hotaru passed the phone over.

Now both mothers were frowning at the screen. The boys, who were tired of waiting patiently to figure out what was going on, all scrambled over to the couch to see what was wrong.

“It’s only been three minutes,” Hotaru said, showing them all the phone screen.

Everyone exchanged a glance.

“That’s weird. Can we finish our homework now?” Hitoshi asked, with nonchalance only a child could master.

Katsuki opened his mouth to argue, but Hitoshi stepped squarely on his toes before the words could leave his mouth. He turned to look at Izuku, eyebrows raised, and Izuku gave a small nod.

“Sure, honey,” Hotaru waved them off, her purple fingers flying over the buttons of her phone. She hadn’t looked up while the boys were having their silent conversation.

On the other hand, Miyuki was watching them with a strange expression on her face- almost like she was trying to keep a frog in her mouth. She covered her mouth with a hand and coughed, letting out a snort of a laugh along with it.

Hotaru looked up to Miyuki’s ice blue eyes, the latter desperately trying to look like she wasn’t verging on hysterical laughter.

“I’ll send a text to the group chat and find out if anything happened, and where Micky-chan is. Whatever that was... doesn’t matter until we know if everyone else is alright or if it was localized.”  

Shouto looked torn between crawling on the couch next to his mom and staying with his new friends.

Picking up on his feelings, Miyuki cleared her throat and ran her fingers through the red side of his hair. “Why don’t you go with them? You should learn how public school works, you might be going next year.”

He nodded and followed the other boys to the table.

“So, Shouto-kun, we’ve set up a system where we all help each other based on our strengths. What are you best at?” Hitoshi took up the lead after Izuku sat like a bump on a log, not saying anything. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from Shouto long enough to think, let alone put together an actual sentence. It was starting to get awkward.

“I’m best at calligraphy,” Shouto said, looking at his hands.

“That’s great! Izuku has the best handwriting but he never did much traditional calligraphy. We’ve kind of been on our own in that subject.”

At the mention of his own name, Izuku managed to tear his gaze away from Shouto.

“Hey, my calligraphy is fine!”

Kacchan laughed, setting off a room-wide conversion of nervous energy into laughter.

They finished their homework several hours later. The wandering path they took through the subjects left Izuku feeling normal among his friends, for the first time in a long time.

Even if Shouto wasn’t the same, they were still going to be friends in this life. Izuku wouldn’t let him slip through his fingers.

Chapter Text

Green hair was kept out of Izuku’s face by way of a few small red clips as he looked over his notebook- the one where he’d written all about Deku’s life. He’d been updating it at the beginning of every month with any extra bits of information he could remember. He was two weeks into July now, but he still couldn’t think of anything new to add to the countless pages of highlighted text that cobwebbed all over the journal like a map. The color coded markings likely wouldn’t make sense to anyone other than him. All the better, its complicated nature made it less likely to fall into enemy hands.

He’d sat in front of the journal every night waiting for something new to pop into his head that he could add to it.

His mind drifted to his seventh birthday tomorrow. That thought alone hadn’t concerned him, but then he started thinking about his Shouto and the Shouto he met the other week.

The darkness event had been weird enough without all his other concerns getting wrapped up in it. The whole thing had prompted Izuku to grab another empty notebook and start writing down things that were happening in his new life. Things like saving All Might, the darkness event, and meeting Shouto for the second time. Anything he thought might be important. More of a journal than a map, but still useful for reflection.

Shouto had introduced himself as Toushirou Shouto. It shouldn’t have surprised him; logically he knew the divorce was going to change some things. He’d known that and yet, when confronted with the actuality of the changes he had wrought, it had stung. He’d spent over a year calling Shouto by the name Todoroki when they first met at UA. It felt like losing something- like the cost of Shouto’s safety was Izuku’s comfort.

It was one he would bear with as glad heart, if it meant Shouto was happy.

But the more he thought about Todoroki Shouto, the less comfortable he felt. It was like he was missing something- something he knew was important. He couldn’t make the connection between the uneasy feeling and what was wrong.

Thoughts of his seventh birthday brought to mind his seventeenth birthday. Making this, technically, his eighteenth birthday. He knew he had spent his seventeenth birthday with Shouto; he’d written it down in his recollection.

He flipped the journal back to look at it, following the color coded-tabs and folded page corners to his destination.

Wait, that can’t be right-

Horror dawned on him as he flipped the pages of the recollection back and forth. Had he been so focused writing down his experiences in the present that he'd forgotten half of the points written here in? Or was it more than that?

He couldn’t remember his fight with Shinsou during the Sports Festival, or for that matter his fight with Todoroki afterwards.

He couldn’t remember anything about the Bakugou Katsuki he’d written in here. The idea of Katsuki being hateful and violent seemed so out of character as to be laughable. Sure he was crass, and his personality could piss off a saint, but he wasn’t cruel. The idea of him getting kidnapped by a bunch of villains because they thought he would be easy to turn was insane- they clearly hadn’t known Katsuki very well.

Or maybe Deku hadn’t.

Forgetting minor things didn’t seem like such a big deal, but to forget fights that had formed the foundations of half of his friendships bothered him.  

Months ago, in a session with Mikoto, he’d brought up how he kept forgetting more and more about his old friends, mostly the ones he was close too now. There were things he still remembered about the friends he had yet to see in the past: Uraraka’s laugh, the way Tsuyu’s hands would get stuck to the ice-cream container if she picked it up, Hagakure’s hairpins changing everyday to reflect her mood, Sero’s habit of singing in the shower every morning, Kaminari accidentally murdering the television that one time. All those things he remembered with crystal clarity.

The only forgotten memories were the things he’d thought important enough to write down- or worse, he’d forgotten more than he’d thought was important to write down.

He didn’t remember anything about Kacchan in the future, he had the vague impression that he had been mean and arrogant. Like they hadn’t gotten along. Likewise, he recognized nothing of the future he’d written down for Hitoshi here. Couldn’t remember Tenya’s hero costume or what Yagi Toshinori’s sickly civilian form looked like beyond a light in a dark room, overshadowed by his larger form.

And Shouto-

His heart knew it was wrong, it was screaming at him. He should remember everything. You don’t forget what it feels like to be loved unconditionally, even if the memories themselves are gone.

Gone.

Izuku slammed the book shut, pushing it away from him before it could burn him with any more realizations.

The more he helped people, the more he lost. Everything he had changed in the past, saving All Might, making sure he reconnected with Tenko, becoming friends with Kacchan and Hitoshi, even meeting Tenya must have contributed to this. The things he still remembered were spotty and nonlinear.

The connections were there, it had just taken him a year to make the realization, and that realization had come too late.

Even if he’d realized sooner? What could he have done? Written more down before he forgot?

Now that he’d seen the results of his changes it wasn’t like he could go back in time and undo them.

He couldn’t do that to his friends. Not when Hitoshi was starting to believe in himself, that Kacchan was believing in others, or that Shouto started to build an identity for himself outside of his father’s control. Who knows what affect his choices would have on Tenya? He was harder to keep an eye on since he was so far away. He couldn’t chance anything. Not now that he knew how deeply he was compromised. Going back to try and fix things for himself could just lead to making it worse for everyone. It was better if he was the only one that had to suffer.

Everyone was coming over tomorrow for his birthday. He’d even convinced Aizawa and Hizashi to consider coming. They would all be there, happy for him. There was no way he could tell them this. He couldn’t fall apart now.

No one else needed to know the cost of their happiness.

It was midnight, but Izuku couldn’t vent his nervous energy inside his room. He had to get out of this box before it closed in on him. Grabbing a pair of shoes he rarely wore from his closet, he slipped them on and tied them so tightly that the laces creaked under the pressure. It didn’t help him feel grounded.

The painted windowsill cracked as he unlocked his window. He wrestled it open with as little noise as he could manage, which was still a lot. His window was about ten feet off the ground, a distance Izuku didn’t even blink at before climbing through. He slid down the wall, pushing off with a jump to roll away from the concrete walkway that surrounded his house. He dusted the dew off of his clothes and stood up.

“Fuck,” he said, looking up at the desk lamp he’d left turned on. “I’m not going back up there just to turn off a lamp.”

He wasn’t going back to deal with anything right now.

Izuku picked a direction and walked, looking at the pavement to navigate through haunted memories.

The suburb he lived in went to sleep after dark. The only things that disturbed the night were the insects lining the trees near the park. One look at the meadow made him turn on his heel and go the opposite direction. There were too many memories there. Old ones, new ones, they all weighed heavily on his mind. The summer air carried the noise of the cicadas to his ears even as he turned and walked away from their mournful song.

Had he done the right thing by trying to change the past? Was it his right to make those decisions for people? All he wanted to do was protect everyone, but was he actually accomplishing anything other than putting himself through torture?

His feet took him down to the river. It churned in the darkness with more vigor than it ever did during the day. He could relate. Izuku slid down the slanted concrete lining the river as it meandered into the city. There was a small space to walk at the bottom, lining the bank with artificial support. Sounds took on an echoed quality next to the river, crackling with an undercurrent of white noise that made it easier for him to exist without thinking.

He walked with the river, following it down as it flowed out towards the sea.

He walked, and he walked, and he walked, it didn’t matter what time it was. He could always just jump back in time to before he had left his house.

Or he could just walk back.

The exertion felt good. Izuku focused on the burn in his muscles, the slightly parched feeling in his throat. He hadn’t thought to bring water when he left the house.

By the time he was tired enough to sit down, Izuku was nearly at the ocean.

And he could see a beach, covered in all shapes and sizes of trash that his neck hurt just to look at, stacked high over his head as it was.

Izuku walked right past it, marched right up to where the water raged against the pebbles of the shore near the river- and then he screamed.

He screamed for everything he’d lost, everything he couldn’t remember, everything he’d have to do over.

He screamed until his voice was hoarse and then kept screaming, and when he stopped the scream echoed between the water and the wall of trash behind him until it dwindled from a fire of rage to a soft keen of loss.

Maybe there was something to Hizashi’s ‘scream until things are better’ approach to life.

Izuku grabbed the nearest heavy object he could, ripping it out of the ground and throwing it further inland and away from the ocean.

It landed with a heavy crash, creating a landslide as the entire pile shifted around the disturbance.

“Do you feel better now?”

Izuku screamed again, a short hoarse noise after everything he’d put his throat through.

Off to the side was a boy with hair that looked white in the moonlight- sitting on top of a knocked over refrigerator. Silver gloves covered his last two fingers. They glinted the moonlight like they were begging to be noticed, the bright jewel tones of a venomous snake’s scales that screamed danger to other animals.

It would have been intimidating, were he not sitting on a refrigerator that still had children’s artwork attached to it with colorful magnets.

Izuku didn’t recognize him, but that didn’t mean much to him now. For all he knew this person had been important to Deku.

And Izuku wouldn’t know . The frustration bubbled up inside his throat desperate for release, but screaming suddenly seemed childish now that he knew someone else was around. Because of course, even during his pre-dawn pity party, he couldn’t have peace for once in his life.

“What are you doing here?” His voice was rough. It sounded older. Different than Deku’s had. Izuku pushed the thought away but found he didn’t mind it so much.

“Same thing as you, I imagine.”

The roar of the waves soothed some of Izuku’s frustration and allowed him to focus. This other boy didn’t seem to be perturbed by the fact that Izuku had just screamed for what must have been ten minutes. They might as well talk.

“Yeah? Rough time?” Izuko trekked through the sand and kicked a washing machine onto its side so he could sit on it.

“The opposite, actually.” The white haired boy was older than Izuku by a few years, if Izuku had to make a guess. On his second scrutiny, from what he could see bathed in moonlight, Izuku wasn’t sure why this kid had pinged his danger radar so severely. He was just a kid that was a few years older than him, not an incoming tsunami.

Izuku nodded and said nothing.

“Someone told me this beach used to be beautiful,” the older boy continued. “But people started leaving trash and one thing led to another.”

“It was.”

“Hm?”

“It was beautiful when it was clean.” Like a blank slate. A story that hadn’t been written yet. Potential in its rawest form. He’d felt that way once. Half a decade ago or maybe half a decade from now.

The other boy nodded, snapping off his glove and setting his hand on the tv next to his foot. The wooden exterior cracked, shuddered, and broke into dust.

“It’s not usually useful,” the other boy said, taking note of Izuku’s shock and attributing it to the wrong thing. “But maybe it can be.”

The tsunami warning sirens blaring in his mind suddenly made sense.

This was Shimura Tenko, before he’d ever had a chance to become Shigaraki Tomura.

Sitting in front of him was the reason this had happened. The reason Todoroki Shouto was dead and lost to time. There was a reason that Izuku had kept his own involvement with changing the fate of Nana’s grandson limited, goddammit . He couldn’t trust himself to be objective. To not blame him for something he hadn’t yet, and might never, do.

There was another issue that he hadn’t thought of though, not until it was staring him in the face with a wry expression. It wasn’t just what Tomura had done to Deku. It was the fact that Tomura was what triggered this jump in time to begin with. Sitting in front of him was the reason Yagi Toshinori wasn’t in a hospital bed, the reason Toushirou Shouto was breaking free from his father, the reason Izuku had Hitoshi and Kacchan looking out for him.

He glanced up at the stars like he would see the specters of One For All up there, ready to give him guidance.

Any advice would be appreciated.

The stars were silent.

He was on his own with this one.

Well, no sense in alienating a potential friend. Maybe this was one of those things he could help with, even if it wasn’t something that needed fixing.

“A quirk like that is amazing, there’s so many things you could use it for.” It hurt to force the positivity in his tone.

“You’d be the first to think that.”

Izuku barely avoided rolling his eyes. Patience, remember to smile, no blaming anyone for the sins of the future.

“You know, my friend Hitoshi has a quirk most people think is bad. He can brainwash people if they talk to him. Do you know the only thing I’ve ever seen him use his quirk for?”

Shimura Tenko shook his head.

“I was having a panic attack, and he kept me from passing out,” Izuku shrugged. “All quirks can be useful for something. You just have to have a little imagination.”

“Even quirks that can do nothing but destroy?” Shimura challenged.

Izuku’s laugh roughed his already raw throat. But he couldn’t help it. It was like the universe had been setting him up for this conversation for the past year. Maybe this was why he was here, to help people make all their pieces fall into place at the cost of his own.

“My other friend, Katsuki, his quirk is Explosion. You should see how much he gets yelled at him for destroying things around the house, but he’s also used his quirk to keep me from getting hit by a car. Like I said, all quirks can be useful with enough care.

“There’s also pro heroes with quirks that you wouldn’t immediately think are useful,” Izuku shrugged. “You could be a great rescue hero with a quirk like that. It wouldn’t have the immediate destabilizing effect that Katsuki’s explosion quirk would have on debris.”

“You sound a lot older than you look,” Shimura said, snapping his glove back into place.

Izuku’s feet kicked the side of the washer softly as he swung them. “You caught me, my quirk lets me travel back in time. So I’m probably older than I look.” That was the understatement of the year.

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah, I’ve been calling it Zero Relativity, but I’m not sure if that’s the best name for it,” Izuku shrugged.

“And does your quirk let you throw three-hundred kilogram car engines like they weigh nothing?”

Izuku’s feet stopped. “What?”

“The thing you threw earlier. It was part of a car engine. I stubbed my toe on it earlier and it didn’t so much as move.”

“I just threw the closest thing-” Izuku was looking at his hands now. Nothing was broken. He hadn’t used anything like One For All.

Hizashi had said relativity was linked several things; light, space, time, and gravity- there was no way that his quirk affected all four of those things though. Absolutely no way. Someone with a quirk like that would be much more powerful than he was. Izuku could barely travel back in time five minutes without getting a headache- excluding the decade jump outlier.

“So that’s never happened before?” Shimura asked.

Izuku answered honestly out of shock. “Not like that.”

“So your quirk just… evolves randomly?”

“I don’t know.”

Shimura leaned forward, “That must suck! Never knowing what’s gonna happen to you and when,” he paused and looked uncertain, “that must make me look pretty silly, sitting here freaking out because good things have been happening lately, huh?”

The words came easier this time.

“No, it’s not, change is hard to deal with,” Izuku shrugged. “Whether or not it’s good or bad, it's easier to deal with bad changes because you can vilify them. When the change happens because of something good, you feel pressure to be okay with it. Even if you’re not.”

“You sound like somebody I know,” the other boy said.

“I doubt we’ve met, I’m Midoriya Izuku.”

“Shimura Tenko, at least for a little while longer,” the other boy offered.

Izuku feigned a furrowed brow because it’s what would be expected of him. “Why’s that?”

Tenko leaned back to look at the sky, “I’m getting adopted soon, and as soon as the paperwork goes through everything changes for real.”

That made sense, Izuku nodded.

“Changes, huh?” he asked wryly.

They shared a commiserating glance, and let the silence settle over them washed by the buffering rush of the tides.

Izuku ended up not traveling back in time. Tenko had been content to sit there and share in the silence as the stars spun around in dizzying circles. Whether it was the screaming or the company; Izuku felt better for after another hour of sitting on the beach.

Both boys cleared a path back through the trash to get to the road, walking together. The grey light of dawn edged on the horizon above their heads as they walked back down the road in silent companionship. In the quiet of almost-morning, everything seemed fresh around them. He looked at everything with new eyes.

It was nice.

Then Izuku heard a familiar deep voice yelling Tenko's name.

The boy in question made a face. “Busted. You better get going.”

“You don’t have to tell me twice,” Izuku said, taking off down the street back to his neighborhood with a jaunty wave. Now was not the time to get caught by All Might and have to explain everything, he couldn’t deal with that after tonight.

When he got back home, his window was still open. Izuku ran at the wall, scrabbling up until he could grip the window ledge and swing himself inside with a quiet thump. He eased the window down into place with a click; the desk light went off with another click.

Izuku stripped out of his clothes to put on different pajamas. He hadn’t actually realized he’d worn his pajamas outside to begin with. They probably looked like sweatpants to anyone else but it was still mildly embarrassing to realize he’d been running around in them all night.

He crawled into bed, settling under the covers and facing the wall. Embarrassment was a step up from utter tragedy, frustration, and grief. He managed to fall asleep before he could think any deeper on the subject.

Dawn rose over his sleeping form, the light of a new day cast above him on the wall as he slept on.

Chapter Text

“Happy Birthday, Izuku!”

The sun barely slipped through his window, a sign it was already high in the sky. He’d gotten to sleep in, which was great. After last night he needed all the rest he could get.

The extra sleep didn’t do much to soothe the aches from his late night excursion. If anything, it worsened his condition until all he could feel were his sore muscles. He needed to get moving if he wanted to work out the stiffness and ease some of the pain.

Ugh.

He rubbed his eyes and sat up, blinking at his mom. She was carrying breakfast on a tray stuffed to the brim with all of his favourite breakfast foods.

He blinked again, ugh reconsidered.

“I thought you could use the energy. It’s not every day you turn seven! And next time when you think about running off in the middle of the night, just use the front door.” Inko said, tweaking his nose and then walking back out of his room.

Flabbergasted, he stared at the space his mom had just vacated. She knew?

Izuku rubbed his forehead, of course his mother knew. She was as perceptive as she was caring. It was probably the desk lamp that had given it all away. She would have seen the light and opened his door to see why he was still up.

Still, he felt bad. Worrying his mother was the last thing he wanted to do. She had enough things to contend with in her life. Izuku picked up his chopsticks and rubbed at the back of his head with his free hand. His hair was tacky with the salt from the shore and he made a face when he pulled his fingers away.

The grilled fish and fried rice were both delicious, and miracle of miracles, there was no natto anywhere to be seen on his plate.

Finishing off his breakfast, he thought about what he could do to make it up to his mom.

 


 

“Mom? Should I be dressing up?”

He had no idea what anyone had planned for his birthday, only that the others had planned something as a surprise.

The surprise was the fun part, according to Katsuki.

“Normal clothes will be fine.” She was already ready to go in her lavender dress, her hair twisted up into a complicated knot that would have made Tsuyu proud.

“Are you sure? You look really nice! I don’t want to be underdressed,” he said, slipping his shoes on at the door.

“Izuku, its fine, trust me. You’re going to like what everybody has planned. I’ve got something a little different to do while you’re busy,” she chided him into the car and set her bag down on the passenger side seat. The engine hummed to life easily under her key.

He clambered into the car after her. Something else to do? Izuku rolled that over in his mind. What could she mean by that? Maybe Mitsuki or someone would be watching them while their moms organized something else?

The road gradually became unfamiliar, signs and light poles passing the car like a metronome. It gave him time to think, and that was the last thing he needed right now. He distracted himself as best he could with the inane car games he used to play as a child. After about 30 minutes his mom pulled to a stop in front of a giant outdoor obstacle course. There were towers of wood reaching up in the air, connected by netting and traversable by bridges and ropes, sprawling over an open field. The course continued across the meadow for at least a kilometer at different altitudes and difficulties.

He opened the door and was immediately mobbed.

“Happy Birthday, Marimo,” Kacchan said, crushing him in a hug. Hitoshi didn’t wait for Kacchan to let go to before joining in. They both pulled him out of the car like an octopus; all of them laughing as they fell on the ground in a heap.

“Mom said your presents would be opened back at your house,” Hitoshi dusted himself off, “Mama’s gonna stay here and make sure we don’t get hurt or anything.”

Izuku looked up to find Hotaru standing a few meters away. At her side was the red and white head of Toushirou Shouto, nervously clinging to the straps of his backpack.

“Mom said it was a good idea, something about knowing best as your doctor or something,” Hitoshi whispered as they all walked over. Izuku repressed a sigh. Of course she would, this situation had Mikoto’s fingerprints all over it.

Hotaru gave Shouto a little push from behind to get him to walk across the asphalt to the approaching group.

Shouto gave a little bow to the pile of puppies on the ground, “I hope you don’t mind that I’m here, we don't know each other that well yet.”

They all scrambled to get up, Izuku brushing asphalt dust off his knees.

“Of course I don’t mind. This way we have a four man team!” He pulled Shouto into a brief hug so he wouldn’t feel left out.

Kacchan and Hitoshi took Shouto’s inclusion at face value, orienting themselves around each other so that they could walk together without anyone being left behind.

Hotaru paid for their tickets and gave them each a wristband, before taking them to the equipment room.

“Don’t pick out anything dangerous, and I want to check your harnesses before you guys get started,” she said, turning to look down at her phone as they entered the room to pick up their equipment.

That was… strange.

“Did she seem distracted to you?” Izuku asked Hitoshi. The purple haired boy shrugged in response.

Surprisingly, Shouto was the one who answered while Hitoshi tried to figure out a way to make his scarf work with all the straps of his harness. “My mom told me that Mikoto-chan asked for her help in ‘setting something up’ today, but I don’t know what it was about.” He made air quotes around the ‘setting something up’ part.

The boys looked at each other and shrugged. “It’s probably something about the party at Izuku’s house later,” Katsuki suggested.

He had a feeling that wasn’t it, but he wasn’t going to voice his concerns. There was no need to get everyone worked up over his suspicions if it turned out nothing was wrong. What could Mikoto need help with that required his mom and Shouto’s mom?

He shook his head, today was meant to be fun, no worrying about strange behaviors or last night’s revelations. He was going to focus on having a good time.

Hitoshi grabbed a rope and a grappling hook in addition to his harness, sneaking it out passed his mom under his scarf. The rest of them were kitted out with standard safety measures which Hotaru checked thoroughly, pulling on all of their buckles and making sure they were secure.

The rules posted on the entrance to the course said that everyone could use their quirks, so long as they didn’t permanently damage the course. That must be why his friends had picked this place.

He turned to the other boys. “Do you want to race to the top as a team or separately? We’ve got time.”

Kacchan cracked his wrists (a noise that never failed to set Izuku’s teeth on edge) and grinned. “Let’s race to the top individually, that way we have a better handle on each other’s abilities for team work on the next part of the course.”

Izuku nodded, “Okay, let’s all start on a different side of the tower.”

The boys lined up, all of them looking up at the tower. “Three, two, one-” each of them were off like a shot. In Katsuki’s case, quite literally.

Izuku clambered up the tower, jumping from one support beam to the other in the way he had when he used One For All’s full cowl mode in urban enviorments. He wasn’t as strong, but the movements were the same and he still had a pretty good sense of balance. What did it say that he was used to his center of gravity being similar to that of a small child’s?  His growth spurt at sixteen couldn’t come fast enough.

Kacchan’s ascent was explosive and eye catching, and Izuku tried hard not to be distracted by it. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Shouto create handholds made of ice, using them to climb faster. The only one Izuku didn’t see was Hitoshi.

Kacchan made it to the top of the tower first, jumping up and sending off explosions into the air. Only to be wrapped in a purple scarf and tugged to the floor of the wooden platform.

“Situational awareness!” Hitoshi cheered. It was something that Aizawa liked to tell them and Hitoshi liked to repeat. Mainly because it offered a wealth of playful teasing when used against Katsuki’s general inattention.

Izuku hauled himself over the edge with minimal effort. Kacchan was arguing with Hitoshi about how the other scaled the tower in record time. He just rolled his eyes at them and went over to the other side of the tower, leaning down to give Shouto a hand up.  

“I used the grappling hook!”

“But you still had to climb!”

Shouto brushed the frost off his fingers, looking around the top of the tower. “Hitoshi-kun attached the grappling hook to the emergency elevator,” Shouto said, point to the trapdoor in the wooden floor. “It’s probably for getting injured people back down to the ground.”

“That’s cheating!” Kacchan complained.

“It’s using the environment to my advantage!”

Izuku tapped his chin in thought, “As long as he didn’t get in the elevator, I think it still counts.”

“Marimo, come on.”

Izuku shrugged unrepentant, before sobering up. “Okay, based on that, before we go up the next tower. I have some notes.” Izuku looked at each boy as he spoke, “Kacchan your your ascension was quick but your quirk makes it so you couldn’t carry anyone with you. What if you were rescuing someone? You need to work on precision. Shouto-” he paused. The other boy looked confused.

“What are you guys doing?” he asked.

Hitoshi, Izuku, and Katsuki looked at each other. They’d never thought to mention to Shouto that they were all working to become heroes.

Oops.

Also: fuck.

He hadn’t thought about how fresh Enji’s ‘training’ would be in Shouto’s mind. He didn’t want to damage any of Shouto’s progress by bringing up anything like his father would have. Actually, he balked entirely at the notion of being in any way similar to Todoroki Enji. If that meant he didn’t help Shouto become a hero, then he wouldn’t help Shouto become a hero. Not if he didn’t want to be one.

And Izuku really had no idea if he did.

It was Hitoshi that finally broke the awkward silence.

“We all want to be pro heroes when we grow up, we’ve been training together for a year, working on our weaknesses and strengthening our teamwork. We’re going to ace the UA entrance exam in seven years.”

“You three are working to pass an exam that you won’t take for seven years… just because you want to?” Shouto asked slowly, as if he couldn’t believe them.

“We have a fourth team member, but he had to move away before school started.” Kacchan said.

“But you want to do this?” He asked again, just to be sure. “No one’s making you?”

Hitoshi and Izuku shared a commiserating look. They knew enough about the situation to know to be careful of their words.

Kacchan did not.

“No one can make me do anything I don’t wanna do,” Katsuki scoffed. “I’m gonna be the best hero out there because I’ve got a great team helping me! We’re always watching each other’s backs.”

“A team, huh? Okay, that sounds nice. What can I do to help?” Shouto asked.

Maybe it was a good thing to get over this… stumbling block early on in their friendship. Considering becoming pro heroes was the only thing any of them seemed to talk about some days. Maybe they needed to slow down and be normal kids more often.

He thought about his words carefully before he spoke, “You used your ice to make handholds, but if you had more stamina you could have built a ladder or even a platform under your feet. And you were limited by your right side trying to melt the ice as you climbed. You might think about creating a costume that could help insulate one side while you used the other. Support items can’t be underestimated.”

Shouto nodded seriously, “That makes more sense than trying to overcome it with training.”

Izuku almost hissed in sympathy, of course that’s something Enji would say. He mentally vowed to never give that man the satisfaction of being called by his hero name every again.

“I don’t know if that’s something you can train out, it’s not like you can force your quirk to behave in ways it’s not meant to,” Izuku gave a little shrug.

Shouto nodded. “Hitoshi won because he brought along a support item.”

“Exactly, that showed thought for the situation he was getting into before he got there.” Izuku turned to the purple haired boy in question “Hitoshi, you were great at planning on the fly, and you thought ahead. Do you want to take point on strategy for the next one?”

“If you’re sure.”

“Absolutely!”

“Aright, so for the next tower I was thinking-” Hitoshi slipped into a leadership role without trouble, and Izuku stepped back to make room for him in the center of the platform. It was nice to let someone else make the plans for once.

 


 

The day continued like that until the sun dipped low in the sky. Hotaru called them down from the tallest tower which they had conquered and then started planning defenses for.

“Shouto, do the thing we talked about!” Hitoshi said, pointing down at Shouto’s mom.

The other boy nodded, having long since abandoned asking if the other boys were sure about their plans before acting on them. He stepped forward with his right side (Izuku felt his heart stutter for a reason he couldn’t identify) and stomped a foot down. From the impact a fracture of ice broke out across the platform, forming a solid shape and leading down off the tower.

“We have about ten seconds before Hotaru-san freaks out about this by the way, so go as soon as it’s ready,” Izuku said, looking over the edge. It was a long way down, but it would be fun getting there.

The boys marveled as the slide grew until it touched the ground.

For a second no one moved, and then Hitoshi shot forward with the kind of reckless abandon you can only achieve when your best friend can go back in time to stop dumb shit from happening.

He fell from sight with a whoop.

Kacchan shrugged before chasing Hitoshi. Izuku gestured for Shouto to go next, allowing the other boy a chance to make sure the slide was still structurally sound after Kacchan had gone down.

Izuku slid down without much fanfare after him. The feeling of free falling was incredible, the wind whipping past his face. He’d fallen like this before but this time there wasn’t a painful end waiting for him at the bottom.

The slide’s descent was brief and wonderful- until he reached the bottom and slid into all of his friends. They hadn’t planned for the bottom of the slide, and Izuku slid right into Shouto’s back, barely avoiding kicking Kacchan in head as the all tried to free themselves from the mess they’d made.

“Note for next time, don’t forget to plan for the aftermath!” Izuku laughed, still exhilarated from the ride.

There were various levels of mirth in response to his statement. Hotaru was furious, as they expected, but she complimented them on their use of teamwork anyway. She couldn’t stop smiling once she had been assured everyone had made it down without injury, to the boys counted it as a win.

The staff were less pleased about the giant melting chunk of ice, but they didn’t bother reprimanding the children because they had technically followed the rules of the facility. 

 


 

After a full day of adventure, the party at his house felt unremarkable. He opened his presents, most of them containing things that he could use in school or for hero training. Which really, Izuku clearly needed to pick up some other hobbies.

It was nice to be around all of his friends, and his mother’s touch was visible in the entire event. His excursion from the night before faded away from his memory completely as he spent the day surrounded by the warmth of his family.

Maybe it wasn’t Deku’s family, but it was Izuku’s family. One that he built for himself. It might be different from what he expected, but he would guard it with everything he had.

Speaking of family, his mother looked just as beautiful as earlier, but she went red in the face every time Mikoto leaned forward to whisper something in her ear.  

That was a puzzle that he could figure out later… or he could figure it out now with a bit of stealth. The idea was tempting.

He made a hand signal to Kacchan, using a low whistle to make sure the other boy saw.

Once he had confirmation, he positioned himself. Kacchan ‘accidentally’ dropped his plate and the piece of cake on it. It shattered in a spectacular display of noise. 

“Katsuki!” Mitsuki shrieked.

In the chaos, no one had seen Izuku move right before Kacchan dropped the cake.

So he rewound time until right before Kacchan let go of his plate and whistled the higher tone that they used as a ‘disregard’ signal. The blond boy squinted, but stuck another fork full of cake in his mouth, making his cheek puff out.

He was close enough now to catch some of what Mikoto was saying.

“You thought he was so handsome though!”

“Of course I do, I have functioning eyes. Who wouldn’t think he was handsome?”

“I don’t.”

Inko flailed a hand at Mikoto, “That doesn’t count. You’re a lesbian.”

“But you kept going on about how much he cared, and how polite he was!”

“That doesn’t mean– look, Miko-chan, it’s more complicated than you know.”

“No, I know ,” Mikoto intoned slyly, ducking another flailing hand.

“Then you know why it would never work out between us.”

“I wouldn’t say that,” Mikoto said with a knowing smile, “Just promise me you’ll think about it.”

“If it’ll get you to stop badgering me, then sure. Miko-chan, I’ll think about it. No promises of anything other than that. Just thinking.”

It almost sounded like his mom had met someone. Someone she was interested in caring about. Izuku went over the facts he had on hand, Mikoto knew this person, and was encouraging her to pursue it. That meant his intentions were honorable to some extent. For some reason his mom thought it would be too complicated. Maybe a doctor at the hospital she was working at?

Each proposed answer only left him with more questions.

If his mom had met someone, Izuku wanted her to be happy. He knew that his burdens couldn’t be easy on her. Every day she put up a strong front for him. On some level, knowing made her feel better about some of the dangerous situations he'd been in.

But those situations were still dangerous, and she worried like any mother would. Maybe it was time he helped her to build something new.

With Mikoto’s help he could learn more about this man and see if it was worth giving his mom a nudge in the right direction.

 


 

“So, are you enjoying yourself?” Izuku asked Shouto, who had taken to the more relaxed air of the party like a fish to water. The boy seemed content with wedging himself into the corner of the couch with his feet tucked up underneath him like a cat.

Izuku ignored the way it made his heart flutter.

“Shouldn’t I be the one asking you that?” Shouto answered dryly.

He shrugged in response.

They sat on the couch together in silence as the minutes ticked by, it wasn’t a comfortable silence but it was easier than most. Izuku longed to break it but couldn't think of anything to say.

Mercifully, Shouto had an answer to the silence in the form of a question.

Unfortunately, it was also the worst possible thing he could have asked.

“How do you know so much about me? When you’re around me I just… feel like you already know what I need before I do.”

Izuku tried not to show any outward reaction, but he knew that he had failed when Shouto’s head tilted in concern. Suddenly Izuku felt like he was on that trash covered beach again. Watching as humanity’s refuse slowly slid into the water while he was helpless to do anything about it being sucked under the dark waves, sent off to poison other lands.

He sighed, it was all he could do. “Ask me again later, and I’ll probably tell you. Just not tonight, it’s not a happy story. You shouldn’t ask me about it unless you’re one-hundred percent sure you want to know. Some knowledge… can’t be forgotten.”

Shouto nodded. “Okay.”

“Just okay?”

“Okay, I’ll trust you. Someday you’ll tell me when the time is right,” Shouto said with a shrug. It tore Izuku’s heart to hear that from him when he hadn’t done anything to deserve that kind of unconditional trust. Not from someone who had their trust taken advantage of so many times.

He reconsidered telling Shouto everything, everything, for a moment. Then brushed the thought aside with as much vigor as he could manage. It wouldn’t be fair to his friend, especially when they had just met a few weeks ago.

He wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Not even the people that already knew.

Izuku looked up to find his mother and Mikoto in the crowd, they were laughing, and Inko was still flushed pink. They didn’t look like the knowledge they carried weighed them down, but Izuku knew that kind of strain didn’t show on the surface. It lurked underneath and became exposed when you least expected it.

 


 

“You’re looking a little somber for the star of the party,” Aizawa said, sliding down next to him the the space that Shouto had vacated about an hour before.

“I didn’t sleep much last night, went for a walk to clear my head and got caught up in thinking,” Izuku confessed quietly. It hadn’t mattered much during the beginning of the day, but now that he was getting a chance to rest all he wanted to do was lean on the arm of the couch and pass out.

“Heavy thoughts?”

“Don’t think that I have any other kind.” Izuku picked at a stray thread on the fabric of the couch.

“Want to talk about them?” Aizawa asked, eyes scanning over the crowd with practiced ease.

About a week ago, during Shinsou’s birthday, Aizawa had given the boy a kitten. Much to chagrin of both of Hitoshi’s moms. It made sense that he was laying low. He was avoiding them. Izuku almost laughed at the idea of Aizawa, a pro hero that had taken down heinous villains, hiding behind a couch because he didn’t want to talk to someone's parents.

Izuku pushed himself off the couch and gestured with a nod to the back door. His mentor raised an eyebrow at him but followed without comment.

The small fenced in backyard was empty, the sound of the party playing through muffled bricks. It gave the space an odd, dreamlike quality. The exhaustion certainly wasn’t helping on that front.

“What’s up kid?” Aizawa asked, looking awkward now that there wasn’t any furniture for him to lean against.

Izuku knew that there would never be a good time to talk. He'd learned that there was never going to be a good time for any of the serious conversations he needed to have.

“You know that I’ve changed things since I’ve been back in the past. I know that I’ve changed things. But when I change things… I forget what happened before I changed them.”

Aizawa rubbed his eyes. “Can you rephrase that? Cause I didn’t get any of it.”

He pulled on his hair, “That’s the thing! I can’t remember anymore. I can’t give you an example because all I have to go on is what I wrote down when I arrived in this time. I loved Shouto, I loved him. I know that because I can still feel it in my heart, but I can’t remember anything that happened. I couldn’t tell you how it happened or when it started. I can’t remember Yagi Toshinori any other way than he is now, even though I know he was different in the other timeline.”

“You’re forgetting what happened in the other timeline because of the changes you’re making now?”

“I think so,” Izuku whispered.

The dark man whistled, looking up at the sky. “There’s always a cost.” It hurt to hear, but Izuku was grateful that Aizawa was treating him like he would any other hero.

“I can’t help but feel that the cost was too high,” Izuku said. His arms wrapped around his midsection as if he was trying to hold everything in.

Aizawa pulled the boy into a one armed hug, ruffling his green hair softly.  

“Was it?” Aizawa asked, turning so they could look into the party through the glass door they'd come through. 

The lights inside cast a warm glow over everyone, one that resonated in his soul against the background of the summer cicadas. The feeling lodged itself deep in his heart, side-by-side with all his grief and loss, pushing his other emotions back.

Everyone inside was smiling and talking, passing things to each other with small smiles. His family was happy tonight, and they were happy for him.

He spoke softly to keep from breaking the brief magic of the moment.

“No, it wasn’t.”

Chapter Text

The months after Izuku’s birthday passed in a blur of schoolwork and integrating Shouto into the team. He couldn’t meet with them very often due to everything going on with his father, but the team still saw him more often than they heard from Tenya.

It required careful maneuvering to get Shouto away from the house without Endeavor knowing, but Miyuki was determined to keep her youngest away from him until everything was finalized. Endeavor still didn’t know about the case being prepared against him, and Izuku wanted to keep it that way. They’d come too far to mess up now.

During one of their strategy meetings, Aizawa pulled Izuku aside and told him they were close to completing everything they needed for Todoroki Enji’s case. They would not only be serving him with the divorce, but there were also with plans to charge him criminally if he tried to appeal. They couldn’t do both at the same time, but the way they set it up meant there was no avenue for him to regain custody of the children.

Due to the complicated nature of the case and the individuals involved, Aizawa had organized for there to be a few pro heroes instead of cops when the papers were served in case Enji became violent. Considering he was the number two hero, there was only one hero that could go toe-to-toe with him no matter the circumstance. All Might was going to be there when Endeavor lost everything, Izuku had no way of knowing how that would make him react. Sending All Might into the fight blind made him nervous.

It would also be the first time Izuku saw All Might since the first day of school.

So many pieces he’d shifted around the board were lined up. All of his carefully made immediate plans wove together into one picture. They were as ready for the upcoming confrontation as they could be.

Which meant he needed to look ahead, to the future. The notebook helped with that, he’d organized the information he had into a simplified timeline. When certain people were born, when he thought- based on his incomplete information- key events happened.

After considering his options, Izuku decided the next problem he tackled would be Stain. His ideology had been critical to the League of Villains' growth. Hell, maybe he could stop the man from murdering pro heroes before it started; one illegal quirk using vigilante to another.

Somehow, he didn’t think that he had it in him to rest and focus on training after taking down Endeavor, even if he wasn’t directly involved. Downtime was important, but he’d never been good at R&R. If he wanted to help the next generation of heroes understand that working together was the only way to uphold peace, he couldn’t burn out. He'd need to take time to rest. 

If he had his way, heroes wouldn’t competing against one another for the top spot. There would be no number one hero to shoulder most of the burden, or any number two hero behind them entangled in jealousy. Never again would the system create another Endeavor.

Things were looking up by the time the leaves started to turn gold and brown.

After the party, Aizawa had talked him into upping his sessions with Mikoto. They’d discovered that Izuku was the only person who forgot the future, everything he told to people, they seemed to remember just fine. Everything Mikoto had seen in his mind, she remembered. It made her an indispensable ally to have, so Izuku hadn’t argued against the increase in sessions.

This month’s meeting with Mikoto reflected his cautious optimism, a feeling that followed him out of her office and brought a soft smile to his face.

He walked right into someone, recognizing the silver gloves that reached out to take hold of his arms and keep him from bouncing backwards onto the floor.

He smiled on reflex, “Oh, Tenko-kun, hello-” and then he stopped.

All Might was standing right behind Tenko, mouth hanging slightly agape, the strange expression complimenting the clothes he was wearing. This was Yagi Toshinori the civilian, not All Might the hero.

Jumping back in time wasn’t an option, he’d barely gotten through the door of Mikoto’s office before running into them. Going back would land him right back inside the office with no way out. Unless he jumped back far enough to tell Mikoto he needed to go home. Even if he did that, she wouldn’t let him get out of it so easy. He’d have to explain everything to her, and by the time she let him leave All Might would be at the door again. This was the kind of ‘growth moment’ she’d encourage him not to avoid.

He saw no other option than having this ridiculous conversation, right here in this deceptively normal-looking, cream colored hallway. He liked to think it gave him home turf advantage.  

There was only one way he knew how to play this.

He gave Toshinori a blinding grin, “It’s nice to see you again, Toshinori-san, but I have to go.”

Tenko looked mildly startled. “Izuku-kun, you know All- you know, um, him? Sorry, I’m still figuring out what I should be calling him in public.”

Acting like he had nothing to hide and that he hadn’t been avoiding Toshinori for months, Izuku shifted his smile to Tenko, “Yeah, we’ve met before.”

“Young Marimo,” All Might said with a small voice of awe.

The laughter slipped out of Tenko’s throat like a startled hare. “Marimo? I know his hair’s a little messy but isn’t that mean?”

Izuku rubbed the back of his head, “It’s okay, it’s a childhood nickname. It’s what I told Toshinori-san to call me when we met.” It was odd to hear it from him though, he was used to a different childhood nickname being said with that tone of voice.

Toshinori looked lost again, “How do you two know each other? I thought you told me to find and help Tenko because you could not.”

If only Izuku were tall enough to slap his hand over All Might’s mouth, he really regretted that his growth spurt was almost a decade away.

Tenko rounded on him, a strange fire lighting behind his eyes, “What is he saying?”

He settled for slapping a hand over his own face.

“Izuku-san was the one who told us that you were in trouble. I owe him a debt of gratitude twice over that cannot be repaid,” Toshinori said this as seriously as he had named Izuku his successor in another life.     

Izuku lit up like a stoplight. “I was just doing the right thing.”

The glare dwindled into something more like suspicion, Tenko mouthed the words ‘time-travel’ at him with a raised eyebrow.

Izuku gave a half-nod, half-shrug that seemed to satisfy the boy.

A blue head of hair poked out of the office just in time to rescue him.

“Izuku-kun, don’t forget about the plans for next Friday.”

“Yes, Mikoto-chan,” he said, “remind Hitoshi to bring bag C, please.”

She nodded and looked down at her watch when she saw Toshinori standing outside her door.

“Plans for next friday you say,” Toshinori scratched the stubble across his chin, “Tenko weren’t you just saying you needed to get out more?”

Dad !” Tenko shouted, his tone strained with embarrassment.

All Might looked overwrought and over the moon at the same time. He swept Tenko up into a bone crushing hug, catching Izuku up with his other arm as an afterthought.

He could hear Mikoto trying to cover a laugh. This is what he gets for attempting personal growth.

Tenko and Izuku made eye contact as much as they could around All Might’s rather sizeable shoulders. He rolled his eyes as if to say ‘can you believe this?’, and Izuku nodded with a wry smile. Toshinori had always been a mother-hen to his students, it wasn’t that surprising that he’d react strongly to being recognized as a father figure. He’d done much the same when Izuku had called him dad accidentally, in a different time and a different place. That memory seemed clearer than most, maybe he hadn’t changed Yagi Toshinori’s life as much as he'd thought?

Izuku relaxed into the embrace, just for a moment, it wasn’t really for him. He just happened to be there at the time, but it felt like being given a piece of something he was missing.

He felt a memory spark, the second in as many minutes. Just a brief glimpse of All Might, torn from battle and pointing out to the side with one finger. You’re next… Izuku returned the embrace because he could do now what he couldn’t do then.

He could stop the burden of peace from ever falling on one person’s shoulders ever again.

It felt like sliding a book back into its place on a shelf, the answer to the question that had been rolling around his brain for almost a year. The ultimate goal of why he was given this power to play with time like a child’s toy.

He’d thought of it occasionally in the past week, but it hadn’t hit him until just now.

One person couldn’t shoulder it alone, he knew that first-hand. There was a reason he’d been so focused on teamwork since he’d been given a second chance, he just hadn’t realized what he was doing until now.

If the burden of peace was something charged to each hero individually, or even just to one team; they could work together, cover each other, and hold each other up when one of them reached their limit. It seemed obvious when he thought about it, a house with four walls would stand far longer than a house with one.  

He slipped away from All Might’s grip and let the father and son duo have a moment to themselves. There was something he needed to do before he left.

When the two separated, Izuku walked up and gave Tenko a hug of his own in order to whisper in his ear. “You should come on Friday, but only if you’ve given any thought to the conversation we had about your quirk. The friends I mentioned are going to be there. If you decide to come, Mikoto-chan can give you the details.”

Without another word, Izuku gave All Might a quick bow, and then gave a cheeky salute as an afterthought as he walked off to find his mother before the blond hero could ask anymore questions.

He didn't hyperventilate when he rounded the corner of the hallway, but it was a near thing.

 


 

Tenko had arrived before everyone else, just as Izuku hoped he would. He still had some questions that he needed to ask, not limited to what happened last fall when All Might had found the boy.

“So, how have those changes been?” Izuku asked, passing the other boy a painted disc of clay masquerading as a target for him to set up. They were cheap saucers meant to be placed under flower pots, each painted with a set of rings. They weren’t at UA yet, and didn’t have the funds to throw away on proper targets.

Tenko shrugged his shoulders. “I started thinking about them your way and found that it was a lot easier to deal with changes that I wasn’t okay with like that. I ended up choosing to keep the name Shimura when the adoption went because of it.”

Izuku nodded, that made sense. He didn’t know what to say in response so he lapsed into silence.

They continued to set up the painted disks around the treeline of the meadow. The boys had started training further away from the playground and deeper into the copse of trees at the edge of it. The seclusion meant less of a chance that they would get in trouble for using their quirks. People tended to be lenient of children showing off their quirks or using them for fun, but Izuku wasn’t sure that leniency would extend to a set of kids training to become heroes.

Tenko cracked his neck, much like Kacchan cracked his wrists, though he had the decency to look sheepish when the sound made Izuku wince. After another beat of silence, he turned a curious eye on Izuku. “How about you? Life throw anymore changes at you, Mr. Time Traveler?”

“I haven’t had time to stop and think about my quirk since the fall semester started, something's going on with it but I'm not sure what,” Izuku said honestly. It was a lot of work keeping the trio at the top of their class. As it stood now, Izuku was positioned to be first in their year, not just their class.

“Any other changes on your end?” he asked, kicking the conversation back. It was a deflection, but Izuku was prudent enough to know that if he let Tenko pry into his quirk, none of them would like the outcome.

The last thing Izuku needed was All Might knowing how he’d gotten here, he knew the hero would just try and take the blame for everything on his own shoulders, and he wasn’t about to let that happen.

“One, Tosh- Dad, asked me how I would feel if he started dating someone. He apparently met someone earlier this year.” Tenko pitched his voice down in an All Might impression, puffing out his chest, “Tenko-kun, she is probably the most radiant woman I’ve ever seen, but I would ask your feelings on the matter first before pursuing anything.”

The painted target nearly slipped through Izuku’s hands as he laughed at Tenko’s impression. “What did you say?” Izuku asked.

“I told him if he found someone willing to put up with how loud he laughs he should keep her,” Tenko said flatly.

That time Izuku did drop the target laughing. It chipped on impact with the ground, but didn’t shatter.

“What’s all this? Getting started without us this time?” Kacchan shouted, small explosions powering him forward faster than Hitoshi.

Hitoshi raised up a worn green backpack with a large C duct taped on the front. “I brought bag C! I don’t know why we keep it at my house, if Mama found it she’d confiscate almost everything in here.”

Izuku took the bag from Hitoshi and opened it, “Because you’re the most competent out of all of us when it comes to support items, and you’d be borrowing things from the bag all the time anyway.”

Tenko looked nervously between the two boys. When Bakugou noticed it he gave the other boy a raised eyebrow.

“Izuku, did you do it again?” Kacchan asked as he reached over to grab one of the gauntlet prototypes they were working on.

“Do what?”

“Adopt another hero-to-be,” he said, leveling him with a look that spoke to the fact that Katsuki had already guessed the answer.

He scoffed in response, sputtering. “I don’t just- it's not like I… am I really that predictable?”

Hitoshi and Kacchan both nodded, “You absolutely are.”

“Well, Hitoshi and Kacchan, this is Shimura Tenko. He has a pretty cool quirk.” Izuku said, leaving it up to the other boy whether he wanted to tell the others what it was.

“Oh yeah?” There was Kacchan, challenging the older boy like clockwork. Every time someone new joined the team Katsuki stepped forward to do his own assessment. Did Katsuki even know that he did it? Or was it a lingering distrust of Izuku’s judgement? Izuku hoped that it wasn’t the latter, and that it was just a manifestation of Katsuki’s abrasive yet analytical personality.

“It’s called Decay,” Tenko said, unsnapping his glove and grabbing one of the targets they had set up. It cracked and crumbled into dust with a snap of noise.

“Huh, you’ve gotten faster at that,” Izuku said, taking mental note of the increase in speed.

Kacchan looked like he was considering something heavily. “Yeah, that’s pretty cool. Great for search and rescue. Or fighting, if you’re not squeamish.”

That was something Izuku would rather not think about. He didn’t remember why, exactly, but he knew that he must have seen the results of Tenko’s quirk more than once.

Hitoshi nodded, “Those gloves could be adapted better for fighting though. Have you thought about additional support items?”

Tenko shook his head.

“Well, you’ve got what, four years before the exam left to prepare? There’s still time.” Hitoshi said as he strapped some of his own support items on.

“What exam?” Tenko asked, carefully picking up an unrecognizable item from the bag with his index finger and his thumb. Hitoshi plucked it out of his hand and hooked it to his belt.

“Uh? The UA entrance exam?” Kacchan said, as if it were obvious. Izuku didn’t know why he sounded so surprised, it wasn’t like Shouto hadn’t asked nearly the same question a few months ago.

Tenko didn’t look very assured by that answer.

“Practically every pro hero goes to UA before starting an agency or something, so it’s the next step for us,” Hitoshi said.

“I hadn’t... really thought about school beyond compulsory education.”

“Well, it’s time to start!” Kacchan said. “You’ve missed some years that you could use to prepare, but luckily you’ve got us! We’ve been working as a team for a year now.”

“Don’t forget about Shouto-kun and Tenya-kun,” Izuku reminded.

“Yeah, and them.”

The team, and it was a team at this point, was really getting out of hand. Originally he’d just wanted to make sure all his friends were prepared for whatever life could throw at them, but it had evolved into joint strategies and teamwork based training. It was almost like they were trying to start their own hero agency before they were licensed.

“Who are Shouto and Tenya?” Tenko asked.

There was a crash when one of the painted terra cotta discs shattered, Hitoshi looked down where the end of the weighted ribbon scarf that Aizawa had come up with rested in his hands.

His face was almost as red as his mother’s hair when he spoke, “Whoops, I didn’t think that would work as well as it did.”

Izuku shook his head; it was best just to let the antics come and go as they pleased. “They’re our other friends and team members. Shouto has a half-cold, half-hot quirk, and Tenya has engines in his legs that let him run really fast and deliver powerful kicks.”

“Shouto-kun can’t always show up for training, and Tenya-kun moved away but we’ve been talking on the phone and giving him advice. We’re all gonna be in the same year at UA so there’s no use in not helping each other out,” Katsuki said, pointing his gauntlet into the sky and pulling the trigger.

There was a pop and then a giant fireball in the sky.

Everyone was wide eyed as the flames died out, looking at Katsuki and the potential for destruction he had just created.

“You guys are really serious,” Tenko said in a strange voice.

The boys nodded.

Tenko looked down from the sky and shrugged. “What are we all sitting around for? Let’s get started!”

 


 

Training with Tenko and the rest of the team ended up not being a one-time event. He kept showing up, shrugging whenever he was asked if he had other things he should be doing. Hitoshi, Shouto, and Katsuki seemed confused about why someone three years their senior had so much free time, but were willing to accept it. They usually started in a neutral territory, such as Mikoto’s house, and ended up migrating to Aizawa’s place, the meadow, or the beach depending on the weather and what they were working on. It had been Tenko’s idea that they meet at the beach, considering they could destroy that area with less scrutiny than the woods around the park.

Kacchan’s fireball had been noticed and the neighbors were not pleased.

Maybe they could brainstorm team names together next week, he’d have to be careful to call Tenya for his opinion first. As the most level headed member of the team, Tenya’s advice was invaluable and would likely stop Izuku from giving in when Katsuki tried to name them something ridiculous like the ‘Super Awesome Explosion Demo Squad’ instead of something sensible.

In the time that it had taken to get used to having the older boy around, the final touches had been made on Todoroki Enji’s case. Everything was ready to go, eyewitness testimony, video evidence, sound recordings, and medical records had all been compiled, duplicated, and checked over. The only thing they hadn’t been able to track down were the whereabouts of Shouto’s older brother.

And if Deku had known anything about it, he hadn’t written it down.

Those kinds of situations were becoming more common as Izuku had to rely on his feelings about the future-past instead of solid cornerstones. Maybe Deku hadn’t known about everything; after all, the hero couldn’t have known he would be going back in time with nothing but his memories.

Maybe there were just some things he wasn’t meant to know.

He shook out his hands, he couldn’t let himself fall back into the trap of thinking he had to fix everything. That’s why the whole team was training to taken on the burdens of the world together. They hadn’t even blinked when Izuku brought up his idea of having a group of heroes at the top instead of one. The whole team seemed to embrace the idea at once.

The whole team wasn’t here, however.

The Todoroki family compound loomed over him. It wouldn’t make a difference if he were seven or seventeen, it would always loom. The place represented Endeavor’s self-aggrandisement, the idea that he viewed himself as some noble throwback to a time when compounds like these were kept. It made Izuku ill.  

He’d talked Aizawa into letting him shadow the adults as they served the papers. He’d had enough stealth training to stay out of sight from everyone. Shouto knew he would be there for moral support, but as far as the adults beyond Aizawa were concerned, he didn't exist.

If things went wrong it was up to him to rewind time and come up with a winning strategy that everyone could follow.

Everyone in this case being Miyuki, Aizawa, Toshinori, and Yaoyorozu Ayako.

There were plenty of secondary heroes in the back line, most importantly Present Mic, whose job was to record the proceedings in case things went downhill and it was needed as evidence, but they wouldn't be the ones capable of fighting Endeavor if he made things difficult.

The tension rolled off of Izuku’s shoulders like a thunderstorm. There was a heaviness to the air that he couldn’t pin down, like a word was stuck on the tip of his tongue. Understanding in the back of his throat that he couldn’t voice.

It was All Might who led the charge, walking them through the arch of the compound’s fence and up to the front door of the house. They were hoping the confrontation, if there was one, would happen outside where there would be plenty of witnesses.

He could barely breathe as they waited, Izuku hadn’t noticed before but the detective was here. The one that he must have known in the past, whose name was missing from his memory. He was the only law enforcement Izuku could see in the main group.

The door cracked open, for a full minute there was silence before the door opened wider to reveal Todoroki Enji, hair flaming like some mystical specter of hell.

And wasn’t that just fucking poetic.

Izuku wanted to punch him in the face immediately, before he’d even spoken. Wanted to throttle him into the ground, and he had no qualms about breaking his own arms to do so.

Darkness pulled in around Izuku, licking at his heels and shuddering with every breath. That was strange, he had no idea what he was doing. He’d already made the connection between the mysterious blackout caused by Izuku’s desperate wish not to be seen by Shouto. Something he had pulled on with his quirk to change the way light interacted with space and time. However, like he told Tenko two weeks ago, he hadn’t had a chance to practice with it. 

Looking at Todoroki Enji, he wished he had.

“What is all of this then? Did I get nominated for an award?” Enji sneered like All Might laughed, like it was the only sound his mouth was capable of making.

The shadows around Izuku darkened, wrapping around him like a warm wind. Izuku moved closer, dragging the shadows with him.  He was concealed in the shade of the wall that surrounded the entire compound.

Like a prison.

Yaoyorozu Ayako stepped forward, her sharp purple hair drawn up like the blade of a saw. Her movements held no hesitation as she held out a bundle of official looking documents.

“Todoroki Enji, you are being served with divorce papers due to serious misconduct, failure to uphold the marriage contract, and other grave reasons. The divorce is effective immediately due to the nature of the parties involved in the case. It has been decided by district court and you may appeal to a higher court. However, if you appeal these decisions, you open yourself up to serious criminal charges. I dearly hope that you decide to appeal, my case is ironclad. Oh, and Toushirou Miyuki is to retain custody of all four children.”

From Izuku’s new position he could see Ayako’s sharp, snakelike teeth snap together in satisfaction.

Too be honest, Izuku was tempted to join her. Enji looked like someone poured kerosene on his head and shoved a lemon into his mouth, it was satisfying to finally see the man get what was coming to him.

The raging inferno attached to Enji's head caused several members of the primary team to take a step back. Ayako stood her ground, her arm still holding out the stack of papers; papers that Enji ripped from her and incinerated in seconds. It was expected, and they had backup copies. The important thing was that the legality of presenting the papers had been accomplished.

It wasn’t their fault that he didn’t want to read them.

Ash fell from careless hands. “Like I’m going to let you humiliate me that way. I am the number two hero in the entire world, you can't fabricate this shit just because you’re scared of competition. No one tells me how to handle my family. I will do as I see fit,” Enji said.

“I’m afraid I can’t let you do that,” All Might stepped forward. He was in a more subdued costume, not the one he used as the symbol of peace. It was fitting. The darker blue and white of it contrasted Endeavor’s orange ensemble.

“I’d like to see you stop me. This is my home and you are all trespassing,” Enji said, each word building up to a roar. For a moment Izuku was reminded of a flaming, constipated lion. He almost laughed.

Enji moved, but it wasn’t towards All Might. The number two hero summoned a wall of flame that cut through the crowd and shielded the front door of the house, separating Miyuki and Shouto from their protectors.  

But there wasn’t room between Aizawa and Shouto for the wall, and Shouto screamed as he got caught in the crossfire.

Izuku’s entire world ground to a halt.

Chapter Text

Whether or not time actually stopped, Izuku didn’t have the mental fortitude to figure out. Every protective instinct he’d ever tempered with the knowledge that he was too young to fight these battles split apart in an instant like an atom bomb.

All he needed to change were a few seconds.

He didn’t fall through time so much as swan dive backwards, letting instinct take him where he needed to go.  

He hit his past body like a rocket, going down on one knee and acting before he could think. Not caring if he gave away his position, he whistled one of their codes as loud as he could: the one for protecting the mission asset. Shouto’s head whipped around, but he moved, stepping closer to his mother right as Enji threw the wall of fire up.

Thank god. It nearly took the breath from his lungs to see Shouto sidestep the flames just in time. His heart nearly hammered through his ribs in relief.

“Fuck this,” Izuku swore, sprinting out of the shadows, dragging them with him as he ran and slid through the fire, the darkness completely swallowing the flames as he passed through the barrier. He was dressed for combat, as much as he could be. His reinforced sneakers sending up gravel as he came to a stop between Todoroki Enji and Shouto.

He hadn’t prepared for what he was about to do, hadn’t brought infrared vision goggles that would have made this entire hare brained plan easier. He should have, and he was kicking himself for not considering it.

“Get in the house, we’re gonna study English vocabulary,” Izuku said calmly to Miyuki and Shouto behind him. 

"What?" Enji looked confused, good for him. He might have been ready for a fight with All Might, but he wasn't ready for this.

The darkness twisted around him tighter as the first timeline of Shouto getting burned dissipated before his eyes. He was mad. No, he was furious. Logically he knew this wasn’t just his anger over Shouto’s treatment, but another nine years worth of fury over petty hurts and harms erased from memory but not satisfied.   

Miyuki called her ice around her entire body, turning into a crystal statue of a woman. Her armor reflected the light from the flames into the evening sky. Shouto called up his half-ice, half-fire body shield, and Izuku knew that the shadows he’d dragged from the wall continued to swirl around his body- the absence of light entirely cloaking parts of his body.

Miyuki grabbed Shouto and skated across the courtyard.

Izuku turned to Enji, who made a movement to follow them into the house.

“I don’t fucking think so,” Izuku hissed venomously, his tone not at all belied by the smile stretched firmly across his face. The shadows behind him building around him to a much bigger form, a silhouette of a much bigger version of Izuku, of Deku .

Deku was still here and he was pissed.

It should have surprised Izuku, but it didn’t.

He drew on that anger that dwelled within him, not fully his own, and slammed it down in the front of the house. The world went dark and quiet, except for soft sounds of confusion coming from deeper in the house.

“I think it worked!” Izuku yelled hoarsely.

“I had no idea that this darkness was your doing, that day. You didn’t seem to know then either.” Miyuki’s voice sounded slightly dazed.

“I didn’t either, at least not in the moment. My quirk is… complicated.”

“You don’t need to explain. That was quick thinking to get us in here without violence. I’m grateful,” Miyuki said back to him. She sounded different, the reverberation of her voice interacting with her ice.

Privately, he was relieved that she wasn’t pressing the issue; Shouto would grill him enough to make up for it later.

“Do we have three hours this time?” She asked as Izuku pulled up alongside her based on voice alone. “I know where the documents case I need is, it has everyone’s birth certificates and the original marriage contract, I couldn't take it before today. It would have tipped him off. Everything else might be a little harder to find in the dark.”

Izuku shrugged, realized that no one could see it, and then laughed a little. “I’m shrugging,” he said, making Shouto snicker to his left somewhere.

“Mom?” came a voice from deeper in the house.

“Fuyumi? Good, come here. We’re leaving. The divorce went through today. Is Akihiko home?” Miyuki didn’t sound stressed, but that might be an effect of the ice form. Cool under pressure in the most literal sense of the word.

“Mom?” a different voice called out from farther into the house.

Miyuki went to find her son and begin gathering the things she would need.

“Izuku, are you alright?” that was Shouto’s voice.

Truthfully, he wanted to find somewhere to sit down. “I’m alright, this compound is a lot bigger than Hitoshi’s house. I didn’t know where anyone was so I grabbed everywhere except for the front courtyard. I think.” There was really no way to be sure if he grabbed everything.

“I’ve got my pack, Mom… Mom are you here?” Fuyumi called out.

“She’s helping Akihiko-san,” Izuku said softly.

“Shouto?”

“Yeah, I’m here too.” Shouto sounded bemused.

“Who's that, and also why doesn't light seem to work anymore?” she asked sharply.

“This is Izuku-kun, you know, the one I told you about,” Shouto said, and Izuku felt the room heat up about 10 degrees. Shouto talked about him?

“I forgot she wanted to be a teacher, always wanting to know more,” Izuku said to himself, the sound carrying through the dark room.

“Shouto-kun, you talk about me?” she asked, she’d taken a sharp turn from wary to plesantly surprised.

“Not really.”

Whoops. Izuku went to fall back in time a few seconds like he'd become accustomed to doing after small conversational blunders, but stopped short as he suddenly realized he had no idea what would happen if he fell back in time while he was holding a disruption in reality.

“Haha, time travel, weird huh?” he said instead, hoping they would drop it.

Fuyumi didn’t, Izuku should have known she wouldn’t let it go. She reminded him of his own mother when it came to tenacity.

“But why is light not working anymore?” 

Izuku sighed and rubbed at his face. “I broke it, maybe? I'll fix it don't worry.”

“You broke… the concept of light?”

“I guess! This thing didn’t exactly come with an instruction manual. I created a time bubble and light doesn’t work inside it.” Izuku was getting exasperated, holding the bubble consciously over such a large space was eliminating his stamina faster than he’d originally anticipated.

Another voice spoke, male this time. “Woah, Shouto, your friend is awesome!”

That must be the brother, Akihiko. Izuku waved out of instinct, realized no one could see it, and slowly lowered his hand. Awkward. It was too late to say hello now, it would be weird.

They broke into an awkward silence. Ten minutes passed before Miyuki's soft, chiming steps disturbed the room. “I have everything that I absolutely need, does everyone have their stuff?”

Various noises of agreement came from around the dark room.

Her voice projected in a slightly different direction, questioning, “Shouto?”

“I already took everything that was important to me before today,” he said. Izuku knew that, he had a suitcase full of Shouto’s clothes and prized possessions sitting in his closet. It had been the safest place Shouto could think of.

“Alright, is there a plan for getting out of here?” That was Akihiko again.

“You’ve got your stuff in backpacks right? You’re going to have to make a run for it. I’m gonna see if I can’t throw up a time bubble around Endeavor and disorientate him or take him out of the equation entirely. You need to run past All Might and Eraserhead. Present Mic is in the backline. He can help you get to safety from there,” Izuku said, using what Ochako had once teased was his ‘authority voice’ which was apparently different than his ‘All Might imitation’ but ‘pretty damn close, all things considered’.

“Izuku-kun, are you sure that’s safe?” Miyuki asked. He got the feeling that she'd guessed the part of his plan he wasn't sharing, that he planned to distract Enji personally.

He suppressed a sigh, a lot of trust had been given at the start of this half-baked plan, and he had to see it through to the end. “No, but it’s the best chance of getting all of you out of here in one piece. Besides, everything’s gonna be fine. I just need you all to promise you’re going to run and not stop.”

He got verbal confirmation from everyone except the person he was most worried about. Well, if Shouto wasn’t going to run, then making him lie wasn’t going to get them anywhere.

“Okay, line up in front of the door, use your quirks- anything you have to your advantage to get away,” Izuku commanded, standing at the front of the line. He would have to be out first.

He grabbed the shadowy form of the bubble all around him and pulled it sideways like was wrapping it back around his body.

When his vision cleared, Enji was looking at the door, right at all of them.

Izuku ran head-first at the overgrown, constipated tiger of a man. Endeavor, to his credit, looked confused by the furious advance of a seven year old. The pint sized hero’s sprint morphed into a slide, going right underneath Enji’s legs and making the man turn around, putting his back to his family.

Izuku pulled at the feeling of shadows around his body, taking the shell that held all of his emotions inside of him and casting it forward like a net to ensnare the other hero. Tendrils of void bled from his shadow into the dense ball of blackness that shrouded Todoroki Enji from the eyes of the universe.

He’d done it.

He’d thrown the barrier out, not knowing whether he had to physically be inside of it for it to work. Shadows stretched froward from his hand, tethering the void to his body. It wasn't completely separate, but he could work with this.

“Holy shit, kid,” Aizawa said, blinking while he had the chance.

The comment made Izuku smile, and he took the brief lull in battle to wipe the sweat from his brow with the sleeve of his green hoodie. He used the arm that wasn't holding the time bubble over Endeavor of course. He’d almost worn his All Might hoodie, but it would have been too much with the actual man standing not a meter away. Shouto and his family were past All Might now. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Shouto stop and turn around.

Then Izuku felt it.

Like a pressure in the side of his head, soft and then unbearably sharp and heavy. There was a beat of absolute silence in the courtyard before something shattered, the rebound from the implosion knocking Izuku off his feet.

Not to mention the pain in his head. It felt like something had ripped out his connection to his body. Floating to the ground untethered to the universe, grip on his own body so thin that it felt a small gust of wind would blow him away.

He stumbled to his feet, seeing Todoroki Enji standing there with a smug grin on his face.

“So this is what the number one hero in the world is reduced to, having a child fight his battles for him-”

Izuku got to his feet while the man monologued. Every second was another second that Shouto’s family had a chance to get away. They were almost safe and he’d fight tooth and nail for even a fraction of improving their chance to get away without injury, questionable connection to reality or not. All he had to do was keep Endeavor’s attention him and no one else.

“Hey!” Izuku shouted. “Shut the fuck up for once in your life.”

He was close enough that he didn’t have to run to throw a punch to the side of the man’s hip with his right hand. Hysterically, he wondered if this counted as focusing his grief in a constructive way. After all, this was still taking the closest heavy object and throwing it- well punching it right through the outer wall of the compound, which was basically the same thing. Right? As a bonus, Enji’s own flames set the wooden wall ablaze. The symbolism wasn’t lost on him. Endeavor was his own undoing.

It was a glorious sight.

Then the flames started to blur, right as a firebolt arced across the courtyard towards Izuku. Before it even reached him, Izuku was falling sideways, being pushed by a small warm hand.

The commotion sounded through his ears like he was sitting at the bottom of the lake. He knew there was a shell of ice around him. That was familiar enough.

He also saw Shouto turn and complete the shell of ice, exposing Izuku to the left side of his face where he could see a ragged and raw burn wound across one ice blue eye. That was too familiar.

“No-” Izuku managed to get out, he reached out to fall backwards in time. A minute maybe. A minute would be enough to save Shouto from that pain. It had to be. Shouto shouldn't have tried to save him- shouldn't have gotten hurt. 

Izuku fell back into the water of his mind and didn’t resurface.

 


 

It was dark. The kind of pitch darkness Izuku had seen two, maybe three times in his life. It whirled around in every direction, and Izuku felt himself being pushed and pulled along in the wheeling current of something. It buffeted him in rolling waves that tumbled around him. Like the shelter that had been protecting him had been stripped away and demolished. Maybe it had fallen into the sea of darkness.

If that were the case, there was nothing left to do but build it again. Take the darkness that slipped through his fingers like silk and wrap it around his body.

The action was fruitless, the material slipped out of his hands each time. Until Izuku heaved, pulling it over his head entirely like a too-large feather blanket.

It rubbed something raw inside of him, but the turmoil around him grew more distant, almost muffled.

He could focus on other noises for the first time.

Someone had hooked him to a heart rate monitor, and god help them, Izuku felt enough of an angry itch to be upset about it. The noise was maddening even at the best of times, and this was definitely a bad time.

It had been a long time since he’d been knocked unconscious and injured badly enough to land himself in a hospital. Usually he was awake to experience his own misfortunes.

His throat felt like sandpaper and his arm felt like he’d punched the giant fucking robot from the UA entrance exam, again. “Fuck,” was all he managed to get out.

Everything swam around in his head. It was exhausting just trying to place the pieces back together. He’d gotten here from fighting- fighting someone. Somebody that he hated more than almost anyone else. He’d failed someone-

The darkness didn’t get lighter, and Izuku went back to holding the comforter over his head, trying to keep it tight against his skin no matter how it hurt. It was the only thing keeping him grounded.

That tense feeling filled his core as he kept everything together. He could do it. He had to keep everything together.

For everyone else.

He could hear them talking sometimes. Just out of the reach of his understanding. Recognized the colors of their voices: purple, green, red, white, blue- even yellow. They were like lights in the darkness, edging closer to him.

He realized that he needed something to keep the covering over him, he had to make it connect. Rolling back he brought the covering over his feet and held it together. He tried reaching out and grabbing the darkness again, taking only a sliver of it in his hands and using it to thread everything back together.

Relieved, Izuku sat back in his bubble.

And then he opened his eyes.

Chapter Text

A white expanse stretched out above him, blurry and cold like a snapshot of frozen tundra. The constant beeping of the heart monitor told him that as cold as he felt, it was just a hospital room and not some freak teleportation to instant death in Antarctica. With everything that had happened recently, Izuku wouldn’t have been surprised if his quirk did something like that.

He groaned and tried to rub his eyes, but not being able to move certainly put a damper on that plan.

God he was tired.

“Izuku?”

It was a familiar voice, the red one. A shock of spiky blond hair and two pinpoints of red entered his vision. He heard the pop of a few small explosions Kacchan could never quite control when his emotions got the best of him, followed by footsteps as he raced from sight, shouting, “Hey! One of you nurses go get Nurse Midoriya!”

Izuku tried to crane his neck to see more, but his spine gave up before he could get a good look at the room.

Fine. Whatever. That was cool.

At least his arm didn’t hurt as much as the last time he had nominally approached wakefulness.

The lights in the room turned on, and Izuku hadn’t even been aware that they were off in the first place until he winced at the brightness.

“Izuku!” his mom entered his limited field of view, green hair done up in a messy bun and wearing her normal workday scrubs.

She fussed at him, propping him up as she moved his bed into a sitting position. He could finally see the room. There was a table in the corner with a chair near the window that was letting light in. Several books and notebooks were open on it with Katsuki’s improving kanji scribbled across the pages.

“Mom,” he rasped.

“Oh, water! Here honey,” she darted off to get a plastic cup with a straw, holding it up for him as he took a drink.

Maybe it was a good thing he hadn’t moved, he was tied down with so many wires he thought that someone must have tried to hook him up to cable.

There was a wrap around his right arm.

It was a lot to process, but Izuku knew enough about his circumstances to know there was a question he needed to ask before anything else.

“Where’s Shouto?” he asked, pinning his mother with a look. He hoped it was firm, in reality it probably desperate.

Inko and Katsuki shared a look, that was never good.

“Mom, where’s Shouto?” he asked again.

She pushed hair bangs back from her face, “Honey, I want you to listen carefully. Shouto is with his mother, they’ve been coming by every day to check on you. He’s recovering well.”

If he could, Izuku would have sunk back further into the pillow. “His face, just like last time. I didn’t change anything-” Izuku’s voice died in his throat, no, that wasn’t quite right- “no, I did change something. This time it’s my fault. If I hadn’t overextended than Shouto wouldn’t have been injured. This is my fault.”

This was his fault.

A cold hand brushed his hair back, his mother’s. She cupped his cheek, smoothing away the liquid gathering at the corners of his eyes.

“You did all that you could,” her soft voice grew firm, “in fact, you did too much. Midoriya Izuku if I ever catch you overusing your quirk like that I’m going to tell the school that you need to go up a class because the current classes aren’t challenging you enough.”

Katsuki whined from where he was by the window, “But-”

She turned to him, “No buts!”

Izuku closed his eyes, he was still exhausted and anything was better than dealing with his mom and Kacchan while they were both upset. His friend turned like he was going to ask a question, which was the last thing he wanted to deal with right now.

He fell back into darkness.

 


 

The darkness capitulated around Izuku’s bubble, swirling lightly against the barrier. He felt his connection re-establishing properly, bringing him an awareness of his place in time.

He had been too close to losing something incredibly valuable, and he hadn’t even known it existed. If he hadn’t been able to re-create his bubble… he wasn’t sure what would happen, but it probably would have been bad.

That thought drove him back to wakefulness, just to check on things. He blinked his eyes open to a dreary, familiar white ceiling.

“Ugh,” it felt like he’d only been sleeping for ten minutes, but judging by the grey pre-dawn light coming through the window it had been at least a day. Maybe two.

Maybe more.

There was no one in his room this time, and Izuku thanked every force in the universe for finally giving him a moment alone to processes everything.

He broke slowly, curling in on himself. Each movement, though careful, still jostled the tube in his arm. Ugh, he hated IV drugs.

At least he could move.

His back bent, hunching protectively over his injured arm, holding it to his chest like he could hug himself until everything got better. It still hurt, but it was nowhere near the level of pain that Deku had been used to.

The edge of the bandage was easy enough to find, and Izuku tugged on it until it loosened underneath his fingers. Unwinding the banagaged revealed a strikingly familiar arm, looking at it made him feel so sick he almost laughed.

His right arm had two scars on each side of his hand from a force fracture in nearly the exact place as the original scars from his fight with Todoroki Shouto.

He flexed, feeling the grate of the bones in his hands. They’d been healed by a quirk, he knew the feeling well enough. All Might or someone else could have called in a favor from Recovery Girl, it was likely that Izuku would never know whether it was her or another doctor that had healed him.

Still, the irony was almost thick enough to choke on. At least this way Shouto wouldn't get any silly ideas about the hand crushing curse. 

Thinking about Recovery Girl led him back to thinking about All Might. He’d suspected for a few months that the quirk he was wielding as Zero Relativity was linked in some way to One For All. He’d been able to use it in almost the same way when it came to the increased strength. This scar was proof of that, even though it didn't prove anything except that he could still overdo things.

Some of his few precious memories that refused to fade were his previous interactions with the lights of One For All’s earlier users. He still remembered them from the fight with Shinsou, the first time he’d seen them in the other timeline, back when they were just lights lurking on the fringe of his vision.

Not once had he seen them in this timeline. Not since Nana and Toshinori said their goodbyes and their manifestations melted into darkness.

Perhaps they were all with Toshinori now; after all, he was still out there wielding One For All.  Or maybe they couldn’t travel back in time with him.

There was a third option, one he refused to consider.

Maybe they’d sacrificed themselves, maybe One For All had sacrificed itself to give him this chance, and in doing so had become something entirely different. Something untethered to reality. Toshinori had once told him about how One For All was building its power with each person it was passed to.

Building for what? This?

Izuku wiped his eyes with the heel of his free hand.

Some fucking finale this was.

He scanned the room, the table in the corner had been stacked with books and surrounded by vases full of flowers. A stuffed bear sat on one of the unoccupied chairs near the table- which had also been covered in get well cards since the last time he had been awake.

It was almost worth getting out of bed to see who they were from, mainly to see if any of the cards carried news on Shouto and the rest of the team.

He wanted to see Shouto, make sure he was okay. The fuzzy picture of him twisting as he called up the ice to block the second shot told him nothing about how bad his injury had been. His desire to see Shouto was further complicated by the fact that he didn’t know how long he’d been out of the loop.

In a coma. His mind supplied.

As if thinking about it called it back to him, Izuku leaned back in bed to get a few extra minutes of sleep before the sunlight streaming through the window made that impossible.

 


 

The bubble pulled in closer around him until it was a barrier, clinging to his skin and forming into the shell that protected him. The pain around him soothed to a more acceptable level, almost as if having the shield back around him was a salve to a burn.

A burn-

Endeavor had burned his connection to the timestream, his tether to reality. Shattered the bonds that kept him affixed to the current timeline. Hell, he could have been thrown into a different fucking dimension.

Izuku jolted upright with a gasp, hand fisted in the fabric of his hospital gown as if it could stop the sting that came from his renewed awareness of time. The was an oof as someone scooted back from his elbow.

He could have died.

Wild eyes searched around the room, coming to rest on the person he’d nearly dislodged from his bedside when he sat up.

A single grey eye bore into his, Izuku didn’t dare breathe to keep himself from hyperventilating. The other half of Shouto’s face was covered by a bandaged wrap, covering up a brilliant turquoise eye. It also covered up almost all of his red hair.

He looked like a snowball.

Izuku smiled and the grey eye welled up with tears; they both moved towards each other at the same time, neither being very careful of the IV connected to Izuku’s left arm. Shouto’s arms wrapped around Izuku’s neck and held him there. Izuku hugged back as much as he could, he buried his face in Shouto’s neck, holding him as close as he dared.

Shouto’s soft crying grew into a full blown sob, soaking into the back of Izuku’s hospital gown.

“I thought you were dying,” Shouto cried. "You're one of my first friends and then you go and almost die on me."

Izuku ran his hand through the hair that wasn't wrapped down in bandages, cradling the back of Shouto’s head.

“ ’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to get so out of hand. I just wanted to protect you,” Izuku whispered into his ear. “I tried to go back in time and stop him from hurting you, twice, technically.”

“It doesn’t matter. Fuck him.”

“You’ve been spending too much time around Kacchan.”

They squeezed each other tighter before the started to untangle themselves. Shouto was also hooked up to an IV, one with a traveling stand attached to it, full of what looked like saline solution. They spent a few quiet moments trying to free Shouto’s IV from Izuku’s heart monitor, neither of them willing to move away once it was done.

Their heads bent together over their hands, both reluctant to relinquish the contact with each other. Keeping their foreheads bent together until they touched was the compromise they settled on without words.

“I can’t believe you’re the one worried about me,” his voice choked up, “you’re the one who’s been asleep for a month.”

The muscles in Izuku’s back tensed, “A whole month?”

“They were really worried about you, no one was sure what had happened. You overused your quirk but that wasn’t the only problem. You kept going into shock like you were suffering from a massive injury no one could find. I overheard your mom talk to mine about it.” Shouto’s fingers picked at Izuku’s bandaged hand as he spoke.

Izuku grimaced, “I’m not sure what happened. It was like he burned away my connection to reality, which is why I passed out when I tried to make a jump back in time. What happened after that?”

“When you went down I poured everything into creating ice between us and him ,” Shouto spat the word, “I wasn’t thinking and ended up giving myself frostbite. That combined with the burn- well, I passed out not too long after you did because my temperature unbalanced badly.”

Izuku began unwrapping his right hand, he wanted to see if he had more mobility in it than he had the last time he’d woken up. Whenever that was.

“Is that why you’re still in the hospital?” Izuku asked, looking up from his hand and into the grey eye centimeters away from his own. The skin crinkled around his eye when he smiled, and Izuku found it to be endlessly charming.

“Yeah, my temperature wouldn’t stop fluctuating and my half-hot part of my quirk kept trying to turn on. I almost burned down the room they put me in a few times because of it. They couldn’t do anything to cool the burn because it covers about 5% of my body, not that they could maintain my temperature anyway. It wasn’t really the burn or the frostbite causing all the problems. It was my quirk.”

“They had to let it heal naturally?” Izuku asked, guessing at the meaning behind Shouto’s ramble.

Shouto nodded in response. The bandage came away underneath his hand; revealing the scars. An icy hand picked his hand up, turning it from side to side. The chill felt good on his scars, Izuku noted with a small feeling of satisfaction. It was like something falling into place where it had been missing. He knew he’d lost a memory but he’d replace it with a better one, he thought, looking into Shouto’s eye. 

“Did this happen when you punched him?” Shouto asked.

He smiled again, “Yeah, but it was worth it.”

“How’d you do that?” Shouto asked.

Izuku shrugged as much as he could without moving his head. “The same way I do everything else. Luck and determination. Rogue super strength that I can’t use without breaking my bones, you know, the usual.”

Shouto laughed, which was good enough for Izuku. All he’d ever wanted was for Shouto to be happy. If Shouto’s happiness depended on Izuku being there- he was going to be there, no doubt about it.

Shouto looked nervous, leaning closer before speaking, “Izuku, you said that when I was ready to know the answer I could ask-”  

The door cracked open, and Toushirou Miyuki poked her head in. She raised a hand to her heart as she opened the door the rest of the way. Leaning back out of the room, she shouted down the hall, “I found him.”

Izuku snorted, “Why, Shouto, did you break out to come see me?”

The other boy sighed, looking back at his mom and then at Izuku with a look that said: ‘I guess we’ll be talking about this later’.

Akihiko and Fuyumi entered the room, the former bounding up to the bed and ruffling Shouto’s hair, “Squirt, you can’t just run off on the day you’re supposed to be getting discharged.”

Fuyumi kept her distance from Izuku, standing sentinel near the door.

His mother crossed the room like she was skating on the tile, and put a hand on Shouto’s shoulder. After checking him over, she turned and pulled Izuku into a hug.

Her white hair shrouded the rest of the room from view.

“Thank you, for everything,” she said, pressing a cold kiss to his forehead. She then hugged both boys, giving Shouto his own kiss.

“Shouto-kun, we’ve monopolized enough of his time. He still needs to rest,” Miyuki said sadly.

She helped Shouto off the bed, and Izuku felt the cold hand slip out of his grasp. The tiredness hadn’t bothered until she brought it up. He was starting to think this was a conspiracy to keep him from getting out of bed ever again.

Regardless, Izuku gave everyone a wave as he sat back in his hospital bed.

He didn’t stay awake much longer after that.

 


 

This time, the darkness wasn’t even a factor in his sleep, he just slept until he woke to the sound of someone else opening his door.

It wasn’t someone he recognized, but she dressed like a doctor and looked oddly familiar. She walked into the room and gave him what Izuku assumed must be a smile.

“I’m Asui Beru, I’ve been your doctor this past month. It’s good to see you awake and alert, the last three times you’ve gone back to sleep before I had a chance to give you a check-up,” she walked over to his bedside, checking things on her clipboard.

Asui Beru, he thought that was Tsuyu’s mother’s name. She certainly looked like someone related to Tsuyu.

“Your mother’s been pretty worried about you,” she said as small talk, clearly not expecting much in response from him.

He just smiled and held out his injured arm for her to check over and take his blood pressure.

She checked the displays for the machines that had been his (mostly) silent companions for the past month, humming as she did so.

“When you came in you had a Glasgow Coma Scale rating of 10, which is pretty high on the scale so we had an optimistic outlook on your recovery period,” she paused, “there were complications, you went into shock a number of times and you had to be defibrillated once, but that all seems to be behind you now. Everything here is reading as normal, it looks like we can move you to outpatient care today. Your mother is more than qualified to keep an eye on you.”

Izuku nodded. He’d never have thought Tsu’s mom would be such a chatterbox, but she seemed to have no problem talking as she worked.

“By the way, you have a visitor that very much wants to see you. He’s come by a few times now but you were always out of it.”

“Do you know who it is?”

“Someone named Yagi Toshinori?” Beru asked, taking some of the monitoring equipment off of him. She disconnected him from over half of the machinery, leaving only the IV and the heart rate monitor that clamped over his finger. Idly, he wondered what all the other wires had been for.

“Can you send him in?”

“Sure, kerro ,” she said as she walked back out the door. The doorway was only empty for a moment before Toshinoi’s form filled it.

“Midoriya-san,” he said the name like it was a question.

“Yeah?” Izuku gave the man a tired smile. He’d dodged his questions for a year and some change. It was longer than he thought he would make it, if he was honest.

“I’ve talked to Aizawa about some things, but he kept your confidence well. I’ve got many questions that only you can answer,” Toshinori bypassed the bed entirely, pulling the chair from the table over to Izuku’s bedside, turning it backwards to sit on it. He crossed his arms over the back of it and waited.

Izuku sighed, scrubbing his face to buy him some time. It was now or never.

He began to speak.

“When I was a kid, I was quirkless,” Toshinori sucked in a breath, but didn’t interrupt, “but I always wanted to be a hero anyway. I spent my life compiling information about heroes, looking for a way to become one on my own. Then another person recognized my potential and gave me their quirk. Some things I didn’t really understand happened, but the first time I jumped back in time, it was a lot further than a few months.”

“How far?”

Izuku looked him in the eye, “Ten years, give or take.”

Toshinori swore, it was the first time Izuku had ever heard him do so. That was answer enough about how well this conversation was going.

“And when did I give you One For All?” Toshinori pressed.

“You caught that huh? The day I started at UA, when I was fourteen, three years before my jump back in time.”

The blonde man blanched, “I gave it to you and sent you off with no chance to adapt to having a quirk?”

“We were sort of pressed for time,” Izuku said.

“Nevertheless, there’s no way it would have settled for another year at least,” Toshinori frowned.

“Yeah, I broke my bones a lot.” Izuku said offhand.

Toshinori looked horrified, “You broke your bones?”

“I didn’t really have a year to sit on my hands doing nothing,” Izuku shrugged, ignoring the way his IV pulled on his arm.

Toshinori snorted, “Is that why when presented with the opportunity to go back in time eleven years, instead of resting, you immediately threw yourself back into danger? Despite the fact that you were six years old?

“Well, when you put it like that it sounds reckless. There were extenuating circumstances that you couldn’t possibly understand.”

An eyebrow raised in challenge. “Like how you ran into danger to save me from being gravely injured instead of trying to talk to me about what was happening? Midoriya-san, you should have told me what was going on. I could have done something.”

“And what about what I could have done? What if I had showed up out of nowhere and told you all about your darkest secrets and then bossed you around? It wouldn't have worked; I’m doing the best with what I’ve got here. Or at least I was, now I haven’t even got that anymore.”

“What do you mean?” he leaned forward, the wood of the chair creaking under his weight.

“When I came back I still had my memories of everything that had happened in my- well, Deku’s life. Deku was my hero name by the way, which is a long story, don’t worry about it. As I changed things in this time, I forgot the future that would no longer happen because of those changes. I’m to the point where I’ve made enough changes that my future is one big haze outside of a few key memories.”  

“You’re sacrificing your own memory to help others- like when you told me that Tenko-kun was in trouble.”

His response was just as quiet, “Yeah, like that.”

Toshinori rubbed at his eyes, dragging broad hands over his face.

“Okay.”

“Okay?”

“Okay, that’s a lot to take in,” he chuckled lightly. It was different from the full bodied bellows Izuku was used to. He half expected a trickle of blood to drip out of the corner of his mentor’s mouth, but that wouldn’t have to happen ever again.

“That’s pretty much what Aizawa-sensei said too.”

“I still don’t understand, why not come to me? Did I do something in the future to make you not trust me?” Toshinori sounded pained.

He started at that, how could All Might have thought that? It wasn’t like- it wasn’t like Izuku had thought he couldn't trust All Might. It wasn’t like that…

… except that it was. He didn’t trust All Might to make objective decisions after he learned about this. He would insist on trying to atone for things that were not his to atone for. Or, god forbid, try and pass the symbol of peace down to him out of some misplaced sense of loyalty.

“It wasn’t like that,” Izuku shook his head. “I wanted to protect everyone, that includes you. You’d have tried to take it on yourself. I’ve been told we’re similar that way. Plus, I was planning on trying something a little bit different to your approach.”

“Oh?” Toshinori leaned his head on his arm, “Tell me about it.”

It surprised Izuku that Toshinori wanted to hear more. The man sat there acting like Izuku hadn’t just dumped a huge quantity of information on him. He wasn’t sure how much to say. Toshinori wouldn’t try to stop him if he disagreed, he knew that much, but the quiet disappointment would be even worse.

“Toshinori-sensei, no offense, but being the symbol of peace isn’t something that any one person should take on. It destroys them, I’ve seen it happen,” the ‘to you’ went unsaid. “Wouldn’t it be better if a whole team of heroes stood for that symbol? Not just an agency, but a team. People could be added, people could leave when they’re burnt out or they need to live their life. I’m sure you’ve found it difficult to balance having a personal life, having a son, and being a hero. Trying to do everything at once doesn't work.” Izuku lost steam after the short explanation, cringing against whatever response would come from it.

The quiet of the room itched up his spine, and Izuku wanted to hide under his blanket; no, he wanted to get up and run out of the room but he wasn’t sure how far his legs would take him. Huh, he probably should have asked Asui if he needed a referral for physical therapy.

When Toshinori finally spoke, Izuku had almost forgotten what a serious conversation they were having- he’d done a great job distracting himself with the horror that was physical therapy.

“Midoriya-san, may I call you Izuku?”

“Sure.”

“Izuku-san,” Izuku bit down on his reaction to the honorific to keep from interrupting, “you’re still a child, and I don’t say that to invalidate everything that you’ve done. Hear me out. You’re only seven years old in this timeline, regardless of how long you’ve lived. And before that, I gave you a quirk that would have forced you to grow up at fourteen, that’s no childhood Izuku-san. You deserve a chance at one.”

Tears welled up in his eyes, he blinked them back as best he could to keep his vision clear. “I don’t know if that’s possible. It’s been too long.”

Here he was crying, when he’d been the one dumping horrifying information on Toshinori. Yet again another instance of the blond man taking everything onto himself so that others wouldn’t have to share the burden. This had been why he hadn’t wanted to tell Toshinori, he didn’t want to make the other second guess his actions. Maybe picking him as a successor hadn’t been the best option, but it was the option that happened. Now he'd go over everything, wondering what he'd done wrong or if he was making the right choices.

Toshinori stood and stepped forward to hug Izuku, and Izuku let go of the stress and the pain of doing everything alone. How hypocritical of him was it to judge All Might for doing the exact same thing he was already doing? He’d learned his mentor’s teachings too well.

To his credit, Toshinori said nothing and held Izuku while he cried, and what a cry it was. He hadn’t cried like this in years, not since he’d returned to his childhood. He cried like someone had turned on a faucet connected to his eyes.

There was no way that he was hydrated enough for this.

Soft circles were rubbed into his back with a firm hand, but the real calming influence was Toshinori’s breathing. A steady rhythm without the catch of a wheeze on each exhale.

Izuku pulled away, wiping at his face even though new tears were steadily replacing the old ones. “I’ll try, I can’t promise more than that.”

“That’s all I ask, I know I don’t have the right to dictate your choices, but I find myself invested. After all, you saved my life, and you saved my son’s life.” Toshinori was doing the thing where he got nervous and talked loudly. It was enough to make Izuku smile. The tears drying up as they stopped streaming down his face.

Maybe it would be okay to lean on All Might, the man would hardly collapse under the metaphorical weight of a seven year old.

“What happened to Enji,” he pulled back from the other man, “I answered your questions, how about you answer some of mine?”

“He has been stripped of his Hero License, among other things-” Toshinori grimaced, “but we don’t know where he is right now. At the end of the fight, there was a lot of steam created, and he was able to slip away in it. Could be he plans to leave the country, maybe start over somewhere quirks aren’t subject to as much scrutiny.”

There was unspoken information in that answer. They would have caught him had Izuku and Shouto not been injured enough to distract them from doing their jobs. Izuku sighed, pushing his hair back from his face again. He’d need a haircut sometime soon.

“Good riddance, I hope.”

He didn’t hope, what he hoped was another chance to kick Endeavor’s ass, but it could be a long time before he got another chance. For now it was good enough that he wouldn't be welcome in Japan, and that Shouto's family were well out of his reach.

They talked for a few more minutes about nothing in particular before Asui cautiously poked her head in and interrupted the pair. The nostalgia of having a mundane conversation with Toshinori hit Izuku hard, but not half as hard as his first steps in over a month.

It was time for him to go home.

Chapter Text

After his tumultuous conversation with All Might, the hospital released Izuku into his mother’s care; which really meant being released into more conversations he didn’t want to have. She was too worried about him to be furious now, but that wouldn’t last forever.

In the car, she explained that absolutely everyone knew about his month long hospital stay. Which he'd gathered already, given that they were visiting him at the hospital. All of them had questions about what Izuku was doing at the Todoroki house with the heroes. Without telling them about the time travel, Izuku’s two options were lying or telling very convincing half truths.

He was tired of lying to his friends.

In this case, however, it was necessary. Eventually that excuse would run out, but that day was not today.

He walked in the door under his own power, only to be ambushed by Hitoshi, Katsuki, and Tenya. He didn’t have time to register the surprise of seeing Tenya before they pulled him into a hug, stumbling over the shoes placed near the door.

They went down like a sack of bricks, Izuku’s fall cushioned by Katsuki’s legs.

His mother screamed in a way he’d only heard Mitsuki Bakugou do before, audible to everyone in the neighborhood. “He just got out of the hospital you little-”

Mitsuki, who was sitting at the bar by the kitchen, laughed until she nearly fell off her stool. The look of horror on Kacchan’s face was pretty funny, but falling on the floor didn’t feel great. Pushing the discomfort from his injuries down, Izuku smiled.

“I think our moms are spending too much time together,” he stage whispered to Katsuki before taking the hand Tenya offered him to get off the floor. He pulled the blue haired boy into a hug without letting go once he was upright again.

“It’s so good to see you! What? Can’t you visit outside of life threatening emergencies?” Izuku needled. His energy wouldn’t last long, but he’d stay with his friends until he felt like he was gonna pass out.

“Like you have room to talk!” Katsuki shouted. Oops. “You left the team behind! You always lectured us on what happens when we leave the team behind, but you leave us behind and it's fine? We’re stronger together than we are apart.” Kacchan’s face was full of judgement, and a little bit of scorn to cover up the worry. He wasn’t exploding, so he couldn’t be that angry.

Izuku threw a panicked look to the parents in the room, but Mitsuki waved him off. “Like we didn’t all know. You’re not subtle. At least this way you’re all looking out for each other instead of running off on your own to get in trouble.”

He threw a glance to Mikoto and Hotaru. They both shrugged.

“I found the backpack that Hitoshi likes to think he hides inside his suitcase.”

“And I read minds,” Mikoto replied with deadpan sarcasm.

Well, it sounded silly when they said it like that. So much for being a secret team. The look from his mom told him that they would be having a conversation later.

The mood of the room soured over the silence brought on by that, only the sound of the clock ticking from the wall of the kitchen breaking it. Izuku felt if he spoke their parents’ acceptance of the team would shatter like a mirror.

A knock broke the silence and everyone turned to the door.

It was Tenya who moved to answer it, ducking his dark blue head through the door as he cracked it.

“Hello?” he asked.

“Is this Midoriya Izuku’s house?” The voice was familiar but out of reach. Which could be contributed to the fog of the coma still hanging over him.

Izuku poked his head under Tenya’s arm to see who it was.

Standing in dirty snow of the stoop was a boy with blue-white hair.

“Tenko!” Izuku exclaimed, worming his way under Tenya’s arm.

Tenko stepped forward to grabbed Izuku in yet another hug before he could slip on the ice covering the walkway.

“Thank god you’re okay, don’t scare me like that! Dad showed me the video, which was absolutely crazy by the way, but then he wouldn’t tell me what was going on until he came home from the hospital today and then I find out that the reason you haven’t called is because you were in a coma and no one told me!” Tenko squeezed Izuku tighter and glared at the other boys.

“Don’t look at me! Marimo’s the only one with your number!” Kacchan didn’t shout this time, but it was near thing as the older boy reached out and slung an arm around Kacchan’s neck as well, hugging the disagreeable blonde before walking through the door. Kacchan grimaced and straightened out his clothes before continuing,“Besides, Izuku’s phone got broken in the fight.”

“He’s lucky it wasn’t his face!” Tenko half-joked

There’d been no indication prior to this that Tenko had gotten so… attached. Izuku hadn’t even thought about how this would affect him outside of how it would affect All Might. He’d miscalculated somewhere. There wasn’t any sign of the tall blond hero outside the house. 

“You snuck out didn’t you?” Izuku whispered, hoping Hotaru wouldn’t catch it with her sensitive hearing.

He shrugged, “You don’t want me to answer that. Plausible deniability.”

Tenya shut the door behind them, taking one last look for any more last minute guests.

They migrated over to the low coffee table, piled high with various goodies. Inko had stress baked enough cookies to gift the entire neighborhood several times over, and some of the goods were still warm. He grabbed one of the warm cookies and took a bite, leaning against Katsuki’s shoulder. It felt right for all of them to be here together, but it would be better if Shouto were here. Izuku contented himself with the thought that Shouto was surrounded by love and family now that Enji was out of the picture.

For the moment anyway.

“So...” Hitoshi began, shattering the illusion that he might get away without explaining why he’d been at Shouto’s house when Todoroki Enji’s divorce was served. “Why weren’t we told about the serving? Izuku, I helped. I thought that…” He trailed off with a shrug

Damn, now he really felt like an asshole, Hitoshi had a point. He’d helped Aizawa and Izuku with the case, and was the reason he’d been able to go and see Aizawa to make this happen in the first place.

“I didn’t think about-”

“Wait- before you answer, I’ve got the video,” Tenko said, cutting him off. He leaned closer to Izuku and whispered in a smaller voice, “You might want to take a look at it.”

He tilted his head to the side. “The video?”

“That Mic took.”

Izuku nodded before his brain caught up to his body. That was… not great, but maybe it would explain his actions better than his words could. He hadn’t told anyone about this because it was dangerous. What happened to Shouto and him was proof of that.

He glanced at his mother out of the corner of his eye. She looked relieved. Relieved and tired.

“Hey Mom, I’m feeling lethargic so everyone’s gonna go up to my room so I can lay down and talk. Is that okay?” Izuku said, letting Kacchan support more of his weight.

Truthfully, he wasn’t tired. Inko probably knew that, but waved him on anyway. The mothers wanted to have their own private conversation, if the way Hotaru kept casting brief looks at everyone was anything to go by.

They boys clambered up the stairs like a pack of puppies, leading the way into Izuku’s room. All five of them climbed onto Izuku’s twin bed, legs tangled together until they all fit. Tenko pulled out a sleek silver smartphone, unlocking it with a swift series of taps. The phone background was an image of a coffee cup and green scarf sitting on a table.

“Tenko is this your phone?” Izuku asked as he looked it over. The picture didn’t seem like something he would choose.

“Absolutely not,” Tenko confided, “I just have to scroll through the video files and, okay, here it is. Look.”

He hit play on the video and laid it on the bed so everyone could gather round. Izuku saw himself in very corner of the frame, hidden in the shadows. Suddenly, his green eyes lit up the shadows with a glow, and over the phone’s tinny speakers he could hear Hizashi whisper-yell: “Hey… kid- no, get back here.” It hadn’t caught him swearing, lucky for him since his mom had probably seen this. The Izuku in the video bolted before Mic could stop him, black shapes leaching from the shadows on the ground to collect under his feet, climbing up his legs like fire.

The figure in the video sprinted right through the flames, much to the awe of the boys watching the video. His ears burned, but Izuku forced his attention back to the phone.

“Get in the house, we’re gonna study English vocabulary.”

“Really? That’s what you said?” Katsuki looked unimpressed. “That has to be the worst one-liner I’ve ever heard.”

Hitoshi shushed the blonde boy, putting a hand over his mouth.

The video kept rolling.

“Holy fucking shit,” Katsuki cursed around Hitoshi’s hand, only slightly muffled. Hitoshi dropped his hand.

“What the fuck?” Hitoshi whispered.

“That’s incredible,” Tenya said.

They watched as a young boy with glowing green eyes and pitch black sclera turned to stand between Todoroki Enji and those that he wanted. Miyuki called her ice armor a second later and Shouto followed his mother’s lead. But the main focus was on the darkness that crept over Izuku’s form, cloaking him in a shadowy form that rose tall enough to look Todoroki Enji in the eye with piercing green light.

Shouto and his mother moved, and Izuku kept between them and Enji. The shadowy form grinning menacingly when Todoroki Enji tried to follow them into the house

“I don’t fucking think so.”

It was Deku’s voice. Izuku recognized it. After all, it was also his. The darkness exploded out from the shadowy form of Deku, slamming over the house like a tidal wave. Seconds later, it lifted, and a seven year old, unhindered Midoriya Izuku sprinted forward to slide through Enji’s legs. Their shadows connected as Izuku slipped under the hulking hero, swallowing Endeavor in black bubble tethered to Izuku's hand. The Toushirous ran towards the camera, everyone except for Shouto. Who had turned around after passing All Might.

That was when the shadow exploded outward, shattered fragments of darkness dissipating midair before they hit anyone. Izuku in the video fell like his strings had been cut, but everyone else in the frame only got buffeted somewhat by the clap of wind from Endeavor’s explosion.  

“So this is what the number one hero in the world is reduced to, having a child fight his battles for him-”

The Izuku in the video stood. “Hey! Shut the fuck up for once in your life.”

“That’s more like it!” Kacchan said smugly.

“Shh, this is my favourite part,” Tenko hushed him.

The Izuku in the video slammed his fist into Todoroki Enji’s hip. Sending the hero flying through his own wall.

“He deserved that,” Tenya said.

Shouto was moving forward, sprinting at top speed with a hand out, shoving Izuku down and taking a glancing blow from the first fireball meant for Izuku.

“Ouch,” Hitoshi said.

Izuku couldn’t say anything. He felt sick. The video didn’t capture any of the noise, but Izuku could practically hear the battle in his mind.

He watched as Shouto spun with the attack, sending out a curved shield of ice to block the second fireball. The ice exploded outward from the shell, colliding with Enji’s flames to create steam. Fog covered the camera’s entire field of view. When it cleared Enji was gone, and a small bubble of ice shattered to reveal two boys collapsed in an ungraceful heap on the ground.

The video ended. No one moved.

Izuku flipped the phone over to discourage anyone from hitting the replay button.

“It’s no wonder both of you were in the hospital for a month. I mean, looking at the video, you two basically took on the number two hero alone,” Tenya said, clasping Izuku’s shoulder with a firm hand.

Kacchan flopped back on the bed and slid halfway to the floor before Hitoshi grabbed his leg and yanked him back up.

“What were all the adults there for? They did nothing.” Kacchan complained.

“Dad said that everything happened so fast-” Tenko said, grabbing the phone before it got lost in the blankets.

Kacchan’s head popped back up. “Dad?”

“Shit, Izuku- do the thing,” Tenko’s teeth ground together.

Izuku shrugged, “You brought it up! It’s a miracle you managed to keep it secret for this long.”

“Okay, Mr. Time Traveler, since you apparently can’t cover a secret for a friend-” ouch, that actually stung a little. “Yeah, my dad was there.”

“But the only adults were Aizawa-sensei, All Might, Present Mic, Shouto’s mom, and that snake-y lawyer lady,” Kacchan said, listing them off on his fingers.

Hitoshi loudly inhaled, “All Might.”

“What?” Tenya asked.

“All Might, think about it. We’d know if Aizawa-sensei or Hizashi-san had kids- we practically started a school club in their living room,” Hitoshi leaned forward as he spoke.

Tenko shrugged, but didn’t deny anything. Kacchan spluttered, fully falling off the bed when Hitoshi let go of his leg.

“He’s not my biological dad, but he’s been my dad for like… a year,” Tenko shrugged again. “My grandmother was his mentor.”

“Wait how come Izuku knew?” Kacchan said, sitting up on the floor.

Well, here was a chance where he could tell the truth without really telling the truth.

“Time travel,” Izuku shrugged.

Kacchan snorted, “Okay, let’s pretend I buy that. What was that shadow-y thing about?”

“Let’s go back to talking about Tenko’s dad,” Izuku said, weakly trying to deflect. Tenko’s dad was a really strange way to refer to All Might, but it was a soft kind of strangeness. One that he could get used to in time.

“Not going to work on us,” Hitoshi said, pushing Kacchan’s leg off the bed, leaving the other boy spluttering indignant on the floor.

It was another chance to tell the truth. How many of those had come and gone by now? Each opportunity to share his burden that he passed by would only increase the resentment from his friends when they inevitably did find out the truth. And once the team knew, pretty much everyone else would know as well. Once five people knew a secret, it was bound to get out. Especially when those five people were under the age of ten.

Maybe he’d try to tell everyone when they turned ten.  

“Well, my quirk is Zero Relativity, it’s not ‘Time Travel’. Jumping back in time is more of a side effect than the quirk’s main function. At least that’s what I think,” he shrugged, “there’s no way to be sure. The shadow stuff is just another part of whatever it does.”

“That can’t be all there is too it,” Tenko said.

The older boy was fishing for information, and Izuku had to question how much All Might shared with his son. Did Tenko know everything? Know about the decade he’d lost? The variable was too foreign to guess; Toshinori-san was not Toshinori-sensei. No matter what Izuku kept calling him mentally out of a misplaced sense of nostalgia. He had no idea if Tenko knew what he'd revealed to Toshinori at the hospital.

He could tell everyone he was tired, avoid their questions for another day, but that would only make them pursue it with more fervor than before.

“I’ll tell you guys the same thing I told Shouto, when you’re ready to know the real answer, ask me. There are things that you can’t unknow. Horrible things. Wonderful things. Things that were could come to be, that sounds more mysterious than it actually is. Just, don’t ask me unless you’re sure that you want to know,” Izuku tried not to slip into a serious tone, but his friends glanced around at each other in a way that said he failed.

“How bad is it?” Hitoshi asked. The purple haired boy was clearly trying to stay level headed about the whole thing, but Izuku knew him too well to miss the curiosity in his eyes.

“The truth would be harder on some of you than others, but it’s not great for anyone,” Izuku said, very pointedly not looking at Kacchan or Tenko as he spoke.

“How long have- well, has this been troubling you?” Tenya asked, getting to the root of the matter in a roundabout way.

“Over a year. Kacchan, do you remember that day you stopped me from running into the street and getting hit by a car?”

“Yes? I mean, you could have died. That’s not something I could forget.”

“That was the day,” Izuku said simply.

Kacchan was quiet, before sitting up and scooting close to the bed. “You looked really bad that day, you looked at me like I was something out of a nightmare.” Izuku winced, but Kacchan didn’t stop there, “Wasn’t that the day that you found out about your quirk?”

“It wasn’t a great day-” a jaw cracking yawn stopped Izuku mid sentence, “-hardest day of my life.”

Tenko pulled Izuku into a side hug, everyone else moving forward to try and get their own. Katsuki flopped on top of everyone, elbows and knees flailing like a knife in the hands of a toddler.

Hitoshi laughed and pushed Katsuki back onto the floor. "He's still injured, you goof."

“Hitoshi's right, you should get some rest,” Tenko said in a tone that didn’t broker any backtalk- one that lacked the dry rasping quality of Tomura's.

“Sure,” Izuku rolled his eyes before he shut them. It wasn’t the most comfortable bed, but the weight of all his friends- minus one- soothed most of the anxiety keeping his brain occupied. Closing his eyes to rest them for a minute, he conceded to a quick nap. Just enough time to rest his eyes.

 


 

There was a crash from downstairs.

Hitoshi bolted upright, startling Kacchan onto the floor for the third time. None of them moved, Tenko didn’t so much as breathe as he brought a wrist to his mouth to undo the snap of his glove while Izuku slept on his other arm.

Well, Izuku was mostly sleeping on the side of Tenko’s stomach now, having slid down from his original position.

Izuku still slept, so no one was going to die immediately. Seeing Tenko move to defend, the other kids tensed. There was shuffling coming up the stairs. That calmed Tenko somewhat, if someone was here to hurt Izuku (someone like Enji) they wouldn't have been able to get past the four mothers downstairs without making one hell of a racket.

Kacchan crept back onto the bed, positioning himself near the foot of the bed.

The door creaked open and Tenko had his teeth around the silver snap of his gloves, ready for anything.

Until his dad poked his head in.

All Might’s eyes went wide as he took in the twin bed full of kids. The boys, to their credit, didn’t look like they were about to back down just because the number one hero was the person who’d come through the door.

“If you wake him I will disintegrate your bento collection,” Tenko hissed.

Izuku had clearly been through much more than he’d ever spoken of, he’d saved Tenko and his father, and Tenko would do whatever he could to repay that. Nothing like this would happen again, not on his watch.

His dad’s eyes softened, and he nodded once. Everyone relaxed.

Toshinori held his hand up to his ear, making a phone gesture and holding out his hand. Tenko would have sighed; but the motion could have woken Izuku, so he suppressed it in favour of rolling his eyes. Adjusting his glove with his teeth, Tenko fished the phone out of his back pocket carefully. It wouldn’t do to accidentally disintegrate his dad’s phone. It looked expensive.

He tossed the phone at his dad, who caught it with ease. Toshinori hesitated, but ultimately exited the room without saying anything else.

Tenko strained his ears, but he couldn’t hear anything else.

“What was that all about?” Kacchan whispered.

“Inko-san and All Might-san are talking outside the door. Something about letting everyone stay over for the night. He’s saying that the house is way too small for that. Oh, she just said that Mitsuki-san brought over all her extra futons, and that her and Masaru would sleep at their house since they lived so close. Who’s Masaru-san?” Hitoshi whispered.

“That’s my dad, we’ve been friends for over a year and you don’t know my dad’s name?” Katsuki asked, incredulous.

Tenya hushed Katsuki before he could started. He was wedged next to the wall on the other side of the bed, Hitoshi using Tenyas legs as a pillow. Which couldn’t be comfortable. Tenko had seen that kid’s calves and they were literally made of steel.

None of the boys seemed bothered by the cramped conditions. Without a word, Katsuki climbed off the foot of the bed and went to the closet to retrieve extra blankets and a pillow. He passed one to everyone on the bed, and took his own over to the window next to the desk. He spread it out underneath and curled up on it.

Hitoshi followed him off the bed a second later. He made no noise as he crept out the bedroom door, returning minutes later with more pillows and a futon. The pillows he handed out to everyone on the bed, but the futon he dropped unceremoniously on Kacchan.

There was a soft ‘oof’ as Katsuki scrambled out from under it with his blanket before Hitoshi flopped down on it.

Tenko muffled a snort when he realized that the boys were trying to cover the entrances and exits.

Without the other two boys, the bed was a lot more comfortable, and Tenko managed stretch his legs out and shift position without waking Izuku.

These kids were alright, and he was gonna try and keep it that way.

It’s what any future UA student would do.

Chapter Text

That impromptu sleepover set a trend for everyone on the team. Every night, one of them would find a reason to end up at Izuku’s house and keep him company. Privately, he wondered if they were worried he would sleep for another month if no one was there to wake him in the morning. It worked out alright though, he had company and they had reassurances.

If Izuku was a little quieter than before, no one really minded. Everyone favoured giving him space to heal over pressing him for information. A blessing that he wholly appreciated.

Christmas passed without fanfare, the team met up and spent the night together- minus Shouto, an absence that felt like a splinter in Izuku’s soul. Christmas had always been a holiday full of warmth; if only he could remember the reason why. It wasn’t traditional to celebrate the day in Japan, and his family had never done much for it, preferring to save gifts for New Years instead. Still, he felt like something important slipped away from his memory during the holiday's passing. 

Days later the whole team, parents included, crammed into the Midoriya house for the biggest celebration of the year. Not everyone could stay for the whole week of festivities, but those who couldn't still made an appearance. Aizawa and Yamada had shown up for soba a few days before and teased their favourite student before leaving. They had plans to go visit a shrine near Aizawa’s parents that they couldn’t cancel. The absence of Tenya’s father was conspicuous, but his brother promised to drop by when he was off the holiday shift. Mitsuki had offered up her house as a place for people to stay for the next few days, an offer that Hotaru and Mikoto were glad to take her up on.

After all, that would leave Inko and Toshinori alone in the house together to watch the kids, which would be terrifying if it wasn’t so funny. Mikoto had pulled the other adults aside and forbade the other parents from offering to lend a hand.

On the last day of the year, the two adults were dancing around each other for reasons only they knew. Awkwardly sidestepping each other in the kitchen, separating soba into bowls and grabbing the boxes of osechi to bring to the living room. They worked without speaking, giving each other the occasional glance before looking away.

It went mostly unnoticed by the children, who were focused more on each other. Mostly. Every so often Hitoshi would pause and tilt his head to the side, on the verge of connecting two pieces of an even larger puzzle.

In a flight of genius, Tenya suggested they carpet the living room in futons. It gave them ample space to spread out, but they all ended up gathered around the TV on one futon anyway.

The TV was on full blast, with a smattering of adults watching it from the couch and other miscellaneous chairs pulled around the futon forest. It was tuned into Kouhaku Uta Gassen at Inko’s request. No one had anything against the singing competition, least of all Izuku, but he couldn't help feeling a sense of déjà vu after each song. 

The doorbell rang and Izuku was the first off the floor; the over-protectiveness of his friends had waned somewhat over the past week, but he had to be fast if he wanted to get to the door before anyone else could answer it. He’d been hoping that they would come. The holiday wouldn’t feel complete if they didn’t.

Outside the door, standing on the crust of freshly fallen snow was entire Toushirou family, but he only had eyes for Shouto. His bandage had been removed and Izuku could see the bright red scar over the left side of his face.

He moved without thinking, pulling Shouto into a crushing hug. The other boy moved to catch him immediately, pinning him in place.  

His hand flit to Shouto's face, tracing over the jagged edge of his new scar. He knew it was shaped differently, even if he couldn’t remember the exact form it had held in the past. The scar under his fingertips was sharper, and spread over the side of Shouto’s face to kiss past the tip of his ear and into his hairline.

His red hair had been completely shaved, leaving a shock of white hair on top of his head. It was a good look. Izuku almost told him so, but bit down on it at the last second. They were already close friends, there was no need to push things any further.

Shouto wasn’t the only one sporting a change in hairstyle, Miyuki had cut her hair in a short bob, and Fuyumi and Akihiko had cut every piece of red out of their hair, giving Akihiko an undercut and Fuyumi a set of layers.

“I’m so glad you guys could come,” Izuku said, going pink in the face as he reluctantly stepped back out of Shouto’s embrace.

He held the door open for them, “Mom’s got soba noodles and Toshinori-san’s got most of the osechi out on the dinner table for whoever wants some.”

Fuyumi toed her shoes off and looked at the TV, “Oh good, I was worried that you would be watching sports.” She walked forward without hesitation to take a bowl from Inko and settle down near the arm of the couch.

Akihiko leaned over and stage whispered, “She’s really picky about what we watch for New Year's,” before making a bee-line for All Might and the feast laid out on the dining room table.

Izuku shook his head when Shouto laughed. He could listen to that sound forever. Looking around the room, Izuku took in the sight of his friends and their families. It felt right. They were all together for the first time. Smiling, he took Shouto’s hand and led him into the fray.

They took slow measured steps across the uneven floor of futons, Izuku’s pace matching Shouto’s cautious ones. As far as he knew, Shouto hadn’t seen the team since the hospital and they could be… overwhelming in their affections.

Katsuki obviously didn’t get the memo.

He bolted up and threw an arm around Shouto, nearly shouting in his ear. “Finally! We missed you!”

The blond wrestled Shouto to the ground in the middle of the futon, Hitoshi jumping up to grab Shouto a bowl of soba. Tenko gave an awkward wave.

Right, they hadn’t met yet.

“Shouto this is Tenko, he’s Toshinori-san’s son,” Izuku nodded towards where a casually dressed All Might was sitting at the table chatting with Mikoto and Miyuki. Shouto sat up and nodded at Izuku's words. 

Tenko nodded, “I mean, we technically have met in passing but we weren’t introduced, any friend of Izuku’s is a friend of mine though.”

Apparently, that was enough common ground for Shouto. His face lit up and he answered likewise.

The evening continued on much the same as it had before. Tenya was the first casualty of the night, passing out propped up against the couch with three hours still to go til midnight. It wasn’t a big deal, everyone would wake him for the countdown anyway.

This time, everyone studiously avoided laying on his legs, but Hitoshi still managed to stub his toe on an engine trying to free himself from the pile for a snack. Izuku found himself yawning with his head on Tenko’s legs, Shouto leaning on his arm, and Katsuki propped up against his knees.

Surrounded by his friends, Izuku settled in for the night, letting the sound of the singing competition wash over him. He looked forward to meeting his second New Year in the past. Things were looking up. It was a simple moment that meant so much more, last year he'd barely realized it was New Years.

He caught his mother and Toshinori-san with their heads bent together, speaking in a way that projected an ease and familiarity with one another. It looked like they'd worked out all the differences causing friction between them earlier. Maybe they bonded over what it was like to have a child upend your life in ways you never expected. Though to be fair, that was the fate of parents all around the world. 

Izuku fell asleep ten minutes before midnight thinking that it had been a good day.

Silver gloves slid through green hair as Tenko absently watched the TV finish it's count down to the New Year. Toshinori and Inko tipping their glasses together in a soft clink in the background. 

Chapter Text

The house rose from its slumber as Toshinori bellowed that breakfast was ready. No one, Tenya excluded, had gotten enough sleep the night before. A march of sleepy kids led their procession down the stairs to the table and blinked at the American style breakfast. A few looks were exchanged, but everyone sat down and piled their plates with food. It wasn’t a traditional New Year’s breakfast but it was loaded with sugar.

The sugar helped them shake off the haze of sleep, conversation around the table picking up its pace until everyone was chatting happily.

“We’re gonna have mochi right?” Hitoshi asked suddenly, eyeing the adult that would give into his puppy dog eyes the quickest. He looked right at All Might with the most plaintive eyes he could muster.

“You just ate,” Toshinori said, looking around for backup. Tenko shrugged at him, shoulders shaking with silent laughter.

“We haven’t made any-” Toshinori turned his own sad eyes on Inko for help.

She huffed and rolled her eyes. “You could take them to fly kites in the park. Mitsu-chan and I should have time get them ready since we’re not visiting the shrine until tomorrow. That woman is a terror in the kitchen.”

“Yes!” Hitoshi cheered, but Katsuki plonked his head down on the table with a groan.

“Marimo, I’m moving in with you. There’s gonna be rice flour all over the whole house .”

“I mean, won’t Mikoto-chan and Hotaru-san be there to-” Izuku trailed off when Hitoshi shook his head.

“My moms are hopeless when it comes to cooking.”

Toshinori and Inko were talking quietly to each other. Izuku caught the tail end of Toshinori’s “-if you’re sure we’re not imposing,” before the conversation fizzled out.

“Alright, all of you go change and don’t forget your coats.” Inko said, shooing the boys upstairs to get dressed.

 


 

Snow blanketed the ground of the park. Usually on the first of January the snow covered the ground like powdered sugar, this year the ground held a thick slurry of wet snow with patches of powder that were still decent enough to pack snowballs with.

Izuku grinned at the sky, watching all of the kites float across. There were so many more than he was used to, but less than there had been the year before. Over time, kite flying had fallen out of favour as a New Year's tradition, especially when it was this cold outside. The tradition meant a lot to his mom, so they kept it up.

The other boys didn’t seem to be worried about participating in such an ‘outdated’ tradition, and he caught more than one older couple smiling at the troop of kids racing across the snow to keep their kites in the sky.

They’d chosen the most eye-burning brightly colored kites they could find from the stalls on the way to the park, holding squares of neon green and red to their chests.

Things were going well until the red kite wheeled through the sky, taking a sudden nosedive into the snow.

Izuku completely let go of his kite, the string slipping away from his frozen fingers- he was unable to rip his eyes away from the red kite to watch the wind carry his away. 

Red on white. Red encased in crystals that would freeze it in time forever. Izuku tripped to his knees, looking down at the blank expanse of whiteness in front of his face. There was a memory all about a dot of red in an expanse of white. Maybe he should take comfort in the fact that he couldn’t recall the specifics of it. He knew which one it was, he’d written it down before things started to slip away.

The thought of it happening to his Shouto, Toushirou Shouto, was agonizing.

His breath fogged in front of his eyes, puffing like a train.

It wouldn’t happen this time, the fact that he’d forgotten meant it wouldn’t happen. It couldn’t happy anymore. Tenko would never willingly lay a hand on Shouto, he wasn’t Tomura. Tomura was dead because he would never exist in the first place.

Izuku was here now.

He had to focus on the present.

Toshinori squat down in front of Izuku, but only his shoes were visible from Izuku’s position on the ground.

“Izuku-san,” he said. There was a large hand in his field of view, not grabbing anything, just sitting there, bare and exposed to the January air.

Green eyes flicked up from the ground, Toshinori’s body blocked his view of almost everyone else in the clearing, his friends included. He had to get up, for them, they couldn’t see him break like this. Why now? It’s the damn first day of the year, it’s all supposed to be about luck and beginnings. Why now?

Maybe he wasn’t allowed to be happy. Powerful quirks always had their price. He’d thought it was the amnesia, but maybe it was the misery instead.

He took Toshinori’s hand, letting the man haul him to his feet. Their eyes met, steadiness and panic crashing together in an instant.

“How long do you need?” Toshinori asked, casting his gaze back at the other children. One of them, he wasn’t sure which one, had realized Izuku was having a panic attack. Instead of all rushing over, they were holding each other back. The two kites still in the air were let out to the extent of their strings, soaring high above the turbulent drafts of air near the ground.  

“Just a minute, I’m fine,” Izuku said with a rougher voice, it pitched down deeper, “You’d think amnesia means that the memories aren’t there to hurt you anymore, but apparently fucking not when time travel is involved.”

Izuku spoke quietly, but Toshinori noticed Hitoshi rub the back of his head and look over sadly. That boy was too much like his mentors for his own good.

He watched as Izuku took in a deep breath, shrugged his shoulders back, and looked at All Might with a nod.

“When you want to talk about it-” the ‘I’m here’ went unsaid.

“No, I’m going to be fine,” Izuku looked out, eyes landing on the pure white of Shouto’s hair, the red hair buzzed short to his head. “Things are going to be different.”

 


 

After that interruption, the team resumed flying their kites with less vigor. Toshinori was on his phone every five minutes, texting Inko to see how the mochi were coming along. He’d updated her on the situation, but her responses didn’t reassure him very much.

The kites were quickly abandoned in favor of playing in the snow, splitting into teams and launching projectiles at each other. He could see experience in how Izuku commented on his friend’s techniques which ranged from beginner suggestions to advanced tactical maneuvers that pro heroes wouldn’t even think of.

If he had any doubts about Izuku’s story, this would have put them to rest.

He was training his friends. They must have noticed, because they took his advice seriously. Even Tenko, who Toshinori struggled to impress the seriousness of any situation on, took Izuku's comments and applied them. They were going to be a force to be reckoned with when they hit the pro scene. He had no doubts all of them would make it to the top.

If he wasn’t convinced of the merits of Izuku’s idea of building a team to become the symbol of peace, he had damn well get ready in the next ten years, because it was going to happen whether he liked it or not.

Toshinori resolved to like it. Even if he didn’t like how young they all were.

He texted Inko a final message: They’re coming in hot. Shouto broke out the big guns in a snowball fight.

His phone buzzed before he could put it in his pocket: Don’t tell Miyuki that, he’s not supposed to use his quirk for another month.

Toshinori snorted, if Inko thought he was going to lie to Toushirou Miyuki… well, he didn’t have a death wish.  

Looking at the team sporting wide toothy smiles in spite of the stumble earlier, Toshinori figured he was strong enough to bend the truth a little bit.

 


 

Mitsuki sported an entire outfit covered in rice flower to show for her efforts. It looked like it might have been a yukata before the flour attacked it.

“You all better appreciate this! I had to baby the rice maker the whole time.” Mitsuki said sternly, holding out some flower covered mochi on a tray for the children to take. Dotted around the room on various furniture were stacked sets of mochi, topped with a kumquat. Another old tradition meant to bring luck.

Half the things you did on New Year's revolved around luck. It made his panic attack earlier feel like a bad omen.

The thought was pushed from his mind as Kacchan shoved a mochi into Izuku’s mouth.

Well, some things don’t change.

He chewed, taking a seat by the TV. There wasn’t much on today, but what there was varied widely in topic. They settled on a movie for the time being, letting it play as the kids warmed back up from their time outside.

Dinner passed in much the same way, Izuku’s mind wandered no matter how much he tried to keep it rooted in the present. He couldn’t say what he’d eaten, or what the topic of conversation was.

They were nearing the time when the adults who were staying at the Bakugou house were going to start passing out glasses of plum wine and go back to Mitsuki's house.

It was a new tradition, one he’d overheard his mother talking about. She didn’t drink alcohol, so she had volunteered to take ‘hero herding’ duty.

Toshinori had quickly volunteered to join her. Maybe he still wanted to talk about the subject that was troubling them on New Year’s Eve. Izuku wasn’t sure, but he also couldn’t see Toshinori getting getting drunk either. God, the stories that would result from that. Maybe he should ask Mic for more information sometime.

While Izuku had been preoccupied, Shouto’s siblings were welcomed into the group. Neither of them had any ambitions to become heroes, so they tended to be on the fringe of a lot of conversations. Hitoshi made a concentrated effort to keep them included as they flipped through channels and settled on a compromise to watch.

It was a nice gathering, Akihiko helped Inko keep the boys in line far more than Fuyumi, who was curled up in an armchair with a book she’d brought with her New Year's money. Ah, to be back in the‘too cool for school’ teenage years.  

Add a lot of food to a group of kids that had spent the day running around and you had the recipe for a floor full of napping kids. Which wasn’t a good idea if you wanted more than one of them to sleep through the night, but Toshinori was too softhearted to try and keep them awake, not matter how many times Inko huffed and rolled her eyes at him. He shrugged shamelessly at her, giving Izuku’s mother a bring grin.

That was… different . Izuku chewed on his lip. Why was it different? He suddenly got the feeling he was missing something obvious. They were being friendly, but there was something else going on.

He shook his head, maybe he’d been meddling too much. It clearly wasn’t anything bad or his mom would have sought his help.

Toshinori turned back to the tv, his bulk taking up a good portion of the couch not covered by a lounging Tenko, out cold across two cushions and the floor. Tenko snored, a sound which would have been hilarious if it didn’t sound like a rasping ghost.

It was keeping Izuku from taking a nap. The only other one of them awake was Hitoshi, who was currently laying across his legs, cutting off Izuku's circulation without a care in the world. Every so often he would glance at Izuku with a strange look on his face.

“Hitoshi what is it?” he sighed.

Hitoshi gave soft snort. “You should talk to All Might.”

Izuku flinched, and Hitoshi raised an eyebrow when he felt the tremor of it roll through his legs.

“Talk to him about what?”

“The thing you don’t want to tell us about,” Hitoshi rolled off his legs, sitting up. Izuku felt his heartrate skyrocket at that simple action.

What if he asked? He’d promised to answer. Could he? If it came down to it, could he tell Hitoshi that he’d died without ever being recognized as a hero? He wasn't sure that he could. 

Hitoshi studied his face for a moment, “He already knows, doesn’t he? The thing you can’t unknow?”

Confronted with a direct question, Izuku just nodded, thankful it was one he could answer without speaking.

“Well, good, you should talk to him.”

“How’d you figure out he knew?” Izuku asked, already getting to his feet.

“Sometimes… when he looks at you he looks really sad. It’s an expression his face isn’t used to making.”

“Y’know, sometimes you’re too smart for your own good,” Izuku sighed. He slid off the futon and got to his feet, looking nervously at where Toshinori was checking his phone. Glancing back at his friend, Izuku shored up his resolve.

Hitoshi watched him go with his own sad look on his face. Once he was out of earshot, Hitoshi whispered, “Yeah, sometimes I am.”

 


 

Izuku had pulled All Might upstairs before he realized the place he was about to take his old mentor was absolutely plastered with pictures of the man. Too bad he didn’t realize that before he turned on the lights to a visual assault of red, blue, and yellow.

Toshinori scratched the back of his head with a weak chuckle as he stepped inside.

If he didn’t acknowledge it, it didn’t happen and Izuku could live through this hot rush of embarassment.

“Look, Izuku-san, I know-”

“Stop.”

Toshinori raised an eyebrow.

Izuku just shook his head. This was a bad idea. This was a monumentally bad idea. Too late to think of another one now.

Izuku walked across the room to his desk, unlocking the drawer that held the most important notebook in the world.

He held it out to Toshinori, “You should probably sit down while you read this.”

The only furniture even close to being big enough to hold Toshinori was the bed, which creaked when he sat on it.

Toshinori opened the plain composition notebook and lightly thumbed through the pages. He passed the page detailing a child’s interpretation of his powers and turned to the next page. He stopped, going back to the first one and passing his thumb over the childish, messy katakana.

Then he flipped the page over to the neat kanji and read.

There wasn’t much to do but watch Toshinori’s face change as he read over the insane rambling of the recently thrown back in time. Pages full of bullet points, red pen, and highlighted sections- his entire life story written out like it was the subject of someone’s midterm exam.

It wasn’t a very happy one, but it had its moments of triumph in the beginning. Nearer to the end was a different story. Heroes don’t always win. A hard lesson he’d learned first hand.

It took an hour, but that hour could have been passed in a second or a weeks.

When Toshinori was done, he set the book to the side, smoothing out the front cover so it lay flat on Izuku’s blankets.

A spell of silence hung over the room.

Toshinori raised his arms and Izuku moved before he thought, hopping off the desk and sprinting the few steps into the arms of his mentor. There wasn’t anyone on this earth that gave a more comforting hug than Yagi Toshinori, but he seemed to need this hug just as much as Izuku did.

There was an unsteady shake to his arms, so hauntingly familiar, and a jagged edge to his breathing. Izuku hugged him back for all he was worth. Like he could make the things Toshinori had just learned hurt less.

There was a cold feeling on his shoulder, and Izuku realized with a start that Toshinori was crying. Okay, maybe he had vastly underestimated how much these things would impact his mentor. He knew better than to believe the number one hero was invincible. He’d know that since he was 14.

So why had he decided laying everything out on the table was a good idea?

“What was it earlier?” Toshinori asked through the wetness in his throat.

“Red on white. Shouto’s sacrifice.” He refused to say death. “So much white, with just a dot of red. Red I wasn’t even sure was there or if I was imagining it because it wanted to see anything of him. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I wrote that much.” Izuku would have shrugged, if he weren’t being hugged.

Toshinori nodded, running a hand through Izuku’s hair like mother-henning him was the only thing that could cheer him up. If it made him feel better, Izuku wasn’t averse to letting Toshinori fuss over him.

Just this once.

“It’s not the first time?” Toshinori asked.

“Well, no, but-”

“Did you ever tell Mikoto-chan?”

“Not specifics, but she does the-” he tapped a finger against his temple, “the mind reading thing.”

“That doesn’t help you work through it,” Toshinori prompted.

Izuku shrugged and Toshinori pulled him into a second crushing hug.

“You can always talk to me, okay?” Toshinori said, ruffling his hair.

“I didn’t want to- I didn’t know what to do. You adopted Tenko and I know that he’s not Tomura, but I didn’t- I didn’t want to tell you about it. I felt like it would have sounded like I was jealous, or something like that. I don’t know.”

“It’s okay Izuku, you don’t need to worry anymore.”

“I don’t actually think I can stop,” Izuku smiled, grinding the heel of his palm into his eyes to wipe away his tears. “I didn’t want to burden you with this.”

“I’m glad you did, it was partially my fault. Don’t protest, you cannot take all the blame for what happened any more than I could. I made poor decisions that put you in a very difficult situation,” Toshinori tried to reason, but Izuku pulled away.

“If you don’t blame Tenko for the things Tomura did, then you shouldn’t blame yourself for the choices you were forced to make. We all did the best we could, sometimes there isn’t anyone to blame.”

Izuku took the notebook and locked it back in the drawer. That was the safest place for it right now.

“You should take some time to think on things, I’m going to check on everyone else downstairs,” Izuku said, giving Toshinori a pat on the arm as he fled from the room.

 


 

It took seconds for Toshinori to shake Tenko awake and leave him with instructions to watch the kids, but it took much longer for Izuku to stop glancing his way every few minutes. It was almost like he didn’t think Toshinori could process everything and was waiting for him to blurt it out to everyone.

As soon as he had the chance he grabbed Inko’s arm gently, inclining his head to the staircase.  

She nodded, wiping her hands off on a dishtowel. She’d gotten most of the rice flour off the kitchen appliances. How it got there was a feat in itself considering all the mochi had been made at Mitsuki’s house.

They walked up the stairs, Toshinori giving a glance over his shoulder to make eye contact with Tenko. His son looked concerned but didn’t move from the couch as they ascended up the stairs.

“Inko-”

She held up a finger and opened the door to her room, ushering him inside. The door shut with a light click, a second click following as she locked it.

“He told you everything this time?” She asked, standing up on her tiptoes to brush her fingers across his face. His eyes were swollen. They always swelled like balloons when he cried, shading his deep set eyes to make them look black.

“I don’t know how he bears all that weight-” Toshinori valiantly tried not to cry, but rolls of tears escaped from the corner of his eye.

“Toshi, he’s so much like you sometimes. It’s a wonder you’re not his biological father.” That at least made him laugh.

“Well, he seems to already look for me to be in that role. It helps that I think his mom is the most stunning woman I’ve ever met,” Toshinori leaned forward, pressing a kiss to her cheek. They’d agreed on holding off until after the holidays to tell everyone. It had been part of… a very long discussion they had after Izuku spilled the beans about the time travel.

“We have to tell him. We’ve been dating for half a year-” Toshinori sat down on the bed, so Inko wouldn’t have to stand on her tiptoes anymore.

“Easier said than done. I don’t know how to bring it up,” Inko sighed. Her hands were still on his skin, fingertips touching the shallow planes of his face. How he looked so dramatic when he was off being All Might was beyond her, right now he just looked soft and scared.

He leaned into her touch. It helped him to gather his thoughts back together. “After everything he told me, we have to tell him. I couldn’t bear keeping anything from him.”

She nodded, “I wanted to make sure things were working out before we told him. You’ve seen his room! I didn’t want him to get any hopes up. Not to mention everything else .” She punctuated her statement with a wave of her hand.

“Tenko and Izuku get along well, we’re both on the same page there- I think Tenko knows more than he’s letting on about Izuku or he overheard me speaking with Aizawa. I’m not sure. I don’t want to jinx anything, but if things were going to go wrong I think it would have been when I found out your son was my successor from the future.”

She hummed lightly in response, neither confirming or denying it Her fingers had moved from his face to his hair, brushing his bangs back away from his face as he spoke. It soothed the racing thoughts running tracks around his mind.

He hunched forward, his hair slipping out of her fingers like silk. “Did he tell you about the Tomura thing?”

Inko sat next to him in order to rub her hand across his back. The muscles were tense underneath her fingers, brushing over the occasional bump of a scar. “You know, that was one of the first things he told me. He’d come back from all of that tragedy and immediately he told me ‘we need to find and help Shimura Tenko’. Before he told me about Todoroki Enji, before he mentioned you. He told me that. It was literally the second thing he said. The first being ‘Mom please believe that I’m from the future’. I didn’t know that Tenko and Tomura were the same person until much later,” she snorted sadly, “He didn’t even think it was important.”

He smiled and shook his head. “That’s why you put in the missing persons report for him? And the custody request? You lied on almost all of those forms. It almost made the adoption difficult.”

“I had to do something.” Inko shrugged shamelessly, winking at him.

“Did you know that they met by chance? I didn’t know Tenko was talking about Izuku at the time. But he’d told me of a ‘weird kid out way too late at night’ at the beach after I’d caught him sneaking out.”

Inko snapped her fingers, “So that’s where he ran off to on the day before his birthday. I never pressed him on it, because he didn’t make a habit of it.”

The faint background noise of Inko’s bedroom grew louder in the silence that followed. The clock on the dresser ticking with the hearts and minds of the two adults sat side by side on the dark purple duvet.

“Do you ever wonder how many times he’s gone back in time?” Toshinori was leaning back with both of his arms braced behind him against the bed until his back gave a satisfying crack. It had been doing that since the fight with All For One.

“He keeps a tally of it; I think, but he hasn’t talked about it,” she flopped backwards on the bed. She’d done an admirable job of trying to keep everything to herself. Having Mikoto probably helped, someone she could talk to and share things with when the emotional burden of carrying so many heavy secrets got to be too much to bear alone.

This was better.

“We could tell him after Shouto-kun’s birthday, just so it’s not too much at once. That way I could also get you alone for Valentine's day-” Inko squeezed the muscle of his arm and gave him a kiss on the corner of his lips.

He turned his mouth to accept it full on, one moment of bliss between two people awash in a sea of difficult choices.

A single explosion echoed through the house, there was a muffled shout from downstairs.

“Duty calls,” Inko whispered, drawing away from him with reluctant fingers dragging across the exposed skin of his arm.

A shattering sound echoed from below followed by a small roar of low sounds.

“Yep, definitely gonna go check on them,” Inko skittered off the bed and out her bedroom door.

Turns out, if you cover a bowl of mochi and stick it in the microwave, it explodes and catches fire, which leads to an iced microwave if Toushirou Shouto happens to be sitting at the kitchen island when it happens.

Also Tenya shouldn’t run on laminate flooring because he can’t stop and breaks a glass oven door with his knee.

Inko laughed and waved Izuku off from turning back time after she checked that no one was injured beyond a few scrapes.

“It was about time to update the kitchen appliances anyway. I’ve been eyeing a new stove with a fish oven for ages now.”

 


 

The shrines were quieter today than they’d been on the first; which was why they’d waited in the first place. Only Hotaru was religious, and she’d gone the day before to say her prayers at a temple on the first day of the year instead of a shrine.

Those of them that had omamori from last year brought them to be burned; Izuku forgot what he did with his charm from last year. His mom had handled most of the celebrations while he’d adjusted to being in the past. He remembered that she'd been somber, no doubt praying for the safety of a child who had already been hurt.

With six kids running around a slightly crowded Shinto shrine it was less reverent than last year had been.

He liked it better this way.

And this time he’d talked his mom out of making him wear a kimono. Not everyone had access to one, and Izuku claimed it wouldn’t be fair. Everyone took the statement at face value. Izuku really just didn’t like wearing them.

They all approached the shrine and traded their coins for numbered sticks, going off to find their papers. Izuku unrolled his paper without looking at it, taking a breath and thinking of his friends before looking down.

Before he could read his fortune, Shouto laughed in a startled manner.

“What?” he asked, leaning over to read the kanji printed on Shouto’s paper.

“I got a half-blessing,” Shouto said, holding out the paper for everyone else to read. He laughed again, setting off a chain reaction in everyone else. It wasn’t that funny, but the way he said it had been shockingly deadpan.

Izuku read his own fortune, a blessing, that was much better luck than usual for him. For a good ten years, all Izuku had gotten from the o-mikuji had been curses of various levels. That hadn’t changed last year.

It wasn’t just any blessing thought, Izuku noted with a snort, passing his fortune to Toshinori- who busted out laughing in a very recognizable way.

Whispers from the shrine-goers rose around them.

“Is that….”

“No, it couldn’t be.”

Izuku grabbed his phone and made to answer it. “Sorry, I should have turned my ringtone off.”

Toshinori winked at him. “Just remember next time.”

“Guess not.”

Tenko looped an arm around Izuku’s shoulders, “That’s a good save. I’m going to have to remember that.”

“You forget I’ve had experience coming up with excuses on the fly,” Izuku elbowed Tenko lightly.

“Mmmm, sure.” Tenko waved a paper in front of his father’s face. “I got another bad fortune, me and Kacchan and Hitoshi all did, I’m gonna go take them to the pinetree so they can tie them on, they’ll need my help to reach the uncovered branches.”

Toshinori nodded, “Sounds good, you guys should be back in what? Ten minutes?”

Tenko shrugged, sliding away from Izuku’s side to find the other two ‘cursed’ children in their group this year. He was probably too late to save Kacchan's luck, last year he'd gotten a bad fortune and incinerated it on accident before it could be tied around a branch.

Chapter Text

He stood outside the gate of the new Toushirou home shifting from side-to-side nervously. The walls were a white plaster that directly contrasted the Todoroki compound where they had lived before. Where that building had been all round wooden columns and red stained wood in a traditional style, this house was bright and modern with silver accents and a multicolored roof that reminded Izuku of sea glass.

Opening the gate, Izuku stepped into the yard. He could hear a stream nearby, but couldn’t see anything beyond the mounds of snow covering what could be bushes or very suspicious hills at the edge of the yard.

They were probably bushes, to be fair.

The door cracked open while Izuku idled in the walkway. “Izuku-kun! You made it!” Akihiko threw the door the rest of the way in a move that shook the walls of the house.

“Aki-chan if you slam that door open one more time-” came a screech from inside the house. It sounded like Fuyumi was busy trying to help her mother keep everyone in line. He wrinkled his nose to keep from giggling at the face Akihiko made in response to her shout. 

Izuku walked up the path alone. An emergency had come up at the hospital, and Izuku had gotten his mother’s okay to head to the party without her. The Toushirou house wasn’t that far away by public transport and he knew how to look after himself.

“Is that Shouto’s present?” Akihiko asked, shutting the door behind him to keep out the January air.

“Yep!” Izuku held the small but brightly wrapped package in one hand, the scars from punching Endeavor standing out starkly against his winter chilled skin and the green wrapping paper. A curl of satisfaction rose in his stomach at the sight.

They’d done this together, him and Shouto. They’d gotten his family out of there. 

This was a long overdue celebration of that.

It was also Shouto’s 7th birthday. He was one of the youngest on their team; which still needed a name, because landing two members in a hospital and then taking time off for the New Year wasn’t great for planning. However, it had given him time to come up with a symbol for the team.

“Just set it on the table, we’re not going to open everything until after the cake. It’s one of those melon cakes 'cause Shouto doesn't care for sweets,” Akihiko chattered on. It was nice, Izuku had never gotten a chance to talk to either of Shouto’s brothers in the other timeline, or at least he thought they hadn’t been able to meet.

Izuku felt another wave of guilt stirring over not writing down more information. Maybe he could have helped in the whole issue of Todoroki Koudai going missing. All he’d been able to find out was that Koudai had a flame based quirk like his father and that Miyuki or Aizawa had once called it degenerative. That gave him almost nothing to go off of. 

He shook his head to clear the unhelpful thought from his head. Today wasn’t for dwelling on failures.

“Izuku, you made it!” Shouto hopped off the couch to give him a quick hug. All of their friends were in attendance, minus Tenya who couldn’t convince his father to make a second shinkansen trip in a month.

It was a much different celebration than Izuku’s birthday had been, but that was a good thing. His had been fast paced and overwhelming. Since Shouto had never had one before, a laid back approach was better. This being Shouto’s first birthday party was just another reason to bring Endeavor down for good. It was the least he deserved.

The small gathering was closely knit, and Shouto spent most of his time bookended by his siblings and his friends as they played games on a new console that Izuku couldn't help thinking of as a classic.

When it was time to distribute the cake (and eat dinner, but clearly cake was more important) Izuku realized there was an extra setting at the table. Miyuki blushed when she noticed it, collecting everything from the spot in one sweeping motion.

“I must have miscounted.” She said quickly retreating to the kitchen, but the Toushirou siblings looked at each other uneasily. Fuyumi mouthed something to Akihiko and Izuku looked away from their conversation. It wasn’t nice to pry. He supposed they'd been living in a family of five for a long time now, there were bound to be habits that would take some time to change. No one could blame Miyuki for it. 

After everyone was ensconced in the living room with a plate of melon cake, it was time for presents.

His nerves danced as Shouto started to open each brightly wrapped box. Maybe his wasn’t personal enough? Maybe it was too personal. It was only when Katsuki elbowed Izuku in the side that he realized he’d started muttering quietly to himself.

Old habits die hard.

The moment stretched on like Shouto was purposefully opening everyone else’s presents first and saving his for last. When he finally dug into the green wrapping paper Izuku didn't have a patient bone left in his body.

He opened the box, tipping the contents out into his hand. It was a simple, dark leather cuff with a metal medallion affixed to the top, inscribed with a twelve pointed star. A light blue painted stripe stripe traveled across the length of the band. Izuku was pleased to see he'd gotten the color close enough to match Shouto's blue eye.

He looked up at Izuku and raised an eyebrow but didn’t say anything before he immediately putting it on the arm that wouldn’t burn it to a crisp.

Izuku held up his own arm, to show the matching leather cuff he had with it's green stripe. 

“It's the symbol of the team,” Izuku said, tapping his own leather cuff. 

Each team member would have one with their own color on it. The symbol didn’t mean anything specific yet, but it felt right. Stars were something usually found on All Might merchandise, despite there not being any on his actual costume. It was a connection the team would carry between them that only they knew about. 

Hitoshi and Kasuki leaned in to get a look at it, Tenko had already seen them and was taking the chance to grab another piece of melon cake while the others crowded around the birthday boy. He stood by the door trying to eat it unobtrusively.

“I love it,” Shouto said, leaning off the couch to give Izuku a hug.

An unfamiliar explosion sounded- and it should have been troubling that Izuku could recognize over twenty different kinds of explosions by sound alone- but in this case it was useful. It sounded nothing like the popping tenor of Bakugou’s quirk, more like the jarring sound of something that hadn’t completely combusted and had shattered under pressure instead of heat. Izuku was pulling Shouto forward off the couch and shielding him from the door splinters of the door that had just been blasted in out of reflex.

Black smoke obscured the inside the house, looking like something out of a movie. Before it cleared, there was a screech of pain.

Tenko.

Izuku was up and moving from eighteen years of instinct, sprinting forward with something akin to full cowl activated. His movement created a blast of air as he skid to a stop in front of the smoke; however, he wasn’t the only one to move. Katsuki had hopped the couch to put himself in between the two Toushirou women and the cloud of smoke, and Hitoshi had backed up against the far wall to get a better sense of the landscape and guard everyone’s back. His head was turned scanning backyard through the window when Izuku caught him in the corner of his eye.

The smoke dispersed, and Izuku saw the last thing he expected.

Standing in front of him was not a collapsed Tenko in pain, but a Tenko with tendrils of burnt skin stretching from his hand all the way up to his cheek, with his hand clamped around the arm of the intruder.

An intruder with black hair and bright purple patches of raw skin, who was currently screaming at the contact of Tenko’s hand on his skin.

Dabi ?”

The word slipped out before he could reign it in. Blue-green eyes, so close in colour to Shouto’s right eye, snapped to him in surprise.

Tenko’s contrasting red eyes were wide, looking at where his hand connected to the other boy’s arm. Fuck, this wasn’t good. He could go back in time and undo it, but he didn’t have enough information yet. As soon as he knew what was going on he could go back and fix this.

Why was Dabi here? This didn’t make any sense. Stain hadn’t stopped being Stendahl yet- unless he’d made some kind of mistake when he’d written down his timeline.

No one moved, and Dabi kept screaming, so Izuku jerked himself away from his incoming panic attack to deal with the situation at hand.

Projecting a false sense of calm, Izuku walked forward and carefully pried each finger off Dabi’s arm one by one. Neither of them making any attempt to move as Izuku separated them.

Tenko’s shallow breathing sounded rough like he might be in shock. He wouldn't be surprised if he were, Izuku knew that his friend had been forced to use his quirk in extremely unsavory ways in the past to satisfy the needs of an old Yakuza family. It had only been a year since Tenko had been forced to disintegrate someone’s flesh from their bones for the last time.

As soon as the hand left his skin, Dabi stopped screaming like someone cut the power to his voice.

Dabi didn’t move, so Izuku took the moment to examine Tenko’s glove. It was scorched through where flames had eaten away the palm. He dug the spare glove out of Tenko’s back pocket and replaced the charred one. At least his glove and kept his hand from being burned like the rest of his arm. The older boy closed his shaking fingers, feeling the glove stretching over the last two digits. This glove wasn’t as fancy as the other one. It was just a spare paintball glove that he usually used when he didn't want to risk the silver ones getting dirty. He needed to do something about the burns, but he didn’t want to shatter the stillness of the room in case more fighting broke out.

Izuku’s only comfort was that everyone else seemed to be as stumped by the situation as he was. Idly, he noticed no one was doing anything about the slice of melon cake splattered across the floor.

Another beat of stillness passed before Shouto broke it by stepping around the couch. He walked forward, past Katsuki guarding his mother and sister, past the shocked face of his siblings, and came to a stop right in front of Dabi.

“How dare you?” Shouto asked. There was a storm of emotion in his eyes that Izuku couldn't read.

The two stared at each other, one incredulous, the other bordering on furious. The ends of Dabi’s hair were blackened, but the roots showed a deep red. One Izuku had never been close enough to notice before.

“What?” Dabi squawked, voice breaking over the word. Izuku subtly ramped his calculation of Dabi’s age higher.

Shouto poked him in the chest and stepped forward, forcing Dabi to take a step back. Re-evaluating the situation, Izuku abruptly dropped the thread of the time he'd been readying. Things were coming together in his mind, but not quickly enough him to intervene. He simply didn’t have enough memories left from the future.

“We thought you were dead! What happened to you?” Shouto was yelling, which wasn’t great- but he was also crying, which- also not great but... okay this wasn’t clarifying anything. What the fuck is going on here?

“Like I would come back when he was still around!” Dabi shouted.

“Is that the only reason? Because he’s been gone for months, Koudai!” Shouto shouted.

“Oh fuck.” Everyone was thinking it, but only Katsuki had the balls to say it out loud.

Shouto’s second oldest brother. The one that had gone missing. The one with the degenerative fire quirk. All the pieces fit. God, wasn’t it stupid of him not to see it before? Quirks had a genetic component, which is why so many people in the first timeline thought All Might was Izuku’s absentee father no matter how much he tried to dissuade them.

That brought Dabi- Toushirou Koudai, up short, “I didn’t know that!”

“It was all over the news,” Shouto persisted.

“Listen! I wasn’t- I wasn’t with good people, and we didn’t have a lot of things. I only heard because… I was where I shouldn’t have been,” Dabi looked askance and fidgeted.

On closer inspection, Kodai looked different from the Dabi he knew. The purple marks were in different places, less around the face and his eyes, mostly on his arms and his neck. They were less defined from his healthy skin. The burnt skin cracked slightly with his movements, Izuku knew from experience that quirk-related injuries hurt far worse than the alternative. The amount of pain he must be in was insane, even by Izuku’s standards.

There were only a few metal piercings in his skin, but they were in mundane places like through his lip or eyebrow- nothing like the staples he’d written about in the journal.

The overall effect was that of someone who had been living on the streets at far too young an age.

“Koudai-” Shouto frowned, his overall emotion state doing a complete 180.

“Listen, if you didn’t want me to come back then just say so.”

Shouto stepped forward again and grabbed his older brother before he could take another step back outside the door- or what was left of it.

Koudai was pulled into a crushing hug that Izuku knew from experience would be difficult to escape from.

Like Shouto’s actions shattered some kind barrier, the rest of his siblings launched off the couch to grab onto Dabi- Koudai  (that was going to take some getting used to). They pulled their brothers into a hug, Akihiko standing taller than all of them.

“Of course we wanted you to come back,” Shouto said quietly, something wet in his throat.

That finally shook Miyuki from her frozen state near the couch. She walked forward with trembling limbs, gathering up all her children in her arms, and pressing her cheek to Koudai’s spiky, soot filled hair.

Izuku took a step back, guiding Tenko to do the same. Some of the color was returning to his cheeks and his pupils were no longer blown open. Progress, but it was still something Izuku was going to bring up to All Might later though.

Walking to the couch with Tenko in tow, Izuku motioned for Katsuki and Hitoshi to follow him. He wanted to let the family have time to put itself back together without outside interruption. The group followed him to an alcove near the bay widow, forming a loose circle around the window seat that Tenko collapsed into. Everyone looked to him to break the silence but Izuku just shook his head. They glanced around while they all tried not to eavesdrop on the reunion.

“Tenko, are you going to be okay? I can go back in time and stop it, if you want-” Izuku stopped speaking when Tenko shook his head.

He nodded back to where the family had shuffled over to the couch without letting go of each other. They looked happy, a little stunned and teary eyed, but happy nonetheless.

“I can’t take that away from them, as long as he's alright, don’t worry about me. I’ll talk to Dad about it,” he held his injured arm close to his body. The temperature of the house dipped lower with each passing minute. Having the front door blown off its hinges in January could do that.

“You better talk to Dad or I will,” Izuku said quietly, looking at the remnants of the door.

Silence.

He looked back at Tenko who was giving him a strange look. “You just called All Might ‘Dad’.”

“What? No, I said him! Guys, didn’t I say him?” He asked looking at Hitoshi and Katsuki.

There was a shit eating grin on Kacchan’s face that told him that he wasn’t going to like the answer.

A blush bloomed across Izuku’s face as no one lept in to defend him. A strangled croak came from his mouth, “It could have happened to anyone!”

“Sure it could,” Hitoshi said, nodding like this was a very serious matter.

“Guys, come on!”

There was a small crackling noise, and Izuku’s head whipped to the side. His shoulders had tensed, but it was just Miyuki sealing over the doorway with ice. She was speaking to Koudai with a nod.

Time to deflect. He nudged Tenko with his knee, “You might feel better if you talk to him.”

“And say what?” 

“An apology usually works.” Izuku shrugged and poked Tenko in the shoulder to punctuate his point. “You know that’s what Katsuki does whenever he accidentally burns someone. You might even get one in return. How’s your arm feel?”

Tenko rolled his eyes, “My arm is fine. It’s not a bad burn. I’d be more worried about what I- Damn, there goes my excuse.” Tenko shifted his weight but didn’t move. He leaned closer to Izuku to whisper his next words, “I wasn’t the only one to react though. You recognized him.”

Izuku nodded, “Later.” He knew it hadn’t gone unnoticed. Everyone else might have heard, but Tenko was the only one close enough to see how Koudai reacted to being called Dabi.

Tenko was old enough for Izuku’s warnings to fall on deaf ears. He already suspected something was off, if he wanted to know the truth, Izuku would tell him. 

 


 

People were gradually settling back down from the… explosive reunion, but Tenko didn’t move to talk to Koudai. Watching the family with guarded eyes he put off the inevitable and winced as pain radiated from his arm. He took his hoodie off the hook by the door and pulled it on to hide the injury from everyone, he'd deal with it later.

He grabbed a roll of paper towels and went to clean up the splattered remains of his second slice of melon cake. The white icing disguised itself against the light wooden floors and nothing he seemed to do got all of it up. After cleaning up as much as he could, he grabbed the broom to sweep up the remains of his plate.

Maybe he could talk to All Might about getting Miyuki a new set of plates for her birthday.

“Hey.”

The boy kneeling on the floor didn’t flinch at the sound of an unfamiliar voice. He set the broom and dustpan aside, banishing all thought of cleaning up the shards with his quirk. It wasn’t something he was comfortable doing so soon after hurting someone with it.

Figures, the one time it was useful he didn't feel safe enough to use it.

He looked up into Toushirou’s eyes. They were guarded, but mirrored his own. The eyes of someone who had seen far too much shit in a short life- just like Izuku.

He pushed back his hair, wishing he had a headband. It was getting too long to leave it be. He’d have to cut it soon or it would be a liability.

“Yeah?” It was more of a statement than a question.

Toushirou knelt down, taking a seat next to him. They were out of sight from everyone on the couch, except Izuku who had stationed himself in the corner near the stairs.

It was about as private as a conversation between them was going to get.

He didn’t say anything more after sitting down. So Tenko shifted off his knees to sit down comfortably.

“Look, I’m sorry. Uh, also I’m Shimura Tenko…. hi,” he said awkwardly. He had no idea what Shouto or any of his family members had told Toushirou about him.

“If you held out a hand for me to shake, I would have seriously questioned your choices,” Toushirou teased.

Tenko was so startled that he didn’t laugh, just made a wheezing noise like someone stepped on a rubber chicken. He coughed to cover it up.

“I’m sorry about your arm, is it alright?” Tenko asked.

Toushirou shrugged his shoulders. “I’ve had worse. It was startling more than it was painful. I’m used to pain. It’s healed over pretty much the same way overusing my quirk does.”

He held out his arm for Tenko to take a look for himself. On the already reddish-purple skin was a dark purple handprint. It wasn’t recognizable, most handprints look the same after all, but that didn’t stop Tenko from knowing he’d put it there.

“It doesn’t hurt?” Tenko pointedly kept his hands to himself.

“No more than my arm normally hurts,” Toushirou shrugged.

“To be fair, who blasts a door down just to make an entrance at their little brother’s birthday party? I thought we were being attacked,” Tenko tried teasing back.

The face opposite his flushed with colour and he looked away, “I thought it would be dramatic. I didn’t think it through all the way.”

“Have you thought through anything all the way?” Tenko asked, curiosity getting the better of him.

Toushirou groaned, “No, I haven’t. It’s not safe for me to stay here but it’s not safe for me to just leave either. I’m going to have to make a choice. I know the one I want to make, but I don’t know if it’s the best one.”

“You want my advice?”

“I get the feeling you’re going to give it to me anyway.”

“Stay.”

“What?”

“Stay with your family. Keeping yourself distanced from the people you love for their protection never works out. Best case scenario they forget about you, worst case you’re too late to protect them. It’s one of the cruelest mistakes someone can make,” Tenko gripped his knees, feeling the fabric of his jeans underneath his bare fingers.

“You speakin’ from experience?” Toushirou asked, leaning back on his good arm.

“My grandmother made a similar mistake and it almost cost me my life,” Tenko shrugged. It seemed… easier to talk about this than it usually was. “She kept herself away from my father, but he died anyway, and then there was no one who knew to look for me.”

“That’s rough buddy,” Toushirou delivered the line seriously, but Tenko cracked a smile at him anyway.

He shrugged, “If you want more advice you can ask, Izuku. He’s a fountain of annoyingly helpful anecdotes.

“And which of my little brother’s friends is that?” he scanned the room.

“Green hair, freckles, looks like he couldn’t hurt a fly but is actually terrifying,” Tenko wasn’t talking Izuku up on purpose, but he was proud of him.

“You sound close,” Toushirou, and maybe it would be okay to think of him as Koudai-san, or Dabi… hadn’t that been what Izuku called him? Tenko was never really sure what to make of Izuku’s more esoteric habits.

“We are, to a point. I think my dad might be dating his mom but they haven’t said anything- then again my Dad is literally the worst at keeping secrets,” Tenko whispered. It wouldn’t do for everyone to overhear his suspicions. When Toshinori was ready, he would talk. Maybe a year ago he would have confronted his adopted father for immediate answers, but he liked to think he had grown up since then.

“I thought you said your dad died?” Koudai leaned closer.

Tenko shrugged, “My biological dad died, I’ve been adopted since then.”

“Lucky you,” Koudai frowned slightly.

“Well, you know how it goes. You spend ten years waiting around for a father and then one shows up out of thin air to save you from a lifetime of servitude as someone’s personal corpse disposal based on the vague ramblings of a six year old kid. You know, a regular Tuesday,” Tenko shrugged with a tone that he forced to sound casual.

“I take it back, you’ve got shit luck,” Koudai had the nerve to laugh. It should have made him feel angry, but… he just felt relieved to finally talk about his life with someone his own age.

“And yours is much better?” Tenko needled. He knew Todoroki Enji was a shitty father, and that had played into Koudai’s life, but there was more history to those blue-green eyes than just a typical abusive father.

“You know how it goes, you run away from one controlling abusive father only to get picked up by a horrifyingly similar supervillain.”

“That’s rough buddy,” Tenko repeated his own words with a smile on his face. “But seriously, you should think about talking to someone. Hitoshi- the kid with the purple hair, one of his moms is a therapist. She helped your mom build the divorce case and they’re pretty close friends.”

“Do you think she’d actually listen?”

“Yeah, I think she would. No luck required.”

 


 

Izuku rescued him from the conversation before it became awkward. They found a quiet part of the house, a study, possibly meant to be Fuyumi’s, though it wasn’t much more than an empty room with a desk letting moonlight in through wide windows.

“So, is it time for the big reveal?” Tenko asked, poking Izuku in the shoulder.

“Pffft what? I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he waved his hands in a dismissive flourish. A nervous gesture. This had the potential to be very bad depending on what kind of questions Tenko asked. If he asked more about Tomura… well, how are you supposed to tell your friend that he was your killer in another life?

“Izuku, come on, you’re not subtle. The sh- the things you pulled in that video against Todoroki Enji were not the actions of someone who didn’t have a personal stake in the matter. Not to mention you punched him- broke your arm by the way! You punched him like you send grown men through walls for fun every week. Something here isn’t adding up. I think I know what it is, but I hope I’m wrong,” Tenko said, hopping up on the desk. He left handprints in the dusty surface.

“Okay, well. That’s a good place to start. What’s your theory?” Izuku pulled the chair out from behind the desk, bringing it around to the front and sitting on it backwards so he could rest his arms on the back.

Just like All Might usually did and now it was too late for Izuku to switch positions. That would just be awkward and he had no doubt Tenko would call him on it.

“I think that Todoroki Enji did something truly horrible in the future that caused you to come back in time specifically to stop him. From much further in the future. You eyes lit up before you fought him,” Tenko reasoned.

Izuku let out a soft hiss of air, “But they didn’t stay lit for long. You’re close, well, you’re not exactly close. Actually you’re on the right track, sort of.”

“That made no sense, but I think I catch your meaning. I didn’t really think that was it. I didn’t want to say what my first thought was.”

“Which was?”

“That first night at the junkyard at the beach. You were so angry, and you were so sad, and then you said something like ‘it had been beautiful when it was clean’ when we talked about it. I asked Dad about it later, and he said that beach had been junked for at least ten years. So you must have seen it cleaned up sometime in the future. As it stands, no one except for Dad has any plans of cleaning it up. Something he planned to do as part of a training lesson he had for me.”

Izuku felt cotton stuff itself into his throat, he couldn’t speak to derail Tenko’s train of thought even if he wanted to.

“I know that his quirk is passed on, and it isn’t hereditary, my grandma had it and Dad didn’t think it would be right for me not to know. So if someone in the future… someone who had a reason to go back in time and see me and Dad saved because of personal investment. Who had cleaned the beach in the future. Who sometimes exhibits feats of strength I’ve only seen come from All Might’s quirk… you can kind of see where I’m headed.”

“Well, when you lay it all out like that, it seems simple,” was all Izuku could say.

“So I’m right?” Tenko looked a little shocked.

“I mean, you’ve most of it. I did receive One For All in the future. Well, future-past as I’ve been calling it. Time travel is confusing.”

“The thing is, Dad would never pass his quirk over to someone so young. No offense. Unless it was a last resort-” Tenko trailed off, waiting for Izuku to speak up. When he said nothing, Tenko continued to press. “Not to mention you fight like someone with years of experience under your belt, and you pass those lessons on to all of your friends, myself included. Izuku, how far ahead in the future did you come back from?”

“I was seventeen years old,” Izuku said simply.

“You went back in time… eleven years? Why the hell would you do that? You-” Tenko spluttered in shock, “you sacrificed eleven years of your life. Why?”

Izuku frowned, “I didn’t exactly do it on purpose.”

“How do you accidentally travel back in time eleven years!” Tenko’s voice took on a shrill quality.

“Keep it down! I had a very firm brush with death, you might even call it a shove with death. A push with death. I just feel back out of instinct. It wasn’t even something I knew I could do. Otherwise…. I would have gone back a shorter period. Tried to fix the immediate problems. I might not have saved as many lives… but it would have been saving the lives of my loved ones,” Izuku shrugged. He liked to think he was selfless enough to save everyone, start from the beginning on purpose, but his heart was unsure.

“You…. we all died?”

“No, not everyone. Some of the people I’m close to now, I wasn’t very close to then.”

“So what, you’re just running around as a seventeen year old in a seven year old’s body?” Tenko asked, eyeing Izuku up and down. “That sounds like hell, no offense.”

“It’s more complicated than that, I’ve changed so many things by being in the past that I’ve erased a lot of events that lead up to things that I remembered. I’ve effectively given myself amnesia by twisting the future.”

“Who all knows?”

“My mom, your dad, Aizawa-sensei and Yamada-sensei. Mikoto-chan too. I didn’t guard against her quirk and she saw… something that happened to Hitoshi that she never should have seen,” Izuku’s tone took a turn for the dark.

“In the future…” Tenko trailed off. He shifted his weight and twinning his fingers together and then apart before picking at the edge of his gloves where they got in the way.

There it was the last question he wanted to answer. “What happened to you?”

“Yeah? I mean, you don’t have to tell me but- I know that Dad only knew to look for me because of you. So I have to assume things didn’t work out very well for me.”

“Honestly, I don’t remember much of the specifics, and we uh- we weren’t close.” That was one way to put it. “But I wrote it down. It’s not… it’s not good. You’re better off not knowing.” Izuku lied through his teeth. He could see very clearly in his mind’s eye. The outline of a bedraggled Tomura, hands clasped around his body like victims desperate to drag him down to hell with fires burning out of control all around them. A ghostly laugh that cut Izuku to the core.

One of the last things he’d seen before he died.

“Tell me.”

“Tenko-”

“No, I need to know.”

“You went by the name of Shigaraki Tomura, you were a prodigy. Just like I was. You were… in a unique position for All For One to take advantage of. Your resentment over what happened to you as a child. The fact that Nana was both your grandmother and All Might’s mentor. I’m sure you can put it together.”

“So I was a villain,” Tenko didn’t sound very surprised.

What do you say to something like that? Izuku just nodded, hoping he wouldn’t press further.

“If All For One had me, and All Might had you, we would have fought,” Tenko’s face twisted into a deeper frown, lines dragging down between his brows. He looked upset about this revelation, more than he had about the whole ‘being a villian’ part.

“We did, a lot.” There was an unspoken understanding that passed between them hidden in that phrase.

“Does Dad know that? Izuku does he know that we-”

It looked like they weren’t going to get through this without talking about it. Tenko would ask All Might, and All Might would tell him everything anyway.

This way, he could spare All Might reliving a horrible future he’d helped create.

“He knows everything. I told you I’d written it down, well. I had him read it after he figured out enough on his own. I owed him that. He was... very upset. He cried. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen that happen,” Izuku pushed the words out before he could stop, “He knows. And he doesn’t blame you. Hell, I don’t blame you. If anything I’d have to thank you if I held you responsible for Tomura’s actions. Without him I wouldn’t have traveled back in time they way I did. I wouldn’t have saved your dad, or you, Shouto wouldn’t be free of his father, Dabi wouldn’t be home with his family, Kacchan wouldn’t have friends, and Hitoshi would be surrounded by peers that labeled him as a villain without giving him a chance.”

Tenko nodded, sliding off the desk. Dust whirled into the moonlight around him as he stood. He pulled Izuku out of the chair and drew him into a crushing hug. He was tall enough to rest his chin on the top of Izuku’s head.

“Thank you, I don’t know if anyone’s thanked you. Izuku, so thank you.” Izuku’s frame shook as he took in a gulp of air. He wasn’t gonna cry. He wasn’t .

Okay, so he was. It bubbled up from his lungs in a sob. Wracked his frame with each heaving breath he took to quiet his lungs. Tenko just pressed his face closer into his shirt, muffling the noise in the cotton of his hoodie.  

 


 

By the time Toshinori arrived to pick up Tenko, Izuku felt like a lifetime had passed in that one night. Maybe it had. The side effects to time dilation made little sense to him, no matter how much he tried to research it.

He hadn’t even used his quirk tonight, just relived some of his old memories while talking to Tenko. The other boy had wanted specifics, enough of them for their conversation to last until it was time for everyone to head home.

Shouto caught his eyes, raising his one eyebrow. It was either a question or surprise, and to his chagrin he couldn’t place it. To be fair, Shouto’s eyebrow still hadn’t grown back. It threw him enough to be disconcerted by the fact that he could no longer easily understand Shouto’s expressions. The feeling settled in the pit of his stomach and weighed Izuku down far more than the rest of the night’s revelations had.

He cleared his throat to try and unstick the feeling, walking over to Shouto to say goodbye. Where Toshinori was, Izuku’s mom was usually quick to follow. If the pattern that had emerged during New Year’s holidays were anything to go off of.

“Some birthday, huh?” Izuku said, knocking his shoulder into Shouto’s lightly.

“Yeah, and it wouldn’t have been possible without you,” Shouto said with an unrepentant smile.

Izuku froze. What did he mean by that? Did he know? Had he overheard the talk with Tenko about the future?

“You were the one who told Aizawa-san something was wrong. Mom finally told us when she was explaining things to Koudai.”

Izuku gave a short laugh. “Yeah, guilty as charged.”

“Thank you, for helping. A lot of people would have decided it wasn’t any of their business.”

Again with the people thanking him, he was going to develop a complex at this rate. “You know me, I’m nosy and don't know how to leave well enough alone.”

“Sure,” Shouto smiled and that was really all that mattered.

Chapter Text

Inko had proposed that they have a small dinner with some of the team's adult mentors, but had avoided letting him invite Hitoshi, Bakugou, or Shouto.

That alone was enough to send Izuku’s suspicions into overtime. Which would be fine, had that suspicion not been predicated by a series of strange actions on his mother’s part. Such as hanging up the phone without a word when he walked into a room, or rearranging the kitchen so that there was a blender on the counter. They never used a blender, why did they have one? 

Not to mention she'd also started watching Izuku more. Not in an overbearing way, more like she was trying to figure something out. The lines between her eyebrows almost seemed permanent as a result of how often her attention wandered to him while she was deep in thought. Maybe she was worried about what would come next, now that he'd taken care of Enji for the most part. Truthfully, Izuku didn't know the answer to that either. He needed to wait and see what course time would take them down before he came up with anymore plans. 

He also noticed that there was something different about his mom. Her face had filled out more, framed by green hair that had grown out over the past year and half. Or was it two years now? Izuku was starting to lose count. She seemed happier, her rounded face split with a wide smile every time Izuku would tell her a joke or let her know what was going on in his life. She liked being kept in the loop. 

And if it made his mom happy, why couldn't they have a blender on the counter? He had no reason not to trust his mother.

His phone went off, the 8-bit tune that he had chosen after traveling back in time chiming away. When he’d first traveled back he’d been unable to bear the thought of All Might’s “I AM HERE” going off every time he got a call. The number displayed on the phone's small screen was unknown, but Izuku answered it anyway.

“Hello?”

“Oh thank god, I didn’t know if I could remember the number.”

The tinny speaker made it difficult for Izuku to pick out who it was, but he made a guess anyway. “Tenko? Who’s phone are you calling me from?”

“Uh, I’m using a pay phone. I didn’t want Dad to know that I’d called. Listen, Izuku. There’s something that I have to tell you. I don’t think it’s anything bad but-”

“Slow down, what’s happening?”

“Our parents are dating.”

They were doing what?

What!”

It wasn’t much of a shriek, but it still made Inko jerk her head up from the pan to look at him. He waved his hand in the air in what he hoped was a dismissive manner. He waited a second before bolting up the stairs and through his room to the window. He climbed from the sill to the roof where the conversation would remain mostly private. This was not a conversation that he wanted to have inside of the house. 

Tenko had been rambling on the other end of the line the whole time. “That’s what dinner is about, they’re going to tell you, Dad just told me because he didn’t want me to be blindsided. And I told you because who else am I going to tell?”

He snorted, still slightly out of breath from his mad scramble onto the roof.

“Yeah, who else are you going to tell. They’re dating. You’re sure?”

“Yes, Izuku. I barely got away from the conversation without getting the Talk. He was so serious, and he’s probably looking for me now because I slipped away while we were shopping. I think he’s buying a gift for your mom, and it’s a little weird. I’m kind of freaking out here. You know how I do with change.”

“Is it a change? How long has this been going on?” Izuku asked, trying to slow Tenko down.

For all Tenko was technically older than him, he didn’t have anywhere near the amount of patience that Izuku held in reserve for situations like this.

“I asked and all he said was ‘a while’, that could be anything from a month to a year!”

“I don’t think so, how did he say it?”

“What do you mean how did he say it? He sounded… sheepish.”

“Okay so it’s definitely longer than a month. Do you remember what they were like at New Years?”

“That was over a month ago. Is that when it happened?”

Izuku paused, was it? “No, I don’t think so. There was a lot of stuff going on they wouldn't have had time to ask each other out- but Toshinori did volunteer to help Mom watch us a lot of the time.”

“Do you remember when everyone was falling asleep after we went kite flying?”

“Vaguely.” So much else had happened that day.

“Dad and your mom went upstairs for like, an hour.”

He remembered that. It had been after Izuku revealed everything about the future to Toshinori. A thought struck Izuku with more than a little bit of second hand embarrassment and no small amount of horror.

“You don’t think that they…”

“How should I know? I’m ten years old Izuku. You’re the one who’s technically like, eighteen or something.”

“That doesn’t count. I’ve got amnesia. And you’re almost eleven!”

Tenko scoffed, and Izuku could just imagine the affronted face he was making.

Izuku kept speaking. “They wouldn’t have while the house was full of children! Right?”

“You tell me, you’re the one from the future!”

Izuku could hear the sound of Tenko dropping more coins into the payphone.

The future, right. That was definitely a thing he totally had concrete knowledge about. Apparently fucking not; he hadn’t seen any of this happening.

“No, that was the day I told your dad everything, you know, the everybody dying and things going horribly wrong thing? They wouldn’t have done anything. They were probably just talking.”

He vehemently avoided the thought that his parents could be the type to take carnal comfort in each other. Which was frankly, a terrifying thought that he absolutely never wanted to have again. Ever.

“Why did you have to say that?” Tenko whined from the other end of the phone.

“Oh shit, did I say that out loud?”

“My poor ten year old ears,” Tenko continued, with all the drama he possibly could infuse into the words.

“I’m so close to hanging up on you,” Izuku threatened.

“Wait- don’t, we haven’t figured out what we’re going to do about this.”

From the roof he could see over the entire neighborhood, in the distance the water from the beach reflected like a shard of glass on the edge of his vision, partially obstructed by the trash heap that they’d forgotten about for the time being. They should train there again soon.

This was… an unforeseen consequence of the changes he’d made and he didn’t know how to feel about it. “I don’t know if we should do anything, I mean, they’re both grown adults,” Izuku said, chewing on a frayed edge of his cuticle. It bled almost immediately, the metallic taste shocking him back to reality. 

Tenko coughed on the other end of the line. “Maybe we should, you know, parent trap them?”

“Are you suggesting that we try and set them up? Tenko, they’re already together.”

“Yeah, but they’re not married. Yet.”

“Oh god, are they going to get married?”

“You’re the one that said ‘our parents’ and called Dad ‘Dad’ that one time, don’t look at me.”

Izuku covered his face with his free hand and sighed. “This is going to be the most awkward family dinner in the history of time.”

They stayed on the phone hashing out a plan until Tenko’s money ran out and he hung up, leaving Izuku alone on the roof with his mind racing at breakneck speed.

 


 

"So, this dinner... is it important?” Izuku ventured from the other side of the kitchen’s bar.

A short and high pitched laugh escaped from her, her nervous laugh. Oh god, they really were dating, weren’t they? How could he have missed all the signs? Why had it taken Tenko spelling it out for him to understand?

“Truthfully, it is very important Izuku,” she said, mixing more egg into the fried rice. She’d put at least three eggs into it already, but she had an entire carton open and ready to crack.

They were definitely having Toshinori over.

“So, all of this food is for Toshinori-san, Aizawa-sensei, and Yamada-sensei?” Izuku needled.

She nearly threw a handful of eggshells into the rice.

“Aizawa-san and Yamada-san said something came up, they won’t be coming tonight. But Toshi… nori is bringing Tenko-kun as well so don’t worry too much about it.”

“Alright, Mom.”

That was another thing. He liked Tenko and he trusted the other boy. So far, he was the only person near his age that he told the complete truth to about who he was. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to think of him as a brother if his days as an only child were over. Having a brother to watch his back all the time sounded like it could be nice.

The doorbell rang.

Izuku darted to the door, it was go time.

“Hello, Toshinori-sensei, hey Tenko!” Izuku greeted, making brief eye contact with Toshinori before looking at Tenko.

If he thought his mom was nervous, Toshinori looked like he was one loud noise from a complete breakdown. Behind him, Tenko wasn't doing much better. He kept glancing at Izuku as if he was the one that was supposed to take control of the already wildly awkward situation. To be fair he could go back in time and talk his mother out of this, but he wanted to know more before he considered the option. 

Their parents made this bed and now they had to lie in it's uncomfortable sheets for a while. Izuku made a face, he really needed a different metaphor. One as far away as beds as he could get. Can of awkward conversational worms worms?

“Why don’t you go talk to my mom, Toshinori-san, I’ve got something I need to talk to Tenko about,” Izuku said in a tone that brokered no argument.

Toshinori nodded vacantly, eyes already on Inko standing by the stove. Izuku almost snickered. 

He didn't want to leave their parents alone without supervision, so Izuku pulled Tenko into the downstairs spare bedroom. He could feel a faint tremble through his new gloves. He’d swapped the silver gloves for red ones made of a new material that were thinner than the old ones.

“Tenko.”

No response.

“Tenko.”

Tenko made what could only be called a squeak.

“Breathe, Tenko,” Izuku said, poking Tenko hard enough in the solar plexus to force him to exhale. A woosh of air left his lungs and he breathed deeply out of reflex.

“Better?” Izuku asked Tenko.  

“Yeah.”

“You’re freaking out.”

“Yeah.”

“You gonna be okay… brother?” Izuku asked, elbowing him in the side.

Tenko made a wheeze like a deflating balloon.

“Yeah sure, is that what we’re doing? Operation parent trap?”

Izuku opened the door to the guest bedroom and listened. He could hear Toshinori laughing at something down the hall. The boisterous noise undercut by his mom’s much quieter laugh.

“You know, Tenko, I don’t think they need much help with that.”

The other boy smiled weakly. “But what if it goes wrong?”

“Would it make you feel better if I said that I’d time travel back in time and fix it?”

“That would be highly unethical but yes.”

“Consider it done then and don’t worry so much. There’s not really much we can do- oh, that reminds me,” Izuku reached into his pocket and pulled out the bracelet with the twelve pointed star. It was similar to the one he’d given Shouto, but this one had a stripe of grey-ish blue to match to Tenko’s hair instead of Shouto's ice blue.

“I mean, if we’re gonna do this, we might as well make it a team mission,” Izuku smiled, and secured the leather cuff over Tenko’s arm so his friend, soon to be brother, wouldn’t have to fiddle with the closure with gloved hands. “You’re probably going to be the first of us to get into UA, so don’t let us down!”

Tenko snorted, the tension leaving most of his face. “Yeah, sure, that’s still three years away.”

“Yeah, and months ago it was four years away, in a few months it’ll be two years. Time flies.”

“You would know,” Tenko teased.

Izuku rolled his eyes. "Let's go."

 


 

Tenko and Izuku sat next to each other so their parents would be forced to sit on the same side of the table. It would make communication and observation easier. He knew they were taking this too seriously, but giving Tenko a mission to focus on had calmed him down, and it was fun to see the look on his mother's face when they both sat down together.

Impossibly, Toshinori's nerves had gotten worse in the ten minutes it had taken to put dinner on the table.

“So, what’s this all about?” Izuku asked, putting on his most innocent smile.

He felt a kick to the side of his shin as Tenko coughed a little. Whoops, he wasn’t supposed to make Tenko laugh. They both wanted to see how their parents would explain the situation. 

“Well,” Inko took the lead, patting Toshinori on the arm. “Yagi-san and I, met in April, right around your first day of school.”

“I remember that, you were my nurse when I broke my arm,” Tenko said, leaning forward over his rice.

He turned from his mom to look at Tenko. “How did you break your arm?”

He rubbed the back of his head in a familiar gesture he’d picked up from Izuku. “I accidentally decay-ed the bunk bed I was sleeping on and fell to the floor.”

Izuku nodded, "Huh", and turned back to his mom, “we already knew that was when you guys met. Why is that so important?”

“Well, I already knew that he was a good man, you'd told me as much yourself, and he was quite nice to me. Usually worried parents don't care about stepping all over a nurse’s opinions when they think they know what’s best for their children, but he wasn’t like that. Then he asked me to get coffee later… and I wanted to go so I did. I had a wonderful time, so when he asked me on another date I said yes to that one too. Then one date turned into another, and another, and then suddenly two months had passed and I was starting to worry about where our relationship was going.”

Izuku mock gasped, “Mikoto-chan was encouraging you at my birthday party! I thought you’d met some fancy doctor.”

Inko flat out laughed. “I’m not about to start bringing my work home with me.”

“Right, so you decided to bring my work home instead,” Izuku joked.

Tenko lost his battle with laughter after that. His father turned a rather alarming shade of pink, Izuku started to worry that he'd have to call the paramedics because he embarrassed All Might so much he passed out.

“You’re not upset?” Inko asked. She shifted, and Izuku caught the line of her arm reaching down to hold Toshinori’s hand.

For the love of- Izuku shook his head. “Why would I be mad? Mom, I want you to be happy. Me coming back from the future-” that got a reaction from the two adults and a shit eating grin from Tenko, “means that you’ve had to deal with a lot in the past two years. What’s more than that, Toshinori-sensei already knows about the time travel.”

“And so do I,” Tenko shrugged and grinned in a way that bared his teeth.

Toshinori’s eyebrows shot up under his bangs. “Do all of your friends know, Midor- Izuku-san?” Ugh. Not the -san thing again.

“No, just Tenko.” He shook his head.

“Why?” Toshinori leaned closer. For a moment, he was reminded of one of those huge American dogs- a golden retriever. At least his color was returning to normal.

“He’s the only one who asked.” Izuku sat back, his plate largely untouched. The thought of food right now didn’t settle well. “I’ve told everyone that if they really, absolutely, certain that they wanted to know. They can ask and I will answer. I’m not going to lie to them," the anymore went unsaid.

“You’re selling yourself short,” Tenko said. “Izuku-” Inko’s eyebrows shot up to match Toshinori’s at the lack of a suffix, “told us all that the knowledge he had was serious. That once it was known it couldn’t be unknown. I needed to know, so I asked and he told me everything.”

“Everything?” Toshinori repeated.

“Yes, including the Tomura stuff,” Tenko stabbed at his plate, which was pretty ineffective against fried rice. “I’m not going to lie and say it was fun to hear, but I needed to hear it. I haven’t known for that long but it’s gone a long way towards me understanding more about this knucklehead.” He knocked his shoulder into Izuku’s.

Izuku shrugged, what did they want from him? He was weird before he went back in time.

“Well, that’s-” Inko started.

“One less thing to worry about,” Izuku cut in. “If you had to pretend to keep a secret around your son it would have lasted. What? A year max, and you would have felt horrible about it the whole time.” He’d been speaking mainly to Toshinori but it was his mother who started to blush.

The’d officially turned the entire dinner back on their parents, Izuku and Tenko shared a quiet fist bump under the table.

Mission success as far as Izuku was concerned.

Tenko leaned over and threw and arm over Izuku’s shoulders. Izuku raised an eyebrow. Tenko just nodded at him before looking over at their parents.

“Don’t worry about us, we’ll talk things over, but I’m not opposed to gaining a brother… or a mom. After all, I didn’t have a father last year, and it’s turned out pretty well for me so far.”

Both parents seemed stunned by Tenko’s words. Inko opened and closed her mouth before speaking, “And you Izuku?” Her tone was pitched, like she was struggling to keep up with how fast the conversation was running off the rails.

She’d probably been so worried about the possible bad outcomes of the situation that she hadn’t stopped to consider what she would do if there was a good outcome to the situation. It’s what Izuku would have done.

He shrugged. “You already know that I’ve thought of Toshinori-sensei as a hero, then a mentor, then- well, like a father.”

He’d never told him that. He should have told him that. He wondered if the old Toshinori had known before he died. He probably did. Izuku had to believe that, the alternative was too depressing to consider.

“I wouldn’t mind it if we could grow to be that close again. Especially if he makes you happy, Mom. I’m also not about to leave Tenko out in the cold when I could make him put up with an annoying younger brother,” he stuck out his tongue at Tenko, who scoffed.

He looked back at his parents- their parents- his parents ? Well, might as well get a head start on claiming both of them. God, this was going to make going to UA interesting. He’d been All Might’s secret student last time, and now he would likely go in as All Might’s son. If people hadn’t seen the similarities in their quirks before they would now.

His train of thought was derailed by the tears welling up in Toshinori’s eyes. “Thank you for giving me this chance.”

Izuku froze, he didn't expect Toshinori to start crying. Tenko arm shook with with silent laughter and he whispered, “He did basically the same thing when he adopted me, just roll with it.”

He stepped on Tenko’s foot under the table, who responded with a quiet snort.

Still, he couldn't just sit here and do nothing while Toshinori cried. Slipping out from under Tenko's arm, Izuku was out of his chair and stepping around the table to hug Toshinori. Once he managed to get an arm around, his mom's shoulders, he pulled her in too. He heard Tenko stand up and join them more than he saw it.

This wasn't an outcome he'd expected when he realized he'd traveled back in time, but it was a good one.

Chapter Text

School was still ridiculously easy. Izuku had expected it to be more difficult as he forgot more things about the future, but the things he remembered seemed to be things he hadn’t changed with his actions in the past. He hadn’t broken science or changed history beyond the past two years, those things he still remembered enough for class to be simple. One odd side effect of that was that he’d gotten better at math after having more time to focus on it. He’d been okay at it, but now he was great at it.

He’d decided to give Hitoshi and Bakugou their leather cuffs, with purple and red stripes respectively, before their exams. He would have felt guilty waiting to give them out on a special occasion when half of the team already had theirs. He had a feeling Katsuki was going to regard it as a lucky charm if he did well on his exams- hopefully he didn't blow it up soon.

There was one other thing bothering Izuku about school that had nothing to do with class.

He hadn’t told either of his friends about All Might dating his mom.

He didn't know where to start with that conversation. Tenko hadn’t mentioned it either, but both of Izuku’s year mates had noticed that Tenko was attending almost all of their practices now. It helped that Toshinori and Tenko had all but moved in to their house.

Of course, he’d be thinking about all of this the day before Golden Week started. If he waited any longer his friends would find out from another source. That wasn't how he wanted them to hear about it.

Everyone’s families had decided on different ways to spend their vacation time, but many of them were traveling. Hitoshi was going with his moms to see Hotaru’s parents in Taiwan, Katsuki was going with his mother down to Okinawa to see her sister, Tenya was still with his father and brother and couldn’t travel back down, and Shouto… well, Izuku wasn’t sure exactly what the Toushirou family was planning to do, but he didn’t want to intrude on them until things were more settled with Koudai.

“Hey, do you remember how to break into the roof? Let’s do that.” Izuku said, grabbing his unopened bento and looking to his friends.

“Who are you and what have you done with Izuku?” Katuski deadpanned, but he grabbed his own lunch- open and already halfway eaten already.

“We might as well, we’ll get in less trouble if we get caught now,” Hitoshi said, shouldering his backpack. Well, the team’s backpack. Hitoshi had taken to carrying around at least some of their gear at all times. Just in case.

It also held bigger lunches.

They made it to the roof with minimal fuss, thanks to the senpai that had done Hitoshi’s orientation last April.

“Okay, what’s so important that you had to bring us up here?” Katuski asked, flipping coins off of the roof. Somehow, he'd finished his bento on the way up the stairs without choking.

“My mom is dating All Might.”

Izuku said the words like he was commenting on the weather, setting down his bento on one of the broken chairs. Methodically, he opened the box and set his chopsticks to the side. By the time he was done, neither of his friends had said a word.

He looked up.

Katsuki looked gobsmacked.

Hitoshi looked smug.

“I knew it, anyone with eyes could have seen it given how they acted during New Year's.” Izuku almost laughed at how much Hitoshi had sounded like Aizawa saying that.

Katsuki was taking this a lot harder than Izuku expected, but for entirely different reasons. “What do you mean your Mom is dating All Might? That’s Tenko’s dad!” 

“Yeah, and? Tenko knows about it too. It’s not that big of a deal. I mean it is, but it’s a good thing.”

“You realize you’re absolutely getting into UA now, right?” Katsuki continued. “Like they’re gonna turn away one of All Might’s sons.”

“He’s not my dad yet!”

“Yeah, emphasis on the yet.” Hitoshi snorted.

“Your mom wouldn’t have said anything if she wasn’t sure it was going somewhere.” Kacchan said.

Izuku shrugged. He’d told Tenko the same thing in almost those exact words. Maybe he was spending too much time around Kacchan, or Kacchan was spending too much time around him. It could go either way really.

This wasn’t the first time he’d had that thought about Katsuki either.

Katsuki snapped in front of his face when he missed one of his questions. “Is this why you called him “Dad” at Shouto’s party?”

“No! I didn’t even know then.”

“When did you find out?”

“Mom made us dinner a few weeks ago to try and break the news gently, so almost a month. I’ve been trying to figure out how to tell you guys this whole time?” The final words fell flat and uncertain.

Hitoshi took the lead. “I thought you seemed distracted during our pre-exam study sessions, but I thought it was because of Shouto.”

“And what’s that supposed to mean?” Izuku bristled.

Hitoshi broke out into a grin and said nothing.

“Hitoshi, no.”

“Hitoshi, yes .”

“I have no idea what’s going on now,” Katsuki but in.

“Izuku’s mom is dating All Might,” Hitoshi said with a catlike grin.

“Yeah, I got that. How did that happen? Does Tenko know about it? Are you getting a brother?”

“Hold on, I already said he knows, and maybe?” Izuku said, he pushed his hair back out of his face and wiped at his forehead. “My mom met him at her job, Tenko broke his arm last year and she was his attending nurse the same day we started school. Do you guys remember the first time you saw All Might outside Aizawa’s house? He was wearing my mom’s headband.”

“I can’t believe you didn’t notice that,” Hitoshi said.

“Well, I’m not infallible, and I’d just traveled back in time to avoid him-”

“Wait, that’s why you did that?”

“Well yeah, I wasn’t about to just walk into him right after saving his life.”

“You did what ?” Hitoshi’s words were overshadowed by Katsuki’s louder, “Wait, what the fuck?”

Izuku blindly took hold of his emotions out of instinct and fell backwards.

“I can’t believe you didn’t notice- wait a second! You just traveled back in time. Your eyes are glowing!” Hitoshi said.

“Ooooh, you’re busted.” Katsuki added, unhelpfully.

Hitoshi squinted at Izuku, “What was so embarrassing that you went back in time?”

He held his hands up. “It wasn’t like that!”

“Oh really? If we were in any danger you would have been moving as soon as your eyes started to glow! They’re already fading, you only went a few seconds back. There’s just something you don’t wanna tell us! Not cool, Izuku.”

“Yeah, not cool. I’m your oldest friend!”

Hitoshi rolled his eyes at Katsuki.

“It’s not embarrassing! I just accidentally let something slip about the thing I said I wouldn’t talk about.”

“Fuck that, tell us.”

“Kacchan, it’s not like-”

“No, I want to know.”

“Fine! I used my time travel powers to save All Might’s life over a year ago; before we started going to Aizawa’s house to train. I was trying to keep it a secret. Especially because it’s technically using my quirk without a provisional hero license. That’s why I time traveled when we went to Aizawa’s house after the first day of school.”

Hitoshi set his lunch aside. “But why duck behind the wall to avoid him?”

“Because I didn’t want him to know it was me.”

“Why?” Both boys were giving Izuku their undivided attention. There was no way either of them would be finishing their lunches before they had to go back to class.

“It’s complicated,” Izuku shrugged. “It’s even more complicated now that he’s dating my Mom and Tenko’s actually become a really good friend and I wouldn’t mind us being a family, but that doesn’t make it easier. It just makes it more emotional.”

There was a simmer and pop of an small explosion as Katsuki sighed, “Okay, right. The thing you keep telling us we don’t want to know.”

“Well, I think it’s cool that your Mom and All Might are dating,” Hitoshi offered, passing along some of the sweets his mom had packed to Katsuki. “Here, finished these for me. I don’t have time before we have to go back to class.”

With a simple misdirection, Hitoshi had steered Katsuki away from asking any more questions about the secret.

Izuku didn’t know what to make of that.

 


 

It was finally, finally, Golden Week. They were officially free of school. For a week.

It was worth celebrating even if a week was nowhere near long enough for Izuku to recharge. Keeping his grades good but not so good that they’d attract undue attention was just as much work as it sounded like. He was down one year of repeat schooling, and he’d gotten through it without tearing his hair out or being moved up a year. If he ended up in a different class at UA, who knew what would happen. He definitely wouldn’t have been able to stay with all of his friends, current or past.

Of course, there was always the chance of being put in the same class as some of his old senpais.

Izuku tossed the idea out of his mind. That wouldn’t work out very well. He knew very little about Nejire, Mirio, or Amajiki when it came down to it. Nor would he want to overshadow Mirio’s career if he could help it.

With his quirk being flashier than ever, it was only a matter of time before people took note of Midoriya Izuku again. Unless they took note of Yagi Izuku first, which was a whole other can of worms he didn’t want to consider.

He pushed through these thoughts, focusing on the beach in front of him.

Their original plan had been to go down south and take a beach vacation- them including Tenko, Toshinori, Inko, and Izuku himself. But then the hospital had called Inko in on emergency shifts, and they’d been stuck at home.

That was okay though, they had other ways of bonding.

Toshinori had looked absolutely delighted when Izuku brought up the beach that was still covered in trash and proposed that the three of them try to clean it up together. He could have done it alone in a matter of months, but with Tenko and Toshinori it was doable in a week.

Right now, they were trying to separate the recyclable materials out of the trash. Toshinori had borrowed an old American style truck from somewhere- it even had the steering wheel on the wrong side. They were going to truck all the recyclable materials to a recycling station.

There were also things that could still be reused, which found themselves in another pile further down the beach to be cleaned up and dropped off at a donation center.

In the last pile were things that Tenko was going to destroy. This part of the process was currently running low, leading Tenko to run down to the water and declare they call him back when they had something for him to do.

“Izuku-san, are you sure you should be lifting something so-” Toshinori leaned against a refrigerator that gave way slightly beneath his weight. What a champion of a kitchen appliance to valiantly bear the strain of Toshinori’s nonchalance. Izuku tossed the twisted metal in his hands towards where the recycling pile was slowly taking shape into a mountain. Toshinori finished his sentence with a sigh, “-heavy.”

Izuku shrugged, every bit as unrepentant as Katsuki would have been to use his quirk. It was good to use other aspects of it instead of sticking to time travel all of the time. Using his quirk felt different now, he remembered feeling the snapping stretch of his ligaments flush with power, nearly breaking under the strain of it. Perhaps he’d been unlucky enough be the bearer of the penultimate level of One For All’s power. It had always felt wrong, foreign in a way that Izuku could never fully be comfortable with.

Not the way he felt using Zero Relativity.

Izuku grabbed the bottom of his shirt and wiped at his forehead.

When he looked back up at Toshinori, he was frowning. Izuku grabbed another close object, one he could carry without the use of his quirk, taking the empty filing cabinet over to the recycling pile. It was made of steel and the draw’s inner working were aluminum, it would be worth it to recycle the parts if they broke it down.

Toshinori picked up a larger industrial sized freezer, the kind Izuku knew the general store down the street used to store their fish in for years before upgrading to a walk in. From the smell it could be the same one. Toshinori walked alongside him, heading for the trash pile when he spoke, “Izuku-san, you haven't been trying to regain your sixteen year old athleticism have you?”

“Uh- the way you ask that makes me want to say no, but wouldn’t you want to get yours back if you’d suddenly found yourself turning back the clock eleven years?” Izuku shifted his grip on the cabinet.

Toshinori looked thoughtful, “Perhaps I would, but Izuku-san, your body is only so old, and strength training at your age could stunt your growth.”

“I never was very tall,” Izuku joked, setting down the filing cabinet in the recycling pile, he kept walking with Toshinori to the trash pile. “I’ve been careful. More repetitions on a low weight, training my reactions more than I’ve been building muscle. You know, I cleaned this whole beach in a month when I was 14, no quirk at all. I think I’m doing better pacing myself this time around.”

They stopped so Toshinori could set down the freezer at the edge of the trash pile. He could have tossed it on top, but who knows what it would have sent down.

“As long as you’re being careful and safe. Your physical therapy with Beru-sensei went well, do you think you’d keep her on as a doctor?” Toshinori said, adjusting the trash pile so nothing would fall the next time something was placed on top.

“You know, I knew her daughter. Tsuyu-chan was in our class as well, she was an amazing hero in her element,” Izuku said, taking the time to pick up smaller pieces of metal from around the pile and put them in a rusted out bucket to be taken away with the rest of the garbage.

To his credit, Toshinori nodded like he hadn’t already read this information in a book. Izuku appreciated his tact.

Gulls cried out above the beach. Life was already starting to return, even though the sands were still stained with all sorts of oils and other unidentifiable liquids. The glass would be a problem, at least until the water stole it all away to blunt the sharp edges with time.

It all came back to time.

Tenko walked back from where he’d been cooling off in the water.

“Are you too old men done yet?” he teased, slinging an arm across Izuku’s head and dripping water all over his shirt.

He rolled his eyes.

“It is getting pretty late, why don’t we go see if we can beat your mom home from work and make dinner for her?” Toshinori said ‘your mom’ in a way that could have just applied to Izuku, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that it was directed to both of them.

Dinner sounded like a great idea.

“Sure,” Izuku scrambled into the back of the pick-up truck, Tenko hot on his heels.

 


 

They made it home with plenty of time to spare. Which turned out to be a good thing. Toshinori was okay in the kitchen, but Tenko was a disaster. He actually decayed the entire pot when he tried to grab it after washing his hands.

They’d stared at the splatter of pasta on the floor, free of its metal confines.

Izuku laughed until he cried.

They’d just finished the second pot of pasta (after cleaning up the mess from the first one) when Inko walked in the door.

“Now, if this isn’t a sight for sore eyes,” she exclaimed, ditching her shoes at the door.

“Welcome home, mom!” Izuku called out, winking at her.

“I could get used to coming home to this,” she winked back at him and pulled Toshinori down into a quick kiss. “I can’t believe you three made me dinner.” She ruffled Tenko’s hair as she passed him on the way to the kitchen, helping everyone to grab plates and silverware.

It was nice.

He wasn’t spending Golden Week with his friends, but he was spending it with his family. It was still a little messy and uncertain- but Izuku knew it would work out in the end.

 


 

The first time Izuku called Toshinori ‘Dad’ was a carefully calculated moment. He’d done it in front of his friends plenty of times. Those were just trial runs. They’d teased him about it at first, but as time went on their reactions faded. Now they regarded it as normal for him to refer to to All Might as his dad.

He’d been calling Tenko his brother for nearly as long as Tenko had known about the time travel thing. There were certain things that bonded two people together, and shared knowledge of a life where both of you turned out miserable because you were on opposite sides of a conflict was one of those experiences.

At least as far as Izuku was concerned.

So, for all his careful planning, Izuku waited until his mom and Tenko were both out of the house. Tenko was over at Shouto’s house- and getting him to go visit Koudai alone had been the hardest part of the plan. Because his feelings were apparently that transparent to his brother- and Hitoshi, but his brother was the biggest problem. There wasn’t anything Tenko believed could keep Izuku from a chance to visit Shouto.

Tenko talked with Koudai often, sometime during Shouto’s party they’d had a heart-to-heart and bonded over their pasts. They hung out together. It was nice to see Tenko make friends with people that were his own age. It made him feel better about sending him to UA all alone.

Back to the mission at hand though.

Toshinori was on the couch, his side leaned against the arm and reading a book. It was high fantasy, different from the urban fantasy that he usually prefered.

He leaned against the couch. “Hey Dad, are you enjoying the book?”

“Yeah, it’s got a sort of melancholic tone to it. Also the fact that the it really plays with the expectation of the genre is a plus.”  

Toshinori adjusted his glasses and looked up from the book. “Thanks for the recommendation, son.” He looked back down with a smile on his face.

Izuku laughed, feeling the emotion well up from deep in his body. Turnabout's fair play.