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Ryū

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Ryū sat in the back of a police car, watching the conversation going on a few meters away, the wild gestures and furious expressions. He couldn’t hear them, obviously, but he got the gist of what they were saying.

“I’m so dumb,” Red Riot said, waving his hands. “Everybody look at me; King Dumbass!”

“Fuck off,” Ground Zero barked back. “I’m the dumbest and everyone knows it! Like hell, you’re going to beat me for the title!”

“Oh yeah!?”

“Yeah!” Stomping his foot, Ground Zero smirked. “And I’m the ugliest too.”

Red Riot looked truly hurt. “No way, you know I’m the ugliest, man. You always tell me so.”

“Well, I lied.”

He gasped. “No!”

“Yes! What are you gonna do about it, huh?”

“I’m gonna kick your ass - !”

“Fuck,” Ryū said and he averted his eyes swiftly, amusing daydream fizzling away as the two fuckers started - ugh - kissing. Right in front of everybody, too. Did they have no shame?

He tried the door again, but it was still locked. Grumbling, Ryū sunk down into the footwell and tucked his knees up under his chin, head resting back against the seat. This was just what he needed right now. His whole body hurt and he couldn’t even decide which part was the worst.

“- Ryū?”

He glanced up and saw Red Riot peering in through the window. Ryū caught the worry on his face as he searched the backseat, then did a double-take when he saw him crammed down in the footwell. He jerked his head away, scowling. What an asshole, pretending like he cared or something.

Knuckles rapped on the glass window. “Buddy? You okay? Want me to come in?”

His gaze stayed firmly rooted on the back of the seat in front of him, eyes burning painfully. Why Lord why. Did the universe hate him or something?

One of the doors in the front opened and he held back his groan of dread as the driver’s seat groaned when someone slid inside. A face peered through the plexiglass, dark eyes filled with genuine concern. Okay. So...not too bad.

“Hello, Ryū,” Igarashi said softly. “Feel good down there?”

He grunted.

“Good, that’s good. Are you hurt, maybe? Do you need to see one of the paramedics?”

Probably. “Later,” he managed.

“Alright,” she replied easily. “Let me know when you’re ready.” They sat in silence for a bit. “I was watching from in here, you know. With Detective Ishikawa, the large gentleman with the beard and sunglasses? He was a witness, so you don’t need to go to the station for questioning or anything. That’s good news, right?”

He shrugged. Who cared, really? Station, no station...it all ended up the same in the end.

“And your principal, Shinsou, he wasn’t concerned about the public Quirk use either. U.A. students are permitted to use their Quirks for self-defence even when they haven’t got their licence, and I would definitely class what happened here as self-defence.”

He shrugged again.

“I spoke to your friends; Tetsutetsu-kun and Ojiro-kun,” she continued. “They’re great kids. Have you known them for a long time? It’s just, you’ve never mentioned them before.”

“Since we were born. Our...they were friends.” Don’t think about that, idiot.

“It’s nice to have friends, Ryū. They can help us through some tough things,” she hesitated. “Are you...going through some tough things at the moment, Ryū?”

“Isn’t everyone?”

“Well, yes, I suppose so, but some more than others, I think.” He could see her watching him carefully, brown eyes filled with only genuine concern. “Where were you this morning?”

“I don’t want to talk about that.”

“That’s fine,” she replied. “No problem with that. But you will have to talk eventually, Ryū. A lot of people have been looking for you today.”

“Why?” he asked, irritated, and that was the burning question. IT had been bothering him the whole time, actually.

“Why?” she asked incredulously. “Ryū, nobody had seen you since yesterday evening and you didn’t turn up to school! They - we were worried something awful had happened.”

“Hibiki saw me,” he grumbled. “We went to get ice cream.”

“Ice cream?” she sat back in her seat and the leather groaned and squeaked. He heard her sigh, a long exhale of exhaustion. “Alright,” he knew she would be trying to calm herself at that, “okay, that’s...fine. I’m not angry with you.”

Ryū huffed loudly. He wanted her to know he was pissed off. More pissed off than usual, at any rate.

“I know it might seem that way sometimes; that everyone is out to get you, but believe me, must of us just want what’s best. Now,” she said, “tell me about last night. I know you didn’t come home and if something happened -”

“Nothing happened. Can’t you just...let it go?”

“You know I can’t,” she said softly. “Talk to me.”

“About what.”

She sighed again. “We’re going round in circles, Ryū. You’re fifteen now. Am I going to have to come out and ask it to your face?”

He gritted his teeth. “I guess so.” Don’t you dare, don’t you dare -

“Ryū, sweetie,” she hesitated briefly and then: “Has anyone in your family ever acted inappropriately towards you?”

 


 

Ryū opened his eyes to complete blackness. There was silence too, the deep, oppressing kind that immediately got your heart rate going. Sweat burst across his brow and his pulse beat double-time in his throat. Goosebumps burst across his skin as a sudden huff of breath ruffled his hair. There was someone breathing directly down the back of his neck.

He strained in his restraints, but he could hear the rattle of metal and feel stiff, unforgiving wood beneath him. Was he...tied to a chair?

“Good morning,” the person said. It was a man with a deep voice and he sounded...mean. “I was hoping you would join me soon. How was your nap?”

Ryū’s breathing was speeding up, his chest jerking rapidly against the chains. He couldn’t remember how he’d gotten here, who this man might be or why he had tied Ryū to a chair. The last thing he could remember...They’d been out for dinner at his dad’s favourite Western-style restaurant...he’d had pizza and cake for dessert, but by then it had been late so the buses had stopped for the night. Dad had decided they would walk home because it wasn’t far and then...had someone attacked them? Is that why he was tied to a chair? If so, where was his -

“Where’s my dad?” his voice cracked a little.

“Don’t you recognise my voice?” The man ignored his question and hRyūe could hear his footsteps as he circled the chair, shoes clicking on the floor. His steps were faint over the thunderous drumming of Ryū’s heart. “I know we only met that one time, but,” a hand grabbed his chin and Ryū cried out, trying to pull away, “it hasn’t been that long.”

“I don’t -” his inhales were becoming harder and harder to even out, “I don’t know -”

“You don’t know?” the man repeated mockingly. His nails dug into Ryū’s cheeks, holding his face still. “Pity. I thought I had made more of an impression than that.”

“Where’s my dad?” Ryū asked again and the blindfold grew wet against his face, with tears and with sweat. His tongue was sticking to the roof of his mouth. “Who are you?”

“You’re boring me already,” the man said and he let go. Ryū let his chin drop, shoulders hunching as much as he was able. He wasn’t sure what to think, what to do -

Pain exploded across his face like a gunshot and Ryū gasped and choked on his tears. The man had slapped him - hit him - what was going on? It hurt a lot and he couldn’t stop the sobs from coming then, the jerks that shook his body in fear. He didn’t care what this guy was saying, he just wanted to go home.

“Oh, stop that,” the man sighed. “Children, honestly. This is why I don’t deal with them. Too...snivelly for my tastes. You’ll be much more interesting later on.”

Ryū just cried quietly, trying to keep the noises in as much as possible to avoid making the man angry again. So he didn’t hit him anymore.

“Look, just tell me what I want to know and I’ll free you,” he explained. “It’s very simple, really.”

“...And my dad?”

The man sighed again. “Yes, yes. Of course.”

“Okay,” he sniffed. “I’ll tell you whatever...whatever you want to know.”

“Perfect,” Ryū jumped as the man clapped his hands together. “Tell me, do you know a man named Mori Kurou?”

Ryū thought. He thought long and hard but eventually shook his head. “No,” he said nervously into the dark. If the man wanted to hit him again he’d never see it coming. “No, I’m sorry.”

“Not surprising,” he didn’t sound very angry, though. “That doesn’t really matter. What I really want to sink into your tiny little brain is that Mori is a very important man, do you understand? I don’t want to hear of you causing him any trouble.”

“I won’t!” he cried, still having no clue as to what was actually going on. “I p-promise!”

“Stop crying!” A fist hit Ryū’s chest and he cried out as the chair overbalanced, his back slamming against the wooden slats as it toppled to the ground. His kicked his dangling legs, sobbing hysterically as he felt the man stand over him.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m s-sorry!”

“Quit that!” the man nudged him, hard, with the toe of his shoe. “I hate bratty kids like you. So spoiled and weak. And a Quirk like that? Truly the scum of the earth.”

Ryū was glowing, his Quirk was peaking around the edges of the blindfold, beautiful like his dad told him. He always called Ryū a little firefly, the brightest star in the sky to guide him home on the very worst days of his work as a Hero.

This man was so mean, just a big bully and Ryū hated him.

“You’re pathetic,” the man said very quietly. “A sad little boy crying out for his daddy to come and rescue him.” A hand grabbed the front of his shirt and lifted him off the ground, the chair legs scraping on the floor. “Now, you listen to me very carefully, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Good,” the man sounded like he was smiling. “I want you to do everything that Mori-san says when you meet him, alright? He’s going to keep you nice and safe from people like me, yes, but in exchange for you keeping him...happy.”

“Happy how?” he sniffed again. He would do anything now to just see his dad and go home.

“You’ll see,” the man laughed. “But, this bit’s also just as important...I’m going to let your daddy go, okay? And you can go home together and be just as happy as you were. But you’re a brave boy, Ryū. Quite clever, I think. Put it this way; you keep Mori happy and I’ll keep daddy happy. Do you understand? Tell me you do.”

“I understand,” he whispered.

Laughing heartily, the man let him drop back to the floor, the chair clattering loudly, his back still sore and his face still stinging.

“Good,” he listened to the man walk across the room. “I’ll let you be on your way, then. See you in a few years, kiddo.”

 


 

“No. No, none of them have ever done anything...like that.”

 


 

“Well, why not?” Michiko pressed, crossing her arms in protest. She wasn’t moving for anything and they couldn’t make her! “He’s our friend!”

Heaving a great sigh, the officer scrubbed a big hand over his beard. “Kid,” he said. “Just give it a rest, would you? I’m not going to let you go through.”

Michiko pouted, but then someone cleared their throat so she was torn away from another attempt to wrangle the police officer into helping her. “Tetsutetsu-kun?” A tall female officer with wire-rimmed glasses stared down at her. “Please come with me.”

She sighed a little. “But I want to see how Ryū is! He really got tossed around by that thing and I saw -”

“I insist,” the officer said and Michiko reluctantly trailed after her, ignoring the big, bearded officer’s pleased grumble. “Right this way.”

“Where are we going?” she asked as they rounded a police cruiser. “What...uh-oh.”

“‘Uh-oh’ is right, young lady,” Itsuka said, arms crossed above her big belly and foot tapping impatiently on the ground. At her side, a pair of pale blue gloves were also crossed in an imitation of the same angry pose. Kagami stood at his mom’s side, shoulders hunched shamefully. “What were you thinking?”

“They clearly weren’t thinking at all!” Tōru-san’s gloves waved angrily. “I am so...argh! You are grounded for some many weeks, believe me!” She wagged a finger in Kagami’s direction and he winced, ducking his head even further. “I thought you knew better than this, Kagami!”

“I’m sorry, Mom,” he muttered.

“Skipping school?” Michiko’s own mother said. “Why would you think that was a sensible thing to do, Michiko? The police had the entire situation under control and by sticking your nose where it didn’t belong,” she gestured to the damaged street around them, “look what happened!”

“But,” Michiko tried. “We were just worried about Ryū! They said he was missing!”

“Yeah, are we supposed to just sit around and wait for him to turn up?” Kagami joined in. “He’s our best friend!”

“Of course he is,” Mom said. “And we understand you were worried, but that’s no excuse to go off running the streets without telling anyone where you were!”

“You’re lucky no one was seriously hurt,” Tōru-san added. “Very lucky.”

“Mom -”

“Ah,” Michiko’s mother shook her head sharply. “I wouldn’t argue if I were you. The one-month grounding you’re both getting could be much worse if you continue to talk back, young lady.”

Michiko deflated. “Okay,” she mumbled. “Sorry, Mom.”

“Sorry,” Kagami echoed.

Mom sighed and then grabbed Michiko by her shoulders, pulling her into an awkward, but tight hug around her bulging stomach. “It’s alright,” she said. “So long as you’re alright.”

“I’m fine, Mom,” Michiko said and it was the truth. “It’s Ryū-chan I’m worried about.”

“Hm,” Mom said. “Well, let’s see what’s going on, shall we?”

All four of them trooped back over to the big police officer, who was now drinking a cup of coffee. He raised an eyebrow.

“Battle Fist,” he said respectfully, “Invisible Girl. Is everything alright?”

“The other student also involved,” Mom said, “Kaminari Ryū, may we see him?”

“I’m afraid not,” the officer said. “As I told your daughter, Battle Fist, the boy is being seen-to at the moment by his social worker and their conversation is strictly confidential. After that, he’s off to the hospital. You could visit him there?”

“Kendō! Hagakure!” a red blur ran over, sweaty and over-dressed. Red Riot cracked a nervous smile. “How...are you guys okay?”

“Kirishima,” Mom said a little stiffly. Michiko cringed at the awkwardness. “We’re fine, thank you.”

“Well, have you seen Ryū then? Is he okay? No one will tell me where he is.”

“He’s speaking to his social worker,” the officer explained again. “Can’t let you interrupt them at the moment, Red Riot.”

“But...I’m his dad,” Red Riot looked a little lost, as grimy and bloody as he was. Michiko hoped that most of it belonged to that...monster thing. Most of it. “I need to -”

“No can do,” the officer cut him off. “Sorry.” He even looked a bit genuinely sorry.

A car door slammed and then raised voices approached. Michiko leaned around the big police van just in time for Ryū to come storming towards her, eyes burning and fists bunched up at his sides.

“Oh dear,” she said. Michiko caught his arm, ”Ryū-chan, what’s the matter -?” He shook her off and kept going.

His social worker, brown hair messy and clearly a bit overwhelmed, hurried after him with a big folder in her hands. “Ryū!” she called. “Come back here!”

“What happened?” Red Riot demanded to know. “Is he okay?”

“It’s fine,” Igarashi puffed. “I expected this could happen.” They watched Ryū stomp over to an ambulance and sit on the back, legs dangling and muttering to himself. “He’s...going through some turmoil at the moment.”

Michiko looked at the big bags under her eyes and her friend’s angry scowl. “I’ll go talk to him,” she said.

“I don’t think -”

“It’s alright,” Kagami said helpfully. “She’s like his therapist.”

Her ego inflating up at that, Michiko hurried off before anyone else could protest. She sat beside Ryū in the ambulance and swung her legs, whistling.

“What,” he demanded after a moment of the same, repetitive tune.

“Oh,” she faked surprise, “Fancy seeing you here! What a coincidence!”

“Cut the shit. What the fuck do you want?”

Michiko let her head rock back, huffing a lock of silver hair out of her eyes as she stared at the metal ceiling of the ambulance. “Sorry I pushed you,” she offered. “Earlier. I just got a bit worked up.”

“A bit?”

“I worry about you,” she admitted. “You’re like my...brother, or whatever. I don’t like seeing you upset and you were...in the alley you looked really upset. Like you were going to cry.”

“I don’t cry,” he spat, still refusing to look at her.

Michiko snorted. “Yeah, genius, that’s why I was worried. But, I mean...you used to cry, remember? When we were younger. You’d cry and laugh and smile like a normal kid and then you moved in with your grandparents and -”

“Stop it,” he mumbled. “I don’t want to talk about any of that shit.”

“Well, tough,” she said. “Look at all these people. Cops, Pros, my mom. There’s no way you can just make everyone forget about it.” She poked him and he shook her off with a grunt.

“Don’t you get it? Everyone does forget. They always do.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s his Quirk, Michiko,” his breath caught a little and then steadied out. “I just - it never works. I can tell anyone, whoever I like, and he just makes it,” he clenched his fist and then let his fingers splay out, “poof! Disappear.”

“Are you talking about -”

He growled and shot her a brief glare. “You know who I’m talking about.”

“Yeah,” she sighed. “Yeah, I do, buddy.”

 


 

“Come on, come on, come on,” Denki murmured, staring out of the taxi window at the buildings rushing past, getting more and more familiar the closer they got to his parents’ house. It had been years since he’d been there, but all the major landmarks and apartments looked the same to him as they had way back then.

“We’re nearly there, sir,” the driver said, glancing at him in the rearview mirror, even as they slowed to a stop behind a traffic jam. “Looks like there’s some sort of road block up ahead.”

Denki sat it out another minute, but after barely moving, took out his wallet and tossed far too many Yen notes into the front. “Keep the change,” he said, grabbing his bag and stumbling out of the car. “I’ll be faster on foot!”

He ran, hopped a low fence and cut through an alley, before having to stop and catch his breath. Man, he was out of shape after all this time off...probably time to hit the gym again if only a mile of running had him panting like a dog left out in the sun.

“Excuse me,” he mumbled as he nearly bowled over a teen in a hat pulled low and big black jacket. “Hey, hey!” Denki came up to a fenced-off area, a cluster of police cars and ambulances further down the street, blocking off the view for the media clustered around said barricade. A young officer with long blonde hair looked at him nervously. “Miss,” he tried, “I’m a Pro Hero, I need to get through -”

“Have you got any ID?” she asked. “If not, then I’m sorry but I can’t let you pass.”

Denki rummaged in his bag. Then he checked his pockets. Then he looked in his bag again. “I must’ve forgotten it,” he said. “I was in a rush to get here; my son, he’s in there, I need to know if he’s okay -”

“Sorry,” she said again, looking more confident but also genuinely apologetic. “I can’t let you in, sir. I can radio for a more informed officer to come over and speak with you, if you’d like, however.”

“No! No, no, you don’t understand,” he spluttered, waving his hands frantically. “I’m Chargebolt, right? Can’t you see it?” Denki struck his signature pose, one hand tucked lazily in his pocket and the other held half-up in a casual point, grinning with his eyes closed. “Yeah?”

She looked him up and down, eyes lingering on his face. “Sorry,” she said a third time. “There’s...nothing I can do.”

Denki slumped, dropping the pose entirely. “Alright,” he shuffled away a few steps, risked a glance over his shoulder to see her turning her attention to a reporter getting a little too close for comfort, then bolted. His tennis shoes beat the sidewalk, arms swinging, bag bouncing against his leg, as she yelled after him.

“Hey!” someone else joined in the chase. “Hey, you - come back here!”

Unfortunately for them, Denki had no plans of giving up anytime soon. He reached the buzz of people, ducked around a police cruiser and ran straight into somebody. Landing right on his ass, Denki had a moment to feel out of breath before arms hauled him to his feet.

“What the hell,” the female cop was saying, “Why’d you, ugh - what on earth compelled you to do that -”

“You’re under arrest,” the other guy said, “Put your hands behind your back and quit resisting!” Denki found himself shoved up against the cruiser and sharp metal dug into his wrists.

“Woah, chill!” he wiggled, trying pointlessly to pull away. “I’m just looking for -”

“Denki?”

Well.

That’s just great.

“Katsuki,” he panted. “Hey! If you could -”

“Back off!” Katsuki snarled, hauling the male officer away. “What the fuck is wrong with you? Arresting a Pro like that, huh?”

“A Pro?” the female cop said and when Denki swung around with the handcuffs still dangling from one wrist, he saw she was actually shocked. He didn’t blame her, to be fair, but it still stung. “You’re...really Chargebolt?”

“Yeah,” he said, a little irritated. “And I wanna see my kid.”

“Oh!” it seemed to dawn on her. “Yes. Uh,” she looked at Katsuki, who was still fuming and nearly tomato-red. “I’ll...leave you to it.” She and the male officer left, gossiping furtively.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Katsuki asked, but it wasn’t angry sounding. Not really.

“I saw what happened on the news,” Denki explained. “Is Ryū alright? I couldn’t find anything about his condition online -”

“Are you fucking with me?”

“And I -” Denki stopped. Blinked rapidly as he digested that remark. “What?”

“You heard me,” Katsuki stomped closer and poked him with one angry finger, hard. “Why the fuck would you think coming down here is a good idea?”

“Why - he’s my son, Katuski! Why would you even ask that!?”

“I don’t know, how about because you left ‘your son’ with your parents and fucked off to Tokyo!” Katsuki yelled, shoving him back against the cruiser. “How about that, huh!?”

Denki eyed him. “I don’t have to answer to you.”

“Oh yeah?!” He shoved Denki again, his eyes burning infernos. “How about our kid? And don’t even get me started on the other two; you haven’t fucking seen Aki in years!”

“This,” Denki stressed. “Has nothing to do with that. You’re no model parent either. I know for a fact you wouldn’t even be here bothering if Ryū wasn’t at U.A., okay? And don’t even try to argue with me on that.”

“Well, don't you talk like you know shit about me,” Katsuki hissed. “A lot of stuff has changed since you fucked off, Kaminari. Including the fact that you ditched our son at your parents’ house and didn’t give enough of a fuck to tell any of us!”

“It had nothing to do with you, Bakugou,” Denki shot right back. “You signed those papers just like I did. Ryū is none of your business.”

“It’s clear to me,” a stern female voice, “that Ryū has been far from anyone’s business for a while now.” A short woman with short brown hair and a rumpled suit stood off to one side. “This is not what he needs right now.”

“Igarashi-san,” Kaminari said, straightening up and clearing his throat. He hid the dangling handcuff behind his back. “Long time no see?”

“Hm. Kaminari-san, I suggest you leave before I have you removed. You have no reason for being here.”

“Hah!” Katsuki barked triumphantly.

“This is nuts! There’s no way I’m leaving - Ryū is my son -”

“Not anymore,” she said coldly. “As far as the government is concerned, Ryū might as well be an orphan.”

That struck him deeply, too deeply to really name. All Denki could say was that he felt a cold trickle run down his chest, pooling in his gut. “But -”

“Please,” she said, rubbing her face and now looking very tired indeed. “Don’t make this any harder for him. He’s had a tough time. There are some things...it really would be best if you left. If you both left.”

“I,” Denki said, looking at Katsuki defeated expression. It was strange seeing him giving up so easily. “Alright,” he relented. “I’ll go.”

“Thank you,” Igarashi seemed genuinely grateful, even smiling a little. “This is better for Ryū. You’re making the right decision.”

“Yeah,” Denki said, but he didn’t believe a word of it. After all, what could be better for Ryū than being with his family?

 


 

“Mweh,” Ryū waggled a chubby fist, staring up at Denki from his crib with big crimson eyes shining with a guileless love. “Nyadadadada - afoo!” A spit bubble popped at his little pout.

“Hey, buddy!” Denki scooped him up and breathed in his milky baby smell, pressing his cheek against that satin-soft black puff of hair. “You’re so chatty this morning! Did you miss Papa then? Did you? Did you?”

He carried his baby out into the hall, sticking his head into the master bedroom and smiling at what he found. Katsuki was tucked up on one side, snoring away and his expression smoothed out in peaceful sleep. Eijirou was on the other, laid out on his back with an arm tucked up underneath his pillow. Squished between them were two little blanket lumps, and a tiny bare foot stuck out against Eijirou’s leg.

Denki padded over and clambered up the bed, squishing between Katsuki and the bigger of the two lumps. He laid Ryū gently on his bed, making sure he was propped up and then peeled the blanket back just a little. Drool spreading across the mattress underneath his squished cheek, Akio shifted and his black hair spread around his face like a spiky little halo. He was wearing his favourite Deku pyjamas, the ones Katsuki and Eijirou were not the least bit sour about (as demonstrated by their week-long sulk after Mina brought him back from a sleepover wearing them).

“Mm,” Eijirou mumbled. “Baby, that you?”

“Yeah,” Denki whispered back. “Me and the babs.”

Eyes fluttering, Eijirou peeled them open and blinked slowly at him. Then, with a squeaky yawn, he sat up and scrubbed his eyes. He smiled a lazy grin. “Morning,” he said. “Is that the squish I hear?”

“Indeed it is,” Denki grinned back. “And he’s at optimum cuteness today, you’ll be pleased to know.”

“Let me take a look,” Eijirou said and Denki shuffled Ryū across the bed, watching fondly as he babbled and cooed quietly to himself. It was a nice change of pace. Akio and Rai had been loud babies - always screaming or yelling at something. Ryū was super chill, however, and Denki couldn’t say he wasn’t surprised. There was none of his colouring in the baby, but he would’ve sworn a Katsuki and Eijirou mix would’ve been the loudest one yet. “Hey, chubbs!” He smacked a kiss to that pudgy little cheek and sighed dreamily. “So soft...”

“Ugh,” Katsuki groaned and his angry scowl appeared over the top of his blanket, eyes crusted with sleep. “What are you two losers doing?”

“Baby,” Eijirou whispered back and help Ryū up, who proceeded to babble and waggle his little arms like an uncoordinated starfish. “C’mon, Katsuki, you can’t stay mad at this little squish!”

“Don’t call him that,” Katsuki muttered, but he was smiling a little, unguarded so early in the morning.

The blanket wobbled and Rai’s head popped out, platinum hair spiked up like a sleepy little hedgehog. He yawned and bared razor-sharp baby teeth to the world. “Sleepy,” he murmured. “Baba, Ryū wants his breakfast?”

“Yeah,” Eijirou whispered, “let’s be quiet, though, because I think Aki is still asleep.”

Rai eyed the lump that was his younger brother and then grinned. He yanked the blanket away and shoved his knees in poor Akio’s face. “Wakey wakey!”

“Rai!"

"Come here, brat," Katsuki grabbed Rai under the armpits and hauled him away as Akio grumbled and groaned, sitting up reluctantly, “Alright,” he said gruffly. “You asked for this.”

Screeching, Rai kicked his legs, but it was too late. The Katsuki monster had already begun to eat him, blowing loud raspberries on his chubby tummy. Akio saw the horror being inflicted upon his brother and scrambled across the bed, nearly careening right off the edge.

“Oniisan! I’ll save you!” He leapt onto Katsuki’s back and clung on for dear life.

“Shit!” Katsuki yelled because the swearing was a work in progress even after all these years. “I’m done for!” Then, a squirming Rai tucked under one arm, he reached back and hauled Akio over his head and clutched him around the middle. “Ha! Got you now!”

“No!” the squealed in unison.

Denki watched them roll around on the ground with a fond smile, then turned back to Eijirou and his little man, who looked distinctly unimpressed. “So grumpy,” he said. “I get the feeling you’re going to be the one keeping those two in check.”

“Or distracting the adults whilst they get into trouble,” Eijirou suggested. “Just look at that sweet little face.”

“Ha! He looks just like you, Ei,” Denki teased. “Are you sure you’re not just feeding your own ego?”

“Not all me,” Eijirou blushed a little. “The hair, sure, but look at his serious little frown.” They did. “That’s all Katsuki for sure. Our squish will be telling old ladies off before we know it.”

“Well, whatever you do with your cuteness,” Denki told the baby seriously, smiling as Ryū watched his brothers wrestle with an open moue of curiosity. “We’ll be there to cheer you on through it!"

“Like he has a choice with three dads and two big brothers. Kid’ll be sick of us by the time he’s in high school.”