“C’mon you stupid Deku! I dare you!”
“B-But Kacchan, nobody’s ‘sposed to be out after dark.”
“Does it look like I care? Nobody’s gonna think you’re cool otherwise!”
Izuku sniffled as he rubbed his eyes, small for a four year old as he wandered the street of his neighborhood with Kacchan. His quirk still hadn’t developed and because of that everyone had decided he was Quirkless. This also meant nobody wanted to be his friend, not even Kacchan. This was his only chance to have Kacchan back.
“O-Okay.” He sniffled and rubbed his eyes, trying to sound like a big kid to get Kacchan to listen to him. “You gotta promise though! That you’ll be my friend again.”
“Yeah, whatever. If you do this then everyone’ll be your friend.” Kacchan huffed and rolled his eyes, going home.
Izuku, on the other hand, ran off towards the middle of town. Recently, kids had started disappearing late at night, causing nightly hero patrols to increase, and the government to declare children have a curfew. Nobody took the second part seriously until their kids started showing back up, grossly mutated and very much dead.
Which was why Izuku was now running through Musutafu at eight at night, just having had dinner and hoping that this meant Kacchan would be his friend again. Ever since his quirk came in, he’d become mean to everyone around him and acting as if he was now the best thing in existence. And Izuku still worshiped the ground he walked on.
Turning a corner he stopped, nose scrunching up as he caught wind of a weird smell. He had only run two blocks away and had already turned to run back home but the smell had caught him so off guard. It kind of smelled like meat that went bad, like when momma forgot a chicken breast in the back of the fridge. Slowly he followed the smell, eyes full of confusion.
The smell led him to a dumpster behind a ramen shop, the sound of flies swarming reaching his ears. Whatever it was, it was on the other side of the dumpster. Well, he was within sight of the lights and there were adults walking on the street. It wasn’t like nobody could see him. He crept around the dumpster...and immediately wished he hadn’t.
Lying there was a kid around his age, purple orbs all over the kid’s body and...was that thing even considered a head anymore? It looked more like a fleshy pancake. The sight coupled with the smell caused Izuku to back up fast, tripping over his own feet as he felt his dinner making an appearance. He didn’t even try to force the vomit down, emptying his stomach contents on the ground under him.
“Oh my, you poor thing! What are you doing out!” The voice was sweet and belonged to a woman and Izuku didn’t even think about not running into the person, crying his little heart out.
He would regret that decision for years afterwards.
He didn’t know how he had fallen asleep, or even if he had actually fallen asleep. Maybe he was knocked out? He couldn’t remember. Actually, he couldn’t even remember why he wasn’t home in bed right now, his memories of the day foggy at best.
Moving a bit, he reached up to rub his eyes, fore before realizing he could only lift one arm. For a moment he thought his arm was gone and he was struck with terror before his vision cleared. No, it was there, just handcuffed to...a bed?
His eyes moved from his arm to the rest of the room, whitewashed walls and other beds greeting his sight. Adults moved back and forth between the other five beds, and all of the other bed occupants seemed to be restrained as well. One even had a muzzle of some kind over their mouth to keep them from speaking.
Did the nice lady take him to a hospital and he was just in the kids wing? He noticed one of the kids looked alot like one of the adults so he figured that was the case. He settled and watched everyone running back and forth, checking machines and clipboards before finishing on him. He felt the other kids’ eyes on him and...why did they look so scared?
He was uncuffed and an adult gently helped him to the floor. He watched with big eyes as they took his height and measured all over his body. He heard things like ‘clean slate’ and ‘Quirkless’. Was he actually quirkless? Were his classmates taunts true? His smile fell as an adult took his hand.
“Where’s momma?” He asked, tears starting to form.
“No idea kid. Come with us.”
He followed, now completely silent and confused. Where was momma? She would have known if he was taken to the hospital right? And why were there no TVs? Or toys? As he walked with an adult to a room with a chair that had a lot of straps he wondered just where he actually was.
He didn’t hesitate to obey, after all his momma had always told him to respect the adults taking care of them and so far they had done just that, walking to the chair and sitting down. Straps were placed over his arms, legs, torso and head before he felt a small prick in his hand, causing him to squeak.
“Begin phase one.”
Izuku tried to respond but something was put in his mouth, forcing him to bite on it as he felt a burning something go into his skin and spread across his body.
He wanted to scream, to cry until he passed out and woke up at home.
This had to be a nightmare right?
He’d wake up at home and his mom would be holding him close with his All Might plush his dad bought him.
But he never even passed out, his eyes weren’t even allowed to shut, a light shining down on them as his breathing became erratic, tears rolling down his cheeks in rivers. None of the adults would even comfort him, just pulling him out of the chair as soon as the fire stopped. He...couldn’t feel anything. Shaking he stared at his hands before he was kicked harshly in the side, the kicks repeating until he didn’t even attempt to get up.
“Test complete. No Quirk manifested. Fire test results, null. Take him back.”
He was picked up by the back of his shirt, carried back to the room and dropped on the floor before the adults left him alone with the others. The sound of murmuring made its way to his ears. He didn’t dare move yet though, too terrified by what had happened to him.
He only looked up when he felt a small hand on his back, moving down to his arms and then gently helping him up. When he picked his head up he was face to face with a slightly older girl with long light blue hair, purple eyes, and mismatch color skin. She pointed to herself with no expression.
“Riko. Blood-related quirk.”
Her finger then moved to a girl with cropped short reddish-pink hair and blue eyes. “Kaida. White fire.”
Kaida looked up from rubbing her hands over her legs, her gaze distant and not entirely there. Riko’s finger moved onto a boy with grey hair and white eyes, staring at absolutely nothing and hands wrapped up in gauze.
Souma turned to the sound of his name but didn’t respond, as if he refused to.
Then her finger moved onto the boy with the muzzle, purple hair a wreck and purple eyes glassy from what looked like a panic attack. “Hitoshi. Voice-related Mind Control.”
Then her finger landed on the last kid, a boy with yellow hair and an electric style black streak, his hands rubbing his cheeks as if he was crying. “Denki. Electricity. His mommy is bad.”
She then pointed to Izuku and tilted her head. He knew he had to respond.
“M-Midoriya I...Izuku. N-No quirk…” He sniffled and Riko immediately pulled him in for a hug, picking him up as best she could and putting him back in his bed.
He wanted to go home, he wanted momma. But he also wanted the other kids not to have to cry or be sad or hurt either. What would All Might do? At that moment, he put on his brightest smile, because All Might always said that smiling in a situation you couldn’t was the most powerful thing someone could do.
“In today’s news, a young boy, Izuku Midoriya, was declared missing after running off at night into the middle of town. Witnesses who last saw the boy say he ran to an unknown woman crying. Police later discovered the body of one Mineta Minoru. Local hero Driver has officially declared he would boost his patr-”
Bakugo hit the TV remote to shut the TV off, his heart racing and eyes wide.
This was his fault. Auntie was crying and not eating and this was all his fault.
All because stupid Deku cared more about
than his own common sense.
If only he had just protected him, none of this would have happened. Guilt gnawed at his stomach and he quickly ran to the bathroom, dry heaving into the bowl as tears pricked his eyes.
Maybe the actual useless person...was himself.
He’d been here two weeks now and now he understood exactly why the other kids were so...out of it. Why all the kids never spoke a word after he got introductions. He watched their hands move or write on each other’s skin but he had no idea why or how this was a thing. Instead, he just stopped talking altogether, watching with intrigue and hoping he would understand the meanings.
Today was just like any other day, except Kaida was taken out of the room and whilst she was gone a new adult was in the room. It was a man with black hair and scarring on his arms and a neutral expression. He also smelled like campfires and the sight of him seemed to calm the other kids.
Izuku watched the man check each child, bandaging injuries and a small blue flame gliding between his fingers as if it was a nervous tic. Izuku focused on the flame as he moved silently between each bed before stopping at Izuku. He immediately cancelled the flames and frowned, moving to his side.
Izuku shrank away, eyes wide before the man smiled sadly and pulled out a small book. Sign Language For Beginners. “Don’t tell anyone I gave you this okay?” He gently slid it under Izuku’s pillow and got up. “I’m so sorry kid…”
Izuku untensed and blinked. “Wha?”
“Oh you can hear...and you look unharmed.” The man looked to the others. “They use sign language. I guess nobody taught you.” He sighed. “I’m...Dabi. I’m just a bandage changer.”
“I wanna go home Dabi. I want my momma.” Izuku’s eyes were pleading more than his voice could from lack of speaking.
“I...I don’t know how I can help you kid...not yet.” Dabi sighed. “I’m sorry kid. Hang in there. I promise I’ll get you home.”
The man, Dabi, raised a finger to an earpiece and swore, rushing out of the room not a moment later. Once more, Izuku landed in a world of silence as he quietly slid the book out and started reading and looking at the pictures.
He was so engrossed in this new knowledge he almost didn’t hear the coming footsteps, feeling the book pulled from his hands and shoved under his pillow as Riko put a finger to her lips as the door opened and Kaida was dragged inside.
The room...felt perfectly normal to him but everyone else was moving away from Kaida, white fire rushing up her arms that nobody could put out. The adults went out as if she would just burn out or something as Izuku got up. Why...why didn’t he feel any of the heat?
He walked over and saw that Kaida’s breathing was fast and she looked like she didn’t know where she was. She was scared and on fire. Izuku reached out and took her hand, not feeling any of the fire and spoke softly.
“Kai-sempai. S’okay.” He moved to get on the bed and hugged her, watching the fire slowly receded on her arms.
The other kids were watching him now, eyes wide as he realized he didn’t have any burns on his hands. He was fire resistant. He let go of Kaida and stared at his arms with wide eyes. Was...was this his quirk? Was he resistant to fire? But the doctors had said he was Quirkless.
Did that mean whatever they put in him made him fire resistant? He felt like he should never mention this to the adults and he looked to the others, trying and barely managing to sign out the words ‘No Tell’ as the other kids nodded.
Now they had a secret between them all and Kaida had someone to hold as she loosely wrapped her arms around Izuku, burying her face into his little shoulder and shaking a bit. She was speaking so softly it was barely even considered a whisper and it was just the word ‘safe’ over and over.
Izuku finally had some form of quirk, and he officially hated it.
“Today we mourn the loss of Izuku Midoriya, a child taken too soon from us all and pray for his safe return.”
Bakugo sat in class, listening to the teacher’s speech about what a good boy Izuku was as his parents stood to the side. Bakugo couldn’t remember meeting Mr. Midoriya until today but he could see Izuku in the man’s features. The freckled cheeks, the fluffy hair, though his was black and he had golden eyes and a mask over his mouth. Didn’t Izuku’s dad breathe fire? He looked away, staring out the window with a tiny frown.
Where was he? Why did he actually take that bet? Why did he have to be so much of a dick it drove his friend to actually get kidnapped? He felt a wetness on his cheeks and realized he was crying, quickly attempting to wipe them away. But it was no use, the tears kept coming without end.
Dammit. This was usually the nerd’s thing, crying over everything. He put his arms on his desk and then put his face in his arms to hide them from view as the teacher kept going on about that if anyone knew why he ran away to tell her. But he could never tell the truth, that Izuku got kidnapped because he was being a bully and dared him to go into the area the kidnappers were seen last.
He stayed in his little spot, trying to force himself to stop crying until his tears dried up. He decided in that moment he was going to be a hero, someone who could save his friend and defeat all the bad guys. He would do what every other hero, even All Might couldn’t do. He would find Izuchan.
He wasn’t sure how long he’d been here now, unable to see outside, unable to tell the changing of seasons or the passing of days outside of what Dabi brought to them. He was sure a year had passed though, which meant he was five years old. He had grown a bit and he was at least partly fluent in sign language, with handwriting remaining a less usable ability due to his hands tendency to shake.
He’d managed to get his bed moved next to Kaida’s so he could lay next to her and help calm her. She’d tell him stories sometimes, as kids came and went. He never remember their names or faces, knowing they would never stay. At least after a few months they stopped trying to bring in new blood.
They had called this ‘Stage Two’ for the others. He was still on ‘Stage One’ but it wasn’t like they could separate him from the others without Kaida acting up and trying to melt the door. They had learned their lesson after that, which was one of the big reasons why Izuku’s bed was next to hers.
Today everyone was out of the room doing ‘training’ so he was practicing his hand writing, focusing hard on the words like invisible calligraphy. He only looked up when he heard the door open and Denki’s mom walked in.
He got up as quickly as he could and tried to back away but the woman was faster than him, grabbing his arm and dragging him off to the ‘chamber’.
They were going to try again.
Tears sprang to his eyes as he tried to struggle out of her grip to no use. He was placed in the chair and strapped down, the needle digging once more into his skin as he felt ice cold fill his body, his vision going blurry as he screamed and cried.
Make it stop! MAKE IT STOP!
“Test Two on Subject I.”
His vision just kept getting blurrier until everything went dark and he heard the sounds of something moving. Only then did the cold leave his body and his vision cleared. The adults looked...unhappy.
“Telekinetic power, null. Only weak push, no pull.” Denki’s mom frowned. “Initiate trigger.”
Once again Izuku was beaten senseless and a few baby teeth fell out as he sobbed and curled into a ball. He wanted to make them go away, to hurt them but all he could do was make their clothes move. By the time it was over he was dragged once more to the room and Dabi was called.
“Shit kid, they did a number on you.”
Izuku didn’t respond this time, eyes glassy and faraway as his injuries were treated. This time he resembled the other kids who were being dragged back one by one, just as damaged as he was. Dabi moved to skin writing and just traced comforting words into his skin with rough hands as he treated Izuku’s wounds and put him back to bed, moving on to the others.
Izuku now had two sort of quirks. He hated them both though it meant he was able to do something more. Maybe he’d get heat vision and melt all the bad adults so they could never hurt them again. Maybe he’d get strength like All Might. Maybe he’d die and be free, but he would never wish that. He needed to keep Kai senpai safe. He needed to get Denki away from his bad mom. He needed to get Hitoshi and Souma and Riko home and happy.
He had to be their All Might.
Bakugo was sipping a soda as he helped clean Auntie’s apartment. She had gone to a retreat with Uncle to somewhere that helped ‘victims’. Which, he figured they were since Izuchan was still missing. No heroes had any leads and he knew he’d be declared dead or something like the other five still missing children.
He had started to wonder when he started calling him Izuchan. Or why he had started keeping a notebook of the six missing, now called Angels. The Six Angels. He hated that term. They weren’t dead or angels. They were kidnapped by villains and Bakugo was going to be the ones to save all of them.
He paused sweeping and grabbed the notebook he had been keeping which he had titled Notes of the Misplaced. He sat down on the floor and checked it over.
Souma Kawaguchi, taken at age five. He was the first, a kid that was taken off a playground where his aunt was watching him. Parents were dead and the aunt was neglecting him. He apparently had a steam quirk that was pretty mild, nothing dangerous.
Then there was Kaida, no last name given. A homeless girl with white flames for a quirk that was too dangerous for the foster system. Taken at age five as well.
Riko Aoki was six when taken. She was being bullied and an adult drove the kids off, she never made it home, both the adult and her disappearing. Her parents had cared for her but feared her. She had a blood related quirk.
Hitoshi Shinso disappeared from a foster home, a boy who nobody wanted or cared about and who no one missed except for the media and the heroes of that area. A vocal mind control quirk. Age four.
Denki Kaminari disappeared at age four with his parents with only his father was found dead, wrapped in plastic sheeting in a forest and clean of any and all evidence. An electric quirk.
Finally there was Izuchan. Kidnapped in an alleyway after finding a rotting corpse. Bakugo had circled the words ‘MY FAULT’ so many times the page was practically barely being held together now.
Not a single kidnapping had a connection to the others. Denki and his parents disappeared at the same time. Izuchan had run off on a dare. Souma was kidnapped in broad daylight in front of a guardian, even if they didn’t care. Riko had parents still somewhere...possibly. He couldn’t really go and check the information on a computer.
Still, this little notebook was the only thing that connected him to whatever truth was being hidden from them. He pulled out another notebook with all the children that had been returned dead. They all had mutations on their original quirk. They all had some form of deformity they did not have when they were taken.
It always had to do with the quirk. He dropped the notebook and scooted away as if it was on fire. Mostly he was scared his emotions would cause him to explode something. All the kids except for Izuchan had a powerful quirk. They took Izuchan because he found the body and they didn’t know if he had parents. Izuchan was the outlier.
He got up, shaking at staring at his two notebooks. Who...who would take kids for their quirks? Who would kill and mutilate kids because of their quirks. He felt bile rising in his throat and tears rolling down his cheeks as he grabbed the broom again.
He finished the rest of the work in terrified silence.
Here, have some SUFFERING. Also I am glad you all enjoy because every time I post a chapter my discord server starts screaming.
Another two years. Another two birthdays uncelebrated. Except for his growth and Dabi’s visits he could barely measure the passing of time. Sure, he could count days by meals and bathroom trips and rotations of tests but otherwise life slowly crawled by like there was no change.
‘I want a story.’ Shinso signed, watching Izuku with dull eyes.
‘A story?’ He responded. ‘We’re a little too old for stories. But okay.’
Izuku paused as he thought of a story. Maybe the story of a hero? Hero stories always seemed to keep the others in high spirits usually, especially with how in depth in analysis Izuku usually goy. Suddenly, he had an idea, Hitoshi liked Eraserhead a lot from what he could remember.
‘One day Eraserhead was walking along when he found a little grey cat. He picked up the cat and held it close, whispering that he would care for the little one, protect it from all harm as he slipped it into the folds of his scarf. Instantly, the little cat settled and fell asleep, so tired and cold that the spot was a perfect spot for a nap. Later, Eraserhead named the cat Neko.’
“I...I liked that story.’ Shinso smiled from behind his muzzle and made a heart with his hands before signing again. ‘I want to be the cat. I want to be warm and sleep.’
‘Me too.’ He signed back before the door opened, the adults returning Kaida and dragging Hitoshi out.
‘Cold.’ Kaida signed, shivering and trying to create her flames to no avail.
They put her in the freezer again! Izuku leapt out of bed with his blanket in tow, draping it around his senpai and then snuggling up next to her. If she couldn’t make her own warmth, he’d give his own. He shut his eyes and leaned in close, trying his hardest to even make a spark. It was these moment he wished his quirk side effects were real quirks.
By the time Kaida warmed up Denki was returned and ‘spacing’. Izuku couldn’t do much for him since it was quirk overuse but he could at least made sure he was able to lie down without twitching or anything. Souma was tapped on the hands to remind him he was safe and not being tested on anymore. Riko got hugs and any contact she would allow from him.
Then the adults came for him and he knew what would happen. It had been two years since the last force. He would be getting a new dose again, whatever effects being given taking hold. He didn’t even fight back this time, just letting them take him to the chair and strapping him in.
“Test Three on Subject I. Begin.”
He felt the needle go in and a warmth spread through his body. He felt...good this time. Like a warm baked cookie his mom made. He shut his eyes and tried to relax. But this time, when the warmth ended he wasn’t unstrapped. He instead felt something sharp go into his arm as his eyes flew open and he screamed.
THEY STABBED HIM. They had stabbed him and removed the knife, watching the wound as if waiting for something. But it just kept bleeding there was so much blood. His breathing became erratic and he couldn’t stop staring at the blood until it stopped. The wound didn’t close but it had...it had healed itself enough that he wasn’t bleeding.
“Regeneration quick, null. But there is a healing factor. Further testing needed and training. We might have a breakthrough.”
Izuku didn’t hear a word as he was unstrapped and taken back to the room, the others swarming him and his wrapped up arm as he seemed to stare at nothing. He didn’t even respond to any touches or skin writing until he felt the warmth of Kaida, his head turning in her direction as she pulled him in tight.
‘Test. Heal.’ Were the only words he made for the rest of the day.
The heroes were lying to him now. Outright lying. He’d shown them the damn notebooks and they had dismissed him without a word. They said they were going to take care of everything and that he shouldn’t worry himself over his missing friend.
But he wasn’t going to let the words of some shitty ass heroes stop his research. He was going to find out the truth. Currently he was on his laptop, a map pinned up on the wall next to him. He had marked the exact locations of all the kids, both dead and missing, on the map but none of it lead to a conclusion. They were all taken from different parts of Japan. There was never a pattern of the disappearances nor when kids turned up dead except for a year or less being missing. So that meant the kids still missing were alive. Izuchan was still alive no matter what everyone else said. He would believe Auntie and Uncle until the day he died.
He pushed away from his laptop as he frowned and looked out the window, seeing Driver dashing down the road to a villain attack. Izuchan would probably be chasing after him to take notes if life was different. He groaned and rubbed his temples, feeling a headache coming on as he fumbled around in his desk for painkillers.
The headaches had come with the nightmares, waking him up, sweaty and panicked. The first time he had let out such a huge explosion his parents had to remodel his entire room and fix the walls. You could still see the scorch marks on the floor. He knew after that he had to keep his hands from detonating when he slept. The headaches were probably his own fault from stress and the nonstop work he did to find his friend.
He wondered vaguely if Auntie would want him to come over today, to give her and Uncle a moment to relax. She seemed to be getting better with her worries but it was probably the therapy she went to. He refused to even think of that. Not until Izuchan was safe at home. He wouldn’t even try to attempt recovering until his friend could too.
He let out a groan at his train of thought and went to the living room, flopping on the couch and subsequently onto the laps of his parents. They didn’t mind though, knowing he was just letting out frustrations again.
Still, they wished that he would smile like he used to.
Izuku’s hands were shaking, bandages covering most of his skin. They’d found out about his flame resistance when they tried burning him to ‘test’ the levels of his healing capabilities. He could instantly heal minor cuts and scrapes on his own body but couldn’t heal other’s injuries, no matter how minor. He could no longer bruise and he could clot his own blood. But further than that...he only healed faster than normal. Days stretched into weeks of forcing his healing to overextend until bruises appeared and stayed, his quirk exhausted from overuse.
He didn’t speak the entire time.
So remember when I said Bakugo was having a conspiracy moment? Welcome to Conspiracy with Shoto and Katsuki.
Touya opened his eyes, staring up at the ceiling of his room. Another day of hell, just as usual. He sighed and slipped the ear piece the scientists gave him in as he grabbed the paperwork they left on his desk.
He wished things could be different.
He sighed through his nose and grabbed a change of clothes, attempting to brush his dyed black hair and trying not to think about that day. The day that he wished he could change. When he had gone to do some street performing and witnessed his little sister, the only connection he had to sanity, being snatched away by some lady in a van.
How he melted the tires and managed to be snatched himself. The first few days filled with terror as his phone slowly died, hiding it from the scientists as he managed to contact the police. But he didn’t know where he was and his phone’s GPS was fried...so all he could do was become an informant when the time came.
He’d sacrificed his life and became the person to dress the kid’s wounds, all to make sure his sister survived. Nobody would care for her except for him even if she did die, and then he was disposable. After all, who would care for the bastard child of a hero and a missing son the hero didn’t want to even think about.
His fingers ghosted over the scars on his neck and arms, a frown coming to his face. Maybe in another world he would have been stronger, been able to save every single kid instead of watching the scientists try to overpower their quirks.
That’s what they wanted from what he could gather. They were trying to make the kids’ quirks as powerful as the original quirks were when they first developed. He let his hand fall from his arm and grabbed his bag, checking over the supplies before walking down the hall.
They were going to test Izuku again. He wondered why they kept trying to force quirks on the kid. All it produced was after effects, echos of power that never managed to manifest. Maybe because the kid was Quirkless. After all, quirks started from the quirkless.
He turned a corner, unconsciously counting the steps that grew shorter with every year, each moment as he grew older. Maybe they’d let him go with her one day...not likely. One more turn and he walked into the testing room, silent as he saw Denki being restrained in a second chair they brought in.
Wait were they going to use the poor kid’s blood to transfer power from a live source?! He turned his head and prayed he was wrong but based on the gasp Izuku gave when he was brought in...Touya’s blood ran cold.
He subconsciously covered his arm where they had drawn blood from him and stored to use on Kaida and probably Izuku too, shivering a bit as both boys started crying.
“Begin Test, live.”
The screams were the worst part. Listening to both of them screaming and crying, with him being unable to do a damn thing. He could feel the scientists who weren’t working on the boys staring at him, testing his loyalty. He didn’t have a shred of it but he wouldn’t dare risk the safety of any of those kids.
He only turned back as the screaming stopped, sniffles and whines replacing them. He wanted to rush forward, to pull them close and burn every single adult in this room to ash but instead he got a hand to his chest, holding him in place.
“You can take them after they settle.” The scientist said and he glared, moving back to the wall and shutting his eyes.
He decided this would be the best time to zone out and not hear the beat down the kids would be getting, eyes shut and dark circles under his eyes. But he wouldn’t get any good sleep until the others were safe, even if he was sleeping in a coffin.
“Test, undetermined, further testing required at a later date. Dabi, take them back to their room.”
Touya’s eyes open and he nodded, walking over and gently picking them up and holding them close. Still too light, still too small. He needed more time, he needed a plan. He needed sleep honestly but insomnia was a bitch and a half. He swayed a bit as he walked through the door and to the room for the kids. If he knew the damn codes for this place he’d take all these kids out of here.
He gently set the two down and went back to his work bandaging injuries and trying to provide comfort. It was all he could, the only thing to keep himself sane in this hell they called life.
One day though, one day he’d make them all pay.
Bakugo let out a frustrated scream as he flopped on his bed, a notebook over his face.
He hit another dead end.
He thought he had a lead on Kaida through, some redhead that tried to stop the kidnappers but there was no trace of the kid existing nor where the kid went.
Was there actually seven instead of six?
He was in full blown conspiracy mode right now and he knew it based on the headache at the back of his thoughts trying to bust through. It had been four years now, and the only ones who hadn’t given up was Auntie, Uncle and himself. And he would die before he even attempted to give up. At least the night time curfew had been lifted so he couldn’t get in trouble for sneaking out and checking the alley Izuchan had been taken from.
He decided to visit the spot again, even if he had gone a thousand times with no difference. But he needed a venting spot and that was the safest place to go without anyone bothering him. He decided to go, shoving his notebooks into his bag and rushing out with a small goodbye to his parents.
He ran faster and faster, unconsciously going the exact path his friend had taken the night he was kidnapped. Sliding to a stop, he stared into the alleyway with a frown. The memorial to Izuku was still there, as pristine as it had always been. The umbrella was still duct taped to the wall to keep it from getting wet and there was a protective shell to keep snow and wind from destroying it. But...something was off.
He walked into the alley to see a letter taped to the wall, his eyes full of confusion as he pulled his jacket off to grab it. Nothing happened so he figured someone left it here. He’d still look at it, after all it had been so long.
Opening the envelope he found a note, the words finally giving him a lead he had never expected to find.
The person who attempted to save Kaida was Touya Todoroki.
Izuku sat on the floor of a room covered in rubber with Denki, staring at nothing and silent as scientists hooked them up to monitors and looked over their work. Denki seemed nervous though and Izuku took his hand quietly.
“Subject D, initiate power.”
What?! He watched the scientists leave, making them the only two in the room. Did...did they want Denki to shock him? He saw Denki shake his head and he could feel his heart rate spiking. Denki didn’t want to hurt him but...he felt it would be okay somehow.
“Subject D, initiate power or else!”
Izuku noticed a collar on Denki and he reached out to grab it. Sadly this startled Denki who let out a shock. But...it just harmlessly bounced off his skin, his nerves vibrating again like during the test. He felt his muscles twitch and he froze, backing away a bit to give Denki his space.
“Electric resistance confirmed. Remove Subject I.”
Izuku almost cried out for Denki. Almost.
Did I disappear? Yes. Should I have kept posting this? Also yes. But here we are, we're getting into the thick of it and still in Arc 1 of this fic!
Izuku stared at his shaking hands, his quirk overused and his body weak from all the testing. Kaida was leaning into his side, pink hair down to her shoulder from their last haircut session. He was so warm, so safe and sweet that she kept him smiling.
He...had stopped thinking of the others as senpai or peers. They were siblings now, simple as that. Even Dabi was a brother to him, their protector and purity in hell. He smiled softly to himself as he stopped focusing on his hands.
At least they had stopped using him as an electric conduit to Denki’s powers. He didn’t have to test his lightning resistance any more and Denki’s tests had stopped for the time being. They were having a day of rest.
For a second Izuku forgot about the world around him, eyes shut and body relaxed that he started humming. It was the only noise he made anymore and it kept the others calm. He only stopped when he felt Kaida stiffen. His eyes opened as he saw an adult reaching for him and his smile faded.
Not again. He moved away from Kaida and slid off the bed, walking to the adult with lowered head. He stared at his feet and counted the steps to the testing room again, once again not putting up a fight. He was too weak, too tired from everything to even try.
“Test Five on Subject I. If this doesn’t work then I’m sure we have to change our original diagnosis. These ‘after effects’ are too strange not to be written off as a quirk. Which means our data is only partly null.”
Izuku shut his eyes as he felt the familiarity of whatever they always pumped into him. This time...he felt...nothingness. It was like every sense was stripped from him. He opened his eyes but saw...nothing. He heard nothing, smelled nothing, tasted nothing. It was like he was in a sensory deprivation tank. And then...he felt everything.
He for a second had a need, a craving to reach out beyond the walls of wherever they were and find a specific emotion. He didn’t care if this even killed him but he needed to find him. He needed this with all his heart.
He let out a scream, blood oozing down his face as he found it.
Bakugo had been walking home from the therapist’s office when he dropped to his knees, eyes wide and pupils blown.
OH GOD MAKE IT STOP! HURT HURT HURT HURT! FEAR TERROR TERROR TEARS CRY CRY CRY CRY CRY!
Tears rolled down his face like rivers as his breathing became erratic and he gripped his head, a scream coming from his throat as panic gripped him.
He wasn’t in control. These emotions weren’t his and he wasn't in control. He tried to look around him but his vision was tunneling and all he could hear was the ringing in his ears. Something flickered in and out of his vision.
Green hair, green eyes and freckles, a thin frame strapped to a chair, eyes glassy and screaming just like Bakugo. He didn’t seem to be looking at anything but his mouth moved for a fraction of a second before everything cut to black.
K A C C H A N
As quickly as it came, the feeling and the vision left, Bakugo ripping out the hearing aids from his head as he gasped for air. As he came back to his awareness he realized a crowd had formed around him as he looked up. They looked...concerned.
Slowly and shakily standing up, he signed, hoping someone would understand. ‘Panic attack’. Nobody did and he could see someone’s lips moving and he pointed to his ears, trying to make them understand he was basically deaf.
Years of panicked explosions did that to a kid after all, slowly taking hearing piece by piece until he could barely hear the world around him. Shit where did the hearing aids drop to? His eyes drifted down to see they had somehow smashed into pieces and were sparking a bit.
Fuck. FUCK. He patted his body, looking for his phone until he found it dead in his pocket, the screen cracked even though it never touched the ground and was fine right before the incident. Did...did he actually see Izuchan? Did Izu do this? He gulped a bit in fear and hugged himself as someone pushed through the crowd, their black hair a mess and a scarf around their neck.
He looked up and met their eyes, watching their lips moving. Once more Bakugo pointed to his ears, shaking a bit now as tears threatened to spill. He was terrified right now, twitchy and shaken to his core from whatever just happened to him.
‘Can you sign.’
Bakugo stared at the man as his hands moved, for a moment not registering he was signing until the third time he did it, giving a tiny nod in response as the man seemed to let out a small sigh.
‘Panic attack. Hearing aids broke.’
He saw the man nod and speak to the crowd who seemed to calm down some. Then the man knelt down to Bakugo’s height and gave the best form of a smile as he held out his hand. Bakugo didn’t even hesitate to take it as the man walked back to Bakugo’s house with Bakugo pointing out the way.
As soon as he was home his mom pulled him into a tight hug and got his spare hearing aids for him. He...just really needed to be alone right now. He lightly pushed away from his mom, handing over his damaged phone before going to his bedroom.
Flopping on the bed, he grabbed his missing notebook and flipped to Izuchan’s page, writing his new findings and trying to analyze the quirk he just experienced. Was it an empathic quirk or technology driven? Did he even have this quirk to begin with or was it forced on him wherever he was?
He made notes for a solid hour before flipping to Touya’s section and reading over what little information he found online. The kid had run away from home around the age Bakugo was now, disappearing except for short appearances across Japan. The last time he was seen was near Kamino Ward, with the little girl named Kaida. From pictures he dug up online...the two looked identical.
Was Kaida a Todoroki? Oh the theories were ripe now and he grabbed his laptop to go into a theory hole, something to distract himself from his little panic attack and subsequent need to be brought home by a stranger.
If he wanted to be the hero to save Izuchan, he had to get stronger.
The world came back to Izuku slowly, his body shaking as he stared at the door. He saw Kacchan, if only for a few seconds. He looked so much older, so much stronger than Izuku could have imagined. But he also saw the hearing aids, the dark circles under his eyes that looked just like Dabi’s.
“Test results, positive. The kid has some weird echo quirk. Whatever we throw at him is going to leave some sort of result. This is...promising.”
Izuku barely heard it as he was released and taken back to the room, immediately going back to his spot by Kaida, though the others had moved to the bed as well. He snuggled into the kid pile and just let his tired body relax, feeling the emotions around him.
He’d always had a quirk, a perfect test subject all along. But he also knew Kacchan was out there, waiting for him. Looking for him this whole time from what he could gather about his appearance.
Now he had hope again.
So!!! This is a filler chapter. Oops? Sorry, you don't get to find out what's going on with the lab crew. Nope, instead you get AIZAWA AND BAKUGO. Aka Hoboman and Katsuki. I also like to call this 'Eraserhead Feeds Katsuki's Conspiracy Theories'. Also we get Shoto and Katsuki becoming friends!
Bakugo sat on a bench, staring down at his notebook as he tried to connect the dots from the past year.
Izuchan did have a quirk. Did the people that took him know? Or did they assume he was quirkless like everyone else? Was the kidnapping really by chance after all?
Rifling through his bag, he grabbed a water bottle and turned his hearing aids off so he could focus, letting his mind wander into his little plane of conspiracy. Kaida had obviously been targeted by those kidnappers because she was Endeavor’s daughter. Maybe the hero paid them off because she was illegitimate? And that came into question of the others, they kidnapped kids with ‘dangerous’ quirks. Except for the steam guy, but who knew really.
He only looked up when he saw someone tap on his notebook, forcing him to turn his hearing aids on as he came face to face with the hobo man from last year. Well, he assumed he was a hobo since he always dressed like he was going to pass out at any second and sleep.
“You’re here every day with that notebook kid. School assignment?”
“Mmm. No. Personal project.”
The man sat down next to him and relaxed, Bakugo raising an eyebrow as the man looked over at the notebook. For a moment, he wanted to shut it and flip the guy off for eavesdropping on his shit but the guy had helped him a few times recently when he had panic attacks or his hearing aids malfunctioned.
“Looks like you’re studying the missing kids.” The man shrugged. “Police aren’t doing enough really.”
“Damn right.” He huffed. “And the heroes never took me seriously.”
“Oh?” The man quirked a brow.
“Yeah. There has to be a pattern or a theory to all the kidnappings.” He closed the notebook. “Why do you care anyways?”
“Personal interest. Same as you from what I saw. You’re the neighbor of the last missing kid right?”
“What of it.” He held the notebook protectively to his chest.
“Just a thought, maybe you knew something nobody else did.”
Bakugo’s blood froze, remembering how he lied to the police about the reason Izuchan ran off into the dark of night. He lied about the dare and any involvement with his disappearance.
He couldn’t become a hero if people knew the truth.
He shook his head, trying to calm his heart before the man figured it out.
“He liked heroes...maybe he saw Driver run by.” He looked away with a small frown.
“I see.” The man paused. “How are you holding up?”
“Does it matter.” He countered.
“Yes. You were his best friend, you told your mother you thought you saw him strapped to a chair. That is more information than anyone’s known for seven years.”
“It...It was just a panic attack. Not some weird magic vision.” He got up and grabbed his bag. “Why are you even bothering, everyone says they’re dead anyways. That’s why they’re called Angels.”
“I don’t think that. It’s an outlier. Every body has been found except those six plus the missing blue flame user.” The man got up and shrugged. “I think there’s something going on somewhere that everyone’s ignoring.”
Bakugo watched as the man saluted and walked off, only then opening his notebook again.
Was...was there something he was missing?
He frowned and closed his notebook again, pressing it to his chest as he closed his eyes.
He could still see the weird flicker of Izuku if he concentrated long enough. It was his only link.
He sighed as he felt a headache coming on, dropping his bag as he knelt on the ground and grabbed his medication, taking it and downing some water before slipping the notebook back into his bag and getting up.
He needed to get answers, but nobody had the answers anyways. So he had to use that flicker of sight, that image burned into his brain until it faded too, just like Izuku’s voice, the way he smiled and how he spoke.
He just...couldn’t remember any of it, clouded from panic attacks and years upon years of time pressing on his childhood memories.
Think. What was his favorite hero? All Might. What was his favorite color? His favorite song? What did his smile look like?
He groaned, his memories too fuzzy to grasp as he walked out of the park he had been studying in, heading to the memorial without a second thought. After all, he did his best theorizing there since it was the closest he could ever get to Izuchan other than that terrifying image.
Turning the corner to the alley, he was met with a strange sight. There was a boy with some shitty dye job and a facial scar standing there and staring at the memorial. For a second he wanted to yell at the other to back off but...the boy’s eyes were so sad he thought twice about it and decided to just clear his throat as the boy nearly jumped out of his skin and looked at Bakugo with wide eyes.
They were two different colors. Weird.
“You here for a reason?” He folded his arms and tilted his head.
“Uhm...uh…” The boy struggled to find his words. “I came to visit the memorial. I’m sorry for intruding.”
“S’fine. Nobody really remembers it’s here anyways ‘cept for me and his parents.” He walked in and stood by the other.
“Did...you know him?” The boy had seemed to calm down.
“I was his only friend.” Bakugo frowned. “And his best friend. His neighbor.”
“He’s the only one...with a memorial.” The boy sighed. “He’s the only one people cared about.”
Bakugo paused and finally studied the other boy’s face more closely.
The blue eye, it looked just like the missing fire users. Was this kid a Todoroki?
His frown disappeared and he spoke softly, not wanting to frighten the other.
“They all have one in my head. And my notes. When I find them, I’ll make sure they see you...S.” He looked away, feeling the temperature drop as he shivered.
“How...how did you.” The boy’s voice was cracking.
“Your blue eye. And the red hair. They look like the older one’s. Touya. And Kaida’s from the pictures I could find online...I won’t tell anyone. I don’t do shit like that.”
He felt the cold leave the air as the boy let out a sigh of relief, turning to face Katsuki. He still seemed jumpy as hell but less likely to bolt.
Well at least there’s that.
“My name’s Katsuki Bakugo. You?”
“Shoto Todoroki...can...can I see your notes? Maybe I could...maybe I could help.” Shoto gave a ghost of a smile as Bakugo nodded, both sitting down next to the memorial as they exchanged stories about life and each other.
At least he had a companion in misery now.
Eraserhead frowned as he watched the duo from a nearby roof. He could at least see the book now from this angle and the binoculars he had stolen off of Hizashi before this little sneak off. Well, at least he didn’t have a class to teach today. He could see notes no eleven year old should have. That coupled with the obvious panic disorder and quirk related deafness, he could paint a pretty good picture of a grief stricken friend who was the reason the kid got kidnapped.
Well, this made things a lot more complicated. But...maybe this kid could finally crack where those poor kidnapped victims were being stashed away.
It was bad to place all his hope on a conspiracy crazy kid, but it was all he had left.
So I'm posting this finally! The resolution to the lab arc! Next is Travel Arc, which is small thankfully! Soon we will know how the kids will deal with the outside world! Also Izuku's quirk has officially created its' end result. Glitch!
Izuku had tried for two years to reach out to Kacchan again to no avail. He had lost any connection to his ability to manipulate emotions but he could feel others emotions around him. And Dabi’s emotions always made him start crying uncontrollably. Dabi was just...so sad and angry. So lost and full of emotion that Izuku wanted to pull it all inside himself.
But that didn’t work on people. Machines though...he had a different connection with those. He could feel the mechanisms of the monitoring machines. The sparks that passed through outlets and through Denki as well. It was...pleasant, a secret he could keep to himself and something he could work on without the adults knowing. After all, he just looked like a broken child pressing his face into the walls and machines like a mindless puppet.
He was officially twelve. So were Hitoshi and Denki. Souma and Kaida were thirteen and Riko was fourteen. They were all basically teenagers. They had spent most of their lives locked within four walls of torture and hell. But Izuku was hatching a plan. If he was right about the adults’ patterns, they’d try to force another quirk on him, something to tie all his echoes together into something so powerful they could move him to ‘Stage 2’.
If he was right, it meant he’d finally have the power to escape. He would commune with the machinery and free everyone, even Dabi. Every single kid would leave and he would make sure they were safe. He would be their All Might for real.
He looked up as he heard the door open, knowing it was time as he walked over and followed the adult to the testing room he knew so well he could count every indent and scorch mark like he could know what would happen next in his favorite book.
He let himself be put in the chair and strapped in, finally noticing what they always hooked him up to. It almost looked like blood but it was all weird and colored. He looked away as he heard the familiar words to begin the test. He braced himself for the pain that always came.
But it didn’t. He felt a soft warmth, so soft it was barely noticeable as his muscles relaxed. His eyes slipped closed and for a second he thought the mixture had stopped his heart. And then he felt it, the feeling settling into his core and spreading like a mother’s hug. He tried to smile but found he couldn’t make the movement. His body wasn’t responding to him.
We will be your guide. We are your servants.
He opened his eyes and the edges of his vision were tinted in green, seeing the adults pleased with whatever had happened to him. His quirk had picked its’ power, he figured . He could practically feel the hum of electronics around him, hear conversations through the earpieces in the room.
He could commune with machinery completely. His echoes had made a technology quirk. Finally he had the power to escape. He could destroy every piece of machinery and he knew it would obey his command. He began hatching a plan.
“Test success. Move Subject I to Stage Two.”
He felt the power recede as he was unstrapped and led back to the room. But he wasn’t glassy or faraway this time. His eyes held a scary confidence that unnerved the other kids for a second. He then let out the biggest grin as he started signing once Dabi came in.
‘I can communicate with machines! I have a plan to get all of us out of here. Tonight. But you have to trust me. I’m going to disable all the electronics in the building so Dabi has to take his ear piece out so I can fry it. When that happens we have to use our powers to get out.’
‘It won’t work.’ Hitoshi replied. ‘Denki and I would need our restraints off.’
Izuku got a mad grin on his face as he felt the power surge back into his body. To an outside eye, his eyes had a glitchy appearance to them as he walked forward and grabbed Hitoshi’s muzzle, green glitching moving down his arm and over the muzzle. With a click, it fell. He then moved to Denki’s restraint on his electricity and fried that too before letting the power fade.
‘Trust me now?’
‘I trust you.’ Kaida signed. ‘I give you my flames.’
‘I give you my blood.’ Riko signed next.
‘My voice.’ Shinso responded.
‘My spark.’ Denki smiled as he signed.
“My steam.” Souma looked over to them, the others realizing Dabi had been skin writing for him.
“And I will give you my trust to get you all to safety.” Dabi smirked as he ripped out his ear piece. “Do it now, the guards are on the other side of the building. I’ll carry you if you overdo it.”
Izuku nodded and ran to the door, pressing his hands to the metal as he shut his eyes. He could feel the power surging through his body once more, a calm warmth that made him grin with glee. This was his power now, and he would use it for good.
What do you wish of us?
He felt his power spread through the facility as doors opened, Izuku falling forward. He didn’t feel his body anymore, eyes shut as Dabi scooped him up and started running. It was like he was outside of his body but he was deprived of all his senses. The only thing he could feel was the others’ emotions, their delight and hope and happiness. Their fear and anger and nervousness.
He only came back to himself when he felt the connection sever from his body, his eyes opening fast as all he saw was the world in a glitch-like filter, a green tint to his sight. But he didn’t panic, not seeing Dabi’s eyes so full of light. Kaida was on his back and he could see Souma in his other arm.
They actually did it, they had gotten out. He let a smile drift onto his features as the world started going black. He was so tired. Guess he really overdid it, though right now it didn’t matter. They were free.
Heroes deserved their rest too.
He was still running, feeling the other three flanking him in case of attack as their bare feet pounded the forest floor. Just a little further. Just a little further and they would be out of range. He saw Kaida make a small fire in her hands, just a tiny light to guide their way to freedom. He couldn’t help the smile breaking onto his features as they broke through the trees and realizing where they were. Kamino Ward.
Slowing to a stop, he paused to catch his breath and turn back to the facility, completely up in flames. Hopefully their blockade would keep those assholes from ever escaping their punishment. They would die in the flames of their own making and burn to ash. Looking around, he realized it was pitch black out. Night time.
They needed to find shelter, somewhere adults wouldn’t bother them. A place to hide until night fell again as he wasn’t sure how much time they had until light. Frowning, he started walking as he looked for an abandoned house, somewhere run down that nobody would take a second look at.
It took a little while but he did manage to find a house that looked like it hadn’t been touched in a decade and got all the kids in before himself. Then he made sure to check any places someone could get in and began patrolling. A night or two of no sleep would mean nothing if they could find a place to be safe for the rest of their lives.
As soon as the kids were asleep, he started pacing, checking every vulnerability in their shelter until exhaustion finally won and he blacked out.
If only he was stronger.
Well, my server took a vote on what I would be doing today. Posting chapter 9 was part of it. Enjoy!
Izuku awoke to the warmth of the setting sun on his face. For a second, he almost thought everything was a dream and he had fallen asleep in some alleyway, still four years old and perfectly safe. Then he smelled the distinct burning of Dabi’s flames and everything came back to him.
They actually made it out. They were actually free from their life of hell.
He got up slowly, rubbing his hands on his face to get the remnants of sleep out and try to make sense of where they were. Definitely not in the hell facility. His eyes swept the area to show a decrepit living room, furniture severely out of date and small holes in the wall where the sunlight had been able to shine through.
An old house. He forced himself to get up, his balance off and his head swimming a bit from his quirk overuse. A few tentative steps alerted whoever was nearby as he heard the sounds of floorboards squeaking. Instantly, he was face to face with Dabi who from the looks of him had probably passed out at some point.
“Oh you’re up, everyone else is in the kitchen.” He smiled and Izuku was gently guided to the so called kitchen, which looked as bad as the living room, with the addition of a couple of old food cans the others were eating out of.
Izuku settled nearby and Dabi used his quirk to basically force the can to pop, letting it cool before handing it to Izuku even though he wouldn’t actually be able to feel the heat. As soon as he started eating he fully relaxed, seeing a map thrown nearby that had different circles on it. None of which were his home.
He frowned and got up, can and all, moving to the map and pointing at his home town. He quickly signed ‘Home. Momma.’ before going back to eat. He didn’t feel like signing full sentences one handed right now.
Everyone had stopped eating to stare, as if the thought of Izuku still having family had slipped their minds. Not his though, it was his ultimate goal from the day he was kidnapped. He would go home, hopefully with everyone else.
‘You still have a home?’ Hitoshi signed the question.
‘Yes. Momma is waiting for me, I know she is. And you all can come too.’
‘How can we trust her. All Adults have done is hurt us.’ Riko answered with a frown.
‘My mom is kind. And I trust her.’ Izuku signed back as Dabi got up.
“Alright. Izuku is the only one who has a family still. So we could at least check. It’s a long walking distance but if it means safety, I’m willing to try. Adults or not.” He crossed his arms and waited.
There was a general consensus of nervous agreement among the other five kids, the decision made. Izuku finished his food and was ready to go. He wanted to get to his mom as soon as he could and hug her until he couldn’t anymore.
Finally, he was going home.
“Last night Kamino Laboratories went up in flames due to an unforeseen gas leak. There were no survivors but police found files pertaining to the long cold case of several missing kids including local missing child Izuku Midoriya.”
Bakugo’s head whipped up from his homework, eyes wide. KAMINO. FUCKING KAMINO WARD. He should have seen the signs, the clues left behind by those who died. No bodies turned up in Kamino, even if the child was stolen from there. It was the only place bodies didn’t show up. He grabbed his hoodie and sped out the door before his mom could even utter a word.
Which led to him sneaking through the woods, in the dark, in black clothes to find the lab ruins. Sneaking past the police officer, he slid under the yellow tape and into the site. It was...well charred was the best word for it. It had probably been a very state of the art facility, but now it was only a blackened husk.
Still, he had to prove his theory. Notebook in hand, he crept into the empty doorway and started looking around. Ash covered the floors and there was...shapes on the walls. The more he looked at them, the more he realized they were people shaped.
He unconsciously pulled out a notebook and started jotting down everything, too freaked out to react right now. What...or probably who...had done this? Definitely not an electrical failure or a gas leak. The flames would have to be a lot hotter for that.
He stopped when his eyes landed on a room, something he only saw in his nightmares.
The chair. The chair from his vision.
He walked inside as if coming upon a fresh murder scene, goosebumps rising on his skin.
Izuchan had been here all these years, and he hadn’t saved him. He probably burned here with all the scientists, scared and alone. He felt the tears starting and closed his notebook before the ink could be damaged.
He had to walk away from here.
He turned and left the room, hugging the notebook to his chest as he walked down the last hallway in the burnt facility. What he found at the end was a room of six beds, each with burnt mattresses and items scattered across the floor along with three shadows. But they were all adult sized, just like the others. He frowned and bent down to pick up a book near a bed labeled ‘I’. It was a sign language book of all things.
Did they communicate with sign? He flipped open the page and found writing on it, one note for each year. He only knew because of the dates, the last one being yesterday. His heart soared in that moment, wondering if the lab subjects escaped and caused the fire. He closed the book and slipped it under his notebook, racing from the ex-facility.
He could still save Izuchan after all.
So this weekend I'll be headed up to NYC with a cosplayer friend! We're mid-way through the travel arc [it's a short arc] so I hope everyone enjoys!
Touya frowned as he looked through the clothes he had stolen. Even though he was anxious to leave any of the kids alone, they still needed supplies, so he would go out on small runs for supplies like food and proper clothing for everyone. Still, the clothes that should have fit had been too big for most. Souma had sunglasses and a baggy shirt with shorts. Riko had on a sweater and pants. Kaida was wearing a dress meant for someone at least two years younger than her. Izuku, Denki and Hitoshi had an assortment of mismatched and definately patched up clothes.
Well at least they looked more like homeless kids instead of lab kids.
He shouldered his bag and picked up Souma, a bit scared to let him out of his sight. After all, he couldn’t move around on his own without someone holding his hand. Everyone else were stationed around Touya like a small group, or a protective shell. Hell, he was ready to dropkick the first aggressive adult he saw.
He had to admit he was absolutely paranoid, terrified a scientist had gotten out and alerted whoever ‘Sensei’ was to hunt them down and send them to another facility. He prayed he was the only one who knew about the other facility but based on how the kids jumped at every little noise, he wasn’t so sure.
He let out a sigh and pulled up the hood of his jacket, making sure everyone had hats on to keep out any chill before wrapping the ratty scarf he found in a closet around his scarred neck and leading the kids out into the open world. This was only the first night on their journey and he prayed it would be a quiet one.
As they walked, Touya took in the cool night air, wishing he could have found shoes for any of them. But at least he had managed to get them something warmer than their thin lab gear and there was no injuries to take care of for the moment.
He was at least grateful that nobody was out walking, though he still stuck to less savory alleyways to make their way through Kamino Ward. If he could at least get them out of the ward, they would be that much safer from their life.
He stopped after an hour, checking over each one and using his flames to warm whoever couldn’t naturally warm themselves like he, Izuku and Kaida could. He pulled out what food he had collected, mostly granola bars and water bottles, and decided they could have a short break. After all, they made some good progress.
Only ten minutes into their meal, he heard voices and quickly pulled the kids behind a dumpster, heart racing. They didn’t sound friendly, though his paranoia might be getting the better of him right now. He tried not to breathe, feeling six trembling bodies against him. He prayed they would just keep walking.
“So like, what do you think of what that freak said. ‘Bout the ‘greater good of society’ and shit?” A woman’s voice cut into the murmur.
“Nah, I think the other dude has it right. Killing corrupt heroes means less issues for us.” A man’s voice replied. “And then we can get shit done. Less heroes, less idiots to fight.”
“A’ight stop yammering and just get the drugs, it’s fucking cold out.” A third voice stopped the chatter.
Fucking great. They had stumbled into a drug deal. He felt Kaida moving and tightened his grip on her arm, not even to scare her but enough to hold her, shaking his head. She was not going out into a bunch of junkies, they would kill her without a thought.
He was just getting ready to creep out of the alley when a voice cut through and a scuffle started. Hero, definitely. Shit they didn’t need this right now! They’d split them all up and most of them would end up on the streets or worse. He wasn’t going to lose them to an idiot hero trying to ‘help’.
Once the fighting ended he relaxed and peered out, seeing the alleyway empty. Slowly, he crept along with the kids in tow, eyes constantly sweeping any shadows and listening out for police cars. Anything to tip him off to send the run signal.
When they reached the end of the alley and turned left, he heard the hero’s voice cut through the silence of background noise. “Excuse me, are you kids lost?”
“No.” Touya snapped back and pulled the kids behind him.
The hero frowned. “Look kid, you just came out of an alley where I took down a drug deal, you have six kids with you and none of you are wearing shoes. Where are your parents.”
“Fuck off. We don’t need a hero.” Touya was in protective brother mode and as soon as the air pressure changed Touya’s heart leapt into his throat. Wind quirk.
For a second he didn’t realize Kaida had moved until he saw white flames in front of his vision and his sister pulling on his sleeve. Panic later, run now. He did a quick head count and then gave the run signal, the group moving as one. Kaida had slipped onto his back and was basically turning into cover fire until they could duck into an abandoned building’s basement through a rotten door.
This was going to be a lot harder than he thought.
Bakugo frowned as he stared at his laptop screen. Kamino Ward Hero Kamikaze Suffers Burns From Out of Control Flame Quirk.
He clicked on the article and immediately his eyes were glued to the screen. White fire! He fell out of his chair as he grabbed his notebook, flipping to the right page. Kaida Todoroki had a white fire quirk. Could it be they were still there? Probably unlikely, they would have moved on from Kamino by now if they got attacked by a hero.
Who had attacked first though. He frowned and started thinking of where they would be headed. If Izuku was with them would that mean he would lead them here? Back home? He hoped so, that would mean he could apologize for his stupid mistake at last.
Getting up, he went to the map and tried to think like Izuchan. He’d be scared, probably looking over his shoulder so they would take alleys. It was probably why that hero had found them too, stupid useless idiot he was. He sketched a rough estimate of their path and dragged an old telescope from the closet to his window. He’d be having some sleepless nights, but he would keep watch until Izuchan came home.
Well, as of Wednesday I'm back at school which means until I get my assignment schedules down it's going to be a hectic sort of posting schedule! Apologies in advance and as always, enjoy!
Izuku let out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding as they walked into Musutafu. It...felt so different. Like he had been trapped in time and came out to a distant future. The pastry shop he and mom visited all the time was gone and there was a ramen shop there now. The park had different kids now, nobody he could even recognize in the area.
Was his mom even here?
He swallowed nervously as he tugged on Dabi’s sleeve, making a drinking motion as the older boy handed one over, Izuku trying to get the bad taste out of his mouth. He was scared, and he would only admit it in his head as he lead the group through side streets and eventually reached the familiar alleyway.
He felt a chill go up his spine as he stared into the open mouth of the place that started all of this. He also saw what looked like a makeshift memorial with an old photograph of himself in it. They...hadn’t forgotten him. He was pulled from his thoughts as he felt the confusion of everyone else.
‘I was taken here. But nobody forgot me.’
He smiled a bit and moved from the alley, pointing ahead. They were almost there after all and he didn’t want them to worry anymore. He wanted them to be safe and sound with his momma and he was growing more hopeful by the second.
And then he realized...someone had to go ahead. Someone would have to get his momma and bring her out here. If he went...he wouldn’t even get a moment to explain. He stopped and thought for a moment as soon as they reached his street. Who could go, not the other kids. They would be too terrified of momma.
Then his eyes laid on Dabi. He reached up and tugged on his sleeve, eyes full of nervousness as he tried to relay his problem. He seemed to understand as he set Souma down and rubbed his arm.
“Alright. Izuku needs me to go get his mom. Is that okay with everyone?”
There was a general consensus of yes and Izuku smiled as a thank you, making sure he could protect the others if need be by stationing his little body in front of the others. After all, this was his turf and even if it had changed, he could still have the upper hand.
Touya was nervous about leaving the others alone outside but he had to be brave, he had to be the eldest and responsible one. And he had to check to keep Izuku from being disappointed when nobody came to the door. For all he knew, Izuku’s parents were dead or moved away and they would never find them. As he reached the apartment number Izuku told him, he knocked, pulling the scarf a bit higher to cover his scars.
A woman did not answer the door. Instead, a man with dark hair and freckles looked down at the hooded boy with an eyebrow raised. “Can I help you young man?”
“I uh...does a...does Inko Midoriya live here?” He knew he was terrified under the man’s amber gaze but he knew he had to do this.
“She does. I’m her husband Hisashi. Is there a reason you need her?” Hisashi’s gaze had softened, giving Touya more confidence.
“Can you both come with me? I…” He took a calming breath. “Your son is waiting.”
Hisashi visibly tensed and Touya backed away quickly, slamming his back into the wall, eyes wide and arms covering his face with a squeak. For a minute, he was sure the man would hurt him but then he felt a hand gently on his arms and he lowered them enough to see. It was that moment he realized the scarf had slipped.
“You’re...you’re from Kamino labs. Aren’t you.” Hisashi spoke so gently it was like a lullaby. “Are the other kids with you?”
Touya gave a tiny nod in response and out of the corner of his eye he saw a green haired woman clutching a handkerchief. They both looked like Izuku. He’d done it. He tried to stand up straight but his heart was still going a mile a minute.
“Hey, it’s okay kiddo. Deep breaths.” Slowly, Touya managed to calm down with the instruction. “Good. Let’s get you back to them okay?”
“Okay.” Touya managed to say.
Izuku was still in fighting stance when he heard the footsteps. Turning, his eyes went wide at the sight he never thought he’d see. There was Dabi, walking between his mom and some man. He immediately got ready to fight the guy before Touya started signing. ‘Your dad.’
Wait that was his dad? His arms lowered right at the moment his momma saw him, her eyes going wide and tears starting to spill. And then he started crying. He took a tentative step forward, then another before he broke out into a stumbling run straight into his mother’s arms, burying his face into her shirt.
“Oh Izu, oh my baby. I knew you’d come home.” She managed to speak the words through her tears as Izuku just hugged her harder.
He didn’t know how to respond, or even if he could at this point after years of not using his voice. Instead he just buried his face further into his mom’s shirt as he felt a hand on his hair. Maybe it was his dad? He tried to look up but he only got more tears and relief from the source touching his hair.
As the tears slowly dried, he heard Dabi gently helping the other kids out of the bush they had been hiding behind, his mom gasping softly. “They’re all so young. And so…”
“I know honey...Uh kiddo...Sorry I never caught your name.” The man that Izuku was just starting to see through his drying tears spoke.
“Touya. My name is Touya Todoroki.” Wait, no. His name was Dabi wasn’t it? “But uhm...the kids know me by my lab subject name. Dabi.”
“Touya, do you all have a place to go?” His dad responded, a bit of sadness in his voice.
“...No. Most of the others are homeless orphans...and I’d never go home.” Dabi, no, Touya spoke, Izuku getting a wave of mixed emotions off of him as Izuku broke out of his mother’s embrace and ran to him, hugging his middle.
“S…Sssss...Ssst...Stay.” He managed, his voice sore and rough from years of misuse.
By the look on everyone’s face...he sounded terrible. And gross. He didn’t care. “Stay!” He pointed at them all and then let go, nodding to himself at his very shitty speaking skills.
“Okay, okay. I’ll stay.” Touya smiled. “Are...you two okay with that? With seven children living with you?”
His dad smiled. “Well, Inko. You did say you always wanted a big family.” He chuckled and Izuku’s eyes lit up truly for the first time in years.
The other kids meanwhile had moved behind Touya and were giving nervous agreements before they all walked inside.
The apartment...well it wasn’t small but it only had three bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room and a kitchen/dining room dual use. But Touya was not going to complain for shit about it. It was safety. It was now home, even if he was too scared to explore the area. Neither were most of the kids, clinging to him in the entryway.
Izuku meanwhile had taken off like a shot, dragging blankets and pillows from who even knew where into the living room and draping them all over the place, as if he was making the whole floor into a huge bed. Then came lots of stuffed animals and anything soft Izuku could find.
He was...actually a little impressed. Izuku’s brain had to be going a mile a minute and based on how his...wait was Hisashi all their dad now? He didn’t want to have to contemplate that right now as he slowly and carefully made his way to the blanket nest on the floor and sat. It was...so soft. He couldn’t even help the fact he snuggled down into it, the others watching him.
As soon as he gave the okay they all moved and took a spot too, snuggling up to him like chicks to a mother hen. He watched Izuku finish his little race around as the kid flopped across his lap, a smile on his face. Completely relaxed, this really was his home. It was...warm. Warmer than his birth dad’s house had ever been with the bastard around.
He thought he had only blinked but when he felt a hand on his shoulder his eyes flew open and he tensed up, groggy and ready to use his fire. But instead all he saw was Hisashi, giving a sad smile and holding a bowl of rice.
“You fell asleep. I brought you something to eat. You don’t have to finish it all, just what you can.” Hisashi placed the bowl into his vacant lap, seeing the others eating nearby and eyeing Hisashi suspiciously.
“Th...Thanks.” He quietly pulled the bowl to eating height and took a bite.
And that was how Touya inhaled an entire bowl of rice before almost throwing up because he was an idiot and the food was so good. When he forced the food to stay down he felt...tired. Like all the years of improper sleep were catching up with him all at once as he blinked once, then twice, then full on passed out into dreamland.
“Hm? Inko? Inko slow down I can’t understand a word you’re saying.” Mitsuki sighed as her friend rambled on. When she repeated herself, her eyes went wide.
“What? When? Is...Are they? Right. Right, of course.” She let out a calming breath and nodded. “I think there’s a house up for sale next door. Two floors. Should be enough room.” She smiled. “Sure, I’ll tell him after you move.”
“Tell me what?” Katsuki leaned against the door frame with a cup of juice, an eyebrow raised.
“Oh nothing honey. Auntie and Uncle are going to move next door.” She gave a tiny smile.
“Good, I can keep watch for Izuchan better,” He sipped his juice and went upstairs.
For some reason, he felt like he was missing something.
It's Friday the 13th! So why not have a chapter of some good old fashioned parental fluff. Best song to listen to during this chapter is Safe and Sound. Trust me, and enjoy!
Inko woke up for the first time in years with a light heart. She had her baby back, and six more kids to take care of. They had all eaten last night as much as they could and it seemed like they slept through the night. Still, she wasn’t going to push it. She was a lawyer so she knew how bad abuse cases could be. This was no different. She had to be gentle, a constant of safety and build their trust.
She quietly exited the bedroom, leaving her sleeping husband to rest as she made sure to make her presence known by shutting the door behind her. “I’m up, I just wanted to tell you before I walk into the living room.” Her voice was soft as she came down the hall, still in her pajamas.
Well, they hadn’t panicked yet, that was a good sign. She watched them look at her then...were they signing? She let a sad smile slip past her lips, wondering if one of them was deaf. “I’m going to make breakfast, alright? Whoever wants to eat can.”
She walked to the kitchen and started cooking, feeling a tug on her sleeve as she looked over, seeing her little boy with a tiny smile on his face. “H...Hhhh.”
“It’s okay Izu baby. You can sign. I learned it when Katsuki…” She trailed off, frowning softly.
‘Kacchan?’ Izuku signed the letters fast, eyes full of worry. ‘Okay? Is he okay?’
“Oh, oh Izu baby he’s fine.” She relaxed. “He lost his hearing from his quirk. That’s all. So we all learned sign.”
‘Kacchan is deaf?’ He tilted his head.
“Not fully but yes. He’s got hearing aids.” She ruffled his hair.
‘I want to see him.’ He frowned softly. ‘But scared.’
“You can see him later alright? When you’re ready.” She got a smile to her face again. “Do you wanna help me cook?”
‘YES!’ The signing was so full of life as he went to grab a stool. Then realization dawned on his face and he walked back. ‘I’m tall.’
“You sure are.” She laughed softly. “My big man.”
‘Dad. I look like him.’ He seemed thoughtful. ‘Why is dad here?’
“Well honey, it’s a long story.” She gave a tiny shrug. “I could tell you, if you want.”
‘Tell.’ He responded and then did his best to help get plates ready.
“Well, after you disappeared I was...very sad.” She sighed. “I called your father to tell him and then went to your aunt Mitsuki’s for a few days. When I came home, the apartment was spotless and your father was sitting on the sofa. He quit his job in America and came home just to take care of me and help find you.”
‘What did he quit?’ Izuku seemed very thoughtful.
“Well Izu...do you remember the news when you were younger? About the Vigilante in America? Green Dragon?”
Izuku’s eyes went wide and he nodded vigorously. Her heart melted at the sight of her little boy acting like himself, if even for a moment. ‘Dad is the dragon!’
“Yes Izu, your dad was the Dragon. American laws are a lot stricter on quirks than here so most heroes there are vigilantes. He quit right after I called him. Now he works for a fire hero doing small time jobs like welding and such. Support gear work.”
‘My hero.’ Izuku signed as breakfast was finished and her son started loading up plates and taking them out. It was only eggs with some peppers and bacon but it would at least give them a boost.
Only then did she start the coffee, making sure it was perfect before she quietly brought her husband a cup. She knew how grumpy he could get in the mornings and they did not need that right now, especially with all that was going on.
Setting it on the bedside table, she gently kissed her husband’s forehead as he cracked his eyes open. “Good morning honey, the kids are up and have breakfast. Your coffee is on the bedside table.”
Her husband gave a sleepy noise in response and sat up, Inko meanwhile working on doing a bit of cleaning. She completely avoided the living room though, wanting to give the kids the space they needed to adjust.
She did notice a kid always in her peripheral though, watching her with curiosity and nervousness. In her cleaning she started making plans. They’d all be severely behind in schooling and it was obvious they barely spoke which meant the possibility of tutors and a speech therapist. They’d need a regular therapist too, like Katsuki and who knew what else. They didn’t even have clothes for the poor dears and they needed to get cleaned up.
She realized her internal monologue was getting really far when she felt Hisashi gently grab her by the waist and pull her in, kissing the top of her head. “You almost knocked the photos down again dear.”
“O-Oh. So I did.” She let loose a tiny laugh. “I have a bit too much on my mind.”
“How about you go pack up what we’re bringing.” He kissed her lips and she melted like butter on a hot stove, giving a tiny nod as she went off to start packing what few things they had kept over the years. First stop, Izuku’s room.
Hisashi downed the last of his coffee and let out a soft sigh, heading to the living room as he rubbed the back of his neck. He saw the kids all tense and move away from him as he gave a sad smile. “Sorry kids. Just getting some more coffee.”
He watched the flicker of hands and realized they could sign so he put his mug down with a confused expression. Had he heard anyone but Touya and Izuku speak? He hadn’t. Shit. He picked his mug back up and got a second cup of coffee. He was going to need it.
When he returned though the atmosphere had changed. They looked calmer and Izuku was staring at him in awe. He smiled softly and took a sip of his coffee. His nearly had a spit take when Izuku spoke though.
“Dr...Draaagon.” Izuku grinned. Well shit that was out of the bag.
“Guess your mom told ya.” He managed to not spit coffee everywhere. “Yeah, I was a vigilante. But that’s behind me. I do support work now.” He shrugged with a little smile. “Your old man is a one man welding torch."
Izuku smiled but then had a thought. “Small.” It took Hisashi a moment to understand.
“The apartment?” He got a nod in response and he relaxed. “Well then I’m going to tell you all a secret.” He winked and he saw the kids listening intently. “We’re going to be moving to a house.”
Izuku’s eyes went wide and he turned to the other kids, quickly signing. It was then Hisashi noticed one of the kids wasn’t signing, instead being whispered to by Touya. And his eyes. They were completely milky white and the skin around his eyes was scarred. Blind? Had to be. He filed the information for later when he would buy some books. He’d need braille ones.
He saw the signing stop and Izuku turn back to him. “Okay. Safe.”
Safe. They considered him safe. He couldn’t help the little swell of pride that rose in him at being considered a safe adult by all these kids. Now he just had to make sure he never broke the fractured and small trust these poor kids had with him. He had to be a proper dad, the dad he had never been before Izuku disappeared.
Bakugo frowned as he looked through his telescope. They should have been here by now, or at least there should have been a sign. He groaned and shut off his hearing aids, not wanting to deal with the world. It would only make the nervous feeling in his stomach worse and he didn’t even have Shoto to complain to or theorize with.
Sometimes he wondered if the boy had more important problems to deal with.
Guess who has a decent schedule now! Also, FINALLY KACCHAN SEES IZUCHAN.
Hisashi loaded the last box onto the truck, letting out a little sigh of relief. Even if they were only travelling a short distance, he wanted to make sure the kids could be safe in the car with no obstructions. That was the best part of so many kids, their van actually had a use now other than taking large amounts of Inko’s work to and from her office.
As he closed the truck he told the driver the address, waiting until he had left before getting Inko and the kids. Each one was carrying a blanket around their shoulders, their personal security item as they walked to the van. Touya was the first to get in, to show them it was safe.
Hisashi noticed that a lot about the kids. Touya was the first to do everything, or if he didn’t do something it was Izuku. They were ‘safe’ people, safer than himself and Inko, and he had to keep his ‘safe’ with these kids as long as possible.
Especially since he was working with an actual flame hero, though he would never tell Kaida and Touya his name. After the kids had shown up and he had done some searching, he realized one of them was Endeavor’s missing son and the other was probably his daughter. Though that would also mean Endeavor was an adulterer. Better not to mention it at all.
As he made sure everyone was safely buckled, he got into the passenger side and let Inko drive them off to the new house. Honestly, Hisashi was worried about Katsuki’s reaction to all of this, the boy had been theorizing for years. Plus he came back covered in soot and ash a few days ago. The boy had obviously gone through the burnt down lab.
Hopefully things would go smoothly and they could invite the Bakugos over after a few days, just to let the kids settle into their permanent environment. Just a precaution, nothing more. Soon enough they pulled into the driveway and Hisashi gently reassured the kids before heading to the truck to start bringing boxes in.
They still had to somehow find out the kids’ sizes for a shopping trip. And there was the matter of groceries. He decided that could wait until the kids were settled and alright in their environment. Just long enough to get them to trust himself and Inko.
That was all they needed for now.
Izuku wiggled in his seat, frowning as he struggled with the buckle. He wanted to get out and
, not sit here waiting. Eventually he managed the button and slid out of his seat, pressing his hand to the door as he felt the lock pop.
‘Want out?’ He signed to the others and they all nodded. Not a single one of them liked vehicles.
He smiled and started getting seatbelts off, helping each kid out and making sure their blankets were on comfortably and whatever plush they were holding was secured in their arms. So focused on his task, he didn’t hear the slam of a door or the rushed footsteps until a voice came to hear ears.
He whipped around fast, for a second not recognizing his old childhood friend as he screamed and covered his face, dropping to the ground. He heard the others dropping their blankets and readying to fight but instead...he felt an emotion he hadn’t felt in years.
Anger, fear, relief, joy, confusion.
K A C C H A N .
He slowly uncovered his face to see a boy a little bigger than him, same blonde spiked hair and red eyes. But...his face was contorted in a bit of pain, holding his head a bit as he pulled out something on his head.
It was that moment that mom came out, a soft gasp on her lips as she ran over. “Katsuki! Oh, this is sudden. Are you okay?”
Izuku saw the movement of Kacchan’s hands and his eyes went wide. ‘My hearing aids went weird again.’
‘Signing?’ So it was true. Kacchan had gone deaf. And the things must be the hearing aids.
Kacchan’s eyes went just as wide as he nodded. ‘Hard of hearing. You can sign too?’
Izuku nodded and slowly got up, taking a tentative step. ‘You got big.’
‘And you’re still small. But I found you. Finally.’ Kacchan walked forward and wrapped him in a hug, his whole body relaxed.
And then he felt it, a wetness on his shoulder that he knew wasn’t his tears. Was...Was Kacchan crying? He smiled softly to himself and hugged his childhood friend back, just a tiny bit tighter before giving the others a thumbs up. The mark of ‘safe’ had been bestowed upon his Kacchan and now he could stay here forever.
Sadly the moment passed and Kacchan let go. ‘I’m going to help Auntie. You go take a nap. You look tired.’
‘And hungry.’ Izuku gave a tiny smile as he yawned, grabbing his blanket and wrapping it around himself.
Finally, life was a bit more normal.
Bakugo was still reeling from it all. Izuchan was safe and he had missed welcoming him home. And the other kids were so protective of him. He figured that Auntie Inko had basically adopted them all unofficially. He didn’t mind, it meant more people to take care of Izuchan with him. And he could protect all of them at the same time, like a proper hero should.
He set a box down and grinned, testing his hearing aids as he put them back in. All good. He nodded to himself and immediately got to work helping unpack. Tonight, he’d put those notebooks away for the last time. He’d fold up the maps, because the search was over.
Then a thought came to him and he pulled out his phone, sending a quick text.
They’re home, and living next to me. I’ll tell them when everything is safe.
Thank you. And change my name back.
He pocketed his phone when Auntie Inko called for him, a stupid grin on his face. “Coming Auntie!”