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Secrets Never Last

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If nothing else was true about him, one thing was for certain: Dabi made sure he kept his past a secret.

While most of the public didn't know much about the League, the group of them knew quite a bit about each other - perhaps even too much, if Dabi were to say something about it. Ever since All for One was captured, they had grown closer, with everyone maturing in one way or another. Even Shigaraki, who at one time had been nothing more than a bratty child, was becoming something of a leader, even being more caring towards his comrades. 

They trusted each other more, opened up about their pasts. They learned about Spinner's loneliness, Toga's need to feel loved, and even a bit about Mr. Compress' struggle with his new prosthetic arm. Ever since Magne's death and the whole Overhaul thing, they had begun to rely even more on each other. The only one who hadn't opened up was Dabi.

Even if he wasn't a very open person, however, he wasn't going to leave his teammates hanging when he was the only one who could get them out of danger.

Taking out Geten had been difficult. While he was used to sparring against ice-users since his childhood, something about this guy had struck a chord with him. But fighting against an ice user... something about it hit him in the wrong way. While he never seriously fought against either Natsuo or Fuyumi, he remembered playing with them - chucking ice in his direction while he melted the shards mid-air with ease.

A bit of practice without blood being spilled, or arms getting burned.

But his practice had given him an edge over the mysterious ice-wielder, even if he had to go beyond his limits in order just to knock the guy out. And he would have gone further, would have taken the man's life, if it hadn't been for a pair of arms wrapped around his arm, pulling him back.

"Twice, what are you - "

He let out a little screech, ripping his arms back and waving them in pain. "Shit, Dabi, you're burning up right now!" he hissed, shaking his head to refocus himself and grabbing onto Dabi's jacket. "But nevermind that! We have to go now! Shigaraki's... kinda hurt. I mean really hurt!"

Dabi blinked, frowning harshly when he understood his words. "How bad?"

"Bad bad," Twice said. "Though, it could have been worse... kinda like how you look."

Clicking his lips, Dabi shoved past the man, stumbling a little but still able to keep his balance. "Let's go, then. If the boss is down, we won't be far behind," he said, voice hoarse.

"You don't exactly look like you're that far behind him," Twice commented. "But that doesn't matter - Spinner's coming to get us in the van. Hopefully he runs us over, right?"

Almost as if on que, Spinner's van drove directly over Twice, making Dabi jump back with a dazed expression on his face. His quirk had all but given him a massive fever, and he was in no state of mind to be witnessing when he just did. He looked from Spinner back to Twice, who was now nothing more than a puddle of goop.

Oh. Oh!

"Oh thank fuck, that was a clone," Dabi breathed, looking up and expecting to see a sly smirk on the driver's face.

Instead, there was nothing but pure panic, something that Dabi hadn't seen on anyone in a while. There was something about it, something about the way his eyes were wide and almost desperate, that made Dabi know that the plan had gone way worse than they had initially planned for, and instantly, he threw himself into the back of the van, slamming the door behind him as he shouted for Spinner to drive.

Inside was a mess. Toga was slumped against a worried Twice, who was frantically looking between her and a pretty messed up Giran, who was trying to reassure the man between his incoherent ramblings. Mr. Compress was holding a rag to Shigaraki's hand or, well, what was left of it. The boss seemed to be out cold, passed out against the side of the van and jumping with every bump they hit.

"What the fuck happened?" Dabi screamed, kneeling down to take a closer look at their boss.

"What does it look like, Dabi?" Mr. Compress retorted, voice muffled by his mask. "We got Giran back, but we got our asses kicked in the process."

"Even the boss?"

"He lost half his hand," Compress said softly, applying more pressure to try and stop the bleeding.

Dabi was about to comment, but before he could, the van came to a screeching halt, sending everyone in the back of the van flying.

"Fuck!" Spinner screamed, looking out in front of him and back to his passengers.

"What the hell, Spinner? You know I get carsick," Dabi shouted, his thoughts echoed by Twice as he began to shout too.

The lizard-looking man clenched his teeth, looking back at the group. "We have trouble."

"What kind of trouble?" Giran asked, sitting himself back up.

"Like, number one pro-hero kind of trouble."

Looking out through the windshield, Dabi could see him - the orange flames, the large body, and through it all, he could see those cyan eyes, much like those he saw every time he looked in the mirror. There he was, not twenty meters in front of them, blocking the only road out of this section of town with his bulking size.

"Endeavor," Dabi breathed, clenching his fist against his shirt.

Letting out a scream, Spinner slammed his hands against the steering wheel, over and over before anyone could stop him. "God dammit!" he cried, burying his face in his hands. "Just when I thought this day couldn't get any worse, we're about to be arrested."

"Could be worse," Twice said, trying to sound cheerful. "We could be dead. Should be, but whatever."

It was panic. Words being thrown around in all directions, the jumbling of bodies, the demands of him being heard above all of it. Dabi felt the fear of his comrades, could feel it heavy in the air. And maybe it was because his brain was on fire, but he had had enough.

"Shut up!" he shouted, slamming his fist against the side of the van.

They were all quiet, aside from Toga, who had finally woken up due to all the yelling. "Da...bi?" she asked, sitting up a bit.

"Listen," Dabi said, voice shaking. "I'm going to clear us a path. You guys won't have too long, but I'll make that piece of shit move aside long enough for y'all to get through."

"Dabi, hold up," Twice said, waving his arms. "This is suicide, you know?"

"You're already tired, Dabi!" Spinner said, sounding worried. "Your quirk - "

"Fuck my quirk," Dabi hissed. "I don't care if I die, I have something to settle, and it's with that bastard out there. Get out of here. I'll keep you guys safe."

Without another word, Dabi opened up the back of the van, shutting it with a loud thud before he could hear his teammates argue back anymore. This was his decision. Even with his self-preservation at an all-time-high, he couldn't deny those old feelings taking over. 

Those feelings of protection.

Protecting his family against a monster.

And that monster was now in front of him, a wicked grin on his face.

"Finally giving up, scum?" Endeavor taunted, tilting his head to one side. "Or are you back for round two? I'd be fine with that - you don't seem to be in great shape right now."

Dabi stayed quiet, narrowing his eyes at the man. God, did he ever shut up, or was his ego that out of control? There must be a camera somewhere, the young man thought to himself, looking around before he finally noticed the helicopter circling above them, camera trained on them.

He turned back to face Spinner, motioning upwards with his finger. They were going to have to use the doctor to get out of there, and even though Spinner looked like a complete idiot, he seemed to recognize this too, flipping open an old burner phone as Dabi turned back to face the pro hero, taking a few steps forward. 

"I don't know why you're pointing out the helicopter to them," Endeavor said, voice low. "You're not going anywhere... Dabi."

Letting out a chuckle, the young villain couldn't help but wince, the pounding in his head keeping him from his senses. "Well, you don't seem to like my name very much, Endeavor," he said, steam seeping through between his stitches. "Maybe first names are better, Enji? Too bad you don't know mine."

The frown that replaced Endeavor's smirk was almost instant, eyes narrowing as he looked at the man before him. The flames flickering about his face only seemed to intensify the hatred, which made Dabi's blood boil at the sight. It was too familiar. It reminded him too much of his childhood. It was just too much. 

"Or maybe you do know my name, Todoroki Enji?" Dabi screamed, his hands erupting in blue flames. 

If he hadn't already over-exerted himself, he would barely have felt the flames on his arms, thinking of them nothing more than a nagging sunburn at the very worst. He was used to that. But he had already burned himself over and over that day, using his quirk to the point that he could feel his already-charred skin bubbling at the immense heat, causing him to let out a scream of utter agony as his quirk was activated. His vision went black for a moment, barely able to hold himself up as he regained focus, eyes burning into the man before him.

He took another step forward, forcing more and more flames out until there was a wall between the two of them and the van holding his comrades, effectively creating a way for Ujiko to get them out without anyone interfering.

"I'm not letting you hurt my family anymore."

His voice was raw as he spoke, feeling his lungs drying from the inside out. He was overheating. He was way past his limit. 

One of the heroes next to Endeavor - Miruko - took a step forward, looking between the two flame wielders. "Endeavor, why aren't you doing anything? Take him out!" she said. "I don't know what's wrong with him, but this guy's..."

"Overheating." 

"Looks like you didn't forget that part of me," Dabi chuckled, his body screaming for him to stop as he took off what was left of his jacket, exposing the dark purple burns that were now blistered and bleeding, tearing away from the staples and leaving open wounds. "Guess you know who I am, then?"

Endeavor clenched his teeth, raising his own flames and taking a stance. "It doesn't matter who you are - you're a villain. That's all you are to me."

Dabi could barely choke back the growl in his throat as he sent a blast of fire towards the man, screaming in agony as he felt the flesh rip from his arms in the process. Endeavor dodged easily, jumping over the flames before he retaliated with a blast of his own, practically mirroring the blue flames that had come his way.

Barely thinking, the young villain jumped to the side, rolling over on his shoulder to avoid the blast, stumbling to his feet and wiping the blood out from under his eye. "That's all I am to you?" he nearly whispered, gritting his teeth and bringing his hands together. He waited for Endeavor to get closer, within just a few meters, before he let out a shout, mustering all the fire he could.

"Am I nothing more to you?!"

Out of the corner of his eye, there was a blur, and Dabi twisted his arm to face that direction, earning a shout from Endeavor before he felt his fire starting to wane, smoke emitting from his body in bellows. The smell of burnt flesh permeated the air, causing the wielder of blue flames vomit when he hit the ground, the stench punching him right in the gut.

How long had it been since he'd gone this far? Maybe he'd gone too far - he could feel his insides burning, tearing him apart with every breath he took, the smoke from his own burnt body causing him to cough, vomiting up more at the smell.

"Oh great," Dabi muttered, looking up to see the liquid had gotten onto his hand. "Blood. That's not good."

"You need to stop," a voice said, something akin to concern seeping into the words. 

About five meters away stood Endeavor, eyes hard and face stern as it had always been. He seemed to be completely fine aside from a burn on the outside of his arms, despite having taken the full-force of Dabi's flames. 

Choking back another round of nausea, Dabi looked up, smirking gently. "Oh, so now you care? For the first time in your life, you give a shit about me?" He let out a chuckle, letting his face fall into the puddle of blood and vomit. He didn't even have the strength to be disgusted. "And right when I'm about to die, too. Fuck... some parent you are, Endeavor."

The man said nothing, only looking to the ground. Was it shame that made him look away from the smoldering body of his son, or was it something else? It had to have been - the number one hero was ashamed of nothing. 

"Disgusting," Dabi panted, smoke seeping from his mouth. "That's what you're thinking right now, huh?"

"Touya..."

"Don't you dare call me that!" Dabi screamed, flames shooting in all directions from his broken body, choking out another cry of pain as he felt his temperature rise even higher, scorching his brain even further. "Don't you dare act like you care now!"

"Touya, stop this!" he demanded, eyebrows knitted in desperation. "You're going to kill yourself!"

"Too late for that," Dabi whispered, forcing himself to look up at the pro.

He couldn't even see if the cameras were watching anymore. He couldn't make out anything through the haze that was his mind, which was being boiled from the inside out. All he could see were those bright cyan eyes staring down at him, just like they did all those years ago.

All the beatings.

All the training.

All of it, those damn eyes were always watching him.

"Fuck you, Endeavor."

 

 

 


 

 

 

The first thing Dabi understood upon waking up was that he wasn't dead.

If he was being honest, he was surprised - in his feverish state, he had accepted death readily, making what he thought was a last-stand against his father to protect the League. All he could remember was lying on the ground, staring up at his father's eyes, before everything went black.

But the realization that he was alive brought within him more fears. Where was he? Who knew about him? Why was he almost naked?

Before he could work himself into a panic, a door to the small room opened, followed by a sigh of relief.

"Oh hey, you're awake," the voice said, closing the door with his foot and stepping forward. In the man's arms was a cup of water, and as the figure got closer, Dabi could make out some of the man's features: wild blonde hair, scruff on his chin, a scar on his forehead...

"Twice? Is that you?" Dabi asked, bringing a hand to cover half his face. Taking a breath, he tried to sit up, erupting into a coughing fit before he got too far. 

"Hey, hey, take it easy," Twice chided, setting the glass of water to the ground before kneeling forward to help the man sit up. He took extra care to not touch anywhere there were bandages, knowing the extent of the damage beneath them all too well. "I brought you some water."

"Well, you seem more sane than usual," Dabi whispered, flinching as he reached out for the glass. 

"Here, let me," Twice said, taking the glass and raising it to Dabi's face.

Clicking his tongue, Dabi took the cup, despite the pain, and forced himself to drink without any help, settling the drink back onto the ground before he turned to face Twice again, eyes narrowed.

"I don't need your help to drink, dumbass."

"Calm down, hothead," Twice said, rolling his eyes. "Or don't, I don't really care." 

Leaning back against the wall, Dabi let out a sigh, closing his eyes momentarily to listen to Twice's mumbling to himself. He'd never admit it, but he'd grown accustomed to the man's switching personalities, and almost enjoyed the background noise, even if his head was pounding.

It wasn't long before Twice regained control of himself, calling Dabi's attention back to him.

"Hey, the rest of the League is in the living room. I think they'd be eager to see you."

"How are they doing?"

Twice shook his head. "I think it'd be better for you to see yourself. But... they ain't too hot right now... unlike you. Ha!"

"Fuck off, Twice," Dabi growled, throwing the thin sheets off of him as he sat up, remembering he was just in his boxers. "Where are my clothes, by the way?"

"They were charred, so we stole you some new ones," Twice said, scratching at his scar. "You may not like it, but Compress got what he could, considering the circumstances. He's totally the best!"

"How long have I been out anyways?"

It took him a second, but Twice finally remembered, scratching at his chin as he spoke. "Two or three days, I think. The days kinda blur together when you're taking care of so many people." Taking a breath, Twice stood, grabbing the glass and making his way to the door. "I'll let the others know you're awake."

With that, he closed the door, leaving Dabi with himself.

Standing up from his make-shift futon, he finally got a glimpse at the rest of the room. The place looked run-down, with decaying off-white walls barely holding themselves up, covered in a layer of dirt that was broken my a single window in the room, which itself has a broken pane in the upper-left corner. The single door to the room didn't look too great either: its hinges were crooked, slanting the door at an angle. 

There were other sheets and blankets lying all around the room, a few articles of clothing here and there, with a few bloody rags hanging around the two "beds" nearest to him. He must have been in the injured corner of the room along with Toga and Shigaraki, but it seemed like he was the last one to wake up.

Letting out a sigh, he grabbed the clothes down by his feet, slipping on the black jeans and plain black shirt with care, making sure not to reopen any of his wounds. It didn't seem like anyone hat stitched him up, but there was a thin layer of medical tape along the edge of each of his scars - probably to make sure he didn't rip himself open.

Without any further thought, he stepped into the living room, smiling gently when he was greeted with the faces of the League.

"Dabi!" Toga screeched, about to jump up and hug him before she remembered his wounds. So she simply patted him on the head, that stupidly sadistic smile still on her face. "Glad to see you're alive."

Chuckling quietly, Dabi lifted his hand, ruffling the girl's hair in the same way he used to do to his siblings. "You're good as new, huh, Toga?"

"I'm making it," she replied, shrugging her shoulders. She lowered her voice suddenly, leaning closer to Dabi as she spoke. "Shigi's... not doing too well."

Nodding in understanding, Dabi pushed past the girl and made his way over to their boss, who was sitting on the couch and idly watching him, left hand snuggled close to his chest. Carefully, the flame wielder lowered himself onto the couch, taking a breath to steady himself, before he turned to look at the smaller man.

"How bad is it?" he asked, voice cautious.

Shigaraki looked off to the side before he looked back at Dabi, his eyes red and dark underneath. He had been crying, and Dabi could clearly tell, but he wasn't going to bring it up - he had some respect for the man, after all.

"It hurts..." Shigaraki admitted, closing his eyes. He sucked in a breath before continuing. "A lot. Twice knows a thing or two about injuries, so he stitched my hand up, but..." He looked down at his hand, which was covered in a thick wad of gauze and medical tape. "I lost half of my hand."

Dabi looked at him knowingly, tilting his head to try and catch his eyes. "Hey, Mophead, it's going to be okay," he said quietly, trying to offer some support. "You're still our shitty boss."

Shigaraki shook his head, looking off to the side. "What is it with you and nicknames... To- "

"Stop," Dabi said, not raising his head. He knew where this was going. Knew the words that were about to come out of his boss' mouth. Something cracked inside him, and his words came out almost in a sob. "Don't... don't call me that."

Everyone in the room went silent, an uneasy tension hanging in the air as the League looked around at each other, not quite sure what to do. Dabi had spent the last year hiding everything about his past, about who he was, and for it to all come up so suddenly couldn't have been an easy thing to deal with. Still, no one wanted to say anything, mainly out of concern for the man.

"What happened?"

Spinner cleared his throat, speaking up from the corner of the room. "Dr. Ujiko warped us out of there not long after I called him," he said. "He sent Compress back to get you when he realized you weren't with us."

"And now we're in this abandoned apartment not too far from my old place, so I think we're going to go get some stuff from there later, now that you're up," Twice said, leaning against the wall. "We couldn't exactly leave the boss alone."

Shigaraki grimaced at the words, but quickly pushed any of the shame down, keeping his lips tight as Mr. Compress spoke.

"But you weren't referring to that, were you, Dabi?"

Dabi shook his head slowly, letting a wave of smoke seep from between his lips. "Not really, no. Who knows about me and my old man?" His voice was quiet, almost breaking on the last few words.

"Pretty much everyone at this point," Shigaraki said, opening up his phone with his right hand and handing it to Dabi.

With a simple search of the word Todoroki, there were countless reports covering the google homepage, some videos, and even an interview with, he was guessing, Endeavor himself. After a few seconds of scrolling, he clicked on one of the videos that looked like it had been taken from the helicopter, turning the volume up so that he could hear what was going on.

There he was, lying on the ground, his body being torn apart in front of him. With how graphic it was, he was almost surprised it was on the news, only to remember that something this big wouldn't be censored. Endeavor looked almost afraid at the sight in front of him, and through all of the background noise, Dabi could hear himself speaking.

"Oh, so now you care? For the first time in your life, you give a shit about me?" A pause. "And right when I'm about to die, too. Fuck... some parent you are, Endeavor."

Clenching his teeth, Dabi exited out of the video, going instead to click on the one that looked like an interview, heart almost still in his chest as he hung onto every word.

"Two days ago, the League of Villains was able to subvert arrest yet again, but not before the identity of one of their members, a man who had been going by the name of Dabi, was revealed."

The footage shown was from the fight again, repeating all of what had happened in a matter of seconds.

"While it took a bit longer than we had wanted, we were able to get an interview with two members of the Todoroki family, those two being Endeavor himself, and his youngest son, Shouto, who attends U.A. High School."

The screen flashed to an image of his father, without his stupid hero outfit, standing in front of his house, Fuyumi looking worriedly behind him. Seeing her made Dabi's breathing hitch - it had been so long since he'd last seen her, but she looked almost exactly like she used to, aside from her shorter hair.

"Endeavor, can we ask you a few questions about the villain Dabi?"

"Make it quick - I'm cooking for my family tonight."

Dabi almost laughed at that.

"Is he really your oldest child Todoroki Touya? And if so, why didn't you recognize him last time you two fought?"

"...He is Touya, yes." He shifted uncomfortably, only to narrow his eyes before he turned back to the camera. "Last time we fought, I was almost killed by a noumu. My vision was blurry, and it wasn't until after the fight, when I saw a closer image of his face, along with the blue flames, that I recognized him."

"What was happening that made him so sick during the fight?"

"Weak constitution." 

The way he said it so bluntly made Dabi want to throw the phone.

"I'm sorry, but everything else is classified to the heroes and the police. If you have any information on his whereabouts, report it immediately. He's dangerous. That's all."

The screen flashed again, this time to Shouto, who was standing uncomfortably in front of the U.A. gates, that Midoriya kid and Eraserhead standing behind him in a protective stance.

"Todoroki-kun, could you tell us a little bit about your brother, Todoroki Touya?"

Shouto scratched his chin, looking almost desperate to get away from the camera. "I don't remember much about him. He's ten years older than me and ran away when I was six or seven. I haven't spoken to him in years, though he always sends me a text on my birthday."

"Yes, but did he ever show signs of being a villain?"

"Err..." Shouto's right side had begun to freeze over. "Touya... was a good brother to me. Whatever he does now, I don't condone, but he wouldn't do something without a reason."

He looked up at the camera.

"That's all I have to say, now please leave me alone. It's too early."

With that, Midoriya ushered the youngest Todoroki away, leaving Eraserhead to deal with scaring the press off.

Clicking out of the video, Dabi turned the phone off and handed it back to Shigaraki, not looking up from where his face hung towards the ground. He hadn't heard his real name in years, and now, for it to be so out in the open like this, he could hardly push down the wave of nausea as it hit him, sending him into a fit of dry heaving.

"Dabi!" Toga shrieked, jumping up to grab a glass of water sitting on the ground next to her, frantically trying to hand it to the shaking man. He took it and began taking generous sips, pausing for only a minute to catch his breath as the girl rubbed reassuring circles into his back.

"Dammit," he muttered, still trying to catch his breath. "I haven't... fuck, how could I have been so fucking stupid..."

"Easy, Dabi," Shigaraki warned, shooting daggers at him. "You'll set the couch on fire if you aren't careful. Besides, you're smoking again."

Taking a second, Dabi forced himself to calm down, picking away at the staples closest to his mouth, which were left uncovered by the medical tape. "I don't think I could set anything on fire if I wanted to, Creep," he muttered, pulling particularly hard on the staple. "Not unless I want to feel even more sick."

Shaking his head, Shigaraki looked around the room, careful to make eye contact with each member of the League as he spoke.

"You guys go and get some things from Twice's apartment. We need food and supplies, and I don't think I'm well enough to go in public yet." He paused, eyes ghosting over Dabi. "And this guy isn't gonna be able to leave for a while."

Nodding in understanding, the rest of the League stood, quickly throwing on jackets to cover themselves as they left unceremoniously. Toga paused momentarily, looking with pity back at the two of them, before she shut the door, leaving the two men in the apartment.

They stayed like that for a few minutes, in nothing but silence, listening to only the sound of Dabi's breathing before the older of the two spoke.

"You know, if you're going to kick the rest of the League out just to talk to me, I'd suggest doing some talking," Dabi muttered, amusement laced in his voice. "Not that you have to. I don't really like where I know this conversation is going to go."

"Where do you think it's gonna go?" Shigaraki asked, adjusting himself to settle back further into the couch.

Dabi clicked his tongue, looking up from under his bangs to meet the red eyes of his boss. "To my childhood," he admitted.

"You're not entirely wrong, I suppose," Shigaraki said, scratching at his neck. He paused, mulling his words over, before he decided to speak again. "Endeavor abused you, didn't he?"

"Hah... abused," Dabi said, feeling the familiar word taste bitter on his tongue. "He did more than abuse me, Creep. He beat the shit out of me almost every day of my life."

When Shigaraki didn't speak, he continued. 

"I didn't inherit my mother's ice like Shouto did, but I got something else from her... my weak constitution, as my old man likes to call it." He lifted his arm, gesturing to it with a flick of his head. "My body was built to withstand ice. I got fire instead... a fire hotter than Endeavor's. My body can't take it."

Shigaraki nodded, tracing carefully over his burned arm with gentle fingers. "I assumed something along those lines," he said, voice cautious. "It didn't take long to figure out your body takes a beating every time you use your quirk."

Realizing what he said, Shigaraki flinched, only for Dabi to chuckle at his words.

"Beating, huh?" he said, letting the word roll of his tongue. "Yeah, my body's taken plenty of those."

The room fell silent again. 

“I’m guessing what you went through was worse than what… Father did to me.”

Dabi shrugged, turning to look lazily at his boss. “I’m not sure it’s healthy to be comparing abuse stories but…” he trailed off, sucking in a breath. “It was hell. Every day, I’d wake up, train for hours before it was even time for breakfast, and if I didn’t do enough in those hours, I wouldn’t even get a break for breakfast. That’s not even when the real hell began. He eventually let up on me some when Shouto was born. My quirk was starting to damage me already, but I hid it as best I could. After all…”

“He’d punish you more for being weak?”

“Hit the nail on the head, boss,” the older man of the two said, leaning back against the couch. “I just… wanted to get away from him, didn’t want to be connected to him, so I hid my name. Todoroki Touya , huh… Besides, I doubt you would have let me join if you knew who I was related to.”

Shigaraki nodded slowly. “Probably not, considering I was much more childish back then.”

“That was just over a year ago, though.”

“I’ve changed.”

“Yeah, you really have,” Dabi agreed, smiling gently. “You’re much more easy to talk to now.”

The shorter man nodded, wincing a bit as his hand hit his chest when he moved. God, he was going to have a hard time getting used to this. 

“I know this is… difficult for you to talk about, Dabi,” Shigaraki began, voice low. “But I want you to know that we’re not going to let that man hurt you ever again. You’re not going to face him alone next time.”

Dabi blinked, looking up in surprise at his boss’ words. “Look, boss, I appreciate the sentiment, but he’s m-”

The leader raised his hand, effectively cutting Dabi off. “I understand, he’s your kill. I’m not disregarding that. But, when the time comes, the League is going to make sure the fight is on your terms, not because you’re protecting us. Which, I should thank you for, I guess.”

“It’s no big deal,” Dabi muttered. “I wasn’t going to let that man hurt anyone else I cared about.”

“Dabi,” Shigaraki said, placing his hand on the man’s shoulder, making sure his pinky was off to the side. “We’re going to get your brother away from him. I don’t know about the other two, but it’s clear Shouto suffered. His scar is from Endeavor, right?”

“Technically it’s from my mother,” Dabi said, shaking his head. “But, god, she took so much from my old man. Beating after beating… I walked in on them once, my mother’s jaw broken from where my father was kicking her, over and over and over … I didn't know what to do. What's a ten-year-old supposed to do? But, in the end, it drove her crazy. She saw Shouto’s face while she was making tea, and it reminded her too much of what he did to her…”

Shigaraki nodded in understanding, gently rubbing the man’s shaking form in an attempt to calm him down. While Dabi was never a fan of being touched, he seemed to relax under Shigaraki’s touch, letting himself be soothed by the repeated rhythm before he spoke again.

“I want him dead, boss.”

“And you will, Dabi.”

Dabi paused for a moment, clenching his teeth before deciding on what he wanted to say.

“Just once, call me by my real name.”

“What?” the younger said, drawing his hand back.

“Tell me I’m going to kill him… that I’m going to kill Endeavor,” Dabi said, voice just above a whisper. “Please, Shigaraki. Use my real name, just this once.”

It had been too long since he’d been given praise. For all the years of training and abuse he put up with, his mother was the source of all his support, the only person aside from his siblings who genuinely cared for him. When he ran away, he had nothing. No one cared for him.

The League changed everything. He was given a place to belong, a reason to live, and people who cared for him. For nearly ten years, he didn’t hear his name spoken towards him, and certainly not with any kind of positive connotations. Dabi, however, was supported. Dabi was worth something. And Touya was Dabi.

But for just one moment, he wanted that old comfort. He wanted the name his mother gave him, along with the reassurance his new family gave him.

Shigaraki nodded in understanding, red eyes bearing into Dabi’s cyan ones as he spoke.

“You will kill him, Touya. You will get revenge for what that bastard did to you and your family,” he said. “And you will have the League with you when you do it. We believe in you, Todoroki Touya.”

And that’s all Dabi ever wanted to hear.