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What You Make of It

Chapter Text

It was cold without him there.

Kazumi pulled the blankets tighter around herself but it did nothing to hide the fact that she was alone in the bed. Bakugo was out on patrol and she was home by herself because she was supposed to be off-duty until after she'd given birth. He still had a job, though, so he couldn't stay with her all the time. But dammit, she hated the nights when he had to go out. He was a constant source of heat that helped alleviate some of the pain she accumulated from carrying the twins around during the day and he made her feel safer than she did when she was alone.

Not to mention how quiet it was. She'd never liked quiet. To her, silence meant something bad was about to happen, that she might lose everything in a moment.

Kazumi Midoriya, you are a grown-ass woman. You need to get over yourself.

He's earning money to support you and the parasites he put in you.

Dammit. I hate this.

Looking at the clock on the nightstand, she saw it was 11:08 PM. She needed to go to sleep. If she didn't, she'd be cranky in the morning, which didn't help with her mood swings or her boyfriend's habit of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. And then there would be a fight and she'd start crying and he'd be apologetic even though he actually hadn't done anything wrong.

Just relax. He'll be home soon enough and you can cuddle with him then.

No nightmares… hopefully.

She'd always suffered from nightmares and night terrors. When she was a child, they'd been caused by memories of her birth father's abuse and abandonment. Those slowly faded in frequency, but after attending UA, they'd shifted towards the Nomu and the League. Especially after each of her kidnappings and stabbings. Those, too, had faded with time. Sometimes, though, they came back with a vengeance and Bakugo would wake her up before they got too bad, holding her close while whispering to calm her as she sobbed. Having him nearby made her feel safe, like she was untouchable.

He'd protect her with his life.

Nothing bad is going to happen.

Kazumi felt kicking in her belly; obviously, the babies had picked up on her distress and didn't like it. She rested her hand on top of her bump, whispering softly to try and calm her unborn infants. When they didn't, she switched to humming a lullaby. That did the trick and soon, her children had settled and the kicking stopped. She breathed a sigh of relief, smiling lightly.

"We can't wait for you to get here," she told them.

Her eyes started to get heavy as she drifted off, finally able to sleep…

Only to be awoken by a CRASH! downstairs.

She jolted upright, turning her head to look at the clock.

2:17… it might be Kacchan…

No. He was too careful when it came to her sleep schedule now that she was pregnant. How many times had she woken up with him beside her when he hadn't been there when she went to sleep? Despite his loud and flashy Quirk, he was surprisingly quiet when he wanted to be.

She grabbed her phone and crept out of the bedroom to the top of the stairs. From there, she could hear two male voices arguing downstairs—neither of which belonged to Bakugo.

"You wanna bring the police down on us, Akiyama?!" snapped one.

"Shut up! Let's grab what we came for and get out."

Robbers. They were getting robbed.

Kick.

She bit the inside of her cheek to keep from crying out after one of the babies kicked one of her internal organs. This was bad. They obviously thought the house was empty. She needed to call the police.

"Hashimoto, you go upstairs. See if there's anything up there."

Shit. Shit shit shit—

Kazumi held her phone to her chest and scrambled to get back into her bedroom. Once there, she slipped into the closet and closed the door behind her, creating another barrier between herself and the invader within her home. Her hand trembled as she hit her boyfriend's name in her contacts and the phone rang.

"Pick up pick up pick up…" she hissed.

"Hey, this is Bakugo. I can't take your call right now since I'm busy on patrol, so leave a fucking message."

Dammit!

"Kacchan," she whispered, her voice shaking as she tried to hold back her tears from how scared she was. "I'm… somebody broke into the house. They're looking for something and I don't know what… and… I'm scared. Please, please come home as soon as you get this."

She hung up and was about to hit the button for emergency services when her brother's name caught her eye. She really didn't want to call him, not when Ochaco was pregnant, too, but she was scared for her life and the lives of her babies. He'd be there in a matter of minutes that the police wouldn't be able to reach her in. That could be the difference between her survival and the intruders ending her and her children.

It rang for a few seconds before there was a click.

"Kazumi?"

"Hey, Izuku." She breathed heavily. "I… there's somebody in my house."

"Are you sure it's not Kacchan?"

"There were two voices and neither of them were his and they're looking for something specific…"

"Hold on." There was shuffling on the other end as she was sure he was getting out of bed. "I'm on my way over. Where are you?"

"In my closet. I'd take care of them myself but…"

"You're not supposed to use your Quirk while you're pregnant unless it's an emergency."

"I don't want to risk it. I need to protect my babies."

"Stay where you are. See you soon."

Click.

She curled into a protective ball around her belly after she called the police. Her babies kicked frantically against her hands, making her stroke the spots they were kicking. She squeezed her eyes shut, praying for her brother to get there.

Five minutes passed.

Footsteps echoed against the hardwood floors in the hallway as one of the robbers approached the bedroom and the door creaked open. She covered her mouth to prevent herself from crying out again.

Hurry, Izuku! Please!

"Bed's still warm," the robber called (Hashimoto, she guessed). "There's somebody here."

"That's what the boss said. There's supposed to be some bitch here alone." The other robber had come upstairs (Akiyama).

"What do we do, then?"

"Find her. She can't have gotten far."

No. Please please please don't find me…

Shadows danced in the light that shone under the closet door. She tucked her legs up to keep her own shadow out of the light. The footsteps of the invaders tapped as they searched her room. Squeezing her eyes shut again, she ground her teeth together and prayed for help to arrive.

Suddenly, the door flew open and she looked up in fear to see two men—both gruff-looking and clearly professional criminals—gazing at her. One smirked and grabbed her roughly.

"Boss didn't say how pretty you were," he told her with a smirk as his partner grabbed Kazumi's legs. "Or that you had a bun in the oven."

"Let me go!" she shrieked, struggling against them. Her phone fell to the floor and the one holding her legs picked it up.

"She called the cops," he told his partner. "We've gotta get out of here, Akiyama."

"Not without what we came for."

Kazumi snapped one of her legs to the side, kicking Hashimoto in the gut. Her foot exploded with pain. She hadn't trained in months, so her strength had waned to the point where she couldn't kick a guy in the gut anymore.

There was something cold against her belly. Looking down, she saw that Akiyama was holding a knife to the place where her children were growing.

"Keep fighting and I cut the brat out," he threatened. "You're coming with us, sweetheart. Be a good girl and don't give us any trouble."

She had a choice—fight and risk the lives of her children, or stay quiet and keep them safe. Her maternal instinct won out and she surrendered, allowing them to slap her with anti-Quirk cuffs behind her back and gag her with duct tape. Her legs were also taped together at the ankles to keep her from kicking. Akiyama still held the knife as Hashimoto carried her downstairs, the latter smashing her phone before they headed down.

"Put. Her. Down."

YES!

There was Izuku, wearing his full hero costume with Full Cowl activated. Electricity crackled around him as he narrowed his eyes at the intruders.

"Deku." Akiyama glared back. "Didn't realize you were in the neighborhood."

"I wasn't. I got a call from my sister because she was scared. So I'd thank you to put her down right now, thank you."

"Heh." The lead robber pressed the knife against Kazumi's belly again. "Let us out and I won't kill the brat inside her."

"You bastards…"

Sirens wailed in the distance. The police were on their way and almost there.

"We'll be going now, if you don't mind. Maybe we'll give her back."

Izuku clenched his fists, tears of rage forming in his eyes.

"Take one step forward and the knife goes into her."

No. No no no no…

Car doors slammed outside and there were hurried footsteps as cops burst through the door, guns drawn.

"Let's get going, sweetheart," Akiyama hissed in Kazumi's ear, him and Hashimoto backing away. "Any of you follow us and we kill her and the kid!"

The officers froze, obviously not wanting to risk the lives of Kazumi and her babies. She was being kidnapped. Again. And nobody could stop it without risking those lives. It was hopeless.

Then Hashimoto and Akiyama backed into somebody and froze.

A familiar scent flooded her senses, one that she dealt with on a daily basis that was a source of comfort for her. A smell that was akin to nitroglycerin.

Kacchan!

"Hey," her boyfriend growled, his voice low and calm.

He's pissed. Oh, he's pissed. I love him so fucking much.

"Ground Zero…" whispered Hashimoto, sounded terrified.

"That's right, fucker." Before either of them could react, Izuku dashed forward and managed to grab Kazumi with his enhanced speed. Bakugo's hands sparked up and he set off explosions, sending the two thugs into the hands of the police. "You might wanna check who's house you're in and who you're threatening to kill next time… you know, if you ever get out after three charges of attempted kidnapping and murder."

"There's only her and the brat!" snapped Akiyama.

"She's having twins, dumbass! My kids!"

Akiyama and Hashimoto looked dumbfounded and terrified as they were cuffed by the police and led away. Izuku focused on unbinding his sister, who hugged him gratefully before Bakugo crouched by her.

"You okay?" he asked, gentler than he'd been just moments before as he helped his pregnant girlfriend to her feet. "I came as soon as I got your message. Figured those bastards would try to escape through the back door…"

"I'm fine. A little shaken up, but fine."

"Er, miss?" an officer stated, catching her attention. "We'll need you to give a statement down at the precinct."

"Naturally." Izuku smiled.

"Well, I'll head home now. Ochaco wasn't too happy when she heard about what was going on."

"Tell her I said hello!" Kazumi told him.

"Go ahead and get dressed," Bakugo sighed. "I'll handle seeing if those guys actually took anything."

She bit her lip.

They were here for me and the babies… nothing else.

But he'll be so pissed if he knows that…


"I'm not taking night patrols anymore."

Kazumi looked at Bakugo as he climbed into bed next to her, tilting her head in confusion.

"During the day, you at least have all our friends and co-workers to keep you safe. At night, it's just you and me. I can't… I can't lose you. I faced that once and I can't do it again, especially when you're like this."

"Kacchan—"

"It'll be fine. I'll just take a couple extra patrols during the day. We'll need it when the kids get here." They laid down and he wrapped his arms around her protectively. "Besides, this way, I can keep you safe."

"I know how much you love being out there…"

"And the first thing we'll do once you're cleared is go on patrol together. We can pawn babysitting off on Deku, right?"

She snorted, giggling as she buried her face in his shoulder.

"God, I missed you."

As if to say 'knock off the romantic crap!', one of the babies kicked hard against Kazumi's belly. Bakugo smirked.

"They really love ruining moments already, don't they?"

"Maybe. Just a little. They really pick up on how I'm feeling a lot of the time and they kick more when I'm stressed out."

"Huh. Weird."

"I talked to our moms about it. Mitsuki said that you were the same way, only you were apparently trying to win a kickboxing trophy before you were even born."

"Don't believe anything the hag says about me from back then."

"Mother said that I was more of a kicker, too, and that Shoto was calmer even back then. Mom just said Izuku was calm."

"So we got a couple of fighters, eh?" He rolled them over so that she was on her back.

"Kacchan, what are you doing?"

"Shhhhh…" Bakugo pushed up the hem of the T-shirt she was wearing (one of his, he noted; she must've been missing him) and revealed her swollen belly. Quietly, his hands rested at the top of the swell, right where the babies liked to kick.

As if on cue, they did just that.

"Yep. Fighters. Just like their mom and dad."

Then, he did something that Kazumi had never seen him do throughout her pregnancy.

He rested his face on her belly, as if he'd settled there to think, and wrapped his arms around her. When he was that close, she could feel his breathing and it felt so much more intimate than anything else they'd ever done. With a grin, he lifted his head to look at her.

"I can hear them."

"Wait, really?"

"Yeah. They're moving around a lot but they'll settle down once we go to sleep, I bet."

She nodded and he kissed her ever-so-gently.

Deep down, though, they both knew that night had been a close call. And it would take a long time for the memories of that night to fade into nothing but vague nightmares like other events that had happened. But Kazumi was okay. The babies were okay. All that was left to do was make it through the last couple months and they'd be proud parents.

For now, they slept, and tried to turn the night's events into nothing but a bad memory.

Chapter Text

It was a dark and stormy night at UA.

The winter to spring transition brought its usual sense of change and slightly later darkness. But it also brought a slight chill and unexpected rain that easily turned into storms and those storms caused problems for everyone when it came to villain attacks and transportation failures. In fact, the power couple of the 2-A dorms—Izuku and Ochaco—weren't present for that very reason. They'd been on a date for their day off and had gotten stuck when one of the trains stopped working. Kazumi had been the one to receive the call saying as much and had relayed the message to the other members of the dorms.

And so, the youngest resident sat with Yaoyorozu on the couches in the common area, waiting for her parents to come home while she listened to the smartest student in class 2-A tell a story about a princess who married a war-chief against her will and fell in love with him.

"The princess's brother came to bring her home. But she didn't want to go home, not anymore. Besides, the stuffy castle had never truly been where she was meant to be. Out in the desert, with her husband and his tribe, she was free to be who she wanted to be. And so she told her brother that the desert was her home now, the war-chief her true love, and that she was happy where she was. He relented and agreed to allow her to stay with her husband in the desert. The end."

"That's great," mumbled Eri, falling against Yaoyorozu sleepily. The creation hero smiled warmly.

"It must be time for bed. Come along then." She went to move Eri, then realized something was wrong.

The little girl felt hot. Too hot. She was burning up. Immediately, Yaoyorozu scooped up Eri and ran upstairs to the little girl's bedroom before rushing across the hall to get help from Kazumi. Surely, Eri's aunt who was quite skilled in terms of first aid would have something to help a sick little girl.

Inside Kazumi's room, Yaoyorozu also found Bakugo lying on the girl's bed with a textbook in his hands. Kazumi herself was sitting at the desk with their notes, apparently transcribing whatever either of them had missed that the other caught. A smart system if you were slow at taking notes.

"Hey, Yao-momo," Kazumi greeted her. "What's up?"

"I think Eri's sick." Kazumi snapped the notes shut and immediately began digging into her medical supplies that she kept in the dorm.

Given her brother's habit of injuring himself, it made sense.

"What made you think she was sick?"

"She was unusually hot. Her normal temperature's 99 degrees Fahrenheit, right?"

"Right." Kazumi retrieved a thermometer from her stocks and grabbed a washcloth and some cough syrup. "I'm going to check on her and stay with her until Izuku and Ochaco get back. You tell everyone else to stay out of her room for now, but I'll need you to help me out if you can. We need to keep her hydrated and make sure her fever doesn't get any higher. Sorry, Kacchan. Guess we can't watch that movie like we planned."

"Hey, Pipsqueak being sick is more important than some stupid movie. I get it. I'll see you tomorrow." They pecked each other on the lips and Bakugo headed back towards his room while the two girls went across the hall, in such a hurry that Kazumi didn't even bother putting back the supplies and papers that she hadn't taken with her.

Meanwhile, down in another part of the common area, several other students of 2-A were finishing a horror movie about a family being terrorized by home intruders. Kaminari clung to Jiro, still shaking and whimpering over watching the family being tortured.

"People aren't really like that unless they're villains, right? I mean, none of the intruders had Quirks!" he stated.

"Of course not," sighed Jiro. "Why would anybody do that kind of thing unless they're villains?"

"People can be pretty sadistic," commented Kirishima. "I mean, look at Bakugo and Kazumi's entire relationship. They sling insults at each other like nobody's business and, uh… have you seen Bakugo's neck?"

"That's a far cry from tying up a little girl and shocking her with a cattle prod to make her parents come downstairs!" Kaminari protested. "The biting's just what they do! I don't question it and nobody else should, either!"

Suddenly, there was a creaking of floorboards and Kaminari froze.

"Did you guys hear something?"

"You're just jumpy from the movie," scoffed Ashido.

"No, I heard something." He started shaking. "What if somebody broke into the dorms?"

"Nobody broke into the dorms. How could they?" Todoroki sighed. "UA's campus is secure."

"Villains have gotten past security before! M-maybe we should go check…"

Suddenly, there was a crack of thunder and the lights fizzled before going out. Kaminari screamed like a little girl, diving under the coffee table and shaking with fear as he began to mumble prayers for their survival.

"Grow up!" groaned Jiro, grabbing his arm. "The storm knocked out the power! That's all it is!"

"Or maybe a villain knocked out the power using their Quirk and they're planning to torture us like in the movie!"

There was more creaking of floorboards upstairs, which the others heard this time, too.

"Um… who else is here?" asked Sero.

"Uraraka and Izuku are stuck in town. Iida, Tsuyu, Ojiro, Sato, Shoji, Aoyama, Koda, and Toru are visiting home, and Momo went to bed," Kirishima rattled off. "Then Bakugo and Kazumi are in her room, so I'm not going up there."

"Tokoyami went to bed, too," added Ashido. "And I'm sure Kazumi tucked Eri in an hour ago. So who could be upstairs…?"

The feeling that they were being watched fell over them, making those gathered uneasy. Perhaps there was some credence to the idea that there was an intruder.

And they were being watched and listened to—just not by a villain.

It was Bakugo.

An intruder? Heh. This could be fun…


"Oh, crap."

Kazumi looked up at the lights as soon as they went out.

"I'm hot…" mumbled Eri.

"I know, sweetheart," sighed the water-haired girl. "Just wait a second."

She picked up the washcloth and soaked it with cool water, placing it on her niece's forehead. Eri settled, then started coughing.

"Momo, could you give us some light?" asked Kazumi.

"I can. Give me a moment."

The black-haired girl undid her shirt enough to allow herself to make a lantern, which she turned on and set on the bedside table. Kazumi sighed in relief and went to pour some cough syrup into a little cup.

"Eri, I need you to sit up and drink this, okay?"

"Don't wanna… I want Papa."

"Your papa's trying to get home. But I need you to drink your medicine so you can get better."

"Okay…" Eri sat up a little and Kazumi had her sip down the bitter liquid. "I don't like it…"

"I hate it, too, but you need it to get better."

Eri whined a bit as her aunt laid her back down and Momo picked up Eri's favorite stuffed animal—the orange cat that Kazumi had given Eri on the little girl's first night in the dorms. She tucked it into Eri's arms, making her smile a little bit.

"Thank you, Aunt Momo…" Eri began to drift off and Kazumi glanced up at the lights again.

"We're going to need a heater before long. I guess the storm knocked out the power and the generator. That happened back home sometimes."

"I can make us a small one."

"No, you should save your energy. I'm sure everything will go back on soon."


"There is no intruder," Todoroki insisted. "I'm sure it's just the wind from the storm."

"Wind doesn't make floorboards creak on the second floor!" Kaminari insisted.

"Perhaps Kazumi and Bakugo chose to go to Bakugo's room instead of hers. It's fairly simple."

There was a muffled boom somewhere in the building, making Jiro freeze and stand closer to Kaminari.

"If Bakugo and Kazumi are in his room, then why was there an explosion?" she asked.

"Why don't we just check upstairs? It's a simple solution that would help disprove any notion of an intruder."

The six teenagers walked up the stairs to the girls' side first, right to Kazumi's room. Ashido opened the door to reveal that Kazumi's desk drawers had been ransacked. Lightning crackled, illuminating the abandoned and open textbook on the floor.

"W-where are they?" Kaminari asked.

"Now we check Bakugo's room," Todoroki stated, but he was becoming slightly uneasy.

My sister keeps her living space very neat. Why would it be such a mess?

They headed across the dorms, straight to Bakugo's room. It was a wreck, with clothes and books all over the floor and the sheets rumpled as if somebody had been taken right out of the bed. Ashido shifted uncomfortably.

"This is bad. This is very bad. Where are they?"

"I…" Todoroki looked uncomfortable. "I have no idea."

"I'm going to check somewhere else they might be," Kaminari stated, still shaking. "I need two of you to come with me. If Ghostbusters has taught me anything, it's that you always travel in groups of three or more."

"I'll go with you," Jiro told him.

"Me, too," Kirishima chimed in.

Those three headed downstairs, Kaminari taking the lead and unscrewing a lightbulb out of a lamp to act as their light while he provided enough electricity for it to glow. His destination? A supply closet that he'd caught Bakugo and Kazumi making out in before. But the closet proved to be empty, meaning that those two members of the class were completely missing.

"This is bad," he whimpered, clinging to Jiro. "Where are they?"

"I have no idea…"

Whispers came out of nowhere, surrounding the three teenagers and causing Kaminari to drop the lightbulb out of pure terror.

"Run."

The hiss came out of nowhere and they had no problem obeying the voice, heading straight for Bakugo's room where the others were.

As soon as they were gone, Bakugo and Tokoyami came out of the shadows, both smiling.

"Thanks for helping me out with this," Bakugo told the bird-person.

"It's not a problem. At the very least, it's a good way to help me control Dark Shadow. And it's fun to see them believe in such a stupid idea."

"Just don't tell Kazumi I'm doing this. She's got her hands full with Pipsqueak."

"Understandable."

Bakugo proceeded to make another muffled explosion, this one which was a little less muffled than the previous one.


Kazumi lifted her head at the sound and groaned.

"Watch Eri. I have a moron to smack."

"What's going on?" Momo asked, sitting up from where she'd been falling asleep on the floor.

"Kaminari and a few of the others were watching a home-invasion horror movie. I bet you anything my dumbass boyfriend is taking advantage of that to pull pranks."

"Aunt Kazumi, I'm thirsty," mumbled Eri. Kazumi nodded and went into the bathroom, filling up a cup that Izuku insisted on keeping in his daughter's room.

"Listen, Eri. I need to go give your uncle Kacchan a good slap to the back of the head."

"He's dumb sometimes. Tell him be quiet."

Kazumi replaced Eri's washcloth and stood up, heading out of the room. The ends of her hair began to slightly steam—a sure sign that she was pissed off and Bakugo needed to prepare for a smackdown akin to when Kazumi had found out he was teaching Eri how to fight using knives.

(But that's a story for another time. The knife thing, not her smackdown.)


"Okay. We need to set traps," stated Kirishima. "These guys are pros at staying out of sight and I think it would be a bad idea to face them head-on."

"I've got some wire," Kaminari told him. "We can use that to make an alarm to tell us when the intruders are coming."

"I'll hide where the tripwire is and when it gets triggered, I'll melt the floor and trap them!" Ashido chimed in.

"Perhaps icing the floor would make them less able to move and attack," added Todoroki.

"And I'll wrap them up with my tape!" Sero added.

Jiro nodded, motioning that she'd listen out for danger.

And so, the six set up traps for the perceived intruders and went back to their positions to wait.

Downstairs, however, Izuku and Ochaco had finally made it back from town, both freezing due to the rain and ready to just say goodnight to their daughter before they headed off to bed themselves. Just as Izuku was helping his girlfriend peel off her raincoat, the lights came back on since the generator had finally been brought back online… revealing a rather complex and frankly overkill system of tripwires that were put all over the common room.

"Um… okay?" Ochaco stated, looking confused.

"What's… what's going on?"

"I have no idea, but it can't be good."

Kazumi came down the stairs, turning herself into a puddle so she could get all the way down without doing a complex series of spy-movie maneuvers, and she came to her full height in front of her brother and best friend.

"Do you know what's happening?" Izuku asked her.

"Yes, it's called my boyfriend is a jackass." Her hair started to steam. "I'm going to find him. I'm going to grab him. And I'm going to slap him."

"Shit!" the three heard Bakugo hiss, followed by the sound of him hitting the floor.

"And there he is." She turned her attention back to the couple. "Eri's not feeling well. Momo's with her right now, but she wanted to see you two. Excuse me for a moment."

She went past the tripwires towards the boys' side of the dorms, where those who had set the traps were waiting. However, it appeared that the power coming back on had been short-lived and it fizzled out again as thunder cracked overhead. As such, the 'defenders' weren't able to see her approaching and she slipped behind them.

"What the hell is going on?!" she snapped, catching their attention and scaring all of them.

"AAAAAAH! DON'T HURT ME!" screamed Kaminari, covering his head.

"Kazumi! You're okay!" breathed Ashido.

"Of course I am—what the hell is going on here?"

"There's an intruder in the dorms," Kirishima told her, panting. "We're just trying to take them out."

"Take it all down, now. This isn't an intruder. It's just Kacchan pulling a prank on all of you because he's bored."

"Wait, weren't you supposed to be with him?" inquired Sero.

"Eri's sick, so I was taking care of her instead of watching a movie with him like we planned. Momo's with her now and Izuku and Ochaco are heading up to check on her."

The 'defenders' proceeded to take down their traps and Kazumi found her boyfriend lying on the icy floor, struggling to get up. His eyes met hers and he started laughing nervously.

"Hey, Kazumi."

"Get up. Now."

She shot boiling water at the floor, melting the ice and allowing him to stand up.

"It was just a joke!" he protested. "It's not my fault they thought it was real!"

"Who else was involved?" The sight of the five-foot-seven Kazumi facing her 6-foot-two boyfriend was comical, to say the least.

"Tokoyami, but he just did a little extra thing to make it more convincing. He went back to bed after that."

She squeezed her eyes shut, then let out a breath and her hair stopped steaming.

"Kacchan?"

"Yeah?"

"If you ever do anything like this again, we're done."

"Wait—"

"And I want you to apologize to everyone you were scaring tonight. Deal?"

"I don't apologize!"

"I know. I'm still waiting on apologies from you. But I know you can do it."

Then she slapped him.

"And that's for freaking me out while I'm trying to take care of my sick niece!"

"Okay, I deserved that…"


Eri shifted slightly in her bed at the sound of her door opening, looking to see her parents in the doorway. Her fever still made her sluggish, so all she could do was cough and look at them.

"Mama. Papa," she whimpered. Momo glanced up to see them.

"Oh, thank goodness you made it back safely. Kazumi gave her some cough medicine about an hour ago, but she'll need some more in about five hours."

"We'll take it from here," Ochaco assured their classmate.

"Yeah, thanks for helping out," Izuku agreed.

"I'd better head off to bed myself, then. See you in the morning."

"Night!" the two called, turning their attention to their sick child.

"Did Auntie Kazumi find Uncle Kacchan?" she asked.

"I believe she did," Izuku replied, taking the cloth off his daughter's forehead and feeling it. "You still have a fever. We'll take you to Recovery Girl in the morning."

"Okay." Eri nestled down in her blankets and Ochaco sighed.

"Should we take shifts?"

"Are you kidding me? I'm staying up all night."

"Deku…"

"Okay. We'll take shifts. I call first."

She rolled her eyes affectionately and headed off to grab a spare cot for the one not on shift to sleep on.

"Not cool, dude!"

"Yeah, you really freaked us out!" Ashido added.

Bakugo sighed as his classmates berated him for his prank the night before. Kazumi had kept him up all night to practice apologizing (because she insisted he do it right and far be it from him to refuse the girl he regularly made out with) and now he was paying the price.

"Look, I said I was sorry. It was too easy a target and I was bored. From where I was standing, it was funny."

"I thought we were all going to die!" Kaminari shot back.

"He's very sorry and he won't do it again," Kazumi assured them. "Right, Kacchan?"

"Yes, ma'am. Now can I please get some sleep?"

"Yes you may."

He trudged upstairs. Izuku came down a minute later carrying Eri wrapped in blankets.

"We're heading to Recovery Girl's to see what's wrong with Eri," he told the others. "See you later."

"Bye!" Ochaco called, coming down after him.

"Bye-bye…" Eri added, waving weakly over her father's shoulder.

"Poor Little Bit…" murmured Kazumi.

"Well, there's a lesson for us," Kirishima commented. "Don't watch horror movies when it's dark and stormy."

"Oh, no. You just need to watch the right kind of horror movie. Don't go for the home-invasion ones because those make you paranoid. Instead, watch a slasher film or some ghost movie. Or just watch Stranger Things."

"What's that?"

"A horror series taking place in America during the eighties. It's really good and I'm not ashamed to say that I cried while I was watching it. Now that's perfect to watch on a dark and stormy night."

She stretched and yawned.

"I'm gonna take a nap. Wake me if you need me."

And so ended the 'dorm invasion incident', as it came to be called.

Eri had a bad cold, it turned out, and Recovery Girl fixed her up. Bakugo had the cold shoulder from his girlfriend for about a week after the incident, but he managed to get her to forgive him. As for everyone else, they soon found out why Kazumi spoke so highly of Stranger Things and were equally enraptured and terrified by the series… with several tears shed.

But it wouldn't be their last brush with horror movie tropes.

Chapter Text

Nana Midoriya was not a normal kid.

She'd known that from the time she was a toddler when she'd get stares from random strangers while walking with her mom and dad on the street, or while playing with her cousins at the park. Her cousins got those stares, too, but not as much as she did. No, Nana got them far more frequently, and she never knew why until she reached kindergarten and proudly announced that she was the daughter of Deku and Uravity.

That was the day she found out how much standing her parents had.

Her aunt Kazumi was the daughter of Endeavor, the pro hero who'd held the number-one spot when Nana and her cousins Chiasa and Hanako were born, but despite Tsunami ranking in the top ten with Ground Zero, Freezerburn, Deku, and Uravity, Chiasa and Hanako didn't get that kind of attention. Nana did because of her father, because he'd been All-Might's protégé, and everyone wanted to see if she'd inherited his Quirk. And she hadn't. Instead, she had a form of her mother's Quirk mixed with her grandmother's.

Telekinesis, it was called.

She could move objects without touching them, making them weightless at the same time. It was an amazing Quirk that had been in the mind of the public even longer than Quirks had been around in the first place. And she knew she wanted to follow in her parents' footsteps and become a hero. Nothing could shake her in that conviction.

But then, one day when she and the twins were eight years old, she came out of school with Chiasa and Hanako—arguing with Chiasa—and found her aunt waiting there. This was unusual because typically, Grandma Inko and Grandpa Toshi picked her and the twins up. Kazumi looked upset, the tips of her hair slightly steaming as she leaned against her car.

"Hey, girls," she greeted them.

"Mom, what's going on?" asked Chiasa.

"Get in the car. I need to talk to Nana for a minute."

The twins shrugged and obeyed their mother.

"What's wrong?" Nana inquired.

"Your father… he was on a patrol today. Standard stuff, really. But then something happened. I'm not sure what, but…" She took a deep breath as she took her niece's hands in hers. "He got hurt. Badly. And he's in the hospital."

Nana felt her heart stop.

Papa's… hurt? No. That's impossible. He can't get hurt.

"Your grandma, grandpa, and mother are with him right now. Do you want me to take you there?"

"Yes." Nana felt her eyes welling up.

"It's okay to cry. Let's go."

The youngest Midoriya climbed into the passenger seat and Kazumi pulled away from the school, heading towards the hero hospital. Nana just sat there, trying not to cry as Kazumi quietly told the twins about the situation.

"Dad wouldn't have gotten hurt," grumbled Chiasa.

"Chiasa Bakugo." Kazumi's tone was sharp. "Your uncle and your father are two different people. And it could have very easily have been him in this situation."

"Uncle Deku's just strong! His Quirk's nowhere near as awesome as Dad's!"

Nana wiped at her eyes, sniffing.

"You wanna know something?" Kazumi sighed, flicking on her turn signal. "This is the first time in a long time that he's gotten hurt anywhere near this badly. I think… I think the last time he got hurt like this was back when we were still at UA, during a training camp we did during our first year."

"How bad was it?" whispered Hanako, the quietest of the three girls.

"He almost shattered both of his arms. Ochaco had to tear up her shirt to make him splints just so he could keep moving. I heard it was a lot worse than I saw, though."

"How come you didn't see?"

"Well… your father and I were kidnapped by the League of Villains that night. And it was a few days before All-Might had to retire."

Nana suddenly felt a wave of panic.

Will Papa have to retire? What's gonna happen to me and Mama if he can't protect us? Mama can protect me, but can she protect him, too?

"Hey, Nana, your dad's gonna pull through this. He's the stubbornest person I've ever met… other than Kacchan, at least."

"Uncle Kacchan would argue with a boulder."

"I have no doubt he would. But he's persistent, too."

"Dad says he's asked you to marry him four times and you haven't said yes yet."

"Okay, that's a story for another day, Chi. When you're older."

Kazumi pulled into a parking space and headed towards the building with the three kids in tow, straight towards the ICU. There, Ochaco was pacing back and forth, a hand on her swollen belly where Nana's new brother or sister was growing. Eri stared at the floor, biting her lip while Bakugo had his head in his hands.

"Kacchan," Kazumi called.

"Dad!" Chiasa ran and hugged him, being joined by Hanako.

"Hey, girls," he greeted his daughters, his voice raspy. "Kazumi."

"Any word?"

"He's in surgery right now," Ochaco stated. "They're trying to stabilize him and they won't let Eri in because they think it's too dangerous."

"I could save him," Eri spat bitterly, her voice filled with anger. "I could save Papa, but they said I'm too inexperienced still. I'm older than he was when he became a pro!"

"Eri, we still don't know what happened and we won't until Izuku wakes up," Inko told her oldest granddaughter.

"This sucks. I just… I keep thinking of what I can do and I'm useless!"

"You're not useless," Toshinori assured her.

Nana clung to her mother, who held her baby close as she could with her other baby growing inside her. Ochaco was still in shock.

"Midoriya?"

The whole group looked to see the doctor.

"Who here is his closest family member?"

Inko nodded to Ochaco, who walked up to the doctor while her daughter clung to Inko and Toshinori.

"I'm his wife. How is he?"

"The surgery was a success, but he'll need quite a bit of time to recover."

"Can… can I see him?"

"Of course."

"Nana. Eri." The green-haired little girl rushed to her mother's side alongside her older sister and they followed the doctor down the hall to a recovery room.

What Nana saw she knew she would never forget.

Her father—the strongest person she knew, the number-one hero in Japan, the man who had single-handedly cut the crime rate in half—was lying in a hospital bed with an oxygen mask over his freckled face. Bandages covered his arms and he was pale from blood loss as the heart monitor beeped in time with his heartbeat. Alive, but very weak.

"Deku?" whispered Ochaco. His eyes fluttered open slightly.

"Chaco…" he mumbled, the oxygen hissing.

As they watched him, his color became slightly better and his breathing became much more steady. Nana glanced up at Eri to see her sister's horn shrinking slightly and she knew that the Rewind hero who called herself Eris was using her Quirk.

"Thanks, Eri," he groaned. "Can you heal me completely?"

"Doctors won't let me," she grumbled. "They said I'm too inexperienced."

"But you're a pro." He laughed weakly. "I'm proud of you, kiddo."

Ochaco went to his side and he smiled up at her.

"How are you doing?"

"Why do you insist on sounding like a cheesy pick-up line when you get hurt?"

"Because it makes you smile." Ochaco did just that, though it was obvious she didn't want to.

"What exactly happened?"

"There was a prison break. She's out." Ochaco stumbled backwards slightly.

"No. No way."

"She cut me pretty bad. I don't know how she was able to slip out of jail, but she did and she's still out there."

"Who's she?" Eri asked.

"Himiko Toga. Somebody who has… an unhealthy interest in me and your mother."

"She's a psychotic bi—" began Bakugo before his longtime girlfriend slapped him on the back of the head.

"There are children in the room," she admonished him.

"Dad gets the couch tonight," giggled Chiasa.

"Anyway, Kacchan's right. She's a psychopath who needs to be brought in as soon as possible."

Himiko Toga…

The name stuck out in Nana's memory for some reason.

"Wasn't she obsessed with Ochaco, too?" Kazumi continued. "I mean, that's what I remember…"

Nana blinked.

No. This is bad.

This isn't how things are supposed to go.

Papa's supposed to fight villains and win. He's not supposed to get hurt.

She turned on her heel and ran out of the room.

"Nana!"

"Hey, come back, kid!"

"Wait! Nana!"

She ran through the halls, heading for the stairs and just running up them without any thought as to where she was going. Before she knew it, she was on the roof. Looking up at the sky, she felt like it had no right to be as blue as it was. Her father was badly injured, in the hospital. Nothing was right with the world anymore. He'd gotten hurt before, but those were just bumps and bruises—nothing bad enough to land him on bedrest with an oxygen mask.

"Papa…"

Nana's eyes brimmed with tears as she fell against the wall and buried her face in her knees. She started to sob, the Midoriya tears falling from her emerald-green eyes and rolling down her freckled cheeks.

Nobody gets it…

"Nana."

She looked up to see Grandpa Toshi—skinny and tall with dark eyes that had a flash of electric-blue—standing over her. On instinct, she wiped her eyes to keep him from seeing her cry.

"Hey," she whispered. He sat down next to her.

"This is hitting you pretty hard, huh? Seeing someone you care about hurt is never easy."

"Papa isn't supposed to get hurt. He's… he's the number-one hero. He's strong and brave and nobody can beat him!"

"Nobody is invulnerable, kid. It can be a rough lesson to learn, especially when it's somebody you look up to or love."

"But… how did this happen?"

"Bad things can happen to anyone at any time. That's the nature of life and how it works. You can either run away or learn from it."

"So… don't attract the attention of a psychotic villain?"

"If you're going to be a hero, that's unavoidable. Like getting hurt."

"Aunt Kazumi said that the last time Papa got hurt this bad was when they were in school. Is that true?"

"Your father got hurt a lot while he was in school. He was known for it, actually. He… got his Quirk later than most people and his body couldn't handle the backlash at first. Eventually, he got the hang of it but even that didn't stop him from risking everything to protect someone else. Izuku is a true hero, Nana, and you should be proud of him. That doesn't mean you have to be fine with him being hurt. But he was hurt in the line of duty doing what he loves—helping others." Toshinori gently rested a hand on top of her brown locks she'd inherited from her mother.

Nana wiped her eyes.

"I should go see him…"

"Yeah. You should. He was really worried when you ran out like that." Toshi pulled his granddaughter into a hug. "Don't worry about him too much. He's not leaving you without a massive fight."

"Okay. Thanks, Grandpa."

Nana headed down the stairs, taking deep breaths as she once again approached her father's room. Her family turned to look at her, her father's emerald eyes meeting hers and lighting up.

"Nana," he greeted her.

"H-hi, Papa… sorry I…"

"It's fine. It's been a while since I got hurt like this." She crossed the room and he held out his hand—a hand that was covered in scars.

I never thought about it before, but he really did used to get hurt a lot.

I wonder how many times Mama, Aunt Kazumi, and Eri have had to patch him up.

"Listen, I'll be back on my feet before too long."

"Knowing you, you're not even going to wait until you're fully healed," Kazumi snorted.

"Hey, that's not fair—"

"Camino Ward."

"Okay. Never mind."

"I wanna hear that story!" Chiasa gasped.

"Later, sweetheart. Right now, your uncle needs rest. I'd better take the kids home. See you, Green Brother!"

Kazumi left with her two kids and her longtime boyfriend in tow, Inko following her daughter and leaving Izuku with his wife and Nana. The latter leaned against her father, burying her face slightly in the blankets on his bed while he rested a hand on her head.

"I'm sorry I scared you, Nana," he whispered. "Sometimes things happen, and we can't control them. But I'm not going to leave you or your mom anytime soon."

"You better not," Ochaco giggled, hugging her husband. He smiled and kissed her on the cheek.

"I'll be better soon. Then I can head back out and track down Toga."

Yeah, get better soon, Papa.

'Cause you're still the best dad I could ask for and I need you around.

Chapter Text

"Mama! Look!"

Inko looked up from cooking dinner to see Kazumi standing in the kitchen doorway. She was wearing an adorable witch costume, looking ready for the annual Halloween celebration that was going on in their neighborhood that night.

"Oh, you look wonderful, sweetie! Where's your brother?"

"I AM HERE!" announced Izuku, coming out in his favorite All-Might costume. "And I'm ready to go!"

"The festival doesn't start for another hour. And I want you two to eat your dinner before you go, all right?"

"Yes, Mama!" the two chorused.

"Oh, and Katsuki will be joining us." Kazumi's face fell and she pouted.

"Why does Meanie Kacchan have to come with us?"

"Because Mitsuki asked me to keep an eye on him tonight. She was called into work unexpectedly."

Kazumi still didn't look happy, but she sat down to eat her dinner anyway. The doorbell rang half an hour later and Inko opened it to reveal Mitsuki and Bakugo. He was wearing some kind of ninja costume and Kazumi stuck out her tongue when she saw him. The blonde returned the action. Poor Izuku looked from his sister to his friend and felt conflicted.

"Don't let him wander off," Mitsuki sighed. "He's gotten good at getting away from me when we're out on the streets."

"I won't. Don't worry."

"And Katsuki, behave for your auntie." Mitsuki ruffled her son's hair and he swatted at her hand. "I'll pick him up tomorrow."

Mitsuki left and Inko picked up the pillowcases her children insisted using for candy collection.

"Okay, kids. Put on your shoes and we'll get going."

All three of the first-graders obeyed and they walked out into the neighborhood.

It was utterly transformed for the spookiest of all nights. Spiderwebs hung from trees, pumpkins sitting on fenceposts and balconies carved to look as scary as possible. Various game stalls had been set up, including several from the nearby middle school, Kunugigaoka Junior High. One class, class 3-E, had even set up a full-blown haunted house in the park. While Kazumi heard the other classes from the school snickering that E-class wasn't anything special, she also saw many people fleeing from the haunted house, laughing because there were good scares in there. Her eyes widened.

"Mama!" She tugged at Inko's skirt. "Can we go in the haunted house?"

"You don't think it'll be too scary?"

"I'm not scared! I'm brave! And so are Izuku and Kacchan!"

"All right, but only if they want to and you do your trick-or-treating first."

"Okay!"

Bakugo and Kazumi ended up competing to see who could get more candy while Izuku followed behind, apologizing to the people who gave the sweets out for his sister and his friend. By the time they reached the end of the block, all three kids were raring to go into 3-E's House of Terror. Inko reached into her purse and handed her daughter enough money to pay for admission after taking the candy bags.

"I'll be waiting at the exit when you three are done. If it's too much, come straight out and I'll take you home."

"Yes, Mama!" the Midoriya siblings chorused.

"Yes, Auntie Inko!" Bakugo replied.

They headed to the entrance, where a girl Kazumi knew was named Kanzaki was taking tickets dressed as a princess. All three kids knew many of the members of class 3-E due to them often using the park to study for exams and things like that.

"Hi, Kanzaki!" she called.

"Oh, hello, Kazumi."

"We want to go in!" She held up the money.

"Are you sure? This isn't the best place for first-graders…"

"I ain't scared!" Bakugo insisted. "And neither is Water Witch!"

"Okay, then…" Kanzaki took the money. "Have fun."

"We will!" the three responded, running into the House of Terror.


"Nagisa, don't you babysit those kids?"

At Kayano's words, Nagisa glanced up. Sure enough, the Midoriya kids and Katsuki Bakugo were beginning to walk through the haunted house. His heart stopped for a second before he realized they were about to pass Terasaka and Kirara.

No!

"Hang on a sec, Nagisa." Karma had his hand on the pigtailed boy's shoulder. "If these kids think they can handle it, then let them."

Kirara crept out, hissing horribly and glaring at the kids with a serious expression. Kazumi screamed, clinging to Katsuki while her brother clutched her hand. Then they started giggling and Nagisa relaxed slightly. But not much.

"I'm following them," he stated. "If they get too scared, I can take them back to Mrs. Midoriya."

"Go ahead. I'll be with Okuda at our little slice of this hell. See you!"

Nagisa used his stealth skills to follow the kids. At every turn, his classmates attempted to scare the crap out of the three first-graders and the kids would scream before they started laughing. That was before they got to Karma and Okuda's section—a full-blown witch's cottage with Okuda stirring a 'potion' in a cauldron and Karma being her demon partner horns and all. Karma said nothing but instead moved to pretend-grab the kids. Kazumi let out a scream of terror and buried her face in her brother's shoulder.

"K-Karma!" stammered Okuda, seeing the little girl clearly terrified.

"Sorry, kid," he said with his typical don't-care attitude. "Maybe this was a little much for you."

"S-scary… like Papa…"

Karma shot Nagisa a questioning look and the boy shrugged, not knowing what she was saying.

"Listen, Nagisa will take you out of here, okay?" Okuda told the kids. "Sorry about all this."

"It was fun until Water Witch ruined everything," muttered Katsuki.

"Meanie Kacchan!" Kazumi snapped.

"Time to go." Nagisa lifted Kazumi onto his shoulders and took the boys by the hands as he led them out. Nakamura gave him a thumbs-up as he passed her and he rolled his eyes. At the exit, Mrs. Midoriya was waiting and she looked thankful as Nagisa set her daughter down.

"How did they do?" she asked.

"Well until my friend Karma was involved. Kazumi said something about her papa?"

"Oh. I didn't… she came from a bad home. I adopted her two years ago."

"I-I…"

"You didn't know." Kazumi buried her face in her mother's leg. "All right, you three. Let's go home."

"Water Witch is a scaredy-cat!" Katsuki taunted.

"Am not!"

"Are too!"

Nagisa chuckled as he walked back into the haunted house.


"Aunt Kazumi, look! A haunted house!"

Kazumi looked over at the park. The familiar sign was back up over the haunted house: Class 3-E's House of Terror. She glanced down at her niece, who was dressed in a tiny replica of Izuku's hero costume.

"You want to go in?"

"Can I?"

"Only if I go with you, okay?"

"Okay!"

At the gate this time it was Nagisa instead of Kanzaki. His hair was much shorter than it had been nearly a decade earlier and he gave her a smile.

"Hey, Kazumi," he greeted her. "Who's this?"

"My niece, Eri. Eri, this is Nagisa. He used to babysit me."

"N-nice to meet you…" Eri hid behind her aunt.

"Gonna be able to handle the haunted house this time?" Karma asked, swaggering up with a smile. "Or is Nagisa gonna need to carry you out when you hit my section again?"

"First of all, I was six. Second of all, you triggered memories because your hair is the same color as my birth father's. I can handle it now. Besides, I've got to look after Eri while her 'mama' and 'papa' are on a date."

"Well, then, come on in… if you dare."

Chapter Text

"Kazumi? I'm home."

Bakugo walked through the door after a day on patrol and shut it behind him.

There was no response from his girlfriend.

"Kazumi? Baby? You here?"

Panic swept through him as there was still no response. On instinct, he sparked up his hands, ready to kill whoever had tried to harm his family as he walked upstairs. He approached their bedroom and slowly opened the door to find Kazumi lying on the bedroom floor… in a pool of blood. She was gasping slightly, still alive but just barely.

"Kazumi." He rushed to her side, trying to find where the blood was coming from.

Her belly.

A knife stuck out of her belly, right above her belly-button. That was where the blood was coming from.

"K-Kacchan…" she whispered, her voice hoarse.

"No. Fuck, no no no no…"

He fumbled with his phone for a second, calling emergency services.

"Yes, hello? My name is Katsuki Bakugo. I just got home and my girlfriend's been stabbed. Please hurry—she's pregnant!"

"We're sending somebody right now, sir."

"Kazumi, baby, please stay with me." He lifted her into his arms and she gazed up at him with those ice-blue eyes he loved so much. "Please."

"They're gone…" she whispered, tears forming. "I… I can't feel them kicking anymore. The babies…"

His heart stopped.

"They stopped just a minute ago. I'm… I'm a failure as a mother…"

"Who did this?"

"A man. He… he came in and said that you needed to suffer as he had. And then he stabbed me." She coughed and he held her closely, reaching for the knife. "No. Don't. You have to… leave it in. Or you'll cause more damage."

Her breathing was getting shallower. And her blood was all over him. But he didn't care about the blood.

"Baby, please stay with me."

"I can't… I've got to be with the babies." Her eyes were becoming dull and glazed over.

"No, stay with me. Please. I need you."

"They do, too."

"I need you more. I love you. I can't lose you!"

"He sent them, you know."

"Who?"

"The man who stabbed me. He sent the men who broke into the house to make you suffer."

She began to fade in his arms—not figuratively, either. She was literally fading away.

When the paramedics arrived, he was alone in their bedroom, shaking and covered in her blood.

"VILLAIN!"

"HE KILLED HER!"

"WHERE'S HER BODY?!"

The cries of the public reached a fever pitch as he was led away in chains.

"I didn't kill her!" he yelled.

But you did. You might as well have driven the knife into her.

You did this. You made that man kill her.

"Kazumi, I'm sorry! Please! I love you!"

Kacchan.

The name haunted him.

Kacchan.

His inner voice sounded just like her…

"Kacchan."

"DAMMIT, KACCHAN, WAKE UP, PLEASE!"

He shot awake in bed, only to see his girlfriend very much alive and unharmed staring at him. In disbelief, he began to touch her to make sure it was real and not just another dream.

"Kazumi…?"

"You were having a nightmare." He sighed and fell back on the pillows. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"No. I'm just… what happened a couple weeks ago has been bothering me." His eyes met hers. "Those two guys—they were hired to kidnap you. That's what the cops told me. And they were hired by the leader of the Watanabe Syndicate."

"But that's defunct now. You busted it months ago."

"And I didn't get Ichiro Watanabe himself. He's still out there and he wants revenge on me. That's why he sent them to kidnap you—to get to me and ruin my life."

"Well, he's not going to get me." She kissed him gently and nestled against his arm. "I have you to protect me at night and everyone else during the day."

"Yeah… but in my nightmare, you were home alone during the day and someone stabbed you. I wasn't able to save you or the babies."

"Kacchan…"

"God… I'm terrified, Kazumi." He was really shaken up; he was openly talking about emotions with his girlfriend. "I'm constantly afraid I'm going to lose you because I did something stupid. And I'm not just talking hero work. You're important to me and I can't lose you. I've faced that before and I can't handle it."

"Look at me." He did and she guided his hand under her nightshirt, right to the top of her belly. Their babies kicked against his hand, as if to say it was okay. "See? I'm fine. Our babies are fine. And it's because we have you. I'm not going anywhere for a while."

He wrapped his arms around her as if trying to assure himself of that fact and she reciprocated.

"How long until they're born?" he asked in a low voice.

"I have a month to go. And then I have to wait a while after that before I can go back on duty. I'm going to be fine."

She eventually drifted back to sleep, her breathing even and gentle against him. But slumber wouldn't be so kind to him, not after that dream.

Sometimes, he wondered why she'd fallen for him back in high school. He was rough, loud, abrasive, rude, and completely unfiltered when it came to his thoughts. If anything, he was the kind of guy that girls liked to sleep with a few times then move on to someone like Deku—somebody who was sweet and treated them like royalty. Kazumi had stuck by him through everything, even when their agency had struggled to get off the ground at first and the frustration had nearly boiled over. It was because of her that he was able to have any clients at all, her people skills far outstripping his and he was grateful. She wasn't without her faults, but he loved her in spite of those faults.

Life was ugly. Especially if you were a hero. He understood that more than most people. He'd seen that ugliness firsthand. It made him wonder why he wanted to bring a family—twin daughters—into a world that almost killed them before they had a chance to leave their mother. Then he'd come home to Kazumi doing something as simple as watching a movie and balancing a book on her belly and he'd remember that he wasn't alone. He had his girlfriend, their twin daughters. And that made all the difference.


She was gone when he woke up.

For a moment, he panicked until he realized that he could smell something cooking downstairs. Bakugo crept down to meet her, spotting her at the stove. She was humming and resting a hand on her belly. He snuck up behind her and wrapped his arms around her.

"Smells good," he mumbled.

"It better. There's a reason I don't cook."

"Yeah, because we both know I'm better at it."

She swatted his arm playfully as he released her and she finished making breakfast. When they'd finished eating, they got ready for the day—her spending it with her two mothers and his mother and him going to work as a hero. Part of him wanted to say 'screw it' and stay home with her, but that would lead to her pointing out that he'd have plenty of time once he was on paternity leave and they needed cash for that period of time where neither of them would be working.

"I'll be home tonight," he told her. "Try not to go into labor until then."

"Fuck you. I can't control it."

He chuckled and kissed her before heading out.

Upon returning home, he set his stuff down and looked around. Kazumi was nowhere to be seen.

"Kazumi? I'm home!"

No answer.

The memory of his nightmare began to creep into his mind.

Kazumi stabbed and lying on the floor of their bedroom.

"Kazumi!"

Light disappearing from her eyes as she bled out.

Panicking, he ran upstairs and into their bedroom. She wasn't there and the feeling of something bad happening was still there in his gut.

"Kazumi!"

"Kacchan!" he heard her call. The bathroom. She was in the bathroom.

He threw open the door to find her kneeling on the floor, breathing heavily. A small puddle of reddish liquid was next to her. She looked up at him with desperation in her eyes.

"It's time," she whispered.

The babies are coming.

"Shit. Shit." He picked her up carefully and carried her downstairs, setting her on a chair in the dining room. "I'm going to grab your bag and call us a cab. Just breathe."

"Not much else I can do." She grit her teeth and hissed in pain.

The ride to the hospital was even more stressful. Bakugo found himself holding her hand while she breathed heavily and let out the occasional yelp of pain. There wasn't much else he could do until they reached the hospital and Kazumi was wheeled off to the delivery room. He was brought in not too long after.


The next several hours passed in a blur for him. He vaguely recalled calling their families to let them know that the twins were on the way but it was all fuzzy. All he could really remember clearly were the sounds of Kazumi screaming as she was in the worst pain she'd ever been in and the cries of their daughters as they were brought into the world.

Chiasa and Hanako.

"Katsuki!"

He looked up at the sound of Inko's voice. She was there with his parents, All-Might, and Rei Todoroki.

"How's my baby?" Rei asked, looking worried.

"She's fine. The twins are fine. They're in the nursery getting cleaned up and Kazumi is sleeping."

"Your hand okay?" All-Might chuckled.

"Had worse. It was worth it, though."

"Okay, I can tell you're exhausted," his mom sighed.

"No, old hag, I'm fine."

"You're not putting up your usual barrier. You're exhausted, son, and you need to get some sleep. How long have you been here?"

"Since… we got here last night, a little after six."

"Katsuki, it's ten in the morning. You went to work yesterday all day and then rushed here pulling an all-nighter—you're not going to be any use to Kazumi if you're exhausted."

Bakugo rolled his eyes but he knew she was right.

Newborns are a lot of work.

"Mr. Bakugo?" He looked up to see the nurse. "Your girlfriend is asking for you."

He stood up and followed the woman to the recovery room where Kazumi was lying in the bed. She looked even more exhausted than he felt, which made him feel a little guilty for wanting to sleep. The nurse excused herself to go get the twins so the parents could properly meet them.

"Hey, Water Witch."

"Kacchan." She smiled. "Where are the babies?"

"Nurse just went to get them." He sat down in the chair pulled up by Kazumi's bedside. "You feeling okay?"

"It feels like I got hit by a truck and it mostly hit the lower half of my body."

"I don't think I'm ever going to unsee what I saw with this."

"All right, Mom," the nurse said brightly, coming into the room. She was with another nurse and each of them carried a bundle wrapped in a hospital-issued blanket. "Here are your girls. Both healthy."

There were tears in Kazumi's eyes as she took the first baby—the firstborn, Hanako. Bakugo was handed the other, Chiasa. As he held his younger daughter he felt a connection unlike any he'd really felt before. It would be his job to raise her, to protect her, to teach her how to be a decent human being. She would depend on him for at least eighteen years. It was real, he was a father. And suddenly he understood Deku's protectiveness over Eri, the green-haired hero's worry about his daughter growing up and not needing him anymore.

"Are you crying?" He looked at Kazumi, who was smirking like she had in high school whenever she'd caught him being more sensitive than he usually was.

"I can cry, dammit."

"I know. That's fine."

Chiasa yawned, revealing gums that didn't even have a place for teeth yet.

"Hey, um, our families are here. At least, our parents except for the burning bastard."

"What about Izuku and Shoto?"

"Not here yet, as far as I saw. They could be here now."

The nurse smiled and left the room. Just a few minutes later, their families came into the room. Deku, Ochaco, and Shoto had evidently shown up while Bakugo was alone with Kazumi. Chiasa and Hanako were passed from person to person, everyone complimenting and saying how adorable and perfect the twins were.

Eventually, he and Kazumi were alone again.

"Kacchan, you need to get some sleep," she told him.

"The old hag's been telling me that since she got here."

"And you should listen to her. Go home and get some sleep. I'll see you in the morning."

"Okay." He kissed her goodbye.

When the twins and Kazumi came home from the hospital, Bakugo had more nightmares. They were all about losing his girlfriend or his daughters and being left completely alone with their memory. It was to the point where he was grateful for the lack of sleep the twins allowed him and Kazumi to have because it meant less time for the nightmares to creep into his mind. His paternity leave ended and he went back to the agency, where he finally caught Ichiro Watanabe and put him behind bars.

That night was the first good night's sleep he'd gotten in months.

Not to mention it was also the first night his daughters slept through.

Chapter Text

"Dammit…"

Shoto ran a hand through his half-and-half hair as he stared at the email he'd just gotten from his father a few hours earlier.

Shoto,

With the Christmas and New Year's holidays coming up, it means that it is now a time for family. And to that end, with your mother now released from the hospital and your sister returned, I would like for both you and Kazumi to join the rest of us for your break to celebrate together. It will be our first celebration as a family in thirteen years and I simply cannot wait for the two of you to arrive at the estate. After all, your sister has not been there since we found her again. Please consider my offer and how much this would mean to your mother.

I await your response,

Endeavor.

He wanted to decline. He really fucking wanted to decline. But the last line made him pause and he knew that had been his father's intention. It was a manipulative guilt-trip and sadly it had worked. Endeavor wanted his two youngest—his most powerful children—to come home for the holidays because it would mean a lot to Rei. Shoto knew that it wasn't only a guilt-trip; it was the truth. Rei had made regular efforts to spend time with her twins but that time had been limited due to things like classes and internships and what-have-you. Christmas was the perfect time to rebuild their relationships and for Kazumi to get to know her blood relatives.

But she also has Inko and Izuku. Not to mention Eri and Ochaco and Bakugo.

Shoto picked up his tablet and rushed over to his sister's room. He knocked on her door, which she opened just a few seconds later.

"Hey, what's up?" she asked.

"I just received an email from Father. He is… requesting the two of us come home to the estate for the holidays." Kazumi blinked and stepped aside for him to come in.

Shoto realized it was the first time that he'd really been in his sister's room when it was light enough to see. Last time had been during the 'Dorm Intruder' incident when Bakugo had freaked them all out over nothing after a scary movie and that was when her room had been a mess due to her taking care of a sick Eri at the time.

Kazumi had a room that was suited to her personality. Hanging on the wall beside her bed were pictures—pictures of her classmates, her adoptive family, Eri, one of her and Bakugo that was clearly a candid taken by Izuku, and even one he remembered taking when their older siblings had really met her for the first time. A small fountain sat in the corner; it was presumably for practicing her hydrokinesis. By the balcony door an armchair suited for reading sat next to a floor lamp for the same purpose. Her bookcase was crammed with novels in both Japanese and English of varying subjects as well as having a place of honor on top of the small storage unit for her two albums.

In other words, it was definitely perfect for her.

"He really wants us both?" She was sitting cross-legged on her dark blue comforter, looking concerned.

"Yes." Shoto sat down on her desk chair. "He specifically named you."

"Huh." Kazumi furrowed her brow.

"I understand if you're skeptical—"

"No, I just didn't think he actually remembered my name." Shoto chuckled and his sister leaned back, stretching out her legs. "In all seriousness, though, why the hell does he think I'd spend time with him after the hell he put me through as a toddler?"

"He claims it would mean a lot to Mother." The water heroine blinked and returned to her cross-legged position before burying her face in her hands.

"Goddammit…"

"Yes. That was my thought as well."

"He's trying to manipulate us."

"Of course he is."

"But… it would mean a lot to Mother and I don't wanna disappoint her…" Kazumi groaned and fell sideways, burying her face in her pillow.

"What if your adoptive family could be with you? And Bakugo as well?"

(Shoto refused to call Bakugo her boyfriend. It felt too weird.)

"I mean, I'd probably go anyway, just for Mother. But make sure it's okay, I guess?" She sat up a little and shrugged. Shoto nodded and tapped out a response to his father while Kazumi laid on her back and stared at the ceiling.

Father,

Kazumi and I are willing to come for the holidays. However, I would like to request that we invite along her adoptive family as well as her significant other. She is unused to our lifestyle and it would help her feel much more comfortable. This would include the Midoriyas, Ochaco Uraraka, and little Eri.

I await your response,

Shoto.

There. The message was sent.

Now all that was left to do was wait.


"HOLY CRAP!"

Bakugo couldn't hold back the exclamation as he stared at the manor.

"Icy-Hot, you grew up here?!"

"Yes, Bakugo, and lower your voice," the hot-and-cold young man responded. "Someone may overhear."

"It's big…" whispered Eri with wide eyes, clinging to her mother and father.

"It'll be fine, Eri," Ochaco told her, though the brunette was shaking a little.

Kazumi took a deep breath and Bakugo squeezed her hand to comfort her slightly. She smiled as the door opened to reveal her older sister Fuyumi.

"Kazumi! Shoto!" the young woman gasped, hugging her two youngest siblings. "Welcome home!"

"Hello, Fuyumi," Kazumi replied. The elder Todoroki daughter's eyes turned to their other guests.

"Oh, and I remember Inko and Izuku. Uraraka was in the Sports Festival and so was Bakugo. And this is…?" Her gaze was now on Eri.

"Eri. She's my niece for all intents and purposes," Kazumi explained.

"Well, come inside! Mother's been waiting!"

They entered the house to find Rei in some sort of large space. It was a room meant for celebrations that only contained a large Christmas tree, bare except for the red, green, and blue lights that hung in its branches, and several boxes stacked nearby. Rei let out a happy gasp as she turned and hugged her youngest babies, making sure to greet the others warmly and gush over how adorable Eri was.

"How old are you, sweetheart?"

"I'm gonna turn eight tomorrow!" Eri smiled happily, seemingly becoming more comfortable with Rei.

"Mother, where will we be sleeping?" Kazumi asked. "I would like to set my bag down so we can get settled."

"Oh, follow Fuyumi. Your other brothers will be here tomorrow."

As it turned out, Eri would be sharing a room with Ochaco and Izuku had to stay with Bakugo. Inko got her own space, as did Kazumi. In fact, according to Fuyumi, it was actually Kazumi's bedroom should she ever stay at the manor alone. With their bags dropped off, everyone returned to the hall where Rei was waiting. She smiled as she led them to the dining room.


Bakugo grumbled as he checked a website.

None of this is fucking good enough.

It was his and Kazumi's first Christmas as a couple. Really, it should've been their second, but he'd been an idiot in their first year and last Christmas had been spent full of anger and bitterness and resentment. This year was different. He was determined to get her a gift that she'd love, one that would be a hell of a lot better than the birthday gift he'd given her (becoming her boyfriend—lame because he hadn't gotten her an actual present). But that was proving difficult to do while not exceeding his price range and finding something she'd actually, you know, like.

She'll be seventeen next month and we'll be less than three months away from third year. Just over a year away from graduation.

Jesus…

He needed help. He knew that much. Currently, his only options for said help were Round-Face, Pipsqueak, Inko, Deku, and Icy-Hot. Needless to say, he wasn't fond of his prospects, especially since he was in the Sperm Donor's house for the holidays and the idea of spending Christmas with the man who'd psychologically scarred his girlfriend didn't sit well with him. Her birth mom was cool, though, and her older sister seemed pretty likable and friendly so far. He hadn't met her other two brothers yet but he would the next day.

Dammit…

"Something wrong, Kacchan?"

Oh, right. He was sharing a fucking room with Deku because there were a lot of guests or something.

"Your sister is impossible to shop for."

"Well, you know, she's not really going to care what you get her."

"I want to make up for my lackluster birthday gift."

"…you mean when you two got together after her birthday party?"

"Fuck you."

"Hey, I'm willing to help. What's your price range?"

Bakugo showed him and Izuku shrugged with a smile.

"You can find Kazumi something easily with that much."

"Says you. Round-Face is probably happy with whatever the hell you give her."

"Don't forget—I've been buying Christmas gifts for Kazumi since we were four. I don't think you've given her a gift in your life."

That was true; Bakugo hadn't except for that album the previous year, but that had been anonymous. This would be given to Kazumi right to her face.

"Honestly, don't put too much stock in the gifts you're giving people. It doesn't really matter. Good night!"

Bakugo sighed and shut his laptop with a glare.

Lucky fucking Deku…


The next morning, Kazumi's two oldest brothers—Toya and Natsuo—arrived at the house shortly after breakfast. Rei seemed happy to have all five of her children home for once and even suggested that all the kids leave to go Christmas shopping while she and Inko baked some Christmas cookies. In reality, though, they were going to bake Eri a birthday cake and needed some time to set up for a small celebration. She'd discussed it with the Midoriya-Uraraka party beforehand and they'd insisted she didn't need to, but she wanted to give Eri a nice birthday since she'd interrupted their plans to invite them over for the holidays.

Downtown, Eri's eyes widened at all the lights and decorations. Her previous Christmas had been spent with the teachers at UA due to worries that yakuza members would try and take her away. This year was different because her father had made it clear that he wanted to spend the holidays with his daughter and Aizawa had given in to Eri's pout.

"There's so many people…" she marveled with a sparkle in her eyes.

"Stay with your mommy and daddy," Kazumi advised, Bakugo clutching her hand tightly. "We need to do some shopping."

"Okay!"

Eri watched her aunts and uncles walk away and looked up at her mommy, who was eying something in a window.

"Do you want that for Christmas, Mama?" Eri asked.

"No, Eri. I'm just looking, okay?"

"Yeah. What do you want?"

"Well, my birthday's coming up, too. I don't need too much."

Eri looked thoughtful, then gasped.

"Mama, I wanna go shopping with Papa." She nudged Izuku and he nodded.

"I'll take Eri. Meet back here in an hour?"

"You got it!"

Izuku and Eri walked towards an indoor shopping center. Once inside, Izuku looked down at his daughter.

"Let me guess: you want to buy your mama's birthday present."

"And you need Mama's presents, too!"

"C'mon, then. We have a lot of ground to cover!"

An hour later, the group met back up and Izuku excused him and Ochaco to go with Bakugo. Kazumi and her biological siblings were going to get lunch together so they could bond, as Fuyumi put it, and Eri went along with them because Natsuo had functionally adopted her as his niece already. It had been less than four hours since they met.

"Why do you need me to come?" Ochaco asked Izuku.

"He's not sure what to get Kazumi for Christmas."

"Oh."

"Look, she's hard to shop for!" Bakugo defended.

"Not really. She likes old-school video games and movies. Not to mention books of any kind. I'm sure we can find a vintage store or something."

Said vintage store was found and was seemingly empty except for a cashier with dark red hair tied in a ponytail. She perked up as soon as they entered, smiling brightly.

"Hiya! Welcome to Twenty & Twenty-One!" she greeted.

"Hey," Bakugo grunted. The girl nodded in understanding—her nametag said Kami—and tapped her chin.

"Let me guess—you're looking for a gift for your girlfriend."

"Wow, how'd you know?!" Izuku gasped.

"We get a lot of people looking for SO gifts in here. I'm the primary cashier here, so I've seen them all."

"Okay, well, whatcha got?" Bakugo inquired, narrowing his eyes.

"It depends. What kind of person is your girlfriend?"

"She's incredibly stubborn and hates losing."

"Huh. Any franchises she's into? Companies? Systems? Series?"

"You're making this harder!"

"If you want, you can just browse. I'll be here if you need anything."

Kami returned behind the counter and appeared to be writing something in a notebook. Bakugo scoffed. His attention was on the multiple displays set up. Every single one had a custom artwork above it that had an artist's signature—someone named Asuka. The one for some game studio called Atlus caught his eye. It depicted a badass-looking group of people (and one cat) in masks and cool-looking costumes.

"I see you are also a man of culture," joked Kami, looking up.

"What kind of games did they make?" Izuku asked curiously.

"JRPGs mostly. A few hack-and-slash that were made with other companies and a couple of puzzle games, too, but their RPGs were their most popular." She came out from behind the counter and pulled a game off the shelf. It was called Persona 5 and featured the group from the sign without their masks. "This was part of their most popular franchise. I've played it three times."

"Well, you have the first one?"

"Nope. But it doesn't really matter. None of the games are really connected. They just share mechanics and general themes. Only one character even carries over from game to game and he's pretty… self-explanatory." She flipped it over and smiled. "And you're lucky—this is a mint-condition copy of P5R with the sticker!"

The sticker on the back that she'd pointed out was the store's logo—an owl and a cat colored violet and teal respectively—and she seemed excited for them. Kami disappeared into the back and returned with a box.

"Tell me, does your girlfriend have a PS4?"

"No idea," snorted Bakugo. "Ask Deku."

There was a loud thud from the back room and frantic footsteps before it flew open to reveal a girl with dark brown hair looking incredibly freaked out.

"Hey, Asuka's alive!" Kami joked.

"Deku's here?!" Asuka squeaked, gripping the mechanical pencil in her hand. Izuku nervously raised his hand and she gasped, running into the back room and returning with an album. "Please, sign this!"

"Um… me?"

"Yeah! You're All-Might's successor, aren't you?! I've been following news reports about you since that article on 1-A last year!"

There was so much excitement in her eyes. She couldn't have been older than fourteen and was small for her age, big brown eyes and wearing jeans and an All-Might sweatshirt. Kami smiled.

"Please, Deku, can I get your autograph?!"

"S-sure…" He shakily signed her album and her eyes turned to Bakugo and Ochaco.

"Uravity and Ground Zero, too?!"

They gave Asuka their autographs when prompted and Asuka ran into the back, not coming out again.

"No, we don't have a PS4," Izuku told Kami, still a little shaken by the fan he'd just met.

"You're in luck. I'm running what I call a 'roulette special'. Only available if you pick up a stickered copy of a game and that's the luck of the draw. Eighteen games get the sticker each day and it's not the same game two days in a row. And it's eighteen different games, too."

"So… what exactly does that mean?" Bakugo asked.

"Simple. This game is two thousand yen. But with the roulette sale, you can get the game and one other item of your choice for just ten thousand extra. Since she doesn't have a PS4, that can include the system."

She pulled the game system out of the box and Bakugo balked.

Holy shit!

"Otherwise, the system is twenty-thousand."

"I'll take your weird special."

"Thank you. It is weird. But you'll find at Twenty & Twenty-One, 'weird' is our specialty."


Celebrating Eri's birthday was fun. She was legitimately surprised by the cake and presents, which were more than she'd ever really received in her eight years of life. To make things even better, Endeavor still had yet to make an appearance at this family gathering. According to Rei, he was busy with work and couldn't make it until Christmas Eve. That was fine by everyone.

The next morning saw Rei kicking Christmas decorating into overdrive. Everyone had to help out and Eri got the honor of placing the first ornament on the tree since she was the youngest. Kazumi carefully hung a delicate-looking snowflake that looked brand-new. Her birth mother smiled sadly.

"Something wrong, Mother?" she asked.

"It's just… that was your favorite ornament when you were a toddler. It was the one you picked to hang on the tree for the two years you were allowed."

Kazumi suddenly felt a lump in her throat.

"It was around this time of year that we lost you, shortly before you turned four." Rei wiped her eyes. "But that's a story for another time."

"Mother, do… do you have any baby pictures of me that I could…"

"Of course I do. Let's finish decorating first."

The white-haired teen did just that, her mind now drifting to questions she'd longed to ask her birth family for as long as she could remember. Her eyes went to Bakugo, who was helping Eri reach a higher branch by putting her on his shoulders. She had to hide her smile behind a curtain of her hair.

'Cute' was not a word most people would use to describe Katsuki Bakugo, but Kazumi wasn't most people. She doubted he would appreciate the term. He made it too easy, though, when he spent time with Eri or did things for Kazumi. Four-year-old her would've gagged at the thought of Bakugo being anything but mean or annoying or stupid and sixteen (almost seventeen)-year-old her found it charming. They argued a lot but that was how they communicated when they were frustrated with each other. Bakugo understood her and she understood him.

Decorating done, it moved to wrapping presents and baking cookies, the latter of which Rei invited her daughter, Inko, Eri, and Ochaco to help with. It was familiar territory for everyone except Eri, who had never baked Christmas cookies before. While they waited for them to bake, Kazumi turned to Rei and tilted her head.

"Mother, what was I like when I was a baby?"

"You were much more rambunctious than Shoto, that's for sure," Rei chuckled. "He struggled to keep up with you at times."

"She was like that when she came to live with me, too," Inko chimed in. "A little go-getter."

"I remember the last Christmas she spent with us. She and Shoto spent the entirety of Christmas Eve following me around like ducklings and they fell asleep before nine o'clock."

"I used to do the same thing to Mom and Dad," Ochaco spoke up. "I thought I was getting in the way but they were glad I wanted to spend time with them."

"Do you want to call your family?" Rei asked.

"Yes, actually."

"Next year, you and Izuku can spend Christmas with them," Kazumi suggested.

"Good idea."


Christmas Eve saw Endeavor coming home for the first time since their guests had arrived. He seemingly did not approve of his daughter's boyfriend (an opinion that meant nothing to anyone) or of the extra guests. Inko, Rei, and Katsuki had been working on Christmas dinner most of the day. Kazumi was out in the yard with Eri and Izuku, helping her niece to build a snowman while Ochaco talked with Shoto and Fuyumi. Endeavor's arrival home, however, seemed to sour the joyful and festive mood over the house. Nobody said anything, however, and they sat down to eat.

"Shoto, Kazumi, how are your studies?" he asked.

"They are going well," Shoto replied.

"I'm not the brightest in my class when it comes to mathematics," Kazumi added. "But most of my other subjects are going well."

"Maybe she'll actually break through the quarter-finals in the Sports Festival," Bakugo teased.

"Hey!" She puffed out her cheeks in a way that said she was kind of annoyed but not really.

"I'd expect nothing less of a Todoroki," Endeavor stated.

The three elder siblings stared down at their food. Kazumi noticed and narrowed her eyes before deciding to change the subject.

"Eri's birthday was a few days ago," she told her birth father.

"Was it, now…?"

And he didn't care. Inko and Bakugo were practically glaring holes through the man's head. Needless to say, the rest of the meal was fairly quiet. Once it was done, everyone split off into separate conversations. Endeavor asked his youngest daughter to come outside so they could talk in private.

"What do you need to say to me, old man?"

"I know that you have no desire to be a Todoroki, but I was hoping you'd reconsidered since last fall."

"I haven't. My answer is still the same. I'm a Midoriya… and maybe one day I'll be a Bakugo. But I'm never going to be a Todoroki in name ever again."

"I discussed this with your mother—"

"Don't."

"Hm?"

"Don't use Mother against me. That's a cheap tactic. She knows I'm happy this way." She crossed her arms.

"How long has it been since you actually cared about this family, then?"

"I do care… about everyone but you. You abandoned me when I was a toddler. Before that, you abused me because I wasn't as strong as Shoto was. And I think I know why you left me out there—because if you hadn't, Shoto wouldn't have been as strong. He would've been constantly protecting me and that wasn't good enough. He needed to be detached so emotions wouldn't hinder him. Am I right?"

Endeavor looked into his youngest daughter's eyes and sighed.

"Leaving you was a mistake. I should've kept you here and taught you proper etiquette. You and Shoto would have dominated your class by now and yet you're both behind All-Might's protégé and that explosive boy."

"And so what if we are? Izuku and Kacchan are in those positions by their own merits. They keep me from losing my mind when things get overwhelming. But apparently that's not enough. They need to have the name in order to earn your approval."

"That's not what I'm—"

"Sure it's not. Because that would mean that nothing is enough for you. But Shoto and I accepted that a long time ago."

"Kazumi…"

"I'm not coming back if you're here. I'll see Mother and Fuyumi and my other brothers, but not you. Goodbye, Father."

Bakugo heard her footsteps approaching and stood upright from where he'd been leaning on the wall.

"Were you eavesdropping?" she asked.

"I wanted to make sure I could step in if the bastard took it too far." He prepared himself for a lecture on invading privacy but instead, she hugged him around the waist.

"Thank you. I barely managed to keep it together out there." Bakugo returned the action with a smile.

"Merry Christmas, Water Witch."


The following morning, everyone opened presents. Eri received the most, being the youngest and the only child, and Endeavor had 'stepped out' according to Rei. Nobody was too bothered by his absence. Kazumi practically tackled her boyfriend in a hug when she unwrapped her gift, squealing about how she'd been wanting to play it forever and how grateful she was to him for getting it for her. She'd gotten him a first-aid kit and an orange and black photo album.

"So you can start keeping pictures, too," she explained. "And so you can patch yourself up if I'm not there."

Izuku and Ochaco took Eri outside, where they went on a walk together as a family. Eri was happy to be out and about with her mama and papa, especially since the Todoroki estate had plenty of room to wander. She looked up at the sky with a smile.

"I can't wait for Christmas next year."