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All For One's guide to a peaceful retirement

Chapter Text

Izuku Midoriya is perfect.

All for One counts his fingers again, just to be sure. He isn’t sure what he did to deserve this (short answer: he doesn’t deserve it), but he’s a selfish, greedy man, and he soaks in every detail of his son. If All Might drags him to Tartarus tomorrow, it will be bearable, because he’ll be able to spend his eternity in a cell reliving the best moment of his life.

“Hisashi, you can hand him back,” his wife huffs, and All for One glances over to find her watching him with a faint smile on her face. That’s good; it means he can hold Izuku a little longer. Which is fantastic, because…

“He blinked!” All for One, greatest villain to have ever lived, informs his wife with awe.

“Yes, Hisashi, babies tend to do that,” Inko answers with a sigh.

All for One doesn’t pay her any mind; she’s obviously still tired. And overemotional. She was in labour for hours, after all, and needs to rest. So, as the wonderful, caring husband he is, he’ll just hold Izuku a little longer.

Perhaps Izuku’s Quirk has already manifested? It’s certainly possible, considering some people are born with their Quirks, although All for One isn’t entirely sure how a perfection Quirk would work. Perhaps Izuku’s Quirk is more along the lines of inspiring love in anyone who sees him? If so, it would most likely be one of those freak mutations that are so fascinating. (All for One is fairly certain he never took any sort of love-inspiring Quirk; and besides, he does not think Izuku would be able to inherit any of the Quirks he wasn’t born with.) Whether the Quirk is environmental, with a limited radius, or perhaps optical, would have to be determined…

“Hisashi!”

Something thumps into his shoulder and he looks up with a frown, though Inko appears distinctly unimpressed. She simply huffs as she folds her arms.

(Was he muttering? He hopes he wasn’t muttering; he’s trained himself to suppress the habit, but he’s exhausted. He always knows he might slip up, and he’s not quite sure what he’d do then. He can wipe Inko’s memory of course, but it seems so… dishonest. He does not want to lie to his wife.)

“Your phone’s ringing,” Inko informs him, and sure enough, she’s right. Huh – he could have sworn he turned it off.

“I’ll get it later,” All for One shrugs, because it can’t possibly be more important than this. After all, he’s holding his son. Who has freckles. All Might can attack his main base of operations for all he cares; there is nothing more important than this.

“Hisashi Midoriya,” Inko growls, and All for One stiffens, because he knows that tone. (He fears that tone.) “Give me back my son and answer your goddamn phone!

All for One is the modern boogie man; whilst the public might not know about him, every law agency in the world whispers his name in fear. There is no one else that can send a shiver down All Might’s spine. But centuries of battles, of planning, of scheming have honed his instincts until they are razor sharp.

He hands Izuku over and legs it from the delivery room.

Apparently, doctor Ujiko does not understand the sentence ‘Do not call me’, All for One reflects as he sees the five missed calls. He’s almost tempted to ignore them, but there’s always that faint possibility that the authorities have noticed something strange about Hisashi Midoriya. So he bites back a sigh and hits the call button.

(He swears, if All Might is responsible for this, he will level New York.)

“Yes, doctor?” he prompts when his call is answered, though his thoughts are already occupied with more important matters.

Will Izuku like the toy rabbit he picked out for him?

 

All for One never really planned to have children.

He considered it for a time, much the same way he considered killing the prime minister, but eventually rejected the idea. He has no intention of dying, after all, and so has no need for a successor. A child would require far too much attention, effort and time for an uncertain payoff.

Inko had been… unexpected. He had chosen to take a step back when All Might returned to Japan. With enough time, the latest holder of One for All will undoubtedly lower his guard. But that could mean several years, or several decades, and dating seemed a decent enough way to pass some of that time.

He had never intended to fall in love with Inko, but would always be glad he did. Having a home to return to is a strange, heady feeling. The apartment might be small, but Inko could turn even a tent into a warm, welcoming home. And so, he made sure to construct the perfect fantasy for his wife; the hardworking office drone, who may sometimes have to stay late, but never forgets their anniversary. Who sometimes brings home a bouquet of flowers just because, and takes her out to dinner, and sometimes calls her from work just to hear her voice.

He almost had a panic attack when he returned from a ‘business trip’ and Inko presented him with two positive pregnancy tests.

A baby was (and still is) a risk, especially a baby that might one day possess the ability to steal Quirks. He might not be proud of it, but he considered inducing a miscarriage. But Inko was so happy to share the news and begin preparing for the new arrival. Her joy at becoming a mother far outshone her happiness at being married, and he could not do it. He could not take something so precious away from her, because even if he wiped her memory, even if she never remembered it, he would.

And now, as he watches Izuku sleep, All for One is so achingly grateful for those last few morals. Because Izuku is unpredictable, and a risk, and exhausting, and All for One has never been happier. He will always carry the guilt over what he considered doing deep in his soul.

And he will always protect Izuku.

Chapter Text

Kurogiri hesitates in front of the door.

It’s taken him months to get this far; months of chasing rumours and petty crime to pay off the next information broker. Months of staying alert, always ready to warp away. He’s lost count of the close calls, of the meals he’s had to miss, of the sleepless nights. But he’s always trusted his instincts, and they have yet to steer him wrong.

His instincts are currently screaming at him to leave and put as much distance between himself and the door as possible.

But he’s tired. He’s leapt through so many hoops just to get this far, and all to sell his soul to the devil. Because as ruthless and terrifying as this All For One might be, he’s Kurogiri’s best chance at safety.

(Although he can’t help but wonder why someone as powerful as All For One wants to meet him in an abandoned school.)

He stamps down on his fear and doubts, mouths a silent prayer to whatever deity might be listening, and opens the door.

The room is empty.

As Kurogiri steps inside and looks around, he can feel the panic building. The room isn’t anything special; it’s barely more than a glorified utility closet, with a few dusty shelves and a rusty bucket. There is no room for a secret passage, no hidden camera, not a single sign of life except one lone dead spider. Nothing to suggest that the feared All For One even knows this place exists.

Kurogiri breaks.

He collapses to his knees and sobs. He’s spent so long, already faced so many failures, and now not even his Quirk – all he has left – is enough. Rumours travel in the underworld, especially about useful Quirks, and All For One will surely have heard of Warp Gate. If he has not contacted Kurogiri – if he has heard Kurogiri is searching for him, and has not shown up – then Kurogiri will never find him.

He doesn’t know when the tears dry up, but finally he has nothing left; no tears, no emotions, just emptiness. He has no idea what he’ll do now, and he honestly doesn’t have the energy to care. But instinct forces him up, because if All For One isn’t here then he’s a sitting duck, and any of the dozen or so organizations ready to kill for Warp Gate could already be on the way up the stairs. He turns, planning to barricade the door as best he can so he can warp away, and sees it.

It’s nothing more than a small, pink purse, sitting innocuously on a shelf next to the door, but Kurogiri is positive it wasn’t there before. His hands tremble when he picks it up, but nothing happens, and he slowly unzips it.

He almost drops it, because tucked inside is more money than he can recall ever seeing in his life. But there’s a note, too, and Kurogiri is no fool – he immediately pulls it out and unfolds it.

Buy the items on this list. Warp to these coordinates and leave the items on the big rock.

You will be watched.

Kurogiri can do that. The coordinates are familiar enough; he regularly sleeps out in the countryside. And knowing such a powerful figure is testing him is strangely reassuring.

As he warps away, though, he can’t help but ponder over the shopping list.

Why would a supervillain supposedly feared even by All Might want four packs of baby diapers?

 

It takes another month before Kurogiri meets All For One, and another three before the villain seems to have reached a final decision.

Kurogiri understands the need for him to prove himself, and in a way, it just makes the moment sweeter. Because he’s leapt through every hoop and obeyed every command without question. All For One shouldn’t be able to find fault with him.

He does still feel fear as he kneels before the man, head bowed, of course; he’d be a fool not to.

“…Should you ever betray me…” All For One purrs and allows the threat to just hang there. Kurogiri might not know the consequences, but he shudders; he can practically feel the malice.

A phone rings.

Kurogiri almost warps himself away out of sheer terror; he presses his head lower, apologies at the tip of his tongue. Then he realizes he never brings his phone when he’s meeting All For One.

“He’s what?” All For One exclaims, and Kurogiri can’t help himself; he glances up at the man and almost has a heart attack when he meets his eyes.

All For One hangs up and promptly shoves his phone in front of Kurogiri’s face, a familiar location displayed on the GPS app.

“Take me there. Now.”

Kurogiri is no fool; he obeys.

The area is nice and quiet, if unassuming, with small, perfectly pleasant houses. Kurogiri remembers visiting it a few times (again, why did All For One require him to fetch five boxes of tissues and a box of chocolates at 23.47?).

He isn’t sure what he should do, and All For One has already vanished into one of the homes, so he slowly follows, not wanting to have to explain his presence to some nosy housewife or homebound office worker. As he knocks on the door, he almost expects to see a re-enactment of Harry Potter (specifically, Voldemort’s ‘visit’ to the Potters’). But the woman that answers looks nice, and not at all afraid (and very much not dead), and Kurogiri has the wrong house, doesn’t he? He has to, there’s no other possible explanation.

“Are you alright?” the woman asks, wide eyed, as he starts to hyperventilate, and Kurogiri manages a slightly hysterical laugh.

Kurogiri doesn’t register when she bustles him inside, doesn’t notice when she sits him down on the sofa. He isn’t sure how long he stays there, numb to the world. Finally he calms down enough to realize he’s holding a (lukewarm) cup of tea.

Once again, his curiosity gets the better of him, and so he glances around the room. It looks so… domestic. There are family photos on the walls, and baby toys scattered over the floor. Even All For One doesn’t look out of place, standing beside the woman…

…holding a baby…

…Kurogiri is going to die, isn’t he.

Chapter Text

All For One has lived for decades. He has gone by countless names and faced down more threats than he cares to count. There have been the expected showdowns with One For All wielders and other heroes, but every few decades he is also forced to smack down some criminal upstart. Although most of the time the confrontations are laughable, there have been more close calls than he would like to admit.

But he has never felt dread like this before, reaching in and curling its icy tendrils around his heart. And it’s so odd that it should be here, in a pleasant, sunny room, sitting next to his wife. The doctor opposite them continues to drone on about treatment plans and likely prognosis, but All For One can’t seem to focus on his words, as a single sentence keeps ringing in his ears.

He makes sure to appear calm, because Inko is already clutching a box of tissues, tears rolling down her face, and it brakes his heart just a little more. But everything will be alright, he comforts himself, because there is a Quirk out there that can make this better; there has to be.

He can’t let Inko die.

 

 

“Hisashi?”

“Hmm…” All For One hums, focused on his tablet. He doesn’t think any of these Quirks would work, as they wouldn’t be able to distinguish between healthy and cancerous cells, but Japan is small…

“Hisashi!”

He’s locked his tablet and snapped to attention before his name has registered; and how All Might would laugh if he could see him now, the picture of a well-trained husband…

He guesses from the slight twitch of Inko’s lips that she guessed some of his thoughts. Or perhaps he started muttering; he can’t remember when he last slept through the night. He can’t remember the last time he did many things, he realizes guiltily as he hears Izuku’s laughter from the living room.

“Hisashi,” Inko repeats, breaking him out of his musings. “We need to talk.”

“About what?” he asks, trying to recall if he’s done anything that might have upset her. He’s been keeping up with the house chores, although he did wipe out that yakuza group last week, but if Kurogiri kept his mouth shut…

Inko doesn’t answer immediately, and that is enough to make him worry. Are her symptoms acting up? Is caring for Izuku too tiring in her present state? Perhaps he should have been more insistent about hiring a nanny…

“If I die…” she finally starts, and All For One’s brain screeches to a halt.

“You’re not going to die,” he blurts out, because she can’t. He won’t allow it. He’ll find a way – he has to – he…

“I don’t want to,” Inko interrupts his thoughts, and it pains him to see her wiping at her eyes. “But… Hisashi, you heard the doctor…”

“Yes, but…”

“Hisashi!”

All For One snaps his mouth shut. He’s no fool, and that tone strikes more fear into his heart than any holder of One For All ever could. Inko’s eyes are still glistening, but there is a determined set to her shoulders, and All For One knows that expression. Whatever it is she wants, he won’t be able to fight it.

Thank god she’s not a hero.

“If I die…” Inko repeats, and All For One has to press his lips together so as not to protest. “I need to know Izuku will be alright, and – and happy. And he’ll need his father. So… So I want you to promise me you’ll… retire.”

“What?”

“I want you to stop… whatever the hell it is you do,” Inko groans. “I don’t know what it is, but I know it’s…” she waves her hands, lost for words. “And I know it’s only a matter of time before some hero comes along and gets lucky, or you make a mistake…”

Inko takes a deep breath. “And I’m sorry, but I can’t risk that happening when Izuku would be caught in the crossfire. So I’m giving you a choice; either find some way to leave, or so help me, I’ll take Izuku and… And I’ll do everything to ensure you never see me again.”

She’s crying openly now, and he’s fairly sure he has tears in his own eyes, but…

But she’s right, isn’t she?

If she’s gone, and All Might gets lucky, then Izuku – dear, darling Izuku – would be all alone. And fifteen, twenty years isn’t all that long when you’re as powerful as he is. And if he waits, All Might could become careless…

And he doesn’t know what he’d do if he ever lost both Inko and Izuku at the same time. (Probably level Tokyo, however cliché it might sound.)

So he ignores his own tears and reaches out to pull Inko into as tight a hug as he dares.

“I’ll try,” he chokes out as he feels Inko’s own tears start soaking his shirt. “I don’t… Don’t know if I’ll succeed, but… But I’ll try. For you and Izuku…”

Inko laughs; it’s wet, and broken, but he’ll take what he can get. “You’re such a softie…”

“I guess I am…” All For One murmurs in response.

 

 

It takes him several months, countless bodies and a ‘natural’ disaster in Russia, but finally Midoriya Hisashi is ready to take the place of All For One.

And so, he steps through Kurogiri’s warp gate late one night, the faint smell of smoke still clinging to his clothing, and smiles at Inko, who is sitting propped up in her hospice bed.

“It’s done,” he informs her as he sits down by her bedside and takes her hand in his. “All For One is… retired.”

Inko giggles, and he feels a smile tug at his lips. At some point (don’t think about it, don’t remember that day, never remember that day), he told her. Because she had a point when she said no one would question a dying woman, however much he hates that thought, and if anyone deserves to know, it’s her. (And if he happens to gloss over the exact number of his victims, well, she’s not a mind reader.)

“Hisashi,” Inko whispers. They don’t need to look over at Kurogiri to know he is very pointedly not listening and completely engrossed in one of Inko’s craft magazines.

“Yes, my love,” All For One murmurs and presses his lips to her hand, and Inko giggles again. Then, though, she grows serious again.

“Hisashi, I want you to take my Quirk.”

And just like that, he doesn’t know what to say. Admittedly, that is part of what he loves about Inko, but it can get rather tiring.

“I’ve been reading up on Quirk genetics,” Inko admits. “And you’re a first-generation Quirk user, so there’s every possibility Izuku could be Quirkless. But you can easily pass off my Quirk as his, so…”

All For One blinks back his own tears as Inko dabs at her own eyes.

“What should I do if he has a Quirk?”

“I’d still like you to give it to him,” she admits and smiles. “I know I won’t be there as he’s growing up, but if he has my Quirk… He’ll always have some part of me with him.”

It makes sense; it makes so much sense that he doesn’t know why he didn’t think of it himself. (He knows it’s because it would mean accepting the inevitable, and he just can’t…)

So, with Inko’s firm gaze on him, he takes it. It’s like her; small, unassuming, but so warm, so full of hidden strength. He can’t help his tears as he tucks it away, promising himself he will wait until Izuku can appreciate it before he hands it over. (He won’t admit it, but right now he needs this, to keep some part of her close.)

“Now, I think you should get back to Izuku,” Inko tells him as she dabs at her eyes. “Remember what happened the last time you let Gigantomachia babysit overnight?”

Chapter Text

Gigantomachia can barely sit still.

It’s been months (seven months, two weeks and five days) since Lord’s last visit, and now he’s coming to see him! And what’s more, he’s bringing someone with him, someone important enough Lord purchased him brand new clothes, so he will look good! (It feels strange to be wearing anything other than his cloak after so long, but he will do anything Lord asks of him!)

When Lord finally appears, Gigantomachia almost cries out of pure happiness. But he is puzzled; Lord is dressed strangely, and is accompanied by the other person, who stops when Gigantomachia snaps to attention.

“Gigantomachia,” Lord greets him. Then he turns to his friend, and Gigantomachia realises he looks so strange, because he’s wearing an oddly shaped backpack on his front. That’s unacceptable! Why would Lord’s companion expect him to carry anything?! Gigantomachia cannot tolerate such disrespect!...

“This is my wife, Inko.”

Lord has a wife. Lord has a wife and allowed Gigantomachia to meet her! And Gigantomachia thought badly of her!! He will have to beg for her forgiveness immediately!

“And this,” Lord announces, pride evident in his voice as he takes something out of his rucksack, “is Izuku.”

Lord has a son! There is no other explanation for the baby in his arms, with familiarly messy hair! The green tint and sparkling eyes are so similar to Lord’s wife’s, but Gigantomachia can already see the intelligence in the child, even as he starts chewing on his plush rabbit. And Gigantomachia can even make out a faint trace of freckles!

There are no words to describe the honour Lord has bestowed upon him, to have allowed him to meet his wife and son! (And Gigantomachia thought badly of Lord’s wife! Of course Lord would want to carry Izuku! Izuku is the most beautiful thing Gigantomachia has ever seen! If he was allowed, Gigantomachia would happily carry Izuku all around Japan!)

Gigantomachia bursts into tears.

 

 

It takes the better part of an hour before Gigantomachia has calmed down. Lord is busy entertaining little Izuku (because Lord is, of course, a wonderful father, just like he is wonderful in so many other ways), but Lord’s wife allows him to use her tissues (which only makes him cry harder). But finally, the tears dry up and Lord’s wife smiles at him as she settles on a log. Gigantomachia sits down on the ground next to her (because he knows full well the log could not possibly support his weight).

They watch Lord and his son, and Gigantomachia beams when Izuku waves at him. Then, however, he hears a suspicious sniffle next to him. He almost panics, until he looks down and sees Lord’s wife dabbing at her eyes as she waves back. (Of course she would be touched by the scene; it’s so beautiful even Gigantomachia is moved!)

“So, how long have you known Hisashi?”

Gigantomachia frowns, surprised. But then he notices the way Lord stiffens, and understands. Of course Lord has a name, and of course his wife is allowed to use it!

“I do not know!” he responds proudly, and Lord’s wife pauses, surprised. (He isn’t sure why; it is the truth, as he cannot remember a time before serving Lord.)

“Oh,” Lord’s wife frowns, and Gigantomachia almost panics, because he doesn’t want to have accidentally offended her. But then she smiles. “Well, you must think very highly of him.”

“Yes!” Gigantomachia booms, startling Izuku. Gigantomachia starts to apologise, but Lord does not look upset as he comforts his crying son. “Lord is a wonderful man! And I am honoured to serve him!” he whispers.

Lord’s wife laughs, and Gigantomachia sighs, relieved. Then however the smile turns sad.

“I want to ask you to do something for me, Gigantomachia,” she says in a quiet voice that has him leaning closer.

“Of course!” Gigantomachia nods, because he will do anything for Lord’s wife, so long as it does not go against Lord’s wishes.

“I… I want you to look after Hisashi,” Lord’s wife wipes at her eyes, but her face is determined. “He’ll need people. Good people who he can trust. And… He said you used to protect him. He’ll need you to do that again.”

“Yes!” Gigantomachia cheers, because of course he will protect Lord! And if he has to protect him, he’ll have to be near him at all times! This is wonderful news, and he does not know why Lord’s wife would cry over it. “I will protect him with my life!”

Lord’s wife gives a small, broken laugh. “That’s… Not the sort of protecting he’ll need,” she explains. “Just… Make sure he spends time with Izuku. Make sure he knows how much Izuku needs him.”

She takes a deep breath and stands. Lord has produced a couple bento boxes and is trying to keep them out of Izuku’s curious hands, and so she smiles and approaches her family. Gigantomachia remains where he is, struggling to understand what she was talking about.

 

 

Gigantomachia understands.

He almost hates Lord’s wife at times, when the sickness becomes too obvious to ignore anymore. He can see Lord crumbling every time he returns from the hospital and there is something so blatantly wrong about it. Lord is strong, and Lord is smart, and Lord should not cry.

But he cannot hate her, because when Lord looks at her, Gigantomachia can almost feel the strength of his feeling, and it’s a feeling he’s all too familiar with. Lord feels about his wife almost the same Gigantomachia feels about Lord.

So Gigantomachia does what he can, and what he’s been instructed to do: he protects Little Lord. (Lordling? Prince Lord? He isn’t yet sure of an appropriate title.) It isn’t a difficult task; Little Lord is wonderful, and intelligent, and Gigantomachia isn’t entirely sure if he loves Lord or Little Lord more. It takes some learning, of course, since Gigantomachia has no experience with children and does not want to accidentally break Little Lord, but with time (and some help from Mist Man), he manages to get the hang of things. Soon enough his room is covered in childish scribbles, and Little Lord’s vocabulary has expanded to include the word Machia.

Gigantomachia might not be smart, but he knows Lord is in pain. And it is his duty to protect Lord and, in his opinion, that also includes ensuring Lord does not break himself. So he makes sure to tell Lord every day, when he arrives home, that Little Lord refuses to go to sleep if his father will not tuck him in. It is a little white lie that does not harm anyone after all; when he is still awake, Little Lord is only too pleased at the attention. And if he is already asleep, Lord will still go in and kiss his son goodnight, and then just sit there, watching him.

(Gigantomachia will forever be grateful to Lord’s wife. Because even if she does die, at least she gave Lord a son. And Gigantomachia might be devoted to Lord, but even he shudders at the thought of what Lord might do without Izuku to keep him sane.)

Chapter Text

There is some terrible, bitter irony to this, All For One muses as he places a single flower in front of the grave.

He had agreed to Inko’s request that she be buried with her parents without hesitation. He would have levelled New York for her, and he never thought much about his own mortality (and it hurts that he doesn’t know where his brother is, but he can’t think about that or he’ll fall apart and Izuku is waiting back home).

It took him a week to realise she’s buried a stone’s throw away from Nana Shimura.

But it is fitting, he supposes. The woman who vanquished the fearsome All For One and the woman who will go down in history as the world’s saviour.

It’s taken him months of hard work. Even if All For One is not known by the general public, he can’t erase all mention of him, never mind that his retirement is only temporary. But it isn’t hard to hack government computers and modifying human memory is easy with the right Quirk, especially if it’s something they subconsciously want.

And now, all that’s left is All Might, and All For One will be officially dead.

Of course, that will be hardest. All For One has a few ideas, but they all carry too much risk, and he can’t take any chances when he’s all Izuku has left. He supposes he’ll simply have to wait for an opportunity to present itself. (Or find out where All Might lives and break in, but that was humiliating enough with Gran Torino.)

“Hello there,” someone greets him, and All For One feels his blood turn to ice, because he knows that voice.

He knows that voice.

He doesn’t dare move, can barely dare to breathe, because it’s too soon. Izuku just lost his mother, he can’t lose his father too, but All For One doesn’t know what to do. And he can’t remember when that last happened and it’s incredibly disorienting. Some small, detached part of his mind recognises that he is mere seconds away from a panic attack as he starts to hyperventilate.

“Are you alright?” he feels a hand on his shoulder and – the hero is concerned for him.

Suddenly, All For One knows. This – all of this – is a sign from Inko, her final gift to her husband and son. He’s no longer afraid, because he can almost feel her presence, and so he takes a deep breath. He has no way to know if he’ll ever get a chance like this again, and he can’t afford to squander it.

“Sorry,” he apologises as he turns to All Might – Toshinori Yagi, his mind supplies as he takes in the civilian dress, wide-brimmed hat and bakery box – and does his best to smile despite the tears he can feel threatening. “I… I guess I’m still in shock.”

“Ah,” All… Yagi nods. “Were you a friend of Nana’s?”

“No,” All For One admits, even as he tries to think how to turn this to his advantage. The Quirk he plans to use requires only two minutes of skin to skin contact… “We knew each other from work,” he explains. “I admit, I forgot all about her. But… I lost my wife recently.”

“My condolences,” Yagi offers when he breaks off to wipe his eyes.

“Thank you,” All For One gives him a watery smile. And then, because he knows the power of social niceties… “Hisashi Midoriya.”

“Toshinori Yagi,” the Symbol of Peace does not hesitate to shake his hand.

All For One activates the Quirk.

It’s so easy; he’s not erasing memories per se, he’s just… adjusting them. He twists them, and then gives the subconscious a little nudge. Nana Shimura died a hero. (True.) She saved Yagi. (True.) She vanquished All For One. (Don’t you want that to be true? She was strong enough. It’d be so unfair if she sacrificed so much for nothing. Remember that explosion? Nobody could survive that, not even All For One.)

As he finally lets go off Yagi’s hand, the hero lets out a chocked sob. All For One (Hisashi, his name is Hisashi, All For One is dead) silently steps aside to allow him a second to compose himself; then he offers him a tissue.

“Thank you,” Yagi sniffles and then proceeds to blow his nose at a volume that could rival Gigantomachia.

Perhaps One for All has accumulated too much power? After so many years, it might even be possible the next holder would not be able to handle it. (Hell, it might even blow the poor holder’s body to pieces!)

“Does it ever stop hurting?” he asks, partly to distract himself, and partly because – well, he wants to know. (It was different with his brother, the pain of loss magnified a hundred times by that awful sting of betrayal, and it hurt so much until he met Inko…)

“Not really,” Yagi admits as he places the cake he bought by the grave. “But it changes over time. And it helps to remember the good times.” He stands up and smiles at Hisashi. “And those we love never truly leave us, after all.”

The smile feels strange, almost grotesque. Hisashi may understand the intent, but there is something perverse about the Symbol of Peace attempting to comfort his nemesis, especially in front of the grave of the woman said enemy murdered. However few morals Hisashi might possess, it is a level of wrong he hates.

But still, he is right, All – Hisashi realises. He can feel Inko’s Quirk under his skin, like a comforting warmth. And more importantly, Izuku is waiting back home. Izuku, whose smile puts All Might’s to shame, who has Inko’s green hair and bright eyes. Izuku, who is now his whole world.

“Are you alright?” Yagi asks, obviously concerned by his silence. “Should I walk you home?”

“I’ll be fine,” Hisashi assures him with a smile, no matter how watery. “I think I just need a hug from my son.”

Yagi nods, and Hisashi finds himself strangely wistful. This could very well be the last encounter between the Symbol of Peace and his ultimate nemesis, and yet it’s so… anticlimactic. Just a meeting between two strangers, united in grief for the women they cherished.

“Thank you,” Hisashi finally speaks, and he doesn’t know himself who he’s thanking – the hero, or the spirits that surely conspired to make this meeting possible.

“Don’t mention it,” Yagi laughs, unaware of the gravity of the moment.

Hisashi nods, and smiles, and walks away from the number one hero.

Chapter Text

Hisashi should have noticed sooner.

He knows he has a pretty good excuse (technically two, or even three if he were to be pedantic), but it doesn’t matter. He’s Izuku’s father, a responsible adult, (a former villain who could easily find out the colour of All Might’s underwear,) and he should have known.

“Papa?” Izuku asks, fidgeting on his stool, and something in Hisashi breaks when he sees the tears gathering in his son’s eyes. “Don’t we have to go?”

“I was just thinking it’s been too long since we spent time together, just you and me,” Hisashi smiles, the lie rolling easily off his tongue. “So how about we both cheat and stay home together? We could order takeout, and watch a movie…”

It hurts to see how Izuku perks up at the suggestion, knowing that he has not been spending enough time with his son. It hurts even more that Izuku does not protest missing a day of daycare and playing with his friends.

It hurts almost as much as seeing those burns on Izuku’s arms.

But, he decides as he helps Izuku into his favourite All Might onesie, lawsuits can wait until tomorrow.

 

 

“What exactly is your policy on bullying?”

The daycare head hesitates, but she has no reason to be suspicious. Hisashi is perfectly pleasant, just another smiling parent, dressed in a pressed suit, probably inquiring before he heads off to his day job. He’s never met her before, allowing Inko to deal with the minutiae of Izuku’s schooling, and of course once Inko started getting sick… (no, don’t go there, focus on Izuku).

“We try and encourage the children in our care to be compassionate towards others and share. Of course, since they’re still young, we must take that into account when deciding on punishments, and so expulsion is only considered appropriate when a child is deemed a clear, continuous danger to others…” the woman recites.

Hisashi is tempted to pull out the daycare paperwork just to see if she got it word for word, but of course that would not go down well. So he just smiles and remains silent.

Finally, once the silence starts getting to her, the woman sighs and adjusts her thick horn-rimmed glasses. She looks like an old English headmistress (apart from her green skin and the third eye on her forehead) and is obviously used to striking terror into the hearts of toddlers.

Hisashi has a regular, starring role in All Might’s nightmares.

“Mr Midoriya, why are you here?” she asks, leaning forwards, and Hisashi almost wants to laugh. There is nothing more amusing than ignorant bravado.

“I noticed something… concerning yesterday,” he informs her, still smiling. “Izuku has a surprising number of injuries.”

The woman almost smiles. “Mr Midoriya, you would be surprised how much trouble children can get into.” The unspoken if you paid attention to your son wipes the smile off Hisashi’s face.

“Allow me to clarify, ma’am,” he slowly starts. “You believe that Izuku, who is an incredibly quiet and subdued child, somehow acquired eleven separate burns on his arms alone, not to mention the numerous bruises. And your staff did not think to inform me?”

Hisashi has never seen anyone embody the phrase deer in headlights so perfectly before in his entire career, but he can’t care, not when he had to watch the doctor take photographs of so many injuries.

“With all due respect, sir, how can I know these injuries even exist?”

The woman is clearly grasping, desperate, but Hisashi has never wanted to snap someone’s neck so much in his entire life. All that stops him is knowing he was seen entering the room by witnesses, some of whom are only children, and clearing up would be too much hassle.

“Don’t you dare,” he snarls. “Don’t you dare suggest I would fabricate something like this. And for what? Money?” he laughs, and it’s not a pleasant sound. “I make more in a month than your little organisation does in a year. I could call up the head of the police right now, and he’d be here in an hour. Izuku’s injuries were clearly deliberate, and our doctor has already passed the photos to the police.”

He stands up and treats her to one last, final smile, and takes some pleasure in how white her face turns. “I only came to suggest you cooperate with their investigation. Have a lovely day.”

 

 

“Now, which shape should we use next?”

Izuku frowns as he considers their collection of assorted cookie cutters, and Hisashi can’t help himself; he swoops down and presses a quick kiss to his cheek, eliciting a giggle (and he’s fairly sure that odd sound is Kurogiri chuckling).

This whole bullying revelation has not been all bad; Hisashi has been spending as much time with Izuku as possible, while searching for a new daycare (which is taking longer than expected – who would have thought so many providers would fail a background check?).

“This one!” Izuku decides, holding up a flower, and Hisashi helps him carefully cut out the cookies, trying (and failing) to convince himself his smile isn’t as sappy as he thinks.

He’s loading the tray into the oven, under the supervision of chef Izuku, when someone rings the doorbell. (Ring might not be an appropriate description, though; someone obviously pressed the button and was not letting it go.) Izuku almost falls off the chair he’s standing on, he’s so startled, and Hisashi drops the tray to grab his son, the cookies spilling all over the floor. Hisashi glances down and takes in Izuku’s wide eyes and tight grip on his All Might figure, and has to stamp down on the urge to murder someone.

“How about you help Kurogiri clean up?” he suggests with what he hopes is a reassuring smile.

Izuku nods hesitantly, so Hisashi sets him down. The boy almost immediately dashes over to the warper and grabs onto his slacks. Hisashi maintains his positive attitude until he’s left the kitchen. Then he pulls his apron off and, with a muttered swear, hurries to the front door.

Gigantomachia is already waiting for him, and Hisashi nods to his bodyguard as the giant takes up his position just out of sight, ready to intercept any intruders. After making sure Gigantomachia can’t be seen, (no need to tip off the neighbours that he has 24-hour security,) Hisashi takes a deep breath and opens the door.

“You fucking bastard!” Mitsuki Bakugo snarls.

Hisashi almost slams the door in her face. (He doesn’t because he is a responsible, mature parent, unlike certain people he could name. He does however make sure he’s blocking the entrance, since the Bakugo matriarch is just a little too unpredictable. Hisashi would not put attempted kidnapping past her.)

“Mitsuki,” he greets her with a blatantly false smile. “Lovely to see you…”

“Don’t give me that!” the woman growls, and he can’t help it; he rolls his eyes. “What the fuck are you doing to Izuku? Where is he? Why the fuck hasn’t he been coming to daycare?!”

“…Because your son’s a little shit and a bully?” Hisashi suggests helpfully when she pauses to take a breath.

Mitsuki screams and tries to punch him in the face.

Hisashi ducks and (with just a hint of a speed Quirk) slams the door in her face. Gigantomachia is growling behind him, barely audible over the screams of rage and loud hammering on the door.

For just a second, he’s tempted to set Gigantomachia on the woman. But however much he dislikes (hates, despises) her, she was Inko’s best friend. And the security camera footage should be very helpful when he hands it over to his legal team.

When he re-enters the kitchen, Izuku is cowering under the table, his All Might figure clutched tight against his chest. Hisashi takes one look at him, at Kurogiri hovering suspiciously close to the knife block, and sighs as he rubs at his eyes.

“How about we pop over to Kyoto for lunch?”

Chapter Text

There are some questions, Hisashi reflects, that he probably doesn’t want to know the answer to. (Has All Might ever had sex, for one.)

Such as…

“Izuku, why is there a tramp on my couch?”

There’s a crash in the kitchen, and Hisashi can feel the first twinges of a headache. Gigantomachia looks distinctly uncomfortable but doesn’t budge from his post standing over the man on the sofa.

At least Izuku didn’t leave the stranger unsupervised.

“He’s not a tramp, papa!” Izuku cries out as he runs into the room, his shirt distinctly wet, but an excited smile on his face. “He’s a hero!”

Hisashi glances back at the man, with his straggly hair, baggy black clothes and dark circles under his eyes, lying there unconscious, and does not point out just how unheroic he looks. Frankly, the nasty gash on his head makes him look more like he got into a drunken brawl.

“And why, pray tell, is there a hero,” he asks instead, “bleeding all over my sofa?”

“He’s got an owie, so we brought him home so you can kiss it better!” Izuku explains with a beaming smile.

Hisashi bites back his curse.

Of course he has a healing Quirk (he technically has six, but who’s counting). Of course he has used it on Izuku’s bloody knees and bruised elbows (and burns, although only after taking photographs – just let Mitsuki try and come after him). And of course Izuku, in his innocence, seems to have arrived at the decision that his father, a retired villain, is an appropriate person to provide medical attention to someone he picked up of the street.

“Izuku, I am not going to kiss him,” Hisashi sighs. “Why didn’t you call an ambulance?”

“Machia forgot his phone,” Izuku informs him, still smiling, and now he’s definitely going to have to punish Gigantomachia. Stray heroes are one thing, but if something had happened to Izuku…

He feels a tug on his sleeve and makes the mistake of looking down into those bright, green eyes. “Please, papa?”

Hisashi had always been defenseless against his son’s pleas, and the concept of getting rid of the stranger is appealing, (and he can’t exactly just kill him without possibly traumatizing Izuku,) so with a sigh, he shuffles over to the sofa. He presses his hand to the man’s forehead and activates one of his healing Quirks, and does his best to ignore just how awkward he feels as he waits for it to take effect. The closer quarters at least help him notice the signature white scarf and yellow goggles…

Eraserhead’s eyes snap open and flash red, and the hero punches him.

“Papa!” he hears Izuku shriek, and Gigantomachia growls, as he blinks away the stars in front of his eyes and hopes his nose is not broken. Slowly, he looks up and winces when he sees the man standing on the couch with his dirty shoes. At least Gigantomachia had the presence of mind to grab Izuku, who looks torn between obeying instructions (‘If someone hurts you or papa, stay with Machia’) and wiggling free to run to his father’s side.

“What the hell?” Eraserhead mutters as he looks around the room. He takes in the large window, with its floral curtains, the numerous family photos, and the growling giant.

“My thoughts exactly,” Hisashi responds as Izuku gasps at the ‘bad word’. He winces as he shakes his head. “Well, you’re healed now, so goodbye.”

“…I don’t even know where I am.”

“My house.”

“…That doesn’t tell me anything,” the hero narrows his eyes. “Is this a kidnapping?”

Hisashi should probably not be quite so offended. But, retired or not, he is a criminal mastermind. He has standards. “Exactly how incompetent do you think I am?” he growls.

Izuku, apparently tired of being squashed into Gigantomachia’s chest, pipes up. “You had an owie, so papa healed you!” Then he turns to the giant. “Down, please!”

“…An owie?”

“He’s three,” Hisashi points out as he nods at his bodyguard to lower his son. Gigantomachia does not look happy, but he obeys, and Izuku immediately dashes off.

For a moment, they wait in an awkward silence, Eraserhead obviously trying to figure out a good escape route (and Hisashi might just be trying to decide how to murder him without Izuku noticing).

“Could I borrow a phone?” the hero finally asks.

“Sure,” Hisashi sighs, just as Izuku rushes back in. “But give him an autograph, will you?”

It’s rather comforting to see Izuku’s eyes are just as effective when turned on a pro-hero.

 

 

Hisashi is just plating up dinner when he hears a loud crash coming from the front of the house.

Loud crashes are nothing unusual; no matter how well behaved Izuku may be, he’s three. (And he has an overgrown bodyguard – slash – playmate who should know better than indulge him so much.) What is unusual is that last he checked, Izuku was well and truly amused, watching Eraserhead place a call to his agency…

Oh, fuck.

There’s another louder crash that has Hisashi sprinting out of the kitchen. He doesn’t think he even fully makes it into the living room, before something fast and hard hits him in the chest and sends him crashing to the floor. He wheezes, winded, but through the haze he can hear a commotion.

Slowly, carefully, Hisashi sits up just as Ingenium (why is Ingenium in his house?) tugs his helmet off and yells into the living room, “Mic, it’s a false alarm!” Then he turns back to Hisashi and offers him a hand up. “Sorry, man.”

“I’m suing you all,” Hisashi informs him, clambering to his feet. He winces, because he is certainly going to bruise, and mentally pencils in another doctor’s appointment.

“Fair enough,” Ingenium sighs just as Izuku dashes past him and throws himself at her father’s legs.

“Papa, I don’t like heroes!” he wails and Hisashi can feel that headache returning. “They’re mean!”

“Exactly how many?...” he asks Ingenium as he picks up his son.

“Just me and Present Mic,” the hero informs him with a wince. “I’m really sorry about this; he’s a bit… prone to overreacting.”

“You don’t say,” Hisashi mutters. He makes his way past the young man and enters his living room, and almost walks back out. He is far too sober to deal with this.

The room looks like a tornado tore through it. The window is shattered, there are scuff marks on the floor, and shards of glass and plaster litter the room. Gigantomachia is suspiciously missing, although Kurogiri, complete with shopping bags, is stood by the (miraculously untouched) TV, armed with his keys. Eraserhead, still sat on a couch, is glowering at a tall blonde, his black hair floating. Present Mic seems unconcerned, eyeing Kurogiri suspiciously.

“Right, Mic, let’s go,” Ingenium hurries past Hisashi and grabs the blonde hero by the arm. “Eraser, can you walk?”

“Shouldn’t we call the police?” Present Mic asks, as he glances away from Kurogiri to Hisashi and back. “I mean, isn’t this a kidnapping?”

Izuku, who seemed to have calmed down, bursts into tears again, blabbing about how he doesn’t want to go to jail. The blonde hero pales, as if he’s only just spotted the terrified child.

“Good idea,” Hisashi smiles as he spots his wedding photo hanging lopsided on the wall, its frame shattered. (It is not a nice smile.) “How about you call the police and I call my lawyers? Let’s see who gets here first.”

“Come on, Mic,” Ingenium attempts to drag his friend to the door. (Which is also broken. What is it with heroes and breaking things?) “There’s obviously been a misunderstanding.”

 Eraserhead, to his credit, joins in, and between them they manage to get him out of the house before Hisashi has come up with a plan to murder them all (without it tracing back to him).

“I took the precaution of sending Gigantomachia away,” Kurogiri reports as he picks up his shopping bags. “May I be of any further assistance?”

“Go fetch him,” Hisashi commands with a sigh as he rubs Izuku’s back. “And then… Fix the door.”

 

 

“My deepest apologies for yesterday’s debacle!”

Hisashi is very much tempted to brutally murder Ingenium, but he suspects that might traumatise Izuku (further). He would slam the door closed, but he has a sneaking feeling that might damage the hinges, and he really does not want to explain to the handyman why he’s coming back so soon. So he bites his tongue and fixes the hero with his most deadly glare.

“I brought a cheque for the damages, and a gift for the young hero!” Ingenium continues, apparently unconcerned. (Hisashi is almost worried he’s slipping.)

“Me?” Izuku perks up, peeking around his father’s legs, although he doesn’t let up on the death grip on his trousers. “I’m not a hero!”

“Course you are!” Ingenium grins as he squats down, holding out an Ingenium doll as a peace offering, and Hisashi must admit, the lad seems to know how to deal with kids. “You helped Eraserhead, didn’t you? That sounds pretty heroic to me!”

“Really?” Izuku smiles as he accepts the toy.

“Yeah, really,” Ingenium laughs and ruffles his hair. Then he glances up at Hisashi.

Hisashi is unmoved; he has experience with manipulation tactics, and heroes are absolutely terrible at them. (He knows this from experience; one would think they’d at least put in some effort when begging for their life.) So he just shrugs.

“I’m still pressing charges.”

Chapter Text

“I don’t want to go,” Izuku sniffs as he tries to hide behind papa.

Papa steps aside and gently nudges him forward. Izuku turns back to him, because he really wants to go home, where Kurogiri cooks nice food, and Machia doesn’t mind pretending he’s a villain, and no one says mean things to Izuku. But papa looks firm as he crouches down, a gentle smile on his face.

 “Izuku, I know you’re scared, and that’s fine. If you don’t want to come back tomorrow, you don’t have to. But I thought we could make a deal.”

“What deal?” Izuku asks. He wipes at his eyes, and with a sigh papa offers up a handkerchief so he can blow his nose.

“Today is Monday, so, if you can make it five days, until Friday,” papa slowly unfolds all his fingers on one hand. Then he pauses and takes a deep breath. “I’ll get us tickets to the Heroes Against Cancer fundraiser.”

For a second, Izuku stares at papa. Then he promptly bursts into happy tears, desperately nodding his head and, with a sigh, papa accepts a box of tissues from a daycare worker. Izuku has wanted to go so badly, even though he doesn’t want papa to think he’s greedy. All Might’s going to be there, after all! Izuku really, really wants to see his favorite hero! He’d even… Even… He’d even go back to daycare with Kacchan!

“Promise?” Izuku asks, offering his pinkie once he’s calmed down.

“Pinkie promise,” papa smiles and nods. He ruffles Izuku’s hair. “Now before you know it, Kurogiri will be here to take you home.  And if you’re scared during the day, just tell Miss Tanaka. Alright?”

“Alright,” Izuku sniffs, but steels himself. “I love you, papa.”

“I love you too, Izuku,” papa kisses him on the forehead.

Izuku tries not to cry when papa stands and turns to leave. Miss Tanaka (who seems really nice, much nicer than the teachers that said Kacchan was amazing) leads him to his new classroom. Izuku clutches anxiously at his Ingenium doll as he glances around the room, but he can be brave. Heroes are really brave, and Izuku is going to be a hero too, no matter what Kacchan says. (And Ingenium said he’d been heroic when he helped Eraserhead, and Ingenium knows better than Kacchan! He’s already a hero, after all!)

The room is larger and fancier than his previous daycare, with sunlight streaming in through the large windows. Children’s artwork covers the wall, and there are several small tables and chairs spread out around the room. Several children are already playing, and Izuku realizes with a sinking feeling that he doesn’t know anyone. He glances back at Miss Tanaka, anxious.

“Do you like heroes too?” a loud voice asks him, and Izuku flinches at the unexpected noise. But when he turns back, the speaker turns out to be a bright-eyed boy with blue hair and a wide smile. He doesn’t look scary, even if he is taller, (and bigger,) so Izuku takes a deep breath.

Ingenium called him a hero.

“Yes, I… I do,” he nods, clutching his doll tightly. Miss Tanaka crouches down next to him, and Izuku takes some comfort in her presence. (Because even Kacchan didn’t hurt him when the grown ups were nearby.)

“My name’s Tenya!” the boy introduces himself, and draws himself up, proud. “My favorite hero’s Ingenium!”

“I’m… I’m Izuku,” Izuku stammers. “I... My favorite hero’s All Might. But Ingenium’s awesome too!”

“Izuku is new here,” Miss Tanaka speaks up. “And he doesn’t know anyone yet. So I think he might be just a little scared. Can I trust you to make him feel welcome, Tenya?”

Tenya nods immediately, and the woman smiles and stands up, but does not move away, so Izuku doesn’t feel too afraid.

“…Do you want to play heroes?”

“Yes!” Izuku nods. He swings his little rucksack off his back. “I brought my dolls, so if you want, you could be Ingenium, and I could be All Might…”

“…Why would All Might and Ingenium both be needed?” Tenya frowns, and Izuku pauses, unsure. Then he smiles.

“Cause, cause, if a villain has a really scary Quirk, like… If he can shoot webs, and he’s attacking a park, then Ingenium has to move people out of the way! And… and… he has an army of robot spiders, so All Might has to fight them first!” Izuku glances back up at the other boy, holding his Ingenium and All Might figures. “…What do you think?”

“It makes sense,” Tenya nods as he takes Izuku’s toy, oblivious to Miss Tanaka’s barely suppressed giggles. He grins as he grabs Izuku’s hand and pulls him over to one of the tables. “Ingenium always first on the scene!”

 

 

Hisashi adores Tenya.

He hasn’t actually met the kid yet, but Izuku’s barely stopped chattering about his new friend. And, as he pauses outside the classroom door, he can spot his son’s smile as he plays with a blue haired boy.

“Izuku really seems to have settled in well,” Abiko informs him with a smile of his own, and Hisashi can’t help but agree with the daycare director.

Getting Izuku a permanent place is surprisingly painless. There might be a waiting list, but a few million yen (and just a touch of a quirk, but who’s to know,) help bump Izuku to the top of that queue. All in all, he’s feeling fairly pleased when he leaves the office. He’s even considering taking Izuku out for ice cream, when he spots a familiar face outside the classroom door and almost legs it through the back.

“Hello, Mr. Midoriya!” Ingenium greets him, a wide smile plastered on his face. Then the hero pauses, and Hisashi has a terrible sinking feeling, because he knows what’s coming next…

“Don’t tell me you’re Izuku’s father?” the young man exclaims.

There are seven dead heroes laughing their heads off right now, Hisashi just knows it.

“Wow! Your brother’s Ingenium?!”

Would it be so wrong for Hisashi to withdraw Izuku and just homeschool him?

“Hi Tenya, Izuku,” Ingenium greets the two boys, unaware (or uncaring) of Hisashi’s dilemma. Izuku’s smile grows wider at the recognition. “My name’s Tensei Iida, and it’s wonderful to see you again!”

“Do you have your toys, Izuku?” Hisashi asks, before Izuku can launch into another fangasm. His son gasps and ducks back into the classroom.

Really, he should have suspected – the daycare has excellent security and Tenya, in hindsight, has a suspicious amount of admiration for a relatively new hero. But Hisashi is a good father, and so he takes a deep breath and plasters his best dad-smile on.

“Hello, Tenya,” he greets the boy. “My name is Hisashi Midoriya, and I’m Izuku’s father.”

Tenya hesitates for a second (and Hisashi will admit, he is impressed by his instincts), but then he draws himself to his full height and bows.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Midoriya, sir!”

Hisashi isn’t entirely sure how to proceed, but then Izuku comes dashing past the Iida brothers and barrels straight into his legs. The impact doesn’t even wind him, as he springs back up and starts jumping up and down, bright eyed.

“Papa, can I come here again?” he asks. “We’re going to be ac-ting! And Tenya likes heroes too! And he said I can come to his house to play! And… And…!”

It’s fortunate All Might will never know how effective Izuku’s smile is. (Hisashi would happily hand himself over if it will only make his son happy – should that day come, he won’t have anything left, after all.) So Hisashi laughs and ruffles his son’s hair. “Well, that’s good, because you’ll be coming here every day from now on.”

Izuku cheers and launches himself at his father, his happy tears making an inevitable appearance, and Hisashi allows himself a moment to bask in his son’s joy. Then he takes a deep breath and repeats his mantra.

There is nothing I won’t do for Izuku.

“How about we go for ice cream to celebrate?” he suggests and then nods to the waiting Iida brothers. “My treat.”

Izuku cheers again and grabs Tenya’s hand to tug him over to the cloakroom.

“Sure thing,” Tensei’s grin widens. “Just let me call our parents, ‘kay?”

“Alright,” Hisashi nods. He follows the boys, knowing they’ll need someone to help with their coats. Once the hero is back, he’ll have to excuse himself to place a call of his own.

He needs to tell his lawyers to drop the suit against Idaten.

Chapter Text

There is nothing Hisashi won’t do for Izuku.

Which is why he’s desperately hiding behind a menu while his son bombards All Might with questions. (And yes, Hisashi knows almost as much about the hero’s Quirk as the man himself, but Izuku doesn’t need to know that.) He comforts himself that at least the money he spent on admission will go directly to cancer research. And, he will admit, it is rather fascinating to see the various ways heroes utilize their Quirks. (And incredibly entertaining to mingle with them, especially with All Might in attendance.)

And Izuku has not stopped smiling since he woke Hisashi. (At six. Why was he up at six?!)

“Hi, Midoriya!” he hears a familiar (tinny) voice and sighs.

“Iida,” he acknowledges the teenager as he turns, and then pauses. Tenya is dressed in a smart shirt and shorts, and is holding the hand of a white, humanoid robot. Which is standing next to another humanoid robot. Which is standing next to another robot (which is wearing a cape; what is it with heroes and capes?! The things are terribly impractical!).

“Mother, father, Midoriya is the father of Tenya’s new friend,” robot 1 introduces him.

Robot 2 removes her helmet, revealing a smiling, middle aged woman. “It’s so wonderful to finally meet you! Tenya seems to have really taken a shine to Izuku!”

“Midoriya…” robot 3 (the one with the cape) hums. “Why does it feel like I’ve heard that name before?”

“Oh, he sued us,” Tensei informs his father (?) happily before removing his own helmet.

Hisashi almost laughs at the expression on Mrs Iida’s face.

“Izuku’s getting an autograph from All Might,” he informs Tenya instead.

The boy glances up at his parents, and his mother does her best to smile. “Tenya, go say hi to your friend,” she instructs him, and the child runs off, smiling.

“I’m… afraid I can’t quite recall the details of your case…” the Iida patriarch says, and suddenly Tensei’s smile is looking just a little forced.

Hisashi may be retired from professional villainy, but how could he ever pass up such a wonderful opportunity to torment a pro-hero?

“Oh, your son and his friend broke into my house, terrified my son, caused significant property damage, and your son in particular assaulted me,” he informs them with his nicest fake smile. Then he sighs. “It was particularly difficult, because – well, this past year, since losing my wife, has been very trying.”

Tensei!” the mother chokes out, and Tensei winces.

“To be fair, it… It was all Mic’s fault!”

“My apologies,” the head of Idaten bows low as his wife continues to reprimand their son. “I will immediately call our lawyers and instruct them to settle.”

“Not necessary,” Hisashi waves off the offer. “I’ve already had the case dismissed.”

The other man hesitates, obviously surprised, and then…

“Oh wow! It’s Turbo and Engine!” Izuku rushes over, autograph book at the ready, Tenya trailing behind his friend with a proud smile on his face.

“Your elder son may be… impetuous, but Tenya is a credit to you and your wife,” Hisashi shrugs and smiles. “Besides, it would make playdates very awkward.”

Iida laughs as he accepts Izuku’s notebook.

Hisashi takes the opportunity to leave Izuku with a (responsible) adult and hurries over to one of the numerous waiters to get another glass of champagne. As he savors it, he glances around the room. There are a few established heroes, with a sprinkling of younger pros or sidekicks making the most of the opportunity to network. And, of course, there is a substantial number of people with more than enough money to drop on admission (and the meal, and drinks, and the upcoming auction).

He’s not sure why, but his attention is drawn to a boy standing close to one of the walls, gazing longingly at All Might. True, his hair is an odd red and white, the two colours split evenly down the middle, but Izuku is dragging Tenya to a man with an orca’s head. In this day and age, white-and-red hair is positively mundane.

Almost unconsciously, Hisashi starts drifting closer to the child. He sees the boy stiffen and look down at his feet as a large man approaches. Hisashi can feel that horrible sinking feeling in his gut as the stranger grabs the child by the arm and almost drags him off, the boy nearly tripping as he struggles to keep up.

Hisashi picks up the pace, weaving between the other attendees. He thrusts his champagne flute at a waiter, and when he’s clear of the crowd he almost breaks into a run. That sinking feeling has turned bitter, because he knows. He takes the steps two at a time, gasping for air, and trying to remember that this is different. He can hear a raised voice well before he sees them, and his rushed steps speed up further even as the walls start to close in. Because suddenly he’s five again, and suddenly he’s weak again, and when he sees the boy cowering against the wall, he no longer sees tidy white-and-red hair. And for the first time in decades, Hisashi hates.

Hisashi only snaps back to the present when the stranger goes flying.

He tries his best to calm down and figure out what the fuck he can do with the unconscious man and realizes the bastard’s face is familiar. He has just punched the number 2 hero in the face (with what feels like at least two strength and possibly a speed Quirk).

In front of a witness.

(The mighty All For One, brought down by a flashback. There are seven ghosts behind him, splitting their sides with laughter.)

The witness in question is staring at him in awe.

It hurts to admit that Hisashi can relate. (If he’d seen someone knock out his own father, he’d have the same look in his eyes.)

Hisashi sighs and bends down to grab Endeavor by the leg (because why should he give a damn about a hero that apparently is hypocritical AF). Then he beckons to the kid.

“Right,” he starts, and then realizes he doesn’t know the boy’s name. “…Todoroki. Is your mother here?”

The boy shakes his head.

“Wonderful. Follow me.”

Thankfully, there is a toilet nearby. Hisashi drags Endeavor inside (and it’s completely accidental that he knocks the pro-hero’s head against the door, no, really) and uses a quick illusion Quirk to hide the room. Then, with a sigh, he pulls out his phone and dials his home number.

“Kurogiri, I need you to come pick up some trash,” he pauses to nudge Endeavor with his shoe and frowns. “Do you think you’d manage to warp to Korea?” Then he remembers the kid. “Oh, but first you need to drop someone off home.”

He hangs up and jots down a quick note. Then he crouches down in front of the Todoroki boy, who has started prodding his father with a mischievous smile. “Do you know where your house is?”

The boy nods, and Hisashi grins and ruffles his hair.

“Good lad. A friend of mine will come get you in a minute. Tell him and he’ll take you home. Now I have a very important task. Can I trust you?”

“Yes sir!” the boy responds, bright eyed, and Hisashi must admit, he’s pretty cute.

“Good,” he nods and makes sure his expression is serious as he leans closer. “Now, I need you to give this to your mother. Only your mother. And this is a secret mission, so you can’t tell anyone. Alright?”

The boy nods as he accepts the note, and Hisashi smiles as he stands up. Then he heads out to grab Kurogiri.

 

 

Once Hisashi has tucked an exhausted Izuku into bed, he carefully shifts his face into something memorable (and as far from Hisashi Midoriya’s features as he can manage) and heads downstairs to a waiting Kurogiri. Gigantomachia has already taken up position outside Izuku’s bedroom, although he is under strict instructions. (Any monsters located under the bed are Hisashi’s responsibility; if Izuku is afraid, he can sleep in the master bedroom. Gigantomachia is not to go looking for said monsters.)

Kurogiri unfortunately is memorable in himself, but such matters cannot be helped, Hisashi reflects as he steps through the warp gate. The Todoroki home is every bit as impressive (pretentious) as could be expected from the number 2 hero. None of the lights are on, but when Hisashi lets himself in, a white-haired woman is waiting just inside.

“Mrs Todoroki,” he greets her with a bow as Kurogiri slides the door closed behind them. He does not miss her shudder at the name.

But she pulls herself together (and Hisashi will admit, he is ever so slightly impressed). “Your note said you could help me leave.”

“Your husband is currently… indisposed,” Hisashi can’t help but feel a warm glow as he remembers the photo Kurogiri showed him. “In fact, he may not make it home for a few days. So, if you wish to leave…”

“And what if I can’t afford to?” the woman asks with a sigh. She looks so worn down, Hisashi can’t help but hate Endeavor more. She can’t be much older than Inko, and yet looks ready to break.

“I can give you a cheque right now,” he answers with a shrug. “And if you are interested, I can pull some strings and secure you office work. Nothing exciting, but it will have benefits and a decent salary. But if you choose to stay, I will call social services.”

“…Enji has a lot of influence…”

“I have more,” Hisashi smiles. (It is not a nice smile – in fact, it is the very smile that features prominently in All Might’s nightmares.) “And I will not hesitate to drag Endeavor and you through the mud if it means getting your children out. Of course, the final decision is yours.”

For just a moment, he worries that perhaps she’s still too cowed, still too afraid of Endeavor. But then she draws herself up, and Hisashi almost laughs, because he knows that expression well.

(Endeavor is lucky if he never had to deal with a protective mother.)

She nods and turns to shout back into the house.

“Fuyumi, get Shoto! Natsuo, don’t forget your coat! Touya, I need your help!”

There’s a loud crash from somewhere deeper in the home, a happy cry from somewhere else, and when Todoroki turns back to Hisashi, there are tears in her eyes. But her smile is beautiful.

“I’m afraid you’ll have to wait. Enji keeps our documents in a safe…”

“Oh, allow me,” Hisashi grins just as a young boy appears, dragging a large, battered suitcase. The child stops when he sees the strangers, but even so, the smile on his face is unmissable.

Todoroki laughs.

She hurries off to fetch her other children and Hisashi follows the redhaired boy to an office. He’s tempted to do a real number on the room (destruction, in his experience, is surprisingly therapeutic), but Touya apparently knows where to look as the boy quickly locates three safes. Hisashi does not bother investigating the contents; he just rips the doors off all three eliciting a laugh from his guide.

When they arrive back by the door, a thick wad of papers tucked in a plastic bag (it’s a complete accident that Hisashi grabbed those bank statements – although quite fortunate should Todoroki choose to initiate divorce proceedings), two whitehaired children, a boy and girl, are waiting anxiously by the entrance. Kurogiri is holding the red-and-white haired toddler, who appears more than half asleep, and Todoroki is looking over their bags even as she wipes at her eyes.

“Do you have somewhere to go?” Hisashi asks as he hands over the documents. Touya hurries past him and takes his brother from the warper, and it is rather heart-warming to see the boy cuddle up sleepily to the teenager.

“Yes,” the woman nods. “There’s a shelter in Yutenji that I called earlier; they said they had space for us…”

“Wonderful,” Hisashi beams and turns to Kurogiri. “A Yutenji back alley, please.”

“What…” Todoroki gasps as Kurogiri opens a warp gate.

“Oh, I thought teleporting might make it just a bit harder for your husband to find you,” Hisashi explains. He picks up two of the bags and treats the family to a beaming smile. “Also, it might be just a little bit easier with four children.”

Said children don’t look convinced, but Mrs Todoroki just laughs and follows him up to the gate. He steps through, and she pokes her head through and glances around. Then she vanishes back in and soon enough, the family comes tumbling through, numerous exclamations echoing in the small, empty street.

“Thank you,” Todoroki whispers as Hisashi sets down the bags. “I can call the shelter to meet us. I don’t even know…”

“Don’t mention it,” Hisashi shrugs. Then he produces an envelope. “That cheque I promised. And a referral to an excellent lawyer. If you want to take me up on that job offer, tell her – she will be able to contact me.”

Todoroki sniffles, and then Hisashi finds himself being hugged by an overemotional mother. Her two middle children quickly join in, and the eldest gives Kurogiri an awkward hug of his own, whilst balancing his brother.

“Thank you so much,” the woman whispers as she finally draws back.

Hisashi smiles, a genuine, hopeful smile as he steps back through the warp gate. He could almost swear he catches the faint smell of peonies as he emerges in his living room.

He’s pretty sure Inko approves.

Chapter Text

Kurogiri notices something is wrong as soon as he arrives at daycare. Izuku does not greet him with a detailed description of his day; instead he quietly allows Kurogiri to help him with his shoes and waves goodbye to Tenya. Once they arrive home, Izuku silently settles down at the dining table with his crayons.

Kurogiri just assumes he’s grieving. Every now and then, Izuku is just… sad, and according to the therapists, it is not unusual. So he leaves the child be, focusing instead on dinner. Midoriya is attending some sort of conference (although boring and filled with pompous bastards does not exactly tell Kurogiri much about the subjects being discussed), and won’t be back until Sunday. (Which means Kurogiri is the only reasonable adult in the house – thank god he made sure he’s stocked up on coffee.)

Izuku is quiet as they eat, and does not even ask about dessert. That is a major red flag, and as he clears the table, Kurogiri wrestles with himself. He is tempted to call Midoriya, but there is every chance the man will drop everything and rush home. (And then even Gigantomachia will know something is very wrong, and the less Gigantomachia knows, the better, in Kurogiri’s opinion.)

So Kurogiri takes a deep breath and leaves the safety of the kitchen. Izuku is playing with his building blocks, and Gigantomachia, who seems to be aware something isn’t right, is watching him from behind the couch. Kurogiri considers his options for a few seconds, and then reaches a decision.

“Izuku, it’s bath time,” he tells the boy.

Izuku quietly follows him to the bathroom, and once he’s closed the door, Kurogiri crouches down in front of him and tries to smile.

“Izuku, is there anything wrong?”

“No, Kurogiri,” Izuku shakes his head.

“Did you argue with Tenya?”

“No.”

“Are the other children mean?”

“No.”

Kurogiri has to force the next words out. “…Did your teacher make you sad?”

“No.”

Kurogiri almost collapses from the relief, but he’s puzzled. This is not Izuku’s usual grieving, which tends to make him a lot more clingy. But if no one seems to be picking on him, Kurogiri really has no idea what the issue might be.

“Well, did something happen at daycare?” he asks, slightly desperate.

Izuku hesitates for a second, but then, finally, he says it. “Miss Tanaka told us about Father’s Day.”

“And?” Kurogiri asks, puzzled. Father’s Day seems perfectly inoffensive. (He could understand Mother’s Day, but that’s been and gone. And anyway, Midoriya gave him that day off, so he can’t really reference it.)

“She said it was tomorrow,” Izuku sniffles. “But papa’s away, so I can’t give him his card.”

“Ah,” Kurogiri nods in understanding. He considers the problem, not quite sure what the appropriate response might be, and then has an idea. “Well, how about we go and surprise him?”

“Really?” Izuku perks up. “We can?”

“Sure we can,” Kurogiri smiles. He knows the details of Midoriya’s hotel room, in case he needs to collect the man for an emergency. Izuku has no play dates lined up (and now it makes a lot more sense why not). And then another idea occurs to him. “We could even bake him some muffins.”

“Muffins!” Izuku cheers.

“Then how about I get the kitchen ready, and you make sure you have your card, and then we’ll have bath time after baking?” Kurogiri suggests, and then leans in to whisper in Izuku’s ear, “It can be a little later, since we’ve got a secret mission to get ready for.”

“A secret mission!” Izuku gasps. Then something occurs to him. “Will Machia come too?”

Kurogiri considers the situation. Travelling with Machia is not easy at the best of times, and Kurogiri really does not want to even imagine managing both Izuku and Gigantomachia on public transport, especially without Midoriya to manage Gigantomachia’s... overprotective tendencies. “We need him to stay here, so your papa doesn’t know we’re coming. Machia needs to answer the phone if papa calls. This is a really important job, so how about you tell him? Make sure he knows just how important a mission this is,” he stresses. The only person Gigantomachia regards anywhere as highly as Midoriya is Izuku, after all; if the bodyguard will lie to his Lord for anyone, it’s almost certainly going to be Izuku.

Izuku grins and dashes out of the bathroom. “Machia! I’m gonna surprise papa!”

Kurogiri shakes his head and goes to find that recipe for chocolate muffins.

 

 

Hisashi sighs as he collapses onto the hotel sofa and summons his phone. He hates spending weekends away from Izuku, but there were a few speakers he really needed to meet with. He smiles at the lock screen (Izuku and Tenya beaming at the camera) and dials his home number. He has a few hours to spare, and the best pick-me-up is definitely Izuku.

“…Hello?”

“Good morning, Gigantomachia,” Hisashi greets the giant as he picks up his coffee. “I’d like to speak to Izuku.”

“You can’t!”

Hisashi frowns. “Don’t be ridiculous, Gigantomachia. Put him on.”

“I can’t! He’s not here!”

“What do you mean he’s not there?” Hisashi isn’t sure why his former bodyguard sounds so panicked, but he’s starting to get a very bad feeling.

“He’s… He’s…” Hisashi can almost picture the giant flailing about. (Please don’t let him break anything, please…) “Little Lord’s been kidnapped!”

“He’s what?!” Hisashi shrieks as he jumps to his feet. The coffee table crashes over, but he can’t care. Izuku kidnapped? Who would dare do such a thing? He desperately tries to figure out who might be responsible. The conference is no longer important; someone is going to die. He needs to get home now. “Put Kurogiri on!”

“He took Little Lord!”

The phone in Hisashi’s hand shatters.

That filthy, traitorous little rat! Hisashi took him in, gave him a home, and this is how he’s been repaid! Never mind Hisashi; Inko trusted him! She treated him with such kindness, and he just spits on her grave! Death is too good for him; Hisashi will rend him limb from limb, and flay him alive, and take that precious little Quirk from…

“Surprise, papa!”

Hisashi instinctively grabs the coffee table and throws it at the intruder. Thankfully, Kurogiri has good reflexes, and so the table misses Izuku and goes sailing through a Warp Gate.

“Are you surprised, papa?” Izuku asks, apparently unaware he was almost killed by his father. He’s beaming from Kurogiri’s hip, apparently ignorant of his current situation. (Has Kurogiri come to gloat? He could warp Izuku into the sea, or two thousand feet up, in a millisecond, so he certainly has some insurance. Or perhaps he’s just lost his mind?)

“…Very,” Hisashi hesitantly admits, as he slowly approaches his son, watching Kurogiri for any sort of attack. “What are you doing here?”

“Oh!” Izuku gasps. Then he grins. “Happy Papa’s Day!”

“Izuku was very upset you would be away for Father’s Day,” Kurogiri explains as he sets Izuku down. The boy immediately starts rummaging in his All Might backpack. “So we decided we would surprise you.”

“It was certainly a surprise…” Hisashi mutters. He still isn’t entirely sure about the warper, but it makes sense – presumably Izuku asked Gigantomachia not to tell him about the surprise. But then Gigantomachia tends to require clear instructions, especially if he has to disobey his Lord – Hisashi will have to figure out how to explain that to a toddler.

“Papa!” Izuku hurries over, a card in hand. “I made you a card! And we made muffins, but Kurogiri has them.” He deflates a little, and Hisashi can’t help it; he laughs as he picks up his son.

“Well, muffins sound lovely. How about we all have some muffins, and then we go do a little sightseeing?”

“Muffins!” Izuku cheers.

Kurogiri produces the muffins from his canvas bag, and then glances around. “Should I go fetch the table?”

Chapter Text

“Tenya, could you come here for a minute?”

Tenya frowns as he looks up from his drawing, but Tensei looks… serious. So he makes sure all his pens are properly capped, and grabs his Ingenium plush. (Which Tensei had made specially for him! His brother is the best!) Then he joins Tensei on the couch.

“Tenya, I…” his brother trails off, takes a deep breath and soldiers on. “I want to talk to you about Izuku. Have you ever… wondered about him? You know, do you… have any questions about him?”

“Yes!” Tenya grins. Izuku is great, but they haven’t known each other for very long. “Does he have his Quirk yet? Cause he’s really smart! Or – his hair’s so curly, is that his Quirk? Is Machia his dog? Why’s he so small if he’s older? Can he come to the beach with us? What’s a souv-le?...”

“That’s not quite what I meant…” Tensei interrupts the flood of questions.

“Oh…” Tenya deflates. His brother chuckles, though, and ruffles his hair, so obviously he isn’t mad. Tenya just wishes he knew what he was supposed to ask about.

“No, it’s fine,” Tensei assures him. “But… Has Izuku ever mentioned his mum?”

Tensei considers his answer carefully. Izuku talks a lot about his papa, and Machia, and… “Is Kurogiri his mum?”

Tenya doesn’t know what’s so funny. He does end up fetching his brother a glass of water, partly because just watching Tensei laugh is boring, and partly because his brother will probably need it and Tenya is the world’s best little brother.

“No, Kurogiri isn’t Izuku’s mum,” Tensei finally informs him. “Kurogiri and… Machia are friends of Izuku’s papa. They help him with cooking, and play with Izuku.”

“Why doesn’t Izuku’s mum cook?” Tenya asks with a frown. Tensei sometimes makes lunch, but their mum’s food is always the best. Maybe Izuku’s mum is like their dad, and burns everything?

“Well, you see, Izuku’s mum loved him very much,” Tensei explains to him carefully. “But she got very sick, and the doctors couldn’t make her better, so she… had to go away.”

“Like grandma?”

“Yes, just like grandma,” Tensei smiles and nods. “And I’m sure Izuku misses her very much. So he probably feels very sad. And sometimes he cries, even though he’s not hurt.”

Tenya considers this new information. He knows Izuku is really timid, and sometimes just curls up in a corner and is sad, but it makes sense. Tenya can’t imagine his mum not tucking him in, or kissing his booboos better… He sniffs and wipes at his eyes angrily, and silently promises himself he’ll hug her as soon as she gets home. Of course Izuku cries so much! He must be so sad!

Tenya silently promises himself he’ll be the best friend ever.

 

 

The next day at daycare, Izuku is suspiciously quiet. When Miss Tanaka allows them to go play outside, he just sits down next to her desk, his All Might plush clutched close.

Tenya hesitates in the doorway, since it’s really sunny, and he’s good at tag, but then he remembers his mum dropping him off, and hurries back to his friend, determined. He drops down next to him, and Izuku sniffs as he looks over at him, obviously surprised. Tenya makes sure he’s pressed up close, so Izuku knows he is – well, there.

 “Tenya?” Miss Tanaka approaches them. “Don’t you want to play outside?”

“No thank you!” Tenya answers, because he might be on a mission, but he also wants to be polite. “Izuku’s sad, so I’ll stay with him!”

The woman smiles and leaves them be, and Tenya ponders how he can make Izuku feel better. (Tensei would know what to do, but Tensei’s not here. Should he hug Izuku, or maybe…)

“…you don’t mind that I’m a crybaby?”

“Course not!” Tenya frowns, and then adds, “And you’re not a crybaby!”

“I cry a lot,” Izuku points out, sniffling. “And I’m a Deku.”

Tenya doesn’t know what a Deku is, but he chooses instead to focus on one issue at a time. (He can ask Tensei what a Deku is when he gets home, and then he can make a list of why Izuku isn’t one. Because Izuku is fun and Tenya likes him.) “Well, why are you crying?”

Izuku doesn’t answer, just buries his face in his arms, and Tenya kind of wishes Tensei were here, cause he’d know what to say. But Tenya likes Izuku, and wants to be his friend, so he’ll just have to figure something out.

“Do you miss your mum?”

The nod is barely noticeable, but Tenya almost sighs in relief.

“Then it’s alright,” he shrugs. “I miss my mum when she’s away, and I cry. But I know she’s coming back. But your mum had to go away, and she can’t come back, so it’s okay to cry!”

“…You really don’t mind?”

Tenya considers it seriously, and shakes his head. “No. I know why you cry, and you’re really fun, and smart. And I want to be your friend. So next time you’re sad, you can tell me and…” he frowns as he tries to decide what might make Izuku feel better. “I’ll hug you.”

Izuku promptly bursts into tears, and Tenya panics and runs for Miss Tanaka.

He hopes Izuku will still be his friend, even though he made him cry.

 

 

“Iida household, Takeshi speaking.”

“…”

“Hello? Who is this?”

“It’s Midoriya – Izuku’s father. I just… Called to tell you Tenya is wonderful. And amazing. And you should be proud. Goodnight.”

 

“Tenya, did anything happen at daycare today?”

Chapter Text

“Can we go yet?”

“Gigantomachia, remember: only attack on my command. No fighting without my explicit permission.”

“Can we go yet?”

“I took the initiative, sir, and packed a few spare towels.”

“Can we go yet?”

“Izuku, stands still: papa has to put this sunscreen on you.”

“Can we go yet?”

“Alright, Kurogiri, open a gate to Dagoba Beach.”

“Beach!”

 

The minute they’re through the warp gate, Izuku cheers and makes to dash over to his best friend. Hisashi grabs his son in the nick of time and crouches down in front of him. Izuku is practically vibrating with excitement, but they need to go over the ground rules (again).

“Now, Izuku, what did I tell you?”

“Don’t go in the water without you!” Izuku answers confidently.

“And?”

“If a grown up I don’t know talks to me, I scream!”

“And?”

“When you call me, I come immediately!”

“And?”

“Erm…” Izuku frowns, obviously confused.

Hisashi smiles as he ruffles his son’s curls. “I love you.”

“Love you too, papa!” Izuku chirps and quickly hugs him. Then he turns and sprints over to Tenya.

“Aw,” Katsumi Iida coos as Hisashi approaches the other parents. “That is so adorable! If only Tenya was as affectionate…”

“Glad you could make it,” the Iida patriarch greets him. “Tensei promised to join us after his shift.” Then he turns his attention to Hisashi’s companions. “Takeshi Iida. And you are?”

“Kurogiri,” the warper smoothly introduces himself. “And this is…”

“Machia!” Izuku runs over, bright eyed. “Can you play with us?”

“YES, LITTLE LORD!” Gigantomachia beams and immediately drops the parasol he was carrying on Hisashi’s foot.

“We’re the hired help,” Kurogiri explains as Hisashi drags the giant off before he says anything suspicious in his torrent of apologies.

“O…kay,” Katsumi Iida slowly nods.

“How about I help you set up?” Takeshi offers with a forced smile.

 

 

Apparently Tenya thought Machia was a dog.

Izuku isn’t sure why, since Machia doesn’t have a tail, and isn’t terribly cuddly, but he does make for an awesome dragon. And they both agree riding on his shoulder is really fun.

After a while, though, they get tired and settle down to make sandcastles. (Machia plops himself down a few yards away to watch them – Tenya apparently finds it a little scary, though Izuku can’t quite figure out why.) They’re just trying to decide whether to go searching for shells, when they hear a grown up.

“Oh, they’re so adorable! Tensei, you never told me Tenya has such a cute friend!”

“Nemuri!” Tenya cheers. He grabs Izuku and pulls him along, and Izuku goes willingly. He can see Tensei with three other people, so it’s not like they’re all strangers, and since Tensei’s a hero, they might be heroes too! Maybe they’ll give him an autograph!

He smiles as he comes to a stop next to his best friend; then he looks up and promptly bursts into tears.

 

“What the hell did you do?!” Izuku hears the female voice ask. He kind of wants to run to papa, but he’s also scared, so he hides behind Tenya. He knows Tensei said he was heroic, but Present Mic was really scary, and what if he’s still angry at Izuku?! What if he arrests him?! Will Tenya still be his friend, even when he knows how naughty Izuku was?!

Then the ground starts to shake, and Izuku just cries harder, because the thundering footsteps are coming from the direction of papa, and Machia. That means he can’t go to them, and maybe it’s a really scary villain who hurt them!...

“Villain!” one of the four screams, and Izuku grabs onto Tenya, because that means papa might be hurt! Izuku doesn’t want papa to go away like mama!

Then the shaking stops.

“What the hell?” a familiar voice – Eraserhead – mutters.

“Can that villain swim?” the lady asks.

“I… don’t think he can,” Tensei sighs. “Mic, go save him.”

“Why me?”

“Cause this is all your fault!”

“How is it my fault?!”

“SOMEONE GO SAVE THE DROWNING MAN!” the lady screams.

Izuku hears someone run off, and then – then Izuku hears the single best sound in the world.

“Izuku?!”

“Papa, I don’t want to go to jail!” he wails as he turns and sprints to his papa.

 

 

“You have three seconds before I call the police,” Hisashi hisses.

Tensei blanches, but the woman (Kayama Nemuri, hero name Midnight, Hisashi’s mental rolodex of heroes supplies) doesn’t pay him much attention as she focuses on calming Izuku.

“It’s alright, little guy, no one is taking you to jail,” she assures his back. “And if someone says they will, they’re mean liars and I’ll put them in time out.”

“Really?” Izuku sniffs as he turns slightly, but doesn’t let go of Hisashi’s leg.

“I promise,” the woman holds out her pinkie. “And I’m a hero, so you can trust me!”

“But Present Mic’s a hero too…”

“Oh, so it’s Mic,” Midnight stands up and turns to the water. “MIC, WHAT THE… WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?!”

“HE’S TRYING TO KILL US!” Present Mic screams back. He and Eraserhead are perched on a small rock, and Gigantomachia is glowering at them from the shallows. (At least the giant has enough presence of mind not to chase them out of his depth.)

“WHAT DID YOU EXPECT, TERRIFYING THE POOR DEAR?! I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!”

(Hisashi likes Midnight.)

“Gigantomachia!” Hisashi calls out to his bodyguard. As amusing as the situation is, he does not want to be implicated in a double homicide. “Fetch Izuku’s towel.”

The giant reluctantly obeys. As he lumbers away, Eraserhead jumps in the water and begins swimming back to shore. Present Mic however (showing an impressive amount of self-preservation) remains where he is.

“HIZASHI YAMADA, GET OVER HERE!”

“Mr Midoriya, why’s Izuku sad?” Tenya asks, obviously having decided Hisashi is the only sane adult present.

(Smart kid.)

“Well,” Hisashi hesitates for a second. “You see, Present Mic really scared Izuku a while back, because he thought Izuku did something bad…”

“I wanted to help!” Izuku sniffs.

Tenya takes in his friend’s tearstained face, and reaches a conclusion.

“Present Mic’s mean!” he declares and grabs Izuku’s hand. “I don’t like him anymore!”

(Has Hisashi ever mentioned he adores Tenya?)

“MIC, GET… Oh, fuck him,” Midnight throws her hands up. Then she realizes two men are glaring at her and winces. “Sorry!”

“Was Nemuri mean too?” Tenya asks.

“No, just a little naughty,” Hisashi helpfully informs him. “She just said a very bad word.”

“And I’m very sorry,” the woman adds. She crouches down in front of the two boys and smiles. “My name is Kayama Nemuri. But my hero name is Midnight.”

“Midnight!” Izuku gasps, suitably impressed and distracted. “The Arr-rated Hero!”

“What’s Arr-rated?” Tenya asks.

Izuku frowns, obviously stumped. “Maybe she’s a pirate hero?”

“Nemuri, are you a pirate?”

“Oh my god, they are so precious,” Midnight sniffs.

She is obviously a sensible, sane person (however rare it is that such individuals choose to become heroes). And Hisashi is not above recruiting people on the off chance they could be useful. So he looks down at Izuku, and instructs his son, “Izuku, be polite.”

“Sorry, papa,” Izuku nods. Then he smiles at the woman and chirps, “My name is Izuku Midoriya! I’m four!”

(Hisashi could probably recruit a small army simply with the force of Izuku’s smile.)

“Gigantomachia, Izuku will have lunch now,” Hisashi informs the giant as he reaches them. “I need to speak with Present Mic.”

(After all, Gigantomachia might not be able to swim, but Hisashi…)

 

 

“Izuku, right?”

Izuku is still a little scared of Present Mic, so he doesn’t come out from behind Tenya. (Who has decided the hero is mean, and therefore Tenya doesn't like him anymore – Tenya really is the best friend ever!) Izuku isn’t entirely sure why papa, Tensei, Midnight and the Iidas are all glaring at the blonde, or why Machia is growling so loud. (He also doesn’t know how Eraserhead can sleep despite the noise.)

“Mhm,” he nods, hesitantly.

“I’m really sorry I scared you,” Present Mic winces. “I was worried about Eraser, see, cause he’s my best friend. And I didn’t know where he was.”

“Why didn’t you call a hero?” Izuku asks. Present Mic must not be very smart, if he doesn’t remember what to do if you lose someone.

“I am a hero,” Present Mic points out. “And I called Ingenium…”

“Mum says you should tell a police person if you lose someone,” Tenya says, and Izuku perks up. Of course Tenya also knows what to do if you lose someone, since Tenya is so smart! They can teach Mic what to do together!

“Or go to the lost child centre!” Izuku adds. (He doesn’t quite know why Tensei and Midnight are snickering, but this is really important!)

“Yes, Mic, next time go to a lost child centre,” Tensei gasps out.

“Or a cat rescue!” Midnight adds.

“Eraserhead’s not a cat,” Izuku points out, confused. “He’s not fluffy!”

Chapter Text

“Papa, papa, papa!”

The minute Izuku is through Kurogiri’s Warp Gate, he bolts past Machia and up the stairs. He has super exciting news, and he wants papa to be the first to know! This is awesome, and he knows papa will understand just how important this news is! (And he knows he shouldn’t run in the house, but this is a big event! It’s like Izuku’s birthday, only it’s not his birthday!)

“Izuku?” papa looks up as Izuku runs into his study. “What is it?”

“Papa, guess what?!” Izuku knows he should stand still, but he is excited! This is awesome, and amazing, and… (Izuku will have to ask papa for more words, because he doesn’t quite know how to express how great this is!) “Tenya’s birthday is next week! He’s going to be four,” he makes sure to show the right number of fingers, because he can count (to seven!). “And he’s having a party! And he wants me to come!”

“That… That’s wonderful,” papa smiles. “We’ll have to pick him out a nice present.”

Izuku puffs up his chest as he remembers the best part. “Guess what, papa? He said he wants me to come because I’m his best friend!

Tenya is super awesome, and a great friend, and will be an amazing hero, and Izuku loves him so much, and Izuku is Tenya’s best friend! And papa obviously understands how exciting this is, because he laughs and stands up.

“Now that is wonderful news,” papa beams. “We’ll have to find him an incredible present.”

“Yes!” Izuku nods, and then, because he’s a good boy, he asks, “Can I go tell Machia? And Kurogiri?”

“You mean they don’t know yet?” papa chuckles.

“Course not!” Izuku frowns. He wanted papa to know first! And Machia might spoil the surprise! (Also, he wants to tell everyone he can, because he’s Tenya’s best friend!)

“Well, go on then!” papa laughs.

Izuku grins, spins round, and sprints out of the room.

“Machia! I’m Tenya’s BEST FRIEND!

 

It is a rather… novel experience, entering a hero agency through the front door with no dastardly schemes. Hisashi isn’t sure he quite likes the feeling. (He keeps expecting All Might to appear out of nowhere and spring a trap. Which is… No, actually it is exactly the sort of irresponsible action Hisashi would expect from him. Just in case, he tightens his grip on Izuku’s hand.) Izuku is so in awe of his surroundings, he’s gone completely silent; no exclamations and no muttering as they approach the reception desk. Hisashi regularly has to tug him along.

The woman behind the desk looks surprised, (to be expected, Hisashi supposes, since Idaten has not yet sold its soul and is not open to the public,) but quickly plasters on her best customer services smile. “Hello, and welcome to the Idaten Hero Agency. How may I help you today?”

Hisashi picks Izuku up, so he can see over the desk.

“Hello!” Izuku beams, obviously happy to have found someone who might not know the exciting news. “I’m Tenya’s best friend!”

The receptionist huffs a laugh. “Izuku, I presume?”

“Yes,” Hisashi nods as he lowers his son back down. “I’m guessing Tenya told you we’d be coming?”

Yes,” the woman replies. She lifts her phone and dials a number. “Hi, I’ve got Izuku down her in reception?”

A pause.

“Yes, that Izuku,” she giggles, and hangs up. “Someone will be down to escort you.”

She reaches into a drawer and hands them two visitor passes. Hisashi pins his to his jacket, and Izuku examines his in wonder. Then an idea seems to occur to him, and he urgently tugs on Hisashi’s sleeve.

“Papa,” he whispers once Hisashi has bent down. “Do you think we’ll see any heroes?”

As if on que, the lift doors chime open.

“Izuku!” Midnight sprints out of them. (Present Mic hobbles out after her, followed by a number of assorted sidekicks in varying degrees of shock. Hisashi barely resists his temptation to grab Izuku and run, because ALL HEROES ARE CRAZY.)

“Midnight!” Izuku cheers. “Tenya said I’m his best friend!”

“I know!” the woman beams. “Everyone is so excited to meet you!”

“You don’t say…” Hisashi murmurs as he eyes the ten or so sidekicks milling about awkwardly.

“Now, Tensei’s out on patrol, but Tenya is waiting for you in the equipment room,” Midnight laughs. “And I might happen to know someone is going to get to try on costumes!...”

“Costumes!” Izuku gasps. He spins round, wide eyed, to Hisashi. “Papa, did you hear? Costumes!”

“I heard, I heard,” Hisashi chuckles. He picks up the gift bag, and motions for Midnight to lead the way.

“That is a big bag,” Present Mic chuckles as everyone files back into the lift.

“Of course it is,” Hisashi nods and smiles. “After all, Izuku is Tenya’s best friend.”

 

Izuku is having the best day ever!

He’s not sure how many sidekicks he’s met, and Tenya is so proud to introduce him to everyone, and Present Mic isn’t at all scary and is rather fun, especially when he teaches him to dance, and then Tensei came back and he let Izuku try on his helmet!

Izuku sniffs, and wipes at his eyes. He is so happy, he can feel his happy tears coming, and he doesn’t really want everyone to see him crying, so he goes and sits by the table. Tenya is dancing with Midnight, and Izuku wants to calm down before he goes join them. (Because Tenya is a wonderful friend, and really smart, but he kind of has trouble understanding happy tears.)

“Hey, Izuku,” he hears Tensei and looks up at him. “Feeling a little tired?”

Izuku kind of doesn’t want to tell him he is, because everything is really nice and he wants to be good, but he also doesn’t want to lie. So, hesitantly, he nods. “A little…” he sniffs, and then quickly adds, “And I’m very, very happy!”

“That’s good to hear!” Tensei grins as he sits down next to Izuku. (Izuku likes his grin – Tensei is really fun, and Izuku kind of wishes he had a big brother like Tensei.) Then he glances over at papa, who is chatting with one of the sidekicks. The smile slips from his face, he takes a really deep breath, and turns back to Izuku. “Izuku, is… everything alright at home?”

Izuku isn’t quite sure why he’s asking, but he nods.

“Are you sure?” Tensei asks. He leans in a bit and lowers his voice. “Cause I’m a hero, after all, and if anything is wrong, it’s okay to tell me. You won’t get in any trouble, I promise.”

“I dunno…” Izuku hesitates, and then admits, “I do miss mama…”

“Yeah,” Tensei sighs, and pulls him into a hug. “I know. But…Your papa isn’t mean to you?”

“No!” Izuku shakes his head. “No one’s mean anymore!”

“Anymore?” Tensei pauses. “Was someone mean before?”

Izuku hesitates, but… papa said Kacchan was nasty, and mean, and he doesn’t have to see him anymore. So he nods, and leans in to whisper in Tensei’s ear, “Kacchan was mean. And he hurt me.”

“And did… Kacchan call you a Deku?”

“Yes!” Izuku nods. He doesn’t like thinking about Kacchan, and wipes at his eyes. “But papa says I don’t have to see him anymore. And Tenya’s a good friend! Papa said so! And Kacchan wasn’t! And I’m going to be a hero!...”

He sniffs again, and Tensei smiles again as he ruffles his hair, although it’s tinged with sadness.

“Izuku, your papa is right. And if anyone ever hurts you again, feel free to tell me,” he grins and points at himself. “After all, I am a hero. And just between you and me, you’re a pretty good hero, too!”

“Really?” Izuku perks up. “How?!”

“You know how All Might smiles when he helps people?” Tensei asks.

Izuku nods.

“Well, he does that to make people feel better,” Tensei grins. “Kind of like how when you’re sad, Tenya hugs you. And – I’m sure your papa misses your mum very much.”

Izuku nods again, although he doesn’t quite know what that has to do with All Might.

“But when he sees you’re happy, or when you hug him, I think that makes him feel better. So in a way, you’re your papa’s hero!”

Izuku perks up. Tensei is a hero, so he knows what heroes do, and he’s also really smart. And maybe he's right! Cause when Izuku is sad, and misses mama, papa’s kisses make him feel better! So maybe it works even for grown ups!

Izuku likes the idea of being his papa's hero.

 

Chapter Text

“Papa?”

“Yes Izuku?” Hisashi makes sure to smile as he puts the report he was reading down. He knows he needs to get it signed off today, but Izuku rarely (never) interrupts his work. And with the Bakugo unpleasantness still fresh in his mind, Hisashi is not going to risk turning him away.

Izuku hesitates in the doorway, sending Hisashi’s fatherly instincts into overdrive. He stands up and approaches his son, his heart breaking when he hears a suspicious sniffle.

“Oh, Izuku,” he sighs as he kneels and pulls his boy into a tight hug. “What’s wrong?”

Izuku wipes his eyes when they separate, and Hisashi produces a tissue and commands him to blow. Izuku obeys, but isn’t any more forthcoming. Hisashi waits patiently, but when Izuku just sniffles again, he picks his son up and moves them to his office chair. Izuku almost immediately curls up, his small fingers grasping at his father’s shirt. Hisashi allows himself to savour the feeling as he starts humming one of Inko’s favourite lullabies.

(At least he still has Izuku.)

“Papa?” Izuku finally whispers. “What if I’m Quirkless?”

He sounds so small, so broken, that Hisashi has to take a deep breath to try and stay calm (because he hates, oh he hates the Bakugo brat like nothing before).

“Then you’re Quirkless,” he finally answers, in as nonchalant a manner as he can manage. “But we don’t know that yet. Some people don’t get their Quirk until they’re older; it happens. Where did you hear that word, anyway?”

Izuku’s sniffles are enough of an answer, and Hisashi presses a quick kiss to those adorable green curls. They sit in relative silence for a while, Hisashi occasionally carding his fingers through Izuku’s hair.

“Kacchan said I was Quirkless…” Izuku finally whispers.

“And Kacchan is so smart,” Hisashi rolls his eyes. “Izuku, I don’t care about your Quirk. Never have, never will. Do you know why?”

“Why?”

“Because I love you. Because you’re so smart, and kind, and polite, and every day I am so, so proud of you,” Hisashi presses his lips to Izuku’s head. “You don’t need a Quirk. Nobody needs a Quirk. If anyone ever tells you otherwise, then they’re fools, and you need to inform me immediately.”

Izuku nods hesitantly, and Hisashi resists the urge to sigh.

“Kacchan was very mean, and a very bad friend,” he explains instead. “Friends don’t say nasty things to friends or make them cry. So if anyone ever does anything like that, tell a grown up, understand?”

Izuku nods again.

“Now, does Tenya care whether you have a Quirk?”

“No…”

“That’s because Tenya is a good friend. Tenya cares that you are a very nice boy, and you want to help people, and you like playing with him.”

Izuku nods, but it's slow, and hesitant, and Hisashi knows this is not the last he's heard of Quirklessness. But Izuku is still young, and probably is not up to a lesson about prejudice, and definitely not capable of understanding why there is no worry he will be Quirkless. So Hisashi decides they can come back to this another day, and they both certainly deserve a pick-me-up. “Now, I think we need a therapeutic helping of ice cream. Sound good?”

Izuku perks up and nods.

“And how about we curl up on the couch and have a TV marathon?”

Even as faint as it is, Izuku’s smile means everything.

 

 

Izuku wishes his Quirk would show up already.

He knows papa said it would come when it was ready, but Izuku is the only child at daycare who doesn’t have a Quirk yet. And although Tenya doesn’t seem to mind being friends with someone without a Quirk, he’s had Engine since he was a baby, so he can’t really imagine not having a Quirk. (Not that Izuku wouldn’t want to be friends with Tenya if he didn’t have Engine, but…)

And Quirks are so amazing, and Izuku wants to know what his Quirk will be! His parents aren’t like Mr and Mrs Iida (who both have Quirks that make them really fast, so of course Tenya and Tensei have Quirks that make them really fast), they have really different Quirks, so Izuku can’t really guess what his Quirk will be. He wonders whether he’ll take after mama, or maybe his Quirk will be like papa’s…

Izuku pauses in his musings as a thought occurs to him.

What exactly is papa’s Quirk?

He knows about mama’s; can even sort of remember it in use, back before she got really sick and had to go away. But no matter what, he can’t recall papa ever explaining his own Quirk. It’s probably some sort of healing, Izuku decides, because he can always kiss Izuku’s owies better. But he didn’t kiss Eraserhead, and Eraserhead got better anyway after papa touched him.

Izuku ponders the mystery as he eats dinner, and by the time Kurogiri stands to clear the table, Izuku has reached a decision.

He just has to figure out papa’s Quirk!

The super-important-very-secret mission begins early the next day. Izuku needs to figure out the ins and outs – he knows papa’s Quirk works on scraped knees and burns, but he isn’t sure if it works on broken bones, and… and tummy aches. Izuku frowns as he considers his plan, and almost backs out. But he’s not a coward (unlike what Kacchan says). And he needs to find out about papa’s Quirk. And maybe, just maybe, his own Quirk will activate.

Izuku takes a deep breath and jumps off the dining room table.

The pain is so bad he almost faints; all thoughts of Quirks forgotten, he starts to sob. He wants his papa, and his leg hurts, and he doesn’t care if he’s a crybaby!...

“Little Lord!” Machia cries out as he comes thundering into the room, and Izuku starts crying louder. He’s hurt, and scared, and he wants papa.

Gignatomachia takes in the sight of a hysterical toddler and makes possibly the smartest decision in his life. He spins around, smacks his head on the doorframe and thunders out, bellowing at the top of his lungs, “Lord! Lord! Little Lord is dying!”

Papa appears in a matter of seconds, a panicked expression on his face, dressed only in black boxers, and if Izuku wasn’t quite so scared, he would have wondered about the flicker of flame coming from his mouth. But Izuku is hurt, and frightened, and so he reaches out for papa, who immediately kneels and pulls Izuku close.

“Izuku, what’s wrong?” Papa asks.

“…Leg,” Izuku chokes out between sobs. “Hurts!”

“Oh, Izuku,” papa sighs, and for a minute they simply sit there. Izuku is still hurt, and still sad, but at least papa doesn’t seem to mind Izuku’s a crybaby. So he snuggles up a little bit closer, because just being with papa makes the pain hurt less…

…his leg itches.

“What’s wrong?” papa asks as Izuku shifts.

“…Itchy…” Izuku whines in response, and papa laughs, obviously relieved.

“That’s just the healing Quirk,” he explains, and Izuku realizes that sure enough, as the itching increases, the pain vanishes. Izuku’s interest is peaked, and he remembers why he went through with this silly (stupid, stupid, stupid!) plan. But the itching is already fading, and Izuku panics, because it’s too soon, he doesn’t know how it works, and he doesn’t want to have to do this again! If he could only… borrow it, only for a few seconds…

And something clicks.

The Quirk isn’t fading anymore. If anything, it feels stronger than before, a strange warmth-but-not-quite thrumming under his skin. Izuku pokes at it and marvels, so enraptured he doesn’t notice the puzzled (almost comical) expression on papa’s face.

“Izuku…” papa finally speaks, and Izuku freezes, because he sounds so uncertain, so unsure, it’s scary. “…What did you just do?”

Izuku stops pondering over the Quirk, but it’s still there, even though there’s nothing left to heal, and Izuku suddenly understands. He can feel it so well because it’s in him. Because somehow, without meaning to, he took it, like a thief.

Izuku bursts into tears.

Papa doesn’t have a Quirk anymore, and it’s all Izuku’s fault! Izuku didn’t mean to, but now papa will be angry, and think Izuku was naughty! And what will Tenya think? Will he think Izuku’s a mean thief, too? Will he think Izuku wants to take Engine? Will Tensei arrest him and send him to prison?! Izuku doesn’t want someone else’s Quirk! He didn’t mean to, he…

Why isn’t papa angry?

Izuku realizes papa isn’t shouting, and looks up at papa. Who is smiling. Izuku wipes at his eyes, puzzled. (Does papa not mind not having a Quirk anymore? Does he still love Izuku, even though Izuku is a naughty thief?)

Papa takes the opportunity to grab and lift him, spinning them around, laughing. It’s so unexpected Izuku joins in, because papa obviously doesn’t mind not having a Quirk anymore. (Even though Izuku can't understand why. Izuku would be sad if he had a Quirk and then lost it...)

“My little boy got his Quirk!” papa cheers, and then pauses to look down at Izuku, suddenly serious. Izuku almost panics, but then papa sighs. “But you need to promise me you’ll stop growing up so fast. Next thing I know, you’ll be off to work, and I’ll be all alone, and you’ll never call me…”

“Papaa!” Izuku whines, because papa is being silly. Papa just laughs, and presses a big kiss to Izuku’s cheek, and it’s so nice, so pleasant, but he still needs to make sure… “You’re not mad?”

“Course not,” papa smiles.

He doesn’t say anything; he doesn’t have to. Because Izuku feels it (but also at the same time doesn’t); that Quirk he took (papa’s Quirk) is just suddenly gone, and papa winks.

Izuku covers his mouth to muffle his laughter, because papa can do it too! (And that must mean it’s not naughty, and papa’s obviously not mad, and if papa can do it, he must still love Izuku, even if Izuku stole his Quirk! Maybe papa accidentally stole someone’s Quirk when he was little, too!)

“Kurogiri!” papa yells as he carries Izuku out of the dining room. “We need a cake! We’re celebrating!”

In the ensuing excitement, Izuku forgets all about the events leading up to his Quirk manifesting. In fact, he only remembers once papa is tucking him into bed.

“By the way, Izuku, how did you hurt your leg?”

Chapter Text

“Papa, how many Quirks do you have?”

Hisashi slowly lowers his paper and almost wishes he hadn’t. Izuku is staring at him, green eyes wide and sparkling. (Why did he have to inherit those from Inko, why, why, why?) Hisashi ponders the best way to respond, because Izuku is asking what every law enforcement agency in the world would kill to know.

Kurogiri thankfully comes to his rescue, warping into the room with Izuku’s beloved All Might backpack. (What did he ever do to deserve a fanboy? Wait, no, never mind.)

“Izuku, it’s time to go.”

Izuku’s face falls, but he does not protest. He finishes his milk and jumps down from his chair, and Hisashi stands up to accept his morning hug. As Izuku follows Kurogiri out of the room to get his shoes, Hisashi can faintly hear him ask about the range of Warp Gate.

He doesn’t bother picking his paper back up. Instead he frowns, pours himself another cup of coffee, and calls his secretary to let her know he won’t be able to make it into the office.

He was older than Izuku when he first discovered his Quirk, but then he had hardly been expecting to develop any sort of ‘meta ability’. It took years of trial and error to find all the drawbacks and limitations, and many more to master it fully. And of course those years brought with them pain, both mental and physical, pain that he would dearly love to spare Izuku.

Really, the present situation is the worst case scenario: no matter how well behaved he may be, Izuku is still a child. Sooner or later, he’ll slip up, and then it’s just a matter of time before law enforcement comes knocking. Because Izuku is so excited about his Quirk, and so curious to find out how it, and others work.

He considers taking All For One from his son and wiping the whole table incident from his memory. He can easily falsify medical records, after all, and Izuku need not remain Quirkless. Inko’s Quirk is safely tucked away, just waiting to be transferred. And Izuku not returning immediately to daycare can be easily explained away; it is perfectly plausible that Izuku manifesting the same Quirk as his recently deceased mother would be rather… distressing.

Hisashi sets down his coffee and leaves the kitchen; there’s a bottle of whisky waiting in his office.

He needs to take Izuku’s Quirk.

 

 

But when Izuku arrives home, bright eyed and eager to tell anyone who will listen about the zoo, (The elephant was even bigger than Machia! And there were baby tigers!), he doesn’t.

He humours Izuku’s sleepy request for a bedtime story, and even though his son dozes off midway, he still reads all the way to the end. Then he quietly closes the book and just sits and watches Izuku sleep.

Although he has been trying, he knows he is far from a perfect father. The Bakugo debacle was proof of that. The situation snowballed because Izuku had no one to turn to, no one he could trust.

Hisashi reaches out.

His hand never shook before, he notes absentmindedly. But he needs to maintain the illusion of a law-abiding family, he needs to keep heroes unaware of All For One’s possible survival. Izuku’s Quirk has to…

“Papa…”

Izuku is barely audible as he mumbles and rolls over, sound asleep, but Hisashi jerks back as if burnt. His eyes fall on the photo of Inko hanging over Izuku’s bed, and suddenly he can’t breathe. He needs to get out; he almost trips over his own feet as he hurries from the room.

He presses himself to the wall outside, gasping for breath, even as Izuku sleeps on, blissfully unaware. He rakes his hand through his hair, trying to gather the courage to go back in, and does his best to ignore the crushing guilt. He needs to do this, but he keeps seeing Inko’s face and the utter betrayal in her eyes, and he can’t seem to find the words that would allow her to understand

And then her face slowly morphs, and he barely makes it to the bathroom before he’s sick. Kurogiri appears, obviously concerned, but Hisashi can’t bring himself to care. Because Izuku is smart, and intelligent, and he could guess. And Hisashi would never be able to lie to him. All he can see is an older Izuku, an Izuku who looks so very much like his mother, who got absolutely nothing from his father, not even his name.

An older Izuku, who is staring at him with such betrayal in his eyes.

“Papa?” he hears a familiar voice on the other side of the door, and almost throws up again.

He somehow swallows down the bile and does his best to keep his voice steady as he calls out, “Izuku, go back to bed.”

“But papa…”

He sees the doorhandle move, and his blood runs cold. He can’t face Izuku, not now. Something inside him just snaps.

“IZUKU, GO TO BED!”

There’s a muffled thump on the other side of the door, a faint sniffle and then the soft patter of retreating footsteps.

Hisashi did not know he could feel worse, but somehow, he’s managed it. He’s never raised his voice at Izuku before, not once, not even when he was misbehaving. His son did nothing wrong, was probably simply concerned for his father. Hisashi groans and leans his head against the toilet.

He completely forgets about Kurogiri, until the warper clears his throat.

“I will make a pot of tea.”

There is no judgement in his tone, no reproach, and Hisashi is somewhat thankful. His own conscience is more than enough.

Hisashi does not bother answering, he just closes his eyes and tries to figure out how to deal with this mess.

 

 

Izuku is being a good boy.

He sniffles and wipes angrily at his eyes. Tenya doesn’t mind that he cries a lot, not like Kacchan, but he still doesn’t want to be a crybaby. (Because what if Tenya decides he’s too annoying? Izuku really likes having a friend that doesn’t call him names or hurt him.)

Izuku doesn’t know why papa was angry, but obviously he did something really wrong. He frowns down at his picture; papa must be really mad, because he wasn’t there when Izuku came down for breakfast, and he didn’t tuck Izuku in last night…

Izuku wipes his nose and reaches for his red crayon. If he makes a really nice picture, maybe papa won’t be angry anymore…

“Izuku, don’t wipe your nose on your sleeve.”

The crayon falls to the floor. Izuku can feel tears gathering, but he doesn’t want to make papa angrier. Kacchan’s right, he’s stupid. He can’t do anything right…

“Oh, Izuku,” he hears papa sigh. He doesn’t dare look up as papa walks over and crouches down next to his chair.

“Izuku, look at me, please.”

He doesn’t want to, but he also wants to be a good boy, so he obeys. Papa doesn’t look angry; in fact he looks sad as he takes in Izuku’s tearstained face.

“Oh, Izuku,” papa repeats, and pulls him into a tight hug. Izuku goes willingly, clinging to papa as he sobs and apologizes, and papa holds him, and shushes him, and repeats over and over how much he loves Izuku.

Once Izuku has cried himself out, papa helps him wipe his eyes and blow his nose, and they move to the sofa. Izuku clutches his plush, and moves closer to papa, who doesn’t complain.

“Izuku, I need to apologise.”

“Why?” Izuku frowns and looks up to find papa watching him with a sad smile.

“I shouldn’t have shouted at you. Papa was sick, and didn’t want you to get ill too. But you were just worried, weren’t you?”

Izuku nods.

“You just wanted to make sure I was alright. You didn’t do anything wrong. I am very sorry for shouting at you, Izuku. Can you forgive me?”

“Yes!” Izuku immediately hugs his papa, who chuckles.

“Since I was so mean, I brought you a present.”

Izuku kind of doesn’t want to let go, but he’s curious to know what his present is. Papa chuckles again and moves to crouch down in front of him, so they are face to face.

“Now Izuku, before I give you it, I need you to understand something about our Quirk. It can be really strong, see, so papa keeps it a secret. Because otherwise bad people will want it. And they’ll come and hurt us. Can you keep it a secret?”

Izuku nods hesitantly, although he doesn’t quite understand.

“Good,” papa smiles and ruffles his hair. “You’re such a smart boy. If anyone asks, tell them you’re like mum, alright?”

Izuku nods again, this time with more confidence. Obviously it’s not lying if papa says he should say so, and Izuku can do that. Besides, taking Quirks isn’t really impressive. (It’s kind of scary – Izuku doesn’t want Tenya to think he’s a thief, because thieves are villains.)

“Now, Quirks are fascinating, aren’t they?”

“Yeah!” Izuku immediately smiles and nods eagerly. “I want to know all about them! Then I can be the bestest hero!”

“You are definitely my son,” papa mutters with a smile. Izuku isn’t sure what’s so funny, but grown ups are strange.

He’s quickly distracted, anyway. Papa hands him his gift, and Izuku gasps. It’s a really pretty notebook, with a fancy black cover, and a clasp, and gold letters that Izuku recognizes from the label on his coat!

“I thought you could write your notes about Quirks in this.”

Izuku is about to take it, but then he realizes something and looks down guiltily. “Papa, I can’t write.”

Papa gasps. “Oh, I’m so sorry, Izuku! I forgot you haven’t learnt yet!”

Izuku wishes he hadn’t said anything. Perhaps papa will still let him keep the notebook; he might not be able to write in it, but he can draw heroes with cool Quirks, and his future costumes. He’s about to suggest as much, when papa snaps his fingers.

“Of course! Since this is all my fault, I’ll just have to write the notes for you! Then, when you can write them yourself, you can take over. We’ll have to set aside time every day for the note taking…”

Izuku almost knocks papa over as he launches himself at him. The idea of learning about Quirks is awesome, especially if he has a pretty notebook for observations.

But the idea of papa spending time every day helping him with his notes is even better.

Chapter Text

Kurogiri was always sure, growing up, that he knew what his future held. He would be a villain; not because he had some insatiable desire for money, or destruction, or because he hated the world around him, but because he had to. His father, a petty criminal in Kyoto, made the most of his son’s Quirk until he finally got caught.

Kurogiri enjoyed his time in foster care, until he was told his father would be released; then he ran away to Tokyo. Petty crime became his only means of survival, and any dreams he might have had of becoming a cook in some small, quaint café, were ruthlessly squashed. He needed to remain emotionless to survive, he knew.

But when he finally decided he needed to swear his loyalty to the fearsome All For One, he never expected his new role would be some sort of glorified butler-slash-babysitter-slash-taxi. And yet here he is, loading the washing machine with dirty bedding, whilst comforting a tearful child, rather than lying dead in a ditch, or languishing in Tartarus.

“It’s alright,” he assures Izuku as he switches on the appliance. “Accidents happen. Come on, I’ll make you a bed on the sofa.”

Like most crises in the Midoriya household, it all started with Gigantomachia. In this case, at least, it did not entail significant property damage; instead, he came thundering down the stairs, shouting, “Little Lord is dying!”

Because everyone present was familiar with Gigantomachia, there was no immediate panic. Midoriya (and it is still so strange to call All For One by ‘name’) lowered his coffee cup and with a sigh, gestured for Kurogiri to go check on Izuku. Which Kurogiri did, once he had switched off the stove.

As it turned out, Izuku had come down with the flu, and so had to stay home from daycare. Which, since his father had a meeting with some politicians (and probably couldn’t reschedule without creating a significant risk to civilian life as a suitable diversion), meant Kurogiri had to stay home and Gigantomachia needed to go. (Because Gigantomachia should only be left alone with Izuku for short periods, with very clear instructions, once Midoriya has considered all possible outcomes. Kurogiri likes the giant well enough, but he is a walking disaster.)

Of course, Gigantomachia protested, but Midoriya is a master of twisting the facts to his advantage. (Kurogiri suspects it is not so much the result of a successful career as a villain, but more necessitated by several years interacting with his bodyguard.)

Kurogiri does not mind the change of plans. Midoriya may be a better boss than expected, but he has no illusions. From the moment Inko Midoriya answered her door, his fate was sealed. All For One is hardly going to allow him to waltz off into the sunset after learning his greatest secret.

But, he reflects as he tucks Izuku in, it could be worse. He might not be… happy, but there is an odd sort of contentment about his current domesticity. He is an opportunist, pure and simple; he never cared about All For One’s ideology or admired the man himself, not like Gigantomachia.

(And yet, out of the whole household, he probably has the most in common with the giant.)

Kurogiri smiles as he straightens a photo of Inko.

 

 

“You should not be here!” Gigantomachia exclaims. “Go away, Mist Man!”

Kurogiri tries not to take it personally. (Even if he sighs at the nickname – how come Izuku can remember his name, and the decades old, deadly giant insists on calling him a name straight out of a children’s book?)

Midoriya is not particular about where his groceries come from, only that Izuku has a well-balanced diet, and Kurogiri takes full advantage of the credit card he’s been issued. (True, he could probably be quicker, but you can taste the difference!) However, it is now important he gets the fish in the fridge as soon as possible and having Gigantomachia blocking the kitchen door is not appreciated. In fact, the giant seems determined not to let him in, and Kurogiri nearly drops one of his bags as he tries to get past the larger man. He almost falls flat on his butt as Gigantomachia pushes him back.

And then, as if he has not been through enough humiliation in his life, the man grabs him under the shoulders, carries him out of the house, drops him on the doorstep and promptly slams the front door in his face.

Kurogiri stares at it, flummoxed. Gigantomachia is odd at the best of times, but he has no idea what has prompted this. He sighs, briefly considers just taking the hint and going somewhere to get blind drunk, and then warps into the kitchen.

(Locking someone out tends to be more effective when said person cannot teleport.)

The kitchen is his refuge; he is the only one with an interest in cooking (and Gigantomachia can barely fit in the room). Midoriya is a perfectly adequate cook, but Kurogiri is the only member of the household now who enjoys flipping through magazines, testing new recipes, and just – creating. Perhaps one day Izuku will be interested in joining him, but for now, at least, the kitchen is regarded by everyone as Kurogiri’s room.

So when he steps into the kitchen, he does not expect to find someone brandishing an egg whisk at him.

“What the!...” Midoriya mutters. “Shouldn’t you be shopping?”

The kitchen, his beautiful, perfect kitchen, looks like a warzone. The smell of burning something hangs in the air, and flour and sugar are spilt over the counters and floor. Midoriya’s hair is dishevelled and distinctly whiter than before, and the man looks positively haggard in his lilac apron. Izuku, in contrast, is positively beaming. Inko’s apron is far too big on him, but as he’s standing on a chair, it at least doesn’t trail on the floor. There is coloured icing smeared on his cheeks, like some feeble attempt at warpaint.

It is very hard to feel content as Kurogiri looks at the kitchen and realizes how many hours it will take to clean up the mess. (He really should have just taken the hint and gone to get drunk.)

“Happy birthday, Kurogiri!” Izuku cheers. Then he frowns. “But you have to go away until we bake your cake.”

Kurogiri stares at the boy, dumbfounded. He doesn’t celebrate his birthday, doesn’t even know when…

 

“What do you mean, you don’t know?” Inko huffs. “You have to know when you were born!”

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” Kurogiri shifts anxiously. He kind of wants to warp away, but Izuku is studying his fingers, fascinated, and he does not want to know how All For One would react if he dropped his son. Or kidnapped him, even accidentally.

“Oh, don’t apologise,” Inko groans. “And don’t call me ma’am; it makes me feel old!”

She finishes folding her washing and pauses to examine Kurogiri. He shifts under her scrutiny and almost panics when she smiles.

“Well then today’s your birthday!” she declares and vanishes off into her closet.

Kurogiri can only stare after her, dumbfounded, especially when she emerges seconds later with some sort of parcel.

“Happy birthday!” she cheers, as she presents it to him.

“Happy!” Izuku shouts.

“And once Hisashi’s back, I’ll teach you how to bake a cake!”

 

 

“Kurogiri? Do you not like cake?” Izuku asks as Kurogiri wipes at his eyes.

“No, I…” he pauses to swallow. “…I like cake. I like it a lot. But I like baking it even more.”

“Wonderful,” Midoriya’s shoulders slump in relief. “What do we do first?”

Kurogiri takes in the man’s haggard appearance and reaches a decision. “You can get out of my kitchen,” Kurogiri informs him. “There might still be hope for Izuku, but…”

It says a lot that Midoriya doesn’t protest.

As he helps Izuku measure out the flour, Kurogiri smiles.

Perhaps he can be happy after all.

Chapter Text

The biggest challenge of civilian life, Hisashi muses as he steps into the elevator, is resisting the temptation to murder foolish upstarts. It has become easier over the years, especially when he knows Izuku is waiting in his office (and it’s still such a novel concept, having an actual office with a desk, and a secretary).

“Mister!” someone tugs on his jacket and slowly, ever so slowly, he looks down…

…Why does it feel like he’s started collecting children?

The youngest Todoroki beams up at him, recognizable despite his now black hair, and Hisashi can only despair. He knows the child snuck up on him because he is no threat (Hisashi could end him with a flick of the wrist). If he keeps reminding himself of that, perhaps it will help him feel better about how much his instincts have dulled in the past few years. (Or he could ask Izuku for a hug – Izuku’s hugs do make everything better.)

“What is it?” Hisashi asks with a sigh as the lift dings and the doors open.

“Thank you for punching my father!” the boy grins as he follows Hisashi like a little duckling. (Or a lamb to the slaughter.)

“You’re welcome,” he sighs. He’s about to instruct his secretary to contact the former Mrs Todoroki, when an idea occurs to him. He slowly crouches before the young boy and asks, (ignoring his secretary’s muffled giggles, because he’s a retired supervillain and just because his fiendish plans aren’t quite as ambitious as before doesn’t mean they’re any less impressive,) “Tell me, Todoroki – how do you feel about heroes?”

“My name’s not Todoroki!” the kid insists, because of course that’s the most important issue at hand. He puffs up his chest and, with that stubborn tilt of the head that has Hisashi’s fatherly instincts screaming in terror, he declares, “My name is Shoto Yukiyama!”

Well, at least the former Mrs Todoroki was smart enough to change her name.

“Wonderful,” Hisashi answers and stands up.

He’s relieved, when he opens the door, to find Izuku and Gigantomachia are (only) drawing, spread out on the floor. (He just hopes none of the papers are important documents. Gigantomachia can somehow turn the most innocent activity into a crisis.)

“Papa!” Izuku exclaims as he looks up from his paper, that wonderful smile of his on his face. Then he spots Todo Yukiyama and frowns, obviously puzzled. “Who’s that?”

“Izuku, this is Shoto,” Hisashi informs his son as he clambers to his feet. “I’m going to go find his mum, so play nicely for now, alright?”

“Okay!” Izuku chirps like the beam of sunshine he is, and then dashes forwards and hugs his father. Hisashi allows himself to enjoy it (and ignores the sneaking suspicion he has that goofy smile on his face). Then his son lets him go and turns his green eyes on Shoto.

The other boy is hesitant at first. But Izuku is… well, Izuku, and soon manages to coax him forwards.

Hisashi tries not to dwell on how Shoto perks up when Izuku offers him his All Might plush.

 

 

The public relations department is in a state of what could be best described as organized chaos. Hisashi is not entirely sure who thought Shoto might be hiding in the paper shredders (although he is glad he left Izuku upstairs – no need to give him any ideas about indoor snow). The mother at least is easy to locate; she has a rather bad hair dye job, she’s sitting next to her supervisor and she looks like she’s on the verge of a panic attack (and Hisashi wishes he couldn’t relate quite so well).

“Yukiyama?” he asks, and her head shoots up.

He almost expects her to keel over as the colour drains from her face.

“I believe I have something of yours,” he states, and has to desperately stamp down on his glee as absolute silence falls. At least he can still inspire fear.

“I’m so sorry!” Rei blurts out, and Hisashi sighs as she starts to sob. This is his life now; stray kids and overemotional women.

“It’s fine,” he assures her as he swipes a box of tissues from one of the desks. He really shouldn’t have gotten out of the habit of carrying several packs around, but they reminded him too much of Inko. (And if he happens to notice Inko’s crying was a lot more attractive than the former Mrs Todoroki, no one will ever know.)

“I am so, so sorry,” the woman repeats. “I swear, I never brought him in before! My babysitter cancelled, and I didn’t know what to do! I…”

“It’s fine!” Hisashi cuts in. He might be a bit sharp, but it does the trick. He sighs again; he has a lot less practice comforting panicking mothers than mentally torturing people. “I have no intentions of firing you; I’d just like you to retrieve Shoto before he burns down my office.”

At least motherly indignation snaps her out of fretting over job security. She draws herself up, and in a frosty tone declares, “I’ll have you know Shoto is very well behaved!”

“It’s not Shoto I’m worried about,” Hisashi shrugs and turns away. He can hear the woman sputter and hurry to catch up to him, but doesn’t slow his pace. He knows Izuku; present him with an interesting Quirk and there’s no stopping him. (And he knows full well who Izuku takes after – it’s strange how pride can mix so well with terror.)

The lift ride passes in silence; Hisashi can tell the woman is more than a little worried about how she spoke to him, but he has his own concerns. (Surely Gigantomachia knows not to let them ‘experiment’ in his office, surely fear of his Lord’s disapproval will overrule his fondness for Izuku…)

Thankfully, nothing is on fire when he opens the door. Izuku is practically vibrating with excitement, bombarding Shoto with questions which the other boy doesn’t even seem to be trying to answer. Gigantomachia is watching them with a beaming smile, seemingly unaware of the large patch of ice covering the floor.

“Shoto!” the former Mrs Todoroki exclaims, rushing over to her son. (And almost slipping on the ice. Hisashi wonders if the cleaners will be able to remove it, or if there is some sort of specialist company his secretary should call…)

Izuku’s smile seems to dim as he watches the mother and son, and it cuts Hisashi to the core. But then he perks up, and rushes over to his father.

“Papa, guess what?” he exclaims, green eyes sparkling as he tugs at Hisashi’s jacket. “Shoto wants to be a hero, too! And his Quirk’s so cool! And he loves All Might, too!”

“Wonderful,” Hisashi sighs as he ruffles his son’s curls. “Another one for the peanut gallery.”

“And Shoto’s never had cake before!” Izuku frowns, obviously outraged, and Hisashi feels a smile tug at his lips at the adorable sight. “So I said he could come to my birthday party!” And then, in a move that has Hisashi’s heart brimming with pride, Izuku looks up at him, green eyes wide and gleaming. “Can he, papa? Please?”

Intentional or not, such blatant manipulation needs to be encouraged. They have years to work on refining technique; Izuku is smart enough that a few lessons on human psychology should go a long way.

“What say you, Yukiyama?” Hisashi asks the woman, who just looks at him, puzzled. “Izuku’s birthday is next week, and apparently he’d like Shoto to attend.”

“May I, mama?” the boy in question tugs on his mother’s hand.

"Please!" Izuku hurries back over. "It'll be fun! And you don't even have to bring me a present!"

"I..." the woman hesitates as two pairs of wide eyes gaze up at her. Then Shoto frowns.

"But it's your birthday," he points out as he turns to Izuku.

"Yeah, but..." Izuku shrugs, and then an idea seems to occur to him. "Do you want to be friends?"

"Yes!" Shoto immediately nods, and Izuku beams as he spins back to look at Hisashi.

"Papa, I got a new friend!" he exclaims, and then turns back to Shoto. "Legos are fun, but I'd rather you be my friend! So you gave me a present!"

Shoto beams himself, obviously delighted, and then looks up at his mother. "Mama, I've got a friend!"

"And if you come, you can meet Tenya!" Izuku continues. "And he's my friend too, and nice, and you can be friends with him too! And then we'll all be friends!"

"Mama, can I go? Please?" Shoto tugs on his mother's hand. "Please? Please?"

“If Mr Midoriya doesn’t mind…” the woman agrees hesitantly, and Shoto smiles.

It is a small smile, nothing like Izuku's beaming smile as he cheers and grabs hold of Shoto's hand, but Hisashi knows it must mean the world to To Yukiyama. There will still be many more years of tears, of irrational fear, perhaps even despair. But there will be more moments like this – Izuku chattering away, telling Shoto all about his best friend. Moments that make it all worth it, moments that as a parent you sear into your memory so you never forget.

And as he passes Yukiyama a box of tissues, Hisashi knows Inko would be proud.

Chapter Text

Izuku isn’t entirely sure an aquarium will be a fun place for a birthday party. (How fun can looking at fishies be, after all?) But Tenya said it would be edu-cational, and Shoto said he wanted to see penguins. And papa seemed certain Izuku would like it…

“Right, Izuku, hold on to my hand,” papa instructs as he lifts Izuku off his shoulders. “We need to wait here for your friends, and then a very special… person will meet us to tell us all about the fish.”

Izuku still is not convinced how fun it’ll be, but he soon spots Shoto and waves him over.

“Happy birthday,” his new friend wishes him, still clutching his mum’s hand. Izuku isn’t sure why he seems so scared, because no one is yelling. But he can understand being shy, since he remembers how nervous he was when he first met Tenya. And if Shoto is worried with him like he was with Tenya, then all he has to do is be an awesome friend!

“Tenya’ll be here soon!” Izuku informs Shoto with a smile. Shoto’ll probably be nervous around Tenya, after all, so Izuku needs to let him know his best friend is nice and not at all scary (even if he can be kind of loud). “Tenya’s my best friend. He has an awesome Quirk, and he’s gonna be a hero too!” He gasps as an idea occurs to him. “We could all be heroes together!”

The idea is so wonderful, Izuku can’t wait till Tenya arrives to tell him! They’ll have to start thinking about hero names, and moves, and he still needs to figure out how Shoto’s Quirk works, and…

“Izuku, you’re muttering,” papa gently tugs on his hand, and Izuku snaps out of his musings.

Papa had laughed when he’d first found out about it, and then said he used to do the same when he was small, so Izuku doesn’t feel embarrassed about muttering anymore. (Kacchan was obviously wrong when he said it was freaky, because papa’s not freaky!) Papa is trying to help him stop doing it, though, even if there’s no rush. (Cause if he has to fight a villain has really good hearing, the villain might overhear Izuku’s plan! Papa is so smart to think of it! Izuku made sure to give him extra hugs when he agreed to help Izuku stop muttering!)

Izuku returns to searching the entrance room and cheers as he spots Tensei. He grabs Shoto’s hand, and pulls him and (because he’s a good boy) papa over to the Iida brothers. (Hisashi goes willingly, barely controlling his snickering.)

“Happy birthday, Izuku!” Tenya grins at his friend, and then pauses when he notices the unfamiliar boy next to him.

“Hi Tenya, hi Tensei!” Izuku beams. “This is Shoto! He wants to be a hero too!” Then he frowns as he remembers the shocking discovery he made earlier. “And he’s never had cake!”

Tenya gasps, suitably horrified, and Tensei lets out an undignified snort at the expression on the boys’ faces. Said snorting only gets worse when two pairs of large eyes turn on him, outraged. (Hisashi is so grateful for all those showdowns against One For All users – they did wonders for his poker face.)

“I’m Tenya, and this is my brother, Tensei,” Tenya introduces himself, and then leans in close to Shoto and adds in a hushed voice, “He’s a hero! With a license!”

Shoto looks suitably impressed, glancing up at the young man who grins and waves, and Izuku beams. He might not know why Shoto is scared, and sad, but Tenya can help. Tenya helped Izuku when Kacchan made him feel sad, and now Izuku knows all about what a good friend is like.

“Tickets have been paid for, so how about we go find out guide?” papa suggests. “I think you’ll really like him, Izuku!”

Izuku still isn’t convinced, but he follows his papa through the turnstiles and into the lift. Tenya is excitedly telling Shoto about Ingenium whilst Tensei pretends not to hear, Shoto glancing up at the young hero with increasing admiration. As soon as the lift doors open, Izuku gasps.

“It’s Gang Orca!”

The hero is hovering awkwardly by the first tank, dressed in civilian clothes with a name tag pinned to his shirt. Most of the patrons are giving him a wide berth; Izuku immediately makes to run over to him. He stops halfway, runs back, and grabs Shoto’s hand.

(Rei Yukiyama does laugh at the adorable sight, especially when Tenya catches up to them and grabs her son’s free hand. Hisashi has no time to coo though – there are pictures to be taken!)

“Hi, Mr Gang Orca, sir!” Izuku greets the hero with a beaming smile and sparkling eyes. “I’m Izuku! This is my best friend Tenya, and my new friend, Shoto! We’re going to be heroes!”

“We’re the eleven o’clock tour,” papa supplies as the adults join them. Mrs Yukiyama is wiping at her eyes, and Izuku would wonder if she’s sick, but she’s obviously excited to meet a hero! (Izuku can completely understand crying when you’re really happy – he’ll have to make sure to get her an autograph, too!)

“Oh yes,” Gang Orca smiles. (Izuku thinks he’s smiling, at least – it’s kind of hard to tell…) “Now, have any of you boys visited before?...”

 

 

“It’s educational! If I don’t become a hero, I’ll be a rayologist!”

“That’s not a real title, Tenya,” Tensei laughs.

His brother’s frown only deepens as he draws himself up to his full height. “It will be when I grow up!”

Izuku smiles from where he’s watching the two.

Tenya really liked the manta rays, and Izuku can kind of understand why, because they were really big, and really cool. He had a hard time deciding on a favourite, because apparently the sea has a lot of awesome animals (not all of which were fish!). Finally he settled on jelly fishies, cause they’re really pretty, although he made sure to tell Gang Orca just how hard it was to decide between them and orcas. (Which are dolphins! He can’t wait to tell Miss Tanaka!)

Shoto has already left, proudly carrying his brand new penguin plush. Izuku still does not understand why the grown ups wouldn’t let Shoto freeze some of the penguin enclosure if their cooling machine thing wasn’t working – penguins like ice, after all! But Shoto still really liked them, and promptly declared when he becomes a hero, he’ll be “The Ice Hero: Penguin”.

Izuku yawns and frowns as he thinks about Shoto’s mum. He still doesn’t quite know why she needed tissues earlier, when Tenya told her Shoto’s awesome, or why she excused herself when the three of them posed together. But then grown ups are strange, Izuku knows.

“Right, Izuku, time to go,” papa tells him as he lifts him up, and Izuku waves sleepily at the two brothers as they say goodbye.

Papa doesn’t seem to mind carrying him, so Izuku wraps his arms around papa’s neck and makes himself comfortable. He’s tired, and kind of wants to sleep, but he also really needs to tell papa something.

“Papa, I like the aquarium,” he admits, and smiles when he feels papa chuckle. But there’s more, and he can feel his eyes drifting closed, but this is important. “I love you, papa. You’re the best papa ever.”

Yes, Izuku reflects as he drifts off to sleep, grown ups really are strange.

Why would papa cry if Izuku just told him the truth?

Chapter Text

 “Foolish heroes! You thought your pathetic attacks would have any effect on me? Me? Leave now, and I may spare you! But stay, and your lives are forfeit! You know as well as I do, YOU CANNOT WIN!”

“Yes, we can!” Izuku cheers as he jumps out from behind a tree. “Penguin, Ingenium, let’s work together!”

“If we do, we can’t lose!” Tenya adds as he joins his friend.

Hisashi is tempted to point out that no (competent) hero would be foolish enough to even attempt to monologue during a showdown with a powerful villain. (Or emerge from cover without a plan of attack, but he’s not just about to blast his son, now is he?)

Instead, he draws himself up to his full height and laughs his most unsettling, sinister laugh. He notes with some satisfaction that Tenya shudders, but Izuku is unbothered. (They regularly play heroes at home, after all, and it was fairly quickly established that Hisashi makes for a great villain.)

“Penguin! Freeze his legs!” Izuku yells, and Hisashi smiles proudly as he realizes the two boys were distracting him so Shoto could get into position behind him. (Of course he knew where the third child was, but still – a decent strategy that would work on a lesser opponent.)

Unfortunately, Shoto is still fairly new to the concept of playing heroes, and obeys. The layer of ice that covers Hisashi’s shoes is thin enough that he could easily break it with force alone, but that wouldn’t be very fun. So instead, Hisashi gasps and flails dramatically.

Izuku cheers. “Alright, Ingenium, now’s our chance! Let’s go!”

The two boys charge him, and latch onto his legs, giggling, and Hisashi lets out a howl.

“No! How can this be?! The mighty Alt Forty One defeated?!” He clutches at his chest. “You have discovered my weakness!”

Izuku’s face is lit up by the brightest smile possible as he lets go and pulls Tenya away, and Hisashi can’t help but smile himself as he dramatically collapses to the ice covered ground.

“Mr Midoriya, are you alright?” Shoto asks hesitantly, as he approaches the adult.

“No,” Hisashi sighs. “I’m dead.”

“Shoto!”

All four of them turn to look at where Rei Yukiyama has just emerged from the house, carrying a tray filled with drinks. She turns to Tenya’s mother, and would probably bow if she could. “I am so sorry, Iida…”

“It’s fine,” the woman waves off her apology. “I’ve been trying to get Takeshi to do something about the garden. And besides, accidents happen, especially when you’re having fun.”

Rei does not look convinced, but doesn’t protest. Shoto sniffs and wipes at his eyes, and Hisashi is uncomfortably reminded of how new the boy is to playing with his peers. Izuku seems to pick up on it too, because he hurries over to his friend, excited.

“That was so awesome! You’ll be such an amazing hero!”

Shoto glances up, and Tenya quickly joins them. “Yes! A practical way to immoba-immova-i…”

“Immobilise,” Iida calls over.

“Immo-bah-lies an opponent!”

“Come on, let’s have some juice,” Hisashi suggests. Lying on ice-covered grass is only fun for a short period of time; he’s really looking forward to discretely using one of his heat-based Quirks to warm himself up. He resists the urge to sigh as he sees Shoto inch behind Izuku, and instead smiles at the trio as he gets to his feet. “That was some pretty impressive teamwork, you lot.”

“Thanks, papa!” Izuku beams. Then he grabs Shoto’s hand and drags him over to the two women, Tenya following close behind.

“You were pretty impressive yourself,” Iida remarks as Hisashi joins them. “I swear, you sounded so much like an actual villain, I got chills!”

Hisashi laughs awkwardly. “Well, I get a lot of practice. Izuku loves playing heroes!”

“Papa’s a great villain!” Izuku pipes up, and Hisashi quickly takes a swig to stop from bursting into laughter.

“Where’s you come up with that name?” Rei asks, and suddenly Hisashi wishes he had a better imagination. “Alt Fourteen…”

“Alt Forty One!” Izuku corrects her. (Thank heavens for Izuku – Hisashi will buy him that limited edition All Might poster, he swears.) “He’s an evil robot, and he wants to take over the world! But his big weakness are hugs, so if you hug him, his battery drains! Like a phone!”

Hisashi finds some solace in the knowledge that neither of the snickering women are aware of his true identity. (Still, if he ever comes out of retirement, he might want to level Tokyo, just to be safe. Reputation is vital to a competent villain, after all.)

The boys quickly finish their juice and run off, jumping over the patch of ice. Rei and Iida exchange glances, and Hisashi suspects there’s a conspiracy in the works…

“Midoriya, when did you last take a day off?”

Hisashi frowns, puzzled. “Today is my day off. I had last weekend off, too.”

“No, I mean… completely off,” Iida sighs. “A day off from everything, Izuku included.”

“I don’t need time off from that,” Hisashi snorts. He isn’t sure what they’re getting at – have they not seem Izuku laugh?

The two women exchange looks as if he’s the strange one.

“What do you do for fun?” Iida huffs. “And playing heroes doesn’t count.”

“Quirk analysis?” Hisashi fidgets as Rei winces, and Iida groans.

“No, Midoriya, that’s your job. What do you do for fun?”

“…Quirk analysis.”

The women exchange horrified glances.

“Midoriya, I think you should take a few hours off,” Rei suggests gently.

“I have to watch Izuku…”

“Izuku can come over to our place,” Iida shrugs. “He’ll be safe for a few hours. And if it’ll make you feel better, Kurogiri can come too, and hang out in the kitchen in case of the apocalypse.”

Hisashi is about to protest, but then Rei plays the trump card.

“Inko wouldn’t want you to neglect yourself.”

 

 

Hisashi does not have much… experience with hobbies. (Professional supervillainy does not generally leave much spare time, especially when one is married with a small child - just remembering Izuku’s first months is exhausting.)

Which is why, when Kurogiri requisitions Izuku and vanishes off to the Iida home, he does not know what to do with himself. Doing origami for hours is not an exciting prospect, Kurogiri is likely to pitch a fit if he ruins another cake tin, and… What do people even do for hobbies, anyway?

He’s bored enough he ends up sprawled on the sofa, remote in hand. (The house is far too quiet without Izuku – if he has to suffer through this ‘time to himself’, he at least needs some background noise, dammit.)

Unfortunately, the first thing on the screen is Endeavor’s face.

Fortunately, the remote narrowly misses the TV and just makes a hole in the wall. The interviewer is just asking the bastard about his family’s disappearance…

Hisashi cackles.

(Somewhere in Okinawa, All Might shudders.)

 

 

Enji Todoroki slams the door to his apartment with a muttered curse.

Since his wife ran off with his kids, he’s been living in a flat at his agency. It makes his life a hell of a lot easier, especially since he has to do so much overtime to pay goddamn divorce lawyers and that ridiculous fine.

He extinguishes his flames and is just unbuckling his gauntlets when he flips the light switch and freezes. The whole room has been trashed. Broken furniture is strewn about, loose pages cover the floor, and on the wall opposite the entrance someone has painted, in huge black letters, ‘I KNOW WHAT YOU DID’.

Endeavor has about two seconds of supreme confusion.

Then the fire alarm goes off.

Chapter Text

Rei knows the past few years have been difficult, especially for her children, but this year will be different. This year she is going to give them the best Christmas ever.

(Last Christmas ended up consisting of two buckets of fried chicken, a marathon of pirated Doctor Who’s on the battered laptop she bought third-hand, and passing out around 2 am. Rei personally isn’t sure she can ever top it.)

Christmas is expensive, but the least she can do is make sure all her kids get something they really want. She’s already picked up that iPod for Fuyumi, and headphones for Touya; she’s just on the search for a store that still has an All Might: Silver Age action figure, when she spots a familiar face.

God, no.

What if he sees her? What should she do? He’s standing between her and the exit, and she doesn’t know what to do, can’t breathe, because she’s happy, and she doesn’t want to go back, she can’t go back, how can she ever…

“Aiko!” a familiar voice exclaims, and a man steps in front of her, perfectly placed so as Enji won’t be able to see her. “I had no idea you were here today! I’m Hisashi, remember? Inko’s husband?”

Rei could kiss Midoriya.

She settles on hugging him, and pitches her voice higher. “Oh, Hisashi! It’s soo good to see you again!”

“How about we get coffee and catch up?” Midoriya suggests. “It’s been so long since we last spoke!”

“Oh, yes,” Rei giggles. “I need a break from these crowds!”

She doesn’t protest when her boss leads her further into the mall, away from Enji. They slip out through a clothing store, hurry along crowded streets and only stop after fifteen minutes in a half empty park. Midoriya heads off to get them some coffee, and Rei tries to stop her hands from shaking as she waits on a bench.

“Thank you so much,” she does her best to smile when the man returns. “I… there was someone I’m avoiding there…”

“I know,” Midoriya shrugs.

Rei suddenly has a terrible sinking feeling. If Midoriya knows… If he suspects Rei might cause him trouble with heroes!... If he thinks she’s too much trouble!...

“I don’t agree with domestic abuse,” Midoriya shrugs. “Especially when children are involved. I was fully aware of your past when I hired you, and I don’t give a fuck about Endeavor’s lying ass.”

Rei stares for a moment in wonder at the man.

Then she bursts into tears.

It takes her longer than she would like to admit to calm down. Midoriya doesn’t comment; he just pulls a box of tissues out of somewhere and allows her to cry herself calm, sipping his coffee and every now and then reaching out to awkwardly pat her on the shoulder.

“Thank you so much!” she chokes out as soon as she can. “I just… I can’t tell you how much this means!”

“Don’t mention it,” Midoriya shrugs.

They sit in silence for a while. Rei takes a sip of her coffee and winces at its lukewarm temperature. She isn’t entirely sure what to do or say, but finally she feels awkward enough to try and make small talk.

“So… why do you carry around a megabox of tissues?”

Midoriya looks down at the pack, as if he’s only just realized he’s holding it. “Oh, this?” he smiles, but there’s a tinge of sadness to it.

Rei almost wants to apologize, because she’s intruding…

“Inko… My wife… was rather… emotional,” he chuckles. “And Izuku seems to take after her.”

“Oh,” Rei nods. There are several rumours going around the office about Midoriya’s wife, and… well, she’s curious. “What was she like?”

“She was… wonderful,” Midoriya sighs. “She was so full of love, so kind…” he pauses, and smiles. “Actually, in a way, she is the reason I wanted to speak to you. I was wondering if your family would like to come over at Christmas.”

“What?” Rei is certain she must have misheard. He boss cannot have just invited her over…

“Christmas is a… small affair,” Midoriya shrugs. “It’s just me, Izuku and two… domestic staff. And my cook always makes too much food. We have more than enough room, and of course I would buy gifts for your whole family…”

“Why?”

“Honestly, it’s because Izuku likes Shoto,” Midoriya shrugs again, but then adds, “And… I think Inko would have loved you.”

Rei considers it carefully and then nods. “Alright. But… Do you mind if I bring fried chicken?”

 

Midoriya’s house is not the huge mansion Rei pictured. It is still nice, of course, and certainly larger than Rei’s apartment, but if she had to describe it, the best word would probably be cosy. She would check the address, but the whole neighbourhood is just nice and quiet, not a single posh mansion in sight. Her children aren’t nearly as apprehensive as her, and Natsuo eagerly rings the doorbell.

“Merry Christmas,” Midoriya greets them when he opens the door. Rei almost does a double-take; her boss is wearing a Santa hat and a red-green-and-white knitted Christmas sweater. Then he turns and shouts back into the house, “Izuku! Shoto’s here!”

“Shoto!” Izuku cheers as the Yukiyama family enter the living room. “This is Machia! Machia, this is Shoto! He’s my friend!”

Machia is, apparently, a very large man. Wearing reindeer antlers. And a red nose. Rei recognizes him faintly from the office, although at the time she assumed he was a security guard Midoriya recruited to watch the boys. The giant beams as they all stare at him, and waves. “Hello! You make Little Lord happy! I will protect you!”

Shoto is the first of them to recover, and beams as he draws himself up and turns to his family. “This is my big brother, Touya! And my sister, Fuyumi! And Natsuo!”

“Why do I not get a proper introduction?” Natsuo grumbles.

Fuyumi elbows him in the ribs.

“Hi, Izuku! It’s great to meet you!” Touya grins and reaches out to ruffle Izuku’s hair. “Shoto told us a lot about you!”

“Cause he’s great!” Shoto pipes up, obviously not wanting his friend to get the wrong idea.

As the children are finishing their introductions, Rei takes the opportunity to look around the room. (She’s going to get free coffee for a month if she can pass information back to her colleagues, after all.) The whole room is decked out in a strange assortment of exquisite ornaments and homemade decorations, much like the tree itself (which is taller than Machia, and Rei isn’t entirely sure how they even managed to get it through the door). It certainly feels like she has stepped into a Christmas card, and she pauses as she spots a large picture of a green-haired woman placed right next to the tree.

Remembering the bucket of fried chicken she’s carrying, Rei slips out of the room to find the kitchen. The whole house is so warm, she reflects; she can faintly hear the children laughing, and it brings a smile to her face. She still can’t quite get over Midoriya’s kindness, and she wishes she could have found him a decent gift.

There is someone in the kitchen, obviously the cook. Rei doesn’t want to startle him, so she clears her throat as she sets her bag down.

Then the person turns, and Rei gasps.

“It… It’s you,” she whispers, because standing before her is Mist Man. (Natsuo came up with the name, and it seemed appropriate.) She knows she’s getting emotional, but she can’t care. This man… This man gave her family freedom. There is no way she can ever express all the gratitude she feels…

“Oh, fuck,” Midoriya mutters behind her.

Mist Man is here.

Midoriya knows about Enji.

She got a job at his company with no references, under a new name…

“Thank you so much!” she sobs as she turns to her boss.

“…I think she knows, sir,” Mist Man states.

“Whatever would I do without you, Kurogiri?”

“And you!” she turns back. She can’t decide who she wants to hug first…

“It’s Mist Man!” Fuyumi exclaims, and then three children are shoving past Midoriya to hug… Kurogiri.

“Is it too late to wipe their memories?”

“Don’t you dare!” Rei hisses. She wipes at her eyes. “Don’t you dare!” Then something occurs to her, and suddenly she can’t hold back her laughter. “Don’t tell me you really punched Enji!”

Midoriya shifts awkwardly. “…It was an accident?”

“Holy shit,” Touya mutters. “Guess Shoto wasn’t lying…”

 

It is not as good as last year, but Christmas is still a success. The big man, Machia, does knock over the tree (twice), and Kurogiri is forced to pop out for more chicken. But Machia is also an immediate success with the younger boys, especially when they head out to catch Santa. And then when Kurogiri arrives back, he also happens to be carrying a few more gifts.

“I failed…” Machia sniffs as the three young boys run back in and spot the new presents.

“Don’t worry, Gigantomachia,” Midoriya pats the giant on the arm. “Santa is very sneaky. You’ll get him next year.”

“Why do you want to catch Santa?” Rei asks as the boys start sorting through the presents.

“Because Little Lord deserves everything!” Machia perks up. “So I will catch Santa! And then he will have all the presents!”

“Look Mum!” Fuyumi saves her from having to come up with an appropriate response.

Rei tears up when she unwraps her present from her children. It’s a photo album, filled to the brim with the few photos they took when they left, and the dozens they took since. She is rather puzzled when Midoriya hands her an empty album, until Shoto opens up his gift from the man, and Izuku immediately races off to his room.

The first photo for the new album is taken five minutes later, of a beaming Shoto and Izuku, dressed in matching All Might onesies.

Chapter Text

Izuku knows something is up as soon as he leaves his room.

Normally Machia is waiting in the corridor outside his bedroom (because apparently he needs protecting from something), but today there’s no sign of the giant. Izuku pokes his head into Machia’s room just in case he’s sick (can Machia even get sick?), but the man isn’t there.

Izuku shrugs it off, because maybe papa has gone on a business trip and taken Machia with him. (It kind of stings to think papa would leave without saying goodbye, but Izuku’s a big boy and he won’t cry!)

When Izuku enters the kitchen, however, it’s not Kurogiri standing over the stove; instead, papa is flipping pancakes.

“Morning, Izuku,” papa greets him. “Breakfast is almost ready.”

“Where’s Machia?” Izuku asks as he sits down and pours himself a glass of milk. “And Kurogiri?”

“I gave them the day off,” papa informs him as he serves the pancakes. “I wanted it to be just the two of us. And – there’s something I need to talk to you about.”

Izuku doesn’t comment on how papa’s pancakes look distinctly more burnt than his own; he’s too busy trying to figure out what could be serious enough that papa wants to talk to him alone. Could he have found out about Izuku’s experiments with Half Hot, Half Cold? Or about how he accidentally took Machia’s Quirk last week? (He gave it back immediately, and Machia buried his shorts, but papa probably picked up a mindreading Quirk at some point…)

“Muttering,” papa informs him with a smile, and Izuku hurriedly shovels a forkful of pancake into his mouth.

But papa doesn’t look mad as they finish eating; he doesn’t even really seem to notice Izuku as they clear the table and move into the living room. Izuku notices he’s taking deep breaths, and there are several boxes of tissues on the coffee table that weren’t there when he went to bed the day before. Unsure what to do, he sits down on the sofa, and watches as papa retrieves a large photo album.

“Right, Izuku,” papa turns to him, and Izuku isn’t sure what to feel as he realizes papa’s smile is just a little bit forced. “…How much do you remember of your mother?”

Izuku hesitates, because he knows his answer will hurt, and he feels so guilty already, but then he reminds himself that papa loves him. So he curls up a little, looks down and mumbles, “Not much.”

“It’s fine,” he feels papa sit down next to him, and pull him closer. “You were… really young when she died. I thought it might be a nice idea for us to spend today… remembering her.”

“I’d like that,” Izuku admits as he wipes at his eyes. Because he would; there are photos of her throughout the house, and she looks really pretty, and he makes sure to say goodnight to her every night, but he… he doesn’t know her.

Papa doesn’t speak for a minute, but Izuku can understand – he must still miss mum, so it’s really nice he wants to tell Izuku about her. Finally he chuckles, and shakes his head, and speaks. “She… Her name was Inko. And… She was the most wonderful woman I ever met.” He laughs and wipes at his eyes. “She was so kind, and so selfless. And – I don’t think I ever saw a more devoted mother.”

“Really?” Izuku breathes.

“Really,” papa chuckles. “I don’t even know how I can make you understand how much she loved you. She always put you first, even when she got sick. In fact…” Papa takes a deep breath. “She gave me something for you.  Close your eyes.”

Izuku obeys immediately. His mum sounds so nice, and so loving, and if she gave papa a gift for him, especially something that he’s only getting now, it must be something really special. Nothing happens at first, though, papa doesn’t even seem to move, and Izuku is about to ask about it, when he senses something change.

It’s small, and it’s warm, and it’s light, and Izuku’s eyes shoot open to stare at papa even as he feels the Quirk – his mum’s Quirk – settle in his chest. Papa is watching him, tears rolling down his cheeks, and Izuku almost wants to give it back. (But he also doesn’t, because mum gave papa her Quirk because she wanted Izuku to have it, and she gave it to papa before Izuku got a Quirk of his own, and it feels almost like he has a piece of his mum’s love in his chest…)

“Your mother wanted you to have her Quirk,” papa whispers and presses a kiss to Izuku’s forehead. (Izuku doesn’t need papa to tell him, but it feels almost like papa is reminding himself.) “And… she wrote you a letter.”

He passes Izuku an envelope and makes to get up, but Izuku grabs onto his shirt. Papa doesn’t say anything, just makes himself comfortable, and Izuku cuddles up to him.

The envelope is addressed to Izuku Midoriya, and is unopened, and Izuku takes a moment to appreciate it. Because this is a letter mum wrote to him, and papa kept it safe for so long but never once opened it. Izuku can be the very first to know what his mum said.

Izuku takes a deep breath and opens the letter.

 

Darling Izuku,

You must have grown so much since I last saw you! (I’m sorry if there are any tearstains on this letter – I swear, I’ve rewritten it three times, but whenever I think of you reading this, I just can’t help myself. I am certain papa will tell you, I can get rather… emotional.)

Since you are reading this, papa must have finally given you my Quirk. It is called Attraction; it can pull small objects towards you. I know it is nothing impressive, not like your papa’s or All Might’s, but I hope you will understand why I wanted you to have it.

Izuku, I do not know what Quirk you have, or even if you have one at all. Frankly, it doesn’t matter; I would love you as much if you had a hundred Quirks as if you had none. But I have had my Quirk since I was a child. It is as much a part of me as my smile, or my love for you. I have carried it next to my heart, and I hope now you will carry it, too. When I asked your papa to take it, I wanted it to be proof that I love you. I always have, and always will.

So, Izuku, I know you probably don’t remember much of me, if anything at all, and that’s alright. I don’t blame you for that, so don’t ever think I might. But I hope every day you wake up, every time you use Attraction, you will know just how much I love you.

Perhaps I should speak of my hopes and dreams for you. I hope you smile every day; I hope you have good friends you can play with, and I hope your papa is always ready with a hug. I hope there are many people in your life that treasure you, because you are a wonderful, incredible boy, and I am so, so proud to call you my son.

The only thing I regret is that I will not have the opportunity to meet the person you will become. But I need you to know that I would never give you up for anything. I understand why people say a mother would die for her child; I would never trade you, not if I could live to a hundred.

Being your mother was the greatest joy and privilege of my life, so thank you so much for being born.

I will miss many important moments in your life, but there are so many memories I can cherish. I was the first thing you saw upon being born; I got to see the absolute love on your papa’s face when he held you for the first time. I was your second word (your papa was so proud he got to be the first). You took your first steps as you reached for me.

There are more precious moments than I have words, and if you ask papa, he will have photos. (Your papa took so many photos – ask him about the confiscation. He’ll know what you mean.)

I do have one request, though, Izuku. Make sure your papa knows how much you love him. Make sure you know how much he loves you. And tell him I love him so, so much, almost as much as I love you. Tell him I am so grateful for all those small, perfect moments he gave me.

I love you, Izuku. Always have, and always will.

your mama

Inko Midoriya

Chapter Text

Shoto isn’t sure he’s looking forward to school.

He understands why he can’t go to the same school as Izuku and Tenya (he thinks), but it doesn’t change the fact he is ever so slightly scared. Because he might be in the same school as Natsuo, but they won’t be in the same class. Shoto won’t know anyone.

And Izuku and Tenya will be together, every day, and they knew each other before Shoto came along, and… What if they decide they don’t want him anymore? What if they find someone else to be their friend, and leave Shoto all alone again?

Shoto sniffs and wipes furiously at his eyes.

He knows he’s being unfair; it’s why he hasn’t told his friends, because what if they get angry that Shoto thinks they might leave him behind? He doesn’t want them to be angry at him, especially if they’re going to different schools…

“Oh, Shoto…”

Shoto freezes, and feels the tears getting worse. Because now mama will be worried, and sad, and Shoto doesn’t like that. He promised himself that he’d never make mama cry, and now she probably will…

“Are you scared of your new school?” mama asks as she settles down on the floor next to him.

Shoto presses his face into his penguin plush and shakes his head. Then he hesitates, and shrugs.

“Is it because you’re scared Izuku and Tenya won’t want to be your friends anymore?”

Shoto nods. He should have known mama would guess; she’s so smart, after all, but now she’s probably going to tell him he’s being silly (because he is), because Izuku and Tenya would never…

“I understand.”

Shoto pauses and slowly turns his head so he can see mama from one eye.

Mama just smiles and puts her arm around his shoulders. “Izuku was your very first friend, after all, but both he and Tenya were friends before you came along. And of course you’ll be going to a different school, and we don’t exactly live nearby…”

Shoto sniffles, because she’s exactly right. And what if they find someone better at their school? What if…

“I can’t promise you you’ll stay friends,” mama sighs. “But Izuku and Tenya… They’re good boys. And you can still meet up on weekends. And… maybe you’ll be able to find another friend at school.”

Shoto isn’t so sure. Izuku and Tenya are the bestest friends ever, and he doesn’t think he can ever find anyone nearly as great as them. (Besides, he won’t know anyone, and what if the other children are mean? Shoto doesn’t want mean friends, or friends with fire Quirks, or friends that shout a lot…)

“Actually, we’ll be seeing Izuku quite a lot,” mama perks up and smiles. “I just spoke with Midoriya, and… Would you like to be Izuku’s cousin?”

“Cousin?” Shoto frowns as he tries to figure out how they can be cousins. He kind of understands siblings, cause if mama married Mr Midoriya, then Izuku and he would be brothers, but he isn’t so sure about cousins. Does Izuku have an uncle mama will marry?

“Yes, cousin,” mama laughs, and it’s still the prettiest sound in the world. “See, Izuku’s mama… She got very sick, and… well, she died.”

Shoto frowns, because he wondered at times where Izuku’s mama was, and at first thought maybe she was nasty, like father, and that was why Izuku only had his papa. But then they went round to Izuku’s house, and there were lots of photos of a lady that had green hair, even in Izuku’s room. (And Shoto decided maybe Izuku’s mama wasn’t nasty, because if she was, Izuku wouldn’t want her in his room.) But if she got sick and died, that’s really not fair. Izuku’s super nice, and so his mama probably was super nice too, and Shoto doesn’t know why bad things happen to nice people, and not villains…

“But she was a very nice person,” mama continues. “And… she would have loved us all very much. So… from now on she’s going to be our Auntie Inko. And we’ll tell people she was my sister.”

Mama wipes at her eyes, and Shoto considers this new information. Then he smiles.

If he’s Izuku’s cousin, then they’re family. And family stays together, so they can still meet up, even though they’re at different schools. And Mr Midoriya will be family too, and he’s super strong and super scary, so they’ll be safe. And… And Auntie Inko must be an angel, since she was so nice, and that means she looks after Izuku, to make sure he’s safe. But sometimes maybe she still goes and helps other people, and she probably told Mr Midoriya to punch Father!...

And then Shoto thinks of a great way for him to be brave on his first day of school.

“Mama, could you dye my hair green?!”

 

 

“Oi, De… You’re not Deku!”

“No, I’m Shoto,” Shoto frowns as he looks away from his All Might(!) pencil case, to a very angry looking blonde. He isn’t sure he wants to be friends with the boy, but he’s polite, and you never know…

“I don’t care!” the boy glares at him, his hands letting off some strange pops, and then he stomps off to the entrance to the classroom.

Shoto doesn’t follow; he doesn’t know who Deku is, but he must not be very smart. Shoto wouldn’t want to be friends with someone as angry and mean as the blonde. Maybe Deku couldn’t find anyone nice to be his friend though, and was really lonely. (Shoto can kind of understand; he was kind of lonely before Izuku.)

Shoto perks up, because maybe he could be Deku’s friend? Then Deku wouldn’t have to be friends with someone who looks kind of scary, and then Shoto could introduce him to Izuku and Tenya, and then Deku would know just what nice friends should be like…

Deku does not arrive though, and when the teacher tells them to take their seats, the blonde stomps to his desk, a really scary frown on his face.

Shoto ignores him, busy repeating what he’s going to tell as children start introducing themselves. He's practiced with Touya all week, and so the lie comes easily when it’s his turn, and he says, with a smile,

“My name is Shoto Yukiyama, and my Quirk is Frost! And… When I grow up, I want to be a hero!”

The blonde snorts, and Shoto resists the urge to stick his tongue out at him.

And then the blonde stands up, and declares,

“My name is Bakugo Katsuki, and I’m gonna be the number one hero!”

Chapter Text

It’s a Thursday when Hisashi’s world comes crashing down.

He’s sitting through yet another board meeting, barely resisting the temptation to doodle on the financial reports, when his secretary pokes her head into the room.

“Mr Midoriya, sir, you’re wanted in your office.”

Hisashi would normally dismiss her, but her makeup is smudged and her voice quivers. And it is so out of character, that before he even stands up, he has a terrible feeling. So he leaves the meeting early, trying (and failing) to ignore the woman’s sniffles.

He almost panics when he sees the two detectives.

They’re plainclothes, of course, but there’s something instantly recognizable about all police in Hisashi’s experience. They’re both wearing serious expressions, but since they’re not accompanied by heroes, Hisashi is fairly certain they are not planning to arrest him.

But they’re here, and he can’t seem to get the image of his sobbing secretary out of his mind, so he dismisses any pleasantries. He’s a father first; he can be nice once he is sure everything is alright.

“What happened?” he asks, and then adds, “Is Izuku alright?”

The younger of the two, an unassuming man with no obvious Quirk, hesitates, obviously uncomfortable, and Hisashi feels like someone punched him in the stomach. No immediate answer is almost worse than a no, because his mind is working overtime, coming up with scenario after scenario, each worse than the last.

The older of the officers, a taller officer with the head of a dog, clears his throat. “Perhaps you should sit down, Midoriya.”

Where is Izuku?” Hisashi demands. He’s seconds away from activating half a dozen Quirks. He doesn’t care if All Might is ready to arrest him; he doesn’t care if he is thrown in Tartarus, doesn’t care if he is killed, because he needs to know Izuku is alright.

But then the senior detective speaks, and Hisashi wishes he could take it back, because not knowing was not so bad; at least he could pretend perhaps he was overreacting.

“I’m afraid Izuku Midoriya has been kidnapped.”

 

 

Izuku isn’t entirely sure what happened.

He likes school; he’s in the same class as Tenya, so they always pair up during recess. They were talking about the upcoming UA Sports Festival, and Tenya was excited because his grandfather offered to take him to the Festival. Then Izuku choked on something, and Tenya screamed for the teacher and tried to grab him, and then Izuku fell onto a hard floor, coughing.

It’s dark, and Izuku doesn’t even get to look around before someone pulls a loose sack over his head. Someone else grabs his hands and twists them behind his back, and then there’s a soft click and he can feel metal digging into his wrists.

“Step on it!” someone yells, and Izuku is thrown to the floor as the van (because it has to be van, nasty people who take children always drive vans) speeds off.

Izuku wants to be brave, because he’s going to be a hero one day. But he’s not a hero yet, he’s a scared child who really wants his papa, and as he’s hauled upright, he can’t help his tears.

 

 

Hisashi has never hated the police before.

When he was All For One, they were little more than an inconvenience, a source of amusement as they bumbled around, desperately playing catch-up. But now they are actively preventing him from searching for Izuku, when his son is out there somewhere, terrified and alone. And although for obvious reasons he hasn’t been entirely truthful with the police, he can’t for the life of him think who could be responsible. (Which is just all the more reason for him to be out there, because torture is an incredibly effective method of investigation.)

Someone knocks on the office door, and if it’s Tsukauchi with another cup of tea, Hisashi will throw it at the detective. He looks up to tell the man as much, and pauses.

“Hi,” Takeshi Iida greets him with an awkward smile.

Hisashi is not terribly close with the head of Idaten, but he normally looks a lot more put together. The dissheveled hair and navy sweatpants are unusual enough, although in other circumstances he might have laughed about the man’s Ingenium shirt.

“How are you holding up?” the other man asks as he takes a seat opposite.

Hisashi manages a broken laugh. “Oh, just fine.”

Iida winces. “Is there anyone you want to call? Any family, or…”

“No one,” Hisashi sighs. “Just me and Izuku…”

They sit in silence for a few seconds, before Iida speaks again. “We’ll find him. Katsumi has the whole of Idaten on high alert, and Tensei’s doing overtime. The minute we get a possible sighting, he’ll be there.”

Hisashi will be there too.

And may God have mercy for those responsible, because he will not.

 

 

By the time the van stops, Izuku has cried himself calm. It helps when he tries to think about what Ingenium or All Might would do (well, maybe not All Might – he could just punch a hole in the van), so he decides to view the situation as training for when he’s a hero. So he tries to stay calm, but also alert, so when he’s found, he can tell the police all about the villains.

He isn’t entirely sure what else he should do as someone drags him into a building. He can’t help but worry how long it will be until someone finds him, because he doesn’t know where he is. He wishes he had a Quirk that could help him get away, or maybe tell someone where he is. Because he doesn’t want to wait for a hero, he just really wants to go home to papa.

Izuku pauses.

His kidnapper growls and gives him a hard yank. Izuku hurries to keep up, mind racing. When they took him from school, he’s pretty sure one of them used some sort of warp Quirk. And if someone has a warp quirk, maybe Izuku can take it? After all, he’s allowed to use his Quirk in self-defence (and he really just wants to go home). But he has only ever taken Quirks from his papa for practice, and he has never attempted it without touching the person. He doesn’t know if he can do it.

No, he has to calm down. All Might is always calm, and so Izuku can be, too. He isn’t sure how he can take a Quirk without physical contact, but he has to try. So he reaches out with his senses, the same as when he’s feeling about for a Quirk with papa, or at least he tries to, fumbling desperately until he feels something brush against his mind. He latches onto it with all his might, desperate, because he doesn’t know if he’d be able to find it again, and tugs, and pulls, and wrenches it away.

There’s a strangled cry from the person next to him and the bruising grip on him loosens. Izuku is so surprised he stumbles and falls with enough force that it hurts. He can’t do anything to get up, bound as he is, and he panics. He can feel the new Quirk settled comfortably under his skin, but he doesn’t know how it works, he doesn’t know how to activate it, he doesn’t even know where he is.

Izuku really just wishes his papa were here!

 

 

Hisashi wishes he could just rip Tsuragamae’s head off and go on a rampage. He knows he’s overemotional, but he can’t help it. It’s been hours, and they’re no closer to locating Izuku, and the detectives won’t even tell him anything.

And now there’s an itch in his throat.

“Midoriya?” Iida frowns, concerned, as Hisashi starts to cough. “Are you alright?”

Hisashi can’t answer; instead he doubles over as he chokes on something. There’s a crash as Iida drops his coffee mug and calls for help, but Hisashi knows they can’t do anything as he coughs up a thick black liquid.

And then the police station vanishes and he collapses, coughing and spluttering, onto a concrete floor. He takes a deep breath and smiles. He doesn’t know where he is, but this can’t be a coincidence. And with no police around…

Oh, he’s going to enjoy this.

He can hear a low moaning as he draws himself up, but it’s no one important, just some low-level ruffian sprawled on the concrete floor. He barely spares the bastard a glance, because next to him is a small body, wearing those garish red shoes Hisashi would know anywhere.

It feels surreal as Hisashi carefully removes the bag over Izuku’s head. His face is pale, his breathing fast, but it’s alright, because he’s alive. Because Izuku is right here, and Hisashi can protect him. Hisashi presses a quick kiss to his son’s forehead, wincing at the fever he seems to be running. Then he slips off his suit jacket and uses it to cushion Izuku’s head.

“Don’t worry, Izuku,” All For One whispers as he rolls up his sleeves. “I am here.”

Chapter Text

Hisashi hates hospitals.

He sighs as he leans forward in his chair. Izuku should not be lying unconscious in a hospital bed; around this time, he should be begging for just five minutes on the computer, or perhaps telling Hisashi about a new Quirk he saw on the news…

A knock on the door brings Hisashi out of his musings, and he looks up as Kurogiri enters.

“Sir,” the warper greets him with a nod. He looks over at Izuku, and although he might be hard to read, Hisashi can see the worry. (He kind of wonders just how many baked goods they’ll have to go through in the coming weeks.) “How is he?”

“No serious injuries, he just… won’t wake up,” Hisashi shrugs. “They think his body went into some sort of Quirk-related shock.”

Kurogiri nods in understanding. Hisashi supposes that the two of them probably understand better than most just how painful it can be to overreach with your Quirk, although…

“It’s not your fault, sir,” Kurogiri speaks up, breaking Hisashi out of his spiralling thoughts. “I may not know the details, but I am sure there was nothing you could have done to prevent this.”

“You don’t know that,” Hisashi sighs. “I should have…”

“Should haves won’t make a difference now,” Kurogiri shrugs. “Izuku will need you to be strong to recover from this. If you want to blame yourself, do it after he’s safely tucked up in his own bed.”

Hisashi can’t help but laugh. “You really should know your place, Kurogiri.”

“Oh, I do, sir,” the warper doesn’t even look at him as he picks up the empty chair at the foot of Izuku’s bed. Hisashi understands what he is planning and wordlessly stands up. “It’s by your shoulder, making sure you know what Inko would say.”

Once there is sufficient space, Kurogiri opens a warp gate. The first thing through is Gigantomachia’s head.

“Is Little Lord alright?”

Hisashi manages a weak smile. “He will be. I need you to stay and protect the house, in case it’s attacked. Understand, Gigantomachia?”

“Yes, Lord…” the giant mumbles, obviously unhappy, and it is strangely touching to see such devotion.

“If anything happens, I’ll protect him,” Hisashi assures the man.

Gigantomachia perks up at that and vanishes back through the warp gate. Then his arm emerges, bearing a large holdall. Kurogiri accepts it and promptly begins unpacking.

“I thought Izuku might appreciate waking up to familiar surroundings,” he explains to Hisashi, and suddenly Hisashi needs to sit back down. Because he sometimes forgets that no matter how it might seem, Izuku has so many people that love him.

By the time visiting hours are over, the hospital room is a veritable shrine to All Might. Hisashi swallows down any distaste he might feel, brushes the hair out of Izuku’s face, and settles down for a long wait.

 

 

When he first wakes up, Izuku thinks he must be at home in his bed. The whole kidnapping must have been a nightmare, he decides as he pulls his All Might plush close. He’s still a bit scared, though, so he’ll ask papa if he can sleep in his bed.

Izuku sits up and realizes he isn’t in his bedroom. In fact, he doesn’t know where he is, and he isn’t even wearing his own clothes. All that stops him from panicking is that papa is sat in a chair next to his bed, snoring softly. But even so, it must mean that he hadn’t been dreaming; someone took him…

Izuku promptly bursts into tears.

Papa jolts awake, jumping to his feet and banging his knee on the bedframe. He looks around, and as soon as he sees Izuku reaching for him, papa sits down on the bed. Izuku needs no further invitation and latches on with all his might.

Izuku isn’t sure how long he cries, but papa doesn’t protest; he just holds Izuku close, and whispers how much he loves him. The tears have finally dried by the time a doctor stops by and makes sure Izuku is feeling better. Once she’s left, papa makes sure Izuku is comfortably propped up against the pillows, and sits down as close as he can, tightly grasping Izuku’s hand. (Izuku is kind of glad, because no one would be silly enough to try hurting him when papa’s right there.)

They sit in silence for a few minutes, until one of the nurses brings them both breakfast. (Izuku manages a smile at the sight of the stack of pancakes, and Hisashi grasps at his coffee like a dying man.)

But once they’ve finished eating, Izuku realizes that he’s done something really, really bad. He wishes he could go back in time, to before he even left his house that morning. (Is it still the same day? Izuku is sure it can’t be the same day; it feels like at least a month has passed since he left for school.)

“Papa?” he speaks once the trays have been cleared away.

“Yes, Izuku?” papa smiles, and it’s so warm, so full of love, that it just makes Izuku feel worse. Because he can feel, tucked away in his body, that Quirk he took earlier. And now that he's no longer in danger, it feels uncomfortable, a constant reminder that he took it from someone else. There's someone out there that doesn't have a Quirk anymore because of him, and suddenly the fact it was a villain sounds more like an excuse. He wonders if the police'll let him just give it back, or if he'll have to go to jail.

Izuku glances around, just in case the police are waiting to arrest him. He kind of doesn't want to admit it, but papa might know what to do. So he leans close to papa, and whispers, “I did something bad.”

The smile slips from papa’s face, but he pulls Izuku closer, so close Izuku can almost feel his heartbeat. “Well, whatever you did, you can tell me, Izuku. I promise I won’t be mad.”

“Really?” Izuku sniffles.

“Really,” papa confirms.

Izuku takes a deep breath and tightens his grip of papa’s shirt, trying to leech every last bit of comfort he can. “I took someone’s Quirk.”

For just a second, papa does not answer, and Izuku almost panics. But papa holds him close and doesn’t shove him away (and doesn’t call the police). Instead, he asks, “Was this someone the person who took you?”

Izuku nods, and papa presses a kiss to his head.

“Listen to me, Izuku; you did nothing wrong. When grown ups do bad things, and try to hurt you, it’s alright to use your Quirk.” He pauses for a minute and then asks, “Did you use the Quirk you took?”

“I don’t know…”

“Because something very strange happened while we were looking for you. Suddenly, I was right next to you,” papa gently pushes Izuku back, so he can see the smile on his face. “And if you did it, I’m really proud of you. You were scared, but you still found a way to get help.”

“Really?” Izuku asks, feeling better, because if papa says he did the right thing…

“Really,” papa confirms. “No one is mad at you. The police will want to talk to you, but they’ll just want to ask you a few questions. And if you tell them what you just said, they’ll agree you did the right thing.

Izuku manages a smile, and giggles when papa ruffles his hair.

“Now, young man, there are a lot of people that will want to know you’re alright…”

 

 

“Tenya! Midoriya just texted an update!”

 

 

“Shoto! Grab your coat!”

 

 

Kurogiri is just pulling a batch of muffins from the oven when he hears his phone ping. (Inko was right – baking is surprisingly therapeutic.) He almost drops the baking tray in his haste to get to the phone. Picking it up is almost impossible with the oven mitts, he learns quickly, but finally he opens his messages and laughs, giddy with relief.

“Machia!” he calls out. “Izuku’s woken up!”

He’s been with the Midoriya’s long enough that he does not bat an eyelid at the tumult as the giant all but tumbles down the stairs.

“Is Little Lord alright?” Gigantomachia demands as he explodes into the kitchen. (Gigantomachia may be many things, but quiet and subtle are not amongst them.)

“See for yourself,” Kurogiri smiles as he passes the bodyguard his phone. Just in case, he warps some kitchen roll over, because Gigantomachia is, when it comes to Izuku, a big softie.

He idly wonders if Midoriya will mind if he sets it as his contact photo.

It’s rather hard to remember the man is a retired supervillain when he’s posing with a doting smile on his face, a grinning Izuku next to him.

Chapter Text

“It appears the warehouse burnt to the ground,” Tsukauchi sighs. “And we’ve been unable to locate any of the villains involved. Are you sure you didn’t see anything, Mr Midoriya?”

Hisashi barely resists the urge to whistle innocently.

“I’m afraid when I saw Izuku was unconscious, I panicked. I picked him up and ran to get help, and had just exited the warehouse when it burst into flames. In hindsight, it was rather odd I didn’t encounter anyone…”

“…Right,” Tsukauchi slowly nods. “Well, once the doctor decides he’s up to it, we’ll need to conduct an interview with Izuku.”

“Of course,” Hisashi agrees and makes a mental note to coach Izuku on what to say. “If you’ll excuse me…”

“We hope Izuku feels better soon,” Tsuragamae smiles(?) as Hisashi stands to leave the room.

When he lets himself back into the hospital room, with a cup of that sludge the administrators seem to believe is coffee, Izuku is sitting propped up in bed, reading through Quirk Analysis, Vol. I, chewing on the end of a pen.

“Hey there,” Hisashi smiles as he settles back into his chair. “How are you feeling?”

“Tired,” Izuku sighs as he closes his notebook. “Bored.”

Then he perks up, and Hisashi frowns, because he knows perfectly well what is going through his head. “No Quirk experiments before you’ve been released, young man!”

“But papa…” Izuku whines. “I wanna see how it works!”

“However it works, it landed you in hospital,” Hisashi points out.

Izuku pouts, but his father remains unmoved. (He’s faced down heroes, dammit; a six year old is nothing in comparison!)

“If you insist, I can always take it off you and see how it works myself.”

Izuku opens his mouth to protest, but spots the warning in Hisashi’s eyes. With a groan, he collapses back onto the pillows.

“Besides, Kurogiri promised he’d come visit soon.”

“With biscuits?” Izuku perks up.

Hisashi laughs at the hopeful gleam in his son’s eyes. “I’m sure he’s not coming empty handed.”

Izuku nods, bright-eyes, and with another laugh, Hisashi picks up his son’s notebook.

 

 

“Muffins!” Izuku cheers as soon as Kurogiri steps into the room.

“It is good to see you too,” the warper replies, calmly setting the plastic box down on the bedside table. Immediately, Izuku snatches a muffin and bites into it.

“How is Gigantomachia?” Hisashi asks with a sigh. He hopes nothing else goes wrong; he does not know how he’d explain half of Tokyo being destroyed because someone decided to try a spot of burglary.

“Oh, fine,” Kurogiri nods, his eyes crinkling in that odd way that means he is smiling. “I mentioned you said the house could do with a spring clean.”

Hisashi laughs. “Remind me to buy you those pans you’ve had your eye on.”

“Of course, sir,” Kurogiri nods. “He would like to see Izuku as soon as possible…”

“Can he, papa?” Izuku asks eagerly. “Pleease…”

“Well, the doctor does think you’re up to receiving visitors…” Hisashi admits. Then he hastily adds, “But you do not leave that bed! And the minute you’re tired, tell me!”

“Yes, papa!” Izuku salutes with his half-eaten muffin, and (not for the first time) Hisashi wishes he brought a camera

“Very well, then.” Kurogiri makes sure the door is closed, and then, with a mischievous twinkle in his eye and a dramatic flourish, announces, “One warp gate to the living room, coming up!”

Surprisingly, the first thing through is not Gigantomachia; in fact, it is two small, familiar figures, both with green hair.

“Izuku!” Shoto exclaims as he clambers onto the bed.

“Are you alright?!” Tenya asks. He’s only standing by the foot of the bed, but Hisashi can see the tension bleeding from his shoulders. (Poor kid; Izuku vanished right in front of him. Hisashi hands him a muffin in a silent demonstration of solidarity.)

“Little Lord!” Gigantomachia wails as he squeezes through the gate.

“No hugs!” Hisashi hurriedly commands him, and the giant nods morosely and takes up a spot at the foot of the bed, like an oversized guard dog.

“Oh, thank goodness,” Rei Yukiyama sniffs as she steps through the gate. She hurries over to kiss Izuku on the forehead and give him a hug, and then joins Gigantomachia, wordlessly offering up the box of tissues she brought to the giant. Hisashi feels strangely touched when he realizes she also has dyed her hair green, and makes a mental note to mention it looks better than the usual black. (It would also help their story that she is related to Inko.)

Although the room is already crowded, Kurogiri does not immediately close the warp gate; Hisashi is about to ask about it, when one last, final person steps through.

“I brought coffee!” Katsumi Iida announces, brandishing a large thermos.

(Apparently being wonderful is genetic, Hisashi reflects as he gratefully accepts a cup.)

 

 

 

“…And then this new hero showed up! His name is… It’s Edgeshot, and he can make himself really thin!”

“Oh, yeah!” Shoto nods. “He’s the one that looks like a ninja, right? I saw him on the news last week…”

Izuku opens his mouth to answer, but is interrupted by a knock at the door.

“Afternoon, Izuku,” the nurse smiles as she opens the door, and then pauses when she sees all the people inside. “The... There’s a policeman that would like to ask you a few questions.”

“We should probably get going,” Auntie Rei sighs as she stands up. She quickly hurries over to kiss Izuku and give him another cuddle, and Izuku makes sure to enjoy it. (Auntie Rei gives the second best cuddles.) “Tenya, you’ll be sleeping over at our place tonight, remember?”

“Yes,” Tenya nods, although he doesn’t look particularly happy. It just makes Izuku feel better, because both his friends were quite clear that a sleepover just isn’t the same without him. (It’s also nice, because apparently everyone at Idaten is working really hard to find the villains that took him, although Izuku feels a bit sorry for them. Auntie Katsumi can be really scary.)

“If he’s not been released, you can come round tomorrow morning,” papa assures them. “Kurogiri can pick you up after breakfast.”

“I need to go too,” Kurogiri winces as he checks his phone. “Apparently the Pussycats found out about the kidnapping and caught the first train from Hokkaido. I texted them that everything is alright, but… Well, I’d still like to be there when they get in…”

“Of course,” papa laughs. “If they want, they can probably come visit sometime tomorrow…”

“Yes yes yes!” Izuku beams. It makes him feel all warm inside to know so many people were worried about him. “Oh, Shoto! You haven’t met them, but they’re awesome rescue heroes, and…”

“You can tell him all about them tomorrow,” papa interrupts him with a smile. “You need to talk to the policeman, remember?”

It’s kind of sad, saying goodbye to Shoto and Tenya, even though they’ll see each other tomorrow. The policeman makes a rather weird face when Kurogiri opens a warp gate and they all vanish through it, and Machia settles down at the foot of the bed and curls up like a big dog.

(The policeman is still making a strange face as he sits down.)

Izuku feels a little unsure, but he pulls his All Might plush close and decides he can just pretend he’s a hero giving his report to the police. And he can see papa just over the policeman’s shoulder, so he doesn’t have to be scared.

“Alright, Izuku,” the policeman smiles as he pulls out a notebook and a recorder. “My name is Naomasa Tsukauchi, and I need to ask you a few questions. Is that alright?”

“Do I need a lawyer?” Izuku asks, as he realizes maybe the policeman won’t be very happy he took someone’s Quirk.

The policeman makes another strange face, and papa snickers behind his back. Izuku isn’t sure what’s so funny, but he smiles.

“…No, you don’t need a lawyer,” Tsukauchi shakes his head. “You’re not in any trouble. I just need to ask you a few questions about the people that took you.”

“Oh, okay!” Izuku nods.

“Do you know how many people there were?”

“At least…” Izuku frowns down at his fingers as he tries to figure it out, counting in his mind. “Three!”

“That many?” the policeman looks impressed. “You must have been really scared.”

“A bit,” Izuku admits quietly, but then adds, “But when I grow up, I’m gonna be a hero! So it was good practice!”

“A future hero?” Tsukauchi chuckles. “Well, then I look forward to working together.”

Izuku beams.

“Do you know what the people that took you looked like?”

“No,” Izuku shakes his head. “They put something on my head.” Then something occurs to him, and he frowns. “Why don’t you ask the villain you caught?”

“…We didn’t catch anyone,” the policeman frowns. “When we arrived, there was no one there.”

“Really?” Izuku pulls his plush closer. The villains are still out there, and at least one of them has to be really, really mad at him. “Not even the one I hurt?”

“…You hurt one of them?”

“With my Quirk,” Izuku admits quietly. He sniffs and wipes at his eyes. “I know it’s naughty, but I was scared and wanted to go home! And papa just said it was alright…”

“You’re not in any trouble,” Tsukauchi assures him with a smile. “I’m actually impressed. It sounds like you’ll be a really good hero. You must have been very smart, to think to use your Quirk. It’s…”

“Attraction,” papa informs him. “Like his mother. He can attract small objects.”

The policeman frowns and pauses, but just as Izuku’s starting to worry, he shakes his head and stand up.

“Well, that’s all for now,” he smiles, but there’s something off about it. “I’ll call if we need anything else. And – Izuku, you really were very brave. I have no doubt you’ll be an incredible hero one day.”

Izuku smiles at that, and papa sees the policeman to the door. Then, once he’s gone, he comes back and Izuku moves over to make space for papa on the bed.

“Papa, tell me a story…”

 

 

 

"There's something... off about that boy. And his Quirk."

Chapter Text

Although All For One was not known to the general public, he was of course familiar to many in the higher levels of law enforcement. And, undoubtedly, most, if not all of them, believed the hero most suited to take him on, most likely to succeed in the face of his overwhelming power, was All Might.

They were very wrong.

All Might is undoubtedly powerful, Hisashi will admit. But that is his defining feature; he is strong, yes, and seems to be somewhat familiar with psychology, but… There are heroes that could make better use of One For All than some formerly Quirkless highschooler. Heroes that, with the right amount of planning, could perhaps end the threat of All For One forever.

Heroes like Nedzu.

Hisashi bites back a curse as the mouse/bear/thing beams up at him.

“Good morning!” the principal greets him, apparently unaware that Hisashi had some Very Important Plans for the day, plans that did not include strange animals turning up on his doorstep.

(Since Izuku is safe enjoying a sleepover at the Iida household, being watched by no less that five proheroes, the two older Todoroki boys and – most importantly – Kurogiri, he had intended to visit Inko and beg for her forgiveness. He suspects he’s only still alive because she isn’t sure whether Rei or Iida would be best to take over raising Izuku.)

Hisashi somehow resists the urge to incinerate the creature and start rooting through the house for anything that might get him drunk. Instead he summons up his best impression of a law-abiding citizen, quirks an eyebrow, and asks, “…Can I help you?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” the principal shrugs, that infuriating smile still firmly on his… snout? “I was thinking, perhaps, we could help each other!  But, well, such matters are best discussed over tea.”

Because he doesn’t want to make a scene (and, if Nedzu is here, the hero has put in place at least fifteen contingency plans), Hisashi lets out a long-suffering sigh and moves aside. He leaves the principal to clamber onto the couch, and instead busies himself preparing a nice pot of tea in the kitchen.

(And exhibiting considerable restraint by not checking to see whether rat poison would have any effect on the hero.)

“Thank you,” Nedzu smiles as he accepts a cup, and Hisashi sits down opposite him.

“So what brings you to my humble abode?” he asks.

“Oh, I was recently contacted about a rather… curious case,” Nedzu hums. “The police were interested in my opinion on your son’s recent… misadventure. And, well, after reading over the report, I only had more questions. So I thought it would be best to come to the source.”

“I thought the matter was straightforward,” Hisashi raises an eyebrow. “Izuku was kidnapped. The abductors obviously wanted me to withdraw the money from the bank.”

“Yes, but why was no one there when you arrived?” Nedzu questions. “Why would they leave their insurance – Izuku - lying around, and why would they not be there when you arrived? Why risk the two of you escaping like you did? There is always the possibility that they were distracted by someone, perhaps a hero, but then why would you not see anything? Why would a hero not report an incident?”

“…Maybe the kidnappers had a falling out between themselves?” Hisashi points out. “Or perhaps they were in conflict with some other villains, and a confrontation occurred?”

“Yes, but still I keep coming back to why there would be no one there when you arrived,” Nedzu hums, and cocks his head to the side. “But then I realized – perhaps it wasn’t the kidnappers that wanted you there.”

“What?”

“And then everything makes sense,” Nedzu chuckles. “Izuku is a young child. He is taken – kidnapped from school, presumably for ransom. Of course he is afraid, and wants to go home, but who would he want more than anything in that moment? Who would be able to make everything better, would make him feel safe? I’d wager, in that moment, Izuku does not want Ingenium, or All Might, or any other hero to come save him. Izuku wanted his father.”

“Are you suggesting Izuku somehow… I don’t know, stole a Quirk, figured out how to use it and summoned me from the middle of Tokyo…?” Hisashi laughs and shakes his head.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck.

“Exactly!” Nedzu beams.

Oh, FUCK.

“How on earth would Izuku steal a Quirk?” Hisashi asks. “I mean, do you think he has some sort of… secondary Quirk? I mean, I suppose it’s possible, but…”

“Midoriya, please,” Nedzu sighs, and suddenly he looks like he has aged considerably. “I know.”

“Know what?”

“I know Izuku has All for One.”

Fuuuck.

“He has what?”

“Could we please do away with this charade?” the principal asks with a sigh. “I know Izuku – and you – have All for One. I know you are fully aware of who All For One is. And I know why you don’t want to admit it.”

Hisashi mentally prepares himself. If he destroys enough of Tokyo, the heroes will be busy with rescue efforts. That will give him time to get to Izuku; and there will be a large death toll, so the Midoriyas will hopefully just become another name on a list of the missing…

“But All For One is dead.”

Wait, what?

“It’s alright, Midoriya,” Nedzu assures him, as Hisashi stares at him in disbelief. “I went over all the files before coming here, and I can assure you, All For One is dead. He was killed over a decade ago by a hero named Nana Shimura. Izuku's abduction, as far as we can tell, is completely unrelated.”

“Oh, thank goodness,” Hisashi breathes, as he feels a great surge of relief wash over him. He still needs to tread carefully, to make sure Nedzu has no reason to doubt him, but at least All For One can, at least for now, stay dead. He suspects he knows what Nedzu believes, and – even if he’s wrong – it is a good cover story. So he takes a deep breath, and commits himself to the lie. “I wondered why he hadn’t contacted me in such a long time. Especially… especially after Izuku was born.”

“I’m sorry we couldn’t inform you earlier,” Nedzu winces. “It just… It never occurred to us that All For One might have… a family.”

“Please,” Hisashi snorts. He needs to sell this performance, and if it means making himself into the personification of all things evil, so be it. “The word family implies there might have been some… affection there. He wanted some way to store Quirks, and decided it would be easiest if there was someone else with All For One.”

“I see,” Nedzu shakes his head. “I… I am a teacher first, Midoriya. To hear someone had so little regard for any child, let alone their own… I am truly sorry.”

“It was difficult, at first,” Hisashi sighs, and smiles as his eyes settle on a photo of Inko. This is why I’m doing it. “But… When I became an adult, he left me alone for the most part. Probably didn’t want me to be a target for heroes. And… When I met my wife, when Izuku was born, it felt like I could leave it all behind me. I could just… Be the father I never had. But then...” he shudders, and it's not entirely an act.

"...But then Izuku was kidnapped, and you made the logical assumption it was All For One," Nedzu quietly finishes.

"Yes!" Hisashi nods. The desperation in his voice, the pain, are real, because he keeps on thinking of a tiny, confused boy, locked up in Tartarus. "But I couldn't do anything, couldn't tell anyone! I... I thought he'd taken Izuku, and I'd never... Never..."

"It's alright," the principal assures him. "I personally checked all the reports. All For One was confirmed dead, his remains identified and buried. There might still be former followers of his out there, but if there are, you probably know them better than me."

"Not really," Hisashi shrugs, once again relieved he put so much effort into his retirement. "I was kept well away from all his shady dealings. The only one I know is Gigantomachia, and he is loyal only to me and Izuku."

Nedzu nods, and they sit in silence for a few seconds. Then the hero shifts uncomfortably.

“…I hesitate to bring it up, but have you considered that… perhaps it’s best All for One… ends?”

“I did,” Hisashi admits quietly. That, more than anything he ever did as All For One, is probably his greatest shame. (Second greatest, his conscience ruthlessly corrects him.) “But what if Izuku one day has children of his own? What if he realizes I took his Quirk? I... He's all I have. I... I can't lose him.”

“You have a point,” Nedzu sighs. “But still, I suggest you limit the number of people that know about All For One. I do not think you or your son should be punished for someone else’s actions, but not everyone will be so understanding.”

“Of course,” Hisashi agrees. “So far, you are the only person outside out family that knows.”

“There’s also officer Tsukauchi,” Nedzu admits. “He was concerned about your lies, and contacted me. I explained my suspicions to him, and he agreed that you deserve a chance. And… I felt it would be good to have someone on your side in the police force.”

It appears officer Tsukauchi’s file is going to go missing for a few hours tonight.

“I suppose it’s for the best,” Hisashi sighs. “However, I’d like to be informed before you tell anyone else about our… family secret.”

"Of course," Nedzu nods. Then he smiles. "Perhaps, in a few years, Izuku might like to visit UA. I have to admit, I looked over what information I could, and he sounds like a charming boy."

"Oh yes," Hisashi smiles. Then he winces at the thought of suggesting a visit to UA. "He'd like that. He's... Well, actually, him and his friends want to be heroes when their older."

“Oh, wouldn’t that be something,” Nedzu laughs. And laughs. (And laughs.) Finally, he wheezes, “All For One’s grandson, a student at UA.”

“I’m just glad it’s the grandson,” Hisashi snorts. “It would be like the plot of some bad movie if it was the son.”

They exchange smiles, and... strangely enough, Hisashi feels better. Lighter. Because perhaps this is for the best. Perhaps Izuku will be able to be honest with his friends, and tell them the truth about his Quirk. Perhaps Izuku will be able to go to a school where he can train his Quirk without worrying about coming up with a cover story. Perhaps Izuku will have teachers he can trust.

Perhaps Izuku can even become a hero.

Then a Warp Gate opens, and Hisashi just has time to brace himself.

“OHMYGOSHITSPRINCIPALNEDZU!”

Chapter Text

Tenya always thought he got really lucky with his friends. They are very different people, true, but Tenya liked to think that they could learn from their different experiences, their different perspectives. And if he was even the least bit unsure, that was enough to reassure him.

But now, as he settles into his futon, he’s not so sure about his own role.

 Izuku has been released from the hospital for a few days now, and Uncle Hisashi suggested one last sleepover before he goes back to school. Both Izuku and Shoto had loved the idea, but Tenya almost didn’t come.

He tries not to spoil the mood, but somewhere between dinner and settling down to read comics, the other boys seem to pick up on it. So, for the first time ever, Izuku does not suggest they sneak out for ‘Quirk testing’, and Tenya just feels even more lost. Because his main role, in the past, was to prevent his friends from doing anything foolish.

And now, he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do.

Finally, Uncle Hisashi comes to tuck them all in. Tenya curls up with his Ingenium plush, and watches miserably as the man pauses at the door. But then Izuku’s dad shakes his head and leaves, and Tenya settles down to sleep.

He hopes he doesn’t have any nightmares tonight.

They lie in silence for probably an hour; although he can’t sleep, Tenya at some point figures Izuku and Shoto have drifted off. But then he hears Izuku shift.

“You guys asleep?” Izuku whispers.

“No,” Shoto mumbles, although he sounds only half-awake. “Tenya?”

“I’m awake,” Tenya answers quickly. He doesn’t want to talk, but he also doesn’t want to lie to his friends. He pulls his Ingenium plush closer.

For a minute, they all lie there quietly. Tenya isn’t sure why he feels so scared, but just as he feels like he’s about to scream, Izuku speaks again.

“What do you guys think my Quirk is?”

“You can attract small objects, right?” Shoto asks.

Tenya frowns, puzzled, and admits, “I always thought it was intelligence based, like principal Nedzu.”

Izuku doesn’t immediately answer; when he does, his voice is even quieter, and if Tenya didn’t know better, he would think his best friend is scared.

“I… don’t think I have an intelligence Quirk. And… Attraction is my mum’s Quirk.”

They lie in silence for a few minutes. Tenya can’t quite figure out why Izuku sounds so unsure; he does know Izuku’s Quirk didn’t manifest until a few months ago, but Uncle Hisashi sat them all down and explained that Quirks are weird. Sometimes they take longer to appear. And it didn’t matter, anyway; Tenya loved Izuku when he thought he had a Quirk that made him smart, so when Izuku arrived at school, excited about his new Quirk, Tenya was just happy for his friend.

He knows he should speak up now, because Izuku is obviously unsure about something, but he isn’t sure what to say. And honestly, he isn’t quite sure is he feels up to comforting someone else.

“You got your Quirk from your mum,” Shoto states. “So?”

Izuku laughs, but it’s a small, wet sound, and Tenya suddenly realizes his friend must be crying. It makes something painful settle in his stomach.

“I… Attraction is my mum’s Quirk. Literally. She… When she got sick, she gave it to my papa, and then he gave it to me.”

Tenya’s brain screeches to a halt.

“…Your mum could give her Quirk to someone?” Shoto asks, and his tone makes it clear that he’s struggling with the idea too.

“Not quite,” Izuku chuckles, and Tenya feels tears in his eyes as he realizes how forced it sounds. “I… My papa can take Quirks. So mum asked him to take her Quirk and give it to me.”

Say something.

“Only I’m like papa; I can take and give Quirks too.”

Say something!

Tenya tries to think of something to say, but the idea of someone able to take Quirks at will… It’s scary. Tenya can’t help but imagine a villain with that Quirk, and he clutches tightly at his plush.

And then he fully understands what Izuku just told them.

“Your mum gave you her Quirk?” he asks, and somehow the idea makes his fears lessen. He thinks about the picture of Auntie Inko above Izuku’s bed, and it fits. He can picture the smiling, kind woman of Uncle Hisashi’s tales wanting her son to get her Quirk. “That… That’s awesome.”

“Yeah,” Shoto agrees. “She must have loved you a lot.”

“Like… Like she wanted to always be with you,” Tenya soldiers on. “It’s… really nice…”

“Thanks,” Izuku sniffs.

None of them mention the whole Quirk-taking thing.

 

 

“Tenya? Tenya! Tenya!”

Tenya jolts awake, panting, and scans the room. Shoto is still asleep on his futon, but if he squints, he can just make out Izuku leaning over the foot of his bed, staring at him.

The sight calms Tenya, and he tries to get his breathing under control.

Alt Forty One isn’t real.

There is no villain that can steal Quirks.

Izuku is safe.

“You alright?” Izuku whispers, concerned, and suddenly – suddenly it’s too much. Suddenly Tenya can’t hold back the tears anymore, can’t pretend he’s a good friend, because…

He’s not.

Izuku was taken from under his nose.

Izuku couldn’t trust him with the truth about his Quirk.

Tenya promised himself he’d be the best friend ever, and now he can’t help but think that maybe Izuku would be better off without him. Maybe Izuku and Shoto would be better off without Tenya there, always ready to spoil their fun.

“Hey, come on; let’s… Let’s get a cookie!”

Tenya doesn’t really want a cookie, but it’s obvious as they slip out of the room that Izuku isn’t quite sure what to do. Normally, it’s him or Shoto that end up crying, and Tenya is tasked with comforting his friends. But this is the first time their roles are reversed, and it just makes Tenya feel worse.

Halfway to the kitchen they decide they don’t really want anything to eat. It’s past one in the morning, and everyone else is asleep, but they end up hiding behind one of the couches in the living room, Tenya clutching his Ingenium plush and Izuku Attracting his All Might figurine from one hand to the other.

(Tenya understands now why Izuku always seems to Attract things when he’s feeling nervous.)

“Did you have a nightmare?” Izuku whispers.

Tenya nods, and wipes at his eyes angrily. Izuku was the one taken, and Tenya’s his friend; he should be the one doing the reassuring, not making Izuku feel worse.

“It’s alright,” Izuku whispers, and manages a small smile. “I’ve been having them too lately.”

That just makes Tenya feel worse.

They sit in silence for a few minutes.

“Tenya?” Izuku finally speaks again. He sounds quieter, more unsure. “Are… Are you mad at me?”

“What? No!” Tenya exclaims, a bit louder than he meant to. He sniffs and wipes at his eyes. “I… You should be mad at me!”

“…Why?”

“Cause they took you!” Tenya sobs. He hasn’t told this to anyone; not to Tensei, not to his mum – nobody knows. And now - now he can't hold it back anymore. “Cause I was right there, and they took you! And I didn’t do anything!”

Izuku puts his arm around his shoulders, and waits until Tenya’s calmed down a bit. And then, in a quiet, firm voice, he points out, “We’re six.”

“What?”

“We’re six,” Izuku repeats. “And… You did do something, didn’t you? You got a teacher. And she called the police.”

“Yes, but…”

“Six.”

“I know, but…”

“Six!”

“I should…”

“Six six six!”

Tenya snickers and he pauses, surprised. He glances over at his friend, and Izuku just grins at him. And…

Tenya can’t help but feel a little better. Because sitting here, like this, it’s almost a mirror reflection of their early days. He remembers Izuku, sad and missing his mum at daycare, and remembers his own awkward attempts at reassurance. Maybe… Maybe he isn’t such a bad friend, if Izuku felt anything like he does now…

“I mean, if I get kidnapped when we’re heroes, and you don’t do anything, I’ll probably be mad,” Izuku shrugs. “But… we’re not heroes yet.”

“Yeah,” Tenya nods. He frowns as he stares at Izuku, as an idea slowly takes shape in his mind. Izuku shifts awkwardly, obviously uncomfortable with the scrutiny, and… “I want you to take my Quirk.”

“What?” Izuku gasps.

“Not now,” Tenya shakes his head. His idea… He hurries on, keen to explain. “But… If someone is going to kidnap you, or hurt you, I want you to take my Quirk. Cause then you can get away!”

Izuku stares at him, wide eyed; then he sniffs and laughs, and Tenya is relieved to recognize the wide grin that means this is just another instance of happy tears. “O… Okay! And… You’re the bestest friend ever!”

“No, you are!”

“No! You are!”

“No!...”

“Shoto is the bestest friend ever and you two need to get back to bed.”

The two boys look up slowly, and Izuku’s father quirks an eyebrow at them in silent challenge.

 

 

Tenya smiles as Uncle Hisashi switches off the light. Because…

Maybe it’s alright if sometimes Izuku comforts him.

Maybe he can help Izuku if he’s ever taken again.

“Izuku?” he whispers as he rolls over. Normally he tells his friends off for talking after bedtime, since it’s important to sleep, but… This is important too.

“Yeah?” Izuku whispers back.

“…You know you’re my best friend and I love you, right?”

“You’re my bestest friend, too…”

“Both of you, go to sleep!”

Chapter Text

“OHMYGOSHITSECTOPLASM!”

Hisashi exchanges amused looks with Tensei as Izuku runs over to a very surprised (and, perhaps, slightly shellshocked) hero.

He isn’t sure how he’ll remember this day; on the one hand, Izuku has not stopped beaming since he was told they would visit U.A. (after breakfast, because Hisashi has learnt from his past mistakes and trying to get an overexcited child to go to sleep is not an experience he wants to repeat). On the other hand, he is wondering if perhaps Izuku’s hero obsession is getting slightly out of hand. It’s certainly exhausting; his ears have been ringing since their arrival (OHMYGOSHITSUA!), and things did not change when they were welcomed by Nedzu and OHMYGOSHITSRECOVERYGIRL. Honestly, Hisashi is almost relieved that he won’t be accompanying Izuku and his friends on their tour.

“Ectoplasm has kindly volunteered to show you boys around,” Nedzu informs the three boys. “We will meet you in the school cafeteria for lunch!”

“We?” Tensei asks, obviously surprised. “You’re not coming with us, Midoriya?”

“No, we’re not going with them,” Hisashi corrects him.

“Papa?” Izuku asks, looking back at him, his smile dimming.

“It’ll be fine, Izuku,” Hisashi assures his son. “I need to talk to Tensei about something, but we’ll join you as soon as we’re done. You’ll be safe here; after all, it’s U.A. And Kurogiri will be with you boys. And if something does happen, what do you do?”

“Summon papa!” Izuku perks up at the thought of his new Quirk, and the security it provides.

Hisashi chuckles as he ruffles his son’s hair, and then turns to Tensei. “Alright, come on, Iida; the sooner we get this over with, the sooner we can have lunch.”

Iida does not look convinced as he watches the boys follow Ectoplasm. But, like a consummate professional, he takes a deep breath and treats them all to a (somewhat forced) smile, and then follows them into the teacher’s lounge.

Hisashi sits down with a sigh. He is not looking forward to this conversation, but it seems neither is Tensei. The young man glances around, obviously uncertain, as Principal Nedzu goes to prepare them a pot of tea, and Recovery Girl makes absolutely certain there is no one outside the room before locking them in. (Highly unlikely, considering it’s Sunday, but still – it’s a level of paranoia Hisashi approves off.)

“Ookay,” Tensei shifts, obviously uncomfortable, once the two other heroes rejoin them. “Am I in trouble? Cause I don’t know what you think I did, but I’m pretty sure it’s Mic’s fault.”

“Oh, you’re not in any trouble, dear,” Recovery Girl assures him. “Gummy bear?”

“What exactly is Present Mic’s fault?...”

“Nedzu!”

“I apologize,” Nedzu winces. “Of course you’re not in trouble; we’re here to talk about something unrelated to your time here at UA.”

“Really?” Tensei frowns as he glances around again. “Cause this feels a lot like I’m about to get suspended.”

“Why did you get suspended?” Hisashi asks.

“Midoriya!”

Hisashi sighs and pours himself a cup of tea, ignoring Tensei’s snickering. He doesn't want to do this, but… Nedzu had a point when he mentioned they should perhaps let another hero in on their little secret. And Hisashi has no problem with Recovery Girl; frankly, having a medical professional aware of Izuku’s Quirk seems like a sensible idea. (After all, he really doesn’t want to have to come up with appropriate excuses when he’s panicking.)

However, it took him about two hours and quite a bit of manipulation (and, yes, just a touch of a Quirk) to convince Nedzu that no, All Might does not need to know All For One had a son. In the end, he pointed out that Idaten is an established and respected hero agency, and what is more, Hisashi and Izuku have a close relationship with the Iida family. It is only a matter of time before Tenya finds out about Izuku’s Quirk (was only a matter of time, he mentally corrects himself). And, since it is highly likely the boy will tell his family, Hisashi suggested they might as well inform them first.

Controlling the narrative is never a bad idea.

That does not mean Hisashi is happy.

“Iida, are you aware of Mr Midoriya and Izuku’s Quirks?” Nedzu asks, when Hisashi doesn’t speak.

“Oh, sure,” Tensei shrugs. “Izuku’s got that… Attract Quirk, right? And Midoriya can heal people.”

“Well, technically you’re correct,” Hisashi sighs.

“Technically?...”

“I do have a healing Quirk,” Hisashi shrugs, and decides he should probably ease Tensei into this. No need to start with the supervillain thing. “I have several. I also have a sleep-inducing Quirk, a rather interesting long-sightedness Quirk, a few regeneration Quirks… A couple speed Quirks…”

Tensei opens his mouth. And closes it. And opens it again.

“…And Izuku?...”

“Oh, he just has Attraction,” Hisashi shrugs. “And Summon. And I might have slipped him a regeneration Quirk… Or three…”

Recovery Girl shakes her head at him, but Hisashi is unmoved. At the time, he briefly felt he might be being overprotective, but then he remembered Izuku’s best friend has a speed Quirk, and decided no, two regeneration Quirks were not enough.

“Right,” Tensei nods, his voice noticeably higher. “Course. Of course.”

“And of course we both have our original Quirks.”

“Original Quirks?” the young hero repeats faintly, and Hisashi wonders for a moment if they’ve somehow broken Ingenium. He hopes not; that would be… very awkward to explain to Tenya.

“Yes,” Hisashi nods. “Before I explain anything further, I need to tell you that everything we’re discussing right now is strictly top secret. The only person outside this room that knows is officer Tsukauchi. I am telling you all this because I trust you.”

That seems to be the right thing to say. Tensei shakes his head and sits up straighter, determined. Hisashi tries to ignore the sneaking suspicion he might also be touched.

“Many years ago…” Hisashi starts, and then pauses. It sounds too much like a fairy tale, phrased like that. He shakes his head, and starts over. “My father was a villain. And… A powerful villain, at that. He was old, too; he was part of the very first generation of Quirk users. But… Several years ago, a hero finally killed him. I understand why, and I approve; there was never any affection between us. Frankly, I am relieved to be free of him. But... Well, I was born with the same Quirk as him. And... It seems Izuku has it, too."

“What sort of Quirk?”

“We can take Quirks,” Hisashi shrugs. “Not just take them; we can pass Quirks to other people, as well. And… While most people cannot handle more than one Quirk at a time, we can possess – not just possess, but use as well – many Quirks at once. And I mean many.”

“Holy fucking shit,” Tensei gasps.

“My father used me as… Well, I suppose as a storage container for Quirks,” Hisashi explains. He is very glad Tsukauchi is not present. “I have… I’m not sure exactly how many, but… several dozen Quirks.”

Technically, he isn’t lying; he stopped counting around the three hundred mark. That is several (dozen) dozen.

“Holy fucking shit,” Tensei repeats. “And… Your father? What was his name?”

“He was what you might call an underground villain,” Nedzu explains. He sighs, and continues, “The government was trying to prevent panic. Very few heroes were informed about his existence. His Quirk was named after him. He was called... All For One.”

For a minute, Tensei stares at Hisashi. The man shifts, unsure of his reaction, and for the first time starts to worry. The Iidas are an upstanding hero family; for them to knowingly associate with the child of a supervillain seems… unlikely. Hisashi has a sinking feeling as he imagines having to explain to Izuku that Tenya can’t be his friend anymore…

…And then Tensei sniffs and wipes at his eyes, and Hisashi realizes with no small amount of horror that the hero has tears in his eyes. He sniffs again, and treats Hisashi to a beaming smile, and suddenly Hisashi thinks perhaps they should have told All Might.

“Thank you,” Tensei chokes out. “Your trust… It means so much to me.”

Oh, lord, please don’t let him start talking about feelings.

“I mean, here you are. You’ve been through such terrible experiences; your dad was terrible, and then, when you finally found happiness… It’s ripped away by the cruel hands of fate! And yet you’re still trying to be a good role model to Izuku!”

Why do heroes feel the need to monologue like this?

“It cannot be easy; after all, you’re genetically predisposed to being absolutely-fucking-terrifying! It must be so hard, battling not only your experiences but also your DNA! But it makes so much sense that villain-ness is genetic!”

Hisashi considers Izuku and his adorable smile and opens his mouth to point out being evil is probably not genetic. Then he decides perhaps it’s easier to just… let Tensei get this out of his system.

“…You must have missed out on so much growing up! Family trips, sleepovers, hanging out with friends… Don’t worry, though, because you’re not alone anymore! You can come meet my friends, come drinking with us, join us for karaoke… Have some fun!”

“…I’ll pass.”

“Oh, come on, Hisashi, don’t be such a stick in the mud!”

“…What did you just call me?”

“Hisashi!” Tensei grins. “You know, your name!”

“…I’d rather you didn’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because we are nowhere near close enough for you to use my first name,” Hisashi explains, ignoring Tensei’s pouting.

“You just told me your deep, dark secret!”

“I also told it to Principal Nedzu,” Hisashi points out. “He does not go around using my first name.”

“Yes, but we’ve known each other for years!”

“…”

“Alright, fine, Uncle Hisashi,” Tensei huffs.

“I am not your uncle.”

“You let Tenya call you that!”

“Tenya is Izuku’s best friend. You are not.”

“But I’m Tenya’s brother! It would be weird for you to be his uncle and not mine!”

“Yes, but Tenya is cute. You are not.”

“Ryuuko says I’m cute!”

“Your girlfriend is not a reliable source.”

“She’s a prohero!”

“She’s blinded by love.”

“Oh, come on, Uncle Hisashi…”

 

 

Izuku is having the best day ever.

He can’t help but grin as he tucks into his lunch; Ectoplasm showed him, Shoto and Tenya all around UA, and answered all of Izuku’s questions. Izuku was initially a bit sad that papa didn’t come with them. But he obviously had to talk to Tensei about something important, probably something grown up. (Grown up meaning something Izuku will be told when he is older, like Where do babies come from? or Where did you get that Quirk, papa?)

“Are you alright, Shoto?” Tenya asks.

Izuku glances over at their friend, and realizes with a sinking feeling that Shoto was just picking at his food. In fact, looking back, Shoto was unusually subdued throughout their visit. Shoto is always quiet, not the same way Tenya is (which is polite, well-behaved quiet), but rather slightly-unsure quiet. But still, this trip, he was even quieter than usual. And Izuku didn't notice until now, too excited to be at UA. 

He needs to try and be a bit more like Tenya.

“I… Can I tell you guys a secret?”

The three of them look in tandem over at Kurogiri, who decides to get up and get a refill of his tea. None of them comment on how his mug is still almost full.

“You can trust us, Shoto,” Tenya assures their friend.

“Yeah,” Izuku nods. He reflects on his own secret, and smiles. “We’re a team.”

“I…” Shoto hesitates; he glances around, and then closes his eyes, and blurts out, “My father used to hit us.”

Izuku feels like he’s been punched in the gut. He wondered, in passing, what happened to Shoto’s dad, but assumed he died. And Shoto didn’t talk about him either because he was sad, or maybe he just didn’t remember him. But this? The idea that anyone would hurt Shoto, or Auntie Rei, is horrifying enough. But for it to be someone who was meant to love them?

“We… left when I was four,” Shoto continues,. He shudders. “…He still scares me…”

“Is that why you dye your hair?” Izuku asks.  "...To hide?"

Shoto nods.

“Well, you needn’t worry!” Tenya hastily assures him. “Should you ever feel threatened, you need only call and Tensei will come to your rescue!”

“And Kurogiri’ll warp you somewhere safe!” Izuku adds.

“…My father’s Endeavor…” Shoto whispers.

Izuku stares at him, stunned. He glances over at Tenya, who looks just as shocked.

He knows Endeavor does not have the best reputation, but this? To find out that a highly ranked hero was abusive enough for his family to basically go into hiding?  Izuku can feel tears threatening, and not the happy kind. Not the sad kind, either, mind you; he wishes it wouldn't be naughty if he asked Machia to go punch Endeavor, because...

“Fuck Endeavor!” Izuku blurts out. Because he knows he shouldn't swear, but... Shoto and Auntie Rei are lovely, and kind, and they didn't deserve this. And neither did the rest of Shoto's family, he adds guiltily.

Tenya looks over at him and opens his mouth, probably to protest his language. Then he frowns, moves his mouth, and finally nods, and adds, “Yes, I guess fu… fu… such behaviour is appalling.”

Shoto and Izuku share a smile at their friend’s expense. Shoto’s is still small, and fragile, but Izuku… Izuku remembers his own fears. In hindsight they seem completely irrational, because he is so lucky to have such wonderful friends, and it will seem irrational to Shoto too. But until then, they need to reassure him, and make sure he knows they still like him. Because it's not his fault he got stuck with a mean jerk for a dad, and it's not like they even have to see Endeavor...

“What's your real hair like?” Izuku asks, partly to distract him. It has to be something noticeable for Shoto to have to dye it.

“It’s…  Actually, it’s red and white," Shoto admits. "Literally. Half of it is red, half is white.”

Izuku stares at him for a few seconds. If Shoto has his hair split like that, perhaps his Quirk is not simply some form of thermo-regulation. In fact, perhaps it’s a strange hybrid between his parents’…

“Muttering!” Shoto and Tenya chorus.

Izuku laughs, not the least bit embarrassed. Then an idea occurs to him, and he leans forward and asks, “Hey, do you want to do a few experiments?”

 

 

“…Midoriya, why is there a massive glacier in the middle of Training Ground Beta?”

“…I’m so proud…”

Chapter Text

“You know, Uncle Hisashi, you really don’t have to come with us…”

 “You really expect me to leave Izuku in your care, when you’re going to see your girlfriend?” Hisashi levels Tensei with an unimpressed look. He knows he should probably protest the ridiculous name, but... well, there are bigger issues at hand.

“Kurogiri is coming too!” 

“Kurogiri is getting the week off. He has chosen to spend that time with Mandalay, and will be on standby in event of an emergency.”

“Tiger will be there!”

“I have never met Tiger.”

“…I could ask Mic to come?”

“How is that supposed to make me feel better?”

Tensei opens his mouth, but Hisashi is mercifully saved from any further idiocy by the ringing of the doorbell.

“Shoto’s here!” Izuku cheers as he runs out of the kitchen. He opens the door, and sure enough, Shoto hurries in, his hair an… interesting shade of purple, his beloved penguin clutched in his arms, closely followed by his eldest brother.

“Uncle Hisashi!” Touya, polite as ever, immediately stops to bow. “Thank you so much for inviting Shoto!”

“It’s fine,” Hisashi smiles. He has always had a bit of a soft spot for the eldest of the Yukiyama siblings. (Perhaps it is because he can relate.) It is particularly heartwarming to see he has clearly dyed his hair to match his beloved baby brother, and the teenager has earned this holiday. “Iida, this is Touya Yukiyama, Shoto’s brother. Touya, Tensei Iida, also known as Ingenium.”

“Wonderful to meet you!” Tensei grins, and shakes Touya’s hand. The teenager still looks uncertain, but then an aversion to heroes is probably to be expected. And however much Hisashi might dislike him, he knows Tensei will probably help the teenager relax during the trip.

“Tenya!” Shoto beams proudly as his friend hurries into the room, carrying a stack of bento boxes. “Remember my brother, Touya?”

 “I wish I had a brother…” Izuku mutters as he glances over at his two friends.

“You have a Kurogiri,” Hisashi points out helpfully. “There’s only one of those.”

Izuku perks up.

Kurogiri, who has himself just emerged from the kitchen, levels Hisashi with an unimpressed look.

Hisashi doesn’t really pay him much attention, because Kurogiri can deal.

“Do we have everything?” he asks instead.

“Yes, sir,” Kurogiri nods.

“Yep!” Tensei grins.

“Machia!” Izuku calls.

“Alright,” Hisashi takes a deep breath as Machia lumbers into the room. He is about to spend a weekend surrounded by heroes, and he won’t even be able to get drunk.

This is going to be bad.

“Let’s go.”

 

 

“Tensei!” Pixie-bob launches herself at her boyfriend the moment he has stepped through the Warp Gate. “I missed you so much!”

“Gross,” Shoto mutters as he ducks past the young couple.

Hisashi agrees. He would also like it to be noted for the record he was right.

“Good to see you again, Midoriya,” Mandalay steps forward, a kind smile firmly on her face. Then she glances past him, and her smile gets even bigger. "Hi, Izuku! It's wonderful to see you again!"

“Hi Mandalay!” Izuku greets her with a beaming smile, and then immediately gestures to the (very obviously) uncomfortable Touya. “This is Touya! He’s my cousin!”

“And of course the big one is Gigantomachia, Midoriya’s… bodyguard,” Kurogiri adds.

“Hello!” Gigantomachia beams.

"A pleasure," Mandalay nods, not even the least bit taken aback by the giant. She gestures towards the two heroes standing by the building. “My teammates, Tiger and Ragdoll. And… You obviously know Pixie-bob…”

“Yes,” Hisashi nods, very pointedly not looking in the direction of the young couple.

“Papa, papa!” he feels a small hand tug on his sleeve and looks down at Izuku. “Can me and Shoto and Tenya go play? Please? Pleeease?”

Hisashi should probably suspect something. But it’s not like Izuku hasn’t met the Pussycats before, and it has been a while since he last spent time with Shoto. And what trouble can they get into in the middle of a forest? They probably just want to play heroes (again). So Hisashi smiles and nods.

Izuku cheers and gives him a quick hug, and then turns to dash off into the trees. Hisashi watches him go, and calls out, “Gigantomachia?”

“Yes, Lord!” Gigantomachia beams as he hurries after the three boys.

Hisashi thinks nothing of it; he exchanges further pleasantries with the heroes, and then he and Touya carry the bags through to their rooms. Kurogiri, along with their food, disappears off to the kitchen, Mandalay close behind. Hisashi does not want to know where Pixie-Bob and Tensei have vanished off to; he considers everything and then hurries back outside, to ask Ragdoll a few questions about her Quirk. (Because he might as well take advantage of his temporary freedom.)

Touya initially looks rather lost, hovering next to them, obviously uninterested in the subject, but also unsure what to do with himself; Tiger comes to the rescue, and soon the two of them are excitedly discussing martial arts.

Hisashi pauses to consider his next question and glances over at the teenager, relieved to see him relaxing…

…And then something hard, and fast barrels into him, sending him crashing to the ground.

“What the hell,” he mumbles as he slowly rolls over. Touya and the two heroes are staring at him, wide eyed, obviously unfamiliar with the chaos that comes part and parcel with Izuku.

“Uncle Hisashi!” Tenya wails. “We didn’t mean to!”

“What?” Hisashi jerks upright, pain forgotten. As he looks out in the direction Izuku went, he spots a worrying amount of smoke.

“Touya, get an extinguisher!” Hisashi shouts, even as he takes off. As he barrels through the trees, calling on every speed Quirk he picked up, he can’t decide what might have happened; could the boys have been playing and Shoto got startled? Could Izuku have asked his friend to participate in an experiment?

Could they have been attacked?

He almost collapses out of sheer relief when he emerges into a clearing and spots Izuku and Shoto, both obviously hysterical. There are several trees lying uprooted in the centre of the clearing, as if some giant threw then there, and Gigantomachia is trying desperately to put them out.

Good work, Gigantomachia.

“Shoto, freeze it!” Hisashi yells as he sprints towards the boys.

“I can’t!” Shoto wails. “Izuku has it!”

Hisashi doesn’t have to ask what it is; he grabs onto Izuku for a few seconds, and then he’s taking off again, Half Hot, Half Cold ready for action. It takes no time at all to encase the trees in a huge block of ice, and then all of a sudden the crisis is over.

Hisashi is so, so exhausted as he turns back to the children. His legs are shaking, and he feels like he’s about to collapse, but it’s alright, because Izuku is safe. A hysterical, sobbing mess, but safe.

“Come here,” Hisashi sighs as he crouches down. Izuku is there almost immediately, clinging to him. Hisashi allows himself a few seconds to just breathe, and convince himself that Izuku really is safe, and then pulls Shoto in to join the embrace.

That is how Tensei finds them when he comes crashing out of the woods, a fire extinguisher at the ready, a large number of leaves and branches sticking out of his hair, and several cuts to his face. He manages to stop before he barrels into Gigantomachia, and looks around, obviously confused.

“It’s alright,” Hisashi calls out. “We put it out.”

“Thank goodness,” Tensei breathes, and sways worryingly. “You guys hurt?”

Hisashi gently extracts himself from the boys. Izuku’s shirt is rather singed on one side, and Shoto looks worryingly pale, but…

“They’re fine,” Hisashi manages a smile. “Gigantomachia?”

“I am sorry, Lord!” the giant wails.

“Don’t be silly,” Hisashi sighs. “Come on, any burns?”

“I failed you!”

“Machia’s hurt!” Izuku realizes, and bursts into tears again.

The giant freezes. Hisashi barely resists the urge to smile as he watches the… curious expressions on Gigantomachia’s face, and instead turns to his son.

“Oh, Izuku,” he sighs. “Machia should have known better though. Maybe he should just go sit in time out.”

Izuku hesitates for just a split seconds, and Hisashi almost laughs. (Because he’s pretty sure Izuku knows what he’s trying to do.) Then Izuku shakes his head. “No! It was my fault! And Machia’s hurt! And I don’t want him to be hurt!”

Gigantomachia perks up.

“Well, I don’t know…”

“No!” Izuku actually stamps his foot. “You have to heal him, papa! Or… Or… I won’t hug you anymore!”

Hisashi doesn’t have a chance to respond, because suddenly Gigantomachia is right there, wide eyed. Hisashi chuckles as he easily heals the burns on the giant’s hands, and then turns back to Tensei.

“Did you just use your son for blackmail?”

“Of course not,” Hisashi huffs, amused. Because it was an important lesson in manipulation. (In which Izuku performed admirably, and might even be treated to something small as a reward. Unless he can’t think of a good excuse for NEARLY GIVING HISASHI A HEART ATTACK.)

Their odd little procession sets off back in silence, Tensei in the lead, and Hisashi takes the opportunity to slip Half Hot, Half Cold back to Shoto. The boy stumbles and glances back at him, and Hisashi raises his finger to his lips. Shoto smiles and nods.

Hisashi almost laughs out of sheer relief. He knows the boys are aware of Izuku’s true Quirk, but aware and accepting are two very different things. If Shoto was willing to lend Izuku his Quirk (because he’s fairly certain Izuku would never steal a Quirk, especially from a friend), that… It feels like an occasion. It feels like the boys have accepted him, scary Quirk and all. And…

Hisashi has been meaning to start teaching Izuku more about All for One this trip. Perhaps Tenya and Shoto will be willing to help, if he gives them a few tips in return.

“Shoto!” Touya sprints over to his brother the minute he sees them, and Hisashi laughs as he watches the teen fret. Kurogiri is comforting a sobbing Tenya, the Pussycats clearly on standby. Tensei immediately hurries back to his brother, shoving the extinguisher at Tiger as he passes. Hisashi takes the opportunity to pull Izuku back, Gigantomachia hovering nearby to make sure they are not interrupted.

“Izuku, what exactly happened?”

Izuku shifts anxiously, avoiding eye contact, and Hisashi sighs at such a clear admission of guilt.

“Izuku, Quirks can be dangerous,” he explains as he crouches down. “You could have been hurt.”

“I’m sorry, papa,” Izuku sniffs. “I just wanted to see how it works.”

“I know, Izuku,” Hisashi brushes his hand over Izuku’s curls. “But you’re too young, all of you, to be using Quirks without an adult. And you know Gigantomachia doesn’t count.” He considers his next words carefully, and pulls Izuku into a hug. “Izuku, I was so scared. What if something happened to you? What if Gigantomachia didn’t react so quickly? What would I do without you?”

Izuku starts to cry again, even as he clings to his father, but at least he seems to have got the message.

“I’m not going to stop you boys from using your Quirks this weekend,” Hisashi states once Izuku has calmed down. “But I want there to be at least two adults while you’re practicing. And, as punishment, you are not allowed to use any of your Quirks without me. Understood?”

“Yes, papa,” Izuku nods. “Are you going to take them?”

Hisashi is tempted. Because Izuku might not have even a fraction of all Hisashi’s Quirks, but he has the one Quirk Hisashi wants more than anything, more than even One For All. But he’s trying; so he smiles, and presses a kiss to Izuku’s forehead.

“No, Izuku. I trust you.”

Izuku beams.

Chapter Text

Izuku is bored.

It is rather surprising, since he is on a camping trip with his family, two best friends and no less than five pro-heroes, but it’s the truth. Because Tenya is running laps with Tensei, and Shoto and Touya are ‘training’ in the clearing (under the watchful eye of papa, and Tiger, and Pixie-bob. With at least three fire extinguishers on hand.)

And, since Izuku is the only member of their trio without an older brother, he’s stuck inside, reviewing Quirk Analysis, Vol. I at the kitchen table, where Kurogiri can watch him. While Kurogiri and Mandalay are acting couple-y.

(He normally likes Quirk Analysis, Vol. I. He wasn’t aware when they were working on it, but papa included a lot of extra information that he didn’t think of, both about other’s and his own Quirk. Today, though, it’s kind of… boring.)

He’s just flipped the page to read about Blackwhip (which papa must have seen on tv when he was younger), when he hears papa call him. He immediately slams Quirk Analysis, Vol. I shut and bolts out of the kitchen.

“Can we practice now?” he asks as he emerges from the building. He really wants to see just how far his Quirk can reach…

“Oh, yes,” papa grins as he ruffles his hair. “In fact, I thought we could play a game.”

“A game?” Izuku hurries after his father. “What sort of game?”

“I call it Capture the Quirk,” papa states as they reach the others.

Tensei groans.

“Basically, it’s like capture the flag,” papa explains, without missing a beat. “I’ll be on one team, and Izuku on the other. If you have your Quirk taken, you’re in jail. You can only move again when you get a Quirk again. No, it doesn’t have to be your original Quirk.”

Izuku lowers his hand.

Then another idea occurs to him. “But then you and me’ll never be out!”

“We’ll each have one Quirk that if taken, means we’re in jail. You are still allowed to take and give Quirks, but can only move if you get the original Quirk back,” papa explains. Then he grows serious. “A few important rules: all Quirks must be returned once the game is over. If I say the game is over, stop immediately. The only people allowed to have more than one Quirk at once are me and Izuku. Understood?”

“Yes,” Izuku, Shoto, Tenya and Touya chorus.

“This is so weird,” Tensei laughs as he shakes his head. “But what’s the big deal? If we have more than one…”

“Two words: brain damage.”

Tensei pales.

“Think of it this way,” papa explains. “Your body isn’t designed to handle the stress of more than one Quirk. Mine is. You might manage a second Quirk, since you’re young and fit, but more will probably send you into shock. And Tenya and Shoto are still children; the strain could very well kill them.”

“…Everyone, only one Quirk at a time.”

Ragdoll, Mandalay and Kurogiri won’t be playing, but agree to monitor them in case of an emergency. Teams are decided by papa, and Izuku, Shoto, Tensei and Pixie-Bob hurry off to their base to discuss strategy.

Then papa whistles, and the game begins.

 

 

Izuku is bored.

He lasted all of three minutes; then papa stole the glow-in-the-dark Quirk he’d been given, and now Izuku’s stuck in a clearing, unable to help his team.

And it’s not like Izuku can get the Quirk back; papa has a firm hold on it, and his own nominated Quirk, and a few others that must be important. Trying to get any of them feels rather like Izuku’s trying to wrestle with a mountain.

Izuku flops onto his back.

He can sense papa easily with All for One, especially since he feels so different from everyone else. It’s hard to explain, but papa’s kind of like someone took all of Izuku and Tenya’s Legos, and made a big, ginormous block out of them all. As Izuku ponders it, he senses papa pick up another Quirk…

…And then he has an idea.

Papa doesn’t take Summon ever, just in case, so Izuku quickly uses it to get Tensei, Shoto and Pixie-Bob back. He quickly gives Shoto a Healing Quirk, and then he tells them his plan.

(Pixie-Bob’s eyes widen, and Tensei grins and ruffles his hair.)

Papa is busy guarding a few specific Quirks, so Izuku just grabs as many of the others that he can and yanks them away. It makes his head spin, so he lies back down, but at least Stage 1 is complete. He’s keeping close watch on his team’s Quirks, so when he feels Tensei’s Quirk vanish off into the confusing mess that is papa, he picks out a new one and shoves it to where he last remembered the hero. He spots a Quirk he doesn’t recognize and takes it; he’s getting a little lightheaded as he feels Shoto…

 

 

“Izuku?”

Izuku grunts. His head hurts, and his chest aches, and his Quirk feels painful. (He never knew before that Quirks could hurt, and makes a mental note to write it down in Quirk Analysis, Vol. I.)

“Izuku, can you hear me?”

“No,” Izuku croaks, partly because it’s an easier word, and partly because he just knows papa is worried sick, and he wants to make him feel better.

There’s a huff of laughter, and Izuku quirks his lips up in a smile. Then his cheeks protest and he winces.

“Alright, careful,” papa helps him sit up, and slowly Izuku opens his eyes. He spots his friends hovering by the doorway, and sends them what he hopes is a reassuring smile. “Guess we now know you’ve got a few limitations.”

“Oh!” Izuku perks up, because he needs to update his notes. Then he realizes something else. “Oh, I can use All for One from a distance! But… I’m not sure how far…”

“Really?” papa gasps. Then he seems to think of something. “What about when you took those twenty-four Quirks?”

“Twenty-four?” Izuku gasps. He frowns and crosses his eyes as he pokes about, and realizes they’re all gone. “Oh…”

“We’ve got some time before dinner,” papa smiles. “Do you think you could tell me about it?”

“Yes!”

 

 

“Should we call them?”

Kurogiri pauses to consider the question as he hands Touya the plate; then he shakes his head. “No, leave them; I’ll warm something up later, when they’re done.”

Touya does not look convinced, but Kurogiri just chuckles and shakes his head. The teenager will soon learn one of the key rules of this family.

Never interrupt the Midoriyas when they’re excited about Quirks.

Chapter Text

Shoto has a lot of people to love.

He loves his mother, of course. She’s strong, and beautiful, and there’s no sight better than her smile. (Because somehow, even though with each passing month it gets harder to remember, he knows it’s a different smile than before.) And when he lies in bed at night, he likes to imagine her smile when he becomes a pro and buys her a big, fancy house. With a huge garden. (He hopes when he does, she’ll never stop smiling.)

He loves Fuyumi, because even if she’s a girl, and doesn’t play with him much, she always helps him with his homework. And every few weeks, she’ll arrive home with a box of hair dye, and they’ll spend the evening applying it to Shoto’s hair. (And mother might shake her head in disapproval, but they can see the smile on her lips.)

Loving Natsuo is… awkward. It’s not hard, because they’re family, and although it’s difficult for Shoto to describe, there’s a bond there of having been through things together, things they may never speak of, but are always present. Sometimes, Shoto will catch Natsuo with a look in his eye that he can’t identify. Natsuo never acknowledges him on those days (and mama is always sad then).

Touya is easy to love; Touya is so full of life, trying to make people laugh, always willing to play with Shoto. Friday is Shoto’s favourite day, because as soon as Touya gets home from school, they hunker down in front of the television and watch the weekly Hero Review. (And then The Hero’s Forum, and sometimes New and Noteworthy, and… well, Shoto tends to be asleep by then, and they both wake up on Saturday morning, tucked in on the couch.)

Shoto would probably be jealous of Izuku, except that it’s impossible when the other boy is always so willing to include him. Whenever he realizes Shoto hasn’t done something, Izuku doesn’t tease him – instead he immediately starts planning it, whether it be getting ice cream or going to a summer festival.

Loving Auntie Inko… is strange. Because Shoto’s never met her, and yet she’s so present in their lives. Whenever he’s feeling alone and unsure, he reminds himself that she’s probably right there, trying to give him a hug. Because he knows she isn’t technically his Aunt, but Uncle Hisashi is always quite clear she would love all of them.

And then there is Uncle Hisashi. He’s scary, like father, (because he saved them from father, and he must be crazy powerful!), but he’s also not like father. He seems so grumpy, but he never seems to get angry at Izuku. In fact, even when something is obviously bothering him, or he’s busy, he still makes time for Izuku, is still willing to watch Shoto on supershort notice. And sometimes when Izuku and Tenya are running on ahead, Shoto will slow down and look over his shoulder at where mama and Uncle Hisashi are watching them.

And, in those moments, he’ll imagine Uncle Hisashi isn’t his uncle.

 

 

“Right!” Fuyumi claps her hands, obviously trying to call her brothers to order. Shoto doesn’t think it very effective; Natsuo is busy picking his nose, and Touya, their designated babysitter for the evening, is engrossed in the video game he ‘confiscated’ from Shoto (who promised to give it back to Izuku next week).

Fuyumi sighs and slaps Natsuo on the back of the head.

“Family meeting!” she barks. “Pay attention!”

“It can’t be a family meeting without mum,” Touya points out as he finally shuts the game off.

“Well we need to talk about mum, so she can’t be here!”

“Is something wrong with mum?!” Shoto asks, scared, and his siblings freeze as he sniffles.

“Course not!” Touya quickly reassures him with a grin. “Fuyumi’s just being dramatic!”

“I am not!” Fuyumi huffs. Then, however, she looks over at Shoto and her gaze softens. “Mum’s fine, Sho-chan. I promise.”

“Then why did you call us?” Natsuo speaks up.

Fuyumi draws herself up to her full height. (Which would be more impressive if she were not a good six inches shorter than Touya.) “Because we need to set mum up with Uncle Hisashi.”

“What?!” Natsuo exclaims. “Why?!”

“Cause he’s great! We like him, mum likes him, and if The Bastard ever finds us, he can have Kurogiri warp us to America!”

“That’s not how his Quirk works,” Shoto feels the need to inform her. “He can only warp over a distance of something like 200 miles.”

“He can warp us to Fukushima,” Touya corrects with a laugh. “But seriously, why?”

“Don’t you think mum has a soft spot for him?” Fuyumi asks. “I mean, she always smiles when we meet up with them, and they always talk when we get together with the Midoriyas…”

“He does seem to like her,” Touya admits with a frown. “He always remembers her birthday, and he sometimes has Kurogiri bring takeaway when she works late without her asking…”

“Then it’s settled!” Fuyumi declares, even though it’s not.

Shoto just hopes he’ll get to be the ringbearer.

 

 

Of course Izuku is quickly recruited. (He seems pretty keen on the idea of being Shoto’s brother, especially since he’s the only one out of their trio without siblings.) And because Shoto never really spends time with only one of his friends, Tenya has to be informed, as well. Soon they realize none of them have any experience with romance, and, since they need an adult who might know about it, they turn to Tensei (who laughs for a good three minutes and then agrees). At some point they realize Kurogiri has drifted into their circle of co-conspirators, and after much hemming and hawing, he admits he’s hoping to pick up a few pointers. They would ask Machia to join their ranks, but according to Izuku, the giant is terrible at keeping secrets.

They decide a nice, candlelit dinner is the perfect first date. Fuyumi has been learning to cook, after all, and they can simply get everything ready, invite Uncle Hisashi and Izuku over and then hide in one of the bedrooms.

Unfortunately, they forgot all about the smoke detectors. So when Touya lights up his arm (because why keep matches in the home when two residents have fire-based Quirks), they have maybe three seconds before the alarm starts blaring.

(They quickly agree that the best course of action is to claim Shoto got startled and accidentally set fire to a cushion – Touya singes it on the way out of the apartment. Mother just sighs and, once the fire brigade has cleared the building, calls Kurogiri to pick up some takeaway.)

Undaunted, they settle on a trip to the cinema as plan B. They can go see the new All Might movie with Izuku, and the adults can go to a café to wait for them, or go see the romantic comedy mother has been looking forward to.

This time, Uncle Hisashi thwarts them. (Without even knowing.)

When Kurogiri arrives with Izuku, because apparently Uncle Hisashi had to work, they decide he might as well take some time off. When they suggest this to the warper, however, he almost has a panic attack at the idea that he leave the boy with the Yukiyama kids, unsupervised. They end up buying him a large green tea and missing all the ads because they need to talk him through breathing exercises. Once they do go in, Izuku has to hold his hand through the whole screening.

The less said about plan C the better: long story short, the four of them have to hide in a handicapped toilet for an hour, till Shoto creeps out in search of a phone signal.

Love is, apparently, a lot harder than it looks.

 

 

“How about a picnic?” Touya suggests. “That’s a couple-y thing to do, right?”

“It’s February,” Natsuo points out as he snags another biscuit from the plate. “And there’s two feet of snow EVERYWHERE.”

“How about that exhibition about early heroes?” Izuku suggests with a beaming smile, and everyone groans. The boy promptly shuts his notebook and crosses his arms with a pout.

“Cat café?” Fuyumi suggests, slightly desperate. “I mean, everyone likes cats, right?”

“Mama’s allergic,” Shoto reminds her.

Everyone sits in silence for a minute.

“Perhaps a simple coffee date would be best?”

“Great idea, Uncle Hisashi!” Tensei grins.

Everyone freezes.

Chapter Text

Hisashi would like to think that Izuku is a smart child. That after making a mistake, he will learn from the experience and grow, and avoid making it again.

Hisashi is, apparently, very wrong.

“Do you remember what happened the last time you picked up a stray?” he asks, flipping on the kitchen light and leveling Izuku with an unimpressed stare.

Izuku freezes with his hand in the cutlery drawer. Hisashi sighs, and takes the opportunity presented by the better lighting to duck down and take a good look at the small figure crouched under the table. And then he spots something about the unfamiliar child that has him stiffening.

“What is that?”

Izuku seems to catch onto the cold fury in his father’s voice. And, showing an exceptional situational awareness, and manipulation that deserves an extra helping of dessert, he answers honestly, with a frown, in his saddest voice, “A muzzle.”

Hisashi is a mature, responsible parent. He has perfect control of his primal urges, and any action he takes is always after careful consideration of said action’s consequences on Izuku…

…Oh, fuck it, Inko would want him to kill the bastard responsible.

“Kurogiri!” he calls (screams). “Kitchen! Now!”

He turns back to the two boys, ducks down again, takes stock of the purple-haired child, and decides he can’t be too careful.

“Gigantomachia! Battle stations!”

“Is something wrong, sir?” Kurogiri asks as he warps into the kitchen, dressed in his flannel pyjamas.

“There is a muzzle,” Hisashi hisses, in a tone that makes it quite clear he takes it as a personal slight, “on that child.”

Kurogiri takes stock of the situation and wordlessly begins making them all cocoa.

“I AM READY, LORD!” Machia bellows from the front door, and Hisashi pauses for a second. Then he decides that no, he is not overreacting. Reasonable force is a truly wonderful thing.

“Right,” he turns his attention back to Izuku, and realizes the other child is still hiding under the table. “…Is he going to stay there all night?”

“He’s scared!” Izuku frowns and crosses his arms. (Hisashi barely suppresses a sigh, because this one is not going anywhere anytime soon.)

“Well, if he comes out, I’ll get that muzzle off him,” Hisashi offers. “And he can have some cocoa.”

Izuku considers the offered terms. “…Promise you won’t send him away?”

“He won’t leave this house until I am certain he’s going somewhere safe,” Hisashi assures his son. “Where he WON’T have to wear a muzzle.”

Izuku thinks about it for a minute, and then nods. “Alright. It’s safe to come out!”

The child doesn’t immediately move. When he does slowly climb out from his hiding spot, Hisashi winces. The bushy, unkempt purple hair and torn, baggy clothes are almost excusable, but the large bruise on his cheek, the muzzle, and how he seems only seconds away from bolting from the room are huge red flags.

Looks like Hisashi will be calling his lawyer.

“Right,” Hisashi decides it’s best not to approach the boy, and simply hands Izuku the scissors. “Does he have a name?”

“Dunno,” Izuku shrugs. “What’s your name?”

”Hitoshi,” the child admits, his voice hoarse from misuse. He winces as he moves his jaw, and Hisashi wonders if Rei would mind watching the two while he pops out and murders someone.

He probably should not; he’s been trying to cut back on not-strictly-legal activities now that there’s increased scrutiny.

“Right,” Hisashi sighs as he considers his next course of action. He’ll have to call his lawyer, and… Tsukauchi. They need to file a police report, after all, and they might as well do it with someone that will be on their side. Then an idea occurs to him. “…Does Hitoshi have a favourite hero?”

“Oh yeah!” Izuku seems to pick up on his train of thought, and smiles at his new… friend. Pet. Something. “Mine’s All Might. Who’s yours?”

The boy hesitates, obviously uncertain. Hisashi can see him examining Izuku’s face, probably searching for any sign of deception. But Hisashi knows his son, and knows he’s genuinely curious. And, after a few seconds, Hitoshi speaks.

“Eraserhead,” he admits so quietly, Hisashi can barely make it out. “…He’s a really cool underground hero…”

“Oh, I know Eraserhead,” Hisashi smiles. “I can do Eraserhead.”

 

 

“Hi, Tensei!” Izuku grins as he pokes his head round the back of the sofa.

Hitoshi doesn’t know who Tensei is. Frankly he doesn’t care; the weird fog guy gave them a plate of chocolate biscuits, and Hitoshi wants to make the most of this weird situation. Izuku is great, but he seems convinced his father won’t send Hitoshi back. And Hitoshi knows that’s ridiculous, because adults can’t be trusted.

He’ll be going back; he always ends up going back.

He crams another two biscuits into his mouth and almost moans because they’re soo good!

“Hitoshi!” Izuku grabs his shoulder. “Eraserhead’s here!”

What?

Hitoshi hesitantly stands up and peers over the back of the sofa.

“Did you pick up another stray?” Eraserhead groans.

It really is Eraserhead. Hitoshi is torn between maintaining eye contact with his idol and looking over at Izuku, because apparently Izuku is amazing. There’s no other explanation for why Hitoshi’s idol is standing right there (well, slouching right there, in baggy black clothes), next to a young, handsome guy that is Probably Tensei.

“He was wearing a muzzle,” Izuku informs the two men in the same sad tone he used on his father. Hitoshi still doesn’t quite know why that piece of knowledge was so effective, but maybe Izuku has some sort of manipulation Quirk, too?...

“What the fuck?!” Eraserhead exclaims, and Probably Tensei looks equally horrified.

“Don’t swear!” Izuku’s dad calls out from the kitchen.

“Sorry, Uncle Hisashi!” Probably Tensei shouts back.

“I am not your Uncle!”

Hitoshi’s frown deepens, because he just can’t understand why everyone seems so upset about the muzzle. He’s worn it… Well, he’s fuzzy about when he first started wearing it (probably around the time he got his Quirk, his common sense points out), but it’s been a constant in his life. Even when they moved him to a new foster home, to a new school, the muzzle came too.

He doesn’t even have to wear it all the time; only when he’s been really bad.

“Hey, hey!” Probably Tensei grins. “You’re safe now! No one will hurt you with us here! We are heroes, after all!”

“Tensei’s a hero! He’s called Ingenium!” Izuku informs Hitoshi. Then he turns back to the two men. “Eraserhead’s Hitoshi’s favourite hero!”

“Awesome!” Definitely Tensei laughs. “I was wondering why Uncle Hisashi wanted me to get him!”

“I’m not!...”

Eraserhead doesn’t seem to really be paying attention to his friend, because he’s staring at Hitoshi with a frown. It’s… kind of unnerving, and Hitoshi is about to duck back behind the sofa, when the hero groans and rubs at his eyes.

“Shit,” he curses. He looks up again at Hitoshi, but suddenly he looks… exhausted. Like the weight of the world is weighing him down. “…You’re that kid from before.”

“Hey, what kid from before?” Tensei asks, looking between the two of them. “You know him, Eraser?”

“I ran into him a few days ago,” Eraserhead admits. “I… Some kids were beating him up. I just… walked him home, and… And left him.”

“It’s alright,” Hitoshi tries to comfort his favourite hero. He doesn’t like this new, vulnerable Eraserhead, and it’s not like he didn’t deserve the muzzle… “I deserved it. I shouldn’t have used my Quirk.”

Even if it was only because one of the other boys had stolen his pencil case and he just wanted to get it back. Illegal Quirk usage was bad, and something villains do, and Hitoshi should have just stayed quiet. He didn't even like his pencil case, but he needed it for class.

“What’s your Quirk?” Izuku asks.

Hitoshi glances over at the other boy. He likes Izuku; Izuku is nice, and smart, and helped him. But he also knows that when he tells him, Izuku won’t smile at him anymore. Izuku will be scared, and want him to go away, and he’ll know why Hitoshi has to wear a muzzle.

But Hitoshi also doesn’t want to lie to Izuku.

He glances down at the sofa, because he doesn’t want to see the rejection. Doesn’t want to see the fear and disgust on Izuku’s face, doesn’t want to see the first blow.

“It’s called Brainwashing,” he mumbles. “It… If I say something, and someone says something back, I can control them.”

There’s a moment of silence, and Hitoshi squeezes his eyes shut as he waits for the inevitable horror…

“Oh my gosh, that’s so cool! How long does it last? How many people can you control at once? How far can it reach? You can make them do things, right? What can you make them do? You should be a hero! You could make villains just walk to jail! Wait here, I’ll get my notebook!” Izuku dashes out from their hiding spot. “Papa papa papa! Hitoshi has such an awesome Quirk!”

“…Izuku likes Quirks,” Tensei laughs as Hitoshi’s jaw drops. He stares after the other boy in amazement. “But seriously, he has a point. A Quirk like that could be really useful.”

Hitoshi glances up at the man, but he looks… Serious. Honest.

“He’s right, kid,” Eraserhead nods from where he’s collapsed onto the sofa. “Could do a lot of good with that Quirk of yours.”

“I want to be a hero,” Hitoshi blurts out. He feels like he’s about to start crying, and rubs at his eyes angrily. Because every time, every time he’s told people that, they laughed. And shook their heads. And…

“Me too!” Izuku runs back into the room, a wide grin on his face. “We can be heroes together! Oh, my friends want to be heroes too! We could all work for the same agency!”

Hitoshi can’t hold back the sob that bursts free.

But he also can’t stop smiling.

Chapter Text

“I want Izuku to come.”

Eraserhead sighs and rubs at his forehead. He’s still in his costume, since he only got in from patrol only about a half hour ago, and is probably tired, but Hitoshi doesn't care. He’s made up his mind and, hero or not, this is one fight Eraser is not going to win.

“…Don’t you have any other friends?”

“…I guess,” Hitoshi frowns as he thinks about it. Technically he does, although…

“Great,” Eraserhead manages a rather unconvincing smile. “How about we invite them instead?”

“But Izuku’ll be hurt if I only invite Shoto and Tenya,” Hitoshi points out. And, although he feels guilty even thinking it, Izuku is way better than Shoto and Tenya. (Izuku is and always will be the best.)

Eraserhead groans. Then he scowls and looks over at Present Mic, who is watching them with a large grin, a mug of tea at his elbow, munching on Pocky.

“Do you think you could help me here?”

“Oh no!” Mic responds cheerfully, despite having literally rolled out of bed only ten minutes earlier. “I’ve been dealing with you for seven years! Now it’s your turn!”

“…What’s that supposed to mean?”

“He’s like your tiny clone!” Mic laughs, delighted, as he gestures with his Pocky. “He even has your scowl!”

“…Remind me again, why do I put up with you?”

“I’m free childcare!”

“If you need someone to watch me, Izuku’s dad could do it!” Hitoshi sees an opportunity. “Or Kurogiri! Or the Iidas! Or even Mrs Yukiyama! They’re way more responsible than Mic!”

“Hey!”

“You have to admit, he’s got a point,” Eraserhead points out with the faintest smile, and Hitoshi perks up slightly.

“I don’t want to hear that from you, Mr I’ll-Just-Eat-Jelly-Packs!” Mic huffs, but then he turns his attention to Hitoshi. “But… Hitoshi, isn’t there anyone from your school you want to invite?”

“No,” Hitoshi pulls a face as he thinks about all the idiots in his class. “They’re dumb. They either think I’m scary, or want me to use my Quirk to do naughty things.”

“Shota…”

“We are not transferring him in the middle of the school year!” Eraserhead sighs. “Look, Hitoshi, I know you like Izuku, but he has an… unfortunate habit of attracting… situations.”

“Exactly!” Hitoshi nods. “He needs me to protect him!”

“Oh dear god,” Eraser hides his face in his hands.

“Besides, I was one of his situations! If not for Izuku, I’d still be in foster care!”

“…He has a point…”

“No,” Eraserhead shakes his head firmly. “Izuku is not coming, and that is final.”

“But he saved me!” Hitoshi protests. He wipes at his eyes angrily. “He has to come!”

“No.”

“It’s not fair! He can’t help that he wants to help people!”

“Hitoshi…”

“He saved me! And you didn’t!”

“Hitoshi!” Eraserhead slams his hands down on the table. “That’s enough!”

Hitoshi doesn’t listen; he lets out an angry scream and bolts from the kitchen. He runs to his room and slams the door behind himself; then he opens it again and screams in the direction he came, “I hate you!”

Then he slams the door again and throws himself onto his bed. He almost curls up with Mini-zawa; then he remembers he hates Eraserhead and throws it at the door with an angry yell.

Then he feels guilty and fetches it, because it isn’t Mini-zawa’s fault Eraserhead’s a jerk. He curls back up on his bed and listens as his adopted father shuffles out of the kitchen. The man pauses outside Hitoshi’s bedroom for a few seconds; then he shuffles on. Hitoshi can just make out the sound of the master bedroom door closing.

He sniffs and rolls over to grab his scrapbook from under the bed. Present Mic had given it to him to celebrate his adoption, and now Hitoshi flips through it. He ignores the photos from his first Christmas, of him posing in his Halloween costume next to Eraserhead (the man won’t admit it, but Hitoshi knows that he keeps a copy of that photo in his wallet), and when he finally settles on a page, he sniffs and wipes at his eyes.

“Hey, Little Listener,” Present Mic knocks and lets himself in. He sighs when he sees Hitoshi, and joins him on the bed. “Hitoshi…”

“I want Izuku to come,” Hitoshi repeats as he stares down at the page. Izuku’s beaming face smiles back at him, and he wipes at his eyes angrily. “It’s not his fault he gets into situations!...”

“I know, Hitoshi,” the Voice Hero sighs and puts an arm around him. “Izuku is a lovely boy. And we know if not for him, you’d never have become part of our family. It’s just… I think Shota worries.”

“But why?” Hitoshi asks.

“He’s your dad,” Mic chuckles. “It’s in the job description. I think… He likes Izuku. He’s just scared you’ll get into trouble and he won’t be able to help.”

“But there are other people that could help!” Hitoshi points out. “Kurogiri! Or – or Mr Midoriya! Or Machia!”

“Yes, but…” Mic hesitates, and then sighs. “…Hitoshi, if something happened to Izuku, and he was in hospital, would you want to visit him?”

“Yes!”

“But he’d have his dad there. And Kurogiri, and Machia, and probably Shoto and Tenya. They’d be able to comfort him…”

“Yes, but…” Hitoshi frowns as he puzzles it out. Then he sighs and pulls Mini-zawa close. “…This is a dad thing, isn’t it?”

“Absolutely.”

“…You know you’re pretty smart?”

“…Yes, I do.”

 

 

Hitoshi does his best to be happy about his birthday. Even if his friends aren't there, it's still better than all his previous birthdays put together. Eraserhead took the whole day off after all, and Hitoshi put on his Eraser costume, and they went to the cinema. And then they went to a cat cafe and Hitoshi ordered chocolate cake and took at least a dozen photos of Eraserhead fast asleep, several cats curled up around him. (Present Mic will probably love them, and Hitoshi figures it can't hurt to be owed a favour.)

But by the time they head home, Hitoshi is feeling rather tired. (And, perhaps, just a teeny, tiny bit lonely.) He tries to remind himself that Present Mic should be home already, and there'll be presents (because even if Eraser said not to, Present Mic almost certainly went on a shopping spree). There'll probably be more cake, too, with candles, and for just a second Hitoshi's spirits lift, because he's never gotten to blow out candles before.

Then he remembers there won't be anyone his own age to cheer when they go out, and his shoulders slump.

Eraserhead glances back at him as he unlocks the apartment door, and Hitoshi tries to smile. There's something weird about his adoptive father as he stands there, but Hitoshi can't figure out what; and then the man opens the door and gestures for Hitoshi to go in first. Hitoshi frowns, but does so, and almost bumps into the coat rack, because for some reason all the lights are off. He frowns and starts looking for the light, and...

“SURPRISE!”

Hitoshi almost screams when the lights go back on. He spins round and stares at Izuku, Tenya and Shoto, all grinning at him, wearing party hats. Behind them, Mic is beaming, camera in hand.

“Happy birthday, Hitoshi!” Izuku cheers.

“Best wishes!”

“Felicitations!”

“…What does that mean?” Shoto asks as the two boys turn to stare at Tenya.

Hitoshi doesn't care what the word means; he can't seem to tear his eyes away from the three boys, until Eraserhead gently nudges him forward.

“…I thought Izuku couldn’t come.”

Everyone freezes. Hitoshi turns to stare at Eraserhead, because he doesn't understand - he doesn't...

"I changed my mind," Eraser sighs and wipes a hand across his face. "Look... Everyone here can agree Izuku seems to attract situations, right?"

Everyone nods, even a rather flushed Izuku.

"And... I don't want you to get hurt, Hitoshi, not if I can help it," Eraserhead sighs again.

Something warm settles in Hitoshi's stomach, because this - the reality that he has adults that worry about him is still a wonderful novelty.

"But... Well, if it means so much to you, you boys can still see each other. But, there are conditions. When you boys meet, I need to know beforehand what you'll be doing and where. And there has to be an adult present. And if, god forbid, there are any... situations, and there isn't an adult there, or said adult is unconscious, Izuku is to Summon someone immediately. Preferably me. Is that clear?"

“Yes, Mister Eraserhead, sir," Izuku agrees.

Hitoshi can't help but laugh as he nods.

"Now, come on," Eraserhead manages a small smile. "Kurogiri made you a cake."

And then Hitoshi surprises both himself and the man by throwing his arms around him, and saying,

“Thanks, dad.”

Chapter Text

“I think we should go to Naruhata!”

Shoto isn’t entirely sure why he feels a shiver of dread at such a simple suggestion. Then again, this is Izuku; however much Shoto loves his best friend, he does have an unfortunate habit of attracting… situations.

“Why would we want to go to Naruhata?” Tenya asks with a frown, voicing Shoto’s own uncertainty.

“Research!” Izuku exclaims, bright eyed.

“Oh, dear god,” Shoto pales. He might not know the specifics, but when he glances over at Tenya, it is obvious the bespectacled boy agrees completely. (Hitoshi’s shoulders are shaking in silent laughter, but he doesn’t count. He has been exposed to Present Mic for far too long to be sensible.) It has been well established by now that research and Izuku should never feature in the same sentence. Heck, they should probably not even be on the same page. Izuku is a wonderful friend and highly intelligent, but his fascination with Quirks…

…well, it does have an unfortunate habit of getting them all into situations.

“You don’t even know what I mean!” Izuku frowns, offended.

“Alright,” Tenya, ever the voice of reason, takes a deep breath. “What do you want to research in Naruhata?”

“Well, there have been a few incidents,” Izuku shrugs. “You know, those weird villains. And heroes! And vigilantes!”

“Absolutely not!” Tenya immediately barks, his arms beginning their familiar chopping motions. “We are not going to Naruhata!”

“But we won’t do anything dangerous!” Izuku protests. “We’ll just… walk around for a bit!”

“Yes, but…”

“It’s not that dangerous,” Hitoshi interrupts. He helps himself to another cookie and shrugs. “Dad patrols it, and he lets me go out on my own during the day. Not far, but… Well, you know how paranoid he is.”

Shoto and Tenya exchange looks. Aizawa is almost as protective as Uncle Hisashi, and, as a hero, probably knows how dangerous Naruhata truly is. But Hitoshi can always be relied upon to take Izuku’s side, and… He is rather fond of situations.

“…I just don’t know,” Tenya sighs. “I don’t think Uncle Hisashi would approve us wandering around an area known for weird villain attacks unsupervised.”

“What if we had an adult with us?” Izuku perks up.

“Well, then, I suppose…”

 

 

 

“Absolutely not!”

“Why not?” Izuku frowns. “He’s an adult!”

Shoto suspects Izuku knows perfectly well what the issue is, since he’s not completely stupid. But, since Tenya looks about three seconds away from imploding, and Hitoshi is busy laughing his head off, he decides it is his responsibility to point out the blatantly obvious.

“…Izuku, Machia doesn’t count.”

“But why?” Izuku crosses his arms. “He’s over eighteen, he’s human – therefore, he’s an adult!”

Shoto slowly looks over at the giant, who is watching them all with an indulgent smile. It’s not that he doesn’t love Machia – they all do, really, – and Shoto is well aware the man would protect them with his life, but… Well, there is no universe in which Machia could be classified as a responsible adult.

But, since the longer they spend out in Naruhata, the longer they’ll be grounded for, Shoto decides to get straight to the point.

“…Izuku, what do you think Uncle Hisashi would say?”

“We’re not doing anything wrong,” Izuku sniffs. “Just… walking around.”

“In an area that has had a higher than usual number of villain attacks,” Tenya points out.

“…Okay, yes…”

“And I’m guessing you didn’t tell Uncle Hisashi where you’d be.”

“…I said we’d be looking round some shops with Hitoshi,” Izuku admits quietly.

Shoto absently waves off a bee that appears out of nowhere, focused on the conversation. But it doesn’t seem keen to leave him alone, and he winces as he feels another sting him on the back of the neck.

And then he cries out in horror as he feels warmth spreading across his left side, and cold, such cold, all along his right. He stares down at his hands, because he can already see the air over his left shimmering with the heat…

…And then it stops, and he stares dumbfounded down at his hands as the street around him erupts into complete chaos.

Fortunately, he is not alone; one of his friends grabs him by the wrist and pulls him along as they all dash across the street, away from the pandemonium. Tenya is going so fast, probably only seconds from activating Engine, and Shoto almost trips more than once. But finally they reach the relative safety of a small alley and the four boys collapse behind a dumpster.

“Holy shit,” Hitoshi pants. “What the fuck was that?”

“…There was a bee,” Shoto states, still in shock. He looks back down at his hands, almost expecting to see fire and ice, but they’re still… normal. “There was a bee, and… And heat, and…”

And then he finally understands what happened, and he snaps his head up.

“…Sorry,” Izuku flushes. “…I… I kind of panicked…”

Shoto opens his mouth. Then he closes it. Then he opens it again, realizes he doesn’t quite know what to say, and steps forward and throws his arms around his best friend.

“Thank you,” he chokes out. Because if he lost control of Half-Hot, Half-Cold… If he hurt someone… If Endeavour saw him…

“I do not think we can leave yet,” Tenya informs them as he moves to the entrance of the alley, and peers out from behind a trash can. “There’s a lot of fighting, and… Oh look, it’s Tensei!”

“Where?” Izuku gasps, suitably distracted. He frees himself from Shoto’s embrace and hurries over to join Tenya, and Shoto and Hitoshi exchange knowing looks before joining their friends.

It’s rather fun, watching the heroes, even if they’ll probably get in trouble later; Izuku cheers when Midnight takes down a villain; Hitoshi laughs when he spots Present Mic in action. Tenya is beaming with pride, watching his brother at work, and although Shoto flinches when he spots Endeavor, the man is busy, and the presence of his friends helps ease his fears, especially when they all move just a little closer to him.

Shoto is just basking in the warmth that comes from being surrounded by people that love him, when he realizes someone is missing.

“…Where’s Machia?”

“Oh, he’s…” Izuku twists round to look behind him, and freezes. “…Where’s he gone?”

“…I know where he is,” Tenya informs them in a faint voice.

“What?”

“Where?”

“Oh, fuck,” Hitoshi breathes as Tenya wordlessly points.

“YOU MADE LITTLE LORD CRY!” a twenty foot giant roars as he charges at Present Mic, who takes one look at him, screams and bolts.

“…Run?” Shoto suggests as they watch Machia send Endeavor flying into a nearby building with little more than a passing blow.

“Run,” Hitoshi nods.

“…Shouldn’t we…” Izuku starts; then Machia grabs a nearby car and throws it after the fleeing Voice Hero. “Okay, never mind.”

“On three,” Tenya takes charge. “One, two, three… RUN!”

 

 

“Hello?”

“Hey, Uncle Hisashi, it’s Tensei!”

“Tensei?” Hisashi frowns as he puts down his tablet. There’s a strange echo coming from the other end, almost like… “Are you still at work?”

“Yeah,” Tensei chuckles awkwardly. “…Is Izuku home?”

“I think the boys decided to go shopping,” Hisashi smiles. Then he gets a rather bad feeling. “…Why do you ask?”

“Well…” Tensei hesitates. “It’s just that I just watched Best Jeanist arrest Machia…”

“Thank you for calling me,” Hisashi nods and takes down the details of the police station in Naruhata. Then he hangs up, and…

“IZUKU!”

Chapter Text

“…I’m really not sure about this,” Hisashi sighs.

“Come on, Uncle Hisashi,” Tensei rolls his eyes. “It’ll be fine.”

“I told you, …”

“I’M NOT YOUR UNCLE!”

“That’s not funny,” Hisashi levels the three boys with an unimpressed look.

“Yes, it is!” Izuku disagrees.

“I can still change my mind about this stupid party,” Hisashi points out. “You’re all technically still grounded.”

“Come on, Uncle Hisashi,” Tensei rolls his eyes. “It’ll be perfectly safe! There’ll be like a dozen heroes there.”

“…You do know you’ve just jinxed us?”

“With all due respect, Mr Midoriya, Ingenium has a point,” Tsukauchi smiles as he pockets his phone. “I doubt any villains would be foolish enough to attack the party.”

“Except for EVERY VILLAIN THAT HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE,” Hisashi can’t help but massage his forehead in a (vain) attempt to stave off the inevitable headache. “Seriously, what do they teach you at U.A.?”

“…Interview techniques?”

“I am calling Nedzu first thing tomorrow morning.”

“I’m afraid I have to go,” Tsukauchi grins at the boys. “You boys have fun, though!”

“If we’re attacked, I will use my Quirk!” Hisashi calls after him.

“And that’s not all kinds of terrifying,” Tensei mutters.

“What was that?”

“Absolutely nothing!” Tensei treats them all to one last grin before slipping on his helmet. Then he strikes a pose that would probably look more impressive if he weren’t standing in a sitting room. “Kurogiri – to the Tokyo Sky Egg!”

“I am not your personal taxi,” Kurogiri informs him and, as if to prove a point, sits down on the sofa.

“…But…”

“Please, Kurogiri?” Izuku speaks up, eyes wide and pleading. Shoto’s eyes look distinctly shinier, and even Tenya seems to be on the pleading, although he looks  more constipated rather than anything else.

“That’s how it’s done,” Kurogiri smiles at Tensei.

“They have an unfair advantage,” the hero mutters as the Warp Gate opens.

The area they emerge in is a nice, mostly empty corridor near where the performers are getting ready. Almost as soon as the Gate is closed, a familiar figure launches itself at Izuku.

“Izuku!” Hitoshi cheers as he hugs the other boy.

“Hitoshi!” Izuku grins. “I didn’t know you were coming!”

“Dad had to work,” the boy shrugs. “And Mic’s my designated babysitter, so…”

“Oh, dear god,” Hisashi mutters.

“Heey, it’s my favourite little listeners!”

“Papa, can we go see the heroes?!” Izuku asks, turning to his father.

Hisashi is tempted to refuse. Izuku might attract trouble, but Izuku and Hitoshi almost guarantee something will go wrong before the night is out. (It’s not even like they go looking for trouble, but unfortunately trouble seems to always know when they are together. Hisashi rather suspects he and Aizawa share an unusual amount of appreciation for dear, sensible Tenya.) And, however good his intentions, Present Mic has a rather... unfortunate... history...

But then sweet, blessed Kurogiri clears his throat.

“Sir, I’d like to go greet Shino…”

“Alright, fine,” Hisashi sighs and nods. “Whatever Kurogiri says, goes. Am I understood?”

“Yes, papa!” Izuku grins. Tenya nods enthusiastically, Shoto salutes, and Hitoshi can barely seem to stand still.

“I’ll be in the VIP section,” Hisashi informs them and then watches as the four boys turn and bolt in the direction of the performers area, Present Mic close on their heels. Kurogiri nods to him one last time and follows at a more sedate pace, warping a red rose from somewhere.

And then, just as Hisashi wonders whether he should treat himself to a drink, he hears the voice.

“Madara?”

Oh dear god. Hisashi knows that voice…

“It’s you, isn’t it? From the graveyard?”

He’s getting closer. WHY IS HE COMING OVER?

“…Madara?”

“Yagi,” Hisashi greets All Might, as he summons his most polite, convincing smile, and turns to the man.

He ignores Tensei’s snickering.

“I thought it was you!” the blonde grins. Then he seems to notice the shaking Ingenium. “…Is he alright?”

“Oh, he’s always like that,” Hisashi shrugs. “I suspect brain damage.”

“Hey!”

“I wasn’t aware you knew any heroes.”

“It’s not by choice, I assure you,” Hisashi sighs. “But his brother is my son’s best friend.”

“The incredible, amazing one?”

“That would be him.”

“Aw, thanks, Uncle Hi…”

“Unfortunately, it skipped his brother.”

“Hey!”

“Don’t you have a show to prepare for?” Hisashi asks the (clearly sulking) hero.

“Yes, you’re right, Madara,” Tensei sighs. “Hey, do you think there’s a Quirk out there like Susanoo?”

“Tensei…”

“Fine, fine,” the hero nods and turns to leave. But not before the parting cry of “Rasengaan!”

Hisashi almost runs after the annoying brat. But he checks his bloodlust, and treats Yagi to a tight-lipped smile.

“I was just on my way to the VIP section.”

“Oh, me too!” Yagi exclaims with a grin. “I’m looking forward to this! Normally – well, I don’t usually get to be in the audience.”

It’s official – the universe hates Hisashi.

“…And how’s your son?” he asks in an attempt at polite conversation.

“Oh, he’s doing great!” the blonde laughs as he leads them into the VIP seating area. “In fact… Tenko, come say hi!”

Tenko is a sullen teenager dressed in a baggy black hoodie, completely engrossed in playing on a battered black PSP. He tilts his head and lets out a vague grunt of acknowledgement, and Hisashi mentally congratulates himself, because he clearly got the superior son.

(He also prays Izuku skips the antisocial teenager phase.)

“How is your son doing?” Yagi asks, apparently unbothered by his own offspring’s behaviour.

“Oh, he’s fine,” Hisashi smiles. “He’s currently terrorizing a few heroes with his friends.”

The way Yagi flinches and looks around, almost as if he’s expecting Izuku to appear out of thin air and demand an autograph improves Hisashi’s mood immensely. He chuckles and settles in to wait for Izuku to resurface.

It’s a good ten minutes later, when the lights are being turned down, that the door to the VIP area opens again and four excited boys rush in.

“Papa, guess what? I…”

Hisashi can identify the exact minute Izuku recognizes the other adult present; his son freezes, he gasps, and Hisashi just manages to slap a hand over Izuku’s mouth before he exclaims,

“OFFIGOSHITZAWRITE!”

“I think All Might’s here undercover,” Hisashi informs his son. “And I think he’d probably prefer nobody find out, alright?”

“Yes, Uncle Hisashi,” Tenya agrees. Izuku nods his head enthusiastically, green eyes sparkling, Hitoshi salutes with a cheeky grin, and Shoto… Shoto is staring at the blonde hero wide-eyed, like he can’t quite believe he’s real.

“How did you…” All Might asks.

“Seriously?” Tenko finally looks up from his console. “You don’t exactly blend in, dad!”

“Really?”

The expressions of everyone gathered in the VIP area speak volumes.

“Well, I am here undercover,” All Might nods and smiles down at the four friends. “So, perhaps, you’d be willing to keep my secret? Maybe in exchange for an autograph?”

“How about a photo?” Hisashi suggests, because there is no way in hell that Rei is going to miss the expression on Shoto’s face. And, sure enough, the lad finally drags his gaze away from his hero to stare up at Hisashi with such absolute wonder on his face.

Hisashi might not like All Might, but dammit, the man has his uses.

They end up missing the first few minutes of the show, because Hisashi can’t quite bring himself to end their little photoshoot. It’s hard, because Izuku is grinning like a maniac, yes, but Shoto can’t seem to bring himself to look at the camera, almost like he is afraid All Might will vanish the minute he looks away. Finally they all take their seats; and if Hisashi wipes at his eyes, well, no one else notices, and no one needs to know if he happens to make a few copies for himself when he has them printed for Rei.

And, dammit, the event doesn’t get any easier when Captain Celebrity, the big idiot, decides to show everyone a photo of his newborn and wife. The man is almost certainly in big trouble, Hisashi is sure; there are few women that look stunning after however many hours in labour, and fewer still that would agree to photos taken at that time to be widely shared. But for the first time in a long while, Hisashi feels connected to a hero. Because he remembers the absurd joy and pride that come with being a new father, and how all the emotions just cannot seem to be contained.

Hisashi glances over at his Izuku and wipes at his eyes.

And then laughs as poor Captain Celebrity promptly calls his wife and gets yelled at.

The hero hurries offstage and the show continues. It’s not terribly interesting to Hisashi, just a number of heroes showing off, and he slips out to use the toilet. He’s just washing his hands, when suddenly the building shakes. Then, just as he hurries out into the corridor, it shakes again. And then all the light go out.

Hisashi swears and rushes in the direction of the VIP area, grateful for the emergency lighting, when he collides with a dark figure that seems to blend into the shadows.

“Sir! Sir,” Kurogiri grabs him by the arm firmly. “I already sent the boys home. If it would be alright, I would like to go offer my assistance to Shino.”

“Yes,” Hisashi nods, numb with relief. Then he processes fully what the man said, and thinks about it for a seconds, and then nods it again. “Yes, go ahead. I’ll just…”

“Uncle Hisashi!” Tensei rushes up to them. “Uncle Hisashi, where’s Tenya?!”

“I sent the boys home,” Kurogiri informs him and glances at Hisashi one last time. “I’ll just…”

“Yes, fine,” Hisashi nods and steps back, to allow the young man to hurry off in the direction of the performers area.

“We can’t get in contact with anyone outside,” Tensei informs him. “And… I thought about what you said, and… What’s happening?”

He’s not asking in a general sense, Hisashi realizes. This is not a question from a scared teenager; this is a professional hero asking for his opinion. And, although he might not know it, there is probably no one better suited to dealing with this situation.

“No contact – they probably cut off electronic signals,” Hisashi frowns and then nods. “Yes, a strong pulse would knock that and the lights out. Doubly effective – people are more likely to panic in the dark. Lifts are down – so they’ll make sure the stairs are inaccessible. We’re trapped. In a hangar above the ground… Hostages? They could be planning to break in and attack – no, ineffective. Too many heroes, too messy. Too difficult. A statement. Maximum capacity – fifty thousand, plus staff. Fifty thousand hostages, fifty thousand lives… Fifty thousand victims.”

“What?” Tensei asks, and the emergency lighting gives his already pale face a nightmarish look. “You mean…”

“Bring down the Sky Egg, and at least half those present will likely die,” Hisashi nods, grim. “And most of the survivors will be seriously injured. Even if only ten thousand die, they’re dying in the centre of Tokyo, at an event put on by and attended by heroes. That right there – that’s a statement. A declaration. Someone put in a lot of effort…”

Who? Who could be responsible? Hisashi mentally starts flipping through his Villains Rolodex, because this cannot be tolerated. If some fool has decided to declare war on heroes, fine, Hisashi can understand and even respect that, even if this is the sort of act that will have every hero in Japan breathing down their neck.

But this is unacceptable.

Izuku could have been hurt.

“I’ll go warn the others,” Tensei groans. “Do you… We can’t find Captain Celebrity; could you go look for him?”

“I am not getting involved,” Hisashi snorts. “This is not my problem. I am going home, to make  sure the boys don’t burn the house down.”

“But…” Tensei starts to protest; then he lets out a frustrated groan. “Fine. You know what? Fine. You want to step aside and – not do anything? Fine!”

He takes off, almost colliding with another member of staff, and Hisashi sighs and nods to himself. This is the best course of action; he’s not a hero, he’s not going to get involved. He’ll go home, and help the boys set up for a sleepover. And…

…Goddammit, Captain Celebrity has a boy of his own.

Hisashi curses.

 

 

“…Do you think they’ll be alright?”

Izuku looks over at Hitoshi, who looks ready to throw up. And – well, when he looks over his shoulder, Tenya seems to be only barely holding back tears. And even Izuku’s kind of scared, because Kurogiri and papa are still at the Tokyo Sky Egg, and if they die, Izuku doubts Machia will be a very good parent…

“They’ll be fine,” Shoto announces confidently. When his friends all look at him, he smiles and shrugs. “Well, All Might’s there! And so’s Uncle Hisashi – and he’s almost as strong as All Might! So everyone will be fine! The other heroes won’t even have anything to do!”

It is somewhat comforting, when Izuku thinks about it, because All Might should be able to protect papa and make sure he doesn’t get hurt. And…

“Little Lord! Where is Lord? And Mist Man?”

All four boys freeze. And then, slowly, they turn to face a very confused Machia.

“He’s… He’s…” Izuku begins, desperately trying to come up with an answer that will not have the giant racing out the front door.

“There were some bad people!” Tenya begins, and his friends all look at him in horror, because that is a terrible thing to say… “So Uncle Hisashi sent us home!”

“Yes!” Izuku catches on to what Tenya was going for. “Because I’m scared, and… Shoto’s scared…” Hitoshi kicks Shoto, “So… We need you to protect us!” Just for added effect, he sniffles. Then he thinks about his mum, and… “Please don’t leave!” he wails.

“Uncle Hisashi said you were the only one that he could trust!” Tenya adds. “Not even Kurogiri’s as strong as you!”

“YES!” Machia puffs up his chest and beams down at the four boys. “I WILL PROTECT YOU!”

 

 

 

Kurogiri hesitates at the entrance to the backstage area. There are members of staff gathered, yes, but there are at least a dozen highly regarded heroes present too, discussing the best way to deal with the present crisis, and for just a second he feels that perhaps he should simply turn around and stay out of their way.

But then he spots Shino and the other Pussycats, and can’t help but smile. This is her area of expertise, and whenever he sees her on TV he wonders if she truly is as confident, as reassuring, as she seems to be. And now, finally, he can see she is that and more.

And, somehow, he is the lucky man that gets to support her.

“Shino,” he calls over to her, and feels a warmth settle in his chest as she looks over and, despite the serious situation, her face lights up.

“Kurogiri,” she pushes her way over to him. “What are you…”

“I sent Izuku home,” he explains and glances around. A few of the people closest to them are watching them, but most are still focused on Captain Celebrity’s assistant. “And… Well, I thought, if you needed help with evacuation…”

Shino stares at him for a second; then she laughs and kisses him.

“Hey,” she calls out as she turns away from him and he tries to remember what is going on. “Kurogiri’s got a teleportation Quirk; if we want to get people out…”

“Oh, good,” the assistant grins. “We’ll have to keep people calm, and figure out how to prioritize… Kurogiri, how many can you teleport?”

“…I’m not sure,” Kurogiri hesitates, suddenly self-conscious. He’s not a hero, after all. “It… Well, it’s not really specific to people. I just… I can open something like a door to a nearby area. Last I checked, I can keep it open for about an hour. Then I need to rest…”

There’s excited murmuring around him, and, with a wide grin, the woman claps her hands.

“Great! We’ll set you up somewhere backstage. Manual – you go through first, and raise the alarm. Then… Let’s prioritize those with serious health conditions, disabilities, and really young children. Then we’ll see how many we have left. Everyone else, try and keep them calm…”

“See, this is why I love you,” Shino whispers as the gathered heroes start dispersing.

"Kurogiri, right?..."

"Back off, Best Jeanist!" Tiger shouts. "We got him first!"

 

 

With every attack from the flying villain, it gets harder to stay conscious. But Captain Celebrity grits his teeth and grins; after all, he’s all that is preventing the Tokyo Sky Egg from falling to the ground. He is all that is preventing fifty thousand people from dying.

It’s exhausting, he won’t lie; and, in truth, he isn’t sure how he’ll get out of this situation. And waiting for the next blow, the next attack Koichi can’t stave off, is difficult, because he has too much time to think; to imagine the moment they tell his wife he died in the line of duty, to picture his son growing up with little more than photographs of his dumb father who went and got himself killed.

Oh, Chris knows he’d be a terrible father; the kid would probably hate him anyway. But still, all those little moments when, perhaps, they might connect… All those science projects he’ll mess up, those school performances he’ll be late for, those sports events he’ll embarrass his son at… They’ll never happen. And even the knowledge that he’s doing his duty as a hero doesn’t dull that ache, doesn’t chase away the tears he’s blinking back…

The flying villain – should he even call it a villain? It’s more like a monster – draws back for another blow, and Chris curses, because the thing seems unstoppable…

…And then he watches in confusion as the thing promptly drops out of the sky.

For a few seconds, Captain Celebrity stares down at the crater the thing created. Then he looks back up to where it was just before, almost expecting it to be there, ready to attack. Could he be hallucinating? Did he get a concussion? Why did it look like the thing’s wings vanished for a second?!

And then a figure appears in front of him; he blinks and shakes his head, because now he’s certainly hallucinating, and his head is swimming, and his vision is going dark around the edges…

…And just before everything goes black, he hears a voice exclaim,

“No – don’t faint now, dammit!”

 

 

Your stay in Japan certainly had a dramatic ending, Captain Celebrity! Tell me, though - was there ever a moment you were afraid? What was your lowest moment?

Captain Celebrity hesitates and glances away from me, and I straighten. His smile falters for just a moment, and when he looks back at me, he is no longer the cheerful, confident hero we all know.

"I suppose..." he starts, and then takes a deep breath. "It was the Tokyo Sky Egg event. Not knowing if I would live or die... It wasn't because I was scared of dying, but... I kept thinking how I would never once hear my son say the word 'dad'. That... That was my lowest moment."

"Well," Hisashi smiles as he sets down the magazine. "Maybe there is hope for you."

Chapter Text

“Izuku?” Hisashi frowns as he steps into the living room. “Is everything alright?”

Izuku startles so badly he almost falls off the sofa. He slams the album he was looking at closed, and jumps up, cheeks beet red.

“Yes! Fine, everything’s… Fine! Absolutely fine! I just… Go! Yes, I have to go!” he almost smacks himself in the face as he waves his arms; then he bolts from the room, almost running into a wall. Hisashi stares after him in confusion and winces when he hears a suspicious thump on the stairs.

Hoping for some explanation, he approaches the sofa and picks up the photo album Izuku had been looking at, but that just deepens his confusion.

Why would Izuku act guilty over looking at his parents’ wedding photos?

 

 

Izuku glances over at his rucksack; then he looks up at his mother’s photo and flushes as he looks away. He wishes he had never gone into that store, but it had seemed so natural, such an obvious gesture. But now…

…Now he just can’t get over the guilt.

He wishes he could talk about it with an adult, but… He just can’t face papa. He can’t admit what he’s done to his father, and… Kurogiri is nice, and kind, but he’d probably not understand, either. And who else is there? He can’t go to Auntie Rei, and Auntie Katsumi is down in Okinawa… Perhaps Aizawa?

No, not Aizawa, the man is absolutely terrible at anything even remotely related to feelings.

Present Mic might be a possibility, though. Izuku listens to his radio show, and the advice he gives… It actually makes sense. And they aren’t too close, so it shouldn’t be too awkward…

“Izuku?” his father knocks on the door. “I just wanted to let you know I’m going to be working late tomorrow, so you’ll be alone with Kurogiri… Is everything alright?”

Izuku can’t help but stare at his father. Because even though he’s almost a teenager now, he’s so confused and scared, and he just… Wants his papa to comfort him, and tell him it’s alright, and he still loves him, and his mum still loves him, and… He doesn’t want to cry, but suddenly he just can’t seem to stop…

“Come here, Izuku,” papa sits down on his bed and opens his arms, and, despite everything, Izuku goes. Because even if things won’t be alright, at least this is a way to pretend, just for a moment, that he didn’t do something absolutely dreadful…

“Not on your sleeve!” papa groans halfheartedly as Izuku wipes his nose, and despite everything Izuku snickers.

And then he freezes, because papa reaches into his rucksack for tissues. And he seems to notice how all the blood drains from Izuku’s face, and then, slowly…

…He pulls out the card.

It’s nothing special, really. It’s small, smaller than a sheet of A5, with a simple picture of some flowers on it and the caption, ‘You’re like a mother to me.’ It had seemed so natural at the time to pick it up when Izuku was buying his usual Mother’s Day card, that he hadn’t even thought about scrawling a few lines in it at the food court.

But then he returned home, and the first thing he saw was a smiling photograph of his beautiful, caring mother, and he had felt so guilty, like he was trying to replace her. And… He was, wasn’t he?

“Izuku…”

“I’m sorry!” Izuku sobs. He looks away, because he can’t stand to face his father when he did something so awful. His father loves his mother so much, after all! “I just… I don’t know what I was thinking! I swear I love mum, I didn’t… I don’t… I’m sorry!...”

“Izuku, it’s alright,” his father says, even though it’s not. “Look at me. Who… Who were you going to give the card to?”

“I…” Izuku glances over at his mother’s smiling face and flinches. “Auntie Rei. She doesn’t know, I just… Just…”

“…It just felt right?”

Izuku nods, ashamed.

“Izuku…” his papa starts and then pauses to take a deep breath. “Izuku, you were young when Inko died. And… I know you don’t really remember her, and only know her through my stories.”

“But she’s still mum.”

“Exactly,” papa nods. He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes. “And… She loved you very much. And… I want you to listen very carefully to me now… I think the loving, devoted mother I knew would be so relieved to know you… To know there is someone else in your life who you love and feel you can rely on. And… I think she would thank Rei for being there when she couldn’t. I… Nothing can replace Inko, but… If you want to give this to Rei… I think you should. And I think Inko would give you her blessing.”

For just a second, Izuku stares at his father.

And then he bursts into (relieved) tears, as all the tension of the past three days escapes.

 

 

Mother’s Day starts much the same as every previous Mother’s Day in the Midoriya household. Izuku tries to comb his hair, and puts on some of his nicer clothes, and grabs the card he bought. And once he’s eaten breakfast, Kurogiri drops him (and a few muffins) off at the entrance to the cemetery, where his papa is already waiting with a big bouquet of flowers.

The man hangs back as Izuku places the offerings on the grave and launches into a long, detailed summary of everything that has happened in the past… Well, Izuku never really bothers about a specific timeframe, or whether he’s already told mum about something. The words just seem to come cascading out, until finally they run dry and he accepts a bottle of water from his papa.

And then his papa steps up. He never really talks, not like Izuku, but when he watches him, Izuku feels like there is some deep, meaningful conversation happening just below the surface. And then papa closes his eyes and bows his head, and reaches out to brush his hand against the name carved in the stone.

And then they leave.

But this time they don’t go straight home; they go to the Yukiyama apartment, where Natsuo opens the door, and there is wrapping paper strewn across the living room floor, and Fuyumi can be heard arguing with Touya in the kitchen. Auntie Rei tears up when Izuku hands her the card, and pulls him into a hug, and at some point Izuku starts tearing up, so papa has to go look for tissues, and then lunch is ready, so really, it seems only natural that they stay and eat…

…And somehow, when he’s washing his hands, Izuku can’t help but glance over his shoulder, because he could have sworn he felt someone’s hand brush against his cheek…

 

 

“Thank you for this,” Hisashi whispers later, once they’ve cleared the table and retreated to the kitchen. He can hear the children (Are they still children? It feels so strange to realize that Izuku and Shoto will be off to high school in a few short years,) back in the living room, and nods gratefully as Rei hands him a cup of tea.

“No, thank you,” Rei laughs and wipes at her eyes. “I… It’s an honour. Honestly. If you’re sure Inko wouldn’t mind…”

“I think she’d be happy,” Hisashi admits. “She’d see that you love Izuku, and he loves you, and… I said it before. I think she’d truly view you as her sister.”

“Thank you,” Rei repeats again.

For a little while, as they wash up, they listen to the children – young adults – in the living room. Then Rei clears her throat.

“Actually… there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask. I don’t – I promise it won’t affect my relationship with Izuku, and I won’t think less of you if you can’t, but…”

“Rei,” Hisashi interrupts her and smiles. “We’re friends. What is it?”

“Well,” Rei takes a deep breath. “…You know how Touya will be graduating from his training soon?”

“Yes,” Hisashi frowns. “Did your supervisor not give you the day off? I told her…”

“It’s not that!” Rei assures him. She takes a deep breath, and continues. “Well… You don’t have to come, of course, and… he won’t say anything… But it would mean so much to Touya if you would come to his graduation. I understand if you can’t of course – we aren’t really family, after all, and…”

Hisashi isn’t really paying her much attention. He thinks back on Touya – brave, protective Touya, who never seemed to mind sacrificing time with his peers to play with his brother, who was always ready with a smile and a kind word…

…Strong, mature Touya, who has chosen to become a police officer because, more than anything, he wants to one day be able to look a scared child in the eyes and say, “You’re safe now.”

 “You know…” Hisashi begins, and then stops to swallow the lump in his throat, “I… I think that sounds wonderful.”

Chapter Text

Katsuki huffs as he leaves the store.

He knows perfectly well he should have picked up something for the hag’s birthday earlier, but it completely slipped his mind. Which is why, instead of working on his homework, he’s desperately combing the mall, trying to think of a good gift.

He finally decides to take a break and heads over to the food court. It’s a little late for lunch, but there are still plenty of people when he gets his food. He’s just searching for a table when he spots a familiar face and, fed up, starts heading over.

He and Yukiyama aren’t… friends, but there is a… mutual respect there, Katsuki likes to believe. They don’t hang out outside of school, but they always end up paired up for PE, and regularly tie for first place in their year.

And if Katsuki happened to have a quiet word with a few of their new classmates when they started middle school… Well, it was only because he wasn’t sure how Yukiyama would explain freezing a corridor.

His classmate is laughing, Katsuki notes. It’s strange seeing him like this, when he’s normally so stoic at school. But it makes sense; Katsuki doesn’t recognize the two boys he’s with, but he knows Yukiyama spends most of his free time with friends from another school. Katsuki even kind of remembers their names; Tenya and… and…

The tray clatters against the floor, and three heads swivel to stare at him. And if there were any doubts before, they’re gone now. Because Katsuki knows those green eyes, he recognizes that mop of messy curls.

Because Katsuki remembers.

He remembers his father picking him up from daycare early, a serious expression on his face and several bags in the car. They didn’t go home; in fact they went straight to his grandparents, and stayed there.

(Katsuki never went back to that daycare.)

He remembers his father sitting him down and explaining, with a serious expression and no-nonsense tone that heroes didn’t make people cry. Heroes didn’t hurt people on purpose. In fact, hurting people was something villains did. And whilst Katsuki was still young, he really should have known better, and both his parents were Very Disappointed in him.

(Years later, Katsuki still remembers the unfamiliar, bitter weight of shame in his stomach.)

They went home after a week, and while Katsuki waited to start his new daycare, his mother stayed home with him. Only she wasn’t the same; she didn’t laugh, or joke around. In fact she was so quiet, it felt almost like she wasn’t even there at times.

(Sometimes she even cried.)

Finally, Katsuki got fed up of the awkward, unfamiliar atmosphere. So after breakfast one day he asked, like he had dozens of times before, if they could go over to Auntie Inko’s.

(He’d thought about what his father had said, and decided to give Deku his All Might crayons. And then they’d be even.)

But his mother hadn’t said she’d call Auntie Inko; she’d looked at him strangely, (horrified, his brain would decide once he was older and wiser,) chocked back a sob, and then hurried out of the kitchen, leaving a very confused child behind.

And when he got home from work, Katsuki’s father sat him down and carefully explained that sometimes, there is nothing doctors can do. Sometimes, they can’t make people better.

Sometimes, people die.

It was a few years before Katsuki fully understood. When he did, he screamed and cried, and took all his All Might merchandise and shoved it into the furthest corner of his closet.

Because Katsuki Bakugo, “the future number one hero”, bullied a kid whose mother was dying.

And now De… Izuku is staring at him in confusion, not even the faintest hint of recognition in those green eyes, and it hurts. Because he looks healthy and happy without Katsuki in his life, and all Katsuki can think of is his everpresent shame.

“…Bakugo?” Yukiyama speaks up. (Yukiyama, the bastard, Katsuki realizes, who was there when Katsuki wasn’t. Who supported Izuku, comforted him when he cried, instead of laughing and walking away.) “…Are you alright?”

The name seems to at least mean something, because Katsuki watches Izuku’s face scrunch up as he seems to try and remember. And then, in a soft, uncertain tone, he mumbles, “…Kacchan?”

And it’s as if a dam inside him breaks, and every negative emotion, every unshed tear, every ounce of self-loathing is suddenly crashing over him, and Katsuki is drowning in it all.

“…Why?!...” he chokes out, even as he realizes there are tears rolling down his cheeks. He isn’t sure if he’s whispering or screaming; isn’t sure if he even truly cares. “…Why didn’t… WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?!”

He doesn’t think he’s truly asking Izuku. But it’s the one question that has plagued his thoughts since he understood, the one thing he wishes he knew.

Why didn’t his parents tell him?

Why didn’t the daycare staff explain?

Why didn’t anyone stop him?

His mouth is moving, he realizes, but he can’t hear what he’s saying. Because all he can seem to hear is a snot-nosed brat, so convinced of his own superiority that he never once hesitated.

Useless Deku!

Do you even have a Quirk?

You’re such a crybaby!

Just go away!

His thoughts are spiralling, and just as he’s convinced he’s losing his mind, he feels someone wrap their arms around him, and pull him into a hug, and whisper in his ear, “It’s alright, Kacchan. It’s alright…”

And Katsuki believes him.

 

 

By the time the boy, Bakugo, has calmed down, he looks… empty. Exhausted. Drained.

Shoto wordlessly fetches a chair for him, and Izuku pushes his half-eaten fries over. The boy seems to appreciate the gesture, because he manages a weak smile and takes one.

Tenya isn’t entirely sure how he feels about the unfamiliar boy. Shoto has told them about his classmate, and whilst he did not sound like someone Tenya would have much in common with, he also… Didn’t sound like a bad person. But Tenya also vaguely remembers Izuku as a young child, tearful and afraid that he would be tossed aside as soon as Tenya found a better friend. And Tenya remembers asking Tensei what a Deku was, and his brother explaining to him that he should never call anyone that.

And whilst Tenya knows Izuku is almost physically incapable of holding a grudge, he isn’t entirely sure he’s ready to forgive this Bakugo.

“…So, you two know each other?” Shoto asks hesitantly.

“…Yeah,” Izuku nods, but he’s frowning. Tenya figures he’s probably trying to remember the boy. He knows he never met the blonde, and Izuku never mentioned him much, so they probably stopped seeing each other around the time Izuku switched daycares…

“I bullied him,” Bakugo admits and looks down, obviously ashamed.

Tenya will admit, he is reluctantly impressed by his honesty.

Shoto frowns for a moment, glancing between the two teenagers. Then something seems to occur to him. “You’re Deku?”

Bakugo flinches at the name; Izuku does not. Tenya feels a pit open in his stomach, because… Shoto never heard the name Deku, not from him, and as far as he knew, not from Izuku.

“’t’s what I called him,” the blonde admits quietly.

“…You were… what, three?” Tenya feels the need to point out. “How do you even recognize Izuku?”

Bakugo looks up at him for a moment. Tenya does not back down; he meets his gaze, because Izuku is his friend. And he swore long ago that he would do his best to prove himself worthy of Izuku’s trust.

Finally, Bakugo huffs and pulls out his wallet. He produces a photo and pushes it forward, and all three friends lean forward.

Tenya can’t help but smile. It’s hard not to, because the photo is of a blonde toddler (presumably Bakugo), and a woman that looks similar enough she is probably his mother. And next to them, little, chubby Izuku and…

…And their beloved Auntie Inko.

“…I needed to remember,” Bakugo admits quietly.

Tenya reconsiders his opinion of the teenager. Because it seems like perhaps, he is willing to own up to his mistakes.

“Oh,” Izuku whispers, still looking at his mother. Then he shakes his head and looks up, and treats Bakugo to a beaming smile. “Well… It’s alright. Cause… It wasn’t… fun, at the time, but… It all worked out. My papa transferred me to a new daycare… And I met Tenya. This is Tenya, by the way, Tenya Iida, my best friend. So…”

Bakugo looks back at Tenya, and Tenya treats him to a polite smile and nod.

Bakugo does not nod back.

And Tenya isn’t entirely sure what that means.

Chapter Text

It’s a familiar routine by now. Izuku grins as he pokes his head into Machia’s room, and laughs as he hurries down the stairs. He tries to figure out what papa might want to talk about, and freezes just as he reaches the bottom.

This isn’t going to be part two of the birds and the bees, is it?

No, definitely not, he assures himself. That was a conversation neither of them enjoyed, and he doubts there is anything left to say on the matter.

He hopes there is nothing left to say on the matter.

Oh, god, please don’t let there be anything left to say on the matter.

Things do not look terribly promising when he enters the kitchen; papa is at the stove as usual, but there is a worrying amount of crackling coming from the frying pan.

But Izuku is going to be a hero; he will not back down from this challenge. He squares his shoulders, plasters his best smile on his face, and enters the battlefield. (Kitchen; Kurogiri does not appreciate Izuku calling the kitchen a battlefield, and pissing Kurogiri off is a terrible idea, because muffins.)

“Morning!” Izuku greets his father and turns on the kettle. Papa always seems to enjoy a cup of tea when he wants to calm down, so as he waits for the kettle to boil, Izuku rummages in the cupboard and finds that fancy sencha Auntie Rei gave them last Christmas, and papa’s favourite mug.

(Izuku kind of wishes his papa’s favourite mug wasn’t a cheesy Number 1 Dad mug he bought when he was seven.)

“Oh, morning,” papa startles. Then he looks down at the frying pan and swears.

When the pancakes are served up, they look distinctly burnt.

They eat in silence, or rather Izuku eats in silence; his father will start eating, and then just stop and stare at Izuku, until he startles and looks back down at the food. And then the whole cycle repeats itself.

“…Is everything alright?” Izuku finally asks. He’s lost his appetite, and most of the food on his father’s plate is still untouched. Whatever they’re going to be talking about, it’s clearly something big. And serious.

(Was Izuku adopted?)

“Yes, I just…” papa starts, stops and shakes his head. “No, I don’t think so. But… Doesn’t matter. I just… need to talk to you about something.”

“And that’s not ominous at all!” Izuku tries to crack a joke, but his smile slips when his father doesn’t even smile. In fact, the man freezes as he stands up; then he shakes his head and does his best to smile.

Izuku can’t help but flinch, because his smile looks forced, jagged and… and painful.

“How about we go to my study?” papa suggests. “Do you… want some tea?”

“…I’ll pass,” Izuku declines, thoroughly confused. This… isn’t normal. Any time papa has anything he needs to talk about with him in private, they do it in the living room, on the very same sofa where Izuku got Attraction. For him to want to talk in the study…

…What the hell is going on?

When they reach the study, they realize that there’s only one chair inside and papa ducks out to fetch a second seat. When he returns, he treats Izuku to another smile, but it… It doesn’t look any better than his last attempt.

“Right. Sit,” papa gestures to the chair, somewhat unnecessarily. “Are you sure you don’t want anything to drink? Or… Do you need to use the bathroom? Are you still hungry?...”

“…Papa, if you don’t want to talk about this…”

“No, no,” Izuku’s father shakes his head. He sighs and combs his hand through his hair, a sure sign he is uncomfortable. “…I just… This is something I have to do.”

The man moves around his desk and settles into his chair, and Izuku takes the chance to examine him. It is quite obvious something is very wrong; Hisashi Midoriya is normally a well groomed, put-together gentleman, and even in Izuku’s earliest memories, he was dressed smartly in a white shirt and slacks that never seemed to crease. Now, though… his shirt is not tucked into his pants, his normally handsomely messy hair looks like he has been running his hands through it, and… Are those bags under his eyes?

“Izuku, I…” papa starts, and then stops. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. “Izuku, there is… Something I need to tell you about All For One. I… Have you ever wondered about where the name came from?”

Izuku opens his mouth to answer, but doesn’t get the chance to speak.

“No, that’s a terrible way to start,” his papa groans, and runs his hand through his hair. Then he takes a deep breath. “Izuku, it… Just… Let me start at the beginning.”

Thoroughly confused, and more than a little concerned, Izuku leans forward. Despite the situation, he is intrigued; his father is always rather secretive, particularly about All For One. And… He has wondered about who came up with such a weird name as…

“All For One…” papa hums. “The first person with it was part of the very first generation of Quirk users. It… It was a turbulent time, as you can probably imagine, and… They started using their power young, and then… At some point… They decided to just start going by the name they chose for their Quirk…”

“All For One,” Izuku mumbles, as… things start to make more sense. He isn’t sure he likes what his brain is coming up with, because… The sort of person who would choose to go by a name like that…

“Yes,” papa sighs, as Izuku’s eyes widen. “The very first user of All For One was what we would nowadays call a villain.”

“…But that was years ago,” Izuku tries to smile, even as his mind conjures up images of a terrifying man, capable of taking anyone’s Quirk. He wishes the figure in his imagination didn’t have his father’s face, and tries to squash the panic building in his chest. “He’s long dead, right?”

“Oh, Izuku,” papa sighs. “Do you honestly think someone like that wouldn’t search for and… acquire a longevity Quirk?”

“…So… So what?” Izuku swallows. “…There’s some… evil uncle, or great-grandfather, or something of mine out there, planning to take over the world? Or… steal everyone’s Quirk? I mean… What’s his big plan?...” He almost starts hyperventilating, but then something occurs to him. “…But All Might can stop him, right?”

As soon as he speaks, he feels very young, and very foolish. All Might is strong, and powerful, but a simple strength Quirk couldn’t possibly do much against someone who can just steal it…

“Izuku, it’s alright,” papa manages a weak smile. “You don’t have to worry. All For One… he’s gone.”

“Oh, thank goodness,” Izuku breathes. “But… What happened?”

“It… It’s a long story,” papa sighs. His mouth twists, the next words obviously difficult, and Izuku can’t help but wonder how he was told about All For One. “…It’s a very long story, but… Alongside All For One, there was another Quirk, named One For All. And… This Quirk… It was the only Quirk All For One could not steal. Instead, it could be passed from one holder to another. And… It was. It was passed from hero to hero, all for the express purpose of defeating the villain All For One. And… He was defeated. All For One is… dead.”

“…So everything is alright,” Izuku manages a weak smile. “The evil villain we’re related to is dead and gone. Nothing to worry about. Well, so long as the press doesn’t find out…”

He winces as he imagines what the papers would say if someone found out, especially if he does become a hero, and completely misses his father’s expression.

“…Yes,” papa slowly nods. Then he glances down at the wedding photo he keeps on his desk and winces. “…No, I’m sorry, Izuku. That’s… not quite right. The world believes All For One is dead, but… technically speaking… he isn’t.”

“…He’s not?” Izuku feels the blood drain from his face. Holy crap, he has an evil uncle/grandfather/something out there, and everyone thinks he’s dead? Is… Is papa warning him because he might be targeted? Are they going to have to go into witness protection or something? Will Izuku still be able to become a hero? “What… What do you mean?”

“Izuku…” papa takes a deep breath. “I was All For One.”

Chapter Text

I was All For One.

Izuku stares at his father. He can’t have – he must have – papa can’t – he…

What?” he chokes out, even as the room seems to spin, and his lungs aren’t getting enough air, and he can’t breathe, he can’t think, his papa can’t be a villain, that’s impossible, this is a nightmare, there is no way –

“…zuku…”

– papa’s not a villain, he’s friends with heroes, they visit Idaten regularly, there is no way –

“…Izuku…”

– his mum wouldn’t have married a villain, and his papa has a proper job, and he played heroes with Izuku, and he took Izuku out for ice cream, and whoever heard of a villain that’s a good parent?...

“Izuku, breathe!” papa – no, not papa, All For One finally breaks through his spiralling thoughts, and Izuku gasps and leans forward as he struggles to remember how to get oxygen into his body. “I’m sorry to spring this on you, but…”

“Why?” Izuku gasps out as soon as he can, because that – that is the question he needs to know the answer to. “Why?”

“I… Had some ideas, when I was younger,” the man behind the desk lets out a humourless laugh. “I thought the world…”

“No, not that!” Izuku interrupts him. It’s probably a terrible idea, interrupting a supervillain, especially one with as many Quirks as his father has, (Oh my god, it explains so much, some inner part of him screams,) but Izuku is feeling – well, rather hysterical. “Why – why have a child? Am I – did you want another person with All For One? Are you – do you want me to join you? Because I won’t! I…”

The words hurt as he forces them out, like they’re shards of glass, but this has to be said. He might never be able to become a hero, but he is not going to become a villain, no matter what. There is some dastardly scheme going on here, he is sure of it, but no matter what, Izuku won’t help All For One. Not for anything.

Not even if it’s the only way for his papa to hug him again.

But the man behind the desk doesn’t react the way Izuku would expect from a fearsome villain. He doesn’t laugh at Izuku’s naivete, doesn’t inform him of just what his resistance will cost him. Instead his face crumples, like he’s in physical pain, and…

…he looks like he’s about to cry.

“Izuku, I swear to you…” he pauses to swallow. “Izuku, I never had any intention… I would never… You’re my little boy!... I just…”

He stands, obviously intending to come around the desk, and Izuku can’t help but flinch. And it’s like he’s punched his father, because the man freezes, and they just… just stare at each other.

And Izuku realizes he no longer recognizes the man in front of him. And somehow, that realization has him opening his mouth, and…

“You’re not my papa.”

The words seem to echo in the small room.

And suddenly Izuku just – he can’t stay here anymore, because it was all a lie, because this life never existed. His papa, Hisashi Midoriya, never existed, and the man standing before him is a perfect stranger, capable of destroying the whole of Japan. And Izuku…

…Izuku bolts from the room and sprints down the stairs, and he hears the man call after him, but he doesn’t stop, doesn’t slow down, because he doesn’t know what he should do, and…

…He’s only fourteen, and he’s scared, and there is nothing that could possibly make this better, because… Because he can’t just go ask his papa for a hug… Because his papa is gone. No, worse than gone; his papa never existed in the first place, Hisashi Midoriya was just a persona, a mask created by a villain…

…Izuku barely even stops to pull on his shoes before he’s out of the house and running down the street as fast as his legs will carry him. He doesn’t know if All For One will come after him, but he just… Just needs some space, needs to think, to breathe

…And was anything real? Did they really have bathtime, and bedtime stories, and did Izuku really make snowmen and get to cuddle with his father after a bad dream? Or was all of that just a lie, were those just false memories implanted in his mind so he would not question All For One when the time came? Did Inko Midoriya…

Izuku almost trips as the worst possible question appears in his mind.

Did Inko Midoriya even exist?

Is the small, beloved Quirk Izuku can feel even now just another part of the disguise, something All For One decided was small and harmless enough to give to a young child? Did it just come from some random person in the street?

No, Izuku immediately shakes his head. He can’t… He needs his mother, at least, to remain real. He cannot accept that the kind, loving woman from all those photos, who wrote him so many letters, was just some paid actress.

And so, even as it starts to rain, Izuku sets off to the one place that he knows he’ll feel safe. To see the one person who can surely make everything better.

Izuku goes to his mum.

The cemetery is just as he remembers, and it soothes something inside him, because at least it’s real. And when he finally sees the familiar grave marker, he picks up his pace, almost sprinting to it, and then just stops to stare, because…

…Because the name on it is still Inko Midoriya, and it’s such a relief that he can’t help but start sobbing. Because even if his whole world is falling apart, at least this is real. At least his mum existed.

At least he didn’t just get given some random Quirk.

He doesn’t know how long he stays there, isn’t sure at which point he just collapses to the ground; he wraps his arms around himself, almost like he’s afraid he’ll start coming apart like his world; or maybe it’s because he just wants someone to hug him, and comfort him, and assure him that everything will be alright. He wants…

…He wants his mum.

…He wants his papa.

He wants…

“…Young Madara? Is everything alright?”

Izuku frowns, confused, and half-turns, desperately trying to get his sobs under control. He’s almost sure he’s started hallucinating, because…

…Because, standing there safely under a red umbrella is All Might, a bakery box in hand.

Chapter Text

For just a split second, Izuku considers telling All Might everything. It would be the right thing to do, after all; his father is a supposedly dead villain, and if anyone is capable of defeating him, of saving Izuku… Surely it would be All Might?

But then he discards that idea. And although he wishes he could say it was because he is afraid of how All Might would treat him, or that the hero wouldn’t believe him, deep down he knows that’s not the case.

Izuku can’t tell All Might, because… Lie or not, he still loves his papa.

“Madara?” All Might frowns and steps forward, and, for the second time that day, Izuku’s mouth opens and, without quite meaning to, he speaks.

“My name’s not Madara.”

“It’s not?” All Might glances over his shoulder and probably sees the inscription on the grave, because he groans. “Midoriya. I wondered why I couldn’t find anyone named Madara…”

The whole situation is so absurd, the small part of Izuku that is still somewhat sane notes. But then again, the whole day so far has just been absurd, like some strange dream, and perhaps it’s that strangeness that finally helps Izuku stop crying. He wipes his nose on his sleeve (because really, All For One has much bigger things to punish him for than that) and finally places the name.

“…Isn’t Madara a character in Naruto?” he asks. Yes, and not just any character; one of the villains.  It’s strange; just another strangeness on top of a day full of weirdness, but it… Izuku can’t help but start to giggle. And then he laughs, deep, full-bodied, slightly hysterical laughs, and maybe there are a few tears, and when he’s finally done, All Might is staring at him, obviously concerned, and Izuku…

Izuku just feels empty.

“…Perhaps we should go somewhere,” All Might suggests hesitantly. “How about some tea?”

Izuku doesn’t want tea; Izuku doesn’t want anything except to crawl into bed, and fall asleep, and never wake up. But he knows he can’t, and he probably shouldn’t go home, and he doesn’t really know what he should do, so he follows All Might out of the cemetery. The streets are mostly empty, although Izuku still attracts a few odd looks before they finally reach a small café.

They grab a small, discreet table in the back, and order drinks; Izuku finally notices his soaked clothes and shivers as he waits for his tea. He can feel All Might’s eyes on him, but he just…

…What should he say?

“…Is everything alright, Ma-Midoriya?” All Might finally asks. “Did you… Did you have a fight with your father? Or…”

“Something like that,” Izuku sighs. They sit in silence for a minute as the waitress brings them their order; and then something occurs to him, “…How do you even know my name?”

“I owe your father a great debt.”

“You what?” Izuku gasps. All Might owes All For One? How? Why? What connection does the Number 1 Hero have to the shadowy villain that has just torpedoed Izuku’s life?

“Oh, yes,” All Might smiles. “He… gave me some excellent advice, when I first adopted my son.”

All For One gave the Number 1 Hero parenting advice. The whole world is officially insane.

“Yes, but… how did you meet?” Izuku asks, almost afraid of the answer. All For One no doubt arranged some great coincidence, so he could get close to All Might. It makes so much sense; no doubt, it’s so that, when the time is right, he can…

“He was at my mentor’s grave,” All Might sighs. “He… Your mother had apparently just passed, and… I have been a hero for over twenty years, and I have never seen a man so broken. I wasn’t even sure whether I should let him walk home alone. It was obvious just how much your mother’s death devastated him.”

Izuku stares at the man. If he hadn’t trained himself out of the habit, he would be muttering, because… Why would All For One mourn his mum? Shouldn’t he be relieved she was out of the way? If… If he was so upset, then he couldn’t possibly have anything to do with her death…

Izuku latches onto that thought, because it makes sense. If All For One really loved his mum, then he wouldn’t hurt her. She really did die from cancer, and All For One mourned her because he loved her, and if he loved her…

…Maybe he loves Izuku, too?

“I almost didn’t recognize him the next time I saw him,” All Might treats Izuku to a smile. “You were with him, you know – telling your mother about your new friend. And… I almost couldn’t believe it, because he was so different. It was obvious that caring for you helped him with his grief.”

His new friend – Tenya. Izuku almost nods, because now he has confirmation that at least some of his memories really did happen. But then why Tenya? Why would All For One encourage his son to be friends with the child of well-respected heroes? Why put up with all of Tensei’s teasing? What did he have to gain? Why… Why would he allow Izuku to tell his friends about a Quirk as recognizable as All For One?

“And you – I’d seen you at an event, and you were so happy, I would never have guessed the loss you had just suffered,” All Might chuckles. “And I thought your father must know what he’s doing.”

And then there is the biggest question of all – why would All For One allow – no, encourage - Izuku’s dreams of becoming a hero?

“I don’t know what happened between you,” All Might reaches out to pat Izuku on the shoulder, “But I always thought… You were lucky to have such a loving father. So… Please, try and talk this out with your father. I am sure he has his reasons for whatever he did…”

And that’s the answer, Izuku realizes. That’s the piece he’s been missing – no, not missing, wilfully ignoring. Because why tell him? Why would All For One tell a child set on becoming a hero about his true identity? Why did he not stop Izuku from running out the door?

Why did he look so heartbroken?

Because he was.

Because he told Izuku out of fear. Because he knew if he lied now and Izuku found out in the future, there would be no coming back from that. If everyone believes All For One is dead, it means he has not been doing anything to attract attention.

Because he loves Izuku.

And Izuku – Izuku suddenly realizes that his father thinks that he hates him. And he probably won’t stay; he won’t remain Hisashi Midoriya, won’t be there when Izuku returns home from school, won’t let Izuku stay up late because there’s a fascinating Quirk on TV. He’ll likely return to his life of crime, and…

…and then Izuku will never get to hug his papa again.

“Thank you!” he shouts as he jumps up. He almost collides with one of the waitresses as he takes off, sprinting for the door, because what if papa’s already gone? No, no, he’s not gone, Izuku won’t accept that, if he’s gone Izuku will just have to Summon him back…

“Young Midoriya!” All Might calls after him. “Where are you!...”

“To hug papa!” Izuku yells over his shoulder and narrowly avoids crashing into a young couple. It’s still raining when he emerges onto the street, but Izuku doesn’t care about that, doesn’t care that he’s probably going to get sick…

Izuku Midoriya needs to save the world, and his papa, from All For One!

 

 

It’s raining.

Hisashi – no, All For One – glares at the rain, because Izuku is out there somewhere, and he didn’t take his coat. Or an umbrella. He could catch a cold, or… Or pneumonia…

But no, he shakes his head, he no longer has the right to worry about his… About Izuku. The boy made that quite clear. If he wants to do anything more for him, if he doesn’t want to provoke any more resentment than what he already deserves, he should just go. Make sure everything is set up so Izuku will be well provided for, can do whatever he wants in life, and leave before the boy returns.

The boy…

All For One shakes his head. This is for the best; he can come out of retirement early, and… He needs to start planning. He needs to gather his former followers; yes, that’s a good move. He reaches out for the phone, because he can call the good doctor…

…And then he groans in frustration and runs his hands through his hair. He’s not quite ready to talk with the man; he needs to get himself back into the right mindset, make sure Hisashi Midoriya is well and truly gone…

…Of course, he realizes, his face. That has to go; he closes his eyes and grimaces as he shifts his features back to those of All For One…

…And then he opens them again and his gaze lands on a photo of a four-year-old Izuku, beaming as he poses with Hisashi, and All For One gasps as the knife in his chest twists, and…

…And suddenly it’s all too much.

All For One collapses into his chair. He slams the photo face down on the desk so he doesn’t have to see it, and he sobs, because… How can he make this better? When he lost his brother, none of his power, his Quirks, his schemes – none of it made it better. And then he lost Inko, and… What helped then? Why was it different? What chased the pain of the loss away?

How can he make this stop?

 

Just… let papa sit with you for a little while, alright?

 

Do you want another story?

 

Tickle attack!

 

Thank you, Izuku.

 

Just… stay my little boy a bit longer.

 

I love you too, Izuku.

 

All For One stares numbly down at his hands, because… There is no point. There is nothing that will make this pain stop; there is nothing worth fighting for. Then he angrily wipes at his eyes and makes his decision.

He’ll call All Might.

He’ll call All Might, and tell him he’s still alive. And then…

There’s a crash from downstairs, and a pounding on the stairs, and All For One stands up just as Izuku, dripping with water, bursts through the study door.

“Don’t go!” the boy yells and throws himself at him, his arms wrapping themselves around him like he’s terrified that All For One will vanish. “Don’t go! Please, don’t go! I’m not ready, I just… Please, don’t leave! I… I don’t care, just… Don’t leave yet! Just… Pretend you never told me! Please, please papa, just… stay! Please!...”

“…You’re soaking wet,” All For One – or is he Hisashi? – observes numbly, and Izuku lets out a rather wet laugh.

“See, you can’t… Can’t leave yet,” he grins as he looks up, tears in his eyes. “I’m… If you leave, I’ll just catch pneumonia, or run into a collapsing building to save a cat, or… Get distracted and walk off a bridge. So just… Just stay my papa for a little longer…”

Something warm settles in Hisashi’s chest as, for the first time ever, his son looks up at his true face. He smiles and presses his lips to his little boy’s forehead, and whispers,

“I promise. I’ll stay for as long as you need me.”

“Forever,” Izuku immediately replies. “Let’s just… Say forever for now, and… We can decide later.”

“Later,” Hisashi nods, even though there’s no decision to be made.

He’ll stay forever.

Chapter Text

“Papa?”

“Yes, Izuku?” Hisashi smiles as he sets down his book. He’s noticed that his son (there have never been sweeter words, he is sure, than his son) seems to have been using the term a lot more often than before, but then he supposes it makes sense.

It’s probably a lot harder to connect the word with All For One.

“I was wondering…” Izuku hesitates at the entrance to the study; then he squares his shoulders, takes a deep breath, and asks, “Could… could you tell me a little about… All For One?”

He really should have expected this, Hisashi knows. For just a split second he wishes he could refuse; close the door on that chapter of his life completely and move on. But Izuku deserves the full truth, so he nods and stands up.

“Alright. But… Not here.”

Izuku glances around the study and nods; apparently Hisashi is not the only one with rather… unpleasant memories of their little talk.

They end up raiding the kitchen. Izuku somehow, with his mysterious teenage powers, finds Kurogiri’s emergency muffins, and Hisashi, aware he’ll probably need emotional support, grabs his wedding photo from the living room as he waits for the kettle to boil. Then they retreat to the master bedroom and spread their loot out on Hisashi’s bed.

“Alright, Izuku,” he takes a deep breath as he makes himself comfortable. “What… What would you like to know?”

“Well…” Izuku pretends to think as he picks up a biscuit, but Hisashi’s not fooled; his son probably has memorized a whole list of questions. He wonders whether Izuku has hidden a recording device somewhere in the room; then he dismisses that thought, because Izuku isn’t that foolish. “…Was mum a villain?”

“No,” Hisashi glances over at his photo and smiles. “She was just a normal civilian; as far as I know, she only noticed something strange about me when she started getting sick.” He winces at the memory. “I… was careless. I was desperate for something that… that could…”

He breaks off to wipe at his eyes and manages a chuckle when Izuku hugs him.

“It’s okay,” Izuku mumbles. “Just… You loved her, didn’t you?”

“I did,” Hisashi smiles. “I still do. If there is one thing I wish I could do…”

For a second, they sit in silence; then Izuku takes a deep breath.

“Why have a child, though? Were you going to use me, but… Was it to give you a better cover story, or…”

Hisashi hesitates; then he decides Izuku deserves honesty.

“I didn’t want children,” he admits. “I had no use for them, and it would put me in danger. A child capable of taking Quirks, born to a father with Fire Breath and a mother with Attraction…”

“…so you didn’t want me?...”

“Not at first, no,” Hisashi sighs. He wishes the next words didn’t taste like ash on his tongue. “But Inko… She was so, so happy. And I thought… I could pretend to be excited. There would be a day when I wouldn’t come back, but… If we had a child… Inko wouldn’t be alone. Only…” He chuckles at the memory, and shakes his head. “…At some point I realized I wasn’t pretending any more. And then, when you were born, you were so small, so perfect, I just… it was like there had been something missing all my life, and… Oh, Izuku, I loved you from the moment I first saw you.”

This time, he pulls Izuku into a hug; he holds his son, rubs his back and hopes his little boy can feel all the love he feels for him, and he ignores Izuku’s occasional hiccups. Finally, the teenager seems to have calmed down; he pulls back and accepts a tissue.

“…How did you and mum meet?”

“…She was being mugged,” Hisashi chuckles at the memory. “She lived in a pretty rough area, got attacked by some thug with a knife, and I happened to be nearby. I took her for coffee, and we swapped numbers, and… Well, the rest is history.”

“What, you didn’t murder the mugger?” Izuku jokes.

“…Not at that time, no…”

Papa!” Izuku chokes on his saliva.

Hisashi laughs and helps himself to a muffin.

“Is… Before you became… Were you born Hisashi Midoriya?”

“No,” Hisashi sighs. He really wishes he could lie about this. “…I just made that name up on the spot…”

For just a second, Izuku stares at him. Then, because the universe hates Hisashi, and cursed him with the smartest child imaginable, he lets out a long snort and bursts into loud laughter.

“You… you came… you went with Midori-ya! Midori!...”

“She had beautiful green eyes!” Hisashi protests halfheartedly.

Midori!” Izuku collapses sideways. “Midori!”

Hisashi sighs, shoots a glare over his shoulder (because if there are dead heroes in the room, he’s sure Izuku isn’t the only one laughing), and resigns himself to a long wait.

Finally, Izuku calms down, although he still has a grin on his face. He wipes his eyes and sits back up.

“So… What was your original name?”

“Hisashi Shigaraki,” Hisashi winces. His old name never fails to leave a bad taste in his mouth.

“Izuku Shigaraki…” Izuku tries out the sound.

“I prefer Midoriya,” Hisashi sighs.

They sit in silence for a few minutes; then Izuku shifts, and asks, “So… All For One…”

 

 

“What would you like to know?” papa asks with a sigh.

Izuku considers his question carefully. Ever since his father told him, since his run in with All Might, he’s been piecing things together, finally making sense of all the weirdness that is his life.

“So…” he decides to start with an easy question. “Was Machia one of your… I don’t know, lackeys?”

“Yes,” papa chuckles. “He was my bodyguard. He… You know how you’re not allowed to give people multiple Quirks?”

Izuku nods, unsure where this is going.

“It overwhelms most people; I’ve seen it kill. Gigantomachia… He’s one of the few people who could handle it. And he’s always been devoted to me…”

“But why is he here?” Izuku frowns. “Wouldn’t he be a liability? What if someone recognized him? And… he’s not exactly subtle?”

“Izuku…” papa pauses. “When I retired, I convinced everyone that All For One was dead. And… how do you think Gigantomachia would react if he thought his Lord had been killed?”

Izuku makes the mistake of trying to imagine that. Then he shakes his head, looks his father in the eye and says, “Good call.”

“Gee, thanks,” his father rolls his eyes.

For just a second, it’s easy to pretend they’re not talking about anything serious; that this is just them enjoying father-son time. But then Izuku remembers the… stranger with his father’s voice, and he knows…

…Nothing will ever be quite the same.

“So… how did you do it?” he asks. “Why did you do it? Why… retire?”

“Inko… She knew she was dying,” papa breaks off to wipe his eyes, and Izuku shifts closer, hoping to provide some sort of comfort. “And… more than anything, she was worried about you. She pointed out that with her gone, if I were… defeated, you’d be all alone.”

“…So you retired to play house because mum told you to?”

“Yes,” his father nods, completely serious.

Izuku stares at him for a second, almost expecting him to chuckle and say he was just joking. Then he glances over at a photo of his mother, and makes a mental note.

His mum was a fucking badass.

“I… have a Quirk capable of rewriting memories, so it was not difficult,” papa continues. “As far as the world knows, All For One died in a fight with the seventh holder of One For All, Nana Shimura.”

“Nana Shimura,” Izuku mumbles. He’ll look her up later, and check the headstones near mum, cause he… Then something occurs to him. “…Was she… Was she connected to All Might?”

“You have done your research,” papa chuckles. “She passed One For All to All Might before she died.”

All Might has One For All?” Izuku gasps. Holy crap, he – he’s one of the few people that knows the secret of the Number 1 Hero’s Quirk! He… He shakes his head, because he still has questions, and now is not the time to geek out over All Might’s Quirk! Then he takes a deep breath, and asks, “…Why’s it called that? I mean, All For One, One For All… What’s the connection?”

The more he pondered it, the more he was sure there had to be a connection, even with the limited information he had. Not just because of the similar names, but also for there to be a Quirk All For One can’t take… That can’t be a simple coincidence…

“You’re too smart, Izuku,” papa sighs. “…It’s a long story…”

“Tell me? Pleeease…”

 

 

“Alright, Izuku…

 

I was born before the general public became aware of the existence of Quirks; hell, the term did not exist yet. There were of course people with Quirks, but… Only those born with obvious mutations were noticed, and the government was trying hard to keep them hidden. Some families… they were glad to be rid of those ‘freaks’. Others refused to give up their children, and went into hiding.

Of course I was not aware of all this; I was not even aware I had a Quirk. I wouldn’t have cared, anyway; I was just a child, and my world revolved around school, my home…

…And my brother. Yes, Izuku, you have – had an uncle. His name was Yoshito, and… I loved him so much. He… I was older than him, and he was a sickly child. Our father… he was a drunk, and our mother worked long hours, so I cared for Yoshito most of the time. I sang to him, I played with him… He was my world.

Our childhood was far from perfect, though; father… He was violent. I shielded Yoshito as much as I could, but I was still a child myself. And then… when I was your age, my mother died, and I couldn’t… Couldn’t do it anymore. I stuffed some things into my school bag, waited until father was asleep, grabbed Yoshito and left.

It’s hard to describe what the world had become by then. Society had crumbled; government was little more than an abstract concept. Those without Quirks attacked those with them. Those with Quirks attacked those without. Picture the worst scenes from some disaster movie, and amplify them twenty times – that was my reality.

But… I didn’t care. Yoshito was safe, and with me, and that was all I needed. I took odd jobs when I could, got pretty good at shoplifting… I even tutored Yoshito.

I didn’t need a Quirk to be happy; I didn’t think I had one. But then… I was on my way home. I’d just gotten paid; I had food, and… I’d bought Yoshito a comic book for his birthday. Only… I got ambushed by three thugs. They had Quirks, they outmatched me…

I thought I was going to die. All I could do was lie there, and take it, and… I thought… If I were stronger, I could stop being a victim. If I were stronger, I could protect Yoshito.

If I had a Quirk, I could fight back.

And that’s when I discovered I… did.

When I limped back to our campsite, I had three new Quirks.

Over the next few weeks, I tested my new abilities. I pushed myself. And as I looked around me, I realized… I could bring order to the chaos. Because why should people be victimized for something beyond their control? Why force people to live with abilities they did not want? All For One could change all that, could create a new, better Japan!

…I was something of an idealist when I was younger.

So I started planning, started recruiting, finding people that understood my goals, people that wanted to build that new Japan! And I just assumed Yoshito, dear, smart Yoshito, understood, too.

I didn’t notice him drifting away until it was too late.

He had no Quirk that we knew of, and… He did not understand why people would give up their Quirks, did not see that to some of them, I was a savior. He just… wanted everything to go back to how it had been before.

I tried to explain my vision; tried to explain the fear when you are powerless, the desperation that drove people to seek me out, but he wouldn’t listen. But he was still my brother, and I still loved him, and… I tried to protect him, tried to keep him safe!...

But finally… I realized I had to let him go.

By that time, though, I had enemies, people that would not hesitate to kill him… And Yoshito was so weak! So I – I gave him a Quirk. Nothing dangerous, nothing that could hurt him, but… I just wanted my baby brother to be safe.

Only – only he had a Quirk too, and they combined and created One For All. And… he passed it on to someone and…

…And when this hero came to confront me, I recognized it; of course I recognized it. And he told me… The bastard told me…

…He told me Yoshito was dead.

I defeated him, of course; just like I defeated the Third holder, and the Fourth…

But One For All kept being passed on, from one hero to the next. And… every time I saw it, I just…

…I couldn’t help but think, ‘It wasn’t meant for you.’

 

 

After his father stops speaking, Izuku stares at him. Then the man chokes back a sob, and he breaks out of his stupor. He immediately hugs papa, trying to provide comfort, even as his mind goes into overdrive.

“You know, you’re so like Yoshito,” papa chuckles as he frees his arm and reaches over for his wedding photo. “He loved superheroes. We’d curl up in bed together, and I’d read him comics…”

Izuku watches, confused, as his father opens up the back of the photo frame. Then his eyes widen and he leans forward, eager, because the man has pulled out a small picture.

He doesn’t recognize the two boys, of course, but it’s easy to guess who they are. Yoshito is a small, scrawny boy with long white hair and a kind smile, and next to him…

Izuku chokes back a sob, and scrambles off the bed.

“Izuku?” he hears his father call after him, a note of fear in his voice, but he doesn’t stop, doesn’t slow down, because…

Papa will understand.

The photo is in its usual place on Izuku’s desk; he grabs it and almost trips as he runs back to the master bedroom.

“Look!” he laughs as he shoves the picture at his father. “Look!”

Papa half-laughs, half-sobs as he takes the frame and places it side-to-side with the old photo.

Put together, the likeness is unmistakable. Izuku might have got his nose, eyes and hair colour from his mother, but… the freckles, the untameable curls, the shape of his face… Even the grin! They’re so similar, when comparing father and son around the same age.

“People always said I looked like mum!” Izuku laughs. He didn’t mind, really, but… He had wished they looked more alike. There were times he almost wondered if he really was papa’s, but then he reminded himself of their shared Quirk. But this… This… It dissolves something nasty and unpleasant that Izuku wasn’t even aware he was carrying in his chest.

“Thank god you didn’t get my nose.”

“It’s not that bad…”

“It’s massive!” papa shifts his face back to his original features, and Izuku can’t help but wince, because it is… unfortunate. But he also takes the opportunity to examine his father’s face, trying to imagine what he’ll look like when he’s older.

“No, Izuku, you got the best features of us all; Yoshito’s idealism, my freckles and Inko’s… Inko’s everything else.”

“You’ve got lots of good features!”

“Name three!”

Chapter Text

“Young man, are you aware loitering is a crime?”

“Hey, Touya,” Izuku rolls his eyes as he turns to his cousin. “Long time no see.”

“Yeah, tell me about it,” Touya reaches out to ruffle Izuku’s hair. Then, however, the smile slips from his face and he glances around the empty area. “Izuku, is… Is everything alright?”

“What?” Izuku frowns, and opens his mouth to protest…

…And then stops and looks away, because… It isn’t. Because he’s been avoiding his friends this past week. After all, how can he possibly face them? He can’t tell them what he’s learnt about his papa, but he was so sure he would never have to keep secrets from them again, and… It’s why he’s out here, because he’s taken to just wandering Tokyo, observing Quirks, and ignoring the numerous confused texts on his phone.

After all, how the fuck do you tell your best friends who all want to be heroes that your father is a retired villain?

“…I thought so,” Touya sighs and places his hand on Izuku’s shoulder. “Look, Izuku, if… If things aren’t great at home, or whatever, you… You can come stay with us, no questions asked.”

“Thanks, but…” Izuku manages to smile. “But it’s nothing like that. Just… A lot on my mind.”

“…Is it because there’s a girl you like?” Touya asks.

“No!”

“A boy? Cause, you know, none of us would have a problem if it was…”

“I’m not in love,” Izuku sighs. “Just… Found out some stuff about my family. Not great stuff.”

“Aaah,” the eldest son of Endeavor nods his head and quirks a smile. “Can’t imagine what that’s like. Come on, I’ll walk you home. And… Just think about texting Shoto, ‘kay?”

“Okay,” Izuku agrees, even though he knows he probably won’t do it. But they’re not exactly close to home, and it’s been a while since he saw Touya, so he asks, “How’s work?”

“Boring, mostly,” Touya chuckles. “I just wander about, trying to be useful. Most of the time it’s just running towards big bangs and getting people to evacuate while the heroes do the work. Hell, I’ve not made a single arrest! Every time I think I’ll have the chance, Hawks swoops in!”

“Hawks?” Izuku perks up at the mention of the popular hero. Then something occurs to him. “…Wait, isn’t he based in Fukuoka?”

“I know!” Touya exclaims. “But apparently he keeps having to come up to Tokyo! Although at least he buys me coffee…”

“…Maybe he has a crush on you?”

“…Riight,” Touya rolls his eyes. “A super popular, super talented hero has the hots for me. Pull the other one.”

Izuku decides he really doesn’t want to argue about this, especially not right now.

“Well, could you get me an autograph?”

“Oh, sure,” Touya shrugs. “Hey, if you wa – LOOK OUT!”

He shoves Izuku sideways and, surprised, Izuku goes tumbling down the embankment and into the canal. He chokes on water and kicks his way to the surface. Then he looks back where he came from and gasps, because there is some… big… slimy… thing that seems to be attacking Touya. The officer is obviously putting up a fight, but the faint flickers of flame don’t last long against the weird liquid… sludge. And - the sludge, it... It's laughing...

Don't panic.

Izuku kicks his way to the opposite bank and pulls himself back onto land.

Don't panic, don't panic, don't...

He almost bursts into tears when he pulls out his phone, because it's not working. And when he looks over at his cousin, he's still struggling, but he can't last much longer. Izuku needs to get help.

He can Summon a hero. Yes, he'll Summon a hero, and they can save Touya, and...

Which hero?! Izuku almost panics again. No, he needs to stay calm, there are so many heroes, there has to be at least one that can help...

Best Jea - no, not Best Jeanist, the sludge isn't wearing clothes.

All Mi - no, All Might is doing some PR thing down in Okinawa, way out of range of Summon.

Ingenium - no, what good is speed against that thing? And Izuku can hardly Summon all his sidekicks...

He almost screams when he realizes the sludge and Touya are moving, and bites his tongue.

Focus, focus!

If he can't think of a hero, he should think of a Quirk. There has to be a Quirk capable of helping, and then there'll probably be a hero with said Quirk...

But his mind keeps drawing a blank, and Izuku curses and starts running towards a bridge, because if there isn't a hero that can help, then he has to do something himself. If he uses his Quirk, then maybe...

He almost trips as an idea occurs to him.

Maybe he doesn't need one Quirk.

Maybe he needs four.

He grits his teeth and activates Summon, praying that this will work, that they'll still trust him...

“What the?!...” Hitoshi gasps as he materializes.

“…Izuku?” Tenya looks around, confused, his pen still in his hand.

Shoto doesn’t say anything, just hurriedly buckles his belt, his face beet red.

"Touya!" Izuku gasps, and realizes he's almost hyperventilating. But there's no time to stop, to breathe, so he grabs Hitoshi and starts running towards the bridge again. "...Trouble! There's... some sort of sludge! We have to help him!"

"What?" Shoto chokes out, and Izuku glances over to find his friend has gone pale; then Shoto shakes his head and overtakes them all.

"Shouldn't we call the authorities?" Tenya asks.

There's a loud explosion up ahead.

"I think they already know!" Hitoshi yells.

Izuku pushes himself. He can see Shoto just ahead, and part of him feels terrible for his friend; the other however is already planning. Because he knows his friends Quirks as well as All For One, and he can work with them. He can use them.

He can save Touya, if...

...If it's not too late...

"Touya!" Shoto screams up ahead, and then Izuku, Hitoshi and Tenya emerge onto a street.

It's absolute pandemonium. There are cars piled up on the street, several of them on fire, people are running, screaming, and... The heroes aren't doing anything, just trying to get people to clear the area! Shoto is struggling against Death Arms, desperate to get to his brother, and...

...There in the middle of the street is Touya, still fighting, still struggling, desperate to breathe, and none of the heroes...

...Why aren't they saving him?!

"Come on!" Izuku ducks behind a van so the pros won't see them; he activates Summon and the minute they can, Tenya grabs Shoto and Hitoshi covers his mouth.

"Please tell me you have a plan," Hitoshi gasps, wide-eyed.

Plan, yes, plan, Izuku needs a plan...

"Tenya, get as far from here as you can!" he tells his best friend.

He almost cries, because, despite everything, despite not speaking for a week for no apparent reason, Tenya just nods and takes off. But there's no time for that, so he closes his eyes and, with a wince, reaches out and takes Touya's Quirk. It's the right thing to do, because his cousin could hurt someone, and he'd absolutely hate that, but Izuku still feels so incredibly dirty...

"WHAT? WHERE'D IT GO?!" a creepy voice yells.

Izuku will give it back when all this is over. There is no other option; he is not keeping Touya's Quirk.

"Hitoshi, I need you to get that sludge away from his mouth!" he tells his friend. "Shoto, as soon as you can, freeze as much of it as you can!"

"Roger!" Hitoshi nods. Then he takes a deep breath and steps out from behind the van. "Hey, slimy!"

"We are so going to be grounded," Izuku mutters to Shoto, who manages a weak smile; then they break cover.

The minute he sees Touya's mouth clear, Izuku activates Summon; at the same time, a massive amount of ice shoots out from behind a car, turning much of the sludge into a huge block of ice.

"Hey, you!" Death Arms yells as he turns to where Shoto is obviously hiding; Izuku doesn't really wait, because he takes off even as he activates Summon. He hears shouts behind him, but doesn't slow down.

His throat is starting to itch, and he is going to be grounded until he is fifty, but...

He can't help but smile, because he hasn't felt this light in forever. 

 

 

Izuku's about halfway home when someone grabs him and drags him into an alley. He almost Summons Machia, but then he turns and finds himself face to face with Tenya and Hitoshi.

"Shoto has gone to the police station with Touya,” Tenya informs him even as Hitoshi passes him a bottle of tea. “We should all expect to be contacted within the next day to provide statements…”

“I’ll get papa to call his lawyers,” Izuku winces. “But no one else was doing anything, and we only used our Quirks because we were afraid for Touya’s life, and we left immediately after, so we should get off with a warning...”

His friends exchange glances and Izuku feels his stomach drop. Of course he knows he needs to talk to them, but... How the fuck should he even begin?! He isn't ready to tell them about All For One. He's almost desperate enough to use Summon to buy himself a few more hours...

No, Izuku, that is not the appropriate response. He is going to be a hero, so he needs to be brave, and tell his friends, and...

"You're hiding something," Hitoshi states firmly.

Izuku whimpers.

"Izuku, we are your friends," Tenya reminds him. "And this past week... We have missed you."

"'M sorry," Izuku sniffs. Because he missed them too, and he wants them to still be his friends, but he isn't ready, he can't tell them, and what if they hate him? What if they hate him for keeping secrets, and ignoring, them, and...

"It's okay," Hitoshi suddenly hugs him. "Whatever it is, we don't care."

"We will wait until you're ready," Tenya joins in. "Just like with your Quirk. Just... Please, do not pull away."

Izuku would like it noted he has the best friends in the universe.

Oh, and his tears are completely justified!

Chapter Text

“What do you mean you’re not coming?!”

“…I’m not coming?” Hitoshi retorts. “You know, not coming? If I say it in English, would you understand?”

“Yes, but… But… It’s U.A.!” Izuku exclaims, ignoring the numerous odd looks he’s getting from the other applicants. “You have to come!”

The silence on the other end of the phone speaks volumes; Izuku can practically hear the eye roll.

“Hitoshi…”

“Look, Izuku,” Hitoshi sighs, and Izuku snaps his jaw shut. Because he knows that tone; Hitoshi is about to make himself vulnerable, and that is something he only does around a select few people. Not even Tenya or Shoto can claim that honour. “We know… My Quirk’s not flashy, or… destructive. There is no way for me to pass using Brainwashing, and I want… If I get into the hero course, I want to do it using my Quirk. So… I’m not coming. Cause there’s no point bringing myself down with nothing to show for it. I’ll work hard, and I’ll just have to do my best at the Sports Festival.”

“Alright, fine,” Izuku grumbles. “But you’re winning the Sports Festival, even if I have to fight for – wait, that won’t work.”

“Thanks, Izuku,” Hitoshi chuckles. “And… Good luck.”

For just a split second after hanging up, Izuku smiles. Then he makes the mistake of looking up at U.A....

And the panic comes flooding back.

Holy shit, this is a terrible idea. He’s primarily a strategist, and the Quirk he’s planning to use is still fairly new to him. And besides, he’s the son of a villain! Surely U.A. can tell, somehow, maybe through DNA or – something. He can’t do this; he’s going to be sick, and what if he forgot something, and…

“Izuku!” a familiar voice exclaims, and strangely enough, seeing Tenya’s frowning face helps Izuku remember to breathe. “It is most irresponsible – Are you alright?”

“No,” Izuku gasps as he Attracts his phone into his other hand. And back to the first hand, and over again; the repetitive motion, and the comfort that his mum’s Quirk provides, help calm him down.

And, like the wonderful friend he is, Tenya does not comment; he simply falls into step next to Izuku and launches into a comforting tirade.

“Shoto arrived only five minutes ago – it is most irresponsible of you both, to arrive so close to the beginning of the exam! Anything could have happened to delay you! I called you, of course, but you did not respond – is your phone battery dead? If you need to recharge it, I made sure to pack the appropriate lead! And, should you need it, I also brought a second pencil case! Did you remember to go to sleep early last night? Because you appear tired! Perhaps you should look into replacing your mattress – I have heard that an uncomfortable mattress can lead to disturbed sleep! I hope you remembered to eat breakfast – but if needed, I brought a few energy bars! I am afraid they are not the most nutritious, but…”

“Tenya,” Izuku interrupts his best friend as they file into the large auditorium. “I love you, but you can shut up now. And – Kurogiri made muffins.”

Tenya huffs, but the small smile on his face makes it clear he isn’t offended. They head to their seats, and Izuku lets out a relieved laugh when they realize they’re sitting next to each other. He twists in his chair and spots Shoto a few rows back, his hair dyed white.

He elbows Tenya and they both wave to their friend, who smiles and raises his hand in acknowledgement. Then Izuku recognizes the teenager sitting next to him and smiles at Bakugo.

Bakugo scoffs and turns his head.

Izuku just shrugs it off, because the boy is probably just nervous. And – he is too, although weirdly enough, even as the lights go off, his anxiety is nowhere near as bad as before.

He supposes sitting next to his best friend helps.

“Hello everybody!” Present Mic emerges from backstage and takes his place on the podium. “Welcome to today’s live performance! Everybody say hey!!”

“HEY!” Izuku laughs.

“Hey!” Shoto calls out.

Everyone else twists to stare at them.

“Thank you, my dear listeners!!” Present Mic beams. “I’m here to present the guidelines of your practical!! Are you ready?! YEAHH!!”

“Yes!”

“Yeah!”

“Please stop…” Tenya groans as he hides his face in his hands.

Izuku just treats him to a beaming smile and settles in. He doesn’t need Present Mic to explain how the exam will go; he’s familiarized himself with the details and... might have seen a few videos of it... (Apparently, his father “just happened” to be visiting U.A. the year before during the entrance exam, and got lost on his way out. And somehow acquired recorded footage of two of the test areas. Izuku is not going to consider the legalities of that, especially since it was very helpful.)

So Izuku has come up with what he hopes is a decent plan; to avoid temptation and the threat of people noticing something odd, he’s limited himself to three Quirks (and Summon, because papa is paranoid). And he took his time deciding on those Quirks.

He can do this, he assures himself as they start filing out of the room.

He can do this, he tells himself as they change into their sports clothes.

He can do this, he repeats as they head to their assigned testing grounds.

He…

“Holy crap, I can’t do this!” he blurts out to Shoto, terrified.

“You’ll be fine,” his friend smiles at him, although he looks pretty nervous, too. “Just… imagine you’re practicing with your dad.”

Yeah, Izuku can do that. He can pretend this is not the single most important event in his life…

“…But… Don’t take this the wrong way…” Shoto takes a deep breath. “I think we should separate. I spoke with Tenya before, and… If we’re together… Well, we can’t switch, and we’ll just be distracted worrying about each other, so…”

“Yeah,” Izuku nods reluctantly. He’s thought it over himself, and come up with all the same arguments Shoto has. “I’ll go left?”

“I’ll go right,” Shoto nods. “And… Good luck…”

“BEGIN!”

Izuku bolts almost on instinct; he hears the other students behind him, confused, and Present Mic, but he doesn’t slow down. He needs to ensure he has a decent head start, especially since he decided a speed Quirk would be too risky; if he puts enough distance between himself and the competition, he’ll get first crack at the robots.

And then, almost as if in answer to his prayers, a robot comes crashing through a nearby building. Izuku smiles as he ducks out of its way, slips under it and out the other side, activates Amplify…

…And Attracts a large chunk of cement straight through the fragile one-pointer.

He can’t help but laugh as he sets off again. He knew he wanted to have Attraction during the exam, and using it against the robots seemed like the best solution; not only will it provide good cover going forward, but… He also wants his mum here; he wants her to see him, to see how much he’s grown…

…He wants his mum to see him ace this test and get into his dream school.

He spots two three-pointers and charges straight at them; he ducks out of the way of the first at the last second, almost trips as he scrambles into position, and clenches his teeth as he Attracts one into the other. The effort leaves him winded, but he can’t help but laugh as he surveys the destroyed robots.

As the exam continues, he starts seeing more and more other contestants; it’s annoying, especially as Amplify is pretty draining, but he tries to be positive. He has a decent lead on them, and – at least they’re leaving lots of debris lying around for him to use!

But still, by the time they’re nearing the end, he’s breathing heavily. He doesn’t think he has it in him to do much more, and hopes that he has enough points. The other contestants have all caught up; he doesn’t think he has the energy or time to go to an area where there might be a few robots left, and he’s not quite desperate (or dumb) enough to use Summon on everyone else.

And then the ground shakes, heralding the arrival of the zero-pointer.

Izuku groans as he turns, and then he just stares at the massive thing. Holy crap, U.A. is actually using this? He saw it before of course, from a distance, but seeing it for real, in person, just drives home how massive it is. And of course all the other applicants are fleeing as fast as possible; hell, even Izuku is tempted to join in their hasty retreat.

But he doesn’t, because if he can get past the Bot, there might be a few last robots left there. He just needs to figure out a solution that does not result in him getting squashed like a bug, and…

“Oww…”

Izuku almost screams when he realizes there is a girl right there. For just a second he wonder whether she's actually a mannequin, or robot, perhaps another part of the exam. But there wasn't anything like that on the recordings he saw, and what if she isn't? What if she's just a person in danger? What if U.A. doesn't know she's right in the path of the massive robot?! What if she's seriously injured and Summoning her just makes matters worse? Izuku isn't powerful enough to be able to take down the zero-pointer...

But there's a person in danger, and... Izuku wants to save people.

He curses and activates Summon.

“…Izu?...” Shoto frowns as he appears next to him.

“Freeze it!” Izuku shouts as he spins his friend around.

Shoto’s eyes widen as he takes in the robot, and the injured girl, and then he’s sprinting forward, teeth clenched and eyes determined. Izuku doesn’t even look his way; he heads straight for the girl, grateful he kept one of the healing Quirks papa gave him. He just needs Shoto to buy him a few seconds…

The girl isn’t seriously hurt, thankfully, just a few scrapes and a sprained ankle. Izuku has her fixed up in seconds, and then he looks up…

“Cold enough for you?” Shoto pants.

Izuku just laughs as he takes in the massive glacier covering the robot.

 

 

“I AM HERE!” All Might grins as he bursts into the room. “…To see the principal!”

“Shut up, All Might!” Midnight hisses, just as Present Mic throws up his arms with a cheer.

“Go, Izuku! Go, go!”

“At least pretend you’re impartial…” Eraserhead sighs from the seat next to him.

“But Shotaaaaaaaa! Look at him!” Mic beams. “And he cheered, earlier!”

“…You’re right, that’s an automatic fail.”

All Might doesn’t pay attention to the bickering couple. Instead he smiles, pleased, because up there on the screen is young Ma – Midoriya. He seems to possess some sort of levitation Quirk, and is using it to great effect against the robots.

The gathered teachers are all focused on the screens, and so All Might takes the opportunity to linger. He watches with a smile as the lad defeats robot after robot and wonders how Hisashi Mi…

…Did Midoriya just use another Quirk?

No, of course not, All Might scoffs internally. The other boy must have… The boy with an ice Quirk teleported…

…As he watches Midoriya help the girl up, All Might feels a pit open in his stomach.

He’s not smiling anymore.

Chapter Text

“It’s here!”

Tensei grins as he holds out the envelope and waits.

And waits.

And…

“Tenya, are you alright?” he asks his brother. The teenager has not moved from his seat at the dining table, and seems to be watching him… Almost with fear.

“Of course!” Tenya nods, but doesn’t move from his chair.

Tensei frowns as he stares at his brother and his brother stares back. He suspects he might know what the problem is, but… he isn’t entirely sure how to approach it.

But then he reminds himself that he is duty-bound to help; he is Tenya’s older brother, and a successful prohero. And… when it comes to figuring things out, he’s learned from the best.

“Come on,” he grins, and motions for Tenya to follow him to the living room. And, true to form, although reluctant, his brother does not run away. Tensei sighs as he settles on the sofa, and… for a minute he just stares at his baby brother.

Because he can remember when he was Tenya’s age, and so incredibly excited at the prospect of a younger sibling. And he remembers getting woken up in the middle of the night, and that mad rush to the hospital. And, above everything else, he remembers holding a tiny, rather red Tenya for the very first time. (And crying. His parents never let him forget that he burst into tears the minute Tenya opened his perfect little eyes to look at him. Which was not a smart move, because then Tenya started crying, and Tensei almost had a panic attack because he thought he'd hurt his baby brother. His mother still laughs about it.)

But now... Now his baby brother isn't a baby anymore.

However, now is not the time to get teary-eyed! He ruthlessly steels himself; he has a mission, which he will complete successfully. (And then he will go grab the family album and marvel at how adorable his brother was.)

“It’s normal to be nervous,” Tensei assures his brother. “But I’m sure you did fine.”

“I suppose,” Tenya shrugs. Then he hesitates, and asks quietly, “…What if I didn’t?”

“Then there’s Shiketsu,” Tensei shrugs. “Or Ketsubutsu. Or Seijin. U.A. isn’t the only school out there.”

“But… Won’t you be disappointed?”

“Is that what this is about?” Tensei snorts. “I mean… Yeah, we’d be sad, but… It’s not the end of the world. We’ll get over it. And we’ll all still love you just as much.”

“Yes, but… You went to U.A., and… so did father…”

“…And mother completed an apprenticeship in Osaka,” Tensei points out. “The school you go to doesn’t determine how good a hero you’ll be. That’s entirely up to you. And… Between you and me, Tenya… I think you’ve got it in you to be one of the best.”

“…Really?”

“Really,” Tensei chuckles. “I mean… You’ve always been such a kind, caring boy. You worry about the rules a little too much, but… You can work on that. But you’re also smart, and generous, and… You’re brave Tenya, probably braver than me. You don’t shy away just because something might be difficult, you try to do your best, and that… That is something more heroes need to understand.”

“…But… how can you know?” Tenya frowns.

“Because I’ve seen it,” his brother just shrugs. “I… When you were… four, mother decided we needed to explain to you what happened to Izuku’s mum. I… I wasn’t sure how to explain it, or even if you really understood, but… It didn’t matter. Because you were only really worried about Izuku, and…”

“…But that was simply my duty as Izuku’s friend,” Tenya points out. “There is nothing special about that…”

"...Tenya, you didn't even understand what death is," Tensei chuckles. "But... You cared about him. You wanted to help him. And... you tried, and that's what's so important about being a hero. And you know... You were a hero. You were Uncle Hisashi's hero, you were my hero... And I'm pretty sure you were Izuku's hero. You were there when he needed it most, even though you barely knew each other. And... you've not changed, Tenya. You care about people, and that... That's not something they can teach you in school. So... whichever school you go to won't matter.  You'll still be my hero."

Tenya manages a watery smile.

Then he takes a deep breath and reaches for the envelope.

 

 

 

 

“I can’t hear anything! Is that bad?!”

“You can’t hear anything because you keep whispering!”

“Both of you, shut up!

There have been many moments over the years that have made Rei so, so proud of her children, but right now she really wishes they were better at eavesdropping.

“What if he’s fainted? What if he’s had a heart attack?...”

“Oh, for goodness sake, Touya!...”

The bathroom door suddenly opens, sending all four of them tumbling to the floor. Rei feels a brief twinge of sympathy for Natsuo, who ends up on the bottom, but there are more important matters at hand.

“Seriously?” Shoto asks them with a sigh, although Rei is fairly certain there’s a hint of amusement in his eyes. Besides, it would be rather hypocritical of him to expect otherwise.

(Rei can't help but remember Shoto and Natsuo almost tackling the postman for Fuyumi's acceptance letter.)

“Well?” Fuyumi asks, clearly unconcerned by her brother’s censure.

“Did you get in?”

“How did it go, darling?”

“I can’t breathe!...”

Shoto stares down at them stoically for a few seconds. Then he grins.

“I’m in.”

“Oh my gosh!” Fuyumi shrieks and scrambles up to hug her brother.

“Oh, darling!” Rei laughs and wipes at her eyes as Touya helps her up. "Congratulations!"

“My baby brother’s going to be a hero!”

“Sweet oxygen!...”

The minute Fuyumi lets Shoto go, Rei embraces her youngest son. Then Touya commandeers the teen; even Natsuo laughs and ruffles Shoto’s hair.

“My baby brother’s going to save people!” Touya sniffs and grabs a few tissues from his mother. “I’m so proud of you, Shoto!”

Rei wishes she could take a picture of Shoto’s face. Because the joy in his eyes… It just reminds her of why she has no regrets. And any time she has a moment of doubt, she just has to remember moments like this.

Remember how Touya had to struggle to hold back tears as they posed for a family photo at his graduation, Hisashi’s hand on his shoulder.

Remember Fuyumi proudly informing them that she had been given a full scholarship to University.

Remember Natsuo’s joy when he arrived home to find his siblings busy decorating a four-tiered cake just for him.

And now, remember Shoto’s face.

“Hey, imagine what your class will say!” Natsuo laughs. “You’ll be the coolest teacher in the school, Fuyumi!”

“I can be perfectly cool on my own,” Fuyumi sniffs. “And – Touya, don’t you have a shift soon?”

“Oh, crap, you’re right,” Touya gasps. Then he grins. “Oh my gosh, wait until the guys at the station hear! Hey, when I get home, we should celebrate!”

“...Right,” Shoto sighs.

Touya’s phone rings.

“Oh, it’s Hawks!” the policeman exclaims as he grabs his backpack. He flashes his family another grin as he answers. “Hawks, guess what? My baby brother is going to U.A.!”

Shoto groans.

“…No, Shoto’s fifteen."

Natsuo pats Shoto on the back as he buries his face in his hands.

"By the way, how did you get my number?...” Touya frowns. He waves at his family one last time, and then hurries out of the apartment, and Rei wonders idly whether Hawks is a masochist.

Then she decides that he is probably just incredibly intelligent and realized early on that her eldest is a kind, caring individual. And he will never find anyone better than Touya, so he can't help but keep trying. After all, everyone has a few character flaws; Touya's is his low self-esteem.

Hawks' is probably making terrible choices in regards to pick-up lines.

“…My professional reputation is ruined, isn’t it?” Shoto asks.

“Well, I am sure…” Rei trails off as she turns back to her youngest son. "...How about I make us all a nice cup of tea?"

Shoto gives her a look of absolute betrayal.

“Chin up, Shoto!” Natsuo comes to the rescue. “I’m sure you’ll only have to save Tokyo a few dozen times before the police forget they’ve seen your baby photos!”

“Oh, god!

 

 

 

“Izuku! It’s here!” Kurogiri calls from the front door.

Hisashi does not say anything as both Izuku and Gigantomachia come thundering down the stairs; he just watches with a smile as his son takes the envelope.

He does frown when he sees Izuku hurry over to grab his shoes.

“Where are you going?” he asks as Izuku pulls on those red monstrosities. (He has learned, over the years, to pick his battles wisely.) He could have sworn Izuku’s first action would be to rip the envelope to shreds.

He also ruthlessly squashes the feeling of hurt that his son might want to tell his friends the news first, rather than his father.

“Oh,” Izuku flushes. “I… I thought I’d open it with mum. I… want her to be the first to know.”

Hisashi freezes.

The realization hits him with the force of a speeding train, that the person in front of him…

This is no longer the timid boy that suffered bullying in silence. Who cried when he got his Quirk because he thought his papa would be mad.

This is a young man, ready to spread his wings and start leaving the nest. And he is such a kind, wonderful person, and… Hisashi doesn’t know how it is possible they are related; how he did not warp him, did not screw him up in every possible way…

“Papa?” he feels Izuku wrap his arms around him, and… When did his son get so tall? “Do you want to come with me?”

“Yes,” Hisashi chokes out. He hastily wipes the tears from his eyes and nods. “Yes.”

Kurogiri warps them to the cemetery entrance, and the two of them quietly make their way through the rows of graves to the now familiar spot. Hisashi almost expects to see a familiar blonde at a nearby spot, but it seems they have the area to themselves.

“Hey, mum,” Izuku smiles as he stops. “Gran, Grandpa. I… I got my letter from U.A. so I… Thought you might want to know how I did. Don't worry, I didn't get hurt! I mean, I was kind of tired, but... I just crashed for a bit, and I was all better the next day! So... yeah, the letter. Yeah, yeah... Here goes...”

He takes a deep breath and rips open the envelope, and a small disc falls to the ground. It immediately starts playing it’s recorded message, though the picture is rather fuzzy, distorted by the morning sun.

“It is I!” Nedzu beams. “Am I a mouse? Am I a bear? Whatever I am, I am the principal of U.A.! And I am overjoyed to be able to say, WELCOME!”

Izuku chokes back a sob, and even Hisashi has to wipe back tears.

“Your performance during the entrance exams was impressive, but what truly made the decision easy was your actions when faced with an applicant in danger! You prioritized her safety over your own, came up with an admirable plan on the spot, and even displayed that you can work with others! These are all abilities we want from our students! And so, Izuku Midoriya, on top of your villain-based points, you were also awarded forty-five rescue points! Because I am sure you have guessed by now, we do not simply look for sheer strength during the Entrance Exam. We are a school for Heroes, after all, and the first duty of a hero is to save people! So, congratulations, Izuku Midoriya - you are now a student at U.A. high school!"

The recording ends, and Izuku laughs even as tears stream down his face, and...

"By the way," Nedzu appears again. "Could you kindly inform your father that he is no longer allowed on school grounds without first getting my explicit permission? I appreciate he was very excited about your Entrance Exam, but technically speaking, trespassing is illegal and it would be rather hard for us to continue our monthly chess tournament if he is locked up in Tartarus."

The principal vanishes again.

Izuku lets out a loud snort and suddenly Hisashi has his arms full of overemotional teenager. And he laughs as he hugs his son, and maybe there are a few tears, because...

Because as they embrace in front of the grave, the moment is almost perfect.

And when Izuku Attracts the hologram disc, it truly is.