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lightning in your eyes, you can’t speak

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There was a bite in the air. A chill that seeped into Hawks’ bones, reaching him even through his leather jacket. Winter was only a few short weeks away, and it was even colder since it was the dead of the night. Perhaps he should’ve worn something a bit heavier. He ruffled his feathers and rubbed his arms, hoping the friction would warm him up a bit.

Dabi was taking longer than usual. He’d texted Hawks an address and simply added the word ‘roof’ to establish their meeting spot and time; 2 in the morning. Now, it was past 2:30 and Hawks was getting impatient. He felt a wave of irritation, mixed with something like... like concern. Was he worried? About Dabi?

No. Of course not.

Well, maybe just a little.

Hawks had texted Dabi at 2:15 asking where he was, but there’d been no response. That wasn’t entirely surprising, but Dabi was usually on time. He sighed heavily and watched his hot breath enter the cold air in a poof of mist. The minutes dragged on, and just as Hawks was about to leap from the roof and fly back to his apartment and try and get back to sleep (which he probably wouldn’t manage; it had taken so, so long for him to fall asleep earlier that night and it would be even harder still once he got home) he heard the door from the warehouse to the rooftop open with a creak.

When he turned around, all he could do was blankly stare for a moment before the words “what the fuck” tumbled out of his mouth.

“What happened?” Now he was worried, and not afraid to admit it.

Hawks made a beeline for Dabi, who had opened the door to the rooftop and slumped to the ground as soon as he’d seen Hawks. Even in the almost pitch black lighting Hawks could tell he was badly injured. His posture was all wrong, he could hear labored breathing, and he noticed Dabi was clutching his stomach as if trying to stop blood flow.

“None of your business, hero,” Dabi gasped out.

Hawks rolled his eyes and crouched in front of Dabi.

“Just tell me. Now’s not the time for you to be stubborn! How bad is it?”

Dabi glanced up at Hawks, his mouth twisted into a deep frown. Hawks took that as meaning ‘pretty fucking bad’.

After a moment, Dabi finally spoke. “I got into some shit with these fuckheads. They… they were up to some bad shit. I mean bad shit. I couldn’t just fucking walk away from that. We fought, I underestimated their quirks and there wasn’t a way for me to attack with fire without hurting the -” He paused, wincing from the pain. “Anyways, I fucked them up but as you can see, they fucked me up too. I didn’t know where else to go, and I was already supposed to meet you here so. Here we are.” Hawks was unnerved to hear the tremor in Dabi’s voice. He’d never heard him sound so vulnerable. It really must be bad.

What Hawks could gather was that Dabi had tried to, possibly, save someone from those people. That was interesting. But to be fair, out of all of the villains Hawks had interacted with throughout his pro-hero career, Dabi was surprisingly not especially villain-like. When their working relationship began, he seemed the part enough. Hawks had hated him at first. They fought a more than a few times, especially after High-End (it was clear that Dabi truly hated Endeavour in a way that was personal, and that had stuck with Hawks, something had happened between them and that much was clear). But as the weeks turned into months, and they continued to have to work together, Hawks began to see past that little by little. Dabi was just a fucked up 20 something who had made some truly awful choices that he simply had to live with. So, hearing that Dabi had stepped into this situation ostensibly to help someone, wasn’t too much of a shock. He most definitely wasn’t a monster, and he wasn’t heartless. Hawks would ask him about the whole thing later, once they were somewhere safe and once Dabi was patched up.

Hawks swallowed and nodded his head decisively.

“Okay. I’ll fly you back to my place. I’ve got a shit ton of first aid, obviously, and you can’t go to a hospital… obviously. Can you stand?” Hawks reaches out to help Dabi up, but Dabi smacked his hand away.

Dabi glared at him. “Yes I can fucking stand. Don’t touch me,” he spat. He then proceeded to fail at standing up. Just as he began to crumple to the ground, Hawks grabbed him and lifted him up bridal style. Dabi was tall, but he was skin and bones and honestly, still lighter than Hawks was expecting.

They truly must be a sight to see. Before Dabi could protest, Hawks was walking quickly towards the edge of the roof.

“Trust me, this will be the safest way for me to fly with you without disturbing your injuries. Keep putting pressure on your stomach and just… stay awake. This won’t take long.” He clutched Dabi tighter and jumped.

It took ten minutes for Hawks to fly them to his apartment. He had a penthouse with a huge balcony that he always left unlocked, so they were inside in seconds as soon as he landed. He sent a few of his feathers to turn on the lights and grab first aid supplies as he carefully set Dabi to lie down on the couch. In the well lit living room of the apartment Hawks could clearly see the state Dabi was in. He was clearly in a lot of pain; his breaths came heavily and his eyes were screwed shut. His entire shirt was soaked with blood, his hands bright red and slick with it too. He had a few nicks here and there, and a gash on his forehead that didn’t look too terrible. His midsection was definitely the worst of it.

Hawks’ feathers zipped into the room with a top of the line first-aid kit and some towels, and Hawks set to work. He opened the first aid kit and took out what he would need.

“Uh, I’m gonna need to cut your shirt off of you,”

“I don’t give a damn,” Dabi bit out. “I already fucking know this is gonna need stitches, so just get on with it already,”

“Okay, okay, do you want painkillers?”

No. Just hurry up, Hawks!”

“Okay!”

Almost an hour later, Dabi was stitched up and glowering at the ceiling as Hawks cleaned up the rest of the blood with a damp towel. Hawks had been on edge the entire time, and had patched Dabi up in complete silence. It had been unbearably awkward, but the urgency of the situation helped dampen it a bit.

“You sure you still don’t want any painkillers?”

“No, my pain tolerance is incredible. Guess why.” Dabi deadpanned, still staring at the ceiling like it had been the one to attack him.

Hawks chewed on his lip and continued wiping down Dabi’s arms. He was so scarred. When Hawks had seen him in person for the first time, his breath caught at the horror of it. The sheer amount of skin that had been completely destroyed, and the bloody staples holding everything together had been a horrific sight. But he could also see that underneath the scars Dabi probably would have been handsome, and in some ways he still was.

“Uh,” Hawks cleared his throat. “I’m done.” He set the towel aside. Dabi said nothing. “You can stay here tonight, of course.” He scratched the back of his neck. Would now be a bad time to ask about what exactly had gone down earlier? Probably. “I’ll just be in the room down the hall to th-“

“Just fucking spit it out already. I know you want to know more about what happened.” Dabi’s voice was weary. He must’ve been beyond exhausted, and Hawks was surprised he hadn’t passed out as soon as the stitches were complete.

Hawks stood from his crouched position beside the couch and moved to sit down in the armchair.

“Yeah, I want to know. What was so bad that you risked your life to put a stop to it?”

Dabi slowly sat upright, and turned towards Hawks. He took a deep breath and began to explain.

“I was walking to meet you, and I decided to take a shortcut. You already know I live in a shit area but... it’s even shittier where I had to go through. Eventually I got to this alleyway and then I heard these, these sobs. Then laughter. It sounded like a girl crying and some men,” He paused and looked down at the floor, shaking his head. “Hawks, she couldn’t have been older than 12, and she was screaming and crying, wearing nothing but a shitty tank top. And this group of four fully grown men were surrounding her. I just knew what they were planning on doing.” Hawks felt bile rise up in his throat. “There was no space in that damn alley for me to just light them up without hurting the girl, so long range moves were out of the question. One of them had an augmentation quirk, he could morph his limbs into metal and he fucking knifed me in the stomach before I could take him out.”

Hawks had his head in his hands. Fuck. That was so fucked up. Of course Dabi had had to step in. That poor fucking kid. “And the girl?”

“She managed to get away from the fight and I found her on the sidewalk outside of the alley, still crying. She was - she was scared of me at first, but when she realized I was the one who... saved her, I gave her my jacket so she could cover up and she let me walk her home. I managed to get what happened out of her. The men had kidnapped her when she was walking home from piano lessons on Tuesday evening. They’d had her for days doing god knows what. They probably wanted to fuckibg toy with her and then... sell her.” Dabi took a shaky breath. “Anyway. I made sure she got inside the house and when I left, I called the police and left an anonymous tip.”

“Jesus. Fuck.” Hawks exhaled. Of course he’d encountered scenarios like that before, it was the nature of the job. But he had never experienced that firsthand.

“Yeah. Jesus fuck is right.”

Hawks looked up to try and decipher Dabi’s expression. He looked ashen, and upset, and his eyes looked… they looked haunted. Not for the first time, Hawks wondered just what had happened in Dabi’s life that led him to where and who he was now. Who was he really?

“I’ll make sure to check up on the situation tomorrow first thing when I get to work.” Hawks said, hoping to reassure Dabi. He looked him straight in the eyes and said, “You saved that girl tonight.”

“No shit,” Dabi shifted uncomfortably. “So. Happy now? You’ve heard the whole story of how I got my ass kicked.”

“I’m definitely not happy, no. But thank you for telling me. You did good tonight.” Dabi snorted at that.

“I did the bare minimum.”

Hawks frowned and glanced at the clock hanging on the living room wall, suddenly feeling a heavy wave of exhaustion settle over him. It was after 4 am and he had to be at the agency in three hours. He sighed wearily and rolled his shoulders back.

“Okay. I think we’re both in desperate need of sleep. I’m gonna head to my room, it’s the first door on your left, down that hallway. And uh, if you change your mind, there’s painkillers in the kitchen in the cabinet beside the fridge. Top shelf.”

Dabi hummed in response, and Hawks began to walk to his room.

“Goodnight, Dabi.” He called back as he walked. Not expecting a response, he startled when he heard Dabi mutter a quiet “goodnight” and what sounded like a “thank you”. He wasn’t too sure about that one, though.

Hawks practically passed out as soon as his head hit the pillows on his bed. His last thought before he fell asleep was that Dabi had called him Hawks for the first time that night.

 


 

When he woke up two hours later, Dabi was gone. The only evidence he was there at all was the blood spotted sofa cushions. Hawks was exhausted, and feeling the absolute opposite of refreshed as he lumbered into the kitchen to fix himself a cup of extraordinarily strong coffee.

Hawks nursed his coffee and pondered the events of the previous night. His view of Dabi had changed ever so slightly yet again. Most truly despicable villains would have just kept walking, but Dabi hadn’t, and yet he was supposedly one of the wickedest villains in the game right now. Something just didn’t add up, and he was seeing that more clearly now. He promised himself he would figure Dabi out one day. Hawks was a naturally curious person, and Dabi was a puzzle he desperately wanted to solve.

It was only when he sat down in his chair at his office that Hawks realized he never got the briefing Dabi had needed to give him. The whole point of their meeting, understandably, got completely forgotten. He would need to contact Dabi and arrange another meeting.

Just as Hawks was about finished following up on his promise of checking the status of those men (they had been taken into police custody at 2 in the morning and were currently being interrogated), Rumi barged into his office without even bothering to knock.

“Hey dude!” She greeted him with a grin.

He would never understand how she could be so damn cheerful in the morning. He tried to smile in return but it felt wrong on his face, and it quickly twisted into a frown.

“Well, you look terrible. Everything alright?”

He sighed and shook his head. “I just had a long night,”

Rumi frowned and sat across from him at his desk, her eyes alight with concern. They had been friends for years, and he wouldn’t hesitate to call her his best friend now. They’d been through a lot together and told each other practically everything. The nature of Hawks’ current mission had been taking a toll on him, mentally. He could see that now. And he knew he’d feel better if he could tell someone, especially her, but it was out of the question. He couldn’t really say anything about what happened last night without having to lie straight to her face, and he didn’t want to do that. Even though he’d been lying to her for months, technically.

“Do you wanna talk about it?” One of her rabbit ears began to twitch, as it tended to do when she was worried.

“No, no. I’m okay. I just need a distraction or something,”

Her eyes narrowed but she didn’t press, instead, she simply nodded and stood up. “Okay. How about we get a head start on patrolling?”

They were supposed to start in a couple hours, but honestly it was a good idea.

“Sounds good to me,”

Before he knew it, the day was over and he was back in his apartment. After a full and tiring day of patrol, he and Rumi had eaten together and gone their separate ways. She’d made him promise her that he’d get at least six hours of sleep tonight, and he honestly hoped he would. He really needed it.

As soon as he changed out of his costume and put on sweats and a tee, he plopped down on the couch (still splotchy with blood) and called Dabi on his burner phone.

It rang and rang and just when he’d thought it was going to go to voicemail, Dabi answered.

“What is it, birdie?”

Hawks stomach fluttered. He always felt a little weird whenever Dabi called him that. He shook himself and got straight to the point.

“You never gave me the briefing last night,” Hawks explained.

Dabi was silent for a second, then he sighed. “Shit. Yeah. Okay, we can meet tonight. I’ll text you.”

“Okay. Uh, have you changed your bandages today?”

Dabi snorted. “Worried about me, hero? Who are you, my mom?”

Hawks paused. His mom. Everyone had a mother, including Dabi. He wondered what she was like, if she was alive, and if she thought about her son. Hawks must have been quiet for too long, because Dabi cleared his throat on the other end of the line.

“So, those bastards. They in custody?”

“Oh, right! Yes, they are.”

“Good.” Dabi’s voice was strange mix of relief and disgust. “I’ll text you,” And then he hung up.

A few moments later, his phone dinged with a new message.

D: midnight. my place.

Hawks furrowed his brow. He had been to Dabi’s apartment once before, but they usually met at obscure locations. He was probably resting from his injury and didn’t want to leave his apartment.

It was only 7, so Hawks had time to attempt to get some paperwork done and to start brainstorming what he was going to say for a presentation he’d be giving to the UA first years next week. Eraserhead had contacted him to ask if he’d come in as a guest speaker, to treat the kids before winter break. Most of Hawks’ fan base was around their age, and he was sure some of those kids really looked up to him.

Soon enough, 11:30 rolled around and Hawks figured it was time to leave. He threw on a zip up sweatshirt over his t-shirt, and then put on his leather jacket. It was going to be even colder tonight.

It took him about ten minutes to get to Dabi’s apartment. He hovered outside of his window and rapped twice, waiting for the villain to open up for him.

“You look like shit,” Hawks said in greeting, grinning when Dabi scowled.

“Just get your ass inside,” Dabi stepped back to let Hawks climb through the open window.

Dabi’s apartment was… strange. It was dark and messy, but it looked lived in. It wasn’t cold. He had a shitty couch and a small table in the living room, which was connected to a small kitchenette. There was an old acoustic guitar hanging on the wall next to the couch, and some posters of American bands Hawks didn’t listen to. The first time Hawks had been over, he was shocked, but he didn’t think much of it. Now, it was one more piece of the puzzle.

He walked to where the guitar hung and stared at it. He could sense Dabi watching him.

“You play?” Dabi asked.

“No. I always liked the piano more, but I’m crap at it.”

The guitar wasn’t dusty, which meant that Dabi either still played it regularly, or took care of it because it meant something to him. Hawks did notice a scratch on the headstock, beneath the make (a Gibson) but as looked more closely he could see it was intentional. Two letters were carved out: T. T.

Strange. They must be initials. But whose? Maybe the guitar was second hand, and those were the initials of the previous owner? He figured Dabi probably couldn’t have bought a guitar brand new. Villains like him didn’t have money to spare like that. Hawks frowned and turned around to face Dabi. Time to get to business.

They both sat down on the ratty couch.

“Shigaraki is planning something big. He wants you to be a part of it.”

Hawks’ heart rate sped up.

“What is it?”

“I can’t tell you yet. It won’t be for a while, since we need to get ready, but he wanted me to tell you that this is your test. If you really want to join the League, you need to do this for us. When the time comes.”

“And when will the time come?”

Dabi shrugged. “My best bet is in a couple months or so.”

Hawks nodded. “I’ll do it. If that’s what it will take for me to be accepted by him and the League, I won’t hesitate.” Was that convincing enough? He hoped so. Whatever it was, he’d have to do it. He needed more intel on the League to bring to the Commission. He’d told them what he could, but they’d made it clear it wasn’t enough.

Dabi narrowed his eyes. “Whatever you say, hero.” He clearly didn’t believe it. Shit. But what else was new?

“When will you finally trust me, huh?”

He snorted, unimpressed, “I’ll never trust you, birdbrain.”

Hawks pouted and slumped against the hard cushions. “If that’s it, I’ll get going now.”

“That’s it.”

“Okay,” the silence that had settled between them was stiff and awkward.

Hawks didn’t know what to call his relationship with Dabi. They had a working relationship, yes, but somehow it had become more than that. He wouldn’t call them friends, but he could say that sometimes he actually enjoyed Dabi’s company. The first time he realized this was three weeks ago when they began to bicker on some rooftop about the best type of noodle, after they’d debriefed. How they’d even gotten to that topic was beyond him, but he remembered that Dabi loved soba. Ever since that night he’d noticed that more and more often, they’d stay and keep each other company talking about random shit as they sat in dusty abandoned warehouses or on precarious rooftops.

It was all quite strange and it just made Hawks feel so fucking guilty. Was he truly a traitor now that he was on friendly terms with the villain he’d been assigned to spy on?

But in that very moment, he didn’t want to leave just yet. He wanted to stay and talk to Dabi, and make sure he was alright. He was still acting more fidgety than usual; the events of the previous night had obviously affected him.

So instead of getting up to leave, Hawks blurted out, “You hungry? I’m kind of hungry. Up for some soba?” He hesitantly looked over at Dabi, whose expression was one of utter confusion.

“Uh - I guess I could eat. There’s a place around the block that’s open 24 hours,” Dabi replied carefully.

Obviously, they couldn’t go and sit down and eat together, but Hawks could pick up the food and fly back. And then he could try and figure out the enigma that was Dabi some more. So, that’s exactly what he did.

He was absolutely fucked.

A few days later, Hawks found himself patrolling with Endeavor. They’d bumped into each other on their own respective patrols and decided to team up. Ever since High-End, the man had changed. Not much, but he was slightly less aggressive nowadays. Hawks was chattering away as always and Endeavor hadn’t even told him to shut up yet. Patrol was fairly quiet after they’d saved a woman and her child from a shapeshifting villain, and they were both headed back to their respective agencies when Hawks found himself examining the number one hero’s face. Something about his expression and… his eyes was strangely familiar, and not because he was so used to seeing the man. That shade of blue wasn’t one he saw often at all, and when he looked up into Endeavor’s eyes, his stomach twisted. They looked an awful lot like -

His train of thought was interrupted by his personal phone ringing. He apologized to Endeavor (who could not care less), and Hawks fished his phone from his pocket and picked up.

“Hello?”

“Hawks! Get your ass to my place right now, I’m having a crisis!” Rumi yelled.

“What the hell? What is it?”

“Just hurry!” She hung up.

Hawks stared at his phone, perplexed, and Endeavor cleared his throat.

“I’m going to head back to the office. You should do the same, but I’m guessing you’re going to see your friend.”

Hawks rolled his eyes. He always had such a stick up his ass. “That was Miruko. It actually could be a crisis, you know.”

A grunt was all he got in reply.

“Whatever. See ya, old man.” Hawks said as he extended his wings and took off to meet Rumi.

He didn’t even bother going to the door, he just flew into his best friend’s apartment; she had left the balcony door wide open for him.

“In here!” Rumi called from her bedroom, having heard him land.

“So, wanna tell me what’s up?” He asked, walking into her room.

Clothes were strewn all over her bed and floor, and she was simply sitting in the midst of the chaos, on top of a pair of jeans on her carpet. She looked up at him, eyes filled with desperation.

“No. No! Not again Rumi! You need to learn how to pick out outfits on your own, I swear to God.”

“Yeah, I mean you’re right... but why should I bother if I have you to help me out, hmm?” She smiled brightly as he shook his head and strolled over to her, knowing she’d won once again.

“So what’s the occasion this time? Hot date?”

She was silent, but a grin twitched at her lips.

“Wait, are you serious?”

“Dead serious, my dude. Now do you see why I really need your help this time?”

“Yeah. I actually do.”

Now, Hawks considered himself to be quite fashionable. Rumi on the other hand, was the opposite. She practically lived in jeans and a sweatshirt when she was out of her costume. A simple, boring, grey sweatshirt. However, she also had a problem: she bought way too many damn clothes. Clothes that she barely ever wore, that she bought solely because she loved pretty things. She had no clue how to pair them all together, and always relied on Hawks to be her personal stylist. He pretended not to like it, but it was nice to just do something completely normal sometimes. He usually felt like anything but a 22 year old, and it was nice to have fun with his best friend like this.

“So, who’s the lucky girl?” He asked as he began rummaging through the mess of clothes.

“Actually, you know her. Remember Fuyumi?”

“Fuyumi? As in Todoroki Fuyumi?” Hawks was more than a little surprised.

Rumi blushed. “Yeah, ever since we met at the hospital, we just kept randomly bumping into each other. She actually lives pretty close by! Anyway, we decided to exchange numbers, and then she messaged me last night that she’d like to go out to dinner. And I had the night off tonight so I said yes! Also she’s really cute, and I like her a lot, so I asked if it was a date, and she said it was and - " She took a breath. "I’m kind of freaking out. Just a bit.”

That’s right. He had met Fuyumi at the hospital for the first time as well. They’d all been there to check up on Endeavor after the fight.

Hawks smiled softly. “She seems really nice, so try not to freak out too much. I’m sure everything will turn out just fine.” Hawks pulled out a silky red top. “Aha!” He chucked it at her.

”I hope you’re right,” Rumi blushed slightly and looked down at the top. “Ooh! I like. With what bottoms?”

He tossed her a pair of skin tight black jeans. “Throw on your biker jacket as a weather appropriate finishing touch, and Fuyumi will have a heart attack as soon as she sees you.”

Rumi smacked him lightly on the head as he plopped down next to her on the floor, and he cackled.

“What! Just stating the truth!”

She shook her head and smiled at him fondly. “I love you, y’know. You’re the best.”

“That is also the truth.”

She smacked him again and they both burst into laughter.

 


 

The next day was a Monday, and it was the day Hawks was set to give his talk to the hero course first years at UA. He’d decided that the best way for him to interact with them would be to let them ask him questions. He’d told Eraserhead and Vlad King to ask their students to think of appropriate and relevant questions to ask Hawks. He would answer as many as he could within the hour of slotted time he had, and give them as much advice as possible.

In all honesty, he felt a little weird about the whole thing. He wasn’t behaving particularly heroically lately, after all. But he still wanted to help those kids however he could. They’d been through a lot, much more than they should have at their age.

He flew to UA and got there just in the nick of time. Eraserhead escorted him to the room, and before he knew it he was facing 40 wide eyed teenagers, many of them star struck. For a second he wondered why, but then he remembered he was, in fact, the number two hero.

“Alright, brats. I expect you all to be on your best behaviour. Hawks didn’t have to take time out of his busy schedule to come here today.” Eraserhead said. He’d already taken his seat next to Vlad King at the very back of the classroom. “Hawks, whenever you’re ready.”

Hawks grinned and bowed, greeting the class. “Thank you all for having me! I’m very excited to be here. I’m sure you guys have a lot of questions, and I just wanted to say I’m open to answering anything as long as it’s relevant to hero work. Shoot!”

Once the kids’ hands were all raised, he sat down on the desk at the front of the room and pointed to a kid in the second row. He had green curly hair and looked very eager.

“What do you think helped you the most to advance in the rankings so quickly? You’re still really young, so you must have worked really hard! Oh! How exactly does your quirk work, Mr. Hawks? I’ve seen it in action a few times and the strength of your individual feathers is incredible! Do you know what the limit is, and -“ Hawks was at a loss for words. Boy could this kid ramble. Luckily, the brown haired girl sitting next to him poked him in the arm and raised her eyebrows as if to say “ you need to chill!” and once the boy realized he’d been rambling, his face turned beet red and he quickly apologized. A blond boy with an angry looking face in the back row snorted loudly.

“It’s okay! What’s your name?”

“M-Midoriya Izuku,” The boy stuttered.

“Well, to answer your questions Midoriya …”

After that, the q&a session went quite smoothly, until someone asked him: “Which hero do you admire the most and why?” He answered Endeavor with no hesitation.

“I’ve always looked up to him, ever since I was a kid. I just thought he was the coolest, strongest person. He’s someone who never gives up, and I really admire that about him. Not to mention, he’s an incredible fighter,” He continued speaking about his reasons for admiring Endeavor so much, surveying the room as he spoke. He noticed a subtle shift in demeanour from a few of the kids. The green haired boy, the blond boy in the back and the boy sitting next to green hair - Oh. That was Todoroki Shouto. His expression was pinched, and his posture stiff. The green haired boy - Midoriya, he remembered - kept glancing nervously at him, twitching in his seat. Maybe Shouto was thinking about how much of a close call it had been, when his father fought High-End? Hawks made a mental note to check on Shouto after the Q&A was finished.

Twenty minutes later, they wrapped it up. He felt like he had given the kids some useful advice, and they all seemed happy. They clapped for him an thanked him and since it was the end of the school day, some of the more outgoing ones asked him to stay and talk more casually. He saw Eraserhead shake his head in his peripheral vision. He apologized to the kids; a pink skinned girl and a boy with yellow hair, and said he had to get back to work. It was then that he saw Shouto slip from the noisy classrooms. Now would be a good time to check on the kid.

He said his final goodbyes to the teens, shook hands with the teachers, and made his way into the hallway. Shouto was leaning against the wall near a large window looking out onto the sprawling grounds of UA. He looked upset.

“Hey, Todoroki.”

Shouto whirled his head towards Hawks and frowned.

“... Yes?” It didn’t seem like he wanted to talk, but Hawks had to make sure he was alright.

“Are you okay?” Hawks walked to stand closer to him.

“I’m fine.”

“You sure? I noticed you were getting pretty uncomfortable in there. Did I say anything to make you upset?”

Shouto’s eyes drifted to the linoleum floor and stayed there. “No, I’m fine.” His hands were curled into tight fists at his sides, so tight his knuckles were white. He most definitely wasn’t fine, but they weren’t familiar enough with each other for Hawks to pry even more. So, Hawks said goodbye and left with a sinking feeling in his gut. Something was not right. The kid had looked seconds away from a panic attack.

As he walked down the hall he heard someone else leave the classroom and call Shouto’s name. It sounded like Midoriya. Hawks was relieved that now he had a friend with him, but still. He knew the reason for Shouto’s behaviour was because he’d talked about Endeavor.

He’d always found it kind of strange that Endeavor didn’t talk much about his family, but he’d chalked it up to the fact that he just didn’t really talk about anything much. And it definitely wasn’t normal for a son to react that way when someone expressed admiration for their parent.

The entire flight to his office his gut was screaming not right! not right! not right!

And if there was one thing Hawks trusted, it was his gut.

The weeks went by, and winter had finally settled in Japan. He’d gone for a fly during the first snowfall, as he did every year. Even though it was cold, he’d always quite liked winter. Some of his favourite childhood memories were of playing in the snow with the neighbourhood kids (before he’d been sold to the Commission) and watching New Year’s fireworks from the roof of his apartment.

He’d been working a lot, and spending time with Rumi. Sometimes, when they all had free time, he’d get together with her and Fuyumi. They’d only been dating for about a month, but he’d never seen a couple so clearly enamoured with each other. It was sappy as hell, but he was happy for his best friend. Fuyumi really was a lovely person, too. He didn’t even mind the fact that she straight up admitted to him that she hadn’t liked him at first, based on his persona. She apologized sheepishly one night as they all ate dinner together. She was also absolutely nothing like her father. She was one of the gentlest people he’d ever met, but he’d noticed that there was something fierce inside there as well. She had a quiet strength that spoke volumes. But the more he got to know her, the more he also saw this settled sadness in her eyes. She looked a lot like her brother, Shouto, and he’d seen that very same look in his eyes that day at UA.

He’d also seen that very same expression flit across a certain villain’s face from time to time. It made his stomach clench every time he thought about it.

Speaking of Dabi, there was no way Hawks could keep lying to himself at this point. They were definitely friends, and as much as Hawks tried not to think about it, he had really begun to care for him. They met up outside of League business pretty often just to hang out, and the scary thing was, it didn’t even feel all that weird. Well, aside from the guilt that weighed heavily on Hawks’ shoulders. Over the past few weeks they’d even begun texting each other somewhat frequently (on their burner phones of course) and Hawks could feel himself slipping more and more. Dabi was a bastard, but he could also be surprisingly charming and earnest sometimes, in a gruff sort of way. Hawks didn’t think he showed that side of himself to many people, if any at all, and it made Hawks feel a little special. Still, everyday he asked himself: how the hell did I get here?

Thursday night after a horrifically long and exhausting day of hero work, Hawks was finally flying home. There’d been a huge fight at a mall in the city center; several villains had appeared in a department store and proceeded to wreak havoc. Even though there had been plenty of heroes, including himself, that had made it to the scene as fast as they could, there had still been two casualties: a young mother and her three year old son. Every single hero that had been there had the same morose expression during the debriefing after the villains had been apprehended. He needed a drink. Hawks tended to take any casualty that he could have prevented as a personal failure, his mind whispered that if he'd been stronger, better, faster, maybe they would still be alive. His nerves were frayed and his whole body was aching. All he wanted to do was sleep for 10 hours straight and start fresh the next day.

He opened his balcony door and walked inside his apartment. He immediately registered a presence. He removed a few feathers, ready for a fight, and he walked carefully into the living room.

As soon as he stepped into the room he scoffed and sent a feather to smack Dabi in the arm.

“You fucking scared me, asshole!”

Dabi was sprawled casually on Hawks’ couch, nursing a beer and blinking innocently up at him.

“Mission accomplished, then,” he said with a wide smirk.

“Ha ha,” Hawks rolled his eyes. “What are you doing here? How did you even get in?”

“I have my ways,” Dabi replied cryptically.

Hawks threw his hands in the air as he walked to his bedroom to change into sweats. It looked like it was gonna be a long night, but in a way he was grateful for the distraction. Once he was dressed in his favourite and cosiest sweats, he joined Dabi in the living room. He grabbed a beer from the six pack sitting on the table, noticing that three were already gone.

“Ah, so you came to steal my beer?” Hawks asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Mmm, yes. In fact, I did. It’s way better than the shit I can afford.”

Now that Hawks was paying attention, he could tell that Dabi was pretty drunk. His already bright blue eyes were brighter than he’d ever seen them and his voice was louder than usual.

“I can’t believe you started getting drunk without me,” Hawks said, taking a sip from his can.

“M’not drunk! Just, maybe a little tipsy,”

“Mhm, if you say so,” Hawks snickered. This was going to be entertaining. He’d never seen Dabi drunk before, and had no idea what to expect.

“I do, I do say so…” Dabi trailed off and took another swig.

“But really, how come you’re here? I know it’s not just for my beer.”

“I don’t know. I just wanted to see you, so I came here. I didn’t wanna be alone,” he said, frowning.

Hawks’ heart fluttered and he cleared his throat, suddenly uncomfortable. He felt a blush creep up his neck. He had no idea what to say to that, he just knew that if Dabi remembered this conversation the next day, he’d be so damn embarrassed.

“Well, here I am!” He smiled awkwardly, and Dabi giggled. He giggled. What the fuck was happening right now?

They both drank their beers in silence, and since Hawks was such a lightweight he was feeling pleasantly buzzed after he finished his first can. Dabi on the other hand had moved onto his fourth and was heavily inebriated.

“Hey, you wanna slow down?”

“Nooo, it helps.” Dabi slurred.

That was never a good thing to hear. Hawks was beginning to get alarmed, so he took the beer out of Dabi’s hand before he could take another sip and dashed into the kitchen to get him a glass of water, ignoring Dabi’s grumbled protests.

When he returned to the couch, Dabi had a hand thrown over his face, covering his eyes.

“Here, drink this,” Hawks shook the other man’s arm.

No.” Dabi gasped out. Suddenly his breathing started to stutter, and Hawks began to flounder. Something was really wrong.

Dabi had gone from being a goofy drunk to a panicking drunk and that was a very bad sign.

He set the water on the table and crouched down beside the man, trying his best to remember what to do when someone was having a panic attack. He was 99 percent sure that’s what was happening right now, and he felt his heart sink. One thing Hawks liked when he was distressed was physical sensation, so he reached out and placed his hand on top of Dabi’s.

“Don’t touch me!”

Hawks immediately took his hand away. Fuck. “I’m sorry, I should have asked,”

It was just getting worse and worse.

“Okay, I’m sorry. Shh, it’s alright, Dabi. You’re safe right now, I promise.”

His breathing was only getting worse; he’d begun to hyperventilate, and Hawks was pretty sure he had started crying. There was nothing Hawks could do but keep uttering useless platitudes. He felt so fucking useless.

After fifteen minutes, it seemed to be dying down. Dabi was shaking his head and apologizing over and over, even when Hawks told him not to.

“Fuck. Fuck.” Dabi rubbed his eyes with his palms and took a final shaky breath.

“Can I… Can I touch you, now?” Hawks asked hesitantly.

After a moment, Dabi nodded, avoiding eye contact. Hawks squeezed Dabi’s hand lightly and they sat quietly for a moment. Dabi turned his head towards Hawks and carefully met his eyes. Dabi’s own were bloodshot from crying and still a bit glassy. He had that look on his face. That specific sadness he’d seen on Shouto’s and Fuyumi’s faces. Hawks was completely thrown off center because not only was that look there, but Dabi’s eyes. They were the exact same colour as Endeavor’s and Shouto’s one blue eye. Hawks blood ran cold and he squeezed Dabi’s hand tighter.

(not right, not right, not right!)

“Are you alright now?”

“I think so.” He said quietly. “I’m sorry, I never should’ve come,” he muttered, vowels still loose.

“It’s fine, Dabi, don’t be an idiot. I’m just glad you’re okay. I’ve had my fair share of panic attacks before, but I’ve never been the best at comforting people, as you can probably tell.”

Dabi shook his head. “No, you - you did fine. Thank you.”

Dabi spent the night that night. Hawks was too exhausted to fly him home and Dabi was in no state to try and get home himself, and honestly Hawks wanted to keep an eye on him. Instead of heading to sleep in his bedroom, Hawks grabbed some blankets from the linen cupboard, gave one to Dabi, and then made a little bed of blankets for himself so he could sleep on the floor next to the couch.

Dabi was either too drunk or too exhausted to protest, and they were both asleep in a matter of minutes.

The next morning, when Hawks awoke, Dabi was already gone. He was struck with deja vu as he recalled the night he had patched Dabi up, and Hawks sighed. He stretched out the kinks in his neck and back from sleeping on the floor and checked his phone. It was 10am which meant he was two hours late for work. He groaned and scrambled up to get ready.

Right after he finished brushing his teeth, his phone dinged with a message alert. It was his burner phone, which meant it could only be one person.

asshat: im sorry about last night.

so you remember?

asshat: unfortunately.

then you should also remember that i told you not to apologize

asshat: … sorry

Hawks sighed.

you’re hilarious. i need to get to work, i’ll text you later?

asshat: whatever you want, birdie

 

When Hawks arrived in his office, Rumi was sitting on the small couch in his office. She looked tired and upset, and Hawks was immediately on edge.

“What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

She nodded. “Yeah, I’m alright. I just wanted to talk to you about something that’s been on my mind lately,”

“What is it?” He sat down beside her.

“It’s about Fuyumi,”

“Oh. Oh, shit. Is everything okay with you two?”

Rumi tilted her head in confusion. “Of course, why wouldn’t it be? Oh. No, no. It’s not about us. Just her.” Rumi’s ears twitched. “She’s been worrying me. She hasn’t been sleeping well, and she just seems so despondent? I think something’s going on with her family, or something.” Rumi explained. “Yesterday was the worst I’d seen her. She was irritable the whole day and then last night… Last night when I finally asked her about it, she broke down. She - she was talking about her brother, how he’d been gone for so long… She was crying and crying and I was hugging her but it didn’t stop, not until she fell asleep.”

Hawks frowned deeply. “But Shouto and Natsuo are fine. Didn’t they all see each other last week?”

Rumi nodded. “I said that exact same thing, but then she just started crying harder and said she wasn’t talking about them. She was talking about her older brother. She said ‘it’s been 10 years but I still miss him so much.’ When we woke up today she felt awful about what happened and wouldn’t stop apologizing. She said she never should have said anything.”

Older brother? As far as Hawks knew, there were only three Todoroki siblings. Fuyumi was the eldest, then Natsuo, and then Shouto.

“I know you and Endeavor are somewhat close, so I thought maybe you’d know something about it. Has he ever mentioned a son that passed away or anything?”

“No, he hasn’t.” Hawks muttered, his mind whirling.

“That’s what I thought you’d say.” Rumi sighed. “I figured it was worth a shot, though.”

“Sorry, Rumi. I really wish I could help somehow,”

“You’re helping just by listening,” She smiled softly.

Now, louder than ever, Hawks’ gut began to scream.

 


 

A few nights later, Hawks got a text from Dabi.

asshat: come over?

Hawks hadn’t seen Dabi in person since the night of Dabi’s panic attack, and Hawks couldn’t stop thinking about it. He could see that expression so clearly, he could still hear Dabi’s frantic breaths and gasped apologies.

(She - she was talking about her brother, how he’d been gone for so long… She said ‘it’s been 10 years but I still miss him so much.’)

He wanted to see him again.

hey. i’ll be there as soon as i can. should i bring food?

asshat: sure. u can pick whatever u want

Half an hour later, Hawks was sat cross legged on Dabi’s living room floor. The two of them were sharing a bucket of fried chicken, sat across from each other at his creaky kotatsu. It was ancient and the heater was broken, but Hawks figured Dabi didn’t care much about that. He was his own personal heater after all.

The two of them were talking shit about this terrible new All-Might film. It was just so incredibly cheesy that even any All-Might fan would find it terrible. Dabi thought it was hilarious, solely because Shigaraki absolutely hated it, and would not stop ranting about it during League meetings. Hawks had heard bits and pieces about Shigaraki Tomura through Dabi, and from what he could gather, he was like a petty, angry child with way too much power.

“He’s so fucking stupid,” Dabi was saying. “I don’t know why I put up with him.”

That gave Hawks pause. He swallowed some chicken, and surveyed Dabi. He seemed to be pretty relaxed (well, as relaxed as he could get) and he was in a talkative mood. Hawks really didn’t want to make him clam up, but he desperately wanted to ask him something. Something that had been on his mind for weeks. He knew if he asked it, he’d be crossing a line, but -

Dabi realized that Hawks was staring at him, and he frowned, crossing his arms as if to shield himself.

“What?”

“I was just wondering…” Hawks started, “Why are you in the League, Dabi?”

Dabi immediately closed off. Hawks could practically see the walls come up and surround him.

“Sorry, sorry,” Hawks quickly tried to amend. “I’m just curious. And stupid. I shouldn’t have asked.”

“No, you shouldn’t have.”

Fuck.

Dabi tipped his head back and let it fall onto the couch. He sighed shakily.

“But, I can’t blame you for wanting to know. If our roles were reversed I’d have asked, too.”

Hawks eyed Dabi curiously. What a thing to say.

“Let’s go for a walk,” Dabi said abruptly. “It’s ass o’clock, so don’t worry about anyone seeing us.”

“Uh, sure?” Hawks agreed and stood when Dabi did. They both shrugged on their coats and carefully snuck out from the apartment building. They both knew how to go unseen, it was in the nature of both of their careers after all. Dabi had the foresight to also put a medical mask on. It didn’t do much, but it was better than nothing.

Dabi led them to a nearby beach. It was in complete darkness, and there wasn’t a soul there. They walked in semi-comfortable silence along the sand, the sound of the tide washing over them, before Dabi broke it, offering Hawks a cigarette. He declined, and Dabi shrugged, lighting his with a small flame.

The night sky was clear and the stars were brighter than Hawks had seen in a while, and while it was cold, Dabi emitted enough heat that Hawks was pretty comfortable.

“I didn’t want to be a villain, you know.” Dabi said after he took a drag. “I wasn’t always like this.”

Hawks stared at Dabi in shocked silence. He figured it was best for him to just listen.

“Some shit happened, and then I was on the streets at 14. Looking like this, nobody ever wanted to help me out. Everyone was too scared of me. Eventually I fell into the wrong crowds, I did what I had to do to fucking survive, and then... I dunno. One day I just found myself meeting Kurogiri, then Shigaraki, and agreeing to join up. I needed somewhere to stay, and it seemed like the best way to get what I needed done at the time.” He plopped himself onto the sand and laid down. Hawks sat down next to him, and looked down at Dabi. He looked completely miserable.

“But now I’m not so sure.”

Hawks swallowed. He was sure there was more to the story, but Dabi had just given him much, much more than he’d expected.

“I know… I know I asked, but why exactly are you telling me this much?” He asked quietly.

Dabi hummed thoughtfully. He turned his head and looked up at Hawks.“‘Cause I know you’re not actually a fucking villain, Hawks.” Dabi bit his lip scarred lip. “And… I trust you. As a hero.” Hawks closed his eyes.

He shouldn’t even be surprised, though. He was clearly the wrong person for this job, and he’d caved and become friends with Dabi. He never got close enough to the League, probably because Dabi had seen through him this whole time. If the commission ever found out, his whole career would be destroyed. He’d be stripped of his license, labeled a traitor… he could do jail time. All because his stupid heart was stupidly drawn to the man laying in front of him.

“Was I really that obvious?”

“Kind of. Maybe with someone else you would’ve gotten away with the act, but I’m really good at reading people. And I feel like I know you pretty well now, seeing as we’re friends. Aren’t we?”

“Jesus Christ,” Hawks sighed shakily.

“Relax, birdie. I won’t say anything to the League. I literally couldn’t give less of a fuck at this point.”

He had figured as much, actually. “You really don’t want to be part of this, do you?”

Dabi shrugged and took another drag from his cigarette. “I don’t want to be a part of anything at all, really.” He said bitterly.

Hawks felt his stomach drop, and he impulsively reached out and grabbed Dabi’s hand.

“I can… I can go to the Commission, maybe there’d be a way to get you ou-“

Dabi sat up so fast it gave Hawks whiplash. “No. Stop right fucking there. There is no getting out now, Hawks. I’ve done some bad shit. I’ve killed people. I kidnapped a child. And after all this, I still haven’t accomplished what I need to do, to - to be free from this mess. So don’t even think about finishing that sentence, and don’t think about saving me. I don’t deserve it and you know it!”

“Thats bullshit! Over these past few months I’ve seen who you are, Dabi. And you’re not a villain. You’ve done some bad shit, yes, but you know who else has? Heroes. I may still be one, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think the Hero Society is corrupt. Underground heroes kill villains and are still regarded as heroes, even though they’ve killed. And I know you wouldn’t kill someone without a good fucking reason. I know it. You’re not a cold-blooded killer, regardless of what you want people to think.”

Dabi stared at Hawks and shot to his feet. “Shut the fuck up, and get away from me.”

“What? Dabi - slow down!”

“Go home!”

“Just — stop walking away!”

Dabi whirled around to face Hawks again. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore, okay? I never should have fucking told you anything. Just go home! I’m not gonna spill your secret to the League, and we can just continue on as if we never had this conversation.” And with that, Dabi stalked off into the night.

Hawks had begun to sweat, his heart was beating so hard it hurt, and his gut screamed and screamed.

 


 

The next morning, he was struck with a realization.

If he really wanted to figure out what was going on, he needed to do some investigating and get to the bottom of this mess. His gut had been telling him to do it all along, but he kept shoving it to the back of his mind as much as he could because if what he thought was going on was the truth, he’d be in an even bigger mess than he already was in. There was no way everything was a coincidence, though.

First things first, he called Fuyumi and asked if she wanted to meet up for coffee. She was a little surprised, since they’d never actually hung out together without Rumi there, but she agreed. She got off work at 3, and they agreed to meet at the cafe near Hawks’ and Rumi’s agency, since they were both familiar with it.

Hawks got to the cafe at 3:30 and he took a seat at a table in the back corner. A few minutes later, he spotted Fuyumi right as as she walked and he waved her over.

She was dressed smartly in a grey coat that matched her eyes, and a pair of navy blue trousers. She greeted Hawks with a small smile and a wave and made her way to the table. He’d gone the extra mile and ordered their drinks already (he knew that her favourite was a salted caramel latte because Rumi told him literally everything about her girlfriend) because he wanted to ease Fuyumi into the topic at hand: her older brother.

They made small talk at first while they waited for their drinks to cool down; Fuyumi asked him about hero stuff (she knew quite a lot about it, which wasn’t at all surprising actually) and in return he asked her how her class was doing. Their conversation was so nice and she seemed so cheerful, he felt like an asshole knowing how much what he was about to ask her would upset her. But he had to do it.

“Fuyumi, I actually wanted to meet you here today because there’s something important I need to talk to you about. And I really, really, hate to ask this, but I don’t know who else to go to.” She set her mug down and frowned.

“What is it, Hawks?”

He lowered his voice to a whisper. “What happened to your older brother?”

Fuyumi gaped at him. “H-how did you? Why are you asking me this?” She stuttered out.

“I want to help,” Hawks said earnestly. “Really, I just want to help.”

Fuyumi pursed her lips and stared down at the table. She was silent for so long that Hawks thought she really might not say anything at all.

“I don’t know, Hawks. Nobody outside of the family knows about what really happened…” She wrung her hands together nervously. “But, I’m guessing Rumi told you about what’s been going on with me?”

Hawks grimaced. “Yeah. She trusts me more than anyone on the planet, and she came to me for help. She was really worried, Fuyumi.”

Fuyumi sighed. “I know, she’s been fussing over me for the past few weeks. It’s sweet, really.” She sighed again. “Don’t worry, Hawks. I’m not going to get mad at her for telling you about my brother. If she trusts you, so do I. And if you really want to help, I’ll tell you what I can. It’s just… It’s a really sore spot for me. And you can’t go repeating this to anyone.”

Hawks nodded. “Thank you so much, Fuyumi.”

“So, what exactly would you like to know?”

“Whatever you can tell me,”

Fuyumi clasped her hands together and set them on the table. “Well, to put everything in context…” She shook her head. “It’s actually kind of a long story. Do you have time?”

“Yes, I really do want to know as much as you can possibly tell me.”

“Perhaps we should go somewhere more private. Would your office be alright?”

“Yeah, of course!”

The walk to the agency took all of two minutes, and soon enough they were seated in the couch in his office. Fuyumi was cradling her paper latte cup in her hands.

She began, quietly and carefully. “Hawks, what I’m about to tell you really isn’t public knowledge and the only reason I’m saying anything at all is because I think you have a valid reason to know. So I ask that you please keep this between us, okay?”

Hawks frowned, already feeling incredibly unsettled. “Okay,”

Fuyumi nodded and hesitantly began to explain. “Well, my father… He’s a complicated man. An ambitious man. And he… he always sought power, in every aspect of his life. My father... he married my mother solely because of her quirk, you see. He wanted to have a child who had a combination quirk of fire and ice.”

Fuck. A Quirk Marriage? That was beyond taboo, that was illegal now.

She cleared her throat. “The first attempt, my older brother, wasn’t what father wanted. He only had a fire quirk. So he tried again, and then I was born. I presented my quirk when I was two and I froze my bath water. Just an ice quirk, therefore a failure.” She began to shift uncomfortably. “And he kept trying. Natsuo was next, with only an ice quirk. But then, a few years after Natsuo, Shouto was born, and everything changed. Shouto presented his quirk very early. I think he was about one and a half, and father was so pleased, he finally had the ‘perfect creation’.”

Hawks was absolutely horrified. His entire worldview was crumbling apart before him as he listened to Fuyumi.

“Even before Shouto was born, father barely gave us the time of day. We were raised by our mother, and cowered in fear from our father whenever he was around. He just shouted and shouted… all the time. Touya got the worst of it. Even though we were all failures in father’s eyes, Touya had the strongest quirk which meant intense training starting at the age of four. Before Shouto, Touya was always had burns and bruises after training sessions with father. I remember, he would cry in mom’s arms asking her to make father stop.” Fuyumi’s voice began to tremble. “T-Touya was always a good older brother. He looked out for Natsuo and I, and made sure we had smiles on our faces. Anytime father would berate one of us, he’d be there with a hug afterwards, even though we were the ones who should have been hugging him.”

“When Shouto presented, father moved Touya, Natsuo and I to a different wing of the house. We were forbidden to spend time with Shouto, so as to not interfere with his development. Of course, we all found ways around that. We were lucky father was working a lot of the time, too. Mom made sure we could all be together without father, like a real family, as much as possible. Touya doted on Shouto a lot. We all did. But Touya did the most. I think he had the biggest heart out of all of us.”

Fuyumi took a break to sip on her drink and take a few breaths. It was clearly taking a toll on her, talking about all of this.

“Anyways, things only got worse as we got older. When Shouto was four and ready for training, Touya tried so hard to reason with father, but it was useless. The more he begged, the angrier father got. It was around this time that my mother started falling apart, too. Father… had never been kind to mom. And she had never wanted to marry him in the first place. The only reason she stayed with him was for us. But then mom broke and father stuck her in a hospital. After that, Touya and I always used to talk about running away from home with Shouto and Natsuo and starting a new life in a house by the sea.” Fuyumi smiled slightly. “Touya was the bravest person I knew. He had the strength to keep challenging father, no matter how many beatings it caused. No matter how many burns and bruises. He wanted to keep us all safe… then one day… ” Fuyumi breathed shakily.

“Something bad happened. It was right after school let out for winter break. Father had time off work, which meant more training for Shouto, who was five at the time. I was living in the main wing again since mother was gone, but the others snuck in to see Shouto and I every day. We all took turns patching him up and cleaning the vomit from his clothes after training. We tried to comfort him as much as we could. It was so hard seeing our baby brother like that, and Shouto was so fragile. He cried every night, wondering why father hated him so much. Eventually, Touya snapped. He barged in on a training session and confronted father. Natsuo and I watched the whole thing from a cracked open door. Touya threatened to go to the police, and told father that he had enough evidence of his abuse to have him locked away for years. Father just… he just laughed in Touya’s face. Said nobody would believe him, because he was the number two hero. Shouto was sobbing on the floor. I can’t remember what Touya said to set of my father so badly, but suddenly father had thrown Touya to the ground and… and he was, he was kicking him, and screaming at him to fight back. Touya’s quirk was strong, but it was too strong for his body. His skin was more suited for an ice quirk, you see, and he had to be very careful when using his quirk, so he wouldn’t accidentally burn himself.” Her eyes were welling with tears, but she pressed on.

“B-but Touya… Touya was too brave for his own good. He was stupid and reckless and he decided to use his quirk. It seemed to be going alright at first, and he and father began to both fight with their quirks but Touya’s flames were too tame for father’s Hellfire, and father wouldn't stop taunting him and Touya... he pushed himself too hard.” Fuyumi’s lip was trembling as he held back her tears. “Then all I saw was flames. Blue flames, all over his body. And all I heard were his screams mixed with Shouto’s sobs and Natsuo’s crying and… it’s all a blur after that. I might have passed out from the shock, I don’t know. All I know is that that was the last time I ever saw Touya. Natsuo and I tiptoed around the house in silence. It was so cold. I think I asked father where Touya was, a week after the incident, and he grabbed me firmly by the shoulders and told me to ‘never say that name again’.” Fuyumi couldn’t hold back her tears any longer. Hawks grabbed the box of tissues from his desk and she gratefully accepted one. She quickly slipped off her glasses to wipe her eyes.

She sniffled. “I told you it was a long story.”

Hawks thought he might be in shock. He genuinely felt sick to stomach, he felt… he felt betrayed, he felt lied to, but most of all he felt like he would do anything to help the Todoroki siblings.

“God, Fuyumi, I - I’m so sorry. I don’t even know what to say.” He whispered.

“Don’t apologize. It’s just the way things were,” She said quietly. “This time of year is always really hard for me. The memories seem more vivid, and I dream about him. I think he’s still out there, I really do. I think if he was… if he was dead, I’d be able to sense it. That probably sounds stupid.” She tucked a strand of white hair behind her ear and put her glasses back on.

“Hawks, you must have heard something or, or seen something, otherwise you wouldn’t have asked about this. So tell me, do you have some sort of lead?” Her eyes were full of hope.

“I… I think so,” He confirmed uneasily.

Fuyumi very visibly perked up. “Please keep me updated, Hawks. I want to know everything. Please,”

“Of course. I wouldn’t have thought to do anything else. Fuyumi, thank you. You’ve really helped me today,”

She nodded. “Um, is Rumi here? Or is she patrolling right now?”

He checked the time. “She should be here. She’ll be getting out of a meeting in five minutes.”

“Ah, thank you. I think I’ll go wait in her office, then.”

Hawks nodded and walked her to the door of his office.

She turned to him right before she left and looked him dead in the eyes. “Hawks… Remember what I said. Please don’t tell anybody. My father… he’s very powerful. There’s nothing we can do. Plus, things aren’t so bad now that we all live away from home. I think we’re beginning to heal,” She smiled sadly.

He knew he had promised not to say anything before she’d proceeded to tell him that Endeavor was an abusive piece of shit, but... now he desperately wanted justice for the family. For now though, he simply nodded.

“You can trust me, Fuyumi. I won’t say anything,”

Hawks was still shaken as the afternoon wound down into the evening. He’d patrolled in a daze, his mind a whirling mess as he processed everything he’d been told.

Part of him still didn’t want to believe that his idol, his hero could be capable of such atrocities but he knew there was no way Fuyumi had been lying. Absolutely no way.

And now… So much made sense. Where all the puzzle pieces fit was coming into focus.

At 10 pm when he got home, he set to work. He had one more thing to do.

There wasn’t much information on the web about the Todoroki family. In fact, the information available was a little too sparse for such a famous family. There was no mention of a fourth child anywhere he looked. Endeavor had been thorough at covering it up. Luckily, he had other resources that the rest of the population wasn’t privy to. The Hero Database was a huge online source that only pros could access. It was heavily encoded due to the sheer amount of sensitive information stored there, and it was exactly what he needed right now. For some reason, he just needed to see, to read some concrete proof.

Once he’d accessed the database he typed in ‘Todoroki’ and clicked the family file.

On the surface, everything seemed fine, besides the note of Rei’s hospitalization. But when he scrolled to the very bottom, there was a subsection that read ‘Top Secret’. Only the highest ranked heroes could access top secret files, and luckily he was number 2.

He clicked it, and there it was.

It was Touya Todoroki’s birth certificate, and medical history. There were even some photos. Touya at 14 had shaggy red hair and bright blue eyes, his face was soft with a bit of baby fat still, and his eyes were somber. He looked too fucking familiar, and Hawks’ stomach began to churn. Bleary eyed, Hawks scoured the medical history, searching for some indication of the incident. And when he finally found it, his blood ran cold.

‘Third degree burns on over half of his body… Healing quirk used … Skin grafts… hospitalized for six months… escaped ... hospital staff instructed not to search… most likely deceased…’

He had been missing for ten years and presumed dead, but one of those things was untrue. Touya was most definitely alive, and Hawks knew it with every fiber of his being.

It all made sense. Now that he knew everything, it all clicked as an undeniable fact. It was right there all along.

Dabi was Touya Todoroki. He hated Endeavor because Endeavor was his father, a father who had tormented his family for years. A father who was the cause of his disfigurement. He became a villain for the sole purpose of getting revenge, of killing Endeavor.

The fire quirk. The eyes. That melancholic look that he’d seen on the face of every Todoroki sibling he’d met…

Dabi was Touya, and Hawks was spiraling.

 


 

The next day was the coldest winter day Japan had seen in years. It was crisp, cold and clear, and everyone was bundled up in their warmest coats. The early morning glow was still fresh and the sun hadn’t begun to warm the city streets yet. Although it was miserably cold, people were in good spirits since it was so close to New Years.

Normally, he would never consider going over to Dabi’s place in daylight, but this was an emergency. As soon as he’d woken up, he’d gotten dressed and left his apartment. He’d dreamt of fire last night, fire and scars and crying, and had gotten three hours of sleep in total. He was so emotionally drained and physically exhausted that his flying was shaky, but he pushed on.

“Dabi! It’s me, open up!” Hawks banged on the man’s window. He hoped he was awake. Well, if he wasn’t, Hawks was sure he would be when he heard the racket Hawks was making. Sure enough, a few moments later, Hawks spotted him walking towards the window.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing, you idiot? It’s barely 7 am!” Dabi hissed, roughly pulling Hawks through the now open window and into the apartment. It looked so different in the daylight.

“I know. Trust me, nobody saw.”

“Okay and what about heard?”

Hawks shrugged, he really didn’t care about that right now.

“It was too important to wait,”

Dabi finished closing the window and shutting the blinds as much as they would. He stood across from Hawks, looking apprehensive and a little annoyed. It dawned on Hawks that Dabi was probably still upset about the other night. Hawks didn’t think apologizing now would make him less mad, considering what he was there to talk about. Hawks took a few deep breaths, and then he dropped the bomb.

“Touya,” He began. Dabi’s eyes widened so much Hawks thought they might pop out.

“What the fuck did you just say?” He whispered, voice cold as ice.

“I know, Dabi. I know.” Hawks’ voice trembled.

In the next second, Dabi had Hawks pushed against the living room wall, and was grabbing him tightly by the front of his jacket. Hawks winced as his wings began to sting from the force of being shoved into a wall.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about. You - you can’t!” Dabi’s breaths had started to stutter.

“I’m sorry,” Hawks whispered. “I really am.”

He knew Dabi was spiraling into a panic attack. His grip on Hawks’ jacket loosened and he backed away shaking his head frantically.

“Don’t say that, Hawks. Just don’t.” Dabi said shakily. He was pacing now, trying to calm down. “I need a fucking drink. How did you find out? Was I really that obvious?” He said, throwing Hawks’ words from the other night back at him in a strange sort of joke.

”I knew something wasn’t right. I… I had a gut feeling, but there was nothing for me to base that feeling on really, I just knew something was wrong. When I learned that there was a fourth Todoroki sibling that had mysteriously vanished into thin air, I - I spoke to Fuyumi. Your sister.”

Dabi kept on shaking his head, his breathing growing shallower and shallower. Hawks approached him carefully.

“Dabi, she deserves to know her brother is alive. All of them do.”

“No. No, if they found out this is who I am now, they’d wish I stayed dead.” Dabi gritted out.

He’d begun to cry. Hawks thought he might start, too.

“You’re wrong. You’re so, so wrong. They would never wish you were dead, Dabi. Never in a million years.”

Hawks made a split second decision. He might regret it, but he felt like he needed to do it.

He grabbed Dabi’s hand and squeezed it tight. “Can I hug you?” He asked softly.

First, Dabi shook his head, and Hawks began to move away, but then he started nodding.

Hawks hugged him tightly, and Dabi rested his head on the crown of Hawks’ head, before grabbing the front of Hawks’ jacket again. He was trying so hard to stop crying, but it was useless, and Hawks encircled his wings around the both of them.

“It’s going to be okay, I promise,” Hawks whispered into Dabi’s shoulder. “I promise, we’ll figure this out,”

Outside, snow began to fall.