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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.

Chapter Text

(“Get up off the floor and fight me like a man, you useless piece of shit! You’re weak!” Endeavor was screaming so loudly, spit was flying out of his mouth. Some of it hit Touya in the face.

Touya could hear Shouto’s wailing “Daddy stop!! sto - stop!! Where’s mommy, I want mommy!!!” He wanted to scoop him up into his arms and run.

“Are you just going to lie there? Pathetic. You’re nothing.” Another kick. Then another, and another, and Touya just wanted to die. He couldn’t take it anymore. Father was right, he was nothing. He wanted to be nothing, he wanted to die, die, die, DIE)

Dabi woke, shaking and gasping for air. His entire body was sticky with sweat, and he felt like he was burning. He had nightmares a lot, but these ones in particular were always much worse this time of year. The flashbacks to the worst day of his life. His breathing slowly evened out as he took in the familiar space of his bedroom.

The sun hadn’t yet risen, but Dabi knew he wouldn’t be getting any more sleep. He didn’t want to move, he didn’t want to do anything. He just wanted to stay in bed. So, that’s what he did.

It had been a week since Hawks had confessed that he knew Dabi’s true identity, and ever since then, Dabi had been floating through the days in a haze. Everything was just too much.

Hawks was there, a lot of the time, fussing over him like a mother hen. Dabi didn’t mind it, really. He didn’t understand it, but he wasn’t going to tell Hawks to stop. He’d told Hawks to give him a week to think about whether he would agree to tell his siblings, and now his time was up. It had taken time for him to accept the fact. He had to tell them. They deserved to know. He used to try so fucking hard not to think about his family. He tried to act like he was a whole new person, but he wasn’t. He was still Touya, only now he was irreversibly broken.

Unrecognizable.

His mind drifted as he laid curled up in his ratty blankets. He knew Hawks was going to come and check on him at around lunchtime, so he was planning on getting up then.

Sometimes this thing happened where his mind just floated away. He knew he existed, distantly, but it was like his mind sort of… detached from his body. Sometimes he didn’t quite know who he was, and sometimes he lost anywhere from minutes to hours in that state. He could feel himself slipping, now, but he didn’t do anything to stop it. He preferred it to having to deal with his fucking thoughts…

“ - hey, are you listening? Dabi, Dabi, snap out of it.”

What the fuck?

“Hawks?”

“Yes, you ass. I’ve been trying to get you out of your fugue state for the past ten minutes. It’s almost 1 pm, you really shouldn’t still be in bed.”

Oh.

Dabi groaned and gingerly got out bed.

“Happy?”

“Very. Oh! I brought food. It’s in the kitchen. Well, if you can call that a kitchen.” Hawks said cheekily. He really could be an asshole sometimes. It had taken Dabi by surprise at first.

Dabi followed Hawks into the kitchenette. Hawks had brought chicken and coffee. Of course.

“This is so... you.” Dabi said.

Hawks just laughed.

Dabi took his cup of coffee, removed the lid, and poured some whiskey into it. Hawks stared at him with a look of disappointment.

“That’s so you. And in the worst possible way.” Dabi just rolled his eyes. He could tell that Hawks was concerned about his drinking habits, just like how Hawks was concerned about every little thing Dabi did for some godforsaken reason. But alcohol helped, in more ways than one. It helped keep the chronic aches and pains at bay, and it also made his thoughts just a bit quieter. Except for when he had too much (which tended to happen if he was feeling like complete and utter shit). That was when it made his thoughts even louder. It wasn’t a good enough reason for him to stop drinking, though.

They ate in comfortable silence on the floor of the living room, until Hawks finally asked him what Dabi knew he’d wanted to ask him as soon as Dabi had been capable of conversation.

“So, have you decided to tell them?” Hawks looked like he was ready to plead in case Dabi said no.

“Yeah. You’re right. They deserve to know,”

Hawks sagged in relief. “Thank god,”

“Any idea how you wanna do this?” Dabi asked. “Should you tell them first to ease them into the idea? Or should you like, invite them over to your place for dinner, and as soon as they get there I’d open the door and say ‘hey, it’s your long lost brother’ and risk them passing out?”

Hawks looked unimpressed. “Definitely not the second one. We were on the same page for that first option, though. I promised Fuyumi I’d keep her posted, so now that I have your permission I’m going to tell her as soon as I can. Probably today or tomorrow.”

Dabi nodded, and tried not to let his anxiety show.

“I know I’ve said it a million times, but it’s going to be okay.” So much for not giving away how nervous he was. “Your sister is stronger than she looks.”

“I know she’s strong,” Dabi said quietly. “I just don’t want to hurt her even more,”

Hawks had a strange look on his face, like he could see right into his soul. It made Dabi feel like a live wire.

“I’ll let you know how it goes?”

“Thanks,”

 


 

Later that night, Hawks called him. He was lucky, since Dabi was just leaving the League hideout. Shigaraki’s plans were about halfway ready. The big problem was trying to find new recruits. Dabi was supposed to be in charge of that, actually, but he wasn’t interested. He kept lying and saying he couldn’t find anyone, when really he hadn’t even looked. He could tell Shigaraki was starting to get pissed.

“What’s u - “

“Dabi. Um, I’m really sorry about this, but she wants to talk to you.” There was only one person that ‘she’ could be, and Dabi felt his heart rate speed up. He started walking faster.

“You couldn’t have given me more fucking warning?” He said, panicked. “You’re the actual worst sometimes.”

“She’s scarily persistent, okay! Look, she said she just needs to hear your voice to know I’m not full of shit. It’ll be fine - “

Hawks’ voice cut out and it was replaced with a soft but urgent woman’s voice. “Touya? Is that you?”

His breath caught in his throat, and it felt like he was choking. “Yumi? It - it’s me,”

Fuyumi was silent, in shock, then she breathed in shakily. “Oh god, Touya, I - I can’t,” Her voice broke and she began to cry. “I can’t believe it’s really you,”

Dabi held back his tears. “I’m so sorry, Fuyumi,” He choked out. What did you say to someone in this situation? He’d thought about what it might be like, what it might feel like to finally reunite with them. He thought he would be overwhelmed, but he didn’t realize he would be happy. He didn’t know what to do with happy. They both breathed for a few moments, simply soaking in the moment. Dabi was gripping his phone so hard he thought it might break.

“I missed you so much, Touya. So much. you don’t even know,” her voice was watery.

“I missed you too, I…” he trailed off, words completely failing him.

Suddenly, Fuyumi blurted. “When can I see you?”

“Um, whenever you’re ready, I guess.”

“I’m ready.” She sounded determined. He heard Hawks’ voice in the background.

“Hawks just said we should all meet up here, since it’s the safest place. Maybe on Friday? Hawks and I are meeting Natsuo and Shouto tomorrow, that should give them enough time to decide whether they want to see you as well, which I’m sure they will.”

It was Wednesday. That gave him just under two days to mentally prepare himself for seeing his siblings for the first time in ten years. Shouto was who he was most worried about. He probably didn’t even remember him well enough to feel anything towards him other than hatred, after all, he had kidnapped his classmate and attacked his class.

Dabi felt sick. Fuyumi was still speaking, but her voice was getting fuzzy, and Dabi could feel that he was about to float.

“Touya? Are you there?” Fuyumi sounded uncertain, and it snapped Dabi out of it.

Every time she said his name, it felt like she was stabbing him in the chest.

“Could you… could you try not call me that, Fuyumi?”

“Oh. Oh, I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking, um,”

Now he just felt like an ass. “It’s okay.” He sighed and shook his head in frustration. “Look. I - I need to get going, but hopefully I’ll see you Friday,” Dabi quickly hung up and began to walk faster. He was still a twenty minute walk from his apartment, and he needed a fucking drink. Fast.

Dabi woke with a killer hangover the next morning. Well, afternoon. His head was pounding out of his skull and he felt like death. And… Hawks was sitting cross legged on his bed, reading a book. Dabi groaned.

“Again? You’re like a goddamn parasite. Do you know what personal space means?”

Hawks looked thoroughly unimpressed. “Do you know what irresponsible drinking means? Because I really don’t think you do.”

Oh, hell. Not this again.

“Look, Hawks, I really think you’re overreacting.”

“So you’ve said,” Hawks grabbed something from the bedside table and handed it to Dabi. It was a glass of water. Dabi’s stomach did a weird flip, and he took the water with a quiet thanks, and he propped himself against his pillow to sip.

“Do you not remember last night?”

Well. Yes? He remembered coming home, he remembered grabbing the bottle of whiskey and then… huh.

“That’s what I thought.” Hawks sighed. “I came over to check on you, since I knew the thing with Fuyumi was probably… A lot.” He shifted uncomfortably. “You have to know by now that I actually fucking care about you, okay? And it’s hard as hell to care about someone who… who clearly doesn’t care about themselves, and watching them self destruct is not fun. And I’m not saying that to be an asshole, I just mean... It hurt to see you like that.”

Dabi stared down into the glass of water. He wished he could drown himself in it.

“I didn’t ask for you to care about me, Hawks.”

“Yeah, well that doesn’t change the fact that I do.”

“Were you here all night?”

Hawks nodded. “Yup, and I slept on the floor. I’ve got a crick in my neck because of you. I hope you’re happy,”

Hawks used humour a lot when he was feeling vulnerable. It was one of the many things Dabi had noticed about the hero.

“I’m sorry,” Dabi said, fisting his palms until his fingernails dug into his skin. The sting helped ground him.

“Oh my god, you all just love to say that don’t you?” Hawks muttered to himself. Dabi had no clue what he was talking about. “You don’t have to apologize. I just want you to be careful, okay?”

Dabi couldn’t promise Hawks anything right now, so he said nothing. Hawks just looked at him sadly, and let the subject drop.

“I have to leave soon to meet your siblings, but - “

“Wait, what about work?”

“Oh. I didn’t go into the office today since…” Since he’d had to stay and make sure Dabi was okay. What an idiot. “But I’m still on active duty, so if anything happens and they call me to the scene I have to go.”

“You really didn’t have to stay,”

“Yes, I really did.” Hawks’ voice was firm and it rang with finality.

Dabi’s stomach did the thing again. It wasn’t quite like the anxious cramping he was so familiar with, it was more like… butterflies. What the actual fuck was happening to him?

“Anyways! It’s time to face the day, my friend! I could cook breakfast slash lunch if you want,”

“Oh god, please no. I’m never letting you cook for me again,”

Hawks pouted cartoonishly. “It wasn’t that bad was it?”

“No comment.” For some reason, bickering with Hawks made him feel like he wasn’t the disgraced son of the number one hero turned disfigured villain. It made him feel normal. It made him feel good.

He didn’t know why, but for now he was content to not question it.

That night, after Dabi had gotten home from the hideout, he was expecting some sort of update from Hawks, but nothing came. Not even a text.

He got ready for bed, anxiously, uncomfortably aware that he would most likely be seeing his brothers and Fuyumi the next day. And after that… well, after that, he didn’t know. Everything was happening so fast. He’d probably just turn himself in, confess to everything and hope he wouldn’t be in prison for 50 years. There was no way he’d continue with the League, now that he was coming clean to his family. And besides that, he didn’t give a fuck anyway. All he wanted was for so long was for that bastard to get what he deserved, he never wanted to be an actual villain.

Before attempting to get some sleep, he wandered into his living room and stared at his guitar. When his father found out he’d used the family money to get something as frivolous as a guitar, he’d beaten him and thrown it out. He’d bought it for himself on his fourteenth birthday, only about two months before the Incident.

He never thought he’d see it again, but a month after he’d escaped from the hospital he saw a homeless man playing it on a street corner one night. He knew it was his guitar because it still had the stickers Natsuo had decorated it with, and his initials carved into the headstock. In a moment of weakness, he had begged and begged the man for it back, and the man took pity on him and handed it over. It was badly damaged, and some of the strings were missing, but it was his and fuck, he had loved that guitar. He had sat in Fuyumi’s bedroom with her and Natsuo and clumsily strummed soft sweet songs for them when they were all shaken and exhausted, and it had taken his mind off of the horror they experienced every day, living in that house.

He had clutched that guitar like a lifeline for the first few years he was on the streets, and made sure nothing happened to it. When he finally had a roof over his head, one of the first things he did was repair it.

He never played it anymore, he couldn’t bring himself to, but he loved it all the same.

Dabi swallowed, and picked it up, walking to the couch with it. He carefully got in playing position and placed his fingers on the fretboard. He strummed what he thought was a D minor chord, but he couldn’t quite remember if that was correct. It was also dreadfully out of tune. But even so, he continued to strum.

 


birdbrain: hey !!

hey

birdbrain: im so sorry i never called last night :( hero stuff

it’s okay, i figured

birdbrain: so, yesterday went… surprisingly well. they all wanna see you today

birdbrain: i think they’re gonna come over at around noon

noon? doesn’t shouto have school?

birdbrain: nope, he’s still on winter break

oh. well okay. should i come over now, then?

birdbrain: hmm yeah, that’s a good idea. tbh i should probably pick you up and fly you over

Dabi hadn’t flown with Hawks since the night he’d fought those creeps and gotten injured. He still thought about it, a lot. That girl had a look in her eyes that he saw everyday in the mirror. He shook himself from his thoughts and replied.

sure. you better not drop me, birdie

birdbrain: i’m shocked and insulted that you’d even say that

you mean type?

birdbrain: very funny smartass. i’m laughing so hard rn. be there in 10

Dabi smirked and shut his phone off, and stood to put some real clothes on. He had been reading an old English classic, but honestly he was bored out of his mind. He’d always preferred comics to novels, but he’d never tell. He had liked to draw, Before.

His options for clothes were really quite sad, but he thought he’d better try and look presentable, even though clothes obviously weren’t going to help him make a good impression. That was impossible.

In the end, he had on the one pair of black jeans that didn’t have holes in them, a dark green hoodie that he was pretty sure he had found scrounging through a lost and found one time, and his trusty leather jacket. He’d also made sure to clean any blood that was leaking from his staples (which had been irritating since he’d had to look at his reflection for more than a couple seconds) but that was about as much as he could do for his face. He could maybe wear a medical mask, but what did it matter when Shouto already knew what he looked like now?

He took a few deep breaths and walked over to the window to meet Hawks. It was already open, since he was there so often.

“You ready?” Hawks said, two minutes later when he set foot in Dabi’s apartment.

“As I’ll ever be,” Dabi said.

“Okay. So, how d’you wanna do this? Bridal style, trapeze style or hug style?”

“Bridal style was a one time deal,”

“Hug style then? Rumi - Miruko, the number five hero - told me it’s much more comfortable than trapeze.”

Dabi considered. “That’s so much worse than bridal,”

“You don’t wanna hug me?” Hawks whined, playing up his so-called disappointment.

“Absolutely not. I guess I’ll go with bridal,” Dabi sighed.

“Bridal it is,” Hawks smirked.

Once Dabi was in Hawks arms, feeling supremely uncomfortable, they were off. Hawks just casually stepped out of the open window, and Dabi’s stomach felt like he was on a rollercoaster as they dropped for a second. When Hawks began to flap his wings and gather speed, flying was actually quite pleasant. Hawks took them higher and higher until they were above the clouds. The wind was cold as hell up there.

“The higher we go, the safer it is. Can’t risk being seen,” Hawks said, raising his voice to be heard over the rush of the wind. Dabi just nodded, and held on tighter to Hawks’ neck. He’d always secretly wished he’d been born with a different quirk. Fire just never seemed right to him. The first reason being that his quirk legitimately was wrong for his body, and his skin just couldn’t handle the fire. The second reason being that he wanted absolutely nothing to do with his father, and fire was a constant reminder of him. If he could have chosen any quirk in the world, it would have been one that he could use to fly. He daydreamed of flying far away from that house, and up into space.

Now that he was flying with a clear mind, he had to say that still rung true. It was incredible. He felt so… so free.

“Are you… are you smiling right now?” Hawks sounded shocked.

Dabi was ready to deny it, but it was true. He was smiling, with his teeth showing and everything. When was the last time he had smiled like this?

He looked up to Hawks. He was smiling too, big and bright, and in that moment Dabi thought one thing: He looked beautiful.

Dabi’s heart stuttered. Fuck. Oh, fuck.

Did he like Hawks?

No. He couldn’t. He was just aware of the fact that he was incredibly attractive, and funny, and thoughtful, and for some reason consistently put up with Dabi’s shit and…

Shit. He did, didn’t he?

Dabi was jolted from his train of thought when they landed on Hawks’ balcony. He scrambled out of Hawks’ arms so fast that he almost fell. His body burned where Hawks’ hands had been gripping him.

“Are you okay?” Hawks asked with a raised eyebrow, removing his goggles.

“I’m fine,” Dabi said stiffly, walking into the penthouse ahead of Hawks.

Now was the worst time to realize that he liked Hawks as… more than a friend. Just thinking about it made him mentally shudder. The worst part was that this hadn’t been a sudden thing. Yes, he had just realized, but the more he thought about it, the clearer it was that he’d actually felt like this for a while. Probably a few weeks, now.

Somehow, he was already seated on the couch. When had that happened?

“Hey, I know you’re worried but I’ll be here the whole time. You know I’ve got your back.”

“I know,” He said. “What time is it?”

Hawks checked his watch. “It’s ten after eleven. How about we watch something really stupid and try not to think about it?”

There was no way Dabi could stop thinking about either of the problems he was mentally battling. What he really wanted was a cigarette and a drink, but he knew better than to ask Hawks about that, now.

Eventually, the clock struck noon and there was a knock on the door. Dabi stayed out as Hawks went to answer it, and he heard soft voices filter down through the hallway. Fuyumi’s calming lilt he recognized the most.

Dabi’s heart was pounding so fast it felt like he might die, and his stomach was rolling so much he could vomit, but he had to this. There was no going back now, no matter how much he just wanted to be back in bed under his covers.

Footsteps were approaching the living room, and he looked up from where his eyes had been fixed on Hawks’ grey and white carpet.

Fuyumi looked the same as he remembered, just older, and a bit taller. Natsuo was almost unrecognizable except for his hair. and Shouto… well, Dabi had seen Shouto not too long ago.

For a moment, they all just stared at each other. Shouto’s expression was unreadable, but the other two were tearing up. He stood up on shaky legs and began to walk towards them, and Fuyumi met him halfway, immediately engulfing him in an embrace. She pulled back after a moment and lifted a hand to cup his cheek. Dabi flinched when her fingers met his scars. but she didn’t budge. Instead, she gazed into his eyes like they were a lifeline.

“It really is you,” She whispered sadly. “I would know those eyes anywhere,”

“Well, they are his eyes.” He croaked.

“They’re yours too,”

Maybe this wasn’t going to be so terrible after all. Fuyumi stepped backwards and hugged her arms to her stomach.

“We failed you,” she said, bitterly.

Natsuo had been uncharacteristically silent until then.

“Yumi we were kids and mom was gone, and then we thought he was dead. There was nothing we could’ve done.”

“We could have tried harder to ask for help! We could have actually run away! We - we - “

“As much as I wish we could’ve done any of those things… It never would have worked,” Natsuo sounded tired.

Finally, Shouto spoke.

“Dabi made his choice. He could have come back, but he didn’t.”

That felt like a stab in the gut.

“Shouto!” Fuyumi exclaimed. “You… you were too young to remember. Father … father wouldn’t have allowed him to ever come home, okay? He - he wanted Touya to stay dead.”

“She’s right, Shou. It would have been too dangerous.” Natsuo agreed.

Shouto’s mouth twisted into a deep frown. “Bakugou was traumatized, you know.” Dabi grimaced. He had been waiting for this.

“My boy - my friend almost died that night, too. You were behind that. You attacked my whole class.”

Technically, he wasn’t. And he had actually really tried not to hurt any of the kids that night. But, he bit his tongue.

“But I still… I still remember that you took care of me, back then. And that I loved you. You were more like a dad than father ever was, to me, so I could never forget.”

Dabi hadn’t been expecting that. He hadn’t been expecting that at all.

“So, even though I don’t think I can forgive you for what you’ve done as Dabi yet, I’ll … I’ll try and put it aside because I’m glad you’re alive.” Shouto looked like he hadn’t been planning on saying so much, and he looked down at the floor uncomfortably.

“When did you get so emotionally open, huh?” Natsuo asked Shouto.

Shouto shrugged. “I don’t know. Izuku helps,”

Natsuo and Fuyumi both smiled softly at that.

Dabi was reeling. He took a deep breath, and began to say his piece. “I’m… I’m so sorry. I have a lot of regrets but my biggest one is not being strong enough to get you all out of there, mom too. I’m your big brother, I was supposed to look out for you. I should’ve gone through with calling the authorities, no matter the consequences. I’m the one who failed you, it’s not the other way around. It’s not.”

“But, Touya… I mean, D-Dabi. You were a kid too. You did the best you could, and you did look out for us. You put yourself in danger for each of us on more than one occasion. You took b-beatings for us, and you were always there to comfort us. You were the best big brother we could’ve asked for.” Fuyumi said.

Dabi nodded, his eyes beginning to water. He didn’t deserve this, he really didn’t. They should be sneering at him, spitting at him, trying to lock him up.

He felt a cool hand on his shoulder. It was Natsuo’s. His grey eyes were soft, and his expression… it was the same as when they were kids and Natsuo would follow him around like a duckling, admiration in his eyes. “We missed you, brother,”

He couldn’t hold it in anymore. He began to sob, great heaving sobs that wracked through his body. Natsuo wrapped him in his arms, and held him tight, and then Fuyumi came and joined in. Even Shouto placed a hand on Dabi’s back.

Inconceivably, they were all there for him. Unbelievably, they still cared for him, and something in Dabi broke. It was like this heavy weight that he’d had pressing on his chest for years finally exploded and he could breathe again. He hugged Natsuo tighter. He wasn’t going to let go of them again.

 


Once the initial shock of seeing each other again died down a bit, Hawks invited them all to sit around his kotatsu. They had a lot to discuss after all.

Dabi and Hawks were sat on one side, and his siblings on the other. Hawks discreetly squeezed Dabi’s hand under the table.

I’ve got your back.

“We need to tell someone, a Pro. Someone who doesn’t jump to conclusions, someone really level headed.” Hawks said. “I’ll obviously vouch for you, and I’m guessing you all will too, right?”

They all nodded.

“Maybe we could tell Aizawa-sensei?” Shouto suggested.

Dabi raised a skeptical eyebrow. The name rang a bell… Oh. That was Shouto’s teacher, wasn’t it?

“Doesn’t he hate me?”

“Yeah.” Shouto shrugged. “But he’s the most level headed person I’ve ever met.”

Dabi watched as Hawks nodded. “I agree with that, actually. I’m the number two hero, so I already have a lot of authority,” he said awkwardly, “but there’s only so much I can do on my own here, and we’ll need help. The Commission will need to get involved eventually, and a whole case will be opened. Considering the… interesting circumstances, it will probably take a while before they come to a decision on what to do.”

“They’ll need to know everything, won’t they? Everything about father.” Shouto said, eyes downcast.

Dabi’s stomach roiled. He’d already figured as much. If he had any hope of not rotting in prison for the rest of his life, they’d need to tell anyone else who was getting involved the entire story.

Hawks looked apologetic. “Yeah. I know how hard this is going to be, this… this whole process. But I promise I’ll make things right.” He squeezed Dabi’s hand once more, and Dabi squeezed back.

“Um, I haven’t told Rumi everything, but she does know some things, as you know Hawks. She’s been getting more and more worried. I really think I should tell her everything.”

Hawks nodded. “I know. Trust me, I know how she gets. Okay… How about a meeting then?” He suggested. “With a few select people, I’ll set the whole thing up with the heroes I trust the most, tell them it’s extremely sensitive, and we can hash everything out then and there.”

“We could do it at UA. The teachers are the best heroes I know.” Said Shouto. “And since it concerns me…I’m sure they’ll all want to know.”

“Good point. School’s still out, so it’ll be quiet. No risk of any students overhearing or accidentally getting into the meeting, and it’s a secure location. More secure than any agency, that’s for sure. I’ll give Eraserhead a call tomorrow.” Hawks said decidedly. Dabi decided that this side of Hawks was really quite impressive. Although he could appear to be lazy and laid back, he was a more than capable hero.

“What do you all think?” Hawks asked them.

Dabi thought this whole thing was crazy. But he bit his tongue and just shrugged and nodded.

Natsuo and Fuyumi both glanced at each other and seemingly had a conversation with just a few looks. After a moment they voiced their agreement, same with Shouto.

Hawks sighed and ran a hand through his shaggy golden hair, “I’m glad we got that al sorted. Uh, I can give you all some space if you wanna talk or?” Dabi glared at him. He did not want Hawks to leave him alone with them. Their first meeting went better than he’d expected, sure, but that didn’t mean he was comfortable yet.

Hawks got his meaning. It seemed like the others did too.

Natsuo squirmed, it looked like he was preparing to say something. “I’ve been wondering. Would you want to come visit mom with us after all of this is done with? I know you two had … had your issues, but she talks about you all the time, you know? I don’t think she ever knew that anything happened exactly.”

His mother. She had done the best she could, under the circumstances. He didn’t blame her for anything, really. Before she’d been hospitalized, they’d gone through a hard time. It got to the point where she couldn’t stand to look at him. She said it was like she was looking at Enji, and that it made her sick. When she’d told him that, in hysterics, he’d felt sick too. He wished he’d had a different face, different hair.

He did now.

He loved his mother, he really did, and he’d love her no matter what. He loved her so much that he’d cried for days after the incident with Shouto and her subsequent hospitalization. He would give anything to see her again, but… he, he didn’t know when he would be ready.

“I like that you’re assuming after all of this I’d even be allowed into civilization.” He said, instead.

An uncomfortable silence blanketed the room, after that.

Fuyumi looked sad. “I think the heroes will make the right choice. You’re not evil, Dabi. You just… you just made some misguided choices.”

He wanted to laugh. ‘Misguided choices’. As if joining the League of Villains was equivalent to partying all night instead of studying or something. It wouldn’t matter to the heroes that he didn’t want to be a villain. He still was one, and that was that. A little voice in his head whispered you don’t deserve their help. you deserve to rot. you deserve to die.

Dabi let out a shaky breath. He didn’t want to do this anymore. He didn’t want to be here anymore.

“Why don’t we call it a day?” He heard Hawks’ voice. Why did it sound so far away?

“Is he okay?” Fuyumi whispered.

“Yeah. He’ll be fine, eventually,”

“Okay. We’ll get going. Let us know what Shouto’s teacher says?” That was Natsuo.

“Of course,”

He heard feet shuffling, a few goodbyes and then a door closing.

“Hey. Dabi, it’s me. It’s just me, they’re gone. Just breathe, okay?”

He tried to nod but it was more of a twitch.

“Can I touch you?”

He shook his head. The thought of hands on his body made his skin crawl.

“You don’t have to do this, you know,” He managed to get out. “You should just let me turn myself in.”

“No fucking way. Maybe I wouldn’t have cared three months ago, but I do now. I know you. You’re good underneath it all, Dabi.”

Dabi was coming back to himself, slowly.

“Will you stop?”

“Stop what?” Hawks sounded confused.

“Stop! Stop caring about me!” Dabi exclaimed harshly. “I don’t get it. I really don’t. You’re always making sure I’m okay, you’re always… you’re always there for me and - and I don’t understand why!”

Hawks looked so sad, and Dabi realized he didn’t want him to look like that. He didn’t want to be the one to put that expression on his face. If he could, he wanted to make him smile. He had a nice smile.

“Listen to me. I don’t even know when or how it happened, but you’re one of the most important people in my life now. I don’t have a lot of those, so I’m really… I can be a lot. I know it might get annoying, but when I care about someone I look out for them. Rumi always calls me the mom friend. But, the point is, I care about you because now that I’ve gotten to know you, I see what kind of person you are. You’re strong, and caring, and… and yeah, you’re fucked up, but who isn’t?”

Dabi swallowed, taking all of that in. Hawks sounded so certain, Dabi had to believe him, even though he still didn’t fully understand. “You’re… you’re important to me, too,” He muttered. How embarrassing. Emotions were so fucking embarassing.

Hawks smiled softly, and his wings fluttered. He maybe even blushed, but Dabi could’ve just been seeing things. “C’mon. Let’s finish that shitty movie, hm? D’you want popcorn?”

“Yes, but I’ll make it. Don’t want you setting fire to your kitchen,”

“You’re a comedian, truly,” Hawks said, rolling his eyes.

Dabi finally felt a bit more settled. He was still scared. Scared about his feelings for Hawks, and scared about his future, but he thought… he thought, maybe — just maybe — he could be brave too.

 


 

Two days later, it was December 31st. New Year’s Eve. Dabi spent it alone, like he did every year. He got drunk, smoked a whole box of cigarettes, listened to music and said “happy new year” to himself in the most dead voice possible at midnight. Usually he just went to sleep, but the next day was The Day. The day of the meeting at UA. Hawks had told Eraserhead, Miruko, and a few other heroes whose names Dabi didn’t bother to remember (maybe some guy named Mike?) that they needed to have a top secret meeting in the most secure room UA had, and that it was about the Todoroki family.

His siblings would all be there. They’d all need to air out all of their family history. It was not going to be pleasant.

He was twitchy and nervous and (unfortunately) not drunk enough to pass out, but he needed to sleep if he was going to be somewhat functioning the next day. He decided to go to his bedroom to lie down. If he couldn’t fall asleep, so be it.

(It was cold, and dark, and his mouth tasted bitter. He couldn’t see anything, he could only hear his raspy breaths and the faint beeps coming from what had to be machines. He was in the hospital, wasn’t he? Yes. He had been there for what felt like an eternity but was actually three days. His whole body burned. He was alone. He had been for days. His siblings hadn’t come to see him. They probably didn’t know he was there. Actually, they probably thought he was dead.

His father - No. He didn’t want to think about him.

Suddenly, he felt heat. Heat like hellfire, and then the hospital room was alight with it. He began to shake, and his father’s voice boomed from all around. He heard Shouto‘s cries, and Touya screamed. He was burning again.

He was always burning. )

The next day, Hawks met Dabi at his apartment bright and early. Way too early in Dabi’s opinion. They needed to be at UA at 8am, and were to meet Eraserhead at the back gate. Hawks said Dabi would need a sufficient disguise, and he dressed him in a beanie (and tucked all his dark hair into it), dark glasses, a medical mask, and a turtleneck sweater. He looked absolutely ridiculous but - thankfully and surprisingly - completely unrecognizable.

Hawks fussing about his appearance sated his frayed nerves ever so slightly. His presence was steadying, as it often was lately.

Once they landed at UA’s back gate (which was apparently a field), Dabi began to freak out. He was about to be surrounded by a bunch of heroes who needed to hear his whole life story. They were going to decide his fate. Whether he deserved a second chance at life, or deserved to rot.

“I - I don’t know if I can do this,” Dabi stuttered out, voice slightly muffled by the medical mask.

Hawks’ eyes softened. “Hey. You can, I know it. I’m here, and - and your siblings are here for you. I know it’s been freaking insane these past couple weeks, but I’ve said it and I’ll say it again. We’ll get through this. Together, okay?”

“Okay,” He managed to get out. He wanted to hug Hawks. To hold him close and forget about the rest of the world. They could just fly off together and …

Well, he could dream.

Someone behind them cleared their throat, and Dabi and Hawks turned. Eraserhead stood before them in his full costume, mouth hard.

“Hawks.”

“Eraser.”

“Follow me,”

He led them across the field until they got to a specific patch of grass. Eraserhead knelt down and patted around until he found what he was looking for. He then appeared to push a few buttons, and the ground opened before them. Steps leading down into a tunnel appeared, and Eraserhead stood, dusting off his hands.

“Welcome to the tunnels of UA.” He said, monotonously. “They’re for emergencies. It’ll be about a ten minute walk to the main campus from here. I need to pat you down first.” The last part he addressed to Dabi. His stomach dropped. He hated when strangers touched him. When anyone touched him, really, unless he was comfortable with them. And even then, their hands could sometimes remind him of -

“Hey. Did you get that?”

Dabi nodded. Eraserhead began to pat him down and thoroughly search him for weapons. He felt sick and shaky but there was nothing he could do about it.

Once Eraserhead decided Dabi was all clear, they followed him into the tunnel. The whole walk was one of the most awkward experiences of Dabi’s life. He was almost grateful when they finally arrived at the school. Almost.

After a few minutes of walking through the endless halls of a deserted UA, they came to a stop at a huge door. Hawks glanced over at Dabi with a tired but reassuring smile, and Eraserhead opened the door.

Inside was a long conference table. Everyone was already seated. His siblings were sat on one side of the table with one hero who had rabbit ears. Fuyumi and Natsuo looked visibly nervous, but Shouto’s face was unreadable, as Dabi was beginning to suspect was his default expression. Every other pro was sat on the other side.

Hawks had told him that the top four heroes, minus Endeavor, and most of the UA pro-hero staff would be there. All Might was there, looking grim, seated next to a large smartly dressed rat.

The rat spoke. “Good morning. Hawks, you were… vague, yet urgent when you spoke to us about this meeting. I’m quite interested. Shall we get started?” The rat smiled, his beady eyes zeroing in on Dabi’s even through the glasses. He felt a chill run down his spine.

Dabi felt frozen in place, and he knew he should go sit down, but he couldn’t move a muscle. Eraserhead had taken a seat next to a man with extremely tall blonde hair and yellow sunglasses. They were speaking in hushed tones, and the tall haired man had a hand on Eraserhead’s shoulder. Hawks, noticing Dabi’s struggle, softly grabbed his hand and led Dabi to the empty chairs next to his siblings. They they took their seats in silence. All of the pro heroes were on high alert, and while Dabi couldn’t blame them, it made him feel even more nervous.

“So. There is some kind of connection between the Todoroki family and the villain Dabi, correct? Something we must know before we arrest this villain?” The rat continued.

Hawks cleared his throat. “Correct. I apologize that I couldn’t explain in full, I just thought it would be safer and more practical to have a conference instead.”

Dabi let the voices flow over him as he took off his disguise with shaking hands. Hawks’ voice was steady beside him, though there was an undercurrent of nervousness, and the other heroes’ voices were hard and hurried. Dabi would need to speak soon. He was going to have a fucking panic attack. As soon as his medica mask was off, everyone was staring at him. At his scars. He scowled, feeling exposed.

“So. We’re all dying to know: who are you, then?” That was a man wearing an obscene amount of denim. Best Jeanist?

Dabi couldn’t say it. He couldn’t. The silence stretched out and he stared at the glass table, eyes fuzzy, breaths stuttering.

“H-he’s our brother,” Fuyumi’s soft voice rang through the room.

The room was so silent you could hear a pin drop, and then it exploded with shouts.

“So he’s Endeavor’s son? It can’t be!”

“How are we supposed to believe that?”

“He could be lying!”

Fuyumi and Natsuo’s voices mixed in with the rest, telling them to stop. Dabi kept his mouth shut.

“Stop!” That was Shouto, yelling and getting to his feet.

“Please, stop.”

When it was a child telling a room full of adults to stop shouting, that was a bad sign. Thankfully the room quieted down.

“It’s true. He’s my oldest brother.” Shouto said quietly, sitting back down.

“Well, well. Interesting indeed.” The rat said. “I can see the resemblance!”

“Now is not the time for jokes, Nedzu.” Eraserhead sighed from his seat at the table. He had his head in his hands.

“Oh, I’m being completely serious, Aizawa! It’s the eyes.”

The whole room was still stunned but Hawks hesitantly began to speak.

“None of you know this, but a few months ago the Commission tasked me to become a double agent, and spy on the League of Villains for them. If you don’t believe me, you can verify with them. I pretended to be on their side and tried to join the League, but Dabi was the only member Shigaraki allowed me to interact with. Over the weeks of working with Dabi, I just - I felt like something was wrong.” He took a deep breath and continued. “So, I did some digging and… There was a fourth Todoroki child who had presumably died years ago whom the public knew practically nothing about. Touya was his name. And, Dabi? Dabi is Touya. There is no doubt in my mind.” Hawks finished, glancing at Dabi.

“Tell me then.” She sounded so sceptical. Dabi hated this. “Why should we not immediately arrest him? Yes, he’s… allegedly a Todoroki, but he’s still a villain. He just tried to kill his own father if he really is Touya Todoroki. Why are we even having this discussion?” A woman with long dark hair in a skintight catsuit said, frowning.

“That’s a valid question, Midnight.” Hawks sounded tired. “After months of observation and based on direct conversations I’ve had with Dabi, I do not believe he should be imprisoned for the rest of his life. Based on the circumstances, I think he deserves a second chance at life. He deserves to atone for his mistakes, and make amends with his siblings and his mother. He… He should be tried, of course, but I will vouch for him. I kno -“

“You kidnapped my student.” Eraserhead directly confronted Dabi, cutting if Hawks in the process. “You put your own brother in harm's way. You nearly killed your father. Yet, you think you should walk free?” His voice was cold.

Finally, Dabi cracked.

“I don’t. I don’t fucking know why these idiots want to keep me out of prison, but I don’t deserve to be free!” Dabi snarled. “I never thought I’d even fucking survive this long!” He was so close to crying. Fuck.

“I never wanted this. I never wanted to be a villain. I just wanted to see my father burn for what he did to us. Did to me. You all might think he’s a fucking saint! A goddamned amazing hero! But he’s not. He, he - “ He needed to calm the fuck down.

“What? He what?” All Might finally spoke, his voice urgent and concerned.

“He - He hated us. He hurt us, all of us, all the time, and it - it was so horrible in that fucking house and I tried to be a good older brother. I fucking tried!” He didn’t know why he was blurting all of this out. Probably because he was panicking.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. There’s nothing I could say that could make what I did better, I know that. But I would never hurt Shouto. I never wanted to hurt that kid, and I swear I didn’t. I made sure nobody fucking touched him in that shithole bar.” His voice was shaking, his whole body was shaking. “I’m so fucking sorry. Just lock me up, please, please, please - I can’t - “

“Tou - Dabi, stop. Don’t say that!” Fuyumi cried, getting up and rushing toward him. “You’re not thinking straight,”

Dabi shook his head. This was the worst. He was crying, Fuyumi was crying, Hawks looked like he was about to start crying, and the heroes… the heroes looked ashen.

“Is this true?” Eraserhead asked Shouto.

Shouto’s hands were in fists on the table, his knuckles white. He looked like he was going to be sick as he nodded.

“I’m sorry Sensei. I should have told you sooner.”

“Don’t apologize to me. I failed you, Shouto.” He had taken his goggles off and was looking intently at Shouto, guilt in his eyes. “I’m sorry you felt you couldn’t confide in me as your teacher.”

“No, Sensei, I trust you. I just never said anything because I knew nothing would change, anyway.”

“Father… Father is very powerful. He always reminded us of that,” Fuyumi said, still crouched next to Dabi.

“Dabi.” All Might spoke again. “Did he do that to you?” His sunken eyes examined Dabi’s scars.

“I… Technically I did it to myself,” He muttered. “But only because he pushed me too hard.”

All Might looked so frail and so sad. The heroes all glanced around at each other, and seemed to come to a decision.

“We need to know as much as you can tell us. Preferably, now. I swear to you we will try our hardest to make sure Endeavor does not walk away from this with no consequences. Child abuse is a matter we, as teachers and as heroes, take incredibly seriously. Do you understand?” Eraserhead addressed Dabi and his siblings. They all nodded weakly. Dabi knew it was going to come down to this. They all knew.

“As for you, Dabi,” Nedzu spoke up again. He’d been deliberating for a while. “You will need to be put on trial. This is quite a complex and unexpected case, but don’t worry. We will decide what to do with you. The Commission will be alerted as soon as this meeting is finished, and a case will be opened. It will all be top secret. The public cannot know of anything, yet.”

“Where are we going we keep him while he awaits trial?” The woman in the skin tight suit - Midnight, he remembered - asked.

“In a secure location. He’ll need constant surveillance as well.” Eraserhead said.

“He could stay with me? I have a couple safe houses that would be good.” Hawks offered quickly.

Dabi sighed in relief. He was finally beginning to feel a bit more grounded. Things weren’t looking as dire as he thought. They had a plan.

He looked down at Fuyumi’s pinched and worried face and tried to give her a smile to let her know he was okay, and that she could go sit again. It seemed to work as she smiled back and took her seat beside bunny ears again. Bunny ears immediately grabbed Fuyumi’s hand tight and rolled her chair close. Interesting.

“Alright. Dabi, will you cooperate with our questions for the rest of this meeting?” Eraserhead asked.

“Yeah.”

“Fuyumi, Natsuo and Shouto. Will you cooperate as well?”

The three of them nodded.

“Then let’s begin.”

The heroes had a lot of questions for each of them, but mostly Dabi.

It took almost two hours for them to be satisfied, and by the end of the meeting, they knew just about every single thing. He was emotionally drained, and he was sure his siblings were too. Especially Shouto.

They knew about the Quirk marriage, and how their father made their mother have child after child to produce the perfect hero with the perfect quirk to surpass All Might (when All Might had heard that, he looked beyond devastated). They knew about the extreme “training” Dabi and Shouto went through, and the emotional and physical abuse that they had all endured. They knew about their mom, how she’d finally cracked and given Shouto that scar. They knew that Dabi had been homeless and broken and angry for years before he stumbled into the League, hungry for vengeance.

He was sure by the end of it, they knew the kind of monster Endeavor was, and they knew that Dabi did not want to be part of the League.

As the meeting drew to a close, the man with the tall blond hair (who Dabi now knew was Present Mic; Shouto’s English teacher) seemed to remember something.

“Shouto!” He exclaimed. “It’s winter break and the dorms are closed. You had to go back home, didn’t you? You can come stay with Shouta and I for the rest.” He sounded so worried. Dabi was glad that Shouto had men like that in his life to look up to now.

“Ah, Mic-sensei, thank you for the offer, but it’s okay. I’ve been staying with Fuyumi at her apartment. My father thinks I’m at the dorms though…”

Present Mic visibly relaxed. “That’s good. Just know that the offer still stands, if anything ever happens, Shouta and I will be there for you. For any of you.”

Shouto nodded, and he looked so surprised and overwhelmed at that statement. Dabi was, too. These were good people. He hadn’t been around a lot of those for a long, long time.

Hawks had been his first taste in years. It seemed like he couldn’t get enough. He turned to his side to get a look at Hawks. He looked tired, but determined. He caught Dabi staring at him and flashed him a smile.

The finishing comments were made, the details for the next steps were laid out, and then Nedzu announced that the conference was over.

Dabi deflated in his seat and stared up at the ceiling. He would be going to one of Hawks’ safe houses immediately, with Hawks and Miruko escorting him. The rest of the heroes were visiting the Commission to get started on his and his father’s case, and give them all an update. Hawks would join them after. Dabi’s siblings would be allowed to visit him in the safe house if they went in staggered times alone, so as not to arouse suspicion.

Then it was all up in the air. Knowing the heroes though, it wouldn’t take that long for them to come up with a sentence.

Dabi heard a soft deep voice calling his name. It was Hawks.

“Hey. Time to go,” He was up, standing behind Dabi’s chair, a soft smile on his face.

Dabi got up and they began to file out of the room.

“That wasn’t completely terrible, was it? It could’ve gone a lot worse. Plus you’re gonna get to stay with me while they decide what to do with you,” Hawks said quietly as they walked.

“It was terrible. But you’re right, not completely.” Dabi said. “It was really fucking hard, but I - I’m glad we did it.”

“You scared me there for a bit. I’m glad you’re okay, now. You are okay, right?”

Dabi snorted. “I’m okay. Tired as hell, but I’ve definitely been worse.”

Once they were out in the hall, Fuyumi ran towards him, hand in hand with Miruko.

She looked a little nervous. “Um, can I give you a hug?” She asked Dabi. He furrowed his brow but nodded, and she threw her arms around him.

“I need you to know that I love you. I never stopped thinking about you. We’re all gonna be a family again, mom and us.”

He buried his face in her hair. It smelled the same. She must still use the same shampoo.

“I’m gonna visit you as soon as possible. We all will,”

“Okay. Thank you, Yumi.”

“Of course.” She let go and stepped back to where Miruko was standing.

“Alright, need to go take Shouto to see his ‘friend’.” She used finger quotes, then pecked Miruko on the cheek. “Bye guys! I’ll see you all soon,”

Everyone was gone except for some of the teachers and of course, Dabi, Hawks and Miruko.

Miruko and Hawks were conversing quietly to his left, probably discussing logistics.

Hawks then ran off to where Eraserhead and Present Mic we’re standing.

“He’s getting them to lead us back through the tunnels,” Miruko said, noticing Dabi’s confusion. He turned to face her. She was beautiful with a very kind face, and a fiery glint in her eye. He could see why Fuyumi liked her.

“So, you’re dating my sister?”

“Yup. And you’re dating my best friend?” She quirked an eyebrow.

Dabi looked at her like she’d grown a third bunny ear and scowled. “What the fuck? No. Why would you think that?”

“Oh, no reason! My mistake,” Then, Miruko narrowed her eyes. “But you were the reason he looked like shit all the time, and refused to tell me what was going on when he was clearly struggling. I understand why he didn’t say anything now but Dabi, you better be worth it. I trust Hawks’ judgment - and Fuyumi’s - but I definitely don’t trust you yet.”

If he were her, he wouldn’t trust him either.

“I am willing to try, though. For them. They both care about you, and who knows, maybe one day we could even be friends.”

He cocked his head to the side. “Maybe,”

He liked her. Fuyumi had good taste.

“Okay guys, let's get moving!” Hawks called, walking towards them with Eraserhead and Present Mic.

“You and I will fly, and Rumi will drive and meet us at the house. Oh, and you should probably put your disguise back on.”

Dabi tugged his beanie on as the five of them walked through the tunnels. It wasn’t as awkward as it had been before, maybe because there were more people or maybe because some of the air between him and Eraserhead had cleared, now that he knew everything.

Half an hour later, Dabi and Hawks landed on the outskirts of the city. There wasn’t much around but forest, and Dabi figured Hawks’ safehouse was a cabin or something. Hawks led him through a few hundred meters of trees and then they arrived at a decent sized cottage.

They beat Miruko (another perk of flying: no traffic) to the house and Hawks got him settled.

“I could grab some of your things on my way back from the Commission’s office,” Hawks said. “Y’know, essentials and stuff. I have to get my stuff too so.”

They were sat on the floor next to an authentic fireplace waiting for Miruko to arrive.

Dabi hummed in response. “Any idea how long I’ll be your prisoner, here?”

Hawks scrunched up his nose. “Why are you making it sound so kinky? But probably not long. Two or three days maybe?”

Dabi set his pointer finger on fire, like a lighter, and set it on a piece of wood to get the fire going. The cabin was clearly unused, and sparsely decorated. There wasn’t even a kotatsu. In the living room, there was a sad little carpet and the fireplace and that was it. There was no heat either, so Hawks had grabbed some dead tree branches from the forest floor. Dabi would be fine without heat, but he knew Hawks got cold really easily (he complained about it a lot, but he also claimed to like the winter. weirdo.)

“What’re you thinking about?”

Dab grinned to himself. “How you always complain about the cold.”

“I don’t!”

“You do,”

Hawks laid down beside him and spread his wings out. His right wing tickled Dabi’s nose and he flicked it to get Hawks to move.

“I wonder what they’re gonna do with me.” No matter how many times Hawks told him it would be okay, Dabi had a niggling feeling it wouldn’t. A part of him didn’t care what happened to him. He hadn’t really cared about his existence in a long, long time. But now there was also a part of him that wanted to live, to be with his family again. To be with Hawks.

Still. Even though he didn’t want to be thrown in prison to rot, he still thought he deserved it. He probably deserved worse. He didn’t deserve Hawks’ persistent care, didn’t deserve to live freely when he’d done so, so much wrong in his life. His whole entire existence was a fucking curse, wasn’t it? Everyone would be better off with him gone -

“Hey. Stop. I can hear you overthinking.” Hawks whispered firmly. There it was, genuine care. It made Dabi’s heart flutter.

“Can you blame me?”

“Of course not, but it can’t do any good. And if you want the truth, I have no clue. I can only hope they let you off on probation or house arrest with community service or something. That’s the best outcome. And the worst? I don’t wanna think about that.”

The fire crackled in front of them, bathing the room in an orange glow, and Dabi thought of his father. He knew the heroes would do what they could, and that they were building a case against Endeavor, but he knew his father. He knew he would fucking deny it all.

“What about my father?”

Hawks was silent for what felt like ages, and when he spoke, his voice was quiet, and he sounded almost angry.

“You know, I saw him a few days ago. I had to pretend like everything was normal, but it was next to impossible. I - I worshipped the ground he walked on and now just thinking about it makes me feel sick. I swear, we’re - or at least I - am going to do whatever I can to give your family justice. He shouldn’t have the platform and power he has.”

Dabi turned to lay on his side so he could look at the hero. Hawks’ hair looked like a halo all splayed around his head on the floor. He could be an angel.

“Actually, I’ve been thinking. You should go public with your identity. If people find out, his public image and support would plummet. The public would be more likely to believe the abuse allegations.” Hawks’ mouth twisted into a bitter frown. “It’d have to be after we can legitimately prove it. The Commission will want blood testing to be done anyway, so that won’t be a problem.”

He flopped back onto his back with a resigned sigh. “You’re right. I thought about doing it a while ago. I almost did it during the High-End fight but I…” Dabi trailed off. He didn’t exactly know how to explain why he never went through with it. “Hawks, I - I’m just so angry at him, all the time. I wanted to fight him and face him and kill him if I could, even though he’s still fucking stronger than me, and he could have - he could have killed me. I didn’t care about that. That was the only thing keeping me going, the thought of getting revenge. But I don’t want him dead anymore. I want him to suffer for what he’s done to us, and I… I want to see my mom again. I think… I think I want to try and make a life for myself that’s worth living.” He said, closing his eyes and breathing out shakily.

“Your life isn’t unworthy of living now.” Hawks said after a moment. “I hope one day you realize that.”

They were interrupted by a complex knock on the door. Miruko had finally arrived.

Hawks let her in, and said a quick goodbye. He had to go meet the other heroes at the Commission to explain everything. Dabi could tell he was a bit nervous by the way his wings were twitching and how his smile looked forced. Dabi thought of telling him that everything would be alright, but before he could, Hawks had taken off.

“Guess it’s just you and me my dude.” Miruko said once they were back inside the safehouse, flopping onto the floor. “I wish we could play cards or something, but I think we’ll have to try and make conversation.”

“When will he be back?”

“In a few hours. The Commission can be a bunch of assholes, to be honest. They’re stubborn as hell too. So it’s gonna take time.”

Dabi scowled.

Miruko narrowed her eyes. “Hey. I’m not too keen on spending time with you either, but it is what it is.”

“It’s not that, really. I’m just, I don’t know.”

“Worried? Same. So is Fuyumi.”

They slipped into silence after that. A few minutes passed and Dabi asked if he could go find a bedroom, and Miruko let him. She said she wasn’t going to hover, since she knew he wasn’t going to try and escape or anything, and he laid down on the twin sized bed in the first bedroom he walked into.

He didn’t sleep immediately, of course. He just let himself float.

 


 

When he came to, it was dark outside. Unfortunately, he had fallen asleep, and this time he’d dreamt of his mother. He saw her soft, kind eyes growing fearful and crazed, heard her screams and sobs and her yelling at him to get away when all he was going to do was hug her.

He dreamt of seeing her again for the first time in ten years. In the dream, she wouldn’t meet his eyes and refused to speak to him. She said three words to Fuyumi. ”Touya is dead.”

But then, the dream had shifted, and Hawks was there. He and Dabi were in bed together, and the birds were chirping outside the window. It was warm out, he just knew it was, and the sun was bathing Hawks in that warm golden light that made him even more beautiful. They were curled up around each other, and Hawks had a hand on Dabi’s cheek.

”I’m so happy. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy in my life,” He had whispered before kissing Dabi’s lips, chastely.

Dabi felt happy in the dream, too.

“Fuck.” Fuck his stupid brain giving him false fucking hope. As if Hawks could be happy with him. He rubbed his eyes roughly and gingerly got out of the bed. Hawks had to be back by now.

Dabi slumped out of the bedroom and back into the living room, where Hawks and Miruko were chatting quietly on the floor. They were sitting on cushions now.

“Oh, you’re up!” Hawks smiled.

“And you’re back.” Dabi drawled, plopping down beside them. “How did it go?”

Hawks explained that the Commission was being cooperative (but they were absolutely not pleased) and that they wanted to meet Dabi the sometime in the next few days. They had to get some blood work done to see if he was in fact Touya Todoroki. Once that was done, they would question him, get a few more statements, and then they would call him in and tell him the verdict.

“They were so annoyed that I blew my cover.” Hawks sighed. “But the League can wait for a minute.”

The goddamn League. He hadn’t been to a meeting in a few days. It wasn’t like he had to go to every single one; it was really only vital he went if Shigaraki called for him, and luckily he hadn’t. He had a feeling that he would though, and soon. What a mess. Dabi tuned back into the conversation. Miruko was yawning and stretching.

“It’s getting late. I’m gonna head home. Plus, Fuyumi’s been texting me nonstop,”

“I’ll walk you out!”

Dabi didn’t bother to say bye, but he did give her a small wave. It was a start.

When Hawks came back, he handed Dabi the cushion Miruko had been sitting on. Instead of sitting on it himself, Dabi hugged it to his chest and brought his knees up to his chin.

“I brought some food and clothes and stuff. Just enough for a couple of days.”

Dabi watched the man in front of him and thought of that stupid dream. Just looking at his face — his bright eyes and his tired little smile and his fucking dimples — made his stomach twist into knots. He was everything Dabi never knew he wanted, and he wanted him. He wanted to reach out and touch and never stop.

He was afraid that if he did, he would lose him. Lose the first real friend he had made in years. Honestly, he didn’t know what he would do if he lost Hawks. But how could Hawks want him? It seemed incomprehensible to Dabi.

But, he wanted to be brave though. He wanted something good for once.

“What’re you looking at?” Hawks asked, head tilting to the side. Dabi flicked his eyes down quickly, to stare at the floor instead.

He hated the way his cheeks flushed with heat.

“You. Just looking at you.” Dabi chanced a look at Hawks, to see his reaction.

He was blushing.

“Oh, um.” Hawks’ wings fluttered slightly. He was nervous? “Why?”

God, this was awkward. “No reason.”

What if? What if he just said it. What if somehow Hawks wouldn’t hate him afterwards? Dabi gripped the cushion tighter.

“Fuck. Listen, I - I have to tell you something.”

Hawks looked at him curiously. “Alright. You can tell me anything, you know.”

“I know. But.” Dabi exhaled sharply. “You’re gonna have to bare with me,”

Hawks nodded for him to go on.

“You’ve told me a few times now that you, that you care about me. And I still don’t get why you do, but I thought I should tell you… That I care about you too. A lot. I really do. I think…” He paused to summon up what measly courage he had. “I think I might even love you and fuck, I don’t know what’s going to happen to me in the next few days and I already have so many regrets I just - I didn’t want to regret not telling you how I felt. If you hate me now, just say so,” By the end of it, his voice was shaking.

Hawks’ eyes were blown wide with shock and his mouth was agape. “Oh,” He said. “Oh, my god.”

Dabi wanted the floor to swallow him whole. What the hell had he been thinking? Why had he just done that when he knew Hawks would never feel the same way? He wasn’t fucking brave! Why did he think he could be about this? He -

“No, no, that wasn’t a bad ‘oh my god’ just a shocked one! A good one!” Hawks exclaimed, clumsily. His cheeks were almost as red as his wings. “I… I’m just really surprised because I didn’t think you felt the same way.”

“Oh.” Dabi said dumbly. “So you… you feel the same way?”

Hawks smiled shakily. “Yeah, for a while now actually,”

“Oh.” Dabi wasn’t sure what to do with this new development. He wasn’t prepared for it, not at all. “Well then,” Dabi shot Hawks a small grin.

Hawks shuffled closer and reached a hand towards Dabi’s face. He raised an eyebrow as if asking permission. and Dabi nodded. Hawks laid his hand in Dabi’s cheek, and looked him in the eyes. “I’ve been falling in love with you this whole time.” He rubbed his thumb over the scarred skin under Dabi’s eye, careful to avoid aggravating the staples. How Hawks wasn’t disgusted by it, Dabi didn’t know.

“I really wanna kiss you. Can I?” The vulnerability in his voice made Dabi’s breath catch.

He always, always asked if he could touch him because he knew how Dabi was with touch. He never said it, but it meant a lot. He looked up at Hawks and his mouth went dry and his heart began to beat even faster than it was already beating (which was pretty fucking fast). He swallowed.

“Yeah,”

Hawks smiled and kissed him sweetly and softly. It took a moment for Dabi to come to his senses and kiss back, but when he did, it was incredible. His heart swelled in his chest and he grabbed Hawks by the front of his hoodie, pulling him closer. He had never been kissed so tenderly in his life, and definitely never by someone he actually liked (or loved.)

Hawks pulled away and took a breath. “I forgot how to breathe for a minute,” he laughed and rested his forehead on Dabi’s.

“Idiot,” Dabi tried to say it meanly, like he usually would, but he could hear the fondness in his voice.

He was happy. Somehow, he was happy. And based on Hawks’ bright ass smile, somehow he was too. Hawks grabbed Dabi’s hand and led him to the bedroom. He said all he wanted to do was sleep, and Dabi was more than okay with not going any further than kissing tonight.

Tomorrow would be another shitshow, but for tonight, after everything they’d been through, Dabi just wanted to hold Hawks and forget about everything happening around them.

So, that’s exactly what they did.

Chapter Text

“I knew it! I freaking knew it!” Rumi exclaimed, vindicated. “I could so tell there was something going on with y’all as soon as I saw you two at that meeting! You tried to be discreet about it, but you wouldn’t stop looking at him all soppy like.” She shook her head with an exasperated smile.

“Okay, what? Is my face really that readable?”

“For people who know you? Yeah, you’re an open book, my dude.”

Hawks and Rumi were sat in the waiting room of the Commission’s medical wing — they had been for about twenty minutes — waiting for Dabi’s genetic testing to be finished. They had gotten a few medical professionals to sign non disclosure agreements, and they were currently matching his DNA to Natsuo’s, to see if they were full biological siblings. Natsuo had sent in his swab of saliva earlier, and he now they were getting Dabi’s. They would immediately give them all the results, since the Commission was trying to move this case along fast. So fast, that Dabi’s trial was immediately after this.

Rumi had jokingly asked him how spending the last few days with Dabi in the ‘love shack’ had been and he hadn’t been able to control his blush. Then he’d spilled everything to her, because damn, he finally could. He had been dying to be able to talk to someone about all the shit that’d happened the past month or so, and he knew Rumi had been worried about him.

“So… you really like him, huh?” She sounded serious now.

“Yeah. I really, really do. I have for a while.” Hawks scratched the back of his neck, and he felt his cheeks warm. “I haven’t ever felt like this about anyone before, and honestly… I was kind of in denial for a bit? But yeah. I like him a lot.”

Rumi whistled. “Damn. Okay. You know I support you no matter what, but… just be careful, Hawks. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

Hawks appreciated her concern, but she didn’t know Dabi like he did. He knew that Dabi wouldn’t hurt him.

“I love you, but don’t worry about us. I think… I think we’ll be good for each other.”

Rumi smiled and lightly punched him in the shoulder. “Well then, I’m happy for you. Truly. Ooh! We can go on double dates when this is all over! I bet Fuyumi would love that!”

“I bet Dabi would absolutely hate it,” Hawks laughed.

They were interrupted by someone clearing their throat, and they both sat up straight in their seats.

“Excuse me, Hawks. Miruko.” The doctor bowed respectfully. “The results are in.” Dabi was standing next to her, sulking with his arms crossed. He had confessed to Hawks that morning that he hated hospitals and anything medical, and he had been in an awful mood all day. He hadn’t elaborated on it, but Hawks figured it stemmed from his time in the hospital after he’d gotten burned. He would have been there all alone with no family and no friends visiting him. Alone, in pain, and probably thinking about what had put him there in the first place. Hawks couldn’t blame him for hating hospitals.

“He is most definitely a Todoroki. I ran a quirk analysis as well, and his fire is really so close to Endeavor’s, except he has the skin suited for an ice quirk, which must be must be from his mother.” Dabi’s scowl deepened at the mention of Endeavor. “Well, here are all the documents you need to bring to take upstairs, everything you need is in there.” She handed Hawks a sealed folder, and bid them all goodbye.

Hawks and Rumi stood, both sighing in unison.

“Can we get out of here?” Dabi snapped. He looked awful, and Hawks wished he could comfort him. He moved to Dabi’s side and grabbed his hand instead, squeezing it to try and comfort him. He knew it wouldn’t do much, that if today was making him anxious then Dabi must be barely holding it together, but he would do what he could.

The elevator ride to the 20th floor, where Dabi’s interrogation and trial would be held, was silent. Hawks was nervous about it because he knew how brutal the Commission could be. They would pick Dabi apart, and Hawks wouldn’t be able to do anything. He wouldn’t be able to open his mouth at all. He was on thin enough ice with them already, and speaking out of turn during the trial wouldn’t help him or Dabi. He’d always had a hard time holding his tongue, though.

The Commission was doing something unusual for Dabi’s case, besides the fact that they were rushing everything to get to the bottom of things. They weren’t giving him a proper trial, exactly. Instead, they would question him themselves with no jury present and no witnesses to take the stand. It might be unfair, but to them it was the most efficient and risk free way to get this done whilst keeping it a secret. The twelve of them to decide Dabi’s fate. Hawks hadn’t contested it, and honestly, he was thankful in a way. He wanted this to be over as quickly as possible.

Hawks had done his absolute best to convince the President of the Commission that Dabi was a product of his environment, that he deserved a second chance, and he had a good heart. He’d told her that he’d witnessed Dabi save a girl once, and that he was sure he’d saved others too. Even still, he wasn’t so sure he had swayed her. The higher the elevator climbed, the more Hawks’ stomach began to sink. What would he do if they decided to send Dabi to prison for life? Throw him in Tartarus for years and years?

He’d run, probably. Recklessly run. They’d change their names and Dabi would dye his hair another colour (his red roots were beginning to grow in, so he’d need to dye it soon again anyways) and then they’d live their life in peace. They could be together with nothing and no one to stop them.

He knew he was being ridiculous, that they needed to stay and fight. But sometimes he just wished things were simpler. They would just be getting harder though, since after this, they had to deal with Endeavor.

The elevator finally dinged, and the three of them walked out. Only the heroes and members of the police force privy to the case that could observe the trial, and only if they wished to, and the only ones there were Hawks himself, Rumi, Aizawa, All Might, Present Mic, Midnight and Detective Tsukauchi. He hadn’t been expecting a big turnout, and he was grateful there wasn’t. The more people that were there to watch, the more nervous Dabi would be. The room was huge, with high ceilings and what had to be more than a hundred seats. It was normally used for press conferences and larger meetings, but not today.

Dabi was whisked away from Hawks’ side, shackled with quirk suppressing cuffs, and escorted to the front of the room, where the most important members of the Commission were all sat at a long table on a raised platform. All twelve of them were stony faced and straight backed.

The heroes were all seated in the front row, where Hawks would join them as soon as he handed the medical file to the President.

He strode across the room, heart pounding in his ears, and passed Dabi (his head was bowed, hands curled into fists at his back in shackles, mouth set in a grim line) wishing he could hold him one last time before this began.

Once he handed over the file to the President — a stern and strong elderly woman that would probably never not intimidate Hawks — he took a seat next to Rumi and let out a sharp breath. She looked over at him, concern written all over her face, and slipped her hand into his, squeezing it tightly.

“We all know why we are here today.” The President spoke, once she had finished looking over the file and passed it to the member next to her. “The villain Dabi, biological name Todoroki Touya, is
the son of Todoroki Enji, the Number One hero.” She addressed the room, voice firm and sure. Powerful. Her eyes flicked to Dabi, and stayed there. “You have harmed and you have killed, and yet, you have the number two hero’s loyalty. Impressive, but this does not mean you have ours.”

Hawks’ heart was a rock sitting heavily in his gut.

The questions began, and with each one, he could see Dabi growing more and more weary. All things considered, he was handling it incredibly well. They asked him what had happened after he’d been burned, what he’d done while he was homeless, and why he didn’t return to his family. They probed and probed until they got to his crimes, and that’s where they were now.

“You’ve killed 17 people. All villains of varying levels.”

Dabi nodded hesitantly. “Yes.”

Hawks had been right when he’d first confronted Dabi about why he was in the League, and Dabi had lashed out at him. Dabi didn’t go around murdering innocent people. He had only ever killed villains.

“Were they not up to your standards, Dabi? Did you deem them useless to the League?”

Dabi huffed out a breath. “No. They… they were attacking people. Kids. I couldn’t let them get away with it.”

So, the night Dabi saved that young girl wasn’t the first time. Just as Hawks suspected. At this point, he was more vigilante than villain, and Hawks fought to keep a smile from his face. Of course he was, because he was a good person, no matter how much he told himself he wasn’t.

The President seemed somewhat surprised, and she turned her face to look at Hawks for a split second, likely remembering their conversation.

“Interesting, that you would save innocent children, yet attack UA’s Training Camp. The kidnapping of UA student Bakugou Katsuki was your plan, correct? You led the attack.”

“No. Yes, but no. It was Shigaraki’s plan, and he tasked me to lead it, but I did what I could to make sure it caused the least damage possible. I didn’t attack any of the students directly, and when Bakugou was taken I… I made sure they didn’t do anything to him.”

Hawks remembered the meeting at UA. He’d said something along the same lines there, too.

The President ever so slightly cocked her head to the side, thoughtful. “Even so, damage was still done. A child was still taken, and several other injured. Why would you go along with Shigaraki Tomura’s plan at all, if you did not want to cause damage?” Hawks winced at the question, and he watched Dabi shift uncomfortably.

“I can’t make excuses. I know it was wrong. That was my first mission with the League and they still didn’t trust me. I needed them to, because I thought being with the League would be the best way to take down my father.” He sounded exhausted.

The President pursed her lips and nodded sharply. “Let’s talk about your father again. You’ve accused him of abuse, and we also have statements from your siblings.” She clasped her hands together. “I can’t imagine what you and your family must have gone through,” Hawks saw Dabi’s head lift a little. “But that does not change the fact that you blatantly tried to murder your father while endangering innocent citizens. Could you explain the reason for your actions?” Dabi was silent for a moment, and the highest ranking of the Commission whispered amongst themselves.

Dabi’s eyes flicked up to meet the President’s gaze. “All I have to say is that I was angry. So deeply angry with what he had done to our family, to me, and I… I wanted justice. My idea or… sense of justice had gotten twisted and yeah, I wanted revenge. Wanted him dead. And I didn’t care if he killed me in the process, I had nothing left to live for anyway.” He breathed deeply. “I always knew I was making mistake after mistake but I didn’t care, really. If I did, I didn’t want to think about it. But I do now. I want to do the right thing. I want - “ He paused and turned to look at Hawks. “I guess I want a chance in this fucking world. If I can, I want to help people.”

Hawks’ heart swelled with something like pride and relief. He loved him so much (so much that it shocked him, really), and the way Dabi spoke about himself sometimes… like he thought he was worthless, or a mistake, frightened him. It was incredible to hear him say that he wanted to keep going, that he wanted a chance to live his life (and to live it with Hawks, because what else could that look have meant?)

The President’s voice drew him from his thoughts and his gaze drifted towards her. He couldn’t read her expression. “The villain Dabi has committed a number of crimes.” The President addressed the room. “But he is the son of Endeavor. A Todoroki. He’s a son, a brother, and this is a fact. We now know the complexities of his circumstances, and what has made him into the person he is today.” The President paused for a beat. “The trial will reconvene in half an hour. We’ll announce our final verdict then.”

Hawks let out a deep sigh, cracked his neck, and stretched his wings out. He’d been so tense that entire time, he was surprised he hadn’t turned to stone. He shared a glance with Rumi, who gave him a small smile.

Everyone was led into a sideroom to wait, and Dabi was handed off to Hawks once again. Thank God. He looked beyond exhausted and anxious, a combination Hawks was now very familiar with. He fought the urge to wrap Dabi up in his arms and wings and instead settled for as much of a smile as he could muster. Dabi had told him he liked his smile.

“You did great, really,” Hawks said earnestly. “You’re stronger than you think.”

“I didn’t, and I’m not, but thank you. I just want this to be over.” Dabi closed his eyes with a sigh. “But I also don’t, because I have no fucking clue what’s gonna happen when it’s done.”

Hawks frowned, chewed at his lip. “At first I was glad they were keeping things simple by not assembling a jury and calling witnesses and everything, and God that would’ve been so complicated, but… I wish I could’ve spoken on your behalf one more time.”

Dabi shrugged. “At least nobody could’ve gone up there cursing my name.” He looked pensive. “Now they all know what they need to know, and they’ll figure out some way to punish me.”

Hawks was just about to open his mouth to respond when he heard arguing from the other side of the room, near the door. It sounded like Rumi and … Fuyumi? Well, since it was the two of them, it wasn’t really even arguing.

“Okay, okay, but how did you even get in?”

“I just… used my name. I‘m a Todoroki after all.” She said bitterly. “I don’t do it often, but I just couldn’t sit at home anymore. It was driving me crazy!” Citizens couldn’t just walk into the Commission’s building, and the employees at the main desk would have had no idea that there was a hearing today, let alone that that she was family and should be allowed in. Fuyumi would’ve had to come with them from the beginning and taken the back entrance, however; when Fuyumi had come to visit them the second day in the safehouse, Dabi had asked her not to attend the hearing, and to pass the message to the others. He told Hawks when they were lying in bed later that night that he didn’t want them to be there if the Commission decided to lock him up. He didn’t want to put them through any more pain if he could avoid it.

Rumi pursed her lips fondly and took Fuyumi’s hand, leading her over to where Hawks and Dabi were stood at the back of the room.

“Hi,” Fuyumi breathed out, pushing up her glasses and smiling sheepishly. “I know you asked that none of us come today, and I’m sorry, but I couldn’t sit and wait anymore. I needed to check and see what was happening.” She grabbed a piece of white hair and twirled it around her index finger. “But, um, I can leave if you want.”

“Uh, it’s fine.” Dabi said awkwardly. Hawks noticed that he had relaxed minutely when he’d spotted her, and Hawks felt his anger at Endeavor spike once more. It was always there now, simmering under the surface. Fuyumi and Dabi had a whole ten years of lost time between them, ten years where they should have been bonding and bickering and just being brother and sister. Endeavor had destroyed his own family, and Hawks would never forgive him.

“How’s everything going?” Fuyumi asked.

“Really shitty,” Dabi said.

“Well, it could be a lot worse,” Hawks offered. Fuyumi bit her lower lip — it was already red and shredded from her worried chewing — and inched closer to her brother. Dabi inched toward her in return.

“We reconvene in - ” She paused to check her phone. “Twenty minutes now. For the verdict.” Rumi chimed in.

The four of them spent the following twenty minutes hardly speaking, but taking comfort in each other’s company.

They could get through this. They could.

Twenty minutes later, everyone seemed to be holding their breath as they waited for the President to speak. Hawks’ chest ached with apprehension and hope.

The President sought out Dabi’s face, and she cocked her head to the side. Hawks swore he saw her eyes soften minutely.

“Todoroki Touya is sentenced to one year of house arrest, and one year of probation. This is on the condition that he assists us in apprehending the remaining members of the League of Villains. He must also attend mandatory therapy sessions and complete 200 hours of community service.” She let her words ring out through the room, then focused on Dabi. “However; if he does not comply, he will be sentenced to ten years in Tartarus. That is our verdict.”

Hawks stared straight ahead, mind whirring, heart racing. He thought he might cry tears of relief. They really, they actually —

Holy shit.

Hawks had proposed the idea that Dabi could be a huge asset in taking down the League to Aizawa and All Might, and they had both seemed to agree. He also mentioned it to the President, but she had shown no reaction to the idea. It was something Hawks had been considering for the past couple weeks, something he hoped the President would ponder on, and it turned out she had. She was incredibly smart, incredibly calculating, and Hawks had hoped she wouldn’t let the opportunity slip away. She probably saw potential in Dabi, potential that she didn’t want to waste, the same way she had seen potential in Hawks all those years ago and had the Commission snatch him up and raise him to be a hero.

Fuyumi had flown to her feet and was hugging Rumi fiercely, muttering ‘oh my god’ over and over again. She looked dazed. All Might and Aizawa were both murmuring to each other, All Might looked relieved and Aizawa pensive.

Hawks got to his feet as well and before he knew it he was next to Dabi, who was now free from the shackles they’d slapped on him. Dabi didn’t say anything, but he didn’t have to. His eyes said it all for him. They were shining with unshed tears, but for the first time ever they were happy ones. Hawks knew because of how they were crinkled at the corners. It meant that he was trying and failing not to smile. Hawks smiled brightly enough for the both of them, and took Dabi’s hand in his.

“So. You ready to move in with me? House arrest won’t be so bad if we’re together, right? Maybe you can teach me how to cook!” Hawks said, giddy with shock.

“Hm, asking me to move in already? We haven’t even been dating for a week yet, birdie.” Dabi said, finally giving in and grinning in return.

“So, we’re dating then?” Hawks quirked an eyebrow and laced his fingers with Dabi’s.

Dabi rolled his eyes and squeezed back. “Yes, you idiot.”

Hawks laughed. “That really just happened, didn’t it?”

“It really fucking did.” He sounded like he still couldn’t believe it. He’d been given the second chance he’d come to terms with actually wanting, and Hawks was going to be there for him through everything.

“Can I kiss you?” Sure, there were people around. The highest ranking of the Commission were still in the room, but he didn’t really care. All he cared about was the man in front of him, and the thing was, he really wanted to kiss that man.

Dabi looked hesitant for a moment but then he huffed out a quiet laugh. “Y’know what? Fuck it. Yeah. They probably all figured us out already,”

“You’re probably right.” Hawks said, then he leaned in and kissed Dabi softly.

He heard Fuyumi say “Oh my god!” again, but this time she exclaimed: “I knew it!”, and Hawks had to pull away from Dabi to laugh.

 


 

A week later, all of Dabi’s things had been moved into Hawks’ apartment. There weren’t that many things, granted, but everything that mattered to him was there in Hawks’ space. His guitar, his favourite jacket, his hair dye, the one mug he used everyday that had no chips on it. He was sipping lukewarm coffee from that very mug right now, and he warmed the mug with his quirk. Lukewarm coffee was a disgrace.

He was antsy, and anxious, and already a bit sick of being cooped up in the apartment after only a week, but most of all he was grateful. He hated feeling indebted to others, and he hated being pitied, but he knew he owed the Commission and the heroes a whole fucking lot. His life, probably. And that even though they gave him this chance because they pitied him, he had to learn to accept it. It was a bitter feeling, a feeling that clashed and clanged inside of him, but he would deal.

They were forcing him to help them take out the League. This was something else that he was grappling with because fuck, he really, really didn’t want anything to do with the League anymore. That was true. He didn’t agree with the shit they did. In fact, he’d honestly be happy to take Shigaraki’s crazy ass down. Still though, in some fucked up way, he cared about what happened to them.

It wasn’t that shocking, he supposed. Once you’ve had enough exposure to someone, even if you don’t have jack shit in common, even if you don’t even like them… a part of you cared.

Well, at least that’s how it was for him.

As much as Dabi disagreed with many aspects of Hero Society (there were more rotten ‘heroes’ like his father out there than people knew, and those heroes were constantly enabled simply because the fact that they were ‘heroes’ meant everything), he had never fully agreed with Shigaraki’s ideals, much less his tactics. He had never truly bonded with anyone in the league, either. Except for maybe Toga, but that bond was mostly one sided on his end. She was young, and perhaps his older sibling instincts had kicked in when they’d met, leading him to feel protective of her… but she was too far gone in her bloodlust to really care about anyone.

His heart broke for her, still.

In the end, most of the time, the League had never felt like anything more than a group of bitter, sad people, barely tolerating each other’s presence, to Dabi. It got to be downright hostile at times. But… they were the first people to accept Dabi and not give a shit about his past or his scars or his fucked up attitude after years of being alone. So sue him if he cared a little.

He’d been thinking about it a lot more in the past week, knowing that he had to help the heroes take them down. He wasn’t opposed to it, of course he wasn’t, but he still had a strange feeling in his stomach, knowing that by all rights he should be going to prison with them, but his way out was capturing them.

Maybe his problem was that he just felt too damn much, too damn strongly.

Team “Beat the LoV’s Asses” (as Miruko had dubbed them) had been established on the third day of his house arrest. Hawks, Miruko, himself, Eraserhead, Mt. Lady and Kamui Woods (both of whom had since been made aware of Dabi’s identity and sworn to secrecy until Dabi went public) made up the group. They met at Hawks’ Agency in the dead of night, and Dabi told them all that he could about the League’s whereabouts and activities.

The terms of his house arrest were strict. He had to be at home at all times, except for “mission related purposes, therapy, and life threatening emergencies” Tsukauchi had said. So, Dabi was able to go with Hawks to the first BLA (Beat League’s Asses) meeting.

“They’re really all over the place.” He had said. “Usually every member meets at the hideout — this shitty warehouse — once a month, when Shigaraki calls on us. Well, them.” He had said. “The meetings are a bit more frequent right now because of his current plan.” Dabi had explained everything he knew about said plan as well; that he’d been tasked to recruit support for it, and simply wasn’t doing so.

“Hm. The most efficient way to capture them would be to ambush one of those meetings, then.” Miruko said.

“Exactly,” agreed Eraserhead. “Dabi, when’s the next one?”

“I don’t know. He just sends a message. It could be today, tomorrow, next week.” He shrugged. “I still have my phone, so I’ll get it. And before you ask to go through my messages: don’t bother. There’s really no useful information.”

“We’ll have to be on standby and ready to assemble once the message comes.” Hawks said.

Then they went over the strengths and weaknesses of each member, the strategy for the attack, etcetera, etcetera. It was all a bit boring in Dabi’s opinion. He did have some useful information, though.

The days slogged by, no message appeared, then it had been a week that he’d been stuck in the apartment, and here he was: curled up miserably on the couch with his coffee. He was on his fourth cup. He sighed for what must have been the thirtieth time that day, and dialled Hawks’ number. He picked up after one ring.

“Haawwkss,” he drawled into the phone, staring at the slick black tracking device on his leg. He’d absolutely refused the microchip tracker; he wasn’t letting anyone cut his skin open. “You were supposed to be back twenty minutes ago,”

Hawks had work, and he couldn’t take any more days off to stay home with Dabi. He’d already done that for the first five days. (They had slept a lot, kissed a lot, talked a lot… It was nice.)

“I know, I know! I just have a shit ton of paperwork and I can never focus on it properly if I’m home, so I wanted to finish it here.” He sounded apologetic, and Dabi felt a bit guilty.

He sighed. “Sorry. I’m just bored.”

“I know. I swear I’m packing up now. I should be home in a few minutes.”

“No, no, it’s okay. Don’t rush.” He took another sip of coffee, which was now at the perfect temperature again. “I’m gonna get dinner started.”

“Okay! See you soon,”

Ten minutes later, Hawks was home. His cheeks were all rosy from flying in the cold. It was a good look on him.

“Whatcha makin’?” He asked. “Smells good!”

“Soba noodle soup. With chicken.”

Hawks walked into the kitchen and pulled himself up onto the counter to sit. “I love having a personal chef,” he smirked.

Dabi rolled his eyes. “Keep it up and I’ll eat this all by myself.”

They were still settling into domesticity pretty quickly, pretty comfortably. It felt nice to just… exist with Hawks. They talked while Dabi finished the soup, and when it was done, Hawks set the table for two.

“So, Tsukauchi and I were working on Endeavor’s case today.” Hawks said after he’d eaten a spoonful.

“Oh?” Dabi tensed in his chair.

“Your family are officially pressing charges, now. We’re gonna bring him in tomorrow.”

“Who’s gonna question him?”

“Aizawa, since he’s Shouto’s teacher, and Tsukauchi. I’ll be watching.”

“And the evidence front?”

“Your siblings all sent in pictures of any scars they have. We have your medical history. We’re gonna try and get a confession, though.”

Dabi snorted. “Good fucking luck.”

Hawks sighed. “I know.”

“It’s time, then? To go public.” Dabi said. Hawks nodded.

They had talked about this before. Hawks had a journalist friend he would contact, they would write an article exposing everything, and then the world would know that Dabi was Endeavor’s son.

Dabi put his spoon and chopsticks down. He wasn’t very hungry anymore.

“I’m sorry for ruining dinner. I just wanted to let you know.”

“It’s fine,” he ran a hand through his hair. “I just… This is what I’ve wanted for so long, and I’m just scared he’s gonna get away with it like he always said he would.” His stomach was twisting into knots. His father’s cruel taunts, Shouto’s screams, his mother’s bruised face… they all flashed in his mind, and he felt the familiar burn of tears prick his eyes. He wasn’t gonna fucking cry right now. He was not.

He watched as Hawks poked at his food, a faraway expression on his face.

“I won’t let him.” The ‘get away with it’ went unsaid. “I swear, I won’t let him.”

That night in bed, Dabi was restless. He couldn’t stop thinking about Endeavor, the League, everything. He was starting to think he overdid it with the coffee, because sure, he usually had trouble sleeping, but he was feeling unusually restless tonight. Hawks was trying hard to sleep, and so was Dabi, but it was no use. He was tossing and turning and pulling the blankets every which way for what felt like half an hour. Hawks was grumbling at him to stop moving, because he needs his beauty sleep.

“You keep pulling the covers off my feet.” Hawks mumbled tiredly. “They’re cold.”

“Sorry,” Dabi whispered into the dark room. “I doubt you would be able to sleep even if I was still.” He fixed the covers, then flipped onto his side to face Hawks. His eyes were still open. He blinked a few times, closed them again. Breathed deeply. Opened them again.

Hawks groaned. “You’re right. This is not working. Maybe… we could try to tire ourselves out some other way? What do you say, hot stuff?” He could hear the smirk in his voice.

“Ugh. Shut the fuck up, idiot.”

Hawks just snickered and closed his eyes again. “I’m kidding,”

Dabi rolled his eyes, even though Hawks wouldn’t be able to see. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to have sex with Hawks, because he did. He was unbearably attracted to everything about him. Yeah, he definitely wanted Hawks in that way, it was just that he didn’t think he was ready. Sex was complicated, and it sent a spike of anxiety through his chest whenever he thought about it.

Dabi knew that Hawks didn’t mind taking things slowly, that he would never pressure him to do something he didn’t want to do, but he also knew he should talk to him about it eventually.

Dabi felt a pair of cold feet touch his leg. Hawks had shifted closer and was using him as a foot warmer, even though Dabi’s skin was ice cold unless he was using his quirk. He took pity and carefully used his quirk to warm up the bed.

“Ahh thank you, dear Heater. Let’s cuddle.” Hawks demanded. Dabi sighed.

“Fine.” He pretended to sound annoyed, but he wasn’t in the slightest, and Hawks knew it. Proximity to Hawks had a comforting effect on him. Even though he didn’t want to admit it, he loved being held by him. Holding him.

It was about trust, and he trusted Hawks more than anybody.

They both fell asleep ten minutes later: Hawks’ head was tucked under Dabi’s chin, and Dabi’s arm was draped over Hawks’ side, hugging him close. Their legs were tangled together under the sheets.

Dabi woke the next morning feeling shaky and pissed, and worthless, which was how he always felt after dreaming about his father. He felt too hot and too cold at the same time, and his scars were aching. He groaned miserably and wished that Hawks hadn’t dumped all of his alcohol down the sink the first night of Dabi’s house arrest, because fuck, he wanted a drink. His brain wouldn’t shut the fuck up.

He knew it was pretty fucked up to want to down a whole bottle of whisky first thing in the morning. It kind of scared him, honestly, and not for the first time, Dabi thought Hawks had a point.

“You okay?” Hawks’ voice was soft, concerned, still loose and sleepy. They had shifted in the night, and now Dabi’s head was resting on Hawks’ chest, and Hawks had a hand in Dabi’s hair. He began carding his fingers through it gently, something Dabi had admitted that he liked.

“Nightmare,” he mumbled.

“You wanna talk about it?”

“Not really. Just dear old dad, as per usual.”

Hawks breathed in and out, steadily, and Dabi’s head rose and fell with the movement of Hawks’ chest.

“I hope Ayane can help.” Hawks said. Ayane was the psychologist Dabi was required to see. She often worked with heroes, but her specialty was childhood trauma. His first session was the next day. “Still, you can always talk to me. I’ll be here.”

Dabi tucked his head into Hawks’ chest and breathed in his scent. “I know.”

They stayed in bed like that, breathing together, until Dabi’s thoughts quieted and he felt somewhat functional again.

The idea of therapy was alien to Dabi. If he had a choice in the matter, he wouldn’t do it. He wasn’t keen on a stranger digging through his mind, knowing his deepest and darkest thoughts, knowing just how fucked up he really was. He wasn’t even sure if he could put his thoughts and feelings into words. He had absolutely no clue how to articulate any of the poison that had seeped into his brain matter, into his very being, over the years.

Hawks loved therapy. He had personally recommended Ayane, and said that she’d helped him in the past, and that he’d probably be seeing her again once all the shit with the League was over. Dabi figured that if Hawks liked her, maybe he could get through it.

They got ready for the day together, and ate breakfast, and talked about nothing important until Hawks had to leave for work.

Dabi was three chapters into his latest read when his phone began to ring.

“Yumi? What’s up?”

“Nothing! I’m on the train and I thought I’d check in.”

“Hmm, well, there’s not much to report.” Dabi said wryly.

“Ha. Oh! There was actually something I wanted to mention. You know it’s Shouto’s birthday tomorrow, right?”

Shouto had gone back to school the day after Dabi’s trial, and interestingly enough, he’d begun to text Dabi. Usually he sent pictures of cats, but sometimes he’d ask how his day had been. It was sweet.

“Shit, I’m kinda losing track of the days,” he admitted.

“Don’t worry! I just think it would be nice if we could all get together and celebrate, maybe have dinner soon, at your place.”

“I wouldn’t call it my place, but yeah, that’s a good idea.”

“With everything happening… I think it would be good to just try and relax and have a nice meal, as a family. If mom could come it would be perfect. Y’know she’s allowed to go out now, as long as she’s with a trusted family member or friend? Only for about an hour at a time, but it’s great progress! She’s been doing a lot better, lately. I think seeing us has helped, especially Shouto.”

Dabi’s heart hurt, hearing about his mom. He missed her so much sometimes that he just wanted to go back in time to when she could still smile and call him her ‘handsome little boy’ and ruffle his hair. A time before she looked at him with fear in her eyes.

He wanted to see her again.

“That’s good to hear,” he said, voice soft.

“You think we can tell her soon?” Fuyumi asked hesitantly.

He closed his eyes. “Yeah. The whole world's gonna know soon, and I want her to find out before… Yeah. You can tell her. I hope it doesn’t set her back.”

“I’ll be gentle,” Fuyumi assured.

They talked for a few more minutes, until Fuyumi arrived at her stop.

“Bye. Have fun dealing with those brats,”

She laughed her fairy laugh. “I will! Bye, love you!”

He hung up with a smile. It was weird hearing those words directed at him again after so many years, but it felt nice.

Dabi tried to keep reading his book, but he kept getting distracted. He switched to playing the only game he had on his shitty phone for way too long, and when he was bored of that, he decided to dye his hair. He needed to touch up his roots, and had been putting it off for longer than he usually did. Every time he saw the red roots in the mirror it pissed him off.

When he was in the shower, rinsing out his hair and letting the cool water soothe his scars, he let his thoughts wander to Hawks. He wondered how he was doing, and when he was going to need to head to the station to witness what was bound to be a disastrous interrogation.

Dabi’s thoughts turned ugly, and he imagined his father slowly burning until all that was left was a pile of ash.

 


 

Endeavor was fuming. Hawks had never seen the man so angry before, and it was terrifying. Even knowing he couldn’t be seen behind the one way mirror, Hawks felt like the man’s eyes were burning right through him. He was shocked that the others had managed to get him inside the precinct, let alone the interrogation room.

“What the fuck is this, Eraserhead?” He hissed, scathingly, as he was forcibly sat down in the interrogation chair.

“I think you know.” Aizawa said darkly. “We have reason to believe you’ve abused your children and your wife. They’ve pressed charges against you.”

Endeavor narrowed his eyes and curled his fists. “I can end your pathetic career in an instant. I can — “

“Endeavor.” Tsukauchi interrupted. “We’d just like to ask you a few questions about your family. First and foremost, did you marry Todoroki Rei in a Quirk Marriage?”

“I refuse to speak. This is ludicrous! She can’t have pressed charges! Besides, you can’t take anything my wife says seriously, she’s in that hospital for a fucking reason.”

Hawks scowled. The irony of that statement was disgusting.

“It wasn’t only your wife.” Tsukauchi said, with more bite in his voice than Hawks had ever heard. “It was all of them.”

“Well, it’s a lie!” Endeavor yelled. “You’re aware I have the best team of lawyers in this country working for me, yes? They’ll destroy you!”

“Enji.” Aizawa was losing his patience. So was Hawks. “Did you, or did you not, marry Todoroki Rei in a Quirk marriage?”

“Of course not. I loved her.” The lie wasn’t convincing anyone.

Tsukauchi wrote something down onto a legal pad, then asked the next question. “Have you ever hit your children, or your wife? Used abusive language toward them?”

“NO! This is absurd!”

Hawks watched as Tsukauchi and Aizawa shared a look. Due to the nature of Tsukauchi’s Quirk, he knew Endeavor was lying. Aizawa just needed one look at the detective to realize it, to.

“Alright. So, what about Touya?” Aizawa challenged.

Endeavor’s face was growing darker and darker. “How dare you. Touya is dead.”

Aizawa continued, shaking his head. “We have proof that he’s alive. You’re quite aware of Dabi, yes? Touya and Dabi are one in the same. Your son became a villain because of his hatred for you, for what you did to your family.”

Aizawa and Tsukauchi were hoping to shock Endeavor enough so that he’d hopefully let something slip. Hawks wasn’t sure it would work, but it was worth a try. If they could get a confession, even an indirect one, it would make this whole thing a hell of a lot simpler.

A myriad of emotions passed across Endeavor’s face before he exploded. “Touya should have died in the streets!” He seethed. “And you’re telling me that disgrace became a villain!? All because he couldn’t handle how I trained Shouto?” He scoffed. “He always was weak.”

Ha. Busted.

Endeavor seemed to have realized his mistake, and his mouth twisted into a dark frown.

“Interesting way to refer to your child, Enji.” Aizawa said, voice hard.

“You can’t keep me here. I’m untouchable.” He sounded so entitled that Hawks had to take a few deep breaths and tell himself that no, it would not be a good idea to attack Endeavor right now (no matter how good it would feel to smack that smug look off his face).

The thing was, he was right. Endeavor would be out on bail in minutes. But he wasn’t going to get away with it all. In a few days, if everything went as planned, his reputation would be in tatters. Hawks took one last look at Endeavor before he slipped from the examination room and pulled out his phone.

“Hana? It’s Hawks. I’m well, thank you. Actually, I have a favor to ask… How do you feel about an exposé?”

Nine hours later, Hawks was practically dead on his feet. He’d met with Hana, got accosted by fans outside of the coffee shop where they’d met (he didn’t mind meeting fans and taking pictures honestly, but these high school girls were the clingy fangirl type that he could only take so much of), he patrolled and kicked some ass, and then he’d gone back to the office and did paperwork until his eyes were bleary.

He’d texted Dabi as much as he could throughout the day, and couldn’t wait to go home to him and just relax. He’d been so stretched thin these past few weeks, but it was worth it, because now Dabi was free.

“I’m home!” He called when he walked into the living room from the balcony. Dabi wasn’t sprawled across the couch grumpily flicking through the TV channels, or in the kitchen cooking dinner. Hawks wandered into the bedroom and found him lying in their bed with a pair of headphones on, eyes closed. The music from the headphones was up so loud that Hawks could hear it, faintly. He looked like an angsty teenager, and Hawks couldn’t help but smile.

He began the process of changing out of his clothes (getting dressed and undressed with wings really was annoying, but he was used to it), and once he was in a pair of sweatpants and a simple black halter top, he plopped on the bed beside Dabi, who instantly startled.

“Holy shit!” he exclaimed, slipping off the headphones and sitting up. “You asshole,”

“Sorry! I didn’t mean to scare you,”

“It’s fine.” Dabi shuffled closer to Hawks and looked him up and down.

“Nice shirt,” he smirked.

“I couldn’t be bothered to put a tee on.” He flapped his wings as explanation. “I’m so tired I swear I could sleep for a month,”

Dabi hummed and placed a hand on Hawks cheek. People would never believe it if he told them that Dabi was so tender, so soft, sometimes. He rubbed his thumb across the delicate skin of Hawks’ under eye.

“You look it,” he whispered, and kissed Hawks’ cheek, then his lips.

Hawks let out a delighted moan as he sank into the kiss, and he gently cupped Dabi’s cheek. He’d decided, after their first kiss, that kissing Dabi was the best feeling in the world. Warmth spread through his entire body, and he felt like they were the only two people in the world. His chest cracked open, his knees felt weak, his stomach fluttered, but it felt good. Mind blowingly good. In fact, Hawks had never felt anything like it. He’d had other partners; one night stands, the occasional fling, but when he compared their kisses to his and Dabi’s, it was no competition.

This was bliss, and he was heady with it.

They pulled apart after a few minutes, and Hawks studied Dabi’s face. He was beautiful, so fucking beautiful, and suddenly he just needed Dabi to know it.

“You’re gorgeous, you know,” he said, lowly. “Every inch of you.”

Dabi frowned. He looked uncomfortable, incredulous. “You’re just saying that,” he muttered.

“I’m not, it’s true,” and Hawks leaned in to press a kiss to Dabi’s scarred cheek.

“You’re an idiot bird.” Dabi grumbled and Hawks laughed quietly

“You’re so grumpy. Take the compliment, babe.”

“I’m just saying, we both know which one of us is the pretty one, and it’s not me.”

“We’re both the pretty ones. I’ll keep saying it until you believe it,”

Dabi sighed and buried his face into Hawks’ neck. “I hate you,”

“Mmhmm,”

Half an hour and another makeout session later, Hawks realized how damn hungry he was. It was already after nine, and he didn’t think Dabi felt like cooking, based on the way he was yawning every few minutes.

“Wanna order in tonight?”

“Definitely.”

They ordered pizza and ate it in the bedroom. Hawks updated Dabi on exactly what had happened that day, expanding on what he’d texted him, and Dabi mentioned that Fuyumi wanted to have dinner with everyone at Hawks’ place, for Shouto’s birthday.

“That sounds great, actually. Why don’t we try and do it the day after tomorrow?”

“Sure. I’ll text her,”

“I hope Shouto has a good day tomorrow. I worry about him,” Hawks admitted.

“Me too.” Dabi agreed.

“He’s a sweet kid. I should get him something nice. Oh! Let’s make him a cake!”

Dabi raised a brow. “You mean I’ll make him a cake.”

Hawks laughed. “Oh, shut up! When will you let that go? You’re not funny.”

“You still laughed, though,” Dabi smirked.

Hawks could stay forever in this moment, content.

 


 

“Hello, Mr. Todoroki. It’s wonderful to meet you. Please, take a seat,”

Ayane was a beautiful woman with wild black curls and toffee coloured skin. She was dressed casually in a pair of jeans, and a soft looking navy sweater. Her eyes were what set her apart; she had three of them, and they were each different colours: violet, green, and blue. They were focused on him, her gaze gentle as her voice.

Strangely enough, she reminded him of Fuyumi. They had the same demeanor.

He sat down on the plush armchair she gestured to, and she sat across from him, folding her hands on her desk.

“I’m Dr. Tanaka Ayane. You can call me Dr. Tanaka if you wish, but most of my patients simply call me Ayane. Now, how would you like me to address you?” Her voice was gentle and welcoming, but firm.

“Dabi. I don’t like being called by my birth name.”

“Dabi it is. Could you tell me how you’re feeling right now?”

He didn’t want to be here. He wished Hawks was with him, but Hawks had said this was something he had to do alone. It gave him some comfort to know that he was waiting outside, chatting with Ayane’s receptionist, but if he was in the room with him, Dabi would feel so much better. His stomach wouldn’t be twisting into nervous knots, and he wouldn’t be itching for a cigarette.

“Not the best. Tired.”

Once again, he’d been plagued by nightmares, and had woken up so nauseated he thought he might vomit all over Hawks. He’d scrambled out of bed and to the bathroom and thankfully, he made it to the toilet in time. Hawks had followed him into the bathroom and rubbed soothing circles into his back as he threw up. So, yeah, his day started off great.

“You have trouble sleeping?” She had a notebook open next to her, a pen in her hand. He hadn’t even noticed her take it out.

“I guess so,” he muttered, scowling. “I have… I have nightmares.”

“Often?”

His scowl deepened. “Pretty much every night.”

“What are they about?”

He was already feeling picked apart and he did not like it one bit. It made him anxious.

When he didn’t say anything, she simply moved forward. “Alright, Dabi. I understand that these sessions are a requirement of your sentence, and that you are not here of your own volition. Usually, patients come here seeking help. So I have to ask. Do you believe you need therapy? Think that you might benefit from it?”

Dabi was quiet for a moment. He shifted in his chair and fought the urge to pick at his staples, then shrugged. “I don’t know, really. I never liked the idea — uh, no offense, but I do know I’m pretty fucked in the head, and this shit is supposed to fix that, so… yeah?”

Ayane nodded, her three eyes blinked at him. “Why do you think you are ‘fucked in the head’?”

He looked down at the desk. Shrugged again. Said nothing. Fifteen whole minutes passed before Ayane broke the silence.

“You can speak freely in here. I’m here to help. It’s my job, but I genuinely wish to help you. If you need to rant, you can rant. If you need advice, I’ll give it. If you just need to sit quietly, I’ll offer quiet support. All I can do is my best, and I promise I’ll do it. We can talk about anything you’d like, Dabi. Anything you say here stays between us, unless I feel you’ll be a danger to yourself or to others.”

She was so sincere that it almost made him sick, but looking into her bright eyes, he felt compelled to speak. He absently wondered what her quirk was.

He swallowed and fumbled his words. “I just feel… I feel… Fuck.” He sighed shakily and closed his eyes.

“Take your time,”

Dabi thought about how just after he’d first joined the League and was still sleeping at that shitty bar, Kurogiri had to drag his ass out of his cot and practically force him to eat at least one meal a day, and how Spinner scoffed and told him to stop moping around like a zombie. He thought of his twentieth birthday, when he’d taken his pocketknife and laughed and cried as he slit his wrists in the grimy bathroom of a bar (if they’d been deeper cuts, he would’ve died). He thought of the first time he’d ever gotten drunk, when he was sixteen and still on the streets. He’d just sucked a middle aged man’s cock for fifteen bucks (the man had grabbed his hair so hard, he could still taste his cum, still felt like he was choking on it) so he could stop eating scraps from dumpsters and actually buy a decent meal. He’d felt like garbage, like dirt (like a ‘desperate little slut’), like he was nothing, and he needed his thoughts to stop, so he’d chugged an entire bottle of tequila. He remembered that it was the first time in years that he actually felt good and how he always wanted to feel like that. He thought of being alone in that hospital, wondering if anyone in his family cared whether he was alive or dead, if they’d ever come visit him. He thought of being twelve and shaking with sobs in his bed at one in the morning, trying to keep quiet so his father wouldn’t hear him and break down the door to his room and smack him until he’d ‘shut the fuck up and stop crying like a baby!’.

He thought, he thought, he thought.

He thought of Hawks calling him beautiful, and how wrong he was.

His chest hurt, his eyes stung, and his breath hitched when he spoke. Somehow, it all came tumbling out of his mouth, all the shit he kept bottled up. Somehow, he wanted to tell her.

“I feel broken. Like I’m nothing but pieces, and that I’ll never be able to pick them up and put myself back together. My mind never shuts up, my body always aches, a - and I can’t stand myself. It’s like I’m rotten and hollow, and all I’ll ever be is bitter and angry and sad. I’m so fucking sad, all the time! It hurts my chest, it’s heavy, like lead. And even if I feel happy, as soon as the moment’s done I feel awful again. Sometimes my brain just floats away and everything around me goes blurry, and it scares me that I like it more than being trapped with my thoughts. So, th - that’s why I think I’m fucked in the head.”

He belatedly realized he’d begun to cry. Ayane slid the box of tissues on her desk toward him, but he didn’t take any.

Ayane gazed at him steadily. “Have you ever been diagnosed with depression?”

Dabi hugged his arms to himself and shook his head.

Ayane opened a drawer in her desk, pulled out a thin stack of papers, and slid it over to him along with a pen. It looked like a test of some sort.

“These are diagnostic sheets. You’ll only have to fill them out once, if you answer truthfully. I figure you would prefer this over me asking you the questions.”

It took him about ten minutes to finish filling out the sheets, and the questions all made him squirm. They were so personal.

He slid them over to her when he was finished and she read through them.

“You show markers of major depressive disorder and possibly PTSD. I can discuss treatment options now, if you’d like, or leave it for our next session.”

“Next session.” He sniffled miserably.

“Alright. We only have about ten minutes left. Would you like to chat?”

He shook his head. The whole session had drained him, and he just wanted to go home with Hawks.

“Alright, let’s wrap this up early, then.” Ayane gave him a soft smile, then she opened another drawer in her desk and pulled out a tin of cookies.

“Here, I find something sweet always helps me feel better. I made these myself.” She popped the lid off and slid it towards Dabi.

He chose a chocolate covered one and nibbled on it. “So that’s why Hawks likes you. Homemade cookies.”

Ayane cracked a small smile. “You’re probably right. I’ll see you next week, Dabi. Same day, same time.”

When he walked back into the waiting room, Hawks was still chatting away with the receptionist. He was charming her, with his sly grins and quick wit, and Dabi rolled his eyes.

“Hey, birdbrain.”

Hawks’ head whipped around to face him and he stood, and in a flash he was right next to Dabi, waving goodbye to the receptionist.

“How did it go?”

“Fine, I guess. She’s pretty cool.”

Hawks grinned. “She is! I have a good feeling about this.” He mused as he pushed open the door to exit. They were both hit with the frigid mid-January air as they stepped onto the sidewalk.

“She helped me figure a lot of shit out. I mean I’m not gonna say it made everything better, but it helped. Being able to say anything, and have someone help you sort through your thoughts and make them make sense.”

Dabi glanced at Hawks. He realized that as much as he knew Hawks, he didn’t know all that much about him. He knew that he cared more about his loved ones than himself, that he seemed carefree on the surface but in actuality he worried deeply about everything, that he was extraordinarily protective and empathetic. He knew Hawks had a good heart, that he was a good hero and a good person. He was the best person Dabi knew. But he didn’t know his name, or if he even had one (and he was almost certain he didn’t, because not even Miruko called him anything other than Hawks), he didn’t know when his birthday was, or what his deepest fears were, or his deepest desires, but — he wanted to. He wanted to learn everything he possibly could about him, because he loved him.

They had time, now. To learn each other.

Hawks’ apartment was close enough that they could walk and get back in the time range Dabi had to be back inside. Dabi figured that Hawks wanted to let him stretch his legs a bit, so they walked instead of flying. Hawks had his hands stuffed in his pockets because he’d forgotten his gloves.

“Here, gimme your hand.”

Hawks complied with a smile and they walked hand in hand the rest of the way. Dabi activated his quirk ever so slightly, and used it to warm up Hawks’ hand. Hawks ducked his head and smiled to himself, but Dabi saw, and he smiled too.

When they got home, Hawks got ready for work and Dabi settled Hawks’ personal laptop onto his lap, and sat on the couch. He needed to give a statement to Hawks’ journalist friend — Hana, he reminded himself — for her article. Hawks had told him it could be verbal or written, and Dabi immediately said he would write it.

He stared blankly at the screen for ten minutes, and barely registered Hawks saying goodbye and flying out the window to head to the agency.

What should he say? How much should he say? Maybe he should do this another time. He was still feeling drained from therapy, after all. He wasn’t in the right headspace. Fuck, but maybe that was the right headspace for something like this. In any case, he needed to get it done by the end of the week, and it would be best to get it out of the way sooner.

By the time Hawks got back from work hours later, Dabi was still in the same position on the couch. He might have dissociated for a while, actually, but he had a grand total of eight words typed. His neck was hurting.

My name is Dabi, but it’s also Touya.

That was it.

“Babe? Baaabe? You there? I brought takeout.”

Hawks was waving a hand in front of his face like an idiot, and Dabi blinked.

“This isn’t working. I have no idea what to write.” He grumbled.

Hawks plopped down on the couch beside him, frowning sympathetically.

“Try again tomorrow. Just go with what feels right, and Hana will let you know if there’s anything you need to change. Maybe you could talk to your siblings about what they’re saying, too.”

“Maybe,” he agreed, snapping the laptop closed and resting it beside him.

“For now, let’s eat! No talk of anything serious for the rest of the evening. Unless it’s super important. But I want to relax with you, right now.” Hawks looked tired as hell, and Dabi could relate. He wanted nothing more than to just spend some quiet time with Hawks, too.

They chatted and ate and watched a couple episodes of an old Western show that Hawks seemed to like for some reason. It was about a really outgoing mother and her smart daughter and their day to day lives in a small town. Dabi didn’t personally get the appeal, but Hawks was obsessed, so he didn’t complain. It wasn’t all that bad actually. Their lives were so mundane and charming that it was a nice distraction from the chaos that was reality.

At midnight, they both texted Shouto happy birthday, and they each got a thanks and a smiley face back.

Hawks dragged him to bed after that, and Dabi found himself actually looking forward to the next day. He would see his family for something as happy as a birthday, and they’d celebrate in a way they were never able to before. Even though the looming threat of the League of Villains was ever present (that damn text was going to come any day now, he could feel it) and the situation with his father was still a mess, he felt… good.

 


 

“Okay but… why can’t we just put everything into one bowl and mix it together?” Hawks asked.

“That’s not how it works! Baking is a science, it requires precision. We need to mix the dry ingredients separately so everything is evenly dispersed.”

“Okay, okay!” Hawks raised his hands in surrender. “How do you know all of this anyway?”

Dabi frowned cutely, and began carefully measuring the dry ingredients and adding them to a mixing bowl. “I cooked a lot, before. Mom wasn’t well, so Fuyumi and I took on a lot of chores, including cooking. But baking… It was something I did with mom when we could. Before she… yeah. Even though I was really little, she let me measure and mix. It was nice, even though it was a rare occurrence. Pass the sieve?”

Hawks did not know what a sieve was, let alone that he owned one, so he just grabbed the tool that was sitting next to him on the counter and passed it to Dabi. Luckily, that was it.

“That does sound nice.” Hawks smiled. “What would you make?”

“We made cookies, usually. Sugar cookies, shortbread cookies… Natsuo used to get in trouble for eating too many and giving himself a stomachache. Mom would pinch his cheeks and scold him lightly, but she didn’t really care.” Dabi snorted, shook his head, and kept working. He was very methodical. It was nice to watch. “We weren’t allowed sugary foods, usually. Father was strict about our diets, said that he would absolutely not ‘be seen with fat kids’ when he saw the slightest bit of a stomach on Natsuo. He was like, seven. So, whenever we had the chance to eat anything that wasn’t grass, we all took advantage.” Dabi seemed to realize what he’d said, and he paused, staring into the bowl with a blank look on his face.

Hawks’ heart sank, and he scrambled to change the topic.

“Ah! You know what we need? Some music. Some bangers! I have the perfect playlist.”

He pulled out his phone and connected it to his Bluetooth speakers, and scrolled until he found the playlist.

Dabi had moved onto the wet ingredients by the time the first song began, and he cracked a smile.

“Your music taste is so predictable.”

“Shut up! So is yours, Mr. Emo. There’s nothing wrong with a little T-Swift!”

“Never said there was, birdie.”

“Ohh, now this is interesting. What’s your favourite Taylor song, then?”

Dabi hummed thoughtfully and gave him a shit eating grin.

“That is a secret I will never tell,”

“I’ll sabotage the recipe if you don’t spill!”

Dabi actually looked horrified for a second until Hawks started laughing at him. Then he looked annoyed.

“You’re the worst.” Hawks could tell he didn’t mean it.

“You’re so cute when you’re grumpy.” Hawks cooed, hopping down from the counter to grab something to drink. Dabi just shook his head and kept baking away. Hawks really was intending to help, but watching and being the taste tester was probably the safest bet for everyone’s taste buds.

“If you’re too embarrassed to tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine. Well, there’s multiple since it’s impossible to choose just one, but I’ve always been fond of Style.”

Dabi wrinkled his nose and shrugged. “To each their own,”

Hawks chattered away while Dabi finished the batter, and then he fetched the cake pan from the cupboard. They were making a light vanilla chiffon cake, since Shouto preferred vanilla over chocolate and wasn’t a fan of dense cake, or so Dabi claimed. Dabi poured the mixture into the pan and popped it in the pre-heated oven, a satisfied look on his face.

“I hope he likes it.” Dabi muttered as they got started on making the icing.

“I’m sure he will,” Hawks assured.

Hawks’ phone buzzed and he unlocked it to check his texts.

hana m.: The article’s coming along well. It will probably be finished by the beginning of next week. Tell D not to stress about the statement, it’s exactly what I needed.

ok! ty for the update. will let him know. ur the best hana, thank u for this.

hana m.: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Bringing down assholes is always satisfying. It’s probably the best part of my job :)

Hawks snorted and shut off his phone.

“Hana says to not stress about your statement, and you don’t need to change anything.”

“If only it were that simple. I still feel like I didn’t say what I wanted to say properly…”

Forty minutes later, they were icing the cake. Hawks took on the task of colouring some of the icing blue, so he could write ‘happy birthday Shouto!’ on it, but the rest of it was white. He kept swiping it off the spatula with his finger to eat it, even though Dabi would swat his hand away every time. It tasted good, so Hawks had no regrets.

The whole day had been so peaceful. Hawks had left the office early and gone grocery shopping for the ingredients right after lunch; Dabi had sent him a very detailed shopping list, and then he’d gone home for the rest of the day. When he got home, Dabi had been in a really good mood and they’d kissed on the couch until they decided they should probably start preparing for Shouto’s birthday dinner. It was all so… good. So good it made him antsy. It felt almost like the calm before an imminent storm.

When the cake was finished and stored away in the fridge, Dabi immediately began pulling out the ingredients for dinner, and Hawks washed the baking utensils. Domesticity was something he’d never imagined sharing with Dabi, but he had to admit it made him feel warm all over. Just being in Dabi’s orbit made him feel warm all over, like Dabi was the sun. He did burn bright, after all.

“It’s Safe and Sound.” Dabi blurted out of absolutely nowhere.

Hawks stopped washing and looked over his shoulder to smile at Dabi. “That’s, like, her darkest song. Very on brand for you.”

“It’s like a lullaby.” Dabi had that faraway look on his face again, like he was being sucked into the past, into painful memories, but it was gone in a flash. They lapsed into a comfortable silence again as they worked, until Dabi broke it after a few minutes. “Hey, Hawks.”

“Uh huh?”

“I… I — Shit.”

Hawks abandoned the dishes and turned to fully face his boyfriend. He was getting worried now.

“What’s wrong?”

“I just… I’ve been thinking. About us. A lot, since I have so much time on my hands every damn day.”

Hawks’ eyes widened and his heart picked up speed.

“No, not anything bad, relax!” Dabi continued quickly. “It just kind of shocks me. How well we… fit together? And I feel really good, which is weird, because I don’t usually.” He cleared his throat awkwardly. “What I’m trying to say is thanks, I guess. For putting up with my shit. For being here. There’s stuff you don’t know, about me, but I feel… safe with you, so I promise I’ll tell you when I’m ready. I hope it doesn’t scare you off.” He chuckled darkly, and turned back to the noodles.

Hawks felt his eyes begin to sting and he blinked the tears away. “Nothing's gonna scare me away, idiot. I’m in this for the long haul, and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. And you don’t need to thank me for loving you. It’s not… hard. I just do.” He huffed a breath and scrubbed at his eyes. “C’mere,”

Dabi crossed the kitchen and didn’t hesitate to accept the hug when Hawks opened his arms. He squeezed back just as tightly as Hawks, who nuzzled into the crook of Dabi’s neck and inhaled his smoky scent.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know why I just said all that.” Dabi mumbled into Hawks’ hair.

“You can always say whatever’s on your mind with me, okay?”

“Okay. Will you do the same? I’m here for you, too.”

Hawks swallowed around the lump in his throat, and squeezed Dabi even tighter. “Of course, love.” Not for the first time, Hawks was struck by how precious Dabi’s heart was. How underneath it all, he was so soft. He could imagine him as a kid, how beautiful and compassionate he must have been before his life was ruined. It broke Hawks’ heart, what had happened to that boy… but to see that Dabi was still capable of such tenderness — and to be on the receiving end of it — healed it right back up. They held each other for as long as they needed, and Dabi pulled away to get back to preparing the food. The others were supposed to arrive at around six thirty, so they still had time. Hawks was excited to spend some time with the Todoroki’s, and actually just have a good time with them. He could tell Dabi was excited too. There was a nervousness there, as well, but he was a far cry from the personification of anxiety he’d been right before he first reunited with them.

At six twenty-five, Hawks surveyed the apartment and deemed it presentable. The living room was only minimally cluttered with Dabi’s books and some of Hawks’ comics that Dabi had borrowed, but there was no garbage or anything laying around. The kotatsu was spotless, but it didn’t matter much since tonight they’d be eating in the washitsu, since it was a special occasion. He’s pretty sure the last time he ate in there was when he’d first moved into the apartment two years ago and Rumi insisted on having a housewarming party with a few other heroes. Dabi had already set the table, straightened the tatami mats, and made sure there were enough cushions for everyone. He grumbled at having to do all the work, but honestly he was just so efficient that before Hawks knew it, there was nothing else for him to do.

A few minutes later, Hawks had buzzed everyone up, and his apartment was filled with the Todoroki siblings, Rumi, and… a familiar green haired kid who was hand in hand with Shouto, looking so very awkward. Midoriya? Was that his name?

Dabi was pulling away from his hugs with Fuyumi and Natsuo when he registered the unfamiliar presence and stiffened. Hawks tensed, and Shouto looked between Midoriya and Dabi and shrugged. “I guess I forgot to tell you he was coming. Sorry.”

Fuyumi sighed and shook her head, Natsuo facepalmed. Midoriya’s face turned an alarming shade of red and he began to stutter out an apology, bowing deeply. Hawks eyed Dabi and as soon as he saw his expression, he knew he wasn’t mad, just surprised.

“No, it’s fine. I just didn’t know he knew. About me.” Dabi said quickly.

“Oh. He’s known since I’ve known.” Shouto admitted. “He’s like… family to me. I had to tell him, or he would’ve worried himself sick wondering what was going on.”

“It’s true.” Midoriya scratched his neck sheepishly at that, and Shouto gazed at him fondly. He looked softer than he’d ever seen him.

Oh… oh.

“Hold up. Is everyone here gay?” Hawks blurted.

Everyone’s eyes flicked to him, and after a beat of silence, they all started laughing.

“What?! It’s a valid question!”

With that, the ice was broken, and everyone began to talk comfortably. They settled in the living room for a bit, and Hawks got drinks for everyone. The apartment was filled with laughter and loud, cheerful voices (mostly Natsuo, Rumi and Hawks, to be honest — but the others were having a good time as well, although they were naturally quieter).

Hawks was watching Dabi interact with his family, and soaking it all in. The small knowing smiles he and Fuyumi shared, the awkward but playful ribbing with Natsuo, Shouto hesitantly showing him pictures of the party his class had surprised him with yesterday on his phone. He looked happy, and Hawks wished he could look like that all the time.

“Hawks?” A quiet, nervous voice snapped him from his thoughts. It was Midoriya, sat next to him, who had switched spots with Rumi without Hawks noticing.

“What’s up, kid?”

“Um, I wanted to thank you. For doing the right thing about Endeavor. I’ve known about the abuse for… a while, now.” He said, quietly so as to not be overheard. “Shouto never wanted to go to our teachers or the police, and I swore not to tell — I didn’t want to hurt him even more, and it was just… so complicated. I wanted to protect him, to make things right, but it seemed so out of reach… but now things are changing. And it’s thanks to you. So, thank you for being a true hero. I’ll always support you!”

Hawks was blinded by his earnestness. Shouto really must have kept him updated on every little thing, and Hawks was happy he had someone he could trust so deeply, someone to confide in about all the shit that’d been happening.

“I’m in a position of power. I knew I could do something, and… I wanted to help. Needed to. You don’t need to thank me, Midoriya, but I appreciate your words very much.”

Midoriya looked pleased and he flashed Hawks a bright smile.

A few minutes later, everyone migrated to the washitsu to eat. Dabi and Hawks brought in all of the food (enough cold soba and toppings to feed an army, plus an assortment of tempura) and set it down on the low dining table. Once they were all seated around the table, they gave their thanks, and began to eat.

 


 

It was strange, sharing a meal like this. Dabi hadn’t done it in so long.

But, it was nice. Shouto was happily eating his noodles and shaking his head at his boyfriend, who couldn’t stop asking Miruko questions. Hawks and Fuyumi were talking about some TV show they both loved, and Natsuo was whining to Dabi about being the only single person at the table.

“I mean, I think I’m plenty charming! But for some reason my pick up lines never work.”

“Is that so,” Dabi snickered.

Natsuo pouted. “You’re mean. Give me some brotherly advice, man!”

“I’m the worst possible person you could’ve picked. I have nothing to tell you.”

“You’re in a relationship! I bet you wooed Hawks somehow.”

“I didn’t, actually. Not at all. I probably did the opposite.”

Natsuo just sighed and shook his head. “Well, I’m happy for you. You deserve this.”

Dabi swallowed some noodles and blinked at Natsuo. His baby brother was so grown up (and taller than him, tragically), and Dabi had missed everything. When he’d left, Natsuo had been nine. Now, he was nineteen, and pursuing his dreams. He felt a swell of pride, and he ruffled Natsuo’s snowy white hair the way he always used to.

“Thank you. And stop whining. You’ll find someone in no time, or someone will find you. Just keep being yourself.”

Natsuo’s face softened and his eyes shined with emotion. “Thanks,”

All the food was inhaled in what felt like no time, and Dabi was quietly pleased that everyone seemed to have enjoyed it, and while everyone was talking, Dabi slipped away to the kitchen to get the cake. He was putting on the candles when Hawks joined him.

“Fuyumi just told me that you made Shouto’s favourite food,” Hawks said, sidling up next to him. “She was happy you remembered.”

Dabi began to light the six candles he’d placed artfully on the cake with a flamed fingertip.

“I tried to forget them, sometimes. Pretend I was a whole different person,” he admitted, quietly. “The memories were painful. Even the good ones. But… it never really worked.”

“I’m glad you have each other, again.” Hawks said earnestly.

“Me too,”

Hawks carried the cake to the dining room, while Dabi carried the plates and cutlery. As soon as the others noticed the cake, they began singing happy birthday (in several different keys, much to the pain of Dabi’s ears). Dabi watched Shouto’s face crumple a little as the cake was placed in front of him, and a lump formed in his throat. Did he not like the cake for some reason?

“T-thank you.” Shouto said, voice watery, after he had blown out the candles. He looked around at everyone before his eyes settled on Dabi, who had taken his seat across from him again. He twisted his hands together, waiting for the ball to drop.

Shouto seemed to notice Dabi’s nervousness and he shook his head, scrubbing at his eyes. “Don’t worry, I’m just really happy right now. Thank you.”

“Oh. You’re welcome. I, uh, hope you like it.” Dabi said.

Shouto gave him a small smile, which Dabi returned, and Hawks began to cut the cake. Everyone seemed to love it, and Dabi rolled his eyes at Hawks’ over the top compliments (although they did make him feel warm all over). Shouto liked it so much that he ate two slices.

Dabi had to admit that it did taste pretty fucking good.

Also, watching Hawks eat it was some sort of torture. Goddamn, why did he need to lick the icing off of his fork like that? Just why? Dabi intensely ignored the tug in his belly he felt as he discreetly watched him.

By the end of it, there were only three slices left, and Dabi packed them up so Shouto could take them with him. Everyone was full and happy and it was the best Dabi had felt in a long, long time.

The whole evening, he’d actually felt like they were a family again. He didn’t want them to leave.

But, it was past nine o’clock and everyone (besides him) had school and work the next day. He hugged each of his siblings goodbye, and they all promised to visit again soon. Miruko smiled at him genuinely, and Shouto’s boyfriend gave him a hesitant wave. All in all, it was a successful night, and he actually found himself looking forward to the next time they’d be able to do it.

“That was fun,” Hawks said, passing him another plate to dry. “Don’t even try to deny it! I could tell you had a good time.”

“I wasn’t going to deny it,”

“You were positively glowing tonight. You really look so cute when you smile. I wanted to kiss you every time.” Hawks sighed dramatically and gave up on washing the chopsticks, turning towards Dabi with a certain look in his eye.

“I’ll never understand how you can just say shit like that,” Dabi muttered, suddenly feeling hot all over. He set the dish towel on the counter.

“Well, I like to make you blush,” Hawks smirked. Dabi knew just how to wipe that smirk off his face. He grabbed him by the waist, tugged him closer and kissed him slowly. Hawks grabbed a fistful of Dabi’s hair and deepened the kiss with a moan. Dabi felt arousal stirring in his gut, hot and squirmy, and his mind blissed out. All he could think was Hawks, Hawks, Hawks, a mantra. Dabi picked him up and set him on the kitchen island, and Hawks’ straddled Dabi with his legs. Dabi began to kiss the length of Hawks’ soft neck, nibbling lightly. He must’ve hit a sensitive spot, because Hawks gasped and shuddered under his touch. Hawks’ legs tightened around Dabi’s hips and Dabi switched back to Hawks’ lips. They’d never made out with such intensity before, and the air was charged with arousal.

Hawks pulled away and eyed him, eyes blown wide. “Woah there, hot stuff. I’m not complaining, I’m definitely not complaining, but you’re not usually this... enthusiastic,” his hand moved from Dabi’s hair to the nape of his neck. “Which is perfectly fine.”

“I wanted to try something different,”

Hawks licked his lips and nodded. “Wanna move this to the bedroom?”

Dabi laid on his back, gasping as Hawks peppered kisses from his bare chest down to his stomach, and then down to his pelvis. When they’d reached the bedroom, they’d continued to kiss, each of them taking the lead at some point, and then Hawks was taking his shirt off and Dabi was pulling down his pants, and they were rutting against one another in their boxers like two teenagers. It was a little embarrassing. Now, all of their clothes were in a heap on the bedroom floor, and Dabi’s stomach was fluttering with nerves, anxiety clawing at his chest. Hawks was about to blow him, he was completely exposed, and he wanted this, he did. But.

No buts, he wanted this.

“Babe, are you okay? Is this okay?” Hawks asked for the hundredth time.

Dabi was going to say yes, he really was, but the word just didn’t come out. Fuck. He’d pushed himself too much, his erection was flagging, and he really probably shouldn’t have lost control like he had. The whole day had just been so good, and he’d been so happy, he thought this was attainable.

At Dabi’s silence, Hawks immediately scrambled up from the bed. “Are you okay? Was it something I did?” His voice was shaking a little.

“No! No, fuck, it’s me I - I’m sorry,” Dabi said. “I don’t think I’m ready.” Suddenly, he felt much too exposed, and he sat up and covered himself with the sheets.

Dabi watched Hawks pick his boxers up off the floor and pull them back on before he climbed onto the bed again and sat across from Dabi.

“Talk to me,” Hawks said quietly. “What’s going on?”

Dabi closed his eyes and grabbed a fistful of sheets to stop his hands from shaking.

“I’m sorry. I should’ve said something sooner but… I just couldn’t. Like I said earlier, I didn’t want to scare you off.”

“What is it?”

Hawks sounded so sad, Dabi could only assume he’d already figured it out.

Dabi was going to just say it. Rip off the fucking bandaid. He opened his eyes.

“I was a prostitute for a while when I was on the streets. A whore, a slut, whatever you want to call it. I was pathetic, really. But I was that fucking desperate.” His voice shook and he hated it. “There were more people than I thought that were into fucking freaks like me, and a lot of them were creeps who had no problem fucking a minor. I never wanted it, but I acted like I did, pretended they made me feel good, and I always felt like dirt after.” He watched as Hawks’ face grew darker and darker. “I thought I would eventually get used to it but I never did. It fucked me up bad. Obviously.” Dabi couldn’t bare to look at Hawks any longer, so he looked down at his hands.

Oh. He’d singed the sheets.

“I’m… I’m really sorry.”

“Dabi, stop! Do not apologize!” Hawks exclaimed, voice thick with emotion. “I’m not upset with you. I’m upset about what happened to you, and I fucking wish it never did.”

Dabi met his eyes again. Hawks looked stricken.

“I swear I want you. I want to have sex. I fantasize about it sometimes, and in those fantasies it’s so good. But I… It’s too much, in reality, and it probably will be too much for a while.” An overwhelming sense of exhaustion came over him.

“Dabi. Baby. It’s okay. We’ll work through this, and if you ever want to try again, we can. And if you never do, that’s fine. I promise, it’s fine.” Hawks never broke eye contact with him once as he said it.

Dabi nodded weakly, and reached for Hawks’ hand.

“I’m tired,” he muttered.

“Let’s go to bed, then,” Hawks rubbed Dabi’s knuckles gently and joined him under the covers. He sent a feather to flick off the lamp light. They laid down on their sides.

“What can I do? To help you?” Hawks whispered into the darkness.

Dabi thought it over for a minute. Too much contact wouldn’t be good, but… “Could you scratch my head?”

“Sure,” and then Hawks’ fingers were gently carding through Dabi’s hair. He closed his eyes and started to slowly feel himself relax.

“I love you,” Hawks said. “I love you so much and it kills me to see you hurting. I’ll do whatever I can to help, always.”

He didn’t say so, but Hawks just being Hawks helped, always.

Dabi blinked at Hawks’ form blearily, his eyes still adjusting to the dark. He was angry with himself for ruining what would have been a perfect ending to a great night, and the fact that he was too messed up to handle it. He tried to focus on Hawks’ words and the soothing touch of his hand and the softness of the sheets, tried to ground himself.

“I love you too,”

Hawks’ hand drifted down to caress Dabi’s cheek.

Dabi was about to drift off when his phone buzzed with an incoming text. Maybe Fuyumi forgot her gloves or something? He sighed and grabbed his phone from the bedside table, unlocking it and cringing at the sudden brightness.

As soon as he saw the message, he dropped his phone onto the bed as if it were a hot coal.

Fuck. Fuck! “Fuck.

S: Tonight. 1:00.

Hawks groaned. “Oh no. No, no. Please don’t tell me.”

“Hawks,” he muttered. “It’s time. Shigaraki messaged.”

Dabi turned on the lamp again and got out of bed, hastily pulling his clothes on. Sleep would have to wait.

“I mean what the fuck. Talk about bad timing,” Hawks muttered angrily as he started getting into his hero costume. “How long do we have?”

Dabi checked the clock. It was almost 11:30. “We need to be in position in an hour.”

Hawks cursed, grabbed his phone and typed a quick message. “I just alerted the team.”

Dabi nodded and closed his eyes. He took a few deep breaths. They’d known this was coming, and it was time to focus.

“C’mon, let’s go.” Hawks was all business now.

Once they were on the balcony, they assumed their usual flying position, and Hawks took off for his agency. They were the first to arrive in the briefing room, and Hawks quickly began to fit Dabi with a comm, a tracking device, and a recording device. They were so small, Dabi barely even noticed them on him. The whole team knew the exact location of the hideout, but they needed to track Dabi just in case Shigaraki decided to switch locations.

It only took ten minutes for the other heroes to arrive, all on high alert.

“Remember, Dabi. Do not blow your cover.” Eraserhead said, once they finished briefing and fitting themselves with comms.

“I won’t.”

Everyone went their separate ways (so as to not draw suspicion) but Hawks stayed with Dabi to fly him closer to the hideout. They flew in silence before Hawks landed in a dark alleyway about a ten minute walk from the hideout. There wasn’t really time to spare, but Hawks still hugged him firmly.

“If anything seems amiss, text the code word, and remember to keep your comm on at all times so we can hear what’s happening.”

Dabi nodded. He knew the drill. Hawks pulled away, tried for a smile. “See you on the other side,” and then he was soaring up and out of sight.

Dabi pulled his hood over his head and began to slink through the alleyways, making his way to the shitty new and unimproved hideout the League held their meetings in.

The storm had come, and it was time to weather it.

When Dabi reached the building it was exactly 12:59. He made his way through the dark, dingy and faintly damp smelling halls, and Dabi cringed, all too aware that he was breathing in moldy air. He eventually reached a set of stairs leading down, and then he was there. He pushed the door open and was immediately accosted by Toga, who was giddily excited to see him.

“Dabi, Dabi, Dabi! I’ve missed you sooo much!” She sing-songed, clasping her hands together in excitement, grinning toothily at him.

“I have so much to tell you! Let’s see… ooh! I met a cute boy the other day!”

Dabi stalked away from her and dumped himself on the threadbare couch next to Spinner. “She’s talking about her latest victim isn’t she?” Dabi pinched the bridge of his nose, already annoyed.

“Well, duh! He was so pretty all covered in bruises and bleeding. I can still hear his screams!” She sighed dreamily.

“Enough! Cut the shit. Let’s get started.” Shigaraki growled from his perch on the bar.

“Aww Shiggy, always so serious.” Toga pouted, but thankfully she quieted after that.

The members all got down to business, reporting on whatever the fuck they were up to, and Dabi waited until his turn. He made up some bullshit about how nobody he had found was worthy of joining the League, and he could tell Shigaraki didn’t buy it, but he just grumbled and that was that.

Dabi didn’t mean to zone out, but he did, and then he was roughly elbowed in the side by Spinner and brought to attention.

“We’ll attack the week after next. Even though you’re all apparently useless, I’ve been working hard for this, and I have found some willing participants.” Shigaraki was saying, scratching at his neck. “All Might will be groveling at my feet, begging me to stop. The whole of hero society will crumble under my hand.”

Dabi clenched his fists and discreetly looked at the clock. Any second, that door would be broken down and minutes after that, all of these idiots would be arrested. As much they could put up a fight, the heroes were far better fighters. The biggest issue would be Gigantomachia. He was one strong motherfucker. But Dabi was sure if they teamed up, or if Mt. Lady got him outside, they could take him out.

“Dabi. How’s that bird of yours? Do you trust him?”

Dabi swallowed and eyed Shigaraki warily. “Yeah, I do. He’ll help us. I’m sure he’ll pass your test with flying colours.”

Shigaraki’s eyes glinted dangerously. “I hope you’re right about him.”

“I am.”

The one lightbulb that hung down from the center of the ceiling flickered ominously.

Dabi’s heart was beating so hard he could hear it in his ears.

And then, it happened.

Miruko kicked down the door with a sharp grin and came charging into the room. The rest of the heroes were in position behind her. The league were on high alert, and Shigaraki was fuming, then the fight began.

Miruko decked Twice in the face, Kamui Woods had Spinner and a shrieking Toga captured in his quirk, and Hawks had two gleaming red feather blades in his hands and he was quickly incapacitating Mr. Compress. Dabi watched the chaos unfold around him and he itched to help, especially when he realized that Spinner had escaped Kamui’s branches and was heading right towards Hawks, but he was under orders not to engage unless provoked.

Suddenly Shigaraki was right in front of him his hand coming towards Dabi’s neck. Dabi ducked and got into defensive position.

“You did this,” Shigaraki hissed. “You’re a filthy traitor, aren’t you.”

Dabi narrowed his eyes and set one of his hands on fire.

“I saw you looking at your bird, looking like you wanted to help him. None of them are attacking you. You led them right to us.”

“Yeah I fucking did.” Dabi spat. “What are you going to do about it?”

Shigaraki was angry. He grabbed Dabi by the arm, disintegrating the sleeve of his jacket, and hissed into his ear.

“I’m going to destroy your pet.”

Dabi pulled away from Shigaraki and lunged at his throat. His flames licked the side of Shigaraki’s face, but he just laughed and ran towards where Hawks was finishing up with Spinner on the other side of the cavernous basement.

Dabi cursed and charged after him, activating his quirk again. Hawks was strong, a way better fighter than Shigaraki, but all it took was a single opening or Shigaraki to decay his prey.

Hawks shoved an unconscious and handcuffed Spinner aside, and whirled around. He sent several sharp feathers in Shigaraki’s direction, a couple of them bucking him, and then he kicked Shigaraki in the crotch with a grimace on his face.

Shigaraki was not having it, and he lunged for Hawks’ wings. Dabi was about to go help him when he was kicked to the ground. Goddamn. His head hit the ground and he was blinded by the sharp, searing pain. When he began to pick himself up again, a heavy weight settled on his back and he was shoved to the ground again.

There was only one person that could be. Gigantomachia. God fucking dammit.

Dabi was picked up unceremoniously and thrown against the wall. He his left side took most of the hit, and he heard a sickening crunch, and then felt a rush of pain through his arm. He gritted his teeth, held back a scream of pain, and threw his deadliest glare at the hulking man.

“Don’t bring the building down, shitstain.” He spat, trying to get to his feet. It wasn’t graceful, but he managed. By some grace of God, before the giant could attack Dabi again, Mt. Lady, Miruko and Eraserhead were on him.

Dabi ignored the pain tearing through him and zeroed in on Hawks again.

When he saw him, his heart stopped.

“I’m going to fucking burn you to ashes, you piece of shit!” Dabi screamed.

Shigaraki had somehow gotten ahold of Hawks. He was straddling him on the dirty floor, with a sick grin on his face. One of Hawks’ wings was half decayed, his left arm was bleeding profusely, and Shigaraki’s hand was wrapped around his neck, only his pinky not making contact with the skin. Just before Dabi launched himself at Shigaraki, he set his pinky down, and Hawks began to writhe and scream in pain. The skin beneath Shigaraki’s fingers was crumbling away in a bloody mess, revealing the tissue underneath.

Dabi kicked Shigaraki off of Hawks and blasted him with fire. His arm caught fire, and he stumbled away, laughing even though he must’ve been in incredible pain.

Dabi crouched down beside Hawks and frantically put pressure on the wound with the first thing he saw that could do the job; a long feather that was on the floor next to Hawks. It was soaked in seconds, and Dabi’s hands were stained red.

“Shit, shit, shit,” Dabi’s words shook.

He could faintly hear Miruko screaming at Shigaraki and the thunk of a body hitting the floor. Miruko probably kicked him right in the head. He was going to be out for a while.

“What the fuck happened?” He asked, trying not to let his emotions take over.

“I got… distracted… I saw you go down.” Hawks choked out.

“You idiot! I was fine!”

Hawks just closed his eyes. “Oh, fuck no. Keep looking at me.” Dabi insisted. The room was quiet, except for the sound of heavy breathing. The fight was over, and they’d won.

“Dabi! We need to go.” Miruko said from over his shoulder. “He needs medical attention right fucking now.” She said quickly. “Everyone else is out. Can you carry him?”

She had a restrained and unconscious Shigaraki slung over her shoulder, and Dabi nodded.

He picked Hawks up very carefully, and held him in his arms the way Hawks always held him when they flew.

When they got outside, the police were already there, as well as an ambulance, and Dabi practically ran over to the vehicle. The paramedics took Hawks from him and began to do what they could for the time being, and it was all a blur after that.

He vaguely registered Miruko talking to him in a hushed tone, and someone gently bandaging his head. It hurt, a lot. He probably had a concussion. He thinks he asked for Hawks, over and over again, until someone put a blanket over his shoulders, and then everything went dark.

(“Oh, darling. You look so handsome!” His mother exclaimed, smoothing a hand over his unruly red hair.

He smiled hesitantly. “I do? Even with this?” He pointed to the bruise on his cheek.

His mom’s own smile faltered, but only for a split second. “Yes! Even with that. You’re my dashing, handsome boy. Are you excited?”

“Yeah! I can’t wait to hear the music!”

“What about the pretty dancing?” Fuyumi asked quietly. She was fixing the bow in her hair.

“That’s cool too, but I really like the music!” Touya said.

“I like the tutus!” Natsuo chirped.

“Alright, let’s get going!” His mother said, clapping her hands together.

“Swan Lake! Swan Lake!” Natsuo cheered. Touya laughed and Fuyumi smiled.

They walked out to the car, said hello to the driver, and then Touya sat next to his mama. He rested his head on her swollen stomach, and closed his eyes.

“When’s he coming, mama?”

“Any day now, baby.” His mom stroked his hair. She sounded a little sad.

“I still wish he was a girl.” Fuyumi sighed sadly from her seat. “We’re gonna be even more outnumbered now, mama.”

His mom laughed quietly.

Touya gasped and looked up excitedly. “I just felt a kick!”

“I felt it too, sweetie. I — “

His mama stilled, and Touya got worried.

“Mama what’s wrong?”

Her face crumpled and she began to sob wildly, her hands clutched at her stomach and she scratched and scratched and Touya didn’t know what was wrong with his mama but he didn’t like it one bit.

“No, no, no! NO! Shouto I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I can’t bring you into this life. I can’t let that man near you, I can’t, I won’t!” She was screaming. He had never seen his mom like this and it really scared him. Natsuo had started to cry and Fuyumi was holding onto him, trying to calm him down.

The driver pulled over. Touya began to shake. His mama kept wailing.

They missed Swan Lake, but later that night mama came into his room and hummed the music just for him.)

 

The first thing Dabi heard when he woke was beeping. Then he heard a soft (familiar) voice humming, and felt a hand stroking his hair. He blinked blearily and when his eyes opened, everything was white.

He must’ve been in a hospital. He hated hospitals.

His head began to pound and his arm ached and then he was asleep again.

 

(Hawks was laughing, laughing, laughing. It was the sweetest sound Dabi had ever heard.

Everyone was there: Fuyumi, Natsuo, mom, Shouto, Hawks. They were all smiling, and sunlight was streaming into the living room. He hugged Hawks and inhaled the sweet scent of the lavender shampoo that he always used. He closed his eyes and let the sounds of his family talking and laughing wash over him. Everything felt right.

All of a sudden, a very familiar scent invaded his nose. Burning. It was the scent of burning flesh, and suddenly an overwhelming heat enveloped him. He opened his eyes and the room was on fire. Everything burned blue, and right in front of him stood his family. Every single one of them was burning. Their flesh began to melt, but they didn’t scream.

“Look what you’ve done to us.” They said. “How could you?”

Dabi screamed until his throat was raw and he watched everyone crumble to ash. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t blink, all he could do was scream. Then, his father appeared, standing on top of the ashes. “You should have stayed dead.”

The room spun and spun until it wasn’t a living room at all, it was the dingy hideout, and Hawks was lying on the floor. His wings were a mangled mess and blood pooled all around him. His face was almost completely decayed, and he wasn’t breathing. Dabi ran towards him and searched for a pulse, but it was useless. He was gone.

Cold laughter trickled into his ear and Shigaraki appeared from the shadows.

“This is what you get for betraying me. No more birdie. How sad.” He taunted.

“You’re next,” and then Shigaraki’s hand covered his face. )
Dabi woke with a gasp to a loud and incessant beeping. He felt awful, but he wasn’t in pain.

Thank you drugs.

He realized that the beeping was his heart monitor, and that it was very, very fast. He tried to slow his breathing and calm down, and was somewhat successful. Someone called his name softly, and he opened his eyes to a concerned looking nurse holding a cup of water.

“Would you like some?” She asked. He sat up slowly and nodded, taking the water.

By the time he finished gulping it down, a doctor strolled into the room.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Todoroki. I’m Dr. Tsubasa Rina. How are you feeling?”

“I’ve been worse. What time is it?” He asked.

She smiled wryly. “It’s half past one. You’ve been here since around three o’clock in the morning. You have a broken arm, a mild concussion, and two fractured ribs. Plus some bruising. We’ve set your arm and given you some painkillers, and we also applied some burn cream to your scars.” She explained. “You’ll be free to go this evening. You’ve also had some visitors! They’ll be happy to know you’re awake, now.”

He nodded, still feeling dazed, and then he remembered.

“Hawks? Where is he? Is he okay?” He asked urgently. The beeps of the heart monitor sped up again.

“He’s recovering across the hall, and he’s just fine. Recovery Girl is with him.”

Dabi sagged in relief. “Okay. Thank you.”

“You can visit him if you feel up to it,” the doctor smiled. “I’ll check up on you again later. If you need anything before then, just press that button,” she gestured to a button next to his bed, “and Miyu here will assist you.”

The nurse waved hesitantly, and then they both left.

Dabi started down at the white cast his arm was encased in and let his thoughts drift. The League was caught. He was free.

It didn’t quite feel real.

He heard the door open, and he turned his head. “Hello?”

“Dabi?” Fuyumi’s head popped out from behind the partially opened door. “Oh! You’re awake!” She threw the door open fully and hurried into the room, Natsuo and Shouto hot on her heels.

“I’m so glad you’re okay,” she said, taking a seat in one of the chairs next to his bed. Natsuo sat down next to her, and Shouto took a seat on his bed. They all looked exhausted, and Shouto was even wearing pajamas.

“When Rumi called I almost had a heart attack.” Fuyumi said.

“How long have you been here?”

“Since four in the morning,” Natsuo’s words were muffled by a yawn.

“And you haven’t left since?” Dabi asked, shocked.

Fuyumi piped up. “Well, I left at around eight to get — “

She paused and looked between Shouto and Natsuo.

“Mom.” Shouto finished for her. “She’s here.”

Dabi remembered soft humming and a gentle hand in his hair.

“Where… Where is she now?”

“She’s across the hall in Hawks’ room with Rumi. They’ll be here in a minute.” Natsuo said.

Dabi nodded slowly. “I thought she was only allowed to be out for a couple hours.”

“Well, this is an emergency, so…” Fuyumi trailed off.

He swallowed. “Was she in here earlier?”

“Yeah, we all were. She was really worried, and she wouldn’t leave your bedside for hours.” Natsuo said.

Dabi bit his lip.

“We brought you food from the cafeteria.” Shouto said, breaking the awkward silence. “You should eat something to regain your strength.” He handed Dabi a paper bag of food, and Dabi took it with his good hand. He wasn’t very hungry, but he was still grateful.

“Thank you, Shou.”

The siblings quieted, and they all stared at the door in apprehension.

When his mom walked through the door, and he saw her for the first time in ten years, he didn’t know quite how to react. Part of him wanted to cry, part of him wanted to scream, but mostly he just wanted to be held by her.

“Goodness,” she said, pressing a hand to her chest. “You’re properly awake!” She rushed to his bedside and wrapped her arms around him. He returned the hug with his good arm, and tucked his head into the crook of her neck, inhaling her familiar scent.

“Oh, Touya,” her voice shook and it sounded like she was going to cry. “My baby. I missed you so much,”

“I missed you too, mama.” Dabi’s voice broke and he held her tighter, trying his hardest not to cry.

“I always wished you would visit,” she said. “But I understand now why you didn’t.” His mom pulled away and she smiled sadly at him, her hand cupped his scarred cheek.

“I’m sorry, mama.” He stared up at her face, eyes filling with tears. She looked older, but still just as beautiful as he remembered. “I’m so sorry,”

“Oh, hush. I’m just happy you’re safe now.” She said. “I love you so much, Touya. I’m the one who should be apologizing, because I know there were times that… I wasn’t a good mother. In fact, I was a terrible one. I couldn’t protect any of you.” She had begun to cry. “I wish I could have been stronger for you all.”

Now that his mom was crying, he couldn’t hold back his tears any longer, and the floodgates opened.

“It’s alright, mom,” he said. “It’s not your fault.”

She shook her head and hugged him again, holding him for what could have been hours. Nobody spoke, but he thought he heard Fuyumi crying softly and Shouto sniffling.

Dabi felt like he was five years old again, curled up against his mom’s chest as she soothed him to sleep.

But as much as it felt like the past, it also felt like the start of a new beginning.

 


 

Muffled voices and the familiar sounds of hospital filtered through to his muddled brain.

“... awake soon?”

“Perhaps… there was quite a lot to heal so it’s hard to say,”

He groaned and blinked open his eyes, cringing at the brightness.

“Hawks?” A deep, familiar voice called. His sleep addled brain latched onto the sound. “Are you in pain?”

“Dabi?” He rasped. His throat was sore and dry, so he swallowed some saliva. “Are you okay?”

He heard Dabi scoff lightly. “I’m fine, how are you feeling?”

He kept trying to keep his eyes open, but they felt so heavy… ”Tired,”

A hand squeezed his. “Sleep, then.”

“Mmkay… will you stay?”

“I’ll be right here,”

The next time Hawks woke up, he felt a bit more refreshed. He wasn’t in much pain at all, in fact, he was mostly hungry.

Dabi was still holding his hand, but he had fallen asleep in the shitty hospital chair next to Hawks’ bed.

“Dabi?” He squeezed his hand. “Wake up, love,”

Dabi snapped his head up and blinked very fast. “Hawks? Should I get Recovery Girl?”

“No, no, I’m fine! I just thought I should wake you up.”

“Oh.” Dabi’s face relaxed. “How are you feeling?”

“Considering the circumstances, weirdly okay. But I guess I have Recovery Girl to thank for that.”

Hawks sat up in bed and scooted down so he could stretch out his wings properly. “How about you?”

“I’m alright. I’ve been discharged, actually. The worst of it is this.” He held up his left arm. It was covered with a cast that already had some drawings on it.

“Who’s the artist?”

“Shouto and Natsuo. Guess who drew what.”

There were a few doodles of cats, and a single crudely drawn dick. It wasn’t hard to guess, and Hawks laughed.

“Hey. Thank you for saving me.” Hawks said after a moment.

“What the fuck else would I have done?” Dabi said. “Don’t ever scare me like that again though, asshole.” He tried to be flippant, but the emotion in his voice betrayed him.

Hawks smiled. “So when can we get the hell out of here?”

Hawks and Dabi left the hospital an hour later, after Recovery Girl explained Hawks’ injuries and ordered him to rest for at least three days before going back to work. Rumi and Fuyumi drove them to his apartment, and Rumi gave them a report on what happened with the League.

“They’re all in custody. Tsukauchi, Aizawa and a student with some sort of mind control quirk questioned a few of them for some additional information. They got the doctor’s whereabouts, and they brought him in today. They’ll be in Tartarus in a few days time.”

It was past ten o’clock when they reached Hawks’ apartment, and everyone was starving, so Fuyumi ordered pizzas. The four of them sat around the kotatsu and ate, and Hawks drew a cute bird onto Dabi’s cast. They were all subdued, but there was something in the air. Maybe it was hope.

Hawks offered Fuyumi and Rumi the guest bedroom, and they took it. They both wanted to keep an eye on Hawks and Dabi and they didn’t even bother trying to be subtle about it. Hawks didn’t mind, though. It was sweet.

That night as they laid in bed next to each other, Hawks tucked his face into Dabi’s chest and began to cry. He couldn’t really explain why he was so emotional all of a sudden. It could be because he was finally registering all that had happened, or because he was simply exhausted.

Dabi kissed the top of his head and held him close.

“I can’t believe it’s over.” Hawks said.

“Me neither,” Dabi said. “I’m glad it is, though.”

“Oh, fuck yeah. I’m so glad,”

They had the rest of their lives to worry. They had time. Hawks saw endless possibilities, and in each one, he had Dabi by his side.

When he first became friends with Dabi, he wondered over and over if he was making a mistake, if he would regret it later.

A year ago, hell, even six months ago, he never would have imagined himself in this position. But now, he couldn’t imagine himself being anywhere else. Funny how that worked.

“Goodnight. I love you.” He whispered,

Dabi kissed his head again. “I love you, too.”

Yeah. He didn’t regret a single thing.

Chapter Text

one year and three months later

It was the beginning of April; the beginning of spring, and Dabi’s house arrest had ended just about three months ago. They had celebrated by actually leaving the goddamned apartment, and Dabi got to visit Fuyumi and Rumi’s place for the first time. They had moved in together two months into his sentence, and cohabited so well it made Dabi sick, because seriously, what couple was that perfect? When he’d told Fuyumi as much, she’d just laughed, patted his hand and said: “Trust me, we’re far from perfect!” Rumi had walked in the door a minute later holding a bouquet of Fuyumi’s favourite flowers — apparently it was a weekly ritual — and Dabi eyed Fuyumi with a raised brow, completely unimpressed.

They were that couple, but it made Dabi incredibly happy to see his sister so content.

Dabi was content, too. Hawks and him had grown together, over the year of Dabi’s house arrest. They balanced each other out and made each other stronger. It wasn’t always a walk in the park; Dabi had a lot to work through, and Hawks had his fair share of baggage as well. Dabi had learned more about his past, that his family sold him to the Commission when he was a kid and they trained him to be the perfect hero. He learned that he had a name — Takami Keigo — that nobody ever used it, and hadn’t in years, but I wouldn’t mind if you called me that sometimes, Hawks had said.

Dabi said that Hawks could call him Touya sometimes, too.

He was coming to terms with his identity, and reconciling that Touya was a part of him just as much as Dabi was; that they were one in the same.

In rare, hushed moments, Hawks and Dabi became Keigo and Touya, all whispered promises and soft kisses and tender touches that meant devotion, that meant love.

Still though, some days were bad. They would fight and shut each other out and sulk (Dabi did most of the sulking) but those days were outnumbered by the good ones, where they would bicker and joke around and read to each other and kiss. Good days were so good.

Therapy helped, it helped a whole lot. He and Ayane had down trauma focused work for his PTSD. Both for the abuse his father inflicted, and the rapes (because yes, that’s what they had been) he had survived. She was an incredible therapist, and Dabi utilized the techniques she’d given him all the time to come down from a flashback, a panic attack, or dissociative state.

He also hadn’t touched alcohol in over ten months.

Three months into their weekly sessions, Ayane had recommended a therapy pet. Something he could take care of and nurture, that would also provide him comfort. So, he and Hawks had adopted a kitten, a tiny precious black bundle of fur with “Such huge eyes oh my god how is she so cute?” (Dabi had been in love at first sight). He had wanted to name her Neko, but Hawks put his foot down (“You can’t name your cat ‘cat’ you absolute nerd!”) so they settled on Suki.

He was getting better every day with the help of his support system (because he had that now, and they were all incredible.)

Things had died down, things were calmer, and it showed in everyone’s disposition. Shouto’s smiles were more frequent, Dabi laughed with more ease, Hawks’ sleep schedule was the best it had ever been, Fuyumi had broken out of her shell a bit, Natsuo’s anger was no longer a constant throb in his skull, and Rei… Rei was radiant.

She had been discharged from the hospital a month after the end of Dabi’s house arrest, and was living with Fuyumi and Rumi temporarily while she looked for an apartment. She was doing so much better, and was working hard to be the best mother she could be for all of her kids. She was always there for them if they needed anything, and Dabi had tea with her at least once a week.

Every day, Dabi worked on putting his past behind him. Not locking it away, but learning to accept it and move forward.

The League had been in Tartarus for a year, all except for Toga, since she was a minor. She had been placed in a special juvenile detention center for child villains, and was undergoing treatment. Dabi had been incredibly relieved when Hawks had informed him. In the weeks after their incarceration, Hawks and a few other pros took out the remaining Noumu’s, and then the League of Villains was officially done.

Besides the arrest of a major villain group, the public had also had another hot topic to discuss: Endeavor’s domestic violence.

Hana’s article was published exactly one week after the fight with the League, and it had torn through the country like wildfire. Dozens more articles popped up after hers went viral online, and every major news network was talking about it, debating it. The whole country was discussing his family, his past, and his identity was completely public. It was incredibly hard at first, and Dabi had avoided the news as much as he could.

The fact that Endeavor’s abuse had been so severe that one of his sons became a villain and his wife had needed to be hospitalized for her mental health had severely shocked the public.

One thing became absolutely clear in the days after the article’s release: Endeavor’s reputation was in the gutter.

When Dabi had learned that the majority of the public were on his family’s side, that they were sympathetic to their case and calling for justice, he realized that Endeavor was never going to be seen the same again.

Not only had Hana shone light on his abuse, she had also discussed his irresponsible actions he’d made as a hero. He had no regard for civilians when he was fighting, no regard for public property and safety, and the statistics were there to show it. All he cared about was winning, and the public was finally starting to take notice of it.

It had been a slow process, Endeavor’s fall from grace, but oh what a fall it was.

Hawks came home from patrol one day — about six months into Dabi’s house arrest — with an indecipherable expression on his face. When Dabi asked what was wrong, Hawks had broken the news that Endeavor’s hero license had been stripped.

“You’re dating the number one hero, now,” He’d announced with a wry smile.

Dabi couldn’t say that he’d felt happy, exactly, but he’d certainly felt satisfaction.

His father couldn’t touch him, his siblings, or his mom ever again, not unless they chose to see him first. They had a restraining order put in place, and Tsukauchi, Hawks and Aizawa were seeing the case through to the end. They wanted Endeavor behind bars, and they wouldn’t give up. With his reputation in tatters, his license stripped; his pedestal swiped from beneath his feet, Hawks was certain they could do it.

Dabi stayed detached from the judicial side of everything, but he knew he’d need to speak at his father’s trial, whenever it happened. It would be difficult, but he could do it, because he wouldn’t be alone. His family would be there to support him, and he would support them. They would get through it together.

On the morning of April 6th, Dabi woke up to the sounds of birds chirping outside. It was peaceful, and he could feel the heat of the sunlight streaming in from the window, warming his face. The peace was broken when Suki decided to walk across his face. She always slept on the bed with him and Hawks, usually on Dabi’s side, curled up next to his head. She had absolutely no problems stepping on his face to get to her next lounge destination.

“Suki, no,” Dabi said through a yawn, sitting up in bed and stretching his arms over his head.

Hawks groaned from beside him. He was lying face down on his stomach and Suki was strutting across his wings. Hawks flapped them lightly and she hopped down from the bed with an irritated meow.

“What time is it?” Hawks asked, voice muffled by the pillow.

Dabi checked the clock on the bedside table. “Seven.”

“Hell no. I’m goin’ back t’sleep,” he mumbled, “... that damned cat,”

“You love her,”

“I do, but if she sticks her claws into my wings one more time, I swear we’re cutting down to one treat a week.”

“You’re the one that can’t resist her ‘puppy dog eyes’. She’s a cat, she doesn’t even have those.”

“But she does, though.”

“Why don’t you call them kitty cat eyes?”

“Hmm, just doesn’t have the same impact…” Hawks trailed off sleepily.

Dabi watched as Hawks drifted off to sleep. He’d shifted slightly so his head was on its side but he still remained lying down in his stomach. He always looked so cute when he was sleeping, and sometimes he’d make sounds that weren’t quite snoring so much as snuffling. It was adorable.

Dabi’s eyes trailed over Hawks’ relaxed face and fixed right on his neck where the scar Shigaraki had left was visible. It wrapped around the base of his throat and skimmed his collarbone, the strip of pale scar tissue. Seeing the scar always reminded Dabi of that night, of the all consuming fear he’d felt seeing Hawks in that position, and the stomach curdling guilt. Because if Hawks hadn’t gotten distracted because of him, he wouldn’t have almost died.

Then, though, he’d think about the fact that they’d made it out alive. That was what truly mattered.

Dabi decided that Hawks had the right idea about going back to sleep. It was Sunday, they could sleep in if they wanted to. Neither of them had to go into their respective workplaces (Dabi had been volunteering at a non-profit organization dedicated to helping domestic abuse survivors for the past three months to get the 200 hours of community service he needed. He worked at the shelter, and had various duties including cooking. It felt good to help in any way he could.) So, he laid back down and shut his eyes and let the sound of Hawks’ breathing lull him to sleep again.

Later that day, after they’d eaten breakfast and settled into lazing about the apartment, Dabi’s phone rang. He had gotten a new one from Hawks, one with a touch screen, and the contact photo he’d picked for Fuyumi popped up. She was mid-sneeze, holding Suki gingerly, sacrificing her cat allergies to give Suki the pets she had been purring for.

Dabi set his guitar aside and picked up the phone. “What’s up?”

“Can you and Hawks come to park in an hour? Everyone will be there. I have something to tell you!”

“Why the park? And why can’t you just tell me now?”

“The cherry blossoms are peaking today, and this is something I want to say in person.”

“Yeah, sure, we’ll come…” Dabi said, biting his lip. “Is it bad news?”

“No, no! Definitely not! I’ll see you later,” and then she hung up.

“Hey, Hawks! We’re going to the park in an hour.”

Hawks strolled out of the kitchen munching on an apple. He thought for a moment, then shrugged. “Okay! Cool.”

An hour later they were walking to the park. The weather was perfect, in Dabi’s opinion: not too hot, not too cold, not overly sunny, and the sky was clear and blue. They held hands as they walked the city streets, unashamed.

When they arrived at the park, they made their way over to the center cherry blossom tree, where they spotted four and a half heads of white hair (the half being Shouto). Fuyumi was holding a picnic basket, and his mom was holding a blanket.

“Why didn’t you tell us it was a picnic? We would’ve brought something.” Dabi said.

“Don’t worry about it, sweetie,” his mom said.

“Oh my god, you’ve reached the ‘we’ stage!” Natsuo laughed.

Dabi scowled and shoved his brother lightly.. “Yeah we’re at the ‘we’ stage. And what about it?”

Hawks preened. “Aw, babe! You’re memeing! I’ve trained you well.”

Dabi rolled his eyes fondly, shrugged off his cat backpack and handed it Shouto. “Go nuts,” and Shouto had Suki out of the bag and in his arms in a flash. His brother loved that cat so much that sometimes Dabi thought he might steal her and sneak her into the dorms.

The six of them set up their picnic and sat down to eat. Suki leaped out of Shouto’s arms and tried to steal a bite of the salmon paste poking out of Dabi’s onigiri. Hawks saw the scene unfold and called out to Suki with cat treats already in his hand, and she was gone before he could blink. Greedy cat.

“So, what’s this you had to tell us?” Natsuo asked Fuyumi and Rumi after a few minutes of idle chatter. “Not that I’m opposed to spontaneous family picnics! The suspense is just killing me.”

Fuyumi and Rumi shared a conspiratorial look, and Dabi’s interest piqued.

“Well… We have some big news.” Rumi began, her face doing that weird thing it did when she was trying hard not to smile and failing spectacularly.

Dabi glanced at Hawks, who’s own face was brightening. He must have realized what was happening.

“We’re engaged!” Fuyumi said excitedly.

Everyone froze for a second before the collective screaming began. Natsuo tackled his sister in a hug, shouting ‘oh my god’ over and over. Hawks was jumping up and down like an idiot with Rumi, shrieking like a pair of banshees, and Shouto was smiling brighter than he’d ever seen. Everyone hugged everybody and after he finished his hug with Fuyumi, Dabi felt himself tearing up. He sat back down on the blanket next to his mom and grabbed Suki. His mom was smiling quietly to herself. She looked proud, but she wasn’t freaking out like the rest of them.

“You knew already?” Dabi asked her, surreptitiously wiping his eyes.

His mom tsked and scooched closer to him, wrapping him in her arms. “Oh, dear. Those are happy tears, I hope?”

Dabi laughed and nodded. “Yeah, mom. I’m really… Really happy for them,”

She smiled knowingly, and patted his cheek as she pulled away. “And to answer your question, I knew. Rumi asked for my blessing. She was so nervous! It was precious, really.” Rei said. “Of course, I told her she had my full support, and that although there was no need for a whole speech, it was very thoughtful nonetheless.”

Dabi snorted at the image of Rumi giving a grand speech to his confused mom, and scratched behind Suki’s ears. She purred contentedly.

Everyone sat down again, and while the initial buzz of excitement had died down, the joy in the air hadn’t.

Hawks was beaming prettily (Dabi would never get tired of his smile) and practically buzzing with energy as he spoke. “I can’t believe it! Well, I can, because you guys are perfect for each other, but holy shit!” He said. “Have you thought about where? I know Rumi always talked about a beach wedding but I don’t know, that doesn’t seem like Yumi’s vibe… Ooh, what about a forest? No… Too Twilight.”

“Babe, chill.” Dabi said, plopping Suki in his boyfriend’s lap. He fed her another treat.

Fuyumi just grinned, used to Hawks’ excitable nature at this point. “We were thinking something small, just family and friends. We haven’t decided on the theme, but the beach isn’t out of the picture!” She said. “What I have decided is…” She looked meaningfully at Dabi, Natsuo and Shouto. “I want you all to be my best men. And all of you, including mom, are walking me down that aisle.” She said firmly, pushing up her glasses. Her eyes were glassy behind them. “Do you accept?”

“Oh, Yumi,” Natsuo said, sniffling.

“Of course we do.” Dabi said, meeting Fuyumi’s eyes. “But I’m sorry in advance for my speech.”

“Me too,” Shouto said gravely.

“Oh, stop. I’m sure they’ll be great.” Their mom said.

Fuyumi glanced around the group with a quiet smile. “I don’t care what you write in your speeches, as long as we’re all together, I’ll be happy. You know… I wanted to tell you all at once because now that we’re all together again… I don’t want to waste a moment. Life is so messy, and you never know what it’ll throw at you, and everyday for this past year I’ve been so, so grateful to have you all in my life. But I also find myself scared that one day, everything will go back to how it was before.”

Before; when they thought he was dead, when their father’s shadow looked over them like a curse, when their mom was hidden away like a shameful secret.

“I know that won’t happen.” Fuyumi continued. “But nonetheless, to soothe my fears, I want to share as many happy memories with you all as I can, for the rest of my life.”

Rumi wrapped an arm around Fuyumi’s shoulders and kissed her cheek. Natsuo began to cry again, and Shouto handed him a packet of tissues, looking close to tears himself.

“Fuyumi…” Dabi’s voice was watery. He didn’t know what to say to ease her fear. He wanted her to know that he would never leave again, that he wished he could turn back time and have been stronger for everyone, but he knew she wouldn’t appreciate that. She’d tell him not to be an idiot and that none of it was his fault, that she was just happy he was back with them now. They’d had that conversation over and over.

She seemed to understand him perfectly, just by looking at his face, and she gave him a Look. A ‘don’t you dare say something stupid’ look. She had it perfected by now.

He ducked his head and smiled. She knew him too well.

“Okay! Enough tears everyone! Back to our regularly scheduled programming,” Rumi chirped.

“In this family, tears are our regularly scheduled programming.” Shouto said, completely deadpan.

Natsuo barked out a laugh. “Oh my god, that’s… so tragically true? And really not funny, Shou.” Natsuo said.

Fuyumi shook her head. “I hate your sense of humour.”

“I love it,” Dabi smirked and fist bumped his little brother.

They began to eat again. Rei had baked matcha shortbread cookies that he was already planning on asking her the recipe for because Hawks was devouring them, and everyone relaxed and basked in each other’s company.

Dabi rested his head on Hawks’ shoulder and looked up at the tree. It really was beautiful, in full bloom. All of those pale pink cherry blossoms swaying gently in the breeze. Spring had never meant anything to him, really, but he knew now that every time he saw a cherry blossom he would think about this moment, think of this warmth that filled him up. Just like how the first signs of snowfall always filled him with dread, the first signs of spring, of new growth, would fill him with hope.


Before they left the park, Rumi pulled him aside to talk to him quickly, and let the Todorokis say their goodbyes.

“Hawks. My ride or die, my comrade in arms, my fashion saviour, my chicken nugget… you have been the absolute best friend ever, for the past six years I’ve known you, and I love you so very much.” Rumi said, hands on his shoulders. “Will you be my bird of honour?”

“Oh my god. Oh my god! Yes, yes, yes! I’m going to pretend you didn’t just make that pun. This means I get to go dress shopping with you, right? I mean, I would’ve gone anyway because you would definitely need my help, but I like having an official wedding party title.”

Rumi laughed brightly and hugged him. “We’re gonna kick dress shopping’s ass,”

“Yeah we fucking are!”

He hugged her back with just as much vigor. “I’m so happy for you. I think this is my hundredth tie saying it but god, I’m so happy for you guys.”

“Thank you. I’m just so happy she said yes!”

“Rumi, she would never have said no.” He said, pulling away.

They both looked over to the Todorokis. Rei, Natsuo and Shouto were playing with Suki on the grass, finished packing the picnic up, and Dabi and Fuyumi were talking quietly with each other underneath the tree.

“Let’s go get ‘em,” Rumi said, walking towards where her fiancé stood, and Hawks followed.

They all said their goodbyes and promised to see each other soon.

Hawks and Dabi made their way back to their apartment, Hawks yammering Dabi’s ear off the whole walk back. He could talk a whole heck of a lot, and was used to people tuning him out, but Dabi never did. He listened to every little thing Hawks said, and would even pop in a comment here and there.

Though the best conversations, of course, were when Dabi was fully engaged. He was opinionated as hell, and such a smart-ass. Hawks loved it. He loved everything about Dabi.

He loved the way he sang at the top of his lungs in the shower, the way his eyes crinkled when he laughed, the ridiculous voice he used when he played with Suki, the way he scrunched his nose when he concentrated on learning a new song on the guitar. He loved his grumpiness, his laziness, how he spread out on couches like a cat. He loved how soft he could be, and how careful he’d been when Hawks had first let him help preen his feathers.

Hawks had always been drawn to him. From the moment they’d met, he’d felt a pull — wariness had been the first feeling, of course — but curiosity had soon taken the forefront when he’d met Dabi. Curiosity had then turned into care somewhere along the line, and his instincts had taken over. His gut had never been wrong before, and in the case of Dabi, it had never been more right.

He’d thought it over and over in his mind — his thoughts a seemingly endless loop of doubt and worry — debating whether he made the wrong the wrong decision in befriending Dabi. He’d lost sleep on numerous occasions due to his conflicted feelings and racing thoughts on the matter, but in the end, he didn’t regret anything. Not one bit.

Was it cheesy to believe that Dabi was the best thing to ever happen to him? Probably. But he still believed it.

He’d told Rei as much, during the first one of their talks, al those months ago.

He had been contacted by her right in the aftermath of the League’s incarceration. She asked him to visit her, told him that she wanted to discuss something with him; something important. He had readily accepted, of course he had, and a week later he was sitting across from her in the hospital cafeteria with a steaming cup of green tea in his hands.

“Thank you for coming to meet me,” She had said. He remembered thinking she had the same nose as Dabi.

They’d spoken about nothing and everything that day: the crisp cold weather, the best type of tea, how his patrol had been, her life at the hospital, her children, his recovery from the fight (she had been worried for him and didn’t even know him, it made his heart ache), and of course; Touya.

“You saved my son. You did what I could not, and there is nothing I will be able to do to show you how very grateful I am. Thank you. Thank you, Hawks. You saved my baby. You fought for him. It broke my heart to hear what happened to him, why he never came to visit me, why Fuyumi never spoke of him… I’m so glad he’s okay. And I’m glad he has someone like you in his life.”

He had been struck by her words, and a little blindsided. He’d never thought about what had transpired as him saving Dabi. He had just been doing what felt right, and he had wanted to help someone he cared about.

“I’m glad he’s in my life, too. He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” He had said.

After that, Hawks made an effort to visit Rei as often as he possibly could. He went along with Fuyumi and Rumi sometimes, and he went by himself. As the months passed by, Hawks began to think of her as a mother like figure. She was the type of woman who didn’t beat around the busy, and although she wasn’t overly affectionate, she gave amazing hugs.

One of the things Hawks talked about a lot with Ayane was the concept of families. His own family had sold him out of desperation and even while he had lived with them, they were neglectful at best. He had been isolated for most of his life after that. Sure, he’d made a few friends at school, how could he not, when he was so outgoing? But none of those friendships had been strong. It wasn’t until he had met Rumi and had been friends with her for about a year, that he realized what people meant when they said they loved their friends. She was like a sister to him, and he held her close. It was then that he realized that family didn’t necessarily mean blood.

Now, his family had grown. They were all a little rough around the edges, a little banged up, but they patched each other up with every second spent together.

The Todorokis — soon to be Furukawas, if everything went as planned — were such genuinely good people. He thought about what Rei had said, the first time they’d spoken to each other; that she was glad Dabi had someone like Hawks in his life.

Of course, Hawks felt that way about Dabi, but now he felt the same way about Fuyumi, and Natsuo and Shouto, and of course, Rei. He loved each of them, and they each made his life better.

The first time he had told Dabi something along those lines, he’d gotten all shifty and quiet and awkward, which meant he couldn’t process what emotion he was feeling. A week later, over dinner, Hawks had plainly told Dabi “I’m glad you’re here,” and had received the same reaction. Two weeks after that he had said “I’m so happy you’re in my life,” while they laid in bed, and finally Dabi had cracked. He had groaned and nearly shoved Hawks off the bed, but Hawks knew that he was happy.

Hawks was happy, too.

“Let’s get chicken karaage for lunch,” Hawks tugged Dabi’s hand as they passed the chicken place they frequented.

“We had it yesterday. And we literally just ate.”

“Pleeassee? I’m still hungry,” Hawks batted his eyelashes and pouted. It always worked.

“Fine, but I get to pick the movie tonight.”

“Deal,”

Tsubaki, the waitress that usually dealt with them (who also happened to be Natsuo’s girlfriend of two months) greeted them happily as they entered the restaurant. Hawks got a hug, and Dabi got a fist bump.

“Hey you two! Ah, you brought Suki, hi kitty! How was the park? You saw the cherry blossoms didn’t you! Ooh, and I sense some happy news, too!”

“I hate it when she does this.” Dabi grumbled, taking a seat and plopping the cat backpack next to him on the booth.

“Don’t be rude,” Hawks hissed. “He doesn’t actually hate it. He thinks it’s cool,”

Tsubaki giggled and set two menus on their table, just as a courtesy. She knew their orders by heart already. “I know!”

Of course she did. “And yeah, we went to the park. Why don’t you try and guess what the news is?”

She pouted then two glasses of water and hummed thoughtfully. “Alright. I’ll try my hat at it. I’ll make my deduction when I come back with the food!”

“You know, Natsuo probably texted her already.”

“She doesn’t use her phone at work,” Hawks reminded him.

Fifteen minutes later, Tsubaki strolled over to them holding two baskets of food; a large serving of chicken karaage and a mix of fries and onion rings.

She rested the food down and put her hands on her hips. She had a satisfied smirk on her face, which meant she thought she had the answer.

“Okay.” Her eyes clouded over as she began to speak. “I sense joy and excitement, and love and loyalty. Changes, but good ones, as for the flowers… I see blossoms. Cherry blossoms and daffodils…”

Hawks waited for her final answer.

“Someone’s getting married!” Tsubaki said, smiling brightly.

Tsubaki’s quirk was a strange one. She had heightened intuition when it came to people, but her quirk was psychometry. When she touched someone, she just knew certain things. She felt what they felt, to a certain degree. She said she tended to get flashes of images, usually plants, and the meaning of those plants told her everything she needed to know.

“At first I thought it might be you two, actually, but if that were the case I think the feelings might’ve been stronger. I think some people you care about are getting hitched, and based on the process of elimination, it’s totally Fuyumi and Miruko.”

Hawks clapped, thoroughly impressed, and Tsubaki gave a little curtsy. She and Hawks chatted a little more, and then she left them to their meal.

Dabi was suspiciously silent. Shifty, even. But Hawks wasn’t sure why.

“Hey,” Hawks frowned. “Is something wrong?”

Dabi shrugged and continued shredding up a piece of chicken. He was removing the fried batter so he could feed Suki small bits of meat.

“I’m just thinking.”

“Hmm. What about?”

“Y’know. Stuff. Things.”

Hawks placed a hand on Dabi’s. He put the chicken back in the basket.

“Wanna tell me about the stuff and things?”

Dabi huffed a short laugh.

“Tsubaki… She said she thought we might be engaged.”

Ah. “She did say that, didn’t she?”

“Mmhm.”

Hawks chewed on his lip. Waited.

“You wouldn’t, would you? Want to marry me?”

His hold on Dabi’s hand tightened.

“Babe. Is this your idea of a proposal? If it was, I would say yes. Of course I would.”

“No! No. Not a proposal.” Dabi groaned. “I guess I just meant, do you see a… a future together? With me?”

No matter how many times Hawks told Dabi how much he loved him, how much he was grateful to be with him, Dabi had deep insecurities that he couldn’t just run away from. Hawks knew this, and he knew it well. Dabi had come a long way, but every once in a while, they would rear their ugly heads, like right now.

“I do. I really do. You’re stuck with me for the rest of your life. We already have a kid and everything. And we’ve lived together for over a year! I think… we’re already living out our future, together. I think it can only go up from here.”

Dabi smiled down at their hands, intertwined on the middle of the faintly sticky table. Hawks saw him breathe in, breathe out.

“If Suki is your idea of a kid, I’m not sure I’ll ever actually want to co-parent with you.” Dabi smirked.

“You’re so mean to me!”

Dabi just laughed and looked him in the eye.

“Thank you,” I love you.

Hawks bumped their knees together under the table.

“You’re welcome,” I love you, too.

Then they ate, and talked, and Dabi gave Suki a few pieces of chicken. The idle chatter of the other patrons washed over Hawks, and the sun streaming through the window made everything glow with warmth. Suki meowed, no doubt begging for more chicken, and Dabi scratched behind her ears. Hawks didn’t even notice he was grinning until Dabi pointed it out to him, that he was smiling his “sappy smile”. That just made him smile wider, which in turn made Dabi begin to grin too.

A year from now, two years, ten even, Hawks thought he could see their future together. It made him feel warm, hopeful, confident. No matter what happened, he would be by Dabi’s side.

Yeah. He really was happy.

the end