Actions

Work Header

[Policy]

Chapter Text

Aizawa Shouta arrives at the crime scene and the first sees is Officer Tamakawa Sansa puking up his guts on the other side of his squad car. That’s attractive.

He turns away and searches the crowd of law-enforcement personnel for Detective Tsukauchi, the one who called him here.

It’s not incredibly difficult to spot the trench coat and fedora, so he slips past officers and taps the man on the shoulder. Tsukauchi turns around and sighs in what seems to be relief.

“Eraserhead.”

“Detective.” He pauses. “Why am I here?”

The detective sighs again, noticeably heavier this time. Well fuck, this is going to be a fun playdate, isn’t it?

“I’m not going to lie.” Good. “It’s a bloodbath in there,” continues the detective, gesturing to the minka. Oops, not good then. “We have next to no clue what happened, other than that everyone who lived here is dead and someone ransacked the main lab.” Huh. “We need your expertise. You know the underground, you might be able to help us with this.”

Aizawa doesn’t hesitate much. In his field, a second is equal to a life, which means that hesitance kills.

He doesn’t hesitate now.

“Absolutely. Give me a second here to text my agency, and then I’m on the case.” He doesn’t wait for Tsukauchi to respond as he pulls out his phone, shooting off a text to his patrol coordinator. She’ll make sure his routes are covered and his schedule is cleared. He shoves his phone back in his pocket.

Aizawa Shouta looks back up at Detective Tsukauchi through his goggles and nods.

“Show me what we’ve got.”

-

Tsukauchi wasn’t fucking around when he said that it was a bloodbath. Shit, Sansa wasn’t even overreacting when he heaved up his last meal next to the squad car. But what really hits Aizawa, what really unnerves him, isn’t the blood. It’s the fatal blows.

One bullet per person, all kill shots. Guns are illegal in Japan, so they had connections to the underground. He told Tsukauchi as much.

One bullet per person, but two noticeable exceptions - Chisaki Kai and Kurono Hari, who both have puncture wounds through their right eyes that hit their brains.

Whoever did this had a serious fucking issues with these men, and they weren’t afraid to show it, up close and personal. What a fucking mess.

“Detective,” he calls. Tsukauchi looks over at him with curious eyes. “These are those Shie Hassaikai guys you were investigating, right?”

Tsukauchi purses his lips and turns away from him again.

“Yes,” he answers tersely. “That’s what they called themselves. The only reason we didn’t get them ourselves was because we couldn’t find a paper trail. Nothing on the books we could catch them with, and we can’t file for search warrants without proof.”

Aizawa scoffs. “I don’t think whoever did this was concerned with things like paper trails and proof.”

Tsukauchi hums his agreement. “I think that too.”

Aizawa looks over the room of Chisaki Kai with disdain. It’s near clinically sterile, with no pictures or personal affects in sight. It screams paranoia and that one personality disorder he can never remember the name of.

And then there’s the fact that there’s almost no sign of anyone but them entering the room, save for the smudge of blood on Chisaki’s cheek. Unfortunately for them, the perp has been wearing gloves (this news had been given to them by an officer with a minor cataloguing quirk, who had come up from the lab), so no fingerprints.

In fact, there’s almost no sign of anyone breaking and entering the minka, which was unusual. In cases like this, there’s almost always some sort of damage to the property, but there isn't so much as a broken lock or a window pane out of place.

Shit, there isn’t even any CCTV, because everything around the compound is low-security residential.

Well. Was low-security residential; any sane person is either gonna go doomsday or pack up their shit and scram. He knows Hizashi would be boxing up the apartment in a second if something like this happened near their apartment.

“Detective!”

The familiar voice from the hall startles them both.

“Sansa,” Tsukauchi calls, “what is it?”

Officer Tamakawa’s head pokes in, his ears up and his fur puffed in what’s probably irritation, if what Aizawa knows from his own cats holds true.

“The guy who called us called the vultures too, and they’re outside the line.” Tamakawa’s face twists up in displeasure. “They’re asking for a statement.” He looks over at him and visibly brightens. “Hey, Eraserhead! Didn’t know you were here! Glad to see you’re working with us!” His head disappears back through the door.

Aizawa looks over to Tsukauchi, who’s got his face in his hands. He hears a soft, “Fuck,” and snorts.

“Well, it seems the ‘vultures’ have arrived. You wanna hear what I’ve got before you go make a statement?”

Tsukauchi nods, not lifting his face from his hands.

Aizawa clears his throat.

“Alright. Well, I don't think they’ve got a transformation quirk, or a mutation. I think it’s most likely emitter. Based on the lack of residue, it might be a mental or physical quirk, but I’d say there’s a good chance of it being physical. Maybe a minor enhancer, solely on how many people were killed in our 45 minute window.

“There’s clearly some emotional connection, seeing as Chisaki and Kurono were paid special attention. A grudge, perhaps, or revenge for something. But this wasn’t blind anger. It wasn’t a rampage.” Aizawa pauses, trying to figure out a tactful way to say ‘yeah, this guy planned and executed the murder of upwards of 150 people; people who were criminals, sure, but were still people, and I’ve got no fucking clue why’.

“This was premeditated mass murder without an immediately visible motive. I can only confidently say that this person got exactly what they wanted, and that they covered their tracks incredibly well.”

Tsukauchi hisses through his teeth as he looks up at the ceiling.

“Dammit,” he whispers, loud enough for Aizawa to hear.

“Yeah,” Aizawa responds. “Dammit is right. I’ll start looking around tomorrow with the info brokers to see if they know anything. There’s a new guy in the area. I’ll call you if I find anything.”

Tsukauchi doesn’t look at him as he leaves the room, ready to head home for the night. Fuck.

He just hopes he can find something before this guy hits again.

-

Aizawa watches from his couch as Tsukauchi gives the statement to the media. Twisting his words about the perp’s quirk is a good idea, he notes. Make the killer feel confident that they won’t guess their quirk, make them slip up, leave behind some evidence, etc.

He looks over at Hizashi and sighs. His husband is sleeping on the cushion next to him, one leg in his lap and the other over the back of the couch. His arms are askew and his hair is down, half of it lying over his face and half of it spread behind his head.

He sighs and switches off the TV, standing up and stretching. His back pops and he huffs - he’s going to have to drag his dumbass husband all the way to their room, hope the cat hasn’t eaten his pillowcase again, and find some way to fall asleep.

He slides his arms under Hizashi and gently lifts him princess style, trying not to wake him up. He grunts over the not insignificant weight of his husband as he makes his way to their room - though he’s lanky, Hizashi is mostly muscle and muscle is heavy.

He nudges the door open with his foot and god fucking dammit, Yutanpo’s shredded his pillowcase again.

“Fucking asshole cat,” he grumbles, laying Hizashi down on the sheets. He’s already in his pyjamas - has been since around noon - so Aizawa doesn’t have to worry about changing him, and just throws the duvet over him.

Aizawa himself is still in his work clothes, so he strips - shirt, socks, pants, etc. - and heads into the master bathroom to shower. He needs to get a handle on how he’s going to approach this. A mass murder withh only one clue - whatever was taken from the compound.

If they can find what’s missing, they’ll have their killer behind bars.

If they can’t find what’s missing, they’ll have their killer out on the streets.

Aizawa stands under the hot water of the shower, still as it beats down on him.

Fuck. What a mess.

Chapter Text

 

Midoriya Izuku’s heart broke when Kacchan told him to take a dive off the school roof.

Wait, no. That’s not right. It was earlier than that.

Much earlier.

Oh, his heart didn’t break when everyone told him he couldn’t be a hero. His heart didn’t break when Kacchan turned on him. His heart didn’t even break when Dr. Tsubasa told him he was quirkless.

No, his heart broke when Midoriya Inko told him she was sorry . Like it was somehow her fault that he wasn’t powerful, like it was her fault that he was weak.

Like it was her fault he was useless.

It was hard to come to terms with. A dream so incredibly ingrained in a child isn’t easily choked out, which is why when he saw the white-haired child for the first time, his heart burned . Its shattered pieces shuddered and twitched, snarling at the injustice. They found a focus.

A focus named Eri.

After her, the title ‘Vigilante’ suited him just as well as ‘Hero’.

Chapter Text

The café Aizawa frequents is in a really shitty spot, but it’s a damn good café. And because he’s good at his job (go figure) he notices when the owner - a slip of a kid named Midoriya - starts closing up early. It doesn’t bother him - really, it doesn’t. But he gets a little irked when the shop starts closing on Sundays, too, and he gets a little more irked as it continues for an entire fucking month. The whole Shie Hassaikai clusterfuck is really getting on his nerves, and it doesn’t help that he’s gotten next to fucking nowhere in catching whatever deranged maniac’s slaughtered the yakuza. Honestly, all he wants is coffee on a chilly February Sunday. Fuck.

And then he walks in one Monday afternoon (he gets afternoons off right now because he works the night shift), and out comes the reason the coffee house has been cutting back on hours.

God, he’s really an asshole, isn’t he? He very suddenly feels a need to apologize to Midoriya, even though an apology wouldn’t make sense to the kid.

Because the reason the shop’s been closing early is probably the shoeless little girl sitting in one of those plush, god-awful maroon chairs that does wonders for his back.

She’s a tiny little thing, with a shock of long white hair and a sizable horn on the side of her head. She’s in a blue tank top dress with a mint green skirt, and her arms and legs are covered in bandages.

Dammit.

She looks up at the sound of him walking in, and her eyes have that deer-in-the-headlights look that he only really gets when he’s found his students doing something wrong. She locks eyes with him and goes completely still. He doesn’t even think she’s breathing. The fear in her eyes is primal and her pupils have blown wide, almost eclipsing the red iris.

He knows this look. It’s the look he gave his father when-

“Eri,” calls Midoriya from the kitchen, and the spell is broken. Her eyes leave him and wander to where Midoriya’s voice came from. “The muffins are ready!” Aizawa’s eyes stay on her, and he doesn’t move from the entrance.

The boy walks into the shop proper, and completely ignores him. The beatific smile he usually carries around is calmer, gentler for the girl - Eri, he knows now. He makes his way around the counter and walks over to where she’s sitting in the chair.

“I know you were disappointed about not getting to put them in the oven, but now they’re cooled and we can eat them! You get the first one, though, because you helped the most.” Midoriya slowly stretches out his hand, and just as slowly, Eri takes it.

Aizawa feels like he’s intruding.

Midoriya helps her out the chair, and finally glances back at Aizawa.

One second please, he mouths, and takes Eri into the kitchen. Aizawa slowly breathes out and makes his way over to the bookshelf, slumping down into a blue chair that’s so overstuffed it swallows him.

Well, fuck. That was… a lot. He’s never seen Midoriya like that, and he’s been coming to this coffee shop for five years now.

He closes his eyes and goes over what he just saw.

Little girl named Eri, bandaged all over. She looks at him and he knows that look, hates it. Midoriya comes in, banishes her fear, and rescues her from a situation in which she’s uncomfortable. Midoriya then silently promises to explain.

The café’s been closing early for about a month now.

And he’s been complaining about it.

(Only in his head, of course. He’d never say anything to little Midoriya. He’s a foul mouthed bastard, but he’s not needlessly cruel.)

Midoriya comes back into the room, sans Eri, and begins making Aizawa’s drink as usual; easy, seeing as he orders the same thing every time he comes: raspberry mocha, triple espresso shot with heavy cream. It gets him through school days in the morning, and it gets him through his night shifts. Thinking about it now, it seems like every time he has it, it gets better. Huh. Must be a Midoriya thing.

The espresso machine beeps and it's always been a calming thing to watch drinks being made. Midoriya mixes and stirs, and the resulting drink arrives to him in a mug that’s more of a bowl being set on the little table next to his chair.

“She’s upstairs now,” says Midoriya. He hums, curling his fingers around the warm cup and taking a sip.

Perfect fucking coffee.

“Who is she?”

Midoriya sighs and fixes his eyes on the doorway. Aizawa stares at the boy over the rim of his cup, observing.

“She’s my cousin, Akatani Eri.”

It’s either the truth or Midoriya is an exceptionally good liar, and he’s seen the boy try to lie. Aizawa accepts the name and doesn’t bother picking at it.

“My mom’s sister - Miku - had a one night stand, got pregnant, and had her. She left Eri with the guy and ditched, and the he was… awful. He was in a work accident and died, and so Eri had to come to somebody. The people in charge of finding her a home couldn't find Miku, so they called Mom because they’re sisters. So she came here, but since Mom’s in America with Dad, she lives with me now.” Midoriya’s face has been getting progressively more clouded, and his eyes suddenly fill with tears as he looks at Aizawa. He almost doesn’t want to hear the rest of this story.

“That man,” Midoriya’s voice breaks as tears start to dribble down his cheeks, “he was awful to her. She’s four now, this last December, and he would cut her with his quirk. He’d cut her and then patch her up, and then do it over and over and over again. She wouldn’t talk to me for two weeks, Mr. Aizawa! She only told me her name, and she thought I was gonna treat her like he did, and I think she still thinks like that… I don’t know what to do.”

Aizawa doesn’t speak for a bit. Tears continue to dribble down Midoriya’s cheeks, and he doesn’t move his eyes from the doorway.

“The man, you said he’s dead?”

Midoriya nods. “Yeah. I think it was a head injury, but he’s definitely gone now.” Midoriya shivers and curls in on himself a bit. “We don’t know where Miku is, and we don’t want to know. She abandoned Eri, so we don’t want to talk to her.”

Aizawa nods. People are awful, and he wouldn’t want to talk to her either. “Eri will be cautious around you for a good while, but what you did just now… that was perfect.”

Midoriya perks up, looks at him. “R-really?”

“Yeah. I’ve seen cases like Eri’s before, and I’ve read up on how to deal with the aftermath of abuse. Shit, Midoriya, I’m a foster dad myself, and I’ve got a kid who’s in a similar situation to Eri, although not to that extent.” Midoriya’s eyes are wide and he’s listening intently. Aizawa almost feels uncomfortable with the amount of focus on him, but he needs to reassure the kid.

“Midoriya, you have to be gentle with kids like her. You have to be patient. Give her time to feel comfortable with you.” Aizawa keeps his voice low and even. “She’s been hurt very badly, and she’s probably waiting for it to happen again. Don’t give her a reason to think it would.”

Midoriya nods slowly, looking down to the table. “Okay,” he whispers. “I can do that.”

Aizawa grins and narrows his eyes at the boy. “And Midoriya…”

“Yes?”

“That shirt is awful.”

Midoriya snorts in his surprise, and the mock offense that crosses his face immediately drains the tension from the room. He places a hand over his chest, right on top of the text that reads ‘Business Casual,’ and huffs, sniffling.

“My shirt is absolutely fine, thank you very much,” he pouts. “Mr. Aizawa, I’ll have you know that my very own mother bought me this shirt. By insulting me, you are insulting her, and if you don’t want me to tell on you, I suggest you apologize.” Aizawa barks out a laugh as Midoriya sniffles again and wipes at his eyes. “But thank you. I really appreciate your advice, sir. It helps a lot.”

Aizawa clears his throat and looks away.

“Any time, kid. It’s kinda my job to help someone in need, you know that.”

He turns back in time to see Midoriya give him his trademark sunshine smile, and takes a sip of his coffee. Perfect coffee, perfect chair, good kids; for where he’s at in the investigation, today has been unusually bright.

“Yeah, I know. Thank you anyways, Mr. Aizawa.”

-

Izuku looks at the phone he’s holding in his hand. Eri is in her room, hopefully asleep, and he’s in the office/lab.

His thumb hovers over the call button, and he looks at the contact name, trying to decide how he needs to do this.

Midoriya Izuku presses call, and Midoriya Inko picks up on the second ring.

“Hey sweetie, what’s up?”

“... Mom?”

“Yes?”

“I need to talk to you about something.”

Chapter Text

A week after their talk, the café starts opening back up on Sundays.

Two weeks after that, the café stops closing early - but it only goes to 10, instead of the 11 it used to. (Aizawa doesn’t actually mind as much thinks he does. The kids need to sleep, and his coffee dependence doesn’t need any more encouragement.)

About a week after that, Aizawa finds himself the recipient of a beaming grin that nearly blinds him. Apparently the night before, Eri had finally looked Midoriya in the eye. Aizawa accepts his coffee and thinks about Hizashi and Hitoshi. He should… bring them over. It would do Hitoshi good to see another child recovering, and it’d do Midoriya some good to connect to another kid his age. Hizashi would adore them. He decides to wait a bit - let Eri become more comfortable around people. She’s still not completely accustomed to Midoriya, and formally introducing a near-stranger and his family wouldn’t do her any good. He pays for his drink and sets off again, mind up in space.

May arrives before Aizawa gets his first maybe-break in the case. He’s been scouring the underground for any scraps of information, but it seems that everyone is afraid to talk about it. Then he hears a whisper, a rumor, an utterance from one of his sources that tells him that the Shie Hassaikai were working on quirk suppressants, and there’s a stash just outside of Musutafu.

His informant doesn’t show up to their next meeting.

Instead, a new ‘face’ starts making the rounds. Aizawa calls in a few low-level favors and has them feel out the new guy (he’s been told that the new face presents male), who’s been given the tentative name of “Harbinger.”

As it turns out, Harbinger has info. Lots of it.

In fact, Harbinger has so much information, on literally everything - from in-depth quirk analysis to the  - that when he calls Tsukauchi, he’s told to hold back on arranging a meeting.

“Aizawa, we don’t know anything about him. We’ll follow the Musutafu lead, but we need to have literally nowhere else to go before we involve another loose cannon.” Tsukauchi sighs, and the sound is distorted over the line. “Just… focus on looking for information on Overhaul. When there's nothing else you can do, then you can look into this ‘Harbinger’ character, okay?”

Aizawa doesn’t respond. He kinda wants to curse at Tsukauchi for not letting him do his job, but he won’t, because that’s not professional.

Tsukauchi sighs again, and he’s quieter when he says, “Eraser, I honestly just don’t want you to die.”

“Hey-”

“Listen, please.”

Aizawa purses his lips and scowls at the sidewalk, quietly fuming at the implication that he can’t do his job. He knows what he’s doing - he’s been doing it for 12 fucking years now.

“I’m not insulting you.” Bullshit, asshole. “Please, we just can't rush into this. We’re already all on edge with this case. If Harbinger comes in and feeds us bad information, or if he gets something that we don't want him to have, we’re risking lives.” Tsukauchi falls silent over the line, and Aizawa takes a deep breath, then let's it out. He fucking hates that the detective is right, but it is what it is.

“Yeah,” he mutters into the receiver. “Yeah, you’re right. I overreacted. Sorry.” He runs a hand through his hair, sweeping it up and out of his face. “I just really want to close this case.”

“I’m with you there, Eraser. Look, I’ve got to go, but don’t do anything overly dangerous. We don’t want to spook the perp into doing anything rash. If they catch wind of us finding something they don’t want us to find, we’re gonna have a big problem. Goodbye.” Aizawa’s phone beeps as the call ends. He shoves it in his pocket and starts walking down the sidewalk, heading to the café. Heaving in as big a breath as he can, he looks to the sky.

“Shit!” he yells, scrunching his eyes closed. “Dammit! Fuck!”

-

Aizawa steps into the café and the first thing he notices is Eri, sitting in the maroon chair by the fireplace and reading a children’s book. The second thing he notices is Midoriya, sitting in the chair next to her, curled up and asleep.

The third thing he notices is the deep purple bruise marring Midoriya’s face.

The jingle of a bell alters Eri of his arrival, and she looks up at him with doe eyes before tapping Midoriya on the hand. He startles awake and wow, the kid’s a mess.

The right half of his hair is flattened against his face on one side from leaning against the back of the chair, and the left is sticking straight out. His eyes are bleary, and he blinks one slow blink before looking at Eri.

“Bug?” He yawns. “What’s up?”

“Mr. Aizawa is here,” she whispers, voice so soft that from the doorway he almost can’t hear it.

“Oh!” Midoriya’s probably still half asleep, based on the way he hoists himself out of the chair and stumbles over to the counter. “Okay. Hi, Mr. Aizawa!”

“Hello, Midoriya.” He makes his way over to the chair the kid just vacated and sits down slowly, leaning back and closing his eyes. And then he opens his eyes, because the room is café is too quiet.

No matter what, there’s always some sort of ambient sound that fills the room. Sometimes it’s the coffee makers. Sometimes it’s a radio. Sometimes it’s a fire in the fireplace. Sometimes it’s the turning of pages from the books that line the walls. Usually, though, it’s Midoriya - humming, muttering, even just chattering from the kid. No matter what, there’s always noise.

But there isn’t today. And it probably has something to do with the black eye Midoriya’s got.

He looks over to the counter, where Midoriya is still blinking sleep from his eyes, a slight frown on his face. Tired as he is, though, his hands don’t falter from the process of making the coffee. With the way the afternoon light hits him, it almost erases the bruise from his face. Of course, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still there, and the fact that Aizawa still isn’t quite over the phone call he just had, and the fact that someone would hit Midoriya, who has never done a single bad thing in his entire life, what the fuck-

“Mr. Aizawa, do you want a scone?”

Aizawa blinks and mulls over the question. Midoriya is looking at him expectantly, a cup of coffee in one hand and a scone in a napkin in the other.

“Sure, kid.”

Midoriya beams, looking far more awake. He makes his way around the counter and gives Aizawa the goods, and as he takes a bite into the scone, it’s like he’s fallen into heaven. Soft and warm, just the right amount of heavyness and as he chews he notices that holy fuck there’s chocolate chips in this thing, and the kids made these? Shit, if Aizawa wasn’t a greedy bastard, he’d start recommending this place to his coworkers.

Well. He might do it anyways, greedy bastard or not, because these kids probably need the money. It’s not like the people he works with can’t afford it.

His gaze shifts from the scone of heaven back to Midoriya, who’s situated himself so that Eri is sitting on his lap, and he’s holding her book while she leans against his chest. He’s fixed his hair a bit, so that now instead of half of a mess, it’s all one big together mess.

For a moment, Aizawa marvels at how amazing Midoriya is. That this ball of anxiety has come out of his shell so much just to help one little girl. That he’s managed to help her so completely that she feels safe enough to relax around him. That he’s created a completely new world for her, all by himself. Shit, the kid restructured his entire life for her when she got here. Only an honest-to-god hero would do what Midoriya is doing.

Midoriya would immolate himself for her. It’s a sudden and terrifying realization, and he knows it’s true the second the thought crosses his mind.

He studies the bruise on Midoriya’s face.

“Kid,” he grunts. Both he and Eri look up at the same time, with almost identical expressions of curiosity. Well, Eri doesn’t look him in the eye, but her gaze falls at his nose, so he counts it as a win. He resists the urge to roll his eyes at them.

“Midoriya,” he revises. Eri goes back to reading her book, seemingly content to read in Midoriya’s lap and ignore them.

“Yes?”

"Where’d you get that bruise?”

Immediately, both children stiffen. Eri goes still, her lips pursing as she leans back a bit more into Midoriya. The boy flushes and looks to the side. He sets the book onto the table and maneuvers his hands to wrap around Eri, fingers fidgeting as he very obviously tries to think up a lie.

“Um-”

“The truth, please.”

Midoriya flushes at the interruption, and looks down at Eri.

“I saw Kacchan yesterday. He, um, he saw me, too.”

Aizawa hums and tilts his head to the side. Kacchan has been an issue since forever, and he needs to step off Midoriya’s shit before he gets waffle-stomped into some humility. “You can call him by his real name, you know. I don’t make a habit of hunting down kids, and I don’t think I’d start now.”

Midoriya shakes his head. “No,” he sighs. “It’s fine. He’s trying to get into UA, and if he does, I don’t want it to color your opinion of him.” Aizawa snorts and Midoriya shoots him a frown. “Anyways, I’m taking self-defense classes, so I’m not going to worry about it. It’s not like he knows where I live, anyways, so I don’t have any reason to out him.”

Aizawa shakes his head. Midoriya, the little shit, hasn’t and still won’t tell him who Kacchan is. Oh, he’s asked, because bullying is fucking awful, but no, Kacchan wants to be a hero, and it’s not too bad, Mr. Aizawa, I can deal with him. And that’s bullshit, because Midoriya’s way of ‘dealing’ with things is avoidance until death does he part. He doesn’t press, though. When he needs to know, he’ll know. Eri’s relaxed now, and the tension in Midoriya’s shoulders has loosened. God, he wants to share this place with his husband. And his kid. He’s said it before, Hitoshi would love it here. Later, though. Once he’s not so stressed about the case.

“Alright, Midoriya,” he sighs. “But whenever you need me, I’m here.”

Midoriya smiles, soft and sunshine. “Thank you, Mr. Aizawa. I’ll remember that.”

“You’d better, kid.”

Chapter Text

August hits and the lead in Musutafu has gone nowhere. Tsukauchi is working his ass off, but there just aren’t any leads, and if he didn’t know any better, Aizawa would say that the murders didn’t really happen. There just isn’t a single fucking trace.

On the bright side, Hitoshi has started calling him ‘Dad’ and Hizashi ‘Pop’. His husband hasn’t cried that much since their wedding. Not only that, but he walked in on Eri calling Midoriya ‘Papa’, so it seems that family is this months theme. It also seems that Kacchan hasn’t tried to beat the shit out of Midoriya again - to his knowledge, at least - so that's good.

It’d be even better if there was a fucking break in the case.

It’s almost September when he gets the call, and he’s just starting his patrol. His phone buzzes and he glances at the contact name for a second, then presses the green button.

“Aizawa.” Immediately, Aizawa is on edge. Tsukauchi’s tone isn’t… unhappy, per say, but it definitely isn’t ideal.

“Detective.”

“We need to talk about Harbinger.” Oh?

“What about him?”

“He’s been sending me texts.”

Aizawa chokes.

“What?”

“He’s been sending me texts. It’s been happening for the past two weeks. Mostly location pins and pictures of beat-up villains, along with the odd comment or two. I don’t respond to them, of course, but Tamakawa has been picking up the victims and we’ve been questioning them and… well, I think I’d like to revisit what I asked you a couple months ago.” Fuck, Tsukauchi just sounds exhausted. He’s been working his ass off for this case, and they’ve gotten nowhere. (Privately, at this point, Eraserhead wonders if they shouldn’t just move on. The perp hasn’t made any further moves, and the chance that they’ll strike again seems to be getting smaller and smaller.)

“What are we revisiting?”

“I want you to initiate a meeting with Harbinger.”

Five minutes ago, Aizawa would’ve been pleased. Now, he’s just wary. Tsukauchi continues.

“At this point, we need anything we can get. If you can’t get anything from him, I think that we’ll have to put this case on the back burner, because it’s been nine months.” He can't help but be relieved. He’s been losing sleep over this case, and he’ll be happy to set aside until he can focus more effort into it.

“There’s a new group of villains running around, calling themselves the League of Villains. If the villains are unionizing,” Aizawa swallows a bark of laughter as a sudden image of the local villains picketing in front of All Might’s agency pops up in his head, jarring him out of his concern for a moment, “we need to know about it.”

“Will do,” he mutters, hitting the end call button. This is a serious matter, he reminds himself. And serious matters require serious thoughts, not potshots at villains who aren’t even around to appreciate how stupid they look in his head.

He sighs deeply, squats down, and closes his eyes as he rests his chin on his knees. What the fuck. Harbinger sending Tsukauchi texts is almost as surreal as All Might’s irrational fear of short elderly people. And now he’s going to talk to the person who’s been doing his job for him, and he’s supposed to press him for information? Aizawa wants to meet the guy, sure, and set up a working professional relationship, but everything comes in exchanges. Aizawa takes a bit of cash with him on every patrol for emergencies, but nothing near the amount usually involved with info brokering.

Oh well. He’ll have to make do.

He opens one eye to squint at the phone still in his hand, and opens his messenger app.

Sloth

I’ll be home late

Paryeet

OKAY!!!!!!!! I’ll leave your dinner in the fridge just reheat it whenever you get back!!

Cat Son

K, be safe

He clicks his phone off and stuffs it in his pocket. Time to go, then.

-

He steps into the bar and recognizes quite a few faces. Most are low-level criminals and local business owners, but he spots a low ranking hero and the head of a small crime syndicate talking over drinks, smiling and laughing quietly. Alas, as much as he’d like to bust some shit, this bar is a well-known neutral zone. He, like everyone else, knows the neutral zone motto by heart. No lies, no snitches, no consequences, no issues, end of story.

He approaches the bartender, not sitting down just yet. The heavily scarred man looks up at him from where he’s shining a glass, and raises one pierced eyebrow.

“What can I getcha?” His voice is rough and Aizawa can fucking feel the unimpressed disinterest radiating from the man. He decides to get to the point.

“I’m looking for Harbinger.”

The guy snorts and rolls his eyes, looking away. If Aizawa was expecting a reaction, that… really wasn’t it. A bit more respect, maybe? A little fear, even some derision? But yeah, not whatever the hell that guy was doing.

“Yeah, you and half of Musutafu.” Wow, fuck this guy. “He’ll be here when he gets here, so take a seat ‘cause he might be a while. Oh, and please don't sit in the corner booth, ‘cause I don’t want to pick the pieces of your broken heart up when you get disassembled.” Fucking what? Is this guy high? The chances of Aizawa getting disassembled tonight are miniscule, he’s not unused to getting into fights, but this guy just went damn near poetic with his warning.

Of course, Aizawa is far more used to immediately aggressive situations, but he’s completed his fair share of diplomatic assignments like this. This guy is, as Hitoshi would say, ‘chaotic’.

“Whose booth is it?”

The man looks, if possible, even more unimpressed.

“It’s his. Now, if you’d kindly fuck off, I’m waiting on someone, just like you.”

Fucking shit, this guy needs a serious attitude check. Aizawa scowls behind his goggles, and pointedly makes his way to sit in the corner booth. It’s not like there are any other open seats, anyways. If waiting for Harbinger means sitting in his seat, bartender guy will have to deal.

Bartender guy deals for about two hours. Aizawa spends the time going back and forth with Tsukauchi over what to ask Harbinger, and only puts his phone away when a tall, slender figure pops in through the window on the right side of the bar. Aizawa seems to be the only one who notices right away, and he wonders if the regulars are just used to it or if this person is just really good at what they do. They stretch, and Aizawa thinks that they take a good, long look at everyone in the bar, but he can’t be sure because they’re wearing backlit goggles. In fact, Aizawa can’t see any skin. It’s a fashion choice if Aizawa’s ever seen one, but he muses that they could just have shittastically sensitive skin, or that it could be a quirk thing.

And then they approach the bar.

The way everyone gets quiet as they pass by, Aizawa thinks that there’s a good chance this might be Harbinger. There's a power in their steps, and the way they move is like raindrops through leaves. Easy, gliding, natural.

Look who’s getting poetic now, Shouta.

They pull themself up and… talk with bartender guy. He can't hear it over the general chatter of the other patrons, but it seems like bartender guy is far more relaxed. He sets down a drink in front of them and then leans in, and Aizawa can’t see if they kiss or not, but he gets the feeling that this is who the man was waiting for. A minute passes and then they turn back around, glass in hand, and make their way over to the table he’s sitting at.

They slide into the seat opposite him, and take a moment. This is Harbinger, he thinks, letting his quirk slip a bit. This is who he needs right now, to get the Shie Hassaikai mess out of his head. Well, that or give him info on the new League of Villains group, but it’s a step forward either way. His eyes are red now, he knows, because his quirk is working on nullifying whatever Harbinger can do.

It’s odd, though, because he can’t feel anything to erase. That only happens with people who have extremely subtle quirks and the quirkless, like Midoriya. It’s not like it matters, however, because it’s better to be safe than sorry. Anyways, it doesn’t make a difference whether or not Harbinger has a quirk, because good information doesn’t sprout up from a power. It comes from a person, and the difference that separates a person from their quirk is astronomical.

“Well,” a soft, sultry tenor breaks him from his reverie. “Won’t you come into my parlor?” Said the spider to the fly. Yeah, he knows this rhyme. “Please, when you leave, think about tying up your hair.” Harbinger sounds like he’s smiling now, even under the surgical mask and goggles. “It’s an awfully obvious tell.”

Aizawa gets what bartender guy said about being disassembled now.

-

He doesn’t think he’s been this unsettled for a long while. He’s also more than a bit uncomfortable, and he should probably just go home and cuddle his husband. The quiet theory he’d formed a while ago, the one where he wholeheartedly believes that the entire underground community is being blackmailed into keeping mum over the Shie Hassaikai massacre, has just been proven, and he now knows who’s doing the blackmailing.

And he can’t do jack shit about it. He has to make do with what he now has on the League of Villains.

He looks at the paper in his hand, the one with way too many notes on how he can improve his shit, and the one that lies on the table, blank-side up. He almost doesn’t want to touch it, but he definitely needs to talk with Tsukauchi immediately and leaving entails getting all the information he can. He picks up the paper and turns it over, keeping it angled so any wandering eyes won’t catch the words written in oddly bubbly script.

And he’s glad nobody else can see it, because the words don’t really process.

That’s Midoriya’s place. The one he goes to often.

The one run by a fucking child. A child that he cares about, who’s taking care of another child who’s quickly worming her way into his heart.

The implication of these words hit him like a knife to the stomach, carefully and slowly gutting him.

This kind of power play, this kind of threat, this show of information that Aizawa keeps close to his chest, ices his blood and he wants to throw up.

Bartender guy slides into where Harbinger was just sitting. Aizawa quickly and forcefully crumples the paper in his fist, wishing the damage would change the kanji.

“You don’t look too hot, buddy.” No fucking shit, bartender guy. “Tell you what, I’ll give you one truth about him. Anything I know is up for grabs, but make your question good.”

Bullshit. Bartender guy works for Harbinger, and any question he asks will be immediately reported back.

He can’t afford to not know.

Fuck.

“Does-” Aizawa has to clear his throat to keep his voice from breaking. “Does he go after kids?”

Bartender guy looks like he pities him. Aizawa will take it, if it means he gets the answer he needs.

“Nah, man. He’d kill himself before he hurt a kid, purposeful or not. You don’t have to worry ‘bout that.”

His eyes burn. He turns away and shoves both papers in his pocket, his stomach roiling and his mouth dry.

“Thanks,” he mutters, shoving himself out of the booth. He needs to get out, to clear his head, to get to Tsukauchi and figure out what the fuck he’s going to tell Midoriya.

Hey, yeah, sorry but the nature of my work has put you and Eri in mortal danger, and there’s not a single thing I can do about it, not a single thing I can do to keep you both safe. Sorry about that, can I get a coffee now?

He goes out through the club, easily falling into the route that leads back to the station.

Bartender guy still sits in the booth, looking to the doorway from which Eraserhead fled.

“Told you so, thorn.”

Chapter Text

Tsukauchi tells him to calm down, and to wait.

He can go back to the café like he usually does, though, and in two days he’ll pick up the information packet. He shouldn’t tell Midoriya, because telling him could put him in danger.

Not telling him could put him in danger too, but he doesn’t say that.

In the meantime, he’s decided to sit Hizashi and Hitoshi down and tell them what’s happening. He needs support right now, and his family is the best support system he has.

“Hizashi, Hitoshi, can we talk?”

Hitoshi looks up from his phone and hums, shifting over from where he’s curled up on the couch to make room for him.

“What’s up, Dad?”

Hizashi comes around the kitchen island, having just finished the dishes. He plops down on the couch on the other side of Hitoshi, a curious smile pulling his lips up.

“What’s happenin’, babe?”

Shouta sighs and closes his eyes, leaning his head back to rest on the couch.

“Work is stressing me out and I’d like a couple of second opinions.”

Hitoshi snorts, and he feels the couch shift. Somebody’s legs - Hitoshi’s, most likely - fall onto his lap. Hitoshi’s more comfortable showing physical reassurance than using his words, so it makes sense. It's grounding, and Shouta appreciates it.

“Well alright,” Hizashi says, “what’s bothering you?”

And so Shouta spills, telling it like a story. Hizashi oohs and ahs at all the right times, and falls quiet when appropriate. Hitoshi stays silent, but he pays attention.

“-and you know that café I won’t let you go to?”

“HEY! YEAH! I’m still kinda irked about that, because I wanna know who supplies your coffee!”

Hitoshi raises his eyebrows. “Oh? You been skimping out on me, Dad?”

Hizashi nods solemnly, and Shouta sighs.

“I have a café I go to when I can, because the kid who owns the shop makes the best fucking coffee I’ve ever had. Seeing as I am a greedy and jealous bastard, I don’t tell people where it is. Hizashi’s been nagging on me for the entire five years I’ve been going, begging to go with me, and I think that with the new threat, it’s a good time. I can introduce you-”

Hitoshi groans as Hizashi cheers, and he rolls his eyes. Dorks.

“Don’t groan, Hitoshi, you’re not going. And Hizashi, tone it down. You can’t shout in the café, and if you even try then I’m never taking you anywhere in public ever again.”

His husband and son both protest, loudly, and Shouta scowls.

“Knock it off. The little girl, Eri, is like Hitoshi, and she can’t handle sudden loud noises.”

Hizashi looks down, sufficiently cowed, but Hitoshi raises his chin. He pulls his legs back and sits up, starting to scowl.

“First, what do you mean ‘like’ me, and second, what the fuck? Why can't I go?”

“First, that’s not my story to tell, and second, you can’t go because I’ve apparently got someone watching me, and Hizashi can handle himself as Mic. You are underage and you don’t have your provisional license, so if someone attacks you, you’re shit outta luck. I don’t want you in danger, Hitoshi.” Aizawa reaches over and pokes his son's arm, meeting his eyes. “You’re my son. I don’t want you getting hurt.”

Hitoshi narrows his eyes.

“How old is this guy?”

“He’s your age.”

“I want to meet him.”

“I literally just told you why I don’t want you there.”

“He sounds like he could use someone his age as a friend.”

“Hitoshi, you hate everyone your age.”

“Doesn’t matter. If you like him, I’ll like him.”

“I dislike that argument, but only because it’s true.”

Hitoshi smirks, probably because he’s almost won the argument. His expression turns serious, and he pokes Shouta back.

“Dad, I’d never put myself in needless danger. You know that. Just let me tag along. I probably need to socialize before I get into UA, and this kid sounds like he could use a friendly face.”

Shouta scowls. “You’ve made a convincing argument, but I’m not letting you out of my sight.”

Hitoshi leans back, a self-satisfied grin on his face.

“Anyways, as I was saying, there’s been a threat against him and the girl. I want other people - people I trust - to know about the situation and try to look out for him. Now that Hitoshi is participating, I guess I have a better reason to stop by with you guys.” Hizashi whoops, and Shouta shoots him a glare. “You will be polite, and you won’t shout, and you will be nice. His mom is in America, but she won’t hesitate to come over here and kick all of our asses if we make him cry. And he cries easily.”

Shouta huffs out a breath, rubbing at his eyes.

“Okay. Here’s how this is going to go down.”

-

Contrary to popular belief, Bakugou Katsuki doesn’t hate Deku. He just doesn’t fucking understand him.

The little shit is constantly standing up for people who should be able to defend themselves. He’s always going on about being a hero, even though he doesn’t have a fucking quirk, even though he’s functionally useless, and even though if he somehow made it into the world as a hero, he’d fucking die because the world isn’t fair and then Katsuki would feel like a fucking tool because who else could tell Auntie that her precious baby had died? And what the fuck would he do if Deku died? Accept it? Fuck no.

Katsuki doesn’t just let shit happen. He makes it happen, his way, and his way doesn’t involve some C-rank villain taking Deku out.

(What Katsuki doesn’t realize is that he’s never stopped seeing Izuku as a rival, even as ‘useless’ as he says Izuku is. He knows it, deep down; he just doesn’t want to deal with the moral ramifications of knowing that how he’s treated Izuku is the product of his inability to properly convey emotion.)

It doesn’t fucking help that the shitnerd finished middle school early because Auntie wanted to go live with her shitty husband in the fucking United States, of all places. And now he never sees Deku, doesn’t know what the fuck that little shit is up to, doesn’t know if he’s stil trying to be a hero. Knowing him, he probably is, but Katsuki knows that he won't be able to get into a hero school without a quirk. It’s a good fucking thing, too, because this year, Katsuki’s going to get into UA and become number one.

(Katsuki actually has seen Deku recently, he just doesn’t count it because all he did was get angry and punch the shitnerd in the face. Seeing Deku would mean talking to him. And it’s not like he could stop being angry and ask him where the fuck he’s been, what he’s doing.)

He doesn’t need Deku getting in his way.

-

She loves Papa more than anything in the whole entire world. He’s so very good to her, and he’s never yelled at her or been mean to her or anything that Father or Mr. Kurono used to do.

Eri doesn’t think that Papa could ever touch someone in a cruel way. Not truly. It’s just not how he is.

They’re going back home from the store, because there’s something wrong with one of the coffee makers and Papa needed a new part - and he can fix a coffee maker, which is amazing - and they’re passing under a footbridge when she hears it.

There’s a scary noise coming from the sewer cover, and she sees the second Papa hears it too because he pushes her behind him and it’s not a second too soon because there's something bursting up from the sewers and it smells awful and then it says something that she can't hear because there's thunder in her ears and then it has Papa and she can’t do anything-

She’s frozen as she takes in, eyes wide, the sight of a monster surrounding her Papa. He’s clawing at it and her feet are lead and his eyes are panicked and her legs won’t work and he’s face is red and she can’t move and then it’s over.

A super-strong wind comes and blasts the monster away, freeing her Papa and he falls. Her legs unstick and she sprints the short distance, falling to her knees beside him as tears finally come, spilling out onto her cheeks. Her hands hover over him, because she doesn’t trust herself to touch him because what if he disappears? What if she touches him and her quirk activates and he disappears and leaves her all alone and then there's a shadow over her, and a big man that she recognizes from the TV - All Might.

Papa’s second favorite hero.

He’ll help.

“Please,” she sobs. “Please.”

All Might kneels down, and his smile does little to reassure her because it’s too bright. It’s not like Papa’s smile, which is real and good and lets her know that everything is okay.

“Everything will be fine, little one. You know why?”

She doesn’t know, and she can’t until Papa wakes up and explains it to her.

“Because I am here!”

She wants Papa.

-

Time is an odd and awful thing. His time with Eri, just a few months shy of a year, has flown by. It feels like days, but just last night he was planning on how to help Eri with her quirk. Just last night, he was talking to Mr. Aizawa. Just last night he was writing the analysis.

Just a few minutes ago… 

Izuku wakes up to the sound of Eri sobbing and the muted light of a shadow. And then he remembers and he shoots up, turning away from her and throwing up because there's something in his throat and he can’t breathe and everything feels disgusting and wrong. He shivers, blood like ice, and looks up, wiping his mouth on his sleeve.

He looks up at All Might, who is crouching above him and smiling like nothing is wrong when everything is wrong-

Had he been a year younger, Izuku would have jumped at the opportunity to talk with the man-

Eri takes his hand and holds it up to her face, as if reassuring herself that he’s still here, still alive.

As he is now, the only thing he feels is dread, because he’s got a pressing question and he knows the answer All Might will give him.

He squeezes her hand.

“Ah, young man-”

“All Might,” he interrupts. “Can I be a hero like you even if I’m quirkless? Can I save people like you do?”

All Might’s smile falters for a second, and Izuku sees it.

“My boy,” he starts. Izuku can feel what he’s about to say; it’s run through his head countless times, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less. “There are plenty of people who are heroes who don’t get the same kind of recognition I do. Doctors, police officers, even agency managers. For any of those jobs, I’d say go for it. But… to be a hero like me… without a quirk, you’d get yourself killed.” Izuku would like him to stop talking now, but he needs to hear his childhood hero say this.

“Dreams are good, but you need to be realistic.”

There’s blood on the lips of the man Izuku has always idolized, and it hurts to know that his childhood well and truly is a farce.

“Okay,” he murmurs, looking directly into All Might’s eyes. Whatever this emotion is, Izuku hates it. “Please take care of yourself, sir.” All Might chokes a bit, and Izuku turns away to gather himself and Eri up. His hand snakes around her waist and he pulls her into a hug that they both need. Her crying gets louder, and she cries with great, heaving sobs. His heart breaks a bit, because he’s made her cry and he said he’d never do that.

“Papa-” a gasp, “-please don't-” another sob, “do that a-again!” She’s sobbing so hard that he worries she’ll hurt herself. He rubs her back up and down, listening to All Might pointedly ignore them as he gathers the sludge into an empty soda bottle. A lick of fire scorches the inside of his stomach, and fills his lungs with smoke. He’s going to be sick again.

“I won’t, bug,” he whispers. “Do I look like the kind of Papa who gets beaten by a villain?”

Her head shakes, and he hears a muffled, “no,” as she buries her face in the crook of his neck. He laughs a bit, and sweeps his arm under her, grabbing the bag with the coffee maker part they needed. He scoops her up and settles her onto his hip as he stands. He glances one last time at All Might before turning and heading home.

It doesn’t matter. He knows he’s not a conventional hero by any standards, but he’s doing just fine as he is. It’s okay, because he has Eri. He saved her, and she’s here now, and not in the hands of Kai because of him.

He needs to get home. He’s got a coffee maker to fix, a report to write, a bug to reassure, and a day to unpack.

-

It turns out fucking Deku’s been lording it over him.

That’s the only way he can rationalize it. The little fuck decided to save Katsuki from some disgusting sewer villain, as if he wasn’t perfectly fucking capable of saving himself.

(Katsuki knows that if Deku didn’t show up, he probably would have died. Fucking useless heroes, making the shitnerd do their job for them. They even had the fucking gall to scold him, as if he hadn’t done something they couldn’t.)

He runs after the green shithead and yells out to him.

"HEY DEKU, WHERE THE FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN?”

Deku whips around, looking fucking suprised that Katsuki has found him. And then the nerds face turns to irritation, and what the fuck?

“Kacchan, please watch your language.”

The fucking audacity-

“Fucking excuse me? Who the fuck do you think you are, you fucking-”

“Bakugou Katsuki!” And doesn’t that shut him up; Deku’s voice has never been sharp before, and he hasn’t called him by his full name, like, ever, what the fuck is going on? “You will watch your language, and you will speak politely around children.”

Children? Is Deku high? There aren’t any fucking children-

And then there’s a fucking waif of a kiddo standing behind Deku, peeking out from behind his legs with red-rimmed eyes.

Wait.

Red-rimmed eyes like she’d been crying, has he made her cry? Yeah, he’s fine with Deku’s tears, because Deku’s a punk ass shithead, but he’s not fine with making a little kid cry; he’s a bastard, not a fucking monster. Little kids have never done a single thing to him, so he stays off their shit.

He must look about as stricken as he feels, because Deku’s eyes soften with something that looks like pity is that nerd still looking down on-

“Hello, Kacchan. It’s nice to see you.”

Liar.

“Where the he-heck have you been, Deku?” Katsuki hates having to censor himself for this fucking nerd, but he gets that kids don’t need to hear most of shit he says.

“I’ve been working, Kacchan. Mom went to America, so I took over the shop.”

“What about school? You better not be planning to go to UA, because if you say you are I’ll put your a-butt in the ground!”

Deku, the shit, has the fucking gall to look unimpressed. Katsuki fumes, because who the hell does this nerd think he is? Nobody gets to look at him like that, like he’s lesser-

“Kacchan, I’m not seeking higher education. I graduated middle school, and I’m happy in the shop. And I have Eri to look after now,” Deku’s hand finds the little girls, “so I don’t need anything else. Thanks for saying hi, Kacchan. See you around.”

And then he turns around and walks away. And what the fuck can Katsuki do? Call out to him? No, because that would sound desperate. Punch him? He can’t do that in front of a kid. There's. Nothing that he can do.

Katsuki feels helpless for the second time this evening, and he hates it.

He watches Deku walk away, and he feels left behind, again.

(The only reason he wants to be a hero is because Deku was so excited about his quirk when it first manifested. The way Deku looked at him, like he was the best thing in the world, made him feel so good, made him feel like he could protect everyone and beat all the evil. Made him feel like he could be number one.)

“Fuck,” he whispers as angry, helpless tears form in his eyes. Ashamed, he rubs them away, but they don’t stop. And they don’t stop.

(“Kacchan,” Deku calls out. They’re kids still, and Deku is his best friend. They’re going to be heroes together.

“Yeah, Deku?” he calls back, grin spreading across his face at the idea of being a hero with his friend. His best friend.

“Let’s never fight, okay?”

Katsuki laughs. “Why would we ever fight? We can’t be partners if we fight, silly!”

Deku looks relieved, and he doesn’t really know why, but it makes him worried. “Okay. I have something to tell you, though. See, Mommy and I went to the doctor and-”

The grin slips off his face and Katsuki’s dreams crack, right down the middle.)

Chapter Text

The bell rings when they step inside and Hizashi gets it. The café is cute, and of course his husband would want this all to himself. It’s cozy, cluttered but not messy, and the chairs look like they could just eat him up.

It’s the perfect place for Shouta and Hitoshi, and Hizashi is pleased.

“O-oh, hello,” a voice calls from behind a doorway. It’s a sweet and soft tenor, and he bets that this is Midoriya. “Just one second, Mr. Aizawa!”

Oh? What’s this? Step pattern familiarity? He looks over at Shouta and raises his eyebrows. His husband rolls his eyes. He grins. They’re friends, then. Or, rather, Shouta adopted a kid without telling him (again).

He glances at Hitoshi, who’s looking around the café. He looks comfortable enough, at least. The space is big enough for him to feel safe, then. He’s glad. Hitoshi deserves a safe place outside of the house.

A boy comes walking out behind the counter, holding a coffee maker in his hands. He’s small, much shorter than Hitoshi, but he’s not waifish. He’s got unruly green curls and freckles all over. White T-shirt with text he can’t quite read, black pants, and a bandage on his right arm that crawls up into his sleeve. Clinging to his back is a little girl with white hair up in a braid-bun - and no he’s not jealous that she can pull that off - that’s perfectly twisted, a cute little navy blue tunic, and sunshine yellow shorts. Scars wind their way all up her arms and what he can see of her legs, and he gets what Shouta meant about her being like Hitoshi, now.

Midoriya - because Hizashi has decided that this boy is Midoriya - sets the coffee maker down onto the counter, plugs it in, and presses a button. Then, because he’s a sweetheart, he does a little fist pump and whispers, “Yes!”

Shouta, because he’s a fool who doesn’t understand the sanctity of adorableness, clears his throat. Immediately, Midoriya’s eyes snap to him, and oh, he’s even cuter with that smile, oh dear, he’s found another boy to adopt!

“Oh! Hi, Mr. Aizawa! And…” his brow furrows a bit in confusion - tinged with a hint of anxiety - as he seems to notice Hitoshi and him, and it takes a second, but then his face brightens right back up. “Mr. Aizawa, and-and then another, sma-smaller Mr. Aizawa - I, um, don’t know your na-names. Or, ra-rather, um, what to… ca-call you? But,” and he looks back to Shouta, the dear, “this-this is your family, right? I didn’t just gro-grossly mis-misjudge this?”

His husband smiles at the kid and wow, his heart is melting because they’re!! So cute!! Ugh!

“Yeah,” says Shouta. “Midoriya and Eri, meet my husband, Hizashi, and my son, Hitoshi.”

It doesn’t slip his notice how Hitoshi straightens a bit when Shouta calls him their son. His heart swells up and he wants to squeeze the life out of him, wrap him up in cotton candy and blankets, but he can’t do that so he just beams.

This is the ideal.

It also doesn’t escape his notice that Hitoshi is looking at this new boy and blushing. Even better. Hizashi is going to cry, this is just… so good. It’s a good place, and he wants to give Midoriya the moon, because he hasn’t even talked to the kid and he’s already halfway to custody.

Wait just one second.

“How’d you know we were married?” he asks, genuinely curious. He could have just been a friend, but no, Midoriya went straight to marriage.

Midoriya brightens. “Oh, that's e-easy!”

Hizashi feels his eyebrows raise. Whomst?

He continues on, looking down at the counter and fidgeting with his hands. “The ch-chain on yo-your neck, it ma-matches the o-one on Mr. Aizawa-num-number-ones neck, and he-he’s got a rin-ring on that, and th-the way you're all s-standing indi-dicates a fa-familial bond be-because fa-families tend to-to move as a group, and al-also be-because Mr. Aizawa-number-one w-was mu-muttering the o-other day about bri-bringing his family o-o-over. Al-also, y-you,” he gestures to Hitoshi, “loo-look like Mr. Aizawa-number-one be-because of your eye-eyes and the w-way you-you’re stand-ding. A-and you,” he gestures to Hizashi now, “the w-way you’re st-standing, it’s-it’s-it’s like y-you are con-constan-tantly a-around them. Like you’re used to-to be-being in a gr-group. And the  Um,” and he looks over to Shouta as if he hasn’t just blown Hizashi’s mind, “I do-don’t want to be dis-dis-disrespectful, so I’m num-numbering y-you off, but I think that mi-might not be-be, um, po-polite.” He slams his mouth shut and looks down.

Shouta smirks and makes his way over to a plush, maroon chair in front of a fireplace. He and Hitoshi follow, taking seats of their own, and woah, he was right! The chair is so incredibly cushy and soft and wonderful…

“I’d like to die in this chair,” he sighs. Hotishi snorts, nodding his head, and he hears Midoriya giggle softly.

“Yeah, pops, I feel that.”

His husband nods, eyes closed, and Hizashi wishes he could take a picture. This is such a good place.

“Midoriya,” his husband calls softly. “I’d like my usual please, with a choco-cat for Hitoshi and a strawberry shortcake for Hizashi.”

Midoriya perks up and grins like sunshine, beaming so hard his eyes scrunch shut. “Will do, Mr. Aizawa! Coming right up!” Hizashi watches as the boy lifts his arm up above his head, grasping Eri’s right hand as her left wraps around his wrist, and lifts her up and off of his back, setting her down on the ground without jostling his injured arm. He squats down and smiles, patting her head, and whispers something Hizashi can’t hear. Eri nods, and Midoriya slips behind the counter, focusing on making the coffee.

Eri makes her way over to them, pokes his husband very gently on the shoulder, waits for him to look at her.

What cutie pies, these two.

-

The little girl, Eri, seems to want to address them as a group, which is mildly terrifying. Yeah, he knows that he convinced Dad to let him come under the guise of making friends, but he really doesn’t do well with new people.

Well. The guy’s cute as shit, yeah, and his little sister is freaking adorable, but nobody sticks around after learning his quirk.

Dad wouldn’t hang around assholes or racists. Remember that.

They all look at her and she flushes, wringing her hands in her blue dress.

“Papa got hurt and now he’s sad,” she says, clearly enunciating her words. “Could you please talk to him and make him happy?”

Well that’s a lot to unpack. First, who the fuck is Papa? Because there is no way that Midoriya, who is his age, is a father unless he’s vastly misjudged this entire situation. Second, he got hurt? Yeah, he saw a bandage, but the way she’s saying it makes it sound like it wasn’t an accident. Third, holy shit, apparently he’s making a friend today, whether he likes it or not. He can befriend an anxious twink, right? Or, rather, anxious twunk

Not the point. He shakes his head to clear it like an etch-a-sketch, and opens his mouth, but Dad beats him to the questions.

“Eri, how’d Midoriya get hurt?”

Hitoshi throws a quick glance to the counter, but it seems that Midoriya has gone into the back room. Huh. He looks back to Eri, who seems to have gained more confidence.

“He was, um, we got attacked by a villain and Papa couldn’t get out, and All Might saved us but he said something to Papa that made him sad, and then the monster got away and attacked Kacchan - he’s really mean and called Papa a bad name - but, um, the villain attacked Kacchan and then Papa pulled him out but Kacchan burned him, and then we went home.” Well shit, Midoriya’s had an entire fucking week, hasn’t he? Threatened by an info broker, attacked by a villain, and burned by whoever the shit this ‘Kacchan’ guy is. Hitoshi kinda feels bad for him.

“Eri,” Dad says, voice soft like it is whenever he has panic attacks, “do you think that Midoriya would like to be friends with Hitoshi? I could talk to him if you want, but I think he could use a friend.”

Hitoshi watches Eri’s brow furrow, way to invested into her answer, and almost lets a relieved sigh slip past his lips.

Yeah, he’s making a friend today.

Or maybe something more, the mutinous voice in the back of his head croons. You know you want a boyfriend, you useless gay!

Hitoshi very pointedly ignores the voice, and instead focuses on Midoriya, who’s walking over to them with a tray in his hands and a smile on his face.

He’s cute.

Fuck.

“Mr. Aizawa-num-number-one, here y-you go-” and Midoriya hands Dad the biggest freaking mug he’s ever seen, “-and Mr. Aizawa-num-number-two, here you-you are-” and this cup comes with cake and Pop’s delighted exclamation of ‘it's pink!’ and then Midoriya steps in front of him and, “-and he-here’s yours, the-the choco-ca-cat! It’s n-new, so you’ll have to-to te-te-tell me how you li-like it!” Hitoshi takes the offered cup and it’s an adorable little kitty-shaped cookie sitting on top of whipped cream, with what he assumes is chocolate-flavored coffee underneath. He looks up to thank Midoriya, because this is adorable, and the entire force of the sunshine smile is focused like a laser beam on him-

“Hey Midoriya,” and Dad’s to the rescue, holy shit, “how’d you get hurt?”

Midoriya bites his lip and flushes, left hand reaching up to touch the bandages on his right arm, and that probably shouldn’t be as endearing as it is. “I - um - well, you s-see, um, I was wa-walking with Eri t-to the st-store to get a pa-part for the co-co-coff-coffee ma-mach-chine and there was a s-slu-sludge vi-villain and he atta-ttacked Eri and me-me, but w-we were sa-saved by All Mi-might, so we were going ho-home, but then the-there was an ex-ex-explo-plo-plosian and it was on-on our way ho-home and Ka-kacchan was being atta-ttacked by the vi-villain, so I, um, couldn’t he-help it and I ru-rushed for-forward and pull-pulled him out, but he di-didn’t know it was m-me so he fi-fires off an ex-explo-explosian and it, well, it hit my-my arm. And then we we-went home. And that wa-was yes-yesterday.”

This Kacchan guys sounds like a real piece of work. Fucking shit, poor Midoriya. Saves some guy and gets burned for it. Sounds about right.

“Huh, you met All Might? How was that? You’ve liked him since forever, yeah?”

Midoriya ruffles Eri’s hair and sits down in one of the chairs, helping her climb onto his lap. “It was, um, fine. He was bi-big, and very st-strong.”

"Did you get to say anything to him?” Dad pushes, and Pop’s been pretty quiet. Hitoshi glances at him, and sees him shoving cake in his mouth, watching Midoriya with wide, all-seeing eyes. Uh-oh, he knows that look. Midoriya just got a new dad.

“Oh. I-I as-asked him my qu-question. And he, um. He s-said no. He said I co-couldn’t be a he-hero.” Midoriya looks miserable as he hugs Eri, resting his chin on her head as her hands pat his arms softly.

Wow. He wouldn’t have pegged All Might as the type of guy to say something like that. From the looks on Dad and Pop’s faces - pissed and shocked, respectively - neither had they.

“I’m gonna beat him up,” is what comes out of his mouth. No impulse control. Fucking dumbass.

Midoriya looks up at him, surprised, and squeaks, “Wh-what?”

Well, he’s already dug his grave, he might as well lie in it. “I’ll beat up All Might. That’s a really shitty thing to say. No matter who you are, no matter what your quirk is, you deserve a chance. Shit, I’m applying to UA this year. I’ll fucking get in, too, no matter what people say about me or my quirk. You can be a hero just as much as I can. Just as much as Dad and Pops could.” Midoriya’s eyes shine with incredibly sudden tears, and Hitoshi scrambles to fix whatever he just said to upset this ball of sunshine, but all he gets out is an, “Um, I mean-” and them Midoriya is crying.

Nice going, Hitoshi.

But it seems as though all is not lost, because Midoriya sends him a weak smile over his tears. “Thank you,” he sniffles. “That ma-makes me real-really hap-happy.”

Eri twists around and tentatively runs a hand over Midoriya’s hair, leaning back against him. “It’s okay, Papa,” she says, and Hitoshi’s heart must be failing, because that’s the cutest thing he’s ever seen in his entire goddamn life.

“And hey, uh, instead of the Mr. Aizawa-number-three thing, just call me Hitoshi.”

Midoriya nods, still crying, and laughs a bit.

“The-then call m-me Izuku,” he stutters through sniffles, wiping at his eyes. His smile gets a bit brighter.

Huh. This is going to work out.

Chapter Text

It’s been a couple of hours, just sitting and talking (Eri’s gone upstairs, and they all get refills, because Mido- Izuku does something magical with coffee), when Dad pushes him into the firing line.

“Hey, Hitoshi, tell Midoriya about your quirk.” He turns to Izuku, who’s looking over at him with a quizzical expression. “It’s pretty cool, I think you’ll like it.”

Well fuck you too, Dad.

“If you're com-comfortable with te-telling me, I’d like to kn-know about your quirk,” says Izuku, eyes bright with interest. His stuttering has gotten a lot better since they’ve been talking, which Hitoshi attributes to the stress of meeting new people. It was kinda the same with him, when he first met Dad and Pops. He didn’t talk, because talking meant people got angry, and it was fucking awful, all the time.

He got lucky with them.

“My quirk. Uh, well, it’s called Brainwash. If you reply to a question I ask you, then I can control you; at least, until someone touches you or I let you go.” He looks over to the bookshelf behind Izuku’s chair and waits for the derision, the condemnation.

“Wow. That’s…” scary, evil, villainous, disgusting, violating- “incredible! Like, that’s super ama-mazing, Hitoshi! You’re going to be such a g-good he-hero with your quirk, that’s so coo-cool!” Izuku’s honestly beaming at him, eyes twinkling and everything. Woah.

“I’m se-serious, Hitoshi! The things yo-you could do! You could ta-talk down villains, you could re-really make a diff-difference in ho-hostage situations, you could work un-undercover, you could do so mu-much! That’s an incredibly ver-versatile quirk, and you could do so mu-much good as a hero!”

He’s. Perfect. Does Izuku even exist? How does he exist? He has to thank Mrs. Midoriya for bringing him into the world. There’s no way that he’s real.

Nobody but Dad and Pops have said that he can be a hero. And now there's Izuku, who’s objectively perfect, telling him that his dreams aren’t only commendable, but reachable? He’s talking like Hitoshi’s already a pro. Izuku is an angel.

And Hitoshi’s got a crush the size of Tokyo.

“Do you mi-mind if I ask you a few qu-questions about your qu-quirk? I, um, I analyze quirks in my free time.” Izuku flushes a bright red, and begins fidgeting with his hands. “I-if it’s not too in-intru-trusive, that is.”

Hitoshi nods, and he can feel the flush making its way up his face. “Uh, sure. Whatever’s fine, I guess.” Nobody’s ever really been invested in learning about his quirk before. Not even his dads. Everyone just tries to avoid him once they know what he can do.

“O-okay, so if I answer a question you ask me, then you can control me, right?”

Hitoshi nods. “Yeah, that’s right.”

Izuku hums, tilting his head to the side a bit. His hair bounces as he moves, and it’s super adorable. He looks like a puppy. Or a bunny.

“Okay, so is it automa-matic? Or do you choose whether or not the effects ta-take place?”

“I choose. If you answer a question, it’s like there’s a thread between us. I can tug on it, or I can ignore it. It’s easy to ignore, but I guess it’s easy to pull on too. Either way, it’s response based.”

Izuku’s eyes brighten with interest, and Hitoshi gets a rush of something that feels like satisfaction. Having someone who’s invested in something he’s talking about (who isn’t one of his dads) without being afraid is… incredibly validating. It makes him feel valued.

“If it’s re-response based, can you feel the thread in regular conversation, e-even if you don’t ask a question? Because based on what you’re de-describing, I think that there might be a chance that your quirk is re-response based, but even more so than you might think.” Izuku looks at him imploringly, and Hitoshi leans back a bit, running through the idea Izuku’s just given him. Huh. He’s never really tried that before.

It might work.

“Nah, I haven’t tried that before, but it’s a really good idea. You know, you’re pretty smart. And, uh, thanks.” He rubs the back of his neck, lips quirking into a smile, and looks up at Izuku, who looks kinda confused.

“For what?”

“Oh, just, uh, not being afraid of me. Not treating me like a villain. It’s kind of a common reaction to my quirk, you know?”

Izuku frowns, worrying his lip as his eyebrows furrow. “No, Hitoshi, I don’t kn-know. People shouldn’t say you’re a vi-villain just because of your quirk. It’s not your quirk, it’s what you d-do with it that counts.”

Hitoshi brushes away the thread that drifts towards his mind and huffs a breath of laughter.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

Izuku smiles and it’s like an angel is looking right at him, without hatred or fear or anything else, and it’s so damn nice that he wants to hug him.

Well, he kinda wants to hug Izuku anyways, so no surprise there. He’s just too cute.

“Hey Hitoshi?”

Hitoshi nods, raising his eyebrows a bit. “Yeah.”

“Would you feel com-comfortable, um, and you don’t have to if you don’t wa-want to, but could you, um, try brainwashing me? I would like to know how it fee-feels so I can figure something out.”

What the fuck. Angel or not, Izuku’s poking a bear. He’ll get brainwashed, then he’ll feel gross and he won’t want Hitoshi in his shop, then Hitoshi will feel like shit, and then….

He’ll lose a person who doesn’t seem to hate him. Those are in short supply, so he needs as many as he can get. He glances at Dad, who’s showing Pops a video on his phone. Probably a cat video. Either way, Dad doesn’t miss shit, so he catches Hitoshi’s eye and very subtly shrugs.

Well, fuck. No help there.

He glances back to Izuku, who’s sitting prim and proper in his cushy chair, face open and shoulders relaxed. He doesn’t seem overly concerned, not like Hitoshi is.

Maybe he’s just making a big deal out of it. Maybe it won’t be as awful as he thinks it will be. He can’t really pass up a chance to learn something about his quirk, not when he wants to get into UA. If Izuku thinks it will be fine, then it honestly might be.

“That’s fine, I guess. I don’t know how it feels, so it might be weird but I’ll release you super quick. Are you absolutely sure?”

Izuku nods safely, smiling softly. “I’m sure, Hitoshi.”

And so Hitoshi grabs the thread connecting them now, wraps it around his fist, and pulls. Almost immediately, Izuku’s eyes cloud over and his smile falls a bit. He keeps his relaxed posture, but instead of the friendliness before, it just looks like he’s been drugged.

Hitoshi keeps the hold for about six seconds before letting go, watching the string fade as Izuku regains control of himself. Anxiety creeps up his stomach, growing stronger every second that Izuku doesn’t say anything.

He opens his mouth and Hitoshi waits with bated breath, steeling himself for the inevitable, entirely preventable, completely understandable rejection.

“Okay, so that was we-weird. But I think I have an idea for ho-how you might be able to im-improve your quirk. Can you tell me what it was like to do that from your side?”

Holy shit. This proves it. Izuku’s an angel. There's no other explanation.

-

“Midoriya,” Shouta says, mindful of Hizashi and Hitoshi waiting for him at the door. It’s late, and it’s time for them to leave.

“Yes, Mr. Aizawa?”

“This,” and he holds out a slip of paper, “is my phone number. If you’re in trouble, like that stunt with the silly putty villain, give me a call. I’m a hero, it’s my job, so don’t say anything you're thinking about saying.”

Midoriya closes his mouth, blushing a bit, and nods. “I hope I never have to use this, but if it’s a true emergency then I’ll make sure to call you.” He grins up at Shouta, and bows. “Thank you, Mr. Aizawa!”

Shouta looks away, shoving his arms through his coat. “No problem, kid. Tell Eri we said bye.”

“Will do.”

And then they leave.

They get about a block before Hizashi breaks.

“Shouta you devil, how could you keep those angels all to yourself? Oh, to think that I’ve been missing out on that cinnamon roll for five years now, I could just die!” He flails backwards, flopping onto Shouta, who’s walking behind him. Hitoshi, who almost got smushed between them, snorts.

“Pops, you’re the most dramatic person I’ve ever met. And I’ve met, like, a lot of dramatic people.”

Hizashi looks up from Shouta’s shoulder, eyes zeroed in on their sons face. Shouta can’t lie, it’s pretty impressive that he’s able to keep walking like that.

“I saw you, little kitty cat,” he croons, eyes narrowed. “Don’t think you can swerve past me like that. You like him. Like, like like him.”

Hitoshi goes beet red, scrunches his nose, and looks away. “I like him the normal amount. I told you guys I was going to make a friend, and I did. He’s cool. ‘S not my fault he looks like a damn angel.”

“Those two words don’t go together, kiddo,” he says, keeping his streak of not helping his son out of the situations he gets himself into. He’s going strong so far, and he has no plans on quitting now.

“Wuv, twu wuv,” Hizashi sings, quoting that old-ass American movie, “will fowow you foweva!”

Hitoshi covers his ears and starts walking faster. “Sorry, not listening anymore.”

Shouta tugs on the hood of his jacket, keeping him from going too far, and wraps an arm around Hizashi’s waist, lifting him up and off the ground. Hizashi squawks and Hitoshi slows down, locking his hands behind his neck.

“We’re going home, gang, not running from loud and dramatic gay men. And then we’re gonna talk about what we noticed when we were in that shop, because there must have been something.”

Hitoshi shrugs and Hizashi’s apparently decided that he’s a sack of potatoes, and has gone limp accordingly.

“Hizashi, I’m not carrying you all the way home.”

“Yes you are,” he hears, his husbands voice muffled.

“No, I’m not.”

“Yes, you are,” Hizashi insists.

With a put-upon sigh, Shouta walks home, potato husband, cat son, and all.

-

Eri knows that her Papa gets anxious. He told her once that he had anxiety, and that it made his words catch sometimes.

Eri thinks that he’s wrong. She thinks that there are types of anxious. And her Papa has three kinds of anxious.

The first type her Papa has is small. It makes his words soft and gentle. It’s when he’s calm and not over-thinking.

The second type is medium. His words catch and he over-thinks everything he’s gonna say, and he gets embarrassed easily.

The third type of anxious is big. It doesn’t let his words catch. It makes his words scary.

(She’s not scared, though. Not of Papa. Never of Papa.)

The big anxious makes him scare other people. It’s when he’s so scared himself that he has to force it onto other people. It makes his eyes bright and it makes his words come out wrong. It happened when Papa asked All Might the question. It happens sometimes when he sees the man on the TV. It happens when he mentions Father.

She sees it settle on him when he tucks her into bed. When he kisses her forehead before he leaves for the night. He hasn’t told her yet, but she knows that she probably shouldn’t talk about it. She knows that he won’t leave him, because he promised that he wouldn’t and he keeps his promises, but it doesn’t mean that she won’t worry about him. He wakes her up and he’s got bruises sometimes. He moves like he’s hurt.

She’ll train, though. She’ll make her quirk (it’s not a sickness, Papa told her so) nicer, and Papa will help her make it safe. And then she can help him, make his aches go away. He’s her hero.

She’ll be his.

Chapter Text

The first thing he does after everyone leaves is clean up. Izuku doesn’t expect any more guests today, because the only other people that come in are one-timers who say they’ll be back (they don’t come back), and a couple that only ever comes on their anniversary.

As he cleans, he hums and thinks about the Aizawa-Yamada family. They’re all incredibly nice, and even though he was stuttering his way through every conversation, they didn’t call him out on it. He’s grateful. His stutter is… something that he’s had issues with his entire life, and even though it’s usually just the manifestation of his stress when he meets new people as Izuku, quirkless kid, it’s difficult and a little bit humiliating.

But Mr. Hizashi and Hitoshi - he blushes and shakes his head at using his first name - were very nice. Hitoshi’s quirk is amazing, and he smiles at the thought of how good a hero he’s going to be. And he was friendly, and kind, and interesting, and sweet to Eri and him? Izuku’s never had that before.

He thinks he might have a friend now, and he likes it. He likes it a lot.

The second thing he does is go upstairs, settle himself into his office, and bring out his phone, plugging in his headphones. A couple of numbers later, and the gravelly voice of Dabi washes into his ears.

“Hey flower, what’s up?”

Izuku hums, falling easily into his Harbinger persona. “Darling. I’ve got something for you to do, if you wanna quit your job.”

A pause. Then, “Shit’s dangerous?”

“Most likely.”

Izuku can hear Dabi’s grin over the phone. “Hell yeah, babe. Count me in, I need some excitement,” he laughs. “Not, of course, that I don’t like seeing you all the time, but shit’s getting kinda boring over here.”

Izuku rolls his eyes, smiling. “Of course. And we’ll still see each other,” he drawls, “just less often. After all, I am kind of a hot topic, and I’m still beholden to my promise.”

The line is quiet for a beat, and then Dabi’s voice comes through again, softer. “Yeah. We got that in common.” His voice gets stronger, regaining its amused bite. “As if you could stay away from me, you klepto. You like the info I feed you. So where is the wind taking me today?”

Izuku’s smile drops a fraction, curling into something more like a grimace. “The League of Villains. The thorn from the other night is a sharp one, and I’d like to keep him around. We both need more information, and he’s willing to owe me a favor. I’ll pay you, of course, more than you’re getting at the bar, and I’ll keep watching the kingdom. Are you in?”

“Yes. Give me an address, a contact date, and what you want me to collect, and I’ll deal with everything else. Send it to me tonight, if you could.”

“Will do. Be careful, briar.”

“See you on the flip-side, hotstuff.”

-

Dabi hangs up and sets the phone down on the table, looking at it warmly as he leans his cheek on a propped up hand. Sweet little flower, darling midnight bluebell. He wonders what he’s done that makes it okay to know Harbinger like he does.

He knows next to nothing, of course, and he understands that, but next to nothing is a lot better than anyone else. Harbinger knows more about him than anyone else, because that’s how he functions, but there's a mutual trust and respect that keeps him from anxiety. He runs a hand through his hair and soot comes away with it, falling onto the table. He thinks about the thorn from the other night, and how Harbinger broke his heart and the question “Does he go after kids?” and the panic in his voice, and he thinks that something is going to go wrong soon.

Oh well. He knows what he can and cannot do, and he knows that he can protect who he needs to protect if the sky falls down on him.

Gentle, gloved hands on his face, no disgust from the scars and a smiling, lilting voice that laughs and rages like he does. A promise to protect the kingdom of a fallen prince, and a bundle of flowers, every other Saturday, at the hospital.

There is very little that can harm him, when his fire burns as hot as it does. Dabi is the fire, Harbinger is the wind, and he’s got faith that everything will be fine. After all, it’s not really up to him.

-

The second thing he does is go upstairs. He’s almost done with the files Eraser asked for, he’s just got a polish them up and make them pretty. They’re due tomorrow, after all. He slips into his office, passing by the living room and seeing Eri watching Pokémon on his way, and softly closes the door.

The walls are a nice beige, the desk is innocuous, and the dresser is full of things that are probably really, really illegal. Of course, it’s all under false-bottom drawers, but still. It’d be bad if somebody just stumbled upon the suppressants he’s perfected.

When he was still going to school, science was his favorite subject. He was good at it then, and he’s good at it now. It helps that he doesn’t have to limit himself to course material anymore and can research more things in his free time, but it helps more that he’s got a motivation, a reason for this.

Protect Eri. Keep her safe. Keep others from ending up or staying in a situation like hers.

It’s his hero complex, he knows, and he can’t say he minds. At least he can do something, useless as he is. At least he can help someone.

He sits at the desk, pulls on a pair of latex gloves, and pulls out the notebook he’s using for this. It’s about half-full of everything he knows about the League, and he wants more. He needs more. At the moment, he’s got the basic rundown of the people he knows about, their quirks, and their strengths and weaknesses. What he needs is their reasoning. Their mission statement, their vision. He needs to know them inside and out, needs to know them so well that he can think like them, see their moves before they’re made and have the correct counters in place.

He doesn’t believe for a second that Shigaraki Tomura, original name Shimura Tenko, would stop at something like a threat. He’s the type of person who needs to be broken out of his conditioned hatred.

And then there’s Kurogiri. Awfully polite, with a sadistic streak he keeps up longer than he should. He’s the mother of the group, and it shows. If he were given a chance, something to do that would cater to his emotional needs without feeling degrading or objectifying, he’d come easily.

The worst of the heavy hitters is absolutely All for One, though. An embittered old man who doesn’t know, can’t even fathom how far past his prime he is. There’s nothing Izuku would like more than to rip into him, lecturing him until the cows come home and the sun dies. He hates child abusers, and All for One is a no-good, manipulative, awful and irredeemable child abuser. He twists and twists and twists until something snaps, and then he welds the warped pieces together in an awful, painful shape. Izuku 

The rest are all petty criminals, small time thugs, and low-ranking villains. He’s got about half a page each for all of them, but most of the notebook is dedicated to All for One and Shigaraki. And, of course, it’s all in the handwriting he uses for Harbinger - the bubbly characters that far more resemble Mom's hand, compared to his usual chicken scratch.

He’s got one more entry to write. The one for Eraserhead himself. It's a… gift. An apology, more like, for freaking him out so much the last time they met on the job. He’s decided to write a full evaluation of Aizawa - from quirk strengths and weaknesses to tips on how to sleep better to a couple of book recommendations. It’s easy, doesn’t take more than half an hour, and he’s got five full pages, back and front, done, including illustrations. He hums a bit, tilting his head to the side as he bites his lip, debating himself as to whether or not he wants to write a personalized note. Dabi had texted him about Eraser’s question, and it pulled at his heart. He didn’t want Mr. Aizawa to worry about him or Eri when they were perfectly safe.

Dearest Eraserhead, he writes. A grin flashes across his face as he decides to embellish.

You silly goose! I’d never hurt a child! Sweetness and innocence are things we have so little of today, and I’d die before I harmed an innocent like that.

His mind drifts to Eri, and the thought of even saying something mean to her makes him flinch. He can’t even imagine raising his voice at her, let alone a hand. He feels sick even thinking about it, so he puts his pen back onto the page.

Anyways, here’s a little gift for you - and he draws a little arrow to the doodle of Eraserhead on the page to the left - it’s a little continuation of the bit I did for you in the bar, for free of course. I feel a little bad about scaring you, so here’s an olive branch:

The Shie Hassaikai killer stands free, but they won’t kill again.

All information, all knowledge is subjective, of course, but I know this. They won’t kill anyone else. So you and the good detective shouldn’t worry about it! Close the case, keep it quiet, it’ll be fine. I promise. No need to worry, Mr. Lawman. However, if you do keep the case open, I can assure you that you won’t find them. I’m planning on keeping my gag order in place, and I’ve taken care of any would-be snitches, so there’s nothing for you there.

(Not that it wouldn’t be fun to see you try, though!)

Anyways, I’m going to wrap this up now! I’ve got a person on the inside if you need any more information about the League, so feel free to ask! I look forward to seeing you again soon, Eraser.

Enjoy your coffee!

Love, Harbinger

He draws a little star next to his name and flips the notebook closed, setting his pen down.

All done for today.

He puts the notebook back in the false-bottom drawer and sighs. It’s definitely not his best work, but it’ll do. He has to be careful with his analysis styles in and out of his Harbinger persona, because it just wouldn’t do to have him connected to a vigilante who knows about the Shie Hassaikai case.

He stands back up, pulling the gloves off and tossing them into the waste bin next to the desk, and leaves his office. He makes his way quietly down the hall, poking his head into the living room.

“Hey bug,” he calls softly, smiling at the calm happiness he sees as her head whips around to look at him. “Can I talk to you for a second?”

“Yeah, Papa.” She nods, reaching for the remote and pausing her anime. He pads over to the couch, plopping down next to her, and wraps an arm around her as she snuggles into his side. “What’s happening?”

“I wanted to tell you that I came up with a few ideas about how to train your quirk, and that if you're comfortable with it, we could start tomorrow.” She sucks in a breath and goes very still, and the creeping feeling of panic, that he’s made a mistake, starts to wrap around his chest.

And then she shifts, sitting back on her knees, wide eyes looking up at him, and whispers, “Really?”

He nods hesitantly, a sheepish smile curling his lips. “Uh, yeah. I was up pretty late last night, so I decided to make a sort of training plan? That we could follow? If you want to, that is. I know that you’re still feeling iffy about using your quirk - even though it’s super cool, bug, you gotta believe me - but I think that if we combined it with a little bit of my physical training, it’d normalize it and make it easier for you-” Izuku can feel himself starting to ramble but he’s helpless to stop it, so he just keeps going, hopeful that she’ll see how good and cool and amazing she is, “- which is what we want, you know? You shouldn’t feel afraid of something that's part of you, I don't want you to feel afraid of something that’s a part of you, so we can take baby steps and stuff like that until we both feel comfortable with you using your quirk on me-”

And she hugs him. She surges forward, wrapping her arms tight around his neck and shoving her face into his shoulder as she shakes and he can feel his shirt getting wet, just a bit. He immediately tears up, his own arms coming up to hold her to him.

“Hey, bug, what’s this for?” he chokes out, voice thick, stroking her back as she sobs. She tightens her grip on him, shaking her head.

“Thankyouthankyouthankyou,” she whispers, repeating over and over again. Izuku sniffles, laughing a bit.

“Today was a lot, huh bug?” His hand keeps stroking her back, up and down as she cries.

She nods, sagging into him a bit.

“That’s okay,” he says softly. “Tomorrow will be better than today, and I’m not going anywhere. Promise.”

She nods again, and her arms loosen a touch. She slips down to sit in his lap, curling up in his arms. Izuku leans back against the couch, closing his eyes as he traces circles softly onto her shirt.

He has a lot of work to do.

Chapter Text

When Tsukauchi Naomasa got the text to meet Aizawa, he expected a regular café. The kind with customers and staff. He didn’t expect the meeting to take place in the café that Harbinger had threatened, at two in the afternoon on a Monday.

“Midori Coffee Shop,” he murmurs, looking at the writing on the door. “Huh.”

He goes in, a bell tinkling softly at his entrance, and sees a young man at the counter. His hair is green, his skin is covered in freckles, and he’s frowning at the phone in his hand.

At the bell, he looks up at catches Nao’s eye for a second, confusion flashing across his face before giving way to a genuine, welcoming smile that immediately makes him feel a bit more at home.

“Hi! Are y-you waiting for someone or would you li-like to order?” A warbled truth slips into his mind, but he pays it no attention - easily used to ignoring it by now - and smiles at the boy.

“I am waiting for someone, but I think he’d be fine if I ordered now.” He looks at the chalkboard display of coffee he can buy, and settles on the third one down. “Can I get a Pumpkin Paw latte with a cheese danish?”

The kid - Midoriya, if he’s remembering properly - brightens, if that’s even possible, and sets his hands on his hips, looking for all the world like Toshinori.

“Absolutely! Coming ri-right up,” he chirps, before swishing into what Nao assumes is the kitchen.

Not quite sure what to do with himself, he takes a seat at the counter and looks around. It’s cozy in here. There’s a table by the door with a chess board set up on it, the walls are lined with bookshelves, there’s an old-style fireplace with ugly-as-sin maroon winged chairs, and beanbags littered here and there. The floor’s covered in rugs, the wallpaper’s in good condition, and the lighting is usually good for a shop with so little windowspace. The counter’s got two chairs, one of which he’s occupying, and there’s a closed yellow folder at the end of it.

Huh.

That’s probably not good.

The bell chimes, and as he looks back he sees Aizawa making his way up to the counter.

There’s a call from the back room, and Nao snorts a bit as Aizawa sits down next to him.

“One minute Mr. Aizawa and guest!”

“So,” he says, smirking. “You come here often?”

Aizawa makes a gagging noise and makes a disgusted face, and he can't help but laugh.

“Don’t even. This coffee shop is the only good thing in my life and I won’t have you ruining it with your shitty pickup lines.”

Naomasa mock salutes as Midoriya - there’s a nametag now, he can see, pinned to a black shirt that reads ‘Blanket’ in white text - comes bustling back in with a tray in his hands and a little girl clinging monkey-style to his back.

“O-okay, Pumpkin Paw latt-latte with the ch-cheese danish for you,” and he sets down a mug with a cat face drawn onto the cream in pumpkin spice powder in front of Nao, “and then for Mr. Aizawa, we’ve got the Inko special.” And Midoriya sets down the biggest mug of coffee he’s ever seen in front of Aizawa, who clutches at the cup with greedy fingers, immediately taking a long drink.

“What’s the Inko special, if I may ask?” He forces his eyes away from the mug, turning to Midoriya, who smiles and flushes a bit.

“It’s the first drink my mo-mom came up wi-with! She, um, decided that she wan-wanted to make coffee with a little bit of ev-everything, so she-she made this. Mr. Aizawa was the first ta-taste tester.”

Truth nudges against his head. Nao looks at Aizawa, who raises an eyebrow over the cup and makes a rude noise, and decides to let it go.

The little girl on Midoriya’s back giggles softly, pressing one finger to his cheek and whispering something in his ear that makes his eyes widen.

“That's right!” He whirls around to Aizawa, eyebrows creasing up in concern. “Mr. Aizawa, there’s a-a… package for you?” Aizawa stiffens, rapidly paling as Midoriya points to the end of the counter to the folder. “It was there whe-when I woke up this mo-morning.” Truth. “Whoever p-put it there didn’t take anything, and no-none of the locks were bro-broken. Nothing was mi-missing, I checked.” Truth. “It has yo-your name written on-on it. I decided to just le-leave it there, in case you wan-wanted to… I don’t kn-know, dust it for fin-fingerprints?” Truth.

Nao intervenes before Aizawa can say anything, because he can see the man about to do something he'll probably regret. “Thank you, Midoriya. That’s actually what we’re here for. I’m Detective Tsukauchi Naomasa, sorry for not introducing myself before. But if whoever put this here is who we think it is, they won’t have left any fingerprints behind, and I always keep a pair of gloves on me in case something like this happens.” He takes out the pair of latex gloves he keeps on him, because that wasn’t a lie, and hands them to Aizawa.

“Here,” he says. “You look at the folder, and I’ll check around the shop.” He turns to Midoriya. “If that’s okay, of course.”

Midoriya, who looks a touch uncomfortable (and who can blame the kid?), nods and adjusts the little girl on his back so that she’s sitting on his hip. “Should we go? Like, up-upstairs so we don’t get in the wa-way?”

Immediately, Aizawa’s head shoots up. “No. You won’t get in the way.”

Midoriya gives a relieved smile and nods. “Okay,” he says. “If you have any questions for me, I’m happy to answer.” Truth.

-

Izuku sends Eri into the back, asking her to pick him out a pastry for them to share as he watches Mr. Aizawa and the good Detective work. His eyes are wide and interested, he knows, because they won’t find anything and he wants to see what they come up with.

“Maybe a warp quirk?” Tsukauchi asks, just low enough for Izuku to almost not hear. He’s checking the ceiling for bugs.

“Maybe,” Mr. Aizawa answers from the chess table, where he’s moved. He hasn’t opened the file, he’s just looking at it for now. “We know that he has enough connections to know someone with that rare of a quirk.”

Well that’s true, but they don’t need to seem so put out about it. Just because he knows about Kurogiri doesn’t mean he can ask for favors from them (he recently found out that Kurogiri identifies as nonbinary masc and uses they/them pronouns, and Izuku will die before he willingly misgenderes someone).

Mr. Aizawa opens the folder, hesitates before taking out the notebook, and begins to read.

Detective Tsukauchi (and what a rush is that, that he’s in Izuku’s house? That he’s in Izuku’s space, and he’s not here to make any arrests?) has finished looking for bugs, not finding anything, and decides to check the locks. Eri comes back with a frosted strawberry-buttermilk biscuit that he breaks in half over a napkin, and he sits her up on the counter as they eat their respective pieces.

The good Detective doesn’t find anything worth agonizing over, and so he sits down quietly across from Mr. Aizawa at the chess table. He waits while Mr. Aizawa is reading, sipping his coffee and fiddling with the black queen.

Izuku can see when Mr. Aizawa turn to his note, because he stiffens and then relaxes and sighs.

“Midoriya,” he calls, and Izuku hops over the counter to move by his side.

“Yeah?”

Mr. Aizawa looks at him, eyebags incredibly prominent, and reaches up to ruffle his hair.

“I don’t think this kind of thing is gonna happen again. You have my number, so if things go to shit you can call or text or whatever the situation calls for, but you shouldn’t worry.”

A wave of affection and appreciation for the man in front of him rushes through Izuku, and he smiles.

“I wasn’t wo-worried, Mr. Aizawa. I assu-assumed that this was som-something to do with your jo-job, like a scare tac-tactic or something. If things go bad, I’ll make sure to-to contact you.” Izuku nods solemnly, keeping his smile. He doesn’t want Mr. Aizawa to worry about him or Eri, because they’ll be fine. Izuku wouldn’t let anything happen to them.

“Yeah,” Mr. Aizawa grumbles. “Scare tactic. That’s a good phrase for it.”

Izuku nods, and turns to the detective. “Would you like more coffee?”

Tsukauchi hums and nods, handing over his mug. “Thanks, kid,” he says gratefully.

Izuku takes his cup and a little bubble of pride makes its way up his spine. He makes good coffee, and people want to drink it. It doesn’t matter that he’s functionally a child, or that he’s killed as many people as he has. He makes good coffee, he’s a renown info-broker, and he’s as good a Papa to Eri as he can possibly be.

He makes his way back to the coffee makers, setting them to their needed settings, and kisses Eri on the forehead, wiping her mouth gently with his thumb to get some crumbs off her face.

“Coffee, coffee, coffee-making Pa-pa,” she sings quietly, smiling sweetly. “I love my Papa and he makes good coff-ee.”

Izuku grins and lifts her up to sit on his hip, taking her hand and dancing with her as she sings.

“My coffee-making Papa is a he-ro, he-ro! He makes good coffee while sav-ing peo-ple! He helps Mr. Aizawa and Detec-tive Tsu-ki! My coffee, coffee, coffee-making Pa-pa!”

Izuku swings her around as she breaks into a fit of giggles, hugging her tightly.

“Baby, baby, little baby E-ri,” he hums in retaliation, wrinkling his nose at her when she gasps and leans back, eyes wide. “I love my Eri and she’s a swee-eet ba-by. My little baby Eri is a sweet-heart, sweet-heart! She makes me smile when she hugs-me, hugs-me! My baby, baby, little baby E-ri!” He finishes his verse and tickles her tummy, reveling in her whoops of laughter.

“Papa! You sang with me!”

Izuku softens as he looks at Eri, still flushed with laughter. Her eyes are wide and awestruck and adoring, and all of that is directed right at him.

“Of course I did, bug. You sang to me, so I sang to you! I liked your song, by the way. It was very pretty. You’ve got a good voice.”

Eri beams at him and he beams right back, bubbles of laughter filling him up and making him feel like he could touch the stars. He loves her so much he could die from it.

(Not that he would. It would take so much more than just love to kill him. It’d take an inordinate amount of knives, probably. And maybe rejection from his mother, just to be sure. And those things come few and far in between anything he’s ever experienced.)

-

Naomasa looks over at Midoriya and Eri, who have just finished dancing and singing to each other. Midoriya’s now getting his coffee ready, and Nao feels a strange sense of anticipation build up in him.

He blames it completely on the coffee. It’s just… so good. Regular instant coffee - the stuff he has at home and at the precinct - isn’t as good as this stuff, and he’s going to have to come back here at every possible opportunity to make sure that it’s not just a one-off thing.

(Based on the way Aizawa’s treating his coffee, even while stressed and reading a mildly illegal notebook, it’s not a one-off thing, and this shop is going to turn into an addiction he’ll have to hide from Sansa.)

Aizawa’s back to focusing on the notebook, and honestly? That’s unfortunate because he just missed the cutest exchange Nao’s ever seen, and he feels blessed.

And so as he waits for his coffee, Nao looks at Aizawa. Really looks at him.

The man hasn’t ever lied to him. Not even on little things. Most people lie to him at least twice a day, even knowing his quirk. They can’t really help it, and he knows that it’s just habit, that none of them are malicious about it, but it still irritates him. That’s probably why he appreciates Aizawa’s company so much.

More than that, though, is that here? In this hideaway coffee shop? Stressed and anxious as he is? Naomasa has never seen Aizawa this relaxed.

Oh, Nao’s seen him unprofessional, because Aizawa’s just Like That, but really relaxed? Nao’s sure that if he was reading the notebook at the precinct, Aizawa’d have the tension in his shoulders that meant he was still paying attention to the outside world, but that’s gone and he’s eternally grateful to Midoriya for helping his friend out like this.

Midoriya, who’s just arrived with his coffee and a summer-day smile.

“If the-there’s anything I can he-help with, please let me kn-know,” he says quietly, looking at Naomasa. “I want to help.” Truth.

Nao smiles back at him, ‘cause the kid is genuinely sweet, and takes the coffee. He motions to the last empty chair at the table. “I don’t know if we need help, per say, but I could use the company while Aizawa takes another look at… well, whatever’s in there.”

Midoriya nods serenely, pulling out the chair and sitting down. Nao watches as he turns towards the bar and makes some sort of hand signal at Eri, who smiles and calls out an, “OK, Papa!” before running upstairs.

“What was that?” he asks, curious. It wasn’t JSL, because he knows what JSL looks like, but it was certainly some sort of sign. Midoriya flushes a little and smiles.

“Eri and I made up a non-verbal lan-language, for when she gets too an-anxious to talk. We’ve been us-using it around the shop and house to pra-practice, and it’s fun so we do it of-often. We make up signs as we go, and so far we-we’re up to around fif-fifty.”

All truth, and Nao is impressed. Like, really impressed.

“That’s impressive,” he murmurs, a little bit awestruck. “Like, really impressive. Learning a language is hard, but making one? That’s… that requires something most people don’t have, so more power to you, kid.”

Midoriya brightens and his eyes look like they’re watering a bit. “Thank you, Mr. Tsu-tsukauchi. That means a lo-lot to me.”

Truth, his quirk sings.

“If you don’t mind my asking, why does Eri call you ‘Papa’? You look kind of young to be a father.”

Midoriya startles, his smile losing a bit of its luster, and Nao immediately feels like he’s stepped on a landmine.

Fuck, Aizawa just said it was complicated, he didn’t say it was traumatic.

“Oh. It's a bit of a st-story. Actually, my mo-mom filled me in on the details of-of it. Recently, she told me that she ha-had a sister she nev-never told me about, and that her sis-sister had a child and le-left the child with the fa-father. And well, um, Eri’s da-dad was… a really, really bad man.” Truth. “He died and so she ca-came to live with me almost a ye-year ago, and she started ca-calling me Papa. I think it’s be-because she was used to hav-having a dad around, and sin-since she called that ma-man ‘Father’, she calls me Papa.” Truth, his quirk sighs, and Naomasa is almost angry that the man’s dead already.

“I’m sorry for asking,” he murmurs, looking at the cheery yellow cup in his hands. “That was insensitive of me, I think.”

Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Midoriya shake his head.

“Eri isn’t in that sit-situation anymore,” truth, “so there’s no ne-need to be sorry.”

And the second part of that statement is a lie, but Naomasa doesn’t call him out or fault him for it. As a detective and a part of the police force, it’s his job to save the people heroes can’t get to.

He’s startled out of his thoughts by Aizawa, who slaps the notebook on the table, peeling off the gloves and rubbing his face.

“Midoriya, you’re a good person, so stop feeling guilty. Tsukauchi, you’re a good person too, so stop feeling guilty. Like Midoriya said,” he says, glaring at Nao, “Eri’s not in that situation anymore. We shouldn’t be sorry, we should be active. Tsukauchi, if you wanna do something, go look into the measures being taken against child abuse and make them better.” Aizawa turns his gaze to Midoriya, letting his glare go and smiling slightly. “Midoriya, keep raising Eri like you are. You’re doing great, kiddo.” Truth.

Nao nods, taking a sip of his coffee, and Midoriya starts sniffling.

“Thanks, Mr. Aizawa.”

Aizawa nods, picking up the notebook and shoving it back into the folder.

“Tsukauchi, I think we should get this back to the precinct and let Eri and Midoriya take the rest of the day off.”

Truth; Nao knocks back the rest of the coffee in his mug and nods, standing.

“Thanks for the coffee, Midoriya,” he says sincerely, “and sorry for asking an insensitive question. I hope that I haven’t made too bad of a first impression,” he admits sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck.

Midoriya wipes at his eyes and smiles slightly, shaking his head. “‘S alright, Mr. Tsukauchi. You’re welcome to come back any time you like.” Truth.

And they shake hands, and then Nao and Aizawa are out the door and into the chilly October sun.

“Is there anything in that notebook that I need to know before we go let back to the precinct?” he asks, looking at the buildings lining the small street.

“Harbinger left me a note saying that Midoriya and Eri are safe, but other than that, everything is just as ordered.” Truth. Aizawa pauses and sighs deeply. “Tsukauchi, there’s some serious shit in here. It’s really gonna help us out. And I’m worried.”

Nao looks at him. “What are you worried about?”

“I owe him a favor now. I owe Harbinger, a renown info-broker who texts you on your personal number and has something out for Endeavor and knows a shitton more than he should, a favor. You could see,” he grits out, “how that might be an issue, right? You see why I’d be worried right now?”

Yeah, Nao sees it.

“I think,” he says slowly, “that if you’re put in a compromising position, you have a lot of people who’d help you. Me included. If you’re asked to do something bad,” and he looks at Aizawa, who’s looking right back at him, and stops walking. “If you’re asked to do something bad, there are scores of people who are ready at a moment's notice to bust you out.”

Aizawa searches his face, and Nao keeps his gaze steady.

Aizawa looks away and nods, starting back down the sidewalk. “Yeah, you’re right.” Truth. “Thanks, Tsukauchi.”

Nao smiles, and falls into step beside him. “Anytime, Aizawa. Always happy to help a friend.”

-

Midoriya Izuku, as Harbinger, walks down a midnight street with a purpose. He needs a replacement for Dabi, and he needs one soon because he can’t run the bar by himself. He knows who he’s looking for, because he’s not going to let just anyone run his bar, and so he knows that she frequents this area.

He hums his and Eri’s song softly, making up new verses easily. One about Mr. Aizawa, then about the Detective, then about Hitoshi, then Dabi, then Dabi’s family.

The detective is nicer than Izuku thought he’d be. He has kinder eyes than he expected, and Izuku finds himself smiling under his mask. He likes the man. And what’s better is that everything he said was true. Mom did tell him she had a sister who left a child with an asshole, almost immediately after he asked her to.

Midoriya Inko is a supportive mother, and she had told him, very firmly, to be safe and that she loved him no matter what.

Izuku doesn’t feel bad. He had asked his mom not to ask questions, and she still supported him. He’s keeping all of them - him and Eri and Mom and in a convoluted way, Dad too - safe. He’s keeping Mom and Dad out of the loop, and he’s helping Eri find a place in the world where she can be comfortable, and he’s doing it well. And he’s going to keep doing it well, because he has to.

After the detective and Mr. Aizawa left, he went upstairs and talked with Eri about how he wanted her quirk training to go. She listened closely, made a few adjustments of her own, and decided that they’d start working on small things, like how her quirk works, tomorrow.

Rocks, then plants, then animal products, then people, he thinks. Slowly, to build up confidence, and when she has it down then she’ll have it made. And she’ll feel comfortable in her own skin, and he can feel like he helped her.

He hums another verse, this one about the world, and then he arrives and his person of interest is sitting on a swing, playing with a butterfly knife and smiling to herself.

“Hello,” he chirps sweetly, sitting on the swing next to her and immediately starting the back-and-forth pump of his legs that’ll get him up in the air.

She looks at him, interest shining in her eyes (he can’t make out the color in the low light of the moon, how irritating), and smiles at him. Well, it’s more of a bearing of her teeth, but he gets the idea.

“Oh, I know about you,” she sings. Her voice is breathy and high, and Izuku can see a flush staining her cheeks.

“I know about you too! I came out to meet you, you see.” He’s steadily getting higher, enjoying the rush of wind that pushes against his hood with each swing forward.

Toga Himiko snaps her knife closed and turns more towards him, tilting her head to the side.

“Do you wanna be my friend?” she asks, and he can hear the danger in her voice. The threat that tells him to answer right or she’ll cut you and gut you and do nasty things to your corpse.

He slams his feet on the ground, skidding to an immediate stop. “Miss Toga Himiko,” he breathes. “How dare you steal my question.”

And as Miss Toga Himiko, Bloodletter of Kamino, throws her head back and laughs, Izuku knows that he has answered right.

This is the beginning of a very interesting friendship.