Actions

Work Header

White And Red, Black And Blue

Chapter Text

 

Fading everything to black and blue

You look a lot like you

Shatter in the blink of an eye

You keep sailing right on through

Every time you say you're learning

You just look a lot like me

Pale under the blistering sky

White and red

Black and blue


 

Shouto peeked into the bedroom, his heart aching at the sound of muffled sobbing.  His little hand pushed open the door as he came into his parent's room. Father wasn't in sight, and that made him relax, but the sobbing was still there.

 

"Mama?" He called out to her as she sat curled up on the floor, crying into her hands.  

 

Her shiny white hair was messy and knotted, her thin wrists wrapped in blues and purples like bracelets.  Red burns in the shape of his Daddy's hands marked her upper arms.

 

He ran to her and she welcomed him, holding him to her shoulder as she wept, her tears dripping into his hair.

 

"Mama, did Dad hurt you again?"

 

She cried harder, her battered arms closing around her son tighter.

 

"I'm sorry." He whimpered, tears building in his eyes.

 

Mama cried so often those days.  She seemed like she was always crying.  Father hit her more often than before due to her babying Shouto, as he called it.  He yelled at her all the time, and she would cry.

 

Shouto hated it.  He felt so guilty.  He wanted to be strong for her and be her hero.

 

She pulled him back, her eyes wet and bloodshot, mascara running down her cheeks in black streaks. Her lip was split, her cheekbone bruised.  She held such pain in her eyes, but she tried to smile at him. She tried.

 

"No, baby, it isn't your fault.  Daddy was just angry at Mama. It had nothing to do with you." She said, she lied.  

 

It always had to do with Shouto.  When Mama would get bruises and cry.  When big brother Touya would yell at their Father and be slapped across the face.  When Natsuo wanted Dad to play with him and was ignored. When Fuyumi would shake and have trouble breathing.  When Dad would get angry and yell and hurt. It always had to do with Shouto.

 

"I don't like Daddy.  I don't want him to be mean to you.  He's so mean." Shouto whined, fat tears rolling down his own cheeks. "I don't want him to be mean anymore."

 

Her busted bottom lip quivered, the smile breaking, "I know, baby.  I don't want him to either."


.

 

Mother cried more and more as time went by, and Shouto felt so bad.  It hurt to see her hurt. It hurt to see the bruises and tears, to hear her weeping and the sounds of Father's angry voice echoing through the house.  He hated it.

 

He vomited on the floor, holding his stomach.  Tears ran from his eyes and he hiccuped, gasped, choked on the bile.

 

"Get up! It isn't that bad!" Father yelled above him.  He looked scary. He didn't look like a hero in these moments in this room.  He didn't look like he did outside amongst the crowds when the cameras were pointed at them.  He looked different behind the curtains of their home. He didn't look like a good guy or a hero, he looked like a bad guy, a villain.

 

The door flew open, footsteps running across the wooden floor.  Cool hands touched his overheating skin, sizzling at contact.

 

"Please, dear!  He's too young! Please, let him rest!   He hasn't had dinner. Let him have dinner." Mama's voice was shaky and desperate.

 

He grabbed her roughly by her thin arm, yanking her violently away from Shouto. "He's fine.  I told you to stop interfering with me and my son's time! Go tend to the house." Father yelled, the same stern voice he used with him as he pushed his Mother towards the door.

 

Rei turned around, hands clasped in front of her, "He's a child, Enji! Please, let him have a break-"

 

"Touya's useless to me now.  He's too weak and frail. I'm not wasting more energy on that boy when he won't amount to anything.  The other two have always been worthless. That just leaves Shouto. I need to make up for lost time with Shouto.  He's much more promising."

 

"Dear, please.  This training is too intense!  It's not right! Touya's burns are still healing from it months later and Shouto is only five!  You cannot do this to my children, please-"

 

Shouto's eyes widened when his Father slapped his Mother brutally across the face, sending her hard onto the floor.

 

"Shouto is my child!  He is my legacy!  He can take it!  It isn't my fault your disappointment of a child was too weak for his own flames.  Shouto is different. Shouto is perfect!" Father boomed loudly as his wife whimpered on the floor, her thin arms pushing her back up.

 

She tucked her hair behind an ear, the bright red handprint visible on her face as she looked up, tears rolling from her tired eyes, "please, I beg you…"

 

Endeavor rolled his eyes, huffing. "You feed my son, run his bath, and then I expect you to be in the room, in our bed, in one hour.  Do you understand?"

 

"Yes dear! Yes, thank you, thank you, my love!"

 

His hand was almost gentle on her swollen cheek, lightly rubbing way tears with his thumb, "ice your cheek, Rei.  So it doesn't bruise." He said almost softly.

 

.

 

He could hear his Mother's soft voice coming from the kitchen, her shaky tone suggesting she was crying.   He tip toes down the hall, her whispering voice becoming louder as he got closer.

 

"I just can't take it anymore… the kids look more and more like him.  Shouto's left side I cannot bare to look at sometimes."

 

He peered into the doorway, listening to her words as he stared at her back while she stood in front of the stove, her shoulders hunched.

 

"I can't, I can't take this anymore, i-"

 

"Mama, what are you saying?" He asked, and the tea kettle whistled loudly as she whipped around.  Her eyes wide and terrified. He never saw her like that before, only times she looked so frightened was whenever Father was around.

 

She suddenly dropped the phone to the floor, "No, no, no!" Her hand grabbed the kettle off the stove, water splashing from it and hitting her skin, creating little dropsized burns. "No, no, no!" She shrieked, eyes wild, movements jerky and unnatural, dragging her injured leg as she dashed towards him like something from a scary movie.

 

"Mama, what's wrong?" He yelled as she closed in, grabbing a hold of his hair. "What are you doing? Mama, what are you-!"

 

"No, no, no!" She screamed and suddenly the kettle was being poured down onto his face.

 

He screamed, jerking in her grasp, the hot water scalding and burning his left side, his eye swelled up.  He couldn't see!

 

Still she screamed, "No, no, no!!"

 

That was the last time he saw his Mother.


.


The sobs shook Shouto's small frame as he watched, making his bandages eye hurt and throb even worse.  He stood, like he had been standing for hours, in the Dojo with his back against the wall, watching the scene play out.

 

His legs ached.  He was hungry, tired, frightened.

 

"Watch and consider it your training until your eye heal." Father had told him.  It had only been a week or so since that terrifying night where his Mother grabbed him by the hair and poured the kettle over his face.  She was pulled away from him, torn from his life, sent away, and Shouto felt completely responsible.

 

Father told him he couldn't train Shouto with such a serious injury and risk worsening it.  That was where the other boy came in.

 

An older boy, one of the children that played in the yard and sat at the table with them.  The smallest one that Father always said was too frail and too weak for his quirk. Shouto didn't know him, didn't know any of the children really, he only saw glimpses of them between training and before bed, and sat at the quiet dinner table with them as they all ate…

 

He was forced to watch Father train the other boy in his place, with brutality and viciousness that even Shouto wasn't trained with.

 

Shouto didn't realize just how violent his Father was until he saw the training on someone other than himself.  He had gotten worse since Mama was sent away. He was always angry, shouting, and scary. Now without his Mother there to protect him, Shouto was terrified of his Father.

 

Father said Touya was a back up plan if Shouto didn't work out, but Touya was fragile looking, even to Shouto.  He ways looked tired and pale. He was always sick and his hands were always shaky. He was the oldest, but smaller than both of the other children and so skinny he looked like their Father could break him easily.

 

"Stop dodging and trying to squirm away.  It's pathetic. You're pathetic, Touya. Use your quirk.  Fight back." Father said, his tone almost bored if it wasn't for the slight edge of building annoyance his voice as they sparred.

 

He landed a hit directly in Touya's stomach and Shouto winced as the older boy fell to the floor.

 

"You aren't even trying." Enji spoke.

 

"I am trying!" Touya yelled from the floor, panting.  He had angry tears in his eyes as he held his stomach, his body shaking.

 

"Try harder.  You're supposed to be a good example for your brother."

 

"It hurts… you know it hurts to use my quirk."

 

"Still pulling that same pitiful excuse as you did back then?  It doesn't matter, you need to overcome that weakness. You will never amount to anything if you're weak…"

 

Touya didn't say anything, just laid where he was.  Shouto knew how this would end with his own training.  Father could not stand for weakness. It made him furious, disgusted him.

 

"God, you're just like your Mother, get up!"

 

Shouto flinched at the mention of his Mother, his heart aching.  He wished Mama was there to run through the door and make him stop.  

 

He watched the other boy slowly drag himself upright, wincing at the way his movement stretched the burns on his skin.

 

He was like their Mother.

 

Touya looked at their Father, eyes bloodshot and heavy, sweat sticking his clothing to his body. "I wanna stop… I can't anymore."

 

"Get up, Touya." Father bore his teeth, snarling.  His fists clenched at his sides until his knuckles were white.

 

"I said I can't, are you deaf?!" Touya yelled in frustration and Endeavor moved so quickly that even Shouto stumbled back.  He heard the slap, saw the hand hit his face like how his Father would slap his Mother's face, it made him think of her even more, cry even harder.

 

Touya wasn't fast enough, a large hand grabbed his throat and he gagged as he was torn forward, then up and off the ground.  Father aimed at his ribs, blow after blow, then dropped him onto the floor with a thud.

 

Shouto watched as the other boy gagged and coughed, blood dripping from his lips, tears rolling down his cheeks, his neck burned and blistered.  

 

He glared at their Father, eyes narrow and lips in a snarl, "I hate you."

 

Father slapped him hard across the face again.  Then he looked towards Shouto. "You were watching, how would you handle that attack, Shouto?" Endeavor asked calmly and Shouto felt small under the gaze of the powerful hero.

 

Shouto replayed the clip in his head, his hands shaking at his side, "I'd… I'd grab the attackers arm once he had my neck for balance and ignite my flames on my throat to get the grip to loosen.  T-Then slid down the arm, attack with my quirk. Your midsection was open, and that is a, that's a vulnerable area, so I would aim for that." Shouto whispered quietly, trying not to let his voice waver from his hiccupping cries.  Father hated when he stuttered.

 

The youngest looked towards Touya, lying on his side holding his face, an arm wrapped around his ribcage. He was breathing unevenly, his bloodshot eyes fixed on Shouto.

 

"Did you catch that, Touya?" Father asked, "He's a child and can defend himself better than you.  Pathetic. Try that, what he said."

 

He gave no time before reaching down and grabbing Touya's throat again, ripping him off the floor and back into the air.  Touya screamed, and the scene repeated before he was dropped back to the floor.  Shaking now.

 

"I hate you…"

 

Enji stood over him, disappointment on his face as he looked down at the white haired boy gasping on the floor.  His hand reached down and Shouto closed his eyes, he couldn't watch anymore.

 

"Again." He said.


.


Touya was an angry child.  He was always angry. It often reminded Shouto of Father, a lot about the older boy did.

 

Shouto crept over to him slowly, tip toeing like he was walking on eggshells.  He bit his lip, hand hovering above blistered and bruised skin.

 

The training had gone on for hours before Endeavor finally stopped, by then Touya's arms, throat, and back were covered in burns, his shirt mostly burned away.  His hair was matted with blood, face covered in it, and there were purpling bruises over his ribs.

 

"Don't touch me!" Touya yelled at him before his fingers even landed and Shouto shot back like he had been burned.

 

"I'm, I'm sorry!" He squeaked, "you're hurt."

 

"Well no shit!" The older boy yelled back, pushing himself to his hands and knees, hair blocking his face from his younger brother's view.

 

"Should I… Should I get Fuyumi?" He asked softly, his good eye watering, bad eye stinging.

 

"Don't bother…"

 

Shouto watched helplessly as Touya sat up, grimacing as he held his stomach.  His face scrunched up, angry and flushed as he wheezed.

 

"But… You're hurt…" the tears started to fall again, gaze rolling over the damaged skin, how raw his brother's throat looked, how badly he was shaking. "Fuyumi will help you bandage your wounds.  She helps me with mine like Mom did and-"

 

"Well not everybody is a spoiled little brat like you, Shouto! Nobody helps me!" Touya snapped, ''I said I'm fine!"

 

"I'm sorry." Shouto whimpered, his bottom lip quivering as he folded in on himself.  He felt bad. It was his fault Touya got hurt, his fault Mama was gone, his fault-

 

"No… I'm sorry, Sho.  I'm just mad. It's not your fault, it's all Dad's fault." Touya's blue eyes narrowed, glaring at the door their Father had exited. "I hate him so much."

 

"He's so mean." Shouto whispered, beginning to cry, "I miss Mama…and now you got hurt because of me too.  Everybody gets hurt because of me!"

 

"It isn't because of you, Shouto.  Don't cry. Dad is just… he's just an asshole."

 

Shouto tilted his head, "What's an asshole?" He asked.

 

"Dammit, don't say that.  It's a bad word." Touya snapped again like Dad's, then his face softened like Mom's. "It just… I mean he's mean.  He's a mean person." Touya said.

 

"Why is he so mean to us?  Why did he hurt Mama and have her taken away?  Why does he hurt us and be so mean?"

 

Touya looked at him with an unreadable expression as he tried to breathe, having difficulties with his ribs broken. "I don't know…" he admitted softly, then looked back towards the door, eyes narrowing again. "But he needs to be stopped."


.


Shouto heard the yelling from the other end of the house and slowly peeked down the hall from his bedroom door towards the sound.

 

"Well then where the hell is he?!" Dad was yelling, his voice booming through the house.

 

"We don't know.  That's why we're telling you." That was Fuyumi, she sounded like she was crying.

 

"Look, there's clothes missing from his room, his backpack is gone too.  So is his tooth brush and body products." That sounded like Touya, he sounded angry again. "He probably ran off.  This is your fault."

 

Shouto jumped at the sound of flesh hitting flesh and a pained groan.

 

"My fault?! How is it my fault that brat ran away again!"

 

Touya started yelling back, his voice booming as loud as Dad. "Maybe because of shit like this!  You calling us brats and smacking us in the face and sending away Mom!"

 

"Boy, you better watch your mouth or I will-"

 

Fuyumi's voice cut between the two screaming, "Please, can you not fight? We need to find Natsuo."

 

There was silence for a few seconds as Shouto crept out of his room , "please, Dad, let Touya go. It'll be dark soon and he's alone and he's only eleven years old.  We need to find Natsuo."

 

"Fine." There was a sound of someone being shoved to the floor and Father went on grumbling, "do either of you know where he would have gone?"

 

"There's a few places that come to mind." Touya said.  

 

Shouto peeked into the living room, observing his Father pace, Touya hold his bleeding lip, and Fuyumi cry softly.

 

"Where?" Father asked sharply.

 

Touya paused, crossing his arms, "What are you going to do when you find him?"

 

"That is none of your concern."

 

"It is my concern. He's my brother, and he's upset and I don't want you to hurt him." Touya hissed, his teeth clenched.

 

"You have no right to interfere with how I handle your siblings, I've told you this time and time again. You're acting like your mother."

 

"What, you gonna send me away too?" Touya hissed.

 

Endeavor reached forward, grabbing Touya by his hair and yanking , pulling him closer to snatch his upper arm with his other hand, growling into his ear, "I told you to watch your mouth, I will not stand for this kind of disrespect-"

 

"Dad, please, let him go!" Fuyumi yelled, covering her mouth with her hands.  

 

"Ow, you're burning me you piece of shit!" Touya yelled, the skin under Father's hand beginning to smoke.

 

"Keep pissing me off, you worthless bastard, just see where it gets you."

 

"Dad, please! Don't hurt him!" Fuyumi reached for their Father's hand and Shouto yelped when he backhanded her hard, knocking her onto the floor with such force she bounced off the ground.

 

Blue flames lit on Touya's hands and he punched Endeavor several times in the stomach, screaming, "don't you touch her, monster!"

 

Father threw him a good few yards across the room, smacking against the wall and falling to his knees. Fuyumi looked up with blood coming from her nose, eyes locking with Shouto before she looked over to Touya who was standing, ready for a fight.

 

"Please, stop fighting!  Shouto's in the room, he doesn't need to see this!" She yelled and Touya's fire instantly went out.

 

Shouto felt small under the three pairs of eyes now fixed on him, standing in the doorway with tears in his eyes, holding his blanket desperately in between his fingers.

 

Father suddenly reached towards Touya again, grabbing him by the front of his shirt, right in his face, "Tell me where you think your brother is or I'll drag you into the training room and beat it out of you since you want a fight."

 

"I'll show you, but I'm coming along.  I don't trust you with him alone." Touya said with a glare.

 

Father groaned but shoved Touya towards the front door, "have it your way.  Let's go."

 

Shouto watched them leave, shaking so bad he felt like he couldn't stop as his sister got up and walked towards him, wiping away the blood from her nose with the back of her hand.  The tears still fell down her cheeks.

 

"Hey, buddy..  it's okay."

 

"Where's Natsuo?" He asked, looking up at her as she touched his shoulder gently.

 

"Natsuo… he got lost outside somewhere, but Daddy and Touya are gonna go find him.  He'll be okay, I promise, buddy." She said, bending down to his level.

 

He eyed the fresh blood dripping from her nose, the bruise developing on her cheek. "Why did Daddy do that?  Why did he hit you and hurt Touya? Why is he so mean?"

 

She bit her bottom lip, glancing down for a minute before she took a shaky breath and looked back at him. "Daddy is really sad and angry right now.  I think he misses Mom and he's upset about a lot of things, and when Dad gets upset sometimes he loses his temper and does mean things."

 

"Is it my fault?" He asked.

 

"No, honey! No, it isn't your fault at all!" She said quickly, "it's Dad.  He needs to learn to control his anger. It has nothing to do with you. It's Dad, okay?"

 

He looked towards the door, his bottom lip quivering again. "Is Natsuo and Touya going to be okay?"

 

"Don't worry, they'll be okay.  Touya and Daddy are gonna find Natsuo and bring him home safe and sound.  Everyone is going to be okay. I promise." She said, trying to smile but it looked painful on her chapped lips. "they'll be home soon.  We can wait for them, okay buddy?"

 

Minutes went by, then an hour, then two hours.  Fuyumi and Shouto sat on the sofa waiting and waiting.  Fuyumi kept reassuring him, but her leg shook more and more the more time went by.

 

Finally, after almost four hours the door opened.  Father was angry, pulling a sniffling Natsuo inside.  The other boy had dirt on his clothes, smeared on the side of his face, and dark colored bruises on his face and neck.   He was shaking from the cold, or maybe it was fear. Father didn't say a word.

 

"Where's Touya?" Fuyumi asked.

 

Natsuo was pulled by his arm through the living room, beginning to cry.

 

"Where's… where's Touya?" Fuyumi asked louder, panic in her voice.

 

Not a word.

 

"Dad, where's Touya?  Where is Touya!" She yelled, breath coming out fast.

 

Natsuo began sobbing as he was dragged me to his room and the door slammed shut.  The sobbing quickly turned to screaming.

 

Fuyumi stared at the backpack discarded on the floor.  Her eyes widened with horror as she looked at Touya's coat beside it, burned and stained in blood.

 

Touya didn't come home that night. Shouto never saw Touya again…

Until he saw Dabi.

Chapter Text

Wait for everyone to go away 

And in a dimly lit room where you've got nothing to hide

Say your goodbyes 

Tell yourself we'll read a note that says

"I'm sorry everyone 

I'm tired of feeling nothing goodbye"

Wash your face 

Dry your eyes 

 

The first time Touya began to hate his Father was when he was only about four years old.   It was the first time he witnessed his Father hit his Mother.

 

Endeavor was always an angry and violent man, the worst times were after Mother was sent away and before Shouto was born.

 

Touya and Fuyumi were born first, Technically Touya was born first and Fuyumi four minutes later.  They both got their quirks at the same time, when they were four, almost five.

 

They were playing in the yard when Fuyumi let out a startled cry and frost suddenly covered the ground even on a hot July day.

 

Touya took a step back, eyes wide as the frost spread and turned to ice.  He slipped and landed on his back, blue flames suddenly burning away the ice.

 

They both cried as Mother comforted them, trying to figure out what had happened.  She looked at their eyes, shocked at Touya's blistered skin on his arms and Fuyumi's blue, shaking hands showing slight frost bite.

 

Their quirks weren't meant for their bodies.  Fuyumi had an ice quirk just like Mother, but her body wasn't made to withstand it and use of it caused frostbite.  Touya had a fire quirk even stronger than his Father's, but he ran cold and his skin was burned by his own fire.

 

Mother had insisted neither of them use their quirks, begged their Father to understand they each had disabilities and Father smacked her ruthlessly across the face.

 

"Stop with that shrieking, speaking to me with such disrespect!  I am your husband!" He shouted at her as she sat on the ground, holding her cheek. "So Fuyumi gets frostbite, could lose fingers or even limbs.  But Touya just gets some blisters… and his fire is blue, hotter than mine, there is still hope for him."

 

Touya stared at his Mother, then at his Father, then back at his mother, watching the tears roll down her face.

 

"Please, darling, he's burned by his fire.  Using it will hurt him. He can't be a hero but maybe the baby's quirk-"

 

He smacked her again, grabbing her arms and shaking her violently.

 

"He will be a hero.  He's my first born son! Natsuo isn't even one yet I will not wait that long!  Touya's supposed to follow my path. I will not let you take that from me!" 

 

Touya watched, observant.  Always too old for his age.  Mama said he was mature and smart, that he was so empathetic it was like he saw things other kids couldn't see.

 

He didn't like what he saw, and even at barely five, he knew it was wrong.

 

"You aren't a hero." Touya said quietly from where he was standing.

 

Everything froze and Enji looked at him with cold eyes, "what did you say?"

 

"I said you are not a hero, Daddy.  Heroes don't hurt innocent people."

 

"Do you think you know what a hero is, boy?  Think you have what it takes to be one?"

 

Touya swallowed, his eyes locked on his Father's,  not leaving him even as his hands shook and legs felt weak. "Yes."

 

Dad turned back to Mom, a wide, ugly grin on his face. "See! He wants to be a hero!  Are you going to crush his dreams, woman?" He hollered happily, "ill train you, Touya, you'll be great. Just have to overcome your weakness from your Mother."

 

He left shortly after that, leaving Touya with his crying Mother.  Touya walked over, touching her shaking shoulders. "He's mean, Mama."

 

"Im sorry, Baby.  I'm sorry you saw that." She said through her weeping.

 

"I'm going to be a hero, Mom… and im going to save you and stop people like him."

 

She smiled, crying harder as she touched his face, "You have always been too old for your age, Touya."

 

.

 

It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.

 

His arms burned and his flesh felt like it was on fire, like his blood was boiling.  His body was cooking from within.

 

It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.

 

Dad wore that same face he wore when he hit Mom.  An expression of anger, frustration. His eyes narrowed and shoulders back, fists tightened at his sides. "Stand up."

 

It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.

 

He curled in on himself.  Every muscle aching, every part of his body overheated.  He wanted to stop now. He wanted to eat, take a cold shower, then a nap afterwards.  He wanted to stop, but he knew by then he wasn't allowed to stop.

 

It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.

 

"Stand up, Touya." Father repeated, towering over him as he laid on the floor. "Stop shaking like that, it makes you look like there's something wrong with you.  Stand up."

 

It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.

 

A hand grabbed his arm, yanked him to his feet and he didn't make a noise, didn't make eye contact.  He saw the flaming fist coming towards him and tried to stumble out of the way

 he wasn't fast enough.

 

Touya hit the floor hard.  He didn't cry out, didn't whimper and ask to stop.  He held his shoulder where the blow had landed, quietly trembling against the hardwood floor.

 

It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.

 

"Get back up, Touya.  If a single blow puts you down you will never be a hero.  Use your quirk. Attack. Stop trying to defend and dodge. Its weak."

 

Touya dragged himself off the floor and did what his Father asked.  His flames tore through him towards the large man, eating away at the skin of his arm. He didn't make a sound.

 

Enji pushed the fire away with his own, grinning, "that's it, boy!  Keep going!"

 

It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.

 

The reeking stench of burning flesh started to fill the room as he attacked again and again, barely avoiding his Father's counterattacks. 

 

Enji was beaming, pure joy on his face as Touya's hardened in determination.  He had to keep trying, had to get stronger. He had to get used to his fire, or he would never be able save his Mom.

 

It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.

 

Father's smile dropped the moment Touya collapsed to the floor, panting and shaking, sweat pouring off of him.  There were tears in his eyes, but he blinked them away. A sob in his throat, but he swallowed it.

 

"Get back up, Touya.  That was good but your form is off and you aren't attacking with your full strength.  Start again."

 

Touya played dead, lying on the floor motionless aside from the shaking in his body and the painful intakes of breath.

 

"Up, Touya.  Get up!"

 

It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.

 

"Get up!"

 

"Stop!" Mom yelled, running into the room.  She knelt beside him, eyes wide as she looked at the burns developing on his skin. "Oh my god, you cannot do this!  Its torture! Hes quirk is hurting him, you need to stop forcing him to use it!"

 

She iced her hands, holding them against the blistered and leaking burns.  He sighed in relief, but only for a moment before she was torn away from him, thrown across the floor.

 

"Do not use ice!  His ice body needs to adapt and build resistance to his fire.  Icing him will only make him weaker!" Endeavor barked at her.

 

"He's covered in burns, dear!  He needs to stop! You cannot do this to him! I wont let you do this-"

 

He kicked her, smacked her, pulled her hair.  his voice shouting louder at her, screaming curse words as she sobbed on the floor.  Shaking with fear and pain, the bruises all over her looking so much darker in the lighting from where Touya was lying.

 

It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.

 

.

 

"Please, let me see him.  I want to see my son, please let me see him!" 

 

He could hear Mother begging through the door as Touya laid on the bed, his body trembling, arms wrapped in bandages.  He was so tired, but in too much pain to fall asleep.

 

"No!  You are making him weak!  You're always crying, getting in the way of his resilience training, using your ice on his burns and making him weaker!  I told you, you aren't allowed around him anymore. Unless Natsuo shows his quirk soon and its stronger than Touya's, I need to to work with Touya."

 

He hadn't seen his Mother in so long, must have been months of this hell.  He was starting to forget her face, his twin sister and baby brother's faces. He never even got to meet the new baby or saw what he looked like. It had been so long since he saw them.

 

He stayed in his bedroom, the door bolt locked from the outside.  His meals were brought to him. Only allowed out for bathroom breaks and training.  Father made him train from dawn to dusk, made him use his quirk for hours, made him shower with only hot water, beat him relentlessly when he cried for his Mom.  It got to the point he stopped feeling, turned off and stopped caring.

 

He didn't know much about religion at ten years old, but this was hell.  He was sure it was, and his Father was the devil.

 

Oh, how he hated his Father.

 

One day, he would be strong enough to stop him, to save his Mom, protect his siblings from the angry shouts and sounds of smacking.  One day, he would put an end to his Father's fearful grip over the home.

 

.

 

Natsuo hadn't shown a quirk.  When he was seven, Father took him to a doctor who declared he was quirkless.  Touya only knew because he heard his parents fighting about it the night it happened and then Touya's training became even more brutal and Dad became even more furious.

 

"Use your fucking quirk!" He screamed, kicking Touya in the stomach. "Get up!  Get up and fight back! Stop being so useless!"

 

Father only ever screamed at him now, cursed at him, called him names, hit him and slapped him and kicked him until he was black and blue.  Touya hardly bothered to fight anymore, it only resulted in getting beaten worse for his pitiful attempts. 

 

"Get up, Touya!  Get up!" He grabbed his hair, yanked him upwards.  Touya collapsed as soon as he was standing. "Pathetic!  How can you be so pathetic! How will you ever surpass All Might as weak as you are? How will you ever be a hero?"

 

Something ached inside his chest as he was kicked again and again, had clumps of white hair torn from his head, handprints burned into his body.  

 

He really was worthless. He really was weak.  How could he expect to save his family when he was too weak to even protect himself.

 

"Stop crying!  Stop crying and get up and fight!  You better stop crying or I'll make you use your quirk and keep it on for hours.  I'll lock you in the closet again, stop fucking crying!"

 

He wanted his Mom.  He missed her. He missed her so much.  He missed Fuyumi, and Natsuo. Ge wondered what the baby was like, if he was walking yet.  He missed them all so much.

 

He hated his Father. 

 

.

 

Shouto's quirk came when he was five and a half and Touya was suddenly thrown out of the training.  He was allowed around his Mother and Siblings after a year and a half of being isolated from them.

 

They all looked different from the last time he saw them.  He felt different, they treated him differently. Mother was the most different.  She seemed nothing like herself before Touya was locked away. She was overwhelmed by fear to the point she couldn't function like she had before.  She cried all the time, never able to sit still or relax… she wouldn't hold him, wouldn't even look at him.

 

He failed to save his Mother. 

 

He was in his room the night Shouto was attacked.  He heard the screaming and dashed to the kitchen to investigate.  Mother was on the floor, rocking back and forth. Shouto was holding his face, shrieking in agony.

 

It only took seconds before Father was there, appearing out of the shadows, shouting "what happened?! What happened?!"

 

The second he saw the burn his eyes went black, fixed on Touya where he stood frozen in shock and horror at the sight of his little brothers face.  

 

"You!" Endeavor's flames roared to life, he stepped forward, grabbed Touya by his arms and slammed his back against the wall. "What did you do!?  Are you jealous? Is that why you did this, you worthless failure!"

 

"I didn't-" he rasped out, the breath forced from his lungs with the force that he was slammed into the wall with. "I… it wasnt me."

 

"You burned him!" The fire on his hands burned Touya's arms and he winced in pain as the pressure increased, threatening to snap the bones. 

 

He pulled him back and slammed him back against the wall, shaking him, "You are useless! I wasted so much time on you for nothing. Nothing. You are nothing .  How dare you hurt Shouto!  How dare you try to damage all my hard work!" 

 

The back of his head hit the wall again and again.  Then he was grabbed by the throat, lifted up off the floor.  He choked, vision going black, his quirk activated without his consent. 

 

"Dad, stop!" Someone screamed, Fuyumi, he thought. "Stop, stop, you're going to kill him, please stop!"

 

He could make out her behind their Father, trying to pull him away.  He dropped to the ground when the grip on his neck disappeared, wheezing and coughing as he tried to breathe again.

 

Father was shouting at Fuyumi now, and she looked so small under his towering form.

 

Touya touched his head, drawing his hand back to see blood as everything faded away and he fell unconscious.

 

When he woke up, Shouto had bandages over his eye, Fuyumi had bruises around her face, and Mom was gone.

 

He couldn't save any of them.

 

.

 

He paced in front of the training room, hearing Shouto cry through the door.  He was thirteen now, endured six months of Father viciously beating his frustration out on him in place of Shouto's training until his eye healed.   He called it training, but Touya knew there was nothing being taught in it, no actual attempt to train. It was just Endeavor getting out his anger on someone too weak to defend themselves.

 

Shouto's training started back up a month after his eye healed.  Touya tried to stop him a few times, but it never accomplished anything.  He just got beaten down and then Shouto went right back to training.

 

It was pointless to try and stop it, to try to be a hero and save his baby brother from the abuse, if anything he only made his Father more angry and Shoutos training more brutal but he couldn't stand hearing it.  He couldn't stand knowing his Brother was being hurt like he had been.

 

Shouto had begun begging now, and Touya's chest hurt.  He failed him. He failed Shouto, failed his Mom, his Dad, Fuyumi and Natsuo.  He failed them all and he hated himself for it.

 

He found himself in the bathroom, crying as he ran a razor blade across his wrist, up his arm.  He slashed in a frenzy, angry at himself for being so weak, punishing himself for being so useless, trying to bleed all the worthlessness out of his veins.

 

He looked up when someone knocked, Fuyumi's voice heard through the door, "are you going to be long, Touya?  I need to shower."

 

"Give me like, five minutes." He called back.  

 

He quickly hid the razor, rolling down his sleeves and grabbed towels to clean the blood off the floor and sink until there was no evidence of what he had done.  

 

He looked at himself in the mirror, his Mother's white hair and Father's blue eyes.  His gaunt cheeks, the burns and scars on his neck and the right side of his jaw, the bitten peeled condition of his lips from anxiety.

 

He dried his eyes and looked away, unable to stand his own reflection.

 

.

 

It hurt terribly to open his eyes, his entire body screamed in pain. His skin felt raw and like it would slide off if not for the bandages wrapped around him.

 

Bandages? Where did those come from?

 

"Hey, guys!  That kid you found is awake!"

 

He looked around, unfamiliar faces looking back at him in an unfamiliar, dusty room that smelled like cigarettes and fast food.

 

He started to panic.  He didn't know how he got there.  The last thing he remembered was stumbling into an alley, tired and hungry, the rain beating down on his feverish body.  His burns and cuts throbbing and leaking blood, smelling strange for days, still not healing even after so long. He remembered collapsing to the hard ground, hoping no one would steal from him or take advantage of him in his weakened state again.

 

"Hey, kid.  Shit, we thought you were a goner for sure!" The man in front of him said, puffing on his cigarette, "soaking wet from head to toe, beaten to hell like someone tried and almost killed you.  All those infected wounds were nasty as fuck to clean out too!"

 

Touya tilted his head, trying to figure out where he was, if these men were a threat or not, if they were going to hurt him too like everyone else.

 

The stranger set a bag from a fast food joint on his lap, "here kid, eat.  You're skinny as hell, look like a fuckin twig, must be starving." The man rambled, not bothering to censor his curses like more mpdest adults did around young teens like himself.  Not that he cared, he swore too, but it was a bit odd to hear a full grown man cuss like a sailor in front of him.

 

He inspected the food, worried about in being laced.  His eyes cautiously darted back tonthe stranger.

 

"It's okay.  We aren't gonna poison you, kiddo."

 

He frowned, looking back at the food.  His stomach growled.

 

"Trust me, we aren't like that.  You need to eat…" the mans gruff voice softened, "don't know your story or who hurt you like this and gave you all those scars and burns, but we want to help you.  You're just a kid. Kids shouldn't be alone and hurt on the street in the rain… especially in the middle of the night. God, if some creep had found a little thing like you instead i don't even wanna think about what could happen."

 

He didn't have to think about what could happen, he already knew first hand.

 

"You got a family? Parents? Anywhere to go?" The man asked him.

 

Not anymore.  He can't go back no matter how hard he wishes he could.

 

He shook his head.

 

"Poor kid… you can stay with us, if you want.  It's not the best and we're a rowdy bunch not really suited for youngsters, but it's better than you being out there alone dying in an alley somewhere or worse."

 

"Yeah, none of us will hurt you like that.  We'll keep people from messing with you. Have to pick up a few more contracts and shit to feed another mouth but you're scrawny, probably don't eat that much."

 

"Yeah, we'll keep you safe kid." 

 

He eyed them with confusion, eyes darting from one man to the next, to the elder guy, the girl with the missing eye, the guy with the horns.  Taking in their rough looks, ragged clothing. The dimly lit hideout.

 

He didnt answer them.  Ate the food they provided and observed the strange group while they talked amongst each other, sipped on beers, played cards.  He studied the bulletin board on the walls, the masks hanging by the door, the newspapers taped over the windows.

 

"Are you guys villains?" He asked quietly.

 

"Oh, he can talk!" The woman with the eyepatch exclaimed.

 

"Owe me twenty!  Told ya the kid wasn't a mute!"

 

The gruff looking stranger he woke up to let out a belly deep laugh, scratching his beard and looking very much like a Viking of Old Times. "Not villains, kid!  We prefer the term Vigilantes!"

Chapter Text

"All i see when I'm looking at you is me
And everyday it gets a little bit harder
Like a piece of my life's puzzle has been swept under the carpet and im feeling like im never gonna find it"

-

The air smelled like ash, burning wood and brush, and burnt flesh. Crashing to the ground atop that strange masked villain left Shouto disoriented.

He heard someone shout something but couldn't pick it up before a blasting current of blue fire suddenly flew towards him and the others, just missing him.

Blue fire.

The sense of relief that they had saved their classmates vanished the minute the villain revealed his sleight of hand. Panic flushed over him and he dashed towards the orbs when they were knocked from the masked man's grip.

He heard Midoriya hit the ground behind him, and he reached for the marble, inches away, a fingertips width from him, almost and…

Another hand grabbed it first, a calloused hand with staples at the wrist, connecting healthy skin to ruined, charred flesh. He glanced up, catching a glimpse of a horrifying image. Dark hair, scarred skin stapled onto a cruel looking face. Blue eyes, cold and hateful, years and years older than the body.

"What a tragedy, poor little Shouto Todoroki."

An image popped up in his mind, a memory as he flew passed the man, rolling across the ground.

A mop of white hair, knotted and unkempt, a face covered in bruises, bloody busted lips snarling at him. Hateful, cold blue eyes.

"Well poor little Shouto, at least you got to see Mom most your life, at least she looked at you, comforted you, unlike me. You think i got that kind of luxury? Hah! Yeah right. You want Mom? What a fucking tragedy."

 

.

 

Everything happened so fast that night. Shouto was still in shock. There was so much chaos, so much fear. Those villains came out of nowhere, hit them when they were vulnerable in a place where no one was supposed to find them, where they were supposed to be safe.

They injured many, destroyed much in their wake, filled the air with poisonous gas and put the forest ablaze with blue flames.

Blue flames. He's seen blue flames before; long, long ago.

He shook his head of those deluded thoughts, told himself they were just caused by the traumatic experience and stress of it all. Fire quirks weren't uncommon, blue fire was rare but it wasn't impossible for others to have. It was very unlikely that scarred villain was anyone Shouto actually knew, damn near impossible he was Touya. Even if he had blue flames, blue eyes, and the same arrogant sneer.

It wasn't Touya. It couldn't have been. It had been many years since the night Touya disappeared. Shouto was only seven when it happened, so his memory and understanding of the events of that night was poor but as he got older, he began putting pieces together.

No one spoke of Touya again. No one spoke of what happened to him, or of what exactly happened that night. All Shouto knew was that Natsuo had ran away, something he used to do often but never did again after that night. Father and Touya went to go find him, but only Father and Natsuo returned. Touya never came back.

Fuyumi broke down at the mere mention of Touya's name, Father became enraged at the name, and Natsuo was never the same after that night. Over time, Touya was just never spoken of, forgotten. Shortly after he vanished his room had been locked up, and all the pictures of him around the house vanished, as if he never existed at all. No one talked about it, asked about him, even brought up his name. It was like no one remembered there was even a fourth Todoroki child. But sometimes, Shouto remembered him.

//

After Father had stormed out of Natsuo's room, his knuckles bloody as he went to call the family doctor. Shouto mindlessly followed Fuyumi into his brother's room.

Natsuo was curled up on the floor, sobbing uncontrollably. His face battered and bloody from Father's fists, bruised arms shaking and covering his head.

Fuyumi dashed off to get a wet wash cloth as Shouto stood frozen at the door until she came back. He couldn't understand why his Dad did these things, why he was so mean to Shouto's brothers and sister. He could, in a way, understand Father's violence towards him as "training" but Touya wasn't training anymore, and Natsuo and Fuyumi never had.

Fuyumi wiped away the blood from his brothers swollen face, dabbing at the broken skin as he cried.

"Natsuo… where is… where is Touya?" She asked, her own hands shaking so badly it looked like she would drop the bloodied cloth. It reminded Shouto of Mother's shaking hands when she was scared, of how Touya's hands were always shaking.

Natsuo started crying harder, shaking his head back and forth.

"What… what happened?" Fuyumi whispered, looking towards the door and lowering her voice again, "did Dad, um, do something?"

"I can't. I can't. Please, I can't." Natsuo kept repeating over and over, crying so hard his words were nearly incoherent

//

The following day, Father filed a missing persons, he told the police that Touya and Natsuo had gotten into a really bad fight, hence Natsuo's battered face, and Touya ran off afterwards. But it didn't add up, even then Shouto knew Father was lying and his siblings were going along with it out of fear. He knew Touya hadn't ran away, Natsuo had. He knew Touya hadn't battered Natsuo's face, Father had.

And at fifteen, Shouto knew there was dark secrets hiding within the Todoroki house, there were skeletons in their closets. Monsters under each bed with flaming faces and angry eyes. There was something missing, something that was supposed to be there but wasn't, aside from his Mother. There was a missing piece to the puzzle that no matter how hard Shouto looked and dug around for he couldn't find.

He never found out what actually happened to Touya all those years ago, and for the longest time he didn't even want to think about the white haired boy with hateful eyes and bandages and burns all over his body. The memory only brought back bad times, memories of being beaten in the training room while that boy busted through the door, memories of Natsuo screaming at Father to stop beating a figure curled up on the floor. Memories of Fuyumi, waiting by the door with tears in her eyes, day after day.

He didn't think about him for years, until he saw that villain.

It couldn't really be him, could it? Touya had anger problems, and when push came to shove he had the tendency to be violent. He was always put down and belittled by their Father and told he could never be a hero, but would he really become a villain? Would he really join a group of murderers, attack a bunch of students, kidnap a child?

He silently cursed himself in the hospital chair as his classmates spoke around Midoriya's bed. He shouldn't be thinking about Touya or worrying about some homicidal villain that happened to have his quirk and his eyes, that called him by name. He had other things to worry about!

One of his classmates had been kidnapped, several others severely injured, he himself was hurt in the attack. The media was in outrage, his teacher was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. The last thing he should be worrying about is some stress induced pipe dream that his brother who vanished eight years ago and was likely dead was actually a villain.

So he told himself he was only shaken up because of the attack, not because of the villain with his brother's eyes. He told himself the only reason he wanted to go along with the rescue mission was to save Bakugou, not to get another glimpse of Dabi. He told himself the only reason he spent hours looking through articles on the league of villains and Dabi was because he wanted to know the enemy, not because he wanted to know if his brother was one of them.

What made him even more uneasy was the fact there was next to nothing on the patchwork villain. They didn't know his real name, his age, where he came from. It was like he appeared out of nowhere like a sign of the apocalypse. They only had one photo of him, a grainy image taken from a security camera. He could make out the inky black hair that fell in his eyes like Touya's had, the narrow eyes and slight smirk Touya used to wear to piss off their Father. He could see the man was much taller than Touya had ever been, but just as scrawny and malnourished looking as Touya always was.

But… but those stapled on patches of hideous, ruined skin under his eyes, the lower half of his face running down his neck (like the burns Touya would get on his throat from Father choking him), covering both of his arms (like the blisters Touya would receive if he overused his quirk), they were horrifying. Was that his skin? Were those scars? How? Why?

He looked into the unhinged, cold blue eyes on the screen of his phone, feeling as if they were looking directly at him as he muttered, "What happened to you?" And quietly, in the back of his head, "why did you leave us?"

Chapter Text

You don't know anything

No, you don't know anything about me

Once it starts, it never stops

Discipline, its all im not

Can't help myself, are you listening?

Why can't I say just want i want?

.

Chain me up, hold me down

Just let me go, there's always more

I want it all, excluding you

Losing control, so construed

You don't know anything

No, you don't know anything about me


 

He didn't recognize him, did he?  There's no way, Shouto was so young when it all happened he likely had no memory of Touya.  There was no way he'd remember him, let alone recognize him all these years later when he had aged nearly a decade and was covered in disgusting scars.

 

He probably forgot all about Touya, they all probably did. He was worthless anyway.  Good for nothing, useless, a waste of space…

 

Dabi shook his head of the thoughts as he downed another shot.  It wasn't his concern, wouldn't change a damn thing. Kid probably knew next to nothing about Touya anyway he was so young when Touya left.  They all probably hated him anyway and would only hate him more if they knew what he had become. It didn't matter whether his little brother recognized him or not.

 

Nah, little shit never knew anything anyway.

 

Either way, It wasn't like he was trying to get him to recognize him with that line he said.   It wasn't like he was hoping to be found out, to prove to himself Touya wasn't forgotten, that he still meant something to that family.

 

Lies.  He never meant anything to them.  They left him for dead. Didn't even look for him. He was worth nothing to them.

 

He downed another shot.

 

"You are so unprofessional, sitting here getting drunk in front of a kid." Shigaraki growled at him, scowling under the gross hand on his face. "You should be more mindful, we are trying to recruit this brat. He won't wanna join if he wakes up to see our group as a fuckin' alcoholic junkie in it."

 

"I ain't ever been mindful, you know that, creep." Dabi slurred. 

 

The manchild rolled his red eyes, "Always drunk or high. God, you are useless."

 

"Mhm, that's somethin' i never heard before.  Very original, freak."

 

Fuckin' creep didn't know anything about him.

 

"Useless! Stop getting in the way!" The shouting was accompanied by a brutal punch in the face before that bastard finally let him fall to the floor. "Stay down, or you'll get hurt worse.  I told you I don't have time for worthless failures like you."

 

He poured himself another shot and kicked it back, feeling his head spin as it started to catch up with him.

 

No, none of it mattered whether or not he was recognized by Shouto, as long as it didn't come out that he was Touya.  He was sure if the league discovered he was the son of a pro hero they would kill him without a second thought.



.



Dabi never really associated with the other members unless it was completely necessary.  He joined them solely to accomplish his goals of taking out Endeavor and paving the path to create a world where children like himself and his siblings wouldn't be victimized and used for their quirks.  That was all he cared about, regardless of if it killed him in the process.

 

Not if he survived after meeting that said goal.  Hell, it didn't matter if he died while he met the goal as long as it was met.  Getting hurt didn't matter, hurting people, joining villains, committing arson and kidnapping, and if he had to, killing people.  As long as in the end his mission was complete nothing else mattered, not even himself.

 

The raid hadn't gone as well as he had hoped for, but they managed to snag the kid even if some of the members got caught.  Oh well, their own fault, shouldn't have been so weak.

 

"God, I sound like my Father." He thought to himself, lying in the uncomfortable bed staring at the ceiling.

 

"Well if you weren't so weak, you could be a hero.  If you hadn't gotten your mother's weak body, you'd be perfect.  If your mother hadn't been so weak-minded I wouldn't have had to send her away.  If Shouto stopped pretending to be weak, his training wouldn't be as long."

 

Shouto…

 

He looked directly at him.  He was right there, after so long his little brother was right there.  After so many years Touya hadn't seen him, he was there.

 

Not Touya.  He wasn't Touya anymore. Touya was dead.  He was Dabi. Dabi. Dabi. Dabi .

 

The little brat grew like a fuckin' weed.  He shouldn't be surprised, it had been what? Seven years? Eight?  He wasn't sure, but the kid obviously wasn't a little kid anymore. 

 

It wasn't like he didn't expect it or hadn't seen photos and videos of his baby brother (by chance, of course, not like he looked for them or anything).  It wasn't like it made him realize just how long he'd been gone, on his own, out there just barely surviving while his siblings were still stuck with that Monster.

 

He wondered what he was like, if he was still sensitive and gentle or if Dad had beaten it out of him like he beat it out of Touya.  He wondered if he still asked stupid questions all the time. If Fuyumi still liked to paint and if she ever became a teacher like she dreamed of.  He wondered if Natsuo got into highschool football like he planned, wished he could have gone to a game or two, wondered if he still had that scar on his forearm from when Dad threw him into a mirror and he got sliced by the broken glass.  If he still ran away like he did that night.

 

If they missed him, if they would want him back.  If they would hate him for not going back.

 

"Not like I could have gone back." He told himself, but that self doubt and loathing was there telling him he should have gone back, he should have saved them.  He shouldn't have been such a fuckin' weak coward.

 

It didn't matter now.

 

Natsuo was crying in his room again, Touya could hear it through the wall.  It had been going on for about twenty minutes until he got out of bed and went to knock on the door.

 

"Natsu, hey… can I come in?" He kept his voice down just in case.  Last thing any of them needed was Dad flipping out cause they woke him up.

 

He opened the door quietly and walked over to sit on the edge of his bed, staring at him patiently until he calmed enough to talk.

 

"What's up?" Touya asked.

 

"Miss mom." His brother mumbled, wiping at the tears with an angry fist.

 

"Yeah, Fuyumi and Shouto do too."

 

Natsuo looked at him and he looked away, "you don't?"

 

"What's there to miss, after Dad fucked me up she wouldn't even look at me."

 

"She felt bad, Touya.  She felt guilty she couldn't stop everything he did to you.  She does love you, Touya."

 

He shrugged, "then why won't she see me?"

 

Natsuo sniffled a bit and they were quiet for a long few minutes.  Natsuo's eyes kept darting to the scabbed over cuts across Touya's wrists, frowning when he adjusted his sleeves.

 

"Don't leave me too."

 

He rolled his eyes, "I'm not gonna kill myself.  I'm careful. I just… it helps me not feel stuff."

 

"I don't understand…" course he didn't, he was only ten, he shouldn't understand something like that, "but you could by accident, couldn't you?  Or Dad…"

 

"Dad won't kill me." He sighed, "stop worrying so much."

 

"I don't know… he… he's been a lot more violent since Mom, especially with you… I mean, he beat you unconscious the other day and Fuyumi couldn't wake you up.  He's getting worse and I'm scared one day he'll…"

 

"Calm down, i'm not going anywhere.  I promise, man."

 

"Swear."

 

"Fuck."

 

Natsuo giggled, lightly smacking his brother's arm, then his tone was serious again, "no, swear to me you won't leave too."

 

"I swear."

 

Dabi turned on his side, clenching his jaw as he pulled the thin blanket up to his neck, tightening it around like a noose.

 

"I'm a coward and a liar."



.



Man, that explosion brat was loud and annoying. Kid talked to much for his own good, it reminded Dabi of himself at that age.  He would have gotten smacked in the face for the words coming out of the teens mouth. He kinda wanted to smack the kid himself.

 

"Think Shigaraki can get him to join?" Toga asked, sitting on the bar counter with a bored expression.

 

Dabi shrugged.

 

"Doubtful. I'm sure he can!" Twice exclaimed, dumbass contradicting himself.

 

It didn't matter whether the kid joined or not, they already caused an uproar and a loss in faith in the heroes.  Furthermore, if bakugou didnt join they could use him as bait. The heroes always rushed to save people.

 

Never saved him though, or his siblings.  Fucking trash.

 

Kid looked like he wanted to kill all of them as Shigaraki rambled on with his recruitment attempt.  His red eyes full of rage, looking at each of them.

 

"Untie him, Dabi." The boss said, throwing the keys at him.

 

"Stupid.  He'll fight." Course he would, if Dabi was in his place he'd fight too no matter how outnumbered or overpowered he'd be.  Thick skulled, stubborn, reckless hothead. Took one to know one.

 

"Stupid, idiotic brat.  Too weak to back up that disrespectful mouth.  Fight even though you know you'll get beaten and it'll all be for nothing, even though you know you're weak.  Stop fighting."

 

He was choking on his own blood, shaking terribly again.  The bastard towered over him on the floor, eyes looking down at him like he was a bug to be stomped on.  Shouto cowered with wide eyes full of fear as Father grabbed him by the arm, dragging him away.

 

He tried to push himself off the floor again, grimacing at the pain in his bones.  Only making it to his hands and knees before he was kicked so hard in the stomach he went up and off the floor with the force.

 

"Give up, Touya.  You'll never amount to anything."

 

"Twice, you do it." He mumbled, tossing the keys to Jin. 

 

Just as he predicted, the explosion brat went off the minute he was released.  Shot a blast directly at Shigaraki, knocking that ridiculous severed hand he called "Father" off his face.  Dabi would have laughed if it wasn't for the murderous look on the boss' face.

 

He wasn't surprised when the kid rejected their offer, wasn't surprised when the heroes came for the kid.  He expected it. Didn't mean he wasn't annoyed by the yellow and blue muscled fucker busting through their wall.  Didnt mean being suddenly restrained by strong, sturdy branches didn't bring back unpleasant memories of being held down by strong, sturdy hands.  And it definitely didn't mean he wasn't pissed at getting kicked in the back of the head by a fuckin grandpa… but he wasn't surprised.

 

Hell, none of it really mattered anyway, they planned for this.

Chapter Text

 

One of these days, I couldn't care less

Better off dead or it's better unsaid

Growing up sucks and I'm losing my friends

Don't wanna be here if I'm on the edge

Trying to make sense of this

Like maybe I'm not meant for this

Growing up sucks and it builds more stress

If I take two more I won't feel my legs.


 

Shouto watched the scene from behind the wall with the other students, memorized by the chaos and destruction.  He knew villains were dangerous, and the League Of Villains had reaped terror into UA multiple times before, but each time they became more powerful.

 

His eyes darted around through the smoke and dust.  Spotting All Might and the other heroes, the villain with the hands and decay quirk, the vampire school girl, the mist covered man, that strange magician villain, the other mask villain that was rather eccentric, the lizard man… he spotted Bakugou, enraged and hyped but seemingly unharmed.  Then he spotted Dabi on the ground unconscious where the warp villain was.

 

He didn't feel concern, he was more so disappointed that he couldn't get a better look at the villain and rather surprised he was knocked out by one hit.

 

Touya was always rather weak himself, easily overpowered by their Father.  

 

He noticed how Mr. Compress and Magne seemed to stay right by Dabi and Kurogiri, protecting them while they were unconscious.  They wouldn't let anyone close to their vulnerable comrades. Shouto almost.. found it admirable.

 

These villains were protecting each other, protecting Dabi, who quite possibly could have been Touya.

 

Cant be Touya.  There's no way. It doesn't add up.

 

Even when the villains warped out and escaped,  with Dabi still unconscious face down on the ground, they didn't leave him behind.  

 

Admirable.


.


It was all he thought about for days, all that ruled his mind.  He had to know.

 

He began his search by looking through the articles on Dabi again, finding nothing but the same.  They knew nothing of Dabi and he appeared out of nowhere.

 

So he tried to find out about Touya.  There were articles on him running away years ago and a missing child photo.  He stared at the photo, it had been so long since he saw Touya's photo. There weren't any of him in the home.  He was frail looking, only a year younger than Shouto was currently but he looked like he was twelve due to his height and weight.  He found himself wondering why his eldest brother was so unhealthy and weak looking.

 

He looked back at the photo of Dabi, and then Touya's again.  They did have the same icy blue eyes, the same structure of their faces, and barely concealed anger and betrayal in their expression, but everything else was different.

 

He needed to know more.

 

The room was eerily unsettling to be in once Shouto managed to pick the lock and get the door open.  There was next to nothing in there. A simple stresser with a few notebooks and odds and ends on top it, a desk and chair, a bed, and a bookshief, everything covered with a thick layer of dust.  Frozen in time.

 

He peered into the dresser, clothing folded neatly in the drawers.  He glanced at the novels and such on the bookshelf, mostly horror and crime.  He remembered Touya often reading by himself outside in the yard, annoyed if anyone bothered him.

 

He eyed the shoebox, taking it off the shelf and setting it on the desk.  He took off the top, pictures of himself and Fuyumi and Natsuo. One of their Mother that was worn, torn up and taped back together.  A old journal with pages of angry, hateful words scrambled inside it, pages stained with tears and blood. There was a roll of bandages, a few packs of gauze and a roll of tape.  He pricked his finger digging through the box, finding several razor blades and a box cutter. All with blood on the edges.

 

He opened the door of his brother's room, big smile on his face, "Touya, Mom said Daddy won't be home all weekend we can finally watch that movie and…"

 

His voice faded off, stopping in his tracks at the sight of the older boy sitting on his bed.  There was blood all over his arm, dripping into the bedsheets, creating a puddle on the floor.

 

"Get out." Touya said, quickly putting his arm behind his back.

 

"Blood!  You're bleeding!" He yelled, his six year old mind trying to understand how Touya had gotten so hurt, why there was so much blood.

 

"Get out of my room!" His brother shouted.

 

"But…" he stared wide eyed at all the blood.

 

"Out!  Get the fuck out of my room, you stupid brat!  Get out!"

 

Shouto frowned, placing the sharp objects down and closing the shoebox.

 

"What are you doing in here?"

 

He jumped nearly out of his skin, whipping around to see Fuyumi quickly close the door.

 

"If Dad knew you were in here…"

 

"He won't be home until tomorrow." Shouto cut her off, "ill put everything back and lock it up again.  He'll never know."

 

She shifted uncomfortably, looking around Touya's room. "No one is allowed in here."

 

"Why though?" Shouto asked, walking over to the wall to inspect the holes Touya had punched into it.

 

"Dad doesn't like us in here."

 

"What was wrong with Touya?" He asked, opening the closet door to look at the untouched hoodies and jackets.  He shivered at the nail marks on the inside of the door. Dad used to lock Touya in closets too?

 

"Why are you asking this now?" Fuyumi's voice became shaky, eyes darting around as she wrapped her arms around herself, "We aren't supposed to talk about… him."

 

Shouto raised his voice, fists clenching at his sides. "Why though?  Why? He was our brother. Where did he go? Why did Dad to all that shit to him, hate him so much? Why was Natsuo so horrified that night, why won't he talk to us anymore? Why did Touya shake all the time and not eat and cut himself?  What happened to him? What did he do to Touya?"

 

"Shouto, we aren't-"

 

"No, I'm sick of all the secrets and the lies!  I deserve to know what happened to him! He didn't run away, that's bullshit and we both know that.  Something happened to Touya and i want to know what."

 

"I don't know!" She cried suddenly, throwing her hands up, "no one would tell me!  But shouto its… its been years. Even if he didn't…" she stopped herself, voice lowering, "he was fourteen, Shouto, physically and mentally unwell.  He couldn't have survived very long, especially with his conditions and the way he was." She looked away, tears in her eyes, "if he had, he would have contacted us."

 

"Would he though?" Shouto asked narrowing, "he hated us."

 

"He didn't hate-"

 

"He did hate us all.  Dad treated him worse than all of us because Touya was the only one who actually stood up to him, I remember, and because he looked and acted like Mom and Dad hated that.  And yeah, Touya protected us cause he was our big brother, but he hated us, snapped at us. he was always angry and always wanted to be alone. I do remember him, 'Yumi, I didn't forget."

 

She sighed, "he didn't hate us, he had problems, Shouto. You were too young to understand."

 

"What makes you think he would talk to us after everything Dad did, after everything that happened in this house?  Hell, i wouldn't come back either."

 

The weight of the last sentence made something in his sister's eyes break. "Why are you asking about this now?  Dad doesn't like Touya being brought up. He'll get mad and-"

 

"And what, beat me? Yeah, what else is new?"


.


He laid in bed at the dorm, staring at the screen of his phone. He had to find Dabi and find out for himself.  Tracking down a villain would be difficult, not to mention dangerous. If he was Touya, who's to say who Dabi is now and how he'd react to Shouto.  If he wasn't Touya, Dabi would likely kill him. He had to be careful.

 

Upon digging, he found reports online of Dabi being spotted around abandoned buildings and empty apartments in bad areas of the inner city.   Evidence seemed to suggest the villain was homeless, which would make finding him more difficult if he moved around a lot.

 

Stalking a villain was probably the dumbest thing he had ever done.  He'd never done things like this. Always raised to be smart and cautious, keep up on appearances, chin up, cover the bruises, speak clear and follow orders.  

 

Follow orders.  Shouto was so sick of following orders.


.


He didn't fit in well in the slums of the city, even with the most plain street clothes he could find and a hood and hat to hide the two toned hair, sunglasses to hide the scar.  He tried to blend in as he walked quickly, head down to go unnoticed, looking around for any signs of the patchwork villain.

 

Back alleys he was always told to steer clear of, but those were not the places Dabi steer clear of.  Those were the places Dabi seemed to be drawn to, the dark, dangerous, gritty parts of society.

 

He had been following Dabi around for a little over a week now.  He was careful not to be noticed, stay far back and avoid being seen by the villain.

 

Dabi didn't seem to have a schedule, did what he wanted to pass the time.  He roamed the streets most the day and night, didn't seem to sleep often but if he did it was inside abandoned buildings. He had an old flip phone he used to take calls from people he worked with, but was always snappy and rude to them.  He didn't appear to have friends.

 

He was definitely homeless or between places, and often stole or pick pocketed wallets to afford his needs.  He didn't eat much from what Shouto could see, most of his money went to caffeine, cigarettes, and drugs and alcohol.  He definitely had a problem with addiction.

 

Shouto noticed little things, small consequences that this scarred villain shared with Touya.  He had a habit of playing with his hair when no one was looking, drank his coffee black but with a lot of sugar, and slumped over a lot like Touya did with his back problems.  When no one was around to notice, he'd shake uncontrollably like Touya used to.

 

He checked his phone as he peeked through the window of the rundown apartment building, he'd have to go back to the dorms for dinner in less than an hour.  He looked away from the villain sitting on the floor smoking a cigarette and walked down the alley to head back.

 

He rounded the corner of behind the building, coming up the side alley that lead to the street.  His eyes widened behind his sunglasses when a figure seemed stepped out of nowhere and blocked the only way out of the alley.

 

The hair on the back of his neck stood up when the cold, blue eyes stared down at him like a neverending void of hatred.  The way the time around him seemed to stop, and Shouto's heart speed up and pounded in his chest.

 

"Wanna tell me who you are and why you been followin' me, or should I just kill you and be done with it?"

Chapter Text

Driven by the damage, by the damage

You've been hurt before me, I can imagine

We've all been hurt before, it don't make you a savage

We've all been hurt before, it's just way you handle.


 

Shouto swallowed, steeling himself under the cold stare of the villain.  He was at a crossroads, had to pick a side now. Had to make a choice. He studied the other man's face, the scars and metal, the static in his eyes that sounded in Shouto's head. 

 

"Okay, you wanna die in a fire, fine by me." Dabi's hand lit up, casting shadows on the walls of the alley, "now you can make it fast, and tell me who sent you, or I can take my time if you don't wanna talk."

 

Shouto quickly ripped down his hood and tore the hat and glasses off, watching Dabi pause and narrow his eyes before he smirked again.

 

"UA kid, your teachers send you on a suicide mission?"

 

"No, i came on my own accord." He said.

 

"Oh, so you're just stupid then." Dabi laughed and Shouto swayed in his spot, watching the fire still on the villain's hand and the sizzling of his skin.  The way smoke vented through the staples and seams.

 

He's being burned by his own flames.

 

"Touya." He whispered.

 

There was a long second where everything stopped, but if the name had any impact on Dabi, he didn't show it in his face.

 

"What?"

 

"Touya." Shouto repeated, "it's you… isn't it?"

 

The fire went out, and two tone eyes observed the way the skin still boiled and the burnt smell that was coming off of him.

 

"Not familiar.  Now fuck off."

 

"No." Shouto said sternly, "it's you, Touya… I know for sure now."

 

Touya was burned by his own flames too.

 

"Sounds the the name of a dead man, now get out of here or I will kill you."

 

"You won't."

 

Dabi snorted, a sadistic grin on his face, "oh, i won't now?"

 

"No, you won't.  Cause i'm your brother… that's why you avoided burning me at camp, isn't it?"

 

"You're insane, kid.  Fuck off." Dabi turned, beginning to walk off and Shouto followed.

 

"What… happened to you?"

 

"Don't know what youre talking about."

 

"You've been gone for years, not so much as a call.  Everyone thinks you're dead."

 

"Got me confused with someone else, kid."

 

"Dad tried to say you ran away, but i know you didn't.  Its more than that."

 

Dabi rolled his eyes, rounding a corner as Shouto pulled back up his hood, struggling to keep up.

 

"All those scars… you… What happened to you?" He asked.

 

"God, you like to hear yourself talk."

 

"Did Dad do that to you?  Where were you all this time?  Why are your scars stapled onto you? Why-"

 

"Shut up."

 

"Why'd you never call?  Why are you a villain? You still don't eat and now you're a drug addict.  Why are you doing this to yourself?"

 

Dabi whipped around, gritting his teeth, "damn you still ask too many fucking questions, entitled little brat!"

 

"Still?"

 

He seemed to realize his mistake once he said it, Dabi straightened his shoulders, expression going back to being void and blank, but the annoyance was still there.

 

"Look, whoever you think i am-"

 

"You're Touya, I'm not stupid."

 

Dabi raised his voice again, talking over the teen, "Whoever you think i am, i'm not. You don't know anything.  Don't ever bring that bullshit up again, or tell a single person that bullshit, or you'll get both of us killed with your lies.  That's what it is, lies. Whoever you think i am, i'm not. Now get lost."

 

Shouto watched him walk away, standing on the sidewalk as the people moved past him and the villain disappeared into the crowd.  Everyone kept moving while Shouto felt stuck, left behind again. His hands rolled into fits. He knew now, he knew Dabi was Touya.  But he needed to know why and how…

 

He deserved to know.



.



The phone rang and rang on the other line as Shouto passed around his dorm room.  He didn't expect the answer.

 

"Natsuo? I… didn't expect you to pick up."

 

"Hmph."

 

Natsuo sounded tired, maybe because it was late.  Or maybe he was in a bad mood. Shouto hadnt spoken to his brother since he left for college.  He would call every once in a while, but never got through. He'd text, but be left on read. He knew Fuyumi called too and he ignored her as well.

 

"Sorry I haven't been around much…"

 

"Its cool, i understand, man." He said, an awkward silence following.

 

"You okay?  Did Dad… do something again?"

 

"No, no.  We're all fine.  I'm in the dorm now, so i dont see Dad as much so he's got less time to train and… you know."

 

"That's… good.  Tell Fuyumi I'm sorry too, sometimes it's just a little much with Dad, and im busy with school, and-"

 

"She understands." Shouto reassured him, "actually, I was calling to ask if i can see you and we can talk about something."

 

"Uhh… I'd have to look at my schedule, man.  But, uh, what do you wanna talk about?"

 

He swallowed, taking a deep breath, "Touya."

 

There was silence on the other line.

 

"I know, I know… it's painful to talk about, and I don't want to bring up bad memories but I think..  I think i found him, and I think he's in trouble."

 

"Shouto, I…" there was a pause, "whoever it is, it isn't him."

 

"No, Natsuo, it is. I'm like, 90% sure of-"

 

"No, Shouto.  You don't understand."

 

"Im telling you, I think I know where he is and we need to figure-"

 

"Stop! You don't get it!  You don't know what happened.  It isn't possible. It can't be!"

 

"What happened then, tell me what happened so i can understand!"

 

"Don't call this number again unless you or Fuyumi are hurt."

 

"Natsuo-"

 

"Tell Fuyumi if she keeps blowing up my phone, I'm gonna block her number."

 

"Wait-"

 

"And do not dig into this shit, little brother.  You will not like what you find."

 

"Natsuo, wait a goddamn minute-"

 

"Be careful."

 

Then the line went dead.

 

.

 

Fine.  If Fuyumi won't tell him what happened, Natsuo won't tell him, and Dabi denies it, then he will go to the source and demand the truth.

 

He knocked on his Father's office door, stiffening his backbone.  He told himself he wasn't a little kid anymore, but he was still a little afraid of his Father even after all these years.

 

He had a reason to be.  His Father was powerful and had public influence, a top hero only below all might at the time.  He was strong and feared. Behind closed doors just as violent as he was towards villains with his own children. 

 

"What is it?  Can't you see I'm busy?" Enji asked, his tone snappy as soon as Shouto walked in the room.

 

"What happened to Touya?" No use beating around the bush, cut right to the chance, push away the fear creeping up his spine.

 

The hero froze, eyes darting towards his son and he set his jaw, tone even. "Your eldest brother ran away when he was around your age.  There's nothing more to speak of the matter."

 

"I know that's a lie." He said, keeping his voice as even as his Father. "Touya didn't run away that night.  Natsuo did. Touya went with you to find him, but he didn't come back."

 

Endeavor stood, monstrous form filling the room. "You were too young to understand."

 

"Yeah, everyone keeps saying that.  I understand that Touya was angry a lot, and hated you, but he wouldn't up and leave."

 

"I do not like discussing this." 

 

His Dad was moving closer but Shouto held his ground, calming the butterflies in his stomach and the urge to run and hide. I'm not a little kid anymore.

 

"Why?  Because you're ashamed your eldest son went missing?  Or, is it because you hated Touya as much as he hated you, if not more?"

 

"Drop it, Shouto." That was a warning .  Shouto knew that tone of voice, he was painfully familiar.  His fingers shook at his side, but he didnt let it go.

 

"Or, is it because you had something to do with his disappearance?"

 

In an instant the eerie, threatening calm was broken and a hand grabbed his throat.  His back was slammed against the wall hard, fingers tightening, making him choke.

 

He panicked, and for a split second Shouto was seven years old again.  Being overpowered and hurt by the man who was supposed to love him. He was a cornered, scared child being trapped by a monster.

 

He coughed, looking his Father in the eyes and forcing a smirk on his lips.

 

I am not a little kid anymore.

 

"Go on, do it."

 

Enjis eyes narrowed, head tilted back in question.

 

"Hit me.  I know you wanna put me in my place, teach me a lesson .  Wonder how long until someone hears and comes in, asking why the number two hero is beating his son?" 

 

The fingers around his neck loosened.

 

"Do it.  I wonder how many times they'll ask about the bruises?  I'll be sure to change in the locker room at school reaaal slow, so that everyone can see.  The midoriya boy already asked about the time you broke my ribs a few months back, maybe I just won't be able to think up a good enough story this time."

 

Endeavor stared at him, cold blue eyes cutting deep.  Shouto forced himself to show none of the fear clawing at his insides.  The hand released his throat.

 

"Get out."

 

"What happened to Touya?" He asked again.

 

"It's none of your concern, he's dead to this family now leave.  You are testing my patience."

 

"I'll find out.  I'm not just going to forget he existed." Shouto said, turning to leave.  He stopped, hand on the door knob as he looked over his shoulder, "and even if he had ran away, I wouldn't blame him for not coming back with you in that house."

 

As soon as the door closed and he was alone in the hallway of the building the weight crashing down on his shoulders.  His back ached and throat burned with the leftover pain of his Father's force. The fear crept up his throat, made his breath come out in gasps.  He forced himself to walk, get out of the building and back to the dorms before anyone noticed.

 

He wasn't a child.  He wasn't to be left in the dark.  He wanted to know the secrets, no matter how dark.  He wanted to let the monsters out of the closets even if they ate him alive.

 

He deserved to know the truth.

 

Chapter Text

Im hurting now

Change comes slow.

If you hate what's in your head, the fuck would you speak your mind?

In search of lost time..

Just 21 so im young and im stupid

Only 16, and I think you should have known

I think you fucked me up.

 


 

This was bad.

 

This was really, really bad.  The little brat connected the dots, he was going to get them both killed if he told the wrong person, hell, if he told anyone.

 

He had to do something.  He had to figure out a way to cover all this up, make it disappear, shut Shouto up before something bad happened.

 

He would have to disappear again.  If the league caught wind that he was the son of a pro hero and had been lying to them, he was sure that spoiled creep would kill him.  He had a goal to meet, and Shouto was screwing it up, about to throw a wrench into all his plan.

 

He could threaten him, threaten his classmates, that might make him keep quiet.  If he had to, he could…

 

No.  Calm down.  It isn't that big of a deal.

 

So Shouto thinks he recognized him.  Kid doesnt know shit, cant prove anything, and it doesn't mean anyone would believe him anyway.

 

Dabi just had to stay calm, focus on his mission, keep his cool.  It'll be fine, no one will find out. No one will know, Shouto doesn't even really know.



.



He fixed his eyes on the TV as Shigaraki raved in the background at the news cast, the bold worlds scrolling across the bottom of the screen.

 

"Number One Hero All Might Officially Retires."

 

"We have done it! We've broken the symbol of peace!  He's gone , ha!  Now things will be much easier to pull apart the hero commission, reduce them to dust.  Then there will be peace!"

 

Dabi stared at the image of Endeavor, now announced as the new Number One.  The anger and disappointment evident in his face despite his high position.

 

He stared at the aging face, the flames forming around it, the cruelty in Endeavor's eyes, in his Father's eyes.

 

He downed another shot and stood without a word, headed for the backdoor.

 

"Where ya going, Dabi?" Twice asked loudly, the obnoxious voice making the other villain tense.

 

"Out."

 

"Well come back before long, we have further plans to discuss and you need to be here, not snorting cocaine in a back alley somewhere."

 

"Oh, fuck you, freak."

 

He slammed the door as he left, blood boiling under his skin, body running hot with his anger.  He dug his fingernails into his palm, clenching his teeth.  

 

His hands were shaking as he lit a cigarette, almost too much to flick the lighter.

 

"Stop that shaking!  Makes you look like there's something wrong with you!"

 

Well, whose fault was it that something was so wrong with him?  He's his Father's son afterall, what that bastard created and then discarded.  Broke, rebuilt, then threw away.

 

Endeavor didn't deserve to be a hero, let alone the number one, when he was the very image of the falsehood Stain spoke about. He didn't deserve all the power when all he did was abuse it.  He didn't deserve all the fame and wealth when all he did was step on others to get where he was. He didn't deserve to be called a hero when spent twenty years terrorizing his wife and children, picking them apart, crushing them between his hands.

 

Endeavor didn't deserve to even be alive.

 

He blew up in a fit of rage, driving his fist into the brick before he even realized what he was doing.  He busted his knuckles on the wall of the abandoned building before his hands grabbed a table and turned it.  Kicked a can of old trash across the room, knocked over a chair, smashed an old TV, then screamed and collapsed to the floor.

 

Fire danced on his shoulders, he could feel it eat through the scar tissue, the fabric of his shirt.  His hands were still shaking, knuckles bloody and bruised. His whole body was shaking.

 

"You're so weak," a hand connected with his face, then tangled in strands of his hair, shaking him and smacking him again, "never amount to anything." 

 

He was tossed back down to the floor, boneless and trembling, waiting for the training to stop, to be dragged to the bathroom and thrown in a boiling hot shower, to have his burns wrapped carelessly in gauze, dragged to his bedroom, thrown onto the floor and the door closing him in, locking him inside while Mother begged to see him.

 

Never amount to anything, huh?  Well his Father was wrong, because now he's a monster, a villain, a murderer.  Still a mess of secrets and repressed emotions, burning rage and self loathing, so fucked up, but he's stronger now… he's still weak, but not as weak.

 

It was Endeavor's fault he became this.  He didn't deserve to be alive, and after never going back for his siblings, Dabi didn't either.  He was going to die, and he'd take his Father with him.



.



"Goodness, Dabi, what did you do to your hands?" Compress asked, concern in his voice as he gestured towards his still bleeding, busted knuckles.

 

He ignored him, cocking a brow at Toga's wide smile as she grabbed his wrist.

 

"Ooo, can i lick them? Please!" 

 

He made a disgusted face, ripping his hand away, "No, you can't lick my wounds, you crazy bitch!"

 

"Oh, please, Dabi!  I bet you taste good!"

 

"Quick question, would you transform into him now, or him without, y'know, all the scars?" Twice asked curiously.

 

"Good question!  I don't know!" She turned back towards him, "Can we try?  I bet you were pretty without the scars!"

 

" He's pretty with the scars! No, he isn't me.  You sound like a creep! Let her have a taste, Dabi, i wanna see! You know, or don't, no biggie."

 

"See, Jin thinks it's okay!  Just a little lick, it looks so yummy!" 

 

"Stop fuckin' touchin' me already, crazy!"

 

Shigaraki cleared his throat, glaring at them from behind Father, "as I was saying, we need to regroup.  We've lost All For One, and then with all the members who were arrested, we are down a lot of numbers. We need to find recruits."

 

"I'll do it." Dabi said. "I'm the one that leads the Vanguard, I would rather we recruit people who aren't complete trash idiots."

 

" Good, cause i don't want none of that! I can look around too." Jin volunteered and didn't.

 

"We need to lie low first, but we should gather numbers in preparation, make some allies and bide our time." Kurogiri agreed, "we need to be careful, our faces are posted on wanted flyers everywhere."



.



Dabi laid on his back on the floor, watching the ceiling spin above him, the cracks in the plaster twist and move like snakes in water.  He could hear radio static in his mind, a never ending stream of incomplete sentences breaking through the interference.

 

"...if you would just… maybe then… learn, you stupid little…"

 

"Dear, your hurting me… your fire is… enji, love, please…"

 

"Get up off the floor… Stop being so…"

 

"Touya, stop!  Give me the knife, Touya, give…"

 

"...useless…"

 

He heard something to his left, sounded like rustling in the trash.  Probably a rat. 

 

"Big brother scares me, Mom…"

 

"How? … so weak, stop crying, get… utterly worthless, waste of…"

 

"Enji, stop…. Slow… Please, it hurts…" 

 

"Get up!" 

 

"... leave us too, right Touya?"

 

A shadow darted somewhere to his right, casting on the wall, shifting and warping, changing form.  The static got louder, as did the sound of his breathing.

 

"Get up!"

 

"...Miss mom so…"

 

"Get up!"

 

"Why is he so… do that to..."

 

"Get up!"

 

"...You wont... right Touya?"

 

There was a loud bang and he flinched, eyes staring up at the moving snakes on the ceiling, crawling down the walls.  His breathing got quicker, and he couldn't stop shaking.

 

"... scared, im scared! … want Mama!"

 

"... please let me see my son… can't do this.. let him meet the baby…"

 

"Fight back!  Stop cowering like that!  You are so…"

 

"Please, dont!"

 

"... where's Shouto?  ...of my way, woman!"

 

"Don't go too…"

 

Something crawled on his skin, probably a cockroach, maybe his imagination.  His stomach turned, hand twitching. The shadow darted across the wall again, the snakes crawled to the floor, rustled through the trash. He heard a knocking sound. He turned on his side, expelling vomit onto the floor.

 

"Worthless… Waste of my time…  stop shaking like that! ...are you so weak?"

 

"I don't wanna go home, Touya…"

 

"...scared of Daddy…"

 

"Touya, what did you do?  You need to stop doing…"

 

"Kid's a little creep…"

 

"...even hit you that hard…"

 

"Touya, you won't leave us too, right?"

 

A hand grabbed his shoulder and he swatted at it, a panicked noise escaping him as he tried to roll away from whoever was grabbing at him.

 

"Dabi, Dabi!  Calm down!"

 

" Fuck, he burned me !  It's okay."

 

"Is he okay?"

 

"Hey, hey, we aren't going to hurt you."

 

"Is he sick? Ew, there's puke everywhere."

 

"I think he's on something."

 

" I know just what to do! Guys, what do we do?"

 

Hands grabbed his wrists, tried to pin him down.  Everything blurred and spinned around him. He could make out a white and black pattern above him, "Dabi, stop.  Calm down, you're burning us. We're trying to help you."

 

He could smell something burning, the stench making him throw up again, hands rolled him on his side so he didn't choke on it and patted his back.

 

"You're okay.  It's okay." A female voice repeated softly.

 

"Yumi?" He asked, eyes unable to focus on anything. 

 

"Who?" 

 

"I'm sorry…" he mumbled.

 

" Whoa, hell froze over the fiery asshole actually apologized!  He looks so sad."

 

"Dabi, it's me, Compress, just breathe.  Twice, Toga, and Magne are here too, that's all.  No ones gonna hurt you, but you need to calm down and try to focus on breathing."

 

His eyes fluttered open and shut, black dots clouding them as the hands kept rubbing his back.

 

"In and out.  That's it, you got it." Magne was saying above him, she sounded far away.

 

Their voices got further and further, then everything faded away.

 

"Will you leave us too, Touya?"

 

"No."

 

Fucking liar.

Chapter Text

If dying is your way out

Then count me in I'm coming

Maybe a different spin.

And im so used to being a coward

Its all ive ever been

I quit before I win.

 


 

Shouto hid in the closet in the hall, tucked in amongst the linen and bath towels, covering his mouth as his Father's voice boomed through the house.

 

"Where's my son, you bitch?  What did you do with him?"

 

He could hear Mama crying, her pleading voice insisting she didn't know.  The sound of her fear. He was scared, wanted to help her, but too afraid.

 

"He needs to train." Father yelled, "did you hide him again?"

 

"Please, Dear.  He's frightened, just… wait until he's older.  You hurt him and-"

 

He whimpered into his hand at the sound of his mother being slapped, yelping in shock and pain.

 

"I am not waiting!  He needs to train now, you need to stop babying him!  He won't be weak like those other failures!" 

 

Another voice joined his parents, it sounded like that strange boy with all the bandages who looked like Mama that seemed to appear out of nowhere right before Shouto began training with Dad. "Get away from her!"

 

Another smack, "stay out of it, Touya.  This doesn't concern you!"

 

"You're hurting my Mom, it does!"

 

Another smack and something hitting the floor, "don't you put your hands on me, boy!"

 

"Please, Enji, stop hitting him." Mama was pleading, "please, stop."

 

"Little bastard grabbed me, who does he think he is?  Needs to learn his place." 

 

"Fuck you." 

 

"You worthless little--"

 

Touya cried out in pain and Mom screamed, "Please, Dear! Please, you're hurting him."

 

Something hit the floor again and Mom was sobbing, Dad's voice boomed louder. "Don't you stand in the way of me disciplining that brat!  He needs some respect beaten into him, thinks he can talk to me like that! This is exactly why I kept him away from you all these years, now look at him!  Little piece of trash thinks he can disrespect me like you do! ill do the same for Shouto if you keep this up! Stay down, Rei!"

 

Mama sounded like she was choking and Shouto sobbed harder, shaking in the closet.  The white haired boy with the bandages told him to stay there and not come out since Daddy was drinking from that glass bottle again.  He was really mean when he drank that stuff. Shouto was afraid his Dad would kill his Mom or the boy.

 

"Don't matter, you won't find him." He heard Touya's voice say quietly. 

 

"You know where he is?"

 

There was silence, then screaming, mama crying and the smell of something burning.

 

"Tell me, you little shit!  Tell me where he is!"

 

"I hate you!"

 

"Tell me! Right now!"

 

"Enji, please, stop!  Let go of him, let him go!"

 

"Tell me, or I'm breaking your wrist!"

 

There was dead silence and Shouto clamped his hands hard over his mouth, terrified.

 

Then snickering, "you're no hero, Dad."

 

Then there was agonizing screaming.

 

Shouto woke up gasping for air, hardly able to breathe.  He looked at the clock, 3:52am. He clutched his chest, pounded it with his fist to try to get his breath to even out. 

 

He took a deep breath, squeezing his eyes shut.  That was only a few months before Mom was sent away, it was one of the worst nights they all experienced.  Dad was always a mean drunk. Shouto did stop being a coward and leave the closet, but not before Dad had already given Mother a bloody nose, busted lip, and black eye, as well as broke Touya's left wrist and three of his fingers.   The training that came afterwards was awful.

 

The secrets were ripping him apart.  He kept digging and coming up with nothing even after months.  He still kept tabs on Dabi, but it appeared Dabi had avoided his normal spots and had changed locations, that or he was busy with villain work.

 

The stress was getting to Shouto, on top of everything the Provisional Hero Licences Exam would be coming up soon, and Shouto felt unprepared.   There was too much on his mind he felt like he would explode, too much weight on his shoulders.

 

He started to further distance himself from the other students.  Some of them had gotten too close, and the green haired kid often asked too many questions.  He needed to get his head on straight, focus on his future, not what happened to a brother that disappeared years prior and may or may not be a villain.

 

He was pretty sure Dabi was Touya, he caught a glimpse of Touya in him when he confronted him about it.   But at the same time, everyone else insisted it was impossible for Touya to even be alive. Maybe he was just seeing what he wanted to… believing what he wanted to believe.  

 

He had to refocus.



.



Months passed and he still hadn't seen Dabi, the entire League Of Villains seemed to have vanished after the attack on their hideout and All For One's arrest.  They were likely recovering, getting stronger.

 

Father had been furious when he discovered that Shouto, Midoriya, Momo, and the others had been present at the attack on the hideout.  He smacked Shouto across the face as soon as he found out and Fuyumi had to beg their Father not to beat him. 

 

Dad's mood was sour ever since All Might had to retire, Endeavor wanted the top spot, but not that way.  

 

Shouto was nervous to even be around his Father after what he did came out, let alone bring up the topic of Touya again when Endeavor likely wouldn't think twice about beating him for it, especially if Fuyumi wasn't around to play peacemaker.

 

Natsuo wouldn't answer his calls or set up a date that they could talk, and Fuyumi had repeated the same claims that she didn't know what happened, but Touya was gone, and that it wasn't a good idea to discuss the topic.

 

Again, nothing could be found online about Touya's disappearance or where Dabi and the other members of the league of villains were.

 

With the exams getting closer and closer, Shouto had to juggle the training for the tests and learning the truth about Touya. 

 

"You will not embarrass me out there like you did during that tournament." Father said, threatened . "We need to keep up family appearances even more now.  You need to have your head on straight. No more of this nonsense."

 

Shouto rolled his eyes as he pressed the phone to his ear, wishing he could just hang up on the man.

 

"You better be training in your spare time.  I can have you come home each day after school and train you myself if you cannot hold yourself accountable."

 

"I am training." He said.  the last thing he wanted to do was train with his Father, Dad's insane training had only gotten more brutal as he got older.   The last time he trained with him, his Father cracked four of his ribs and gave him severe burns on his arms. He had to wear long sleeves for months to avoid being asked questions.

 

"Do not embarrass me in that exam." He repeated.



.



A few days before the exam, the articles began coming in.  Reports of numerous bodies, burned to nearly nothing, all found with blue fire around them.  It was Dabi…

 

… It was Touya.

 

His brother, his brother was killing people.  The shock made Shouto feel numb.  Just how far had he fallen? How dark had his mind become that he was killing people?

 

Oddly enough, all the victims were petty criminals and low ranking villains, usually groups on them and some of the scenes showed signs of struggle.  They weren't heroes or innocent people Dabi was killing, but they were still people.

 

Though he had planned to let it go until after the exams, but with this new information that Dabi, who was possibly Touya, had moved up from a villain to a murderer, it was all Shouto thought about again, distanting him from his training and from the exams.

 

He did the best he could even with his head so loud with questions and thoughts.  It wasnt until the last drill that he really slipped up.  

 

Another boy from a different school got under his skin.  A boy he met years ago and treated unfairly. A boy that our right compared him to his Father.

 

His Father was the last person Shouto wanted to be like.

 

He let his past get the better of him, the secrets and hidden truths, the dark questions that repeated themselves.  Everything came around full circle and hit him in the face. It all made him question what a hero was.

 

Shouto was forced to look at all of it when Gang Orca, who was playing the role of a villain, paralysed him.  He was forced to look at the entire picture of what was expected of him, what was a hero by society's terms.

 

A hero was a mold someone had to fit into, physically, mentally, and quirk wise.  Gang Orca was a hero, but picked to play the villain solely because his deformity made him look the part.  Shinsou from class 1b, though a powerful and determined boy, was held back by the school and told repeatedly he couldn't be a hero because he had a villains quirk.   And time and time again he heard his Father tell his brothers they couldn't be anything , especially heroes because Natsuo was quirkless and Touya was too weak for his own fire.

 

Heroes had to be perfect.

 

They were the ones that had the luck of the draw, like Shouto and Bakugou being told they were perfect once their quirks came to be, leading bakugou to develop such a superiority complex and Shouto to only be able to base his worth on his quirk and abilities while others like Midoriya was considered Worthless, his siblings were considered failures.

 

You were good enough to be a hero, or you were worthless and thrown to the wolves.

 

That villain Shouto fought in the alley months back, The Hero Killer Stain.  That man spoke of false heroes, the corrupt system, the abuse of power. He spoke the truth and he was silenced.

 

Heroes were born of corruption, falsehood, lies.   They were nothing but pawns, just like Shouto, and greedy monsters that abused their power, like Endeavor.

 

Shouto let go, let everything go… faced the truth he was too naive to see.  As the fire and ice spread, fueled by his anger and bitterness, by how used he felt,  how frustrated he was, how alone he felt.

 

Touya was Dabi because of this flawed hero system.  The heroes let him become this, they let him be abused and broken by their Father, they turned a cold shoulder and ignored the bruises and bandages.  They let Endeavor do all this, hurt their Mother, have her sent away, hurt and use him, hurt his siblings.  

 

They let whatever happened to Touya happen.  They left him to become Dabi. He became this because all because of Endeavor, and the corrupt heroes let it happen.

 

With all the lies and secrets, he didn't blame Touya for doing what he did anymore… he didnt want to blame him.  What choice did Touya have?  

If becoming a villain was Touyas only way out of the constant pain and abuse of that house, then what choice did he have?

If disappearing was the only way for him to get away from their Father and all the violence and cruelty that he was constantly subjected to without their Father killing him, then what choice did Touya have?

 

No, Shouto didn't want to be anything like his Father or these heroes…

he didn't think he even wanted to be a hero at all anymore.

And if Shouto had to do what Touya had to do, if it was the only way out of that hellish house, away from the abuse and fear, the lies and secrets, then what choice did Shouto have?

Chapter Text

I'm sorry if I hurt you

I'm sorry if it got that bad

I'm sorry I can't help you

Somebody should have had your back.

I tried but i don't think so

Maybe it was me who was fucking up

I gave all i could give

But it seems like it never really was enough.



Shouto took a deep breath, preparing himself for what was waiting behind the door of his childhood home.


His Father was sitting in the living room, bottle of rum on the end table beside him, his expression cross.


"Now mind explaining what the hell that was?"


"You saw for yourself, i'm sure.  I didn't get a license." He said simply, taking off the bag from his shoulder to throw it by the door. 


" How ?  You have so much talent, so much promise!  All those years of training, of hard work, of effort and-"


"Abuse?" He finished for him, his voice calm and cold, but he couldn't hide glee in his eye seeing his Father fume.


Endeavors brows raised, "Excuse me?"


"Abuse.  Beating the shit out of me, making me use my quirk over and over even if I was exhausted or overheating.  Abusing my Mom for trying to protect me, neglecting Natsuo and Fuyumi, breaking Touya's hand for trying to hide me so I didn't have to train."  He made sure he said Touya's name clearly and slowly, watching the way he flinched when he spoke the name, as if it was a curse.


"You… Did you do this on purpose?" His Father snarled dangerously, "why would you do this?  Throw your life, everything you wanted, everything-"


"Everything you wanted, not me.  I never had a choice, did i?  Did any of us, did my Mom when you made her have us?"


Endeavor stood and Shouto took a step back on instinct, but he kept eye contact. "What makes you think you can speak to me like that, boy?"


"What's wrong, Dad? Don't run away from yourself." He said, quoting his Father's own words he said in training so many times while Shouto was crying on the floor.


Endeavor's hands tightened into fists at his side, jaw clenching as he tried to restrain himself, Shouto knew he was one bad choice away from a punch in the face but he pushed anyway.


"I have no idea what has gotten into you lately, made you think you can act like a disrespectful brat, but i don't like it.  You're bad attitude is beginning to remind me of--" he stopped himself, reaching for the bottle again.


"Remind you of who, Dad? Of Touya ?" His face twisted with a smirk, sickeningly sweet and innocent tone of voice making his Father cringe.


"Do not speak that name in this-"


"Or what, Dad?  You'll beat me unconscious like you used to beat Touya? Cover me in burns, rip my hair from my head, throw me down the steps, lock me in the closet in that room where he used to live?" He pushed and pushed, dug himself a deeper hole, a deeper grave as Endeavor's eyes filled with anger, "will you make me disappear too?"


Shouto hit the floor before he even saw the fist coming.  He managed to break the fall with his forearms, quickly covering his bleeding, throbbing nose with a hand and glaring up at his Father.  He remembered seeing Touya in this position before, on the floor at his Father's feet with blood dripping from his face and a wide, unhinged grin on his face.  Shouto mimicked the grin from memory.


Enji drove a boot into his stomach, face firm in rage as he kicked his son, again, and again, and again.


"I told you not to embarrass me.  Now it seems like you want to test my patience."


Shouto spat blood onto the floor, holding his stomach, wheezing when his Father finally stopped kicking him.  He chuckled and looked back up, "You're fucking insane."


He saw stars when the boot struck him in the face, rolling onto his back with the force, a mouthful of blood forced from his mouth.  Everything faded to black for a second as he looked up at the ceiling, and he had to force himself not to fall into the welcoming dark.


"I hate you." He echoed the words Touya would scream at him years and years back, despite knowing it always got their Father even more angry, got Touya beaten even worse.


A hand wrapped around his throat, ripped him off the floor and he fought back blindly before the air was forced from his lungs when his back was slammed into the wall.


The fingers around his neck tightened, painfully hot, "do not disrespect me."


"What did you do to him?" He choked out, head fogging, "Why does he have so many scars, why has he been gone for so long, why'd he never come back, what did you do to him?"


"Shut up."


"Why was he nowhere for the first six years of my life?  Did you lock him in that room like a prisoner? Mom used to cry in front of that room.  Why wouldn't you let her see him?"


Tighter, hotter. "Shut up, Shouto."


"What happened that night?  What happened to Touya? I deserve to know!"


He could hear the front door open, "Dad?  Dad, what's… oh my god, Dad, stop!"


Fuyumi pulled their Father away and Shouto fell to the floor the minute his throat was released, coughing and choking as he watched Fuyumi and his Father yell, watched him grab her arms, scream into her face.  Everything faded away.



.



Shouto woke up where he had passed out, his body screaming in pain.  His neck felt raw with blisters, stomach hurt, face aching. His sister sat above him, dabbing the side of his face with a wet washcloth. Her arms had bruises on them.


"Did he…"


"No, I'm fine.  He just yelled a lot, didn't hit me.  He passed out drunk in his room." She said, "what did you do to make him so angry?  He hurt you really bad."


"I brought up Touya."


She flinched like their Father did, but there was pain in her eyes. "You need to drop it, Shou.  Touya… Touya's gone, and Dad hates him being brought up."


"He did something to him." Shouto rasped. "He did something to Touya really bad that night, that's why Touya didn't come back."


She looked over her shoulder, "Shouto, please.  Just let it go. He'll keep hurting you if you bring it up."


"I'm done," he muttered, "im fucking done."


When she finished patching him up, he went back to the dorm, shoved everything he could fit into his duffle bag and locked the door on his way out.  


The students stared at the bruises all over his face, but no one but the Midoriya kid asked.  Shouto shrugged off the other teen's concern, insisted he was alright when asked, and ignored the questions, telling Izuku he was in a hurry and didn't have time to talk.


Smirking to himself, he emptied Endeavor's credit card, withdrawing all the cash he could.  He put two thirds of it in his wallet and the remaining yen in an envelope addressed to his sister, to cover at least a few months worth of rent for her new apartment so she wouldn't have to keep going to Dad for help, along with a note that simply said,


"Im fine.  Don't worry about me.  Everything is okay. Do not look for me."


And then he walked into the darkness of the night.



.



Dabi woke up to someone shaking him, instantly fight or flight mode kicked in and he got ready to fry whoever was grabbing him, the leftover fear from the nightmare still on his tongue.


"Hey, hey!  It's just me!  I mean no harm!" 


It… was that brat, his little brother, on his knees on the dirty floor of the building he had passed out high in.  His eyes widened, taking in the dark bruises on his face, the bandage wrapped around his throat.


Anger burned under his skin.


"I thought you were dead for a minute, wouldn't wake up."


"Fuck off, kid.  You shouldn't be here." He hissed, the comedown was already hitting him hard.


"That's the thing, Touya, I-"


"I don't know you, shut up already."


"You can drop the act, Touya.  I know it's you." Shouto said with a teasing grin.  If it wasn't for the battered condition of his face, he'd punch the kid himself.


Did Dad do that to his face?  That bastard can't die fast enough.  I'm gonna kill him for this, gonna fucking kill him, gonna...


He straightened his shoulders, forcing a psychotic gleam into his eyes, and an ugly grin on his face, "Okay, Shouto, you caught me.  Now what? You gonna kill me? Turn me in? Have them kill me, lock me away? Gonna run and tell Dad where I am and have him drag me home and beat the livin' shit out of me in front of you all again, use me as an example of what happens to useless failures like he used to back in the good ol' days?" 


Shouto looked hurt, the smile dropping from his face.


"Cause I won't go peacefully, ill fuckin set myself on fire first, and take this whole building down and everyone around me to hell with me before i go back to that fuckin house."


"The… hell, man… that's dark, geez… no… I'm not gonna tell anyone, especially Dad." He said.


"Oh yeah?  Why should I trust you?"


"Ive known for months, haven't revealed your identity to anyone yet, have I?"


"I dunno, have you?"


"Wow, were you always this much of an asshole, or have you gotten worse over the years?" His little brother snickered, "I'm not gonna do anything, okay?"


"Well, what do you want?"


"I'm staying with you." The kid said, like it was just common knowledge.


The villain jerked back, eyes wide, "Well, excuse the fuck out of me, but what ?"


"I'm leaving UA, leaving home.  I need a place to stay and I want to stay with you."  Again, he sounded so damn casual about it, like he was listing off items from a fast food menu or a line from the newspaper.


"Fuck no." Dabi snapped, "What, are you crazy?  That's the dumbest shit that ever came out of your stupid trap.  Dad'll fuckin murder you if he finds out. And incase you haven't noticed, I'm fuckin homeless .  Even I don't got anywhere to stay."


"I have money." He said.


"Im not babysitting a fucking kid."


"Im fifteen.  I'm not a kid."


Dabi groaned, rubbing his head.  It was too early for this shit. He was already in a shitty mood all week, this was literally the last thing he needed.   He was getting a fuckin headache again, the shaking coming back. He dug through the pocket of his coat for the bag, taking a bump before glaring at Shouto as the brat stared at him.


"What, got something to say?"


"Cocaine, Touya?  Really? Dad beat you senseless for the cigarettes he found, I mean, he beat the shit out of you for that.  Im surprised you'd-"


"Well, he ain't here to beat me senseless for shoving coke up my nose, is he?" He snapped.


Shouto stared at him as he put it away, sniffing and rubbing his nose and eyes.  "Your villain crew is looking for recruits, aren't they?"


"Huh?"


"All the people you've been… well, you know... they're all independant villains and criminals, im guessing you're tasked with recruiting?" Shouto asked.  Little shit was pretty smart figuring that out.


"Yeah, what of it?"


"I wanna join."


Dabi nearly choked, blinking rapidly, okay  the coke must have just kicked back in his acid trip, " what?"


"Yeah, i wanna join your villain gang."


"First of all, it isn't a villain gang.  Secondly, its lead by a literal crazy fucking creep who would slaughter me if he found out im a Todoroki.  And third, hell. No. Are you fucking insane?!  What the hell are you thinking?  Go home, brat!"


"It can't be that bad.  We don't have to tell them that I'm your brother, you can just say you corrupted a random UA kid and boom, nobody knows."


"I won't let you." He couldn't believe this.  This was insane. The kid had gone crazy. There was no way he'd let his brother do this, live this kind of life.  He never wanted anything like this for any of his siblings. He just wanted them to be safe. He wanted them to live freely without fear.  He wanted…


"Why?  You did it.  You're a villain.  Why can't I be one?"


Something inside him just broke and he was yelling, rambling without a second thought about what he was saying, "Cause I didn't have a choice, you entitled little shit!  I didnt get the luxury of just running away with money and a bag full of shit like la-de-da, let me just throw my life away and become a homeless delinquent and nearly starve to death and sleep in rat infested buildings and back alleys and get the fuck beat out of me by assholes literally for the fun of it because hey, lets kick the shit outta this homeless kid and take all his stuff cause nobody gives a damn, then end up having to kill people to survive, sounds like a lot of fun! No, I didn't have a goddamn choice.  Go back home, Shouto, while you still have the chance. I couldn't go back."


Shouto was staring at him, pity and shock in his face, "Touya… you… is that true? You went through that all these years?  What… what happened to you? Why did you have to live like this…become this?"


He groaned, cradling his head in his hands, wanting to break something, burn something. He took a deep breath, looking back at his brother, "Look… this… this kind of life isn't good, Shouto.  It's horrible. I'm always hungry and cold and tired, always on the run, can't relax even for a second. I always have to watch my back, watch everything I do… one day, I'll die. Someone will kill me or I'll do it myself and that'll be that… you… you don't want this, Shouto.  Trust me, you don't. Just... go home..."


Those mix match eyes looked at him sadly, then away. "I can't go back, Touya… he's… it's horrible.  He controls every aspect of my life, he hurts me… I don't even feel like a person, I'm just a tool for him to use and, and there's so many secrets and lies, I can't live like that anymore.  I've made up my mind. Either I'll hang with you, if you let me, or I'll do it alone. But I am not going back."


"Did he… do that to your face?" Dabi asked, his eyes staring at the floor, shoulders tense.  He already knew the answer.


"Yesterday." He said, "he beat the hell out of me for being disrespectful.  He was drinking so, I mean, what'd I expect?"


The villain found himself grinning a bit, "you were disrespectful?  You? Kinda proud, lil bro."


"Yeah, you shoulda seen him, all worked up like an overgrown baby throwing a fit.  Totally worth getting kicked in the face." Shouto laughed. His laugh sounded different than Touya remembered it.


"Oh, I remember.  It always was." He mumbled with a chuckle that died off rather quickly, "I fuckin hate him for doing that to you… I'll kill him one day, I swear it.  I wish I didn't leave you guys with him..."


"It isn't your fault, Touya, like you said you didn't have a choice… he hurt you as well, a lot.  He hurt all of us. I don't blame you..." Shouto said, chewing on his busted lip for a moment, "So… can i stay?"


Dabi took a deep breath, groaning in annoyance, "fucking pain in my ass… fine, fine.  Yeah, you can stay with me… you'll die out there alone anyway…"


"Seriously?  Awesome!"


"but no calling me Touya in front of anyone, you'll get me killed, it's Dabi. Dabi, get it? In fact, just don't call me Touya at all.  And I'm not recruiting you right away, give it some time. And don't get in my way or bug me too much. And go buy a fuckin pizza if you have money, I haven't eaten in three days, I'm literally starving."


"Sure thing, sure thing.  No problem. What kinda pizza? What do you want on it?"


"Did you not hear me? I have not eaten in three days I don't give a damn what's on it, I need food, idiot."


"Well maybe if you spent money on food instead of drugs you wouldn't be starving, idiot ?" Shouto said in a mocking tone.


He smirked wickedly, "what makes you think I bought the drugs with money, idiot ?"


The teen cringed, "what is that supposed to...Oh, man… you know what? No, I don't even wanna know… that's implying something weird and you're creeping me out."


"Then stop asking dumb questions and go get me food."


"Yeah, yeah, I'm going, I'm going."


He watched his brother stand up, heading towards the door to go get the food Dabi hoped.  He paused before he opened it, looking back over his shoulder, "and Touya…"


"Dabi." He corrected.


"Touya, Dabi, whatever you wanna be called.  I, uh, I missed you… I didn't forget about you, and it's good to see you again." And then he left, closing the door and leaving Dabi alone with his thoughts.


This was stupid, and not to mention dangerous.  One slip up and they would both get killed. Now he'd have to watch his back and his brother's back.  It was a bad idea. A really, really bad idea.


He wondered briefly if he was dreaming or having a crazy trip or something from the tab of LSD he took last night.   It didn't seem real… his baby brother running away, wanting to be a villain, showing up all bruised, realizing he was Touya.  It didn't feel real that he recognized him after all those years, that he wanted to be around him, that he didn't forget him… that he actually missed Touya.


(He should hate him, be disgusted with him, they all should hate him for leaving them behind, being so weak and worthless, being such a fuck up all his life, they shouldn't miss him, should have forgotten about him, it would have been easier if they just forgot about him, if they just…)


Shouto missed Touya.


After about ten minutes that Shouto had been gone, Dabi started to cry.

Chapter Text

I don't think I really care

I'm breathing but ain't got no air

The room is spinning over there

But my life's in a fucking square

I'm hopeless and you know it's true

Lovin' me ain't possible

I'm tripping over obstacles

And melting like a popsicle


 

Shouto's phone kept ringing, and ringing, and ringing.   Kid just ignored it but it was making Dabi annoyed, anxious, making his hands shake again.

 

He glared at it as Shouto laid curled up in the blankets on the floor, some sort of fantasy novel in his hands as the phone began ringing for the fifth fucking time.

 

"Can't you turn that thing off or somethin'?" He asked, harsher than he meant to.

 

 Shouto glanced up, looking at Dabi before grabbing the phone and turning the volume down until it buzzed.

 

"Who's blowing up your phone anyways?"

 

"Fuyumi." Shouto said with a bored tone, looking back down at his book. "She's probably freaking out."

 

"Hmph." Dabi looked towards the phone, seeing it light up.  He could almost catch the sight of the image on the screen. "Is that… her picture?" He asked.

 

Shouto looked up again, "huh? Oh, yeah.  On her contact? It's from a few years ago, but that's her."

 

Dabi's hands shook a little, he chewed on the scarred flesh of his bottom lip. "Can I see it?"

 

His brother's eyes softened then he reached for the phone, swiping with his finger to light up the screen.  Dabi watched in amazement as Shouto controlled the screen with his finger, tapping and swiping through pages and apps.  He never saw a smartphone up close before.

 

Shouto held the phone closer towards him, showing an image of Fuyumi.  She still had those goofy looking glasses, was wearing a pink top, her hair smooth and shiny.  She had a smile on her face.

 

She looked the same, just… older.

 

Dabi didn't say anything as Shouto swiped again, then opened a picture of Natsuo.  He had grown like crazy. Muscled and tall, his hair still spiking up like it used to, most of the baby fat on his face gone. 

 

"This was before he left for college."

 

"He's in college?" Dabi asked, unable to hide the surprise and admiration from his voice, the pride.

 

"Yeah, med school." Shouto replied, a smile on his face, it faded sadly, "he doesn't really talk to anyone in the family anymore… ever since that night when you didn't come home … he's been different."

 

Dabi swallowed, looking at the image.  He remembered Natsuo's face, the horror and fear in it, tears streaming from his eyes.  The sound of his terrified sobbing, him screaming, begging. He shook his head of the memory.

 

"What… happened that night?"

 

"I don't wanna talk about it."

 

Shouto sighed, shoulders falling forward, "nobody ever does."

 

"Just… Don't make me talk about it, okay?"



.



Shouto woke up to movement to his left, the early morning sun coming in through the dusty window, warming the leftover winter night air that seeped into the heatless building.  He stayed snuggled in his blankets, body still sore from the beating he took days prior.

 

Curiously, he watched Dabi dig through a bag of clothes before throwing a white shirt and pair of dark colored jeans on the floor.  He stared as the villain pulled his shirt off over his head, exposing his back and the purple-black scars stapled in place running all the way down to just below his ribs.  He was scrawny, unhealthy so, his bones jolted out and his skin seemed to stretch over them. He wasn't lying when he said he was starving and hardly able to eat. 

 

The white, faded scars from their Fathers belts or the cords and wires he used to punish Touya with still lined the small of his back, disappearing into the patchwork above them, bringing back memories of times when shouto and his siblings had to watch Touya stand with his hands against the wall, cursing and yelling obscenities until he broke down crying while their Father made the other children count every lash across his battered skin.  

 

That was towards the end, when Mom was first taken away and a few years before Touya disappeared, when the escalation of abuse and terror peaked to its highest and Father's favorite pastime seemed to be to torment his eldest son. 

 

When his main source of stress relief was to see how many ways he could get Touya to cry, to see how many times he could make Touya break, over and over again.

 

It was no wonder Dabi was so ruthless and cruel.

 

From what he could see, Dabi's chest and stomach was untouched by the patchwork, but his arms, shoulders, and the majority of his back were covered in the patchwork along with his face and neck.

 

The villain slipped on the new shirt and then stepped out of his pants.  There was patchwork on his legs too, from his ankles to just below his knees, leaving his thighs unmarred aside from the rows of scabbed over, healing cuts lined up one after another covering the pale flesh.

 

"You're still cutting yourself?"

 

Dabi jumped nearly out of his skin, whipping fully around to look at Shouto as the younger brother sat up.  "Fucking hell! Don't scare me like that! How long have you been awake watching me get dressed, you creepy little bastard? You're lucky i happened to be wearing boxers today."

 

"Why are you still cutting yourself?"

 

He shrugged, stepping into the jeans, "sometimes the drugs and sex dont take the edge off enough, I guess."

 

"You shouldn't be doing that…"

 

He shrugged again, but avoided eye contact, "Eh, I'm already covered in scars, what's a few more?" 

 

"You're hurting yourself."

 

"I'm always in pain or hurting somewhere." He flashed a toothy grin, it wasn't pleasant. "that's the joy of having to staple your skin on to keep from falling apart." 

 

"How did you get this badly burned… I know with your quirk you experienced backlash but those is like… Third degree burns."

 

The grin fell from his face, eyes looking haunted for a moment, glowing blue, "I couldn't turn it off." He said quietly. "I couldn't turn off my quirk, and it burned off all my skin, most of the tissue and muscle under it too."

 

Shouto's mouth felt dry, eyes roaming over the exposed scars on his arms, "how'd you survive?"

 

It took him a little to answer, "Dunno… guess the gods won't let me die, want me to suffer more first." He pulled the signature coat on, turning his back to Shouto.

 

"Where are you going?"

 

"Gotta meet with the crazies.  First gonna go looking for some more recruits, they're probably gonna be garbage, but might as well try.  The boss keeps getting on my back about not doing shit."

 

"Are you going to kill them?"

 

He paused, not turning around, "you don't want the answer to that, Shouto."

 

"Are you?" He asked more firmly.

 

"If they try to kill me, or threaten me, then yeah… I'll kill'em before they can kill me.  It's dangerous, this lifestyle. This is why i said you don't want none of it… these people, the trash out there, they won't think twice about killing someone.  It's a dog eat dog world…" Dabi told him, stuffing a pack of cigarettes in his pocket after lighting one. "I'd stay inside if I were you.  You stick out like a sore thumb."



.



Dabi went through the motions in a haze, his head swarming with thoughts and questions.  His hands were shaking so badly that no amount of pills he could force down his throat or drugs up his nose or in his veins could make it stop.

 

All the villains he ran into were useless.  Stupid, violent trash without any goals or ambition.  He didn't need any of them.  

 

Some took no easily and mumbled bitterly as they walked off. others didn't take it so kindly, threatened to kick his teeth in and beat the smug smirk off his face, so he killed them.

 

He barely listened to his boss' nonsense, staring off into space as the drugs made his mind finally go quiet, only whispers of worries and memories to be heard.

 

So Jin had found some thugs that Shigaraki was considering making an alliance with, apparently they had some pretty powerful quirks and advanced technology.  Dabi didn't really care as long as he got to kill Endeavor one day. That was all he cared about, that and now dealing with his dumb little brother.

 

"Hey Dabs, you okay?" 

 

He flinched involuntary when she touched his arm, then glanced at Magne, looking over her sunglasses at him, "Yeah, 'm fine."

 

"You're always so jumpy, sweetie.  I'm not gonna do anything to you or anything.  Geez, who hurt you as a little boy?"

 

"You wan'a list?  'Cause we'll be here all day to answer that one."

 

She sighed, "you can open up, you know."

 

"Nope, i cannot."

 

"You look like you're high again," she noted, eyes lazily scanning his body, resting on his face as he stared at a spot on the wall, ''You really gonna slow down, honey.  That last overdose almost killed you, you really got big sis worried."

 

"It wasn't that bad."

 

She let out a loud "ha" and rolled her eyes dramatically, ignoring how Shigaraki stopped talking for a second to glare at them, "Says the guy who spent three days puking up everything he ate and drank, half unconscious and mumbling to himself the whole time.  You had us all worried, really. We thought you were gonna die on us, hot stuff. You gonna take better care of yourself."

 

"I know what 'm doin', everythin's fine." He repeated.

 

She pouted, pushing her glasses back up and leaning back in the chair. "I do worry about you, Dabi.  I know broody emo boy is kinda your style and it's hot and all that, but I wanna see you off all the drugs and happy and comfortable one day."

 

He sighed, "Well, we'll die before that happens so don't hold your breath."

 

She smacked him lightly on the arm, "stop being so grim.  Neither of us are gonna die."



.



Shouto looked around the freshly cleaned building they were squatting in.  Dabi had stayed up late the night before cleaning everything down to even scrubbing the walls and floors.  It seemed that he could get infections very easily if he wasn't careful, which was why he always did this. 

 

Against his better judgement, Shouto looked through Dabi's things.  He really didn't have much. A few changes of clothes, bandages and ointments for his scars, a few bags of random pills and powders Shouto had half a mind to toss out if he wasn't sure Dabi would flip his shit if he did, some kind of old necklace with a little dagger pendant on it that didn't look familiar to Shouto, and a box cutter with dried blood on the blade.

 

It was kind of painful that the only thing Touya kept from his past when he lived with the family was a box cutter he used to hurt himself with. No pictures or keepsakes of shouto or his siblings.  It kind of hurt.



Dabi returned late that evening, stumbling into their makeshift hideout looming tired and annoyed.

 

"You good?" Shouto asked.

 

His brother nodded, taking off the jacket and lighting a cigarette. He glanced towards his things, "you touch my shit?"

 

"I was hungry." He half lied, "Looking for food."

 

"Well i got none."

 

"If I had known I would have given you some money to get something to bring back." Shouto said, "are you hungry?"

 

"Not really." He shrugged.

 

Shouto snorted bitterly, "So you ate out there then and didn't bring me back anything?  Jerk ."

 

"No, brat." Dabi mocked his tone, rolling his eyes. "i didn't eat either, I just don't really get hungry."

 

"Yeah cause you barely eat.  Let's get some food."

 

Shouto glanced at his brother as they got ready and gathered their things.  Touya seemed so different than he remembered, there was something missing in him that Shouto couldn't place. Like a part of his brother had been torn out of him and all that was left behind was the burning rage and hurt deep in his bones.

 

Dabi was a man down a path that leads only to death and destruction, and he knew this.  He was so broken, he didn't care and kept walking down that path all alone.  He left everything behind when he did, only kept his scars. He left Shouto, and Fuyumi, and Natsuo.  Left his name, history, and identity. He lost his mind somewhere along the way.

 

Now Shouto was following him down that same hopeless road, left everything behind to chase that same destructive end in exchange for freedom.  That's all he wanted, freedom to be his own person, not controlled and molded and twisted into something only for his Father and this warped hero society.  But was there freedom at the end of the road Dabi was headed down, Touya was headed down? Or just more pain and suffering… more brokenness and scars like the ones that covered most of his elder brother's body.

 

Foolishly, like a hero he didn't even want to be and could never be anymore, the naive hero who was dying inside him, Shouto wondered if he could find a way to save Touya.

 

If there was even anything left of Touya in Dabi to save at all...

Chapter Text

Tell me what you know

Im in deeper than ive ever been

I will never grow

While this acher is chained to my feet

Tell me what you know

I settled my grievance by crafting a mask 

and i never looked back

 


 

They stopped at a small corner store, well Shouto did while Dabi waited outside because he looked suspicious as hell with a jacket with a high collar and a hood that covered most of his face and sunglasses to cover the patches under his eyes.  He was sure the store clerk would make him remove it or throw him out, so he just stood against the wall by the door and puffed on a cigarette until his kid brother came out with a bag of stuff and they walked back.

 

The place they were staying in had running water but no heat or electric.  So they had to get things that didnt need to be cooked or kept cold. Shouto seemed a bit frustrated by it, but didn't complain as much as Dabi was expecting.

 

They talked over peanut butter and jelly sandwiches they got little packets to make and canned pop, trying to catch up.

 

"So you can use both sides easily now?"

 

Shouto nodded, "Yeah but… to be honest, I don't like the fire still.  I would rather use my ice only."

 

"So entitled you are, to just pick and choose, meanwhile i get burned even with the slightest use of my quirk." Dabi muttered bitterly, ignoring the way Shouto rolled his eyes.

 

"You dont have to act like that, you know."

 

"Like what?"

 

"So… i dont know, angry at everything and broody." Shouto said, "like, im just trying to talk and youre always so rude…"

 

He shrugged, "yeah, well… what can i say?"

 

"Your quirk, and those burns… do they still hurt?" The teen asked quietly, eyes darting to the scars on his arms.

 

"What kind of dumb question is that? Course it still hurts." He snapped l, then stopped himself, clearing his throat and starting over, "I mean… yeah.  I don't really feel the scarred areas of skin as much, but I feel like… the pulling and tearing. I burn underneath my skin, too… it's pretty much always painful."

 

Shouto frowned, "I'm sorry."

 

He shrugged again, "Dad… was he… always doing that?" He waved a hand towards Shoutos bruised face, not able to look at him.

 

"Not always… He kinda slowed down over the years.  He was really bad after  that night  for a while, it got really bad.  But he started getting smarter about it.  Not leaving bruises where people could see, y'know the drill." He said, scratching at the back of his head, "couldn't do it as much when i went to UA, so that helped, but anytime i was home it was like just waiting for him to go off.  This is the worst hes done in a while though."

 

He stared at his brother, the brother who was left in that house, who has aged and matured much further than Dabi liked to think of over the years. "He's gonna die for this."

 

"You… really want to kill Dad?"

 

"Don't try to talk me out of it."

 

Shouto put up his hands, "i won't, i won't… i just… is that why you're doing this? Why you started doing crime?"

 

He sighed, "actually, i wasn't always a villain… i used to be a vigilante."

 

"A vigilante?  Really? There's no records of that." 

 

"Yeah, i went by a different name and looked different back then… when i was homeless for a few months, I passed out and almost died in an alley.  I hadn't eaten in like a week, some creep took all my stuff, my burns got really infected. These guys found me, brought me to their hideout, patched me up and fed me and they let me stay with them." He explained, his brother watching him. 

 

"I did little jobs with them for some money, nothin' crazy or anything.  I screwed up once and these guys caught me, started beating the shit out of me with a pipe, broke my arm, nose, dislocated my shoulder, cracked my ribs… i thought i was gonna die, but the group i had been chilling with just like, popped outta no where and protected me.  They saved my life, again."

 

"Wow…" shouto whispered, his eyes wide.

 

"Yeah but getting the hell beat out of me triggered some bad memories of Dad, and i just started crying and shaking and freaking out, and then i told them everything.  How Dad used to hit Mom, and curse at her, and force her into their bedroom. About the training, how i spent so long locked in my bedroom alone, getting beat and locked in closets as punishment and starved if i wouldn't use my fire, how i wasnt allowed to see any of you guys.  How Dad sent mom away when she finally broke and then just got even worse towards us. I told them everything and they just listened, let me cry, didn't make me feel weak or stupid. Then they told me Dad didn't deserve to live after what he did, they didnt exactly say to kill him but… i realized that's what i had to do."

 

"Oh… wow, well… im glad those guys helped you."

 

"Yeah, me too."

 

"Where are they now?" Shouto questioned.

 

"Dead." Dabi replied flatly, "most of them dead, others arrested.  Heroes… they got involved in a villain attack, heroes told them to stand down and well… those bastards never listened to heroes for shit… so the heroes killed them, arrested the ones that survived.  Their leader - my leader - distracted them so i could get away."



.



Shouto walked through the house looking for Mama, he couldn't find her anywhere.  She wasn't in the kitchen, or tending to the garden, or in the living room watching TV.  He checked everywhere…

 

Everywhere but that scary hallway he wasn't allowed to go down.

 

That's where she was, talking to that big scary man that always made his mommy cry.  Shouto didn't know that man very well, he wasn't ever around at that point. Shouto only saw him here and there and he always seemed angry and mean to the four year old.

 

Mama was crying again, her voice shrill, "please, dear, please.  I just want to see him, please let me see my son."

 

The scary man was standing in front of a door, he looked angry and sweaty.  There was a strange smell in the air.

 

"I've already told you no.  Until you give me a child that is stronger than him, I need to work with the boy alone until he overcomes the weaknesses he inherited from you."

 

Shouto wondered who they were talking about.

 

"I just want to see him.  It's been so long since ive seen him." She cried, "please, i haven't seen him since Shouto was a baby. Just let me see him for a little bit, I'll… I'll make it up to you, i won't fight and I'll be good."

 

The tone his mama used sounded sweet but scared, it made his belly hurt.

 

The scary man rolled his eyes, letting out a long exhale, "fine, only for a little.  He's unconscious. I need to bandage his wounds. So only a few moments." Then he pushed open the door and the two grown ups went inside.

 

Shouto moved closer to peek into the room as Mama started sobbing.  The room smelled bad, and it was scary and made his tummy hurt even more.

 

Mother was holding the limp form of a small boy in her arms, with white hair just like Mommy.  Large, open burns and blisters covered his arms, neck, the exposed areas of his stomach and back.  Mama rocked back and forth while she cradled him, brushing his hair out of his face and crying.

 

Shouto never saw that boy before.

 

"Honey, please… you need to stop this!" She cried, holding him closer to her chest, resting her cheek on the matted mess of pale hair. "You're killing him… he's just a child, and he's ill.  He can't do this. I can't let you do this anymore… you're killing my baby."

 

Shouto felt tears in his eyes seeing his Mom so upset.  He watched quietly from the door, the scary man seemed unphased, his back straightened and arms crossed.

 

"He'll be fine. He needs to stop being so weak, push his limits and overcome them, or he will never be a hero."

 

"Dear, this is killing him.  Please, let me have him… you need to stop, Enji, this is going too far."

 

"Give me a child who isn't totally worthless and then you can have this defective one back, until then he's mine."

 

The boy in mama's arms looked so tiny and hurt, Shouto didn't know who he was or what exactly the scary man had done to him or what they were talking about, but he wanted Mommy to take the little boy away from the scary man and out of the scary room.  He'd even help her take care of him. He would be so nice to him and even share his toys with the hurt boy. He wanted to keep the boy and not let the scary man hurt him or his mommy again.

 

Mama kissed the boys forehead, tears rolling down her cheeks as she looked back up at the man, her face broken and flushed. 

 

"Okay, time's up.  Get out and wait in the bedroom."

 

"But… can we at least wait until he wakes up, i want to talk to him."

 

"No, i just got him to stop crying about you.  You'll leave now."

 

"Let me have him for a little while, please, just a day, darling.  I want him to meet the baby, and Natsuo misses him, and Fuyumi asks about him all the time.  You've kept him for years. Please, love, please let him see the family for a little while."

 

"No." The scary man said simply, "now put him down and go to our bedroom."

 

She clutched the unconscious boy tighter, pressing him against her chest. "Please don't take him away from me yet!  Please, just a little longer!"

 

"Put him down, Rei.  You'll make him weaker."

 

"Please!  I'm begging you, please!  I want him back," she sobbed, dropping her head back into his hair, "I want my little boy back, please! You're killing him!"

 

"He isn't yours, hes mine until you give me a good enough replacement."  The man walked closer.

 

"Don't take him!" She screamed.

 

Closer. "Rei."

 

"Please, don't take him away from me!"

 

Shouto jumped when the scary man grabbed his mommy and tore her up by her hair.  He slapped her and the boy fell from her grip and onto the floor in a heap, still limp.  His mother pleaded and begged, and he kept hitting her, and hitting her, and hitting her.  He wouldn't stop, even when she was on the floor, even when she started bleeding.

 

She kept begging to take the little boy away, not to leave him in that scary room… but in the end, the scary man wouldn't let her and the hurt boy was left alone on the floor.



Shouto came to her later, when she was cooking dinner and trying not to cry.  Her forearms wrapped in bandages and her face black and blue.  

 

"Hi sweetie." She was smiling with her busted lips but her eyes were wet.

 

"Mama, who was that boy?" He asked.

 

She tilted her head, "what boy?"

 

"The one in the scary room, mama, that looked like you."

 

The painful smile on her face fell, and she looked back to the stove, stirring the noodles. "Were you in the hallway you aren't supposed to go down, sweetie?"

 

"I couldn't find you." He said quietly, "are you mad at me?"

 

"No." She said softly, then after a few minutes, "his name is Touya.  He's your eldest brother."

 

"Can i play with him?  I'll be nice to him, i promise."

 

She let out a sob and shook her head.

 

He shuffled his feet, pouting, "Who… who is the big scary man?"

 

She looked back down at him, "big scary man? You mean Daddy?"

 

He didn't know what a Daddy was, but he didn't like whatever it was for hurting his Mommy and keeping the boy that looked like Mommy away from them.  He hoped that scary man wouldn't do that to him one day.



.



Shouto shot up, gasping and looking around the room, as if searching for his Mother, but his eyes landed on Dabi.

 

The villain was sitting against the wall, puffing on a cigarette with a bottle of whiskey in his hand. "You okay?"

 

He rubbed his eyes, wincing when it hurt the bruise on his cheekbone from the week before. "Yeah, just… bad dream…"

 

"Hmph." 

 

He looked back over out of the corner of his eye as Dabi downed more of the bottle.   He looked so differently from the wounded white haired boy in the dream Mom had clung to for dear life until she was torn away from him and he was left alone in the training room.  He looked similar to the angry teenager that cussed their father out and yelled at him no matter how badly he'd pay for it, but he didn't look like the helpless, nearly dead child in that room that caused Mom to shatter to pieces.

 

Shouto hated his Father.  He was no hero, and Shouto didn't even know what a hero was supposed to be now because of him.

 

Dabi's phone started ringing and Shouto looked up as he answered it.

 

"Yeah, what now, Twice?"

 

There was a few minutes where Shouto could make out muffled crying through the phone, rambling in tears.

 

"Whoa, slow down.  I can't understand a goddamn word you sayin' right now." Dabi said, tipping the bottle back.  He paused, eyes darting to the phone. He put the bottle down and wiped his mouth, "what do you mean a fight?"

 

"...his arm? ...Clean off? Seriously? … told you those guys were trash." He stood up, starting to pace around the rundown apartment with the flip phone pressed ti his ear, "Stupid fucking thugs thinkin' they're gangsters, I would have… she's gone? wait, what you mean gone? …" 

 

He stopped, eyes staring off at something Shouto couldn't see, something came over his features.   The voice on the other line was still talking and crying while Dabi just … stood there, quiet…

 

"Okay… yeah, I'm… fine…" his voice changed, monotone, empty, then it got loud, "said 'm fine!"

 

Shouto flinched, eyes wide at his brother's sudden outburst. "Dabi, what…"

 

"Yeah, I'll… I'll be there." He closed the phone slowly, looked down at it, still frozen in place.

 

"Touya? … what happened?  Is something wrong?" He studied his face, eyes glassy and unfocused.

 

"These… guys my boss been workin' with… they turned on… there was... Magne, she…" his hands started to shake, then he suddenly threw the phone across the room and into the wall.

 

"Whoa!" Shouto shot up when Dabi started freaking out, standing a few feet behind him to avoid becoming the wall he was currently punching. "Calm down, what happened?"

 

"They fuckin' killed her!" He screamed, out of breath, full of rage.  The same rage Touya always had, the rage from their Father.

 

"Dabi, I'm sorry…" he said softly, feeling a bit frightened, a bit awkward, not knowing what to do. "Just, calm down, okay… do you wanna talk about it?"

 

"No, I don't wanna talk about it, dumbass!" He snapped, stomping over to the bag of his things, frantically digging through it.

 

Shouto watched where he stood, even more confused and concerned.  He was worried about getting too close. Dabi had a bad temper, always had, and it seemed it only got worse.  He didn't know if his older brother would hit him, but he didn't want to take the risk.

 

He stood up again after a minute and headed towards the bathroom.  Shouto saw the flash of something in his hand and quickly stepped in front of the door.

 

"Move, brat."

 

He shook his head, glancing in the direction the hand Touya now had behind his back. "I know what you're gonna do in there.  Don't do it."

 

"Fuck off, you can't tell me what to do."

 

"You're gonna hurt yourself and I can't just let you do that."

 

"I'll burn you."

 

"You won't." Shouto countered, firm, collected.

 

"Whatever." Then he pulled his arm in front of him, pushed the blade up out of the case of the box cutter, and pressed it against the scarred inside of his wrist.

 

"The hell, Touya! Stop!" The younger shouted, reaching his hand out to grab Touya's.

 

Dabi turned away from him, shoving him back into the wall when he came close again.  Shouto didn't know when exactly he made the first cut, but there was already blood dripping on the floor.

 

"Touya, stop!" He repeated, grabbing his arm, twisting it behind him to try and pry the blade from his fingers.  Dabi threw him off, face distorted in anger, and Shouto came back, grabbing his wrist again, then kicking his leg out.

 

Dabi pulled Shouto down with him, but Shouto pinned his wrists down, trying to get the box cutter away from him. "Get off me." He growled.

 

"Just stop it, Touya!  What are you thinking? What does this solve?" He yelled back, "give me the fucking boxcutter, Dabi!"

 

"This doesn't concern you-"

 

"You're cutting yourself, it does concern me!" He said.

 

"It's, it's my fault!" He yelled suddenly, teeth ground together, "they said the leader just flipped out, my other, my other friend, the guy cut off his arm.  Magne, she… she was trying to stop him and they… they fucking killed her! They… I wasn't there!"

 

"Touya, you didn't know, it isn't-"

 

"I… I should have been there!" His eyes were filling with tears, hands starting to tremble again, "I should have been there."

 

Shouto stared down at him, the scars and staples, the deep blue eyes like their Father, the small, young look on his face, "I'm sorry, Touya… I'm so sorry…"

 

"Just, let go of me… let me do it…"

 

"Your friend… would she want you to do this?" 

 

He sobbed, closing his eyes, "she… she kept telling me she wanted me to take care of myself and be happy, I told her we'd die first and now she's…"

 

"She cared about you, she wouldn't want you to do this to yourself." Shouto pressed, his normally calm voice wavering, "she wouldn't want this for you."

 

The grip on the boxcutter loosened and his arms went limp as he cried.  Shouto took it quickly before he could change his mind, slipping it into his back pocket after sliding its blade down again.  He sat up, looking down at the villain as he curled onto his side. "Can I hug you, Touya?"

 

Dabi pulled himself up, wrapped his arms around him, smelling like booze and blood, and cried into his shoulder.  Shouto didn't know exactly why, but he started crying too.



.



Dabi seemed to fall into a deep depression after this, and then became busy with the league as they tried to deal with the aftermath.  He wasnt there with Shouto often, and still wouldn't let him join the league yet.

 

Shouto got so incredibly  bored  sitting in this abandoned apartment with no electric or heat.  He passed the time going to libraries to charge his phone and wandered the street a lot of time.

 

Curiously, he found some ice blue colored hair due at a store.  He looked at it for a bit, touching the left side of his head where the red hair hid under the hat, then picked it up and went to check out.

 

On the way home, he quickly tucked his head down at the sight of some low ranking heroes out on patrol.  He was about to take another route to avoid being recognized, but then a worn voice reached his ears.

 

"Excuse me heroes, can you spare some change or a meal?"

 

It was an elderly man dressed in rags, his beard deadlocked with the grime.  Obviously homeless, asking the heroes for help.

 

"Go get a job, dirty scum." One of them snapped as a reply.

 

Shouto watched the man's face crumble as the heroes walked passed him, not even giving him a second glance.  Sadness builded in the man's wrinkled, tired eyes as he looked down. The teen felt anger rage under his skin, walking over to the elder.

 

"Some heroes." He muttered bitterly, reaching into his wallet to pull out a large bill.

 

The man looked up, eyes wide and filling to the brim with moisture.  His yellowed teeth showed with a teary smile, "really?"

 

Shouto nodded as he held it out.

 

"Thank you, son.  Oh, bless you! Bless you!"

 

Heroes were supposed to help people right?  Or did they only do good when the cameras were around to get a good shot for the papers?



.



Dabi crashed directly into Shouto while he was headed back from his boring pastimes.  The younger looked at him questionly, then his eyes drifted to the large, bloody stain on the front of his shirt.

 

"Fuckin' shit, run!"

 

Shouto stared for a minute, chasing after him. "Dabi, you're bleeding."

 

"Well no fuckin' shit, brat! Come on!" 

 

Shouto looked behind him, wandering who or what exactly they were running from.  It was getting later now, the sun starting to set and the winter air getting below freezing.

 

"What is going on, Dabi?" 

 

"Some heroes, low ranks i think." Dabi called back to him, rounding a corner as they ran through a maze of alleys and backstreets. "Tried to fry'en, but the one had some kind of water quirk, kept putting out my flames."

 

They stopped to catch their breath, both panting as Shouto glanced over to his brother, bent over and holding his stomach, blood pouring over his fingers. "What do we do?"

 

"The hell if i know…" Dabi mumbled back, swaying where he stood.

 

"Did we lose them?" Shouto wondered, looking over his shoulder.  His breath hitched when Touya fell against the wall of the alley, sliding down it.

 

"Shit, shit…" he hurried to his side, pulling up his brother's shirt to see a deep wound in his stomach, right below his ribs. "Did they freaking stab you?" He asked, voice cracking.

 

"One of'em had some sort of weirdass quirk where he could change the shape of his hands," his eyes were tightly closed, teeth ground in pain, "he got me when i was trying to burn the water guy."

 

"You're… you're losing a lot of blood."

 

"Really? I hadn't noticed." Touya bit back sarcastically.

 

Voices and footsteps were coming closer to them, and the younger started to panic. "Get up, Dabi.  We need to go." He rushed, hearing the voices get louder, "com'on, i can't carry you. We need to get out of here."

 

He wouldnt move from his spot against the wall, blood covering his hands and eyes still screwed closed, "Just leave me behind."

 

"What?! Stop messing around, get up!"

 

"Just go, brat."

 

Shouto grit his teeth, fists shaking at his sides. "I am not leaving you behind!  You're my family, I'm not leaving you to die! That's not what we do!"

 

He laughed, blood bubbling over his lips, "it wouldn't be the first time… just… go…"

 

"What is that supposed to mean?" He asked, looking towards the alley where the voices were coming from. "Dabi, What does that mean?  Hey… hey!"

 

He bent back down, panic hitting Shouto in the stomach when Touya wouldn't answer him. "Hey, dabi!" His eyes were closed, hands now limp over the wound. Shouto tried shaking him, heart pounding in his chest. "Get up! Wake up! Dabi, get up!"

 

"Over here!!"

 

He whipped his head around, three heroes standing yards away from him. "Get out of here, kid. Its dangerous."

 

Shouto stood, stepping in front of his brother and holding his arms out.  Like he saw Touya do for him, and his Mother do as well so many times all those years ago.  Shielding him, protecting him… who protected them?

 

"Get away from him, kid, hes a wanted murderer!"

 

"I wont let you take him."

 

"Kid, the patchwork freak is dangerous.  He needs to be taken in, go home. You don't know the mess you're getting in."

 

Shouto stood his ground, at a clear crossroads.  Go, leave his brother behind where they would kill or arrest him, go home, like a  good little hero.   Or stay, defend his criminal brother against these heroes,  like a villain.

 

These  heroes … the heroes like his Father that hurt his family, sent away his mother, made his brother disappear.  Heroes didn't save him, didn't save any of them. They didn't help the homeless man, didn't help Shouto when his Father belittled and put him down in front of everyone. They killed Touya's friends, allowed Dabi's friend now to be murdered, they ignored years of Endeavor's abuse.  They… they just hurt Touya. They were gonna hurt him more, take him away, likely he'd be killed.

 

Shouto shook his head, made up his mind, hopped the fence.

 

Ice exploded through the small alley, brilliant and jagged, catching the light from the full moon.  Long spears impaled the heroes and Shouto stood, feel firm on the ground.  

 

He made his choice which path he was going to walk down.

Chapter Text

You live inside my wall

And i reach back, hit you harder,

then God falls.

Christ amen, amen, amen.

You're such a line to break and im so scared to make another mistake in the end

But i just wanna be happy again.

Until it all falls down

And where does that leave me?

With things, things, i've got so many things to say

And with a broken heart and a straight face, im saying

"Brother, help me."

 




Touya ran down the narrow hallway, the thick smoke getting into his lungs and making him cough.  Fire alarms sounded loudly and he was scared , he was so, so scared.

 

His father was out there.

 

Before he dipped through the one of the doors of the huge building the villains, heroes, and vigilantes were going to war in, he saw Patch already go down.  The one eyed woman taken down by a hit by a rock quirk user. He hoped she survived it. Lockjaw and Zucka were already arrested, and he still couldn't get the image of Sparrow lying motionless on the ground with dull, empty eyes out of his memory.

 

He banged on the door at the end of the hall, finding it locked.  He beat his hands against it, throat closing, chest tight, there wasn't enough air and he was overheating.  The walls were closing in on him, his quirk flaring up and bursting through onto his shoulders with the terror.  He was scared. He was so scared.

 

They'd catch him, find out who he was, send him back.  He couldn't go back.  Father would tear him apart.  He couldn't go back, not after…

 

A large hand landed on his shoulder and he screamed, covering his head with his arms, pressing his back against the wall.  He was babbling and pleading, hit with a memory of Dad, grabbing him, throwing him to the floor, beating him until he used his fire and burned himself.  

 

"Kid, kid, you're okay, it's me!" Jax, it was Jax.  The big burly man bent down to his level. "God, that bastard has you crying and he hasn't even seen you yet."

 

Touya was trembling so badly he couldn't stop, sobbing openingly in front of the older man like a child, despite being nearly eighteen by then, "He's gonna get me!  He's gonna take me back. Oh god, he's gonna hurt me so bad for this. I cant. I can't do it again, I can't. Please, i can't! He'll-"

 

The large, calloused hands took him by his skinny arms, his grip firm but gentle,  and leaned closer to him. Hazel eyes meeting blue. "Listen, kid, listen. I will not let that man hurt you again."

 

"You don't understand!  You don't know what he'll do to me if he finds me...  If he gets me, he's gonna… he said…"

 

"Breathe, you're hyperventilating.  You're having a panic attack again and you need to calm down.  I am right here, kid. Look, i will not let that fucker near you.  Since Patch and Sparrow found you in that alley and brought you to me, i… all those burns and scars, then when you told us what that piece of shit did to you, i cannot…" he grit his teeth, anger in his eyes but Touya knew it wasn't for him.

 

"You're like the son i never got to have, the fatherhood i never was blessed enough to experience.  I love you, kid, and i will not let that flaming pile of garbage harm a single hair on your head. I'll die first.  He is not going to do a thing to you. I won't let him hurt you like he did before."

 

"Jax, I'm scared.  I'm really scared." He admitted, voice breaking with his sobs.

 

The man took him into his arms, hugged his much smaller frame tightly, big fingers running through his white hair. "Touya, i won't let him or anyone else hurt you again, not while im here."

 

There were voices coming down the hall.  He could hear Endeavor's voice.

 

He was going to destroy Touya if he found him, he was going to take his time and break him piece by piece until he was begging for death.  He already knew, Enji had sworn he would if he ever…

 

"I'm scared."

 

He shushed him, "I know… i know," pulling him back, he looked the boy in the eye again, "Imma break down the door, you make a run for it.  Be quick and quiet, try not to be noticed, ill hold them back."

 

Touya shook his head, eyes wide and streaming tears, "i can't… i can't leave you behind."

 

"You aren't leaving me behind, kid.  Im letting you go ahead. I'll catch up." He said with a big grin, but his teary eyes told Touya he was lying.

 

"I… i can't."

 

"You can, kid.  Youre strong. You made it this far with such a fuckin unfair hand.  You survived all the shit that bastard did to you, you survived on the street until we found you, you survived all those asskickings you took fucking up all the vigilante jobs we gave you.  Heh. ...You're strong, Touya. He was wrong about you. You're so strong. You'll be okay."

 

Touya cried as the vigilante took off his rustic dagger necklace, putting it over Touyas head, "keep this until I come back for it, okay."

 

Touya kept shaking his head, breath hitching with every sob as Jax broke down the door.  He stood there, staring into the empty night.

 

"You need to go, kid.  You'll be okay… I'll be there in a minute… no matter what happens in this hall I will look after you, even in death.  You need to go though."

 

Touya clutched the dagger pendant, hands shaking as he looked at the man again, saving his life yet again.

 

"You'll be okay, kid.  Go. Go now. They're coming."

 

"Thank… thank you…" then he ran into the night.

 

He hid in an old storage crate that night, shaking and sobbing incoherently.   His aching body curled up on the floor, so cold… so alone.

 

He held the pendant as he shivered against the cold floor, his bones breaking with every sob, he wept so hard he heaved and coughed, shook and hyperventilated so badly he puked, he cried so loud is throat hurt.

 

He waited for them to come, catch up with him like Jax promised… foolishly he waited, even though he knew they weren't coming back, they were gone and he was all alone again…

 

He felt so alone.



.



Shouto had to drag Dabi back to their hideout nearly three blocks, a troubling amount of blood trailing behind them.

 

His brother kept slipping in and out of consciousness on the floor as he held a towel to the wound.  Shouto couldn't breathe anymore, and he was starting to cry.

 

He couldn't even process what he did in the alley yet, all he knew was that he needed to make the bleeding stop or Dabi would...

 

Confused blue eyes looked up at him as he leaned over him, cloudy and fluttering open and shut.

 

"Stay awake, Touya.  Stay awake." He urged, keeping his voice stern to avoid breaking down.

 

"Dad?"

 

He froze, staring down at the blood on his hands, then his eyes darted to Touya's face.

 

"It… hurts…please, just..."

 

He cursed his red side of hair and cleared his throat, speaking softly. "I'm not Dad, Touya… it's me, Shouto."

 

Dabi wouldn't respond, eyes closed again and Shouto pulled back the towel to check the blood flow, cursing under his breath when the blood gushed out of the wound.

 

He's going to die.

 

Panic tightened his chest, gasping now as he pressed down harder.  Shouto racked his brain, wishing he knew what to do. He couldn't take him to a hospital, he's a wanted villain and Shouto's a rumaway that just murdered three heroes.  Maybe if he could contact Dabi's friends…

 

"Sho …" touya was conscious again, looking up at him. "Move your hands."

 

Shouto finally let the tears fall, "And let you bleed out? Hell no!  Stop trying to die for five freaking seconds, so I can-"

 

Dabi cut him off, his voice sounded so weak. "Shut… up, brat.  Goddamn, just… trust me."

 

Against his better judgement, Shouto took his hands back.  He watched as Dabi removed the towel, his hand lighting up blue then he held the stab wound, fire eating through the skin on his stomach and hip.

 

Shoutos eyes widened, "Holy shit! Dabi, stop! You're-"

 

"I know what im doin'... chill." Dabi said, face twisted in pain.  He took a slow breath, groaning at the burning pain before he drew his hand back, the fire going out.

 

The teen looked down at the wound, now surrounded by charred flesh and open burns, but no longer gushing blood like a river.  He… caulterized himself.

 

"You… stopped the bleeding… how'd you know that would even work with your own fire?"

 

Dabi was still panting and grimacing in pain, but he answered, "I've... done it before."

 

Shouto didn't know how, why, or when Touya had to cauterize himself, but he wasn't sure if he wanted to know all the things his eldest brother had gone through.  He just wanted him to survive the night.

 

"You still lost a lot of blood.  We need to clean and bandage these wounds, you're hurt really bad and… Touya?" He looked back up from the wound, Dabi wasn't moving anymore, "Hey, Touya, wake up…"

 

He shook him to no avail, his bloodstained hands shaking.  "Touya! You need to wake up, I don't know what to do! You lost too much blood, you need to wake up!"

 

His breathing was shallow, but he was still breathing.  Heartbeat felt weak, but it was there. Shouto dragged a hand through his hair, then yanked on it.

 

Think. Think. What do i do? What could i do. Think, think, think.  You're supposed to be smart, Shouto, think!

 

He grabbed Dabi's phone, looking through the contacts and pressing the most recent one to call.

 

The phone rang a few times, then a familiar, weird voice came over the line.

 

"Hey, Dabi!  We were worried about you!   Not really though, its whatever. Stop ignoring my calls, I thought you were dead in a ditch!"

 

"This uh… this isn't Dabi." Shouto said slowly, trying not to cry again.

 

" Makes sense. What? Huh?!"

 

"Look, he's… hes hurt really bad and i… i need you guys to help him.  He's gonna die. He lost a lot of blood."

 

" Figures. Oh my god! Dabs! Where is he? What happened! How do we know it isn't a trick? Is he okay? Who even are you? Tell me where he is so we can come get him!"

 

Shouto frowned his brows, confused at the changes in the man's voice and not knowing what to question to answer or to say. "I've been… he's been working in recruiting me for a bit.  It isn't a trick. He's really hurt really bad, and I don't know what else to do."

 

"Just tell me where you guys are, i'll come get you. He's probably lying . What if he isn't and fireboy is bleeding out somewhere!"

 

Another voice could be heard in the background, talking to the guy on the phone.  There was an exchange then the other voice cut in,

 

"It's Spinner, what's happening? Twice is flippin' out, man."

 

Shouto explained again, panicked by then by how cold to the touch Dabi's skin was getting.  The man on the other line asked where they were, and Shouto told him, then he said they were on their way.

 

While he waited, tucking his hair back into his hat and putting back up the hood, the eye patch back over his scar, the realization of what he did finally sunk in.

 

He… likely killed three people in that alley.  Three heroes.  He saw the ice pierce their bodies, warm crimson against clear glassy white.  He felt sick, he didn't intend to kill them but they were trying to take away Touya.  He wouldn't let anyone take his brother away again. He had to protect him… but he… killed three people.



The ones that showed up was two strange men.  One with a scruffy face, blond hair, and a large scar in the center of his forehead.  The other man looked like a reptile, and had purple hair. He recognized them. The lizard man was definitely Spinner, one of the members of the team that attacked the camp.  The other man acted and sounded really familiar.

 

They helped him get Dabi back to a place they had all been using as a hideout, and Shouto wondered to himself why Dabi wasn't staying with them.  It was obvious he did at some point, because they said he had a room, but he'd had been staying with Shouto for the past two weeks, and before that was squatting alone.   He assumed it was because of his recruiting task, but couldn't tell for sure.

 

The blond haired girl kept eyeing him as a Kurogiri and Spinner cleaned up Dabi's wound and wrapped it in bandages. "You look oddly familiar…" she said.

 

Shigaraki, who had been unphased by the event for some reason, looked up from his video game to look at Shouto too. "You do…  who are you?"

 

"Shimo." He answered quickly, off the top of his head.

 

"Shimo?" The boss repeated, "that doesn't sound real.  What is it with all these fake names everyone uses? It really gets on my-"

 

The mist man stopped him, "now is not the time, Tomura.  We'll ask him more later." He said in a calm, yet firm voice. "We are going to need to get in touch with the doctor about these burns, he may need new patchwork done."

 

"he's gonna be okay, right? He's gonna die, isn't he ?" The man with the scar asked.  Jin, they called him… Jin Bubaigawara. He was the masked villain that went by the name of Twice, Shouto realized.  The one who had been crying on the phone the night Dabi's friend died. He seemed… very caring for a villain.

 

"He'll be alright. He lost a lot of blood, he'll need to take it easy and rest for a while." Kurogiri said.

 

"We gotta convince him to stay here again.  He needs to stop isolating." Compress added.

 

Toga licked her lips, "Can i, uh, suck on that bloody cloth over there?"

 

"No, you cannot.  There's rubbing alcohol on it." Kurogiri told her.

 

"Aw, you ruined it!"

 

Shouto watched the strange group curiously as they spoke amongst each other, cleaned the blood from Dabi's skin, cleaned and bandaged the areas that were torn of his patchwork, and gently stripped and redressed him.  They'd talk back and forth, glancing down to check if he had woken up, and handled Shouto's brother very carefully, respectfully. Admittedly, he never saw Touya handled with that kind of care.

 

These… these weren't bad people.  They did some bad things and were kind of… off and strange in quite a few ways, but they weren't all bad.

 

"Shimo, was it?" Kurogiri asked, and shouto nodded. "You can sit down, make yourself comfortable.  Would you like refreshments, although…" he glanced at the blood on his clothing and hands, "might want to get cleaned up first.  Are you hurt as well?"

 

"No, im fine… its… the blood is Dabi's."

 

"Well, im glad to hear you're uninjured, please. Go clean up, Spinner can look if we have some clothes that fit you to change into if you like.  You look shakened, try to relax."

 

Spinner ended up asking to borrow some  clothes from Shigaraki, who told him to keep it because he wouldn't want them back after, and he changed and washed the blood off him in the shower.

 

Images flew into his mind as he stood under the water.  Ice bursting through the air, sparkling with the touch of frost and catching light from the moon, like dozens of little stars.  Ice spiking through, piercing flesh, staining red. Blood splattering against it. Screaming.

 

He turned the water hot as it could go.  He looked at the plastic bag containing the pale blue dye when he got out of the shower, then at the wet mop of red and white air.  Sighing, he dried his hair and then got to work.



.



Dabi woke feeling exhausted, his body screaming in pain.  He was lying on a soft surface, fuzzy blankets pulled up to his chin.  Bright pink with Hello Kitty on it, the one Toga wore around her shoulders when the heat would get cut off.

 

"I'm gonna use the pictures of you surrounded by pink hello kitty blankets for blackmail." Said a voice to his left.  Shouto.

 

"I will burn you alive." He mumbled, rubbing his eyes.  He looked towards his little brother, having to rub them again to make sure he wasn't seeing things.

 

The red side of Shoutos hair was now a pale, sky blue.

 

"The hell you do to your hair?" He grimaced when he sat up, mouth falling open in a near silent whine of pain.  Shouto quickly pushed him back down.

 

"You're hurt real bad, stay down.  You need to rest."

 

"So i get stabbed and you dye your goddamn hair?"

 

"I had to, we're with the league.  They would recognize me. In fact, it's pretty easy for anyone to recognize me unless I hide my hair."

 

Dabi groaned in frustration, "what? How?  Why am i here? Why did you tell them?"

 

"Cause we ran out of bandages on the burns on my neck from you-know-who, and you just lost like, five buckets of blood and then burned half your stomach.  I needed help." Shouto replied.

 

"I'm so confused… what happened?  Last thing i remember was collapsing in an alley while you made a stupid face."

 

Shouto sighed, looking away, "I… handled the situation, got you back where we were staying but… you kept getting weaker and weaker… so I looked through your phone and called them."

 

Dabi stared at him for a few minutes, then smirked, "your hair looks ridiculous."

 

"I'm not taking fashion criticism from a twenty-three year old who never outgrew his emo phase and dyes his hair edgy jet black." Shouto said, deadpanned with a hint of teasing under his tone.  That little shit.

 

"I'm not emo.  Everybody needs to stop callin' me that."

 

"That's exactly what an emo would say."

 

"Where did you learn to be such a little prick?"

 

"I learned from the best.  You, obviously." The teen replied, his voice now starting to drip with mocking sweetness.

 

Dabi snorted, "Oh fuck off, you barely knew me."

 

Shouto frowned a little, "I wish I did know you better back then…"

 

There was an awkward silence that followed, then Dabi spoke up again.

 

"What do you mean you " handled the situation "? How'd you handle three heroes while i was passed out on the ground?"

 

Shouto looked haunted, his little brothers eyes seeming duller than he remembered. "They… were going to hurt you, to take you away, so I… handled them."

 

"You kill'em?"

 

Shouto didn't look up, but he nodded.

 

"Well why didn't you just say that, why you gotta be all vague like you handled them. " He shook his head, "what did you tell the crazies about you, by the way?"

 

"I told them I had been hanging around with you, you were recruiting me, and I gave them a fake name.  Your boss didn't seem too happy."

 

"My boss ain't ever happy, you seen him?  So, wait, they don't know who you are?"

 

Shouto scratched the back of his head, "uh… no… I panicked and i said my name was Shimo, Shigaraki knew it was a fake name but since everyone goes by an alias, I don't think it's too subscious… i just thought cause of what you said about them finding out that i should…"

 

"Well… i mean, its gonna look worse if they find out and we both lied, but i guess a fake name works.  So you dyed your hair to try to look different?"

 

"Well, yeah, and also because I don't want to be recognized."

 

"Well… man, you look like you still, even with the hair dyed and eye patch… you'll have to do more.  Nobody recognises me cause it's been nearly a decade and im disfigured, but you just ran away two weeks ago, they have missing child's alerts out for you." Dabi said.

 

"What about a mask?"

 

"I mean, yeah… that could work." He said, "I'd say be somewhat honest with Shigaraki when he asks about your motives and all.  Honestly both of us lying about who we are looks real bad, so if you tell them just you, only you - you dont know me at all, are a todoroki and you ran away cause your dad's abusing you, that would be the best course of action."

 

"So…i tell them im me, but i dont mention you're my brother?"

 

"Yep, exactly."



.



He woke up to a soft knock on his bedroom door.  Touya dragged himself out of bed, his body aching from the so-called "training" Dad had been subjecting him through until Shouto recovered.

 

His youngest brother was standing at his door, eye still bandaged around the eight year old's head, his gaze cast down.

 

"You okay, buddy?" Touya asked in a hushed whisper to not risk waking up their Father. "Bad dream?"

 

Shouto nodded and Touya let him in his room.  By this time, this was becoming a regular thing.   Since their Mother was ripped from them, Shouto didn't know where to go when he had nightmares anymore.  

 

For some reason Shouto had picked Touya to go to when he had a scary dream. the twelve year old assumed it was because Shouto hadn't been allowed around the other children much since he was six, and besides Mom, Touya was the only one that really got to see Shouto since he started training and spend time with him, that time was spent normally by Father beating Touya in front of Shouto, but he was the only one Shouto got to really see aside from Endeavor.

 

Shouto sat on his bed with his blankie pressed to his cheek, tired and quiet as Touya laid blankets on the floor for himself.

 

"Do you wanna talk about it, Sho?"

 

"Daddy was hurting me in my bad dream…" the little boy whispered, "it was scary, felt so real."

 

"Sorry, buddy.  I have dreams like that too sometimes."

 

"Is he going to keep you from me and make me train again when my eye gets better?" He asked, voice barely loud enough to hear. "I don't want to… I don't want him hurting you anymore either, but i… I don't wanna train again."

 

Touya sighed, sitting down next to his little brother on the bed, putting a bandaged arm around him. "I don't know, Shouto…"

 

Touya had to admit, as much as the beatings hurt, he didn't want little Shouto to go back to train in his place again.  Touya knew he'd be beaten either way, he was his Father's main channel for anger, the one Dad sought out to break when he was in a bad mood.  So it didn't matter whether he trained too or not but he… he didn't want tiny Shouto to have to go through it again.

 

He didn't want to see his tiny body covered in bruises and overheated to the point he was sick.  He didn't want to hear Shouto's cries, or only see glimpses of him here and there, isolated from everyone.  He didn't want that for his little brother, but he knew once his eye healed and Dad grew tired of tormenting Touya in his place, Shouto would be taken away from him and it would all happen all over again.

 

He couldn't bear it anymore.

 

"One day we'll make it out of here, Shouto." He said as his little brother started to cry. "We'll get away from him, okay?  Start over somewhere new. I promise."

Chapter Text

You can't wake up

This is not a dream

Youre part of a machine

You are not a human being 

 


 

"Todoroki, you say?  So you're the boy from the sports festival that came in second a while back?" Kurogiri said, tapping his fingers on his dress pants.

 

"I knew you looked familiar!!" Toga exclaimed.

 

"I don't trust it.  Hes the son of a pro hero and a UA student." Shigaraki growled hatefully, "we should kill him, send the body to UA."

 

Shouto swallowed dryly, eyes widening.

 

Kurogiri spoke up, "Now, now, Tomura.  He is being civil and honest with us. That says something."

 

" Could be a spy. He's just a kid, i say we trust him." Jin constricted himself. 

 

"How do we know he isn't lying though?" Spinner asked.

 

"My father, he… was very controlling, abusive.  He's the one who did this to my face and neck. I… he pushes me to be a hero and that's not what I want.  The hero system is corrupted, it's wrong and I don't want to be controlled anymore. I want to see my Dad and the hero commission fall." Shouto explained. 

 

"He did that to your face?" Kurogiri asked, and Shouto nodded.

 

" Bastard. " Twice growled. "That's so awful."

 

"Well… I think he's telling the truth. Dabi would have killed him if he believed he was lying.  You know how he is." Compress said. "And he did save Dabi's life, too."

 

Shigaraki took a deep breath, glaring at Shouto with fiery, red eyes, "okay.  He can stay… but if you betray us, kid, even think about betraying us, I'll kill you myself."

 

Shouto let out a sigh of relief, but anxiety still burned in his stomach.  Maybe he had gotten himself in too deep, maybe Touya was in too deep and just didn't want to admit it.  These people… they weren't bad people, but they were all dangerous, his brother included, and Shouto wasn't sure what they were capable of.



.



It proved to be a challenge to get Dabi to actually relax and not overdo it so he could recover.  Lile Touya had been, Dabi was restless. He needed to be doing something at all times, or drunk or high to actually be still and Shouto and the league refused to get it for him.  He already got up once and moved around too quickly and opened his wound up again. Shouto thought he would learn by then, but he obviously hadn't.

 

"Touya,"

 

"Dabi." He corrected him, glancing towards the door.

 

"Dabi, whatever." Shouto rolled his eyes, "Why weren't you sticking around with them when i found you?"

 

Dabi shrugged, picking at his food, separating what he didnt like and removing it.  Touya had always been picky, Shouto figured he would have outgrown it, especially being homeless, but it seemed he never did. "They kinda get on my nerves."

 

"Theyre kind of… odd, but they seem to really care about you."

 

"Kinda why they get on my nerves.  They're like, paranoid… nosey, ask too many questions, get too close, all up in each other's business."

 

"Oh…" Shouto replied, didn't really know what else he could say.

 

"How'd they take it?" Dabi asked, "you being you?"

 

"Well, to be honest, Shigaraki was going to kill me… but Kurogiri and Mr. Compress talked him out of it.  They're okay with it… I was up front, and that seemed to make a difference.."

 

 "Good." Dabi said. "Im in too deep now, ain't I?"

 

Shouto was surprised he outright said it. "I… don't know.  I really don't think they would hurt you.."

 

"They would," he said, almost surely, "ive been  lying for too long. They can't know."

 

Shouto wasn't sure how to feel about that.  He didn't think these people, the ones that were so gentle with Touya ans careful as they cleaned his wounds, would hurt Dabi.  But Dabi seemed sure of it. Maybe he was just paranoid, either way Shouto wouldn't take the risk.



.



Recovery came slow, and Dabi really couldn't stand  being still, stuck in place. It made him anxious. Made his hands shake.  Shouto couldn't get close to him, he seemed more jumpy and uneasy than usual like this.

 

He could move around better after a week or so, healed pretty quickly to Shouto's surprise.  Touya's body was incredibly weak, but surprisingly tolerant to pain. Still, Dabi was short and in a foul mood since then, isolating himself as Shouto tried ti get familiar with the other villains and his surroundings.

 

Shouto locked himself in the bathroom, frost numbing the tips of his right fingers, the back of his hand, up his arm.  Goosebumps rose on his skin as the panic attack intensified. His left side getting incredibly hot, right side freezing.

 

Sharp shards of ice.  Screams. Blood.

 

Shouto stood in front of Dabi, right hand out towards the men in front of them, spearing them with his attack.  

 

He meeded air, couldn't breathe.  Panic set in and it felt like the world was caving in on him, the walls closing in.  He needed out and pulled on his jacket, headed into the night air.

 

It was like he was watching from above, like his soul had escaped from his body once he attacked.  He could see the ice coat the ground, climb the buildings, drop the temperature even further. See it pierce the bodies, poke out through flesh, covered in gore.

 

He gasped, walking quickly, aimlessly.  Fear strangling him like his Father's hands.  God, if Father knew what he did… if his sister knew, if natsuo knew… his classmates, the public… they'd hate him.  He didn't even know himself anymore.

 

His mind was so empty at the time, everything seemed mute and soundless when he was there, but in the memory all he heard was the screaming and ice cracking.

 

Crack. Crack. Crack.

 

"Keep counting, or I'll start over!" Father's voice cut into the flashback the scene morphing as the cracking of the ice twisted with the crack of the leather across Touya's back.  

 

He felt shaky, a cold sweat taking over Shouto's body.  The memories wouldn't stop, and Shouto was breathing so hard he thought he'd die.



Touya's mouth was open, gasping in large lung fulls of breaths, his cursing had stopped by then, back thoroughly covered in bloody welts that bled in streaks. Touya's legs were shaking, breaths turning into whimpers.  Father lashed him again and he made that half sob, half yelp sound again when his body tensed. It made Shouto flinch.

 

Fingers grabbed his hair, yanked his head backwards to look towards their Father,"fall over or take your hands off the wall, you worthless weakling, and we'll go to one-fifty instead, understand?"

 

He dug his nails into his palms, feeling helpless as he was assaulted with the flashbacks.  He didnt know how to make it stop. He crashed into someone, ignoring their yelling at him as he kept walking like his body had a mind of his own.

 

Shouto watched his eldest brother's battered back shake with each sob he couldn't hold back while he added…  He wasn't even half way through yet and Dad was already breaking him down bit by bit, meaning the rest of the beating would likely consist of Touya's sobs and pleas for it to stop, pleas for mercy Father never would give him, never gave any of them....  Shouto hated to hear Touya cry and beg.

 

"Forty-two." Fuyumi cried, picking up the last number as she stood beside Shouto, holding his hand as Touya sobbed against the wall, struggling to keep standing as the belt lashed him again and again.

 

Shouto felt small again, he felt like a child again.  He felt like crying. He didn't know where he was anymore, didn't know where he was going.  He lost his sense of direction.

 

"Again." Father ordered above him, kneeling on the floor, sweat and blood and steam coming off him.  He felt like his insides were burning. "You were so close, so close and you've failed me. Youve failed the entire family."

 

He wanted to stop, wanted to sleep, to pass out right there on the floor covered in bruises and pain.  He was already ashamed of himself, ashamed of coming in second in the sports festival. He already was faced with his own shame, yet it wasnt enough for his Dad, nothing was.

 

There were voices talking to him, he couldn't make any of them out.  Fear and anxiety still wrapped around his neck like a noose. He heard the people, men, speaking to him, grinning, closing off his path.  He couldn't make out what they were saying to him.

 

"Get up!  Stop pretending you are weak, Shouto!" A kick caught him in the ribs and he heard them snap, and he choked on a sob that tasted like blood and bile.

 

Make it stop.  Make it stop. Please, make it stop.

 

He suddenly realized he was cornered in a deserted street.  He suddenly could feel the strangers violate his personal space, crowding him, suffocating him like his anxiety did.  He could hear their words, all the sudden.

 

"We wont hurt you if you don't fight."

 

"Make it stop! Please! Please!"

 

The flashes morphed again, this time he was small, looking at his Mama, rocking back and forth in front of the locked door in the hall.  Her arms covered in black bruises, burns and blisters open and red around the edges. Her face was streaked with tears and blood coming from her nose and the cut above her eye.

 

Dad appeared behind him, ignoring him as he walked to his mother, towering over her as she sobbed on the floor.  He slapped her so hard she fell on her side.

 

He found himself back against the wall, rough hands groping his sides, back, traveling lower.  Teeth against his neck, over the freshly healed scar from his Father. He couldn't feel it, couldn't move, watching himself from above as he squirmed helplessly, unable to make a noise.

 

Watching himself from above.  The visions came full circle and he was back in the alley watching himself attack the heroes, watching himself murder them.  Murderer. He was a murderer.

 

Tainted, blood cursed, he was like his Father, worse than his Father.  He was terrible, so terrible. The rotten apple didn't fall far from the poisoned tree.

 

Ice. Bright white and pure. Exploding through the air.  Then being corrupted and stained in crimson red.

 

Blue fire suddenly burst onto the one stranger's face when a hand littered in scar tissue and staples snatched the guy by his head.

 

The stranger fell to the ground, screaming as tge others tried to run just to be chased and devoured by the bright blue flames. 

 

All of a sudden, Shouto was back in his body, the phantom touches still on his skin.  He gasped for air, doubling over and panting, shaking with tears streaming down his cheeks.

 

The screams of pure agony caused him to look up, seeing the strangers face so badly burned it wasnt recognizable as he flailed helplessly on the concrete.  A boot stepped on his throat and Shouto's eyes traveled up to see Dabi's face sadistically smiling down at the man, hand up, burning blue, ready to destroy.  

 

Shouto had to look away until the screaming stop.

 

"Fuckin idiot!" Touya suddenly screamed at him, "why weren't you fighting back! You stupid brat, They… God, calm down, breathe.  Youre okay. Its okay. Did they hurt you?"

 

He struggled to do back up his belt with shaking hands, teeth clenching as he lashed out. "You didn't have to kill them!  Why did you kill them?" 

 

"Are you kiddin' me? Why didn't you kill them!" Dabi shouted back, swiping his arm towards Shouto in a way that made him flinch. "Do you have any clue what they were about to do to you?!"

 

"Do you?! You didn't have to kill them!"

 

"Do i?! Do I?!" Dabi screamed, half laughing with mania, "i did have to kill them, im fuckin glad i killed trash like them!  You dont know what they would have done to you!"

 

"And you do? I had the situation-"

 

Touya cut him off, his shrill voice reminding Shouto of their Mother, "Yes, i fucking do because it happened to me!  Are you happy? That what you wanna hear, will knowing i lost my viriginity getting fuckin raped by a fuckin junkie in a back alley beside bags of garbage while i was homeless make you understand that they had to fuckin die?! Huh?  Or that Dad used to fucking touch me and make me touch him after Mom got sent away? Then will you understand? Naive, entitled little brat, you have no idea what they would have done to you!"

 

"Wait… what?" Shouto whispered, eyes wide.  Dabi quickly turned around and started to walk off, Shouto shook himself from the shock and followed after him, "Touya, wait!"

 

"Forget i said anything.  I didn't mean it, I made it up.  And stop calling me that in public!" Dabi snapped at him as he walked.

 

"No, wait, i… I thought I was the only one."

 

Dabi stopped, shoulders tensing. "What are you saying?"

 

"He… touched me too after Mom … only a few times, when he was drinking really bad.  He never… it never went further than that, and he stopped after you left when he got too violent taking in a villain the commission made him take therapy and go to AA meetings… he never brought it up, i thought i imagined it… I didn't know he… I didn't know you…"

 

"Yeah, i thought i was the only one too… it didn't go further than that with me either. So i guess i thought got lucky up until I was homeless and… yeah…"

 

"Im sorry…" shouto whispered, "im really sorry."

 

"It's fine."

 

"It isn't, touy-Dabi, you were raped… that isnt fine.  You should talk to someone."

 

"Oh yeah, just walk into a therapy office like " yeah i know im a wanted killer and all, but can i talk real quick about my feelin's and how sad i am?" Sure that'll go over great." Dabi said, starting to walk again after he lit a cigarette. "It doesn't matter.  It happened, its done. No use thinking about it anymore. It don't matter.

 

"It does." Shouto said quietly.



.

 

When they got back, Shouto checked his phone, seeing multiple missed calls and text messages.  All from Natsuo. 

 

He quickly called him despite having been ignoring the calls from his sister, father, and classmates.

 

"Look… I don't know where you are, man and i… im worried. But i get it… i get why you ran away."

 

"Im not going back, Shouto.  I will not go back."

 

"I know.  I get it, Shou… just, be safe.  Okay? Look, if you wanna we can meet up like you wanted before… ill talk to you about it…"

 

"About what?"

 

"About Touya."

 

Chapter Text

I am just a worthless liar

I am just an imbecile

I will only complicate you

Trust in me and fall as well

I will find a center in you

I will chew it up and leave

I will work to elevate you

Just enough to bring you down


 

Shouto kept his head down, looking around the coffee shop as he sat, eyes darting to the different faces, taking note of each door.

 

"It's okay, man.  You don't have to be so scared, I didn't tell anyone i was gonna see you.  No one knows you're here. You're like, paranoid." Natsuo told him, half teasing, half concerned. "Are you okay? Fuyumi sent me a text that you ran away last month… she told me Dad beat you pretty bad… why didn't you come to me?"

 

"I couldn't."

 

His older brother frowned, looking him over, "are you okay? Somewhere safe?"

 

Shouto nodded, "I just got tired of putting up with him…and all the damn secrets." Shouto answered, still keeping his hood up, head tucked down to be less noticeable.

 

Natsuo sighed, a pained expression on his face, "Im… sorry about the last time you called, I was upset.  But i was rude and wasn't there when you needed me. I'm really sorry, little bro."

 

"I understand." He said, "i just wanna know what happened to Touya… why no one will talk about him, why he never came home that night."

 

Shouto didn't tell Touya he was there, that Natsuo and him would be talking about him behind his back.  Shouto had tried so many times to ask about that night, but something about the subject just made Dabi shut down or lash out.  He wouldn't tell him. And Shouto needed to know, he needed to know why Touya left him behind, why he never came back, why he's Dabi now."

 

"Okay, uh… this is hard." Natsuo frowned, taking a nervous look around.  His leg bumping up and down where he sat. "You remember much about Touya?"

 

"I mean… admittedly, its hard to remember much that far back, but I remember him."

 

"Well Dad, he… as Touya got older, Dad just kept getting more violent to him, and in return Touya rebelled more with the violence… and what Dad did to him just kept escalating and escalating."

 

"Yeah, I can remember." Shouto said flatly, "Dad used to torture him.  i remember the whippings against the wall and how he'd waterboard him in the bath tub…"

 

A pained grimace came over Natsuo's face, his eyes getting bloodshot, "well, i think at some point Dad… Dad stopped caring if Touya lived or died…" his voice was shaking, "i think Dad actually wanted him dead."

 

"What does this have to do with his disappearance?" Shouto had a bad feeling, something twisted deep in his gut.  "Did… Did Dad try to do something to Touya?"

 

Natsuo's leg shook even harder, he seemed to fold into himself, looking so small for such a board, built framed man. "They found me in the national park… Touya knew i liked to go there to think… i… set up a little camp like i was gonna live there… i was so stupid, so fuckin' stupid…" tears welled up in my eyes, his voice getting thicker, "its my fault. God, it was my fault, if i didn't…"

 

Shouto gave him a few minutes as he took in shaky breaths, the tears rolling down his cheeks.  

 

"Dad was so mad at me, said it was the third place they looked for me, and i just… i said i was sorry and he threw me on the ground and started kicking me, screaming at me that i was gonna get the worst beating of my life, and one even worse when we got home, and i mean, i did… Touya… Touya tried to stop him, Dad just hit him too and told him how weak he was, but Touya kept trying… he was always doing that.  Trying to protect everyone even if Dad tore him apart… he was so protective over us. he really was like Mom…"

 

"Natsuo… why do you keep saying was ?"

 

Natsuo sobbed softly, his words strained, "i don't think i can do this…"

 

"Natsuo, what happened?  What did he do to you guys… to Touya?"

 

He looked up, gray eyes shimmering with tears. "Remember how Touya used to cut himself… with that box cutter?"

 

Shoutos mind flashed back to the night where he had to pin Dabi to the floor a pry a box cutter out of his hands to stop him from hurting himself. "Yeah…"

 

"He had it that night… tried to…" he broke down again, shaking his head.  Shouto watched him, waiting, trying to piece the puzzle together.

 

"What'd Touya try to do?"

 

"I can't talk about this anymore."

 

"Natsu-"

 

"I can't, okay?  I… it…" he was trying not to yell, trying to keep to the whispering volume and it looked difficult.  He put his head in his hands, pulled on his hair, "he's dead, Shouto."

 

"What!?" His voice did raise, drawing a few eyes, he lowered to a whisper again, "he isn't dead, Natsuo." Couldn't be.  Shouto sees him every day. He's badly scarred and traumatized, but he isnt dead .

 

"He is dead, Shouto.  You… you don't understand.  You weren't there. I watched it… i watched big bro Touya die and we… we left him there. I left him there." He broke again, sobs raking his shoulders, still whispering but his voice was cracking.  The terror in his eyes, Shouto hadn't seen it since that night he came back.

 

"No, i don't understand cause he isn't-"

 

"Didnt even get a proper burial.  We left him to rot in the woods, god, im so weak.  I should have stopped him… i…"

 

"Natsuo, i really don't understand what happened? What did he do?"

 

"I can't… i can't do this, I'm sorry Shou." He suddenly stood up, wiping his face.

 

"Wait, Natsuo!"

 

"I cant.  I'm sorry.  I just can't."



He couldn't understand.  The whole walk home he thought about every detail, everything Natsuo said.  He knew Dad beat them, Natsuo was already covered in bruises and dirt when they got back, and he knew Touya would have tried to stop him and gotten beat too.  But Touya's cutting habit and the box cutter didn't seem to relate, unless…



.



He walked back into the hideout, noticing the lights were off.  He wondered if their electricity had been cut off again. He knew they were home, aside from Dabi who was looking for recruits and Spinner who was probably still on a supply run.  He knew they were currently working hard on trying to make those quirk-removing bullets Overhaul had.

 

He didn't get much time to look around before a familiar, sweet smell hit his senses and a knife was pressed against his throat.

 

"Don't move, halfie… I don't wanna cut you.  Well, actually i do but shiggy says im not allowed yet." Toga said happily in his ear.

 

Shoutos eyes widened, feeling his Adam's apple bob against the sharp blade as he swallowed hard. "What… what are you doing?"

 

Had she gone crazy? Crazier than usual, at least.  Or did they…

 

"I want the truth…" Shigaraki's shaky, cold voice suddenly spoke as he entered from one of the rooms. "Did some digging, Spinner, Jin, and I… found something very interesting out about you… you have siblings, huh?"

 

Shouto felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up under the villains dagger stare.

 

"You just met with one of them, compress followed you." He went on, voice still quiet but getting increasingly more threatening as he walked closer. "Brother, right?  But that isn't the only brother you have, is it?"

 

"I can explain-"

 

Shouto jerked when Tomura suddenly raised his voice to a shrill shout, "Do not speak when I am speaking!"

 

"Yeah, hush hush, halfboy." Toga said in his ear, pressing the knife down harder.

 

"A brother that is "apparently" missing, yet fits the description of a vigilante who's entire group was killed or arrested… a brother that would look subsciously familiar… if he had, say… scars all over his body and black hair."

 

Shoutos heart stopped, "it isn't what it looks like, Touya isn't-"

 

"Honestly, it makes sense. I can't believe it! You too do act and look almost the same.   They're nothing alike! " Jin said.

 

"I want to know who you two are reporting to and what you've told them, then im going to kill you and as soon as Dabi gets back, I'm gonna kill him too." Shigaraki said, "makes sense why the kidnapping went so poorly, that asshole sabotaged us!"

 

"No, wait.  That isn't what's going on, im telling you!" He looked towards Kurogiri, "tell them to stop, Kurogiri!"

 

"I think you need to explain yourself, Shouto." The warp villain said sternly, but sadly. "This doesn't look good for you, and especially for your brother who's been lying to us all this time."

 

How? How'd this get so bad so fast?  He couldn't wrap his head around it. They seemed a bit odd that morning when he left, but they all act rather strangely on any given day.   But for it to become this, he didn't know how to explain himself to get out of it, and he couldn't speak for Touya, who no doubt might make the situation worse when he showed up.

 

" I knew there was something fishy with him! I totally didnt see it coming, i feel so foolish!"

 

"What the hell is going on?" Shouto flinched at Dabi's voice and tone, the sound of the door slamming when he came in. "Have you all gone crazy?"

 

"I dont know, have we, Todoroki? " Shigaraki spat through his teeth, eyes glowing with anger. "That's your name, isn't it ?"

 

Shouto watched the blood drain from his brothers face, eyes darting to him. He didn't say anything.  Shouto yelled when Shigaraki grabbed him by the throat, pinning Dabi to the wall with just his index finger up. "Don't!"

 

"Get the fuck off-!"

 

"I knew it was a bad idea to let you in!" Shigaraki growled, his raspy voice cracking with the strain.

 

"If you don't let go of me, i swear i will fuckin' burn you alive!" Dabi's hands were shaking, despite the venom in his voice he was trembling slightly.  Shouto knew how opposed to touch he was.

 

"Really now? I wonder if you could burn me before i disintegrate your throat, just a slip of a finger and youre dead.  Then the brat is next!"

 

"Get your hands off me, creep!"

 

"No, i know you… you won't talk, youre the type that would stay quiet through torture.  You aren't any use to me."

 

"Well, youre pretty damn good at readin' people boss." Dabi tried, despite how nervous his voice was getting.

 

"Please, just listen for a-" shouto started but Togas knife pressed harder into his throat.

 

"Ah-ah-ah!  The grown ups are talking." The girl said playfully.

 

"Tell me, as the son of a pro hero, the number one hero at that, and a filthy liar, why shouldn't I just kill you where you stand?" Shigaraki asked, finger dangerously close to the other villain's skin.

 

"Cause i'm not a hero, dumbass!  They have no idea what im doing! I wanna destroy their entire system, i wanna fuckin' kill my Dad." Dabi snarled back, both the men's faces inches away.

 

"Kill your Father? your rich and famous, pro hero Father? Why should I trust you or believe anything you say?  Why would you want to kill him?"

 

"Cause he's the reason I'm like this… he hated me.  He beat me for being too weak, not the perfect child he wanted.  He'd beat me just to see how fast he could break me, how long I could hold out until I cried.  He used to lock me in closets and not let me eat. He… I can't report to heroes, i can't even talk to my own family because they all think im dead." Dabi said quietly, like he was ashamed, but his voice was cold, bitter.

 

Shigaraki studied him, "why would they think you're dead?"



.



"Im sorry, im sorry! Please, Dad!" Natsuo cried from the ground, his arms covering his head to try to protect from the brutal blows to his body.  

 

Touya tried again to get his Father away from his younger brother, just to be shoved back down onto the forest floor.

 

"You stupid, useless brat!  All this shit for my attention!  You want my attention so bad, now you got it, you little shit!" Enji screamed down at him, grabbing Natsuo by his upper arms, yanking him up and shaking him, screaming in his face, "happy now, brat? You gonna stop being a disgrace now, Natsuo? Answer me!" He slapped him hard, sending him back down.

 

"Yes, yes, ill stop! Im sorry!  I wont do it again, please!"

 

Natsuo looked towards Touya, lip busted and his nose bleeding, tears rolling freely.  There was so much fear in his eyes, pure terror that hurt Touya to see.

 

Touya tried to stop him again, rushing to stand between them, "Dad, stop!  He's just a kid, you aren't teaching him any-"

 

A hand grabbed his hair, jerked him forward and bent down to snarl into his ear, "Touya, i swear if you do not stop getting in my way you're getting the belt when we get home after I'm done with that disappointment."

 

Touya grimaced at the pain of strands of his hair being yanked out of his head, glaring up at his Father. "Fuck you."

 

Enji sent him to the ground with a punch in the mouth, turning his attention back to the younger of the two. "Stop crying! Ive barely done anything to you yet!  Youre so stupid, why are you so stupid?" He shouted, natsuo flinching with each word. "You always wanna pull this shit! Disgrace the family, waste my time, goddamn waste of space. Always wanna act up, you ungrateful brat!"

 

Natsuo cried out when a hard kick got him in the arm, making him sob harder as he cradled it. "I'm sorry, Daddy, please! Im so sorry!"

 

"Why'd I even bother getting a useless kid like you? Should have just left you to run away since you wanna be such an annoying brat!"

 

"That's enough!" Touya shrieked, grabbing his father from behind, trying to hold back the fists ready to pound down on his little brother. "Stop already!"

 

Endeavor gripped the back of his head, flipped him right over his shoulder.  Touya had the air knocked out of his lungs, landing hard on his back. He coughed and wheezed, tasting blood.  He couldn't even catch his breath before a hand grabbed his throat, held him there until his eyes widened and he choked, slapping the board arm to try to get him to release him.  He needed air.

 

"You.  You worthless, weak, little fuck.  Youre too weak, youre pathetic. You keep getting in my way like you can actually save them.  Did the same thing for your bitch of a mother, didn't save her, did you?" Touya felt a stabbing pain in his chest. "You're so weak.  Look at you, so damn frail it's disgusting." More air was forced from his lungs when a fist drove into his ribs, a sickening crack sound filling the air but Touya couldn't even scream. "You are definitely standing against the wall when we get home." He snarled, then he let go and watched Touya curled onto his side, gasping, wheezing, coughing up blood into the leaves.

 

"Stay down, Touya, or ill make your siblings count when I punish you."

 

Touya looked towards Natsuo when Enji stepped over him, watching the younger boy cower and beg as the man came closer.

 

"And you, you're going to get the worst beating of your life.  Then maybe you'll stop running away…"

 

Touya spat out another mouthful of blood, eyes welling up with tears as Natsuo was slapped, kicked, his arm wrenched behind his back until his shoulder popped out of the socket.

 

He pulled himself up slowly, more blood dripping from his lips as he got to his hands and knees.  His body screamed at him to stay down, to avoid more punishment, but he wouldn't listen. He reached into his back pocket, wincing at the pain as he took out the box cutter, pushed the blade up then stood.

 

Touya weakly pushed his Father back, standing in front of Natsuo as the youngest boy sobbed hysterically.  He held the blade up, eyes focusing.

 

Enji looked at him unimpressed, "are you serious, Touya?  You're threatening me?"

 

"Enough." He forced out, "you hurt him enough.  I wont let you hurt him anymore!"

 

His Father laughed, "ohh, you're getting locked in the closet now too.  By all means, keep digging yourself a deeper hole, Touya. Is that what you want?"

 

"I want you to stop!" Touya screamed, finally giving into the urge to cry, "i want you to stop beating us, and hurting us, and making little Shouto train until he's sick!  I want you to stop locking me in closets and beating me in front of my siblings and tormenting me every chance you get! Why cant you just leave us alone? I want you to be normal, why are you like this!? Why do you treat us like this, what fucked you up so bad in your life you have to hurt us like this! I… I want this to stop, i wanna be a family! I want.. i want Mom back!" He sobbed, angry tears falling as Natsuo cried so hard he puked.

 

His Father stared at him for a moment, eyes wide as he scrubbed the tears from his face.

 

"Why are you like this!?  We don't deserve this! Just stop!"

 

"What about you, Touya?  Threatening your Father with the blade you cut yourself with.  Threatening to kill me? Why are you like this?"

 

"Me?! Me! Are you serious?!"

 

Enji's voice got cold, cruel, "You should stop being a coward and kill yourself and be done with it, Touya, no one will miss you."

 

Touya froze, eyes wide, "Dad, what are you…"

 

Endeavor looked him right in the eye, every word like a stab in the chest. "So useless you can't even kill yourself right.  No one wants you here. You're a disappointment and a failure. Your mother hates you, you are a burden to Fuyumi and a piss poor example to Natsuo.  Shouto is afraid of you. No one wants you, Touya. Just kill yourself."

 

Something inside him broke beyond repair, he let out a sob, the box cutter shaking in his hand.  He saw red, lashing out violently. He didn't think, all the pain and hurt boiling over the top.

 

Father countered him easily, too strong for Touya's frail frame to overpower, despite his anger.  He struggled against his fathers hands, wanting to hurt him, make him suffer instead for a change.  But all he got was a sharp pain in his stomach.

 

He gasped, endeavor letting him go as he stumbled back, looking at the blade stuck in his stomach, hands shaking in front of him as he dropped to his knees.

 

"...T-Touya?" Natsuo whispered, his crying suddenly stopping.

 

"Worthless idiot, you just stabbed yourself.  I wonder if you can bleed out from that."

 

His hands trembled as they hovered over the object in him, the blood gushing downward, blinking slowly he looked up, "help me."

 

Fingers grabbed his face, digging into his cheeks as Enji bent to his level, "help you?  You just tried to kill me."

 

"Dad, i-" he was in shock.  Complete terror froze him as he stared into cold, uncaring eyes.

 

His other hand took hold of the box cutter, eyes cast down as he held his son by the face. "Looks to be in there pretty deep." He remarked casually, slowly taking the weapon only a tiny bit out, then stopping.

 

Touya whined pitifully.  The whines becoming screams when Dad twisted the knife in him.

 

"Touya!" Natsuo yelled, crying again, his bloodshot eyes full of terror. "Touya!"

 

"Useless. Worthless. They're better off without you." He whispered almost softly at Touya as he dug his fingers deeper into his face.  He slowly started to pull out the knife, bit by bit, just to push it back in as he studied the agony on Touya's face, the torment in his eyes. "You deserve to die.  No one wants you. You only complicate everything, ruin them, make it worse."

 

"Touya, no, Touya!"

 

Tears spilled over the fingers of one hand, blood over the other as he pulled the blade out and pressed his fingers cruelly into the wound, making Touya whine helplessly.

 

"It… Hurts… please, just..."

 

"Pathetic."  He shoved him down onto his back, giving him a harsh smack across the face before standing up straight and looking down at him. "If you survive, by some chance, don't come back, or i will kill you myself."

 

Natsou was above him them, grabbing onto his shirt, shaking him, sobbing as he stared up at the stars in the sky.  He swore saw one fall.

 

"Touya!  Oh, god, Touya!  Dad, Dad! He's bleeding, please, we need to help him!" He was screaming, there was blood all over his hands, getting on his face when he rubbed his tears.

 

"Bastard stabbed himself trying to kill me.  We're leaving him."

 

"Wait, no Dad! No!  We can't just leave him!"

 

Fire flared up in panic on Touya's shoulders when he started feeling suddenly freezing cold.  It burned so hot it hurt, he felt it under his clothes, burning through them, through his skin and tissue, on hos arms.

 

Natsuo was taking off Touya's coat, burning his hands as he took his arms out of the sleeves.  He held it to the wound, and Touya stared at him, tears rolling from the corner of his eyes.

 

"Come on, Natsuo.  You are still getting a beating when we get home." Hands grabbed his little brother, pulling him away.

 

"Nats…" he tried to reach out, seeing the fear and panic in his eyes, Natsuo reached back.

 

"No! Dad, please!  Don't leave him! Please!" The ten year old begged, dropping to his knees, wrapping himself around the man's legs and sobbing, "im sorry, i'll be good!  I won't run away anymore! I won't annoy you or bother you! I promise! Please, please don't let big bro touya die! Please!"

 

"Wait…" Touya watched, too weak to move as Enji dragged him away.  The sounds of Natsuo's screaming and begging faded until he was alone… everything was suddenly so quiet.

 

He didn't want to die.

 

Blood spilled over his fingers, a sob shook his chest.  He was alone. He was going to die all alone in the middle of the woods while his Father hurt his family.  Coward, weakling, worthless…

 

He didn't want to die.

 

His hands lit up ontop of the wound and he screamed, the sound echoed through the trees.  He burned and burned, then his skin caught fire again. The bleeding stopped but… but his fire wouldn't go out.

 

"Stop!" He shrieked at no one, at his quirk, at himself, at life.  His throat hurt, the fire spreading upwards. "Stop! Stop!" His chin, jawline, lower part of his face.  He screamed. He couldn't make it go out. Go out. Go out. Go out.

 

Everything faded around him until only burning and pain remained.



.

 

"I pissed him off, pushed my limits too far one night… He tried to kill me and left me for dead when i was fourteen."

 

Shigaraki stared at him, beaming eyes studying his face as he spoke.

 

"I tried to protect my other brother with a box cutter and i stabbed myself by accident … my Father tortured me with it, taunting me and mocked me saying i should kill myself… that none of my family wanted me..." Dabi admitted, noticing how Shouto's eyes widened.

 

"I haven't gone back since... he probably thinks I'm dead.  Until Shouto figured out who i was, I thought they all thought i was dead… sometimes i wish i was."

Chapter Text

Know my head is spun

With thoughts of you

Im overwhelmed

All this pain i hold 

i wish i could heal myself


 

Shigaraki stared for a minute, as if thinking over everything Dabi said, before he sighed and let go pf his throat. "My father tried to kill me too… i think..." he mumbled, almost unconsciously, then waved a hand at Toga, "let him go.  They're fine, we'll help them kill their bastard father. Im going to bed, do not bother me."

 

With that, the leader just left the room.

 

"Damn, Dabi, thats… that's messed up." Toga removed the knife from Shoutos throat but he still couldn't breathe, the full weight of the secret crashing him as he stared at Touya.

 

"My god, Dabi… you… he did all that to you?" Compress spoke up. "Why didn't you tell us all this time?"

 

Dabi closed his eyes, leaning back up against the wall. "Stop staring at me."

 

"Why wouldn't you tell us? We should have known honestly. "

 

"Stop staring at me."

 

Shoutos hands rolled into fists at his sides, his blood burning with anger.  This was what he had been digging for, the secret he'd been dying to find out, and he knew his father had something to do with Touya's disappearance, but the truth hurt to learn.

 

"Dabi, you need to calm down.  Youre going to have a panic attack." Kurogiri said, walking over slowly, hands up where Touya can see them. "Calm down.  We will not hurt you or your brother."

 

"Bastard!  You were all ready to kill us a minute ago, you crazy fucks!  Bullshit! Don't come near me, don't touch me!" His voice cracked as he shouted, the trembling only getting worse.

 

Kurogiri stopped, standing in place. "We didn't know, Dabi… we didn't know you went through that, if we had we wouldn't have done that.  We're sorry. I'm sure Tomura is as well. We won't hurt you, just… come here. You're shaking."

 

"Everyone stop fuckin staring at me! Im fine! Stop looking at me like that!" Dabi yelled, covering his face with his hands. "Stop looking at me!"

 

"You aren't fine, you just told us your Dad tortured you and tried to kill you." Compress said, "we wont hurt you, just calm down."

 

"Yeah fuckin right."

 

They kept talking but Shouto couldn't hear them anymore, the static buzzed in his head.  It didn't feel good to know. It didn't feel good to be left in the dark but the truth hurt and it made him angry.

 

Father did this.  He's the reason Touya was torn from his life, the reason he felt so alone for so long and empty like something was missing.  He's reason Natsuo was so traumatized and Fuyumi was so scared. Hes the reason Dabi is the way he is and the reason Touya suffered so much.

 

No. He deserves to die for this.

 

Shouto stormed out of the hideout without a word, his teeth grinding together as he walked towards the bus stop.

 

That bastard tried to kill Touya, left him to die, left him to turn into the mess he had become.  As if tormenting him and putting him down each day wasn't enough, he had to nearly kill him too? 

 

No.  No no no.  He couldn't get away with it.  He got away with so much, just closed the curtains so no one knew all the pain he caused his family, how badly he hurt them for years. Endeavor rose to the top, meanwhile abusing and sending away their Mother, terrorizing every child in that home, leaving Touya for dead.  He turned Touya into Dabi, drove Natsuo away, made Fuyumi live her life in fear, made their Mother mentally fracture. He turned Shouto into this angry, bitter monster that killed people. He got away with everything .

 

Not anymore.  Because Shouto was going to kill him.

 

"The hell are you going?"

 

He heard Touya's voice behind him, but didnt slow down even as he caught up.

 

"He tried to kill you.  He fuckin left you for dead."

 

"Yeah, and?  You seem surprised, you of all people know how much he hated me." Dabi said, and Shouto wanted to scream.

 

"He lied to me, to them, to everyone!  He told everyone you ran away, told me you left me because you were jealous and hated me.  He got away with everything he's done! It isn't fair!"

 

Dabi sighed, rolling his eyes as if Shouto was throwing a tantrum. "Life's not fair, Shouto. Don't be naive.  I thought you would know this by now."

 

"No, Touya! This is different!  He tried to fucking kill you!"

 

"Stop being so damn loud, people are staring.  And quit calling me that." Dabi hissed as they walked through the streets, "to be honest, i tried to kill him and stabbed myself, he just refused to help me and twisted around the box cutter in my stomach to make me suffer."

 

"Is it the same one?"

 

"What?"

 

"The box cutter, is it the same one youve been cutting yourself with?"

 

"Well..  yeah."

 

Shouto grit his teeth further, "im going to kill him."

 

Dabi chuckled, half amused half nervous, "right now, man?  Cause that don't sound like a good idea."

 

"Why not?  He wanted me to be so fuckin perfect, wanted me to surpass him and be stronger than him.  He'll get killed by his own masterpiece and maybe ill torture him for a change, since he wanted to spend fourteen years torturing you before he left you for dead." Shouto growled.  He felt feral, out of control. He couldn't remember being this angry ever before, not since Endeavor sent away his Mom. 

 

"Seriously Shou, you gotta relax.  Youre gonna get yourself killed being so goddamn stupid." Dabi said, "we'll get there.  But you need to chill, it ain't that big of a deal, really-"

 

"Isn't that big of a deal?! Are you kidding me?  Look at you, look what he's done to you!" He screamed stopping to throw his hand in Touya's direction, "he ruined you!  He almost killed you! I remember watching him beat you and torture you, i remember when he used to keep you locked away before he started training me, i didnt even know you existed or who you were! I remember how broken you were by the time he threw you aside. He fucked you up.  He fucked me up!"

 

"Man, you need to calm the fuck down."

 

"No! I can't!  I… im so fucked up... i can't even function.  I can't do this anymore, i dont wanna be like this!  Im losing my mind, i cant even think straight anymore!  I…" his voice got quiet, tears filling up his eyes, "i killed three people… I'm so fucked up."

 

His brother's eyes softened, staring at him silently as he talked, as he broke down.  He sighed, "just… come here." Shouto stared through his tears as Dabi held out his arms, "come on before i change my mind, you know i hate being touched."

 

Shouto moved slowly, almost unconsciously as he pressed his face to his brothers shoulder and wrapped his arms around his waist, feeling the bones and patches of scar tissue through the thin hoodie he had on, feeling Touya's arms wrap around his shoulders, hearing his breaths, feeling his tears start to run faster, his gasps turning to sobs. 

 

"Im sorry, Touya, Im sorry." He whispered.

 

For once Dabi didn't correct the use of his real name, just patted him awkwardly on the back. "Wasn't your fault.  Sorry i left you there with him and he hurt you for all those years. Sorry i was so pissed all the time and mean to you back then, sorry I'm a crazy, suicidal piece of shit now."

 

"You aren't a crazy, suicidal piece of shit." Shouto mumbled against him.

 

He chuckled, "I am a crazy, suicidal piece of shit, are you blind?"

 

Shouto laughed too, "Okay, you are, but youre way more than that too."

 

"...Am I really though?"

 

"Yeah. You are.  Don't put yourself down all the time." He whispered, "and he was wrong.  He lied to you. You aren't worthless. We all wanted you, Touya. We wouldn't want you to kill yourself.  He said that just to hurt you."

 

"Yeah…"

 

Shouto pulled away, rubbing his eyes, "so… are we going back there with the league?"

 

Dabi exhaled loudly, "i mean… they promised not to try to kill us again, so i guess so.  Plus Toga was begging Kurogiri to let them keep you, so i guess they kinda adopted you now."



.



They got back to the others waiting, minus Shigaraki who had finally crashed after five days no sleep and was likely going to be out for a while. 

 

Jin was quick to run up, emotional as always with big tears in his eyes, grabbing onto Dabi so tight it hurt. "Poor Dabi, we won't let that asshole hurt you or little halfie again. Hes gonna die, imma rip his head off and pour acid and rusty nails down his throat! Everything is gonna be okay."

 

"Will you get off me, you fuckin nutcase?" He groaned, pushing Twice away by his face. 

 

"Are you all right, Shouto? Kurogiri asked, "i apologize on the behalf of everyone for the misunderstanding.  We may have taken things a bit far, but do understand we were simply worried for our safety. Im terribly sorry you and your brother went through that."

 

"I do think you should tell us exactly what the deal is with your Dad, if you don't mind.  So we get a more clear idea of how we can help you guys." Spinner said, sitting on a box of crates as he sipped on a beer. "They filled me in on what happened when I got back, but its a lot to process that the number one hero abused his family and tried to kill his son and somehow no one even knows."

 

"Seriously?" Dabi scoffed, "after that shit you guys pulled?  I don't have to tell you nothin'."

 

"We just want to help." Compress said.

 

"I can explain a bit," Shouto spoke up, nervously taking a seat.

 

Dabi rolled his eyes, "I need a fuckin' drink." He mumbled as he went to grab one of the bottles they managed to save from the bar hideout. He sat down, taking a few swigs as he watched Shouto.

 

"My Dad's been… well he's always been controlling and violent for as long as I could remember.  Wanted to have a child with a perfect quirk that could one day surpass all might. That's why he married my Mother and had my siblings and I.  He didn't get what he wanted until I got my quirk, but trained Touya in the meantime."

 

"What do you mean trained?" Spinner asked.

 

"He means abused.  He abused me in the meantime before he started abusing Shouto." Dabi spat.

 

Shouto swallowed, "Quirk training is what he called it, but yeah… it was just abuse, beating us until we used our quirks well enough and beat us worse when we didn't. Touya went missing when I was about seven or eight, I think.  Nobody talked about it since, we weren't even allowed to talk about him… to be honest, I didn't know him very well."

 

His little brother looked away, like he was ashamed, but his eyes were narrow still with anger.

 

"You didn't know him, how?"

 

"Dad didn't let me around my siblings much when he started training me, and before that I didn't even meet Touya until I was six."

 

Kurogiri tilted his head, "how, why?"

 

Shouto looked towards Dabi then, as if asking if it was okay to tell.  Dabi just downed another few gulps before saying it himself, "Dad kept me locked in my room for about six years once I got my quirk, said my mom and siblings were a distraction and made me weak.  He was trying to break me of the weaknesses from the ice genes from my Mom. So he isolated me then threw me aside when perfect Shouto got his quirk."

 

He was already starting to feel light-headed, wasn't enough.

 

"Then… i wasn't allowed to play with my siblings when he trained me, I was only around them here and there and at meal times and if we snuck around." Shouto added, "but I recognized him at camp… my Dad had been, well… he was still abusing me up until I ran away, and I made Touya let me stay with him."

 

"Why didn't anyone stop him from abusing you all that time?" Compress asked.

 

"Didn't really tell anyone aside from a boy at school.  My Dad also has a lot of influence, could just make things go away, get away with whatever he wanted." His hands rolled into fists, "I was sick of it.  Sick of all pf it, and no one would tell me about Touya, who looked so much like Dabi, i took the chance. Now we're here."

 

Dabi tuned them out after a little while, drinking more and more to try to numb his senses and make his racing thoughts stop.  The voices of everyone fell into the background and he started wishing he had something stronger than booze to make the constant train of thoughts and memories go away. 

 

That was the first time he told anyone.  He never even told the vigilantes what happened that night.  Tried to block it out, make it go away, repress it. It was just easier to do that than deal with the memories of what happened that night, what his Father did to him, what he did to himself.

 

Maybe it would have been better if he had died that night.



.



Shouto sighed, the stress of the day making his shoulders tense.  The entire day had just been a mess, he wanted nothing more than to go to sleep.

 

The villains had been very apologetic for the misunderstanding, and sympathetic towards him and Touya, but he was still a little uneasy and Dabi seemed pissed about it.  Afterall, they did threaten to kill them.

 

"Dabi, hey… come on." He said quietly, the other members had gone to sleep or to do their own things. "Dabi, you cant sleep at the table."

 

He took the half empty bottle from his eldest brothers hands and screwed back on the top.  Dabi had drank until he passed out face first on the table with his head resting on his arm.  Shouto shook him a little, backing up incase he got startled and lashed out. "Touya, lets go to bed."

 

"Fucking drunk." He mumbled.  He ended up having to drag Touya to their room and put him in bed.  Shouto shook his head as he pulled the blanket over him and he fell right back to sleep.  He stood there for a little while, staring at the burned skin and scars and staples. He found himself wondering how Touya was even alive, just how much pain he was in, how much longer he'd survive in the condition he was in.

 

The thought made him sick.

 

He sat down on the bed across from him, still staring as his mind wandered.  He didn't know if he was strong enough to do this. If he had fallen too deep into his hatred and anger.  

 

He wanted his Father dead more than anything, but what then…?  Could he return to a normal life (if he ever had a normal life to begin with)?  Would Fuyumi and Natsuo hate him? What would Midoriya and Iida think of him if they knew what he was doing, or his teacher Aizawa?  Would he have to hurt them one day, since he was with the League of Villains now? He didn't know if he had the stomach to do that… 

 

And his Father… his Father was a monster he wanted nothing more than to slay for all the things he's done, to his Mother, to Fuyumi and Natsuo, to Touya, to Shouto himself.  He wanted him to pay but the memory of his Fathers cruel face still sent shivers up his spine, still made the hair on the back of his neck stand up.  After all these years, he was still afraid of his Father, afraid of being hurt by him, of him hurting Touya. 

 

Touya didn't seem to care about returning to a normal life after.  Touya was far down that road, so resigned to his fate, he didnt seem to care about anything.  It was likely because Touya seemed to be prepared to die accomplishing these goals, he seemed to be hoping to die by the end of it,  and he seemed fine with it.

 

It made Shouto feel helpless.

 

Maybe he was in too deep, followed Touya too far down that road that he couldn't go back.  But Endeavor needed to pay, he needed to be exposed and then he needed to die. 

 

But then what?  They kill their Father but Shouto was too far gone to go back, he already was too far gone, and Touya would likely die along the way and leave Shouto all alone again.  He didn't know if it was worth it, but there was no turning back now.

Chapter Text

Do they understand?

I'm begging for an ally

Think I'm just confused

Blow it off, it's nothing new

Never mind

Little do they know

The murder of my right brain

It still has me grieving, take these pills for sleeping

My world is turning black and white



 

Blood trickled slowly off his skin, dropping into small puddles on the bathroom floor. Another wound opened up above the staples and scars, white and red contrasting the black and purple, small trails of crimson running into the seams, over ridges of scar tissue.

 

The cuts were laid out perfectly in some area, in little rows like tally marks.  Other spots were chaotic, cris-crossing like an angry road map carved into his skin.  

 

He was running out of room, but it took a few more gashes into his thighs until he finally felt numb.



Kurogiri sat down beside him later, as he finished off the other half of the forty ounce bottle, "where's your brother?  Still running errands?"

 

"Fuck if i know." He snapped.

 

"Oh, okay." The other villain was unphased, understanding of his sour mood.  It kind of pissed Dabi off more. "I found bloody napkins in the trash in the bathroom… are you alright?"

 

He cracked a cruel smile, "Fuckin peachy, thanks for asking."

 

"You're drunk." The warp villain said, not asked, eyeing the bottle. 

 

"Well no shit."

 

Kurogiri didn't respond to that, taking a wet wash cloth to wipe down the countertops and table like he did at the bar, simply working around Dabi.

 

"My old man used to drink… then he'd beat my mom." Touya said all of a sudden. Kurogiri looked over, but was quiet, so he went on. "I used to hear it through my bedroom door.  She'd cry and he'd scream, and Shouto would be cryin', bastard probably was smacking the shit out of the baby too... I'd just sit by the locked door and listen to it. Sometimes I'd turn the knob, thinkin maybe he left it unlocked… he never did.  I couldn't ever do anything but listen to the screams and crying. Probably why i was so pissed and gave him so much shit when he finally threw me side in favor of Shouto."

 

He took a few more gulps, quiet as he lit a cigarette while Kurogiri poured himself a mixed drink.  Kurogiri normally didn't like him smoking inside, but he didn't fuss this time.

 

"Shouto cried a lot when we were kids, he was really sensitive… Dad tried to beat it out of him.  He loved when I cried, liked making me break down... but when Shouto cried he got so pissed. He liked when my mom cried too… always slapped her and screamed at her until she did..."

 

His voice was soft to his own ears, didn't sound like him.  He stared at a spot on the wall, a little hole from a nail, or a bullet, or something along those lines.  Jin had stuffed a cigarette butt inside it for whatever reason.  

 

"He used to call me by my mother's name after he sent her away…when he would come into my room drunk at night..." 

 

He looked over to see those eerie eyes staring at him in the dark mist. There was an expression of sadness in them.  The room spinning around him, he felt like he was underwater he was so drunk. He focused on the glowing eyes within the fog, using them as an acher to keep from slipping away and back into the memories circling around in his head.

 

"My hair is actually white, like my Mom's, naturally I run cold, because i have an ice type body, like my mom… He always said i was too much like my Mom, hated me for it… he used to come into my room at night, get under my covers, touch me everywhere, and stroke my hair… call me Rei…" he searched Kurogiris yellow orbs for disgust, but found none.

 

"And then he'd pull my hair and throw me onto my knees, and put my face between his legs. I didn't fight back, didnt scream, didnt tell anybody… cause i thought if he did it to me then he wouldn't do it to my siblings.   I thought i was the only one, but he did it to Shouto too and i was too stupid to even know, i was too fucking weak and worthless to stop him."

 

He looked away, downing more of his drink. Kurogiri quietly watched him.  A silent company, just listening, not judging or saying the same unhelpful lines people always said of "im sorry"s, "why didn't you tell anyone"s, and "it wasn't your fault"s.  He just listened.

 

He felt his stomach turn, unable to stop himself from puking on the floor.  Kurogiri fetched him a trash can, holding it in front of him as he threw up into it. "I'm sorry."

 

"It's fine.  I'll clean it up, don't worry." 

 

A hand rubbed circles into his back and he flinched away, his throat burning, "stop touching me."

 

The hand left quickly, "I apologize." The older man said softly, "I think you have had enough, it's getting to be evening and you've been drinking since you woke up, you were drunk last night too... you need to stop now."

 

"Im tired."

 

"Sleeping it off would be a nice idea. Do you think you can you get to your bedroom without falling and hurting yourself?"

 

"No."

 

"May i help you?"

 

He didn't answer for a minute, head spinning and everything feeling so light and unstable. "Yeah…"

 

"Im going to touch your arms, and pull you up, then put my arm around your waist to support you.  I won't hurt you. Is that okay?" 

 

He nodded and hands took his arms, pulled him to his feet.  His legs felt numb, he couldn't see the floor or feel it under his feet.  He only felt the hand around his waist and how bad he was shaking.

 

"Are you okay, Dabi?"

 

He only nodded, unable to really see or know where he was being pulled to until he was laid on the bed.

 

"I'm going to touch your legs to put them on the bed, is that okay?"

 

He nodded.  His body felt so heavy.  He realized how completely vulnerable he was like this, how defenseless he made himself, how easy it would be for someone to take advantage of him and hurt him.

 

"Dabi, you… Youre still bleeding, how bad did you cut yourself?"

 

"Fuck if i know, i just sliced away until i couldnt feel anymore."

 

"Did you clean them or bandage them?  Because you need to, Dabi, you're prone to infections."

 

"I don't care."

 

There was a weight beside him, "you need to, can you do it yourself?  Should i call your brother, i believe he's still with Compress and Spinner getting the rest of the errands done?"

 

The thought of Shouto screaming at him about cutting himself made him smirk a little, but he shook his head.

 

"There's a lot of blood, you need to stop the bleeding."

 

The thought of just burning his skin crossed his mind, but then his thigh would he scarred too deeply to cut.  He didn't have many places to cut that were clear.

 

"Could i look at them?"

 

"Dont fucking touch me."

 

"I want to be sure youre okay."

 

"You aren't takin' off my pants. I'm fine. Fuck off and lemme sleep."

 

Kurogiri sighed, "okay.  Just, take care of them when you wake up later.  Rest for now, try to sleep this off… Dabi, you… you need to take care of yourself.  You need to talk to people about the things that happened to you, same with your younger brother… what that man did was wretched."



.

 

Shouto came back to Dabi unconscious in the bedroom, Kurogiri informing him that he had been drinking again and to let him rest.  Shouto was rather upset by this. It seemed like Dabi was in poor mood and all he did was drink. He worried about him falling further into this hole.

 

Shouto stared down at the screen on his phone, the unread messages and missed voicemails.  He felt his chest tighten painfully, looking towards Dabi as he slept before pressing one of the voicemails.

 

"Shouto, please come home… everyone is worried, Dad even.  I know you're hurt, and i'm sorry. Just… i wanna know youre okay" fuyumis voice broke, soft whimpers coming over the line. "Im worried.  I don't know if you're safe, or what is happening but i… i cant lose you too."

 

He pulled the phone back, the tight feeling increased.  He chewed on his lip as he pressed on the next one.

 

"Todoroki-kun, its Iida. everyone misses you.  Hope youre okay. There's a lot going on right now, it may go bad and we could really use your help.  You are one of the only levelheaded people in this class. Hah. Call me sometime."

 

He frowned, an image of the blue haired glasses boy in his mind, chopping his hand as he ranted about rules and order.  He wondered what Iida would say about all this, what he would think of Shouto after finding out… would he understand?

 

Next.

 

"Hey icyhot, everybody keeps talking about you and its pissin me off.  Quit being a drama queen and come back already. This place is weird without your stupid face."

 

He smirked a little, the ghost of a smile on his lips with the sound of Bakugou's angry voice trying not to sound worried.  

 

Next.

 

"Todoroki, it's Momo… i… i hope you're okay… it's been a while and Im… well i'm worried about you.  You know you can always call and talk if you need to, day or night, okay? I hope youre well."

 

Maybe he should text a few of them just to say he's okay before he let the service get cut off and bought a new phone… they sounded worried, he didn't realize they really cared about him…

 

He pushed them away after camp, fell into the mystery of Touya and Dabi, and isolated from the students without even realizing it.  It was easy to avoid crowds and people, his social anxiety always made it easy.

 

"Shouto.  You need to knock it off with these childish games.  You have no idea the amount of trouble you've started.  You come back home right now or i swear when i find you ill make you regret the day you were ever born, boy.  You're disgracing the entire-"

 

He deleted the one from his Father without even listening to the entire message, blood boiling with anger to try to burn out the fear in his bones.

 

Dabi stirred a bit in his sleep. 

 

"Todoroki, hey, its Deku.  I… i really don't know what to do… a lot is going bad and i need you.  You would know what to do…" Izuku sounded small through the phone, like a little boy, "I… I saw the bruises the day you left… did… Did your Dad do that?  You can tell me. Are you okay? We can talk to Mr Aizawa, get him to make your Dad stop hurting you. I just… please come back, Shouto."

 

He sighed, feeling like his chest was being crushed.  He couldn't go back. There was no going back, he was too deep in the hole now.  They wouldn't understand it. How could they?

 

Dabi jerked in bed, a grimace on his face for a moment before he relaxed into his sleep again.

 

"Hey bro, uh… I'm sorry about the other day, i just… it was really bad and i can't handle talking about it.  Touya… Touya got hurt really bad… and he, he was scared, and hurt, and there was so much blood, and we… we, we left him and i… i feel bad. I'm sorry…" natsuo paused for a long minute, only shaky breaths being heard. "Call Fuyumi, she's freaking out.  I didn't tell her anything but you should call her. Please be careful little bro."

 

Shouto took a shaky breath of his own, fingers moving slowly as he went down the line of messages and deleted them one by one, then the texts, then all of the contacts until he erased the evidence of who he was, the evidence of the good in him, until there was nothing left but a blank slate. 

 

He put his face in his hands, shoulders heaving.

 

Would they all hate him if they kmew what he was doing?  They all sounded so worried, stressed with their own problems within the school and he abandoned them, betrayed them… will he have to hurt them one day? … he didn't think he could handle that.  It would rip apart whatever good that was left in him. The further down this path he went the more rotten he became...

 

He jerked his head up a minute later when Touya made a pained whining noise in his sleep.  He gulped down the dryness in his mouth amd watched for Touya to relax again, but he didn't.  His hands gripped the sheets, teeth nashed together, shaking. Another restrained noise of pain and Shouto stood up, walking over slowly.

 

"Touya, are you okay?" He asked, standing over the bed, watching the streets burn in his fists. "Touya, wake up." 

 

He actually whimpered , and Shouto grabbed his shoulder. instantly his brother's eyes snapped open and he gasped like he'd been holding his breath.  There was an expression of unfiltered, overpowering pure terror on his face for a few seconds before his eyes focused and he looked up at Shouto.

 

"The hell?"

 

"You were having a nightmare." He replied simply, stepping back as Dabi sat up and held his head. "Are you okay?"

 

"My head is killin' me."

 

"You were drunk again, apparently drank until you vomited and passed out earlier, that's probably why." Shouto reported with a monotone tone.

 

"What time is it?" 

 

"A little past midnight."

 

"Already? Why didn't you wake me up?" Dabi asked, getting up in the bed. "Now I'll be up all night.

 

"To be fair, Kurogiri told me you were puking violently and so drunk you couldn't walk, so i let you rest."

 

Touya looked at him closely, studying his face, "what's wrong with you? You're making that weird face again."

 

"I just…" he stopped, looking away, "what happens after we kill Dad?"

 

Dabi chuckled a little, "I'mma jump off a bridge personally, but you can do whatever you want."

 

"Stop joking around, you ass, it isn't the time." Shouto grumbled with a glare. 

 

"Who said i was joking around, brat, im dead serious."

 

The younger brother shook his head, "Don't you wanna, like… settle down after? Get out of all this?"

 

"Yeah that's why i'm gonna jump off a bridge."

 

"Touya, stop." Shouto whined, throwing his hands up with a frustrated groan. "Im serious, what about Fuyumi and Natsuo, and Mom, and-"

 

"Shouto, we can't go back. I especially can't go back. I told you this wasn't a life you wanted and you shoulda listened.  I'm a wanted serial killer, now you've killed three people. We can't turn back now… i thought you knew this."

 

"So, what? We just commit double suicide, is that your master plan?"

 

"Hell no, you find your own bridge."

 

"Touya..."

 

"Look, i…" he stopped, expression getting serious, "i dont know.  I haven't planned that far. I just spent the last years focusing on surviving out here like this. I honestly didn't think id even survive this long… I dont know what im going to do when it's over, i don't really think about it."

 

Well Shouto did.  He couldn't stop thinking about it.

Chapter Text

I will keep quiet

You won't even know Im here

You won't suspect a thing

You won't see me in the mirror

But i crept into your heart 

You can't make me disappear

'til i make you.

 

Tomura woke up from his slumber after about six hours of sleep just to go directly to a meeting with Chisaki of the Eight Precepts of Death and returned when Shouto did.  He was in a foul mood, but that seemed to always be the case with Tomura.

 

Shouto still felt odd in a room with these villains, especially given his past with them as a UA student.  They seemed to feel the same, but allowed him to sit in on the meeting.

 

Overhaul had been reaping havoc as Shouto learned, which was likely why Izuku and the other classmates had been calling them so often.  It seemed after he left UA, the heroes got involved with Chisakis group and just like with the League Of villains, Shouto had a feeling it wouldn't go well.

 

"You don't like it, i know, but i think it's a good plan.  We need those bullets. Its best to ally, and I really believe the two of you are the best for the job." Tomura was explaining.

 

He made a deal, allied with the Eight Precepts of Death, and tasking Toga and Twice with working with them.  Twice was enraged at first, and Shouto was surprised to see the normally light hearted, gentle villain so furious.

 

" It's insane!   After what they did to us?! I cant believe it! Compress lost his arm, and… and Magne…" he looked like he'd cry, and Shouto felt pain in his chest. " I should have never brought that piece of shit around !  It's… my fault, isn't it?"

 

He remembered Dabi thinking the same thing for not being there.  He could see the grief on Twices face, even as Toga talked him down and Tomura gave his reasonings.  

 

Shouto was worried about it, the entire thing… allying with and aiding Overhaul in return would be hurting his former classmates.  He didn't know if he could handle being a part of it, even indirectly, so when Shigaraki offered to also work with Twice and Toga with the Yakuza's group, he politely declined.  He knew at some point he'd be pulled into something, especially since they wanted Dabi more involved and they appeared to be waiting for Chisaki to slip up, as well as waiting for the heroes to slip up.

 

.



Dabi seemed ready to destroy everything in sight if given a reason.  It honestly frightened even Shouto. He was out for blood. They were preparing the attack, waiting by the sidelines for the right moment.

 

"You don't want to be recognized, right?" Compress asked him.

 

"Well, yeah. I'd prefer not to."

 

"You know," spinner said thoughtfully, "if the public learned Endeavor had a son that turned villain, just imagine the outrage." 

 

Shouto looked towards him as he pulled up his hood.

 

"I mean, you could really leave an impact."

 

He swallowed, the thought of his friends learning he was a villain making his stomach turn. "I don't know… I'd rather wait for the right moment."

 

"That's what ive been doing," Dabi said, lacing up his boots, "right before i kill the fuck on live tv, just drop the reveal."

 

Compress was digging few his bag for a few minutes, "well, hiding your identity is hard since everyone is familiar with you face, so I thought this might work."

 

The villain handed him a white mask, it had a decorative crack down the center, lining up with the part between his now blue and white hair.  Half of the mask showed a smile, the other half a frown and tear, meeting in the middle to form an illusion of a single face.

 

Shouto studying it and turning it over in his hands, running his fingers over the split. 

 

"What do you think?" Compress asked under his own mask.

 

"It's cool.  I like it."

 

Tomura came into the room, the dismembered hands placed on his body, that sinister air around him that sent shivers up Shouto's spine.

 

They all stopped to look at him, the room going silent.

 

"Twice and Toga called.  The Yakuza has been arrested, being transported within the hour," his raspy voice spoke.  That sadistic smile on his face under the hand mask. "He has something I want, and im going to take it."



.



The vehicle picked up speed, so fast Shouto had to hold onto the inside walls to keep his balance, meanwhile Dabi looked one sharp turn away from puking as he yelled at Spinner to stop swerving all over the road.

 

Sirens could be heard, flashing blue and red as the cars flew towards them.

 

Red and blue.

 

"Are we really following Stains will by attacking these heroes?  How is this achieving a true hero society? Im just… not too sure about this! " Spinner said from the driver's seat.

 

"It's a necessary sacrifice, Spinner." Shigaraki said from the roof of the truck, "you just focus on driving."

 

Red and blue. Red and blue. Red and blue.

 

Shouto watched from further back as his brother sent a large flamethrower attack at the cars closing in, lighting up the street.  He could feel the heat coming off, his eyes captivated by the heat of fire, the smoke venting from Touya's arm, and the flashing red and blue lights.

 

Red and blue.  Red and blue. 

 

Sand covered the car, protecting it from Dabi's flames. "Who's that?"

 

"The league of villains!  A group of devils who wish harm upon society!" The hero screamed, taking from from the sand, preparing to attack.

 

Devils. Shouto thought.  Devils… was he a devil? A monster? Someone who only harmed those around him.  If he were, he was only the product of Endeavor, the spawn of Satan.

 

Red and blue. Red and blue.

 

The attack hit him when he wasn't prepared, he heard Shigaraki scream something to spinner from above and the sand hit hard.  Shouto crashed into the inner wall, falling to the floor on his hands and knees. He could hear Compress and Touya talking, but their voices faded away.

 

"Get up!  Stop crying!"

 

The voice boomed above him, making him flinch with each word.  He felt sick, so exhausted and sore his body wanted nothing more than to give up.  Tears kept falling despite his Father's words, earning him a kick in the side.

 

A hand grabbed his hair and he shrieked, sobbing and pleading as if Father ever listened to his begging before, as if he ever cared he was hurt. 

 

"You are not weak! Stop pretending you're weak!"

 

He told himself it would happen, he knew it was only a matter of time until his eye healed and he had to train again.  He didn't want to, prayed his father would stop before than, prayed his eye would never heal and he would be useless to Endeavor.  Praying never seemed to work.

 

Father backhanded him so hard his vision went white for a moment, clearing only to see the burning red fire above him, dancing around the face of a devil. "Get up!  Get up, Shouto! i swear, keep this up you aren't getting dinner!"

 

The hands reached for him again, grabbing his thin arms, burning blisters into his skin, only making him cry harder. Another blow caught him in the stomach, knocked the air from his lungs and he sunk to his knees.

 

"You better get up and start fighting back, i can keep this up until you do."

 

"Dad, please, it hurts."

 

"It's supppsed to hurt!"

 

"Stop!" Blue flames suddenly blasted towards them, Shouto squirmed away just in time, watching in terror as Endeavor's eyes grew narrow.

 

"Get the hell out, Touya. You were begging me to stop training you a week ago, now every day you want to interfere with your brother's training." Father yelled, "you're a failure, you have no place here."

 

"You can't keep doing this, hes a kid!" Touya yelled.  There were bandages still wrapped around his arm and throat, bruises still decorating his face from daily beatings of just disrespecting their Father.  Shouto didn't know if he wanted to run and hide behind his brother for protection or if he wanted to beg Touya to just leave so he wouldn't get hurt more.

 

Even so young, Shouto always knew how this ended for Touya.

 

"Come on, come on!" Someone was grabbing his arm and he nearly attacked them, disoriented as Compress pulled him up and out of the truck.  There was a throbbing in his head, so painful his eyes blurred. He could feel it bleeding under his hood. It was suddenly hard to breathe with the mask.

 

Sand and fire flew through the air, chaos and screaming.  Dabi and the hero were fighting, causing chaos around him. He fell to his knees on the pavement, eyes wide as he stared at the ground.

 

Touya looked desperate as Father stormed towards him, simply batting away his fire attacks like they were nothing.  The desperation and anger bled into fear when Endeavor towered over him, grabbing a handful of white hair he kicked his legs out and slammed him face first into the floor.

 

Shouto gasped for air on the floor, holding his bleeding nose as he cried, watching the scene unfold, watching Endeavor twist Touya's arm behind his back, pressing his face harder into the floor.

 

"I hate you." Touya hissed his normal line, "you're fucking trash.  Can't you just leave Sho alone, let him be a kid? I hate you."

 

Endeavor yanked his head back by his tangled hair, without a single word, and smacked his head off the floor again.  Blood dripped from an open gash in his temple, and he spit up some onto the floor, grimacing when Father twisted his arm further, fingers digging into the bandages.

 

Still, Touya turned his head the best he could to smile with blood stained teeth at his Father. "You're no hero."

 

"Beg me not to break your arm." Endeavor said calmly, coldly, "if you beg good enough, maybe i won't do it."

 

"Fuck you." Touya responded.

 

His head was suddenly smacked against the floor again and wrenched backwards by his hair, arm twisted even further, Father's knee digging into his spine as he growled into his ear, "you think I won't do it?  I've broken your arm how many times by now? You think a useless little shit like you needs an arm? Beg or I will break it."

 

Touya coughed up blood, his nose obviously broken yet he still wore that bloody smirk even while his eyes screamed his agony. "Fuck. You."

 

"Dad, please don't!  Please!" Shouto screamed.

 

Touya wouldn't beg.  He wouldn't until the damage was too much to bear.  After long hours of Fathers nonstop torture, the constant beatings and whippings, the drowning and burning, the continuous breakdown and destruction of Touya's mind, Touya became so used to the pain it took a lot to get him to beg.  Touya wouldn't beg until his arm was broken, and even Father wouldn't stop until he saw fit.

 

"Not you, Shouto!  Stop fucking crying!  I want him to beg, not you! Beg, Touya, beg! Or I swear I will snap your arm clean."

 

"Go to hell."

 

Shouto couldn't bear to watch it anymore, couldnt bear to be hurt and watch his brother be hurt.

 

Father slammed his head back into the floor, hand tightened around Touya's bandaged arm, twisting slowly as Touya grit his teeth and prepared for it.

 

Shouto acted without a thought, sending ice across the floor, coming up at his Father in violent spikes.  The force knocked him off of Touya, allowing the older boy to crawl backwards out of their Father's reach and hold his thankfully unbroken arm close to him as he looked at Shouto with wide eyes.

 

He shot his hand up, ice covering the ground, shooting up and mixing with the force of the fire, piercing through the sand and freezing it in an instant as the hero screamed something at Dabi.

 

Just like that, in the blink of an eye, Snatch was compressed into a marble and dropped to the street.

 

"Is…Is he dead?" Mr. Compress asked, walking over slowly.

 

"Should be, only his upper body was sand so I think so." Dabi answered with a shrug then looked at Shouto as Compress joined Shigaraki.  "I totally had that handled, by the way."

 

Shouto didn't comment that Dabi smelled like burning flesh, or that he was holding the barely healed area where he burned his stomach months prior.  He just tried to focus on breathing and grounding himself back in reality. 

 

"You good?  You smacked your head pretty damn hard.  Spinner, that fuckin' nutcase, he almost killed us." Touya bent down and for a split second Shouto only saw a bruised and bloody face with white hair looking back at him.  An image of Endeavor behind him. He crawled backwards.

 

"Hey, hey.  It's okay, man.  Damn, you're bleeding." Dabi straightened upright again, looking towards the scene where Shigarakis ranting was coming from.

 

Shouto looked over, seeing Overhaul strapped down helpless as the leader of the league screamed in his face.  He watched, eyes wide as compress revealed his prosthetic arm then suddenly, Shigaraki touched Chisaki.

 

Fear came over the man's face, watching in horror as Tomura sliced the arm clear off, sending it flying as blood splattered from the severed limb.  And Shouto watched, frozen where he was sitting.

 

Devils. 

Who only wish to cause harm to others.

Chapter Text

 

stripped to the core

To the soul, to the i dont know

Stripped to the bone

To the matter, to the flesh, and oh

Stripped to the floor

In the morning, lies and lullabies

Stripped

Without clothes, without dirt, without baggage, without consciousness

And you are weightless.


 

Dabi paced around the room, knuckles already bloody from punching holes into the walls. "We can't just leave him!"

 

Jin tried to reason with him, "Dabi, you need to calm down. You're hurt and-"

 

"Fuck if im hurt." He snapped back.

 

"Your brother is hurt too.  You need to calm down, let us take a look at that burn on your stomach." Mr. Compress added, sitting behind Shouto as he cleaned the gash in the back of his head.

 

"We aren't leaving Kurogiri!  I don't give a fuck, i am breakin' him out if i gotta do it myself!" He nearly screamed, staples in his mouth pulling free, blood dripped from them.

 

"Dabi, you can't! Tartarus is maximum security! Dont be stupid, it's suicide!" Spinner joined in.

 

"Well, that's fuckin perfect 'cause I'm stupid and suicidal!" He snarled back.

 

"You need to calm down." Jin repeated, "Shouto… he's been off since we got back.  He doesn't look okay. You really need to calm down, for him at least."

 

Dabi took a deep breath, looking over at his little brother.  Damn brat was making that weird face again, like he was hypnotized or something, in a trance staring off at something in the distance.  Their Mother used to make that face, just tune out everything and leave her body. 

 

Shouto had been like that since the highway, in this daze the whole way back and the entire time since they came home.

 

Touya's hands were shaking again and he tried to control it, yanking at his hair to distract himself as he exhaled and stomped over. "What's wrong with you?"

 

Shouto stared off, not even acknowledging him.

 

"Hey brat, fuckin' speak!"

 

"Dabi…" compress said sternly, "sit down.  You look like you'll collapse at any minute."

 

"Don't tell me what to do." He said, but he sat down anyways and bent forward, shaking hands returning to his head to pull on his hair mercilessly as he rocked back and forth.

 

"Hey… youre, youre having one of those panic attacks, arent you?" Jin asked, reaching forward to touch his shoulder.  He jumped back a few steps when Dabi swipped at him.

 

"Dont touch me!" He suddenly stood, "where's the liquor, i need a drink.  No i need something stronger, I'm calling Giran."

 

Compress stood up then, reaching for him, "Dabi, no.  You just got clean, don't relapse again."

 

"Fuck off! Let go!" He yanked his arm away, breath now coming out in pants.  His eyes fell on Shouto, still vacant in face. "The fuck is wrong with you?!"

 

"Dabi, you need to calm down!"

 

He backed himself into a wall, pressing his back so hard against it he felt his stitches tear.  Eyes stared at him, concerned and cautious like he was some kind of feral animal. "Why are you all staring at me! Stop staring at me!"

 

Jin put his hands up, "we aren't going to hurt you."

 

"Quit saying that, I'm not afraid of you!  Im not weak! Im not… im not weak!" He grabbed his head again, leaning forward, "im not weak!"

 

"Weak, worthless little brat.  Why do you bother defying me, you know it always ends like this.  Youre so pathetic."

 

"No one said you were.  We're just trying to help."

 

"Get up.  You want to act like a man, get up and fight me like one. Lying there choking on your own blood.  You are so useless."

 

Hands tried to touch him again when he dug his nails into the stitches below his collarbone, tearing them out. Fire flared up on his shoulders. "Don't touch me!"

 

"You need to stop."

 

"Face the wall, worthless bastard.  Your siblings are going to count every lash, maybe then you'll learn to stop acting this way."

 

"Fuck all of you!"

 

Shouto suddenly stood, voice loud, "shut the fuck up, Touya! Knock it off!"

 

Everything went still for a moment, then Dabi actually fell over laughing hysterically, "oh, you finally came around?"

 

Just as suddenly, Shouto went void again and sat back down.  Dabi grit his teeth, eyes screwing shut. Hands grabbed at him again and he yelled curses.

 

"Let us see!"

 

His shirt was pulled up, he squirmed away the best he could as the looked at the large burn that reopened, growing now spreading up to his chest from his hip.  He used too much power in that fight.

 

"Oh my god…" jin covered his mouth like he was sick and stepped away.

 

"Dabi, why didn't you tell us you burned yourself this badly?  We need to call the doc, this is really serious." Compress said.

 

Shouto still stared off into the distance.


.


Shouto sat in one of the chairs outside of the lab, his head still throbbing as he listened to Dabi yelling and cursing at the doctor within the lab.  They told him he had a slight concussion from hitting his head, which explained his dizziness and the ringing in his ears. They gave him pain killers, and everyone seemed to be keeping a close eye on him.

 

He felt numb, lost within some sort of void in his head.  There were no thoughts, no questions, no doubt or fear. Just this numbness that seeped into his bones.

 

Touya's furious cursing and colorful insults soon turned to delirious sobbing and pleading for it to stop.  Shouto wasn't sure what procedure was done for his burns, but it sounded agonizing.

 

"He'll be okay, this isn't the first time and won't be the last." Compress told him.

 

"Yeah, it sounds like torture, but the Doc is helping him." Toga added.

 

Shouto had seen Touya be tortured firsthand, but he never sounded like that before.

 

"You should try to eat something." Compress said, "we all should.  It'll be another few hours until hes done, and Dabi will probably pass out soon so at least he won't be screaming."


He wasn't even sure how he ended up in front of a table with a plate of steaming food in front of him.  The others were seated around the table, talking amongst each other and carrying on as if nothing had happened and everything was normal, as if a hero wasn't just killed and a man's arm wasn't chopped off.

 

His eyes followed them, darting from person to person but he couldn't process what they were saying.  Couldn't hear anything other than screaming within his head.

 

"You really should eat." Toga was looking at him as she munched on a raw carrot, it took Shouto a bit to realize she was talking to him.

 

He glanced back down at the untouched plate, not able to bring himself to pick up the chopsticks.

 

"Is he good? He's lost it, hasn't he? " Jin was whispering loudly to Toga. "Not that I can judge, we're all mad here. He's creeping me out, man."

 

"Shouto, was that the first time you saw a person die?" Compress asked.

 

He couldn't answer.  It wasn't. It was the fourth person he saw die. The fourth life he aided in taking, this one wasn't just him like the first three, but his ice was also in the mix of fire that killed the hero.  

 

"Or was it the arm mutilation?  Because i can assure you, that the Yakuza had it coming.  He cut off my arm, and murdered our friend."

 

Maybe he didn't think this through well enough.  Maybe he was too impulsive when he ran off to join Touya.  It was so unlike him, he wasn't normally this impulsive. He was calm, rational, and cautious.  Touya and Natsuo were the reckless ones in the family, not Shouto.

 

"Maybe it's cause of Dabi?" Spinner said. "He'll be okay.  It sounds bad, but he always bounces back quick. Hes pretty tough. He'll be fine."

 

But he wouldn't be, and Shouto was foolish to think he would.  Touya wasn't just being melodramatic when he was killing himself and would die by the time all this as over.   Shouto was hit with that revelation when he saw the burns across his stomach and chest, that their Father had been wrong and there wasn't a way for Touya to build resistance to his flames. They were actively burning him, and he was dying slowly over time.  He likely wouldn't survive much longer at the rate he was going, and Shouto would lose him all over again.

 

He stood up and left without a word, leaving his food behind and the other villains.  He sat in the hall again, they must have been right and Dabi must have passed out, because he couldn't hear the screaming or cursing anymore.

 

His phone rang and he jumped, forgetting he still had two days left of service before it would be cut off.  He didn't recognize the number, afterall he had deleted all of his contacts.

 

Numbly, almost like he was in a trance, he picked up and didn't say a word.

 

"Shouto?" Natsuo. "Shouto, thank the gods, i didn't think you'd pick up."

 

He still didn't speak.

 

"I saw the news… what… what the hell are you doing?!"

Chapter Text

 

Hurtful words from my enemies of the last five years

"What's it like to die alone?"

And "how does it feel when tears freeze when you cry?

The blood in your veins is twenty below."


 

Shouto didn't say anything, he debated hanging up as his heart pounded in his chest.  He hasn't spoken to Natsuo since that day, and with everything that he had done Shouto almost didnt believe he deserved to.  

 

He had hoped his cover was strong enough to not be recognized, but hairdye and a mask couldn't dp much to hide who he was.  He wasn't as lucky (or unlucky) as Touya to have aged ten years, changed so drastically. Shouto still looked like Shouto.

 

"Look, i don't know if anyone else figured it out, and i haven't told anyone… but that ice user with the mask… his style of fighting was a little different with that attack but…" natsuo let out a long exhale, he sounded nervous. "shouto those people are dangerous, what are you doing?"

 

Shouto swallowed, still silent.  He didn't know what to say. He tried to force himself to say something , tried to will himself to feel, but he felt as cold as the ice in his veins.

 

"If Dad finds out, I don't want to know what he'll do to you." There was a long silence. 

 

He'll probably try to kill me, Shouto thought but didnt say. It would probably be worse because ge was too valuable in Endeavor's mind to kill.  Touya was disposable, all the other children were. But Shouto wasn't that lucky, Father put too much into him.

 

"The fire user, with the blue flames…" Natsuo spoke slowly, his voice shaking again . "it… it can't be him, okay.  They are tricking you."

 

"It's Touya." He said.  His voice even sounded cold.

 

"Shouto. Touya's… Touya's dead.  There's no way he survived that night, and he was sickly, there's no way he would have-"

 

"The box cutter, he stabbed himself with it by accident trying to protect you from Dad." Shouto said, his voice was even and monotone.  His ears were still ringing but he heard Natsuo gasp.

 

"How, how'd you know that?"

 

"He told me."

 

"Holy shit… holy fucking shit…" Natsuo mumbled, there was a silence where it sounded like Natsuo was crying. "it… it doesn't make sense, okay.  There's just no way... He… he couldn't have survived that. He-"

 

"He did.  I'm not going back, i can't go back… just, don't… don't tell anyone, please."

 

"Shouto, you are going to get yourself killed!  These… these things never end well. You'll be killed or arrested.  youre only fifteen, please don't throw your life away."

 

"I can't do it anymore.  I can't live like that, i cant live with him."

 

" Sho, if he finds out he's going to kill you, or worse!"

 

He couldn't bring himself to feel a thing, only static buzzing in his head.

 

"Not if I kill him first."

 

"What?!"

 

"He abused us, he locked away Mom, he tortured Touya and made us watch.  He controlled everything i did and beat me if i made even a simple mistake… he tried to kill our brother.  He deserves to die."

 

"I know youre mad, but once you kill someone you cant go back and-"

 

"Exactly, that's why i said i cannot go back now."

 

"Wait, Shouto, what do you mean-"

 

Simple as that, he hung up.


.


Shouto was sitting cross legged on the bed when Dabi got back from meeting with Giran.  He was already in the middle of a trip and the little freak was creeping him out, sitting there with a vacant expression and his eyes fixed on the wall.

 

He half expected to be yelled at and scolded for using by his little brother, already rehearsed his comebacks, but Shouto didn't say a word.

 

He stuck a hand in front of his little brother's face and waved it to try to get him to snap out of it but Shouto didn't even blink.

 

"What's wrong with you?" He asked, turning to flop down on his back on the other bed.  His stomach wound hurt around the edges, the new staples itched and his body wanted to reject them.  Getting high helped deal with the pain of it, but made the itching worse.

 

He stared up at the cracks in the ceiling, glancing back at Shouto's blank expression.  The cold, wideeyed expression. The way he seemed like he was in another world and left his body behind. It was all so oddly familiar.

 

Mother felt like a stranger by the time Touya was cast aside, she was nothing like he remembered her before Dad began locking him away.  Touya couldn't help but wonder if it was his fault his Mom was such a mess.

 

She was sitting on the sofa, staring at the black screen of the TV with that odd look on her face.

 

"Mom… im hungry." He said, "we… haven't had any dinner."

 

She had been sitting there since that afternoon, after Dad took Shouto to the training room.  she had tried to stop him and he hit her.  

 

"Mom…" he repeated, standing in front of her.  She seemed to look through him. "Do you hate me?  Im sorry i wasn't good enough for Dad and hes hurting Shouto now because of me." He picked at the scabs from the burns he wouldn't let heal. "Please, look at me, I'm… I don't know what to do..."

 

"Touya?" Fuyumi was standing in the archway between the living room and the kitchen, Natsuo standing beside her. "Wanna help me with dinner?"

 

He held his head down as he walked to join them in the kitchen, sitting on the countertop as his twin took the raw chicken out of the fridge.

 

"Dad will be mad if there's no dinner." He said, knocking his shoes against the cabinets.  Dad will hurt their Mom if there's no dinner, and Touya was already beaten the night before for stepping between his parents, he didnt want to get beaten again but he couldn't take seeing their Father hurt her and break her anymore.

 

"Off the counter, Touya." Fuyumi ordered him as she preheat the oven. "And I know, that's why we'll make dinner.  That way he won't be angry."

 

He hopped down, reading the directions for the recipe after Fuyumi put it down.

 

"What's wrong with Mommy?" Natsuo asked.

 

The twins looked at each other.  Neither of them were sure either.

 

"She's sad." Fuyumi offered, but Touya knew it was more than that.  He didn't know what it was exactly, but he knew it wasn't something that would just go away.  

 

She attacked Shouto a few months after that.  She wouldn't see Shouto while she was in the hospital, the doctors advised against it.  She saw Fuyumi and Natsuo but didn't talk to them much, and whenever Touya came in she would sob uncontrollably until the doctors asked him to leave.

 

Dabi looked at his cigarette burning low at the filter, he had half a mind to put it out on his own hand until he noticed the drop in temperature in the room.  He glanced over to Shouto still in a daze. He realized it was suddenly so cold he could see his breath.

 

"Shouto?" He asked, sitting up.  "Man, am i just really high or is it freezing in here?"

 

Shouto didn't answer, didn't even give him shit for relapsing.  He just stayed stuck in that unblinking trance. Frost was building on his bedsheets, little icicles growing up for the dusting of frost.

 

"Wait, are you doing this?" Touya asked, setting out of bed.  The floor crunched under his feet, he looked down to see it was covered in a thin layer of ice. "Hey brat, you need to stop.  Its freezing even for me." He still got no reaction, "what the fuck is wrong with you? You're freaking me out you little bastard."

 

Shouto spoke all of a sudden, "Youre going to die, arent you?" Shoutos voice was as cold as his ice.  He still didn't look at him.

 

Dabi was a bit taken back by the sudden question, "Well, i mean, that's kinda the plan."

 

"You're a selfish, weak minded prick, you know that?"

 

Dabi took a step back, his eyes narrowing. "Yeah, i think Dad literally beat me over the head with that for the first fourteen years of my life, but thanks for reminding me." He gave a cruel smirk, even though Shouto still wasn't looking at him, "and you're a spoiled, entitled bitch so fuck you."

 

"You're just going to abandon me again. You dont care about me.  Don't care about anyone. Youre not capable of it anymore are you?  Just gonna abandon me. Its all anyone ever does."

 

He scoffed, "uh, i didn't abandon you. Dad literally tried to kill me and said he'd finish the job if i came back.  Fuck, you're dramatic."

 

Shouto acted as though he didn't even hear him.  Touya stared at him, that empty expression, the hollow sadness in his eyes, until he couldnt take the cold anymore.

 

Dabi left the room, going into the bathroom to break one of Toga's razors and cut himself with the blades, dragging it over his skin again and again until large gashes opened up on his thighs and bled onto the floor.

 

Even his own brother thought he was a piece of shit.

 

A knock at the door made him jerk, "Hey asshole, you gonna be long?"

 

It sounded like Shigaraki.  he ignored it.

 

"I know you're in there, heard you and half boy yelling at each other, you woke me up.  My room's right next to yours." There was a moment of silence. "Youre fucking cutting yourself in there, aren't you?"

 

He didn't get time to answer before the door was pushed open and he wished it had a lock.  Tomura cursed upon seeing the blood, grabbing towels if the rack.

 

"stupid, useless ashtray," he snarled, ripping the razorblade from his fingers and decaying it, "dumbass, sitting here high as fuck cutting yourself.  Can't stay clean for a week, can you? Gotta drop to your knees for drugs the second something goes wrong, don't you? Why do i bother letting you stick around?"

 

He pressed the towels to the open wounds and just stared at him as Dabi avoided eye contact, his chest heaving. 

 

"Hey, this is the part where you curse at me back and call me an ugly creep and scarface, and make fun of my shaky voice, and-- oh god, don't start crying.  Fucking hell." 

 

he couldn't help it, he was too high and fucked up emotionally to keep those protective walls up.  Dabi was nothing but a guard, he was an indifferent, cynical jerk too blunt to care, but under that mask was always Touya, and Touya was broken beyond repair.

 

"You've been strange since that kid showed up… I think I prefer you just being a standoffish asshole constantly being rude over this." Shigaraki was tired, it was easy to see by how  heavy his eyes were.  

 

He was quiet as he held the cloth to his cuts, then after a bit he spoke again, "you know… i don't remember anything before All for One found me.  My family, my childhood, anything… i know i killed my family, but i have no memory of it or them." He said softly, "but i think someone hurt me before, and my mind blocked it out to protect me.  I fear the day I remember it again."

 

Dabi stared at him, soft sobs still escaping him as he tried to hold them back.

 

"I… apologize for what i did to you… forcing you to tell us what your Father did to you… it was wrong."

 

He chuckled, wiping away the tears, "has hell frozen over?  Did you just admit you did wrong?"

 

"Shut up before i take it back." He said, checking if the bleeding stopped yet.

 

They were quiet again until Tomura saw the bleeding stopped and started to wipe up the blood after he wet the towel.

 

"I used to sit in the bathroom and cut myself while shouto was being forced to train," touya said in a hushed voice. "I tried to stop it a lot, but that fucker would just beat me until I couldn't get up and go back to hurting him.  I got sick of being beaten all the time, he'd seek me out for no reason but just to torment me, I didn't want to give him more reasons to hurt me… so i let him hurt my brother because I was so weak and selfish. Does that make me a bad person?"

 

"I don't know." Tomura answered, "do you think it does?"

 

"Yeah."

 

"Why was it your job to protect him?"

 

dabi shrugged, "I was the oldest."

 

"But weren't you sickly or something?"

 

"Kind of.  My quirk has always caused problems, and it was worse when I was a kid." He answered.

 

"Well, your shit father shouldn't have been beating you guys anyway.   So why don't you stop blaming yourselves and each other and blame him." Shigaraki said, "you want to kill him, don't you?  That's why you joined, isn't it?"

 

"Well, it wasn't the only reason i joined, but yeah.  I want him dead." Touya said, "it isn't that easy though… as much as i hate him i don't know if im strong enough to kill him, and Shouto… im not sure if he could do it mentally when push comes to shove."

 

"So you need back up then?  Well, everyone seems behind supporting the two of you, but the question is if you can survive that long without doing shit and if your brother can get past his mental breakdown thing he's having."

 

"Yeah, that basically sums it up."

 

Tomura sighed, chucking the bloody wash cloths and towels in the bathroom laundry. "In the meantime, i heard you said you want to break out Kurogiri too?"


Chapter Text

Down in a hole and i dont know if i can be saved

See my heart I decorate it like a grave

You don't understand who they thought i was supposed to be

Look at me now, a man who won't let himself be


 

Simple steps, they had to be rational and couldn't rush was what Compress said, but Dabi and everyone else wanted to break Kurogiri out sooner.  It was understandable, it would take time and it was a risk, so they would have to take some time to plan before doing anything.

 

Meanwhile, Shouto was still in that weird trance, and nothing Dabi did seem to break him out of it.  It was getting to the point he was feeling uneasy around his little brother. That feeling kept getting worse, with this added sense of helplessness.

 

It was a constant state of moving backwards.  They had to gather time, rather reinforcements just like the last time.  Touya couldn't help but feel frustrated, no closer to reaching his goal, no closer to finally killing that piece of shit.  He wondered why he bothered joining these people anyway, they were in over their heads. Wondered why he thought he could kill Endeavor, he'd probably be killed himself.

 

He came back to Shouto sitting on the edge of his bed, and like usual he just tried to ignore that he was being a little creep.  He couldn't get through to him.

 

"There's a hero that im looking into recruiting.  That weirdo with the wings." He said, not expecting an answer, "the one under Dad in ranks.  I dont really trust him, might be sent by the heroes. But just imagine if hes for real."

 

"Dad doesn't deserve to be number one." Shouto said his voice low and cold like usual.

 

Dabi chuckled, "Fuck no he doesn't but he is.  Asshole doesn't deserve to be a hero at all."

 

He got no further responses from Shouto, so he just carried on cleaning and changing the bedsheets.  His body was starting to adjust to the new patchwork, but it still hurt to move too quickly and the seams still itched, so he had to move slowly.

 

He glanced back over to his younger brother again as he went to leave, the vacant expression sending chills down his spine.  Maybe he shouldn't have let the kid join, obviously this was too much for him.



He tried to distract from the feeling of guilt and uneasy by drinking himself into a stumper.   Jin joimed him shortly after he started and poured himself a glass of rum.

 

"Think we can get back Kurogiri?"

 

Dabi shrugged. "Like i said, we gotta try.  The boss thinks we can, and maybe with the help of Hawks we could get security codes, I'll tell him its a test to get in?"

 

"You gonna let the bird in?"

 

"Nah, not that easy.  I dont trust him."

 

" You dont trust anyone.   Well you haven't burned him alive like the others so that's a step." Jin said, lighting a cigarette.

 

"He hasn't given me a reason to trust him or not to trust him yet." He was already starting to feel lightheaded, words slurring together. 

 

"Hows the kid?  I still haven't seen him leave the room or eat."

 

"He ate this morning, i brought food to him and he actually didnt fuss 'bout eating it.  He's still actin'... strange… honestly, it's reminding me of my Mother."

 

"Is...that a bad thing?" The other villain asked.

 

"In this case, yeah… my mom got so crazy she attacked him when he was a kid.  She just got like, lost inside herself, didnt know what was real and what wasn't… she made that same empty fuckin expression."

 

Jin seemed to think for a little, trying to be cautious of what he said, "you think we should worry?  He dangerous? "

 

"Well, yeah hes dangerous, but i don't think hed attack us… i just think maybe i shouldn't have let him in."

 

" Probably shouldn't have. Why do you think that?"

 

"Shouto's always been kinda soft, and hes real young. Too young to see all this shit.  I just think it would have been better if i refused to let him in… its kinda my fault he's like this right now."

 

"He made his choice though."



.



There was smoke everywhere.  So thick he couldn't see, so thick it suffocated him.  Shouto looked around the ruins and debris, blood splattered across the ground and walls, running like rivers through the streets, rushing under his feet.

 

He looked through the bodies, corpses burnt to black, heroes and villains and students.  He ran towards the motionless figure of Izuku, half of his face burned so badly he could see bone.  He screamed and crawled backwards, bumping into a sitting form of Momo, her entire body crisp and peeling.  

 

His breath came out uneven, gasping as tears rolled down his cheeks.  His other classmates, Denki, Iida, Ochaka, Bakugou, Kirishima, everyone, dead.  Amongst them were the bodies of heroes, Best Jeanist, his teacher Aizawa, Mic, Ruma, Hawks.  

 

He ran aimlessly through the streets, the city looked unfamiliar.  None of the buildings had names or signs on them. Not even address numbers.  There were bodies everywhere. He saw Toga and Jin burned and stabbed full of holes, Shigaraki, Spinner, Compress.  Everyone… they were dead, they were all dead.

 

He found Touya motionless on the ground and shook him, screaming his name so loudly it echoed.  His body was even more burned than before, bones and tissue showing in several places, blood pouring from stabwounds.

 

"Wake up!  Wake up!"

 

"Stand down, Shouto."

 

The voice of his Father made him freeze, his eyes wide with terror as he slowly turned around to face him.

 

Endeavor stood tall, taller than he remembered.  His broad frame was untouched, bright fire on his shoulders and face, his arms and legs.  He wore an expression of disappointment and disgust, like he did during training.

 

"You… you did this to them!" Shouto screamed, "you killed them!  You killed all of them!"

 

Endeavor's eyes narrowed, taking a large step closer to grab Shouto by the throat and lift him off his feet. "Have you lost your mind, boy?"

 

He still screamed, "You monster!  You killed them!"

 

"Me?" Endeavor asked, tightening his grip. "No, Shouto.  You did this."

 

His eyes widened, shaking his head as he clawed at the arm. "No…no, no, no!"

 

"You killed them all, one by one.  Killed the heroes, killed your former classmates in cold blood.  You killed the villains you ran away with. You murdered your own brother."

 

"No, no! Youre lying!" He shrieked, managing to get himself free.  He fell backwards, shaking his head, puling his hair, "you're lying!"

 

"You killed them all, Shouto.  Now i have to stop you." His Father held his hand out, ready to attack. "I never dreamed i would be destroying my own creation."

 

"No!"

 

He woke up fighting, screaming.  Hands were trying to hold him down, someone was speaking but he couldn't understand them.  His tears were freezing on one side of his face, dissolving on the other.

 

"No! Youre lying!" He screeched, sending ice towards the attacker, who barely managed to dodge.  He still couldnt see clearly through his tesrs and the left over terror from the dream.

 

"Stop it!  Calm the fuck down!" Someone was yelling, trying to grab him again and he snatched their arms, digging his nails into scarred flesh, activating both of his quirk.

 

There was a restrained sound of pain right before one of the arms was torn from his hand and a fist clocked him in the jaw.

 

He fell backwards off the bed, onto a thin layer of ice that covered the floor.  Shouto groaned in pain, finally snapping out of his dream.

 

Dabi was glaring at him, the staples under his eye were torn out and bleeding, his one arm looking burned raw while the other had ice on it.  The stitches around his left hand were torn too. "You're fuckin' crazy! What the hell is wrong with you?"

 

"Touya…" he whispered, dabbing at his bloody lip. "What… what happened?"

 

He was dead.  He remembered it so clearly, his eyes were glazed over and void of life. 

 

"I was trying to help you and you fuckin attacked me!  You need to be medicated, the fuck is wrong with you!?"

 

"Im… im sorry!" He said, panic grabbing his throat, "i didnt know where i was… i thought… did i hurt you?"

 

"Yes, you hurt me, dumbass!  You burned me!" Touya shouted at him.

 

He felt a rush of emotions like no other, like the dam just broke and everything he wasnt feeling just came washing over him.  The tears followed afterwards like a flood.

 

Dabi rolled his eyes and huffed before coming to sit down on the floor beside him. "Look, it ain't that bad.  I overreacted, im fine."

 

"It is bad!  I attacked you!"

 

"I probably should have backed off when you started freaking out.  Either way i get it, i've done similar before."

 

Shouto sniffed, rubbing his eyes, trying ti make himself stop.  He didn't know what was worse, feeling nothing or feeling everything. 

 

"You had some kinda nightmare?"

 

"I don't wanna talk about it." He said, as he calmed down he felt himself slipping away again and he wasn't sure if he wanted to hold on or let go anymore. "I feel like im in a hole, and whatever i do i can't get out of it.  I keep trying and trying but its like im stuck. I feel like im in too deep."

 

Touya sighed, "you wanna go back, don't you?"

 

"We both know I can't do that."

 

"Yeah, but it's okay to want to go back.  It's okay to miss home, i think."

 

"Do you?" Shouto asked.

 

It took Dabi a minute to answer, "Yeah… I do."

 

"Would they forgive us?  Would they understand?"

 

"Shouto, we killed people… i don't think they'd excuse that.  If we get caught you know what would happen."

 

"Promise me you won't leave me when this is over." 

 

Touya gave him a pained expression, shaking his head. "You know i can't promise that."

 

"Please, Touya.  You're all i have left.  Just promise you wont leave."

 

"I can't.  I made that promise before to you and fuyumi and natsuo, and i broke it.  I can't promise that."

 

Shouto felt the rush of desperation come back, "you didn't have a choice then, it's not like you meant to leave me then.  It was Dad who made the choice you left and this time-"

 

"What makes you think i have a choice now?" Dabi cut him off, "I didn't then and i don't now.  I can't make that promise knowing im not going to be able to keep it. I told you you didn't want this, but you insisted and now here we are.  We can't change that and i can't change the outcome of all this. Im going to die by the end of this, and im sorry but i don't have control over that."

 

"But where does that leave me? You die by the time this is over where do i go, what do i do?"

 

"I can't answer that for you, Sho.  I don't know, you gotta figure that out yourself."

 

Shouto set his jaw, his fists shaking, "I'm not gonna let you die."

 

"Nothin' you can do about it, kid.  It's fine, I'm fine with it. Living like this is just… it sucks, okay?  Its painful and tiring and ill be glad when its done. So its okay. Just… don't say shit like that, cause we both know you cant keep that promise either."



.



Shouto stared at the phone, ringing for the fourth time.  He knew now the number was Natsuo's even though he didn't add it back into the phone.  He was going to just ignore it, his service would be cut off the next day and then he would get a new number and not have to worry about it.

 

He bit into his lip the fifth time the phone rang, then gave into the urge to answer the phone.

 

"Shouto?  Shouto, you there?"

 

"It's the last time, Natsuo." He said, the coldness in his voice hurt to hear.

 

"Wait, just… fuck, listen to me for a minute, okay?"

 

"My phone gets shut off tomorrow, this will be the last time i contact you."

 

"Just listen, please!" Natsuo yelled for a minute, then took a deep breath, "okay, i might be crazy to say this, but hear me out… I don't know what exactly you're planning, if that villain could be Touya , or what's really going on but… i want in."

 

Shoutos eyes widened, "wait, what?"

 

"I want in."

Chapter Text

If he said "help me kill the president"

I'd say that he needs medicine

Tired of screaming let us in

All that he invested in goes

Straight to hell

Straight to hell


 

Maybe it wasn't the brightest idea to agree to meet up with Natsuo in an abandoned warehouse, and it likely wasn't a great idea to bring Touya, and it was definitely a bad idea not to tell Touya or Natsuo that the other would be there.

 

It wasn't that Shouto didn't trust his brother, but he couldn't be sure Natsuo wasn't followed or wouldn't be alone.  

 

Shouto watched his brothers stare at each other. The tension in the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife. He swallowed, his eyes darting between them.  Natsuo stayed back at a safe distance, slowly looking Dabi up and down.

 

"Why are you tricking him?" Natsuo asked slowly.

 

Dabi narrowed his eyes, "what?"

 

"It… can't be…" his gray eyes scanned the villain again, shaking his head, "can't be."

 

"Natsuo, we've been through this.  He's Touya." Shouto said, a little annoyed.

 

"So he has the same quirk, that isn't proof.  Fire isn't an uncommon quirk." Natsuo said, "and I was there.  There was no way Touya would have survived. He was bleeding out, and a mile into the woods.  There's no way. Why are you tricking him?"

 

"Natsuo-"

 

"It's fine.  He doesn't want to believe it, wants to live in denial.  I personally don't give a shit. Why are you here if you think I'm trickin' him?" Dabi asked.

 

"Because he's my little brother and I don't want him to be alone," Natsuo answered, his eyes like steel now, "I want to be sure he's okay and that he's safe."

 

"He ain't alone."

 

"And you aren't Touya." Natsuo said, an edge to his voice, "Touya wasn't like this.  He wouldn't kill people, kidnap children, and terrorize innocents. He wouldn't do this to people. He wouldn't become this."

 

"You guys left me for dead so I didn't have much of a choice.  Maybe if you actually stood up to that fucker or hadn't ran away for attention in the first place i wouldn't have become this.  You have no clue what i had to do out there, maybe if you and Dad didnt leave me-"

 

"Shut up!" Natsuo screamed, suddenly exploding, "you don't get to throw that in my face and try to manipulate me like you manipulated Shouto!  I don't know how you found out this shit or how you know all of this-"

 

"I know because i fuckin lived it, you idiot!"

 

"Guys, stop!" Shouto yelled, drawing their attention. "Natsuo, hes Touya.  I'm telling you. It's hard to see at first, but when you're around him long enough you really notice it.  He isn't manipulating me, I made the choice myself. And Touya, please stop making it worse."

 

He watched the storm calm.  He couldn't blame either side.  Dabi was on edge as it was, and had been in a sour mood all day.  His anger was justified. And Natsuo was traumatized by that event, and it was probably easier to believe Touya died that day than believe he survived the ordeal and was alone for all that time.  He could understand them both, but neither of them seemed to understand each other.

 

"We can't trust him.  He doesn't think im me and he thinks im manipulating him.  He'll lead Dad to us."

 

"Are you serious?" Natsuo yelled again, "you have no idea what our Dad would do to him if he found out what Shouto's doing!  Id never tell him!"

 

"Oh i have an idea, probably similar to what he did to me all those years ago." Dabi snapped back.

 

"Stop acting like you're him, you aren't him."

 

"Really?  Im not? Take a closer look, why don't you?" Dabi started walking up to Natsuo, looking far too intimidating than he meant to.  Natsuo put his fists up, urging him to stay back.

 

"Look, idiot.  Look at my eyes, they're the same, aren't they?" Touya asked, he lit fire in his hand, making Natsuo take another step back, "my quirks the same, too.  Here, touch my hand." He snatched Natsuo's wrist, holding it tight, "my body is cold like Mom's, isn't it?"

 

Natsuo yanked his hand back, shaking his head and taking another couple steps back.  Eyes wide as Dabi pulled his shirt up, pointing to a number of faded scars on his stomach. "That's the time I fell outta the tree in the back yard and scraped my hip on the fence.  That one was when I pissed Dad off and he threw me into the table and i got cut on the steak knife Fuyumi left out."

 

He bent down to pull up one of his pant legs, pointing at a scar on his knee, "that's from the time I fell in the driveway playing tag.  You laughed at me until you saw i was bleeding." He turned to lift his shirt to show his lower back and the scars Shouto noticed there before, "those are all the times he used to make me stand against the wall.  I think that's how you learned to count so high, wasn't it?" He turned back around and showed his hands, the mark on the back of his hand, "remember when Dad shattered my hand so bad the bone went through the skin and he told everyone i fell down the steps?"

 

"Stop!" Natsuo yelled.

 

"Id show you the stab wound and the other scars, but it's covered by this patchwork shit now."

 

"Stop!" He repeated, there were tears in his eyes, "stop, okay… stop…"

 

They were quiet again and everything was still, Natsuo just kept shaking his head and looking him up and down as Shouto watched from the sidelines.

 

"What… what happened to you?  What… how…" he just kept looking him up and down, the tears starting to spill.

 

"Go home." Touya said, just like he said to Shouto, "just get the hell out of here and forget this happened."

 

"Are you kidding me?  I… I thought you were dead!  I'm not leaving you again, im not leaving Shouto!"

 

"You don't want this.  I don't want another one of you doing this. I'm seriously fucked mentally. Shoutos already fucked up because i let him in, you'll get fucked up too.  Just leave. I don't know what Shouto told you, but he's a mess right now-"

 

"Touya, i'm literally right here, geez."

 

"It's true though!  I corrupted you! I fucked your life up. I'm not fucking his life up too!"

 

Shouto's eyes widened, is that what he thought? That he corrupted Shouto? "Touya…"

 

"This is stupid. You're both fuckin stupid.  I'm leaving." With that Dabi just walked out, leaving them alone.

 

He looked back to his older brother, who had dropped to his knees holding his head.  Eyes full of confusion and horror. "What… what happened to him, oh my god… how… how could I leave him like that…"

 

"Natsuo… look, he isn't as bad as he looks." That was a lie. "He'll be okay." That was also a lie. "Im okay, too." That was a huge lie.

 

"What am I supposed to do?"

 

"Well… like Touya said, you can go home and forget this happened… or like I said, you can come with us, but it isn't easy like this.  Its a mess honestly." Shouto said, "it's up to you what you want to do, but you can't talk me out of this. I cannot go back, neither can Touya, and if you come along too then sooner or later you won't be able to either."

 

Natsuo looked up, his voice small, "Is it my fault?"



.



"I really don't think it's your fault, kid." Giran said, handing him a rolled up bill.  He watched Dabi as he took the lines, rubbing circles into his back. "I think its your Pop's fault for thoroughly fucking up all of his kids."

 

He leaned back as the older man slung an arm around him. "But i became a villain and they followed me.  Now Shouto is a wreck and Natsuo isn't far behind if he starts down this path… maybe I was too harsh. I kinda implied it was his fault because I was pissed.  I don't want this for them, for any of them. I'm gonna get them all killed."

 

Girans hand played with his hair, looking at him fondly like a broken child he adored, "they have free will, don't they?"

 

He shrugged, head spinning as it kicked in, puffing on his cigarette while Giran started to run his hand up his side, under his shirt.

 

"You haven't been eating, have you?"

 

"Food's kinda hard to come by right now."

 

"Let me order delivery. We'll call it a date, sunshine." He breathed into his ear, making him shiver.  His hand undid his belt, slipping into his jeans. Touya's breath hitched, legs shaking, unsure if they wanted to spread further or slam shut.

 

"You okay?" Giran asked, pulling his head back to stare at him.  He kept his hand moving slowly, and Dabi nodded and closed his eyes. "You know you can say no, right?"

 

"Can I?" He opened an eye and smirked, words slurring, "you're giving me free drugs an' shit."

 

"You have a choice, Dabi, I wouldn't force you.  I know people forced you before, but I'm not like that, baby, you know that, right?  I just wanna make you feel good, is all. But if you aren't up to it tonight that's okay."

 

He stared up at the ceiling, trying to breathe even as fingers went lower, asking permission.  He took a deep breath, shaking all over now.

 

Giran suddenly pulled away completely, "you're terrified to say no, aren't you?  You're shaking so bad right now."

 

His eyes didn't leave the ceiling. "I'm fine."

 

"You aren't, baby."

 

When he didn't move to redo his belt and jeans, Giran did it for him.

 

"I'm not broken." Dabi whispered, "I'm not weak.  I'm able to say no."

 

"Never said you were broken or weak, and normally you say no just fine, but when you're like this you let me do whatever I want to you and i think it's a bit concerning.  I'm not really comfortable with fucking someone who looks like he's about to break down sobbing and wants me to stop." The older man said, taking his phone out to look through pizza sites to order from.

 

"And don't ever think you have to sleep with me for the drugs. I'll just settle for some company, i get lonely." He added after a few minutes.

 

Dabi looked back at Giran, watching him scroll through the menu on his phone. "I really don't know what to do anymore.  I don't want this for them."

 

"You just do what you think is right, and they'll make their own choices."

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Cause hurt people just hurt people

They do it, they do everyday, yeah

Hurt people just hurt people

Why are we used to the pain? Ooh

How many times until we had enough?

We just gotta find a way to love

My heart is broken just talking about this

'Cause hurt people just hurt people

They do it, they do everyday


 

Shouto still couldn't shake the feeling of being detached from his reality.  At times he felt a bit more grounded, but he always slipped away after a little.  He started to think maybe it was easier that way.

 

Dabi seemed pissed at him for involving Natsuo, but hadn't brought it up or lashed out at Shouto about it yet.  To be fair, he was drunk or high most of the time again, so Shouto thought maybe Dabi couldn't argue that much in that state.

 

He paid his phone bill for one more month until Natsuo made his choice, but did his best to delete any of the messages he got from other numbers, from his former classmates, without reading too many of them.

 

As far as Shouto could tell, no one else had identified him as the villain.  There were news articles detailing the new ice quirk villain that had appeared with the League of Villains, but they all only had a few grainy photos and claimed to not know the villain's identity.

 

Shouto still couldn't help but worry what people would think if they knew, what his classmates, teachers would think, what his father would think.

 

The thought made him disconnect again.

 

.

 

Shouto stared at the creature inside tank, floating in the greenish blue liquid.  It was a monster like he'd never seen before. Hideous and far more nightmare fuel than the other Nomu the League used at the raid on the Camp.

 

"It's a High End." Dabi told him, indifference on his face to contrast Shouto's horror. "The doc is making several of'em."

 

"What's it for?" Shouto asked, glancing back at the mad doctor.

 

"Destruction." Ujiko answered offhandedly.

 

"When it's ready, I'mma send it after him. " Dabi said, a cruel grin twisting his features.

 

Revenge driven by hurt was the cruelest form of revenge.

.

 

The three of them sat in a circle on the floor of another abandoned warehouse a week later. 

 

"So, if i did say i decided to go with you guys, would i have to drop out of college?" Natsuo asked.

 

"If you wanted to actually take part in the things we do. Then yeah, you probably would." Shouto confirmed. "But if you stayed on the sidelines, kept it secretive, then that might actually come in handy."

 

"I do have access to medical supplies, medications, and the like… so if I stayed I can be useful to you guys in that way, medically." Natsuo said, his eyes lingering on Touya's scars.

 

"He has a point." Shouto agreed.

 

Natsuo fiddled with his hands for a minute, "Do I have to do the things you guys do, like.. kill people?"

 

Shouto chewed his lip, "Well… no, you can stay out of the battles, but we don't know exactly what could happen or what situations we could all get involved in."

 

"So you might." Dabi added, more bluntly than Shouto could say. "and likely will if the situation called for it."

 

"I don't know if I can do that." Natsuo admitted.

 

"Then go the fuck home." Touya said sharply, causing his brothers to look up.

 

"What is wrong with you?" Natsuo asked, his eyes narrowed, slight venom rising in his voice.

 

"It isn't a fuckin' walk in the park.  It isn't somethin' you should just hop into.  It definitely isn't fun or an easy thing either." Dabi said, his tone cold, "I told Shouto the same thing, but he didn't listen or think it through.   You do this, no matter how involved you get, you'll be considered a villain by association, and one day you may have to kill someone."

 

"I'm aware of that." Natsuo snapped back. "So what's the objective here in the league?"

 

"It varies, everyone kind of has their own objectives, but the main goal is destroying the hero society and leveling the playing field to create a more even living for everyone no matter their quirk." Dabi explained, "Shouto and I personally, we're going to kill Endeavor."

 

"You're… going to kill Dad?"

 

"When the time comes."

 

Natsuo swallowed, looking away.  He made that posture again of being a lost child in a grown man's body. 

 

"Natsuo, he needs to die." Shouto said.  He sounded monotone to his own ears, "we all know the type of person he is, what he's done to all of us and to Mom… he needs to be exposed for who he is."

 

"Then why not expose him?" Natsuo asked, "why fight him?  What if he hurts you guys?"

 

"What's the worst he could do?  He can't do much more than he's already done to us, aside from actually killing us." Touya said, "the main thing is who is going to believe us if we go about it the "good" way?  Dad'll write it all off as crazy talk and the rambling of disobedient children. He's already started telling everyone Shouto running away was a result of a mental illness triggered by the pressure of being a hero.  And he claims I ran away years ago and all the doctor reports of the abuse Dad told them were product of self harm and I was mentally unstable. No one will listen."

 

"This way they'll be forced to listen, everyone will.  And we'll be the judge, jury, and executioner." Shouto added.

 

"But there has to be another way." 

 

"Stop tryin to protect that piece of trash." Dabi hissed through his teeth.

 

Natsuo suddenly raised his voice, fists shaking on his lap, "I'm not trying to protect him, I'm trying to protect the two of you , idiot.  He tried to kill you, Touya.  He left you for dead. He almost killed you, several times.   And Shouto is just a kid, Dad can, will, and has hurt him, he'll hurt him again if he catches wind of this.  Do you have any idea what he'll do to Shouto if he catches wind of this, how angry he already is with Shouto for running away?"

 

The youngest brother took a deep inhale, feeling his breath come out cold when he exhaled.

 

"It's different now, I'm not a worthless weakling anymore.  I'll kill him this time. If he even tried to touch Shouto I'll fuckin' slaughter him." Dabi yelled back.

 

Shouto felt his hands shaking, his mind turning off, that feeling of tingling numbness take over his body.

 

"Touya, he's strong.  You don't understand. He's even stronger now than he was when we were kids, and he's had to hold back all that violence since you left.  With the pent up rage he has he could kill the both of you."

 

"I don't give a fuck if i die, as long as I take him down with me."

 

"Are you fucking high?  That's insane! What's wrong with you?"

 

"Yeah I'm fucking high, you idiot, I'm always fuckin' high, get used to it!" Touya shouted back, both brothers' voices raised to a screaming match, "And i don't give a damn how powerful he thinks he is.  I'm not a fuckin' weak child he can beat into submission anymore, and Shouto is stronger than he'll ever be!"

 

Shouto was watching the scene from above his body, watching himself stare off into space as his brothers argued.

 

"Oh, so you're a drug addict now?"

 

"Why are you surprised? I lived on the street for eight years, the hell you think I did it to cope?"

 

"You're a wreck.  How the hell did you let yourself get this bad?"

 

"I don't know, how the hell did you leave me for dead?"

 

"I was eleven, you asshole!" Natsuo screamed, tears filling his eyes, flowing over the brims, a mixture of sorrow and anger where Dabi was all rage.

 

"And I was fourteen, what's your goddamn point!?" Touya shouted, getting off the floor, "this is stupid, wasting my goddamn time!"

 

Natsuo wiped his tears angrily with the back of his hand, standing up as well as Dabi headed towards the door, "What was I supposed to do, Touya? Tell me!  Think I could have fought him, changed his mind?  You're delusional!"

 

"And none of you even looked for me!" He looked like he'd start crying too, "do you guys have any idea how long I waited for one of you to reach out to me after all those years?  How fuckin' alone I was? What people did to me out there?"

 

"I thought you were dead, and Dad said he'd kill you if you survived and came back!  It… it isn't much fault you survived, it isn't my fault your dumbass tried to kill him and stabbed yourself!  It's not my fault he made me leave you! He hurt me too, it wasn't just you, Touya! Yeah, he hurt you worse physically than he hurt us, but he hurt us too!  He beat us too, made us watch him hurt you, he belittled us, and yeah you may have lived on the street but at least you got away from him and were free!"

 

Dabi scoffed, the tears leaving his eyes, burned away by the rage again.  His eyes looked like Endeavor's for a moment.

 

"Free? Oh, that's fuckin' rich.  Yeah, I sure was free starving and freezing cold out there, uh huh! Sure, was free getting close to people just for them to die! Oh, and some men definitely thought my body was free when they-"

 

"It wasn't our fault that happened to you!  I thought you were dead!"

 

"Well, I wish I was!"

 

"No, you don't get to act like-"

 

Suddenly ice shot up from the floor forming a wall between them, trailing from Shouto's body.  Shouto was forced back inside himself, gasping for air like he had been underwater the entire time.  He clawed at his throat, tears springing free from his eyes. 

 

"Shit." Touya muttered under his breath, walking over to sit beside him.  His hand hovered for a few moments, cautious until Shouto caught his eyes and then he patted his back.

 

Natsuo scrubbed the tears from his face, joining the other two. "Sorry, I… we got out of hand.   Didn't mean to scare you, lil bro."

 

"Both of you…" Shouto forced out through his gasps of panic, "stop being assholes.  None of it was… either of your faults… it's his. It's always been his."

Chapter Text

Black hole sun

Wont you come

And wash away the rain

Black hole sun

Wont you come?


 

He had a hard time admitting it to even himself, but Dabi felt guilty about the encounter with Natsuo.  

 

The argument circled around in his head non-stop. He reacted badly, he realized, let his anger get the better of him.  He hadn't seen Natsuo in so many years and all these emotions were coming up that he wasn't sure to do with. He didn't mean to lash out the way he did.

 

"With the High End Nomu attack, we could use that as a decent distraction to break out Kurogiri, right?" Mr. Compress was saying, drawing Dabi out of his thoughts and back into the meeting.

 

"If we played our cards right." Tomura said, "would need to get those security keys, any progress with that hero yet, Dabi?"

 

"Haven't brought it up with Hawks yet, but I will in the next meet up I have with him.  I'm sure if he really wants to get in he'll do it."

 

"What about the others?" Spinner asked, "All For One, Mustard, Muscular?" 

 

Shigaraki sighed, "Too much of a risk, really." 

 

" I totally agree. We can't leave them too!" Jin said.

 

"Sensei would be far too difficult to get to.  I don't believe Mustard is being held there at such a young age.  Muscular was a bastard, we don't need him. And moonfish was never very useful either." Tomura said, "but Kurogiri is the glue."

 

Dabi started to tune them out again, itching for another fix.  Maybe that would get the feeling of guilt to go away. Although, if he hadn't been as high as he was maybe he wouldn't have acted the way he did.

 

All of his solutions seemed to also be the problem.



.



"Hey brat, would ya quit starin' at me?" Touya snapped at his little brother, those mismatch eyes had been watching him drink for a while and it was starting to get on his nerves.

 

"If Natsuo wants to join, should we let him?"

 

"I don't give a fuck.  Do what you guys want." Dabi grumbled, downing another swig from the bottle, "it's the boss's choice either way, so if Natsuo decides he wants to ask Shigaraki about it."

 

"He doesn't hate you, you know." Shouto said, causing Dabi to turn back towards him sharply.

 

"What?"

 

"Natsuo - he doesn't hate you.  He's confused by what you're doing, what we're doing, I think, and hes worried about us, but he doesn't hate you."

 

Touya exhaled, absent-mindedly swirling around his drink.  He knew that in the back of his mind. Natsuo was always really close to him, kid used to follow him around the house, wouldn't leave him alone even if he snapped at him.  

 

Natsuo used to worry a lot too, about Touya.  He used to ask him constantly after Mom was sent away if Touya would leave them too…

 

He swallowed another mouthful.

 

"I think you said some things you shouldn't have said to him.  You weren't there, don't know how much everything that happened affected him.  He's never been the same, and i think he kinda blames himself for it."

 

Dabi still couldn't answer, but the pain in his chest worsened, he couldn't drown the guilt no matter how much he drank.

 

"Another thing, uh…" Shouto paused and looked away now, "when you mentioned people thought your body was free, and how you were… you said "men" you mean… you mean it happened more than once?  More than one person… did that?"

 

He groaned, "Ignore it.  Doesn't matter. Doesn't mean shit."

 

"It does matter, Touya.  You need to talk about this."

 

"Why is everyone always all up in my past wanting to know every goddamn detail?"

 

Shouto let out an exaggeration of a sigh, "cause you obviously need to talk about it if you're out here doing shit like this.  You've been drunk or high everyday lately. I know youre cutting yourself too… just talk for once."

 

Fuck, he was too drunk for this shit, especially with his kid brother.

 

"Three times," he mumbled, feeling the liquor heat his face, "it happened Three times, that's all.  The one i told you about shortly after I left. Then it happened again, when i was with the vigilantes, like sixteen or so… they… recruited a guy, a few years older than me at the time, seemed really cool… we got along but… we got real drunk together one night, and he..." 

 

The memories came back faster than his drunken brain could block them, suddenly he couldn't even move, couldn't down more booze to make it stop.

 

"he just did what he wanted, i couldn't fight him off and he wouldnt stop no matter what i said… he… cleaned me up after, cleaned up the evidence of what he did to me… and he just kept saying he didn't rape me, and that i wanted it, and i must of liked it.  Said he wouldn't tell anyone and i didnt have to tell anyone… I lost my temper and burned him alive."

 

Shouto was staring again, and he wished he could punch the kid for looking at him like that… punch himself for telling him about it.

 

" "I freaked out afterwards… Told Jax what happened," Dabi said, sipping on his drink again, the shaking uncontrollable.  "He helped cover up the body, the murder… told me it wasn't my fault, and he woulda killed the fucker too… but… the kid was only eighteen and i murdered him."

 

"Well, Dabi, he did rape you."

 

"Yeah, and i did kill him.  What's your point? I don't feel bad about it anymore, but I did for a while… but its whatever now.  Killed too many people to waste time thinking about all of them."

 

Shouto swallowed, looking away and chewing on his lip. "How many people did you kill?"

 

"Dunno. Lost count. What, wondering how long until you stop caring?" He replied with a smirk, trying to mask the worry for his little brothers mental state.

 

Shouto hung his head, then quietly asked after a few minutes, voice numb again, "you said it happened three times, what about the third?"

 

"Oh, you don't want to know."

 

"Just talk about it.  Get it off your chest."

 

He rolled his eyes, "then you'll stop bothering me about it?" He watched Shouto nod, "about three years ago.  I was nineteen, alone and sleeping in drug houses strung out on heroin at the time. I got real fucked up like always one night, and some guys gang raped me… i don't remember much of it… i know there was a lot of them and it lasted a while, but can't remember how many or how long… 'member they kept calling me pretty… got so disgusted with myself afterwards did this little number to my face.  Then it didn't happen since then, guess im too hideous to touch now." He chuckled but it kinda hurt to do so, couldn't look at his brother. God, what a fucked up thing to tell your little brother.

 

"You aren't hideous." He heard the monotone voice say, "and you didn't deserve that."

 

"I am hideous, brat…people cringe when they look at me..." he couldn't bring himself to put a bite into the mean nickname, it sounded like he said it fondly to his own ears. "And im okay with that."

 

"You aren't hideous."

 

"And you're blind." Dabi replied.  He stared into his bottle, stirring around the booze at the bottom. "You think Dad touched Natsuo and 'Yumi too?"

 

"I dont know… i thought it was only me he did that to until you told me he touched you too." Shouto said.

 

"You know im serious about murdering him, right?" Dabi said, "you're sure you got the stomach for it?"

 

"I know… and i am.  I just, what if you die during this?"

 

"I probably will.  Don't care as long as he's dead."

 

Shouto's vacant eyes sparked with sorrow and anger, "stop saying that when you know it upsets me." He snarled.

 

"Stop asking if I'll die when you know i will." Dabi snapped back, "You cant save me.  Stop trying to be a hero. You aren't one now, remember ?"

 

"Why the hell are you like this, Touya?  Natsuo is right, you really need help." 

 

"Right back at you, Sho."

 

.



As the plans fell into order, Shouto felt more and more out of touch with reality, yet at the same time it was slapping him in the face even harder.

 

Dabi went off more often to meet with Hawks, and Shouto stayed behind with the league as they planned out the prison break.   The high-end attack would serve as a good distraction, sending more heroes to a fight and keeping eyes locked on the city in chaos and not on the prison break of Kurogiri.  

 

It seemed they were right in saying Kurogiri was the glue.  Shouto didn't get to know the warp villain very well before he was arrested, but with him gone the entire group seemed off.

 

Dabi was back on the drugs, and maybe that was partly to do with the family issues, but he had gradually began using again once Kurogiri was arrested, then just getting worse to the point Shouto feared an overdose.

 

Shigaraki especially appeared lost, he'd walk idly around the kitchen, trying to wipe down countertops like Kurogiri used to do and mumble to himself.  Shouto tried reaching out to Tomura just to be snapped at.

 

Twice and Toga were saddened at the mention of Kurogiri, Jins face often overcome with worry, and Compress and spinner went over the plan again and again throughout the day with Shouto, who agreed to go along with them for the prison break while the others observed the High-End operation.

 

He kept his hood up as they hurried through the streets, hearing the screams in the background, smoke rising above the buildings.  He kept his mask on, giving him the illusion he was someone else, anyone else but him.

 

"In and out." Spinner said, "That hero Dabi's been talking to said he's on the third floor, second block.  Use the first passcode for entry, then the second for the floor, and that the third should get the locks to the block."

 

"Floor ought to have three guards.  Get the keys from one of them and we try not to bring attention." Compress added.

 

"I Really hope this hero isn't trying to fuck us." Spinner said.

 

" To be fair, I think the hero is trying to fuck Dabi and vice versa, see how flustered lil bro gets talking about'em." Jin joined in with a chuckle.

 

Shouto had wondered the same thing about Hawks, both his motivations and honesty in wanting to join and how he seemed to affect his eldest brother.  Shouto had only met Hawks a handful of times and he seemed like a decent person, was a bit all over the place and hyper, but intelligent as well. He knew Touya was a very careful judge of person, and cautious, so he wondered what exactly Dabi thought of him both as a recruit and as a person.

 

They were able to get into the building easier than they had expected.  Slipping past guards and avoiding attention from the cameras was difficult, but Hawks had given them a map of the building with the locations of the security cameras so they could better go unnoticed.

 

When they got to the destination, Shouto could hear the live TV broadcast.  His eyes caught sight of it, the tv fixed on the wall as the other villains subdued the guards and began looking for the keys.

 

He stared wide eyed at the screen, fire everywhere, his Father's figure, the fight between monsters.

 

"You okay, lil buddy?" Twice asked, but Shouto couldn't answer.

 

He watched the blood spray, his father's face sliced wide open.  Everything seemed in slow motion as the no. 1 fell from the sky, drops of crimson joining in the fall.

 

Alarms sounded all of the sudden, and then Spinner was grabbing his arm and yanking him, "C'mon, man, let's go.  Let's go. Gotta get Kurogiri!"

 

He felt so many emotions as they ran through the hall, shouting commands he couldn't hear.  There were so many emotions inside him upon seeing his Father like that with his face sliced open.

 

Shock and horror, a bit of disgust at seeing the gore.  Fear at the power of the high-end nomu. Even, as much as he hated it, worry for the man who was biologically his Father… but then…

 

A sick satisfaction.   How many times had he beaten Shouto into the floor? How many times had he split Touya's face open smacking his head against a surface? How many times had he busted Natsuo's lips, or gave Fuyumi a bloody nose, or split his Mother's cheek with a fist?  How many times?

 

Ice filled his veins like a vengeance, a sadistic pleasure he had to of inherited from his Father himself.  Good, Shouto thought. It serves that fucking bastard right.

Chapter Text

I just wish I could go outside

Without this fear of harm

And I should probably see a counselor

Cause I don't feel too well

And why am I always the bad guy

When I just try to help?

This body means nothing to me at all.

 


 

 

"You're just getting the Nomu, you know that, right?" Shigaraki said sternly, the way his red eyes were staring Dabi told him that it wasn't a suggestion.

 

Dabi rolled his eyes, Shouto had given him the same lecture before he left.

 

"You aren't to attack them.  Just get the Nomu and leave. That's all you need to do."

 

That's what he was planning to do, what he was supposed to do, but his mind was getting hazy as the drugs kicked in. Who knew if he would stick to the plan or not.

 

"Due to your personal connection with that hero and your… state right now I'm not even sure if this is a good idea to send you." Tomura went on, he seemed to catch onto things too fast.

 

"Get off my back, i won't do anything." He snapped.

 

"I would hope not.  You're high and reckless.  If you try to fight him, even with him injured you will hurt yourself.  You can't do it alone, this isn't the right time."

 

.

 

Recognize me. Recognize me. Fucking recognize me.

 

Everything was burning , and by God, Dabi was losing his fucking mind.  Ash and smoke filled the air, the sounds of screams and yells, fire crackling.  He could smell his skin begin to burn.

 

Recognize me. Fucking recognize me.

 

Endeavor called him Dabi.  Dabi, not Touya, Dabi. He was right there, right in front of that assholes face and Endeavor didn't even recognize his own son.

 

Did I mean that little? Was I that useless, worthless.  Recognize me!! He isn't supposed to.

 

That was why Dabi was Dabi, not Touya.  That was why he changed his appearance. The scars, the hairdye, the time that passed, it made Dabi nearly impossible to be recognized as Touya.

 

But I'm your son !

 

Endeavor at stared at him, only seeing Dabi.  Even with the blood rushing out the open wound in his face, the look of pain on his face, Dabi couldn't be satisfied.  It wasn't enough. He didn't recognize him. He meant nothing, always had, hadn't he?

 

He could remember being on his knees, his Father's hands pulling ruthlessly on his hair, yanking his head back and forth.  No matter how much Touya pleaded, cried, slapped his legs when he couldn't breathe, he didn't let him go, did whatever he wanted.  Enji would just groan, never even calling him by name. He'd twist his white hair in his fingers and mumble "Rei."

 

The pain was agonizing, mind numbing.  He could feel it, burning around the new scars in his stomach, the metal melting, seams burning and burning, spreading, getting worse.

 

He didn't care.  This body was useless, weak, hideous, it meant nothing to him.  He was useless, weak, pathetic, being so good, Rei, just like that. Stop tightening up your throat and you won't choke.  Don't cry baby.

 

He wanted to burn himself alive, burn the thoughts from hos head and the memories from his body.  He wanted to burn burn burn.

 

Fuck getting the Nomu, fuck everything.  He had to kill that bastard. He deserved to kill him, he earned that right all those nights when he did what he had to do to protect his siblings, when he was good just to be sure Enji wouldn't go to one of his siblings rooms, when he choked and gagged and swallowed everything, sobbing hopelessly on the floor afterwards.

 

Burn. Burn. Burn. Burn.

 

Everything blurred together after the wall of fire, and his awareness only got worse thereafter.  His mind just started slipping away, giving into the drugs coursing through his veins and the anger burning in the pit of his stomach.

 

I'll fucking kill-...

 

He blacked out at some point,knew he was screaming but had no idea what he was saying.  Hawks was staring at him with wide eyes, Endeavor still didn't recognize him.

 

-fucking kill you. You fucking bastard. Recognize me!

 

Everything else around him completely faded away.  He couldn't even see what he was doing, let alone understand it.  He was stuck in a constant train of memories, he couldn't pull out of it.

 

On the floor, Shouto crying somewhere.  Blood gushing out of his nose. Hes so tired. So tired. so tired.

 

On his knees, bedroom lights off, the room dark.  Father's hands twisted in his hair, pulled, it hurt.  He tried to do his best, disgusted with himself. Better him than his siblings.  He can't breathe. Can't breathe. Can't breathe.

 

Burning, fire eating away at him. Burning burning burning.

 

Hands against the wall, his siblings counting every lash across his back.  He couldn't remember what he did wrong. Someone was crying. He didn't know who.  Maybe it was him. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.

 

Staring up at the sky, the trees.  He's alone, bleeding. He feels so tired. He can't breathe. He's burning. It hurts so much.  He's bleeding everywhere. He's so alone. Alone. Alone. Alone.



.



Someone was grabbing him by the shoulders.  Suddenly he wasn't in front of his Father and Hawks anymore.  He was in their hideout. Tomura was shaking him by his shoulders, screaming in his face.

 

"Were you trying to kill yourself, you fucking idiot? The hell is wrong with you? The hell were you thinking?!"

 

"Did ya…" he rasped out, tasting blood in his mouth, he laughed deliriously,"did y'all see his fucking face? Ha, all… bloody?" His words were slurred, mumbling.  He felt like his face was torn open, and with how much he was screaming it probably was.

 

"He smells like his skin is burning."

 

"Dabi did you get burned?"

 

" Shoulda let him kill that fucker. You were about to be killed, lil bro!"

 

The hell was going on, how'd he get back.  He's light headed, his blood pumping in his ears.  His vision was going black.

 

"Dabi," Tomura patted the side of his face with three of his fingers, "Dabi? Hey, don't pass out."

 

He spoke a little too late.



.



Shouto felt numb when his brother collapsed, felt confused as they yelled at him.  He stood there, empty inside.

 

Idiot.  Ragging on me about not doing anything stupid like trying to kill Dad without a plan, then he does it himself.

 

"He'll be okay. Oh fuck he looks awful. He'll pull through." Jin said beside him, teary eyed.

 

His cell range and Shouto jumped, looking at the screen.  It was Natsuo's number.

 

"The fuck is he?" His older brother shouted over the line, "is he okay? Is he dead? The hell happened?!"

 

"He's safe." Shouto answered.

 

"What was he thinking?!"

 

"He probably wasn't.  He was high." He deadpanned.

 

"Well, where are you guys?  I saw the whole thing on TV.  Where are you?"

 

Shouto looked towards the others, his face blank, "can my brother come over?  He's worried."

 

They looked towards Shigaraki, who exhaled and rolled his eyes, "fucking taking in the entire Todoroki family now, huh?  Let's just let the whole fuckin family join why, don't we!" he grumbled, "fine… fine. Whatever. Tell your stupid brother he can come here to see if your other stupid brother's okay and you can all be stupid and dramatic together."





Chapter Text

We're concentrating on falling apart

We were contenders

We're throwing the fight

I just want to believe

I just want to believe

I just want to believe in us


 

Natsuo got there a lot faster than Shouto was expecting, but by then Touya was already with Ujiko getting worked on.  Upon further investigation, they realized Dabi had worsened the new patchwork on his stomach, causing it to spread up to his chest.  The metal staples had actually melted into the flesh, the doctor had to cut them out before patching the new burns on his body. Shouto was thankful Dabi had been out cold the entire time.

 

"So where is he?" Was the first thing out of Natsuo's mouth.

 

"Resting," Shouto told him, "The Doc should be finished patching him up and dressing the wounds."

 

"Did you fucking see him ?  He's lost his mind, Sho!  He's fucking insane! What was he thinking!"

 

"Hey, that's not nice! To be honest, he never really had his mind.  Dude's always been nuts.   You aren't helping, me!" Twice said, animated as always, worried as usual.

 

"I'm not kidding, sho.  He fucking needs help. He needs to be medicated , and you too, man!  You… you've been acting weird ever since you ran off." Natsuo went on, 

 

"You should really calm down, young man there's no need to panic, both your brothers are safe here." Kurogiri said, keeping his tone even.

 

Natsuo glared at him, "I'm not talking to you, mist dude, or any of you.  I'm talking to my brother. Shouto, i… I don't like this. One or both of you are going to end up dead.  Let's go. You guys can stay with me. This is crazy."

 

Natsuo reached for his hand and Shouto jerked away, shaking his head. "Theres no going back, Natsuo.  I told you that."

 

"Bullshit! You're going to end up in a hospital like Mom at this rate, and… and Touya is going to end up getting himself killed.  You guys can't do this!"

 

Shouto stared at his brother as he ranted, the other league members watching in concern.  Natsuo had always been on edge, the type to run from situations that made him feel helpless.  It didn't surprise Shouto that he was doing this.

 

"Where's Touya?" He asked, headed for the hallway, Shigaraki blocked his path. "Move, weirdo!"

 

" Is this dude brave or stupid talking to Shig that way? "

 

"Both," Natsuo replied with a smirk, "runs in the family."

 

"I don't appreciate you coming in here all aggressive and noisy.  I have a headache and haven't slept in a while. I'm in a bad mood and you are adding to it."

 

"Yeah? Well, that sounds like a personal problem to me, dude." Natsuo snapped back.

 

"Can you both calm down?" Kurogiri asked, "I just got back and everyone is a complete wreck…"

 

"I want to get my brothers out of this."

 

"They don't want out of it." Tomura said firmly, "your younger brother made this choice, ran away when your Father attacked him.  He wants to be here."

 

"That's-"

 

"And Dabi has been with us for a while now, he's one of us and loyal to us.  He isn't going to leave."

 

"Well you're going to get him fucking killed, both of them!  Touya went out there and nearly killed himself going after our Dad.  I want to get my brother out-"

 

"He's our brother too!" Jin yelled, "Dabi's been ours for all this time! You think we sent him out to do that? No, we didn't! He scared the shit out of us, crazy fucking asshole!   He's been with us all this time, and we've been looking out for him while none of you guys even looked for him ! So no, you're not taking my little bro from us!"

 

Natsuo stopped, staring with wide eyes.  A mixture of hurt and anger on his face.

 

"Your brother Touya is a drug addict. he's been out of control for a while and doing reckless stuff like this while he's high. This isn't new and we know how to deal with it.  We've literally had to save him multiple times, from overdosing, to picking random fights with people, to detoxing, to having to go searching for him in dope houses when he'd gone missing for days.  We kept him alive all this time. Don't you dare say we are going to get him killed. He would have died alone on the street had he not joined us." Tomura hissed, his teeth clenched, "here, we aren't just villains.  We are a family."

 

There was a silence and a stand off.  Natsuo was shaking with anger.

 

"Natsuo… can we talk outside for a bit?" Shouto spoke up.

 

Natsuo followed his brother outside, pacing in the back alley, "I… I'm not sure how I feel about this, lil bro."

 

"We're okay.  Touya will be okay.  These people watch out for him, for both of us."

 

"You guys aren't okay!  Touya almost died out there!  And you… you look like you're dead inside, dude!"

 

Shouto frowned, shifting in place, "we're better off than we were.  Touya was homeless when he joined the league, had bad things happen to him, he was totally alone.  And I was getting treated like shit by Dad, he controlled everything i did, constantly threatened me and hurt me.  It isn't ideal but we're safe now." He said, "I want you to be here with us, too."

 

"Is it true? What that guy said about Touya?  Is he really that bad?"

 

Shouto swallowed, "well he's… yeah… he's having a difficult time… he relapsed recently, and he's been messed up every day since… with his behavior recently, well more like since i found him, i think… i think he might be suicidal…"

 

Natsuo looked down, a pained expression on his face, "can we help him? He needs help…"

 

"I don't think he'll accept it."

 

"Well we need to do something… and what about Fuyumi?" Natsuo asked, "we can't leave her alone to deal with Dad."

 

Shouto chewed on his lip, shrugging, "maybe if we talk to her… she'll join us too."

 

"You… think she would?" Natsuo asked.

 

"I don't know.  You talk to her for a bit, since Touya and i are gone.  Get a grip of what you think she'd do and how she'd react."



.



Natsuo wandered back to his small apartment, feeling even more confused than he did when he left it.  It was that feeling of helplessness again. The feeling of being unable to do anything to fix the situation.

 

He laid on his back in the bed, staring up at the ceiling.  He didn't want to lose Shouto. He already lost Touya once, and even though the Touya he found was nothing like the one that went missing, he didn't want to lose Touya again.

 

A part of him wanted nothing to do with this anymore, out of fear he wanted to run away and hide again.  But that anger in his veins returned, heavy on his heart, looming over his head.

 

Maybe he was beginning to want his Father dead too.  The man tormented their family, nearly killed Touya and left him for dead, treated Shouto like a project and not a human child, terrorized Natsuo himself and Fuyumi.  Maybe Shouto and Touya were right… maybe Endeavor had to be stopped, had to die. Maybe that was the only way to free the family.

 

He wanted Fuyumi away from their Father, and he wanted his Mother out of that hospital too…

 

No more questioning, no more sitting on the fence… he knew what he had to do.



Chapter Text

What's your definition of success?

I dont trust these thoughts that run inside my head

I dont trust this thing that beats inside my chest

Who i am and who i wanna be cannot connect

 

It had been months since Fuyumi heard from Shouto.  He left without even saying goodbye nearly like Touya had, disappeared without a trace.

 

He let her money, she didn't know how he got the money but didn't want to know, and a simple letter.  After that, nothing. She tried calling him, texting, even social media sites. She got no response.

 

Father as usual was furious, insisting she not answer any of the press' questions.  She began to wonder if Father had anything to do with Shouto's disappearance.

 

The fight with that Monster nearly killed her Father, the shock was enough to floor her.  As she sat in the hospital room though, a part of her wished he had died.

 

"Ill be fine," he growled at her, "stop fretting."

 

"Im not." She answered, "im just wondering where everyone else is.  I haven't been able to get a hold of Natsuo since we saw the battle.  Im sure hes shaken up. We were all horrified to be honest."

 

He scoffed, "i cant die that easy.  Some lab-made monster and a patchwork freak can't kill me." He grumbled.

 

She swallowed, "that villain… his fire…"

 

"What about it?" He snapped at her.

 

She took a breath, thinking back to the live report, "the blue flames he had… they were very similar to…"

 

"Don't say that name." He hissed, "fire quirks are not uncommon.  That is just some nutcase that has a fire quirk."

 

She went quiet again, swallowing hard.  She wasn't stupid. She saw those flames.  She'd only ever seen fire like that once, only knew of one person with blue fire.  She prayed her mind was playing tricks, hoped that man wasn't him.   She hasn't forgotten, couldnt forget.  Then Shouto kept asking questions, wanting to know.

 

Fuyumi didnt know what happened to her elder brother, but she knew it was bad.

 

Was it bad enough to turn him into that?  Honestly Touya became less and less stable towards the end, hed become so violent and furious towards their Father, Endeavor would often say he was "acting like a villain."   But for him to actually become one…

 

Maybe she should have done something all those years ago.



.




Some nights Fuyumi lay awake in bed, thinking about slipping poison in her father's food.  She wondered if she could get away with it.



.



Natsuo called her early the following morning, asking if they could talk.  He sounded different, worried, which was expected of the situation with their Father but still hard to hear from her younger brother who always goofed around and wore the biggest smile.

 

He came by to her apartment, looking like he hadnt slept in days.  She could tell he had a lot on his mind, but couldnt get the words out.

 

"Dad'll be okay." She tried to reassure, play the caretaker.

 

"Fuck Dad, he could drop dead for all i care." He muttered with more venom than she heard from him.  She was a bit taken back. "Sorry sis, just… been really stressed lately."

 

"What's going on?" She asked, setting a cup of tea on the table before him as she sat down, sipping on her own tea.

 

"Worried about Sho…" he said, and it sounded like there was more but he let it die before he vocalized it.

 

"Me too…" she said, looking off for a minute, "i hope he's okay…"

 

She hoped he wasn't hurt or hungry.  She hoped he wasn't alone out there. She hoped her Father didn't do anything to him like she was beginning to believe he had done to Touya.

 

Touya…

 

Ever since she saw footage of that villain she couldn't stop thinking about him…

 

"The villain that attacked Dad…" she said, almost unable to control herself, "he had Touya's quirk."

 

Natsuo's leg began to shake, she could hear him inhale sharply.

 

"What happened to Touya?"

 

"That… that is Touya." Natsuo whispered so quietly she almost couldn't hear him.

 

She turned quickly to look at him, "what? What do you… what are you saying?  How would you…"

 

"Fuyumi… that's touya. I cant keep it a secret from you anymore, that's him… and Shouto is with him."




.



Shouto couldn't really say he was surprised when Dabi went M.I.A. again.  As soon as he was healed up enough to move he started isolating, refusing to talk to him or anyone else, even Kurogiri.  Shouto couldn't say he was surprised when Touya disappeared a few days after he attacked Endeavor.

 

"He does this fairly often." Tomura said, "im surprised he didn't do it sooner, though i imagine its because you're here he's stuck around.  He'll be back, he always comes back."

 

It made sense, when Shouto first got in touch with Touya he was hanging around in abandoned buildings getting strung out.  It didnt make Shouto any less worried.

 

"He has only been gone for two days, if its longer than a week we start looking for him." Spinner added.

 

"How long has he been doing this?" Shouto asked.

 

"Since he joined, basically." Toga said.

 

Shouto still couldn't really connect to the emotions, but he knew he should be worried.  The encounter with their Father seemed to have affected Touya really negatively. Shouto was still in shock over just seeing the incident on TV, so many emotions from it he had to shut them all down or he would be overwhelmed.

 

"How are you processing what happened with your Father?" Kurogiri asked him.

 

"I mean, it seems like it threw Dabi through a loop so he's obviously-"

 

"No, not Dabi.  You. How are you processing it, Shouto?"

 

He cleared his throat, staring at a spot on the wall. "I'm not." He answered honestly, "i dont know what im supposed to feel."

 

"Are you having regrets?" The mist man asked, back to his normal role of cleaning the counters and being the therapist for the league.

 

Shouto could feel Tomuras burning red eyes on him.

 

"Not exactly… more than anything i was… glad to see my Father like that.  He hurt us a lot, he deserves the pain… but i dont want Touya to die while killing our Father."

 

"Like i told your other brother a few days ago.  We didnt send Dabi there to attack Endeavor and Hawks.  We sent him to get the Nomu with orders to not engage.  He did that on his own, alone.  Of any of us were with him he likely wouldn't have gotten injured in that fight." Shigaraki clarified. "I explicitly told him not to try to fight his Father.  I honestly shouldn't have sent him at all. But that Nomu only listens to him."

 

"Maybe i should have gone with him instead of to the prison." Shouto admitted.

 

"So thats your regret then." Kurogiri said, giving him a pat on the back, "What's done is done.  Can't change it."

 

"I don't think we should leave Dabi alone after that.  He shouldn't be alone right now." Shouto said.

 

"Finally someone agrees with me! He'll be fine. We should go look for him! It really isn't such a big deal, me. " Twice agreed and disagreed.

 

Shouto's phone rang then, Natsuo's name showing on the screen. He answered it.

 

"Okay… okay, dont be mad…"

 

"Mad about what?"

 

"I know you said to get a feel for the situation before i told her anything but i kinda slipped up and-"

 

There was a rustling sound over the other line, shouto furrowed his brows, "Natsuo?" 

 

Then another voice came over the speaker, "Shouto, how dare you make me worry like this!  I cannot believe you! What on earth were you thinking?!"

 

He facepalmed, "fuyumi… I take it Natsuo told you the first chance he got, huh?"

 

"Sorry, little bro! She got it out of me!" He heard Natsuo in the background.


Fuyumi scoffed, "I did no such thing. He spilled the beans with basically no prompting at all!  Look, we need to talk, okay?"

Chapter Text

 

and I don't want the world to see me

Cause I don't think that they'd understand.

 


He was starting to learn the hard way, he had taken way too much.

 

Dabi sat against the far wall of the building, furthest away from the newspaper covered windows he could get, sitting on the floor, slowly rock back and forth.

 

he swallowed, his eyes darting to his left upon hearing something creek in the floorboards.  He moved slightly further right, drawing his knees up to his chest. Breathing was getting harder and harder, the shadows on the walls kept changing shape.

 

Fuck, he had taken too much.

 

It isn't that bad , he told himself, I'll come down soon.  I should come down soon.

 

A car passed the window, casting light against the newspaper, the sound and colors made him jump, covering his head like a child.

 

What a useless piece of shit , echoed in his head.  He wasn't sure if it was a memory or his own thoughts.  He dug his fingers into his hair, grabbing the strands and twisting and pulling as if to punish himself, stupid, worthless bastard.

 

That asshole was right there. Right there, he could have killed him.  Maybe he would have been able to if he hadn't lost it and blacked out, if he hadn't been so high and unfocused.   He could have killed his Father, but he fucked up and what did he get in the end? No satisfaction, just more scars and the realization that he meant nothing , that he was nothing.

 

Something ran through the ceiling tiles above him, he jerked his head up, pressing his back hard enough against the wall he felt the seams in the small of his back tear.  His breathing came out in pants, hyperventilating.

 

The mouse scurried around in the ceiling, he knew that's likely was it was, but the sound made him cringe, breathe even heavier.   The shaking started up full forced again.

 

"Stop shaking like that, you look like something's wrong with you!"

 

He tried to control it, force his muscles to still like he tried to do as a kid in fear of being smacked even harder if he didn't stop.  His confused state of mind was getting so bad he expected to be smacked pretty soon.

 

He gagged, his stomach lurching in warning.  He barely shifted his legs to avoid throwing up on himself.  Stomach bile and cheap beer came up, it had that sour taste from the drugs.  His throat and nose burned, eyes watering. He retched again, shoulders shaking with the force.  Dry heaving a few times, he fell back against the wall, trying to catch his breathing. He wanted to pass out.

 

He could almost hear Enji's voice above him, barking at him, "don't you pass out yet! Get up! Hands against the wall, up!"

 

He flinched with each word in the memory, unable to tell if it was present or past.  He was afraid to stay on the floor, felt like he had to stand up or he'd be punished longer.

 

"It isn't real," he told himself aloud, "I'm just fucked up, it isn't real."

 

He remembered the time he stole Dad's liquor, curious and stupid fourteen year old kid wanting to know what getting drunk felt like.  Apparently it felt like getting his nose broken, nearly drowned, and forty lashes across his back. He could still remember his Father screaming in his ear.

 

The bathmat was getting wet by now, on his knees in front of the tub, his head dunked under water, held there for a few long seconds then yanked back up so Enji could snarl into his ear, "stupid fucking brat!" 

 

He barely had time until he was forced back under the water, he could hear Fuyumi screaming through the water, his brothers still crying.  He was ripped up by his hair, fighting desperately to get his wrists free from the hot hand holding them behind his back, "sobering up?"

 

He spat out water, gasping, shaking his head but unable to get any words out before he was forced back under.  Water entered his lungs, filled up his belly, he was pulled out again and nearly limp, coughing and choking.

 

"Please, Dad-" he could hear Fuyumi begin before he was pushed back under.  When Enji pulled him back up he tore his head away to vomit to his side again,the hand holding him in place so he didn't fall into it.  His throat burned, he turned, looking pleadingly at his Father before he grabbed his hair again and forced him back under.



"I...I took way too much." He muttered into the phone, surprised to find himself crying.



.



Shouto found himself sitting on the bed, staring into space for who knows how long when his phone rang.  He didn't recognize the number. He let it ring and go to voicemail. It was a brans new number, probably had the old owner's contacts calling a still.

 

Rolling his eyes, he answered the third time it rang. "Yeah?"

 

"Dabi's little brother, Shouto, right?" A man's voice came over the line, "it's Giran.  Your brother's pretty bad off right, you guys might wanna come get him."

 

Shouto was suddenly thrust back into his body, "wait, what? Where is he? Whats going on?"

 

"I'll text you the address.  He called me over here, he's really strung out.  Theres blood everywhere, i think hes been hurting himself but the kid won't let me close enough to see."

 

"Send me the address, I'll be right there." He said into the phone, stepping into his shoes.  He hung up, grabbing his coat off his bedroom door as he opened it, pulling it on as swiftly as he could.

 

"What's going on?" Kurogiri asked.

 

"Giran found Dabi, he said we need to come get him." His phone beeped and he opened the text message, "he's a mess right now, apparently."

 

"Im coming with you." Tomura said, standing up.

 

"What?"

 

"I'm coming along.  I've dealt with him like this before."

 

It took about twenty minutes to get to the address which turned out to be an abandoned building.  Giran was waiting by the door when they got there.

 

Shouto went in quickly, stopping in place when Touya jerked, keeping his head down, his nails clawing into the scar tissue on his arms, entire body shivering.

 

"Dabi? Hey… Dabi, lets go." He took a few steps forward and his brother moved further away, "Touya."

 

He looked up then, eyes wide and bloodshot, darting around.  He looked crazed, feral. Shouto kept a close distance, unsure if Touya would attack or not. 

 

"Are you okay?" He asked.

 

Dabi flinched and resumed rocking.

 

"He's been freaking out since i showed up.  I told him it was too much to take at once…" Giran noted, frowning at the younger man.

 

"Then maybe you should quit giving him the damn drugs!" Tomura hissed.

 

"Aw, man, you know i can't say no to him."

 

"It's going to kill him one of these days."

 

Shouto walked over carefully, watching as Dabi shook his head and pulled at his hair, fear burning in his blue eyes.

 

"Touya, it isn't real." He said softly, "it isnt really happening. You're safe."

 

His hand hovered for a moment and Dabi snapped, "don't fucking touch me!"

 

"Touya, look at me.  Breathe." Shouto felt his voice going dead, lifeless, disconnecting from the upsetting situation.  He caught Touya's blue eyes, stared into them as Dabi's breathing finally slowed.

 

"I'm really fucked up." He laughed, but it almost sounded like crying, "i really fucked up this time.  I'm so fucked up."

 

"Just calm down, let's go back… back home," Shigaraki said, swallowing as he came up, "we'll get you through it, you'll detox again, we've done this before. We know you can do it."

 

"I am so fucked up right now."

 

They took quite a while talking Dabi down and talking him into coming back.  Shouto worried what Natsuo and especially Fuyumi were gonna think of this, both back at the hideout. he didn't know how they'd react, but he knew it likely wouldn't be good.

 

Chapter Text

 

Feelings bleeding out my brain, but right now I can't feel a thing

Woke up late, time to waste away

My favorite days are the rainy days

Let it soak in then I throw it all away

I try my best but this feeling always stays

You know I try but you gotta give me space


 

 

Walking into the hideout, as Shouto expected Fuyumi and Natsuo were already there waiting, his sister pacing around the room, a watchful eye on each of the villains.

 

She walked right up to him, "About time, are you gonna-" she stopped, staring beside him at Dabi, who was still having trouble standing straight. 

 

The two stared at each other for a while, silent. Fuyumi squinted her eyes, moving a few steps closer, "it really is you…. You're… you never contacted us… why?"

 

"What do ya mean why? Are you fuckin' kidding?" Dabi slurred.

 

"I thought you were dead! Why wouldn't you…" she tilted her head then, looking even more confused and bordering on furious, "wait, are you high right now?"

 

Shigaraki cut in, a forced edge into his shaky voice, "Actually, he's practically overdosing as we speak, so if you'll excuse us." He yanked Dabi out of the room then, scolding him in a hushed voice as they left.

 

"He's what?!" Fuyumi nearly shrieked.

 

"It's fine. He'll be okay." It wasn't exactly new, and he knew the league knew how to deal with Touya when he was like this.  He knew he'd be okay.

 

Fuyumi watched Natsuo and Twice follow Shigaraki and Dabi into the other room, then looked back at Shouto.  Tears welled up in her eyes then and she suddenly yanked him into a tight hug, "oh my God, Shouto, do you have any idea how worried I've been?  Are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere? Do you need anything? Are you eating healthy meals? Are-"

 

He squirmed out of her arms, groaning in annoyance, "Fuyumi, im fine.  Calm down."

 

"How am I supposed to calm down?! You've been missing for nearly four months?"

 

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you." He admitted, "i didnt know how you would handle it, and I knew you'd try to talk me out of leaving."

 

"That's… that was Touya." She said, looking back towards the door, "how is that Touya?  What the hell happened? What are the two of you thinking?"

 

"What'd Natsuo tell you?"

 

"Honestly not much.  Just that you found Touya, that he's a villain, and youve been with him all this time."

 

He sighed, feeling a little lost on how to begin.  Idly, he sat down and motioned for her to sit as well.

 

"I figured it out a little while before I left, at camp when the league attacked, I recognized him.  I didn't wanna say anything because I wasn't positive… and since no one would tell me what happened, I decided to ask Touya myself."

 

She looked around quickly, lowering her voice, "you're safe here, right?  These people…"

 

"They're good people, Fuyumi.  They might do bad things but they're good people." He tried to explain.

 

"is Touya… Is he okay?" She asked.

 

"No.  He really isn't." Shouto admitted, "we… we can't tell Dad, about any of this, especially about Touya."

 

"I… i don't understand.  Dad keeps saying Touya is dead. He didn't recognize him… and… and Touya just tried to kill Dad.  What happened? Do you know? What is going on?"

 

"Fuyumi, Dad tried to kill him, told him he couldn't come back.  I think he thinks touya's dead." Shouto said, watching his sister's eyes widen, "we want to stop him… but if Dad finds out where I am, he's gonna come after me.  If he finds out about Touya, he's probably going to kill him."

 

"So those scars… how did… did Dad…?"

 

"No, dad didn't give Touya the scars.  But he might as well should have. It's from his quirk, he's burning himself when he uses it still.  He won't stop using it, and it's gotten really bad. He needs the patchwork for the skin grafts, or he won't heal, his skin is too damaged to stay together."

 

She looked horrified, "How is he alive right now?"

 

"That's the thing, the way he's going, he doesn't have much time left." Shouto admitted to himself, "he probably won't make it much longer like this.  So we have to deal with Dad soon , we have a plan…"

 

She shook her head, wiping the tears. "What the hell… what the hell is going on?  What are you guys thinking? Why didn't any of you tell me?"

 

"We didn't want to worry you."

 

She let out a teary, hurt laugh that turned into a sob, "a little late for that."


.


The room was still spinning, Dabi's head was spinning.  He could hear Tomura, Natsuo, and Jin talking around him, but it all sounded far away, unfocused.  He couldn't keep his attention on their words. He flinched when a hand touched his shoulder, recoiling away.

 

"Hey… calm down..  you need some water or something?" Natsuo asked.

 

"Maybe coffee will sober him up. Yeah, you need to sober up, dude." Twice added.

 

"Back up, both of you are way too close to him and you're making him freak out again." Tomura scolded them, still glaring at him.

 

Fuyumi still looked the same, her voice sounded exactly the same.  It tripped him out even further. And what a great reunion, she's freaking out and he's high as fuck.  Man, he really fucked it all up this time.

 

"Great… see what you two did, he's crying again." Tomura noted, rolling his eyes. 

 

"Oh shit, don't cry, Dabi!" Twice yelled, moving even further into his personal space and Touya covered his face with his hands, trying to focus on breathing and clearing his head.  He didn't even realize he was crying at first until Shigaraki said it, but then he couldn't stop.

 

They backed up a bit when he started hyperventilating, but he could feel them looking at him.  That feeling of being watched, being observed and studied, not being safe.

 

"You're going to make yourself throw up again." Shigaraki muttered.

 

"What did he take?"

 

"Giran said he gave him some prescription pills for pain, cocaine, and some heroin. Apparently he did all of them in one sitting, like a suicidal idiot.  And I'm pretty sure he's drunk, he smells like vodka again."

 

Dabi moved his hands to grab his stomach when it lurched, expelling more bile and liquid onto the floor.  He gagged and choked, dry heaving repeatedly when nothing came up.

 

Tomura shook his head, "I told you… now the rug is gonna smell like vomit no matter how much I scrub it…. Lie the hell down, on your side and calm yourself down before you make yourself worse."

 

Dabi bitched about it, but did as the other man said and curled up on his side in the bed, shivering violently even as Natsuo covered him with a blanket.

 

"He's gonna fuckin kill us, y'know?" He started laughing, "we're all gonna die.  We're gonna fuckin die."

 

"Touya…"

 

"He's gonna fuckin kill us." Dabi repeated in a sing song voice, his laughing beginning to morph back into crying again. "Hes gonna kill us."

 

"Natsuo, buddy, lil bro number 3, you might not wanna be around when he's like this." Jin was saying.

 

"I'm not leaving him!" Natsuo almost yelled, "especially like this!"

 

He laughed again, "Whats the difference? you did before."

 

God, they all probably hated what he became.

 

"Stop being an asshole, Dabi." Tomura said, "it isn't the time.  Just shut up and stay still until you calm down."

 

He remembered being on his knees, Enji screaming at him to stay still as he choked and gagged. He wanted to throw up again, his body tried but nothing would come up.

 

"I'm sorry, Touya, I said i was sorry. can you stop throwing it in my face-"

 

"I shoulda done better. Should of protected you better.  I should of died." 

 

Natsuo went silent, his hand shaking, hovering for a second before he started rubbing circles into his brother's back. 

 

"I need to kill him, i need to kill him."

 

Natsuo swallowed, "man, you need to calm down."

 

"Did he do it to you too?" Touya begged.  He didn't know which answer he'd prefer, "Fuyumi, did he do it to her?"

 

"Touya, what are you talking about?"

 

"Was it only me and Shouto?  Did he do it to all of us? I don't understand-"

 

"Wait, Touya, you aren't talking about-"

 

"Just shut up, both of you. You're gonna make yourself freak out again, Dabi.  And you need to just let him calm down, you guys can talk later when he's fucking sober." Tomura said, his voice rising in volume now. "Just stop thinking about that asshole."

 

"Fuck… fuck, shit, im sorry Natsuo.  I'm shit, I couldn't protect you guys at all… fuck, he did-"

 

"Dabi, stop!" Shigaraki yelled, "just focus on breathing.  Listen and stop fucking talking!"

 

He forced his mouth to close, pathetic whimpers escaping him as Natsuo kept rubbing his back.

 

"Dabi, bro, you need help.  You need to stop." Jin said sadly.

 

"What do we do?  Is he gonna be okay?"

 

"He'll be fine." Tomura said, "He's done this a dozen times before.  He takes too much, trips the fuck out, then has a panic attack. Just don't feed into it or he won't be able to pull himself out of it.  And we can't leave him alone like this, either, we learned that the hard way."

 

He remembered tripping out and having a panic attack in the old bar hideout, slicing his thighs open and bleeding all over the floor to remind himself he was in the present.  His fingers itched.

 

"Dabi, listen. This shit needs to stop.  You need to stop doing this, just up and disappearing for days and then you're all fucked up when we find you.  You're lucky you haven't died in some rat infested abandoned building by now." Shigaraki said, "whether you like it or not, we actually give a shit about you.  Everyone fucking cares about you and we're sick of seeing you like this."

 

"Yeah, it's scary and fucking stupid, why are you doing this to yourself? We don't want you to die." Twice added, his one half sounded angry while the other cried.

 

"You're important to us, as both a member of the league and as someone we consider one of our own.  We can't lose you. We can't lose anyone in our group."

 

Jin let out a sob, "We already lost Magne."

 

"I'm sorry." He mumbled, "I'm sorry, I'm-"

 

"We know… but you need to actually do something about this and stay clean for longer than a few weeks.  Think you can try that?"

 

He didn't think he could, so he just closed his eyes, pretended not to hear, tried to focus on calming down.  He just took too much. He just needed to be smarter, cut back a little, needed to-

 

Natsuo's voice cut through his thoughts, "You need to stop, Touya…" 

 

So, maybe Natsuo was right.