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Walk it Backwards ( If the first time doesn't work)

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                The man sighed as he watched the villain get apprehended and allowed himself five seconds to breathe before he started avoiding the press. Again.

                Touya took a deep breath, pulled the mask better over his face and searched through the crowd for the green splash of colour he had seen earlier. Looking over reporters, he spotted the quickly retreating teen, sighed and, with practice, he disappeared before the kid had the chance to vanish.

                Izuku, on his part, was exceptionally good at hiding and walking away from villain fights, but Touya had enough time chasing villains and hiding from danger himself to be fooled by a limping fourteen year old.

                The man caught the teen by the hood and pulled him back.

                “AAaaah!” Midoriya yelped and turned around to glare at the hero “Can you leave me the fuck alone?!” he hissed as he hugged the notebook closer to his chest.

                “Well I would” Touya leaned on one of the walls, crossing his arms “If I didn’t see you at every villain fight in the prefecture. Really kid, are you sure you don’t have some type of teleportation Quirk? Moving so fast shouldn’t be humanly possible.”

                “Har, har, har” the kid said mirthlessly before he started glaring at the bricks.

                Touya sighed. “Ok, I’m sorry, that was insensitive” he rubbed his eyes “But can you please please please stop getting near hero fights?” he raised his arms “You could get killed!”

                “So could everyone else!” he yelled and Touya took a step back. The kid had yet to lash out in any way. Seemingly realising his behaviour was out of character, he shrugged. “I’m sorry” he shook his head. “I’m tired” yeah, the bags under his eyes spoke for themselves. Midoriya looked at the redhead “Why do you care? Why do you keep following me?”

                “Because you are the only one I see on a daily basis” Touya shrugged and looked the boy over. Because I care about you. And because he remembered another kid without the Quirk that was expected of him who was pushed too far and got lost. He noticed that something was wrong. His clothes were clean, but wrinkled, and his cheeks were caved in. he also had a haunted look in his eyes. The man got forward “Hey, kid, is everything all right at home?”

                He had met Ms Midoriya, and the boy didn’t seem to be in any way anxious near her, so she wasn’t bad. Come to think of it, Izuku had looked down for the past few months, yet he still kept dragging himself to hero fights. A look of discomfort passed the kid’s face. “Mom’s…. mom’s on a trip right now, but she will come back soon enough.”

                “School then?”

                “I’m Quirkless, nothing worse than usual.”

                “When was the last time you ate?”

                “What’s with all the questions?!” Izuku stepped back, hugging the notebook even tighter. Touya sighed and stepped back. He didn’t want to scare the kid. The man couldn’t explain to anyone why he wanted to help the boy. It just felt… it just felt like he really really needed it. Touya had grown up to know people too afraid to ask, and he had seen too much to let this one child in his reach slip through his grasp.

                “Sorry” was all he said “But let me take a wild guess and say that you are not the most proficient cook, am I right?” the kid pouted and looked away, but didn’t deny it. “Would you let me get you a decent meal?”

                “Wow, taking an interest in a minor, doesn’t look good on you, Dabi.” The kid snarked, though there was a small smile on his lips. Touya prepared to say something when his phone buzzed.

Tenko

[get your fat ass here, your fans are going to kill me]

                He sighed. It looked like it would have to be left on another time “I’ll hold you on that!” he pointed and ran away.

                “I never said yes!” Izuku cried after him, but smiled as the hero disappeared into the crowd. It took a few moments for the smile to slip off his face.

                You can’t get attached. He’s a hero. He might get killed, or worse, give up and forget about you. Izuku shook his head and blinked rapidly, warding the up and coming tears. Dabi was one of the few heroes who seemed to genuinely give a fuck about him. One of the only people who didn’t act disgusted when he found that he was Quirkless. And Izuku really liked the guy. But he couldn’t afford to hope that anything good will come of it. And he certainly couldn’t let them find out, lest they use him as leverage.

                The boy shook his head and walked into the shadows, and dark alleys, up until the lights of legality were long gone. He heard a flap of wings and turned around to see the villain he was supposed to meet again. “You know” Izuku said, shoving his hands in his pockets “A pair of horns would suit you so much better.”

                “You flatter me” Hawks smiled and stretched his arm. Izuku sighed and handed over the notebook, waiting while the villain took pictures of the newest pages written. He handed it back with a smug smile.

                “Are we done here?” Izuku asked, already turning to leave.

                “Nope!” was all he heard before a pair of arms wrapped themselves around his torso and he suddenly found himself airborne.

                “AAAAAAAhhhh!” Izuku found himself screaming for the second time in the last hour. He could feel Hawks’s laughter through his chest, laugh which didn’t stop once they landed on the balcony. Izuku pushed himself away from the villain and pressed himself against the wall. “Can you not?!”

                “No. It’s too funny.” he chuckled and shook his head “Works every time.”

                Izuku glared before he turned and looked at the window, recognising the polished office on the other side. “He wants to talk again?”

                “Yup” hawks said before a more gentle smile stretched over his featured and he ruffled the green locks “Good luck.”

                Izuku clenched his fists and prayed as he opened the door and got in.

~O~

                After Touya was done rescuing his friend from rabid fans, the two adults, thank you very much headed back for their apartment.

                “So” Tenko started and Touya internally sighed, knowing full well how his friend had a problem with keeping his mouth shut, “Did you manage to catch that brat?”

                “I’m not trying to catch him, I’m trying to talk to him!”

                “MHm” Tenko rolled his eyes and entered the apartment “And I love the hero system.” He deadpanned. Touya opened his mouth, but the other spoke before he had the time to say anything “Don’t you have a report for my old man?”

                “Shit! I knew I forgot something” the redhead said dashed to his bedroom. Tenko looked after him for a few seconds before chuckling and locking the door to his room as he sat down at his computer.

                “All right” he cracked his knuckles “Let’s see what the Commission had been hiding from Dad” he mumbled as he opened the previously hidden icon and scrolled through the very illegal shit on his computer. The very illegal shit Touya pretended not to notice and his dad pretended not to care about. That same very illegal bullshit the Commission was trying to hide and the No.1 hero was tying for a few decades to sue. Tenko was pretty sure that, had All for One not been All for One, those bastards in positions of power would have planned a hit too long ago. He knew exactly how happy they were and how they all prayed for his father to mentor to kick it all those years before, and it surely didn’t bring them any cookie points when it came to the silver haired teen.

                But alas, what can you do.

                Punching the password in the small bar, Tenko made sure to hide his traces before he dived neck deep in the deep darks of bureaucracy.

~O~

                Izuku kicked the pavement as he walked to the house. He had stopped calling it home after the incident, and he wished he could spend more than an hour inside without feeling nauseous again. A pebble flew through the air and Izuku huffed in frustration. He wished for a lot of things these days. For a Quirk. For his life not to be shitty. For those fucking villains to leave him the fuck alone. For Mom not to….

                The boy gritted his teeth and shook his head, trying to stop the inevitable tears from coming, even though it had long ago been proven futile.

                The cash in his pockets felt too heavy, but it was enough for him to live decently, if he would have still lived in the house and not under the most convenient slide in the park. Still, he hated them, he hated that he had fallen so low as to make deals with villains, to help them take down heroes.

                It’s not like those heroes ever did anything for you, Hawks had said. You are under no obligation to help or protect them, just like they never helped or protected you.

                It made sense. Izuku was madder at life, but there was no love lost for the heroes that fell under All Might’s power. After all, he made sure to never hand any info he had over the few good ones out there. He wasn’t stupid as to think they had nothing on them, but Izuku could sure as hell make sure he wasn’t the cause for the good ones kicking it.

                All Might. Izuku stopped, hands tightening on the straps of his bag before he took a deep breath and kept walking. He felt like laughing. Who would have thought that the world’s greatest villain, the one who almost took down All for One, would be the only person to give him a hand.

                But Izuku wouldn’t fool himself. Wouldn’t allow himself to be fooled by pretty words or good actions. The villain had a hidden agenda. Izuku was a tool, nothing more, nothing less. And said tool had seen people lie to his face, manipulate him one too many times to let himself trust them again. It didn’t matter that the man had been nothing but kind so far. It didn’t matter that he had helped him, that the villains were actually decent people. They all had a hidden agenda. Otherwise, there would have been no reason to be nice to the Quirkless little freeloader who happened to pass by.

                “Oi, Midoriya!” Izuku entertained running away for a few seconds before he gave up and turned around, glaring at the two kids he used to be friends with as a kid. They knew where he lived. They could just follow him. It looked like they were faring pretty well after the sudden turn towards villainy of their leader, but the greenette couldn’t honestly care less about them. He was tired, he was hungry, and he needed to get ho… back before it got dark. So no, he wasn’t in the mood for his old childhood bullies.

                “What do you want?” he drawled, hands curling around the straps of his backpack, ready to use it as a weapon.

                “Well” Shirakawa – the guy with long fingers – got closer. “We kept passing your house, but no one was there” the boy slung his arm over his shoulder while Tsubasa blocked the exit with his wings. “Come to think of it, I’ve never seen your old man around” Izuku tensed at that.

                “Your point?” he let out through clenched teeth.

                “My point is” he pulled him closer and Izuku barely kept his knee jerk reaction from elbowing him in his smug nose “he must be way too busy to pay any type of attention to you” izuku deflated and looked away. Idiots. “So” Shirakawa continued, grabbing the stack of yen from his pocket and keeping them out of his reach with his fingers “he will not notice nor care for a few yen” It seemed to dawn at him at that moment exactly how many yen he had. “Holy shit!”

                “Give it back” Izuku growled in a low tone, feeling his anger boil inside him. “What is this, kindergarten?” He was in a shitty mood, and was ready to take Hawks’ advice of beating the crap out of people to vent.

                “Nah man.” Tsubasa said “There’s no way you made this. Who did you steal it from?”

                “I didn’t steal it, and it is none of your business.” His fists clenched in his pockets and he tried his best not to lash out. He just had to keep calm long enough do this didn’t end in violence.

                A sleazy smile spread over Shirakawa’s lips. “No, he didn’t steal it. Midoriya’s too meek for that. So, who did you whore yourself for to get this cash?”

                Izuku may have been a calm person, but everyone had a fuse, and the world had been cutting his shorter since day fucking one.

                So he dashed towards the two. He threw his backpack into Tsubasa, while he rammed shoulder first into the skinny one. Once on the ground, Izuku elbowed him hard in the jaw before turning towards the winged one. Tsubasa was getting to his feet, staggering and trying to fly, but the smaller boy didn’t give him the chance. Izuku kneed him in the crotch and head-butted him. Tsubasa collapsed and the Quirkless kid turned towards the last of his bullies.

                Shirakawa was sending his fingers towards him, hoping to keep him at distance. But, if there was one thing he had realised in his time with the villains, that was that a Quirk meant jack shit if you didn’t know what to do with it.

                So Izuku didn’t dodge the fingers. No, he caught them and, in a fluid motion, he snapped them back.

                Shirakawa screamed.

                Had it been anyone else, Izuku would have probably felt bad for him. But years of pain, of wounds, of almost breaking his neck from Tsubasa dropping him from too high, from heroes not giving a shit about it, all those things had wiped away any sympathy Izuku might have had for his tormentors.

 Shirakawa had fallen to the ground, nursing his broken finger.

                “You broke it!” he cried.

                If you scare them well enough once, they will never try again.

                Izuku slammed hit foot onto the other’s neck and pushed him to the ground. He added pressure, not enough for him to choke, but enough to know that he could’ve.

                “Ever come near me again and I’ll break the rest.” He said in a tone too dark to dare call his own before grabbing his backpack and walking away.

                The number of times Hawks’ advice came in useful was getting more and more annoying every time that fucking chicken popped up in his head.

                Izuku let out a pained breath and opened the door to his house, taking his shoes off more out of habit than that there would have been anyone there to scold him. He would have brought dirt and bugs, he would have done anything, paid anyone, if that meant that the house wouldn’t have been empty, that his mom would be there to greet him and patch up his wounds.

                But that would never happen. He had given up on that memory too long ago, and he had given up on any type of hope the moment that asshole didn’t even bother to read the countless emails, the countless calls, the letters and every known way to contact someone.

                Izuku sighed as he dropped the backpack on the floor and threw his clothes in the basket.

                Despite the lack of any adult supervision, the water kept running and the electricity was still going. Someone must have been paying the bills. No doubt, that asshole. He probably had an overworked secretary to do it for him. But Izuku wasn’t going to complain. It was his money that allowed him to wash his clothes, and charge his phone and all that useful shit he didn’t feel like living without.

 The teen entered his room and tried not to stare at the empty walls, at the lack of posters, all ripped and burned and in the trash from the time he still thought that heroes were worth their salt. He grabbed a clean change of clothing and headed for the shower. His stomach growled, but the mere thought of another instant cup of ramen made him gag.

                Maybe I should take Dabi on his offer. A decent meal wouldn’t hurt, and, even if it was just some shitty McDonalds, at least he would have someone to talk to, rather than stare at the TV mindlessly, waiting for something to happen.

                Izuku entered the shower and let the water fall past his shoulders. The boy had never expected loneliness to hit him so hard. Even before, he might have not had friends, but he had mom. He had someone who cared. Now, all he had were the villains and Dabi. And none were all that reliable sources of affection.

Izuku sighed and turned off the water, letting himself sink in the bathtub. It would all be ok. Eventually.

~O~

                Touya reached the meeting place and saw the kid wait patiently on a bench. Midoriya perked up a little before he settled on a disinterested look and leaned back, waiting for the hero to make it to him. But Touya wasn’t fooled. The boy was happy to see him.

“Didn’t think you’d show up” the redhead said and the kid scoffed and looked away.

“Whatever. You’re just so overworked all the time, I said you wouldn’t eat anything healthy without an excuse.” He crossed his arms.

                “So, letting me pay the dinner is a your idea of a favour.”

                “I can pay for myself” the kid went on defensive, too quick. Touya sighed. He always forgot that not all people were basking in self depreciating humour and roasting as a coping mechanism.

                “No need, I invited you after all.” He started walking away and he heard the kid follow him.

                “So” Izuku said. “How are things going up there?”

                “We’re a hero agency, not cloud nine.”

                “Still” the boy said, gaining a little bounce in his step as he kept up with the taller one “You’re working with the All for One. There must be something.”

                “What can I say, he’s a cranky man in the morning. He drinks coffee like his life depends on it. Hell, I’m pretty sure his bones are made of coffee beans at this point.”

                That brought a smile on the kids face as he chuckled when they entered the restaurant. It was moments like these that Touya missed, from when Izuku was a smiling little fanboy who randomly appeared whenever there was a villain attack. He still remembered how he had come bouncing, asking for an autograph from the newest intern, how he had kept popping up and stalking him, asking him questions whenever he had the time.

                At first, it had been annoying.

                With time, it became endearing.

                Now, it didn’t happen anymore.

                The kid threw himself in the seat nearest to the exit in the booth and Dabi took the other, passing the kid a menu.

                “Hey, what’s the point of the mask if everyone knows how you look from the Sports Festival?”

                “You’d be surprised how many people can’t tell who I am just because I have a different haircut.”

                The food came, and Touya watched how Izuku tried not to inhale it. He kept his face straight, but it was obvious that the kid hadn’t been eating. A year ago, he could have demanded to know what happened, and Izuku would have gladly shared.

                Now, he knew that, at the slightest sign of potential threat, the boy would bolt. Touya wanted to help Izuku. He just didn’t know how.

                Suddenly, the boy pulled the zipper to the obnoxious yellow backpack he carried everywhere and pulled out some papers, handing them over the meal. Touya frowned as he took them. He knew what those papers meant, yet he still looked them over.

                “I told you not to get too close to the villains” he said. His tone wasn’t scolding, neither disappointed. A part of him knew that the boy would never truly be at ease, and chastising him would make him draw away.

                Izuku shrugged. “Do you want this info or not?”

                Touya clicked his tongue but took the papers nonetheless. As he read further and further, he felt the frown melt. “Where do you even get this?”

                The boy shrugged. “Second and third hand sources. People talk when they think no one can hear them.”

                Touya sighed. He opened his mouth to say something, but that moment, the kid’s phone beeped. Izuku looked at the screen, frowned before a look of pain and quiet acceptance crossed his face.

                “Sorry to cut this short” he stood up. “Thanks for the meal.” He prepared to walk away, but Touya caught him by the wrist.

                “You know…. You know you can come to me if anything happens, right?”

                “Yeah” he shrugged him off, an empty platitude before walking away.

~O~

                Hawks swung his feet over the table as he waited to be called in. The two brats were fighting, again, which was really annoying at times. The other times, it was quite amusing, since the both of them had strong personalities and really really short fuses.

                Ice and fire worked well together and even better against.

                “Shut up, you fucking Elsa! You know nothing!” ahh, Bakugou. He was quite the spitfire.

                “I know enough to tell that you are an idiot!” the harsh yet not yelled tone of Frostbite was somehow more threatening, having the added bonus of seeming more serious due to lack of yelling. “You can’t just barge in guns blazing! We can’t allow ourselves to kill more people than strictly necessary!” the unnamed teen villain continued.

                “I had everything under control!”

                “You know!” Hawks suddenly said “Yelling louder won’t make your point fly across any better” the blond waited a few seconds for the  hell to break lose due to the angry Pomeranian not getting the anger management control he oh so needed. And it was his fault for that. All Might had offered, but the kid stubbornly refused.

                We’ll just wait for him to lose a limb to pride or something. Or kill one of the civilians he claims to care so much about. That ought to teach him. A just reasoning, in his humble opinion.

                There was a small knock on the door and that was the man’s cue to leave the angry rant that was getting louder and louder by the moment. Not paying a mind to the homicidal kids behind him, he entered the hallway and made his way to the elevator, where he waited patiently for the music to end.

                Once the machine stopped, the villain stepped outside, into a very big, very well decorated office, which took most of the building’s upper floors. The city was spread wide beneath him, and, if you were to look at the skinny man at the desk, you wouldn’t be able to guess that the place was anything but the office of the CEO the villain used as a cover. The same way in which, when you looked at the building, you wouldn’t have suspected the three floors of villain lair underneath, nor the prisoners screaming behind sound proof walls.

                All Might himself somehow managed to switch from menacing to fatherly with a smile. How, the young man had no idea, but he had learned long ago, shortly after he came into his care, not to question it.

                “Hawks” All Might said with a smile and after a decade and a half, the winged villain was 97% certain it was genuine. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you.”

                “Toshi” Hawks let himself fall into a chair, placing his ankle on his knee and leaning in the soft cushions.

                The elder of the two looked over some papers before sending them over the table. “The Spy had just went silent.”

                “Were they captured?” Hawks looked up.

                “That’s a possibility. There’s also the possibility that they chose to remain silent.”

                “Which means that either someone is onto them, or they found something and are waiting for the right time.”

                “Precisely” All Might leaned back in his chair “I need you to keep your eyes and ears open, same for the kids” the man poured himself some water to alleviate his cough “Speaking of kids, managed to recruit anyone else?”

                “No” he shook his head “You’d be surprised how many people are suspicious of free food and shelter” he shook his head “And the ones I managed to find are not all that bright. They lack a lot of potential.”

                “I see” the man swallowed his meds and Hawks pushed the water a little closer. “Well, since we’re talking potential, can you bring in young Midoriya?”

                “Why, didn’t you talk to him yesterday?”

                “I did, but the kid still isn’t at ease around me.”

                “What?” a sly smirk spread along his features “Are you jarred that someone doesn’t buy your façade?” at the flustered expression on his mentor’s face, Hawks chuckled and popped one hard candy in his mouth from the bowl on the desk the man always kept in reach. “You wanted him because he was smart.”

                “That doesn’t mean you have to be rude about it.” All Might looked away. Hawks released a smile before he looked out the window.

                Hawks remembered the way he found Izuku a lot better than he remembered how he found the others. He remembered strolling through the park, after a long long day where he was trying to get the scent of blood from his feathers when he had seen something in one of the covered slides.

                The person inside would have really been invisible, had it not been for the constant sniffling coming out. They seemed to be a kid, hugging the small backpack in search for comfort.

                “Hey kid” he had leaned in. “You Ok, in there?”

                “Yeah” they said in that tone kids used when they wanted to pretend they didn’t care. The boy pushed Hawks away and got out of the slide, preparing to leave. Now, Hawks was a villain, a ruthless one, but he wasn’t really heartless. Even Yagi, who never held back from killing and maiming was never intentionally cruel or caused unnecessary pain. So, Hawks, of course, tried to check if the kid was OK.

                On a certain level, he expected the fear, the jumpiness, the scepticism. What he didn’t expect was for the kid to say his name.

                “Hawks!” he whispered before he tried to run away. Now, here the villain lost precious seconds. Because people weren’t supposed to know who he was. They weren’t supposed to recognise him. He made sure to keep his face covered during missions. So why….?

                He was determined to find out and no half-starved kid was match for the villain.

                He didn’t get the kid, but he got his backpack. And said backpack contained a notebook Yagi had been very interested in. Once they had the name (Helpfully written on the cover) it was laughably easy to find his home, his story and coerce him into working for them.

                Hawks shook his head. He didn’t want to admit it, but he did feel a little bad for Izuku. He knew how it was not to have a choice, too many kids had come from such situations, so he tried to cheer him up whenever he could. He might not be the best at it, but hey, he sometimes managed to make him laugh, thing Izuku didn’t look like he did all that much. The blond sighed before looking at his boss.

                “Hey” he said in a low voice “Did you get any further in the search for a successor?”

                “Unfortunately, no” the man sighed and leaned back in his chair. “My power is dwindling. I’ll have a few years to live at most” he shook his head. “One for All can barely sustain me anymore. Once I pass it, I’ll have a few more months to teach it before this frail body gives out” he spit, as if disgusted by the sorry state his arch nemesis had brought him to. He looked up, his eyes suddenly turning soft. “That’s why I need you to make sure they are ready. I’m counting on you not to let One for All go to waste.”

                “You know I won’t” Hawks said, for the first time 100% serious. That Quirk was way too important to let roam free. Hawks had been offered too, but he had declined. He already had a powerful Quirk and, different from others, he had been presented all the risks.

                Call him a coward, but he didn’t feel like breaking all his bones or having weird voices in his head at all times. Just because Toshinori had it easy, he had been the exception, not the rule.

                The sombre air lasted between them for a few seconds before a smile spread along the man’s face. “Don’t look so grim, don’t you have a child to pick?”

                “Yeah yeah…” Hawks stood up as he pulled out his phone.

Chapter Text

Izuku yawned as he walked, making sure Dabi wasn’t coming after him. He wouldn’t put it past the hero to try. The warm feeling that had filled him during the meal was slowly starting to drain away and Izuku could practically feel his stomach curdling as he approached the building.

He paused for a second across the street to mute his phone before entering, just to be sure, and when he looked up he couldn’t help but scowl. The building looked almost disturbingly normal, like a stock photo of an office building brought to life. Not untrue, considering that, for the most part this particular location housed the more legitimate facets of All Might’s empire.

 It sounded paradoxical but the fact of the matter was that even grand criminal masterminds couldn’t escape the cogs of bureaucracy- at least not if they wanted to go big. It worked out both because funding had to come from somewhere and because not everyone who supported All Might’s cause was ready to support it with the proverbial sword.

This was even members unsuited for downright villainy could still do their part while holding down what was essentially an everyday nine to five. Looking at it like that it was very difficult to associate this place with any kind of villainy; objectively, and of course completely removed from the consequences and their boss, this place was creating stable jobs, often for people who would’ve ended up much worse otherwise. Objectively it was good.

After all, Mr. Yagi did nothing but help the poor souls who had either been abandoned by their families, or were victims of Quirk discrimination or any other number of unforeseen situations that could turn a person’s life upside down. Food and shelter, a job offered... the fact of the matter was that it worked.

It worked but the thing was that it never stopped working- once they had their claws in you they never let go. All Might was always quick to make sure to trap anyone who crossed his threshold; financially, emotionally, it didn’t really matter as long as it made sure you couldn’t get out. Not that most people even wanted to get out. It was easy, too easy, to get stuck in the grind, to rationalize what you had to do to survive, to laugh and joke, let the warmth and acceptance seep into the cracks and tell yourself that it was alright. It got easier to break the laws that doomed you for the person who saved you.

                Izuku couldn’t say for sure that, had Hawks found him earlier, when he was younger, when he still had hopes for friends and family, when he’d still had a dream that he would have refused it. Hell, he was pretty sure he would have jumped at the opportunity to help, to be needed, to be loved.

                But those hopes had died the same day as Mom. And, as twisted as it was, Izuku couldn’t bring himself to regret it. Without the sharp shards those dashed hopes had left him with he wouldn’t have been able to defend himself. Without the omnipresent pain of death always lingering in his bones he would’ve never learned what it took to stand up. Being alone hurt, it was true- but at least there wasn’t anyone around to hurt him that way.

                Still. For all it curdled his stomach and drew his bows down almost without his consent, he couldn’t say that this arrangement was all that bad. As much as he wanted to pretend that he was drowning in some misfortune, this was a much, much better than most other alternatives. He could’ve be dead in a ditch, or kidnapped and harvested for organs, or whatever else could happen to a kid with no supervision or anyone to care for them.

                Had Hawks not found him that night… He didn’t like to think about it. As much as he hated begging for scraps of attention and validation, as much as he felt disgusted by the horde of complacent minions under All Might thumb, he couldn’t stop the joy booming warm and real in his chest whenever All Might gave him a booming laugh and a Well done, my boy or when Hawks gave a long whistle after looking though his notebook before he ruffled his hair. He knew they weren’t genuine, not really, but if they were going to put so much effort into acting Izuku was happy to play pretend.

                And, it wasn’t like he cared all that much for the heroes he investigated. There were very few out there who were worth the effort to avoid. And those he always made sure not to get any info on them. Like sure, he knew where Dabi lived but that didn’t mean he would betray the man. There were enough corrupt heroes to fill a metropolitan dump after all. He didn’t need to start cutting into the good ones.

                Izuku sighed. He had gotten into this mess because he couldn’t say no to a villain. Not that he particularly wanted to. When he looked back at it, he couldn’t say it wasn’t all bad. Kid him would be outraged, would yell at him about how dare he go against heroes.

                Heroes aren’t worth it.

                After all, Mom kept saying that Dad was a hero. That he was very strong and kind and that he loved them.

 Just not enough to stay.

Just not enough to show up to the fucking funeral.

                That was one thing he could blame him for. Izuku couldn’t blame his father for leaving his useless Quirkless son. He couldn’t blame his father for not wanting anything to do with them, for not answering his phone. Hell, he couldn’t even blame his father for his own conception. Mom had been wonderful, every man would have loved to be with her.

                He couldn’t blame his father for that.

                No, but he could blame him for the complete radio silence that appeared afterwards. He could blame him for not even calling for some fucking I’m sorry for your loss.

                The boy sighed. As easy as being angry was, Izuku knew it would do no good if he had no one to take it out on. And he didn’t. So, he only shook his head once and entered the building.

                The teen walked past the normal employees until he reached the back door. From there, from behind the fake panel, he entered the hidden part of the building and went into the room what was used for social interaction or just to sit when no one had anything to do.

                He entered and saw his former friend, his handler and the guy he didn’t know all that well talking, or, more accurately, arguing. Uraraka stood on a couch and munched on some popcorn while the two alpha males were trying to assert dominance over who got the remote. Izuku sighed.

                Kacchan was the same as ever. Loud, brash and annoying.

Frostbite was, as his moniker suggested, placid to the point of coldness. But what that stood out the most about the white haired teen was the scar on his face, spreading like a bloody patch on pale skin. There was also the fact that the two halves off his hair were ever so slightly different in a way that suggested that one was being regularly bleached.

                Whatever, Izuku just wanted to sleep. He just wanted a full night’s sleep.

                “You guys know that you can have an argument without yelling, right?” he said as he got closer to Hawks. Kacchan glared, but there was nothing malicious in it, only annoyance that he had been interrupted. A year ago, Izuku would have been quaking in his boots from being at the receiving end of that look. Now he couldn’t be bothered to care.

                “You stay out of it!” Kacchan snapped at the same time Frostbite said “This isn’t your concern,”

Well- what the hell crawled up their asses and died?

                “Mmmm... it’s true that you’re not really my concern. Although your brother sure seems to think I’m his. ” He said, knowing full well what it would entail.

 Oh well, there was just something very satisfying in causing strife between the powerful, and it was one of his only joys left.

                There were a few precious seconds of silence, which he used to take cover behind Hawks before he was almost impaled by vicious icy spikes. Crimson feathers flew and wrapped around the other’s arms, as he yelled, anger breaking his usually calm demeanour.

                “Let me at him!” he yelled.

                “No can do!” Hawks sing-songed and dragged him into the elevator. Izuku crossed his arms, hiding the self-satisfied look on his face. He could never quite understand why the white haired guy didn’t like him, but he knew it was related to his Quirklessness; or better said, to his rank in spite of it. Hawks sighed before he looked at him. “Not that I don’t appreciate the rodeo but how did you know that?”

                Only curiosity, no contempt.

                “He has a powerful ice Quirk, heterochromia and, if you look at his hair, you’ll notice a small imbalance in the shade, not to mention the giant ass scar. He’s the same age as Todoroki Shouto should be and he seems weirdly proficient for his age. Oh golly gee, I wonder who, just who, it could possibly be,” Izuku crossed his arms and shrugged.

                “Mmmmm,” Hawks hummed although the corners of his lips were twitching upwards.

 They entered the elevator and the winged villain hummed happily as the floors went past them one by one as Izuku leaned his head back onto the mirror and stared at the light. Just an hour he told himself just another hour, than you can rest. The boy knew that he could technically remain at the lair.

He also knew that if he did that it was unlikely he’d go back home this week or even this month.

                Soon enough the doors opened and Izuku walked in the uncomfortably familiar office. Hawks squeezed his shoulder in a manner that the boy would never admit was at least somewhat comforting, but appreciated nonetheless. Than the doors to the elevator closed and Izuku was left alone with the man who, for a very long time, had been Japan’s most feared villain, and still made people shiver at the mere mention of his name.

                All Might, or, as the brass plaque on his desk proclaimed, Toshinori Yagi as was the man he was pretending to be, sat on a plush chair, hands resting on the table top. Izuku briefly wondered if he did the whole swivel chair, white cat routine when he wanted to intimidate someone, but stowed the thought away for later as the villain spoke.

                “Hello, young Midoriya,” the villain said with an eerily genuine smile.

                “All Might” the boy responded taking the opposite seat. The man’s eyebrow twitched a little, the only sign that he didn’t like the use of his villain name in such a calm environment. Izuku still did it, if only to give himself a small amount of agency in his situation. “Why did you call me here?”

                “Well considering how hard you’ve been working lately I just thought you might be hungry,” the man said and he pulled out a teapot and two cups out of God-only-knew where “Food shall be here in a second.”

                “I’m not hungry,” Izuku mumbled, but took a sip nonetheless. Refusing would be a step he didn’t want to take, and the man didn’t need to drug him to get anything out of the kid.

                “Nonetheless,” All Might said, and Izuku knew he had already ordered the food.

It wasn’t the first time All Might had, under one pretext or another insisted they eat together but, as good as the meal always was, Izuku could never quite bring himself to truly enjoy it. He preferred to eat with Dabi whenever he could since the man had a vast array of hero coupons to fast foods. But still, he wasn’t going to refuse.

                “So,” the man said as someone entered and placed a plate in front of him “How are things on your end?”

                “Good. Things are good,” Izuku said as he picked on some rice.

                “Hm,” the man nodded “And school?”

                “As well as it could be,” he shrugged “Our teacher told us that we should start thinking seriously about our futures.”

                “Have you thought of anything?”

                “Not really… “ Izuku stabbed a shrimp with his chopsticks “I mean, I used to want to go to UA, but…”

                “You could still go. Management would be good for you, especially since you already have the skills.”

                Izuku stopped. He hadn’t thought of the U.A as a prospect ever since his mom had died, but it seemed like he’d have to start again.

                “And you don’t have to worry about your Quirkless status,” the man continued as Izuku took another sip from his tea “If you have any problems, I could write you a recommendation myself.”

                Izuku blinked and tried to keep as natural a body language as possible “Thank you, but…” he looked up “I’d like to try to get in on my own power,” he forced a smile and a thankful bow. Making the suggestion had been one thing. Offering a recommendation… he either needed Izuku in UA, possibly as a spy, or he needed one more thing to hold over his head. Plus, entering the Heroes’ den? No. Not worth it. Not by a long shot. He’d have to look into other high schools and come up with a good enough excuse to not go to U.A. Which would be hard, considering its popularity and the prospects it offered. But if the man really would’ve wanted him to go, Izuku wouldn’t have had a choice. He just needed to thread this carefully.

                “I’ve looked over your more recent notes,” the man continued, taking a sip out of his own tea “They are getting a little bit sloppy,” the boy froze “Are you sure that everything is all right?”

                “Nothing has ever been all right,” he said in a low voice and the villain really managed to sell the sad look of pity on his face. Good for him.

                “I see,” he said before he placed the cup away and rested his chin on his balled fists “I must say, Izuku, you impress me. You have impressed me from the beginning.”

                “Thank you, sir” the boy said, keeping cautious, knowing that whenever All Might busted out the compliments something was about to happen.

                “And I wanted to know, what exactly are your future plans regarding this organisation?”

                Oh. So that’s what it is. The teen took a deep breath “I’ll stay here as long as you need me,” he said. “That was the deal, wasn’t it?”

                “Yes,” the man chuckled and looked out the window “That was indeed the deal.” piercing blue eyes on black sclera looked at him and the boy sucked in a breath “But I want to know your personal opinion. If you had a choice, would you have come here willingly?”

                Trap.

This was a trap. Izuku balled his fists under the table but kept his face impassive. That wasn’t really a question; it was a test of loyalty. The boy didn’t know what Yagi wanted from him, but he took a deep breath and made sure to look like he was thinking for a second.

                This wasn’t a question.

“Of course. Maybe not as soon but I’m sure I would’ve found my way to you eventually,” he said as he looked at the man. A thin, satisfied smile spread along the villain’s lips. Izuku couldn’t stop but think that he had made a grave mistake here.

~O~

                Touya dashed through the building, barely dodging the sidekicks, who stopped being worried too long ago, already used to the young heroes’ antics. The redhead couldn’t be all that mad about it, actually, he had no reason to, especially when they sometimes saved him a donut and a cup of coffee in the mornings when wither him or Tenko decided that the alarm clock had to pay for its gruesome sins by being smashed into the wall until it shut up.

                Right now, the man was very, very sure that he would be late, but, at the same time, his teacher never got mad at him for it. Tenko used to joke with varying degrees of seriosity and bitterness, that Sensei liked Touya better than him. Which was fair- Touya was awesome and anyone who said otherwise was either lying or had never met him.

                He gathered his breath before knocking lightly on the door, and nodded to himself before he entered. The bow he gave was shallow and brief before he collapsed on an armchair, breathing heavily.

                Sensei rose a snow white eyebrow. “Rough day?”

                “Yup!” he popped the p, even when they both knew he had had his day off. The man breathed in before he pulled the papers out of his coat, straightened them in a way that surely didn’t help and handed them over to the older man. All for One took them without comment and started studying them with a familiar intensity.

                Touya looked around the office he had been in way too many times for it to hold any secrets anymore. He still remembered how he had been called in on his internship, in his first year at UA, how his jaw had dropped when All for One offered to help him in the matter of his father.

                Eight years later and he could still remember how overjoyed he was, the relief and instant admiration for the first adult to ever take him seriously. For the first person to do something about that shit stain and get him and his siblings out of their father’s grasp.

                Too bad Shouto didn’t get to enjoy it.

                His somewhat light mood soured in a moment when he remembered his little brother.  Even after Endeavour was removed from the picture, the case never got restarted. It remained closed until the mandatory time passed for the little boy to be declared deceased. He scoffed as he remembered the policemen. No one cared about runaways anyway, so what was the point?

                Touya shook his head and looked up. Sensei was done looking over the papers and was waiting for him to finish daydreaming. The younger coughed awkwardly and straightened his back. All for One smiled.

                “This is very good,” he pointed at the papers “I really don’t know where they get it from,” his gaze darkened for a minute. “Are you absolutely sure I can’t meet this informant of yours?”

                “Sorry, Sensei,” he shrugged “They don’t really want to meet any other people.” He was pretty sure that if Izuku was to meet All for One, he would either faint from fanboy fever or dash away in fear. He didn’t want to risk either. “I barely got them to talk to me alone.”

                “I see,” the man said before he sorted the papers, no doubt planning to look them for prints. Touya really doubted it would work either way. Izuku had never left any trace before, and, even if he did, he wasn’t in any system. The kid, for all his troublemaking problems, he never got arrested. Sensei looked at him “You might want to keep a tight eye on them though. This is dangerous information and I’d hate for a kid to be injured in this.”

                “I will,” Touya nodded and looked away. The man had guessed a lot of things about Izuku, and Touya was kinda mad at himself for betraying even a shred of the little trust the kid allowed him. Still, he would keep a better eye on the boy, if he still managed to catch him. The redhead shook his head and stood up.

                “Touya.” All for one said and the no longer teen turned towards him. “Take care” the man said.

                “Always,” he smiled and dashed out the door in a blur.

~O~

                Izuku took a deep breath as he looked over the city. If there was one thing he absolutely adored about the building, it was the roof. From there, he felt like he could see the whole of Japan, especially at night when the lights were bright and surrounded everything. There was something about sitting in the dark and seeing all the light.

                It was the one thing Izuku actually liked here. The view. It helped him forget himself, his troubles, his mom… And it was, unfortunately, limited.

                The boy sighed and shook his head, dangling his feet over the edge. Once, a long time ago, he contemplated jumping. Now he knew it wasn’t worth the risk of being brought back.

                The door opened and a pair of steps Izuku had long ago learned to fear and recently stopped doing so approached him. He took a deep breath, but didn’t look at the blond as he sat down near him.

                “Hey,” Bakugou said and, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t quite hide the awkwardness.

                “Hi,” Izuku said, still not looking at the other.

                They sat in silence for a few minutes. It had been almost three months since it happened, and Bakugou had gotten tamer. Ironically, being a villain might have actually helped his attitude problems. He still was sewer garbage in terms of social interaction, but he was better than the menace that plagued his childhood.

                He remembered the last time he saw him, before they joined both joined the biggest villain in Japan with different degrees of willingness. He remembered seeing him walk away from home; he remembered begging him to stay.

                He didn’t.

                The blond had thrown him one look, one that hadn’t held any malice, only pity and stormed off.

                Guess that it what seeing the true colours of the hero society does to you, Izuku mused.

                “You know” the blond spoke “I actually kept an eye on my investigation…” he shook his head “The case turned cold.”

                “Of course” Izuku said “There was no point in searching if there was no way to find you.”

                “No.” he let out a mirthless laugh “That old hag stopped it. She said that I was dead,” he threw hia head backwards “Made me a grave and all that shit,”

                “I’m sorry,” Izuku said. He might not like the blond, but he wasn’t really that insensitive.

                “Yeah. Me too,” he said as he leaned forward.

                The day Mom died was the day there had been an attack in the big city centre. It was the day Bakugou got to see that the heroes were more likely to ignore normal civilians in order to save sponsors. That no matter how big or good or innocent you were, there was always someone more important who will get priority. For Izuku, that had been the law of his life.

                For Katsuki, it had been a shock.

                They had both been trapped under the debris, Izuku’s mom a few feet from them, behind a piece of wall. She told him she was fine. And Izuku, poor and naïve, had ignored his instincts and believed her. They kept talking until she didn’t answer.

                Katsuki had kept yelling for help the whole time, even after Izuku stopped, even after his voice had turned horse.

                The boys had sat there for hours, listening to heroes passing past them, listening to them leaving and not coming back.

                The boys had been rescued alive after a day. Izuku wasn’t allowed to look at Inko, but the simple lack of her near the ambulances was enough.

                That had been long ago, and the boys had barely exchanged more than one conversation. Which was the same amount they did in middle school, but now everything was more strained.

                Izuku couldn’t say he hated heroes, but he sure as hell despised most of them. And Kacchan had always been the epitome of a hero.

                Izuku stood up “Take care on your next mission.”

                “Wait!” Bakugou said and Izuku actually stopped for a moment “You don’t have to leave you could-”

                “I don’t want to stay,” Izuku said and left. He circled the roof and ended up on the other side of the building, where Hawks was perched on a crate like the world’s most stylish gargoyle.

                “Ready to go?”

                “Yeah” Izuku nodded and held up his arms. The villain picked him up bridal style and they flew away. While the boy didn’t like being carried like this, it was better than being grabbed from behind and dangled over the city below.

                They glided over most of the city, until they reached an empty park. “You sure you don’t want me to take you home?” the man asked, and oh, look at that, he actually seemed concerned. “I get that you don’t want the base, but a roof would be better, right?”

                “It’s ok, don’t bother,” he waved his hand before he went shelter hunting.

~O~

                Touya entered his apartment and collapsed on the couch. Tenko stopped typing for one precious second to make sure that he wasn’t dying or staining the couch with blood that wasn’t his (it happened one time) before returning to his, most likely illegal, business.

                Touya stared at the ceiling before a voice, accompanied by the incessant typing spoke “Spill man, what’s got you so strung up?”

                “Remember the kid I keep telling you about?”

                “The one you took as a surrogate little brother figure because your brotherly instincts need to be released on someone?”

                The redhead glared. “You are a most awful friend.”

                “No shit,” the man deadpanned “And yeah, ok, you’d most likely care about that kid anyway, what with you being a goddamn hero and all that, but,” he pointed one long, gloved finger at him “You can’t deny that you’re projecting. And, if the boy is half as smart as you tell me, he can probably tell it too” he returned to his laptop before saying “So, please, tell me, what happened now?”

                “I’m pretty sure he’s in pretty deep with some villains.”

                “Well, duh,” Touya stood up and rose an eyebrow at his friend. Tenko sighed “Look, if he is your informant, he most likely has at least some connections who have access to that information, which in turn, means that  he has to be deep in some villain circles,”

                “I never told you he’s my informant…”

                “Yeah, like that’s a secret,” he deadpanned. Touya blinked. “Anyway, what about him?”

                “I just... ggghhhh I want to help him,” he collapsed back on the couch “He’s been acting weird... I mean... weirder for the past few months, and I don’t know what to do!”

                Tenko looked at him for a few seconds “Midoriya... Izumi? No, Izuku was it?”

                Touya nodded, not even going to question how his friend had found that out. There was more typing for a few seconds before it all came to an abrupt stop. Tenko sucked in a breath and spoke, voice softer than usual, too soft, which automatically set the hero on edge.

                “The kid and his mom were caught in a hero accident,” Tenko stood up and approached the couch “Mom didn’t make it”

                Touya blinked before he looked at the ground.

                “You knew her?” the redhead nodded. The woman had actually invited him to dinner after he had saved the kid the first time. Touya had known that he shouldn’t have taken advantage of it, but he was twenty and broke.

                People die all the time, you’re a hero, get over it.

                As if reading his mind, Tenko placed a hand on his back “It’s ok to be sad, you know?”

                “Yeah,” he buried his face into his hands “I just... I think I need some time to process.”

                “Ok,” the man stood up “I’ll see if I can find anything on the kid. Arrests and stuff,” Touya looked up and Tenko sighed, as if asking the gods above why he was surrounded by idiots “He’s a minor. He had to have a guardian. That means he had to do something right?”

                Touya nodded and went to make himself some tea.

 

Chapter Text

The classes were boring to be in, so Izuku just stared out the window. It wasn’t like he actually needed them, he could study ahead whenever he felt like it, and the teachers weren’t the best to begin with. Tapping his foot on the floor, he wished he could just pull out his notebook, to release some pent up stress but that would draw attention, and attention was the one thing he couldn’t afford. It was already bad enough that Dabi insisted on keeping tabs on him, he didn’t need the teachers to try to call his guardian for disciplinary causes. Because then they would notice that there was no one to guard him and it would get all nasty. Izuku was sure that Yagi could get him some forged papers and even pose the part of his guardian but he didn’t want to be legally attached to those fuckers. That would give All Might too much control.

                From his seat with his chin resting on his arms, Izuku eyed the kids he used to call friends less than a decade ago. They had always been mean, true, always following Bakugou in everything, but especially the bullying. Bakugou was not here now, and Izuku always made sure that he left too early for them to catch up to him. But what if I stayed? He glared at the kids. Bakugo may have been the leader, but they never pulled back, never stopped him. They were accomplices who’d laughed at his torment, who had a big part in the theft of his things. He owed them nothing, except, maybe, the same kind of pain.

                His moral compass wasn’t appalled at all, since he knew for a fact that both Dabi and Hawks would probably tell him to fight back, thought Dabi would probably put emphasis on the back part while Hawks on the fight part.

                That was the main reason he’d liked Dabi at first. He had been the first person who told him to either fight back or run away. When every adult in your life tells you to lay low, to ignore it, to be the bigger person, when you know for a fact that it won’t work, having someone you admire give you some actually decent advice was really good.

                He smiled as he remembered the day Bakugou hadn’t been there and they were fighting for the post of second in command. The way the other cried when Izuku had hit him with a chair had felt bad then but so, so good now. Yeah, he had gotten suspended, so what.

                Whatever you do do not hit first. Then it is legally your fault for starting the fight.

                Yeah, ok, thanks a ton, Dabi.

                Still though, right now, it wouldn’t be worth it. Sighing, he started packing his things when he had got a notification.

Yagi

[Do you mind passing by after school? I have something I wish to discuss with you]

                Izuku blinked.

Me

[No problem]

                The school ended and Izuku didn’t hurry as he packed his things. The others didn’t attack him. What a pity. But anyway, he gathered his books and started walking. School had ended quite late, so Izuku arrived at the building while it was dark. He failed to see any Hawks around this time, which wasn’t weird, just surprising.

                He made his way to the elevator and pressed the button, waiting for the machine to land him on the steps of his current boss. But here was the weird thing: the elevator didn’t take him to the usual office, but to another floor, much, much lower.

                Izuku blinked as he stepped out.

                “Izuku” All Might said as he stepped out of the shadows. They seemed to be in a lab of sorts, and the boy could see the exit from the corner of his eyes. “Thank you for coming on such a short notice. The preparations were ready a lot faster than I expected and I wanted to get this out of the way as soon as possible” he said as he headed into the lab. It wasn’t a question, he expected Izuku to follow.

                The boy did. “Preparations? For what?”

                “I think it’s better if I just show you.” The man said. Izuku nodded, but took notice of every twist and turn as he went deeper into the lab. The man opened a door with a security card and motioned him in.

                Izuku got in, but quietly slipped his backpack off his shoulder and didn’t allow for the door to close since he didn’t like the idea of being trapped with the man, even if he logically knew he wouldn’t be able to fight back or run if he decided to attack him.

                All Might didn’t look back and Izuku hoped he wouldn’t notice as he followed the man. “You know of the strife and wars that happened in the early days after Quirks appeared? I assume you learned about them in school, yes?”

                “Yeah,”

                “Very well,” the man turned towards him and Izuku noticed that there were tubes and glass cages everywhere. He couldn’t help but stare at the semi humanoid shapes inside them. “Well, let me tell  you of something history doesn’t.” he motioned towards one of the glass cases “This is a Noumu,” he knocked lightly “This is what happens whenever someone puts more Quirks in one person than the one they had. However, interestingly, Quirkless people don’t become Noumu.”

                Izuku could only stare at the exposed brains and muscles on the thing. “Wait. You... you said more Quirks!” he looked at the man “Isn’t... isn’t All for One the only one who can…”

                All Might sighed “He is a first generation, yes, and was donated a longevity Quirk by someone who wanted to see him keep the world at peace,” he nodded “In the beginning, he gave Quirks to people, in order to make them equal, to help them protect themselves. He didn’t know at that time that it turned them into this,” he knocked on the tube again “This is what my predecessors have managed to salvage from that times. Creatures with powerful Quirks but no mind of their own,” he looked at the place where a face should have been “They can only follow orders of the person who created them or, of those who shares the bloodline.” He turned towards the kid fully, the light of the monster shining brightly behind him. “Now, let me tell you about my Quirk,”

 Izuku blinked and stood straighter.

                “It’s called One for All. It was created when All for One gave his small, frail brother a Quirk in order to help him defend himself. But the brother saw that people were at war, and managed to build his own side. The two brothers, unfortunately, disagreed on that front, which is why I am here today. You see,” he looked at the kid “Surprisingly, the brother wasn’t Quirkless. He had a Quirk that allowed him to pass on other Quirks. The two Quirks merged and created One for All- a Quirk that can be passed on from one wielder to another, and has the sole purpose of achieving the goal the little brother wanted.”

                “Which is..?”

                “To make sure that All for One doesn’t have all the power,” he shook his head “To leave that much power in the hands of one individual all but begs corruption. And look at what we became today?” his lip curled “A society saturated with people calling themselves heroes, a society worshiping the lucky few and shunning anyone who doesn’t fit their ideas of normality. Such fine advancements we have made.”

                Izuku looked down.

                “You know… I was Quirkless too before I received One for All.”

                The boy blinked and looked at the tank. The words were nice and they made sense, but Izuku wouldn’t trust the villain if he could help it.

                “I... I’m honoured but I have to ask why... why are you telling me this?”

                “Simple,” the man placed his hand over his shoulder and Izuku tried to pull away, but couldn’t. “You see, ever since my fight with All for One six years ago, my Quirk has gotten weaker as did my body. I don’t have that much longer to live,” he shook his head as if he was sorry, pushing Izuku closer to the tank. “I need to pass it on, I need a successor,” Izuku felt dread creep down his spine and tried not to gag. “Thankfully, the sentient nature of My Quirk allows the user access to all the previous memories, Quirks and advice of the previous users.” the man’s arm tightened around Izuku while the other pulled out a syringe.

                “And you, young Midoriya, are my choice for a successor.”

                Izuku managed to pull away and look at the man. His voice might have been nice and steady and kind, but his dark sclera held something he didn’t want to test. Izuku gulped as he took a step back. “While I’m flattered…” his voice was shaking, why was his voice shaking, why… “I cannot accept this, I-”

                “I wasn’t asking,” the man said and Izuku didn’t have time to think before the taller man stabbed something in his thigh…

                The boy yelped and staggered back, his foot throbbing, but the man merely placed the syringe back into his pocket. “That ought to do it,” he looked up and Izuku didn’t know where to go, what to do, he didn’t know, he didn’t know, he didn’t…. “Now, for the details, I think we should go to the office…” he said, like this was normal, like that didn’t just happen, like….

                Izuku didn’t think. He didn’t want to think, to be honest. He only ran. As fast as he could, out of the room, he grabbed his backpack and locked the door. It wouldn’t keep him out, only stall him, but he didn’t know what to do.

                The boy jumped out of the fire exit and ran.

                Izuku didn’t know where to go. They knew where he lived, and the police wouldn’t listen to him. Or they would be bribed. Hot tears filled the corners of his eyes and he tried not to bawl.

                Where can I go? I can’t let him find me, I can’t…

                Then, it hit him. There was one place they didn’t know about, one place he didn’t tell them. It was a fat chance but…

                Taking a deep breath and looking both ways, trying not to get followed, he headed to Dabi’s place.

~O~

                If there was one thing Touya didn’t expect, it was for someone to be trying to break down his door on a at 4 am on a Friday. His house was secluded and no one was supposed to know about it, and delivery person ever hit the wood with quite that much pathos.

                The other thing he didn’t expect was for that person to be Izuku or for the little boy to crash shivering into his arms.

                “Help me…” Izuku whimpered, arms digging into his side “Please, I ca- I can’t, help me” he was heaving and sobbing and Touya’s hero instincts kicked in before he even knew what he was happening.

                He shut the door with a hard push before he gave the kid a quick once over, searching for wounds or scruffs or dirt.

 Izuku was still crying, and wasn’t looking at him. “I didn’t want it, I’m sorry, I don’t know what to do, I…” He hacked in a few deep breaths before his breath hitched once again and he started bawling even harder.

                “Izuku,” Touya forced him to look at him and only then did the boy seem to remember why he was there. “What happened, why are you here? How...how do you even know about this place?”

                “Is this the kid?” Tenko asked as he had his arms crossed in the doorway of their living room. Touya nodded before he turned his attention onto the boy once again.

                “Is this about the villains you’ve been giving me info on?” the boy nodded and wiped his tears, suddenly looking away. Touya felt something heavy in his chest. “Who was it, Izuku?” the boy didn’t look at him so the hero grabbed his shoulders and forced him to look at him. “Who was it?!

                The man regretted it a second later, when fear passed the boy’s features, but Izuku eventually spoke. “All Might.”

                The redhead felt all of his blood drain from his bones just as Tenko let out a positively filthy curse. Izuku was looking at the ground, shoulders shaking with shame and fear.

                “Wait!” Touya quickly said “Isn’t All Might dead? Didn’t Sensei kill him?”

                “With that man,” Tenko spit “We could only hope,” he shook his head “I’ll call sensei.” And, with that, he left the room.

                Touya sighed and promised himself to panic later before he helped the boy off the ground and onto the kitchen table where he proceeded to try and calm the boy down.

                It took him a few moments to realise that there was something wrong with him. He didn’t seem to be listening, as if he was distant or distracted by. Dabi checked his pupils, and smelled his breath but the boy didn’t seem to be on drugs or anything. Sighing, he stood up and proceeded to make some tea.

~O~

                Izuku took a deep breath and drank a big gulp of the scaling tea. The scorching heat did little to distract him from the voices in his head, the ones telling him to go back, to give in, to pull at the shiny little thread inside of him and use it, consequences be damned. Dabi had gone to talk to someone and Izuku didn’t know what to do.

                He came here because he had no other choice, but, thinking a little bit better, it was probably futile. It wasn’t like the hero could help him, not when it was All Might they were talking about.

                Suddenly, there was a chair in front of him and Dabi’s roommate – Tenko Shigaraki – was sitting in front of him, blocking his exit. Izuku gulped and looked away, but the man didn’t seem impressed.

                “Kid,” he said and Izuku was forced to look at those unyielding crimson eyes as they pinned him down and stripped him of all defences. “I’ll ask you once, and you better be honest.” The man leaned in “Do you know about One for All?”

                “Yes,”

                “Do you have it?”

                Izuku nodded but didn’t look up. Shigaraki let out a curse before he got off the chair and returned a second later with some pills. Izuku gulped as he eyed them, but the man glared at him, so the boy took the foil. After making sure it wasn’t poisoned, the boy took the painkillers.

                “Good,” the man kicked in “The painkillers should start working in a few minutes. They’ll help you deal with the pain.” He shook his head. “Sensei said that they’re supposed to help until a permanent solution.”

                “But how do you know so much about One for All?”

                The man looked him in the eye “Because my real name is Shimura.”

                A pin could have dropped at the other end of Japan and it would’ve sounded like a cannon going off. Izuku sucked in a breath and the man sighed. “I may not have the Quirk, but I still have her blood running through my veins and... well, that tends to come with its own baggage” Izuku nodded, still slightly dumbfounded “Look, I’ll only ask you this once, because you don’t seem to be faking this- any of this,” four fingers grabbed his chin and he was met once again with those striking red eyes.  “Did. You. Want it?”

                “No,” Izuku said, barely above a whisper. Shigaraki held onto him for another moment before he let go and nodded, taking a deep breath.

                “All right” he sat up “Then Sensei might... might be able to save you. Otherwise, I have no idea.”

                Izuku nodded as Shigaraki placed a blanket over his trembling shoulders. The voices had become a silent buzz.

~O~

                For the first time in a very long time All for One was desperately searching for the phone he had kept for this kind of situations. It was the personal phone no one other than Inko ever had access to, and it was now that he realised, he couldn’t remember the last time she called.

                Because that couldn’t be true, it just- it just couldn’t. The green haired green eyed boy in the infirmary couldn’t be his son, because that meant that Inko was dead and that All Might had gotten his claws in his child.

                While he’d done nothing to protect them.

                It had been years since he had last visited Inko and Izuku. While it had been nothing but a one night stand, he did care about them a whole lot. The only reason he didn’t take it further was because he was the No.1 hero and that meant a huge risk for anyone affiliated with him. But he did keep in contact with Inko. He used to even visit them, even, before his fight with All Might when he decided it was too risky. He had made sure none of them could recognise him with the help of a Quirk acquired more than a century ago, and kept in touch with Inko.

                By the time he was ten Izuku stopped wanting to talk to him altogether, and the only updates on his son he got from his mother.

                Yet, even after all these years, All for One still recognised his kid. His jaw was sharper, his cheeks more gaunt, his eyes haunted with things no kid should have seen but he was still the same boy. Which was why All for One was desperately looking for that phone. Because the half dead kid in the infirmary couldn’t be his. It would mean he had yet again failed a once-Quirkless person he sworn to protect.

                Finally, after a lot of searching, he found it, an old thing that could only be contacted from one number.

                The reason the man didn’t realise the woman had stopped calling was because he had been busy. All Might had went out of his way these past few months, wreaking havoc and lawsuits left and right and there was no trace of the once great villain anywhere. All for One had been busy. But he shouldn’t have ignored the sudden stop of the calls.

                Taking a deep breath, the man plugged the phone into the charger and waited for it to light before looking though his contacts. He was horrified. There were over 100 messages from Inko phone.

                Taking a deep breath, the man opened the first.

                [Hey] came the tired voice and All for One could hear that the boy had been crying [look, I know I haven’t really talked to you in like... what, five years or so? But...] a deep breath before he started again [mom... mom’s died. She’s dead and I really need help with the funeral. Call me when you get this message]

                Beep.

                The man paused and tried to keep his mind in check.

The message was four months old.

                [It’s been two weeks. I took care of the funeral. I don’t know what to do with the ashes, but you could at least come to apologise before I throw them in the wind]

                Beep.

                The man gulped and started the next.

                With each message, there was a different emotion in the boy that sent them.

                [I don’t know why the electricity is still running. I guess it’s you, since I can’t really pay the bills. The police said that you should’ve become my guardian or some shit, but you didn’t and you still pay the bills, so fuck you.]

                Beep.

                [I don’t know why I’m doing this anymore. Mom said that you cared but I’m pretty sure you threw away this phone. What a- an utter joke you are, Hisashi Midoriya] a mirthless chuckle. [Anyway, if you are somehow still alive, go die in a ditch.]           

                Beep.

                The tone changed the more messages he went through. While they had been pleading and polite in the first third, and spiteful and angry in the second, they were…. Plain sad in the third.

                [I miss her, you know. I think I joined some villains] shuffling [my notebook got trashed again. I told you about the notebooks, right? I used to write about heroes in them and all. Now I don’t even know anymore…]

                He did. Inko had told him too, mentioned how excited he was to write and how often they got trashed. She mentioned how she was worried that he didn’t have any friends, but still wanted to help him. How he was so excited to run to hero fights, how happy he was to see them in action.

                Beep.

                Beep. Beep. Beep. Every robotic sound covered the end and the begging of the next second of despair. But the man couldn’t stop, he couldn’t. His fingers went through the motions, listening to the kid telling about his day.

                Did he…. Did he ever had anyone to talk to?

                The notion that the only release the boy ever had was a phone to a number that never answered was terrible and the man swallowed on his own spit before he pressed the last message.

                [Look] there were tears in his voice [I] there was a pained gasp [I don’t know why mom did this? I guess she still loved you. I don’t know. And I frankly don’t care] a small sniff [ I know that you probably ignore me because I’m... Quirkless] the man froze at the words [You know I’m Quirkless and I can’t remember you ever coming back after it was obvious but…] he was sobbing now [ please, just answer this goddamn phone. Please just... just once.] he took a few deep breaths before he spoke again [There. I fucking did that. You got me begging, are you happy? ...Please, I] he inhaled [I need help, ok? I have no idea what I’m doing, there’s villains after me and... and mom said that you were a hero and…] there was a hiccup and a sniff before he started again [I think this is the last time I’ll call. I’ll wait three days in case you happen to pick up, but I doubt it. I think I’ll just throw this away after. Goodbye]

                The line went dead.

                The man stared at the phone in his hand. What…… what should I do?

 He had no idea what to do right now, how to act. He pulled out his laptop and tried to google his wife. Inko couldn’t be dead, she couldn’t…

                “Sensei?”

                All for One looked up. Touya stood in the doorway, arms crossed in his civilian clothes, an unreadable expression on his face.  He took a step forward and All for One didn’t need the empathy Quirk to see that there was a flurry of emotion inside the boy.

                “Touya, I …”

                “Is Izuku…. Is Izuku your son?” there was an edge, a bite in his words, one that the man knew he had to thread carefully if he didn’t want to anger the fire user.

                “Touya….”

                The redhead shook his head interrupting “We can talk about this later. The medical check is almost done and I think you’d like to know about this One for All. I would surely love to.” He grumbled and marched out of the office.

                All for one sighed, frigid fingers unclenching from the dead piece of plastic and followed him to the infirmary. Izuku was sitting on a chair, getting his hand bandaged.

                “Once again, I’m so, so sorry for my daughter” Chisaki said as he was applied a colourful band aid. “She just... doesn’t know what she’s doing”

                “Bullshit!” Tomura said from a chair “That little hellion is fully aware of what she’s doing! She bites everyone on purpose!” he held out a hand where the faint scar of small teeth could be seen.

                “Tenko…” the doctor cocked his head “Eri is a little angel.”

                “Yeah well, she sure has the teeth of a hellhound” Izuku grumbled and the man let out an amused laugh. Eri was very aggressive to people she didn’t like, yet a little possessive manipulator when it came to her father. Chisaki was a great doctor, if an inconvenient one for most patients, but thankfully, this time, there wasn’t need for his Quirk.

                “Regardless,” the man looked through a drawer before pulling out some pills “Take these. They should help with the pain and numb the Quirk a little” he shook his head “but I can’t do more. You’re lucky I had Tomura here to practice on” the silver haired man scowled at the use of his first name, like Overhaul hadn’t been their doctor from the moment he had gotten his licence and had seen the boy in all of his stages of growth.

                “Thank you, Overhaul,” All for One said before turning towards the boy. “Izuku. Could you follow me?”

                “Yes. But can you please call me Midoriya?”

                A pang of pain when through the man’s heart, but he nodded and headed towards his office. Izuku and Touya followed. He motioned for Izuku to get in, but stopped Touya.

                The boy scoffed, in a way he didn’t since that night he had taken him outside of his home. All for one glowered.

                “You owe me an explanation and, if what I heard earlier is true, I know your son better than you do” he wrenched his shoulder away and stepped inside. All for One sighed but followed.

                “So, Midoriya,” he said and the name felt foreign on his tongue. It had been a while since he last said it. “How much do you know about One for All?”

                “Well, All Might said….”

                He knew almost everything. It was weird how light up he got when he talked about a Quirk, but not the person behind it. Touya remained silent, observing during most of the conversation, keeping an eye on them both.

                Izuku was smart. The conversation left the One for All territory soon enough and delved into Quirks and their uses, into analysis and all that. That was when the boy’s face really started to shine, to look more alive than he remembered seeing him all night. He started to look more like the little kid who came running and squiggling every time he decided to come home for a night or two. Even Touya relaxed a little.

                Izuku also shared the location of the main lair of All Might, as well as information on the members he had gotten to know. He was so, so eager to help, to be of use.

                Why does he remind me so much of Inko? Of Buri?

                In the end, he was forced to break the peace. “Midoriya…. Izuku” he said and the boy tensed at the use of his first name. “I’ve been informed that you are currently without a guardian.”

                “Yeah” he scratched his neck “My mom died and that bastard was never in the picture.” There was so much vitriol in the name that All for One almost physically wrenched himself backwards.

                “Now” he said, completely ignoring the warning signs from Touya “It’s not respectful to talk that way about your parents….”

                He could see Touya wanting to slam his head into the table. He knew this was a bad idea but surely, surely….. Izuku couldn’t hate him that much, could he? HIsashi didn’t want the whole situation with Buri again, he didn’t want to have to watch another family member hate him till they burned out, he didn’t …..

                “Respect is earned sir….” The boy shook his head “And, so far, I have no duty to respect a man who never gave a damn about me….”

                “Now, I’m sure you’re exaggerating….”

                Touya looked like he wanted to strangle him.

                “I’m not. He left us because he couldn’t stand the shame that I was Quirkless, just like my mom couldn’t and cried and ate all the time.” The boy gritted his teeth and looked away “Can we not talk about him? Why are you even asking in the first place?!” the boy went on the defensive.

                The man sighed. He could not tell the kid that he was his son but….. He didn’t want to lie to him. He knew it was probably a very bad, selfish idea, but Izuku was the last of his family he had left.

                “I bring this up because….” He took a deep breath, preparing for disaster “I am your father.”

                Graveyard silence didn’t even begin to describe what had come over the room.

                “What?” Izuku managed to croak

                “Yes,” All for one sighed “I’m sorry you had to find out like this, but I, indeed, am your father. I’m sorry you only got to know this just now.”

                Hisashi expected screams, he expected yells and cries…

                He didn’t expect a mirthless laugh. “Of course,” Izuku shook his head “Of course my father is the one person who could have given me a Quirk yet, for some obscure reason, didn’t.” Izuku looked up and any light that might have been in his eyes died as he glared at the man. “Why did you tell me this? What did you hope to accomplish?”

                “I thought that you would have liked to know-”

                “Well I don’t,” Izuku bit out “I was so much more happy when I thought that my father was dead, but now?” he shook his head before it finally snapped up in alert “Wait,” Izuku gritted his teeth “Since you admitted that you are my father, that means you now have custody over me.” There was a look of rage over his face and he almost stood up, but Touya’s hand on his arm stopped him. “Did you… Did you say that only to get your hands on the One for All?”

                “What?” Hisashi stood up.

                “That’s it, isn’t it?” Izuku wrenched his hand away from Touya’s “You wanted to keep an eye on the Quirk of your nemesis, and you invent this convoluted story that you are my father and…”          

“I did no such thing” Hisahis growled.

                “Sure you didn’t,” Izuku spit. “You know, if you wanted to keep me prisoner, just say so. Give me a book or something, I’ll survive.” He crossed his arms angrily.

                “Why would you think that I would lie to you?”

                “I don’t know, because you using me for my Quirk, makes more sense than suddenly growing a heart!”

                “Well, it’s true…”

                “Then why weren’t you there, all those years when mom was in pain?” he slammed his hands on the table “Why weren’t you there when we needed emotional support, when there was only the two of us, when I came home with bruises because no one cared?” red sparks were starting to flow all over him as he yelled at the taller man. “Where were you when I was declared Quirkless and mom cried till she had no tears left to shed?”

                The man looked down. “I’m sorry…”

                “Well sorry ain’t cutting it!” Izuku bit.

                The man sighed. “I really did love you two….”

                “Bullshit!” Izuku yelled “You couldn’t have loved us!”

                “Why do you think that?”

                “Because then you would have given me a Quirk!”

                Something froze inside the man, something ugly and wicked, something he had sworn to bury too long ago. Come on now, Hisa-nii, you gave the baker a superpower, you gave one to the kid on the street, why can’t you give one to me?

                Years upon years of villains hellbent on killing him, on ending his legacy, all carrying the same golden thread of the man who had started it all. The same thread now biting viciously on the inside of his son.

                “I would have never given you a Quirk.” He said in a dark voice. Images of people screaming, of them being thrown into insanity because of one too many Quirks lurking inside them….

                “Why not?!”

                “People are not meant to have Quirks they weren’t born with….”

                Izuku growled “You dare say that when you stole so, so many….” He boy looked up “You’ve had it for centuries, so there’s no one to verify that they were all given willingly.” All for One felt his blood turn to ice as he glared at the kid. “You stand there so high and mighty when all the people born with a less than fortunate Quirk have to suffer because you are like everyone else and only care about people with perfect Quirks, and not about your own damn child!”

                The slap echoed in the office like a nuclear bomb, leaving everyone was frozen for a second. Hisashi looked in frozen horror at his hand and at the pale but slowly reddening spot on the freckled cheek. Izuku blinked owlishly, as if his brain was trying to catch up with what had just happened.

                 A trembling hand touched the cheek, as if checking for a bruise yet to appear.

                “Izuku…” Hisashi said as he tried to touch him but the boy pulled back. For one second, one precious second, there was fear in his eyes before a blank mask washed over it.

                “So that’s how it’s going to be….” He mumbled before he got up and rushed out of the room.

Touya stood up too

                “Touya….”

                “Don’t,” he shook his head.

                “Touya, please….” The redhead never had such a look as he had now in his eyes, and never directed at him. But now he did. “Please, talk to me…”

                “Sensei…” he said “When you first rescued me, you told me that my Quirk didn’t matter, that Quirk or no Quirk I could always be a hero. But…” He looked up “You abandoned your own child. Because of something you could have easily fixed.” He shook his head “And… I don’t know…. I don’t know if I can believe what you told me anymore….”

                “It’s not as simple as you make it out to be….”

                The redhead shook his head “I’m going to go check on Izuku” he said and left the office without another word.

Chapter Text

Izuku leaned on the wall as he hugged his knees and tried not to panic. He took a few deep breaths and buried his face into his legs, tears spilling on his cheeks and the handprint burning into his face. The boy took huge gulps of air but there was not enough air and he was panicking and he couldn’t move and he couldn’t…..

                “Izuku” Someone kneeled before him and the boy looked at the red haired hero “Izuku, can I sit here?”

                The boy nodded and the man sat down. Dabi didn’t try to hug him and Izuku appreciated that. The teen took a few deep breaths and tried to move his focus on the situation.

                “A minute, a minute, please, just a minute and I’ll be fine…”

                “You don’t have to be fine” Dabi said. Izuku stopped and looked at the hero in shock. “Look” the man sighed “What just happened probably caused you a lot of stress, so don’t feel pressured to keep it in. It’s unhealthy.”

                “But, but , but…”

                “You are allowed to cry” Dabi said “You are allowed to scream, I won’t blame you if you do.” Izuku clenched his jaw and looked ahead, staring at nothing in particular. Dabi sighed. “Do you need to talk about it or to be distracted?”

                “I don’t know” Izuku buried his face into his arms. “Mom never….” He took his hand to his cheek where the hand still burned. It wasn’t even all that hard, it wouldn’t bruise, it even stopped hurting, but….

                “If it makes you feel better, I never saw him be like this to anyone else either” Dabi looked up “It’s the first time I see him anything but composed….”

                Izuku looked ahead. So the blood ties gave him the luxury of violence. Just peachy. “Tell me about him” Dabi blinked when Izuku finally looked at him “You know him better than I do, and I don’t trust the media.”

                 A small smirk crawled past the man’s lips and he chuckled before shaking his head. “He was like a father to me, but considering where I came from, I doubt it’s that good of a comparison…” Izuku rose an eyebrow and the man went on. “Did I ever tell you about my brother…”

                “Not in verbal language.”

                “Yeah” Dabi’s head hit the wall behind him. “You see, do you know the scandal with Endeavour?” izuku nodded “Well, My name is Touya Todoroki….”

                Izuku nodded.

                “Yeah” he said “Dear old dad didn’t let my name get to the media at all. The only one he ever showed around had been Shouto and that stopped after he disappeared…”

                “What happened?”

                Dabi looked into the distance. “I assume you know about the eugenics and how he drove our mother insane that she burned Shouto, right?” Izuku nodded “Well, after she was taken away, Shouto couldn’t use his fire. In the beginning, we thought that he was refusing, but no…” he shook his head “He wasn’t physically able to use his fire. Apparently, the trauma blocked that part of his Quirk factor.” Dabi let out a mirthless laugh “But it’s not like Endeavour would buy a psychological disability. No, that would be too good wouldn’t it?” he sighed “He started running Shouto to the bone, more than before, until he ran away.” The man took a deep breath and buried his forehead into his knees “A seven year old should be easy to find, right? But we didn’t.” he swallowed and shook his head “Eventually, Endeavour got the message that he wasn’t coming back and started training the only fire user left” he pointed at himself.  He looked up “Sensei realised it quite fast and made it possible for us to be taken out of his custody. He gave me the choice on weather I wanted to be a hero or not, but it wasn’t like I knew how to do anything else, so, here I am….” He finally looked at the boy.

                “I guess that what I’m trying to say is…. He has always been a good man to me…” Izuku looked down “But” Dabi took a deep breath “It is the first time I saw him like this. So please, if anything happens, don’t hold back from telling me, Ok? I may respect him, but I won’t blindly forgive his faults, ok? You can count on me, kid.”

                “Yeah. Thanks” Izuku looked away. He had to tell him that, but he knew it was a bad idea. “If I tell you something, will you promise me not to do anything reckless?”

                “Yeah?”

                Here goes nothing….

                “I know where Shouto is….” Dabi froze. It took a few seconds for him to get back to normal, but when he did, he looked like he wanted to grab Izuku and shake him for information. He didn’t. Izuku was grateful for it.

                “Where?”

                “He’s one of All Might’s attack dogs” he said. The man seemed frozen, but more alert.

                “I have to…. I have …”

                “Go” Izuku said before grabbing him by the arm “But please, expect him to attack you. It had been almost a decade after all….”

                Dabi nodded and dashed for the office.

~O~

 

                The speed they moved in order to raid the lair once most of the heroes were sure that they wanted to take down All Might once and for all was dazzling. Izuku remained on the floor, sipping from a juicebox Overhaul had given him, because apparently he carried them around for the little devil in human form called Eri and watched it all unfold.

                All for One tried to talk to him, but Izuku just glared and ignored him before he accepted a handshake form Dabi and watched them go.

                They had been gone for almost an hour.

                Izuku was stretching and trying to silence the buzz in his head when the TV was turned on to the news. On the screen, seen from the helicopter, the two figures could be seen talking.

~O~

                All for One stared at his nemesis.

                All Might, even in his skinny form, even if bloodied and bruised, he was smiling. Wide and bright, as if the land under their feet wasn’t made out of the corpses of so many people, so many civilians, so many children that just happened to be nearby when the Villain landed onto them.

                “You know” the man stood tall “It was quite rude of you to take young Tenko after you killed his grandmother” the man tsk-ed. “I wanted to make him my successor. He already had the blood, so he was way more compatible than your son.”

                All for one gritted his teeth. “Is that why you did it?” he took a step forward. His face was bleeding, his Quirks were trembling restless inside him, looking for a way out, looking for closure, for release, looking for something familiar.

                Looking to tear him apart.

                “No” the villain shook his head. “I actually didn’t know in the beginning. He was a lost child looking for a home when he had none. He was most sceptical than most, I’ll give you that.” All for One felt his teeth grind against one another. “A little hypocritical of you, don’t you think? You claim you want people equal, yet you doomed your own son to death by society.”

                “Don’t you dare talk about him!”

                “But you asked” All Might laughed “Did you know that he likes Katsudon? He has this habit of mumbling when he gets lost in his own mind….” The way the man spoke of it was almost….. fond. Like he had any right to talk about it that way, like he had any right to claim over his child…..

                “Is there any point to this discussion? Why did you do it, if it wasn’t for revenge?”

                “Well, competence is still a factor when choosing a successor, you know?” All Might shrugged “I was thinking of it long before I found out that he was your son. The fact that he was only made it so much sweeter….”

                All for one sent a bunch of tentacles towards the man. All Might was strong and fast, but the two broken arms still held him back. He had to end this and he had to do it now. Before his whole army of villain arrived.

                The hero sent more punches which the villain dodged or even shouldered in some places. In the end, All Might was so close to falling. All for One only had one last blow to deal….

                “If it comes to it, will you do it?” the goddamn villain was still smiling. “You killed each and every one of us, again and again, you swore to eradicate the Quirk you created, but tell me….” The man leaned closer and All for One felt the putrid stench of his blood on his skin “Will you kill your child?”

                The hero landed one last strike.

~O~

                Izuku was walking down the street towards his house. He knew he probably shouldn’t be outside right now, but he couldn’t stand to remain at the agency, not when Dabi and his… All for One were unconscious in the hospital.

                The Kamino fight had been brutal.

                A lot of heroes were dead. His friend was lucky to be alive.

                There was also another reason Izuku refused to stay at the agency. On a pure logical level, he knew that All Might dying was a good thing. He knew what the man had done, he knew that he deserved it, hell, even the abomination in his veins was content to believe the same. But….

                Izuku couldn’t forget the sense of home he felt for the little nights he had spent at the facility, he just couldn’t. And he wouldn’t allow himself to.

                He didn’t know if he was supposed to cry or be happy.

                The fight had ended a few hours ago and the people were busy, but Izuku knew there wouldn’t be too long before they cracked the Champaign. And he couldn’t bear to witness it.

                Katsuki and Frostbite had been captured. Izuku was willing to testify for them, even if he didn’t know how important his testimony even was. Dabi was willing to say that he was an informant, so maybe the kids that had been arrested had a chance at a normal life after.

                Maybe.

                His steps echoed on the empty hallways, and his keys clicked in the lock.

                Izuku entered his apartment.

                The lights were on.

                Before he got the chance to flee, a crimson feather nailed itself into the door, closing it shut with a thud. Izuku swallowed and turned towards the villain lounging on the counter, drinking some old wine mom kept for special occasions.

                “Hawks” Izuku tried to keep his voice steady.

                “Izuku” the man petted the dinner table. “Come”

                The boy approached. There was no way out. If the man was here to kill him, he could do it in a second. Hawks nodded and got down. He wasn’t much taller than Izuku, but his wings made him bigger.

                “So, you’re the kid of dear old sensei” the man said and smiled a horrible smile. “Did you decide to cosy up with the heroes the moment All Might fell” he tilted his head “How rude of you, and we spent all that effort and resources on you…..”

                Izuku didn’t look at him. He was shaking, his hands were trembling, and he didn’t dare talk.

                “The silent treatment?” Hawks stepped in front of him. “That’s not nice, you know?”

                “What do you want?”

                “Glad you asked” he grabbed the bottle and took one swift swing out of it. “You see, the whole empire is still there. It needs someone to lead it. And that someone can’t be me, not on the long term anyway” Hawks shook his head. “So, I need to find someone suitable, which will be a drag, but I will manage…”

                “And you’re telling me this because….”

                In a second, the man was in front of him. Izuku tried to pull back, but there were flying feathers keeping him in place. Hawks leaned forward, a sickly sweet smile on his face.

                “I’m telling you this because I know about One for All” his breath was hot on his ear “I know what All Might intended for you, and I’m here to tell you that I will complete the job…” a gloved hand cradled his jaw almost gently “So, don’t get too cosy with the heroes, ok?” the last whisper was sending shivers down his spine. “Because I’m still here….”

                Izuku only noticed when the man was gone, curtains fluttering in the moonlight.

~O~

                He was in a hospital. All for One could tell this by the scent and the light hitting his closed eyes. He didn’t know what he was doing there…..

                Oh.

                Yeah.

                All Might.

                The man groaned as he forced himself to open his eyes.

                “He’s dead this time, you know” the man’s head whipped towards the green haired teen on the visiting chair, reading some papers. “They made sure to separate his head from the body and place it in salted water so he wouldn’t turn zombie….”

                “That so?” the man chuckled and winced as his bruised ribs protested.

                “Yes” Izuku clicked his pen as he looked at the man “I won’t keep you for long, I just need you to sign these papers” he handed him the stack.

                “What is this…?”

                “Well, since I don’t want to put you into a position where you’d be forced to care for me, I devised a plan” he pointed with the pen at the small writing on the paper “You are still my guardian, but that paper states that I can take care of myself. You won’t have to pay any more than the standard child support you paid since I was born.” The boy shuffled though the pages “I already found a pretty cheap apartment and Dabi and Shigaraki promised not to let me starve so….”

                “I don’t want this.” All for one said. Izuku stopped.

                “What?”

                “I want to be a part of your life from now on.”

                “Why?” there was no emotion to be read in his voice and All for One wanted to so hard to know what he was thinking.

                “Because I want to be a better person. A better father, the type I couldn’t be before.” 

                Izuku pursed his lips.

                “I see…”

                “Izuku, I’m sorry.” The man said “I really am, for everything, I did, for everything I didn’t do. I’m sorry I left when you needed me, I’m sorry for not picking up the phone, I’m sorry for hitting you, I’m….”

                “Why didn’t you give me a Quirk?”

“What?” the man froze.

“You said you were sorry for leaving, and the other day you said it wasn’t because of my Quirk. So why?”

                The man sighed.

                “People are not meant to have Quirks they weren’t born with. My brother” All for One rubbed his temples “I gave him a Quirk and he spent the rest of his life trying to kill me. I didn’t…. I didn’t want you to end up like him.”

                “And that worked brilliantly” Izuku said under his breath and the man looked away in shame.

                “I’m sorry.” He said “I know it probably means nothing to you, but I want you to know that I am sorry and I want to make up for it…. so, please….” He stretched his hand for Izuku’s, but the boy pulled it out of his grasp.

                The teen stood up and let out a defeated sigh. “I’ll give you one chance to be the father you claim you want to become…” he reached the door and walked out. Before he could leave completely, he turned around and stared at the man “One chance.”

                The door closed with a final click.