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Promise Me

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Touya has been in love with Keigo for as long as he’s known what “love” means.

He isn’t allowed to go to school, his father’s children are far too good for public school. He is rarely even allowed to leave the house, not that the rule ever stops him from sneaking out. If anything, it makes him want to sneak out even more. He will do anything he can to piss off his old man.
Touya has hated his father forever. There isn’t a moment in his memory that he doesn’t hate his father.
He knows making his father angry just makes it worse for him in the long run. He doesn’t know how else to express his feelings, though. If he’s going to be hurt by his father no matter what he does, he may as well allow himself to have some fun before it happens.

Touya meets Keigo when he is seven years old, and his father is away at work, and he’s snuck out of the house to play at the park.
Keigo is also seven years old. Touya doesn’t ask where his parents are, and Keigo doesn’t mention it himself. Keigo doesn’t ask where Touya’s parents are, and Touya doesn’t bring it up himself.
They play on the swings. They try to compete to see who can go highest the fastest, but Keigo uses his wings to cheat. Touya complains, but only jokingly. He laughs as he whines.
Keigo laughs as he apologizes, and privately, Touya thinks it’s the prettiest laugh he’s heard in all seven of his years.
Touya isn’t very talkative, but Keigo is. There is never a quiet moment, Keigo’s voice fills every second.
Touya thought, before, that he was a boy who loved silence. After meeting Keigo, he thinks that maybe he only thought he liked the silence before because it’s all he’s ever known.

After what feels like hours playing with Keigo, Touya announces that he has to get home before his father returns from work. Keigo asks if he can see Touya again.
Touya tells him to come back the next day, at the same time, if he wants to. Keigo agrees with a smile.
Keigo’s smile fills Touya with joy.

Touya meets Keigo often, almost every day. He doesn’t go on the days his father is home on a day off from work, but every day other than that, he’s at the park.
Seasons change, and they celebrate Touya’s eighth birthday together.
A couple weeks later, they celebrate Keigo’s eighth birthday, too.

Another year passes, and it’s Touya’s ninth birthday, and he still sees Keigo almost every day.
He has gotten caught, a few times, but he doesn’t care. He’ll take any punishment his father dishes out, if it means spending more time with Keigo.
It’s Touya’s ninth birthday, and Keigo is apologizing for not getting him a present. Touya hadn’t been expecting a present from Keigo, he didn’t even want anything, and he tells Keigo as much.
Keigo tells Touya that he lives with bad people. He doesn’t go into a lot of detail, and Touya doesn’t push him to. Keigo says that his parents sold him for a nice big cheque to mean people who only care about his quirk. Keigo says that he’s so tired, but he always feels better when he sneaks out. Keigo says that he always feels better when he gets to see Touya.
Touya doesn’t like to be touched, really. He doesn’t like touching, but Keigo does. Keigo knows that Touya doesn’t like to be touched, the boy has told him as much, and he refrains from touching Touya as much as possible.
Touya doesn’t like to be touched, but when Keigo tells him about the bad people he lives with, Touya wraps his arms around the boy, and hugs him as tight as he possibly can.
Keigo hugs back, just as tightly, and Touya thinks he can feel some tears begin to soak his shoulder. The tears don’t bother him, though, and he’s surprised to find that the hug doesn’t bother him, either.
Touya has been in love with Keigo since the first day he met the winged boy. He doesn’t say this, but he allows himself to acknowledge the fact for the first time.

It’s Keigo’s ninth birthday, and Touya is presenting him with a small keychain. It’s not very pretty, but Touya made it himself, with Keigo in mind.
Keigo tells him that he loves his present, thanks him five times, and holds the keychain tightly against his chest, right above where his heart beats.
Touya sits with Keigo on top of the monkey bars. The snow on the ground below them sparkles in the sunlight. Touya stares at it, not looking away even for a second, as he tells Keigo about his father.
He doesn’t tell Keigo his father’s name, or his own family name, and Keigo doesn’t push him to reveal it. He tells Keigo that, even though he knows that what his father does to him and his siblings isn’t right, he can’t go to the police, because they don’t care. His father is too powerful.
He tells Keigo that, when he gets caught sneaking out, he gets in a lot of trouble, but he doesn’t care, because seeing Keigo makes it okay. Seeing Keigo again the next day makes it even better.
Keigo doesn’t force Touya to hug him, and Touya is thankful for it, because he feels too vulnerable to be touched after what he’s just revealed. Instead, Keigo says all the right things. He always knows what to say to Touya, somehow, even when Touya doesn’t know what he wants to hear. Keigo just knows what to say to make him feel better.
Touya is in love with him.

It’s May. The flowers are blooming in his mother’s garden in their backyard. Touya likes to sit there, sometimes. He sits, and compares the flowers to Keigo. None of them are quite as pretty as he is.

Touya is getting better at not getting caught sneaking out, but his father is getting more severe with his ‘training’, so Touya shows up with bruises and burns more often than not.
He complains to Keigo, one night. His father is out of town for a few days, so Touya spends as much time as he possibly can at the park with Keigo.
He tells Keigo that he doesn’t want to be a hero. He never wanted to be a hero. He doesn’t want to, but he’s being forced to.
Keigo tells him that he never wanted to be a hero, either. Keigo tells him that he’s being forced to become a hero, too.
Touya rests his head on Keigo’s shoulder, and grasps Keigo’s right hand with his left.

It’s autumn when Touya tells Keigo who he is. Todoroki. Endeavor’s son. Designed by Todoroki Enji in an attempt to create the perfect quirk. Failure number one.
It’s autumn when Keigo tells Touya who he will become. Wing Hero: Hawks. The Hero Public Safety Commission’s newest project. His parents' paycheque.

On Touya’s tenth birthday, he doesn’t think he can handle pining anymore.
As it turns out, he’s not alone in that feeling.
Keigo asks if Touya would like to be his boyfriend, his cheeks a flaming red and his eyes trained to the ground as he speaks.
Touya agrees, wrapping his arms around Keigo and burying his face in the winged boy’s shoulder. Keigo wraps his arms around Touya, squeezing tightly, and Touya is thankful Keigo cant see his face, because he’s smiling so big it hurts.

When Touya is thirteen, he asks Keigo what will happen when they get old.
It’s the end of July, the summer sun beats down on their skin, and the question pops into his head out of nowhere.
Keigo doesn’t know what he means, and Touya explains that he doesn’t think Keigo could possibly like him for the rest of his life. When he’s old and wrinkly.
Keigo thinks for a moment, tapping his chin with his finger.
He turns to Touya with a smile once he figures it out.
They’ll never grow up. They’ll stay young forever. That way they can like each other forever.
Touya doesn’t know how to tell Keigo that’s not possible, doesn’t think he even wants to, really, so he doesn’t say it. He smiles, agrees with Keigo. They’ll never grow up. They’ll never change. They promise.

Five months later, it’s New Years Eve, and the sun is long gone.
Both of their birthdays have past, and they’re freshly fourteen.
They’re at the park again, and Touya knows he isn’t going to be caught tonight, because his father is working all night long to make sure villains don’t take advantage of the large number of drunk people wandering the streets.
Touya and Keigo are squished close together. A small fire burns in Touya’s palm to keep both of them warm.
Keigo watches the first firework explode, colouring the sky a brilliant green. Touya watches Keigo’s face as it breaks into a large, excited grin.
Touya whispers a quiet New Year congratulations to Keigo.
It’s not quiet enough for the fireworks to drown it out, apparently, because the boy turns to look at him. Keigo’s grin softens from something excited, to something… else. Touya doesn’t know how to identify it, but it’s nice. It looks nice, on Keigo’s face.
Keigo whispers his own New Year congratulations to Touya. He doesn’t break eye contact after he does it.
Touya can’t bring himself to break eye contact, either.
Fireworks continue to colour the sky beside them, but the two boys can only see each other.
The first time Touya kisses Keigo, they’re fourteen years old.

They stay together for years.
They grow, they age, they get their own cell phones and begin texting and calling each other constantly.
Touya sneaks Keigo into his room for sleepovers on the rare occasions that Enji goes out of town for hero work.
Keigo comforts Touya as his mother grows steadily more afraid of him. He ages, and he looks more and more like his father, and that’s all his mother can see.
Touya resolves to avoid his mother completely. It hurts more than he thought it would, but it’s better than the fearful looks that cover his mother’s face when she sees him.
When Rei finally breaks, when she becomes so broken from her husband that she hurts Touya’s youngest brother, and Enji sends her away, Keigo holds Touya as he cries.
Touya doesn’t want to become like Enji.
It’s one in the morning, Enji is out of town, and Keigo is in Touya’s bed with him. Touya doesn’t want to become like Enji.
Keigo tells him he’s nothing like his father.

Keigo is there for Touya when Enji’s training becomes too much.
Keigo sits on the phone for hours, talking to Touya about anything and everything.
Touya has loved Keigo for as long as he has known what love is. He tells Keigo this, whispers it into his phone late at night.
Keigo pauses mid-sentence, and the silence drags on.
Touya tells him that it’s okay if he doesn’t feel the same. He doesn’t need to say it back. He just wanted Keigo to know.
Keigo tells him no, it’s okay, he just wasn’t expecting it. Keigo tells him he feels the same. Keigo loves him, too.

Touya is sixteen when his father tries to kill him.
Enji found out about Keigo, somehow. Touya doesn’t know how, he has been so careful to make sure nobody in his family could find out. None of his siblings know.
Enji knows.
Touya isn’t allowed to be gay.
No son of the number two hero is going to have a boyfriend.
Touya screams. He screams, yells, fights. His father is evil, so, so evil. Endeavor does not deserve to call himself a hero.
Endeavor wraps a flaming hand around Touya’s neck.
Touya will not disrespect him like that, ever again.
Touya spits at his father. Touya tells Endeavor to go fuck himself. He and Keigo are in love, and nothing Endeavor would dare to do to Touya could stop that.
Endeavor drops his son, staring down at him. Touya coughs roughly. It aggravates the burns on his neck, but he’s more worried about breathing than worsening his new scars.
Touya is wrong. Endeavor is willing to do anything. Nothing is off limits.
Endeavor aims a fireball at his son.
Touya screams, but this time, he’s not screaming in anger.
He’s screaming in pain.
Touya’s quirk ignites without his permission, and his skin bubbles and blisters.
The room fills with smoke and flame.
Endeavor leaves, shutting the door behind him, escorting his three other children out of the house. Leaves Touya behind. Tells them Touya is already past saving, he’s already dead.

Touya never officially breaks up with Keigo.

The burns Touya receives when his father tries to murder him don’t heal properly.
His skin is purple, dead, held on to his body with staples.
He gets piercings, he dyes his hair black, he does anything he can think of to make sure he no longer looks like Todoroki Touya.
Touya becomes Dabi, and Dabi joins the League of Villains.

Dabi watches Wing Hero: Hawks climb the hero rankings.
He hasn’t talked to Keigo since he was sixteen. His phone was burned, and he didn’t know Keigo’s number by heart. Keigo never told him where he lived. Touya couldn’t possibly go back to the park.
Enji must have figured out where he went. If Touya went back to the park, he would risk Enji seeing him, risk Enji knowing he’s still alive.
It’s been six years.

Dabi watches Wing Hero: Hawks on television, watches the hero sitting down for a talk show.
The talk show host asks who the hero’s biggest inspiration is.
Hawks tells her, in a voice laced with both embarrassment and admiration, that he’s always loved Endeavor.
Dabi feels sick to his stomach.

Dabi helps kidnap one of Touya’s brother’s classmates.
Dabi isn’t Touya, because Touya is dead, so he doesn’t care about fighting his younger brother. His younger brother, who has far too much control over his quirk for a fifteen year old. Not that he cares.
That’s what he tells himself, anyway.
He knows he’s lying to himself, but he ignores that knowledge.

All Might is forced to retire, and Endeavor becomes the new number one hero.
Dabi’s boss is thrilled. All Might is out of the picture, and society is in shambles trying to make sense of the change.
Dabi is furious.

The League of Villains fight the Yakuza.
Dabi finds out the boss is a child abuser, and he wishes they had done more than take his arms.

Dabi gets approached by Wing Hero: Hawks.
Six years after his father tried to kill him, Touya sees Keigo in person once again.
He doesn’t think Keigo recognizes him, at first.
Wing Hero: Hawks claims he wants to join the League of Villains. Says he wants to take down hero society.
Dabi knows it’s a lie.
Wing Hero: Hawks is a perfectly good actor.
Keigo, however, has never been able to get a lie past Touya.
Dabi lights a small fire in his palm. Memories flood his mind; memories of a New Year celebration eight years earlier. He shakes them away, raising his fire threateningly to the face of the hero in front of him.
Dabi tells the hero that he’s not trustworthy.
Keigo’s face softens in the blue light, and Dabi knows what’s coming before the man even opens his mouth.
He doesn’t stop it, however.
Keigo’s voice is soft, and low so as not to be heard by any passers by. The hero reaches a hand out, as if to grab Touya’s shoulder, before seeming to think better of it and pulling his hand back.
He remembers. Touya doesn’t like to be touched. Especially not when he’s feeling vulnerable.
Dabi glares at the winged hero, but still he lowers his flaming hand from the man’s face. “My name is Dabi.”
Keigo shakes his head. “What happened to you?”
“Me?” Dabi gasps out a surprised laugh. “What happened to you? Since when has Endeavor been your favourite hero? Or was he, this entire time? Was I just a game to you?”
Keigo doesn’t hide the sadness on his face. “Of course not, Touya-”
“Dabi.” He growls.
Keigo’s mouth rises in a rueful smile. “Right. Dabi. Endeavor was never my favourite hero, and he still isn’t. What I said on that show is all part of a long-term plan.”
“He tried to kill me.” Dabi watches as Keigo processes what he said, watches as the smile drops from his face and tears quickly gather in Keigo’s eyes. “He tried to kill me, because I dared to defy him. I refused to leave you. He tried to kill me, because I loved you, and then you went on national television calling him your favourite hero.”
Keigo stares at him, tears rolling silently down his cheeks.
“I never blamed you for it,” Dabi continues, undeterred. “I don’t blame you, now, for what he did back then. So don’t go blaming yourself. I blame you for not using your new number two position to tell the world the truth. I blame you for pretending you want to join the League, when you and I both know the Hero Public Safety Commission is just using you as their double agent.”
Keigo doesn’t seem surprised by his words, and he doesn’t deny them either. Dabi knew he wouldn’t.
“I thought we promised we would never grow up? We would like each other forever? When did you change? When did you grow up?”
Keigo looks down, finally. He kicks the gravel under his foot. “I…” He trails off, leaving his sentence unfinished. It’s the first time in his life Touya has seen Keigo unable to fill the silence.
“That’s what I thought.” Dabi turned on his heel, ready to walk deeper into the alley, away from the hero.
Keigo’s voice stops him. “Touya.”
His name is spoken barely over a whisper, but Touya hears it clear as day, and turns back around to face Keigo once again.
Keigo’s tone… it caused emotions to swell in Touya. Emotions he thought he had buried years ago.
Keigo is staring at him, eyes watery. “I… I never stopped. I never broke our promise.” His voice is hurt. Broken.
Butterflies swell in Touya’s stomach, but he forces an angry expression on his face. “Don’t. Don’t say things you don’t mean, just to make me stay.”
“Touya, please. You know I could never lie to you.”

Touya has been in love with Keigo for as long as he has known what the word “love” means.
“Touya is dead.”
Dabi doesn’t love anything.
“My name is Dabi.”

Keigo raises a single, shaky hand. He reaches out, stopping just short of Dabi, not pulling away this time. “What… What do you mean?”
Dabi looks down the empty alley. “I’m saying I broke our promise.”
He’s lying. He’s a big, fat, liar. Touya loves Keigo so much it hurts.
“No,” Keigo mumbles. Dabi looks back to see him shaking his head. “No, you didn’t. I could never lie to you, and you could never lie to me, either. You’re lying. I can tell.”
“Touya loves Keigo, sure. But I’m Dabi. You’re Hawks. I broke our promise, and so did you. We’ve both changed.”
Keigo shakes his head faster, grasping Dabi’s hands. Dabi isn’t surprised when he finds the feeling is still comforting. “I’m still Keigo! Touya, Touya - please, you’re still Touya, and I’m still Keigo. Hawks… Hawks is someone the Commission made up. Hawks is a character. Touya-”
“I’m sorry, Keigo.” Dabi squeezes Keigo’s hands before dropping them. “Todoroki Touya died when he was sixteen and his father burned him alive. I’m Dabi. Dabi doesn’t love anyone. He doesn’t know how.”
Fat tears roll down Keigo’s cheeks, and it hurts Dabi’s heart in a way he didn’t know he could still feel.
Touya wants to wipe the hero’s tears away with his thumb.
Touya wants to kiss him until he’s smiling again, the smile that brings Touya so much joy.
Touya wants to wrap the winged man in the tightest hug he’s capable of, until his whimpers stop and his tears dry.
Touya is dead. Dabi doesn’t feel. Dabi only cares about himself, and his plan for revenge.
Dabi turns on his heel, walking down the abandoned alley, leaving Wing Hero: Hawks crying under the moonlight.

It’s not until he’s four blocks away that Dabi allows his own tears to fall.