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Chapter Text

Maybe Bakugou was cursed.

That was the only logical conclusion he could come to, staring up at the dark, raining sky dimly illuminated by the city lights.

Maybe he had been cursed somewhere along the way, maybe it was a ‘bad luck’ quirk or something.

The rain would have been beautiful, calming, if he was looking at it through a window. Instead he was sitting barely-sheltered under the overhanging roof of his house. The lights were on but the door was locked. He figured, distantly, that it would be locked to him for a long, long time.

“You could’ve just come home instead of making yourself a nuisance for your teachers.”

Bakugou said nothing.

“Honestly, you better not pull that shit with anyone who doesn’t love you. We give you everything you could ever want! we pay for your school, we’ve gotten you that stupid workout equipment, and we let you go out with your friends., but still you disrespect us every chance you get.”

Feet shoulder-width apart, arms crossed, back straight.

“What did you do? Did you act like you needed help? Did you try to get them to pity you? You act so fucking useless all the time to get out of things, I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Bakugou did not respond.

His mother stared him down, relaxed and at ease as if her words meant nothing. They fell from her like rain, acidic and poisoned by the fire in her eyes. Bakugou looked away, ever the coward.

There was a moment of silence, his mother observing him and coming up with some new thing to say to him, when Bakugou snapped. In his head, he heard someone’s voice urging him to defend himself, telling him to get up, keep fighting, protect yourself and know your weaknesses. Come on, get on your feet. A hero can always stand back up again.

“Geez, mom, that’s a really cool thing to say to your son. What next, are you gonna call me a failure too?”

He never had been good with words.

One second he saw fury in his mother’s face, the next he was on the ground, ears ringing from a well-placed explosive slap.

“How dare you talk to me like that? Get out of my house and don’t come back until you’ve learned some goddamn respect.” She kept ranting, but Bakugou couldn’t hear it. His brain was chanting at him to get out, get out, run away. The still-healing cut on his forehead throbbed to the beat of his heart.

He stumbled to his feet, ignoring his mother’s voice picking up behind him, her sparking hands hot at his heels as he walked towards the door.

In less than a minute, he was alone. Quiet rain splashed at his feet, just out from under the rooftop. Bakugou breathed. His legs felt weak.

Distantly, he panicked about the situation, all emotions held at an arm’s length. Distantly, he knew that he had nothing on him but his phone and his wallet. Distantly, he could feel the bricks of the house digging into his skin.

Distantly, he could feel the rain hit his shoulder and flatten down his hair as he walked out from under the roof and onto the street. The street names were still familiar from the last time he had done this, even the rain and the night were the same. His teacher’s apartment was nearly in view already, the building not too far from the small residential area that the Bakugou household was a part of. Unfortunately for him, the location and setting were not the only familiar details.

Standing on the sidewalk before him was a familiar old man, face in shadow from the streetlight. His smile glowed from the darkness.

“Ah, it’s the hero boy! How are you, Katsuki?”

“Don’t say my fuckin name, I don’t know you”

The man was middle-aged with a plain-looking face. His smile seemed to be carved into his face as he stood in Bakugou’s way. The alleyway to his left seemed to seep light away from the street and he could so easily picture being pushed down it, never to be seen again. All he could see was the darkness for a second, swirling purple and green and reaching hands. Bakugou took a step back.

“I wasn’t expecting to see you tonight, but I’m not complaining. Why don’t you stick around for a while?” The smile widened. Bakugou felt small.

“Get the fuck out of my way, geezer.” God, his head hurt. He felt like he was still stumbling from when his mom hit him. He knew that he should be running, fighting the guy off, and getting away, but his body wouldn’t move the way he wanted. He took another step toward the old man, hands raised and sparking off in a way he hoped looked intimidating. “You recognize me from the festival. That means you know exactly what I’m capable of. I’ll fucking kill you before you can lay a hand on me. Now step the fuck off before I tear you apart.”

“Don’t be like that, sweetheart.” In the darkness, the man seemed to be ten times larger, looming over him backlit by the streetlight like a horror movie. Bakugou quailed, all of his courage locked inside a house he had been kicked out of, all of his hope down the street in an apartment building that suddenly felt so, so far away.

Bakugou took another step away and the alleyway’s darkness pulled at his shoulders, wrapped itself around his forearms.

No matter how many steps he took to get away, the old man loomed over him, body cast in shadow. The man took one more step forward and…

He changed. His face seemed to melt from an unassuming old man to something dark and twisted. The cheeks sunk in so far that he could see light reflecting off of where sharp teeth tented up the skin. His eyes, once wrinkled and unsettling, became blackened pits with pinpoints of sickly orange light glowing in the darkness.

Where the old man had been only a second before, a twisted, blackened creature stood grinning at him mere inches away from his face. It grinned, baring the sharp teeth that dragged under loose skin. “It’s a hell of a quirk, ain’t it.” The thing spoke in multiple voices, but the mocking tone was clear. “I appear as what is least threatening to my prey until it’s too late. That’s not good news for you, little hero.” A clawed finger stroked across Bakugou’s cheek. He couldn’t move, frozen in the orange glow of the eyes boring into him.

The quiet, tense moment ended with an explosion, rocketing the villain backwards and into the wall. Bakugou panted, half fear and half exertion, taking a few steps away and further into the glow of the streetlights. Where the creature had fallen, the old man appeared again, laughing as the plain, non-threatening features crept back over blackened skin and glowing eyes.

“Not bad, Katsuki, you’re so powerful.” The old man’s voice shook as he laughed. The air between them felt sticky and foul as if the sunken, blackened skin had poisoned it.

His mind flickered to safety, four cats and two weird old heroes and cooking dinner. The old man in front of him flickered at the same time, sprouting black hair and a terrifyingly familiar grin.

“Oh, how interesting. Is this what you find comforting? Funny, funny.” A deep, steady voice bled through the darkness. Bakugou stumbled backwards. “Come here, Katsuki.” It sounded like him, every inch like the teacher he trusted so much. Aizawa stood at the other side of the alleyway, walking slowly toward him. The scar on his cheek, proof of his love for his students, caught the meager light of the city. Waves of synthetic relief passed through him against his will. No, it wasn’t him. The man in front of him was a monster, a villain. He took a step back, pressing himself into the wall.

His mind was swimming. He knew what was happening, but the rationality and logic was floating away, warping into something unfamiliar. The darkness crept into the edges of his vision, cold seeping into his skin from the wet concrete. The fight between his will and the fog invading on his consciousness drained him. It reminded him distantly of Midnight’s perfume.

“C’mon kid, let’s get out of here.” A hand drifted into his line of sight. Familiar scars traced the skin. It was familiar, safe. He reached for it, his own hand shaking in the wind before being caught by Aizawa. “It’s gonna be okay, let me help you.”

Bakugou nodded, and the darkness swallowed him whole.

Chapter Text

Bakugou felt like he had been floating in fog forever. It reminded him of the bullshit world mythology class he had taken in middle school, of Charon rowing through the underworld.

It was dark, but not a tangible kind of darkness. It crowded his consciousness out of his mind and pushed him down. After what felt like days, he fought back against it. Some small part of him rebelled against the fog, thrashing in the darkness. The ground beneath his back started gaining detail and grit, the air felt too dry in his throat. He gasped against it.

“Don’t try to move, Katsuki.” It was a familiar voice, calm and steady. He stopped fighting. It was difficult to move, like he was swimming in the air. He let his arms fall back and something clattered. Chains?


“You were involved in a villain attack and got captured, do you remember?”

He tried to think back, remember something from before the fog, but all he could remember was a dark alleyway, a glowing-eyed monster, and-

Bakugou winced, head pounding. Everything in his recent memory was fuzzy and indistinct. Distantly, he ran down the checklist of various drugs and injuries that could be affecting him. His reasoning drifted in and out of focus.

“It’s going to be okay, just stay still.” His teacher loomed over him. He must have been tied to a table or an elevated surface as only the top half of Aizawa was visible. The man was smiling oddly and something in Bakugou twitched.

“Where are we?”

“Abandoned warehouse, pretty typical.”

Bakugou hummed, wiggling his fingers and toes to check for injuries. He winced at the pins and needles raced down his arms and some of the feeling returned to his extremities. It felt vaguely like the numbness he felt after he had stolen some of his mother’s vodka, everything fuzzy and off-balance. Aizawa had disappeared from his line of vision in the meantime, fingers fumbling at the chains binding his arms to the table. As soon as they loosened, he moved to sit up.

“Hey, slow down. You just woke up, I don’t want you to pass out again.” A hand on his shoulder pushed him back down firmly.

“Why? We need to get out of here, are the cops even here yet?”

Aizawa was quiet, keeping the hand on his shoulder.

“Katsuki, do you know who I am?”

“You’re my shitty teacher, ‘m not stupid.”

“Say my name.”

“C’mon old man, I’m fine. Where are the villains?” The fog in his mind was thick, but he was able to take in more of his surroundings, confusion setting in. The warehouse was barren, not sign of a struggle in sight. There were a few other tables to his sides, all of them made of rusted medical-looking steel.

His head spun, but he tried to sit up again anyways. The hand stayed on his shoulder

He pushed against it, shoving it away lightly.

The hand came back pushing him down harder.

“What the fuck. I’m not dying or nothin’. Get off me.”

“Say my name.”

In his mind, orange eyes glowed from the darkness. He shrank against the cold surface below him and stared at the man standing over him.

“Too clever Katsuki, too smart for your own good.”

His memory flashed again, blackened skin and glowing orange eyes pressing in around him.

“You could make this so much easier for me if you just forgot your instincts, if you trusted me.”

With the chains still around his ankles, cold metal holding him down, and hands pushing him into the table, he was all but helpless against the villain. His arms and head still felt like cotton, but he wrapped his hands around the thing’s forearms. “You don’t get to look like him, you fucking coward. I’ll blow you up until they can’t even find the pieces.”

As the man standing over him leaned down over him, the front of his face melted and sizzled into the sickening, blackened thing from before. It smelled like blood and rot, making Bakugou gag and shut his eyes against the world that spun in front of him.

“Do you prefer me looking like this?” Multiple voices swirled around him, hot breath hitting his face with every word. His hands produced sparks, but they only made the villain laugh. “You don’t trust me when I look like this. I’ll just have to keep drugging you up until you trust me when I look like him. You’re so pretty when you’re sleeping, Katsuki.”

The monster drifted out of his vision again, reappearing with a cheap-looking plastic water bottle. The liquid inside was clear, but particles of white dust floated at the bottom. Ketamine, his brain supplied.

He wanted to struggle, but he couldn’t. His whole body felt heavy. The bottle was shoved into his mouth until he drank, the water bitter and foul-tasting.

“Maybe next time you’ll do this correctly. All you need to do is forget.”

In a few minutes, the fog rolled in, the chains wound themselves around his wrists once more, and Bakugou stopped fighting.


“Something feels wrong.”

“You have anxiety, Hitoshi. Everything is fine”

The boy sighed. Normally, Shouta’s casual reassurance and reasoning put him at ease, but the feeling persisted. They were just sitting on the couch, caught up in their respective schoolwork. Like his teacher had said, there was nothing to be worried about.

He shifted his weight, glanced at the door, and tried to calm down.

“This feels...I don’t know. It feels different.”

“How so?” Shouta was looking at him from across the low coffee table. Hitoshi swallowed nervously.

“I don’t know…”

“Yeah, I got that part.” He set the paper he was grading down, picking up one of the cats that was leaning on him instead.

“I’m not sure.”

“You’ve heard of hero sense before?”

Hitoshi nearly laughed. “That’s pseudo-science.”

“Pseudo-science that’s saved hundreds of lives. Quirks were pseudo-science too until the gene factor was discovered.” His tone was even as always, but Hitoshi didn’t hear any humor in it. “Focus on the feeling. You wouldn’t have said anything if this wasn’t a new feeling.”

“I don’t-”

“Close your eyes, Hitoshi, focus.”

He did so.

In the few seconds it took to dispel his doubts, the odd unease crept up the back of his throat. All he could see was darkness, but it was cold, nothing like the warm, safe atmosphere of the living room. Something in the back of his head whispered to him.

“Something is really wrong, I don’t- I don’t know…”

Shouta didn’t respond. His eyes flew open to stare at his teacher. The man’s eyes had gone stormy.


“I’ll be back in a bit, I need to check around outside.” In his eyes, Hitoshi could see the same unease he felt.

“Let me come with you?”

“Not tonight, kid.”

With that, the man grabbed his capture weapon, toed on his shoes, and was gone.

The safety and warmth of the room seemed to drain. Hitoshi was restless, only able to keep himself from running out the door by running into the hallway. Before he could reach his teachers’ bedroom, he ran into Hizashi. The man was putting on his directional speaker in a hurry, hair getting caught in the clasp.

“Hey Hitoshi, is Shouta awake?” Hizashi smiled, but there was nothing warm about it. Worry pulled at the edges of his eyes.

“He already left. What’s going on?”

The smile dropped. “Just stay here, we’ll figure out what’s going on. With this level of miasma, a bunch of pros nearby are probably on the scene. Stay inside, don’t answer the door for anyone but us, okay?” The man ruffled his hair before rushing past him.

Hitoshi went back to the couch, choking on the heavy atmosphere like it had turned to liquid. He watched his teacher leave, turned on police radio, and waited.

Chapter Text

A few years back, the National Police Agency teamed up with various hero agencies in top secret meetings to set up surveillance and safety systems in well-known villain hot spots. This included multiple back alleyways, abandoned warehouses and buildings, parts of the underground, and a sidekick with a particularly helpful transferable invisibility quirk. Most of the cameras were motion-triggered and had documented video feeds from whenever something happened in front of them

The fact that all of the video feeds he had looked at so far were just pedestrians or stray cats didn’t really feel like good news.

Aizawa was perched on one of his usual buildings, suddenly feeling rather silly. He was watching a few of the camera feeds on his phone, keeping an eye on the street below. It had been about six hours and still he had found nothing.

As soon as Hitoshi had gotten that familiar look in his eyes, Aizawa had been ready to leave the apartment and search for whatever was wrong, if only to put the boy at ease. However, he had looked through practically every camera feed nearby and had come up with nothing. He sighed, shoving his nose into the capture weapon to avoid the cold of the night. The humidity of the cold front stung at his eyes and he could practically feel the rain in the air.

He should just go back to the apartment, even though the sharp discomfort of his hero sense still flared in his gut. It was cold and wet and he was tired. Absently, he clicked through a few more cameras including one that was stationed just a few streets over from his apartment.


Even in the grainy black and white, Aizawa recognized his student in a millisecond. He enlarged the feed, marked as being triggered into barely 6 hours before, only minutes before he had left the apartment. He rewound the video to the beginning and focused.

Bakugou backed into the frame, staring at something just outside of the camera’s range. The boy stumbled but stayed on his feet. A shadow appeared in front of him and… something joined his student in the video.

He could barely see details of it in the darkness, but it looked like a burned-out corpse. He fast-forwarded the video, watching with horror as the thing got closer and closer to Bakugou. It picked him up and quickly left the alleyway. The video ended, leaving Aizawa looking at the dark screen in horror.

He found the coordinates of the nearest few villain hideouts and swung off the edge of the building. He had a student to find.

The next time he woke up, Bakugou remembered.

His head hurt like hell, but he remembered the alleyway, the glowing orange eyes, and the particles in the water bottle. So, when his eyes opened and the not-Aizawa drifted into his blurry vision, he played along.



“Hey kid, do you remember anything?”

He grimaced at the question. He didn’t answer, trying not to shy away from the thing’s fingers as it undid the chains around his wrists. It was the same motion as before, rehearsed and robotic. Bakugou shivered.

“You’re a creepy motherfucker, aren’t you?”

It was Aizawa’s voice, but the monster’s mouth hadn’t moved.

As he watched, the man in front of him seemed to melt away, skin sinking and decaying. The red eyes were replaced with glowing orange once more. Bakugou turned his head away from the monster against his better judgment, squinting into the heavy darkness of the warehouse.

His teacher was standing resolutely in pink sweatpants and what looked like a Present Mic sweater. The capture weapon was floating tangled in the man’s hair, his eyes bright red in the darkness. Bakugou smiled crookedly at him. “Took you long enough, asshole.” Even to his own ears, Bakugou’s voice was quiet and cracked.

“You didn’t give me much of a warning, brat. Are you injured?”

“Does a ketamine overdose count?” The boy’s voice was strained

“How are you, Eraser? I see you’ve picked up a few more strays.”

All he could feel were four fingers over his throat,shoving him down onto the table. In his mind, the villain standing over him became a horrific caricature. He was slime and grey-blue hair, too many hands, fire burning at his feet. His ears filled with static and ringing.

“-tsuki, Katsuki! Dammit, kid, c’mon.”

“He’s high as a kite, Eraser, he can’t help you.” They were both familiar, safe voices. One sounded sad, the other sounded...wrong. “What, you gonna rely on a kid to help fight me? You’re losing your edge, sweetheart.”

How had Yamada gotten here? No-one got to call Aizawa ‘sweetheart’ but his husband. He opened his eyes.

“Aww, look honey, he’s awake!”

“Shut up.”

Bakugou turned his head toward the voices, neck no longer held down by that clawed hand. About ten feet to his left, Aizawa was decking what looked like Present Mic in the face. The next second, his teacher’s hair was rising up and the other hero melted back into a shrunken monster. It cackled, still using Yamada’s voice despite his quirk being erased. Bakugou could only lay there and gawk at the scene.

“Sho-chan, don’t ignore me!” The villain’s voice was sickly sweet, elements of Present Mic’s voice melting away the longer Aizawa’s quirk was activated. He didn’t respond other than slamming the villain onto the ground with a well-placed kick. The instant he blinked, the look-a-like villain’s face molded itself back into a garish grin and orange sunglasses.

Aizawa ran towards the table as the villain recovered from the kick, undoing the chains around his ankles. “Bakugou, are you with me?”

Out of his costume and in the half-light of the warehouse, Aizawa didn’t look like a pro hero. He was hunched over the table as he helped his student sit up, stress and worry obvious on his face. He had his hand pressed into his side where a small patch of blood was starting to stain the fabric. Bakugou knew that if he left him here, up against a villain with sharp claws and his husband’s face, his teacher would not survive. Even if he tried to hide it most of the time, Bakugou knew just how much the other man meant to Aizawa. Fighting him, even if it was just a monster that wore his face, would be nearly impossible to do.

"If you see an opening, run. I'll hold it off."

Aizawa would die if he left.

“Sorry, teach, I’m not going anywhere.” He swung his legs off the table and dropped to the floor, trying to hide the queasy unsteadiness the moment he stood up.

Aizawa’s back was turned to the villain, but Bakugou saw the creature rising up from the ground like an animated puppet. On instinct, he launched at the creature with his explosion.

Bakugou flew at the thing, skin melting in and out of existence They traded blows back and forth, explosions and claws flying. for a few moments, dust flying in dirty clouds around them. Fighting and flying cleared his mind, but every time he stopped moving he felt like passing out.

Of course, to combat this he never stopped moving.

Every time either of them got close, The skin on the creature’s hands melted away into wicked claws, slashing and swiping until they backed off again. They were getting nowhere and the stupid monster was still blocking the exit. Bakugou cursed, stumbling to a stop behind his teacher.

He scanned the room again, head spinning almost too much to look upwards. As soon as the adrenaline of fighting drained from his system, he was going to crash. Neither one of them could beat the shapeshifter on their own. The villain had landed a few lucky hits on Aizawa and Bakugou was still half-drugged. They needed help, they needed something.

“Whoa whoa whoa! Starting the party without me, Eraser? What did I miss?”

Present Mic was standing in one of the broken windows high up on the warehouse wall. He absently kicked at the jagged class, clearing a hole for himself to walk through. The hero was smiling, but his jaw was set. It reminded Bakugou eerily of the last time he had seen his teacher like this, swooping in like an avenging angel. This time, though, Bakugou wasn’t alone with Aizawa comatose on the floor in a pool of his own blood. This time, they were all fighting together.

“Nothing much.” Aizawa hadn’t turned away from the villain before him, who looked stunned at the sudden arrival of his likeness. It still looked like Hizashi for a second, but its candle-wax skin began to crack and fracture, like it was trying to take on multiple features at once.

“Good! You know how much I love this part of the job.” The man jumped from the windowsill and landed on the ground lightly, moving to stand next to his husband. He stopped on the way to ruffle Bakugou’s hair just like he always did. “You alright, Dynamite?”

“I’m fine, idiot. Go kick that thing’s ass, I’m not in the mood right now.”

Present Mic just laughed.

“If you’re all done having a family moment…” Aizawa’s voice rang out, but it didn’t sound like him. Bakugou and Mic looked towards the sound.

Aizawa stood stock-still, a set of claws pressed into his neck. A second Aizawa stood behind him, hand grotesquely blackened into that of the monster. Otherwise, they were identical. One smiled, the other did not.

Chapter Text

The villain grinned at them with Aizawa’s teeth. “I’ve got a lovely idea for a game. You’ve already spoiled my fun so it’s only fair.”

The thing smiled wider, pushing Aizawa forward as it took a step towards them.

Bakugou let his palms spark in warning.

It took another step.

Present Mic cleared his throat, but they all knew that he wouldn’t scream for fear of hurting his husband. The villain laughed.

They all stood still for a second, Aizawa squirming hardheartedly.

And then, as the dust settled around them, the villain made his move. It dropped it’s hostage and the next second was barreling towards Bakugou. Without thinking, he ignited a massive explosion in front of him, knocking it back and filling the space with smoke and kicked-up dust.

The smoke and fire blocked Bakugou and Present Mic’s line of sight. For a few seconds before it cleared, neither the villain or Eraserhead were visible.

“Shit. Katsuki, get behind me!” Bakugou did as he was told without argument. As they waited for the smoke to clear, he grabbed the back of the hero’s jacket, fighting to keep himself upright. The explosion had taken the last of his energy and it was all he could do to stay on his feet.

The smoke rose and the dust settled enough to see the other side of the warehouse. There were two Aizawa’s struggling to get off of the floor. They looked identical. Dread grew roots in Bakugou’s gut. Not only did he not know which one was his real teacher, but whichever one was real had gotten hit by the full force of his explosion. He grit his teeth.

“Alright, a classic switcheroo. Let’s figure this out, shall we?” Present Mic sounded shaken. He reached behind himself to steady Bakugou, mind whirring a hundred miles per minute. He looked at the two versions of his husband on the floor and cursed himself. One of them was a villain and the other was the love of his life. It should be easy to tell them apart, right? They had blown too far away from each other for Shouta to be affecting the villain’s shapeshifting from what he had gathered about its properties, so he had to figure it out the old fashioned way.

“Hizashi…” One of them had sat up, blinking towards him. He was wearing the same clothes he had left the apartment in but had a few new cuts on his face. The maybe-Shouta looked like he was going to say something else, but his eyes had caught on his doppelganger and fear had lanced across his expression. “Hizashi, it’s me. That’s not me.”


He almost responded, but something stopped him. That something was Bakugou’s hand tightening on the back of his jacket. He wasn’t alone in this situation. The Shouta clones were far enough away from each other that he wouldn’t hurt one if he directed a yell at the other, but it was a choice that he could only make once. Hizashi turned his eyes to the other Shouta who hadn’t managed to sit up yet, but was getting close.

“Alright. Both of you stay where you are. I’ve got questions for you.”

“Careful,” Bakugou whispered behind him, “with whatever psychic shit that thing has it’ll know the answer to whatever question you have. It read my mind when it took me.” The boy was shaking, but still had his wits about him. For a moment, Hizashi let the warmth of pride for his kid wash through him. He could already see so much of Shouta in the boy.

“Got it, Dynamite. Take it easy for a second.” He kept his voice even, for Katsuki’s sake, and returned his attention to the clones. Both of them were sitting up and checking themselves over for injuries. It hurt his heart, both of them had the exact mannerisms of the man he had known for so long, but one of them was that same disgusting creature he had seen earlier.

“What’s the plan, Hizashi?” The one to his left was leveling him with the same concerned, conspiratorial stare that he got before a battle. Hizashi bit his lip.

“Well, getting close to whichever one of you is the rotting corpse shows your true nature, but for some reason I’m not too keen on it.”

“I’ll do it.” Katsuki whispered into his jacket again, quieter than he had ever heard before.

“Absolutely not.”

“It doesn’t want to hurt me. I can fend for myself even if it tries anything. Let me try.”

Hizashi wanted to turn around and hug his student tight, tell him that it wasn’t his responsibility, that the only thing he should be doing is going to the hospital, but there wasn’t any time. “Stay behind me.”

Katsuki was really something. He was stubborn and kind, brave and powerful. Hizashi couldn’t think of his good qualities at the moment, though. As the hand disappeared from the back of his jacket and his kid disappeared from behind him, all he could do was curse the child for being just a reckless as the rest of his class.

The kid was fast. He had stepped out from behind him and stepped forward before Hizashi could react, practically jogging towards the Shouta to the right. He yelled for the boy to come back, starting after him, but he wasn’t fast enough.

Bakugou reached the man on the floor and stopped just out of arm’s length, sparking his hands. The Shouta-gänger didn’t flinch.

“If you even lift a hand towards me I’ll turn you into ash.”

Careful concern painted the Shouta’s expression while the other one had a look dawning horror on his face.

“That was a stupid move, Katsuki. I’ve told you that rushing into things like this is not a good idea.” The Shouta clone didn’t move but still took a moment to softly lecture his student. He sounded every inch how he looked, but Hizashi could only spare the kid and the clone in front of him a sideways glance. His attention was kept on the other figure.

“Hizashi, knock me out with your quirk.”

Wait, what the hell?

“If you knock me out, you can check that it’s me without worrying about me attacking.” Shouta sounded rushed, eyes flickering over to Katsuki every other moment.

Well, now he knew which one was real. In the back of his mind, he thanked his husband’s self-sacrificing bullshit for the first time in his life.

With that mystery solved, he realized that his student was no more than three feet away from a dangerous, body-snatching villain.


“Katsuki, get back.”

The kid didn’t move.

“Katsuki…” Present Mic approached, no longer watching Shouta. The clone in front of the kid didn’t even glance at him. His cold eyes were nearly masked by his expression, but Hizashi could see through them. That man was not his husband.

Without waiting for the kid to respond, he picked him up around the middle and swung him away from the villain. The thing snarled at him, giving up the act. Before it could lunge at him, Present Mic screamed. The directional speaker directed the full force of it at the creature. It collapsed on the floor and melted back into a bluish-black corpse. The fight was over.

Chapter Text

They had called the police, gotten the villain locked away, and into a car to take them to get checked by Recovery Girl all within the ten minutes it took for Bakugou to run out of steam. The boy had ended up passed out against Shouta as they were driven back to UA. If his teacher weren’t just as tired, he would be fussing over his student, asking him questions and making sure he didn’t have any injuries, but he let him sleep.

“You’ve gotta start telling me when you’re going to throw yourself into bad situations like that. One of these days you’re gonna give me a heart attack.”


“Don’t worry about it. How’s the kid?”

“Tired, hopefully not slipping into a coma.”

Hizashi laughed. “I’m just happy he’s okay.”

They stayed quiet after that. The policewoman driving them turned on the radio after a few minutes, keeping the volume low. It was the good sort of calm and Hizashi basked in it.

“You should probably tell Hitoshi that everything’s okay.” Shouta sounded worried. “He’s probably still waiting for us.”

Hitoshi was, indeed, still awake. He had fidgeted himself off of the couch and onto a chair nearer to the door until he had given up entirely. He sat down on the carpet against the wall of the entrance hallway and waited. It was about five in the morning and he was worried.

He didn’t want to assume anything, but Hitoshi couldn’t help but think of Hizashi and Shouta as his parents. Now that Bakugou had been staying over at the apartment more and more, Hitoshiu also had a sneaking suspicion that the two heroes were trying to abduct the other boy out of his shitty home life as well. It was nice when all of them were here, bickering and cooking and playing with the cats.

It was quiet, the bad sort of quiet. It felt heavy and dark around him even though the lights were on and he had no reason to worry. It felt like the dangerous, sneaking quiet of the homes he used to live in where speaking spelled punishment. He sat in the hallway and he waited.

His phone buzzed and he nearly punched the wall in his haste to pick it up from where it had fallen at his side. The screen showed that Hizashi was calling him, affectionately labeled with the contact name “Yell Man”. Hitoshi picked it up as quickly as he could.


“Hey kiddo! Sorry for dropping off like that.”

“It’s fine, is everything okay? The police scanner was pretty uneventful.”

He heard the man take a breath. “We all got out okay. Turns out our resident troublemaker got himself snatched up again.”

Wait, what the hell? “Is Bakugou okay? Is he with you? Oh god, was it that fucking league again?”

“No, no, no, slow down! He’s perfectly fine. He and Shouta are taking a nap right next to me.”

“I’m not asleep.” Shouta’s voice was distant and didn’t quite make it through the phone call audio, but Hitoshi could still hear the exhaustion in it. He smiled.

“Some random villain with a shape-shifting quirk caught him. We’re gonna get him checked by Recovery Girl and then head right home. Are you okay on your own for a bit longer?”

If he was being honest with himself, the apartment felt like it was going to eat him alive if he sat there in the quiet for much longer, but he wasn’t about to tell that to his already-stressed caretakers. Even so, he couldn’t bring himself to say that he was fine with it. After a few moments of silence, Hizashi spoke again.

“We'll be home before midnight, I promise.”

Hitoshi smiled softly. “Thank you.”

“See you at home, ‘Toshi! Love you!”

The man hung up before he could respond, but it wouldn’t have mattered even if he had waited. Hitoshi was speechless, staring at the dark phone screen in shock. He tried to reason with himself. It was just customary, Hizashi was just tired, it was probably a mistake.

A little voice inside him wouldn’t help but hope that he was wrong. It whispered back to the phone with his words even though the recipients could no longer hear him.

“Love you too.”

Chapter Text

Bakugou didn’t really feel like waking up. He was drifting in a half-sleep and he knew that it probably wasn’t a good idea given whatever drug the villain had been giving him, but he was comfortable.

Aizawa had pulled him against his side as soon as they had all gotten into the car and Bakugou had been grateful for it. At any other time or level of consciousness he would’ve fought back, he’s sure. Time was moving irregularly, like it did when he was halfway to sleeping, but he could feel creeping nervousness around the edges of his mind.

He wasn’t tired. There wasn’t exhaustion or sleep holding him down, but it still felt like he was falling into darkness. Panic crept up his throat but he held it down. He had already caused enough trouble and enough worry, if Aizawa’s grip on him was anything to go by.

“Bakugou, we’re here.” His teacher’s voice was soft but still range in his ears after so long in the quiet car. Apparently he hadn’t hid his flinch well enough because the next time Aizawa spoke, it was even quieter. “We just need to make sure that you’re okay, then we can take you home.”

In his head, Bakugou saw purple hair and warm lights and cats curling around his legs. Home sounded good. He let Aizawa help him out of the car and followed his teachers through the Yuuei gates. Mic slowed down to fall into step with his husband and student, slipping his arm under Bakugou’s after they had walked a few steps.

“Whoa, kid, no falling over quite yet, okay?”

Had he been falling? He wasn’t sure, so he didn’t respond.

Recovery Girl’s office was usually cold, antiseptic and chilly like a hospital, but compared to the warehouse and the night air, it felt pleasantly warm. Even warmer still was the old woman’s hand that pressed itself to his forehead. “Oh Katsuki, what have you gotten into this time?”

Bakugou didn’t respond, words feeling nearly impossible. The world had gone from spinning in circles to blank static, the only things that felt real were Aizawa’s presence next to him, Mic’s arm around him, and the old lady fussing over him. They were talking to each other over where he was sitting, hunched over slightly on one of the cots. Soft hands lifted his face and pressed a kiss to his forehead.

Dizzying detail rushed back for a second before receding again, but the world had regained solidity around him. Recovery Girl searched his face for a moment.

“What’s your name?”

“Bakugou Katsuki.”

“Who’s the current number one hero?”


“Count to ten.”

“My head hurts, I’m not fuckin’ stupid.” He batted her hands away.

“Alright then.” Recovery Girl turned to address the other two heroes in the room. “He’s well enough to go home, but notify his parents to keep a close eye on him for a few days.”

She kept talking, but Bakugou stopped listening. They were going to take him back to his parents. His mind was racing with possibilities. He couldn’t just tell them he couldn’t go home, they would ask too many difficult questions. Some small part of him let him hope, let him think that maybe, just maybe, she would let him come home. Maybe if two heroes brought him home and told her what had happened, she’d be worried, she might let him in.

So he stayed quiet, he answered their questions and thanked Recovery Girl. Bakugou was tired. He was tired enough that he let the hope of being allowed back home live inside of him.

According to the school nurse, most of the drug’s effects had to be slept off and waited out, so as they walked back to the car, the world still spun a little bit. He didn’t lean on Aizawa during the drive and could nearly feel his teacher’s worried glances the whole way home.

It was all a blur until he stood once again at the doorstep, staring up at the door from between his two teachers. Mic knocked and put on his classic customer-service smile.

The door didn’t open. The lights were on and Bakugou could hear the television on inside, but the door didn’t open. Mic’s smile faltered as he knocked again.

“I fucking told you, Katsuki, the door’s locked.” His mother’s voice was yelled through the door. Aizawa stiffened next to him. Inside of Bakugou’s chest, the tired, flickering hope he had been holding onto died out like a candle in a wind tunnel. “You can’t just come crawling back here unless you have a damn good apology for me. Let’s hear it!”

“Open the door, Mrs. Bakugou.” Aizawa’s voice sounded level, but Bakugou could feel him nearly shaking with anger next to him.

The door opened a crack, one of Mitsuki’s angry eyes peering out at them over the lock chain. Upon recognizing his teachers, the anger fell away to surprise. She closed the door and fumbled with the lock for a second before opening it wide. “What do you people want? Do you have any idea what time it is?”

“We were just bringing you son home. He was attacked by a villain.”

Mitsuki looked her son up and down, considering her options. They both knew that she couldn’t throw him out with two heroes watching, but those same heroes had also heard what she had said through the door. Her eyes met his and Bakugou could see what she wanted to say, accusing him of trapping her, of planning this, of making her look bad.

Katsuki didn’t have many options either. He felt like his brain had been microwaved, but if he went into his house, his mother would throw him out the moment that the heroes were gone. If he was back on the streets, the side-effects of the villain’s drug could fuck him up again and he wouldn’t have support.

“We can watch over him for the night, if you want.”

Mic chimed in from the side, putting his hand on Bakugou’s shoulder. He leaned into it a little bit but still felt overwhelmingly confused. What was Mic planning?

“He got a bit knocked around, we have a bit more experience in first aide and can protect him in case the villain comes back!”

The villain had been captured. Why was he lying? He nearly spoke up to ask, but the hero’s fingers dug into his shoulder a little bit, begging him silently to stay quiet. Bakugou stayed quiet.

“Good luck with the brat, he’s your problem now.” Bakugou knew she was just talking about the current moment, but in his mind it sounded more general, more permanent. She closed the door in their faces, not quite slamming it, but loud enough that it made Bakugou flinch.

They were left in uncomfortable silence. The broken pieces of the hope he had carried in his chest felt like they were dragging against the inside of his rib cage, pricking at his eyes and aching as he breathed.

There was nothing left to say.

Chapter Text

After staring at his phone for a while after Mic called, Shinsou settled a bit more comfortably against the wall of the entryway, waiting for his teachers too get home. The cats arranged themselves around him variously, the youngest one planted herself on his lap, keeping him from curling up nervously. The little thing had been called ‘Miku’ jokingly, but the name had stuck. She was white with grey ears and markings along her back. Shinsou pet her absently, scrunching up his nose when she drooled on his pant leg.

It was a good distraction, having the cats around. The other three took turns standing watch or sprawling on the hardwood floors. Together, they waited.

When, eventually, keys jangled against the door and the lock turned, Shinsou couldn’t help but be startled out of the stupor he had fallen into, scrambling up off of the ground to face the door.

The door opened smoothly, revealing three silhouetted figures in the doorway. Between their teachers, Bakugou was slouching, looking more defeated than Shinsou had ever seen him.

“Hitoshi, do you mind putting the kettle on?” Aizawa gave him a look that translated very clearly to ”Don’t ask, I’ll explain later.”.
Before he moved to the kitchen, Hitoshi stared at Bakugou for a moment longer. The other boy glanced up at him with glassy, red-rimmed eyes. He looked miserable. Shinsou set his jaw, ignoring Aizawa’s request for a second as he stepped forward. Bakugou’s eyes widened as Shinsou got closer, half fear and half confusion poorly hidden behind a thin mask of indifference. Shinsou raised his arms slowly, making his intentions clear, he was going to hug the explosive bully of class 1-A or die trying.

In hindsight, he was more prepared for the death part than the hug, so when Bakugou fit between Shinsou’s arms without a fight, it felt similar to the first time he had befriended a stray cat. Shinsou squeezed the boy gently, careful not to put pressure on any unseen injuries. Nearby, he heard Mic coo at them and move to the kitchen. Later on, Shinsou would feel guilty for shirking responsibilities onto him, but for now he pulled back and smiled shyly at Bakugou and hoped it was comforting.

“You two go sit on the couch. I’m going to sleep for the night, make sure not to stay up too late. Hitoshi, I’m trusting you to keep an eye on him for me.” Aizawa sounded as tired as Bakugou looked as he slumped off toward his bedroom, absently ruffling Shinsou’s hair on the way.

Shinsou nodded at his teacher’s back before turning back to his new charge.

“Bakugou, is there anything I can get for you?”



“Call me Katsuki.” The other boy was looking downwards and for a moment, Shinsou wondered if it was more likely that Bakugou was addressing his shoes than him.

“Will you call me Hitoshi instead of ‘Mindfuck’?”

“Absolutely not.”

Shinsou laughed lightly and led Bakugou to the living room. Katsuki, his mind reminded him. He was leading Katsuki to the living room. By the time they got to a couch, the four cats had gathered around them like a sleepy peanut gallery and Hitoshi could hear Mic humming his bass-boosted tunes from the kitchen.

“Hey, Dynamite! What kind of tea do you want?”

“I don’t care.” Katsuki didn’t raise his voice to meet their teacher’s shouting, burying himself deeper in the couch cushions.

Hitoshi snorted. “Dynamite?”

“Shut up.”

They drank their tea, talked quietly, and pet the cats. The knot of worry that had tied itself around Hitoshi’s rib cage untangled moment by moment before completely dissipating the instant he got Katsuki to laugh.

For the first time that night, Hitoshi relaxed.