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Two Truths and a Lie

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“Midoriya… Thank you.”

---

Something was wrong and Shouta could feel it in his gut.

Todoroki and Midoriya were fighting like there was no tomorrow and were going to such incredible lengths to win a Sports Festival match. He understood that their performance in the Sports Festival would determine who would give them internship offers afterwards. He also knew that a good performance would always help boost the ratings of an up incoming hero, but this, this was too much. There was this desperate feeling to all of Midoriya’s attacks that Shouta could barely parse. Every time he broke another finger, there was this desperate edge to it amidst all of that determination.

Shouta wanted to call the match off right then and there, and he wasn’t the only one either. Hizashi had an anxious look on his face and was worrying his lip in a way that just screamed nervousness. Even if he was commentating like usual, there was an edge to it that only him and Nemuri could pick up. He was getting concerned about how far they were going and was looking to Nemuri to see what she’d do. Speaking of Nemuri, she looked like she wanted to call the match as well, but Shouta couldn’t parse why she wasn’t.

A commotion from the field ended with a blaze of glory and a wave of heat from Todoroki. It was the first time seeing the kid’s fire for probably all of them. Shouta wasn’t completely sure why that was, but if he had to guess, it had something to do with Endeavor. Shouta never did trust the man, he was always too rough, too callous, too violent. He was effective, Shouta would give him that, but he wasn’t much of a hero.

Something was happening down on the field, and by something, Todoroki was winding up for a big finisher at the same time Midoriya was. The field was coated in flames and ice, the two of them gunning it towards each other to finish this fight.

 

Nemuri and Cementoss moving to stop them.

Their attacks impacting and an intense shockwave.

A plume of dust and steam covering the field.

The feeling of ice running down Shouta’s spine.

A hero’s intuition firing at all cylinders.

 

SOMETHING WAS WRONG.

 

Shouta pressed the mute button on Hizashi’s mic and spoke franticly.

“I think something’s wrong, continue the commentary. I’m going down there.”

Hizashi nodded furiously, and Shouta let up on the mute button and all but sprinted out of the commentator’s box. As he ran, he could distantly hear Hizashi still commentating like nothing was wrong.

“What a blast, though, and what heat!! Can’t see a thing! Has the match been decided?”

Shouta was lucky Chiyo had given him an extra round of healing. Hizashi had knocked him out with his prescription sleep aids the past few nights, and he was more well-rested than he’d ever been in a long while. If she hadn’t, he wouldn’t have been able to run this fast. Only a few bandages were dotted here and there, where the damage was the worst.

He skidded around the corner to the stairs, quickly attaching a piece of his capture weapon to the railing. He rappelled down several flights of stairs to the ground floor where the field was, quickly snapping his wrist to untie the capture weapon from where it was tied. He ran to the entrance to the field, hoping that everything would be okay. Flashes of white hair and a bright smile ran through Shouta’s mind and he gunned it, unwilling to face another tragedy.

The field was still covered in steam and dust, but it was rapidly dissipating. Rubble covered the field and he looked frantically for either of them. He could make out Todoroki on the other side of the field, but he hadn’t seen Midoriya yet. He walked out further into the carnage and-

and-

and there was Midoriya. Blood splattered around his head like a halo, his arms lying limply by his side. A large crater loomed behind him, a red splatter where his head collided with the wall. Shouta’s breath was caught in his throat, rubble and a dead body flashing through his mind.

“NEMURI, WE NEED AN AMBULANCE. NOW!He screamed across the field, catching Nemuri attention like a gun shot had went off.

“What-“ She tried to respond, but Shouta could feel the choking feeling of despair and utter terror clawing its way up his throat.

“AMBULANCE, AND GET RECOVERY GIRL DOWN HERE NOW, WE’VE GOT A POTENTIALLY LETHAL HEAD INJURY!!” He roared, rushing over to Midoriya and looking for where the blood was coming from, in an attempt try to stop him from bleeding out. He tore off his capture weapon and pressed it into the back of Midoriya’s head, the grey material slowly turning crimson with his blood.

He was dying when Shouta was fighting the villain, no, he was already dead, before the fight even began. There was no chance of him surviving. He was dead.

There was an absolute explosion of voices and sounds booming across the stadium, but Shouta could hardly hear them. He was completely focused on the boy that was dying in his arms. He was hardly thinking rationally anymore, the memories and flashbacks starting to overlap with reality, his eyes burning. All he could think was that he couldn’t fail him, he couldn’t fail Shirakumo, he’s not allowed to die.

He wasn’t 31, he was 17, not even out of UA yet and still seeing the worst the world had to offer.

The cloying smell of dust, blood, and sweat sat heavy in his mind, and he couldn’t help him,  Shirakumo was already dead. He’s been dead, you couldn’t save even one person. He was hit by that piece of rubble, and he was hallucinating Shirakumo’s voice. He was alone, he fought alone.

A heavy hand landed on his shoulder, Sensoji? Shouta looked up, no, it was All Might, a very fearful look on his face.

“Aizawa-kun, the paramedics are here.” All Might choked out. Aizawa turned his head a bit more and caught sight of a team of paramedics, racing across the field to get to them. They gently pushed him away and started to work on Midoriya, loading him into a stretcher, and racing off to the ambulance.

Shouta followed them, raced after them, even going so far to shove the hand, that landed on his shoulder, off, to get to him. He still saw Shirakumo, the sight of the young man he once called his friend, flickering between him and his student. They were loading him into an ambulance, a large crowd wrapped around the fringes of the road. Chiyo was getting into another vehicle, probably ready to race off to the hospital. Shouta ran up to the back of the ambulance, ready to get up into it and race to the hospital. A paramedic stopped him, before he could get so far.

“Sir-“ They tried to start, but Shouta cut them off.

“I am going with him and you are not going to stop me, got it!?” He demanded, and the paramedic backed off, letting him hop up into the back of the ambulance. He sat down on the bench and reached out to grab the hand that was dangling there, cradling it gently as not to disturb the broken bones.

A silent mantra repeated in his head as they drove to the hospital, his mind far away from anything that was happening in the ambulance. The noise and the cloying smells were distant, as he was stuck in a world of his own making.

He’s not dead, not yet, he’s going to be fine. He’s going to be fine.

--

He blinked and then they were at the hospital, rushing around and taking Midoriya to surgery. Shouta tried to follow he really did, but a nurse stopped him before he could get anywhere.

“Sir, I’m going have to ask you to sit down-“

“I have to make sure he’s okay!” He choked out, his voice thick and heavy.

“We have our best team of surgeons operating on him, sir. I need you to sit down and take a deep breath, we are trying our hardest to make sure he’s going to be okay.” The nurse implored, trying to get him to stop and think rationally about this. Shouta could recognize what they were trying to do, and slowly but surely, the fight started to drain out of him, leaving him to slump to the floor. The nurse crouched in front of him and gingerly set a hand on his shoulder.

“Thank you, sir, we’re trying our hardest to make sure he’ll make it. Brain injuries are tricky to work with, but we have the best quirks on staff to deal with these sorts of things!” They were trying to cheer Shouta up, but it wasn’t really working. His mind was still reeling from the entire event and a lingering part of his brain was still stuck on Shirakumo and how he couldn’t save one of his best friends, what kind of failure is he? He can’t even save one person-

“Sir, I’m going have to ask you get up from the floor and wash your arms off, you’re covered in blood.” At this, Shouta looked at his hands and saw the scarlet liquid drying on his hands and arms, the bandages wrapped around his arms stained a deep red.

He stood up gingerly, his still healing body starting to ache from all of the running. His mind was still racing, but he wanted to breakdown in peace not in front of all of these people.

The nurse gently guided him to an empty bathroom and before Shouta went in, he turned and cleared his throat, catching the nurse’s attention.

“Could I get some gauze or bandages, my arms were injured a few weeks ago and I probably still need them covered. Please and thank you.” The nurse nodded and scurried off to grab what he asked for. Shouta turned back to the bathroom and entered, the harsh lights of the bathroom burning his eyes.

He walked over to the light switch and clicked a few of the light’s off, leaving the bathroom only slightly lit up. He wandered back over to the faucet and started cleaning himself up.

He peeled off his ruined bandages and tossed them into a heap. He flexed his fingers, the dried blood crackling and flaking on his fingers. He turned the faucet on high and scrubbed hard, peeling away the blood and skin off his arms and hands.

A light hand rested on his shoulder and he turned, finding his husband looking sadly at him, traces of anxiety and fear still present in those green eyes. His other hand reached around and shut off the faucet, slowly taking Shouta’s hands into his own. Hizashi took a deep breath in but didn’t say anything. They had been through this song and dance many times throughout the years, when the pressure got to much or the memories just wouldn’t stop. He was Shouta’s rock, the levelheaded one when Shouta got too overwhelmed with his own mind.

He gently pushed Shouta into a stall and had him sit down on a toilet, and he reached into his pocket, retrieving a roll of gauze from inside. He must’ve ran into the nurse when he was searching for him. Hizashi wrapped his arms back up quietly, the bathroom becoming a place of solace, far away from the horrors that were happening right outside the door.

“Talked to Nemuri on the phone, she and Kan have the fort held down back at UA. She talked with Todoroki too, because the boy was on the verge of a mental breakdown. He didn’t realize that he was going too far. He didn’t want to kill Midoriya or hurt him, just get him out of the ring or knock him unconscious. Nemuri told him it wasn’t his fault. She told him that they got too riled up and can’t be held accountable for getting out of hand and that they didn’t think that the other would get this injured.” Hizashi started quietly. Shouta hummed and nodded for him to continue.

“Nedzu is postponing the rest of the fights till later, same with the internships. Hell, he might actually cancel the rest of the fights, but who knows. Shou-“ He looked up from his work, his eyes wet and puffy. “This never should have happened, I can get that they’re teenagers and they get riled up easily, but it’s a sports festival, they shouldn’t be fighting for sport at all. They should be playing stupid sports games and having fun, impress the agencies in different ways, not accidentally injuring one of your classmates! I get that Nedzu has been trying to change the format, but the Board doesn’t want him too, and it’s bullshit. Brings in too much money, they say, it’s good reputation for the school and the students, bullshit. If he changed the format, I still bet tons of people would watch and the school would still have its accreditation as a top-notch hero school.” He fumed, his voice getting choked up the more and more he talked about it. Hizashi finished up wrapping Shouta’s arms and offered his hand to let him up. He grabbed it and pulled himself to his feet.

“Come on, let’s go the waiting room. They have a private one for us and Midoriya-san. I managed to snag it after they recognized me.” Shouta followed his husband, not even registering anything that was happening to him. Hizashi was probably going to bring up his ‘episode’ and any other important news from UA in light of the incident later, as much as Shouta didn’t want him too. It was going to be a long night, Shouta just knew it. He didn’t want it to become longer because his husband tried to talk to him about his feelings. He was still worked up anyway, and just wanted this all to be over.

They arrived at the waiting room and he could already hear crying within, most likely Midoriya-san if Shouta had to guess. They wandered in and Shouta was correct, Midoriya-san was in a corner bawling her eyes out and babbling to a despondent looking All Might. Shouta walked over to a far-away seat and sat heavily into it, letting the two of them work out their emotions together without the toxic mess Shouta was at the moment interfering.

Hizashi sat next to him and rested his head on his shoulder, humming quietly. He grabbed Shouta’s hand, gave it a light squeeze and then started speaking in a low tone, as to not disturb the other two in the room.

“I’m guessing you saw Oboro again, didn’t you?” He asked hesitantly, Shouta gave a short hum of approval and Hizashi tightened his grasp on his hand.

“There was point I couldn’t distinguish the two of them, I was so scared. I think I scared the shit out of Nemuri when I yelled at her. I wasn’t aware of really anything after I yelled at her, I kind of just shut down and focused on Midoriya.” Shouta muttered and Hizashi rubbed a thumb over the back of his hand.

“After you yelled at her, the dust had cleared enough to see what had happened and the crowd went absolutely nuts. I think Endeavor was about to have an aneurysm. None of them could believe what had happened, there was a lot of screaming, a lot of accusations going on, nothing fun at all. Nemuri quickly got Todoroki off of the stage and into a private room and I had to wait on Nedzu to tell the audience that the festival is postponed till a later date. I could’ve told them, but they wouldn’t have listened, they were too worked up. We had to force Endeavor to leave Todoroki alone, because we needed him to stay and get healed up. He was so mad, that he actually melted some of the hallways on his way to Nemuri was keeping Todoroki. All Might had to literally throw the man off of the campus, so he’d leave. But that’s all that’s happened so far. I think the media is going to try and eat UA alive for this but, how could we’ve have known? Nedzu was trying to get the festival changed and it was the Board’s fault there was still a tournament in the first place. If anything, Nedzu is going to play that card and the Board will have to deal with the fallout.” Hizashi shrugged and let go of Shouta’s hand. He stood up and cracked his knuckles.

“I’m going to go wash the gel out of my hair, I’ll be right back.” Shouta nodded in response, and he laid back into the seat. He didn’t know how much time had passed until he heard a sniffle from right in front of him. He cracked his eyes open and found Midoriya-san standing right in front of him, all teary eyed and full of grief.

“You’re Aizawa-san, correct?” He nodded. “I want to thank you for helping save my Izuku. He’s all I have after my husband died; I don’t know what I’d do without him. He speaks so highly of you and I was glad to see you trying to save him.” She started to cry again, the tears streaming down her face like waterfalls. All Might herded her back into a seat and kept a large hand on her shoulder, whispering nothings into her ear in a vain attempt to comfort her.

Shouta felt sick, he wished he could have done more, that he could’ve stopped this from happening at all. But-

But there wasn’t nothing he could’ve done.

Soon enough Hizashi came back from the bathroom, looking too weary and tired for a simple trip to the bathroom. His hair was now tied in a loose bun, a few golden tufts of hair sticking out every which way. He slouched into the chair next to Shouta and sighed, a heavy weary thing that spoke of pain to come.

“Heard word from Iidaten, Ingenium was attacked by Stain. He’s in the hospital right now with a severe injury to his spine.” A heavy sigh. “They say he might be able to walk again and do hero work, but it’s a very slim chance. Nemuri also called me again and told me to check the news, this day can’t get any shittier can it?” He sighed out, pulling his phone out of his pocket. He pulled up a news website and handed it to Shouta, it was already plastered with images from the Sports Festival and the horrific accident that had occurred.

“The vultures are attacking UA, like I said. Nedzu has a press conference in like-“ He checks the time on his phone. “ 40 minutes. I can just feel that it’s going to be a shit storm. Nemuri thinks so too. Heard any news about the little dude?”

“No, nothing yet.” Shouta muttered, still looking at the articles. How callous do they have to be to immediately start dragging literal children for an accident?! That was the whole point of them being at UA, to learn how to control their powers and use them accordingly. He sighed and handed his husband back his phone, slumping further into his chair.

--

It had been a few hours with no news of Midoriya’s condition and Shouta was getting antsy. He was a rational man, he truly was, but this whole affair had thrown him for a loop. A loop that he was unfortunately still stuck in, his emotions running hot and rampant.

Nemuri had called Hizashi to talk with him about the next course of action for the school and to update them on what Nedzu had talked about in the press conference. The school was going to pay for the Midoriya’s medical bills from this incident, alongside a bunch of other odds and ends as repayment for this ever happening. Other than that, it was just more and more waiting.

Hizashi was pacing the length of the waiting room, quietly yelling at the person on the other end of his phone. If Shouta had to guess who it was, it was probably his radio station. They were probably getting swamped with requests for Present Mic to talk about what had happened today. Since he’d been there and had a firsthand account of what had happened.

Midoriya-san was sitting quietly in the corner listening to something All Might had to say. She looked enraptured but somewhat furious at what he was saying. Shouta wondered what that was about, but he wasn’t about to butt into their private conversation.

Minutes passed like this, Shouta just wearily watching what they were doing and occasionally checking his phone to see if anyone needed him for anything. He didn’t want to leave, he felt like he had an obligation now to sit here with the rest of them till they found out about Midoriya’s condition. It was torture, but it was better than hearing about it later.

The door creaked open, and all went silent. Shouta could hear his heart pounding in his chest, a thundering drumbeat that roared in his ears. It sounded deafening.

A surgeon walking into the room, looking somber.

“Midoriya-san, a word.” They said, a heavy note to their voice. Midoriya-san stood up and shuffled over to the door and the surgeon spoke to her in a quiet voice Shouta couldn’t catch. A range of emotions crossed the woman’s face before she sobbed and dropped to the floor like a limpet. Shouta shot up and looked at the surgeon, a question waiting on his lips and a faint ember of hope in his chest. The surgeon took one look at him and shook his head sadly.

“He’s gone, we couldn’t save him. He bled out during surgery. I am truly sorry for your loss.”

The ember inside of him was smothered, and Shouta couldn’t feel anything but an infuriating amount of anger and despair boiling and bubbling up inside of him. It burst as soon as it came, and it left him out for blood. His eyes were burning, and his throat was starting to constrict but still he fought on.

“No, not like this, how!!” Shouta screamed, fully aware of the injustice of it all. Midoriya was supposed to live, he was supposed to become a hero, he was supposed to-

Shirakumo was supposed to live, we were supposed to start an agency together, we were supposed to have a cat and be heroes together with Hizashi and Nemuri and-

He could feel his husband cross an arm across his chest, stopping his advance.

“I want to see him.” He growled out.

“I don’t think you-“ The surgeon sputtered, looking startled at Shouta’s anger.

“I don’t care, I want to see him.” He seethed out. The surgeon raised his hands in defense.

“Alright, sir, but he’s still in the theatre and” Shouta toned out what the surgeon was saying as he led him away, Hizashi and All Might moving to comfort a sobbing Midoriya-san.

One moment he was by the waiting room, the next he is in the theatre, staring at a white sheet stained with blots of crimson. The anger boiling inside of him spoiled, turning into raw despair as he realized he failed to save another person he cared for.

It was raining, he could remember asking where Shirakumo was, do we need to get him to a hospital? The feeling of rain sliding down his face as he saw the white sheet, his friend’s body, lying in the rain surrounded by rubble. The dread, the disbelief, the horror of finding out one of his best friends had died. That Shouta wasn’t able to save him.

He collapsed next to the operating table, his eyes burning. Midoriya’s death was soured by memories of Shirakumo, of the same white sheet blotted with red that lie over him in his last moments.

A tear plopped onto the ground.

Another.

Another, until he was full on crying, sobbing even.

A hand lied uncovered by the white sheet and Shouta gingerly grabbed it.

“This wasn’t supposed to happen like this, not like this. You were supposed to live. You were supposed to graduate and go on to greater things-“ Shouta sobbed, crying out for the injustice of one of his students being taken from him too early. The students were the ones that were supposed to outlive the teacher, not the other way around. He had failed another person he cared for, someone he was supposed to look out for and Shouta felt nothing but despair.

 

 

 

A week later, Midoriya’s funeral was held in front of a quiet crowd on a stormy day. There were very few people in attendance and 1-A made up the majority. The rain pattered quietly off of Shouta’s umbrella, a quiet song for this mournful event.

He looked around at the crowd, at the few people in attendance, taking in the very little amount of family present. He then looked at 1-A, his students, the ones that had also witnessed this awful event.

Todoroki stood off to the side, silent tears falling down his face and a look of utter shame and despair coloring his usually stoic face.

Uraraka was sobbing into Iida’s shoulder, the latter looking stoic, but tears were building in the corners of his eyes. Shouta knew that he was close to breaking.

All Might stood looking despondent, a faint edge of horror and fear in his artic blue eyes. There was something that chilled Shouta to the bone when he looked at All Might, but he didn’t linger long on the man or Midoriya-san, who stood close to the number one hero.

The rest of 1-A and the crowd were in varying states of despair, all lost looking lost with the loss of a friend. They hadn’t known him for long, but he had made a small impact on so many of them. Shinsou Hitoshi and Hatsume Mei were also apart of the crowd, of the small portion not from 1-A.

However, the most puzzling person that stood near the edge of the procession, getting absolutely soaked to the bone with no umbrella, was Bakugou Katsuki. He looked like he was shocked, furious, and sad at the same time, a roiling tide of emotions, which amazed Shouta because he the only emotion the teenager ever willingly showed was anger. There was something that Shouta was missing, that would explain the explosive teen’s behavior, but he wasn’t privy to that information. So he stood watching the boy roil in his fury and despair, unsure of what to do.

Eventually people started leaving, filtering off to do their own thing. All Might eventually led Midoriya-san away, citing that they needed to tie up some loose ends or something. Hizashi left with a soft pat on Shouta’s shoulder, leaving Shouta all alone in the rain.

Shouta approached the small grave, taking in the family members that had died before him. The freshly carved ‘Midoriya Izuku’ stood out in bold strokes, seeming almost impossibly wrong. Guilt bubbled up in Shouta’s throat, and he knelt down into the mud. He set his umbrella aside and let the rain wash over him.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t able to save you.” He said to the grave, mirroring the words from the last time he wasn’t able to save those he cared for.

“I’m sorry, I’m so so sorry.” He said to the grave in front of him and to the grave that rested behind him.

The rain continued to fall, the soft droplets rolling down Midoriya Izuku’s and Shirakumo Oboro’s graves.

Chapter Text

It had been a few hours with no news of Midoriya’s condition and Shouta was getting antsy. He was a rational man, he truly was, but this whole affair had thrown him for a loop. A loop that he was unfortunately still stuck in, his emotions running hot and rampant.

Nemuri had called Hizashi to talk with him about the next course of action for the school and to update them on what Nedzu had talked about in the press conference. The school was going to pay for the Midoriya’s medical bills from this incident, alongside a bunch of other odds and ends as repayment for this ever happening. Other than that, it was just more and more waiting.

Hizashi was pacing the length of the waiting room, quietly yelling at the person on the other end of his phone. If Shouta had to guess who it was, it was probably his radio station. They were probably getting swamped with requests for Present Mic to talk about what had happened today. Since he’d been there and had a firsthand account of what had happened.

Midoriya-san was sitting quietly in the corner listening to something All Might had to say. She looked enraptured but somewhat furious at what he was saying. Shouta wondered what that was about, but he wasn’t about to butt into their private conversation.

Minutes passed like this, Shouta just wearily watching what they were doing and occasionally checking his phone to see if anyone needed him for anything. He didn’t want to leave, he felt like he had an obligation now to sit here with the rest of them till they found out about Midoriya’s condition. It was torture, but it was better than hearing about it later.

The door creaked open, and all went silent. Shouta could hear his heart pounding in his chest, a thundering drumbeat that roared in his ears. It sounded deafening.

A surgeon walking into the room, looking somber.

“Midoriya-san, a word.” They said, a heavy note to their voice. Midoriya-san stood up and shuffled over to the door and the surgeon spoke to her in a quiet voice Shouta couldn’t catch.

She slumped down, her legs losing the fight to stay upright. Shouta shot up and looked at the surgeon, a question waiting on his lips.

“He’s alive, but barely. He was dealing with a brain hemorrhage and severe trauma that could have easily killed him. We won’t know if he lost any brain function until he wakes up from the medically induced coma. But we’re optimistic that he’ll retain most of his brain function, but it might take a bit of therapy and medication.” The surgeon turned to Shouta specifically. “I saw the broadcast when it happened, and I have to commend you on getting there when you did. If we would have gotten him any later, he would have likely died in transit.”

At those words, Shouta could feel a peal of hysterical laughter force its way out of his throat. A huge weight was lifted from his chest and all he could do was laugh; it was the sweet catharsis he’d been needing since the day began. His husband gave him a weird look, but he quickly shook his head and gave a short chuckle in return. He must’ve looked insane, but nobody called him out on it. The sweet relief was more than enough to take his mind off of it.

The surgeon cleared his throat and continued talking, looking a bit less somber.

“We also removed the bone fragments from his hands and casted them and he should maintain full function in his hands, but they will have some minor scarring. He’s currently being moved to Ortho-Neuro-Trauma so they can keep watch on him. We would have moved him to Pediatric ICU but with his injury it would likely be better to keep him in ONT. He’s currently only allowed one visitor at a time till his condition stabilizes. We will let you know when he is fully moved and then you can visit him. Have a good day.” They gave a short bow and exited the room.

“Oh, for goodness’s sake, he’s ok, he’s ok.” Midoriya-san muttered from the ground, tears running down her face. She turned to Shouta; a grateful look plastered across her face. “Thank you for everything you’ve done, Aizawa-san. You heard what the doctor said, you gave my Izuku a second chance at life.” She sniffled. “I-I have to make a few calls if you don’t mind stepping out into the hall.” Shouta nodded as did All Might and Hizashi.

They left the room after helping Midoriya-san pick herself off of the floor. Shouta slumped against the wall and let out a heavy sigh. Now that he knew Midoriya was okay, he had to deal with the other elephant in the room. As much as he could wish to sweep this under the rug and let this whole shitstorm to be over with, he still had to talk to Todoroki himself. There was something that was rubbing him the wrong way about a lot of Todoroki’s behavior that stunk of foul play.

He looked over to his husband and All Might, the two of them quietly sitting on a bench near the door. All Might looked like he’d aged ten years, a dour look on his withered face. It wasn’t until now that he’d noticed that the man wasn’t beefed up, something Shouta should have noticed in an instant, but he hadn’t.

“Does she-“ Shouta drew out not wanting fully to ask the question in public. All Might nodded his head wearily.

“It was something I should have told her ages ago. I suppose I will tell you why later, not here, not right now.” Shouta squinted at the other man, but ultimately let it go.

“I see.” He hummed out. “I have to call Nemuri and have her bring Todoroki here. I have to ask him a few questions. I’ll be gone for a bit.”

“Alright, I’m going to head to the station for a bit. The damn vultures are at mine and UA’s throats again, so I have to play peacekeeper.” Hizashi groused. “Nedzu is going to meet me at the station and give me the notes from the press conference, but people are not happy about this. Hopefully it’ll quiet down soon enough.” Shouta nodded, aware of where his husband stood in relation to the media. He took the shitty job of relaying a lot of UA’s news to the media and in turn, his radio station gave him the media’s input on what he’s doing and what they think about UA. It was downright messy at times, especially in times like now.

“Yagi-san? What are you going to be doing?” Shouta asked amiably, trying not to let the dour mood, that was slowly creeping into his mind, shine through. The man turned to him and nodded at the door.

“I’m going to stay here with Midoriya-san. I have some things I want to talk to her about.”

“Alright, I’m leaving then.” He gave a curt nod and started to walk to a secluded corner. He pulled out his phone and clicked on Nemuri’s contact, the ringing of the phone sounded too loud for the little hallway.

The phone connected.

“Shouta? What’s up? Hear anything about Midoriya?” She started, concerned.

“He’s alive. Currently in a medically induced coma, but they think he should live. Although, we don’t know how much brain function he might have lost, if any. It’s a shitty situation, I have to tell you that.” Shouta groused and Nemuri hummed.

“Well, that’s good, at least he’s still with us. What did you need?” She asked. 

“I need you to bring Todoroki over to the hospital, I want to ask him a few things about the incident. He’s not in trouble, I just have some bad feelings about some things.”

“You bad feelings? That’s not surprising, but fair warning, the kid is absolutely terrified he accidentally killed Midoriya. I’ve never seen this much emotion on his face before. Although, it’s not like you to be this vague, is it just a hunch or do you have something damning?” Nemuri prodded, like the gossip she was. Shouta only sighed.

“Only a hunch right now, but something doesn’t sit right with me, and I need to get to the bottom of it.”

“Alright, I’ll bring the kiddo over, need anything from campus while I’m still here?”

“No, just bring Todoroki here. I’ll be waiting in the lobby.”

“Sounds like a plan.” And Nemuri hung up on him. She was too smart for her own good, if Shouta gave her anymore information, she would have already parsed out what Shouta was about to ask Todoroki. Small blessings that she hadn’t caught up on what Shouta was insinuating.

He sighed and put his phone back in his pocket. He wanted this damnable day to be over with already. Maybe Nedzu would give him a year’s worth of paid vacation, compensation for all the trauma this incident pulled up and gave him. Or maybe he’d finally send Shouta to a therapist, the one thing Hizashi, Nemuri, and him had been trying to do for nearly 15 years. It was hell when they figured out that he had done nothing after Shirakumo’s death, no therapist, hadn’t talked to anyone about it, just worked himself to the bone. He’d always act funny when some of his trauma would bubble to the surface, more aggravated, more prone to emotional outbursts, basically a whole mama bear like Hizashi once described it after one incident. It was a load of bullshit, but it did have some merits much to Shouta’s disappointment. Shouta would admit to letting his emotions do the talking when the memories came floating to the surface, but not to any of this mama bear bullshit. Just because he cared for people didn’t mean he was some overprotective mama bear.

He would admit that this whole incident had pulled up more memories and flashbacks than usual. The haunting visage of Shirakumo’s body imposed over his dying student was more than enough to make him emotional, and he can only imagine what he would have been reduced to if Midoriya had actually died. He wouldn’t have forgiven himself for that, that’s for sure.

Shouta raised his hands and rubbed harshly at his eyes, the faint burn still lingering. He probably should get to the lobby, before Nemuri starts spamming his phone with texts.

--

Nemuri found him leaning against a vending machine in the lobby, eyes barely open. She wasn’t in her hero costume anymore, just a shirt and sweats she kept at school just in case she had to go incognito.

“Well, you look like shit.” She greeted, and Shouta blearily opened his eyes more.

“Feel like shit too.” He grunted. “Damn arm hurts like a bitch, and that’s with the painkillers.” She only hummed and turned back around to face Todoroki.

“I had to sneak him out, the flaming trashcan was loitering right outside of campus, demanding to see his son. Nedzu is about ready to tear him a new one and tell him that he is currently still in the school’s custody. And maybe fine him for loitering, I dunno.” She shrugged and put her hands on her hips. She looked back at Shouta and gave him a once over, giving him a raised eyebrow at how disheveled he looked.

“Todoroki-kun, honey, can you wait here for a second. I have to ask Aizawa something real quick. We won’t be far.” Todoroki nodded dully. Nemuri grabbed Shouta by the arm and dragged him out of earshot.

“Heard about your behavior with the paramedic and Mic earlier. He wouldn’t stop blabbing about how it looked like you were about ready to have a panic attack.” Nemuri imparted her wonderful wisdom on him, looking a bit irritated at him. Shouta was already done with this conversation but if he walked away, eventually his husband and Nemuri would gang up on him, so best to get this over with now.

“What about it?” He grumbled, fully aware of the knowing look Nemuri shot him.

“You know, you aren’t the only one that still has nightmares about Shirakumo. Mic and I were there too. I could see it in your whole” She gestured at the entirety of him “ body language, vibe, whatever you want to call it. It just screamed that you were panicking, and you weren’t there entirely. If that didn’t give it away, then how you yelled at me did. Usually you don’t yell like that, not unless something is really killing you.” Shouta was really irritated at her, but she wasn’t saying anything wrong, if anything she was entirely correct.

Shouta flipped her off, and she just laughed heartily.

“Well, good to see you’re back to your old self. Take care of Todoroki, I got to head back to UA and deal with grumpy. Kan doesn’t like rescheduling his whole planner since the internships got pushed back a couple weeks. I get to goad him on and offer ‘advice’” She purred, putting air quotes around “advice”. That typically meant she was going to offer the worst training exercises in hopes that Kan will put them in and more importantly, let her watch. Shouta once humored her with one of his rowdier classes, and needless to say they got very good at fighting with handcuffs on. Her suggestions were usually quite sound too, they were never anything too outrageous or lewd, which would have been unexpected for someone with the moniker of the 18+ Hero, but despite her persona, she was a very dedicated and serious teacher with a sharp mind and an even sharper wit. They were usually interesting simulations, that would be challenging but not outright impossible, like fighting with handcuffs or how to conceal support gear when going incognito. They were always fun to watch and even more fun to teach. After his initial test run with her ideas, he’d usually incorporate at least one into his lessons to humor the woman, even if they were downright awful to begin with.

She patted him on the shoulder and quipped out a goodbye and then she was gone. Shouta walked back into the lobby and flagged down Todoroki, who was standing awkwardly by the vending machine. He followed Shouta to the front desk where Shouta asked them about a spare room they could talk in. After getting directed to an empty conference room, Shouta settled down into a stiff seat and Todoroki stood awkwardly by the door. Shouta nodded at a seat and the kid sat down stiffly into one of the nearby seats. He looked awful, from the cuts and bruises from the Sports Festival to the pallor of his face, which was contrasted so starkly by the scar that took up nearly half of his face. He could tell that Todoroki was getting antsy from him not saying anything, the subtle movement of his hands clenching and unclenching tipping him off.

Shouta cleared his throat and began to speak.

“Do you know why I had Midnight bring you here?” He asked quietly. Todoroki shook his head.

“No, Aizawa-sensei. I don’t.” He said in that same monotone voice he always did, but there was an edge to it. Something Shouta wouldn’t have caught, had he not been well-versed in being completely monotone from time to time. It was fear.

“Really? Because if I was in your spot, I would have asked if I was getting expelled.” Shouta stopped and let that point linger, Todoroki paled even further. “But that is beside the point. You aren’t getting expelled, far from it actually. Midnight told me, that she’s already talked with you about how this isn’t your fault and that you won’t be held entirely accountable, yes?” Todoroki nodded his head. “I am still going to ask that you get some additional training to make sure that this doesn’t happen again, but that’s all the reprimand you are going to get. I don’t think either of you thought, no, knew how your attacks would react and that’s what’s really at fault here. We’re the ones that pitted you and your classmates together, so it is our fault that something like this has happened. Nedzu has been trying for the past few years to get the Sports Festival changed, but I think this is going to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.” He sighed and ran a hand through greasy locks.

“Midoriya-kun is okay, he’s not out of the woods but he’s alive. We don’t know much more about his condition but at least he’s still with us. But that’s not what this meeting is about. What I want to know is why did this happen? How did Midoriya get you to use your flames? What is going on in the background that forced both of you to go to such lengths? It was a stupid sports festival match, for crying out loud, not some event that would determine the rest of your future.” Shouta prodded, and he saw the minute twitch of Todoroki’s shoulders and the almost scared look in his eyes, like he’d be caught.

“How much would you believe me if I told you something horrible?” Todoroki asked, and Shouta didn’t like that tone of voice one bit. It wasn’t something he wanted to hear from a child, let alone one of his students.

“I would believe you. I trust that my students would come forward with anything that is hurting them or bothering them.” Shouta answered, hoping beyond hoping that his hunch wasn’t correct. “I’ll be quiet, and you can tell me whatever you want without any judgement.” Todoroki still looked like he was about to keel over any second, but he took a deep breath in and tried to steady himself.  

“How much do you know about Quirk Marriages-“

--

To say Shouta was infuriated was an understatement. He wanted to wring the life out of the miserable bastard that Japan called the number 2 hero. How could someone be so-so-so-ARGH!

Shouta wanted to tear out his own hair for missing something like this, and he was going to make everything right and throw the bastard into a prison cell like he deserves. Child abuse, spousal abuse, neglect, so many charges on top of charges that Endeavor could get charged with and ultimately end up in prison for.

He was pacing back and forth along the conference room, muttering angrily to himself. Todoroki sat quietly with a bottle of apple juice that Shouta had bought him, midway through his retelling, just for something to get his composure back with. It didn’t work, because he was still infuriated, but only a bit less so. He had to get Todoroki out of that household and into a better environment, but he couldn’t do this without concrete evidence. Todoroki’s confession was worth its weight in gold, but they needed more than that to make a case against Endeavor. If Shouta could find the missing Todoroki, maybe, or possibly the confessions of the other three. It was frustrating not knowing what to do next but there was one thing he could do to get the case started.

If there was one person Shouta could trust with this sort of thing, then Tsukauchi Naomasa was that person.

“Todoroki-kun, do you mind if I call up Detective Tsukauchi and have him take your statement? Don’t worry about him not believing you or anything like that, he’s the detective with the lie-detecting quirk. He’s the only person I can think of right now that has the tact to deal with this whole revelation.” Todoroki looked conflicted, but he ultimately nodded.

“Alright, alright, we’re going to get you out of there as soon as we can. We’ll need a solid case against him, so we’ll have to talk to your mother and your other two siblings too. Get their statements and see where we can go from there. What do you want to do in the meantime?” He asked, completely unsure of what to do. He did want to take Todoroki out of Endeavor’s custody, but he didn’t know the legality of him just nabbing Todoroki to have him live at his place. Todoroki shrugged and Shouta went ahead and just asked the question he was about to ask.

“I can call Tsukauchi and see what he can do about letting you stay at my place away from Endeavor, because I’m guessing from what you’ve told me, he’s not going to be too happy about the Sports Festival.” Shouta said with a grimace. “Would you want to stay at my place while we figure out this whole issue? I live with a few cats and Present Mic, so there is more than enough room for you at my place.” He asked, aware of how Todoroki’s eyes lit up at the mention of cats. He filed that knowledge away for later.

“I guess, if it’s fine with Tsukauchi, I wouldn’t mind.” Todoroki quietly admitted. Shouta nodded his head and pulled his phone from his pocket.

“Good, I’m going to call Tsukauchi and have him come over. Do you think you can tell him what you told me again? Or do you want to wait?” Shouta asked, pulling up Tsukauchi’s contact.

“I can tell him.”

--

It had been a long week for Shouta, a combination of getting Todoroki settled into his house, dealing with the Endeavor case, and the whole mess that came Midoriya’s injury. The poor kid was still in his medically induced coma, but they said he should wake up soon. He was currently watching over Midoriya while Midoriya-san went home to rest and freshen up. She’d been there nonstop for her kid and it was starting to show, the bags under her eyes were dark and she had this sluggishness of a person dying for a nap.

He was currently grading papers that he’d been putting off in light of the Sports Festival, but now that he had more than enough time to work on them, he might as well.

It had been tough going back to class and telling them that their friend had been very close to death. Shouta supposed that it would have been even harder if the kid had actually died. He segwayed the news into a lecture about how they don’t know the strength of their own quirks and how easily they can be used to kill. It had been a dark lecture, but his class listened with rapt attention. He ended the lecture with a few examples of quirks that could easily maim or kill, but it was none of the obvious ones like Thirteen’s or Hizashi’s. He listed off relatively benign quirks and told them how they can be used for base purposes. Recovery Girl’s quirk, for example, could easily kill someone if she used it on someone without the stamina. He had to end the class on a drear note because he ran out of time, but that wasn’t the end of that conversation, it never would be.

The next big incident came in the form of Ingenium and Iida Tenya. Tensei was recovering from the Hero Killer’s attempt on his life and while he still had the chance of walking again and getting back to hero work, it would be a long and arduous journey. But that didn’t mean his little brother had anything to say about it. Shouta could feel the contempt running off of Iida in light of the attack. It was oh so conveniently concealed too, the whole event was overshadowed by the Sports festival and Midoriya’s injury, that there was barely anything said about it but a few passing comments. So, Iida could let his rage fester and deal with it without having too many heads turn towards him when he went off the deep end.

That was before Shouta decided to make an intervention. He had pulled the kid aside and had a ‘lovely’ conversation about vigilantism and how much of a suicide mission going after the Hero Killer was. Needless to say, he quickly derailed Iida’s path to self-righteous vengeance before it could really start. He had to remind Iida that his brother had a chance to recover, it wasn’t like he was completely out of the running for good.

It had been a heavy conversation but like the one before Shouta held his composure. After his initial ‘outburst’ and the events that followed afterward, he had calmed down and returned to his more usual self, sans the emotional wreck he was before. The rest of the week was shit as expected, but that was to be expected after what had happened.

There wasn’t more he could wish for except for Midoriya to wake up. The poor boy was still wrapped up in bandages and casts, but at least there were less tubes inside of him. They still weren’t sure on how much brain function he had left, but they were optimistic that he would retain most of his brain function. They had said something about a certain doctor’s quirk and brains, but they had lost Shouta a long time ago. A lot of that medical lingo was lost on him, he just knew the essentials and some few phrases he learnt from an EMT course he took when he was fresh out of UA.

 A hand dug into his hair, messing up his bun. Shouta looked up and found his husband with a bag of what he assumed was food. Hizashi must have snuck in while he was stuck in his own brain.

“I got those gyoza from that vendor you like, Shou.” He said with a brilliant smile, and Shouta was put at ease. Some good food and company made sitting in the quiet hospital room, just a little bit more bearable. Even if he was still a little annoyed at Hizashi for messing up his bun.

--

Hizashi had left after eating dinner with him to go to his radio station and clear up some paperwork he’d been procrastinating on. That left Shouta alone with Midoriya again. It was hard to look at him without an undercurrent of despair and anxiety thrumming through him. He was just so done with this whole emotion business, he just wanted to go back to being the apathetic hard-ass that he usually was. It probably wouldn’t matter how much time had passed since this incident, the feeling of having almost failed him would linger in his mind for the rest of his life. The could-have’s lingering like a persistent stain upon his mind.

‘ Years of unresolved and untreated trauma would do it, wouldn’t it? I just had to add more atop the already precarious pile of trauma.’ he thought with a huff. ‘I’m going to go grey by the time these kids graduate, aren’t I?’ He sighed and rested his head back onto the wall.

He could see the dark storm clouds threatening to pour rain and hear the distant sound of thunder. It was supposed to get real nasty outside and Shouta was glad he didn’t have to patrol that night. He supposed it wouldn’t hurt to take a short nap while he was laying here, his papers could wait to be graded.

His eyes slowly drifted shut, the quiet noises of the hospital lulling him to sleep.

--

Shouta woke up to the sound of thunder and the howl of the wind. He groggily opened his eyes and looked around at the drear hospital room, taking in the painfully white interior and the verdant eyes that were blearily looking at him. It was fine, nothing had changed-

Wait.

He looked back to the bed and found bleary green eyes looking at him, like he was trying to figure out why he was here. Shouta stood up and crossed the room, sitting gently on the side of the bed so he was eyelevel with the boy.

“Hi ‘zawa, what’s going on?” He slurred; voice thick with sleep. Aizawa could barely believe what he was seeing, and almost didn’t reply.

“Just go back to sleep, kid. You need it.” He replied disbelievingly. He could tell his eyebrows were up to his hairline.

“’mkay” Midoriya hummed, curling back into himself and he fell back asleep just like that. Shouta sat there for a little bit, a mantra of ‘what the fuck’ repeating in his head. He stood up and dug his hands into his hair and pulled, and yep, he was awake.

He mindlessly walked out of the room and to the nearest nurse’s station and so eloquently said.

“He woke up.”

--

Despite Midoriya waking up in the middle of the night, it still took him several hours to actually wake up again and stay awake. Shouta had called Midoriya-san the second after the first time he woke up and they both sat in anxious anticipation for him to come back from a whole host of tests. He had no more woke up and the nurses had whisked him off to make sure he was okay.

Hizashi and All Might were on their way over next, Hizashi dragging along an anxious Todoroki. Shouta doubted they’d be able to see him immediately, but they were there more for moral support than anything.

The rain was still beating down on the windows and it casted a grey fog over everything, but despite that there was a hopeful air to everything. Midoriya was going to be fine, he just knew it.

The door to the hospital room opened and Midoriya’s bed rolled in. The kid looked tired, but he was alive which was a million times better than the alternative. He was fidgeting anxiously with the corner of his blanket and gave a shaky smile to both of them. Midoriya-san already cleared it with the doctor’s that it was fine for him to hear about the damage done, since he would be helping with Midoriya’s rehabilitation if need be.

They settled Midoriya back into his spot in the center of the room and a doctor approached the two of them.

“Hi, Midoriya-san, Aizawa-san, I’m doctor Kazue. I’m the new doctor in charge of young Midoriya-kun’s recovery. Doctor Yuga, who you’ve already met, was caught in a villain attack early yesterday and I’m his replacement until he recovers. He’s informed me on Midoriya-kun’s condition and what they were going to expect from his injuries. Midoriya’s test results are in, and I am glad to tell you that he’s retained full brain function. He may, however, suffer from migraines, nausea, and dizziness from time to time as a result of his injury. But as far as short-term memory and long-term memory are concerned, he still retains full use of those, his speech hasn’t been impaired, and his quirk factor looks to be in working order. There may be a slightly increased risk of stroke due to his brain hemorrhage, but it looks to be a miniscule risk compared to other traumatic brain injuries.” The doctor relayed in a cheerful voice and Shouta could feel a weight lift from his chest. He was going to be okay.

“He’ll have to stay in the hospital for a little longer for his injuries to finish up healing, probably for a couple more days and a session from Recovery Girl, but he’s in working order. I have other matters to attend with, but I will be back to check on him later.” The doctor bowed and left the room, leaving them to deal with the problem child.

“Hi…” Midoriya started lamely, and Midoriya-san stood up and crossed the room in an instant, crushing her child into a bearhug. Quiet sobs started to fill the room and Shouta felt extremely out of place. He quietly left the room and let them be. He wandered off to find the other two numbskulls and Todoroki.

He found them standing awkwardly around a vending machine, Hizashi trying to chat up a storm with All Might, the skinny man looking awfully embarrassed at Hizashi’s antics. It was almost like nothing had happened and they were back to their normal selves, but there still was that undercurrent of worry beneath all of their antics.

“Hey.” He called out, catching Hizashi’s attention and then by proxy, the rest of them. Hizashi lit up with a bright smile, tinged with worry. All Might still looked worried like always, but the skeletal man held his composure much tighter than before.

“What’s up, big cat? Is the little listener going to be okay?” Hizashi asked anxiously, already aware that the kid was awake and kickin’ it, just not if he was okay or not.

“He’s going to be okay, they said he still has full brain function but he might have an increased risk of stroke and he’s going to deal with the occasional migraine and nausea, but he’s okay. He’s going to be fine.” Shouta responded, and it felt like a sigh of relief. The boy was going to be able to live a full life, become a hero, and beat the odds that were stacked against him.

All Might looked like he wanted to cry and Hizashi lit up even further, any trace of anxiety wiped away without a trace. Shouta looked to Todoroki and found him looking at Shouta like he was holding the secrets to the universe. Shouta could only begin to understand how Todoroki felt, the feeling of dread, apprehension, despair of almost killing a classmate of his in cold blood. The level of relief and the weight off of his mind must be immense. Although, the kid would still harbor feelings about this event till his dying days, the trauma outlasting the wounds dealt. The poor kid needed a therapist and a nap after all of this was said and done.

--

They stood there for a while, talking about nothing in particular, Shouta’s cats, how much product Hizashi sticks in his hair, a few embarrassing stories about himself, Hizashi, and Nemuri, the usual. It was a long while until a quiet voice piped up from behind him.

“Aizawa-san?” It was Midoriya-san. Shouta turned and found her, all puffy-eyed and smiling. “Someone wants to see you. I have to make a few calls, look after him, will you?”

Shouta looked behind him and saw Hizashi waving him away, a smile on his face. He nodded to Midoriya-san and hoofed it to Midoriya’s room. He didn’t run, but it was a close thing.

He faltered at the door; hand raised to gently knock. He didn’t know what to do, what to say. It wasn’t socially acceptable to just stroll in and be all like ‘how’s the traumatic head injury? Just peachy?’ He wasn’t good at this whole comforting thing, that was Hizashi’s gig. He resigned himself and gently knocked, opening the door after a few seconds.

The room was still cast in grey light, rain pattering quietly on the window. Midoriya sat on the bed looking out the window and into the cityscape beyond, a small smile gracing his lips. His eyes were puffy and red, a sure sign he had been crying like his mother.

He turned and looked at Shouta, a look of gratitude in his eyes.

“Hi Aizawa-sensei.” He started quietly and he turned his gaze to his sheets . “I-uh heard about what happened during the Sports Festival, what-um you did for me…” He stuttered anxiously. “I haven’t seen the footage but-um by mom told me that you called the ambulance and basically saved my life.”

Shouta crossed the room and stood in front of the boy, who was all anxious and worrying himself over what Shouta would say. Shouta opened his arms slightly and asked, trying his hardest not to overstep any boundaries. He knew that he’d crossed a few in his panicked state earlier, but now with a sounder mind, he was trying not to.

“Can I-“ He didn’t even finish what he was asking, but the boy just nodded minutely. Shouta swept the boy into a crushing hug and Midoriya slowly hugged back, his casted arms resting lightly on Shouta’s back.

“I thought I had lost you, kid. I just knew something bad was going to happen, but I wasn’t prepared for what actually happened. You kids are going to give me so many grey hairs before I turn 40. Don’t do that again.” He demanded; his voice thick. And Midoriya had the audacity to let out a short chuckle, the audacity.

He pulled himself out of the hug and placed his hands on Midoriya’s shoulders.

“I’m serious, problem child. No more injuries for you for the rest of the school year.” He joked in a faux serious voice. “You’re out of injury tickets for the rest of the year, maybe even the rest of your time at UA. Recovery Girl will probably thank me later for doing this." And Midoriya started to laugh, a quiet thing that kept building up in intensity the longer Shouta joked about giving him grey hairs. He was serious at first, but it was a breath of fresh air seeing Midoriya this lively.

The laugher petered out and Shouta had to bring the conversation back to a serious topic, something that had been on his mind ever since Todoroki told him what was happening to him.

“I just have one question to ask you before I see if the hellions can be let in. Why didn’t you go straight to me about Todoroki? Why did you try to take matters into your own hands?” He asked, fully aware he wasn’t going to like the answer.

“I don’t know, I just thought that he was being stupid in thinking that his quirk belonged to his father. I was asked not to tell anybody, so I just thought the next best thing was to take it into my own hands.” And yep, Shouta definitely didn’t like that answer, but there was nothing he could do about it, because it was kind of valid in its own twisted way.

“We’ll have to talk about that more later, problem child.” He huffed.

“Why’d you call me ‘problem child’?”

“Don’t get cheeky with me, it’s because you are a problem child.”