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Puppet Master

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Quirks. Superpowers that most anyone holds nowadays. Quirks can range from anything from running a millisecond faster to the strength to change the weather with just one punch from the wind pressure it generates. Quirks are everything. Quirks define who you are. Every child is elated to discover their quirk and find out who they truly are. This happens around the ripe age of four years old. Some are natural-born heroes. Others are perfect for other occupations such as baking or being an artist. With such a high hope for the future that a quirk brings, one would think they would be happy to discover theirs and reveal just how useful they can be.
But… 
What happens when your quirk dictates you as nothing more than a doll to be used by others?

 

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“Wow, Kacchan!” a little green-haired boy chirped. “Your quirk is so cool!”
His blonde friend sat in the middle of their preschool class with his palms out, tiny explosions popping from them.
His head swiveled around to face the greenette, his red eyes wide and excited. All of their teachers were congratulating him. It was the perfect quirk for a hero! The other children were cheering and soon the teacher had to avert their attention to calling down the preschoolers.
The blonde and greenette soon found themselves at the arts and crafts table.

The blonde looked up. “I’ve got mine, Izu,” Katsuki Bakugo said definitively. “Now we just have to wait for you to get yours to be heroes together!” He missed the way the green-haired boy flinched. Izuku Midoriya smiled back at his best friend, pulling his sleeve down subconsciously to hide the bruise on his arm.
“Y- yeah!” he stuttered out.
The truth was though… Izuku had gotten his quirk a month ago. He hadn’t told anyone for three reasons. One: Mommy said so. Two: fear of what the others would think. And three…

Izuku Midoriya hated his quirk.

Izuku chased after Kacchan as they ran down the sidewalk to their housing addition. Kacchan was a bit taller so he made it to Auntie Mitsuki’s house first. Auntie Mitsuki is Kacchan's mother. The Midoriya’s and Bakugo’s aren’t really related but the two families are close enough to be blood-related. Kacchan threw the door open excitedly with excessive force. He ran into the house, Izuku following at a more normal pace, closing the door behind his friend.
“WHERE ARE YOU, OLD HAG!?” the blonde yelled.
A beat.
“WHO YOU CALLIN’ OLD, BRAT!?” came the loud reply from a female voice somewhere in the house. The living room. Izuku followed after Kacchan as he ran as fast as his little four-year-old legs could move. By the time Izuku rounded into the living room, Kacchan was already showing off his shiny new quirk. However much Izuku wanted to smile at his friend's enthusiasm, he couldn’t. He froze when he entered the room and took in the occupants. Auntie and Uncle were on the couch with Kacchan in the middle of the room. On the love seat to the left of said couch was… Inko Midoriya, Izuku’s mother and Auntie Mitsuki’s best friends since their high school days.

“Izuku, sweetie,” he jumped when his mother addressed him. He realized he had been standing there shaking for a bit. “Y- YES!?” he squeaked out. Mommy smiled softly. Fake. “Katsuki asked you a question, dear. It’s rude to not reply.” Izuku flinched. Only he heard the unlying threat in her tone. Izuku turned his head to his best friend.
“S- sorry, Kacchan! W- what d- did you say?” he asked.
The blonde-haired boy rolled his eyes. “I said: ‘When are you going to get your quirk already?’” Izuku’s eyes flitted back to Mommy. She smiled, eyes narrowing a bit. “Well?” she questioned with a side tilt of her head. Fake!
Izuku subconsciously pulled at his sleeve again before raising his arm and scratching the back of his head, laughing more forcibly than usual. 
“I- I don’t know, Kacchan!” he lied.
Inko nodded, seemingly satisfied. No, she was never satisfied.
“We are going to a quirk specialist this evening to see when his quirk will show,” Mommy LIED.

“Oh, won’t that be exciting, Izuku?” Izuku looked at Auntie Mitsuki. Smile, he told himself. Corners up, eyes squinted, voice clear. “Yep!” he forced out.
Izuku involuntarily flinched when Kacchan lightly punched his shoulder. No one noticed.
“Whatever you get it won’t be as cool as mine!” the blonde roared.

Izuku nodded. "Of course. Nothing was as cool as explosions!" Then again, any quirk was better than the one I have.

Mommy ‘checked the time’ on her phone before standing up. “Would you look at the time!” she exclaimed. “We are going to be late for your appointment, Izuku!” She turned to Auntie and Uncle. ‘Thank you for having us.” Mommy ruffled Kacchan's hair. “You are going to be an amazing hero with that quirk, Katsuki,” she said warmly. Why couldn’t she use that kind of tone with Izuku? Saying their goodbyes, Izuku followed Mommy out of the house, his hand in hers. It might look like a normal mother-son pair walking together but in reality, Izuku was practically being dragged, his hand hurt from the strength of her grip, and his legs felt like jello as he imagined the impending doom when they would reach their house and the door would close, blocking the freedom of the outside from Izuku’s grasp.
Even if he wanted to run away, he couldn’t. Mommy had him by his quirk. The dull throb in his chest told him so.

As soon as the apartment door shut, Izuku stopped by the door as Mommy took a few steps forward. She stopped and turned to him. Izuku froze from the anger in her green eyes. He squeezed his emerald eyes shut tightly. Mommy reached forward and grabbed seemingly thin air. It wasn’t thin air. Izuku felt it. She pulled back harshly. Izuku felt something in him pull by the chest as he was thrown through the air towards the woman. Mommy ‘let go’ and moved out of the way. The throb release but the momentum didn’t. He bit his tongue to keep from crying out as he collided into the wall.

“Idiot!” the woman screamed. She reached forward again. The tug came at his arm. Izuku was swung around by his arm by what seemed like an invisible force. He crashed onto the couch.
“What the hell was that?” she barked. “You were shaking so much and kept pulling on your sleeve!” She stormed over to the couch and towered over the boy shaking. She reached forward, ‘grabbed’ and pulled up. Izuku’s arm was forced into the air, his sleeve falling down his arm to reveal the multiple bruises.

“Are you trying to give me away? Huh?!”

She let go of his quirk and his arm dropped. Izuku shook his head harshly. “N- n- n- n- No, ma’am!” Mommy’s eye twitched. Izuku stumbled as she grabbed onto his quirk and stormed down the hallway, he being dragged along. She slammed open his door, turned, and yanked harshly. Izuku screamed as he went flying into his All Might themed room, smashing into his bed frame. He tried to sit up but his arms were shaking too much. Izuku glanced up at the green-haired woman who stood menacingly in his doorway with her hand on the doorknob. He quickly turned his eyes to the floor when he met her gaze. The gaze that looked the little boy up and down, judging him.

“No dinner tonight,” she decided. Izuku’s eyes widened and he looked at her shocked, finally getting the strength to at least sit up. “B- b- but I- I di- didn’t eat y- yesterday e- either!” he pleaded. She SHRUGGED. “Maybe next time you won’t be so obvious about it.” She smiled that fake, fake smile of hers. “You belong to me, Izuku. Don’t forget that.” He lurched forward as she closed the door, too late to grab the handle before the soft *click* of the lock sounded. It only locked from the outside. Izuku looked at the door in despair, much more despair than any four-year-old child should be able to produce.
Still, as he crawled to the closest that held the first aid kit that he had stored in his room, Izuku knew she was right. As he pulled off his preschool uniform, wincing at the movement, at the large bruise that was forming on his right side, Izuku couldn’t help but agree with her.

You see, in this world, a quirk dictates what you are. It dictates your worth and your future. So, of course, she was right when he had THAT quirk. While it was a weak one, Inko Midoriya could draw inanimate objects to her. She was a natural commander. Izuku had a much stronger quirk but in the worst way.

 

In a world where your quirk decides what you are, his quirk decided he would be a doll. A strange mutation of his mother’s quirk, Izuku’s quirk was labeled “Puppet.” Not “Puppet Master” or “Marionettist” or “Puppeteer” but “Puppet.” Because that is what he is. Izuku has invisible strings connected to his body and if a person knows what they are doing or knows about his quirk, they can grab onto them from a limited distance and pull or control him in any way they deem fit. In a sense, as his mother’s quirk is attracting things to herself, Izuku’s is people attracting him to themselves.


They discovered it when Izuku was too busy watching an All Might video and Inko got angry so she reached out to pull at his shirt lightly but ended up grabbing Izuku. At first, it was all fun and games as they worked together to learn more and more about Izuku’s quirk. Being the quirk fanatic he is, Inko only thought of it as bonding with her son.
Until she got addicted.
She got addicted to the power she had over her son. It was like her natural-born commandership skills she got from commanding other things to her will overtook her. It started with dragging to get his attention. Then gently making him hit walls as punishment. Then it became abuse. She enjoyed the power she had over her son! She could control another human being! She made Izuku keep his mouth shut because she wanted that power all to herself. Not like Izuku wanted to tell anyone. He didn’t want another master to be abused by.
In a world where quirks dictate your worth, Izuku Midoriya was set at the lowest bar. Even the quirkless were higher than him, they at least had control over their own actions. Not him.

 

At the bottom of the fallen chain, Izuku Midoriya was the world’s “Puppet” and Inko Midoriya was his “Puppet Master.

Izuku Midoriya hated his quirk.

 

Chapter Text

Katsuki Bakugo bounced with jittery energy in his preschool classroom as he waited for his best friend to show up. He had gotten his quirk yesterday so one half of the amazing hero duo was already complete. Yesterday Auntie Inko said that she was taking Izu to a quirk spec- specal- fancy word! Someone who knows a lot about quirks! Not important, really. What was important was that Izu would know when he would get his quirk and when they could finally start their plans to become heroes together!
The door to the classroom opened and Katsuki could see his curly-headed friend standing behind Auntie Inko.

“IZU!” he yelled loudly. The greenette jumped but Katsuki didn’t think anything of it. Izu had always been a scaredy-cat. Izuku waved gently to Auntie before rushing over to meet Katsuki. As soon as Auntie Inko left, Katsuki popped the question.

“So? When do you get your quirk, Izu?”

Izu looked down. Funny. Katsuki bent over and stuck his face right in the freckled boy's face. “Hellooooooooo!? Earth to Izu!” The greenette jumped back. He watched as his friend tugged at his own sleeve before suddenly snapping his hand off as if he had done something bad. Izu was such a strange kid. Katsuki was getting impatient. He stood up straight and crossed his arms.
“Well?”
“-less…” came an almost inaudible whisper from his friend. Katsuki growled. “Speak up, Izu! No one can hear you if you mumble like that!” Izuku snapped his head up with tears in his eyes causing Katsuki to falter.

“I’m quirkless!” the greenette all but screamed causing everyone to jump because Izuku doesn’t ever raise his voice. Katsuki tilted his head. “Hah? What is that supposed to mean?” Everyone was watching Izu now. The little boy looked down. “Th- the d- doctor said,” his stutter was back, “th- that I have an extra t- toe j- j- joint th- that people who h- have q- q- quirks d- don’t have s- s- so that m- means that I d- don’t have a q- quirk.” Tears were spilling from Izu’s eyes onto the floor now. His friend looked up and into Katsuki’s eyes. The sheer amount of pain held in his friend's eyes took him back.

I- I’m s- sorry, K- Kacchan.

A beat. Two. Three. Before… “BWAHAHAHAHAHA!” Katsuki and Izu both jumped as the other kids roared with laughter.
“Quirkless?”
“That’s so lame!”
“He doesn’t even have a quirk!”
“He’s so stupid!”

“He’s so weak!”

Izu’s head swiveled around frantically along with his hands. “I- I- I-” With his stutter, he couldn’t get a sentence out above the laughing children. Even the teachers were trying their best to hide their laughter. Katsuki stared at his green-haired friend. Just like that their dreams of being heroes together were over. Izu looked at him as though he was begging for help. Katsuki was torn between his friend and his dreams.
Once the laughing had died down, the teachers guided them to sit in a circle for song time. Izu went to sit by Katsuki, which Katsuki wouldn’t have refused, but a teacher grabbed the blonde's hand and pulled him away.

“Bakugo,” she spoke softly, “you have too good of a quirk to waste your potential on Midoriya. Come sit by me.” It clicked when he turned back to see Izu’s crestfallen face. It clicked when Izuku sat down and there was a visible gap between him and the kids around him who didn’t want to sit by Izu.
It clicked that Katsuki couldn’t be friends with Izu anymore. Quirks decided who you were and Izu was quirkless. If quirks decided who you are then Izu was the lowest. He was quirkless. He was nothing. He was…

Deku,” Katsuki let the word slip as he was walking with Izu trialing a bit behind him as they were walking home. He had read it in a book that he was learning to read. It meant useless and it had the same character in it as Izuku. The two both stopped.
“W- what?” Izu’s head tilted. Katsuki glared at his friend. No, at the traitor. The traitor who had let Katsuki down. Why did he have to be quirkless?! They could have been heroes together! They would have been the best! But now… It was like a huge slap in the face hearing the word ‘quirkless’ come from Izu’s mouth. A punch in the gut when he had said, in his broken, stuttering voice,

-----

‘I- I’m s- sorry, K- Kacchan.’

-----

Katsuki spun on his foot to face the greenette. “DEKU!” he yelled. “That’s what you are! Don’t follow me anymore. I don’t want you holding me back!”
Katsuki hated the way Izu’s face fell. He hated the way that tears came so freely to Izu’s round doe eyes. He hated the way that they made his chest feel weird and his heart hurt. He hated the way his heart dropped along with Izu when the smaller boy fell to his knees with a soft *thump*. He hated the way he ran away. And… as he slammed his room door shut and threw himself onto his bed…

Katsuki hated himself for making his best friend cry like that.

 

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Izuku stared at Kacchan’s back as the blonde boy got further and further away. Izuku sat there, his knees to the sidewalk and arms to his side as tears fell from his eyes. His yellow backpack fell from his shoulder. Izuku hung his head.
“Ha…”
The laugh escaped his lips.
“Ha… ha…”
Izuku threw his head up. “HA HA HA!” He couldn’t help it. He couldn’t help the way his lungs contracted and it got harder to breathe the more he laughed. He couldn’t help the way his mind fogged over as air became harder and harder to breathe in.
Izuku fell forward, pressing his head to the hard ground. He hiccupped, his laughs turning into painful gasps for air. Why? WHY?! WHAT DID I DO WRONG!!!??? He froze all at once. Izuku lifted his head to the blue sky above.
In a voice way too mature that carried words far too heavy for a four-year-old boy, Izuku chuckled to himself:

“Oh, that’s what.” He smiled painfully. “I was born.

Izuku slowly recollected himself. He pulled his bag back onto his shoulders and stood up, wobbling a bit as his legs had fallen asleep. Izuku numbly began the walk to his apartment alone. He didn’t spare a single glance at Auntie and Uncle’s house as he walked by. Not even when they saw him from their windows and called out to him.
He knew Kacchan had told them. He couldn’t meet their faces. He didn’t want to see the rejection they held. Never before had the stairs to the third floor of the apartment complex felt so steep. Never before had the doorknob to his house felt like it was super glued stiff. When he slowly opened the door to the apartment and was met with the looming form of the woman that was supposed to be his mother… 

never before had he wished that he could run to her and cry like the four-year-old boy he is.

She seemed happy as the door closed. “Did you tell them today?” she asked. “That you are quirkless?” Izuku couldn’t get his mouth to open or his voice box to vibrate. He just nodded. Like clockwork, he felt Mommy grab ahold of the string connected to his chest and he was pulled forward into her arms that wrapped around him as the hold on his was released. The hug felt so… wrong. It didn’t feel like a mother’s hug. It wasn’t reassuring. It didn’t make Izuku feel comfortable or safe. It made him feel trapped. She was holding him- No. Holding her possession as if it was something to be protective over.

“Good, Izuku. Good.” She let go and held him to face her by his shoulders. Her eyes looked as though she was victorious. What was she victorious over? Being able to claim Izuku for herself? Crushing her son’s heart with her own greed? “Now,” she said, standing up. “How does dinner sound?” His chest might have felt completely empty but he was still hungry and hadn’t eaten in two days so at the mention of food Izuku’s stomach growled loudly. Mommy chuckled. “Great!” He followed her and sat down at the table in his raised chair. Mommy set a plate with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with chips in front of him. The pb and j was cut to be in the shape of a heart. He had to stop himself from narrowing his eyes at the crude joke. She sat down at the other side with a roast beef sandwich of her own. No matter what his body told him, Izuku had a little to no appetite. Still, under Mommy’s watchful eyes, he forced himself to finish every single bite. When they were done, Mommy took the dirty plates to the sink.
“How about you go choose a movie to watch, sweetie?” she suggested. “We will watch it together, alright?”
Izuku stared at her blankly for a good five seconds before nodding. He got down from his chair and walked into the living room. Izuku flipped through their album of CD’s. None, not even the hero ones, of them seemed interesting. Mommy finished and crouched beside him. “Ah!” she said loudly next to his ear causing him to jump. She grabbed the pages of the album and flipped far past the hero movies.

So much for Izuku picking. Then again, it’s not like he would ever get a choice for himself again.

She chose a nature documentary and put it in. Izuku suppressed a sigh. He sat on the couch. Mommy sat next to him, pulling a blanket over the two of them and snuggling close. It was boring. Like, really boring. Wow… look at that really tall plant! It can do photosyn- phosph- a word that Izuku doesn’t even know. A word he doesn’t care enough about to know. Mommy chose a series documentary that would switch to the next video right after the previous one ended. About three hours in, Izuku heard the gentle snores of the woman next to him. He tried to silently wiggle his way out of her grasp.
He gasped when the familiar tug of his quirk came from his back and he could not move forward. Izuku looked back. The green string that came from his back was in Mommy’s grasp. The string is only visible to Izuku and whoever is holding it at that moment. Mommy smiled.

 

“Where do you think you are going, Izuku?” His breath got caught in his throat. Izuku couldn’t get out of this with a simple nod or shake. He opened his mouth. “T- t- to use the b- bathroom,” he choked out. Mommy’s eyes were calculating. It was suffocating. She let go and the string disappeared. “Come right back, okay?” Izuku nodded harshly, practically throwing himself down the hallway. He lifted the toilet seat and proceeded to throw up dinner. Izuku wiped his chin. He flushed the toilet and washed his hands off in the sink. As Izuku splashed water in his face, he felt something off. No… 
Izuku glanced over his shoulder. The door was closed but the string to his back was visible. It ran into and through the door. Izuku’s eyes widened in udder terror. “Please…” he whispered. “Please no…” All at once he was yanked backward, the air being forced out of him as he slammed against the closed door.

He didn’t fall though. He was still being pulled and thus his feet dangled as the force held him up. It hurt! To be continuously pulled with something blocking him from moving, it was like something in him was being ripped from his body!
There was a giggle from the other side of the door. “Izuku, sweetie,” Mommy’s voice came from the hallway, “I found a new trick from your quirk!” She sounded happy. Too happy. Izuku gasped as she tugged harder as though she was trying to pull him through the door. Tears swelled in Izuku’s eyes as his system overloaded with pain.

“M- mom! S- s- stop! Please!”

*SNAP*

Izuku screamed in pain as he felt the string break and he fell to the bathroom floor. Mommy slammed the door open. “IZUKU!” She crouched by him but Izuku scrambled back. He screamed again and crumpled when his back hit the bathtub. The older woman tried to reach out to him but Izuku instinctively slapped her hand away. Wrong move.
Mommy’s eyes darkened. 
“I don’t like that, Izuku. Don’t resist.” He looked at her with eye wide, the pain still pulsing from his back and through his torso. He didn’t resist. She grabbed his wrist and pulled him down the hallway to his room. No, to the hallway closet? Izuku could do nothing as he was thrown in and the door was shut, a chair holding it shut.

“Think about what you’ve done, Izuku,” Mommy hissed. He listened to her fleeting footsteps before he began to pound at the door and cry.
That day, Izuku learned a few things.

One: His quirk can be used through objects.
Two: His strings can snap.
Three: Like a painful limb regrowing, his strings can grow back.
Four: It hurt like hell when you are pulled but cannot move an object in between.

Fifth: Izuku Midoriya is claustrophobic.

He would say that he learned that he was no longer in control of his body or his own life for that matter but… he already knew that.

 

Chapter Text


Katsuki eyed Iz- No, Deku, from the other side of the playground. It had been six months since the shocking news of Deku being quirkless. Deku sat on a swing alone. He wasn’t swinging, his legs weren’t long enough to push off the ground and none of the teachers would push him.
“All Might!” he clicked his tongue and turned back to his game of heroes and villains where he was playing the number one hero, All Might.

After school the two still walked in the same direction but Deku walked multiple paces behind him. Katsuki wanted nothing more than to run up and sling an arm over his old friend’s shoulder as he turned down the driveway of his own house and Deku kept walking.
“I’M HOME!” he yelled upon swinging the front door open.

At dinner, Dad asked about Deku. “Izuku hasn’t been over in a while. Did something happen between you two?” Katsuki rolled his eyes. “Who cares about that quirkless freak anyways?”
Both Mom and Dad narrowed their eyes.
“Katsuki,” he jumped at his mother’s strict voice, “you haven’t been avoiding Izuku, have you? I am sure you know that it is not his fault.” Katsuki growled. “Yeah well, I don’t need that baby holding me back!”
Dad cleared his voice. “Such big words. You are four, Katsuki. If anything is holding you back it is you from having a good friend.” Katsuki stared at his father in shock. He was a quiet man but Katsuki probably respected the man more than anyone else. Still… 
*BOOM*
The chopsticks split in half as Katsuki slammed them down on the table. “Shut up, old man! You don’t know anything!” Katsuki jumped off his chair and ran to his room, slamming his door and locking it behind him.

Do you think I want this!? A remembered Deku that day in class, and every day for the past week. His smile was wide but it was almost too perfect. It never faltered. Not even when Katsuki pushed him or another kid kicked sand at him. It was like a picture that was painted on. His smile never reached his eyes. They were wide and his eyebrows were raised in the same way one’s eyebrows would raise when they are excited besides his was always there. Like they were forced. And his eyes… they were shockingly empty. None of the spark that he used to have to be found in the dark void. Katsuki clenched his fist and punched the wall, flinching slightly at the pain.

I hate this… I just want Izu back…

 

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At five years old, Izuku found out what a dislocated shoulder felt like.
Mommy had pulled his arm using his quirk through a wall. She was “trying something new” like he was a toy to be tested. When he couldn’t be moved through the wall and before the string could snap, his shoulder dislocated from where the string was being pulled. Then it snapped.

Side note, the more they snap, the stronger they grow back. The stronger they grow back the harder it takes to snap and thus the longer she can abuse him with pain before it snaps.

At six years old, Izuku found out what it means to be burned.
School was no relief. The other kids began to get more violent. Kacchan decided to finally release his quirk on him. He was trying to protect another kid from being bullied. The kid got away. Izuku got his butt handed to him. That was okay. He would just smile and go on.

At seven years old, Izuku was waning.
It was harder to keep up his smile. It was harder to hide the injuries he got at home from those at school and in the same sense it was harder to hide the injuries he got at school from Inko at home. Around half a year ago he stopped calling her “Mom.”

 

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Eight and a half years old, December 5th. Izuku was done.
He couldn’t keep doing this! One wrong move at home and his quirk was turned against him, he was locked in that dang closet, and he wasn’t fed for days. One wrong move at school and he would be sporting a new burn mark under his singed clothes as well as more cuts or bruises to match the ones he got at home.

Tonight was the night. Inko was in quite a good mood as she and a man from work had gone on a date and it apparently went well. Izuku was home alone and not in the closet. He swung open his room’s door. Izuku dumped his bag contents on the floor before getting everything he had prepped the last time he was not forced to spend the night in the closet. Despite everything, analysis was still his favorite pastime so Izuku threw in his hero analysis notebooks, a couple of empty notebooks, and a couple of pencils. He then grabbed a hoodie, t-shirt, pair of sweats, and a fresh pair of underwear and socks. He also tossed in his first aid kit. Izuku slid into the kitchen. He pulled a towel from the drawer closest to the sink. Izuku grabbed the largest, sharpest knife from the rack: a chef’s knife. He wrapped the towel around the blade before sticking that in too. His bag was getting full so Izuku could only fit one water bottle and a few protein bars in before he zipped it up and made a mad dash for his red hightops.
Adrenaline pumping through his veins, he fumbled with the laces a bit but eventually got them. Izuku took a deep breath. He had to push a chair to the door to stand on and look through the peephole. Confirming no one was nearby, Izuku pushed the chair away and swung open the door.

He ran. Taking the stairs by threes, Izuku made it to the ground level in record time. No time to stop. No pause for breath. Keep going. He repeated the mantra in his head.
His body was abused and malnourished. He could not keep up running forever. He was panting heavily by the time he ducked into an alleyway in the redlight district.

Was it the most dangerous part of Mufatsu? Yes.

Was it also the least likely place for anyone to check for a missing child? Yes.

Izuku collapsed behind the dumpster. He laid on his side trying to level out his breathing.
He did it. He got out. Now he just had to survive.

 

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Inko Midoriya smiled as she climbed the stairs to her apartment. Upon reaching the third floor, she looked over the balcony. There Riache was, waiting to see if she got in safely. Such a gentleman. She waved. He waved back. Inko turned back to her door and froze.

The door was ajar.

Did Izuku leave the door open? Did someone break in? As soon as the thought struck her Inko slammed open the door. “IZUKU?!” she yelled. “Izuku where are you?!” Did someone hurt him? Kidnap him? Her eye twitched. Did someone take HER Izuku? She checked every room, even the closet. He was nowhere.
No way… someone took her Izuku. HER IZUKU! Inko dialed the police. They said they couldn’t do anything until 24 hours after the said person is gone.

Inko sat on the couch, knee bouncing, and waiting for the detective to arrive two days later. When they did, they got straight to work trying to find out what happened.

Someone took him. Ooooooh when I find whoever took Izuku I’m going to snap their necks. Izuku is mine and mine alone. They have no right to him. 
Then the detective had the GAUL to ask: “Is there any reason that Midoriya would have to run away?”
Oh but what if he ran away? Nah! Izuku would never run away. He knew better. He knew that he belonged to her. He had no right to run away. He was hers, after all. It wasn’t his decision. That only leaves the fact that someone stole him.

They ended the conversation soon after saying that they would do their best to find her son.
HER son. Inko closed the door behind them.

I will get MY Izuku back.

 

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Naomasa Tsukauchi, the detective in charge of the case, rode back to the station in the police car looking over the files. He bit the tip of his pen.

“You know,” he mused to the officer next to him, Sansa Tamakawa, “she mumbled a lot.” The cat-headed officer hummed. “Meow. Yes, she did. And some of the things she said worrrrrried me.” Naomasa nodded. “Did you hear her say it? ‘Someone stole him,’ not kidnapped him. She often referred to her son as just that. HER son as if he was an object that belonged to her.”

Tamakawa nodded. “The apartment looked prrrrrretty rough as well, meow. Most of the walls and doorrrrr frames looked as though they had been hit multiple times with a large object.”
Naomasa glanced at his cat-like comrade. “I asked her if there was a reason for him to run away. She answered very bluntly ‘No.’ It did not come as a lie with my quirk” Though her saying that he was quirkless did. I will have to follow up on that later.
“She might trrrrruly believe that she had not given him a reason to run away, meow.”
“Are you suggesting abuse?” he questioned.

“Meow.”

He sighed loudly. Of course… 

 

_______________________________

 

When Auntie Inko came over, because she was still a hecking amazing lady that the Bakugo’s were close with, Katsuki was definitely not expecting to hear that Deku was missing. Katsuki had expected the woman to cry like her crybaby son but she seemed to just be just as furious as Katsuki always felt. It was strange.
He looked down at his open palms as the adults talked. He couldn’t help but remember his old friend. The obviously fake smile that was always plastered on his face. All of the torment that Katsuki had put him through when he should have instead just been a good friend to Deku because Deku was still always there for him. Any time Katsuki felt even a bit down, Deku would notice first and try to help. Katsuki pushed him away. He would always offer Katsuki his notes for the days that Katsuki wasn’t there. He burned them to ash.
Auntie Inko was very adamant about Deku being kidnapped but Katsuki couldn’t help but think otherwise.

In the back of his head, he couldn’t help but feel as though it was his fault that Deku ran away.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku did, in fact, run away. And he was not coming back.

Chapter Text

Izuku was already used to eating very little so it wasn’t too much of a change on his body besides the quality. At home, his meals were at least decent. Now he survived off of trash from restaurants. Even that was hard though. There were surprisingly a lot of homeless people in the red light district and apparently “claimed” dumpsters. In the first month, Izuku had been beaten for trying to eat from a dumpster already claimed.
Luckily he was used to that sort of treatment by now so he was quick to recover.
Izuku had found an unclaimed alley and he knew he had to defend this one with his life. If he didn’t, it might cost him his life.

 

That mindset is probably what set him on the course of vigilantism, though.
He had made it to nine years old with six months of living on the streets when it first happened.

 

Izuku never slept if he didn’t need to. He was paranoid. Years of being treated and being misused by his quirk made him extremely cautious of others. So when he heard someone coming down his alley late at night, he immediately prepared to defend it. It was multiple people. Someone was struggling. Izuku ducked down behind the dumpster as the two passed. He pulled out the large kitchen knife he had stolen from 'home.' A large man had a knife to a much smaller man’s neck, forcing him back.

“Where are the drugs, man!?” the threat roared. The smaller man struggled to keep calm as he was forced against the wall. “I don’t have any! I promise! I’m just the messenger!”
“LIES!”

Izuku didn’t know why he ran forward. Maybe it was pent up anger or maybe it was seeing himself in the man who was trapped, just like Izuku had been. He doesn’t know. His body just carried him forward on his own.
He had become quite skilled at moving silently after having to sneak out of his room on many occasions to get food or else he really would have starved. With no sound, Izuku made his way behind the bigger man at a rapid pace.

Izuku grabbed the back of the man’s shirt by the collar and pulled down hard. He knocked the back of his knees to make him fall on the ground and pressed his own blade against the bigger man’s throat.

In seconds they were all at a stalemate.

Izuku hadn’t talked to a single person in six months. He looked up at the man formerly held captive. “R- r-” he cleared his throat, “Run and don’t tell anyone,” he said with as much courage as someone with a stutter and fear of humans could muster.” The man nodded. “Thank you!” He ran off. Izuku lifted his blade and before the large man at his will could move, Izuku slammed the hilt of the blade into the side of his head, effectively knocking him out.
The adrenaline released at once and Izuku fell on his butt panting. “Suck. What do I do now?” He couldn’t very well leave him here, This was his alley after all. Making up his mind, Izuku pulled the shirt off of the man and used it to tie the man’s arms behind his back.
It was one heck of a struggle but he delivered the man into an alleyway a block away before taking the phone off of the man and using it to inform the police of his location and crime. Izuku threw the phone down and smashed it with the hilt of his blade before running off back to his alley.

He slouched behind the dumpster. “Whew!” he whistled. “What a rush!”

Izuku looked down at his hands. That was sort of fun! His eyes widened. “Fun?” he questioned aloud. When was the last time I had actual ‘fun?’ Probably since he was four. He felt the corners of his mouth turn up slightly.
For the first time in five years, the smile on Izuku’s face was real.
He didn’t want to lose that feeling. If being an illegal vigilant was what it took to make Izuku smile and feel something aside from fear again, then so be it.

... 

... 

... 

“YEAH RIGHT!”
Izuku paced back and forth in his alleyway in a mild panic. Two days after his declaration of vigilantism, Izuku successfully pickpocketed a drunk on the street. That was scary enough in itself. Izuku was terrified of people. Every single day he would crouch behind his dumpster and watch the people. There weren’t as many as the safer parts of the city but that made things all the more terrifying. These were dangerous people. Everyone filtered in and out of his vision between the walls of the alley in a grey and black vision. Each seemed to be moving in slow motion. Izuku studied each and every one of their faces. Everyone was a threat.
With that being said… he had gotten an identification card, driver’s license, motorcycle license, and fifty-four dollars from the wallet he pickpocketed. Oh, and a new, slightly-worn wallet. Plus there was a picture of who he assumed was the man and his family.
Izuku pondered over his circumstances. He knew he needed to go buy something to hide his own identity if he was going to do this whole vigilant thing for real but that would mean walking into a back alley store to reduce the risk of being recognized as missing and interacting with another human being and that was not something he was very eager to do the say the least.

On the other hand, it was highly necessary.

If he didn’t get a disguise then he could be recognized. If he was recognized then the police would get his name. If they got his name they would connect it to the missing person’s report. If they connected him to the missing person’s report then they would have to tell Inko. If they told Inko then she would come after him. If she came after him then she would find him. If she found him then it would all be over.
Izuku would be under lock and key for the rest of his life. Tortured and tormented by use of his quirk against his will. He would never again see the light of day, taste warm food (not like he did that on the streets anyways), or live with what little freedom he had fought so hard to achieve.

Izuku froze from his downward spiral that was slowly but surely turning into another panic attack. He had become much acquainted with those in his life. “Achieve…” he whispered. He looked up at the little bit of sky that he could see from the narrow alleyway.
Right. I achieved this freedom. I fought through everything and survived! He looked down at his hand and tightened it into a fist. It’s my turn to decide what to do with my life.

He pivoted on his heel sharply and confidently made his way to the opening of the alley. He only stopped to stash his chef’s knife in his hoodie pocket and grab the wallet. He pulled up his green hood before finally stepping out onto the street sidewalk. A man bumped his shoulder. 
“Watch where you’re walkin’, brat,” he growled even though he had obviously hit him. Izuku felt his whole body shake and blood pressure rise instantly. No. No backing down now. Izuku took a deep breath and slowly stalked down the street, slightly hunched and incredibly tense. He stayed close to the walls of buildings and attempted to make himself look as not as suspicious as he knew he already looked. He already knew where to go. Izuku ducked into another alley three blocks down.

There was a flickering sign that read: “Junk Stop.” Izuku took a deep breath before pushing open the front door. It creaked upon movement.
“Welcome,” his head snapped towards the source of the voice. At the eft end of the surprisingly expansive shop, was a counter. Behind it stood a tall, lanky man with a long white beard that was braided and a bald head. He wore a red button-up with long sleeves and a chain necklace around his neck that held a large golden coin dangling from the bottom. Izuku only nodded his greetings.
That was something he had learned in the short months he was on the streets was that you never waved to anyone. Even if he never tried, he had observed the people enough to know. It was only nods. Nod down for someone you make eye contact with. Nod up for someone you acknowledge.

 

Izuku moved deeper into the store, his footsteps not audible. On the far wall was an array of weaponry that he knew was probably not legal. Izuku turned to the small racks of clothing and masks. He filtered through them before picking out a piece. It was a simple black long-sleeved turtle neck. Something inconspicuous. He nodded. Izuku was planning on being somewhat off the radar but that little part of him that wanted to be a hero still that had sparked the night he decided on being a vigilant sparked again as his eyes met sparkly golden pants that were light tights but not as form-fitting. He bit his lip. Izuku looked around. His eyes landed on a sparkly gold masquerade mask. He picked it up and pressed it against his face, turning to look at the face mirror that was set on the top of the mask stand for viewing purposes. It would cover the top of his face and had white shades over the eyes. With pointed edges and the outlines of the sides in silver, it looked pretty fancy but still cool. There was an intricate pattern of gold swirls and sparks on the already gold base. Izuku felt his face split in a grin. Wow, it was so foreign, smiling, that is. He nodded and took the mask and his size of the pants. He moved on to the weapon section.
Izuku scanned the wall. He hummed to himself. Izuku jumped as he heard a sound from the counter. He glanced over at the shopkeeper. The man smiled. “Oh, don’t mind me,” he cooed in a soft voice but one that carries. Izuku did mind him, though. He kept one eye on the man as he continued to browse. He decided if this was going to be a theme then he should fit it with the correct weapon. Izuku reached out and wrapped his fingers around a black whip. He felt the smooth leather. He took it. Izuku counted up the cost before deciding on one last thing, another black t-shirt and some thread and a needle from the miscellaneous box. He brought his items and slid them onto the counter.

“Want to know,” the man spoke up causing Izuku to flinch, “why I tally it all up on paper and don’t use anything electronic for my work?” Izuku glanced up at the man. Is he trying to get me to speak? What does he want? Don’t trust. Don’t trust. Don’t trust. Izuku slightly shook his head. The man smiled. It reminded Izuku of Uncle Masaru. “To protect people like you.” Izuku snapped his head up. The older man chuckled. “I don’t know why or what pushed you this far, or why most of my customers come for similar items, but I know that something must have happened.” He gestured to the store. “It’s a small business and not exactly legal, but then again neither is half of the redlight district. I keep up shop because people like you come here. I don’t do anything electronically to protect your information.” He gave Izuku back the change.
“You can’t do this alone, sonny. No one can. That’s why I am here. To support the shadows. To support you.

Izuku looked down. He’d been found out. The older man handed Izuku the bag. Izuku reached forward to take it. He jumped as their hands touched. The man chuckled. “Quite the jumpy one, eh?” He put the bag down in front of Izuku, taking the obvious cue that Izuku did not like to be touched, even by accident. Izuku blushed slightly. He was so obvious. And grateful. Izuku grabbed the bag and five dollars in change before streamlining straight to the door.
“See you soon.”
Izuku paused with his hand on the doorknob. He glanced back at the man. He had gone back to simply sitting at the counter and not looking at Izuku at all. That’s fine, Izuku thought as he exited the shop. I don’t need anyone to take an interest in me. He walked back towards his alley, eyes everyone he passed.

They are all threats… 

Izuku wasn’t stupid. He needed to train with his new weapon. He wouldn’t last long if he was inexperienced. The first time he was just lucky.
Izuku felt like a gopher as he popped his head out of the dumpster and jumped out. He came out with a soda can. He huffed, nose scrunching at the stench on his skin and clothes. He shrugged. Not like he wasn’t used to it. He “bathed” by using the behind store faucet they only turned on to clean the back of the alley once a month. It was ice cold at all times. Izuku set the can on a box at the far end of the alley. He measured the length of the whip before stepping back and began training to be able to hit the can. By the end of the first day, he was exhausted and had yet to dent it. The box, on the other hand, looked like it got hit by a truck.

A week into training, he pulled his arm back and when he swung it forward, he couldn’t. He turned around to see the whip had gotten wrapped around the poles that ran up the side of the building to the right. He narrowed his eyes. Interesting.
It took a month of training and studying his hero notebooks on the page of Midnight to feel comfortable with the whip. Another month to gather the courage to actually go on his first excursion.

 

Izuku looked at himself in a puddle. He couldn’t see his reflection well in the dark but the nearby street lamp gave him enough light to make out and shakey form of him. He wore his long-sleeved black turtle neck tucked into his golden, sparkling pants. His gold masquerade mask covered the top of his face and hid his green eyes. Izuku had spent his last few bucks on hair gell which he used to glaze back his green curls. He had torn up the black t-shirt and used the scraps to create hoops on the pants to hold his whip. Lastly, he wore his signature red hightops, a direct contrast to his ensemble. He shrugged. He knew he was thin on money anyways. Since when was he not?

 

Izuku giggled. Like, actually giggled. Like a little kid. Like the nine-year-old child that he is.
He looked so cool! So much different. Izuku Midoriya was a new man. (*Cough* i.e. new child.)
He took a deep breath. His goal was to turn in one criminal tonight. Izuku nodded to himself. Let’s do this! he mentally pumped himself up.
Izuku jumped up, just barely reaching the fire escape ladder on the side of the building. He used what little body strength he had, which wasn’t much considering his malnourished body but still enough considering his training, to pull himself up. Izuku climbed all the way up to the top of the two-story building. He got buffetted with air upon reaching the top and standing up. Izuku shook his head, grateful for the hair gel keeping his hair out of his face. He looked ahead. There was a gap between the building he was on and the next one. He took a deep breath, took a step back, and propelled himself forward. Stomping on the ledge and pushing off the hardest he could, Izuku lept.

Regrettably, he looked down midair. Oh well, not like I have anything to lose anyway.
Some would consider that a dangerous mindset. Izuku considered it a reason to be able to take risks and go all out.

He grunted as he made contact with the hard roof of the building. He went skidding across the top. Izuku felt tears leak from his eyes. “Ouch…” He pushed himself up. Izuku lifted his shirt, hissing at the scraped skin that bled just a bit. “Tsk. Okay. I guess I need a better way to do that.” He tucked his shirt back in. Izuku looked toward the next building. He narrowed his eyes. If I tuck myself in I should be able to minimize the damage and roll safely.
He jumped again.
Well, it’s much easier in theory, that's for sure. He curled but as soon as he hit the roof, his curled form broke and Izuku face planted. 

Izuku stood up shakily. He was already panting but he kept going. Sometimes it just required experience to be able to do certain things. Mid-jump, Izuku heard a scream. He stumbled, landing on one foot and bouncing. Izuku ran to the edge of the building. He crouched down and peered over the edge.

A large man in a ski mask was holing a woman down.
“Somebody! Help!”
Izuku narrowed his eyes and assessed the situation. He couldn’t very well go down the fire escape, he would easily get caught. He could, however, get halfway down and… 
Izuku climbed down silently to the halfway bar. The man had just ripped the shirt off the woman. He was distracted. Izuku kicked off the ladder, twisted in the air, and nailed the man in the side. Izuku went rolling, the man went flying and smashed into a wall. Izuku scrambled to his feet. He grabbed the shirt from the ground and threw it over the girl.

“Get up and get the police,” he commanded. He shocked himself with how confident he sounded. She nodded, pulling the shirt over her shoulders, she too was quick to get up while her attacker was winded. 
“Y- yes!” she squeaked. “Thank you!” Izuku watched her flea but soon had to turn his attention back to the man that was now getting up.
“Why you…” the man growled. Ski Mask, as Izuku has deemed him, charged. Izuku jumped out of the way, rolling and jumping up. He slid the whip from his side but was once again forced to dodge. Izuku kicked off the side of the wall, feeling super cool, and landed behind the man. He lifted his arm. As Ski Mask turned around, Izuku brought the whip down harshly.
*SNAP*
Ski Mask reeled back, holding a hand to his cheek. He roared as he dropped it, a hole in the mask and a bleeding gash on his cheek. He charged forward. Izuku swung his whip. It latched onto a pole to the left. Izuku pulled, using the momentum to swing him out of harm’s way. During the action though, the man had managed to graze Izuku’s arm with a knife. Izuku’s left arm went numb from the shoulder down. It dangled uselessly by his side.

He turned to face Ski Mask. Ski Mask chuckled. “Tryna be a hero, brat? Let me show you what it really is like out here in the red lights.” He ran forward again, fist pulled back. Izuku kicked off the side of the wall and spun. He raised his right arm with the whip in hand, smashed down his foot to stop his movements, turned, and brought it down with the speed of lightning. It burned through the man’s shirt and cut into his skin.

Ski Mask howled in pain. He barrelled into Izuku before Izuku could even attempt to dodge. Both went rolling until they crashed into the alleyway wall. Izuku opened his eyes to see the man on top of him, holding him down with one hand, knife raised high above Izuku’s face in the other.
Izuku’s heart stopped for a second. Ski Maks’s hand fell. Izuku just barely was able to turn his neck, the knife grazing his left cheek. He bit his tongue to hold in this cry of pain. The left side of his head and chest when numb. Izuku growled audibly as he brought his foot up and kicked the man in the stomach. He wasn’t strong enough to kick him off but it was enough to unbalance the man and use his weight to roll out from under Ski Mask. They both stood up and faced each other panting. Izuku could feel his heartbeat dropping in speed. The numbing… Does it reach organs too? The thought terrified Izuku but he couldn’t worry about that now. Nor the blood spilling from his cheek and arm.


Just before Ski Mask was about to attack again, the sound of police sirens came in the distance, rapidly approaching. "Suck!" Ski Mask growled. NOW! Izuku used the distraction to get the leap on his opponent. He swung the whip forward, still in full use of his right side, and wrapped it around the man’s arm. Izuku yanked Ski Mask forward before dropping the whip to use his hand and slam Ski Mask’s head into the wall.

Izuku stood up, panting heavily. The police were here, he had to go. He unwrapped the whip from the unconscious man’s arm and slid it back into the DIY belt hoop. Izuku climbed up the fire escape slowly with only one arm. Just as he stood atop the building, the police rounded the corner.

“STOP! PUT YOUR HANDS UP! YOU ARE UNDER ARREST!”

Izuku turned and looked down. He knew that the police cams were recording. Izuku took out his whip with his right arm, raised it, and smacked it against the ground creating a resounding *SNAP*. With his show of confidence over, Izuku fled the scene via rooftops before the police had a chance to make chase.

Izuku collapsed into his dumpster in his alleyway. He leaned against it. Izuku wanted nothing more than to sleep but he knew he couldn’t. His heartbeat was slowing too quickly. He had to keep awake. Instead, Izuku pulled off his shirt, with much difficulty what with his numb left side and all. He pulled out the first aid kit to where he always had a need and thread prepared. Grateful for the numbness of his left side, Izuku gave himself stitches in his left arm. He cleaned both the wounds and put a bandage pad over the cut on his cheek. Izuku changed into his usual sweats and t-shirt and hoodie the best he could and stored away his costume.
He tried. He truly did. But Izuku could not keep awake.

The numbness caused his heartbeat to drop further and his eyes began to droop along with his brain function. Izuku closed his green eyes and, letting his exhaustion take over as cotton filled his mind, fell asleep.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku stretched as he woke up. It was a week since his first real outing. Izuku trained much harder every day now. He knew how lucky he was to be alive right now and despite how little he cared for his own life, Izuku did very much not enjoy the feeling of dying slowly. If he were to die, he thinks he would want it to be speedy or to die in his sleep or something. Come to think of it, that was probably why he didn’t just kill himself when he lived back at the apartment. He was too scared of the pain of dying. Izuku would be prepared next time.

And next time he surely was! Over the course of the next year, Izuku had taken in twenty-three criminals and had a plethora of scars to add to the ones before his street life. The only visible one, though, above his costume was the scar he got on his left cheek from his first excursion. All of the others were under his costume. Today, though, he would be doing something a little different. He had been stealing money off of the criminals and overtime had saved up enough to purchase a simple laptop. Sure, some would chastise him and tell him to spend that money on food or better equipment, which he did in the form of a fast-food meal twice a month. But Izuku had made a name for himself in the underground hero world. That is, all of the heroes were trying to catch him but they couldn’t.
And with that, Izuku decided to be a little bold.

Izuku got into costume and climbed onto the top of the building that made the wall of his fire escape with his laptop. It was midday so this was risky but he set up a timer and stood a few feet back. Izuku grinned and right before the camera flashed, he swung his whip forward. The picture came out as him with the hip flying into the camera. It just barely missed the laptop. Izuku was quick to scramble back down the fire escape and change into his normal clothes. He took a second to survey his torn and ragged clothes. Not once since he had run away had Izuku gotten any new clothes aside form his costume. Izuku shrugged. Vigilant or not, he was still homeless.

Izuku ducked out of his alley. His blood pressure rose tenfold. It didn’t matter how brave he was when vigilanting, Izuku was still 1oo% terrified of humans. Every single day he lived in fear that the dull throb of someone tugging on his quirk. He was scared that someone would reach out and the string would form. His freedom could be stripped away faster than lighting if someone was to only have the right mindset for it. Izuku’s eyes flew to and fro as he set a brisk pace to his destination: Soft Blossom Bakery. Yes, it was still very much the red light district but it had normal-ish establishments. Soft Blossom Bakery had opened a couple of years before he arrived on the block and it was a quaint little shop that Izuku, despite his blatant fear of any living, quite enjoyed. Even if he almost never ate there, Izuku would spend a few hours there every so often to do research on the latest news and to keep up with his studies via WeTube. 

 

He waited for a break in traffic before bolting across the street. 
Was Izuku j-walking?
Yes.
Did he care?
Not one bit.

Izuku ducked into the bakery. “Ah! Hey, boy!” Izuku jumped. Sure, he was used to it by now, but his anxiety very much did not enjoy the greeting he always got from the woman behind the counter. Izuku glanced at her. He took in her pose, her body language, the ways her eyes moved. He took in the other customers. How would he get out should someone find him or recognize him? How fast could he draw his knife out? He needed a new one soon, though. His was pretty dull. Could he really effectively use it should the situation that he should need it arise?

Deciding that it was ‘safe’, for now, he made his way over to the table seat in the corner and set his laptop on the table.

 

_______________________________

 

Mary Lou looked up from her position at the counter. She was the owner and head Pastry Chef at Soft Blossom Bakery. Her parents had both advised against setting up shop in the red light district but Mary Lou had thought that the red light district needed a bit of a spirit and light in it. Still, it was hard making a living in this kind of atmosphere. People in the red light district didn’t do “nice.”
After four years of struggling to keep her business alive, Mary Lou was just about to give up when that kid first made his appearance. She smiled as he came back again today.

“Ah! Hey, boy!” she called from the counter.

She only ever called him “boy.” Mary Lou didn’t know his actual name. She watched him as he stood in the front door, like always. His eyes would survey the room before he would always give himself a small nod and sit at the table in the corner. He didn’t reply. He never replied. Mary Lou doesn’t think he speaks much if at all. She walked over to him just as he was pulling out his laptop.
“Oh? That’s new,” she commented on his new possession. He spared her a side glance. Nothing more. Mary Lou grinned. “Are you ordering anything today?” A pause. Her eyes widened as she witnessed the smallest shake of his head. PROGRESS! She got an actual, albite nonverbal, response out of him! Her heart swelled. “So, the usual?” He glanced at her again.

The “usual” was something Mary Lou would give him every time he came in. She didn’t care if she did not have the money to keep giving free food or if he didn’t pay. The little green-haired boy was obviously homeless if the state of his clothing was anything to go by, and obviously underfed. 
He looked back at his still closed laptop.
Mary Lou smiled. “Great! I’ll be right back with it.” As soon as she walked away, the boy opened up his laptop.

“Ey, Mary!” The brunette paused. She walked over to a usual customer. “Yes, Marco? Anything I can get for you?” The black-haired man narrowed his eye and jabbed his thumb in the direction of the boy.
“Why you always givin’ him stuff for free? It ain’t gonna help yer business none.”
Mary Lou looked back at the boy. She gave a soft smile. “I guess I just feel sort of protective for some reason.”
“Tsk-” Marco growled. “If he wants to make it in the red lights, he’s gotta learn to take care of himself. Can’t have people waiting on his hand and foot.” Mary Lou looked back at Marco. “I am sure you are right but I will still try my best. He’s just a kid, Marco.”
The man stood up.
“You know, Mary, you are probably the only good heart left in this town ‘side from that vigilantin’ fellow.” Mary Lou shined at the complement. “Oh, you mean Golden Whip?” Gold Whip, he is a vigilante that has been hanging around the red light district for a year now and gave the heroes and police a run for their money for sure. He was like the light in the darkness for the red light district.
Marco grunted. “Yeah. You two keep up thugs straight.” He pats her on the shoulder as he leaves. “Keep up the good work.” Mary Lou waved as the man left. “Will do!” She turned back to the counter.

“Now to get the ‘usual.’”

 

_______________________________

 

The brunette lady came back with the “usual.” It consisted of a strawberry shortcake with a heavy serving of cool whip and a cup of cold milk. Izuku glanced up at her from his laptop as she slid it onto his table.
“Here you go!”
Izuku took a deep breath. “T- t- thank y- you,” he squeezed out before immediately tensing up. His eyes shot to the woman who looked just as shocked as Izuku felt that he actually spoke.
STUPID!!! WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING?! his mind screamed at him.
He waited anxiously for her next move.

Her face lit up. “Mmm!” she hummed. “No problem!” She scampered off to her place behind the counter. Izuku let out a breath he didn’t know he had been holding. Idiot, he chastised himself. Don’t go getting all chummy now just cause she has been generous the past few times you’ve been here. She’s an enemy, too. This is all a ploy to get you to let your guard down. Jokes on her, I never let my guard down.
Despite all of that, Izuku still took the mini fork which he absolutely adored and used it to get himself a small bite of his strawberry shortcake. He had to suppress a smile. Smiles are weaknesses.
Izuku washed down the bite with a quick gulp of milk before turning his attention back to the screen. On the laptop screen was the new Hipstagram page he had made for his vigilante persona: Golden Whip. That is what the public has been calling him. He used a close up picture of his face, in with the mask on and gelled hair of course, as his profile picture and his first post was the picture he had just taken on the roof with the description caption reading:


‘Greetings, citizens! Taking a page from the heroes and made myself a page so if you want to keep up with me as I anger your favorite heroes again and again you should follow me!’

 

It was cheeky and fit the persona well. Izuku watched as followers already began to follow his page. He nodded to himself. That was fast.
Izuku took another bite of the cake. His eyes widened and he had to suppress a mischevious grin. Izuku set down the plate and quickly began searching up his favorite escape-from buddy. Aka, the hero he loved messing with before escaping the most. Aka, Eraserhead.

The only reason that Eraserhead had a Hipstagram page in the first place was that Present Mic, his partner in hero work,  made one without his knowledge. That much was clear as the first post for Eraserhead was a picture obviously taken while Eraserhead was not looking and Present Mic had taken it as though he was taking a selfie. All of the other posts were in the same fashion with only a few being an actually semi-decent shot.
Izuku moved the curser and hit “Follow.”
Oh, how he anticipated Eraser’s reaction to seeing his biggest pain suddenly follow him on Hipstagram.
After that, Izuku got on WeTube and began his studies, watching various videos on math, English, Japanese, and science with subtitles as he ate his strawberry shortcake and drank his milk. He got so enthralled that he did not even notice the brunette lade walk up until she spoke.

“Are you all do-” *!CRASH!*

Izuku jumped so hard that he dropped the cup that he had just emptied. It shattered on upon impact on the floor. He met her yellow eyes. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t see straight or stop his body from shaking. He watched a shakey smile form on her face.
“S- sorry, boy,” she said. “I didn’t mean to startle you. Are you okay?”
Izuku forced himself to nod. She smiled again. “Don’t you worry about this,” she gestured slightly to the shattered glass that was all over the floor. “I’ll have it cleaned up in a jiffy! Though you might want to move seats. That is… if you still want to stay…” She sounded distraught. Why? Was she sad that he might leave? Why would she care? Is it because her plans were foiled? Is she not going to get angry? Why isn’t she angry? What’s wrong!?
Izuku took a deep breath. He reached down and pulled his hoodie sleeves over his hands before gently sweeping up the pieces of glass.

You see, this is a place, despite Izuku’s blatant fear of humans, that Izuku did not want to have to give up. He didn’t want her to turn on him so he opted for helping her clean up the mess he had made.
“Don’t do that!” she yelped. “You’ll cut yourself! Let me get a broom!” As she ran off, Izuku kept sweeping. He had grown out of his hoodie so the sleeves were short on him even before pulling them down over his hands. Izuku accidentally let go and cut his finger on a piece of glass. He winced. Izuku hid the cut in his hoodie pocket as she came back with a broom.
“Here we go!” she chirped as she began to sweep the pieces of glass into the dustpan. Izuku stood up. She looked up and gave him a thumbs up. “See? All good!” Izuku stared blankly at her. He nodded ever so slightly.

Manner’s, Izuku.
He gave a small bow. “S- s- sorry.”
He glanced up when she didn’t reply. She was smiling. “It’s no problem.” The lady winked at him. “Good to hear your voice, boy.” His emerald eyes widened. The lady left to dispose of the glass. Izuku stood up straight, shocked. He numbly shut his laptop and shut it.

“See you soon, boy,” the lady’s voice came from behind him. Izuku’s hand hovered over the push bar of the door. He glanced back.
Don’t do it, Izuku. Do NOT do it.

“Y- yeah,” he whispered before leaving.

Why did you do it!!!??? he screamed at himself as he crossed the street and bolted into his alleyway. He sat there fully aware of his quickened breathing and of the panic attack he knew he was having but could do nothing to stop it. Idiot! She’s using you! You can’t get close. She will take advantage of it. Don’t show weakness. Don’t smile, don’t speak, don’t let down your guard. Not around her. Not around the old man shopkeeper at the Junk Shop. Not around people you save. Not around the heroes. Not around anyone! Stop letting yourself get close. Never get close. NEVER GET CLOSE!
He turned his head to look out of the alleyway and at the bakery. It was blurry, his vision shaking along with his body mid-attack. The greys and blacks that he viewed the world through swirled together and the people passing by seemed to move in slow motion. Still, Izuku could make out the lady clearly through the window of Soft Blossom Bakery. He knew that she could not see him as he had his body mostly behind the dumpster but as she looked out the window in his general direction, cold terror flooded his veins as if he had been thrown into the waters around Antarctica.
His eye twitched uncontrollably and he subconsciously pulled at his sleeves, a familiar nervous tick. Izuku's eyes trailed down to his finger he sliced on the glass. It wa mostly dried blood but a sing, crimson dropped onto the floor of the alley. Even her...

 

Everybody is a threat.

 

_______________________________

 

Shouta Aizawa growled as a notification slid into his view of the puzzle he was putting together on his phone. It was from Hipstagram. Honestly, why did Hizashi even make me an account? It’s so irrational, he thought despite clicking on the notification stating that he had a new follower. Even though he was an underground hero, he was still a hero, and thus his follower count was quite high. He skimmed over the notification. Once. Twice. Three times.
Shouta stood sharply and promptly threw his phone at the wall. His class jumped at his sudden show of aggression. Shouta had expelled half of this year’s hero course class but since he still had the other half he was technically on duty as a teacher and hero.

A girl with a wind sector quirk placed a wind gap below the phone that gently lifted it and the phone gently glided onto Shouta’s desk.
“A- are you alright, Aizawa-sensei?”
Shouta took his phone with a now cracked screen. It still worked. He ran a hand through his hair and sat down with a huff. “Yes. Thank you. Return to your work.” When the class complied, Shouta glanced down at his screen and read the notification again.

New Follower: GoldenWhip;)

His eye twitched. “Tsk. Are you mocking me?”

 

_______________________________

 

Yes. Yes, he is.

 

Chapter Text

Eleven and a half-year-old Izuku took a deep breath, arms fanning out and folding in with every slow, measured breath. He lifted his hands and gently pulled the golden masquerade mask over his eyes. Izuku opened his eyes. They no longer held the almost constant fear of Izuku Midoriya but instead the bold, confident eyes of Golden Whip.

He grinned. The greenette got a running start before leaping up and latching onto the fire escape. He climbed up before starting his nightly excursion.

 

Before long, he found his first haunting: three people, one man and two women, walking down the street very suspiciously in the night. He silently followed them from a distance via rooftops. Izuku paused as they made a sudden turn down a dark alley. It wasn’t a random decision. That was a deliberate turn. Izuku unlatched the rope with a grappling hook on the end of it. He hung it on the side of the building, letting the rope fall off the side. Izuku quickly but carefully climbed down the building before swinging the end of the rope like his whip which effectively carried the kinetic energy up the rope and dislodged the hook.

He had gotten the rope and grappling hook two months ago from the Junk Shop. That store had proved quite useful in Izuku’s two and a half years of vigilating, despite how on edge Izuku felt in it.

He wrapped the rope and hook around his waist before crossing the street and stopping at the side of the alley. He peered in.

 

It was a lot more expansive than he had previously thought and held many, many more occupants than previously expected. Taking a quick overview, Izuku recognized two different gangs by the split between the two groups and the tattoo’s on every person’s body.

The Blue Bloods and the Scare. Those were the two gangs. Both were well-known gangs in the red lights, always fighting for the west side of the red light district.

 

Izuku waited. He could put up a good fight, sure, but he was still a small, underfed eleven-year-old boy, even with his muscular build and he was not confident that he could make it out alive. Not that he really cared if he died but he wasn’t one that would go in knowing he would die or expecting to.

A movement from above caught his eye. Izuku grinned. On the edge of the building creating a wall of the alley on the roof crouched none other than Eraserhead. Despite always trying to catch Golden Whip after the fight, he and Eraserhead have actually banded up quite a few times for a particularly dangerous setting or when Golden Whip would message the hero over Hipstagram to inform him of something that would involve hero intervention.

 

Or just to annoy Eraserhead for the hell of it.

 

Eraserhead looked down at Izuku. Izuku nodded. The hero nodded back. They waited for the fight between the gangs to start. It was a cheap tactic but the two waited a good ten minutes for the gangs to tire each other out before joining the fray.

Izuku signaled to Eraserhead and dashed in.

A Blue Blood was mid-punch when Izuku swung his whip out. It wrapped around the outstretched arm. Izuku pulled harshly. The tall man with a blue-dyed mohawk came spinning at him. Izuku drew back his own face and used the momentum of the man to smash it into the gang member’s jaw. There was a sickening *CRACK*.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Eraserhead drop down, immediately taking down a Scare with him. Izuku whistled. What a hero.

 

“It’s the heroes and Golden Whip!” a Scare yelled above the fray. “SCATTER!”

 

Yeah, no. Izuku grabbed the arm of a sharp-jawed Scare and judo flipped him over his shoulder before spinning out of the way just in time to dodge a black pole that flew in his direction. Not fast enough. It nicked his neck, tearing the turtle neck and drawing blood. Black immediately began to spread over his skin from the cut reaching down to his collar bone and covering his right cheek. It… BURNED! Izuku bit back the tears of pain. Upon hitting the wall, the pole seemingly shattered into dust. Izuku placed a hand over the wound but the black spread to his hand so he was quick to pull it down. Looked at the source of the pole. It was a Scare member with pitch-black hair and a black trench coat.

Scary quirk.

A black pole began to form up out of the man’s palm. The man screamed in rage as the pole suddenly broke off and stopped forming. Izuku smirked. Nice going, Eraser. He took advantage of the distraction and cracked his whip across the gang member’s face. The man let out a grunt as he was thrown off balance letting Eraserhead take the man in his white-scarf capture weapon. Eraserhead dragged the man across the alley and smashed him into a Blue Blood.

Izuku grunted as a foot smashed into his back. Izuku took the momentum to drop into a roll. He rolled out into a crouch. Izuku grabbed a nearby Blue Blood’s leg and yanked it from underneath him. He felt bad almost as the gang member was a girl but then remembered that this gang was notorious for their crimes (technically he was too since vigilantism is a crime). He stood up as she was just getting into a crouch. Izuku cracked the whip against her back causing her to splay out on the ground in pain.

He did not expect her to flip over on her back and shoot her blue hair up in the form of a dozen daggers. Izuku lept back as they slashed past his arms, cutting through his skin with many tiny, little cuts with one pretty decent sized one.

 

“You brat! You think you are all big and bad, huh, baby?” Izuku’s eye twitched. She SMIRKED. “Let me show you how the big kids play!” She got up into a fighting stance and shot her blue hair blades towards him. Izuku felt anger burn in him even greater than the slowly spreading black on his skin.

Don’t…

He raised his whip.

-UNDERESTIMATE ME!!!” Izuku screamed as he almost threw his arm out with how hard he brought down his whip with a sickening *CRACK*.

The whip smashed through the blades, her hair shattering. She recoiled in shock, obviously not expecting that from a kid, because, yes, it was common knowledge that Golden Whip was a child. It was basically impossible to deny that in any way.

 

Everyone froze as the sound of glass resounded from the shattering of the blade-hair and echoed in the night air.

“H- He got Tiana!!!” someone screamed.

“SUCK!”

Eraserhead appeared behind the girl, Tiana apparently. Her hair was noticeably shorter and uneven. Eraserhead knocked her out with a swift chop to the neck. He caught her and laid her down semi-gently. Both Eraserhead and Golden Whip stood at the only exit of the alleyway. A few gang members had escaped but most were unconscious on the floor of the alley with only a few standing, seeming have had their energy sapped from them at the fall of the Tiana lady.

 

“Now,” Eraserhead spoke in a cool voice, “do you want to keep up this obviously one-sided battle or keep fighting irrationally?”

*CRACK* Izuku snapped his whip against the wall for emphasis.

 

In the end, they gave up and the police showed up to take in over twenty gang members. Izuku stayed back in the shadows as he watched. He grinned and pulled out his camera, snapping a few selfies. Izuku suddenly felt dizzy. He dropped the camera on the ground and had to use his hand to hold onto the brick walls and keep himself upright. His vision swirled.

W- what is this?

“Hey, Golden Whip,” Izuku snapped his head up to see the blurry form of Eraserhead walking toward him. Izuku picked up the camera and quickly latched it to his belt hoop. He leaned on the side of the wall, trying to play it off coolly.

 

“Ey!” he replied. Izuku/Golden Whip had picked up the red light accent. “How ya’ been, Eraserrrrr?” He could feel her words slur. Eraserhead froze. Izuku could just make out the handcuffs the man held behind his back. “What’sss wrong, hmmmm?” Eraser’s eyebrows creased.

“Hey,” he spoke in a cold voice but Izuku thought he could make out… concern? “Are you okay, kid?”

Izuku raised an eyebrow. “Yup!” Nope! “And what’s wittthhh you callin’ me ‘kid’, ey? We that close, now?”

The man shook his head. “No, seriously. You don’t look that great and that black on your skin is still spreading. Izuku chuckled. He felt all giddy, the greys and blacks of the world that he view seemed to clash more than usual. Bursts of blues and purples and yellows filtered through his usually monotone lenses. “I’m fiiiine!”

“Then why aren’t you running away?” Eraserhead sounded unconvinced. “You can’t get off that wall, can you?”

 

Izuku narrowed his eyes, fruitless behind the mask. “I totally can. Justcha watch me.” Izuku suppressed a grunt as he pushed himself off. The world tilted. Izuku felt himself fall forward.

“Kid!” Eraserhead reached forward to catch him.

 

-----

 

A blonde-haired child roughly grabbed a shorter greenette by the arm. The greenette winced as he felt the burns already forming as smoke came from the point of contact.

‘Deku.’

 

-----

 

A green-haired woman crouched down and grabbed a green-haired child’s face in her hand, studying him through narrowed eyes. She grinned.

‘My Izuku.’

 

-----

 

‘Deku!’

‘MY Izuku.’

‘Come back here, freak!’

‘How dare you disobey me.’

‘I’m gonna put you in your place!’

‘This is what you get with you disobey my orders, sweetie. It’s called discipline.’

 

‘DEKU!’

‘Mine! Mine! MINE!’

 

-----

 

*SLAP*

Izuku smacked Eraserheads hand away and caught himself.

With all of the malice that an eleven-year-old boy could squeeze into three words, he hissed out:

 

Don’t touch me…

 

Eraserhead took a few steps back. Izuku bit the inside of his cheek to stabilize himself as his heart rate skyrocketed and his vision tilted once more. He spun around and jumped onto the fire escape, climbing faster than ever before. He ran and jumped onto the next building before Eraserhead could react. He tripped and faceplanted but got up and kept going.

 

“Got to- got to- get- away…” Jump, fall, repeat. “Got to- get- away!” Izuku made it to his alley but fell off the fire escape, landing on his back. He groaned and rolled over. Izuku dragged himself to the dumpster. “N- need to- to- firs- -aid…”

 

The world went black.

 

_______________________________

 

Shouta sat in his apartment with his knee bouncing at a rapid pace.

Bean, his brown and white cat, rubbed up against his leg, noticing his distress but Shouta didn’t even register it. He couldn’t stop seeing it!

 

Golden Whip… Shouta vividly remembered erasing the man with black hair’s quirk after he saw the vigilante get hit. For the rest of the fight, Shouta couldn’t help but steal glances at the child. The CHILD! Shouta doesn’t get close to kids, it’s irrational, but he has been “working with” this vigilante for over a year now so he will admit to no one other than himself that he has a small soft spot for the kid. He remembered seeing the vigilantes sick progressively turn from the pale tan that looked almost like white, which Shouta knew was unhealthy in itself, to a deep black. By the end of the fight, the black had covered over half of his face, gradually spreading from the right to the left. He suspected that it was also spreading under his costume. Where the pole originally hit and cut had black mist streaming from it too. The kid looked so out of it, even if Shouta couldn’t see his eyes, and his words were so slow. He almost sounded drunk.

And then…

 

-----

 

‘Don’t touch me…’

 

-----

 

One would have thought he physically wounded the kid. Shouta understood that they were technically enemies after the fight was over but no, that was more than just defensiveness. It was as though he was a caged animal or something.

What had to have happened to that kid for him to turn out this way? He can’t be more than nine-years-old. Then again, despite how he moves, he is obviously malnourished. How can Golden Whip even move like that with how thin he is!? Sure he has some muscle but not enough meat on his bones to really matter!

Shouta let out a long, tired sigh.

He looked at the ceiling. Shouta wanted to chase after the vigilante but couldn’t because the police still needed him. He remembered the interrogation of the man with the quirk that wounded Golden Whip.

 

-----

 

‘The effects of my quirk? It is sort of like a poison, I guess, but more like a gas. It comes in the form of a spear that I use to throw at people or stab them with. If it cuts, the gas that radiates off of it enters a persons bloodstream. It jacks with their system and causes seizures and causes hallucinations, so I hear. I never tried it on myself.’

 

‘Never on yourself but you will on a child?’ Shouta growled. The man roared in laughter.

 

‘That ain’t no child! That’s a beast in a kid’s body!’

 

‘What was the black covering Golden Whip’s body?’

 

‘Ah, that just tracks how far into the bloodstream it has gotten. For real though, I’m surprised that he hung on for so long! Moving around makes it spread fasta. Golden Whip is one heck of a maniac. He must have been fightin’ it off the rest of the day. Can’t say I envy ‘im though.’

 

Shouta narrowed his eyes. ‘What is that supposed to mean?’

 

The gang member smirked. ‘I’ve only killed one person with my quirk and he was a grown man. Most adults can fight it off if they are strong enough. Beast or no, that is still a kid’s body. Without medical attention, I doubt he’ll last much longer.’

 

Shouta’s heart skipped a beat as the man roared in laughter. ‘I did it!’ he yelled. ‘I am the one who took down Golden Whip!’ He’s celebrating…

 

-----

 

Shouta stood sharply, startling Bean. He didn’t have any time to lose. He needed to find Golden Whip.

 

NOW.

 

_______________________________

 

Mary Lou had a rough day and when she had rough days she liked to stay in her bakery late to sort out her mind with the spices and flour. Still, two in the morning was her limit. She walked over to turn off the shop lights when she saw something in the alleyway across the street. It was blurry from the dark and the distance but she watched a figure fall from almost two stories up off of the fire escape louder.

 

“Oh my goodness!” she exclaimed. Unsafe at night or not, Mary Lou threw open the door to oft Blossom Bakery and dashed out. She almost got hit by a car in her rush but was saved by the bit of luck that kept her business running. She crossed the street and ducked into the alley.

“H- hello?” No answer. “I- is anyone here?” Mary Lou jumped when she heard a groan from deeper in the alley. This is unsafe. I should go back. She didn’t. She crept forward.

Mary Lou gasped when she saw the infamous vigilante Golden Whip collapsed behind the large green, and smelly, dumpster.

 

“Oh my goodness! Are you alright!?” Mary Lou practically threw herself next to the boy. Boy? She had heard the rumors but seeing it for herself… was Golden Whip really this young? She shook her head. No time for that! She gently rolled the boy over, gasping at the sight of the normal tan skin being overtaken by a blackish color. It was covering the right side of his face most of the left side. The boy was panting and twitching slightly. Mary Lou was definitely NOT equipped for this. She considered calling the hospital but remembered what Marco had told her. This boy, illegal vigilante or not, was a light for the somewhat civil population in the red light district. If he went to a hospital then he would probably be arrested. Their light would be out. Mary Lou would not let that happen!

She scooped up the vigilante her arms and returned to her bakery where she lived in the apartment above it.

She deposited Golden Whip on her couch.

 

Mary Lou couldn’t do much but she would not let this kid die. Not on her watch!

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku groaned. His limbs felt like lead and his eyelids were so heavy. Still, he forced them open.

Izuku blinked a few times before registering that this was very much NOT his alley. Izuku sat up straight. He jumped off of whatever he was on but his legs immediately gave out and he collapsed on the ground, hitting a coffee table on the way down causing a large *CRASH*. Izuku’s breath caught in his throat as he heard footsteps approaching at a rapid pace from somewhere in the apartment he was apparently in. He forced himself to his feet, whole body shaking, and got into the best fighting stance he could muster.

 

A woman with long, straight brown hair came flying from the hallway before she took in his threatening stance and froze.

 

“H- hey, you’re awake, boy!” It clicked. He recognized her. She was the bakery owner. Only she called him ‘boy.’ Dang it, I knew it! She caught me! I should have stopped going. I shouldn’t have gotten comfortable. I need to get out before it’s too lat- “Are you okay?” Huh? “Here, sit down.” She sat on the couch and patted gently next to her.

Everything in Izuku told him not to but he could feel his legs giving out the longer he stood. He shakily shuffled to the couch and sat as far away from her as possible.

 

“That was quite the scare you gave me, boy! I saw you fall from the ladder from across the street! To think you were the famous Golden Whip all along!” Izuku froze. That was when he realized his mask was off, his hair was still gelled but significantly loosened, and he was in just a plain t-shirt and shorts.

“Don’t worry, I won’t tell,” she assured him but Izuku felt anything but assured.

Suddenly her face fell.

 

“You were unconscious for three days, boy… You would constantly have spasms and cry out as if someone was stabbing you repeatedly and your fever was reaching dangerously high levels… I could only do so much with oils and wet cloths.” She whipped her head around to him with tears in her eyes causing Izuku to tense further.

“I don’t know why you do this or why you have that many scars on your body but you need to take care of yourself better!” she all but screamed. “I- if you can’t then get help! You can’t do this to yourself, you’ll die! I- if you have to keep up this vigilanting thing at least let me help!”

 

His heart stopped. Help? HELP?! Yeah right! You really think I’d fall for tha-

“I know you don’t believe me or trust me… but I truly do just want to help you…” She smiled at him. “You know, you really remind me of my little brother, boy. He died when he was about your age, nine. You’ve been coming to my bakery for the past year now and have been letting me feed you. The least you can do is let me help you.”

Izuku looked her up and down. Why? Why is she so adamant? What does she want? What is she waiting for? Can I really trust her? She hasn’t done anything so far. Don’t be naive Izuku! But she… I just… Izuku knew she was right. He KNEW she was safe. He KNEW that she didn’t want to harm him. His mind and body just couldn’t accept it. Too much had they been through. Too much distrust. But what else did she give him?

 

A choice.

 

She wasn’t like Inko. The lady was giving him a chance to say no. Izuku dropped his head.

 

“E- eleven…” he whispered. She was one of the few he actually speaks to, even if it was just a word or two at a time. The only others were the Junk Shop owner and the heroes he fought with as Golden Whip.

“What?” Her voice sounded shocked. Izuku turned his head further away. “I- I’m n- n- not nine.” He choked out in his usual stutter. “I- I’m eleven. A- almost t- twelve.”

“NO WAY!”

Izuku jumped and stared at her in shock at her sudden outburst. “S- sorry, boy, it’s just… You’re so small!” Izuku’s eye twitched.

“A- and my name i- isn’t ‘b- boy’ either!” He held his head high. “I- it’s I- Izuku.” He still stuttered despite trying sound confident. He glanced at her. She smiled.

“I’m Mary Lou but you can call me Mare or Mary like my friends do.”

 

Mary Lou held out her hand. Izuku flinched involuntarily. Don't reach out. You'll see them. Don't see them. Please! “Not much for touching, are you?” Izuku bit his tongue and narrowed his eyes at her, a clear sign that he did not fully trust her yet, especially not to the point of willing creating physical contact between the two of them. Mary Lou chuckled and withdrew her hand. “That’s alright. Do you not have a last name?”

 

Izuku shook his head. Not giving her that. She could turn my name into the police. I’d be found then. Can’t be found.

 

“Y- you?” he asked instead.

Mary Lou nodded. “Takakawa. I got the last name from my Japanese father and the name from my American mother.”

“M- Mary Lou T- T- Takakawa,” Izuku tested the name on his tongue. She nodded. “That’s it!” Mary Lou stood suddenly, causing Izuku to tense again.

 

“Now, shall we eat?” Izuku’s eyes widened. “What? Did you think that I wouldn’t feed you? You’ve been unconscious for three days, I am sure you are hungry.” Izuku heard his stomach growl unwillingly and blushed. Mary Lou giggled. “Great! I’ll get to work!” Mary Lou was loud. That was okay. Izuku liked loud people. He knew where they were at most times. Most.

 

Izuku spent the rest of that day and the day after at Mary Lou’s house. His stomach had never felt so full and he scarcely remembered the last time he was warm when he slept at night. He was almost sad when he had to leave but he knew he couldn’t stay forever. While Mary Lou probably would not object to it, Izuku was going crazy with paranoia.

He couldn’t help it. Every kind word she said registered as a lie. Every smile looked fake. Her eyes looked greedy. Her movements looked like they were wanting to reach out. If she reached out… Izuku was done for. No. Not happening. He wouldn’t LET it happen. Sure, Mary Lou was great and all and Izuku would still visit Soft Blossom Bakery every so often but it was about time he left.

The greenette sat up from his position on the couch. He stood up, wincing as the floorboards creaked. He was still not used to the prospect of moving silently in an actual house. Izuku reached down and grabbed his yellow bag. Mary Lou had been nice enough to gather what few belongings he had stored under the dumpster in the alley and bring them here. Izuku pulled out his grappling hook. He opened the window of her apartment. Izuku was quick to make his descent.

He knew he shouldn’t, but Izuku cast one last longing glance at the slightly cracked window of Mary Lou’s apartment. He turned away. Thanks for everything… 

 

Izuku made his way back into his alleyway silently though he kept an eye on her building the rest of the night. He knew the window was cracked and the was still definitely the red light district. If anyone tried to take advantage of the cracked window, Izuku would be the first to protect Mary Lou just as she had protected him.

 

_______________________________

 

Shouta threw himself on his bed after his shift. Another shift and he still had yet to see Golden Whip anywhere. It had been five days since the attack. Shouta began to worry that the boy was really de-

 

*ding ding*

 

The Pro Hero groaned as he pulled his phone from his pocket. He shot up.

A message from Golden Whip!

Shouta pulled up Hipstagram with incomparable speed. A small voice in the back of his mind laughed at him for being so eager about this but he shrugged it away.

Shouta pulled up his messages with Golden Whip.

Shouta immediately deadpanned. It was a picture. A picture mid-fight, mind you, of Golden Whip in the frame in the way one would be when taking a selfie. Shouta was in his hero costume and was swinging a Blue Blood gang member around by his capture weapon.

 

When did he even have time to take that? Cheeky brat.

 

He went to Golden Whip’s page to see that the vigilante had just posted the same picture. The vigilante’s page consisted mostly of him or other heroes that he was stalking some nights and got a poorly taken shot of them with him in the frame as a sort of crude joke. There were one or two of them that were him mid-fight. Shouta glanced back at the picture. He narrowed his eyes and zoomed in on Golden Whip’s face. He could see it, the black just creeping up onto the kid's pale face. Upon closer examination, Shouta could make out the hollowed out cheeks that spoke millions on how thin the boy truly was.

 

*ding ding*

 

Shouta pulled open the messages again. Golden Whip had messaged him.

 

Golden Whip: Gotcha! I’m alive, Idiot!

 

Shouta’s eye twitched. After five restless days and night, not that he got much sleep anyways, of worrying about that dang vigilante, that is what he got?! Shouta’s fingers pounded across the screens keyboard.

 

Eraserhead: Dang it.

 

Chapter Text

“Welcome.”

Twelve-year-old Izuku walked into the Junk Shop, hearing the familiar greetings of the man behind the counter. Izuku nodded at the man. He had deemed him one of the few, FEW, people it was 'safe' to interact with, even if on a minuscule level. Izuku walked up to the man.

He glanced down at his old red hightops that had a hole so big Izuku could literally see his toes sticking out of them. He raised his eyebrow and looked back at the man.

“Ah… Are you looking for regular walking around shoes or ones for your vigilanting, Mr. Golden Whip?” the man asked. Izuku never really learned his name. He just called him Gramps in his head because of the beard.

“V- vigilante,” he confirmed. Izuku did not need to waste his bills on other shoes. He could get some ducktape to fix his red hightops. However, it was highly dangerous to be wearing them on patrol and while fighting. The man hummed. “I will see what we have but we don’t usually sell footwear here. Feel free to look around while I am in the back.”

Izuku nodded. Gramps ducked under the curtain behind the counter that leads to the back of the store for employees only, or for the only employee.

 

Izuku prowled through the store. He had been here two weeks ago so there was little to be seen past what he already knew was there. Nothing new. He stopped at the bowties. Izuku tried to imagine himself in one of them, or rather, Golden Whip in one of them. He silently chuckled to himself before moving on.

Izuku stopped at the bucket of random items and ruffled through it. He pulled out a roll or white ducktape. Bingo. Izuku slid it onto his arm like a bracelet to hold it while he was walking around. Izuku went over to the weapons. He lifted an eyebrow.

 

He had saved up $72 from various criminals and villains in the past half a year. Could he afford a flamethrower? He wouldn’t need it for fighting, it didn’t match the persona, but he could use it to heat and mold some scrap metal he had gathered. He looked at the tag. $50.

He heard the curtain move and left the weapon area to meet Gramps back by the counter. The older man placed a pair of black sneakers on the counter. “These should be in your size,” he said. “And, if you want to fit the color scheme,” he placed a can of gold spray paint next to them, “I’ll throw this in for free.” Izuku slid the ducktape onto the counter.

“H- how much?”

“In all, $30.”

Izuku suppressed a sigh. So long flamethrower. He slid a ten and twenty over the counter and took his new belongings. Izuku cast a glance at the flamethrower as he walked by it to the exit but kept walking.

 

“Ah-” Izuku jumped. He looked at the man. “I forgot to say it, but that flamethrower hasn’t sold well. I guess I should knock it down a bit to say… $40?” Izuku studied the man. Gramps gave his usual grin. If I save money I can get an extra loaf of bread along with maybe a candy bar. I could even eat out. But… He glanced back at the flamethrower. His little kid heart jumped for joy at the prospect of it. He took a sharp turn, pulled it off the shelf, and placed the rest of his cash on the counter. Gramps grinned and handed back his change of a whopping two dollars. Izuku stuffed the flame thrower at the bottom of his bag and pocketed the change. Before he left, Izuku glanced back at the man.

 

“T- t- thank y- you.”

Gramps smiled. “See you soon.”

 

And with that, Izuku was gone, pulling up his hood as he walked down the street. Izuku paused by the gas station. He fiddled with the pocket knife in his hoodie pocket, reassuring himself that it was, in fact, there before entering. Izuku felt his heart rate spike at just the thought of entering but he did so anyway. He had two dollars and there was a chocolate bar in the candy section with his name on it. Izuku crouched by the row of assorted candy bars. His mouth watered. The theory was to get the most bang from your buck so he chose a two for one deal of a regular-sized Truffle Bar. Izuku felt his skin prickle. He glanced to his left. There was a large man ‘browsing’ through the candy on the other side but Izuku caught how he kept glancing at the boy.

Blood roared in Izuku’s ears and his heart pounded like a marching band. He’s lived in the red lights long enough to know how this goes. Izuku walked up to the cash register where there was a slightly annoyed teenager at the head. The man followed, stopped, and acted like he was looking at a bag of chips.

Child predators were, sadly, a common thing in the red light district. He should know. Plenty of times on his patrols he had saved kids and teens, and even adults, from that fate. He himself, when he was just starting out on the streets… Izuku shuddered. He didn’t want to remember. He didn’t want to go through that again… Rape was a common thing here… He knew so personally… 

 

That was why he was all the more cautious of this man. Izuku got through with buying his candy bars without having to mutter a single word. He collected his fifteen cents in change and stuffed everything in his hoodie pocket. Izuku left the gas station. The man followed several feet behind. Izuku unfolded his pocket knife, still hidden by his hoodie. He walked right past his alleyway, the man still following. Go away. Please go away!

Izuku was not confident as just himself. Sure, he was probably just great at fighting but it wasn’t the same if he wasn’t in her vigilante persona. When he wasn’t, Izuku just felt like another homeless kid on the streets of the red light district susceptible to any of the harms that come with living in the worse parts of the city.

 

Izuku ducked into an alley a block down. He turned and waited. Sure enough, the man rounded the corner. “Hey, little boy,” he chuckled. “You lost or somethin’?” His voice was harsh. The man walked forward with his hand held out, not int a way of handshake but in the way one would grab something forcefully, like a child. Izuku stood still. “Here, let me help you home, ‘kay, little boy?” Once in range, Izuku was quick. Scared or not, he was still Golden Whip and had the reflexes and powers to prove it. Izuku whipped out his knife and stabbed it through the mans hand out out the other side. Izuku yanked it out as the man howled in pain.

 

“Why you! Imma kill ya!” Izuku prepared to dodge but soon found that he had no need to as a familiar white scarf caught the man. Izuku’s eyes widened. Behind the head was none other than Eraserhead, in civilian clothes aside from the capture weapon, walking up behind the child predator who was raging loudly.

“Shut up…” the hero growled, swiftly karate chopping the man’s neck. The man fell limp and Eraser let him go.

The hero turned to him. “A kid your age shouldn’t be walking around this city alone, not even in the daylight.” Izuku didn’t say anything. He couldn’t say anything. His voice might be recognized. Even if he wanted to, it was like his lips were sealed shut, mouth dry as a desert.

Eraser looked at him. “Hey, kid, are you okay?”

In Izuku’s mind, his words distorted from something that should have been comforting to anyone else to those of an enemy. A means to destroy him. To strip him of his freedom.

 

Threat.

 

Eraserhead walked forward and knelt down at eye level. Get away. Get away, get away, getaway, getawaygetawaygetawaygetaway!

The hero lifted an arm. Izuku choked on a scream and pushed the man over. He made a mad dash down the street, ignoring the calls of the hero. He knew that Eraserhead would have to take the predator in first before he went after Izuku so Izuku ran. He turned the corner, his destination in sight.

Izuku barreled through the door of Soft Blossom Bakery. The two customers in the lobby turned and stared in shock as a twelve-year-old boy that looked nine with unruly green hair, a bone-thin body, and torn clothes streamlined through the bakery.

Mary Lou came out of the kitchen. “Hey, bo- AH!” Izuku ran straight past her and threw himself behind the counter. There was a slight commotion but it was all drowned out by the pounding of his own heart.

 

Mary Lou’s blurry form came into view. She waved.

Izuku stared back at her with wide, blood-shot eyes. She sat next to him, purposefully a few feet away. Gratefully, a few feet away. She was speaking. Izuku couldn’t hear her but her voice sounded safe. “Safe” was not a word Izuku knew anymore. He didn’t believe in that word. And yet... her voice sounded like that word. Gradually, the more he listened to her voice, his breathing evened out and his vision cleared. Someone had taken over her station in the kitchen.

“Better?”

Izuku turned to her. He gave a shaky nod. She smiled and stood. She reached an arm out to him. Threat. Izuku flinched. Mary Lou giggled and withdrew it. “Worth a shot! How does the ‘usual’ sound?” Izuku gave a small nod. He shakily got to his feet. He stumbled a bit but caught himself. “Alright but you have to go to your table,” she said. “You can’t very well crouch behind the counter the whole time.” Izuku suddenly became hyperaware of his surroundings. He blushed slightly, avoiding eye-contact with the other customers. Izuku sat at his corner table.

 

Mary Lou sat his usual strawberry shortcake and glass of milk in front of him causing Izuku to flinch once again. She gave him a soft smile. “I’ll be back soon, okay, boy?” She never used his name in public. Izuku nodded his reply. Speaking was still not his favorite pastime. Izuku relaxed a little when he stuck his favorite tiny fork into his favorite treat and took a bite. Sweet… He didn’t know how long he was there before Mary Lou came back. He eyed her cautiously.

 

“Want to stay tonight?” she asked.

 

Since Mary Lou had first saved him, Izuku had stayed the night in her apartment twice.

He gulped. Motives, reasons, series of actions that could cause everything to go wrong presented by the offering party. All clean. The greenette nodded. She smiled. Izuku found that he liked her smile. She slid the keys over to him. “You can go on up if you want. There is food in the fridge. And I’ll give you the secret knock when I come up too, k?” Izuku liked it when she winked when she said ‘secret.’ It was like a super-secret code between them like a spy movie. A secret code between the two of them.

Or maybe he was just childish. He is twelve after all.

Izuku took the keys and swiftly made his way past the counter, into the breakroom, and up the stairs that lead up to the apartment. Immediately upon entering he locked the door, checked all of the windows, and drew the curtains to a close. Izuku curled up in the corner of the blue couch. He hugged the tan couch pillow to his chest. She had a candle burning on the coffee table. It smelled good. He yawned.

 

Izuku fell asleep.

 

_______________________________

 

Mary Lou shut off Soft Blossom Bakery’s lights, closing for the night. She climbed the stairs, her hand hesitating at the door.

 

Vigilante or not, Izuku is a little kid. That was why she opted for using the ‘secret’ knock. Any kid finds amusement in that. Any normal kid… The way he cowered beneath the counter mid-panic attack. No child should have that look in their eyes. No child should flinch so violently at the smallest of movements from someone else. She remembered when she first found him and had to change his clothes to take care of his wounds.

 

No child should have that many scars… 

 

She raised her fist. *Knock Knock Knock Knock*

She gave it a minute. Izuku was more than likely checking the peephole. The door clicked before it slowly opened to reveal the green-haired boy that looked small enough to be nine but was really twelve. He was rubbing at his eyes.

“Did you just wake up, Izuku?” she asked, walking in. She heard the door shut followed by the immediate *click* of the lock. Izuku hummed sleepily in response. Mary giggled. “Silly! You won’t be able to sleep tonight now!” She pulled on her house apron as she entered the kitchen.

 

“How does katsudon sound?” She had found out the last time he stayed the night instead of just visiting the bakery, probably two months ago, that Izuku adored katsudon. He may not say it and a smile might never grace his face, but she caught the way his eyes lit up when she first made it. She didn’t need to hear his response, not that he had given one. Mary Lou happily started on the meal.

“Oh, I forgot to mention it but I got some math and science books for you that should be around your grade level,” she mentioned. Mary Lou looked over her shoulder. Izuku was staring at her with wide, green eyes. She smiled. “Over by the television. You will see them to your right.” Izuku nodded sharply and was quick to make his way to them. The books were actually a few grade levels down. She took the liberty of lowering the difficulty considering Izuku didn’t go to school, she assumed.

 

Mary Lou was sad to have to pull the boy away from his reading when they ate but Izuku seemed more than willing when the Katsudon was set in front of him. He never finished it because he couldn’t stomach that much food so Mary Lou covered it for a meal some other time.

 

As she did bills, Izuku took a bath and read some more until it was time for bed. Mary Lou pulled out a big blue pillow and soft fuzzy red blanket with All Might on it. She set up the couch and watched Izuku crawl under. She wanted nothing more than to kiss him on the head and tuck the little greenette in for the night but she knew better. Mary Lou was grateful that he trusted her enough to stay here. The first time he left in the middle of the night. The second time he stayed the whole night. If she was lucky, he would stay some of the next day too. Wishful thinking.

“Good night, Izuku,” she said, shutting off the lights. A nightlight came on in the corner.

 

“G- good n- n- night,” she heard Izuku stutter out.

 

Mary Lou smiled and went to bed herself.

Wishful thinking indeed. When Mary Lou woke up for the next day, she noticed the apartment was a little colder. She entered the living room to see the blanket folded with the pillow on top. The window was cracked opened too. She turned her head to the kitchen. Yep. The dishes were done. Mary Lou ran a hand through her hair.

“Welp!” she chirped. “Time to start the day!”

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku sat in his alley munching on one of his Truffle Bars literally watching paint dry. He had spray-painted the bottoms and rim lines of his new black sneakers gold and, well, when your homeless it’s not like you have video games or a television to watch to pass the time.

He looked to the side, to Soft Blossom Bakery, as the sun began to breach over the city.

 

He saw the lights in Mary Lou’s apartment come on. A few seconds passed before the curtains opened. Izuku ducked behind the dumpster. He waited a second before peaking out again. She was still there and had obviously been waiting for him because as soon as he peaked out, the brunette smiled and waved.

 

Izuku hesitantly lifted a hand and waved back.

 

Chapter Text

It was supposed to be a great day. Realize the words “supposed to be.” Izuku found a few unopened cans of soup in the dumpster that were only a couple of days old. A golden opportunity for a free, semi-decent meal to someone in his living conditions. He ate one while he melted some scrap metal with the flamethrower before wrapping his hands in old rags to mold the metal around the base of his vigilanting shoes to add more power behind his kicks. He stashed the other two cans in his bag and crossed the street to Soft Blossom Bakery with his laptop. It had been a week since he stayed with Mary Lou last.

 

He sat down and she brought him the usual and Izuku ate while he posted a picture of his excursion from two days ago. It was him holding up bunny ears behind the head of the drug dealer he had just knocked out. He tagged Eraserhead and a couple of other underground heroes just to annoy them. For a brief moment, he recalled meeting Eraser on the streets but immediately turned his attention to other things as he felt his blood pressure spike upon thinking about it. Mary Lou came over with a pencil and paper. Upon further examination, Izuku realized that she had just given him a math test. Izuku stared at her in shock. He almost, ALMOST, smiled. 

Smiling is a weakness. Don’t ever smile.

Challenge accepted. Izuku got to work. Mary Lou told him that she would give him his grade tomorrow if he came in. Izuku knew what she was doing. She was making more opportunities for the boy to have to come in, using his love of studying against him but for once he didn’t actually mind.

 

Izuku spent much longer than he had thought he did. The sun was already going down when he stood up. His joints popped from sitting in the same position for so long. He waved at Mary Lou who waved back with a “See you tomorrow, boy.” She knew that he couldn’t stay away at the prospect of finding out his test score.

Izuku crossed the street, almost getting hit by a car, mind you, and ducked into his alley. He yawned loudly. He questioned if he should go out on patrol tonight or not. He was pretty tired from such a relaxing day. Ultimately, Izuku ate his other Truffle Bar that he had bought the weak prior for a source of energy and decided to go out.

 

He should have listened to his gut instinct of not going out.

 

When night fell, Izuku got dressed. He bounced around a bit to get used to moving with the new metal additions to his shoes. Izuku slid the mask on and peeked out from behind the dumpster at Mary Lou’s apartment.

There she was, like every night for the past weak, in the window despite the hour. Izuku waved, just barely visible by the street light. She waved back. It was almost encouraging. Now, with more confidence, Izuku jumped onto the fire escape. He had to work hard to make sure he could not be heard with his metal platforms but after the first few building jumps he had gotten it down. Izuku had always been a fast learner.

It was a quiet night. Izuku almost thought that nothing would happen tonight. He was dead wrong.

There was a soft *thump* behind him. Izuku stumbled as he was just about to leap between buildings. He whipped around to see none other than Eraserhead at the other end of the building. They were three stories high. A cold breeze blew by as the two stared at each other. Now, this has happened before. On a slow night, when neither of them was fighting, they would sometimes run into each other like this. Ultimately, Eraserhead would try to catch him and Izuku would run away. Izuku, in his overconfident Golden Whip persona, shifted his weight to his right leg, put a hand on his hip, and raised the other.

 

“Yo!”

 

“Golden Whip,” Eraser ‘greeted’ him.

 

“Howsit been?” Izuku asked. No reply. He chuckled. “I git it’s slow an’ all but ya really got nothin’ better to do than chase some vigilante down the red light?” His red lights accent had definitely thickened over time but Izuku really hadn’t noticed.

“Sadly,” Eraser said, hair raising and capture weapon floating, “no. I’m going to have to take you in, Golden Whip.” Izuku grinned. “We’ll just see ‘bout that.” Izuku sharply turned and lept off the building, rolling onto the next one. He turned and gave a mock salute to Eraser. “Catch me if ya can!”

Thus, their almost monthly cat and mouse chase began. They crossed the streets and climbed buildings. Izuku laughed as he dodged to the side, the whites of the capture weapon flashing by his right where he had been a second before. He unlatched his grappling hook and swung it to latch on the ledge of the next building. Izuku spun, running backward, and waved at Eraser before jumping off the building into the alley below. He caught himself just before impact by the rope. Izuku whipped it to release the hook and rolled it back up as he kept running. Eraserhead was hot on his tail, using his capture scarf much more effectively than Izuku could use his hook. Izuku saw the car coming, yes he did. And he ran out onto the street. He heard the fearful yell from Eraser telling him to be careful. The car barely missed Izuku and served to create a great barrier between the vigilante and hero if only for a minute, letting Izuku get further ahead. The greenette couldn’t keep this up forever, though. He could feel the fatigue building. The hero was in much better shape than the twelve-year-old underfed vigilante. He had to end this soon.

Izuku ducked into an alley and spotted his out, a sewer hole. He slammed his foot on the edge, metal on metal creaking a loud *CLANG*, and the hole’s lid went flying.

That was when it all went wrong.

 

Izuku was just about to jump down when he felt it. A feeling he hadn’t felt in so long. Dread filled his bones as the dull throb in his back from his past resurfaced. No… 

He got in a single glance of the string before he unwillingly went flying backward via his quirk.

 

Threat.

 

_______________________________

 

Shouta growled. Why could he never catch that dang child?! He was obviously faster than the vigilante so why was it always so hard to get his hands on the slippery fiend. Shouta felt his heart stop when Golden Whip bolted onto the street. Did he not see the car, obviously speeding, coming?!

Shouta reached out. “Watch ou-” he was cut off when he saw a sliver of green flow from the vigilantes back. Shouta did not know Golden Whip’s quirk, no one did. Most thought that he was quirkless but Shouta knew otherwise. His quirk could not activate if he looked at someone without a quirk. That green light had not been there before. He shook his head to clear his mind before dashing across the street when there was a break in traffic. He heard the *CLANG* of the vigilante’s usual escape, the sewers. Oh no you don’t! Shouta skidded around the corner. He saw Golden Whip about to jump in.

 

I will not let you get away this time! Shouta reached out with his right arm. His eyes widened as the green light returned from the kids back. It extended to form a sort of string to him. He didn’t know what it was but he had no other choice. Shouta wrapped his fingers around the string. He noticed Golden Whip freeze. Shouta took advantage of whatever had distracted his opponent and yanked the glowing green cord.

Golden Whip let out a yelp and Shouta’s eyes blew wide when the vigilante was ripped from his standing position and literally flew through the air at Shouta. It was thanks to his years of hero work that Shouta’s reflexes caught the kid.

 

Shouta stood there with his hands on Golden Whip’s shoulders trying to figure out what happened. The vigilante seemed to be frozen. He opened his mouth to speak but the kid suddenly lurched forward. Golden Whip tripped over his own feet, which was not a mistake the vigilante ever made, and crumpled to the floor. Shouta realized the opportunity and readied his capture weapon. He took a step forward before freezing when the child let out a blood-curling scream.

 

AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

 

It was a scream full of so much terror and pain that Shouta knew he would never forget. Golden Whip had his hands on his head and forehead pressed to the ground as he screamed. His whole body was shaking. Whatever had just happened obviously shook up the kid. That’s when Shouta remembered that, yes, this is a child. A child with a blatantly unstable mind. “Hey, kid,” he said as he took a small step forward. Golden Whip jolted and scrambled back.

“S- s- s- s- stay away!” Shouta could see the fast rising and falling of the vigilante’s chest. When the kid bumped into the wall, his mask slipped down, uncovering his right eye. It was green and blown wide. With a start, Shouta realized the kid was going into shock.

“Ok, you need to breathe with me, kid,” he said softly, Shouta took a small step forward and lift his hands to show that there was no weapon and appear vulnerable. However, when he lifted his hands, he noticed a green ribbon string itself around the boy’s wrist and another rope began to form toward’s Shouta. Golden Whips only visible eye focused on it too.

 

“ST- OP!” the kid screamed again, voice cracking harshly. Shouta didn’t know what it was but he knew that if he kept walking it would only get worse. He stopped and crouched down. Once Shouta lowered his hands the green rope disappeared. He could hear the gasps that Golden Whip was taking despite his chest heaving. 

Shouta furrowed his eyebrows. “Is that your qui-”

 

“NO! I- It’s- I- My- qui- No! It’s just-” He’s breathing too harshly, Shouta thought. At this rate, he’ll pass out from asphyxiation. I need to get him to calm down. Shouta habitually raised his hands. A green string immediately formed from Golden Whip’s chest and extended to him. Shouta looked up at the child and his heart stopped for a second. Golden Whip’s mask had slipped completely off letting Shouta witness the full range of emotions. The greenette’s eyes twitched wildly and Shouta could see his body begin to twitch too. His chest heaved as if he was taking in deep breaths but his breathing was too unstable to get more than a slight wisp of air. He was pale as death and a twisted frown crossed the kid’s face as he hiccuped in between breaths. Golden Whip curled in on himself and let out another glass-shattering scream.

GET AWAAAAAAYYYY!!!!!!!!” 

Shouta took multiple steps back in shock. Shouta tested out his theory. He put his hands down and the green rope of light dissolved. He raised his hand, it appeared. Shouta activated his quirk, it disappeared.

He remembered grabbing the string and pulling. The kid came flying at me- Oh my gosh… Shouta stared at the vigilante. 

 

As someone who has a quirk to eraser other quirks temporarily, Shouta had done much research on quirks and he was pretty intuitive. It wasn’t set in stone but Shouta had a sinking feeling that he knew what this kid’s quirk was.

A quirk activated by others to be able to control or drag the kid. Suddenly so many pieces clicked in place. Especially remembering the case a few years back.



-----

 

Shouta stood in the Midoriya apartment surveying the place. They had just gotten the owner, Ms. Inko Midoriya, to finally tell them the truth of her missing son’s quirk after she was caught for lying. The walls and doorframes all had massive dents and holes in them.

Shouta read over the quirk file. Izuku Midoriya had previously been registered as quirkless but now it was being changed to the quirk the woman called “Puppet.” The description of the quirk was terrifying, to say the least. If in the wrong hands… He glanced at the dents and then at Ms. Midoriya. They didn’t have proof but…

‘You will need to accompany us to the station, Ms. Midoriya,” he said.

 

At the police station, they heard of a sickening tale that Ms. Midoriya could not get out of telling with the detective there checking her for lies. A tell of abuse. The saddest part was that the missing kid, Izuku Midoriya, couldn’t fight back because of the nature of his quirk. The worst part? Ms. Midoriya didn’t think that she was doing anything wrong.

 

‘He’s MINE . I can do whatever I want with him!’

 

Power is unwillingly given to her all because that poor child was born with that quirk and she thought that it was her right to take advantage of it. That poor child. Shouta could not blame him for running away.

 

-----

 

Shouta took a deep breath. This kid… This kid is Izuku Midoriya. The boy was mumbling.

“ItsalloverI’mdoneforPleasegoawayDon’thurtmeI’msorryIwon’tdoitagainI’llbebetterGoawayStopPleaseIdon’twantthisGoawayGoawayGoawayPleaseLeaveStopItsoverNoNoNo-” Shouta was just about to cut in when a giggle bubbled from the kid’s throat.

“Ha… Ha Ha HA!” He was taken back by the inhumane grin that split the kid’s face. “IT’S ALL OVER!” he yelled. Shouta felt his blood run cold when Golden Whip’s eyes landed on him. “Well?! What are you gonna do, huh? You gonna use me too?! Go ahead! I can’t stop you!”

He’s hyperventilating. Shouta wanted to reach out but he couldn’t without the kid’s quirk activating. Wait, yes I can if I use mine.

Shouta activated his quirk against Golden Whip. “Kid-” “Oh! I see how it is!” Golden Whip yelled. “You tryna use your quirk to get me to let my guard down, ey? Too late for that! IT’S ALL OVER! I’M SCREWED!

 

Suddenly Golden Whip jumped up with sudden clarity in his eyes. Shouta watched him jump onto the fire escape. “Hey, kid? What are you doing?” Shouta’s heart stopped. He was quick to follow the vigilante. “Kid wait!” Golden Whip was at the edge of the building, no grappling hook prepared.

 

“Kid, stop. You don’t have to do this. I won’t hurt you,” he tried to sound as reassuring as possible.

“LIAR!” Golden Whip screamed. “I’D RATHER DIE THAN GO THROUGH THAT AGAIN!

“Wai- KID!” The vigilante fell backward. Shouta lurched forward. What do I do!? The thought spark. He let his quirk go. Shouta reached down at the vigilante, a green rope sprung from the falling child’s chest. Shout grabbed it and pulled it. Golden Whip’s body jolted. A loud *SNAP* sounded, the string broke, and the kid screamed out in pain before he continued to fall with less momentum. Suck! Shouta reached again, grabbing at the string that came from the child’s right wrist. *SNAP* He reached out one last time and grabbed onto the string that extended from the kid’s left wrist. With the lost momentum from the past two tries, this string didn’t snap. Golden Whip dangled just above the ground.

Shouta let out a deep breath and pulled Golden Whip up by the kid’s quirk. He grabbed the kid and let go of the string. Shouta sat on the roof with the shaking child in his arms.

 

“W- hy…?”

 

Shouta looked down at the vigilante. Tears pooled from his green, bloodshot eyes.

 

“Why did you save me…? I don’t want to go back… Not again. Just let me die. I’d rather die…”

 

Shouta felt his heart break. “Kid,” he held the crying vigilante tighter. “You won’t go back. I promise… Just don’t die.” He looked into the child’s eyes. “I won’t let anyone use you like that ever again, so trust me just this once, okay?”

Golden Whip chuckled, a chuckle so wrong for a boy his age. “Like I have a choice.” Shouta frowned. “You do have a choice. I won’t force you and since you are a minor you won’t be thrown in jail, only under house arrest.”

Another laugh. “I’m homeless, ‘raser.”

Shouta’s frown deepened. If the obvious thinness of the child wasn’t clue enough then the weightlessness of him was as Shouta was still holding him. Golden Whip was too exhausted to fight back. Or maybe he had just given up.

“We will find a place for you to stay,” he said.

“What? In a foster home or somethin’?”

Shouta shook his head. “Hopefully not is someone takes you. If you have someone in mind then we will try our best to get them. The point is though that you DO have a choice.”

 

He thought he saw it: a spark in the vigilante’s eyes. It was gone just as fast as it came.

“So? Will you let us help you?” he questioned. The greenette let out a tired sigh, too much held in one for someone so young. “Do whatever you want… I’m done… I give up…”

“Hey, now, don’t give up now. Look, we are going to help you, okay?” he bargained. Golden Whip didn’t reply. He just stared at the sky, blinking every once in a while. He seemed perfectly content on not speaking. Shouta sighed. “Hold on, kid.” Shouta made his way to the police station.

 

Shouta tried to make small talk but the kid didn’t budge. Upon entering the police station, Shouta sat Golden Whip down in a chair in the lobby. He watched the kids head loll to the side and body slump. Shouta furrowed his brows. The kid was still breathing and his eyes were open.

 

-----

 

‘What’s the quirk’s name?’

 

‘Puppet.’

 

-----

 

‘I give up…’

 

-----

 

Shouta looked at Golden Whip, gently lifting the kid’s face to look him in the eys. Golden Whip didn’t even flinch. His eyes were scarily empty. It almost reminded Shouta of… 

 

a puppet with its strings cut.

 

Chapter Text

Why? Why is this happening? What did I do wrong? I get that vigilantism is illegal but I am still helping people. What did I do to deserve this? I can’t go through that again! I need to run. What would that do? He’ll just catch me again. He knows my quirk. He’ll use it against me. HE KNOWS! Now he is telling everyone else. They ALL know.

Izuku glanced up from his position on the chair in the police station. Eraser was talking with the front desk who obviously didn’t care. No one cared enough in the red lights about actually taking in criminals. Izuku couldn’t hear what they were talking about. Everything muddled in his mind. Just as he thought colors were popping back, everything turned back to the blacks and greys that his mind viewed the world through.

I know how this is going to go. They will use me and torture me just like Inko. Then they will tell Inko. Inko will come back and lock me up forever to never see the light of day again and to betorturedbymyquirkforeverwhytheheckwasIbornlikethiswiththisquirkwhyinthisworldatthistimeinthisplaceIdon’twanttobeheretakemenowkillmesomeonehelp!
“-id, bre- athe-”
Threat.
“Yo- -eed to brea- e.”
Threat!
“Kid-”
THREAT! Izuku thrust his hands forward, moving for the first time he was taken in, and they came into contact with something, rather, someone. Izuku felt his eye twitch. He was standing. Huh? When did I stand? He looked down at the floor where there was a man dressed in all black with a white scarf on the floor. THREAT!
The man started to stand. Izuku could feel his vision tilt. Black spots sparked in his line of sight obstructing clear view. Izuku stumbled, swaying back and forth. Can’t breathe. Breath. Need to breathe. Can’t. Does it matter? Not really. Just let go.
The figure was trying to say something. Izuku looked him up and down.
!THREATTHREATTHREATTHREATTHREATTHREATTHEATTHREATTHREATTHREAT!
Just let go.

Okay… 

Izuku fell forward, the world going black.

 

_______________________________

 

Shouta was quick to catch the kid. He just dropped like a ragdoll!
Shouta was talking with the annoying officer at the front desk who was the prime example of why the red light district had gotten so bad and when he turned around, Golden Whip who was previously unresponsive was hyperventilating again.
Shouta sighed. He gently picked up the child again. It was then he noticed the dislocated shoulder. He vividly remembered the snapping of the strings. The jolt probably dislocated it. Shouta repositioned Golden Whip into a hopefully more comfortable position before leaving the police station. Shouta was taking him to a police station in a better part of town that would actually care about the disturbed child. When the police car pulled up, Shouta got in the back, gently laying Golden Whip down in the back, letting the greenettes head rest on his legs.

It was about a forty-five-minute drive out of the red light district. Shouta didn’t realize how far into it they were. Upon arriving, Golden Whip was laid a back room to continue resting while Shouta went over the case with Detective Tsukauchi.
They both turned mid-conversation to the sound of the vigilante waking up. Both tensed in anticipation. Like clockwork, Golden Whip shot up in a panic that only worsened when he took notice of the handcuffs slapped on his wrists. Shouta got up. Golden Whip turned to him with wild eyes. Being able to actually see the kid’s whole face showed Shouta just how much of a child this vigilante truly was. He watched the green eyes dull upon seeing Shouta which was disturbing, to say the least.

“O- oh…” Golden Whip whispered. “I- it’s not a d- dream…” Shouta’s chest hurt. The stutter and soft voice were so different than the confident one that Shouta had become so accustomed to when the two worked together. Shouta gave the best smile he could. “I’m afraid not. We need you to answer some questions for us. Can you do that?” There was no response other than a slight nod. Shouta showed Golden Whip to the seat next to his and they sat across from Detective Tsukauchi who took over.

“What is your name?”
No response.
“What is your name?” Again.
Deep breath. “I- Izuku.” TRUTH.
“What is your last name?”
No response.

Shouta sighed and turned to the child. “Come on, kid. If we are going to help you get out of the worst possible trouble then you need to work with us.” Forest green eyes glanced at him before looking back down. Shouta turned back to Tsukauchi and nodded.

“What is your last name?”
“I d- d- don’t have o- one any m- more.” TR-LIE-UTH.
Tsukauchi raised an eyebrow. “What was your last name when you did have one, then?”
“... M- Midoriya…” TRUTH. Shouta mentally winced at the venom in the word despite the stutter.
“Are you the vigilante ‘Golden Whip?’”
“Yes.” TRUTH.
“Did you run away from home four years ago?”
“Y- yes.” TRUTH.
“Is your quirk ‘Puppet?’”
… Shouta noticed that the boy began to shake next to him. “Y- y- yes…” TRUTH.
Tsukauchi nodded. “Were you abused by Inko Midoriya?”
Shouta bit his tongue. He knew this was necessary for putting the woman behind bars and justifying the kid. But he also knew that this wasn’t easy on the kid.
“Yes…” TRUTH.
“Did she use your quirk to abuse you?”
“Yes.” TRUTH.

Tsukauchi closed the file and turned off the recording device. “Alright, Mido-” he stopped midsentence when the kid glared at him. “Alright… Izu-” He stopped again. Tsukauchi gulped. In cuffs or not, this kid could produce a terrifying aura. “Alright… Golden Whip,” Tsukauchi finally started again, “we have everything we need from you to put Inko Midoriya behind bars.” The greenette’s head snapped up.
“W- what?” he breathed out.
Tsukauchi nodded. “Your testimony combined with my quirk and her questioning has given us enough evidence to arrest Inko Midoriya under the charges of child abuse and lying on legal documents. With this, we will also be able to help you get out of most legal issues under the guise of mental instability.” Shouta watched the kid flinch. But he didn’t deny it.
Good… the first step to healing is admitting you’re hurt.

There was a tense silence. “As for what happens now,” Tsukauchi continued, “we have a few options for yo-”
“I don’t care…” the boy whispered. “No matter what happens it’s just going to be the same…”
Shouta took a sharp inhale. He turned to the boy and gently grabbed his small, boy shoulders. The boy flinched but Shouta did not let go. “Kid, you need to understand that not everybody is like Ms. Midoriya. NOt everyone is out to hurt you or even wants to hurt you. We just want to he-”
“YEAH RIGHT!” Gold Whip yelled, effectively shutting him up. The greenette stood and glared at the two of them so hard that if looks could kill then both would be in their graves right now.

“I KNOW how you people are! You just want me to lower my guard. You are all the same! Evil!” It was hard to understand most of the rant with the thick street accent and the obvious mental turmoil but Shouta would let the vigilante get it off his chest. “The second I turn my back you will come after me, use me, beat me, rape me-” Shouta’s heart stopped at that. “It’s happened all before! Even from those who didn’t know my dang quirk! But you do KNOW it! Don’t act like you are going to be any different ‘caus I know you aren’t! I KNOW!!!
He was having another panic attack. Shouta tried to calm him down but the boy jumped back.
DON’T TOUCH ME! I don’t need your pity! I don’t need your help!”

Shouta stood up. “Maybe not but you WANT it, right?”
The kid’s eye twitched. “Hah?
Shouta gulped. “You’re scared, I get that. You have every right to be. But this wall you have put between others and yourself was forced. You had to do it to protect yourself, not because you wanted to.”
“Shut up…”
“No, listen to me,” Shouta left no room for argument. “The smile and confident Golden WHip, that is still you. That isn’t a character that you put up, that is the you that you’ve trapped to protect yourself. You are only hurting yourself by hiding the real you. You might not know it because you’ve been pushed this far but you both need and want help.” Shouta took a deep breath. “You are scared, scars mark your body and your mind, some of which will never heal. But with time, and with help, you can grow from your wounds.”
The greenette hung his head, body trembling. Shouta cautiously approached him. He gently pulled the child into his arms. When Golden Whip flinched, Shouta wondered how long it had been since this touch-starved child had actually been hugged.

“Let us help you,” he whispered.

There was a pause before the kid let out a strangled wail. Shouta’s heart broke all over again at the sheer amount of pain in that single sound. Tsukauchi and Shouta listened to the cries and screams of a broken child for the next half hour. The child pulled on Shouta’s shirt, hanging onto him as though his life depended on it. His body shook as though it was twenty degrees below freezing. He was trying to say things in between broken sobs. Shouta only hugged the boy tighter and closer, heart breaking all the while.
Finally, the sobs reduced into tiny hiccups. Shouta didn’t dare let go until Golden Whip took a step back himself.

“S- s- sorry…” Shouta smiled. “Don’t apologize when you have done nothing wrong.”

Once they were all seated, they decided on what to do with the boy.
“For certain,” Tsukauchi started, “you are going to have to stop your vigilanting work.”
The boy flinched but didn’t say anything. “I am sure you understand why. If you continue then we will have to press further charges.”
“C- can I a- at least p- post a g- g- goodbye on H- Hipstagram?” Tsukauchi sighed. “I supposed but then we will be deleting the account after twenty-four hours to give your followers time to see it. Okay?” Golden Whip nodded. Shouta got the feeling that he didn’t like speaking all that much.
“Now, we will need to find you a place to stay. If you do not have anyone in mind, we can find you a safe-”

“I have one but…”

Shouta raised an eyebrow. That’s a surprise.
“But what?” Tsukauchi pushed.
“I don’t wanna be a burden…” Shouta resisted the urge to slam his head on the table. You’ve been tortured and secluded all of your life. Think about yourself for once!
“How about this,” Tsukauchi continued. “We will go meet the person you are thinking of and do a quick background check and see if they would be okay with housing you for the time that you will be under house arrest. Does that sound good?” Golden Whip nodded.
“W- will you t- tell ‘er?” he asked. So it’s a girl.
“Tell her what?” Tsukauchi asked back.
“A- about everything? M- my p- past a- and my qu- quirk?”

Tsukauchi nodded. “I’m afraid we have to but if you trust this person enough to recommend her I am sure that she is safe enough to tell.” Golden Whip had nothing more to say. Without much further conversation, they loaded back into the police car and began their way back to the red light district.

 

_______________________________

 

Mary Lou very much did not expect to be woken up by a call from the Musutafu Police Department. She also did not expect to have to go downstairs and to open the bakery’s door to see Izuku in handcuff’s and in his costume without his mask with two older men behind him.
“Boy…?” She questioned.
“Hello, Miss,” one of the men greeted her. “My name is Detective Tsukauchi, and this is Pro Hero, Eraserhead,” he said gesturing to the tired-looking man on the other side of Izuku.
“Would you mind if we came in?”

That night, Mary Lou learned some highly disturbing things about the boy she had come to care for. Izuku sat next to Eraserhead at the table with his head down as the adults told Mary Lou about Izuku’s past. His quirk, the abuse, the running away, and the vigilantism. She felt sick. At the end of it, Detective Tsukauchi asked her a question.

“If at all possible, it would seem that Golden Whip,” they had avoided using the kid’s name, as well, which reminded her that up until now she had never been told Izuku’s last name, “trusts you more than anyone else so we were wondering if for the span of his time on house arrest you would take him into your home?”
Mary Lou looked at the boy who would not meet her eyes. The decision had already been made.

“Of course!” she chirped. Mary Lou smiled when Izuku looked up at her.
After a quick background check using the detective’s quirk, the handcuffs were taken off of Izuku and a house arrest space monitor was set up to her house, and bakery they decided, and wrapped around Izuku’s ankle.

Eraserhead would be coming by every once in a while to check in on Izuku. Eraserhead crouched in front of Izuku as they all gathered by the door.
“Don’t worry, problem child, I’ll be back.”
With that, they left.

Mary Lou looked at Izuku. He was staring at the ground, clutching his golden pants. Mary Lou took a deep breath. She always knew to be cautious around the child but now that she had the full story, she had to make sure to be very careful of any and all potential triggers.
“Izuku?” The boy flinched much more violently than usual. He looked up at her. Mary Lou gave the shaking boy a soft smile. “Would you like to watch a movie?”

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku watched Mary Lou closely as she put in the movie. He sat as close to the armrest of the right side of the couch as possible. Mary Lou sat in the middle a bit to the left. The movie started and suddenly Izuku remembered a memory from many years ago. A memory of Inko and him watching a nature documentary. It wasn’t a good one.
Izuku turned his head slowly to look at Mary Lou. Threat.
The movie played in the background. Threat.
The woman across from him. Th- Threat…?
He didn’t realize that he was crying until Mary Lou turned to him as well. She didn’t say anything, only held out her arms. Izuku almost screamed when the green string from his quirk grew back painfully from where it had broken off his chest and extended to Mary Lou. He shook violently.
Then he noticed something.

Mary Lou wasn’t taking the string.

He knew she had seen it, her eyes flickered down to it before she looked back at Izuku. Still, she made no movement to grab it. She just held her arms out. Izuku understood. She wasn’t going to force him. He choked on a sob and lurched forward. The green string disappeared as Izuku collided with Mary Lou. She pet his hair as he cried once again that night.

The blacks and greys of his filtered vision burst into blues and reds and yellows and all of the colors of the rainbow! It was so beautiful. The world was so vivid.

Izuku felt his eyelids droop as he began to calm down.
He fell asleep in her arms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thr- SAFE - reat.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku’s emerald eyes fluttered open. He felt so… rested. More rested than he had ever felt before. Izuku sat up. He pats the blue couch. It was soft. Blue is a nice color. He ran his hands along the All Might blanket. The yellows and reds popped. He surveyed the living room with soft tan walls. The bird clock on the wall read 2:24 pm. He slept a while. Or not, considering how late it was when he first arrived at Mary Lou’s apartment. Izuku hummed.

His eyes widened. It took approximately 5.3 seconds for the events of the night before. The beautiful colors shut off like a light: blacks and greys overlapping the reds, blues, and yellows. The walls felt like they were closing in. The air felt too thin. Black spotted his vision. The ticking of the clock was tripled by his own rapid heartbeat pounding in his ears.

No. NO! NONONONONONONONONONONONON-

 

*KnockKnock KnockKnock*

 

Izuku jumped, efficiently falling off of the couch. That was the ‘secret’ knock. Izuku shakily got to his feet. He pushed onto his tippytoes to peek through the peephole. Letting out a breath of relief, Izuku placed his feet flat down again. He unlocked the door and opened it slowly. As soon as Mary Lou came into view, all the colors seemed to fade back in, flowing out from her. Izuku was quick to close the door and lock it once more.

Mary Lou giggled. “Ever the jumpy one. I came to check up on you,” she said as she crossed to the kitchen. “And to make sure you eat.” Izuku didn’t respond, of course. He followed her in though and watched her as she made a grilled cheese sandwich and heated up a can of tomato soup.

 

“When did you wake up?” she asked. Probably knowing that Izuku wasn’t going to verbally reply, she turned her head to him. “Did you just wake up?” she asked astonishedly. Izuku nodded, blushing a bit.

Izuku followed Mary Lou over to the table where she sat down the bowl of tomato soup and the grilled cheese sandwich that she had cut the crusts off of. Izuku sat down.

“You know, it’s better if you dip the grilled cheese in the soup,” she said with a wink. “I’ve got to go back down and work but you eat. Come down if you want to since you are also allowed down there.” She opened the door and grinned. “If you come down, you will get your test score and the usual. Oh, and you might want to change clothes first. We can get you new clothes later but for now, your hoodie and sweats are by the TV.”

She KNEW Izuku would come down for that. Mary Lou was smart. Izuku looked down. He was still in his vigilanting clothes. Izuku ate as quickly as he could but his stomach simply could not handle that much food. He ended up getting through half of the bowl of soup and half of the sandwich.

 

Side note: Mary Lou was correct. The grilled cheese was better dipped in the soup.

 

After depositing the dishes by the sink, Izuku got dressed in his worn-out street clothes. He ended up grabbing one of the math books Mary Lou had bought him. He made sure to double-check all of the windows and draw all of the curtains before leaving the apartment, locking it with the keys Mary Lou had left on the counter.

Izuku peeked around the corner. Mary Lou was busy filling the display case so she didn’t notice him. Izuku walked past her silently and made his way from behind the counter and to his normal seat. No one ever really sat there. It had kind of been designated to him in a way. People just knew not to just in case Izuku popped in.

 

Izuku did get his test score of 92% and a sparkly sticker that said “GREAT JOB!

Personally, he would have liked it higher but he was technically self-taught so he would take what he got.

The day was strangely… peaceful. Calm.

 

Izuku didn’t like it.

 

He had gotten so used to always looking over his shoulder and fighting to survive that the prospect of being in a “safe zone" gave him more anxiety than not.

“That is called PTSD, kid,” Eraser said. He visited a week into Izuku’s house arrest. They sat on the couch, at their own respective ends, Izuku making his hate of contact obvious, criss-cross facing each other. Mary Lou was preparing tea in the kitchen.

“Have you ever heard of it?” Izuku shook his head. “Well,” Eraser said, leaning on the armrest, “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is when one who has experienced a traumatic event in their life and they have a difficult time recovering from it, often resulting in nightmares and constant anxiety. Considering what you have gone through, I would be more worried if you did not have some form of PTSD.”

Izuku sighed, audibly, but did not say anything, of course. “Don’t worry about it, kid. We can get you a counselor if you wa-” he stopped when Izuku viciously shook his own head. “Yeah, I didn’t think so.” Izuku did not want to tell anyone else about his past and especially not about his quirk. He could handle this “PTSD” thing by himself.

 

“I can get you some anxiety pills the next time I come.” Mary Lou came in with the tea. Izuku watched Eraser personally take the cup from her. She offered one to Izuku. Izuku tried, he really did, but as soon as he reached out to take the cup, he could visualize the string forming, even if it really wasn’t. He snapped his hand and arm back against his chest, holding his wrist with his other hand. Izuku slightly winced at the movement. His shoulder had been reset five days ago but it was still sore. Mary Lou gave a small smile at his violent reaction to attempting to take the cup but didn’t say anything, instead setting the cup on the coffee table.

“That would be great, Mr. Aizawa,” she said, sitting in the yellow love seat next to the couch. Shouta Aizawa, that was Eraserhead’s real name. Izuku still referred to him as Eraser though. In his mind, at least, since Izuku hardly spoke.

 

“It is my understanding that Izuku will be staying here for six months?” she questioned. Eraser nodded. “That is correct.” Izuku took his cup of tea blowing on it gently, before sipping the liquid while the adults conversed. “I was wondering if there would be any way to get him some form of actual education?” the brunette asked, effectively catching Izuku’s attention. “I assume that he will have to go back into society after his house arrest and I feel that it would be beneficial that he is at his grade level when he does.”

Eraserhead hummed. “I understand where you are coming from. I will see what I can do but in the end, it will be up to Izuku,” because Eraser had to call him something aside from Golden Whip or Midoriya, “and how comfortable he feels with another person in such close vicinity.” Eraser turned to him. “I could ask a few teachers from UA as I am a teacher there so everyone that would potentially teach you would be a Pro Hero. That means that they would do nothing to purposefully harm you.” Izuku narrowed his eyes at the word “purposefully” which he is sure Eraser caught. “Would that be okay?”

 

Izuku didn’t know how to feel about this. Suddenly everyone was asking what HE wanted. It was as if they actually cared. They do care. He looked down at the cup of tea that was warming his hands and shrugged.

 

There was a hum of some sort from Eraserhead. “How about this, I will bring over Present Mic, he teaches English, for a trial run. If it goes well, we will build from there, alright?” Izuku will admit that his fanboy side lept at the idea of meeting the voice hero but Izuku would never let that show. Emotions are a weakness. He had already given these two enough to work with and you better bet that he wouldn’t give them any more leeway into ways to break him down. Izuku simply gave another small nod.

“Okay,” Eraser confirmed, standing. Izuku tensed at the sudden movement, eyes trained on the mans hands. Izuku always had his eyes fixed on a persons hands more than anything. watching, waiting for them to reach out to him and take hold of him. Eraserhead moved a bit slower after that. “I will contact you beforehand. I’ll be going then,” he said, placing his empty cup on the table. “Thank you, Miss,” he said before leaving. Izuku set his cup down and immediately ran to the door, locking it from the inside. He let out a breath he hadn’t known he had been holding.

 

Izuku turned back to Mary Lou who was at the table but made no effort to move from the door.

She smiled and waved gently. Izuku narrowed his eyes but let his grip slid off the door handle. He walked over to her.

“I am very proud of you for accepting to have another person here,” she said. Izuku felt his chest tighten. He blushed a bit and looked away. Izuku jumped back a few feet when she got up suddenly. She made no mention of it. “I got you something,” she said. “Follow me.” He did, albeit multiple feet behind. Mary Lou went down the hallway and opened the closet door. She pulled out two large, white bags. Izuku stiffened when she held them out to him. Mary Lou set them down on the floor, allowing Izuku to bend down and examine the contents. His eyes widened.

Inside one bag held an array of multicolored shirts, t-shirts, and socks. In the other held shorts, jeans, underwear, and on the top… Izuku pulled out a bright yellow hoodie with a white star on it. He looked up at Mary Lou.

 

“They are all for you,” she chirped. “While you might have lived off of your current hoodie and sweats while you were on the streets, I refuse to let you only have those. You now have a full wardrobe.” Izuku could feel tears prick at his eyes but he didn’t let them fall. He hugged the hoodie to his chest and looked down, the fabric soft against his chin.

 

“T- thank y- you…” he whispered.

 

-----

 

The next day, Izuku sat on the couch with his laptop. He sighed sadly as he pressed post on his final post for Golden Whip. It was a picture of him in his costume bowing on top of a building. Then a picture of him looking up and smiling. Then a picture of him with the peace sign. Then a collage of pictures from some of his patrols. On the last picture was with his sleeve rolled up to reveal a tattoo of his golden masquerade mask and a black whip swirling around it. The caption read:

Thank you, all, for your support. It has been a lot of fun but now I must take my leave. Maybe not forever. I might come back legally but we will have to see! Until furth a due, ta ta!

Izuku rolled up the sleeve of his yellow hoodie to examine the tattoo. He had gotten it a month ago. He loved it. Maybe if he ever became a hero he could go back to being Golden Whip?

 

-----

 

Eraser came again the next week. Izuku, clad in bright red shorts and the bright yellow hoodie, all but nailed himself to the far wall of the living room when a tall man with long yellow hair and glasses followed him in. Izuku’s eyes examined the newcomer. Good build, white t-shirt, leather jacket, black jeans, glasses, small yellow mustache to match his hair. Izuku audibly growled when the man looked at him and waved.

Mary Lou slowly approached Izuku. “Izuku,” she said softly, “this is Present Mic in his civilian clothes.” Izuku was unconvinced. “Proof.” Eraserhead nudged ‘Mic.’ The apparent ‘hero’ pulled out a wallet and handed it to Eraser who crossed the dining room and living room, topping halfway before tossing the wallet over to Izuku who caught it. Sure enough, there was the hero’s license. Izuku let out a deep breath. That being said, hero or not, Izuku was not going to let his guard down. Izuku tossed it back to Eraser.

 

Present Mic came over slowly. “Hey, little listener!” he cheered. He was loud. That’s okay. Izuku likes loud people. “I hear you’re looking to learn?” Izuku gave a small nod. Mary Lou stood a little bit behind him, gesturing for Izuku to unglue himself from the wall. Unwillingly, Izuku complied. He gave a small nod before sitting in his favorite part of the couch, the far, FAR, right. “That’s great!” chirped the hero. “It’s always great to want to learn and better yourself!” Izuku lifted an eyebrow. ‘Better’ yourself? Present Mic slid a paper over the coffee table along with a pencil. “Here ya go, little listener. This is just a short English test to see where you are right now in your studies so we know where to begin from. Think you can complete that for me?”

What am I, five? Of course, I can! Izuku nodded sharply and got to work, always keeping an eye on the three adults at the table in the kitchen.

 

As it would turn out, Izuku was a grade level behind his age which was understandable.

 

They made a plan for Mic to come every Monday after UA let out. The next week, though, Midnight came. Then Cementoss. Soon, most weekday afternoons were taken up by heroes which one would think any child would be elated to have basically have their own personal entourage of hero teachers but Izuku was no normal child. Izuku was constantly on edge, his one safe zone in Mary Lou’s apartment was being taken over by others. By the end of the month, Izuku felt like he was going crazy.

It wasn’t all bad though. Eraserhead came every other day and Mic would sometimes tag along even if it wasn’t his designated day to teach Izuku. Izuku found that he didn’t mind the man. Much. Mary Lou seemed fine with him. She laughed a bit more when he was around and light pink dusted her cheeks. It was the first Monday in December when Present Mic was teaching English verbs when Izuku surprised himself and everyone in the room.

 

“Alright,” Present Mic pointed to the list of sentences. “Can you tell me which one of these correctly uses the English word ‘runs?’” Now, usually, Izuku would point to the number or letter corresponding but today… 

 

“A…?” His eyes widened at the sound of his own voice leaving his mouth. Izuku hardly spoke, even to Mary Lou. He was slowly getting used to speaking but it was still a far cry from how normal conversations should go and he definitely didn’t speak to anyone he did not like or trust. Izuku glanced up at Present Mic. The hero beamed at him. Izuku looked at Mary Lou. She gave a big ol’ thumbs up. Izuku blushed and looked down.

“S- sorry…”

Present Mic clapped his hands together loudly. Izuku jumped. “Correct! Don’t apologize for being wrong!” Wrong about the question or wrong for speaking. It took him a second to realize that Mic was alluding to both. Izuku looked at him with round eyes. He gave a sharp nod.

Present Mic punched the air. “Alright! Next question!” Izuku almost, ALMOST, giggled.

 

Present Mic is fun. He’s loud. Izuku likes loud people. 

 

_______________________________

 

Shouta stopped at the door. “I’ll be out, give me a second,” he requested of Yamada.

“Sure thing!” the man chirped before going downstairs. Shouta sighed and closed the door.

“Is something wrong, Mr. Aizawa?” asked Miss Mary Lou. Shouta looked over his shoulder and past her to the green-haired boy who was drawing on the couch but still stealing glances over at Shouta. “Can I talk to Izuku real quick?”

Mary Lou narrowed her eyes. “Only if you tell me what this is about first.” Shouta almost chuckled. She had spunk, he’d give her that. The woman couldn’t be much younger than him so it made sense. Not everyone was as cynical as Shouta. Shout sighed. He lowered his voice. “Izuku has a tattoo on his shoulder that identifies him as Golden Whip.”

Shouta watched as Mary Lou’s face slowly changed to realize what he had just said.

“How do you know this?” she asked.

“It was in his last post on Hipstagram. Can I please speak with him?”

 

“I- No.”

 

Shouta’s eyebrows raised. “No?” The woman nodded sharply. “You heard it, that kid was raped. How do you think he will react if you suddenly go up and ask him to show you that?” Shouta had to admit that she had a pretty good point.

“While that is true I wasn’t going to ask him to do anything, just inform him that I know and that he will have to get the tattoo removed at some point.”

“At some point but not right now,” she said sharply. “I don’t know what you think you are doing or if you think that what you are doing is for the boy or for your own self-righteous reasons but illegal vigilante or not that boy has had everything forcibly taken from him in the span of one night. That thing on his ankle has even taken away what freedom he felt he had. How do ya think I feel having to keep him knowin’ that he feels like a caged animal when before this whole ordeal I told him that I would protect him? I don’t know when he got it but when he got that tattoo that was probably his asserting ‘imself and tryna to hold on to that little bit of resemblance to an innocent happy child that he should be. As someone tryna to help himself and bring back ‘is own happiness when no one else would. ‘Golden Whip’ was not a persona, Eraserhead, it was Izuku trying to keep himself sane. If you think that Imma just let you take away the last thing that he has to identify himself and as the one thing he did for himself to try ta fix what the world had broken in him than you can take your business elsewhere but you WILL NOT touch Izuku.”

 

Like a slap in the face, Shouta realized as her usual soft voice faded into the red light districts accent that they very much are in the red light district and the people here, sweet bakery owners or not, are incredibly protective of those they have deemed ‘family’ or ‘comrades.’ It’s what made taking down gangs so hard because no one gave up information on their allies.

 

“Calm down,” he huffed. “I didn’t say now. When Izuku is in a better state of mind. I am just informing you of it. I don’t have any ‘self-righteous’ reasons for helping the kid, trust me. I’ve worked with him long enough to actually care about him in some way or fashion. I just want what is best for him. We won’t force the tattoo from him now but if at any point it becomes his fall back and prevents Izuku from growing beyond is trauma and healing then we will have it removed. Okay?”

 

She seemed satisfied with that. “Alright,” she agreed in her usual soft voice. “I am sorry for my rudeness earlier.”

 

Shouta left soon after, meeting up with Yamada.

“You look like you forgot your morning coffee,” was the first thing the yellow-haired man greeted him with. Shouta narrowed his eyes. “The red light district… turns even the sweetest into terrifying creatures.”

Yamada had nothing to reply to that.


Shouta looked up at the evening sky as they walked. He remembered the caption from Golden Whip's final post.

 

-----

 

'I might come back legally but we will have to see!'

 

-----

 

Legally, huh? Shouta thought to himself, drowning out Yamada's constant chatter. He is already good at hand-to-hand combat and handles his weapons well. With the proper quirk training... Shouta stopped suddenly. Yamada stopped a few steps ahead and turned to him. "What's up?"

"A Christmas party," Shouta stated more than suggested. "We should have a Christmas party."

Shouta ignored his loud companion as he gasped and began to talk cheerfully at a more rapid pace when the extremely introverted Shouta Aizawa actually requested a party.

I want him to meet Hitoshi. They could be great partners in the future.

 

_______________________________



*Ring!

Mary Lou looked up from her bills. Izuku jumped. She smiled. “It’s just the phone, boy.” Not that he didn’t continue to eye the wall phone skeptically. 

*Ring!*

Mary Lou dropped her pen and walked over to the wall phone.

*Ring!* *Ri- Click*

 

“Hello?” she called, pulling the receiver off of the wall and pressing it to her ear.

Hello, Miss,” Aizawa’s voice came through the speaker.

“Ah, hello AIZAWA,” she said his name louder so that Izuku would know who she was talking to. The man understood perfectly fine. “To what do I own this sudden call?”

The man hummed from the other side of the line. “As I am sure you know, Christmas is in two weeks. Present Mic has brought up perhaps celebrating it with you and the kid to introduce him to another normal part of society and hopefully get him to warm up to us a bit more, further his social interactions in more than just a work or study environment.” Mary Lou glanced at her green-haired charge who was currently trying to make himself finish the second half of the bowl of soba but was getting queazy at the amount. She bit her lip. Izuku was already really jumpy, she could not imagine him responding well to having to open boxes that he did not know what they held.

Of course,” Aizawa continued, “we will bring the food and come over to help set up and provide the gifts as this is something outside of your contract for housing Izuku-

“It’s fine!” she chirped, mentally wincing when Izuku jolted and hit his fork against the ceramic bowl with a *clang* at her sudden outburst. “I want to celebrate with him! I will handle the decorations and food. If you want to bring a snack than that is fine too. Who all will be coming?”

Myself, Present Mic, Midnight, Cementoss, and, if it is alright, my own adopted son.

Mary Lou’s eyes widened.

 

“Y- You’re son?”

She saw Izuku move out of the corner of her eye, focusing on the conversation when her voice faltered. It was endearing, really, how protective the twelve-year-old was over her.

Yes,” replied Aizawa. “I feel it would be beneficial for Izuku to interact with kids his age. Hitoshi is Izuku’s age. I also believe that it would be beneficial for both of them as they are both trauma patients.

“They are? If you don't mind me asking, what happened?”

Mmm. Hitoshi, my adoptive son, was abused for his quirk and eventually sent to an orphanage and was treated poorly there. I met him on sheer luck when I had to cover for a sick hero that was supposed to visit the orphanage to cheer up the children and all of that stuff.

Mary Lou giggled. She could not imagine the bedraggled hero giving a pep talk of any sort.

“T- that sounds fine to me. I will inform Izuku of it beforehand of course.”

Of course. Thank you, Miss. Have a good day.

“You too,” she chirped before the call ended.

 

Three. Two. One…

 

“W- what w- was t- th- that for?” Mary Lou smiled and sat down across from Izuku at the table. “That was Mr. Aizawa calling. We will be having a Christmas get together here with all of your teachers. Oh, and Mr. Aizawa will be bringing his son, too. He says that you two are the same ag-” She cut off at the look on Izuku’s face. Was it happy? No. Joyful? Not at all.

Terror-filled? One-hundred percent.

“Izuku?”

Oh no. She could see it already happening, the panic attack. She would have prided herself on how well she could tell if it didn’t hurt just as much because Izuku had taught himself how to hide his panic attacks even as he was having them and that was a heartbreaking thought in itself.

His face paled and eyes widened slightly. His jaw would tighten and his chest would rise a bit slower as he tried to compensate and make it look like he could breathe normally when he was actually probably having a very difficult time getting air in his lungs.

Mary Lou stood up and rounded the table. She crouched beside Izuku who did nothing to move his body from his face forward position.

 

“Izuku, listen to me,” his green eyes flickered down to the side to look to her but he still would not budge. “Can I have your hand, please?”  new development as of last week, Mary Lou had gotten to the point where she could hold his hands when he was panicking. She saw his fingers twitch but he couldn’t seem to move. Mary Lou did not know what had flashed in his memory when she mentioned the party but it was enough to freeze the boy in his seat. Mary Lou slowly reached up and gently placed her hand on Izuku’s. That got a reaction. The boy recoiled so harshly that the chair fell over with a *CRASH*. He scrambled away.

His eyes told her that Izuku wasn’t really seeing Mary Lou but someone else. Who else would he have celebrated Christmas with? His biological mother… Ah.

 

Izuku’s green eyes widened further, if that was possible, when he realized what he did.

“I- I’m sorry! I- I d- didn’t mean to!”

Mary Lou swallowed. “Izuku, it’s me, Mary Lou. Remember?”

“I- I- I promise I w- won’t do it again! I’m yours! I won’t run again! Just please don’t-”

“IZUKU!” Mary Lou shouted above the rant. The boy jumped. “I am not her. Look at ME. Breathe for one second. Remember where you are. You are HERE. You are not there anymore.” She waited as the boy’s eyes searched her up and down. She releases a breath as the tension seemed to melt from his shoulders. Mary Lou held out her hands. It took a moment, but Izuku eventually crawled forward. Mary Lou took his hands.

 

“You aren’t there anymore, Izuku,” she whispered. “You are safe with me, okay? I won’t get angry at you and you certainly don’t belong to me or anyone for that matter. I can cancel the party if you want. I won’t force this on you. We just thought that it would be some good for you if you were to have a friend your age.” Mary Lou bit her lip. She hated this but… “We thought that maybe you could help this kid.” Mary Lou heard Izuku’s breath hitch on the word ‘help.’ He had a big heart, it was just under tight lock and key. “You see, he also has had a bad past. Maybe you could help him and he could help you? What do you say?” Izuku looked down. Mary Lou winced a bit as his grip tightened.

 

“O- okay…”

 

Mary Lou smiled softly. “Now,” she said, standing, “I see that you have yet to finish your food?”

Izuku looked away. Mary Lou suppressed a sigh. By now, Izuku should be able to eat this much. She makes sure he eats every day and yet, while he has filled in some, he still looks incredibly thin. Mary Lou had asked Mr. Aizawa about what she should do. He talked with the nurse at his school. Recovery Girl, the youthful hero, told him that if it wasn’t the amount then it was more than likely psychological. A lot of homeless people who are suddenly reintroduced to constant meals still revert to the unconscious feeling of needing to save food so they don’t eat much in order for it to last longer. It was going to take some time for Izuku to be able to eat whole meals.

“That’s fine,” she chirped. “I’ll put it in the fridge and you can eat the rest tomorrow, okay?” Izuku nodded. She waited for Izuku to move from his position on the floor to the couch. Mary Lou glanced down the hallway to the guest room that was currently unoccupied. She hummed and went to put away the food.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku grunted as he helped Mary Lou set up the fake tree next to the television in the living room. She was busy getting the decorations out.

After setting it up, Maty Lou opened a box full of colorful ornaments and lights. “These,” she announced, holding up the lights, “are the hardest part.” They were incredibly tangled and Izuku spent the next half hour untangling them as Mary Lou untangled the ones that would hand around the window frames.

“Done,” Izuku said as he held up the unraveled lights. Mary Lou smiled. “Thanks, Izu!” Izu. Izuku liked that nickname. It was much better than the one his old childhood friend gave him. They wrapped the tree in lights, Izuku doing the bottom and Mary Lou taking the top. Mary Lou crouched by the box or ornaments. “Come here, boy.” She waved him over. Izuku crouched next to her. She looked a bit shocked that Izuku crouched so close but didn’t comment on it. Neither did Izuku. He actually hadn’t noticed it. Mary Lou pulled out a red orb with a hook and passed it to Izuku. Izuku made sure to grab the hook so he wouldn’t accidentally touch the woman and stood up. He hung it near the middle of the tree. Mary Lou smiled and passed him another. This was how it went until Izuku couldn’t reach any higher. Then they switched places.

 

Mary Lou was ruffling through another box while Izuku admired the tree. It was so sparkly, even without the likes on. Blues and purples. Yellows and reds. Pinks and oranges. Some of the ornaments were shaped like snowflakes and snowmen. There was a cat one and a bear one and one shaped like a piano while another was a mug of hot chocolate. It was a varied bunch.

“Izu.” Izuku jumped, having been lost in the moment. Strange. When was the last time he was relaxed enough to get lost in his head? He looked over his shoulder at the woman who was standing up. She held out a large star with a small cone on the bottom of it.

 

“W- where d- d- does that g- go?” he asked.

Mary Lou pointed to the top of the tree. “Aaaaaaall the way up there!” Izuku followed her finger. She handed the star to him. Izuku took it but raised an eyebrow as if to say ‘Really?’ even though he didn’t say it out loud. He was obviously too short to reach that. “Don’t give me that look, boy! I am going to help you, of course!” Izuku tilted his head. With a chair? I can get one by myself perfectly fine but even then I will still be too short.

Mary Lou crouched down to eye-level. “I am going to pick you up. Is that okay?” Izuku bit his lip. Was that okay? He could already begin to feel his body shake. Is that okay? Mary Lou wouldn’t hurt me, would she? Yes, she would. No, she wouldn’t. She never has before. First time for everything. It should be fine. It’s not fine. She’s safe…

 

Threat.

 

Izuku nodded slowly. Mary Lou gave him a reassuring smile. “Turn around, then and arms out.” Izuku complied, albeit a bit stiff. He felt her hands around his waist. Izuku’s heartrate skyrocketed so fast his vision blurred for a second. “Don’t worry,” she said calmly. Panic! “I won’t hurt you.” She’s going to hurt you. “I promise.” Lies! Her grip tightened and Izuku felt himself get lifted from the ground. She lifted him all the way up to the top. “Now just set it on top,” she instructed. Izuku shakily lifted his arms and hands. He could barely pinpoint the tip of the tree he was shaking so much. Izuku leaned forward a bit. He set the star on top. “Perfect!” Mary Lou chirped. She lowered Izuku to the ground. Izuku felt the carpeted floor beneath his feet once more.

“There we go!” She let go. “I am so proud of you, Izu,” Mary Lou cheered. Izuku turned to her. His legs felt like jelly. He couldn’t breathe. The world was fading in and out. Izuku gave her the best smile he could muster before he promptly collapsed onto the floor and blacked out.

 

_______________________________

 

Mary Lou hummed a Christmas carol as she hung the lights around the windows of her apartment. She huffed as she finished the final window. The brunette walked past the couch that Izuku was currently resting on after he passed out earlier. Maybe that had been too much too soon for him but she was still proud. Her chest squeezed. And so happy that Izuku had trusted her enough to pick him up like that!

She looked around the living room. It was all decked out in Christmas decorations. It’s a week until Christmas and the party. Well, “party.” More like a small get together but still. Mary Lou felt her chest tighten once more. It was different this time. She rushed to the bathroom and turned on the sink to let it run. Mary Lou covered her mouth to muffle her rough coughs.

Uncovering her mouth, Mary Lou looked down at her palm. Dang it… It was covered in blood. Not that she hadn’t expected it. She opened the cabinet above the sink and grabbed a nondescript pill bottle, popping a few in her mouth and swallowing them dry. She waited in tense silence until the pain in her chest subsided. It didn’t go away completely, it was always there, but it eased substantially.

 

----- 

 

‘I’m sorry, Ms. Takakawa. The results came in positive. The doctor says that you only have…”

 

-----

 

Mary Lou shook her head and stood up straight. She washed her hand and shut off the water. “All good!” she whisper-yelled encouragingly to herself as she dried her hands. Mary Lou left the bathroom, shutting off the lights, and made her way further down the hallway to the room just before hers, the guest bedroom. She grabbed the duster from the hallway closet before opening the room door. Mary Lou grinned and rilled up her yellow sleeves.

“Let’s get to work!”

 

Chapter Text

Darkness. The absence of light surrounded him all over. The boy walked deeper into the depths of the deep shadows. No sound. No light. No wind. No scent. No taste. Just numbness. He kept walking. A green string formed from his back, lighting up the surrounding area. It pulled him back. Another to his right arm, then to his left. Each one forcing the boy back as they formed from his legs. He tried to break them but they refused to budge.

“Mwhahahahaha…”

The boy lifted his head. Above him stood a giant with long green locks, crazed emerald eyes, and a crooked smile that spilt the demons face. It held its hands out, the strings connected to each finger. It let out a cackle that echoed into the dark, disrupting the still air. The boys walking pace turned into a brisk jog then into a full-on sprint. The demon giants laugh racked his brain, bouncing between the sides of his mind, getting louder with each ragged breath that escaped his failing lungs. Just when he thought that he could see a light breach into the darkness, A sudden, painful throb fell upon his limbs. He was ripped from the ground and forced backwards. The boy fell to his knees, clawing at the invisible floor, desperately reaching out for that only light in the dark. The monster above cackled loudly as it used his strings to pull him further and further from the light. No matter how hard he struggled, the boy was dragged further and further from the light until it disappeared and he was surrounded by the dark once more.

“MWHAHAHAHA!”

He looked up. The demon reached down with its monstrous hand. He watched in terror as it got closer and closer. The boy reached his small hand between the large fingers. He froze as he saw the pale porcelain that coated his own skin and the screwed-in joints. The giant’s hand fell onto him. He let out a scream as his body shattered into tiny pieces of ceramic and bolts.

 

_______________________________

 

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Mary Lou jumped so that she fell out of her bed. She untangled herself from her blankets before throwing herself out of her room, her door hitting the wall with a *BANG*. She sprinted down the hallway.
“IZUKU!?” she yelled, bursting into the living room of her apartment. Her eyes immediately fell upon the green-haired boy who was twitching harshly on the couch, the blanket on the floor and the pillow all the way in the kitchen. She ran over to him and crouched by the couch. “Izuku,” she said, grabbing his arm, “it’s okay! It’s just a dream!” As soon as her hand met his arm, his green eyes shot open wide and his body went completely limp aside from the small, shivering rise and fall of his chest. A bubbly laugh escaped the boy’s lips and it broke her heart. He wasn’t looking at her but at something far in the scariest depths of his mind. Mary Lou ran her hands through his hair.

“Shhh… it’s alright,” she whispered, taking his shaking hand and rubbing soothing circles on its back with her thumb. “It’s alright, Izuku. You are okay. You are safe and warm.” She moved her hand from his hair to grab the All Might blanket from the floor and sloppily drape it over the shaking figure on the couch. “Everything is ok-”

*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK*

Izuku’s wide eyes redirected from whatever he was staring at to the door. Mary Lou mentally cursed. She knew the heroes were at the door. It’s Christmas morning and they were here for the ‘party.’
“I’ll be right there!” she hollered. Mary Lou looked back at the boy. She gently took his face in her hands. “Izuku,” his eyes shifted to her. She smiled. “Merry Christmas.” Izuku blinked for the first time since his eyes had opened. He slowly opened his eyes. They were much clearer and that was Mary Lou’s time to let go of the boy and not touch him any further, only enough to calm him down.

“Mr. Aizawa and the others are here. May I let them in?” It took a beat but Izuku softly but surely nodded. Mary Lou nodded. She stood up as Izuku finally pulled himself together and into a sitting position. Mary Lou retrieved the pillow from the kitchen, handing it to him before she recrossed the kitchen to the front door. Mary Lou unlocked the door and opened it.
Never before was she more grateful for how the group did not immediately shout 'MERRY CHRISTMAS!' when she opened the door. Mr. Yamada raised his hand. “Morning!” he half-yelled, half-spoke which seemed to be his only inside voice. Mary Lou smiled, “Merry Christmas, everyone! Please come in!” She moved out of the entrance and let everyone file in. That’s when she noticed the purple-haired boy whose hair seemed to defy gravity. He followed closely behind Mr. Aizawa. Mary Lou closed the door, making sure to lock it, and followed everyone into the living room where they were all greeting Izuku who had already folded his blanket and was sitting on the couch as usual. They have never had this many in the apartment at once, Mary Lou wondered how Izuku would handle it.

Mary Lou sat beside Izuku as everyone gathered around. They all held two or three multicolored boxes. “You can put the presents under the tree,” she said. Mary Lou turned to Mr. Aizawa. “Is this your son?” Izuku was also taking a survey of the bigger kid. Well, any kid would be bigger than Izuku considering. Mr. Aizawa nodded. “Yes, this is Hitoshi Shinsou Aizawa.” The boy held out his pale hand. “Hello, Miss.” She took it gently. “Hello, Aizawa. I’m Mary Lou.”
“You can just call me Shinsou” The boy had a very reserved tone. Mary Lou let go. “Isn’t this exciting!?” she chirped.
“YEAH!” Mr. Yamada yelled, punching the air. “Let’s get some Christmas music pumping!” He whipped out his phone and, despite his loud voice, put on some music at a quiet volume for background music. Ms. Kayama (Midnight) rolled her eyes. She whapped the yellow-haired man up top the head. “Oh hush!”
Mary Lou giggled. “Shall we start with the presents then?”

The presents got passed around. Both Izuku and Hitoshi got one each from the heroes. Mary Lou would give Izuku his later. She had given each hero a coupon for any pastry. They each had gotten each other something and she got a few trinkets here and there. As Christmas is a typically bright day for children, they watched Shinsou and Izuku open their respective gifts.

“Izu?” she questioned as he stared at the boy in his hand intently. He glanced at her skeptically. “The heroes would not put anything dangerous in them, I promise.” She looked at the pajama-dressed heroes. They all decided it would be better for them to all come in their pj’s to fit the mood.
“Correct,” Mr. Ishiyama (Cememtoss) nodded.
“Don’t worry about mine, little listener!” Mr. Yamada chimed.
“It’s alright, kiddo,” Kayama cooed, using the nickname she had given Izuku.
Mr. Aizawa just grunted.

Izuku gave in and opened the first one from Ms. Kayama. It was a Midnight plushie. He blinked. No one said anything because he ended up with a plushie of each hero by the end of opening all of his presents. Mary Lou giggled. “Was this a theme or something?” Mr. Aizawa groaned. “Sadly, yes.” Mary Lou grinned and turned to Shinsou. “Your turn!” “Okay…”
Shinsou got a lot of cat-themed items which he seemed to like very much. Shinsou gave a half bow from his seated position. “Thank you, everyone.” Izuku took a page from his book and bowed too but said nothing.

Mary Lou clapped her hands together. “Who wants pancakes!”

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku sat on the couch watching the adults play Christmas BINGO on the coffee table. He hugged the Eraserhead plush to his chest, secretly rooting on the hero. He was his partner on many missions as Golden Whip after all.

“So,” Izuku jumped when the boy on the other side of the couch spoke up. Mary Lou and Present Mic had gone into the kitchen to make breakfast. Present Mic had been adamant about helping. “Do you like cats?” Izuku turned his head slightly to the boy. Cats? Izuku shrugged. “Do you want to see mine?” Izuku tensed as the boy pulled out his phone. Mary Lou’s head peaked out from around the wall separating the living room from the kitchen. She winked and gave a thumbs up. Mic’s head followed doing the same thing. Izuku almost laughed. He didn’t Izuku nodded. He flinched when the boy, he said his name was Shinsou, scooted closer. The boy stopped midway through. He pulled up a picture on his phone and set it in the gap between the two. Izuku leaned over slightly.

It was a white, fat cat with a black spot over its left ear and eye. It was dozing in the sun coming in from the window. “His name is Marshmellow,” Shinsou said. Izuku hummed. The purple-haired boy moved. Izuku flinched slightly, watching with sharp eyes as the boy’s hand came to touch the screen and swipe left. Another picture of Marshmellow. “This is him sitting on Dad’s chest.” Swipe. “This is him eating.” Swipe. “This is him eating.” Swipe. “This is also him eating.” Izuku raised an eyebrow. Shinsou looked up at him. “Marshmellow likes to eat.” 

Izuku does not know why, maybe because the way Shinsou deadpanned that, or maybe because he was getting used to being around people, but Izuku snickered. Audible snickered.

The BINGO game stopped. The laughter in the kitchen went silent. Mary Lou’s and Present Mic’s heads popped out from around the wall again. Everyone at the coffee table turned to stare at Izuku and Shinsou but Izuku didn’t notice. Neither did Shinsou. He simply snickered again when the purple-haired boy swiped the screen again and announced: “This is him eating for the fifth time that day.”

Izuku did not see the tears that gathered in Mary Lou’s yellow eyes, or the thumbs-up Eraser gave Shinsou, or the smiles that graced everyone’s faces as they continued with whatever they were doing. He didn’t realize that the tension had left his shoulders or even that the corners of his mouth turned upward.

 

December 25th, while looking at cat pictures, Izuku made his first friend and smiled for the first time as Izuku, not Golden Whip, in four years ago.

 

“Pancakes are ready!” Izuku jumped at the sudden outburst from the kitchen. His smile fell and everyone turned to glare at Present Mic who sheepishly ducked back into the kitchen. Midnight got up. “Let’s go eat, kiddo’s.” The other heroes followed her to the table. Shinsou stood up. “Are you coming?” Izuku gave a small nod. He followed many paces behind the boy. No one commented on how there was a bigger gap between Izuku’s chair and the rest of theirs as they gathered around the small table. Mary Lou set a heaping pile of steaming pancakes in the middle. “Enjoy!” she chirped as she sat down.
“Thank you, Ms. Takakawa,” Cementoss said, reaching forward. Izuku let everyone get theirs first before taking one off the stack.
“You gotta eat more than that, little listener!” Present Mic piped. “Get some meat on those bones!” Izuku looked down at his plate.

“There is plenty to go around, Izu,” Mary Lou said softly.
“We can’t eat these all on our own, kiddo,” Midnight winked.

Izuku glanced at Shinsou’s plate. I dunno… I mean, he has three. I think he could really do it, Izuku thought to himself. Still, Izuku had to admit, the stack of pancakes looked very enticing. Izuku ended up putting another on his plate. “Don’t forget the syrup!” Mic called. Izuku nodded. He poured the sweet, thick liquid over his pancakes.
As they all ate and chatted, Izuku looked around the table. Everyone was happily smiling, even Shinsou with his small smirk. They were talking about random topics that interested them and laughing. It was… nice. Izuku felt the tension leave his shoulders. He popped another bite of pancake into his mouth. Izuku smiled softly.

Sweet… 

After breakfast, they all gathered in the living room together. Mary Lou brought in warm apple cider and they all told Christmas stories in front of the tree. They ate lunch and dinner and enjoyed each other’s company until the late evening. Izuku yawned. He looked out the window as the sun began to go down.
This is… nice. He felt his eyes drooping but kept them open. The laughter of the people around him sounded like music to his ears. Izuku turned to the adults and Shinsou. He smiled.

“M- Merry Christmas, everyone…”

The conversation stopped and they all looked at the greenette stunned. Izuku blinked slowly and yawned. Mary Lou gave a soft smile and stood up. “Well, it’s been quite the day it would seem.” Eraser hummed and stood up, the adults following. “Yes, I think it is time we head home.” Shinsou stood up too. Izuku stood up last. “Thank you for having us,” Midnight gave a small bow. “Thank you, Ms. Takakawa,” Cemetoss bowed. “Thank you for having us, Miss,” Eraser and Shinsou bowed. “Thanks for having us!” Mic bowed.
Shinsou walked up to Izuku. “We should hang sometime.” Izuku hummed and nodded. “I gave Ms. Takakawa my number.” Izuku nodded again.
With that, everyone left with a “Merry Christmas!” Well, mostly.

Present Mic hesitated. He turned to Mary Lou. “Ms, Takakawa,” he spoke in an oddly quiet manner. Quiet for him, at least. Mary Lou turned to Izuku. “Hey, boy, do you want to go in the living room?” Izuku took the hint. He nodded. “Don’t go to sleep yet, though, sleepyhead. I’ve got something to show you, k?” Izuku yawned again but nodded again. He trotted off. Izuku grabbed his math book and curled into his blanket while he waited.
Just as he was beginning to doze off, Mary Lou came to him. “Izu,” she called. Izuku jumped, his book falling on the floor with a *slam*. He looked up to see her standing in the hallway. The brunette waved for him to come to her. “Follow me.” Izuku unwrapped himself from his blanket and followed her down the hallway. She stopped in front of the guest room. Izuku looked up at it and noticed something new.

It had a plaque on it that read “IZUKU” in big yellow letters. It was on a blue rectangle outlined in red and had yellow tuffs that look like All Might’s tuffs off the sides of it.
 
He turned to her. Mary Lou smiled and opened the door. Izuku stifled a gasp. The plain room had been completely transformed! The twin-sized bed that usually only had a white blanket, sheet, and pillow on it now was clad in an All Might-themed bed set with the man on the blanket and two blue pillows that said “PLUS” on one in red and “ULTRA” in red on the other. All of his new hero plushies were lined along with the pillows. The bedside table had a new lamp on it with a green lampshade and a Present Mic-themed radio. There was a new desk in the far corner of the room that had all of his analysis notebooks and educational books stacked on the shelves. His old yellow backpack had been replaced with a new one that had an Eraserhead keychain handing on in and was hanging off of the purple desk chair. On the desk were a new notebook and pen and an All Might action figure on the edge. The dresser a few feet over probably held all of his clothes. The window had sparkling yellow lights around the edges and they were lit up. On the tan walls were hero posters on the light tan walls. One for Cementoss, one for Present Mic, one for Midnight, and one for Eraserhead as well as one for All Might. On the floor was a big green carpet. Izuku whipped his head around to Mary Lou. She gave him a beaming smile, as bright as All Might’s.

“Merry Christmas, Izuku! This is your new room!”

Izuku felt tears well up in his eyes. He looked around the room, slowly walking into it. This is all for me? Inko never let him have stuff like this. He “belonged” to her and had no need for things like that. This… this was… Izuku fell to his knees and clutched his chest. “Izuku?!” Mary Lou crouched by him, hands hovering over his back. He looked up to her, tears falling from his eyes. He smiled. “T- th- thank you!” Mary Lou gave a soft smile. Izuku ran his hands along the desk. He picked up the All Might figure, feeling the grooves and edges before putting it back down. He opened the dresser, seeing all of his clothes folded. He closed those and pulled out his drawers to see his underwear and socks. Izuku pushed it back in. He walked over to the lamp and turned it on. He looked back to Mary Lou who was leaning against the wall.

“Go brush your teeth and wash your face before bed,” she directed. Izuku nodded sharply. He had never washed up so fast. Izuku curled up under the covers, letting Mary Lou push the edges back under the bed. Izuku bit his lip. He leaned forward and wrapped his arms around her waist. He heard a small gasp escape the woman’s lips. He flinched harshly when he felt her return the hug but did not let go.
When they did, Mary Lou pressed a gentle kiss on his forehead. She clicked off the lamp and unplugged the lights around the window. Mary Lou stopped at the door, the hallway light illuminating her form.

“Good night, Izuku. Merry Christmas.” Izuku waved. She closed the door and the room went dark. Izuku snuggled under the blankets. “Goodnight…” he whispered into the darkness before falling asleep.

 

_______________________________

 

Mary Lou walked into the bathroom. She pressed her face into her hands to stifle a squeal.
He hugged me!!! She looked in the mirror between her fingers. Izuku was very brave today. He spoke to everyone and even laughed. He SMILED today!
Mary Lou pulled the small pink box from her pajama’s chest pocket.

 

-----

 

'Ms, Takakawa,' Mr. Yamada turned to her. He was quiet. This was more than likely supposed to be a private conversation. Mary Lou turned to Izuku.  'Hey, boy, do you want to go in the living room?' Izuku nodded. The remembered the room she had been planning on showing him tonight. 'Don’t go to sleep yet, though, sleepyhead. I’ve got something to show you, k?'
Mary Lou turned back to the hero. 'What is it, Mr. Yamada?' He pulled out a small pink box with a pink ribbon wrapped around it. 'I know you need to go but, here.' He passed the box to her. Mary Lou took the box.

'A- ah- thank you.' She smiled at him. He smiled back. 'Merry Christmas, Ms. Takakawa.' He left without another word. Mary Lou was tempted to open it right then and there but refrained knowing that Izuku was waiting for her in the living room. She slipped it into her chest pocket and locked the door.

'Izu!'

 

-----

 

Mary Lou felt like a kid again as she pulled the end of the ribbon and it fell across her fingers. She pulled off the top. Inside was a folded slip of paper. She pulled it out and underneath was a silver necklace with a pastel pink jewel hanging from the middle and a pair of matching earrings. They are so beautiful! She unfolded the paper and gasped. It’s a movie ticket for January 2nd. Mary Lou smiled and slid it back in. She closed the box and put it in her pocket again. Mary Lou took her pills before going back into the kitchen. It was only seven at night after all. Mary Lou flipped through her calendar that hangs on the fridge.

January 2nd is open. She looked on January 3rd. “Doctor’s appointment…” Mary Lou took a deep breath. She took the magnetic marker off the fridge and scribbled in “Movie w/ Mic” on January 2nd. “I’ll worry about that when it comes to that.” Mary look went to finish paperwork until it was time to go to bed.

 

Chapter Text

When Inko got the call that Izuku was found, she was ELATED. Her Izuku was found! The next day, she was called to the police station. She called the Bakugou’s to come with her. In the end, only Mitsuki could come with her. Katsuki had school and Masaru had work. Inko was practically vibrating in her seat the whole drive there. Upon arriving, Detective Tsukauchi took the two back into an office.
Inko pushed open the door, fully expecting to see her little boy waiting for her. What she was not expecting was her arms to be forced behind her and handcuffed together.

“Wh- what is this?!” she growled. Ink tried to struggle or to use her quirk but, alas, they were quirk-canceling. Then she noticed something off, as Detective Tsukauchi had a couple of officers bring her forward. Mitsuki was strangely quiet. “Hey! Watch it!” She looked over her shoulder. “Mitsuki?!” Inko watched in horror that as she was forced into one chair with the two officers on either side of her, Mitsuki took her own seat beside Detective Tsukauchi on the other side.
“What is the meaning of this?! Mitsuki?”

*SLAM*

She jumped when the detective rather harshly dropped a file in front of her. He placed his hand on it and opened his mouth. “Inko Midoriya, you are under arrest for child abuse, breaking of rent contract, and legal fraud by lying on legal documents.” Inko furrowed her eyebrows. “W- what? I’ve never done any such thing!”

LIE.

Detective Tsukauchi opened the file. “When we first were brought the file on Izuku Midoriya you had his quirk listed in the quirk registry as ‘Quirkless.’ Upon questioning you about this, my quirk registered this as a lie so we questioned you about it further and you admitted to your son having a quirk under the name ‘Puppet.’ Not only had you lied on the countries quirk registry but also on any school documents and medical documents. Legal Fraud.”
Inko bit her lip. “Okay, so I did for that small little thing but you already knew that so why did you not arrest me there and then?” She narrowed her eyes. “And what is this about ‘Child Abuse?’ Are you accusing me of hurting my Izuku?”

He nodded, flipping the page. “After taking a survey of your apartment, taking your own testimony into account, and after a verbal interview with Izuku Midoriya himself-”

“‘Verbal interview?’” she cut in.

“-we have come to the conclusion-”


*SLAM* Inko stood sharply, the chair falling behind her. “You mean to tell me that you have spoken with my son and have still not given him back to me?” She narrowed her eyes. “Midoriya,” Mitsuki cut it. The use od her last name hurt Inko more than she thought it would. “Sit. Down.” The officer to her right sat the chair back up and Inko complied. The detective continued.

“Izuku Midoriya is being held somewhere safe for the time being. Continuing, we have the verbal evidence from Izuku Midoriya after speaking with him on multiple occasions and the physical evidence from your apartment that you have been abusing Izuku Midoriya since he was four upon discovery of his quirk. Not only physical abuse, but psychological, emotional, and he was subjected to alienation from his peers, being forced to lie to them about his own quirk in fear of him being used in the same way by his peers but his apparent quirklessness only alienated him further.”
Inko scowled. “‘Physical evidence’, you say? In my apartment? What proof do you have?” Detective Tsukauchi drew out an envelope from the file and pulled out its contents, photo’s scattering over the table. “These,” he gestured to them, “show all of the dents and holes in your apartment from being hit with an object with excessive force.” Inko saw Mitsuki flinch but the Detective kept going. “As you know, we brought in a specialist who specialized in the past of objects. Our specialist used her quirk to see what had caused the dents. It works as a video of the past and in her report, she stated that Izuku Midoriya was thrown at all of the surfaces, sometimes more than once, with such force that it caused the dents and holes in the structure of your apartment. We have linked that to the unwilling use of his quirk. As you know, his quirk can only be activated by others and you took advantage of that. Along those lines, you have damaged the apartment you are currently renting outside of the contractor’s notice.”

Inko stared in shock. Her eye twitched. “My apologies for the apartment and the legal fraud but I will not admit to abusing my child.”
The detective did not look up as he gathered all of the pictures. “I notice that you always use the word ‘my’ when referring to Izuku Midoriya. Why?”
“Why?”
He nodded and glanced up at her. “Why.

Inko gulped by the sudden underlying threat in his tone and the increasing tenseness in the room. She would not back down. Not when she had a right to Izuku. And that is exactly what she told him. “Because that is exactly what he is. Izuku is MY Izuku. I gave birth to him. He belongs to me. His quirk belongs to be used by me as I see fit, especially with my own quirk. I have a right to him. You have no right to take MY Izuku away from me.”

Detective Tsukauchi looked her in the eyes. “There is a difference between being a parent and giving normal discipline when a child disobeys or does wrong and being an abuser and tormentor. Also,” he closed the file, “there is a difference between being a human being and a doll, Ms. Midoriya. Just the same, there is a difference between being a human being and being a monster. While you may have named his quirk ‘Puppet,’ Izuku Midoriya is a living, breathing, feeling human being. His existence is not solely to submit to you will or to anybody else’s.”

Inko’s eyes widened. Detective Tsukauchi stood, Mitsuki following suit.

The detective took a piece of paper out of the file and a stamp from his pocket. He turned on a voice recorder. “Effective immediately, Inko Midoriya is being arrested and will be put into jail for a minimum of ten years, twenty maximum.” *STAMP*
“H- hey! Wait!” The officers grabbed Inko by her arms and began to take her out of the room. “There is a police vehicle waiting for her outside.” Inko struggled. “I demand a lawyer!” She looked over her shoulder. “MITSUKI!”
Her best friend looked up at her with narrowed eyes.

How could you, Inko?

Inko’s heart dropped. She did not struggle anymore, allowing the officers to escort her out of the station and into the police car where they drove away to the prison.

 

_______________________________

 

Mitsuki opened the door to her house. She felt so drained… She looked up to see her husband and twelve-year-old son waiting for her. They knew the extent of everything. They had even brought up maybe taking in Izuku but the authorities told them that they already had a place for Izuku as of the next few months. She looked up at her family. Mitsuki dragged her feet and leaned into her husband’s embrace.

“F- four years!” she wailed. “Izu suffered for four years and we did nothing!” She pounded on Masaru’s back. “He was living on the streets alone for four years! EIGHT YEARS HE WAS SUFFERING!!!” She could see Katsuki with his head down, fists curled in balls, shaking. “I- Inko was hurting him for four years! Why didn’t I see it?! She used to be so sweet! What happened?! What happened to my best friend!?”

That is what probably hurt the most. Best friends since their high school days. Inko was the sweetest and most caring girl she knew so why? Why did it turn out like this? Why did this happen?

 

_______________________________

 

*BAM*

*BAM*

*BAM*

Katsuki panted as he punched his punching bag in his room.

 

-----

 

‘EIGHT YEARS HE WAS SUFFERING!!!’

 

-----

 

*BAM*

*BAM*

*BAM*

 

-----

 

‘I- I’m s- sorry, K- Kacchan.’

 

-----

 

*!!!BOOM!!!*

Katsuki let loose an explosion in his last hit. He panted harshly. Katsuki lowered his head to his chest, drops of sweat rolling down his face and dripping from his chin. He wasn’t quirkless… I bullied him for years! It wasn’t just Auntie, mom. IT WAS ME! He wanted to scream. Katsuki lifted his head and arms.

*BAM* *BAM* *BAM*

He punched. *BAM* I should have been better! *BAM* I should have done more! *BAM* I could have helped him!!! *BAM* I pushed him away! *BAM* I hurt him! *BAM* Not my fault? *BAM* You were only eight when he left? *BAM* You’re only twelve? *BAM* SO WHAT?!
*BAM*
Katsuki fell to his knees. He punched the floor, tears flowing freely. “Izu…”

Some hero I’d make.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku groaned. He opened his green eyes, the sun filtering through his red curtains casting a slightly red glow on the room. He sat up, rubbing at his eyes. Izuku set the Present Mic plushie he had admittedly fallen asleep to the left before swinging his feet over the side of the bed. He could hear Mary Lou in the kitchen. There were a couple of muffled coughs. He wondered if she was getting sick. Izuku got out and made his bed.

 

Always make your bed. It’s bad to not make your bed. You get punished if you don’t make your bed.

 

Izuku opened his closet. He chose a blue t-shirt and black shorts that have yellow stripes on the sides. He also pulled a pair of clean underwear and socks. Izuku got dressed. He folded his pajama’s and set them on the edge of his bed for the next night.

 

Always fold your clothes. It’s bad not to fold your clothes. You get punished if you don’t fold your clothes.

 

Izuku checked the lock on his window one more time before cracking his door. He peaked out. He turned his head to the left, then to the right. Mary Lou’s head popped around the corner from the kitchen. “It’s only me!” Izuku nodded and left his room, closing the door behind him. He went to the bathroom. Izuku washed his face, attempted to comb and brush his hair, and brushed his teeth.

 

Always brush your teeth. It’s bad not to brush your teeth. You get punished if you don’t brush your teeth.

 

Izuku shut off the water and left the bathroom. He walked into the dining room just as Mary Lou exited the kitchen with a plate of eggs and sausage. “Mornin’, Izu!” She set it in front of him. He nodded his greetings before taking up the fork and knife to eat. Mary Lou had started giving him a bit less, noticing he wasn’t eating it all. Izuku ate it all.

 

Always eat all of your food. It’s bad not to eat all of your food. You get punished if you don’t eat all of your food.

 

Mary Lou hummed in the kitchen, only pausing to let out a quiet cough. She seemed happy today.

 

-----

 

‘Izu, dear,’ she crouched before the greenette. ‘I am going out tomorrow with a friend, okay? Mr. Aizawa said he would bring over Shinsou so you two could hang out. Is that alright?’

 

-----

 

Everything in Izuku had wanted to shake his head or very verbally squeeze out a “No” but he couldn’t bring himself too. Mary Lou shouldn’t have to ask him if she can go out and have a good time with friends. Izuku was a burden, he knew that. He also knew that he only had four more months here, including January. As soon as that time was up and his house arrest was over, Izuku would probably go to an orphanage or be put into the foster care system.

 

Which he would promptly run away from, of course.

 

He decided that he shouldn’t get too clingy to the woman. He nodded and the next day, today came. Mary Lou had gotten herself all prettied up in a cotton, pastel pink sweater and blue jeans that were a tad tighter than most jeans. She had a semi-clean pair of white tennis shoes on. She had her brown hair halfway pulled back, the rest of it draped either over her shoulder or hanging down her back. Izuku noticed a new pair of earrings and a necklace that she was wearing too. And… was that make-up?

 

*Knock Knock Knock*

 

Izuku jumped. Mary Lou left her station at the kitchen counter. As she made her way to the door, Izuku walked into the kitchen with his plate. He heard the door open. “Good morning, Mr. Aizawa! Good morning, Shinsou!”

“Good morning, Miss,” came the simultaneous reply from both.

Mary Lou peaked into the kitchen. “Izu, I’m going, okay?” He felt incredibly stiff as he turned to her. Izuku nodded but it felt like a robot that hadn’t been oiled in years. “Are you sure you will be alrig-”

“I’m fine,” Izuku forced out with a bit more bite than intended.

Mary Lou gave a soft smile and walked over to him. She crouched in front of him and held out her pale hands. Izuku slowly raised his own and placed them in hers. She squeezed his fingers gently. “I am so proud of you, boy.” He felt his cheeks flush. He had not been expecting that. Izuku turned his head away. Mary Lou giggled and stood up, letting go of his hands.

“You be good for Mr. Aizawa, okay?” He nodded.

 

“Thanks again, Mr. Aizawa,” she called as she grabbed her purse off of the counter. “It’s no problem.” Izuku was the first to the door, locking it with a *click*. He didn’t hear any footsteps or movement meaning that the two other people in the house were either in the living room or right behind him, waiting.

“Izuku,” he flinched at Eraser’s voice. There was a pause. “I will be in the living room if you need me.” Izuku heard his footsteps getting further away, then muffled as he stepped onto the carpet, then stop altogether as he sat on the couch. What he didn’t hear was Shinsou. Izuku could not pry his fingers off the door handle. His blood roared in his ears, heart beating madly against his ribcage. He’s been alone with the man before so why is it so different? Why are the walls closing in? Why can’t he breathe? All Izuku could think about was everything that could go wrong. How fast that he could get into the kitchen and draw out a kitchen knife. How hard would he have to throw himself against the window so that he could get out before the man caught him. How fast he could run down the street while wounded from the two-story fall.

 

Izuku had no clue how long he stood there, only that his eyes fell to the floor when a phone slid over to him across the wood floor. Izuku stared at it for a second. He let go of the door, hand numb from how hard he had been gripping it, and crouched by the phone. What greeted his eyes was a fat white cat with a black spot over its eye splayed out on the ground with crazed eyes.

 

“That-” Izuku surprisingly didn’t jump at Shinsou’s voice, “-is Marshmellow.” A beat. “High on catnip.”

“Pfffffttttt!” Izuku couldn’t help it! Shinsou had such a deadpan way of saying things! The purple-haired boy smirked. “Swipe right.” Izuku complied to be greeted with a different cat this time. A significantly not-as-fat orange tabby with orange stripes and green eyes. “Orange cat?” Izuku nodded. “That’s Bill.” Izuku’s face deadpanned. “Don’t ask. We got him from the shelter pre-named.”

 

And that’s how it went. Izuku crouched at the front door swiping at Shinsou’s screen while Shinsou crouched multiple feet away, at the edge of the living room, giving commentary on them

 

_______________________________

 

Shouta watched as his son got into a more comfortable position. Hitoshi was currently telling their green-haired charge about Mercy, their female calico cat. They’ve been at this for almost an hour…  Shouta smirked as he tapped away on his laptop, grading his classes work. 

 

-----

 

‘Hitoshi,’ Shouta called to his son. His purple-haired adopted son came out of his room, Mercy in his arms purring loudly as Hitoshi scratched behind her ears.

‘What is it, Dad?’

‘We are going to a Christmas party next week. I need you to do something for me.’

Hitoshi nodded.

‘There is a kid your age that is going to be there. He is like you were a year ago: does not speak, smile, laugh, and has a fear of humans. He is a trauma and abuse victim. I think that he would respond better to someone his own age.’

 

‘So,’ Hitoshi mused, ‘you are using this to make me actually make a friend?’

Shouta smirked. ‘You’ll become a crazy cat man if you don’t.’

 

-----

 

“Want to move to the couch?” Shouta looked up when Hitoshi spoked. He waited for Izuku’s response. When they first came, and Mary Lou left, he looked ready to have a panic attack. It took for the kid to stay staring at the door for five minutes for Shouta to realize that he actually was having a panic attack. He was about to say something when Hitoshi stood from his position on the love seat. Thus started their minimal interaction over cat pictures. Hitoshi ended up taking quite the liking to Izuku after their first meeting. It seemed like Shouta was right. Izuku responded better to those his age. He had let out something akin to a giggle or chuckle about three times now. Not a full one, or even close to one, but still progress.

Shouta moved to the love seat when Hitoshi convinced Izuku to move to the couch. Shouta see’s a lot of Hitoshi in Izuku. The blatant fear of humans, the little to no talking. He understands why Hitoshi didn’t speak when he first met him, and still doesn’t speak much to strangers, due to his quirk. Shouta guessed that Izuku didn’t speak because of either fear, his solitude, or, and Shouta hated to think of it, he was trained to by Ms. Midoriya.

 

It took another hour for Shouta to finish his grading. When he looked up, he could not help but snap a picture.

 

Hitoshi had apparently made his way, slowly but surely, to be able to sit so close to Izuku that their arms were almost touching as they both leaned over the phone sitting on Hitoshi’s leg. Izuku let out a little snicker at the funny video they were watching. Shouta sent the picture to Mary Lou.

Now he was at a crossroads. He needed to use the bathroom but very much did not want to disturb the two boys. He knew that the slightest movement leaning towards him standing would immediately put Izuku on edge. Hitoshi too. Even if he had improved quite a bit over the last year, Hitoshi, too, is still a trauma victim. Shouta opted for texting his son.

He heard Hitoshi’s phone buzz. Shouta waited. Hitoshi looked up and nodded. Shouta got up. 

 

He knew. He could feel his neck hair stand. The eyes of a twelve-year-old were not on him. No, the eyes that were trained as Golden Whip, the vigilante that had most of the red light district shaking in their boots at the mention of the name, followed Shouta all the way out of the room until he disappeared down the hallway. Shouta was once again reminded that this kid was one of the hardest to catch and the most dangerous. He shivered.

 

About two hours later, Shouta realized that he had to make lunch. While he may be able to live off of jelly pouches, his son most certainly did not and there was no way in hell that he was about to feed Izuku only that and waste all of Mary Lou’s hard work as she had just gotten the boy to eat a medium-large sized meal.

In a lapse of judgment, Shouta spoke aloud. “Are you tw-” *SWOOSH*

Shouta’s eyes trailed from Izuku’s outstretched arm to behind him where a pencil was stuck into the wall. A few strands of black hair hung on it. THAT is how close it was to Shouta’s face. Shinsou, who was laying across from Izuku as they worked on math had paled significantly.

 

Realization dawned on Izuku’s face. He scrambled backward in shock. “I- I- I-” he couldn’t find the words. Shouta took a deep breath. He smirked. “One heck of an arm you’ve got there, kid.” Izuku looked confused. Did he think I would get mad? It was my fault for startling him in the first place. “Are you two hungry?” Hitoshi looked between Izuku and Shouta. Izuku stood suddenly. He didn’t say anything, as per usual, only silently walk past Shouta.

“Kid?” He looked after the greenette. Izuku walked down the hallway, into a room that Shouta was guessing was his, and closed the door.

 

Shouta sighed and hung his head, running a hand through his raven hair.

“I’m such an idiot…”

… 

“Why?”

Shouta looked up at his son. “Why what?”

Hitoshi tilted his head. “You didn’t do anything wrong.”

“You would think, but do you remember how when I first adopted you, you would jump at every sound?” Hitoshi nodded. “Izuku is that but about a thousand times worse. I knew better than to walk up and to speak up when we had just gotten him to calm down.” Shouta crouched by Hitoshi and ruffled his purple hair.

“Daaaaad!” Shouta chuckled. “Thanks for giving him a shot, kid, and not writing him off immediately.” Hitoshi glanced up at him. “Izuku’s not that bad. He’s pretty chill.” Hitoshi reached over and grabbed the piece of paper that Izuku had been writing on before Shouta screwed up. Shouta took it. His eyes widened. “This is-”

“-We talked a lot.”

 

A lot indeed! The more he read, the more Shouta realized how actually smart Izuku is. He was telling Shinsou about Shouta’s own quirk and how scarily accurate it was gave Shouta a shiver. He was midway through the word “through” when the “u” suddenly cut down, the pencil marking the paper, most likely from when Shouta had startled him. As amazing as it all was, Shouta could only think one thing.

 

Izuku has a lot to say. His keeping quiet all the time really isn’t healthy.

 

“He would be a great hero if he had a quirk,” Hitoshi commented. Shouta’s head snapped up.

“He doesn’t?”

Hitoshi rifled through a stack of papers. Shouta stared in awe. They ‘talked’ this much? Hitoshi finally found the one he was looking for and handed it to Shouta.

 

‘What’s your quirk?’ It wasn’t Hitoshi’s handwriting so it was probably Izuku.

‘It’s nothing special.’ Hitoshi.

‘Any quirk is special.’ Izuku.

‘I don’t want you to hate me.’ Hitoshi. Shouta cringed.

‘I don’t hate you. I won’t hate you.’ Izuku.

‘It’s- I can brainwash people. A lot of people call it a villain’s quirk.’ Hitoshi.

 

‘THAT’S AN AMAZING QUIRK!’ Shouta blinked in shock. ‘Think of everything you could do! Youcouldbesuchanamazingherogoingonrecognisancemissionsorgatheringinformationortakingdownvillainsevencalmingdowncivilainsandscaredchildren-’ ‘Sorry, pencil broke. Either way, it is NOT a villains quirk!’ Izuku. Shouta glanced up at Hitoshi. The boy looked away, a blush tinting his cheeks. Shouta did not comment.

 

‘Thanks… What is your quirk?’ Hitoshi.

‘I’m quirkless.’ Izuku.

 

Shouta read and reread and reread the sentence. He sighed, pressing the paper against his face. For someone who so boldly states that “Any quirk is special” he sure is hypocritical. And here I thought we had made some progress.

 

“What is it?” Shouta looked up at his son, removing the paper from his face. Shouta placed a hand on Hitoshi’s shoulder. “Hitoshi, listen to me. Just as much as you hate your quirk or used to hate it, Izuku hates his.”

“You mean… he has one?” Hitoshi asked. Shouta nodded. “So he lied.” Shouta nodded. “Yes but with good cause.” Hitoshi folded his arms. “I can’t tell you what his quirk is,” Shouta started, “all I can tell you is that, like yours, it made his life a living hell and maybe even more so.”

“I doubt it.”

“Hitoshi.” Shouta’s voice left no room for argument. Hitoshi looked at him.

“Because I found out Izuku’s quirk, he jumped off a building.” Hitoshi’s eyes widened. “He tried to commit suicide, Hitoshi. It was only because of his quirk and my quick thinking that he survived.”

“So he is immortal?” Shouta shook his head. “No, and I can’t tell you his quirk. That is something he has to be comfortable with telling you himself. But does that put it into perspective for you?”

 

Hitoshi bit his lip. He nodded. “Yeah…” Shouta smiled and ruffled his son’s hair again. “Thank you for understanding. Now,” he stood up, “how about we pop some popcorn or something and start a movie, hopefully coax him out of his room?”

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku sat in the corner of his room in a ball rocking back and forth.

His eyes kept switching between the door and the ground as he waited. Waited for the angry knock to come on his door. For the screams of rage to break the sound barrier. For the string from his chest to form and lead through the door to where they would be waiting to punish him.

It never came. But he knew it would. Punishment always came when you do something wrong. They were just luring him into a false sense of security.

 

The waiting game is a game Izuku is good at.

 

So he waited, rocking back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. Until after who knows how long a knock came at his door.

*Knock Knock*

Izuku jumped so hard the back of his head hit his wall with a soft *thud* followed by his own quiet groan.

“Izuku?” came Shinsou’s voice through the door. Izuku froze. “We are watching a movie. Do you want to watch it with us?” Izuku didn’t - couldn’t - reply. “We have popcorn.” Izuku felt his stomach roll but still did not move.

“Hey, kid,” Eraser’s voice, “I’m not mad at you.” Izuku looked at the door. “I am sorry for scaring you. I promise that I will not raise my hand against you or do anything to harm you. Will you come watch the movie with us?”

Izuku slowly uncurled himself. He crawled to the door.

 

“P- promise?”

 

Eraserhead replied instantly. “Promise.” Izuku stood up and cracked the door open. He peeked out to see Shinsou and Eraserhead waiting for him. Izuku opened the door wider but looked down at his feet.

“S- s- sorry for almost h- hitting y- you…” he choked out.

“You didn’t hit me,” Eraserhead stated. “I think you are losing your touch.” Izuku’s face turned red and he snapped his head up to glare at the man only to find him walking away. “Let’s watch a movie, kid.” Izuku followed behind the two with a pout.

 

I am not losing my touch.

 

_______________________________

 

Mary Lou practically skipped down the stairs and into the bakery. She looked out the window to see Mr. Yamada leaning against a rather nice looking car that reminded her that the hero did not live in this dangerous part of the city and was, in fact, a hero that had money. Mary Lou unlocked the bakery, walked out, relocked the bakery, and turned to the man. He had his yellow hair pulled back in a messy bun. He wore a jean jacket with a white shirt underneath, a pair of blue jeans, and some black boots. Mary Lou did NOT swoon when she saw him. She ALMOST did. Mr. Yamada looked up and waved at her.

 

“Ms. Takakawa!” She ran up to greet him. “Good Morning, Mr. Yamada!” He winked. “For today, let’s drop the formalities, k?” Mary Lou grinned. “Alrighty then, Yamada.” He smiled and showed her wound to the passenger side where he proceeded to open the door for her.

“My, my, how gentleman-like,” she poked fun at him.

He laughed and got in the driver’s seat. “So,” he said as they drove off, “since the movie does not start for another two hours, how does breakfast sound?”

“Sounds good to me!” she chirped.

 

It took a bit to get out of the red light district but soon the streets faded into freshly paved roads, the buildings began to look light they would not fall over by a particularly strong breeze, and she could not see a single homeless man on the side of the road. “Wow,” she commented, “it’s been a while since I’ve been out of the red lights.”

“Well welcome back to the outside world,” Yamada piped. She stuck her tongue out at him.

 

“Are you sure that you don’t have classes today?” she asked.

He shrugged. “All of the kids are out a couple more days for the new year.”

“Ah, make sense.”

 

They stopped a small red-bricked restaurant for breakfast where Mary Lou got chocolate chip pancakes and Yamada got an omelet. They chatted about anything and everything, the restaurant employee’s often coming over to tell the man off for being oo loud. After the third time, though, one of them recognized Yamada and asked for an autograph which he gave.

“It must be hard being a hero, to even be recognized in your civilian clothes,” she said. He swallowed his bite. “Not at all! I enjoy helping people. I would take a few lapses in my private time if it meant to be able to continue and save people.” Mary Lou smiled. “That is very cool of you.” He smiled.

No matter how much she insisted, “You paid for the movie.” , Yamada would not let her pay for their meal. Not even her part! She gave up the losing battle when she looked into her purse and found that, oh, right, she lives in the poorest part of the city. And, oh, right, she is broke as she spends every penny on the bakery, bills, or Izuku. After breakfast, the two walked to the movie theatre a block down. Mary Lou couldn’t help but keep looking over her shoulder, a habit that she had picked up from her years living in the red lights.

“Don’t worry,” Yamada spoke up, realizing her unease, “I won’t let anything happen.”

 

And Mary Lou believed him.

 

They got to the theatre and Mary Lou got away with at least buying the popcorn. They sat next to each other and poked fun at all of the movie trailers until the lights dimmed and the movie started. If Yamada put his arm around her doing the movie, there was no physical evidence. After the movie, Mary Lou checked her phone as they walked to Yamada’s car.

“Oh!”

He turned to her. “What is it?” Mary Lou pointed the screen to him. It was a picture of Shinsou and Izuku on the couch, leaning over a phone almost touching but not. Yamada smiled. “That’s great!” She nodded. “~That is my new screensaver.~” She hummed in a sing-song way as she saved and set the picture to the background of her phone before pocketing it.

“I must say,” Mary Lou started, “I did not take Mr. Aizawa as one to have a child, much less adopt.”

Yamada chuckled. “Neither did I! I’ve known the man since our first year at UA and he was always antisocial. But, I think Aizawa saw a bit of himself in the little listener.” Mary Lou looked up at Yamada as his tone got a bit thicker.

“He only told me once and it was when he was drunk but Aizawa’s childhood was much like Shinsou’s. As you know, his quirk allows him to Erase the quirk of anyone he looks at until he blinks. May took that as a threat to their own quirk so he, too, was alienated by those around him. It probably contributed to his antisocial qualities of today. I sure was surprised when I heard he was standing in the job at the orphanage that day!” Yamada laughed. “Imagine the shock when he adopted a kid! He didn’t even tell us. It was just BANG there’s a child!”

 

Mary Lou laughed heartily. “That’s so like him!”

 

“RIGHT!?”

 

Mary Lou had a newfound respect for Shouta Aizawa that day. Mary Lou stopped. Yamada stopped and turned to her. “What’s wrong?” She felt her chest tighten. Mary Lou smiled shakily. “I- I’ve got to use the little ladies room. Can we stop?”

“Sure thing!”

They stopped in a nearby cafe to which Mary Lou had to stop herself from making a beeline for the bathroom. As soon as she did, though, She hunched over the sink, unable to make it to a stall. *COUGH COUGH COUGH*

Mary Lou hacked up blood into the sink. She jumped when a hand came on her back, patting gently. She looked up to see an older woman. “Oh dear,” the woman spoke with a voice shaking from age. “Are you alright, dearie?” Mary Lou wanted to reply but had to turn her head back to the sink as another rough of harsh coughs racked through her body. The old woman did not stop rubbing soothing circles on her back until it finally subsided. Mary Lou was very grateful for that. The wiped her mouth and washed her hands and the sink.

 

“T- thank you,” she thanked the woman with a scratchy voice, raw from coughing up so much blood. She felt a bit lightheaded. The woman smiled and pressed a cup of water into Mary Lou’s hands. Mary took a large, refreshing gulp. People in this part of the city were so nice.

“Feeling better?” Mary Lou nodded. She fished her pills from her purse, using the water to take a few. Mary Lou rid hid them deep in her purse.

 

“Thank you, ma’am,” Mary Lou said with a bow, just now realizing how short the woman was.

“It’s no problem at all, dearie,” she waved it off. “Now, I believe I saw you come in with a dashing young man?” She winked. Mary Lou’s face lit up. “Don’t keep him waiting too long.” The older lady began to leave.

“A- ah, what is your name?” The woman turned and smiled.

 

_______________________________

 

Hizashi Yamada checked his watch. Mary Lou had been in the bathroom for some time now. Is she okay? She didn’t look well when we stopped.

An older lady that looked strangely familiar left the bathroom. She made a straight line for Hizashi who immediately attempted to look anywhere else. That was until her cane hit him in a jarringly familiar way. He jumped.

“YEE-OUCH! What was that-” he looked down and it hit him. “Recovery Gi-” *WHACK*

The older woman glared at him. “Public, Yamada.” He was quick to recollect himself. Was everyone in the lobby area staring at them? Yes, yes they were. “Sorry, everyone!” He turned back to the youthful heroine in her civilian clothes. “Does not change the question. What was that for, Shuzenji?” She pointed over her shoulder.

 

“Your date,” he blushed slightly, “was just coughing up blood in the bathroom.”

 

All of the blood that rushed to his face at the word “date” instantly drained. “Wh- what?!”

*WHACK* “Kepp your voice down!” she hissed. “I think you might want to check up on that. She had pills and was seemingly used to that occurring.” Recovery Girl began to walk off.

 

“Have fun on your date, Yamada.”

 

Just then, Mary Lou came out of the bathroom. She looked tired but smiled when she came up to greet him. “Everything alright?” he asked. She nodded and smiled but it looked strained. “Yup!” she popped the ‘p.’ “Sorry about that.” He smiled as brightly as he could back. “No problemo!”

They went ordered smoothies before heading back to his car. The whole drive back, Yamada could not keep his mind off of it but he did not want to ruin the mood. Mary Lou was happily singing along with the song on the radio, the weariness from earlier seemingly having worn off with time.

Yamada leads her back up to her apartment where she gave what she and Izuku called the “secret knock.” There was a moment before the soft *click* of the knock and the door opened slowly before it opened wider to reveal Izuku.

 

“Hey, little listener!” he greeted. Izuku waved. Shouta and Shinsou came up behind him. The greenette didn’t even jump. Strange. “Are you ready to go?” Aizawa asked. Yamada had been their ride here. He nodded. Mary Lou bowed. “Thank you for the wonderful day.”

“Thanks for coming!” Hizashi hesitated to say it but he did anyway with much determination.

 

“We should do this again sometime!”

 

He saw something indiscernible flash in her yellow eyes before she nodded. “Definitely!” They left soon thereafter. As Shouta was locking the bakery door with the extra key Mary Lou had given him, Yamada decided to speak up.

 

“Sho, we need to talk.”

 

_______________________________

 

Mary Lou was up late that night. Izuku had already gone to bed and she was in the kitchen. She marked off the day on the calendar. Mary Lou glanced at the next day. She chuckled sadly to herself.

 

“‘We should do this again sometime’ ey?” She leaned her head against the calendar.

 

If she cried that night, no one was there to tell the tale.

 

Chapter Text

*Ding Ding*

 

Izuku instantly dropped his pencil and grabbed Mary Lou’s phone that was next to him. Izuku was working on homework in his room. He was allotted an hour period each day from 1 to 2 pm where Mary Lou would come up from the bakery and drop off her phone so Izuku could text Shinsou.

 

Shin:

Help!

<insert picture of an awkwardly taken photo of a white fat cat on Shinsou’s back>

 

Izu:

Great job Marshmallow!

 

Shin:

Heartless!

 

Izu:

:P

 

Izuku went back to his work. Science… Not that he didn’t like it or anything, because Izuku loves to learn, it just isn’t his favorite subject, per se. There was a knock on the front door. It’s Midnight. Izuku KNEW it was Midnight coming for his lesson. He still jumped a mile high and fell out of his chair. He groaned and got up, rubbing his bum. Izuku almost left the room before he thought better of it when he realized that he was in a t-shirt that his tattoo poked out from the bottom of the sleeve. Izuku could care less about the scars that littered his body, they had already seen most of them, but the Golden Whip tattoo was another thing. The knock came again. Izuku let out an “eep” before throwing on his yellow hoodie and bolting out his door, not before closing the door after him, of course. Izuku still peeked through the peep-hole before opening the door and allowing the heroine in. He locked the door with a *click*.

 

“Hey there, kiddo!” she chirped. Izuku followed her into the living room where she was already pulling out their Modern Hero Art History papers.

Izuku sat down and took up his pencil. He was ready to learn!

 

About halfway through their lesson, Mary Lou came up to make them both lunch and to retrieve her phone. She looked a bit pale but waved it off when Midnight questioned her about it.

“It’s just the flour!” MaryLou promised. She turned to Izuku. “I dropped a bag of flour and it went POOF!” She made an exaggerated puff cloud with her arms before sticking her tongue out at him when Izuku let out a small giggle.

She passed him his plate with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She gave Midnight a roast beef sandwich.

 

“I have to go but you are both welcome down there if you wanna come,” she called as she swiped the phone off of the counter and went out the door, to which Izuku knocked. Izuku sighed silently. His hand lingered on the door. She was in such a rush. Having to come up here every day and take care of him? He was such a burden.

Three more months. He glanced at the calendar hanging on the fridge in the kitchen. Today is February 5th and he was in the fourth month of his house arrest. Mary Lou will be glad to not have to deal with him anymore.

 

He wondered absentmindedly which orphanage he would escape from. How long it would take him to get his gear back. He could never o back to living in this district but he could probably go back to the Junk Shop to get his gear again before moving on and reviving Golden Whip somewhere else. He wondered how the old man in the Junk Shop was doing. Izuku might not be able to go back. That would be okay. He could find his gear somewhere els-

 

“Are you listening?” Izuku’s head snapped up at Midnight’s voice. He blushed and nodded.

He’ll plan his great escape later tonight.

 

Midnight left around an hour later and Izuku immediately got to work on her assigned homework, satisfied with himself for being such a good student. Midnight would constantly bring up how her students kept forgetting to do their homework. He decided that now was as good a time as any to plan his escape. He needed to start now so he could prepare. Izuku solemnly went to his room. He really didn’t want to leave, not that he’d admit that. But, no matter how much Izuku wanted to stay, he wanted to not hold Mary Lou back even more.

Izuku stretched, leaning back in his chair. He felt his joints pop and bones crack from when they had not been reset properly over the years. The greenette put down his pencil and cracked his fingers. Izuku grabbed his notebook with his plans. He sighed sadly as he hid the green notebook under his bed mattress. Checking his alarm clock, Izuku read “8:39 pm” aloud. Mary Lou should be back soon.

 

As if summoned: *KnockKnock KnockKnock*

 

Izuku left his room at the sound of the ‘secret’ knock from the front door. NOW Izuku was sure something was wrong. Baker or not, one does not get that much flour on their face. Mary Lou was incredibly pale. Izuku watched her with calculating eyes as she stood in the kitchen preparing their dinner. Izuku walked up behind her and stuck his face in front of hers to get a closer look.

Mary Lou jumped back. “I- Izuku?! You startled me!” Izuku stepped in front of her and looked the brunette up and down. “Izu?” She was shaking slightly and her cheeks looked flush against her pale skin. There was a faraway look in her eyes. Izuku nodded sharply and pointed past her.

 

“B- Bed.” He tried to sound assertive but his stutter prevailed. Mary Lou giggled. It sounded force. “Don’t be silly, Izu.” She walked around him to go back to the chicken she was grilling. “I’m fine!” Izuku narrowed his eyes. He bit his lip.

 

“I- I won’t e- eat i- if y- y - you don’t.”

 

Mary Lou stared at him in shock. She crouched by him. “Young man,” Izuku almost flinched at the tone, “you will eat. As long as I am taking care of you, you will eat. Okay? This is not your choice.” 

Izuku bit his tongue. That word ‘choice’ felt like a rock in his gut. The words ‘as long as’ added another. He wanted to bite back: “I won’t be here much longer,” but didn’t. Izuku instead spun on his heel and left the kitchen.

 

Izuku huffed as he sat on his bed. He laid down, legs dangling off of it. Izuku let out a sigh. Bored. Worried and bored. There wasn’t much to do and Mary Lou was in the kitchen sick. He closed his eyes. The twelve-year-old’s mind went back to the green notebook under his mattress. Izuku felt his bones groan in protest as he rolled over and pushed himself off of the bed. Izuku had just lifted the mattress when-

 

*!BANG!*

 

Izuku jumped, a sense of foreboding overtaking him.

 

*Cough Cough Cough*

 

His eyes moved from the notebook under his bed to the large knife he also had stored there.

 

*Thud*

 

Izuku took the hilt in his hand and let the mattress fall. He slowly crept out of his room. He made his way down the hallway.

 

*Cough Cough…*

 

He rounded surveyed the living room. Nothing. Izuku took a deep breath, willing his heartbeat to slow down. Izuku’s eyes flitted to the kitchen and dining room. He slid along the wall, back pressed firmly against it but feet ready to jump out of the way of an attack. Izuku took a deep breath before jumping around the corner, into the entrance of the kitchen.

His heart stopped. The blade in his hand fell, but the sound of it hitting the ground was muffled by the roar of blood in his ears. Izuku stumbled forward, falling to his knees.

 

“M- Mary Lou?” he choked out. He reached out, hesitating a moment before gently shaking her shoulder. She groaned and let out another weak cough, body shaking. Izuku’s eyes fell to her hand. Her hand was covered in blood. Izuku felt a wobbly smile grace his own lips. “M- M- Mary L- Lou?” He shook her harder. “MA- RY!” he screamed, voice cracking harshly. Izuku stood up and looked around the kitchen frantically. His eyes fell upon her phone on the counter. He lurched forward and swiped it off the counter, ignoring the blood that wrapped around it as if she had tried to grab it herself. Izuku put in her password but his hands were shaking so much that it took a few tries.

 

AizawaAizawaAizawaAizawa - He was scanning through her contacts - AizawaAizawaAi- AH!

 

He pressed the phone against his ear. It rang. And rang. PICK UP, DANG IT!

*Click*

“Hello.” Suddenly, it happened. Izuku couldn’t speak. His throat tightened like it always did when speaking to someone. “Miss? Is everyth-” the man’s voice stopped. Then, “Izuku?” Izuku’s silence gave him away. “Kid, what’s wrong? Do you want Hitosh-”

 

“Help,” Izuku finally choked out.

 

“What?”

 

“HE- LP!” he screamed into the phone. Izuku fell to his knees, tears streaming down his face.

 

“Kid, I need you to breathe,” Eraser’s voice was calm. “What happened?”

“M- M- M- M- Mary! Sh- she’s on t- th- the floor! BLEEDING!” Izuku couldn’t breathe, the only thing grounding him being the voice on the other side of the phone. Until he heard: “Suck!”

WHAT?! Did Eraser know this was going to happen?! Did he plan this?! “Kid, I’m coming. I need you to make sure Mary Lou doesn’t choke, alright?” Izuku tried to respond but he couldn’t. A vice was around his throat. “Unlock the door so we can get in when we get there, okay? Stay on the line with me. We will be there soon.” Izuku complied, shakily making his way to the door and unlocking it.

Izuku looked back over to Mary Lou. Make sure she doesn’t choke? He put the phone on speaker and set it beside him. Izuku rolled Mary Lou to face him, blood was trickling from her mouth. He took a deep breath, his years of vigilanting miraculously keeping him in some form of calm. Izuku turned her on her side again so she wouldn’t choke on her own blood.

 

Hey.” Izuku’s wide eyes directed to the phone where Shinsou’s voice just came from. “If you are there, do something to tell me.” Izuku reached over and tapped on the mic of the phone, ignoring the bloody fingerprints his fingers left.

 

“Cool. Um, Da- Eraserhead said that an ambulance will be there soon. You need to go down and unlock the bakery.” Izuku looked back at Mary Lou. And leave her? But if I don’t let them in then… Izuku got to his feet. He slowly made his way downstairs to the bakery. It was eerily quiet and the lights were off so Izuku turned them on before going and unlocking the front door.

He tapped the mic again.

“Okay, um… the doctors will be there before us so just wait for us to get there. Um… yeah. They will take Miss Mary Lou but that is okay. Okay?” Izuku tapped the mic again.

 

And they did. Izuku watched as tall men in white coats and masks took Mary Lou. As she was taken away, Izuku felt the colors that she had introduced him to drain from the world and Izuku was left in his black and white world once again.

 

_______________________________

 

Hitoshi didn’t know what to do as he sat in the car with Dad’s phone. Dad told him to keep talking so Hitoshi did. About cats and heroes and anything other than the fact that THE AMBULANCE JUST PAST THEM GOING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.

When they finally (Oh Gosh Finally!) pulled up to the bakery, the lights were on. Dad practically threw himself out of the car, Hitoshi following suit.

 

“We are coming up to the apartment now, okay?”

The familiar tap on the mic told him that Izuku was still on the phone. Still, Hitoshi did not hang up until they arrived at the front door. Dad didn’t have to knock, the door was ajar and inside they found Izuku on the floor in the kitchen clutching a large blade to his chest as if it was a lifeline. He sat next to a small pool of blood. Hitoshi gagged. Dad turned to him and turned him around by his shoulders. “Don’t look,” he whispered and Hitoshi was all too okay with that.

 

“Izuku,” he heard Dad talking, “everything… everything is under control.” Not fine. Not okay. Not alright. But ‘under control.’ “We are going to take you to the hospital, alright, but you need to clean up first.” There was no reply but soon Hitoshi heard the shuffling of clothes and Izuku soon walked past him, into the living room and down the hallway where Hitoshi could not see him. Dad called the police station and had them take off Izuku’s tracking device on his ankle so he could leave the bakery. When Izuku returned, he was in a pair of black sweats and a white t-shirt, sans knife. His eyes were blown wide. Hitoshi glanced at Dad. They were soon in the car and on their way to the hospital.

Hitoshi tried to talk but it was soon apparent that the greenette wasn’t listening. In a lapse of judgment and a failure to read between the lines, Hitoshi reached out.

 

“Hey-” *SLAP* He stopped, stunned when Izuku turned suddenly and slapped his hand away, pressing himself against the door further. Hitoshi recalled Dad getting mad at himself for startling the boy a month ago. Now he understood. Hitoshi retracted his arm and instead pulled out his phone.

The tried and true method: cat pictures. Izuku probably wasn’t listening to his commentary and his green eyes were more looking to the side of the phone, but the fact that he was making an effort to appear at least somewhat interested had to count for something, right?

 

-ish.

 

Upon arriving at the hospital, Dad took charge but eventually came back and said that they could not see Mary Lou yet. Understandable.

“Hitoshi,” the purple-haired boy looked up at his father, “it is apparent that Izuku will probably not leave until he sees Mary Lou and that could be all night. I can call Yamada to come and watch over him if you want to go home.”

Hitoshi looked past his father at the greenette who was sitting in a waiting room chair at the other side of the room, head down but, even from this distance, body incredibly tense.

 

-----

 

‘He seems to respond better to kids. Or at least those around his age.’

 

-----

 

Hitoshi looked back at Dad. “I’m fine. I am going to go sit with Izuku.” Dad nodded. “I am still going to call Yamada. He is her boyfriend after all.” Hitoshi nodded and walked off. He sat in the terribly uncomfortable waiting room chair with a chair in between him and Izuku. Only then, as he waited, did it hit him. Mary Lou was sick and possibly dying. His chest hurt at the thought so he tried not to focus on that. Hitoshi looked around the room. There were only a couple of other people there. Hitoshi wondered what they were here for.

Dad came over and sat next to him. As much as Hitoshi tried to stay awake for his friend, and even though he was a bonafide insomniac, the adrenaline had begun to wear off and Hitoshi soon found himself falling into the world of dreams.

And possibly nightmares.

 

_______________________________

 

Shouta sighed.

 

This was very much NOT how he had planned to spend the night. And very much NOT how he had wanted to spend it. He was woken up during his mid-day nap that he always took before his hero shift when he had gotten the call. He looked down at his son who had fallen asleep on his arm.

The automatic doors of the hospital slid open and Shouta turned his attention to his yellow-haired friend who had bolted through them. Upon making eye contact, Hizashi ran up to him.

Shouta glared as the man opened his mouth. Taking the hint, Hizashi closed his mouth and reopened it, now speaking in a much softer volume than he would have spoken in previously.

 

“Anything new?” Shouta had told Hizashi everything that had occurred over the phone. He shook his head. “Not yet.” Hizashi sighed and ran a shaking hand through his long hair. Hizashi looked over to Izuku who had not moved an inch. He glanced back at Shouta who shrugged. Hizashi walked over silently and crouched in front of the boy.

Shouta held his breath.

His friend turned to him and signed -Sleeping.- Hizashi had learned sign language from a young age when his quirk made his parents deaf. Shouta had picked it up after years of knowing the man. He watched as Hizashi sat in between Hitoshi and Izuku. The loud man had the balls to reach over and gently pull Izuku over to lean against him. Shouta remembered seeing Izuku slap away Hitoshi’s hand in the car through the rearview mirror. The fact that Hizashi could even attempt that was a testimony to how worn out the kid was.

 

Dang it! The kid’s been through enough! Why did this have to happen?

 

Eventually, even Shouta, the king of insomniacs, dozed off. He dozed up until the nurse came in from a hallway and announced: “Those for Mary Lou Takakawa?” Shouta looked up. He shook Hitoshi awake. “Come on.” Hizashi shook his shoulder, not daring to make any more physical contact with the sleeping boy on his arm.

Once they were all awake, the four were led deeper into the hospital.

It barely registered in Shouta’s mind that the sun had already begun to rise over the buildings.

 

_______________________________

 

Mary Lou blinked at the ceiling groggily. She had a tube down her throat and a mask over her mouth to help her breathe. An IV was in her right arm and a heart monitor was connected to her chest. She had woken up about fifteen minutes ago to the sound of the heart monitors *BEEP BEEP BEEP*

It was weak. She knew it. She had known for a while that this was coming. She was such an idiot. Would her family hear about this? What would Yamada think? They had only just started dating! Mary Lou had known better than to get into a relationship, not that she wanted to with any of the guys in the red light district, but she still did. Now look at her.

“Ms. Takakawa,” she glanced at the tall doctor with short brown hair, “we cannot let them in but you have visitors.” He gestured to the side. Mary Lou turned her head, painfully, to see a wall with a glass window separating her from Mr. Aizawa, Hitoshi, Yamada, and… Izuku.

 

Her heart hurt. What would happen to Izuku now? What was he thinking? She met his wide, green eyes with her own yellow ones. She always knew what Izuku was thinking. He may never smile or talk and his face may always be blank, but his eyes always told what his heart was saying.

 

*BEEP BEEP Beep Beep*

 

She could feel her heart slowing down. I’m sorry, Izuku. She lifted her hand. I’m so, so sorry. She reached out. I didn’t want to leave you like this. She watched the green string form from his chest, extending through the glass and to her hand. Extending from right where his heart should be.

He looked at it but didn’t reel back. Instead, Mary Lou watched as he pressed himself against the glass and bang on it. She could only hear the muffled screams but she made out:

“DON- GO! PLEA-!”

 

Tears filled her eyes. She might not be able to hug him, to comfort him, physically but she could let him know that she was still there. Mary Lou gently took the string. She gave it a light tug. Izuku’s eyes filled with tears that began to fall immediately. Mr. Aizawa could have erased Izuku’s quirk but he let this happen. He let Izuku express the emotions that were always locked up like a bird caged, unable to freely fly.

 

Mary Lou felt her own tears fall.

I don’t want to go!

*Beep Beep Beep*

I don’t want to leave you!

*Beep Beep beep*

I don’t want to… her vision began to go black and her outstretched arm slackened.

*beep beep beep*

 

‘-die!’

 

Mary Lou’s eyes snapped open. That sounded like Izuku. A voice rang through her head. ‘I don’t want you to die! Don’t leave me!’

*beep beep Beep*

Mary Lou could feel it. Energy. Her hand burned slightly around the grip of the string.

‘Please! Don’t go!’

A tingling sensation spread from her hand, down her arm, and slowly through her body. The string began to glow brighter.

‘Don’t leave me!’

*Beep Beep BEEP*

Mary Lou’s vision cleared. She stared at Izuku. He wobbled a bit. Mr. Aizawa caught him but the boy pushed away, hands slamming on the glass. Mary Lou felt the energy surge through her if every small fist that beat against the glass. That’s when it clicked.

 

Izuku was transferring his energy to her. No. Energy wouldn’t do this.

Her heart skipped a beat. Izuku no! You can’t! 

*BEEP BEEP BEEP*

'I DON'T WANT YOU TO DIE!!!'

She watched as he wobbled again, fist falling and body leaning against the glass. Mary Lou let go of the string. The vibrating feeling stuck for a second before dissipating.

 

A quirk to be used as a doll.

Izuku looked up at her with glassy eyes.

Not only to have one’s body to be used as a doll...

He smiled and fell backward, Mary Lou’s eyes widening. “IZUKU!”

 

… but to have one’s own life force to be able to be taken and used as someone else's.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku slowly opened his eyes, wincing at the harsh light of the… hospital room?

He sat up quickly and just as quickly regretted doing so as his head started to pound harshly. Izuku winced, pressing his hand to his forehead.
“Good morning.” Izuku jumped. He looked to his left to see Eraserhead grading papers. Izuku let out a breath he didn’t know that he had been holding. Then, he remembered. Izuku stared at the man with wide eyes. He wanted to ask what happened to Mary Lou and why he was in a hospital bed but he couldn’t find the words. Luckily, he didn’t need to.

“Mary Lou is fine,” the raven-haired man stared. “For now.” Izuku’s brief moment of hope evaporated. The man sighed with every ounce of exhaustion that those eyebags held. “With all due respect to your privacy, we brought a quirk specialist over during the three days you were out.” Izuku flinched. Three days? Seriously, what happened?
“What did the specialist find out?” The man asked rhetorically. “That you, whether you meant to or not, transferred your life force or energy into Mary Lou through the connection you two had through the string.” What? “Kid, tell me, did you know you could do that?”

Izuku shook his head frantically but stopped when his head started to throb again. Eraserhead sighed. “Don’t,” he said sternly, “ever try to do that again. At least not until we know if it has worse effects than this. Even then, don’t do that because you wound up like this.” This as in… Izuku took a survey of the room. As in the heart monitors, the breathing mask to the side that he had probably been on, and the IV still in his arm. “Would you like to know the full extent of what happened?”
Izuku’s fingers itched for a notebook to take notes. He nodded.

“Upon transferring your life force into Mary Lou, she recovered. Now, don’t get your hopes up. It is expected that her health will only last as long as however much you gave her. And NO you cannot just give her more because I know that is what you were thinking.” Izuku could not deny that even if he wanted to verbally speak. “Your heart rate slowed dangerously low and your breathing was minuscule as you did not have enough force left in you to have your body fully function naturally. You generated a massive fever that broke last night. Its top temperature was 104, dangerously high.”
Izuku gulped. Eraser took another long breath.
“While sometime in the future, we may be able to train that so the side effects aren’t as drastic,” he almost glared at Izuku, “NEVER do that again unless we give you the go-ahead.”

Izuku deadpanned. Like I am actually going to be using my quirk in the future.
Eraser nodded. “Yes, I know,” as if he knew what Izuku was thinking, “that you do not plan on using your quirk in the future but I have a serious question for you in regards to that. However,” he stood up, “that will have to wait until you are back home.”
Izuku’s heart dropped and, ironically, the heart monitor sped up. Eraserhead whipped around. “NO. Not there!” he mended. “I mean back to the bakery.”
Izuku sighed in relief.
“Geeze, kid, why would we ever send you back there?”
‘There’ was not a place to be mentioned. It was simply implied.
“As of now, when you are released, you will be taken back to Mary Lou’s place where she is already waiting for you,” he affirmed. “I am going to get the nurse. We will finish this conversation later.”

Izuku watched him leave. He looked up at the ceiling. Then at the window.
For now, he said. Izuku looked down at his hands. For the first time in his whole life, Izuku did not feel afraid of his quirk.
He felt strangely… calm. Was it because he wasn’t at full functionality yet. He didn’t care. Izuku would take this moment of relaxation and run with it. That is…

… until the doctor opened the door and the sight of an unfamiliar face instantly took that relaxation and replaced it with Izuku’s normal tenseness and jittery tendencies.

After a brief evaluation, they cleared Izuku to go home on one condition: he had to go in a wheelchair. As it would turn out, Izuku tried to stand, immediately got lightheaded, and his legs gave out. It was not a pretty fight. The doctor tried to help him up but on sheer nervous reaction, Izuku almost broke his wrist. Eraserhead had come in right at the cracking moment and snapped Izuku out of it before he actually could. Full body function or not, Izuku had a mean grip. That did not change the fact that Izuku was on the floor. It took nearly two minutes for Eraserhead to gain permission from the greenette to help him up off the ground and into the wheelchair.
Also, the stairs up the bakery were something to behold, as in, Eraserhead almost had a heart attack when he had to carry Izuku up the stairs and Izuku had gotten so stiff in fear that the hero thought the kid's heart stopped beating again. Eraserhead was quick to unfold the wheelchair and deposit Izuku into it, soon after starting a series of breathing exercises because, yes, Izuku had a small panic attack.

Eraser stood and knocked on the door. Almost immediately it opened.

Izuku’s breath hitched when he saw Mary Lou standing in the doorway. Tears filled both of their eyes.
“Oh, Izuku…” Izuku wanted to say so many things but- Eraserhead patted his back. “We won’t tell you not to speak,” he said. “Or beat you, or use your quirk. Sometimes, you need to say what is on your mind.” Izuku looked up at him in awe.
And like that, the dam broke.

Izuku lurched forward, just barely staying in his seat, and grabbed Mary Lou’s hands. Tears cascaded from his emerald eyes.
W- w- why didn’t- Why d- didn’t- you t- t- tell me?! Y- y- you- you a- almost d- d- died!!! W- why did y- you- Why did you a- a- almost die!? Y- y- you- I- Don- I-” He couldn’t get the words out. He couldn’t get air into his lungs. Mary Lou crouched in front of him. He flinched when she pulled him into a hug.

“I’m sorry, Izu,” she whispered. “I’m sorry for scaring you.”
She began to let go. Izuku gripped her sweater.
“D- d- don’t leave m- me…” He heard a sharp inhale of breath. “N- n- not you. Not y- you!

 

_______________________________

 

Hitoshi was in almost shock at the sound of Izuku’s voice. Broken and stuttered but still there. His actual voice. He watched as his friend who was deathly scared of contact with any living being clutched onto Miss Mary Lou like a lifeline. It reminded him of himself when he was adopted.

 

-----

 

Eraserhead was back today. Hitoshi decided that he liked the hero quite a bit. He wasn’t fake like the caretakers at the orphanage. He talked to Hitoshi. Hitoshi didn’t necessarily talk back but the man still made a point of including Hitoshi in conversations despite knowing his quirk. It had been two months since the hero first visited the Bright Hopes Orphanage, ha, for basically a PR event. He has been coming back ever since. At first, Hitoshi couldn’t believe it when he asked the man why via paper. The man wrote back:

‘To talk with you.’

Hitoshi thought that he was joking, just pulling his strings. Then the hero walked up to him with a stack of papers one day. Hitoshi took them skeptically. The top one was the adoption form. The others were legal documents. Hitoshi slowly raised his head to meet the older man’s eyes. Eraserhead smirked at him.

 

-----

 

Hitoshi had done the exact same thing Izuku was doing right now that day.
But it’s different this time.
It’s different because now they have to tell the boy the bad part. Dad told Hitoshi Izuku’s quirk to him on the first day that the greenette was unconscious. And a lot of other things.
Let’s just say that Hitoshi understood a lot more about the kid now. He hated that he was going to have to be apart of telling this to Izuku.
They wheeled the boy inside and the four of them gathered around the table.
Hitoshi took a deep breath. The conversation started.

“Kid,” Dad started and Hitoshi felt for the man having to take charge in this situation, “right now it is a miracle that Mary Lou is with us right now. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee her life.” Hitoshi watched and counted the seconds it took for Izuku’s face to fall. “Your quirk saved her, and maybe with training we could use that but, as of now, you cannot use your quirk in that way. Her health will only last as long as your life energy in her does. Once that goes away, her health will deplete once again.” Izuku hung his head.

“W- w- why not?”

Hitoshi bit his lip and glanced at his father. “Why not what?” the man asked.
Izuku looked up. “Why c- can’t s- she have my l- life force?”
Hitoshi hated that wording. ‘Have’ it? He could tell that neither Dad nor Miss Mary Lou liked it either.
Izuku pressed on. “I- If m- my quirk c- can s- s- save her then w- why not?”
“If you used it to fully heal her, at this point untrained, you would kill yourself,” Dad replied.


So?

Hitoshi snapped his head up to stare at the boy. He choked. Izuku was staring at Dad with no emotion. His face was a blank slate. What’s worse was probably that there was no stutter as the boy kept going.

“I don’t care. Take my life force then. Better I than her.”
Mary Lou jumped up. “Izuku!”
The boy didn’t look at her. “She has something to live for. She has people who look forward to seeing her every day. Use my quirk. It’s okay. I won’t fight it. She can have it.”
Hitoshi felt sick.
After months of not speaking, after months of trying to read Izuku, this is what was on his mind?
“Do you truly believe that?” Dad cut in. “Do you believe that you have nothing to live for, Izuku? That you don’t have anyone who wants to see you the next morning?”
Izuku nodded. “Yeah.

Tears filled in Miss Mary Lou’s eyes.
Dad’s right eye twitched. He stood up and rounded the table. Dad crouched in front of the boy.

“Are you stupid or something?” Hitoshi flinched.
“No,” Izuku bit back. “I’m realistic. Or, as you put it, 'rational.'” Deep hit. “I know how this goes, Eraserhead. I know that after the house arrest is over I’ll be transferred to an orphanage and never see any of you again. I have it all planned out, you can see it in a notebook I have under my mattress. So, I’ll say it again, I don’t have any reason to live in a world where I know there is nothing for me. Take my quirk. At least it will be of some use.”
Hitoshi stared in shock. Even at his lowest moment, Hitoshi never spiraled THIS far.

Miss Mary Lou sped-walked around the table and raised her hand. Izuku flinched. She lowered it.

“You see that?” she said. “You flinched. STOP ACTING! You may say all of these strong words but inside you are just a scared little boy. That’s okay! You’re what, twelve? And you’ve had a sucky life!” Hitoshi was taken back by her… less than friendly language. “You’re scared of being hurt, I get it, but don’t say things like that about yourself!” She bent down and grabbed the greenette by the shoulders. “You HAVE people who want to see you in the morning, Izuku! Me, Mr. Aizawa, Shinsou, Yamada, Midnight, and Cementoss. All of us! We all want to see you every day!”

“And I’m just supposed to believe that?!” Izuku bit back, rage in his eyes, pain lacing his voice.

“YES! ‘Cause it’s true! Not everyone wants to use you for your quirk, Izuku! We want you for YOU. And your quirk is YOUR quirk, not something for others to just take or use. It is a part of you. Sure, some will take advantage of it but that is just the world we live in. You are strong, Izuku. You have survived through so much. Don’t go giving away your life because that is what the world has told you. You are not some toy to be sold off, some doll to be played with and tossed aside.”
She took a breath.

“You are HUMAN, Izuku. You are a breathing, feeling, crying, hurting, broken, LIVING being. You are not the world’s play toy.” She pressed a finger into the kid's chest. “You are your own person. Don’t you EVER say those things about yourself again! Do I make myself clear, boy?”

Hitoshi was utterly stunned.

 

-----

 

‘I don’t know what made you believe those things about yourself,’ Aizawa crouched in front of Hitoshi and pressed a finger to the purple-haired kid's chest, ‘but your quirk does not decide whether you are a villain or not. YOU decide for yourself.’

 

-----

 

He watched as Izuku hung his head, tears dripped from his green eyes. “W- w- why can’t y- you just t- take it…?” Miss Mary Lou smiled softly and lowered her finger.
“Because I am human, too, Izuku. I make my own choices. I chose not to.” Izuku looked up at her.

“I was born ill, Izuku. It has grown progressively ill as I got older. I never told you my quirk, Izuku. My quirk is called Internal Decay. It destroys my immune system from the inside out. Sure, your quirk healed me for a bit, repaired the tears, but my quirk will always be active. Izuku,” she cupped her hands around Izuku’s face, “thank you for caring so much about me but now… Now it is time that you start caring about yourself. If not for yourself, then for me? I’m dying, Izuku. Can I make one final request of you?”

Izuku hiccupped. Hitoshi let his father walk up to him and wrap an arm around him as tears fell from Hitoshi’s eyes too.
“Y- yes…”

Mary Lou smiled.


Live. Live, Izuku. Live and do amazing things. See the world. Not just for the bad, but for the good, too. Spread your wings and fly. Use your strings to save people. And, when you are ready…,” Mary Lou placed her hand over Izuku’s heart,

“…use your strings to save yourself, Izuku.

 

_______________________________

 

Mary Lou sat on the couch with Izuku beside her, leaning against her arm.

 

-----

 

‘Thank you for bringing him home, Mr. Aizawa.’
The man bowed. ‘It was no problem.’
‘About where he will go after this, I would like to personally speak with any and all candidates.’
‘Of course. I will contact you as soon as we find a few,’ he said. ‘Though I am sure that Hitoshi will be texting often.’
‘Of course. Thank you again.’

 

-----

 

Mary Lou ran her fingers through Izuku’s curly hair, a movie playing in the background.
She looked down at Izuku who had begun to doze off.
She might not have much time left but she would make sure that her last days she did have, she would spend them doing what she could for Izuku. She would not leave this world regretting what she had left behind.

 

Chapter Text

A little green-haired boy skipped down the street. His small hand was held by a brunette woman, listening contently as the boy rattled on about heroes and what they learned in preschool that day. He lifted his arm, making a flying sound as he held up his favorite All Might figurine. The little boy ran ahead of the woman. Birds were singing, the sun was shining. The boy stopped. He turned around.

‘Mommy!’ The greenette’s eyebrows furrowed when the brunette woman was not there. ‘Mommy?’ He retraced his steps, holding the toy close to his chest. ‘Mommy…?’

No one was on the streets.

 

The little boy looked up when something cold and wet hit his hand. Clouds covered the sun and rain began to drizzle. He walked a bit faster, calling out for the woman to no avail.

 

Seconds to minutes. Minutes to hours. The rain picked up, heavily beating down on the small child as he kept walking. He kept calling out for the woman, even though his yells were muffled by the storm. The little boy tripped, falling into a puddle. He dropped his toy.

The little boy sniffled. He reached out for the figurine but it was swept away with the waters.

 

Cold. Wet. Alone.

He was all alone.

 

‘Mommy?’

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku blinked open his eyes. He rubbed at them with his hands. They came back wet. Wet? Was he crying? He found that he couldn’t stop. He curled into a ball on his bed, furiously rubbing at his eyes as salty tears continued to fall from them. Dang it, stop! He couldn’t. Izuku rested his head on his knees and silently waited it out. When the tears stopped falling and his body stopped shaking, Izuku uncurled himself from his ball. He snuck into the bathroom and took a few minutes to make it look like he had not been crying before leaving and entering the living room. He could smell the aroma of bacon floating in the air and hear the sizzle of the grease.

Izuku walked into the kitchen silently.

 

He froze, foot held in midair. Mary Lou was humming to herself and… Present Mic was leaning against the counter watching the bacon as it cooked.

Izuku swiveled on his foot and quickly made his way to the front door. It was unlocked. He locked it with a small *click* which alerted the adults of his presence.

“Good morning, Izu.”

“Morning, little listener!”

Izuku nodded at them before joining the two in the kitchen. He glanced at Present Mic. It had been a week since Izuku got back ‘home.’ The man smiled down at him. “I’ve got the day off today. Hope ya don’t mind that I stopped by?” Izuku shrugged. Mary Lou smiled. She stuck a piece of bacon with a fork and passed it to Izuku. “How is it?” He took the bacon and blew on it softly before taking a bite. Izuku took a second to decide how to respond to this. He could just nod or give a thumbs up but… he glanced at the yellow-haired man behind Mary Lou.

 

-----

 

‘We won’t tell you not to speak,’ Eraser said. ‘Or beat you, or use your quirk. Sometimes, you need to say what is on your mind.’

 

-----

 

Izuku swallowed and opened his mouth. “I- i- it’s g- good.”

Mary Lou smiled. She looked up at Present Mic who smiled back at her. “That’s great! Can you two go set the table then? I’ve got cinnamon rolls in the oven.”

Present Mic gave a thumbs up. “Sure thing!” Izuku opted for simply nodding his time. He waited for Present Mic to hand him the plates from the cabinet before following the man over to the table.

Izuku placed Mary Lou’s plate next to Present Mic’s and Izuku’s on the other side of the table. Present Mic placed a butter knife and fork on each plate. “Hey, Izuku,” he whispered. Izuku turned to him and tilted his head. “Pass me a napkin.” Raising an eyebrow at the suspiciousness of this, Izuku complied. Present Mic waved him over. Izuku reluctantly came over.

“Watch this.” Izuku watched as the man folded the napkin in strange ways. Soon it seemed to take the form of a bunny. The yellow-haired man grinned and held it up for Izuku to see. Izuku took it gently. It was so cool! How did he do that? “It’s called origami,” the man stated. “Go put that on your plate and I’ll teach you how to do it.” Izuku was all too eager to do so, though he didn’t let it show. Mic taught Izuku how to do it too. His wasn’t as good as the hero’s but it still held some semblance of a bunny.

“Great job!” Present Mic raised a hand. Izuku flinched, body going tense. “It’s called a high five, listener.” Izuku looked down at his own palm. He nodded sternly to himself before raising his hand and lightly tapping it against Mic’s. The hero grinned. “A little stiff,” ha, “but all good!”

 

“What are you boys doing?” They both looked over to see Mary Lou making her way to them with a pan of bacon and a tray of cinnamon rolls. Mic grinned. “Nothing!” He took the two bunnies, placing Izuku’s on Mary Lou’s plate and his own on his own plate.

When they all sat down, Mary Lou examined the bunny. Izuku blushed slightly at his poor attempt at origami. “Cute!” she exclaimed. Izuku blushed harder.

The three of them ate. It was… nice. Izuku listened as the two adults conversed.

 

His father was never around when he was a kid. (Ahem, still is a kid.) Inko had said that he left when he found out that she was pregnant with him. And, well, aside from maybe four years before his quirk presented itself, Inko could not really be what Izuku considered a ‘mother’ figure at all. He wondered if, maybe, just maybe, this is what it felt like to have a ‘family.’

Izuku smiled softly, taking another bite of his cinnamon roll.

 

Sweet… A few of the blacks and whites of his world faded into pale imitations of color.

 

Present Mic ended up staying the whole day, even when Cementoss came over for their Modern Literature lesson. Mary Lou got off work early.

“Do you guys want to come to see the studio?”

Izuku and Mary Lou looked up from either reading or doing bills. Take a guess who was doing what. “Like, your radio station?” Mary Lou asked. Present Mic nodded. He was putting on his boots by the front door. Izuku’s eyes widened. THE studio?! He listened to the hero’s talk show, Presently Loud Radio, every day! It would be a dream to go!

 

“I don’t see why not,” the man continued. “After all, Izuku isn’t on house arrest anymore,” to allow Izuku and Mary Lou to spend more time together before… “so why don’t you two come to join me at the station?” He turned to Izuku. “I’ll even show you how it works.”

 

Izuku couldn’t help turning his head to face Mary Lou expectantly. PleasepleasepleasepleasePLEASE!

“I don’t see why not!”

YES!

 

She smiled. “Why don’t you go get a notebook and a pencil ‘cause I know that you are going to want one.” Izuku did not have to be told twice. He ran to his room and grabbed a fresh notebook. He pulled his hoodie over his head and stuffed in a pencil. Izuku’s eyes drifted to the All Might figure on his desk.

 

-----

 

the figurine but it was swept away with the waters.

 

-----

 

Izuku glanced over to his mattress where his escape-plan notebook lay underneath.

 

-----

 

‘About where he will go after this, I would like to personally speak with any and all candidates.’

 

-----

 

Izuku nodded to himself and left the room, notebook in hand, closing the door behind him.

He met the two adults by the door after going around and checking to make sure every window was locked.

“Ya ready to go, little listener?” Izuku nodded sharply and off they went, Izuku checking the bakery door to make sure it wouldn’t budge. Mic’s car was so nice! Izuku sat in the backseat all the way out of the red light district. When he looked out the window, he saw a tall, buff man on the streets.

 

Oh. I beat him up like, last year. Guess he got out.

 

He turned and looked out the window.

 

That lady gave me a bag of chips. It had been a particularly rough winter and Izuku was forced to sit on the edge of a street begging.

 

Good times. Good times.

 

They drove out of the red lights and deeper into the more populated, much better-off city. They pulled in front of a highrise with a large black and yellow sign that read “Presently Loud Radio” with flashing lights. Izuku bounced in his seat. “We’re here!” Izuku opened the door and stepped out. He froze.

More populated. MUCH more populated. People were everywhere, even in the evening. Everyone milling around was a potential threat. Every single pers-

“Breathe,” Mary Lou’s voice came next to his ear. Izuku flinched, eyes flickering over to her but body refusing to move. Present Mic, who had gotten into his hero clothes while at Mary Lou’s apartment, greeted and waved at the passerby’s who were used to seeing him around this time.

He signed a few autographs here and there.

 

It took Izuku a second to realize that he was creating a small crowd away from the door so that Izuku and Mary Lou could go in without any trouble. Mary Lou took Izuku’s hand gently, Izuku not pulling back but instead gripping hers a lot harder than necessary. She led him in. Present Mic followed soon after.

“You know,” Izuku jumped when the purple-haired woman at the front desk spoke, “you getting out of a car with a woman and child will definitely be in the news.” Present Mic walked by Izuku and Mary Lou waving his hand up and down.

“Who cares, who cares!?” His voice was louder here. Mic waved the both of them over, Izuku robotically following behind Mary Lou.

 

“Sherri, this is Mary Lou and Izuku!” he announced. The woman looked over the counter, here teal eyes squinting happily. “Oh ho ho! So you are the famed two! Mic talks about you too a-”

“UNIMPORTANT!” Mic cut in. “I am taking them up in the studio. Can you please get them a couple of visitors passes?” The lady, Sherri, chuckled. “Lighten up, man! Fine fine, I’ll get their ID’s.”

They entered an elevator.

 

-----

 

‘No! Mom please no! I- I- I won’t do it again! Please not the closet!’

 

‘Oh, sweetie, you know this is for your own good. Next time you might think twice before disobeying me.’

 

‘Please! NOOOO!’

 

The closet door shut and all light was cut off at the sound of a solid *click*.

 

-----

 

“Izu- -ku? -zuku?”

 

He couldn’t breathe. Not again! Not again! Not again! He slammed himself against the far wall of the elevator, chest heaving. Nononononononononononono!

“Li- er. Litt- -istener. Ca- -down.”

The walls were closing in, he could feel the room getting smaller and the air getting thicker.

Can’t. Breathe!

 

*DING*

 

The elevator doors opened slowly, too slowly. Izuku threw himself out, shoulder hitting the still opening door causing him to stumble and fall to his knees, catching himself by planting his hands against the wall before his face could collide with it. He heaved, heart pounding painfully against his ribcage. Something, someone, touched his shoulder. Izuku flinched violently, grabbing the thing, someone's wrist, with an iron grip and pulling hard, forcing whatever, whoever, it was onto its side. Izuku stared down at the fallen thing, person, with wide eyes.

The thing, person, groaned and got up. It, he, moved to a sitting position in front of Izuku.

 

“Bre- -the -th me. Deep -eath. One. -wo. Thr- -e.” The voice was soothing and calm. Izuku focused on the voice. “One.” In. “Two.” Out. “Three.” In. “One.” Out. “Two.” In. “Three.” Out.

 

Slowly but surely, his vision cleared and the fog in his mind dissipated. Before him sat Present Mic with his sunglasses off. “Hey, little listener,” he cooed. Izuku eyes trailed down to where Mic’s right hand was twitching slightly and where a bruise was forming around the man’s wrist. Mic noticed. He lifted his hand and moved it around. “Don’t worry about this, listener! I’m a hero, remember? I’ve had worse!” Izuku was sure that that was supposed to make him feel better but it didn’t. The man stood up. “Claustrophobic?” Izuku, who was still shaking in his skin on the floor, nodded slowly.

 

-----

 

‘LET ME OUT! PLEASE! MOMMY!’

 

-----

 

His eyes fell upon Mary Lou. For a split second, he could have sworn that she had green hair instead of brown and that her eyes were green instead of yellow. He shivered. Mary Lou reached down to him but Izuku could not bring himself to take her hand. He slowly pulled himself to his feet. He missed the look of hurt in Mary Lou’s eyes as she retracted her arm.

“Don’t worry,” Mic said, “we will take the stairs on the way down.” Izuku nodded. He followed Mic with his head low.

Suddenly, the man stopped and Izuku almost ALMOST crashed into him. “Give me a second.” 

The two watched as he disappeared down a diverging hallway. Mary Lou came around and crouched in front of him. “Izuku, boy, why didn’t you tell me that you were claustrophobic?” Izuku looked away.

 

“I- I- Inko,” he shuddered, the first time he had actually said her name aloud in forever, “w- w- would lock m- me in t- t- the-” He squeezed his eyes shut. “I- I didn’t w- want y- you t- to know…”

 

-----

 

‘Please… please…’

… 

… 

‘Mommy?’

 

-----

 

“Did you think that I would do the same?” Izuku flinched at the question. That was all the answer she needed. Mary Lou took his hands. “Izuku, look at me.” He reluctantly peeled his eyes open. “I would never do that to you. That is honestly sickening that she would do that. I am NOT her. Okay?” Izuku nodded. She smiled and stood up. Just then, Present Mic came back with something in his hand. He bent down and held out his hand. A Truffle Bar. He grinned. “For my favorite little listener.

“T- thanks…” Izuku accepted it.

They continued down the hallway. Izuku opened the bar and took a bite.

 

Sweet…

 

Present Mic led them into a room. There were a desk and a couple of chairs and a microphone nailed in. In the corner was a purple couch and a small kitchenette. In the other corner was a couple of desks. A man with a green, spiky mohawk sat at it doing paperwork. To the left of the main desk was a wall with a glass screen that held a sound room with another standing, expensive-looking mic and more expensive equipment that Izuku had no clue what it did. There was an actually plain-looking man in there talking into a mic.

 

“This,” Present Mic gestured to the surroundings, “is where the magic happens!”

 

The tenseness did not leave Izuku’s body and he was still shaken up but he did get significantly more excited. Present Mic waved. “Yo! Daichi!” The mohawked man looked up. “EY!” He stood up and came jogging over. There was a *smack* when Present Mic and the man, Daichi, smacked their hands together. Izuku’s eyes widened. Up-close, Izuku recognized him.

This was Screamo, a sidekick at Present Mic’s hero agency, that also doubled as the radio station, and he often appeared on Presently Loud Radio.

Izuku immediately flipped open his notebook to the first page and began taking notes of the man.

 

“This them?” Scr- Daichi asked. Present Mic nodded. “Sure is! This is Mary Lou and Izuku! They’ll be on the air tonight!” Izuku’s head snapped up. Really?! Mic looked down at him. “Yup!”

Daichi put a hand on his hip. “Nice! Well, hey, I’m Daichi but you might recognize me more as Screamo. Welcome to the pad!” Izuku bounced. He had so many questions. Does his quirk only work with that specific guitar? How loud can he get? How far can the sound reach? What happens if a string breaks? Does turning it in different ways change anything?

Present Mic laughed loudly as he peered over into Izuku’s notebook. “I’m sure you can ask him all that later but let’s start the show!”

 

_______________________________

 

!PRESENTLY LOUD RADIO!

 

Mic: HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY!!!!!! IT’S YOUR FAVORITE RESIDENT LOUD GUY, PRESENT MIC HERE! CAN I GET A HEY FROM ALL OF YOU!?

 

… 

 

Mic: GREAT! Welp can you believe the week is already over? And what A week it was! Did you all see that villain take down?! He was all like “Roar! I’mma eat ya!” and I was all like “ YEEEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!” and he went flying! I couldn’t swallow without pain for a whole day after that! Safe to say that my vocal chords were not pleased with me after that. Mhmm, mhmm. WELL! It would seem that we have some callers! Let’s hear what you guys got to say!

 

… 

 

Mic: Hey-Hey-HEY! Welcome to Presently Loud Radio, listener! You’re on the air!

 

Caller 1: Heck yeah! I was there when you took that villain down! Super manly, dude!

 

Mic: Thank you thank you! What’s your name, listener?

 

Caller 1: A- ah! I’m Kirishima! Eijiro Kirishima! I listen to your talk show often. You aren’t my favorite hero but you are really high up there, man. So manly!

 

Mic: Ha ha ha! I’m glad! Who is your favorite hero then?

 

Caller 1: CRIMSON RIOT! He’s so manly!!!

 

Mic: Do you aspire to be a hero, listener?

 

Caller 1: Y- yeah… I don’t know… 

 

Mic: What’s wrong, listener?

 

Caller 1: I just don’t think that I can do it.

 

Mic: YOU CAN THOUGH! Don’t give up before you even give it a shot! We are all cheering for you!

 

Caller 1: Y- YEAH! THANK YOU!

 

Mic: Ha ha ha! What a cool kid. That goes the same for all of you, listeners! Whatever you want to do, hero, police, doctor, baker, pet shop keeper, vet, ANYTHING, you go for it! Nobody has the right to trash your dreams. Take hold of your future yourself! Ope! We have another caller!

 

 

Mic: Hey-Hey-HEY! Welcome to Presently Loud Radio, listener! You’re on the air!

 

Caller 2: H- hey…

 

Mic: What’s your name, listener?!

 

Caller 2: H- Hisaha. Kiki Hisaha.

 

Mic: Well welcome Kiki Hisaha! What’s on your mind!?

 

Caller 2: *deep inhale* Can a quirkless person be a hero?

 

Mic: Were you not just listening!? With enough strength and courage and guts anyone can be anything! Sure you might need a lot of support gear but you can do anything that you set your mind to! Go for it!

 

Caller 2: T- thank you!

 

Mic: Looks like we had a couple young ones today ha ha ha! Always good for us les-that-youthful people out there! Well, we have a special guest today, actuall 2 special guests! We will bring them on after this song!

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku bounced as the song played.

Present Mic turned to him and Mary Lou. “I will be asking you two questions. Answer them the best that you can, k? It’s fine if you don’t speak, Izuku, but try and write something for us to relay to the listeners, alright?” Izuku bit his lip and nodded. Mary Lou smiled. “This is so exciting! Are you ready, boy?”

The song was slowing down. Mic gave them a thumbs up and the “ON AIR” light on the far wall came on.

 

_______________________________

 

!PRESENTLY LOUD RADIO!

 

Mic: HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY!!!!!!!! WE’RE BACK, LISTENERS! Would you all join me in welcoming me in introducing our special guests today, Mary Lou Takakawa and Izuku! Can we get a HEY?!

 

 

Mary Lou: Hey?

 

Mic: THAT’S THE SPIRIT! Oh, and what’s this?!

 

 

Mic: Izuku wrote “HEY!” on his paper! He doesn’t speak much. But that’s fine! So, Ms. Takakawa, I understand that you own a bakery?

 

Mary Lou: Ah, yes! Soft Blossom Bakery!

 

Mic: If I were to go there and ask for a cake that looked like me, like life-sized, could you do that?

 

Mary Lou: EH!? I- I mean, it would take a bit but I- I think so!

 

Mic: Hmmmmmmmm? Izuku seems to think so with a whole encouraging sentence. (Clears throat) “You could totally do it cause you are amazing!” Ha ha ha! Izuku has a lot of confidence in you! Well, Izuku, I hear you like heroes? … Yeah! Me too! So what do you think of me then?

 

 

Mic: HA HA HA! GET THIS! “I think Present Mic is really cool and really loud. You sort of look like a cockatoo with your hair though and have a strange taste in friends.” Straight to the heart! Watch out for this one, listeners! He doesn’t pull punches! And he is super smart with all of his hero analysis’. You looking to be a hero, Izuku?

 

 

Mic: “Maybe”? Well, I guess we will have to see! Whatever you do you’ll be amazing at it! Ms. Takakawa, what made you go into baking?

 

Mary Lou: I guess that it was just something that I always enjoyed. I never really felt as excited about anything else so I made it my career.

 

Mic: And it paid off! If you are ever near Musutafu, Japan you should totally stop by the Soft Blossom Bakery! I, personally, enjoy it very much! Oh, and it would seem that our time is up! Screamo’s Blaring Strings will start after this song. Can we get one last HEY!?

 

Mary Lou: H- Hey!

 

Izuku: … Hey…

 

Mic: HE SPOKE! YEAH!!! Well, until tomorrow, listeners! HEAR YA SOON!

 

_______________________________

 

The song played and the three left their spot as Daichi walked up with his blue, fiery electric guitar. “Great job, you two. Naturals!”

 

The man in the sound booth gave a thumbs up and Daichi started similar to Present Mic. Loudly. With a large strum of no particular key into the microphone. The building shook.

Mic tilted his glasses down and sighed something that Izuku couldn’t understand because he didn’t know sign language.

 

-No quirk use, Daichi.-

 

The man at the mic had the nerve to look apologetic.

 

Present Mic led them out of the room. “Well,” he said once the door closed, “what did you think?!” Mary Lou beamed. “It was a lot of fun!” Izuku nodded. “How about we go eat?” Mic suggested. “I have a diner I always stop by after the show and paperwork but I can skip paperwork for today.”

“Sounds good to me,” Mary Lou chirped. “Izuku.”

 

He gave another nod. “M- me t- too.”

 

Present Mic let out a happy laugh as he opened the door to the stairwell. “Let’s go!”

 

_______________________________

 

Katsuki dropped his chopsticks and his mom and dad froze.

The family occasionally had Presently Loud Radio playing during dinner. Tonight was one of those nights.

 

‘-our special guests today, Mary Lou Takakawa and Izuku!’

 

Coincidence. Coincidence, right? But they avoided his last name. Still a stretch. The family kept eating, much quieter now. Katsuki strained his ears. Apparently this Izuku did not like to speak. Aside from his strange mumbling, Deku didn’t like speaking much either, right?

 

‘he is super smart with all of his hero analysis’.’

 

D- Deku had thousands of journals filled with creepily accurate hero data. Katsuki glanced up at his parents who were looking at each other out of the corners of their eyes.

 

‘Can we get one last HEY!?’

‘H- Hey!’ came from the woman there. Then...

 

Hey…

 

THAT was not a coincidence. Sure, he hasn’t seen nor heard the greenette in years but one does not forget that voice. His parents seemed to think the same thing.

Mom put down her chopsticks.

“I think now is as good a time as any, then, to bring this up.”

Katsuki glared up at her. “Stop beating ‘round the bush, hag!”

She threw a chopstick at him to which he tilted his head and it went soaring past his face.

“Katsuki,” he turned his attention to his dad, “the current home that Izuku is staying in is not permanent. The authorities do not want to put him in an orphanage or foster system.”

He lifted an eyebrow. “So? What does that have to do with us?” Mom cleared her throat.

 

“There are other candidates that they are looking at as well, but the authorities, taking into consideration our past with Izuku, have reached out to us as a potential home for him.”

 

Chapter Text

Mary Lou sat in her bakery watching as the store operations went on. She wasn’t working today. No, she had something far more important to do: meet potential adopting candidates. She had her hair pulled into a messy bun to seem not threatening but still put together. With a blue sweater and a pair of black jeans, she was ready to meet, and interrogate, whoever was to come through that door. Well, at least those who were here to talk with her. Most were customers.

 

*Ring Ring*

 

Soft Blossom Bakery’s door opened. In came the first applicant. Or two. It was a man and his wife. Oh. Three. Their… son too, apparently. Mary Lou looked down at the papers. The pictures lined up.

 

Masaru and Mitsuki Bakugou. They have connections with the Midoriya family as family friends though they had no clue what was happening to Izuku before he ran away over four years ago.

 

Mary Lou stood up and waved. “Mr. and Mrs. Bakugou!” The three turned and looked at her. Their son, Katsuki Bakugou, obviously took after his mother with both of them having incredible spiky blond hair. The father seemed to sort of meld into the background. Katsuki Bakugou had apparently attended school with Izuku from preschool up until he ran away.

“Ms. Takakawa,” Mr. Bakugou greeted, holding out his hand. “I am Masaru Bakugou. It is a pleasure to meet you.” His grip was firm. “Same for me.”

“Hello, Ms. Takakawa,” Mrs. Bakugou extended her hand. “I am Mitsuki Bakugou,” she introduced herself. Her grip was far tighter than her husband's. “This is our bra- son, Katsuki.” Mary Lou smiled down at him. He glared up at her. Oooh, scary.

 

“Hey.”

 

Mary Lou grinned. “Nice to meet you all. Would you care to take a seat?” Mary Lou got straight to business. “I understand that you have known Izuku since he was a babe?”

Mrs. Bakugou nodded. “Yes. I was friends with Inko since our high school days.”

“So I’ve heard,” Mary Lou did not mean for it to come out like that. “Were you aware of how Izuku was being treated at home?” Mrs. Bakugou shook her head. “Regretfully not.” She held fierce anger in her eyes. “Have you been informed about his current condition?” Mary Lou asked.

“Eh?” she glanced down at their son. “Is he sick or something?”

Mr. Bakugou shook his head. “She means the trauma, Katsuki.” The blonde boy huffed. “Yeah, we’ve heard. Sucky hand life dealt to him.” Mary Lou raised an eyebrow at his brash language but otherwise said nothing.

 

“How much about Izuku do you know?” Mary Lou asked.

 

Mrs. Bakugou took a deep breath. “We know of his quirk as we had been interrogated for potentially aiding Inko in abusing him. On that matter, we know of the abuse that he had been put through because of it and at the hands of Inko, though we are not sure of everything that has been done. We also know that up until a few months ago he has been living on the streets homeless.”

 

Mary Lou nodded. “Yes. Along the terms of abuse, and I am only telling you this much because you have known him the longest, Ms. Midoriya’s abuse ranged from quirk abuse, blunt force trauma, isolation, starvation, and locking him in small dark places for extended periods of time. On the streets, Izuku was constantly fighting for his life and has even mentioned that on a few occurrences he has been a victim of rape.” That was apparently something they did not know if their expressions were anything to go by. “Izuku has a distinct fear of any living thing, does not speak much, if ever, and suffers from a severe case of PTSD and claustrophobia. If I may ask, how do you plan on taking care of a child with such an array of trauma-induced symptoms and fears?”

 

Mr. Bakugou spoke up this time. “Honestly, we aren’t sure, but we feel that our being familiar faces would be good for him other than setting him with a family of strangers that he does not know.”

 

Mary Lou hummed. “That is true but have you taken into consideration that he might correspond you with bad memories of his life?”

The Bakugou’s looked taken back.

“What’s the big deal?” growled the son. “We know him better than any of these other extras so why can’t we just take him?” Mary Lou did not glare at the child, no, but the look in her eyes was enough to make him shut up. “Ah, yes,” she started, “you went to school with Izuku, did you not?”

“Yeah?” he replied.

“There are records of bullying because of his apparent quirklessness.” She leaned down a bit. “You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you?”

 

“Are you accusing-” “Mrs. Bakugou, this is a serious matter,” Mary Lou cut her off. She turned back to the blonde boy. “Katsuki Bakugou, I want nothing but the truth because this could decide what happens to the boy that I have come to love as a son. Did you or did you not know or participate in bullying Izuku?”

The boy’s eye twitched. “If you love him sooooo much then why don’t you take him?”

Mary Lou sighed. “Because I will not be alive much longer.” Bakugou had obviously not been expecting that answer. “Now, answer the question. TRUTHFULLY.”

 

She hated to put the boy in this position but if he had been part of bullying Izuku then she could not let the family take him. It could trigger too much and Izuku would most likely run away again. If Mary Lou wanted to do one thing before she dies, it is finding Izuku a home that he will feel safe in and will not run away from.

 

I did,” the answer came.

 

“KATSUKI!”

“SHUT IT HAG!” the boy bit back. “Yeah, I ‘bullied’ him. Not ‘cause I wanted to! It hurt, okay?! When I heard that he was quirkless it hurt and I didn’t know what else to do so I hit him instead hecking sorry! Suck! I didn’t want to hurt him! I didn’t know what was happening at home! I could have helped or at least been there for him but I couldn’t get over him being quirkless!”

He was panting, fists curled tightly, rage in his eyes. He had been holding this in for a while.

DANG IT! Why did I have to be such a douche!? What hero does that?! He NEEDED me! He needed someone and I turned my back on him when he needed me the most! I just- I just- I just was so stupid! I just want to say I’m sorry or go back in time and fix things but I CAN’T!

 

It was dead silent in the bakery. The other customers, bless their hearts, were doing such a great job at not turning their heads to stare. Most of them had come to know, and care for, Izuku over the years that he would stop in occasionally and over the past months that he had been under Mary Lou’s care. Mary Lou took a deep breath.

 

“Alright…” she whispered before steeling her voice. “That is enough for today. I will contact you all if I wish to further this.”

Mrs. Bakugou sighed. “I understand. If you do not choose us, will you please at least call us when you choose a candidate?”

Mary Lou nodded. “Of course. Thank you for your time.” They all shook hands, aside from Bakugou who held his head low. “Please…” he choked out, “please tell De- Izuku… I’m sorry…”

Mary Lou rounded the table and crouched in front of the boy.

 

“Boy, you made a mistake. We all do. That’s what makes us human. But your time isn’t up, and neither is Izuku’s so… whether your family adopts Izuku or not, the next time you see Izuku, you can tell him ‘I’m sorry’ yourself.” He didn’t look up. “You admitted you were wrong. That is the first step to doing better.”

Mary Lou lightly tapped her fist to his chest.

 

You are going to be an amazing hero someday, Katsuki Bakugou.

 

They left shortly after, Mr. Bakugou looking over his shoulder and mouthing ‘Thank you.’ Mary Lou watched them leave. She sat back in her chair with a sigh. The brunette closed their file. She took a red marker and made a tiny “x” at the top right corner of it before setting it to the side. She looked up at the sound of approaching footsteps.

“Hello, Marco.”

The man nodded his greetings. “You better not let that family get the kid.” She looked around the room. Everyone had stayed and was staring at her. She had a feeling that they were going to stay to hear how the other conversations went as well. It warmed her heart to know that after she left there would always be people here for him. She hoped the family would bring Izuku back. These people may be thugs of the red lights but they were dependable and she knew that they would care for Izuku in her stead.

“Don’t worry, Marco. He may have been apologetic and by no means do I ever think that he will bully another person, but I don’t think that Izuku would respond well to suddenly living with the boy.” The man grunted. He pointed over his shoulder. “Hope ya don’t mind but we don’t plan on leavin’ if ya have more comin’.” Mary Lou smirked. “You do know loitering is frowned upon, right?” He roared out a laugh. “This is the red lights, sweetheart! Ya think we care?” She laughed and a collection of chuckles spread around the room.

 

Mary Lou smiled. She looked around the room. “You all can stay,” she said, letting her red lights accent breakthrough. “Thanks for bein’ there for Izu. I know I can count on yer to watch over ‘im if he ever comes back for a visit.”

 

“Of course!”

“I ain’t lettin’ nothin’ happen to the kid!”

“We’ve got it covered, Mare!”

 

They all knew, over the years, that Mary Lou wasn’t going to be around much longer. It was reassuring to know that she had all of them as her red light’s ‘family.’

*Ring Ring* The tiny bell signaling the door opened jingled and in came the next candidate. Mary Lou winked at Marco who grunted. She did not miss the glare that was sent in the poor lady's direction from the bulking man.

 

The conversation with this woman went much further than the one with the Bakugou’s seeing as Mary Lou stopped their conversation after Bakugou admitted to bullying Izuku.

The next was another mother and father.

 

The last was a mother, a father, and another son.

“Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. Kirishima,” she shook their hands. “And who is this?” she inquired about the raven-haired boy. “I’m Eijiro Kirishima, ma’am! I was the one on the talk show two days ago!” Mary Lou’s eyes widened. “I remember you!” He blushed a bit.

The four sat down. Mary Lou recapped Izuku’s experience and trauma, watching as the family's faces fell.

She could have sworn that she heard the little boy whisper: “So unmanly, dude.”

“How do you plan on taking care of a child with such an array of trauma and fear of humans?”

 

Mr. Kirishima cleared his throat. “By proving it to the kid that we aren’t like his biological mother.”

That… That’s new.

Mrs. Kirishima nodded. “We believe in actions over words, Ms. Takakawa. We won’t force Izuku to stay with us or anything but I assure you that we will do everything within our capabilities to make sure he feels welcome and to make sure that he knows that we do not wish him any harm.”

Mary Lou smiled as she wrote this all down. She looked up again. “Mind if I ask how you heard about this and why you considered taking in Izuku?”

Mr. Kirishima scratched the back of his head. “We’ve been looking into adopting for a bit now, actually! We’ve tried to give Ei here a brother or sister but it hasn’t worked so we started looking around. Apparently one of the authorities on the kid’s case saw our adoption applications on one of the sites we were looking at and reached out to us.”

Mrs. Kirishima nodded. “Yup! It was a surprise for sure. We were shocked when they asked us all sorts of questions about safety measures taken in our house and abuse but hearing the kid's story it makes much more sense now.”

 

“And after hearing it you still wouldn’t mind taking Izuku in?” Mary Lou asked.

 

Why would it?” Kirishima piped up. He blushed a bit. “I- I mean, sure, it’ll be a bit odd trying to interact with him at first and all but i- isn’t that all in the past? It’s not like we plan on doing any of that jacked up stuff to him s- so why should that change how we feel about adopting him?”

 

This family… This family is different.

 

The father raised his hand and patted his son’s back. “Well put, Ei!”

 

Mary Lou wrote everything down. She smiled and looked up. “I think that is all of the time we have today. If we decide on you, we will be contacting you via email or phone.” The Kirishima’s stood up with Mary Lou. “Thank you for your time.” They all shook hands.

“Thank you, Ms. Takakawa.”

"Thank you."

“Thank you, ma’am.”

Mary Lou watched them leave. She turned to Marco who had stayed through every single interview as well as one other who stayed. The others eventually had to leave but wanted a check-up on how it went later on. Marco seemed to have nothing bad to say about it. He was a very straight-forward man, as were the Kirishima’s.

She still had a few more candidates that she would meet with tomorrow and then talk with Mr. Aizawa about the ones that she liked but the Kirishima’s would be a family that she would not forget.

 

Mary Lou closed their file, uncapped a black marker, and put a small “o” in the top right corner.

 

After the interviews, Marco left, as well as the others who had hung around. Mary Lou helped her employee’s close shop. Mary Lou stayed back for a bit though. She pulled out the shortcake, the sugary strawberries, and the cool whip. Mary Lou expertly prepared Izuku the ‘usual.’ She pulled out the tiny fork that Izuku always used. It had a green handle with gold flecks. She slid it under the cake before pouring a glass of cold milk. Mary Lou carried it upstairs, balancing milk on the plate as she raised her hand.

 

*KnockKnock KnockKnock*

 

She didn’t wait to open the door. Now it was just a formality to let Izuku know that it was her. She set the strawberry shortcake on the table with the milk to the side before closing and locking the door with a *click*. Izuku knew what she was doing today. Mary Lou knew that Izuku was not too fond of what she was doing today. She made her way down the hallway. Mary Lou passed the closet that had a curtain hung over it after the elevator incident. She stopped at Izuku’s door.

 

“*Knock Knock Knock*” she whispered as she knocked on the door gently. “Izu? I’m home.” No response. She cracked the door open, the sound of Presently Loud Radio filtering through as Izuku listened to it quietly on his radio. The greenette was leaning against his headboard, using his legs as a board for his notebook that he was scribbling in as he was fiddling with a rather large blade in his other hand.

The blade was something that they absolutely could not separate the boy from. No one knows why but he had a weird sort of protectiveness over it.

 

“Izuku?” The boy jumped slightly and looked up. She waved and smiled. “The usual?”

 

Izuku closed his notebook and placed it and the pencil to the side. He climbed off of the bed and lifted the mattress, sliding the knife underneath. Mary Lou caught a glimpse of a notebook under there too.

 

-----

 

‘I have it all planned out, you can see it in a notebook I have under my mattress. So, I’ll say it again, I don’t have any reason to live in a world where I know there is nothing for me.’

 

-----

 

Mary Lou got out of the way as Izuku left his room. She closed his door before following him into the dining room. “Extra cool whip,” she said with a wink. Izuku’s face may not have changed, but she saw the way his eyes lit up when they landed on the strawberry shortcake and milk at the table. Mary Lou giggled as he let his composure down enough to speed walk over to the treat. Mary Lou hummed to herself as she went to get the vacuum from the closet. Suddenly her vision tilted and her chest began to hurt. She placed a hand against the wall to stabilize herself. Mary Lou covered her mouth with her other hand the muffle a cough.

She heard Izuku’s fork hit his plate. He had heard her. Dang it. Mary Lou stood tall. She went straight to the bathroom and found the pill bottle that she hadn’t needed since the hospital. Mary Lou took a few dry and waited for the sadly familiar pain to subside.

 

She looked at herself in the mirror. She would not make the same mistake and let Izuku walk in on her the next time she collapsed.

 

Before leaving the bathroom, Mary Lou sent Mr. Aizawa a message. She went back on her way to cleaning the apartment, giving Izuku, who was following her with his eyes, the most reassuring smile she could.

 

_______________________________

 

*DING DING*

 

Shouta slid his yellow goggles over the rest of his head when his phone made him aware of a notification. He sighed and fiddled with his capture scarf as he opened it.

It was from Mary Lou.

 

Takakawa:

The pain is back. We might need to speed up the candidate selection.

 

*BAM* Shouta slammed his free fist against the wall.

“Dad?” Hitoshi called from somewhere in the house. He took a deep breath to regain his composure. “Sorry!” he called back.

 

Aizawa:

I will stop by in two days to go over them with you after you have talked with all of them.

 

He pocketed his phone and left his room. He went into the kitchen to see Hitoshi crouching by Marshmallow with his phone as the fat cat was eating. “What was that about?” Hitoshi asked, not even turning to know that Shouta was there. It was sad that a kid his age was trained enough to be able to hear Shouta’s almost soundless walk. “Annoying hero work stuff,” he half-lied. Technically Golden Whip was his case. Even if Izuku wasn’t vigilanting anymore, that was the excuse Shouta would hold fast to if it meant being able to hang around.

“What are you doing?” he asked his son.

“Taking a picture for Zuku.” ‘Zuku’ was a new thing that Hitoshi had tried out with the greenette and did not get anything back saying not to call him that so it stuck. “I’m running out of pictures to show him.” Shouta hummed. “Will you be okay tonight?”

“I always am.”

Shouta hated that he barely got time with Hitoshi because of his two jobs but he knew that Hitoshi understood.

 

-----

 

‘It’s okay, Dad. Just make sure that you come home.’

 

-----

 

He smirked. Shouta walked over and ruffled Hitoshi’s surprisingly soft hair. “Well then, I’m off.”

“Be careful.”

“I will be. Call me if you need anything.”

“‘K.”

 

_______________________________

 

*DING DING*

 

Izuku glanced over to where the sound came from. Mary Lou stopped the vacuum. He was surprised that she actually heard her phone go off over the vacuum. Then again, so did he. The brunette walked over to him and slid the phone across the table. “It’s from Shinsou.”

Izuku picked up the phone as she walked back and started the vacuum again. He was greeted with the chubby, food-stuffed face of Marshmallow.

 

His quiet laugh was drowned out by the vacuum.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku bounced his knee nervously as he sat at his usual table with Mary Lou. He didn’t like this. Not one bit. He didn’t want to be here. He could see Eraserhead at a table further off playing civilian with Shinsou. Present Mic was at a different one too. Izuku recognized Marco there as well. He had given Izuku a few… words… of encouragement.

 

-----

 

‘Don’t take no junk from anyone, kid. You don’t like ‘em, you don’t gotta go with them, k?’

 

-----

 

His heart pounded against his chest painfully.

They weren’t even here yet! Why was he getting so riled up? It’s not li- *Ring Ring* He jumped as the sound of the bakery’s bell. Izuku glanced up. His heart stopped. They were here.

The main candidate for where Izuku would go: The Kirishima’s.

Mary Lou gently squeezed his hand under the table as she waved with the other. “Over here!” The two adults and their kid came over.

 

“Good afternoon, Ms. Takakawa,” the man, Mr. Kirishima, greeted.

“Good afternoon, ma’am.” That was the kid from the talk show. He saw it on the file last night and the voice matched up. The woman smiled. “You must be Izuku.” She held out her hand. Izuku flinched. He stared at the hand. He knew it wasn’t forming but he could almost visualize the string reaching out to her. She slowly retracted her hand. The three sat down.

“Yes, this is Izuku,” she gestured to Izuku. “He’s a bit timid.” The woman waved it off. “That’s alright.”

Izuku scanned over each and every inch of the people in front of him. He stopped when he made eye-contact with their black-haired son’s red eyes. The kid grinned. He had sharp teeth. Izuku just stared.

He gave a thumbs up.

Izuku kept staring.

“So Izuku,” his eyes instantly changed targets to the Tall man with short black hair, “this is our son, Eijiro Kirishima.” The boy grinned again. “Hi!” Izuku took a sharp inhale and let it out, body shaking. Breathe. One-Two-Three. “U- um…” The man chuckled. “How about you two go and talk amongst yourselves? Don’t want the adults buggin’ ya.” Izuku glanced over at Mary Lou. She gave his hand another reassuring squeeze.

“A- alright!” Kirishima piped. “There’s a free table over there!” Izuku stood slowly. His legs felt like jelly. Breathe. One-Two-Tw- No. One-Three- NO. BREATHE! He followed the taller boy to an empty table. Izuku glanced over at Shinsou. The boy held up his phone.

 

‘Marshmallow,’ he mouthed. Izuku almost chuckled but his attention was drawn by the scratching of a chair against the floor as Kirishima sat down. OneTwoThreeOneTwoThreeOneTwoThree.

Izuku sat down across from the boy.

 

Silence. Then…

 

“Sorry,” Izuku jumped when the boy suddenly spoke, “I’m not really good at this.” Izuku glanced up. The boy scratched the back of his head. “B- But I remember you from the talk show! That was you right?” Present Mic was sitting at the table behind Kirishima. He leaned over into Izuku’s line of sight and gave him a thumbs up. Right. They are here. Eraserhead is a hero. Mic is a hero. Marco is a red light thug. These people can’t hurt me with them here. They can’t. They can’t. They can’t. Izuku gripped his pants and nodded.

“That’s so cool! You got to meet Present Mic in person!” Oh if only he knew. “What is he like?” The boy quickly switched to yes or no questions though.

“Is he really that loud in person?” Nod.

“Did you meet Screamo?” Nod.

“Did you go in the sound booth?” Shake.

“Did you meet any other heroes?” Sh- Maybe? The lady at the front desk perhaps. Shrug.

 

“So cool…” Izuku didn’t even realize that the rapid-fire questioning didn’t give him time to be tense. “Sorry for asking so much. I don’t have many people to talk to nowadays so I guess I just wanted to make a good impression.”

Izuku tilted his head. Nowadays? He gestured for Kirishima to elaborate. The boy chuckled.

“Don’t get me wrong! I have friends and all! It’s just… I’m that one who if three people were walking on the sidewalk and it’s only two people wide, I would be in the back, ya know?” No. If you were walking with someone on the streets here then its a gang and you are usually out to beat someone up or steal or start a fight. But Izuku didn’t say that. “They just keep me around cause they pity me…” Izuku furrowed his eyebrows. That’s no good of them.

Izuku tapped the table. Kirishima looked up.

Izuku placed his hand under his own chin and lifted his head up.

 

“Huh?” Izuku deadpanned then repeated it. Kirishima looked skeptical but he copied Izuku.

Izuku then took his hands and placed them on his own hips. Kirishima slowly followed the movement but lowered his head on the way. Izuku shook his head and re-tilted his head up. Kirishima chuckled and put his head back up. Izuku put his hands on his hips. Kirishima put his hands on his hips. Izuku stuck out his chest. Kirishima stuck his chest out. Izuku looked Kirishima up and down. He took his pen from his pocket and scribbled on a napkin before sliding it over to Kirishima. The boy took it and read it.

 

POWER POSE

 

A beat. Then- “BWHAHAHA!” Izuku jumped back, almost falling out of his seat. Kirishima covered his mouth. “S- sorry, man! T- thanks though! I needed that!” Izuku relaxed some. Present Mic leaned over again and grinned wryly. Izuku would ignore that for now. “You’re a funny, dude, Izuku,” Kirishima chirped, “but you’re pretty chill!” Izuku didn’t comment. He just looked down.

 

“Hey, you two.” Izuku really did fall out of his seat this time when Mr. Kirishima walked up. Every single ouch of fear came back and his heart rate sped up so fast that Izuku got lightheaded for a second. He stared up at the man from the ground. He scratched the back of his head, like father like son. “Sorry, sorry.” Mrs. Kirishima crouched down by Izuku. “I know that we didn’t get to talk much but it was really nice to meet you, Izuku.” One-Two-Three. Breathe. One-Two-Three. Breathe. He glanced up at Mary Lou. She gave a big grin.

 

She trusted this couple.

 

Izuku watched as she turned her head to the side and coughed slightly. Ah, right. Mary Lou is… she wants the best for me and is using her last moments on this. The least I can do is trust her judgment. Izuku looked back at Mrs. Kirishima. He gave a shaky nod. She did not stand until Izuku did though. Izuku slowly pulled himself to his feet. Kirishima rounded the table. He held up the napkin. “Mind if I keep this, man?” Izuku shook his head. Kirishima grinned that toothy grin of his. “Thanks!”

 

The Kirishima’s left soon after. Mary Lou turned to him. “Izuk- IZUKU!”

He fell to his knees, heart threatening to break from his body. Eraserhead, Shinsou, Present Mic, and even Marco rushed over.

No. Izuku did not see his friends and family. His mind distorted them into figures of shadows slowly approaching, growling, laughing, taunting him. Izuku scrambled back, hitting the wall.

Trapped. The demons stopped. Waiting for him to give in.

 

THREAT!

 

Izuku’s mouth gaped open and he let out a scream full of all of the terror he had been holding back the whole day.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He clutched his head with his hands.

“Stop! Don’t- I- Please- STAY AWAY!” The demons seemed to falter. Izuku harshly threw his head against his knees and squeezed his eyes shut.

Can’t- Breathe- One-Three-Eight-One-NO! Breathe! Breathe! BREATHE!

He couldn’t get air in his lungs no matter how hard he tried. All he could hear was the roar of his own blood and the laughter of the demons surrounding him.

 

Izuku jolted when something landed on his shoulder. Then on his other.

“-three. One- -wo. Three. One. Two. Three.” Izuku held onto that voice like a lifeline. He reached up and grabbed the wrist of whoever was talking. Soon his vision cleared and he came face to face with none other than Mr. Kirishima.

 

Izuku stared at the man who did not stop repeating the count and Izuku did not stop listening.

“One. Two. Three.” Izuku breathed in and out in count. Mr. Kirishima eventually stopped. Izuku turned his head slowly to look around the room. The demons disappeared into familiar faces. Kirishima was hovering nearby. The other hand on his shoulder belonged to Mrs. Kirishima.

 

Her face was the last thing he saw before his eyes rolled back and Izuku passed out cold.

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro smiled down at the napkin. He folded it and put it in his pocket.

“Oh!” Mom suddenly gasped. “I forgot my purse!” His father stopped. “Ah, we aren’t that far. Let’s go back.” And they did. Eijiro grinned happily. Sure, Izuku was a bit strange but after hearing about everything that he went through, Eijiro couldn’t really blame him. He was still really co-

 

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

 

All three of them stopped in their steps. They were just outside the bakery. Dad instantly bolted in after the moment’s hesitation passed, Eijiro and his mother following right behind the man. Upon entering the bakery, Eijiro saw Izuku on the ground hyperventilating. He’s having a panic attack. Eijiro has had multiple of those, it comes with the depression, so he instantly recognized it.

Luckily, his father is a therapist and was quick to respond. “Give him space! I’m a registered therapist and counselor.” No one objected. Eijiro watched as his father and mother worked together to calm the greenette down.

It took much longer than it usually took them to calm down Eijiro when he had one.

 

-----

 

‘- quirk abuse, blunt force trauma, isolation, starvation, and locking him in small dark places for extended periods of time.’

 

‘- victim of rape.’

 

----

 

Eijiro watched as the boy slowly but surely began to respond to his father’s words. Izuku reached up and grabbed onto his father’s wrist. Dad winced as if it hurt but did not stop. Izuku stared down at his own grip on Eijiro’s father.

 

-----

 

‘- severe fear of all living things.’

 

-----

 

When his parents had finally calmed Izuku down, the boy ended up passing out. Eijiro shuddered. The way his green eyes had rolled back like that and his whole body just went limp… What the heck man?

Dad gently picked up the boy and deposited him in Ms. Takakawa’s arms.

 

“You asked how we planned to handle a trauma-struck child?” Eijiro looked up at his father.

As if he were our own child.”

Eijiro smiled. Dad is so cool!

“He might have a slight fever caused by stress.” Mom retrieved her purse and fished out a bag of tea that she carried an extra of simply because she preferred that one. “This is a Chamomile Herb Tea. It helps with stress and to calm someone’s nerves.” She placed it in the yellow-haired man’s palm.

Mary Lou nodded. “Thank you so much for calming him down. I’m sorry. This one was worse than usual.”

 

Dad shook his head. “It is no worry at all. If I can help, I will.” He looked down at Izuku. “I don’t know where your position on us as a home for Izuku but he is going to need one that can handle this sort of thing. We only want the best for him, same as you, so I hope that you will consider that when you are choosing his home.”

 

Eijiro followed his parents out but stopped. “U- um!” Ms. Takakawa and the others turned to him, the tall, beefy-looking man had already left. Eijiro ran up and took the napkin out of his pocket. “F- for him! When he wakes up!” Ms. Takakawa smiled. The black-haired man took it. “Thank you.” Eijiro nodded and left with his parents.

 

“Poor kid…” his mother sighed when they got in the car. “I really hope he finds a nice home.” Eijiro furrowed his eyebrows. “He will. He will have us, right? And Dad can handle that and we won’t hurt him. Right?” That’s what that was right? Confirming is they got to take Izuku home or not? Or was that just another check it? Adoption has a lot of steps…

 

“We will see, Ei,” he Dad said. He turned around in the front seat to look at Eijiro. “If we adopted Izuku, do you think that you could be a good brother to him?”

Eijiro stared at his father, stunned. He looked at his hands, curling and uncurling them. Would I? Can I be there for him, too?

 

-----

 

‘Kirishima’s such a coward!’

‘Yeah. And he wants to be a hero?’

‘Nah, not happening.’

 

-----

 

Eijiro tightened his fist. “Yes,” he boldly stated. “Maybe not the best but I will- er- would try my best!” He closed his eyes as Dad reached back and ruffled his hair.

“Good to know, kiddo.”

 

_______________________________

 

Mary Lou sat on the couch with Izuku’s head on her lap as she gently combed through his hair. Mr. Kirishima was correct. Izuku had a fever. She gently laid her head on Yamada’s shoulder who was sitting beside her. She could hear the whistle of the te kettle from the kitchen as Mr. Aizawa prepared the tea Mrs. Kirishima had given them. Shinsou was asleep in the loveseat. It was only midevening but everyone was tired out from the events of today. Mary Lou stifled a few coughs.

 

“You should go lay down,” Yamada whispered. She shook her head. “I’m fine…”

 

Mary Lou looked down at Izuku. I’m not going to be here forever. I need to find him a safe home. She thought back to how easily the Kirishiima’s calmed Izuku.

 

-----

 

‘You asked how we planned to handle a trauma-struck child? As if he were our own child.’

 

‘We only want the best for him.’

 

‘- he is going to need one that can handle this sort of thing.’

 

‘I hope that you will consider that when you are choosing his home.’

 

-----

 

‘For him!’

 

-----

 

Mary Lou unfolded the napkin that she had gotten from Mr. Aizawa.

In Izuku’s handwriting, it said: ‘POWER POSE.’ She giggled at it. Mary Lou felt herself drifting into dreamland.

Her last coherent thought was:

 

‘The Kirishima’s are perfect…’

 

Chapter Text

Izuku sat at the kitchen table staring down at a cup of tea. Mary Lou said that it is supposed to be a stress-relieving tea. After last week they ended up buying a box of it. Izuku had to admit, it did help. So why was he drinking it today? Eraser said that he and Shinsou were coming over to discuss something VERY important. Izuku couldn’t help but think of the worst. Was his time here already up? Were they going to throw him in jail? Send him back to Inko? Send him to a black market organ ring never to be heard from again?! Izuku shook his head and took another sip of the tea.

*Knock Knock Knock*

Izuku jumped. He looked at the door. Izuku slipped out of his chair and let in Eraser and Shinsou.

“Yo.” Shinsou walked right in.

“Hey, kid,” Eraser followed suit.

Izuku locked the door behind them and joined the two who were already getting seated at the table. Right to business then. Izuku gave them a wide girth as he rounded to his side of the table and sat down, once again cradling his cup in his hands. He waited.

 

“Kid,” Izuku looked up, “you are going to be thirteen soon.” Izuku took a long, hard blink at the man. “That means a year until high school for most kids. There is a chance that your new home won’t be able to homeschool you and/or won’t want heroes in and out of their house every single day to teach you. That means that you will probably be attending a public school of some sort.” Izuku shivered. “Do you know what you want to do when you grow older?” Izuku glanced up at the man and bit his lip.

 

-----

 

‘We won’t tell you not to speak.‘Or beat you, or use your quirk. Sometimes, you need to say what is on your mind.’

 

-----

 

Izuku took another sip of the tea, using the cup to hide the lower half of his face.

“I- I didn’t t- th- think that I- I would l- last that l- long…”

There was a beat. At first, Izuku thought that the man wouldn’t reply. 

 

“But you did.”

 

Izuku looked down at his tea. I did, didn’t I? I survived. I’m alive.

“Kid you look like that is the first time you’ve been told that you are living and breathing right now.” Izuku averted his eyes. “My next question is, do you want to be a hero?” Izuku looked back up at the man.

“W- wh- what?”

Eraser nodded. “Do you want to be a hero?” Izuku furrowed his eyebrows. Honestly, he doesn’t know. Sure, he would like to do that. He could probably bring back Golden Whip. But… can he? He would technically be quirkless since he obviously wouldn’t be using his quirk. He was a vigilante without it so it isn’t impossible… “I- Is- Maybe?” Eraser nodded. “I, for one, think that you would be a great hero.” Izuku’s eyes widened. He just got a COMPLIMENT from Eraserhead. “Hitoshi has been training to go to UA. If you want, you could join us during our weekly training.”

 

“B- b- but I w- won’t be h- here much l- longer,” Izuku refuted.

 

“So? We can make it arranged.”

 

That’s when it clicked. This wasn’t just ‘hero training.’ This was a promise to stay in touch even when Izuku goes off to a new family. This was a promise that Izuku did not have to give up his friendship with Shinsou. This was a reassurance under the guise of ‘hero training.’ Outwardly, they were saying that they would train to be heroes. Inwardly, they were saying that they would train to be heroes together. Izuku would not have to say goodbye. Izuku squeezed the cup in his hands.

“Do you want to join us?” Shinsou asked. Izuku looked up with a new sense of determination. And, without stuttering or faltering, he gave a sharp nod and said:

 

“Yes, please.”

 

Eraser smirked at him. His smirk soon fell though. “Kid, I know how you feel about your quirk.” Izuku’s face darkened. The cup creaked under his grip. “However, I think that it can be used for good. No- I think that you can use it for good.” *Crack* “I want you to think about how you used it to heal Miss Takakawa.” *Crack* “Her quirk is the only reason that she is dying but if it was just a normal illness, Izuku you could have saved her life.” *CRACK* “I think that with the proper training, you could save lives with your quirk.”

 

*SHATTER*

 

The glass mug in his hands was crushed under Izuku’s tight grip, the little bit of leftover tea splattering and the glass making tiny twinkling sounds as it danced across the table and fell onto the floor. Sharps cut deep into Izuku’s palms but he made no indication that he felt them. Not even as blood began to drip from them. Eraser did not back down.

“Not only that, but I feel that your quirk could be the best asset on a battlefield. If you were to find someone you trusted enough to use your quirk, the fact that you could literally fly across the battlefield and use your momentum to attack would be an amazing asset. That paired with your combat skills, you and your partner could become untouchable.” Izuku unfolded his hands, bits and pieces of ceramic covered in blood falling to the table. Eraserhead looked him dead in the eyes.

 

“Izuku, I want you to decide right here and now if you are going to let your quirk hold you back or if you are going to accept who you are and use it to propel yourself forward.

You can’t hide forever.”

 

Izuku hung his head. He took a deep breath. Are you kidding? Like I’m going to buy that. If I can find someone I ‘trust?’ HA! Who would I ever trust enough to- Izuku stopped. His eyes trailed up to Shinsou. He knows, right? He hasn’t used it. Never once. He could have. Especially with his quirk, Shinsou could have done whatever he wanted with me by now but he didn’t. What are you thinking, Izuku!? He’s just luring you in!

 

-----

 

‘Me, Mr. Aizawa, Shinsou, Yamada, Midnight, and Cementoss. All of us! We all want to see you every day!’

 

‘And I’m just supposed to believe that?!’

 

‘YES!’

 

-----

 

‘Not everyone wants to use you for your quirk, Izuku!’

 

-----

 

‘We want you for YOU.’

 

-----

 

Izuku closed his eyes. He took another long breath. His hands began to sting from the cuts reminding him of where he was. Of who was waiting for an answer. Of what question he had to answer.

 

-----

 

‘You can’t hide forever.’

 

-----

 

Izuku chuckled. Audibly chuckled. PHYSICALLY chuckled. His shoulders shook. His eyes squinted. Izuku ran his bloody hands through his hair.

“What am I doing?” He choked out between laughs. “I’m such an idiot, honestly! An idiot! Stupid, thick-headed, weak, incapable!”

“You’re no-” Eraser cut his son off so Izuku continued.

Izuku let go and stared at the table with wide eyes. His grin fell.

 

I’M SO SICK OF IT!” he screamed. “I’m sick of looking over my shoulder at every second, jumping at every noise, flinching at the slightest movement. I’m sick of the shadows that lurk in every corner and the nightmares that NEVER FREAKING GO AWAY! I’m sick of lying to everyone I meet. Sick of acting like everything is okay when I know that it’s NOT. DANG IT! Why the hell am I like this?! I’m sick of being this weak, useless nobody that the world decided it would be funny to give a jacked up quirk. I’m sick of being used! I’M SICK OF BEING SOME FREAKING DOLL!

 

Izuku panted.

 

“I’m so tired…” he finally whispered out. “I don’t want to do this anymore.” Izuku didn’t care about the blood on his hands as he cupped them over his face. “I don’t want to be like this anymore. I hate that every three-story building looks like a good way out to just end it all or that I have a knife under my mattress that I have there less for a defense measure and more for it to be waiting for when everyone betrays me so I can end it before they do.” He looked up at the man in front of him, tears streaming.

 

“What do I do, Eraser? I want to be a hero but how can I save others if I can’t even save myself?

 

The man stood up and rounded the table. Izuku followed him with his head and eyes. The hero crouched in front of Izuku and took the greenette by his shoulders.

Who the hell said that you have to save yourself?

What?

“You’re human, kid, and you’ve been through a whole bunch of junk that no kid, or person in general, should have to go through. No one expects you to pull yourself together or to handle it alone.” Letting go of Izuku’s right shoulder but keeping a hand on his left, Eraser placed his hand on his own chest. “We are here, Izuku. You aren’t alone anymore so don’t be afraid to come and ask us for help. Let us help you.” Hitoshi got up and stood behind his father. 

“I,” the kid started, “promise that I will never use your quirk without your consent. Maybe not to the same extent but I know what it means to be hurt because of your quirk. So… you can lean on me, too!”

His purple eyes held a strong determination as he held out his hand.

 

Izuku watched the sting form from his chest to the other boy’s hand. Shinsou did not take it. He did not even look at it. Shinsou smirked.

 

“Be my partner, Izuku. Let’s work together to get through this as a team.”

 

-----

 

‘Let’s be heroes together, Izu!’ a blonde-haired boy chirped loudly.

 

-----

 

“Let’s be heroes together, ‘Zuku.”

 

Izuku felt more tears gather in his eyes and spill over like a waterfall. He fell forward, resting his head on Eraser’s shoulder as pained wail escaped his lips. Izuku’s body shook as he cried. He felt the man let go of his shoulder and take Izuku into his arms, gently guiding the boy off of the chair and onto the floor with him. Shinsou at some point joined them on the floor and joined the group hug.

“You aren’t alone anymore, Izuku,” Eraser whispered as he pats his back. “Never again…”

 

At some point, the shaking stopped and the tears dried up and the loud cries turned into little hiccups. Izuku felt so tired, physically, mentally, and emotionally. And yet… he had never felt so relieved in his life. It was as though a boulder had been lifted from his shoulders.

Izuku took a few deep breaths to recollect himself before sitting up. Eraser and Shinsou released the hug but Shinsou did not remove his hand from Izuku’s shoulder. Izuku took his own hand and placed it over Shinsou’s. He looked at the violet-eyed boy with his own emerald eyes.

 

“Let’s become heroes. Together.”

 

_______________________________

 

The three made plans to move Midnight’s class to Saturdays instead of Wednesdays so Izuku could join Shinsou and Aizawa for quirk training. They would have to get it finalized with Mary Lou, Midnight, and with the family that is yet to be decided but the wheels were already in motion.

 

_______________________________

 

Shouta blinked when he felt a weight hit his left shoulder.

He turned his eyes away from the movie to look down. They had started one after having Izuku clean up the blood and gave his hands first aid. Hitoshi also looked over from Shouta’s left when he noticed Shouta’s distraction. Shouta smiled softly. Izuku had fallen asleep and had fallen over onto him. He glanced over at Hitoshi who glanced up at him.

They did not comment, only turned to their movie. When it ended, Shouta gently laid Izuku down on the couch and pulled a blanket over the boy.

 

Sure, he had sure filled out and he was not just skin and bones anymore, but Shout could see it as he lay there. The boy was so small, looking more like a ten-year-old than a twelve-year-old, growth stunted by previous malnutrition. Some meat on the bones did not mean enough meat on the bones. Shouta took in the boy’s exposed arms. Scars littered them. Too many. The scar on the greenettes left cheek stood out as well as the one on his neck. The bags under Izuku’s eyes rivaled Shouta’s own. Too much as this kid been through.

And yet, as the boy lay there, he also could be taken as a normal child, with a normal past and a normal future. He looked so defenseless and small.

 

Shouta sighed and walked into the kitchen where Hitoshi was washing their popcorn bowl. Hitoshi heard him come in.

“I hate it…” he growled quietly. Shouta leaned against the counter next to his son.

“Hate what?” he asked. Hitoshi didn’t look up.

“I hate this situation. It’s so stupid that he had to go through all of that.” Shouta lifted a hand and ruffled his son’s hair. Hitoshi has a bad outlook on the world and this whole situation obviously did nothing to help that. “I do too,” Shouta replied. “The world isn’t perfect, Hitoshi. You know this.” Yes, Hitoshi did know this all too well. “That’s why,” he continued, “we need to look out for those that it tosses aside.”

“Why couldn’t we adopt, ‘Zuku?” Shouta hung his head and stuffed his hands in his pocket.

“I don’t think I can raise two children, especially since I am gone most of the time. Izuku needs a home where he can be raised normally from now on. Sure, we will be training him to be a hero, but outside of that, above anything else, he needs a sense of stability. One thing,” Shouta said, looking up at the ceiling.

 

“Just one thing to have to himself and that he does not need to let go of or change. I think that the Kirishima’s can give him that.”

“So that is who you’ve chosen?” Hitoshi shut off the water and dried his hands.

“It isn’t finalized yet,” Shouta replied, “and we still want to have Izuku and the family meet again and do a house check, but all in all, we think that is the house we will be sending him to.”

 

Shouta leaned over and peered into the living room were Izuku was sprawled out on the couch.

 

-----

 

‘I’D RATHER DIE THAN GO THROUGH THAT AGAIN!’ Golden Whip screamed before falling off of the building.

 

-----

 

‘I hate that every three-story building looks like a good way out to just end it all or that I have a knife under my mattress that I have there less for a defense measure and more for it to be waiting for when everyone betrays me so I can end it before they do.’

 

-----

 

Shouta groaned as he dragged his hands down his face.

“I really hope we are doing the right thing.”

 

Chapter Text

Eijiro swallowed a sigh as he walked behind his friends on their way home after school. They were talking about heroes. He wanted to join in too but…

 

-----

 

‘Oh! I know that hero!’

 

Yamamoto looked over his shoulder. ‘Oh, that’s cool.’ He turned back to Ito and kept talking.

 

-----

 

He looked up at the blue sky. Today… had been a day. It wasn’t particularly a bad day. It was probably just the depression. He got a decent grade on his test, sat with his friends at lunch and let them eat his food, watched them play their video games, watched all of his friends play a game of tag that he was supposedly in but everyone forgot. Eijiro doodled in his sketchbook and thought that it was pretty cool. He looked down at the closed book in his hands. He wanted to show Ito and Yamamoto but they were busy. He didn’t want to be a bother… They were mostly just Crimson Riot anyways. His house was the closest. He stopped outside the gate and waved.

 

“Bye guys.” They kept walking, not even noticing that Eijiro had stopped. He lowered his hand slowly. “See you tomorrow…”

Eijiro hung his head and took a deep breath. He plastered a smile on his face, one that hopefully reached his eyes, and looked up.

 

-----

 

POWER POSE

 

-----

 

He nodded. “That’s fine!” He typed in the passcode hearing the gate latch open. Eijiro pushed it open, letting it swing close and lock on its own as he walked down the brick pathway to his house. He opened his door.

“I’m hom-” *BANG* Eijiro raised an eyebrow. “Mom?” He looked up. The entryway opens up to the living room. Mom and Dad were sitting on the brown couch at the right with papers in their hands. In a chair brought in from the kitchen was a man with long, scraggly black hair. In the recliner closest to him on the right was the woman he recognized as Mary Lou and the one farthest was the boy they might be adopting, Izuku with a purple-haired boy leaning against the recliner. Izuku was frozen over the small table to the left of the recliner and a cup was on the floor next to it, the boy frozen as if he had been holding something over the table.

Oh.

“Welcome home, Ei,” his father waved. Eijiro turned to him. “Er… yeah!” Mom stood up and slowly crossed to where Izuku was bending down to drop the cup he had dropped. “It’s alright dear, let me get that.” Izuku’s hand hovered over the cup but he snapped it back when Mom reached down. She smiled at him and took it to the kitchen.

 

“So what’s happening?” he asked, crossing the living room and sitting next to his father on the couch, dropping his bag by his feet. He waved at Izuku who was sitting down again. The purple-haired boy handed the greenette a phone and whatever was on it seemed to release some of the tension in the scared boy’s shoulders.

“We are going over the adoption papers and some of the terms and conditions of taking in Izuku concerning his… mental health,” his father replied. Eijiro smiled brightly. “So we are adopting him?!” The boy in question flinched slightly.

Dad nodded and grinned. “Yup.” Eijirio turned to look at the greenette. His smile faltered when he saw the distraught look in the boy’s eyes, despite the fact that his face apparently never changed. He grinned harder.

“Glad to have ya!”

Izuku glanced over at him. He gave Eijiro a small nod, which Eijiro counted as a win, before turning back to the phone in his lap.

 

Mary Lou smiled. “Hello, Kirishima.” He smiled back. “Hello, Ms. Takakawa.”

 

The black-haired man nodded. “We haven’t met, but I am Aizawa Shouta, also known as Pro Hero Eraserhead.” Eijiro scratched the back of his head. “S- sorry but I don’t think that I’ve heard of you.” He shrugged. “I’m an underground hero so I’ll take that as a compliment. Now,” his attention was redirected to Eijiro’s parents as Mom reentered the room and sat next to Eijrio,

“I will restate everything now that your son is here. Izuku is on anxiety medicine and also frequently drinks the tea that Mrs. Kirishima recommended. We understand that you do not have a guest room so Izuku will be rooming with Kirishima, that being said,” he turned to Eijiro, “I understand that it is your safe place, but we would very much appreciate it if you would knock anytime you enter the room.”

Eijiro nodded. “Sure thing!”

He nodded. “Thank you.” He turned back. “Izuku will go most likely go around the house and check all of the locks every night. He does have a knife which we have gotten approved by you that he can’t fall asleep well without but he typically keeps it under his bed mattress. Izuku does not speak unless he is comfortable with a person so, and I mean no offense by this, do not expect him to reply verbally to you any time soon.”

 

“None taken,” Dad responded. He was writing all of this down.

 

“On the note of panic attacks, Izuku has them more often then you would think and they do not appear like the one at the bakery. I am sure you, being a licensed therapist, are well-versed in them but I will still recap his signs. Izuku is very subtle with them after dealing with panic attacks alone his whole life. He will typically freeze up and his breathing will slow but his chest will rise at a smaller degree and a faster rate. He will grip anything nearby that looks like it would be normal to grab in that situation.”

Dad nodded, writing that down too.

“Also, unless absolutely necessary,” the man’s tone dropped a couple of octaves.

 

Do. Not. Touch. Him.

 

Eijiro gulped. Scary… 

He is well-versed in hand-to-hand combat and will act on reflex. And one last thing.” He held up a piece of paper and pointed to the section describing Izuku’s quirk. Eijiro remembered hearing about it and the abuse Izuku suffered for it.

“If you ever do anything that triggers the string to form, please, for the love of all that is good in this world, please do not grab it or make any motion that might indicate that you are about to.”

 

Eijiro gave a sharp nod. “Yes, sir!” Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Izuku looking over at him with cold, calculating eyes. The hairs on the back of Eijiro’s neck lifted and a shiver went down his spine.

 

-----

 

‘He is well-versed in hand-to-hand combat and will act on reflex.’

 

-----

 

“Moving on to a new topic,” Mr. Aizawa continued, “in regards to school, we will let you decide what you have him do, public, private, or homeschooling. However, we have one rule. If he is to attend a public school, he must be put in a class with Kirishima. If the school refuses then rest assured, we have a means of making that happen.”

Mom nodded, brushing her wavey, auburn hair back behind her ear. “Of course.”

“Also, starting next week, Izuku will be training with me and Shinsou,” he gestured to the purple-haired boy by Izuku, “on Wednesdays. While that does not affect you now as he does not live with you at the current moment, we plan to continue this even when he does come to stay with you. This is to help him keep a sense of stability, prepare him for a future career, and to hopefully get him more comfortable with his quirk and lessen the constant stress of having it. So, after his education of whatever way you chose, we will pick him up directly from the school.”

 

Mom nodded. This was so much to process!!! Eijiro felt like his brain was in a whirlwind.

 

“Lastly,” the man took a deep breath, “only once has Izuku ever been taken to a hospital so his medical records are not complete and there are some vaccines he may need.”

Eijiro remembered all of the scars he had seen. He had a feeling there were more that he couldn’t see.

 

“I- if he never two to a hospital and he has been on the streets up until, like, a few months ago, what did he do…” he trailed off at the dark mood that fell over the room. “Oh…”

Ms. Takakawa smiled softly. “It’s alright, boy. I guess that’s another thing then,” she chuckled sadly. “Izuku won’t tell you if he gets hurt so…”

 

“We will take care of him, Ms. Takakawa,” Mom promised. Eijiro loved his mother. She’s so sweet. He loves his family. He had asked his friends at school what they thought about adoption and they said that it was stupid. Why should their families have to give up stuff for some random kid? Eijiro didn’t understand them though. It wasn’t like the one being adopted asked to not have parents or asked for a sucky life. What’s wrong with offering them a home and a family? They have a right to be happy too, right?

 

Eijiro turned his attention back to the conversation.

 

“When is Izuku going to move in with us?” he asked out of curiosity. No one spoke for a long time. Izuku and Shinsou had gone completely still. Ms. Takakawa took a deep breath. She gave a smile but Eijiro could tell it was fake. It was as fake as the one he was planning on walking in with before a real one spread on his face when it was confirmed that they would be adopting Izuku.

She said one, single word,

 

Soon.

 

and yet, Eijirio felt like that word held the weight of the world in it. There was a sharp intake of air from Izuku. His mother stood up. “Ei, sweetie, come with me for a second.” Eijiro furrowed his eyebrows in confusion as he followed his mother to his parent’s bedroom. She closed the door.

“Did I say something wrong?”

She sat on the bed and patted next to her. “No,” she replied as Eijiro climbed on the bed, “not for someone who didn’t know.” Eijiro narrowed his eyes. “Know what…?”

Mom looked at him. “Ei, did you ever consider why Izuku had to find a new family when he was seemingly perfectly comfortable with Ms. Takakawa?” He shook his head but the question made sense. If Izuku was so afraid of humans but fine with her then why is he leaving her?

 

“Ms. Takakawa,” Mom paused. “Ms. Takakawa isn’t going to be with us much longer.

“D- do you mean…”

Mom nodded solemnly. “Ms. Takakawa is dying.” Eijiro felt the color drain from his face. Mom turned to him and placed a hand over his. “Ei, sweetie, Izuku… well, he doesn’t like adults very much. He may be a bit older than you but we need you to be the big brother in this situation. Do you think that you can help us take care of him?”

 

Without a moment’s hesitation, because really, what need was there for hesitation, Eijiro nodded sharply and gave a resounding: “Yes!”

 

Mom ruffled his hair. “Thanks, kiddo. I’m so proud of you for being so brave.” He grinned up at her with his sharp teeth and received a shark-tooth smile in return. He had gotten his pointed teeth from his mother.

The two went back into the living room.

 

Mr. Aizawa nodded to them. Dad spoke up first. “We were just discussing moving Izuku in next month during Spring Break and possibly having him over a couple more times before the whole transition.”

“Sounds good to me,” Mom chirped.

 

The four visitors left soon after. Eijiro watched them walk away down the brick path. He threw open the door, stopped on the front porch, and called out. “Izuku!” The greenette jumped and spun around, everyone else doing the same at a slower pace. Eijiro Kirishima is not that bold of a person. He is the tag-along friend, the pity party’s reason to feel pity, and as shy as a flower when the sun is down. Still, that did not matter at this moment. Eijiro tilted his head up, put his hands on his hips, and puffed out his chest. He grinned the biggest, goofiest, sharpest grin that a twelve-year-old boy could manage and shouted:

 

“POWER POSE!”

 

There was a beat. It was small but a smile gradually formed on Izuku’s face. Eijiro let the pose down and gave him a big thumbs up.

Mr. Aizawa smirked. Ms. Takakawa mouthed ‘Thank you,’ before they all turned and left.

Eijiro looked up at his father when his father’s hand fell upon his shoulder. 

 

His father smiled down at him and Eijiro returned the offer.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku sat on his bed, music softly playing from his radio as he wrote in his notebook. Izuku was still planning his escape. While he did want to be and he didn’t exactly plan on escaping, if there should be the need at the Kirishima’s then have no doubt that he would be ready. It would take at least a week of actually living with them to know the routine and finish the plan completely but there was no harm in getting a head start.

 

*cough cough cough*

 

Izuku could hear the muffled coughs of Mary Lou through the door.

 

-----

 

‘When is Izuku going to move in with us?’

 

‘Soon.’

 

‘-moving Izuku in next month-’

 

-----

 

Izuku felt tears well up in his eyes. He did not let them fall. Now would be a great time to start building up that wall again. Sure, he did not have one, or at least not a tall one, with Shinsou and Eraser, but he would with the Kirishima’s. They were nice to take him in, but Izuku would not trust them. Starting with tears.

Tears are a weakness. A weakness.

 

-----

 

‘Soon.’

 

-----

 

The paper underneath dampened with every drop that fell from Izuku’s eyes.

 

A weakness...

 

Chapter Text

Shouta swallowed a sigh. He glanced up in the rearview mirror of his car as he drove to UA. Hitoshi, bless his heart, was doing his best to try and calm Izuku’s nerves as they were about to start their first training lesson together. Izuku looked like a ghost and Shouta knew that he was probably midway between a panic attack and convincing himself not to have said panic attack. Shouta could be a good adult and stop the car to calm and reassure the kid but he knew that this was just going to have to be something that Izuku was going to have to get through himself if he truly wanted to do this. He pulled up to the employee parking and scanned his ID before driving in. 

 

As they walked to the PE Grounds that Shouta had reserved for today, he was almost certain that Izuku was, in fact, not breathing, but the tell-tale signs of a rising chest convinced him otherwise.

Shouta stopped and turned to them on the empty dirt field. They were all in UA’s gym uniform, courtesy of the school.

“Alright,” Izuku jumped, “we are going to start as usual how I and Hitoshi do it on a regular basis, just dome hand-to-hand combat, okay?”

Just to loosen him up a bit. “Izuku, you and Hitoshi spar for a bit. I want to see where you are at.”

 

If by any means Shouta had thought that Golden Whip was in the past, he was dead wrong. Hitoshi and Izuku went a bit further apart before turning to each other. Shouta noticed the visible change in the greenettes stance. He loosened up, legs shoulder-length apart, eyes dead set on Hitoshi. He could see Hitoshi pale slightly but he knew his son would not back down. Shouta raised his arm and brought it down with a “START!”

Immediately, Hitoshi ran forward. In their sparring sessions, Shouta made sure that the purple-haired boy did not use his quirk. With a small pull-back, Hitoshi punched his fist forward.

It all happened in a few seconds.

 

Izuku stepped to the side, planted his right foot forward, and grabbed Hitoshi’s outstretched arm. The smaller boy pivoted, making a 180, Bent over, and hauled Hitoshi over his shoulder, judo flipping him onto his back. Hitoshi met the ground with a *THUD*, letting out a strangled gasp upon impact as the air was knocked out of him. Hitoshi grunted as he tried to roll over to get back on his feet but it was apparently the wrong move, or he just wasn’t fast enough.

As soon as Hitoshi was pushing himself up, Izuku practically jumped on the boy, forcing him down on the ground again, Izuku straddling him. He grabbed Hitoshi’s arms, forcing them behind the taller boys back and holding them in place with one hand, using his left to force Hitoshi’s head on the ground.

 

Shouta raised his hand. “That’s enough.” Nothing happened. Shouta furrowed his eyebrows.

Suck! Shouta ran forward as Izuku lifted his son’s head. “Izuku don’t!” The boy froze. Shouta froze. Hitoshi had his eyes squeezed tightly shut. Shouta took a deep breath.

“Not a villain, kid.” Izuku glanced at him out of the corner of his eye. Shouta nodded, hands in front of himself. “Not a criminal. Just Hitoshi.” He let out a breath that he did not know he was holding when Izuku gently lowered Hitoshi’s head to the ground and stood up. Hitoshi was positively shaken up. Izuku looked down.

“S- s- sorry… I f- forgot.”

Shouta walked up behind his son and gave Hitoshi a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder. “It’s fine just try to remember next time that this is training. We aren’t putting our opponents out of commission.” Izuku nodded. He looked at Hitoshi.

“Sorry, Sh- Shinsou.”

Hitoshi gave the best smile that he could. “It’s fine.”

 

There were a couple more occurrences of that happening but soon Izuku’s mind seemed to clear up enough to not try and put Shouta’s son unconscious.

 

After around an hour of sparring, Hitoshi looked worse for wear. Izuku seemed fine aside from a small bruise forming on his cheek. That was both his and Shouta’s fault. Izuku’s for almost suffocating Hitoshi in a headlock and Shouta’s for distracting the boy and allowing Hitoshi a chance to get free and land a well-aimed shot at Izuku’s face.

Hitoshi groaned as he rolled on the floor, trying to push himself up. Izuku looked almost sorry for putting him in that state. The greenette did something neither of them had expected.

 

He walked over and extended a hand to Hitoshi.

 

Hitoshi hesitated. He reached up. Shouta could not see it, but he knew the exact moment that the string of Izuku’s quirk had likely formed. Hitoshi, who had never seen it before, moved his eyes up in a straight line, seemingly looking at nothing. Izuku’s eyes widened and he went perfectly still. It was a miracle in itself that he did not immediately retract his arm. Shouta considered erasing Izuku’s quirk but he felt that he should see what Hitoshi does. Hitoshi gently took Izuku’s hand, the greenette flinching slightly. They made eye contact. Izuku took a deep breath and pulled Hitoshi up.

Shouta took a second to himself to slow his heartbeat because THAT could have ended so much worse.

“Thanks,” Hitoshi said, dusting off his uniform. Izuku nodded, eyeing Hitoshi carefully. Shouta looked up at the sky. Now comes the hard part:

 

Training with Izuku’s quirk.

 

Shouta walked up to them. “Alright. Great job you two.” He turned to Izuku. “We are going to start with your quirk, alright?” If he had expected a response, the way the boy’s chest stopped rising for a good ten seconds was as good as any response he would get. Finally, Izuku nodded slowly. Shouta nodded. He stood up straight and addressed both children.

“Nothing too much today. Today is just getting a feel of how it works. Both of you will be sitting, facing each other.”

He sat down and gestured for the boys to do the same, to which they did. They sat cross-legged facing each other.

 

Shouta really didn’t know how the quirk worked so he was going off-book today. He gulped.

 

“Hitoshi, in the same way you did when taking Izuku’s hand just now, reach your arm forward.” The purple-haired boy did. Izuku froze. Okay… “Do you see the string?” Hitoshi nodded, not taking his eyes off Izuku after a split second of looking down at it. Shouta turned to Izuku. “He is going to take hold of it now, alright.” Izuku nodded, an action that seemed more like a robotic one than a human one. Shouta nodded at Hitoshi. His son glanced at Shouta for a split second. Shouta watched as Hitoshi’s hand wrapped around what seemed like thin air but the way that Izuku’s hands grabbed at the dirt on the ground told him that it was most certainly not nothing.

“Where is the string coming from?” he asked.

“T- the chest,” Hitoshi responded. He remembered back to when it came from different points when Shouta was trying to save the former vigilante from his attempt of suicide. He also remembered the notebook that Izuku had kept made a few days ago on his own quirk for this occasion.

“Alright, let go.” Hitoshi’s hand opened.

“Now, I want you to reach out as if you were going to grab his wrist.”

Hitoshi did. Shouta was beginning to get nervous at to zero movements of the green-haired boy across from Hitoshi. “Did a string form?”

“Yes.”

“From where?”

“R- right wrist.”

Shouta nodded. “Take it.” He watched Hitoshi do so. “Okay, Hitoshi,” he said as leveled as possible, “I want you to gently, and I mean GENTLY, pull.”

His son looked contemplative. “A- are you sure?” Shouta glanced at Izuku who had yet to move. He took a deep breath. “Yes.” Hitoshi looked up at Izuku and back at his father before his arm moved back ever so slightly.

Shouta’s eyes were drawn to Izuku’s right arm when he saw it lift a bit. He swallowed. Hitoshi froze, not wanting to pull anymore.

 

Just as simple as that. The smallest of pulls and Izuku’s body moved unwillingly. Shouta recalled all of the reports of blunt force trauma and all of the dents and holes in the walls and doorframes within the Midoriya apartment.

Hitoshi let go and Izuku’s arm fell as if… a string was cut, landing with a soft *thump*.

Hitoshi paled.

 

Shouta felt sick.

 

This quirk… it’s just not right… Nessacary for training now, maybe, but at the core of it, a quirk that forces you to basically submit to the will of others, to be used like that? It’s just not right...

 

-----

 

‘So what’s the name of Golden Whip’s quirk then?’

 

Detective Tsukauchi looked up at him. His jaw visibly tightened as he spoke that word:

 

‘Puppet.’

 

-----

 

‘Puppet?’ Honestly, what a cruel joke.

Hitoshi turned to him, face pale. He lifted a shaking finger and pointed at Izuku.

“D- dad… I don’t think that he’s breathing.”

Shouta whipped his head around so hard he almost got whiplash. No, there was no rise or fall of Izuku’s chest. The boy sat there, perfectly still, arms dangling to the side, head tilted to the left ever so slightly, eyes wide and staring off into nothing.

 

Shouta lurched forward. “Hey, kid.” He leveled his voice for Hitoshi's sake. Izuku made no action to indicate that he had even heard Shouta. Shouta reached forward, ignoring the string that formed from the boy’s shoulder, and instead grabbed the actual shoulder.

 

Upon touching him, Izuku’s form seemed to crumple. He fell over on his side, going as limp as a noodle. As limp as… 

 

-----

 

‘Shouta looked at Golden Whip, gently lifting the kid’s face to look him in the eyes. Golden Whip didn’t even flinch. His eyes were scarily empty. It almost reminded Shouta of…’

 

-----

 

a doll with its strings cut.

Shouta almost threw up at the sheer disgust he felt in this situation.

 

“D- dad?” He looked back at Hitoshi. Hitoshi, oh boy… he looked so scared. So terrified. His eyes were wide, tears pooling at the corners. Shouta gave him the best smile he could. “Everything is fine, Hitoshi,” he assured his son. “You did nothing wrong. In fact, you did everything right.” Shouta picked up Izuku bridal-style, swallowing a sigh of relief when he felt the gentle rise and fall of the boy’s chest. He leaned the greenettes head against his own chest so it wouldn’t just dangle like… that. Shouta softly closed the boys glassy eyes.

“The fact Izuku has enough trust in you to allow you to even do this,” he continued to his son as he stood, “is amazing.” Shouta smiled down at his son.

 

“Hitoshi, this is a job that only you can do. You are the only person that Izuku trusts enough to allow you to use his quirk. Do you understand how amazing that is?” Hitoshi blushed a bit. It was nice to see the color return to his already pale skin. Shouta smirked.

 

I am very proud of you, Hitoshi, for doing this.

 

The boy looked away. “T- thanks…”

They slowly made their way back to the car. Hitoshi sat in the back with Izuku, letting Izuku use his lap as a pillow. Shouta didn’t know if that was the best idea in case Izuku woke up on the ride back but he let it be. It’s only a two-hour drive from the UA campus to the red light district since UA is on the other side of the city and a bit further from it than other buildings. Still, Shouta pulled out his phone and sent Mary Lou a message before leaving.

 

_______________________________

 

*Ding Ding*

 

Mary Lou looked up from hanging her head over the sink in the bathroom. She washed her hands free of blood before taking up her phone that was to the right of the sink. It was a text notification from Mr. Aizawa. He had taken Izuku with them to train. To be honest, Mary Lou was a bit skeptical of the training plan but she was proud that Izuku was willing to at least try it out.

 

Mr. Aizawa:

Can you prepare the ‘usual?’ I’ll pay.

 

Mary Lou:

No need to pay. How long until you get here?

 

Mr. Aizawa:

A couple hours. Thank you.

 

Mary Lou:

No problem!

 

Her texts felt more alive than she did. She had two hours. She would use the first one working in the bakery, the next forty-five minutes taking a nap, and then make the ‘usual’ before they arrived. Mary Lou stared at herself in the mirror. She let out a weary sigh.

 

I’m so tired…

 

Chapter Text

Eijiro stared at the poster he pulled off of the wall. It was of Crimson Riot, of course. Eijiro had decided on taking the left side of the room. He had taken an extra day off of Spring Break to move his stuff so that they could make room for Izuku’s belongings. He nodded and moved to his side, rehanging the poster on the left wall. It would be a bit cramped, sure, but they would figure it out. Tomorrow, Izuku and the others would be coming over with his stuff. Eijiro was determined to make his new brothers move as easy as possible. He wouldn’t be moving in, though, until the next day to give him a bit more time with Ms. Takakawa.

 

Eijiro stretched and looked at his handy work. His bed had stayed put. His desk was moved to the wall across from it and his dresser was put in between the two along the left wall. His brown bedside drawers stayed beside his bed. Eijiro sat on his red comforter, leaning over awkwardly to lay his head on his black pillows. Izuku’s side of the room looked so bare. Sure, it would be filled come tomorrow, but, he didn’t know, it felt like it could use something. Eijiro sat up and looked at his desk. He got up and sat down in his red chair. Eijiro picked up his sketchbook that sat leaning against the side of the desk.

Nobody really cared if Eijiro drew anything aside from his parents but they don’t count because they are his parents so Eijiro didn’t know if Izuku would even want this but Eijiro went ahead anyway. He pulled out his best art set that he got for Christmas last year. He closed his eyes. Eijiro could visualize it. All he had to do was put it on paper to bring it to life. He opened his red eyes.

 

Eijiro got to work.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku walked over to his desk that had yet to be disassembled. He ran his fingers along the row of notebooks. He took as many as he could in his arms before walking over and depositing them in the large brown box in the middle of his room. He went back and got the rest before moving on to his textbooks. Izuku glanced over at his now white bed. All of his bedding had already been packed up. He got on his knees by it and lifted the mattress. Izuku pulled out the large knife and lay it beside himself before reaching in again and taking out the escape notebook. He flipped through the pages. Two days ago, after his third training session with Eraser and Shinsou, he had gone to the Kirishima household again and they gave him a tour of the house. Izuku flipped to the page where he had drawn the layout of the house from memory. He sighed and closed the notebook. Izuku ended up stuffing it at the bottom of all of his books.

 

He took the knife and placed it underneath his stuffed hero dolls that were in a different box along with his radio and All Might figurine.

 

Izuku taped the boxes close.

 

He stood up and looked around the room. Aside from the desk, it looked just as it had before Izuku began to live with Mary Lou. Mic and Cementoss were coming over later to disassemble the bed and desk.

 

Somehow, this was even worse than when Shinsou had first taken hold of his string a few weeks ago.

Izuku leaned against his closed door, wrapping his arms around his legs as he drew them to his chest and lay his head on them. His shoulders shook as Izuku suppressed the tears that threatened to fall.

 

_______________________________

 

*Ring Ring*

 

Hizashi walked through the front door of Soft Blossom Bakery. While he was in his civilian garb, Ishiyama couldn’t really change his physical appearance all that much so he was still noticeably Cementoss which was quite funny, really, when they walked in. You see, most places the people would be asking for autographs and the like but this is the red lights district, aka, the part of the city full of criminals and thugs so when they walked in, he could see the customers get visibly nervous. He wondered how many of them would be behind bars if the police and heroes actually patrolled this area as much as they were supposed to. Then again, he is a hero too so he has no room to talk.

He walked up to the counter. “Is Mary Lou in?” The girl behind the counter nodded, recognizing him. “I’ll be right back.” She disappeared into the kitchen.



“‘Ey you!” 

Hizashi and Ishiyama turned around to see a tall, lanky man standing a bit too close for comfort. He had piercing red eyes and lime green hair spiked up.

“Can I held you?” Hizashi asked.

“Yeah,” he said gruffly. “Whatcha want with Mare, ey?” He leaned in closer. “She ain’t done nothin’ wrong.”

Ah, protective people. It would have been comforting to Hizashi if they weren’t all thugs and if Mary Lou wasn’t his girlfriend. “I know. We are here to help her.”

“Eyyyyyy?! She don’ need help from heroes!”

 

Before Hizashi could reply, a buff man came up behind the green-haired man and placed a heavy hand on his shoulder. The angry man paled and looked up.

“M- Marco! Th- these guys were-”

“Let it go,” Marco, who Hizashi had seen in here on multiple occasions, commanded. He squeezed the man’s shoulder. “Y- YES!” The lanky man was quick to throw himself out of the bakery. Marco nodded at Hizashi and Ishiyama. “Sorry ‘bout that guy. He’s new ‘ere so he don’t know that you guys mean no harm.” Hizashi grinned. “It’s no problem, Marco. Thanks for your assistance.”

The man nodded. “Ey, you two are here to help the boy move, right?” Hizashi nodded. “Yeah, that’s right.” Marco grunted. “I don’t know where he’s goin’ but I can count on seein’ ‘im ‘round here every so often, right?” Hizashi did not like that underlying threat in the man’s tone. “That is up to the family who is taking him,” he replied, “but I can mention it to them in passing.” Marco was obviously not satisfied with that answer but knew better than to challenge two Pro Heroes, especially in Mary Lou’s bakery. They all turned their attention to Mary Lou as the brunette walked out of the kitchen.

 

Hizashi had to fight to keep the smile on his face. Mary Lou looked so pale and had bags under her eyes. Her freckles popped from her face and she looked as if she hadn’t been eating properly.

“Good afternoon, you two.” She nodded to Marco. “Good afternoon, Marco.” He grunted and turned back to Hizashi and Ishiyama. “I better see ‘im here. If you gonna force him to move then the boy deserves to be able to come back ‘ere.” Marco turned and stormed off without another word. Mary Lou giggled. “Sorry about him, guys. He means well.” “It is reassuring to know that you have such loyal customers, Ms. Takakawa,” Ishiyama responded.

“Are you two here to help Izu?” she asked. Hizashi nodded. “Yes, ma’am!” he chirped. She smiled. “I’ll let you in.” Hizashi and Ishiyama followed her up where she gave the secret knock and opened the door. “I’ll be downstairs if you need me,” she said, turning to leave. Hizashi pressed a soft kiss to her lips before she left.

I will be up here if you need me,” he parroted. They closed the door behind them, making sure to lock it behind them.

 

“Izuku!” he called. There was a soft *thud* from down the hallway. As Hizashi and Ishiyama went down the hallway, Izuku’s door opened and the boy stepped out, rubbing the back of his head. “Hey, little listener!” Izuku opened his mouth to speak but his eyes landed on Ishiyama and he stopped. He nodded instead. “Ready to get to work?” Izuku didn’t respond. He opened his door and let them in.

The two older men did most of the work but Hizashi could see Izuku watching them from the doorway. His heart longed to reach out to the kid. If he didn’t juggle three jobs, Hizashi would have been the first to raise his hand when they asked about adopting the boy. He would make sure to squeeze seeing Izuku into his schedule when the boy moved.

When they finally finished, Izuku had not moved. He did not look at Hizashi nor Ishiyama. Hizashi crouched in front of the boy.

“Hey, listener,” he said softly. “Would it help if I came tomorrow, too?” Izuku glanced up at him.

 

Is it bad that when he saw the emptiness in those emerald eyes he thought ‘like mother, like son?’ The comparison between Mary Lou and Izuku was almost uncanny. It was as if the residents of this apartment were in a void that drained the life from them with a happy bakery as the disguise over their pain.

 

He gave Izuku a soft smile. “I’ll be there tomorrow, alright?” Izuku nodded so slightly that Hizashi had almost thought that he had imagined it.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku felt so numb. There were no colors in his sight, no cold or heat in his vicinity, no sound reaching his ears. They pulled up in front of the Kirishima household. When he stepped out of the car, his hair was blown by the wind but he couldn’t feel it. He turned when Shonsou tapped his shoulder. His friend held a small box in his hands. Izuku barely registered taking it from him and trailing behind Mary Lou, Eraser, and Mic up the brick pathway. Mr. Kirishima met them at the door. They were speaking, talking, interacting. Izuku watched it as if he was outside of his body. Kirishima peaked out from behind his father and waved. Izuku blinked. The smile on the boy’s face faltered. Shinsou leaned in closer.

 

“Hey, we are supposed to follow him.”

 

Izuku blinked again, noticing that Kirishima had disappeared. He nodded, ignoring the look of worry on Shinsou’s face, and stepping forward. When they got to Kirishima’s room, the boy was waiting for them. Kirishima gestured to the half-bare room and to the empty side.

“You- -ut your st- -over there.” Izuku hardly registered the words, body moving on autopilot. He set his box down and stood up, facing the right wall. He stopped.

There was a drawing on the wall.

 

It was pretty good. A detailed drawing of the hero Izuku recognized as Crimson Riot punching forward, the words ‘!POWER!’ pressing around the fist in green, blue, and yellow. The hero was colored in and the background was red white a white light spreading from the hero.

 

“I know this isn’t easy for ya,” Izuku tore his eyes from the drawing to Kirishima who had at some point walked up to stand beside him, “but we are in this together now.” Kirishima turned to him and smiled blindingly. Kirishima did THE pose. “We can get through this, Izuku!”

Maybe Kirishima didn’t know the full extent of everything. Maybe he was just putting on a brave front. But the way that he yelled ‘we’ and ‘together’ so boldly, he truly believed it.

 

It made Izuku want to believe it too and the smallest bit of color began to filter back in.

 

They retrieved the rest of the boxes, which wasn’t much. The bulk of it was the bed, dresser, and desk. While the men put together Izuku’s furniture, the kids went outside to the fenced-in backyard. They had a swing set with two swings on it. Shinsou insisted on Izuku taking a seat on the terms of: ‘You will be living with him, get to know him.’ So Shinsou sat under the awning while Izuku awkwardly sat on the swings with Kirishima. Kirishima kicked off his flip flops and ruffled his feet through the grass. “So…” the boy began, “Mom and Dad are talking about you going to public school.” Izuku’s eyes widened. At just the mention of it, his heart rate spiked.

“I know this is selfish of me,” Kirishima continued, “but I am so glad that you are!” Izuku glanced at him. “I- I’ve come to realize that my ‘friends’ aren’t what one would really call ‘friends.’ I don’t really have anyone to ‘hang’ with. But!” Izuku jumped at his sudden outburst. “I- if you start coming to school with me then I won’t be alone. A- and you won’t be alone either.” He turned and smiled at Izuku.

 

-----

 

Izuku sat in the closet waiting. Waiting until mom came back to let him out. Waiting… alone in the darkness.

 

-----

 

Izuku sat at recess watching all of the other children play together as he sat there in the sandpit alone.

 

-----

 

Izuku pulled his abused body against the brick wall of the alley after a man decided to take advantage of him. He cried in that alley alone that night.

 

-----

 

Izuku turned to fully look at Kirishima. Alone? Yeah, that’s something that Izuku has become far too acquainted with. Maybe their versions of being alone are on two different spectrums but the feeling is still the same. That hole in your chest that never quite feels filled. That lost feeling that lets you spiral down the worst paths of thought. The pain. The loneliness. Izuku looked up at the sky. Fear has always been a constant in Izuku’s life. His fear of humans surpasses all reasonable bounds. But if there is someone struggling with him, maybe it wouldn’t feel so lonely.

He turned back to Kirishima and nodded.

The boy smiled even wider with that toothy grin of his.

 

By no means did Izuku trust this boy. But that smile was like the sun and it casts its rays down on even the darkest shadows of Izuku’s mind. It reminded him of the smile of an old childhood friend before Izuku was announced ‘quirkless’ He distantly wonders how Kacchan is doing but the memory of the boy is soon forgotten as Izuku swings back and forth in a comfortable half-silence with Kirishima humming to his left. He glanced back over at Kirishima who swung happily.

 

The rest of the colors seemed to spread out from the boy, washing away all of the blacks and whites.

 

Maybe this won't be so bad.

 

Shinsou and Kirishima helped Izuku unpack after the adults had set up the furniture. It was practically the same layout as Kirishima’s side of the room besides Izuku’s desk had an upper level for more books.

 

“Woah.” Izuku turned from making the bed to see Kirishima holding up the knife that he had forgotten he packed. Izuku froze. Kirishima looked at him. “So cool!” Huh? Shinsou looked surprised too. “So you know how to actually use this?” Izuku averted his eyes. To kill or cook? That was the question. Izuku just nodded. “That’s so manly, man! You have to teach me sometime!” Izuku blushed a bit and looked away. Shinsou ended up retrieving the knife for him.

“Under the mattress?” Izuku nodded. He handed Shinsou a notebook, too. Shinsou eyed it. Izuku knew that he knew what it was. Nevertheless, Shinsou put it under without saying anything. Soon, the room was complete. It was so miss-matched. The color scheme of red and black on Kirishima’s side and then the array of blues, reds, yellows, and greens on Izuku’s. A weird combination for sure. By the time they were done, the sun was starting to set and it was time for them to go. Before they left, Mr. and Mrs. Kirishima came into the room where the three boys were laying about. Well, Izuku was sitting on his bed but you know.

 

Mrs. Kirishima held up a camera. “Mind if I get a picture of you two in your new room together?” Izuku tensed up at her sudden arrival. Shinsou sat up and looked at him. “You can say no, ‘Zuku.” Izuku looked over to where Kirishima was sitting up. He furrowed his eyebrows and bit his lip. It wasn’t like there was an issue with it. Could Izuku just be called camera-shy? Either way, Izuku turned to Mrs. Kirishima and gave a small nod. Shinsou left the room so that it would only be Izuku and Kirishima. Kirishima leaned against his bed criss-cross and Izuku stayed on his, legs dangling off of the sides.

 

Mrs. Kirishima raised the camera. “Say cheese!”

Kirishima smiled brightly and Izuku, well his face didn’t really change. 

*SNAP*

 

They all left soon after.

 

In the car, the ease left his shoulders and sadness retook his demeanor. Sure, Mary Lou would stop in every once in awhile before she… But tomorrow was still going to be the last full day that Izuku would be staying with her. The Kirishima’s promised that if they found the time they would bring them all to Soft Blossom Bakery every now and then but it still wouldn’t be the same. Eraser dropped Izuku, Mary Lou, and Mic, who was staying with them for the night, off in front of the store.

Shinsou poked his head out of the window.

“Call or text me if you need me.” Izuku nodded. “O- o- okay…” 

 

It was strange. Izuku would sleep on the couch tonight and he hadn’t done that in so long. Well, aside from the times he passed out from a panic attack and the first two training sessions where he also passed out. The last time he didn’t. But really, it hadn’t been until his house arrest, and even before then when he would pop in as Golden Whip, did Izuku sleep on the couch. It was as though it was ending where it started.

Mary Lou leaned over and pressed a gentle kiss to Izuku’s forehead. He flinched but did not draw back.

 

Mary Lou… Mary Lou is not a threat.

 

“Let’s have an amazing day tomorrow.” Izuku nodded. Present Mic took the guest room which had formerly been Izuku’s and Mary Lou went to her own.

Izuku tried to sleep.

 

He didn’t.

 

_______________________________

 

*RING RING RING*

*RING RING RING*

*RING RI-* “Hello?” Mitsuki Bakugou answered her phone.

 

‘Hello, this is Ms. Takakawa.’ Mitsuki recognized the name. “Oh! Hello! Are you calling about Izuku?”

‘Yes. As promised, I told you that I would call you when we found a home for him.’ Mitsuki’s smile fell.

“It’s not us, is it?”

‘I’m afraid not.’

Mitsuki sighed. It was understandable but she still couldn’t help but feel hurt. Before Izuku had run away, Mitsuki thought of him as a son. Even after he did, she worried about him night and day.

“Can I ask who is getting him?”

‘That is confidential. For his safety.’

Mitsuki hummed. “Alright. He… He is safe, right?”

‘Yes. We found Izuku the best home that we could for him.’

Mitsuki nodded. “Thank you… Have a nice day, Ms. Takakawa.”

“You as well, Mrs. Bakugou.”

 

The call ended.

 

Mitsuki hung her head. Suddenly she wasn’t all that eager to finish making curry for tonight’s dinner. She would have to tell Katsuki and Masaru. They had a talk with Katsuki after their meeting with Ms. Takakawa and had him enrolled in anger management classes but he would still take this pretty hard. Mitsuki looked up at the ceiling.

 

“Inko, why the hell did you let this happen?”

 

_______________________________

 

*BAM*

 

Katsuki punched his punching bag with all of the pent up anger he felt.

*BAM* *BAM* *BAM*

He growled.

 

-----

 

‘We won’t be getting Izuku. He has been placed with another family.’

 

-----

 

*BAM*

 

-----

 

‘No, we don’t know who they are. They won’t tell us.’

 

-----

 

*BAM*

 

-----

 

This is for the best.

 

-----

 

*!BOOM!*

 

Katsuki stopped, panting harshly. He took a deep breath. “DANG IT!!!!!!!” His scream tore through the house but he didn’t care who heard him.

Why the hell was I so stupid!?

 

-----

 

‘- the next time you seem Izuku, you can tell him ‘I’m sorry’ yourself.’

 

-----

 

Tears fell as Katsuki dropped to his knees.

“Dang it…”

 

Now I’ll never get the chance…

Chapter Text

Izuku woke to the sound of harsh coughing somewhere in the apartment. He shot up. He could hear the sizzle of grease in the background. Izuku ran into the kitchen but it was only Present Mic. The man turned around to face Izuku.

“Hey, listener,” he whispered. “Mary Lou will be up in a bit, don’t worry.” Izuku glanced to the left to where the hallway would be if it weren’t for the wall. Mic gave a grin. “How about you go make the napkins? It might cheer her up.” Izuku looked at him and nodded. Izuku tried to ignore the sinking feeling in his stomach as he folded the napkins into good but still not all that good origami bunny. A few minutes later, the coughing stopped just as Izuku was oh so carefully placing the last bunny on the plate of Mary Lou. Mary Lou exited the hallway and entered the dining area.

 

“Good morning, Mary,” Present Mic said as he crossed the room with the skillet, placing a kiss on her cheek before moving on to the table. Izuku thought that it was pretty cool of the hero not to abandon Mary Lou when he found out she was ill.

“Good Morning, Yamada.” Her voice sounded strained from all of the coughing. “Good morning, Izu.”

“‘M- morning…”

Present Mic dished out cheesy eggs and bacon onto each plate. *POP* Izuku jumped and swung his head to the kitchen where the toaster sat, freshly toasted bread peeking out of the top.

 

Present Mic was surprisingly a good cook. The three ate around the table in comfortable silence before Mary Lou suddenly stood as they were finishing. “Alright!” Izuku jumped slightly. “Are we ready?”

Izuku tilted his head. She smiled at him. “We have a fun day planned today.” She turned to Present Mic. “Yamada, would you please get the bags?” The man nodded and stood, taking up the empty plates and depositing them in the sink before disappearing somewhere in the apartment.

“W- where a- are we g- g- going?” Izuku asked as he helped Mary Lou wash the dishes. “It’s a secreeeetttttt!” She pressed a finger against her mouth. Izuku quirked up an eyebrow but didn’t question further. While Present Mic was gone, Izuku got dressed in a pair of clothes had set out for today: a red shirt with sleeves that went down to his elbows and green shorts.

 

Mic returned with two large black bags. Izuku narrowed his eyes. They looked suspiciously like the bags one would carry around to conceal guns or drugs. “Sorry, listener,” he said, “but I can’t let you check these. It’ll ruin the surprise!” Izuku hesitated. Why? Mic wouldn’t be doing anything bad, would he? He would. He’s a good guy. Bad guy. Mic’s… Well, if Izuku had to think of anyone as a father figure it’d… it’d be Present Mic.

I- I trust M- Mic,” he whispered.

Present Mic stared at him with wide eyes. The bags dropped to the floor. Mary Lou peeked over from out of the kitchen. Izuku looked down. Did I say something wrong? There was a soft *thud* as Present Mic fell to his knees in front of Izuku. Izuku snapped his head up. Tears were at the edges of the man’s eyes and a smile on his face. Mic held out his hands. Izuku, a bit skeptical, gently placed his own in the large palms. Present Mic squeezed softly.

 

“I’m so glad you feel that way, Izuku,” he breathed out.

 

Izuku felt his face heat up and his cheeks go flush. He looked away to the side. “Also!” Present Mic suddenly piped, Izuku flinching away from the loud voice. “Mic?” Izuku looked up at the man’s questioning tone. “You know you can call me by my name, right?” Izuku blushed harder. “I- I mean it’s okay if you don’t but ya know you can’t call me that in public if I am in civilian clothes and all.” Izuku furrowed his eyebrows.

That made sense but… Yam- Yamad- His eyes widened.

 

Yami,” Izuku blurted out.

 

Present Mic actually cried this time. Izuku froze when he was drawn into a sudden hug but somehow… it wasn't scary. It was like the hug one would get from a father. It was nice.

Prese- Yama- Yami let him go and held Izuku by his shoulders. He looked past the greenette.

“Mary! Did you hear that?! I’M YAMI!!!”

A giggle came from behind Izuku causing the greenette to whip his head around. Mary Lou smiled. “Come on, you two!” Pres- Yami stood up and offered a hand to Izuku. The boy took it and let the older man pull him to his feet. Yami slung the bags over his shoulders and opened the front door for the two.

 

They ended up taking a taxi which, by the way, Izuku almost didn’t get in. It took a lot of convincing. Izuku’s fists were white from how hard he was gripping his shorts. Mary Lou and Yami were torn between comforting him and giving him space.

 

“Here we are!” Izuku jumped when the taxi driver spoke up. “Thank you,” Yami paid the man and got out. Izuku threw himself from the yellow car. “Woah there!” Yami caught him by his shoulders. Izuku turned his head slowly to keep an eye on the taxi driver who smiled shakily under the boy's cold stare. Mary Lou stepped out after them. Izuku did not move until the taxi was out of sight. Yami pats his shoulder. “Let’s go!” Izuku, once his mind cleared, could now smell salt in the air and hear water in the distance. He stayed in between the adults as they walked. They stopped at a ledge that looked down over a sandy beach and ocean. There were a few other people walking on the beach as Mary Lou and Yami lead the way down to the beach.

 

Izuku stared in awe as the sun shined over the water.

 

He turned to see Yami unzipping the bag and pulling out a light blue sheet. “Help us lay it out, Izuku!” Izuku did. They held the corners down with stones. Yami pulled a red and white beach umbrella from the other bag and set it up to cast a shade over most of the sheet. “Wait here,” Yami said, running off. Izuku sat next to Mary Lou.

Yami returned with three ice cream cones.

 

“Strawberry for Izu, Butterscotch for Mary, and Lemon for me!” He handed them each their cones before settling down next to Mary Lou.

“T- thanks…”

 

Izuku ate his ice cream as the adults talked, joining in the conversation whenever he felt necessary.

 

Sweet…

 

“Take off your shoes, Izu,” Mary Lou said as he finished his cone. “It feels nice!” He looked down to see her feet in the sand. Izuku nodded and started to unlace his shoes.

“You know,” Yami spoke up, “you could really use a new pair of shoes.” Izuku tilted his head. Sure, they were torn up and the bottom was falling off from the back and the strings were frayed to thin strings and he could feel the air through a hole in the toe of his right one and they were more brown than red now but they weren’t all that bad. Izuku shrugged and took off the right one, watching the bottom dangle from the shoe.

“Definitely need new shoes.”

Izuku placed his shoes and socks to the side and copied Mary Lou by sticking his feet in the sand. “Feels good…” he murmured.

 

Izuku closed his eyes, letting the breeze blow his hair. He listened to the lapping of the waves on the shore and the laughter of children. The sun felt good on his pale skin. It was relaxing.

 

_______________________________

 

Mary Lou watched as Izuku’s head bobbed to the side as he slowly began to doze off. It was nice to see him so relaxed even with the other people around.

 

Yamada wrapped his arm around her and she leaned into the man’s chest.

 

-----

 

‘You’re dying?’ Yamada asked.

 

Mary Lou looked away. ‘Yeah… I’m sorry for not telling you, Yamada.’

‘Well then, I guess we will just have to make the most of the time we have together!’ he chirped.

‘Y- you’re not going to break up with me?’ she asked astounded.

‘Why would I?’

‘C- cause we won-’

 

‘Mary lou,’ he cut her off, ‘that does not change how I feel about you.’

 

-----

 

Mary Lou covered her mouth as a cough shook her body. Yamada held her closer. Mary Lou swallowed a sigh as the shaking stopped. Yamada placed his chin on her head. She listened contently as he began to hum a small tune.

 

Soon, Mary Lou drifted off too.

 

_______________________________

 

After spending a couple of hours on the beach, Izuku having woken up and spent some time walking around on the sand and in the water before he almost had a panic attack when a couple of children ran up to him yelling and the parents followed, the three beach-goers packed up to continue today’s adventures.

 

Izuku stayed as close as he possibly could to Mary Lou without touching her as they walked down the sidewalk into the city. People were milling around and Izuku did NOT like it. Yami pulled them into a shoe store and gestured widely. “Go find a pair for you, Izuku. My treat!” Izuku looked up at him stunned. “B- b- but,” he glanced at one of the prices and paled. Yami shook his head. He leaned down by the boy and lowered his voice as not to be heard. “Izuku, I have three jobs and each of them pays significantly well. Don’t worry about the price.” Izuku wanted to argue but let it go when the door opened and a breeze blew in that made his toes freeze. He looked down and wiggle them, seeing them through the shoes. Yeah… he needs new shoes. 

Izuku prowled through the store, avoiding and rows with people in them and coming back when the people were gone.

What should one look for when looking for a pair of shoes? How comfortable are they? Running or walking? If you will be fighting in them or not? Durability? Maybe-

 

Izuku stopped in the last row. He went up to the boxes and took the shoe on the outside that was out for display. A pair of red hightops.

 

Style.

 

“Did you find one you like?” Izuku turned to Mary Lou behind him. He pointed at the shoe. The brunette grinned. “Those, huh?” Izuku nodded. They were just so… COOL!

 

-----

 

‘Manly!’

 

------

 

Izuku furrowed his eyebrows. Kirishima?

 

Yami paid for the shoes after finding his size and the three sat in the store to put them on. Izuku flinched in pain when he tried though. Yami stepped forward. “I’m going to touch you, alright?” Izuku tilted his head. Yami gently picked up Izuku’s foot, took off the sock, and examined the foot. Izuku winced when Yami gave it a small squeeze.

 

“Izuku.” The greenette gulped when he met the man’s eyes. “How long has it been since you’ve had a new pair of shoes?” Huh? Why? “F- four years.”

Yami sighed. “So for four years, or three depending on when you grew out of your old shoes, you have been cramming your feet into your old shoes?” Izuku nodded. He distantly remembers around a year into living on the streets that his feet began to hurt because of the small shoes but he got used to it so he didn’t really think about it all that often.

 

“Alright,” the man said, standing, “you can’t put on these shoes right now.” Izuku frowned.

“W- why not?”

“Because you’ve damaged your feet by forcing them into that tight of a space for so long.” Yami held up Izuku’s old shoe against his foot. Izuku’s feet were at least an inch longer than his shoes. That makes sense. “We will bandage them when we get back but for the rest of today, let’s keep shoes off, okay?” Izuku frowned. He really wanted to try on the new shoes but he knew it wouldn’t do him any good. So for the rest of the day, Izuku walked around on bare feet. Until his feet began to throb being unpadded and wounded. He powered through it until Yami stopped.

“Izuku, do you want me to carry you?”

Izuku looked up at the man. “I- I’m f- fine.”

Mary Lou bent down. “If it hurts then you need to tell us, boy.” The greenette turned away. “We won’t force you but you’ll only continue to hurt them more if you keep walking like this.” Izuku glanced at her. Then at Yami.

 

“I- I’m t- twelve… I c- c- can w- walk.”

Yami tilted his head. “And I’m a hero. I can carry a twelve-year-old.” Izuku deadpanned at the hero. He looked down at his feet. They really hurt… Izuku looked up again. “Okay…” When Yami picked him up, Izuku was so tense that the man almost couldn’t get him into a comfortable position. “There we go!” The yellow-haired man piped as he held Izuku with one arm under the boy’s rear. Izuku gripped at the man’s shirt, hands going white with how tight they were. He shook so badly that Yami struggled to keep him in a firm setting.

 

“Izuku,” the man whispered, “I won’t hurt you.” Izuku’s green eyes twitched as he turned them to the man. Yami looked Izuku deadset in the eyes.

“I promise. You said that you trusted me, right? Let me prove to you that I’ve earned that trust.”

Izuku scanned the man’s face for any sign of a lie. He couldn’t find any. There was no threat. His grip loosened a bit and the shaking slowed, but not completely stopped. I’m fine. He’s safe. He is safe. He is not a threat. He is fine. I am fine. Yami offered a small smile and the three continued on their merry(ish) way!

 

They ate lunch, went to the park, stopped by the studio, and ate dinner as well before calling a taxi to head back to Soft Blossom Bakery.

 

Yami set Izuku down on the couch when they finally got back. It had been a good day. Izuku almost didn’t want it to end. So… when Mary Lou announced that it was time for bed, Izuku reached out and grabbed the end of her shirt. Mary Lou turned to him.

“Izuku…?” He didn’t meet her eyes. Don’t go. Not yet. Please. Stay. Don’t leave me! Mary Lou kneeled by the boy. “Do you want to sleep in my bed with me tonight, Izu?” Izuku hesitated before giving a small nod.

Anything. Anything to stay with her just a second longer.

Mary Lou smiled. She picked him up and brought the greenette to her room where she tucked him in. “Knock knock,” Yami appeared in the doorway. “Mind if I crash the party?” Mary Lou looked at Izuku. “Is that alright with you.” Izuku nodded again.

 

The three of them squeezed onto the bed with Izuku in the middle.

“Ah, how about I tell you a story,” Mary Lou suggested. Izuku looked up at her expectantly. The brunette smiled and began.

 

“Once upon a time…” As the story continued late into the night, Izuku eventually drifted off into a sound sleep.

 

_______________________________

 

“The end.”

 

Mary Lou looked down at the sleeping form of Izuku. Then slightly up at the snoring form of Yamada. She smiled softly and turned off the bedside lamp. Mary Lou pulled the covers over all three of them and snuggled in. No pain ailed her that night as she fell asleep.

 

_______________________________

 

If one were to see them curled in that bed together, Hizashi and Mary Lou’s arms wrapping around the small child between them…

One could not be able to tell that they weren’t a family.

Mother. Father. And… 

 

Son.

 

Chapter Text

Mary Lou was reeeeeaaaaally trying to hold it together as Yamada drove her and Izuku out of the red lights and to the Kirishima’s house. She opted to sit in the back with Izuku who refused to let go of her arm. It was strange how at first Izuku would have a panic attack when anyone even tried to touch him but now he was clinging to her like the sap on a tree. The brunette truly hoped he wouldn’t revert back to that after this whole ordeal.

Mary Lou looked down at Izuku who was on the phone that Yamada had bought him. Yamada promised, probably more to himself than any other, to make good on the trust that Izuku had granted him. He bought Izuku the phone and paid for the plan so that the boy could stay in touch with him, Shinsou, and Mr. Aizawa.

And her for as long as she was here.

Izuku was texting Shinsou about possibly putting Marshmallow on a diet and about how bad that would turn out.

 

“Izu.” He tilted his head up from where he was leaning on her arm. “Can I see your phone for a second?” He furrowed his eyebrows a bit but nonetheless handed her the phone. Mary Lou took it and opened the camera app. She held the phone out in front of them. “Smile!” Mary Lou did.

Izuku… tried.

It was more of a smirk because he didn’t seem to have the facial muscles for smiling anymore. There were a few times he fully smiled but it broke her heart every time she thought of why he didn’t anymore.

 

Maybe someday, someday when she was in heaven, she would look down and see a true, real smile on his face.

 

Mary Lou snapped the picture. The was leaning her head on his, a few of the green curls covering a bit of her face. Her yellow eyes winking on the right and Izuku’s emerald ones staring straight forward. She smiled brightly and Izuku had his half-smile, half-deadpan. He leaned his head against her arm a bit.

It’s a nice picture. Mary Lou messed around with the device a bit and set it as Izuku’s background before handing it back to the boy. Izuku took the phone. For the rest of the trip, Mary Lou noticed, he stared at that picture.

Their car entered the housing addition that the Kirishima’s lived in. It’s a much nicer place. Thirty minutes out of the red light district. Izuku will be safer here. This is for the best. The best…

She tries to convince herself. It doesn’t hurt any less. Izuku seemed to think the same. Yamada seemed to think the same.

None of them wanted this.

 

They parked at the curb. No one started the movement to get out of the car. Eventually, Yamada turned in his seat and looked back at Mary Lou and Izuku. “Hey, little listener,” he whispered in a voice that one could tell he was trying to hold it together. It was so quiet compared to the normal loud, boisterous self the hero usually was. “Are you ready?” Izuku did not look up. He did not speak. Not even to Mary Lou. Mary Lou met Yamada’s green eyes. He gave a weak smile. Yamada climbed out of the car. He went around to their door and opened it. Mary Lou got out first. Izuku followed after. He wasn’t wearing shoes, only bandages around his feet. They decided that it would be best that he doesn’t wear anything on his feet until school starts for him.

 

Yamada turned and pressed the button at the side of the gate.

*~DING-ding-Ding-DING~* The gate-bell rang. Soon, the door of the house further down the brick path opened. Mr. and Mrs. Kirishima came down to greet them. Their faces, while smiling, held a sense of solemness to it. They understood the seriousness of this and the pain that each of the three on the other side felt. “Good morning, Ms. Takakawa, Mr. Yamada, Izuku,” Mr. Kirishima gave a small bow. They bowed too.

“Good morning, Mr. and Mrs. Kirishima,” Yamada spoke letting Mary Lou, gratefully, stay silent. She didn’t trust her voice not to crack.

Mrs. Kirishima opened the gate. “Please, come in?” It was more of a question. She didn’t want to push the tenseness. “Thank you.” The five people entered the house and gathered in the living room where Kirishima was already waiting.

 

“Hey, man!” The boy waved at Izuku. Izuku did not look up. Did not say anything. He didn’t do anything that made it seem like he had even heard the other boy. The three of them sat on the couch with Izuku in between.

 

Mrs. Kirishima spoke first. “We just want to thank you for trusting us enough,” Mary Lou felt Izuku flinch next to her, “to take care of Izuku. We promise that we will take the best care possible of you.” It was directed at Izuku. Mary Lou nodded. “I know. Thank you for being willing to accept Izuku into your family.” Izuku gripped her arm painfully hard.

“Is there anything more we can do for you?” Mr. Kirishima asked. “Anything to make this transition even a bit easier?”

Mary Lou shook her head. “Thank you but I think everything that has been done is already done. The only thing is that until school starts, Izuku cannot wear shoes because he damaged his feet.” Mr. Kirishima nodded. “I understand.” Yamada stood up and bowed. “Thank you for taking him.” Mary Lou nodded, not really able to get up with Izuku holding onto her so tightly. She turned to the boy.

 

“We have to go now, Izuku,” she said softly. He didn’t let go. She felt tears pooling in her eyelids but she refused to let them fall. It would only make it harder on Izuku. “Izu,” she whispered, “it’s okay. I promise that everything will be okay.” He glanced up at her. Mary Lou offered the best smile that she could muster. “Trust me?” Izuku finally looked up fully. His eyes were glossy. Mary Lou pulled him into a small hug.

 

I love you, Izuku.

I- I love you, t- too…

 

Izuku let her go and Mary Lou stood up next to Yamada. They both bowed. “We will be going now.” Yamada turned to Izuku. “Call or text me if you ever need me. Anytime, day or night.” Izuku nodded.

Mary Lou left with Yamada.

 

“W- wait!” They turned. Kirishima was standing at the doorway of the house. The boy took a deep breath. “I- I promise to take care of him s- so… don’t worry too much, k?!” Her chest squeezed and it was not a pain caused by her quirk. Mary Lou felt a tear fall from her eye. She couldn’t speak so she waved in its stead.

 

Once inside the car though… Mary Lou broke down.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku watched the two leave.

Don’t go…. DON’T GO!!! DON’T LEAVE ME! PLEASE!!!!!!

 

“Izuku?” He jumped. Mrs. Kirishima was crouching in front of him. Breathe Izuku. Breathe. “Have you eaten breakfast yet?” Breathe. Izuku nodded. No, he hadn’t. He couldn’t stomach the breakfast that Yamada made this morning and he definitely couldn’t stomach anything now. So he lied. She smiled. Fake. Threat. BREATHE. He hadn’t noticed her standing and going to the kitchen but he did notice that the couch dipped to the left. Izuku jumped so hard that he flew back and hit the right armrest painfully.

It was Kirishima. Threat!

He grinned and waved. Breathe!!! Kirishima’s face fell and he turned, yelling something to who Izuku assumed was his parents. He couldn’t hear it. His heart pounded against his ribcage, vision blurring with the lack of air. Can’t- Brea- Someo- Help- Need- AIR!

 

“-ku. Breat- with- -me.” A voice cut through the fog. Help! “Breath in-” Please! “-breathe out.” MARY!!! “In. Out.” A blanket was thrown around his shoulders as the voice continued to guide Izuku. “In… Out…” The counting got slower. Izuku grabbed the blanket tightly, trying his hardest to obey the commands. “In… And out…” Slowly but surely, his vision began to clear up. A tall man with short black hair was in front of him. He had a hand on his own chest, chest rising and falling with the counts. Izuku shakily pressed his hand against his own chest. He held onto every word the man was saying, feeling the rise and fall of his chest as he let the man lead him.

 

“There you go,” the black-haired man that Izuku recognized as Mr. Kirishima said softly. Izuku felt so lightheaded. He blinked slowly. Mr. Kirishima looked away, Izuku followed his gaze to see his wife coming over with a cup of what looked like orange juice. She handed it to the man and he turned back to Izuku. Mr. Kirishima held out the cup to Izuku, holding it by the very bottom so Izuku could take it without physically touching the man.

“This will help.” Izuku hesitantly took the cup. It was a miracle that he did not spill it with how much he was shaking. Izuku took small sips. Mr. Kirishima did not leave until Izuku finished the cup, the man’s presence a steady rock of reality. Izuku looked a bit past the man to see red eyes peeking from behind him. Kirishima noticed that Izuku noticed him and gave a weary wave.

 

At some point, Mrs. Kirishima reentered the room. “How about a game?” Everyone looked at the auburn-haired woman. She held a box. “Triopoly!” She announced. “It’s like Monopoly but you can form teams and team up against other players.”

So, they set it up on the ground. Izuku slid slowly down from the couch, keeping his back pressed against the sofa. Kirishima turned to him. “What do you want to be, Izuku?” The boy gestured to the tiny metal figures that would be their game pieces. He scanned over them. Car, dog, helicopter, cat, money bag, boa- Izuku bent over his knees that were being held to his chest by his arm and picked up one.

 

“Alright,” Mr. Kirishima nodded, “Izuku’s the cat.”

“I call the boat!” Kirishima announced, taking up his chosen character.

“As always,” Mrs. Kirishima said as she picked hers, “I am the money bag.”

Mr. Kirishima took his. “And I’m the dog.”

 

-----

 

“I’ll buy that.”

 

“Darn it! You gotta trade me!

 

-----

 

“Come on, Izuku… Please!!!”

“The silent treatment! HA!”

 

-----

 

“Izuku’s ruthless!”

 

“That was my last hotel…”

 

“We can still win this!”

 

-----

 

“Wait! Wait! WAIT. Think carefully about this. Do reeeeeaaaaaally want to do this?”

“Noooooooooo!”

“Sorry, Dad… Izuku’s just too good…”

 

-----

 

Izuku watched as Mrs. Kirishima and Kirishima put away the game. Mr. Kirishima sighed, running a hand through his hair. “Are you sure that was your first time playing?” Izuku nodded. He had never even heard of the game. Nor the “Monopoly” game that it was based on. But he knew a lot about transactions and deals. He’s observed enough drug deals to know how this goes. So the Kirishima’s haven’t dealt with black market dealings and Izuku had a bit of an advantage. Potato-pototo.

Mrs. Kirishima looked at her phone. “Ah!” Izuku jumped at the sudden gasp. “It’s already 3! Gosh, I forget how long those games last. Anyone up for lunch? It’s grilled cheese!”

 

-----

 

Mary Lou placed the plate in front of him.

‘You know, it’s better if you dip the grilled cheese in the soup,’ she said with a wink.

 

-----

 

Suddenly, Izuku lost his appetite once again.

“I’m down,” Kirishima chirped. Mr. Kirishima nodded. Izuku sat at the kitchen table only to be polite. He was being welcomed into their home so he shouldn’t be rude.

 

Their home. This place… this place was not his home. Izuku’s home was… He squeezed his eyes shut as Soft Blossom Bakery flashed in his head. Stop it, Izuku! You aren’t there anymore, remember? You are here. They left you here.

He knew it wasn’t that they wanted to leave him here but he needed something to cling to so he could stop clinging to… home.

“Izuku, dear?” Izuku snapped his eyes open. The others around the table were looking at him. “Are you alright, dear?” Mrs. Kirishima asked.

 

Izuku took a deep breath. He nodded. No. He was fine. He’s not fine. Everything would be alright. No, it won’t be.

 

Mrs. Kirishima hummed and began to eat.

“Thanks for the food!” Kirishima piped. Izuku stared down at the hot grilled cheese before him. His stomach churned with the thought of eating it, or at all for that matter. Kirishima took a hardy bite, the indent showing off his sharp teeth. Mr. Kirishima and Mrs. Kirishima are eating too. He stood out. “So, what do you boys want to do tomorrow?” Mr. Kirishima asked. “You still have a whole week of Spring Break left.” And the conversation continued. They tried to include Izuku, which was sweet, really, but they couldn’t read him like Mary Lou or Yami or Eraser and Shinsou.

When everyone had finished and Mrs. Kirishima was taking up their plates, she did not comment on the fact that Izuku had only managed a couple of bites. She cut off the bit parts and wrapped it in plastic wrap. “Just in case you get hungry later on,” she winked at him. He doubted it but it was nice of her.

It wasn’t long until night fell. 

 

Izuku did, in fact, check every single lock in the house, the Kirishima’s letting him, thankfully. 

Izuku sat on his bed. Mrs. Kirishima stood in the doorway as Izuku’s lamp illuminated the room.

“If you two need me, I’ll be in my room, alright?”

Izuku nodded.

“Love you two,” she said, giving a smile. Fake… Kirishima smiled brightly. “Love ya, mom!” She left, blowing a kiss into the room and closing the door.

Kirishima turned to him. “Hey,” he whispered, “you tired?” Izuku looked at the boy and shook his head. Even if he was, Izuku would not be sleeping tonight. Kirishima grinned that toothy grin of his. “Me neither!” he whispered-yelled. “I- I know it’s hard and all… but I am so glad you are here, Izuku! Heyheyhey, wanna play a game?” Izuku tilted his head. Kirishima grinned. He leaned over to his nightstand and pulled open the top drawer. Kirishima pulled out a game console. “Can you catch?” Izuku nodded. Kirishima tossed over one of the controllers. Izuku caught it. Kirishima set up a small screen on his bed which made Izuku thank the world for his good eyesight. Which, for the record, would be the only time he ever thanked the world for anything.

 

They started a game primarily built around building things. Izuku took the distraction with much satisfaction. They played for almost an hour before Kirishima began to nod off. Izuku was slightly disappointed in having to stop but he understood the other's need for sleep. So that left Izuku to sit in the dark with only his alarm clock and Kirishima’s creating a minimal light on their respective owners.

 

No way in hell was he sleeping tonight.

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro woke up in the middle of the night needing to use the bathroom. He checked his alarm clock. 3:07 am. Eijiro would, on a normal basis, just throw off the covers and go to use the bathroom down the hall but he was lucky that he remembered, even in his half-awake state, that there was another resident in the room who would probably jump at the slightest sound. Eijiro sat up slowly. He turned to look over at Izuku and froze.

In the dim light of the other boy’s alarm clock, Eijiro could make out Izuku’s sitting for. Awake. Not only awake, though. His body was facing his desk a, from what Eijiro could see, and he was sitting straight up, legs criss-cross, and Izuku had very much heard Eijiro sit up because, despite his body not facing him, Eijiro could see the green eyes trained on him. The red glow of the alarm clock did nothing to ease the nerves that Eijiro felt rile up in him.

 

“I-” Izuku’s right eye twitched “- am going to go use the bathroom,” Eijiro whispered, his voice like a siren in the darkness. Izuku made no indication that he had heard Eijiro but the bathroom was becoming a necessity and fast. Eijiro stepped out of bed and made his way to the door. His neck hairs stood on end. Izuku’s eyes were following him like a moth to a flame. Eijiro left the door cracked a bit.

 

Upon entering the bathroom and closing the door, he let out a breath he had not known that he was holding. He was quick to do his business and return to the room. He hesitated outside. 

 

-----

 

‘- we would very much appreciate it if you would knock anytime you enter the room.’

 

-----

 

Eijiro lightly knocked lightly, the door pushing open a bit. “It’s me,” he announced before entering. There Izuku was, still in that same position, eyes still fixed on Eijiro. Eijiro closed the door behind him and got back in bed. “Good night, Izuku.” He rolled over so that he wouldn’t be facing the boy. That didn’t make the tenseness leave his shoulders. He could practically feel Izuku’s gaze on him.

 

Scary… Eijiro shivered.

 

Eijiro wasn’t a paranoid person though so he eventually forgot that the boy was there and the tenseness left as Eijiro fell into a peaceful sleep.

 

Chapter Text

*knock knock knock*

 

Eijiro groaned. He rolled over in bed and unwillingly poked his head out from under the covers. He peeled his eyes open. He was greeted with the sight of his new roommate in the same exact position as last night but instead, his face was facing the door.

Eijiro didn’t dwell on it because: Surely he slept some at least, right?

Instead, Eijrio followed his gaze to see Mom at the door.

 

“Morning, sleepyheads!” she sing-song’d.

 

Eijiro narrowed his eyes and threw the blankets back over his head. “Uh-Uh-Uh!” He heard her footsteps and she pulled the covers off of him. “Moooooooooom!” She smiled. “Wakey-wakey or you get no eggs and no bakey!” Eijiro sighed and sat up as she left. He looked over at Izuku who had gotten up already and was making his bed. Eijiro slid out of bed. He doesn’t usually make his bed but he felt kind of awkward not doing it if Izuku was so he did.

“Did ya sleep well?” Eijiro asked. Izuku poked his head out from behind his dresser door as he was currently choosing clothes for the day.

Izuku stared at Eijiro for a second before nodding and going back to his clothing.

 

Eijiro wanted to believe the boy but he wasn’t sure if the boy had even slept. But Izuku wouldn’t lie to him, would he? Eijiro opened his own dresser. People always said that he was too trusting which is kind of ironic considering his new roommate is the most untrusting person on this earth. “Ah-” *SLAM* Eijiro winced as Izuku was midway through closing his dresser door when Eijiro spoke up and it probably triggered that. “Y- you can take the bathroom first,” Eijiro offered. “I will dress in here.” Izuku looked at him and nodded. The boy left the room with his clothes.

It was strange, being the only one talking and talking to basically a wall since the other boy’s expression never changed but Eijiro was sure that he’d get used to it.

He got dressed in shorts and a t-shirt before leaving. He could smell the literal bacon and eggs as he entered the kitchen. He sat in his usual seat. “Good Mornin - YAAAAWWNNNN - g.”

Dad chuckled. “Good morning, Ei. Did you sleep well?” Ei nodded. “Yeah.” Izuku, who was coming in, stopped at the entrance into the dining room. Eijiro watched as green eyes traveled over the room, lingering on each specific person. Checking for safety, perhaps? Eijiro grinned and patted the empty seat next to him. “Come on, man!” It took a second but eventually, Izuku did sit by him. Eijiro did not notice how when the boy pulled out the chair, he discretely scooted it over a bit further from him.

 

“Good morning, Izuku,” Mom hummed as she came over and gave them each a serving of bacon and eggs, leaving the extras in the middle for whoever wanted seconds.

Izuku nodded at her, apparently his way of ‘greeting’ others.

 

As they ate, Eijiro couldn’t help but notice that Izuku had hardly touched his plate. Eijiro would take a bite of bacon and glance over at Izuku’s plate to see all of the bacon still intact. He would be halfway through his eggs. Izuku had finally taken a bite of bacon. Eijiro went for his last piece of bacon, Izuku had only eaten one piece and a couple of bites of eggs. Eijiro finished his plate. Izuku had not eaten any more than that.

 

He also didn’t eat much yesterday. A bit worrying but Eijiro was sure it would be fine. He's just a bit shy, right?

 

When Eijiro was asked yesterday what he wanted to do today he opted for staying home for Izuku’s sake. His parents told him that they would be going out tomorrow and another couple of times during their last week of Spring Break so Izuku could get somewhat used to being in public. Eijiro took Izuku outside. “So, tomorrow we are getting you signed up for school,” he mused as he dug through the box of balls. No soccer balls, Izuku still couldn’t wear shoes. “Have you thought of the extracurricular classes you want to take?” He sat up, pulling out a baseball and two baseball mitts. Izuku raised an eyebrow.

“Do you know what that means?”

The greenette shook his head, accepting the mitt that Eijiro tossed to him. They went out into the grass.

 

“They are basically classes you get to choose outside of the four you have to take, aka math, reading, English, Japanese history, science, and PE.” Eijiro threw the ball and Izuku caught it. Eijiro lifted his mitt and pointed at it. “You catch it in this.” Izuku looked at the glove. “And throw it with your empty hand.” Izuku took the ball and threw it with more force than Eijiro knew the boy could put out. He barely caught it. “Woah… that was so manly!” He took the ball and threw it back. Eijiro went back to the conversation at hand. “Like me, I take art and psychology.” He caught the ball. “You are supposed to pick them based on what you want to do for the future. I chose mine because I like art and my dad is a therapist. They don’t really have any for wanting to be a hero.” He threw it. “Oh! That man, erm… Aizawa…? He said you are training with him to be a hero! Do you want to be a hero?”

Izuku hesitated before throwing the ball with a little less force than normal. He nodded slowly.

“Cool! Being a hero is so manly! I want to be a hero too but… I dunno…” Eijiro looked at the ball in his hand. “My friends all think that I’m too weak or not confident enough or something. Next year will be my last year in middle school and I’ll have to choose my top three schools and I want to put UA but I’m thinking that I won’t.” He looked up to throw the ball and jumped back when he came face to face with Izuku who was supposedly many more feet away.

 

When did he get there? I didn’t even hear him!

 

Izuku took a step back and did the thing that started their first ‘connection’ in the first place. He tilted his head back, puffed out his chest, and put his hands on his hips. Eijiro grinned. “I know, I know,” he said as he copied the POWER POSE. “‘Have more confidence’ huh?” Izuku nodded. He stepped forward. Eijiro was even more surprised when the boy reached out and physically took the ball from his hand. Izuku went back to his throwing spot further away and turned to Eijiro. Izuku pointed at him and grew back his arm. EHHH!?!?!? “W- w- w- w- wait!” Izuku threw the ball.

 

*!BAM!*

 

The sound was deafening, Eijiro barely had enough time to get his glove up. His arm and hand stung with the force. He opened his eyes that he had squeezed shut. Eijiro peaked at Izuku over his glove. Izuku was tapping on his phone. Eijiro took off the mitt, curling and uncurling his sore fingers. Izuku walked up to him and held up his phone.

“‘You… didn’t… flinch,’” Eijiro read aloud. He looked up. Izuku took the phone back and typed something before turning it back.

“‘You have a good reaction time and even though you closed your eyes, you did not shy away.’”

He typed something else.

“‘You are…’” Eijiro trailed off. ...STRONG. He hung his head. Here Izuku is the one who has been traumatized from possibly the worst life Eijiro has heard of and yet he was comforting him. Eijiro looked up, tears at the corner of his eyes.

“You know, Izuku,” he grinned widely, “you are too.”



He doesn’t know what that emotion that flashed in Izuku’s green eyes was, it left almost as soon as it showed up, but Eijiro feels like he said something right.



Eijiro was slightly relieved come lunch. Izuku ate the rest of his grilled cheese from yesterday which eased a bit of worry as he ate his own lunch. The two boys and Eijiro’s mom watched What’s Your Next Line? on TV, his Dad was at work.

That night, Eijiro sat on his bed with his lamp on, using his legs as a board for his sketchbook.

There was a small sound from the bed on the other side of the room. He looked over. Izuku was leaning against the wall, having moved one of his pillows to use as a cushion, and was sitting criss-cross with a plushie that looked like the man that came over who called himself the hero Eraserhead. A small smile graced the boy's lips. Eijiro wondered what he was looking at. He wondered what, or who, made the blank boy have that sort of emotion.

Eijiro wondered…

 

if he could ever make Izuku smile that way, too.

 

They went to sleep that night. Or so he thought. Eijiro wanted to check something so he stayed up and acted as if he was asleep. He turned in his ‘sleep’ and peeked out from under the covers. It was only just past midnight but he had to check. Yup, Izuku was sitting up straight, like last night. This time, though, fiddling with something.

It took the perfect glare of light from the alarm clock for Eijiro to realize that it was a rather large knife.

His heart stopped for a moment. He turned away, knowing full well that Izuku had heard him turn and was now probably looking in his direction. Eijiro tried to calm his beating heart because THAT is not something you want to see at night in a red glow. He closed his eyes and willed himself to fall asleep.

 

He did. Eventually.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku watched as the sun filtered through the window that rests in the middle of Kirishima’s room on the wall opposite of the door. He leaned over and pulled up the mattress to slip the knife under before sitting back up and continuing to stare at his armour. He spent the nights hyper-aware of every sound in the house. Every creek as the house settled, every snore from the other resident in the room. EVERYTHING. He waited in tense silence until the tell-tale knock came from the door to which he would jump and watch in anticipation of villain or criminal or Inko to come through the door only to see the auburn-haired Mrs. Kirishima open the door.

 

“Gooooood morning, sleepyheads!” Kirishima groaned in discontent of being woken up. Mrs. Kirishima looked at Izuku and winked. She walked over to Kirishima and promptly rid the boy of his warm coverings. “Moooooooom!!!” Izuku had a feeling that this was a morning routine for the two, and soon, one that would be his as well. If the greenette was being honest, he found it quite amusing.

“Up a’datem!” Kirishima sat up with a messy head of black hair. Izuku decided that it was about time for his to get out of bed so he did, stretching his numb legs and popping his back and joints of his already offset body reacted to moving after such a long period of time.

 

“Izuku,” he turned his head to look at the woman, “I’ve got some ointment for you to put on your joints and shoulders for that.”

Was it really that loud? Probably.

“I recommend putting it on before you sleep. Now,” she turned to the other boy in the room, “get up! We have a big day!” With that, she left. Izuku swallowed a sigh. He was exhausted. Little to no food and zero hours of sleep in two days would do that to a person. He definitely did NOT want to go sign up for classes for school but nonetheless, Izuku got ready for the day, taking the bathroom first as per yesterday. When he entered the dining room, he made sure that everything was safe before sitting by Kirishima.

“You’ll get to see our school today,” the boy piped as he took a bite of toast. Izuku looked down at his uneaten pieces. Food just… he just couldn’t… “I heard Mr. Aizawa talked with the Principle beforehand,” Mr. Kirishima spoke up, “so there should be no issue with getting you in Ei’s class.” Ei. That is what Kirishima’s parents called their son.

 

Mr. Kirishima apologized for not being able to accompany them to the school but they all understood.

 

Izuku had just finished rebandaging his feet, which were looking, and feeling, a whole lot better, when Kirishima knocked on the door to his room and poked his head in. “Are you ready to go?” No. Izuku nodded. He slipped on a pair of soft and fuzzy green slippers that he was using until he could put on shoes again.

The greenette tried to trail a bit behind Mrs. Kirishima and Kirishima as they walked to the school but… Kirishima matched his pace perfectly each time Izuku tried to slow down or speed up. He resigned himself to his fate of listening to the boy ramble as Izuku tried to still his nerves.

 

It wasn’t working.

 

Mrs. Kirishima led them into the front office. “Good morning,” she greeted the guidance counselor. “Good morning, Mrs. Kirishima, Kirishima,” the lady with black eyes greeted. Like, only black eyes. There were no pupils. She turned to Izuku. “And you must be… your records say Midor-'' His stomach dropped.

Izuku,” Mrs. Kirishima cut her off before the woman could get in another syllable.

Izuku Kirishima.” Izuku blinked long and hard at the auburn-haired woman as she paired her last name with his first name. The counselor nodded. “Right. I heard something about adoption.” Izuku dug his fingers into his left arm. Midoriya. He hadn’t heard that name in so long. Bile rose in his throat. He wanted to throw up. “Hey man,” Kirishima whispered, “you good?” Izuku glanced over at him but could not move his body.”

“My name is Mrs. Ashido.” She stood up to address Mrs. Kirishima. “Wou-”

“E- excuse me.” The adults turned to Kirishima. “I am going to show Izuku to the bathroom.”

Mrs. Ashido nodded. “Alright. Please be back soon so we can get him into his classes.”

Kirishima made sure to get into Izuku’s line of sight and jerked his head in the direction of the door. “Come on, man.” Izuku did not need to use the bathroom meaning nor had he made any indication that he did need to so that meant… Kirishima was giving him a free out.

“Sorry ‘bout that, man,” Kirishima apologized as they walked down the hall. Izuku pried his nails from his arm, tiny indents left on the pale skin, right next to a particularly large scar.

Kirishima stopped outside of the bathroom. “I- I’m not as good as my dad at this so… um.. If you need to ‘use the bathroom’ and don’t want anyone to see, I- I’ll stay out here.” Izuku had never been more grateful in his life. He looked down for a second before going past the boy and into the bathroom.

 

Izuku bypassed the urinals and fell to his knees in a stall and threw up his meager breakfast in the toilet.

Midoriya… Izuku Midoriya.

He coughed and hacked like he was trying to expel the name from the inside out.

I- Izuku M- Midoriya.

He dry heaved over the toilet, tears streaming down his face. His chest heaved painfully. He raised a fist- Midoriya.

 

*!BANG!*

 

- and slammed it against the side of the stall. The sound echoed in the empty bathroom and the stall shook with the force of it.

Izuku panted heavily.

He took a deep breath and stood up, shakily. He flushed the toilet and left. Izuku took the time to wash his face and clean his mouth out before breathing again and leaving the bathroom.

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro checked the time.

Izuku had gone into the bathroom seven minutes ago. He wondered if he should go and check on him but he promised the boy that he wouldn’t.

 

“Ei.” He snapped his head up to see Mom walking up to him. “Where is Izuku?” Eijiro pointed to the men’s bathroom door. “He’s in there.” She nodded.

“Is he…”

“I think so…”

They didn’t need to say anything more. Mom sighed, running a hand through her spiky hair. “Dang it, she should have known better than to say that name.” Eijiro winced. Mom hardly used profane language so she must have been pretty angry. Not that Eijrio couldn’t understand. He understood that it was custom to use last names and that she had to differentiate between him and Izuku but Eijiro was sure Mom or Dad had told the school that it was specifically ‘Izuku.’

Time passed and Eijiro checked his phone.

“Eleven minutes,” he said aloud. Mom hummed. “Maybe you sho-”

 

*!BANG!*

 

They both jumped at the loud sound that erupted from the bathroom. Eijiro bit his tongue and looked up at his mother. She closed her eyes for a second before opening them again.

“Let’s give him a minute.” Eijiro couldn’t agree more. He was worried but also terrified.

A minute later, the bathroom door opened and out came Izuku.

He looked tired and his eyes were slightly red from crying, lack of sleep, or more likely both.

“Are you okay, dear?” Mom asked the greenette. Eijiro saw the boy visibly take a deep breath, his chest rising and staying still a moment before falling. Izuku nodded sharply.

 

Eijiro was torn between giving Izuku room and wanting to be there for him so he just lingered by the side of Izuku as they made their way back to the counselor's office.

Mom lingered outside of the door. She turned to Izuku and knelt down. “I hope you don’t mind that I put our last name on you.” Eijiro’s eyes widened. Oh yeah…

 

-----

 

‘Izuku. Izuku Kirishima.’

 

-----

 

Mom did do that. He glanced over at Izuku. The boy in question seemed to look Mom up and down. He looked over at Eijiro as well then back at Mom. Izuku had a bit of a blush on his cheeks and gave a small thumbs up. Eijiro beamed at him. Izuku purposefully avoided eye contact.

 

Mom grinned and walked in.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku slouched on the brown couch in the Kirishima’s living room. He pressed his hands to his face and leaned his elbows against his knees. His body would not stop shaking and his heart would not slow down. He was going to go into cardiac arrest at this rate.

 

In the end, Izuku had been placed in Kirishima’s classes for the core classes but because they have different electives they would not be in the same PE class. Izuku decided that if he was going to choose anything, it would be what he was good at. So, he chose Mixed Martial Arts. For his second elective, Izuku chose Foods. He chose it wanting to impress Yami the next time he saw the man.

 

He felt a dip in the couch. Izuku looked over and saw Kirishima to the left, leaning against the armrest with his feet on the couch, drawing something. Izuku closed his eyes and sat up, only to fall back into the plush cushions. Izuku felt his eyes drooping but forced them to stay open.

There was a brief sound of ripping paper before a paper airplane flew into his line of sight. Izuku reeled back in shock and turned to the source: Kirishima who was still drawing. Izuku looked down at the airplane that had landed in his lap. He noticed something on the edge of the wing covered up by the fold. Izuku took the plane and unfolded it.

It was a pretty detailed Shiba Inu dog sitting down and facing him. It looked as though it was smiling.

 

Cute…

 

Another airplane flow over to him. Izuku raised an eyebrow as he glanced over to Kirishima who did not look up. Izuku almost, ALMOST, smiled. He took the next one. The Shiba on this one was like the first one but it was watching a ball roll by its feet.

This continued for some time. At some point, Izuku got on the floor and began to line up the pictures in order as the story continued.

 

_______________________________

 

Yuma Kirishima came out of the kitchen and into the living room after mopping fully expecting to flop down in a recliner to rest but stopped upon witnessing the sight in front of her.

 

Half of the living room floor was covered in paper, drawings of… a dog?

 

Izuku was at the bottom of the row, lining up another. Yuma looked over to the couch to see her son, Eijiro, aiming a paper airplane at Izuku. He had a regular notebook on his lap that looked like it had only been filled halfway. That’s when Yuma realized that he had been drawing the pictures and throwing them to Izuku as planes. Izuku had been lining them up in order as if they made a story. It did not take long for the auburn-haired woman to realize that it did, in fact, make a story.

 

A Shiba Inu was sitting happily when a ball rolled past. The dog followed the ball. The ball fell down the hole and the dog followed. The Shiba found itself in darkness. When it climbed out of the hole, it was in a garden. The Shiba began to chase a butterfly until it stopped and noticed that it was in a jungle. The dog swung from the vines until one snapped and it fell into a dessert. It traveled for a long time before finding a stream. The Shiba dived in. When it came out, it climbed out into a snowy biome.

 

That was all so far.

 

Yuma made eye contact with Ei as he prepared another plane. He smiled and waved, not making any noise. Right, Izuku did not know she was in the room. Yuma smiled back at her son and silently left the room, not before taking a picture of the scene before her, though. This was one for the picture book!

As Yuma lay down in her bed, she could not help but feel so proud of Eijiro for using his artistic talent to do this. And for being so willing to reach out.

 

Yuma knew that Eijiro was having a hard time at school. Every time he talked about his ‘friends’ it always seemed as though he was more of a spectator to the fun times they shared. It was around ten years old that he began to show signs of depression and had his first panic attack in fear of never having friends which clues Yuma in that these weren’t ‘friends’ but people that just didn’t mind if he tagged along. When Yuma and Asa brought up to their son the idea of adopting a year back, he was immediately on board with it. They did not think about how long it would take for the process of adoption and finding a child was surprisingly hard. Until they were reached out to by a hero. Honestly, Yuma didn’t know what to think when they were first informed about Izuku. The report said that it was a child of Izuku’s age with cases of severe trauma. They had been looking at children and orphanages for a while but this was the first time that they had been specifically reached out to so they took the chance. Upon hearing about the traumatic experiences of the child in question, Yuma was quite worried that they could not handle it, even with Asa’s profession as a therapist. However, that all changed when they first met Izuku.

He was so jumpy but the laugh that Eijiro let out from the table at the bakery was the first real one she had heard in so long. She knew that this was perfect for her son. Now that Izuku was here, she was so glad that they had not backed out when they had first heard of him.

 

She truly hoped he would be comfortable here.

 

_______________________________

 

He’s awake again… Eijiro thought as he woke up needing to use the bathroom. Izuku was sitting on his bed in the middle of the night, wide awake, staring down at a Present Mic plushie. Eijiro felt Izuku’s eyes on him as he left the room.

Why wasn’t he asleep? It’s the third night. He’s gotta be tired, right?

As Eijiro reentered the room and climbed back into bed, he knew that Izuku was watching him, even if the boy didn’t move. 

 

-----

 

‘- quirk abuse, blunt force trauma, isolation, starvation, and locking him in small dark places for extended periods of time.’

 

-----

 

‘On the streets, Izuku was constantly fighting for his life and has even mentioned that on a few occurrences he has been a victim of rape.’

 

-----

 

‘- suffers from a severe case of PTSD and claustrophobia.’

 

-----

 

It clicked. Eijiro took one last look at Izuku before settling in.

 

Izuku… was scared.

 

In the span of a few months, he had found a place he thought was safe but watched the one person he trusted as she slowly died and had been forced to move in with a family he had met only a few times that he had no reason to trust and could only base what they were like off of papers, a few conversations, and his past which proved to show that his brain had probably been altered to see anyone as an immediate threat to his safety. Now he had to live his life with this family that he could not help but think of them as potential abusers. Izuku could not sleep as that overwhelming sense of fear hug over his head and trapped him in a fog of terror.

Not in the same way, but Eijiro has experienced that fear in the sense of being left behind by his friends as they seemed to draw further and further away from each other.

As Izuku saw it, he was all alone.

After finally given a taste of freedom from his pain and suffering, it was suddenly stripped from him and he could do nothing to stop it.

Eijiro looked out from under the covers as Izuku’s head bobbed but snapped up as he forced his body to stay awake. Izuku is scared. Eijiro felt his own eyes droop. 

The last thing that he thought before he fell asleep was:



 

Izuku is afraid… that we will hurt him...

 

Chapter Text

“Come on, Izuku! You’re slacking!”

 

Shouta tapped his foot annoyed as Izuku pulled himself to a sitting position on the ground after Hitoshi flattened him. Again. Today is the first time Hitoshi had won a fight against Izuku and it is because the kid keeps zoning out and making stupid mistakes. Hitoshi crouched by Izuku, obviously unhappy with the easy wins. He would be happy about his first wins against Izuku if it wasn’t so obvious that Izuku was not in his best form.

“‘Zuku,” Hitoshi’s voice was quiet, “are you okay? You don’t look well.” It took Izuku a whole thirty seconds to respond and all he did was look up and blink. Shouta decided that it was time he stepped in. He crouched beside his son and looked Izuku in the eyes. The boy looked deathly pale with flushed cheeks that stood out against his skin. He looked thinner than before and had deep rings beneath his eyes that rivaled both Shouta’s and Hitoshi’s together. “Kid, have you been sleeping?” Izuku hesitated but nodded. Shouta didn’t believe him.

“Izuku.” he dropped his voice to sound stern. Izuku had the decency to look apologetic.

 

“No…”

Shouta narrowed his eyes. “At all?”

“N- no…”

“Not once since arriving at the Kirishima’s?”

Shouta almost thought that the boy wasn’t going to reply but he heard the whisper.

 

“No…”

 

Shouta hung his head. If he was good at math, and he was, that made 24- 68- 72- and the 16 hours of today so 88 hours. 88 hours this kid has been awake. Shouta moved on. “Have you been eating?” Izuku nodded. “A lot?” Izuku made a seesaw motion with his hand. “More than a bite or two per meal?” Izuku didn’t respond. Shouta knew the answer and it was not one he liked.

 

Results of his questioning: Izuku has reverted back to his lifestyle on the streets and was not faring well after his body had adjusted to eating and sleeping normally.

 

Shouta didn’t like to think about how when the kid started off on the streets he probably was already used to it so he didn’t struggle as much.

Shouta sighed and stood up. “Let’s cut training early today.” Izuku’s head snapped up.

“B- b- but I c- can keep goin’!” In the few times the boy did udder whole sentences one could hear his thick red lights accent. He would sound like a thug if he did not have that stutter. Shouta shook his head. “No, you can’t.”

“Why aren’t you sleeping, ‘Zuku?” Hitoshi asked. Izuku looked over at the purple-haired boy.

“I- It’s- Can’t- I-” Izuku was trying really hard to explain this but he didn’t need to. It was a feeling that had been ingrained into him. A feeling of fear and untrust. To put it simply, he did not trust the Kirishima’s. He was waiting for them to do something to prove his own misgivings and probably make use of that notebook for escape. Shouta held up a hand. “It’s alright, Izuku,” he said softly. “We understand that this is a new situation for you. We aren’t mad at you, just worried about your health.” Izuku hung his head. “I- I’m sorry…”

Shouta almost said that he could sleep here but if he did and the kid agreed then it would only extend the time that he did not sleep at the Kirishima’s and whether it be he passes out or actually falls asleep, Izuku needed to be shown that they will not hurt them if he sleeps at their house.

Right now, however, there was a more prominent issue to discuss.

 

“Izuku, can I feel your forehead?” Shouta asked.

The kid had zoned off in their short period of silence. “Izuku.” He jumped and whipped his head to face Shouta but his eyes were more trained past Shouta then on him as if he wasn’t really seeing the man. His green eyes were glassy and bloodshot. “Can I feel your forehead?” he asked again. Izuku visibly tensed but nonetheless nodded. Shouta reached forward with his open hand slowly. Izuku flinched back, probably on reflex, and his eyes were squeezed tightly shut. “I’m not going to hurt you,” Shouta promised. “I am just checking your temperature.” The fact that Izuku hadn’t asked why beforehand almost made Shouta smile that he had gained at least that much trust from the boy.

 

-----

 

‘Sho! Sho! Izuku said he trusted me! He called me ‘Yami!’’

 

-----

 

Shouta placed his hand upon the boy's forehead. It was burning up and Izuku probably didn’t even realize how he relaxed at the cool contrast of Shouta’s hand. Shouta almost felt bad when he removed his hand.

“As I thought, you are running a fever.” Shouta stood up. “Let’s go to Recovery Girl and get you some medicine.” Izuku paled even more, if that was possible. “What? Would you rather a hero or going to a random hospital?” Izuku shook his head and scrambled to his feet. He stumbled a bit. Hitoshi lurched forward and stabilized the boy.

Shouta reflected on the fact that Izuku didn’t even flinch when Hitoshi touched him. He hoped it was because he trusted Hitoshi and not because he was just that out of it.

 

As they made their way down the hallway, Izuku was a whole mess. Every time a teacher or student passed his grip on Shouta’s arm would get that much tighter. He was sure that he would find a bruise on it later. They stopped outside of Recovery Girl’s office. *knock knock* “Recovery Girl, it’s Aizawa.”

“Come on in!”

 

Shouta slid the door open. The older woman was sitting on her swivel chair by the desk. “What is it, Aizawa?” He winced slightly as the grip on his arm got unbearably tight. “This is the kid I told you about,” he gestured to Izuku. “He is running a fever but because… *cough* you know, we cannot bring him to the hospital for a check-up or anything. Could we have some medicine?” Recovery Girl knew about Izuku’s PTSD and fear of humans. She nodded. Recovery Girl dropped down from her chair. Izuku lurched back, dragging Shouta a bit with him. She didn’t seem to mind. A few minutes of digging through the cabinets later, Recovery Girl deposited a pill bottle in his hand. “Once every six hours.” She turned to Izuku and held out her hand. He flinched back.

“Have some gummies, sonny.”

Izuku looked up at Shouta. “They are good,” he said. Izuku narrowed his eyes. “And safe.” Izuku hesitantly held out his hand. Recovery Girl dropped the gummy bears in and smiled at him. The grip on Shouta’s arm relaxed ever so slightly.

 

“Oh,” Shouta thought out loud, “Izuku, what I am about to say is in regards to your quirk and training.” He bit his lip but nodded. Shouta turned back to Recovery Girl who was currently dealing out gummy bears to Hitoshi. “Since you have a healing quirk that revolves around energy, do you think that it would be possible that you help train Izuku in the aspects of healing?”

Izuku whipped his head up to Shouta. Shouta smirked. “Remember what I said at the bakery, kid? If you could use your quirk efficiently as you did with Mary Lou, you could be one hell of a hero.”

Izuku blushed slightly and looked away.

 

Recovery Girl hummed. “I could try but only if Izuku lets me.” Izuku did not look up. Shouta knelt by him. “Izuku, you don’t have to do this however I feel like this could be a big improvement for you in your training. Do you think that you would like to give it a try? We can always stop if you don’t like it.” Izuku was shaking. The internal warfare of fear of his quirk and the want to save people battling it out in his mind.

Almost as if it was a habit, the boy glanced over to Hitoshi for confirmation. Hitoshi lifted up a gummy and squeezed it a bit. Izuku deadpanned and turned back to Shouta. Shouta watched as green eyes scanned him before turning to Recovery Girl and scanning her. He finally nodded very decisively.

 

Shouta distantly wonders if it was just Izuku’s faith in Shouta that the kid so openly accepted this or if there really was a growth in the boy. Maybe he was finally coming out of his shell?

Oh, how Shouta really hopes that is true.

 

“So how about this, for an hour after our training we will come here and work with Recovery Girl if she is not busy?” Izuku nodded. Recovery Girl nodded as well. “Sounds good to me.” She turned to Izuku. “I’ll be seein’ ya a lot then, sonny.” Izuku nodded slightly.

 

Shouta thanked the woman before they left. He stopped outside of the car. “Izuku.” The boy froze mid-walk. “I am very proud of you for being so open to this.” He looked down at the boy. “You are very brave.”

Izuku… Izuku smiled at him.

Shouta almost got lost as he finally got the traumatized boy to physically smile at him when Hitpshi gently kicked his leg. Shouta glared down at his son who smirked at Shouta having noticed the older man’s shock.

 

“I- I- If Sho t- trusts h- her then s- she is a g- g- good person… right?”

His heart squeezed at the use of the nickname Hizashi gave him. Shouta raised an eyebrow. “Do you trust me, Izuku?” The greenette tilted his head. “Y- yes?”

It was as though he was saying; ‘Duh. Isn’t that obvious?’ Shouta reached his hand forward, ignoring the string that formed… 

 

from the kid's neck. That’s terrifying and needs to be addressed.

 

… and rested it gently on Izuku’s head. Izuku’s emerald eyes widened as Shouta pat him gently the way he would with Hitoshi. “Good to know.” Shouta ignored the cocky grin his son gave him as the three got into the car and drove away. 

Shouta hid his blush in his capture weapon.

 

_______________________________

 

Yuma opened the front door as the gate opened when Izuku put in the passcode they had told him. Mr. Aizawa and Shinsou were with the boy walking up the brick pathway. She waved and smiled.

“Did you boys have fun?” she asked when they stopped in front of her. Mr. Aizawa hummed. “We had to stop early.”

“What for?” she questioned.

 

She was shocked when the man physically ruffled Izuku’s hair. Did Izuku trust him that much?

“Izuku hadn’t told anyone but he is sick and has not slept any of the days at your house.”

 

-----

 

‘Mom?’

‘What is it, Ei?’

‘I- I’m a bit worried about Izuku. I wake up to use the bathroom every night and every night Izuku has been up. I don’t think he is sleeping…’

 

-----

 

She smiled softly. “Oh…” What am I supposed to respond to that? Izuku averted her gaze. She smiled and crouched in front of him. “What’s that face for?” she asked. “Don’t feel bad, Izuku. You haven’t done anything wrong. It is perfectly understandable that it would be hard to sleep here. None of us are judging you. I’m not mad.”

Izuku looked up slightly. She could see the glassy eyes and flushed cheeks at this range.

 

This boy… he’s been pushing himself so far… Is he that scared of us?

 

The sheer amount of fear bottled up in this small child, just a few months older than even her own son, broke Yuma’s heart.

 

Mr. Aizawa gave her a pill bottle and instructions of one tablet every six hours. Izuku’s gaze lingered at the two figures leaving before he ducked into the house with Yuma. Eijiro was with Asa at work just to hang out while Izuku was supposed to be away training. They didn’t think that Izuku would be early.

“Would you like something to eat with your medicine?” she asked. Izuku froze. “It’s okay if you don’t.” His face fell a bit.

Was he not planning on taking his medicine at all? Just to sit there and suffer… alone? She watched as he curled up in the corner of the couch. Yuma walked over and sat on the other side, pulling her knees on in a mermaid fashion. She took a deep breath.

 

“I,” she started, “don’t know how to make you feel safe here…” she admitted. Izuku lifted his tired eyes from his knees. “I am only human, dear. I haven’t been through what you have been through. I don’t feel what you are feeling. I’m not a therapist like my husband.” She closed her eyes to gather her thoughts a bit before focusing on Izuku.

“I know about the notebook you have holding your plans for escape should you need it. I am glad that you haven’t needed it yet but… 

 

_______________________________

 

“- if you do, just know that I won’t stop you.

Mrs. Kirishima’s words gained his full attention.

“I will have to report your disappearance but I will not stop you from running away because if you feel unsafe enough to need to make use of that journal then it is probably us that have done something wrong and made you feel unsafe.”

Wait. No. That’s not- You haven’t done anything wrong!

“I don’t want you to feel trapped here, Izuku, but, dear, you won’t last long if you keep up with this. Not eating, not sleeping. It hurts us to see you like this, dear. It hurts us to see the people that we love-”

Love?

“- hurting. It hurts us to see you hurting, Izuku. So…” Mrs. Kirishima took a deep breath. “So whether you make use of your journal and make your escape, whether you le-ave us a- and never re- turn or not,” her voice cracked as if she was fighting back tears, “f- for as lo- ng as you are here… Please…” she sounded so heartbroken “... Please let us help you?”

 

A question. A choice. Izuku had a choice.

 

The sound of the front door being opened snapped the two out of their ‘conversation.’ Mrs. Kirishima stood up. “I oughta get started on di-” She stopped and turned to him with wide eyes.

Izuku didn’t even register reaching out and grabbing her shirt.

Izuku opened his mouth.

“I-” “WE’RE HOME!”

He snapped his hand back, reeling back onto the couch in shock. Mrs. Kirishima smiled at him. She looked… relieved? “Welcome back,” she called as she entered the kitchen.

 

Izuku watched her leave. Idiot! Why did you reach out?! She’s a threat! Is she though? Could she say all of those words and still be- LIES! Are they? They sounded real. Actin- NO! Wait. Yes? You almost spoke. She’s luring you in-

 

“Dad! He’s hyperventilating!

 

- No she is- IDIOT! Yes she freaking is! Don’t trust her! She hasn’t given you any reason to. She has though… What? Those few nice words? Do. NOT. Trust. But- She’s a THREAT. Is she? YES!!! She’s bad. No she isn’t! She only means you harm. No she doesn’t! She is going to use you if you get close to her. No she wo- Yes. She wi-

 

“Alright, I need you to take a deep breath now.”

 

That guy too. But he’s trying to help. He is tricking you.

“Breathe in…”

He’s helping!

“Breathe out…”

No he isn’t!

“Breathe in…”

He is! And Kirish-

“Breathe out…”

Kirishima doesn’t even like you! He is just acting that way ‘cause his parents told him to.

“Breathe-”

 

SHUT UP!!!” Izuku pressed his hands over his ears. “Y- you don’t know anything! They care!” No they do- “THEY DO!” You’re being deceived! “You’re the deceiving one! You’re my own hecking voice!” I’m only stating the tru- “GET OUT OF MY HEAD!”

 

“Ge- -he head- ones!”

 

You’re being naive! “I- You- NO! NononononononononononononononoNO!!!! SHUT UP!!!” Something was slipped over his ears and the sounds of the ocean filtered in.

 

-----

 

Izuku closed his eyes, letting the breeze blow his hair. He listened to the lapping of the waves on the shore and the laughter of children. The sun felt good on his pale skin. It was relaxing.

 

-----

 

Don’t let them hurt you. They will only hurt you if you get close. “No…” Tears filled his eyes. They aren’t safe, Izuku. You aren’t safe. Don’t fall into their trap. “But…”

 

-----

 

‘Izuku!’

The greenette turned his eyes from the ocean to the brunette woman in the sand.

‘Come on!’

 

-----

 

“I just…” THREAT.

 

Izuku blinked a couple of times, feeling wetness run down his cheeks. Was he crying? He stared in horror at the man in front of him. Threat. Kirishima was hovering at the edge of the kitchen, Mrs. Kirishima behind him, hands on her son’s shoulders. The sound of the ocean sung softly into his ears.

Mr. Kirishima’s mouth moved but Izuku didn’t hear anything. He reached up and shakily slid the… headphones off of his ears. When did he put those on? Better yet, where did they come from?

 

“How are ya feeling, bud?”

 

He blinked. His throat felt raw. Had he been screaming? Izuku reached up and felt his face. He looked at his fingers that were now slightly damp. He had been crying. He looked up and tilted his head.

 

He felt… tired.

 

There was a bit of a tenseness lingering in the air after his panic attack but the day carried on. Izuku took his medicine and was sitting on the couch as Kirishima described a comic to him. He could tell that the boy was being very cautious which was understandable.

“Dinner’s ready!” Mrs. Kirishima called.

“Wanna finish after dinner?” Kirishima asked. Izuku nodded and followed the boy to the dining room table.

Tired

His vision tilted. “I- ku?”

I’m so tired…

 

“IZUKU!!!”

 

The last thing he saw was the table coming closer at a rapid pace before he blacked out, a sharp pain bursting from his head.

 

Chapter Text

“Dinner’s ready!”

 

Eijiro looked up from the comic he was reading to Izuku as he lay across the couch and Izuku sat at the corner. He’ll admit, he was a bit shaken up after Izuku’s sudden outburst. And very worried. It was as if the boy was having a conversation with himself. Eijiro could sort of understand though because he talks to himself too sometimes.

“Wanna finish after dinner?” Eijiro asked the greenette. Izuku nodded. It was blatant that the boy was both shaken up by today and incredibly exhausted.

 

Duh! He hasn’t slept in, like, four days now! Kind of manly though to be able to stay awake that long though…

 

Eijiro folded the corner of the page they were on before placing the book to the side of the couch and standing. Izuku followed him into the dining room.

“Izuku?” He turned back to the boy at his father's worried tone. Izuku had stopped. He was swaying slightly. “Hey, man, you good?” Izuku blinked slowly.

 

Eijiro will never, NOT EVER, forget the way Izuku’s green eyes rolled back into his head and the way his body fell forward like a ragdoll. Nor will he forget the way his mother screamed “IZUKU!!!” He will not forget the sound that was made when Izuku’s head hit the corner of the table and the sound made as his body hit the floor.

Both of Eijiro’s parents were by the boy's side in an instant. Eijiro was frozen.

What could he do? No… What could he have done to prevent this?

Dad rolled Izuku onto his back.

He could have tried harder to connect with the boy.

Izuku had a gash on his right forehead that was bleeding.

He could have tried to make him feel more comfortable.

Izuku was panting heavily, cheeks flushed against deathly pale skin.

He could have done… SOMETHING!

Dark rings encased Izuku’s eyes.

Why didn’t I…?

 

“We can’t bring him to a hospital,” Mom’s voice cut through the shock. “He’ll freak out and it’ll only make things worse.” Dad looked contemplative as he held a bundle of now blood-soaked napkins to Izuku’s head.

They transferred Izuku to the couch. “Eijiro, can you get us a bowl of cold water and two towels?”

“A- ah! Yes, sir!” He stumbled into the kitchen, finding the biggest bowl he could and placing it under the running water of the sink before pulling out two towels from the drawers next to said sink. He rushed those in first before going back for the now full bowl of water, carefully bringing it in and setting it to Dad who was by the couch using one of the towels to dry up the blood that was still seeping from Izuku’s head. Mom came running in from the hallway with a first aid kit.

They patched up Izuku as best as possible. Mom dipped the other towel in the cold water, wringing it out before placing it on Izuku’s forehead but careful to avoid wetting the bandages.

 

The adrenaline began to die down. Eijiro’s legs felt weak as he helped his mother clean up the blood in the dining room.

The three of them gathered around the dining room table.

“Dang…” Eijiro winced as his father cursed. “Sorry, Ei,” he apologized. “I just… I’ve never seen it so bad.”

Eijiro lifted an eyebrow.

“The trauma, I mean,” Dad elaborated. “I’ve worked with so many patients that I thought I’d seen it all but clearly not. I’ve never seen someone so terrified to the point of not sleeping or eating until the collapse. Then again, Izuku’s case is surely… unusual…” Eijiro gulped and looked back down at the table.

“I...” Mom started, “I think it will get better from here on out though.” Dad looked at her. “What makes you so sure?”

“I had a small talk with Izuku today and I think, even if just a bit, I broke some ice with him.”

 

Eijiro bit his lip. “B- bu- but what if…” he hesitated. “What it doesn’t?”

“Ei?”

“Wh- what if he keeps doing this? What if Izuku never eats or sleeps? H- he’ll die at this rate! I- I don’t know what to do!”

“Eijir-”

“I want to help! I- I want him to feel safe here but I can’t do anything. I’m so useless! He’s hurting and I can’t do anything!!!” Eijiro flinched when a heavy hand landed on his shoulder. He turned and looked at Dad who at some point had gotten up and crouched in front of Eijiro.

 

“Eijiro, stop. None of this is your fault,” he said sternly, leaving no room for argument. “You are doing everything right. Have you not noticed? Izuku is obviously more comfortable around you. He’s about a thousand times more responsive when you do or say something than when either I or your mother says or does something. You are probably the best thing that Izuku has in this house so don’t you think for a moment that any of this is your fault.”

 

“Bu-”

 

Did you,” Dad cut him off, “use his quirk against him?

Eijiro’s eyes widened. “No!”

“Did you abuse him for years? Beat him? Put him on the streets? Give him those scars?”

Eijiro shook his head.

“Were you any of the people who raped him or almost killed him?”

Eijiro shook his head again.

“Then you did nothing wrong.” Dad pressed a finger to Eijiro’s chest. “What you did do though was show him kindness and worked your hardest to present yourself as non-threatening to him and you know what, Ei?”

“W- what?”

Dad grinned. “It worked. Even if just a bit, Izuku has opened up to you more than you’ve realized.” He took a deep breath. “We can’t help that Izuku had a bad past but what we can do is make sure that he has a much better future. As Yuma said, she talked with him and things should get easier from here on out. He will still not be as open but at the very least, when he wakes up and realizes that we have, in fact, not harmed him as he slept, he will know that it is safe enough to at least sleep here. Healing starts small. Trust me, Eijiro. Under our watch, Izuku will not die.”

 

Tears welled in Eijiro’s red eyes. Dad brought him into a hug.

“I- I’m so scared…” he whispered as he clung to his father’s shirt.

“I know, Ei. I know.” A beat of silence, and then, “I am too…

 

Eijiro cried harder.

 

_______________________________

 

Yuma yawned.

 

She looked out the window. It was deep into the night already. Izuku had yet to wake up. Yuma had volunteered to be the one to stay up and change the rag on his head when night fell.

She stood from the far recliner, setting down the book that she had been reading in the glow of the lamp. The auburn-haired woman quietly made way over to the sleeping boy on the couch. She knelt by him.

 

Izuku was breathing heavily but not as heavily as before. His face was tight and flush. Yuma took the cloth from his head that had gone almost dry. She gently placed the back of her hand against his head. It was still slightly warm. The fever had yet to break. She rewets the towel, wringing it out before placing it over the boy’s head again. Yuma glanced over at her book. She thought a bit before retrieving it. Yuma sat on the couch, gently lifting the pillow and Izuku’s head to rest them both on her lap. It was a bit harder to read as the light from the lamp was facing the books cover and not the pages but Yuma opened her mouth and read aloud to the sleeping boy. She didn’t know if he could hear her, she doubted he could, but she read to him anyways.

 

“... and the lush green trees scoured the mountainside. A crystal stream with leaping fish ran deep through the forest. Birds whistled and badgers basked in the heat and glow of the sun that shone over them all. Colorful flowers of all kinds popped from the green grass that swayed in the gentle breeze. All was calm and quiet. All was at peace.”

She turned the page.

“The doe and deer frolicked in the meadows as the butterflies danced aroun-”

 

M- Mary…?

 

Yuma jumped. She turned around slowly to see Izuku sitting up, rubbing at his eyes. He was looking at her.

 

-----

 

‘M- Mary?’

 

-----

 

‘Mary Lou Takakawa.’

 

-----

 

Yuma’s eyes widened in realization that Izuku was hallucinating. She lay the book on the armrest and turned to the now fully sitting boy.

“Hey, dear. How are you feeling?”

Izuku blinked slowly.

 

“T- tired…” His words slurred and that coupled with his thick accent made it hard for Yuma to understand what he was saying. It was strange to hear the boy speak. She had to remember that he didn’t exactly realize that he was talking to her and instead he thought he was talking with Ms. Takakawa. Someone he trusted…

“Mmm h- head hurs…”

She smiled softly. “That’s alright, deary.” She waved him over. “Come here.” He blinked once. Twice. And came over into her open arms. He let her touch him.

 

This… this is how close of a bond Izuku had with Ms. Takakawa. I am so sorry for taking you from her…

 

Yuma gently wrapped her arms around the boy and guided his head to lean on her shoulder. He was silent for a bit before speaking again.

“I w- wanna go h- homeee…”

She swallowed a sigh as her heart broke a bit. “I know, dear… I know.”

“But…” She perked up a bit. “They’rrrreee n- nice.”

“Who are?”

“T- Th- Therrr Kirishima’ssss. He keeps tryna tell me they ain’t…” Yuma furrowed her eyebrows. 

“Who is?”

Izuku was silent for a bit. She almost thought that he had fallen asleep.

“Ther man inside me head…”

 

Ah. She recalled his panic attack. He was yelling at someone.

 

It hit her that Izuku sounded and spoke very much like a kid when he speaks. She didn’t think about it until now because he doesn’t typically speak but the ‘blunt force trauma’ also applied to his head. There was a high chance that despite how smart he was, Izuku could quite possibly have some mental deficiencies caused by his head being repeatedly hit harshly. Being the wife of a therapist and psychologist major, Yuma had picked up things over the years. She couldn’t help but think that his lack of speaking might not only be attributed to his trauma but also to developmental delays in certain parts of his brain. The stutter that he apparently had might also be partially because of that. It was definitely something to be looked into. Though the boy was still incredibly intelligent for his age, he might be emotionally or mentally a few years back having grown up in the environment that he did.

The thought made her stomach roll. It was sickening to even think that the force had been so large to do that.

 

“We-” She paused. “They, the Kirishima’s love you very much, dear. Ei- er… Kirishima and Mr. Kirishima and… Mrs. Kirishima. They all love you very much.”

Izuku hummed a bit. “I k- know…”

She hesitated a bit before asking: “Do you want to run away, dear?”

No.” Her eyes widened. “Y- you don’t?” Forgive her for sounding shocked. Izuku shook his head against her. “N- no…”

“Why not?”

“T- therr nice…” His slur was getting thicker by the second.

She bit her lip. She hated acting like Ms. Takakawa for this and taking advantage of his confusion but she needed to know.

 

“Why are you afraid of them?” she asked.

“I dunno… Can’t help iiiiit…”

She swallowed a sigh. Innate feeling. Something that had just been ingrained into him. He could not help it.

“Do you want to be afraid of them?”

No…

Her heart broke even further. There were just so many things wrong with this. No child should have to live with this amount of constant fear and pain and yet this boy in her arms that had starved and deprived himself of sleep to the point of collapse was in a constant state of terror and he didn’t want to be but he just ‘couldn’t help it.’ 

He couldn’t help it because that state of fear that his mind is trapped in has been what has probably kept him alive this long and that in itself is just so utterly wrong and Yuma hated that!

 

“That’s okay, dear,” she whispered. “In time you will see that they don’t mean you any harm.”

I hope.

"M- Mary Lou?" Yuma bit her lip. "Yes, dear?" 

...

...

...

"I l- love you..."

Yuma’s breath hitched. She swallowed thickly. Yuma bent her neck and placed a soft kiss on the boy’s head. “I love you too, Izuku.

 

He didn’t say anything and soon she could hear soft snores come from the child. She wondered if he had heard her.

Yuma closed her eyes. Tears fell from her eyes as she held a broken boy in her arms.

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro woke up once again with the urge to use the bathroom. As he left his room, he heard someone speaking in the living room. Being the twelve-year-old boy that he is, he decided to investigate.

 

Mom was reading a book when Izuku suddenly sat up. “M- Mary Lou?” His heart stopped. Eijiro pressed his back against the wall and listened to the conversation that Izuku thought he was having with the lady from the bakery.

 

“I w- wanna go h- homeee…”

It hurt Eijiro to hear that.

 

“Why are you afraid of them?” Mom asked.

“I dunno… Can’t help iiiiit…” Izuku sounded so confused.

“Do you want to be afraid of them?”

“No…”

 

Eijiro furrowed his eyebrows. He nodded to himself and went to the bathroom. After washing his hands he looked in the mirror.

 

-----

 

‘Do you want to be afraid of them?’

 

‘No.’

 

-----

 

With newfound determination, Eijiro made a silent vow to rid Izuku of his confusion and to prove to him that he did not have to be afraid of them. That was his solemn vow.

He made his way back to his room.

 

“M- Mary Lou…” Eijiro stopped.

“Yes, dear?”

There was a long silence before the boy heard Izuku’s voice again, so quietly he almost missed it. But he didn’t. He heard it loud and clear.

“I- I love you.” Eijiro hung his head, fists tight by his side.

 

“I love you too, dear.”

 

He went to his- No. He went to their room. Eijiro closed the door and turned on his lamp before sitting at his desk and pulling up his sketchbook.

He might not understand the fear that Izuku feels or the pain but one thing that Eijiro does know is that Izuku has never taken down that picture that Eijiro drew and hung on his wall. It still stood there with the hero posters around it. He knows that Izuku enjoyed the storyboard of dog drawings. He knows that Izuku has responded in a semi-happy fashion to every picture Eijiro has drawn while he has been here and everyone from the past that he has shown him that he drew way back when.

Eijiro pulled out his art kit.

If they could not communicate with words then Eijiro would make use of the thing that he has relied on since being diagnosed with depression. Art. 

 

He would prove to Izuku that he could be trusted through his art rather than his words.

 

Eijiro got to work.

 

Chapter Text

*Ba-bump*

*Ba-bump*

*Ba-bump*

 

Izuku groaned.

He tried to sit up but his head pounded in protest.

“Shhhh… It’s alright, dear.” A gentle hand guided him back down and the gentle beating of what sounded like a heart resumed.

Where was he? He painfully peeled open his eyes and looked up. He was laying against an auburn-haired woman. For a second fear spread through his body but a deep fog covered his brain. He couldn’t keep his eyes open and he fell asleep.

 

*Ba-bump*

*Ba-bump*

*Ba-bump*

 

-----

 

Izuku woke into consciousness again, not to the sound of a beating heart but to the savory smell of food being made. His empty stomach growled in hunger.

Izuku sat up from his laying down position. His head still hurt like hell but not as bad as before.

 

Someone entered the room. This time, Izuku did react. He felt too dizzy to do much as the tall man approached but he pressed himself up against the back cushions of the couch he was on, gripping tightly at them. He didn’t know what sort of face he was making but the man paused before proceeding at a much slower and more cautious pace.

“Hey there, Izuku,” the man’s voice was calm. “Are you hungry?”

Izuku did not want to take foreign food but the pain in his stomach was getting too much to bare and his belly rumbled loudly in response against his protests.

 

Making sure to sit on the other side of the couch, the man sat down with a bowl of something warm.

 

Izuku eyed it carefully as he held it out. “It’s alright. It is just chicken broth since you haven’t eaten in a while.” Izuku’s mouth watered and he couldn’t help himself. He reached forward and took the bowl. His arms shook. He felt so weak…

Izuku shakily brought the spoon to his lips and sipped at the broth. It was so good! And warm! Izuku drank it as fast as he could without looking greedily or weird.

 

The greenette let out a small, satisfied sigh when he finished, placing the bowl on his lap. He felt insanely tired all over again. Izuk didn’t even realize that he had drifted off again or that the bowl was taken away and he was guided back down into a laying position.

 

-----

 

The next time he woke up, Izuku was much more aware of his surroundings.

 

He sat up and looked around the living room. Mrs. Kirishima was in the near recliner reading and Kirishima was in the far one, very intensely playing a game.

Izuku blinked a few times before he decided he should probably move or something. He really needed to use the bathroom.

 

Izuku slung his legs over the side and stood up.

Then he very unceremoniously fell as his legs gave out.

 

“Oh!” He groaned, holding his head as he struggled to get up. Izuku looked up at the sound of footsteps. Mrs. Kirishima crouched slightly and held out her hand. Both of their eyes widened as a string formed from his right wrist. Izuku froze. He waited. And waited. And waited. But nothing happened. She didn’t take the string or retract her hand. The woman smiled down at him.

 

-----

 

‘They, the Kirishima’s love you very much, dear. Ei- er… Kirishima and Mr. Kirishima and… Mrs. Kirishima. They all love you very much.’

 

-----

 

Izuku blushed.

That… wasn’t Mary Lou.

Threat.

And yet, that night she didn’t do anything to him.

Threat.

It hit him like a truck. She isn’t going to take the string. She isn’t going to even acknowledge its presence.

Threat.

Izuku hesitantly reached up. Thre- His hand connected with hers and she pulled him up and Izuku felt… no fear. He looked at their still connected hands for a second before looking up at her magenta eyes, meeting them with his own emerald eyes.

 

Threat…?

 

Izuku lowered his hand along with his head.

“How are you feeling, dear?” Izuku looked off to the side. He offered a little shrug. She hummed. “Do you mind if I feel your forehead?”

 

-----

 

‘Izuku, can I feel your forehead?’ Sho looked at him worriedly.

 

-----

 

He looked her up and down. Izuku bit his lip but nonetheless nodded. Mrs. Kirishima lifted her hand slowly. Izuku flinched back when it got close to his head. She stopped. Izuku opened one eye that he hadn’t known he had closed. She was waiting for confirmation. For him. Izuku relaxed his shoulders and opened the other eye. Mrs. Kirishima placed her hand on his forehead with much softness.

 

T- threat?

 

“Your fever broke,” she sighed happily and removed her hand, standing up straight. “How about you go wash up and we can have dinner?” Izuku nodded, quickly walking past her. He accidentally made eye-contact with Kirishima who beamed at him. Izuku blushed and ducked further into the house.

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro watched the scene before him unfold, having paused his game when Izuku originally fell.

The greenette let Mom TOUCH him.

 

-----

 

‘I…’ Mom started, ‘I think it will get better from here on out though.’ 

Dad looked at her. ‘What makes you so sure?’

 

‘I had a small talk with Izuku today and I think, even if just a bit, I broke some ice with him.’

 

-----

 

‘I- I love you.’

‘I love you too, Izuku.’

 

-----

 

Mom did it. Eijiro turned to her and smiled. She smiled brightly at him. Mom broke the barrier!

He thought back to his sketchbook. It would take at least a month to complete. He would pour his heart into it and when it was ready, Eijiro planned to break that barrier himself.

Two days Izuku was fading in and out of consciousness so they only had the weekend before school starts. He would use this time to get Izuku to trust him enough to stick by him at school.

 

Dad came home soon after. Eijiro guessed that Mom had told him about what happened as she cooked dinner. Eijiro sat on the couch with his game.

 

“Heyheyhey, Izuku.”

The greenette, who was currently texting someone, looked up. The cut on his head had scarred. It extended from a bit under his hairline to just the middle of the right of his forehead.

Eijiro waved him over and showed him the screen. Ever so slightly, Izuku leaned over. Eijiro would accept the small victories.

“Guess who beat the final boss level, hmmm?” he proudly puffed out his chest. Izuku deadpanned at him. “Whaaat? It was really hard!” He took the device back and set up a new account. “You wanna give it a shot?” Izuku nodded. “The storyline is really long but it’s fun. It might take you a month or two so until then, you can keep that one.” Izuku stared at him.

 

The boy opened his mouth as if he wanted to say something but stopped midway, much to Eijiro’s displeasure. Izuku gave a small bow and took the game. Eijiro took a risk and leaned in a bit, pleased as the boy did not draw away, and began to guide the boy through the tutorial levels and the first few.

 

_______________________________

 

Asa came out of the bathroom, running a hand through his hair. He stopped upon entering the living room. Ei was on the couch with Izuku who had his game system. He was leaning just a bit into the greenette’s personal space and every once in a while he would lift his hand and point at something on the screen. Izuku didn’t even react. He didn’t seem to notice that his son was so close.

 

-----

 

‘Izuku responds well to others his age.’

 

-----

 

‘I got Izuku to let me help him up and feel his forehead today.’

 

-----

 

Asa narrowed his eyes.

 

-----

 

‘Dear, I think we need to check on Izuku’s mental state.’

 

‘What do you mean?’

 

‘When he was speaking, I realized that he may have developmental issues from the, er, ‘blunt force trauma.’’

 

-----

 

Asa pulled out his phone and took a picture of the two boys, of his two boys, for the sake of Yuma. She always did like scrapbooking. He sent it to his wife as he walked into the kitchen. Yuma paused from stirring the chili to check her phone. She turned to him suddenly and quickly spun to peek around the corner of the kitchen into the living room.

 

Asa gladly accepted the hug that was thrown at him.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku sat at the table with everyone as they chatted and ate chili.

It had been almost a full week since he had been here, even if two days of it he was more asleep then awake. He had put them through so much trouble. He really should apologize but… But what? Why are you so scared? They won’t hurt you for it. Yes they will. She didn’t hurt me for that night. You don’t remember that night well. Ehhhhhh?! Izuku looked around at the family.

I don’t have to be afraid of them… I’m not. I am. But not- Well… Izuku took a deep breath. No harm in trying. There is-

 

“I- I’m sorry…”

 

The commotion over the crackers came to a screeching halt. Izuku didn’t look up.

 

“Y- you a- all have t- t- to put up with m- me and my st- stupid h- head. I- I put you through a lot of t- tr- trouble…”

 

“Izuku, dear, please look up at me.” Izuku glanced up from his bowl to look at Mrs. Kirishima. “Don’t apologize. We want to take care of you and we do because we care. It is no trouble at all.”

“Mhmm,” Mr. Kirishima nodded. “You’re family, Izuku.”

“Yeah, bro!” Kirishima punched the air. “You’re one of us now!”

 

Izuku felt tears well in his eyes so he quickly ducked his head. His heart felt so light.

Why are they so nice?

 

-----

 

‘Not everyone is like your mother, Izu. There are people out there that are nice, caring people. Believe it or not, not everybody is out to get you.’

 

-----

 

A lump formed in his throat.

 

“T- thank you…”

 

Izuku ate all of his dinner that night.

 

The greenette crawled into bed and got under the covers. Kirishima was under his already.

*knock knock knock*

The door opened to reveal both Mr. and Mrs. Kirishima. “Good night, you two,” the woman called. “Night, mom! Night, dad!” Izuku waved. He had used his talking limit for the day he decided. The two adults left, closing the door behind them.

Izuku laid down.

 

“I- is it okay,” Kirishima whispered, “that I call you my brother a- at school?” Izuku’s eyes widened. He turned over and looked at Kirishima. The raven-haired boy looked over at him expectantly. He probably hadn’t expected Izuku to verbally respond so when Izuku whispered, with the quietest voice known to mankind: “Y- yeah…”, Kirishima did not know how to respond. He nodded and looked back up at the ceiling.

“Thanks, man…”

Kirishima turned off the lamp and they sat there for a bit in the darkness. Izuku listened to the creaking of the house and the sounds of the wind.

 

He couldn’t sleep. Why? It’s sa- It’s not as dangerous… Why can’t he sle-

 

“You can sleep, you know?” Izuku jumped. He had assumed Kirishima was asleep. He should have noticed that the boy wasn’t snoring.

“I won’t… We won’t hurt you,” he sounded sad. “Or let anything else hurt you while you sleep.”

There was a beat.

I- I’ll protect you if something happens.” Izuku’s eyes widened.

 

And for some unknown reason, Izuku believed the boy. He relaxed and closed his eyes.

 

I promise…

 

For the first time since arriving in the Kirishima household, Izuku willingly fell asleep.

 

Chapter Text

Izuku did NOT like this.

 

But… he understood the reasoning behind it. He hadn’t had a haircut since before he even ran away. Maybe, let’s say, six years? His green, curly locks had grown almost over his eyes and to his shoulder blades at some point. He supposed that it hid his new scar but he was getting a haircut today, says the Kirishima’s, and it would probably show.

Which is fine. Izuku has much more visible ones anyway. The one on his left cheek, his neck, and if anyone saw him out of uniform, all over his body.

 

That is probably what scared Izuku most about PE and mixed martial arts club but he would deal with it.

 

“We are here!” Izuku jumped, being shaken out of his musings. Mr. Kirishima turned around in his seat. “Izuku, there will be someone cutting your hair.” Izuku gulped. “We have gone to this person for years. I can personally vouch for him. He will not hurt you.” Izuku looked out of the window at the hair salon they had stopped in front of.

Izuku, for the life of him, could not stop shaking as he stepped out of the car in his slippers. Today was the last day of Spring Break so he’d be in real shoes tomorrow.

“Hey, man.” Izuku turned to see Kirishima beside him. “Don’t worry ‘bout it! You’re gonna look like a whole stud after this!” The raven-haired boy gave Izuku a big thumbs up and toothy grin.

 

Izuku blushed and turned away causing Kirishima to laugh. “Come on, Izuku!”

 

_______________________________

 

*Ring Ring*

 

Christoph heard the bell to his salon jingle but he was currently dying a customer's hair bright pink. “Please give me a moment!” he called.

 

“Take your time, Chris.”

 

Christoph lifted his head at the familiar voice of Asa Kirishima. “Hey, Asa!” The black-haired man waved. “I’ll get to you in a moment!”

It took about another thirty minutes of waiting for the dye to set, washing the hair, and drying before styling it which took another fifteen minutes. After his customer left, Christoph peeled off the dying gloves and washed his hands for safe measure before going to the front counter.

 

“I’m ready for ya, Asa.”

 

The man in question stood, gesturing to a boy Christoph had never seen before.

 

-----

 

Christoph picked up his ringing phone.

‘Hello?’

‘Hello, Christoph.’

‘Ah, hello Asa! What can I do for you?’

‘We are bringing our new son that we adopted over tomorrow.’

‘Alright. What time? I am sure I can fit you in.’

‘Noon. But before we come, there is something you need to know…

 

-----

 

… he absolutely does not trust you.

 

Christoph remembered the conversation. Apparently the Kirishima’s had adopted a child that had issues with physical contact and Asa had asked him to be extremely careful when working on the kid.

 

The kid in question had an unruly mop of curly green hair that was obviously tangled.

“This is Izuku,” Asa gestured to the boy. “He is needing a haircut.”

Christoph nodded. “What are you looking for?”

“A trim, get the hair out of his eyes and maybe mid-neck. Nothing too fancy.”

Christoph hummed. “Alright.” He turned to the boy. “Would you please come with me then?”

 

The boy, Izuku, did not move an inch. Cold, calculating eyes scanned Christoph up and down. He felt a shiver go down his spine. Those were not the eyes of a child.

 

Eijiro leaned over and whispered something into Izuku’s ear causing the boy to jump slightly. Izuku looked at Eijiro and deadpanned. Eijiro just gave his signature shark grin and a thumbs up. Izuku seemed to roll his eyes but nonetheless stepped forward and let Christoph lead him into the back.

He didn’t know how to do this without touching the boy so he just opted on giving discrete warnings before acting. “Alright, I am going to put a cape around you, okay?” The shaggy head gave a nod. Christoph reached around to put it on. He immediately noticed how tense the boy got. Christoph looked up to see Eijiro to the side of the counter purposefully in Izuku’s line of sight. The boy didn’t really do anything, he just made sure that Izuku could see him.

 

Okay, so that is how this will be. I’ll just work around him so he can see Eijiro.

 

Christoph got to work. Around ten minutes in, though, he was beginning to get worried about the lack of movement from the boy under his scissors. Christoph noticed that Eijiro had paled some. The raven-haired boy called over his father. Asa came to crouch beside his son but facing Izuku. Asa waved for Christoph to keep going so he did but he watched as from the distance, the therapist was over-exaggeratedly breathing, making in and out motions with his hands and mouthing the words.

 

Wait. Christoph hesitated. Is- Is the kid not brea-

 

-----

 

‘He is terrified of human contact but this is something that we are working with him on so please do not stop. I will probably end up guiding him through a panic attack but just keep going. He needs to get through this if he is going to start school the next day.’

 

-----

 

Panic attack. Okay. I can work around this. Just a minor stumble and I am a professional.

 

And so, Christoph continued. At some point, the boy had begun to breathe in a semi-normal manner and twenty minutes of cutting, trimming, and attempting to make the mess that was this kid’s head look presentable and Christoph was done.

“Alrighty! I’m finished.” He unclipped the cape and took it off.

“Erm… You can stand up now.”

The greenette jumped and stood slowly and cautiously. Christoph pointed to the mirror. “Take a look at yourself now!”

 

Izuku turned to the mirror. His now, very much more-visible forest green eyes widened ever so slightly and Christoph figured that was the most reaction that he would get out of the kid.

His green mop had been trimmed down significantly. It hit the base of his neck at a point with curls flowing all the way up to cover about half of his ears. The curls stopped around mid-top forehead, covering up most of the scar on his right but not all of it. A few curls cupped his face, the points stopping at the crease in the eyes. It showed off his rounded, child-like features to make him look younger despite the scars and it made the freckles on his pale face pop.

All in all, a big change from the street-rat look that the kid had before.

 

“You look so manly!” Eijiro shouted his favorite word/compliment from the waiting area.

Manly… is not the way Christoph would describe the child before him, even with the scars. But Izuku seemed to like it as the blush popped from his cheeks.

 

Manly it is then.

 

Asa pat Christoph on the shoulder before leaving. “Thanks, man. I don’t think I would have trust anyone else for the job.”

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku’s head felt so light!

 

He pats and fluffed his hair. That man had put some dry condition in it or something to make it extra fluffy. It felt so soft.

“You look happy.” Izuku looked at Kirishima. Did he? Izuku was sure that he hadn’t been smiling.

 

Don’t smile. Smiling is an emotion. Emotion is a weakness. Don’t smile.

 

Kirishima shrugged. “I could just tell,” he answered Izuku’s unspoken question. Izuku furrowed his eyebrows. Sho and Yami and Mary and Shinsou do that too. They say that they just “know.” What is that supposed to mean? Izuku found that he doesn’t dislike it though.

So he nodded because he was, in fact, happy with his new hair.

It took a bit to realize where they were going for the “surprise” but as soon as Izuku began to recognize the worn buildings, sounds of guns, and smell of bitter liquor in the air, he had a feeling that he knew. Excitement bubbled in his chest. His knee bounced the further that the vehicle went into the red light district.

 

Soon, but not nearly soon enough for Izuku’s taste, they stopped in front of a building with a sign:

SOFT BLOSSOM BAKERY.

 

“We are here!”

 

Izuku all but threw himself out of the car, barely remembering to close the door. He ignored the calls of the Kirishima’s behind him as he swung open the front door of the bakery, panting heavily. The few customers stopped and stared. A familiar, bulky man stood up.

“EY! KID!” Marco. The door rang behind him. “You’re a fast one,” Mr. Kirishima huffed.

Marco came over in all his 6’8 glory. Kirishima visibly shook beside Izuku as the man lifted his hand and placed it on Mr. Kirishima’s shoulder, giving a few rough pats to which the much smaller man winced under. “So yer the familae watchin’ over the kid!” he roared. “Good ta see he’s in good hands!”

Izuku furrowed his eyebrows at the family's shocked faces. Why were they so scared? It’s only Marco.

 

*BAM* All heads turned to a lanky man with a bald head and a tattooed dragon on the side of it. The table was slightly shifted, the man in question having obviously kicked it to get their attention. “Welcome back, kid.” Goro. Izuku nodded and turned back to Marco expectantly. He huffed and pointed over his shoulder.

“Mare’s in the back. Want me to call ‘er fer ya?” Izuku nodded harshly.

 

Marco turned and walked up to the counter. Kirishima leaned over. “Are they… friends of yours?” Izuku was about to nod when-

 

MARY LOU! YA BOYS ‘ERE!!!

 

Everyone jumped. There was silence, a commotion from the bakery’s kitchen, and a young woman running out. Izuku’s green eyes met yellow.

“Izu,” the brunette whispered.

Izuku trembled. “M- Mary…”

 

If one would ask, no one in the bakery would be able to say who moved first but Izuku and Mary Lou crashed into each other, the taller on her knees, both wrapping each other in a tight embrace.

 

_______________________________

 

Asa. Is. TERRIFIED.

 

Who is this giant man and how does he know Izuku and the bald guy and why is everyone here that seems to know his boy a thug and oh, right, Izuku lived in the red light district.

 

Asa may be prejudiced but he hated the thought of sitting down with the bulky man who had probably bruised his shoulder so that they could give Ms. Takakawa and Izuku some alone time together. Still, he did.

“The name’s Marco,” said the enlarged thug. Asa made sure that Ei sat between him and Yuma.

“My name is Asa Kirishima,” he introduced himself. “This is my wife, Yuma, and my son, Eijiro.” He gestured to his family. Marco leaned back in his chair a bit, right arm resting on the back.

“So how’s he been doin’?” the man asked.

Asa looked over to where Izuku and Ms. Takakawa were sitting.

 

“He has been good.” Ms. Takakawa reached up and ran her hand along the new scar. “As well as he can be,” Asa corrected himself. He looked back at the man.

 

“‘m so glad you guy got ‘im,” Marco grinned. “If a lesser familae took ‘im I would’ve beat ‘em to a bloody pulp!” Marco laughed boldly making Asa’s skin crawl.

 

A lady left the kitchen and brought something over to Izuku and Ms. Takakawa. “The usual,” he heard her say. Yuma probably thought the same thing. “‘Usual?’” Marco hummed. “Yer. Before the kid had even been livin’ with Mare he’d come in maybe two, say, three times a month fer it.”

“W- what is it?” Ei asked.

“Strawberry shortcake with extra strawberries and whip cream and some milk. Yer wouldn’ think it but the kid’s a fanatic ‘bout sweet stuffs.”

 

Asa blinked. He… He hadn't known that, actually. Since he had started eating properly again. Izuku never really said anything after the first meal when he spoke to them so he never told them if he liked the meal or not and his expressions never changed much so they couldn’t go off that. Asa… didn’t know much about Izuku aside from his childhood. No likes, dislikes, hobbies. Nothing. Sure, Izuku had only been with them a week, but these people, these thugs, gang members, and druggies knew more about the boy than even they did and Asa, well, Asa didn’t know what to think about that. He called Izuku ‘family’ and very much thought of him as a son but what sort of father doesn’t even know if his son prefers sweets or not?

 

He watched as Izuku used a tiny fork, handled with the care of a mother carrying her baby, to take a bite of his treat. The greenette smiled.

 

I… want to know more about Izuku.

 

_______________________________

 

“So you are starting school tomorrow?” Mary Lou asked.

 

She took in the boy in front of her. She almost hadn’t recognized him with his shorter hair. Aside from the new scar on his right temple, Izuku looked well. Based on their conversation, Izuku has come to enjoy the Kirishima household. Or, at least, not find it threatening to live in.

 

He looked like he didn’t need her.

 

And maybe that was a good thing. The doctor gave her a month to live. Izuku’s quirk had healed her more than previously thought but that was as much time as she could buy without her own quirk getting in the way. So it’s better that Izuku was with the Kirishima’s. Mary Lou wanted him to be comfortable. She had vowed to get him in a safe, happy home before she died and she did that.

“Y- yeah…”

Mary Lou reached over and ruffled his hair. Izuku tried to look angry with his limited range of emotions but couldn’t fight the small grin that found its way onto his face.

 

Mary Lou had seen her boy smile. What more could she ask for out of this life? She could go in peace knowing that Izuku was safe.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku didn’t want to leave.

 

He didn’t want to say goodbye.

 

Not again.

 

But they had to. He didn’t even know how long they had been there but it was noon when they arrived and now the sun was sinking. Mary Lou came out of the kitchen and knelt by Izuku. “Hold out your hand.” Izuku complied willingly. He trusted Mary Lou full-heartedly. She placed in his hand his favorite fork. Izuku’s eyes widened.

“Now next time you come in, you have to bring that, okay?” Izuku nodded vigorously. She smiled and planted a kiss on his head.

 

“See you soon, Izuku. Love you.”

Izuku couldn’t help but smile as he curled his fingers around the fork. “I l- love you t- too.”

 

Izuku followed the Kirishima’s out of the bakery. He felt content seeing Mary Lou again. It was ni- *BANG* *ziiiip*

Izuku didn’t even flinch as the bullet went by, nicking his left ear. Kirishima on the other hand screamed and his parents froze. Izuku didn’t even remember going into Golden Whip. He just did. “Izuku, Ei! Get down!” Mr. Kirishima tried to push him down but Izuku was too fast. He assessed the situation in 1.5 seconds. To his left was a man in a tank top carrying a large purse and wielding a gun coming straight at them.

“Out of the way or I’ll kill ya!”

There was a woman chasing him but falling behind. “Help! I’ve been mugged!”

Izuku acted on instinct. He bolted forward.

 

“Izuku!!!”

 

The man growled. “I said… out of the way!!!” *BANG* *BANG*

Izuku ducked to the side and rolled, both bullets missing and him rolling straight into the man’s path. Izuku came out of the roll running but kept low. He ducked beneath the man’s arm and landed a punch straight to the gut. The purse-thief stumbled backward, not having expected such a forceful blow from a child, and dropped the bag. Izuku swung his foot around, kicking the bag out of reach.

The thief stood straight and growled, pointing the gun at Izuku. “Why you-!” *BANG* It zipped past Izuku. The man’s shot was poor but it still nicked the greenette’s cheek at this range, adding a cut just above the large one on Izuku’s cheek. He hadn’t even felt it. Izuku took the man’s out-stretched arm, pivoted, and used his signature move, the judo flip over the shoulder. It was hard with the size and weight difference but the pained gasp that the man let out was worth it. He didn’t let the thief recover. Izuku kicked off the slippers and smashed his heal into the man's hand. The man grunted and let go of the gun. Izuku was quick to bend down and take it. Just as the thief sat up to try and attack again, Izuku placed the barrel of the gun to the back of the thief’s head.

 

Don’t move.

 

Everything came to a stand-still. Those who were on the streets had stopped to watch. The woman was now clutching her purse. The Kirishima’s… stared in horror.

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro couldn’t breathe.

 

There was Izuku. The same boy who he played catch with, drew pictures to, played video games with. The same boy he LIVED and SLEPT with.

 

There was Izuku, with a pistol to another person’s head.

 

Eijiro. Could. Not. Breathe.

 

Chapter Text

Yuma did not know what on God’s green earth to do. Apparently, neither did Asa.

Izuku did. He looked up at them and those eyes - those EYES - were not the eyes of the little boy she knew. They did not belong to a twelve-year-old child.

 

“Phone.”

 

That VOICE was not the voice of a twelve-year-old child. It was cold, calculated. Like he had done this before. Often. Asa fumbled a bit with his pocket before drawing out his phone. He slowly crept forward and held out his phone at a distance. Izuku leaned forward.

Eijiro flinched as the man’s head was pushed forward with the gun as Izuku still did not remove it from the back of the criminal's head. He, with much ease and practice, hacked into Asa’s phone and called the police.

 

“Yo. Long time, no call.”

“Ha ha I know, I know. I’m not vigilanting this time though.”

 

THIS TIME?!

 

“Ey ey ey! Detective! Calm ya-self! I ‘aven’t even told ya wwhhaut happened.”

“Yer. Simple bag thief. I only attacked ‘cause he attacked me familae.”

“Soft Blossom Bakery.”

 

Izuku looked up at them. “Ya mind if we wait?” He was talking without stuttering and looked completely calm and cool and everything in this situation screamed NOT RIGHT at Yuma because Izuku should not be pointing a gun at someone’s head, he should not be saying that he is vigilanting again, he should not be talking so casually when he usually does not speak at all, and where is the stutter when he does, and why is this so WRONG?!

 

They ended up waiting. It was about thirty minutes of tense silence. Marco was watching over the situation but he didn’t try to take the gun away or to diffuse the situation. Those that had stopped went on their merry way and nobody else on the streets stopped at the sight of a boy holding a gun to someone’s head. These people are used to it.

Police sirens faded in from a distance until the police vehicle pulled up. Two police rushed out and a man with a plain face and tan trench coat came out.

 

Izuku finally, FINALLY, put down the gun, handing it to the trench-coated man. Izuku stood while the police put the thief in handcuffs and took him to the police car.

Asa finally got the nerve to speak up as the trench-coated man was about to speak.

 

“Alrighty, I’ve got to know what is going on.”

Izuku and the man turned to him.

“I just watched my son take down a man twice his size and almost shoot him and speak, which he does not do, and forgive me if I am wrong, but I am pretty sure Izuku said something about vigilanting.” Asa gestured between the two people. “You two obviously seem to know each other so mind telling me what’s happening here?”

 

The older man glanced down at Izuku. “Do they not know…?”

“NoPe!” Izuku popped the ‘p’. It was so weird to hear him like this.

The man sighed and extended his hand to Asa. “Hello, I am Detective Tsukauchi. I’ve been in charge of the Golden Whip case for a while.”

 

Asa raised an eyebrow. “What does Golden Whip have to do with any of this?” Asa was pissed.

 

The man chuckled. “Here’s the thing, your new charge, is, how do I put this…?”

Asa narrowed his eyes. “You are not about to tell me that Izuku is Golden Whip.”

Izuku looked away.

Detective Tsukauchi sighed. “He was Golden Whip until we took him off the streets.”

“And you never thought to tell us?!” Eijiro and Yuma flinched back. Detective Tsukauchi shook his head, not backing down. “In order to give Izuku a chance at a more normal life, we decided that he would give up that life and that we would keep it hidden. It is also for your safety as there are quite a few gangs and criminals in the red light district that hold a grudge against him.”

 

“H- He…” Ei spoke up. “I saw Golden Whips l- last post… He had a tattoo?”

 

Everyone turned to Izuku. Izuku bit his lip and rolled up his right sleeve to reveal the golden mask and whip tattoo.

 

“I- I am sorry for h- hiding it from you…” Izuku was sort of fading from his confidence from earlier. Asa sighed loudly. “We… will talk about this later.”

 

_______________________________

 

The car ride home was tense.

 

Eijiro glanced over at Izuku who was staring at his lap, probably just now realizing what took place. Eijiro didn’t know how to help him. He was still processing it as well.

In the house, the family gathered in the living room. Silence hung thickly in the air.

 

“Izuku.” The boy on the opposite side of the couch flinched at Dad’s rough voice. “Why did you not tell u-”

 

I’M SORRY!” Everyone jumped in shock from the sudden outburst from the greenette. “I- I- I didn’ m- mean to! I- He- It- He was going ta hurt you a- and I- I couldn’t let ‘im! N- He can’t hurt you! I had ta stop ‘im!”

“Izuk-”

 

“I- I’m sorry, I k- know I’m dangerous! I- I know!”

 

Eijiro stopped. Dangerous?

 

“I- Yo- I understand i- i- if you kick me o- out ‘c- cause I’m a threat! I- He- I c- could hurt you - and I can’t- ca’t- c- With- help- I’m- dang- no-”

His breathing was too ragged. Eijiro turned to Dad who was already crouching by Izuku trying to calm the boy down.

 

“Izuku you need to calm down-” 

 

DON’T TOUCH ME!!!” Izuku scrambled back further on the couch. “I- I don’t want t- to hurt you! I can’t- I don’- You can’t- We- Don’t hurt-”

 

Eijiro whipped his head to Dad. His heart dropped because it was evident that he did not know what to do either. Dad started his usual attempts to get a patient to breathe normally. Mom was just coming in with the headphones.

Eijiro couldn’t do anything but watch as Izuku began a mantra in his own downward spiral.

 

“ImsorryImsorryImsorryImsorryImsorryImsorryImsorryImsorryImsorryImsorryImsorry…”

 

At some point, the boy stopped rambling and the room fell silent. Eijiro was shaking almost as much as Izuku still was.

Why was this happening?

“Izuku,” Dad whispered, reaching up and sliding the headphones from the boy’s face. Izuku didn’t look up. He made no acknowledgment of the man.

 

A bubble of laughter split from the boy’s lips.

“I- It’s all over… W- why…? W- why do- does it a- always end l- like this…?”

 

Dad sighed. “Nothing is ending Izuku. We aren’t getting rid of you. And we know that you won’t hurt us.”

Izuku shook his head. “D- don’t lie t- to me. I know. I k- know how i- it goes. I know.”

Dad turned and sat, leaning his back on the couch. “Well, maybe back then it did. You want to know what happens in this family though?” Mom sat on the couch, facing Izuku with her legs on the couch. Eijiro got the memo. Act casual. So he did the same as Mom. Izuku didn’t respond so Dad continued.

“We Kirishima’s take care of each other. Also, we don’t lie to each other. When one of us falls, we help them up. When one of us is crying, we comfort them. When one of us is lonely, we provide the company. Kirishima is a family name. It is our family name. That makes us a family. You know, your mo- Inko, he avoided the last name, “may be blood-related to you but that does not make her ‘family’. A family is a group of people who love each other and care for each other. Who don’t abandon each other for anything. You lived in the red light district, right? Gang bonds are strong. Like that.”

There was a pause.

“Izuku, remember when I called you family?” The greenette flinched. “I meant it. I still mean it. You are not just Izuku.” Dad turned to face Izuku finally.

 

You are Izuku Kirishima.

 

That's right... Izuku is my brother.

Izuku finally lifted his eyes, face still wet with previous tears.

Mom nodded. “Izuku Kirishima won’t hurt us. We know this. He will not be abandoned or kicked out. This is his home. Kirishima’s love each other. In turn, we love you, too, Izuku. As a son and a brother.”

Tears had begun to fall from Izuku’s green eyes. Eijiro didn’t know what to do but he did his best. He gave the largest grin he could. “That’s right, man!” he piped. “A- and what you did was so manly!” Izuku stared at him. “You were like ‘pow’ and ‘bam’ and ‘woah!’ It was a bit scary but you were so manly, man!”

 

Izuku didn’t even notice that Mom had pulled him into a hug so Eijiro joined in. Dad stood and sat beside Eijiro, leaning over and enveloping the three in his arms.

 

Eijiro couldn’t help but cry alongside his brother. It was so emotional, man! He doesn’t know when, but Eijiro felt his eyes droop and his mind shut off. He fell asleep.

 

_______________________________

 

Yuma slowly unraveled herself from the boys. Asa and her left Izuku and Ei on the couch as they had fallen asleep.

 

She followed him into their bedroom.

 

“Okay,” Asa started, sitting on the edge of the bed, “we need to discuss this.”

She nodded. “A vigilante… What happened to him always protecting himself? It doesn’t make sense.”

 

“I think it does.” She turned to her husband. “Think about it. Izuku was in a constant place of fear out there but just surviving wasn’t enough. He would go into a state of insanity if he was constantly in that state so he created a persona to pull himself out of it and to still help people. You mentioned Izuku may have a mental deficiency caused by head trauma but I don’t think it is that. Yes, he has one, his child-like, primal perception of things is a direct indicator of that. It’s not blunt force trauma, though. He was never raised to think or process anything other than fear and survival so he is mentally and emotionally behind on that on several levels. In other words, Izuku is immature emotionally because he has purposefully, no, more so forcibly, put a halt to that process. I think this is probably what caused him to become Golden Whip.”

 

“What do you mean?” Yuma asked. She sat by her husband.

 

“I mean that he is still human and probably subconsciously longed for that sort of human connection so he became a vigilante where no one knew who he was and he could hold a conversation of some sort. It’s not that Izuku hates people but instead, he has been reaching out for connection for so long but it’s been covered by so much fear and trauma that he can’t differentiate from it anymore.”

 

“So… what you mean is… the brash, loud, smiling, and cocky vigilante is the side of Izuku that he keeps hidden out of fear?"

 

“Yes.”

 

“And that he does have a mental deficiency, or an emotional one, because-”

 

“- He was never allowed to grow beyond his primal instincts of survival.”

 

Yuma looked at her hands. “That is just so… so…”

 

“Wrong?” her husband supplied. Yuma hummed and nodded. Asa wrapped an arm around her and drew the auburn-haired woman to his chest. “I know but he’s growing past that.” She glanced up at him. “How do you know?”

“The tears. Izuku cries so much because he isn’t used to these emotions that he is now permitted to have.”

 

“I hate that word ‘permitted,’” Yuma growled.

“But that is truly how it was,” Asa said softly. “He has realized that these aren’t things he has to suppress and hide but rather something normal. He’s learning. It will just some more time.”

 

Yuma frowned. “What if Ei was right, dear? What if Izuku never gets better?”

Asa took her by the shoulders and looked into her eyes.

 

“If everyone gives up on him then he never will. The whole world seems to have it’s back turned against him. But we don’t. Don’t give up on him. He needs someone that hasn’t given up on him yet. Promise me you won’t give up.”

Yuma searched her husband’s eyes. She took a deep breath and nodded. “You’re right. I won’t give up on him. He still has us, if nothing else.”

 

_______________________________

 

A little green-haired boy skipped along the street with a little raven-haired boy.

 

Two adults walked hand-in-hand behind them, fondly watching their sons.

 

The greenette turned to his brother and smiled.

 

*BANG*

 

Green eyes widened as the black-haired boy fell forward, blood spitting from the back of his 

head. 

 

He stopped and fell to his knees. He screamed out as he shook his brother but no sound would come from his mouth.

 

*BANG* *BANG*

 

The greenette whipped around to his parents only to see them mid-way through their falls, each bleeding from their heads.

 

He called out to them but nothing came out.

 

The green-haired boy scrambled to his feet to rush to them but stopped when he looked up and saw a large man stalking forward.

 

The man stopped.

 

And raised a gun.

 

Aimed for the boy’s head.

 

He grinned maniacally.







*BANG*

 

-----

 

Izuku lurched forward, throwing himself off the couch and into a roll almost habitually. He spun into a crouch and froze, taking in everything around him.

 

“-ku! It’s fine! It’s just a dream!”

 

Izuku whipped his head to the voice. Kirishima stood a bit further away with hands out. Izuku panted heavily. He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths before standing again and opening them.

Kirishima scratched the back of his head. “Man, you got a pair of lungs. You were screaming like a madman.” Izuku subconsciously put his hand to his throat.

 

Was I?

 

Mr. Kirishima came in with a cup of water. He held it out for Izuku. Izuku reached out. He hesitated a bit before taking it. Izuku flinched when he accidentally touched the man, almost dropping the cup. Mr. Kirishima didn’t react. “Drink up. You’ve spoken and yelled a lot today on a voice not used to it.” Izuku nodded and gratefully drank.

 

Mrs. Kirishima popped out of the kitchen. “Dinner’s ready!”

 

Izuku sat around the table with the family as they ate.

 

-----

 

‘Izuku, remember when I called you family?’ 

‘I meant it. I still mean it. You are not just Izuku.’

 

You are Izuku Kirishima.

 

-----

 

Izuku sat around the table with HIS family.

After dinner, while he was sitting on the floor of Kirishi- HIS and Kirishima’s room packing Izuku’s bag for school tomorrow, a knock came at the door.

 

*Knock Kno-* *SNAP* *-ck*

 

“Bro!” Izuku blushed. He accidentally broke a pencil that he was holding when the knock came and he jumped having not expected it. Izuku opened his hand as the door opened, the two halves falling onto the floor.

“Hey boys,” Mrs. Kirishima walked in with a plate. She crouched set it down. “Made you some white chocolate-macadamia nut cookies.”

 

“Thanks, mom!” Kirishima piped.

 

“T- thanks…” Izuku didn’t really know what to call the woman.

 

Both of the other people in the room turned and stared at him when he spoke. She smiled. “It’s no problem boys.” She stood. “Lights out by ten!”

“Yes, ma’am!”

 

Kirishima bit greedily into a cookie. “So good!” Izuku took one himself and bit into it. They were still warm and-

 

Sweet…

 

Chapter Text

*-eep beep beep beep beep*

 

Izuku shot up. Kirishima groaned and pulled himself to a sitting position. Izuku stared at the clock the boy slammed his tired fist on. “Just theeeee alarm clock…” Kirishima grumbled. “Tells us when to get uuuuuppppp…” Izuku took a few seconds to still his racing heart.

 

Izuku was dreading this day. The first day of school.

 

Kirishima swung off of his bed and groggily moped around the room until he finally opened his dresser and pulled out his school uniform. It wasn’t much. The school’s boy uniform consisted of black slacks with a belt and a white, short-sleeved button-up that was tucked into the pants. Still, it was fancier than anything he had worn. His Golden Whip costume did not count. They had decided on adding a black arm sleeve to Izuku’s on his right arm that would go under the sleeve. They were accepted as support for those who had injuries and Izuku, under the guise of all of his scars, could get away with it. They were mostly using it to cover his tattoo when he changed for PE or mixed martial arts.

 

Izuku was shaking so much that he could hardly buckle his belt.

 

Mrs. Kirishima was making their lunches as the boys ate cereal. Well… 

 

“Dude…” Kirishima spoke softly, “you gotta eat.” Mrs. Kirishima glanced over. Mr. Kirishima looked up from his newspaper.

 

Was Izuku relapsing? Definitely not. Right? 

 

He just… wasn’t breathing again. 

Because he was going to school. A school full of hundreds of kids and adults and people who could find out and people who could hurt him, use him, torture him, send him back to that hell hole he could home almost five years ago and now he had to go there and fit in when all eyes would definitely be on him and there were just so many things that could go wrong! He didn’t know the layout of the building so he had no escape plan aside from the outside. He knew that he could survive a jump from the second story but what if his class was on the third? He might die but wouldn’t that be better? He couldn’t fight anyone unless in his fighting class so what should he do to prote-

 

“Izuku.” 

 

Izuku jumped so hard he fell from his seat and the chair fell to the floor with a *BANG*.

Izuku opened his eyes slowly, having expected pain in his rear but felt nothing. He looked up. Kirishima had turned in his own seat and caught Izuku by the arms. Kirishima stood to also help Izuku stand before letting him go.

“See!” Kirishima pushed a thumb into his own chest. “No need to panic, man! I’ve got your back!”

Behind him, Mr. Kirishima, who had originally called out to him, stood. He held out something.

 

Izuku paled when he saw a thin pair of handcuffs. Mr. Kirishima held up a hand. “Wait, before you get the wrong idea, these are quirk-suppressing cuffs. With these on, no one should be able to reach out and see the strings.”

A bit of the tension released from Izuku’s shoulders but he hesitated.

 

“A- are these… a- a- allowed?” he asked.

Mr. Kirishima nodded. “I’ve spoken with the school about them.” Izuku took them.

“T- thank you…”

 

He clipped them around his wrist. They didn’t really stand out all that much but they were enough for someone to notice. What really stood out was the empty feeling in his chest when they were on. That dull feeling was still there but just much less significantly. Izuku subconsciously raised a hand and felt his chest. He whipped his head around to Kirishima.

The boy gave a thumbs up.

 

Izuku sat by the front door. Today he was finally putting on the shoes Yami gave him. Izuku didn’t feel any pain when he slipped on the red hightops.

“Dude, those look so manly!” Kirishima exclaimed. His own was a pair of black and white tennis shoes.

Izuku snapped a picture of them on his feet.

 

-----

 

Izuku:

 

<insert picture of shoes>

 

 

Yami:

 

Hey listener! Looking great! Have fun on your first day!

 

-----

 

He stood up and wriggled his toes a bit. It felt weird to be wearing shoes again but also that much better.

*Ding Ding*

Izuku checked his phone again.

 

-----

 

<ONE NEW MESSAGE FROM Shinsou =^-^= >

 

<TWO NEW MESSAGES FROM Sho >

 

<FIVE NEW MESSAGES FROM Mary Lou <3 >

 

-----

 

Izuku smiled down at his phone, not noticing the awed look on Kirishima’s own face at the uncommon show of expression on the greenette’s face.

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro is worried. Top of the morning and Izuku already had a minor panic attack. Eijiro hoped that he would be enough to keep the boy functioning in school. But what about their electives? And PE? He glanced over at Izuku who was walking beside him on the sidewalk, hands tight around the straps of his yellow backpack.

They came upon the school where there were a lot of kids milling around and going in. Izuku’s hands were turning white around the straps. Eijiro silently prayed that everything would turn out okay. He recognized two further off.

 

“Ito!” he yelled, mentally wincing when Izuku jumped. “Yamamoto!” Eijiro waved as the two stopped and turned. They waved and kept walking. Eijiro swallowed a sigh. His friends never waited for him.

 

Izuku’s eyes were moving so fast as they walked down the corridors that Eijiro wondered if the boy could actually see anything. They climbed up the stairs to the second floor and found their homeroom: Room 204, Mrs. Saito’s.

“Let’s wait outside for the teacher,” he said. Izuku seemed far too pleased than he should be at the recommendation.

A few students glanced at the two curiously as they entered the room themselves. Eventually, a blonde woman with a short bob and red-rimmed glassed came up.

“Ah, Kirishima,” she greeted.

Eijiro bowed. “Good morning, Mrs. Saito.”

She looked at Izuku. “Is this Kiri- er…”

Eijiro laughed. “Just call him Izuku, ma’am, so we don’t have the confusion.” Mrs. Saito nodded. She held out her hand. “Welcome to my class, Izuku.” Izuku stared at the hand. Mrs. Saito’s eye twitched when he didn’t take it.

 

“U- um, Izuku is…” Mrs. Saito retracted her hand. “Don’t worry, Kirishima. I have been… informed… of his tendencies.” Eijiro did NOT like how she worded that. “Shall we get him introduced to the class?”

 

Without waiting for an answer, the woman walked into the classroom. Eijiro turned to Izuku who had not looked up from the point where her hand once was. “It’ll be fine, Izuku,” he whispered. Green eyes flickered to him. At least he was somewhat responsive. Eijiro led the way into the room where Mrs. Saito had written “IZUKU KIRISHIMA” in big, white letters on the chalkboard.

“Class,” she said as Eijiro stopped in the front of the room, Izuku stopping beside him, “you have a new friend joining you today.” The blonde gestured to Izuku. “This is Kirishima’s brother, Izuku Kirishima,” she announced. “You may all call him Izuku to prevent confusion between the two. Izuku, would you like to introduce yourself?” Everyone looked at him expectantly.

“Er…” Eijiro spoke up. “Izuku is selectively mute.” That’s what his parents called it. Mrs. Saito deadpanned. “Alright then maybe you would like to introduce your brother for us?”

Eijiro bit his lip. He wasn’t exactly fond of public speaking but… his red eyes glanced at Izuku who he noticed was staring somewhere far into space at the back wall of the classroom.

 

He was completely out of it.

 

“T- this is my brother, Izuku,” he repeated. “W- we adopted him just over a w- week ago. He doesn’t, uh, speak. Much. And yeah…” Eijiro trailed off.

Mrs. Saito nodded. “Does anyone have any questions?” Immediately hands shot up.

 

Oh please let this be over already.

 

“Why does he have so many scars?” a kid asked. All of the ones on the greenettes left arm were visible as well as the one on his right forehead, the two on his left cheek, and the one on his neck. Izuku visibly stiffened. Kirishima forced a wobbly smile onto his face.

“P- perhaps not that q- question…”

“How old is he?”

“Where did he live before?”

“What is his quirk?”

“So does that mean he technically can speak?”

“What are those handcuffs for?”

“He looks really pale. Is he okay?”

 

Eijiro couldn’t get a word in. He could feel himself spiraling but he held strong for Izuku’s sake.

 

“Alright, quiet!” Mrs. Saito yelled above the commotion. The class went silent. “One at a time.”

 

“Erm…” Eijiro glanced at Izuku. Calm down. Just a few questions. Don’t give any information Izuku wouldn’t want to get out.

“Izuku lived with another person, sort of like a foster home-ish, not really, but ish, but, erm, yeah… He is twelve. Y- yes he CAN speak he just reeeaaallyyy prefers not to. Yeah…”

 

“His quirk!” someone shouted. “What is his quirk!?”

 

Eijiro swallowed thickly. "H- he, um, he is, er…"

 

*CLAP CLAP* Eijiro let out a sigh of relief. “That’s enough,” Mrs. Saito stepped in. “Let’s get back to class. Izuku, you will sit by Kirishima in the second to last row.”

“Thank you,” Eijiro whispered. He began to walk to his desk.

 

“Izuku, would you please follow Kirishima to your desk.” Eijiro whipped around. Oh no… Izuku was not moving. His chest was not moving. His eyes were foggy. Eijiro took a deep breath.

 

IZUKU,” he half-yelled. The boy flinched. A soft round of laughs echoed in the room but at least Izuku was looking at him. Eijiro blushed. He waved the boy over. “Come on. I’ll show you to your seat.” Izuku’s moves were almost robotic but he, THANKFULLY, followed Eijiro. Izuku sat by the window in the second to last row. Eijiro sat in the table over.

Homeroom only lasts about thirty minutes before each student goes to their own classes.

 

Mrs. Saito sat down to her own muses.

It was like bee’s drawn to honey. All of the kids in their homeroom rushed over to interrogate the new kid.

 

“Hey what’s with the scars, dude?”

“And the handcuffs?”

“What’s your quirk?”

“Izuku, was it?”

“Hey-hey-hey you gotta say something!”

 

Eijiro panicked. He tried to get them away from Izuku but he was slowly pushed out of the crowd. “Guys- He’s- Hey- Wait- Give him-” Every attempt was fruitless. Ito leaned his arm on Eijiro’s shoulder. “So your parents actually went through with it?” Eijiro turned his eyes up to his friend. “It’s a shame your new bro’s so lame.” Eijiro’s eye twitched. “W- what…?” Yamamoto leaned on Eijiro’s other shoulder. “Yeah. At first, I thought he’d be all cool with all those scars but he doesn’t even talk? What’s he trying to pull? The cool and silent guy role?”

Eijiro narrowed his eyes. Are they stupid? Do they seriously think someone would get that many scars just to play the cool kid?

Eijiro is usually a pushover. He’ll admit that. But in that moment, he caught a glimpse of Izuku through the crowd.

 

-----

 

‘He will typically freeze up and his breathing will slow but his chest will rise at a smaller degree and a faster rate. He will grip anything nearby that looks like it would be normal to grab in that situation.’ Mr. Aizawa described Izuku’s panic attacks.

 

-----

 

There was a crack in the table where Izuku was gripping the edge of it so hard that it was actually breaking. Green eyes wide and staring at the wood, face pale, jaw locked, and chest barely rising a millimeter.

 

Ito pats his head. “Sorry, man. Sucks that you gotta deal with that.”

Eijiro snapped. He shrugged off his friends from his shoulders, took a deep breath and stepped forward.

 

EVERYONE SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

The room went silent. Heads slowly turned to him. Yamamoto and Ito had stepped back, shocked with hands up. Eijiro panted. He stormed through the crowd. Kids split like the Red Sea. Eijiro did the one thing he knew Izuku would respond to as Izuku’s eyes, not his body which was like a statue, were facing him. Eijiro stood in front of the greenette’s desk, turned and did it. He POWER POSED.

“Can you not see that he is obviously uncomfortable?! Stop pestering him. It’s rude!”

“Whooooooo!” A whistle came from the back. From Ito. “Wow. So the coward finally got a spine.” Eijiro’s eyebrows furrowed. Ito and Yamamoto called him that a lot but only when they were joking. They’ve never called him out like this before. Ito leaned on one leg, hand on his hip, face bored.

“They were only curious, Kirishima. He could have told them to stop.”

Eijiro bit his lip. He could feel himself starting to shake. “N- no. He’s mute.”

Yamamoto rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah. ‘Selectively mute’ or something. He can speak. Watch.”

“Hey-” Yamamoto pushed past Eijiro.

 

*SLAM*

 

He slammed his hands onto Izuku’s desk. The greenette flinched back.

“Hey,” Yamamoto spoke coldly, “you know it’s rude to not respond when someone is speaking to you, right?” No response.

“Y- Yamamoto, leave him a- alone,” Eijiro tried to sound confident but he stuttered a bit. Ito walked up behind him. “Why? What are you going to do about it, Co- wa- rd?” Eijiro dropped his head, fists shaking by his side. What can I do? I’m too weak… 

 

*BANG*

 

Everyone turned to the classroom door. Eijiro could have cried in relief. In all of her pink glory, Mina Ashido, the student body president top candidate for next year, stormed into the class. Everyone in the school respected her immensely.

“What the heck is everyone doing?” She growled. “I couldn’t help but hear the commotion and what do I find when I come in?” She pointed an accusing finger at Yamamoto and Ito. “Stop bullying the new kid. What are you, three?” Ito and Yamamoto blushed as the class laughed. Eijiro looked up at her slowly. Ashido grinned. “You two,” she pointed between Eijiro and Izuku, “sit with me at lunch, k?”

Ashido turned around, pausing at the door. “You are all students of Hills Alliance Middle School. Act like it.” She waved. “Ta ta!” Ashido left.

 

Ito and Yamamoto turned back to them. “S- sorry, man…” Ito apologized. They looked deflated. Who wouldn’t be after getting a talking-to by Ashido? A chorus of apologies sounded from around the room.

 

*RIIIIII-* *thump* *-IIIIIING*

 

Eijiro looked over to where Izuku had jumped and probably hit his knee on something when the bell rang.

 

He shakily turned to Izuku. “Hey, man, lets head to class.” The class had already dispersed. Eijiro furrowed his eyebrows. He bent down next to Izuku’s face when he thought he heard something.

 

“...imsorryimsorryimsorryimsorryimsorryimsorry…”

 

It was very quiet. Eijiro chuckled. He gently lay his hand on the smaller boy’s shoulder. Izuku flinched back so harshly he almost fell again. Eijiro didn’t remove his hand.

“Don’t apologize when you haven’t done anything wrong. You aren’t used to this many people. They just don’t understand. I promise it’ll get easier.” Izuku looked so shaken up. 

 

_______________________________

 

Chi Ito leaned against the wall of his homeroom outside the door.

 

“Come on, man. Let’s get to our next class.”

 

Chi left when he knew that Kirishima and the new kid were coming.

 

-----

 

‘EVERYONE SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’

 

-----

 

Chi clicked his tongue.

 

“Who does that coward think he is talking back to us like that?”

 

Yamamoto met him in their next class.

“So Kirishima’s gotten a bit of a spine now, ey?”

Chi slouched into his seat. “Yeah… And that dang Ashido just had to stick her nose in our business like that…”

 

Yamamoto pulled out the seat in front of Chi’s desk and sat backward on it, straddling the chair and leaning his arms on Chi’s desk.

“Guess we gotta knock him down a peg, ey?”

Chi scowled at his friend but his face soon split into a smile.

 

“Yeah. And his new ‘brother’ while we are at it, too.”

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro and Izuku did, in fact, eat with Ashido.

 

“Heya!” she greeted as the two boys sat down.

“H- hey, Ashido,” Eijiro greeted.

Izuku nodded.

 

“I hope ya don’t mind that I barged in back there,” she apologized.

“Not at all,” Eijiro assured her. “You really saved our hides back there! T- thank you!”

She grinned that cute grin of hers.

 

Wait- cute? Get out of your head, Ei!

 

“No prob! I don’t know why you are friends with those two. They are such jerks,” she growled. Eijiro rubbed the back of his head. “Haha… yeah…”

“Sorry,” she said. “I don’t mean to bash your friends like that but seriously. They treat you like a doormat.”

Eijiro looked down. “I know…”

 

Silence held for a bit.

 

“How about this!” Ashido piped suddenly. “Why don’t you two hang with me and the girls for now on?” Eijiro looked up at the pink girl and her friends in awe. “R- really?” Hino, the plump, teal-haired girl that often was seen with Ashido, nodded. “For sure! We would love to have you two!” The other girls nodded their agreements.

Eijiro smiled brightly. “T- thanks!”

 

Eijiro ate happily but his happiness turned to worry when he glanced over and noticed that Izuku had not even touched his food.

 

Please don’t relapse, please don’t relapse, please don’t relapse!

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku made it through his core classes with ease. There wasn’t much time for anyone to really pester him during them.

 

Aside from the initial homeroom, Izuku was beginning to think that maybe school wouldn’t be so bad. Then came electives. That meant he and Kirishima had to split up. Their schedules were something like this:

 

Izuku:

  • Homeroom
  • Reading
  • Science
  • English
  • Japanese History
  • Math
  • Mixed Martial Arts
  • PE
  • Foods

Kirishima:

  • Homeroom
  • Reading
  • Science
  • English
  • Japanese History
  • Math
  • PE
  • Art
  • Psychology

 

Izuku and Kirishima walked side by side in the halls. Izuku found that he often found himself tugging at his black sleeve and trying to cover up his scars. They drew so much attention… He knew they weren’t normal if the lack of scars on anyone else was anything to say. Kirishima had a small knick over his right eye but that was about it. Nothing as, how does one say it, showy? The raven-haired boy stopped. He pointed down the hallway. “Mixed martial arts should be down that hallway.” Izuku nodded.

 

“Are you going to be okay, man?” Izuku looked over at his friend. Was he going to be okay? Probably. Not. He’d be fine. No, he wouldn’t. Izuku nodded. Kirishima smiled that sharp-toothed grin of his. He POWER POSED. “Come on, you too.” Izuku deadpanned. Kirishima did not waver. Izuku swallowed a sigh and POWER POSED right along with him. The boy gave a thumbs up. “Have fun, Izuku!” He ran off. Izuku turned back down the hallway Kirishima had pointed at.

 

I can do this. He walked down the hallway. I can do this. I can do this. He found the door to the class. I can do this. He opened it to reveal a class in white Karategi. I can’t do this!

 

A tall adult male with long brown hair pulled into a ponytail came up to him. “Ah!” he exclaimed. “You must be Kirishima!” Izuku felt weird being called that but he supposed it was only natural. His last name was Kirishima now after all. Izuku gave a small nod. “I am your teacher. You can call me Bando-sensei.” He turned and pointed to a boy with slick white hair that Izuku recognized as… Who was it again? “Yamamoto!” Ah, right. From homeroom.

 

-----

 

‘Co- wa- rd?’

 

-----

 

“Go show Kirishima to the boy’s locker room and show him his locker!” Bando-sensei turned back to Izuku. “I understand that you don’t speak which will be fine but you will be required to greet your opponent before a fight verbally. Alright?” Izuku swallowed. He nodded stiffly. “Great. Now go follow Yamamoto to the locker room and get dressed. Your karategi is already in your locker. From now on, go straight there after class and get dressed before coming here.” Izuku nodded and followed Yamamoto out.

As soon as the door closed, the white-haired boy began speaking.

 

“So, no hard feelings from earlier, right?”

 

Izuku scanned the boy up and down. Yes, there were very much hard feelings. Izuku knew better than to pick a fight, though so he nodded. Yamamoto grinned with a face Izuku did not find genuine at all.

“Here is the boy’s locker room,” Yamamoto led him in. “Your locker is that one.” He pointed in the far left corner. Izuku could just make out the white karategi in the red locker. Izuku nodded. “Well! Go get dressed!” Yamamoto lifted his arm to slap Izuku on the back.

 

Wrong. Move.

 

As soon as the boy’s hand grazed Izuku’s shirt, it happened. Izuku twisted around it, reaching out and grabbing the taller boy by the throat. *BANG*

Yamamoto opened one of his closed eyes painfully from where he was being held against the row of red lockers. Grey eyes met green.

 

“C- ca’t b- br- breathe!”

 

Izuku’s eyes widened in the realization of what he was doing. He snapped his hand back and stumbled backward. Yamamoto slouched against the lockers coughing harshly and rubbing his throat.

“D- dang! *cough* I was only *cough cough cough* patting your back, man!” Izuku stood there a few seconds to catch his breath and slow his racing heart.

Yamamoto rolled his eyes. He straightened up. “Geeze. Just get dressed. I’ll be in the room.” Izuku nodded shakily. He went to his locker and opened it.

 

_______________________________

 

Shiro Yamamoto rubbed his neck as he left the locker room. He turned to close the door behind him but froze. 

 

That new kid was getting dressed. He peeled off his white shirt and that is when Shiro saw it: the enormous scar that spanned from the top of the greenette’s right chest to just above the left hip, along with a plethora of many other scars.

 

Shiro closed the door and walked down the hallway feeling sick.

 

-----

 

‘This is Kirishima’s brother, Izuku Kirishima,’ Mrs. Saito stated.

 

Shiro raised an eyebrow. Woah, dude. Nice scars.

 

-----

 

Shiro stopped in the hallway and gulped.

Nice scars my butt! What the hell was that?! Is he some sort of freak show or something?!

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku reentered the classroom, well, more like a dojo. A couple of kids were sparring. When one kid ended on her back and pinned, Bando-sensei stopped the fight.

 

“Alright! Line up!” Izuku did as he suspected he was supposed to do and popped onto the end of the line.

 

Bando-sensei cleared his throat and gestured to Izuku making every kid in line bend over and stare. Izuku swallowed.

“This is your new classmate, Izuku Kirishima. Yamamoto, I want you to spar with him just to get a sense of where he is at.”

 

“Er, Bando-sensei,” the snowy kid called out from somewhere in the line, “are you sure that is okay? I’m the top of this class.”

“Yamamoto!” The class stiffened at Bando-sensei’s sharp tone. “Do not get ahead of yourself. Get on the mat. Kirishima, you too.”

 

_______________________________

 

Shiro glared at Kiri- no, he was not calling him by that. He glared at Izuku, the scene in the locker room replaying in his mind. He had an easy give at that. I was unprepared. I am the top of this class. I won’t give him any openings.

 

They stood apart from each other.

 

“Greet your opponents!” Bando-sensei yelled.

 

Shiro bowed. “Let us have a good battle.” Izuku bowed too but did not speak.

“Kirishima! Greet your opponent!”

Shiro grinned. Perfect. Bando-sensei will get mad when he realizes he doesn’t speak.

 

“Kirishi-”

 

Let us-” Shiro’s eyes widened “- ‘ave a good fight.

 

Silence fell of the room. The tension in the air was so thick it could be cut with a knife. That voice was so thick. Izuku had a strange accent.

 

-----

 

‘So where did you come from?’

 

-----

 

And a stone-cold voice that sounded way to mature for someone their age. Shiro met Izuku’s. He felt sick as he stared into a void of sheer darkness.

 

Bando-sensei coughed quietly. Even he was throw off by the sheer amount of intimidation the boy brought with those simple words that they heard every day.

 

“Alright!” Shiro snapped out of his daze and got into a fighting stance. Izuku didn’t even change his standing position. He has so many openings! Is he crazy!? Bando-sensei lifted his arm. “Ready?” He brought it down. “FIGHT!”

 

Shiro bolted forward, keeping low, planning on grabbing the boy, flipping him, and pinning him down, a swift and easy win. It would most certainly NOT be a swift and easy win.

Izuku ran forward and DROPPED.

Eh?!

Izuku skidded beneath Shiro as if he were a baseball player taking a base. Shiro’s legs were kicked from under him and the white-haired boy fell over the boy. He collided with the ground. Quick to get to his feet, Shiro stood up.

His grey eyes widened as a punch came straight to his gut. The boy barely dodged to the right in time. He jumped back to recollect himself but the greenette was relentless. His opponent made another run at Shiro.

Shiro planned to use the boy’s momentum against him by throwing a well-timed punch but when he did, Izuku grabbed his arm and yanked Shiro forward. Shiro felt the air forced from him as the smaller boy kneed him in the stomach. HARD. Shiro fell over but refused to stop going. He rolled over to get up.

 

As soon as he stood, there was a small, scarred hand on his throat. Shiro’s eyes widened as his body fell and his back and head hit the mats.

 

“STOP!”

 

Shiro lay there panting, the greenette crouched beside him, left fist on the mat, right hand tight over Shiro’s neck.

 

“Kirishima, let go of Yamamoto,” Bando-sensei commanded. For a second, Shiro thought that the boy wouldn’t but he did. Eventually. Izuku stood up and rolled his shoulders which popped loudly.

Shiro sat up and felt his neck. He glanced up at Izuku.

 

Shiro’s heart stopped.

 

His grey eyes met with Izuku’s. From his standing position, Izuku was glaring down at him. Shiro stared into the darkness of those forest eyes. So void of anything.

He had taken him down that quickly without feeling a single thing.

 

Bile rose in Shiro’s throat. He promptly turned to the side and threw up his lunch.

 

_______________________________

 

“Kirishima, let go of Yamamoto,”

 

Izuku hesitated but let go of the boy he had pinned by the neck down.

He stood. Yamamoto sat up, holding his neck. Izuku glanced down at Yamamoto. Yamamoto looked up at him and their eyes met.

 

THREAT.

 

Yamamoto visibly paled and threw up.

Izuku was declared the winner. Yamamoto was taken to the nurse’s office and class went on with practicing training techniques on flipping an opponent.

When Yamamoto came back, their eyes met but the other boy was quick to break contact and look elsewhere.

 

Izuku couldn’t help but think when he did that: No, Yamamoto… is too weak to be a threat.

He looked around. Yamamoto is the top of this class? Weak.

 

After class, Izuku followed the boys to their locker room. He did not expect that they would all be changing together. Izuku held his breath. I’m supposed to… 

His heart rate skyrocketed. Izuku felt sick. Izuku got dressed as quickly as possible into his gym clothes as he had PE next, he would just bring his close to the gym locker rooms, but…

 

Dude.” He froze. “What the hell happened to you?” Izuku didn’t turn from his spot facing the corner as he was midway through pulling on his shirt. He gulped.

Scaling his back, he knew was a large marred patch of skin where a criminal who had a fire quirk had burned him, the scarred skin reaching before his pant line and covered most of his bottom back. Along with the other scars littered there, it wasn’t a pretty sight.

Izuku quickly got dressed the rest of the way, silence filling the locker room. Izuku was the first to leave.

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro was leaving the gym when Izuku passed him, head low.

 

“Izu- ku…?” The boy hadn’t even noticed him. Eijiro’s eyes widened when he realized that Izuku probably had to physically fight someone and change in front of other people.

Suck!

“S- sorry, Ito, go on without me.” Eijiro followed Izuku into the bathroom but the boy wasn’t there. There was a closed stall, however, with familiar red hightops in them.

 

Eijiro sighed. He leaned against the stall, to the side of the door.

“Did you know,” he started, knowing that Izuku would recognize his voice, “that cats are allergic to milk?” Just casual talk. EIjiro didn’t know what else to do.

… 

“R- really…?”

Eijiro smiled softly. “Well, sort of. Not really allergic. But it’s not actually good for them.”

“‘Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.’ Says Khalil Gibran.” Ejiro heard Izuku’s breath hitch. “We studied him recently in English. You weren’t here for that. The bell for the next class rang. Eijiro ignored it.

“Not all scars are bad, you know? They mean you survived.” Eijiro looked up at the sky. “If you hadn’t have survived, then maybe you would have never known us.

I am so happy you survived, Iuzku…” He heard a choked sob. Eijiro slid down and sat. He reached under the stall.

 

A small hand, skin rough and hard from years of pain and scarring, took his from the other side. The grip was tight, almost painfully so.

 

Still, it hurt much less than each broken cry Eijiro heard from the occupant of the stall.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku entered the gym late. He was chewed out for being late but was soon assigned to a spot on the gymnasium floor where he would sit every day before class started. Every student had a designated spot.

 

“Alright class!” the gym teacher yelled. “We will be starting our badminton unit. Find yourself a partner.” Izuku bit his lip. He didn’t know what to do.

 

“Kir- er- IZUKU!” He jumped and turned around. A pink-skinned girl came bounding over to him. Mina Ashido, his brain helpfully supplied. “Wanna be partners?” Seeing as he knew no one else, the girl seemed like the best bet so he nodded.

 

Ashido was nice. 

 

There was a similar reaction happened in the gym locker rooms after class too.

 

-----

 

‘I am so happy you survived, Iuzku…’

 

-----

 

Izuku went to his Foods class with his head held a bit higher.

 

He spent the class learning the basic rules and shadowing kids as they cooked. He would start cooking probably next week if he learned everything and passed the food handling test. Izuku could do that.

 

Soon, school ended.

 

*RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING*

 

Izuku met Kirishima outside of the school gates but hesitated. Ito and Yamamoto were with him. They were talking. Well, Ito and Yamamoto were. Kirishima was seemingly ignored, no matter how many times he tried to jump into whatever conversation the other two boys were having.

Kirishima noticed him and waved him over. The four walked down the sidewalk together. They soon came to Kirishim- Izuku’s and Kirishima’s house.

 

All stopped. Yamamoto still didn’t make eye contact with Izuku. Ito grinned. “See you at school, newbie.” Izuku very much disliked the way he said that and more so disliked how he completely ignored Kirishima’s presence.

 

Kirishima led the way through the gate, up the brick path, and into the house. “We’re home!” he announced. “Welcome home!” came the reply from Mrs. Kirishima somewhere in the house. As Izuku and Kirishima situated themselves on the couch, the woman came out of the hallway.

“So? How was the first day?”

Kirishima shrugged. “Its school.”

Izuku shrugged too, not knowing what else to do.

His stomach rolled.

 

Mrs. Kirishima narrowed her eyes. “Izuku, dear, did you eat your lunch?” Izuku lowered his eyes. She smiled softly. “Alright…” Izuku felt bad. He just… he couldn’t get himself to do it. “I’ll make some peanut butter and apple slices, okay?” she offered as she took their lunchboxes. “You two finish your homework alright?”

“Yes, Mom!”

 

Izuku pulled out his math homework.

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro chewed on the tip of his pencil. 

 

“Izuku can you-” He stopped when he looked up and saw Izuku leaned against the side of the couch, right half of his body sinking into the couch cushions, eyes closed. His chest rose and fell softly.

 

“I’m so happy,” Eijiro turned to face his mother who came in, “that he feels comfortable enough to just fall asleep like that.” Eijiro nodded. She handed him a plate of peanut butter and apples. “Thanks, Mom.”

She nodded. Mom gently slid her arms under Izuku and lifted him up.

 

“He must be exhausted,” she murmured. “He didn’t even flinch.”

Eijiro remembered homeroom and the bathroom.

“I am going to take him to his bed.”

 

“Alright.”

 

Eijiro watched her leave. He’d ask Izuku about question 15 later.

 

_______________________________

 

Yuma took off Izuku’s belt and shoes and unbuttoned the top buttons of his shirt to give him easier breathing while he slept. She placed the handcuffs on his bedside table. The woman pulled the covers over him.

Yuma hesitated before leaning down and laying a small kiss on the boy’s forehead.

 

“Great job, Izuku. I am very proud of you,” she whispered before turning off the light and closing the door behind her.

 

Chapter Text

Eijiro yawned, stretching his arms over his head as he and Izuku went to meet up with Ito and Yamamoto.

 

He glanced over at the green-haired boy. Yesterday he fell asleep after school too. It was like he needed a recharge after so much social interaction. He wondered if Izuku would fall asleep today too. 

Izuku didn’t eat his lunch again today, either.

Eijiro looked forward again at the commotion that was fading in from the school gates. There was a large group of students gathering.

“I wonder what’s going on,” he mused. Izuku shrugged. They met up with Ito and Yamamoto.

“What’s going on?” Eijiro asked.

Ito pointed over his shoulder. “Some fancy car is sitting in front of our school.” Yamamoto shrugged. “The car’s cool but the man driving it looks like a hobo."

 

Eijiro looked over at Izuku. “Wanna go check it out?” Izuku shrugged again. Eijiro skirted the crowd to get a good view. When they found one, they were greeted with a sleek black car without a roof. The wheels had purple rims. Izuku full-on deadpanned when Eijiro and he met eye to eye with Mr. Aizawa and that purple-haired boy.

Mr. Aizawa waved them over. “Sorry about this. Midnight insisted that we bring her car.” That was the greeting. Eijiro furrowed his eyebrows. “T- the hero?” He ignored how Ito came and rested his arm on Eijiro’s shoulder. Izuku nodded.

It clicked.

 

Eijiro snapped his fingers. “Ah! It’s Wednesday! You have training today, right Izuku?” The greenette nodded.

Yamamoto tilted his head. “Training?”

Eijiro nodded and looked at him. “Izuku is training to be a hero.” Yamamoto stared at Izuku for a long second.

Great.

Eijiro felt like something had happened between the two of them be he didn’t press it. 

Mr. Aizawa pointed over his shoulder. “Get in, kid.” Izuku nodded. The purple-haired boy slid over in the car. “Hey, ‘Zuku.” Izuku slid in beside him and nodded. 'Zuku? Is that a nickname for Izuku? Are they that close?

“See you at home, Izuku,” Eijiro waved. Izuku waved back. Then he turned specifically to Yamamoto and waved. Eijiro did not comment on the way the white-haired boy tensed.

 

Mr. Aizawa drove off.

 

“Wow,” Ito commented. “You’re new ‘brother’ is definitely going to get a reputation for this.” Eijiro chuckled wearily. “R- really?” They all began to walk home. Ito and Yamamoto began talking about whatever subject came first. Eijiro, walking behind them once again, came to realize that he missed Izuku walking home with them already because then he didn’t have to walk practically alone. Eijiro stopped by his house.

“S- see you guys!”

Ito and Yamamoto stopped. The stared at him for a moment before Ito stalked up to him and bent down to meet him eye-to-eye, getting way too far into Eijiro’s personal space.

 

“Say, why don’t you sit with us at lunch anymore?”

 

Eijiro gulped. “I- I mean, Ashido invited us to j- join her…”

“OH? That’s nice of her,” Yamamoto placed a heavy hand on Eijiro’s shoulder. “Don’t go getting ahead of yourself now, though.” Eijiro looked up at his friend. “W- what do you mean?” Yamamoto grinned. “I think that you know exactly what I mean. Stop acting like a big shot, Kiri. We all know how weak you are.”

Ito stood up straight. He combed his hand through his grey locks and spoke with a wistful tone.

“Such a shame that someone as weak as you has that quirk. It is such a waste. It’d be much better for someone with the ‘manly spirit’ to use it.” Eijiro hung his head. The way he worded that. They were mocking him. He knew they were.

 

So why does it hurt so much?

 

“All we are saying,” Ito hummed, “is that you need to remember your place. Alight, Kirishima?” Eijiro bit his lip.

Yamamoto squeezed his shoulder painfully tight. “ALRIGHT, Kirishima?”

Eijiro nodded slowly, not looking up.

Yamamoto pats his shoulder. “See you tomorrow, Kiri.” The two of them left.

 

Ah. That’s why.

 

Eijiro entered his house and fell to the floor as soon as the door closed, letting the panic attack he was suppressing since the start of that conversation break out. He curled up in a ball by the front door and cried. He didn’t hear her but Mom at some point had picked him up and sat with him on the couch with Eijiro in her lap. Eijiro cried harder.

 

Because it’s true… 

 

_______________________________

 

Shinsou pulled the string from Izuku’s back making Izuku go flying backward. Izuku twisted in the air as Shinsou ducked under his flying body but alas, Izuku was not fast enough to hit the dummy behind the boy and instead crashed into it and they both went tumbling down.

 

“Stop.”

 

Izuku groaned as he pulled himself to his feet. Sho came over to him.

“You hesitated.” Izuku didn’t meet the older man’s eyes. Sho sighed. “You do this every time, kid.” Izuku knew what he meant. He couldn’t help it! Every time he felt the string form Izuku felt like he was immediately thrown back into… THAT apartment with THAT woman.

 

Sho waved his son over. “Hitoshi, take the string.” Shinsou doesn’t hesitate anymore, he knows that Izuku will let him. Izuku can feel the grip on him in his chest.

 

“Izuku, what do you feel when  he takes it?”

Izuku furrowed his eyebrows. How does he describe this? His hands moved in frantic ways.

“L- like, er, a d- dull throb o- or something w- where ever i- i- it forms from? Or li-”

 

“That’s not what I meant,” Sho cut him off. “How do you feel emotionally? Mentally?”

Izuku felt a small tug on the string. He swallowed. “Izuku.”

 

P- pain,” he choked out. He could feel Shinsou’s grip on it waver.

“And?”

F- fear. Scared. H- hurt. Threat.” Izuku’s hands subconsciously lifted to cover his ears and he lowered his head. “T- there. Not again. N- not again, not again, not again.” He could feel the string disappear. Izuku dropped to the ground heaving. “Not again… Not again… Not again…

Sho knelt beside him. “Calm down,” he cooed as he rubbed soft circles on Izuku’s back. “You aren’t ever going back there. Breathe.” Izuku squeezed his eyes shut. He took deep, calculated breaths. One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three.

 

Izuku took one last deep breath before sitting up. Sho, gratefully, did not take away his hand on his back.

“S- sorry…”

Sho shook his head. “Don’t worry about it, kid. I’m actually more surprised that you are improving as much as you are considering we have only had about four sessions.” Izuku blushed a bit.

“‘Zuku,” Shinsou crouched in front of him. “Do you want to keep going? We can stop for today.” Izuku shook his head. He pushed himself up by his knees with newfound determination.

“No. L- let’s keep g- going.”

 

Half an hour later, Sho stopped them again. “Izuku, Recovery Girl is open now,” he held up his phone to show he was messaging her. “How about you go up to her.” Izuku got up off the ground. He stared at Sho’s phone. Izuku… didn’t trust Recovery Girl but… he trusted Sho. Izuku slowly nodded.

 

Izuku had a key into the building, courtesy of the Principal. Izuku stood in front of the old lady’s office. Deep breath. Deep breath. DEEP BREATH. The door opened. Izuku jumped back in shock as a somewhat taller boy with blonde hair and a plain face stood in front of him. 

THREAT. “Oh! My bad!” The boy exclaimed. “Sorry ‘bout that!” Izuku bit his tongue, instantly scanning the boy up and down.

“Mirio,” an old lady came from behind the boy, “shouldn’t you be getting to class?”

The blonde jumped. “Oh! Right! Thanks for the fix-up Recovery Girl!” The blonde’s blue eyes lingered on Izuku for a moment more before he waved. “See you around!” He took off running down the hallway.

 

“Don’t run in the hallways, young man!”

 

The boy, Mirio, stumbled a bit, arms pinwheeling before he caught himself and turned back with a wink and began to sort of speed-walk away.

 

Reocervy Girl shook her head. “Such a lively one that boy is.” She turned to Izuku. “Well, come in, sonny.” Izuku hesitated. She raised an eyebrow. Recovery Girl held out a bottle. “Gummies,” she said. “Before you start. To keep up energy.” Izuku forced himself to enter the nurse’s office. She held out her hand with a few bear-shaped gummies. Izuku accepted them.

 

“Alrighty then,” Recovery Girl started, putting away the bottle. Izuku popped on in his mouth.

 

Sweet…

 

She handed him a pad and pencil. “Sit down, boy.”

 

-----

 

‘Hey, boy! The ‘usual?’’

 

-----

 

Izuku sat down on one of the cots.

“So,” the elderly woman sat on her swivel chair, “we are here to discuss healing with your quirk. Aizawa mentioned how you did something similar before. Would you mind telling me what that is?” Izuku thought for a bit before writing on the pad that he realized she had given him knowing that Izuku would not speak. He flipped it around.

 

‘It was sort of subconscious. She took my string and I somehow transferred my “life energy” over to her. That is what Sho said.’

 

Recovery Girl narrowed her eyes. “Sho…?” she whispered. Her eyes widened. “Oh.” She nodded. “Okay, that’s a start but I doubt anyone of your comrades on the battlefield are going to willingly drain your life force so we need to find a way that you can do it without incapacitating yourself and of your own free will. There may be instances where your comrade is unconscious and cannot take the string.” Izuku nodded. That makes sense. “Tell me, sonny, have you ever tried to summon your strings yourself?”

 

Izuku’s eyes widened. Heck no I haven’t! He shook his head frantically. Recovery Girl tilted her head. “Why not?” The pencil hovered over the paper. Cause- well- It’s- WHY? Recovery Girl hummed. “You don’t know why, do you? You have a predetermined bias about your quirk. You personally don’t want it and associate it with too many bad memories to want to actually even have it. Don’t you?”

Izuku stared at the woman in shock.

“At some point, sonny, you need to realize that you have this quirk whether you want it or not.” She was stern but not unkind. “You know, Shinsou had a deep prejudice against him for most of his life because of his quirk, as you can imagine. He struggled with it a lot and still does some. But at some point, someone came in and showed him that it is not what his quirk is that matters but who he is and what he does with it. I think, and forgive me if I get ahead of myself, but I think that you have found people who see you for you and not for your quirk.”

Izuku’s eyes widened.

“I think that, like Shinsou, you have found people you can trust. Am I right?”

Izuku lowered his eyes. He nodded slowly.

 

“Someone long, long ago said that it isn’t a quirk that makes a person but the heart inside of that person that controls the quirk.” Izuku could visibly see the wisdom pouring out of the elderly woman. “Izuku, this prejudice you have has been formed by others and accepted by you.”

She looked him in the eyes.

 

You quirk is amazing, Izuku.

 

Izuku felt tears well in his eyes.

 

“Your heart is amazing. Through everything, you’ve worked to overcome your boundaries and even help people as a vigilante. I truly believe that if you can learn to accept your quirk as a part of you and not as something you could do without, you could turn your biggest weakness into your strongest weapon, sonny.”

Izuku’s shoulders shook as tears fell from his eyes.

 

They ended it at that as the door slid open to reveal Sho and Shinsou.

Izuku looked up at them through teary eyes.

 

Recovery Girl took his paper and pencil. “This is your homework. By next week, I want you to have written five things you are grateful for because of your quirk.” She wrote that down and gave it back to him. “Now off you go, sonny.”

Izuku nodded and stood up. He didn’t meet Sho’s and Shinsou’s eyes.

 

“Hitoshi, why don’t you go down to the car with Izuku, okay?”

 

“Yes, sir. Come on, ‘Zuku.” Izuku glanced back at Recovery Girl. She smiled. Izuku turned away and followed Shinsou out.

 

_______________________________

 

Shouta stared after them.

“So? How’d it go?” he asked.

 

Recovery Girl sighed. “Too much has been forced onto that boy, that’s what I think. Too much pain and rejection and denial. He’s like an animal that’s been whipped into submission.”

Shouta doesn’t like how accurate that sounds.

 

“Do you think you can help?” he asked.

“I’ll do what I can.”

 

Shouta nodded. “Thank you for doing this, Chiyo.”

She grinned. “It’s no problem, Shouta.”

 

_______________________________

 

Yuma heard the gate bell go off. Mr. Aizawa was at the gate.

 

Yuma went out to greet them. “Good afternoon, Mr. Aizawa.” The man bowed. “Good afternoon, Mrs. Kirishima.” She looked past him to where a purple-haired boy was currently shaking Izuku awake.

Her eyes widened as Izuku woke up swinging but the boy ducked and… stuck his tongue out at him. Izuku rolled his eyes and got out of the car.

 

“Welcome home, Izuku!” Izuku nodded and walked through the gate. “Would you two like to come in?” Shouta shook his head. “Hitoshi has school tomorrow. Thank you for the offer.” She nodded. “Have a good day.”

 

Yuma followed Izuku in. “Ah,” she started. “Ei’s in your guy’s room. He’s had a rough day.” Izuku studied her for a second before nodding sharply and walking away.

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro looked up from his homework when the door opened. Izuku, looking positively worn out, came in and face-planted into his bed. Izuku turned his face to look at him. Izuku half-groaned but pushed himself off of the bed. He crouched by Eijiro’s desk and placed his head on it.

 

“How was training?”

 

As if it was an answer, Izuku rolled his shoulder and Eijiro was greeted with a loud *POP*.

 

“Ouch…” He was sort of surprised by Izuku’s open display of being close to him.

 

“Kiri…” Eijiro jumped. He looked over at Izuku. Was that… a nickname? “Kiri… wants t- to be… a h- hero?” 

Eijiro froze at the question, the conversation with Yamamoto and Ito fresh in his mind. He looked down. “Y- yeah…”

Izuku nodded, well, the best he could with his head like that. The boy slowly stood. Eijiro winced. *pop* *Pop* *POP* Izuku flinched at that one.

“That sounds like arthritis reincarnates.”  Izuku deadpanned at him. Eijiro has come to realize that because of Izuku’s almost nonexistent expressions when he looked like that, he found something funny.

Izuku went over to his own desk and crouched by the row of notebooks. He placed one on his chair and a pen before wheeling it across the room and sitting by Eijiro.

Izuku flipped to the first page. He began writing stuff down. It took Eijiro a second to realize it was his own information.

 

What the heck is he doing?

 

Izuku looked up at him. “Q- quirk?”

 

-----

 

‘Such a shame that someone as weak as you has that quirk. It is such a waste. It’d be much better for someone with the ‘manly spirit’ to use it.’

 

-----

 

Eijiro looked down. “Why…?” He asked. “Why do you care?”

Izuku titled his head.

“I’m nothing special,” Eijiro admitted. “So why do you care?”

 

Izuku stood sharply and went back to his own desk. He came back a moment later and dropped a stack of notebooks on Eijiro’s desk with a *BANG* Eijiro stared at them. Izuku tapped on the top one. Eijiro looked at him. Izuku simply nodded. Izuku was still getting used to actually holding a conversation it would seem.

Eijiro had always been curious about the slew of notebooks Izuku had but he was too nervous to ask. Opening the first one, Eijiro was astounded by a very detailed description of a hero, sickened by the fact Izuku had listed many weaknesses and ways that he could possibly take them down for each, and then silently disturbed by the crude drawings. They weren’t bad, just not really good.

 

He was more disturbed by the fact that Izuku had plausible ways to kill each and every hero in the notebook.

 

“I…” Eijiro looked up from the third one and looked at Izuku.

I… m- make entrees f- f- for every g- great h- hero.

 

Suddenly, it dawned on him. Izuku lifted the notebook he had been writing in and pointed to the top that read:

Name: Eijiro Kirishima

Hero Name: ___’

 

Eijiro looked up at Izuku. Izuku slid the notebook over to him.

 

“N- name?”

 

If Eijiro cried as shakily filled in the section with his quirk and his dream hero title, Izuku didn’t mention it. He slid it back to Izuku and looked away.

“R- Red R- Riot.” Izuku said.

He was trying so hard to hold an actual conversation. It made Eijiro happy a bit…

“Hardening.”

Eijiro nodded. He looked back at Izuku, just a bit.

 

Izuku smiled at him.

 

_______________________________

 

Yuma leaned against the boys’ door as she heard them converse. Like, actually talk back and forth. She walked into the kitchen to prepare dinner.

Yuma remembered seeing Ei by the door crying after school, having another one of his panic attacks. Now she could hear him laughing about something in his room.

 

“Thank you, Izuku…” she whispered. “Thank you so much…”

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro crawled into bed after dinner. He looked over to where Izuku was getting into his bed. The poor boy looked dead on his feet.

Eijiro hummed. “What about you? What’s your hero name?”

Izuku blinked from his position on his pillow.

 

He reached his talking quota today, Eijiro mused.

 

“Are you going to use Golden Whip?” Izuku furrowed his eyebrows. The greenette turned and looked at the ceiling as if he was contemplating it. Eijiro chuckled. “How about we find one for you tomorrow?” Izuku glanced over at him and nodded. Eijiro turned off his lamp, the room going dark. He hesitated for a second before:

 

“Hey, Izuku…” He heard the boy shuffle in bed. “Um… thanks for today…”

 

There was no reply, but Eijiro knew the boy had heard him. That was enough. Izuku had gone beyond his normal boundaries today for Eijiro and Eijiro, whether he knew it or not, found more confidence in himself than he had ever had before.

 

_______________________________

 

“Threat…”

 

Shouta looked up from his computer screen as Hitoshi came into the living room drying his hair with a towel.

“Hmm?”

Hitoshi looked up. “When you asked Izuku how he felt when the string was grabbed he said ‘Threat.’ Does that mean he sees me as a threat?”

Shouta hummed and shook his head. “You know, I was thinking about that too. It seemed like an odd word to think, even considering the situation. But no, I don’t think so.”

Hitoshi nodded and walked over to the couch to read. “So then what did he mean by it?”

“I think,” Shouta said, continuing to type, “that is what Izuku perceives people or certain actions through.”

“What…?”

Shouta sighed and closed his laptop. He turned to Hitoshi.

 

“It’s like this.” Shouta held out one hand. “This is ‘Threat.’” Shouta held out the other. “This is, I think, ‘Safe.’ In Izuku’s mind, I’ve come to realize, that when he is around a new person, he puts them basically on a scale of how threatening they are to his safety. That can be altered by what they do. I think, in regards to training, he does not see you as a threat but the action of his quirk being used makes him flashback to the times he was under his mother’s control. I would say that if ‘Threat’ had a highest level, it would be Inko Midoriya, the lowest being Mary Lou. That is probably why he said that.”

 

Hitoshi narrowed his eyes. “He categorizes people based on level of threat?”

Shouta nodded.

“That… is a terrible way to live,” Hitoshi sighed.

Shouta swallowed.

 

That,” he said slowly, making sure to maintain eye contact with his son, “is the only way Izuku knows how to survive.

 

Purple eyes widened and Hitoshi’s face fell.

 

Chapter Text

April 27th, 2:34 AM




AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Eijiro shot straight up in the middle of the night to a blood-curling scream. He immediately threw off his blankets and shot to the door where he could already see his parents coming down the hallway. It was almost a procedure.

 

It had been a month since Izuku came to live with them and about two or three times a week, the boy in question would have night terrors. This was one of the sadly most common ones. Eijiro would wake up to a scream and see Izuku practically having a spasm in his bed as he fought off whatever he assumed was attacking him. Mom and Dad would be quick to come over and attempt to calm him down.

 

Other occurrences were Eijiro waking up in the middle of the night needing to use the bathroom and finding Izuku sitting straight up like he had done when he first moved in or Izuku curled into a ball silently whimpering and crying.

 

Eijiro watched with a pained heart as Izuku shot up swinging his arm. Dad had, after the first incident, since learned to duck. Izuku practically threw himself across the bed and off of it, cowering into the corner of the room, eyes blown wide. It must have been a particularly bad nightmare.

Dad slowly approached the shaking boy, boy low and submissive with his hands up.

“It’s okay,” he cooed. “It’s just me. No one is going to hurt you.”

Eijiro always felt so useless at these moments. He always wanted to help but he never knew how and he couldn’t very well leave Izuku like that. Especially not when he was spasming like he was. He could hurt himself if it got bad enough.

So Eijiro watched. Dad somehow got close enough to draw Izuku into his arms. Izuku was shaking so harshly that Eijiro could see Dad’s arms vibrating with the force of the SCREAMS Izuku was letting out.

 

His heart broke with every single one.

 

“Ei…” Eijiro turned to see his mom waving him out of the room. He followed her into the kitchen where she began making tea to help calm Izuku’s nerves. “I think,” she began slowly, “that they are getting worse…”

Eijiro hung his head. “B- but Izuku seems so normal during the day. He’s even talking more when he isn’t at school!” he whisper-yelled.

Mom let out a small sigh. “I know but I don’t know what is causing his nightmares to be this bad recently.” Eijiro bit his lip.

 

They were all tired. Izuku had woken up screaming every night this week and it was Thursday.

“I think it’s stress, honestly,” Mom spoke up. “Has anything been happening at school lately?” Eijiro shook his head. “Not that I know of.”

She stirred the cup of warm tea. “He can’t process it…”

Eijiro lifted an eyebrow. “Process what?”

 

Safety.

 

Eijiro swallowed thickly at the solemness of that word. Of what it meant. Or more of, what it implied about Izuku’s mind.

“He’s trying,” Mom sighed, “but fear comes so naturally to him it’s almost like it’s his second home.”

Eijiro looked back toward the hallway. “Safety…?”

“It’ll be fine,” Mom said, ruffling Eijiro’s hair. “He has only been here a month. I am sure that even if he never stops having nightmares the number of them will surely decrease. Izuku just needs time to get used to it more than others.”

“What does that mean?” Eijiro didn’t like the way Mom worded that.

Mom looked down at him. “It’s nothing, dear. It just means that Izuku needs a little bit of extra help.”

 

Eijiro followed her back to his room. Dad was sitting in the corner with Izuku curled up beside him, face buried in Dad’s pajama shirt, gripping it tightly. His shoulders heaved up and down but it seemed as though he couldn’t cry nor scream anymore. Mom leaned down and handed Dad the cup before stepping away.

“Here, Izuku…” Dad gently pushed the cup against Izuku’s hand. Izuku slowly looked up.

 

He looked so exhausted.

 

Eijiro took the moment of Izuku becoming aware of their presence to come over and sit by Izuku and Dad, not touching, and basically pressing himself against Izuku’s dresser, but enough to let his brother know that he is there.

Izuku, after having finished most of the tea, began to slowly drift off, too tired to keep his eyes open. Mom took the cup.

 

“Alrighty then,” Dad said softly as he moved, startling Izuku. He stood up and held out his hand. Eijiro could almost see the string form where Izuku’s eyes widened on this air. He had seen it a could of times himself but as per request from anyone who ever spoke a word, Eijiro did not take it, just like Dad didn’t. Izuku slowly reached up.

Dang, his hand is shaking so much!

Dad helped Izuku to his feet. “Do you want to sleep on the couch tonight?” Izuku nodded.

 

Eijiro didn’t know why but Izuku always ended up preferring the couch after a really bad nightmare.

About thirty minutes later, Izuku was settled in on the couch and fast asleep with the sound of ocean music from Dad’s phone playing next to the couch. It seemed to calm the boy down.

 

“He,” Dad started, “is not going to school tomorrow.”

Mom looked at him in shock. “Was it that bad?”

“You two were in the kitchen but,” Dad looked sick, “Izuku had said some pretty disturbing things in between his screaming.”

“As in?”

Dad glanced down at Eijiro before looking back at his wife. “We… will talk about them later.”

 

Eijiro decided he should step in as the bg, but still younger, brother. “I’ll make sure to get the homework he missed then!” Dad smiled down at him. “Thanks, bud. And thank you for being such a trooper through all of his.” Eijiro smiled at him.

 

“Of course! Izuku has helped me so much…” Eijrio admitted. “I- I want to help him too…”

Mom ruffled his hair again. “That is very admirable of you, Eijiro. I am sure he is very grateful. Now, off along to bed.”

 

Eijiro was just about to get in bed before deciding he needed to use the bathroom. Halfway down the hall, he heard his parents speaking. He didn’t mean to eavesdrop but Eijiro caught a few words.

 

Blood… 

Pain… 

 

and… 

 

Eijirio paled. He walked back from the restroom but paused, peering into the living room at Izuku who was sleeping.

 

Burnt flesh.

 

_______________________________

 

April 27th, 7:43 AM




Izuku sat up slowly to the sound of people milling around.

 

He blinked blearily. “Ah! Izuku!” He slowly turned his heavy eyes to Mrs. Kirishima who was coming out of the kitchen. “Good morning, dear. How are you feeling?” She came and sat beside him.

Izuku blinked a couple of times before remembering last night. Izuku could almost smell the burning and he could feel the phantom pain in his back. He jumped when a hand gently rested on his shoulder. Izuku turned his eyes to the woman beside him. She gave a small, sad smile. “Rest, dear,” she said softly. “You’ve had a long night.”

 

“B- b- but s- sc- school?” His throat felt raw.

 

“I’ll get the work for you!” Izuku whipped his head to the front door to see Kirishima at it. “Go to sleep man! You look like the walking dead!” Izuku deadpanned. Eiji- Kirishima waved at him and left. Slowly, Mrs. Kirishima stood and pushed Izuku back down onto the couch.

 

“Sleep,” she said. “I’ll have lunch for you when you wake up.” Izuku wanted to protest, to say that he could make it to school, but his eyes felt too heavy to stay open much longer.

 

_______________________________

 

Asa fixed his tie before leaving his room to go to work.

He kissed his wife on the lips, wishing her a good day. Asa walked through the living room but stopped to take in the sleeping form of Izuku.

He could just see it just barely where the blankets had slid off and the boy’s shirt had risen.

Charred skin that poorly healed, disappearing beneath shirt and pants. It was rough and course. He had felt it on accident while holding the boy. Obviously having had no medical attention when he had gotten it.

 

-----

 

‘It hurts! Please! Stop!’

‘I don- HELP!’

‘IT BURNS!!!’

 

-----

 

Asa swallowed the bile that rose in his throat. He swiftly walked over and pulled the blanket back over Izuku.

 

-----

 

‘ItbutnsitburnsitburnsitburnsitburnsITBURN!!!!!'

 

-----

 

Asa left the house for work, the screams of last night wracking through his skull.

 

He felt sick.

 

_______________________________

 

April 27th, 1:03 PM



Yuma checked the time when she heard Izuku sit up again.

 

One in the evening. He’s got to be hungry.

 

Izuku padded into the kitchen rubbing his eyes.

 

-----

 

‘He was asking for help, Yuma.’

 

‘Help?’

 

‘He actually thought he was being burned alive.’

 

 

‘Again…’

 

-----

 

“Good morning, sleepyhead!” she greeted. “Or, afternoon. Are you hungry?”

Izuku yawned.

“Y- yeah.”

Yuma smiled. “How about you go sit at the table and I bring you something, hmm?” Izuku blinked at her a couple of times before nodding and doing as told.

 

Izuku always did that. Whenever he was told or asked to do something, he would pause for a second. She wondered why but had a feeling that he was checking for motifs on why that person wanted him to do whatever was asked of him.

 

Yuma went to the fridge to pull out the sub she made earlier when she heard the tell-tale sound of cracking bones. “Izuku,” she said, turning around, “have you been using that cream I gave you?” The boy slid into his chair. He nodded at her.

“Has it been working?”

He nodded again.

 

Sure doesn’t sound like it…

 

Izuku looked perfectly ‘fine’ as he ate. He always looked as though nothing was wrong when he woke up.

 

It wasn’t long until Ei came home.




April 27th, 4:15 PM




*KNOCK KNOCK*

 

There was a muffled: “Why do you knock at your own house?”

Why? Because the green-haired boy next to me on the couch flinched as soon as the knock came and has his eyes trained to attack anyone who comes in if they are deemed ‘unsafe.’

 

Ei opened the door. “I’m home!” He walked into the living room after kicking off his shoes. A pink-skinned girl, a teal-haired girl, and a brunette with a long braid followed him in. 

“Er… these are our friends,” Ei gestured to them.

“Heya, Mrs. Kirishima!” Yuma recognized Mina Ashido. “Hello, Ashido.” The pinkette bent over and waved. “Heya, Izuku!” To Yuma’s surprise, Izuku actually waved back.

“Hello, Mrs. Kirishima,” the plump, teal-haired one bowed. “My name is Hino. I am sorry for the intrusion but we were worried about Izuku and wanted to come to check up on him.”

The braided brunette bowed. “I am Furuya, ma’am.”

 

Yuma smile and stood up. “It’s no problem at all! Any friends of my sons are welcome here! You are welcomed to stay! I’ll go make you some snacks.”

 

There was a chorus of “Thank you”’s.

 

It wasn’t long until lemon cookies came out of the oven. She could hear a roar of laughter from the living room as she dusted them down with powdered sugar. Yuma peeked over to see what was going on.

 

“Izuku! You look like a girl!”

 

Whoever had managed to get Izuku to tie his hair back in a small ponytail was amazing. Izuku, who seemed to be playing along, tilted his head back and forth, and even if his face never changed, the girls and Ei laughed. It’s like they… like they knew Izuku was mentally was making a face or playing along. They didn’t care that he wasn’t speaking or that he didn’t have emotions that visibly displayed. Aside from being so monotone, Izuku looked like a regular middle schooler.

Eijiro, too.

He seemed happier with these friends. Ever since Izuku came, Eijiro has had fewer panic attacks surrounding being left behind or having no friends. He smiled more. He drew more because he had friends to show. He laughed more.

It was honestly such a blessing.

 

Yuma took a picture.

 

She came out with the plate of cookies. “I think he looks just darling!” That earned another round of laughs. Yuma smiled. “How does lemon cookies sound?”

“Great!” Izuku perked up too. Yuma smiled and set them down. “Thanks, mom!”

“Thank you, Mrs. Kirishima!”

 

She smiled and walked over to the couch. The kids were helping Izuku with the material they learned today when she got the call.




April 27th, 5:54 PM




*Riiiiiiing* *Riiiiiiing *Riiii-* “Hello? Yuma Kirishima speaking.”

‘Mrs. Kirishima, it’s Aizawa.’

He sounded in a rush. “Oh, hello, Sir. What can I do for you?”

 

‘Bring Izuku to the hospital. Quickly.’

 

Her heart stopped. Oh please no… Not today… “I- is something wro-”

‘It’s Mary Lou, she’s- she doesn’t have much time. Please hurry.’

The call cut off.

 

Yuma set down the phone. With the best smile she could force on her face, she stood up. “I’m sorry everyone but I need to take the boys somewhere. Do you think we could cut this short?”

There was some worry but no one questioned it. As the girls were leaving, Yuma crouched beside Eijiro.

“Ei,” she whispered, “I need you to go pack one of Izuku’s hero plushes and a soft blanket and the headphones we use for his panic attacks.” He looked at her worriedly. “I- is everything ok-” She shook her head slowly effectively cutting him off. Eijiro nodded. “Alright.”

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro scrambled to get everything. Something was wrong. He didn’t know what but he did know that it had to do something with Izuku which was not going to help how terrible the boys day had already started. In a bag, he packed the boys fluffy All Might blanket, a Present Mic plush, an Eraserhead plush, and the headphones as Mom had ordered.

 

He was leaving his room when he was stopped still by an:

 

“IZUKU!!!”

 

Eijiro rushed into the living room to find Izuku on the floor on all fours heaving. Eijiro didn’t wait for commands. He rushed over and pulled the blanket over the boy. Mom looked at him gratefully. After a minute of trying and failing to get Izuku to respond, Mom did what she deemed the best choice despite the circumstances. She picked Izuku up and swaddled him in the blanket.

“We have to go.” Eijiro couldn’t help the way his body was shaking.

 

Mom set Izuku down in the back seat. Eijiro had to question if he was breathing or not. Suddenly, the boy jolted. He looked up at Mom shakily.

 

J- j- j- j- joke?

 

Mom’s face fell. She smiled wobbly and smoothed back Izuku’s green hair. Mom placed a small kiss on his forehead. She closed the door and got in the driver’s seat. As they drove, Izuku never left that position.

 

What’s going on? Where are we going? What’s wrong?

 

Eijiro didn’t have to wait long to have his questions answered as they pulled up to the hospital.

Izuku was gone in a second, flying out of the car, the door swinging open.

“Izuku, wait! Eijiro get the stuff!”

Eijiro frantically gathered everything and followed his mother and brother in.

 

“Kid, calm down.”

 

Eijiro walked into the waiting room to see Mr. Aizawa and Shinsou. Izuku was clinging to the taller man with desperation in his eyes.

 

“W- w- where!? Sh- She- Where! N- n- need to s- see h- her!”

A tall man with long yellow har came rushing in, immediately coming over to Izuku and crouching beside him. Izuku changed targets.

“W- where!” his voice was rising. “Y- Y- Yami w- whe- sh- she- W- where M- M- Mary Lou?!”

 

A nurse came out. “Those for Ms. Mary Lou Takakawa.” All heads turned.

 

-----

 

‘Ms. Takakawa isn’t going to be with us much longer.’

 

‘Ms. Takakawa is dying.’

 

-----

 

It clicked.

 

And it hit him like a rock.

 

Eijiro followed behind the group as they walked the hospital corridors. Izuku had already taken to the Present Mic plushie. They stopped outside a room and entered to find a wall with a large window. On the other side was a woman. A brown-haired woman, thin and sickly pale, attached to so many machines Eijiro got dizzy.

Izuku practically threw himself at the glass, dropping everything. No-one stopped him. The woman Eijiro now BARELY recognized as Ms. Tawakawa looked over, the breathing mask on her face preventing her from turning her head too much.

 

“M- Mary Lou!” Izuku pounded on the glass. She smiled. “P- p- please d- don- d- d- don’t go!” Eijiro had to look away. He noticed that nobody else had the heart to look up either.

 

“Iz- ku…” the voice came through a speaker, raspy and weak. “Sm- le -boy.”

Izuku shook his head furiously, tears flying. “S- stop! D- d- don’t sa- say- No!”

 

At this point, the yellow-haired man walked up behind Izuku. He placed a gentle hand on the boy’s shoulder. He didn’t do anything else. Just to show that he was there.

 

“Y- u will -e a gr- at he- ro, boy.”

 

“M- M- Mary! Please!”

 

Eijiro was crying. He could see his mother was too. She drew him into a hug. Everyone was crying. Izuku was pounding on the glass screaming.

“Pl- se take c- re of -im.”

“Shu- No! Do’t say- 

 

Iz- ku,” Mary Lou was crying too, “I lo- ve you.

 

*BEEEEEEEP------------------*

 

MARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




April 27th… 6:44 PM - Mary Lou Takakawa was officially announced: Deceased.




The wails of Izuku could be heard throughout the entire hospital. Doctors tried to resuscitate her but to no avail. The adults had to pull Izuku from the room as he cried and clawed at them trying desperately to get to a person who was no longer with them.

The yellow-haired man had Izuku in his arms who was kicking and screaming.

“I need- Sh- she- Do’t- can’t- Stop- DON’T TAKE HER FROM ME!

Eijiro felt tears fall harder from his own red eyes at Izuku’s first coherent sentence since entering this building.

 

In the waiting room, a few people stared as they entered the room.

No one made eye contact though.

 

The yellow-haired man sat Izuku in a chair. No words were said, he just drew Izuku into a tight embrace.

 

And Izuku cried.

 

He pounded against the man’s back, screaming into whatever void he was constantly trapped in. The void he was falling deeper into. Mr. Aizawa sat beside him and Shinsou on the other side, forming a ball. Two other people ended up coming in, not having to ask as they joined the group hug. A tall woman with long purple hair and a blocky man who was obviously Cementoss.

 

Eijiro cried against his mother and at some point, Dad arrived and joined them.

 

They were loud but the hospital employees did not have the heart to ask them to quiet down or to leave.

 

The group hug dispersed some as Izuku’s wails died down but the greenette stayed in the yellow-haired man’s embrace. Their position did not change.

Eijiro learned that the woman was Pro Hero: Midnight.

He knew that Cememtoss was Cementoss.

He learned that the yellow-haired man was Pro Hero: Present Mic.

And that, even compared to his adoptive father,

 

… that man is the closest thing Izuku has to a dad.

 

Izuku sat in Present Mic’s lap bridal style curled up in the blanket and staring blankly into space with the headphones on, probably with ocean music playing as he clutched the Present Mic and Eraserhead plushes until his fists were white. Shinsou sat beside them holding up his phone and flipping through pictures of cats despite the awkward position as he held it in front of Izuku who was not responding to a single one.

 

Mom and Dad were talking with Mr. Aizawa and the other two heroes.

“No, he can’t stay with us tonight,” Mr. Aizawa said. “He needs to stay with you. You are his family now and if anyone needs to help him through this, it will be you.”

Dad nodded. “I understand.”

Eijiro sat beside Izuku on the other side, draping Izuku’s legs over his own and leaning against the man. Just to be close. Just to let Izuku know that he wasn’t alone.

 

Dad had driven separately so Eijiro sat in the back with Izuku as Mom drove. They all met at home.

 

Izuku had yet to say a single word, understandably.




April 27th, 8:56 PM




Eijiro sat beside Dad as the man was sandwiched between him and Izuku, Izuku leaning against the man, awake, but not really looking anywhere. Mom was in the kitchen preparing something.

Izuku, strangely, sat closer to Eijiro than normal at dinner. Not that he minded. Izuku didn’t eat. He stared blankly at the food. Mom and Dad tried to get him to speak. He didn’t.

Dad, Eijiro, and Izuku all at in the living room doing something that at least had Izuku’s mind occupied. They played cards that Izuku somewhat contributed to. At least he was doing something.

Dad looked up, Eijiro following his line of sight to see Mom peeking out of the kitchen. Izuku was coaxed back onto the couch.

Eijiro sat beside him as Mom and Dad conversed.

“Izuku?” Izuku looked up slightly at the sound of Mom’s voice. She came out, Dad following, with a plate in her hands. Izuku’s eyes widened slightly.

 

“The usual?”

 

-----

 

‘‘Usual?’’

 

‘Yer. Before the kid had even been livin’ with Mare he’d come in maybe two, say, three times a month fer it.’

 

‘W- what is it?’

 

 

‘Strawberry shortcake with extra strawberries and whip cream and some milk. Yer wouldn’ think it but the kid’s a fanatic ‘bout sweet stuffs.’

 

-----

 

It seemed impossible, but tears once-again filled Izuku’s eyes.

He took the plate with shaking hands. Mom and Dad sat on either side of the boys.

 

On the plate was a small silver fork that had a green handle with gold flecks.

 

-----

 

‘Now next time you come in, you have to bring that, okay?’

 

-----

 

“You know, Izuku,” Dad hummed as Izuku stared down at the treat, “Ms. Ta- Mary Lou… loved you very much.” Izuku hung his head. “Right now, you might feel alone but… she wa- isn’t the only person who loves you.” He gently lay a hand on Izuku’s shoulder. “We love you too, Izuku. We won’t let you suffer through this alone. Because-

 

_______________________________

 

“- as much as you might have had to suffer alone on the streets, you aren’t on the streets anymore.” Izuku bit his lip as he listened to Mr. Kirishima speak.

 

“You don’t have to bottle it up anymore.” His heart twisted. Bottling it up? That was something Izuku was good at.

 

Emotions are…

“Emotions are…”

… a weakness.

 

... what makes you human.

 

Izuku’s breath hitched.

 

“Did you know, Izuku, that you have a beautiful smile?” Mrs. Kirishima asked softly. Izuku’s shoulders shook. “Did you know that your laugh, your genuine laugh, makes other people smile?” His vision began to get watery. “Did you know that we love it when you are happy?”

Izuku choked on a sob.

 

Did you know… that it is okay to smile?

 

Izuku didn’t understand. Okay to smile? What does that mean? Don’t let people know. Don’t let people see. Hide. Cover-up. Danger. Threat.

He stabbed the fork into the shortcake and took a bite to muffle his cries.

 

“Tears too,” Mr. Kirishima continued, “are okay. Happy ones… Sad ones. It’s okay, Izuku, to feel these things.” Kirishima bumped his shoulder gently and smiled. “It’s okay,” the man kept going, “to show these things.”

Izuku took another bite as more tears fell.

“People weren’t meant to survive in this world alone but to thrive in it together. Joy, pain, heartbreak, and laughter, and smiled, and tears, and all of it! They are meant to be shared.” Izuku was guided into a hug. He let the fork drop with a *clank* and he grasped Mr. Kirishima’s shirt.

 

“Please don’t hide it, Izuku…” he whispered. “Don’t suffer alone.” Mr. Kirihisma rested his chin on Izuku’s head.

 

We will suffer with you.

 

Izuku, for the third time that day, broke into a fit of tears.

Kirishima and Mrs. Kirishima leaned over and joined the hug and even though Izuku was crying and his heart hurt and his lungs felt like they couldn’t get enough air and his blood roared in his eyes and he couldn’t see straight…

 

Izuku knew he wasn’t alone.

 

_______________________________

 

April 27th, 10:04 PM




Yuma put away the rest of the strawberry shortcake for later.

 

Asa came in and wrapped his arms around her waist, placing a gentle kiss on the base of her neck.

 

“I think,” he said quietly, “that despite Ms. Takakawa’s death, Izuku needed that conversation.” Yuma nodded, leaning into her husband’s touch. “Me too. He needed to be told that he could…”

She faded off.

 

“Be human?” Asa asked. Yuma bit her tongue and nodded. “Yeah…” Yuma turned around and kissed him. “How are the boys?” Asa tilted his head in the direction of the living room. Yuma quietly padded through the kitchen to see.

 

Eijiro, despite being a few months younger, was bigger and definitely played big brother well. He was laying on his side with Izuku curled up next to him on the couch, facing Eijiro with his head tucked against the bigger boy’s chest. Ei’s arms draped across Izuku, left one underneath the smaller boy. Izuku looked as though he had been clinging to Ei’s shirt but his grip had loosened since falling asleep.

It was funny, really, to think that Izuku was actually such a clingy person. Or maybe not.

Maybe he was just touch-starved…

 

“Ei really fits the big brother position,” Asa mused behind her. Yuma nodded. She walked over and pulled out Izuku’s blanket from his bag, draping it over the two boys. A moment later, Asa came in with the guest pillows and gently lifted each boy’s head to slide one underneath each.

 

Yuma snapped a picture. For the album, of course.

 

_______________________________




At 12:01 in the morning, on April 28th, the worst day of Izuku’s life came to a close.

 

Chapter Text

Eijiro woke to a small vibrating body neck to him and the sound of quiet whimpers. He looked down, taking a second to process that he and Izuku had fallen asleep together, and another to realize that Izuku was crying in his sleep.

 

Eijiro internally panicked. What was he supposed to do!? He couldn’t wake the boy, for safety purposes, or call out to his parents, also for safety purposes.

 

Eijiro bit his lip. He slowly rose his hand that was not underneath the greenette’s body, also that had fallen asleep -ouch-, and did what Mom does when he’s crying or hurt. Eijiro pet Izuku’s head. “Shhh… It’s okay. It’s alright.” This is weird. Eijiro had no idea what the heck he was doing so he just kept trying to calm down the crying boy in his arms that he didn’t even know if he could hear him or not.

Gradually, the tears did stop streaming and Izuku’s face relaxed slightly. The shaking didn’t stop but he wasn’t shaking as much which Eijiro guessed was a good thing.

 

The next time Eijiro woke up, it was to the sound of Mom in the kitchen. Eijiro looked down. Izuku was still sleeping. It was around the time when Eijiro could hear a very quiet beeping from his room that Izuku began to stir. His alarm clock was going off. Like clockwork, Izuku’s eyes opened. It occurred to Eijiro that Izuku might freak out about waking up like this when Izuku immediately went stiff in his arms.

Eijiro looked down. “Ah,” Izuku flinched, “you’re awake.” He smiled when Izuku glanced up at him. “Sorry, I didn’t want to wake ya. Want to get up?” Izuku nodded. With as much caution as he could give, Eijiro slowly unraveled himself.

 

 

 

The change was obvious.

 

Izuku ate less, looked up less, spoke less, or, well, not at all anymore. And that was fine. They would give him time to process it.

 

Time and all of the care and love they could offer.

 

_______________________________

 

The funeral was a week later.

 

Izuku stood in front of the grave covered in pink roses as the guests dispersed. Yami stood to his left, Shinsou and Kiri to his right.

Izuku looked up, trying to stop the tears he could feel welling up in his eyes again.

 

“Y- Yami…” The man looked down at him. “Hmm?”

 

-----

 

‘Please don’t hide it, Izuku… Don’t suffer alone.’

 

-----

 

“I- It hurts,” Izuku choked out. Yami rested a hand on Izuku’s shoulder. “I know.”

“W- why?”

“Why what?”

The tears wouldn’t stop.

“W- w- why d- does it ‘urt ‘o m- much?”

Izuku could hear the sharp intake of breath the man took in.

 

“Because you are human, Izuku.”

 

The clouds parted and a soft, yellow glow shone down on the residents of the cemetery.

 

“You feel things, believe it or not,” Yami spoke softly.

Izuku hung his head. “W- what a- a- am I f- feelin’ r- right now? W- what t’is t- this f- feeling…?”

“What do you think it is?”

Izuku squeezed his eyes shut. “I- It- don’- Pain…” he forced out. “S- sad. H- hurt b- b- but no’ physical. Ju- I- I- Can’- I don’ know wh- what i- it t’is…”

 

“That’s what we call ‘Grief’, Izuku.”

 

Izuku looked up at the man through teary eyes. “D- do y- you feel i- it too?”

The grip on his shoulder got slightly tighter.

 

Yeah…” Yami whispered. “I feel it too.




The houses and roads passed in a blur on the way home. Izuku didn’t know what to do with this feeling in his chest. It was like a hole had opened up and was gradually getting wider and wider.

Mr. Kirishima joined him on the couch. “How are you feeling, bud?”

Izuku furrowed his eyebrows. The man waited.

 

-----

 

‘We will suffer with you.’

 

-----

 

“I-” Izuku bit his lip. “Empty.

Mr. Kirishima leaned back into the cushions. “Care to elaborate?”

Izuku didn’t know how to put it into words. His hands moved sort of up and down as if he were trying to physically express it. “L- like- I- It’s like-” He lowered his hands and stared at the ground. “N- not here,” he decided on.

“Not… here?”

Izuku nodded, subconsciously curling himself into a ball. “B- back on s- streets. N- no one else. J- just me. A- alone. C- c- cold and e- empty.”

“You-”

 

“Not alive…” Izuku whispered. He buried his face in his arms.

 

… “Izuku, dear?” Izuku felt the couch did next to him. Mrs. Kirishima. “You… you do know that you are alive… right?” She sounded hesitant about the question. Izuku grit his teeth. His fists curled so tightly that they drew blood. He squeezed his eyes as tight as he could.

 

“Don’...”

“Don’t?”

Izuku ducked his head further.

 

Don’t w- want to b- be ‘live…” He could feel his lungs shrinking and the room closing in on him. His chest tightened uncomfortably. “‘urts to l- live… T- too much. I- I- I can’ un’erstan’ i- it. All pain. P- pain-” He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t hear anything. His lungs screamed for air but he couldn’t give them any. “P- p- pain a- and a- a- and I don’ un’erstan’ w- why.”

He could feel someone pull him into a hug but he didn’t register it.

“W- why w- won’t it s- s- stop? Why is- Why am I- I always u- un’er attack?”

His chest heaved, heart pounding painfully against his ribcage and blood roaring in his ears.

 

W- why a- am I a- a- alive?

 

_______________________________

 

Yuma couldn’t help the tears from falling.

Izuku finally opened up about his feelings but now that he did, Yuma wasn’t sure that she wanted to have heard it. She clutched the boy against her as he rambled, trying oh so hard to explain with the vocabulary he had just what he was feeling.

 

“W- why a- am I a- a- alive?”

 

She buried her face in his green locks at his honest question.

Eijiro, who was sitting in the far recliner, stared with wide eyes. Asa swallowed thickly.

“D- don’ want… to d- deal…” Izuku was hyperventilating, they all knew this, but they also knew that he had to say this. “Don’ want t- t- to deal w- with this a- any- anymore… Can’ ‘andle i- it.” His body shook violently against his. “Can’ d- do it anymo- re.”

Izuku looked up as though he had a sudden realization.

 

Don’t wanna play ‘alive’ anymore.

 

Yuma choked on a sob. He didn’t even realize that she was hugging him. He looked so exhausted. His shoulder’s relaxed. 

“Ha…”

He let out the sickest, most heartwrenching laugh she had ever heard.

“Ha. Ha! HA!” Izuku was just staring at the ceiling laughing and crying and he didn’t even know why and Yuma could do nothing as everything the boy had been bottling up finally came pouring out in the worst possible way.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!” Yuma watched as Izuku doubled over her arm that she was holding him by, only her own strength keeping him on the couch. The laughs became choppy as Izuku forced air out of his lungs that wasn’t there in the first place. She could see that he as gripping his arms so tightly that he was drawing blood.

 

“A- Asa!?”

 

Asa was already running. Eijiro was crying.

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”

Asa came in with their specialized first aid kit. Yuma choked as she realized what Asa was about to do. She had hoped they would never have to use it.

 

The needle sunk into Izuku’s arm. Slowly, the laughing died out.

“HAHAHAHaHaHahahaha…”

Izuku’s eyes turned glossy. He hiccuped a few times before his eyes rolled back and he passed out.

 

They just sedated their son.

 

Yuma let out a breath. She heard the hiccups from Eijiro who was crying in his chair. Yuma looked over at him, then at Asa.

“Asa…” she whispered. He looked down. “Please go put Izuku in bed. We need to talk as a family.” She stood up.

 

“I- Izuku,” Eijiro choked out, “i- is ap- art of it too.”

 

Yuma bit her lip. “He is, dear, but we need to have a little chat about him.”

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro watched as Mom and Dad sat on the couch. Dad pat beside him. Eijiro stood and sat between his parents.

Dad took a deep breath.

 

I think we need to consider if Izuku should stay here or not.

 

Eijiro’s eyes widened. “W- what do you mean?”

“Ei,” Dad said softly, “I mean that we may not be able to help him and we need to consider the consequences of keeping him.”

Eijiro tilted his head. “What consequences?”

 

Mom spoke up. “What it will do to us, Ei,” she said softly. “He’s… not stable. Eijiro, Izuku…” she hesitated.

“Izuku what?” Eijiro didn’t mean for it to come out as accusingly as it did but it did.

She furrowed her eyebrows. “Izuku might not be healthy for you, dear.”

Eijiro’s heart dropped. “Wh- what…?”

Dad nodded. “You are only twelve. We have asked a lot of you to act as a big brother to Izuku but in reality, it might have been too big of a task for even us to handle. You are too young to have to deal wi-”

 

“'Act?'”

 

Eijiro hung his head as the word came out. “What do you mean ‘act?’”

“Ei?”

Eijiro stood sharply and spun around to glare at his parents.

 

“Maybe it was all just an ‘act’ to you,” Eijiro placed a hand on his chest, “but to me, I wasn’t acting! I- Izuku is my brother!”

“Eijiro, de-”

“DON’T!” He narrowed his eyes. “‘Too big of a task?’ Have to ‘deal’ with?” His shoulders shook. “I may not understand all of this fancy adult talk but it would seem to me that you haven’t really looked at Izuku at all! You see his trauma but not the boy he is underneath it!”

 

“Eijiro, that’s enough-”

 

“NO, IT ISN’T!” He huffed. “Have you seen him smile? I have! In our room sometimes he smiles. He LAUGHS! He- He cares too! Even on the worst of days, he knows when I am sad or hurt and he tries to help despite not being able to form a sentence or act as normal. Izuku...”

“Okay, Eiji-”

Eijiro took a deep breath.

 

IZUKU IS NOT JUST A VICTIM!

 

Dad stood up slowly. “Eijiro calm down. We aren’-” “Don’t touch me!” Eijiro slapped away the hand Dad was extending.

Dad’s stern face showed up. Eijiro gulped.

“Eijiro Kirishima, don’t talk about things you don’t know. We haven’t even finished our conversation and you are assuming things.”

Eijiro hung his head. “Am I? Cause what it sounds like to me is that you are planning on throwing him out.”

 

“We are simply trying to decide what is best for our family.”

 

Eijiro felt his eyes water. “You said he was family.”

“Dear, he is. It’s just-”

Did you know…” Eijiro cut her off “... that I don’t hang out with Yamamoto and Ito anymore? Know why? Izuku stood up to them for me because I couldn’t.”

“What do you mean, dear?” Mom asked. Eijiro bit his lip.

“I mean,” he started slowly, “that they have been bullying me for years and Izuku, despite his discomfort, spoke to them. Two weeks ago. He told them off in front of the whole school during lunch with only a few words. A- and Yamamoto tried to punch him but Izuku easily put him in a headlock. Izuku had a panic attack in the bathroom right after. Even though he was tormenting himself by even speaking, he did. He defended me.”

 

“That was very sweet of hi-”

 

“Did you know that…” Eijiro took a wavery breath “... that Izuku gave me a nickname? He calls me ‘Kiri’ now. Only in our room, but he does. Did you know that he has an entree for me in his hero notebooks? Did you know that he has been helping me train my quirks endurance after school?”

Eijiro hung his head.

“Did you know that he believes in me when no-one else does?”

 

Mom furrowed her eyebrows. “Eijiro we do beli-”

 

“No you don’t,” Eijiro turned his head away. “I know you don’t believe that I can be a hero.” Eijiro looked up to them with a sad smile. “Izuku does. Oh! And Ashido! Did you know he actually spoke to her a couple of times?” This seemed to shock his parents even more. “Yeah! He says good morning to her and goodbye! He truly does! Did you know that? Do you even know how much he has improved?” Eijiro looked between his parents. “He only snapped because you kept pressuring him to!”

 

“It something he needed to get out,” Dad said sternly.

 

“M- maybe so but maybe not right then.” Eijiro looked at Mom. “I understand what you mean by he needs a little more help now but that also means he has a slower pace of processing certain things, right? I’m taking psychology so I know at least that much! But right after the funeral, you pressed him to state his feelings but he didn’t even know what they were.”

Hurt flashed in Dad’s eyes but Eijiro pressed on.

“Izuku feels pressure. A lot of pressure. He wanted to answer you so he forced out the first thing he could think of and when it made sense he took it because that is all he knows how to do!”

 

Eijiro knew it was a low blow but he turned to Mom and said:

“Izuku did not feel ‘safe’ at that moment.”

 

Her eyes widened. Eijiro ignored the guilt he felt. He looked at the ground.

“He…” Eijiro furrowed his eyebrows.

 

Did. You. Know…” he leveled his voice, raising his eyes to meet his fathers.

Did you know that Izuku trusted you?

 

He chose the word ‘trusted’ on purpose. As a final blow, Eijiro left them with:

Did you know that I trusted you?

“Eijiro…”

He ignored his father and turned around. “Please excuse me as I go to mine and Izuku’s room so that I can be there when MY BROTHER wakes up.”

It was not a question. Eijiro did not wait. Nor did his parents stop him as he stormed off to Izuku’s and his’ room, closing the door with more force than necessary.

 

Eijiro felt a few tears fall as he leaned against the door.

 

Mom and Dad looked so hurt…

 

He looked up to where Izuku was sleeping. Eijiro took a deep breath. He rolled his desk chair over by Izuku’s bed and sat down with his sketchbook. He had been working on it for the past month. It was almost done. Originally a birthday gift for Izuku but he decided that if he finished it now, he would give it to Izuku when he woke up.

So, in the lamplight, he drew.

 

Ignoring the muffled cries he could hear from his mother in the living room.

 

Chapter Text

Green eyes opened slowly, blinking a few times before actually focusing. Even then, they weren’t really focused.

 

Izuku pushed himself into a sitting position but immediately regretted it. He held his head as his skull pounded painfully. His vision was slightly blurry and his eyes felt so heavy.

“-ku. C- -ou hea- -e? Iz-”

He blinked. Then again. This time a hand was in front of his face… waving?

“Izu-. He- o?”

The greenette slowly turned his head. He saw the sort of outline of a black-haired boy who looked somewhat… concerned?

 

Ah. Right. He was waving.

 

Izuku raised his own arm. It felt heavy. He waved back. Why did that make the boy even more worried? Izuku lowered his hand and looked up.

My head hurts… Where am I…? I’m tired… I want to sleep…

 

“-ay do- n. Go ba- to sl- p.”

 

What is he saying? I’m too tired for this…

Izuku opted for laying back down. It eased the pain in his head a little. As soon as his head hit the pillow, Izuku was out cold.

 

_______________________________

 

Wow. Izuku was really out of it.

 

Eijiro was drawing when he sat up an hour after being sedated. It scared Eijiro at first but that fear was quickly replaced by concern when Izuku groaned and placed a hand to his head. His eyes looked foggy and it took him a whole minute to realize that Eijiro was waving a hand in front of him.

 

Then he waved back. Very sloppily.

 

“Lay down, man. Go back to sleep.” Eijiro gently guided his brother back down. Izuku blinked once, twice, and didn’t open his eyes again, falling soundly asleep. At least being sedated he actually slept. He was pulling the blankets back over Izuku when a soft rapping came at the door.

 

*knock knock knock*

 

“Eijiro, dear?” He whipped his head around to the door, holding his tongue. “Do you want to talk?”

No, I don’t, thank you very much.

Yes, I do!

He was torn between protecting Izuku and wanting to run and cry in his mother’s arms.

 

“Alight…” Mom sound so hurt. It made his heart twist. “I’ll leave dinner by the door then…”

He didn’t hear her again. Eijiro opened the door and peaked out. There was a plate of pizza. He felt tears well in his eyes again. Eijiro took it and closed the door again.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku sat up again later that night. He winced at the light from the lamp. Izuku checked the time.

1:34 AM.

 

Izuku then noticed the sleeping form of Kiri, torso draped over Izuku’s bed and sitting in his desk chair. He looked as if had been crying. He looked like Izuku felt. The greenette got out of bed, wobbling a bit on unsteady legs. Izuku tried to pick up Kiri but his arms didn’t seem to be responding so he pushed the raven-haired boy into a sitting position and wrapped a blanket around him instead. Izuku looked around the room. It was eerily quiet.

His eyes fell on his mattress. Izuku didn’t know what he was really thinking when he lifted it and rested his eyes on his blade that he almost forgot he had there.

 

He wasn’t really planning on doing anything with it but he found comfort in holding it.

 

Izuku twirled it in his hand a bit. He left the room. It was quiet in the house. Izuku padded down the hallway. There was a light from the living room. Izuku didn’t really take much note of it. The lamp was left on, that was it.

 

_______________________________

 

Asa looked up from his book when he heard someone enter the room.

 

“Izuku?”

 

The boy didn’t seem to realize that Asa was there or had even called out to him so instead, he watched as the obviously dazed boy settled into the far armchair.

That’s when Asa realized, with much terror, that Izuku had a rather large knife in his hand.

 

But… wasn’t really doing anything with it besides studying it.

 

Asa’s stomach churned. He gently shook his wife awake. She sat up from leaning on his shoulder.

“Asa- mph!” Asa covered her mouth and pointed to Izuku. Her eyes widened upon seeing Izuku. Asa felt the shiver go up her spine. It went up his too.

 

Right when Izuku looked up and made eye contact with Asa.

 

No one moved. Neither Asa nor Yuma dared to breathe. Until Izuku hung his head and a sob escaped his lips. It hit Asa that he was deciding if it was worth it.

 

-----

 

‘Don’t wanna play ‘alive’ anymore.’

 

-----

 

Is he seriously contemplating it!?

 

Izuku kept looking between the knife and Asa and Yuma. Asa and Yuma were the deciding factors. Asa stood up, startling the child. Izuku jumped holding the knife suspiciously closer than Asa would like in this situation.

 

-----

 

‘Izuku did not feel ‘safe’ at that moment.’

 

-----

 

Asa approached cautiously. Izuku followed his every step until Asa came to a crouch beside the recliner. He placed a gentle hand over Izuku’s.

Asa shook his head.

 

It’s not worth it.”

 

Izuku understood. He knew he did. Tears spilled from green eyes. Asa guided Izuku into his shoulder, taking all of the silent cries. Yuma came over and used the moment to take the knife from Izuku’s weakened grip.

 

Asa decided right then and there that he wanted to be selfish. That he didn’t care if maybe they weren’t the best option for Izuku’s healing. Izuku is his son and he would not give him up.

 

Asa blinked when he felt something wet on his hand.

“Asa,” Yuma whispered. She gestured downward. Asa slowly pulled away from the hug and let go of Izuku’s hands only to see blood on his own. His eyes widened. Asa turned over Izuku’s right hand to see a fairly large-sized cut. His heart dropped because even if it was only his hand...

 

… that was how close it was.

 

Izuku stared blankly at it as blood continued to flow. It was scary how uncaring he was about himself. Yuma came in, having left to get a first aid kit.

Asa was drying blood when he saw Yuma wave someone over. Eijiro.

Except… Eijiro did not come over. He just stayed at the edge of the living room watching. He was making sure, Asa realized, that they wouldn’t do anything to Izuku.

 

Izuku winced when Asa dabbed peroxide on his wound before wrapping it up.

 

Asa looked Izuku in the eyes.

 

“I’m sorry,” he apologized. Izuku’s eyes widened. “I did not mean to make you uncomfortable today. Please…” he swallowed. “Please don’t hurt yourself like this.” Izuku lowered his eyes. Eijiro finally decided to come over. He didn’t wait nor ask. He threw himself around Izuku. Izuku visibly tensed. However, Izuku soon lifted his own arms and hugged back, surprisingly.

 

-----

 

‘Do you even know how much he has improved?’

 

-----

 

Izuku cried. Eijiro cried. Yuma cried. Asa cried.

 

Were the Kirishima’s a perfect family? No. Maybe from the outside but there was always something missing. They all felt it. They just didn’t realize it until now. What was missing was not some random orphan they could have gotten from some random orphanage.

 

What was missing was Izuku.

 

And what Izuku was missing… was them.

 

It was decided that none of them were ready to go back to bed.

 

Izuku helped Ei lay out a sheet on the floor while Asa set up a movie and Yuma made popcorn and hot chocolate. They went around gathering all of the pillows and blankets that they could find. Izuku curled into a little dip he made in the mound with Ei, holding onto the Present Mic plushie from his bed. Yuma giggled when she saw the fluffy mountain.

 

Around the middle of the movie, Asa glanced over. Izuku was looking at the three of them. He pointed at each one, mouthing something, then at himself. Asa took a second to realize that it was in this succession.

Asa: ‘Father(?)

Yuma: ‘Mother(?)

Eijiro: ‘Brother(?)

Izuku: … (?)

Rinse and Repeat.

He was trying to find where he stood with them. 

 

-----

 

‘-he has a slower pace of processing certain things, right?’

 

-----

 

Asa waited until probably the third time he did it, possibly more considering Asa caught him mid-act. Izuku lowered his hand with furrowed eyebrows. He turned back to the screen, resting his head on his knees.

He didn’t figure it out.

Asa met Ei’s eyes. Then Yuma’s. They noticed it too.

Now he was at a crossroads. Eijiro was still wary of their interactions with Izuku. Still, Asa wanted Izuku to know this before the boy fell asleep and his green eyes were already drooping.

 

He stood up and walked around the incredibly large mound of blankets and pillows. He sat down beside Izuku. Izuku tensed significantly. Asa took a deep breath. He could feel Ei’s eyes on him. Asa took Izuku’s hand. The greenette looked up at him. 

Asa gently formed Izuku’s fingers to point.

 

He guided Izuku’s hand to point at Yuma. “Mom,” he said slowly.

He pointed at himself. “Dad.”

Izuku’s eyes widened as he began to understand what Asa was doing.

Asa moved the boy’s hand and pointed it at Ei. “Brother.”

 

Asa let go of Izuku’s arm. Then he lifted his own and pointed as Yuma. “Wife.”

At Ei. “Son.”

Asa smiled as he pointed at Izuku. “Son.”

 

Tears filled Izuku’s eyes.

 

Eijiro raised his own finger. “Mom. Dad.” At Izuku. “Brother.”

 

Yuma raised hers. “Husband. Son.” At Izuku. “Son.”

 

Izuku choked on a sob. Asa drew Izuku into a hug. Izuku did not look up but he did lift his arm.

“M- mom,” he stuttered as he pointed at Yuma.

“D- d- dad,” he pointed at Asa.

“B- brother,” he pointed at Eijiro.

 

Everyone smiled. Asa made sure to meet Izuku’s eyes when he said: “Family.

 

Izuku, the boy with a shattered soul, broken heart, trust issues, a tortured mind. Izuku, who wakes up to nightmares every other night, who barely eats enough to meet basic needs, who doesn’t speak past a few words and even when he does it comes out broken. Izuku, who can’t process emotions and who reacts just a bit slower in pace than everyone else when it comes to anything that does not revolve around him just getting to the next day.

Despite all of the tears and pain, that Izuku Kirishima looked up at Asa...

 

and smiled.

 

Chapter Text

May 8th, 2020

 

‘Hello, I am Izuku… Kirishima?

 

Mr. Ki- Dad(?) said that I should try keeping a journal. Something about because I like writing hero notebooks so much I express myself better on paper? I’m not shur- sure. He told me to write about how I feel each day I write.

 

This is my first entre- entry- entree- entry.

 

I’m not sure about this though. Is he going to read this? What am I allowed to write? This is strange. What do I feel? Yami said grief when Ma- He said grief. But then yesterday Mr.- Dad(?) and Kiri and… Mom(?) called me brother and son and “family.”

I don’t know what that means very much. Doesn’t that mean we share jeans- genes? But we don’t. I don’t think so at least.

 

But he called me family so… I can believe that. Right?

 

I want to. Is that a feeling? A feeling of “want?” Oh, I shouldn’t feel that. I can’t want things. It’s ungrateful. She don’t like it. But they won’t do anything to me… right? Not like her. Cause we are “family.”

 

Family isn’t definite…

 

I won’t feel that then.

 

Well, I guess I wrote more than I thought. Maybe this wasn’t too bad then. I guess I could continue this whole writing my feelings thing then. It’s easyer- easier to write then. She don’t like me to speak. I’m not allowed to.

Sho says otherwise though. And Mar- and the others. And my “family.” They want me to speak. I want to speak but I can’t want so I won’t. I’ll try my best to for them though because they want me to and I want them to be happy.

 

Oh, Dad(?) is calling me for dinner. I’ll write later. Maybe.

 

Bye!

 

-----

 

Izuku closed his notebook and pushed off his desk, chair rolling back. He spun in it a time or two before jumping off and leaving the room.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku seemed brighter these past couple of days, Eijiro thinks. He hasn’t woken up screaming. He has found the greenette crying in his sleep again but aside from that, he seemed better. He still sleeps after school. Being surrounded by so many people drains him. He still goes around locking the windows and doors at night which Eijiro thinks will never change but, and Eijiro doesn’t know why he thinks this, Izuku seems brighter.

 

“Do you two want to come over to my house tomorrow?”

 

Eijiro looked up from his lunch at Ashido’s question. “What for?” he asked.

Izuku tilted his head.

She shrugged. “Just to hang.”

Izuku’s eyes widened. Eijiro was quick to place a hand on the greenette’s shoulder. “No, no that kind of hang.” Ashido laughed heartily. “Sorry, sorry! I didn’t mean it that way!” Izuku visibly relaxed. “I just meant to, ya know, chill together, or something. Hang out, ya know?”

“You always seem to think the worst, Izuku,” Hino stated. Izuku blushed slightly and looked down. Ashido waved her off. “It’s fine! So do ya wanna?”

 

Eijiro nodded. “I’m down, man! What about you, Izuku?”

Izuku glanced at him. “S- sure…”

 

Eijiro felt like a proud parent. Izuku had been able to speak a few words here and there around their friends at school lately and now he was willing to go to the pinkette’s house? Such an improvement! Ashido seemed to accept it. “Alright! Tomorrow after school then!”

 

_______________________________

 

“See you at home, man!”

 

Izuku waved as his brother left down the sidewalk but he waited outside of Sho’s car as Yamamoto and Ito walked by, making sure that they knew of his presence. Neither of them made eye contact.

 

Well, Yamamoto accidentally did. *Cra- ck* Izuku cracked his knuckles threateningly, efficiently reminding the taller boy of how he handed him his butt on Monday. Again. Yamamoto looked away quickly and urged Ito to walk faster.

 

“Do you have something against them, ‘Zuku?” He slid in the car beside his purple-haired friend. He shrugged. “A b- bit.” No one commented on it. “Recovery Girl wants you the whole time, kid,” Sho said from the driver’s seat as they drove. “W- wh- why?” He shrugged. “I don’t know. Just go up to her office.” Izuku nodded.

Izuku furrowed his eyebrows. He wanted to ask but he shouldn’t.

“What is it, ‘Zuku?” Shinsou asked. “You look worried.” Izuku glanced at him. He took a deep breath.

 

“‘F- familea,’” Izuku stated.

“Huh?”

“T- they said t- that I am f- familea.”

“Oh?” Sho spoke up.

“B- b- but we don’ sh- share blood?”

 

_______________________________

 

Shouta was about to speak up but Hitoshi beat him to it.

 

“Me and Dad don’t share blood ‘Zuku,” he said. “We are still family. I don’t think that family means blood bonds more than emotional bonds or a sort of connection with them.”

 

Shouta’s heart felt warm. He was so proud of Hitoshi. “Hitoshi is right,” Shouta said. “It doesn’t matter if you necessarily share genes. Family bonds go deeper.”

“D- deeper?”

He nodded. How do I explain this to someone who doesn’t understand human connections on a normal standard? Shouta internally grinned.

“I would probably cry if Hitoshi were to die.” He could see Hitoshi’s eyes widen in the mirror. “I love him a lot. I think of him as my son. Would you cry if any of the Kirishima’s died?” Izuku lowered his head. He seemed to be contemplating it.

 

“P- probablea.”

 

“Do you love them?”

 

Izuku furrowed his eyebrows.

 

“P- p- probablea…”

 

Probably, huh? That’s pretty amazing. I should have been recording this conversation for them cause that is a pretty large feat of them to be able to get that sort of answer to that sort of question.

 

B- bu’ I would c- cry if you d- died too.” Shouta’s eyes widened. Hitoshi’s head snapped back to Izuku in shock. He swallowed thickly.

“I would cry if you did too,” he agreed.

“S- so are w- we familea?”

He took a deep breath. “What do you think, Izuku?” Izuku looked at him.

 

Every once in a while, Izuku’s gaze turned back to that cold, calculating stare that made Shouta shiver. He could feel it now on the back of his head.

 

Izuku nodded. “Yer.”

 

He let out a silent breath he hadn’t known he was holding.

“B- but-” Izuku continued, “a- are you a- also ‘Dad’ t- too then?”

Ah. That would be a problem. Shouta had come to think of Izuku as a son, definitely, but he could not say that too the kid. Izuku has come to see the Kirishima’s as ‘family’ and at this stage in whatever the heck was Izuku’s mind, he could not risk that sort of connection split. Izuku needs to only associate Mr. Kirishima with the title ‘Father’ or ‘Dad.’

 

“Think of me more as...” he started slowly, “an uncle, or something.”

“U- uncle?”

He nodded. “Typically that would mean I would be the brother of either your mom or dad by blood but I think we have established that blood doesn’t mean ‘family.’” Izuku nodded then pointed at Hitoshi. “T- then?”

Hitoshi nodded. “Cousin.”

 

Izuku’s eyes brightened significantly. He nodded sharply. It was kind of adorable watching Izuku react to finally having a family but Shouta would not admit that out loud. 

 

“Say, ‘Zuku,” Hitoshi spoke up, “I have a nickname for you but you never say my name. Do you have one for me?”

 

Oh? Is that a hint of jealousy I hear?

 

Izuku tilted his head. “N-- not reallea?” It took Shouta a moment to realize what Izuku had said. The normal accent was hard enough to understand but with his speech imparity it was about a thousand times harder. That and any ‘y’ that sounded like ‘e’ it was always ‘ay.’

 

When we get back we need to consider speech therapy for him.

 

Hitoshi deadpanned.

“D- do you wan’ one?”

 

He supposes that at least Izuku didn’t say ‘ya’ instead of ‘you’ anymore. He does sometimes but not as much.

 

Hitoshi blushed a bit and looked away from the green-haired boy. “I- if you gave me one I wouldn’t dislike it.” Shouta smirked. “Yes, Izuku,” he elaborated. “Yes, he would.”

Izuku nodded. He was silent for a bit, probably thinking about it.

“We are here,” Shouta said, pulling into UA and parking. “Don’t forget to go to Recovery Girl, kid.” Hitoshi pouted as they walked towards the training field while Izuku went towards the main building. “Are you sad that you didn’t get a nickname?” he joked. Hitoshi blushed. Shouta couldn’t blame him. It was really cute getting a nickname from the greenette. When Izuku had first called him ‘Sho’ it took everything in Shouta to not lose his apathetic face.

“N- no!”

Shouta was about to say something when a quiet voice came from behind them.

 

“‘T- Toshi.

 

They both stopped and turned to see Izuku facing them from a few feet away. He hadn’t even heard Izuku catch up to them. But that wasn’t what stopped him. Izuku could have very well used a form of ‘Shinsou’ but he chose to use Hitoshi’s given name instead. Hitoshi blushed furiously. He nodded and turned back around. Shouta gave Izuku a thumbs up. 

“Get up there, kid.”

They went their separate ways.

 

“‘Toshi,’ he said.”

 

Hitoshi slapped his shoulder weakly. “Sh- shut up!”

 

Shouta laughed.

 

_______________________________

 

“Do you see anything, sonny?”

 

Izuku was trying, he really was but nothing was happening. Today they were finally working on him actually activating his strings himself. They didn’t even know if it was possible but today the hoped to find out.

Izuku frowned and picked up his notebook and pen.

 

I don’t know how to reach out to myself,’ he wrote.

Recovery Girl hummed. “Then don’t.” He deadpanned. “Don’t give me that look, boy!” Izuku stuck his tongue out at her.

He didn’t know why, but he felt more comfortable around her. She was really easy to get along with and not that hard to read. She was fun.

 

“Looky here,” she said. “You aren’t trying to reach out to yourself. That is how it is activated by others. These strings, I am assuming, are made of your own life energy, if how you transferred it is anyway to tell. They are a part of you. What you need to be doing is not reaching out to you but to be trying to activate the life force in you. You need to feel it active in you. Feel the shape of your strings and how they connect to you as a whole.”

 

Feel my life force? What the heck does that mean?!

 

“Hey, boy-”

 

-----

 

‘Heya, boy!’

 

-----

 

“-put these on.”

 

Izuku looked up. Recovery Girl held out a pair of headphones that looked similar to the ones that Mr…. Dad gave him for his panic attacks.

He took them.

 

“Ever heard of meditation?” He nodded. “Good. Those are high-quality noise-canceling headphones. I want you to sit down, put those on, and take your time in silence to really focus on this, alright?”

Izuku narrowed his eyes. That means he wouldn’t be able to hear anything. Anyone could sneak up on him, trap him, use, him, kill him, do whatever they want and he wouldn’t be able to stop them because he wouldn’t even know it was happening before it was too late.

 

*tap tap tap*

 

Izuku was shaken from his musings when the old lady tapped her cane on the ground.

“Sonny, you are at UA, the safest place in Japan. We are swelling with heroes. Nothing will happen.” Izuku averted his eyes.

“And just to be safe,” the door slid open, “he will be here to watch over you.”

Izuku’s eyes widened.

 

“Y- Yami.” He couldn’t help the name slipping from his lips even in front of the older woman.

 

The man, in full hero gear, grinned. “HEY!!!!!” Izuku threw himself off of the cot. Yami knelt down and embraced him in a tight hug.

“How are ya, little listener?” Izuku looked at him and gave a thumbs up.

 

Then it hit: What was Yami to him?

 

“That’s good to hear! Me too!” I'll ask later. He pats Izuku’s shoulder. “I’ve been informed of what you are trying. I think that’s really cool!” Izuku blushed slightly. “I’m right here so don’t you worry one bit, okay?” Izuku nodded.

Not that he didn’t trust Recovery Girl, well, he didn’t but that was another matter, he just trusted Yami more.

 

Izuku looked at the headphones in his hands. Izuku steeled himself. He boldly walked back over to the cot and sat down in a criss-cross sitting. Izuku took a deep breath and slid them over his ears. Almost instantly, the white-noise of the world cut off. Izuku felt his blood pressure spike so fast he got dizzy.

Vulnerable. Too vulnerable.

The world washed in red, everything his eyes fell upon labeled threat. Threat. THREAT! He couldn’t breathe. His body shook. His green eyes flew to and fro.

 

Yami closed the door and leaned against it facing Izuku. He lowered his sunglasses and met Izuku’s eyes from across the room.

 

‘I’m here.’

 

Izuku read the man’s lips. Izuku nodded shakily. Right. Yami is here. Everything is okay. No, it isn’t. He will protect me. Hurt you. I’m safe. Not safe. Vulnerable.

Izuku took a shaky breath and closed his eyes.

 

-----

 

‘- activate the life force in you. You need to feel it active in you. Feel the shape of your strings and how they connect to you as a whole.’

 

-----

 

Feel it in yourself.

 

-----

 

‘Izuku, what do you feel when he takes it?’

 

-----

 

Dull. The small throb in the chest, arm… the neck on the occasions that was… used. Feel? Lifeforce.

 

-----

 

Mary Lou took the string. Izuku could feel himself getting light-headed as if something was draining from him.

 

-----

 

That feeling.

 

That warmth. Becoming cold.

 

He could feel it running through his body. Vibrating and shaking his bones. Izuku could see them. The strings intertwining with his veins. Each connected to a joint, weaving in his system connecting each one to another. He could see the screws they attached to each joint.

 

He could see them. All of them. Feel them. 

 

_______________________________

 

HIzashi did not really know how he felt about this.

 

When he first heard of what they were trying to accomplish, Hizashi’s stomach churned. Izuku has spent his whole life running away from his quirk. They were asking him to face it head-on. Mentally, though, he knew this would be good. Izuku was a much more active learner. Just words would not have him believing that he could take hold of his own life. 

Taking hold of the literal strings of his life, that would give him confidence. Not only with himself but around other people. It was necessary but also a terrifying thought because what if it didn’t work?

 

If Izuku really couldn’t take his strings, Izuku’s progress in trust could be thrown back so far he might not even trust Hizashi himself.

 

Even if it isn’t true, Izuku would take it as he truly couldn’t take hold of his own life and that he truly was just a puppet on a string to be used.

 

This was a fifty-fifty, no, based on the previous usage of said quirk, a sixty-forty chance of major psychological trauma infliction.

 

Not in their favor.

 

So he would be here. He personally volunteered to be here. He had to. Because if this went wrong, and there were so many ways this could go wrong, Izuku would need the first thing that he saw when he opened his eyes was to be something that he considered ‘Safe.’

 

Five minutes passed. Ten. Fifteen… Hizashi got a bad feeling in his gut.

Stop! It’s not working! No… Please… Don’t hurt yourself, Izuku…

 

Then something happened.

 

Both Hizashi’s and Recovery Girl’s eyes widened.

 

Izuku began to glow. Hizashi could physically see the strings and he wasn’t even reaching out. They were outlined on Izuku’s skin, traveling throughout his body.

On Izuku’s joints, Hizashi witnessed as lines marked out where a doll would have two parts put together, elbow to connect arms, screw forming in the middle. Neck connected to the torse, and under the boy’s pants, probably legs to the torso. He could see the individual joints on each finger with screws in between each. The strings, more like veins, massed at each joint before moving on further into the body to the next joints.

 

In horror, Hizashi witnessed as Izuku’s glowing skin began to clear to look like porcelain and his scars, oh please no… they looked like cracks on a glass doll.

 

Recovery Girl on her stool had a hand over her mouth.

Izuku’s head fell to the side like a doll’s head waiting to be moved and positioned.

Hizashi wanted to throw up. Shouta… needed to see this, he realized. Hizashi, with shaking hands, took a picture.

Shouta needed to see how… inhumane this was.

 

_______________________________

 

*Ding Ding*

 

Shouta huffed. Hitoshi, laying flat on his back panting, glanced up at him. Shouta sighed. “Take a breather.”

He sat down and drew his phone from his pocket. Hizashi? Isn’t he supposed to overseeing Izuku? Shouta opened the message. It was a picture.

 

The raven-haired man paled.

 

“Dad?”

 

Shouta ignored his son and immediately dialed Hizashi who immediately picked up.

 

“Hizashi,” he said sternly. “Stop him. Stop him now!”

A strangled sound came from the other side.

“I can’t Shouta…”

Shouta’s eye twitched. “Why the hell can’t you?”

“Because it’s working… If I stop him, it’ll be basically telling him that he isn’t allowed to have hold of his life.”

Shouta hung his head. Hizashi was right but…

 

“Dang it!” he growled. “This was such a bad idea!”

“Shouta…”

Shouta took a deep breath. “What?”

 

“H- he’s twitching.”

“... What?”

“Shouta,” Hizashi sounded so pained, “he- this is so… he looks like…”

“Don’t say it, Hizashi.”

“Shouta, you don’t understand. He doesn’t even know what he is doing…”

“Send a video.”

 

It took a minute to come in but Shouta immediately regretted it.

 

Izuku had all of the ceramic joins of a puppet with strings glowing from his body, cracks marking out his scars, and he… was twitching. His eyes were wide open but so, so blank. His head kept twitching to the side, fingers and legs twitching in time with it. 

Shouta heard Hitoshi gasp behind him, leaning over his shoulder and watching the video.

 

“D- Da-” *!!!CRASH!!!*

 

IZUKU!!!

 

Both heads snapped up to the fourth floor of the UA building where Recovery Girl’s office was located. The window was shattered and-

 

Oh. My-KID!

 

Izuku had been seemingly flung out of the window with such force to shatter the bulletproof windows and still be multiple feet away from it and he was falling.

Hizashi appeared at the edge. “Shouta!” he screamed but Shouta was already making a mad dash for the boy falling like a streak of lightning.

 

Halfway to the ground, Izuku suddenly jolted mid-air. His arms shot up. Shouta could visibly see the stings shoot from the greenette’s hands upward. Hizashi noticed it too and reached out but… they didn’t reach. They were too short. Izuku twisted, almost mechanically and shot them out from his back and hands again. They wrapped around the frames of a second-floor classroom window. Izuku’s body bounced with the sudden stop of acceleration toward the ground and swung. Izuku planted his feet against the window of the first-floor classroom below the one his strings were connected to, grasping the strings with his hands to keep him up straight.

 

Shouta froze, Hizashi looked down in horror from the fourth floor, recovery Girl by his side, Hitoshi stood frozen.

 

Shouta was only a few feet away from Izuku. Izuku stared blankly into the empty classroom, only a few feet off of the ground so he could safely fall but Shuouta realized that Izuku was not completely lucid. He had no clue what he was doing. That also means that he didn’t know how to let go. Shouta took in a wavery breath.

 

“Izuku,” he said calmly. The greenette’s head lulled backward. Shouta almost threw up at how wrong that was, at how wrong those green eyes stared at him from that position. Blank. “Can you get down.” No response. No attempt to even open his mouth. Blank. Shouta swallowed thickly. “I am going to help you, okay? I am going to use my quirk and catch you. Okay?”

 

Nothing. No reaction. 

 

Shouta crossed the distance between the two, green eyes following him like a painting in a haunted mansion.

Wrong. THIS IS SO WRONG!!!

Shouta held out his arms and looked up. He gagged. Izuku’s head had rolled back to hang upside down and green, lifeless eyes stared at him.

 

Even in his blank-slate state of mind, Izuku was still Izuku and that means he would be tracking Shouta’s every movement. Even if he looked like… that.

“I am going to use my quirk now.” Shouta didn’t wait for the response that he knew wasn’t going to come. He activated his quirk. The strings disappeared and Izuku felt the foot down into Shouta’s arms.

 

The joint-like marking’s on the boy’s skin disappeared, the screws at every joint vanished, and the cracks faded back into scars.

 

Izuku took a shuddering breath, body shaking. Shouta sat down and cradled the boy in his arms. It was only then did he realize how wet his eyes were.

 

-----

 

‘I would probably cry if Hitoshi were to die.’

 

-----

 

“Idiot…” he choked out. “Don’t you know that I would cry if you died too?

Shouta dropped his head against the boy’s chest as his body shook.

 

He had seen many people die in his line of work but this… this was different! Izuku meant something to him! He listened to the rapid beating of Izuku’s heart. Shouta flinched when he felt a hand on his head. He looked up to see that Izuku had lifted his own hand to pat his head.

 

Hitoshi had just reached them and fell to his knees, also crying. Hizashi rounded the corner and sprinted over, Recovery Girl coming at a much slower pace.

 

They were all in tears.

 

However, they all stopped when a small giggle came from Izuku’s lips.

“Hee hee... “ The boy was smiling.

Hizashi glared at the child. “Why are you laughing!?”

Izuku looked at him.

 

“I d- did it!”

 

Shouta furrowed his eyebrows. “Did what?”

 

Izuku stared at the sky. “I took my own strings!

His voice was clear. No stutter. He was so… happy. Despite almost dying. Did he even know what he did?

Shouta felt tears swell in his eyes again. And pulled Izuku into a tighter hug.

“Stupid problem child! Do you know how worried we were?!”

 

_______________________________

 

Hitoshi watched as Dad stood and set Izuku down on his feet.

Hitoshi met eyes with Izuku.

 

“‘Zuku…” 

“Toshi?”

Hitoshi threw himself at the boy crying. “IDIOT!” He hugged Izuku tightly. Izuku hugged him back gently.

“S- sorry. I- I’ll be m- more careful n- nex’ time…”

 

Yamada crossed his arms. “And not on the fourth floor.”

Izuku giggled again.

“I think that is enough training for today,” Dad suggested.

Everyone was perfectly fine with that.

 

They were all ready to go but Izuku hadn’t moved from his spot after Hitoshi let go.

“Kid?” Dad turned back.

Izuku blinked a couple of times. “Sho…” Dad let out a small chuckle and walked back over to Izuku. He went behind him and pressed his hands on the boys back.

 

“It’s okay.” Hitoshi raised an eyebrow. What? His eyes widened when Izuku’s eyes rolled back and he fell backward. Dad swiftly caught him and transferred him into a bridal style carrying position.

Izuku was out.

In the car, Hitoshi lay Izuku’s head on his lap.

 

The car ride was silent until Dad spoke up.

 

“Hitoshi,” he said quietly, “you know it is okay to cry, too, right?” Hitoshi hung his head. He took a deep breath.

“I- I was so scared!” he choked out. “I- I couldn’t do anything! H- He almost d- died!”

Dad pulled over and got out, sliding into the back seat and pulling Hitoshi into a hug. “I know…” Dad was crying too, Hitoshi realized.

He clung to Dad’s shirt.

 

“I- is he really going to keep doing this?”

“Dad?”

“... We can’t take this from his, Hitoshi… We can’t stop his progression.”

“B- but-” Dad pulled back and looked at him.

 

Izuku almost killed himself a few days ago.

 

Hitoshi’s heart stopped for a second. “Wh- What?” he breathed out.

Dad looked so tired. “Mr. Kirishima called me the day after to tell me. He thought that I should know with how close we are to Izuku.”

Hitoshi looked down at Izuku.

“Hitoshi,” Dad whispered, “do you know why we can’t take this away from him?”

Hitoshi swallowed. “Yeah…”

“We are going to have to take extra precautions and by no means are we stopping his training with you and his quirk, but right now, in regards to the small shell of mental stability that he has finally begun to form, we cannot stop this.”

Hitoshi lowered his gaze. “Yeah…”

“It’ll be a long road from here on out,” Dad continued. “Do you want to continue?”

 

-----

 

‘Cousin.’ Izuku’s eyes brightened significantly. 

 

-----

 

“Of course,” Hitoshi met his father’s gaze. “I can’t leave my family hanging."

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro sat on the far recliner. He looked up to where Izuku was laying on the couch.

He didn’t like this.

 

Izuku had a portable breathing machine and mask over his mouth and nose, courtesy of the UA nurse.

 

-----

 

Mr. Aizawa gently laid Izuku on the couch and began to set up the machine.

‘What is that for?’ Eijiro asked.

‘To help him breathe,’ Shinsou said at his side. Eijiro gawked. ‘What?!’

Shinsou looked at him.

 

‘The last time Izuku did this he was out for three days with a bad fever and couldn’t breathe without a machine.’

Eijiro paled. ‘W- what did he do?’

 

Shinsou didn’t answer.

 

-----

 

Izuku looked so pale and his chest barely rose.

Mom came in. “I called the school to inform them of the situation. He will have an excused absence for the next two days.” Eijiro nodded.

 

-----

 

‘I think you should know,’ Mr. Aizawa said, ‘that Izuku is really happy that you called him your family.’

 

-----

 

“Mom…” Eijiro whispered. She turned to him. “What is it, dear?” He bit his lip. “I am sorry for yelling at you earlier.” Mom smiled softly. She came over and gave him a hug.

“It’s alright, Ei. I think you helped us realize a few things.”

She looked him in the eyes. “I think we can all start healing now.”

Eijiro looked over at Izuku then back at his mother.

 

“Yeah!”

 

Chapter Text

“We’re h- home.”

 

Yuma smiled. That wasn’t Eijiro’s voice. That was Izuku’s. Over the past few months that Izuku had come to live with them, the greenette had opened up quite a bit.

A month ago, Izuku started to attend speech therapy and this… this was a testimony to both his improvement and his increased comfort level with them.

“Welcome home, boys,” she chirped, walking into the living room. Izuku looked up from where he had just locked the front door.

 

Locking doors and windows were still somethings he had yet to grow out of.

 

Izuku nodded to her as he went to go check the windows in the kitchen. He was so nonchalant about it. Yuma would think that he didn’t even think about doing it if he didn’t check each lock at least twice.

“How was school?”

Eijiro flopped down on the couch. “Loooong.” She giggled. “Sounds like it. I’ll get some snacks prepared. How does that sound?” Ei turned his head to her. “Thanks, mom.”

As she was entering the kitchen, Izuku was exiting the garage after checking the locks in there. The door to the garage was at the end of the kitchen. “All locked up?” she asked casually. He nodded. “Y- yer.”

“Say, Izuku, could you get me the apples out, please?” It was almost strange how normal and unusual their interactions were. And yet the silence wasn’t uncomfortable. Izuku slid the apples over the counter to her. “Thank you very much, kind sir,” she joked. Izuku deadpanned. She felt like she had won that reaction. Izuku slid against the lower cabinets to sit on the floor next to her, leaning against them.

 

“So,” she started, “school will be out in a couple of weeks. How have you liked it so far?” Yuma looked down because as much as Izuku had improved with speaking, most of what he ‘said’ came from body language.

Izuku rested his head on his knees. She smiled softly.

“P- people,” he whispered. “S- so many peop- le.” She nodded and continued to cut up the apples. “Yeah? But you have friends right?”

He lifted his head to rest his chin on his crossed arms. “Frien’s?”

Yuma nodded. “Like Ashido, Hino, and Furuya? They are your friends, right?”

Izuku furrowed his eyebrows. “Yer.” he said decisively. “A- an’ Mori then?” Yuma looked down at him. “Who is Mori?” He shrugged. “‘e’s in my Foods class. We ta- ‘e talks to me.” Yuma swallowed a chuckle. Izuku knew full well that he didn’t talk back to whoever this Mori boy is.

“So you have friends then,” Yuma repeated. “So not everyone is bad there, right?” Izuku looked up at her. He huffed and stood up.

 

“Yer,” he said as he left the kitchen.

 

Yuma smiled. I win.

 

Yuma hummed as she put together a puzzle at the table. She glanced up at her calendar. Two more weeks and then school is out and then… Her eyes widened. She turned her head to look at Izuku who was currently sitting on the living room floor with Ei as they ooo’d and awww’d over a hero video. 

A week after school let out was July 15th, Izuku’s thirteenth birthday.

 

Should we celebrate it? We usually throw a party for Eijiro but how would Izuku react? Izuku still wakes up to nightmares, jumps at sudden, loud noises, and by all means, still has a phobia of humans whether he can put up with them for school hours or not so surprise parties are out of the question. Actually, despite him being afraid of people, Izuku is close to a certain few. I could try to get them all over but most of them are Pro Heroes and have tight schedules.

 

“Mom?” Yuma snapped out of her musings at Ei’s worried tone. Dang it.

 

Another thing she had come to realize, do not stare at Izuku. He thinks you are analyzing him and that is, as Mr. Aizawa explained a couple of months ago, a threat to the boy. Right now, Izuku was staring right back at her, face calculatedly still, green eyes half-lidded, and body tense. Eijiro looked frantically between the two of them.

Yuma took a deep breath and smiled.

 

“How would you like to celebrate your birthday, Izuku?” she asked boldly. Straightforward was always the path to take with him.

 

Izuku did not reply for a long time. He blinked slowly a few times. Something he had begun to work on in speech therapy is processing a sentence from another person out of what was meant to hurt him and forming responses. This led to slower responses as Izuku almost physically had to not think about if what was being asked of him was a threat to his wellbeing or not. Finally, Izuku did, in fact, reply.

 

“C- celebrate?”

 

Oh? She nodded. “Yeah! Celebrate! Like, you know, have friends over, cake, decoration…” Oh. She trailed off because it became plainly obvious that Izuku, in fact, did not know. “Izuku, what did you do for your birthday before?” She was almost scared to ask.

Izuku looked up. “K- katsudon.” He stated. “Smile I- Izuku,” he stated. Yuma furrowed her eyebrows. “I- it’s your b- birthday, Izuku.” Izuku was staring off into space. “A- are you un- un- unhappy I- Izuku?”

“Hey man…” Eijiro gently reached out but Izuku wasn’t listening.

“No? W- well we c- can’t h- h- have t- th- that.” The stuttering got worse. “I- I’ll g- give y- y- you a r- reason to b- be h- happy!” Tears began to stream from his eyes.

 

Yuma crouched beside him. She gently touched his shoulder. Izuku jumped back.

No!” he screamed. “I- I’m sorry!” Izuku pressed his hands over his ears. “I- I’m happy! I’M HAPPY! P-P-P-P-PLEASE!”

Yuma gently pulled the crying boy into a hug. “Shhh… We aren’t going to hurt you.” She pet his hair. Eijiro rolled over on his back and placed his head into Izuku’s line of sight.

“Hey man! You know we aren’t about that!” Ei smiled. “Birthdays,” he tilted his head, “normal birthdays are fun!” Izuku closed his eyes and shook his head. Eijiro did not waver.

 

“Yup! You know what real birthday parties are like?”

Izuku, bless his heart, shook his head. Aka, he was still listening but also still trapped in the past and Eijiro, bless HIS heart, was trying his best to bring Izuku back to the present.

“You wanna know?” Izuku nodded ever so slightly.

 

“They are full of laughter,” Eijiro grinned. “You have a cake and everyone sings to you before you blow out the candle on the cake and then eat it. You have your closest friends and family over and play games and you get presents too!” Yuma blinked as Izuku slowly stopped shaking in her arms. She smiled. “You can play games and eat your favorite food,” Katsudon. Izuku said that before his memories oh so rudely barged in. Does he like it?

 

“Do you know what the blowing of the candles means, Izuku?” Yuma took in a sharp breath. She knew what he was doing. “They mean that you are blowing out the past year. That year is in the past. It means you aren’t there anymore.” Izuku stiffened. Eijiro smiled.

It means that you survived that year and now you are one year stronger.” She could feel Izuku’s breath hitch.

 

Eijiro sat up. “That’s what mom says.” Yuma smiled at Eijiro. He gave her a thumbs up. Yuma leaned down to look at the greenette. “Do you… want to? Do you want to celebrate your birthday with us? Have a real birthday with us?”

Izuku hung his head again. She could physically see and feel how deep of breaths he was taking.

 

That was fine. It was almost a silent agreement between her, Asa, and Ei to be patient with Izuku. After Eijiro’s… blow up, they have come to realize that even though they had been saying that Izuku was a bit slow mentally, they weren’t really acting on it. So they decided to be patient. It seemed to relax Izuku a lot more too. He did not feel pressured anymore and had begun to show improvement in regards to talking and even showing emotions to some degree.

 

Izuku lifted his head. “S- sure…” 

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku fiddled with his black arm-sleeves. Kiri came up behind him.

“You ready?”

Izuku turned to him. “Yer.”

Their homeroom class left the classroom and single-filed all the way down the stairs and out of the school to line up in next to their neighboring class as all of the classes had gotten lined up in the field behind the school.

The principle walked onto the makeshift stage in front of them. He cleared his throat and spoke into the microphone.

 

“Greetings, students! I am sure all of you would like for your summer break to start as soon as possible so I will keep this short and sweet. Congratulations on making it to the end of the school year! To all of the first-years, you made it through your first year of middle school. You’ve got two years ahead of you but in this short year you have definitely grown and I know that your teachers are so excited to see how you will grow even more through these next two years. To our second-years, you only have one year left. When you come back after summer break you will be third-years. Face your final year in middle school bravely. Let us help you as you strive to find your path after middle school. And to our third-years. You did it! You made it through your middle school years. We are all so very proud to have seen you grow from your first year here and cannot wait to see what you will accomplish in the future. We are with you all the way. Do not forget where you have come from.”

He bowed deeply. “Thank you for another great year!”

Izuku was glad for the training that Kiri had given him beforehand because, at that moment, all of the students bowed as well and echoed: “THANK YOU FOR ANOTHER GREAT YEAR!”

 

Tears were shed as the third-years got soppy over finishing their last year of middle school.

Izuku didn’t understand it, but he felt that sort of unity school vibe from it.

 

Ashido, Hino, and Furuya bounded over to them. Ashido swung her arms around Izuku and Kiri. Izuku was more or less used to it by now. “We did it guys!” she exclaimed. “One more year to go!”

Mori waved goodbye to his group of friends and came over. Izuku flinched when he stuck out his fist. “See you next year, Izuku.” Izuku had seen him do this multiple times. Izuku steeled himself and held out his own fist half-heartedly tapping it against Mori’s. “Y- yer…”

“You have my number, right?” Izuku nodded. The glasses-wearing ginger grinned. “Hit me up some time! See ya!” He ran off. Izuku turned to Furuya. “‘H- hit me u- up?’” A beat. Everyone laughed. Furuya wiped a tear from her eye. “It means text or call him some time, Izuku.” Izuku hummed and nodded. “O- oh. Alright.”

Kiri pats his shoulder. “Ah, we are celebrating Izuku’s birthday in a week. You guys should come!”

 

“Oh?” Hino tilted her head. “How old are you turning, Izuku?”

“T- thirteen.”

Furuya.nodded. “I’ll ask my parents but it should be fine.”

“Me too.” “I’ll be there!”

 

Izuku and Kiri bid the girls farewell and made their way back home.

 

-----

 

July 8th, 2020

 

‘Hello.

 

Well, I think that I am feeling pretty good today. It’s a light feeling and not bad so that is why I think that. I am out of school now. My last day was today until summer break ends. I’m sort of relieved. It was really stressful. Not too many people actually asked about my quirk or the cuffs though so that was good. I don’t know what I would do if someone found out.

 

I guess I might be a bit sad too. I feel a bit darker when I think that I won’t be able to see me ‘friends’, as Mom calls them, as often anymore.

That’s a new feeling. I sort of want to see them even though I know I shouldn’t want things. They might come over for my birthday… celebration? Yeah. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

They say that it won’t be the same as when I was back… there. I want to believe them. I should but I don’t know. I will wait and see.

 

But what if they do turn against me? What if this was all just a ruse? I really hope not.

 

I… I like this family. I don’t want to have to use my runaway plans. It is still under my mattress just in case. I hope I don’t have to use them.

 

I’ll write more tomorrow maybe. I don’t know. I am almost out of pages in this notebook. We will see.

 

Bye!

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro sat up in his bed, rubbing his eyes.

 

He checked the time to see that it was four in the morning. Too early to be awake. He looked over and ah. Izuku was up too. The greenette was sitting in the middle of his bed, arms wrapped around his legs that were curled into his chest and his head resting on his arms. He rocked himself back and forth.

 

-----

 

‘No! I- I’m sorry!’ 

‘I- I’m happy! I’M HAPPY! P-P-P-P-PLEASE!’

 

-----

 

‘I- I’ll g- give y- y- you a r- reason to b- be h- happy!’

 

-----

 

Eijiro’s stomach churned. Today was Izuku’s birthday and after that display, he couldn’t blame Izuku for being up still.

 

Eijiro got out of bed, making sure that Izuku heard him. The boy in the other bed in the room flinched and stopped rocking. Eijiro slowly crossed the room and sat on Izuku’s bed.

 

He flopped back onto it and sighed loudly. “So,” he spoke in a half-whisper, “how does it feel?” Izuku looked up. “Maaaan. You are officially older than me! A whole teenager!” He could see Izuku looking at him out of the corner of his eye. “Should I call you big brother Izuku now? That sounds so formaaaaal.” He smirked when he heard a small huff from Izuku. Eijiro sat up and looked over at Izuku. “You look tired.” Izuku averted his eyes that had deep purple eye bags under them. Eijiro stood up and pulled the sheets back. “Come here.” Izuku deadpanned at him. “Don’t give me that look!” Izuku rolled his eyes but complied. Eijiro got in next to him and pulled the over him.

 

“I promised I would protect you, Izuku,” he said. “So if you are ever feeling unsafe… come get me. Okay?” Izuku looked away. Eijiro leaned over to make eye contact. “Okay?” Izuku glanced up at him.

“O- okay…”

Eijiro smiled and laid down. Izuku slowly laid next to him. “Sleep, big brother Izuku.”

“Sh -shut up.”

Eijiro chuckled. “Only if you sleep.”

 

It wasn’t long after did Eijiro hear the soft breathing of Izuku. He smiled. Eijiro pulled Izuku closer and gently hugged him before falling asleep himself.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku woke up in Kiri’s arms.

 

He had come to expect this almost. Whenever Izuku was awake at night, unable to sleep, Kiri, if he woke up, would come over and sleep with Izuku and remind Izuku of his promise.

Izuku untangled himself from his brother’s arms and sat up. Kiri groaned and sat up too.

“Good morninfffff…” Izuku raised an eyebrow. It was safe to say that Kiri was not a morning person.

“Mornin’” Izuku greeted him and got out of bed.

 

They both got dressed in their respective places and entered the dining room.

“Good morning, Izuku, Ei!” Mom greeted them. Izuku waved. “Morning, Mom!” Eijiro greeted back. They sat at the table next to Dad.

Mom came over and set a plate of pancakes on the table. “Happy Birthday, Izuku,” she said softly.

 

Happy…

 

Izuku looked down at his plate. His mouth felt dry. For the life of him, Izuku could not find an honest response to that.

After they ate, there came a knock at the front door. Mom stood up. “I’ll get it.” That did not stop Izuku from watching her from a distance to see who was at the door. His eyes widened as Nemuri(Midnight) and Ken(Cementoss) came in boldly.

 

“We have arrived!” the woman exclaimed. Ken waved over at Izuku.

 

Sho and Shin arrived soon after with Yami in tow.

 

Ashido, Hino, and Furuya all ended up coming too and… Izuku had texted Mori the day before just to see if he would come. He did.

 

The house was packed but no one seemed to mind. They played games and: Oh my goodness! KATSUDON! Izuku munched happily on his meal. He didn’t even realize that he was smiling as he ate.

As they were talking, the lights shut off. Izuku jumped. Yami, who was sitting next to him on the couch, placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

 

“Happy birthday to you.”

Izuku looked up to where Mom was walking in with a cake lit with candles.

“Happy birthday to you.”

The others began to sing too.

 

-----

 

Happy birthday to you,’ Inko smiled slyly at Izuku.

 

Fake.

 

-----

 

“Happy birthday, I-

 

-----

 

zu

 

----

 

- ku”

Izuku tensed. Mom held the cake in front of him.

 

-----

 

Happy birthday-’

 

-----

 

“- to you.”

She smiled softly. Izuku swallowed thickly. Yami whispered. “Now is the time you blow out the candles.” Blow out. Blow out. Breathe in. Breathe out. SImple. Except he couldn’t. He could not breathe in. He could not breathe at all. Izuku’s eyes flitted to Eijiro. The boy smiled.

 

-----

 

‘Do you know what the blowing of the candles means, Izuku?’

 

‘It means you aren’t there anymore.’

 

‘- that you survived that year’

 

‘- you are one year stronger.’

 

-----

 

Right. I’m not there anymore. I am here. Home. With my family. And I am…

 

Izuku took a deep breath and blew out the candle.

 

… happy.

 

-----

 

July 15th, 2020

 

‘Hello.

 

Today I turned thirteen. I um… I celebrated my birthday.

 

Yami came over. So did ‘Toshi, Sho, Nemuri, Ken, Ashido, Hino, Furuya, and even Mori!

We ate cake. It was angel food with strawberry frosting and we had Katsudon too! It was really good.

 

No one tried to… No one tried to use me today. A few instances someone reached out and I think Ashido knows my quirk now but even she didn’t take the string. No one took it. No one tried to.

 

I got more notebooks! Also an iPod for music. I got other stuff too and it was really nice… the cards were kind of cheesy but not in a bad way.

 

I think that today was a good day. I think that this is how birthdays are supposed to be celebrated. That is what Mom said. Not how I used to… handle them.

Today was a good day. Oh, and I found out what that warm and fuzzy and light feeling is today! 

 

Happiness.

 

Today I am happy.

 

I’ll write again starting a new journal tomorrow so until then,

 

Bye!

 

Chapter Text

Eijiro hummed as he and Izuku walked down the street and Izuku… hummed with him.

 

It was nice. Almost eight months Izuku has been living with them and look how far they have gotten. Izuku probably didn’t even notice that he was humming right alongside Eijiro.

Also! As of last month, Izuku began to start conversations on his own! Eijiro was so proud of his brother.

 

Panic attacks were still very much a thing but they only around three times a month now. Izuku only wakes up screaming once a month now. Physical touch was still something he was not that big on but he was still as clingy as ever mid-attack and hardly flinched when Ashido ran up and slung her arms around them or when Mori offered a fist bump.

It took Eijiro a while to figure it out but it was during one of the times when Izuku was unconscious from training, which they moved to Friday’s for that very reason, did he realize, or they told him, that…

 

-----

 

‘Izuku doesn’t like being touched, does he?’

 

Eijiro looked up at Mori’s question. The boy had recently jumped into their friend group.

He shrugged. ‘Not particularly, I guess.’

 

The boy hummed. ‘I noticed.’

 

Furuya stared at him. ‘Then why do you keep giving him fist bumps?’

 

Ashido piped in for the ginger boy. ‘Obviously to get him used to us!’

 

‘Ey?’

 

Mori nodded. ‘I don’t think he exactly dislikes it. Just not from people he doesn’t know.’

 

-----

 

Eijiro could greatly see the logic in that and the longer he knew Izuku the more he found that to be true.

 

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Eijiro and Izuku jumped. “Wha-!” Izuku grabbed his arm and practically threw him against the wall of the store nearby. “Omph!” Eijiro peeled his eyes open to see Izuku pinning him against it. “Izuku?” He followed the boy’s eyes to see a monster seemingly made out of slime or something running further down the street.

 

Izuku pushed off of the wall with a huff to free Eijiro. “Thanks, man!” Eijiro chuckled. “Really wasn’t expecting that!” Izuku raised an eyebrow but didn’t comment. Eijiro swallowed because no matter how much of an improvement Izuku has made, Izuku was 100% expecting that.

Eijiro couldn’t help but look at the nick on Izuku’s left ear. He shuddered just thinking about it. How quickly Izuku reacted. The gun… the gun his brother so casually put to another man’s head.

 

Izuku always expected something bad to happen and thus was always ready for it to happen.

 

“Izuku! Kirishima!” They both looked up to see Mori and the others waiting for them at the street corner. He was going to call out to them but… Eijiro raised a hand and pointed to the store next to them. “One sec! Bathroom break!” He all but dragged Izuku through the convenience store and into the bathroom.

“Hey, man, you good?”

Izuku leaned against the door of the bathroom breathing deeply. Eijrio frowned. Yes, panic attacks happened less but that didn’t mean that they didn’t happen altogether. It just took the right trigger.

 

Eijiro gently took Izuku’s hand and placed it on his own chest. “Breathe with me, Izuku. In. Out. In. Out.” Izuku complied the best that he could but Eijiro could see the way his brother’s shoulders shook. “Can you feel that?” he asked. “That’s my heart. Can you feel it beating?” Izuku stared at him for a few seconds before nodding stiffly. The raven-haired boy smiled. “Good. Just focus on that. In. And out. In… And out…” Eijiro will admit that he has definitely gotten better at handling panic attacks.

Izuku’s shoulders began to relax and his breathing evened out. Eijiro squeezed the boy’s hand that was still on his chest. “Are you alright?” Izuku nodded.

“S- sorry ‘bout t- that.”Eijiro let go of Izuku’s hand. “It’s no problem! Come on, the others are gonna start to worry!”

 

They left the store and met their group of friends on the corner of the street.

 

“All good?” Hino asked. Eijiro doesn’t know how much they know about Izuku but the way they looked concerningly over at Izuku made Eijiro smile. They didn’t have to know. They knew enough to know that Izuku had triggers and panic attacks over certain things and they didn’t run away from it. They took it in full stride. Stutters, accent, jumpiness, and all. And in turn,

 

“Y- yer.”

 

, Izuku had become comfortable enough around them to speak and to accept their bits of contact and care.

 

They went to an arcade that they all have been slowly working Izuku up to its loudness without him knowing it as they chose slightly louder and more crowded places every time.

Even then he spent most of the time in the back but he did smile. Once.

 

Eijiro pulled Izuku over to a crowd that was forming around a dancing game where you have to step on the correct arrows on appearing on the screen.

 

“She’s great!”

“No way!”

“Th- That’s the highest score!!!”

 

Come to find, Ashido was killing it! Izuku leaned over Eijiro’s shoulder, staring in awe. Eijiro grinned. “Woohoo! Go Ashido!” She did end up making a mistake three minutes later but by then most of the arcade had gathered. She got a million pats on the back. Ashido somehow made her way out of the crowd and to their group of friends.

“Dance class really pays off,” she chirped.

“You did great.”

“I wish I was that good.”

“I’m so clumsy.”

 

“G- grate job A- Ashi’o.” She turned to Izuku and smiled just the same. Izuku smiled back.

 

Soon they left the arcade to go get food. Well ‘food.’ They got ice cream.

They chatted and laughed and soon the sun was just starting to go down and the group split.

“See you guys!” Ashido waved and bounced off with Hino and Furuya.

Mori held out a bag of cookies. “For your parents,” he said. “I made them last night.”

Izuku took them gently.

 

Side note, Izuku, despite his rough edges, has a really light touch.

 

“Th- thank you.”

“Thanks, man!” Eijiro grinned. “See you at school!”

With that, Mori also bounded away.

 

“Come to think of it, we are filling out forms for what high schools we want to go to tomorrow, right?”

Izuku looked up at him. “I t- thin’ so.” Eijiro began walking with his hands behind his head. “I wonder if Mori is going to become a chef.”

“‘e l- likes cookin’.”

“Right?!” Eijiro exclaimed. “And he is super good at it! You are in Food’s with him again this year, right?” It was nice to actually be able to hold a conversation with his brother.

“I- I’ll ask ‘im tomo-”

 

*!BOOM!*

 

Izuku and Eijiro jumped. They swirled looked up to see not a block down a giant plume of smoke rising high above the highrises. “What’s going on?” There was a massive crowd gathering. Izuku hesitated but ended up following Eijiro over. “Don’t worry, there are bound to be a lot of heroes,” he reassured his brother.

They got to the edge of the crowd and tried to peer over all of the people.

“Isn’t that the villain All Might was chasing?”

“Did he lose?”

“Where is All Might now?”

Eijiro tilted his head. All Might is back in Japan? I thought he was overseas. Eijiro got a glimpse of the ‘fight’ which wasn’t much of a fight really. He paled. “I- Isn’t that the slime dude from earlier?” He grabbed Izuku’s arm and swiftly weaved in between people. They got to the mid-front. Eijiro got a much better view.

 

He paled. The slime villain was holding someone captive! They didn’t look much older than him and seemed to be emitting explosions from their slime-covered palms. They were- oh my goodness they are suffocating!

Izuku had gone deathly still next to him. He wondered if Izuku wanted to help but knew that he couldn’t cause honestly, what could he do in this situation?

 

-----

 

‘Coward. You’re too weak to be a hero!’

 

-----

 

Eijiro hung his head. What could I do in this situation?

AHHHHH!” His head snapped up. Near the edge of the civilians gathering, the slime villain had lashed out. It’s going to hit them! None of the heroes have the right quirks!

He looked down at his arms. *BOOM* The slime collided with a nearby building and a large chunk of the wall began to fall. Eijiro didn’t need a reason to move.

He just did.

Eijiro made a mad dash. “Kid! Get back! It’s dangerous!”

 

-----

 

‘There is something worse and scarier than death!’

 

-----

 

Eijiro pushed the civilians out of the way and hardened his arms.

 

-----

 

‘The expressions of those who died! And the torment of knowing you could have saved them!’

 

-----

 

Eijiro gritted his teeth and raised his arms above his body.

 

-----

 

A manly heart is a heart that lives without regret!

 

-----

 

With the words of his favorite hero and his inspiration ringing in his ears, Eijiro hardened his entire body and took it LIKE A MAN!

*!CRASH!*

Dust and dirt flew and he could feel his legs give but he didn’t let it break him. He fell to one knee and held it. He held it over the one he didn’t get out of the way. Eijiro peeled open one eye and glanced down at the little girl beneath him. And he smiled.

Izuku’s scarred hand came into view and pulled the girl out from under the wall of cement he was holding up.

 

Death Arms ran over and pulled the cement slab off of Eijiro. He released his quirk, panting. Instantly arms swung around his neck. Eijiro’e red eyes widened in surprise. He pats Izuku’s arm.

“Hey, man, I’m alright.”

“I- I- I- Idiot!” 

Eijiro chuckled. He looked down at his arms that were bleeding slightly. “Sorry for worrying you.”

 

All Might soon stepped in and took care of the villain.

 

Eijiro sat on a box with Izuku standing behind him letting the paramedics bandage his arms.

“That was incredibly dangerous, kid,” one of the heroes scolded him. “Why did you run in there like that?”

Eijiro looked down at his bandaged arms. He smiled softly and looked up.

 

-----

 

‘Coward.’

 

-----

 

I don’t know.” He could feel a pair of eyes on him but he didn’t know whose. ‘I just thought that maybe, just maybe, I could help. So I did.”

The hero huffed. “That’s great and all, kid, but let the heroes do their job next time.”

“Yes, sir!”

 

He wasn’t angry. He understood how reckless he was being. But Eijiro was still proud of himself for stepping in. He wondered if Crimson Riot would be too.

“Your parents will be here soon.”

Eijiro sat on that box and Izuku pulled up one next to him.

 

“All of that training pulled off Izuku!” Eijiro grinned. Izuku nodded. Then smirked. “Oh no…”

Izuku puffed out his chest. Eijiro rolled his eyes and did the same and together they POWER POSED. They both broke it laughing, Izuku chuckling quietly.

 

“Deku…” Izuku froze. Eijiro looked up to the blonde boy that was the victim of the attack and now standing behind the greenette. “Oh, hey, man!” Eijiro stood up. He doesn’t know why, but Izuku reacted to that name and he knows that means ‘useless’ and he got a bad vibe from this kid. The blonde looked up at him. “Hey.” He looked down at Izuku again.

“Look, De-” Izuku stood sharply and swirled around to face the boy.

 

Eijiro had to physically take a step back because never once in his life has he seen so much hatred in Izuku’s eyes. Not even when he held a man at gunpoint.

 

The blonde met Izuku’s eyes head-on. “So that is you,” the blonde huffed. Eijiro stepped in beside Izuku. “Hey, man, I don’t know what’s going on bu-”

“Stay out of this,” the blonde growled.

Izuku stepped in front of Eijiro protectively. “Izuku?” If Eijiro was better at reading people he would have seen the hurt that flashed in the blonde boy’s eyes.

 

Mom and Dad arrived and rushed up to them. Izuku didn’t spare them so much of a glance.

 

Dad was quick to assess the situation and step in, placing a hand on Izuku’s shoulders and addressing the blonde boy.

“What do you have to do with my son?” he asked.

The blonde boy raised an eyebrow. “So this is the family that took you?” Izuku narrowed his eyes. Eijiro grit his teeth. He was ignoring Dad completely.

“You know we tried to get you ourselves,” he continued. Izuku barred his teeth angrily. Dad stepped forward.

 

“I am sorry, boy, but if you don’t tell me why you are talking to my son then I will have to end this conversation now as you are obviously making him uncomfortable.”

The blonde rolled his eyes. “I’ve known him much longer than you have.”

“Oh?”

The blonde took that as a sufficient answer and turned back to Izuku. “Look, De-”

*BAM*

“IZUKU!”

It happened in a second, none of them even noticed the greenette raising his fist. The blonde groaned as he sat up, cradling his cheek. “What the hell?!”

Izuku glared down at the boy.

 

Don’t. Call. Me. THAT.

 

Mom came up behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Izuku, you can’t just go around punching people, dear!” The blonde got up and met Izuku eye to eye. Dad stepped forward. “Okay, break i-”

“Shut up, Old Man!” the blonde growled. He leveled Izuku with a stare before letting out a sigh.

“Look, D- Midori-”

Dad and Mom had to physically hold Izuku back. “Izuku, calm down,” Dad was trying to soothe his son who was mid-panic attack but too focused on the boy in front of him to realize that he wasn’t breathing properly. Eijiro decided now was the time to make use of his promise of protection. He moved between Izuku and the blonde.

 

“Okay, who are you because I doubt that you really knew Izuku all that well if you didn’t know how much he hates that name.”

Dad had pulled Izuku and was now running through a series of breathing exercises that Izuku was not listening too in exchange for glaring at the blonde even if he couldn’t see him. Eijiro could feel the malice though thank you very much as Iuzku was now staring at his back.

 

The blonde clicked his tongue. “Well SOR-RY," he spat sarcastically, "but I haven’t seen him in, what, five years now?” Mom came up behind Eijiro. “So what do you have to do with Izuku now?” The blonde sighed and looked away. “Geeze, I just wanted to apologize.” He could hear Izuku’s breath hitch behind him. The blonde pushed past Eijiro to look at Izuku.

 

“Yeah, that’s right,” he growled. “Four years. Four years! Why didn’t you tell anyone!?” Izuku flinched back. “I- DANG IT- I hurt you too!” Dad’s, Mom’s, and Eijiro’s heads snapped up in shock. “Suck! We could have helped you!” Izuku chuckled. It was so dry and shook everyone to their cores. He stood up and pushed Dad off. Izuku met the blonde with so much rage even the angry boy had to take a step back.

 

“H- Help? You?” Izuku laughed. “No the ‘eck you wouldn’! If you wanted ta help ya would’ve back when ya though’ I was quirkless. But ya didn’, ey?” His accent dropped thick and the stutter was nowhere to be found. Izuku tilted his head and grinned widely, eye twitching. “But cha didn’! Nah you just decided all on yer lonesome that, ‘Ey! Imma beat the weak kid! DAILY!’” Eijiro felt rage well in his own chest.

 

This boy… was one of Izuku’s tormentors.

 

“Now ya wanna make i’ all betta? Ya think Imma just accept yer apology?” Izuku took a step forward and spat at the boy’s feet. 

“Screw you, Kacchan.”

 

The blonde’s eyes widened. Izuku spun on his heel and stormed off. Eijiro looked frantically between the two before deciding on sending a glare at the boy and rushing off after Izuku.

 

_______________________________

 

Asa looked down at the blonde boy before him.

 

“Look, I don’t know what all happened between you and my son but,” he couldn’t help but feel angry, “don’t come near him again or I will place a restraining order on you.”

 

He walked away with his wife and after Ei and Izuku except… they couldn’t find them. Not until Ei popped out of an alley. “Mom! Dad!” He looked terrified. They ran over to him. “Where is Izuku?” Eijiro pointed into the alley. “H- he- he’s not breathing!”

Suck! Asa bolted into the alley where he could just make out the shaking form of Izuku curled up in a ball on his side. Izuku was twitching harshly and not even trying to breathe.

 

Dang it! Please don’t relapse!

 

He knelt beside his son. “Hey, Izuku,” he said softly. Green eyes flew to him, twitching slightly.

 

Not after we got so far!

 

Asa sat against the wall of the alley and gently lifted Izuku to sit on his lap. “Shh…” He guided the boy to lean his head against his chest.

“I do- can- Mido- Wo- Not-” Asa shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. Don’t speak. It’s alright.” Izuku shook his head. “Not- Not- Not okay. H- He- Don’t-”

Asa placed his head onto of Izuku’s curls and rubbed soothing circles on the boys back.

 

Asa looked up. He saw the blonde boy storm past the alley. For a split second, they met eyes. The boy’s red ones widened. He turned away and kept walking.

 

The last thing they needed was for one of Izuku’s past tormentors to show up and now look where they were. Izuku fumbled over his words and clung to Asa’s shirt, forehead pressed against the older man’s chest. Eijiro sat beside him and Yuma on the other side. Asa began the breathing exercises as soon as he knew that Izuku was listening. Izuku’s voice died out his breathing got down to a semi-normal rate. Asa looked down at the boy in his arms.

“Do you want to go home?”

Izuku looked up at Asa and blinked slowly.

 

Daily talking quota: met.

Aka, Izuku was not about to be speaking any more today.

 

Asa nodded and stood but opted for carrying Izuku to the car. Izuku didn’t seem to mind. Eijiro sat in the back with Izuku. The greenette stared blankly out of the window until Eijiro pulled him over and let Izuku rest on his shoulder.

Asa looked in the rearview mirror. Eijiro met his eyes.

 

“He isn’t going to relapse, is he, dad?” Eijiro whispered.

Asa took a deep breath and looked back at the road. “No. Izuku is strong. We need to approach this carefully but I think that he will pull through this. He won’t let this hold him back.”

 

I hope…

 

_______________________________

 

Yuma opened her eyes to the sound of a quiet whimpering. She had fallen asleep on the couch with Izuku in her lap. She didn’t want him to wake up alone. Neither did Eijiro apparently as he was sleeping by her feet. Yuma looked down.

Izuku was crying in his sleep.

Asa came in with a pillow and a couple of blankets and Izuku’s Present Mic plush. Yuma smiled up at her husband as he draped one over Eijiro and then settled down beside his son after tucking the plushie under Izuku’s arm. Yuma ran her hand through Izuku’s green curls.

 

Izuku might be shaken up but no, he wouldn’t be st back by this. He had a family that would pull him through. He wasn’t alone.

 

_______________________________

 

*BAM*

 

Katsuki slammed his fist against the wall.

 

-----

 

‘Screw you, Kacchan.’

 

-----

 

He stormed past an alleyway. He didn’t mean to look in but when he did he got a slap in the face of what his past did to Izuku’s future as he witnessed the family that was currently trying to get Izuku to calm down.

 

He met eyes with the father and stormed away.

 

-----

 

Katsuki fell to his knees wiping at his wet eyes angrily. “Dang it!”

 

-----

 

‘This is for the best.’

 

-----

 

His mother’s words rang dully in his head.

Katsuki looked up at the ceiling.

 

“What have I done to you, Izuku…?”

 

_______________________________

 

Yagi Toshinoro sat in his bed, pain preventing him from sleeping.

 

Well, that and…

 

-----

 

‘That was incredibly dangerous, kid. Why did you run in there like that?’

 

I don’t know,’ the raven-haired boy replied. ‘I just thought that maybe, just maybe, I could help. So I did.

 

Yagi’s, as All Might, eyes widened. That kid.

 

‘All Might! Can you please give us a report!’

 

-----

 

He said it as if it was the simplest thing in the world. I could help so I did help. No more thought needed.

Yagi curled his hand into a fist.

 

“I need to find that kid again.”

 

Chapter Text

Izuku was NOT having it.

 

He could see the worried glances Kiri was shooting at him all the way to school. Izuku kept walking. He couldn’t help the way his body tensed up as soon as their school came into sight. Every single kid that was walking registered as THREAT. DANGER. FEAR. His fingers tapped on his yellow bag strings rapidly.

 

“IZUKU! KIRISHIMA!”

 

Izuku jumped and swiveled his head to where he could see Ashido running toward them arms stretched wide. Sheer instinct had him sliding his right leg back and dropping his stance, arms hovering by his sides.

Kiri swung around and made a motion with his hand across his neck. Telling her to stop?

Ashido took in Izuku’s stance. They met eyes and she froze. Ashido dropped one arm and slowed her pace, waving and walking up to them casually. Izuku pulled himself into a normal stand, hands going back to rest on his backpack straps.

“Heya, guys!” Kiri waved. “H- hey, Ashido!” Izuku held his tongue. Ashido didn’t falter. Furuya and Hino came soon after and they all waited a few more moments for Mori to arrive before going into the school together.

 

Can’t do this. Can’t do this. Can’t do this.

 

Green eyes flitted to every single movement making Izuku dizzy. Every laugh in the halls felt like past chides.

 

-----

 

‘Quirkless!’

 

‘Useless!’

 

‘Freak!’

 

-----

 

Can’t do this. Can’t do this. Can’t do this!

 

His friends seemed to form a protective barrier around him.

 

Izuku’s legs felt weak. His fingers hurt from how hard they were gripping his back. His eyes stung from refusal to blink. His blood roared in his ears and his ribcage screamed as his heart beat against it painfully.

The group stopped outside of his and Kiri’s classroom.

 

“See you guys at lunch,” Hino waved.

“See ya!” “See you in Foods.” “Bye.” 

 

Kiri waved. “See you later.”

 

_______________________________

 

Mina looked over her shoulder as she bounded away from Kirishima and Izuku. The raven-haired boy was seemingly trying to coax the greenette into class.

 

“I wonder what happened,” Mori commented.

Furuya nodded. “He was perfectly fine yesterday it seemed.”

“But you saw the news, right?” Hino asked.

Mina furrowed her eyebrows. “Yeah, but it was Kirishima that ran forward, right?”

Mori shrugged. “We don’t have all of the details, I think.”

Mina turned to her friends. “Okay, serious question. Should we ask?”

 

Furuya shook her head. “I don’t think so. I know a lot of orphans have bad past lives before being adopted and I am pretty sure Izuku has one too if his actions are anything to say.”

“And his scars,” Hino added in.

“I know but… Er!” Mina pressed her hands to her head and threw them out widely. “I’m just so worried!”

“How about this,” Mori popped in. “Let’s ask Kirishima if we can ask and what he says goes, okay?”

 

“But how do we catch him alone?” Hino asked. Mina grinned. “Izuku has training after school today, right? It’s Friday! So we can catch Kirishima after he leaves!”

 

They all nodded. “So it’s a plan?”

“It’s a plan.”

 

_______________________________

 

Don’t move. Don’t cough. Don’t breathe.

 

Izuku listed the self-set instructions on how to get through a school day or a bad night on the streets without getting noticed.

 

Eyes down. Ears up. Hand’s on the desk.

 

-----

 

‘What do you think you’re doing, ey Deku?’

 

‘Look at him! He’s shaking in his boots!’

 

*BOOM* A large charred mark left on his desk.

 

‘Bwhahaha! What a wimp!’

 

‘What a Deku.’

 

-----

 

Don’t move. DOn’T BreAthE.

 

-----

 

‘Izuku? What is this? The school says I have to pay for you damaging a desk today?’

 

‘You know what happens to bad boys, don’t you?’

 

*BAM* *THUD* *SCREAM* *LAUGH*

 

‘Oh, sweetie,’ the green-haired woman pet her dazed son’s head as he lay on the floor next to the newest hole in the wall, product his body colliding with it.

‘You know this is just discipline right? All parents discipline their children.’

 

She dragged the boy by his quirk down the hall.

 

-----

 

Don’t- Don’t- DON’T BREATHE!

 

-----

 

‘Sorry, sweetie, but we don’t have money to feed you today.’

 

The woman opened the closet. The boy tried to struggle but his head hurt at every movement.

 

‘See, I can’t afford to feed you and pay for the desk so,’ she all but threw the boy into the closet and closed the door, ‘no dinner tonight. You understand, right?’

 

The boy pounded on the closet door when he heard the *click* of the lock and his fist fell along with his heart in the darkness of the small space.

 

‘Love you, Izuku.’

 

The boy banged harder and cried and screamed until the pain in his back and head forced him to stop. Until the pain in his stomach forced him to stop.

 

He hasn’t eaten for three days…

 

-----

 

Don’t “Breathe…” Izuku jolted in his seat. His eyes flitted to Kiri who sat at his own table during Japanese History. Kiri wasn’t looking at him but he was whispering ever so quietly under his breath and Izuku could hear it.

 

“Breathe Izuku.”

Izuku looked down at his paper.

“In?”

Izuku bit his lip. “Out,” he whispered back.

He glanced over at Kiri and met his red eyes. Somehow, those eyes, despite being the same color, were so much different than Kacchan’s.

“In?”

“Out.”

Kiri nodded. Izuku took a deep breath and went back to his paper. In. Out. In. Out. In. Out.

 

At lunch, Izuku didn’t dare pull out his lunch.

 

-----

 

‘What is this? You brought lunch for me, Deku?’

 

‘Ha! What a loser! Not even going to stand up for his own lunch.’

 

‘Pathetic.’

 

-----

 

Ashido offered her some of her food. Izuku stared at her box for a good second before biting his lip and shaking his head.

Don’t trust. Don’t trust. Fake. Fake. Fake. Threat.

 

_______________________________

 

Yuta Bando, proud and bold teacher of Hills Alliance Middle School’s mixed martial arts class.

 

When he first met Izuku Kirishima, he did not know what to think. He could definitely see all of the signs that he had been warned of in the PTSD briefing on the kid but his fighting was astounding! He took down Yamamoto on his first day!

Still, he was just a bit too aggressive. It was as though he wasn’t really all there while he was fighting and had to be reminded of it.

Over the few months Kirishima had been in his class, even with the summer break interval, Yuta had to eventually take precautions.

 

He specifically remembered a day when the boy was obviously shaken up from something. That was the last time Yuta had asked him to fight when he was that shaken up.

 

And he apologized to the kid and family of said kid who had his arm and nose broken by the smaller green-haired boy.

 

Today was one of those days.

Kirishima came in looking pale as death and not making any eye contact. He gripped the bottom of his karategi so hard Yuta thought it would rip.

 

Okay… “Line up, class!”

“Yes, Bando-sensei!” Kirishima didn’t even reply which he had finally started doing te start of this year. “Change of plans. I know I said that we would be sparring today but we are changing the schedule a bit in lue of the tournament coming up. Speaking of which, I will be handing out permission slips for the tournament before class lets out. Today we will be working on sharpening our techniques individually and then spending the next two weeks before the tournament sparring each other. Okay?”

“Yes, Bando-sensei!”

“Now go find a place on the mats spread out to practice! I will be coming around to each one of you individually to discuss what you are working on.”

 

And he did. Everyone was doing well. Er… aside from a few but they were basically here for the quick good grades which they most definitely were not getting.

 

Yuta steeled himself as he turned to Kirishima in the back corner of the class who was currently dropping into a low stance. It was a mix of multiple styles but he recognized it more of a street fighter type of stance. It was probably where the greenette got his cheep tricks from. The boy pivoted on his left foot, bringing his right leg up with more flexibility than Yuta had in his whole body and brought it down with a *thump* that would probably hurt an actual person a lot more than a mat.

“Kirishima,” he called out from a safe distance and rightly so because even before getting up, the boy swung his foot around as if to knock the footing out from whoever might be behind him. No one was. Kirishima looked up to see Yuta coming forward.

 

“What are you working on?” he asked, not really expecting much of a response. The boy stood and looked to the side. Yuta watched as the boy more tried to describe it with his hands than voice before giving up and looking back up at his teacher.

 

“S- straigh’ knockouts.”

 

Yuta swallowed thickly. “As in, a single blow and they are out?” The boy nodded. “Mind if I ask why you are looking for something so decisive?” He shrugged. “S- safer.” Dang, okay then. Whatever get’s him out of harm’s way the quickest then. It wasn’t a bad thing, necessarily. They were trying to win the tournament after all but hearing it come out of a kid’s mouth who was coved in so many scars and who’s voice was so honestly terrifying despite the stutter, it just felt so off.

 

“Do you need any help on anything?” he asked instead. The boy tapped his chin for a second before looking up at Yuta. “Reaction t- time?” Yuta tilted his head. “Mine or yours?” The boy pointed at him. “Mine is pretty good.” Kirishima nodded and took a few steps back. “Dodge.” Yuta’s eyes widened. OH. Dang it this is really going to suck. He nodded and got into position.

The green eyes of the boy in front of him dulled making Yuta shiver. He suddenly shot forward. Yuta spun to the left only to find that Kirishima was already there. He had a split second to move his side out of range of the punch and even then the boy had grabbed his arm and swung the older man around. Yuta stumbled a bit, looking up to see a flash of green from his right. He ducked as quickly as possible, looking up to see the fist go over his head. Yuta rolled out of the way as the boy spun and a foot came around to nail his side.

He FELT it snag his karategi!

Yuta jumped to his feet. The boy’s movements were so unusual it was hard to keep up. Yuta could tell that the class was beginning to notice and watch. What he also noticed was Kirishima was using this to blow off steam.

 

As a teacher, Yuta was meant to help kids, that meant more than just with his chosen class. If he noticed a kid was mentally off that day, he would help the best he could. That stood the same for those who couldn’t talk it out so if Kirishima needed this to get over whatever he was going through at the moment, then Yuta would gladly let his head almost get smashed in for the next minute or so while the boy in front of him worked it out.

 

And they did. They did until Yuta felt a foot under his ankle and he landed flat on his back.

 

He huffed, panting slightly. He sat up to see that the whole class was staring. Kirishima was looking up at the ceiling but with his eyes closed, taking slow and deep breaths.

“Did that help?” Yuta asked.

The boy opened his eyes and looked down at his teacher. “Y- yer.” Yuta grinned and stood up.

Yamamoto scowled from the other side off the mats. “I thought that you said we weren’t sparring today, Bando-sensei?” Yuta turned to his student. “Did you see me fight back? I was simply helping him with what he needed help on.”

Yamamoto raised an eyebrow. “Which was what?” Yuta sighed. Since day one Kirishima and the white-haired boy had started off on the wrong foot which was understandable as Kirishima floored him and basically stripped him of the strongest kid in the class title. He was about to reply when Kirishima spoke first.

 

Straigh’ knockouts.

 

Yuta had to stop himself from laughing at the way half of the class paled. Did Kirishima just threaten Yamamoto? Probably. Did Yamamoto provoke it? Definitely.

Yuta clapped his hands. “Alright, back to work!”

“Yes, Bando-sensei!”

 

_______________________________

 

“Kirishima, come here,” Mr. Aizawa called Eijiro over. He furrowed his eyebrows. Usually, the man would just take off with Izuku right away. Nevertheless, Eijiro walked over to the man in the car. He jerked his head back to where Izuku had just gotten in the car.

 

“What happened?”

 

Eijiro chuckled. “Oh. W- well yesterday we sort of ran into someone that supposedly knew Izuku from before he was on the streets or something.”

The man furrowed his eyebrows. “Who?”

Eijrio shrugged. “I didn’t get his name.”

“What did he look like?”

Eijiro tilted his head. “Spikey blonde hair, red eyes, bad temper…” He trailed off by the angry glare from the older man. Eijiro looked down.

Mr. Aizawa sighed. “Thanks for telling me, kid. See you later.” Eijiro nodded and let them drive off. He watched after the car.

 

“Kirishima!” He turned to see Ashido and the others had waited for him. He grinned and hopped over to them.

 

The question was popped when they reached his house.

“Say, Kirishima,” Furuya started slowly, “about Izuku… Would it be okay if we knew what happened to make him like… erm… that?”

Eijiro could feel his heart drop. Ah. They got curious. Mori gently slapped the girl on her shoulder. “Not like ‘that.’ Just so jumpy and all. Like what happened before he came to live with you?” Eijiro hung his head. “A- hahaha yeah… Um… I don’t think it’s my place to say…”

They all looked a bit saddened. He tried to smile. “I mean, you could p- probably ask him but…”

Hino tilted her head. “But what?”

Eijiro shrugged. “I want to say that he trusts you enough but I honestly don’t know. He might be okay with it or he might-” Eijiro bit his tongue.

 

Might try to run away or… off himself again.

 

After the incident at night with the knife, Izuku had tried once more. Eijiro didn’t like to think about it. He shook his head. “J- just, you’ll have to ask him yourself. I can’t say.”

 

They all seemed to accept that answer. Ashido nodded. “Alright! Can we come over tomorrow then?” Eijiro stared at her. “A- are you sure? I mean, it really isn’t an easy story to digest. And he might not even tell you.” She nodded sharply. “I’m sure!” Eijiro sighed but nodded. “I guess.” They all smiled.

 

Eijiro waved them goodbye and was about to open the gate when he heard another voice.

 

Young man!

 

He whipped around and almost had a heart attack as none other than All Might himself stood before him. “A- A- A- ALL MIGHT!

The man grinned. “It is I!”

Eijiro looked around frantically. “Why are you here!? I mean not that I mind but is there a villain attack or something?!” The man laughed loudly. “HA HA HA! No, boy, there is not! I am here to see you!” Eijiro gawked.

“I- is this because I stepped in yesterday? I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me. I-”

“Boy, stop.”

Eijiro clamped his mouth shut so fast he almost bit his tongue.

 

“The reason I am here is, in fact, the fight,” All Might continued, “but not for the reason you are thinking. Your actions, young man, inspired me to move.”

“M- me?”

The man nodded. “YES!” Eijiro winced at his booming voice. “Young man, all great heroes have stories from their school days. Do you know what they all say?” Eijiro shook his head. “That their bodies moved before their minds!” Eijiro’s eyes widened. All Might grinned. “I heard you after the fight, young man. And just now you said it again. You did not know what got over you.”

 

-----

 

‘Coward.’

 

-----

 

Eijiro felt his chest tighten. All Might closed his eyes. And then. *POOF* Eijiro’s eyes widened as white smog puffed out and in its place was a skeleton looking man with unruly blonde hair, sunken eyes, and- oh my goodness- coughing up blood!

“A- A- ALL MIGHT!?”

The man held up his hand and wiped his chin with the other. “Calm down, my boy, it is still I.” Eijiro looked from left to right frantically before back to the man. “Are you okay?!” All Might nodded. “I assure you, I am. However, this is truly what I have come to talk with you about.”

Eijro furrowed his eyebrows and the man continued.

 

“There have been many speculations about my quirk that I have always laughed off. My quirk is called ‘One For All.’”

Eijiro’s eyes sparkled. “That sounds so manly!”

All Might chuckled. “I suppose. This quirk is like none other, young man! This quirk has been passed to me as a sacred torch.” Eijiro raised an eyebrow. “Ey?” All Might nodded. “That is right. One For All is a stockpiling quirk. It takes the strength from one user and passes it onto the next growing stronger every time it passes to the next wielder.”

All Might held out his arms dramatically. “Carrying the hopes and dreams to from each generation,” he brought his hands together with a *CLAP*, “that is the strength of my quirk.”

Eijiro couldn’t help but smile.

“That sounds so cool! B- but why are you telling this to me, All Might, sir?” All Might met his eyes. EIjiro could feel the intimidation radiating from the man, even in this hollow form. Intimidation he has only felt from Izuku when Izuku is angry.

 

I want YOU, young man, to be the next wielder of One For All.

 

May we all take a second and applaud the raven-haired boy named Eijiro Kirishima for not fainting?

Thank you.

 

Eijiro gawked at the man. “M- ME?!”

 

-----

 

‘So weak. He’ll never amount to anything. I bet he’ll just get a desk job and grovel at his boss’s shoes.’

 

-----

 

“YES!” All Might grinned. “I saw in you something that I have not seen in someone in a long, long time, young man. The ability to move under intense situations without fear and still smile.”

 

-----

 

‘Looser.’

 

-----

 

All Might pointed at him. “You have the HEART of a HERO!

 

Eijiro could feel tears well up in his eyes.

 

“Now, this is an incredibly burdensome quirk to take on. It is completely up to you whether you want to take it or not.”

 

Eijiro looked down at his hands.

 

-----

 

‘Coward!’

‘Looser!’

‘Where do you get off trying to act all strong-’

 

Hey.’

 

-----

 

Eijiro’s eyes widened.

 

-----

 

Izuku stood up from their lunch table. Eijiro watched in shock as a terrifying grin split Izuku’s face and he placed a heavy hand on Yamamoto’s shoulder.

 

‘Where do you get off acting like a bigshot when I handed your butt to you on the first day of me attending this school?’

Everyone paled. 

Izuku turned to the now staring lunchroom. He gestured to Yamamoto and Ito.

‘Jerks. Bullies. Know-it-alls who can’t tell that two plus two is four.’ There were a few snickers. Izuku glared back at them. ‘Scum of the earth.’

He gestured to Eijiro. ‘Kind, caring, smarter than a fifth-grader.’ He grinned back down at Eijiro. ‘Manly.’

 

Izuku turned back to Yamamoto and Ito. ‘Don’t go getting on a high horse acting like a leader when you can’t do anything but bring your comrades down. You are worse than villains if you truly think that you are better than anyone here. You are just plain idiots.’



-----

 

Eijiro looked up at the man in front of him. All Might. All Might was in front of him. Waiting for an answer.

 

-----

 

Not long after did Izuku have a panic attack in the bathroom and Yamamoto and Ito never spoke to Eijiro again.

 

-----

 

‘- quirk abuse, blunt force trauma, isolation, starvation, and locking him in small dark places for extended periods of time.’

‘On the streets, Izuku was constantly fighting for his life and has even mentioned that on a few occurrences he has been a victim of rape.’

‘Izuku has a distinct fear of any living thing, does not speak much, if ever, and suffers from a severe case of PTSD and claustrophobia.’

 

-----

 

‘How do you plan on taking care of a child with such an array of trauma and fear of humans?’

 

-----

 

Eijiro steeled himself.

“I…” he said slowly, “... have someone I want to protect.” All Might lifted an eyebrow.

“If accepting your quirk means that I can become strong enough to protect him then…”

 

-----

 

‘A manly heart is a heart that lives without regret!’

 

-----

 

Eijiro met the man’s eyes head-on.

 

I ACCEPT!

 

Chapter Text

Izuku had not spoken since leaving the middle school and Shouta was worried. He had met the Bakugou’s in person a couple of times when the Izuku Midoriya Runaway case was still fresh but not enough to remember them much. Then he heard about them from Ms. Takakawa as they were potential candidates for adopting Izuku. Then he heard from Ms. Takakawa that the Bakugou boy had actually been bullying Izuku for four years before he ran away.

 

Now he hears that Izuku has run into him again and the effects were obvious.

 

Shouta parked the car in the faculty parking lot.

“Izuku, come here,” he waved the boy over as he closed the door. Izuku did but he didn’t meet Shouta in the eyes. Shouta saw Hitoshi behind Izuku hovering worriedly. For the first time in a long while, Shouta asked before touching the boy. It was strange because Izuku had gotten used to them enough that he could ruffle his hair or hug him without asking normally but today was not one of those days.

 

“Do you want a hug?” he asked carefully.

Izuku shook his head. Shouta raised an eyebrow.

“Do you NEED a hug?”

Izuku flinched slightly.

 

The greenette is a very touchy person when you get to know him. After he comes out of his shell and Izuku actually begins to trust you, there is a stark contrast in his fear-of-humans distancing and his need-for-connection longing. However, things are different now. Izuku has gotten used to being able to accept hugs and pats and even his quirk being used by not only Hitoshi but Shouta himself! Izuku has finally begun to accept himself. All of himself. Even his quirk as he trains more and more with Recovery Girl.

 

And that is what is going to cause the issue here. Izuku isn’t 100% with it yet so for something from his past that is a direct reminder of why he hated his quirk so much in the first place to arise, it was really a teetering edge they were on.

“Do you?” he asked.

Izuku nodded shakily. Shouta held out his arms. He wouldn’t force himself on Izuku. He let the boy step forward and practically fall into him. Shouta held him for a long while as Izuku tried, and failed, to stifle his cries. When he had finally calmed down, Shouta, not letting go, asked about it. “I heard you met someone from long ago recently,” he said casually. Izuku pressed his face further into Shouta’s shoulder.

“When?”

“Y- yestaday.”

“Hmm…? Yesterday, huh?”

The greenette nodded. Shouta could almost feel what the boy was remembering.

“S- school,” he whispered. “Couldn’ breathe. Everyone- they- I couldn’-” He cut off when Shouta softly pat the top of his head. “Shh… don’t worry about it. I know. I know…” He met eyes with Hitoshi and gave the best smile he could.

 

They’ve come so far and yet they have oh so much further to go.

 

After Izuku had calmed down, training resumed as usual. The boy welcomed the distraction with open arms. They had brought in a few extra training dummies today and Hitoshi’s and Izuku’s combined control over Puppet was greatly improving. For the last thirty minutes, they split to each train on their own things.

That is when a sickening thought crossed Shouta’s mind.

 

He had been keeping an extra eye on Izuku as the boy trained with Puppet on his own. He had been starting to be able to almost, how does one say it, pull himself? Yes. Izuku would form the strings on his own, albeit it took a bit of time, and was training with them much like a whip which Shouta recognized as his Golden Whip persona but he had begun to use them to be able to amplify his own movements. Pulling at the one on his back to go flying backward to which they found out was how he threw himself out of the window when they first tried him forming the strings on his own. But also, pulling himself from side to side.

 

It was actually really creepy if Shouta had to admit. Izuku would just be standing there and then suddenly, even if he couldn’t see the string, Shouta would see the boy go soaring in the other direction and he could see which joint he was pulling because the rest of his body would sort of just… hang.

He was getting better for sure and doesn’t pass out anymore. Well. Sometimes he does. But it was still incredibly dangerous because as Shouta has come to know, the control was almost impossible. The slightest tug could send him feet away from his original standing position.

 

Shouta watched the doll-like skin and bolts outline on Izuku’s body. He would never get used to that. He narrowed his eyes at the thought in question:

 

Could someone pulling on the strings trump Izuku’s own control of it if he was in his puppet form?

 

It was not something Shouta was willing to ask at the moment. He would wait until Izuku’s mental state was a little more stable before he asked that because of what either answer could imply. If ‘no’, Izuku could rest assured that even if a villain tried to use it, he could take hold of his own strings back and get out of that situation. If ‘yes’… then Izuku’s found confidence in himself as a person rather than a doll would be instantly stripped away knowing that no matter how hard he struggled to control himself, a villain would still be more in control of him and they would be back at stage one.

Izuku’s mental state was too fragile to damage at the moment, especially with the recent events of meeting a past tormentor.

 

It was something that they needed to approach before they applied to UA though. He didn’t know when Izuku would be ready to find out the answer but they sure as hell could not wait to find the answer if it was answered by a villain themselves and it happened to be ‘yes.’

 

Shouta sighed. He looked up at the sky.

 

What a mess of a quirk you delt him, he thought sarcastically.

 

_______________________________

 

“Um, All Might, sir?”

 

Eijiro twiddled his thumbs as the two exchanged phone numbers.

“What is it, Young Kirishima?” the man asked.

Eijiro bit his lip. “Well, you see, I know you said I can’t tell anyone but… There is this person, er, my brother. He is, um, how do I put it… traumatized? And I kinda can’t keep something this big from him, you know?”

 

All Might sighed. “I can understand your concern but this is absolutely something that I cannot relax on. If you can’t one hundred percent lie then give them the half-truth.”

Eijiro accepted his phone back. “Yagi Toshinori?” All Might nodded. “That is my real name. Tell them that you are being trained by a UA scout. If they ask I will come in this form and have a backstory in mind. Alright?”

Eijiro furrowed his eyebrows. He didn’t like lying to Izuku or his parents but he understood why such a big secret could not be let out. “A- alright.”
All Might grinned. “I will be in touch with you soon so until then-” he buffed up which honestly freaked Eijiro out more than Mr. Aizawa’s grin “-SEE YOU SOON!!!

 

He FLEW away. Practically. Eijiro shielded himself from the shockwave of the jump. He watched the hero leave. Eijiro could feel the excitement bubble in him.

 

He, the cowardly, unmanly, unbrave Eijiro Kirishima that everyone thought would never become a hero, he was going to inherit the number one hero’s quirk! Eijiro was elated! Now to tell his parents and Izuku about his ‘scouting.’ He thinks that he will wait until Sunday. Eijiro is betting on Izuku being in better spirits if he agrees to tell his story to the gang. Also that they don’t completely deny Izuku after it.

Eijiro bounded into his house happily.

 

“I’m home!”

 

Mom came out of the kitchen. “You seem happy.”

He nodded. “It was a good day,” he chirped. “Well, for me, at least.” Mom smiled. “That’s good to hear.” He nodded but frowned. “I just, um, don’t count on Izuku talking much today.” Mom got a worried look in her eyes. “That bad, huh?” Eijiro nodded. “He didn’t talk to anyone, had quite a few panic attacks, and didn’t eat lunch.” Mom ran a hand through her hair. “Stage one, hmm?” Eijiro nodded. “Yeah.” She smiled. “Well then maybe you can rub off on him tonight, huh?” EIjiro grinned. “Yes, ma’am, I can!”

 

_______________________________

 

Yuma watched as Ei bounced off to his room. “I wonder what has him in such a good mood? Usually, Izuku’s mood affects him quite a bit.”

 

She figured that it would come out sooner or later. Eijiro wasn’t really the best at hiding things.

 

_______________________________

 

As happy as Eijiro was, he began to worry a bit again when Izuku came home.

 

Eijiro sat with Izuku on the couch as they went over their math homework and Izuku was preparing a bandage pad for a scuff on his cheek. Izuku didn’t look any less emotive or more emotive than usual so Eijiro had to wonder if training took his mind off of things.

 

He was wrong.

 

“Izuku, dear, why aren’t you in bed yet?” Eijiropoked his head out of the bedroom and entered the dining room. Izuku was on the couch reading a book. Mom was to the left of the couch standing. Izuku glanced up at her. He shrugged. She sighed. “I guess it’s alright since you do not have school tomorrow but you do realize you have friends coming over tomorrow, right?” Izuku nodded. She smiled softly.

“Is there something wrong, dear?” Izuku shook his head. “Well, alright, I am going to go to bed. Hollar if you need me, okay?” He nodded.

 

Eijiro felt something off. Maybe it was because Izuku had not said a single word since coming home but he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong.

 

He caught Izuku’s eye and waved him over. “Come on, man!” Izuku hesitated but gave in, closing his book and following Eijiro down the hall to their room. Well, at least, Eijiro thought he did. With his hand on the handle, Eijiro looked down the hall to see that Izuku had stopped. “What’s up?” Izuku was avoiding eye contact. “Izuku?” To his defense, Izuku did try to move forward but his foot hovered in the air uncertainly. Something was holding him back but for the life of him, Eijiro had no clue what was wrong.

Dad came up behind Izuku. “Are you two going to bed.” Izuku jumped and spun around. Eijiro nodded. “I- I think…?” Dad looked down at Izuku. “Is everything alright?” Eijiro could just make out the tiny tremors going throughout Izuku’s body as he was obviously trying to suppress a  panic attack. But what is causing the attack?

Dad went around Izuku.

 

Eijiro met eyes with his father. His eyes widened as Dad mouthed: ‘I am just checking.

 

Checking what?

Dad glanced behind him. He lifted his arm and just grazed the handle to the hallway closet. Izuku DROPPED.

 

Dad sighed. “Thought so…” He knelt down beside Izuku who was having probably the worst panic attack of the day.

“I- I- I’m sorry! I won’t d- do it a- again! P- Please don’ p- p- put me in th- there again!”

 

-----

 

‘- suffers from a severe case of PTSD and claustrophobia.’

 

-----

 

Eijiro finally understood. Izuku couldn’t bring himself to walk past the closet.

He knelt down beside his father who was currently trying to Izuku to calm down but nothing seemed to be working as the closet was still in full view and Dad could not get close enough to move Izuku away from it.

A light bulb went off in his head. Eijiro knew it was risky but he did it anyway. He opened the closet door. He winced when he saw Izuku freeze from the corner of his eye, mouth gaping in a silent scream.

 

“Ei,” Dad said leveled. “What are you doing?” Eijiro flinched at his Dad’s cautiously reserved tone. Eijiro ignored it and pulled out an extra bedsheet. He slid it over the door and closed the closet, letting the bedsheet hang over and hide it.

He turned to Izuku and grinned, gesturing to the now covered door. “See? No more closet!” Izuku’s eyes flitted between the raven-haired boy and the bedsheet. Eijiro saw Dad smirk and give a thumbs up.

 

Using the momentary pause, Dad gently reached forward and brought the boy into a light hug. “It’s okay,” he whispered. Eijiro sat beside them. “We aren’t ever going to lock you in there,” Dad reassured his brother. Izuku hung his head, squeezing his eyes shut, remembering things that he did not want to remember.

 

Eijiro wished he could take those bad memories away forever.

 

-----

 

‘I…” he said slowly, “... have someone I want to protect.” All Might lifted an eyebrow.

 

“If accepting your quirk means that I can become strong enough to protect him then… I ACCEPT!”

 

-----

 

Eijiro guided Izuku through the hallway. Even after hiding the closet, Izuku was still on edge so Eijiro held his brother’s hand as Izuku squeezed his eyes shut until they entered their room.

“Er, um, don’t open them yet.” Eijiro silently went back to the closet and pulled out the last two sheets before rehiding it and entering their room again. Taking a minute, Eijiro opened each of the boy’s dressers and hid them in a similar fashion

“Alright,” he said with a huff. “You can open your eyes now. Eijiro smiled the best he could when more tears filled Izuku’s emerald eyes when he noticed what Eijiro had done.

 

Eijiro slowly moved forward and took the boy into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said softly. “I won’t let that ever happen again.”

 

-----

 

‘-someone I want to protect.’

 

-----

 

Eijiro steeled himself.

 

I will become a hero.

 

He pulled the fluffy comforters off of each of their beds and made a pile on the floor.

 

A hero that can protect.

 

He flopped into them and watched as Izuku slowly sat into them the same.

 

A hero that can save.

 

Eijiro smiled at his brother. Izuku looked like he wanted to smile back but Eijiro could almost see the memories that held his painfully stoic face in place.

 

A hero that can wipe away all fear and pain.

 

Eijiro pulled Izuku into a hug, heart squeezing painfully as Izuku cried silently against his brother’s chest, clinging to Eijiro, willing himself to believe Eijiro’s words even when he couldn’t find the truth in them that Eijiro promised. Eijiro hugged his brother tighter.

 

I will become Izuku’s hero.

 

_______________________________

 

“Alright, guys,” Mina said before ringing the bell outside the gate of the Kirishima household, “remember, if Izuku doesn’t tell us then we don’t press it. Okay?”

 

Everyone nodded. Mina took a deep breath and rung the bell.

*~DING-ding-Ding-DING~*

They heard the gate unlock and walked in. Mina had to physically hold herself back from immediately pouncing on the two boys in the living room. “HEY!” she greeted them loudly, noticing the way Izuku flinched slightly. Kirishima waved. “Hey, guys!” Hino, Furuya, and Mori greeted them as well. The six settled into random chatter. Mrs. Kirishima brought them out cookies at some point.

Mina glanced at Izuku as he munched on one. It was funny that something as simple as a cookie could bring more light to his eyes than anything they had tried. She looked over at Kirishima who met her eyes. His red eyes held a certain protectiveness over the boy next to him.

 

Two things were on the line with this conversation, she realized. One, Izuku’s trust and the boundaries that he has lowered around them. Two, Kirishima’s overall friendship.

 

Mina glanced over at Mori. The boy swallowed but decided he should be the one who started this.

 

“Say, Izuku,” he said casually. Izuku looked up from his hand of cards. “I know…” Mori hesitated “... that you have seen some things…” Izuku tensed. “At school yesterday you were a bit quiet. And jumpy. Sort of how you were when you first started school here.” Mina bit the inside of her cheek as she saw Izuku’s eyes darken. Mori faltered a bit but pressed on. “I know that this is maybe a bit strange to ask and invasive and we all completely understand if you don’t want to tell us but…”

 

“We want to know,” Mina finished for the struggling boy. Izuku glanced at her. Mina has never felt more scared than she did now as the eyes of her friend narrowed in on her. Hino placed a hand on Mina’s arm. “We won’t pretend to understand what you’ve gone through but if we know then maybe we could act more accordingly or something.” Poor choice of words. Hino’s grip tightened. The silence hung so thickly in the air that one could cut it with a knife.

Kirishima leaned over and whispered something to Izuku who glanced over at his brother. Mina mentally applauded the boy for not flinching as Izuku glared over at Kirishima almost barring his teeth.

 

He looked like a caged animal as they all sat around him. Mina felt bad for asking.

 

“They don’t mean bad, Izuku,” Kirishima said softly. “These are your friends, not that kid from the attack.” Izuku took in a deep breath. “F- fine,” he said softly, lowering his gaze. “B- but you t- tell ‘em…” Kirishima’s eyes widened. “I don’t know all of the details though.” Izuku looked down at the floor. “Y- you know ‘nou- gh.” Kirishima frowned. “Are you sure about this? I will have to explain your quirk to them.” His words might as well have been a whip with how harshly Izuku flinched. He nodded slowly. Kirishima swallowed. “Okay…”

He turned to the group.

 

“I guess I should start with that then.”

 

It felt like ice had been poured down her back as Mina listened to a brief recap of Izuku’s life. His quirk, the abuse from his biological mother, from his peers at school, the starvation, and-

“As you have probably seen, there are sheets on the doors of closets in the house,” Kirishima said. “As a form of punishment, Izuku’s caretaker,” because he didn’t dare say mother, “would lock him in closets for extended periods of time without food or water.”

Izuku stood sharply, head low. “G- gettin’ a- air,” he choked out before swiftly turning around and beelining out the back door into the backyard. Kirishima looked like he wanted to go after Izuku but Mrs. Kirishima left the kitchen and motioned for him to continue as she followed Izuku out.

 

Kirishima took a deep breath.

 

“Izuku escaped and lived on the streets for four years in the red lights district, up until a few months before we took him in.”

“Isn’t that, like, the worst part of Musutafu?” Furuya asked. Kirishima nodded. “Yeah. During his time on the streets, Izuku had run in’s with death on more than one occasion and had been raped more than once, says his files.” Mina swallowed thickly. “He… My parents say that the combined trauma on his psyche has left Izuku mentally and emotionally behind, as I am sure you have seen. And possibly the blunt force trauma to his head over the years.” Mina winced at the thought.

“That,” Mori said slowly, “makes sense.” He did not need to elaborate on that.

“Izuku is terrified of humans but he has gotten much better since when we first met him.”

“So,” Hino spoke up, “what happened to make him so jumpy yesterday, then?”

Eijiro scratched the back of his head uncertainly. “We accidentally ran into one of the kids from when Izuku was in school before he ran away and let’s just say that it was not a happy reunion.” Mina looked out the window to the backyard.

“I just ask that after you now know this,” he asked, no, pleaded, “that you won’t change how you act around him? Izuku… I think that he trusts you guys and likes how you treat him normally so-”

 

She stood up.

“Ashido?” Mina looked down at Kirishima. “What are you waiting for?” Everyone tilted their heads. 

It is extremely uncool to be hanging out with all of your friends- 

 

_______________________________

 

- but leave one out.

 

Eijiro’s eyes widened. He couldn’t count how many times his friends had ‘forgotten’ that he was there and left him out of everything. Ashido wasn’t like that though. From the very start, she always included Eijiro and Izuku despite the way the boy didn’t speak. Hino and Mori stood up too. Eijiro smiled wildly and stood with Furuya.

 

He led the way out back and looked around. Izuku was cowering beside the box of sports balls with Mom sitting next to him holding him closely. She looked up at them. Ashido crouched before Izuku.

“Hey.” Izuku flinched, ducking his head further into his arms. “We are playing ball, wanna join?” Izuku peaked out from under his arms. She grinned. “I mean, it’d be really boring without you, ya know? So come on!” Ashido stood up and extended her arm.

 

The string formed. Eijiro knew it did. He knew Ashido saw it. Izuku narrowed his eyes skeptically but you know what Eijiro also knew? He knew that Ashido wouldn’t take it. She was perfectly content waiting. Izuku glanced over at Eijiro who smiled and POWER POSED. Ashido smiled. “I’m not taking it, Izuku.” The greenette flinched. “Not unless you want me to.” Izuku deadpanned. The pinkette smirked knowing that she had won that reaction. Her face softened. “I know why you are so wary of us knowing but I don’t understand, honestly. Have we done anything to make you think that we will turn against you just for having a bad past?” Izuku’s eyes widened. He shook his head rapidly. Ashido grinned. “Good to know! And for the fact, I doubt any of us plan on changing that now. Just so you know.” Izuku looked over at everyone else. Hino waved. Furuya nodded. Mori gave a big ol’ thumbs up. “Now, is my hand just going to hang out here forever,” Ashido swung it around dramatically, “or are you going to get up at some point in your life, lazybones.” Izuku blushed and whipped his head back to her. Ashido let out a hearty laugh. “Kidding! Kidding! Come on, ‘Zuku!”

 

Izuku sighed silently but ultimately did reach up. His arm involuntarily flinched back when their hands made contact. Izuku bit his lip. He seemed to steel himself before taking her hand.

 

Ashido grinned and pulled him up, Mom standing as well.

“‘Z- Zuku?” was the first word Izuku asked.

Ashido laughed. “Yeah!”

“Doesn’t Shinsou call you that?” Eijiro asked. Izuku nodded. “Darn it!” Ashido exclaimed. “I wanted to be the first! Can I still call you that, Izuku?” The greenette nodded slowly. She cheered. 

 

“YAY! Then you have to call me Mina!” She swung around and pointed at all of them. “That goes for all of you, ‘k?” 

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku honestly couldn’t tell you why he thought his friends would turn on him. He caught the ball and pivoted to the side, throwing it to Mori. *BAM* The boy whistled and shook his arm. “Dang!” “Over here, Mori!”

“Coming to you, Mina!”

Izuku watched as the baseball was thrown from person to person at a random order.

“‘Zuku! Head’s up!” Izuku looked up to see Ashi- No. Mina. Mina reeled her arm back and threw it to him. Izuku caught it in his glove.

 

He blinked slowly.

What was different? The pale shine of the sun, the nip of incoming winter? He turned his glove around slowly and looked at the ball in his glove. “Izuku?” His vision blurred slightly as tears filled his eyes. “‘Zuku?!” They all rushed over. “Did I throw it too har-”

Ha ha ha!

Everyone stopped as Izuku laughed. A real laugh.

 

S- sorrae! I j- just ‘m so ‘appy!” 

 

Izuku felt so giddy. So- so HAPPY! It was as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. Tears spilled from his eyes as he laughed. Eijiro slung his arms around Izuku and he didn’t so much as flinch. He heard Eijiro sniffling.

“I- I’m so relieved!” the raven-haired boy choked out. Izuku hugged him tightly. It wasn’t long until everyone joined the group hug.

 

_______________________________

 

Hizashi rode the elevator up to the recording studio humming to himself.

 

*Ding Ding*

 

He pulled out his phone from his pocket. Mrs. Kirishima had texted him. Hizashi opened the text and the attachment. His breath caught in his throat.

 

It was a picture of Izuku and his friends from school. They were out in the backyard sitting down. A pink-skinned girl, Ashido he thinks, had her arm slung around his neck, pressing the baseball mitt in her hand against his chest. Kirishima sat leaning against Izuku’s back, head turned to him and laughing. The other boy, Mori sat in front of Izuku with Hino on her stomach to the left facing them and Furuya sitting to the right.

Hizashi’s heart clenched tightly but not in a bad way.

 

Izuku was smiling! His eyes crinkled at the edges and he looked like he was laughing and he just looked so… happy. Like a normal teenage boy who wasn’t constantly plagued by his past that constantly loomed over him.

 

Hizashi felt a tear drip down his face.

 

“Good for you, little listener.”

 

Chapter Text

Yagi smiled. And he smiled. And he smiled.

But under that smile… he. Is. TERRIFIED.

 

Who the heck is the kid sitting next to Young Kirishima staring at me like that?!

 

He was invited over by his successor's parents to discuss his plans with Young Kirishima. The boy’s parents are kind and charming but there is this other kid on the couch that looks nothing like any of them, is covered head to toe in scars, and has a glare that would put the worst of villains in their places.

 

-----

 

‘Well, you see, I know you said I can’t tell anyone but… There is this person, er, my brother. He is, um, how do I put it… traumatized? And I kinda can’t keep something this big from him, you know?’

 

-----

 

So this is Young Kirishima’s brother. He looks nothing like the rest of the family so he is probably adopted. And ‘traumatized?’ The scars speak for themselves I guess. I’m treading on uncharted territory. Guarded territory.

 

“So,” Mr. Kirishima spoke up after looking over the papers of proof that showed Yagi as the secretary of All Might, “what is All Might’s secretary doing over here? Isn’t All Might located in America?” Yagi nodded. “He is but coming the next school year All Might will be teaching at UA High School.” Mr. Kirishima hummed. “How do you plan on training my son?” Yagi grinned. “There is a nearby beach that has become a landfill and illegal dumping ground. I plan to clear it as community service and bodybuilding.”

 

The conversation went about as smoothly as possible and they agreed to the training program in the end. Still, Yagi felt like the boy next to Young Kirishima might pose a problem some time down the line. He would have to keep an eye on the situation.

 

“M- Mr. Toshinori, sir!”

 

Yagi turned around as he was leaving the house. “What is it, Young Kirishima?” The boy messed with the end of his shirt, occasionally glancing over at the greenette on the couch. “Erm… I’ll see you tomorrow, sir. Thank you again!” He bowed deeply. Yagi smirked. He lifted his hand to ruffle the boy’s hair.

 

*ziiiip!*

 

Yagi’s arm froze as a pencil intercepted the distance and planted itself in the wall. It did not cut his hand, no, but it was close enough to where he felt the wood against his palm. Yagi’s eyes slowly moved to land on the boy on the couch with an outstretched arm. Young Kirishima laughed halfheartedly.

“S- sorry! Izuku is really protective.”

Yagi shook his head and lowered his hand. “That is quite alright, my boy. I will see you tomorrow.”

Yagi left the house soon after. He settled into his car.

 

Izuku, huh? That boy will most definitely cause some issues if I am not careful.

 

Yagi blinked. He looked down at his hand and saw the thinnest of cuts. He swallowed. He had misjudged. It was close enough to cut and it did.

 

Big problem.

 

_______________________________

 

Kiri sat next to Izuku on the couch and handed Izuku the pencil he had retrieved from the wall. “He wasn’t going to hurt me you know?” Izuku shook his head.

 

“‘e felt f- fake.”

 

Kiri’s red eyes widened ever so slightly. Interesting. “F- fake? You don’t say?” Izuku held his tongue. Kiri was acting strange. “I don’t think he is,” Kiri claimed. “You saw the papers right?” Izuku nodded. He saw them alright but he also saw the man’s ID and it had no occupation on it.

 

“E- either way,” Kiri continued, “I guess that I won’t be walking home with you after school anymore.” Izuku looked down. He did truly want to support his brother but it hurt. Why does it hurt? Kiri is happy. I should be happy too. Why am I not happy? Izuku jumped slightly when Kiri placed a hand on his shoulder. “Hey man, we are still brothers. We will still see each other at school and at home. I promise I am not leaving you.” Izuku swallowed a sigh.

“I- I know. J- just w- w-w worraed…”

 

Izuku is so confused. Just yesterday he was so happy. All of his friends were over. They were laughing and smiling and Izuku was laughing and smiling right along with them and by all means was he glad to have friends and all but that hole never left. It made itself a home in his chest. The weight on his shoulders returned and his ever-present tenseness lingered.

 

“PTSD,” Dad told him. Later that night, Izuku asked him about it.

 

-----

 

‘That is called PTSD, kid. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is when one who has experienced a traumatic event in their life and they have a difficult time recovering from it, often resulting in nightmares and constant anxiety. Considering what you have gone through, I would be more worried if you did not have some form of PTSD.’

 

-----

 

“Izuku,” Dad said softly, “that will never go away.”

 

Izuku lowered his eyes.

 

“Fear has become a big part of your life and those memories won’t simply disappear.”

Izuku bit his lip. “E- ever?”

Dad shook his head. “They might become less prominent but you will always remember them.” Izuku didn’t even remember curling up into a ball as he buried his face in his arms.

 

“I w- want them t- t- to go away,” he choked out. “I- it hur’s… I want t- to e ‘appy b- but everathang i- is just s- so…” Dad pulled him into a hug. “I know, kiddo. I know… I won’t pretend that it won’t continue to hurt. I am sorry that you have to deal with all of this and that you had to go through all of that. But you can still be happy, you know?” Izuku looked up at the man he had come to know as his father. “H- how?”

“Nightmares, fear, stress, distrust, claustrophobia. Those will always be things you will deal with but you don’t have to let them control you. Do you know what I have noticed about you, Izuku?” The greenette shook his head. “I’ve noticed that you always look for the worst in things,” Dad said definitely. “You pick things apart in your mind to find out what can be used against you for the worst. Right?” Izuku furrowed his eyebrows. “A- am I n- not ‘posed ta?” Dad chuckled dryly. “Not typically but for you, it was necessary to protect yourself. Guess what.”

“Wh- what?”

Dad smiled down at him.

 

It’s not necessary anymore.

 

Izuku blinked slowly. Not… necessary? What is that supposed to mean? Of course, I have to make sure it is safe! I can’t just let down my guard. The second I do then it’s all over. Does he not realize that? Is he just lucky?

Dad hummed. “Izuku, what have you to fear here?” Izuku pondered this for a moment. “Have we not already shown you that we won’t abandon you?” His green eyes widened slightly. “Have we hurt you in any way? Beaten you or chastised you?” No! Izuku shook his head rapidly.

 

“Izuku, do you trust us?”

 

Izuku froze. I trust them. Right? “Izuku. You are doing it again.” He snapped his head up. Dad smiled sadly. Izuku furrowed his eyebrows.

“I… I trust y- you,” Izuku lowered his eyes. “B- but I- it- I’m…”

Dad ruffled his hair. “Scared?” Izuku looked down and nodded slowly. “That’s okay,” the black-haired man said. “A year of living normally won’t magically make the years of pain go away.” Dad hugged him tighter. “I’m glad that you trust us Izuku. So,” he said, “if you trust us, then why is it necessary for you to find what is bad?” Izuku blinked a few times. “Next time you see Mr. Toshinori, why don’t you try to find something good about him instead?”

 

Izuku narrowed his eyes. “B-- but not a- all people a- are gonna be g- good.”

“Did I say that they were?”

Izuku looked up. Dad shook his head. “There are always going to be flaws in a person. No one is perfect. The thing is, you are always trying to find what directly relates to your safety. Your way of thinking is a barrier of protection. We have flaws too but you have found safety in us, haven’t you?” Izuku’s eyes widened. They are… safe. Am... I safe? “Sure, you are going to meet villains and really bad people out there as you already have but more often than not you will meet people who are flawed but not bad.”

 

“‘F- flawed… but no’ b- bad,’” Izuku repeated.

 

The older man nodded. “B- but y- you said tha- t the nightm- mares won’t s- staph.” Dad nodded again. “They won’t. That is something that will always be there. I’m not saying that you have to magically believe everyone is good and wonderful. Behind closed doors they could be completely different. For the first eight years of your life, everyone thought that SHE was good. But behind closed doors…” Izuku grit his teeth. “S- she was b- bad.” Dad nodded.

“Izuku, fear will never go away but you can decide how you let it affect you and how you let your interactions with others play out.”

 

Izuku nodded. “Dad…?”

 

“Yes, Izuku?”

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro looked up from his sketchbook, having just finished the last page when Izuku walked into the room.

 

He looked sad. “Hey, man. What’s up?” Izuku sat on his bed, legs dangling off and head down. Eijiro closed the book and walked over to his brother, sitting beside him. “Izuku?” Izuku looked up at the ceiling.

“Kiri…” he whispered.

“Hmm?”

I- I’m sorry.” Eijiro tilted his head. “What for…?” Izuku looked at him out of the corner of his eye before dropping his head. “F- for throwin’ a p- penceil at y- your t- teacha.” Eijiro furrowed his eyebrows. “Izuku, I’m not mad at you.” Izuku didn’t look up at him. “I’ll admit, I was a bit irked at you at first but I understand. I didn’t expect Al- erm, Mr. Toshinori to do that either.” Izuku didn’t say anything. Eijiro turned and picked up the sketchbook he had brought over.

 

“I’ve been working on this for a while,” he stated. Izuku glanced over. “It took me a lot longer than I thought but I finished it.” he held it out. “It’s for you.” Izuku’s eyes widened. Eijiro nodded. He could tell Izuku was trying really hard to keep it together. His hands shook as he took the sketchbook. “Well? Open it!” Izuku looked down at the book and cautiously flipped open the cover to where he came face to face with an amazing sketch of Present Mic. Eijiro smiled as Izuku deadpanned when he noticed the background was literally just the word “YEAH!!!” extended throughout. The hero’s mouth was gaping like he was yelling it and he had vibration marks around the outline of his body. Izuku flipped the page to reveal Eraserhead. Eijiro blushed as the next page was Midnight and he honestly had a hard time, morally, drawing such a revealing heroine. Izuku kept flipping. Every page held a detailed picture of the top hundred heroes in the country.

 

Tears had begun to fall around the fiftieth page.

 

The last two were blank.

 

“I was hoping,” Eijiro said slowly, “that you could help me fill those in someday when we become heroes ourselves.”

A sob escaped Izuku’s lips. He closed the book and placed his face in his hands. Eijiro leaned over and pulled Izuku into a side-hug.

 

“W- y?” Eijiro furrowed his eyebrows. “What?”

“W- why?” Izuku choked out. “E- everybodae j- just won’ l- l- let me…”

“Let you what?”

 

“Y- you, Mom, D- Dad, Hino, M- M- Mina, M- Mori, a- a- and Fu- Furuya. A- all o- of you keep g- given’ m- me reason’s n- not too!”

 

Eijiro didn’t like where this was going. “Izuku… what are we giving you reasons not to do?”

 

_______________________________

 

“He really asked you that?”

 

Asa nodded slowly. “At first I was glad that he actually came to me to ask about it instead of bottling it up but now- What was I supposed to answer to that, Yuma!?” His wife shook her head. “I don’t know, dear…”

 

“He was so happy yesterday,” Asa said weakly, “so what happened? He has been doing so well recently. Why is he relapsing now? How do we stop it? I don’t know what to do! I- I’m a freaking therapist! I’m supposed to help people like Izuku!” Yuma pulled his head against her chest.

“Shhh… Asa, dear, calm yourself. You aren’t thinking straight.” Asa shook his head. “I- I can’t help him, Yuma…”

 

He never asked for you to.” 

 

Asa choked as Yuma continued. “No one asked you to be Izuku’s therapist. They asked you to be his father. I-” she hesitated. He knew that Yuma was having a hard time with this as well. “I don’t know how to stop him from relapsing either, dear. I don’t have answers for you. I’m sorry…” Asa shook his head and sat back up. “No, it isn’t your fault. I just wish I knew what had him pulled out of his dark mind in the first place.” They settled into a solemn silence in their bedroom.

 

Golden Whip.” Asa looked up at his wife. “What?” She chewed on her nail. “You said a while ago that Golden Whip was Izuku trying to reach out, right?” Asa thought for a moment. That conversation happened many months ago. “Yes…?” She nodded. “For the entirety of his time here, Izuku has been the one being protected. On the streets, he was always finding ways to protect someone else as though he needed a reason to live. Even with Ms. Takakawa. She was ill so he felt protective over her as well.”

Asa nodded slowly. “I get what you are saying but I don’t understand what that has to do with anything.”

Yuma looked up at him. “I mean that Izuku doesn’t have a reason to live.” Asa’s heart dropped. “W- What do you mean? Aren’t we-”

“Family isn’t a reason for him, Asa,” she cut in. “Izuku may have accepted us as family but ‘family’ and ‘living’ are two different spectrums for him.” Asa shook his head. “Family is a part of life.”

 

“For you.”

 

Asa narrowed his eyes. “What is that supposed to mean?”

Yuma took a deep breath. “What? Eight months? That’s how long Izuku has lived with us but the other thirteen years of his life Izuku has been running away from family. You see it as family is just a part of life.”

“And Izuku thinks of family as what?”

Yuma bit her lip. “Probably just an accessory.” Asa lifted his eyebrow. “An ‘accessory?’” His wife nodded. “We,” she looked up at him, “are just another thing that the world will take away if he gets too close.”

 

-----

 

‘I… I trust y- you,” Izuku lowered his eyes. “B- but I- it- I’m…’

 

“Scared?”

 

-----

 

Scared of what? I should have asked him that.

 

“One one hand,” Yuma continued, “it is great that he feels that way about us but on the other hand it is very dangerous.” Asa took in a shaky breath.

 

-----

 

‘I- I’m sorry, I k- know I’m dangerous! I- I know!’

 

-----

 

“You don’t think…” he started slowly, “that Izuku is scared of himself, do you?”

 

The look in his wife’s eyes told him exactly what her answer is. “Dang it… He- What on earth is making him think that he would hurt us?” Yuma shook her head. “It’s just a guess but…”

“What is it?”

“Probably,” she began hesitantly, “that everything that he has gotten close to has ended poorly.”

Asa blinked slowly. “Of. Course. OF COURSE!” Why didn’t I see it before. We are the only good thing in his life that he has been able to keep constantly! He doesn’t want his own bad luck to affect us as well!

 

“Ah…” he sighed. “What the heck are we doing, Yuma?” She shook her head. “I don’t know, Asa.” “We need to show him that he isn’t dangerous.”

“How do we do that?” she asked.

“Ever heard of a therapy animal?” His wife’s eyes widened. “Dear, I don’t think that Izuku is really a dog person.” Asa shook his head. “There are other types. Heck, one of my patients has a ferret as a therapy animal!” Yuma giggled. “The point is,” he continued, “to give Izuku something to take care of so that he can see for himself that he is not dangerous.”

“But wouldn’t that backfire?”

“How so?”

“Because therapy animals are supposed to help their owners.”

Asa nodded. “Exactly. Izuku would have something to take care of but it would also help him cope with his anxiety. As Golden Whip he was a lot more confident because he needed to be for the person he was protecting.”

“This is an animal, Asa,” Yuma deadpanned. “Yes,” he agreed, “and Izuku is not Golden Whip anymore. He is a wounded child who has gotten used to normal life so he needs a normal thing to take care of, not a human.” 

 

“Okay…” Yuma nodded. “Say we get him a service animal, what about Eijiro? We can’t forget that he is also our son.” Asa nodded. “I’ve thought about getting one for him as well.” “What for?” He gestured sideways, “Depression. He’s, I feel, too reliant on Izuku strangely enough. He fell back on Izuku after his depression got bad enough. Maybe not a service animal certified but definitely something of the sorts to give him a companion as well. That way he won't feel left out.” 

 

Yuma nodded. “Okay but here is the next dilemma. Izuku is a cat person. Eijiro is a dog person.” Asa laughed. “Service animals can be trained to be okay with those sorts of issues. If we get two not at each other’s throats it will be fine.”

 

Yuma sighed. “But… I don’t know, dear…”

Asa sighed. “It’s stressful, I know, but I don’t know what else we can do for them. We should at least ask them.” Yuma nodded.

 

“Anything…” she whispered. “Anything to rid him of those thoughts.”

 

Asa lowered his head.

 

-----

 

‘Dad…?’

 

‘Yes, Izuku?’

 

‘If I go away then will the nightmare’s go away too?’

 

_______________________________

 

‘Y- you, Mom, D- Dad, Hino, M- M- Mina, M- Mori, a- a- and Fu- Furuya. A- all o- of you keep g- given’ m- me reason’s n- not too!”

 

“Izuku… what are we giving you reasons not to do?

 

‘R- reasons n- not t- to e- en- end it.’

‘End what…?’

 

-----



Eijiro did not sleep. That night he stayed up to keep an eye over his brother.

 

-----

 

‘End what…?’

 

Life.

 

-----

 

Eijiro would NOT lose Izuku. Not if he could help it. Not to anything or anyone. Not even to Izuku. Eijiro promised that he would save Izuku, even from himself.

 

Chapter Text

November 27th, 2020

 

‘Hello.

 

I don’t know what to write. I’m so confused…

 

School is fine. I have a mixed martial arts tournament next week and I guess I am excited. I have friends and they don’t mind my past or my quirk and it’s really great! But… I just… It’s harder now? We got these slips to fill out what high school we want to go to after middle school and we are supposed to turn them in soon.

 

I don’t want to fill mine out.

 

What’s the point? I don’t think I’ll be alive that much longer anyways. Well, I might but I shouldn’t be. I am so happy and yet so scared and so paranoid, is what Bando-sensei called it, all of the time and the nightmares don’t stop and my head hurts all of the time because everything is just so hard. Why aren’t they attacking? Why do they care? I’m a burden, I know I am. But they hang around. They would all be better without me. They would get more sleep and worry less. I don’t know why they worry about me… 

 

Mom took the knife from me months ago after the first time I tried. They don’t want me dead but they would be better without me.

 

I… I don’t think I want to die. I sort of like my life now. I have friends that don’t beat me up. Parent that don’t torture me. A brother… He gave me this notebook a week ago and it is so amazing but now I am even more confused because they keep giving me reasons to not want to die but they are just putting more pressure on themselves to try and keep me alive when I know if I weren’t here they could enjoy their lives so much more! I have my escape notebook still but if I escape then I will go back to living on the streets and I don’t want to go back on the streets. I want to stay here but I can’t! I don’t want to keep hurting them! 

 

I’m being selfish.

 

I don’t know what I am supposed to do now.

 

Kiri’s back from training now so-

 

-----

 

“Hey, man!” Kiri opened the door to their room.

 

-----

 

- goodbye for now I guess. I might be back.

 

Or not.

 

We’ll see.

 

-----

 

Izuku closed his notebook and smiled up at his brother who was pulling out his pajamas for a shower.

 

“H- how was t- tr- training?” he asked. Kiri looked over at him. “I understand your bones popping now.” Izuku snickered. “Fun?” Kiri shook his head. “Not at all. They are all like ‘pop’ and ‘crack’ and ugh… But training is fun.”

Izuku nodded. “Tha’s good.” Kiri left to take a shower. He came back drying his hair, flopping on his bed only to hear:

 

“Boys! Dinner is ready!”

 

“Ugh…” Izuku gently pats his shoulder reassuringly. “Food w- will keep y- y- your energy u- up.” Kiri sighed and got up. “Fine…”

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro was following Izuku out of their room when he stopped and glanced over at Izuku’s desk. Next to it was a crumpled ball of paper. He furrowed his eyebrows and bent down, ignoring the way his legs screamed at the movement. Eijiro picked it up and unrolled it.

 

He took in a sharp breath.

 

The high school application sheet. Blank. Eijiro swallowed. He straightened out the sheet as much as he could on the edge of the desk.

“Ei!”

“Coming!”

Eijiro lay it flat on Izuku’s desk where he knew he would see it and left, not before glaring at the sheet. I will not let him give up. Eijiro turned off the bedroom lights and left.

 

He sat beside Izuku at dinner. He couldn’t help but notice the slight bruise-like marks under Izuku’s eyes. He hasn’t been sleeping well. I haven’t seen any nightmares though. Is he just not sleeping? Why?! “A- are you okay, K- Kiri?” Eijiro chuckled realizing he was probably staring. “Yeah! Just a bit tired!” Izuku didn’t look convinced but did not comment. Eijiro swallowed thickly and took another bite of his food.

He wanted to be there for Izuku and to encourage him but now he was training after school every day with All Might but if he wanted to protect Izuku in the future then he needed to do this.

 

“Izuku, Ei?” He looked up. “Hmm?” Mom smiled softly. “We’ve been thinking recently about something.” Izuku tilted his head. “Wh- what is i- it?” Dad cleared his throat. “Have you heard of a service animal before, Izuku.” Eijiro’s eyes widened. Wait… Izuku shook his head. “Well,” Dad continued, “they are pets trained to help their owners with certain issues such as blindness, mental imparities, and the like. Also things like PTSD.” Eijiro bit his lip. If Izuku gets a service animal then he won’t need me anymore… He could see Izuku tense up. “We were thinking about getting you each one.” Eijiro stopped.

“Me?” he asked dumbfoundedly. Dad nodded. “Why?”

“Anxiety,” Dad stated. Eijiro lowered his eyes. “I- I haven’t had a panic attack in a while…”

“You had one two days ago because you were worried that you weren’t strong enough for training.” Eijiro turned his head away.

 

“You don’t have to get one, Eijiro,” Mom said softly, “but for sure we think that you should, Izuku.” Eijiro glanced over at Izuku who was staring at his hands. I don’t want Izuku to get one. I promised to take care of him. He doesn’t need an animal to take care of him when I am here!

 

“I- I dunno…” Izuku whispered.

“You know,” Dad said thoughtfully, “there cat’s in the service animal industry.” Izuku looked up with something akin to wonder in his eyes. Low blow! Izuku loves cats! “B- but Ei- um… Kiri-” Eijiro whipped his head around. “- doesn’ l- like c- cats.” He grinned and poked Izuku slyly. “Did you just say my first name?” Izuku glanced over at him, a slight blush on his cheeks but his eyes held a different story.

Is Izuku scared of saying my name? Why?

“Then we get Ei a dog and you a cat.” Eijiro turned back to his parents. “I would like to at least see you giving it some thought.”

 

Eijiro led the way back into their room. He glanced over his shoulder when Izuku stopped and saw the paper on his desk.

“I’m… g- going t- to the b- bathroom.” Izuku turned and left the room. Eijiro sat on his bed. Dang it! He slammed his fist on the bed. Eijiro stopped. He stared at his hand in shock.

 

“When… did I become so aggressive?”

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku pressed himself against the door of the bathroom, locking it and sliding down. He curled his knees to his chest and hid his face in his arms.

 

They are trying so hard! WHY!? What am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to say? I want to thank them but it’ll make things worse. 

Izuku squeezed his eyes tightly together.

 

Somebody… help… please…

 

_______________________________

 

“Mom,” Yuma turned to her son. “Ei? Why aren’t you in bed?” Eijiro looked pale. “Dear, what’s wrong?” She crouched by her son. “I- Izuku is in the bathroom.” She nodded slowly. “He’s been in there for t- thirty minutes.”

Yuma’s heart dropped.

“I- I haven’t heard the water s- so it’s not a s- shower.” Ei met her eyes. “I- I’m scared, mom.” Yuma forced a smile on her face. “Eijiro, dear, everything is fine,” she rubbed his arm. “I am going to go get your father, okay? Do you think you can go to your room for a bit?” Eijiro looked down and nodded. As soon as he was out of sight, Yuma bolted in the opposite direction to her room. She all but threw open the door.

 

“Asa,” she panted. Her husband sat up in bed. “What’s wrong, Yuma?” She looked at her husband with wide eyes. “Izuku is in the bathroom but he hasn’t done anything for half an hour.” Asa swallowed. He threw the covers off and swiftly made his way to the other side of the house. He took a deep breath before knocking on the door.

“Izuku? Are you in there, bud?” There was no reply. Asa knocked harder. “Izuku, are you okay? I need you to answer me.” Nothing.

 

*BANG BANG BANG* Asa pounded on the door. “Izuku!”

Yuma looked over her shoulder. She could see Eijiro’s door cracked open slightly down the hallway. She walked away and pushed it open to see Ei standing by the door, eyes down but wide, and hands gripping the bottom of his shirt.

“M- mom-” *BANG* “Izuku please open the door!” “Mom…” Yuma pulled her son into a hug, trying to hold back tears herself.

 

“It’s okay, dear.” *BANG BANG* “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.”

Eijiro shook his head. “M- mom, he’s-” There was the sound of a door opening down the hallway.

 

“Izuku…” Asa’s voice filtered from the hallway. Please… PLEASE! The was a choked sob, all too familiar. Yuma let out a breath of relief she didn’t know that she was holding. Eijiro looked up at her. “Let them be,” she whispered. She picked up Ei and carried him to his bed where she sat down, still not letting go of him.

 

_______________________________

 

The door opened slowly. Izuku stood there with tear tracks down his cheeks. “Izuku…” The boy slowly lifted his head to look up at him. Asa knelt down and held out his arms. Izuku choked on a sob. He took a step forward before collapsing into Asa’s arms.

 

Asa leaned against the wall of the hallway with Izuku in his arms. He ran his fingers through his son’s hair as the boy shook violently in his arms. His heart broke with every pained cry that escaped the boy’s chest.

“I- I- I- I can’ d- do- can’ d- do it!” Izuku screamed as he gripped Asa’s shirt. “T- t- too m- many thin’s!” Asa swallowed. “What can’t you do Izuku?” The boy shook his head, chest heaving. “I- I’m t- tryin’ b- b- but I can’t!” Asa held him tighter. “Trying to do what?” 

Izuku was hyperventilating but he didn’t let go. He held to Asa as a lifeline. Asa didn’t know how true that was until:

 

“T- trying t- to e- e- end!” 

 

His heart dropped. “B- b- but I c- can’t! I- I don’t w- w- want t- to end!” Asa felt tears swell in his own eyes. “Izu-”

“Y- you all a- a- are so- I L-LOVE Y- YA B- BUT I AM H- HURTIN’ YA F- FAMILAE!!!

Asa’s eyes widened.

 

He heard footsteps down the hallway and Eijiro came crashing in, falling to the floor and almost tackling Izuku in a hug. “IDIOT!” he screamed. “You aren’t hurting us!” Yuma came a bit behind but knelt down all the same and joined the group hug as Eijiro continued. “W- we love you too, Izuku!

 

_______________________________

 

“D- don’t just assume things!” Izuku choked on another sob as his brother screamed at him. “You don’t want to hurt us?” Kiri took a deep breath.

 

“THEN DON’T DIE!!!”

 

Izuku cried harder. He couldn’t feel his fingers by how hard he was gripping Dad’s shirt.

 

“Y- you are our family, man! We are doing these things cause we love you! Not because we have to!” Izuku felt his vision blurring. His lungs screamed for air.

“I don’- I- I don’t-” his heart burned from how fast it was beating.

“You don’t what?!” Izuku closed his eyes tightly.

 

I DON’ KNOW HOW TA BELIEVE YOU!!!

 

Aside from Izuku’s panting and broken sobs, the hallway went silent. Izuku felt so tired. So worn out. He was so done. The sobs dwindled to ragged breathing.

 

“Izuku, dear?” He peeled open his glassy eyes at Mom’s voice. “That was the first time you said that you loved us.” Izuku swallowed. His throat hurt. He trained his eyes on the button of Dad’s shirt.

 

“We love you too, Izuku.”

 

He smiled. Just a bit.

 

“B- but I- I’m s- so-”

“So what? Broken?” Izuku bit his lip. “That’s okay.” His breath hitched.

 

“We will find the pieces,” he could hear the honesty in her voice, “and put you back together.” He chuckled dryly. I- I don’ t- think I c- can b- be p- put back to- together.” Dad shook his head. “Not if you try it alone.”

“You aren’t alone,” Eijiro agreed. “We will help you, man.”

“H- how?”

“Well,” Dad spoke up, “we will just have to see. I think this is a bit of uncharted territory for all of us so let’s find a way together, okay? We will make a happy place for Izuku Kirishima in this world. I promise.”

Izuku finally sat up and met his father’s eyes. 

 

“A… ‘appy p- place?”

 

The raven-haired man nodded. “What do you say? Will you let us help you make your happy place?” Izuku looked around at Kiri and Mom. They both smiled at him. Izuku smiled softly and lowered his head. “Okay…” he whispered.

 

_______________________________

 

Asa picked up Izuku who was not yet asleep but still looking pretty exhausted. He didn’t struggle or ask to be put down so he would count that as a win. Yuma and Eijiro stood up beside him. Asa glanced into the bathroom and narrowed his eyes.

 

On the sink was one of their razors but the plastic was snapped and he could just make out from the distance where it looked like Izuku had tried to take out the razor but it got lodged. He realized that is probably the moment when Izuku gave up and decided to open the door. Asa looked down at Izuku’s hands. He could see tiny cut marks, none deep enough to bleed but he also saw the large scar on Izuku’s right hand from Izuku’s first attempt. Asa swallowed a sigh. He did not feel comfortable with leaving the boy alone tonight nor with just leaving Eijiro with him. 

“Izuku?”

“Hmm…?” the boy in question hummed, maxing out his talking quota.

“Do you want to sleep in our room tonight?”

The boy looked up at him and blinked slowly. Even in Izuku’s tired state, Asa knew that Izuku was habitually analyzing him and what he had said.

 

-----

 

‘I’ve noticed that you always look for the worst in things. You pick things apart in your mind to find out what can be used against you for the worst. Right?’

 

-----

 

He would let him. He knew that the boy would find nothing but honest care and love for him in his eyes. Izuku nodded slowly. Asa looked down at Eijiro. “You too?” Eijiro nodded. No one was really in a talking mood which was fine. “Okay.” He made sure that everyone got a drink of water before heading back to their room. Asa set Izuku down in the middle of the bed. Eijiro climbed in next to him. Yuma got in next to Eijiro and Asa next to Izuku.

He was surprised that the boy hadn’t fallen asleep yet and still not surprised at all.

Asa leaned over and turned off the lamp.

 

“Goodnight Yuma, Ei, Izuku.”

“Goodnight Mom, Dad, Izuku.”

“Goodnight Asa, Izuku, Ei.”

 

 

“Goodnight... M- Mom, Dad… E- Eijiro.

 

Asa smiled.

 

“T- thank you…”

 

He wrapped his arms around Izuku. “Thank you, Izuku, for staying.” He felt the boy lean his head against his chest and soon the dark room was filled with quiet, and loud, snores.

 

The Kirishima household was at peace.

 

Chapter Text

“We are here!”

“He’s asleep, dad,” Eijiro commented. Toshi, who joined the family on their excursion to find service animals, turned to the sleeping, green-haired boy and shook his shoulder.

 

He jumped back, almost smashing against Eijiro as Izuku woke with a start, swinging his right fist at whoever was closest. Toshi, bless his heart, didn’t so much as flinch, used to the action by now. “Calm down, ‘Zuku.” Izuku looked around the car rapidly. Dad and Mom were getting out of the car. Eijiro was pressed up against the left-back door with Toshi against him. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath before opening them again.

“S- sorrae…” Toshi shook his head and sat normally. “Don’t worry about it.” Izuku looked up when his door opened, courtesy of his father. “Are you ready?” Izuku looked past the man at the white building. “Yer.”

 

The family, with Toshi, entered the building. Dad went up to the front counter.

“Hello, we have an appointment for Izuku Kirishima and Eijiro Kirishima,” he stated. The woman at the front desk. She nodded. “A service cat and a service dog, right?” He nodded. “Yes, ma’am.” She nodded again. “Alrighty, I have informed our assistant. He will be out in a moment for one of you.”

 

Izuku sat down with Eijiro and Toshi.

 

“I wonder what breeds they will have,” Toshi commented. “I- I dunno.” “Maybe I should get Marshmallow certified.”

“Pffft…!” Izuku slapped him gently. “H- he wouldn’ get o- outta yer h- house.” The purple-haired boy shrugged. “Probably.” Eijiro rolled his eyes. “Someday I want to meet Marshmallow in person.” Izuku turned to him. “‘e’s big.” Izuku gestured a large circle. “I c- could ‘ardly p- pick ‘im up.” Eijiro gawked. “No way! I can’t even beat you in arm wrestling!” Izuku nodded. “Big.” Eijiro frowned. “Nu-uh! Let me see the picture again.” Izuku smirked when Toshi leaned across him with his phone to show Eijiro and Eijiro gasped like it was the first time he had seen it. “He needs a diet, man.” Toshi shrugged and took his phone back. “We’ve tried. Trust me.”

“Did it work?”

“N- no.”

“Wow.”

 

“Kirishima?” a woman in a black apron exited a grey door.

 

The three boys looked up. “Which one?” The pink-haired woman blushed. “My bad. Eijiro Kirishima?” Eijiro stood up with Mom. “Alright! I’ll see you guys soon!” Izuku waved to his brother as the boy left.

Izuku leaned his head against the wall behind the chair. Toshi gently bumped his shoulder. “You okay?” Izuku nodded slowly.

 

After his suicide attempt last week, which Toshi had heard about from Sho, he could tell the others were trying to be more… protective of him? Making sure he wouldn’t try it again which is fine. He promised he wouldn’t and let his family help him. Izuku really doesn’t know if he can be helped but he would trust them. It was the least he could do.

 

He feels that Mina and the others heard about it because they were being more friendly or bouncy than usual but he didn’t mind. Izuku felt normal around them. Like he is just a normal thirteen-year-old boy without all of the overwhelming fear that seems to be constantly pressing at the back of his head.

 

“Kirishima?”

 

It was a different person this time. Same black apron but male. He looked suspiciously like the other woman though. Pink hair and the same face almost. Twins maybe?

Toshi stood up with him and Dad. “That would be him,” Dad pats him on the back. The man nodded. “Come with me.” They follow him to the back where there are spacious glass boxes with cat towers in them and bowls of food and toys and then each box has a cat in it.

The cat’s looked happy with their little areas. Izuku felt bad for taking one but he would be lying if he said he wasn’t at least somewhat happy at all of the cats in the room. Toshi sure was if the way he smiled and his eyes lit up was anything to say.

 

He had a smile like Sho. Some said it was creepy but Izuku thought it was fine.

 

“I am Tarouto,” the man introduced himself. “I have read the forms so I will be taking you to the cats in the back. The one’s upfront are for blind help so the person does not have to walk too far.” That’s pretty considerate. “I will be taking you to the ones that are trained in handling trauma victims, panic attacks, PTSD and the like.” Izuku didn’t particularly care for being called a ‘trauma victim’ but he supposes that it was only true so he nodded and followed the man.

 

He checked over his shoulder to make sure Dad and Toshi were still there and following, which they were. They would smile and wave every time he looked back.

Izuku tried to smile back once or twice but failed to remember how.

 

Tarouto stopped and turned to them. “Here we are! Take a look down these cages,” he pointed to a few. “We don’t have many cats as service animals so the selection isn’t the largest but if you see any you would like to know more about or hold then I am here!” Izuku nodded and stepped forward. He looked into one of the glass boxes. A gray, short-haired cat was climbing down the cat tree. It came over to the edge and sat, staring up at him. Toshi came and crouched by the glass box. “You can name it yourself, the paper says.” Izuku almost replied but stopped upon remembering the attendant behind them. Izuku tapped lightly on the glass. The cat meowed almost like it was smiling at him. Izuku didn’t mean to smile but he did. He went to the next cage. And the next.

 

“Izuku,” he turned to Dad. “What do you think of this one?”  He pointed at a cage. Izuku came over and looked in. “Oh,” Tarouto came over, “that is a Himalayan. She’s about two and a half years old.” Izuku tilted his head. The cat in question was about normal size with long tan fur and a patch of brown on its face spreading from the nose. She had deep blue eyes. 

She looks so majestic!

Izuku tapped on the glass. The cat came over and rubbed her head against it where his hand was. His heart twisted. She is so cute! “Do you want to hold her?” Tartouro asked. Izuku flinched, having forgotten the man’s presence. Dad turned to the man. “I think he would.” Izuku swallowed and nodded.

 

Tarouto took her out and handed her to Izuku. Izuku bit his lip. “Here.” Dad took the cat from the man and gave it to Izuku. He felt sort of bad for not taking it directly from the man but he couldn’t bring himself to. He held her gently, right arm under her bottom feet and left around her chest. She looked up at him with her big blue eyes and Izuku’s heart melted.

 

“She is trained to handle PTSD and panic attacks,” Tarouto explained. “Now, she is a very quiet cat so if you are easily startled it might be hard to get used to her.” Izuku furrowed his eyebrows. He could not deny that he was a jumpy person. “Would you like to spend a bit more time with her?” Izuku nodded. “Follow me, we have a small room outside of the Hall,” as they called this, “for that.” Izuku followed the man with the cat still in his arms. The room was light blue with a few chairs and pillows on the ground for sitting. There were cat toys around the room as well. “You have about half an hour left in your appointment.”

They had timed appointments so that those with specific triggers around others would not bump into each other in the Hall.

 

_______________________________

 

Asa watched Izuku and Shinsou. They sat on pillows on the ground with the cat. She swirled around Izuku, rubbing against his knee and back. Izuku doesn’t speak or smile around people he isn’t comfortable around but the way his eyes lit up when he saw the cat… Asa knew they had made the right decision.

 

-----

 

‘I got the job,’ Yuma smiled.

 

‘When do you start?’

 

‘Tomorrow.’

 

-----

 

They simply could not just afford two animals and the service animal certifications so Yuma said that she would get a job during the school day. The boys didn’t know and the budget would be a bit tight but that was fine. Why? Because Asa opened the picture Yuma had sent him of Eijiro and his new dog and that smile could light up a room and that was enough for a parent.

 

Ei had chosen a brown Shikoku with patches of white on its chest, neck, and tail. It almost looked like a tame wolf or fox mix. It was what Ei would call ‘manly’ and a contrast to the regal-looking cat that Izuku was watching as Shinsou dangled a feather toy over it and was trained to deal with depression, panic attacks, and was a loyal companion who Asa knew would help Eijiro and his extroverted tendencies and need to be around something. The service animal shelter said that their animals were trained to not attack or fight with other animals so he hoped that whatever cat Izuku picked and Ei’s dog would be able to get along.

 

“Your appointment is up in ten minutes,” informed Tarouto, who was standing beside him. Asa nodded. “Thank you.” Asa walked over to the two boys.

 

“Hey,” he greeted, crouching beside Izuku. The greenette looked up at him. Shinsou looked up at him. The cat looked up at him. She was currently sitting in Izuku’s lap with his hand frozen mid-air as Asa had walked up while he was mid-pet. “We have to go soon. Do you want to look at any of the other cats?” Izuku looked down at the tan cat in his lap. She looked up at him as if she knew what Asa had asked. Izuku smoothed her fur. He opened his mouth but Asa saw his emerald eyes flicker over to the attendant before he closed it and shook his head. “So is she the one?” Izuku nodded. Asa stood up and turned to the pink-haired man. “We will be taking her home, it would seem.”

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro exited the Dog Hall with Akio, his new dog. Izuku and the others were gone.

 

“Let’s get him certified to you and officially named,” Yotoura, the attendant lady with them, said. She led them to an office where they proceeded to get the certificate stating that this service animal was Eijiro’s and officially naming him. Eijiro held the laminated certificate. He couldn’t help but turn and show it to Akio. “See! You can come home with us now!” “BARK!” He grinned. “Now, we need to get him his vest,” Yotoura stated. “Do you have a specific color?” Eijiro turned to her. “Red! The manliest color!” “Bark! Bark!” He looked down at Akio. “You think so too?”

They got Akio fitted into a red vest with a sort of handle attached to the top and a black patch with white words that said: “SERVICE DOG” and underneath it read in smaller letters “Working Dog Do Not Touch.

 

“There you go, Kirishima,” Yotoura chirped. “Akio is officially yours!” Eijiro bowed deeply. “Thank you, ma’am!”

 

They went out to the front lobby where. “How about you pick Akio out a couple of toys and a bed and a collar and leash, hmm?” Eijiro nodded up at Mom before going over to the shelves of dog items. He picked out Akio a black collar and leash and a fluffy brown dog bed. “How’s this, boy?” Eijiro held a blue, hand-sized plastic ball above Akio. “BARK!”

“Great!”

The door opposite of the Dog Hall door opened. A pink-haired man looking oddly like Yotoura walked out with Dad, Shinsou, and Izuku. Izuku glanced over at him. Eijiro waved. Izuku nodded, his hands full with a… cat.

 

Now, Eijiro was very much not a cat person. Dogs were just so much manlier! He also wasn’t a fan of Izuku getting a service animal when Eijiro was supposed to be the one to watch over him. But Izuku looked down at the fluffy tan and brown cat in his arms and a slight blush dusted his cheeks, eyes crinkling at the edges as if he were smiling when he wasn’t. Eijiro subconsciously curled his fists.

He doesn’t need a cat. I’ll protect him.

Eijiro blinked and looked down when Akio nudged his hand and tilted his head. Eijiro smiled softly and rubbed the dog's head. “It’s fine, boy.”

 

_______________________________

 

“Hime,” Tarouto said, “is officially yours.” Toshi leaned over. “‘Princess’, ey?” Izuku nodded. “A very befitting name,” Dad hummed. “I heard Ei named his dog Akio.” Izuku deadpanned. Toshi choked. “No way did he actually name it ‘Manly!’” Dad nodded. “Very much an Eijiro thing to do.” Izuku couldn’t agree more.

He looked back at the door. He remembered seeing the brown and white dog as he passed. He liked the way its tail curled the way it did.

 

Izuku has nothing against dogs, he just so happens to prefer cats more. Eijiro looked good with a dog beside him the same way Toshi looked good with a cat beside him. Or, in Marshmallow’s case, on top of him. He hoped that Akio would be a good companion for Eijiro.

 

“Here we are,” Tarouto came back with a couple of pink vests. “Let’s test out these sizes and I will show you how to put them on.” They ended up with the bigger of the two sizes to fit Hime’s fur in.

“Let’s go get her a collar, bed, and leash,” Dad said. She had to have a leash officially as she would be coming out with him in public.

 

Izuku left with her in his arms. He looked down the small row of cat collars. “Hey, man!” Izuku turned to face Eijiro. He nodded. “Is that your cat?” the boy asked. Izuku nodded again. “Cool,” it felt off but Izuku didn’t comment. He looked down at Akio. “Y- yer d- dog?” Eijiro nodded. “Yup! His name is Akio!” IZuku smirked. “T- this is ‘ime.” Eijiro blinked. “‘Hime,’” Toshi said from beside Izuku. Eijiro chuckled. “Ah! That makes more sense.” Izuku blushed slightly. He didn’t think his accent would affect it that much.

His speech therapist said that he had a way of ‘dropping letters’ or sounds which Izuku didn’t get but okay.

 

“Oh!” Eijiro reached over and pulled off a collar. It was pink, sparkly, and had a pink bell on it. “It matches the vest and has a bell,” he stated. “That way you will know where she is.” Izuku took it. “I- I ‘adn’t thou- ght of that.” Eijiro grinned. Izuku held it in front of Hime. She batted at it. Izuku nodded. He ended up getting her a pink leash to go with it.

 

Izuku crouched on the floor while he watched Hime sniff at the beds he had pulled. “Are you three ready to go?” He looked up at his parents who individually held bags of either cat or dog food respectively. Izuku glanced back down where Hime had settled in a soft grey cat bed. He looked up and nodded.

“Are you not getting her a toy?” Dad asked. Izuku blinked. “Oh.” Mom snickered. “Go get her a toy or two, Izuku.” He nodded and stood up, picking up Hime on the way. He got her a blue plastic stick with a purple feather on the end that he could use to play with her and then a fake mouse for her to bat around.

 

They dropped off Toshi and headed home.

 

Izuku sat on his bead. *Jingle Jingle* He held the bell-collar up to Hime who sat in front of him. There was a heart-shaped tag on it with Dad’s number and Hime’s name. “BARK!” Izuku jumped. Eijiro laughed as he rolled on the floor, Akio licking his face. Izuku went back to Hime who seemed perfectly fine with the dog in the room. Guess the training paid off. He put the collar on her.

 

“Boys! Dinner is ready!” 

 

Izuku and Eijiro each fed their respective pets. Akio had metal bowls while Hime had pink plastic bowls. Akio’s collar tapped against the bowl loudly as he ate. Izuku ate at the table with the family.

“Do we have them certified by the school?” Eijiro asked. “Yup!” Mom piped. “S- so we c- can bring th-” Izuku felt something against his leg. He jumped so badly he fell from the seat and landed on his rear, the chair falling with a *CRASH*.

 

“Izuku?!”

 

The boy’s heart drummed against his ribcage. He looked down. Under the table was Akio who had settled down by Eijiro’s feet. How did I not hear him coming!? Eijiro turned to him worriedly and extended a hand. He looked guilty. Why? He didn’t do anything wrong. Izuku flinched when something rubbed against his arm. He looked to his right to see Hime rubbing against him, purring loudly. She climbed onto his lap and rubbed against his chest. She didn’t have her vest on at home. Izuku took a couple of deep breaths, feeling the vibrations of her purrs against him. He looked back up at his family who was looking at him worriedly.

“S- sorrae…” Dad shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. This is something we will all get used to.” Izuku nodded and picked up Hime, setting her on the floor. He pets her head a couple of times before sitting down.

 

“H- hey, man,” Eijiro hesitated. “Sorry about-” “It’s f- fine,” Izuku cut in. “I sh- should ‘ave been m- more a- aware.

 

_______________________________

 

Yuma froze, fork halfway to her mouth. She glanced over and met eyes with Asa.

 

Another incident like that didn’t happen during dinner. She peaked into the boys' room. Izuku was writing at his desk with Hime sitting on the corner of it. Ei was playing on his gaming system, Akio on the floor by his bed chewing on a toy ball.

“Night, boys,” she called. They both looked up at her.

“Night, Mom.”

“G- goodn- night.”

She smiled. “Lights off by ten.”

“Yes, ma’am!”

 

Yuma closed the door and made her way back to her and Asa’s room. 

 

She sat on their bed and waited. Asa came out of the bathroom drying his hair. “Hey,” he greeted. “Hey…” Asa sat by her.

 

“Dang it,” he more or less stated. Yuma sighed, staring down at the floor.

 

-----

 

‘I sh- should ‘ave been m- more a- aware.’

 

-----

 

“We were supposed to make this place a safer place.” Yuma hummed in agreeance. “I didn’t think that it would make him more cautious.” Yuma swallowed.

“At least we know that Hime knows what she is doing,” she commented. Asa nodded.

 

“Still, I can’t help but think this is going to be a rough night.”

 

Yuma’s eyes widened. “You don’t think-”

“We will have to wait and see.”

 

“I’ll stay up tonight just in case.”

Asa nodded. “Me too.”

 

_______________________________

 

Eijiro put down his game and looked over at Izuku who was laying on his bed, petting Hime who had curled up beside him.

 

Akio scared Izuku today… Eijiro looked over the bed. Akio looked up at him. “BARK!” Eijiro smiled. He looked up and his smile fell. Izuku’s hand was frozen in the air for a split second before going back to petting Hime. He was noticeably tenser.

 

Eijiro bit his lip. The cat was helping him deal with Akio. I should be protecting him!

 

Akio whined, pawing at the bed gently. Eijiro chuckled. “I am going to take Akio out to use the bathroom.” He led Akio out to the backyard and waited for him to do his business. Eijiro sat on the cement patio.

It’ll be fine. I’m sure it will.

“Are you ready, boy?” “BARK!” Eijiro smiled and pet his dog. “Good boy.” He led Akio back inside and locked the door. Eijiro sighed as he entered the room and Izuku left to relock the back door.

 

“Izuku?” He peeked around the hallway entree way. Mom was on the couch. “Are you going to be okay sleeping tonight?” Eijiro couldn’t see his brother’s face but Izuku hesitated a moment before nodding. “Alright, dear. I will be here if you need me.”

“T- thank ya.”

Eijiro quickly left before Izuku noticed him spying. Izuku came back into the room and got back on his bed and under the covers.

 

“N- night, Eijiro.”

 

Eijiro smiled the best he could. “Good night, Izuku.” He turned off the lamp but did not go to sleep. He looked up at the ceiling.

He calls me Eijiro now. Eijiro curled his fist around his blanket. I will make good on my promise. I will prove that I have gained that trust!

*-eep beep beep beep beep*

 

Eijiro sat up and hit his alarm clock. “Morninnnn…”

“BARK!” Eijiro jumped slightly, having forgotten that he had gotten a dog. He yawned again and swung his legs off of the bed. Eijiro squinted slightly before his eyes widened.

 

Izuku was always the jumpiest in the morning, courtesy of street-life.

 

He swallowed because Izuku was on his bed, plastered against the wall, eyes blown wide looking down at Akio, and hands gripping the bedsheets.

“BARK!” Izuku’s eye twitched. Eijiro lowered himself off of the bed and gently pet Akio’s head. “Shhh…” The dog seemed to understand.

“Don’t worry, man. It’s only Akio.” Izuku swallowed thickly, not moving from his position on the wall. Eijiro was about to go comfort him when Hime came and sat in Izuku’s lap.

“Me-ow!”

Izuku blinked and looked down. She pawed at his chest. Izuku… lost tenseness in his form and pets her. Eijiro bit his tongue. She’s calming him down. I didn’t even get the chance. Eijiro stood up and opened his dresser. As Izuku left the room to get dressed in the bathroom, Eijiro watched as Hime followed him out. He narrowed his eyes at her tail that disappeared.










That cat… will not take my place.

 

Chapter Text

“Good luck, Izuku!”

“You are going to do great!”

“Beat them down!”

 

Izuku blushed as he turned around while he was boarding the bus to the tournament and saw all of his friends waving to him from the school gate. He waved at them. “T- thank ya.”

“Kirishima!” Izuku jumped and turned to Bando-sensei. “You’re holding up the line. Get you and your cat on the bus!” Izuku bowed slightly. “Yes, B- Bando-sen- sei.” Hime had wrapped herself around the back of his neck and on his shoulders. Izuku waved once more at everyone before boarding the bus and finding a seat. The classes mixed together and Izuku, regretfully, took the seat next to Yamamoto. The snowy-haired boy glanced over at him but did not comment. Hime jumped onto his lap and settled down.

 

_______________________________

 

Why the hell is he sitting next to me?! Shiro avoided eye contact at all costs but he did take notice of the cat in freaks lap.

 

Shiro met eyes with it. He averted his eyes.

 

Even his freaking cat creeps the heck out of me! Sit somewhere else. Is this a threat or something?

A few people commented on the cat as they filed on. Izuku didn’t say much but he did spare a few words to a specific few. Shiro leaned his head against the window and pretended to be asleep for part of the two-hour drive to Saint Heads Middle School. When he felt his neck cramping, Shiro ‘woke up.’ He sighed. He couldn’t keep this up. He glanced over at the greenette to his left. His eyes were closed but Shiro doubted that he was actually asleep.

 

“So?” he started. Emerald eyes opened to half-lidded slits. “What’s with the cat?” Shiro swallowed thickly as the freak moved his eyes to land on him out of the corner of his own eyes. Shiro did not expect him to reply.

 

“What do ya think?”

 

Shiro bit his tongue. Scary… He couldn’t help but take in the visible scars on the boy’s body. The three on his face, the one on his neck, the ones below the elbow on his left arm, and the one that looked like someone had cut a small piece out of his ear. He looked at the cat’s pink vest that read “SERVICE CAT” on it. Shiro met eye back with the green-haired boy and was leveled with a cold gaze. Shiro turned his head back to the window. “Tsk. Nevermind. I don’t really care.”

On second thought, I don’t want to know.

 

He didn’t talk the rest of the trip.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku pat his shoulder. “‘Ime.” Hime jumped up onto his shoulder.

 

“Ime?” He looked up at the student passing while they got off. “That’s a strange name.” Izuku shook his head. “‘Ime. N- not I- Ime.” The girl giggled. “Alright!” She walked by. Izuku stood to exit his row but caught her whispering to the girl ahead of her: “He’s so cute with that accent!” Izuku raised an eyebrow. Cute? He glanced over at Hime. Hime’s cute. He nodded, thinking he understood perfectly.

He did not.

 

Saint Heads Middle School, a large private school where most of the students are the children of richer families, businessmen, and heroes.

 

Izuku followed his school’s group down the hallways. Despite class being in session, all of the floors looked polished and the whole school had the “fancy” vibe to it.

“Tsk,” he glanced over at Yamamoto. “Rich kid school.” Izuku lifted an eyebrow at the boy. Grey eyes flitted to him. Yamamoto rolled his eyes and looked away. They kept walking. The gym, where the District Martial Arts Tournament was being held, was massive! There were other schools already there and warming up while others were in another large side room where teams would set down their luggage and meet up. Bando-sensei checked them in and they went to their area in the other room, setting down their belongings.

 

*CLAP CLAP*

 

The group turned to Bando-sensei. “Alright! Hills Alliance Middle School, go get in your karategi and meet back here!” “Yes, sensei!” Bando-sensei stopped him on the way to the locker rooms. “Kirishima, I am going to have to take care of your cat while you are in the gym or locker rooms.” Izuku glanced up at Hime who was on his shoulder. “You can have her back when you are in this area.” Izuku nodded. “‘Ime,” he called, gently lifting her off of his shoulder and handing her to Bando-sensei. “Hime?” the man asked. Izuku nodded. He understood! Bando-sensei nodded. “Alright. I will take good care of her. Now go get dressed.” The greenette bowed.

“T- thank you, s- sensei.”

 

All of the schools in their respective karategi met in the gym lined up. It was crowded. Izuku didn’t like it. He had gotten used to crowded areas, sure, but not so pressed together like this. Izuku spent most of the opening ceremony concentrating on not having a panic attack.

 

“Welcome,” the head of the committee greeted the crowd, “to the District Martial Arts Tournament. We are so pleased to have all of you here today. We have 23 schools here today. The tournament shall run as such with two brackets per category.” Izuku was in the mixed martial arts category. There were others as well. “We will have up to eight fights happening at a time, two for each category for max efficiency. For each category, the two finalists will meet to fight for their specific titles. The second and third places will be chosen in a similar fashion, a duel between those who lost against the finalists. Please, show respect to fellow schools and all of you have fun while you are here! We have concessions near the right lobby. Thank you. Let us all have a good fight and may the best school win!”

 

The entire student body gathered bowed. “LET US HAVE A GOOD FIGHT!

 

Izuku was back in their group’s waiting area. They had two other schools directly surrounding them and it was a bit cramped. He checked the brackets. He was up in three fights for his side of the Mixed Martial Arts bracket. He minus well go warm up and study his future opponents.

 

Izuku was soon found in the stands on the second level overlooking the fights going on. Currently, the first two from his bracket were fighting and the first from the other bracket were as well. He looked over as another kid came to stand by him.

Yamamoto.

Izuku does not know where he stands with the boy. He was obviously not on good terms with him but they had a sort of different connection as the top two in the class. Yamamoto could hold somewhat of a fight with him and his standoffish attitude paired with Izuku apparently being too intimidating for others had the two drifting towards each other as the lone wolves of their class. Yamamoto leaned on the railing with folded arms. He pointed to the other brackets fight. “See him?” Izuku followed his finger to the bottom where a boy was fighting with another. He had half white and half red hair. Izuku nodded. “That’s supposedly Endeavors child.” Izuku hummed. “The number two hero’s?”

Izuku never found himself stuttering around Yamamoto. He felt more confident or something around him, he guessed. He always found him slipping into Golden Whip just a bit around the other boy. Yamamoto nodded. “Yeah. Look.” Izuku followed his gaze to the other side of the second story where the obvious form of Endeavor could be seen in a suit, watching his son. He looked angry. Izuku got a bad vibe from him. “Figures his kid would attend a fancy school like this.” Izuku hummed.

 

“I wonder whose kid is Present Mic’s.” Izuku blinked and turned to Yamamoto. He nodded to the right of them where Izuku could see Yami and Nemuri could be seen on their same level in their civilian garb, obviously not having seen them. Izuku quickly looked back down at the fight. “Dunno,” he shrugged.

Endeavor’s kid won. If they both made it to the finals Izuku would fight him. “I am going to warm up.” He pushed off the rail. Yamamoto hummed. “You better not lose before I can fight you.” Izuku paused and looked over his shoulder.

 

“I won’t.”

 

_______________________________

 

“Pssst! Hizashi!” Hizashi looked over to his left where Nemuri stood next to him. She slightly tilted her head. Hizashi leaned over a bit to look at what she was directing him to. He saw a white-haired boy with grey eyes leaning on the railing in a white karategi and Hizashi could just make out the shorter form of Izuku next to him.

 

Hizashi almost, ALMOST, called out to him. But then Izuku opened his mouth. The yellow-haired man couldn’t hear what he was saying but that didn’t matter. Izuku was speaking. Having a conversation. And the boy was replying. They had the same apathetic demeanors. He wondered if Izuku felt more comfortable with the mystery boy because they were on similar wavelengths. He had requested to take today off so that he could see Izuku here today and surprise him. He would make himself known at the end. Hizashi turned his attention back to the fights, watching the Judo category.

 

No need to disturb the boy’s peace.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku stretched in the corner of his group’s area. His opponent was from another school. He glanced over to where Hime was sitting beside their team’s assistant as Bando-sensei was watching the fights.

He looked at his light reflection in the window. He took a deep breath and swiftly turned on his heel, entering the gymnasium. He rounded the edges and made his way over to the Mixed Martial Arts category and to the waiting area where his bracket opponent was already waiting, watching the on-going fight. The kid in question was bald and wore a purple sash on his karategi to represent his school. Izuku’s karategi had a black one for Hills Alliance Middle School. He was taller than Izuku but so was most everybody, aside from a few first or second years, due to his apparent ‘stunted growth’ from lack of food throughout his previous years of life. Recovery Girl said that he would start reaching normal height for his age as he ate more.

 

Izuku stood off a few feet from his opponent and watched. Whoever won this one would be his next opponent if he won the next two rounds.

 

“It’s a shame,” he heard his opponent comment. Izuku glanced over at him. The boy smirked. “Sorry,” he said. “I guess I just feel bad because they put a first-year against me.” Izuku narrowed his eyes. “They really should put us by age groups.” Is he… underestimating me?

 

-----

 

‘Don’t…

 

He raised his whip.

 

‘-UNDERESTIMATE ME!!!’

 

-----

 

Oh well. Easy win for me then.” The boy smirked and glanced over at Izuku. His face froze when they met eyes. Izuku very well knew what type of look was on his own face and took pride at the way the other boy paled.

“That's a match!” the proctor called. Izuku stepped forward to replace the fighters on the mat. He passed his opponent.

 

Some confidence ya got in ya, ey?” 

 

He grinned maniacally when the boy took a step back. Izuku crossed over to his side of the mat and stood. The bald kid had to be reminded to get on the mat having been shocked into a frozen position where Izuku had left him. 

Izuku could feel Golden Whip burning inside of him. His tattoo pulsed with the phantom pain of getting it.

 

-----

 

He slid the mask over his eyes and tightened his shoelaces, looking down at his reflection in the puddle in his alley. He grinned.

 

-----

 

“Greet your opponents!”

 

Izuku and the boy bowed. “~Let us have a good fight~,” he cooed in a sing-song voice, slipping into the persona.

 

-----

 

Golden Whip jumped down between a band of thugs. He raised his whip.

 

-----

 

“Ready…” Izuku drew his foot back. “FIGHT!”

 

The fight was over in a second. Almost as fast as Endeavor’s kid took care of his opponents but Izuku was more ruthless. This boy had underestimated him and whether he knew it or not he had underestimated Golden Whip, the red lights vigilante who had evaded hero capture for years and taken down more thugs and criminals than this kid had seen in his life. A battle-hardened warrior. All it took was a few last-second dodges to offset the boy before Izuku planted his foot into the boy’s back and pushed down with enough force that the kid audibly and forcibly released the air from his body. This was still a school tournament though, and Izuku had gotten used to not completely immobilizing his opponents and knocking them unconscious so he took the boy’s arms and held them behind his neck, using them to force his opponents head down without breaking it until the time was called.

 

“That’s a match! Kirishima wins!”

 

-----

 

Golden Whip stared down at the frightened man cowering on the ground, raising his whip for the final blow.

 

-----

 

Izuku stood up and let the kid get up. He climbed to his feet coughing and turned to the proctor. “He fights dirty! Is that allowed!?”

The black and white clad man nodded. “It’s mixed martial arts. If you are looking for a specific fighting style then go join karate or judo.” The boy glared at Izuku. Izuku shrugged and walked off. He passed the kid on the way, lightly placing his hand on the taller boys shoulder and whispering:

“By the way, I’m a third year.” The boy stiffened. “Too bad they pit ya agains’ me, ey?” He then said louder: 

 

Good fight, man!” mimicking Eijiro.

 

-----

 

*!CRACK!*

 

_______________________________

 

Enji Todoroki watched the green-haired boy leave the mat after taking down his opponent faster than his Shoto. He growled. “Who is that kid?” he asked his assistant who stood beside him recording Shoto’s fights so they could revise later. She hurriedly went through the bracket list.

 

“U- um, Izuku Kirishima, Endeavor, sir!”

 

He narrowed his eyes. I don’t recognize that name. Not a hero’s kid then. He folded his arms against his chest. My Shoto can defeat some no-name, snot-nosed brat. 

 

_______________________________

 

“Kirishima,” Izuku swallowed his water and closed the cap on his bottle before looking up at his teacher. “Y- yes, B- Bando-sensei?” The man raised an eyebrow. “Did you provoke that boy purposefully?” Izuku picked up Hime who was with him while he was back in the group’s area. He pets her a few times. “N- not before ‘e d- did,” he decided on replying. Bando-sensei tilted his head. “What do you mean?” Izuku shrugged. “‘e under-est-mated m- me. I- I didn’ l- like that s- so I j- jus’, I dunno, t- told ‘im o- off, I guess.” Bando-sensei sighed. “I understand that you feel very… strongly… about fighting,” Well that’s one way to put that, Izuku thought dryly, “but let’s try not angering the other schools from here on out, alright?”

Izuku nodded. “Y- yes, sensei.”

 

Izuku fought a couple of more rounds, and won, before a break was called and all teams went to the lobby area where their groups met. Izuku leaned against the wall with Hime in his arms while Yamamoto sat on the sill of the window to his right.

“We are fighting next,” the boy commented. Izuku hummed. “I won’t lose.” Izuku looked at HIme. She looked up, her blue eyes like an ocean. “Meow!” He smiled softly before looking up determinedly. “Neither will I.”

 

_______________________________

 

Yuta Bando looked over at Kirishima and Yamamoto.

 

They had a strange relationship, he decided. Kirishima seemed more confident around Yamamoto. They were great rivals for each other, each pulling out the best in each other. Yamamoto seemed more eager to reclaim his strongest-in-class title and Izuku seemed perfectly content in keeping it from him. Despite their clash when Kirishima started in the last quarter of their second year, they got along surprisingly well. Yuta barely hears any waver in Kirishima’s voice when they talk and he was passing by. Most of it was them asserting their dominance over each other and thus Kirishima refused to show weakness.

 

Another thing he had noticed was that the more they ‘hung out’ the less cocky Yamamoto was towards the others in his class. He had found someone to match him in pride when it came to fighting and his personality had begun to round out the longer he and the greenette butted heads. 

 

Both were good companions for each other whether they knew it or not.

 

Yuta checked the time. It’s about time. *CLAP CLAP* “Hills Alliance Middle School!” He called together his team. They all looked up at him. “We are entering the second half. It will go much faster now that there are fewer people in the competition. To those of you who lost and are out, you did great and I am proud of all of you. You can go home with your heads held high knowing you gave it your all!” He noticed the three slackers who had got out pitifully their first fight out of the corner of his eye not listening.

 

Not you. You all are failing my class. I hope you know that.

 

“Those in these last few rounds, great job so far. Keep going. Aside from Mr. Hidoes Judo class, our school has never made it to finals in this tournament, even then it was only once and their competitor did not go to Nationals. I’d like to see us up there so let’s give it our best shot, alright!”

“Yes, sensei!”

“Now get ready for the next matches and those who are no longer competing go up to the second story and cheer on your teammates from the stands!”

 

He looked over at Kirishima who was currently handing off Hime to the team’s assistant. Then he looked at Yamamoto. He had a feeling this year was going to be the year they would go to Nationals. If not… he looked over at the second year slackers. They probably wouldn’t get another chance to go to Nationals in a long time.

 

_______________________________

 

Shiro smirked at Izuku from across the mat as their match was about to start.

 

“Rematch. I don’t plan on losing.” Izuku rolled his shoulders back and cracked his neck. “Not like ya’ve won before.” Shiro’s eye twitched. “Yeah, well, that ends today.” Izuku met his eyes head-on. “We’ll see.”

 

The proctor stepped up. “Greet your opponent!”

 

“Let us have a good fight,” Shiro bowed.

“Let us have a good fight,” Izuku bowed.

 

They both stood up straight. Shiro shivered. Why? Every time Izuku leans back up from the bow, his eyes are significantly duller. It gave Shiro the creeps. Dang Freak. 

“Ready…” I’m not backing down now. “FIGHT!”

 

Shiro ran forward, Izuku following suit. He aimed for the stomach but Izuku swirled out of the way. Shiro planted his foot and turned hard, barely moving his head out of the way of a punch to his face.

This is my third year!

He grabbed Izuku’s outstretched arm, planning to use the boy's famous judo flip but when he pivoted, Izuku jumped as he pulled him over his shoulder and completed a flip, landing on his feet and falling into a roll.

I need to make it to Nationals!

Izuku twisted and swung his foot around to latch under Shiro’s feet. Shiro jumped to dodge but did not expect Izuku to come up and smash his head under Shiro’s chin as the white-haired boy came back down. Shiro bit his tongue so hard it drew blood.

It’s my last chance!

He stumbled backward having lost his footing form coming down at an odd angle. Izuku took his shot, grabbing the edges of Shiro’s karategi and pulling him forward, kneeing him in the stomach. Shiro almost doubled over but planted his foot and used Izuku’s trick against him, banging his head against the smaller boy’s chin.

I am not going to lose this fight!

Izuku stumbled back. Shiro landed a blow to Izuku’s cheek. The boy took the momentum and spun with it, getting behind Shiro. By the time Shiro felt the hand on his neck, he knew it was too late.

 

-----

 

As soon as he stood, there was a small, scarred hand on his throat. Shiro’s eyes widened as his body fell and his back and head hit the mats.

 

‘STOP!’

 

-----

 

Shiro hit the mats face-first, arms soon pinned to his back by Izuku’s knee. The countdown went by, not without him struggling but it was to no avail.

It’s my...

 

“That’s a match! Kirishima wins!”

 

… last chance. 

 

Shiro sighed when the weight was off of his back. He got into a crouch position when he saw the scarred hand of his opponent come into view. He looked up and saw Izuku holding out his arm. He smirked. How much did he train? What did he go through to get those scars? He lifted his hand. I had lost from the start…

Shiro’s eyes widened as a green, glowing string formed from the greenette’s wrist. “Wha-”

“Don’ worry ‘bout it.”

Shiro smirked. “Fine. Whatever.” He took the boy’s hand and allowed himself to get pulled up. “Good fight.”

Izuku nodded. “Good fight.” Shiro pressed his tight fist against the other boy’s chest. He lowered his head.

 

“You… you better win. You better go to nationals, Freak.”

His eyes widened when Izuku took his fist and backed up before pressing his own fist against it. “It’s called a fist bump,” the boy smirked. “An’ I don’ plan on losin’ any time soon.”

 

By no means did Shiro like Izuku Kirishima. He told them off in front of the entire school and took their doorstep of the original Kirishima and turned him into someone with a backbone. But he had to admit, he did not hate him. They traded blows more than words and Shiro will admit, he found a sense of camaraderie with the boy. He knew that Izuku would take them to Nationals.

That didn’t mean that it did not hurt. Shiro sat in the second story stands and pressed his hands against his wet eyes.

 

“Dang it…” he whispered.

 

Sorry, Mom. I never took us to Nationals.

 

_______________________________

 

Izuku rubbed his cheek. It was sore. Yamamoto had gotten a pretty nice shot there.

 

Izuku went on to win his next match and was now waiting for the final round to start. He was standing in the stands watching the fight between the semi-finalists in the other bracket. Endeavor’s kid was winning.

 

“Kirishima!” Izuku jumped and turned around. His eyes widened when he noticed