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House Arrest

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House Arrest

Back to the Grind

“Got everything you need, my boy?”

It was Izuku’s first day back at UA, and now that he was living in a dorm, he was desperately running around trying to make sure he had everything he needed. Most of his things were already in his new room, however there was still a lot of school supplies and personal items he had yet to take. He sighed heavily, cramming his back pack shut. It was so incredibly full that he was surprised the zipper hadn’t busted. “I think so,” he called back finally.

It was still quite early, the sun only just coming up. Shouta and Toshi had a staff meeting this morning, and he had agreed to go in early with them. It would allow him plenty of time to dump his stuff and catch up with the rest of 1-A, who had over the weekend moved into the dorms. He was quite eager to see Iida and Uraraka, both of which he had only had limited contact with. Other than their brief trip to visit him in the hospital, they hadn’t really spoken, only via text. It would be nice to physically see them and spend some quality time together.

The trio clambered into the car, and after a painlessly short car ride, were pulling into the teacher’s carpark. Izuku was the first to unbuckle and climb out, pulling his overstuffed backpack from the floor by his feet. “Have a good first day back, my boy.” Toshi smiled warmly at his adopted son, waving him off. “Make sure to message us if you need anything,” he reminded the teen. Izuku nodded cheerfully, saying his goodbyes as he headed off towards the dorm.

“See you in class, kid,” Shouta farewelled.

Izuku was feeling positive as he slowly approached what would, for the most part, become his new home. He focused on pushing his doubts and reservations away, leaving his final judgement for after he’d experienced dorm life. He wasn’t entirely sure he’d learn to love it, but he had to at least try. It was going to be an entirely different experience, after all.

He had two main concerns though, which couldn’t be ignored. The first was that he was really going to miss spending so much time with Shouta and Toshi. They’d become a second family to him, and it was going to take some time to get used to being separated from them. The second was that this crazy new living arrangement was going to severely impact on his education. With all the chaos and noise, he was worried he wasn’t going to have the proper environment to carry out his studies, and he really didn’t want that. Izuku decided then and there that he was going to put extra effort into his school work, even if it meant shutting himself in his room and isolating himself. Yes, it would be great to have extra time to bond with his friends, but he couldn’t put that ahead of his goals.

“Deku, you’re here!!” Uraraka squealed cheerfully as trudged up the path leading to 1-A Alliance’s entrance. The young hero-in-training raced up to her friend and threw her arms around him. Iida and Asui, who had also been standing around chatting, chased after her. “How are you feeling; are you okay?” She checked, backing off as if remembering he had not too long ago been in a lot of pain.

“Hey guys,” Izuku greeted with a warm smile. “I’m fine now,” he reassured her. She scrutinised him with a look of disbelief, knowing if he was still in pain he’d likely try to hide it. “I promise,” he added quickly, trying to appease her. It was slightly stretching the truth, given he still had some residual aching, but he somehow managed to convince her. “What about you, what’s everyone been up to?”

“School work and study!” Iida started proudly, reaching a hand up to adjust his glasses. “As students of such a prestigious school, it is our responsibility to put all efforts into upholding UA’s exceedingly high expectations. Also, I had taken it upon myself to compile a copy of lecture notes from the last two weeks of class. I shall provide them to you this morning before we leave.”

Izuku shook his head internally. That was so like Iida. “Thank you, I really appreciate it!” It was true that Izuku was up-to-date with his classes, but sitting in actual lectures and hearing their teachers’ own personal experiences was something he couldn’t find in a book. They would be a valuable asset to his education, so he would be sure to read through them carefully.

“You’re welcome Midoriya. It’s the least I could do. We were all extremely worried about you; it’s good to finally have you back. Now if you will excuse me, I need to take a shower before class.” Izuku smiled fondly at his friend as he retreated back into the building. His classmate had never ceased to amaze him.

He turned to face Asui, who was looking unusually worried. And, now that he thought about it, she had remained incredibly quiet. “Everything okay, Tsu?” He asked in concern, using the nickname she preferred her friends to call her by. “You seem…a little down.”

“I’m okay,” she croaked shyly. In truth though, she was scared and worried. “I’m just glad you’re safe is all. It was scary, what happened…” She stopped there, not wanting to say anything to upset her classmate. She didn’t even want imagine what he had been through, let alone remind him of those awful memories. Then there were the rumours that he had been tortured…she really hoped that they weren’t true…

“It was…” He admitted, the corners of his mouth dipping into a frown. But he didn’t want to put a damper on the mood, nor did he feel like talking about it. “…but that’s why we have to keep training and get stronger,” he stated with all the determination he could muster. “We have to keep giving it our best, no matter what.” Asui’s mood seemed to lift somewhat, seeing him smiling, and though she wasn’t truly convinced he was actually fine, she decided to let it drop.

Together they entered the common area, and in seconds Izuku was completely surrounded by all the other students in his class, all cheerfully welcoming him back. All except one… While all the ‘extras’, Kirishima included, continually fawned over the nerd, Bakugo continued to shovel his cereal forcefully into his mouth, all the while glaring at his rival. Of all the stupid things he could have done, the brainless idiot had to go and get himself kidnapped…by the League of Villains, no less. He ‘tch’d’, turning his attention elsewhere. He had no intention whatsoever of talking to him.

Time ticking, Izuku quickly reassured them all that he was fine to be back at school, before promptly running up to his room to store everything he had no need of. The notes that Iida had handed him were carefully placed on his bed; he would get stuck into reading those after classes for the day had ended.

Together, the entirely of 1-A marched to the main building together, Bakugo leading after demanding the rest all walk behind him. The only exception was Kirishima, who had somehow managed to form a close bond with the hot-headed student. He, and only he was allowed to walk by his best friend’s right side. To Izuku’s left, the girls were giggling quietly about something, and out the corner of his eye he noticed Shoji taking a swipe at Mineta, no doubt having said or done something perverted. Tokoyami appeared deep in thought, and Todoroki was chatting quietly to Yaoyorozu. The green haired boy smiled, happy to be back. For the first time in a long time, he felt normal and carefree again.

All were in their seats before the bell rang. Aizawa entered the room shortly after, already feeling exhausted. At least he didn’t have to worry about ordering any of them into their seats. Unable to stop himself, he let his gaze fall on Izuku. The boy shot him a small smile, which reached his heart, and he responded with an almost imperceptible nod of his head. Without delay, he began the lesson, desperate for the day to be over and done with so he could go and have a nap.

The morning flew by, as Izuku absorbed as much as he possibly could from each class, even his most dreaded subject: maths. Each of his teachers personally took the time to welcome him back, though none gave him any special treatment, for which he was extremely grateful. As the bell went off, signalling it was time for lunch, he found nearly half the class hovering around his desk all insisting that he eat with them. Politely, he declined, having planned to meet with Toshi, yet it seemed none of them were taking no for an answer. Together, Hagakure and Uraraka grabbed him by the arms, physically dragging him to the Lunch Rush Cafeteria. He gave up struggling with a sigh, not willing to fight them. He would shoot a message to his adoptive father when he had a chance to explain, hoping he wouldn’t be mad at him.

As expected, Toshi had replied almost immediately, letting him know it was fine and to not worry. The teen knew he would understand, and he promised to make it up to him. After a healthy serving of his favourite dish, the mouth-watering katsudon, he and the others proceed back to their classroom to sit through the last few lessons of the afternoon.

By the end of class, Izuku had crammed so much information into his head that his brain hurt. He rubbed at his aching temples as he cleared his desk, glad the day was over. Usually, he looked forward to All Might’s Hero Studies classes in the afternoon, but today he was aching all over and he had a thumping headache, and really wouldn’t have felt up to it. He wasn’t aware that Shouta had re-entered the room to fetch his precious sleeping bag, nor did he notice the concerned look the Hero was giving him. With Iida and Uraraka by his side he left the classroom, completely failing to notice his second adoptive father’s presence.

Aizawa frowned, fearing something was up. Maybe they’d been foolish allowing the kid to return so soon after such a harrowing experience. He’d keep a close eye over Izuku the next few days. If he saw the boy falter in any way, he wouldn’t hesitate to step in and intervene. He’d have a chat with Toshi, too…ask his boyfriend to keep a close eye on the kid as well…

Much to the majority of 1-A’s dismay, leading to an uproar of protest, Midoriya quickly excused himself after an afternoon snack, insisting that he needed to return to his room to study. He really just wanted a quiet space to allow himself to think, but this was the perfect opportunity to browse through Iida’s immaculately put-together notes. Unfortunately, however, there was a wall of students blocking access to both the lift and stairs. Well, there was, until the Class Rep intervened. “Excuse me!” He shouted, waving his hands to draw their attention. “None of you have the right to prevent Midoriya furthering his education. I must insist that you all step aside and let him through. I myself will be following his lead momentarily, and it wouldn’t hurt you all to take note and do the same.”

He was met with a wave of disappointed glares and murmuring, but swiftly chose to ignore it. It was his duty to ensure his classmates treated each other with fairness and respect, especially in regards to school and studying. And, now that they were forced into such a loud and chaotic environment, it was important more than ever that they had the determination and restraint to stay focused and motivated with their studies. He was proud of Midoriya for not having backed down and given in to their unfair and unreasonable demands.

“Thanks Iida,” Izuku whispered as the rest of them cleared the path, shooting the other boy an appreciative thumbs-up.

“No need to thank me. Good luck with your studying. I shall be in my room if you happen to need help with anything,” he offered. The two friends took the stairs, parting ways as Izuku entered the second floor corridor. He moved hastily to his room, unlocking his door before almost immediately collapsing on the bed. He groaned, feeling his shoulders ache. He really regretted having so much stuff jammed into his bag. He also regretted that he’d neglected to pack any form of pain relief, which he really could have used right now. He was sure one of his friends would have some to spare, but he really didn’t have the energy for that right now. Instead, he decided it would be best just to try and sleep it off, and settled down in a comfortable position where he could have a brief nap.

Ten minutes turned into twenty, then an hour turned into two, and by the time his buzzing phone finally woke him, it was almost 5:30. “Crap,” he whispered, launching himself up. He had wasted so much valuable time. At least he didn’t have a headache to contend with anymore… He checked his phone. 1 new message…from Kacchan… Izuku gulped. Bakugo never messaged him, ever…

‘Meet me outside at 10’, it read. ‘Don’t be late!’

Chapter Text

An Almighty Brawl

Izuku stewed in his nervousness as the hours ticked on. He glanced up at the clock on his wall for the fourth time in just a few minutes. The message from Bakugo had caught him so off guard that he hadn’t been able to focus on reading the notes that Iida had given him. No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t work out what his childhood friend wanted with him. Friend… That was a term he used loosely. They weren’t that at all, not really. Growing up, Izuku followed Kacchan around, looking up to him as a leader. But after the boy’s quirk manifested, he began to change, and for years, Izuku found himself on the receiving end of Bakugo’s verbal, and sometimes even physical abuse. All he wanted was to be friends, yet Kacchan had always rejected him. Slowly, with his actions, the aggressive boy started to force Izuku away. It even got to the point, that just before enrolling at UA, Bakugo had told Izuku to kill himself. Of course, Izuku paid him no mind; he just wasn’t that sort of kid. But after everything that had happened, if Bakugo had walked up and said that to him again…

He surprised himself with the realisation that he may have even considered it…

Stomach twisting in knots, he decided to forgo dinner, so when the class rep came looking for him, he gave him some lame excuse about not being hungry. Iida, being Iida, was, by refusal, prompted into lecturing him. Izuku listened intently for all of fifteen seconds, before zoning out and going back to fretting…

~

Shouta yawned dramatically, rubbing at his heavy, tired eyes miserably. It was getting late, and he wanted nothing more than to climb into bed. Unfortunately, however, having taken time off meant that he had a mound of paperwork to catch up on, the majority to do with the mess that was the aftermath of their training camp. He’d also been studying up on his students’ Ultimate Moves, which had been submitted in writing in his absence. As he’d been unable to witness them being developed firsthand, he’d asked Cementoss to hand out progression forms for the students to complete, which gave Shouta at least some insight into their training patterns and progress. Some were more detailed than others, not that that really surprised him, but he was pleased to see that they had all managed to present at least one viable move. Two had been what they’d being aiming for, but there was still plenty of time for him to work them to the bone.

He quickly checked the time on the bottom right hand side of his laptop screen, then turned to Toshi, who was lost in concentration, tapping away quickly beside him. How he had so much energy this late at night, Shouta had no idea. It was 9:30. Debating on whether or not to turn in for the night, he opened the next report. Realising it wouldn’t take him long to complete, he quickly got stuck into it, and then, finally, he and Toshi could climb into bed. He was just glad that Nezu had set up a small office in the dorm in one of the vacant rooms so they weren’t forced to walk all the way across campus.

It was a quiet night, and the room was dark. Only the amber computer screens lit the room, which, while on night mode, wasn’t exactly helping with Shouta’s constant eyestrain. But the atmosphere was peaceful, and at this point in time, he was more concerned about that than his throbbing head. All he wanted to do was sleep, and, while working, this was the best possible way for him to prepare his mind for that. He could deal with the headache later…

“Shouta!!” Hizashi called out not two minutes later, his already deafeningly loud voice echoing as he ascended the stairs. Shouta groaned, and proceeded to ignore him. But he shouted again, this time more insistent. “Hey Shouta, where are you?!” He bellowed loudly. Again, Aizawa didn’t answer, but he could hear heavy footsteps approaching at speed. He raised his head as the door was flung open, his frantic colleague racing into the room. Toshi and Shouta stared up in confusion, waiting for him to explain his sudden panic. “I’ve just been notified that two 1-A students have been seen entering Ground Beta,” he informed them, breathing slowing to a more regular rate.

Once more, Shouta groaned in frustration, dropping his head into his hand. He really didn’t want to have to deal with this right now. “Are you fucking serious?” He whispered harshly, his fury growing by the second. “When I find out who it is, they’ll be lucky if they still have a place in the hero course when I’m through with them,” he ground out. He made to get up, but Toshi’s hand tightly clasping his arm stopped him. Shouta whipped his head round, intending to snap at him, yet when he saw the kind look on his pale, sunken face, he backed off.

“You stay here, Shouta. I’ll go and find them.” The former hero could see just how worn out and frustrated his partner was. He’d struggled just to get through the day, so it was the least he could do to round up the trouble makers and rein them in for punishment.

Aizawa simply nodded, not going to argue. If Toshi wanted to volunteer to do the legwork, then he was more than happy to get started on the official disciplinary paperwork. Well, he was actually in an extremely foul mood, thanks to the rule-breaking brats who had interrupted his night, but, this was preferable to trudging around in the dark trying to find them. “Thanks, Toshi. Be sure to bring them straight here. Wanna get this over and done with as soon as possible.”

His partner sighed heavily, and Toshi longed to kiss him on the head. However, with Hizashi still in their presence, he sadly refrained from doing so. He didn’t particularly feel up to searching for them either, however, for everyone’s sake, he volunteered himself for the job. With Shouta in the mood he was in, who knew what fearsome wrath he would accidentally unleash on the students. At least by the time he got back he will hopefully have had the opportunity to calm down somewhat… Or so he hoped…

~

A few minutes before 10:00, Izuku slipped out into the darkened hall of the first floor, peeking to make sure the coast was clear. With no-one in sight he tiptoed to the stairs, descending them as silently as possible. His anxiety grew as he approached the front door, feeling guilty as exited the dorm, willingly breaking the curfew. If Kacchan wanted to talk, he couldn’t see why they couldn’t have done so in the privacy of either of their rooms. Wandering outside after 8:00 was literally asking for trouble. “Kacchan…?”

Bakugo was down the stairs off the landing a few metres ahead, hands shoved deeply into his pockets, overall looking extremely tense. “You’re late,” he accused venomously over his shoulder, not even with the decency to look his classmate in the eyes. He was fully aware it had not quite reached 10:00, yet when Deku didn’t protest, all he could think was ‘pathetic’. He took off down the path without another word, glaring straight ahead in anger.

“K-kacchan…?” Izuku tried again, reluctantly following him, fully aware he was being ignored. “How far are we going?” He questioned after a few minutes. “We shouldn’t be walking around in the middle of the night.” Izuku’s shoulders slumped in resignation. He continued after the boy, not even bothering to speak, seeing as he apparently wasn’t worth responding to. Eventually, they came across one of UA’s many training facilities. “You brought us to Ground Beta…?”

“This is where you and I first went head-to-head using our quirks,” Bakugo stated abruptly, as though his classmate had never been speaking. “Up until then, you were a nobody, the laughing stock of the school: Worthless, quirkless Deku. Yet, somehow, I lost to you, despite you being the pathetic weakling that you are,” he spat scathingly. Izuku gulped nervously, afraid of the direction their conversation was going. “After class that day, you told me that power belonged to someone else, that it wasn’t your own. I didn’t believe you, because it sounded like total bullshit, yet here you are with a powerful quirk.” His voice was laced with sarcasm as he continued in his accusatory tone. “In the space of a few months, you went from being a useless wannabe with no power of your own, to having this mysterious new quirk that your wimpy body can’t even handle… How…? Who gave you that power, Deku…?” He demanded to know.

Izuku squirmed under Bakugo’s scrutiny and diverted his gaze. He had promised Toshi that he would never tell anyone about the origins of his inherited power. Katsuki narrowed his eyes, glaring even harder. “You make me sick, you know that? Can’t even give me a straight answer… Doesn’t matter anyway, because I’ve already got it figured out…” He took two large steps forward, stepping into the extra’s personal space with the hopes of intimidating him. “Your quirk is nearly identical to that of All Might’s, who, coincidentally, no longer has a quirk of his own anymore… And it somehow ‘manifested’ after he showed up in town, after the incident with that sludge villain.” A pink tinge appeared on the teen’s cheeks as he recalled the shame of having to be rescued, but he quickly dismissed the thought. “Not only that, but he took you in after the death of your Mother...” His voice softened a touch as he uttered that last sentence, but hardened again as he laid into Deku. “Why would he do that for anyone, let alone a freak like you, unless he was training you to wield his power…? I’m right, aren’t I, nerd?”

The teen’s jaw clenched in semi-defeat with the accuracy of Kacchan’s statements, yet he couldn’t find it in him to confirm his suspicions. He diverted his gaze as his head dipped down, refusing to answer. What would he even have said anyway; he was cornered and defenceless. “You’re not trying to deny anything, so it must be true. But why, why did he give you that power?” He growled in disbelief, failing to see the idiot hero’s reasoning. “I had the potential, yet he gave his incredible quirk to a nobody like you...” He shoved Deku hard in the chest, knocking him over.

Toshi inhaled sharply, overhearing the angry teen’s harsh statement, and instantly, he knew exactly who Bakugo was arguing with, and what the conversation was about. As he scrambled to the edge of the building at the end of the replica street, he caught sight of the two, Izuku pushing himself to his feet and dusting his hands off as he squared up against Bakugo. This was bad, and he knew he should intervene, yet he wanted to see exactly how this was going to play out.

Why, did he give it to you?” Katsuki snarled, his temper spilling out of control. “You are worthless, so why…? If he wanted to pass his power on, why not choose someone naturally gifted like me? Our powers combined could have made me an unstoppable force, the next #1 hero! No villain could have stood a chance against me, none! But instead, he gave it to some quirkless freak that can’t even handle its power. It’s laughable; you’re pathetic!”

“You’re wrong,” Izuku insisted through clenched teeth. “I’m going to be a great hero, and I will surpass you, Kacchan.”

“Prove it then!” The fiery tempered teen shouted, getting worked up. “Show me that such an amazing quirk wasn’t wasted on the likes of you!” He raised his arm, swinging it directly at Deku’s face, but the green haired boy narrowly managed to avoid it. He countered then, misleading Kacchan with a punch, then raising his right leg to strike him as One For All roared to life.

“Argh,” Bakugo ground out as the attack hit its mark, landing on his unguarded midsection. “What kind of cheap trick was that?” He growled, frustrated that his opponent managed to hit him. He retreated two steps, creating a small but powerful explosion in Izuku’s face. The teen felt the heat singe the fine hairs that covered his right cheek, felt the burn, but there was nothing he could do about it. He quickly feinted to the left, dodging to prevent Bakugo from blasting him with his offensive quirk again.

Steadying himself, he sprinted forward and leapt into the air above his opponent, raising his dominant leg up and striking down with his heel on Bakugo’s shoulder. It was effective in halting Kacchan’s counter-blow, causing the riled up teen to drop the arm he had been readying. Observing from a safe distance, Toshi’s mouth dropped open as he caught a first glimpse of Izuku’s newly developed fighting style. It was completely different to All Might’s signature punching techniques, and the former hero was extremely impressed, to say the least. However, this wasn’t the time for praising. Right now, Izuku was his student that was breaking the school rules, and he couldn’t let their personal relationship get in the way of that.

The two traded powerful blows, the numerous explosions causing significant damage to the buildings surrounding them. Toshi was forced to take cover, diving through the door of the closest building to avoid being hit by the flames and flying debris. He cursed himself for not stopping this sooner; the increasing intensity of their attacks meant that it was highly likely that somebody was going to get seriously hurt. “If you’ve got All Might’s power, then why can’t you beat me?!” Bakugo howled as he landed yet another blow…

It had quickly become clear to Izuku that this was about more than him inheriting the former #1 hero’s quirk; it had to be. Kacchan was far too worked up about it, plus, he had already suspected that All Might had passed his quirk down to him, so why wait until now…? Bakugo had had plenty of opportunities to bring it up since enrolling at UA, and he wasn’t one to let things stew. If Bakugo was mad then he would tell you right to your face. It was all or nothing when it came to him. But for the life of him, Izuku just couldn’t understand what had infuriated him this much. Not that he really had any time to think about it in the midst of their brutal fight.

The recently kidnapped boy was unable to avoid the next callous slam that ploughed into his scraped and damaged face. A small trickle of blood spurted from his nose and dripped to his chin as he let his wayward thoughts get the better of him. He dropped to his knees as a secondary impact followed, then a third to his stomach just for good measure. “Pathetic,” Katsuki taunted as Deku tried to force himself back to his feet despite the way his vision slightly greyed around the edges.

He lashed out at Kacchan blindly, giving himself space to regain some semblance of control. “Say what you want, Kacchan,” he choked out, feeling queasy, “I’m gonna be a great hero no matter what you believe.”

But Bakugo just scoffed, reaching out to grab Izuku by the collar of his shirt. “It should be me wielding that power. I could have been so much stronger! Why, Deku, if you’ve got All Might’s amazing power, can you not defeat me, huh?!”

“Boy’s, stop!” Toshinori ordered as he raced onto their battlefield, using the lull in their fight to intervene. Izuku had gone from fighting with passion and dedication to limp in young Bakugo’s grasp so fast that it nearly made Toshi faint. He’d gotten in his own head in the midst of battle against a ruthless opponent who made a point of showing no mercy, which had ultimately been his boy’s downfall. And who knew how far the other student would have taken it before he put a stop to the fight. As he approached the pair, covered in dirt and blood, scrapes and bruises littered all over their bodies and their clothing torn and shredded, he met their eyes with disappointment. This was not how heroes-in-training, students, should be acting. And he was just as much to blame…

“You had the strongest hero in the world lay out the groundwork for you, yet I still beat you…” He turned to face his teacher. “Why, All Might,” Bakugo panted heavily, releasing his hold on his classmate. “Why did you give your power to someone so weak and pathetic…?” The fight had drained out of him now, exhaustion and pain setting in in its place. His voice was soft, quiet.

Toshi attempted to meet Izuku’s eye for just a second, but the teen refused to meet his gaze. He had done a terrible thing and was so immensely disappointed in himself. “I saw amazing potential in young Midoriya,” he admitted softly, being completely honest with his student.

“I don’t understand.” The boy groaned in frustration. “He was worthless; he had no quirk. There’s nothing amazing about him… It would have made so much more sense to pass your power on to someone that already had a powerful quirk, yet you chose this freak.”

“Stop, young man,” he bit out in warning, coming to his boy’s defence despite his major disappointment. This conversation was inevitable now, but they could have it without Bakugo constantly insulting his precious boy. “I had my reasons for choosing Midoriya to inherit my quirk. Just because he had none of his own to start with didn’t mean that he wasn’t worthy or didn’t have the potential to be a great hero,” he explained calmly. “And I have no regrets about my choice,” he added for good measure. “I could see that you were strong already. I wanted Midoriya to have that chance too.”

“But if you’d given it to someone who was already powerful, then villains would stand even less of a chance in a fight. But instead, you gave it to Deku. He had your power and was still kidnapped. If he couldn’t defeat the League of Villains, even with your amazing quirk, then what chance did I have…? If only you’d given me your power instead, then maybe…”

Kacchan turned away, trying to hide his shame. He hadn’t been strong enough to prevent one of his own classmates from being kidnapped…

“Young Bakugo,” Toshi whispered gently, having finally understood the reasoning behind Bakugo’s unusually volatile anger. He dropped a hand on his shoulder in support. “You aren’t to blame for what happened during the training exercise. The League attacked whilst you students were unguarded and vulnerable. They’re not your run of the mill street thugs, either. They are cold, calculated criminals who do not care who they harm. They had a plan to kidnap young Midoriya and would have stopped at nothing to execute it.”

“Still, I should have been able to do something!” The teen felt himself beginning to crumble from the weight his guilt. His bottom lip quivered slightly as he reached a hand up to swipe angrily at the tears pooling, unwelcomed, in his eyes. Toshi stepped forward a pace and guided the student’s head to lean against his chest, providing cover for Bakugo while he attempted to pull himself back together.

“You did everything you could, young man. It is the villains who were responsible for this incident, not you or young Midoriya or any of the other students. It saddens me to think that any of you are shouldering the blame… You all did your best in the unfortunate circumstances and I’m proud of each and every one of you. All of 1-A will be fine heroes someday.”

Bakugo allowed himself a few moments to regain composure before pulling away from the former #1 hero’s chest. When their eyes met, the teen could only see kindness in them. Even when not in the spotlight, All Might was a kind and caring man. Ultimately, he cared for people, not his reputation. “So, what now?” He asked awkwardly, gesturing between the three of them. “I’m not supposed to know about the origin of Deku’s quirk, right?”

“Correct,” Toshi confirmed. “If the wrong people were to find out, the world would fall into complete chaos…” He pulled his phone out and checked the time, completely forgetting what he was supposed to be doing. 11pm…Shouta was going to kill them all… “Come on, Mr Aizawa is waiting to have a little chat with the pair of you,” he mentioned almost sympathetically. “On the way back I’ll explain the origins of our quirk, One For All…”

Izuku, who had been praying for the ground to open up and swallow him whole, followed behind in silence, head hanging in shame. He knew he had done the wrong thing by breaking curfew and fighting in Ground Beta, yet he had blindly followed Kacchan and done so anyway. He was terrified to face Shouta in this state and situation, but he knew any punishment handed down to him he would completely deserve, plus more. He couldn’t even look Toshi in the eye, couldn’t handle seeing the look of anger and disappointment, so he could only imagine how furious their homeroom teacher would be, a man notorious for expelling students. Miserably, he trudged ever-closer to the teachers’ dorm, and when he finally entered the building it felt like he was about to be handed a death sentence. He was even more afraid now than when he had been held in Shigaraki’s lair…

Together they climbed the stairs, Toshi in the lead, closely followed by Bakugo, and Izuku a few steps behind that. The trio approached a closed door with a dim light filtering through the cracks, and when Toshi knocked twice, a cold, menacing voice from within ordered, “Get in here now…”

Chapter Text

Commit the Crime, Do the Time

Shouta scowled deeply as the expected knock finally came. It had been 45 minutes since Toshi had walked out the door, and he was furious. He specifically told the man to bring his students straight to their office; what in hell had he been doing for so long?!

The handle turned and Toshinori pushed into the room, closely followed by Bakugo. Aizawa’s mood soured even further, unsurprised to find the young troublemaker caught in the middle of student drama. When it came to 1-A, the fiery-tempered teen was one of the worst at following the rules. He had his fists clenched by his sides, and looked downright defiant as he stepped up to his teacher’s desk. He took in Katsuki’s appearance, the numerous scrapes and bruises and his filthy, torn clothes and knew instantly that he had partaken in an all-out fight. Of all the stupid, ignorant, reckless things he could have done, he chose to brawl with a classmate, unsupervised, in the middle of the night. Somehow, Shouta barely managed to resist screaming at the boy.

A second figure approached as he locked eyes with Bakugo. After taking slightly more than a moment to glare daggers at his student, his gaze drifted over to the second, less obvious presence in the room. Shocked, was the most accurate word to describe what he felt as a very quiet and remorseful looking Izuku filtered into his vision. Shouta’s anger waned for a second as surprise took over, but it was quickly reclaimed by the more powerful emotion. His clenched jaw tightened as he observed the state the child was in. He was struggling to believe that after everything, Izuku had so blatantly gone against the rules and engaged his classmate in a fight.

The pro hero’s rage was so great that he was finding it difficult to think rationally, let alone speak. All he could do was communicate his immense disappointment via facial expression as the glanced between the two students. Not that they were both picking up on his visual cues; Izuku had yet to raise his head.

Another minute passed before Toshi moved to stand at his side. Not that he really deserved to after being so lax in his responsibilities, but Shouta was grateful for the distraction. It bought him a few more seconds to decide how he was going to handle this situation. Expulsion was always a solid option, but he didn’t want to expel two of the most promising students in his class, that, if they continued to work hard at it, would make exceptional heroes. The boys were extremely lucky; adopted son or not, Izuku would not be excepted from this punishment. The kid was lucky his hero-in-training days weren’t about to come to an abrupt end.

Still debating on how to begin the conversation, he allowed his capture weapon to shoot out and wind around the pair, dragging them close. Both were caught off guard at the unexpected action, though, in the green haired boy’s case, it was panic at being roughly bound as well. Both adults caught the brief flash of fear in his eyes as he was finally forced to raise his head. Aizawa, despite feeling a small sense of guilt, refused to back down. Thankfully, the terror was gone almost as suddenly as it had appeared. It was almost comical, the way they had been haphazardly caught as Shouta lashed out in his anger, but no one was laughing. “So the pair of you think you can disregard the school rules and do as you please, huh?” He demanded to know, his eyes glowing a brilliant red in the dimly-lit room. “You have both been extremely reckless and irresponsible, especially considering that I know for a fact that Midoriya has yet to fully recover from the injuries that he received during his brief imprisonment by the League of Villains.” He turned a calculated glare to the teen in question, who once more refused to meet his eyes. “I’m going to make this perfectly clear to you: I catch you fighting like this again, and I will expel the both of you,” He warned, releasing them from his bind. “Who threw the first punch?” He questioned, trying to determine how the brawling came about.

“I did,” Bakugo admitted without hesitation, a bite of anger in his tone.

“You’re both under house arrest: Bakugo, 4 days, Midoriya, 3. You are return to your dorms immediately, and neither of you are permitted to leave during this time. Don’t even think about asking your classmates to take notes for you. You want to catch up, you can study in your own time. Oh, and don’t expect Recovery Girl to heal any injuries you have sustained, either. Find a way to heal yourselves. Now get out of my sight.”

Feeling immense self-hatred and disappointment in his own actions, Izuku immediately turned and headed for the door. Usually, Bakugo would have pushed past him to walk in front, but given that they were already in a great deal of trouble, he rolled his eyes and waited. He could feel two sets of eyes glaring holes into the back of his head, so he firmly kept his mouth shut. The last thing he needed was to be expelled.

Izuku was almost oblivious to his surroundings as he walked, on auto-pilot, back to 1-A Alliance. He continuously berated himself as he trudged down the path, realising just how dense and stupid he had been by following after Bakugo. Honestly, he wouldn’t have been surprised if Shouta had expelled him, because he had deserved it. He had new injuries all over his body, though mostly superficial, and the skin on his face stung painfully from where it had been burned by Bakugo’s attacks. He had no-one else to blame other than himself, and he was glad that Recovery Girl wasn’t going to heal them for him because he deserved to feel the pain. It was a reminder of his sheer stupidity.

“Hey,” Bakugo called out half-way back to the dorm, startling him out of his self-deprecating thoughts. It wasn’t his usual, threatening demand, but more of a softer, neutral call. It caught Izuku off guard, and he raised his head to meet his childhood friend. “Sorry,” he apologised softly, not really sounding sincere but Izuku knew otherwise. “Didn’t mean to get us in trouble…” he ended, but that wasn’t really what he had wanted to say. Izuku turned away, but before he took another step, Bakugo had to know; “What happened to you…?” It was less harsh than usual, but a demand nonetheless. “When you were kidnapped…?”

Their eyes locked together then, Bakugo’s curious and Izuku’s haunted. Katsuki, like the rest of their class, had heard rumours. Rumours that Izuku had been strung from the ceiling, tortured, beaten within an inch of his life. But until now, they had been just that, rumours. But, according to their own homeroom teacher, Izuku had still yet to recover. Recover from what, exactly? Had Eraser Head, who had personally been involved in the recovery efforts, according to the media, just confirmed that the rumours were true…? He said “injuries”, plural, which could only confirm to Bakugo that Midoriya had indeed been beaten at the very least. “I don’t want to talk about it,” Izuku replied softly, turning away again.

But Kacchan wasn’t having it. “Deku…” He pressed, wanting an actual answer.

“I said I don’t want to talk about it,” Midoriya reinforced, sounding tireder and more defeated than he had all evening. His feet resumed carrying him back to the dorm, intent on getting him to the safety of his own room where he could lock himself away and continue to berate his unintelligence. He was already feeling low, so he didn’t want to recount to his rival the horror of those events and bring his own mood down even further. He had enough to deal with right now.

Bakugo wasn’t satisfied with Deku’s response, but let his planned line of questioning drop. His classmate clearly didn’t want to recount what had happened when the villains snatched him, and that could only mean that the memory of it was too painful to share. The thought of anyone in his class being tortured, even Midoriya, made Bakugo sick to his stomach. It was true that they didn’t get along at all, but that didn’t mean that Bakugo wished any real harm on him. There was not much he could do now but get stronger. The next time the League sought to take or harm one of their own, Bakugo would be ready to stop them.

~

Shouta felt his anger drop only very slightly once he had kicked his students out of the room. He was still struggling to comprehend the depth of the boys’ recklessness and the ridiculousness of this whole situation. He shut his computer down with a string of muttered expletives and scrubbed his hands over his face in frustration. “What took you so long?” He found himself asking as a warm hand proceeded to rub his shoulder blades.

“I found them arguing,” he admitted guiltily, “I needed to hear the conversation.”

“So you’re telling me that you had the chance to put a stop to their fighting but you didn’t?” He asked incredulously, unable to believe what he was hearing. “If one of them had been seriously injured that would have been on you, Toshi. And let’s be honest, it would have been Izuku. As I’ve already pointed out tonight, he’s still not at 100%. He’s probably just gone and aggravated the aches and pains he already had… I don’t understand; why didn’t you just stop them?”

“They were arguing about Izuku’s quirk,” he replied grimly, berating himself for not considering his boy’s existing injuries at the time. “Long story short, young Bakugo knows about One For All. Has known for a while, going off what he was saying…”

Shouta’s eyes widened. “And…? That conversation could have happened without them breaking out into a fist fight.”

“Bakugo blamed himself for Izuku being kidnapped. His argument was that if I had passed One For All down to him, then he would have been strong enough to take the villains out. He challenged Izuku to prove that he was worthy of inheriting my quirk, not that he was convinced that our boy was worthy.” Shouta grunted out a heavy sigh. “The things Bakugo was saying to young Izuku…no wonder he always feels inferior to everyone…” Toshi whispered absentmindedly.

“Like what?” Aizawa asked with narrowed eyes.

Toshi met his eyes, not intending to have spoken that last sentence out loud. “Just from what I overheard, he said that Izuku was worthless, a pathetic and useless freak. Yes, Bakugo is strong and could have greatly benefited from One For All, but I never would have passed it on to the likes of him. I stand by my decision to have Izuku inherit my power and have never had any regrets.”

“Please tell me you didn’t stand by and let Bakugo bully Izuku.” He looked to Toshi with pleading eyes. Surely he wouldn’t have…

Thankfully, Toshi shook his head. “Once I intervened I very clearly told him to stop. Even if it wasn’t young Izuku, I would not have allowed him to continue belittling a classmate.”

Aizawa nodded, satisfied. “I’m going to bed. We can deal with the paperwork tomorrow when we inform Nezu of the incident.” Toshi nodded, and followed his drowsy partner from the room

~

Back in his room, Izuku was staring up at the darkened ceiling, wide awake. Physically, his body was weary and tired, yet his over-active mind refused to allow him to sleep. He couldn’t even begin to describe how disappointed in himself he actually was. Right now, he deserved every little bad thing that came his way. He had even gone so far as to switch his phone off and lock it away in his desk draw. He didn’t deserve to talk to anyone. He eventually allowed his eyes to close, and thought of a hundred different ways he could have handled the situation with Bakugo that didn’t require breaking the school rules. Even angrier at himself, he forced himself to drift off into a shallow and uneasy sleep

~

After they had showered and changed into their most comfortable pyjamas, the two teachers retired to Toshi’s room for the night, and, reluctantly, on Shouta’s part, climbed in to his bed. Other than to Nezu and Hizashi, their relationship was a secret, and while they had the entire top floor to themselves, they weren’t sure they were allowed to be sleeping in the same bed. Other than the latter, and themselves, their dorm was empty, but that wasn’t the reason why Aizawa had been so hesitant. The real reason, was that Shouta was angry. Angry about being tired, disappointed in Izuku and Bakugo, and frustrated with Toshi. Overall, it had been a terrible day and he didn’t think that Toshi deserved to cuddle up with him when he wanted to be left alone.

But, like always, Toshi had somehow managed to convince him to get in bed, and annoyed with his lack of fight, he had followed. Even in bed, Shouta was tense; lying rigid on his back, arms straight down by his sides. It was a huge difference to how he usually slept, curled up on his side, with an am thrown over Toshi. He was cold and distant, and the former hero wondered, “Are you still mad at me?”

Shouta really would have liked to be able to say no, but truth was, he was still mad. “Yes,” he sighed, trying to relax. He rolled onto his side to face his partner, but continued to keep his distance.

“I’m sorry I kept you waiting, precious,” he apologised sincerely, brushing his face lightly with the tips of his fingers. “I should have put a stop to their fighting sooner; it was my fault. I’m just as much to blame as the boys.”

The pro hero finally snuggled in, accepting the offered apology, though he was still mad. “Let’s just go to sleep while we still have the chance. I’m tired and not up to arguing with you right now.”

“Okay Shou.” Toshi smiled and kissed his boyfriend tenderly on the forehead. “Let me just message Izuku to make sure he’s alright and then I’m all yours…”

“No,” Shouta stated firmly, halting his outstretched arm. “Izuku is being punished for breaking UA’s rules and getting into a fight. You’re not messaging him.”

Toshi looked back, confused. “But he was hurt. I wanted to make sure he was okay and say goodnight.” He turned sad eyes to Shouta, who was preventing him from messaging his boy.

But Shouta held his ground, giving Toshi an ultimatum. “You message Izuku and I’m going back to my own room,” he threatened unfairly. “I’m serious Toshi. The kid has been naughty and he needs to be left alone to deal with the consequences.”

With his partner leaving no room for argument, he withdrew his hand, tucking it back under the covers. Shouta was doing a great job from a teacher’s point of view, but he was letting his frustration and anger get the better of him. ‘But what about from a parent’s point of view?’ Toshi wanted to know but did dare not vocalise.

That night, neither of the two initiated their usual cuddles. Both fell asleep thinking about Izuku, but where Toshi was concerned, Shouta was disappointed, and both felt the other was the irrational of the two. So they slept together, separately. Toshi woke twice and went to grab his phone, but seeing it was early morning refrained from messaging Izuku. He would be sure to check in on his boy in the morning.

Chapter Text

Self-Isolation

Izuku arose early after having minimal sleep, following the disaster that had occurred with Bakugo yesterday evening. The gnawing sense of guilt that had settled in the pit of his stomach had manifested tenfold overnight, the teen feeling increasingly anguished each time he remembered the severe look of disappointment on Shouta’s face as he handed down their punishments. He swallowed heavily, for the millionth time berating himself for his major stupidity.

Stumbling through the darkness, he fished in his closet for a clean set of clothes and trudged down the stairs to the shared bathroom. Flinging himself under a slightly too cold stream of trickling water, he scrubbed himself clean, not at all concerned that he was shivering in the chilly, fresh morning air. Even as he removed himself from the torture chamber and towelled himself dry the sky remained dark, and, not even feeling slightly hungry, he decided to forgo breakfast and took himself straight back to the lonely confines of his room.

Feeling too tired to do anything productive, Izuku flopped back down on to the bed, quickly falling into a restless sleep…

While the chagrined boy slept the morning away, one by one his peers powered through their early-morning routines and slowly made their way down to the common area to congregate before they headed up to the main building of the campus. As time ticked on, Iida and Uraraka were beginning to worry about the lack of their best friend’s presence, and when Bakugo appeared in his regular weekend attire did Uraraka finally speak up and ask, “Has anyone seen Deku?”

“Nope, and you probably won’t,” Bakugo responded cryptically, unintentionally drawing the entirety of class 1-A’s attention to himself. With all eyes turned expectantly to him in desperate search of answers, he huffed, letting everyone in on their little fight that could very well have resulted in their expulsion. “Me and Deku are on house arrest,” he let them know with a shrug of his shoulders. “Got caught fighting.”

Iida immediately turned full robo-cop, waving his arms around in exasperation. “You’ve got to be kidding me!” he boomed loudly throughout the shared space, startling everyone around him. “Our first night in the dorms and already people are breaking the rules. The teachers are trusting us to act responsibly, and, as hero course students we, of all people, should be setting a good example for the rest of our peers.”

“Yeah, yeah, calm down four-eyes,” Bakugo dismissed uninterestedly, not keen to be lectured about fighting for a second time. “It happened, we got put on house arrest and it’s not gonna happen again.”

But Iida frowned deeply, feeling as though his classmate wasn’t taking his blatant rule-breaking seriously. “That’s not the point, it shouldn’t have even happened in the first place. What could you two have possibly been fighting about anyway, the pair of you barely had anything to do with each other yesterday, let alone the weeks prior to that.”

“We were arguing about the nerd being kidnapped,” Bakugo sulked, hating that the class rep was scolding him. And he couldn’t even tell them specifically why they were fighting, because that was a well-guarded secret that even he shouldn’t know about.

“Bakugo!” Uraraka chimed in. “Deku’s still recovering and you dragged him into a fight? About his kidnapping? That’s just mean; he’s probably still traumatised over the whole thing.” She looked really, really disappointed.

With no one else to do it for him, Kacchan quickly jumped to his own defence. “How was I supposed to know he had actually been tortured?!”

“…Wait, what…?” Kirishima added, looking as confused as Uraraka did upset. “Did he actually tell you that?”

“No,” the fiery-tempered teen scoffed, as though he’d just been asked the world’s most ridiculous question. “He didn’t say anything other than he didn’t want to talk about it. But Aizawa said that he knew that he still hadn’t fully recovered from his…injuries…so one can only assume, right?”

The usually quietly spoken girl shook her head at the class bully, turning her back to him. “You went too far…you better not have hurt him,” she finished at a whisper as she departed the dorm, Iida close by her side.

“T’ch, whatever,” Bakugo pouted to himself as she walked away.

One by one, the rest of 1-A grabbed their bags and followed, wanting to get to class early so they didn’t cop an earful from Mr. Aizawa. Kaminari turned to look at Kirishima expectantly, but the other boy waved him off. Once Denki had walked away and it was just the two of them remaining, he inched closer to Bakugo with a serious expression, looking his best friend dead in the eye. “Look man, I know you have this rivalry going on with Midoriya, and you didn’t know how badly he was injured or whatever, but just lay off him for a little while, alright?”

Bakugo turned a deadpan stare onto him, clearly unimpressed. “Don’t tell me you’re worried about the nerd too, spiky hair,” he taunted.

“Of course I am,” he responded immediately, actually looking genuinely concerned. “You didn’t see him in the hospital, Bakubro. He was smiling and trying to act fine, but he was clearly in pain. You don’t get nabbed and tortured by high-profile villains and immediately recover from that, dude. Those scars may never heal; just take it easy on him.”

“Man, I know,” he whined sarcastically, sick and tired of the endless lecturing. “I didn’t know any of this until after we got caught fighting or I wouldn’t even have bothered to speak to him at all. I swear I won’t lay another finger on the nerd-for-brains until he’s back at 100%. There, you happy now?!”

Kirishima sent a shark-toothed grin in his direction, satisfied. “Yeah, but I gotta get to class,” he stated in a bit of a panic, rushing to grab his backpack. “See you after class Bakubro!!”

~

Izuku peeled his eyes open a little after 10, the room surprisingly dark despite the sun being high in the sky. His blinds had remained firmly closed, and that was exactly how he wanted it; he didn’t deserve the happiness that the warmth of the sun usually brought. Still as disappointed and miserable as ever, he unloaded a stack of books onto his bed and forced himself to study. If he was stuck on house arrest and missing important classes then he was going to have to work hard to stay on top of the course work, rumbling stomach be damned. After he had done a satisfactory amount of study for the day could he finally eat.

He worked through the day, going from subject to subject, following 1-A’s daily timetable, only, when he heard the bell signaling lunch chime, he forged on ahead, keeping the focus on the books rather than the necessity of food. Finally, at 4pm, when he was satisfied that he’d done everything required plus a little extra, he tidied his course material away and listened as the rest of his dorm mates returned home and went about doing their own thing. Unable to ignore his aching stomach any longer, he reached into his tiny cupboard and fished out a protein bar, peeling the foil wrapper off it and tossing it into the trash can. It wasn’t as filling as he would have liked, but it would have to do.

Twenty minutes later, as he was sprawled out on the bed staring blankly at the ceiling, there was a gentle knock on the door. “Hey Deku?” Uraraka called quietly, her voice slightly muffled by the barrier between them, “Iida, Tsu and I are gonna watch a movie, you wanna come join us?”

“No thanks,” he answered quietly, dismissively, and just as quickly as she arrived, she was gone again. Good. That meant she knew just how badly he had screwed up. Immediately, he went back to pondering how he’d gotten so reckless in life, and his thoughts continued on and off for another hour, until another knock, this time a lot louder, startled him back to the present.

“Hey Midoriya…” Kirishima, Izuku realized immediately. “Just letting you know we’re cooking pasta for dinner, it’ll be ready in about 5 minutes.”

“Thanks, but I’m not hungry,” the teen lied, both to his classmate and himself.

“Are you sure?” The sharp-fanged boy questioned uncertainly. “You didn’t have dinner last night either,” he remembered. “If you don’t feel like coming down I can always bring a bowl up for you?” He offered, giving him another option. He didn’t like the idea of his fellow hero-in-training going without food two nights in a row.

“I’m positive. Thanks, Kirishima,” he replied almost at a whisper.

“Well, if you need anything later just message me…” He too walked away, though not feeling too comfortable in doing so. But Midoriya had shot him down, so what else could he do? It wasn’t like he could force the other boy to have a proper meal…

Once again, Izuku was left alone. And that was how he stayed, for the rest of the night, and the following two days. When he wasn’t studying, he was brooding, and when he was too tired to even manage that, he fell into a broken and restless sleep. His stomach screamed for suitable sustenance, something more substantial than his daily protein bar that just barely managed to get him through. Not that he was starving, by any means, but the discomfort in his stomach demanded to be heard. Izuku stubbornly refused to listen though, too concerned about punishing himself to worry about current state of his health. In his eyes, the scrapes, bruises and burns that Kacchan inflicted upon him, the self-isolation and the hunger, all served to aid in a less than adequate punishment for breaking numerous school rules and disappointing both of his fathers. Despite all that, Izuku felt as though he deserved more

Meanwhile, whilst the teen was concerned about not suffering enough after behaving disobediently, his guardians, Toshi in particular, were concerned about the state of their boy’s mental and physical health. First thing on the Tuesday morning after waking, after an awkward night sleeping beside an extremely agitated and stubborn Shouta, the former hero had messaged Izuku to see how he was doing. At first, he had been able to hide the sneaky message from his partner, but for an hour before they had to leave for class the constant staring at the screen and checking messages caused Shouta to finally catch on. “You messaged Izuku,” he had accused, rather than asked. And Shouta supposed he couldn’t be mad; he had waited until morning to do so.

“Yes, just wanted to say good morning,” he lied nervously, eagerly keeping the actual contents of the text message to himself. Shouta had rolled his eyes, and went straight back to sipping his coffee, choosing not to call his worried boyfriend out on his bullshit. He knew exactly what the message would have said.

It wasn’t until that afternoon after class though until Shouta actually felt the beginnings of guilt settle in. The day had been fine, there were thankfully no dramas or issues that he had to deal with in class, but every now and again he would notice one of 1-A’s students turn a worried look to Izuku’s empty chair, and that was enough to make him nervous about the kid’s wellbeing. Come lunch break, he sent a quick text to Izuku’s phone that read ‘Hey kid, how you holding up?’ but by the end of the day, when the students packed up and left, he still hadn’t received a response. That was worrying in itself; usually Izuku responded as soon as possible, but Shouta tried not to question it too hard.

That evening, he returned back to Toshi’s room to find him pacing back and forth, eyes glued to his phone screen. He proceeded to move over in front of him, blocking his path. “I still haven’t heard back from Izuku,” he informed Shouta with a saddened expression that made his boyfriend feel sorry for him.

“I wouldn’t worry too much,” he stated calmly, trying to divert his thoughts away from their boy, a little in denial that there was anything wrong. “He’s probably busy trying to catch up on classes.”

When they had finally climbed in to bed together that night, Shouta didn’t fail to notice the lines of stress still deeply etched into his partner’s sunken face. He pressed a soft kiss to the available temple and threw an arm across his chest, still worn out from the night before. Even though he was tired, Shouta woke numerous times through the night to a feeling of unease that had crept into the pit of his stomach. And each time he tossed and turned, he didn’t fail to notice that Toshi lay beside him, wide awake, a grim line drawn across his face. “Hey,” he pro hero whispered a little after 3, “everything’s fine, get some sleep. I’m sure Izuku will message you this morning.” Their eyes met in the darkness, and Shouta was greeted with an overwhelming look of despair. Chest tightening, he rolled over towards his anxious boyfriend, wrapping him tightly in his arms.

~

Wednesday morning, when Shouta woke feeling sluggish and unwell, Toshi was thankfully deeply asleep. The pro hero had slept in, something he rarely managed to do, so he quickly got dressed and crept down to the kitchen for a quick coffee before he had to leave. With Toshi having no classes until after lunch, and Hizashi already gone, he had nothing to distract him as his thoughts predictably drifted to Izuku. He picked up his phone, and dialed the boy’s number, only to realize that his phone was either flat or switched off. Shouta frowned, before typing a quick message to the child. ‘Is everything okay, Izuku? Toshi and I are worried about you. Please call me this afternoon.’ He hit send, shoved his phone deep into his pocket, and gulped down the piping hot liquid.

Again, the day passed by uneventfully, except this time, the glances directed towards Izuku’s empty desk were more noticeable and frequent. By the time 1-A had hero studies with All Might, he was actually beginning to feel physically sick with worry. He hadn’t heard from Izuku in two days, and despite only living a short distance apart, he couldn’t exactly waltz into the student dorms without raising any suspicion. So he swallowed his anxiety and led the students down to Ground Beta, where he had volunteered to play the villain in a hostage rescue situation, alongside Hizashi as the victim. The nausea was nearly bad enough that he was beginning to regret agreeing to help out.

Aizawa slowly zoned out as Toshi divided the students into pairs and laid out the ground rules for the training exercise. “Hey Shouta,” Hizashi whispered after a few minutes of observing him, dragging him away from the crowd by the arm, “are you feeling okay, you don’t look so good?” he kindly pointed out.

“Yeah, I’m fine, just tired,” he admitted, trying to distract himself. “The sooner we get this over with the better.”

The mock hostage rescue operation lasted the entire allocated hour of class time, and for both Toshi and Shouta, that hour seemed to last a lifetime. Usually, the former enjoyed the afternoon sessions with 1-A, but it just wasn’t the same with Izuku missing. Toshi hadn’t seen or heard from his boy in two days, and the longing and concern was really getting to him. He was praying that by the time he and Shouta had returned to the dorm, there would be a welcomed text from the boy to at the very least let them know that he was doing okay. But All Might had a sinking feeling that there would still be no such message…

And he was correct.

“You still haven’t heard from Izuku either?” Shouta wondered as he pulled the bedroom door closed behind them.

Toshi shook his head sadly, gaze focused on the floor. “I’m worried. I tried to call him but his phone is turned off. I’ve sent him a hundred messages and received no response. I just want to know that he’s okay, Shou, but I can’t get hold of him…”

“This is my fault.” Shouta sat down suddenly, unsteadily, nearly missing the edge of the bed.

Toshi grabbed him roughly, trying to hold him steady to prevent a painful decent to the ground below. “Shouta?” He maneuvered him backwards, encouraging him to lay down. “Just lie down for a minute; you’re so pale,” he realized belatedly. He used his large hand to pat his partner’s forehead with long, soothing strokes. “Do you not feel well?” He questioned, eyebrows knitted together in concern.

“Just woke up feeling off, not necessarily unwell.”

Toshi frowned. “If you’ve been feeling off all day then you are unwell, precious.” Shouta blushed. “And to make it worse I appointed you villain and pitted you against 18 students playing hero. I should’ve been looking after you, but I didn’t even notice you were sick. I’m sorry Shouta…”

“It’s alright Toshi, we’ve both been pre-occupied today. Besides, it’s not your job to look after me. I’m big enough and ugly enough to take care of myself.”

The former hero laid down beside his partner, cupping his cheek tenderly. “I love you, Shouta Aizawa, and it is my job to look after you. Just like you’re always taking care of me.” He pressed a sweet kiss to his boyfriend’s lips, and sat up to remove the other man’s boots, before lifting his legs gently onto the bed. “You stay here and rest. I’ll bring you dinner up a little later, and if you’re still not feeling well I’m going to ask Nezu to give you the day off tomorrow.”

“That’s not necessary, we need the money,” Shouta protested half-heartedly.

But Toshi just snorted in amusement. “We both teach for a living and one of us is still a pro hero. We don’t need the money.”

“Fine, we don’t need the money,” Shouta admitted, “…but I need the distraction,” he finished more seriously. There was still the issue of Izuku cutting himself off that they had to deal with. Sure, he would be back to class on Friday and they could lay eyes on him themselves, but it was still only Wednesday and the days had really seemed to be dragging.

“I know, I do too,” Toshi admitted softly. “You’re getting sick and I have the day off tomorrow, so have a day off to rest and let me take care of you,” he offered kindly. “It’s not healthy to push yourself when you’re not well, so I’m sure Nezu will understand. I’ll give him a call before I make dinner. You stay up here and have a nap.” He brushed the hair from Shouta’s forehead and pressed a kiss to it. “Call if you need anything,” he ordered as he left the room.

~

Finally, it was Thursday morning, the day before Izuku was set to return to class. Shouta, still unwell, woke up with a pounding headache, and cracked an eye open to find Toshi sitting beside him, two painkillers in one hand and a glass of water in the other, ready to pass over. Shouta gave him a look as if to say ‘how…?’, and Toshi smiled gently at him, saying, “I could see the pain on your face while you were sleeping.” Briefly, Shouta sat up to swallow the pills, then immediately flopped back down onto the pillow, moaning at the contact.

“Toshi…” He croaked as his head swam, feeling twice as nauseas as he had the previous evening.

“Shh…” Toshi soothed, brushing his forehead with a feather-light touch. “You have the day off today, remember? Just relax, try to get some more sleep.” He ordered in a hushed voice.

Shouta leaned into the gentle touch, feeling calm in Toshi’s presence. It was almost worth the blinding pain just to have him nearby. “Still haven’t heard from Izuku?” He slurred, sleep tugging at his paining head once more. He barely registered Toshi replying in the negative, and felt guilt and grief tugging at his heart strings. “My fault,” he whispered, not feeling well enough to stay awake much longer. “Think I was too hard on him, maybe. I was tired and frustrated, and I took my anger out on them. Just couldn’t believe he got into a fight when he still hadn’t recovered. It was his first day back at UA.”

“I know, you were disappointed. And tired and frustrated and angry.” Toshi confirmed. “I couldn’t believe he’d got caught up in a brawl either, but being there, hearing Bakugo taunting and pushing him, it didn’t really give him much choice. But I agree, he jeopardized his recovery by fighting like he did. You had to discipline them accordingly, but…”

“But that was all I did,” Shouta finished, looking like a breathing corpse. “I was so caught up in being the teacher that I didn’t even consider the parenting side of things, or even the kid’s feelings, and I hate myself for that. I was wrong to stop you from messaging him, Toshi; I feel so guilty… I’m a fucking idiot.”

“Hey,” Toshi scolded, taking his hand. “It had been a long day, and you were tired and frustrated. You were just doing your job and I’m sure Izuku knows that. Besides, he has his phone switched off, so I’m not sure that message would have made a difference anyway... He will be back in class tomorrow and everything will go back to normal. For now we need to worry about getting you better.” Shouta sat up suddenly, clutching his head as a wave of dizziness crashed over him. Toshi looked at him in concern, supporting him with a warm hand. “Shouta…?”’

The younger man turned to him with pleading eyes. “Think I’m gonna be sick, help me to the bathroom will ya?”

“Of course.” Toshi immediately sprang into action, guiding the other man to the toilet bowl as he clenched his eyes shut to prevent the light hitting them. As one they crouched down, the older, former hero supporting his younger partner as he emptied the contents of his stomach in three great heaves. Trembling and sweaty, he allowed Toshi to assist him to the sink so he could rinse his mouth out. “Stomach bug?” The ex-hero asked in concern as he caught a glimpse of his pain-ridden face in the mirror.

Shouta shook his head, causing another wave of nausea. “No, just a migraine.”

“Let’s get you back in to bed then, baby. I’ll go and get you something a little stronger for the pain.” Toshi quickly tucked Shouta back into bed, draping his shirt over Shouta’s eyes in an attempt to block out as much light as possible. “Rest, my precious one. I’ll be back soon…”

Chapter Text

Return to Society

Thanks to his new, thankfully temporary routine, Izuku was wide awake before the crack of dawn. No longer on house arrest, he slipped out into the darkness and went for an early morning jog in an attempt to clear his head. The fresh air was a welcomed sensation as it whipped across his face for the first time in three days, yet he still felt unworthy of being allowed outside the claustrophobic confines of his dorm room. And although he was eager to get back into the classroom to further his education, he was still feeling anxious about having to face not only Shouta, but Toshi as well. Their stark disappointment in him had been clear on Monday night, and the self-conscious teen dreaded the thought of having to feel that again. Now that he had so blatantly broken the rules and done the wrong thing, he couldn’t help but feel that he had forever been labelled disobedient and a disappointment. Not that he hadn’t been already labelled a disappointment for the vast majority of his life by the man he was supposed to call ‘father’.

Feeling like a failure, he cut his jog short only half an hour in, turning round to return to 1-A Alliance to shower and hide himself away for as long as possible before class started. He washed himself hurriedly, hearing Kaminari and Mineta entering the bathroom shortly after he’d arrived, toweling himself off and slipping out of the shared space before either had managed to lay eyes on him. The teen took the stairs on the left two-at-a-time, power walking back to his room and pulling the door shut with a soft click, flicking the lock behind him. He’d surprised himself, he suddenly realized. Turns out, he wasn’t just distancing himself from the rest of 1-A to punish himself; he was afraid to see the disappointment in their eyes also.

Dressed and ready to go to class, though feeling increasingly anxious about it, he plopped down onto the bed, staring at the clock hands ticking by the second. He wasn’t ready to go down and face his peers yet, especially Kacchan, who had been trying to pry information out of him about his recent kidnapping. That was fine in itself, he could avoid answering, but if the rest of 1-A joined in and began pestering him about it, he wasn’t sure how well he’d cope with all that. So, heart pumping, he waited until the last possible second until he could delay his departure no longer. By the time he reached the ground floor common area, the dorm was empty, save for Bakugo, who was sprawled out across the lounge watching the morning news. “Careful, nerd-for-brains, you don’t wanna be late on your first day back or Aizawa might actually expel you this time.” Usually, when Bakugo made a jab at Izuku it was intended to hurt, but this time, it felt more half-hearted, almost as though it was intended to break the tension in the room. It almost made Izuku feel…calm.

“Hope not,” the boy responded quietly, headed for the door.

As he pulled it once more shut behind him, he heard his classmate call out “Later Deku.” Wow, was Kacchan actually attempting to be civil with him…?

Off in the distance, almost out of sight, he could see the rest of the student body, 1-A included, making their way straight for the main campus building. Izuku went to pull his phone out of his pocket to check the time, but grasped at nothing, forgetting that his phone was still locked away in his top draw. That was fine, he didn’t need it anyway. He had just stepped foot off the path onto the actual paving of the area surrounding the school when the bell chimed, signaling the beginning of class. ‘Oh crap!’

~

When Shouta peeled his eyes open, the pain from the migraine had, luckily, subsided, though he was still feeling some of the residual nausea lingering. Just as he threw the thick covers of the bed off, Toshi entered the room, pressing a steaming mug of tea into his hands rather than his usual coffee. “How do you feel Shou?” He asked immediately, running a firm hand through his thick, black locks.

“Better this morning. Thanks for looking after me, Toshi,” he purred happily, lapping up the pats.

Toshi gently tugged him forward with a hand cupped behind his neck, and encouraged his partner to rest against his warm stomach. “I’ll always look after you,” he promised, leaning down to place a quick kiss atop his head. “You’re feeling well enough to go in today?” He asked, looking him up and down with a calculating gaze.

“Yeah, just a little nauseous is all,” he answered honestly, figuring telling the truth would get Toshi off his back quicker than lying would. “Besides, Izuku is back today and I wanna see how he’s coping,” he added in admission.

Toshi nodded, satisfied that his partner wasn’t feeling too poorly. “Okay. I’m not in until after lunch, so message me when you get a chance?”

“Course I will; love you Toshi.”

~

The rest of the class was seated when Izuku finally arrived, and, much to his dismay, Shouta was already at his desk, mid-sentence. He tried to cause as little disruption as possible to the lesson as he walked in, which was difficult seeing as this was the first time in over three days that anyone had landed eyes on him. Shouta, who was already having difficulty concentrating thanks to his remaining migraine symptoms, lost his train of thought, and if his kid didn’t seem so…depressed, he probably would have snapped at the interruption. He watched as Izuku made his way to his seat as if by muscle memory alone, seeing as though his eyes were firmly trained on the ground. He didn’t raise his eyes to meet any of the sets that were trained on him, didn’t seem to even acknowledge anyone else around him as he sank into his seat. It was almost as though he were trying to fade into the background, to disappear.

And that was how the first half of the day continued. Izuku trying to be invisible, half the class gawking at him while the others told them in hushed tones to stop, and Shouta becoming increasingly frustrated with himself for forgetting what he was saying to the point where his head was beginning to hurt again. By the time it was all over, Shouta was done. He watched the class pack their things away and split off into different clusters of students as they headed off for lunch. He had intended to try and corner the boy when the rest of the class filed out, but he was surprised to find Izuku already gone. Usually, the kid was the last to leave, but today, it seemed as though he were eager to get out of there. He looked over when Uraraka turned to Iida and said “Hey, where did Deku go…?” and immediately, his concern ramped up.

With the third year Support Course students having their final major exams, now that the first and second years were out of the way the previous two days, the school was running a little differently than usual. The majority of the teaching staff were busy taking turns overseeing the enormous process, so with regular classes on hold, it was up to Shouta alone to keep his class on track and oversee their studies. All Might wasn’t due to be on shift until 1, and with Izuku’s quick departure he could only assume he’d gone off in search of Toshi, seeing as he obviously wasn’t having lunch with his friends. Deciding to give his partner a heads up on Izuku’s unusual behavior, he pulled his phone out once he was safely in his office, out of earshot of any nosy passers-by. Toshi picked up on the second ring. “Hey Shouta, how is Izuku?” He asked cheerfully, clearly expecting him to say ‘good’.

“I don’t know. He took off before I got the chance to talk to him; he might be heading your way. He’s quiet; I haven’t seen him interact with anybody. See if you can get him to talk; I’ll keep an eye on him this afternoon.”

He heard Toshi sigh sadly over the phone. “Poor Izuku... I haven’t seen him yet, but he could still be on his way. Thanks for the call Shou. Love you.”

~

Izuku was indeed on his way back down to the dorms, stopping when he found a nice shaded spot far enough of the path that no one should have stumbled across him during break. Feeling like a bitter disappointment, he curled up at the base of the tree, hugging his knees tightly to his chest. Not only had he blatantly disregarded the rules, and the safety of both himself and Kacchan, he had made things 10x worse by arriving to class late on his first day back. If he had met Shouta’s eyes when he walked in, he was sure that he would have been met with a look of total frustration. He was actually surprised he didn’t get yelled at to be honest. Shame too, because he decided he would have deserved that…

Just as lunch came to an end, Aizawa’s phone buzzed in his pocket, indicating he had received a new message. He quickly fished it out, finding a message from Toshi, reading, ‘Izuku didn’t show. Please keep an eye on him.’ Instantly, the hero’s heart sank in his chest. Where had the kid disappeared to in such a rush?

One by one, his students entered the room, laughing loudly at whatever stupid joke had just left Kaminari’s mouth. In the three seconds it took for Shouta to roll his eyes in exasperation, drop his head into his hand and recover, Izuku had managed to slip into the room unnoticed and drop down into his allocated seat. The teacher nearly jumped in surprise when he looked over to find the boy’s chair already occupied.

The rest of the afternoon flew by surprisingly quickly. As soon as Shouta announced that very soon, they would all be facing the Hero Licensing exams, they all put their heads down and put twice as much effort into their studies, in amongst all the excited chatter, that was. Shouta didn’t care how noisy they were for once, as long as they were working, as this gave him time to study Izuku’s deflated demeanor more intently. And, even more surprisingly, he didn’t seem at all interested in the exam. Just what was going through his mind that had him so withdrawn and closed-off…?

Finally, mercifully, the day came to an end, giving Shouta, Toshi and Izuku the entire weekend to go home and relax. Breathing a heavy sigh of relief, he watched intently as the 1-A packed their bags again, eager to return to either their families or their dorms, whichever they were going to. And, this time, the pro hero didn’t fail to notice how Izuku almost fled the room. This time, it was Iida that turned to Uraraka, wondering in confusion “Wait, where did Midoriya go…?” Shouta glanced over to his boy’s empty chair, then pulled his phone out from his pants pocket to check for any messages. When he finally glanced back up, he was greeted by the sight of Uraraka standing nervously, albeit patiently, in front of his desk.

“Umm, Mr. Aizawa, sir… I know there’s probably much you can do, but I couldn’t not say anything any longer… I’m worried about Deku… No one had seen him the last three days, and we don’t think he’s been eating… He’s been really quiet and keeping to himself, and after that fight with Bakugo he’s basically been avoiding everybody. I don’t really know exactly what happened to him recently, but I’m really worried…”

Usually, in his position as a teacher there wasn’t really too much he would be able to do in this situation, other than speak to the family and talk to the student, but given his unique position in this case, he wanted every piece of information possible to try and get to the bottom of the kid’s withdrawal. And the more his student said, the more concerned and uneasy he became. “No one saw him at all for three whole days, not even for a minute?”

The young female shook her head. “No sir. A few of us knocked on his door to check on him a few times but he kept turning us away. He didn’t really sound like he wanted to talk to anyone.”

“And no-one noticed him eating a thing?” He asked, unable to keep the worried look off his pale face.

“N-no, nothing,” she answered nervously.

“Relax, Uraraka. I’m not mad. I do need as many details as possible though so I can inform All Might. The sooner we get this taken care of the better… How did he seem on Monday? Was he acting strange then, or did this happen afterwards?”

Uraraka thought back, trying to remember the conversations they had had on Monday. “No, he seemed fine. Well, I think he wanted us to think he was fine, anyway. He was trying to reassure Tsu that everything was okay, but, I don’t know, it didn’t seem that way… Do you…do you know, what happened to him…?”

“I do,” Shouta nodded once, though refused to give anything away. “I was there for the recovery operation, but I can’t share any of the details.” He saw the distraught look on her face, and decided to relent, just a little, for her sake. “I will say this though, just between you and me; Midoriya had significant injuries when he was found…”

“Oh my gosh.” She put her hands over her mouth, shocked. Mr. Aizawa had basically just confirmed that her best friend had indeed been tortured at the hands of the villains. “Poor Deku,” she wept quietly, ashamed at breaking down in front of her homeroom teacher. The man in question reached out over the desk, laying a comforting hand on her shoulder. Out of all the students in his class that had befriended Izuku, he was most thankful that Uraraka was one of them. Overall, he didn’t think there were many that would have had the courage to speak out about Izuku’s wellbeing like this, and he was extremely grateful that she had done so.

“Don’t worry, Midoriya will be fine,” the hero tried to reassure her, “he’s a tough kid. Is there anything else you can think of that might be able to explain his uncharacteristic behavior?” He pressed.

She wiped her tears away, trying to get a hold of herself. “I can’t say for sure, but I think this may have something to do with his fight with Bakugo. When he’d said they’d been put on house arrest for arguing, Bakugo told us that they’d been fighting over Deku being kidnapped. He said he’d tried to force him into talking about what had happened but he wouldn’t.”

“Alright, I’ll pass on everything you just told me to All Might, see if he can’t get to the bottom of it. Thanks for speaking up, Uraraka; you did the right thing,” he praised. “Now get out of here; enjoy your weekend. I’ll see you on Monday.”

As quick as lightning she took off, eager to get back to the dorm. Shouta, meanwhile, was left feeling more than a little rattled. He needed to speak to Toshi, now.

Being the weekend, both the two adults and Izuku had planned to meet up at the car and head home together for the weekend. Shouta left the building and headed straight for the carpark, relieved to find Toshi already there waiting. Izuku, however, was nowhere to be found. “Get in the car,” he demanded as he approached. Toshi hesitated, so he repeated himself with a little more urgency. This time, Toshi did exactly as asked.

“Where’s Izuku…?” He asked in confusion as Shouta followed suit.

Shouta pulled his door firmly shut and turned to face his partner. “I’ve just spoken with Uraraka, she said no one had set eyes on Izuku the last three days, and he’s apparently not been eating either. He’s keeping to himself and shutting everyone out.”

Toshi’s mouth dropped open wide. “And you haven’t spoken to him at all?”

“No.” Shouta shook his head despairingly. “He didn’t raise his head once, not even when I announced they’d be participating in the next hero licensing exam. Something’s going on with him, Toshi.”

The former hero’s concern mounted tenfold. “So you think he’s gone back to his dorm then?”

“I’m guessing that’s the case. I’ll wait here in case he turns up, but I think it’s a good idea for you to head down and see if you can find him. It’ll be less conspicuous if you go, seeing as you’re technically his only legal guardian in the students’ eyes.”

Without another word Toshi leapt from the car and raced down to 1-A Alliance at full speed. Entering the dorm, he spotted Hagakure and Ashido playing cards at a nearby table, but neither questioned his presence. They simply greeted him with a smile and resumed their game, all but giving him permission to go ahead. This was his first time in this particular dorm building, and although he didn’t know the exact room layout, he was aware that Izuku’s room was somewhere on the first floor, and that was plenty of information to guide him to his boy’s room. Raising his arm, he knocked once, receiving no response. “Izuku?” He called, reaching for the handle and turning it, a little surprised to find it unlocked. Granting himself entry, he instantly caught sight of the boy, lying face down on the bed, face buried in the crook of his elbow, snoring.

“Izuku,” he called again gently, lightly shaking his arm to wake him. The kid stirred, and Toshi repeated his actions. “Come on my boy, it’s time to go home.”

The child turned slowly to him…with fear in his eyes… “Go without me…” He replied, startling Toshi. “Please,” he pleaded softly.

“Izuku…? No… What’s the matter, my boy…? Shouta is waiting up at the car; we’re not leaving without you. We haven’t seen you in over three days, my son.” He sat down on the bed beside the boy and proceeded to stroke his back in a soothing manner. The teen tensed briefly for a moment and whimpered, immediately halting Toshi’s actions. Why was he being nice to him? He didn’t deserve his kindness, damnit. “Izuku, please, tell me what’s wrong. We’ve been so worried about you. I love you; I can see that you’re hurting and I need to know why… Please, let me take you home. Let’s get away from the stress of UA for the weekend; you can tell us what’s got you so down, sleep in your own bed and I’ll wash and iron your uniform so it’s ready for next week.” He had offered nearly everything he could to entice the boy home until he remembered something Chiyo had said. “We won’t force you to talk until you’re ready, my Izuku…”

The boy finally looked over at him, reading the honesty in his piercing blue eyes. He nodded, and reluctantly allowed Toshi to help him up. “Can I give you a hug, my boy?” He requested, waiting for permission so as not to make him feel cornered. Izuku seemed to deeply consider it for a moment, and Toshi had a sinking feeling that he was going to say ‘no’, but finally, he gave an uncertain nod of his head. Toshi proceeded carefully, reaching out slowly and gently dragging the teen to his chest. In reality, it had only been around five days since he last had the opportunity to embrace his boy, but to Toshi, it had felt like a lifetime. “I missed you,” he whispered as he tightened the hold, pressing a kiss to the boy’s hair with the realization that he wasn’t returning the embrace. But that was okay; he’d get to the bottom of Izuku’s troubles eventually…

“How about we pack you a weekend bag?” He offered as they broke apart. He knew Izuku had some casual clothes in his wardrobe at home still, so he moved to his cupboard to find his bag, not worrying about grabbing any clean clothes.

Izuku too, got up then, and reached into the top draw of his desk, where Toshi noticed his phone had been hidden away. He tossed into the bag, followed by his dirty laundry, phone charger and various bits and pieces he would need for his study. Satisfied he had everything that he needed, he turned to his adoptive father, letting him know very quietly that he was ready.

Relieved that he had somehow managed to convince him to return home, he silently led the way to the car, allowing Izuku to follow at his own pace. Toshi was just ahead enough that Shouta had enough time to discreetly ask, “Did you get him to talk?” to which Toshi shook his head with a sad smile. The hero started up the car as the teen climbed into the back, but before he began the short drive home, turned to face the kid, who unfortunately still had his gaze downcast. “Hey Izuku, everything alright, kid?” He asked kindly, trying not to sound too forceful.

“Yeah,” Izuku sighed quietly, and Shouta could tell he wasn’t quite ready to talk. Taking the hint, he pulled out of the carpark, eager to get them home as quickly as possible…

Chapter Text

An Unusual Honesty – Part 1

Once they had arrived home and piled out of the car, Shouta led them into the kitchen, without hesitation moving over to put two slices of bread in the toaster. When he turned back round to face the rest of the house, he found Izuku almost huddled by the corner of the bench, with Toshi quietly by his side stroking his back. Letting the appliance do its thing, he moved over closer to inspect the boy, standing right in front of him. As he caught his first glimpse, he nearly gasped, noticing close-up the thankfully superficial burns surrounding the child’s left eye. Feeling partially at fault, he reached out his arm and gently brushed the tips of his fingers over the affected area, noticing the way the boy flinched. “I’m sorry, Izuku,” he said without really thinking.

“Sorry…? Why?” Izuku quizzed quietly, not expecting the unwarranted apology.

His gaze lowered then, falling on the kid’s scraped and bruised limbs. “I should’ve sent you straight to Recovery Girl, or at the very least made sure you were okay myself. But I didn’t, and I regret that. You were…are, in pain, and you don’t deserve that, kid.”

The toast popped up then, causing Izuku to jump. Moving away, Shouta grabbed the butter and strawberry jam out of the fridge, and the teen watched as he slathered generous portions of each over the toasted pieces of bread. His stomach grumbled and his mouth watered, but he forced himself to look away. But his attention was re-captured only moments later when the hero returned and reached the plate out towards him. “Here,” he offered quietly, and when Izuku turned to him, confused, he offered by way of explanation, “I heard you haven’t been eating.”

Izuku hesitated for a second, before taking it into his hands. “Thank you,” he almost whispered, immediately taking a piece and jamming it into his mouth. The child ate slowly, savouring every bite, stomach grateful to finally have some actual food in it. His two fathers watched intently, torn between trying to decipher what was going on with the kid, and wanting to fawn over how adorable he was as he quietly munched on his toast. Only once Izuku was done and the plate had been cleared away did anyone make a move to speak.

“Can you lift your shirt up for me please?” Shouta requested softly, meeting the boy’s eyes.

“My shirt…why…?”

“I need to make sure your injuries aren’t any worse than what I can see,” he explained. He kept his voice as light and soothing as possible, not wanting to force the boy to further withdraw in on himself. Complying with his request, the teen slowly removed his arm from the sleeves of the worn tee, raising it up to drape around his neck. While there were numerous bruises and scrapes across his torso, there was luckily nothing that appeared to be serious enough to cause any significant damage. Shouta sighed in relief. “Turn around,” he instructed non-threateningly, and immediately regretted doing so. The sight of the scars that marred the once pristine back caused bile to rise in his throat. He reached out mindlessly, running his hands across one of the larger slash marks, feeling a blind rage building inside of him.

“Shouta…?” Izuku wondered after a few seconds. The hero immediately withdrew his arm away, letting the kid know he could put his shirt back on. Out the corner of his eye, he could see Toshi fighting back tears at the horrific sight. He wasn’t the only one who had been affected by the reminder that not too long ago Izuku had been kidnapped and tortured…’

Izuku once more turned to face his adoptive father, and found himself being pulled against a warm and supportive chest. Shouta’s strong arms wound around him, holding him tight, showing the boy with actions rather than words just how much he was loved. “I think it’s a good idea that we contact Chiyo, just in case.”

“N-no, I don’t want that,” Izuku objected, breaking free from Shouta’s grip.

Again, Toshi saw it, that same look of fear and uncertainty, the way Izuku almost cowered away as the pair of them tried to get through to him, much like he had done back in the dorm. It was almost like he was trying to unconsciously push them away. “My boy…” He started softly, pausing when his head whipped towards him.

“What’s wrong, kid?” The pro hero asked warmly, desperate to understand why the teen had shut himself off. “I know you’re probably upset that I disciplined you the way I did, but I’m trying to understand why you’re isolating yourself from the people around you. Why won’t you let us help you?”

Toshi noticed Izuku closing himself off, and quickly intervened before it was too late. “You don’t have to talk if you’re not ready, my boy. We’re just worried, that’s all.”

“I don’t need help.” The child stated quietly. “I was the disobedient one who broke the rules, and I deserve to be punished.”

The former hero reached out to take Izuku’s hand into his own. “No, my boy.” But the teen wasn’t listening.

“I disappointed you just like I disappoint everyone else. I deserved everything I got, more. Maybe it’s true; maybe I really am worthless after all…”

Aizawa felt the blood in his veins boil. He hated that Izuku had been called worthless so many times in his life that he was actually starting to believe it. And he couldn’t decide what was worse; the fact that his own father had said it, or the motherfucker who dared to snatch him and use him as bait to lure in All Might… And according to Toshi himself, Bakugo had said it too…

He stepped up to where Izuku was staring at the ground, and gently cupped his cheek, his thumb rubbing small circles on the warm flesh beneath. “Izuku, you are not worthless. No-one has any right to say that to you… Is that what this is about…? You stopped eating and closed yourself off because you were trying to punish yourself? Won’t get your injuries seen to because you think you deserve the pain…?” Izuku steadfastly refused to speak, instead keeping his mouth firmly closed. “I can tell you right now that you don’t deserve any of that. You made a mistake, kid, and you learned from it. As your teacher, I disciplined you accordingly, and that punishment is done. I promise that Toshi and I are not disappointed or upset or angry with you. There’s no need for you to continue to unfairly hurt yourself because you somehow think you deserve it.”

“We love you, dear boy; we don’t want to see you suffering like you are. It worries me knowing the misery you’d endure because you think so poorly of yourself. It scares me, Izuku…”

Feeling braver that he had all day, Izuku raised his gaze to meet Toshi’s, seeing the anguish that lingered there. His heart constricted as he realized that his actions were the reason that the man he had looked up to almost all of his life felt this way, and it made him feel extremely guilty. He reached out, snaking his arms around his mentor’s bony frame. ‘This is for Toshi’s sake’, he told himself as he hugged the man warmly, through it was no surprise that he too was drawing comfort from their shared embrace. “I’m sorry Toshi; I don’t want you to be upset because of me. I’ll…stop,” he conceded. “I’m sorry for leaving the dorm past curfew and getting into a fight with Kacchan. I don’t deserve it, but please forgive me,” he begged, looking between his two fathers.

“There’s nothing left to forgive my boy,” the former #1 hero promised with a small smile. He pulled his child close again, pressing an affectionate, paternal kiss to Izuku’s forehead. This time the teen relaxed in the man’s arms, feeling as though part of the weight he had been carrying had been lifted off his shoulders. Not all of it, but enough that he felt like he could breathe again. He stayed that way for a few moments, listening intently to the steady beating of Toshi’s heart. It was soothing, and despite Izuku’s world being full of stress and chaos, it calmed him greatly.

“I’m so terrified of disappointing you and Shouta; you’re all that I have left…” The words tumbled from his mouth before he even had a chance to process what he was saying. “Mum loved me no matter what, but-”

He was surprised to feel Shouta prying him from Toshi’s grasp so he could take the boy into his own arms. “So do we. No matter what, Izuku Midoriya, Toshi and I will always love you.” He too planted a gentle kiss to his child’s forehead, tucking the teen’s head into the crook of his neck so he could rest his own on top. On a regular day, Shouta wasn’t quite as affectionate as Toshi, but when he could tell Izuku needed the extra love and attention, he’d drop everything just so he could pull the kid into his strong arms and reassure him that everything was going to be okay. “Don’t ever be afraid of disappointing us, because it’s not going to happen. You’re smart and strong and brave, and you always will be, even if you sometimes make mistakes. We’re proud of you, Izuku, and that isn’t ever going to change.”

When the Erasure Hero finally relinquished his hold on the boy, Izuku took a huge step back, angling himself so he could face both of his fathers at once. Toshi closed the small gap between himself and his partner, sliding an arm around his shoulders, and almost as though they’d planned it, the pair of them held their free arms wide open, enticing Izuku into joining their family cuddle. He hesitated for a spilt second, but seeing the caring look in their eyes, inserted himself into their welcoming arms. “I love you,” he announced with pride, taking solace in the fact that after losing both of his parents, his two new adoptive fathers had taken him into their care without so much as a second thought. Not only that, but they continued to treat him as though he were their own.

“We know, my boy; we love you too.”

Chapter Text

An Unusual Honesty – Part 2

Excusing himself so he could take his bag to his room and unpack his belongings, Izuku departed the room, but only after Toshi insisted that the boy hand over his dirty laundry so he could take care of it for him. Izuku had started to protest, but at the look Toshinori gave him, he reluctantly gave in to his request. Alone once more, Izuku moved over to his desk and lined up the notebooks he had thought to bring, and, getting distracted, reached out to pick up the only photo left that showed his beautiful mother; the woman that had single-handedly raised him to the best of her ability, despite all the hardships that life had thrown her way. And now, she was gone. Izuku felt the familiar pang of grief in his chest that hit him every time he thought of her, which was frequently. She dedicated her entire life to her son, had been so proud of him, and in the blink of an eye, death had claimed her, far too soon. Inko never deserved to be murdered the way she had been, not in a million years.

And that was the second traumatic event in his life that had turned Izuku’s world upside down, the first being the abandonment by his disappointed father. But where he had quickly learned to live without the presence of his father in his life, the boy wasn’t sure he would ever get over losing his mother in such an unfairly brutal way. Although he was trying his best to move on with his life, there was still the occasional incident when he had been so consumed by loss that he didn’t think he would be able to carry on without her. Those days, he somehow managed to put on a brave face and hide it, but deep down, he felt like he was slowly dying inside.

And then, just when he thought he was surviving well enough to manage, his broken heart slowly piecing itself back together, despite the scars that would always remain, he had been kidnapped by the League of Villains. Once more, Izuku had fallen so far into a downward spiral that he wasn’t even sure he wanted to be alive anymore, and, at certain points even now, he still didn’t. The pain that Shigaraki had inflicted on him, the cold, scathing words he had spoken to him, had affected the boy more than he ever wanted to admit. He was teetering on the brink of falling apart, and he knew it. The teenager, still young and vulnerable, wasn’t in the right frame of mind, and he didn’t even really know what was right anymore. He wasn’t even sure it was right for him to be feeling this way.

He quickly abandoned the photo, and his thoughts, and began rifling through the bottom of his cupboard, looking for one of the very few things that had helped him survive his early childhood, when the news was first broken to him that he had not been blessed with a quirk. He found it, still in its dusty old case, a damaged but well-loved Gameboy and his copy of Pokémon Gold. It was far from a new console, or even the latest at the time when it reached his hands, but his mother had worked twice as hard for months just so he could have his very own Pokémon game. Not even bothering to check if the batteries were still working, he quickly replaced them with a brand-new pair, and planted himself on the floor beside the bed, flicking the power switch on.

Immediately, the well-outdated console booted up, the familiar soundtrack bathing him with a wave of nostalgia as the game launched its iconic start-up sequence. He couldn’t help but smile, almost feeling young again at the sight of the old but comfortingly familiar graphics. Willingly allowing himself to be distracted, he hunkered down and pressed the directional pad, leading his character straight to the tall grass. This was exactly what he needed to escape the chaos of reality, even just for a little while.

~

Shouta was glad to be back at home. With Izuku and Toshi busy doing their own things, he had settled down on the lounge with a fresh cup of coffee and a couple of pain pills, downing both at his own pace with a satisfied sigh. The last week had been hell; already he was sick of being forced to live in a dorm with the other teachers, unable to have the peace, quiet and privacy that he deserved. He supposed he shouldn’t complain too much; there were worse kinds of torture in life that he could have been enduring. And with that thought, Izuku immediately drifted back to the forefront of his mind.

Although they had got to the bottom of what had been eating away at the kid, there was still one question that remained in Shouta’s head that had been left unanswered. Not that he had asked it, mind you, but still, he found he couldn’t stand not knowing. So, deciding now was as good a time as any, he dumped his mug in the sink to be washed later, and immediately padded over past the dining room table to Izuku’s bedroom.

As he approached, a soft and unfamiliar tune hit his ears, an aged, instrumental song that sounded a bit like it belonged in an old video game, not that Shouta was too familiar with anything of the sort. He rapped his knuckles on the frame as he stepped up to the door, spotting the boy sitting over on the other side of the room with his back leaning up against the bed. Having been granted entry, he approached unhurriedly, intrigued by the piece of seemingly ancient hardware with a tiny screen that Izuku clutched protectively in his hands. Doing his usual, he crouched down in front of the boy; the best way to not only capture his full attention, but the best angle to be able to read his body language and facial expressions most effectively.

After he had finished whatever he been focusing so intently on, the kid placed his game to the floor beside him, turning the volume right down so he could focus on Shouta without distraction. The hero reached out, ruffling the kid’s hair with a small smile. “What’ve you got there?” He asked with mild interest though he knew nothing about games himself. “Looks fun.” Izuku had appeared to be enjoying himself despite everything, and that was enough for the outwardly cold and stoic hero to approve of his chosen entertainment. It wasn’t often that he saw Izuku enjoying himself like a normal teenager should, so he was secretly pleased to find him playing a game that he enjoyed.

“Oh this? Just my old Pokémon game from when I was little.” The way he described it sounded like a dismissal, as though he felt like he was caught enjoying something that he should’ve already outgrown. But the way he stared longingly at the scratched and chipped silver little device spoke volumes. “I used to sit in my room and play it for hours when I was sad…”

Not that it wasn’t already, but Shouta’s heart broke for the kid. It wasn’t exactly hard to picture a smaller version of his boy, curled up in a ball on the floor, tears rolling down his cheeks as he clutched onto the game that got him through the darkest moments of his young life. Shockingly, he found himself choking up at the image. He was beginning to wonder, that aside from those with his mother, if the kid had any happy memories from his childhood at all. And with Izuku reminiscing, it was the perfect opportunity find the answer that he had come in search of. “I’ve actually been meaning to ask you something, Izuku,” he started, keeping his voice low. “Before starting at UA, what was your relationship with Bakugo?” Aizawa was well aware of the rivalry that was progressing between them, but he was extremely curious to know where that all stemmed from.

“We grew up together in the same neighbourhood,” he started without question. “We went to the same schools, and I used to play with him on the weekends. But after a while, he started to change; he didn’t want to be friends anymore. Looking back, I’m not even really sure we were friends to begin with…” Izuku wore a pensive look as he questioned the nature of their no-longer-existing ‘friendship’.

“What changed, if you don’t mind me asking?” He didn’t like to pry too much into Izuku’s childhood, not when the memories were unpleasant, but if the boy was willing to share then he was more than happy to listen.

“He got his quirk.” Regret flavoured Izuku’s tone. “And I didn’t… Everyone, me included, always praised him for having this amazing quirk, and the stronger he got, the more he began to look down on everyone.” Finally the origins of Bakugo’s God complex had been revealed, and it all made perfect sense. “My mum got me examined when I was four, and after I was told that I wasn’t born with a quirk of my own, my father left, and Kacchan started to push me away. For a while he’d just call me ‘quirkless Deku’ and push me around because I was useless, but after that…”

The more Shouta heard, the less he wanted to know. Their relationship was far more complicated then he could have imagined, and yet, the way Izuku often spoke about Bakugo, made it sound like the kid admired him. “What happened after that…?” He needed to know just how far Katsuki had taken his bullying of Izuku, because that was exactly what he was: a bully.

“He’d threaten me, destroy my things. I was defenceless against him because he had power and I didn’t. It didn’t matter how much I tried to stand up to him; he would always force me to back down.” The kid looked so ashamed of himself for having let his peer walk all over him from such a young age. But Izuku, born without a quirk, not of his own choosing, had been made prey and taken advantage on by someone blessed with a wealth of natural power. He had done all that he could in order to survive.

Shouta had heard enough, and seen enough with his own two eyes to know that Bakugo needed to be knocked down a peg or four. Next time he saw him threatening another student, or insulting someone, he was going to be a little firmer in dishing out punishments. The kid had gotten away with far too much in his life, and Shouta wasn’t planning on being lenient with the boy any longer. He thought he was done, but there was still one more thing he needed to know… “What was the worst thing he ever did to you…?”

Izuku’s eyes immediately sought out Shouta’s, a certain sense of uncertainty lingering within their depths. “It wasn’t really that bad, actually,” Izuku stated seriously, though his attempt at shrugging it off wasn’t as effective as he’d hoped. Even know, he still heard Bakugo’s cruel words echoing around in his head.

“What was it?” Shouta pressed anxiously, surprised that Izuku was facing the difficult question head on rather than trying to deflect it.

Izuku took a deep breath. Once he said this, there was no taking it back. He just hoped Shouta, who had grown increasingly protective over him, didn’t react too extremely to his answer. Downplaying it didn’t seem to work, but he couldn’t not tell him now. “He told me how I could be a hero…” He couldn’t do it; he couldn’t keep looking the man in the eye. He could feel the rage burning inside of him already. “…That I should hope for a quirk in my next life and take a swan dive off the roof…”

Shouta froze, actually froze in place as his mind repeated back to him what Izuku just said. The boy in question, meanwhile, had unconsciously curled in on himself, preparing for Shouta to explode in anger. But rather than shouting, he stated flatly, not even as a question… “Bakugo told you to kill yourself.” The hero was so furious he was beyond the point of yelling.

He couldn’t seem to get past it, the words ‘take a swan dive of the roof’ playing tauntingly in his head, over and over. The brat was extremely lucky that this had occurred before he and Izuku had enrolled at UA, or Shouta would have returned to the school and expelled him immediately. “He had no right,” he seethed, making sure Izuku knew just how far out of line the other boy had stepped. “He ever says that to you again, or anyone else for that matter, he can kiss his dream of being a hero goodbye. I refuse to stand by and watch any of my students attempt to take their lives because another ordered them to. Especially you…”

“I don’t think he meant it,” Izuku added weakly, trying to get Bakugo out of Shouta’s line of fire.

“Whether it was intended or not, the fact that he said it still remains.” He pushed himself off the floor, intending to go on a spontaneous patrol in the hopes of clearing his head. He didn’t want to hear any more out of fear that it was just going to make him even angrier. “I’m gonna head out for a while, blow off some steam.” He had taken two steps towards the door when Izuku’s arm shot out to take his wrist.

“Wait!” He cried, startling both of them with his sense of urgency. Then, a little more calmly, “Please…” Shouta returned to the boy, seeing the pleading look on his face, and this time sat down on the floor right beside him. “There’s something else… While we’re talking…” He stopped and started, not really sure how to begin. He’d been feeling more than a little overwhelmed recently, and talking to Shouta had really seemed to help. Usually he’d just try and keep his thoughts and feelings to himself, but right now, everything seemed a little too much to bear.

Shouta could see the apprehension on his face as he reached out to him, but admired the kid’s courage for being able to do so. He slung an arm across the smaller pair of shoulders and drew the kid right to his side. “There’s something else you want to talk about?” He confirmed, to which the boy nodded hesitantly. “Okay, Izuku; I’m listening. Take a deep breath.” The boy did as instructed, releasing a shuddery exhale as he tried to calm his racing nerves. The change in Izuku’s demeanour in the last minute alone had been astounding. “Just take your time, kid; there’s no rush.”

“I… I think, that…maybe…” The way the boy stumbled over his words in his anxiety was almost too painful to watch. He was nervous and jittery and the hero didn’t like the way his hands had started to tremble.

“Shh, relax,” he soothed, guiding the kid’s head over to rest against his chest with his left hand, while his right blanketed the boy’s own. He was doing everything within his power to provide Izuku with as much comfort and reassurance as possible. “Do you want me to call Toshi in?” He asked, hoping that his presence would aid him in calming the boy further. But Izuku shook his head against the man’s chest, declining the offer. “Are you sure?” This time he received no response, but he believed he had some idea as to why Izuku hadn’t agreed. “Easier to talk one-on-one?” He guessed, and this time, got a nod for his troubles. That was more than okay; if Izuku preferred to talk to him alone in this case, then he wasn’t going to object.

“I think…” He tried again, finding it easier second time around now that his face was buried within the fabric of Shouta’s shirt. He wasn’t sure why he was so nervous about approaching this particular topic, especially since it had come up in multiple conversations before now. He guessed that he was embarrassed, more than anything. “I think that…I need to…talk to someone…” He trailed off quietly, kinda hoping that his father hadn’t managed to hear what he had said.

Out of all the scenarios that had been playing out in the hero turned teacher turned father’s head, this most certainly had not been one of them. “Someone…like a professional…?” He prodded gently, keenly aware that this was an extremely sensitive topic for the boy. When he and Toshi had suggested therapy in the past, Izuku had always shut them down, insisting that he didn’t need it. So to have him admit he needed help was a huge step forward, and Shouta was hit with the realisation that the boy had to have been struggling a lot more than he’d been letting on.

“I guess…” He sighed defeatedly, hating that he was stooping so low. “Or maybe you, or Toshi…?” He added hopefully. “…I’m not really sure.”

“Izuku, we can’t and won’t force you to do anything you don’t wanna do, but if you feel like you need to talk to someone about everything that’s happened to you, then we will support you 100%, whether that someone is one or both of us, or whoever else you choose. If you need to get things off your chest and aren’t comfortable sitting with a therapist, you can always turn to Toshi and I day or night, no matter what. If I have to walk out of a class or quit working as a hero to get you better I will do so without question. The state of your mental health is far more important to me than anything.” He stated with such conviction, that without even an ounce of doubt Izuku took his word for it.

The hand that had been holding the boy close began to pat his hair gently, and Izuku leaned into the touch. It was times like this where he almost felt normal again. “Have you not been doing very well lately?” Shouta asked after a few minutes, though he already knew the answer. This way, though, he could provide an opening to let Izuku tell him how he was actually feeling, rather than him just guessing.

“No,” Izuku whispered, ashamed that his world was crumbling at a faster rate than he was able to piece it back together. “Not for a while…”

There it was, the one tiny, little, massive admission that Shouta had been waiting to hear. Chest constricting tightly, an uncomfortable thickness settling in the back of his throat, he tried to decide what the best course of action would be from here. Quietly, he cleared his throat, trying not to let his own emotions show. “I know it’s not easy saying things out loud when you’re hurting so deeply, but do you feel like talking to me about what’s been on your mind…? And before you answer, know that I’m not going to push you into saying anything you’re not comfortable with. However, I will listen to anything you want to say, regardless of what it is…”

The teen sighed and opened his mouth to speak, not even really sure of what he had wanted to say. Once upon a time, he had cowered away from the man that was currently holding him protectively in his arms, but after everything, he honestly believed that he could tell Shouta anything. “I’ve had too many things on my mind and I feel like I can’t cope anymore,” he eventually settled on, aware of just how vague his statement had been.

“Izuku,” Shouta started kindly, “you’ve suffered more in 16 years than most adults do in a lifetime. This hell that you’re living through is not normal; it’s understandable that you don’t feel like you can handle it, and no one expects you to be able to struggle through it all alone. And do you know what? It’s okay to not be okay, and just like right now, it’s okay for you to reach out and ask for help. Any time, not just when things become too much to bear.”

The kid sighed sadly, looking all of half his actual age. “I don’t like asking you and Toshi for help. You have your own problems, and I feel like I’m-”

“I swear to whatever god is listening,” Shouta intervened, “if you say you feel like you’re a burden to us, I’m gonna crawl into bed and watch a dozen videos of kittens being put down and cry myself to sleep.” It wasn’t exactly what Shouta was going for; he had actually been going to threaten something along the lines of stabbing himself in the eye with a fork, but deciding Izuku didn’t need to deal with any more violence in his life, he settled on the next best thing. And, to be fair, it probably would have been more emotionally scarring for him anyway, no matter how dramatic it sounded.

At the thought of his teacher sobbing over a bunch of dead kittens, Izuku wisely decided not to finish that sentence. It was blackmail at its finest, but Shouta was so immensely relieved that didn’t have to follow through with his threat. Besides, the kid had his own unique way of destroying Shouta’s heart. Getting back to the topic at hand, he focused all his attention back on the boy still curled against his chest. “When I said I’d quit my job for you, I meant it, Izuku,” he reinforced. “If you need to talk to someone ever, even if I’m not around, you call me and I’ll do everything in my power to help you,” he swore, meaning every word of it. “Is there anything in particular that’s been on your mind?”

“My mum,” he choked out thickly, and Shouta immediately tightened his grip. That was a lingering pain that he knew all too well… “I thought it was going to get easier, but I still miss her, a lot.”

“Unfortunately it’s not that simple. You will always miss her, Izuku… The grief may lessen over time, but it never truly goes away.” Even after all these years, Shouta continued to live with the pain and regret of not being able to prevent his own mother’s death. “When you think of her, try to remember all the positive memories you made with her, not how she died. I can’t promise it’ll make things any easier, but I can say it’ll at least make the pain a little more bearable…” A single tear rolled down his cheek as the boy succumbed to his own emotions, trembling without a sound in his arms. He wished with everything he had that he could honestly tell the boy that it wouldn’t hurt like this forever.

He continued to pet the boy, giving him all the emotional support that he needed. “It’s alright kid, let it all out; you’ve kept the grief and pain hidden away for far too long. You don’t need to try and put on a brave face for our sakes. If you need help then you need help, and that’s exactly what we’re here for.

“I th-thought…I was going to be okay,” he gulped heavily, trying to breathe through sobs he was doing his best to supress. “You and T-toshi got me through the worst of it. You l-looked after me as though I were your own s-son. Everything was fine, for a while. B-but then…”

“The training camp…” Shouta guessed, knowing exactly where the conversation was headed. “I deeply regret the day I removed you from the safety and protection of UA…”

The student clutched tightly at Shouta’s shirt in a desperate attempt to ground himself. He’d already been struggling with grief and loss, and then he went and let himself be kidnapped, as if having his mother murdered wasn’t heartbreaking enough. With the intensity of his sobs increasing, and the discomfort of having sat on the hard floor for too long setting in, Shouta decided that now would be a good a time to get them somewhere a little more comfortable, somewhere where he could hold the kid tightly until he was ready to be let go.

“I’m gonna move us up to the bed Izuku; do you think you can stand?” The hero carefully extracted himself, supporting a good portion of the boy’s weight as he assisted them both to their feet. And only a second later, he was guiding Izuku back down to sit on the mattress. “Lay down, kid,” he instructed gently, hating himself for letting go so he could position himself down beside the child. Now that they were no longer stuck on the floor, he shuffled over, wrapping his arms tightly around the weeping boy and pulling him flush against his chest. “I’ve got you, Izuku. I got you,” he soothed reassuringly as the kid held onto him for dear life. “You’re safe here with me… I promise that I’ll always be here when you need me, no matter what.”

“Every time he hurt me, the things he said…” Izuku struggled to speak after he’d managed to get his ragged breathing under control. “…he made me feel as though I deserved it,” he whimpered brokenly. “…I still feel that way…”

The pro hero attempted to meet the kid’s eyes, but with the way Izuku had burrowed into his chest it was impossible. “He tortured you, kid, in unspeakable ways. Every time he entered that room it was his goal to break you. The more you resisted, the angrier he got, and he took that out on the only other person in the room… But you didn’t deserve that, Izuku, not at all. He used you to manipulate a situation that you had nothing to do with. I need you to understand that nothing you could ever do in life would warrant you being treated that way.”

“I know that, b-but…he messed with my head, made me think things that I never wanted to.”

“Things like what, Izuku…?” Izuku shook his head, realizing he had said too much. “Talk to me, kid,” his adoptive father urged, trying to understand what was going on in the boy’s tortured and fragile mind. “I know it’s painful, but help me understand. Please…”

The next thing that left the teen’s mouth actually scared Shouta. “No. I don’t want to hurt you,” he whispered painfully, afraid of hurting the man who was doing his best to help him through his suffering.

“You’re not gonna hurt me, I promise. Just please…tell me…”

“…I tried to forget about you and Toshi because I was terrified that I’d never get to see you again, and I realised that you were better off without me,” he sobbed harshly. “I felt like I had nothing left to live for, and that everyone would have been better off if I was dead. Sometimes, I still feel that way…” Shouta tensed up. He was wrong, that did hurt; more than he could ever have imagined. Izuku, feeling the shift in his father’s boy, immediately let go and turned away. “S-sorry,” he apologised sincerely, wishing he had’ve kept his mouth shut. But Shouta, quick as lightning, shot out an arm to pull him back.

“Hey, stop.” He commanded gently, trying to get the kid to stop fighting him. “You don’t get to apologise for the way you feel. You were right, that did hurt, but not for the reasons you think. I needed to know the truth, and I’m proud of you for telling me even though it was hard for you to do. I hate that you feel that way and I’m gonna do everything in my power to help. But something I need for you to understand right now, Izuku, is that you are the most important thing in Toshi’s and my life right now, and no matter what thoughts are going through your head, our world would crumble if anything were to happen to you… I need you to promise me that you’ll never try to hurt yourself, kid.”

“I promise,” he stated quietly, almost too quickly. But even though the words he so desperately needed to hear had spilled out of Izuku’s lips, the haunted look that had taken up residence on Shouta’s face continued to remain. When he had said that he refused to stand by and watch any of his students attempt to take their own lives, he didn’t think it might actually have come down to that. His blood ran cold at the thought, a series of shivers running down his spine. Izuku twisted his head to try and gauge Shouta’s face, terrified to see the pain and anguish that he wore. Feeling the slight movement, Shouta too tilted his head down, heart clenching painfully at the boy’s face; flushed, covered in tear tracks, his usually brilliant eyes dull, red and swollen from crying. “I promise.”

The hero clenched his jaw tightly, but it was too late. The rush of emotions hit him at a dizzying speed, so quickly and unexpected that he didn’t even get the chance to turn away in shame as the first, heaving sob broke free. He clutched his boy protectively, feeling him succumb to his emotions once more at the sight, burying his face into the kid’s messy green locks as he tried to pull himself back together. In unison, they cried brokenly in despair, the seriousness of the conversation having too great a toll on their mental state to resist fighting their emotions any longer.

After all this time, Shouta fully understood the ramifications of Izuku’s nearly fatal experience during his brief imprisonment by Shigaraki. Not just the disgusting injuries he had inflicted on the child’s body, but also the unbelievable damage he had caused the boy’s young and already fragile mind.

As the hero wore himself into an exhausted sleep, Izuku still cradled protectively against his chest, two final thoughts flitted through his mind; One, Toshinori was probably going to have a mental breakdown, possibly even suffer from heart failure at the day’s revelations. And two, when he found that sick son of a bitch, and he would, he was going to make him suffer a fate so gruesome that he’d be begging Shouta to put him out of his misery…