Giggles erupted from the small body lying under me, shoulders shaking and dainty hands trying desperately to bat at my chest. He choked on laughter, green eyes wide and hair haloing around his freckled face. He threw his arm out dramatically, reaching to the impartial being sitting comfortably in the chair next to the couch. He rolled his eyes at the display before him, trying desperately to hide his growing smile behind the magazine he was reading. Good attempt, icyhot.. But we see through your shit.
“Sho! H-help!” Izuku shrieked, body still squirming and wiggling to escape the torment of my fingers digging into his sides. Shoto stared fondly at his brother, a look I could only detect due to how close I'd grown to the two brothers over the past few weeks. As time ticked by, the three of us had fallen into a great dynamic. Shoto shook his head, “Sorry zuku, you got yourself into this mess.” Izuku pouted, plump bottom lip jutted out in faux innocence as he batted his long lashes as his poor sucker of a brother.
“Nooooooooo” Izuku wailed dramatically, arms coming to cover his reddened face. I took mercy on him then, pulling back to let him breathe. “Next time you won’t eat my snacks, nerd.” I winked at him, climbing from my position on top of him to sit on the open spot of the sofa next to him. We were interrupted by the sound of the phone in the kitchen ringing loudly through the apartment, the sound ripping through the silence. We all looked between each other in confusion, it wasn’t very common for someone to call… especially to call the home phone. Normally, calls came to shoto’s phone regarding Izuku’s prescriptions or doctor appointments.
With furrowed brows, Shoto rose from his spot in the armchair and crossed the living room to the kitchen. I could see this slight twitch in his lips, no doubt a nervous tick, as he answered the phone… “hello?” His eyes stared into the floor, glaring in concentration as he listened to the voice on the other end of the phone. His eyes quickly flickered up from his gaze on the tile to rest on Izuku, the small boy staring worriedly at his brother, bottom lip wobbling slightly. Shoto nodded, mumbling something quietly to the person on the phone before returning the phone to its resting place. He sighed, scratching lightly at the back of his neck.. Eyes closed and head tilted slightly to the floor. Something’s wrong.
“Wait here a sec, zuku. Okay?” I signed to the boy, handing him a couch pillow to cling to as I stood from my spot next to him. He grabbed in greedily, pressing it tightly to his chest as his frantic eyes stared at his big brother. I ruffled his hair gently, smiling in reassurance. Upon getting closer to shoto, he motioned with his head for me to follow him into the hall, further away from Izuku’s prying ears. Obviously this was something that would upset the younger if Shoto was making us talk in private. This was serious.. “That was Aizawa on the phone… he needs me to come help with some work. The line of work we do is… dangerous. I can’t take Izuku with me. Obviously, this is important if he’s asking me to come directly to him. He lives a few towns over... but- I..” shoto sighed, pausing mid sentence to rub a hand over an exhausted face. “I don’t know how Izuku will react to this.. We haven’t been apart for years, and I’m unsure how the change in his routine will affect his mental state. The last thing I want to do is ask anyone for help, we’ve always taken care of each other. We’ve done fine on our own. But… I…. can you stay with him?”
I was surprised.. Not only by his request, but also by the absolute desperation on his face. I wanted to ask what the fuck kind of work he was in, why was their adoptive father involved? Was Izuku at risk because of this “line of work?” I wanted to question everything, to demand answers. I knew this wasn’t the time though. So I nodded, promising to do my best to take care of Izuku and to keep him as on track as possible. “When do you have to leave?” I watched his face, pinched tight with worry and stress. I could tell this was the last thing he wanted to do, I honestly wasn’t sure who this was going to be harder on… izuku, or shoto.
“Tonight.. After he falls asleep. I’ll get him ready for bed tonight and i’ll show you how to administer his medications.” he replied, voice tight as he spoke. The biggest question on my mind now, was how the hell was he going to break it to Izuku?
Fuck. I knew this was bound to happen eventually, it’s not like it's completely avoidable to have to be seperated from zuku, especially with work Aizawa and I do. It’s not the safest environment for Izuku, so there’s no way I'd be able to bring him along. For the first time, I was kind of thankful for the explosive stray Zuku brought home. He’s been tolerable, at least.. And he is familiar with Izuku’s routine and needs. I sighed, exiting the hallway with Bakugo and walking towards the couch Izuku was melted into. His frail arms were wrapped tightly around one of the couch pillows, knees tucked beneath it and pressed against his chest. Green eyes were watery, wide with worry as they stared up at me. My sweet little brother, innocence practically oozed out of him wherever he was. I wish I could hunt down every last person that ever hurt him, and tear them into pieces.. And then set those pieces on fire… and then run over the ashes with a bus..
That still wouldn’t be enough.
The life we’ve lived together has never been an easy one. There were days even now that I felt like I would never be able to care for him the way he needed. He was abused, taken advantage, and manipulated throughout his entire life. As if losing his parents wasn’t bad enough, he lost his hearing in the accident his mother passed in. He was forced into foster care where he was continuously beaten and abused. By the time Aizawa had found him, he apparently was nonverbal and refused to even sign… that’s when I came into the picture.
Six months after officially and legally adopting Izuku, Aizawa took me in as his second foster care child. Izuku would finally communicate, but only with me. It was through lots of coaxing and comfort that he finally began to sign and talk with Aizawa. He never trusted adults… Aizawa was the only one. Which is why it was even harder when aizawa had to leave on “business trips,” leaving us in the care of his friend Mic.. that didn’t workout for obvious reasons. After a while, we were left to fend for ourselves if Aizawa had to leave for a few days, leaving me in charge to care for izuku. This has never been a burden to me, however… I’ve always taken the role of his big brother very seriously. From the day we met, I know we were supposed to be in each other's lives.. It’s the only thing I can ever thank my real father for.. Years of abuse and being taken away from my blood family led me to Izuku. I wouldn’t trade him for anything.
Anyways, knowing him how I know him… which is extremely well. I know how he’s going to react to me leaving. We haven’t been separated since childhood. I was on the soccer team in junior high and had to stay after school for practices just about every day. Izuku didn’t take well to me not being with him after school and would cry himself into terrible panicked fits worrying about me. Aizawa never told me, knowing that it would make me quit the team… but I could always tell when something was wrong, especially with Izuku so the truth came out eventually. I quit the team… it wasn’t my thing anyways.
I lowered myself down on the floor in front of the couch, hands resting on the thin arms wrapped around the pillow. I pulled it from his chest, allowing him to hold on to my hands as he tried desperately to keep his tears at bay. He already knew what I was going to say, I'm sure of it. He has a way of knowing things about me, just as I do with him. But still, waves of patience and love wafted from him and surrounded me. His warmth was almost suffocating sometimes, and never in my life had I met a soul as pure as his. It was this same purity and warmth that kept me beating the men off with a stick. They all wanted a piece of my baby brother, but only one had come with true intentions. I flicked my eyes towards Bakugo, the short-tempered, loud individual standing tentatively in the door frame of the hallway. His eyes rested on Izuku, ready to step in and intervene at any moment. I can tell that he loves Izuku with a furiousness that could send mountains crashing down into nothing but meaningless piles of rubble and rock. He would keep him safe, no matter the cost. This was why I could finally accept a mission with Aizawa.
“Zuku, I’m going to go away for a few days. I have to go with Aiz-... Dad.. for some business.” my eyes scanned his face, watching as the realization crept into his eyes. Bright emeralds clouding with fear and uncertainty, I could practically hear the sound of his heart breaking in his chest. It made the strain on mine almost impossible to ignore.. “Wh- no! Sho, please don’t leave me. You- you can’t go! Dad wouldn’t make you! Why are you leaving me!?” he cried, body shaking with sobs. As much as I anticipated it, I would never be prepared to see him like this. I never was. His breaths were coming in faster now, more rapid and shaky than before. He was beginning to panic. The fingers holding my hands squeezed tightly, trying desperately to pull me to him by my arms. I nodded, my own eyes stinging with unreleased tears. Dammit, keep it together. He needs you to be strong.
“It won’t be long, zuzu… I promise. Just a few days and I’ll be back and we can do whatever you wanna do okay? I promise.” I felt like I was pleading with him, begging him to understand that I wasn’t abandoning him, that it was just for work and I'd be back in a few days. I didn’t want to leave him.
“No! I-I.. I won’t let you go! I won’t. You have to s-stay!” He was hitting my chest now, tiny fits balled so tightly his knuckles were white. “No, no, no!” he chanted, voice becoming more and more breathless as his panic began to spiral. Nineteen years old had never appeared so young. Nineteen, but crying like a child. Nineteen, but already so damaged and betrayed by the world… abandoned over and over and over, until that was all he knew.
I yanked him into my arms, holding him tight to my chest and effectively pinning his arms there. I rocked us back and forth slowly, raking a free hand through his curly hair, untangling the knots as I hit them. His crying didn’t let up for about 20 minutes. By the end of it though, he’d fallen asleep, still cradled to my chest. I let out the breath that I didn’t realize I'd been holding, waves of exhaustion rolling from me. This was the worst attack he’d had in a while. I'm just relieved he was able to tire himself out this time, I hated him giving him the sedatives the doctor had given. It made him so zombie-like and dazed… I hated seeing him that way.
I stood, careful not to wake the sleeping mess in my arms as I did and walked him towards my room. If he woke up in his bed in the next few minutes, it would send him right back into an episode. I don’t think either of us could handle that tonight. Looking at the clock, it was around the time he normally was getting ready for bed anyways. He’d sleep without his medication after wearing himself down like this… but I worried about the nightmares that could ensue.
I walked out to the living room to find Bakugo pacing anxiously, hands tight in his hair. Upon my entrance, he ceased his movement and rushed towards me. “Is he okay?” he asked, and I could hear the genuine concern in his voice. The love. Izuku deserved this kind of affection more than anything… I really hope this idiot doesn’t do anything to fuck this up. “He’s sleeping in my room, he’ll be out for a couple hours. The only thing is, obviously he didn’t take his medication. So in the event that he awakens due to a nightmare, I need to prepare you for that..” He nodded, head moving impossibly fast as he soaked in every word I said.
I spent the next hour explaining how and when to administer certain medications, nightly routine, hearing aid settings in case of malfunction, handing out my personal cell number as well as the number of Izuku’s doctor… basic things. I felt like a parent leaving my child alone with a sitter for the first time, and I guess in a way… I kind of was. I feel like I raised Izuku. Aizawa was an amazing father figure, for the both of us. I would always be extremely grateful for the life he provided me and zuku with. His work kept him away a lot though, and it was something I now understood very well.. Having entered the business myself.
I know waking izuku up to say goodbye was far from a good idea, so… I packed my things as quietly as possible.. telling Bakugo to call me as soon as Izuku was awake. I spared one last look at my baby brother, sleeping form so small in the center of my large bed. Everything would be okay.. He was strong. He can handle this, and Bakugo will be here… it will be fine. I sighed, saying goodbye to Bakugo and heading out of the apartment.
I’ll be back, Izuku. I promise.